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Key Event Title
Increased Pro-inflammatory mediators
|Level of Biological Organization|
Key Event Components
|acute inflammatory response||increased|
Key Event Overview
AOPs Including This Key Event
|AOP Name||Role of event in AOP||Point of Contact||Author Status||OECD Status|
|Oxidative stress and Developmental impairment in learning and memory||KeyEvent||Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite||EAGMST Approved|
|Protein Alkylation to Liver Fibrosis||KeyEvent||Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry (send email)||Open for citation & comment||WPHA/WNT Endorsed|
|lysosomal uptake induced liver fibrosis||KeyEvent||Allie Always (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite||EAGMST Under Review|
|Increased DNA damage leading to breast cancer||KeyEvent||Allie Always (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite||Under Development|
|RONS leading to breast cancer||KeyEvent||Evgeniia Kazymova (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite||Under Development|
|TLR9 activation leading to Multi Organ Failure and ARDS||KeyEvent||Cataia Ives (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite|
|Ionizing Radiation-Induced AML||KeyEvent||Allie Always (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite|
|All life stages|
Key Event Description
Inflammatory mediators are soluble, diffusible molecules that act locally at the site of tissue damage and infection, and at more distant sites. They can be divided into exogenous and endogenous mediators.
Exogenous mediators of inflammation are bacterial products or toxins like endotoxin or LPS. Endogenous mediators of inflammation are produced from within the (innate and adaptive) immune system itself, as well as other systems. They can be derived from molecules that are normally present in the plasma in an inactive form, such as peptide fragments of some components of complement, coagulation, and kinin systems. Or they can be released at the site of injury by a number of cell types that either contain them as preformed molecules within storage granules, e.g. histamine, or which can rapidly switch on the machinery required to synthesize the mediators.
Table1: a non-exhaustive list of examples for pro-inflammatory mediators
Classes of inflammatory mediators
TNF-a, Interleukins (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8), Interferons (IFN-g), chemokines (CXCL, CCL, GRO-α, MCP-1), GM-CSF
Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
Reactive nitrogen species (RNS)
The increased production of pro-inflammatory mediators can have negative consequences on the parenchymal cells leading even to cell death, as described for TNF-a or peroxynitrite on neurons (Chao et al., 1995; Brown and Bal-Price, 2003). In addition, via a feedback loop, they can act on the reactive resident cells thus maintaining or exacerbating their reactive state; and by modifying elements of their signalling pathways, they can favour the M1 phenotypic polarization and the chronicity of the inflammatory process (Taetzsch et al., 2015).
Basically, this event occurs equally in various tissues and does not require tissue-specific descriptions. Nevertheless, there are some specificities such as the release of glutamate by brain reactive glial cells (Brown and Bal-Price, 2003; Vesce et al., 2007).The differences may rather reside in the type of insult favouring the increased expression and/or release of a specific class of inflammatory mediators, as well the time after the insult reflecting different stages of the inflammatory process. For these reasons, the analyses of the changes of a battery of inflammatory mediators rather than of a single one is a more adequate measurement of this KE.
When activated, resident macrophages (Kupffer cells) release inflammatory mediators including cytokines, chemokines, lysosomal, and proteolytic enzymes and are a main source of TGF-β1 - the most potent pro-fibrogenic cytokine. Following the role of TGF-β is described in more detail.
Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) is a pleiotropic cytokine with potent regulatory and
inflammatory activity [Sanjabi et al., 2009; Li and Flavell, 2008a;2008b]. The multi-faceted effects of TGF-β on numerous immune functions are cellular and environmental context dependent [Li et al., 2006]. TGF-β binds to TGF-β receptor II (TGF-βRII) triggering the kinase activity of the cytoplasmic domain that in turn activates TGF-βRI. The activated receptor complex leads to nuclear translocation of Smad molecules,
and transcription of target genes [Li et al., 2006a]. The role of TGF-β as an immune modulator of T cell activity is best exemplified by the similarities between TGF-β1 knockout and T cell specific
TGF-β receptor II knockout mice [Li et al., 2006b; Marie et al., 2006;Shull et al., 1992]. The animals in both of these models develop severe multi-organ autoimmunity and succumb to death within a few weeks after birth [Li et al., 2006b; Marie et al., 2006; Shull et al., 1992]. In addition, in mice where TGF-β signaling is blocked specifically in T cells, the development of natural killer T (NKT) cells, natural regulatory T (nTreg) cells, and CD8+ T cells was shown to be dependent on TGF-β signaling in the thymus [Li et al., 2006b; Marie et al., 2006].
