The mechanisms by which correcting hyperglycemia with exogenous insulin improves mortality and morbidity in critically ill patients remain unclear. We designed this study to test the hypothesis that relative endogenous insulin deficiency is associated with adverse outcomes in critical illness related to hyperglycemia.
Prospective controlled animal study.
University research laboratory.
Male C57BL/6J mice, 8–12 wks old.
Spontaneously breathing mice were instrumented with chronic indwelling arterial and venous catheters. After a postoperative recovery period, endotoxemia was initiated with intra-arterial lipopolysaccharide (1 mg/kg) in the presence of dextrose infusion (100 μL/hr). Insulin secretion was blocked with diazoxide (2.5–30 mg/kg/day). Mice were monitored continuously for 48 hrs with blood sampled serially for blood glucose and plasma insulin determinations.
Measurements and Main Results
In both saline- and glucose-infused mice, lipopolysaccharide administration induced transient hemodynamic instability without significant impact on mortality. In the saline-infused group, lipopolysaccharide administration caused a transient reduction in blood glucose and in circulating insulin. However, in glucose-infused mice, lipopolysaccharide induced a large and unexpected increase in circulating insulin without significant alteration in blood glucose. Blockade of insulin secretion in response to lipopolysaccharide in the presence of exogenous glucose precipitated marked hyperglycemia and resulted in >90% mortality. In a subanalysis of animals matched for the degree of hyperglycemia, nonsurvivors had markedly lower insulin levels compared with survivors (3.5 ± 0.8 ng/dL vs. 9.3 ± 1.4 ng/dL; p < .004).
Endogenous insulin deficiency in the face of hyperglycemia is associated with mortality in a mouse model of lipopolysaccharide-induced critical illness.
metabolism; sepsis; glucose control; hyperglycemia; critical illness; mortality
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of human bacterial infection, causing a wide spectrum of disease ranging from skin and soft tissue infections to life-threatening pneumonia and sepsis. S. aureus toxins play an essential role in disease pathogenesis, contributing to both immunomodulation and host tissue injury. Prominent among these toxins are the membrane-active pore-forming cytolysin alpha-toxin (Hla) and the amphipathic α-helical phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptides. As deletion of either the hla or psm locus leads to a phenotypically similar virulence defect in skin and soft tissue infection, we sought to determine the relative contribution of each locus to disease pathogenesis. Here we show that production of Hla can be modulated by PSM expression. An S. aureus mutant lacking PSM expression exhibits a transcriptional delay in hla mRNA production and therefore fails to secrete normal levels of Hla at early phases of growth. This leads to attenuation of virulence in vitro and in murine skin and lung models of infection, correlating with reduced recovery of Hla from host tissues. Production of Hla and restoration of staphylococcal virulence can be achieved in the psm mutant by plasmid-driven overexpression of hla. Our study suggests the coordinated action of Hla and PSMs in host tissue during early pathogenesis, confirming a major role for Hla in epithelial injury during S. aureus infection. These findings highlight the possibility that therapeutics targeting PSM production may simultaneously prevent Hla-mediated tissue injury.
Schizophrenia is a highly heritable disorder. Genetic risk is conferred by a large number of alleles, including common alleles of small effect that might be detected by genome-wide association studies. Here, we report a multi-stage schizophrenia genome-wide association study of up to 36,989 cases and 113,075 controls. We identify 128 independent associations spanning 108 conservatively defined loci that meet genome-wide significance, 83 of which have not been previously reported. Associations were enriched among genes expressed in brain providing biological plausibility for the findings. Many findings have the potential to provide entirely novel insights into aetiology, but associations at DRD2 and multiple genes involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission highlight molecules of known and potential therapeutic relevance to schizophrenia, and are consistent with leading pathophysiological hypotheses. Independent of genes expressed in brain, associations were enriched among genes expressed in tissues that play important roles in immunity, providing support for the hypothesized link between the immune system and schizophrenia.
The failure rates for implementing complex innovations in healthcare organizations are high. Estimates range from 30% to 90% depending on the scope of the organizational change involved, the definition of failure, and the criteria to judge it. The innovation implementation framework offers a promising approach to examine the organizational factors that determine effective implementation. To date, the utility of this framework in a healthcare setting has been limited to qualitative studies and/or group level analyses. Therefore, the goal of this study was to quantitatively examine this framework among individual participants in the National Cancer Institute’s Community Clinical Oncology Program using structural equation modeling.
