Gene therapy on the move
Kerstin B. Kaufmann
- he first gene therapy clinical trials were initiated more than two decades ago. In the early days, gene therapy shared the fate of many experimental medicine approaches and was impeded by the occurrence of severe side effects in a few treated patients. The understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to treatment- and/or vector-associated setbacks has resulted in the development of highly sophisticated gene transfer tools with improved safety and therapeutic efficacy. Employing these advanced tools, a series of Phase I/II trials were started in the past few years with excellent clinical results and no side effects reported so far. Moreover, highly efficient gene targeting strategies and site-directed gene editing technologies have been developed and applied clinically. With more than 1900 clinical trials to date, gene therapy has moved from a vision to clinical reality. This review focuses on the application of gene therapy for the correction of inherited diseases, the limitations and drawbacks encountered in some of the early clinical trials and the revival of gene therapy as a powerful treatment option for the correction of monogenic disorders.
Plus Puls : 2014, 1
Diffuse large B cell lymphoma derived from nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma presents with variable histopathology
- Background: Nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) usually presents in middle aged men and shows an indolent clinical behavior. However, up to 30% of the patients present a secondary transformation into aggressive diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The aim of the present study was to characterize morphology and immunophenotype of this kind of DLBCL in detail and compare it with conventional DLBCL.
Methods: Morphology and immunophenotype of 33 cases of NLPHL with simultaneous or sequential transformation into DLBCL were investigated. These cases were compared with 41 de novo DLBCL in Finnish men.
Results: The majority of cases exhibited different immunophenotypes in the NLPHL and the DLBCL components. The immunophenotype of the DLBCL secondary to NLPHL was heterogeneous. However, BCL6, EMA, CD75 and J-chain were usually expressed in both components (≥73% positive). Overall, the NLPHL component was more frequently positive for EMA, CD75 and J-chain than the DLBCL component. In contrast, B cell markers, CD10 and BCL2, were more frequently expressed and were expressed at higher levels in the DLBCL component than in the NLPHL component. In the independent series of de novo DLBCL 4 cases could be identified with a growth pattern and immunophenotype that suggested that they had arisen secondarily from NLPHL.
Conclusions: The morphology and immunophenotype of DLBCL arisen from NLPHL is heterogeneous. Further characterization of the particular molecular features of this subgroup is warranted to be able to better identify these cases among conventional DLBCL.
Tumor necrosis factor alpha maintains denervation-induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity of mouse dentate granule cells
- Neurons which lose part of their input respond with a compensatory increase in excitatory synaptic strength. This observation is of particular interest in the context of neurological diseases, which are accompanied by the loss of neurons and subsequent denervation of connected brain regions. However, while the cellular and molecular mechanisms of pharmacologically induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity have been identified to a certain degree, denervation-induced homeostatic synaptic plasticity remains not well understood. Here, we employed the entorhinal denervation in vitro model to study the role of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) on changes in excitatory synaptic strength of mouse dentate granule cells following partial deafferentation. Our experiments disclose that TNFα is required for the maintenance of a compensatory increase in excitatory synaptic strength at 3–4 days post lesion (dpl), but not for the induction of synaptic scaling at 1–2 dpl. Furthermore, laser capture microdissection combined with quantitative PCR demonstrates an increase in TNFα-mRNA levels in the denervated zone, which is consistent with our previous finding on a local, i.e., layer-specific increase in excitatory synaptic strength at 3–4 dpl. Immunostainings for the glial fibrillary acidic protein and TNFα suggest that astrocytes are a source of TNFα in our experimental setting. We conclude that TNFα-signaling is a major regulatory system that aims at maintaining the homeostatic synaptic response of denervated neurons.
Battle of the eternal rivals: restoring functional p53 and inhibiting Polo-like kinase 1 as cancer therapy
- Polo-like kinase 1, a pivotal regulator of mitosis and cytokinesis, is highly expressed in a broad spectrum of tumors and its expression correlates often with poor prognosis, suggesting its potential as a therapeutic target. p53, the guardian of the genome, is the most important tumor suppressor. In this review, we address the intertwined relationship of these two key molecules by fighting each other as eternal rivals in many signaling pathways. p53 represses the promoter of Polo-like kinase 1, whereas Polo-like kinase 1 inhibits p53 and its family members p63 and p73 in cancer cells lacking functional p53. Plk1 inhibitors target all rapidly dividing cells irrespective of tumor cells or non-transformed normal but proliferating cells. Upon treatment with Plk1 inhibitors, p53 in tumor cells is activated and induces strong apoptosis, whereas tumor cells with inactive p53 arrest in mitosis with DNA damage. Thus, inactive p53 is not associated with a susceptible cytotoxicity of Polo-like kinase 1 inhibition and could rather foster the induction of polyploidy/aneuploidy in surviving cells. In addition, compared to the mono-treatment, combination of Polo-like kinase 1 inhibition with anti-mitotic or DNA damaging agents boosts more severe mitotic defects, effectually triggers apoptosis and strongly inhibits proliferation of cancer cells with functional p53. In this regard, restoration of p53 in tumor cells with loss or mutation of p53 will reinforce the cytotoxicity of combined Polo-like kinase 1 therapy and provide a proficient strategy for combating relapse and metastasis of cancer.
