Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    F-18 Site-Specific Labelling of a Single-Chain Antibody against Activated Platelets for the Detection of Acute Thrombosis in Positron Emission Tomography
    Ardipradja, KS ; Wichmann, CW ; Hickson, K ; Rigopoulos, A ; Alt, KM ; Pearce, HA ; Wang, X ; O'Keefe, G ; Scott, AM ; Peter, K ; Hagemeyer, CE ; Ackermann, U (MDPI, 2022-07-01)
    Positron emission tomography is the imaging modality of choice when it comes to the high sensitivity detection of key markers of thrombosis and inflammation, such as activated platelets. We, previously, generated a fluorine-18 labelled single-chain antibody (scFv) against ligand-induced binding sites (LIBS) on activated platelets, binding it to the highly abundant platelet glycoprotein integrin receptor IIb/IIIa. We used a non-site-specific bio conjugation approach with N-succinimidyl-4-[18F]fluorobenzoate (S[18F]FB), leading to a mixture of products with reduced antigen binding. In the present study, we have developed and characterised a novel fluorine-18 PET radiotracer, based on this antibody, using site-specific bio conjugation to engineer cysteine residues with N-[2-(4-[18F]fluorobenzamido)ethyl]maleimide ([18F]FBEM). ScFvanti-LIBS and control antibody mut-scFv, with engineered C-terminal cysteine, were reduced, and then, they reacted with N-[2-(4-[18F]fluorobenzamido)ethyl]maleimide ([18F]FBEM). Radiolabelled scFv was injected into mice with FeCl3-induced thrombus in the left carotid artery. Clots were imaged in a PET MR imaging system, and the amount of radioactivity in major organs was measured using an ionisation chamber and image analysis. Assessment of vessel injury, as well as the biodistribution of the radiolabelled scFv, was studied. In the in vivo experiments, we found uptake of the targeted tracer in the injured vessel, compared with the non-injured vessel, as well as a high uptake of both tracers in the kidney, lung, and muscle. As expected, both tracers cleared rapidly via the kidney. Surprisingly, a large quantity of both tracers was taken up by organs with a high glutathione content, such as the muscle and lung, due to the instability of the maleimide cysteine bond in vivo, which warrants further investigations. This limits the ability of the novel antibody radiotracer 18F-scFvanti-LIBS to bind to the target in vivo and, therefore, as a useful agent for the sensitive detection of activated platelets. We describe the first fluorine-18 variant of the scFvanti-LIBS against activated platelets using site-specific bio conjugation.
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    Ultrasonic particles: An approach for targeted gene delivery
    Walsh, APG ; Gordon, HN ; Peter, K ; Wang, X (ELSEVIER, 2021-10-21)
    Gene therapy has been widely investigated for the treatment of genetic, acquired, and infectious diseases. Pioneering work utilized viral vectors; however, these are suspected of causing serious adverse events, resulting in the termination of several clinical trials. Non-viral vectors, such as lipid nanoparticles, have attracted significant interest, mainly due to their successful use in vaccines in the current COVID-19 pandemic. Although they allow safe delivery, they come with the disadvantage of off-target delivery. The application of ultrasound to ultrasound-sensitive particles allows for a direct, site-specific transfer of genetic materials into the organ/site of interest. This process, termed ultrasound-targeted gene delivery (UTGD), also increases cell membrane permeability and enhances gene uptake. This review focuses on the advances in ultrasound and the development of ultrasonic particles for UTGD across a range of diseases. Furthermore, we discuss the limitations and future perspectives of UTGD.
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    P2Y12 Antagonists in Cardiovascular Disease-Finding the Best Balance Between Preventing Ischemic Events and Causing Bleeding.
    Fernando, H ; McFadyen, JD ; Wang, X ; Shaw, J ; Stub, D ; Peter, K (Frontiers Media SA, 2022)
    Dual antiplatelet therapy comprising of aspirin and oral P2Y12 receptor antagonists are an established cornerstone of therapy in acute coronary syndromes and percutaneous coronary intervention. As a result, the platelet P2Y12 receptor remains a key therapeutic target in cardiovascular medicine since pharmacological antagonists were first developed in the 1990's. With a greater understanding of platelet biology and the role played by the P2Y12 receptor in the amplification of platelet activation and thrombus formation, there has been progressive refinement in the development of P2Y12 receptor antagonists with greater potency and consistency of antiplatelet effect. However, challenges remain in the utilization of these agents particularly in balancing the need for greater protection from ischemic events whilst minimizing the bleeding risk and present a real opportunity for the institution of individualized medicine. Future drug developments will provide clinicians with greater avenues to achieve this.
