Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) have found extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, biomedical and biotechnological fields. Therefore, the increasing exposure to such ultrafine particles requires studies to characterize their potential cytotoxic effects in order to provide exhaustive information to assess the impact of nanomaterials on human health. The understanding of the biological processes involved in the development and maintenance of a variety of pathologies is improved by genome-wide approaches, and in this context, gene set analysis has emerged as a fundamental tool for the interpretation of the results. In this work we show how the use of a combination of gene-by-gene and gene set analyses can enhance the interpretation of results of in vitro treatment of A549 cells with Ludox® colloidal amorphous silica nanoparticles. By gene-by-gene and gene set analyses, we evidenced a specific cell response in relation to NPs size and elapsed time after treatment, with the smaller NPs (SM30) having higher impact on inflammatory and apoptosis processes than the bigger ones. Apoptotic process appeared to be activated by the up-regulation of the initiator genes TNFa and IL1b and by ATM. Moreover, our analyses evidenced that cell treatment with LudoxÒ silica nanoparticles activated the matrix metalloproteinase genes MMP1, MMP10 and MMP9. The information derived from this study can be informative about the cytotoxicity of Ludox® and other similar colloidal amorphous silica NPs prepared by solution processes.
Loss of muscle proteins and the consequent weakness has important clinical consequences in diseases such as cancer, diabetes, chronic heart failure, and in aging. In fact, excessive proteolysis causes cachexia, accelerates disease progression, and worsens life expectancy. Muscle atrophy involves a common pattern of transcriptional changes in a small subset of genes named atrophy-related genes or atrogenes. Whether microRNAs play a role in the atrophy program and muscle loss is debated. To understand the involvement of miRNAs in atrophy we performed miRNA expression profiling of mouse muscles under wasting conditions such as fasting, denervation, diabetes, and cancer cachexia. We found that the miRNA signature is peculiar of each catabolic condition. We then focused on denervation and we revealed that changes in transcripts and microRNAs expression did not occur simultaneously but were shifted. Indeed, whereas transcriptional control of the atrophy-related genes peaks at 3 days, changes of miRNA expression maximized at 7 days after denervation. Among the different miRNAs, microRNA-206 and -21 were the most induced in denervated muscles. We characterized their pattern of expression and defined their role in muscle homeostasis. Indeed, in vivo gain and loss of function experiments revealed that miRNA-206 and miRNA-21 were sufficient and required for atrophy program. In silico and in vivo approaches identified transcription factor YY1 and the translational initiator factor eIF4E3 as downstream targets of these miRNAs. Thus miRNAs are important for fine-tuning the atrophy program and their modulation can be a novel potential therapeutic approach to counteract muscle loss and weakness in catabolic conditions.
Time-course gene expression experiments are useful tools for exploring biological processes. In this type of experiments, gene expression changes are monitored along time. Unfortunately, replication of time series is still costly and usually long time course do not have replicates. Many approaches have been proposed to deal with this data structure, but none of them in the field of pathway analysis. Pathway analyses have acquired great relevance for helping the interpretation of gene expression data. Several methods have been proposed to this aim: from the classical enrichment to the more complex topological analysis that gains power from the topology of the pathway. None of them were devised to identify temporal variations in time course data.
Tissue-engineered heart valves are proposed as novel viable replacements granting longer durability and growth potential. However, they require extensive in vitro cell-conditioning in bioreactor before implantation. Here, the propensity of non-preconditioned decellularized heart valves to spontaneous in body self-regeneration was investigated in a large animal model. Decellularized porcine aortic valves were evaluated for right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) reconstruction in Vietnamese Pigs (n?=?11) with 6 (n?=?5) and 15 (n?=?6) follow-up months. Repositioned native valves (n?=?2 for each time) were considered as control. Tissue and cell components from explanted valves were investigated by histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, and gene expression. Most substitutes constantly demonstrated in vivo adequate hemodynamic performances and ex vivo progressive repopulation during the 15 implantation months without signs of calcifications, fibrosis and/or thrombosis, as revealed by histological, immunohistochemical, ultrastructural, metabolic and transcriptomic profiles. Colonizing cells displayed native-like phenotypes and actively synthesized novel extracellular matrix elements, as collagen and elastin fibers. New mature blood vessels, i.e. capillaries and vasa vasorum, were identified in repopulated valves especially in the medial and adventitial tunicae of regenerated arterial walls. Such findings correlated to the up-regulated vascular gene transcription. Neoinnervation hallmarks were appreciated at histological and ultrastructural levels. Macrophage populations with reparative M2 phenotype were highly represented in repopulated valves. Indeed, no aspects of adverse/immune reaction were revealed in immunohistochemical and transcriptomic patterns. Among differentiated elements, several cells were identified expressing typical stem cell markers of embryonic, hematopoietic, neural and mesenchymal lineages in significantly higher number and specific topographic distribution in respect to control valves. Following the longest follow-up ever realized in preclinical models, non-preconditioned decellularized allogeneic valves offer suitable microenvironment for in vivo cell homing and tissue remodeling. Manufactured with simple, timesaving and cost-effective procedures, these promising valve replacements hold promise to become an effective alternative, especially for pediatric patients.
