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CD36 Signals to the Actin Cytoskeleton and Regulates Microglial Migration via a p130Cas Complex

The pattern recognition receptor CD36 initiates a signaling cascade that promotes microglial activation and recruitment to β-amyloid deposits in the brain. In the present study we identify the focal adhesion-associated proteins p130Cas, Pyk2, and paxillin as novel members of the tyrosine kinase signaling pathway downstream of CD36 and show that assembly of this complex is essential for microglial migration. In primary microglia and macrophages exposed to β-amyloid, the scaffolding protein p130Cas is rapidly tyrosine-phosphorylated and co-localizes with CD36 to membrane ruffles contemporaneous with F-actin polymerization. These β-amyloid-stimulated events are not detected in CD36 null cells and are dependent on CD36 activation of Src family tyrosine kinases. Fyn, a Src kinase known to interact with CD36, co-precipitates with p130Cas and is an essential upstream intermediate in the signaling pathways leading to phosphorylation of the p130Cas substrate domain. Furthermore, the p130Cas-interacting kinase Pyk2 and the cytoskeletal adapter protein paxillin also demonstrate CD36-dependent phosphorylation, identifying these focal adhesion molecules as additional members of this β-amyloid signaling cascade. Disruption of this p130Cas complex by small interfering RNA silencing inhibits p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation and microglial migration, illustrating the importance of this pathway in microglial activation and recruitment. Together, these data are the first to identify the signaling cascade that directly links CD36 to the actin cytoskeleton and, thus, implicates it in diverse processes such as cellular migration, adhesion, and phagocytosis.

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Statins suppress THP-1 cell migration and secretion of matrix metalloproteinase 9 by inhibiting geranylgeranylation

Macrophages secrete matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), an enzyme that weakens the fibrous cap of atherosclerotic plaques, predisposing them to plaque rupture and subsequent ischemic events. Recent work indicates that statins strongly reduce the possibility of heart attack. Furthermore, these compounds appear to exert beneficial effects not only by lowering plasma low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol but also by directly affecting the artery wall. To evaluate whether statins influence the proinflammatory responses of monocytic cells, we studied their effects on the chemotactic migration and MMP-9 secretion of human monocytic cell line THP-1. Simvastatin dose dependently inhibited THP-1 cell migration mediated by monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, with a 50% inhibitory concentration of about 50 nM. It also inhibited bacterial lipopolysaccharide-stimulated secretion of MMP-9. The effects of simvastatin were completely reversed by mevalonate and its derivatives, farnesylpyrophosphate and geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, but not by ubiquinone. Additional studies revealed similar but more profound inhibitory effects with L-839,867, a specific inhibitor of geranylgeranyl transferase. However, α-hydroxyfarnesyl phosphonic acid, an inhibitor of farnesyl transferase, had no effect. C3 exoenzyme, a specific inhibitor of the prenylated small signaling Rho proteins, mimicked the inhibitory effects of simvastatin and L-839,867. These data supported the role of geranylgeranylation in the migration and MMP-9 secretion of monocytes.

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A Perivascular Origin for Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Multiple Human Organs

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), the archetypal multipotent progenitor cells derived in cultures of developed organs, are of unknown identity and native distribution. We have prospectively identified perivascular cells, principally pericytes, in multiple human organs including skeletal muscle, pancreas, adipose tissue, and placenta, on CD146, NG2, and PDGF-Rbeta expression and absence of hematopoietic, endothelial, and myogenic cell markers. Perivascular cells purified from skeletal muscle or nonmuscle tissues were myogenic in culture and in vivo. Irrespective of their tissue origin, long-term cultured perivascular cells retained myogenicity; exhibited at the clonal level osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic potentials; expressed MSC markers; and migrated in a culture model of chemotaxis. Expression of MSC markers was also detected at the surface of native, noncultured perivascular cells. Thus, blood vessel walls harbor a reserve of progenitor cells that may be integral to the origin of the elusive MSCs and other related adult stem cells.

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Human Bone Marrow Stromal Cells Express a Distinct Set of Biologically Functional Chemokine Receptors

Stromal cells isolated from bone marrow (BMSCs), often referred to as mesenchymal stem cells, are currently under investigation for a variety of therapeutic applications. However, limited data are available regarding receptors that can influence their homing to and positioning within the bone marrow. In the present study, we found that second passage BMSCs express a unique set of chemokine receptors: three CC chemokine receptors (CCR1, CCR7, and CCR9) and three CXC chemokine receptors (CXCR4, CXCR5, and CXCR6). BMSCs cultured in serum-free medium secrete several chemokine ligands (CCL2, CCL4, CCL5, CCL20, CXCL12, CXCL8, and CX3CL1). The surface-expressed chemokine receptors were functional by several criteria. Stimulation of BMSCs with chemokine ligands triggers phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (e.g., extracellular signal–related kinase [ERK]-1 and ERK-2) and focal adhesion kinase signaling pathways. In addition, CXCL12 selectively activates signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-5 whereas CCL5 activates STAT-1. In cell biologic assays, all of the chemokines tested stimulate chemotaxis of BMSCs, and CXCL12 induces cytoskeleton F-actin polymerization. Studies of culture-expanded BMSCs, for example, 12–16 passages, indicate loss of surface expression of all chemokine receptors and lack of chemotactic response to chemokines. The loss in chemokine receptor expression is accompanied by a decrease in expression of adhesion molecules (ICAM-1, ICAM-2, and vascular cell adhesion molecule 1) and CD157, while expression of CD90 and CD105 is maintained. The change in BMSC phenotype is associated with slowing of cell growth and increased spontaneous apoptosis. These findings suggest that several chemokine axes may operate in BMSC biology and may be important parameters in the validation of cultured BMSCs intended for cell therapy.

