The large MAF transcription factor group is a group of transcription factors with an acidic region, a basic region, and a leucine zipper region. Four types of MAF, MAFA, MAFB, c-MAF, and NRL, have been identified in humans and mice. In order to elucidate the functions of the large MAF transcription factor group in vivo, our research group created genetically modified MAFA-, MAFB-, and c-MAF-deficient mice and analyzed their phenotypes. MAFA is expressed in pancreatic β cells and is essential for insulin transcription and secretion. MAFB is essential for the development of pancreatic endocrine cells, formation of inner ears, podocyte function in the kidneys, and functional differentiation of macrophages. c-MAF is essential for lens formation and osteoblast differentiation. Furthermore, a single-base mutation in genes encoding the large MAF transcription factor group causes congenital renal disease, eye disease, bone disease, diabetes, and tumors in humans. This review describes the functions of large MAF transcription factors in vivo and their relationships with human diseases.
Cancer is one of the most catastrophic human genetic diseases. Experimental animal cancer models are essential for gaining insights into the complex interactions of different cells and genes in tumor initiation, promotion, and progression. Mouse models have been extensively used to analyze the genetic basis of cancer susceptibility. They have led to the identification of multiple loci that confer, either alone or in specific combinations, an increased susceptibility to cancer, some of which have direct translatability to human cancer. Additionally, wild-derived inbred mouse strains are an advantageous reservoir of novel genetic polymorphisms of cancer susceptibility genes, because of the evolutionary divergence between wild and classical inbred strains. Here, we review mapped Stmm (skintumor modifier of MSM) loci using a Japanese wild-derived inbred mouse strain, MSM/Ms, and describe recent advances in our knowledge of the genes responsible for Stmm loci in the 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA)/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) two-stage skin carcinogenesis model.
Long-term administration of D-galactose induces oxidative stress and accelerates normal age-related changes. Hence, the D-galactose-treated rodent model has been widely used for aging research. In this study, we examined the immunological characteristics, especially CD4+ T-cell subset composition, of D-galactose-induced aging model mice to evaluate the model’s utility in immunosenescence studies. The spleens of aging model mice subjected to repeated subcutaneous injections of D-galactose exhibited significant increases in T cells with the memory phenotype (CD62Llow CD44high) and individual T-cell subsets (Th1, Th2, Th17 and Treg). Furthermore, cells with the phenotype of T follicular helper (Tfh) cells were spontaneously increased. The features of T-cell subset composition in D-galactose-treated mice were in close agreement with those observed in normal aged mice and appeared to mimic the currently known normal aging processes associated with T-cell homeostasis. Our results suggest that D-galactose-induced aging models would be useful for immunosenescence studies focusing on T-cell homeostasis and give valuable insight into age-related immune system dysregulation.
This study was designed to investigate the effects of the Angiotensin II type I receptor (AT1R) shRNA on blood pressure and left ventricular remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Ten Wistar Kyoto (WKY) rats were used as a normal blood pressure control group, and 20 spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) were randomly divided into the experimental and hypertension control groups. The rats in the experimental group were injected with AT1R shRNA recombinant adenovirus (Ad5-AT1R-shRNA) via a tail vein, and the rats in the other two groups were injected with recombinant adenovirus (Ad5-EGFP). The systolic blood pressure (SBP) at rat arteria caudalis was measured before and after the injection, and the heart, kidney, aorta, and adrenal tissues were obtained two days after repeated injection to observe the distribution of Ad5-AT1R-shRNA under a fluorescence microscope. Before the injection of Ad5-AT1R-shRNA, the blood pressure of the experimental group and the hypertension control group was significantly higher than that of the normal blood pressure control group (P<0.01). After two injections, the blood pressure in the experimental group decreased significantly, and the duration of blood pressure reduction reached 19 days. In the experimental group, the kidney, heart, aorta, and adrenal gland tissues showed vigorous fluorescence expression under the fluorescence microscope. Repeated administration of Ad5-AT1R-shRNA has a long-lasting hypotensive effect on SHR and can significantly improve ventricular remodeling.
