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Comprehensive models of human primary and metastatic colorectal tumors in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice by chemokine targeting

Chen HJ, Sun J, Huang Z, Hou H Jr, Arcilla M, Rakhilin N, Joe DJ, Choi J, Gadamsetty P, Milsom J, Nandakumar G, Longman R, Zhou XK, Edwards R, Chen J, Chen KY, Bu P, Wang L, Xu Y, Munroe R, Abratte C, Miller AD, Gümüş ZH, Shuler M, Nishimura N, Edelmann W, Shen X, Lipkin SM.

Nature Biotechnology (2015)

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Current orthotopic xenograft models of human colorectal cancer (CRC) require surgery and do not robustly form metastases in the liver, the most common site clinically. CCR9 traffics lymphocytes to intestine and colorectum. We engineered use of the chemokine receptor CCR9 in CRC cell lines and patient-derived cells to create primary gastrointestinal (GI) tumors in immunodeficient mice by tail-vein injection rather than surgery. The tumors metastasize inducibly and robustly to the liver. Metastases have higher DKK4 and NOTCH signaling levels and are more chemoresistant than paired subcutaneous xenografts. Using this approach, we generated 17 chemokine-targeted mouse models (CTMMs) that recapitulate the majority of common human somatic CRC mutations. We also show that primary tumors can be modeled in immunocompetent mice by microinjecting CCR9-expressing cancer cell lines into early-stage mouse blastocysts, which induces central immune tolerance. We expect that CTMMs will facilitate investigation of the biology of CRC metastasis and drug screening.

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Growth And Hemodynamics After Early Embryonic Aortic Arch Occlusion

Lindsey SE, Menon PG, Kowalski WJ, Shekhar A, Yalcin HC, Nishimura N, Schaffer CB, Butcher JT, Pekkan K.

Biomech Model Mechanobiol (2015)

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The majority of severe clinically significant forms of congenital heart disease (CHD) are associated with great artery lesions, including hypoplastic, double, right or interrupted aortic arch morphologies. While fetal and neonatal interventions are advancing, their potential ability to restore cardiac function, optimal timing, location, and intensity required for intervention remain largely unknown. Here, we combine computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations with in vivo experiments to test how individual pharyngeal arch artery hemodynamics alter as a result of local interventions obstructing individual arch artery flow. Simulated isolated occlusions within each pharyngeal arch artery were created with image-derived three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions of normal chick pharyngeal arch anatomy at Hamburger-Hamilton (HH) developmental stages HH18 and HH24. Acute flow redistributions were then computed using in vivo measured subject-specific aortic sinus inflow velocity profiles. A kinematic vascular growth-rendering algorithm was then developed and implemented to test the role of changing local wall shear stress patterns in downstream 3D morphogenesis of arch arteries. CFD simulations predicted that altered pressure gradients and flow redistributions were most sensitive to occlusion of the IVth arches. To evaluate these simulations experimentally, a novel in vivo experimental model of pharyngeal arch occlusion was developed and implemented using two-photon microscopy-guided femtosecond laser-based photodisruption surgery. The right IVth arch was occluded at HH18, and resulting diameter changes were followed for up to 24 h. Pharyngeal arch diameter responses to acute hemodynamic changes were predicted qualitatively but poorly quantitatively. Chronic growth and adaptation to hemodynamic changes, however, were predicted in a subset of arches. Our findings suggest that this complex biodynamic process is governed through more complex forms of mechanobiological vascular growth rules. Other factors in addition to wall shear stress or more complex WSS rules are likely important in the long-term arterial growth and patterning. Combination in silico/experimental platforms are essential for accelerating our understanding and prediction of consequences from embryonic/fetal cardiovascular occlusions and lay the foundation for noninvasive methods to guide CHD diagnosis and fetal intervention.

