In the early 1980s, we analyzed the metabolic profile of 930 men and women and concluded that an abdominal distribution of fat for a given BMI is associated with increased insulin resistance and risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The correlation between abdominal fat and metabolic dysfunction has since been validated in many studies, and waist circumference is now a criterion for the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome. Several mechanisms for this relationship have been postulated; however, we now know that visceral fat is only one of many ectopic fat depots used when the subcutaneous adipose tissue cannot accommodate excess fat because of its limited expandability.
Transcriptional induction of the gene encoding cytochrome P450 3A oxygenase (CYP3A) causes a prominent class of dangerous drug-drug interactions wherein one drug accelerates the metabolism of another. In our 1998
Steven A. Kliewer
Apoptosis is a metazoan process of controlled cell elimination that plays critical roles in embryonic development and adult tissue homeostasis. Apoptosis dysregulation contributes to several important diseases, including cancer. Two distinct yet interconnected signaling pathways control apoptosis by activating a core intracellular machinery of death proteases called caspases. The intrinsic apoptotic pathway engages caspases via members of the BCL-2 protein family and the mitochondria in reaction to severe cellular damage or stress. The extrinsic pathway activates caspases via cell-surface death receptors, which respond to cognate death ligands expressed on immune-effector cells. Tumor cells can acquire various apoptosis-evasion mechanisms; nevertheless, the transformed state of these cells makes them uniquely susceptible to apoptosis reactivation if resistance is circumvented. Molecular approaches to reengage the apoptotic pathways in cancer have been underway for over two decades. Gratifyingly, BCL-2 antagonists — which drive the intrinsic pathway — are beginning to bear clinical fruit. In contrast, clinical attempts to stimulate the extrinsic pathway with proapoptotic receptor agonists (PARAs) have been disappointing, despite compelling preclinical efficacy with this class of agents. Here, I discuss some of the possible reasons for this translational discrepancy and suggest strategies to overcome it with the next generation of PARAs.
During the past 20 years, major advances have been made in understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms of allergen tolerance in humans. The demonstration of T cell tolerance, particularly that mediated by the immune-suppressive functions of IL-10, led to a major conceptual change in this area. Currently, the known essential components of allergen tolerance include the induction of allergen-specific regulatory subsets of T and B cells, the immune-suppressive function of secreted factors, such as IL-10 and TGF-β, the production of IgG4 isotype allergen–specific blocking antibodies, and decreased allergic inflammatory responses by mast cells, basophils, and eosinophils in inflamed tissues.
Cezmi A. Akdis, Mübeccel Akdis
Prior to the 1990s, genetic analyses indicated that many autoimmune diseases are driven by T cell responses; however, the identity of the pathogenic T cell populations responsible for dysfunctional autoimmune responses remained unclear. Some 20 years ago, the discovery of numerous chemokines and their receptors along with the development of specific mAbs to these provided a distinct advance. These new tools revealed a remarkable dichotomy and disclosed that some chemokine receptors guided the constitutive migration of T cells through lymphoid tissues, whereas others, such as CCR5 and CXCR3, guided effector and memory T cell migration to inflammatory lesions. These T cell markers enabled a new understanding of immune responses and the types of T cells involved in different inflammatory reactions.
Charles R. Mackay
The epithelial lining of the intestine forms a barrier that separates the intestinal lumen from the host’s internal milieu and is critical for fluid and electrolyte secretion and nutrient absorption. In the early 1990s, my laboratory discovered that intestinal epithelial cells could alter their phenotype and produce proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines when stimulated by pathogenic enteric luminal microbes or proinflammatory agonists produced by cells in the underlying mucosa. It is now well accepted that intestinal epithelial cells can be induced to express and secrete specific arrays of cytokines, chemokines, and antimicrobial defense molecules. The coordinated release of molecules by intestinal epithelial cells is crucial for activating intestinal mucosal inflammatory responses as well as mucosal innate and adaptive immune responses. More recent studies have focused on the intestinal epithelial signaling pathways that culminate in immune activation as well as the role of these pathways in host defense, mucosal injury, mucosal wound healing, and tumorigenesis. The emerging picture indicates that intestinal epithelial cells represent an integral component of a highly regulated communications network that can transmit essential signals to cells in the underlying intestinal mucosa, and that intestinal epithelial cells, in turn, serve as targets of mucosal mediators. These signals are essential for maintaining intestinal mucosal defense and homeostasis.
Martin F. Kagnoff
The inactivation of NO by advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs), which accumulate on tissue proteins as a function of age and hyperglycemia, focused attention on the role of these ubiquitous posttranslational modifications in acquired impairments of vascular reactivity and other signaling processes. This observation occurred during a watershed period of basic and translational research in glycation that encompassed new pathologic phenomena and novel intervention strategies. How has the AGE paradigm for the tissue complications of aging and diabetes fared since the identification of the link between these glycation products and NO inactivation, and what lessons may be offered for future investigations?
Nearly two decades ago, we evaluated ten patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). We determined that alarming nocturnal oscillations in arterial pressure and sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) were caused by regulatory coupling and neural interactions among SNA, apnea, and ventilation. Patients with OSA exhibited high levels of SNA when awake, during normal ventilation, and during normoxia, which contributed to hypertension and organ damage. Additionally, we achieved a beneficial and potentially lifesaving reduction in SNA through the application of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which remains a primary therapeutic approach for patients with OSA. With these results in hindsight, we herein discuss three concepts with functional and therapeutic relevance to the integrative neurobiology of autonomic cardiovascular control and to the mechanisms involved in excessive sympathoexcitation in OSA.