Modulation of inflammation by alcohol exposure
Elizabeth J. Kovacs
Patricia E. Molina
Nitric Oxide, Oxidative Stress, and p66Shc Interplay in Diabetic Endothelial Dysfunction
Maurizio C. Capogrossi
- Increased oxidative stress and reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability play a causal role in endothelial cell dysfunction occurring in the vasculature of diabetic patients. In this review, we summarized the molecular mechanisms underpinning diabetic endothelial and vascular dysfunction. In particular, we focused our attention on the complex interplay existing among NO, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and one crucial regulator of intracellular ROS production, p66Shc protein.
Comparing the efficacy of excitatory transcranial stimulation methods measuring motor evoked potentials
- The common aim of transcranial stimulation methods is the induction or alterations of cortical excitability in a controlled way. Significant effects of each individual stimulation method have been published; however, conclusive direct comparisons of many of these methods are rare. The aim of the present study was to compare the efficacy of three widely applied stimulation methods inducing excitability enhancement in the motor cortex: 1 mA anodal transcranial direct current stimulation (atDCS), intermittent theta burst stimulation (iTBS), and 1 mA transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) within one subject group. The effect of each stimulation condition was quantified by evaluating motor-evoked-potential amplitudes (MEPs) in a fixed time sequence after stimulation. The analyses confirmed a significant enhancement of the M1 excitability caused by all three types of active stimulations compared to sham stimulation. There was no significant difference between the types of active stimulations, although the time course of the excitatory effects slightly differed. Among the stimulation methods, tRNS resulted in the strongest and atDCS significantly longest MEP increase compared to sham. Different time courses of the applied stimulation methods suggest different underlying mechanisms of action. Better understanding may be useful for better targeting of different transcranial stimulation techniques.
Heterogeneity of Host TLR2 Stimulation by Staphylocoocus aureus Isolates
Thomas A. Wichelhaus
- High lipoprotein expression and potent activation of host Toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2) are characteristic features of the staphylococcal species. Expression of TLR2 in the host is important for clearance of Staphylococcus aureus infection and host survival. Thus, we hypothesized that bacterial regulation of its intrinsic TLR2-stimulatory capacity could represent a means for immune evasion or host adaptation. We, therefore, compared clinical S. aureus isolates in regards to their TLR2 activation potential and assessed the bacterial factors that modulate TLR2-mediated recognition. S. aureus isolates displayed considerable variability in TLR2-activity with low to absent TLR2-activity in 64% of the isolates tested (68/106). Notably, strain-specific TLR2-activity was independent of the strain origin, e.g. no differences were found between strains isolated from respiratory specimen from cystic fibrosis patients or those isolated from invasive disease specimen. TLR2-activity correlated with protein A expression but not with the agr status. Capsule expression and small colony variant formation had a negative impact on TLR2-activity but any disruption of cell wall integrity enhanced TLR2 activation. Altogether, heterogeneity in host TLR2-activity reflects differences in metabolic activity and cell wall synthesis and/or remodeling.
Proteomics of vitreous humor of patients with exudative age-related macular degeneration
Michael Janusz Koss
Joost P. Schanstra
- Background: There is absence of specific biomarkers and an incomplete understanding of the pathophysiology of exudative age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Methods and Findings: Eighty-eight vitreous samples (73 from patients with treatment naïve AMD and 15 control samples from patients with idiopathic floaters) were analyzed with capillary electrophoresis coupled to mass spectrometry in this retrospective case series to define potential candidate protein markers of AMD. Nineteen proteins were found to be upregulated in vitreous of AMD patients. Most of the proteins were plasma derived and involved in biological (ion) transport, acute phase inflammatory reaction, and blood coagulation. A number of proteins have not been previously associated to AMD including alpha-1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen alpha chain and prostaglandin H2-D isomerase. Alpha-1-antitrypsin was validated in vitreous of an independent set of AMD patients using Western blot analysis. Further systems biology analysis of the data indicated that the observed proteomic changes may reflect upregulation of immune response and complement activity.
Conclusions: Proteome analysis of vitreous samples from patients with AMD, which underwent an intravitreal combination therapy including a core vitrectomy, steroids and bevacizumab, revealed apparent AMD-specific proteomic changes. The identified AMD-associated proteins provide some insight into the pathophysiological changes associated with AMD.