The metabolic sensor sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) also functions as a checkpoint in inflammation, and SRT1720 is a highly active and selective SIRT1 activator shown to alleviate inflammatory injury in several recent experimental studies. In the present study, the potential effects and underlying mechanisms of SRT1720 on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced fulminant hepatitis in D-galactosamine (D-Gal)-sensitized mice were investigated. The results indicated that treatment with SRT1720 inhibited LPS/D-Gal-induced elevation of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alleviated the histological abnormalities, suppressed the induction of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and IL-6, mitigated the phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), downregulated the activities of caspase 8, caspase 9 and caspase 3, decreased the level of cleaved caspase 3, reduced the TUNEL-positive cells, and improved the survival rate of the LPS/D-Gal-exposed mice. These data indicated that treatment with the SIRT1 activator SRT1720 alleviated LPS/D-Gal-induced fulminant hepatitis, which might be attributed to the suppressive effects of SRT1720 on TNF-α production and the subsequent activation of the apoptosis cascade.
Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is a common complication following reperfusion therapy that involves a series of immune or apoptotic reactions. Studies have revealed the potential roles of miRNAs in I/R injury. Herein, we established a myocardial I/R model in rats and a hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) model in H9c2 cells and investigated the effect of miR-145-5p on myocardial I/R injury. After 3 h or 24 h of reperfusion, left ventricular end-systolic pressure (LVESP), ejection fraction (EF), and fractional shortening (FS) were obviously decreased, and left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) was increased. Meanwhile, I/R induced an increase in myocardial infarction area. Moreover, a decrease in miR-145-5p and increase in (NADPH) oxidase homolog 1 (NOH-1) were observed following I/R injury. With this in mind, we performed a luciferase reporter assay and demonstrated that miR-145-5p directly bound to NOH-1 3’ untranslated region (UTR). Furthermore, miR-145-5p mimics decreased the levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 via oxygen and glucose deprivation/reperfusion (OGD/R) stimulation. Upregulation of miR-145-5p increased cell viability and reduced apoptosis accompanied by downregulation of Bax, cleaved caspase-3, cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and upregulation of Bcl2. In addition, miR-145-5p overexpression increased superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity and reduced reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content under OGD/R stress. Notably, NOH-1 could significantly abrogate the above effects, suggesting that it is involved in miR-145-5p-regulated I/R injury. In summary, our findings indicated that miR-145-5p/NOH-1 has a protective effect on myocardial I/R injury by inhibiting the inflammatory response and apoptosis.
Excessive scar formation post burn injury can cause great pain to the patients. MiR-133a-3p has been demonstrated to be anti-fibrotic in some fibrosis-related diseases. However, its possible role in scar formation has not been elucidated yet. In present study, the effect of miR-133a-3p on scar formation was investigated in a scalded model of mice. Moreover, the function of miR-133a-3p on proliferation and migration of scar-derived fibroblasts (SFs) was studied in vitro. It was found that miR-133a-3p was dramatically downregulated in scar tissue of scalded mice. Upregulation of miR-133a-3p by miR-133a-3p agomir obviously inhibited the scar formation in scalded mice. Histological staining showed that upregulation of miR-133a-3p attenuated the excessive deposition of collagen in scar tissue of scalded mice. In vitro study showed that upregulation of miR-133a-3p effectively suppressed the proliferation and migration of SFs. Besides, upregulation of miR-133a-3p attenuated the protein levels of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen I, indicating that miR-133a-3p could suppress the activation of SFs. The expression of connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), a critical mediator in cell proliferation, migration and extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis, was also downregulated by the upregulation of miR-133a-3p. Luciferase reporter assay validated that CTGF was directly targeted by miR-133a-3p. In addition, overexpression of CTGF abolished the effect of miR-133a-3p on inhibiting the proliferation, migration and activation of SFs, indicating that miR-133a-3p functioned by targeting CTGF. Therefore, miR-133a-3p might be a promising target for treating pathological scars.
