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1.  Altered emotional and BOLD responses to negative, positive and ambiguous performance feedback in OCD 
While abnormal processing of performance feedback has been associated with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), neural responses to different kinds of feedback information, especially to ambiguous feedback are widely unknown. Using fMRI and a performance adaptive time-estimation task, we acquired blood oxygenation level-dependant responses and emotional ratings to positive, negative and ambiguous performance feedback in patients and healthy controls. Negative and ambiguous feedback led to increased levels of anxiety, guilt and shame in patients. Both negative and ambiguous feedback, as compared to positive feedback, induced increased activation of the insular cortex in patients. Furthermore, patients showed no differential activation to negative feedback in the putamen and to ambiguous feedback in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC). Finally, negative feedback induced increased activation in the midcingulate cortex in patients compared to controls. Findings indicate that both negative and ambiguous performance feedbacks are associated with abnormal negative emotions and altered brain activation, in particular increased insula activation, while activation in the putamen and VMPFC does not differentiate between feedback types in OCD patients. This suggests a parallel pattern of increased and decreased neural sensitivity to different kinds of feedback information and a general emotional hyperresponsivity to negative and ambiguous performance feedback in OCD.
PMCID: PMC4127020  PMID: 23893850
obsessive–compulsive disorder; neuroimaging; feedback processing; emotion; performance monitoring; ambiguity
2.  Residual Disease in a Novel Xenograft Model of RUNX1-Mutated, Cytogenetically Normal Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(7):e0132375.
Cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML) patients harboring RUNX1 mutations have a dismal prognosis with anthracycline/cytarabine-based chemotherapy. We aimed to develop an in vivo model of RUNX1-mutated, CN-AML in which the nature of residual disease in this molecular disease subset could be explored. We utilized a well-characterized patient-derived, RUNX1-mutated CN-AML line (CG-SH). Tail vein injection of CG-SH into NOD scid gamma mice led to leukemic engraftment in the bone marrow, spleen, and peripheral blood within 6 weeks. Treatment of leukemic mice with anthracycline/cytarabine-based chemotherapy resulted in clearance of disease from the spleen and peripheral blood, but persistence of disease in the bone marrow as assessed by flow cytometry and secondary transplantation. Whole exome sequencing of CG-SH revealed mutations in ASXL1, CEBPA, GATA2, and SETBP1, not previously reported. We conclude that CG-SH xenografts are a robust, reproducible in vivo model of CN-AML in which to explore mechanisms of chemotherapy resistance and novel therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC4503761  PMID: 26177509
3.  Benchmark datasets for 3D MALDI- and DESI-imaging mass spectrometry 
GigaScience  2015;4:20.
Three-dimensional (3D) imaging mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical chemistry technique for the 3D molecular analysis of a tissue specimen, entire organ, or microbial colonies on an agar plate. 3D-imaging MS has unique advantages over existing 3D imaging techniques, offers novel perspectives for understanding the spatial organization of biological processes, and has growing potential to be introduced into routine use in both biology and medicine. Owing to the sheer quantity of data generated, the visualization, analysis, and interpretation of 3D imaging MS data remain a significant challenge. Bioinformatics research in this field is hampered by the lack of publicly available benchmark datasets needed to evaluate and compare algorithms.
High-quality 3D imaging MS datasets from different biological systems at several labs were acquired, supplied with overview images and scripts demonstrating how to read them, and deposited into MetaboLights, an open repository for metabolomics data. 3D imaging MS data were collected from five samples using two types of 3D imaging MS. 3D matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging (MALDI) MS data were collected from murine pancreas, murine kidney, human oral squamous cell carcinoma, and interacting microbial colonies cultured in Petri dishes. 3D desorption electrospray ionization (DESI) imaging MS data were collected from a human colorectal adenocarcinoma.