We examined the innovation implementation framework using structural equation modeling (SEM) among 481 physician participants in the National Cancer Institute’s Community Clinical Oncology Program (CCOP). The data sources included the CCOP Annual Progress Reports, surveys of CCOP physician participants and administrators, and the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile.
Overall the final model fit well. Our results demonstrated that not only did perceptions of implementation climate have a statistically significant direct effect on implementation effectiveness, but physicians’ perceptions of implementation climate also mediated the relationship between organizational implementation policies and practices (IPP) and enrollment (p <0.05). In addition, physician factors such as CCOP PI status, age, radiological oncologists, and non-oncologist specialists significantly influenced enrollment as well as CCOP organizational size and structure, which had indirect effects on implementation effectiveness through IPP and implementation climate.
Overall, our results quantitatively confirmed the main relationship postulated in the innovation implementation framework between IPP, implementation climate, and implementation effectiveness among individual physicians. This finding is important, as although the model has been discussed within healthcare organizations before, the studies have been predominately qualitative in nature and/or at the organizational level. In addition, our findings have practical applications. Managers looking to increase implementation effectiveness of an innovation should focus on creating an environment that physicians perceive as encouraging implementation. In addition, managers should consider instituting specific organizational IPP aimed at increasing positive perceptions of implementation climate. For example, IPP should include specific expectations, support, and rewards for innovation use.
Innovation; Implementation effectiveness; Implementation climate; Innovation implementation framework; Community clinical oncology program
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur from physical trauma from a wide spectrum of insults ranging from explosions to falls. The biomechanics of the trauma can vary in key features, including the rate and magnitude of the insult. Although the effect of peak injury pressure on neurological outcome has been examined in the fluid percussion injury (FPI) model, it is unknown whether differences in rate of rise of the injury waveform modify cellular and physiological changes after TBI. Using a programmable FPI device, we examined juvenile rats subjected to a constant peak pressure at two rates of injury: a standard FPI rate of rise and a faster rate of rise to the same peak pressure. Immediate postinjury assessment identified fewer seizures and relatively brief loss of consciousness after fast-rise injuries than after standard-rise injuries at similar peak pressures. Compared with rats injured at standard rise, fewer silver-stained injured neuronal profiles and degenerating hilar neurons were observed 4-6 hr after fast-rise FPI. However, 1 week postinjury, both fast- and standard-rise FPI resulted in hilar cell loss and enhanced perforant path-evoked granule cell field excitability compared with sham controls. Notably, the extent of neuronal loss and increase in dentate excitability were not different between rats injured at fast and standard rates of rise to peak pressure. Our data indicate that reduced cellular damage and improved immediate neurological outcome after fast rising primary concussive injuries mask the severity of the subsequent cellular and neurophysiological pathology and may be unreliable as a predictor of prognosis.
traumatic brain injury; neuronal cell death; electrophysiology; dentate gyrus; neuroexcitation
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify brain regions involved in the process of mapping coherent discourse onto a developing mental representation. We manipulated discourse coherence by presenting sentences with definite articles (which lead to more coherent discourse) or indefinite articles (which lead to less coherent discourse). Comprehending connected discourse, compared with reading unrelated sentences, produced more neural activity in the right than left hemisphere of the frontal lobe. Thus, the right hemisphere of the frontal lobe is involved in some of the processes underlying mapping. In contrast, left-hemisphere structures were associated with lower-level processes in reading (such as word recognition and syntactic processing). Our results demonstrate the utility of using fMRI to investigate the neural substrates of higher-level cognitive processes such as discourse comprehension.
We asked whether aged adults are more susceptible to exercise-induced pulmonary edema relative to younger individuals. Lung diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide (DLCO), alveolar-capillary membrane conductance (Dm) and pulmonary-capillary blood volume (Vc) were measured before and after exhaustive discontinuous incremental exercise in 10 young (YNG; 27±3 yr) and 10 old (OLD; 69±5 yr) males. In YNG subjects, Dm increased (11±7%, P=0.031), Vc decreased (−10±9%, P=0.01) and DLCO was unchanged (30.5±4.1 vs. 29.7±2.9 ml/min/mmHg, P=0.44) pre- to post-exercise. In OLD subjects, DLCO and Dm increased (11±14%, P=0.042; 16±14%, P=0.025) but Vc was unchanged (58±23 vs. 56±23 ml, P=0.570) pre- to post-exercise. Group-mean Dm/Vc was greater after vs. before exercise in the YNG and OLD subjects. However, Dm/Vc was lower post-exercise in 2 of the 10 YNG (−7±4%) and 2 of the 10 OLD subjects (−10±5%). These data suggest that exercise decreases interstitial lung fluid in most YNG and OLD subjects, with a small number exhibiting evidence for exercise-induced pulmonary edema.
