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Concept: Nitric oxide synthase

171

Inflammation and oxidative stress play a crucial role in angiotensin (Ang) II-mediated vascular injury. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) has recently been identified as a specific Ang II-degrading enzyme but its role in vascular biology remains elusive. We hypothesized that loss of ACE2 would facilitate Ang II-mediated vascular inflammation and peroxynitrite production. 10-week wildtype (WT, Ace2(+/y)) and ACE2 knockout (ACE2KO, Ace2(-/y)) mice received with mini-osmotic pumps with Ang II (1.5 mg.kg⁻¹.d⁻¹) or saline for 2 weeks. Aortic ACE2 protein was obviously reduced in WT mice in response to Ang II related to increases in profilin-1 protein and plasma levels of Ang II and Ang-(1-7). Loss of ACE2 resulted in greater increases in Ang II-induced mRNA expressions of inflammatory cytokines monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6 without affecting tumor necrosis factor-α in aortas of ACE2KO mice. Furthermore, ACE2 deficiency led to greater increases in Ang II-mediated profilin-1 expression, NADPH oxidase activity, and superoxide and peroxynitrite production in the aortas of ACE2KO mice associated with enhanced phosphorylated levels of Akt, p70S6 kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). Interestingly, daily treatment with AT1 receptor blocker irbesartan (50 mg/kg) significantly prevented Ang II-mediated aortic profilin-1 expression, inflammation, and peroxynitrite production in WT mice with enhanced ACE2 levels and the suppression of the Akt-ERK-eNOS signaling pathways. Our findings reveal that ACE2 deficiency worsens Ang II-mediated aortic inflammation and peroxynitrite production associated with the augmentation of profilin-1 expression and the activation of the Akt-ERK-eNOS signaling, suggesting potential therapeutic approaches by enhancing ACE2 action for patients with vascular diseases.

Concepts: Inflammation, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Endothelium, Angiotensin II receptor antagonist, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase

153

Oxidative stress is one of the most critical factors implicated in disease conditions. Buchanania lanzan Spr. (Anacardiaceae) bark powder preparation has been reported for treating an inflammatory condition in the Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Oxidative stress, Nitrogen, Radical, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Nitric oxide synthase

150

Uveitis is a common cause of blindness worldwide. Experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU) is an animal model of noninfectious uveitis. Chrysin (5,7-dihydroxyflavone) is a member of the flavonoid family and has anti-inflammatory effects. We immunized C57BL/6J mice with human interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein peptide 1-20 to induce EAU. Chrysin was administered intragastrically at 25 mg/kg daily to the chrysin-treated mice from 3 days before immunization to 21 days after immunization. Vehicle was administered to the mice in the control group according to the same protocol. Lower clinical and histopathological scores, increased integrity of the blood-retinal barrier (BRB) and higher expression of tight junction proteins were observed in the chrysin-treated mice. Chrysin significantly decreased the proportions of Th1, Th17 and CD4(+)CD3(+)CD62L(+) Th0 cells, and increased the proportion of Treg cells. Both macrophage infiltration and the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase in the retina were efficiently inhibited by chrysin treatment. In chrysin-treated mice, the expression of interferon-γ, interleukin (IL)-17A, IL-6, IL-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α was reduced in the retina, whereas higher levels of transforming growth factor-β were detected. Furthermore, NF-κBp65 was downregulated after chrysin treatment. In conclusion, as an anti-inflammatory molecule, chrysin exerts a preventive effect on EAU by modulating the balance among helper T-cell subsets and suppressing ocular inflammation, thereby maintaining the integrity of the BRB.Cellular & Molecular Immunology advance online publication, 21 March 2016; doi:10.1038/cmi.2015.107.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Protein, Immunology, T cell, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase

