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Transgenic Res ; 2021 Apr 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33855640


The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic remains one of the most serious public health problems. Increasing evidence shows that infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes a very complex and multifaceted disease that requires detailed study. Nevertheless, experimental research on COVID-19 remains challenging due to the lack of appropriate animal models. Herein, we report novel humanized mice with Cre-dependent expression of hACE2, the main entry receptor of SARS-CoV-2. These mice carry hACE2 and GFP transgenes floxed by the STOP cassette, allowing them to be used as breeders for the creation of animals with tissue-specific coexpression of hACE2 and GFP. Moreover, inducible expression of hACE2 makes this line biosafe, whereas coexpression with GFP simplifies the detection of transgene-expressing cells. In our study, we tested our line by crossing with Ubi-Cre mice, characterized by tamoxifen-dependent ubiquitous activation of Cre recombinase. After tamoxifen administration, the copy number of the STOP cassette was decreased, and the offspring expressed hACE2 and GFP, confirming the efficiency of our system. We believe that our model can be a useful tool for studying COVID-19 pathogenesis because the selective expression of hACE2 can shed light on the roles of different tissues in SARS-CoV-2-associated complications. Obviously, it can also be used for preclinical trials of antiviral drugs and new vaccines.

Biomedicines ; 9(2)2021 Feb 04.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33557383


Atherosclerosis is associated with a chronic local inflammatory process in the arterial wall. Our previous studies have demonstrated the altered proinflammatory activity of circulating monocytes in patients with atherosclerosis. Moreover, atherosclerosis progression and monocyte proinflammatory activity were associated with mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations in circulating monocytes. The role of mitochondria in the immune system cells is currently well recognized. They can act as immunomodulators by releasing molecules associated with bacterial infection. We hypothesized that atherosclerosis can be associated with changes in the mitochondrial function of circulating monocytes. To test this hypothesis, we performed live staining of the mitochondria of CD14+ monocytes from healthy donors and atherosclerosis patients with MitoTracker Orange CMTMRos dye, which is sensitive to mitochondrial membrane potential. The intensity of such staining reflects mitochondrial functional activity. We found that parts of monocytes in the primary culture were characterized by low MitoTracker staining (MitoTracker-low monocytes). Such cells were morphologically similar to cells with normal staining and able to metabolize 5-aminolevulinic acid and accumulate the heme precursor protoporphyrin IX (PplX), indicative of partially preserved mitochondrial function. We assessed the proportion of MitoTracker-low monocytes in the primary culture for each study subject and compared the results with other parameters, such as monocyte ability to lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced proinflammatory activation and the intima-media thickness of carotid arteries. We found that the proportion of MitoTracker-low monocytes was associated with the presence of atherosclerotic plaques. An increased number of such monocytes in the primary culture was associated with a reduced proinflammatory activation ability of cells. The obtained results indicate the presence of circulating monocytes with mitochondrial dysfunction and the association of such cells with chronic inflammation and atherosclerosis development.

Front Mol Biosci ; 8: 821506, 2021.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35118120


The novel coronavirus disease COVID-19 has become one of the most socially significant infections. One of the main models for COVID-19 pathogenesis study and anti-COVID-19 drug development is laboratory animals sensitive to the virus. Herein, we report SARS-CoV-2 infection in novel transgenic mice conditionally expressing human ACE2 (hACE2), with a focus on viral distribution after intranasal inoculation. Transgenic mice carrying hACE2 under the floxed STOP cassette [(hACE2-LoxP(STOP)] were mated with two types of Cre-ERT2 strains (UBC-Cre and Rosa-Cre). The resulting offspring with temporal control of transgene expression were treated with tamoxifen to induce the removal of the floxed STOP cassette, which prevented hACE2 expression. Before and after intranasal inoculation, the mice were weighed and clinically examined. On Days 5 and 10, the mice were sacrificed for isolation of internal organs and the further assessment of SARS-CoV-2 distribution. Intranasal SARS-CoV-2 inoculation in hACE2-LoxP(STOP)×UBC-Cre offspring resulted in weight loss and death in 6 out of 8 mice. Immunostaining and focus formation assays revealed the most significant viral load in the lung, brain, heart and intestine samples. In contrast, hACE2-LoxP(STOP) × Rosa-Cre offspring easily tolerated the infection, and SARS-CoV-2 was detected only in the brain and lungs, whereas other studied tissues had null or negligible levels of the virus. Histological examination revealed severe alterations in the lungs, and mild changes were observed in the brain tissues. Notably, no changes were observed in mice without tamoxifen treatment. Thus, this novel murine model with the Cre-dependent activation of hACE2 provides a useful and safe tool for COVID-19 studies.

