Publications by authors named "Pedro M Rodrigues"

69 Publications

Inhibition of NAE-dependent protein hyper-NEDDylation in cystic cholangiocytes halts cystogenesis in experimental models of polycystic liver disease.

United European Gastroenterol J 2021 Jul 26. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute-Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.

Background: Polycystic liver diseases (PLDs) are genetic inherited disorders characterized by the progressive growth of numerous intrahepatic biliary cysts, which are the main cause of morbidity. Previous studies revealed that cystic cholangiocytes are characterized by endoplasmic reticulum stress and aberrant posttranslational modification (PTM) of proteins, in particular hyper-SUMOylation, that promote PLD pathobiology. Protein NEDDylation is a newly characterized PTM that modulates a plethora of biological processes and its dysregulation is associated with the development and progression of several human diseases. However, the role of NEDDylation in PLD remains elusive.

Objective: To explore the role of protein NEDDylation in PLD and its potential therapeutic regulatory value.

Methods: Levels and functional effects of NEDDylation, including response to Pevonedistat (first-in-class selective inhibitor of the NEDDylation E1 enzyme NAE), were assessed in vitro, in vivo, and/or in patients with PLD. NEDDylated protein levels in normal and cystic human cholangiocytes were assessed by immunoprecipitation, and the proteomic profile was further analyzed by mass spectrometry.

Results And Conclusion: The genes involved in the NEDDylation pathway were found overexpressed (mRNA) in polycystic human and rat liver tissue, as well as in cystic cholangiocytes in culture, compared to controls. Elevated levels of NEDDylated proteins were further confirmed in cystic cholangiocytes in vitro, which diminished under Pevonedistat incubation. Pevonedistat promoted apoptotic cell death and reduced proliferation in cystic cholangiocytes in vitro. Comparative proteomic profiling of NEDD8-immunoprecipitated proteins between normal and cystic cholangiocytes in culture reported candidate proteins involved in cystogenesis, mostly associated with protein biogenesis and quality control. All these data indicate that cystic cholangiocytes display increased protein NEDDylation, contributing to cell survival and proliferation, ultimately supporting hepatic cystogenesis. Targeting of protein hyper-NEDDylation in cystic cholangiocytes inhibits cystogenesis in experimental models, representing a novel therapeutic opportunity in PLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ueg2.12126DOI Listing
July 2021

Next-Generation Biomarkers for Cholangiocarcinoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Jun 28;13(13). Epub 2021 Jun 28.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 20014 San Sebastian, Spain.

The increasing mortality rates of cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) registered during the last decades are, at least in part, a result of the lack of accurate non-invasive biomarkers for early disease diagnosis, making the identification of patients who might benefit from potentially curative approaches (i.e., surgery) extremely challenging. The obscure CCA pathogenesis and associated etiological factors, as well as the lack of symptoms in patients with early tumor stages, highly compromises CCA identification and to predict tumor development in at-risk populations. Currently, CCA diagnosis is accomplished by the combination of clinical/biochemical features, radiological imaging and non-specific serum tumor biomarkers, although a tumor biopsy is still needed to confirm disease diagnosis. Furthermore, prognostic and predictive biomarkers are still lacking and urgently needed. During the recent years, high-throughput omics-based approaches have identified novel circulating biomarkers (diagnostic and prognostic) that might be included in large, international validation studies in the near future. In this review, we summarize and discuss the most recent advances in the field of biomarker discovery in CCA, providing new insights and future research directions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13133222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8269024PMC
June 2021

YAP Accelerates Notch Driven Cholangiocarcinogenesis via mTORC1 in Mice.

Am J Pathol 2021 Jun 12. Epub 2021 Jun 12.

Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, California; School of Life Sciences, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China. Electronic address:

Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) is a lethal malignant neoplasm with limited therapeutic options. Previous studies have found that Notch1 overexpression alone suffices to induce iCCA in the mouse, albeit after long latency. This study found that activation of the Yes-associated protein (Yap) proto-oncogene occurs during Notch1-driven iCCA progression. After co-expressing activated Notch1 intracellular domain (Nicd) and Yap (YapS127A) in the mouse liver, rapid iCCA formation and progression occurred in Nicd/Yap mice. Mechanistically, an increased expression of amino acid transporters and activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway was detected in Nicd/Yap mouse liver tumors. Significantly, the genetic deletion of Raptor, the major mTORC1 component, completely suppressed iCCA development in Nicd/Yap mice. Elevated expression of Notch1, YAP, amino acid transporters, and members of the mTORC1 pathway was also detected ubiquitously in a collection of human iCCA specimens. Their levels were associated with a poor patient outcome. This study demonstrates that Notch and YAP concomitant activation is frequent in human cholangiocarcinogenesis. Notch and YAP synergize to promote iCCA formation by activating the mTORC1 pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajpath.2021.05.017DOI Listing
June 2021

Unscrambling a novel pathogenic role for interleukin-20 in acute hepatitis and bacterial infection: A double-edged sword?

J Hepatol 2021 Jul 10;75(1):22-24. Epub 2021 May 10.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute - Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), San Sebastian, Spain; National Institute for the Study of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBERehd), ISCIII, Madrid, Spain; Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.03.011DOI Listing
July 2021

Applications of organoids in regenerative medicine: a proof-of-concept for biliary injury.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 Jun;18(6):371-372

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute - Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), San Sebastian, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41575-021-00459-9DOI Listing
June 2021

Lacsogram: a New EEG Tool to Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease.

IEEE J Biomed Health Inform 2021 Mar 30;PP. Epub 2021 Mar 30.

