The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) binds to environmental toxicants including synthetic halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons and is involved in a diverse array of biological processes. Recently, the AHR was shown to control host immunity by affecting the balance between inflammatory T cells that produce IL-17 (Th17) and IL-22 versus regulatory T cells (Treg) involved in tolerance. While environmental AHR ligands can mediate this effect, endogenous ligands are likely to be more relevant in host immune responses. We investigated downstream metabolites of tryptophan as potential AHR ligands because (1) tryptophan metabolites have been implicated in regulating the balance between Th17 and Treg cells and (2) many of the AHR ligands identified thus far are derivatives of tryptophan. We characterized the ability of tryptophan metabolites to bind and activate the AHR and to increase IL-22 production in human T cells. We report that the tryptophan metabolite, cinnabarinic acid (CA), is an AHR ligand that stimulates the differentiation of human and mouse T cells producing IL-22. We compare the IL-22-stimulating activity of CA to that of other tryptophan metabolites and define stimulation conditions that lead to CA production from immune cells. Our findings link tryptophan metabolism to AHR activation and define a novel endogenous AHR agonist with potentially broad biological functions.
The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) assigned quantitative scores for harm to 20 drugs. We hypothesized that a personalized, ISCD-based Composite Harm Score (CHS) would be associated with poor health outcomes in polysubstance users.
A prospective community sample (n=293) of adults living in marginal housing was assessed for substance use. The CHS was calculated based on the ISCD index, and the personal substance use characteristics over four weeks. Regression models estimated the association between CHS and physical, psychological, and social health outcomes.
Polysubstance use was pervasive (95.8%), as was multimorbid illness (median 3, possible range 0–12). The median CHS was 2845 (interquartile range 1865–3977). Adjusting for age and sex, every 1000-unit CHS increase was associated with greater mortality (odds ratio [OR] 1.47, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07–2.01, p = 0.02), and persistent hepatitis C infection (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02–1.67, p = 0.04). The likelihood of substance-induced psychosis increased 1.39-fold (95% CI 1.13–1.67, p = 0.001). The amount spent on drugs increased 1.51-fold (1.40–1.62, p < 0.001) and the odds of having committed a crime increased 1.74-fold (1.46–2.10, p < 0.001). Multimorbid illness increased 1.43-fold (95% CI 1.26–1.63, p < 0.001).
Greater CHS predicts poorer physical, psychological, and social health, and may be a useful quantitative, personalized measure of risk for drug-related harm.
Despite a rise in incidence of basal cell carcinoma (BCC) among young people and the ubiquity of indoor tanning in this population, few epidemiologic studies have investigated this exposure-disease relationship.
Evaluate the association between indoor tanning and early-onset BCC.
BCC cases (n=376) and controls with minor benign skin conditions (n=390) under age 40 were identified through Yale Dermatopathology. Participants provided information on ever indoor tanning, age of initiation, frequency, duration, burns while tanning, and type of tanning device during an in-person interview. We calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) using multivariate logistic regression with never indoor tanners as the referent group.
Ever indoor tanning was associated with a 69% increased risk of early-onset BCC (95% CI=1.15-2.48). This association was stronger among women (OR=2.14, 95% CI=1.31-3.47), for multiple BCCs (OR=2.16, 95% CI=1.26-3.70), and for BCCs on the trunk and extremities (OR=2.81, 95% CI=1.57-5.02). Risk increased dose-dependently with years used regular indoor tanning devices (p-trend=0.003), number of overall burns (p-trend=<0.001) and burns to biopsy site (p-trend=<0.001) from indoor tanning. Approximately one-quarter (27%) of early-onset BCCs (or 43% among women) could be prevented if individuals never tanned indoors.
Potential recall bias of indoor tanning by cases and generalizability of the control population suggest replication in other studies is warranted.