Int J Mol Sci ; 21(8)2020 Apr 14.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32295185


Accumulation of lipid-laden (foam) cells in the arterial wall is known to be the earliest step in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. There is almost no doubt that atherogenic modified low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are the main sources of accumulating lipids in foam cells. Atherogenic modified LDL are taken up by arterial cells, such as macrophages, pericytes, and smooth muscle cells in an unregulated manner bypassing the LDL receptor. The present study was conducted to reveal possible common mechanisms in the interaction of macrophages with associates of modified LDL and non-lipid latex particles of a similar size. To determine regulatory pathways that are potentially responsible for cholesterol accumulation in human macrophages after the exposure to naturally occurring atherogenic or artificially modified LDL, we used transcriptome analysis. Previous studies of our group demonstrated that any type of LDL modification facilitates the self-association of lipoprotein particles. The size of such self-associates hinders their interaction with a specific LDL receptor. As a result, self-associates are taken up by nonspecific phagocytosis bypassing the LDL receptor. That is why we used latex beads as a stimulator of macrophage phagocytotic activity. We revealed at least 12 signaling pathways that were regulated by the interaction of macrophages with the multiple-modified atherogenic naturally occurring LDL and with latex beads in a similar manner. Therefore, modified LDL was shown to stimulate phagocytosis through the upregulation of certain genes. We have identified at least three genes (F2RL1, EIF2AK3, and IL15) encoding inflammatory molecules and associated with signaling pathways that were upregulated in response to the interaction of modified LDL with macrophages. Knockdown of two of these genes, EIF2AK3 and IL15, completely suppressed cholesterol accumulation in macrophages. Correspondingly, the upregulation of EIF2AK3 and IL15 promoted cholesterol accumulation. These data confirmed our hypothesis of the following chain of events in atherosclerosis: LDL particles undergo atherogenic modification; this is accompanied by the formation of self-associates; large LDL associates stimulate phagocytosis; as a result of phagocytosis stimulation, pro-inflammatory molecules are secreted; these molecules cause or at least contribute to the accumulation of intracellular cholesterol. This chain of events may explain the relationship between cholesterol accumulation and inflammation. The primary sequence of events in this chain is related to inflammatory response rather than cholesterol accumulation.

Colesterol/metabolismo , Células Espumosas/metabolismo , Metabolismo dos Lipídeos , Transdução de Sinais , Biomarcadores , Suscetibilidade a Doenças , Células Espumosas/patologia , Perfilação da Expressão Gênica , Humanos , Inflamação/etiologia , Inflamação/metabolismo , Inflamação/patologia , Mediadores da Inflamação/metabolismo , Macrófagos/metabolismo , Macrófagos/patologia , Modelos Biológicos
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(3)2020 Jan 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32012706


