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Cells, Volume 13, Issue 4 (February-2 2024) – 74 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Vasoactive intestinal peptides (VIPs) are widely distributed in the central and peripheral nervous, digestive and respiratory systems. VIPs contribute to an extensive range of physiological and pathological processes and control neuronal, epithelial, and endocrine cell function. In the current publication, we focused our studies on VIPs and VIP receptor-induced esophageal inflammation and remodeling. Our findings provided evidence that eosinophilic and mast cell accumulation in response to nerve cell-derived mediator VIP and receptor CRTH2 interaction promotes motility disfunction in eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Most importantly, we showed that eosinophil and mast cell accumulation, which are directly responsible for esophageal motility dysfunction improves  following CRTH2 antagonist treatment in experimentally induced chronic EoE. View this paper
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17 pages, 5900 KiB  
Article
In Vitro Glioblastoma Model on a Plate for Localized Drug Release Study from a 3D-Printed Drug-Eluted Hydrogel Mesh
by Behnad Chehri, Kaiwen Liu, Golnaz Vaseghi, Amir Seyfoori and Mohsen Akbari
Cells 2024, 13(4), 363; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040363 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1173
Abstract
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive type of brain tumor that has limited treatment options. Current standard therapies, including surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, are not very effective due to the rapid progression and recurrence of the tumor. Therefore, there is an [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive type of brain tumor that has limited treatment options. Current standard therapies, including surgery followed by radiotherapy and chemotherapy, are not very effective due to the rapid progression and recurrence of the tumor. Therefore, there is an urgent need for more effective treatments, such as combination therapy and localized drug delivery systems that can reduce systemic side effects. Recently, a handheld printer was developed that can deliver drugs directly to the tumor site. In this study, the feasibility of using this technology for localized co-delivery of temozolomide (TMZ) and deferiprone (DFP) to treat glioblastoma is showcased. A flexible drug-loaded mesh (GlioMesh) loaded with poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles is printed, which shows the sustained release of both drugs for up to a month. The effectiveness of the printed drug-eluting mesh in terms of tumor toxicity and invasion inhibition is evaluated using a 3D micro-physiological system on a plate and the formation of GBM tumoroids within the microenvironment. The proposed in vitro model can identify the effective combination doses of TMZ and DFP in a sustained drug delivery platform. Additionally, our approach shows promise in GB therapy by enabling localized delivery of multiple drugs, preventing off-target cytotoxic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Death Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities in Glioblastoma)
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12 pages, 2370 KiB  
Article
Comparison of the Single Cell Immune Landscape between Subjects with High Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacillary Loads during Active Pulmonary Tuberculosis and Household Members with Latent Tuberculosis Infection
by Supitcha Kamolratanakul, Wassawon Ariyanon, Kanyarat Udompornpitak, Thansita Bhunyakarnjanarat, Asada Leelahavanichkul, Jittima Dhitavat, Polrat Wilairatana and Wiwat Chancharoenthana
Cells 2024, 13(4), 362; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040362 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 987
Abstract
It is unclear how the immune system controls the transition from latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI) to active pulmonary infection (PTB). Here, we applied mass spectrometry cytometry time-of-flight (CyTOF) analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to compare the immunological landscapes in patients with [...] Read more.
It is unclear how the immune system controls the transition from latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI) to active pulmonary infection (PTB). Here, we applied mass spectrometry cytometry time-of-flight (CyTOF) analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to compare the immunological landscapes in patients with high tuberculous bacillary load PTB infections and LTBI. A total of 32 subjects (PTB [n = 12], LTBI [n = 17], healthy volunteers [n = 3]) were included. Participants with active PTBs were phlebotomized before administering antituberculosis treatment, whereas participants with LTBI progressed to PTB at the time of household screening. In the present study, CyTOF analysis identified significantly higher percentages of mucosal-associated invariant natural killer T (MAIT NKT) cells in subjects with LTBI than in those with active PTB and healthy controls. Moreover, 6 of 17 (35%) subjects with LTBI progressed to active PTB (LTBI progression) and had higher proportions of MAIT NKT cells and early NKT cells than those without progression (LTBI non-progression). Subjects with LTBI progression also showed a tendency toward low B cell levels relative to other subject groups. In conclusion, MAIT NKT cells were substantially more prevalent in subjects with LTBI, particularly those with progression to active PTB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tuberculosis: From Pathogenesis to Targeted Therapies)
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17 pages, 1133 KiB  
Review
Signaling Pathways of AXL Receptor Tyrosine Kinase Contribute to the Pathogenetic Mechanisms of Glioblastoma
by Alberto Repici, Alessio Ardizzone, Fabiola De Luca, Lorenzo Colarossi, Angela Prestifilippo, Gabriele Pizzino, Irene Paterniti, Emanuela Esposito and Anna Paola Capra
Cells 2024, 13(4), 361; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040361 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1229
Abstract
Brain tumors are a diverse collection of neoplasms affecting the brain with a high prevalence rate in people of all ages around the globe. In this pathological context, glioblastoma, a form of glioma that belongs to the IV-grade astrocytoma group, is the most [...] Read more.
Brain tumors are a diverse collection of neoplasms affecting the brain with a high prevalence rate in people of all ages around the globe. In this pathological context, glioblastoma, a form of glioma that belongs to the IV-grade astrocytoma group, is the most common and most aggressive form of the primary brain tumors. Indeed, despite the best treatments available including surgery, radiotherapy or a pharmacological approach with Temozolomide, glioblastoma patients’ mortality is still high, within a few months of diagnosis. Therefore, to increase the chances of these patients surviving, it is critical to keep finding novel treatment opportunities. In the past, efforts to treat glioblastoma have mostly concentrated on customized treatment plans that target specific mutations such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations, Neurotrophic Tyrosine Receptor Kinase (NTRK) fusions, or multiple receptors using multi-kinase inhibitors like Sunitinib and Regorafenib, with varying degrees of success. Here, we focused on the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL that has been identified as a mediator for tumor progression and therapy resistance in various cancer types, including squamous cell tumors, small cell lung cancer, and breast cancer. Activated AXL leads to a significant increase in tumor proliferation, tumor cell migration, and angiogenesis in different in vitro and in vivo models of cancer since this receptor regulates interplay with apoptotic, angiogenic and inflammatory pathways. Based on these premises, in this review we mainly focused on the role of AXL in the course of glioblastoma, considering its primary biological mechanisms and as a possible target for the application of the most recent treatments. Full article
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21 pages, 8614 KiB  
Article
Pharmacological Stimulation of Soluble Guanylate Cyclase Counteracts the Profibrotic Activation of Human Conjunctival Fibroblasts
by Bianca Saveria Fioretto, Irene Rosa, Elena Andreucci, Rita Mencucci, Mirca Marini, Eloisa Romano and Mirko Manetti
Cells 2024, 13(4), 360; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040360 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 897
Abstract
Conjunctival fibrosis is a serious clinical concern implicated in a wide spectrum of eye diseases, including outcomes of surgery for pterygium and glaucoma. It is mainly driven by chronic inflammation that stimulates conjunctival fibroblasts to differentiate into myofibroblasts over time, leading to abnormal [...] Read more.
