To examine the association of atherogenic and thrombogenic markers and lymphotoxin-alfa gene mutations with the risk of premature coronary disease.
This cross-sectional, case-control, age-adjusted study was conducted in 336 patients with premature coronary disease (<50 years old) and 189 healthy controls. The control subjects had normal clinical, resting, and exercise stress electrocardiographic assessments. The coronary disease group patients had either angiographically documented disease (>50% luminal reduction) or a previous myocardial infarction. The laboratory data evaluated included thrombogenic factors (fibrinogen, protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III), atherogenic factors (glucose and lipid profiles, lipoprotein(a), and apolipoproteins AI and B), and lymphotoxin-alfa mutations. Genetic variability of lymphotoxin-alfa was determined by polymerase chain reaction analysis.
Coronary disease patients exhibited lower concentrations of HDL-cholesterol and higher levels of glucose, lipoprotein(a), and protein S. The frequencies of AA, AG, and GG lymphotoxin-alfa mutation genotypes were 55.0%, 37.6%, and 7.4% for controls and 42.7%, 46.0%, and 11.3% for coronary disease patients (p = 0.02), respectively. Smoking, dyslipidemia, family history, and lipoprotein(a) and lymphotoxin-alfa mutations in men were independent variables associated with coronary disease. The area under the curve (C-statistic) increased from 0.779 to 0.802 (p<0.05) with the inclusion of lipoprotein(a) and lymphotoxin-alfa mutations in the set of conventional risk factors.
The inclusion of lipoprotein(a) and lymphotoxin-alfa mutations in the set of conventional risk factors showed an additive but small increase in the risk prediction of premature coronary disease.
Coronary Artery Disease; Risk Factors; Thrombosis; Inflammation; Lipids; Lipoprotein(a); Risk Prediction; Lymphotoxin-Alfa
To measure the oxygen and ventilatory output across all COPD stages performing 18 common ADL and identify the activities that present the highest metabolic and ventilatory output as well as to compare the energy expenditure within each disease severity.
Materials and Methods
Metabolic (VO2 and VCO2), ventilatory (f and VE), cardiovascular (HR) and dyspnea (Borg score) variables were assessed in one hundred COPD patients during the completion of eighteen ADL grouped into four activities domains: rest, personal care, labor activities and efforts.
The activities with the highest proportional metabolic and ventilatory output (VO2/VO2max and VE/MVV) were walking with 2.5 Kg in each hand and walking with 5.0 Kg in one hand. Very severe patients presented the highest metabolic, ventilatory output and dyspnea than mild patients (p<0.05).
COPD patients present an increased proportion of energy expenditure while performing activities of daily living. The activities that developed the highest metabolic and ventilatory output are the ones associated to upper and lower limbs movements combined. Very severe patients present the highest proportional estimated metabolic and ventilatory output and dyspnea. Activities of daily living are mainly limited by COPD’s reduced ventilatory reserve.
A significant feature of the adult human brain is its ability to selectively process information about conspecifics. Much debate has centred on whether this specialization is primarily a result of phylogenetic adaptation, or whether the brain acquires expertise in processing social stimuli as a result of its being born into an intensely social environment. Here we study the haemodynamic response in cortical areas of newborns (1–5 days old) while they passively viewed dynamic human or mechanical action videos. We observed activation selective to a dynamic face stimulus over bilateral posterior temporal cortex, but no activation in response to a moving human arm. This selective activation to the social stimulus correlated with age in hours over the first few days post partum. Thus, even very limited experience of face-to-face interaction with other humans may be sufficient to elicit social stimulus activation of relevant cortical regions.