This work proposes the application of a new electroencephalogram (EEG) signal processing tool - the lacsogram - to characterize the Alzheimer's disease (AD) activity and to assist on its diagnosis at different stages: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), Mild and Moderate AD (ADM) and Advanced AD (ADA). Statistical analyzes are performed to lacstral distances between conventional EEG subbands to find measures capable of discriminating AD in all stages and characterizing the AD activity in each electrode. Cepstral distances are used for comparison. Comparing all AD stages and Controls (C), the most important significances are the lacstral distances between subbands and (p=0.0014<0.05). The topographic maps show significant differences in parietal, temporal and frontal regions as AD progresses. Machine learning models with a leave-one-out cross-validation process are applied to lacstral/cepstral distances to develop an automatic method for diagnosing AD. The following classification accuracies are obtained with an artificial neural network: 95.55% for All vs All, 98.06% for C vs MCI, 95.99% for C vs ADM, 93.85% for MCI vs ADM-ADA. In C vs MCI, C vs ADM and MCI vs ADM-ADA, the proposed method outperforms the state-of-art methods by 5%, 1%, and 2%, respectively. In All vs All, it outperforms the state-of-art EEG and non-EEG methods by 6% and 2%, respectively. These results indicate that the proposed method represents an improvement in diagnosing AD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JBHI.2021.3069789DOI Listing
March 2021

Voice Disorders Detection Through Multiband Cepstral Features of Sustained Vowel.

J Voice 2021 Mar 1. Epub 2021 Mar 1.

Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina - Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Porto, Portugal. Electronic address:

This study aims to detect voice disorders related to vocal fold nodule, Reinke's edema and neurological pathologies through multiband cepstral features of the sustained vowel /a/. Detection is performed between pairs of study groups and multiband analysis is accomplished using the wavelet transform. For each pair of groups, a parameters selection is carried out. Time series of the selected parameters are used as input for four classifiers with leave-one-out cross validation. Classification accuracies of 100% are achieved for all pairs including the control group, surpassing the state-of-art methods based on cepstral features, while accuracies higher than 88.50% are obtained for the pathological pairs. The results indicated that the method may be adequate to assist in the diagnosis of the voice disorders addressed. The results must be updated in the future with a larger population to ensure generalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2021.01.018DOI Listing
March 2021

Diet-dependent gut microbiota impacts on adult neurogenesis through mitochondrial stress modulation.

Brain Commun 2020 6;2(2):fcaa165. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal.

The influence of dietary factors on brain health and mental function is becoming increasingly recognized. Similarly, mounting evidence supports a role for gut microbiota in modulating central nervous system function and behaviour. Still, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the impact of diet and associated microbiome in adult neurodegeneration are still largely unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether and how changes in diet-associated microbiome and its metabolites impact on adult neurogenesis. Mice were fed a high-fat, choline-deficient diet, developing obesity and several features of the metabolic syndrome, including non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Strikingly, our results showed, for the first time, that animals fed with this specific diet display premature increased neurogenesis, possibly exhausting the available neural stem cell pool for long-term neurogenesis processes. The high-fat, choline-deficient diet further induced neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, synaptic loss and cell death in different regions of the brain. Notably, this diet-favoured gut dysbiosis in the small intestine and cecum, up-regulating metabolic pathways of short-chain fatty acids, such as propionate and butyrate and significantly increasing propionate levels in the liver. By dissecting the effect of these two specific short-chain fatty acids , we were able to show that propionate and butyrate enhance mitochondrial biogenesis and promote early neurogenic differentiation of neural stem cells through reactive oxygen species- and extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2-dependent mechanism. More importantly, neurogenic niches of high-fat, choline-deficient-fed mice showed increased expression of mitochondrial biogenesis markers, and decreased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species scavengers, corroborating the involvement of this mitochondrial stress-dependent pathway in mediating changes of adult neurogenesis by diet. Altogether, our results highlight a mitochondria-dependent pathway as a novel mediator of the gut microbiota-brain axis upon dietary influences.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcaa165DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7780462PMC
October 2020

Are Physicochemical Properties Shaping the Allergenic Potency of Animal Allergens?

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2021 Jan 7. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Division of Allergology, Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany.

Key determinants for the development of an allergic response to an otherwise 'harmless' food protein involve different factors like the predisposition of the individual, the timing, the dose, the route of exposure, the intrinsic properties of the allergen, the food matrix (e.g. lipids) and the allergen modification by food processing. Various physicochemical parameters can have an impact on the allergenicity of animal proteins. Following our previous review on how physicochemical parameters shape plant protein allergenicity, the same analysis was proceeded here for animal allergens. We found that each parameter can have variable effects, ranging on an axis from allergenicity enhancement to resolution, depending on its nature and the allergen. While glycosylation and phosphorylation are common, both are not universal traits of animal allergens. High molecular structures can favour allergenicity, but structural loss and uncovering hidden epitopes can also have a similar impact. We discovered that there are important knowledge gaps in regard to physicochemical parameters shaping protein allergenicity both from animal and plant origin, mainly because the comparability of the data is poor. Future biomolecular studies of exhaustive, standardised design together with strong validation part in the clinical context, together with data integration model systems will be needed to unravel causal relationships between physicochemical properties and the basis of protein allergenicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12016-020-08826-1DOI Listing
January 2021

RIPK3 acts as a lipid metabolism regulator contributing to inflammation and carcinogenesis in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Gut 2020 Dec 24. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal

Objective: Receptor-interacting protein kinase 3 (RIPK3) is a key player in necroptosis execution and an emerging metabolic regulator, whose contribution to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is controversial. We aimed to clarify the impact of RIPK3 signalling in the pathogenesis of human and experimental NAFLD.

Design: RIPK3 levels were evaluated in two large independent cohorts of patients with biopsy proven NAFLD diagnosis and correlated with clinical and biochemical parameters. Wild-type (WT) or -deficient ( ) mice were fed a choline-deficient L-amino acid-defined diet (CDAA) or an isocaloric control diet for 32 and 66 weeks.

Results: RIPK3 increased in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in both cohorts, correlating with hepatic inflammation and fibrosis. Accordingly, deficiency ameliorated CDAA-induced inflammation and fibrosis in mice at both 32 and 66 weeks. WT mice on the CDAA diet for 66 weeks developed preneoplastic nodules and displayed increased hepatocellular proliferation, which were reduced in mice. Furthermore, 3 deficiency hampered tumourigenesis. Intriguingly, mice displayed increased body weight gain, while lipidomics showed that deletion of shifted hepatic lipid profiles. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) was increased in mice and negatively correlated with hepatic RIPK3 in patients with NAFLD. Mechanistic studies established a functional link between RIPK3 and PPARγ in controlling fat deposition and fibrosis.

