222 research outputs found

    Therapeutic Efficacy and Immunological Response of CCL5 Antagonists in Models of Contact Skin Reaction

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    Skin-infiltrating T-cells play a predominant role in allergic and inflammatory skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and allergic contact dermatitis. These T-cells are attracted by several chemotactic factors including the chemokine CCL5/RANTES, a CC chemokine inducing both the migration and activation of specific leukocyte subsets. CCL5 has been found to be associated with various cell-mediated hypersensitive disorders such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis. We have used two antagonists, the first, Met-CCL5, a dual CCR1/CCR5 antagonist and the second, a variant in which GAG binding is abrogated, 44AANA47-CCL5, which acts as a dominant negative inhibitor of CCL5. The antagonists were tested in two models of contact skin reaction. The first, irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) is a pathological non-specific inflammatory skin condition arising from the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines by keratinocytes in response to haptens, usually chemicals. The second, contact hypersensitivity (CHS) is a T-cell dependent model, mimicking in part the T-cell-mediated skin diseases such as psoriasis. In both models, the CCL5 antagonists showed therapeutic efficacy by reducing swelling by 50% as well as the reduction of soluble mediators in homogenates derived from challenged ears. These results demonstrate that blocking the receptor or the ligand are both effective strategies to inhibit skin inflammation

    Electrical Impedance-Based Characterization of Hepatic Tissue with Early-Stage Fibrosis

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    Liver fibrosis is a key pathological precondition for hepatocellular carcinoma in which the severity is confidently correlated with liver cancer. Liver fibrosis, characterized by gradual cell loss and excessive extracellular matrix deposition, can be reverted if detected at the early stage. The gold standard for staging and diagnosis of liver fibrosis is undoubtedly biopsy. However, this technique needs careful sample preparation and expert analysis. In the present work, an ex vivo, minimally destructive, label-free characterization of liver biopsies is presented. Through a custom-made experimental setup, liver biopsies of bile-duct-ligated and sham-operated mice were measured at 8, 15, and 21 days after the procedure. Changes in impedance were observed with the progression of fibrosis, and through data fitting, tissue biopsies were approximated to an equivalent RC circuit model. The model was validated by means of 3D hepatic cell culture measurement, in which the capacitive part of impedance was proportionally associated with cell number and the resistive one was proportionally associated with the extracellular matrix. While the sham-operated samples presented a decrease in resistance with time, the bile-duct-ligated ones exhibited an increase in this parameter with the evolution of fibrosis. Moreover, since the largest difference in resistance between healthy and fibrotic tissue, of around 2 kW, was found at 8 days, this method presents great potential for the study of fibrotic tissue at early stages. Our data point out the great potential of exploiting the proposed needle setup in clinical applications

    Investigating the Connection Between Endogenous Heme Accumulation and COX2 Activity in Cancer Cells

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    Heme, an iron-containing porphyrin, is fundamental for a variety of functions in cell homeostasis. Nevertheless, recent data indicate that dysregulation of heme metabolism might promote tumorigenesis. The intracellular heme pool is finely regulated through the control of heme synthesis, degradation, incorporation into hemoproteins and trafficking across membranes. All these processes might be potentially targeted to alter endogenous heme content in order to counteract cancer growth. Nevertheless, these putative therapeutic interventions have to take into account the possibility of undesired side effects, such as the over-activation of heme-dependent enzymes involved in cancer. Among them, cyclooxygenase-2 is a prostaglandin-producing hemoprotein, induced during inflammation and in different types of tumor, particularly in colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether modulation of endogenous heme may affect cyclooxygenase-2 expression and activity, taking advantage of two different approaches able to alter heme levels: the silencing of the heme exporter Feline Leukemia Virus subgroup C receptor 1 and the induction of heme synthesis by 5-aminolevulinic acid administration. Our data demonstrate that the down-regulation of the heme exporter in colorectal cancer cells does not affect cyclooxygenase-2 expression and activity. Conversely, 5-aminolevulinic acid administration results in decreased cyclooxygenase-2 expression. However, the overall cyclooxygenase-2 enzymatic activity is maintained. The present work sheds light on the complex modulation of cyclooxygenase-2 by endogenous heme and support the idea that targeting heme metabolism could be a valuable therapeutic option against cancer
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