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TGF-β1-induced SMAD2/3/4 activation promotes RELM-β transcription to modulate the endothelium-mesenchymal transition in human endothelial cells.

Endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EndMT), which is characterized by increased proliferation, migration and invasion of endothelial cells, increased expression of mesenchymal markers and reduced expression of endothelial markers, has been reported to be closely related to the pathogenesis of several diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis. Resistin-like molecule-β (RELM-β), also known as "found in inflammatory zone 2″ (FIIZ2), plays an essential role in airway remodeling and pulmonary fibrosis; however, its role and mechanism in EndMT remain unclear. Herein, we used TGF-β1-induced EndMT cell model in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and human primary pulmonary artery endothelial cells (HPAECs) to investigate the function and mechanism of RELM-β in TGF-β1-induced EndMT in endothelial cell lines. We found that TGF-β1 stimulation significantly upregulated RELM-β expression; RELM-β knockdown could attenuate TGF-β1-induced cell proliferation and migration of endothelial cell lines and changes in protein levels of EndMT markers. SB432542, an inhibitor of SMADs, could partially reverse TGF-β1-induced RELM-β expression, endothelial cell migration and changes in EndMT marker protein levels. SMADs complex exerted its effects through SMAD2/3/4 complex mediating RELM-β transcription. In conclusion, TGF-β1 induces RELM-β transcription to promote EndMT in HUVECs and HPAECs through activation of SMAD2/3/4; blocking SMADs-mediated RELM-β transcription might ameliorate TGF-β1-induced EndMT in endothelial cells.

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Here, there and everywhere: Resistin-like molecules in infection, inflammation, and metabolic disorders.

The Resistin-Like Molecules (RELM) α, β, and γ and their namesake, resistin, share structural and sequence homology but exhibit significant diversity in expression and function within their mammalian host. RELM proteins are expressed in a wide range of diseases, such as: microbial infections (eg. bacterial and helminth), inflammatory diseases (eg. asthma, fibrosis) and metabolic disorders (eg. diabetes). While the expression pattern and molecular regulation of RELM proteins are well characterized, much controversy remains over their proposed functions, with evidence of host-protective and pathogenic roles. Moreover, the receptors for RELM proteins are unclear, although three receptors for resistin, decorin, adenylyl cyclase-associated protein 1 (CAP1), and Toll-like Receptor 4 (TLR4) have recently been proposed. In this review, we will first summarize the molecular regulation of the RELM gene family, including transcription regulation and tissue expression in humans and mouse disease models. Second, we will outline the function and receptor-mediated signaling associated with RELM proteins. Finally, we will discuss recent studies suggesting that, despite early misconceptions that these proteins are pathogenic, RELM proteins have a more nuanced and potentially beneficial role for the host in certain disease settings.

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Resistin-like molecule β is a bactericidal protein that promotes spatial segregation of the microbiota and the colonic epithelium.

The mammalian intestine is colonized by trillions of bacteria that perform essential metabolic functions for their hosts. The mutualistic nature of this relationship depends on maintaining spatial segregation between these bacteria and the intestinal epithelial surface. This segregation is achieved in part by the presence of a dense mucus layer at the epithelial surface and by the production of antimicrobial proteins that are secreted by epithelial cells into the mucus layer. Here, we show that resistin-like molecule β (RELMβ) is a bactericidal protein that limits contact between Gram-negative bacteria and the colonic epithelial surface. Mouse and human RELMβ selectively killed Gram-negative bacteria by forming size-selective pores that permeabilized bacterial membranes. In mice lacking RELMβ, Proteobacteria were present in the inner mucus layer and invaded mucosal tissues. Another RELM family member, human resistin, was also bactericidal, suggesting that bactericidal activity is a conserved function of the RELM family. Our findings thus identify the RELM family as a unique family of bactericidal proteins and show that RELMβ promotes host-bacterial mutualism by regulating the spatial segregation between the microbiota and the intestinal epithelium.

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Resistin-Like Molecule Beta (RELM-β) Regulates Proliferation of Human Diabetic Nephropathy Mesangial Cells via Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPK) Signaling Pathway.

BACKGROUND Resistin-like molecule beta (RELM-β) has been reported to be associated with diabetic nephropathy (DN). However, the role of RELM-β in DN is poorly understood. This study was conducted to delineate the underlying mechanisms of action and to investigate the role of RELM-β in the primitive development of DN via MAPK signaling pathways. MATERIAL AND METHODS Lentivirus-mediated vectors and RNAi technology were used to establish the model of RELM-β up-regulated and down-regulated expression in human mesangial cells (HMCs). The proliferation of HMCs was detected through CCK-8 method. The cell cycle and cell proliferation of HMCs was detected through flow cytometry. The MAPKs pathway protein activity was detected through Western blotting. RESULTS The HMCs with up-regulated and down-regulated expression of RELM-β increased or decreased significantly at 2-3 days. The HMCs with high glucose intervention reversed the proliferation inhibition. The HMCs with exogenous glucose or RELM-β protein intervention partially reversed the cell cycle inhibition. Among the MAPKs pathway, the phosphorylation activity of p38MAPK and JNK increased or decreased and ERK1/2 did not change in the overexpression or inhibition of RELM-β. The p38 MAPK pathway inhibitor SB202190 significantly inhibited the proliferation of HMCs caused by overexpression of RELM-β. Up-regulated expression of RELM-b induced the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK, JNK in HMCs and promoted HMCs proliferation and participated in early DN through the MAPKs pathway. CONCLUSIONS The results provide evidence that RELM-b is a potential molecular target for the treatment of DN.