Conclusion: Hepatic RIPK3 correlates with NAFLD severity in humans and mice, playing a key role in managing liver metabolism, damage, inflammation, fibrosis and carcinogenesis. Targeting RIPK3 and its intricate signalling arises as a novel promising approach to treat NASH and arrest disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321767DOI Listing
December 2020

Pathogenesis of Cholangiocarcinoma.

Annu Rev Pathol 2021 01 2;16:433-463. Epub 2020 Dec 2.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 20014 San Sebastian, Spain; email:

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) encompasses a group of malignancies that can arise at any point in the biliary tree. Although considered a rare cancer, the incidence of CCA is increasing globally. The silent and asymptomatic nature of these tumors, particularly in their early stages, in combination with their high aggressiveness, intra- and intertumor heterogeneity, and chemoresistance, significantly compromises the efficacy of current therapeutic options, contributing to a dismal prognosis. During the last few years, increasing efforts have been made to unveil the etiologies and pathogenesis of these tumors and to develop more effective therapies. In this review, we summarize current findings in the field of CCA, mainly focusing on the mechanisms of pathogenesis, cells of origin, genomic and epigenetic abnormalities, molecular alterations, chemoresistance, and therapies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-pathol-030220-020455DOI Listing
January 2021

Characterizing the Heterogeneity of Liver Cell Populations Under a NASH-Related Hepatotoxicant Using Single-Nuclei RNA Sequencing.

Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol 2021 5;11(1):294-296. Epub 2020 Oct 5.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain; National Institute for the Study of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBERehd), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain; Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmgh.2020.09.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7768554PMC
July 2021

Mid-infrared spectroscopic screening of metabolic alterations in stress-exposed gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata).

Sci Rep 2020 10 1;10(1):16343. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Centre of Marine Sciences, CCMAR, Universidade Do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, Edifício 7, 8005-139, Faro, Portugal.

Stress triggers a battery of physiological responses in fish, including the activation of metabolic pathways involved in energy production, which helps the animal to cope with the adverse situation. Prolonged exposure to stressful farming conditions may induce adverse effects at the whole-animal level, impairing welfare. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is a rapid biochemical fingerprinting technique, that, combined with chemometrics, was applied to disclose the metabolic alterations in the fish liver as a result of exposure to standard stressful practices in aquaculture. Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) adults exposed to different stressors were used as model species. Spectra were preprocessed before multivariate statistical analysis. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used for pattern recognition and identification of the most discriminatory wavenumbers. Key spectral features were selected and used for classification using the k-nearest neighbour (KNN) algorithm to evaluate whether the spectral changes allowed for the reliable discrimination between experimental groups. PCA loadings suggested that major variations in the hepatic infrared spectra responsible for the discrimination between the experimental groups were due to differences in the intensity of absorption bands associated with proteins, lipids and carbohydrates. This broad-range technique can thus be useful in an exploratory approach before any targeted analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73338-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7529800PMC
October 2020

Targeting UBC9-mediated protein hyper-SUMOylation in cystic cholangiocytes halts polycystic liver disease in experimental models.

J Hepatol 2021 Feb 17;74(2):394-406. Epub 2020 Sep 17.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute - Donostia University Hospital -, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), San Sebastian, Spain; National Institute for the Study of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBERehd, "Instituto de Salud Carlos III"), Spain; IKERBASQUE, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Spain. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Polycystic liver diseases (PLDs) are genetic disorders characterized by progressive development of multiple fluid-filled biliary cysts. Most PLD-causative genes participate in protein biogenesis and/or transport. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) are implicated in protein stability, localization and activity, contributing to human pathobiology; however, their role in PLD is unknown. Herein, we aimed to unveil the role of protein SUMOylation in PLD and its potential therapeutic targeting.

Methods: Levels and functional effects of SUMOylation, along with response to S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe, inhibitor of the SUMOylation enzyme UBC9) and/or short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) against UBE2I (UBC9), were evaluated in vitro, in vivo and/or in patients with PLD. SUMOylated proteins were determined by immunoprecipitation and proteomic analyses by mass spectrometry.

Results: Most SUMOylation-related genes were found overexpressed (mRNA) in polycystic human and rat liver tissue, as well as in cystic cholangiocytes in culture compared to controls. Increased SUMOylated protein levels were also observed in cystic human cholangiocytes in culture, which decreased after SAMe administration. Chronic treatment of polycystic (PCK: Pkdh1-mut) rats with SAMe halted hepatic cystogenesis and fibrosis, and reduced liver/body weight ratio and liver volume. In vitro, both SAMe and shRNA-mediated UBE2I knockdown increased apoptosis and reduced cell proliferation of cystic cholangiocytes. High-throughput proteomic analysis of SUMO1-immunoprecipitated proteins in cystic cholangiocytes identified candidates involved in protein biogenesis, ciliogenesis and proteasome degradation. Accordingly, SAMe hampered proteasome hyperactivity in cystic cholangiocytes, leading to activation of the unfolded protein response and stress-related apoptosis.

Conclusions: Cystic cholangiocytes exhibit increased SUMOylation of proteins involved in cell survival and proliferation, thus promoting hepatic cystogenesis. Inhibition of protein SUMOylation with SAMe halts PLD, representing a novel therapeutic strategy.

Lay Summary: Protein SUMOylation is a dynamic post-translational event implicated in numerous cellular processes. This study revealed dysregulated protein SUMOylation in polycystic liver disease, which promotes hepatic cystogenesis. Administration of S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a natural UBC9-dependent SUMOylation inhibitor, halted polycystic liver disease in experimental models, thus representing a potential therapeutic agent for patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2020.09.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8157180PMC
February 2021

TREM-2 defends the liver against hepatocellular carcinoma through multifactorial protective mechanisms.

