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Overview of Comprehensive Hepatitis C Virus Medication Management in a State Medicaid Program

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:45am

BACKGROUND: Breakthrough direct-acting antivirals set a new standard in the management of hepatitis C virus (HCV) with regard to cure rates and improved tolerability; however, the health care system is challenged by the cost of these medications.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the effect of a comprehensive HCV medication management program on optimized regimen use, prior authorization (PA) modifications, and medication cost avoidance in a state Medicaid program.

METHODS: This program consists of a 2-tiered prescriber outreach: (1) regimen outreach to promote optimized regimen selection and (2) refill outreach to support medication adherence. PA criteria were developed to identify optimized regimens, taking into account member- and virus-specific factors as well as cost. Prescriber outreach was conducted to recommend the use of an optimized regimen as applicable. Successful regimen outreach was defined as the number of members for whom a recommendation was accepted. A refill report identified members without a subsequent paid HCV medication claim within 25 days of the previous claim and outreach to the prescriber's office was performed. The outcome measure for refill outreach was the number and type of PA modifications made secondary to outreach (closure or extension). Cost avoidance was calculated for members who completed treatment with an optimized regimen. Return on investment (ROI) was calculated for the program.

RESULTS: Between December 18, 2013, and January 31, 2015, 911 members had PA requests approved for simeprevir, sofosbuvir, or ledipasvir/ sofosbuvir. Of these members, 223 (24.5%) met the criteria for regimen outreach. Pharmacist interventions to treat with an optimized regimen were accepted for 135 members (60.5%). Following implementation of prescriber outreach to promote refills, between March 10, 2014, and January 31, 2015, offices were informed of an upcoming refill for 515 members. As a result of outreach, 19.6% of members had a subsequent PA modification. Sixty-nine approved PAs (for 68 members) were closed after correspondence with the prescriber, and 33 approved PAs (for 33 members) were extended. The total projected cost avoidance was $3,770,097. The comprehensive HCV medication management program demonstrated an ROI of $10.28 for every $1 spent.

CONCLUSIONS: A comprehensive HCV medication management program can help contain costs while ensuring that members have access to most clinically appropriate regimens.

Including Language Access into Medicaid ACO Design

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:45am

Quality health care relies upon communication in a patient's preferred language. Language access in health care occurs when individuals are: (1) Welcomed by providers regardless of language ability; and (2) Offered quality language services as part of their care. Federal law generally requires access to health care and quality language services for deaf and Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients in health care settings, but these patients still find it hard to access health care and quality language services.Meanwhile, several states are implementing Medicaid Accountable Care Organization (ACO) initiatives to reduce health care costs and improve health care quality. Alternative payment methods used in these initiatives can give Accountable Care Organizations more flexibility to design linguistically accessible care, but they can also put ACOs at increased financial risk for the cost of care. If these new payment methods do not account for differences in patient language needs, ACO initiatives could have the unintended consequence of rewarding ACOs who do not reach out to deaf and LEP communities or offer quality language services.We reviewed public documents related to Medicaid ACO initiatives in six states. Some of these documents address language access. More could be done, however, to pay for language access efforts. This article describes Medicaid ACO initiatives and explores how different payment tools could be leveraged to reward ACOs for increased access to care and quality language services. We find that a combination of payment tools might be helpful to encourage both access and quality.

AMCP Partnership Forum: Navigating Innovations in Diabetes Care

Fri, 01/13/2017 - 11:45am

New developments that provide opportunities to enhance cost-effective diabetes care include advances in the pharmacologic treatment of diabetes, new drug delivery devices, innovations in patient management strategies, contracting strategies that incentivize effective interventions, and mobile health technologies. Payers must carefully consider the utility of these advances when making coverage decisions and designing benefits. To engage national stakeholders in a discussion about how to utilize innovations in diabetes care to optimize patient outcomes, the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy organized the Partnership Forum on Navigating Innovations in Diabetes Care in Arlington, Virginia, on July 19-20, 2016. The forum explored current trends and advances in diabetes treatments and engaged in discussions about how organizations can leverage these emerging options to develop strategies that improve coordination of care and patient outcomes, while managing limited health resources. Additionally, stakeholders were tasked with identifying gaps in evidence that hinder decision making around novel therapies and other advances that are of direct relevance to managed care organizations.

