Publications by authors named "Esther Kuiper"

8 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

High biodiversity in a benzene-degrading nitrate-reducing culture is sustained by a few primary consumers.

Commun Biol 2021 May 5;4(1):530. Epub 2021 May 5.

Department of Molecular Cell Biology, AIMMS, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

A key question in microbial ecology is what the driving forces behind the persistence of large biodiversity in natural environments are. We studied a microbial community with more than 100 different types of species which evolved in a 15-years old bioreactor with benzene as the main carbon and energy source and nitrate as the electron acceptor. Using genome-centric metagenomics plus metatranscriptomics, we demonstrate that most of the community members likely feed on metabolic left-overs or on necromass while only a few of them, from families Rhodocyclaceae and Peptococcaceae, are candidates to degrade benzene. We verify with an additional succession experiment using metabolomics and metabarcoding that these few community members are the actual drivers of benzene degradation. As such, we hypothesize that high species richness is maintained and the complexity of a natural community is stabilized in a controlled environment by the interdependencies between the few benzene degraders and the rest of the community members, ultimately resulting in a food web with different trophic levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s42003-021-01948-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8099898PMC
May 2021

The role of CTGF in diabetic retinopathy.

Exp Eye Res 2015 Apr;133:37-48

Ocular Angiogenesis Group, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Academy of Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF, CCN2) contributes to fibrotic responses in diabetic retinopathy, both before clinical manifestations occur in the pre-clinical stage of diabetic retinopathy (PCDR) and in proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), the late clinical stage of the disease. CTGF is a secreted protein that modulates the actions of many growth factors and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins, leading to tissue reorganization, such as ECM formation and remodeling, basal lamina (BL) thickening, pericyte apoptosis, angiogenesis, wound healing and fibrosis. In PCDR, CTGF contributes to thickening of the retinal capillary BL and is involved in loss of pericytes. In this stage, CTGF expression is induced by advanced glycation end products, and by growth factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. In PDR, the switch from neovascularization to a fibrotic phase - the angio-fibrotic switch - in PDR is driven by CTGF, in a critical balance with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). We discuss here the roles of CTGF in the pathogenesis of DR in relation to ECM remodeling and wound healing mechanisms, and explore whether CTGF may be a potential novel therapeutic target in the clinical management of early as well as late stages of DR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exer.2014.10.016DOI Listing
April 2015

The angio-fibrotic switch of VEGF and CTGF in proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

PLoS One 2008 Jul 16;3(7):e2675. Epub 2008 Jul 16.

Ocular Angiogenesis Group, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Background: In proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) cause blindness by neovascularization and subsequent fibrosis, but their relative contribution to both processes is unknown. We hypothesize that the balance between levels of pro-angiogenic VEGF and pro-fibrotic CTGF regulates angiogenesis, the angio-fibrotic switch, and the resulting fibrosis and scarring.

Methods/principal Findings: VEGF and CTGF were measured by ELISA in 68 vitreous samples of patients with proliferative DR (PDR, N = 32), macular hole (N = 13) or macular pucker (N = 23) and were related to clinical data, including degree of intra-ocular neovascularization and fibrosis. In addition, clinical cases of PDR (n = 4) were studied before and after pan-retinal photocoagulation and intra-vitreal injections with bevacizumab, an antibody against VEGF. Neovascularization and fibrosis in various degrees occurred almost exclusively in PDR patients. In PDR patients, vitreous CTGF levels were significantly associated with degree of fibrosis and with VEGF levels, but not with neovascularization, whereas VEGF levels were associated only with neovascularization. The ratio of CTGF and VEGF was the strongest predictor of degree of fibrosis. As predicted by these findings, patients with PDR demonstrated a temporary increase in intra-ocular fibrosis after anti-VEGF treatment or laser treatment.

Conclusions/significance: CTGF is primarily a pro-fibrotic factor in the eye, and a shift in the balance between CTGF and VEGF is associated with the switch from angiogenesis to fibrosis in proliferative retinopathy.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0002675PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2443281PMC
July 2008

Connective tissue growth factor is necessary for retinal capillary basal lamina thickening in diabetic mice.

J Histochem Cytochem 2008 Aug 12;56(8):785-92. Epub 2008 May 12.

Department of Cell Biology and Histology, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Experimental prevention of basal lamina (BL) thickening of retinal capillaries ameliorates early vascular changes caused by diabetes. Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is upregulated early in diabetes in the human retina and is a potent inducer of expression of BL components. We hypothesize that CTGF is causally involved in diabetes-induced BL thickening of retinal capillaries. To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes on retinal capillary BL thickness between wild-type mice (CTGF+/+) and mice lacking one functional CTGF allele (CTGF+/-). Differences in BL thickness were calculated by quantitative analysis of electron microscopic images of transversally sectioned capillaries in and around the inner nuclear layer of the retina. We show that BL thickening was significant in diabetic CTGF+/+ mice compared with control CTGF+/+ mice, whereas diabetes did not significantly induce BL thickening in CTGF+/- mice. We conclude that CTGF expression is necessary for diabetes-induced BL thickening and suggest that reduction of CTGF levels may be protective against the development of diabetic retinopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1369/jhc.2008.950980DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2443606PMC
August 2008

Effect of VEGF-A on expression of profibrotic growth factor and extracellular matrix genes in the retina.

Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2007 Sep;48(9):4267-76

Ocular Angiogenesis Group, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF) causes increased vascular permeability and leukocyte adhesion in preclinical diabetic retinopathy (PCDR). Another hallmark of PCDR is thickening of the capillary basement membrane (BM). Recently, VEGF has been shown to induce expression of profibrotic genes such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF or CCN2) in cultured endothelial cells. Moreover, neutralization of VEGF prevented BM thickening in diabetic mice in vivo. The authors hypothesize that VEGF directly contributes to BM thickening in the diabetic retina by inducing expression of profibrotic growth factors and extracellular matrix (ECM) components.