With the aim to stimulate computational research in the field of computational 3D imaging MS, selected high-quality 3D imaging MS datasets are provided that could be used by algorithm developers as benchmark datasets.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13742-015-0059-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4418095  PMID: 25941567
Benchmark datasets; 3D imaging mass spectrometry; Three-dimensional; MALDI; DESI; imzML
4.  SWOG S0910: A Phase 2 Trial of Clofarabine/Cytarabine/Epratuzumab for Relapsed/Refractory Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia 
British journal of haematology  2014;165(4):504-509.
Precursor B-acute lymphoblastic leukaemias (pre-B ALLs) comprise the majority of ALLs and virtually all blasts express CD22 in the cytoplasm and on the cell surface. In the present study (Southwestern Oncology Group S0910), we evaluated the addition of epratuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD22, to the combination of clofarabine and cytarabine in adults with relapsed/refractory pre-B ALL. The response rate [complete remission and complete remission with incomplete count recovery ] was 52%, significantly higher than our previous trial with clofarabine/cytarabine alone, where the response rate was 17%. This result is encouraging and suggests a potential benefit to adding epratuzumab to chemotherapy for ALL; however, a randomized trial will be needed to answer this question.
PMCID: PMC4209396  PMID: 24579885
acute lymphocytic leukaemia; relapse; Epratuzumab; CD22; treatment
5.  Selective Activity of the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor AR-42 against Leukemia Stem Cells: A Novel Potential Strategy in Acute Myelogenous Leukemia 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2014;13(8):1979-1990.
Most patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) relapse and die of their disease. Increasing evidence indicates that AML relapse is driven by the inability to eradicate leukemia stem cells (LSC). Thus, it is imperative to identify novel therapies that can ablate LSCs. Using an in silico gene expression-based screen for compounds evoking transcriptional effects similar to the previously described anti-LSC agent parthenolide, we identified AR-42 (OSU-HDAC42), a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor that is structurally similar to phenylbutyrate, but with improved activity at submicromolar concentrations. Here, we report that AR-42 induces NF-κB inhibition, disrupts the ability of Hsp90 to stabilize its oncogenic clients, and causes potent and specific cell death of LSCs but not normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Unlike parthenolide, the caspasedependent apoptosis caused by AR-42 occurs without activation of Nrf-2-driven cytoprotective pathways. As AR-42 is already being tested in early clinical trials, we expect that our results can be extended to the clinic.
PMCID: PMC4383047  PMID: 24934933
6.  Flavaglines target primitive leukemia cells and enhance anti-leukemia drug activity 
Leukemia  2014;28(10):1960-1968.
Identification of agents that target human leukemia stem cells (LSCs) is an important consideration for the development of new therapies. The present study demonstrates that rocaglamide and silvestrol, closely related natural products from the flavagline class of compounds, are able to preferentially kill functionally defined LSCs while sparing normal stem and progenitor cells. In addition to efficacy as single agents, flavaglines sensitize leukemia cells to several anti-cancer compounds, including front-line chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat leukemia patients. Mechanistic studies indicate that flavaglines strongly inhibit protein synthesis, leading to the reduction of short-lived anti-apoptotic proteins. Notably though, treatment with flavaglines alone or in combination with other drugs, yields a much stronger cytotoxic activity towards leukemia cells than the translational inhibitor temsirolimus. These results indicate that the underlying cell death mechanism of flavaglines is more complex than simply inhibiting general protein translation. Global gene expression profiling and cell biological assays identified Myc inhibition and the disruption of mitochondrial integrity to be features of flavaglines, which we propose contribute to their efficacy in targeting leukemia cells. Together, these findings indicate that rocaglamide and silvestrol are distinct from clinically available translational inhibitors and represent promising candidates for the treatment of leukemia.
PMCID: PMC4148474  PMID: 24577530
leukemia; stem cells; silvestrol; rocaglamide; flavaglines
Infant behavior & development  1999;22(1):1-15.
