Role of miR-132 in angiogenesis after ocular infection with herpes simplex virus.
ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small regulatory molecules that control diverse biological processes that include angiogenesis. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes a chronic immuno-inflammatory response in the eye that may result in corneal neovascularization during blinding immunopathological lesion stromal keratitis (SK). miR-132 is a highly conserved miRNA that is induced in endothelial cells in response to growth factors, such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In this study, we show that miR-132 expression was up-regulated (10- to 20-fold) after ocular infection with HSV, an event that involved the production of both VEGF-A and IL-17. Consequently, blockade of VEGF-A activity using soluble VEGF receptor 1 resulted in significantly lower levels of corneal miR-132 after HSV infection. In addition, low levels of corneal miR-132 were detected in IL-17 receptor knockout mice after HSV infection. In vivo silencing of miR-132 by the provision of anti-miR-132 (antagomir-132) nanoparticles to HSV-infected mice led to reduced corneal neovascularization and diminished SK lesions. The anti-angiogenic effect of antagomir-132 was reflected by a reduction in angiogenic Ras activity in corneal CD31-enriched cells (presumably blood vessel endothelial cells) during SK. To our knowledge, this is one of the first reports of miRNA involvement in an infectious ocular disease. Manipulating miRNA expression holds promise as a therapeutic approach to control an ocular lesion that is an important cause of human blindness.
Project description:Stromal keratitis (SK) is a chronic immunopathological lesion of the eye, caused by HSV-1 infection, and a common cause of vision impairment in humans. The inflammatory lesions in the cornea are primarily caused by neutrophils with the active participation of CD4<sup>+</sup> T cells. Therefore, the targeting of these immune cell types and their products represents a potentially valuable form of therapy to reduce the severity of disease. Resolvin D1 (RvD1) and its epimer aspirin-triggered RvD1 (AT-RvD1) are lipid mediators derived from docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and were shown to promote resolution in several inflammatory disease models. In this report, we examined whether AT-RvD1 administration, begun before infection or at a later stage after ocular infection of mice with HSV-1, could control the severity of SK lesions. Treatment with AT-RvD1 significantly diminished the extent of corneal neovascularization and the severity of SK lesions. AT-RvD1-treated mice had fewer numbers of inflammatory cells that included neutrophils as well as Th1 and Th17 cells in the infected cornea. The mechanisms by which AT-RvD1 acts appear to be multiple. These include inhibitory effects on proinflammatory mediators, such as IL-1?, IL-6, IL-12, CXCL1, MCP-1, MIP-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and proinflammatory miRNA, such as miR-155, miR-132, and miR-223, which are involved in SK pathogenesis and corneal neovascularization. In addition, AT-RvD1 attenuated STAT1, which plays an important role in Th1 cell differentiation and IFN-? expression. These findings demonstrate that AT-RvD1 treatment could represent a useful strategy for the management of virus-induced immunopathological lesions.
