Publications by authors named "Niina Aaltonen"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The role of FoxP3+ regulatory T cells and IDO+ immune and tumor cells in malignant melanoma - an immunohistochemical study.

BMC Cancer 2021 May 29;21(1):641. Epub 2021 May 29.

Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627 70211, Kuopio campus, Kuopio, Finland.

Background: FoxP3+ Regulatory T cells (Tregs) and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) participate in the formation of an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment (TME) in malignant cutaneous melanoma (CM). Recent studies have reported that IDO expression correlates with poor prognosis and greater Breslow's depth, but results concerning the role of FoxP3+ Tregs in CM have been controversial. Furthermore, the correlation between IDO and Tregs has not been substantially studied in CM, although IDO is known to be an important regulator of Tregs activity.

Methods: We investigated the associations of FoxP3+ Tregs, IDO+ tumor cells and IDO+ stromal immune cells with tumor stage, prognostic factors and survival in CM. FoxP3 and IDO were immunohistochemically stained from 29 benign and 29 dysplastic nevi, 18 in situ -melanomas, 48 superficial and 62 deep melanomas and 67 lymph node metastases (LNMs) of CM. The number of FoxP3+ Tregs and IDO+ stromal immune cells, and the coverage and intensity of IDO+ tumor cells were analysed.

Results: The number of FoxP3+ Tregs and IDO+ stromal immune cells were significantly higher in malignant melanomas compared with benign lesions. The increased expression of IDO in melanoma cells was associated with poor prognostic factors, such as recurrence, nodular growth pattern and increased mitotic count. Furthermore, the expression of IDO in melanoma cells was associated with reduced recurrence-free survival. We further showed that there was a positive correlation between IDO+ tumor cells and FoxP3+ Tregs.

Conclusions: These results indicate that IDO is strongly involved in melanoma progression. FoxP3+ Tregs also seems to contribute to the immunosuppressive TME in CM, but their significance in melanoma progression remains unclear. The positive association of FoxP3+ Tregs with IDO+ melanoma cells, but not with IDO+ stromal immune cells, indicates a complex interaction between IDO and Tregs in CM, which demands further studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12885-021-08385-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8164759PMC
May 2021

High-Resolution Confocal Fluorescence Imaging of Serine Hydrolase Activity in Cryosections - Application to Glioma Brain Unveils Activity Hotspots Originating from Tumor-Associated Neutrophils.

Biol Proced Online 2020 15;22. Epub 2020 Mar 15.

1Institute of Biomedicine, University of Eastern Finland (UEF), POB 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.

Background: Serine hydrolases (SHs) are a functionally diverse family of enzymes playing pivotal roles in health and disease and have emerged as important therapeutic targets in many clinical conditions. Activity-based protein profiling (ABPP) using fluorophosphonate (FP) probes has been a powerful chemoproteomic approach in studies unveiling roles of SHs in various biological systems. ABPP utilizes cell/tissue proteomes and features the FP-warhead, linked to a fluorescent reporter for in-gel fluorescence imaging or a biotin tag for streptavidin enrichment and LC-MS/MS-based target identification. Existing ABPP approaches characterize global SH activity based on mobility in gel or MS-based target identification and cannot reveal the identity of the cell-type responsible for an individual SH activity originating from complex proteomes.

Results: Here, by using an activity probe with broad reactivity towards the SH family, we advance the ABPP methodology to glioma brain cryosections, enabling for the first time high-resolution confocal fluorescence imaging of global SH activity in the tumor microenvironment. Tumor-associated cell types were identified by extensive immunohistochemistry on activity probe-labeled sections. Tissue-ABPP indicated heightened SH activity in glioma vs. normal brain and unveiled activity hotspots originating from tumor-associated neutrophils (TANs), rather than tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs). Thorough optimization and validation was provided by parallel gel-based ABPP combined with LC-MS/MS-based target verification.

