ABSTRACT: Aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) vary in phenotype and genotype. Zona glomerulosa (ZG)-like APAs frequently have mutations of an L-type calcium channel (LTCC) CaV1.3. Using a novel antagonist of CaV1.3, compound 8, we investigated the role of CaV1.3 on steroidogenesis in the human adrenocortical cell line, H295R, and in primary human adrenal cells. This investigational drug was compared with the common antihypertensive drug nifedipine, which has 4.5-fold selectivity for the vascular LTCC, CaV1.2, over CaV1.3. In H295R cells transfected with wild-type or mutant CaV1.3 channels, the latter produced more aldosterone than wild-type, which was ameliorated by 100??M of compound 8. In primary adrenal and non-transfected H295R cells, compound 8 decreased aldosterone production similar to high concentration of nifedipine (100??M). Selective CaV1.3 blockade may offer a novel way of treating primary hyperaldosteronism, which avoids the vascular side effects of CaV1.2-blockade, and provides targeted treatment for ZG-like APAs with mutations of CaV1.3.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism is a common cause of hypertension, which becomes refractory if undiagnosed, but potentially curable when caused by an aldosterone-producing adenoma (APA). The discovery of somatic mutations and differences in clinical presentations led to recognition of small but common zona glomerulosa (ZG)-like adenomas, distinct from classical large zona fasciculata-like adenomas. The inverse correlation between APA size and aldosterone synthase expression prompted us to undertake a systematic study of genotype-phenotype relationships. After a microarray comparing tumor subtypes, in which NPNT (nephronectin) was the most highly (>12-fold) upregulated gene in ZG-like APAs, we aimed to determine its role in physiological and pathological aldosterone production. NPNT was identified by immunohistochemistry as a secreted matrix protein expressed exclusively around aldosterone-producing glomeruli in normal adrenal ZG and in aldosterone-dense ZG-like APAs; the highest expression was in ZG-like APAs with gain-of-function CTNNB1 mutations, whose removal cured hypertension in our patients. NPNT was absent from normal zona fasciculata, zona fasciculata-like APAs, and ZG adjacent to an APA. NPNT production was regulated by canonical Wnt pathway, and NPNT overexpression or silencing increased or reduced aldosterone, respectively. NPNT was proadhesive in primary adrenal and APA cells but antiadhesive and antiapoptotic in immortalized adrenocortical cells. The discovery of NPNT in the adrenal helped recognition of a common subtype of APAs and a pathway by which Wnt regulates aldosterone production. We propose that this arises through NPNT's binding to cell-surface integrins, stimulating cell-cell contact within glomeruli, which define ZG. Therefore, NPNT or its cognate integrin could present a novel therapeutic target.
Project description:CONTEXT:Aldosterone synthesis and cellularity in the human adrenal zona glomerulosa (ZG) is sparse and patchy, presumably due to salt excess. The frequency of somatic mutations causing aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) may be a consequence of protection from cell loss by constitutive aldosterone production. OBJECTIVE:The objective of the study was to delineate a process in human ZG, which may regulate both aldosterone production and cell turnover. DESIGN:This study included a comparison of 20 pairs of ZG and zona fasciculata transcriptomes from adrenals adjacent to an APA (n = 13) or a pheochromocytoma (n = 7). INTERVENTIONS:Interventions included an overexpression of the top ZG gene (LGR5) or stimulation by its ligand (R-spondin-3). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:A transcriptome profile of ZG and zona fasciculata and aldosterone production, cell kinetic measurements, and Wnt signaling activity of LGR5 transfected or R-spondin-3-stimulated cells were measured. RESULTS:LGR5 was the top gene up-regulated in ZG (25-fold). The gene for its cognate ligand R-spondin-3, RSPO3, was 5-fold up-regulated. In total, 18 genes associated with the Wnt pathway were greater than 2-fold up-regulated. ZG selectivity of LGR5, and its absence in most APAs, were confirmed by quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry. Both R-spondin-3 stimulation and LGR5 transfection of human adrenal cells suppressed aldosterone production. There was reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis of transfected cells, and the noncanonical activator protein-1/Jun pathway was stimulated more than the canonical Wnt pathway (3-fold vs 1.3-fold). ZG of adrenal sections stained positive for apoptosis markers. CONCLUSION:LGR5 is the most selectively expressed gene in human ZG and reduces aldosterone production and cell number. Such conditions may favor cells whose somatic mutation reverses aldosterone inhibition and cell loss.