Lung fluid; alveolar-capillary membrane conductance; aged adults
Identification of psychometrically strong instruments for the field of implementation science is a high priority underscored in a recent National Institutes of Health working meeting (October 2013). Existing instrument reviews are limited in scope, methods, and findings. The Society for Implementation Research Collaboration Instrument Review Project’s objectives address these limitations by identifying and applying a unique methodology to conduct a systematic and comprehensive review of quantitative instruments assessing constructs delineated in two of the field’s most widely used frameworks, adopt a systematic search process (using standard search strings), and engage an international team of experts to assess the full range of psychometric criteria (reliability, construct and criterion validity). Although this work focuses on implementation of psychosocial interventions in mental health and health-care settings, the methodology and results will likely be useful across a broad spectrum of settings. This effort has culminated in a centralized online open-access repository of instruments depicting graphical head-to-head comparisons of their psychometric properties. This article describes the methodology and preliminary outcomes.
The seven stages of the review, synthesis, and evaluation methodology include (1) setting the scope for the review, (2) identifying frameworks to organize and complete the review, (3) generating a search protocol for the literature review of constructs, (4) literature review of specific instruments, (5) development of an evidence-based assessment rating criteria, (6) data extraction and rating instrument quality by a task force of implementation experts to inform knowledge synthesis, and (7) the creation of a website repository.
To date, this multi-faceted and collaborative search and synthesis methodology has identified over 420 instruments related to 34 constructs (total 48 including subconstructs) that are relevant to implementation science. Despite numerous constructs having greater than 20 available instruments, which implies saturation, preliminary results suggest that few instruments stem from gold standard development procedures. We anticipate identifying few high-quality, psychometrically sound instruments once our evidence-based assessment rating criteria have been applied.
The results of this methodology may enhance the rigor of implementation science evaluations by systematically facilitating access to psychometrically validated instruments and identifying where further instrument development is needed.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0193-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Implementation; Dissemination; Instruments; Evidence-based assessment; Psychometrics
The projected cancer burden in Africa demands a comprehensive surveillance strategy. Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre (KCMC) is developing a population-based cancer registry, and understanding stakeholders' perceptions of factors impacting cancer registration sustainability is critical to its long-term success. We conducted 11 semi-structured qualitative interviews with clinicians and administrators. Interviews were double-coded and evaluated for predetermined and emerging themes.
Nearly half (45%) of participants discussed change commitment, stating that the cancer registry would benefit KCMC and that they were committed to it. However, change efficacy was low – participants were not confident in their shared ability to sustain the registry. Most participants (73%) discussed the importance of resource availability and administration support. Several themes emerged across interviews: (i) lack of cancer registry awareness, (ii) ambiguity about its purpose, (iii) the importance of training, (iv) the importance of outcome data, and (v) the importance of international partners. These findings may facilitate cancer registry development and sustainability in similar settings.
An expanded hexanucleotide repeat in the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia (C9ALS/FTD). Although 0–30 hexanucleotide repeats are present in the general population, expansions >500 repeats are associated with C9ALS/FTD. Large C9ALS/FTD expansions share a common haplotype and whether these expansions derive from a single founder or occur more frequently on a predisposing haplotype is yet to be determined and is relevant to disease pathomechanisms. Furthermore, although cases carrying 50–200 repeats have been described, their role and the pathogenic threshold of the expansions remain to be identified and carry importance for diagnostics and genetic counseling. We present clinical and genetic data from a UK ALS cohort and report the detailed molecular study of an atypical somatically unstable expansion of 90 repeats. Our results across different tissues provide evidence for the pathogenicity of this repeat number by showing they can somatically expand in the central nervous system to the well characterized pathogenic range. Our results support the occurrence of multiple expansion events for C9ALS/FTD.