Conclusions: Our study advances the ABPP methodology to tissue sections, enabling high-resolution confocal fluorescence imaging of global SH activity in anatomically preserved complex native cellular environment. To achieve global portrait of SH activity throughout the section, a probe with broad reactivity towards the SH family members was employed. As ABPP requires no a priori knowledge of the identity of the target, we envisage no imaginable reason why the presently described approach would not work for sections regardless of species and tissue source.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12575-020-00118-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073015PMC
March 2020

In Vivo Characterization of the Ultrapotent Monoacylglycerol Lipase Inhibitor {4-[bis-(benzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl)methyl]-piperidin-1-yl}(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)methanone (JJKK-048).

J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2016 10 22;359(1):62-72. Epub 2016 Jul 22.

School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine/Physiology (N.A., D.N.-P., H.J., J.R.S., J.T.L.), and School of Pharmacy, (M.L., T.N., T.P., M.G.), University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland; and Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacodynamics, Faculty of Pharmacy with Division of Medical Analytics, Medical University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland (E.K., J.O.-G.).

Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is a serine hydrolase that acts as a principal degradative enzyme for the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). In addition to terminating the signaling function of 2-AG, MAGL liberates arachidonic acid to be used as a primary source for neuroinflammatory prostaglandin synthesis in the brain. MAGL activity also contributes to cancer pathogenicity by producing precursors for tumor-promoting bioactive lipids. Pharmacological inhibitors of MAGL provide valuable tools for characterization of MAGL and 2-AG signaling pathways. They also hold great therapeutic potential to treat several pathophysiological conditions, such as pain, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer. We have previously reported piperidine triazole urea, {4-[bis-(benzo[d][1,3]dioxol-5-yl)methyl]-piperidin-1-yl}(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)methanone (JJKK-048), to be an ultrapotent and highly selective inhibitor of MAGL in vitro. Here, we characterize in vivo effects of JJKK-048. Acute in vivo administration of JJKK-048 induced a massive increase in mouse brain 2-AG levels without affecting brain anandamide levels. JJKK-048 appeared to be extremely potent in vivo. Activity-based protein profiling revealed that JJKK-048 maintains good selectivity toward MAGL over other serine hydrolases. Our results are also the first to show that JJKK-048 promoted significant analgesia in a writhing test with a low dose that did not cause cannabimimetic side effects. At a high dose, JJKK-048 induced analgesia both in the writhing test and in the tail-immersion test, as well as hypomotility and hyperthermia, but not catalepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/jpet.116.233114DOI Listing
October 2016

Increased tonic cannabinoid CB1R activity and brain region-specific desensitization of CB1R Gi/o signaling axis in mice with global genetic knockout of monoacylglycerol lipase.

Eur J Pharm Sci 2015 Sep 9;77:180-8. Epub 2015 Jun 9.

School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine/Physiology, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland. Electronic address:

In mammalian brain, monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) is the primary enzyme responsible for terminating signaling function of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Previous in vivo studies with mice indicate that both genetic and chronic pharmacological inactivation of MAGL result in 8-30-fold increase of 2-AG concentration in the brain, causing desensitization and downregulation of cannabinoid CB1 receptor (CB1R) activity, leading to functional and behavioral tolerance. However, direct evidence for reduced CB1R activity in the brain is lacking. In this study, we used functional autoradiography to assess basal and agonist-stimulated CB1R-dependent Gi/o protein activity in multiple brain regions of MAGL-KO mice in comparison to their wild-type (WT) littermates. In addition, the role of endogenous cannabinoids in basal CB1R signaling was assessed after comprehensive pharmacological blockade of 2-AG hydrolysis by determining the contents of endocannabinoids (eCBs) in WT and MAGL-KO brain tissues by LC/MS/MS technology. To show whether lack of MAGL cause compensatory alterations in the serine hydrolase activity, we compared serine hydrolase pattern of WT and MAGL-KO using activity-based protein profiling. Consistent with studies using chronic pharmacological MAGL inactivation in vivo, we observed a statistically significant decrease of CB1R-Gi/o signaling in most of the studied brain regions. In MAGL-KO brain sections, elevated 2-AG levels were mirrored to heightened basal CB1R-dependent Gi/o-activity, as well as, dampened agonist-evoked responses in several brain regions. The non-selective serine hydrolase inhibitor methylarachidonoylfluorophosphonate (MAFP) was able to significantly elevate 2-AG levels in brain sections of MAGL-KO mice, indicating that additional serine hydrolases possess 2-AG hydrolytic activity in MAGL-KO brain sections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2015.06.005DOI Listing
September 2015

Optimization of 1,2,5-thiadiazole carbamates as potent and selective ABHD6 inhibitors.

