Publications by authors named "Luc Andries"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Gene Expression Profiling in -Mutated Melanoma Reveals Patient Subgroups with Poor Outcomes to Vemurafenib That May Be Overcome by Cobimetinib Plus Vemurafenib.

Clin Cancer Res 2017 Sep 23;23(17):5238-5245. Epub 2017 May 23.

Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California.

The association of tumor gene expression profiles with progression-free survival (PFS) outcomes in patients with -mutated melanoma treated with vemurafenib or cobimetinib combined with vemurafenib was evaluated. Gene expression of archival tumor samples from patients in four trials (BRIM-2, BRIM-3, BRIM-7, and coBRIM) was evaluated. Genes significantly associated with PFS ( < 0.05) were identified by univariate Cox proportional hazards modeling, then subjected to unsupervised hierarchical clustering, principal component analysis, and recursive partitioning to develop optimized gene signatures. Forty-six genes were identified as significantly associated with PFS in both BRIM-2 ( = 63) and the vemurafenib arm of BRIM-3 ( = 160). Two distinct signatures were identified: cell cycle and immune. Among vemurafenib-treated patients, the cell-cycle signature was associated with shortened PFS compared with the immune signature in the BRIM-2/BRIM-3 training set [hazard ratio (HR) 1.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.3-2.6, = 0.0001] and in the coBRIM validation set ( = 101; HR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.5; = 0.08). The adverse impact of the cell-cycle signature on PFS was not observed in patients treated with cobimetinib combined with vemurafenib ( = 99; HR, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.7-1.8; = 0.66). In vemurafenib-treated patients, the cell-cycle gene signature was associated with shorter PFS. However, in cobimetinib combined with vemurafenib-treated patients, both cell cycle and immune signature subgroups had comparable PFS. Cobimetinib combined with vemurafenib may abrogate the adverse impact of the cell-cycle signature. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-0172DOI Listing
September 2017

Progressive leukoencephalopathy impairs neurobehavioral development in sialin-deficient mice.

Exp Neurol 2017 05 9;291:106-119. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

Laboratory of Biological Psychology, KU Leuven, Belgium.

Slc17a5 mice represent an animal model for the infantile form of sialic acid storage disease (SASD). We analyzed genetic and histological time-course expression of myelin and oligodendrocyte (OL) lineage markers in different parts of the CNS, and related this to postnatal neurobehavioral development in these mice. Sialin-deficient mice display a distinct spatiotemporal pattern of sialic acid storage, CNS hypomyelination and leukoencephalopathy. Whereas few genes are differentially expressed in the perinatal stage (p0), microarray analysis revealed increased differential gene expression in later postnatal stages (p10-p18). This included progressive upregulation of neuroinflammatory genes, as well as continuous down-regulation of genes that encode myelin constituents and typical OL lineage markers. Age-related histopathological analysis indicates that initial myelination occurs normally in hindbrain regions, but progression to more frontal areas is affected in Slc17a5 mice. This course of progressive leukoencephalopathy and CNS hypomyelination delays neurobehavioral development in sialin-deficient mice. Slc17a5 mice successfully achieve early neurobehavioral milestones, but exhibit progressive delay of later-stage sensory and motor milestones. The present findings may contribute to further understanding of the processes of CNS myelination as well as help to develop therapeutic strategies for SASD and other myelination disorders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.expneurol.2017.02.009DOI Listing
May 2017

NRP-1 Receptor Expression Mismatch in Skin of Subjects with Experimental and Diabetic Small Fiber Neuropathy.

PLoS One 2016 6;11(9):e0161441. Epub 2016 Sep 6.

Janssen Research and Development, Janssen Pharmaceutics NV, Beerse, Belgium.