Methods: Transcription and protein levels of ECM-related genes were evaluated in the rat retina after intravitreal VEGF injection by real-time quantitative PCR, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. In addition, expression profiles of the same genes in response to VEGF stimulation were investigated in bovine retinal vascular cells in vitro.

Results: Intravitreal VEGF injection induced retinal transcription of CYR61 (CCN1), CTGF, TGF-beta1, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases (TIMP)-1 and fibronectin, and protein expression of CYR61, CTGF, TGF-beta1 and fibronectin. In bovine retinal endothelial cells and pericytes stimulated by VEGF in vitro, gene expression profiles were similar to those in the intact retina in vivo.

Conclusions: VEGF induces profibrotic growth factors and extracellular matrix genes in the retina in vivo, as well as in cultured retinal vascular cells in vitro. The current findings have relevance for understanding the pathogenesis of preclinical DR, where early upregulation of VEGF may cause BM thickening by induction of ECM-related genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/iovs.06-0804DOI Listing
September 2007

Angiogenesis is not impaired in connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) knock-out mice.

J Histochem Cytochem 2007 Nov 11;55(11):1139-47. Epub 2007 Jul 11.

Ocular Angiogenesis Group, Department of Ophthalmology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) is a member of the CCN family of growth factors. CTGF is important in scarring, wound healing, and fibrosis. It has also been implicated to play a role in angiogenesis, in addition to vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In the eye, angiogenesis and subsequent fibrosis are the main causes of blindness in conditions such as diabetic retinopathy. We have applied three different models of angiogenesis to homozygous CTGF(-/-) and heterozygous CTGF(+/-) mice to establish involvement of CTGF in neovascularization. CTGF(-/-) mice die around birth. Therefore, embryonic CTGF(-/-), CTGF(+/-), and CTGF(+/+) bone explants were used to study in vitro angiogenesis, and neonatal and mature CTGF(+/-) and CTGF(+/+) mice were used in models of oxygen-induced retinopathy and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization. Angiogenesis in vitro was independent of the CTGF genotype in both the presence and the absence of VEGF. Oxygen-induced vascular pathology in the retina, as determined semi-quantitatively, and laser-induced choroidal neovascularization, as determined quantitatively, were also not affected by the CTGF genotype. Our data show that downregulation of CTGF levels does not affect neovascularization, indicating distinct roles of VEGF and CTGF in angiogenesis and fibrosis in eye conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1369/jhc.7A7258.2007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3957533PMC
November 2007

Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor, stromal cell-derived factor-1, and CXCR4 in human limb muscle with acute and chronic ischemia.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2007 Jun 15;27(6):1426-32. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Gaubius Laboratory TNO-Quality of Life, P.O. Box 2215, 2301CE Leiden, The Netherlands.

Objective: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-induced stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) has been implicated in angiogenesis in ischemic tissues by recruitment of CXCR4-positive bone marrow-derived circulating cells with paracrine functions in preclinical models. Here, evidence for this is provided in patients with peripheral artery disease.

Methods And Results: Expression patterns of VEGF, SDF-1, and CXCR4 were studied in amputated limbs of 16 patients. VEGF-A was expressed in vascular structures and myofibers. SDF-1 was expressed in endothelial and subendothelial cells, whereas CXCR4 was expressed in proximity to capillaries. VEGF-A, SDF-1, and CXCR4 expressions were generally decreased in ischemic muscle as compared with nonischemic muscle in patients with chronic ischemia (0.41-fold, 0.97-fold, and 0.54-fold induction [medians], respectively), whereas substantially increased in 2 patients with acute-on-chronic ischemia (3.5- to 65.8-fold, 3.9- to 19.0-fold, and 4.1- to 30.6-fold induction, respectively). Furthermore, these gene expressions strongly correlated with capillary area. Only acute ischemic tissue displayed a high percentage of hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha-positive nuclei.

Conclusions: These data suggest that VEGF and SDF-1 function as pro-angiogenic factors in patients with ischemic disease by perivascular retention of CXCR4-positive cells. Furthermore, these genes are downregulated in chronic ischemia as opposed to upregulated in more acute ischemia. The VEGF-SDF-1-CXCR4 pathway is a promising target to treat chronic ischemic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.107.139642DOI Listing
June 2007

Association of connective tissue growth factor with fibrosis in vitreoretinal disorders in the human eye.

Arch Ophthalmol 2006 Oct;124(10):1457-62

Ocular Angiogenesis Group, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Objective: To investigate the expression of the profibrotic connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in relation to severity of intraocular fibrosis and neovascularization in human vitreoretinal disorders for the identification of potential therapeutic targets to prevent fibrosis.

Methods: Concentrations of CTGF were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 119 vitreous samples from patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, epiretinal membrane, and macular hole. Clinical data, including degree of intraocular fibrosis and neovascularization, were collected using standardized forms.

Results: Multifactorial analysis revealed that only CTGF levels correlated highly significantly with degree of fibrosis in the various vitreoretinal disorders studied (P<.001; R2= 47.7%). Likewise, variation in degree of fibrosis was best predicted by CTGF levels (P<.001).

Conclusion: The strong correlation between CTGF levels and degree of fibrosis in vitreoretinal disorders suggests that CTGF is an important factor in ocular fibrosis, similar to its role in pathologic fibrosis in other organs.

Clinical Relevance: Connective tissue growth factor may be a therapeutic target for prevention of sight-threatening vitreoretinal scarring in the eye.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/archopht.124.10.1457DOI Listing
October 2006