Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Pharmacological Inhibition of Factor XIIa Attenuates Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, Reduces Atherosclerosis, and Stabilizes Atherosclerotic Plaques
    Searle, AK ; Chen, Y-C ; Wallert, M ; McFadyen, JD ; Maluenda, AC ; Noonan, J ; Kanellakis, P ; Zaldivia, MTK ; Huang, A ; Lioe, H ; Biondo, M ; Nolte, MW ; Rossato, P ; Bobik, A ; Panousis, C ; Wang, X ; Hosseini, H ; Peter, K (GEORG THIEME VERLAG KG, 2022-02-01)
    BACKGROUND: 3F7 is a monoclonal antibody targeting the enzymatic pocket of activated factor XII (FXIIa), thereby inhibiting its catalytic activity. Given the emerging role of FXIIa in promoting thromboinflammation, along with its apparent redundancy for hemostasis, the selective inhibition of FXIIa represents a novel and highly attractive approach targeting pathogenic processes that cause thromboinflammation-driven cardiovascular diseases. METHODS: The effects of FXIIa inhibition were investigated using three distinct mouse models of cardiovascular disease-angiotensin II-induced abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), an ApoE-/- model of atherosclerosis, and a tandem stenosis model of atherosclerotic plaque instability. 3F7 or its isotype control, BM4, was administered to mice (10 mg/kg) on alternate days for 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the experimental model. Mice were examined for the development and size of AAAs, or the burden and instability of atherosclerosis and associated markers of inflammation. RESULTS: Inhibition of FXIIa resulted in a reduced incidence of larger AAAs, with less acute aortic ruptures and an associated fibro-protective phenotype. FXIIa inhibition also decreased stable atherosclerotic plaque burden and achieved plaque stabilization associated with increased deposition of fibrous structures, a >2-fold thicker fibrous cap, increased cap-to-core ratio, and reduction in localized and systemic inflammatory markers. CONCLUSION: Inhibition of FXIIa attenuates disease severity across three mouse models of thromboinflammation-driven cardiovascular diseases. Specifically, the FXIIa-inhibiting monoclonal antibody 3F7 reduces AAA severity, inhibits the development of atherosclerosis, and stabilizes vulnerable plaques. Ultimately, clinical trials in patients with cardiovascular diseases such as AAA and atherosclerosis are warranted to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of FXIIa inhibition.
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    The tandem stenosis mouse model: Towards understanding, imaging, and preventing atherosclerotic plaque instability and rupture
    Noonan, J ; Bobik, A ; Peter, K (WILEY, 2021-02-12)
    The rupture of unstable atherosclerotic plaques is the major cause of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Despite significant limitations in our understanding and ability to identify unstable plaque pathology and prevent plaque rupture, most atherosclerosis research utilises preclinical animal models exhibiting stable atherosclerosis. Here, we introduce the tandem stenosis (TS) mouse model that reflects plaque instability and rupture, as seen in patients. The TS model involves dual ligation of the right carotid artery, leading to locally predefined unstable atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolaemic mice. It exhibits key characteristics of human unstable plaques, including plaque rupture, luminal thrombosis, intraplaque haemorrhage, large necrotic cores, thin or ruptured fibrous caps and extensive immune cell accumulation. Altogether, the TS model represents an ideal preclinical tool for improving our understanding of human plaque instability and rupture, for the development of imaging technologies to identify unstable plaques, and for the development and testing of plaque-stabilising treatments for the prevention of atherosclerotic plaque rupture. LINKED ARTICLES: This article is part of a themed issue on Preclinical Models for Cardiovascular disease research (BJP 75th Anniversary). To view the other articles in this section visit http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/bph.v179.5/issuetoc.
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    Activation of circulating platelets in vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia and its reversal by intravenous immunoglobulin
    McFadyen, JD ; Sharma, P ; Moon, MJ ; Noonan, J ; Goodall, E ; Tran, HA ; Peter, K (WILEY, 2021-08-16)
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    Early Endothelial Activation in a Mouse Model of Graft vs Host Disease Following Chemotherapy
    Pereira, M ; Lee, NT ; Noonan, J ; Willcox, AEH ; Calvello, I ; Georgy, SR ; Selan, C ; Chia, JS ; Hauw, W ; Wang, X ; Peter, K ; Robson, SC ; Nandurkar, HH ; Sashindranath, M (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-08-05)
    Allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (allo-HSCT) can lead to sinusoidal obstruction syndrome (SOS) and graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in some individuals. GvHD is characterised by an immune triggered response that arises due to donor T cells recognizing the recipient tissue as "foreign". SOS results in impaired liver function due to microvascular thrombosis and consequent obstruction of liver sinusoids. Endothelial damage occurs following chemotherapy and allo-HSCT and is strongly associated with GvHD onset as well as hepatic SOS. Animal models of GvHD are rarely clinically relevant, and endothelial dysfunction remains uncharacterised. Here we established and characterised a clinically relevant model of GvHD wherein Balb/C mice were subjected to myeloablative chemotherapy followed by transplantation of bone marrow (BM) cells± splenic T-cells from C57Bl6 mice, resulting in a mismatch of major histocompatibility complexes (MHC). Onset of disease indicated by weight loss and apoptosis in the liver and intestine was discovered at day 6 post-transplant in mice receiving BM+T-cells, with established GvHD detectable by histology of the liver within 3 weeks. Together with significant increases in pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression in the liver and intestine, histopathological signs of GvHD and a significant increase in CD4+ and CD8+ effector and memory T-cells were seen. Endothelial activation including upregulation of vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)- 1 and downregulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) as well as thrombosis in the liver indicated concomitant hepatic SOS. Our findings confirm that endothelial activation is an early sign of acute GvHD and SOS in a clinically relevant mouse model of GvHD based on myeloablative chemotherapy. Preventing endothelial activation may be a viable therapeutic strategy to prevent GvHD.
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    Higher mortality of COVID-19 in males: sex differences in immune response and cardiovascular comorbidities
    Bienvenu, LA ; Noonan, J ; Wang, X ; Peter, K (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2020-12-01)
    The high mortality rate of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is a critical concern of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Strikingly, men account for the majority of COVID-19 deaths, with current figures ranging from 59% to 75% of total mortality. However, despite clear implications in relation to COVID-19 mortality, most research has not considered sex as a critical factor in data analysis. Here, we highlight fundamental biological differences that exist between males and females, and how these may make significant contributions to the male-biased COVID-19 mortality. We present preclinical evidence identifying the influence of biological sex on the expression and regulation of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is the main receptor used by SARS-CoV-2 to enter cells. However, we note that there is a lack of reports showing that sexual dimorphism of ACE2 expression exists and is of functional relevance in humans. In contrast, there is strong evidence, especially in the context of viral infections, that sexual dimorphism plays a central role in the genetic and hormonal regulation of immune responses, both of the innate and the adaptive immune system. We review evidence supporting that ineffective anti-SARS-CoV-2 responses, coupled with a predisposition for inappropriate hyperinflammatory responses, could provide a biological explanation for the male bias in COVID-19 mortality. A prominent finding in COVID-19 is the increased risk of death with pre-existing cardiovascular comorbidities, such as hypertension, obesity, and age. We contextualize how important features of sexual dimorphism and inflammation in COVID-19 may exhibit a reciprocal relationship with comorbidities, and explain their increased mortality risk. Ultimately, we demonstrate that biological sex is a fundamental variable of critical relevance to our mechanistic understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the pursuit of effective COVID-19 preventative and therapeutic strategies.