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    Sodium-Glucose Co-Transporter 2 (SGLT2) Inhibitor Dapagliflozin Stabilizes Diabetes-Induced Atherosclerotic Plaque Instability
    Chen, Y-C ; Jandeleit-Dahm, K ; Peter, K (WILEY, 2022-01-04)
    Background Diabetes is known to accelerate atherosclerosis and increase plaque instability. However, there has been a lack of suitable animal models to study the effect of diabetes on plaque instability. We hypothesized that the tandem stenosis mouse model, which reflects plaque instability/rupture as seen in patients, can be applied to study the effects of diabetes and respective therapeutics on plaque instability/rupture. Methods and Results ApoE-/- mice at 7 weeks of age were rendered diabetic with streptozotocin and 5 weeks later were surgically subjected to tandem stenosis in the right carotid artery and fed with a high-fat diet for 7 weeks. As a promising new antidiabetic drug class, a sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor was tested in this new model. Diabetic mice showed an increase in the size of unstable atherosclerotic plaques and in the plaque instability markers MCP-1, CD68, and necrotic core size. Mice treated with dapagliflozin demonstrated attenuated glucose and triglyceride levels. Importantly, these mice demonstrated plaque stabilization with enhanced collagen accumulation, increased fibrosis, increased cap-to-lesion height ratios, and significant upregulation of the vasculoprotective NADPH oxidase 4 expression. Conclusions The tandem stenosis mouse model in combination with the application of streptozotocin represents a highly suitable and unique mouse model for studying plaque destabilization under diabetic conditions. Furthermore, for the first time, we provide evidence of plaque-stabilizing effects of sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor. Our data also suggest that this newly developed mouse model is an attractive preclinical tool for testing antidiabetic drugs for the highly sought-after potential to stabilize atherosclerotic plaques.
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    Trends and risk factors for omission of early thromboprophylaxis in Australian and New Zealand ICUs between 2009 and 2020
    Sahle, BW ; Pilcher, D ; Peter, K ; McFadyen, JD ; Bucknall, T (SPRINGER, 2022-04-01)
    PURPOSE: Venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis is effective in reducing VTE events; however, it is underutilized in critically ill patients. We examined trends and risk factors for omission of early thromboprophylaxis within the first 24 h after admission in Australian and New Zealand intensive care units (ICUs) between 2009 and 2020. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of data from the Australian New Zealand Intensive Care Society Adult Patient Database. Data were obtained for 1,465,020 adult admissions between 2009 and 2020. Mixed effects logistic regression modeling (accounting for the random effects of the contributing ICUs) was used to identify factors associated with omission of early thromboprophylaxis. RESULTS: A total of 107,486 (7.3%) ICU patients did not receive any form of thromboprophylaxis within the first 24 h after ICU admission without obvious reasons. Omission of early thromboprophylaxis declined from 13.7% in 2009 to 4% in 2020 (by 70.8%) (P < 0.001). Younger patients were more like to miss out on VTE prophylaxis (odds ratios (OR)per 10-year increase 0.94, 95% CI 0.95-0.99). A documented process for monitoring VTE prophylaxis (ORs 0.90, 95% CI 0.87-0.93) and having a medical lead, dedicated for coordinating ICU quality (ORper 0.1 increase in full-time equivalent 0.97, 95% CI 0.93-0.99), are associated with less omission of VTE prophylaxis. CONCLUSION: Omission of thromboprophylaxis within the first 24 h after ICU admission has declined steadily over the past decade. Documented process for monitoring VTE prophylaxis and having a medical lead for coordinating quality of ICU care could be potential targets for sustaining the improvement in VTE prophylaxis use.
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    An activation specific anti-Mac-1 designed ankyrin repeat protein improves survival in a mouse model of acute lung injury.
    Siegel, PM ; Przewosnik, A-S ; Wrobel, J ; Heidt, T ; Moser, M ; Peter, K ; Bode, C ; Diehl, P ; Bojti, I (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-04-15)
    The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening clinical condition. The number of ARDS cases has risen dramatically recently but specific treatment options are limited. ARDS is associated with an overshooting inflammatory response and neutrophils play a central role in its pathogenesis. Neutrophils express the integrin Mac-1 on their surface which adopts a resting and activated conformation depending on leukocyte activation. The aim of this study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of the unique activation-specific anti-Mac-1 DARPin 'F7' in a mouse model of ARDS. ARDS was induced by intratracheal lipopolysaccharide (LPS) instillation and the acute (day 1-4) and chronic phase (day 5-10) were studied. After expression and purification, F7, a control DARPin and PBS, were applied daily via the intraperitoneal route. Survival and weight loss were recorded. Histological analysis of lung sections, flow cytometric leukocyte analysis of blood and bronchioalveolar lavage (BALF) were performed. Moreover, protein concentration and cytokine levels were determined in the BALF. Treatment with F7 improved survival and reduced weight loss significantly compared to treatment with the control DARPin or PBS. Neutrophil count in the BALF and peripheral blood were significantly reduced in mice treated with F7. Histology revealed significantly reduced pulmonary inflammation in the F7 treated group. Treatment with DARPin F7 inhibited neutrophil accumulation, reduced signs of local and systemic inflammation and improved survival in a mouse model of ARDS. F7 may be a novel anti-inflammatory drug candidate for the treatment of severe ARDS.
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    Uncoupling the Vicious Cycle of Mechanical Stress and Inflammation in Calcific Aortic Valve Disease.
