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1.  How Representative Are Research Tissue Biobanks of the Local Populations? Experience of the Infectious Diseases Biobank at King's College, London, UK 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2011;9(3):287-288.
Biobanks have a primary responsibility to collect tissues that are a true reflection of their local population and thereby promote translational research, which is applicable to the community. The Infectious Diseases BioBank (IDB) at King's College London is located in the southeast of the city, an area that is ethnically diverse. Transplantation programs have frequently reported a low rate of donation among some ethnic minorities. To determine whether patients who volunteered peripheral venous blood samples to the IDB were representative of the local community, we compared local government demographic data to characteristics of patients who have donated to the IDB. There was a good match between these statistics, indicating that the IDB's volunteer population of human immunodeficiency virus patients was similar to local demographics.
PMCID: PMC3178420  PMID: 21977243
2.  Functional impairment of natural killer cells in active ulcerative colitis: reversion of the defective natural killer activity by interleukin 2. 
Gut  1992;33(2):246-251.
We have studied the functional characteristics and clinical importance of the natural killer (NK) cytotoxicity of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from patients with ulcerative colitis. Normal NK activity was observed in PBMNC from patients with inactive disease, but a pronounced decrease was found in those with active disease. Clinical change from active to inactive disease was associated with enhancement of the depressed NK activity. The impairment of NK cytotoxicity found in patients with active disese could not be ascribed to a deficient number of NK cells as the amounts of HNK-1+, CD16+ (Leu 11), and CD11b (OKM1) cells in PBMNC were within normal ranges. This defective cytotoxic PBMNC activity was normalised by short term (18 hour) incubation with recombinant interleukin 2 (rIL-2). Moreover, long term (5 day) incubation of these effector cells with rIL-2 induced strong cytotoxic activity against NK resistant and NK sensitive target cells in patients with active and inactive disease. We also found that both precursors and effectors of cytotoxic activity promoted by short term and long term incubation with rIL-2 of PBMNC from the patients showed the phenotype of NK cells (CD16+, CD3-). Taken together, these results show that active ulcerative colitis is associated with a defective function of NK cells that is found to be normal in the inactive stage of the disease. The possible pathogenic and therapeutic implications of these findings are discussed.
PMCID: PMC1373938  PMID: 1541421
3.  Intracavitary prophylactic treatment with interferon alpha 2b of patients with superficial bladder cancer is associated with a systemic T-cell activation. 
British Journal of Cancer  1994;70(6):1247-1251.
The activation and proliferation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) are complex processes involving several surface molecules, cell secretion and response to cytokines. This paper investigates the immunomodulatory effect of prophylactic treatment with interferon alpha 2b (IFN-alpha 2b) upon the blastogenic response of PBMNCs from patients with superficial transitional cell carcinoma (STCC) of the bladder to mitogenic signals that interact with surface molecules [phytohaemagglutinin, PHA and anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies, (MAbs)]. PBMNCs from the patients were studied prior to the transurethral resection (TUR) of the tumour, during the second month of prophylactic intravesical instillation of IFN-alpha 2b and 3 and 6 months after finishing the instillation treatment. The [3H]thymidine uptake of PBMNCs from 17 patients with STCC of the bladder after 5 days of PHA and anti-CD3 MAb stimulus was found to be significantly lower than that of healthy controls (P < 0.05). The addition of interleukin 2 (IL-2) to the culture medium did not correct this defective proliferative response to PHA and the anti-CD3 MAb. There were no significant differences between IL-2 production in PBMNCs from STCC patients after stimulation with PHA and in PBMNCs from healthy controls (P > 0.05). Patients without evidence of recurrence showed a significantly enhanced proliferative response in PBMNC to PHA and anti-CD3 MAb after intravesical prophylactic treatment with interferon-alpha 2b in the follow-up examinations 3 and 6 months after treatment (P < 0.01). However, three patients had evidence of tumour recurrence, and they showed no enhancement of the PBMNC proliferative response to these mitogens in the same examinations. In conclusion, the prophylactic intracavitary treatment of STCC with IFN-alpha 2b may induce a systemic immunomodulatory effect which is associated to the clinical evolution of the disease.
PMCID: PMC2033676  PMID: 7981084
4.  The regulatory mechanism of fruit ripening revealed by analyses of direct targets of the tomato MADS-box transcription factor RIPENING INHIBITOR 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(6):e24357.
