In this study, we analyzed the influence of mesenchymal stromal cells derived from lymph nodes of non-Hodgkin lymphomas, on effector functions and differentiation of V?2 T lymphocytes. We show that: i) lymph-node mesenchymal stromal cells of non-Hodgkin lymphoma inhibit NKG2D-mediated lymphoid cell killing, but not rituximab-induced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity, exerted by V?2 T lymphocytes; ii) pre-treatment of mesenchymal stromal cells with the aminobisphosphonates pamidronate or zoledronate can rescue lymphoma cell killing via NKG2D; iii) this is due to inhibition of transforming growth factor-? and increase in interleukin-15 production by mesenchymal stromal cells; iv) aminobiphosphonate-treated mesenchymal stromal cells drive V?2 T lymphocyte differentiation into effector memory T cells, expressing the Thelper1 cytokines tumor necrosis factor-? and interferon-?. In non-Hodgkin lymphoma lymph-nodes, V?2 T cells were mostly naive; upon co-culture with autologous lymph-node mesenchymal stromal cells exposed to zoledronate, the percentage of terminal differentiated effector memory V?2 T lymphocytes increased. In all non-Hodgkin lymphomas low or undetectable transcription of Thelper1 cytokines was found; in diffused large B cell lymphomas and in a group of follicular lymphoma, transcription of transforming growth factor ? and interleukin-10 was enhanced compared to non-neoplastic lymph nodes. Thus, in non-Hodgkin lymphomas mesenchymal stromal cells interfere with V?2 T lymphocyte cytolytic function and differentiation to Thelper1 and/or effector memory cells, depending on the prominent in situ cytokine milieu. Aminobisphosphonates, acting on lymph-node mesenchymal stromal cells, can push the balance towards Thelper1/effector memory and rescue the recognition and killing of lymphoma cells through NKG2D, sparing rituximab-induced antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity.
Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) is a protein largely expressed in many tissues, associated with different biological phenomena such as cellular differentiation, inflammation and cancer acting as a survival/apoptotic signal. We found that LCN2 was expressed during osteoblast differentiation and we generated transgenic (Tg) mice over-expressing LCN2 in bone. Tg mice were smaller and presented bone microarchitectural changes in both endochondral and intramembranous bones. In particular, Tg bones displayed a thinner layer of cortical bone and a decreased trabecular number. Osteoblast bone matrix deposition was reduced and osteoblast differentiation was slowed-down. Differences were also observed in the growth plate of young transgenic mice where chondrocyte displayed a more immature phenotype and a lower proliferation rate. In bone marrow cell cultures from transgenic mice, the number of osteoclast progenitors was increased whereas in vivo it was increased the number of mature osteoclasts expressing tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP). Finally, while osteoprotegerin (OPG) levels remained unchanged, the expression of the conventional receptor activator of nuclear factor-?B ligand (RANKL) and of the IL-6 was enhanced in Tg mice. In conclusion, we found that LCN2 plays a role in bone development and turnover having both a negative effect on bone formation, by affecting growth plate development and interfering with osteoblast differentiation, and a positive effect on bone resorption by enhancing osteoclast compartment.
Pleiotrophin (PTN) is a widespread cytokine involved in bone formation, neurite outgrowth, and angiogenesis. In skeletal muscle, PTN is upregulated during myogenesis, post-synaptic induction, and regeneration after crushing, but little is known regarding its effects on muscle function. Here, we describe the effects of PTN on the slow-twitch soleus and fast-twitch extensor digitorum longus (EDL) muscles in mice over-expressing PTN under the control of a bone promoter. The mice were maintained in normal loading or disuse condition, induced by hindlimb unloading (HU) for 14 days. Effects of exposition to near-zero gravity during a 3-months spaceflight (SF) into the Mice Drawer System are also reported. In normal loading, PTN overexpression had no effect on muscle fiber cross-sectional area, but shifted soleus muscle toward a slower phenotype, as shown by an increased number of oxidative type 1 fibers, and increased gene expression of cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV and citrate synthase. The cytokine increased soleus and EDL capillary-to-fiber ratio. PTN overexpression did not prevent soleus muscle atrophy, slow-to-fast transition, and capillary regression induced by SF and HU. Nevertheless, PTN exerted various effects on sarcolemma ion channel expression/function and resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration in soleus and EDL muscles, in normal loading and after HU. In conclusion, the results show very similar effects of HU and SF on mouse soleus muscle, including activation of specific gene programs. The EDL muscle is able to counterbalance this latter, probably by activating compensatory mechanisms. The numerous effects of PTN on muscle gene expression and functional parameters demonstrate the sensitivity of muscle fibers to the cytokine. Although little benefit was found in HU muscle disuse, PTN may emerge useful in various muscle diseases, because it exerts synergetic actions on muscle fibers and vessels, which could enforce oxidative metabolism and ameliorate muscle performance.