The in vivo cutaneous nerve regeneration model using capsaicin is applied extensively to study the regenerative mechanisms and therapeutic efficacy of disease modifying molecules for small fiber neuropathy (SFN). Since mismatches between functional and morphological nerve fiber recovery are described for this model, we aimed at determining the capability of the capsaicin model to truly mimic the morphological manifestations of SFN in diabetes. As nerve and blood vessel growth and regenerative capacities are defective in diabetes, we focused on studying the key regulator of these processes, the neuropilin-1 (NRP-1)/semaphorin pathway. This led us to the evaluation of NRP-1 receptor expression in epidermis and dermis of subjects presenting experimentally induced small fiber neuropathy, diabetic polyneuropathy and of diabetic subjects without clinical signs of small fiber neuropathy. The NRP-1 receptor was co-stained with CD31 vessel-marker using immunofluorescence and analyzed with Definiens® technology. This study indicates that capsaicin application results in significant loss of epidermal NRP-1 receptor expression, whereas diabetic subjects presenting small fiber neuropathy show full epidermal NRP-1 expression in contrast to the basal expression pattern seen in healthy controls. Capsaicin induced a decrease in dermal non-vascular NRP-1 receptor expression which did not appear in diabetic polyneuropathy. We can conclude that the capsaicin model does not mimic diabetic neuropathy related changes for cutaneous NRP-1 receptor expression. In addition, our data suggest that NRP-1 might play an important role in epidermal nerve fiber loss and/or defective regeneration and that NRP-1 receptor could change the epidermal environment to a nerve fiber repellant bed possibly through Sem3A in diabetes.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161441PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012683PMC
August 2017

Development and Validation of a Histological Method to Measure Microvessel Density in Whole-Slide Images of Cancer Tissue.

PLoS One 2016 1;11(9):e0161496. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Division of Physiopharmacology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

Despite all efforts made to develop predictive biomarkers for antiangiogenic therapies, no unambiguous markers have been identified so far. This is due to among others the lack of standardized tests. This study presents an improved microvessel density quantification method in tumor tissue based on stereological principles and using whole-slide images. Vessels in tissue sections of different cancer types were stained for CD31 by an automated and validated immunohistochemical staining method. The stained slides were digitized with a digital slide scanner. Systematic, uniform, random sampling of the regions of interest on the whole-slide images was performed semi-automatically with the previously published applications AutoTag and AutoSnap. Subsequently, an unbiased counting grid was combined with the images generated with these scripts. Up to six independent observers counted microvessels in up to four cancer types: colorectal carcinoma, glioblastoma multiforme, ovarian carcinoma and renal cell carcinoma. At first, inter-observer variability was found to be unacceptable. However, after a series of consensus training sessions and interim statistical analysis, counting rules were modified and inter-observer concordance improved considerably. Every CD31-positive object was counted, with exclusion of suspected CD31-positive monocytes, macrophages and tumor cells. Furthermore, if interconnected, stained objects were considered a single vessel. Ten regions of interest were sufficient for accurate microvessel density measurements. Intra-observer and inter-observer variability were low (intraclass correlation coefficient > 0.7) if the observers were adequately trained.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161496PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5008750PMC
August 2017

AutoTag and AutoSnap: Standardized, semi-automatic capture of regions of interest from whole slide images.

MethodsX 2015 21;2:272-7. Epub 2015 May 21.

Laboratory of Physiopharmacology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium.

Tumor angiogenesis is measured by counting microvessels in tissue sections at high power magnification as a potential prognostic or predictive biomarker. Until now, regions of interest (ROIs) were selected by manual operations within a tumor by using a systematic uniform random sampling (SURS) approach. Although SURS is the most reliable sampling method, it implies a high workload. However, SURS can be semi-automated and in this way contribute to the development of a validated quantification method for microvessel counting in the clinical setting. Here, we report a method to use semi-automated SURS for microvessel counting: •Whole slide imaging with Pannoramic SCAN (3DHISTECH)•Computer-assisted sampling in Pannoramic Viewer (3DHISTECH) extended by two self-written AutoHotkey applications (AutoTag and AutoSnap)•The use of digital grids in Photoshop(®) and Bridge(®) (Adobe Systems) This rapid procedure allows traceability essential for high throughput protein analysis of immunohistochemically stained tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mex.2015.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4487922PMC
July 2015

Mapping of carboxypeptidase m in normal human kidney and renal cell carcinoma: expression in tumor-associated neovasculature and macrophages.