The present study consists of a detailed phylogenetic analysis of myxosporeans of the Myxobolus and Henneguya genera, including sequences from 12 Myxobolus/Henneguya species, parasites of South American pimelodids, bryconids and characids. Maximum likelihood and maximum parsimony analyses, based on 18 S rDNA gene sequences, showed that the strongest evolutionary signal is the phylogenetic affinity of the fish hosts, with clustering mainly occurring according to the order and/or family of the host. Of the 12 South American species studied here, six are newly described infecting fish from the Brazilian Pantanal wetland. Henneguya maculosus n. sp. and Myxobolus flavus n. sp. were found infecting both Pseudoplatystoma corruscans and Pseudoplatystoma reticulatum; Myxobolus aureus n. sp. and Myxobolus pantanalis n. sp. were observed parasitizing Salminus brasiliensis and Myxobolus umidus n. sp. and Myxobolus piraputangae n. sp. were detected infecting Brycon hilarii.
The problem of determining the optimal geometric configuration of a sensor network that will maximize the range-related information available for multiple target positioning is of key importance in a multitude of application scenarios. In this paper, a set of sensors that measures the distances between the targets and each of the receivers is considered, assuming that the range measurements are corrupted by white Gaussian noise, in order to search for the formation that maximizes the accuracy of the target estimates. Using tools from estimation theory and convex optimization, the problem is converted into that of maximizing, by proper choice of the sensor positions, a convex combination of the logarithms of the determinants of the Fisher Information Matrices corresponding to each of the targets in order to determine the sensor configuration that yields the minimum possible covariance of any unbiased target estimator. Analytical and numerical solutions are well defined and it is shown that the optimal configuration of the sensors depends explicitly on the constraints imposed on the sensor configuration, the target positions, and the probabilistic distributions that define the prior uncertainty in each of the target positions. Simulation examples illustrate the key results derived.
position estimation; positioning systems; estimation theory; localization; information analysis; optimization; autonomous vehicles; sensor networks
Benzothiazepine CGP37157 is widely used as tool to explore
role of mitochondria in cell Ca2+ handling, by its blocking
effect of the mitochondria Na+/Ca2+ exchanger.
Recently, CGP37157 has shown to exhibit neuroprotective properties.
In the trend to improve its neuroprotection profile, we have synthesized
ITH12505, an isosteric analogue having a methyl instead of chlorine
at C2′ of the phenyl ring. ITH12505 has exerted neuroprotective
properties similar to CGP37157 in chromaffin cells and hippocampal
slices stressed with veratridine. Also, both compounds afforded neuroprotection
in hippocampal slices stressed with glutamate. However, while ITH12505
elicited protection in SH-SY5Y cells stressed with oligomycin A/rotenone,
CGP37157 was ineffective. In hippocampal slices subjected to oxygen/glucose
deprivation plus reoxygenation, ITH12505 offered protection at 3–30
μM, while CGP37157 only protected at 30 μM. Both compounds
caused blockade of Ca2+ channels in high K+-depolarized
SH-SY5Y cells. An in vitro experiment for assaying central nervous
system penetration (PAMPA-BBB; parallel artificial membrane permeability
assay for blood-brain barrier) revealed that both compounds could
cross the blood–brain barrier, thus reaching their biological
targets in the central nervous system. In conclusion, by causing a
mild isosteric replacement in the benzothiazepine CGP37157, we have
obtained ITH12505, with improved neuroprotective properties. These
findings may inspire the design and synthesis of new benzothiazepines
targeting mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger and
L-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels, having antioxidant
Alzheimer’s disease; cell calcium; CGP37157; mitochondrial sodium calcium exchanger; neuroprotection; oxidative stress
Oral lesions may be found in patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), in a percentage up to 20%. The aim of this study was to investigate a possible relationship between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and oral lesions in CD patients. 23 oral biopsies were examined performing IS900 Nested PCR; 9 of them were positive: 8 from CD patients and 1 from a control. Our purpose is to go on with this study, amplifying the number of subjects examined and testing subjects with oral lesions related to diseases other than CD to verify the specific association between MAP and oral lesions in CD patients.