This study investigated early neonatal visual preferences in 267 poly drug exposed neonates (131 cocaine-exposed and 136 non-cocaine exposed) whose drug exposure was documented through interviews and urine and meconium drug screens. Infants were given four visual recognition memory tasks comparing looking time to familiarized stimuli of lattices and rectangular shapes to novel stimuli of a schematic face and curved hourglass and bull’s eye forms. Cocaine-exposed infants performed more poorly, after consideration of confounding factors, with a relationship of severity of cocaine exposure to lower novelty score found for both self-report and biologic measures of exposure, Findings support theories which link prenatal cocaine exposure to deficits in information processing entailing attentional and arousal organizational systems. Neonatal visual discrimination and attention tasks should be further explored as potentially sensitive behavioral indicators of teratologic effects.
PMCID: PMC4337949  PMID: 25717215
cocaine; neonatal visual attention; information processing; marijuana; alcohol poly drug exposure; visual recognition memory
9.  Tightly integrated single- and multi-crystal data collection strategy calculation and parallelized data processing in JBluIce beamline control system 
Journal of Applied Crystallography  2014;47(Pt 6):1992-1999.
Single- and multi-crystal data collection strategy and automated data processing have been tightly integrated into the JBluIce graphical user interface. Grid Engine is used to distribute these processes into multiple workstations to make efficient use of all available computing resources.
The calculation of single- and multi-crystal data collection strategies and a data processing pipeline have been tightly integrated into the macromolecular crystallographic data acquisition and beamline control software JBluIce. Both tasks employ wrapper scripts around existing crystallographic software. JBluIce executes scripts through a distributed resource management system to make efficient use of all available computing resources through parallel processing. The JBluIce single-crystal data collection strategy feature uses a choice of strategy programs to help users rank sample crystals and collect data. The strategy results can be conveniently exported to a data collection run. The JBluIce multi-crystal strategy feature calculates a collection strategy to optimize coverage of reciprocal space in cases where incomplete data are available from previous samples. The JBluIce data processing runs simultaneously with data collection using a choice of data reduction wrappers for integration and scaling of newly collected data, with an option for merging with pre-existing data. Data are processed separately if collected from multiple sites on a crystal or from multiple crystals, then scaled and merged. Results from all strategy and processing calculations are displayed in relevant tabs of JBluIce.
PMCID: PMC4248568  PMID: 25484844
automated data processing; multi-crystal data collection strategies; X-ray crystallography; Grid Engine
10.  A genetic and computational approach to structurally classify neuronal types 
Nature communications  2014;5:3512.
The importance of cell types in understanding brain function is widely appreciated but only a tiny fraction of neuronal diversity has been catalogued. Here, we exploit recent progress in genetic definition of cell types in an objective structural approach to neuronal classification. The approach is based on highly accurate quantification of dendritic arbor position relative to neurites of other cells. We test the method on a population of 363 mouse retinal ganglion cells. For each cell, we determine the spatial distribution of the dendritic arbors, or “arbor density” with reference to arbors of an abundant, well-defined interneuronal type. The arbor densities are sorted into a number of clusters that is set by comparison with several molecularly defined cell types. The algorithm reproduces the genetic classes that are pure types, and detects six newly clustered cell types that await genetic definition.
PMCID: PMC4164236  PMID: 24662602
11.  Novel mTOR inhibitory activity of ciclopirox enhances parthenolide antileukemia activity 
Experimental hematology  2013;41(9):10.1016/j.exphem.2013.04.012.
Ciclopirox, an antifungal agent commonly used for the dermatologic treatment of mycoses, has been shown recently to have antitumor properties. Although the exact mechanism of ciclopirox is unclear, its antitumor activity has been attributed to iron chelation and inhibition of the translation initiation factor eIF5A. In this study, we identify a novel function of ciclopirox in the inhibition of mTOR. As with other mTOR inhibitors, we show that ciclopirox significantly enhances the ability of the established preclinical antileukemia compound, parthenolide, to target acute myeloid leukemia. The combination of parthenolide and ciclopirox demonstrates greater toxicity against acute myeloid leukemia than treatment with either compound alone. We also demonstrate that the ability of ciclopirox to inhibit mTOR is specific to ciclopirox because neither iron chelators nor other eIF5A inhibitors affect mTOR activity, even at high doses. We have thus identified a novel function of ciclopirox that might be important for its antileukemic activity.
