The metastasis-associated lung adenocarcinoma transcript 1 (MALAT1) is a bona fide long noncoding RNA (lncRNA). MALAT1, also known as nuclear-enriched transcript 2 (NEAT2), was discovered as a prognostic marker for lung cancer metastasis but also has been linked to several other human tumor entities. Recent work established a critical regulatory function of this lncRNA in lung cancer metastasis and cell migration. Moreover, MALAT1 is an interesting target for antimetastatic therapy in non-small cell lung carcinoma. Two alternative modes of action have been proposed for MALAT1: regulation of gene expression or alternative splicing. Although the exact mechanism of action in different physiological and pathological conditions still needs to be elucidated, MALAT1 acts as a regulator of gene expression. Although MALAT1 is highly evolutionary conserved in mammals and plays an important role in cancer and metastasis, MALAT1 is not essential for development in a knockout mouse model under normal physiological conditions. Hence, one central question for the future is finding the right stressor and the pathological or environmental condition which requires MALAT1 expression in vivo and entailing its strong evolutionary conservation. Here, we summarize the current knowledge about this important lncRNA. We introduce its discovery, biogenesis, and regulation and describe its known functions, mechanisms of action, and interaction partners.
Exosomes are small membrane vesicles of endocytic origin with a size of 50–100 nm. They can contain microRNAs, mRNAs, DNA fragments, and proteins, which are shuttled from a donor cell to recipient cells. Many different cell types including immune cells, mesenchymal cells, and cancer cells release exosomes. There is emerging evidence that cancer-derived exosomes contribute to the recruitment and reprogramming of constituents associated with tumor environment. Here, we discuss different mechanisms associated with biogenesis, payload, and transport of exosomes. We highlight the functional relevance of exosomes in cancer, as related to tumor microenvironment, tumor immunology, angiogenesis, and metastasis. Exosomes may exert an immunosuppressive function as well as trigger an anti-tumor response by presenting tumor antigens to dendritic cells. Exosomes may serve as cancer biomarkers and aid in the treatment of cancer.
We recently provided evidence for a mitochondrial dysfunction in P301L tau transgenic mice, a strain modeling the tau pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). In addition to tau aggregates, the AD brain is further characterized by Aβ peptide-containing plaques. When we addressed the role of Aβ, this indicated a synergistic action of tau and Aβ pathology on the mitochondria. In the present study, we compared the toxicity of different Aβ42 conformations in light of recent studies suggesting that oligomeric rather than fibrillar Aβ might be the actual toxic species. Interestingly, both oligomeric and fibrillar, but not disaggregated (mainly monomeric) Aβ42 caused a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential in cortical brain cells obtained from FTD P301L tau transgenic mice. This was not observed with cerebellar preparations indicating selective vulnerability of cortical neurons. Furthermore, we found reductions in state 3 respiration, the respiratory control ratio, and uncoupled respiration when incubating P301L tau mitochondria either with oligomeric or fibrillar preparations of Aβ42. Finally, we found that aging specifically increased the sensitivity of mitochondria to oligomeric Aβ42 damage indicating that oligomeric and fibrillar Aβ42 are both toxic, but exert different degrees of toxicity.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been increasingly tested experimentally and clinically for cardiac repair. However, the underlying mechanisms remain controversial due to the poor viability and considerable death of the engrafted cells in the infracted myocardium. Recent reports have suggested that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by MSCs have angiogenesis-promoting activity; however, the therapeutic effect of MSC-EVs on an ischemic heart is unclear. In the present study, we reported that MSCs could release a large quantity of EVs around 100 nm in diameter upon hypoxia stimulation though the majority of the cells had not experienced apoptosis. MSC-EVs could be promptly uptaken by human umbilical vein endothelial cells, and the internalization resulted in dose-dependent enhancement of in vitro proliferation, migration, and tube formation of endothelial cells. Using an acute myocardial infarction rat model, we found that intramyocardial injection of MSC-EVs markedly enhanced blood flow recovery, in accordance with reduced infarct size and preserved cardiac systolic and diastolic performance compared to those treated with PBS. These data suggest that like MSCs, MSC-EVs could also protect cardiac tissue from ischemic injury at least by means of promoting blood vessel formation, though further detailed investigations should be performed to define the functionality of MSC-EVs. MSCs released extracellular vesicles (EVs) upon hypoxia stimulation. MSC-EVs were a mixture of microvesicles and exosomes. MSC-EVs could be promptly uptaken by human umbilical vein endothelial cells. MSC-EVs promoted neoangiogenesis in vitro and in vivo. MSC-EVs preserved cardiac performance in an AMI model.
Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a crucial regulator of energy metabolic homeostasis and thus a major survival factor in a variety of metabolic stresses and also in the aging process. Metabolic syndrome is associated with a low-grade, chronic inflammation, primarily in adipose tissue. A low-level of inflammation is also present in the aging process. There are emerging results indicating that AMPK signaling can inhibit the inflammatory responses induced by the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) system. The NF-κB subunits are not direct phosphorylation targets of AMPK, but the inhibition of NF-κB signaling is mediated by several downstream targets of AMPK, e.g., SIRT1, PGC-1α, p53, and Forkhead box O (FoxO) factors. AMPK signaling seems to enhance energy metabolism while it can repress inflammatory responses linked to chronic stress, e.g., in nutritional overload and during the aging process. AMPK can inhibit endoplasmic reticulum and oxidative stresses which are involved in metabolic disorders and the aging process. Interestingly, many target proteins of AMPK are so-called longevity factors, e.g., SIRT1, p53, and FoxOs, which not only can increase the stress resistance and extend the lifespan of many organisms but also inhibit the inflammatory responses. The activation capacity of AMPK declines in metabolic stress and with aging which could augment the metabolic diseases and accelerate the aging process. We will review the AMPK pathways involved in the inhibition of NF-κB signaling and suppression of inflammation. We also emphasize that the capacity of AMPK to repress inflammatory responses can have a significant impact on both healthspan and lifespan.
In this review, we summarize published findings on the involvement of HOX genes in oncogenesis. HOX genes are developmental genes—they code for proteins that function as critical master regulatory transcription factors during embryogenesis. Many reports have shown that the protein products of HOX genes also play key roles in the development of cancers. Based on our review of the literature, we found that the expression of HOX genes is not only up- or downregulated in most solid tumors but also that the expression of specific HOX genes in cancers tends to differ based on tissue type and tumor site. It was also observed that HOXC family gene expression is upregulated in most solid tumor types, including colon, lung, and prostate cancer. The two HOX genes that were reported to be most commonly altered in solid tumors were HOXA9 and HOXB13. HOXA were often reported to have altered expression in breast and ovarian cancers, HOXB genes in colon cancers, HOXC genes in prostate and lung cancers, and HOXD genes in colon and breast cancers. It was found that HOX genes are also regulated at the nuclear–cytoplasmic transport level in carcinomas. Tumors arising from tissue having similar embryonic origin (endodermal), including colon, prostate, and lung, showed relatively similar HOXA and HOXB family gene expression patterns compared to breast tumors arising from mammary tissue, which originates from the ectoderm. The differential expression of HOX genes in various solid tumors thus provides an opportunity to advance our understanding of cancer development and to develop new therapeutic agents.
NLR inflammasomes, caspase 1 activation platforms critical for processing key pro-inflammatory cytokines, have been implicated in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). As the direct role of the NLRP3 inflammasome remains unclear, we tested effects of persistent NLRP3 activation as a contributor to NAFLD development and, in particular, as a modulator of progression from benign hepatic steatosis to steatohepatitis during diet-induced NAFLD. Gain of function tamoxifen-inducible Nlrp3 knock-in mice allowing for in vivo temporal control of NLRP3 activation and loss of function Nlrp3 knockout mice were placed on short-term choline-deficient amino acid-defined (CDAA) diet, to induce isolated hepatic steatosis or long-term CDAA exposure, to induce severe steatohepatitis and fibrosis, respectively. Expression of NLRP3 associated proteins was assessed in liver biopsies of a well-characterized group of patients with the full spectrum of NAFLD. Nlrp3 −/− mice were protected from long-term feeding CDAA-induced hepatomegaly, liver injury, and infiltration of activated macrophages. More importantly, Nlrp3 −/− mice showed marked protection from CDAA-induced liver fibrosis. After 4 weeks on CDAA diet, wild-type (WT) animals showed isolated hepatic steatosis while Nlrp3 knock-in mice showed severe liver inflammation, with increased infiltration of activated macrophages and early signs of liver fibrosis. In the liver samples of patients with NAFLD, inflammasome components were significantly increased in those patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) when compared to those with non-NASH NAFLD with mRNA levels of pro-IL1 beta correlated to levels of COL1A1. Our study uncovers a crucial role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in the development of NAFLD. These findings may lead to novel therapeutic strategies aimed at halting the progression of hepatic steatosis to the more severe forms of this disease. Mice with NLRP3 inflammasome loss of function are protected from diet-induced steatohepatitis. NLRP3 inflammasome gain of function leads to early and severe onset of diet-induced steatohepatitis in mice. Patients with severe NAFLD exhibit increased levels of NLRP3 inflammasome components and levels of pro-IL1β mRNA correlate with the expression of COL1A1.
