ResearchPad - growth-factors https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[CRISPR-mediated ablation of overexpressed EGFR in combination with sunitinib significantly suppresses renal cell carcinoma proliferation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14711 Receptor tyrosine kinases, such as VEGFR, PDGFR and EGFR, play important roles in renal cancer. In this study, we investigated EGFR knockout as a therapeutic approach in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We showed that a renal cell carcinoma cell line (RC21) has higher expression of EGFR as compared to other frequently used cell lines such as HEK293, A549, Hela and DLD1. Ablation of EGFR by CRISPR/Cas9 significantly restrained tumor cell growth and activated the MAPK (pERK1/2) pathway. The VEGFR and PDGFR inhibitor, sunitinib, attenuated the expression of MAPK (pERK1/2) and pAKT induced by EGFR loss and further inhibited EGFR-/- cell proliferation. We showed that loss of EGFR eventually leads to resistance to SAHA and cisplatin. Furthermore, EGFR loss induced G2/M phase arrest and resulted in an increased resistance to TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in renal cell carcinoma. Thus, ablation of overexpressed EGFR by CRISPR/Cas9 alone or in combination with sunitinib may be a new treatment option for renal cell carcinoma.

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<![CDATA[When two are better than one: Modeling the mechanisms of antibody mixtures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14641 With the rise of new antibody combinations in therapeutic regimens, it is important to understand how antibodies work together as well as individually. Here, we investigate the specific case of monoclonal antibodies targeting a cancer-causing receptor or the influenza virus and develop a statistical mechanical framework that predicts the effectiveness of a mixture of antibodies. The power of this model lies in its ability to make a large number of predictions based on a limited amount of data. For example, once 10 antibodies have been individually characterized and their epitopes have been mapped, our model can predict how any of the 210 = 1024 combinations will behave. This predictive power can aid therapeutic efforts by assessing which combinations of antibodies will elicit the most effective response.

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<![CDATA[Effects of amotosalen treatment on human platelet lysate bioactivity: A proof-of-concept study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne8e94533-b9bd-43e3-83be-324d5eb7ad87

Background

Clinical application of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) usually requires an in vitro expansion step to reach clinically relevant numbers. In vitro cell expansion necessitates supplementation of basal mammalian cell culture medium with growth factors. To avoid using supplements containing animal substances, human platelet lysates (hPL) produced from expired and pathogen inactivated platelet concentrates can be used in place of fetal bovine serum. However, globally, most transfusion units are currently not pathogen inactivated. As blood banks are the sole source of platelet concentrates for hPL production, it is important to ensure product safety and standardized production methods. In this proof-of-concept study we assessed the feasibility of producing hPL from expired platelet concentrates with pathogen inactivation applied after platelet lysis by evaluating the retention of growth factors, cytokines, and the ability to support MSC proliferation and tri-lineage differentiation.

Methodology/Principal findings

Bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) were expanded and differentiated using hPL derived from pathogen inactivated platelet lysates (hPL-PIPL), with pathogen inactivation by amotosalen/ultraviolet A treatment applied after lysis of expired platelets. Results were compared to those using hPL produced from conventional expired pathogen inactivated platelet concentrates (hPL-PIPC), with pathogen inactivation applied after blood donation. hPL-PIPL treatment had lower concentrations of soluble growth factors and cytokines than hPL-PIPC treatment. When used as supplementation in cell culture, BM-MSCs proliferated at a reduced rate, but more consistently, in hPL-PIPL than in hPL-PIPC. The ability to support tri-lineage differentiation was comparable between lysates.

Conclusion/Significance

These results suggest that functional hPL can be produced from expired and untreated platelet lysates by applying pathogen inactivation after platelet lysis. When carried out post-expiration, pathogen inactivation may provide a valuable solution for further standardizing global hPL production methods, increasing the pool of starting material, and meeting future demand for animal-free supplements in human cell culturing.

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<![CDATA[Indirect treatment comparisons including network meta-analysis: Lenvatinib plus everolimus for the second-line treatment of advanced/metastatic renal cell carcinoma]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823dbd5eed0c484639163

Background

In the absence of clinical trials providing direct efficacy results, this study compares different methods of indirect treatment comparison (ITC), and their respective impacts on efficacy estimates for lenvatinib (LEN) plus everolimus (EVE) combination therapy compared to other second-line treatments for advanced/metastatic renal cell carcinoma (a/mRCC).