Indoor tanning was a strong risk factor for early-onset BCC, particularly among women. Indoor tanning should continue to be targeted by both policy-based and behavioral interventions, as the impact on BCC-associated morbidity may be substantial.
basal cell carcinoma; epidemiology; indoor tanning; case-control; skin cancer; risk factors
Tendon injuries are a common age-related degenerative condition where current treatment strategies fail to restore functionality and normal quality of life. This disease also occurs naturally in horses, with many similarities to human tendinopathy making it an ideal large animal model for human disease. Regenerative approaches are increasingly used to improve outcome involving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), supported by clinical data where injection of autologous bone marrow derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) suspended in marrow supernatant into injured tendons has halved the re-injury rate in racehorses. We hypothesized that stem cell therapy induces a matrix more closely resembling normal tendon than the fibrous scar tissue formed by natural repair. Twelve horses with career-ending naturally-occurring superficial digital flexor tendon injury were allocated randomly to treatment and control groups. 1X107 autologous BM-MSCs suspended in 2 ml of marrow supernatant were implanted into the damaged tendon of the treated group. The control group received the same volume of saline. Following a 6 month exercise programme horses were euthanized and tendons assessed for structural stiffness by non-destructive mechanical testing and for morphological and molecular composition.
BM-MSC treated tendons exhibited statistically significant improvements in key parameters compared to saline-injected control tendons towards that of normal tendons and those in the contralateral limbs. Specifically, treated tendons had lower structural stiffness (p<0.05) although no significant difference in calculated modulus of elasticity, lower (improved) histological scoring of organisation (p<0.003) and crimp pattern (p<0.05), lower cellularity (p<0.007), DNA content (p<0.05), vascularity (p<0.03), water content (p<0.05), GAG content (p<0.05), and MMP-13 activity (p<0.02).
Treatment with autologous MSCs in marrow supernatant therefore provides significant benefits compared to untreated tendon repair in enhancing normalisation of biomechanical, morphological, and compositional parameters. These data in natural disease, with no adverse findings, support the use of this treatment for human tendon injuries.
Survival in the majority of high grade astrocytoma (HGA) patients is very poor, with only a rare population of long-term survivors. A better understanding of the biological factors associated with long-term survival in HGA would aid development of more effective therapy and survival prediction. Factors associated with long-term survival have not been extensively studied using unbiased genome-wide expression analyses. In the present study, gene expression microarray profiles of HGA from long-term survivors were interrogated for discovery of survival-associated biological factors. Ontology analyses revealed that increased expression of immune function-related genes was the predominant biological factor that positively correlated with longer survival. A notable T-cell signature was present within this prognostic immune gene-set. Using immune cell-specific gene classifiers, both T-cell and myeloid linage-associated genes were shown to be enriched in HGA from long versus short-term survivors. Association of immune function and cell-specific genes with survival was confirmed independently in a larger publicly available glioblastoma gene expression microarray dataset. Histology was used to validate the results of microarray analyses in a larger cohort of long-term survivors of HGA. Multivariate analyses demonstrated that increased immune cell infiltration was a significant independent variable contributing to longer survival, as was Karnofsky/Lansky performance score. These data provide evidence of a prognostic anti-tumor adaptive immune response and rationale for future development of immunotherapy in HGA.
We hypothesized that the severity of resting perfusion abnormalities assessed by the summed rest score (SRS) would be associated with a higher rate of adverse outcomesin patients with heart failure (HF) and reduced left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF).
A subset of 240 subjects from HF-ACTION underwent resting Tc99m tetrofosmin gated single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging(MPI). Images were evaluated using a 17-segment model to derive the SRS and additional nuclear variables.
After adjusting for pre-specified covariates, SRS was significantly associated with the primary endpoint (hazard ratio [HR] 0.98; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.97–1.00, P=0.04), with a higher SRS corresponding to lower risk of an event. This association was not present in the unadjusted analysis. The relationship between SRS and the primary outcome was likely due to a higher event ratein patients with ischemic HF and a low SRS. The LV phase standard deviation (SD) was not predictive of the primary outcome (HR 1.00; 95% CI 0.99–1.01, P=0.49). In a post hoc analysis, nuclear variables provided incremental prognostic information when added to clinical information (P=0.006).
Gated SPECT MPI provides important information in patients with HF and reduced LVEF. In the adjusted analysis, SRS has an unexpected relationship with the primary endpoint. Phase SD was not associated with the primary endpoint. Rest gated SPECT MPI provides incrementally greater prognostic information than clinical information alone.
heart failure; SPECT; outcomes; coronary artery disease; cardiomyopathy
Carriers of the FMR1 premutation allele are at a significantly increased risk for a late-onset neurodegenerative disorder, fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome (FXTAS). This disorder is distinct from fragile X syndrome (FXS) in its molecular aetiology and clinical presentation. The primary features of FXTAS are late-onset intention tremor and gait ataxia. Associated features include parkinsonism, neuropsychological dysfunction, autonomic dysfunction and peripheral neuropathy.
