The anti-inflammatory effect of LMWF5A and N-acetyl kynurenine on macrophages: Involvement of aryl hydrocarbon receptor in mechanism of action.
ABSTRACT: After a traumatic insult, macrophages can become activated leading to general inflammation at the site of injury. Activated macrophages are partially regulated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) which when activated suppresses inflammation by limiting the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and promoting the over expression of immuno-modulatory mediators. This study aims to determine whether the low molecular weight fraction of 5% human serum albumin (LMWF5A) and N-acetyl kynurenine (NAK), an N-acetyl tryptophan (NAT) breakdown product in LMWF5A, can regulate inflammation by inhibiting macrophage activation through the AhR since kynurenine is a known AhR agonist. Using LCMS, we demonstrate that NAT is non-enzymatically degraded during accelerated aging of LMWF5A with high heat accelerating degradation. More importantly, NAK is a major degradation product found in LMWF5A. THP-1 monocytes were differentiated into macrophages using phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and pre-treated with 2-fold dilutions of LMWF5A or synthetic NAK with or without an AhR antagonist (CH223191) prior to overnight stimulation with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Treatment with LMWF5A caused a 50-70% decrease in IL-6 release throughout the dilution series. A dose-response inhibition of IL-6 release was observed for NAK with maximal inhibition (50%) seen at the highest NAK concentration. Finally, an AhR antagonist partially blocked the anti-inflammatory effect of LMWF5A while completely blocking the effect of NAK. A similar inhibitory effect was observed for CXCL-10, but the AhR antagonist was not effective suggesting additional mechanisms for CXCL-10 release. These preliminary findings suggest that LMWF5A and NAK partially promote the suppression of activated macrophages via the AhR receptor. Therefore, LMWF5A, which contains NAK, is potentially a useful therapeutic in medical conditions where inflammation is prevalent such as trauma, sepsis, and wound healing.
Project description:Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of ectopic endometrial tissue outside the uterus. A diffuse infiltration of mast cells (MCs) is observed throughout endometriotic lesions, but little is known about how these cells contribute to the network of molecules that modulate the growth of ectopic endometrial implants and promote endometriosis-associated inflammation. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a transcription factor known to respond to environmental toxins and endogenous compounds, is present in MCs. In response to AhR activation, MCs produce IL-17 and reactive oxygen species, highlighting the potential impact of AhR ligands on inflammation via MCs. Here, we investigated the possibility that endometrial MCs promote an inflammatory microenvironment by sensing AhR ligands, thus sustaining endometriosis development. Using human endometriotic tissue (ET) samples, we performed the following experiments: (i) examined the cytokine expression profile; (ii) counted AhR-expressing MCs; (iii) verified the phenotype of AhR-expressing MCs to establish whether MCs have a tolerogenic (IL-10-positive) or inflammatory (IL-17-positive) phenotype; (iv) measured the presence of AhR ligands (tryptophan-derived kynurenine) and tryptophan-metabolizing enzymes (indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1)); (v) treated ET organ cultures with an AhR antagonist in vitro to measure changes in the cytokine milieu; and (vi) measured the growth of endometrial stromal cells cultured with AhR-activated MC-conditioned medium. We found that ET tissue was conducive to cytokine production, orchestrating chronic inflammation and a population of AhR-expressing MCs that are both IL-17 and IL-10-positive. ET was rich in IDO1 and the AhR-ligand kynurenine compared with control tissue, possibly promoting MC activation through AhR. ET was susceptible to treatment with an AhR antagonist, and endometrial stromal cell growth was improved in the presence of soluble factors released by MCs on AhR activation. These results suggest a new mechanistic role of MCs in the pathogenesis of endometriosis.
