Biliary atresia (BA) is a destructive cholangiopathy of childhood in which Th1 immunity has been mechanistically linked to the bile duct inflammation and obstruction that culminate in liver injury. Based on reports of decreased Th1 cytokines in some patients and the development of BA in mice lacking CD4+ T cells, we hypothesized that Th1-independent mechanisms can also activate effector cells and induce BA. Here, we tested this hypothesis using Stat1–/– mice, which lack the ability to mount Th1 immune responses. Infection of Stat1–/– mice with rhesus rotavirus type A (RRV) on postnatal day 1 induced a prominent Th2 response, duct epithelial injury and obstruction within 7 days, and atresia shortly thereafter. A high degree of phosphorylation of the Th2 transcription factor Stat6 was observed; however, concurrent inactivation of Stat1 and Stat6 in mice did not prevent BA after RRV infection. In contrast, depletion of macrophages or combined loss of Il13 and Stat1 reduced tissue infiltration by lymphocytes and myeloid cells, maintained epithelial integrity, and prevented duct obstruction. In concordance with our mouse model, humans at the time of BA diagnosis exhibited differential hepatic expression of Th2 genes and serum Th2 cytokines. These findings demonstrate compatibility between Th2 commitment and the pathogenesis of BA, and suggest that patient subgrouping in future clinical trials should account for differences in Th2 status.
Jun Li, Kazuhiko Bessho, Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Reena Mourya, Sujit Kumar Mohanty, Jorge L. dos Santos, Irene K. Miura, Gilda Porta, Jorge A. Bezerra
Crohn disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC) are increasingly common, chronic forms of inflammatory bowel disease. The behavior of these diseases varies unpredictably among patients. Identification of reliable prognostic biomarkers would enable treatment to be personalized so that patients destined to experience aggressive disease could receive appropriately potent therapies from diagnosis, while those who will experience more indolent disease are not exposed to the risks and side effects of unnecessary immunosuppression. Using transcriptional profiling of circulating T cells isolated from patients with CD and UC, we identified analogous CD8+ T cell transcriptional signatures that divided patients into 2 otherwise indistinguishable subgroups. In both UC and CD, patients in these subgroups subsequently experienced very different disease courses. A substantially higher incidence of frequently relapsing disease was experienced by those patients in the subgroup defined by elevated expression of genes involved in antigen-dependent T cell responses, including signaling initiated by both IL-7 and TCR ligation — pathways previously associated with prognosis in unrelated autoimmune diseases. No equivalent correlation was observed with CD4+ T cell gene expression. This suggests that the course of otherwise distinct autoimmune and inflammatory conditions may be influenced by common pathways and identifies what we believe to be the first biomarker that can predict prognosis in both UC and CD from diagnosis, a major step toward personalized therapy.
James C. Lee, Paul A. Lyons, Eoin F. McKinney, John M. Sowerby, Edward J. Carr, Francesca Bredin, Hannah M. Rickman, Huzefa Ratlamwala, Alexander Hatton, Tim F. Rayner, Miles Parkes, Kenneth G.C. Smith
While there is evidence that specific T cell populations can promote the growth of established tumors, instances where T cell activity causes neoplasms to arise de novo are infrequent. Here, we employed two conditional mutagenesis systems to delete the TGF-β signaling pathway component Smad4 in T cells and observed the spontaneous development of massive polyps within the gastroduodenal regions of mice. The epithelial lesions contained increased levels of transcripts encoding IL-11, IL-6, TGF-β, IL-1β, and TNF-α, and lamina propria cells isolated from lesions contained abundant IL-17A+CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, we found that Smad4 deficiency attenuated TGF-β–mediated in vitro polarization of FoxP3+CD4+ T cells, but not IL-17A+CD4+ T cells, suggesting that the epithelial lesions may have arisen as a consequence of unchecked Th17 cell activity. Proinflammatory cytokine production likely accounted for the raised levels of IL-11, a cytokine known to promote gastric epithelial cell survival and hyperplasia. Consistent with IL-11 having a pathogenic role in this model, we found evidence of Stat3 activation in the gastric polyps. Thus, our data indicate that a chronic increase in gut Th17 cell activity can be associated with the development of premalignant lesions of the gastroduodenal region.
Jennifer Nancy Hahn, Vincent George Falck, Frank Robert Jirik
It is unclear whether neurogenesis occurs in the adult mammalian enteric nervous system (ENS). Neural crest–derived cells capable of forming multilineage colonies in culture, and neurons and glia upon transplantation into chick embryos, persist throughout adult life in the mammalian ENS. In this study we sought to determine the physiological function of these cells. We discovered that these cells could be identified based on CD49b expression and that they had characteristics of enteric glia, including p75, GFAP, S100B, and SOX10 expression. To test whether new neurons or glia arise in the adult gut under physiological conditions, we marked dividing progenitors with a thymidine analog in rodents under steady-state conditions, or during aging, pregnancy, dietary changes, hyperglycemia, or exercise. We also tested gut injuries including inflammation, irradiation, benzalkonium chloride treatment, partial gut stenosis, and glial ablation. We readily observed neurogenesis in a neurogenic region of the central nervous system, but not reproducibly in the adult ENS. Lineage tracing of glial cells with GFAP-Cre and GFAP-CreERT2 also detected little or no adult ENS neurogenesis. Neurogenesis in the adult gut is therefore very limited under the conditions we studied. In contrast, ENS gliogenesis was readily observed under steady-state conditions and after injury. Adult enteric glia thus have the potential to form neurons and glia in culture but are fated to form mainly glia under physiological conditions and after the injuries we studied.