Herein we describe that in classic Hodgkin lymphomas (cHL, n = 25) the lymph node (LN) stroma displayed in situ high levels of transcription and expression of the disulfide-isomerase ERp5 and of the disintegrin-metalloproteinase ADAM10, able to shed the ligands for NKG2D (NKG2D-L) from the cell membrane. These enzymes were detected both in LN mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and in Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells; in addition, MIC-A and ULBP3 were present in culture supernatants of LN MSCs or RS cells. NKG2D-L-negative RS cells could not be killed by CD8(+)??T or ??T cells; tumor cell killing was partially restored by treating RS cells with valproic acid, which enhanced NKG2D-L surface expression. Upon coculture with LN MSCs, CD8(+)??T and ??T cells strongly reduced their cytolytic activity against NKG2D-L(+) targets; this seems to be the result of TGF-?, present at the tumor site, produced in vitro by LN MSCs and able to down-regulate the expression of NKG2D on T lymphocytes. In addition, CD8(+)??T and ??T cells from the lymph nodes of cHL patients, cocultured in vitro with LN MSCs, underwent TGF-?-mediated down regulation of NKG2D. Thus, in cHL the tumor microenvironment is prone to inhibit the development of an efficient antitumor response.
The cranial base is essential for integrated craniofacial development and growth. It develops as a cartilaginous template that is replaced by bone through the process of endochondral ossification. Here, we describe a novel and specific role for the homeoprotein Six2 in the growth and elongation of the cranial base. Six2-null newborn mice display premature fusion of the bones in the cranial base. Chondrocyte differentiation is abnormal in the Six2-null cranial base, with reduced proliferation and increased terminal differentiation. Gain-of-function experiments indicate that Six2 promotes cartilage development and growth in other body areas and appears therefore to control general regulators of chondrocyte differentiation. Our data indicate that the main factors restricting Six2 function to the cranial base are tissue-specific transcription of the gene and compensatory effects of other Six family members. The comparable expression during human embryogenesis and the high protein conservation from mouse to human implicate SIX2 loss-of-function as a potential congenital cause of anterior cranial base defects in humans.
Lipocalin-2 (LCN2) is a member of the lipocalin family, small secreted proteins functioning as modulators of many different physiological processes including cell differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. LCN2 expression is also up-regulated in several pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer. LCN2 synthesis has been described in epithelia, bone and cells of the immune system. Despite its wide expression the role of LCN2 remains to be fully elucidated. To better understand the role of this lipocalin in the bone/bone marrow system we generated transgenic mice over-expressing LCN2 specifically in bone under the control of a type I collagen promoter. In the bone marrow of these transgenic mice we observed an increased expression of SDF-1 that correlated with an increased number of CD34+/CXCR4+ (SDF-1 receptor) cells. To some extent, this appeared due to an enhanced cell proliferation rate. The higher level of the factor synthesis and the increased number of cells expressing its receptor was maintained during animal aging. Our results show that LCN2 could play a role in determining the number of CD34+/CXCR4+ precursor cells in the bone marrow thus contributing to the control of the bone marrow microenvironment.