The developmental process of ripening is unique to fleshy fruits and a key factor in fruit quality. The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) MADS-box transcription factor RIPENING INHIBITOR (RIN), one of the earliest-acting ripening regulators, is required for broad aspects of ripening, including ethylene-dependent and -independent pathways. However, our knowledge of direct RIN target genes has been limited, considering the broad effects of RIN on ripening. In a recent work published in The Plant Cell, we identified 241 direct RIN target genes by chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with DNA microarray (ChIP-chip) and transcriptome analysis. Functional classification of the targets revealed that RIN participates in the regulation of many biological processes including well-known ripening processes such as climacteric ethylene production and lycopene accumulation. In addition, we found that ethylene is required for the full expression of RIN and several RIN-targeting transcription factor genes at the ripening stage. Here, based on our recently published findings and additional data, we discuss the ripening processes regulated by RIN and the interplay between RIN and ethylene.
PMCID: PMC3907458  PMID: 23518588
fruit ripening; tomato; RIPENING INHIBITOR; MADS-box transcription factor; chromatin immunoprecipitation; ethylene
5.  cAMP activates the generation of reactive oxygen species and inhibits the secretion of IL-6 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from type 2 diabetic patients 
Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from patients with type 2 diabetes (DM2) have generated higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that were higher than those in cells from healthy individuals. In the presence of a cAMP-elevating agent, ROS production was significantly activated in PBMNC from DM2 patients but it was inhibited in cells from healthy subjects. Higher levels of IL-6 has been detected in the supernatant of PBMNC cultures from DM2 patients in comparison with healthy controls. When cells were cultured in the presence of a cAMP-elevating agent, the level of IL-6 decreased has by 46% in the supernatant of PBMNC from DM2 patients but it remained unaltered in controls. No correlations between ROS and IL-6 levels in PBMNC from DM2 patients or controls have been observed. Secretions of IL-4 or IFN by PBMNC from patients or controls have not been affected by the elevation of cAMP. cAMP elevating agents have activated the production of harmful reactive oxidant down modulated IL-6 secretion by these cells from DM2 patients, suggesting an alteration in the metabolic response possibly due to hyperglicemia. The results suggest that cAMP may play an important role in the pathogenesis of diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2835920  PMID: 20716919
ROS; IL-6; cAMP; diabetes; peripheral blood mononuclear cells
6.  Lipopolysaccharide and silica-stimulated mononuclear cell prostaglandin production in ulcerative colitis. 
Mediators of Inflammation  2000;9(3-4):189-191.
Basal, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and silica-stimulated prostaglandin (PG) production were compared between peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from UC patients and healthy subjects (HS). Basal and LPS-stimulated PBMNC PGI2, but not PGE2, production was greater in UC. LPS stimulated both PGE2 and PGI2 by PBMNC from HS and UC patients. Silica stimulated production of both PGs by cells from HS but only PGE2 by cells from UC patients. The differences in responses to silica and LPS may result from differences in activation of NFkappaB or, alternatively, prior sensitisation to one of these agents. That PBMNC PGE2 production is not increased in UC, as it is in Crohn's disease, suggests that there are differences in PBMNC behaviour between these two diseases.
PMCID: PMC1781758  PMID: 11132777
7.  Quantitative Analysis of Epstein-Barr Virus Load by Using a Real-Time PCR Assay 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1999;37(1):132-136.
To measure the virus load in patients with symptomatic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections, we used a real-time PCR assay to quantify the amount of EBV DNA in blood. The real-time PCR assay could detect from 2 to over 107 copies of EBV DNA with a wide linear range. We estimated the virus load in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from patients with symptomatic EBV infections. The mean EBV-DNA copy number in the PBMNC was 103.7 copies/μg of DNA in patients with EBV-related lymphoproliferative disorders, 104.1 copies/μg of DNA in patients with chronic active EBV infections, and 102.2 copies/μg of DNA in patients with infectious mononucleosis. These numbers were significantly larger than those in either posttransplant patients or immunocompetent control patients without EBV-related diseases. In a patient with infectious mononucleosis, the virus load decreased as the symptoms resolved. The copy number of EBV DNA in PBMNC from symptomatic EBV infections was correlated with the EBV-positive cell number determined by the in situ hybridization assay (r = 0.842; P < 0.0001). These results indicate that the real-time PCR assay is useful for diagnosing symptomatic EBV infection and for monitoring the virus load.
PMCID: PMC84187  PMID: 9854077
8.  Absence of detectable xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus in plasma or peripheral blood mononuclear cells of human immunodeficiency virus Type 1–infected blood donors or individuals in Africa 
Transfusion  2010;51(3):463-468.
Since the identification of xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV) in prostate cancer patients in 2006 and in chronic fatigue syndrome patients in 2009, conflicting findings have been reported regarding its etiologic role in human diseases and prevalence in general populations. In this study, we screened both plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) collected in Africa from blood donors and human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1)-infected individuals to gain evidence of XMRV infection in this geographic region.
A total of 199 plasma samples, 19 PBMNC samples, and 50 culture supernatants from PBMNCs of blood donors from Cameroon found to be infected with HIV-1 and HIV-1 patients from Uganda were screened for XMRV infection using a sensitive nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assay.