Methods

Using EVE alone as the common comparator, the Bucher method for ITC compared LEN + EVE with cabozantinib (CAB), nivolumab (NIV), placebo (PBO) and axitinib (AXI). Hazard ratios (HR) for overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) estimated the impact of applying three versions of the LEN+EVE trial data in separate ITCs. Last, to overcome exchangeability bias and potential violations to the proportional hazards assumption, a network meta-analysis using fractional polynomials was performed.

Results

Bucher ITCs demonstrated LEN + EVE superiority over EVE for PFS, indirect superiority to NIV, AXI, and PBO, and no difference to CAB. For OS, LEN + EVE was superior to EVE and indirectly superior to PBO, applying original HOPE 205 data. Using European Medicines Agency data, LEN + EVE was directly superior to EVE for OS. Fractional polynomial HRs for PFS and OS substantially overlapped with Bucher estimates, demonstrating LEN+EVE superiority over EVE, alone, NIV, and CAB. However, there were no statistically significant results as the credible intervals for HR crossed 1.0.

Conclusions

Comparing three Bucher ITCs, LEN + EVE demonstrated superior PFS when indirectly compared to NIV, AXI, and PBO, and mixed results for OS. While fractional polynomial modelling for PFS and OS failed to find statistically significant differences in LEN + EVE efficacy, the overall HR trends were comparable.

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<![CDATA[Retraction: A Functional Nuclear Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor, Src and Stat3 Heteromeric Complex in Pancreatic Cancer Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe1cd5eed0c484e5b51c ]]> <![CDATA[Lens differentiation is controlled by the balance between PDGF and FGF signaling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8e2d5eed0c48496f303

How multiple receptor tyrosine kinases coordinate cell fate determination is yet to be elucidated. We show here that the receptor for platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling recruits the p85 subunit of Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) to regulate mammalian lens development. Activation of PI3K signaling not only prevents B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2)-Associated X (Bax)- and BCL2 Antagonist/Killer (Bak)-mediated apoptosis but also promotes Notch signaling to prevent premature cell differentiation. Reducing PI3K activity destabilizes the Notch intracellular domain, while the constitutive activation of Notch reverses the PI3K deficiency phenotype. In contrast, fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) recruit Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor Substrate 2 (Frs2) and Rous sarcoma oncogene (Src) Homology Phosphatase 2 (Shp2) to activate Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) signaling, which induces the Notch ligand Jagged 1 (Jag1) and promotes cell differentiation. Inactivation of Shp2 restored the proper timing of differentiation in the p85 mutant lens, demonstrating the antagonistic interaction between FGF-induced MAPK and PDGF-induced PI3K signaling. By selective activation of PI3K and MAPK, PDGF and FGF cooperate with and oppose each other to balance progenitor cell maintenance and differentiation.

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<![CDATA[Identifying developmental trajectories of worldwide road traffic accident death rates using a latent growth mixture modeling approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c76fe61d5eed0c484e5b9a7

Road Traffic Accidents (RTA) are a major worldwide public health problem. The aim of this study was to use the growth mixture model for clustering countries on the basis of the mortality rate patterns of RTAs from 2007 to 2013. We obtained the data on RTA death rates from World Health Organization reports and Human Development Index (HDI) of United Nations Development Programme reports for the years 2007, 2010 and 2013. Simple Latent Growth Models (LGM) in 181 countries were applied to estimate overall RTA mortality rate growth trajectories and the latent growth mixture modeling utilized to cluster them. According to non-linear LGM, the overall mortality rate of RTAs showed a decrease from 2007 to 2010 followed by an increase from 2010 to 2013. The HDI covariate had a significant negative and positive effect on intercept and slope of the LGM, respectively. The extracted mixture model appeared to have seven classes with different trends in RTA mortality rates. The worldwide countries were clustered into seven classes. Further studies on each of the seven classes are suggested to provide recommendations for reducing the mortality rate of the RTAs. Additionally, increasing HDI in some countries could have a significant effect on reducing the RTA death rates.