The Italian Space Agency, in line with its scientific strategies and the National Utilization Plan for the International Space Station (ISS), contracted Thales Alenia Space Italia to design and build a spaceflight payload for rodent research on ISS: the Mice Drawer System (MDS). The payload, to be integrated inside the Space Shuttle middeck during transportation and inside the Express Rack in the ISS during experiment execution, was designed to function autonomously for more than 3 months and to involve crew only for maintenance activities. In its first mission, three wild type (Wt) and three transgenic male mice over-expressing pleiotrophin under the control of a bone-specific promoter (PTN-Tg) were housed in the MDS. At the time of launch, animals were 2-months old. MDS reached the ISS on board of Shuttle Discovery Flight 17A/STS-128 on August 28(th), 2009. MDS returned to Earth on November 27(th), 2009 with Shuttle Atlantis Flight ULF3/STS-129 after 91 days, performing the longest permanence of mice in space. Unfortunately, during the MDS mission, one PTN-Tg and two Wt mice died due to health status or payload-related reasons. The remaining mice showed a normal behavior throughout the experiment and appeared in excellent health conditions at landing. During the experiment, the mice health conditions and their water and food consumption were daily checked. Upon landing mice were sacrificed, blood parameters measured and tissues dissected for subsequent analysis. To obtain as much information as possible on microgravity-induced tissue modifications, we organized a Tissue Sharing Program: 20 research groups from 6 countries participated. In order to distinguish between possible effects of the MDS housing conditions and effects due to the near-zero gravity environment, a ground replica of the flight experiment was performed at the University of Genova. Control tissues were collected also from mice maintained on Earth in standard vivarium cages.
Bone is a complex dynamic tissue undergoing a continuous remodeling process. Gravity is a physical force playing a role in the remodeling and contributing to the maintenance of bone integrity. This article reports an investigation on the alterations of the bone microarchitecture that occurred in wild type (Wt) and pleiotrophin-transgenic (PTN-Tg) mice exposed to a near-zero gravity on the International Space Station (ISS) during the Mice Drawer System (MDS) mission, to date, the longest mice permanence (91 days) in space. The transgenic mouse strain over-expressing pleiotrophin (PTN) in bone was selected because of the PTN positive effects on bone turnover. Wt and PTN-Tg control animals were maintained on Earth either in a MDS payload or in a standard vivarium cage. This study revealed a bone loss during spaceflight in the weight-bearing bones of both strains. For both Tg and Wt a decrease of the trabecular number as well as an increase of the mean trabecular separation was observed after flight, whereas trabecular thickness did not show any significant change. Non weight-bearing bones were not affected. The PTN-Tg mice exposed to normal gravity presented a poorer trabecular organization than Wt mice, but interestingly, the expression of the PTN transgene during the flight resulted in some protection against microgravitys negative effects. Moreover, osteocytes of the Wt mice, but not of Tg mice, acquired a round shape, thus showing for the first time osteocyte space-related morphological alterations in vivo. The analysis of specific bone formation and resorption marker expression suggested that the microgravity-induced bone loss was due to both an increased bone resorption and a decreased bone deposition. Apparently, the PTN transgene protection was the result of a higher osteoblast activity in the flight mice.
Erythrocyte and hemoglobin losses have been frequently observed in humans during space missions; these observations have been designated as "space anemia". Erythrocytes exposed to microgravity have a modified rheology and undergo hemolysis to a greater extent. Cell membrane composition plays an important role in determining erythrocyte resistance to mechanical stress and it is well known that membrane composition might be influenced by external events, such as hypothermia, hypoxia or gravitational strength variations. Moreover, an altered cell membrane composition, in particular in fatty acids, can cause a greater sensitivity to peroxidative stress, with increase in membrane fragility. Solar radiation or low wavelength electromagnetic radiations (such as gamma rays) from the Earth or the space environment can split water to generate the hydroxyl radical, very reactive at the site of its formation, which can initiate chain reactions leading to lipid peroxidation. These reactive free radicals can react with the non-radical molecules, leading to oxidative damage of lipids, proteins and DNA, etiologically associated with various diseases and morbidities such as cancer, cell degeneration, and inflammation. Indeed, radiation constitutes on of the most important hazard for humans during long-term space flights. With this background, we participated to the MDS tissue-sharing program performing analyses on mice erythrocytes flown on the ISS from August to November 2009. Our results indicate that space flight induced modifications in cell membrane composition and increase of lipid peroxidation products, in mouse erythrocytes. Moreover, antioxidant defenses in the flight erythrocytes were induced, with a significant increase of glutathione content as compared to both vivarium and ground control erythrocytes. Nonetheless, this induction was not sufficient to prevent damages caused by oxidative stress. Future experiments should provide information helpful to reduce the effects of oxidative stress exposure and space anemia, possibly by integrating appropriate dietary elements and natural compounds that could act as antioxidants.
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