Bio

Clinical Focus


  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Pulmonary Critical Care
  • Transplantation Immunology
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Pulmonary Disease

Academic Appointments


Administrative Appointments


  • Chief, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (2010 - Present)
  • Program Director, Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship (2009 - 2010)
  • Faculty, Vera Moulton Wall Center For Pulmonary Vascular Disease (2007 - Present)
  • Member, Stanford Cardiovascular Institute (2007 - Present)
  • Director, Lung Immunology (2007 - Present)
  • Joint Appointment, Immunology & Rheumatology (2007 - Present)
  • Member, Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection (2007 - Present)

Honors & Awards


  • Elected Member, The American Society for Clinical Investigation (2014-)

Professional Education


  • Residency:Stanford University School of Medicine (1996) CA
  • Board Certification: Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (1996)
  • Board Certification, ABIM, Critical Care Medicine (1999)
  • Board Certification: Pulmonary Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine (1998)
  • Fellowship:University of Colorado School of Medicine (1999) CO
  • BS, University of Portland, Biology (1987)
  • Medical Education:Stanford University School of Medicine (1993) CA

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Our lab focuses primarily on the contribution of the immune response to lung disease. We are specifically examining the contribution of inflammation to the development of pulmonary hypertension. We also study how airway remodeling occurs in transplantation with specific respect to the microvascular circulation and to the initiation of fibroproliferation.

Clinical Trials


  • Rituximab for Treatment of Systemic Sclerosis-Associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (SSc-PAH) Recruiting

    Systemic sclerosis-associated pulmonary arterial hypertension (SSc-PAH) is a serious, life-threatening manifestation of systemic sclerosis (SSc), an autoimmune disease of the connective tissue characterized by scarring (fibrosis) and atrophy of the skin, joints and tendons, skeletal muscles, and internal organs, and immunological disturbances. One-year survival for patients with SSc-PAH ranges from 50-81%. There is currently no cure for SSc-PAH and treatment is limited to vasodilator therapy used in all forms of PAH. In recent studies, immunotherapy was shown to be effective in treating SSc-interstitial lung disease, another serious, life-threatening manifestation of SSc. In addition, there are compelling pre-clinical data and anecdotal clinical reports that suggest modulation of the immune system may be an effective strategy for treating SSc-PAH. To test this approach, this trial will determine if rituximab, an immunotherapy, has a marked beneficial effect on clinical disease progression, with minimal toxicity, in patients with SSc-PAH when compared to placebo.

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Teaching

2013-14 Courses


Graduate and Fellowship Programs


Publications

Journal Articles


  • Application of a non-amplification-based technology to detect invasive fungal pathogens DIAGNOSTIC MICROBIOLOGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE Hsu, J. L., Binkley, J., Clemons, K. V., Stevens, D. A., Nicolls, M. R., Holodniy, M. 2014; 78 (2): 137-140

    Abstract

    Current diagnostic techniques for fungal diseases could be improved with respect to sensitivity, specificity, and timeliness. To address this clinical need, we adapted a non-amplification-based nucleic acid detection technology to identify fungal pathogens. We demonstrate a high-specificity, detection sensitivity, reproducibility, and multiplex capacity for detecting fungal strains.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2013.11.013

    View details for Web of Science ID 000330149700007

    View details for PubMedID 24359934

  • Working toward immune tolerance in lung transplantation. The Journal of clinical investigation Jiang, X., Nicolls, M. R. 2014: 1-4

    Abstract

    Long-term allograft survival is a major challenge facing solid organ transplantation. Recent studies have shown a negative correlation between infiltration of memory T cells and allograft survival. Furthermore, blockade of leukocyte activation increases acceptance of transplanted organs, including heart, liver, and kidney. Lung allografts are associated with high rates of rejection, and therapies that increase acceptance of other transplanted organs have not translated into the lung. In this issue of the JCI, Krupnick and colleagues demonstrate in a murine model that lung allograft acceptance requires infiltration of a specific T cell population into the graft. This study highlights the unique immunobiology of the lung and the complexity of lung transplant tolerance.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI74701

    View details for PubMedID 24569371

  • NF-?B inhibition reduces lung vascular lumen obliteration in severe pulmonary hypertension in rats. American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology Farkas, D., Alhussaini, A. A., Kraskauskas, D., Kraskauskiene, V., Cool, C. D., Nicolls, M. R., Natarajan, R., Farkas, L. 2014

    Abstract

    Nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B) and interleukin-6 (IL-6), a NF-?B downstream mediator, play a central role in the inflammatory response of tissues. We aimed to determine the role of the classical NF-?B pathway in severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) induced by SU5416 and chronic hypoxia (SuHx) in rats. Tissue samples from patients with idiopathic PAH (iPAH) and control subjects were investigated. SuHx rats were treated from days 1-3, 1-21 and 29-42 with the NF-?B inhibitor pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) and/or from days 1-21 with anti-IL-6 antibody. Nuclear staining for NF-?B, an indicator of the activation of the classical NF-?B pathway, was detected in pulmonary arterial lesions of iPAH patients and SuHx rats. NF-?B inhibition with PDTC prevented and reduced pulmonary arterial obliteration without reducing muscularization. However, the elevated lung levels of IL-6 were not reduced in PDTC-treated SuHx animals. PDTC treatment prevented or reduced apoptosis of pulmonary artery wall cells and pulmonary arterial obliteration. IL-6 inhibition had only a partial effect on apoptosis and obliteration. Pulmonary arterial media wall thickness was not affected by any of these treatments. Preventive and therapeutic PDTC treatment promoted immune regulation by increasing the number of perivascular CD4+ T cells, in particular regulatory T cells (early treatment) and by reducing the number of perivascular CD8+ T lymphocytes and CD45RA+ B lymphocytes. Therapeutic PDTC treatment further preserved right ventricular function in SuHx animals. Inhibition of NF-?B may represent a therapeutic option for pulmonary arterial obliteration via reduced vessel wall cell apoptosis and improved regulation of the immune system.

    View details for DOI 10.1165/rcmb.2013-0355OC

    View details for PubMedID 24684441

  • Macrophages in solid organ transplantation. Vascular cell Jiang, X., Tian, W., Sung, Y. K., Qian, J., Nicolls, M. R. 2014; 6 (1): 5

    Abstract

    Macrophages are highly plastic hematopoietic cells with diversified functions related to their anatomic location and differentiation states. A number of recent studies have examined the role of macrophages in solid organ transplantation. These studies show that macrophages can induce allograft injury but, conversely, can also promote tissue repair in ischemia-reperfusion injury and acute rejection. Therapeutic strategies that target macrophages to improve outcomes in solid organ transplant recipients are being examined in preclinical and clinical models. In this review, we discuss the role of macrophages in different types of injury and rejection, with a focus on macrophage-mediated tissue injury, specifically vascular injury, repair and remodeling. We also discuss emerging macrophage-centered therapeutic opportunities in solid organ transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/2045-824X-6-5

    View details for PubMedID 24612731

  • Leukotrienes in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Immunologic research Tian, W., Jiang, X., Sung, Y., Qian, J., Yuan, K., Nicolls, M. 2014

    Abstract

    Leukotrienes (LTs) are lipid mediators derived from the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway of arachidonic acid metabolism and are markers and mediators of pulmonary inflammation. Research over the past two decades has established that LTs modulate inflammation in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). The purpose of this review was to summarize the current knowledge of LTs in the pathophysiology of PAH and to highlight a recent study that advances our understanding of how leukotriene B4 (LTB4) specifically contributes to pulmonary vascular remodeling. The results of these studies suggest that pharmacological inhibition of LT pathways, especially LTB4, has high potential for the treatment of PAH.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12026-014-8492-5

    View details for PubMedID 24570092

  • Promotion of airway anastomotic microvascular regeneration and alleviation of airway ischemia by deferoxamine nanoparticles. Biomaterials Jiang, X., Malkovskiy, A. V., Tian, W., Sung, Y. K., Sun, W., Hsu, J. L., Manickam, S., Wagh, D., Joubert, L., Semenza, G. L., Rajadas, J., Nicolls, M. R. 2014; 35 (2): 803-813

    Abstract

    Airway tissue ischemia and hypoxia in human lung transplantation is a consequence of the sacrifice of the bronchial circulation during the surgical procedure and is a major risk factor for the development of airway anastomotic complications. Augmented expression of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1? promotes microvascular repair and alleviates allograft ischemia and hypoxia. Deferoxamine mesylate (DFO) is an FDA-approved iron chelator which has been shown to upregulate cellular HIF-1?. Here, we developed a nanoparticle formulation of DFO that can be topically applied to airway transplants at the time of surgery. In a mouse orthotopic tracheal transplant (OTT) model, the DFO nanoparticle was highly effective in enhancing airway microvascular perfusion following transplantation through the production of the angiogenic factors, placental growth factor (PLGF) and stromal cell-derived factor (SDF)-1. The endothelial cells in DFO treated airways displayed higher levels of p-eNOS and Ki67, less apoptosis, and decreased production of perivascular reactive oxygen species (ROS) compared to vehicle-treated airways. In summary, a DFO formulation topically-applied at the time of surgery successfully augmented airway anastomotic microvascular regeneration and the repair of alloimmune-injured microvasculature. This approach may be an effective topical transplant-conditioning therapy for preventing airway complications following clinical lung transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.09.092

    View details for PubMedID 24161166

  • The critical role of mRNA destabilizing protein heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein d in 3' untranslated region-mediated decay of low-density lipoprotein receptor mRNA in liver tissue. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology Singh, A. B., Li, H., Kan, C. F., Dong, B., Nicolls, M. R., Liu, J. 2014; 34 (1): 8-16

    Abstract

    Previous studies showed that low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) mRNA 3' untranslated region (UTR) contains regulatory elements responsible for rapid mRNA turnover in hepatic cells and mediates the mRNA stabilization induced by berberine (BBR). Here, we elucidate the underlying mechanism of BBR's action by characterizing mRNA-binding proteins that modulate LDLR mRNA decay via 3'UTR in liver tissue in vivo.We generated a transgenic mouse model (Alb-Luc-UTR) that expresses Luc-LDLR3'UTR reporter gene driven by the albumin promoter to study 3'UTR function in mediating LDLR mRNA decay in liver tissue. We show that treating Alb-Luc-UTR mice with BBR led to significant increases in hepatic bioluminescence signals, Luc-UTR mRNA, and LDLR mRNA levels as compared with control mice. These effects were accompanied by specific reductions of mRNA decay-promoting factor heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D (hnRNP D) in liver of BBR-treated mice. Knockdown and overexpression studies further demonstrated that hnRNP D p37 isoform plays a major role in promoting hepatic LDLR mRNA degradation. In addition, we examined LDLR mRNA half-life, Luc-UTR reporter activity, and hnRNP D expression levels in cell lines derived from extrahepatic tissues. We demonstrated that strengths of 3'UTR in promoting mRNA degradation correlate with hnRNP D cellular abundances in nonhepatic cell lines, thereby suggesting its involvement in LDLR mRNA degradation beyond liver tissue.hnRNP D is critically involved in LDLR mRNA degradation in liver tissue in vivo. The inverse relationship of hnRNP D abundance with LDLR mRNA levels after BBR treatment suggests the potential of hnRNP D of being a novel therapeutic target for LDL cholesterol lowering.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.301131

    View details for PubMedID 24158514

  • Complement components as potential therapeutic targets for asthma treatment. Respiratory medicine Khan, M. A., Nicolls, M. R., Surguladze, B., Saadoun, I. 2014

    Abstract

    Asthma is the most common respiratory disorder, and is characterized by distal airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. This disease challenges human health because of its increasing prevalence, severity, morbidity, and the lack of a proper and complete cure. Asthma is characterized by TH2-skewed inflammation with elevated pulmonary levels of IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 levels. Although there are early forays into targeting TH2 immunity, less-specific corticosteroid therapy remains the immunomodulator of choice. Innate immune injury mediated by complement components also act as potent mediators of the allergic inflammatory responses and offer a new and exciting possibility for asthma immunotherapy. The complement cascade consists of a number of plasma- and membrane-bound proteins, and the cleavage products of these proteins (C3 and C5) regulate the magnitude of adaptive immune responses. Complement protein are responsible for many pathophysiological features of asthma, including inflammatory cell infiltration, mucus secretion, increases in vascular permeability, and smooth muscle cell contraction. This review highlights the complement-mediated injury during asthma inflammation, and how blockade of active complement mediators may have therapeutic application.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.rmed.2014.01.005

    View details for PubMedID 24468195

  • Temporal response of the human virome to immunosuppression and antiviral therapy. Cell De Vlaminck, I., Khush, K. K., Strehl, C., Kohli, B., Luikart, H., Neff, N. F., Okamoto, J., Snyder, T. M., Cornfield, D. N., Nicolls, M. R., Weill, D., Bernstein, D., Valantine, H. A., Quake, S. R. 2013; 155 (5): 1178-1187