Gut 2021 Jul 9;70(7):1345-1361. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, San Sebastian, Spain

Objective: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a prevalent and aggressive cancer usually arising on a background of chronic liver injury involving inflammatory and hepatic regenerative processes. The triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM-2) is predominantly expressed in hepatic non-parenchymal cells and inhibits Toll-like receptor signalling, protecting the liver from various hepatotoxic injuries, yet its role in liver cancer is poorly defined. Here, we investigated the impact of TREM-2 on liver regeneration and hepatocarcinogenesis.

Design: TREM-2 expression was analysed in liver tissues of two independent cohorts of patients with HCC and compared with control liver samples. Experimental HCC and liver regeneration models in wild type and mice, and studies with hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and HCC spheroids were conducted.

Results: expression was upregulated in human HCC tissue, in mouse models of liver regeneration and HCC. mice developed more liver tumours irrespective of size after diethylnitrosamine (DEN) administration, displayed exacerbated liver damage, inflammation, oxidative stress and hepatocyte proliferation. Administering an antioxidant diet blocked DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis in both genotypes. Similarly, animals developed more and larger tumours in fibrosis-associated HCC models. livers showed increased hepatocyte proliferation and inflammation after partial hepatectomy. Conditioned media from human HSCs overexpressing TREM-2 inhibited human HCC spheroid growth through attenuated Wnt ligand secretion.

Conclusion: TREM-2 plays a protective role in hepatocarcinogenesis via different pleiotropic effects, suggesting that TREM-2 agonism should be investigated as it might beneficially impact HCC pathogenesis in a multifactorial manner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2019-319227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223629PMC
July 2021

Are Physicochemical Properties Shaping the Allergenic Potency of Plant Allergens?

Clin Rev Allergy Immunol 2020 Sep 2. Epub 2020 Sep 2.

Division of Allergology Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen, Germany.

This review searched for published evidence that could explain how different physicochemical properties impact on the allergenicity of food proteins and if their effects would follow specific patterns among distinct protein families. Owing to the amount and complexity of the collected information, this literature overview was divided in two articles, the current one dedicated to protein families of plant allergens and a second one focused on animal allergens. Our extensive analysis of the available literature revealed that physicochemical characteristics had consistent effects on protein allergenicity for allergens belonging to the same protein family. For example, protein aggregation contributes to increased allergenicity of 2S albumins, while for legumins and cereal prolamins, the same phenomenon leads to a reduction. Molecular stability, related to structural resistance to heat and proteolysis, was identified as the most common feature promoting plant protein allergenicity, although it fails to explain the potency of some unstable allergens (e.g. pollen-related food allergens). Furthermore, data on physicochemical characteristics translating into clinical effects are limited, mainly because most studies are focused on in vitro IgE binding. Clinical data assessing how these parameters affect the development and clinical manifestation of allergies is minimal, with only few reports evaluating the sensitising capacity of modified proteins (addressing different physicochemical properties) in murine allergy models. In vivo testing of modified pure proteins by SPT or DBPCFC is scarce. At this stage, a systematic approach to link the physicochemical properties with clinical plant allergenicity in real-life scenarios is still missing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12016-020-08810-9DOI Listing
September 2020

Effects of Different Dietary Vegetable Lipid Sources on Health Status in Nile Tilapia (): Haematological Indices, Immune Response Parameters and Plasma Proteome.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Aug 8;10(8). Epub 2020 Aug 8.

School of Animal Technology and Innovation, Institute of Agricultural Technology, Suranaree University of Technology, 111 University Avenue, Muang, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand.

This study aimed to investigate the effects of DLs, including palm oil (PO; an SFAs), linseed oil (LO; n-3 PUFAs) and soybean oil (SBO; n-6 PUFAs) on the health status of Nile tilapia () during adulthood. Three experimental diets incorporating PO, LO or SBO were fed to adult Nile tilapia for a period of 90 days, and haematological and innate immune parameters were evaluated. Proteome analysis was also conducted to evaluate the effects of DLs on plasma proteins. The tested DLs had no significant effects on red blood cell (RBC) count, haematocrit, haemoglobin, and total immunoglobulin and lysozyme activity. Dietary LO led to increased alternative complement 50 activity (ACH50), and proteome analysis revealed that PO and SBO enhanced A2ML, suggesting that different DLs promote immune system via different processes. Dietary LO or SBO increased the expression of several proteins involved in coagulation activity such as KNG1, HRG and FGG. Increased HPX in fish fed with PO suggests that SFAs are utilised in heme lipid-oxidation. Overall, DLs with distinct fatty acids (FAs) affect several parameters corresponding to health status in Nile tilapia, and dietary LO and SBO seemed to strengthen health in this species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10081377DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7460521PMC
August 2020

Current and novel therapeutic opportunities for systemic therapy in biliary cancer.

Br J Cancer 2020 09 22;123(7):1047-1059. Epub 2020 Jul 22.

Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.

Biliary tract cancers (BTCs) are a group of rare and aggressive malignancies that arise in the biliary tree within and outside the liver. Beyond surgical resection, which is beneficial for only a small proportion of patients, current strategies for treating patients with BTCs include chemotherapy, as a single agent or combination regimens, in the adjuvant and palliative setting. Increased characterisation of the molecular landscape of these tumours has facilitated the identification of molecular vulnerabilities, such as IDH mutations and FGFR fusions, that can be exploited for the treatment of BTC patients. Beyond targeted therapies, active research avenues explore the development of novel therapeutics that target the crosstalk between cancer and stroma, the cellular pathways involved in the regulation of cell death, the chemoresistance phenotype and the dysregulation of RNA. In this review, we discuss the therapeutic opportunities currently available in the management of BTC patients, and explore the strategies that can support the implementation of precision oncology in BTCs, including novel molecular targets, liquid biopsies and patient-derived predictive tools.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-0987-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7525457PMC
September 2020

Efficacy and Safety of the Combination of Pravastatin and Sorafenib for the Treatment of Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma (ESTAHEP Clinical Trial).

