Publications by authors named "Rita I Jabr"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Contractile and Structural Properties of Detrusor from Children with Neurogenic Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction.

Biology (Basel) 2021 Sep 3;10(9). Epub 2021 Sep 3.

School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TD, UK.

Neurogenic lower urinary tract (NLUT) dysfunction in paediatric patients can arise after congenital or acquired conditions that affect bladder innervation. With some patients, urinary tract dysfunction remains and is more difficult to treat without understanding the pathophysiology. We measured in vitro detrusor smooth muscle function of samples from such bladders and any association with altered Wnt-signalling pathways that contribute to both foetal development and connective tissue deposition. A comparator group was tissue from children with normally functioning bladders. Nerve-mediated and agonist-induced contractile responses and passive stiffness were measured. Histology measured smooth muscle and connective tissue proportions, and multiplex immunohistochemistry recorded expression of protein targets associated with Wnt-signalling pathways. Detrusor from the NLUT group had reduced contractility and greater stiffness, associated with increased connective tissue content. Immunohistochemistry showed no major changes to Wnt-signalling components except down-regulation of c-Myc, a multifunctional regulator of gene transcription. NLUT is a diverse term for several diagnoses that disrupt bladder innervation. While we cannot speculate about the reasons for these pathophysiological changes, their recognition should guide research to understand their ultimate causes and develop strategies to attenuate and even reverse them. The role of changes to the Wnt-signalling pathways was minor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology10090863DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8471516PMC
September 2021

Prediction of Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation From Complexity Analysis of the Sinus Rhythm ECG: A Retrospective Case/Control Pilot Study.

Front Physiol 2021 19;12:570705. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Department of Biochemical Sciences, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, School of Biosciences and Medicine, University of Surrey, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia, conveying a stroke risk comparable to persistent AF. It poses a significant diagnostic challenge given its intermittency and potential brevity, and absence of symptoms in most patients. This pilot study introduces a novel biomarker for early PAF detection, based upon analysis of sinus rhythm ECG waveform complexity. Sinus rhythm ECG recordings were made from 52 patients with ( = 28) or without ( = 24) a subsequent diagnosis of PAF. Subjects used a handheld ECG monitor to record 28-second periods, twice-daily for at least 3 weeks. Two independent ECG complexity indices were calculated using a Lempel-Ziv algorithm: R-wave interval variability (beat detection, BD) and complexity of the entire ECG waveform (threshold crossing, TC). TC, but not BD, complexity scores were significantly greater in PAF patients, but TC complexity alone did not identify satisfactorily individual PAF cases. However, a composite complexity score (-score) based on within-patient BD and TC variability scores was devised. The -score allowed correct identification of PAF patients with 85% sensitivity and 83% specificity. This powerful but simple approach to identify PAF sufferers from analysis of brief periods of sinus-rhythm ECGs using hand-held monitors should enable easy and low-cost screening for PAF with the potential to reduce stroke occurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.570705DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7933455PMC
February 2021

Contractile function of detrusor smooth muscle from children with posterior urethral valves - The role of fibrosis.

J Pediatr Urol 2021 Feb 4;17(1):100.e1-100.e10. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, UK. Electronic address:

Introduction: Posterior urethral valves (PUV) is the most common cause of congenital bladder outflow obstruction with persistent lower urinary tract and renal morbidities. There is a spectrum of functional bladder disorders ranging from hypertonia to bladder underactivity, but the aetiology of these clinical conditions remains unclear.

Aims And Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that replacement of detrusor muscle with non-muscle cells and excessive deposition of connective tissue is an important factor in bladder dysfunction with PUV. We used isolated detrusor samples from children with PUV and undergoing primary or secondary procedures in comparison to age-matched data from children with functionally normal bladders. In vitro contractile properties, as well as passive stiffness, were measured and matched to histological assessment of muscle and connective tissue. We examined if a major pathway for fibrosis was altered in PUV tissue samples.

Methods: Isometric contractions were measured in vitro in response to either stimulation of motor nerves to detrusor or exposure to cholinergic and purinergic receptor agonists. Passive mechanical stiffness was measured by rapid stretching of the tissue and recording changes to muscle tension. Histology measured the relative amounts of detrusor muscle and connective tissue. Multiplex quantitative immunofluorescence labelling using five epitope markers was designed to determine cellular pathways, in particular the Wnt-signalling pathway, responsible for any changes to excessive deposition of connective tissue.

