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Articles by J Ren
Total Records ( 6 ) for J Ren
  Y Huang , X Yan , J. X Zhao , M. J Zhu , R. J McCormick , S. P Ford , P. W Nathanielsz , J Ren and M. Du

Maternal obesity (MO) has harmful effects on both fetal development and subsequent offspring health. The impact of MO on fetal myocardium development has received little attention. Fibrogenesis is regulated by the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)/p38 signaling pathway. Using the well-established model of MO in pregnant sheep, we evaluated the effect of MO on TGF-β/p38 and collagen accumulation in fetal myocardium. Nonpregnant ewes were assigned to a control diet [Con, fed 100% of National Research Council (NRC) nutrient recommendations] or obesogenic diet (OB, fed 150% of NRC recommendations) from 60 days before conception. Fetal ventricular muscle was sampled at 75 and 135 days of gestation (dG). At 75 dG, the expression of precursor TGF-β was 39.9 ± 9.9% higher (P < 0.05) in OB than Con fetal myocardium, consistent with the higher content of phosphorylated Smad3 in OB myocardium. The phosphorylation of p38 tended to be higher in OB myocardium (P = 0.08). In addition, enhanced Smad complexes were bound to Smad-binding elements in 75 dG OB fetal myocardium measured by DNA mobility shift assay (130.2 ± 26.0% higher, P < 0.05). Similar elevation of TGF-β signaling was observed in OB fetal myocardium at 135 dG. Total collagen concentration in OB was greater than Con fetal myocardium (2.42 ± 0.16 vs. 1.87 ± 0.04%, P < 0.05). Matrix metalloproteinase-9 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-3 were higher in the Con group compared with OB sheep (43.86 ± 16.01 and 37.23 ± 7.97% respectively, P < 0.05). In summary, MO results in greater fetal heart connective tissue accumulation associated with an upregulated TGF-β/p38 signaling pathway at late gestation; such changes would be expected to negatively impact offspring heart function.

  Y Etzion , A Hackett , B. M Proctor , J Ren , B Nolan , T Ellenberger and A. J. Muslin

Macrophage-derived foam cells are thought to play a major role in atherosclerotic lesion formation and progression. An automated assay was established to evaluate the uptake of fluorescently labeled oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) by a monocyte/macrophage cell line. The assay was used to screen 480 known bioactive compounds. Twenty-two active compounds were identified. Efficacy studies in peritoneal macrophages demonstrated a high rate of concordance with the initial screening results. Inhibitory compounds confirmed important previous findings and identified new drugs of interest including: 3 blockers of nuclear factor b activation, 2 protein kinase C inhibitors, a phospholipase C inhibitor, and 2 antipsychotic drugs. In addition, an opioid receptor agonist was found to increase the oxLDL uptake of macrophages. The involvement of nuclear factor B in oxLDL uptake was validated in peritoneal macrophages in vivo. The results support a model in which oxLDL uptake is dependent on the activation of multiple intracellular signaling pathways that culminate in actin-mediated lipoprotein internalization.

  S Liu , W Tang , J Fang , J Ren , H Li , Z Xiao and L. D. Quarles

We used gene array analysis of cortical bone to identify Phex-dependent gene transcripts associated with abnormal Fgf23 production and mineralization in Hyp mice. We found evidence that elevation of Fgf23 expression in osteocytes is associated with increments in Fgf1, Fgf7, and Egr2 and decrements in Sost, an inhibitor in the Wnt-signaling pathway, were observed in Hyp bone. β-Catenin levels were increased in Hyp cortical bone, and TOPflash luciferase reporter assay showed increased transcriptional activity in Hyp-derived osteoblasts, consistent with Wnt activation. Moreover, activation of Fgf and Wnt-signaling stimulated Fgf23 promoter activity in osteoblasts. We also observed reductions in Bmp1, a metalloproteinase that metabolizes the extracellular matrix protein Dmp1. Alterations were also found in enzymes regulating the posttranslational processing and stability of Fgf23, including decrements in the glycosyltransferase Galnt3 and the proprotein convertase Pcsk5. In addition, we found that the Pcsk5 and the glycosyltransferase Galnt3 were decreased in Hyp bone, suggesting that reduced posttranslational processing of FGF23 may also contribute to increased Fgf23 levels in Hyp mice. With regard to mineralization, we identified additional candidates to explain the intrinsic mineralization defect in Hyp osteoblasts, including increases in the mineralization inhibitors Mgp and Thbs4, as well as increases in local pH-altering factors, carbonic anhydrase 12 (Car12) and 3 (Car3) and the sodium-dependent citrate transporter (Slc13a5). These studies demonstrate the complexity of gene expression alterations in bone that accompanies inactivating Phex mutations and identify novel pathways that may coordinate Fgf23 expression and mineralization of extracellular matrix in Hyp bone.

  J Ren , V. C Hascall and A. Wang

Serum-starved, growth-arrested, near confluent rat mesangial cell cultures were stimulated to divide in medium with low (5.6 mm) or high (25.6 mm) glucose. In high glucose cultures Western blots showed large increases in cyclin D3 and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) at 48–72 h, concurrent with the production of a monocyte-adhesive hyaluronan matrix, whereas low glucose and mannitol osmotic control cultures did not. Cyclin D3 small interfering RNA inhibited both the synthesis of this matrix and the up-regulation of C/EBP in cultures exposed to high glucose, indicating that cyclin D3 is a key mediator in regulating responses of dividing mesangial cells to hyperglycemia. A complex with cyclin D3, cyclin-dependent kinase 4, and C/EBP was observed at 48–72 h in the hyperglycemic cultures, and cyclin D3 and C/EBP were spatially co-localized in coalesced perinuclear honeycomb-like structures with embedded hyaluronan. Furthermore, microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3, a marker for autophagy, colocalizes with these structures. These results suggest that cyclin D3 is a central coordinator that controls the organization of a complex set of proteins that regulate autophagy, formation of the monocyte-adhesive hyaluronan matrix, and C/EBP-mediated lipogenesis. Abnormal deposits of hyaluronan, cyclin D3, and C/EBP were present in glomeruli of kidney sections from hyperglycemic rats 4 weeks after streptozotocin treatment, indicating that similar processes likely occur in vivo. Mesangial cell cultures treated with poly(I:C) or tunicamycin in normal glucose media synthesized monocyte-adhesive hyaluronan matrices but with concurrent down-regulation of cyclin D3. This indicates that the cyclin D3 mechanism is induced by hyperglycemia and is distinct from those involved in these cell stress responses.

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