ChemMedChem 2015 Feb 11;10(2):253-65. Epub 2014 Dec 11.

School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio (Finland).

At present, inhibitors of α/β-hydrolase domain 6 (ABHD6) are viewed as a promising approach to treat inflammation and metabolic disorders. This article describes the development of 1,2,5-thiadiazole carbamates as ABHD6 inhibitors. Altogether, 34 compounds were synthesized, and their inhibitory activity was tested using lysates of HEK293 cells transiently expressing human ABHD6 (hABHD6). Among the compound series, 4-morpholino-1,2,5-thiadiazol-3-yl cyclooctyl(methyl)carbamate (JZP-430) potently and irreversibly inhibited hABHD6 (IC50 =44 nM) and showed ∼230-fold selectivity over fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and lysosomal acid lipase (LAL), the main off-targets of related compounds. Additionally, activity-based protein profiling indicated that JZP-430 displays good selectivity among the serine hydrolases of the mouse brain membrane proteome. JZP-430 has been identified as a highly selective, irreversible inhibitor of hABHD6, which may provide a novel approach in the treatment of obesity and type II diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.201402453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471478PMC
February 2015

Brain regional cannabinoid CB(1) receptor signalling and alternative enzymatic pathways for 2-arachidonoylglycerol generation in brain sections of diacylglycerol lipase deficient mice.

Eur J Pharm Sci 2014 Jan 3;51:87-95. Epub 2013 Sep 3.

School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland. Electronic address:

Endocannabinoids are the endogenous ligands of the G protein-coupled cannabinoid receptors. The principal brain endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), is enzymatically produced by postsynaptic neurons and then activates presynaptic CB1 receptors in a retrograde manner. The primary pathway for 2-AG generation is believed to be conversion from the diacylglycerols (DAGs) by two sn-1-specific lipases, DAGLα and DAGLβ. Previous studies with DAGL-deficient mice indicated that DAGLα is the major enzyme needed for retrograde synaptic 2-AG signalling. The current study investigated whether the CB1 receptor-mediated Gi/o protein activity is altered in brain cryosections of DAGL-deficient mice when compared to wild-type mice and whether the sn-1-specific DAGLs are able to generate 2-AG in brain cryosections. Functional autoradiography indicated that brain regional CB1 receptor-Gi/o-activity largely remained unaltered in DAGLα-knockout and DAGLβ-knockout mice when compared to wild-type littermates. Following comprehensive pharmacological blockade of 2-AG hydrolysis, brain sections generated sufficient amounts of 2-AG to activate CB1 receptors throughout the regions endowed with these receptors. As demonstrated by LC/MS/MS, this pool of 2-AG was generated via tetrahydrolipstatin-sensitive enzymatic pathways distinct from DAGLα or DAGLβ. We conclude that in addition to the sn-1-specific DAGLs, additional 2-AG generating enzymatic pathways are active in brain sections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejps.2013.08.035DOI Listing
January 2014

Quantification of endocannabinoids in postmortem brain of schizophrenic subjects.

Schizophr Res 2013 Aug 22;148(1-3):145-50. Epub 2013 Jun 22.

Department of Pharmacology, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM, Spain.

