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Mediators of Inflammation publishes papers on all types of inflammatory mediators, including cytokines, histamine, bradykinin, prostaglandins, leukotrienes, PAF, biological response modifiers and the family of cell adhesion-promoting molecules
Chief Editor, Professor Agrawal, is an Assistant Clinical Professor of the Division of Basic and Clinical Immunology. Dr. Agrawal's research focuses on the dendritic cells of the immune system in the context of aging and autoimmunity.
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Trimethylamine N-Oxide Generated by the Gut Microbiota Is Associated with Vascular Inflammation: New Insights into Atherosclerosis
Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) is a biologically active molecule generated by the gut microbiota. Accumulating evidences have indicated a close association between high plasma TMAO levels and the risk of developing atherosclerosis (AS). AS is considered a chronic inflammatory disease initiated by vascular endothelial inflammatory injury. Both observational and experimental studies suggest that TMAO can cause endothelial inflammatory injury. However, a clear mechanistic link between TMAO and vascular inflammation of AS is not yet summarized. In this review, we discuss the association between TMAO and AS and focus on the potential role of TMAO in endothelial inflammatory injury. Finally, the utility of TMAO-targeted therapeutic strategies for the treatment of AS is also analyzed.
Defects of CTLA-4 Are Associated with Regulatory T Cells in Myasthenia Gravis Implicated by Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a CD4+ T cell-dependent autoimmune disease resulting from aberrant immune response mediated by circulating autoantibodies at the neuromuscular junction. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) is an expensive and commonly used immunotherapeutic approach to treat patients with MG. The mechanisms of actions involved in IVIg treatment, however, remain to be investigated. In an effort to examine the roles of various subsets of CD4+ T cells in the periphery blood of MG and uncover the mechanisms that contribute to the therapeutical effects of IVIg, we first demonstrated that a subset of CD4+ T cells, CTLA-4-expressing regulatory T (Treg) cells, were underrepresented and functionally defective in MG patients. The dynamic profiling during the IVIg therapy course further revealed an inverse relationship between the frequency of CTLA-4+ Treg and the quantitative MG (QMG) score that represents disease severity. Our mechanistic studies indicated that IVIg expands CTLA-4-Treg cells via modulating antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs). To determine the molecular defects of CTLA-4 in abnormities of Treg in MG patients, we demonstrated hypermethylation at -658 and -793 CpGs of CTLA-4 promoter in MG Tregs. Interestingly, IVIg therapy significantly reduced the methylation level at these two sites in MG patients. Overall, our study may suggest a role of CTLA-4 in functionally defected Treg cells in MG and its actions involved in IVIg therapy.
Interleukin-9 Deletion Relieves Vascular Dysfunction and Decreases Blood Pressure via the STAT3 Pathway in Angiotensin II-Treated Mice
Background. Multiple interleukin (IL) family members were reported to be closely related to hypertension. We aimed to investigate whether IL-9 affects angiotensin II- (Ang II-) induced hypertension in mice. Methods. Mice were treated with Ang II, and IL-9 expression was determined. In addition, effects of IL-9 knockout (KO) on blood pressure were observed in Ang II-infused mice. To determine whether the effects of IL-9 on blood pressure was mediated by the signal transducer and activator of the transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway, Ang II-treated mice were given S31-201. Furthermore, circulating IL-9 levels in patients with hypertension were measured. Results. Ang II treatment increased serum and aortic IL-9 expression in a dose-dependent manner; IL-9 levels were the highest in the second week and continued to remain high into the fourth week after the treatment. IL-9 KO downregulated proinflammatory cytokine expression, whereas it upregulated anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, relieved vascular dysfunction, and decreased blood pressure in Ang II-infused mice. IL-9 also reduced smooth muscle 22α (SM22α) expression and increased osteopontin (OPN) levels both in mice and in vitro. The effects of IL-9 KO on blood pressure and inflammatory response were significantly reduced by S31-201 treatment. Circulating IL-9 levels were significantly increased in patients with the hypertension group than in the control group, and elevated IL-9 levels positively correlated with both systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Conclusions. IL-9 KO alleviates inflammatory response, prevents phenotypic transformation of smooth muscle, reduces vascular dysfunction, and lowers blood pressure via the STAT3 pathway in Ang II-infused mice. IL-9 might be a novel target for the treatment and prevention of clinical hypertension.