PMCID: PMC3809917  PMID: 23660068
12.  Vitamin C deficiency improves somatic embryo development through distinct gene regulatory networks in Arabidopsis  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(20):5903-5918.
Depletion of cellular vitamin C improves somatic embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. Improved embryo number and quality is through changes in gene regulatory network activation and cellular architecture.
Changes in the endogenous ascorbate redox status through genetic manipulation of cellular ascorbate levels were shown to accelerate cell proliferation during the induction phase and improve maturation of somatic embryos in Arabidopsis. Mutants defective in ascorbate biosynthesis such as vtc2-5 contained ~70 % less cellular ascorbate compared with their wild-type (WT; Columbia-0) counterparts. Depletion of cellular ascorbate accelerated cell division processes and cellular reorganization and improved the number and quality of mature somatic embryos grown in culture by 6-fold compared with WT tissues. To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying somatic embryogenesis (SE), we profiled dynamic changes in the transcriptome and analysed dominant patterns of gene activity in the WT and vtc2-5 lines across the somatic embryo culturing process. Our results provide insight into the gene regulatory networks controlling SE in Arabidopsis based on the association of transcription factors with DNA sequence motifs enriched in biological processes of large co-expressed gene sets. These data provide the first detailed account of temporal changes in the somatic embryo transcriptome starting with the zygotic embryo, through tissue dedifferentiation, and ending with the mature somatic embryo, and impart insight into possible mechanisms for the improved culture of somatic embryos in the vtc2-5 mutant line.
PMCID: PMC4203126  PMID: 25151615
Arabidopsis thaliana; ascorbic acid; gene regulatory networks; redox; somatic embryogenesis; transcriptome
14.  Towards protein-crystal centering using second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy 
The potential of second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy for automated crystal centering to guide synchrotron X-­ray diffraction of protein crystals has been explored.
The potential of second-harmonic generation (SHG) microscopy for automated crystal centering to guide synchrotron X-­ray diffraction of protein crystals was explored. These studies included (i) comparison of microcrystal positions in cryoloops as determined by SHG imaging and by X-ray diffraction rastering and (ii) X-ray structure determinations of selected proteins to investigate the potential for laser-induced damage from SHG imaging. In studies using β2 adrenergic receptor membrane-protein crystals prepared in lipidic mesophase, the crystal locations identified by SHG images obtained in transmission mode were found to correlate well with the crystal locations identified by raster scanning using an X-­ray minibeam. SHG imaging was found to provide about 2 µm spatial resolution and shorter image-acquisition times. The general insensitivity of SHG images to optical scatter enabled the reliable identification of microcrystals within opaque cryocooled lipidic mesophases that were not identified by conventional bright-field imaging. The potential impact of extended exposure of protein crystals to five times a typical imaging dose from an ultrafast laser source was also assessed. Measurements of myoglobin and thaumatin crystals resulted in no statistically significant differences between structures obtained from diffraction data acquired from exposed and unexposed regions of single crystals. Practical constraints for integrating SHG imaging into an active beamline for routine automated crystal centering are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3640472  PMID: 23633594
second-harmonic generation microscopy; crystal centering; imaging
15.  Area-dependent time courses of brain activation during video-induced symptom provocation in social anxiety disorder 
Previous functional imaging studies using symptom provocation in patients with social anxiety disorder (SAD) reported inconsistent findings, which might be at least partially related to different time-dependent activation profiles in different brain areas. In the present functional magnetic resonance imaging study, we used a novel video-based symptom provocation design in order to investigate the magnitude and time course of activation in different brain areas in 20 SAD patients and 20 healthy controls.
