Antibiotic use during adolescence may result in dysbiosis-induced neuronal vulnerability both in the enteric nervous system (ENS) and central nervous system (CNS) contributing to the onset of chronic gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), showing significant psychiatric comorbidity. Intestinal microbiota alterations during adolescence influence the expression of molecular factors involved in neuronal development in both the ENS and CNS. In this study, we have evaluated the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its high-affinity receptor tropomyosin-related kinase B (TrkB) in juvenile mice ENS and CNS, after a 2-week antibiotic (ABX) treatment. In both mucosa and mucosa-deprived whole-wall small intestine segments of ABX-treated animals, BDNF and TrKB mRNA and protein levels significantly increased. In longitudinal muscle-myenteric plexus preparations of ABX-treated mice the percentage of myenteric neurons staining for BDNF and TrkB was significantly higher than in controls. After ABX treatment, a consistent population of BDNF- and TrkB-immunoreactive neurons costained with SP and CGRP, suggesting up-regulation of BDNF signaling in both motor and sensory myenteric neurons. BDNF and TrkB protein levels were downregulated in the hippocampus and remained unchanged in the prefrontal cortex of ABX-treated animals. Immunostaining for BDNF and TrkB decreased in the hippocampus CA3 and dentate gyrus subregions, respectively, and remained unchanged in the prefrontal cortex. These data suggest that dysbiosis differentially influences the expression of BDNF-TrkB in the juvenile mice ENS and CNS. Such changes may potentially contribute later to the development of functional gut disorders, such as IBS, showing psychiatric comorbidity.
In recent years, several studies have demonstrated that the RNASET2 gene is involved in the control of tumorigenicity in ovarian cancer cells. Furthermore, a role in establishing a functional cross-talk between cancer cells and the surrounding tumor microenvironment has been unveiled for this gene, based on its ability to act as an inducer of the innate immune response. Although several studies have reported on the molecular features of RNASET2, the details on the mechanisms by which this evolutionarily conserved ribonuclease regulates the immune system are still poorly defined. In the effort to clarify this aspect, we report here the effect of recombinant human RNASET2 injection and its role in regulating the innate immune response after bacterial challenge in an invertebrate model, the medicinal leech. We found that recombinant RNASET2 injection induces fibroplasias, connective tissue remodeling and the recruitment of numerous infiltrating cells expressing the specific macrophage markers CD68 and HmAIF1. The RNASET2-mediated chemotactic activity for macrophages has been further confirmed by using a consolidated experimental approach based on injection of the Matrigel biomatrice (MG) supplemented with recombinant RNASET2 in the leech body wall. One week after injection, a large number of CD68 and HmAIF-1 macrophages massively infiltrated MG sponges. Finally, in leeches challenged with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) or with the environmental bacteria pathogen Micrococcus nishinomiyaensis, numerous macrophages migrating to the site of inoculation expressed high levels of endogenous RNASET2. Taken together, these results suggest that RNASET2 is likely involved in the initial phase of the inflammatory response in leeches.
Recent studies demonstrated that allograft inflammatory factor-1 (AIF-1) and RNASET2 act as chemoattractants for macrophages and modulate the inflammatory processes in both vertebrates and invertebrates. The expression of these proteins significantly increases after bacterial infection; however, the mechanisms by which they regulate the innate immune response are still poorly defined. Here, we evaluate the effect of bacterial lipopolysaccharide injection on the expression pattern of these genes and the interrelation between them during innate immune response in the medicinal leech, an invertebrate model with a simple anatomy and a marked similarity with vertebrates in inflammatory processes. Collectively, prokaryotic-eukaryotic co-cultures and in vivo infection assays suggest that RNASET2 and AIF-1 play a crucial role in orchestrating a functional cross-talk between granulocytes and macrophages in leeches, resulting in the activation of an effective response against pathogen infection. RNASET2, firstly released by granulocytes, likely plays an early antibacterial role. Subsequently, AIF-1+ RNASET2-recruited macrophages further recruit other macrophages to potentiate the antibacterial inflammatory response. These experimental data are in keeping with the notion of RNASET2 acting as an alarmin-like molecule whose role is to locally transmit a “danger” signal (such as a bacterial infection) to the innate immune system in order to trigger an appropriate host response.
Innovative biomarkers are needed to improve the management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Blood circulating miRNAs have been proposed as a potential tool to detect T2DM complications, but the lack of tissue specificity, among other reasons, has hampered their translation to clinical settings. Extracellular vesicle (EV)-shuttled miRNAs have been proposed as an alternative approach. Here, we adapted an immunomagnetic bead–based method to isolate plasma CD31+ EVs to harvest vesicles deriving from tissues relevant for T2DM complications. Surface marker characterization showed that CD31+ EVs were also positive for a range of markers typical of both platelets and activated endothelial cells. After characterization, we quantified 11 candidate miRNAs associated with vascular performance and shuttled by CD31+ EVs in a large (n = 218) cross-sectional cohort of patients categorized as having T2DM without complications, having T2DM with complications, and control subjects. We found that 10 of the tested miRNAs are affected by T2DM, while the signature composed by miR-146a, -320a, -422a, and -451a efficiently identified T2DM patients with complications. Furthermore, another CD31+ EV-shuttled miRNA signature, i.e., miR-155, -320a, -342-3p, -376, and -422a, detected T2DM patients with a previous major adverse cardiovascular event. Many of these miRNAs significantly correlate with clinical variables held to play a key role in the development of complications. In addition, we show that CD31+ EVs from patients with T2DM are able to promote the expression of selected inflammatory mRNAs, i.e., CCL2, IL-1α, and TNFα, when administered to endothelial cells in vitro. Overall, these data suggest that the miRNA cargo of plasma CD31+ EVs is largely affected by T2DM and related complications, encouraging further research to explore the diagnostic potential and the functional role of these alterations.
