Doctor of Philosophy, University of Toronto (2011)
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a potent lipid signaling molecule, modulates inflammatory responses through activation of downstream G-protein coupled EP(1-4) receptors. Here, we investigated the cell-specific in vivo function of PGE2 signaling through its E-prostanoid 2 (EP2) receptor in murine innate immune responses systemically and in the CNS. In vivo, systemic administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) resulted in a broad induction of cytokines and chemokines in plasma that was significantly attenuated in EP2-deficient mice. Ex vivo stimulation of peritoneal macrophages with LPS elicited proinflammatory responses that were dependent on EP2 signaling and that overlapped with in vivo plasma findings, suggesting that myeloid-lineage EP2 signaling is a major effector of innate immune responses. Conditional deletion of the EP2 receptor in myeloid lineage cells in Cd11bCre;EP2(lox/lox) mice attenuated plasma inflammatory responses and transmission of systemic inflammation to the brain was inhibited, with decreased hippocampal inflammatory gene expression and cerebral cortical levels of IL-6. Conditional deletion of EP2 significantly blunted microglial and astrocytic inflammatory responses to the neurotoxin MPTP and reduced striatal dopamine turnover. Suppression of microglial EP2 signaling also increased numbers of dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra independent of MPTP treatment, suggesting that microglial EP2 may influence development or survival of DA neurons. Unbiased microarray analysis of microglia isolated from adult Cd11bCre;EP2(lox/lox) and control mice demonstrated a broad downregulation of inflammatory pathways with ablation of microglial EP2 receptor. Together, these data identify a cell-specific proinflammatory role for macrophage/microglial EP2 signaling in innate immune responses systemically and in brain.
View details for DOI 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2203-13.2013
View details for Web of Science ID 000325283600033
Much has been learned about the molecular and cellular components critical for the control of immune responses and tolerance. It remains a challenge, however, to control the immune response and tolerance at the system level without causing significant toxicity to normal tissues. Recent studies suggest that microRNA (miRNA) genes, an abundant class of non-coding RNA genes that produce characteristic approximately 22 nucleotides small RNAs, play important roles in immune cells. In this article, we discuss emerging knowledge regarding the functions of miRNA genes in the immune system. We delve into the roles of miRNAs in regulating signaling strength and threshold, homeostasis, and the dynamics of the immune response and tolerance during normal and pathogenic immunological conditions. We also present observations based on analyzes of miR-181 family genes that indicate the potential functions of primary and/or precursor miRNAs in target recognition and explore the impact of these findings on target identification. Finally, we illustrate that despite the subtle effects of miRNAs on gene expression, miRNAs have the potential to influence the outcomes of normal and pathogenic immune responses by controlling the quantitative and dynamic aspects of immune responses. Tuning miRNA functions in immune cells, through gain- and loss-of-function approaches in mice, may reveal novel approach to restore immune equilibrium from pathogenic conditions, such as autoimmune disease and leukemia, without significant toxicity.
View details for DOI 10.1111/imr.12060
View details for Web of Science ID 000317078800009
View details for PubMedID 23550642