145

Artocarpus heterophyllus, a popular tropical fruit commonly known as the jackfruit tree, is normally planted in subtropical or tropical areas. Since a variety of phytochemicals isolated from A. heterophyllus have been found to possess potently anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimalarial activities, researchers have devoted much interest to its potential pharmaceutical value. However, the exact mechanism underlying its anti-inflammatory activity is not well characterized. In this study, seven natural products isolated from A. heterophyllus, including 25-Hydroxycycloart-23-en-3-one (HY), Artocarpin (AR), Dadahol A (DA), Morachalcone A (MA), Artoheterophyllin B (AB), Cycloheterophyllin (CY) and Moracin C (MC) were collected. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated inflammatory response in RAW264.7 macrophages were used in this study. Among these compounds, MC significantly inhibited LPS-activated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) release without marked cytotoxicity. Furthermore, MC effectively reduced LPS stimulated up-regulation of mRNA and protein expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and serval pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α)). Mechanistic studies revealed that the anti-inflammatory effect of MC was associated with the activation of the mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPKs) (including p38, ERK and JNK) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathways, especially reducing the nuclear translocation of NF-κB p65 subunit as revealed by nuclear separation experiment and confocal microscopy.

Concepts: Inflammation, Oxygen, Signal transduction, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, Nitric oxide synthase, Jackfruit

144

Diospyros kaki Thunb. is widely distributed in East Asian countries, its leaves being mainly used for making tea. In this study, coussaric acid (CA) and betulinic acid (BA), both triterpenoid compounds, were obtained from D. kaki leaf extracts through bioassay-guided isolation. CA and BA showed anti-inflammatory effects via inhibition of the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway, providing important information on their anti-inflammatory mechanism. Furthermore, they markedly inhibited nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin E₂ (PGE₂) production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated RAW 264.7 macrophages, and suppressed tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-1β (IL-1β) levels. Furthermore, they decreased protein expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2. Pre-treatment with CA and BA inhibited LPS-induced NF-κB. We further examined the effects of CA and BA on heme oxygenase (HO)-1 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages: BA induced HO-1 protein expression in a dose-dependent manner, while CA had no effect. We also investigated whether BA treatment induced nuclear translocation of Nrf2. BA inhibited LPS-induced NF-κB-binding activity, as well as pro-inflammatory mediator and cytokine production (e.g., NO, PGE₂, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6), by partial reversal of this effect by SnPP, an inhibitor of HO-1. These findings further elucidate the anti-inflammatory mechanism of CA and BA isolated from D. kaki.

Concepts: Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Persimmon, Nitric oxide synthase, Heme oxygenase, Betulinic acid

49

Blood pressure regulation is known to be maintained by a neuro-endocrine circuit, but whether immune cells contribute to blood pressure homeostasis has not been determined. We previously showed that CD4(+) T lymphocytes that express choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), which catalyzes the synthesis of the vasorelaxant acetylcholine, relay neural signals. Here we show that these CD4(+)CD44(hi)CD62L(lo) T helper cells by gene expression are a distinct T-cell population defined by ChAT (CD4 TChAT). Mice lacking ChAT expression in CD4(+) cells have elevated arterial blood pressure, compared to littermate controls. Jurkat T cells overexpressing ChAT (JTChAT) decreased blood pressure when infused into mice. Co-incubation of JTChAT and endothelial cells increased endothelial cell levels of phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and of nitrates and nitrites in conditioned media, indicating increased release of the potent vasorelaxant nitric oxide. The isolation and characterization of CD4 TChAT cells will enable analysis of the role of these cells in hypotension and hypertension, and may suggest novel therapeutic strategies by targeting cell-mediated vasorelaxation.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Gene, Atherosclerosis, Blood pressure, T helper cell, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase

40

A diet rich in salt is linked to an increased risk of cerebrovascular diseases and dementia, but it remains unclear how dietary salt harms the brain. We report that, in mice, excess dietary salt suppresses resting cerebral blood flow and endothelial function, leading to cognitive impairment. The effect depends on expansion of TH17 cells in the small intestine, resulting in a marked increase in plasma interleukin-17 (IL-17). Circulating IL-17, in turn, promotes endothelial dysfunction and cognitive impairment by the Rho kinase-dependent inhibitory phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and reduced nitric oxide production in cerebral endothelial cells. The findings reveal a new gut-brain axis linking dietary habits to cognitive impairment through a gut-initiated adaptive immune response compromising brain function via circulating IL-17. Thus, the TH17 cell-IL-17 pathway is a putative target to counter the deleterious brain effects induced by dietary salt and other diseases associated with TH17 polarization.

