• Depletion of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells promotes hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis.

      Klingenberg, Roland; Gerdes, Norbert; Badeau, Robert M; Gisterå, Anton; Strodthoff, Daniela; Ketelhuth, Daniel F J; Lundberg, Anna M; Rudling, Mats; Nilsson, Stefan K; Olivecrona, Gunilla; et al. (2013-03-01)
      Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease promoted by hyperlipidemia. Several studies support FOXP3-positive regulatory T cells (Tregs) as inhibitors of atherosclerosis; however, the mechanism underlying this protection remains elusive. To define the role of FOXP3-expressing Tregs in atherosclerosis, we used the DEREG mouse, which expresses the diphtheria toxin (DT) receptor under control of the Treg-specific Foxp3 promoter, allowing for specific ablation of FOXP3+ Tregs. Lethally irradiated, atherosclerosis-prone, low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient (Ldlr(-/-)) mice received DEREG bone marrow and were injected with DT to eliminate FOXP3(+) Tregs. Depletion of Tregs caused a 2.1-fold increase in atherosclerosis without a concomitant increase in vascular inflammation. These mice also exhibited a 1.7-fold increase in plasma cholesterol and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile with increased levels of VLDL. Clearance of VLDL and chylomicron remnants was hampered, leading to accumulation of cholesterol-rich particles in the circulation. Functional and protein analyses complemented by gene expression array identified reduced protein expression of sortilin-1 in liver and increased plasma enzyme activity of lipoprotein lipase, hepatic lipase, and phospholipid transfer protein as mediators of the altered lipid phenotype. These results demonstrate that FOXP3(+) Tregs inhibit atherosclerosis by modulating lipoprotein metabolism.
    • GATA6 promotes angiogenic function and survival in endothelial cells by suppression of autocrine transforming growth factor beta/activin receptor-like kinase 5 signaling.

      Froese, Natali; Kattih, Badder; Breitbart, Astrid; Grund, Andrea; Geffers, Robert; Molkentin, Jeffery D; Kispert, Andreas; Wollert, Kai C; Drexler, Helmut; Heineke, Joerg; et al. (2011-02-18)
      Understanding the transcriptional regulation of angiogenesis could lead to the identification of novel therapeutic targets. We showed here that the transcription factor GATA6 is expressed in different human primary endothelial cells as well as in vascular endothelial cells of mice in vivo. Activation of endothelial cells was associated with GATA6 nuclear translocation, chromatin binding, and enhanced GATA6-dependent transcriptional activation. siRNA-mediated down-regulation of GATA6 after growth factor stimulation led to a dramatically reduced capacity of macro- and microvascular endothelial cells to proliferate, migrate, or form capillary-like structures on Matrigel. Adenoviral overexpression of GATA6 in turn enhanced angiogenic function, especially in cardiac endothelial microvascular cells. Furthermore, GATA6 protected endothelial cells from undergoing apoptosis during growth factor deprivation. Mechanistically, down-regulation of GATA6 in endothelial cells led to increased expression of transforming growth factor (TGF) β1 and TGFβ2, whereas enhanced GATA6 expression, accordingly, suppressed Tgfb1 promoter activity. High TGFβ1/β2 expression in GATA6-depleted endothelial cells increased the activation of the activin receptor-like kinase 5 (ALK5) and SMAD2, and suppression of this signaling axis by TGFβ neutralizing antibody or ALK5 inhibition restored angiogenic function and survival in endothelial cells with reduced GATA6 expression. Together, these findings indicate that GATA6 plays a crucial role for endothelial cell function and survival, at least in part, by suppressing autocrine TGFβ expression and ALK5-dependent signaling.
    • Generation of healthy mice from gene-corrected disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.

