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May 2019
Emese Balogh MD, Monika Biniecka PhD, Ursula Fearon MD PhD, Douglas J. Veale MD PhD and Zoltán Szekanecz MD PhD

Angiogenesis is the outgrowth of new blood vessels from existing ones and is an early occurrence in inflamed joint tissue. It is governed by a tightly controlled balance of pro- and anti-angiogenic stimuli, which promote or inhibit generation and proliferation of new endothelial cells, vascular morphogenesis, and vessel remodeling. At the beginning, capillary formation is crucial in maintaining the supply of various nutrients as well as oxygen to the inflamed tissue. Local and systemic expression of angiogenic factors may indicate a constant remodeling of synovial vasculature. Redox signaling is closely related to angiogenesis and can alter angiogenic responses of synovial cells. In this review we discuss key issues about the endothelial pathology in inflammatory arthritis followed by a review of angiogenic processes and main angiogenic mediators. We discuss the hypoxia-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-Ang/Tie2 system and its related therapeutic implications in detail with further review of various mediator protein targets and intracellular regulatory pathway targets with their current and potential future role in preclinical or clinical setting whilst ameliorating inflammation.

August 2011
A. Balbir-Gurman, B. Fuhrman, Y. Braun-Moscovici, D. Markovits and M. Aviram

 Background:  Pomegranate extract (POMx) consumption has been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of collagen-induced arthritis in mice.

Objectives:  To investigate whether pomegranate consumption affects disease activity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), in relation to their serum oxidative status.

Methods:  In this pilot 12 week open-labeled study eight patients with active RA consumed POMx (10 ml/day) for 12 weeks. Patients’ joint status and serum oxidative status (lipid peroxidation, total thiols group, paraoxonase 1 activity) were evaluated at baseline and at week 12.

Results:  Six patients completed the study. POMx consumption significantly (P < 0.02) reduced the composite Disease Activity Index (DAS28) by 17%, which could be related mostly to a significant (P < 0.005) reduction in the tender joint count (by 62%). These results were associated with a significant (P < 0.02) reduction in serum oxidative status and a moderate but significant (P < 0.02) increase in serum high density lipoprotein-associated paraoxonase 1 (PON1) activity. The addition of POMx to serum from RA patients reduced free radical-induced lipid peroxidation by up to 25%.

Conclusions:  The pomegranate consumption reduced DAS28 in RA patients, and this effect could be related to the antioxidative property of pomegranates. Dietary supplementation with pomegranates may be a useful complementary strategy to attenuate clinical symptoms in RA patients.

December 2008
Y. Michowitz, S. Kisil, H. Guzner-Gur, A. Rubinstein, D. Wexler, D. Sheps, G. Keren, J. George

Background: Myeloperoxidase levels were shown to reflect endothelial dysfunction, inflammation, atherosclerosis and oxidative stress.

Objectives: To examine the role of circulating myeloperoxidase, a leukocyte-derived enzyme, as a predictor of mortality in patients with congestive heart failure.

Methods: Baseline serum MPO[1] levels were measured in 285 consecutive CHF[2] patients and 35 healthy volunteers. N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide and high sensitivity C-reactive protein concentrations were also measured. The primary outcome endpoint was overall mortality.

Results: MPO levels were significantly elevated in patients with CHF compared to healthy volunteers (P = 0.01). During a mean follow-up of 40.9 ± 11.3 months there were 106 deaths. On a univariate Cox regression analysis MPO levels were of marginal value (P = 0.07) whereas NT-proBNP[3] was of considerable value (P < 0.0001) in predicting all-cause mortality. By dividing our cohort according to NT-proBNP levels into high, intermediate and low risk groups a clear difference in mortality was shown. By further dividing the patient cohort according to MPO levels above or below the median (122.5 ng/ml), mortality prediction improved in the patients with intermediate NT-proBNP values.

Conclusions: MPO levels are elevated in CHF and correlate with disease severity. MPO has an additive predictive value on mortality in patients with intermediate NT-proBNP levels.



[1] MPO = myeloperoxidase

[2] CHF = congestive heart failure

[3] NT-proBNP = N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide

April 2008
B. Kristal, R. Shurtz-Swirski, O. Tanhilevski, G. Shapiro, G. Shkolnik, J. Chezar, T. Snitkovsky, M. Cohen-Mazor and S. Sela

Background: Polymorphonuclear leukocyte priming and low grade inflammation are related to severity of kidney disease. Erythropoietin-receptor is present on PMNLs[1].

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of 20 weeks of EPO[2]-alpha treatment on PMNL characteristics in relation to the rate of kidney function deterioration in patients with chronic kidney disease.

Methods: Forty anemic chronic kidney disease patients, stage 4-5, were assigned to EPO and non-EPO treatment for 20 weeks. A group of 20 healthy controls was also studied. PMNL priming and PMNL-derived low grade inflammation were estimated, in vivo and ex vivo, before and after EPO treatment: The rate of superoxide release, white blood cells and PMNL counts, serum alkaline phosphatase and PMNL viability were measured. EPO-receptor on PMNLs was assayed by flow cytometry. The effect of 20 weeks of EPO treatment on kidney function was related to the estimated glomerular filtration rate.