To investigate the usefulness of a quantitative neurological test battery implemented through the CATSYS instrument to identify preclinical symptoms of FXTAS.
Both premutation carriers with 70–199 repeats (62 men) and their low-repeat allele carrier siblings (27 men), identified through families with an individual affected with FXS, were tested.
As expected, because of its sensitivity, use of the instrument allowed identification of tremor in 23% of men who had not self-reported tremor, and ataxia in 30% of men who had not self-reported ataxia. Among subjects with self-reported tremor and ataxia, we found significant concordance between measures of the CATSYS system and the self-report.
Rates of these traits among premutation carriers and low-repeat allele carrier siblings could be identified, and are presented in this paper, along with the minimum estimates of age-related prevalence.
The feasibility of implementing pyrosequencing chemistry within droplets using electrowetting-based digital microfluidics is reported. An array of electrodes patterned on a printed-circuit board was used to control the formation, transportation, merging, mixing, and splitting of submicroliter-sized droplets contained within an oil-filled chamber. A three-enzyme pyrosequencing protocol was implemented in which individual droplets contained enzymes, deoxyribonucleotide triphosphates (dNTPs), and DNA templates. The DNA templates were anchored to magnetic beads which enabled them to be thoroughly washed between nucleotide additions. Reagents and protocols were optimized to maximize signal over background, linearity of response, cycle efficiency, and wash efficiency. As an initial demonstration of feasibility, a portion of a 229 bp Candida parapsilosis template was sequenced using both a de novo protocol and a resequencing protocol. The resequencing protocol generated over 60 bp of sequence with 100% sequence accuracy based on raw pyrogram levels. Excellent linearity was observed for all of the homopolymers (two, three, or four nucleotides) contained in the C. parapsilosis sequence. With improvements in microfluidic design it is expected that longer reads, higher throughput, and improved process integration (i.e., “sample-to-sequence” capability) could eventually be achieved using this low-cost platform.
Equine influenza A (H3N8) virus is a leading cause of infectious respiratory disease in horses causing widespread morbidity and economic losses. As with influenza in other species, equine influenza strains continuously mutate, requiring constant re-evaluation of current vaccines and development of new vaccines. Current inactivated (killed) vaccines, while efficacious, only offer limited protection against multiple strains and require frequent boosts. Ongoing research into new vaccine technologies, including gene-based vaccines, aims to increase the neutralization potency, breadth, and duration of protective immunity of new or existing vaccines. In these hypothesis-generating experiments, we demonstrate that a DNA vaccine expressing the hemagglutinin protein of equine H3N8 influenza virus generates homologous and heterologous immune responses, and protects against clinical disease and viral replication following homologous H3N8 infection in horses. Furthermore, we demonstrate that a needle-free delivery device is as efficient and effective as conventional parenteral injection using a needle and syringe. The observed trends in this study drive the hypothesis that DNA vaccines offer a safe, effective, and promising alternative approach for veterinary vaccines against influenza, and applicable to combat equine influenza.
Influenza; Equine; DNA Vaccine; Immunogenicity; Protection
Recently the SNP identified as rs1260326, in the glucokinase regulatory protein (GCKR) was associated with hypertriglyceridemia in adults. Since accumulation of triglycerides in hepatocytes represents the hallmark of the steatosis, we aimed to investigate whether this variant might be associated with fatty liver (hepatic fat content, HFF%). Moreover, since recently rs738409 in the PNPLA3 and rs2854116 in the APOC3 were associated with fatty liver recently, we explored how the GCKR SNP and these two variants jointly influence hepatosteatosis.
Methods and Results
We studied 455 obese children and adolescents (181 Caucasians, 139 African Americans and 135 Hispanics). All underwent an OGTT and fasting lipoprotein subclasses measurement by proton NMR. A subset of 142 children underwent a fast gradient MRI to measure the HFF%.
The rs1260326 was associated with elevated triglycerides (Caucasians p=0.00014; African Americans p=0.00417) large VLDL (Caucasians p=0.001; African Americans p=0.03) and with fatty liver (Caucasians p= 0.034; African Americans p= 0.00002; and Hispanics p= 0.016). The PNPLA3, but not the APOC3 rs2854116 SNP, was associated with fatty liver but not with triglycerides levels. There was a joint effect between the PNPLA3 and GCKR SNPs, explaining 32% of HFF% variance Caucasians (p=0.00161), 39.0% in African Americans (p=0.00000496), and 15% in Hispanics (p=0.00342).