Using highly sensitive nested PCR or RT-PCR and real-time PCR assays capable of detecting at least 10 copies of XMRV plasmid DNA per reaction, none of the 268 samples tested were found to be XMRV DNA or RNA positive.
Our results failed to demonstrate the presence of XMRV infection in African blood donors or individuals infected with HIV-1. More studies are needed to understand the prevalence, epidemiology, and geographic distribution of XMRV infection worldwide.
PMCID: PMC3142710  PMID: 21077909
9.  Use of monoclonal antibodies to detect disease associated HLA-DRB1 alleles and the shared epitope in rheumatoid arthritis 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1997;56(2):135-139.
OBJECTIVE—To use a panel of monoclonal antibodies (Mab) which recognise HLA class II alleles associated with rheumatoid arthritis for fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) from patients with early and established rheumatoid arthritis and to compare these results against DNA oligotyping of HLA class II molecules in the same patients.
METHODS—27 patients (18 from an early arthritis clinic, nine with established rheumatoid arthritis) were studied using both techniques. PBMNC were stained with Mab which recognise the shared epitope, the HLA-DRB1*04 molecule and its *0401, *0404 subtypes in the presence of bound peptide. Mab stained cells were analysed by FACS. Genomic DNA was prepared from PBMNC and used for DNA oligotyping and sequencing by standard methods.
RESULTS—FACS analysis of Mab stained PBMNC gave identical results to those obtained by DNA oligotyping in 26/27 patients. The antibodies identified the shared epitope in 14/14 cases and the presence of an HLA-DRB1*04 molecule in 12/12 cases. HLA-DRB1*0404 was identified in 4/4 cases. HLA-DRB1*0401 was identified in 5/6 cases. One patient oligotyped as HLA-DRB1*0401, but consistently failed to react with the *0401 Mab. DNA sequencing of the second exon of the HLA-DRB1*0401 allele in this patient confirmed a normal HLA-DRB1*0401 genotype.
CONCLUSIONS—FACS analysis of PBMNC stained with Mab recognising the shared epitope and rheumatoid arthritis associated HLA susceptibility molecules provides a rapid, reliable, and more accessible alternative to DNA oligotyping. The apparent discordance between phenotypic and genetic analysis of HLA-DRB1*0401 in one patient, may reflect variability in HLA-DRB1*0401 gene expression or in class II peptide presentation.

PMCID: PMC1752326  PMID: 9068289
10.  Lymphocytes bearing Fc gamma receptors in rheumatoid arthritis. III. Immunoregulatory function associated with Facb rosette-forming cells. 
A subpopulation of mononuclear cells (PBMNC) that expresses Fc receptors with specificity for the C gamma 2 region of IgG may be detected by rosette formation with calf erythrocytes coated with the Facb fragment of rabbit IgG. These Facb-R+ cells are found in increased numbers in the peripheral blood of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Studies have been carried out to identify the functional properties of these cells in healthy and rheumatoid subjects. Facb-R+ cells were shown to lack both natural killer and antibody-dependent cytotoxic activity. Depletion of Facb-R+ cells from both healthy and rheumatoid PBMNC resulted in a marked suppression of pokeweed mitogen (PWM) stimulated IgG synthesis but had no effect on T cell proliferation induced by phytohaemagglutinin, concanavalin A, or PWM. The addition of Facb fragments to PBMNC cultures also caused inhibition of PWM-driven IgG production. In this assay rheumatoid PBMNC were significantly less sensitive to Facb-mediated suppression than healthy control cells. Our results suggest that Facb-R+ cells are involved in the antibody-mediated feedback regulation of immunoglobulin synthesis and that this mechanism is impaired in patients with RA.
PMCID: PMC1001559  PMID: 3155933
11.  The effect of delay in collection and processing on RNA integrity in human placenta: Experiences from rural Africa☆ 
Placenta  2014;35(1):72-74.
This paper examines the relationship between time to processing and RNA quality in placentas collected from women in a field setting in rural Gambia. Placental samples were collected from the villages and transferred to the laboratory. RNA was extracted using Trizol and integrity assessed using the RNA integrity number (RIN). Values were inversely correlated with delay in processing. Expression levels of candidate genes increased with decreasing RIN. Normalising to a housekeeper gene removed this artefact. We propose a cut-off point of 90 min from delivery, after which samples cannot be used for gene expression analysis.
PMCID: PMC3928992  PMID: 24125806
RNA integrity number (RIN); Ribonucleic acid (RNA); Placenta transferrin receptor; Placental genes; Iron metabolism; RNA, ribonucleic acid; RT-PCR, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction; ENID, early nutrition and immune development; TfR1, transferrin receptor 1
12.  A comparative analysis of in vitro expansion of natural killer cells of a patient with autoimmune haemolytic anaemia and ovarian cancer with patients with other solid tumours 
Oncology Letters  2011;3(2):435-440.