For highly conserved mammalian protein, chicken is a suitable immune host to generate antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies have been successfully targeted with immunity checkpoint proteins as a means of cancer treatment; this treatment enhances tumor-specific immunity responses through immunoregulation. Studies have identified the importance of B7-H4 in immunoregulation and its use as a potential target for cancer treatment. High levels of B7-H4 expression are found in tumor tissues and are associated with adverse clinical and pathological characteristics. Using the phage display technique, this study isolated specific single-chain antibody fragments (scFvs) against B7-H4 from chickens. Our experiment proved that B7-H4 clearly induced the inhibition of T-cell activation. Therefore, use of anti-B7-H4 scFvs can effectively block the exhaustion of immunity cells and also stimulate and activate T-cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Sequence analysis revealed that two isolated scFv S2 and S4 have the same VH complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) sequence. Molecule docking was employed to simulate the complex structures of scFv with B7-H4 to analyze the interaction. Our findings revealed that both scFvs employed CDR-H1 and CDR-H3 as main driving forces and had strong binding effects with the B7-H4. The affinity of scFv S2 was better because the CDR-L2 loop of the scFv S2 had three more hydrogen bond interactions with B7-H4. The results of this experiment suggest the usefulness of B7-H4 as a target for immunity checkpoints; the isolated B7-H4-specific chicken antibodies have the potential for use in future cancer immunotherapy applications.
In the current study, we established a novel murine ischemic brain damage model using a photochemical reaction to evaluate the recovery of neurological dysfunction and brain repair reactions. In this model, reproducible damage was induced in the frontal lobe of the cortex, which was accompanied by neurological dysfunction. Sequential changes in damage size, microglial accumulation, astrocyte activation, and neurological dysfunction were studied in C57BL/6J and BALB/c mouse strains. Although the initial size of damage was comparable in both strains, the extent of damage was later reduced to a greater extent in C57BL/6J mice than that in BALB/c mice. In addition, C57BL/6J mice showed later edema clearance until day 7, less microglial accumulation, and relatively more astrocyte activation on day 7. Neurologic dysfunction was evaluated by three behavioral tests: the von Frey test, the balance beam test, and the tail suspension test. The behavioral abnormalities evaluated by these tests were remarkable following the induction of damage and recovered by day 21 in both strains. However, the abnormalities were more prominent and the recovery was later in C57BL/6J mice. These findings demonstrate that our novel ischemic stroke model is useful for evaluating brain repair reactions and the recovery of neurological dysfunction in mice with different genetic backgrounds. In addition, we found that both the brain repair reactions and the recovery of neurological dysfunction after comparable ischemic brain damage varied between strains; in that, they both occurred later in C57BL/6J mice.
Astroviruses are often associated with gastrointestinal diseases in mammals and birds. Murine astrovirus (MuAstV) is frequently detected in laboratory mice. Previous studies on MuAstV in mice did not report any symptoms or lesions. However, little information is available regarding its pathogenicity in immunodeficient mice. Therefore, in this study, we experimentally infected germ-free NOD.Cg-PrkdcscidIl2rgtm1Sug/ShiJic (NOG) mice, which are severely immunodeficient, with MuAstV. Germ-free mice were used for experimental infection to eliminate the effects of intestinal bacteria. Mice in each group were then necropsied and subjected to PCR for MuAstV detection, MuAstV RNA quantification in each organ, and histopathological examination at 4 and 28 days post inoculation (DPI). Tissue samples from the small intestine were examined by transmission electron microscopy. No symptoms or abnormalities were detected in any mice during necropsy. The MuAstV concentration was highest in the lower small intestine, where it increased approximately 8-fold from 4 to 28 DPI. Transmission electron microscopy revealed circular virus particles of approximately 25 nm in diameter in the cytoplasm of the villous epithelial cells of the lower small intestine. Histopathological examination did not reveal any abnormalities, such as atrophy, in the intestinal villi. Our results suggest that MuAstV proliferates in the villous epithelial cells of the lower small intestine and has weak pathogenicity.