Results And Discussion: PUV tissue showed equally reduced contractile function to efferent nerve stimulation or exposure to contractile agonists. Passive muscle stiffness was increased in PUV tissue samples. The smooth muscle:connective tissue ratio was also diminished and mirrored the reduction of contractile function and the increase of passive stiffness. Immunofluorescence labelling showed in PUV samples increased expression of the matrix metalloproteinase, MMP-7; as well as cyclin-D1 expression suggesting cellular remodelling. However, elements of a fibrosis pathway associated with Wnt-signalling were either reduced (β-catenin) or unchanged (c-Myc). The accumulation of extracellular matrix, containing collagen, will contribute to the reduced contractile performance of the bladder wall. It will also increase tissue stiffness that in vivo would lead to reduced filling compliance.

Conclusions: Replacement of smooth muscle with fibrosis is a major contributory factor in contractile dysfunction in the hypertonic PUV bladder. This suggests that a potential strategy to restore normal contractile and filling properties is development of the effective use of antifibrotic agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpurol.2020.11.001DOI Listing
February 2021

Ten-Second Electrophysiology: Evaluation of the 3DEP Platform for high-speed, high-accuracy cell analysis.

Sci Rep 2019 12 16;9(1):19153. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK.

Electrical correlates of the physiological state of a cell, such as membrane conductance and capacitance, as well as cytoplasm conductivity, contain vital information about cellular function, ion transport across the membrane, and propagation of electrical signals. They are, however, difficult to measure; gold-standard techniques are typically unable to measure more than a few cells per day, making widespread adoption difficult and limiting statistical reproducibility. We have developed a dielectrophoretic platform using a disposable 3D electrode geometry that accurately (r > 0.99) measures mean electrical properties of populations of ~20,000 cells, by taking parallel ensemble measurements of cells at 20 frequencies up to 45 MHz, in (typically) ten seconds. This allows acquisition of ultra-high-resolution (100-point) DEP spectra in under two minutes. Data acquired from a wide range of cells - from platelets to large cardiac cells - benchmark well with patch-clamp-data. These advantages are collectively demonstrated in a longitudinal (same-animal) study of rapidly-changing phenomena such as ultradian (2-3 hour) rhythmicity in whole blood samples of the common vole (Microtus arvalis), taken from 10 µl tail-nick blood samples and avoiding sacrifice of the animal that is typically required in these studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55579-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6915758PMC
December 2019

New targets for overactive bladder-ICI-RS 2109.

Neurourol Urodyn 2020 07 18;39 Suppl 3:S113-S121. Epub 2019 Nov 18.

Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Aim: To review evidence for novel drug targets that can manage overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms.

Methods: A think tank considered evidence from the literature and their own research experience to propose new drug targets in the urinary bladder to characterize their use to treat OAB.

Results: Five classes of agents or cellular pathways were considered. (a) Cyclic nucleotide-dependent (cyclic adenosine monophosphate and cyclic guanosine monophosphate) pathways that modulate adenosine triphosphate release from motor nerves and urothelium. (b) Novel targets for β agonists, including the bladder wall vasculature and muscularis mucosa. (c) Several TRP channels (TRPV , TRPV , TRPA , and TRPM ) and their modulators in affecting detrusor overactivity. (d) Small conductance Ca -activated K channels and their influence on spontaneous contractions. (e) Antifibrosis agents that act to modulate directly or indirectly the TGF-β pathway-the canonical fibrosis pathway.

Conclusions: The specificity of action remains a consideration if particular classes of agents can be considered for future development as receptors or pathways that mediate actions of the above mentioned potential agents are distributed among most organ systems. The tasks are to determine more detail of the pathological changes that occur in the OAB and how the specificity of potential drugs may be directed to bladder pathological changes. An important conclusion was that the storage, not the voiding, phase in the micturition cycle should be investigated and potential targets lie in the whole range of tissue in the bladder wall and not just detrusor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/nau.24228DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8114459PMC
July 2020

Characterisation of nerve-mediated ATP release from bladder detrusor muscle and its pathological implications.

Br J Pharmacol 2019 12 3;176(24):4720-4730. Epub 2019 Nov 3.

Department of Surgery, University College London, London, UK.

Background And Purpose: This study aims to characterise the molecular mechanisms that determine variability of atropine resistance of nerve-mediated contractions in human and guinea pig detrusor smooth muscle.