The disorder-related videos induced increased anxiety in patients with SAD as compared to healthy controls. Analyses of brain activation to disorder-related versus neutral video clips revealed amygdala activation during the first but not during the second half of the clips in patients as compared to controls. In contrast, the activation in the insula showed a reversed pattern with increased activation during the second but not during the first half of the video clips. Furthermore, a cluster in the anterior dorsal anterior cingulate cortex showed a sustained response for the entire duration of the videos.
The present findings suggest that different regions of the fear network show differential temporal response patterns during video-induced symptom provocation in SAD. While the amygdala is involved during initial threat processing, the insula seems to be more involved during subsequent anxiety responses. In accordance with cognitive models of SAD, a medial prefrontal region engaged in emotional-cognitive interactions is generally hyperactivated.
PMCID: PMC4052290  PMID: 24921039
Social anxiety disorder; Symptom provocation; Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Amygdala; Insula; Medial prefrontal cortex
16.  Highly Sensitive Detection of Urinary Cadmium to Assess Personal Exposure 
Analytica chimica acta  2013;773:45-51.
A series of Boron-Doped Diamond (BDD) ultramicroelectrode arrays were fabricated and investigated for their performance as electrochemical sensors to detect trace level metals such as cadmium. The steady-state diffusion behavior of these sensors was validated using cyclic voltammetry followed by electrochemical detection of cadmium in water and in human urine to demonstrate high sensitivity (>200 μA/ppb/cm2) and low background current (<4 nA). When an array of ultramicroelectrodes was positioned with optimal spacing, these BDD sensors showed a sigmoidal diffusion behavior. They also demonstrated high accuracy with linear dose dependence for quantification of cadmium in a certified reference river water sample from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as well as in a human urine sample spiked with 0.25–1 ppb cadmium.
PMCID: PMC3622219  PMID: 23561905
Boron-Doped Diamond (BDD); ultramicroelectrode array; electrochemical sensors; urinary trace metal detection; cadmium; differential pulse stripping voltammetry (DPSV)
17.  BCL-2 inhibition targets oxidative phosphorylation and selectively eradicates quiescent human leukemia stem cells 
Cell stem cell  2013;12(3):329-341.
Most forms of chemotherapy employ mechanisms involving induction of oxidative stress, a strategy that can be effective due to the elevated oxidative state commonly observed in cancer cells. However, recent studies have shown that relative redox levels in primary tumors can be heterogeneous, suggesting that regimens dependent on differential oxidative state may not be uniformly effective. To investigate this issue in hematological malignancies, we evaluated mechanisms controlling oxidative state in primary specimens derived from acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) patients. Our studies demonstrate three striking findings. First, the majority of functionally-defined leukemia stem cells (LSCs) are characterized by relatively low levels of reactive oxygen species (termed “ROS-low”). Second, ROS-low LSCs aberrantly over-express BCL-2. Third, BCL-2 inhibition reduced oxidative phosphorylation and selectively eradicated quiescent LSCs. Based on these findings, we propose a model wherein the unique physiology of ROS-low LSCs provides an opportunity for selective targeting via disruption of BCL-2-dependent oxidative phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC3595363  PMID: 23333149
Acute myeloid leukemia; AML; leukemia; leukemia stem cells; LSCs; oxidative phosphorylation; glycolysis; BCL-2; ABT-263; reactive oxygen species; ROS; oxidative state; energy metabolism
18.  Pegloticase immunogenicity: the relationship between efficacy and antibody development in patients treated for refractory chronic gout 
The efficacy of pegloticase, a polyethylene glycol (PEG)-conjugated mammalian recombinant uricase, approved for chronic refractory gout, can be limited by the development of antibodies (Ab). Analyses from 2 replicate, 6-month, randomized controlled trials were performed to characterize Ab responses to pegloticase.
Anti-pegloticase, anti-PEG, and anti-uricase Ab were determined by validated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Ab titers were analyzed for possible relationships with serum pegloticase concentrations, serum uric acid (sUA) lowering, and risk of infusion reactions (IRs).