Project description:Corneal neovascularization may result in loss of corneal transparency and blindness. However, developing successful and inexpensive medical treatments for corneal neovascularization remains an unresolved issue. Recently, several studies have implicated miRNA functions in the regulation of cornea homeostasis. This study aimed to identify the miRNA expression profile in the neovascularized cornea after an alkali burn and to investigate the related underlying mechanisms. Here, alkali-burned corneas and matched normal tissues were pooled to perform miRNA sequencing. MiR-21 in alkali-burned cornea showed the greatest increment of abundance at 4 and 7 d after injury compared to the healthy cornea. The miR-21 expression was positively correlated with both the mRNA and protein level of key angiogenic factors including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A and hypoxia-inducible factor-1? (HIF-1?). At 2 and 8 d after alkali burn, the mice received subconjunctival injections of antagomir-21 (1 or 5 nmol per injection). The injection of antagomir-21 (5 nmol) inactivated miR-21 and attenuated neovascularization progression by inhibiting the expression of VEGF-A and HIF-1?. Western blot analysis of the corneas demonstrated that antagomir-21 restored Sprouty 2/4 expression and silenced p-ERK activation. Therefore, these data reveal that antagomir-21 ameliorates the progression of corneal neovascularization likely via Sprouty 2/4-mediated inactivation of p-ERK. Delivery of antagomir-21 might be a potential therapeutic approach to prevent or treat visual loss caused by corneal neovascularization.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) causes lifelong infection affecting between 50 and 90% of the global population. In addition to causing dermal lesions, HSV-1 is a leading cause of blindness resulting from recurrent corneal infection. Corneal disease is characterized by loss of corneal immunologic privilege and extensive neovascularization driven by vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). In the current study, we identify HSV-1 infected cells as the dominant source of VEGF-A during acute infection, and VEGF-A transcription did not require TLR signaling or MAP kinase activation. Rather than being an innate response to the pathogen, VEGF-A transcription was directly activated by the HSV-1 encoded immediate early transcription factor, ICP4. ICP4 bound the proximal human VEGF-A promoter and was sufficient to promote transcription. Transcriptional activation also required cis GC-box elements common to the VEGF-A promoter and HSV-1 early genes. Our results suggest that the neovascularization characteristic of ocular HSV-1 disease is a direct result of HSV-1's major transcriptional regulator, ICP4, and similarities between the VEGF-A promoter and those of HSV-1 early genes.
Project description:Although it is well established that tumors initiate an angiogenic switch, the molecular basis of this process remains incompletely understood. Here we show that the miRNA miR-132 acts as an angiogenic switch by targeting p120RasGAP in the endothelium and thereby inducing neovascularization. We identified miR-132 as a highly upregulated miRNA in a human embryonic stem cell model of vasculogenesis and found that miR-132 was highly expressed in the endothelium of human tumors and hemangiomas but was undetectable in normal endothelium. Ectopic expression of miR-132 in endothelial cells in vitro increased their proliferation and tube-forming capacity, whereas intraocular injection of an antagomir targeting miR-132, anti-miR-132, reduced postnatal retinal vascular development in mice. Among the top-ranking predicted targets of miR-132 was p120RasGAP, which we found to be expressed in normal but not tumor endothelium. Endothelial expression of miR-132 suppressed p120RasGAP expression and increased Ras activity, whereas a miRNA-resistant version of p120RasGAP reversed the vascular response induced by miR-132. Notably, administration of anti-miR-132 inhibited angiogenesis in wild-type mice but not in mice with an inducible deletion of Rasa1 (encoding p120RasGAP). Finally, vessel-targeted nanoparticle delivery of anti-miR-132 restored p120RasGAP expression in the tumor endothelium, suppressed angiogenesis and decreased tumor burden in an orthotopic xenograft mouse model of human breast carcinoma. We conclude that miR-132 acts as an angiogenic switch by suppressing endothelial p120RasGAP expression, leading to Ras activation and the induction of neovascularization, whereas the application of anti-miR-132 inhibits neovascularization by maintaining vessels in the resting state.
Project description:Ocular infection with herpes simplex virus 1 can result in a chronic immunoinflammatory stromal keratitis (SK) lesion that is a significant cause of human blindness. A key to controlling SK lesion severity is to identify cellular and molecular events responsible for tissue damage and to manipulate them therapeutically. Potential targets for therapy are miRNAs, but these are minimally explored especially in responses to infection. Here, we demonstrated that Mir155 expression was up-regulated after ocular herpes simplex virus 1 infection, with the increased Mir155 expression occurring mainly in macrophages and CD4(+) T cells and to a lesser extent in neutrophils. In vivo studies indicated that Mir155 knockout mice were more resistant to herpes SK with marked suppression of T helper cells type 1 and 17 responses both in the ocular lesions and the lymphoid organs. The reduced SK lesion severity was reflected by increased phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate 5-phosphatase 1 and interferon-? receptor ?-chain levels in activated CD4(+) T cells in the lymph nodes. Finally, in vivo silencing of miR-155 by the provision of antagomir-155 nanoparticles to herpes simplex virus 1-infected mice led to diminished SK lesions and corneal vascularization. In conclusion, our results indicate that miR-155 contributes to the pathogenesis of SK and represents a promising target to control SK severity.