The recent widespread applications of nanomaterials, because of their properties, opens new scenarios that affect their dispersal in the environment. In particular multiwall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), despite their qualities, seem to be harmful for animals and humans. To evaluate possible toxic effects caused by carbon nanotube environmental dispersion, with regard to aquatic compartment, we proposed as experimental model a freshwater invertebrate: Hirudo medicinalis. In the present study we analyse acute and chronic immune responses over a short (1, 3, 6 and 12 hours) and long time (from 1 to 5 weeks) exposure to MWCNTs by optical, electron and immunohistochemical approaches. In the exposed leeches angiogenesis and fibroplasia accompanied by massive cellular migration occur. Immunocytochemical characterization using specific markers shows that in these inflammatory processes the monocyte-macrophages (CD45+, CD68+) are the most involved cells. These immunocompetent cells are characterized by sequence of events starting from the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines (in particular IL-18), and amyloidogenensis. Our combined experimental approaches, basing on high sensitive inflammatory response can highlight adverse effects of nanomaterials on aquatic organisms and could be useful to assess the MWCNTs impact on aquatic, terrestrial animal and human health.
Telocytes, a peculiar cell type, were recently found in vertebrates. Hence this cell system has been reported as ubiquitous in the bodies of mammals and interpreted as an important player in innate immunity and tissue regeneration, it is reasonable to look for it also in invertebrates, that rely their integrity solely by innate immunity. Here we describe, at morphological and functional level, invertebrate telocytes from the body of leech Hirudo medicinalis (Annelida), suggesting how these cells, forming a resident stromal 3D network, can influence or participate in different events. These findings support the concepts that leech telocytes: i) are organized in a cellular dynamic and versatile 3D network likewise the vertebrate counterpart; ii) are an evolutionarily conserved immune-neuroendocrine system; iii) form an immuno-surveillance system of resident cells responding faster than migrating immunocytes recruited in stimulated area; iv) communicate with neighbouring cells directly and indirectly, via cell-cell contacts and soluble molecules secreted by multivesicular bodies; v) present within neo-vessels, share with immunocytes the mesodermal lineage; vi) are involved in regenerative processes. In conclusion, we propose that HmTCs, integrating so different functions, might explain the innate immune memory and can be associated with several aged related diseases.
Background Inflammatory bowel diseases are associated with remodeling of neuronal circuitries within the enteric nervous system, occurring also at sites distant from the acute site of inflammation and underlying disturbed intestinal functions. Homeoproteins orthodenticle OTX1 and OTX2 are neuronal transcription factors participating to adaptation during inflammation and underlying tumor growth both in the central nervous system and in the periphery. In this study, we evaluated OTX1 and OTX2 expression in the rat small intestine and distal colon myenteric plexus after intrarectal dinitro-benzene sulfonic (DNBS) acid-induced colitis. Methods OTX1 and OTX2 distribution was immunohistochemically investigated in longitudinal muscle myenteric plexus (LMMP)-whole mount preparations. mRNAs and protein levels of both OTX1 and OTX2 were evaluated by qRT-PCR and Western blotting in LMMPs. Results DNBS-treatment induced major gross morphology and histological alterations in the distal colon, while the number of myenteric neurons was significantly reduced both in the small intestine and colon. mRNA levels of the inflammatory markers, TNFα, pro-IL1β, IL6, HIF1α and VEGFα and myeloperoxidase activity raised in both regions. In both small intestine and colon, an anti-OTX1 antibody labeled a small percentage of myenteric neurons, and prevalently enteric glial cells, as evidenced by co-staining with the glial marker S100β. OTX2 immunoreactivity was present only in myenteric neurons and was highly co-localized with neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Both in the small intestine and distal colon, the number of OTX1- and OTX2-immunoreactive myenteric neurons significantly increased after DNBS treatment. In these conditions, OTX1 immunostaining was highly superimposable with inducible nitric oxide synthase in both regions. OTX1 and OTX2 mRNA and protein levels significantly enhanced in LMMP preparations of both regions after DNBS treatment. Conclusions These data suggest that colitis up-regulates OTX1 and OTX2 in myenteric plexus both on site and distantly from the injury, potentially participating to inflammatory-related myenteric ganglia remodeling processes involving nitrergic transmission.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are relevant means for transferring signals across cells and facilitate propagation of oncogenic stimuli promoting disease evolution and metastatic spread in cancer patients. Here, we investigated the release of miR-424 in circulating small EVs or exosomes from prostate cancer patients and assessed the functional implications in multiple experimental models. We found higher frequency of circulating miR-424 positive EVs in patients with metastatic prostate cancer compared to patients with primary tumors and BPH. Release of miR-424 in small EVs was enhanced in cell lines (LNCaPabl), transgenic mice (Pb-Cre4;Ptenflox/flox;Rosa26ERG/ERG) and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of aggressive disease. EVs containing miR-424 promoted stem-like traits and tumor-initiating properties in normal prostate epithelial cells while enhanced tumorigenesis in transformed prostate epithelial cells. Intravenous administration of miR-424 positive EVs to mice, mimicking blood circulation, promoted miR-424 transfer and tumor growth in xenograft models. Circulating miR-424 positive EVs from patients with aggressive primary and metastatic tumors induced stem-like features when supplemented to prostate epithelial cells. This study establishes that EVs-mediated transfer of miR-424 across heterogeneous cell populations is an important mechanism of tumor self-sustenance, disease recurrence and progression. These findings might indicate novel approaches for the management and therapy of prostate cancer.
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