TGF-β plays a major role under inflammatory conditions. TGF-β in the presence of IL-6 drives the differentiation of T helper 17 (Th17) cells, which can promote further inflammation and augment autoimmune conditions [Korn et al., 2009]. TGF-β orchestrates the differentiation of both Treg and Th17 cells in a concentration-dependent manner [Korn et al., 2008]. In addition, TGF-β in combination with IL-4, promotes the differentiation of IL-9- and IL-10-producing T cells, which lack
suppressive function and also promote tissue inflammation [Dardalhon et al., 2008; Veldhoen et al., 2008]. The biological effects of TGF-β under inflammatory conditions on effector and memory CD8+ T cells are much less understood. In a recent study, it was shown that TGF-β has a drastically opposing role on naïve compared to antigen-experienced/memory CD8+ T cells [Filippi et al., 2008]. When cultured in vitro, TGF-β suppressed naïve CD8+ T cell activation and IFN-γ production, whereas TGF-β enhanced survival of memory CD8+ T cells and increased the production of IL-17 and IFN-γ [Filippi et al., 2008]. TGF-β also plays an important role in suppressing the cells of the innate immune system.
The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) family of cytokines are ubiquitous, multifunctional, and essential to survival. They play important roles in growth and development, inflammation and repair, and host immunity. The mammalian TGF-β isoforms (TGF-β1, β2 and β3) are secreted as latent precursors and have multiple cell surface receptors of which at least two mediate signal transduction. Autocrine and paracrine effects of TGF-βs can be modified by extracellular matrix, neighbouring cells and other cytokines. The vital role of the TGF-β family is illustrated by the fact that approximately 50% of TGF-1 gene knockout mice die in utero and the remainder succumb to uncontrolled inflammation after birth. The role of TGF-β in homeostatic and pathogenic processes suggests numerous applications in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases characterised by inflammation and fibrosis. [Clark and Coker, 1998; Santibañez et al., 2011; Pohlers et al., 2009] Abnormal TGF-β regulation and function are implicated in a growing number of fibrotic and inflammatory pathologies, including pulmonary fibrosis, liver cirrhosis, glomerulonephritis and diabetic nephropathy, congestive heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, Marfan syndrome, hypertrophic scars, systemic sclerosis, myocarditis, and Crohn’s disease. [Gordon and Globe,2008] TGF-β1 is a polypeptide member of the TGF-β superfamily of cytokines. TGF-β is synthesized as a non-active pro-form, forms a complex with two latent associated proteins latency-associated protein (LAP) and latent TGF- β binding protein (LTBP) and undergoes protolithic cleavage by the endopeptidase furin to generate the mature TGF-β dimer. Among the TGF-βs, six distinct isoforms have been discovered although only the TGF-β1, TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 isoforms are expressed in mammals, and their human genes are located on chromosomes 19q13, 1q41 and 14q24, respectively. Out of the three TGF-β isoforms (β1, β2 and β3) only TGF-β1 was linked to fibrogenesis and is the most potent fibrogenic factor for hepatic stellate cells. [Roberts, 1998; Govinden and Bhoola, 2003]. During fibrogenesis, tissue and blood levels of active TGF-β are elevated and overexpression of TGF-β1 in transgenic mice can induce fibrosis. Additionally, experimental fibrosis can be inhibited by anti-TGF-β treatments with neutralizing antibodies or soluble TGF-β receptors [Qi et al.; 1999; Shek and Benyon , 2004; De Gouville et al., 2005; Chen et al., 2009]. TGF-β1 induces its own mRNA to sustain high levels in local sites of injury. The effects of TGF-β1 are classically mediated by intracellular signalling via Smad proteins. Smads 2 and 3 are stimulatory whereas Smad 7 is inhibitory. [Parsons et al., 2013; Friedman, 2008; Kubiczkova et al., 2012] Smad1/5/8, MAP kinase (mitogen-activated protein) and PI3 kinase are further signalling pathways in different cell types for TGF-β1 effects.
TGF-β is found in all tissues, but is particularly abundant in bone, lung, kidney and placental tissue. TGF-β is produced by many, but not all parenchymal cell types, and is also produced or released by infiltrating cells such as lymphocytes, monocytes/macrophages, and platelets. Following wounding or inflammation, all these cells are potential sources of TGF-β. In general, the release and activation of TGF-β stimulates the production of various extracellular matrix proteins and inhibits the degradation of these matrix proteins. [Branton and Kopp, 1999]
TGF-β 1 is produced by every leukocyte lineage, including lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells, and its expression serves in both autocrine and paracrine modes to control the differentiation, proliferation, and state of activation of these immune cells. [Letterio and Roberts; 1998]
In the liver TGF-β1 is released by activated Kupffer cells, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, and platelets; in the further course of events also activated hepatic stellate cells express TGF-β1. Hepatocytes do not produce TGF-β1 but are implicated in intracellular activation of latent TGF-β1. [Roth et al., 1998; Kisseleva and Brenner, 2007; Kisseleva and Brenner, 2008; Poli, 2000; Liu et al., 2006]
TGF-β1 is the most established mediator and regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT) which further contributes to the production of extracellular matrix. It has been shown that TGF-β1 mediates EMT by inducing snail-1 transcription factor and tyrosine phosphorylation of Smad2/3 with subsequent recruitment of Smad4. [Kolios et al., 2006; Bataller and Brenner, 2005; Guo and Friedman,2007; Brenner,2009; Kaimori et al., 2007; Gressner et al., 2002; Kershenobich Stalnikowitz and Weisssbrod, 2003; Li et al., 2008; Matsuoka and Tsukamoto, 1990; Kisseleva and Brenner, 2008; Poli, 200; Parsons et al., 2007; Friedman 2008; Liu et al., 2006]
TGF-β1 induces apoptosis and angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo through the activation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) High levels of VEGF and TGF-β1 are present in many tumors. Crosstalk between the signalling pathways activated by these growth factors controls endothelial cell apoptosis and angiogenesis. [Clark and Coker; 1998]
How It Is Measured or Detected
The specific type of measurement(s) might vary with tissue, environment and context and will need to be described for different tissue contexts as used within different AOP descriptions.