Sixty-nine (41%) of 169 patients receiving pegloticase developed high titer anti-pegloticase Ab (> 1:2430) and 40% (67/169) developed anti-PEG Ab; 1 patient receiving placebo developed high titer anti-pegloticase Ab. Only 14% (24/169) of patients developed anti-uricase Ab, usually at low titer. In responders, patients showing sustained UA lowering, mean anti-pegloticase titers at week 25 (1:837 ± 1687 with biweekly and 1:2025 ± 4506 with monthly dosing) were markedly lower than in nonresponders (1:34,528 ± 42,228 and 1:89,658 ± 297,797, respectively). Nonresponder status was associated with reduced serum pegloticase concentrations. Baseline anti-pegloticase Ab, evident in 15% (31/212) of patients, did not predict subsequent loss of urate-lowering response. Loss of sUA response preceded IRs in 44 of 56 (79%) pegloticase-treated patients.
Loss of responsiveness to pegloticase is associated with the development of high titer anti-pegloticase Ab that increase clearance of pegloticase and are associated with a loss of the sUA lowering effect and increased IR risk. Pre-infusion sUA can be used as a surrogate for the presence of deleterious anti-pegloticase Ab.
Trial registration
NCT00325195. Registered 10 May 2006, NCT01356498. Registered 27 October 2008.
PMCID: PMC4060440  PMID: 24588936
19.  Prostaglandin E2 increases hematopoietic stem cell survival and accelerates hematopoietic recovery after radiation injury 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2013;31(2):372-383.
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), which continuously maintain all mature blood cells, are regulated within the marrow microenvironment. We previously reported that pharmacologic treatment of naïve mice with prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) expands HSPCs. However, the cellular mechanisms mediating this expansion remain unknown. Here we demonstrate that PGE2 treatment in naïve mice inhibits apoptosis of HSPCs without changing their proliferation rate. In a murine model of sub-lethal total body irradiation (TBI), in which HSPCs are rapidly lost, treatment with a long-acting PGE2 analogue (dmPGE2) reversed the apoptotic program initiated by TBI. dmPGE2 treatment in vivo decreased the loss of functional HSPCs following radiation injury, as demonstrated both phenotypically and by their increased reconstitution capacity. The antiapoptotic effect of dmPGE2 on HSPCs did not impair their ability to differentiate in vivo, resulting instead in improved hematopoietic recovery after TBI. dmPGE2 also increased microenvironmental cyclooxygenase-2 expression and expanded the α-SMA+ subset of marrow macrophages, thus enhancing the bone marrow microenvironmental response to TBI. Therefore, in vivo treatment with PGE2 analogues may be particularly beneficial to HSPCs in the setting of injury by targeting them both directly and also through their niche. The current data provide rationale for in vivo manipulation of the HSPC pool as a strategy to improve recovery after myelosuppression.
PMCID: PMC3580384  PMID: 23169593
20.  Tophus measurement as an outcome measure for clinical trials of chronic gout: progress and research priorities 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;38(7):10.3899/jrheum.110272.
Despite the recognition that tophus regression is an important outcome measure in clinical trials of chronic gout, there is no agreed method of tophus measurement. A number of methods have been used in clinical trials of chronic gout, from simple physical measurement techniques to complex advanced imaging methods. This paper summarises the methods of tophus measurement that have been used and discusses the properties of these methods. Physical measurement using Vernier calipers fulfils most aspects of the Outcomes Measures in Rheumatology (OMERACT) filter. Rigorous testing of the complex methods, particularly with respect to reliability and sensitivity to change is needed, to determine the appropriate use of these methods. Further information is also required regarding which method of physical measurement is best for use in future clinical trials. The need to develop and test a patient reported measure of tophus burden is also highlighted.