Conjunctival fibrosis is a serious clinical concern implicated in a wide spectrum of eye diseases, including outcomes of surgery for pterygium and glaucoma. It is mainly driven by chronic inflammation that stimulates conjunctival fibroblasts to differentiate into myofibroblasts over time, leading to abnormal wound healing and scar formation. Soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) stimulation was found to suppress transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-induced myofibroblastic differentiation in various stromal cells such as skin and pulmonary fibroblasts, as well as corneal keratocytes. Here, we evaluated the in vitro effects of stimulation of the sGC enzyme with the cell-permeable pyrazolopyridinylpyrimidine compound BAY 41-2272 in modulating the TGFβ1-mediated profibrotic activation of human conjunctival fibroblasts. Cells were pretreated with the sGC stimulator before challenging with recombinant human TGFβ1, and subsequently assayed for viability, proliferation, migration, invasiveness, myofibroblast marker expression, and contractile properties. Stimulation of sGC significantly counteracted TGFβ1-induced cell proliferation, migration, invasiveness, and acquisition of a myofibroblast-like phenotype, as shown by a significant downregulation of FAP, ACTA2, COL1A1, COL1A2, FN1, MMP2, TIMP1, and TIMP2 mRNA levels, as well as by a significant reduction in α-smooth muscle actin, N-cadherin, COL1A1, and FN-EDA protein expression. In addition, pretreatment with the sGC stimulator was capable of significantly dampening TGFβ1-induced acquisition of a contractile phenotype by conjunctival fibroblasts, as well as phosphorylation of Smad3 and release of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6. Taken together, our findings are the first to demonstrate the effectiveness of pharmacological sGC stimulation in counteracting conjunctival fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition, thus providing a promising scientific background to further explore the feasibility of sGC stimulators as potential new adjuvant therapeutic compounds to treat conjunctival fibrotic conditions. Full article
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6 pages, 194 KiB  
Editorial
Advances in Red Blood Cells Research
by Anna Bogdanova and Lars Kaestner
Cells 2024, 13(4), 359; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040359 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 675
Abstract
This Editorial ‘Advances in Red Blood Cell Research’ is the preface for the special issue with the same title which files 14 contributions listed in Table 1 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Advances in Red Blood Cells Research)
13 pages, 6527 KiB  
Communication
Effect of LDL Extracted from Human Plasma on Membrane Stiffness in Living Endothelial Cells and Macrophages via Scanning Ion Conductance Microscopy
by Diana Kiseleva, Vasilii Kolmogorov, Vadim Cherednichenko, Ulyana Khovantseva, Anastasia Bogatyreva, Yuliya Markina, Petr Gorelkin, Alexander Erofeev and Alexander Markin
Cells 2024, 13(4), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040358 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 758
Abstract
Mechanical properties of living cells play a crucial role in a wide range of biological functions and pathologies, including atherosclerosis. We used low-stress Scanning Ion-Conductance Microscopy (SICM) correlated with confocal imaging and demonstrated the topographical changes and mechanical properties alterations in EA.hy926 and [...] Read more.
Mechanical properties of living cells play a crucial role in a wide range of biological functions and pathologies, including atherosclerosis. We used low-stress Scanning Ion-Conductance Microscopy (SICM) correlated with confocal imaging and demonstrated the topographical changes and mechanical properties alterations in EA.hy926 and THP-1 exposed to LDL extracted from CVD patients’ blood samples. We show that the cells stiffened in the presence of LDL, which also triggered caveolae formation. Endothelial cells accumulated less cholesterol in the form of lipid droplets in comparison to THP-1 cells based on fluorescence intensity data and biochemical analysis; however, the effect on Young’s modulus is higher. The cell stiffness is closely connected to the distribution of lipid droplets along the z-axis. In conclusion, we show that the sensitivity of endothelial cells to LDL is higher compared to that of THP-1, triggering changes in the cytoskeleton and membrane stiffness which may result in the increased permeability of the intima layer due to loss of intercellular connections and adhesion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipids, Their Receptors and Signaling in Development and Diseases)
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20 pages, 2652 KiB  
Review
Regulatory B Cells—Immunopathological and Prognostic Potential in Humans
by Johanna Veh, Carolin Ludwig, Hubert Schrezenmeier and Bernd Jahrsdörfer
Cells 2024, 13(4), 357; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040357 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 900
Abstract
The aim of the following review is to shed light on the putative role of regulatory B cells (Bregs) in various human diseases and highlight their potential prognostic and therapeutic relevance in humans. Regulatory B cells are a heterogeneous group of B lymphocytes [...] Read more.
The aim of the following review is to shed light on the putative role of regulatory B cells (Bregs) in various human diseases and highlight their potential prognostic and therapeutic relevance in humans. Regulatory B cells are a heterogeneous group of B lymphocytes capable of suppressing inflammatory immune reactions. In this way, Bregs contribute to the maintenance of tolerance and immune homeostasis by limiting ongoing immune reactions temporally and spatially. Bregs play an important role in attenuating pathological inflammatory reactions that can be associated with transplant rejection, graft-versus-host disease, autoimmune diseases and allergies but also with infectious, neoplastic and metabolic diseases. Early studies of Bregs identified IL-10 as an important functional molecule, so the IL-10-secreting murine B10 cell is still considered a prototype Breg, and IL-10 has long been central to the search for human Breg equivalents. However, over the past two decades, other molecules that may contribute to the immunosuppressive function of Bregs have been discovered, some of which are only present in human Bregs. This expanded arsenal includes several anti-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-35 and TGF-β, but also enzymes such as CD39/CD73, granzyme B and IDO as well as cell surface proteins including PD-L1, CD1d and CD25. In summary, the present review illustrates in a concise and comprehensive manner that although human Bregs share common functional immunosuppressive features leading to a prominent role in various human immunpathologies, they are composed of a pool of different B cell types with rather heterogeneous phenotypic and transcriptional properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Review Papers in "Cellular Immunology")
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12 pages, 14056 KiB  
Article
New Insights on the Male and Female Reproductive Organs of Centrorhynchus globocaudatus (Acanthocephala), Intestinal Parasite of Birds of Prey
by Bahram Sayyaf Dezfuli, Flavio Pironi, Emanuele Rossetti and Holger Herlyn
Cells 2024, 13(4), 356; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040356 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 667
Abstract
Acanthocephalans are dioecious parasites that gain sexual maturity in the alimentary canal of their definitive hosts (gnathostome vertebrates). This initial survey by light and transmission electron microscopy was conducted on the functional organization of the ovarian balls and uterine bell in mature females [...] Read more.