J Histochem Cytochem 2013 Mar 19;61(3):218-35. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Laboratory of Medical Biochemistry, University of Antwerp, Belgium.

Although the kidney generally has been regarded as an excellent source of carboxypeptidase M (CPM), little is known about its renal-specific expression level and distribution. This study provides a detailed localization of CPM in healthy and diseased human kidneys. The results indicate a broad distribution of CPM along the renal tubular structures in the healthy kidney. CPM was identified at the parietal epithelium beneath the Bowman's basement membrane and in glomerular mesangial cells. Capillaries, podocytes, and most interstitial cells were CPM negative. Tumor cells of renal cell carcinoma subtypes lose CPM expression upon dedifferentiation. Tissue microarray analysis demonstrated a correlation between low CPM expression and tumor cell type. CPM staining was intense on phagocytotic tumor-associated macrophages. Immunoreactive CPM was also detected in the tumor-associated vasculature. The absence of CPM in normal renal blood vessels points toward a role for CPM in angiogenesis. Coexistence of CPM and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) was detected in papillary renal cell carcinoma. However, the different subcellular localization of CPM and EGFR argues against an interaction between these h proteins. The description of the distribution of CPM in human kidney forms the foundation for further study of the (patho)physiological activities of CPM in the kidney.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1369/0022155412470456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3636697PMC
March 2013

RAS mutations in cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas in patients treated with BRAF inhibitors.

N Engl J Med 2012 Jan;366(3):207-15

Hoffmann-La Roche, Nutley, NJ, USA.

Background: Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas are common findings in patients treated with BRAF inhibitors.

Methods: We performed a molecular analysis to identify oncogenic mutations (HRAS, KRAS, NRAS, CDKN2A, and TP53) in the lesions from patients treated with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib. An analysis of an independent validation set and functional studies with BRAF inhibitors in the presence of the prevalent RAS mutation was also performed.

Results: Among 21 tumor samples, 13 had RAS mutations (12 in HRAS). In a validation set of 14 samples, 8 had RAS mutations (4 in HRAS). Thus, 60% (21 of 35) of the specimens harbored RAS mutations, the most prevalent being HRAS Q61L. Increased proliferation of HRAS Q61L-mutant cell lines exposed to vemurafenib was associated with mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-pathway signaling and activation of ERK-mediated transcription. In a mouse model of HRAS Q61L-mediated skin carcinogenesis, the vemurafenib analogue PLX4720 was not an initiator or a promoter of carcinogenesis but accelerated growth of the lesions harboring HRAS mutations, and this growth was blocked by concomitant treatment with a MEK inhibitor.

Conclusions: Mutations in RAS, particularly HRAS, are frequent in cutaneous squamous-cell carcinomas and keratoacanthomas that develop in patients treated with vemurafenib. The molecular mechanism is consistent with the paradoxical activation of MAPK signaling and leads to accelerated growth of these lesions. (Funded by Hoffmann-La Roche and others; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00405587, NCT00949702, NCT01001299, and NCT01006980.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa1105358DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3724537PMC
January 2012

JNJ-26481585, a novel "second-generation" oral histone deacetylase inhibitor, shows broad-spectrum preclinical antitumoral activity.

Clin Cancer Res 2009 Nov 27;15(22):6841-51. Epub 2009 Oct 27.

Ortho Biotech Oncology Research and Development, Clinical Pharmacology, Biostatistics, and Functional Genomics, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R. & D., Beerse, Belgium.