The rs1260326 in GCKR is associated with hepatic fat accumulation along with large VLDL, and triglycerides levels. GCKR and PNPLA3 act together to convey susceptibility to fatty liver in obese youths.
GCKR; PNPLA3; SNPs; obesity; youths
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by bone marrow failure and an increased risk for leukemia and cancer. Fifteen proteins thought to function in the repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) comprise what is known as the FA-BRCA pathway. Activation of this pathway leads to the monoubiquitylation and chromatin localization of FANCD2 and FANCI. It has previously been shown that FANCJ interacts with the mismatch repair (MMR) complex MutLα. Here we show that FANCD2 interacts with the MMR proteins MSH2 and MLH1. FANCD2 monoubiquitylation, foci formation and chromatin loading are greatly diminished in MSH2-deficient cells. Human or mouse cells lacking MSH2 or MLH1 display increased sensitivity and radial formation in response to treatment with DNA crosslinking agents. Studies in human cell lines and Drosophila mutants suggest an epistatic relationship between FANCD2, MSH2 and MLH1 with regard to ICL repair. Surprisingly, the interaction between MSH2 and MLH1 is compromised in multiple FA cell lines, and FA cell lines exhibit deficient MMR. These results suggest a significant role for MMR proteins in the activation of the FA pathway and repair of ICLs. In addition, we provide the first evidence for a defect in MMR in FA cell lines.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) incidence is increasing, particularly among adults under age 40. Pigment-related characteristics are associated with BCC in older populations, but epidemiologic studies among younger individuals and analyses of phenotype-genotype interactions are limited. We examined self-reported phenotypes and melanocortin 1 receptor gene (MC1R) variants in relation to early-onset BCC. BCC cases (n=377) and controls with benign skin conditions (n=390) under age 40 were identified through Yale’s Dermatopathology database. Factors most strongly associated with early-onset BCC were skin reaction to first summer sun for one hour [severe sunburn vs. tan odds ratio (OR)=12.27, 95% confidence interval (CI)=4.08–36.94] and skin color (very fair vs. olive OR=11.06, 95% CI=5.90–20.74). Individuals with two or more MC1R non-synonymous variants were 3.59 times (95% CI=2.37–5.43) more likely to have BCC than those without non-synonymous variants. All host characteristics and MC1R were more strongly associated with multiple BCC cases status (37% of cases) than single BCC case status. MC1R, number of moles, skin reaction to first summer sun for one hour, and hair and skin color were independently associated with BCC. BCC risk conferred by MC1R tended to be stronger among those with darker pigment phenotypes, traditionally considered to be at low-risk of skin cancer.
Pavlovian trace conditioning critically depends on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and hippocampus (HPC), whereas delay conditioning does not depend on these brain structures. Given that the cholinergic basal forebrain system modulates activity in both the mPFC and HPC, it was reasoned that the level of acetylcholine (ACh) release in these regions would show distinct profiles during testing in trace and delay conditioning paradigms. To test this assumption, microdialysis probes were implanted unilaterally into the mPFC and HPC of rats that were pre-trained in appetitive trace and delay conditioning paradigms using different conditional stimuli in the two tasks. On the day of microdialysis testing, dialysate samples were collected during a quiet baseline interval before trials were initiated, and again during performance in separate blocks of trace and delay conditioning trials in each animal. ACh levels were quantified using high performance liquid chromatography and electrochemical detection techniques. Consistent with our hypothesis, results showed that ACh release in the mPFC was greater during trace conditioning than during delay conditioning. The level of ACh released during trace conditioning in the HPC was also greater than the levels observed during delay conditioning. While ACh efflux in both the mPFC and HPC selectively increased during trace conditioning, ACh levels in the mPFC during trace conditioning testing showed the greatest increases observed. These results demonstrate a dissociation in cholinergic activation of the mPFC and HPC during performance in trace but not delay appetitive conditioning, where this cholinergic activity may contribute to attentional mechanisms, adaptive response timing, or memory consolidation necessary for successful trace conditioning.