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<![CDATA[Insulin resistance disrupts epithelial repair and niche-progenitor Fgf signaling during chronic liver injury]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59feedd5eed0c4841357ce

Insulin provides important information to tissues about feeding behavior and energy status. Defective insulin signaling is associated with ageing, tissue dysfunction, and impaired wound healing. In the liver, insulin resistance leads to chronic damage and fibrosis, but it is unclear how tissue-repair mechanisms integrate insulin signals to coordinate an appropriate injury response or how they are affected by insulin resistance. In this study, we demonstrate that insulin resistance impairs local cellular crosstalk between the fibrotic stroma and bipotent adult liver progenitor cells (LPCs), whose paracrine interactions promote epithelial repair and tissue remodeling. Using insulin-resistant mice deficient for insulin receptor substrate 2 (Irs2), we highlight dramatic impairment of proregenerative fibroblast growth factor 7 (Fgf7) signaling between stromal niche cells and LPCs during chronic injury. We provide a detailed account of the role played by IRS2 in promoting Fgf7 ligand and receptor (Fgfr2-IIIb) expression by the two cell compartments, and we describe an insulin/IRS2-dependent feed-forward loop capable of sustaining hepatic re-epithelialization by driving FGFR2-IIIb expression. Finally, we shed light on the regulation of IRS2 and FGF7 within the fibrotic stroma and show—using a human coculture system—that IRS2 silencing shifts the equilibrium away from paracrine epithelial repair in favor of fibrogenesis. Hence, we offer a compelling insight into the contribution of insulin resistance to the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease and propose IRS2 as a positive regulator of communication between cell types and the transition between phases of stromal to epithelial repair.

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<![CDATA[IGFBP-3 Induced by Ribotoxic Stress Traffics From the Endoplasmic Reticulum to the Nucleus in Mammary Epithelial Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c80132ed5eed0c484a9bd75

Abstract

IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-3 is a multifunctional protein that can exert IGF-independent effects on apoptosis. Anisomycin (ANS) is a potent inducer of IGFBP-3 production in bovine mammary epithelial cells (MECs), and knockdown of IGFBP-3 attenuates ANS-induced apoptosis. IGFBP-3 is present in the nucleus and the conditioned media in response to ANS. The goal of this study was to determine whether ribotoxic stress induced by ANS or a second ribotoxin, deoxynivalenol (DON), specifically regulates transport of IGFBP-3 to the nucleus and to determine the pathway by which it traffics. In ribotoxin-treated cells, both endogenous IGFBP-3 and transfected IGFBP-3 translocated to the nucleus. Inhibition of the nuclear transport protein importin-β with importazole reduced ribotoxin-induced nuclear IGFBP-3. Immunoprecipitation studies showed that ANS induced the association of IGFBP-3 and importin-β, indicating that ribotoxins specifically induce nuclear translocation via an importin-β‒dependent mechanism. To determine whether secretion of IGFBP-3 is required for nuclear localization, cells were treated with Pitstop 2 or brefeldin A to inhibit clathrin-mediated endocytosis or overall protein secretion, respectively. Neither inhibitor affected nuclear localization of IGFBP-3. Although the IGFBP-3 present in both the nucleus and conditioned media was glycosylated, secreted IGFBP-3 exhibited a higher molecular weight. Deglycosylation experiments with endoglycosidase Hf and PNGase indicated that secreted IGFBP-3 completed transit through the Golgi apparatus, whereas intracellular IGFBP-3 exited from the endoplasmic reticulum before transit through the Golgi. In summary, ANS and DON specifically induced nuclear localization of nonsecreted IGFBP-3 via an importin-β‒mediated event, which may play a role in their ability to induce apoptosis in MECs.

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<![CDATA[Successful Multimodal Treatment of an IGF2-Producing Solitary Fibrous Tumor With Acromegaloid Changes and Hypoglycemia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c80132ad5eed0c484a9bd04