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Robust and fragile aspects of cortical blood flow in relation to the underlying angioarchitecture,

A.Y. Shih, C. Ruhlmann, P. Blinder, A. Devor, P. J. Drew, B. Friedman, P. M. Knutsen, P. D. Lyden, C. Mateo, L. Mellander, N. Nishimura, C. B. Schaffer, P. S. Tsai, and D. Kleinfeld

Microcirculation (2015)

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We review the organizational principles of the cortical vasculature and the underlying patterns of blood flow under normal conditions and in response to occlusion of single vessels. The cortex is sourced by a two-dimensional network of pial arterioles that feeds a three-dimensional network of subsurface microvessels in close proximity to neurons and glia. Blood flow within the surface and subsurface networks is largely insensitive to occlusion of a single vessel within either network. However, the penetrating arterioles that connect the pial network to the subsurface network are bottlenecks to flow; occlusion of even a single penetrating arteriole results in the death of a 500 μm diameter cylinder of cortical tissue despite the potential for collateral flow through microvessels. This pattern of flow is consistent with that calculated from a full reconstruction of the angioarchitecture. Conceptually, collateral flow is insufficient to compensate for the occlusion of a penetrating arteriole because penetrating venules act as shunts of blood that flows through collaterals. Future directions that stem from the analysis of the angioarchitecture concern cellular-level issues, in particular the regulation of blood flow within the subsurface microvascular network, and system-level issues, in particular the role of penetrating arteriole occlusions in human cognitive impairment.

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Ultra-large field-of-view two-photon microscopy

P. S. Tsai, C. Mateo, J. J. Field, C. B. Schaffer, M. E. Anderson, and D. Kleinfeld

Optics Express (2015)

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We present a two-photon microscope that images the full extent of murine cortex with an objective-limited spatial resolution across an 8 mm by 10 mm field. The lateral resolution is approximately 1 µm and the maximum scan speed is 5 mm/ms. The scan pathway employs large diameter compound lenses to minimize aberrations and performs near theoretical limits. We demonstrate the special utility of the microscope by recording resting-state vasomotion across both hemispheres of the murine brain through a transcranial window and by imaging histological sections without the need to stitch.

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Use of Tethered Enzymes as a Platform Technology for Rapid Analyte Detection

R. Cohen, J. P. Lata, Y. Lee, J. C. Cruz-Hernandez, N. Nishimura, C. B. Schaffer, C. Mukai, J. L. Nelson, S. A. Brangman, Y. Agrawal, and A. J. Travis

Public Library of Science (2015)

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Background Rapid diagnosis for time-sensitive illnesses such as stroke, cardiac arrest, and septic shock is essential for successful treatment. Much attention has therefore focused on new strategies for rapid and objective diagnosis, such as Point-of-Care Tests (PoCT) for blood biomarkers. Here we use a biomimicry-based approach to demonstrate a new diagnostic platform, based on enzymes tethered to nanoparticles (NPs). As proof of principle, we use oriented immobilization of pyruvate kinase (PK) and luciferase (Luc) on silica NPs to achieve rapid and sensitive detection of neuron-specific enolase (NSE), a clinically relevant biomarker for multiple diseases ranging from acute brain injuries to lung cancer. We hypothesize that an approach capitalizing on the speed and catalytic nature of enzymatic reactions would enable fast and sensitive biomarker detection, suitable for PoCT devices. Methods and findings We performed in-vitro, animal model, and human subject studies. First, the efficiency of coupled enzyme activities when tethered to NPs versus when in solution was tested, demonstrating a highly sensitive and rapid detection of physiological and pathological concentrations of NSE. Next, in rat stroke models the enzyme-based assay was able in minutes to show a statistically significant increase in NSE levels in samples taken 1 hour before and 0, 1, 3 and 6 hours after occlusion of the distal middle cerebral artery. Finally, using the tethered enzyme assay for detection of NSE in samples from 20 geriatric human patients, we show that our data match well (r = 0.815) with the current gold standard for biomarker detection, ELISA—with a major difference being that we achieve detection in 10 minutes as opposed to the several hours required for traditional ELISA. Conclusions Oriented enzyme immobilization conferred more efficient coupled activity, and thus higher assay sensitivity, than non-tethered enzymes. Together, our findings provide proof of concept for using oriented immobilization of active enzymes on NPs as the basis for a highly rapid and sensitive biomarker detection platform. This addresses a key challenge in developing a PoCT platform for time sensitive and difficult to diagnose pathologies.

