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1.  Biomedical risk factors for decreased cognitive functioning in type 1 diabetes: an 18 year follow-up of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) cohort 
Diabetologia  2010;54(2):245-255.
In patients with type 1 diabetes, there has been concern about the effects of recurrent hypoglycaemia and chronic hyperglycaemia on cognitive function. Because other biomedical factors may also increase the risk of cognitive decline, this study examined whether macro-vascular risk factors (hypertension, smoking, hypercholesterolaemia, obesity), sub-clinical macrovascular disease (carotid intima–media thickening, coronary calcification) and microvascular complications (retinopathy, nephropathy) were associated with decrements in cognitive function over an extended time period.
Type 1 diabetes patients (n=1,144) who had completed a comprehensive cognitive test battery at entry into the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial were reassessed at a mean of 18.5 (range: 15–23) years later. Univariate and multivariable models examined the relationship between cognitive change and the presence of micro-and macrovascular complications and risk factors.
Univariate modelling showed that smoking history was modestly associated with decrements in learning, memory, spatial information-processing and psychomotor efficiency; hypertension was associated with only psychomotor slowing. Multivariable modelling demonstrated that HbA1c level, and retinal and renal complications were each independently associated with decrements in psychomotor efficiency. In contrast, no macrovascular risk factors were significant after correcting for multiple comparisons. No interactions were found between these predictors and sex, severe hypoglycaemic events or presence of the APOE ε4 allele.
In relatively healthy, middle-aged adults with type 1 diabetes who had been followed for an average of 18.5 years, long-term metabolic control and microvascular factors are independently associated with a decline in cognitive function specifically affecting measures of psychomotor efficiency.
PMCID: PMC4090060  PMID: 20803190
Cognition; Macrovascular; Microvascular; Psychomotor efficiency; Renal; Retinopathy; Type 1 diabetes
2.  Bacterial Superantigens Promote Acute Nasopharyngeal Infection by Streptococcus pyogenes in a Human MHC Class II-Dependent Manner 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(5):e1004155.
Establishing the genetic determinants of niche adaptation by microbial pathogens to specific hosts is important for the management and control of infectious disease. Streptococcus pyogenes is a globally prominent human-specific bacterial pathogen that secretes superantigens (SAgs) as ‘trademark’ virulence factors. SAgs function to force the activation of T lymphocytes through direct binding to lateral surfaces of T cell receptors and class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC-II) molecules. S. pyogenes invariably encodes multiple SAgs, often within putative mobile genetic elements, and although SAgs are documented virulence factors for diseases such as scarlet fever and the streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), how these exotoxins contribute to the fitness and evolution of S. pyogenes is unknown. Here we show that acute infection in the nasopharynx is dependent upon both bacterial SAgs and host MHC-II molecules. S. pyogenes was rapidly cleared from the nasal cavity of wild-type C57BL/6 (B6) mice, whereas infection was enhanced up to ∼10,000-fold in B6 mice that express human MHC-II. This phenotype required the SpeA superantigen, and vaccination with an MHC –II binding mutant toxoid of SpeA dramatically inhibited infection. Our findings indicate that streptococcal SAgs are critical for the establishment of nasopharyngeal infection, thus providing an explanation as to why S. pyogenes produces these potent toxins. This work also highlights that SAg redundancy exists to avoid host anti-SAg humoral immune responses and to potentially overcome host MHC-II polymorphisms.
Author Summary
Streptococcus pyogenes is the most common cause of bacterial pharyngitis, also known as ‘strep throat’. However, this organism is also responsible for a range of other important human illnesses including necrotizing fasciitis and rheumatic heart disease (RHD). Indeed, complications from RHD and invasive infections by S. pyogenes are responsible for over one half million deaths per year in the world. S. pyogenes produces potent toxins called superantigens (SAgs), also known as the scarlet fever or erythrogenic toxins. SAgs have been studied for many years, yet we don't understand what purpose SAgs play in the life cycle of S. pyogenes. Rather than studying SAgs in the context of serious streptococcal disease, we studied the role of SAgs in a nasopharyngeal infection model. Our work demonstrates that for S. pyogenes to efficiently infect mice, the mice must express a human protein that is a receptor for the SAgs, and that S. pyogenes must produce SAgs. We further show that immunizing against SAgs prevents nasopharyngeal infection. This work demonstrates that SAgs are important factors for establishing infection by S. pyogenes and that SAgs may be potential candidates for inclusion within a S. pyogenes vaccine.