Purpose: Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have shown promising clinical activity in the treatment of hematologic malignancies, but their activity in solid tumor indications has been limited. Most HDAC inhibitors in clinical development only transiently induce histone acetylation in tumor tissue. Here, we sought to identify a "second-generation" class I HDAC inhibitor with prolonged pharmacodynamic response in vivo, to assess whether this results in superior antitumoral efficacy.

Experimental Design: To identify novel HDAC inhibitors with superior pharmacodynamic properties, we developed a preclinical in vivo tumor model, in which tumor cells have been engineered to express fluorescent protein dependent on HDAC1 inhibition, thereby allowing noninvasive real-time evaluation of the tumor response to HDAC inhibitors.

Results: In vivo pharmacodynamic analysis of 140 potent pyrimidyl-hydroxamic acid analogues resulted in the identification of JNJ-26481585. Once daily oral administration of JNJ-26481585 induced continuous histone H3 acetylation. The prolonged pharmacodynamic response translated into complete tumor growth inhibition in Ras mutant HCT116 colon carcinoma xenografts, whereas 5-fluorouracil was less active. JNJ-26481585 also fully inhibited the growth of C170HM2 colorectal liver metastases, whereas again 5-fluorouracil/Leucovorin showed modest activity. Further characterization revealed that JNJ-26481585 is a pan-HDAC inhibitor with marked potency toward HDAC1 (IC(50), 0.16 nmol/L).

Conclusions: The potent antitumor activity as a single agent in preclinical models combined with its favorable pharmacodynamic profile makes JNJ-26481585 a promising "second-generation" HDAC inhibitor. The compound is currently in clinical studies, to evaluate its potential applicability in a broad spectrum of both solid and hematologic malignancies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-0547DOI Listing
November 2009

Vesicular glutamate transporter VGLUT1 has a role in hippocampal long-term potentiation and spatial reversal learning.

Cereb Cortex 2010 Mar 2;20(3):684-93. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Department of Psychology, Laboratory of Biological Psychology, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Vesicular glutamate transporters 1 and 2 (VGLUT1, VGLUT2) show largely complementary distribution in the mature rodent brain and tend to segregate to synapses with different physiological properties. In the hippocampus, VGLUT1 is the dominate subtype in adult animals, whereas VGLUT2 is transiently expressed during early postnatal development. We generated and characterized VGLUT1 knockout mice in order to examine the functional contribution of this transporter to hippocampal synaptic plasticity and hippocampus-dependent spatial learning. Because complete deletion of VGLUT1 resulted in postnatal lethality, we used heterozygous animals for analysis. Here, we report that deletion of VGLUT1 resulted in impaired hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region in vitro. In contrast, heterozygous VGLUT2 mice that were investigated for comparison did not show any changes in LTP. The reduced ability of VGLUT1-deficient mice to express LTP was accompanied by a specific deficit in spatial reversal learning in the water maze. Our data suggest a functional role of VGLUT1 in forms of hippocampal synaptic plasticity that are required to adapt and modify acquired spatial maps to external stimuli and changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhp133DOI Listing
March 2010

IMPA1 is essential for embryonic development and lithium-like pilocarpine sensitivity.

Neuropsychopharmacology 2008 Feb 25;33(3):674-84. Epub 2007 Apr 25.

Research and Early Development Europe, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Beerse, Belgium.

Lithium has been the standard pharmacological treatment for bipolar disorder over the last 50 years; however, the molecular targets through which lithium exerts its therapeutic effects are still not defined. We characterized the phenotype of mice with a dysfunctional IMPA1 gene (IMPA1-/-) to study the in vivo physiological functions of IMPA1, in general, and more specifically its potential role as a molecular target in mediating lithium-dependent physiological effects. Homozygote IMPA1-/- mice died in utero between days 9.5 and 10.5 post coitum (p.c.) demonstrating the importance of IMPA1 in early embryonic development. Intriguingly, the embryonic lethality could be reversed by myo-inositol supplementation via the pregnant mothers. In brains of adult IMPA1-/- mice, IMPase activity levels were found to be reduced (up to 65% in hippocampus); however, inositol levels were not found to be altered. Behavioral analysis of the IMPA1-/- mice indicated an increased motor activity in both the open-field test and the forced-swim test as well as a strongly increased sensitivity to pilocarpine-induced seizures, the latter supporting the idea that IMPA1 represents a physiologically relevant target for lithium. In conclusion the IMPA1-/- mouse represents a novel model to study inositol homeostasis, and indicates that genetic inactivation of IMPA1 can mimic some actions of lithium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1301431DOI Listing
February 2008