Histopathological Characterization of the Dystrophic Phenotype and Development of Therapeutic Candidates for a Gene Therapy Pre-Clinical Study in Dysferlin Deficient Mice

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 2:00pm

Dysferlin deficient muscular dystrophy is a devastating disease that leads to loss of mobility and quality of life in patients. Dysferlin is a 230 kD protein primarily expressed in skeletal muscle that functions in membrane resealing. Dysferlin loss of function leads to a decrease in the membrane resealing response after injury in skeletal muscle, which is thought to cause degeneration of the musculature over time. Dysferlin cDNA is 7.4 kb and exceeds AAV packaging capacity of ~ 5kb. This thesis focuses on the generation of mini dysferlin mutants that can be packaged in AAV for downstream testing of therapeutic efficacy. In addition, this thesis creates the groundwork for preclinical studies in mice that can potentially be translated to human patients. A mouse model for dysferlin deficiency was characterized and key disease phenotypes were identified. In addition, cell lines carrying a genetically encoded calcium indicator protein, gCaMP, were established to measure mini dysferlin resealing capacity and for downstream testing in vivo.

Increased Glucose-induced Secretion of Glucagon-like Peptide-1 in Mice Lacking the Carcinoembryonic Antigen-related Cell Adhesion Molecule 2 (CEACAM2)

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

Carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 2 (CEACAM2) regulates food intake as demonstrated by hyperphagia in mice with the Ceacam2 null mutation (Cc2(-/-)). This study investigated whether CEACAM2 also regulates insulin secretion. Ceacam2 deletion caused an increase in beta-cell secretory function, as assessed by hyperglycemic clamp analysis, without affecting insulin response. Although CEACAM2 is expressed in pancreatic islets predominantly in non-beta-cells, basal plasma levels of insulin, glucagon and somatostatin, islet areas, and glucose-induced insulin secretion in pooled Cc2(-/-) islets were all normal. Consistent with immunofluorescence analysis showing CEACAM2 expression in distal intestinal villi, Cc2(-/-) mice exhibited a higher release of oral glucose-mediated GLP-1, an incretin that potentiates insulin secretion in response to glucose. Compared with wild type, Cc2(-/-) mice also showed a higher insulin excursion during the oral glucose tolerance test. Pretreating with exendin(9-39), a GLP-1 receptor antagonist, suppressed the effect of Ceacam2 deletion on glucose-induced insulin secretion. Moreover, GLP-1 release into the medium of GLUTag enteroendocrine cells was increased with siRNA-mediated Ceacam2 down-regulation in parallel to an increase in Ca(2+) entry through L-type voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels. Thus, CEACAM2 regulates insulin secretion, at least in part, by a GLP-1-mediated mechanism, independent of confounding metabolic factors.

Emerging evidence for beneficial macrophage functions in atherosclerosis and obesity-induced insulin resistance

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

The discovery that obesity promotes macrophage accumulation in visceral fat led to the emergence of a new field of inquiry termed "immunometabolism". This broad field of study was founded on the premise that inflammation and the corresponding increase in macrophage number and activity was a pathologic feature of metabolic diseases. There is abundant data in both animal and human studies that supports this assertation. Established adverse effects of inflammation in visceral fat include decreased glucose and fatty acid uptake, inhibition of insulin signaling, and ectopic triglyceride accumulation. Likewise, in the atherosclerotic plaque, macrophage accumulation and activation results in plaque expansion and destabilization. Despite these facts, there is an accumulating body of evidence that macrophages also have beneficial functions in both atherosclerosis and visceral obesity. Potentially beneficial functions that are common to these different contexts include the regulation of efferocytosis, lipid buffering, and anti-inflammatory effects. Autophagy, the process by which cytoplasmic contents are delivered to the lysosome for degradation, is integral to many of these protective biologic functions. The macrophage utilizes autophagy as a molecular tool to maintain tissue integrity and homeostasis at baseline (e.g., bone growth) and in the face of ongoing metabolic insults (e.g., fasting, hypercholesterolemia, obesity). Herein, we highlight recent evidence demonstrating that abrogation of certain macrophage functions, in particular autophagy, exacerbates both atherosclerosis and obesity-induced insulin resistance. Insulin signaling through mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a crucial regulatory node that links nutrient availability to macrophage autophagic flux. A more precise understanding of the metabolic substrates and triggers for macrophage autophagy may allow therapeutic manipulation of this pathway. These observations underscore the complexity of the field "immunometabolism", validate its importance, and raise many fascinating and important questions for future study.