Abstract

Doege–Potter syndrome with acromegaloid facial changes is extremely rare. Uncooked cornstarch along with glucocorticoids have been used as supportive care in patients with non–islet cell tumor hypoglycemia (NICTH). Preoperative embolization of hepatic solitary fibrous tumors (SFT) with NICTH has yielded unsatisfactory results. Herein we present the case of a 61-year-old man with a 3-month history of severe frequent hypoglycemic episodes and acromegaloid facial changes. During a spontaneous hypoglycemia (26 mg/dL), laboratory values showed a hypoinsulinemic pattern with low levels of GH, IGFPB3, and an IGF2/IGF1 ratio of 8.5:1. Cross-sectional imaging revealed a large (16 × 13 × 11 cm) hepatic tumor, and cytology was consistent with SFT. A preoperative right portal embolization was performed in an effort to induce normal remnant liver hypertrophy to allow for safe tumor resection. After the procedure, uncooked starch treatment followed by prednisone was started, achieving complete remission of hypoglycemic episodes in the preoperative setting. He subsequently underwent partial hepatectomy. The histologic diagnosis was compatible with a potentially malignant SFT. The patient had an excellent outcome with complete remission of hypoglycemia, improvement of facial acromegaloid changes, and no further evidence of disease. To our knowledge, this is the first case of a patient with Doege–Potter syndrome with acromegaloid facial changes induced by a potentially malignant liver SFT, treated successfully with a multimodal approach consisting of uncooked cornstarch, low-dose prednisone, preoperative embolization, and complete surgical resection. The use of cornstarch and low-dose glucocorticoids may be an adequate treatment in advance of undergoing surgery.

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<![CDATA[Epidermal growth factor and its influencing variables in healthy children and adults]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5369cbd5eed0c484a46735

Background & objective

Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates cell proliferation and differentiation after binding to its receptor. Next to its role in magnesium homeostasis, EGF disturbances have been described in oncology, diabetes and autism spectrum disorders. The aim of this study was to determine EGF serum and urine values for both healthy children and adults. Next, we investigated the relation between several variables and urinary and serum EGF concentrations.

Methods

Both healthy adults (n = 50) and children (n = 78) were included. Serum and urinary EGF concentrations were measured with ELISA technology.

Results

Serum EGF was inversely correlated with age (r = —0.873; p<0.001) and positively correlated with serum magnesium (r = 0.597; p<0.001). The urinary EGF was also inversely correlated with age (r = -0.855; p<0.001). In adults and children older than 13 years of age, the urinary EGF significantly differed between sexes (p = 0.001). Urinary EGF was positively correlated with serum magnesium (r = 0.583; p<0.001) and creatinine clearance (r = 0.524; p<0.001) and negatively correlated with the fractional excretion of magnesium (r = 0.248; p = 0.014). In a multivariate model, age and serum magnesium remained independently related to serum EGF while age, serum EGF and serum magnesium remained independently related to urinary EGF.

Conclusions

This study provides valuable insights in urinary and serum EGF patterns in healthy subjects. By systematically correcting EGF for body surface, significant correlations with age, gender and magnesium were observed.

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<![CDATA[Glycosaminoglycans from Alzheimer’s disease hippocampus have altered capacities to bind and regulate growth factors activities and to bind tau]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c390c03d5eed0c48491f63f

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), including heparan sulfates and chondroitin sulfates, are major components of the extracellular matrix. Upon interacting with heparin binding growth factors (HBGF), GAGs participate to the maintaintenance of tissue homeostasis and contribute to self-healing. Although several processes regulated by HBGF are altered in Alzheimer’s disease, it is unknown whether the brain GAG capacities to bind and regulate the function of HBGF or of other heparin binding proteins, as tau, are modified in this disease. Here, we show that total sulfated GAGs from hippocampus of Alzheimer’s disease have altered capacities to bind and potentiate the activities of growth factors including FGF-2, VEGF, and BDNF while their capacity to bind to tau is remarkable increased. Alterations of GAG structures and capacities to interact with and regulate the activity of heparin binding proteins might contribute to impaired tissue homeostasis in the Alzheimer’s disease brain.

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<![CDATA[Growth factors expression and ultrastructural morphology after application of low-level laser and natural latex protein on a sciatic nerve crush-type injury]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa5aad5eed0c484ca713c