Acanthocephalans are dioecious parasites that gain sexual maturity in the alimentary canal of their definitive hosts (gnathostome vertebrates). This initial survey by light and transmission electron microscopy was conducted on the functional organization of the ovarian balls and uterine bell in mature females and on Saefftigen’s pouch and the copulatory bursa in males. We studied these structures via the example of Centrorhynchus globocaudatus (Palaeacanthocephala) in Falco tinnunculus and Buteo buteo, from the Province of Ferrara (Northern Italy). Our study confirms that the ovarian balls have surface microvilli and consist of a multinucleate supporting syncytium and a cellular region with oogonial syncytium, single germ cells, zygotes, and shelled eggs. Germ cells are embedded in the supporting syncytium. The ultrastructural features of these components and data on fertilization, shell formation, and release from the ovarian ball, alongside insights into the likely egg sorting function of the uterine bell, are provided. We also present light and electron microscopy observations of Saefftigen’s pouch and a suggestion regarding its hydrostatic functioning in the eversion of the copulatory bursa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Reproductive Cells and Development)
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14 pages, 2053 KiB  
Article
Anti-Apoptotic and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Grapefruit IntegroPectin on Human Microglial HMC3 Cell Line
by Miriana Scordino, Giulia Urone, Monica Frinchi, Chiara Valenza, Angela Bonura, Chiara Cipollina, Rosaria Ciriminna, Francesco Meneguzzo, Mario Pagliaro, Giuseppa Mudò and Valentina Di Liberto
Cells 2024, 13(4), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040355 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 802
Abstract
In this study, we investigated the beneficial effects of grapefruit IntegroPectin, derived from industrial waste grapefruit peels via hydrodynamic cavitation, on microglia cells exposed to oxidative stress conditions. Grapefruit IntegroPectin fully counteracted cell death and the apoptotic process induced by cell exposure to [...] Read more.
In this study, we investigated the beneficial effects of grapefruit IntegroPectin, derived from industrial waste grapefruit peels via hydrodynamic cavitation, on microglia cells exposed to oxidative stress conditions. Grapefruit IntegroPectin fully counteracted cell death and the apoptotic process induced by cell exposure to tert-butyl hydroperoxide (TBH), a powerful hydroperoxide. The protective effects of the grapefruit IntegroPectin were accompanied with a decrease in the amount of ROS, and were strictly dependent on the activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt cascade. Finally, IntegroPectin treatment inhibited the neuroinflammatory response and the basal microglia activation by down-regulating the PI3K- nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB)- inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) cascade. These data strongly support further investigations aimed at exploring IntegroPectin’s therapeutic role in in vivo models of neurodegenerative disorders, characterized by a combination of chronic neurodegeneration, oxidative stress and neuroinflammation. Full article
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15 pages, 1573 KiB  
Review
Quantum Dot Imaging Agents: Haematopoietic Cell Interactions and Biocompatibility
by Leigh Naylor-Adamson, Thomas W. Price, Zoe Booth, Graeme J. Stasiuk and Simon D. J. Calaminus
Cells 2024, 13(4), 354; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040354 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 726
Abstract
Quantum dots (QDs) are semi-conducting nanoparticles that have been developed for a range of biological and non-biological functions. They can be tuned to multiple different emission wavelengths and can have significant benefits over other fluorescent systems. Many studies have utilised QDs with a [...] Read more.
Quantum dots (QDs) are semi-conducting nanoparticles that have been developed for a range of biological and non-biological functions. They can be tuned to multiple different emission wavelengths and can have significant benefits over other fluorescent systems. Many studies have utilised QDs with a cadmium-based core; however, these QDs have since been shown to have poor biological compatibility. Therefore, other QDs, such as indium phosphide QDs, have been developed. These QDs retain excellent fluorescent intensity and tunability but are thought to have elevated biological compatibility. Herein we discuss the applicability of a range of QDs to the cardiovascular system. Key disease states such as myocardial infarction and stroke are associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD), and there is an opportunity to improve clinical imaging to aide clinical outcomes for these disease states. QDs offer potential clinical benefits given their ability to perform multiple functions, such as carry an imaging agent, a therapy, and a targeting motif. Two key cell types associated with CVD are platelets and immune cells. Both cell types play key roles in establishing an inflammatory environment within CVD, and as such aid the formation of pathological thrombi. However, it is unclear at present how and with which cell types QDs interact, and if they potentially drive unwanted changes or activation of these cell types. Therefore, although QDs show great promise for boosting imaging capability, further work needs to be completed to fully understand their biological compatibility. Full article
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23 pages, 1999 KiB  
Review
Cellular Senescence, Mitochondrial Dysfunction, and Their Link to Cardiovascular Disease
by Maria Camacho-Encina, Laura K. Booth, Rachael E. Redgrave, Omowumi Folaranmi, Ioakim Spyridopoulos and Gavin D. Richardson
Cells 2024, 13(4), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040353 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1647
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a group of disorders affecting the heart or blood vessels, are the primary cause of death worldwide, with an immense impact on patient quality of life and disability. According to the World Health Organization, CVD takes an estimated 17.9 million [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), a group of disorders affecting the heart or blood vessels, are the primary cause of death worldwide, with an immense impact on patient quality of life and disability. According to the World Health Organization, CVD takes an estimated 17.9 million lives each year, where more than four out of five CVD deaths are due to heart attacks and strokes. In the decades to come, an increased prevalence of age-related CVD, such as atherosclerosis, coronary artery stenosis, myocardial infarction (MI), valvular heart disease, and heart failure (HF) will contribute to an even greater health and economic burden as the global average life expectancy increases and consequently the world’s population continues to age. Considering this, it is important to focus our research efforts on understanding the fundamental mechanisms underlying CVD. In this review, we focus on cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction, which have long been established to contribute to CVD. We also assess the recent advances in targeting mitochondrial dysfunction including energy starvation and oxidative stress, mitochondria dynamics imbalance, cell apoptosis, mitophagy, and senescence with a focus on therapies that influence both and therefore perhaps represent strategies with the most clinical potential, range, and utility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Inflammation: The Cause of all Diseases 2.0)
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15 pages, 15420 KiB  
Review
Software Tools for 2D Cell Segmentation
by Ping Liu, Jun Li, Jiaxing Chang, Pinli Hu, Yue Sun, Yanan Jiang, Fan Zhang and Haojing Shao
Cells 2024, 13(4), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040352 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1062
Abstract
Cell segmentation is an important task in the field of image processing, widely used in the life sciences and medical fields. Traditional methods are mainly based on pixel intensity and spatial relationships, but have limitations. In recent years, machine learning and deep learning [...] Read more.
