11 research outputs found

    DNA Methylation in the Human Cerebral Cortex Is Dynamically Regulated throughout the Life Span and Involves Differentiated Neurons

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    The role of DNA cytosine methylation, an epigenetic regulator of chromatin structure and function, during normal and pathological brain development and aging remains unclear. Here, we examined by MethyLight PCR the DNA methylation status at 50 loci, encompassing primarily 5′ CpG islands of genes related to CNS growth and development, in temporal neocortex of 125 subjects ranging in age from 17 weeks of gestation to 104 years old. Two psychiatric disease cohorts—defined by chronic neurodegeneration (Alzheimer's) or lack thereof (schizophrenia)—were included. A robust and progressive rise in DNA methylation levels across the lifespan was observed for 8/50 loci (GABRA2, GAD1, HOXA1, NEUROD1, NEUROD2, PGR, STK11, SYK) typically in conjunction with declining levels of the corresponding mRNAs. Another 16 loci were defined by a sharp rise in DNA methylation levels within the first few months or years after birth. Disease-associated changes were limited to 2/50 loci in the Alzheimer's cohort, which appeared to reflect an acceleration of the age-related change in normal brain. Additionally, methylation studies on sorted nuclei provided evidence for bidirectional methylation events in cortical neurons during the transition from childhood to advanced age, as reflected by significant increases at 3, and a decrease at 1 of 10 loci. Furthermore, the DNMT3a de novo DNA methyl-transferase was expressed across all ages, including a subset of neurons residing in layers III and V of the mature cortex. Therefore, DNA methylation is dynamically regulated in the human cerebral cortex throughout the lifespan, involves differentiated neurons, and affects a substantial portion of genes predominantly by an age-related increase

    31st Annual Meeting and Associated Programs of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC 2016) : part two

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    Background The immunological escape of tumors represents one of the main ob- stacles to the treatment of malignancies. The blockade of PD-1 or CTLA-4 receptors represented a milestone in the history of immunotherapy. However, immune checkpoint inhibitors seem to be effective in specific cohorts of patients. It has been proposed that their efficacy relies on the presence of an immunological response. Thus, we hypothesized that disruption of the PD-L1/PD-1 axis would synergize with our oncolytic vaccine platform PeptiCRAd. Methods We used murine B16OVA in vivo tumor models and flow cytometry analysis to investigate the immunological background. Results First, we found that high-burden B16OVA tumors were refractory to combination immunotherapy. However, with a more aggressive schedule, tumors with a lower burden were more susceptible to the combination of PeptiCRAd and PD-L1 blockade. The therapy signifi- cantly increased the median survival of mice (Fig. 7). Interestingly, the reduced growth of contralaterally injected B16F10 cells sug- gested the presence of a long lasting immunological memory also against non-targeted antigens. Concerning the functional state of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), we found that all the immune therapies would enhance the percentage of activated (PD-1pos TIM- 3neg) T lymphocytes and reduce the amount of exhausted (PD-1pos TIM-3pos) cells compared to placebo. As expected, we found that PeptiCRAd monotherapy could increase the number of antigen spe- cific CD8+ T cells compared to other treatments. However, only the combination with PD-L1 blockade could significantly increase the ra- tio between activated and exhausted pentamer positive cells (p= 0.0058), suggesting that by disrupting the PD-1/PD-L1 axis we could decrease the amount of dysfunctional antigen specific T cells. We ob- served that the anatomical location deeply influenced the state of CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes. In fact, TIM-3 expression was in- creased by 2 fold on TILs compared to splenic and lymphoid T cells. In the CD8+ compartment, the expression of PD-1 on the surface seemed to be restricted to the tumor micro-environment, while CD4 + T cells had a high expression of PD-1 also in lymphoid organs. Interestingly, we found that the levels of PD-1 were significantly higher on CD8+ T cells than on CD4+ T cells into the tumor micro- environment (p < 0.0001). Conclusions In conclusion, we demonstrated that the efficacy of immune check- point inhibitors might be strongly enhanced by their combination with cancer vaccines. PeptiCRAd was able to increase the number of antigen-specific T cells and PD-L1 blockade prevented their exhaus- tion, resulting in long-lasting immunological memory and increased median survival