The effects of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) and natural latex protein (F1, Hevea brasiliensis) were evaluated on crush-type injuries (15kg) to the sciatic nerve in the expressions of nerve growth factor (NGF) and vascular endothelium growth factor (VEGF) and ultrastructural morphology to associate with previous morphometric data using the same protocol of injury and treatment. Thirty-six male rats were allocated into six experimental groups (n = 6): 1-Control; 2-Exposed nerve; 3-Injured nerve; 4-LLLT (15J/cm2, 780nm, 30mW, Continuous Wave) treated injured nerve; 5-F1 (0,1mg) treated injured nerve; and 6-LLLT&F1 treated injured nerve. Four or eight weeks after, sciatic nerve samples were processed for analysis. NGF expression were higher (p<0.05) four weeks after in all injured groups in comparison to Control (Med:0.8; Q1:0; Q3:55.5%area). Among them, the Injured (Med:70.7; Q1:64.4; Q3:77.5%area) showed the highest expression, and F1 (Med:17.3; Q1:14.1; Q3:21.7%area) had the lowest. At week 8, NGF expressions decreased in the injured groups. VEGF was expressed in all groups; its higher expression was observed in the injured groups 4 weeks after (Injured. Med:29.5; F1. Med:17.7 and LLLT&F1. Med:19.4%area). At week 8, a general reduction of VEGF expression was noted, remaining higher in F1 (Med:35.1; Q1.30.6; Q3.39.6%area) and LLLT&F1 (Med:18.5; Q1:16; Q3:25%area). Ultrastructural morphology revealed improvements in the treated groups; 4 weeks after, the F1 group presented greater quantity and diameter of the nerve fibers uniformly distributed. Eight weeks after, the F1 and LLLT&F1 showed similar characteristics to the non-injured groups. In summary, these results and our previous studies indicated that F1 and LLLT may favorably influence the healing of nerve crush injury. Four weeks after nerve injury F1 group showed the best results suggesting recovery acceleration; at 8th week F1 and LLLT&F1 groups presented better features and higher vascularization that could be associated with VEGF maintenance.

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<![CDATA[Assessment of a Novel VEGF Targeted Agent Using Patient-Derived Tumor Tissue Xenograft Models of Colon Carcinoma with Lymphatic and Hepatic Metastases]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab5ab0ee8fa60bac6c1

The lack of appropriate tumor models of primary tumors and corresponding metastases that can reliably predict for response to anticancer agents remains a major deficiency in the clinical practice of cancer therapy. It was the aim of our study to establish patient-derived tumor tissue (PDTT) xenograft models of colon carcinoma with lymphatic and hepatic metastases useful for testing of novel molecularly targeted agents. PDTT of primary colon carcinoma, lymphatic and hepatic metastases were used to create xenograft models. Hematoxylin and eosin staining, immunohistochemical staining, genome-wide gene expression analysis, pyrosequencing, qRT-PCR, and western blotting were used to determine the biological stability of the xenografts during serial transplantation compared with the original tumor tissues. Early passages of the PDTT xenograft models of primary colon carcinoma, lymphatic and hepatic metastases revealed a high degree of similarity with the original clinical tumor samples with regard to histology, immunohistochemistry, genes expression, and mutation status as well as mRNA expression. After we have ascertained that these xenografts models retained similar histopathological features and molecular signatures as the original tumors, drug sensitivities of the xenografts to a novel VEGF targeted agent, FP3 was evaluated. In this study, PDTT xenograft models of colon carcinoma with lymphatic and hepatic metastasis have been successfully established. They provide appropriate models for testing of novel molecularly targeted agents.

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<![CDATA[Bile Acids and Dysbiosis in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f6ab0ee8fa60b701f0

Background & Aims

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is characterized by dysbiosis. The bidirectional effects between intestinal microbiota (IM) and bile acids (BA) suggest that dysbiosis may be accompanied by an altered bile acid (BA) homeostasis, which in turn can contribute to the metabolic dysregulation seen in NAFLD. This study sought to examine BA homeostasis in patients with NAFLD and to relate that with IM data.

Methods

This was a prospective, cross-sectional study of adults with biopsy-confirmed NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver: NAFL or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis: NASH) and healthy controls (HC). Clinical and laboratory data, stool samples and 7-day food records were collected. Fecal BA profiles, serum markers of BA synthesis 7-alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one (C4) and intestinal BA signalling, as well as IM composition were assessed.

Results

53 subjects were included: 25 HC, 12 NAFL and 16 NASH. Levels of total fecal BA, cholic acid (CA), chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) and BA synthesis were higher in patients with NASH compared to HC (p<0.05 for all comparisons). The primary to secondary BA ratio was higher in NASH compared to HC (p = 0.004), but ratio of conjugated to unconjugated BAs was not different between the groups. Bacteroidetes and Clostridium leptum counts were decreased in in a subset of 16 patients with NASH compared to 25 HC, after adjusting for body mass index and weight-adjusted calorie intake (p = 0.028 and p = 0.030, respectively). C. leptum was positively correlated with fecal unconjugated lithocholic acid (LCA) (r = 0.526, p = 0.003) and inversely with unconjugated CA (r = -0.669, p<0.0001) and unconjugated CDCA (r = - 0.630, p<0.0001). FGF19 levels were not different between the groups (p = 0.114).