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Vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia including Alzheimer’s disease

H. M. Snyder, R. A. Corriveau, S. Craft, J. E. Faber, S. Greenberg, D. Knopman, B. T. Lamb, T. J. Montine, M. Nedergaard, C. B. Schaffer, J. A. Schneider, C. Wellington, D. M. Wilcock, G. J. Zipfel, B. Zlokovic, L. J. Bain, F. Bosetti, Z. S. Galis, W. Koroshetz, M. C. Carrillo

Alzheimer’s and Dementia (2015)

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Scientific evidence continues to demonstrate the linkage of vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia such as Alzheimer's disease. In December, 2013, the Alzheimer's Association, with scientific input from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute from the National Institutes of Health, convened scientific experts to discuss the research gaps in our understanding of how vascular factors contribute to Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. This manuscript summarizes the meeting and the resultant discussion, including an outline of next steps needed to move this area of research forward.

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A Procedure for Implanting a Spinal Chamber for Longitudinal In Vivo Imaging of the Mouse Spinal Cord,

M. J. Farrar and C. B. Schaffer

Journal of Visualized Experiments (2014)

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Studies in the mammalian neocortex have enabled unprecedented resolution of cortical structure, activity, and response to neurodegenerative insults by repeated, time-lapse in vivo imaging in live rodents. These studies were made possible by straightforward surgical procedures, which enabled optical access for a prolonged period of time without repeat surgical procedures. In contrast, analogous studies of the spinal cord have been previously limited to only a few imaging sessions, each of which required an invasive surgery. As previously described, we have developed a spinal chamber that enables continuous optical access for upwards of 8 weeks, preserves mechanical stability of the spinal column, is easily stabilized externally during imaging, and requires only a single surgery. Here, the design of the spinal chamber with its associated surgical implements is reviewed and the surgical procedure is demonstrated in detail. Briefly, this video will demonstrate the preparation of the surgical area and mouse for surgery, exposure of the spinal vertebra and appropriate tissue debridement, the delivery of the implant and vertebral clamping, the completion of the chamber, the removal of the delivery system, sealing of the skin, and finally, post-operative care. The procedure for chronic in vivo imaging using nonlinear microscopy will also be demonstrated. Finally, outcomes, limitations, typical variability, and a guide for troubleshooting are discussed.

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Constitutively active Notch4 receptor elicits brain arteriovenous malformations through enlargement of capillary-like vessels

Patrick A. Murphya, Tyson N. Kima, Lawrence Huanga, Corinne M. Nielsena , Michael T. Lawtonb , Ralf H. Adamsc , Chris B. Schafferd , and Rong A. Wanga,

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2014)

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Arteriovenous (AV) malformation (AVM) is a devastating condition characterized by focal lesions of enlarged, tangled vessels that shunt blood from arteries directly to veins. AVMs can form anywhere in the body and can cause debilitating ischemia and life-threatening hemorrhagic stroke. The mechanisms that underlie AVM formation remain poorly understood. Here, we examined the cellular and hemodynamic changes at the earliest stages of brain AVM formation by time-lapse two-photon imaging through cranial windows of mice expressing constitutively active Notch4 (Notch4*). AVMs arose from enlargement of preexisting microvessels with capillary diameter and blood flow and no smooth muscle cell coverage. AV shunting began promptly after Notch4* expression in endothelial cells (ECs), accompanied by increased individual EC areas, rather than increased EC number or proliferation. Alterations in Notch signaling in ECs of all vessels, but not arteries alone, affected AVM formation, suggesting that Notch functions in the microvasculature and/or veins to induce AVM. Increased Notch signaling interfered with the normal biological control of hemodynamics, permitting a positive feedback loop of increasing blood flow and vessel diameter and driving focal AVM growth from AV connections with higher blood velocity at the expense of adjacent AV connections with lower velocity. Endothelial expression of constitutively active Notch1 also led to brain AVMs in mice. Our data shed light on cellular and hemodynamic mechanisms underlying AVM pathogenesis elicited by increased Notch signaling in the endothelium.