MAP; Oral lesion Crohn; Oral granulomatous lesions; PCR IS900
Anopheles darlingi is the principal neotropical malaria vector, responsible for more than a million cases of malaria per year on the American continent. Anopheles darlingi diverged from the African and Asian malaria vectors ∼100 million years ago (mya) and successfully adapted to the New World environment. Here we present an annotated reference A. darlingi genome, sequenced from a wild population of males and females collected in the Brazilian Amazon. A total of 10 481 predicted protein-coding genes were annotated, 72% of which have their closest counterpart in Anopheles gambiae and 21% have highest similarity with other mosquito species. In spite of a long period of divergent evolution, conserved gene synteny was observed between A. darlingi and A. gambiae. More than 10 million single nucleotide polymorphisms and short indels with potential use as genetic markers were identified. Transposable elements correspond to 2.3% of the A. darlingi genome. Genes associated with hematophagy, immunity and insecticide resistance, directly involved in vector–human and vector–parasite interactions, were identified and discussed. This study represents the first effort to sequence the genome of a neotropical malaria vector, and opens a new window through which we can contemplate the evolutionary history of anopheline mosquitoes. It also provides valuable information that may lead to novel strategies to reduce malaria transmission on the South American continent. The A. darlingi genome is accessible at www.labinfo.lncc.br/index.php/anopheles-darlingi.
There has been significant advancement in various aspects of scientific knowledge concerning the role of cerebellum in the etiopathogenesis of autism. In the current consensus paper, we will observe the diversity of opinions regarding the involvement of this important site in the pathology of autism. Recent emergent findings in literature related to cerebellar involvement in autism are discussed, including: cerebellar pathology, cerebellar imaging and symptom expression in autism, cerebellar genetics, cerebellar immune function, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, GABAergic and glutamatergic systems, cholinergic, dopaminergic, serotonergic, and oxytocin related changes in autism, motor control and cognitive deficits, cerebellar coordination of movements and cognition, gene-environment interactions, therapeutics in autism and relevant animal models of autism. Points of consensus include presence of abnormal cerebellar anatomy, abnormal neurotransmitter systems, oxidative stress, cerebellar motor and cognitive deficits, and neuroinflammation in subjects with autism. Undefined areas or areas requiring further investigation include lack of treatment options for core symptoms of autism, vermal hypoplasia and other vermal abnormalities as a consistent feature of autism, mechanisms underlying cerebellar contributions to cognition, and unknown mechanisms underlying neuroinflammation.
Recent insights into the genetic and somatic aberrations have initiated a new era of rapidly evolving targeted and immune-based treatments for melanoma. After decades of unsuccessful attempts to finding a more effective cure in the treatment of melanoma now we have several drugs active in melanoma. The possibility to use these drugs in combination to improve responses to overcome the resistance, to potentiate the action of immune system with the new immunomodulating antibodies, and identification of biomarkers that can predict the response to a particular therapy represent new concepts and approaches in the clinical management of melanoma. The third “Melanoma Research: “A bridge from Naples to the World” meeting, shortened as “Bridge Melanoma Meeting” took place in Naples, December 2 to 4th, 2012. The four topics of discussion at this meeting were: advances in molecular profiling and novel biomarkers, combination therapies, novel concepts toward integrating biomarkers and therapies into contemporary clinical management of patients with melanoma across the entire spectrum of disease stage, and the knowledge gained from the biology of tumor microenvironment across different tumors as a bridge to impact on prognosis and response to therapy in melanoma. This international congress gathered more than 30 international faculty members who in an interactive atmosphere which stimulated discussion and exchange of their experience regarding the most recent advances in research and clinical management of melanoma patients.
Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) assists breathing and thus improves oxygenation in patients with Kyphoscoliosis. The benefits of short- and long-term intermittent nocturnal in such patients have been reported previously (improvement of vital capacity, total lung capacity, muscle strength, daytime oxygenation, exercise capacity, and pulmonary hypertension). We review this important study reporting patients with kyphoscoliosis and acute respiratory failure along with their long-term outcomes. We believe that this letter may provide important information regarding the prognosis and efficacy of NIV.