PMCID: PMC4038607  PMID: 24875883
3.  Use of the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument as a measure of distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy in Type 1 diabetes: results from the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications 
The Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument (MNSI) is used to assess distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy in diabetes. It includes two separate assessments: a 15-item self-administered questionnaire and a lower extremity examination that includes inspection and assessment of vibratory sensation and ankle reflexes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of the MNSI in detecting distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy in patients with Type 1 diabetes and to develop new scoring algorithms.
The MNSI was performed by trained personnel at each of the 28 Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications clinical sites. Neurologic examinations and nerve conduction studies were performed during the same year. Confirmed clinical neuropathy was defined by symptoms and signs of distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy based on the examination of a neurologist and abnormal nerve conduction findings in ≥ 2 anatomically distinct nerves among the sural, peroneal and median nerves.
We studied 1184 subjects with Type 1 diabetes. Mean age was 47 years and duration of diabetes was 26 years. Thirty per cent of participants had confirmed clinical neuropathy, 18% had ≥ 4 and 5% had ≥ 7 abnormal responses on the MNSI questionnaire, and 33% had abnormal scores (≥ 2.5) on the MNSI examination. New scoring algorithms were developed and cut points defined to improve the performance of the MNSI questionnaire, examination and the combination of the two.
Altering the cut point to define an abnormal test from ≥ 7 abnormal to ≥ 4 abnormal items improves the performance of the MNSI questionnaire. The MNSI is a simple, non-invasive and valid measure of distal symmetrical peripheral neuropathy in Type 1 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3641573  PMID: 22417277
measurement; peripheral neuropathy
4.  A large-scale meta-analysis to refine colorectal cancer risk estimates associated with MUTYH variants 
British Journal of Cancer  2010;103(12):1875-1884.
Defective DNA repair has a causal role in hereditary colorectal cancer (CRC). Defects in the base excision repair gene MUTYH are responsible for MUTYH-associated polyposis and CRC predisposition as an autosomal recessive trait. Numerous reports have suggested MUTYH mono-allelic variants to be low penetrance risk alleles. We report a large collaborative meta-analysis to assess and refine CRC risk estimates associated with bi-allelic and mono-allelic MUTYH variants and investigate age and sex influence on risk.
MUTYH genotype data were included from 20 565 cases and 15 524 controls. Three logistic regression models were tested: a crude model; adjusted for age and sex; adjusted for age, sex and study.
All three models produced very similar results. MUTYH bi-allelic carriers demonstrated a 28-fold increase in risk (95% confidence interval (CI): 6.95–115). Significant bi-allelic effects were also observed for G396D and Y179C/G396D compound heterozygotes and a marginal mono-allelic effect for variant Y179C (odds ratio (OR)=1.34; 95% CI: 1.00–1.80). A pooled meta-analysis of all published and unpublished datasets submitted showed bi-allelic effects for MUTYH, G396D and Y179C (OR=10.8, 95% CI: 5.02–23.2; OR=6.47, 95% CI: 2.33–18.0; OR=3.35, 95% CI: 1.14–9.89) and marginal mono-allelic effect for variants MUTYH (OR=1.16, 95% CI: 1.00–1.34) and Y179C alone (OR=1.34, 95% CI: 1.01–1.77).
Overall, this large study refines estimates of disease risk associated with mono-allelic and bi-allelic MUTYH carriers.
PMCID: PMC3008602  PMID: 21063410
colorectal cancer; base excision repair; MUTYH; carrier risk estimates; meta-analysis
5.  The associations of apolipoprotein E and angiotensin-converting enzyme polymorphisms and cognitive function in Type 1 diabetes based on an 18-year follow-up of the DCCT cohort 
Specific polymorphisms of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) genes appear to increase risk for Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive dysfunction in the general population, yet little research has examined whether genetic factors influence risk of cognitive dysfunction in patients with Type 1 diabetes. The long-term follow-up of the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) population provides an opportunity to examine if specific genetic variations in APOE and ACE alter risk for cognitive decline.
Neurocognitive function in Type 1 diabetic subjects from the DCCT/EDIC study was assessed at DCCT entry and re-assessed approximately 18 years later, using a comprehensive cognitive test battery. Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and the frequency of severe hypoglycaemic events leading to coma or seizures were measured over the 18-year follow-up. We determined whether the APO εs4 and ACE intron 16 indel genotypes were associated with baseline cognitive function and with change over time, and whether they conferred added risk in those subjects experiencing severe hypoglycaemic events or greater glycaemic exposure.