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Thrombospondin signaling through the calreticulin/LDL receptor-related protein co-complex stimulates random and directed cell migration

The matricellular extracellular matrix protein thrombospondin-1 (TSP1) stimulates focal adhesion disassembly through a sequence (known as the hep I peptide) in its heparin-binding domain. This mediates signaling through a receptor co-complex involving calreticulin and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein (LRP). We postulate that this transition to an intermediate adhesive state enhances cellular responses to dynamic environmental conditions. Since cell adhesion dynamics affect cell motility, we asked whether TSP1/hep I-induced intermediate adhesion alters cell migration. Using both transwell and Dunn chamber assays, we demonstrate that TSP1 and hep I gradients stimulate endothelial cell chemotaxis. Treatment with focal adhesion-labilizing concentrations of TSP1/hep I in the absence of a gradient enhances endothelial cell random migration, or chemokinesis, associated with an increase in cells migrating, migration speed, and total cellular displacement. Calreticulin-null and LRP-null fibroblasts do not migrate in response to TSP1/hep I, nor do endothelial cells treated with the LRP inhibitor receptor-associated protein (RAP). Furthermore, TSP1/hep I-induced focal adhesion disassembly is associated with reduced chemotaxis to basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) but enhanced chemotaxis to acidic (a)FGF, suggesting differential modulation of growth factor-induced migration. Thus, TSP1/hep I stimulation of intermediate adhesion regulates the migratory phenotype of endothelial cells and fibroblasts, suggesting a role for TSP1 in remodeling responses.

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Differential Leukocyte and Endothelial Responses through VEGFR1 and VEGFR2

Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) induces angiogenesis and vascular permeability and is thought to be operative in several ocular vascular diseases. The VEGF isoforms are highly conserved among species; however, little is known about their differential biological functions in adult tissue. In the current study, the inflammatory potential of two prevalent VEGF isoform splice variants, VEGF120(121) and VEGF164(165), was studied in the transparent and avascular adult mouse cornea.

Methods: Controlled-release pellets containing equimolar amounts of VEGF120 and VEGF164 were implanted in corneas. The mechanisms underlying this differential response of VEGF isoforms were explored. The response of VEGF in cultured endothelial cells was determined by Western blot analysis. The response of VEGF isoforms in leukocytes was also investigated.

Results: VEGF164 was found to be significantly more potent at inducing inflammation. In vivo blockade of VEGF receptor (VEGFR)-1 significantly suppressed VEGF164-induced corneal inflammation. In vitro, VEGF165 more potently stimulated intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1 expression on endothelial cells, an effect that was mediated by VEGFR2. VEGF164 was also more potent at inducing the chemotaxis of monocytes, an effect that was mediated by VEGFR1. In an immortalized human leukocyte cell line, VEGF165 was found to induce tyrosine phosphorylation of VEGFR1 more efficiently.

conclusions. Taken together, these data identify VEGF164(165) as a proinflammatory isoform and identify multiple mechanisms underlying its proinflammatory biology.

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Angiopoietin-4 Inhibits Angiogenesis and Reduces Interstitial Fluid Pressure

Angiopoietins (Ang) are involved in the remodeling, maturation, and stabilization of the vascular network. Ang-4 was discovered more recently; thus, its effect on angiogenesis and its interplay with other angiogenic factors have not been equivocally established. The role of Ang-4 in angiogenesis was tested in Matrigel chambers implanted into the subcutaneous space of nude mice. Ang-4 inhibited the angiogenic response of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and GLC19 tumor cells. In Matrigel chambers with Ang-4-transfected cells, the mean response was significantly lower than that of mock cells. Subcutaneous tumor interstitial fluid pressure (IFP) was significantly lower in Ang-4-transfected GLC19 tumors than in mock-transfected tumors. IFP reduction in Ang-4-transfected tumors was comparable to the reduction seen after bevacizumab treatment. In vitro, we examined the effect of recombinant Ang-4 on endothelial cell migration in Boyden chambers. Human umbilical vein endothelial cell (HUVEC) migration induced by bFGF and VEGF was inhibited by Ang-4 to control levels. In conclusion, we show that rhAng-4, as well as transfection with Ang-4, inhibits angiogenesis induced by GLC19 tumor cells and that Ang-4 expression reduces elevated tumor IFP. In addition, we demonstrate that rhAng-4 inhibits HUVEC migration and growth factor-induced angiogenesis.