Real-time gene expression analysis in human xenografts for evaluation of histone deacetylase inhibitors.

Mol Cancer Ther 2006 Sep;5(9):2317-23

Oncology Discovery Research and Early Development, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Turnhoutseweg 30, 2340 Beerse, Belgium.

Real-time analysis of gene expression in experimental tumor models represents a major tool to document disease biology and evaluate disease treatment. However, monitoring gene regulation in vivo still is an emerging field, and thus far it has not been linked to long-term tumor growth and disease outcome. In this report, we describe the development and validation of a fluorescence-based gene expression model driven by the promoter of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21waf1,cip1. The latter is a key regulator of tumor cell proliferation and a major determinant in the response to many anticancer agents such as histone deacetylase inhibitors. In response to histone deacetylase inhibitors, induction of fluorescence in A2780 ovarian tumors could be monitored in living mice in a noninvasive real-time manner using whole-body imaging. Single p.o. administration of the histone deacetylase inhibitor MS-275 significantly induces tumor fluorescence in a time- and dose-dependent manner, which accurately predicted long-term antitumoral efficacy in individual mice following extended treatment. These findings illustrate that this technology allows monitoring of the biological response induced by treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitors. In addition to providing experimental pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic markers for investigational drugs, this model provides insight into the kinetics of in vivo regulation of transcription, which plays a key role in causing and maintaining the uncontrolled proliferation of tumor tissue.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-06-0112DOI Listing
September 2006

Detection of autophagy in tissue by standard immunohistochemistry: possibilities and limitations.

Autophagy 2006 Jan-Mar;2(1):55-7. Epub 2006 Jan 29.

Division of Pharmacology, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is currently the standard method to monitor autophagy in tissue. Because TEM is labor intensive, we recently questioned whether marker proteins could be found for unambiguous detection of autophagy in tissue using standard immunohistochemical techniques. Our findings indicated that the identification of autophagy-specific biomarkers for tissue is highly compromised due to lack of differential gene expression. In this respect, TEM remains an indispensable technique for evaluation of autophagy in situ. Nevertheless, immunohistochemical staining of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) appeared to be a valuable technique to detect autophagosome formation in tissue but only when this protein is overexpressed, e.g., in GFP-LC3 transgenic animals. Furthermore, demonstration of granular cytoplasmic ubiquitin inclusions by immunohistochemistry may be an attractive technique to measure autophagic cell degeneration in some human pathologies such as neurodegenerative diseases, heart failure and atherosclerosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/auto.2217DOI Listing
January 2007

p53-independent regulation of p21Waf1/Cip1 expression and senescence by Chk2.

Mol Cancer Res 2005 Nov;3(11):627-34

Oncology Discovery Research and Early Development, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Beerse, Belgium.

The Chk2 kinase is a tumor suppressor and key component of the DNA damage checkpoint response that encompasses cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and DNA repair. It has also been shown to have a role in replicative senescence resulting from dysfunctional telomeres. Some of these functions are at least partially exerted through activation of the p53 transcription factor. High-level expression of virally transduced Chk2 in A549 human lung carcinoma cells led to arrested proliferation, apoptosis, and senescence. These were accompanied by various molecular events, including p21(Waf1/Cip1) (p21) transcriptional induction, consistent with p53 activation. However, Chk2-dependent senescence and p21 transcriptional induction also occurred in p53-defective SK-BR-3 (breast carcinoma) and HaCaT (immortalized keratinocyte) cells. Small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of p21 in p53-defective cells expressing Chk2 resulted in a decrease in senescent cells. These results revealed a p53-independent role for Chk2 in p21 induction and senescence that may contribute to tumor suppression and genotoxic treatment outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-05-0121DOI Listing
November 2005

Mesenchymal stem cell adhesion to cardiac microvascular endothelium: activators and mechanisms.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2006 Apr 21;290(4):H1370-7. Epub 2005 Oct 21.

