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An Air-Liquid Interface Organ-Level Lung Microfluidics Platform for Analysis on Molecular Mechanisms of Cytotoxicity Induced by Cancer-Causing Fine Particles.

Fine particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM) is regarded as a carcinogenic factor, but the mechanism has been left unexplored. Our goal was to reveal the carcinogenic mechanism at the gene and protein level under the inhalational air-liquid interface (ALI) condition. Herein, we developed an ALI organ-level lung microfluidic platform (ALI-OLMP) carrying lung epithelial cell line BEAS-2B and human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells (HPMEC); the cell viability was above 98% within 14 days on this system, which was used to mimic the practical alveolar microenvironment for the multiomics analysis, to identify the global gene and protein expression after exposure to PM in Shanghai, China from 2014 to 2015. The combined RNA-Seq and iTRAQ analysis indicated that the unique set was 2532 genes at 10 μg/cm of PM, and there were also at least 25 identical activated signal transduction cascades including bladder cancer, transcriptional dysregulation in cancer, the TP53 (p53) signaling pathway, Jak-STAT signaling pathway, and PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, which could lead to blocking of differentiation, cell proliferation and survival, and sustained angiogenesis. The images obtained by the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) showed that the particles could enter the mitochondria, and even get into the nucleus. The Pearson's correlation coefficient test elucidated that inorganics (EC), organics (OC, PAHs, and alkane), and metals (Cr, Mn, and Sb) were significantly correlated to the dysregulated oncoproteins (VEGF, IL6, MDM2, AKT1, STAT, and P53). The findings may to some extent explain the molecular mechanism of carcinogenicity caused by fine-particle exposure.

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Human polyomavirus BKV infection of endothelial cells results in interferon pathway induction and persistence.

Polyomavirus BKV is highly prevalent among humans. The virus establishes an asymptomatic persistent infection in the urinary system in healthy people, but uncontrolled productive infection of the virus in immunocompromised patients can lead to serious diseases. In spite of its high prevalence, our knowledge regarding key aspects of BKV polyomavirus infection remains incomplete. To determine tissue and cell type tropism of the virus, primary human epithelial cells, endothelial cells and fibroblasts isolated from the respiratory and urinary systems were tested. Results from this study demonstrated that all 9 different types of human cells were infectable by BKV polyomavirus but showed differential cellular responses. In microvascular endothelial cells from the lung and the bladder, BKV persistent infection led to prolonged viral protein expression, low yield of infectious progeny and delayed cell death, in contrast with infection in renal proximal tubular epithelial cells, a widely used cell culture model for studying productive infection of this virus. Transcriptomic profiling revealed the activation of interferon signaling and induction of multiple interferon stimulated genes in infected microvascular endothelial cells. Further investigation demonstrated production of IFNβ and secretion of chemokine CXCL10 by infected endothelial cells. Activation of IRF3 and STAT1 in infected endothelial cells was also confirmed. In contrast, renal proximal tubular epithelial cells failed to mount an interferon response and underwent progressive cell death. These results demonstrated that microvascular endothelial cells are able to activate interferon signaling in response to polyomavirus BKV infection. This raises the possibility that endothelial cells might provide initial immune defense against BKV infection. Our results shed light on the persistence of and immunity against infection by BKV polyomavirus.

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Implication of vascular endothelial growth factor A and C in revealing diagnostic lymphangiogenic markers in node-positive bladder cancer.

Several lymphangiogenic factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), have been found to drive the development of lymphatic metastasis in bladder cancer (BCa).Here, we have analyzed the gene expression of lymphangiogenic factors in tissue specimens from 12 non-muscle invasive bladder cancers (NMIBC) and 11 muscle invasive bladder cancers (MIBC), considering tumor and tumor-adjacent normal bladder areas obtained from the same organs. We then compared the results observed in patients with those obtained after treating human primary bladder microvascular endothelial cells (MEC) with either direct stimulation with VEGF-A or VEGF-C or by co-culturing (trans-well assay) MEC with bladder cancer cell lines varying in VEGF-A and VEGF-C production based on tumor grade.The genes of three markers of lymphatic endothelial commitment and development (PDPN, LYVE-1 and SLP-76) were significantly overexpressed in tissues of MIBC patients showing positive lymphovascular invasion (LVI+), lymph node metastasis (Ln+) and tumor progression. Their expression was also significantly enhanced either after direct stimulation of MEC by VEGF-A and VEGF-C or in the trans-well assay with each bladder cancer cell line.SLP-76 showed the highest gene expression. Both VEGF-A and VEGF-C also enhanced the expression of SLP-76 protein in MEC. However, a correlation between increase of SLP-76 gene expression and the ability of MEC to migrate could only be seen after induction by VEGF-C.The significant expression of SLP-76 in LVI+/Ln+ progressive MIBC and its overexpression in MEC after VEGF-A and VEGF-C stimulation suggest the need to develop this regulator of developmental lymphangiogenesis as a diagnostic tool in BCa.