Concepts: Protein, Neurology, Endothelium, Cardiovascular system, Endothelial dysfunction, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Nitric oxide synthase

40

Glucose and glycolysis are important for the proinflammatory functions of many immune cells, and depletion of glucose in pathological microenvironments is associated with defective immune responses. Here we show a contrasting function for glucose in dendritic cells (DCs), as glucose represses the proinflammatory output of LPS-stimulated DCs and inhibits DC-induced T-cell responses. A glucose-sensitive signal transduction circuit involving the mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), HIF1α and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) coordinates DC metabolism and function to limit DC-stimulated T-cell responses. When multiple T cells interact with a DC, they compete for nutrients, which can limit glucose availability to the DCs. In such DCs, glucose-dependent signalling is inhibited, altering DC outputs and enhancing T-cell responses. These data reveal a mechanism by which T cells regulate the DC microenvironment to control DC-induced T-cell responses and indicate that glucose is an important signal for shaping immune responses.

Concepts: Immune system, White blood cell, Enzyme, T helper cell, T cell, Endothelium, Nitric oxide, Nitric oxide synthase

33

Changes in the gut microbiota may underpin many human diseases, but the mechanisms that are responsible for altering microbial communities remain poorly understood. Antibiotic usage elevates the risk of contracting gastroenteritis caused by Salmonella enterica serovars, increases the duration for which patients shed the pathogen in their faeces, and may on occasion produce a bacteriologic and symptomatic relapse. These antibiotic-induced changes in the gut microbiota can be studied in mice, in which the disruption of a balanced microbial community by treatment with the antibiotic streptomycin leads to an expansion of S. enterica serovars in the large bowel. However, the mechanisms by which streptomycin treatment drives an expansion of S. enterica serovars are not fully resolved. Here we show that host-mediated oxidation of galactose and glucose promotes post-antibiotic expansion of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium). By elevating expression of the gene encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) in the caecal mucosa, streptomycin treatment increased post-antibiotic availability of the oxidation products galactarate and glucarate in the murine caecum. S. Typhimurium used galactarate and glucarate within the gut lumen of streptomycin pre-treated mice, and genetic ablation of the respective catabolic pathways reduced S. Typhimurium competitiveness. Our results identify host-mediated oxidation of carbohydrates in the gut as a mechanism for post-antibiotic pathogen expansion.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Nitric oxide, Vasodilation, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella, Nitric oxide synthase

30

We evaluated the therapeutic potential of a sustained nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compound to correct the molecular hallmarks and pathophysiology of priapism, an important but poorly characterized erectile disorder. 1,5-Bis-(dihexyl-N-nitrosoamino)-2,4-dinitrobenzene (C6') and an inactive form of the compound [1,5-bis-(dihexylamino)-2,4-dinitrobenzene (C6)] were tested in neuronal cell cultures and penile lysates for NO release (Griess assay) and biological activity (cGMP production). The effect of local depot C6' or C6 was evaluated in mice with a priapic phenotype due to double neuronal and endothelial NO synthase deletion (dNOS(-/-)) or human sickle hemoglobin transgenic expression (Sickle). Changes in NO signaling molecules and reactive oxygen species (ROS) surrogates were assessed by Western blot. The physiological response after C6' treatment was assessed using an established model of electrically stimulated penile erection. C6' generated NO, increased cGMP, and dose dependently increased NO metabolites. C6' treatment reversed abnormalities in key penile erection signaling molecules, including phosphodiesterase type 5, phosphorylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase, and phosphorylated vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein. In Sickle mice, C6' also attenuated the increased ROS markers gp91(phox), 4-hydroxynonenal, and 3-nitrotyrosine. Finally, C6' corrected the excessive priapic erection response of dNOS(-/-) mice. Exogenous sustained NO release from C6' corrects pathological erectile signaling in mouse models of priapism and suggests novel approaches to human therapy.-Lagoda, G., Sezen, S. F., Hurt, K. J., Cabrini, M. R., Mohanty, D. K., Burnett, A. L. Sustained nitric oxide (NO)-releasing compound reverses dysregulated NO signal transduction in priapism.

Concepts: Oxygen, Molecular biology, Nitric oxide, Erectile dysfunction, Nitric oxide synthase, Penis, Erection, Priapism