The functional profile of natural killer (NK) cells has been reported to be lower in auto-immune haemolytic anaemia (AIHA). In this study, we report a comparative analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) and the in vitro expansion of NK cells in a patient with AIHA and cancer, with that of other cancer patients without AIHA. PBMNCs and in vitro NK-cell expansion of a 64-year old female patient with ovarian cancer and AIHA was compared with that of four other patients with cancer without AIHA who underwent autologous immune enhancement therapy (AIET). The NK cells were cultured using autologous plasma without feeder layers. The quantities of PBMNCs, NK cells and CD3−CD56+ cells were compared. The average quantity of PBMNCs per ml in Cases I to V were 10.71, 39.2, 49.26, 65.16 and 49.33×104, respectively, and the average maximum count of NK cells was 3.9, 1730.03, 1824.16, 1058.61 and 761×106, respectively. The average percentage of CD3−CD56+ cells in Cases I to V following in vitro expansion was 1.2, 65.7, 28.63, 65.9 and 40%, respectively. In the present study, probably the first in the literature, the in vitro expansion of NK cells was found to be significantly lower in the AIHA patient. Previously, only a lower NK-cell functional profile was reported. Further studies are required to establish the association between AIHA and NK-cell profile and in vitro expansion, and to find common antibodies between red blood cells (RBCs) and NK cells.
PMCID: PMC3362377  PMID: 22740927
auto-immune hemolytic anemia; natural killer cells; CD3+CD56− cells; red blood cell and natural killer cell antibodies; autologous immune enhancement therapy
13.  Essential Roles of Monocytes in Stimulating Human Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells with Lactobacillus casei To Produce Cytokines and Augment Natural Killer Cell Activity 
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology  2006;13(9):997-1003.
We examined the effect of a probiotic strain, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota, on cytokine production and natural killer (NK) cell activity in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC). The cellular mechanisms of immunoregulation by L. casei strain Shirota were also investigated. L. casei strain Shirota stimulated PBMNC to secrete interleukin-12 (IL-12), gamma interferon (IFN-γ), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and IL-10. However, depletion of monocytes from PBMNC eliminated the induction of these cytokines. L. casei strain Shirota was phagocytosed by monocytes and directly stimulated them to secrete IL-12, TNF-α, and IL-10. IFN-γ production was diminished by the addition of anti-IL-12 antibody to the PBMNC cultures. Purified T cells, but not NK cells, produced IFN-γ effectively when stimulated with L. casei strain Shirota in the presence of monocytes, indicating that monocytes triggered by L. casei strain Shirota help T cells to produce IFN-γ through secreting IL-12. In addition, NK cell activity and CD69 expression on NK cells increased after cultivation of PBMNC with L. casei strain Shirota. When monocytes were depleted from PBMNC, L. casei strain Shirota did not enhance NK cell activity. These results demonstrate that monocytes play critical roles in the induction of cytokines and following the augmentation of NK cell activity during the stimulation of human PBMNC with L. casei strain Shirota.
PMCID: PMC1563578  PMID: 16960110
14.  Sequencing Degraded RNA Addressed by 3' Tag Counting 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91851.
RNA sequencing has become widely used in gene expression profiling experiments. Prior to any RNA sequencing experiment the quality of the RNA must be measured to assess whether or not it can be used for further downstream analysis. The RNA integrity number (RIN) is a scale used to measure the quality of RNA that runs from 1 (completely degraded) to 10 (intact). Ideally, samples with high RIN (8) are used in RNA sequencing experiments. RNA, however, is a fragile molecule which is susceptible to degradation and obtaining high quality RNA is often hard, or even impossible when extracting RNA from certain clinical tissues. Thus, occasionally, working with low quality RNA is the only option the researcher has. Here we investigate the effects of RIN on RNA sequencing and suggest a computational method to handle data from samples with low quality RNA which also enables reanalysis of published datasets. Using RNA from a human cell line we generated and sequenced samples with varying RINs and illustrate what effect the RIN has on the basic procedure of RNA sequencing; both quality aspects and differential expression. We show that the RIN has systematic effects on gene coverage, false positives in differential expression and the quantification of duplicate reads. We introduce 3' tag counting (3TC) as a computational approach to reliably estimate differential expression for samples with low RIN. We show that using the 3TC method in differential expression analysis significantly reduces false positives when comparing samples with different RIN, while retaining reasonable sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC3954844  PMID: 24632678
15.  Evaluation of gene expression profiles of immature dendritic cells prepared from peripheral blood mononuclear cells 
Transfusion  2008;48(4):647-657.