    Abstract

    There are few substantive methods to measure the health of the immune system, and the connection between immune strength and the viral component of the microbiome is poorly understood. Organ transplant recipients are treated with posttransplant therapies that combine immunosuppressive and antiviral drugs, offering a window into the effects of immune modulation on the virome. We used sequencing of cell-free DNA in plasma to investigate drug-virome interactions in a cohort of organ transplant recipients (656 samples, 96 patients) and find that antivirals and immunosuppressants strongly affect the structure of the virome in plasma. We observe marked virome compositional dynamics at the onset of the therapy and find that the total viral load increases with immunosuppression, whereas the bacterial component of the microbiome remains largely unaffected. The data provide insight into the relationship between the human virome, the state of the immune system, and the effects of pharmacological treatment and offer a potential application of the virome state to predict immunocompetence.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2013.10.034

    View details for PubMedID 24267896

  • Aspergillus fumigatus Invasion Increases with Progressive Airway Ischemia PLOS ONE Hsu, J. L., Khan, M. A., Sobel, R. A., Jiang, X., Clemons, K. V., Nguyen, T. T., Stevens, D. A., Martinez, M., Nicolls, M. R. 2013; 8 (10)

    Abstract

    Despite the prevalence of Aspergillus-related disease in immune suppressed lung transplant patients, little is known of the host-pathogen interaction. Because of the mould's angiotropic nature and because of its capacity to thrive in hypoxic conditions, we hypothesized that the degree of Aspergillus invasion would increase with progressive rejection-mediated ischemia of the allograft. To study this relationship, we utilized a novel orthotopic tracheal transplant model of Aspergillus infection, in which it was possible to assess the effects of tissue hypoxia and ischemia on airway infectivity. Laser Doppler flowmetry and FITC-lectin were used to determine blood perfusion, and a fiber optic microsensor was used to measure airway tissue oxygen tension. Fungal burden and depth of invasion were graded using histopathology. We demonstrated a high efficacy (80%) for producing a localized fungal tracheal infection with the majority of infection occurring at the donor-recipient anastomosis; Aspergillus was more invasive in allogeneic compared to syngeneic groups. During the study period, the overall kinetics of both non-infected and infected allografts was similar, demonstrating a progressive loss of perfusion and oxygenation, which reached a nadir by days 10-12 post-transplantation. The extent of Aspergillus invasion directly correlated with the degree of graft hypoxia and ischemia. Compared to the midtrachea, the donor-recipient anastomotic site exhibited lower perfusion and more invasive disease; a finding consistent with clinical experience. For the first time, we identify ischemia as a putative risk factor for Aspergillus invasion. Therapeutic approaches focused on preserving vascular health may play an important role in limiting Aspergillus infections.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0077136

    View details for Web of Science ID 000325887300058

    View details for PubMedID 24155924

  • Blocking Macrophage Leukotriene B-4 Prevents Endothelial Injury and Reverses Pulmonary Hypertension SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE Tian, W., Jiang, X., Tamosiuniene, R., Sung, Y. K., Qian, J., Dhillon, G., Gera, L., Farkas, L., Rabinovitch, M., Zamanian, R. T., Inayathullah, M., Fridlib, M., Rajadas, J., Peters-Golden, M., Voelkel, N. F., Nicolls, M. R. 2013; 5 (200)
  • Epithelial to mesenchymal transition in murine tracheal allotransplantation: an immunohistochemical observation. Transplantation proceedings Konoeda, C., Koinuma, D., Morishita, Y., Sano, A., Nagayama, K., Motomura, N., Kakimi, K., MIYAZONO, K., Nakajima, J., Nicolls, M. R., Murakawa, T. 2013; 45 (5): 1797-1801

    Abstract

    Aberrant epithelial repair is a crucial event in the airway remodeling that characterizes obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) in transplanted lungs. Recent data from experiments using epithelial cell lines and human airway tissues from lung transplant recipients suggest that epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) plays an important role in OB. The aim of this study was to clarify whether EMT is involved in airway remodeling in an animal model.We performed orthotopic tracheal transplantation from BALB/c to C57BL/6 mice with from BALC/c to BALB/c mouse grafts as controls. Five allogeneic and 3 syngeneic recipients were humanely killed at predetermined postoperative days 2-12 as well as 14 and 21. Histology was evaluated using hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining. We studied the expression of specific markers, including E-cadherin, an epithelial marker; ?-smooth muscle actin (SMA), and S100A4, mesenchymal markers, and zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), an EMT-related transcription factor.Histologic assessment of serial H&E stains of allogeneic grafts showed remarkable pseudostratified respiratory epithelium with subepithelial inflammatory cell infiltration, as well as denuded and flattened epithelium and subepithelial fibrosis. The dynamic epithelial changes occurred earlier than the subepithelial fibrosis. Immunohistochemical evaluation indicated the emergence of ?-SMA- positive epithelial cells that were most prominent on day 7. The expression of E-cadherin was attenuated in ?-SMA-positive epithelial cells. S100A4 was also expressed in epithelial cells. A few days before the intraepithelial expression of ?-SMA, ZEB1 emerged in the nuclei of epithelial cells.We observed expression of an EMT-related transcription factor and mesenchymal markers along with the attenuation of epithelial marker expression in epithelial cells, several days before prominent subepithelial fibrosis formation, results that suggest epithelial cells to play an important fibrosis role in airway remodeling during epithelial to mesenchymal transition.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.transproceed.2012.11.024

    View details for PubMedID 23769046

  • Targeting complement component 5a promotes vascular integrity and limits airway remodeling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Khan, M. A., Maasch, C., Vater, A., Klussmann, S., Morser, J., Leung, L. L., Atkinson, C., Tomlinson, S., Heeger, P. S., Nicolls, M. R. 2013; 110 (15): 6061-6066

    Abstract

    Increased microvascular dilatation and permeability is observed during allograft rejection. Because vascular integrity is an important indicator of transplant health, we have sought to limit injury to blood vessels by blocking complement activation. Although complement component 3 (C3) inhibition is known to be vasculoprotective in transplantation studies, we recently demonstrated the paradoxical finding that, early in rejection, C3(-/-) transplant recipients actually exhibit worse microvascular injury than controls. In the genetic absence of C3, thrombin-mediated complement component 5 (C5) convertase activity leads to the generation of C5a (anaphylatoxin), a promoter of vasodilatation and permeability. In the current study, we demonstrated that microvessel thrombin deposition is significantly increased in C3(-/-) recipients during acute rejection. Thrombin colocalization with microvessels is closely associated with remarkably elevated plasma levels of C5a, vasodilatation, and increased vascular permeability. Administration of NOX-D19, a specific C5a inhibitor, to C3(-/-) recipients of airway transplants significantly improved tissue oxygenation, limited microvascular leakiness, and prevented airway ischemia, even in the absence of conventional T-cell-directed immunosuppression. As C3 inhibitors enter the clinics, the simultaneous targeting of this thrombin-mediated complement activation pathway and/or C5a itself may confer significant clinical benefit.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1217991110

    View details for PubMedID 23530212

  • Editorial: Developing Better Biomarkers for Connective Tissue DiseaseAssociated Interstitial Lung Disease: Citrullinated Hsp90 Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Arthritis ARTHRITIS AND RHEUMATISM Deane, K. D., Nicolls, M. R. 2013; 65 (4): 864-868

    View details for DOI 10.1002/art.37878

    View details for Web of Science ID 000316962000004

    View details for PubMedID 23400799

  • Efficacy of Transthoracic Echocardiography for Diagnosing Heart Failure in Septic Shock. The American journal of the medical sciences Beraud, A. S., Guillamet, C. V., Hammes, J. L., Meng, L., Nicolls, M. R., Hsu, J. L. 2013

    Abstract

    Cardiac dysfunction occurs in up to 80% of patients with septic shock. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is an ideal tool for the detailed characterization of cardiac function. Its feasibility is perceived to be poor in critically ill patients, but this has never been studied. To address this question, the authors evaluated the efficacy of TTE to diagnose heart failure in septic shock.This was a retrospective study. Patients admitted to the intensive care unit with septic shock and who had a TTE within 72 hours of intensive care unit admission were identified by a computer algorithm and validated by chart review. Echocardiography images were reviewed by a single cardiologist blinded to clinical outcomes. Clinical information was collected from patients' medical record.Seventy-six patients met the studies' inclusion criteria. The feasibility of TTE to calculate left ventricular ejection fraction was 90% and to assess diastolic function was 74%. Significant mitral regurgitation or aortic stenosis was the most frequent impediments for the assessment of diastolic function. Seventy-four percent of all patients showed some type of cardiac dysfunction (left or right ventricular systolic dysfunction and/or left ventricular diastolic dysfunction). In regression analyses, TTE feasibility was not impacted by factors previously associated with poor image acquisition: high body mass index, mechanical ventilation, tachycardia, advanced age or high severity of illness.This study demonstrated that TTE is a useful tool to assess myocardial function in critically ill patients and suggested its potential to assist in the management of patients with septic shock.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MAJ.0b013e318297d616

    View details for PubMedID 24051955

  • Tie2-dependent VHL knockdown promotes airway microvascular regeneration and attenuates invasive growth of Aspergillus fumigatus. Journal of molecular medicine (Berlin, Germany) Jiang, X., Hsu, J. L., Tian, W., Yuan, K., Olcholski, M., de Jesus Perez, V., Semenza, G. L., Nicolls, M. R. 2013

    Abstract

    Microvascular ischemia and infections are associated with the development of chronic rejection following lung transplantation. The von Hippel-Lindau protein (VHL) controls protein levels of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIFs), regulates vascular repair, and improves tissue perfusion. Here, we studied the role of VHL in microvascular repair by orthotopically transplanting tracheas into mice with VHL haplodeficiency in Tie2 lineage cells. We showed that VHL haplodeficiency prolonged airway microvascular perfusion and promoted tissue blood flow through the production of the angiogenic factors, SDF-1 and angiopoietin 1. VHL-haplodeficient pulmonary endothelial cells exhibited increased angiogenic activity, resistance to serum deprivation-induced cell death, and enhanced microvascular repair. By contrast, in recipient mice with HIF-1? deficiency in Tie2 lineage cells, microvascular repair was significantly diminished and suggested that recipient-derived HIF-1? normally participates in the repair of alloimmune-mediated microvascular damage. To evaluate the translational impact of our findings, we compared VHL-haplodeficient mice with wild-type controls using a model of Aspergillus airway infection. In 83 % of the VHL-haplodeficient recipients, Aspergillus fumigatus was noninvasive in contrast to 75 % of wild-type mice in which the mold was deeply invasive. Our study demonstrated that stabilization of HIF-1? in angiogenic cells, through Tie2 cell VHL haplodeficiency, promoted airway microvascular regeneration and vascular normalization and thereby minimized tissue ischemia and hypoxia. By also mitigating the virulence of A. fumigatus, a common pathogen and itself a risk factor for the development of lung transplant rejection, the selective enhancement of HIF-1? expression has the prospect of offering several novel therapeutic effects to transplant recipients.Microvascular loss and prolonged ischemia occurs with acute rejection. Von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein controls hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs). In tracheal allografts, VHL haplodeficient Tie2 cells promote neovascularization. Reduced transplant ischemia limits Aspergillus invasion.

    View details for PubMedID 23797537

  • Complement-mediated microvascular injury leads to chronic rejection. Advances in experimental medicine and biology Khan, M. A., Nicolls, M. R. 2013; 735: 233-246

    Abstract

    Microvascular loss may be an unappreciated root cause of chronic rejection for all solid organ transplants. As the only solid organ transplant that does not undergo primary systemic arterial revascularization at the time of surgery, lung transplants rely on the establishment of a microcirculation and are especially vulnerable to the effects of microvascular loss. Microangiopathy, with its attendant ischemia, can lead to tissue infarction and airway fibrosis. Maintaining healthy vasculature in lung allografts may be critical for preventing terminal airway fibrosis, also known as the bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). BOS is the major obstacle to lung transplant success and affects up to 60% of patients surviving 5 years. The role of complement in causing acute microvascular loss and ischemia during rejection has recently been examined using the mouse orthotopic tracheal transplantation; this is an ideal model for parsing the role of airway vasculature in rejection. Prior to the development of airway fibrosis in rejecting tracheal allografts, C3 deposits on the vascular endothelium just as tissue hypoxia is first detected. With the eventual destruction of vessels, microvascular blood flow to the graft stops altogether for several days. Complement deficiency and complement inhibition lead to markedly improved tissue oxygenation in transplants, diminished airway remodeling, and accelerated vascular repair. CD4+ T cells and antibody-dependent complement activity independently mediate vascular destruction and sustained tissue ischemia during acute rejection. Consequently, interceding against complement-mediated microvascular injury with adjunctive therapy during acute rejection episodes, in addition to standard immunosuppression which targets CD4+ T cells, may help prevent the subsequent development of chronic rejection.