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Jul 14;12(7). Epub 2020 Jul 14.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Clinical Research Unit, Donostia University Hospital-Biodonostia Health Research Institute, 20014 San Sebastian, Spain.

Pravastatin has demonstrated anti-tumor activity in preclinical and clinical studies. This multicentric randomized double-blind placebo-controlled phase II study (NCT01418729) investigated the efficacy and safety of sorafenib + pravastatin combination on the overall survival (OS) and time to progression (TTP) of patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (aHCC). A total of 31 patients were randomized. Median OS did not differ between both groups (12.4 months for the sorafenib + pravastatin group vs. 11.6 months for the control group). Of note, however, the radiological TTP was higher in patients treated with sorafenib + pravastatin than in the control group (9.9 months vs. 3.2 months; = 0.008). Considering all the study population, the presence of portal vein thrombosis (PVT) was associated with worse OS, being lower in patients with PVT compared to patients without PVT (6.3 months vs. 14.8 months; = 0.026). Data also showed a decrease in OS in patients with vascular invasion (VI) compared to patients who did not present it (6.3 months vs. 14.8 months; = 0.041). The group of patients without dermatological events (DE) showed lower OS (6.9 months vs. 14.5 months; = 0.049). In conclusion, combination of sorafenib + pravastatin was safe and well-tolerated, prolonging the TTP of patients with aHCC but not improving the OS compared to sorafenib + placebo. The absence of PVT and VI and the development of DE are positive prognostic factors of sorafenib response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12071900DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7409102PMC
July 2020

Cholangiocarcinoma 2020: the next horizon in mechanisms and management.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 09 30;17(9):557-588. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

National Institute for the Study of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases (CIBERehd, "Instituto de Salud Carlos III"), San Sebastian, Spain.

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) includes a cluster of highly heterogeneous biliary malignant tumours that can arise at any point of the biliary tree. Their incidence is increasing globally, currently accounting for ~15% of all primary liver cancers and ~3% of gastrointestinal malignancies. The silent presentation of these tumours combined with their highly aggressive nature and refractoriness to chemotherapy contribute to their alarming mortality, representing ~2% of all cancer-related deaths worldwide yearly. The current diagnosis of CCA by non-invasive approaches is not accurate enough, and histological confirmation is necessary. Furthermore, the high heterogeneity of CCAs at the genomic, epigenetic and molecular levels severely compromises the efficacy of the available therapies. In the past decade, increasing efforts have been made to understand the complexity of these tumours and to develop new diagnostic tools and therapies that might help to improve patient outcomes. In this expert Consensus Statement, which is endorsed by the European Network for the Study of Cholangiocarcinoma, we aim to summarize and critically discuss the latest advances in CCA, mostly focusing on classification, cells of origin, genetic and epigenetic abnormalities, molecular alterations, biomarker discovery and treatments. Furthermore, the horizon of CCA for the next decade from 2020 onwards is highlighted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41575-020-0310-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7447603PMC
September 2020

Genomewide Association Study of Severe Covid-19 with Respiratory Failure.

N Engl J Med 2020 10 17;383(16):1522-1534. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