Despite the economic and medical importance of the pig, knowledge about its genome organization, gene expression regulation, and molecular mechanisms involved in physiological processes is far from that achieved for mouse and rat, the two most used model organisms in biomedical research. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a wide class of molecules that exert a recognized role in gene expression modulation, but only 280 miRNAs in pig have been characterized to date.
Genome-wide experiments are routinely used to increase the understanding of the biological processes involved in the development and maintenance of a variety of pathologies. Although the technical feasibility of this type of experiment has improved in recent years, data analysis remains challenging. In this context, gene set analysis has emerged as a fundamental tool for the interpretation of the results. Here, we review strategies used in the gene set approach, and using datasets for the pig cardiocirculatory system as a case study, we demonstrate how the use of a combination of these strategies can enhance the interpretation of results. Gene set analyses are able to distinguish vessels from the heart and arteries from veins in a manner that is consistent with the different cellular composition of smooth muscle cells. By integrating microRNA elements in the regulatory circuits identified, we find that vessel specificity is maintained through specific miRNAs, such as miR-133a and miR-143, which show anti-correlated expression with their mRNA targets.
In the last decades, microarray technology has spread, leading to a dramatic increase of publicly available datasets. The first statistical tools developed were focused on the identification of significant differentially expressed genes. Later, researchers moved toward the systematic integration of gene expression profiles with additional biological information, such as chromosomal location, ontological annotations or sequence features. The analysis of gene expression linked to physical location of genes on chromosomes allows the identification of transcriptionally imbalanced regions, while, Gene Set Analysis focuses on the detection of coordinated changes in transcriptional levels among sets of biologically related genes. In this field, meta-analysis offers the possibility to compare different studies, addressing the same biological question to fully exploit public gene expression datasets.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are small single-stranded non-coding RNAs that act as crucial regulators of gene expression. Different methods have been developed for miRNA expression profiling in order to better understand gene regulation in normal and pathological conditions. miRNAs expression values obtained from large scale methodologies such as microarrays still need a validation step with alternative technologies.
DNA microarrays are an important tool with a variety of applications in gene expression studies, genotyping, pharmacogenomics, pathogen classification, drug discovery, sequencing and molecular diagnostics. They are having a strong impact in medical diagnostics for cancer, toxicology and infectious disease applications. A series of papers have been published describing DNA biochips as alternative to conventional microarray platforms to facilitate and ameliorate the signal readout. In this review, we will consider the different methods proposed for biochip construction, focusing on electrochemical detection of DNA. We also introduce a novel single-stranded DNA platform performing high-throughput SNP detection and gene expression profiling.
Atherosclerosis affects aorta, coronary, carotid, and iliac arteries most frequently than any other body vessel. There may be common molecular pathways sustaining this process. Plaque presence and diffusion is revealed by circulating factors that can mediate systemic reaction leading to plaque rupture and thrombosis.
In the past few decades the scientific community has been recognizing the paramount role of the cell microenvironment in determining cell behavior. In parallel, the study of human stem cells for their potential therapeutic applications has been progressing constantly. The use of advanced technologies, enabling one to mimic the in vivo stem cell microenviroment and to study stem cell physiology and physio-pathology, in settings that better predict human cell biology, is becoming the object of much research effort. In this review we will detail the most relevant and recent advances in the field of biosensors and micro- and nano-technologies in general, highlighting advantages and disadvantages. Particular attention will be devoted to those applications employing stem cells as a sensing element.
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