      Wu, Guangming; Liu, Na; Rittelmeyer, Ina; Sharma, Amar Deep; Sgodda, Malte; Zaehres, Holm; Bleidissel, Martina; Greber, Boris; Gentile, Luca; Han, Dong Wook; et al. (2011-07)
      Using the murine model of tyrosinemia type 1 (fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase [FAH] deficiency; FAH⁻/⁻ mice) as a paradigm for orphan disorders, such as hereditary metabolic liver diseases, we evaluated fibroblast-derived FAH⁻/⁻-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) as targets for gene correction in combination with the tetraploid embryo complementation method. First, after characterizing the FAH⁻/⁻ iPS cell lines, we aggregated FAH⁻/⁻-iPS cells with tetraploid embryos and obtained entirely FAH⁻/⁻-iPS cell-derived mice that were viable and exhibited the phenotype of the founding FAH⁻/⁻ mice. Then, we transduced FAH cDNA into the FAH⁻/⁻-iPS cells using a third-generation lentiviral vector to generate gene-corrected iPS cells. We could not detect any chromosomal alterations in these cells by high-resolution array CGH analysis, and after their aggregation with tetraploid embryos, we obtained fully iPS cell-derived healthy mice with an astonishing high efficiency for full-term development of up to 63.3%. The gene correction was validated functionally by the long-term survival and expansion of FAH-positive cells of these mice after withdrawal of the rescuing drug NTBC (2-(2-nitro-4-fluoromethylbenzoyl)-1,3-cyclohexanedione). Furthermore, our results demonstrate that both a liver-specific promoter (transthyretin, TTR)-driven FAH transgene and a strong viral promoter (from spleen focus-forming virus, SFFV)-driven FAH transgene rescued the FAH-deficiency phenotypes in the mice derived from the respective gene-corrected iPS cells. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that a lentiviral gene repair strategy does not abrogate the full pluripotent potential of fibroblast-derived iPS cells, and genetic manipulation of iPS cells in combination with tetraploid embryo aggregation provides a practical and rapid approach to evaluate the efficacy of gene correction of human diseases in mouse models.
    • Induction of a mature hepatocyte phenotype in adult liver derived progenitor cells by ectopic expression of transcription factors.

      Iacob, Razvan; Rüdrich, Urda; Rothe, Michael; Kirsch, Sarah; Maasoumy, Benjamin; Narain, Nidhi; Verfaillie, Catherine M; Sancho-Bru, Pau; Iken, Marcus; Popescu, Irinel; et al. (2011-05)
      By ectopic expression of a distinct combination of transcription factors we aimed to induce a mature hepatocyte phenotype in an adult liver derived progenitor cell population (ALDPC).
    • Langerhans cells protect from allergic contact dermatitis in mice by tolerizing CD8(+) T cells and activating Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells.

      Gomez de Agüero, Mercedes; Vocanson, Marc; Hacini-Rachinel, Fériel; Taillardet, Morgan; Sparwasser, Tim; Kissenpfennig, Adrien; Malissen, Bernard; Kaiserlian, Dominique; Dubois, Bertrand; INSERM, U851, Lyon, France. (2012-05-01)
      Allergic contact dermatitis is the most frequent occupational disease in industrialized countries. It is caused by CD8(+) T cell-mediated contact hypersensitivity (CHS) reactions triggered at the site of contact by a variety of chemicals, also known as weak haptens, present in fragrances, dyes, metals, preservatives, and drugs. Despite the myriad of potentially allergenic substances that can penetrate the skin, sensitization is relatively rare and immune tolerance to the substance is often induced by as yet poorly understood mechanisms. Here we show, using the innocuous chemical 2,4-dinitrothiocyanobenzene (DNTB), that cutaneous immune tolerance in mice critically depends on epidermal Langerhans cells (LCs), which capture DNTB and migrate to lymph nodes for direct presentation to CD8(+) T cells. Depletion and adoptive transfer experiments revealed that LCs conferred protection from development of CHS by a mechanism involving both anergy and deletion of allergen-specific CD8(+) T cells and activation of a population of T cells identified as ICOS(+)CD4(+)Foxp3(+) Tregs. Our findings highlight the critical role of LCs in tolerance induction in mice to the prototype innocuous hapten DNTB and suggest that strategies targeting LCs might be valuable for prevention of cutaneous allergy.