Experimental Approach: Atropine resistance of nerve-mediated contractions and the role of P2X1 receptors, were assessed in isolated preparations from guinea pigs and also humans with or without overactive bladder syndrome, from which the mucosa was removed. Nerve-mediated ATP release was measured directly with amperometric ATP-sensitive electrodes. Ecto-ATPase activity of guinea pig and human detrusor samples was measured in vitro by measuring the concentration-dependent rate of ATP breakdown. The transcription of ecto-ATPase subtypes in human samples was measured by qPCR.

Key Results: Atropine resistance was greatest in guinea pig detrusor, absent in human tissue from normally functioning bladders, and intermediate in human overactive bladder. Greater atropine resistance correlated with reduction of contractions by the ATP-diphosphohydrolase apyrase, directly implicating ATP in their generation. E-NTPDase-1 was the most abundantly transcribed ecto-ATPase of those tested, and transcription was reduced in tissue from human overactive, compared to normal, bladders. E-NTPDase-1 enzymic activity was inversely related to the magnitude of atropine resistance. Nerve-mediated ATP release was continually measured and varied with stimulation frequency over the range of 1-16 Hz.

Conclusion And Implications: Atropine resistance in nerve-mediated detrusor contractions is due to ATP release and its magnitude is inversely related to E-NTPDase-1 activity. ATP is released under different stimulation conditions compared with ACh, implying different routes for their release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bph.14840DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6965683PMC
December 2019

Rhythmic potassium transport regulates the circadian clock in human red blood cells.

Nat Commun 2017 12 7;8(1):1978. Epub 2017 Dec 7.

Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK.

Circadian rhythms organize many aspects of cell biology and physiology to a daily temporal program that depends on clock gene expression cycles in most mammalian cell types. However, circadian rhythms are also observed in isolated mammalian red blood cells (RBCs), which lack nuclei, suggesting the existence of post-translational cellular clock mechanisms in these cells. Here we show using electrophysiological and pharmacological approaches that human RBCs display circadian regulation of membrane conductance and cytoplasmic conductivity that depends on the cycling of cytoplasmic K levels. Using pharmacological intervention and ion replacement, we show that inhibition of K transport abolishes RBC electrophysiological rhythms. Our results suggest that in the absence of conventional transcription cycles, RBCs maintain a circadian rhythm in membrane electrophysiology through dynamic regulation of K transport.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-02161-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719349PMC
December 2017

Mild external heating and reduction in spontaneous contractions of the bladder.

BJU Int 2017 11 20;120(5):724-730. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.

Objectives: To measure the effect of external heating on bladder wall contractile function, histological structure and expression of proteins related to tissue protection and apoptosis.

Material And Methods: In vitro preparations of bladder wall and ex vivo perfused pig bladders were heated from 37 to 42°C, 46 and 50°C for 15 min. Isolated preparations were heated by radiant energy and perfused bladders were heated by altering perfusate temperature. Spontaneous contractions or pressure variations were recorded, as well as responses to the muscarinic agonist carbachol or motor nerve excitation in vitro during heating. Tissue histology in control and after heating was analysed using haematoxylin and eosin staining and 4'-6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) nuclear labelling. The effects of heating on protein expression levels of (i) heat shock proteins HSP27-pSer82 and inducible-HSP70 and (ii) caspase-3 and its downstream DNA-repair substrate poly-[ADP-ribose] polymerase (PARP) were measured.

Results: Heating to 42°C reduced spontaneous contractions or pressure variations by ~70%; effects were fully reversible. There were no effects on carbachol or nerve-mediated responses. Tissue histology was unaffected by heating, and expression of heat shock proteins as well as caspase-3 and PARP were also unaltered. A TRPV1 antagonist had no effect on the reduction of spontaneous activity. Heating to 46°C had a similar effect on spontaneous activity and also reduced the carbachol contracture. Urothelial structure was damaged, caspase-3 levels were increased and inducible-HSP70 levels declined. At 50°C evoked contractions were abolished, the urothelium was absent and heat shock proteins and PARP expression was reduced with raised caspase-3 expression.

Conclusions: Heating to 42°C caused a profound, reversible and reproducible attenuation of spontaneous activity, with no tissue damage and no initiation of apoptosis pathways. Higher temperatures caused tissue damage and activation of apoptotic mechanisms. Mild heating offers a novel approach to reducing bladder spontaneous activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/bju.13933DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5643226PMC
November 2017

Accurate quantification of apoptosis progression and toxicity using a dielectrophoretic approach.

