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Apoptotic engulfment pathway and schizophrenia.BACKGROUND: Apoptosis has been speculated to be involved in schizophrenia. In a previously study, we reported the association of the MEGF10 gene with the disease. In this study, we followed the apoptotic engulfment pathway involving the MEGF10, GULP1, ABCA1 and ABCA7 genes and tested their association with the disease. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Ten, eleven and five SNPs were genotyped in the GULP1, ABCA1 and ABCA7 genes respectively for the ISHDSF and ICCSS samples. In all 3 genes, we observed nominally significant associations. Rs2004888 at GULP1 was significant in both ISHDSF and ICCSS samples (p = 0.0083 and 0.0437 respectively). We sought replication in independent samples for this marker and found highly significant association (p = 0.0003) in 3 Caucasian replication samples. But it was not significant in the 2 Chinese replication samples. In addition, we found a significant 2-marker (rs2242436 * rs3858075) interaction between the ABCA1 and ABCA7 genes in the ISHDSF sample (p = 0.0022) and a 3-marker interaction (rs246896 * rs4522565 * rs3858075) amongst the MEGF10, GULP1 and ABCA1 genes in the ICCSS sample (p = 0.0120). Rs3858075 in the ABCA1 gene was involved in both 2- and 3-marker interactions in the two samples. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: From these data, we concluded that the GULP1 gene and the apoptotic engulfment pathway are involved in schizophrenia in subjects of European ancestry and multiple genes in the pathway may interactively increase the risks to the disease.
Ghrelin in the human myometrium.BACKGROUND: Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid octanolyated peptide, synthesised primarily in the stomach. It stimulates growth hormone release, food intake and exhibits many other diverse effects. Our group have previously determined that ghrelin inhibited human contractility in vitro. The aim of this study therefore, was to investigate the expression of ghrelin, its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor type 1 (GHS-R1), ghrelin O-acyltransferase (GOAT) which catalyses ghrelin octanoylation, prohormone convertase 1/3 (PC1/3) responsible for pro-ghrelin processing, in human myometrium, during pregnancy prior to labour, during labour and in the non-pregnant state. Modulation of ghrelin and ghrelin receptor expression in cultured myometrial cells was also investigated. METHODS: mRNA and protein were isolated from human myometrium and the myometrial smooth muscle cell line hTERT-HM; and real-time fluorescence RT-PCR, western blotting and fluorescence microscopy performed. The effects of beta-Estradiol and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on hTERT-HM gene expression were evaluated by western blotting. RESULTS: We have reported for the first time the expression and processing of ghrelin, GHS-R1, GOAT and PC1/3 expression in human myometrium, and also the down-regulation of ghrelin mRNA and protein expression during labour. Furthermore, GHS-R1 protein expression significantly decreased at labour. Myometrial GOAT expression significantly increased during term non-labouring pregnancy in comparison to both non-pregnant and labouring myometrium. Mature PC1/3 protein expression was significantly decreased at term pregnancy and labour in comparison to non-pregnant myometrium. Ghrelin, GHS-R1, GOAT and PC1/3 mRNA and protein expression was also detected in the hTERT-HM cells. Ghrelin protein expression decreased upon LPS treatment in these cells while beta-Estradiol treatment increased GHS-R1 expression. CONCLUSIONS: Ghrelin processing occurred in the human myometrium at term pregnancy and in the non-pregnant state. GOAT expression which increased during term non-labouring pregnancy demonstrating a similar expression pattern to prepro-ghrelin and GHS-R1, decreased at labour, signifying possible myometrial ghrelin acylation. Moreover, the presence of PC1/3 may contribute to pro-ghrelin processing. These results along with the previous in vitro data suggest that myometrially-produced and processed ghrelin plays a significant autocrine or paracrine role in the maintenance of relaxation in this tissue during pregnancy. Furthermore, the significant uterine modulators LPS and beta-Estradiol are involved in the regulation of ghrelin and ghrelin receptor expression respectively, in the human myometrium.
Modulation of pathogen-induced CCL20 secretion from HT-29 human intestinal epithelial cells by commensal bacteria.BACKGROUND: Human intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) secrete the chemokine CCL20 in response to infection by various enteropathogenic bacteria or exposure to bacterial flagellin. CCL20 recruits immature dendritic cells and lymphocytes to target sites. Here we investigated IEC responses to various pathogenic and commensal bacteria as well as the modulatory effects of commensal bacteria on pathogen-induced CCL20 secretion. HT-29 human IECs were incubated with commensal bacteria (Bifidobacterium infantis or Lactobacillus salivarius), or with Salmonella typhimurium, its flagellin, Clostridium difficile, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, or Mycobacterium smegmatis for varying times. In some studies, HT-29 cells were pre-treated with a commensal strain for 2 hr prior to infection or flagellin stimulation. CCL20 and interleukin (IL)-8 secretion and nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. RESULTS: Compared to untreated cells, S. typhimurium, C. difficile, M. paratuberculosis, and flagellin activated NF-kappaB and stimulated significant secretion of CCL20 and IL-8 by HT-29 cells. Conversely, B. infantis, L. salivarius or M. smegmatis did not activate NF-kappaB or augment CCL20 or IL-8 production. Treatment with B. infantis, but not L. salivarius, dose-dependently inhibited the baseline secretion of CCL20. In cells pre-treated with B. infantis, C. difficile-, S. typhimurium-, and flagellin-induced CCL20 were significantly attenuated. B. infantis did not limit M. Paratuberculosis-induced CCL20 secretion. CONCLUSION: This study is the first to demonstrate that a commensal strain can attenuate CCL20 secretion in HT-29 IECs. Collectively, the data indicate that M. paratuberculosis may mediate mucosal damage and that B. infantis can exert immunomodulatory effects on IECs that mediate host responses to flagellin and flagellated enteric pathogens.
The temporal dynamics of differential gene expression in Aspergillus fumigatus interacting with human immature dendritic cells in vitro.Dendritic cells (DC) are the most important antigen presenting cells and play a pivotal role in host immunity to infectious agents by acting as a bridge between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Monocyte-derived immature DCs (iDC) were infected with viable resting conidia of Aspergillus fumigatus (Af293) for 12 hours at an MOI of 5; cells were sampled every three hours. RNA was extracted from both organisms at each time point and hybridised to microarrays. iDC cell death increased at 6 h in the presence of A. fumigatus which coincided with fungal germ tube emergence; >80% of conidia were associated with iDC. Over the time course A. fumigatus differentially regulated 210 genes, FunCat analysis indicated significant up-regulation of genes involved in fermentation, drug transport, pathogenesis and response to oxidative stress. Genes related to cytotoxicity were differentially regulated but the gliotoxin biosynthesis genes were down regulated over the time course, while Aspf1 was up-regulated at 9 h and 12 h. There was an up-regulation of genes in the subtelomeric regions of the genome as the interaction progressed. The genes up-regulated by iDC in the presence of A. fumigatus indicated that they were producing a pro-inflammatory response which was consistent with previous transcriptome studies of iDC interacting with A. fumigatus germ tubes. This study shows that A. fumigatus adapts to phagocytosis by iDCs by utilising genes that allow it to survive the interaction rather than just up-regulation of specific virulence genes.