Dendritic cells (DCs) generated ex vivo from peripheral blood monocytes or mobilized CD34+ cells and intended for clinical immunotherapy are typically characterized by morphologic, phenotypic, and functional assays. Assay results are highly dependent on conditions used to prepare the cells, so there is no standard assay battery for clinical DC products. This study evaluated gene expression profiling for characterization of immature DCs prepared from monocytes that had been elutriated from normal donor peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) immediately after collection or after storage at 4°C for 48 hours.
RNA was isolated from fresh and 48-hour-stored PBMNCs, elutriated monocytes, elutriated lymphocytes and immature DCs from 5 healthy subjects and was analyzed using a cDNA gene expression microarray with 17,500 genes.
Unsupervised hierarchical clustering separated the 40 products into 4 groups: one with all 10 immature DCs, one with all 10 elutriated lymphocytes, one with 7 PBMNCs, and one with 10 elutriated monocytes and 3 PBMNCs. However, within each of the 4 groups, fresh and stored products, or products derived from fresh or stored products, clustered together. Comparison of genes differentially expressed by fresh vs stored products (paired t-tests, p<0.005) found 273 genes that differed between fresh and stored PBMCs, 429 between lymphocytes elutriated from fresh vs stored PBMNCs, 711 between monocytes elutriated from fresh vs stored PBMNCs, and 3 between immature DCs prepared from monocytes elutriated from fresh vs stored PBMCs.
This study demonstrates the potential utility of gene expression profiling for characterization of cell therapy products.
PMCID: PMC2710576  PMID: 18282241
16.  Optimisation of the RT-PCR detection of immunomagnetically enriched carcinoma cells 
BMC Cancer  2002;2:14.
Immunomagnetic enrichment followed by RT-PCR (immunobead RT-PCR) is an efficient methodology to identify disseminated carcinoma cells in the blood and bone marrow. The RT-PCR assays must be both specific for the tumor cells and sufficiently sensitive to enable detection of single tumor cells. We have developed a method to test RT-PCR assays for any cancer. This has been investigated using a panel of RT-PCR markers suitable for the detection of breast cancer cells.
In the assay, a single cell line-derived tumor cell is added to 100 peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) after which mRNA is isolated and reverse transcribed for RT-PCR analysis. PBMNCs without added tumor cells are used as specificity controls. The previously studied markers epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), mammaglobin 1 (MGB1), epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM/TACSTD1), mucin 1 (MUC1), carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) were tested. Two new epithelial-specific markers ELF3 and EphB4 were also tested.
MUC1 was unsuitable as strong amplification was detected in 100 cell PBMNC controls. Expression of ELF3, EphB4, EpCAM, EGFR, CEA and MGB1 was found to be both specific for the tumor cell, as demonstrated by the absence of a signal in most 100 cell PBMNC controls, and sensitive enough to detect a single tumor cell in 100 PBMNCs using a single round of RT-PCR.
ELF3, EphB4, EpCAM, EGFR, CEA and MGB1 are appropriate RT-PCR markers for use in a marker panel to detect disseminated breast cancer cells after immunomagnetic enrichment.
PMCID: PMC115840  PMID: 12031094
17.  Circulating Angiogenic Cell Dysfunction in Patients with Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e89927.
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant vascular disorder. Circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) play an important role in vascular repair and regeneration. This study was designed to examine the function of CACs derived from patients with HHT. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) isolated from patients with HHT and age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers were assessed for expression of CD34, CD133 and VEGF receptor 2 by flow cytometry. PBMNCs were cultured to procure early outgrowth CACs. Development of endothelial cell (EC) phenotype in CACs was analyzed by fluorescence microscopy. CAC apoptosis was assayed with Annexin V staining, and CAC migration assessed by a modified Boyden chamber assay. mRNA expression of endoglin (ENG), activin receptor-like kinase-1 (ACVLR1 or ALK1) and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in CACs was measured by real time RT-PCR. The percentage of CD34+ cells in PBMNCs from HHT patients was significantly higher than in PBMNCs of healthy controls. CACs derived from patients with HHT not only showed a significant reduction in EC-selective surface markers following 7-day culture, but also a significant increase in the rate of basal apoptosis and blunted migration in response to vascular endothelial growth factor and stromal cell-derived factor-1. CACs from HHT patients expressed significantly lower levels of ENG, ALK1 and eNOS mRNAs. In conclusion, CACs from patients with HHT exhibited various functional impairments, suggesting a reduced regenerative capacity of CACs to repair the vascular lesions seen in HHT patients.