    View details for PubMedID 23402031

  • Pathobiology of pulmonary arterial hypertension and right ventricular failure EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL Voelkel, N. F., Gomez-Arroyo, J., Abbate, A., Bogaard, H. J., Nicolls, M. R. 2012; 40 (6): 1555-1565

    Abstract

    Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is no longer an orphan disease. There are three different classes of drugs for the treatment of PAH that are currently being used and an increasing number of patients are being treated with a single drug or combination therapy. During the last 25 yrs, new insights into the pathobiology of PAH have been gained. The classical mechanical concepts of pressure, flow, shear stress, right ventricle wall stress and impedance have been complemented with the new concepts of cell injury and repair and interactions of complex multicellular systems. Integrating these concepts will become critical as we design new medical therapies in order to change the prognosis of patients with these fatal diseases. This review intends to summarise recent pathobiological concepts of PAH and right ventricle failure mainly derived from human studies, which reflect the progress made in the understanding of this complex group of pulmonary vascular diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1183/09031936.00046612

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312055200033

    View details for PubMedID 22743666

  • Severe Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Induced by SU5416 and Ovalbumin Immunization AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY CELL AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY Mizuno, S., Farkas, L., Al Husseini, A., Farkas, D., Gomez-Arroyo, J., Kraskauskas, D., Nicolls, M. R., Cool, C. D., Bogaard, H. J., Voelkel, N. F. 2012; 47 (5): 679-687

    Abstract

    The combination of chronic hypoxia and treatment of rats with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor blocker, SU5416, induces pulmonary angio-obliteration, resulting in severe pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Inflammation is thought to contribute to the pathology of PAH. Allergic inflammation caused by ovalbumin (OVA) immunization causes muscularization of pulmonary arteries, but not severe PAH. Whether disturbance of the immune system and allergic inflammation in the setting of lung endothelial cell apoptosis causes PAH is unknown. We investigated the effects of OVA-allergic inflammation on the development of PAH initiated by VEGF blockade-induced lung endothelial cell apoptosis. OVA-immunized rats were treated with SU5416 to induce pulmonary vascular endothelial cell apoptosis. The combination of OVA and SU5416 treatment resulted in severe angio-obilterative PAH, accompanied by increased IL-6 expression in the lungs. c-Kit(+) and Sca-1(+) cells were found in and around the lung vascular lesions. Pan-caspase inhibiton, dexamethasone treatment, and depletion of B-lymphocytes using an anti-CD20 antibody suppressed this remodeling. OVA immunization also increased lung tissue hypoxia-induced factor-1? and VEGF expression. Our results also suggest that the increased expression of hypoxia-induced factor-1? and IL-6 induced by the allergic lung inflammation may be a component of the pathogenesis of PAH.

    View details for DOI 10.1165/rcmb.2012-0077OC

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314406400015

    View details for PubMedID 22842496

  • New methods for monitoring dynamic airway tissue oxygenation and perfusion in experimental and clinical transplantation AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LUNG CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR PHYSIOLOGY Khan, M. A., Dhillon, G., Jiang, X., Lin, Y., Nicolls, M. R. 2012; 303 (10): L861-L869

    Abstract

    A dual circulation, supplied by bronchial and pulmonary artery-derived vessels, normally perfuses the airways from the trachea to the terminal bronchioles. This vascular system has been highly conserved through mammalian evolution and is disrupted at the time of lung transplantation. In most transplant centers, this circulation is not restored. The Papworth Hospital Autopsy study has revealed that an additional attrition of periairway vessels is associated with the development of chronic rejection, otherwise known as the bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). Experimental studies subsequently demonstrated that airway vessels are subject to alloimmune injury and that the loss of a functional microvascular system identifies allografts that cannot be rescued with immunosuppressive therapy. Therefore, surgical and medical strategies, which preserve the functionality of the existent vasculature in lung transplant patients, may conceivably limit the incidence of BOS. Given these unique anatomic and physiological considerations, there is an emerging rationale to better understand the perfusion and oxygenation status of airways in transplanted lungs. This article describes novel methodologies, some newly developed by our group, for assessing airway tissue oxygenation and perfusion in experimental and clinical transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajplung.00162.2012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311208400003

    View details for PubMedID 23002078

  • New models of pulmonary hypertension based on VEGF receptor blockade-induced endothelial cell apoptosis. Pulmonary circulation Nicolls, M. R., Mizuno, S., Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Farkas, L., Drake, J. I., Al Husseini, A., Gomez-Arroyo, J. G., Voelkel, N. F., Bogaard, H. J. 2012; 2 (4): 434-442

    Abstract

    In spite of treatment, severe angioproliferative pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) remains a disease characterized by great morbidity and shortened survival. New treatment strategies for patients with PAH are needed, and after drug development, preclinical studies are best conducted in animal models which present with pulmonary angio-obliterative disease and right heart failure. A rat model of severe pulmonary hypertension and right heart failure, described a decade ago, continues to be investigated and provide insight into the nature of the lung vascular lesions and mechanisms of cardiac adaptation to an altered lung circulation. This rat model is based on the combination of VEGF receptor blockade with Su5416 and chronic hypoxia; use of this pulmonary hypertension induction strategy led to developing the concept of apoptosis-dependent compensatory vascular cell growth. Although, often employed in experimental designs, chronic hypoxia is not necessary for the development of angio-obliterative pulmonary hypertension. Left pneumonectomy combined with Su5416 also results in severe pulmonary hypertension in normoxic conditions. Similarly, the immune insufficiency component of severe PAH can be modeled in athymic rats (lacking T-lymphocytes). In these rats housed under normoxic conditions, treatment with the VEGFR receptor blocker results in angioproliferative pulmonary hypertension; cardiopulmonary disease in these animals can be prevented by immune reconstitution of regulatory T-cells (Tregs). Finally, chronic hypoxia can be replaced with another stimulator of HIF-1?: Ovalbumin (Ova). Immunization of rats with Ova increases lung tissue HIF-1? protein expression, and in Su5416-treated rats causes lethal pulmonary hypertension. Finally, we postulate that these models may also be useful for "reverse translation"; that is, the mechanisms of lung vascular cell death and growth and the modifying influences of immune and bone marrow cells that have been identified in the Su5416 VEGFR inhibitor models can be informative about heretofore undescribed processes in human PAH.

    View details for DOI 10.4103/2045-8932.105031

    View details for PubMedID 23372927

  • Neonatal mice genetically modified to express the elastase inhibitor elafin are protected against the adverse effects of mechanical ventilation on lung growth. American journal of physiology. Lung cellular and molecular physiology Hilgendorff, A., Parai, K., Ertsey, R., Juliana Rey-Parra, G., Thébaud, B., Tamosiuniene, R., Jain, N., Navarro, E. F., Starcher, B. C., Nicolls, M. R., Rabinovitch, M., Bland, R. D. 2012; 303 (3): L215-27

    Abstract

    Mechanical ventilation (MV) with O(2)-rich gas (MV-O(2)) offers life-saving treatment for newborn infants with respiratory failure, but it also can promote lung injury, which in neonates translates to defective alveolar formation and disordered lung elastin, a key determinant of lung growth and repair. Prior studies in preterm sheep and neonatal mice showed that MV-O(2) stimulated lung elastase activity, causing degradation and remodeling of matrix elastin. These changes yielded an inflammatory response, with TGF-? activation, scattered elastic fibers, and increased apoptosis, culminating in defective alveolar septation and arrested lung growth. To see whether sustained inhibition of elastase activity would prevent these adverse pulmonary effects of MV-O(2), we did studies comparing wild-type (WT) and mutant neonatal mice genetically modified to express in their vascular endothelium the human serine elastase inhibitor elafin (Eexp). Five-day-old WT and Eexp mice received MV with 40% O(2) (MV-O(2)) for 24-36 h. WT and Eexp controls breathed 40% O(2) without MV. MV-O(2) increased lung elastase and MMP-9 activity, resulting in elastin degradation (urine desmosine doubled), TGF-? activation (pSmad-2 increased 6-fold), apoptosis (cleaved-caspase-3 increased 10-fold), and inflammation (NF-?B activation, influx of neutrophils and monocytes) in lungs of WT vs. unventilated controls. These changes were blocked or blunted during MV-O(2) of Eexp mice. Scattered lung elastin and emphysematous alveoli observed in WT mice after 36 h of MV-O(2) were attenuated in Eexp mice. Both WT and Eexp mice showed defective VEGF signaling (decreased lung VEGF-R2 protein) and loss of pulmonary microvessels after lengthy MV-O(2), suggesting that elafin's beneficial effects during MV-O(2) derived primarily from preserving matrix elastin and suppressing lung inflammation, thereby enabling alveolar formation during MV-O(2). These results suggest that degradation and remodeling of lung elastin can contribute to defective lung growth in response to MV-O(2) and might be targeted therapeutically to prevent ventilator-induced neonatal lung injury.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajplung.00405.2011

    View details for PubMedID 22683569

  • Neonatal mice genetically modified to express the elastase inhibitor elafin are protected against the adverse effects of mechanical ventilation on lung growth AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LUNG CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR PHYSIOLOGY Hilgendorff, A., Parai, K., Ertsey, R., Rey-Parra, G. J., Thebaud, B., Tamosiuniene, R., Jain, N., Navarro, E. F., Starcher, B. C., Nicolls, M. R., Rabinovitch, M., Bland, R. D. 2012; 303 (3): L215-L227
  • A brief overview of mouse models of pulmonary arterial hypertension: problems and prospects AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LUNG CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR PHYSIOLOGY Gomez-Arroyo, J., Saleem, S. J., Mizuno, S., Syed, A. A., Bogaard, H. J., Abbate, A., Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Sung, Y., Kraskauskas, D., Farkas, D., Conrad, D. H., Nicolls, M. R., Voelkel, N. F. 2012; 302 (10): L977-L991

    Abstract

    Many chronic pulmonary diseases are associated with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and pulmonary vascular remodeling, which is a term that continues to be used to describe a wide spectrum of vascular abnormalities. Pulmonary vascular structural changes frequently increase pulmonary vascular resistance, causing PH and right heart failure. Although rat models had been standard models of PH research, in more recent years the availability of genetically engineered mice has made this species attractive for many investigators. Here we review a large amount of data derived from experimental PH reports published since 1996. These studies using wild-type and genetically designed mice illustrate the challenges and opportunities provided by these models. Hemodynamic measurements are difficult to obtain in mice, and right heart failure has not been investigated in mice. Anatomical, cellular, and genetic differences distinguish mice and rats, and pharmacogenomics may explain the degree of PH and the particular mode of pulmonary vascular adaptation and also the response of the right ventricle.

    View details for DOI 10.1152/ajplung.00362.2011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000304357600001

    View details for PubMedID 22307907

  • Potential for overuse of corticosteroids and vasopressin in septic shock. Critical care (London, England) Hsu, J. L., Liu, V., Patterson, A. J., Martin, G. S., Nicolls, M. R., Russell, J. A. 2012; 16 (5): 447

    View details for PubMedID 23102413

  • CD4(+) T Cells and Complement Independently Mediate Graft Ischemia in the Rejection of Mouse Orthotopic Tracheal Transplants CIRCULATION RESEARCH Khan, M. A., Jiang, X., Dhillon, G., Beilke, J., Holers, V. M., Atkinson, C., Tomlinson, S., Nicolls, M. R. 2011; 109 (11): 1290-U256

    Abstract

    While microvascular injury is associated with chronic rejection, the cause of tissue ischemia during alloimmune injury is not yet elucidated.We investigated the contribution of T lymphocytes and complement to microvascular injury-associated ischemia during acute rejection of mouse tracheal transplants.Using novel techniques to assess microvascular integrity and function, we evaluated how lymphocyte subsets and complement specifically affect microvascular perfusion and tissue oxygenation in MHC-mismatched transplants. To characterize T cell effects on microvessel loss and recovery, we transplanted functional airway grafts in the presence and absence of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. To establish the contribution of complement-mediated injury to the allograft microcirculation, we transplanted C3-deficient and C3-inhibited recipients. We demonstrated that CD4(+) T cells and complement are independently sufficient to cause graft ischemia. CD8(+) T cells were required for airway neovascularization to occur following CD4-mediated rejection. Activation of antibody-dependent complement pathways mediated tissue ischemia even in the absence of cellular rejection. Complement inhibition by CR2-Crry attenuated graft hypoxia, complement/antibody deposition on vascular endothelium and promoted vascular perfusion by enhanced angiogenesis. Finally, there was a clear relationship between the burden of tissue hypoxia (ischemia×time duration) and the development of subsequent airway remodeling.These studies demonstrated that CD4(+) T cells and complement operate independently to cause transplant ischemia during acute rejection and that sustained ischemia is a precursor to chronic rejection.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.250167

    View details for Web of Science ID 000296872200016

    View details for PubMedID 21998328

  • Regulatory T Cells Limit Vascular Endothelial Injury and Prevent Pulmonary Hypertension CIRCULATION RESEARCH Tamosiuniene, R., Tian, W., Dhillon, G., Wang, L., Sung, Y. K., Gera, L., Patterson, A. J., Agrawal, R., Rabinovitch, M., Ambler, K., Long, C. S., Voelkel, N. F., Nicolls, M. R. 2011; 109 (8): 867-U120

    Abstract

    Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is an incurable disease associated with viral infections and connective tissue diseases. The relationship between inflammation and disease pathogenesis in these disorders remains poorly understood.To determine whether immune dysregulation due to absent T-cell populations directly contributes to the development of PAH.Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) blockade induced significant pulmonary endothelial apoptosis in T-cell-deficient rats but not in immune-reconstituted (IR) rats. T cell-lymphopenia in association with VEGFR2 blockade resulted in periarteriolar inflammation with macrophages, and B cells even prior to vascular remodeling and elevated pulmonary pressures. IR prevented early inflammation and attenuated PAH development. IR with either CD8 T cells alone or with CD4-depleted spleen cells was ineffective in preventing PAH, whereas CD4-depleting immunocompetent euthymic animals increased PAH susceptibility. IR with either CD4(+)CD25(hi) or CD4(+)CD25(-) T cell subsets prior to vascular injury attenuated the development of PAH. IR limited perivascular inflammation and endothelial apoptosis in rat lungs in association with increased FoxP3(+), IL-10- and TGF-?-expressing CD4 cells, and upregulation of pulmonary bone morphogenetic protein receptor type 2 (BMPR2)-expressing cells, a receptor that activates endothelial cell survival pathways.PAH may arise when regulatory T-cell (Treg) activity fails to control endothelial injury. These studies suggest that regulatory T cells normally function to limit vascular injury and may protect against the development of PAH.