Genetic ablation of lymphocytes and cytokine signaling in nonobese diabetic mice prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

Obesity is characterized by a dysregulated immune system, which may causally associate with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Despite widespread use of nonobese diabetic (NOD) mice, NOD with severe combined immunodeficiency (scid) mutation (SCID) mice, and SCID bearing a null mutation in the IL-2 common gamma chain receptor (NSG) mice as animal models of human diseases including type 1 diabetes, the underlying metabolic effects of a genetically altered immune system are poorly understood. For this, we performed a comprehensive metabolic characterization of these mice fed chow or after 6 wk of a high-fat diet. We found that NOD mice had approximately 50% less fat mass and were 2-fold more insulin sensitive, as measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, than C57BL/6 wild-type mice. SCID mice were also more insulin sensitive with increased muscle glucose metabolism and resistant to diet-induced obesity due to increased energy expenditure ( approximately 10%) and physical activity ( approximately 40%) as measured by metabolic cages. NSG mice were completely protected from diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance with significant increases in glucose metabolism in peripheral organs. Our findings demonstrate an important role of genetic background, lymphocytes, and cytokine signaling in diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.

Peptide- and Amine-Modified Glucan Particles for the Delivery of Therapeutic siRNA

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

Translation of siRNA technology into the clinic is limited by the need for improved delivery systems that target specific cell types. Macrophages are particularly attractive targets for RNAi therapy because they promote pathogenic inflammatory responses in a number of important human diseases. We previously demonstrated that a multicomponent formulation of beta-1,3-d-glucan-encapsulated siRNA particles (GeRPs) can specifically and potently silence genes in mouse macrophages. A major advance would be to simplify the GeRP system by reducing the number of delivery components, thus enabling more facile manufacturing and future commercialization. Here we report the synthesis and evaluation of a simplified glucan-based particle (GP) capable of delivering siRNA in vivo to selectively silence macrophage genes. Covalent attachment of small-molecule amines and short peptides containing weak bases to GPs facilitated electrostatic interaction of the particles with siRNA and aided in the endosomal release of siRNA by the proton-sponge effect. Modified GPs were nontoxic and were efficiently internalized by macrophages in vitro. When injected intraperitoneally (i.p.), several of the new peptide-modified GPs were found to efficiently deliver siRNA to peritoneal macrophages in lean, healthy mice. In an animal model of obesity-induced inflammation, i.p. administration of one of the peptide-modified GPs (GP-EP14) bound to siRNA selectively reduced the expression of target inflammatory cytokines in the visceral adipose tissue macrophages. Decreasing adipose tissue inflammation resulted in an improvement of glucose metabolism in these metabolically challenged animals. Thus, modified GPs represent a promising new simplified system for the efficient delivery of therapeutic siRNAs specifically to phagocytic cells in vivo for modulation of inflammation responses.

PI3-kinase mutation linked to insulin and growth factor resistance in vivo

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway is central to the action of insulin and many growth factors. Heterozygous mutations in the gene encoding the p85alpha regulatory subunit of PI3K (PIK3R1) have been identified in patients with SHORT syndrome - a disorder characterized by short stature, partial lipodystrophy, and insulin resistance. Here, we evaluated whether SHORT syndrome-associated PIK3R1 mutations account for the pathophysiology that underlies the abnormalities by generating knockin mice that are heterozygous for the Pik3r1Arg649Trp mutation, which is homologous to the mutation found in the majority of affected individuals. Similar to the patients, mutant mice exhibited a reduction in body weight and length, partial lipodystrophy, and systemic insulin resistance. These derangements were associated with a reduced capacity of insulin and other growth factors to activate PI3K in liver, muscle, and fat; marked insulin resistance in liver and fat of mutation-harboring animals; and insulin resistance in vitro in cells derived from these mice. In addition, mutant mice displayed defective insulin secretion and GLP-1 action on islets in vivo and in vitro. These data demonstrate the ability of this heterozygous mutation to alter PI3K activity in vivo and the central role of PI3K in insulin/growth factor action, adipocyte function, and glucose metabolism.