Results: EPO treatment attenuated superoxide release ex vivo and in vivo and promoted PMNL survival ex vivo. Decreased low grade inflammation was reflected by reduced WBC[3] and PMNL counts and ALP[4] activity following treatment. EPO retarded the deterioration in GFR[5]. The percent of PMNLs expressing EPO-R[6] was higher before EPO treatment and correlated positively with the rate of superoxide release. After 20 weeks of EPO treatment the percent of PMNLs expressing EPO-R was down-regulated.

Conclusions: These non-erythropoietic properties of EPO are mediated by EPO-R on PMNLs, not related to the anemia correction. A new renal protection effect of EPO via attenuation of PMNL priming that decreases systemic low grade inflammation and oxidative stress is suggested.

[1] PMNL = polymorphonuclear leukocytes

[2] EPO = erythropoietin

[3] WBC = white blood cells

[4] ALP = alkaline phosphatase

[5] GFR = glomerular filtration rate

[6] EPO = EPO-receptor

June 2004
A. Fendyur, I. Kaiserman, M. Kasinetz and R. Rahamimoff
November 2002
Shifra Sela, PhD, Revital Shurtz-Swirski, PhD, Jamal Awad, MD, Galina Shapiro, MSc, Lubna Nasser, MSc, Shaul M. Shasha, MD and Batya Kristal, MD

Background: Cigarette smoking is a well-known risk factor for the development of endothelial dysfunction and the progression of atherosclerosis. Oxidative stress and inflammation have recently been implicated in endothelial dysfunction.

Objectives: To assess the concomitant contribution of polymorphonuclear leukocytes to systemic oxidative stress and inflammation in cigarette smokers.

Methods: The study group comprised 41 chronic cigarette-smoking, otherwise healthy males aged 45.0 ± 11.5 (range 31–67 years) and 41 male non-smokers aged 42.6 ± 11.3 (range 31–65) who served as the control group. The potential generation of oxidative stress was assessed by measuring the rate of superoxide release from separated, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-stimulated PMNL[1] and by plasma levels of reduced (GSH) and oxidized (GSSG) glutathione. Inflammation was estimated indirectly by: a) determining the in vitro survival of PMNL, reflecting cell necrosis; b) in vivo peripheral PMNL counts, reflecting cell recruitment; and c) plasma alkaline phosphatase levels, indicating PMNL activation and degranulation.

Results: PMA[2]-stimulated PMNL from cigarette smokers released superoxide at a faster rate than PMNL from the controls. Smokers had decreased plasma GSH[3] and elevated GSSG[4] levels. In vitro incubation of control and smokers' PMNL in sera of smokers caused necrosis, while control sera improved smoker PMNL survival. Smokers' PMNL counts, although in the normal range, were significantly higher than those of controls. Plasma ALP[5] levels in smokers were significantly higher than in controls and correlated positively with superoxide release and PMNL counts.

Conclusions: Our study shows that PMNL in smokers are primed in vivo, contributing concomitantly to systemic oxidative stress and inflammation that predispose smokers to endothelial dysfunction, and explains in part the accelerated atherosclerosis found in smokers.


[1] PMNL = polymorphonuclear leukocytes

[2] PMA = phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate

[3] GSH = reduced glutathione

[4] GSSG = oxidized glutathione

[5] ALP = alkaline phosphatase

February 2001
Ma C. Gutierrez-Ruiz, PhD, Luis E. Gomez Quiroz, MSc, Elizabeth Hernandez, MSc, Leticia Bucio, PhD, Veronica Souza, MSc, Luis Llorente, PhD and David Kershenobich, PhD

Background: Inflammatory mediators, including cytokines and reactive oxygen species. are associated with the pathology of chronic liver disease. Hepatocytes are generally considered as targets but not producers of these important mediators.

Objectives: To investigate whether cells of hepatocellular lineage are a potential source of various cytokines we estimated the expression and secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha, transforming growth factor beta 1 and interleukins I beta, 6 and 8 in the culture of well-differentiated human HepG2 cells treated for 24 hours with ethanol, acetaldehyde and lipopolysaccharide. Lipid peroxidation damage, glutathione content and glutathione perox­idase, catalase and superoxide dismutase activity were also determined.

Methods: HepG2 cells were treated for 24 hours with ethanol (50 mM), acetaldehyde (175 ìM) and LPS (1 ìg/ml). TNF-á, TGF­-â, L-1â, IL-6 and IL-8 mRNA were determined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and secretion by en­zyme-linked immunoassay. Lipid peroxidation damage, glutathione content and antioxidant enzyme activities were determined spectrophotometrically.

Results: Exposure to ethanol for 24 hours induced the expression of TNF-á and TGF- â1. secretion of IL-1â and TGF-â1 and decreased catalase activity. Acetaldehyde markedly increased TNF-á and IL-8 expression, stimulated IL-1â and IL-8 secretion, increased lipid peroxidation damage and decreased catalase activity, while LPS exposure induced the expression of TNF-á. TGF- â1, IL-6 and IL-8, the secretion of TGF-â1, IL-1â, IL-6 and IL-8, and a decrease in catalase activity. No change in GSH, GSHPx or SOD was found in any experimental condition.

Conclusions: The present studies confirm and extend the notion that hepatocytes respond to ethanol, acetaldehyde and LPS-producing cytokines. Oxidative stress produced by the toxic injury plays an important role in this response through up­regulation of inflammatory cytokines.

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