Project description:Understanding the mechanisms of host macrophage responses to M. tuberculosis (M.tb.) is essential for uncovering potential avenues of intervention to boost host resistance to infection. Macrophage transcriptome profiling revealed M.tb. infection strongly induced expression of several enzymes controlling tryptophan (Trp) catabolism. This included indole 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO2), which catalyze the rate-limiting step in the kynurenine pathway, producing ligands for the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). The AHR and heterodimeric partners AHR nuclear translocator (ARNT) and RELB are robustly expressed, and AHR and RELB levels further increased during infection. Infection enhanced AHR/ARNT and AHR/RELB DNA binding, and stimulated expression of AHR target genes, including that encoding the inflammatory cytokine IL1beta. AHR target gene expression was further enhanced by exogenous kynurenine, and exogenous Trp, kynurenine or synthetic agonist indirubin reduced mycobacterial viability. Comparative expression profiling revealed that AHR ablation diminished expression of numerous genes implicated in innate immune responses, including several cytokines. Notably, AHR depletion reduced expression of IL23A and IL12B transcripts, which encode subunits of interleukin 23 (IL23), a macrophage cytokine that stimulates production of IL22 by innate lymphoid cells. The AHR directly induced IL23A transcription in human and mouse macrophages through near-upstream enhancer regions. Taken together, these findings show that AHR signaling is strongly engaged in Mtb-infected macrophages, and has widespread effects on innate immune responses. Moreover, they reveal a cascade of AHR-driven innate immune signaling, as IL1B (IL-1β) and IL23 stimulate T cell subsets producing IL22, another direct target of AHR transactivation. Gene expression profiling of Mtb-infected THP-1 monocytic cells following siRNA-mediated Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) knockdown.
Project description:Obesity is an increasingly urgent global problem, yet, little is known about its causes and less is known how obesity can be effectively treated. We showed previously that the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) plays a role in the regulation of body mass in mice fed Western diet. The AHR is a ligand-activated nuclear receptor that regulates genes involved in a number of biological pathways, including xenobiotic metabolism and T cell polarization. This study was an investigation into whether inhibition of the AHR prevents Western diet-based obesity. Male C57Bl/6J mice were fed control and Western diets with and without the AHR antagonist ?-naphthoflavone or CH-223191, and a mouse hepatocyte cell line was used to delineate relevant cellular pathways. Studies are presented showing that the AHR antagonists ?-naphthoflavone and CH-223191 significantly reduce obesity and adiposity and ameliorates liver steatosis in male C57Bl/6J mice fed a Western diet. Mice deficient in the tryptophan metabolizing enzyme indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) were also resistant to obesity. Using an AHR-directed, luciferase-expressing mouse hepatocyte cell line, we show that the transforming growth factor ?1 (TGF?1) signaling pathway via PI3K and NF-?B and the toll-like receptor 2/4 (TLR2/4) signaling pathway stimulated by oxidized low-density lipoproteins via NF-?B, each induce luciferase expression; however, TLR2/4 signaling was significantly reduced by inhibition of IDO1. At physiological levels, kynurenine but not kynurenic acid (both tryptophan metabolites and known AHR agonists) activated AHR-directed luciferase expression. We propose a hepatocyte-based model, in which kynurenine production is increased by enhanced IDO1 activity stimulated by TGF?1 and TLR2/4 signaling, via PI3K and NF-?B, to perpetuate a cycle of AHR activation to cause obesity; and inhibition of the AHR, in turn, blocks the cycle's output to prevent obesity. The AHR with its broad ligand binding specificity is a promising candidate for a potentially simple therapeutic approach for the prevention and treatment of obesity and associated complications.
Project description:Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent organic pollutants that contribute to inflammatory diseases such as atherosclerosis, and macrophages play a key role in the overall inflammatory response. Depending on specific environmental stimuli, macrophages can be polarized either to pro-inflammatory (e.g., M1) or anti-inflammatory (e.g., M2) phenotypes. We hypothesize that dioxin-like PCBs can contribute to macrophage polarization associated with inflammation. To test this hypothesis, human monocytes (THP-1) were differentiated to macrophages and subsequently exposed to PCB 126. Exposure to PCB 126, but not to PCB 153 or 118, significantly induced the expression of inflammatory cytokines, including TNF? and IL-1?, suggesting polarization to the pro-inflammatory M1 phenotype. Additionally, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) was increased in PCB 126-activated macrophages, suggesting induction of chemokines which regulate immune cell recruitment and infiltration of monocytes/macrophages into vascular tissues. In addition, oxidative stress sensitive markers including nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (NFE2L2; Nrf2) and down-stream genes, such as heme oxygenase 1 (HMOX1) and NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), were induced following PCB 126 exposure. Since dioxin-like PCBs may elicit inflammatory cascades through multiple mechanisms, we then pretreated macrophages with both aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and NF-?B antagonists prior to PCB treatment. The NF-?B antagonist BMS-345541 significantly decreased mRNA and protein levels of multiple cytokines by approximately 50% compared to PCB treatment alone, but the AhR antagonist CH-223191 was protective to a lesser degree. Our data demonstrate the involvement of PCB 126 in macrophage polarization and inflammation, indicating another important role of dioxin-like PCBs in the pathology of atherosclerosis.