microdialysis; attention; cholinergic system; nucleus basalismagnocellularis; medial septal area
Babesiosis is an emerging zoonosis with important public health implications, as the incidence of the disease has risen dramatically over the past decade. Because the current gold standard for detection of Babesia is microscopic examination of blood smears, accurate identification requires trained personnel. Species in the genus cannot be distinguished microscopically, and Babesia can also be confused with the early trophozoite stage (ring forms) of Plasmodium parasites. To allow more accurate diagnosis in a format that is accessible to a wider variety of laboratories, we developed a real-time PCR assay targeting the 18S rRNA gene of Babesia microti, the dominant babesiosis pathogen in the United States. The real-time PCR is performed on DNA extracted from whole-blood specimens and detects Babesia microti with a limit of detection of ∼100 gene copies in 5 μl of blood. The real-time PCR assay was shown to be 100% specific when tested against a panel of 24 organisms consisting of Babesia microti, other Babesia species, Plasmodium species, tick-borne and other pathogenic bacteria, and other blood-borne parasites. The results using clinical specimens show that the assay can detect infections of lower parasitemia than can be detected by microscopic examination. This method is therefore a rapid, sensitive, and accurate method for detection of Babesia microti in patient specimens.
Carriers of a premutation (CGG repeat length 55–200) in the fragile X mental retardation (FMR1) gene are at risk for primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI). The anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) level acts as a useful marker of ovarian follicle reserve and, thus, may serve to predict when this ovarian reserve becomes too low to sustain ovarian function. We investigated the intra-individual variation of AMH levels over time for premutation carriers compared with non-carriers.
We determined AMH levels in blood samples from 240 women ascertained through fragile X families, of which 127 were premutation carriers and 113 were non-carriers. Linear mixed models were used to assess the effect of age and premutation status on AMH levels and to determine a modeled AMH value. The stability over time of the deviation of observed AMH levels from modeled levels, referred to as standardized AMH values, was assessed through correlation coefficients of 41 longitudinal samples.
At all ages, premutation carriers exhibited lower AMH levels. For all women, AMH was found to decrease by 10% per year. The added effect of having a premutation decreased AMH levels by 54%. The deviation of an individual's AMH level from the modeled value showed a reasonable intra-individual correlation. The Pearson correlation coefficient of two samples taken at different ages was 0.36 (P = 0.05) for non-carriers and 0.69 (P = 0.01) for carriers.
We developed a unique standardized AMH value, taking FMR1 premutation status and the subject's age into account, which appears to be stable over time and may serve as a predictor for FXPOI after further longitudinal assessment.
anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH); premutation carriers; FMR1 gene; fragile X-associated primary ovarian insufficiency (FXPOI); ovarian reserve
Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in combination with plerixafor produces significant mobilization of CD34+ cells in rhesus macaques. We sought to evaluate whether these CD34+ cells can stably reconstitute blood cells with lentiviral gene marking.
We performed hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation using G-CSF and plerixafor-mobilized rhesus CD34+ cells transduced with a lentiviral vector, and these data were compared to those of G-CSF and stem cell factor (SCF) mobilization.
G-CSF and plerixafor mobilization resulted in CD34+ cell yields that were 2-fold higher than yields with G-CSF and SCF. CD123 (IL-3 receptor) expression was greater in G-CSF and plerixafor-mobilized CD34+ cells when compared to G-CSF alone. Animals transplanted with G-CSF and plerixafor-mobilized cells showed engraftment of all lineages, similar to animals who received G-CSF and SCF-mobilized grafts. Lymphocyte engraftment was accelerated in animals receiving the G-CSF and plerixafor-mobilized CD34+ cells. One animal in the G-CSF and plerixafor group developed cold agglutinin associated skin rash during the first 3 months of rapid lymphocyte recovery. One year after transplantation, all animals had 2–10% transgene expression in all blood cell lineages.
G-CSF and plerixafor-mobilized CD34+ cells accelerate lymphocyte engraftment and contain HSC capable of reconstituting multi-lineage blood cells. These findings indicate important differences to consider in plerixafor based HSC mobilization protocols in rhesus macaques.
hematopoietic stem cell transplantation; hematopoietic stem cell mobilization; lentivirus vector
Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) manufactured in Anniston, Alabama, from 1929 to 1971 caused significant environmental contamination. The Anniston population remains one of the most highly exposed in the world.
Objectives: Reports of increased diabetes in PCB-exposed populations led us to examine possible associations in Anniston residents.
Methods: Volunteers (n = 774) from a cross-sectional study of randomly selected households and adults who completed the Anniston Community Health Survey also underwent measurements of height, weight, fasting glucose, lipid, and PCB congener levels and verification of medications. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to assess the relationships between PCBs and diabetes, adjusting for diabetes risk factors. Participants with prediabetes were excluded from the logistic regression analyses.