    View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.236927

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295368300008

    View details for PubMedID 21868697

  • Inhibiting Lung Elastase Activity Enables Lung Growth in Mechanically Ventilated Newborn Mice AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Hilgendorff, A., Parai, K., Ertsey, R., Jain, N., Navarro, E. F., Peterson, J. L., Tamosiuniene, R., Nicolls, M. R., Starcher, B. C., Rabinovitch, M., Bland, R. D. 2011; 184 (5): 537-546

    Abstract

    Mechanical ventilation with O?-rich gas (MV-O?) offers life-saving treatment for respiratory failure, but also promotes lung injury. We previously reported that MV-O2 of newborn mice increased lung elastase activity, causing elastin degradation and redistribution of elastic fibers from septal tips to alveolar walls. These changes were associated with transforming growth factor (TGF)-? activation and increased apoptosis leading to defective alveolarization and lung growth arrest, as seen in neonatal chronic lung disease.To determine if intratracheal treatment of newborn mice with the serine elastase inhibitor elafin would prevent MV-O?-induced lung elastin degradation and the ensuing cascade of events causing lung growth arrest.Five-day-old mice were treated via tracheotomy with recombinant human elafin or vehicle (lactated-Ringer solution), followed by MV with 40% O? for 8-24 hours; control animals breathed 40% O? without MV. At study's end, lungs were harvested to assess key variables noted below.MV-O? of vehicle-treated pups increased lung elastase and matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity when compared with unventilated control animals, causing elastin degradation (urine desmosine doubled), TGF-? activation (pSmad-2 tripled), and apoptosis (cleaved-caspase-3 increased 10-fold). Quantitative lung histology showed larger and fewer alveoli, greater inflammation, and scattered elastic fibers. Elafin blocked these MV-O?-induced changes.Intratracheal elafin, by blocking lung protease activity, prevented MV-O?-induced elastin degradation, TGF-? activation, apoptosis, and dispersion of matrix elastin, and attenuated lung structural abnormalities noted in vehicle-treated mice after 24 hours of MV-O?. These findings suggest that elastin breakdown contributes to defective lung growth in response to MV-O? and might be targeted therapeutically to prevent MV-O?-induced lung injury.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.201012-2010OC

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294478200014

    View details for PubMedID 21562133

  • Regulatory T Cells and Pulmonary Hypertension TRENDS IN CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE Tamosiuniene, R., Nicolls, M. R. 2011; 21 (6): 166-171

    Abstract

    Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a disease of high lethality arising from numerous causes. For a significant subset of PH patients, autoimmune biomarkers or frank autoimmune disease are simultaneously present, but the extent to which lung inflammation contributes to PH is unknown. However, emerging experimental and clinical evidence suggests that immune dysregulation may lead to the propagation of vascular injury and PH. A recent preclinical study demonstrated that regulatory T cells are important mediators normally enlisted to control inflammation and that, if absent or dysfunctional, may predispose to the development of PH.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000306942700003

    View details for PubMedID 22814424

  • Adenovirus-mediated HIF-1 alpha gene transfer promotes repair of mouse airway allograft microvasculature and attenuates chronic rejection JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Jiang, X., Khan, M. A., Tian, W., Beilke, J., Natarajan, R., Kosek, J., Yoder, M. C., Semenza, G. L., Nicolls, M. R. 2011; 121 (6): 2336-2349

    Abstract

    Chronic rejection, manifested as small airway fibrosis (obliterative bronchiolitis [OB]), is the main obstacle to long-term survival in lung transplantation. Recent studies demonstrate that the airways involved in a lung transplant are relatively hypoxic at baseline and that OB pathogenesis may be linked to ischemia induced by a transient loss of airway microvasculature. Here, we show that HIF-1? mediates airway microvascular repair in a model of orthotopic tracheal transplantation. Grafts with a conditional knockout of Hif1a demonstrated diminished recruitment of recipient-derived Tie2? angiogenic cells to the allograft, impaired repair of damaged microvasculature, accelerated loss of microvascular perfusion, and hastened denudation of epithelial cells. In contrast, graft HIF-1? overexpression induced via an adenoviral vector prolonged airway microvascular perfusion, preserved epithelial integrity, extended the time window for the graft to be rescued from chronic rejection, and attenuated airway fibrotic remodeling. HIF-1? overexpression induced the expression of proangiogenic factors such as Sdf1, Plgf, and Vegf, and promoted the recruitment of vasoreparative Tie2? cells. This study demonstrates that a therapy that enhances vascular integrity during acute rejection may promote graft health and prevent chronic rejection.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI46192

    View details for Web of Science ID 000291234300032

    View details for PubMedID 21606594

  • Survival in Pulmonary Hypertension Registries The Importance of Incident Cases Response CHEST Chung, L., Liu, J., Parsons, L. S., Hassoun, P. M., McGoon, M. D., Badesch, D. B., Miller, D. P., Nicolls, M. R., Zamanian, R. T. 2011; 139 (6): 1548-1549
  • Immunomodulatory strategies prevent the development of autoimmune emphysema RESPIRATORY RESEARCH Hanaoka, M., Nicolls, M. R., Fontenot, A. P., Kraskauskas, D., Mack, D. G., Kratzer, A., Salys, J., Kraskauskiene, V., Burns, N., Voelkel, N. F., Taraseviciene-Stewart, L. 2010; 11

    Abstract

    The presence of anti-endothelial cell antibodies and pathogenic T cells may reflect an autoimmune component in the pathogenesis of emphysema. Whether immune modulatory strategies can protect against the development of emphysema is not known.Sprague Dawley rats were immunized with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) to induce autoimmune emphysema and treated with intrathymic HUVEC-injection and pristane. Measurements of alveolar airspace enlargement, cytokine levels, immuno histochemical, western blot analysis, and T cell repertoire of the lung tissue were performed.The immunomodulatory strategies protected lungs against cell death as demonstrated by reduced numbers of TUNEL and active caspase-3 positive cells and reduced levels of active caspase-3, when compared with lungs from HUVEC-immunized rats. Immunomodulatory strategies also suppressed anti-endothelial antibody production and preserved CNTF, IL-1alpha and VEGF levels. The immune deviation effects of the intrathymic HUVEC-injection were associated with an expansion of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Pristane treatment decreased the proportion of T cells expressing receptor beta-chain, V?16.1 in the lung tissue.Our data demonstrate that interventions classically employed to induce central T cell tolerance (thymic inoculation of antigen) or to activate innate immune responses (pristane treatment) can prevent the development of autoimmune emphysema.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/1465-9921-11-179

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285638200001

    View details for PubMedID 21162738

  • Strategic Plan for Lung Vascular Research An NHLBI-ORDR Workshop Report AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Erzurum, S., Rounds, S. I., Stevens, T., Aldred, M., Aliotta, J., Archer, S. L., Asosingh, K., Balaban, R., Bauer, N., Bhattacharya, J., Bogaard, H., Choudhary, G., Dorn, G. W., Dweik, R., Fagan, K., Fallon, M., Finkel, T., Geraci, M., Gladwin, M. T., Hassoun, P. M., Humbert, M., Kaminski, N., Kawut, S. M., Loscalzo, J., McDonald, D., McMurtry, I. F., Newman, J., Nicolls, M., Rabinovitch, M., Shizuru, J., Oka, M., Polgar, P., Rodman, D., Schumacker, P., Stenmark, K., Tuder, R., Voelkel, N., Sullivan, E., Weinshilboum, R., Yoder, M. C., Zhao, Y., Gail, D., Moore, T. M. 2010; 182 (12): 1554-1562

    Abstract

    The Division of Lung Diseases of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, with the Office of Rare Diseases Research, held a workshop to identify priority areas and strategic goals to enhance and accelerate research that will result in improved understanding of the lung vasculature, translational research needs, and ultimately the care of patients with pulmonary vascular diseases. Multidisciplinary experts with diverse experience in laboratory, translational, and clinical studies identified seven priority areas and discussed limitations in our current knowledge, technologies, and approaches. The focus for future research efforts include the following: (1) better characterizing vascular genotype-phenotype relationships and incorporating systems biology approaches when appropriate; (2) advancing our understanding of pulmonary vascular metabolic regulatory signaling in health and disease; (3) expanding our knowledge of the biologic relationships between the lung circulation and circulating elements, systemic vascular function, and right heart function and disease; (4) improving translational research for identifying disease-modifying therapies for the pulmonary hypertensive diseases; (5) establishing an appropriate and effective platform for advancing translational findings into clinical studies testing; and (6) developing the specific technologies and tools that will be enabling for these goals, such as question-guided imaging techniques and lung vascular investigator training programs. Recommendations from this workshop will be used within the Lung Vascular Biology and Disease Extramural Research Program for planning and strategic implementation purposes.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.201006-0869WS

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285534600016

    View details for PubMedID 20833821

  • Characterization of Connective Tissue Disease-Associated Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension From REVEAL Identifying Systemic Sclerosis as a Unique Phenotype CHEST Chung, L., Liu, J., Parsons, L., Hassoun, P. M., McGoon, M., Badesch, D. B., Miller, D. P., Nicolls, M. R., Zamanian, R. T. 2010; 138 (6): 1383-1394

    Abstract

    REVEAL (the Registry to Evaluate Early and Long-term Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Disease Management) is the largest US cohort of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) confirmed by right-sided heart catheterization (RHC), providing a more comprehensive subgroup characterization than previously possible. We used REVEAL to analyze the clinical features of patients with connective tissue disease-associated PAH (CTD-APAH).All newly and previously diagnosed patients with World Health Organization (WHO) group 1 PAH meeting RHC criteria at 54 US centers were consecutively enrolled. Cross-sectional and 1-year mortality and hospitalization analyses from time of enrollment compared CTD-APAH to idiopathic disease and systemic sclerosis (SSc) to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).Compared with patients with idiopathic disease (n = 1,251), patients with CTD-APAH (n = 641) had better hemodynamics and favorable right ventricular echocardiographic findings but a higher prevalence of pericardial effusions, lower 6-min walk distance (300.5 ± 118.0 vs 329.4 ± 134.7 m, P = .01), higher B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels (432.8 ± 789.1 vs 245.6 ± 427.2 pg/mL, P < .0001), and lower diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (Dlco) (44.9% ± 18.0% vs 63.6% ± 22.1% predicted, P < .0001). One-year survival and freedom from hospitalization were lower in the CTD-APAH group (86% vs 93%, P < .0001; 67% vs 73%, P = .03). Compared with patients with SSc-APAH (n = 399), those with other CTDs (SLE, n = 110; MCTD, n = 52; RA, n = 28) had similar hemodynamics; however, patients with SSc-APAH had the highest BNP levels (552.2 ± 977.8 pg/mL), lowest Dlco (41.2% ± 16.3% predicted), and poorest 1-year survival (82% vs 94% in SLE-APAH, 88% in MCTD-APAH, and 96% in RA-APAH).Patients with SSc-APAH demonstrate a unique phenotype with the highest BNP levels, lowest Dlco, and poorest survival of all CTD-APAH subgroups. Trial registry: ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00370214; URL: clinicaltrials.gov.