Project description:Tryptophan catabolism by the enzymes indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase 2 (IDO/TDO) promotes immunosuppression across different cancer types. The tryptophan metabolite L-Kynurenine (Kyn) interacts with the ligand-activated transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) to drive the generation of Tregs and tolerogenic myeloid cells and PD-1 up-regulation in CD8+ T cells. Here, we show that the AHR pathway is selectively active in IDO/TDO-overexpressing tumors and is associated with resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors. We demonstrate that IDO-Kyn-AHR-mediated immunosuppression depends on an interplay between Tregs and tumor-associated macrophages, which can be reversed by AHR inhibition. Selective AHR blockade delays progression in IDO/TDO-overexpressing tumors, and its efficacy is improved in combination with PD-1 blockade. Our findings suggest that blocking the AHR pathway in IDO/TDO expressing tumors would overcome the limitation of single IDO or TDO targeting agents and constitutes a personalized approach to immunotherapy, particularly in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors.
Project description:Hidradenitis suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin disorder of unknown etiology that manifests as recurrent, painful lesions. Cutaneous dysbiosis and unresolved inflammation are hallmarks of active HS, but their origin and interplay remain unclear. Our metabolomic profiling of HS skin revealed an abnormal induction of the kynurenine pathway of tryptophan catabolism in dermal fibroblasts, correlating with the release of kynurenine pathway-inducing cytokines by inflammatory cell infiltrates. Notably, overactivation of the kynurenine pathway in lesional skin was associated with local and systemic depletion in tryptophan. Yet the skin microbiota normally degrades host tryptophan into indoles regulating tissue inflammation via engagement of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). In HS skin lesions, we detected contextual defects in AHR activation coinciding with impaired production of bacteria-derived AHR agonists and decreased incidence of AHR ligand-producing bacteria in the resident flora. Dysregulation of tryptophan catabolism at the skin-microbiota interface thus provides a mechanism linking the immunological and microbiological features of HS lesions. In addition to revealing metabolic alterations in patients with HS, our study suggests that correcting AHR signaling would help restore immune homeostasis in HS skin.
Project description:The tryptophan metabolite kynurenine has critical immunomodulatory properties and can function as an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) ligand. Here we show that the ability of T cells to transport kynurenine is restricted to cells activated by the T-cell antigen receptor or proinflammatory cytokines. Kynurenine is transported across the T-cell membrane by the System L transporter SLC7A5. Accordingly, the ability of kynurenine to activate the AHR is restricted to T cells that express SLC7A5. We use the fluorescence spectral properties of kynurenine to develop a flow cytometry-based assay for rapid, sensitive and quantitative measurement of the kynurenine transport capacity in a single cell. Our findings provide a method to assess the susceptibility of T cells to kynurenine, and a sensitive single cell assay to monitor System L amino acid transport.
Project description:The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) plays an important role in maintaining cellular homeostasis and also in pathophysiology. For example, the interplay between the gut microbiome and microbially derived AhR ligands protects against inflammation along the gut-brain axis. The AhR and its ligands also inhibit colon carcinogenesis, but it has been reported that the AhR and its ligand kynurenine enhance glioblastoma (GBM). In this study, using both established and patient-derived GBM cells, we re-examined the role of kynurenine and the AhR in GBM, observing that kynurenine does not modulate AhR-mediated gene expression and does not affect invasion of GBM cells. Therefore, using an array of approaches, including ChIP, quantitative real-time PCR, and cell migration assays, we primarily focused on investigating the role of the AhR in GBM at the functional molecular and genomic levels. The results of transient and stable CRISPR/Cas9-mediated AhR knockdown in GBM cells indicated that loss of AhR enhances GBM tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model, increases GBM cell invasion, and up-regulates expression of pro-invasion/pro-migration genes, as determined by ingenuity pathway analysis of RNA-Seq data. We conclude that the AhR is a tumor suppressor-like gene in GBM; future studies are required to investigate whether the AhR could be a potential drug target for treating patients with GBM who express this receptor.