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Toxoplasma Co-infection Prevents Th2 Differentiation and Leads to a Helminth-Specific Th1 Response.

Nematode infections, in particular gastrointestinal nematodes, are widespread and co-infections with other parasites and pathogens are frequently encountered in humans and animals. To decipher the immunological effects of a widespread protozoan infection on the anti-helminth immune response we studied a co-infection with the enteric nematode in mice previously infected with . Protective immune responses against nematodes are dependent on parasite-specific Th2 responses associated with IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, IgE, and IgG1 antibodies. In contrast, infection elicits a strong and protective Th1 immune response characterized by IFN-γ, IL-12, and IgG2a antibodies. Co-infected animals displayed significantly higher worm fecundity although worm burden remained unchanged. In line with this, the Th2 response to in co-infected animals showed a profound reduction of IL-4, IL-5, IL-13, and GATA-3 expressing T cells. Co-infection also resulted in the lack of eosinophilia and reduced expression of the Th2 effector molecule RELM-β in intestinal tissue. In contrast, the Th1 response to the protozoan parasite was not diminished and parasitemia of was unaffected by concurrent helminth infection. Importantly, specific restimulation of splenocytes revealed -reactive CD4 T cells that produce a significant amount of IFN-γ in co-infected animals. This was not observed in animals infected with the nematode alone. Increased levels of -specific IgG2a antibodies in co-infected mice mirrored this finding. This study suggests that polarization rather than priming of naive CD4 T cells is disturbed in mice previously infected with . In conclusion, a previous infection limits a helminth-specific Th2 immune response while promoting a shift toward a Th1-type immune response.

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RELM-β promotes human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation via FAK-stimulated surviving.

Resistin-like molecule-β (RELM-β), focal adhesion kinase (FAK), and survivin may be involved in the proliferation of cultured human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (HPAMSCs), which is involved in pulmonary hypertension. HPAMSCs were treated with human recombinant RELM-β (rhRELM-β). siRNAs against FAK and survivin were transfected into cultured HPASMCs. Expression of FAK and survivin were examined by RT-PCR and western blot. Immunofluorescence was used to localize FAK. Flow cytometry was used to examine cell cycle distribution and cell death. Compared to the control group, all rhRELM-β-treated groups demonstrated significant increases in the expression of FAK and survivin (P<0.05). rhRELM-β significantly increased the proportion of HPASMCs in the S phase and decreased the proportion in G0/G1. FAK siRNA down-regulated survivin expression while survivin siRNA did not affect FAK expression. FAK siRNA effectively inhibited FAK and survivin expression in RELM-β-treated HPASMCs and partially suppressed cell proliferation. RELM-β promoted HPASMC proliferation and upregulated FAK and survivin expression. In conclusion, results suggested that FAK is upstream of survivin in the signaling pathway mediating cell proliferation. FAK seems to be important in RELM-β-induced HPASMC proliferation, partially by upregulating survivin expression.

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The goblet cell-derived mediator RELM-β drives spontaneous colitis in Muc2-deficient mice by promoting commensal microbial dysbiosis.

Intestinal goblet cells are potentially key players in controlling susceptibility to ulcerative colitis (UC). Although impaired mucin (Muc2) production by goblet cells increases microbial stimulation of the colonic mucosa, goblet cells secrete other mediators that may influence or promote UC development. Correspondingly, Muc2-deficient ((-/-)) mice develop spontaneous colitis, concurrent with the dramatic upregulation of the goblet cell mediator, resistin-like molecule-beta (RELM-β). Testing RELM-β's role, we generated Muc2(-/-)/Retnlb(-/-) mice, finding that RELM-β deficiency significantly attenuated colitis development and symptoms compared with Muc2(-/-) mice. RELM-β expression in Muc2(-/-) mice strongly induced the production/secretion of the antimicrobial lectin RegIIIβ, that exerted its microbicidal effect predominantly on Gram-positive Lactobacillus species. Compared with Muc2(-/-)/Retnlb(-/-) mice, this worsened intestinal microbial dysbiosis with a selective loss of colonic Lactobacilli spp. in Muc2(-/-) mice. Orally replenishing Muc2(-/-) mice with murine Lactobacillus spp., but not with a probiotic formulation containing several human Lactobacillus spp. (VSL#3), ameliorated their spontaneous colitis in concert with increased production of short-chain fatty acids. These studies demonstrate that the goblet cell mediator RELM-β drives colitis in Muc2(-/-) mice by depleting protective commensal microbes. The ability of selective commensal microbial replacement to ameliorate colitis suggests that personalized bacterial therapy may prove beneficial for treatment of UC.