Nancy M. Joseph, Shenghui He, Elsa Quintana, Yun-Gi Kim, Gabriel Núñez, Sean J. Morrison
Hirschsprung (HSCR) disease is a complex genetic disorder attributed to a failure of the enteric neural crest cells (ENCCs) to form ganglia in the hindgut. Hedgehog and Notch are implicated in mediating proliferation and differentiation of ENCCs. Nevertheless, how these signaling molecules may interact to mediate gut colonization by ENCCs and contribute to a primary etiology for HSCR are not known. Here, we report our pathway-based epistasis analysis of data generated by a genome-wide association study on HSCR disease, which indicates that specific genotype constellations of Patched (PTCH1) (which encodes a receptor for Hedgehog) and delta-like 3 (DLL3) (which encodes a receptor for Notch) SNPs confer higher risk to HSCR. Importantly, deletion of Ptch1 in mouse ENCCs induced robust Dll1 expression and activation of the Notch pathway, leading to premature gliogenesis and reduction of ENCC progenitors in mutant bowels. Dll1 integrated Hedgehog and Notch pathways to coordinate neuronal and glial cell differentiation during enteric nervous system development. In addition, Hedgehog-mediated gliogenesis was found to be highly conserved, such that Hedgehog was consistently able to promote gliogenesis of human neural crest–related precursors. Collectively, we defined PTCH1 and DLL3 as HSCR susceptibility genes and suggest that Hedgehog/Notch-induced premature gliogenesis may represent a new disease mechanism for HSCR.
Elly Sau-Wai Ngan, Maria-Mercè Garcia-Barceló, Benjamin Hon-Kei Yip, Hiu-Ching Poon, Sin-Ting Lau, Carmen Ka-Man Kwok, Eric Sat, Mai-Har Sham, Kenneth Kak-Yuen Wong, Brandon J. Wainwright, Stacey S. Cherny, Chi-Chung Hui, Pak Chung Sham, Vincent Chi-Hang Lui, Paul Kwong-Hang Tam
Although a relationship between emotional state and feeding behavior is known to exist, the interactions between signaling initiated by stimuli in the gut and exteroceptively generated emotions remain incompletely understood. Here, we investigated the interaction between nutrient-induced gut-brain signaling and sad emotion induced by musical and visual cues at the behavioral and neural level in healthy nonobese subjects undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging. Subjects received an intragastric infusion of fatty acid solution or saline during neutral or sad emotion induction and rated sensations of hunger, fullness, and mood. We found an interaction between fatty acid infusion and emotion induction both in the behavioral readouts (hunger, mood) and at the level of neural activity in multiple pre-hypothesized regions of interest. Specifically, the behavioral and neural responses to sad emotion induction were attenuated by fatty acid infusion. These findings increase our understanding of the interplay among emotions, hunger, food intake, and meal-induced sensations in health, which may have important implications for a wide range of disorders, including obesity, eating disorders, and depression.
Lukas Van Oudenhove, Shane McKie, Daniel Lassman, Bilal Uddin, Peter Paine, Steven Coen, Lloyd Gregory, Jan Tack, Qasim Aziz
Probiotic bacteria can potentially have beneficial effects on the clinical course of several intestinal disorders, but our understanding of probiotic action is limited. We have identified a probiotic bacteria–derived soluble protein, p40, from Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG), which prevents cytokine-induced apoptosis in intestinal epithelial cells. In the current study, we analyzed the mechanisms by which p40 regulates cellular responses in intestinal epithelial cells and p40’s effects on experimental colitis using mouse models. We show that the recombinant p40 protein activated EGFR, leading to Akt activation. Activation of EGFR by p40 was required for inhibition of cytokine-induced apoptosis in intestinal epithelial cells in vitro and ex vivo. Furthermore, we developed a pectin/zein hydrogel bead system to specifically deliver p40 to the mouse colon, which activated EGFR in colon epithelial cells. Administration of p40-containing beads reduced intestinal epithelial apoptosis and disruption of barrier function in the colon epithelium in an EGFR-dependent manner, thereby preventing and treating DSS-induced intestinal injury and acute colitis. Furthermore, p40 activation of EGFR was required for ameliorating colon epithelial cell apoptosis and chronic inflammation in oxazolone-induced colitis. These data define what we believe to be a previously unrecognized mechanism of probiotic-derived soluble proteins in protecting the intestine from injury and inflammation.
