The potential application of ribozymes for the treatment of hematological disorders.
With the identification and increasing understanding of the genes involved in neoplastic transformation has come the realization that abrogation of these genes' products may lead to cell death or a return to normalcy. The use of ribozymes and their nucleic acid cousins, antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs), are two such ways of perturbing the disease-related gene expression. This review will look at the development and application of ribozymes to abrogate gene expression, with particular relevance to hematological settings. Some examples of antisense ODNs will also be mentioned where appropriate. (+info)
Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor induces an invasive phenotype in human squamous cell carcinomas.
Inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor Flk-1 has been shown to prevent invasion of experimental squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). To directly investigate the role of VEGF in tumor invasion, we stably transfected human SCC-13 cells, which are characterized by a noninvasive phenotype in vivo, with expression vectors containing murine VEGF(164) in sense (SCC/VEGF+) or antisense (SCC/VEGF-) orientation or with vector alone (SCC/vec). SCC/vec cells formed slowly growing, well-differentiated tumors with well-defined borders between tumor and stroma, after intradermal or subcutaneous injection. In contrast, SCC/VEGF+ tumors were characterized by rapid tumor growth, with small cell groups and single cells invading into the surrounding tissue, and by admixture of blood vessels and tumor cells in areas of tumor invasion. We detected an increase in tumor vessel density and size in VEGF-overexpressing tumors, resulting in a more than fourfold increase in total vascular areas. In contrast, SCC/VEGF- clones formed noninvasive, sharply circumscribed tumors with reduced vascular density. These findings demonstrate that selective VEGF overexpression was sufficient to induce tumor invasiveness, and they provide further evidence for an active role of the tumor stroma in cancer progression. (+info)
Inhibition of the CD8+ T cell-mediated cytotoxicity reaction by hypericin: potential for treatment of T cell-mediated diseases.
The cytotoxicity reaction of murine CD8 T lymphocytes has been found to be strongly inhibited by nanomolar concentrations of hypericin, a lipophilic dianthraquinone with photodynamic properties. Cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL)-induced target cell apoptosis, as well as exocytosis of cytolytic granules from these cells, were ablated by hypericin, administered at the onset of the reaction, without affecting CTL viability. The inhibition of cytolysis occurred without the light irradiation which is essential for photosensitization. The findings suggest that the action of hypericin targets the effector CTL; however, apoptosis induced in murine L-cells with recombinant tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha was also prevented by hypericin. Since hypericin is a known inhibitor of protein kinase C, MAP kinase and at least one other tyrosine kinase, this inhibitory activity could play a role in the down-modulation of CTL-induced cytotoxicity. Furthermore, our studies show that the action of hypericin induces rapid dephosphorylation of phospholipids associated with low-density membranes in CTL, but not with membranes of the cytotoxic granules. The ability of hypericin to interfere with cytotoxicity may render it useful in the treatment of T cell-mediated diseases. (+info)
Human T cells with a type-2 cytokine profile are resistant to apoptosis induced by primary activation: consequences for immunopathogenesis.
The mechanisms leading to a relative dominance of T cells producing type 2 cytokines in certain human immune disorders are still unclear. We investigated the relative susceptibility to apoptosis induced by primary in vitro activation of human type 1 (producing interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma)) or type 2 (producing IL-4) T cells. Peripheral blood lymphocytes were isolated from patients with immune disorders characterized by expansion of type 2 cells (four with AIDS and hyper-IgE/hypereosinophilia, one with Churg-Strauss syndrome, and one with idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome) or from individuals with normal cytokine balances. Cells were stimulated for 16 h with ionomycin and phorbol ester, and apoptosis of cytokine-producing cells was assessed by flow cytometry. T cells with a type-2 cytokine profile, i.e. producing IL-4 alone, were significantly more resistant to activation-induced apoptosis than those producing IFN-gamma alone. This was observed in AIDS patients, whose type 2 cells were mostly CD8+, as well as in the patients with Churg-Strauss and with hypereosinophilic syndrome. CD4+ and CD8+ IL-4-producing cells were equally resistant to apoptosis. Lower susceptibility to apoptosis of type-2 T cells was also observed in subjects with normal cytokine balances. Bcl-2 expression was high in type-2 cells and in viable type-1 cells, whereas it was low in apoptotic type-1 cells. Resistance to activation-induced apoptosis may explain the expansion of cells producing type-2 cytokines in certain immune disorders. (+info)
US FDA "Redbook II" immunotoxicity testing guidelines and research in immunotoxicity evaluations of food chemicals and new food proteins.