Retinal and choroidal vascular diseases constitute the most common causes of moderate and severe vision loss in developed countries. They can be divided into retinal vascular diseases, in which there is leakage and/or neovascularization (NV) from retinal vessels, and subretinal NV, in which new vessels grow into the normally avascular outer retina and subretinal space. The first category of diseases includes diabetic retinopathy, retinal vein occlusions, and retinopathy of prematurity, and the second category includes neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD), ocular histoplasmosis, pathologic myopia, and other related diseases. Retinal hypoxia is a key feature of the first category of diseases resulting in elevated levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) which stimulates expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), platelet-derived growth factor-B (PDGF-B), placental growth factor, stromal-derived growth factor-1 and their receptors, as well as other hypoxia-regulated gene products such as angiopoietin-2. Although hypoxia has not been demonstrated as part of the second category of diseases, HIF-1 is elevated and thus the same group of hypoxia-regulated gene products plays a role. Clinical trials have shown that VEGF antagonists provide major benefits for patients with subretinal NV due to AMD and even greater benefits are seen by combining antagonists of VEGF and PDGF-B. It is likely that addition of antagonists of other agents listed above will be tested in the future. Other appealing strategies are to directly target HIF-1 or to use gene transfer to express endogenous or engineered anti-angiogenic proteins. While substantial progress has been made, the future looks even brighter for patients with retinal and choroidal vascular diseases.
Tumor metastasis is driven not only by the accumulation of intrinsic alterations in malignant cells, but also by the interactions of cancer cells with various stromal cell components of the tumor microenvironment. In particular, inflammation and infiltration of the tumor tissue by host immune cells, such as tumor-associated macrophages, myeloid-derived suppressor cells, and regulatory T cells, have been shown to support tumor growth in addition to invasion and metastasis. Each step of tumor development, from initiation through metastatic spread, is promoted by communication between tumor and immune cells via the secretion of cytokines, growth factors, and proteases that remodel the tumor microenvironment. Invasion and metastasis require neovascularization, breakdown of the basement membrane, and remodeling of the extracellular matrix for tumor cell invasion and extravasation into the blood and lymphatic vessels. The subsequent dissemination of tumor cells to distant organ sites necessitates a treacherous journey through the vasculature, which is fostered by close association with platelets and macrophages. Additionally, the establishment of the pre-metastatic niche and specific metastasis organ tropism is fostered by neutrophils and bone marrow-derived hematopoietic immune progenitor cells and other inflammatory cytokines derived from tumor and immune cells, which alter the local environment of the tissue to promote adhesion of circulating tumor cells. This review focuses on the interactions between tumor cells and immune cells recruited to the tumor microenvironment and examines the factors allowing these cells to promote each stage of metastasis.
Since Otto Warburg reported the ‘addiction’ of cancer cells to fermentative glycolysis, a metabolic pathway that provides energy and building blocks, thousands of studies have shed new light on the molecular mechanisms contributing to altered cancer metabolism. Hypoxia, through hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), in addition to oncogenes activation and loss of tumour suppressors constitute major regulators of not only the “Warburg effect” but also many other metabolic pathways such as glutaminolysis. Enhanced glucose and glutamine catabolism has become a recognised feature of cancer cells, leading to accumulation of metabolites in the tumour microenvironment, which offers growth advantages to tumours. Among these metabolites, lactic acid, besides imposing an acidic stress, is emerging as a key signalling molecule that plays a pivotal role in cancer cell migration, angiogenesis, immune escape and metastasis. Although interest in lactate for cancer development only appeared recently, pharmacological molecules blocking its metabolism are already in phase I/II clinical trials. Here, we review the metabolic pathways generating lactate, and we discuss the rationale for targeting lactic acid transporter complexes for the development of efficient and selective anticancer therapies.