Care unit; Kyphoscoliosis; Non-invasive mechanical ventilation; Intensive; Prognosis
Converging lines of evidence point to the existence of immune dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which could directly affect several key neurodevelopmental processes. Previous studies have shown higher cytokine levels in patients with autism compared with matched controls or subjects with other developmental disorders. In the current study, we used plasma-cytokine profiling for 25 discordant sibling pairs to evaluate whether these alterations occur within families with ASD.
Plasma-cytokine profiling was conducted using an array-based multiplex sandwich ELISA for simultaneous quantitative measurement of 40 unique targets. We also analyzed the correlations between cytokine levels and clinically relevant quantitative traits (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale in Autism (VABS) composite score, Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS) total T score, head circumference, and full intelligence quotient (IQ)). In addition, because of the high phenotypic heterogeneity of ASD, we defined four subgroups of subjects (those who were non-verbal, those with gastrointestinal issues, those with regressive autism, and those with a history of allergies), which encompass common and/or recurrent endophenotypes in ASD, and tested the cytokine levels in each group.
None of the measured parameters showed significant differences between children with ASD and their related typically developing siblings. However, specific target levels did correlate with quantitative clinical traits, and these were significantly different when the ASD subgroups were analyzed. It is notable that these differences seem to be attributable to a predisposing immunogenetic background, as no other significant differences were noticed between discordant sibling pairs. Interleukin-1β appears to be the cytokine most involved in quantitative traits and clinical subgroups of ASD.
In the present study, we found a lack of significant differences in plasma-cytokine levels between children with ASD and in their related non-autistic siblings. Thus, our results support the evidence that the immune profiles of children with autism do not differ from their typically developing siblings. However, the significant association of cytokine levels with the quantitative traits and the clinical subgroups analyzed suggests that altered immune responses may affect core feature of ASD.
Few studies of microbial biogeography address variability across both multiple habitats and multiple seasons. Here we examine the spatial and temporal variability of bacterioplankton community composition of the Columbia River coastal margin using 16S amplicon pyrosequencing of 300 water samples collected in 2007 and 2008. Communities separated into seven groups (ANOSIM, P<0.001): river, estuary, plume, epipelagic, mesopelagic, shelf bottom (depth<350 m) and slope bottom (depth>850 m). The ordination of these samples was correlated with salinity (ρ=−0.83) and depth (ρ=−0.62). Temporal patterns were obscured by spatial variability among the coastal environments, and could only be detected within individual groups. Thus, structuring environmental factors (for example, salinity, depth) dominate over seasonal changes in determining community composition. Seasonal variability was detected across an annual cycle in the river, estuary and plume where communities separated into two groups, early year (April–July) and late year (August–Nov), demonstrating annual reassembly of communities over time. Determining both the spatial and temporal variability of bacterioplankton communities provides a framework for modeling these communities across environmental gradients from river to deep ocean.
coastal ocean; Columbia River; gradient; spatial variability; 16S amplicon pyrosequencing; temporal variability
The folate and vitamin B12-dependent enzyme methionine synthase (MS) is highly sensitive to cellular oxidative status, and lower MS activity increases production of the antioxidant glutathione, while simultaneously decreasing more than 200 methylation reactions, broadly affecting metabolic activity. MS mRNA levels in postmortem human cortex from subjects across the lifespan were measured and a dramatic progressive biphasic decrease of more than 400-fold from 28 weeks of gestation to 84 years was observed. Further analysis revealed alternative splicing of MS mRNA, including deletion of folate-binding domain exons and age-dependent deletion of exons from the cap domain, which protects vitamin B12 (cobalamin) from oxidation. Although three species of MS were evident at the protein level, corresponding to full-length and alternatively spliced mRNA transcripts, decreasing mRNA levels across the lifespan were not associated with significant changes in MS protein or methionine levels. MS mRNA levels were significantly lower in autistic subjects, especially at younger ages, and this decrease was replicated in cultured human neuronal cells by treatment with TNF-α, whose CSF levels are elevated in autism. These novel findings suggest that rather than serving as a housekeeping enzyme, MS has a broad and dynamic role in coordinating metabolism in the brain during development and aging. Factors adversely affecting MS activity, such as oxidative stress, can be a source of risk for neurological disorders across the lifespan via their impact on methylation reactions, including epigenetic regulation of gene expression.