Analyst 2016 Nov;141(23):6408-6415

Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH, UK.

A loss of ability of cells to undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death, whereby the cell ceases to function and destroys itself) is commonly associated with cancer, and many anti-cancer interventions aim to restart the process. Consequently, the accurate quantification of apoptosis is essential in understanding the function and performance of new anti-cancer drugs. Dielectrophoresis has previously been demonstrated to detect apoptosis more rapidly than other methods, and is low-cost, label-free and rapid, but has previously been unable to accurately quantify cells through the apoptotic process because cells in late apoptosis disintegrate, making cell tracking impossible. In this paper we use a novel method based on light absorbance and multi-population tracking to quantify the progress of apoptosis, benchmarking against conventional assays including MTT, trypan blue and Annexin-V. Analyses are performed on suspension and adherent cells, and using two apoptosis-inducing agents. IC measurements compared favourably to MTT and were superior to trypan blue, whilst also detecting apoptotic progression faster than Annexin-V.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c6an01596dDOI Listing
November 2016

Regulation of gap junction conductance by calcineurin through Cx43 phosphorylation: implications for action potential conduction.

Pflugers Arch 2016 11 19;468(11-12):1945-1955. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Institute of Cardiovascular Research, Ashford & St Peter's NHS Foundation Trust, Surrey, Chertsey, KT16 0PZ, UK.

Cardiac arrhythmias are associated with raised intracellular [Ca] and slowed action potential conduction caused by reduced gap junction (GJ) electrical conductance (Gj). Ventricular GJs are composed of connexin proteins (Cx43), with Gj determined by Cx43 phosphorylation status. Connexin phosphorylation is an interplay between protein kinases and phosphatases but the precise pathways are unknown. We aimed to identify key Ca-dependent phosphorylation sites on Cx43 that regulate cardiac gap junction conductance and action potential conduction velocity. We investigated the role of the Ca-dependent phosphatase, calcineurin. Intracellular [Ca] was raised in guinea-pig myocardium by a low-Na solution or increased stimulation. Conduction velocity and Gj were measured in multicellular strips. Phosphorylation of Cx43 serine residues (S365 and S368) and of the intermediary regulator I1 at threonine35 was measured by Western blot. Measurements were made in the presence and absence of inhibitors to calcineurin, I1 or protein phosphatase-1 and phosphatase-2.Raised [Ca] decreased Gj, reduced Cx43 phosphorylation at S365 and increased it at S368; these changes were reversed by calcineurin inhibitors. Cx43-S368 phosphorylation was reversed by the protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine. Raised [Ca] also decreased I1 phosphorylation, also prevented by calcineurin inhibitors, to increase activity of the Ca-independent phosphatase, PPI. The PP1 inhibitor, tautomycin, prevented Cx43-365 dephosphorylation, Cx43-S368 phosphorylation and Gj reduction in raised [Ca]. PP2A had no role. Conduction velocity was reduced by raised [Ca] and reversed by calcineurin inhibitors. Reduced action potential conduction and Gj in raised [Ca] are regulated by calcineurin-dependent Cx43-S365 phosphorylation, leading to Cx43-S368 dephosphorylation. The calcineurin action is indirect, via I1 dephosphorylation and subsequent activation of PP1.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00424-016-1885-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5138272PMC
November 2016

Contractile effects and receptor analysis of adenosine-receptors in human detrusor muscle from stable and neuropathic bladders.

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2016 Aug 17;389(8):921-9. Epub 2016 May 17.

Departments of Urology and Surgical Sciences, University College London, London, UK.