    View details for DOI 10.1378/chest.10-0260

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285494000017

    View details for PubMedID 20507945

  • Bronchial blood supply after lung transplantation without bronchial artery revascularization CURRENT OPINION IN ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION Nicolls, M. R., Zamora, M. R. 2010; 15 (5): 563-567

    Abstract

    This review discusses how the bronchial artery circulation is interrupted following lung transplantation and what may be the long-term complications of compromising systemic blood flow to allograft airways.Preclinical and clinical studies have shown that the loss of airway microcirculations is highly associated with the development of airway hypoxia and an increased susceptibility to chronic rejection.The bronchial artery circulation has been highly conserved through evolution. Current evidence suggests that the failure to routinely perform bronchial artery revascularization at the time of lung transplantation may predispose patients to develop the bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/MOT.0b013e32833deca9

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281837400004

    View details for PubMedID 20689435

  • Lung Transplant Airway Hypoxia A Diathesis to Fibrosis? AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Dhillon, G. S., Zamora, M. R., Roos, J. E., Sheahan, D., Sista, R. R., van der Starre, P., Weill, D., Nicolls, M. R. 2010; 182 (2): 230-236

    Abstract

    Chronic rejection, manifested pathologically as airway fibrosis, is the major problem limiting long-term survival in lung transplant recipients. Airway hypoxia and ischemia, resulting from a failure to restore the bronchial artery (BA) circulation at the time of transplantation, may predispose patients to chronic rejection. To address this possibility, clinical information is needed describing the status of lung perfusion and airway oxygenation after transplantation.To determine the relative pulmonary arterial blood flow, airway tissue oxygenation and BA anatomy in the transplanted lung was compared with the contralateral native lung in lung allograft recipients.Routine perfusion scans were evaluated at 3 and 12 months after transplantation in 15 single transplant recipients. Next, airway tissue oximetry was performed in 12 patients during surveillance bronchoscopies in the first year after transplant and in 4 control subjects. Finally, computed tomography (CT)-angiography studies on 11 recipients were reconstructed to evaluate the post-transplant anatomy of the BAs.By 3 months after transplantation, deoxygenated pulmonary arterial blood is shunted away from the native lung to the transplanted lung. In the first year, healthy lung transplant recipients exhibit significant airway hypoxia distal to the graft anastomosis. CT-angiography studies demonstrate that BAs are abbreviated, generally stopping at or before the anastomosis, in transplant airways.Despite pulmonary artery blood being shunted to transplanted lungs after transplantation, grafts are hypoxic compared with both native (diseased) and control airways. Airway hypoxia may be due to the lack of radiologically demonstrable BAs after lung transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.200910-1573OC

    View details for Web of Science ID 000280206700014

    View details for PubMedID 20339145

  • Increased regulatory and decreased CD8+ cytotoxic T cells in the blood of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension RESPIRATION Ulrich, S., Nicolls, M. R., Taraseviciene, L., Speich, R., Voelkel, N. 2008; 75 (3): 272-280

    Abstract

    An association between pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and various immune disorders is well established. Recently, the role of an intact immune system in protecting against pulmonary angioproliferation was shown in an animal model.To elucidate the role of T cells in human PAH, we comparatively studied T cell subclasses with emphasis on regulatory T cells (T(reg)) in the peripheral blood of patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH) and healthy controls.Isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 36 patients diagnosed with IPAH and 33 healthy controls were stained with fluorescently labeled monoclonal antibodies against superficial T cell markers (CD3, CD4, CD8, CD25) and FoxP3, the intracellular marker of T(reg) cells. The relative cell distribution was analyzed by flow cytometry. The functionality of patient and control T(reg) cells was assessed by coculture of T(reg) with nonregulatory T cells from the same individual.Significantly less CD8+ T cells (p = 0.02) and more CD25hi+ and FoxP3+CD4+ T cells were found in the peripheral blood of patients compared with controls (p = 0.009 and p < 0.001, respectively). The percentage of FoxP3+ cells within the CD25hi+CD4+ T(reg) cells was similar. T(reg) cell functionality was equal in patients and controls.Our findings of decreased CD8+ T cells and increased T(reg) cells in the peripheral blood of patients with IPAH are novel and may have implications for directing future research in the field to elucidate the differential role of T cells and the immune system in IPAH.

    View details for DOI 10.1159/000111548

    View details for Web of Science ID 000255895400006

    View details for PubMedID 18025812

  • Microvascular destruction identifies murine allografts that cannot be rescued from airway fibrosis JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Babu, A. N., Murakawa, T., Thurman, J. M., Miller, E. J., Henson, P. M., Zamora, M. R., Voelkel, N. F., Nicolls, M. R. 2007; 117 (12): 3774-3785

    Abstract

    Small airway fibrosis (bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome) is the primary obstacle to long-term survival following lung transplantation. Here, we show the importance of functional microvasculature in the prevention of epithelial loss and fibrosis due to rejection and for the first time, relate allograft microvascular injury and loss of tissue perfusion to immunotherapy-resistant rejection. To explore the role of alloimmune rejection and airway ischemia in the development of fibroproliferation, we used a murine orthotopic tracheal transplant model. We determined that transplants were reperfused by connection of recipient vessels to donor vessels at the surgical anastomosis site. Microcirculation through the newly formed vascular anastomoses appeared partially dependent on VEGFR2 and CXCR2 pathways. In the absence of immunosuppression, the microvasculature in rejecting allografts exhibited vascular complement deposition, diminished endothelial CD31 expression, and absent perfusion prior to the onset of fibroproliferation. Rejecting grafts with extensive endothelial cell injury were refractory to immunotherapy. After early microvascular loss, neovascularization was eventually observed in the membranous trachea, indicating a reestablishment of graft perfusion in established fibrosis. One implication of this study is that bronchial artery revascularization at the time of lung transplantation may decrease the risk of subsequent airway fibrosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI32311

    View details for Web of Science ID 000251396600026

    View details for PubMedID 18060031

  • Endogenous signals released from necrotic cells augment inflammatory responses to bacterial endotoxin IMMUNOLOGY LETTERS El Mezayen, R., El Gazzar, M., Seeds, M. C., McCall, C. E., Dreskin, S. C., Nicolls, M. R. 2007; 111 (1): 36-44

    Abstract

    Stressed cells undergoing necrosis release molecules that acts as endogenous danger signals to alert and activate innate immune cells. Both HMGB1 and HSP70 are induced in activated monocytes/macrophages and also are released from stressed or injured cells. We investigated whether HMGB1 and HSP70 released from necrotic monocytes/macrophages, can act as danger signals to mediate proinflammatory cytokine responses to bacterial endotoxin or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We show that cell lysate, obtained from necrotic cells directly stimulates the proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine responses in human monocyte/macrophage cell line, THP-1, as revealed by the induction of TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA expression and protein production. In the presence of LPS, necrotic cell lysate induced a more robust increase in all three proteins. We found that HMGB1 and HSP70 were indeed present in the necrotic cell lysate and were responsible for the significant induction of the proinflammatory cytokine expression, as neutralization with antibodies against both proteins blocked the increase in the cytokine production seen after incubating LPS-stimulated cells with the necrotic cell lysate. We also found that the newly identified triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 (TREM-1) was involved in mediating the HMGB1- and HSP70-induced cytokine production. Blocking TREM-1 on THP-1 cells with a recombinant chimera prevented the increase in cytokine production, while simultaneous blocking of TLR4 and TREM-1 completely abolished the proinflammatory response, suggesting that TREM-1 synergizes with TLR4 to mediate the effects of such signals from necrotic cells. In addition, blocking HMGB1 or HSP70 simultaneously with TREM-1 did not decrease the cytokine level further, confirming the involvement of TREM-1 in mediating the effect of HMGB1 and HSP70. Although the interaction of HMGB1 and HSP70 with TREM-1 induced I kappa B alpha and p38 expression, both of which are required for the inflammatory cytokine expression, blockade of TREM-1 did not affect I kappa B alpha expression but markedly reduced p38 activation, as revealed by Western blot analysis. Together, these results demonstrate that HMGB1 and HSP70 released from necrotic cells function as endogenous danger signals to augment the proinflammatory responses in monocytes/macrophage and that TREM-1 relays such signals to the cytokine expression cascade. This mechanism may contribute to the amplification and persistence of the inflammatory response to bacterial infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.imlet.2007.04.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000248672100006

    View details for PubMedID 17568691

  • Oxidant stress, immune dysregulation, and vascular function in type I diabetes ANTIOXIDANTS & REDOX SIGNALING Nicolls, M. R., Haskins, K., Flores, S. C. 2007; 9 (7): 879-889

    Abstract

    Although high glucose is an important contributor to diabetic vasculopathies, complications still occur in spite of tight glycemic control, suggesting that some critical event prior to or concurrent with hyperglycemia may contribute to early vascular changes. Utilizing previously published and new experimental evidence, this review will discuss how prior to the hyperglycemic state, an imbalance between oxidants and antioxidants may contribute to early vascular dysfunction and set in motion proinflammatory insults that are further amplified as the diabetes develops. This imbalance results from the resetting of the equilibrium between vessel superoxide/H(2)O(2) production and/or decreased antioxidant defenses. Such an imbalance may cause endothelial dysfunction, characterized by abnormal endothelium-dependent vasoreactivity, as the first sign of blood vessel damage, followed by morphological changes of the vessel wall and inflammation. As such, increased oxidant stress in preglycemic states may be a critically central initiating event that underlies the pathogenesis of life-threatening vascular diseases in autoimmune diabetes. This review focuses on the relationship between oxidative stress, immune dysregulation, and vascular injury in type 1 diabetes, and how the discovery of novel pathways of vascular disease in nonobese diabetic mice may direct future studies in patients with type 1 diabetes.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/ars.2007.1631

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246646200009

    View details for PubMedID 17508913

  • Hypoxia and the lung: Beyond hypoxic vasoconstriction ANTIOXIDANTS & REDOX SIGNALING Nicolls, M. R., Voelkel, N. F. 2007; 9 (6): 741-743

    Abstract

    This article extends the influence and effects of hypoxia on the lung beyond vasoconstriction and regional blood flow control. Clearly, hypoxia, via the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1alpha, induces a large number of genes encoding proteins, which control cellular metabolism and growth and also participate in inflammation. Hypoxia, likely via vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), recruits bone marrow precursor cells to the lung and affects the behavior of immune cells. How hypoxia shapes immune responses through VEGF and its receptors on mast cells, eosinophils, and dendritic cells and through lung endothelial cell/lymphocyte interactions will be a productive area for future research.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/ars.2007.1574

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246646000011

    View details for PubMedID 17511589

  • Transfer of allograft specific tolerance requires CD4(+)CD25(+)T cells but not interleukin-4 or transforming growth factor-beta and cannot induce tolerance to linked antigens TRANSPLANTATION Hall, B. M., Plain, K. M., Verma, N. D., Tran, G. T., Boyd, R., Robinson, C. M., Nicolls, M. R., Berger, M. E., Nomura, M., Hodgkinson, S. J. 2007; 83 (8): 1075-1084

    Abstract

    The mechanisms by which CD4+T cells, especially CD4+ CD25+T cells, transfer allograft specific tolerance are poorly defined. The role of cytokines and the effect on antigen-presenting cells is not resolved.Anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapy induced tolerance to PVG heterotopic cardiac transplantation in DA rats. Peripheral CD4+T cells or CD4+ CD25+ and CD4+ CD25-T cell subsets were adoptively transferred to irradiated DA hosts grafted with PVG heart grafts. For specificity studies, tolerant CD4+T cells were transferred to hosts with Lewis or (PVGxLewis)F1 heart grafts. Cytokine mRNA induction and the requirement for interleukin (IL)-4 and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta in the transfer of tolerance was assessed.CD4+T cells transferred specific tolerance and suppressed naïve CD4+T cells capacity to effect rejection of PVG but not Lewis grafts. (PVGxLewis)F1 grafts had a major rejection episode but recovered. Later these hosts accepted PVG but not Lewis skin grafts. Adoptive hosts restored with tolerant or naïve cells had similar levels of mRNA expression for all Th1 and Th2 cytokines and effector molecules assayed. Transfer of tolerance by CD4+T cells was not blocked by mAb to IL-4 or TGF-beta. CD4+ CD25-T cells from either naïve or tolerant hosts effected rejection. In contrast neither tolerant nor naïve CD4+ CD25+T cells restored rejection.Specific tolerance transfer required CD4+ containing CD4+ CD25+T cells. An inflammatory response with induction of mRNA for Th1 and Th2 cytokines plus cytotoxic effector molecules occurred, but IL-4 and TGF-beta were not essential. Inhibition of antigen presenting cells was not the sole mechanism as there was no linked tolerance.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.tp.0000259553.66185.2f

    View details for Web of Science ID 000246234800012

    View details for PubMedID 17452898

  • Thymoquinone attenuates proinflammatory responses in lipopolysaccharide-activated mast cells by modulating NF-kappaB nuclear transactivation BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS El Gazzar, M. A., El Mezayen, R., Nicolls, M. R., Dreskin, S. C. 2007; 1770 (4): 556-564