Conclusions

In adults with NAFLD, dysbiosis is associated with altered BA homeostasis, which renders them at increased risk of hepatic injury.

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<![CDATA[The Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 (CSF-1) Receptor Sustains ERK1/2 Activation and Proliferation in Breast Cancer Cell Lines]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f8ab0ee8fa60b70fef

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in western countries. Colony-Stimulating Factor-1 (CSF-1) and its receptor (CSF-1R) regulate macrophage and osteoclast production, trophoblast implantation and mammary gland development. The expression of CSF-1R and/or CSF-1 strongly correlates with poor prognosis in several human epithelial tumors, including breast carcinomas. We demonstrate that CSF-1 and CSF-1R are expressed, although at different levels, in 16/17 breast cancer cell lines tested with no differences among molecular subtypes. The role of CSF-1/CSF-1R in the proliferation of breast cancer cells was then studied in MDAMB468 and SKBR3 cells belonging to different subtypes. CSF-1 administration induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation and enhanced cell proliferation in both cell lines. Furthermore, the inhibition of CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling, by CSF-1R siRNA or imatinib treatment, impaired CSF-1 induced ERK1/2 activation and cell proliferation. We also demonstrate that c-Jun, cyclin D1 and c-Myc, known for their involvement in cell proliferation, are downstream CSF-1R in breast cancer cells. The presence of a proliferative CSF-1/CSF-1R autocrine loop involving ERK1/2 was also found. The wide expression of the CSF-1/CSF-1R pair across breast cancer cell subtypes supports CSF-1/CSF-1R targeting in breast cancer therapy.

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<![CDATA[Elevated IKKα Accelerates the Differentiation of Human Neuronal Progenitor Cells and Induces MeCP2-Dependent BDNF Expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dafaab0ee8fa60bc45c9

The IκB kinase α (IKKα) is implicated in the differentiation of epithelial and immune cells. We examined whether IKKα also plays a role in the differentiation and maturation of embryonic human neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs). We find that expression of an extra copy of IKKα (IKKα+) blocks self-renewal and accelerates the differentiation of NPCs. This coincides with reduced expression of the Repressor Element Silencing Transcription Factor/Neuron-Restrictive Silencing Factor (REST/NRSF), which is a prominent inhibitor of neurogenesis, and subsequent induction of the pro-differentiation non-coding RNA, miR-124a. However, the effects of IKKα on REST/NRSF and miR-124a expression are likely to be indirect. IKKα+ neurons display extensive neurite outgrowth and accumulate protein markers of neuronal maturation such as SCG10/stathmin-2, postsynaptic density 95 (PSD95), syntaxin, and methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2). Interestingly, IKKα associates with MeCP2 in the nuclei of human neurons and can phosphorylate MeCP2 in vitro. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we find that IKKα is recruited to the exon-IV brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) promoter, which is a well-characterized target of MeCP2 activity. Moreover, IKKα induces the transcription of BDNF and knockdown expression of MeCP2 interferes with this event. These studies highlight a role for IKKα in accelerating the differentiation of human NPCs and identify IKKα as a potential regulator of MeCP2 function and BDNF expression.

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<![CDATA[Fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 mediates internalization of pathogenic spotted fever rickettsiae into host endothelium]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5aafbfe6463d7e7cbd91358f