PMCID: PMC3934937  PMID: 24587130
18.  Reduced number and impaired function of circulating progenitor cells in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus 
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with premature and accelerated atherosclerosis. Circulating progenitor cells (CPCs) are circulating bone-marrow derived cells that play an important role in the repair of vascular damage that underlies the development of atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to determine the number and functionality of CPCs in patients with SLE. The study included 44 female SLE patients in an inactive stage of disease and 35 age-matched female controls. CPC numbers in the circulation were determined by FACS with monoclonals against CD14, CD34 and CD133. Peripheral blood-derived mononuclear cell (PBMNC) fractions were cultured in angiogenic medium. The endothelial-like phenotype was confirmed and the colony forming unit (CFU) capacity, migratory capacity and the potential to form clusters on Matrigel were determined. Expression of apoptosis inhibiting caspase 8L was analyzed in PBMNCs and CPCs by gene transcript and protein expression assays. The number of CD34–CD133 double-positive cells (P < 0.001) as well as the CFU capacity (P = 0.048) was reduced in SLE patients. Migratory activity on tumor necrosis factor-α tended to be reduced in patient CPCs (P = 0.08). Migration on vascular endothelial growth factor showed no significant differences, nor were differences observed in the potential to form clusters on Matrigel. The expression of caspase 8L was reduced at the transcriptional level (P = 0.049) and strongly increased at the protein level after culture (P = 0.003). We conclude that CPC numbers are reduced in SLE patients and functionality is partly impaired. We suggest these findings reflect increased susceptibility to apoptosis of CPCs from SLE patients.
PMCID: PMC2206388  PMID: 17764548
19.  Identification of p63+ keratinocyte progenitor cells in circulation and their matrix-directed differentiation to epithelial cells 
In the event of chronic diabetes or burn wounds, accomplishing skin regeneration is a major concern. Autologous skin grafting is the most effective remedy, but the tissue harvest may create more nonhealing wounds. Currently available skin substitutes have a limited clinical outcome because of immune reactions arising from the xenobiotic scaffold or allogenous cells. Autologous stem cells that can be collected without an additional injury may be a viable option for skin-tissue engineering. Presence of a low number of keratinocyte progenitor cells (KPCs) within the peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMNC) population has been indicated. Identification, isolation, expansion, and differentiation of KPCs is necessary before they are considered for skin regeneration, which is the focus of this study.
Culture of isolated human PBMNCs on a cell-specific matrix was carried out to induce differentiation of KPCs. Flow cytometry and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction were done for epithelial stem cell marker p63 and lineage markers cytokeratin 5 and cytokeratin 14, to track differentiation. Proliferation was confirmed by quantifying the proliferating cell nuclear antigen-expressing cells. Immunostaining with epithelial cell markers, involucrin and filaggrin, was carried out to establish terminal differentiation. Microscopic analysis confirmed growth and survival of KPCs on the dermal fibroblast monolayer and on a transplantable fibrin sheet.
We demonstrated that KPCs are p63+ and CD34-. The specifically designed composition of the extracellular matrix was found to support selective adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of p63+ KPCs. The PBMNC culture for 12 days under controlled conditions resulted in a homogenous population that expressed cytokeratins, and >90% of the cells were found to proliferate. Subculture for 5 days resulted in expression of filaggrin and involucrin, suggesting terminal differentiation. Transfer of matrix-selected KPCs to a dermal fibroblast monolayer or fibrin supported cell proliferation and showed typical hexagonal morphology of keratinocytes within 15 days.
Circulating KPCs were identified with p63, which differentiated into keratinocytes with expression of the cytokeratins, involucrin and filaggrin. Components of the specifically designed matrix favored KPC attachment, directed differentiation, and may turn out to be a potential vehicle for cell transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3706939  PMID: 23578397
Keratinocyte progenitor cells; p63; Cytokeratins; Peripheral blood mononuclear cells; Epithelial cells; Fibrin; Matrix-directed differentiation; Skin-tissue engineering
20.  Profiles of Multidrug Resistance Protein-1 in the Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Patients with Refractory Epilepsy 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36985.
About one third of patients with epilepsy become refractory to therapy despite receiving adequate medical treatment, possibly from multidrug resistance. P-glycoprotein, encoded by multidrug resistance protein-1 (MDR1) gene, at the blood brain barrier is considered as a major factor mediating drug efflux and contributing to resistance. Given that peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNCs) express MDR1, we investigated a MDR1 status of PBMNCs in various subsets of epilepsy patients and demonstrated their association with clinical characteristics.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Clinical and MDR1 data were collected from 140 patients with epilepsy, 30 healthy volunteers, and 20 control patients taking anti-epileptic drugs. PBMNCs were isolated, and basal MDR1 levels and MDR1 conformational change levels were measured by flow cytometry. MDR1 profiles were analyzed according to various clinical parameters, including seizure frequency and number of medications used in epilepsy patients. Epilepsy patients had a higher basal MDR1 level than non-epilepsy groups (p<0.01). Among epilepsy patients, there is a tendency for higher seizure frequency group to have higher basal MDR1 level (p = 0.059). The MDR1 conformational change level was significantly higher in the high-medication-use group than the low-use group (p = 0.028). Basal MDR1 (OR = 1.16 [95% CI: 1.060–1.268]) and conformational change level (OR = 1.11 [95% CI: 1.02–1.20]) were independent predictors for seizure frequency and number of medications, respectively.