Vitamin D has received increased attention recently for its pleiotropic actions on many chronic diseases. The importance of vitamin D on the regulation of cells of the immune system has gained increased appreciation over the past decade with the discovery of the vitamin D receptor (VDR) and key vitamin D metabolizing enzymes expressed by cells of the immune system. Animal studies, early epidemiologic and clinical studies have supported a potential role for vitamin D in maintaining immune system balance. The hormonal form of vitamin D up-regulates anti-microbial peptides, namely cathelicidin, to enhance clearance of bacteria at various barrier sites and in immune cells. Vitamin D modulates the adaptive immune system by direct effects on T cell activation and on the phenotype and function of antigen-presenting cells (APCs), particularly of DCs. The purpose of this manuscript is to review the molecular and clinical evidence for vitamin D as a modulator of the innate and adaptive immune system.
Neutrophil NETosis is an important element of host defense as it catapults chromatin out of the cell to trap bacteria, which then are killed, e.g., by the chromatin’s histone component. Also, during sterile inflammation TNF-alpha and other mediators trigger NETosis, which elicits cytotoxic effects on host cells. The same mechanism should apply to other forms of regulated necrosis including pyroptosis, necroptosis, ferroptosis, and cyclophilin D-mediated regulated necrosis. Beyond these toxic effects, extracellular histones also trigger thrombus formation and innate immunity by activating Toll-like receptors and the NLRP3 inflammasome. Thereby, extracellular histones contribute to the microvascular complications of sepsis, major trauma, small vessel vasculitis as well as acute liver, kidney, brain, and lung injury. Finally, histones prevent the degradation of extracellular DNA, which promotes autoimmunization, anti-nuclear antibody formation, and autoimmunity in susceptible individuals. Here, we review the current evidence on the pathogenic role of extracellular histones in disease and discuss how to target extracellular histones to improve disease outcomes.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and cholesterol homeostasis in the peripheral blood is maintained by specialized cells, such as macrophages. Macrophages express a variety of scavenger receptors (SR) that interact with lipoproteins, including SR-A1, CD36, and lectin-like oxLDL receptor-1 (LOX-1). These cells also have several cholesterol transporters, including ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCA1, ABCG1, and SR-BI, that are involved in reverse cholesterol transport. Lipids internalized by phagocytosis are transported to late endosomes/lysosomes, where lysosomal acid lipase (LAL) digests cholesteryl esters releasing free cholesterol. Free cholesterol in turn is processed by acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase (ACAT1), an enzyme that transforms cholesterol to cholesteryl esters. The endoplasmic reticulum serves as a depot for maintaining newly synthesized cholesteryl esters that can be processed by neutral cholesterol ester hydrolase (NCEH), which generates free cholesterol that can exit via cholesterol transporters. In atherosclerosis, pro-inflammatory stimuli upregulate expression of scavenger receptors, especially LOX-1, and downregulate expression of cholesterol transporters. ACAT1 is also increased, while NCEH expression is reduced. This results in deposition of free and esterified cholesterol in macrophages and generation of foam cells. Moreover, other cell types, such as endothelial (ECs) and vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), can also become foam cells. In this review, we discuss known pathways of foam cell formation in atherosclerosis.