Cell segmentation is an important task in the field of image processing, widely used in the life sciences and medical fields. Traditional methods are mainly based on pixel intensity and spatial relationships, but have limitations. In recent years, machine learning and deep learning methods have been widely used, providing more-accurate and efficient solutions for cell segmentation. The effort to develop efficient and accurate segmentation software tools has been one of the major focal points in the field of cell segmentation for years. However, each software tool has unique characteristics and adaptations, and no universal cell-segmentation software can achieve perfect results. In this review, we used three publicly available datasets containing multiple 2D cell-imaging modalities. Common segmentation metrics were used to evaluate the performance of eight segmentation tools to compare their generality and, thus, find the best-performing tool. Full article
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19 pages, 2702 KiB  
Article
The Development and Characterization of a Next-Generation Oncolytic Virus Armed with an Anti-PD-1 sdAb for Osteosarcoma Treatment In Vitro
by Theresa A. Higgins, Daniel J. Patton, Isabella M. Shimko-Lofano, Timothy L. Eller, Roberto Molinari, Maninder Sandey, Aliaa Ismail, Bruce F. Smith and Payal Agarwal
Cells 2024, 13(4), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040351 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1265
Abstract
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary bone malignancy characterized by an aggressive nature, limited treatment options, low survival rate, and poor patient prognosis. Conditionally replicative adenoviruses (CRAds) armed with immune checkpoint inhibitors hold great potential for enhanced therapeutic efficacy. The present study aims to [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary bone malignancy characterized by an aggressive nature, limited treatment options, low survival rate, and poor patient prognosis. Conditionally replicative adenoviruses (CRAds) armed with immune checkpoint inhibitors hold great potential for enhanced therapeutic efficacy. The present study aims to investigate the anti-tumor efficacy of CAV2-AU-M2, a CAV2-based CRAd armed with an anti-PD-1 single-domain antibody (sdAb), against OS cell lines in vitro. The infection, conditional replication, cytopathic effects, and cytotoxicity of CAV2-AU-M2 were tested in four different OS cell lines in two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) cell cultures. CAV2-AU-M2 showed selective replication in the OS cells and induced efficient tumor cell lysis and death. Moreover, CAV2-AU-M2 produced an anti-PD-1 sdAb that demonstrated effective binding to the PD-1 receptors. This study demonstrated the first CRAd armed with an anti-PD-1 sdAb. This combined approach of two distinct immunotherapies is intended to enhance the anti-tumor immune response in the tumor microenvironment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Cellular Immunotherapy)
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21 pages, 1940 KiB  
Review
Subtype Transdifferentiation in Human Cancer: The Power of Tissue Plasticity in Tumor Progression
by Monica Fedele, Laura Cerchia and Sabrina Battista
Cells 2024, 13(4), 350; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040350 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
The classification of tumors into subtypes, characterized by phenotypes determined by specific differentiation pathways, aids diagnosis and directs therapy towards targeted approaches. However, with the advent and explosion of next-generation sequencing, cancer phenotypes are turning out to be far more heterogenous than initially [...] Read more.
The classification of tumors into subtypes, characterized by phenotypes determined by specific differentiation pathways, aids diagnosis and directs therapy towards targeted approaches. However, with the advent and explosion of next-generation sequencing, cancer phenotypes are turning out to be far more heterogenous than initially thought, and the classification is continually being updated to include more subtypes. Tumors are indeed highly dynamic, and they can evolve and undergo various changes in their characteristics during disease progression. The picture becomes even more complex when the tumor responds to a therapy. In all these cases, cancer cells acquire the ability to transdifferentiate, changing subtype, and adapt to changing microenvironments. These modifications affect the tumor’s growth rate, invasiveness, response to treatment, and overall clinical behavior. Studying tumor subtype transitions is crucial for understanding tumor evolution, predicting disease outcomes, and developing personalized treatment strategies. We discuss this emerging hallmark of cancer and the molecular mechanisms involved at the crossroads between tumor cells and their microenvironment, focusing on four different human cancers in which tissue plasticity causes a subtype switch: breast cancer, prostate cancer, glioblastoma, and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Signaling)
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19 pages, 6394 KiB  
Article
Real-Time Multiphoton Intravital Microscopy of Drug Extravasation in Tumours during Acoustic Cluster Therapy
by Jessica Lage Fernandez, Sofie Snipstad, Astrid Bjørkøy and Catharina de Lange Davies
Cells 2024, 13(4), 349; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040349 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Optimising drug delivery to tumours remains an obstacle to effective cancer treatment. A prerequisite for successful chemotherapy is that the drugs reach all tumour cells. The vascular network of tumours, extravasation across the capillary wall and penetration throughout the extracellular matrix limit the [...] Read more.