Results: Participants were 47% African American, 70% female, with a mean age of 54.8 years. The prevalence of diabetes was 27% in the study population, corresponding to an estimated prevalence of 16% for Anniston overall; the PCB body burden of 35 major congeners ranged from 0.11 to 170.42 ppb, wet weight. The adjusted OR comparing the prevalence of diabetes in the fifth versus first quintile of serum PCB was 2.78 (95% CI: 1.00, 7.73), with similar associations estimated for second through fourth quintiles. In participants < 55 years of age, the adjusted OR for diabetes for the highest versus lowest quintile was 4.78 (95% CI: 1.11, 20.6), whereas in those ≥ 55 years of age, we observed no significant associations with PCBs. Elevated diabetes prevalence was observed with a 1 SD increase in log PCB levels in women (OR = 1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.28); a decreased prevalence was observed in men (OR = 0.68; 95% CI: 0.33, 1.41).
Conclusions: We observed significant associations between elevated PCB levels and diabetes mostly due to associations in women and in individuals < 55 years of age.
diabetes; epidemiology; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); POPs
Despite educational and public health campaigns to convey the risks of indoor tanning, many individuals around the world continue to engage in this behavior. Few descriptive studies of indoor tanning have collected information pertaining to the lifetime history of indoor tanning, thereby limiting our ability to understand indoor tanning patterns and potentially target interventions for individuals who not only initiate, but continue to persistently engage in indoor tanning.
In-person interviews elicited detailed retrospective information on lifetime history of indoor tanning among white individuals (n = 401) under age 40 seen by a dermatologist for a minor benign skin condition. These individuals were controls in a case-control study of early-onset basal cell carcinoma. Outcomes of interest included ever indoor tanning in both males and females, as well as persistent indoor tanning in females - defined as females over age 31 who tanned indoors at least once in the last three or all four of four specified age periods (ages 11-15, 16-20, 21-30 and 31 or older). Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic and lifestyle correlates of ever and persistent indoor tanning in females.
Approximately three-quarters (73.3%) of females and 38.3% of males ever tanned indoors, with a median age of initiation of 17.0 and 21.5, respectively. Among indoor tanners, 39.3% of females and 21.7% of males reported being burned while indoor tanning. Female ever indoor tanners were younger, had darker color eyes, and sunbathed more frequently than females who never tanned indoors. Using unique lifetime exposure data, 24.7% of female indoor tanners 31 and older persistently tanned indoors starting as teenagers. Female persistent indoor tanners drank significantly more alcohol, were less educated, had skin that tanned with prolonged sun exposure, and sunbathed outdoors more frequently than non-persistent tanners.
Indoor tanning was strikingly common in this population, especially among females. Persistent indoor tanners had other high-risk behaviors (alcohol, sunbathing), suggesting that multi-faceted behavioral interventions aimed at health promotion/disease prevention may be needed in this population.
Indoor tanning; Correlates; Epidemiology; Skin cancer prevention
Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) are the most common cancers in the United States. The histologic appearance distinguishes several subtypes, each of which can have a different biologic behavior. In this study, global miRNA expression was quantified by high-throughput sequencing in nodular BCCs, a subtype that is slow growing, and infiltrative BCCs, aggressive tumors that extend through the dermis and invade structures such as cutaneous nerves. Principal components analysis correctly classified seven of eight infiltrative tumors on the basis of miRNA expression. The remaining tumor, on pathology review, contained a mixture of nodular and infiltrative elements. Nodular tumors did not cluster tightly, likely reflecting broader histopathologic diversity in this class, but trended toward forming a group separate from infiltrative BCCs. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays were developed for six of the miRNAs that showed significant differences between the BCC subtypes, and five of these six were validated in a replication set of four infiltrative and three nodular tumors. The expression level of miR-183, a miRNA that inhibits invasion and metastasis in several types of malignancies, was consistently lower in infiltrative than nodular tumors and could be one element underlying the difference in invasiveness. These results represent the first miRNA profiling study in BCCs and demonstrate that miRNA gene expression may be involved in tumor pathogenesis and particularly in determining the aggressiveness of these malignancies.