Project description:Common somatic mutations in CACNAID and ATP1A1 may define a subgroup of smaller, zona glomerulosa (ZG)-like aldosterone-producing adenomas. We have therefore sought signature ZG genes, which may provide insight into the frequency and pathogenesis of ZG-like aldosterone-producing adenomas. Twenty-one pairs of zona fasciculata and ZG and 14 paired aldosterone-producing adenomas from 14 patients with Conn's syndrome and 7 patients with pheochromocytoma were assayed by the Affymetrix Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array. Validation by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction was performed on genes >10-fold upregulated in ZG (compared with zona fasciculata) and >10-fold upregulated in aldosterone-producing adenomas (compared with ZG). DACH1, a gene associated with tumor progression, was further analyzed. The role of DACH1 on steroidogenesis, transforming growth factor-?, and Wnt signaling activity was assessed in the human adrenocortical cell line, H295R. Immunohistochemistry confirmed selective expression of DACH1 in human ZG. Silencing of DACH1 in H295R cells increased CYP11B2 mRNA levels and aldosterone production, whereas overexpression of DACH1 decreased aldosterone production. Overexpression of DACH1 in H295R cells activated the transforming growth factor-? and canonical Wnt signaling pathways but inhibited the noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway. Stimulation of primary human adrenal cells with angiotensin II decreased DACH1 mRNA expression. Interestingly, there was little overlap between our top ZG genes and those in rodent ZG. In conclusion, (1) the transcriptome profile of human ZG differs from rodent ZG, (2) DACH1 inhibits aldosterone secretion in human adrenals, and (3) transforming growth factor-? signaling pathway is activated in DACH1 overexpressed cells and may mediate inhibition of aldosterone secretion in human adrenals.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism (PA) is characterized by aldosterone hypersecretion and adrenal hyperplasia and ranks as one of the most common causes of secondary hypertension. However, the molecular mechanism involved in adrenal hyperplasia and tumorigenesis is largely unknown. Dysregulation of Purkinji cell protein 4 (PCP4) is involved in the development and progression of neoplasia and aldosterone secretion, but little is known about the effect of PCP4 on human adrenocortical tumorigenesis. We investigated the expression pattern of PCP4 in different adrenal tissues and studied whether PCP4 is involved in cell growth in human adrenal cell lines. The mRNA levels of PCP4 were measured by real-time PCR in tissues from aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs), idiopathic hyperaldosteronism (IHA) tissues, and normal adrenal (NA) tissues. In vitro siRNA knockdown of PCP4 in NCI-H295R and SW13 cell lines was used to determine the effect of PCP4 on cellular growth. Our results show that the mRNA level of PCP4 is upregulated in APAs and IHA compared with that in NA. The PCP4 mRNA expression level was positively correlated with tumor size in APAs. Knockdown of PCP4 decreased cell proliferation. Flow cytometry analysis showed that PCP4 knockdown fosters apoptosis. Finally, PCP4 knockdown inhibited phosphorylation of AKT308 and AMPKThr172. Our data suggest that PCP4 may represent a key player in the development and pathophysiology of PA via targeting the AKT and AMPK signaling pathways and thus may be a promising therapeutic target for PA.
