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CFTR dysfunction increases endoglin and TGF-β signaling in airway epithelia.

Endoglin (ENG) regulates signaling by transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), a genetic modifier of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease severity. We hypothesized that ENG mediates TGF-β pathobiology in CF airway epithelia. Comparing CF and non-CF human lungs, we measured ENG by qPCR, immunoblotting and ELISA. In human bronchial epithelial cell lines (16HBE), we used CFTR siRNA knockdown and functional inhibition (CFTR -172) to connect loss of CFTR to ENG synthesis. Plasmid overexpression of ENG assessed the direct effect of ENG on TGF-β transcription and signal amplification in 16HBE cells. We found ENG protein to be increased more than fivefold both in human CF bronchoalveolar fluid (BALF) and human CF lung homogenates. ENG transcripts were increased threefold in CF, with a twofold increase in TGF-β signaling. CFTR knockdown in 16HBE cells tripled ENG transcription and doubled protein levels with corresponding increases in TGF-β signaling. Plasmid overexpression of ENG alone nearly doubled TGF-β1 mRNA and increased TGF-β signaling in 16HBE cells. These experiments identify that loss of CFTR function increases ENG expression in CF epithelia and amplifies TGF-β signaling. Targeting ENG may offer a novel therapeutic opportunity to address TGF-β associated pathobiology in CF.

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Characterization of a mutation in the zona pellucida module of Endoglin that causes Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia.

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a vascular rare disease characterized by nose and gastrointestinal bleeding, skin and mucosa telangiectasias, and arteriovenous malformations in internal organs. HHT shows an autosomal dominant inheritance and a worldwide prevalence of approximately 1:5000 individuals. In >80% of patients, HHT is caused by mutations in either ENG (HHT1) or ACVRL1 (HHT2) genes, which code for the membrane proteins Endoglin and Activin A Receptor Type II-Like Kinase 1 (ALK1), respectively, both belonging to the TGF-β/BMP signaling pathway. In this work, we describe a novel mutation in exon 9 of ENG (c.1145 G > A) found in five affected members of a family, all of them with characteristic symptoms of HHT. This mutation involves Cys382 residue of the Endoglin protein (p.Cys382 > Tyr) in the zona pellucida (ZP) module of its extracellular region. This is a critical residue involved in a conserved intrachain disulphide bond and in the correct folding of the protein. In fact, transfection studies in human cells using Endoglin expression vectors demonstrated that the p.Cys382 > Tyr mutation results in a marked reduction in the levels of the Endoglin protein. These results demonstrate the pathogenic role for this variant in HHT1 and confirm the key function of Cys382 in Endoglin expression.

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Plasma endoglin in Type2 diabetic patients with nephropathy.

Diabetic nephropathy may be a common complication of diabetes mellitus. Endoglin is glycoprotein located on cell surfaces of endothelial cells and is part of the transforming growth factor beta (TGF- β) receptor. Endoglin expression is enhanced in endothelial cells during injury and inflammation. The aim of this study was to estimate the plasma level of soluble endoglin (sEng) in type 2 diabetic patients (with and without nephropathy). Also to explore its availability as marker for disease progression.

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[Increased serum soluble-endoglin level and its clinical significance in antiphospholipid syndrome].

To detect the serum levels of soluble endothelial glycoprotein endoglin (s-Eng) in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) and to evaluate the correlation between s-Eng levels and clinical features and laboratory parameters.

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Disulfiram inhibits placental soluble FMS-like tyrosine kinase-1 and soluble endoglin secretion independent of the proteasome.

Preeclampsia is associated with intermittent placental hypoxia, inflammation and the release of antiangiogenic factors, namely sFLT-1 and sEng. These factors cause maternal endothelial dysfunction and the manifestation of clinical disease. Disulfiram is a dehydrogenase inhibitor used to treat alcoholism and has been suggested as a proteasome inhibitor. Inhibiting the proteasome has been previously shown to reduce FLT-1 gene expression. Thus, we aim to investigate whether disulfiram alters the secretion of sFLT-1 and sEng and reduces endothelial dysfunction. METHODS AND RESULTS: We assessed the effects of disulfiram on primary cytotrophoblast and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Disulfiram significantly reduced mRNA expression of membrane bound FLT-1 and sFLT-1 variants in primary cytotrophoblasts, which translated into a significant reduction in the protein secretion of sFLT-1. Additionally, sFLT-1 was reduced in primary HUVECs treated with disulfiram, whilst sEng was only reduced in primary cytotrophoblasts. Next, we investigated the effect of disulfiram on endothelial dysfunction using primary HUVECs treated with 5% preeclamptic serum ± disulfiram. Serum from preeclamptic women induced endothelial dysfunction evidenced by increased mRNA expression of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) and adhesion of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to HUVECs. The addition of disulfiram reduced VCAM-1 mRNA expression, however did not affect the adhesion of PBMCs to endothelial cells. Lastly, we assessed the effects of disulfiram on the 20S subunit of the proteasome and found disulfiram did not inhibit this subunit in either primary cytotrophoblast or HUVECs. CONCLUSIONS: Disulfiram quenches sFLT-1 and sEng via mechanisms independent of the 20S subunit of the proteasome. Understanding of the mechanisms by which disulfiram inhibits antiangiogenic secretion may reveal insights into the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targets for preeclampsia.