Anemia in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) results mainly from erythropoietin and iron deficiency. Anemia could be confounded, however, by accelerated clearance of circulating erythrocytes because of premature suicidal erythrocyte death or eryptosis characterized by phosphatidylserine exposure at the erythrocyte surface. Triggers of eryptosis include increased cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i), oxidative stress, and ceramide. The present study explored whether and how ESRD influences eryptosis. Blood was drawn from healthy volunteers (n = 20) as well as ESRD patients (n = 20) prior to and after hemodialysis. Phosphatidylserine exposure was estimated from annexin V binding, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3-fluorescence, reactive oxygen species (ROS) from 2′,7′dichlorodihydrofluorescein fluorescence, and ceramide from fluorescein-isothiocyanate-conjugated antibody binding in flow cytometry. Measurements were made in erythrocytes from freshly drawn blood and in erythrocytes from healthy volunteers exposed in vitro for 24 h to plasma from healthy volunteers or ESRD patients prior to and following dialysis. The patients suffered from anemia (hemoglobin 10.1 ± 0.5 g/100 ml) despite 1.96 ± 0.34 % reticulocytes. The percentage of phosphatidylserine-exposing erythrocytes was significantly higher in ESRD patients (0.84 ± 0.09 %) than in healthy volunteers (0.43 ± 0.04 %) and was significantly increased immediately after dialysis (1.35 ± 0.13 %). The increase in phosphatidylserine exposure was paralleled by increase in [Ca2+]i, oxidative stress, and ceramide abundance. As compared to addition of plasma from healthy individuals, addition of predialytic but not of postdialytic plasma from ESRD patients increased phosphatidylserine exposure, [Ca2+]i, ROS, and ceramide abundance. In conclusion, both, dialyzable components of uremic plasma and dialysis procedure, trigger eryptosis at least in part by increasing erythrocyte [Ca2+]i, ROS, and ceramide formation. Anemia in uremia results in part from eryptosis, the suicidal erythrocyte death. Eryptosis in uremia is triggered in part by a dialyzable plasma component. Eryptosis in uremia is further triggered by dialysis procedure. Eryptosis in uremia is in part due to increased cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. Eryptosis in uremia is further due to oxidative stress and ceramide formation.
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) interact with the nuclear architecture and are involved in fundamental biological mechanisms, such as imprinting, histone-code regulation, gene activation, gene repression, lineage determination, and cell proliferation, all by regulating gene expression. Understanding the lncRNA regulation of transcriptional or post-transcriptional gene regulation expands our knowledge of disease. Several associations between altered lncRNA function and gene expression have been linked to clinical disease phenotypes. Early advances have been made in developing lncRNAs as biomarkers. Several mouse models reveal that human lncRNAs have very diverse functions. Their involvement in gene and genome regulation as well as disease underscores the importance of lncRNA-mediated regulatory networks. Because of their tissue-specific expression potential, their function as activators or repressors, and their selective targeting of genes, lncRNAs are of potential therapeutic interest. We review the regulatory mechanisms of lncRNAs, their major functional principles, and discuss their role in Mendelian disorders, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders.
We are increasingly aware that cellular metabolism plays a vital role in diseases such as cancer, and that p53 is an important regulator of metabolic pathways. By transcriptional activation and other means, p53 is able to contribute to the regulation of glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation, glutaminolysis, insulin sensitivity, nucleotide biosynthesis, mitochondrial integrity, fatty acid oxidation, antioxidant response, autophagy and mTOR signalling. The ability to positively and negatively regulate many of these pathways, combined with feedback signalling from these pathways to p53, demonstrates the reciprocal and flexible nature of the regulation, facilitating a diverse range of responses to metabolic stress. Intriguingly, metabolic stress triggers primarily an adaptive (rather than pro-apoptotic) p53 response, and p53 is emerging as an important regulator of metabolic homeostasis. A better understanding of how p53 coordinates metabolic adaptation will facilitate the identification of novel therapeutic targets and will also illuminate the wider role of p53 in human biology.
Cellular circular RNAs (circRNAs) are generated by head-to-tail splicing and are present in all multicellular organisms studied so far. Recently, circRNAs have emerged as a large class of RNA which can function as post-transcriptional regulators. It has also been shown that many circRNAs are tissue- and stage-specifically expressed. Moreover, the unusual stability and expression specificity make circRNAs important candidates for clinical biomarker research. Here, we present a circRNA expression resource of 20 human tissues highly relevant to disease-related research: vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), human umbilical vein cells (HUVECs), artery endothelial cells (HUAECs), atrium, vena cava, neutrophils, platelets, cerebral cortex, placenta, and samples from mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. In eight different samples from a single donor, we found highly tissue-specific circRNA expression. Circular-to-linear RNA ratios revealed that many circRNAs were expressed higher than their linear host transcripts. Among the 71 validated circRNAs, we noticed potential biomarkers. In adenosine deaminase-deficient, severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) patients and in Wiskott-Aldrich-Syndrome (WAS) patients’ samples, we found evidence for differential circRNA expression of genes that are involved in the molecular pathogenesis of both phenotypes. Our findings underscore the need to assess circRNAs in mechanisms of human disease. circRNA resource catalog of 20 clinically relevant tissues. circRNA expression is highly tissue-specific. circRNA transcripts are often more abundant than their linear host RNAs. circRNAs can be differentially expressed in disease-associated genes.