Project description:Primary aldosteronism (PA) represents the most common cause of secondary hypertension, but little is known regarding its adrenal cellular origins. Recently, aldosterone-producing cell clusters (APCCs) with high expression of aldosterone synthase (CYP11B2) were found in both normal and PA adrenal tissue. PA-causing aldosterone-producing adenomas (APAs) harbor mutations in genes encoding ion channels/pumps that alter intracellular calcium homeostasis and cause renin-independent aldosterone production through increased CYP11B2 expression. Herein, we hypothesized that APCCs have APA-related aldosterone-stimulating somatic gene mutations. APCCs were studied in 42 normal adrenals from kidney donors. To clarify APCC molecular characteristics, we used microarrays to compare the APCC transcriptome with conventional adrenocortical zones [zona glomerulosa (ZG), zona fasciculata, and zona reticularis]. The APCC transcriptome was most similar to ZG but with an enhanced capacity to produce aldosterone. To determine if APCCs harbored APA-related mutations, we performed targeted next generation sequencing of DNA from 23 APCCs and adjacent normal adrenal tissue isolated from both formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded, and frozen tissues. Known aldosterone driver mutations were identified in 8 of 23 (35%) APCCs, including mutations in calcium channel, voltage-dependent, L-type, α1D-subunit (CACNA1D; 6 of 23 APCCs) and ATPase, Na(+)/(K+) transporting, α1-polypeptide (ATP1A1; 2 of 23 APCCs), which were not observed in the adjacent normal adrenal tissue. Overall, we show three major findings: (i) APCCs are common in normal adrenals, (ii) APCCs harbor somatic mutations known to cause excess aldosterone production, and (iii) the mutation spectrum of aldosterone-driving mutations is different in APCCs from that seen in APA. These results provide molecular support for APCC as a precursor of PA.
Project description:CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) have been a potential target for Parkinson's disease since calcium ion influx through the channel was implicated in the generation of mitochondrial oxidative stress, causing cell death in the dopaminergic neurons. Selective inhibition of CaV1.3 over other LTCC isoforms, especially CaV1.2, is critical to minimize potential side effects. We recently identified pyrimidinetriones (PYTs) as a CaV1.3-selective scaffold; here we report the structure-activity relationship of PYTs with both CaV1.3 and CaV1.2 LTCCs. By variation of the substituents on the cyclopentyl and arylalkyl groups of PYT, SAR studies allowed characterization of the CaV1.3 and CaV1.2 LTCCs binding sites. The SAR also identified four important moieties that either retain selectivity or enhance binding affinity. Our study represents a significant enhancement of the SAR of PYTs at CaV1.3 and CaV1.2 LTCCs and highlights several advances in the lead optimization and diversification of this family of compounds for drug development.
Project description:Ca2+-influx through L-type Ca2+-channels (LTCCs) is associated with activity-related stressful oscillations of Ca2+ levels within dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN), which may contribute to their selective degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). LTCC blockers were neuroprotective in mouse neurotoxin models of PD, and isradipine is currently undergoing testing in a phase III clinical trial in early PD. We report no evidence for neuroprotection by in vivo pretreatment with therapeutically relevant isradipine plasma levels, or Cav1.3 LTCC deficiency in 6-OHDA-treated male mice. To explain this finding, we investigated the pharmacological properties of human LTCCs during SN DA-like and arterial smooth muscle (aSM)-like activity patterns using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in HEK293 cells (Cav1.2 ?1-subunit, long and short Cav1.3 ?1-subunit splice variants; ?3/?2?1). During SN DA-like pacemaking, only Cav1.3 variants conducted Ca2+ current (ICa) at subthreshold potentials between action potentials. SN DA-like burst activity increased integrated ICa during (Cav1.2 plus Cav1.3) and after (Cav1.3) the burst. Isradipine inhibition was splice variant and isoform dependent, with a 5- to 11-fold lower sensitivity to Cav1.3 variants during SN DA-like pacemaking compared with Cav1.2 during aSM-like activity. Supratherapeutic isradipine concentrations reduced the pacemaker precision of adult mouse SN DA neurons but did not affect their somatic Ca2+ oscillations. Our data predict that Cav1.2 and Cav1.3 splice variants contribute differentially to Ca2+ load in SN DA neurons, with prominent Cav1.3-mediated ICa between action potentials and after bursts. The failure of therapeutically relevant isradipine levels to protect SN DA neurons can be explained by weaker state-dependent inhibition of SN DA LTCCs compared with aSM Cav1.2.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The high vulnerability of dopamine (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) to neurodegenerative stressors causes Parkinson's disease (PD). Ca2+ influx through voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCCs), in particular Cav1.3, appears to contribute to this vulnerability, and the LTCC inhibitor isradipine is currently being tested as a neuroprotective agent for PD in a phase III clinical trial. However, in our study isradipine plasma concentrations approved for therapy were not neuroprotective in a PD mouse model. We provide an explanation for this observation by demonstrating that during SN DA-like neuronal activity LTCCs are less sensitive to isradipine than Cav1.2 LTCCs in resistance blood vessels (mediating dose-limiting vasodilating effects) and even at supratherapeutic concentrations isradipine fails to reduce somatic Ca2+ oscillations of SN DA neurons.
