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Journal: Cell and tissue research


Glucose deprivation, hypoxia and acidosis are characteristic features of the central core of most solid tumours. Myofibroblasts are stromal cells present in many such solid tumours, including those of the colon, and are known to be involved in all stages of tumour progression. HMGB1 is a nuclear protein with an important role in nucleosome stabilisation and gene transcription; it is also released from immune cells and is involved in the inflammatory process. We report that the microenvironmental condition of glucose deprivation is responsible for the active release of HMGB1 from various types of cancer cell lines (HT-29, MCF-7 and A549) under normoxic conditions. Recombinant HMGB1 (10 ng/ml) triggered proliferation in myofibroblast cells via activation of PI3K and MEK1/2. Conditioned medium collected from glucose-deprived HT-29 colon cancer cells stimulated the migration and invasion of colonic myofibroblasts, and these processes were significantly inhibited by immunoneutralising antibodies to HMGB1, RAGE and TLR4, together with specific inhibitors of PI3K and MEK1/2. Our data suggest that HMGB1 released from cancer cells under glucose deprivation is involved in stimulating colonic myofibroblast migration and invasion and that this occurs through the activation of RAGE and TLR4, resulting in the activation of the MAPK and PI3K signalling pathways. Thus, HMGB1 might be released by cancer cells in areas of low glucose in solid tumours with the resulting activation of myofibroblasts and is a potential therapeutic target to inhibit solid tumour growth.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene expression, Cancer, Oncology, Colorectal cancer, Benign tumor, Tumor, Neoplasm


Tissue trauma induces an inflammatory response associated with a cytokine release that may engage complement pathways. Cytokine-mediated complement expression may contribute to cartilage degradation. Hence, we analysed the complement expression profile in primary articular and non-articular chondrocytes and its interrelation with cytokines. The expression of the anaphylatoxin receptors (C3aR and C5aR) and the complement regulatory proteins (CPRs) CD35, CD46, CD55 and CD59 was studied in cultured articular, auricular and nasoseptal chondrocytes using RTD-PCR and immunofluorescence labelling. The complement profile of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) was opposed to the expression in articular chondrocytes. The time-dependent regulation (6 and 24 h) of these complement factors was assessed in articular chondrocytes in response to the cytokines TNFα, IL-10 or TNFα combined with IL-10 (each 10 ng/mL). C3aR, C5aR, CD46, CD55 and CD59 but almost no CD35 mRNA was expressed in any of chondrocyte types studied. The anaphylatoxin receptor expression was lower and that of the CRPs was higher in chondrocytes when compared with PBMCs. The majority of the studied complement factors were expressed at a significantly lower level in non-articular chondrocytes compared with the articular chondrocytes. TNFα significantly increased the C3aR expression in chondrocytes after 6 and 24 h. TNFα + IL-10 significantly downregulated C5aR and IL-10 significantly inhibited the CD46 and CD55 gene expression after 24 h. C5aR and CD55 could be localised in cartilage in situ. Anaphylatoxin receptors and CRPs are regulated differentially by TNFα and IL-10. Whether cytokine-induced complement activation occurs in response to cartilage trauma has to be further identified.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene expression, Blood, Hormone, Complement system, PBMC, Anaphylatoxin


To date, no details are available concerning the restart of steroidogenesis following the downregulation of testicular endocrine and germinative function by gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-agonist implants. This restart was assessed by determining the expression of steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein, cytochrome P450 side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc) and cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase,17,20-lyase (P450c17). The re-establishment of steroidogenesis was initiated by the removal of the GnRH-agonist implant (18.5 mg azagly nafarelin, Gonazon) at 5 months after treatment. Testes were removed at 3-week intervals (weeks 0-24) and four groups were formed according to the stage of spermatogenesis as revealed by the most developed germ cells observed (developmental group [DG] spermatocytes to DG elongated spermatids). Five dogs served as untreated controls. Positive immunostaining for StAR, P450scc and P450c17 was restricted to Leydig cells. Western blot indicated the specifity of the respective antibodies with hints of a expression of canine-specific P450scc and P450c17 proteins. A significant effect of group was observed for a percentage of the immunopositive area (PIA) as an indicator of active Leydig cells for StAR (P<0.05), P450scc (P<0.001) and P450c17 (P<0.001), with PIA being lowest for the DG spermatocytes. With regard to the strength of the immunopositive signal, a significant effect of group was found for P450scc (P<0.01) and P450c17 (P<0.05), with the lowest intensity being observed in DG spermatocytes. At the mRNA level, the upregulation from DG spermatocytes to DG round spermatids was clearly evident but was only significant for P450scc (P<0.05). Thus, downregulation affects the whole cascade of steroidogenesis, whereas withdrawal of inhibition results in a rapid restart, in part indicating a rebound phenomenon.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Molecular biology, Metabolism, Testosterone, Cytochrome P450, Sertoli cell, Puberty


Liver fibrogenesis is a dynamic process including quantitative and qualitative changes of the extracellular matrix, of which the most prominent is the deposition of type I collagen. These changes progressively disrupt normal liver architecture and result in cirrhosis formation. In the fibrotic liver, as in all other fibrotic tissues, the extracellular matrix is produced by cells usually characterized by the de novo expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin and known as myofibroblasts. Portal myofibroblasts (PMFs) appear to be critical in pathological angiogenesis, which constantly occurs in advanced liver fibrosis. Whereas the association between angiogenesis and fibrosis during the progression of liver diseases remains to be elucidated, we suggest that collagen-type-XV-alpha1-producing PMFs could provide an important link both by stabilizing newly formed vessels and by forming a scaffold for the deposition of interstitial collagen.