Experiments using economic games are becoming a major source for the study of human social behavior. These experiments are usually conducted with university students who voluntarily choose to participate. Across the natural and social sciences, there is some concern about how this “particular” subject pool may systematically produce biased results. Focusing on social preferences, this study employs data from a survey-experiment conducted with a representative sample of a city's population (N = 765). We report behavioral data from five experimental decisions in three canonical games: dictator, ultimatum and trust games. The dataset includes students and non-students as well as volunteers and non-volunteers. We separately examine the effects of being a student and being a volunteer on behavior, which allows a ceteris paribus comparison between self-selected students (students*volunteers) and the representative population. Our results suggest that self-selected students are an appropriate subject pool for the study of social behavior.
Inadequate gas conditioning during non-invasive ventilation (NIV) can impair the anatomy and function of nasal mucosa. The resulting symptoms may have a negative effect on patients' adherence to ventilatory treatment, especially for chronic use. Several parameters, mostly technical aspects of NIV, contribute to inefficient gas conditioning. Factors affecting airway humidity during NIV include inspiratory flow, inspiratory oxygen fraction, leaks, type of ventilator, interface used to deliver NIV, temperature and pressure of inhaled gas, and type of humidifier. The correct application of a humidification system may avoid the effects of NIV-induced drying of the airway. This brief review analyses the consequences of airway dryness in patients receiving NIV and the technical tools necessary to guarantee adequate gas conditioning during ventilatory treatment. Open questions remain about the timing of gas conditioning for acute or chronic settings, the choice and type of humidification device, the interaction between the humidifier and the underlying disease, and the effects of individual humidification systems on delivered humidity.
The standard treatment for primary CNS lymphoma (PCNSL) involves high-dose methotrexate-based chemotherapy (HD-MTX) alone or in combination with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). The combined modality regimen carries a substantial risk for cognitive impairment, and HD-MTX alone has been used more often recently in part to reduce neurotoxicity. In this study, we assessed cognitive functioning and quality of life in PCNSL survivors treated with WBRT + HD-MTX or HD-MTX alone. Fifty PCNSL patients in disease remission underwent a posttreatment baseline neuropsychological evaluation, and a subset of patients completed a follow-up evaluation. Quality of life and extent of white matter disease and atrophy on MRI were assessed. Comparisons according to treatment type after controlling for age and time since treatment completion showed that patients treated with HD-MTX alone had significantly higher scores on tests of selective attention and memory than patients treated with the combined modality regimen. Patients treated with WBRT + HD-MTX had impairments across most cognitive domains, and these were of sufficient severity to interfere with quality of life, as over 50% were not working due to their illness. Patients treated with HD-MTX alone did not meet criteria for cognitive impairment but scored within 1 SD below the normative sample on most tests. Patients with more extensive white matter disease had lower scores on tests of set-shifting and memory. Cognitive dysfunction was more prevalent in PCNSL survivors treated with WBRT + HD-MTX compared with patients treated with HD-MTX alone.
cognitive; methotrexate; neuropsychology; primary CNS lymphoma; radiation
The sulfonamide antibiotics inhibit dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS), a key enzyme in the folate pathway of bacteria and primitive eukaryotes. However, resistance mutations have severely compromised the usefulness of these drugs. Here, we report structural, computational and mutagenesis studies on the catalytic and resistance mechanisms of DHPS. By performing the enzyme-catalyzed reaction in crystalline DHPS, we have structurally characterized key intermediates along the reaction pathway. Results support an SN1 reaction mechanism via formation of a novel cationic pterin intermediate. We also show that two conserved loops generate a substructure during catalysis that creates a specific binding pocket for p-aminobenzoic acid, one of the two DHPS substrates. This substructure, together with the pterin-binding pocket, explains the roles of the conserved active site residues, and reveals how sulfonamide resistance arises.