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Microvascular Injury in Ketamine-Induced Bladder Dysfunction.

The pathogenesis of ketamine-induced cystitis (KC) remains unclear. In this study, bladder microvascular injury was investigated as a possible contributing mechanism. A total of 36 KC patients with exposure to ketamine for more than 6 months, and 9 control subjects, were prospectively recruited. All participants completed questionnaires, including the O'Leary-Sant interstitial cystitis symptom index (ICSI) and the interstitial cystitis problem index (ICPI). All KC patients received a urodynamic study and radiological exams. Bladder tissues were obtained from cystoscopic biopsies in the control group and after hydrodistention in the KC group. Double-immunofluorescence staining of N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor subunit 1 (NMDAR1) and the endothelial marker, cluster of differentiation 31 (CD31), was performed to reveal the existence of NMDAR1 on the endothelium. Electron microscopy (EM) was applied to assess the microvascular change in the urinary bladder and to measure the thickening of the basement membrane (BM). A proximity ligation assay (PLA) was used to quantify the co-localization of the endothelial CD31 receptor and the mesenchymal marker [fibroblast-specific protein 1 (FSP-1)]. The Mann-Whitney U test and Spearman's correlation coefficient were used for statistical analysis. The mean ICSI [14.38 (± 4.16)] and ICPI [12.67 (± 3.54)] scores of the KC group were significantly higher than those (0 and 0, respectively) of the control group (both p < 0.001). The KC patients had decreasing cystometric bladder capacity (CBC) with a mean volume of 65.38 (± 48.67) mL. NMDAR1 was expressed on endothelial cells in both groups under immunofluorescence staining. Moreover, KC patients had significant BM duplication of microvessels in the mucosa of the urinary bladder under EM. The co-expression of the endothelial marker CD31 and mesenchymal marker FSP1 was significantly stained and calculated under PLA. In conclusion, microvascular injury and mesenchymal phenotypic alteration of endothelial cells can potentially contribute to KC-induced bladder dysfunction.

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Co-delivery of VEGF and bFGF via a PLGA nanoparticle-modified BAM for effective contracture inhibition of regenerated bladder tissue in rabbits.

Graft contracture is a common problem associated with the regeneration processes of tissue-engineered bladders. Currently, most strategies used for incorporating bioactive molecules into biomaterial designs do not work during all phases of tissue regeneration. In this study, we used a growth factor-PLGA nanoparticle thermo-sensitive gel system (i.e., BAM with incorporated VEGF and bFGF-loaded PLGA nanoparticles and mixed with a hydrophilic gel) to promote bladder tissue regeneration in a rabbit model. At 4 and 12 weeks after surgery, contracture rate assessment and histological examination were conducted to evaluate bladder tissue regeneration. The results indicated that the functional composite scaffold continuously and effectively released VEGF and bFGF and promoted bladder reconstruction with a significant decrease in graft contracture. In addition, the number and arrangement of regenerated urothelial cells and smooth muscle cells as well as microvascular density and maturity were improved in the VEGF/bFGF nanoparticle group compared with the single factor VEGF or bFGF nanoparticle group and BAM alone. The nanoparticle thermo-sensitive gel system, which exhibited favourable performance, may effectively inhibit graft contracture and promote bladder tissue regeneration in rabbits.

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Tissue-Engineered Microvasculature to Reperfuse Isolated Renal Glomeruli.