    Abstract

    Activated mast cells play an important role in the development and maintenance of chronic inflammation by releasing proinflammatory cytokines such as Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha). TNFalpha is a key mediator of immune and inflammatory responses as it controls the expression of inflammatory genes network and its overproduction contributes significantly to the pathological complications observed in many inflammatory diseases. We have previously shown that thymoquinone (TQ), which has broad anti-inflammatory activities, attenuates allergic inflammation in mice. In the present study, we investigated the effect of TQ on LPS-induced TNFalpha production in the rat basophil cell line, RBL-2H3. Stimulation of RBL-2H3 cells with LPS markedly increased TNFalpha production. TQ treatment significantly inhibited LPS-induced TNFalpha mRNA expression and protein production. To understand the mechanism by which TQ inhibited TNFalpha production, we examined its effects on activation of NF-kappaB transcription factor, which has been shown to be involved in regulating TNFalpha responses. LPS activated the NF-kappaB pathway, resulting in accumulation of NF-kappaB p65 and p50 subunits in the nucleus and activation of TNFalpha promoter. TQ administration to LPS-stimulated cells did not noticeably alter NF-kappaB cytosolic activation or nuclear expression as demonstrated by western blot analysis. Instead, TQ significantly increased the amount of the repressive NF-kappaB p50 homodimer, and simultaneously decreased the amount of transactivating NF-kappaB p65:p50 heterodimer, bound to the TNFalpha promoter as revealed by electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Transient transfection of RBL-2H3 cells with TNFalpha promoter-driven luciferase gene constructs demonstrated that one of the three NF-kappaB binding sites in the TNFalpha promoter, the kappaB3 site, played a major role in the induction of TNFalpha promoter-driven luciferase gene expression by LPS, as well as in mediating the inhibitory effects of TQ on TNFalpha production, as TQ had minimal effect on the TNFalpha promoter-luciferase construct that lacks the kappaB3 site. Together, these results suggest that TQ attenuates the proinflammatory response in LPS-stimulated mast cells by modulating nuclear transactivation of NF-kappaB and TNFalpha production.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbagen.2007.01.002

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245165900007

    View details for PubMedID 17292554

  • The matrix comes to lung transplantation TRANSPLANTATION Babu, A. N., Nicolls, M. R. 2007; 83 (6): 683-684

    Abstract

    Lung transplantation is complicated by fibroproliferation, which is likely mediated in part by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs. This commentary briefly discusses what is known about these mediators in fibrotic pulmonary diseases and how an important new study by Yoshida and colleagues sheds light on the diverse functions of these proteins in alloimmune inflammation.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.tp.0000258596.27071.69

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245411400006

    View details for PubMedID 17414698

  • Angiogenesis in chronic lung disease CHEST Voelkel, N. F., Douglas, I. S., Nicolls, M. 2007; 131 (3): 874-879

    Abstract

    Chronic lung diseases like COPD, severe progressive pulmonary hypertension (PH), and interstitial lung diseases all have a lung vascular disease component. Cellular and molecular mechanisms of pulmonary vascular remodeling have been experimentally explored in many animal models, and it is now clear that microvessels are involved. In emphysema patients, there is a loss of lung microvessels, and in many forms of severe PH there is obliteration of precapillary arterioles by angioproliferation. Thus, COPD/emphysema and severe angioproliferative PH are on the opposite ends of a spectrum of vascular biology responses. Animal experiments have provided insight regarding some of the initiating events that shape the various forms of pulmonary vascular remodeling. In pulmonary fibrosis and in the postinjury phase of acute lung injury, the angiogenic/angiostatic balance is also affected. This review will therefore discuss angiogenesis in several chronic lung diseases and will speculate on how altered vascular homeostasis may contribute to lung disease development.

    View details for DOI 10.1378/chest.06-2453

    View details for Web of Science ID 000245072900038

    View details for PubMedID 17356107

  • Absence of T cells confers increased pulmonary arterial hypertension and vascular remodeling. Am J Respir Crit Care Med Nicolls MR*, Taraseviciene-Stewart L, Kraskauskas D, Scerbavicius R, Burns N, Cool C, Wood K, Parr JE, Boackle SA, Voelkel NF (*co-1st author) 2007; 175 (12): 1280-9
  • Is alveolar destruction and emphysema in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease an immune disease? Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Douglas, I. S., Nana-Sinkam, P. S., Lee, J. D., Tuder, R. M., Nicolls, M. R., Voelkel, N. F. 2006; 3 (8): 687-690

    Abstract

    The alveolar destruction leading to airspace enlargement in patients with end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is frequently progressive, despite smoking cessation. Several laboratories have accumulated data demonstrating the presence of immune cells in bronchial biopsy specimens and lung tissue sections from patients with COPD. Recently, the accumulation of T and B lymphocytes, often forming follicles, in the lung parenchyma from patients with severe COPD has been reported. In addition, it has been postulated that there might be an autoimmune component to COPD. T-cell receptor analysis has provided data consistent with the concept of T-cell clones in the lung tissue from patients with COPD. Against this background, we developed a model of autoimmune emphysema in adult rats. Based on published data showing that immunization of mice with human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) causes production of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor II (KDR) antibodies, and our own data indicating that administration of a VEGF receptor blocker in adult rats causes emphysema, we reasoned that intraperitoneal injection of HUVECs in rats would generate both anti-VEGF receptor antibodies and emphysema. Indeed, intraperitoneal injection of HUVECs caused emphysema. We further explored the autoimmune nature of this model, identified KDR antibodies in the serum of HUVEC-immunized rats, and injected serum from the emphysematous rats into naive rats and mice, which resulted in emphysema. Presently, we are in the process of investigating whether cigarette smoke extract causes emphysema. We recently identified anti-endothelial cell antibodies in the serum of patients with end-stage emphysema.

    View details for PubMedID 17065374

  • Mechanisms of autoimmune emphysema. Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Burns, N., Kraskauskas, D., Nicolls, M. R., Tuder, R. M., Voelkel, N. F. 2006; 3 (6): 486-487

    View details for PubMedID 16921121

  • Effect of thymoquinone on cyclooxygenase expression and prostaglandin production in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation IMMUNOLOGY LETTERS El Mezayen, R., El Gazzar, M., Nicolls, M. R., Marecki, J. C., Dreskin, S. C., Nomiyama, H. 2006; 106 (1): 72-81

    Abstract

    Prostaglandins (PGs) are potent proinflammatory mediators generated through arachidonic acid metabolism by cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (COX-1 and COX-2) in response to different stimuli and play an important role in modulating the inflammatory responses in a number of conditions, including allergic airway inflammation. Thymoquinone (TQ) is the main active constituent of the volatile oil extract of Nigella sativa seeds and has been reported to have anti-inflammatory properties. We examined the effect of TQ on the in vivo production of PGs and lung inflammation in a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation. Mice sensitized and challenged through the airways with ovalbumin (OVA) exhibited a significant increase in PGD2 and PGE2 production in the airways. The inflammatory response was characterized by an increase in the inflammatory cell numbers and Th2 cytokine levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, lung airway eosinophilia and goblet cell hyperplasia, as well as the induction of COX-2 protein expression in the lung. Intraperitoneal injection of TQ for 5 days before the first OVA challenge attenuated airway inflammation as demonstrated by the significant decrease in Th2 cytokines, lung eosinophilia, and goblet cell hyperplasia. This attenuation of airway inflammation was concomitant to the inhibition of COX-2 protein expression and PGD2 production. However, TQ had a slight inhibitory effect on COX-1 expression and PGE2 production. These findings suggest that TQ has an anti-inflammatory effect during the allergic response in the lung through the inhibition of PGD2 synthesis and Th2-driven immune response.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.imlet.2006.04.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239978400011

    View details for PubMedID 16762422

  • Downregulation of leukotriene biosynthesis by thymoquinone attenuates airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS El Gazzar, M., El Mezayen, R., Nicolls, M. R., Marecki, J. C., Dreskin, S. C. 2006; 1760 (7): 1088-1095

    Abstract

    Chronic airway inflammation is a key feature of bronchial asthma. Leukotrienes are potent inflammatory mediators that play a role in the pathophysiology of asthma, and their levels are elevated in the airways in response to allergen challenge. We examined the anti-inflammatory effect of thymoquinone (TQ), the active principle in the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds, on leukotriene (LT) biosynthesis in a mouse model of allergic asthma. Mice sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA) antigen had an increased amounts of leukotriene B4 and C4, Th2 cytokines, and eosinophils in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid. In addition, there was also a marked increase in lung tissue eosinophilia and goblet cell numbers. Administration of TQ before OVA challenge inhibited 5-lipoxygenase, the main enzyme in leukotriene biosynthesis, expression by lung cells and significantly reduced the levels of LTB4 and LTC4. This was accompanied by a marked decrease in Th2 cytokines and BAL fluid and lung tissue eosinophilia, all of which are characteristics of airway inflammation. These results demonstrate the anti-inflammatory effect of TQ in experimental asthma.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbagen.2006.03.006

    View details for Web of Science ID 000239040700013

    View details for PubMedID 16624488

  • Anti-inflammatory effect of thymoquinone in a mouse model of allergic lung inflammation INTERNATIONAL IMMUNOPHARMACOLOGY El Gazzar, M., El Mezayen, R., Marecki, J. C., Nicolls, M. R., Canastar, A., Dreskin, S. C. 2006; 6 (7): 1135-1142

    Abstract

    Thymoquinone (TQ), the main active constituent of the volatile oil extracted from Nigella sativa's seeds, has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory and immune stimulatory effect on bronchial asthma and inflammation. However, little is known about the factors and mechanisms underlying these effects. In the present study, we examined the effect of TQ on airway inflammation in a mouse model of allergic asthma. Intraperitoneal injection of TQ before airway challenge of ovalbumin (OVA)-sensitized mice resulted in a marked decrease in lung eosinophilia and the elevated Th2 cytokines observed after airway challenge with OVA antigen; both in vivo, in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid and in vitro, following stimulation of lung cells with OVA. TQ also decreased the elevated serum levels of OVA-specific IgE and IgG1. Histological examination of lung tissue demonstrated that TQ significantly inhibited allergen-induced lung eosinophilic inflammation and mucus-producing goblet cells. While TQ showed a significant effect in inhibiting IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 and some effect in inducing IFN-gamma production in the BAL fluid, it did show a slight effect on in vitro production of IL-4 by cultured lung cells stimulated with OVA antigen. These data suggest that TQ attenuates allergic airway inflammation by inhibiting Th2 cytokines and eosinophil infiltration into the airways; thus demonstrating its potential anti-inflammatory role during the allergic response in the lung.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.intimp.2006.02.004

    View details for Web of Science ID 000238155900012

    View details for PubMedID 16714217

  • LFA-1 (CD11a) as a therapeutic target AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Nicolls, M. R., Gill, R. G. 2006; 6 (1): 27-36

    Abstract

    Leukocyte function associated antigen-1 (LFA-1) was one of the earliest of cell-surface molecules identified by monoclonal antibodies generated against leukocyte immunogens. This integrin heterodimer is perhaps best known as a classic adhesion molecule facilitating the interaction between T cells and antigen-presenting cells. However, varied studies indicate that LFA-1 has multi-faceted roles in the immune response including adhesion, activation and trafficking of leukocyte populations. While there has been long-standing interest in LFA-1 as a therapeutic target for regulating immunity, anti-LFA-1 therapy is still not a first-line indication for any clinical condition. Antagonism of LFA-1 with monoclonal antibodies, either alone or in combination with other agents, can result in regulatory tolerance in vivo. Furthermore, new generation humanized anti-LFA-1 monoclonal antibodies (Efalizumab) show at least modest promise for continued application in clinical trials. Thus, anti-LFA-1 forms a potential, but still largely unexploited, immunotherapy which may find its greatest application as an agent which augments other therapies.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2005.01158.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000234344900008

    View details for PubMedID 16433753

  • Autoimmunity and pulmonary hypertension: a perspective EUROPEAN RESPIRATORY JOURNAL Nicolls, M. R., Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Rai, P. R., Badesch, D. B., Voelkel, N. F. 2005; 26 (6): 1110-1118

    Abstract

    The association between autoimmunity and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) has been appreciated for >40 yrs, but how autoimmune injury might contribute to the pathogenesis of this disease has only been examined in a case-specific manner. It is becoming increasingly clear that a variety of diverse clinical diseases, ranging from viral infections to connective tissue disorders, can culminate in pulmonary vascular pathology that is indistinguishable. Is there a hitherto unappreciated biology that unites these seemingly unrelated conditions? The answer to this question may come from the increasing body of evidence concerned with the central importance of regulatory T-cells in preventing inappropriate B-cell activity. Two striking similarities between conditions associated with severe angioproliferative pulmonary hypertension are a defect in the CD4 T-cell compartment and auto-antibody production. Pathogenic auto-antibodies targeting endothelial cells are capable of inducing vascular endothelial apoptosis and may initiate the development of PAH. The present review will focus on what is known about autoimmune phenomena in pulmonary arterial hypertension patients, in order to better consider whether an early loss of self-tolerance followed by autoimmune injury could influence the early development of severe angioproliferative pulmonary hypertension.