To observe the changes in NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in a rat model of diabetes-induced lung injury, and investigate the effect of low-dose ethanol on the production of NLRP3 inflammasome. The type I diabetic mellitus (DM) rat model was established, and the rats were divided into four groups: normal control group (CON group), low-dose ethanol group (EtOH group), diabetes group (DM group) and DM+EtOH group. The rats were fed for 6 and 12 weeks, respectively. The ratio of lung wet weight/body weight (lung/body coefficient) was calculated, and the changes of pulmonary morphology and fibrosis were observed by HE and Masson staining. The changes in pulmonary ultra-structure were examined by electron microscopy. The expressions of mitochondrial acetaldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) and NLRP3 inflammasome key factors, NLRP3, ASC and caspase-1 proteins were detected by western blot. Compared with the CON group, the lung/body coefficient was increased (P<0.05), lung fibrosis occurred, ALDH2 protein expression was decreased, and NLRP3, ASC and caspase-1 protein expressions were increased in the DM rats (P<0.05). Compared with the DM group, the lung/body coefficient and fibrosis degree were decreased, ALDH2 protein expression was increased (P<0.05), and NLRP3, ASC and caspase-1 protein expressions were decreased in the DM+EtOH group (P<0.05). Hence, low-dose ethanol increased ALDH2 protein expression and alleviated diabetes-induced lung injury by inhibiting the production of NLRP3 inflammasome.
It is known that administering a gavage to rodents evokes a cardiac reflex, due to gastrointestinal stimulation. Consequently, it is difficult to evaluate changes in hemodynamics after a single oral dose of a pungent or astringent, which alters the circulation by increasing sympathetic activity. In the present study, we developed a method for administering a gavage without significantly affecting hemodynamics measurements. We marked a gastric tube at 10 cm from the tip, to mark the distance from the oral cavity to the stomach body of Wistar male rats. Rats were intubated under urethane anesthesia.After 10–15 min of stabilization, we measured the mean blood pressure (MBP), heart rate (HR), and blood flow (BF) in the cremaster arteriole under two different conditions; condition 1: a pointed gastric tube, room temperature distilled water, and injected at normal speed (approximately 3 ml/min); condition 2: a rounded gastric tube, 37°C distilled water, and injection at 1.0 ml/min. Under condition 1, we observed striking hemodynamic alterations, due to the somatic afferent reflex. In contrast, under condition 2, these hemodynamic changes were nearly eliminated. In addition, we could clearly detect hemodynamic changes in rats after a single gavage treatment of pungent (capsaicin) or astringent (cinnamtannin A2). We observed transient increases in the HR and MBP soon after treatment with capsaicin. Moreover, cremasteric BF was elevated with cinnamtannin A2. These results confirmed the utility of the gavage method developed in this study.
Sea urchin embryos have been one of model organisms to investigate cellular behaviors because of their simple cell composition and transparent body. They also give us an opportunity to investigate molecular functions of human proteins of interest that are conserved in sea urchin. Here we report that human disease-associated extracellular matrix orthologues ECM3 and QBRICK are necessary for mesenchymal cell migration during sea urchin embryogenesis. Immunofluorescence has visualized the colocalization of QBRICK and ECM3 on both apical and basal surface of ectoderm. On the basal surface, QBRICK and ECM3 constitute together a mesh-like fibrillar structure along the blastocoel wall. When the expression of ECM3 was knocked down by antisense-morpholino oligonucleotides, the ECM3-QBRICK fibrillar structure completely disappeared. When QBRICK was knocked down, the ECM3 was still present, but the basally localized fibers became fragmented. The ingression and migration of primary mesenchymal cells were not critically affected, but their migration at later stages was severely affected in both knock-down embryos. As a consequence of impaired primary mesenchymal cell migration, improper spicule formation was observed. These results indicate that ECM3 and QBRICK are components of extracellular matrix, which play important role in primary mesenchymal cell migration, and that sea urchin is a useful experimental animal model to investigate human disease-associated extracellular matrix proteins.