Frontotemporal dementia; Somatic instability; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Meaningful Use (MU) provides financial incentives for electronic health record (EHR) implementation. EHR implementation holds promise for improving healthcare delivery, but also requires substantial changes for providers and staff. Establishing readiness for these changes may be important for realizing potential EHR benefits. Our study assesses whether provider/staff perceptions about the appropriateness of MU and their departments’ ability to support MU-related changes are associated with their reported readiness for MU-related changes.
We surveyed providers and staff representing 47 ambulatory practices within an integrated delivery system. We assessed whether respondent’s role and practice-setting type (primary versus specialty care) were associated with reported readiness for MU (i.e., willingness to change practice behavior and ability to document actions for MU) and hypothesized predictors of readiness (i.e., perceived appropriateness of MU and department support for MU). We then assessed associations between reported readiness and the hypothesized predictors of readiness.
In total, 400 providers/staff responded (response rate approximately 25%). Individuals working in specialty settings were more likely to report that MU will divert attention from other patient-care priorities (12.6% vs. 4.4%, p = 0.019), as compared to those in primary-care settings. As compared to advanced-practice providers and nursing staff, physicians were less likely to have strong confidence in their department’s ability to solve MU implementation problems (28.4% vs. 47.1% vs. 42.6%, p = 0.023) and to report strong willingness to change their work practices for MU (57.9% vs. 83.3% vs. 82.0%, p < 0.001). Finally, provider/staff perceptions about whether MU aligns with departmental goals (OR = 3.99, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.13 to 7.48); MU will divert attention from other patient-care priorities (OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.26 to 4.06); their department will support MU-related change efforts (OR = 3.99, 95% CI = 2.13 to 7.48); and their department will be able to solve MU implementation problems (OR = 2.26, 95% CI = 1.26 to 4.06) were associated with their willingness to change practice behavior for MU.
Organizational leaders should gauge provider/staff perceptions about appropriateness and management support of MU-related change, as these perceptions might be related to subsequent implementation.
A green organic laboratory experiment was developed in which students synthesize a sensor for thiols using a microscale, solventless Diels–Alder reaction at room temperature or 37 °C. The molecular probe is easily purified by column chromatography in a Pasteur pipet and characterized by thin-layer chromatography and NMR spectroscopy. The thiol-reactive sensor becomes intensely fluorescent upon exposure to thiols from N-acetylcysteine, bovine serum albumin, or human hair (pretreated with a reducing agent to reveal cysteine thiols in α-keratin). This fluorescence is observable even with micrograms of probe.
second-year undergraduate; organic chemistry; laboratory instruction; hands-on learning; fluorescence spectroscopy; green chemistry; microscale lab; NMR Spectroscopy; organosulfur compounds; synthesis
Inherent nanomaterial characteristics, composition, surface chemistry, and primary particle size, are known to impact particle stability, uptake, and toxicity. Nanocomposites challenge our ability to predict nanoparticle reactivity in biological systems if they are composed of materials with contrasting relative toxicities. We hypothesized that toxicity would be dominated by the nanoparticle surface (shell vs core), and that modulating the surface ligands would have a direct impact on uptake. We exposed developing zebrafish (Danio rerio) to a series of ~70 nm amine-terminated silver nanoparticles with silica shells (AgSi NPs) to investigate the relative influence of surface amination, composition, and size on toxicity. Like-sized aminated AgSi and Si NPs were more toxic than paired hydroxyl-terminated nanoparticles; however, both AgSi NPs were more toxic than the Si NPs, indicating a significant contribution of the silver core to the toxicity. Incremental increases in surface amination did not linearly increase uptake and toxicity, but did have a marked impact on dispersion stability. Mass-based exposure metrics initially supported the hypothesis that smaller nanoparticles (20 nm) would be more toxic than larger particles (70 nm). However, surface area-based metrics revealed that toxicity was independent of size. Our studies suggest that nanoparticle surfaces play a critical role in the uptake and toxicity of AgSi NPs, while the impact of size may be a function of the exposure metric used. Overall, uptake and toxicity can be dramatically altered by small changes in surface functionalization or exposure media. Only after understanding the magnitude of these changes, can we begin to understand the biologically available dose following nanoparticle exposure.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11051-014-2761-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Nanomaterials; Silica shell; Surface chemistry; Dispersion; Zebrafish; Environmental and health effects