The rapid advances in the field of immunology and an understanding of the potential adverse effects of xenobiotics on the immune system have resulted in the development of a discipline in toxicology now referred to as immunotoxicology. This discipline has evolved steadily over the last 2 decades as a result of research in the national and international communities. Various US, European, and Japanese regulatory agencies have recognized a need to promulgate testing guidelines for immunotoxicity in support of the approval process involving toxicological testing. The US Food and Drug Administration "Redbook II" guidelines and some of the research conducted in support of the concepts and testing strategies are presented here. Concerns raised with regard to these guidelines are included, as are on-going initiatives in development of experimental approaches for assessing allergic potential and/or hypersensitivity responses to new foods and food constituents. (+info)
Responses of the immune system to injury.
Three categories of immunotoxic effects are identified: direct immunotoxicity, hypersensitivity, and autoimmunity. Direct immunotoxicity consists of immunosuppression and immunostimulation. Total abrogation of the immune response (immunosuppression) results in more frequent, severe, and often atypical and relapsing infections and lymphomas. Immunostimulation is associated with febrile reactions, the induction/facilitation of autoimmune diseases and allergic reactions to unrelated allergens, and impaired hepatic drug biotransformation. Hypersensitivity is manifested by a variety of symptoms involving either antigen-specific or non-antigen-specific humoral and cellular adverse responses. Autoimmune reactions are divided into organ-specific and systemic reactions. Because of the involvement of many redundant mechanisms, it is difficult to predict responses of the immune system to a given immunotoxic injury. In laboratory animals, histologic but also functional changes are necessary to show evidence of and to predict such adverse responses. (+info)
Genetic polymorphism of IL-12 p40 gene in immune-mediated disease.
Understanding of the genetic basis of autoimmune diseases is currently incomplete. Cytokine gene polymorphisms warrant consideration as factors explaining variation in the human immune and inflammatory responses and as candidate susceptibility genes for related pathological states. Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is a key regulator of the polarisation of immune responses to T helper 1 or 2 categories and plays a role in autoimmune and infectious diseases. Using a bioinformatic strategy, we aligned cDNA and expressed sequence tag sequences to identify putative polymorphic regions of the IL-12 p40 gene. Position 1188 in the 3' untranslated region (UTR) was polymorphic with the frequency of the common allele around 80% in healthy UK Caucasoids. PCR genotyping of multiple Caucasoid groups and an African group showed significant population variation. In a case-control design, the polymorphism was not associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Felty's syndrome or large granular lymphocyte syndrome with arthritis or multiple sclerosis. A nonsignificant increase in the B allele frequency was observed in the rare large granular lymphocyte syndrome without arthritis (odds ratio 2.02 95% CI 0.95-4.3). This new genetic marker could be useful in anthropological studies and should be investigated in other autoimmune, allergic, inflammatory and infectious diseases. (+info)
Alteration of human erythrocyte membrane properties by complement fixation.
Erythrocyte survival studies of complement-coated radiolabeled erythrocytes have shown rapid removal of these cells from the peripheral blood with a return of these cells into the circulation within a few hours. We studied complement-coated human erythrocytes and measured surface charge and deformability, two parameters believed to be important in erythrocyte survival. Erythrocytes were coated with complement by two in vitro techniques: the addition of (a) low ionic strength sucrose, and (b) IgM cold agglutinins. Erythrocytes obtained from three patients with cold agglutinin disease were used as a source of in vivo complement-coated cells. No difference was found in surface charge as measured by electrophoretic mobility between erythrocytes from normal subjects and complement-coated erythrocytes from any of the three sources. When deformability was measured by filtration through 3-mum polycarbonate sieves, marked decreases in deformability were found in complement-coated erythrocytes. The filtration returned toward control levels by incubating the complement-coated erythrocytes in serum for 1 h and correlated with decreases in immune adherence. Using screen filtration pressure as a measure of deformability, a positive correlation between number of C3 molecules per erythrocyte and decreased deformability was found. C3b appeared responsible for the decreased deformability of the erythrocytes, since conversion of C3b to C3d resulted in a return of deformability toward normal. The data suggested that the sequestration of complement-coated human erythrocytes in the microvasculature can be explained in part by decreased deformability and changes in immune adherence. (+info)