Project description:Pathological angiogenesis is one of the major symptoms of severe ocular diseases, including corneal neovascularization. The blockade of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) action has been recognized as an efficient strategy for treating corneal neovascularization. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether nanoparticle-based delivery of apatinib, a novel and selective inhibitor of VEGF receptor 2, inhibits VEGF-mediated angiogenesis and suppresses experimental corneal neovascularization. Water-insoluble apatinib was encapsulated in nanoparticles composed of human serum albumin (HSA)-conjugated polyethylene glycol (PEG). In vitro angiogenesis assays showed that apatinib-loaded HSA-PEG (Apa-HSA-PEG) nanoparticles potently inhibited VEGF-induced tube formation, scratch wounding migration, and proliferation of human endothelial cells. In a rat model of alkali burn injury-induced corneal neovascularization, a subconjunctival injection of Apa-HSA-PEG nanoparticles induced a significant decrease in neovascularization compared to that observed with an injection of free apatinib solution or phosphate-buffered saline. An in vivo distribution study using HSA-PEG nanoparticles loaded with fluorescent hydrophobic model drugs revealed the presence of a substantial number of nanoparticles in the corneal stroma within 24 h after injection. These in vitro and in vivo results demonstrate that apatinib-loaded nanoparticles may be promising for the prevention and treatment of corneal neovascularization-related ocular disorders.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) most commonly causes recrudescent labial ulcers; however, it is also the leading cause of infectious blindness in developed countries. Previous research in animal models has demonstrated that the severity of HSV-1 ocular disease is influenced by three main factors: host innate immunity, host immune response, and viral strain. We have previously shown that mixed infection with two avirulent HSV-1 strains (OD4 and CJ994) results in recombinants with a wide range of ocular disease phenotype severity. Recently, we developed a quantitative trait locus (QTL)-based computational approach (vQTLmap) to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) predicted to influence the severity of the ocular disease phenotypes. We have now applied vQTLmap to identify HSV-1 SNPs associated with corneal neovascularization and mean peak percentage weight loss (MPWL) using 65 HSV-1 OD4-CJ994 recombinants. The vQTLmap analysis using Random Forest for neovascularization identified phenotypically meaningful nonsynonymous SNPs in the ICP4, UL41 (VHS), UL42, UL46 (VP11/12), UL47 (VP13/14), UL48 (VP22), US3, US4 (gG), US6 (gD), and US7 (gI) coding regions. The ICP4 gene was previously identified as a corneal neovascularization determinant, validating the vQTLmap method. Further analysis detected an epistatic interaction for neovascularization between a segment of the unique long (UL) region and a segment of the inverted repeat short (IRS)/unique short (US) region. Ridge regression was used to identify MPWL-associated nonsynonymous SNPs in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, UL49 (VP22), UL50, and ICP4 coding regions. The data provide additional insights into virulence gene and epistatic interaction discovery in HSV-1.Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) typically causes recurrent cold sores; however, it is also the leading source of infectious blindness in developed countries. Corneal neovascularization is critical for the progression of blinding ocular disease, and weight loss is a measure of infection severity. Previous HSV-1 animal virulence studies have shown that the severity of ocular disease is partially due to the viral strain. In the current study, we used a recently described computational quantitative trait locus (QTL) approach in conjunction with 65 HSV-1 recombinants to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involved in neovascularization and weight loss. Neovascularization SNPs were identified in the ICP4, VHS, UL42, VP11/12, VP13/14, VP22, gG, US3, gD, and gI genes. Further analysis revealed an epistatic interaction between the UL and US regions. MPWL-associated SNPs were detected in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, VP22, UL50, and ICP4 genes. This approach will facilitate future HSV virulence studies.