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) may appear to be familial or sporadic, with recognised dominant and recessive inheritance in a proportion of cases. Sporadic ALS may be caused by rare homozygous recessive mutations. We studied patients and controls from the UK and a multinational pooled analysis of GWAS data on homozygosity in ALS to determine any potential recessive variant leading to the disease. Six-hundred and twenty ALS and 5169 controls were studied in the UK cohort. A total of 7646 homozygosity segments with length >2 Mb were identified, and 3568 rare segments remained after filtering ‘common' segments. The mean total of the autosomal genome with homozygosity segments was longer in ALS than in controls (unfiltered segments, P=0.05). Two-thousand and seventeen ALS and 6918 controls were studied in the pooled analysis. There were more regions of homozygosity segments per case (P=1 × 10−5), a greater proportion of cases harboured homozygosity (P=2 × 10−5), a longer average length of segment (P=1 × 10−5), a longer total genome coverage (P=1 × 10−5), and a higher rate of these segments overlapped with RefSeq gene regions (P=1 × 10−5), in ALS patients than controls. Positive associations were found in three regions. The most significant was in the chromosome 21 SOD1 region, and also chromosome 1 2.9–4.8 Mb, and chromosome 5 in the 65 Mb region. There are more than twenty potential genes in these regions. These findings point to further possible rare recessive genetic causes of ALS, which are not identified as common variants in GWAS.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; homozygosity; recessive
Most plant-infecting rhabdoviruses are transmitted by one or a few closely related insect species. Additionally, intraspecific differences in transmission efficacy often exist among races/biotypes within vector species and among strains within a virus species. The black-faced leafhopper, Graminella nigrifrons, is the only known vector of the persistent propagative rhabdovirus Maize fine streak virus (MFSV). Only a small percentage of leafhoppers are capable of transmitting the virus, although the mechanisms underlying vector competence are not well understood.
RNA-Seq was carried out to explore transcript expression changes and sequence variation in G. nigrifrons and MFSV that may be associated with the ability of the vector to acquire and transmit the virus. RT-qPCR assays were used to validate differential transcript accumulation.
Feeding on MFSV-infected maize elicited a considerable transcriptional response in G. nigrifrons, with increased expression of cytoskeleton organization and immunity transcripts in infected leafhoppers. Differences between leafhoppers capable of transmitting MFSV, relative to non-transmitting but infected leafhoppers were more limited, which may reflect difficulties discerning between the two groups and/or the likelihood that the transmitter phenotype results from one or a few genetic differences. The ability of infected leafhoppers to transmit MFSV did not appear associated with virus transcript accumulation in the infected leafhoppers or sequence polymorphisms in the viral genome. However, the non-structural MFSV 3 gene was expressed at unexpectedly high levels in infected leafhoppers, suggesting it plays an active role in the infection of the insect host. The results of this study begin to define the functional roles of specific G. nigrifrons and MFSV genes in the viral transmission process.
Agmatine is the decarboxylation product of arginine and a number of bacteria have devoted enzymatic pathways for its metabolism. Pseudomonas aeruginosa harbours the aguBA operon that metabolizes agmatine to putrescine, which can be subsequently converted into other polyamines or shunted into the TCA cycle for energy production. We discovered an alternate agmatine operon in the P. aeruginosa strain PA14 named agu2ABCA′ that contains two genes for agmatine deiminases (agu2A and agu2A′). This operon was found to be present in 25% of clinical P. aeruginosa isolates. Agu2A′ contains a twin-arginine translocation signal at its N-terminus and site-directed mutagenesis and cell fractionation experiments confirmed this protein is secreted to the periplasm. Analysis of the agu2ABCA′ promoter demonstrates that agmatine induces expression of the operon during the stationary phase of growth and during biofilm growth and agu2ABCA′ provides only weak complementation of aguBA, which is induced during log phase. Biofilm assays of mutants of all three agmatine deiminase genes in PA14 revealed that deletion of agu2ABCA′, specifically its secreted product Agu2A′, reduces biofilm production of PA14 following addition of exogenous agmatine. Together, these findings reveal a novel role for the agu2ABCA′ operon in the biofilm development of P. aeruginosa.
Statins effectively lower LDL cholesterol levels in large studies and the observed interindividual response variability may be partially explained by genetic variation. Here we perform a pharmacogenetic meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in studies addressing the LDL cholesterol response to statins, including up to 18,596 statin-treated subjects. We validate the most promising signals in a further 22,318 statin recipients and identify two loci, SORT1/CELSR2/PSRC1 and SLCO1B1, not previously identified in GWAS. Moreover, we confirm the previously described associations with APOE and LPA. Our findings advance the understanding of the pharmacogenetic architecture of statin response.