Excessive accumulation of lipid inclusions in the arterial wall cells (foam cell formation) caused by modified low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is the earliest and most noticeable manifestation of atherosclerosis. The mechanisms of foam cell formation are not fully understood and can involve altered lipid uptake, impaired lipid metabolism, or both. Recently, we have identified the top 10 master regulators that were involved in the accumulation of cholesterol in cultured macrophages induced by the incubation with modified LDL. It was found that most of the identified master regulators were related to the regulation of the inflammatory immune response, but not to lipid metabolism. A possible explanation for this unexpected result is a stimulation of the phagocytic activity of macrophages by modified LDL particle associates that have a relatively large size. In the current study, we investigated gene regulation in macrophages using transcriptome analysis to test the hypothesis that the primary event occurring upon the interaction of modified LDL and macrophages is the stimulation of phagocytosis, which subsequently triggers the pro-inflammatory immune response. We identified genes that were up- or downregulated following the exposure of cultured cells to modified LDL or latex beads (inert phagocytosis stimulators). Most of the identified master regulators were involved in the innate immune response, and some of them were encoding major pro-inflammatory proteins. The obtained results indicated that pro-inflammatory response to phagocytosis stimulation precedes the accumulation of intracellular lipids and possibly contributes to the formation of foam cells. In this way, the currently recognized hypothesis that the accumulation of lipids triggers the pro-inflammatory response was not confirmed. Comparative analysis of master regulators revealed similarities in the genetic regulation of the interaction of macrophages with naturally occurring LDL and desialylated LDL. Oxidized and desialylated LDL affected a different spectrum of genes than naturally occurring LDL. These observations suggest that desialylation is the most important modification of LDL occurring in vivo. Thus, modified LDL caused the gene regulation characteristic of the stimulation of phagocytosis. Additionally, the knock-down effect of five master regulators, such as IL15, EIF2AK3, F2RL1, TSPYL2, and ANXA1, on intracellular lipid accumulation was tested. We knocked down these genes in primary macrophages derived from human monocytes. The addition of atherogenic naturally occurring LDL caused a significant accumulation of cholesterol in the control cells. The knock-down of the EIF2AK3 and IL15 genes completely prevented cholesterol accumulation in cultured macrophages. The knock-down of the ANXA1 gene caused a further decrease in cholesterol content in cultured macrophages. At the same time, knock-down of F2RL1 and TSPYL2 did not cause an effect. The results obtained allowed us to explain in which way the inflammatory response and the accumulation of cholesterol are related confirming our hypothesis of atherogenesis development based on the following viewpoints: LDL particles undergo atherogenic modifications that, in turn, accompanied by the formation of self-associates; large LDL associates stimulate phagocytosis; as a result of phagocytosis stimulation, pro-inflammatory molecules are secreted; these molecules cause or at least contribute to the accumulation of intracellular cholesterol. Therefore, it became obvious that the primary event in this sequence is not the accumulation of cholesterol but an inflammatory response.

Células Espumosas/metabolismo , Células Espumosas/patologia , Lipoproteínas LDL/metabolismo , Fagocitose , Biomarcadores , Células Espumosas/imunologia , Perfilação da Expressão Gênica , Técnicas de Silenciamento de Genes , Humanos , Imunidade Inata , Metabolismo dos Lipídeos , Macrófagos/imunologia , Macrófagos/metabolismo , Monócitos/imunologia , Monócitos/metabolismo , Oxirredução , Fagocitose/genética , Fagocitose/imunologia , Transdução de Sinais , Transcriptoma
Front Pharmacol ; 10: 725, 2019.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31316385


Inflammation is one of the key processes in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Numerous studies are focused on the local inflammatory processes associated with atherosclerotic plaque initiation and progression. However, changes in the activation state of circulating monocytes, the main components of the innate immunity, may precede the local events. In this article, we discuss tolerance, which results in decreased ability of monocytes to be activated by pathogens and other stimuli, and training, the ability of monocyte to potentiate the response to pathological stimuli, and their relation to atherosclerosis. We also present previously unpublished results of the experiments that our group performed with monocytes/macrophages isolated from atherosclerosis patients. Our data allow assuming the existence of relationship between the formation of monocyte training and the degree of atherosclerosis progression. The suppression of trained immunity ex vivo seems to be a perspective model for searching anti-atherogenic drugs.