Project description:Vascular networks develop from a growing vascular front that responds to VEGF and other guidance cues. Angiogenesis is required for normal tissue function, but, under conditions of stress, inappropriate vascularization can lead to disease. Therefore, inhibition of angiogenic sprouting may prevent neovascularization in patients with blinding neovascular eye diseases, including macular degeneration. VEGF antagonists have therapeutic benefits but also can elicit off-target effects. Here, we found that the Ras pathway, which functions downstream of a wide range of cytokines including VEGF, is active in the growing vascular front of developing and pathological vascular networks. The endogenous Ras inhibitor p120RasGAP was expressed predominately in quiescent VEGF-insensitive endothelial cells and was ectopically downregulated in multiple neovascular models. MicroRNA-132 negatively regulated p120RasGAP expression. Experimental delivery of ?-miR-132 to developing mouse eyes disrupted tip cell Ras activity and prevented angiogenic sprouting. This strategy prevented ocular neovascularization in multiple rodent models even more potently than the VEGF antagonist, VEGF-trap. Targeting microRNA-132 as a therapeutic strategy may prove useful for treating multiple neovascular diseases of the eye and for preventing vision loss regardless of the neovascular stimulus.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV-1) can cause severe ocular infection and blindness. We have previously shown that the HSV-1 VC2 vaccine strain is protective in mice and guinea pigs against genital herpes infection following vaginal challenge with HSV-1 or HSV-2. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of VC2 intramuscular vaccination in mice against herpetic keratitis following ocular challenge with lethal human clinical strain HSV-1(McKrae). VC2 vaccination in mice produced superior protection and morbidity control in comparison to its parental strain HSV-1(F). Specifically, after HSV-1(McKrae) ocular challenge, all VC2 vaccinated- mice survived, while 30% of the HSV-1(F)- vaccinated and 100% of the mock-vaccinated mice died post challenge. VC2-vaccinated mice did not exhibit any symptoms of ocular infection and completely recovered from initial conjunctivitis. In contrast, HSV-1(F)-vaccinated mice developed time-dependent progressive keratitis characterized by corneal opacification, while mock-vaccinated animals exhibited more severe stromal keratitis characterized by immune cell infiltration and neovascularization in corneal stroma with corneal opacification. Cornea in VC2-immunized mice exhibited significantly increased infiltration of CD3+ T lymphocytes and decreased infiltration of Iba1+ macrophages in comparison to mock- or HSV-1(F)-vaccinated groups. VC2 immunization produced higher virus neutralization titers than HSV-1(F) post challenge. Furthermore, VC-vaccination significantly increased the CD4 T central memory (TCM) subsets and CD8 T effector memory (TEM) subsets in the draining lymph nodes following ocular HSV-1 (McKrae) challenge, then mock- or HSV-1(F)-vaccination. These results indicate that VC2 vaccination produces a protective immune response at the site of challenge to protect against HSV-1-induced ocular pathogenesis.
Project description:The normal cornea is transparent, which is essential for normal vision, and although the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is present in the cornea, its angiogenic activity is impeded by being bound to a soluble form of the VEGF receptor-1 (sVR-1). This report investigates the effect on the balance between VEGF-A and sVR-1 that occurs after ocular infection with HSV, which causes prominent neovascularization, an essential step in the pathogenesis of the vision-impairing lesion, stromal keratitis. We demonstrate that HSV-1 infection causes increased production of VEGF-A but reduces sVR-1 levels, resulting in an imbalance of VEGF-A and sVR-1 levels in ocular tissues. Moreover, the sVR-1 protein made was degraded by the metalloproteinase (MMP) enzymes MMP-2, -7, and -9 produced by infiltrating inflammatory cells that were principally neutrophils. Inhibition of neutrophils, inhibition of sVR-1 breakdown with the MMP inhibitor marimastat, and the provision of exogenous recombinant sVR-1 protein all resulted in reduced angiogenesis. Our results make the novel observation that ocular neovascularization resulting from HSV infection involves a change in the balance between VEGF-A and its soluble inhibitory receptor. Future therapies aimed to increase the production and activity of sVR-1 protein could benefit the management of stromal keratitis, an important cause of human blindness.