Fang Yan, Hanwei Cao, Timothy L. Cover, M. Kay Washington, Yan Shi, LinShu Liu, Rupesh Chaturvedi, Richard M. Peek Jr., Keith T. Wilson, D. Brent Polk
Patients with prolonged ulcerative colitis (UC) frequently develop colorectal adenocarcinoma for reasons that are not fully clear. To analyze inflammation-associated colonic tumorigenesis, we developed a chronic form of oxazolone-induced colitis in mice that, similar to UC, was distinguished by the presence of IL-13–producing NKT cells. In this model, the induction of tumors using azoxymethane was accompanied by the coappearance of F4/80+CD11bhighGr1low M2 macrophages, cells that undergo polarization by IL-13 and are absent in tumors that lack high level IL-13 production. Importantly, this subset of macrophages was a source of tumor-promoting factors, including IL-6. Similar to dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages were present in the mouse model of chronic oxazolone-induced colitis and may influence tumor development through production of TGF-β1, a cytokine that inhibits tumor immunosurveillance. Finally, while robust chronic oxazolone-induced colitis developed in myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88–deficient (Myd88–/–) mice, these mice did not support tumor development. The inhibition of tumor development in Myd88–/– mice correlated with cessation of IL-6 and TGF-β1 production by M2 and F4/80+CD11bhighGr1intermediate macrophages, respectively, and was reversed by exogenous IL-6. These data show that an UC-like inflammation may facilitate tumor development by providing a milieu favoring development of MyD88-dependent tumor-supporting macrophages.
Gabriela Schiechl, Bernhard Bauer, Ivan Fuss, Sven A. Lang, Christian Moser, Petra Ruemmele, Stefan Rose-John, Markus F. Neurath, Edward K. Geissler, Hans-Jürgen Schlitt, Warren Strober, Stefan Fichtner-Feigl
Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) apoptosis contributes to the development of ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the colon and rectum. Therapies that target the inflammatory cytokine TNF have been found to inhibit IEC apoptosis in patients with IBD, although the mechanism of IEC apoptosis remains unclear. We therefore investigated the role of p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA), a p53 target and proapoptotic BH3-only protein, in colitis and IEC apoptosis, using patient samples and mouse models of UC. In UC patient samples, PUMA expression was elevated in colitis tissues relative to that in uninvolved tissues, and the degree of elevation of PUMA expression correlated with the severity of colitis and the degree of apoptosis induction. In mice, PUMA was markedly induced in colonic epithelial cells following induction of colitis by either dextran sulfate sodium salt (DSS) or 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). The induction of PUMA was p53-independent but required NF-κB. Absence of PUMA, but neither absence of p53 nor that of another BH3-only protein (Bid), relieved DSS- and TNBS-induced colitis and inhibited IEC apoptosis. Furthermore, treating mice with infliximab (Remicade), a clinically used TNF-specific antibody, suppressed DSS- and TNBS-induced PUMA expression and colitis. These results indicate that PUMA induction contributes to the pathogenesis of colitis by promoting IEC apoptosis and suggest that PUMA inhibition may be an effective strategy to promote mucosal healing in patients with UC.
Wei Qiu, Bin Wu, Xinwei Wang, Monica E. Buchanan, Miguel D. Regueiro, Douglas J. Hartman, Robert E. Schoen, Jian Yu, Lin Zhang
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that is closely associated with colon cancer. Expression of the enzyme heparanase is clearly linked to colon carcinoma progression, but its role in UC is unknown. Here we demonstrate for what we believe to be the first time the importance of heparanase in sustaining the immune-epithelial crosstalk underlying colitis-associated tumorigenesis. Using histological specimens from UC patients and a mouse model of dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, we found that heparanase was constantly overexpressed and activated throughout the disease. We demonstrate, using heparanase-overexpressing transgenic mice, that heparanase overexpression markedly increased the incidence and severity of colitis-associated colonic tumors. We found that highly coordinated interactions between the epithelial compartment (contributing heparanase) and mucosal macrophages preserved chronic inflammatory conditions and created a tumor-promoting microenvironment characterized by enhanced NF-κB signaling and induction of STAT3. Our results indicate that heparanase generates a vicious cycle that powers colitis and the associated tumorigenesis: heparanase, acting synergistically with the intestinal flora, stimulates macrophage activation, while macrophages induce production (via TNF-α–dependent mechanisms) and activation (via secretion of cathepsin L) of heparanase contributed by the colon epithelium. Thus, disruption of the heparanase-driven chronic inflammatory circuit is highly relevant to the design of therapeutic interventions in colitis and the associated cancer.
Immanuel Lerner, Esther Hermano, Eyal Zcharia, Dina Rodkin, Raanan Bulvik, Victoria Doviner, Ariel M. Rubinstein, Rivka Ishai-Michaeli, Ruth Atzmon, Yoav Sherman, Amichay Meirovitz, Tamar Peretz, Israel Vlodavsky, Michael Elkin