Dietary Supplemental Glutamine Enhances the Percentage of Circulating Endothelial Progenitor Cells in Mice with High-Fat Diet-Induced Obesity Subjected to Hind Limb Ischemia
This study investigated whether glutamine (GLN) pretreatment can enhance circulating endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) and attenuate inflammatory reaction in high-fat diet-induced obese mice with limb ischemia. Mice were assigned to a normal control (NC), high-fat control (HC), limb ischemia (HI), and GLN limb ischemia (HG) groups. The NC group provided chow diet and treated as a negative control. Mice in the HC and HI groups were fed a high-fat diet which 60% energy provided by fat for 8 weeks. Mice in the HG group were fed the same diet for 4 weeks and then transferred to a high-fat diet with 25% of total protein nitrogen provided as GLN to replace part of the casein for the subsequent 4 weeks. After feeding 8 weeks, mice in the HC group were sham-operated, while the HI and HG groups underwent an operation to induce limb ischemia. All mice except the NC group were euthanized on either day 1 or 7 after the operation. The results showed that the 8 weeks’ high-fat diet feeding resulted in obesity. The HG group had higher circulating EPCs on day 1 while muscle vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and hypoxia-inducible factor-1 gene expressions were higher on day 7 postischemia than those of the HI group. The superoxide dismutase activity and reduced glutathione content in affected muscles were higher, whereas mRNA expressions of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α were lower in the HG than those in the HI group. These findings suggest that obese mice pretreated with GLN-supplemented high-fat diet increased circulating EPC percentage, enhanced the antioxidant capacity, and attenuated inflammatory reactions in response to limb ischemia.
Paeonol Attenuates Methotrexate-Induced Cardiac Toxicity in Rats by Inhibiting Oxidative Stress and Suppressing TLR4-Induced NF-κB Inflammatory Pathway
Methotrexate (MTX) is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent. Oxidative stress and inflammation have been proved in the development of MTX toxicity. Paeonol is a natural phenolic compound with various pharmacological activities including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the protective effect of paeonol against MTX-induced cardiac toxicity in rats and to evaluate the various mechanisms that underlie this effect. Paeonol (100 mg/kg) was administered orally for 10 days. MTX cardiac toxicity was induced at the end of the fifth day of the experiment, with or without paeonol pretreatment. MTX-induced cardiac damage is evidenced by a distortion in the normal cardiac histological structure, with significant oxidative and nitrosative stress shown as a significant increase in NADPH oxidase-2, malondialdehyde, and nitric oxide levels along with a decrease in reduced glutathione concentration and superoxide dismutase activity compared to the control group. MTX-induced inflammatory effects are evidenced by the increased cardiac toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mRNA expression and protein level as well as increased cardiac tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-) α and interleukin- (IL-) 6 levels along with increased nuclear factor- (NF-) κB/p65 immunostaining. MTX increased apoptosis as shown by the upregulation of cardiac caspase 3 immunostaining. Paeonol was able to correct the oxidative and nitrosative stress as well as the inflammatory and apoptotic parameters and restore the normal histological structure compared to MTX alone. In conclusion, paeonol has a protective effect against MTX-induced cardiac toxicity through inhibiting oxidative and nitrosative stress and suppressing the TLR4/NF-κB/TNF-α/IL-6 inflammatory pathway, as well as causing an associated reduction in the proapoptotic marker, caspase 3.
The Prognostic Impact of Circulating Regulatory T Lymphocytes on Mortality in Patients with Ischemic Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction
Background. Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) constitutes a global health issue. While proinflammatory cytokines proved to have a pivotal role in the development and progression of HFrEF, less attention has been paid to the cellular immunity. Regulatory T lymphocytes (Tregs) seem to have an important role in the induction and maintenance of immune homeostasis. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the impact of Tregs on the outcome in HFrEF. Methods. We prospectively enrolled 112 patients with HFrEF and performed flow cytometry for cell phenotyping. Individuals were stratified in ischemic (iHFrEF, ) and nonischemic etiology (niHFrEF, ). Cox regression hazard analysis was used to assess the influence of Tregs on survival. Results. Comparing patients with iHFrEF to niHFrEF, we found a significantly lower fraction of Tregs within lymphocytes in the ischemic subgroup (0.42% vs. 0.56%; ). After a mean follow-up time of 4.5 years, 32 (28.6%) patients died due to cardiovascular causes. We found that Tregs were significantly associated with cardiovascular survival in the entire study cohort with an adjusted HR per one standard deviation (1-SD) of 0.60 (95% CI: 0.39-0.92; ). A significant inverse association of Tregs and cardiovascular mortality in patients with iHFrEF with an adj. HR per 1-SD of 0.59 (95% CI: 0.36-0.96; ) has been observed, while this association was not evident in the nonischemic subgroup (adj. HR per 1-SD of 0.62 (95% CI: 0.17-2.31); ). Conclusion. Our results indicate a potential influence of Tregs in the pathogenesis and progression of iHFrEF, fostering the implication of cellular immunity in iHFrEF pathophysiology and proving Tregs as a predictor for long-term survival among iHFrEF patients. A preview of this study has been presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology earlier this year.