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See detailNew use of VEGF in therapeutics: application in tendon lesions
Kaux, Jean-François ULg; Le Goff, Caroline ULg; Drion, Pierre ULg et al

in Clinical Chemistry (2010, July), 56(S6), 111

Introduction: As demonstrated in previous studies, mechanical overload, injury and inflammation, hypoxic condition or any combination of the above could lead to increased expression of VEGF in the tendon ... [more ▼]

Introduction: As demonstrated in previous studies, mechanical overload, injury and inflammation, hypoxic condition or any combination of the above could lead to increased expression of VEGF in the tendon. Thus, VEGF could participate in the healing of pathological tendons. Indeed, some authors are convinced that this neovascularization is the sign of a chronic tendinopathy while others plead in favour of it being a sign of healing processes. The VEGF111, which is a biologically active and proteolysis-resistant VEGF-A isoform, was recently identified. It is induced by ultraviolet B and genotoxic drugs. Experimentation shows that, in nude mice, tumors formed by HEK293 cells expressing VEGF111 develop a more widespread peritumoral neovascularisation than those expressing other VEGF isoforms. Good angiogenic activity and resistance to proteolysis makes VEGF111 a potential beneficial therapeutic option for ischemic diseases. The aim of our study was to determine whether if VEGF111 could have a therapeutic interest in the framework of tendinous pathology. Methods (*): A 5mm defect was surgically induced in Achilles tendon of 60 rats. Rats were divided into 2 groups of 30: A: a control group (no injection) and B: with a VEGF111 injection. The rats of group B received an injection of 100 ng of VEGF111 in situ 1 hour after surgery on the site of the tendon lesion. Afterwards, rats of both groups were placed in their cages without immobilization. After 5, 15 and 30 days, 10 rats of each group were euthanized. The traumatized Achilles tendon of each rat was dissected and removed. Immediately after sampling, tendons were submitted to a biomechanical tensile test up to rupture, using a tensile machine with “Cryo-jaw”. Statistical analyses were made with an ANOVA. Results: A significant increase over time of the force necessary to induce tendon rupture was observed for tendons which had been submitted to an injection of VEGF111 (p=0.016). The force required to break the tendon is always greater for the VEGF111 group (p<0.05). Discussion: We demonstrated that the force necessary to induce the rupture of a rat’s Achilles tendon during biomechanical tensile testing was greater for tendons which had been submitted to an injection of VEGF111. Thus, this experimentation showed that VEGF111 injections could accelerate the tendon healing process and increase the force needed to break tendons in their healing process. Conclusion: VEGF111 could be a new therapy for tendon lesions. However, other experimentation using a rat model with different concentrations of VEGF111 should be made to ascertain the best concentration for this healing process. Acknowledgement: This experimentation was partially financed by “Standard de Liège” and “Lejeune-Lechien” grants. (*) All experimental procedures and protocols used in this investigation were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of the University of Liège. [less ▲]

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See detailRole of the netrin-like domain of procollagen C-proteinase enhancer-1 in the control of metalloproteinase activity.
Bekhouche, M.; Kronenberg; Colige, Alain ULg et al

in Journal of Biological Chemistry (2010), 285(21), 15950-9

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See detailComparison between platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and vascular endothelial growth factor-111 (VEGF-111) as a therapeutic tool in tendon healing process
Kaux, Jean-François ULg; Drion, Pierre ULg; Libertiaux, Vincent ULg et al

Poster (2010, March 20)

Introduction In spite of the availability of various treatments for tendinopathy, this pathology often becomes chronic. For this reason, it is of interest to develop new treatments. Among them, the ... [more ▼]