Laboratory of Physiology, University of Antwerp, Groenenborgerlaan 171, 2020 Antwerp, Belgium.

Circulating stem cells home within the myocardium, probably as the first step of a tissue regeneration process. This step requires adhesion to cardiac microvascular endothelium (CMVE). In this study, we studied mechanisms of adhesion between CMVE and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Adhesion was studied in vitro and in vivo. Isolated 1,1'-dioctadecyl-3,3,3',3'-tetramethylindocarbocyanine perchlorate-labeled rat MSCs were allowed to adhere to cultured CMVE in static and dynamic conditions. Either CMVE or MSCs were pretreated with cytokines [IL-1beta, IL-3, IL-6, stem cell factor, stromal cell-derived factor-1, or TNF-alpha, 10 ng/ml]. Control or TNF-alpha-treated MSCs were injected intracavitarily in rat hearts in vivo. In baseline in vitro conditions, the number of MSCs that adhered to CMVE was highly dependent on the flow rate of the superfusing medium but remained significant at venous and capillary shear stress amplitudes. Activation of both CMVE and MSCs with TNF-alpha or IL-1beta before adhesion concentration dependently increased adhesion of MSCs at each studied level of shear stress. Consistently, in vivo, activation of MSCs with TNF-alpha before injection significantly enhanced cardiac homing of MSCs. TNF-alpha-induced adhesion could be completely blocked by pretreating either CMVE or MSCs with anti-VCAM-1 monoclonal antibodies but not by anti-ICAM-1 antibodies. Adhesion of circulating MSCs in the heart appears to be an endothelium-dependent process and is sensitive to modulation by activators of both MSCs and endothelium. Inflammation and the expression of VCAM-1 but not ICAM-1 on both cell types have a regulatory effect on MSC homing in the heart.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00523.2005DOI Listing
April 2006

In situ detection of starvation-induced autophagy.

J Histochem Cytochem 2006 Jan 7;54(1):85-96. Epub 2005 Sep 7.

Division of Pharmacology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium.

Autophagy is a regulated bulk degradation process involved in many different human pathologies. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) is currently the only reliable method for monitoring autophagy in situ. Because TEM is labor intensive, we questioned whether useful marker proteins can be found for unambiguous detection of autophagy in tissue via routinely used colorimetric, immunohistochemical, or fluorescent techniques. Starved HepG2 hepatocytes and nutrient deprived liver tissue were used as a model for the initiation of autophagy. Our findings indicate that starvation-induced autophagy in HepG2 cells was associated neither with differential mRNA gene expression nor with changes in the expression level of known autophagy-related proteins. On the contrary, both transcription and translation were inhibited, suggesting that the identification of autophagy-specific biomarkers for tissue is highly compromised. Light chain 3 (LC3) protein, which is an attractive marker of autophagosomes, revealed a relatively low expression level in tissue and cultured cells, but could be detected via immunohistochemistry in liver from GFP-LC3 transgenic mice. The number of LC3 immunopositive dot-like structures was significantly upregulated in liver tissue from nutrient-deprived GFP-LC3 mice as compared with nonstarved control tissue. Our results suggest that LC3 immunostaining can be used as an alternative detection method for autophagy in situ, but only when this protein is overexpressed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1369/jhc.5A6743.2005DOI Listing
January 2006

Alteration of frizzled expression in renal cell carcinoma.

Tumour Biol 2004 Jul-Aug;25(4):161-71

Department of Biochemistry, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium.