To observe the diagnostic values of circular RNAs (circRNAs), their expression profiles between gastric cancer patients’ plasma and healthy controls were first assessed by circRNA microarray. Then, circRNA levels were measured by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and RT-droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR), respectively. A total of 343 differentially expressed circRNAs were found. The top 10 elevated circRNAs in patients were hsa_circ_0088300, hsa_circ_0075825, hsa_circ_0019172, hsa_circ_0000220, hsa_circ_0035277, hsa_circ_0000301, hsa_circ_0000189, hsa_circ_0090080, hsa_circ_0001888, and hsa_circ_0001874. The top 10 reduced circRNAs were hsa_circ_0004771, hsa_circ_0001190, hsa_circ_0061276, hsa_circ_0092337, hsa_circ_0058495, hsa_circ_0061274, hsa_circ_0075829, hsa_circ_0080845, hsa_circ_0001006, and hsa_circ_0003764. In cancer and dysplasia tissues, hsa_circ_0001017 and hsa_circ_0061276 were downregulated. Their levels were significantly associated with distal metastasis. The area under receiver operating characteristic curve in combinative use was 0.966 with 95.5% sensitivity and 95.7% specificity. Patients with low plasma hsa_circ_0001017 or hsa_circ_0061276 had a much shorter overall survival than those with high levels. Patients whose plasma hsa_circ_0001017 or hsa_circ_0061276 levels recovered to normal after operation had a longer disease-free survival. Finally, the in vitro model indicated gastric cancer cells secreting circRNAs into plasma. In conclusion, RT-ddPCR is a potent non-invasive and absolute quantification method for simultaneous detection of multiple circRNAs. Hsa_circ_0001017 and hsa_circ_0061276 are new potential biomarkers for gastric cancer. A total of 343 circRNAs are differentially expressed between gastric cancer patients’ plasma and healthy controls.Hsa_circ_0001017 and hsa_circ_0061276 are downregulated in gastric cancer tissues.The RT-ddPCR is a potent method for simultaneous detection of multiple circRNAs in plasma.Hsa_circ_0001017 and hsa_circ_0061276 are potential biomarkers for gastric cancer.
A major feature of solid tumours is hypoxia, decreased availability of oxygen, which increases patient treatment resistance and favours tumour progression. How hypoxic conditions are generated in tumour tissues and how cells respond to hypoxia are essential questions in understanding tumour progression and metastasis. Massive tumour-cell proliferation distances cells from the vasculature, leading to a deficiency in the local environment of blood carrying oxygen and nutrients. Such hypoxic conditions induce a molecular response, in both normal and neoplastic cells, that drives the activation of a key transcription factor; the hypoxia-inducible factor. This transcription factor regulates a large panel of genes that are exploited by tumour cells for survival, resistance to treatment and escape from a nutrient-deprived environment. Although now recognized as a major contributor to cancer progression and to treatment failure, the precise role of hypoxia signalling in cancer and in prognosis still needs to be further defined. It is hoped that a better understanding of the mechanisms implicated will lead to alternative and more efficient therapeutic approaches.
Psoriasis is a common chronic skin disease with a largely unknown pathogenesis. We demonstrate here that transgenic over-expression of interleukin (IL)-22 in mice resulted in neonatal mortality and psoriasis-like skin alterations including acanthosis and hypogranularity. This cutaneous phenotype may be caused by the direct influence of IL-22 on keratinocytes, since this cytokine did not affect skin fibroblasts, endothelial cells, melanocytes, or adipocytes. The comparison of cytokines with hypothesized roles in psoriasis pathogenesis determined that neither interferon (IFN)-γ nor IL-17, but only IL-22 and, with lower potency, IL-20 caused psoriasis-like morphological changes in a three-dimensional human epidermis model. These changes were associated with inhibited keratinocyte terminal differentiation and with STAT3 upregulation. The IL-22 effect on differentiation-regulating genes was STAT3-dependent. In contrast to IL-22 and IL-20, IFN-γ and IL-17 strongly induced T-cell and neutrophilic granulocyte-attracting chemokines, respectively. Tumor necrosis factor-α potently induced diverse chemokines and additionally enhanced the expression of IL-22 receptor pathway elements and amplified some IL-22 effects. This study suggests that different cytokines are players in the psoriasis pathogenesis although only the IL-10 family members IL-22 and IL-20 directly cause the characteristic epidermal alterations.