Elderly patients with dementia suffer from cognitive dysfunctions and neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) such as anxiety and depression. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a form of age-related dementia, and loss of cholinergic neurons is intimately associated with development of AD symptoms. We and others have reported that neural cell transplantation ameliorated cognitive dysfunction in AD model mice. It remains largely unclear whether neural cell transplantation ameliorates the NPS of AD. It would be interesting to determine whether NPS correlates with cognitive dysfunctions before and after neural cell transplantation in AD model mice. Based on the revalidation of our previous data from a Morris water maze test, we found that neural cell transplantation improved anxiety and depression significantly and marginally affected locomotion activity in AD mice. A correlation analysis revealed that the spatial learning function of AD mice was correlated with their NPS scores both before and after cell transplantation in a similar manner. In contrast, in the mice subjected to cell transplantation, spatial reference memory function was not correlated with NPS scores. These results suggested the neural cell transplantation in the AD model mice significantly improved NPS to the same degree as cognitive dysfunctions, possibly via distinct mechanisms, such as the cholinergic and GABAergic systems.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a prevalent neurological disorder affecting memory function in elderly persons. Indeed, AD exhibits abnormality in cognitive behaviors and higher susceptibility to neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS). Various factors including aging, sex difference and NPS severity, are implicated during in development of AD. In this study, we evaluated behavioral abnormalities of AD model, PDAPP transgenic mice at young age using the Morris Water Maze test, which was established to assess hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. We found that female AD model mice exhibited spatial learning dysfunction and highly susceptible to NPS such as anxiety and depression, whereas spatial reference memory function was comparable in female PDAPP Tg mice to female wild type (WT) mice. Spatial learning function was comparable in male AD model mice to male WT mice. Multiple regression analysis showed that spatial learning dysfunction was associated with NPS severity such as anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the analysis showed that spatial reference memory function was associated with status of depression, but not anxiety. Thus, these results suggest female dominance of spatial learning dysfunction in the AD model mice accompanying increased NPS severity. The understandings of AD model may be useful for the development of therapeutic agents and methods in human AD.
Mouse urine contains major urinary proteins (MUPs) that are not found in human urine. Therefore, even healthy mice exhibit proteinuria, unlike healthy humans, making it challenging to use mice as models for human diseases. It was also unknown whether dipsticks for urinalysis could measure protein concentrations precisely in urine containing MUPs. To resolve these problems, we produced MUP-knockout (Mup-KO) mice by removing the Mup gene cluster using Cas9 proteins and two guide RNAs and characterized the urinary proteins in these mice. We measured the urinary protein concentrations in Mup-KO and wild-type mice using a protein quantitation kit and dipsticks. We also examined the urinary protein composition using SDS-PAGE and two-dimensional electrophoresis (2DE). The urinary protein concentration was significantly lower (P<0.001) in Mup-KO mice (17.9 ± 1.8 mg/dl, mean ± SD, n=3) than in wild-type mice (73.7 ± 8.2 mg/dl, n=3). This difference was not reflected in the dipstick values, perhaps due to the low sensitivity to MUPs. This suggests that dipsticks have limited ability to measure changes in MUPs with precision. SDS-PAGE and 2DE confirmed that Mup-KO mice, like humans, had no MUPs in their urine, whereas wild-type mice had abundant MUPs in their urine. The absence of the masking effect of MUPs in 2DE would enable clear comparisons of urinary proteins, especially low-molecular-weight proteins. Thus, Mup-KO mice may provide a useful model for human urinalysis.
The mouse bioassay for diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins had been used as the official method in Japan and also used in the world. In this study, hypothermia, one of the symptoms observed in mice after inoculation with DSP toxins, were characterized. Lethal and sublethal doses of okadaic acid (OA), a representative component of DSP toxins, were inoculated intraperitoneally into mice. Body-temperature changes over time were measured by an electronic thermometer or monitored by an infrared camera. Drastic hypothermia (<30°C in some mice) was observed in a few hours after administration of a lethal dose of OA. Dose-dependency was clearly seen between doses of OA inoculated and body-temperature decrease. Drastic hypothermia was also detected by using an infrared camera. These results suggest that hypothermia could be used as an index for the humane endpoint in experimental animal toxicological studies.