To measure the relative transcription of adenosine receptor subtypes and the contractile effects of adenosine and selective receptor-subtype ligands on detrusor smooth muscle from patients with neuropathic overactive (NDO) and stable bladders and also from guinea-pigs. Contractile function was measured at 37°C in vitro from detrusor smooth muscle strips. Contractions were elicited by superfusate agonists or by electrical field stimulation. Adenosine-receptor (A1, A2A, A2B, A3) transcription was measured by RT-PCR. Adenosine attenuated nerve-mediated responses with equivalent efficacy in human and guinea-pig tissue (pIC50 3.65-3.86); the action was more effective at low (1-8 Hz) compared to high (20-40 Hz) stimulation frequencies in human NDO and guinea-pig tissue. With guinea-pig detrusor the action of adenosine was mirrored by the A1/A2-agonist N-ethylcarboxamidoadenosine (NECA), partly abolished in turn by the A2B-selectve antagonist alloxazine, as well as the A1-selective agonist N6- cyclopentyladenosine (CPA). With detrusor from stable human bladders the effects of NECA and CPA were much smaller than that of adenosine. Adenosine also attenuated carbachol contractures, but mirrored by NECA (in turn blocked by alloxazine) only in guinea-pig tissue. Adenosine receptor subtype transcription was measured in human detrusor and was similar in both groups, except reduced A2A levels in overactive bladder. Suppression of the carbachol contracture in human detrusor is independent of A-receptor activation, in contrast to an A2B-dependent action with guinea-pig tissue. Adenosine also reduced nerve-mediated contractions, by an A1- dependent action suppressing ATP neurotransmitter action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00210-016-1255-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939168PMC
August 2016

Architectural correlates of myocardial conduction: changes to the topography of cellular coupling, intracellular conductance, and action potential propagation with hypertrophy in Guinea-pig ventricular myocardium.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2014 Dec 13;7(6):1198-204. Epub 2014 Oct 13.

From the School of Physiology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom (C.H.F.); Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Whittington Hospital, London, United Kingdom (R.P.G.); Department of Cardiology, Ashford and St Peter's NHS Foundation Trust, Chertsey, United Kingdom (P.S.D.); Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, University of Surrey, Surrey, United Kingdom (R.I.J.); and Myocardial Function Section, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom (E.D., P.M.P., N.S.P.).

Background: We tested the hypothesis that alterations to action potential conduction velocity (CV) and conduction anisotropy in left ventricular hypertrophy are associated with topographical changes to gap-junction coupling and intracellular conductance by measuring these variables in the same preparations.

Methods And Results: Left ventricular papillary muscles were excised from aortic-banded or sham-operated guinea-pig hearts. With intracellular stimulating and recording microelectrodes, CV was measured in 3 dimensions with simultaneous conductance mapping with subthreshold stimuli and correlated with quantitative histomorphometry of myocardial architecture and connexin 43 distribution. In hypertrophied myocardium, CV in the longitudinal axis was smaller and transverse velocity was greater compared with control; associated with similar differences of intracellular conductance, consistent with more cell contacts per cell (5.7 ± 0.2 versus 8.1 ± 0.5; control versus hypertrophy), and more intercalated disks mediating side-to-side coupling (8.2 ± 0.2 versus 10.2 ± 0.4 per cell). Intercalated disk morphology and connexin 43 immunolabelling were not different in hypertrophy. Hypertrophied preparations showed local submillimeter (≈250 μm) regions with slow conduction and low intracellular conductance, which, although not affecting CV on the millimeter scale, were consistent with discontinuities from increased microscopical connective tissue content.

Conclusions: With myocardial hypertrophy, altered longitudinal and transverse CV, and greater nonuniformity of CV anisotropy correspond to changes of intracellular conductance. These are associated with alteration of myocardial architecture, specifically the topography of cell-cell coupling and gap-junction connectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.114.001471DOI Listing
December 2014

Cytoplasm resistivity of mammalian atrial myocardium determined by dielectrophoresis and impedance methods.

Biophys J 2012 Dec;103(11):2287-94

Department of Biochemistry and Physiology Institute for Biosciences and Medicine, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.

Many cardiac arrhythmias are caused by slowed conduction of action potentials, which in turn can be due to an abnormal increase of intracellular myocardial resistance. Intracellular resistivity is a linear sum of that offered by gap junctions between contiguous cells and the cytoplasm of the myocytes themselves. However, the relative contribution of the two components is unclear, especially in atrial myocardium, as there are no precise measurements of cytoplasmic resistivity, R(c). In this study, R(c) was measured in atrial tissue using several methods: a dielectrophoresis technique with isolated cells and impedance measurements with both isolated cells and multicellular preparations. All methods yielded similar values for R(c), with a mean of 138 ± 5 Ω·cm at 23°C, and a Q(10) value of 1.20. This value is about half that of total intracellular resistivity and thus will be a significant determinant of the actual value of action potential conduction velocity. The dielectrophoresis experiments demonstrated the importance of including divalent cations (Ca(2+) and Mg(2+)) in the suspension medium, as their omission reduced cell integrity by lowering membrane resistivity and increasing cytoplasm resistivity. Accurate measurement of R(c) is essential to develop quantitative computational models that determine the key factors contributing to the development of cardiac arrhythmias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2012.10.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3514519PMC
December 2012

MAPKAPK-2 modulates p38-MAPK localization and small heat shock protein phosphorylation but does not mediate the injury associated with p38-MAPK activation during myocardial ischemia.