From the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology, Christian-Albrechts-University (D.E., F.D., J.K., S. May, M. Wendorff, L.W., F.U.-W., X.Y., A.T., A. Peschuck, C.G., G.H.-S., H.E.A., M.C.R., M.E.F.B., M. Schulzky, M. Wittig, N.B., S.J., T.W., W.A., M. D'Amato, A.F.), and University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel (N.B., A.F.), Kiel, the Institute for Cardiogenetics, University of Lübeck, Lübeck (J.E.), the German Research Center for Cardiovascular Research, partner site Hamburg-Lübeck-Kiel (J.E.), the University Heart Center Lübeck (J.E.), and the Institute of Transfusion Medicine, University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein (S.G.), Lübeck, Stefan-Morsch-Stiftung, Birkenfeld (M. Schaefer, W.P.), and the Research Group for Evolutionary Immunogenomics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön (O.O., T.L.L.) - all in Germany; Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, Disease Systems Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen (D.E.); the Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute-Donostia University Hospital-University of the Basque Country (L.B., K.G.-E., L.I.-S., P.M.R., J.M.B.), Osakidetza Basque Health Service, Donostialdea Integrated Health Organization, Clinical Biochemistry Department (A.G.C., B.N.J.), and the Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute (M. D'Amato), San Sebastian, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red en Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (L.B., M. Buti, A. Albillos, A. Palom, F.R.-F., B.M., L. Téllez, K.G.-E., L.I.-S., F.M., L.R., M.R.-B., M. Rodríguez-Gandía, P.M.R., M. Romero-Gómez, J.M.B.), the Departments of Gastroenterology (A. Albillos, B.M., L. Téllez, F.M., M. Rodríguez-Gandía), Intensive Care (R.P., A.B.O.), Respiratory Diseases (D.J., A.S., R.N.), Infectious Diseases (C.Q., E.N.), and Anesthesiology (D. Pestaña, N. Martínez), Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria, University of Alcalá, and Histocompatibilidad y Biologia Molecular, Centro de Transfusion de Madrid (F.G.S.), Madrid, the Liver Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Hospital Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Vall d'Hebron Barcelona Hospital Campus (M. Buti, A. Palom, L.R., M.R.-B.), Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona, and the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (J.F., F.A., E.S., J.F.-A., L.M., M.H.-T., P.C.), the European Foundation for the Study of Chronic Liver Failure (J.F.), Vall d'Hebron Institut de Recerca (A. Palom, F.R.-F., A.J., S. Marsal), and the Departments of Biochemistry (A.-E.G.-F., F.R.-F., A.C.-G., C.C., A.B.-G.), Intensive Care (R.F.), and Microbiology (T.P.), University Hospital Vall d'Hebron, the Immunohematology Department, Banc de Sang i Teixits, Autonomous University of Barcelona (E.M.-D.), Catalan Institute of Oncology, Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute, Consortium for Biomedical Research in Epidemiology and Public Health and University of Barcelona, l'Hospitalet (V. Moreno), and Autonoma University of Barcelona (T.P.), Barcelona, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellatera (M. Buti, F.R.-F., M.R.-B.), GenomesForLife-GCAT Lab Group, Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (A.C.N., I.G.-F., R.C.), and High Content Genomics and Bioinformatics Unit, Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (L. Sumoy), Badalona, Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine Lopez-Neyra, Granada (J.M., M.A.-H.), the Digestive Diseases Unit, Virgen del Rocio University Hospital, Institute of Biomedicine of Seville, University of Seville, Seville (M. Romero-Gómez), and Ikerbasque, Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao (M. D'Amato, J.M.B.) - all in Spain; the Division of Gastroenterology, Center for Autoimmune Liver Diseases, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Milan Bicocca (P.I., C.M.), Fondazione IRCCS Ca' Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico (D. Prati, G.B., A.Z., A. Bandera, A.G., A.L.F., A. Pesenti, C.P., F.C., F.M.-B., F.P., F.B., G.G., G. Costantino, L. Terranova, L. Santoro, L. Scudeller, M. Carrabba, M. Baldini, M.M., N. Montano, R.G., S.P., S. Aliberti, V. Monzani, S. Bosari, L.V.), the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University (R.A., A. Protti, A. Aghemo, A. Lleo, E.M.P., G. Cardamone, M. Cecconi, V.R., S.D.), Humanitas Clinical and Research Center, IRCCS (R.A., A. Protti, A. Aghemo, A. Lleo, A.V., C.A., E.M.P., H.K., I.M., M. Cecconi, M. Ciccarelli, M. Bocciolone, P.P., P.O., P.T., S. Badalamenti, S.D.), University of Milan (A.Z., A. Bandera, A.G., A.L.F., A. Pesenti, F.M.-B., F.P., F.B., G.G., G. Costantino, M.M., N. Montano, R.G., S.P., S. Aliberti, S. Bosari, L.V.), and the Center of Bioinformatics, Biostatistics, and Bioimaging (M.G.V.) and the Phase 1 Research Center (M. Cazzaniga), School of Medicine and Surgery, and the Departments of Emergency, Anesthesia, and Intensive Care (G.F.), Pneumologia (P.F.), and Infectious Diseases (P.B.); University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, the European Reference Network on Hepatological Diseases (P.I., C.M.) and the Infectious Diseases Unit (P.B.), San Gerardo Hospital, Monza, the Pediatric Departement and Centro Tettamanti-European Reference Network PaedCan, EuroBloodNet, MetabERN-University of Milano-Bicocca-Fondazione MBBM-Ospedale, San Gerardo (A. Biondi, L.R.B., M. D'Angiò), the Gastroenterology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo (A. Latiano, O.P.), the Department of Medical Sciences, Università degli Studi di Torino, Turin (S. Aneli, G.M.), and the Italian Bone Marrow Donor Registry, E.O. Ospedali Galliera, Genoa (N.S.) - all in Italy; the Norwegian PSC Research Center, Department of Transplantation Medicine, Division of Surgery, Inflammatory Diseases, and Transplantation, and the Research Institute for Internal Medicine, Division of Surgery, Inflammatory Diseases, and Transplantation, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet and University of Oslo (M.M.G., J.R.H., T.F., T.H.K.), and the Section for Gastroenterology, Department of Transplantation Medicine, Division for Cancer Medicine, Surgery, and Transplantation, Oslo University Hospital Rikshospitalet (J.R.H., T.F., T.H.K.), Oslo; the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, VIC, Australia (T.Z., M. D'Amato); Private University in the Principality of Liechtenstein (C.G.); the Institute of Biotechnology, Vilnius University, Vilnius, Lithuania (S.J.); and the Unit of Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm (M. D'Amato).

Background: There is considerable variation in disease behavior among patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). Genomewide association analysis may allow for the identification of potential genetic factors involved in the development of Covid-19.

Methods: We conducted a genomewide association study involving 1980 patients with Covid-19 and severe disease (defined as respiratory failure) at seven hospitals in the Italian and Spanish epicenters of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Europe. After quality control and the exclusion of population outliers, 835 patients and 1255 control participants from Italy and 775 patients and 950 control participants from Spain were included in the final analysis. In total, we analyzed 8,582,968 single-nucleotide polymorphisms and conducted a meta-analysis of the two case-control panels.

Results: We detected cross-replicating associations with rs11385942 at locus 3p21.31 and with rs657152 at locus 9q34.2, which were significant at the genomewide level (P<5×10) in the meta-analysis of the two case-control panels (odds ratio, 1.77; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.48 to 2.11; P = 1.15×10; and odds ratio, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.47; P = 4.95×10, respectively). At locus 3p21.31, the association signal spanned the genes , , , , and . The association signal at locus 9q34.2 coincided with the blood group locus; in this cohort, a blood-group-specific analysis showed a higher risk in blood group A than in other blood groups (odds ratio, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.75; P = 1.48×10) and a protective effect in blood group O as compared with other blood groups (odds ratio, 0.65; 95% CI, 0.53 to 0.79; P = 1.06×10).

Conclusions: We identified a 3p21.31 gene cluster as a genetic susceptibility locus in patients with Covid-19 with respiratory failure and confirmed a potential involvement of the ABO blood-group system. (Funded by Stein Erik Hagen and others.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2020283DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7315890PMC
October 2020

Proteostasis disturbances and endoplasmic reticulum stress contribute to polycystic liver disease: New therapeutic targets.

Liver Int 2020 07 6;40(7):1670-1685. Epub 2020 May 6.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Research Institute - Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), San Sebastian, Spain.

Background & Aims: Polycystic liver diseases (PLDs) are genetic disorders characterized by progressive development of multiple biliary cysts. Recently, novel PLD-causative genes, encoding for endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident proteins involved in protein biogenesis and transport, were identified. We hypothesized that aberrant proteostasis contributes to PLD pathogenesis, representing a potential therapeutic target.