Statins are effectively used to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, but patient response to these drugs is highly variable. Here, the authors identify two new genes associated with the response of LDL cholesterol to statins and advance our understanding of the genetic basis of drug response.
MATR3 is an RNA/DNA binding protein that interacts with TDP-43, a major disease protein linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia. Using exome sequencing, we identified mutations in MATR3 in ALS kindreds. We also observed MATR3 pathology in the spinal cords of ALS cases with and without MATR3 mutations. Our data provide additional evidence supporting the role of aberrant RNA processing in motor neuron degeneration.
The literature describing the characteristic features of femoroacetabular impingement (FAI) has been on the rise, increasing awareness of this pathology in the young, active population. The physical therapist should consider FAI as a contributing factor to anterior hip pain, impairments, and functional deficits of the lower quarter. The dynamic interplay of anatomical variations, pain, and muscle function and their effects on gait in patients with FAI, however, is poorly understood. Small sample populations and variability in radiological, demographic, and clinical presentations in those with FAI have precluded meaningful insight into gait analysis and FAI, reiterating the need for further research in this domain.
The purpose of this clinical commentary is to review the literature that defines normal gait at the hip joint and abnormal gait as a result of FAI and labral pathology or surgery aimed at correcting it. Secondarily, the authors aim to offer clinicians a strategy to progress the post‐surgical patient to normal, unassisted gait while reducing the risk for anterior hip pain. Lastly, the authors of this commentary aim to identify specific areas for future research directed at therapeutic interventions in patients with FAI and those who have undergone surgery to correct it.
Level of Evidence:
Anterior hip pain; biomechanics; femoroacetabular impingement; gait; gait analysis
The arginine decarboxylase pathway, which converts arginine to agmatine, is present in both humans and most bacterial pathogens. In humans agmatine is a neurotransmitter with affinities towards α2-adrenoreceptors, serotonin receptors, and may inhibit nitric oxide synthase. In bacteria agmatine serves as a precursor to polyamine synthesis and was recently shown to enhance biofilm development in some strains of the respiratory pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We determined agmatine is at the center of a competing metabolism in the human lung during airways infections and is influenced by the metabolic phenotypes of the infecting pathogens. Ultra performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry detection was used to measure agmatine in human sputum samples from patients with cystic fibrosis, spent supernatant from clinical sputum isolates, and from bronchoalvelolar lavage fluid from mice infected with P. aeruginosa agmatine mutants. Agmatine in human sputum peaks during illness, decreased with treatment and is positively correlated with inflammatory cytokines. Analysis of the agmatine metabolic phenotype in clinical sputum isolates revealed most deplete agmatine when grown in its presence; however a minority appeared to generate large amounts of agmatine presumably driving sputum agmatine to high levels. Agmatine exposure to inflammatory cells and in mice demonstrated its role as a direct immune activator with effects on TNF-α production, likely through NF-κB activation. P. aeruginosa mutants for agmatine detection and metabolism were constructed and show the real-time evolution of host-derived agmatine in the airways during acute lung infection. These experiments also demonstrated pathogen agmatine production can upregulate the inflammatory response. As some clinical isolates have adapted to hypersecrete agmatine, these combined data would suggest agmatine is a novel target for immune modulation in the host-pathogen dynamic.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) has a number of known genetic risk factors. Clinical and epidemiological studies have suggested the existence of intermediate factors that may be associated with additional risk of PD. We construct genetic risk profiles for additional epidemiological and clinical factors using known genome-wide association studies (GWAS) loci related to these specific phenotypes to estimate genetic comorbidity in a systematic review. We identify genetic risk profiles based on GWAS variants associated with schizophrenia and Crohn’s disease as significantly associated with risk of PD. Conditional analyses adjusting for SNPs near loci associated with PD and schizophrenia or PD and Crohn’s disease suggest that spatially overlapping loci associated with schizophrenia and PD account for most of the shared comorbidity, while variation outside of known proximal loci shared by PD and Crohn’s disease accounts for their shared genetic comorbidity. We examine brain methylation and expression signatures proximal to schizophrenia and Crohn’s disease loci to infer functional changes in the brain associated with the variants contributing to genetic comorbidity. We compare our results with a systematic review of epidemiological literature, while the findings are dissimilar to a degree; marginal genetic associations corroborate the directionality of associations across genetic and epidemiological data. We show a strong genetically defined level of comorbidity between PD and Crohn’s disease as well as between PD and schizophrenia, with likely functional consequences of associated variants occurring in brain.