Cell Stress Chaperones 2009 Sep 13;14(5):477-89. Epub 2009 Feb 13.

Cardiovascular Division, Department of Cardiology, King's College London School of Medicine, The Rayne Institute, St Thomas's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK.

MAPKAPK-2 (MK2) is a protein kinase activated downstream of p38-MAPK which phosphorylates the small heat shock proteins HSP27 and alphaB crystallin and modulates p38-MAPK cellular distribution. p38-MAPK activation is thought to contribute to myocardial ischemic injury; therefore, we investigated MK2 effects on ischemic injury and p38 cellular localization using MK2-deficient mice (KO). Immunoblotting of extracts from Langendorff-perfused hearts subjected to aerobic perfusion or global ischemia or reperfusion showed that the total and phosphorylated p38 levels were significantly lower in MK2(-/-) compared to MK2(+/+) hearts at baseline, but the ratio of phosphorylated/total p38 was similar. These results were confirmed by cellular fractionation and immunoblotting for both cytosolic and nuclear compartments. Furthermore, HSP27 and alphaB crsytallin phosphorylation were reduced to baseline in MK2(-/-) hearts. On semiquantitative immunofluorescence laser confocal microscopy of hearts during aerobic perfusion, the mean total p38 fluorescence was significantly higher in the nuclear compared to extranuclear (cytoplasmic, sarcomeric, and sarcolemmal compartments) in MK2(+/+) hearts. However, although the increase in phosphorylated p38 fluorescence intensity in all compartments following ischemia in MK2(+/+) hearts was lost in MK2(-/-) hearts, it was basally elevated in nuclei of MK2(-/-) hearts and was similar to that seen during ischemia in MK2(+/+) hearts. Despite these differences, similar infarct volumes were recorded in wild-type MK2(+/+) and MK2(-/-) hearts, which were decreased by the p38 inhibitor SB203580 (1 microM) in both genotypes. In conclusion, p38 MAPK-induced myocardial ischemic injury is not modulated by MK2. However, the absence of MK2 perturbs the cellular distribution of p38. The preserved nuclear distribution of active p38 MAPK in MK2(-/-) hearts and the conserved response to SB203580 suggests that activation of p38 MAPK may contribute to injury independently of MK2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12192-009-0101-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2728281PMC
September 2009

Paradoxical resistance to myocardial ischemia and age-related cardiomyopathy in NHE1 transgenic mice: a role for ER stress?

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2009 Feb 5;46(2):225-33. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Cardiovascular Division, King's College London, The Rayne Institute, St. Thomas' Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK.

Sarcolemmal Na(+)/H(+) exchanger (NHE) activity, which is provided by the NHE isoform 1 (NHE1), has been implicated in ischemia/reperfusion-induced myocardial injury in animal models and humans, on the basis of studies with pharmacological NHE1 inhibitors. We generated a transgenic (TG) mouse model with cardiac-specific over-expression of NHE1 to determine whether this would be sufficient to increase myocardial susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury. TG mouse hearts exhibited increased sarcolemmal NHE activity and normal morphology and function. Surprisingly, they also showed reduced susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury, as reflected by improved functional recovery and smaller infarcts. Such protection was sustained in the presence of NHE1 inhibition with zoniporide, indicating a mechanism that is independent of sarcolemmal NHE activity. Immunoblot analysis revealed accumulation of immature NHE1 protein as well as marked upregulation of both cytoprotective (78/94 kDa glucose-regulated proteins, calreticulin, protein disulfide isomerase) and pro-apoptotic (C/EBP homologous protein) components of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response in TG myocardium. With increasing age, NHE1 TG mice exhibited increased myocyte apoptosis, developed left ventricular contractile dysfunction, underwent cardiac remodelling and died prematurely. Our findings indicate that: (1) Cardiac-specific NHE1 over-expression induces the ER stress response in mouse myocardium, which may afford protection against ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury despite increased NHE activity; (2) Ageing NHE1 TG mice exhibit myocyte apoptosis, cardiac remodelling and failure, likely as a result of sustained ER stress; (3) The pluripotent effects of the ER stress response may confound studies that are based on the chronic over-expression of complex proteins in myocardium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.10.013DOI Listing
February 2009

Nuclear translocation of calcineurin Abeta but not calcineurin Aalpha by platelet-derived growth factor in rat aortic smooth muscle.

Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 2007 Jun 15;292(6):C2213-25. Epub 2007 Feb 15.

BHF Laboratories, Rayne Bldg., Dept. of Medicine, University College London, London WC1E 6JF, UK.

Calcineurin regulates the proliferation of many cell types through activation of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Two main isoforms of the calcineurin catalytic subunit [calcineurin A (CnA)alpha and CnAbeta] have been identified, although their expression and function are largely unknown in smooth muscle. Western blot analysis and confocal imaging were performed in freshly isolated and cultured rat aortic myocytes to identify these CnA isoforms and elucidate the effect of PDGF on their cellular distribution and interaction with NFAT isoforms. CnAalpha and CnAbeta isoforms displayed differential cellular distribution, with CnAalpha being evenly distributed between the nucleus and cytosol and CnAbeta being restricted to the cytosol. In contrast with the rat brain, we found no evidence for particulate/membrane localization of calcineurin. PDGF caused significant nuclear translocation of CnAbeta and induced smooth muscle cell proliferation, with both effects being abrogated by the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A, the novel NFAT inhibitors A-285222 and inhibitor of NFAT-calcineurin association-6, and the adenylyl cyclase activator forskolin. PDGF also caused cyclosporin A-sensitive translocation of NFATc3, with no apparent effect on either CnAalpha or NFATc1 distribution. Moreover, approximately 87% of nuclear CnAbeta was found to colocalize with NFATc3, consistent with the finding that CnAbeta bound more avidly than CnAalpha to a glutathione S-transferase-NFATc3 fusion protein. Based on their differential distribution in aortic muscle, our results suggest that CnAalpha and CnAbeta are likely to have different cellular functions. However, CnAbeta appears to be specifically activated by PDGF, and we postulate that calcineurin-dependent nuclear translocation of NFATc3 is involved in smooth muscle proliferation induced by this mitogen.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpcell.00139.2005DOI Listing
June 2007

Calcineurin regulates NFAT-dependent iNOS expression and protection of cardiomyocytes: co-operation with Src tyrosine kinase.

Cardiovasc Res 2006 Sep 3;71(4):672-83. Epub 2006 Jun 3.

Cardiovascular Division, King's College London School of Medicine, Department of Cardiology, The Rayne Institute, St Thomas's Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK.

Objective: To determine the role of calcineurin and Src tyrosine kinase in the regulation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression and protection in cardiomyocytes.

Methods: iNOS expression was studied in isolated neonatal rat ventricular myocyte cultures in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or following transfection with constitutively active calcineurin or Src and in hearts isolated from wild-type or calcineruin Abeta knockout mice. Cell injury in response to simulated ischemia-reperfusion was studied following overexpression of active calcineurin. Regulation of the iNOS gene promoter by calcineurin was studied using promoter-luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays.

Results: Overexpression of constitutively active Src co-operated with [Ca2+]c elevation to induce iNOS expression, and LPS-induced iNOS expression was abrogated by pharmacological inhibition of calcineurin or tyrosine kinase. LPS also induced tyrosine kinase-dependent but calcineurin-independent phosphorylation of Src Tyr418. LPS induced myocardial iNOS expression in wild-type but not calcineurin Abeta knockout mice. Overexpression of constitutively active calcinuerin in isolated cardiomyocytes caused dephosphorylation and nuclear accumulation of the c1 isoform of nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATc1), induced strong iNOS expression, and induced NOS-dependent protection against simulated ischemia-reperfusion prior to cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Co-transfection of a mouse iNOS promoter-luciferase reporter in combination with active calcineurin and wild-type or dominant negative Src confirmed that constitutive activation of calcineurin was sufficient for transactivation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed calcineurin-dependent in vivo binding of NFATc1 to consensus sites within the iNOS promoter.

Conclusions: These results support a cardioprotective role for calcineurin mediated by NFAT-dependent induction of iNOS expression and co-operativity between calcineurin and Src.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cardiores.2006.05.026DOI Listing
September 2006
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