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Depletion of FOXP3+ regulatory T cells promotes hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis.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.
Generation of healthy mice from gene-corrected disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.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.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).
Regional transient portal ischemia and irradiation as preparative regimen for hepatocyte transplantation.Hepatocyte transplantation is regarded as a promising option to correct hereditary metabolic liver disease. This study describes a novel method involving regional transient portal ischemia (RTPI) in combination with hepatic irradiation (IR) as a preparative regimen for hepatocyte transplantation. The right lobules of rat livers (45% of liver mass) were subjected to RTPI of 30-120 min. Liver specimens and serum samples were analyzed for transaminase levels, DNA damage, apoptosis, and proliferation. Repopulation experiments involved livers of dipeptidylpeptidase IV (DPPIV)-deficient rats preconditioned with RTPI (60-90 min) either with or without prior partial hepatic IR (25 Gy). After reperfusion intervals of 1 and 24 h, 12 million wild-type (DPPIV positive) hepatocytes were transplanted into recipient livers via the spleen. RTPI of 60-90 min caused limited hepatic injury through necrosis and induced a distinct regenerative response in the host liver. Twelve weeks following transplantation, small clusters of donor hepatocytes were detected within the portal areas. Quantitative analysis revealed limited engraftment of 0.79% to 2.95%, whereas control animals (sham OP) exhibited 4.16% (determined as relative activity of DPPIV when compared to wild-type liver). Repopulation was significantly enhanced (21.43%) when IR was performed prior to RTPI, optimum preconditioning settings being 90 min of ischemia and 1 h of reperfusion before transplantation. We demonstrate that RTPI alone is disadvantageous to donor cell engraftment, whereas the combination of IR with RTPI comprises an effective preparative regimen for liver repopulation. The method described clearly has potential for clinical application.