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New highly sensitive sandwich ELISA system for soluble endoglin quantification in different biological fluids.

Soluble endoglin (sEng) is a fragment of a membrane-associated receptor (CD105) expressed on endothelial cells, mesenchymal stem cells and trophoblast cells. It is considered as a regulatory factor involved in the development of preeclampsia (PE) and cancer-associated neo-angiogenesis. The purpose of this study was to describe a new sandwich ELISA for sEng quantification. In contrast to three commercial kits, the new ELISA was able to quantify sEng not only in blood plasma and cell culture supernatants, but also in urine and cerebrospinal fluid. The assay detected up to two orders of magnitude higher antigen levels than did the commercial kits. Using Western blot assay followed by SDS-PAGE or Blue Native PAGE, we demonstrated a heterogeneous nature of sEng molecules. Antigen heterogeneity is considered as a factor contributing to the pronounced differences in its content estimations by different ELISAs. We obtained evidence indicating that the assay was capable of detecting heterogenious sEng molecules. The new ELISA was validated as a quick, specific and accurate method for sEng quantification. Despite the differences in antigen content estimates, the assay had similar diagnostic performance as widely used commercial kit for the detection of severe PE in pregnant women based on plasma sEng contents. Moreover, the new assay was able to delineate diseased patients based on antigen levels in urine. Therefore, the new ELISA is a potentially valuable tool for in vitro and clinical studies.

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The expression of serum sEGFR, sFlt-1, sEndoglin and PLGF in preeclampsia.

The objective of this study was to investigate soluble epidermal growth factor receptor (sEGFR), soluble vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (sFlt-1), soluble endoglin (sEndoglin) and placenta growth factor (PLGF) concentrations in normotensive, preterm and term preeclamptic pregnancies' serum and thus to specify the clinical utility of these biochemical markers in monitoring severity and intrauterine growth retardation of preterm preeclampsia. 172 pregnant women were divided into the following groups: preterm preeclampsia, preterm control, term preeclampsia and term control. Preterm preeclampsia patients were stratified with severe feature (n = 50) and without severe feature (n = 22). sEGFR, sEndoglin and PLGF were assessed using Luminex multiplex immunoassay, whilesFlt-1 was assessed using ELISA. sEGFR was significantly lower in preterm preeclampsia than matched control (p < 0.001) and mildly lower in term preeclampsia than matched control (p < 0.01). On contrary, sFlt-1 was significantly higher in preterm preeclampsia than matched control (p < 0.001) and mildly higher in term preeclampsia than matched control (p < 0.01). sFlt-1, sFlt-1/sEGFR and sFlt-1/PLGF were positively correlated with the severity of preterm preeclampsia (P < 0.001, R value ≥ 0.6), especially sFlt-1/sEGFR had the highest R value (R value = 0.711) among them. Furthermore, sEndoglin and the ratio of sEndoglin/sEGFR were associated with neonatal birth weight small for gestational age (SGA, n = 25) in preterm preeclampsia group.

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Effect of sildenafil citrate on circulating levels of sFlt-1 in preeclampsia.

To examine the effect of sildenafil on level of antiangiogenic proteins of preeclampsia. Firstly to examine the effect of sildenafil on serum biomarkers in a patient with preterm preeclampsia. Secondly, to examine the effect of sildenafil on sFlt-1 and soluble endoglin secretion from primary trophoblasts and placental explants.

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Angiogenic profile in the Finnish Genetics of Pre-Eclampsia Consortium (FINNPEC) cohort.

To study first and second/third trimester levels of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt1), placental growth factor (PlGF) and soluble endoglin (sEng) in FINNPEC case-control cohort. The participants were further divided into subgroups based on parity and onset of the disease. Recommended cut-off values in aid of pre-eclampsia (PE) prediction and diagnosis were also tested.

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In vitro effects of sEng and TGF-β on human umbilical vein endothelial cells and trophoblasts.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the in vitro effects of sEng and TGF-β on human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and trophoblasts.

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