PMCID: PMC3882031  PMID: 21724716
21.  Genomic dissection of the seed 
Seeds play an integral role in the global food supply and account for more than 70% of the calories that we consume on a daily basis. To meet the demands of an increasing population, scientists are turning to seed genomics research to find new and innovative ways to increase food production. Seed genomics is evolving rapidly, and the information produced from seed genomics research has exploded over the past two decades. Advances in modern sequencing strategies that profile every molecule in every cell, tissue, and organ and the emergence of new model systems have provided the tools necessary to unravel many of the biological processes underlying seed development. Despite these advances, the analyses and mining of existing seed genomics data remain a monumental task for plant biologists. This review summarizes seed region and subregion genomic data that are currently available for existing and emerging oilseed models. We provide insight into the development of tools on how to analyze large-scale datasets.
PMCID: PMC4162360  PMID: 25309563
Arabidopsis; next generation sequencing; oilseed; RNA seq; seed; soybean; transcriptome
22.  LORD-Q: a long-run real-time PCR-based DNA-damage quantification method for nuclear and mitochondrial genome analysis 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(6):e41.
DNA damage is tightly associated with various biological and pathological processes, such as aging and tumorigenesis. Although detection of DNA damage is attracting increasing attention, only a limited number of methods are available to quantify DNA lesions, and these techniques are tedious or only detect global DNA damage. In this study, we present a high-sensitivity long-run real-time PCR technique for DNA-damage quantification (LORD-Q) in both the mitochondrial and nuclear genome. While most conventional methods are of low-sensitivity or restricted to abundant mitochondrial DNA samples, we established a protocol that enables the accurate sequence-specific quantification of DNA damage in >3-kb probes for any mitochondrial or nuclear DNA sequence. In order to validate the sensitivity of this method, we compared LORD-Q with a previously published qPCR-based method and the standard single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, demonstrating a superior performance of LORD-Q. Exemplarily, we monitored induction of DNA damage and repair processes in human induced pluripotent stem cells and isogenic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that LORD-Q provides a sequence-specific and precise method to quantify DNA damage, thereby allowing the high-throughput assessment of DNA repair, genotoxicity screening and various other processes for a wide range of life science applications.
PMCID: PMC3973301  PMID: 24371283
23.  Patient-reported Outcomes in Chronic Gout: A Report from OMERACT 10 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;38(7):10.3899/jrheum.110271.
To summarize the endorsement of measures of patient-reported outcome (PRO) domains in chronic gout at the 2010 Outcome Measures in Rheumatology Meeting (OMERACT 10).
During the OMERACT 10 gout workshop, validation data were presented for key PRO domains including pain [pain by visual analog scale (VAS)], patient global (patient global VAS), activity limitation [Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index (HAQ-DI)], and a disease-specific measure, the Gout Assessment Questionnaire version 2.0 (GAQ v2.0). Data were presented on all 3 aspects of the OMERACT filters of truth, discrimination, and feasibility. One PRO, health-related quality of life measurement with the Medical Outcomes Study Short-form 36 (SF-36), was previously endorsed at OMERACT 9.
One measure for each of the 3 PRO of pain, patient global, and activity limitation was endorsed by > 70% of the OMERACT delegates to have appropriate validation data. Specifically, pain measurement by VAS was endorsed by 85%, patient global assessment by VAS by 73%, and activity limitation by HAQ-DI by 71%. GAQ v2.0 received 30% vote and was not endorsed due to several concerns including low internal consistency and lack of familiarity with the measure. More validation studies are needed for this measure.
With the endorsement of one measure each for pain, patient global, SF-36, and activity limitation, all 4 PRO for chronic gout have been endorsed. Future validation studies are needed for the disease-specific measure, GAQ v2.0. Validation for PRO for acute gout will be the focus of the next validation exercise for the OMERACT gout group.
PMCID: PMC3850171  PMID: 21724715
24.  A Revised Estimate of the Burden of Illness of Gout☆ 
Gout is a chronic, inflammatory arthritis characterized by painful and debilitating acute/episodic flares. Until recently, gout has been regarded as a minor medical problem, in part because the associated economic burden has not been appreciated. Previous literature on this subject focused on the costs associated with acute episodes of gout rather than on the long-term medical and economic implications of this chronic disorder.