miR-150; miR-183; histopathology; skin cancer; expression profiling
The genetic factors associated with susceptibility to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in pediatric obesity remain largely unknown. Recently, a nonsynonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism (rs738409), in the patatin-like phospholipase 3 gene (PNPLA3) has been associated with hepatic steatosis in adults. In a multiethnic group of 85 obese youths, we genotyped the PNLPA3 single-nucleotide polymorphism, measured hepatic fat content by magnetic resonance imaging and insulin sensitivity by the insulin clamp. Because PNPLA3 might affect adipogenesis/lipogenesis, we explored the putative association with the distribution of adipose cell size and the expression of some adipogenic/lipogenic genes in a subset of subjects who underwent a subcutaneous fat biopsy. Steatosis was present in 41% of Caucasians, 23% of African Americans, and 66% of Hispanics. The frequency of PNPLA3(rs738409) G allele was 0.324 in Caucasians, 0.183 in African Americans, and 0.483 in Hispanics. The prevalence of the G allele was higher in subjects showing hepatic steatosis. Surprisingly, subjects carrying the G allele showed comparable hepatic glucose production rates, peripheral glucose disposal rate, and glycerol turnover as the CC homozygotes. Carriers of the G allele showed smaller adipocytes than those with CC genotype (P = 0.005). Although the expression of PNPLA3, PNPLA2, PPARγ2(peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma 2), SREBP1c(sterol regulatory element binding protein 1c), and ACACA(acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase) was not different between genotypes, carriers of the G allele showed lower leptin (LEP)(P = 0.03) and sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression (P = 0.04).
A common variant of the PNPLA3 gene confers susceptibility to hepatic steatosis in obese youths without increasing the level of hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance. The rs738409 PNPLA3 G allele is associated with morphological changes in adipocyte cell size.
In previous analyses, we identified a region of chromosome 19 as harboring a susceptibility locus for chronic otitis media with effusion and/or recurrent otitis media (COME/ROM). Our aim was to further localize the linkage signal and ultimately identify the causative variant or variants. We followed up our previous linkage scan with dense SNP genotyping across in a 5 Mb region. A total of 607 individuals from 139 families, including 159 affected sib pairs and 62 second-degree affected relative pairs, were genotyped at 1,091 SNPs. We carried out a nonparametric linkage analysis, modeling marker-to-marker linkage disequilibrium.
The maximum log of the odds (LOD) score increased to 3.75 (P = 1.6 × 10-5) at position 63.4 Mb, with a LOD-1 support interval between 61.6 Mb and 63.8 Mb, providing significant evidence of linkage between this region and COME/ROM. The support interval contains over 90 known genes, including several genes involved in the inflammasome protein complex, a key regulator of the innate immune response to harmful exogenous or endogenous stimuli. Parametric linkage analysis suggests that for a sib of an affected individual, the recurrence risk of COME/ROM due to this linkage region is twice the recurrence risk in the population. We examined potential associations between the SNPs genotyped in this region and COME/ROM, however none provided evidence for association.
This study has refined the 19q region of linkage with COME/ROM, and association results suggest that the linkage signal may be due to rare variants.
Linkage; fine mapping; otolaryngology
Rapid, accurate diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) due to Mycoplasma pneumoniae is compromised by low sensitivity of culture and serology. PCR has emerged as a sensitive method to detect M. pneumoniae DNA in clinical specimens. However, conventional real-time PCR is not cost-effective for routine out-patient or implementation. Here, we evaluate a novel microfluidic real-time PCR platform (Advanced Liquid Logic, Inc.) that is rapid, portable, and fully automated. We enrolled patients with CAP and extracted DNA from nasopharyngeal wash (NPW) specimens using a biotinylated capture probe and streptavidin-coupled magnetic beads. Each extract was tested for M. pneumoniae-specific DNA by real-time PCR on both conventional and microfluidic platforms using Taqman probe and primers. Three of 59 (5.0%) NPWs were positive, and agreement between the methods was 98%. The microfluidic platform was equally sensitive but three times faster and offers an inexpensive and convenient diagnostic test for microbial DNA.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae; real-time PCR; DNA-based diagnostics; community-acquired pneumonia; diagnostic microbiology
A novel method to quantify dyssynchrony using phase analysis of single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging has been developed. We sought to determine the prevalence of SPECT-derived mechanical dyssynchrony, and we report clinical variables which predict mechanical dyssynchrony in patients with left ventricular dysfunction.