Concepts: Scar, Wound healing, Extracellular matrix, Fibrosis, Cirrhosis, Liver, Cystic fibrosis, Hepatic portal vein


This mini-review examines the role of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-1β in the interaction of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the host immune system during lung infection. Different studies show that the reduction of the inflammatory response, especially a decrease in IL-1β, leads to a better outcome in acute lung infection with this bacterium. This includes a higher survival rate, reduced damage to the lung tissue and, in particular, a better clearance of the airways and the tissue of the lungs from P. aeruginosa.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Antibody, Bacteria, Asthma, Pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Interleukin


The pituitary gland, an indispensable endocrine organ that synthesizes and secretes pituitary hormones, develops with the support of many factors. Among them, neuronatin (NNAT), which was discovered in the neonatal mouse brain as a factor involved in neural development, has subsequently been revealed to be coded by an abundantly expressing gene in the pituitary gland but its role remains elusive. We analyze the expression profile of Nnat and the localization of its product during rat pituitary development. The level of Nnat expression was high during the embryonic period but remarkably decreased after birth. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that NNAT appeared in the SOX2-positive stem/progenitor cells in the developing pituitary primordium on rat embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5) and later in the majority of SOX2/PROP1 double-positive cells on E13.5. Thereafter, during pituitary embryonic development, Nnat expression was observed in some stem/progenitor cells, proliferating cells and terminally differentiating cells. In postnatal pituitaries, NNAT-positive cells decreased in number, with most coexpressing Sox2 or Pit1, suggesting a similar role for NNAT to that during the embryonic period. NNAT was widely localized in mitochondria, peroxisomes and lysosomes, in addition to the endoplasmic reticulum but not in the Golgi. The present study thus demonstrated the variability in expression of NNAT-positive cells in rat embryonic and postnatal pituitaries and the intracellular localization of NNAT. Further investigations to obtain functional evidence for NNAT are a prerequisite.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Cell, Pituitary gland, Golgi apparatus, Endoplasmic reticulum, Neuroendocrinology, Lysosome, Endocrine system


The dentate gyrus (DG) in the adult brain maintains the capability to generate new granule neurons throughout life. Neural stem cell-derived new-born neurons emerge to play key functions in the way information is processed in the DG and then conveyed to the CA3 hippocampal area, yet accumulating evidence indicates that both the maturation process and the connectivity pattern of new granule neurons are not prefigured but can be modulated by the activity of local microcircuits and, on a network level, by experience. Although most of the activity- and experience-dependent changes described so far appear to be restricted to critical periods during the development of new granule neurons, it is becoming increasingly clear that the surrounding circuits may play equally key roles in accommodating and perhaps fostering, these changes. Here, we review some of the most recent insights into this almost unique form of plasticity in the adult brain by focusing on those critical periods marked by pronounced changes in structure and function of the new granule neurons and discuss how the activity of putative synaptic partners may contribute to shape the circuit module in which new neurons become finally integrated.

Concepts: Brain, Cerebrum, Hippocampus, Dentate gyrus, Neurogenesis, Granule cell, Entorhinal cortex, The Circuit


Interest has recently surged in the use of social stress models, especially social defeat. Such interest lies both in the recognition that stressors of social origin play a major role in human psychopathologies and in the acknowledgement that natural and hence ethologically-based stress models have important translational value. The use of the most recent technology has allowed the recognition of the mechanisms through which social defeat might have enduring psychoneuroendocrine effects, especially social avoidance and anhedonia, two behaviours relevant to human depression. In view of the sensitivity of these behavioural outcomes to repeated antidepressant treatments, the social defeat model has been proposed as a possible animal model of depression. The present survey is aimed at examining the limits of such an interpretation and focuses on methodological aspects and on the relevance of social defeat to the study of anxiety-related pathologies.

Concepts: Present, Psychology, Sociology, Model, Behavior, Motivation, Human behavior, Mood disorder


Mitochondrial dysfunction is a common feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including proteinopathies such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, which are characterized by the deposition of aggregated proteins in the form of insoluble fibrils or plaques. The distinct molecular processes that eventually result in mitochondrial dysfunction during neurodegeneration are well studied but still not fully understood. However, defects in mitochondrial fission and fusion, mitophagy, oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondrial bioenergetics have been linked to cellular demise. These processes are influenced by the lipid environment within mitochondrial membranes as, besides membrane structure and curvature, recruitment and activity of different proteins also largely depend on the respective lipid composition. Hence, the interaction of neurotoxic proteins with certain lipids and the modification of lipid composition in different cell compartments, in particular mitochondria, decisively impact cell death associated with neurodegeneration. Here, we discuss the relevance of mitochondrial lipids in the pathological alterations that result in neuronal demise, focussing on proteinopathies.

Concepts: Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Cell membrane, Oxidative phosphorylation, Neurology, Neurodegenerative disorders, Citric acid cycle


In the mammalian cochlea, sound is encoded at synapses between inner hair cells (IHCs) and type I spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs). Each SGN receives input from a single IHC ribbon-type active zone (AZ) and yet SGNs indefatigably spike up to hundreds of Hz to encode acoustic stimuli with submillisecond precision. Accumulating evidence indicates a highly specialized molecular composition and structure of the presynapse, adapted to suit these high functional demands. However, we are only beginning to understand key features such as stimulus-secretion coupling, exocytosis mechanisms, exo-endocytosis coupling, modes of endocytosis and vesicle reformation, as well as replenishment of the readily releasable pool. Relating structure and function has become an important avenue in addressing these points and has been applied to normal and genetically manipulated hair cell synapses. Here, we review some of the exciting new insights gained from recent studies of the molecular anatomy and physiology of IHC ribbon synapses.

Concepts: Action potential, Hair cell