OBJECTIVE: The genitourinary tract is considered to be a target for the actions of sex steroid hormones. Decreased ovarian function and lack of estrogen after menopause are associated with lower genitourinary tract symptoms as well as bladder dysfunctions such as incontinence. Estrogen may also affect urothelial cells. The estrogen receptors (ERs) are found in the mucosa of the urinary tract. The purpose of this study was to culture human urothelial cells (HUCs) originating from urothelial tissue biopsies and to use them as a reproducible test platform to evaluate the effect of 17beta-estradiol (E2). MATERIAL AND METHODS: Urothelial tissue biopsies were obtained from 95 patients undergoing gynaecological open surgery for urinary incontinence, paediatric vesicoureteral reflux or transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) for benign prostatic hyperplasia. HUCs originating from biopsies were cultured in vitro in the absence or in the presence of 0.1 nmol, 0.01 micromol and 1 micromol of E2. ER expression of the cultured HUCs was examined by Western analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy, which was also used for HUC characterization. The effect of E2 in the proliferation of the HUCs was determined by tetrazolium salt 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT)-assay. RESULTS: HUCs were cultured successfully in four to six passages but there was variation between samples. The cultured cells showed expression of beta(4)-integrin, E-cadherin and cytokeratins 7, 8, 9 and 19, indicating the epithelial origin of the cells. Both types of ERs, ERalpha and ERbeta, were found in the in vitro cultured HUCs. E2 treatment of HUCs did not affect remarkably the expression of ERalpha but cell proliferation was induced. However, no concentration-dependent effect was seen. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that HUCs originating from small tissue biopsies can be cultured in several passages in vitro and could have potential in repairing or restoring urinary tract tissue by tissue engineering therapy. HUCs serve as a good in vitro test platform, as shown by analysing E2-treated HUCs. E2 induced the proliferation of cultured HUCs even though concentration dependency was not observed. The findings of this study may have relevance in determining the mechanisms of estrogen therapy in postmenopausal urinary tract symptoms and in the future development of tissue engineering technology.
Processing and metabolism of beta-amyloid precursor protein (APP) and generation of a variety of beta-amyloid (Abeta) peptides in the human brain is essentially associated with pathophysiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD). APP degradation activity of the 68 kDa serine protease, which was originally prepared from familial AD lymphoblastoid cells and harbors beta-secretase-like activity, was analyzed by Western blot using anti Abeta 1/40 antibody and anti APP cytoplasmic domain (CT) antibody. Native lymphocyte APP (LAPP) prepared from normal or AD-derived lymphoblastoid cells was degraded by the protease, generating a 16 kDa Abeta-bearing C-terminal fragment of APP. N-terminal amino acid sequencing of the fragment indicated that the protease cleaves LAPP at the Abeta-N-terminus. When the LAPP was treated with chondroitinase ABC prior to proteolysis, the activity to generate the fragment was inhibited, but pretreatment with heparitinase resulted in no effect. Native hippocampal APP prepared from normal brain, however, did not generate the 16 kDa peptide by the protease treatment. These results suggest that the process of APP degradation and Abeta-peptides generation, including beta-secretase activity, is associated with tissue specificity of both APP substrate and proteases. They also indicate that sulfated glycoconjugates attached to a portion of APP isoforms may play a role as a molecular determinant in the proteolysis.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is characterized by debilitating fatigue, somatic symptoms and cognitive impairment. An infectious basis has been proposed; candidate agents include enteroviruses, herpesviruses, retroviruses and Borna disease virus (BDV), a novel neurotropic virus associated with neuropsychiatric disorders. Sera and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from Swedish CFS patients were assayed for evidence of infection using ELISA and Western immunoblot for detection of antibodies to BDV proteins N, P and gp18; and using nested reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for detection of BDV N- and P-gene transcripts. No specific immunoreactivity to BDV proteins was found in sera from 169 patients or 62 controls. No BDV N- or P-gene transcripts were found through RT-PCR analysis of PBMC from 18 patients with severe CFS. These results do not support a role for BDV in pathogenesis of CFS.