We used a count-based Fourier analysis method to convert the regional myocardial counts from discrete frames per cardiac cycle into a continuous thickening function which allows resolution of the phase of the onset of myocardial contraction. The standard deviation of left ventricular phases (Phase SD) describes the regional phase dispersion as a measure of dyssynchrony. Significant dyssynchrony was defined as Phase SD ≥ 43°. 260 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction ≤35% were examined.
The prevalence of mechanical dyssynchrony in the entire cohort of patients studied was 52%. Univariate predictors of Phase SD were age (P = .03), black race (P = .0005), QRS duration, EF, EDV, summed stress score (SSS), and summed rest score (SRS) (all P = <.0001). Black race, male gender, QRS EF, and SRS were independent predictors of SPECT-based mechanical dyssynchrony.
Significant SPECT-based mechanical dyssynchrony is relatively common among patients with left ventricular dysfunction. In a population of patients with predominantly ischemic heart disease referred for SPECT, a reduced EF, increasing QRS duration, severity and extent of myocardial scar on SPECT imaging are independent predictors of mechanical dyssynchrony and may serve to identify patients for dyssynchrony screening.
Myocardial perfusion imaging: SPECT; coronary artery disease; gated SPECT; heart failure; diagnostic and prognostic applications
Abnormalities of amount and function of presynaptic terminals may have an important role in the mechanism of illness in schizophrenia. The SNARE proteins (SNAP-25, syntaxin, and VAMP) are enriched in presynaptic terminals, where they interact to form a functional complex to facilitate vesicle fusion. SNARE protein amounts are altered in the cortical regions in schizophrenia, but studies of protein–protein interactions are limited. We extended these investigations to the striatal regions (such as the nucleus accumbens, ventromedial caudate (VMC), and dorsal caudate) relevant to disease symptoms. In addition to measuring SNARE protein levels, we studied SNARE protein–protein interactions using a novel ELISA method. The possible effect of antipsychotic treatment was investigated in parallel in the striatum of rodents that were administered haloperidol and clozapine. In schizophrenia samples, compared with controls, SNAP-25 was 32% lower (P=0.015) and syntaxin was 26% lower (P=0.006) in the VMC. In contrast, in the same region, SNARE protein–protein interactions were higher in schizophrenia (P=0.008). Confocal microscopy of schizophrenia and control VMC showed qualitatively similar SNARE protein immunostaining. Haloperidol treatment of rats increased levels of SNAP-25 (mean 24%, P=0.003), syntaxin (mean 18%, P=0.010), and VAMP (mean 16%, P=0.001), whereas clozapine increased only the VAMP level (mean 13%, P=0.004). Neither drug altered SNARE protein–protein interactions. These results indicate abnormalities of amount and interactions of proteins directly related to presynaptic function in the VMC in schizophrenia. SNARE proteins and their interactions may be a novel target for the development of therapeutics.
SNAREs; schizophrenia; striatum; postmortem; protein interactions; SNAP-25; Schizophrenia/Antipsychotics; Plasticity; Neurochemistry; Neuropharmacology; SNARE proteins
This paper details the development of a digital microfluidic platform for multiplexed real-time polymerase chain reactions. Liquid samples in discrete droplet format are programmably manipulated upon an electrode array by the use of electrowetting. Rapid PCR thermocycling is performed in a closed-loop flow-through format where for each cycle the reaction droplets are cyclically transported between different temperature zones within an oil-filled cartridge. The cartridge is fabricated using low-cost printed-circuit-board technology and is intended to be a single-use disposable device. The PCR system exhibited remarkable amplification efficiency of 94.7%. To test its potential application in infectious diseases, this novel PCR system reliably detected diagnostic DNA levels of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Candida albicans. Amplification of genomic DNA samples was consistently repeatable across multiple PCR loops both within and between cartridges. In addition, simultaneous real-time PCR amplification of both multiple different samples and multiple different targets on a single cartridge was demonstrated. A novel method of PCR speed optimization using variable cycle times has also been proposed and proven feasible. The versatile system includes magnetic bead handling capability, which was applied to the analysis of simulated clinical samples that were prepared from whole blood using a magnetic bead capture protocol. Other salient features of this versatile digital microfluidic PCR system are also discussed, including the configurability and scalability of microfluidic operations, instrument portability and substrate-level integration with other pre- and post-PCR processes.
digital microfluidics; real-time PCR; electrowetting; droplets; Candida albicans; Mycoplasma pneumoniae; Staphylococcus aureus; molecular diagnostics