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Mechanistic insight into the TH1-biased immune response to recombinant subunit vaccines delivered by probiotic bacteria-derived outer membrane vesicles

Rosenthal JA, Huang CJ, Doody AM, Leung T, Mineta K, Feng DD, Wayne EC, Nishimura N, Leifer C, DeLisa MP, Mendez S, Putnam D.

PLoS One. (2014)

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Recombinant subunit vaccine engineering increasingly focuses on the development of more effective delivery platforms. However, current recombinant vaccines fail to sufficiently stimulate protective adaptive immunity against a wide range of pathogens while remaining a cost effective solution to global health challenges. Taking an unorthodox approach to this fundamental immunological challenge, we isolated the TLR-targeting capability of the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 bacteria (EcN) by engineering bionanoparticlate antigen carriers derived from EcN outer membrane vesicles (OMVs). Exogenous model antigens expressed by these modified bacteria as protein fusions with the bacterial enterotoxin ClyA resulted in their display on the surface of the carrier OMVs. Vaccination with the engineered EcN OMVs in a BALB/c mouse model, and subsequent mechanism of action analysis, established the EcN OMV's ability to induce self-adjuvanted robust and protective humoral and T(H)1-biased cellular immunity to model antigens. This finding appears to be strain-dependent, as OMV antigen carriers similarly engineered from a standard K12 E. coli strain derivative failed to generate a comparably robust antigen-specific TH1 bias. The results demonstrate that unlike traditional subunit vaccines, these biomolecularly engineered "pathogen-like particles" derived from traditionally overlooked, naturally potent immunomodulators have the potential to effectively couple recombinant antigens with meaningful immunity in a broadly applicable fashion.

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Stalled cerebral capillary blood flow in mouse models of essential thrombocythemia and polycythemia vera revealed by in vivo two-photon imaging.

Santisakultarm TP, Paduano CQ, Stokol T, Southard TL, Nishimura N, Skoda RC, Olbricht WL, Schafer AI, Silver RT, Schaffer CB.

J Thromb Haemost. (2014)

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Background Essential thrombocythemia (ET) and polycythemia vera (PV) are myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) that share the JAK2V617F mutation in hematopoietic stem cells, leading to excessive production of predominantly platelets in ET, and predominantly red blood cells (RBCs) in PV. The major cause of morbidity and mortality in PV and ET is thrombosis, including cerebrovascular occlusive disease. Objectives To identify the effect of excessive blood cells on cerebral microcirculation in ET and PV. Methods We used two-photon excited fluorescence microscopy to examine cerebral blood flow in transgenic mouse models that mimic MPNs. Results and conclusions We found that flow was ‘stalled’ in an elevated fraction of brain capillaries in ET (18%), PV (27%), mixed MPN (14%) and secondary (non-MPN) erythrocytosis (27%) mice, as compared with controls (3%). The fraction of capillaries with stalled flow increased when the hematocrit value exceeded 55% in PV mice, and the majority of stalled vessels contained only stationary RBCs. In contrast, the majority of stalls in ET mice were caused by platelet aggregates. Stalls had a median persistence time of 0.5 and 1 h in ET and PV mice, respectively. Our findings shed new light on potential mechanisms of neurological problems in patients with MPNs.

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