Two hundred ninety-three serum samples from Ontario hemophiliacs and 200 samples from human immunodeficiency virus-positive blood donors were screened for the presence of antibodies to human T-lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-I) by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, radioimmunoassay, and Western blot techniques. None of the serum samples provided unequivocal positive results, but several samples gave inconclusive results. Of the hemophiliacs with inconclusive serologic results from whom peripheral blood lymphocyte DNA could be obtained, all were negative for HTLV-I and HTLV type II (HTLV-II) sequences as determined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR was also performed on a lymph node biopsy sample taken from a hemophiliac who developed a rare T-cell lymphoma; the sample was negative for HTLV-I and -II sequences. These results indicate that Ontario hemophiliacs have not been exposed to HTLV-I or HTLV-II.
Insulin resistance is associated with hypertension by mechanisms likely involving the kidney. To determine how the major apical sodium transporter of the thick ascending limb, the bumetanide-sensitive Na-K-2Cl cotransporter (NKCC2) is regulated by high-fat feeding, we treated young male, Fischer 344 X Brown Norway (F344BN) rats for 8 wk with diets containing either normal (NF, 4%) or high (HF, 36%) fat, by weight, primarily as lard. HF-fed rats had impaired glucose tolerance, increased urine excretion of 8-isoprostane (a marker of oxidative stress), increased protein levels for NKCC2 (50-125%) and the renal outer medullary potassium channel (106%), as well as increased natriuretic response to furosemide (20-40%). To test the role of oxidative stress in this response, in study 2, rats were fed the NF or HF diet plus plain drinking water, or water containing N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor (100 mg/l), or tempol, a superoxide dismutase mimetic (1 mmol/l). The combination of tempol with HF nullified the increase in medullary NKCC2, while l-NAME with HF led to the highest expression of medullary NKCC2 (to 498% of NF mean). However, neither of these drugs dramatically affected the elevated natriuretic response to furosemide with HF. Finally, l-NAME led to a marked increase in blood pressure (measured by radiotelemetry), which was significantly enhanced with HF. Mean arterial blood pressure at 7 wk was as follows (mmHg): NF, 100 +/- 2; NF plus l-NAME, 122 +/- 3; and HF plus l-NAME, 131 +/- 2. Overall, HF feeding increased the abundance of NKCC2. Inappropriately high sodium reabsorption in the thick ascending limb via NKCC2 may contribute to hypertension with insulin resistance.
In order to test the hypothesis that increased apoptotic activity is connected with neuroendocrine differentiation and low differentiation degree in large cell carcinoma (LCLC) and is regulated by bcl-2 family proteins, we analysed the extent of apoptosis and tumor necrosis and their relation to the expression of bcl-2, bax, bak and mcl-1 in 35 LCLCs, of which 20 were classified as large cell neuroendocrine lung carcinomas (LCNEC) and 15 as large cell non-neuroendocrine lung carcinomas (LCNNEC). The extent of apoptosis was determined by detecting and counting the relative and absolute numbers of apoptotic cells and bodies using in situ 3 -end labelling of the apoptotic DNA. The extent and intensity of expression of the bcl-2, bax, bak and mcl-1 proteins were studied by immunohistochemistry. Also the relative volume density of necrosis was evaluated and correlated with the other parameters. Finally, all the parameters were evaluated as prognostic markers and correlated with data on the survival of the patients. Relatively high apoptotic indices were seen in both tumor types (average for both 2.53%, range 0.09 27.01%). Significantly higher bcl-2 and bak indices were detected more often in LCNECs than in LCNNECs. Immunohistochemically detected bax, bcl-2 and bak expression was independent of apoptotic index in both tumor types, while there was a statistically significant positive association between mcl-1 expression and apoptotic index in LCNNEC but not in LCNEC. There was a statistically significant association between high apoptotic index and shortened survival in LCLC. However, no association was found between tumor stage and apoptosis. The patients with LCNEC and low bcl-2 protein expression had a significantly shorter survival time than those with high bcl-2 indices. There was also a clear association between shortened survival and necrotic LCNNEC. LCLCs show relatively high apoptotic activity, which is associated with shortened survival. The expression of bcl-2, bak and mcl- 1 is associated with neuroendocrine differentiation in LCLC. Finally, our results support some previous reports suggesting that bcl-2 expression in combination with some other markers involved in apoptosis and/or proliferation may be of prognostic value in cases of lung carcinoma with neuroendocrine differentiation.