Methods: ER stress was analysed at transcriptional (qPCR), proteomic (mass spectrometry), morphological (transmission electron microscopy, TEM) and functional (proteasome activity) levels in different PLD models. The effect of ER stress inhibitors [4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA)] and/or activators [tunicamycin (TM)] was tested in polycystic (PCK) rats and cystic cholangiocytes in vitro.

Results: The expression levels of unfolded protein response (UPR) components were upregulated in liver tissue from PLD patients and PCK rats, as well as in primary cultures of human and rat cystic cholangiocytes, compared to normal controls. Cystic cholangiocytes showed altered proteomic profiles, mainly related to proteostasis (ie synthesis, folding, trafficking and degradation of proteins), marked enlargement of the ER lumen (by TEM) and hyperactivation of the proteasome. Notably, chronic treatment of PCK rats with 4-PBA decreased liver weight, as well as both liver and cystic volumes, of animals under baseline conditions or after TM administration compared to controls. In vitro, 4-PBA downregulated the expression (mRNA) of UPR effectors, normalized proteomic profiles related to protein synthesis, folding, trafficking and degradation and reduced the proteasome hyperactivity in cystic cholangiocytes, reducing their hyperproliferation and apoptosis.

Conclusions: Restoration of proteostasis in cystic cholangiocytes with 4-PBA halts hepatic cystogenesis, emerging as a novel therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/liv.14485DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7370945PMC
July 2020

How tryptophan levels in plant-based aquafeeds affect fish physiology, metabolism and proteome.

J Proteomics 2020 06 15;221:103782. Epub 2020 Apr 15.

CCMAR, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal.

Fish meal replacement by plant-protein sources is a priority in aquaculture feeds. Within this framework, dietary supplementation with essential amino acids (EAA), as tryptophan (TRP), is strategic to ensure that the individual nutritional needs are met, besides promoting enhanced immunological status. The purpose of this study was to examine the beneficial effects of TRP incorporation in plant-protein source diets on fish growth performance and nutritional status. We tested diets with 20% lower (LTRP) and 27% higher (HTRP) of the putative requirements of TRP for seabream (Sparus aurata) and assessed its impact on fish physiology and liver metabolism and proteome. After 12 weeks, growth performance, body proximate, hepatic composition and liver metabolic profiling were similar between diets. Nevertheless, liver proteome analysis indicated a higher accumulation of proteins involved in acute-phase responses, typically triggered by infection, inflammation or trauma, in fish fed with HTRP diet as compared with those fed with LTRP. The overall results obtained suggest a potential beneficial effect of TRP supplementation in terms of immune stimulation, without compromising growth or feed intake. Moreover, proteomics and metabolic profiling demonstrate to be valuable tools in this endeavour. SIGNIFICANCE: Nutritional needs are hard to assess in aquaculture fisheries, and many times controversial depending on the methodology employed. The estimated amino acid requirements depend on both fish species and stage development, making it extremely hard to standardise. On the other hand, the substitution of fish-based to plant-based protein sources diets towards a sustainable aquaculture, may imbalance these requirements, being necessary further studies to assess the impact on fish growth and development. Finally, the incorporation of crystalized amino acids such as TRP into diets aims global better performance both at fish health/immune condition and growth development. This work focused on the potential beneficial effects of TRP supplementation into diets with a plant-based protein source, addressing the effects on the liver metabolism and proteome, and on growth performance of Gilthead seabream juveniles, a species with special relevance and economical importance in the Mediterranean region. The present study by employing proteomics together with metabolic profiling shows that TRP supplementation at the tested doses, does not compromise growth performance, and seems to stimulate the immune system. Our findings can contribute to the development of new feed formulations for Gilthead seabream species, therefore, reinforcing the resilience and competitiveness of the on-growing aquaculture industry and impact directly the sustainability of living resources with the decrease of the fisheries needs to fulfil the human search for quality proteins consume.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jprot.2020.103782DOI Listing
June 2020

Patients with Cholangiocarcinoma Present Specific RNA Profiles in Serum and Urine Extracellular Vesicles Mirroring the Tumor Expression: Novel Liquid Biopsy Biomarkers for Disease Diagnosis.

Cells 2020 03 14;9(3). Epub 2020 Mar 14.

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), 20014, San Sebastian, Spain.

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) comprises a group of heterogeneous biliary cancers with dismal prognosis. The etiologies of most CCAs are unknown, but primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a risk factor. Non-invasive diagnosis of CCA is challenging and accurate biomarkers are lacking. We aimed to characterize the transcriptomic profile of serum and urine extracellular vesicles (EVs) from patients with CCA, PSC, ulcerative colitis (UC), and healthy individuals. Serum and urine EVs were isolated by serial ultracentrifugations and characterized by nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy, and immunoblotting. EVs transcriptome was determined by gene expression array [messenger RNAs (mRNA) and non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs)]. Differential RNA profiles were found in serum and urine EVs from patients with CCA compared to control groups (disease and healthy), showing high diagnostic capacity. The comparison of the mRNA profiles of serum or urine EVs from patients with CCA with the transcriptome of tumor tissues from two cohorts of patients, CCA cells in vitro, and CCA cells-derived EVs, identified 105 and 39 commonly-altered transcripts, respectively. Gene ontology analysis indicated that most commonly-altered mRNAs participate in carcinogenic steps. Overall, patients with CCA present specific RNA profiles in EVs mirroring the tumor, and constituting novel promising liquid biopsy biomarkers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cells9030721DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7140677PMC
March 2020

Synthetic Conjugates of Ursodeoxycholic Acid Inhibit Cystogenesis in Experimental Models of Polycystic Liver Disease.

Hepatology 2021 01 22;73(1):186-203. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

Department of Organic Chemistry I, Center of Innovation in Advanced Chemistry (ORFEO-CINQA), University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU), Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain.

Background And Aims: Polycystic liver diseases (PLDs) are genetic disorders characterized by progressive development of symptomatic biliary cysts. Current surgical and pharmacological approaches are ineffective, and liver transplantation represents the only curative option. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and histone deacetylase 6 inhibitors (HDAC6is) have arisen as promising therapeutic strategies, but with partial benefits.