    Dayawansa, NH ; Baratchi, S ; Peter, K (Frontiers Media SA, 2022)
    Calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) is a common acquired valvulopathy, which carries a high burden of mortality. Chronic inflammation has been postulated as the predominant pathophysiological process underlying CAVD. So far, no effective medical therapies exist to halt the progression of CAVD. This review aims to outline the known pathways of inflammation and calcification in CAVD, focussing on the critical roles of mechanical stress and mechanosensing in the perpetuation of valvular inflammation. Following initiation of valvular inflammation, dysregulation of proinflammatory and osteoregulatory signalling pathways stimulates endothelial-mesenchymal transition of valvular endothelial cells (VECs) and differentiation of valvular interstitial cells (VICs) into active myofibroblastic and osteoblastic phenotypes, which in turn mediate valvular extracellular matrix remodelling and calcification. Mechanosensitive signalling pathways convert mechanical forces experienced by valve leaflets and circulating cells into biochemical signals and may provide the positive feedback loop that promotes acceleration of disease progression in the advanced stages of CAVD. Mechanosensing is implicated in multiple aspects of CAVD pathophysiology. The mechanosensitive RhoA/ROCK and YAP/TAZ systems are implicated in aortic valve leaflet mineralisation in response to increased substrate stiffness. Exposure of aortic valve leaflets, endothelial cells and platelets to high shear stress results in increased expression of mediators of VIC differentiation. Upregulation of the Piezo1 mechanoreceptor has been demonstrated to promote inflammation in CAVD, which normalises following transcatheter valve replacement. Genetic variants and inhibition of Notch signalling accentuate VIC responses to altered mechanical stresses. The study of mechanosensing pathways has revealed promising insights into the mechanisms that perpetuate inflammation and calcification in CAVD. Mechanotransduction of altered mechanical stresses may provide the sought-after coupling link that drives a vicious cycle of chronic inflammation in CAVD. Mechanosensing pathways may yield promising targets for therapeutic interventions and prognostic biomarkers with the potential to improve the management of CAVD.
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    Association of Global Coagulation Profiles With Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Atherosclerosis: A Sex Disaggregated Analysis From the BioHEART-CT Study
    Kott, KA ; Morel-Kopp, M-C ; Vernon, ST ; Takagi, Y ; Di Bartolo, BA ; Peter, K ; Yang, JY ; Grieve, SM ; Ward, C ; Figtree, GA (WILEY, 2021-10-19)
    Background Although the association between dysregulated coagulation and atherosclerosis is well recognized, individual assays have been of minimal value in understanding disease susceptibility. Here we investigated the association of global coagulation profiles with coronary artery disease with consideration of sex differences. Methods and Results The study included patients from the BioHEART-CT (The BioHEART Study: Assessing Patients With Suspected Cardiovascular Disease for New Disease Markers and Risk Factors) biobank who had computed tomography coronary angiograms scored for coronary artery calcium score (CACS) and Gensini score. The cohort included 206 adult patients who were referred for clinically indicated computed tomography coronary angiography and had a median of 2 major cardiac risk factors; 50% were women and the average age was 62.6 years (±9.9 years). The overall hemostatic potential (OHP) and calibrated automated thrombography generation assays were performed on platelet-poor plasma. CACS and Gensini score in men were significantly correlated in bivariate analysis with measures from the OHP assay, and regression models predicting disease severity by CACS or Gensini score were improved by adding the OHP assay variables in men but not in women. The calibrated automated thrombography generation assay demonstrated a more hypercoagulable profile in women than in men. The OHP assay showed hypercoagulable profiles in women with hyperlipidemia and men with obesity. Conclusions The OHP assay identified hypercoagulable profiles associated with different risk factors for each sex and was associated with CACS and Gensini score severity in men, emphasizing the associations between increased fibrin generation and reduced fibrinolysis with cardiac risk factors and early atherosclerosis. Registration Information www.anzctr.org.au. Identifier: ACTRN12618001322224.
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    Nanobiotechnology approaches for cardiovascular diseases: site-specific targeting of drugs and nanoparticles for atherothrombosis
    Liu, H ; Pietersz, G ; Peter, K ; Wang, X (BMC, 2022-02-08)
    Atherosclerosis and atherothrombosis, the major contributors to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), represent the leading cause of death worldwide. Current pharmacological therapies have been associated with side effects or are insufficient at halting atherosclerotic progression effectively. Pioneering work harnessing the passive diffusion or endocytosis properties of nanoparticles and advanced biotechnologies in creating recombinant proteins for site-specific delivery have been utilized to overcome these limitations. Since CVDs are complex diseases, the most challenging aspect of developing site-specific therapies is the identification of an individual and unique antigenic epitope that is only expressed in lesions or diseased areas. This review focuses on the pathological mechanism of atherothrombosis and discusses the unique targets that are important during disease progression. We review recent advances in site-specific therapy using novel targeted drug-delivery and nanoparticle-carrier systems. Furthermore, we explore the limitations and future perspectives of site-specific therapy for CVDs.
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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.