Standard Definitions and Common Data Elements for Clinical Trials in Patients With Alcoholic Hepatitis: Recommendation From the NIAAA Alcoholic Hepatitis Consortia

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

Heavy drinkers are at risk for a spectrum of histologic alcohol-related liver injury: steatosis, alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), alcohol-related fibrosis, and cirrhosis. Alcoholic hepatitis (AH), the clinical entity associated with severe ASH, has high short-term mortality. The standard-of-care therapy, prednisolone, has limited efficacy and many side effects; no other treatment has consistently shown survival benefit. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)-funded Alcoholic Hepatitis Consortia carry out translational research on pathophysiologic mechanisms, genetic and environmental risk factors, phase II clinical trials, and development of biomarkers. The consortia members were convened by the National Institutes of Health to address diagnostic criteria and practical issues related to clinical AH research, and to develop a set of common data elements to harmonize ongoing and future trials. This was accomplished through 3 face-to-face meetings of the investigators and representatives of the National Institutes of Health, and subsequent electronic communications over the course of 6 months. Evidence for the recommendations was based on published trials and observational data from several of the consortia members. A draft manuscript was iteratively reviewed by members of the consortia. The goal was to reach agreements on recommendations and definitions that could facilitate trial design, and simultaneously be tested by research groups pooling their data. The recommendations made here are specifically directed to achieve better uniformity in clinical trials, rather than serving as clinical practice guidelines.

Dietary Betaine Supplementation Increases Fgf21 Levels to Improve Glucose Homeostasis and Reduce Hepatic Lipid Accumulation in Mice

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

Identifying markers of human insulin resistance may permit development of new approaches for treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes. To this end, we analyzed the fasting plasma metabolome in metabolically characterized human volunteers across a spectrum of insulin resistance. We demonstrate that plasma betaine levels are reduced in insulin-resistant humans and correlate closely with insulin sensitivity. Moreover, betaine administration to mice with diet-induced obesity prevents the development of impaired glucose homeostasis, reduces hepatic lipid accumulation, increases white adipose oxidative capacity, and enhances whole-body energy expenditure. In parallel with these beneficial metabolic effects, betaine supplementation robustly increased hepatic and circulating fibroblast growth factor (Fgf)21 levels. Betaine administration failed to improve glucose homeostasis and liver fat content in Fgf21(-/-) mice, demonstrating that Fgf21 is necessary for betaine's beneficial effects. Together, these data indicate that dietary betaine increases Fgf21 levels to improve metabolic health in mice and suggest that betaine supplementation merits further investigation as a supplement for treatment or prevention of type 2 diabetes in humans.

Emerging Complexities in Adipocyte Origins and Identity

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

The global incidence of obesity and its comorbidities continues to rise along with a demand for novel therapeutic interventions. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is attracting attention as a therapeutic target because of its presence in adult humans and high capacity to dissipate energy as heat, and thus burn excess calories, when stimulated. Another potential avenue for therapeutic intervention is to induce, within white adipose tissue (WAT), the formation of brown-like adipocytes called brite (brown-like-in-white) or beige adipocytes. However, understanding how to harness the potential of these thermogenic cells requires a deep understanding of their developmental origins and regulation. Recent cell-labeling and lineage-tracing experiments are beginning to shed light on this emerging area of adipocyte biology. We review here adipocyte development, giving particular attention to thermogenic adipocytes.

Cardiac-Specific Disruption of GH Receptor Alters Glucose Homeostasis While Maintaining Normal Cardiac Performance in Adult Male Mice

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

GH is considered necessary for the proper development and maintenance of several tissues, including the heart. Studies conducted in both GH receptor null and bovine GH transgenic mice have demonstrated specific cardiac structural and functional changes. In each of these mouse lines, however, GH-induced signaling is altered systemically, being decreased in GH receptor null mice and increased in bovine GH transgenic mice. Therefore, to clarify the direct effects GH has on cardiac tissue, we developed a tamoxifen-inducible, cardiac-specific GHR disrupted (iC-GHRKO) mouse line. Cardiac GH receptor was disrupted in 4-month-old iC-GHRKO mice to avoid developmental effects due to perinatal GHR gene disruption. Surprisingly, iC-GHRKO mice showed no difference vs controls in baseline or postdobutamine stress test echocardiography measurements, nor did iC-GHRKO mice show differences in longitudinal systolic blood pressure measurements. Interestingly, iC-GHRKO mice had decreased fat mass and improved insulin sensitivity at 6.5 months of age. By 12.5 months of age, however, iC-GHRKO mice no longer had significant decreases in fat mass and had developed glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Furthermore, investigation via immunoblot analysis demonstrated that iC-GHRKO mice had appreciably decreased insulin stimulated Akt phosphorylation, specifically in heart and liver, but not in epididymal white adipose tissue. These changes were accompanied by a decrease in circulating IGF-1 levels in 12.5-month-old iC-GHRKO mice. These data indicate that whereas the disruption of cardiomyocyte GH-induced signaling in adult mice does not affect cardiac function, it does play a role in systemic glucose homeostasis, in part through modulation of circulating IGF-1.