Approach And Results: Here, we tested an approach based on the design, synthesis, and validation of a family of UDCA synthetic conjugates with selective HDAC6i capacity (UDCA-HDAC6i). Four UDCA-HDAC6i conjugates presented selective HDAC6i activity, UDCA-HDAC6i #1 being the most promising candidate. UDCA orientation within the UDCA-HDAC6i structure was determinant for HDAC6i activity and selectivity. Treatment of polycystic rats with UDCA-HDAC6i #1 reduced their hepatomegaly and cystogenesis, increased UDCA concentration, and inhibited HDAC6 activity in liver. In cystic cholangiocytes UDCA-HDAC6i #1 restored primary cilium length and exhibited potent antiproliferative activity. UDCA-HDAC6i #1 was actively transported into cells through BA and organic cation transporters.

Conclusions: These UDCA-HDAC6i conjugates open a therapeutic avenue for PLDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.31216DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891670PMC
January 2021

Metabolic rearrangements in primary liver cancers: cause and consequences.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 12 30;16(12):748-766. Epub 2019 Oct 30.

Biotech Research and Innovation Centre (BRIC) Department of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Primary liver cancer (PLC) is the fourth most frequent cause of cancer-related death. The high mortality rates arise from late diagnosis and the limited accuracy of diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. The liver is a major regulator, orchestrating the clearance of toxins, balancing glucose, lipid and amino acid uptake, managing whole-body metabolism and maintaining metabolic homeostasis. Tumour onset and progression is frequently accompanied by rearrangements of metabolic pathways, leading to dysregulation of metabolism. The limitation of current therapies targeting PLCs, such as hepatocellular carcinoma and cholangiocarcinoma, points towards the importance of deciphering this metabolic complexity. In this Review, we discuss the role of metabolic liver disruptions and the implications of these processes in PLCs, emphasizing their clinical relevance and value in early diagnosis and prognosis and as putative therapeutic targets. We also describe system biology approaches able to reconstruct the metabolic complexity of liver diseases. We also discuss whether metabolic rearrangements are a cause or consequence of PLCs, emphasizing the opportunity to clinically exploit the rewired metabolism. In line with this idea, we discuss circulating metabolites as promising biomarkers for PLCs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41575-019-0217-8DOI Listing
December 2019

Effect of EDTA enriched diets on farmed fish allergenicity and muscle quality; a proteomics approach.

Food Chem 2020 Feb 11;305:125508. Epub 2019 Sep 11.

CCMAR, Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal. Electronic address:

Fish is one of the most common elicitors of food-allergic reactions worldwide. These reactions are triggered by the calcium-binding muscle protein β-parvalbumin, which was shown to have reduced immunoglobulin E (IgE)-binding capacity upon calcium depletion. This work aimed to reduce gilthead seabream allergenicity using diets supplemented with a calcium chelator. Three experimental feeds were tested, differing in ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) supplementation, and its effects on muscle and parvalbumin's IgE-reactivity were analyzed. Chromatographic determination of EDTA showed no accumulation in the muscle and sensory results demonstrated that the lowest concentration did not affect fish quality as edible fish. Proteomics revealed one protein related to muscle contraction with significantly different relative abundance. Immunoblot assays performed with fish-allergic patients sera indicated a 50% reduction in IgE-reactivity upon EDTA presence. These preliminary results provide the basis for the further development of a non-GMO approach to modulate fish allergenicity and improve safety of aquaculture fish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.125508DOI Listing
February 2020

The jigsaw of dual hepatocellular-intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma tumours.

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 11;16(11):653-655

Department of Liver and Gastrointestinal Diseases, Biodonostia Health Research Institute, Donostia University Hospital, University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41575-019-0185-zDOI Listing
November 2019

Skeletal muscle miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK axis is activated in experimental and human non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

J Mol Med (Berl) 2019 08 28;97(8):1113-1126. Epub 2019 May 28.

Research Institute for Medicines (iMed.ULisboa), Faculty of Pharmacy, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, Lisbon, 1649-003, Portugal.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) pathogenesis associates with intramyocellular lipid deposition and mitochondrial dysfunction. microRNAs (miRs), including pro-apoptotic miR-34a, are modulated during disease progression in liver tissue and plasma. We aimed to investigate the functional role of the miR-34a/SIRT1:AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway in modulating local mitochondrial dysfunction in the skeletal muscle of human and experimental non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Muscle biopsies were obtained from morbid obese NAFLD patients undergoing bariatric surgery. C57BL/6N mice were fed different NAFLD-inducing diets and C2C12 muscle cells incubated with palmitic acid (PA) in the presence or absence of an AMPK activator, or upon miR-34a functional modulation. Several muscle miRNAs, including miR-34a, were found increased with human NAFLD progression. Activation of the miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK pathway, concomitant with impairment in insulin signalling mediators and deregulation of mitochondrial-shaping proteins, was evident in C2C12 cells incubated with PA, as well as in the skeletal muscle of all three diet-induced NAFLD mice models. Functional studies established the association between miR-34a- and PA-induced muscle cell deregulation. Of note, activation of AMPK almost completely prevented miR-34a- and PA-induced cellular stress. In addition, the miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK pathway and mitochondrial dynamics dysfunction were also found amplified in muscle of human NAFLD. Finally, muscle miR-34a expression and mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) protein levels correlated with hallmarks of NAFLD and disease progression. Our results indicate that activation of the miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK pathway leads to mitochondrial dynamics dysfunction in skeletal muscle of human and experimental NAFLD, representing an appealing prospective target in metabolic syndrome. KEY MESSAGES: Skeletal muscle microRNAs are modulated during NAFLD progression. Palmitic acid-induced muscle cell dysfunction occurs, at least in part, through activation of the miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK pathway. miR-34a/SIRT1:AMPK activation associates with mitochondria dynamics dysfunction in human NAFLD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00109-019-01796-8DOI Listing
August 2019
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