The MDR1 profile of PBMNCs is associated with seizure frequency and medication conditions in patients with epilepsy.
PMCID: PMC3351424  PMID: 22606322
21.  Biobanking after robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy: a quality assessment of providing prostate tissue for RNA studies 
RNA quality is believed to decrease with ischaemia time, and therefore open radical prostatectomy has been advantageous in allowing the retrieval of the prostate immediately after its devascularization. In contrast, robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomies (RALP) require the completion of several operative steps before the devascularized prostate can be extirpated, casting doubt on the validity of this technique as a source for obtaining prostatic tissue. We seek to establish the integrity of our biobanking process by measuring the RNA quality of specimens derived from robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy.
We describe our biobanking process and report the RNA quality of prostate specimens using advanced electrophoretic techniques (RNA Integrity Numbers, RIN). Using multivariate regression analysis we consider the impact of various clinicopathological correlates on RNA integrity.
Our biobanking process has been used to acquire 1709 prostates, and allows us to retain approximately 40% of the prostate specimen, without compromising the histopathological evaluation of patients. We collected 186 samples from 142 biobanked prostates, and demonstrated a mean RIN of 7.25 (standard deviation 1.64) in 139 non-stromal samples, 73% of which had a RIN ≥ 7. Multivariate regression analysis revealed cell type - stromal/epithelial and benign/malignant - and prostate volume to be significant predictors of RIN, with unstandardized coefficients of 0.867(p = 0.001), 1.738(p < 0.001) and -0.690(p = 0.009) respectively. A mean warm ischaemia time of 120 min (standard deviation 30 min) was recorded, but multivariate regression analysis did not demonstrate a relationship with RIN within the timeframe of the RALP procedure.
We demonstrate the robustness of our protocol - representing the concerted efforts of dedicated urology and pathology departments - in generating RNA of sufficient concentration and quality, without compromising the histopathological evaluation and diagnosis of patients. The ischaemia time associated with our prostatectomy technique using a robotic platform does not negatively impact on biobanking for RNA studies.
PMCID: PMC3161873  PMID: 21791045
biobanking; prostate collection; ischaemia time; robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy; RNA quality; RIN
22.  Histological assessment of cerebellar granule cell layer in postmortem brain; a useful marker of tissue integrity? 
Cell and tissue banking  2011;13(4):521-527.
Tissue quality control measures are routinely performed in brain banks with the assessment of brain pH being the most common measure. In some brain banks the assessment of the RNA integrity number is also performed, although this requires access to specialised equipment and is more expensive. The aim of this study is to determine if there is a correlation between the visual assessment of cerebellar granule cell integrity and brain pH or RIN. One hundred and five consecutive cases from the NSW Tissue Resource Centre, Sydney, Australia were accessed. The cerebrum was hemisected and one hemisphere sliced parasagittally at approximately 1–2 cm intervals and frozen. The other hemisphere was fixed in 15% buffered formalin for 2–3 weeks. The contralateral cerebellar hemisphere was preserved in the same manner as the cerebral hemisphere. Samples of fixed tissue were embedded in paraffin, 7 μm sections cut and stained routinely with hematoxylin and eosin. The granular cell layer (GCL) was assessed microscopically to determine the degree of autolytic degradation. Degradation was graded as nil, mild, moderate or severe. Brain tissue pH and RIN were measured using standardised protocols. This study showed that both brain pH and RIN significantly correlated with the severity of the degradation of the cerebellar granule cell layer. This additional screening tool can be performed during routine histological review of the cerebellar tissue to assess the suitability for further investigation of tissue quality.
PMCID: PMC3454866  PMID: 21710172
Postmortem; Brain pH; RIN
23.  Supernatant of Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Induces Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Possessing Mesenchymal Features 
Increasing evidence shows that some cells from peripheral blood fibroblast-like mononuclear cells have the capacity to differentiate into mesenchymal lineages. However, the insufficiency of these cells in the circulation challenges the cell isolation and subsequently limits the clinical application of these cells. In the present study, the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (pbMNCs) were isolated from wound animals and treated with the supernatant of bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells (bmMSCs). Results showed these pbMNCs were fibroblast-like, had stromal morphology, were negative for CD34 and CD45, but positive for Vimentin and Collagen I, and had the multipotency to differentiate into adipocytes and osteoblasts. We named these induced peripheral blood-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ipbMSCs). Skin grafts in combination with ipbMSCs and collagen I were applied for wound healing, and results revealed ipbMSC exhibited similar potency and effectiveness in the promotion of wound healing to the bmMSCs. Hereafter, we speculate that the mixture of growth factors and chemokines secreted by bmMSCs may play an important roles in the induction of the proliferation and mesenchymal differentiation of mononuclear cells. Our results are clinically relevant because it provide a new method for the acquisition of MSCs which can be used as a candidate for the wound repair.