Project description:Two voltage-gated calcium channel subtypes-CaV1.2 and CaV1.3-underlie the major L-type Ca(2+) currents in the mammalian central nervous system. Owing to their high sequence homology, the two channel subtypes share similar pharmacological properties, and at high doses classic calcium channel blockers, such as dihydropyridines, phenylalkylamines and benzothiazepines, do not discriminate between the two channel subtypes. Recent progress in treating Parkinson's disease (PD) was marked by the discovery of synthetic compound 8, which was reported to be a highly selective inhibitor of the CaV1.3 L-type calcium channels (LTCC). However, despite a previously reported IC50 of ~24 ?M, in our hands inhibition of the full-length CaV1.342 by compound 8 at 50 ?M reaches a maximum of 45%. Moreover, we find that the selectivity of compound 8 towards CaV1.3 relative to CaV1.2B15 channels is greatly influenced by the ?-subunit type and its splice isoform variants.
Project description:The spontaneous activity of sinoatrial node (SAN) pacemaker cells is generated by a functional interplay between the activity of ionic currents of the plasma membrane and intracellular Ca2+ dynamics. The molecular correlate of a dihydropyridine (DHP)-sensitive sustained inward Na+ current (I st), a key player in SAN automaticity, is still unknown. Here we show that I st and the L-type Ca2+ current (I Ca,L) share CaV1.3 as a common molecular determinant. Patch-clamp recordings of mouse SAN cells showed that I st is activated in the diastolic depolarization range, and displays Na+ permeability and minimal inactivation and sensitivity to I Ca,L activators and blockers. Both CaV1.3-mediated I Ca,L and I st were abolished in CaV1.3-deficient (CaV1.3-/-) SAN cells but the CaV1.2-mediated I Ca,L current component was preserved. In SAN cells isolated from mice expressing DHP-insensitive CaV1.2 channels (CaV1.2DHP-/-), I st and CaV1.3-mediated I Ca,L displayed overlapping sensitivity and concentration-response relationships to the DHP blocker nifedipine. Consistent with the hypothesis that CaV1.3 rather than CaV1.2 underlies I st, a considerable fraction of I Ca,L was resistant to nifedipine inhibition in CaV1.2DHP-/- SAN cells. These findings identify CaV1.3 channels as essential molecular components of the voltage-dependent, DHP-sensitive I st Na+ current in the SAN.
Project description:It has previously been shown that the inhibition of L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) decreases alcohol consumption, although the contribution of the central LTCC subtypes Cav1.2 and Cav1.3 remains unknown. Here, we determined changes in Cav1.2 (Cacna1c) and Cav1.3 (Cacna1d) mRNA and protein expression in alcohol-dependent rats during protracted abstinence and naive controls using in situ hybridization and western blot analysis. Functional validation was obtained by electrophysiological recordings of calcium currents in dissociated hippocampal pyramidal neurons. We then measured alcohol self-administration and cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking in dependent and nondependent rats after intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) injection of the LTCC antagonist verapamil, as well as in mice with an inducible knockout (KO) of Cav1.2 in Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II? (CaMKII?)-expressing neurons. Our results show that Cacna1c mRNA concentration was increased in the amygdala and hippocampus of alcohol-dependent rats after 21 days of abstinence, with no changes in Cacna1d mRNA. This was associated with increased Cav1.2 protein concentration and L-type calcium current amplitudes. Further analysis of Cacna1c mRNA in the CA1, basolateral amygdala (BLA), and central amygdala (CeA) revealed a dynamic regulation over time during the development of alcohol dependence. The inhibition of central LTCCs via i.c.v. administration of verapamil prevented cue-induced reinstatement of alcohol seeking in alcohol-dependent rats. Further studies in conditional Cav1.2-KO mice showed a lack of dependence-induced increase of alcohol-seeking behavior. Together, our data indicate that central Cav1.2 channels, rather than Cav1.3, mediate alcohol-seeking behavior. This finding may be of interest for the development of new antirelapse medications.