Role of MicroRNAs in NAFLD/NASH

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are highly conserved, small, 18-25 nucleotide, non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Each miRNA can regulate hundreds of target genes, and vice versa each target gene can be regulated by numerous miRNAs, suggesting a very complex network and explaining how miRNAs play pivotal roles in fine-tuning essentially all biological processes in all cell types in the liver. Here, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of miRNAs in the pathogenesis and diagnosis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with an outlook to the broader aspects of metabolic syndrome. Furthermore, we discuss the role of miRNAs as potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets in NAFLD/NASH.

Activation of mTORC1 is essential for beta-adrenergic stimulation of adipose browning

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

A classic metabolic concept posits that insulin promotes energy storage and adipose expansion, while catecholamines stimulate release of adipose energy stores by hydrolysis of triglycerides through beta-adrenergic receptor (betaARs) and protein kinase A (PKA) signaling. Here, we have shown that a key hub in the insulin signaling pathway, activation of p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (S6K1) through mTORC1, is also triggered by PKA activation in both mouse and human adipocytes. Mice with mTORC1 impairment, either through adipocyte-specific deletion of Raptor or pharmacologic rapamycin treatment, were refractory to the well-known betaAR-dependent increase of uncoupling protein UCP1 expression and expansion of beige/brite adipocytes (so-called browning) in white adipose tissue (WAT). Mechanistically, PKA directly phosphorylated mTOR and RAPTOR on unique serine residues, an effect that was independent of insulin/AKT signaling. Abrogation of the PKA site within RAPTOR disrupted betaAR/mTORC1 activation of S6K1 without affecting mTORC1 activation by insulin. Conversely, a phosphomimetic RAPTOR augmented S6K1 activity. Together, these studies reveal a signaling pathway from betaARs and PKA through mTORC1 that is required for adipose browning by catecholamines and provides potential therapeutic strategies to enhance energy expenditure and combat metabolic disease.

Endothelial Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinase Kinase Kinase 4 Is Critical for Lymphatic Vascular Development and Function

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:16am

The molecular mechanisms underlying lymphatic vascular development and function are not well understood. Recent studies have suggested a role for endothelial cell (EC) mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (Map4k4) in developmental angiogenesis and atherosclerosis. Here, we show that constitutive loss of EC Map4k4 in mice causes postnatal lethality due to chylothorax, suggesting that Map4k4 is required for normal lymphatic vascular function. Mice constitutively lacking EC Map4k4 displayed dilated lymphatic capillaries, insufficient lymphatic valves, and impaired lymphatic flow; furthermore, primary ECs derived from these animals displayed enhanced proliferation compared with controls. Yeast 2-hybrid analyses identified the Ras GTPase-activating protein Rasa1, a known regulator of lymphatic development and lymphatic endothelial cell fate, as a direct interacting partner for Map4k4. Map4k4 silencing in ECs enhanced basal Ras and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) activities, and primary ECs lacking Map4k4 displayed enhanced lymphatic EC marker expression. Taken together, these results reveal that EC Map4k4 is critical for lymphatic vascular development by regulating EC quiescence and lymphatic EC fate.

The pro-inflammatory effects of miR-155 promote liver fibrosis and alcohol-induced steatohepatitis

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:15am

BACKGROUND and AIMS: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) ranges from fatty liver to inflammation and cirrhosis. miRNA-155 is an important regulator of inflammation. In this study, we describe the in vivo role of miR-155 in ALD.

METHODS: Wild-type (WT) (C57/BL6J) or miR-155 knockout (KO) and TLR4 KO mice received Lieber DeCarli diet for 5weeks. Some mice received corn oil or CCl4 for 2 or 9weeks.

RESULTS: We found that miR-155 KO mice are protected from alcohol-induced steatosis and inflammation. The reduction in alcohol-induced fat accumulation in miR-155 KO mice was associated with increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor response element (PPRE) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR)alpha (miR-155 target) binding and decreased MCP1 production. Treatment with a miR-155 inhibitor increased PPARgamma expression in naive and alcohol treated RAW macrophages. Alcohol increased lipid metabolism gene expression (FABP4, LXRalpha, ACC1 and LDLR) in WT mice and this was prevented in KO mice. Alcohol diet caused an increase in the number of CD163(+) CD206(+) infiltrating macrophages and neutrophils in WT mice, which was prevented in miR-155 KO mice. Kupffer cells isolated from miR-155 KO mice exhibited predominance of M2 phenotype when exposed to M1 polarized signals and this was due to increased C/EBPbeta. Pro-fibrotic genes were attenuated in miR-155 KO mice after alcohol diet or CCl4 treatment. Compared to WT mice, attenuation in CCl4 induced hydroxyproline and alpha-SMA was observed in KO mice. Finally, we show TLR4 signaling regulates miR-155 as TLR4 KO mice showed no induction of miR-155 after alcohol diet.