Our aim was to estimate the current impact of gout in the United States with respect to disability and economic costs.
The following data sources were used: published data on the incremental economic burden of gout; statistics from the US Census Bureau and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics; and recent epidemiological and clinical literature concerning the course, treatment, and outcomes of the disease. Disability is expressed as days of lost productivity. Charges for gout-related treatments were used as direct cost inputs.
Gout affects an estimated 8 million Americans, among whom those working have an average of almost 5 more absence days annually than workers without gout. On average, the incremental annual cost of care for a gout patient is estimated at >$3000 compared with a nongouty individual. Even though comorbidities common in gout patients account for a portion of this increased economic burden, the total annual cost attributable to gout patients in the United States is likely in the tens of billions of dollars and comparable to those of other major chronic disorders, such as migraine and Parkinson’s disease.
The economic burden of gout is most readily assessable in patients whose acute arthritic flares result in emergency department visits, bedridden days, and episodic loss of productivity. Chronic progression of the disease can also result in long-term impairment of function and health-related quality of life, but the contribution of chronic gout to the economic burden is more difficult to quantitate because gout is frequently associated with serious cardiovascular, metabolic, and renal comorbidities. Recent demonstration that successful gout management can reverse functional deficits in many chronic gout patients, however, supports the views that chronic gout contributes substantially to the medical and thus economic costs of these patients and that early and aggressive efforts to improve gout outcomes are likely to reduce the associated economic burden.
PMCID: PMC3898191  PMID: 24465034
burden of illness; gout
25.  Tophus burden reduction with pegloticase: results from phase 3 randomized trials and open-label extension in patients with chronic gout refractory to conventional therapy 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(5):R137.
Two replicate randomized, placebo-controlled six-month trials (RCTs) and an open-label treatment extension (OLE) comprised the pegloticase development program in patients with gout refractory to conventional therapy. In the RCTs, approximately 40% of patients treated with the approved dose saw complete response (CR) of at least one tophus. Here we describe the temporal course of tophus resolution, total tophus burden in patients with multiple tophi, tophus size at baseline, and the relationship between tophus response and urate-lowering efficacy.
Baseline subcutaneous tophi were analyzed quantitatively using computer-assisted digital images in patients receiving pegloticase (8 mg biweekly or monthly) or placebo in the RCTs, and pegloticase in the OLE. Tophus response, a secondary endpoint in the trials, was evaluated two ways. Overall tophus CR was the proportion of patients achieving a best response of CR (without any new/enlarging tophi) and target tophus complete response (TT-CR) was the proportion of all tophi with CR.
Among 212 patients randomized in the RCTs, 155 (73%) had ≥1 tophus and 547 visible tophi were recorded at baseline. Overall tophus CR was recorded in 45% of patients in the biweekly group (P = 0.002 versus placebo), 26% in the monthly group, and 8% in the placebo group after six months of RCT therapy. TT-CR rates at six months were 28%, 19%, and 2% of tophi, respectively. Patients meeting the primary endpoint of sustained urate-lowering response to therapy (responders) were more likely than nonresponders to have an overall tophus CR at six months (54% vs 20%, respectively and 8% with placebo).
Both overall tophus CR and TT-CRs increased with treatment duration in the OLE, reaching 70% (39/56) of patients and 55% (132/238) of target tophi after one year of treatment in patients receiving pegloticase during both the RCTs and OLE. At that time point, more tophi had resolved in responders (102/145 or 70% of tophi) than nonresponders (30/93; 32%).
Pegloticase reduced tophus burden in patients with refractory tophaceous gout, especially those achieving sustained urate-lowering. Complete resolution of tophi occurred in some patients by 13 weeks and in others with longer-term therapy.
Trial registrations
NCT00325195, NCT01356498
PMCID: PMC3979037  PMID: 24286509

Results 1-25 (52)