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Fibroblast Chemotaxis Induction by Human Recombinant Interleukin-4

Interleukin-4 is a T lymphocyte- and mast cell-derived cytokine with pleiotropic properties with biological effects on a variety of target cells including B and T lymphocytes, macrophages, hematopoietic cells, mast cells, and fibroblasts. In addition to the proliferation effect of IL-4 on fibroblasts, which has been previously described, in this report the chemotactic properties of IL-4 for fibroblasts is described. Human recombinant IL-4 induced the chemotactic migration of dermal fibroblasts in vitro in modified Boyden-type chambers at concentrations between 10(-12) and 10(-11) M. The chemotactic activity of IL-4 was neutralized by anti-human recombinant IL-4 IgG antibodies. Oligopeptides representing the complete deduced amino acid sequence of human IL-4 were synthesized by the Merrifield technique and tested for their ability to induce fibroblast chemotaxis. Two peptides representing residues 70-88 and 89-122 induced fibroblast migration. Peptide 70-88 was the more potent of the two causing chemotaxis of fibroblasts at 10(-8)-10(-6) M while peptide 89-129 induced migration at 10(-7)-10(-5) M. Although the mechanism by which IL-4 and these two peptides induce fibroblast chemotaxis is unknown, each of these three compounds were able to chemotactically desensitize fibroblasts to the chemotactic effects of the other two but not to a structurally unrelated chemotactic cytokine, transforming growth factor beta-1. These studies suggest that IL-4 might function in vivo to induce the accumulation of fibroblasts at sites of tissue injury, inflammatory and immune reactions in which T lymphocytes and mast cells participate.

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Galectin-3 Is an Amplifier of Inflammation in Atherosclerotic Plaque Progression through Macrophage Activation and Monocyte Chemoattraction

Objective— Galectin-3 (Gal-3) is a 26-kDa lectin known to regulate many aspects of inflammatory cell behavior. We assessed the hypothesis that increased levels of Gal-3 contribute to atherosclerotic plaque progression by enhancing monocyte chemoattraction through macrophage activation.

Methods and Results— Gal-3 was found to be upregulated in unstable plaque regions of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) specimens compared with stable regions from the same patient (3.2-fold, P<0.05) at the mRNA (n=12) and (2.3-fold, P<0.01) at the protein level (n=9). Analysis of aortic tissue from ApoE−/− mice on a high fat diet (n=14) and wild-type controls (n=9) showed that Gal-3 mRNA and protein levels are elevated by 16.3-fold (P<0.001) and 12.2-fold (P<0.01) and that Gal-3 staining colocalizes with macrophages. In vitro, conditioned media from Gal-3–treated human macrophages induced an up to 6-fold increase in human monocyte chemotaxis (P<0.01, ANOVA), an effect that was reduced by 66 and 60% by Pertussis Toxin (PTX) and the Vaccinia virus protein 35K, respectively. Microarray analysis of human macrophages and subsequent qPCR validation confirmed the upregulation of CC chemokines in response to Gal-3 treatment.

Conclusions— Our data suggest that Gal-3 is both a marker of atherosclerotic plaque progression and a central contributor to the pathology by amplification of key proinflammatory molecules.

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Cancer/Testis Antigen Expression in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Down-regulation of SSX Impairs Cell Migration and Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 Expression

Several families of genes by and large located on the X chromosome encode proteins of unspecified function. Commonly known as cancer/testis (CT) antigens, they are considered, under normal conditions, only to be expressed in cells of the germ line and placenta. CT genes are also often expressed in cancer cells, hence their classification. Here we report that their expression in normal cells is wider spread and can be observed in cells with the potential for self-renewal and pleuripotency, namely, stem cells. Several CT genes and their products, CT antigens, including SSX, NY-ESO-1, and N-RAGE, were expressed in undifferentiated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and down-regulated after osteocyte and adipocyte differentiation. To elucidate the possible overlapping function played by these genes in cancer and stem cells, a comparative analysis of the localization of their proteins was made. In addition, localization relative to other MSC markers was examined. This revealed that SSX localizes in the cytoplasm and overlap occurs in regions where matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) and vimentin accumulate. Nevertheless, it was found that no protein interactions between these molecules occur. Further investigation revealed that the migration of a melanoma cell line (DFW), which expresses SSX, MMP2, and vimentin, decreases when SSX is down-regulated. This decrease in cell migration was paralleled by a reduction in MMP2 levels. Analogous to this, SSX expression is down-regulated in MSCs after differentiation; concomitantly a reduction in MMP2 levels occurs. In addition, E-cadherin expression increases, mimicking a mesenchymal epithelial transition. These results afford SSX a functional role in normal stem cell migration and suggest a potentially similar function in cancer cell metastases.