Introduction In spite of the availability of various treatments for tendinopathy, this pathology often becomes chronic. For this reason, it is of interest to develop new treatments. Among them, the injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) seems to be a promising one. Indeed, several animal models have demonstrated that injection of blood platelets can initiate and stimulate tendon and ligament repair by releasing growth factors (GF) locally. Among all the GF released by activated platelets, the vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) is known to induce positive effects on vascular function and angiogenesis, and could be implicated in the healing process of tendons. Recently, a novel VEGF-A isoform was identified, the VEGF-111, a biologically active and proteolysis-resistant VEGF-A isoform, also known to present beneficial effects on ischemic diseases. This prompted us to evaluate whether VEFF-111 would have a therapeutic interest within the framework of the tendon pathology. Aim of the study: We hypothesized that the healing of ruptured Achilles tendons, which is the last stage of the Blazina’s classification, could be improved by injection of VEGF-111 that was compared to the potential effect of PRP injections using a rat model. Methods: A 5mm defect was surgically induced in rat Achilles tendon after resection of plantaris tendon. Rats were divided into 3 groups: A: control (no injection), B: PRP treatment and C: VEGF-111 treatment. Rats received a local injection of PRP (50µL) or VEGF-111 (100ng) in situ after the surgery and were placed in their cage without immobilization. After 5, 15 and 30 days, the rats were euthanized in each group. The traumatized Achilles tendon of each rat was removed and dissected during the healing process. Immediately after sampling, tendons were submitted to a biomechanical tensile test up to rupture, using a “Cryo-jaw”. Results: Our results show that developed force necessary to induce tendon rupture during biomechanical tensile test was more important for tendons which had received an injection of PRP or VEGF-111. Moreover, the tensile force necessary to break tendons is higher with PRP than with VEGF-111. These results were already noticed from day 5 onwards. Conclusion: This experimentation has shown that both PRP and VEGF-111 injections stimulated tendon healing process as suggested by the increased force needed to break tendons during its healing process. Furthermore, this acceleration of the cicatrisation process was more significant with PRP than with VEGF-111. This could be explained by the release from platelets of a “cocktail” of growth factors acting in synergy on the healing process. Acknowledgement This experimentation was partially financed by “Standard de Liège 2007” and “Lejeune-Lechien 2008” grants. [less ▲]

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See detailComparison of chitosan/siRNA and trimethylchitosan/siRNA complexes behaviour in vitro
Dehousse, Vincent ULg; Garbacki, Nancy ULg; Jaspart, Séverine ULg et al

in International Journal of Biological Macromolecules (2010), 46

Chitosan and trimethylchitosan (TMC)-siRNA nanoparticles were produced by simple complexation technique or by ionic gelation using tripolyphosphate (TPP). The obtained complexes were characterized in ... [more ▼]

Chitosan and trimethylchitosan (TMC)-siRNA nanoparticles were produced by simple complexation technique or by ionic gelation using tripolyphosphate (TPP). The obtained complexes were characterized in terms of physicochemical properties such as size, zeta potential, complexation efficiency and stability. Furthermore, cytotoxicity, cell uptake and transfection efficiency of polyplexes were evaluated in vitro. Under pH condition of cell culture medium, a strong decrease in siRNA condensation efficiency was observed with chitosan nanoparticles. This characteristic resulted in low transfection efficiencies in HEK293 cell line. Formulation of chitosan polyplexes with TPP led to improvement of polyplexes stability but no significant increase in transfection efficiency was observed compared to simple chitosan complexes. By contrast, TMC complexes did not have pH dependency on siRNA complexation. TMCsiRNA nanoparticles were stable in physiological condition. Accordingly, cellular uptake was increased compared to chitosan polyplexes. However, improvement of transfection efficiency was low regarding to cellular uptake of these complexes. Chitosan and TMC complexes present some characteristics favourable for siRNA delivery, such as ability to integrate siRNA into small discrete particles or low toxicity of the complexes. This study also highlights the importance of complexes stability in physiological environment for siRNA transfection purposes. [less ▲]

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See detailDevelopment of pH–responsive nanocarriers using trimethylchitosans and methacrylic acid copolymer for siRNA delivery
Dehousse, Vincent ULg; Garbacki, Nancy ULg; Colige, Alain ULg et al

in Biomaterials (2010), 31

RNA interference-based therapies are dependent on intracellular delivery of siRNA. The release of siRNA from the endosomal compartment may be a rate limiting step in the transfection process. The purpose ... [more ▼]

RNA interference-based therapies are dependent on intracellular delivery of siRNA. The release of siRNA from the endosomal compartment may be a rate limiting step in the transfection process. The purpose of this study was to produce pH–responsive nanocarriers made of trimethylchitosan (TMC). To this end, pHsensitive methacrylic acid (MAA) copolymer was added to TMC–siRNA formulations. Four different TMCs associated or not with MAA were evaluated as siRNA carriers. Nanoparticles were characterized in terms of size, surface charge, morphology and interaction with siRNA. A swelling behaviour due to a decrease in pH was observed and was found to be dependent on MAA content in the complexes. In vitro experiments aimed at evaluating how the capacity of the nanocarriers to transfect siRNA in L929 cells was affected by MAA content. Confocal microscopy experiments showed that fluorescent MAA-containing particles exhibit a different distribution pattern inside the cells comparing to their counterpart without this pH-sensitive polymer. Transfection efficiency was investigated by RhoA mRNA expression inhibition. MAA–TMC–siRNA complexes were able to transfect L929 cells with greater efficiency than corresponding TMC–siRNA complexes. This study gives an insight into the opportunity of pH-sensitive nanocarriers for siRNA delivery. Such formulations may represent an attractive strategy to improve endosomal escape of siRNA. [less ▲]