Project description:Airway epithelial cells are the major target for rhinovirus (RV) infection and express proinflammatory chemokines and antiviral cytokines that play a role in innate immunity. Previously, we demonstrated that RV interaction with TLR2 causes ILR-associated kinase-1 (IRAK-1) depletion in both airway epithelial cells and macrophages. Further, IRAK-1 degradation caused by TLR2 activation was shown to inhibit ssRNA-induced IFN expression in dendritic cells. Therefore, in this study, we examined the role of TLR2 and IRAK-1 in RV-induced IFN-?, IFN-?1, and CXCL-10, which require signaling by viral RNA. In airway epithelial cells, blocking TLR2 enhanced RV-induced expression of IFNs and CXCL-10. By contrast, IRAK-1 inhibition abrogated RV-induced expression of CXCL-10, but not IFNs in these cells. Neutralization of IL-33 or its receptor, ST2, which requires IRAK-1 for signaling, inhibited RV-stimulated CXCL-10 expression. In addition, RV induced expression of both ST2 and IL-33 in airway epithelial cells. In macrophages, however, RV-stimulated CXCL-10 expression was primarily dependent on TLR2/IL-1R. Interestingly, in a mouse model of RV infection, blocking ST2 not only attenuated RV-induced CXCL-10, but also lung inflammation. Finally, influenza- and respiratory syncytial virus-induced CXCL-10 was also found to be partially dependent on IL-33/ST2/IRAK-1 signaling in airway epithelial cells. Together, our results indicate that RV stimulates CXCL-10 expression via the IL-33/ST2 signaling axis, and that TLR2 signaling limits RV-induced CXCL-10 via IRAK-1 depletion at least in airway epithelial cells. To our knowledge, this is the first report to demonstrate the role of respiratory virus-induced IL-33 in the induction of CXCL-10 in airway epithelial cells.
Project description:Pattern recognition receptors and receptors for pro-inflammatory cytokines provide critical signals to drive the development of protective immunity to infection. Therefore, counter-regulatory pathways are required to ensure that overwhelming inflammation harm host tissues. Previously, we showed that lipoxins modulate immune response during infection, restraining inflammation during infectious diseases in an Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)/suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS)2-dependent-manner. Recently, Indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3- dioxygenase (IDO)-derived tryptophan metabolites, including L-kynurenine, were also shown to be involved in several counter-regulatory mechanisms. Herein, we addressed whether the intracellular molecular events induced by lipoxins mediating control of innate immune signaling are part of a common regulatory pathway also shared by L-kynurenine exposure. We demonstrate that Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF)6--member of a family of adapter molecules that couple the TNF receptor and interleukin-1 receptor/Toll-like receptor families to intracellular signaling events essential for the development of immune responses--is targeted by both lipoxins and L-kynurenine via an AhR/SOCS2-dependent pathway. Furthermore, we show that LXA?- and L-kynurenine-induced AhR activation, its subsequent nuclear translocation, leading SOCS2 expression and TRAF6 Lys47-linked poly-ubiquitination and proteosome-mediated degradation of the adapter proteins. The in vitro consequences of such molecular interactions included inhibition of TLR- and cytokine receptor-driven signal transduction and cytokine production. Subsequently, in vivo proteosome inhibition led to unresponsiveness to lipoxins, as well as to uncontrolled pro-inflammatory reactions and elevated mortality during toxoplasmosis. In summary, our results establish proteasome degradation of TRAF6 as a key molecular target for the anti-inflammatory pathway triggered by lipoxins and L-kynurenine, critical counter-regulatory mediators in the innate and adaptive immune systems.