None of the APOE or ACE polymorphisms were associated with either baseline cognitive performance or change in cognition over the 18-year follow-up. Moreover, none of the genotype variations altered the risk of cognitive dysfunction in those subjects with severe hypoglycaemic episodes or high HbA1c.
In this sample of young and middle-aged adults with Type 1 diabetes, APOε4 and ACED alleles do not appear to increase risk of cognitive dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3043372  PMID: 20121884
angiotensin-converting enzyme; apolipoprotein E; cognition; genetics; Type 1 diabetes
6.  Different routes of bacterial infection induce long-lived TH1 memory cells and short-lived TH-17 cells 
Nature immunology  2009;11(1):83-89.
A sensitive peptide-major histocompatibility complex II (pMHCII) tetramer-based method was used to determine whether CD4+ memory T cells resemble the TH1 and TH-17 subsets described in vitro. Intravenous or intranasal Listeria monocytogenes infection induced pMHCII-specific CD4+ naïve T cells to proliferate and produce effector cells, about 10% of which resembled TH1 or TH-17 cells, respectively. TH1 cells were also present among the memory cells that survived three months post-infection whereas TH-17 cells disappeared. The short lifespan of TH-17 cells was associated with low amounts of Bcl-2, interleukin 15 receptor, CD27 and little homeostatic proliferation. These results suggest that TH1 cells induced by intravenous infection are more efficient at entering the memory pool than TH-17 cells induced by intranasal infection.
PMCID: PMC2795784  PMID: 19935657
CD4+ T lymphocyte; immunological memory; CD27; CCR7; Listeria monocytogenes; TH1; TH-17
7.  Pathological features of colorectal carcinomas in MYH-associated polyposis 
Histopathology  2008;53(2):184-194.
MYH is a DNA glycosylase in the base excision repair pathway. Germ-line biallelic mutations in the MYH gene are associated with the development of multiple colorectal adenomas and colorectal carcinoma (CRC). A slightly increased risk of CRC is suggested in monoallelic MYH mutation carriers. The aim was to characterize the histopathological features of carcinomas from biallelics and monoallelics.
Methods and results
Clinicopathological features of 57 colorectal carcinomas from 50 patients identified in familial CRC registries were recorded. These included 16 cancers from 14 MYH biallelics; 25 cancers from 22 MYH monoallelics; and 16 cancers from 14 controls. Carcinomas in biallelics demonstrated tubular, papillary or cribriform patterns as the predominant histological subtype, and main histological groups differed according to mutation status (P = 0.0053). All biallelic cancers were low grade, with high-grade tumours more common in monoallelics and controls (P = 0.002). Synchronous polyps were observed in 75% of biallelics, 33% of monoallelics and 43% of controls (P = 0.035). Serrated carcinoma was the predominant type in 12% (3/25) of the monoallelics but in none of the biallelics or controls. MYH immunohistochemistry failed to distinguish between groups.
Neither pathological features nor immunohistochemistry could predict the MYH mutation status of CRCs in this study.
PMCID: PMC2754312  PMID: 18564191
colorectal cancer; pathology; polyps; mutYh; MYH
8.  Urinary Tract Infections in Women With Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Survey of Female Participants in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications Study Cohort 
The Journal of urology  2009;181(3):1129-1135.
We determined the prevalence of and risk factors for urinary tract infection in women with type 1 diabetes, and compared the prevalence of cystitis to that in nondiabetic women.
Materials and Methods
Women enrolled in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications study were surveyed at year 10 as part of the Uro-EDIC study to assess the prevalence of cystitis and pyelonephritis in the preceding 12 months. Multivariate logistic regression models including measures of glycemic control and vascular complications of type 1 diabetes were used for risk factor analyses. The prevalence of cystitis in Uro-EDIC women was compared to that in a nondiabetic subset of women participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III (NHANES III).
A total of 550 women participated in the Uro-EDIC survey. The prevalence of cystitis and pyelonephritis in the preceding 12 months was 15% and 3%, respectively. Duration of diabetes, hemoglobin A1C, retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, composite vascular complication score and intensive glycemic therapy during the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, and Diabetes Control and Complications Trial cohort were not associated with cystitis or pyelonephritis. Sexual activity was associated with increased cystitis risk (adjusted OR 8.28; 95% CI 1.45, 158.32; p = 0.01). The adjusted prevalence of cystitis was 19.1% in Uro-EDIC women and 23.1% in NHANES III participants (adjusted OR 0.78; 95% CI 0.51, 1.22; p = 0.28).