PMCID: PMC3076501  PMID: 21494428
Bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells; Peripheral blood mesenchymal stromal cells; Cell differentiation; Wound healing
24.  Biobanking of Human Pancreas Cancer Tissue: Impact of Ex-Vivo Procurement Times on RNA Quality 
Annals of surgical oncology  2010;17(8):10.1245/s10434-010-0959-6.
Tissue banking has become a major initiative at many oncology centers. The influence of warm ex-vivo ischemia times, storage times, and biobanking protocols on RNA integrity and subsequent microarray data is not well documented.
A prospective institutional review board–approved protocol for the banking of abdominal neoplasms was initiated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 2001. Sixty-four representative pancreas cancer specimens snap-frozen at various ex-vivo procurement times (≤10 min, 11–30 min, 31–60 min, >1 h) and banked during three time periods (2001–2004, 2004–2006, 2006–2008) were processed. RNA integrity was determined by microcapillary electrophoresis using the RNA integrity number (RIN) algorithm and by results of laser-capture microdissection (LCM).
Overall, 42% of human pancreas cancer specimens banked under a dedicated protocol yielded RNA with a RIN of ≥7. Limited warm ex-vivo ischemia times did not negatively impact RNA quality (percentage of tissue with total RNA with RIN of ≥7 for ≤10 min, 42%; 11–30 min, 58%; 31–60 min, 33%; >60 min, 42%), and long-term storage of banked pancreas cancer biospecimens did not negatively influence RNA quality (total RNA with RIN of ≥7 banked 2001–2004, 44%; 2004–2006, 38%; 2006–2008, 50%). RNA retrieved from pancreatic cancer samples with RIN of ≥7 subject to LCM yielded RNA suitable for further downstream applications.
Fresh-frozen pancreas tissue banked within a standardized research protocol yields high-quality RNA in approximately 50% of specimens and can be used for enrichment by LCM. Quality of tissues of the biobank were not adversely impacted by limited variations of warm ischemia times or different storage periods. This study shows the challenges and investments required to initiate and maintain high-quality tissue repositories.
PMCID: PMC3877690  PMID: 20162455
25.  Comparison of three different kits for extraction of high-quality RNA from frozen blood 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:76.
Extraction of high-quality RNA is a crucial step in gene expression profiling. To achieve optimal RNA extraction from frozen blood, the performance of three RNA extraction kits- TRI reagent, PAXgene blood RNA system (PAXgene) and NucleoSpin RNA blood kit (NucleoSpin)- was evaluated. Fifteen blood specimens collected in tubes containing potassium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) and stored at −80°C for approximately 5 years were randomly selected. The yield and purity of RNA, RIN (RNA integrity number) values and cycle threshold (Ct) values were assessed. Mean RNA yields with TRI reagent, PAXgene and NucleoSpin were 15.6 ± 8.7 μg/ml, 3.1 ± 1.7 μg/ml and 9.0 ± 5.5 μg/ml, respectively. Mean A260/280 ratios of RNA for the three kits were 1.7 ± 0.1, 2.0 ± 0.1, and 2.0 ± 0.0, and mean RIN values recorded as 3.2 ± 0.8, 6.0 ± 1.1, and 6.4 ± 0.9, respectively. The Ct values of housekeeping genes, 18S rRNA, β-actin, RPLP0 and HPRT1, were as follows: TRI reagent (19.2 ± 1.6, 30.6 ± 1.8, 29.9 ± 1.4 and 36.3 ± 1.3), PAXgene 16.6 ± 1.4, 26.4 ± 1.3, 28.2 ± 1.8 and 33.8 ± 1.1), and NucleoSpin (16.3 ± 1.5, 27.2 ± 1.3, 27.0 ± 1.6 and 32.9 ± 1.6). RNA yield using TRI reagent was 1.7 times higher than that with NucleoSpin and 5 times higher than that with PAXgene. However, the purity and integrity of TRI-extracted RNA was lower than that extracted with PAXgene and NucleoSpin. Moreover, the Ct values of housekeeping genes after extraction with TRI reagent were approximately 1.7-3.8 times higher than those obtained with PAXgene and NucleoSpin. The PAXgene and NucleoSpin kits produced similar results in terms of RNA purity and integrity and subsequent gene amplification. However, RNA yields from NucleoSpin were 2.9-fold higher, compared to PAXgene. Based on these findings, we conclude that NucleoSpin is the most effective kit for extraction of abundant and high-quality RNA from frozen blood.
PMCID: PMC3925490  PMID: 24567882
Frozen blood; RNA extraction; RT-qPCR

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