Optimising drug delivery to tumours remains an obstacle to effective cancer treatment. A prerequisite for successful chemotherapy is that the drugs reach all tumour cells. The vascular network of tumours, extravasation across the capillary wall and penetration throughout the extracellular matrix limit the delivery of drugs. Ultrasound combined with microbubbles has been shown to improve the therapeutic response in preclinical and clinical studies. Most studies apply microbubbles designed as ultrasound contrast agents. Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®) is a novel approach based on ultrasound-activated microbubbles, which have a diameter 5–10 times larger than regular contrast agent microbubbles. An advantage of using such large microbubbles is that they are in contact with a larger part of the capillary wall, and the oscillating microbubbles exert more effective biomechanical effects on the vessel wall. In accordance with this, ACT® has shown promising therapeutic results in combination with various drugs and drug-loaded nanoparticles. Knowledge of the mechanism and behaviour of drugs and microbubbles is needed to optimise ACT®. Real-time intravital microscopy (IVM) is a useful tool for such studies. This paper presents the experimental setup design for visualising ACT® microbubbles within the vasculature of tumours implanted in dorsal window (DW) chambers. It presents ultrasound setups, the integration and alignment of the ultrasound field with the optical system in live animal experiments, and the methodologies for visualisation and analysing the recordings. Dextran was used as a fluorescent marker to visualise the blood vessels and to trace drug extravasation and penetration into the extracellular matrix. The results reveal that the experimental setup successfully recorded the kinetics of extravasation and penetration distances into the extracellular matrix, offering a deeper understanding of ACT’s mechanisms and potential in localised drug delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Intravital and Live Cell Imaging)
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18 pages, 4256 KiB  
Article
Dental Pulp Cell Transplantation Combined with Regenerative Endodontic Procedures Promotes Dentin Matrix Formation in Mature Mouse Molars
by Jorge Luis Montenegro Raudales, Yuta Okuwa and Masaki Honda
Cells 2024, 13(4), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040348 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 803
Abstract
Regenerative endodontic procedures (REPs) are promising for dental pulp tissue regeneration; however, their application in permanent teeth remains challenging. We assessed the potential combination of an REP and local dental pulp cell (DPC) transplantation in the mature molars of C57BL/6 mice with (REP [...] Read more.
Regenerative endodontic procedures (REPs) are promising for dental pulp tissue regeneration; however, their application in permanent teeth remains challenging. We assessed the potential combination of an REP and local dental pulp cell (DPC) transplantation in the mature molars of C57BL/6 mice with (REP + DPC group) or without (REP group) transplantation of DPCs from green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice. After 4 weeks, the regenerated tissue was evaluated by micro-computed tomography and histological analyses to detect odontoblasts, vasculogenesis, and neurogenesis. DPCs were assessed for mesenchymal and pluripotency markers. Four weeks after the REP, the molars showed no signs of periapical lesions, and both the REP and REP + DPC groups exhibited a pulp-like tissue composed of a cellular matrix with vessels surrounded by an eosin-stained acellular matrix that resembled hard tissue. However, the REP + DPC group had a broader cellular matrix and uniquely contained odontoblast-like cells co-expressing GFP. Vasculogenesis and neurogenesis were detected in both groups, with the former being more prominent in the REP + DPC group. Overall, the REP was achieved in mature mouse molars and DPC transplantation improved the outcomes by inducing the formation of odontoblast-like cells and greater vasculogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Tissue Stem Cells in Regenerative Dentistry)
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16 pages, 1656 KiB  
Review
Understanding Developmental Cell Death Using Drosophila as a Model System
by Ruchi Umargamwala, Jantina Manning, Loretta Dorstyn, Donna Denton and Sharad Kumar
Cells 2024, 13(4), 347; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040347 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1362
Abstract
Cell death plays an essential function in organismal development, wellbeing, and ageing. Many types of cell deaths have been described in the past 30 years. Among these, apoptosis remains the most conserved type of cell death in metazoans and the most common mechanism [...] Read more.
Cell death plays an essential function in organismal development, wellbeing, and ageing. Many types of cell deaths have been described in the past 30 years. Among these, apoptosis remains the most conserved type of cell death in metazoans and the most common mechanism for deleting unwanted cells. Other types of cell deaths that often play roles in specific contexts or upon pathological insults can be classed under variant forms of cell death and programmed necrosis. Studies in Drosophila have contributed significantly to the understanding and regulation of apoptosis pathways. In addition to this, Drosophila has also served as an essential model to study the genetic basis of autophagy-dependent cell death (ADCD) and other relatively rare types of context-dependent cell deaths. Here, we summarise what is known about apoptosis, ADCD, and other context-specific variant cell death pathways in Drosophila, with a focus on developmental cell death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drosophila Models in Autophagy and Aging)
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24 pages, 1047 KiB  
Review
Harnessing Pyroptosis for Cancer Immunotherapy
by Christopher M. Bourne and Cornelius Y. Taabazuing
Cells 2024, 13(4), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040346 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1500
Abstract
Cancer immunotherapy is a novel pillar of cancer treatment that harnesses the immune system to fight tumors and generally results in robust antitumor immunity. Although immunotherapy has achieved remarkable clinical success for some patients, many patients do not respond, underscoring the need to [...] Read more.
Cancer immunotherapy is a novel pillar of cancer treatment that harnesses the immune system to fight tumors and generally results in robust antitumor immunity. Although immunotherapy has achieved remarkable clinical success for some patients, many patients do not respond, underscoring the need to develop new strategies to promote antitumor immunity. Pyroptosis is an immunostimulatory type of regulated cell death that activates the innate immune system. A hallmark of pyroptosis is the release of intracellular contents such as cytokines, alarmins, and chemokines that can stimulate adaptive immune activation. Recent studies suggest that pyroptosis promotes antitumor immunity. Here, we review the mechanisms by which pyroptosis can be induced and highlight new strategies to induce pyroptosis in cancer cells for antitumor defense. We discuss how pyroptosis modulates the tumor microenvironment to stimulate adaptive immunity and promote antitumor immunity. We also suggest research areas to focus on for continued development of pyroptosis as an anticancer treatment. Pyroptosis-based anticancer therapies offer a promising new avenue for treating immunologically ‘cold’ tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Role of Inflammasome Activation in Innate and Adaptive Immunity)
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17 pages, 306 KiB  
Review
Complexity of the Genetic Background of Oncogenesis in Ovarian Cancer—Genetic Instability and Clinical Implications
by Marek Murawski, Adam Jagodziński, Aleksandra Bielawska-Pohl and Aleksandra Klimczak
Cells 2024, 13(4), 345; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040345 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1417
Abstract
Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of death among women with gynecological cancers, and is often diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to poor outcomes. This review explores genetic aspects of high-grade serous, endometrioid, and clear-cell ovarian carcinomas, emphasizing personalized treatment approaches. Specific mutations [...] Read more.