CONCLUSIONS: Collectively our results demonstrated the role of miR-155 in alcohol-induced steatohepatitis and fibrosis in vivo.

Map4k4 Signaling Nodes in Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:15am

Mitogen-activated kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (Map4k4), originally identified in small interfering (si)RNA screens and characterized by tissue-specific gene deletions, is emerging as a regulator of glucose homeostasis and cardiovascular health. Recent studies have shown that Map4k4 gene ablation or inhibition of its kinase activity attenuates hyperglycemia and plaque formation in mouse models of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, and suggest roles for Map4k4 in multiple signaling systems, including NFkappaB activation, small GTPase regulation, the Hippo cascade, and regulation of cell dynamics by FERM domain proteins. This new and promising area of inquiry raises key questions that need to be addressed, such as defining which of the above or other effectors mediate Map4k4 control of metabolic and vascular functions, and identifying upstream activators of Map4k4.

Therapeutic Benefits of Spleen Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Administration on Binge Drinking-Induced Alcoholic Liver Injury, Steatosis, and Inflammation in Mice

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:15am

BACKGROUND: Binge drinking is increasingly recognized as an important cause of liver disease with limited therapeutic options for patients. Binge alcohol use, similar to chronic alcohol consumption, induces numerous deregulated signaling events that drive liver damage, steatosis, and inflammation. In this article, we evaluated the role of spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK), which modulates numerous signaling events previously identified linked in the development alcohol-induced liver pathology.

METHODS: A 3-day alcohol binge was administered to C57BL/6 female mice, and features of alcoholic liver disease were assessed. Some mice were treated daily with intraperitoneal injections of a SYK inhibitor (R406; 5 to 10 mg/kg body weight) or drug vehicle control. Liver and serum samples were collected and were assessed by Western blotting, biochemical, ELISA, electrophoretic mobility shift assays, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and histopathological analysis.

RESULTS: We found that binge drinking induced significant SYK activation (SYK(Y525/526) ) with no change in total SYK expression in the liver. Functional inhibition of SYK activation using a potent SYK inhibitor, R406, was associated with a significant decrease in alcohol-induced hepatic inflammation as demonstrated by decreased phospho-nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kappaB) p65, NF-kappaB nuclear binding, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 mRNA in the liver. Compared to vehicle controls, SYK inhibitor treatment decreased alcohol binge-induced hepatocyte injury indicated by histology and serum alanine aminotransferase. Strikingly, SYK inhibitor treatment also resulted in a significant reduction in alcohol-induced liver steatosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Our novel observations demonstrate the role of SYK, activation in the pathomechanism of binge drinking-induced liver disease highlighting SYK a potential multifaceted therapeutic target.

Interleukin-1 and inflammasomes in alcoholic liver disease/acute alcoholic hepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis

Wed, 01/11/2017 - 11:15am

Both alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are characterized by massive lipid accumulation in the liver accompanied by inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma in a substantial subgroup of patients. At several stages in these diseases, mediators of the immune system, such as cytokines or inflammasomes, are crucially involved. In ALD, chronic ethanol exposure sensitizes Kupffer cells to activation by lipopolysaccharides through Toll-like receptors, e.g., Toll-like receptor 4. This sensitization enhances the production of various proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, thereby contributing to hepatocyte dysfunction, necrosis, and apoptosis and the generation of extracellular matrix proteins leading to fibrosis/cirrhosis. Indeed, neutralization of IL-1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist has recently been shown to potently prevent liver injury in murine models of ALD. As IL-1 is clearly linked to key clinical symptoms of acute alcoholic hepatitis such as fever, neutrophilia, and wasting, interfering with the IL-1 pathway might be an attractive treatment strategy in the future. An important role for IL-1-type cytokines and certain inflammasomes has also been demonstrated in murine models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. IL-1-type cytokines can regulate hepatic steatosis; the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome is critically involved in metabolic dysregulation.

CONCLUSION: IL-1 cytokine family members and various inflammasomes mediate different aspects of both ALD and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.