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Interleukin-13 Receptor α1-Dependent Responses in the Intestine Are Critical to Parasite Clearance.

Nematode infection upregulates interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 and induces STAT6-dependent changes in gut function that promote worm clearance. IL-4 and IL-13 activate the type 2 IL-4 receptor (IL-4R), which contains the IL-13Rα1 and IL-4Rα chains. We used mice deficient in IL-13Rα1 (IL-13Rα1(-/-)) to examine the contribution of IL-13 acting at the type 2 IL-4R to immune and functional responses to primary (Hb1) and secondary (Hb2) infections with the gastrointestinal nematode parasite Heligmosomoides bakeri There were differences between strains in the IL-4 and IL-13 expression responses to Hb1 but not Hb2 infection. Following Hb2 infection, deficient mice had impaired worm expulsion and higher worm fecundity despite normal production of Th2-derived cytokines. The upregulation of IL-25 and IL-13Rα2 in Hb1- and Hb2-infected wild-type (WT) mice was absent in IL-13Rα1(-/-)mice. Goblet cell numbers and resistin-like molecule beta (RELM-β) expression were attenuated significantly in IL-13Rα1(-/-)mice following Hb2 infections. IL-13Rα1 contributes to the development of alternatively activated macrophages, but the type 1 IL-4R is also important. Hb1 infection had no effects on smooth muscle function or epithelial permeability in either strain, while the enhanced mucosal permeability and changes in smooth muscle function and morphology observed in response to Hb2 infection in WT mice were absent in IL-13Rα1(-/-)mice. Notably, the contribution of claudin-2, which has been linked to IL-13, does not mediate the increased mucosal permeability following Hb2 infection. These results show that activation of IL-13Rα1 is critical for key aspects of the immune and functional responses to Hb2 infection that facilitate expulsion.

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Interleukin-4 Receptor α Signaling in Myeloid Cells Controls Collagen Fibril Assembly in Skin Repair.

Activation of the immune response during injury is a critical early event that determines whether the outcome of tissue restoration is regeneration or replacement of the damaged tissue with a scar. The mechanisms by which immune signals control these fundamentally different regenerative pathways are largely unknown. We have demonstrated that, during skin repair in mice, interleukin-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα)-dependent macrophage activation controlled collagen fibril assembly and that this process was important for effective repair while having adverse pro-fibrotic effects. We identified Relm-α as one important player in the pathway from IL-4Rα signaling in macrophages to the induction of lysyl hydroxylase 2 (LH2), an enzyme that directs persistent pro-fibrotic collagen cross-links, in fibroblasts. Notably, Relm-β induced LH2 in human fibroblasts, and expression of both factors was increased in lipodermatosclerosis, a condition of excessive human skin fibrosis. Collectively, our findings provide mechanistic insights into the link between type 2 immunity and initiation of pro-fibrotic pathways.

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Goblet Cell Derived RELM-β Recruits CD4+ T Cells during Infectious Colitis to Promote Protective Intestinal Epithelial Cell Proliferation.

Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli and related food and waterborne pathogens pose significant threats to human health. These attaching/effacing microbes infect the apical surface of intestinal epithelial cells (IEC), causing severe diarrheal disease. Colonizing the intestinal luminal surface helps segregate these microbes from most host inflammatory responses. Based on studies using Citrobacter rodentium, a related mouse pathogen, we speculate that hosts rely on immune-mediated changes in IEC, including goblet cells to defend against these pathogens. These changes include a CD4+ T cell-dependent increase in IEC proliferation to replace infected IEC, as well as altered production of the goblet cell-derived mucin Muc2. Another goblet cell mediator, REsistin-Like Molecule (RELM)-β is strongly induced within goblet cells during C. rodentium infection, and was detected in the stool as well as serum. Despite its dramatic induction, RELM-β's role in host defense is unclear. Thus, wildtype and RELM-β gene deficient mice (Retnlb-/-) were orally infected with C. rodentium. While their C. rodentium burdens were only modestly elevated, infected Retnlb-/- mice suffered increased mortality and mucosal ulceration due to deep pathogen penetration of colonic crypts. Immunostaining for Ki67 and BrDU revealed Retnlb-/- mice were significantly impaired in infection-induced IEC hyper-proliferation. Interestingly, exposure to RELM-β did not directly increase IEC proliferation, rather RELM-β acted as a CD4+ T cell chemoattractant. Correspondingly, Retnlb-/- mice showed impaired CD4+ T cell recruitment to their infected colons, along with reduced production of interleukin (IL)-22, a multifunctional cytokine that directly increased IEC proliferation. Enema delivery of RELM-β to Retnlb-/- mice restored CD4+ T cell recruitment, concurrently increasing IL-22 levels and IEC proliferation, while reducing mucosal pathology. These findings demonstrate that RELM-β and goblet cells play an unexpected, yet critical role in recruiting CD4+ T cells to the colon to protect against an enteric pathogen, in part via the induction of increased IEC proliferation.

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