Ovarian cancer is a leading cause of death among women with gynecological cancers, and is often diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to poor outcomes. This review explores genetic aspects of high-grade serous, endometrioid, and clear-cell ovarian carcinomas, emphasizing personalized treatment approaches. Specific mutations such as TP53 in high-grade serous and BRAF/KRAS in low-grade serous carcinomas highlight the need for tailored therapies. Varying mutation prevalence across subtypes, including BRCA1/2, PTEN, PIK3CA, CTNNB1, and c-myc amplification, offers potential therapeutic targets. This review underscores TP53’s pivotal role and advocates p53 immunohistochemical staining for mutational analysis. BRCA1/2 mutations’ significance as genetic risk factors and their relevance in PARP inhibitor therapy are discussed, emphasizing the importance of genetic testing. This review also addresses the paradoxical better prognosis linked to KRAS and BRAF mutations in ovarian cancer. ARID1A, PIK3CA, and PTEN alterations in platinum resistance contribute to the genetic landscape. Therapeutic strategies, like restoring WT p53 function and exploring PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors, are considered. The evolving understanding of genetic factors in ovarian carcinomas supports tailored therapeutic approaches based on individual tumor genetic profiles. Ongoing research shows promise for advancing personalized treatments and refining genetic testing in neoplastic diseases, including ovarian cancer. Clinical genetic screening tests can identify women at increased risk, guiding predictive cancer risk-reducing surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Disorders in Breast and Ovarian Cancer)
13 pages, 6059 KiB  
Article
Morphological Changes of 3T3 Cells under Simulated Microgravity
by Minh Thi Tran, Chi Nguyen Quynh Ho, Son Nghia Hoang, Chung Chinh Doan, Minh Thai Nguyen, Huy Duc Van, Cang Ngoc Ly, Cuong Phan Minh Le, Huy Nghia Quang Hoang, Han Thai Minh Nguyen, Han Thi Truong, Quan Minh To, Tram Thi Thuy Nguyen and Long Thanh Le
Cells 2024, 13(4), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040344 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 860
Abstract
Background: Cells are sensitive to changes in gravity, especially the cytoskeletal structures that determine cell morphology. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of simulated microgravity (SMG) on 3T3 cell morphology, as demonstrated by a characterization of the morphology of [...] Read more.
Background: Cells are sensitive to changes in gravity, especially the cytoskeletal structures that determine cell morphology. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of simulated microgravity (SMG) on 3T3 cell morphology, as demonstrated by a characterization of the morphology of cells and nuclei, alterations of microfilaments and microtubules, and changes in cycle progression. Methods: 3T3 cells underwent induced SMG for 72 h with Gravite®, while the control group was under 1G. Fluorescent staining was applied to estimate the morphology of cells and nuclei and the cytoskeleton distribution of 3T3 cells. Cell cycle progression was assessed by using the cell cycle app of the Cytell microscope, and Western blot was conducted to determine the expression of the major structural proteins and main cell cycle regulators. Results: The results show that SMG led to decreased nuclear intensity, nuclear area, and nuclear shape and increased cell diameter in 3T3 cells. The 3T3 cells in the SMG group appeared to have a flat form and diminished microvillus formation, while cells in the control group displayed an apical shape and abundant microvilli. The 3T3 cells under SMG exhibited microtubule distribution surrounding the nucleus, compared to the perinuclear accumulation in control cells. Irregular forms of the contractile ring and polar spindle were observed in 3T3 cells under SMG. The changes in cytoskeleton structure were caused by alterations in the expression of major cytoskeletal proteins, including β-actin and α-tubulin 3. Moreover, SMG induced 3T3 cells into the arrest phase by reducing main cell cycle related genes, which also affected the formation of cytoskeleton structures such as microfilaments and microtubules. Conclusions: These results reveal that SMG generated morphological changes in 3T3 cells by remodeling the cytoskeleton structure and downregulating major structural proteins and cell cycle regulators. Full article
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18 pages, 772 KiB  
Review
In Vivo Reprogramming Using Yamanaka Factors in the CNS: A Scoping Review
by Han Eol Cho, Siwoo Lee, Jung Hwa Seo, Seong-Woong Kang, Won Ah Choi and Sung-Rae Cho
Cells 2024, 13(4), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040343 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1115
Abstract
Central nervous system diseases, particularly neurodegenerative disorders, pose significant challenges in medicine. These conditions, characterized by progressive neuronal loss, have remained largely incurable, exacting a heavy toll on individuals and society. In recent years, in vivo reprogramming using Yamanaka factors has emerged as [...] Read more.
Central nervous system diseases, particularly neurodegenerative disorders, pose significant challenges in medicine. These conditions, characterized by progressive neuronal loss, have remained largely incurable, exacting a heavy toll on individuals and society. In recent years, in vivo reprogramming using Yamanaka factors has emerged as a promising approach for central nervous system regeneration. This technique involves introducing transcription factors, such as Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, and c-Myc, into adult cells to induce their conversion into neurons. This review summarizes the current state of in vivo reprogramming research in the central nervous system, focusing on the use of Yamanaka factors. In vivo reprogramming using Yamanaka factors has shown promising results in several animal models of central nervous system diseases. Studies have demonstrated that this approach can promote the generation of new neurons, improve functional outcomes, and reduce scar formation. However, there are still several challenges that need to be addressed before this approach can be translated into clinical practice. These challenges include optimizing the efficiency of reprogramming, understanding the cell of origin for each transcription factor, and developing methods for reprogramming in non-subventricular zone areas. Further research is needed to overcome the remaining challenges, but this approach has the potential to revolutionize the way we treat central nervous system disorders. Full article
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17 pages, 1280 KiB  
Article
A Proteomic Investigation to Discover Candidate Proteins Involved in Novel Mechanisms of 5-Fluorouracil Resistance in Colorectal Cancer
by Mario Ortega Duran, Sadr ul Shaheed, Christopher W. Sutton and Steven D. Shnyder
Cells 2024, 13(4), 342; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040342 - 14 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
One of the main obstacles to therapeutic success in colorectal cancer (CRC) is the development of acquired resistance to treatment with drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Whilst some resistance mechanisms are well known, it is clear from the stasis in therapy success rate [...] Read more.