Numerous studies have implicated the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Endocannabinoids have been measured in blood and cerebrospinal fluid in schizophrenic patients but, to the date, there are no published reports dealing with measurements of endocannabinoid levels in schizophrenics' brain tissue. In the present study, postmortem brain samples from 19 subjects diagnosed with schizophrenia (DSM-IV) and 19 matched controls were studied. In specific brain regions, levels of four endocannabinoids (2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), arachidonoylethanolamine (anandamide, AEA), dihomo-γ-linolenoylethanolamine (LEA), and docosahexaenoylethanolamine (DHEA)) and two cannabimimetic compounds (palmitoyl-ethanolamine (PEA) and oleoyl-ethanolamine (OEA)) were measured using quantitative liquid chromatography with triple quadrupole mass spectrometric detection. Suffering from schizophrenia significantly affects the brain levels of 2-AG (p<0.001), AEA (p<0.0001), DHEA (p<0.0001), LEA (p<0.01) and PEA (p<0.05). In schizophrenic subjects, the three studied brain regions (cerebellum: 130±18%; p=0.16; hippocampus: 168±28%, p<0.01; prefrontal cortex: 237±45%, p<0.05) showed higher 2-AG levels when compared to matched controls. Conversely, AEA levels were lower in all brain regions of schizophrenic subjects (cerebellum: 66±7%, p<0.01; hippocampus: 66±7%, p<0.01; prefrontal cortex: 75±10%, p=0.07). Statistically significant lower levels of DHEA were also found in cerebellum (60±6%, p<0.001) and hippocampus (68±7%, p<0.05) of schizophrenic subjects. PEA (71±6%, p<0.05) and LEA (72±6%, p<0.05) levels were also found to be lower in cerebellum. No significant differences were found in OEA levels. Our results evidence specific alterations in the levels of some endocannabinoids in different brain regions of schizophrenic subjects. Furthermore, these data evidence the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2013.06.013DOI Listing
August 2013

Piperazine and piperidine triazole ureas as ultrapotent and highly selective inhibitors of monoacylglycerol lipase.

Chem Biol 2013 Mar;20(3):379-90

School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, 70211 Kuopio, Finland.

Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) terminates the signaling function of the endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). During 2-AG hydrolysis, MAGL liberates arachidonic acid, feeding the principal substrate for the neuroinflammatory prostaglandins. In cancer cells, MAGL redirects lipid stores toward protumorigenic signaling lipids. Thus MAGL inhibitors may have great therapeutic potential. Although potent and increasingly selective MAGL inhibitors have been described, their number is still limited. Here, we have characterized piperazine and piperidine triazole ureas that combine the high potency attributable to the triazole leaving group together with the bulky aromatic benzodioxolyl moiety required for selectivity, culminating in compound JJKK-048 that potently (IC50 < 0.4 nM) inhibited human and rodent MAGL. JJKK-048 displayed low cross-reactivity with other endocannabinoid targets. Activity-based protein profiling of mouse brain and human melanoma cell proteomes suggested high specificity also among the metabolic serine hydrolases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2013.01.012DOI Listing
March 2013

Lipid phosphate phosphatase inhibitors locally amplify lysophosphatidic acid LPA1 receptor signalling in rat brain cryosections without affecting global LPA degradation.

BMC Pharmacol 2012 Jun 11;12. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, P,O, Box 1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland.

Background: Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a signalling phospholipid with multiple biological functions, mainly mediated through specific G protein-coupled receptors. Aberrant LPA signalling is being increasingly implicated in the pathology of common human diseases, such as arteriosclerosis and cancer. The lifetime of the signalling pool of LPA is controlled by the equilibrium between synthesizing and degradative enzymatic activity. In the current study, we have characterized these enzymatic pathways in rat brain by pharmacologically manipulating the enzymatic machinery required for LPA degradation.

Results: In rat brain cryosections, the lifetime of bioactive LPA was found to be controlled by Mg2+-independent, N-ethylmaleimide-insensitive phosphatase activity, attributed to lipid phosphate phosphatases (LPPs). Pharmacological inhibition of this LPP activity amplified LPA1 receptor signalling, as revealed using functional autoradiography. Although two LPP inhibitors, sodium orthovanadate and propranolol, locally amplified receptor responses, they did not affect global brain LPA phosphatase activity (also attributed to Mg2+-independent, N-ethylmaleimide-insensitive phosphatases), as confirmed by Pi determination and by LC/MS/MS. Interestingly, the phosphate analog, aluminium fluoride (AlFx-) not only irreversibly inhibited LPP activity thereby potentiating LPA1 receptor responses, but also totally prevented LPA degradation, however this latter effect was not essential in order to observe AlFx--dependent potentiation of receptor signalling.