Kidney transplantation is often the most effective therapy for end-stage renal disease, but there are not enough donor organs to meet the rising demand. Tissue engineering of kidneys is a potential solution to this organ shortage. Achieving microvascular perfusion has been a major barrier to engineering tissues beyond thin muscularized sheets such as the bladder wall. Our laboratory has previously reported that human umbilical vein endothelial cells (ECs) transduced with the antiapoptotic protein Bcl-2 will spontaneously organize into perfused microvessels within type I collagen gels when implanted in immunodeficient mice. To test if this system can be used to perfuse more complex structures, we combined Bcl-2-transduced ECs (Bcl-2-ECs) with renal glomeruli, the specialized vascular filtration units of the kidney. Microdissected green fluorescent protein-expressing rat glomeruli suspended in type I collagen gels were implanted within immunodeficient mice with or without the inclusion of Bcl-2-ECs. Survival of rat glomeruli was enhanced by coimplantation with Bcl-2-ECs. Intravital rhodamine dextran injections demonstrated that surviving glomeruli were perfused through Bcl-2-EC-derived microvessels. Perfused glomeruli maintained podocin staining, but transmission electron microscopy revealed endothelial swelling and podocyte foot process effacement. Anastomosis of microvessels derived from Bcl-2-ECs with glomerular capillaries provides proof of concept that self-assembled microvessels can perfuse specialized organ structures such as glomeruli, but that perfusion alone may be insufficient to maintain normal structure.

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Expression of brain‑specific angiogenesis inhibitor‑1 and association with p53, microvessel density and vascular endothelial growth factor in the tissue of human bladder transitional cell carcinoma.

The aim of the present study was to investigate the expression levels of brain‑specific angiogenesis inhibitor‑1 (BAI‑1) in bladder transitional cell carcinoma (BTCC) at different stages and the mechanism by which it inhibits tumor endothelial cell proliferation. Normal bladder mucosa biopsy specimens were obtained as the control group, and human BTCC biopsy specimens were used as the study group. Immunohistochemical assays were used to detect the expression levels of BAI‑1, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and mutant p53, in addition to microvessel density (MVD) in the tissues. Western blotting was used to analyze the differential expression of BAI‑1 in the two samples. Statistical analysis was performed, which indicated that BAI‑1 expression levels in the normal bladder mucosa group were significantly higher than those in the BTCC group and were associated with clinical staging. BAI‑1 levels in the T1 stage BTCC tissues were higher than those in the T2‑4 stage BTCC tissues (P<0.05). BAI‑1 expression levels were negatively correlated with those of VEGF (r=‑0.661, P<0.001), mutant p53 (r=‑0.406, P=0.002) and with the MVD (r=‑0.675, P<0.001). BAI‑1 may be involved in the negative regulation of BTCC microvascular proliferation, and its expression may be associated with a reduction in p53 mutations.

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The effect of detergents on the basement membrane complex of a biologic scaffold material.

The basement membrane complex (BMC) is a critical component of the extracellular matrix (ECM) that supports and facilitates the growth of cells. This study investigates four detergents commonly used in the process of tissue decellularization and their effect upon the BMC. The BMC of porcine urinary bladder was subjected to 3% Triton-X 100, 8mM 3-[(3-cholamidopropyl)dimethylammonio]-1-propanesulfonate (CHAPS), 4% sodium deoxycholate or 1% sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) for 24h. The BMC structure for each treatment group was assessed by immunolabeling, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and second harmonic generation (SHG) imaging of the fiber network. The composition was assessed by quantification of dsDNA, glycosaminoglycans (GAG) and collagen content. The results showed that collagen fibers within samples treated with 1% SDS and 8mM CHAPS were denatured, and the ECM contained fewer GAG compared with samples treated with 3% Triton X-100 or 4% sodium deoxycholate. Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC) were seeded onto each BMC and cultured for 7 days. Cell-ECM interactions were investigated by immunolabeling for integrin β-1, SEM imaging and semi-quantitative assessment of cellular infiltration, phenotype and confluence. HMEC cultured on a BMC treated with 3% Triton X-100 were more confluent and had a normal phenotype compared with HMEC cultured on a BMC treated with 4% sodium deoxycholate, 8mM CHAPS and 1% SDS. Both 8mM CHAPS and 1% SDS damaged the BMC to the extent that seeded HMEC were able to infiltrate the damaged sub-basement membrane tissue, showed decreased confluence and an atypical phenotype. The choice of detergents used for tissue decellularization can have a marked effect upon the integrity of the BMC of the resultant bioscaffold.

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