One of the main obstacles to therapeutic success in colorectal cancer (CRC) is the development of acquired resistance to treatment with drugs such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). Whilst some resistance mechanisms are well known, it is clear from the stasis in therapy success rate that much is still unknown. Here, a proteomics approach is taken towards identification of candidate proteins using 5-FU-resistant sublines of human CRC cell lines generated in house. Using a multiplexed stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) strategy, 5-FU-resistant and equivalently passaged sensitive cell lines were compared to parent cell lines by growing in Heavy medium with 2D liquid chromatography and Orbitrap Fusion™ Tribrid™ Mass Spectrometry analysis. Among 3003 commonly quantified proteins, six (CD44, APP, NAGLU, CORO7, AGR2, PLSCR1) were found up-regulated, and six (VPS45, RBMS2, RIOK1, RAP1GDS1, POLR3D, CD55) down-regulated. A total of 11 of the 12 proteins have a known association with drug resistance mechanisms or role in CRC oncogenesis. Validation through immunodetection techniques confirmed high expression of CD44 and CD63, two known drug resistance mediators with elevated proteomics expression results. The information revealed by the sensitivity of this method warrants it as an important tool for elaborating the complexity of acquired drug resistance in CRC. Full article
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25 pages, 3239 KiB  
Review
Wound Repair of the Cell Membrane: Lessons from Dictyostelium Cells
by Shigehiko Yumura
Cells 2024, 13(4), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040341 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 936
Abstract
The cell membrane is frequently subjected to damage, either through physical or chemical means. The swift restoration of the cell membrane’s integrity is crucial to prevent the leakage of intracellular materials and the uncontrolled influx of extracellular ions. Consequently, wound repair plays a [...] Read more.
The cell membrane is frequently subjected to damage, either through physical or chemical means. The swift restoration of the cell membrane’s integrity is crucial to prevent the leakage of intracellular materials and the uncontrolled influx of extracellular ions. Consequently, wound repair plays a vital role in cell survival, akin to the importance of DNA repair. The mechanisms involved in wound repair encompass a series of events, including ion influx, membrane patch formation, endocytosis, exocytosis, recruitment of the actin cytoskeleton, and the elimination of damaged membrane sections. Despite the absence of a universally accepted general model, diverse molecular models have been proposed for wound repair in different organisms. Traditional wound methods not only damage the cell membrane but also impact intracellular structures, including the underlying cortical actin networks, microtubules, and organelles. In contrast, the more recent improved laserporation selectively targets the cell membrane. Studies on Dictyostelium cells utilizing this method have introduced a novel perspective on the wound repair mechanism. This review commences by detailing methods for inducing wounds and subsequently reviews recent developments in the field. Full article
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23 pages, 1693 KiB  
Systematic Review
Salivary Biomarkers for Parkinson’s Disease: A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis
by Kacper Nijakowski, Wojciech Owecki, Jakub Jankowski and Anna Surdacka
Cells 2024, 13(4), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040340 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1021
Abstract
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease which manifests with motor features, such as bradykinesia, resting tremor, rigidity, and postural instability. Using the non-invasive technique of saliva collection, we designed a systematic review to answer the question “Are salivary biomarkers reliable for [...] Read more.
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a common neurodegenerative disease which manifests with motor features, such as bradykinesia, resting tremor, rigidity, and postural instability. Using the non-invasive technique of saliva collection, we designed a systematic review to answer the question “Are salivary biomarkers reliable for the diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease?”. Following inclusion and exclusion criteria, 30 studies were included in this systematic review (according to the PRISMA statement guidelines). Mostly proteins were reported as potential biomarkers in saliva. Based on meta-analysis, in PD patients, salivary levels of total alpha-synuclein were significantly decreased, and those of oligomeric alpha-synuclein were significantly increased. Also, according to pooled AUC, heme oxygenase-1 demonstrated significant predictive value for saliva-based PD diagnosis. In conclusion, some potential biomarkers, especially alpha-synuclein, can be altered in the saliva of PD patients, which could be reliably useful for early diagnosis of this neurodegenerative disease differentiating other synucleopathies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation and Biomarkers in Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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23 pages, 1994 KiB  
Review
ICAMs in Immunity, Intercellular Adhesion and Communication
by Claudia Guerra-Espinosa, María Jiménez-Fernández, Francisco Sánchez-Madrid and Juan M. Serrador
Cells 2024, 13(4), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040339 - 14 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1052
Abstract
Interactions among leukocytes and leukocytes with immune-associated auxiliary cells represent an essential feature of the immune response that requires the involvement of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). In the immune system, CAMs include a wide range of members pertaining to different structural and functional [...] Read more.
Interactions among leukocytes and leukocytes with immune-associated auxiliary cells represent an essential feature of the immune response that requires the involvement of cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). In the immune system, CAMs include a wide range of members pertaining to different structural and functional families involved in cell development, activation, differentiation and migration. Among them, β2 integrins (LFA-1, Mac-1, p150,95 and αDβ2) are predominantly involved in homotypic and heterotypic leukocyte adhesion. β2 integrins bind to intercellular (I)CAMs, actin cytoskeleton-linked receptors belonging to immunoglobulin superfamily (IgSF)-CAMs expressed by leukocytes and vascular endothelial cells, enabling leukocyte activation and transendothelial migration. β2 integrins have long been viewed as the most important ICAMs partners, propagating intracellular signalling from β2 integrin-ICAM adhesion receptor interaction. In this review, we present previous evidence from pioneering studies and more recent findings supporting an important role for ICAMs in signal transduction. We also discuss the contribution of immune ICAMs (ICAM-1, -2, and -3) to reciprocal cell signalling and function in processes in which β2 integrins supposedly take the lead, paying particular attention to T cell activation, differentiation and migration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Leukocyte Migration and Location in Health and Disease)
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16 pages, 1883 KiB  
Perspective
Perspective Strategies for Interventions in Parkinsonism: Remedying the Neglected Role of TPPP
by Judit Oláh, Vic Norris, Attila Lehotzky and Judit Ovádi
Cells 2024, 13(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040338 - 14 Feb 2024
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Neurological disorders such as Parkinsonism cause serious socio-economic problems as there are, at present, only therapies that treat their symptoms. The well-established hallmark alpha-synuclein (SYN) is enriched in the inclusion bodies characteristic of Parkinsonism. We discovered a prominent partner of SYN, termed Tubulin [...] Read more.