In Uro-EDIC women sexual activity rather than measures of diabetes control and complications was the main risk factor for urinary tract infection. The prevalence of cystitis was similar to that in nondiabetic women participants in NHANES III.
PMCID: PMC2699609  PMID: 19152925
urinary tract infections; diabetes mellitus; type 1; prevalence; risk factors
9.  Primary posterior continuous capsulorhexis; a new technique 
PMCID: PMC1857063  PMID: 16622105
posterior continuous capsulorhexis
10.  Hearing the patient's voice? Factors affecting the use of patient survey data in quality improvement 
Quality & safety in health care  2005;14(6):428-432.
Objective: To develop a framework for understanding factors affecting the use of patient survey data in quality improvement.
Design: Qualitative interviews with senior health professionals and managers and a review of the literature.
Setting: A quality improvement collaborative in Minnesota, USA involving teams from eight medical groups, focusing on how to use patient survey data to improve patient centred care.
Participants: Eight team leaders (medical, clinical improvement or service quality directors) and six team members (clinical improvement coordinators and managers).
Results: Respondents reported three types of barriers before the collaborative: organisational, professional and data related. Organisational barriers included lack of supporting values for patient centred care, competing priorities, and lack of an effective quality improvement infrastructure. Professional barriers included clinicians and staff not being used to focusing on patient interaction as a quality issue, individuals not necessarily having been selected, trained or supported to provide patient centred care, and scepticism, defensiveness or resistance to change following feedback. Data related barriers included lack of expertise with survey data, lack of timely and specific results, uncertainty over the effective interventions or time frames for improvement, and consequent risk of perceived low cost effectiveness of data collection. Factors that appeared to have promoted data use included board led strategies to change culture and create quality improvement forums, leadership from senior physicians and managers, and the persistence of quality improvement staff over several years in demonstrating change in other areas.
Conclusion: Using patient survey data may require a more concerted effort than for other clinical data. Organisations may need to develop cultures that support patient centred care, quality improvement capacity, and to align professional receptiveness and leadership with technical expertise with the data.
PMCID: PMC1744097  PMID: 16326789
11.  Ocular injury in hurling 
Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of ocular injuries sustained in hurling in the south of Ireland and to investigate reasons for non-use of protective headgear and eye wear.
Results: Hurling related eye injuries occurred most commonly in young men. Fifty two patients (17%) required hospital admission, with hyphaema accounting for 71% of admissions. Ten injuries required intraocular surgical intervention: retinal detachment repair (5); macular hole surgery (1); repair of partial thickness corneal laceration (1); repair of globe perforation (1); enucleation (1); trabeculectomy for post-traumatic glaucoma (1). Fourteen eyes (4.5%) had a final best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of <6/12 and six (2%) had BCVA <3/60. In the survey, 63 players (48.5%) reported wearing no protective facemask while playing hurling. Impairment of vision was the most common reason cited for non-use.
Conclusions: Hurling related injury is a significant, and preventable, cause of ocular morbidity in young men in Ireland. The routine use of appropriate protective headgear and faceguards would result in a dramatic reduction in the incidence and severity of these injuries, and should be mandatory.
PMCID: PMC1725290  PMID: 16046328
12.  Elevated aqueous humour tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and connective tissue growth factor in pseudoexfoliation syndrome 
Background/aims: Pseudoexfoliation syndrome (PXF) was recently found to be associated with increased expression of transforming growth factor β1 (TGFβ1) in the aqueous humour. As concern has been raised regarding anti-TGFβ therapy, which can potentially disrupt the maintenance of anterior chamber asso-ciated immune deviation, the authors explored the levels of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) in aqueous humour to determine if these may represent alternative therapeutic targets.
Methods: Aqueous humour samples were collected from patients who underwent routine cataract surgery. All patients were categorised into three main groups—PXF, uveitis, and control. The PXF group was further subcategorised into three grades based on the density of the exfoliative material observed on biomicroscopy, as well as the presence or absence of glaucoma. TIMP-1, MMP-9, and CTGF levels were measured using specific enzyme immunoassays (ELISA).