Rickettsial infections continue to cause serious morbidity and mortality in severe human cases around the world. Host cell adhesion and invasion is an essential requisite for intracellular growth, replication, and subsequent dissemination of pathogenic rickettsiae. Heparan sulfate proteoglycans [HSPGs] facilitate the interactions between fibroblast growth factor(s) and their tyrosine kinase receptors resulting in receptor dimerization/activation and have been implicated in bacterial adhesion to target host cells. In the present study, we have investigated the contributions of fibroblast growth factor receptors [FGFRs] in rickettsial entry into the host cells. Inhibition of HSPGs by heparinase and FGFRs by AZD4547 (a selective small-molecule inhibitor) results in significant reduction in rickettsial internalization into cultured human microvascular endothelial cells (ECs), which represent the primary targets of pathogenic rickettsiae during human infections. Administration of AZD4547 during R. conorii infection in a murine model of endothelial-target spotted fever rickettsiosis also diminishes pulmonary rickettsial burden in comparison to mock-treated controls. Silencing of FGFR1 expression using a small interfering RNA also leads to similar inhibition of R. rickettsii invasion into ECs. Consistent with these findings, R. rickettsii infection of ECs also results in phosphorylation of tyrosine 653/654, suggesting activation of FGFR1. Using isobaric tag for relative and absolute quantitation [iTRAQ]-based proteomics approach, we further demonstrate association of β-peptide of rickettsial outer membrane protein OmpA with FGFR1. Mechanistically, FGFR1 binds to caveolin-1 and mediates bacterial entry via caveolin-1 dependent endocytosis. Together, these results identify host cell FGFR1 and rickettsial OmpA as another novel receptor-ligand pair contributing to the internalization of pathogenic rickettsiae into host endothelial cells and the potential application of FGFR-inhibitor drugs as adjunct therapeutics against spotted fever rickettsioses.

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<![CDATA[White Pitaya (Hylocereus undatus) Juice Attenuates Insulin Resistance and Hepatic Steatosis in Diet-Induced Obese Mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daaaab0ee8fa60ba90e3

Insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis are the most common complications of obesity. Pitaya is an important source of phytochemicals such as polyphenols, flavonoid and vitamin C which are related to its antioxidant activity. The present study was conducted to evaluate the influence of white pitaya juice (WPJ) on obesity-related metabolic disorders (e.g. insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis) in high-fat diet-fed mice. Forty-eight male C57BL/6J mice were assigned into four groups and fed low-fat diet with free access to water or WPJ, or fed high-fat diet with free access to water or WPJ for 14 weeks. Our results showed that administration of WPJ improved high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis and adipose hypertrophy, but it exerted no influence on body weight gain in mice. Hepatic gene expression analysis indicated that WPJ supplement not only changed the expression profile of genes involved in lipid and cholesterol metabolism (Srebp1, HMGCoR, Cpt1b, HL, Insig1 and Insig2) but also significantly increased the expression levels of FGF21-related genes (Klb, FGFR2, Egr1 and cFos). In conclusion, WPJ protected from diet-induced hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance, which was associated with the improved FGF21 resistance and lipid metabolism.

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<![CDATA[A Novel Solid-Phase Site-Specific PEGylation Enhances the In Vitro and In Vivo Biostabilty of Recombinant Human Keratinocyte Growth Factor 1]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daf6ab0ee8fa60bc2e44

Keratinocyte growth factor 1 (KGF-1) has proven useful in the treatment of pathologies associated with dermal adnexae, liver, lung, and the gastrointestinal tract diseases. However, poor stability and short plasma half-life of the protein have restricted its therapeutic applications. While it is possible to improve the stability and extend the circulating half-life of recombinant human KGF-1 (rhKGF-1) using solution-phase PEGylation, such preparations have heterogeneous structures and often low specific activities due to multiple and/or uncontrolled PEGylation. In the present study, a novel solid-phase PEGylation strategy was employed to produce homogenous mono-PEGylated rhKGF-1. RhKGF-1 protein was immobilized on a Heparin-Sepharose column and then a site-selective PEGylation reaction was carried out by a reductive alkylation at the N-terminal amino acid of the protein. The mono-PEGylated rhKGF-1, which accounted for over 40% of the total rhKGF-1 used in the PEGylation reaction, was purified to homogeneity by SP Sepharose ion-exchange chromatography. Our biophysical and biochemical studies demonstrated that the solid-phase PEGylation significantly enhanced the in vitro and in vivo biostability without affecting the over all structure of the protein. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic analysis showed that modified rhKGF-1 had considerably longer plasma half-life than its intact counterpart. Our cell-based analysis showed that, similar to rhKGF-1, PEGylated rhKGF-1 induced proliferation in NIH 3T3 cells through the activation of MAPK/Erk pathway. Notably, PEGylated rhKGF-1 exhibited a greater hepatoprotection against CCl4-induced injury in rats compared to rhKGF-1.

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