Biobanks require new governance models that address their ethical and regulatory challenges. One model relies on stewardship of specimens throughout their life course. Here, we discuss findings from our survey of 456 U.S. biobank managers that addressed whether and how biobanks steward their specimens. The findings reveal that most bio-banks do not create ongoing relationships with contributors but do practice stewardship over storing and sharing of specimens. Biobanks now need guidance to fully articulate stewardship practices that ensure respect for contributors while facilitating research.
We report here the genetic basis for a form of progressive hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG43) previously described in two Malian sisters. Exome sequencing revealed a homozygous missense variant (c.187G>C; p.Ala63Pro) in C19orf12, a gene recently implicated in neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA). The same mutation was subsequently also found in a Brazilian family with features of NBIA, and we identified another NBIA patient with a three-nucleotide deletion (c.197_199del; p.Gly66del). Haplotype analysis revealed that the p.Ala63Pro mutations have a common origin, but MRI scans showed no brain iron deposition in the Malian SPG43 subjects. Heterologous expression of these SPG43 and NBIA variants resulted in similar alterations in the subcellular distribution of C19orf12. The SPG43 and NBIA variants reported here as well as the most common C19orf12 missense mutation reported in NBIA patients are found within a highly-conserved, extended hydrophobic domain in C19orf12, underscoring the functional importance of this domain.
SPG43; NBIA; C19orf12; hereditary spastic paraplegia
Provider-based research networks (PBRNs) make clinical trials available in community-based practice settings, where most people receive their care, but provider participation requires both financial and in-kind contributions.
This study explores whether providers believe there is a business case for participating in PBRNs and what factors contribute to the business case.
We use a multiple case study methodology approach to examine the National Cancer Institute's Community Clinical Oncology Program, a longstanding federally funded PBRN. Interviews with 41 key informants across five sites, selected on the basis of organizational maturity, were conducted using a semi-structured interview guide. We analyzed interview transcripts using an iterative, deductive process to identify themes and subthemes in the data.
We found that a business case for provider participation in PBRNs may exist if both direct and indirect financial benefits are identified and included in the analysis, and if the time horizon is long enough to allow those benefits to be realized. We identified specific direct and indirect financial benefits that were perceived as important contributors to the business case and the perceived length of time required for a positive return to accrue.
As the lack of a business case may result in provider reluctance to participate in PBRNs, knowledge of the benefits we identified may be crucial to encouraging and sustaining participation, thereby preserving patient access to innovative community-based treatments. The results are also relevant to federally-funded PBRNs outside of oncology or to providers considering participation in any clinical trials research.
clinical trials; provider-based research network; oncology; return on investment; business case
Complete, exceptionally-preserved skulls of the Permian lungfish Persephonichthys chthonica gen. et sp. nov. are described. Persephonichthys chthonica is unique among post-Devonian lungfishes in preserving portions of the neurocranium, permitting description of the braincase of a stem-ceratodontiform for the first time. The completeness of P. chthonica permits robust phylogenetic analysis of the relationships of the extant lungfish lineage within the Devonian lungfish diversification for the first time. New analyses of the relationships of this new species within two published matrices using both maximum parsimony and Bayesian inference robustly place P. chthonica and modern lungfishes within dipterid-grade dipnoans rather than within a clade containing Late Devonian ‘phaneropleurids’ and common Late Paleozoic lungfishes such as Sagenodus. Monophyly of post-Devonian lungfishes is not supported and the Carboniferous-Permian taxon Sagenodus is found to be incidental to the origins of modern lungfishes, suggesting widespread convergence in Late Paleozoic lungfishes. Morphology of the skull, hyoid arch, and pectoral girdle suggests a deviation in feeding mechanics from that of Devonian lungfishes towards the more dynamic gape cycle and more effective buccal pumping seen in modern lungfishes. Similar anatomy observed previously in ‘Rhinodipterus’ kimberyensis likely represents an intermediate state between the strict durophagy observed in most Devonian lungfishes and the more dynamic buccal pump seen in Persephonichthys and modern lungfishes, rather than adaptation to air-breathing exclusively.