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See detailAlternative splicing: a promising target for pharmaceutical inhibition of pathological angiogenesis?
Munaut, Carine ULg; Colige, Alain ULg; Lambert, Charles ULg

in Current Pharmaceutical Design (2010), 16(35), 3864-76

In eukaryotes, genes consist in coding sequences (exons) interspersed with non-coding ones (introns). The regulation of alternative inclusion/exclusion of exons, or part of exons, during the maturation of ... [more ▼]

In eukaryotes, genes consist in coding sequences (exons) interspersed with non-coding ones (introns). The regulation of alternative inclusion/exclusion of exons, or part of exons, during the maturation of the pre-mRNA into mRNA (alternative splicing) allows a dramatic increase of the protein versus the gene repertoire. In a number of cases, alternative splicing decision generates proteins with distinct, sometimes opposite, functions from a given gene. Angiogenesis is the process of vascularisation in physiological conditions and a series of pathologies, including cancer where it favours tumour progression and dissemination of metastasis. In this issue, we discuss some key examples showing how alternative splicing may induce a switch from anti-angiogenic to pro-angiogenic functions and reciprocally. For some of these splicing events, the molecular mechanisms that trigger alternative splicing toward one or the other direction start to be elucidated. The emergence of strategies enabling to regulate alternative splicing opens new routes for anti-angiogenic therapies. [less ▲]

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See detailADAMTS-2 functions as anti-angiogenic and anti-tumoral molecule independently of its catalytic activity.
Dubail, Johanne ULg; Kesteloot, F.; Deroanne, Christophe ULg et al

in Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences (2010)

ADAMTS-2 is a metalloproteinase that plays a key role in the processing of fibrillar procollagen precursors into mature collagen molecules by excising the amino-propeptide. We demonstrate that recombinant ... [more ▼]

ADAMTS-2 is a metalloproteinase that plays a key role in the processing of fibrillar procollagen precursors into mature collagen molecules by excising the amino-propeptide. We demonstrate that recombinant ADAMTS-2 is also able to reduce proliferation of endothelial cells, and to induce their retraction and detachment from the substrate resulting in apoptosis. Dephosphorylation of Erk1/2 and MLC largely precedes the ADAMTS-2 induced morphological alterations. In 3-D culture models, ADAMTS-2 strongly reduced branching of capillary-like structures formed by endothelial cells and their long-term maintenance and inhibited vessels formation in embryoid bodies (EB). Growth and vascularization of tumors formed in nude mice by HEK 293-EBNA cells expressing ADAMTS-2 were drastically reduced. A similar anti-tumoral activity was observed when using cells expressing recombinant deleted forms of ADAMTS-2, including catalytically inactive enzyme. Nucleolin, a nuclear protein also found to be associated with the cell membrane, was identified as a potential receptor mediating the antiangiogenic properties of ADAMTS-2. [less ▲]

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See detailHistological and transcriptional study of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis in uninvolved skin, acute pinpoint lesions and established psoriasis plaques: an approach of vascular development chronology in psoriasis
Henno, Audrey ULg; Blacher, Silvia ULg; Lambert, Charles ULg et al

in Journal of Dermatological Science (2010), 57(3), 162-169

Background Dysregulation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis could participate in psoriasis pathogenesis. Analysis of nascent psoriasis lesions should help at identifying early vascular anomalies ... [more ▼]

Background Dysregulation of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis could participate in psoriasis pathogenesis. Analysis of nascent psoriasis lesions should help at identifying early vascular anomalies. Objective To analyse vascular development, angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis markers expression in uninvolved skin in psoriatic patients (N), early psoriasis lesions or pinpoints (PP) and psoriasis plaques (PSO). Methods Skin biopsies were taken in 17 patients in N and in PSO and/or PP. The mRNA steady-state level of angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis markers was measured by RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry was performed for von Willebrand factor, podoplanin, Ki-67 and VEGFR3. Blood (BV) and lymphatic (LV) vessels expansion was measured by computer-assisted morphometry. Results Clinical and epidermal aspects indicated that PP are intermediate between N and PSO. While total BV area was already increased in PP similarly to PSO as compared to N, LV area in PP was intermediate between N and PSO. Mean LV size was identical in N and PP and increased in PSO, mean BV size in PP being intermediate between N and PSO. VEGF-A 189 variant was increased in PP as compared to N and PSO. As compared to N, angiogenesis markers (VEGF-A isoforms, PlGF, VEGFR2, NRP-1), VEGF-C and NRP-2 were similarly increased in PP and PSO. Keratin 16 and the lymphangiogenesis markers (VEGFR3, prox-1) were intermediate in PP. Conclusion These data suggest that the expansion of lymphatic vessels occurs after blood vascular development in psoriasis. Expansion of BV in PP could be followed by vessel enlargement during progression to PSO, in parallel with a decreased VEGF-A 189/VEGF-A 121 balance in plaques [less ▲]