In general, quantification of inflammatory markers can be done by:
- PCR (mRNA expression)
For descriptions of techniques, see Falsig 2004; Lund 2006 ; Kuegler 2010; Monnet-Tschudi et al., 2011; Sandström et al., 2014; von Tobel et al., 2014
There are several assays for TGB-β1 measurement available.
e.g. Human TGF-β1 ELISA Kit. The Human TGF-β 1 ELISA (Enzyme –Linked Immunosorbent Assay) kit is an in vitro enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the quantitative measurement of human TGF-β1 in serum, plasma, cell culture supernatants, and urine. This assay employs an antibody specific for human TGF-β1 coated on a 96-well plate. Standards and samples are pipetted into the wells and TGF-β1 present in a sample is bound to the wells by the immobilized antibody. The wells are washed and biotinylated anti-human TGF-β1 antibody is added. After washing away unbound biotinylated antibody, HRP- conjugated streptavidin is pipetted to the wells. The wells are again washed, a TMB substrate solution is added to the wells and colour develops in proportion to the amount of TGF-β1 bound. The StopSolution changes the colour from blue to yellow, and the intensity of the colour is measured at 450 nm [Mazzieri et al., 2000]
Domain of Applicability
Human [Santibañez et al., 2011]
Rat [Luckey and Petersen, 2001]
Mouse [Nan et al., 2013]
Falsig 2004; Lund 2006 ; Kuegler 2010; Monnet-Tschudi et al., 2011; Sandström et al., 2014; von Tobel et al., 2014
Brown GC, Bal-Price A (2003) Inflammatory neurodegeneration mediated by nitric oxide, glutamate, and mitochondria. Mol Neurobiol 27: 325-355
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Falsig J, Latta M, Leist M. Defined inflammatory states in astrocyte cultures correlation with susceptibility towards CD95-driven apoptosis. J Neurochem. 2004 Jan;88(1):181-93.
Falsig J, Pörzgen P, Lund S, Schrattenholz A, Leist M. The inflammatory transcriptome of reactive murine astrocytes and implications for their innate immune function. J Neurochem. 2006 Feb;96(3):893-907.
Falsig J, van Beek J, Hermann C, Leist M. Molecular basis for detection of invading pathogens in the brain. J Neurosci Res. 2008 May 15;86(7):1434-47.
Hamadi N, Sheikh A, Madjid N, Lubbad L, Amir N, Shehab SA, Khelifi-Touhami F, Adem A: Increased pro-inflammatory cytokines, glial activation and oxidative stress in the hippocampus after short-term bilateral adrenalectomy. BMC Neurosci 2016, 17:61.
Kuegler PB, Zimmer B, Waldmann T, Baudis B, Ilmjärv S, Hescheler J, Gaughwin P, Brundin P, Mundy W, Bal-Price AK, Schrattenholz A, Krause KH, van Thriel C, Rao MS, Kadereit S, Leist M. Markers of murine embryonic and neural stem cells, neurons and astrocytes: reference points for developmental neurotoxicity testing. ALTEX. 2010;27(1):17-42
Lund S, Christensen KV, Hedtjärn M, Mortensen AL, Hagberg H, Falsig J, Hasseldam H, Schrattenholz A, Pörzgen P, Leist M. The dynamics of the LPS triggered inflammatory response of murine microglia under different culture and in vivo conditions. J Neuroimmunol. 2006 Nov;180(1-2):71-87.
Monnet-Tschudi, F., A. Defaux, et al. (2011). "Methods to assess neuroinflammation." Curr Protoc Toxicol Chapter 12: Unit12 19.
Sandstrom von Tobel, J., D. Zoia, et al. (2014). "Immediate and delayed effects of subchronic Paraquat exposure during an early differentiation stage in 3D-rat brain cell cultures." Toxicol Lett. DOI : 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.02.001
Taetzsch T, Levesque S, McGraw C, Brookins S, Luqa R, Bonini MG, Mason RP, Oh U, Block ML (2015) Redox regulation of NF-kappaB p50 and M1 polarization in microglia. Glia 5, 63:423-440.
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