    View details for DOI 10.1183/09031936.05.00045705

    View details for Web of Science ID 000234203100023

    View details for PubMedID 16319344

  • The protective role of T-lymphocytes in pulmonary vascular remodeling CHEST Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Kraskauskas, D., Scerbavicins, R., Burns, N., Cool, C. D., Nicolls, M. R., Voelkel, N. F. 2005; 128 (6): 571S-572S

    View details for Web of Science ID 000234371400012

    View details for PubMedID 16373829

  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus as a conformational disease. JOP : Journal of the pancreas Hayden, M. R., Tyagi, S. C., Kerklo, M. M., Nicolls, M. R. 2005; 6 (4): 287-302

    Abstract

    Conformational diseases are conditions that arise from the dysfunctional aggregation of proteins in non-native conformations. Type 2 diabetes mellitus can be defined as a conformational disease because a constituent beta cell protein, islet amyloid polypeptide, undergoes a change in tertiary structure followed by self-association and tissue deposition. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with multiple metabolic derangements that result in the excessive production of reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress. These reactive oxygen species set in motion a host of redox reactions which can result in unstable nitrogen and thiol species that contribute to additional redox stress. The ability of a cell to deal with reactive oxygen species and oxidative stress requires functional chaperones, antioxidant production, protein degradation and a cascade of intracellular events collectively known as the unfolded protein response. It is known that beta cells are particularly susceptible to perturbations in this quality control system and that reactive oxygen species play an important role in the development and/or progression of diabetes mellitus. Oxidative stress and increased insulin production contribute to endoplasmic reticulum stress, protein misfolding, and induction of the unfolded protein response. As the cell's quality control system becomes overwhelmed, conformational changes occur to islet amyloid polypeptide intermediates, generating stable oligomers with an anti-parallel crossed beta-pleated sheet structure that eventually accumulate as space-occupying lesions within the islets. By approaching type 2 diabetes mellitus as a conformational disease in which there is a structural transition from physiological protein to pathological protein, it is possible that the relentless nature of disease progression can be understood in relation to other conformational diseases.

    View details for PubMedID 16006679

  • Chemokine-mediated angiogenesis: an essential link in the evolution of airway fibroses? JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION Douglas, I. S., Nicolls, T. R. 2005; 115 (5): 1133-1136

    Abstract

    Angiogenesis may be an important factor in the development of fibrotic lung disease. Prior studies have strongly suggested a role for angiogenic vascular remodeling in pulmonary fibrosis, and emerging evidence indicates that new vessel formation is critical in airway fibrosis. Bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome is a fibrotic occlusion of distal airways that is largely responsible for the morbidity and mortality of patients after lung transplantation. In this issue, Belperio et al. demonstrate a role for CXC chemokine receptor 2 in the regulation of angiogenesis-mediated airway fibroproliferation. By integrating an understanding of neovascularization into the study of events that occur between inflammation and fibrosis, it becomes increasingly possible to rationally design therapies that can halt conditions of maladaptive fibrosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI200525193

    View details for Web of Science ID 000228908300010

    View details for PubMedID 15864341

  • Simultaneous LFA-1 and CD40 ligand antagonism prevents airway remodeling in orthotopic airway transplantation: Implications for the role of respiratory epithelium as a modulator of fibrosis JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Murakawa, T., Kerklo, M. M., Zamora, M. R., Wei, Y., Gill, R. G., Henson, P. M., Grover, F. L., Nicolls, M. R. 2005; 174 (7): 3869-3879

    Abstract

    Airway remodeling is a prominent feature of certain immune-mediated lung diseases such as asthma and chronic lung transplant rejection. Under conditions of airway inflammation, the respiratory epithelium may serve an important role in this remodeling process. Given the proposed role of respiratory epithelium in nonspecific injury models, we investigated the respiratory epithelium in an immune-specific orthotopic airway transplant model. MHC-mismatched tracheal transplants in mice were used to generate alloimmune-mediated airway lesions. Attenuation of this immune injury and alteration of antidonor reactivity were achieved by the administration of combined anti-LFA-1/anti-CD40L mAbs. By contrast, without immunotherapy, transplanted airways remodeled with a flattening of respiratory epithelium and significant subepithelial fibrosis. Unopposed alloimmune injury for 10 days was associated with subsequent epithelial transformation and subepithelial fibrosis that could not be reversed with immunotherapy. The relining of donor airways with recipient-derived epithelium was delayed with immunotherapy resulting in partially chimeric airways by 28 days. Partial chimerism was sufficient to prevent luminal fibrosis. However, epithelial chimerism was also associated with airway remodeling. Therefore, there appears to be an intimate relationship between the morphology and level of chimerism of the respiratory epithelium and the degree of airway remodeling following alloimmune injury.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000228000100010

    View details for PubMedID 15778341

  • An animal model of autoimmune emphysema AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Taraseviciene-Stewart, L., Scerbavicius, R., Chloe, K. H., Moore, M., Sullivan, A., Nicolls, M. R., Fontenot, A. P., Tuder, R. M., Voelkel, N. F. 2005; 171 (7): 734-742

    Abstract

    Although cigarette smoking is implicated in the pathogenesis of emphysema, the precise mechanisms of chronic progressive alveolar septal destruction are not well understood. We show, in a novel animal model, that immunocompetent, but not athymic, nude rats injected intraperitoneally with xenogeneic endothelial cells (ECs) produce antibodies against ECs and develop emphysema. Immunization with ECs also leads to alveolar septal cell apoptosis and activation of matrix metalloproteases MMP-9 and MMP-2. Anti-EC antibodies cause EC apoptosis in vitro and emphysema in passively immunized mice. Moreover, immunization also causes accumulation of CD4+ T cells in the lung. Adoptive transfer of pathogenic, spleen-derived CD4+ cells into naive immunocompetent animal also results in emphysema. This study shows for the first time that humoral- and CD4+ cell-dependent mechanisms are sufficient to trigger the development of emphysema, suggesting that alveolar septal cell destruction might result from immune mechanisms.

    View details for DOI 10.1164/rccm.200409-127SOC

    View details for Web of Science ID 000228053000011

    View details for PubMedID 15563631

  • Following universal prophylaxis with intravenous ganciclovir and cytomegalovirus immune globulin, valganciclovir is safe and effective for prevention of CMV infection following lung transplantation AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TRANSPLANTATION Zamora, M. R., Nicolls, M. R., Hodges, T. N., Marquesen, J., Astor, T., Grazia, T., Weill, D. 2004; 4 (10): 1635-1642

    Abstract

    We prospectively determined the safety and efficacy of valganciclovir for prevention of cytomegalovirus (CMV) in at-risk (donor positive/recipient negative [D+/R-] or R+) lung transplant recipients. We also determined the length of prophylaxis required to significantly decrease both CMV infection and disease. Consecutive lung transplant recipients surviving >30 days (n = 90) received combination prophylaxis with intravenous (i.v.) ganciclovir (GCV) 5 mg/kg/day and cytomegalovirus immune globulin (CMV-IVIG) followed by valganciclovir (450 mg twice-daily) to complete 180, 270 or 365 days of prophylaxis. This group was compared to a historical group (n = 140) who received high-dose oral acyclovir following i.v. GCV and CMV-IVIG. CMV disease was significantly lower in patients receiving valganciclovir compared to acyclovir (2.2% vs. 20%; p < 0.0001). Freedom from CMV infection and disease was significantly greater (p < 0.02) in patients receiving 180, 270 or 365 days of prophylaxis (90%, 95% and 90%, respectively) compared to those receiving 100-179 days (64%) or < 100 days (59%). No patient receiving valganciclovir died during the study. Following prophylaxis with i.v. GCV and CMV-IVIG, valganciclovir is safe and effective for prevention of CMV infection and disease in at-risk lung transplant recipients. The required length of prophylaxis was at least 180 days.

    View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2004.00571.x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000223862300010

    View details for PubMedID 15367218

  • The Clinical and Biological Relationship between Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Alzheimer's Disease CURRENT ALZHEIMER RESEARCH Nicolls, M. R. 2004; 1 (1): 47-54

    Abstract

    The clinical relationship between Type II diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer's disease has been debated for over a decade. While several studies have not shown a clear clinical correlation, others have demonstrated that Type II diabetes is an independent risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Why diabetes would increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's disease is not immediately clear, although recent studies have demonstrated an impact of insulin abnormalities, insulin resistance and advanced glycation end products on both the development of neural amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Although endodermal in embryologic development, the pancreas is a highly innervated organ that shares a number of molecular similarities with brain at the level of the transcriptome and proteome. Type II diabetes and Alzheimer's disease are characterized by localized amyloid deposits that progress during the course of the disease. Comparing amyloid deposition in the brain and pancreas reveals some striking pathophysiologic similarities. Neurodegeneration in pancreatic islets, as manifested by neurofibrillary tangles, is less well studied than in Alzheimer's disease but may also occur. This review summarizes what is currently known about the clinical and biological relationships and similarities between Type II diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000207883200007

    View details for PubMedID 15975085

  • Gene microarray study corroborates proteomic findings in rodent islet cells JOURNAL OF PROTEOME RESEARCH Cardozo, A. K., Berthou, L., Kruhoffer, M., Orntoft, T., Nicolls, M. R., Eizirik, D. L. 2003; 2 (5): 553-555

    Abstract

    As reported in an issue of Journal of Proteome Research, mass spectrometry has been used to identify numerous proteins in pancreatic islets. Our group studies beta cell gene expression, and we were interested in whether proteins described in this study could be found at the level of the transcriptome. Microarray analysis is a powerful technique for quantitative measurements of the expression of thousand genes in parallel. However, in crude tumor biopsies, only a subset of transcripts correlate with protein levels, and it is still unknown how frequently mRNA expression correlates with amount of protein in well-differentiated cells. To address this issue, we presently compared data from mouse primary islet proteins obtained by proteomic analysis with RNA data from FACS purified primary rat beta cells obtained by microarray analysis (Rasschaert J, Liu D, Cardozo AK, Kutlu B, Eizirik DL, manuscript in preparation).

    View details for DOI 10.1021/pr034029o

    View details for Web of Science ID 000186002600011

    View details for PubMedID 14582652

  • Proteomics as a tool for discovery: Proteins implicated in Alzheimer's disease are highly expressed in normal pancreatic islets JOURNAL OF PROTEOME RESEARCH Nicolls, M. R., D'Antonio, J. M., Hutton, J. C., Gill, R. G., Czwornog, J. L., Duncan, M. W. 2003; 2 (2): 199-205

    Abstract

    A proteomic analysis of islets was undertaken to determine the protein constituents of normal adult mouse islets. Unexpectedly, we identified several islet proteins that are associated with the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Some of these proteins had chaperone activity that is integral to proper protein folding. This group includes GRP78, valosin-containing protein, calreticulin, protein disulfide isomerase, DnaK, HSP70, HSP60, and TCP-1. Additionally, neuronal proteins key to coordinated neuronal guidance and survival were also identified in islets. This group includes proprotein convertase subtilisin, collapsin response mediator protein 2, ubiquinol-cytochrome c reductase core protein, L-3-hydroxyacyl-Coenzyme A dehydrogenase, glutamine synthetase, peroxiredoxin, and secretogogin. An important subset of the proteins identified here has not been reported previously in pancreatic islets. Abnormal activity of these proteins in brain may contribute to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, a neurodegenerative condition characterized by focal amyloid deposits with neurofibrillary tangles. The putative role of these proteins in Alzheimer's pathogenesis is intriguing given the possible clinical relationship and pathological similarity of Alzheimer's disease to type 2 diabetes. These findings have therefore led to the hypothesis that these proteins may also play a role in type 2 diabetes.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/pr025576x

    View details for Web of Science ID 000182143500010

    View details for PubMedID 12716134

  • CD4-dependent generation of dominant transplantation tolerance induced by simultaneous perturbation of CD154 and LFA-1 pathways JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Nicolls, M. R., Coulombe, M., Beilke, J., Gelhuas, H. C., Gill, R. G. 2002; 169 (9): 4831-4839

    Abstract

    CD154 and LFA-1 (CD11a) represent conceptually distinct pathways of receptor/ligand interactions (costimulation and adhesion/homing, respectively) that have been effectively targeted to induce long-term allograft acceptance and tolerance. In the current study, we determined the relative efficacy and nature of tolerance induced by mAbs specific for these pathways. In vitro analysis indicated that simultaneous targeting of CD154 and LFA-1 resulted in profound inhibition of alloreactivity, suggesting that combined anti-CD154/anti-LFA-1 therapy could be highly effective in vivo. Thus, we evaluated combining mAb therapies targeting CD154 and LFA-1 for inducing transplantation tolerance to pancreatic islet allografts. Monotherapy with either anti-CD154 or anti-LFA-1 was partially effective for inducing long-term allograft survival, whereas the combination resulted in uniform allograft acceptance in high-responder C57BL/6 recipients. This combined therapy was not lymphocyte depleting and did not require the long-term deletion of donor-reactive T lymphocytes to maintain allograft survival. Importantly, combined anti-CD154/anti-LFA therapy uniquely resulted in "dominant" transplantation tolerance. Therefore, simultaneous perturbation of CD154 and LFA-1 molecules can result in profound tolerance induction not accomplished through individual monotherapy approaches. Furthermore, results show that such regulatory tolerance can coexist with the presence of robust anti-donor reactivity, suggesting that active tolerance does not require a corresponding deletion of donor-reactive T cells. Interestingly, although the induction of this regulatory state was highly CD4 dependent, the adoptive transfer of tolerance was less CD4 dependent in vivo.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000178777400019

    View details for PubMedID 12391193

  • Interferon-gamma is not a universal requirement for islet allograft survival TRANSPLANTATION Nicolls, M. R., Coulombe, M., Diamond, A. S., Beilke, J., Gill, R. G. 2002; 74 (4): 472-477

    Abstract

    Although many transplantation studies have implicated a graft-destructive role for T helper (Th)1 cytokines and a graft-protective role for Th2 cytokines, more recent studies have challenged this paradigm by showing that long-term allograft survival can actually require the presence of Th1 cytokines, such as interleukin 2 and interferon (IFN)-gamma. The purpose of this study was to examine the requirement for IFN-gamma in the induction of islet allograft acceptance after monoclonal antibody therapy targeting conceptually distinct molecular pathways: the costimulatory molecule CD154, the CD4 coreceptor, or the beta2 integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen (LFA)-1 (CD11a).Diabetic C57Bl/6 (B6; H2b) mice were grafted with fully MHC mismatched BALB/c (H2d) islets, or reciprocally, diabetic BALB/c mice underwent transplantation with B6 islets and were treated with anti-CD154, anti-CD4, or anti-LFA-1.When IFN-gamma gene knockout mice were used as graft recipients, the requirement for IFN-gamma in allograft survival was found to be highly conditional, depending on both the host strain and the induction therapy used. In both strain combinations studied, anti-CD154 was effective in the presence or absence of IFN-gamma, whereas anti-CD4 lost therapeutic potential in the absence of this cytokine. Alternatively, the requirement for IFN-gamma for allograft prolongation by anti-LFA-1 therapy was noted only in B6 transplant recipients.IFN-gamma is not always requisite in islet allograft survival but rather varies according to the molecular target of induction therapy and the genetic background of the transplant recipient.