Neurological disorders such as Parkinsonism cause serious socio-economic problems as there are, at present, only therapies that treat their symptoms. The well-established hallmark alpha-synuclein (SYN) is enriched in the inclusion bodies characteristic of Parkinsonism. We discovered a prominent partner of SYN, termed Tubulin Polymerization Promoting Protein (TPPP), which has important physiological and pathological activities such as the regulation of the microtubule network and the promotion of SYN aggregation. The role of TPPP in Parkinsonism is often neglected in research, which we here attempt to remedy. In the normal brain, SYN and TPPP are expressed endogenously in neurons and oligodendrocytes, respectively, whilst, at an early stage of Parkinsonism, soluble hetero-associations of these proteins are found in both cell types. The cell-to-cell transmission of these proteins, which is central to disease progression, provides a unique situation for specific drug targeting. Different strategies for intervention and for the discovery of biomarkers include (i) interface targeting of the SYN-TPPP hetero-complex; (ii) proteolytic degradation of SYN and/or TPPP using the PROTAC technology; and (iii) depletion of the proteins by miRNA technology. We also discuss the potential roles of SYN and TPPP in the phenotype stabilization of neurons and oligodendrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Insights into Neurodegenerative Diseases)
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28 pages, 1581 KiB  
Review
Extracellular Vesicles, Circulating Tumor Cells, and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: Hints and Promises
by Sara Bandini, Paola Ulivi and Tania Rossi
Cells 2024, 13(4), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040337 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 932
Abstract
Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has revolutionized the treatment of cancer, in particular lung cancer, while the introduction of predictive biomarkers from liquid biopsies has emerged as a promising tool to achieve an effective and personalized therapy response. Important progress has also been [...] Read more.
Immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) therapy has revolutionized the treatment of cancer, in particular lung cancer, while the introduction of predictive biomarkers from liquid biopsies has emerged as a promising tool to achieve an effective and personalized therapy response. Important progress has also been made in the molecular characterization of extracellular vesicles (EVs) and circulating tumor cells (CTCs), highlighting their tremendous potential in modulating the tumor microenvironment, acting on immunomodulatory pathways, and setting up the pre-metastatic niche. Surface antigens on EVs and CTCs have proved to be particularly useful in the case of the characterization of potential immune escape mechanisms through the expression of immunosuppressive ligands or the transport of cargos that may mitigate the antitumor immune function. On the other hand, novel approaches, to increase the expression of immunostimulatory molecules or cargo contents that can enhance the immune response, offer premium options in combinatorial clinical strategies for precision immunotherapy. In this review, we discuss recent advances in the identification of immune checkpoints using EVs and CTCs, their potential applications as predictive biomarkers for ICI therapy, and their prospective use as innovative clinical tools, considering that CTCs have already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use, but providing good reasons to intensify the research on both. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Extracellular Vesicles and Nucleic Acids in Health and Disease)
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23 pages, 1545 KiB  
Review
Challenges and Promise for Glioblastoma Treatment through Extracellular Vesicle Inquiry
by Giovanna L. Liguori
Cells 2024, 13(4), 336; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040336 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1096
Abstract
Glioblastoma (GB) is a rare but extremely aggressive brain tumor that significantly impacts patient outcomes, affecting both duration and quality of life. The protocol established by Stupp and colleagues in 2005, based on radiotherapy and chemotherapy with Temozolomide, following maximum safe surgical resection [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma (GB) is a rare but extremely aggressive brain tumor that significantly impacts patient outcomes, affecting both duration and quality of life. The protocol established by Stupp and colleagues in 2005, based on radiotherapy and chemotherapy with Temozolomide, following maximum safe surgical resection remains the gold standard for GB treatment; however, it is evident nowadays that the extreme intratumoral and intertumoral heterogeneity, as well as the invasiveness and tendency to recur, of GB are not compatible with a routine and unfortunately ineffective treatment. This review article summarizes the main challenges in the search for new valuable therapies for GB and focuses on the impact that extracellular vesicle (EV) research and exploitation may have in the field. EVs are natural particles delimited by a lipidic bilayer and filled with functional cellular content that are released and uptaken by cells as key means of cell communication. Furthermore, EVs are stable in body fluids and well tolerated by the immune system, and are able to cross physiological, interspecies, and interkingdom barriers and to target specific cells, releasing inherent or externally loaded functionally active molecules. Therefore, EVs have the potential to be ideal allies in the fight against GB and to improve the prognosis for GB patients. The present work describes the main preclinical results obtained so far on the use of EVs for GB treatment, focusing on both the EV sources and molecular cargo used in the various functional studies, primarily in vivo. Finally, a SWOT analysis is performed, highlighting the main advantages and pitfalls of developing EV-based GB therapeutic strategies. The analysis also suggests the main directions to explore to realize the possibility of exploiting EVs for the treatment of GB. Full article
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22 pages, 1136 KiB  
Review
Innate Lymphoid Cells and Their Role in the Immune Response to Infections
by Marek Fol, Wojciech Karpik, Agnieszka Zablotni, Jakub Kulesza, Ewelina Kulesza, Magdalena Godkowicz and Magdalena Druszczynska
Cells 2024, 13(4), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040335 - 13 Feb 2024
Viewed by 980
Abstract
Over the past decade, a group of lymphocyte-like cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) has gained considerable attention due to their crucial role in regulating immunity and tissue homeostasis. ILCs, lacking antigen-specific receptors, are a group of functionally differentiated effector cells that act [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, a group of lymphocyte-like cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) has gained considerable attention due to their crucial role in regulating immunity and tissue homeostasis. ILCs, lacking antigen-specific receptors, are a group of functionally differentiated effector cells that act as tissue-resident sentinels against infections. Numerous studies have elucidated the characteristics of ILC subgroups, but the mechanisms controlling protective or pathological responses to pathogens still need to be better understood. This review summarizes the functions of ILCs in the immunology of infections caused by different intracellular and extracellular pathogens and discusses their possible therapeutic potential. Full article
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16 pages, 1284 KiB  
Review
P. falciparum Invasion and Erythrocyte Aging
by María Fernanda Alves-Rosa, Nicole M. Tayler, Doriana Dorta, Lorena M. Coronado and Carmenza Spadafora
Cells 2024, 13(4), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells13040334 - 12 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1246
Abstract
Plasmodium parasites need to find red blood cells (RBCs) that, on the one hand, expose receptors for the pathogen ligands and, on the other hand, maintain the right geometry to facilitate merozoite attachment and entry into the red blood cell. Both characteristics change [...] Read more.
Plasmodium parasites need to find red blood cells (RBCs) that, on the one hand, expose receptors for the pathogen ligands and, on the other hand, maintain the right geometry to facilitate merozoite attachment and entry into the red blood cell. Both characteristics change with the maturation of erythrocytes. Some Plasmodia prefer younger vs. older erythrocytes. How does the life evolution of the RBC affect the invasion of the parasite? What happens when the RBC ages? In this review, we present what is known up until now. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cellular Aging)
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