To evaluate the involvement of frizzled receptors (Fzds) in oncogenesis, we investigated mRNA expression levels of several human Fzds in more than 30 different human tumor samples and their corresponding (matched) normal tissue samples, using real-time quantitative PCR. We observed that the mRNA level of Fzd5 was markedly increased in 8 of 11 renal carcinoma samples whilst Fzd8 mRNA was increased in 7 of 11 renal carcinoma samples. Western blot analysis of crude membrane fractions revealed that Fzd5 protein expression in the matched tumor/normal kidney samples correlated with the observed mRNA level. Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway activation was confirmed by the increased expression of a set of target genes. Using a kidney tumor tissue array, Fzd5 protein expression was investigated in a broader panel of kidney tumor samples. Fzd5 membrane staining was detected in 30% of clear cell carcinomas, and there was a strong correlation with nuclear cyclin D1 staining in the samples. Our data suggested that altered expression of certain members of the Fzd family, and their downstream targets, could provide alternative mechanisms leading to activation of the Wnt signaling pathway in renal carcinogenesis. Fzd family members may have a role as a biomarker.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000081098DOI Listing
April 2005

Flow cytometric evaluation of a model for phagocytosis of cells undergoing apoptosis.

J Immunol Methods 2004 Apr;287(1-2):101-8

Division of Pharmacology, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, Wilrijk B-2610, Belgium.

Phagocyte recognition of cells undergoing apoptosis is a rapid, efficient way of removing unwanted cells from tissue. The uptake of apoptotic cells prevents the release of potentially toxic cell contents that might otherwise damage neighbouring cells and elicit an inflammatory response. The aim of this work was to evaluate a simple cell culture assay to study phagocytosis of cells undergoing apoptosis. Fluorescent negatively charged beads (1 microm) or fluorescently labelled apoptotic cells, derived from etoposide-treated human monocytes (U937), were co-incubated with J774 cells or human peripheral blood macrophages for 1 h. Flow cytometry (FCM) showed an efficient uptake of both beads and apoptotic bodies. Phagocytosis of apoptotic cells but not of beads was significantly inhibited when macrophages were pre-incubated with cytochalasin D, suggesting that an experimental system based on beads is not an appropriate model of phagocytosis of apoptotic cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2004.01.013DOI Listing
April 2004

Inhibition of histone deacetylases by chlamydocin induces apoptosis and proteasome-mediated degradation of survivin.

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2003 Feb;304(2):881-8

Department of Biochemistry, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium.

The naturally occurring cyclic tetrapeptide chlamydocin is a very potent inhibitor of cell proliferation. Here we show that chlamydocin is a highly potent histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, inhibiting HDAC activity in vitro with an IC(50) of 1.3 nM. Like other HDAC inhibitors, chlamydocin induces the accumulation of hyperacetylated histones H3 and H4 in A2780 ovarian cancer cells, increases the expression of p21(cip1/waf1), and causes an accumulation of cells in G(2)/M phase of the cell cycle. In addition, chlamydocin induces apoptosis by activating caspase-3, which in turn leads to the cleavage of p21(cip1/waf1) into a 15-kDa breakdown product and drives cells from growth arrest into apoptosis. Concomitant with the activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of p21(cip1/waf1), chlamydocin decreases the protein level of survivin, a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family that is selectively expressed in tumors. Although our data indicate a potential link between degradation of survivin and activation of the apoptotic pathway induced by HDAC inhibitors, stable overexpression of survivin does not suppress the activation of caspase-3 or cleavage of p21(cip1/waf1) induced by chlamydocin treatment. The decrease of survivin protein level is mediated by degradation via proteasomes since it can be inhibited by specific proteasome inhibitors. Taken together, our results show that induction of apoptosis by chlamydocin involves caspase-dependent cleavage of p21(cip1/waf1), which is strikingly associated with proteasome-mediated degradation of survivin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.102.042903DOI Listing
February 2003