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See detailPreparation of cross-linked chitosan-based nanofibers as wound dressing
Aqil, Abdelhafid ULg; Ziani, K.; Tchemtchoua Tateu, Victor ULg et al

Poster (2009, November 18)

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See detailNew asthma biomarkers: lessons from murine models of acute and chronic asthma.
Di Valentin, Emmanuel ULg; Crahay, Céline; Garbacki, Nancy ULg et al

in American Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology (2009), 296(2), 185-97

Many patients suffering from asthma are not fully controlled by currently available treatments, and some of them display an airway remodeling leading to exaggerated lung function decline. The aim of the ... [more ▼]

Many patients suffering from asthma are not fully controlled by currently available treatments, and some of them display an airway remodeling leading to exaggerated lung function decline. The aim of the present study was to unveil new mediators in asthma to better understand pathophysiology and propose or validate new potential therapeutic targets. A mouse model of asthma mimicking acute or chronic asthma disease was used to select genes undergoing a modulation in both acute and chronic conditions. Mice were exposed to ovalbumin or PBS for 1, 5, and 10 wk [short-, intermediate-, and long-term model (ST, IT, and LT)], and gene expression in the lung was studied using an Affymetrix 430 2.0 genome-wide microarray and further confirmed by RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry for selected targets. We report that 598, 1,406, and 117 genes were upregulated and 490, 153, 321 downregulated at ST, IT, and LT, respectively. Genes related to mucous secretion displayed a progressively amplified expression during the allergen exposure protocol, whereas genes corresponding to growth and differentiation factors, matrix metalloproteinases, and collagens were mainly upregulated at IT. By contrast, genes related to cell division were upregulated at ST and IT and were downregulated at LT. In this study, besides confirming that Arg1, Slc26a4, Ear11, and Mmp12 genes are highly modulated throughout the asthma pathology, we show for the first time that Agr2, Scin, and Cd209e genes are overexpressed throughout the allergen exposure and might therefore be considered as suitable new potential targets for the treatment of asthma. [less ▲]

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See detailThe CORALS project: simulated Cosmic Radiations and Alternative Splicing.
Lambert, Charles ULg; Battout, S.; Van Oostveldt, P. et al

Conference (2009)

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See detailDevelopment of a procedure to simultaneously isolate RNA, DNA, and proteins from characterizing cells invading or cultured on chitosan scaffolds.
Tchemtchoua Tateu, Victor ULg; Atanasova, Ganka; Aqil, Abdelhafid ULg et al

in Analytical Biochemistry (2009), 393(1), 145-7

For many years, chitosan and its derivatives have been considered to be promising biomaterials for tissue engineering and repair. However, information regarding their biological effect on cell phenotype ... [more ▼]

For many years, chitosan and its derivatives have been considered to be promising biomaterials for tissue engineering and repair. However, information regarding their biological effect on cell phenotype is usually limited to evaluation of cell proliferation and survival, overlooking proteomic and transcriptomic analysis. This is largely related to the lack of efficient and quantitative procedures for protein and nucleic acid purification from cells cultured on, or inside, chitosan scaffold. Here we describe an ultracentrifugation procedure enabling the simultaneous and quantitative recovery of high quality RNA, DNA and proteins from cells growing in close contact of biomaterial matrices containing chitosan. [less ▲]

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See detailMatrix metalloproteinase 12 silencing: A therapeutic approach to treat pathological lung tissue remodeling?
Garbacki, Nancy ULg; Di Valentin, Emmanuel ULg; Piette, Jacques ULg et al

in Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2009), 22(4), 267-278

Among the large matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) family, MMP-12, also referred to as macrophage elastase, plays a significant role in chronic pulmonary pathologies characterized by an intense tissue ... [more ▼]

Among the large matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) family, MMP-12, also referred to as macrophage elastase, plays a significant role in chronic pulmonary pathologies characterized by an intense tissue remodeling such as asthma and COPD. This review will summarize knowledge about MMP-12 structure, functions and mechanisms of activation and regulation, including potential MMP-12 modulation by microRNA. As MMP-12 is involved in many tissue remodeling diseases, efforts have been made to develop specific synthetic inhibitors. However, at this time, very few chemical inhibitors have proved to be efficient and specific to a particular MMP. The relevance of silencing MMP-12 by RNA interference is highlighted. The specificity of this approach using siRNA or shRNA and the strategies to deliver these molecules in the lung are discussed. [less ▲]

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