Conclusions: We conclude that vanadate- and propranolol-sensitive LPP activity locally guards the signalling pool of LPA whereas the majority of brain LPA phosphatase activity is attributed to LPP-like enzymatic activity which, like LPP activity, is sensitive to AlFx- but resistant to the LPP inhibitors, vanadate and propranolol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2210-12-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3418163PMC
June 2012

Quantification of lysophosphatidic acids in rat brain tissue by liquid chromatography-electrospray tandem mass spectrometry.

J Chromatogr B Analyt Technol Biomed Life Sci 2010 May 20;878(15-16):1145-52. Epub 2010 Mar 20.

University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Pharmacology and Toxicology, P.O. Box 1627, 70211 Kuopio, Finland.

Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a lipid mediator with multiple biological functions. A highly selective and sensitive liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS) method was developed for the determination of LPAs (16:0 LPA, 18:0 LPA, 18:1 LPA, 20:4 LPA) in rat brain cryosections. After partitioning the LPAs from other lipophilic material present in the tissue with a liquid-liquid extraction, a reversed-phase column and ion pair technique was used for separating analytes with a gradient elution. An internal standard (17:0 LPA) was included in the analysis. Detection and quantification of the LPAs were carried out with a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer using negative electrospray ionization (ESI) and multiple reaction monitoring (MRM). The artificial formation of LPAs from lysophosphatidylcholines during the sample preparation procedure and instrumentation was carefully studied during the method development. The method was validated; acceptable selectivity, accuracy, precision, recovery, and stability were obtained for concentrations within the calibration curve range of 0.02-1.0muM for LPAs. The quantification limit of the assay was 54fmol injected into column for each LPAs. The method was applied to comparative studies of LPA levels in rat brain cryosections after the various chemical pre-treatments of the sections.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2010.03.030DOI Listing
May 2010

Neuroanatomical mapping of juvenile rat brain regions with prominent basal signal in [(35)S]GTPgammaS autoradiography.

J Chem Neuroanat 2008 Mar 23;35(2):233-41. Epub 2007 Dec 23.

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Kuopio, Finland.

[(35)S]GTPgammaS autoradiography represents a powerful functional approach to detect receptor-dependent G(i/o) protein activity in anatomically defined brain structures. Inherent to this technique, however, is the notable basal signal evident in several brain regions in the absence of receptor stimulation by exogenously added agonist. In the rat brain, much of this basal labelling derives from tonic activation of adenosine A(1) and lysophosphatidic acid LPA(1) receptors in the gray and white matter regions, respectively. Despite the elimination of the two receptor activities, prominent basal [(35)S]GTPgammaS labelling is still evident in discrete brain structures, possibly reflecting regional enrichment of G(i/o) and/or constitutive receptor activity or the presence of still unknown endogenous ligands activating their orphan receptors. Here, the anatomical distribution of the enhanced basal signal was systematically mapped in brain sections of 4-week-old male Wistar rats. Regions with prominent basal [(35)S]GTPgammaS labelling represented neuroanatomically distinct structures, in particular various thalamic and hypothalamic nuclei. For instance, the paraventricular thalamic nucleus, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis and the subfornical organ were highly labelled, as were the periaqueductal gray and the nucleus of the solitary tract. Pre-treatment with N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), an alkylating agent preventing all known receptor-driven G protein activity in cryostat sections markedly decreased the basal binding in all examined regions. In preliminary screening, selective antagonists for various brain-enriched G(i/o)-coupled receptors failed to suppress the basal signal in any of the studied regions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jchemneu.2007.12.003DOI Listing
March 2008
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