François Abboud, Ravinder Kumar
As a young medical resident, I encountered a patient suffering from spontaneous coronary vasospasm and was puzzled by these dramatic alterations in vasomotion. This encounter piqued my interest in understanding the drivers of vascular reactivity. In a paper published in the
David G. Harrison
I devised a method for obtaining information on cancellous bone structure from iliac bone histomorphometry that led to the demonstration that architecture is an important component of bone strength and bone fragility. Furthermore, this method contributed to the recognition of the importance of changes in osteoclast and osteocyte apoptosis in response to estrogen deficiency and replacement.
A. Michael Parfitt
Over the last century, our modern concepts and understanding of metabolism and immunology have evolved largely in parallel. Notably, during the last decade, there has been a sharpened focus on the convergence of metabolism and immune function. In part motivated by studies originally published in the
Anthony W. Ferrante Jr.
The discovery of citrate anticoagulant in the 1920s and the development of plastic packs for blood collection in the 1960s laid the groundwork for platelet transfusion therapy on a scale not previously possible. A major limitation, however, was the finding that platelet concentrates prepared from blood anticoagulated with citrate were unsuitable for transfusion because of platelet clumping. We found that this could be prevented by simply reducing the pH of platelet-rich plasma to about 6.5 prior to centrifugation. We used this approach to characterize platelet kinetics and sites of platelet sequestration in normal and pathologic states and to define the influence of variables such as anticoagulant and ABO incompatibility on post-transfusion platelet recovery. The “acidification” approach enabled much wider use of platelet transfusion therapy until alternative means of producing concentrates suitable for transfusion became available.
Richard H. Aster
Mammalian P-glycoproteins are active drug efflux transporters located in the plasma membrane. In the early nineties, we generated knockouts of the three P-glycoprotein genes of mice, the
Piet Borst, Alfred H. Schinkel
Pressure and volume overload results in concentric and eccentric hypertrophy of cardiac ventricular chambers with, respectively, parallel and series replication of sarcomeres. These divergent patterns of hypertrophy were related 40 years ago to disparate wall stresses in both conditions, with systolic wall stress eliciting parallel replication of sarcomeres and diastolic wall stress, series replication. These observations are relevant to clinical practice, as they relate to the excessive hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction regularly observed in patients with aortic stenosis. Stress-sensing mechanisms in cardiomyocytes and activation of cardiomyocyte death by elevated wall stress continue to intrigue cardiovascular scientists.
William Grossman, Walter J. Paulus
The core of an atheromatous plaque contains lipids, macrophages, and cellular debris, typically covered by a fibrous cap that separates the thrombogenic core from the blood. Rupture of the fibrous cap causes most fatal myocardial infarctions. Interstitial collagen confers tensile strength on the cap, as it does in skin and tendons. In 1994, Peter Libby and colleagues demonstrated overexpression of collagenolytic enzymes in atheromatous plaques and implicated MMPs in the destabilization of these lesions.
Apoptotic cells are rapidly phagocytosed by macrophages, a process that represents a critical step in tissue remodeling, immune responses, and the resolution of inflammation. In 1998, Peter Henson, Donna Bratton, and colleagues at National Jewish Health demonstrated that phagocytosis of apoptotic cells actively suppresses inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines and inducing production of antiinflammatory factors, including TGF-β and prostaglandin E2. Here they discuss the evolving relationship among apoptosis, phagocytosis, and inflammation.
Peter M. Henson, Donna L. Bratton
The discovery of the adipocyte hormone leptin and the demonstration that severe obesity in
Michael W. Schwartz, Denis G. Baskin
Advances made during the last 35 years have improved our understanding of the mechanisms of steroid hormone action on bone and how physiologic, pathologic, or iatrogenic changes in hormone levels can lead to increased fracture risk. Estrogens, androgens, and glucocorticoids alter the cellular composition of bone by regulating the supply and lifespan of osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Additionally, they influence the survival of osteocytes, long-lived cells that are entombed within the mineralized matrix and mediate the homeostatic adaptation of bone to mechanical forces. Altered redox balance is a proximal underlying mechanism of some of these effects, and sex steroid deficiency or glucocorticoid excess contributes to the aging of the skeleton.
Stavros C. Manolagas
In 1998, we described a novel polymorphism in the promoter (G>C, rs1800795) of the IL-6 (
Patricia Woo, Steve E. Humphries
Insulin resistance is typically defined as a reduced ability of insulin to induce glucose uptake by target tissues such as fat and skeletal muscle cells. It accompanies several disease states, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, hepatitis C, and polycystic ovary syndrome, and is a primary feature of metabolic syndrome. Outside of its effects on blood glucose levels, insulin resistance is also associated with a 2- to 3-fold increased risk of cardiovascular mortality. In 1996, Alain Baron, Helmut Steinberg, and colleagues demonstrated that insulin resistance is associated with endothelial dysfunction. This seminal observation led to significant advances in our understanding of insulin’s action in health and disease.
Kieren J. Mather, Helmut O. Steinberg, Alain D. Baron
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