For the confirmation of Ag 85 in ancient and recent ECM of native macerated human bone, five cases were investigated. In three individuals, highly positive results for Ag 85 were identified in Western blot: 1) a male from Arzhan, South Siberia, dating from the 7th century BC, 2) a male from Kirchberg in Hesse, Germany, dating from the 10th - 12th century AD and 3) a recent female with a proven diagnosis of TB. As a negative control, a recent male is presented who did not suffer from TB. In another recent male, Ag 85 could be identified only very weakly. From cases in the literature it is well-known that highly positive results for Ag 85 indicate active TB, however, weakly positive results indicate a silent initial infection with Mtb. Thus, apparently, also in ancient individuals, it might well be possible to differentiate between diseased persons and disease carriers using paleoproteomic techniques.
We compared the tissue content, basal phosphorylation, and stretch-induced phosphorylation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) members; extracellular-signal-regulated kinases (ERK 1/2), p38, and c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) in the fast-twitch extensor digitorium longus (EDL) and slow-twitch soleus of young adult (6 month), aged (30 month), and very aged (36 month) F344/NNiaHSD X Brown Norway/BiNia (F344/NXBN) rats. The expression and basal phosphorylation of the ERK 1/2, p38, and JNK MAPK proteins were regulated differently with aging in the EDL and soleus. Stretch induced significant phosphorylation of each signaling molecule in both muscle types of young adult and aged animals. In the very aged animals, stretch stimulated ERK 1/2 MAPK phosphorylation; however, EDL stretch failed to induce JNK MAPK phosphorylation, while soleus stretch was unable to induce the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK. The results suggest that skeletal muscle mechanotransduction processes are affected in very aged F344/NXBN rats and that aging alters load-induced signaling in fast- and slow-twitch muscle types differently.
Oxidative stress increases during unloading in muscle from young adult rats. The present study examined the markers of oxidative stress and antioxidant enzyme gene and protein expressions in medial gastrocnemius muscles of aged and young adult (30 and 6 mo of age) Fischer 344 x Brown Norway rats after 14 days of hindlimb suspension. Medial gastrocnemius muscle weight was decreased by approximately 30% in young adult and aged rats following suspension. When muscle weight was normalized to animal body weight, it was reduced by 12% and 22% in young adult and aged rats, respectively, after suspension. Comparisons between young adult and aged control animals demonstrated a 25% and 51% decline in muscle mass when expressed as absolute muscle weight and muscle weight normalized to the animal body weight, respectively. H(2)O(2) content was elevated by 43% while Mn superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) protein content was reduced by 28% in suspended muscles compared with control muscles exclusively in the aged animals. Suspended muscles had greater content of malondialdehyde (MDA)/4-hydroxyalkenals (4-HAE) (29% and 58% increase in young adult and aged rats, respectively), nitrotyrosine (76% and 65% increase in young adult and aged rats, respectively), and catalase activity (69% and 43% increase in young adult and aged rats, respectively) relative to control muscles. Changes in oxidative stress markers MDA/4-HAE, H(2)O(2), and MnSOD protein contents in response to hindlimb unloading occurred in an age-dependent manner. These findings are consistent with the hypotheses that oxidative stress has a role in mediating disuse-induced and sarcopenia-associated muscle losses. Our data suggest that aging may predispose skeletal muscle to increased levels of oxidative stress both at rest and during unloading.
Aggrecan is one of the first proteins to be depleted from articular cartilage in early osteoarthritis. We investigated the molecular differences between matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)- and aggrecanase-mediated aggrecan degradation, as a consequence of their distinct time-dependent degradation profiles. Cartilage degradation was induced by cytokine stimulation in bovine articular cartilage explants and quantified by a dye-binding assay and immunoassays. The size of degradation fragments was analysed by Western blot. Cytokine stimulation resulted in the early release of aggrecanase-mediated aggrecan degradation fragments. In contrast, MMP-mediated aggrecan degradation began only at day 16 and continued to day 21. Western blot analysis showed that glycosylated high-molecular-weight (374)ARGSVI fragments appeared at day 7, in contrast to deglycosylated low-molecular-weight (342)FFGVG fragments which were detected at day 21. Aggrecan degradation may be divided into two different pools, a high-molecular-weight aggrecanase-mediated pool, and a low-molecular-weight MMP-mediated pool. This may have implications for the development of intervention strategies for OA.