    View details for DOI 10.1097/01.TP.0000026310.54443.3E

    View details for Web of Science ID 000177808600007

    View details for PubMedID 12352904

  • Reversal of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis with non-mitogenic, non-depleting anti-CD3 mAb therapy with a preferential effect on T(h)1 cells that is augmented by IL-4 INTERNATIONAL IMMUNOLOGY Tran, G. T., CARTER, N., He, X. Y., Spicer, T. S., Plain, K. M., Nicolls, M., Hall, B. M., Hodgkinson, S. J. 2001; 13 (9): 1109-1120

    Abstract

    This study examined whether therapy with a non-mitogenic, non-activating anti-CD3 mAb (G4.18) alone, or in combination with the T(h)2 cytokines, could inhibit induction or facilitate recovery from experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) in Lewis rats. G4.18, but not rIL-4, rIL-5 or anti-IL-4 mAb, reduced the severity and accelerated recovery from active EAE. A combination of rIL-4 with G4.18 was more effective than G4.18 alone. The infiltrate of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, B cells, dendritic cells, and macrophages in the brain stem was less with combined G4.18 and IL-4 than G4.18 therapy or no treatment. Residual cells had preferential sparing of T(r)1 cytokines IL-5 and transforming growth factor-beta with loss of T(h)1 markers IL-2, IFN-gamma and IL-12Rbeta2, and the T(h)2 cytokine IL-4 as well as macrophage cytokines IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. Lymph nodes draining the site of immunization had less mRNA for T(h)1 cytokines, but T(h)2 and T(r)1 cytokine expression was spared. Treatment with G4.18, rIL-4 or rIL-5 from the time of immunization had no effect on the course of active EAE. MRC OX-81, a mAb that blocks IL-4, delayed onset by 2 days, but had no effect on severity of active EAE. G4.18 also inhibited the ability of activated T cells from rats with active EAE to transfer passive EAE. This study demonstrated that T cell-mediated inflammation was rapidly reversed by a non-activating anti-CD3 mAb that blocked effector T(h)1 cells, and spared cells expressing T(h)2 and T(r)1 cytokines.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000171127200003

    View details for PubMedID 11526091

  • Anti-LFA-1 therapy induces long-term islet allograft acceptance in the absence of IFN-gamma or IL-4 JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Nicolls, M. R., Coulombe, M., Yang, H., Bolwerk, A., Gill, R. G. 2000; 164 (7): 3627-3634

    Abstract

    mAb therapy directed against a variety of cell surface accessory molecules has been effectively utilized to prolong allograft acceptance in various models of tissue and organ transplantation. The purpose of this study was to determine whether transient therapy directed against the adhesion molecule LFA-1 (CD11a) was sufficient to induce donor-specific tolerance to pancreatic islet allografts. Anti-LFA-1 monotherapy was found to be efficacious in inducing long-term islet allograft acceptance in multiple donor-recipient strain combinations. Graft acceptance following anti-LFA-1 therapy was not simply due to clonal ignorance of donor Ags in that the majority of recipients bearing established islet allografts resisted rejection induced by immunization with donor-type APCs. Furthermore, donor-specific tolerance from anti-LFA-1-treated animals could be transferred to secondary immune-deficient animals. Taken together, these results indicated that transient anti-LFA-1 monotherapy resulted in donor-specific tolerance. In vitro, functionally tolerant animals retained normal anti-donor reactivity as assessed by proliferative, cytotoxic, and cytokine release assays that demonstrated that tolerance was not secondary to general clonal deletion or anergy of donor-reactive T cells. Finally, anti-LFA-1 treatment was effective in both IL-4-deficient and IFN-gamma-deficient recipients, indicating that neither of these cytokines are universally required for allograft acceptance. These results suggest that anti-adhesion-based therapy can induce a nondeletional form of tolerance that is not overtly dependent on the prototypic Th1 and Th2 cytokines, IFN-gamma and IL-4, respectively, in contrast to results in other transplantation models.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000086020700025

    View details for PubMedID 10725719

  • Diffuse alveolar hemorrhage with underlying pulmonary capillaritis in the retinoic acid syndrome AMERICAN JOURNAL OF RESPIRATORY AND CRITICAL CARE MEDICINE Nicolls, M. R., Terada, L. S., Tuder, R. M., Prindiville, S. A., Schwarz, M. I. 1998; 158 (4): 1302-1305

    Abstract

    All-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) can induce a clinical remission in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia. An adverse condition called "retinoic acid syndrome" limits this therapy. It is characterized by fever and respiratory distress, along with weight gain, pleural or pericardial effusions, peripheral edema, thromboembolic events, and intermittent hypotension. The lung disease has been previously ascribed to an infiltration of leukemic or maturing myeloid cells into lung parenchyma, which is sometimes associated with pleural effusions and diffuse alveolar hemorrhage. We report a case of retinoic acid syndrome in an 18-yr-old woman who developed diffuse alveolar hemorrhage while being treated with ATRA for acute promyelocytic leukemia. An open lung biopsy revealed pulmonary capillaritis.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000076453300044

    View details for PubMedID 9769296

  • INDUCTION OF TOLERANCE TO HEART ALLOGRAFTS IN RATS USING POSTTRANSPLANT TOTAL LYMPHOID IRRADIATION AND ANTI-T CELL ANTIBODIES TRANSPLANTATION WOODLEY, S. L., Gurley, K. E., HOFFMANN, S. L., Nicolls, M. R., Hagberg, R., CLAYBERGER, C., Holm, B., Wang, X. G., Hall, B. M., Strober, S. 1993; 56 (6): 1443-1447

    Abstract

    This study examined whether posttransplant anti-T cell monoclonal or polyclonal antibody therapy could provide a window of treatment to allow posttransplant total lymphoid irradiation (TLI) to induce tolerance. These experiments were conducted in a high responder strain combination of an ACI cardiac allograft into a Lewis rat. In this situation, treatment with antibody or posttransplant TLI alone is insufficient to induce tolerance, while similar treatments alone have been shown to induce tolerance in low responder strains. The affects of three anti-T cell therapies were compared: anti-CD4 mAb therapy, anti-CD3 mAb, and rabbit antithymocyte globulin (RATG). None of these antibody therapies alone prolonged graft survival indefinitely. Combining anti-CD4 therapy with posttransplant TLI markedly delayed rejection but failed to induce long-term graft survival. Tolerance could be induced by a combination of anti-pan T cell antibody (anti-CD3) and TLI, and, all grafts survived beyond 100 days. RATG failed to prevent graft rejection when used alone or in combination with TLI. However, posttransplant therapy with a combination of RATG, TLI, and single-donor blood transfusion resulted in graft survival beyond 100 days. Recipients bearing long-term donor grafts rejected third-party (PVG) grafts within 2 weeks. Low density donor bone marrow cells used instead of a blood transfusion did not facilitate tolerance. The results indicate that monoclonal or polyclonal anti-pan T cell antibodies, TLI, and a donor blood cell infusion function synergistically in facilitating tolerance to allografts in the posttransplant period.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1993MQ05600031

    View details for PubMedID 8279017

  • INDUCTION OF LONG-TERM SPECIFIC TOLERANCE TO ALLOGRAFTS IN RATS BY THERAPY WITH AN ANTI-CD3-LIKE MONOCLONAL-ANTIBODY TRANSPLANTATION Nicolls, M. R., AVERSA, G. G., Pearce, N. W., Spinelli, A., Berger, M. F., Gurley, K. E., Hall, B. M. 1993; 55 (3): 459-468

    Abstract

    Monoclonal antibodies to CD3 have been shown to activate T cells in vivo and in vitro but have also been shown to render T cells anergic in vitro. In this study G4.18, a mouse IgG3 mAb, was produced that appeared to recognize CD3 by its binding to all peripheral T cells, including a population not recognized by mAb to TCR-alpha/beta that was presumed to be TCR-gamma/delta cells. It precipitated molecules in the 24-26 kd region consistent with the CD3 complex as well as molecules approximately 45 and approximately 49 kd that corresponded to TCR alpha and beta chains and a 92-kd complex. Incubating T cells for 24 hr with saturating concentrations of G4.18 caused modulation of the TCR complex. In vitro, it activated T cells but only if prebound to plastic. In solution it inhibited MLC and CML, but not PHA or Con A activation. In vivo, G4.18 was not toxic even in high doses, and this was thought to be due to the inability of this mAb to activate T cells in vitro because the rat lacks Fc receptors for mouse IgG3. Therapy with G4.18 resulted in transient modulation of TCR/CD3 on T cells and depletion of these cells from blood. G4.18 had no depleting effects by lymph node or spleen cells but caused marked, transient thymic involution. Therapy with G4.18 also induced indefinite survival (> 100 days) of PVG (RTIc) heart grafts but not skin grafts in DA (RTIa) hosts. These hosts with long-surviving cardiac transplants, when grafted from PVG skin, accepted these grafts but rejected third-party skin in first-set. Thus G4.18 was shown to induce long-term specific tolerance to an organ allograft.

    View details for Web of Science ID A1993KT96100001

    View details for PubMedID 8456460

Conference Proceedings


  • Immune Reconstitution Prevents Autoimmune Inflammation and Right Ventricular Remodeling in Immunodeficiency-Associated Pulmonary Hypertension Tamosiuniene, R., Long, C., Ambler, K., Sung, Y., Gera, L., Wang, L., Nicolls, M. LIPPINCOTT WILLIAMS & WILKINS. 2009: S1135-S1135
  • Prevention of Adverse Right Ventricular Remodeling and Autoimmune Inflammation after Splenocyte Therapy in Pulmonary Hypertension: Contribution of HOX11+, C-kit+, FOXP3+Cells Tamosiuniene, R., Long, C., Ambler, K., Wang, L., Gera, L., Sung, Y., Nicolls, M. ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE. 2009: S69-S70
  • The basis of immunogenicity of endocrine allografts Nicolls, M. R., Coulombe, M., Gill, R. G. BEGELL HOUSE INC. 2001: 87-101

    Abstract

    Two signals are required for optimal T-cell activation: the engagement of the antigen-specific receptor and the provision of a second non-antigen-specific inductive signal, or costimulator (CoS). Regarding allograft immunity, two primary pathways of donor antigen presentation can fulfill this two-signal requirement, resulting in cellular immunity to a transplant: (1) "direct" (donor MHC-restricted) presentation in which the antigen-presenting cells (APCs) resident within the transplant directly activate host T lymphocytes and (2) "indirect" (host MHC-restricted) presentation in which host-derived APCs acquire donor antigens that are then presented to host T lymphocytes. It appears that endocrine allografts, such as pancreatic islets and thyroid, are highly dependent on donor-derived APCs, or "passenger leukocytes," to trigger acute graft rejection. Tissue pretreatment aimed at selectively eliminating APCs within endocrine tissues can result in indefinite allograft survival in immune-competent recipients. Although such results implicate the "direct" pathway as the predominant route of host sensitization, the role of donor APCs in rejection appears to be more complex. Recently, we have found that indirect, CD4 T-cell-dependent reactivity can contribute to islet allograft rejection. However, such indirect recognition nevertheless requires donor-derived APCs as a source of antigen. Thus, whereas the donor-type APC is a critical limiting step for initiating islet allograft rejection, such cells can trigger both direct and indirect forms of immune responses that can result in graft rejection. That is, donor hematopoietic cells, rather than tissue parenchymal cells, probably play a major role in providing antigens that stimulate cellular immunity.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000171493400007

    View details for PubMedID 11642616

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