    Folate Deficiency Increases Postischemic Brain Injury

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    Dnmt1 Overexpression Causes Genomic Hypermethylation, Loss of Imprinting, and Embryonic Lethality

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    Biallelic expression of Igf2 is frequently seen in cancers because Igf2 functions as a survival factor. In many tumors the activation of Igf2 expression has been correlated with de novo methylation of the imprinted region. We have compared the intrinsic susceptibilities of the imprinted region of Igf2 and H19, other imprinted genes, bulk genomic DNA, and repetitive retroviral sequences to Dnmt1 overexpression. At low Dnmt1 methyltransferase levels repetitive retroviral elements were methylated and silenced. The nonmethylated imprinted region of Igf2 and H19 was resistant to methylation at low Dnmt1 levels but became fully methylated when Dnmt1 was overexpressed from a bacterial artificial chromosome transgene. Methylation caused the activation of the silent Igf2 allele in wild-type and Dnmt1 knockout cells, leading to biallelic Igf2 expression. In contrast, the imprinted genes Igf2r, Peg3, Snrpn, and Grf1 were completely resistant to de novo methylation, even when Dnmt1 was overexpressed. Therefore, the intrinsic difference between the imprinted region of Igf2 and H19 and of other imprinted genes to postzygotic de novo methylation may be the molecular basis for the frequently observed de novo methylation and upregulation of Igf2 in neoplastic cells and tumors. Injection of Dnmt1-overexpressing embryonic stem cells in diploid or tetraploid blastocysts resulted in lethality of the embryo, which resembled embryonic lethality caused by Dnmt1 deficiency

    Dnmt1 overexpression causes genomic hypermethylation, loss of imprinting, and embryonic lethality.

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    Biallelic expression of Igf2 is frequently seen in cancers because Igf2 functions as a survival factor. In many tumors the activation of Igf2 expression has been correlated with de novo methylation of the imprinted region. We have compared the intrinsic susceptibilities of the imprinted region of Igf2 and H19, other imprinted genes, bulk genomic DNA, and repetitive retroviral sequences to Dnmt1 overexpression. At low Dnmt1 methyltransferase levels repetitive retroviral elements were methylated and silenced. The nonmethylated imprinted region of Igf2 and H19 was resistant to methylation at low Dnmt1 levels but became fully methylated when Dnmt1 was overexpressed from a bacterial artificial chromosome transgene. Methylation caused the activation of the silent Igf2 allele in wild-type and Dnmt1 knockout cells, leading to biallelic Igf2 expression. In contrast, the imprinted genes Igf2r, Peg3, Snrpn, and Grf1 were completely resistant to de novo methylation, even when Dnmt1 was overexpressed. Therefore, the intrinsic difference between the imprinted region of Igf2 and H19 and of other imprinted genes to postzygotic de novo methylation may be the molecular basis for the frequently observed de novo methylation and upregulation of Igf2 in neoplastic cells and tumors. Injection of Dnmt1-overexpressing embryonic stem cells in diploid or tetraploid blastocysts resulted in lethality of the embryo, which resembled embryonic lethality caused by Dnmt1 deficiency

    Increased postischemic brain injury in mice deficient in uracil-DNA glycosylase

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    Uracil-DNA glycosylase (UNG) is involved in base excision repair of aberrant uracil residues in nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Ung knockout mice generated by gene targeting are viable, fertile, and phenotypically normal and have regular mutation rates. However, when exposed to a nitric oxide donor, Ung(–/–) fibroblasts show an increase in the uracil/cytosine ratio in the genome and augmented cell death. After combined oxygen-glucose deprivation, Ung(–/–) primary cortical neurons have increased vulnerability to cell death, which is associated with early mitochondrial dysfunction. In vivo, UNG expression and activity are low in brains of naive WT mice but increase significantly after reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion and reperfusion. Moreover, major increases in infarct size are observed in Ung(–/–) mice compared with littermate control mice. In conclusion, our results provide compelling evidence that UNG is of major importance for tissue repair after brain ischemia
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