Results: Eyes with PXF had significantly higher aqueous humour TIMP-1 concentration (n = 56, mean (SE), 9.76 (1.10) ng/ml) compared with controls (n = 112, 5.73 (0.43) ng/ml, p<0.01). Similarly, the CTGF level in PXF eyes (n = 36, 4.38 (0.65) ng/ml) was higher than controls (n = 29, 2.35 (0.46) ng/ml, p<0.05). Further, the CTGF concentration in the PXF glaucoma group is significantly higher compared with PXF eyes without glaucoma (6.03 (1.09) ng/ml v 2.73 (0.45) ng/ml, p<0.01). The MMP-9 levels were low and below detection limit in all PXF and control samples with no statistical difference between groups.
Conclusion: A raised TIMP-1 level and a low MMP-9 level in aqueous humour of PXF eyes may imply a downregulation in proteolytic activity. The increased CTGF concentration supports the proposed fibrotic pathology of PXF. Regulation of MMP/TIMP expression and anti-CTGF therapy may offer potential therapeutic avenues for controlling PXF associated ocular morbidity.
PMCID: PMC1772498  PMID: 15665347
aqueous humour; connective tissue growth factor; extracellular matrix; pseudoexfoliation syndrome; tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1
13.  Protein F1 and Streptococcus pyogenes Resistance to Phagocytosis▿  
Infection and Immunity  2007;75(6):3188-3191.
Streptococcus pyogenes is a major cause of pharyngitis in humans and encodes several fibronectin-binding proteins. M protein and protein F1 (PrtF1/SfbI) are differentially regulated by CO2 and O2, respectively, and both mediate the invasion of epithelial cells. This study examined whether PrtF1/SfbI shares other properties with M protein. Expression of the PrtF1/SfbI protein by an M-negative mutant conferred resistance to phagocytosis and partial inhibition of C3 deposition on the S. pyogenes surface.
PMCID: PMC1932906  PMID: 17371855
14.  What do patients value in their hospital care? An empirical perspective on autonomy centred bioethics 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2003;29(2):103-108.
Objective: Contemporary ethical accounts of the patient-provider relationship emphasise respect for patient autonomy and shared decision making. We sought to examine the relative influence of involvement in decisions, confidence and trust in providers, and treatment with respect and dignity on patients' evaluations of their hospital care.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Fifty one hospitals in Massachusetts.
Participants: Stratified random sample of adults (N=27 414) discharged from a medical, surgical, or maternity hospitalisation between January and March, 1998. Twelve thousand six hundred and eighty survey recipients responded.
Main outcome measure: Respondent would definitely be willing to recommend the hospital to family and friends.
Results: In a logistic regression analysis, treatment with respect and dignity (odds ratio (OR) 3.4, 99% confidence interval (CI) 2.8 to 4.2) and confidence and trust in providers (OR 2.5, CI 2.1 to 3.0) were more strongly associated with willingness to recommend than having enough involvement in decisions (OR 1.4, CI 1.1 to 1.6). Courtesy and availability of staff (OR 2.5, CI 2.1 to 3.1), continuity and transition (OR 1.9, CI 1.5 to 2.2), attention to physical comfort (OR 1.8, CI 1.5 to 2.2), and coordination of care (OR 1.5, CI 1.3 to 1.8) were also significantly associated with willingness to recommend.
Conclusions: Confidence and trust in providers and treatment with respect and dignity are more closely associated with patients' overall evaluations of their hospitals than adequate involvement in decisions. These findings challenge a narrow emphasis on patient autonomy and shared decision making, while arguing for increased attention to trust and respect in ethical models of health care.
PMCID: PMC1733711  PMID: 12672891
15.  Quality collaboratives: lessons from research 
Quality & safety in health care  2002;11(4):345-351.

 Quality improvement collaboratives are increasingly being used in many countries to achieve rapid improvements in health care. However, there is little independent evidence that they are more cost effective than other methods, and little knowledge about how they could be made more effective. A number of systematic evaluations are being performed by researchers in North America, the UK, and Sweden. This paper presents the shared ideas from two meetings of these researchers. The evidence to date is that some collaboratives have stimulated improvements in patient care and organisational performance, but there are significant differences between collaboratives and teams. The researchers agreed on the possible reasons why some were less successful than others, and identified 10 challenges which organisers and teams need to address to achieve improvement. In the absence of more conclusive evidence, these guidelines are likely to be useful for collaborative organisers, teams and their managers and may also contribute to further research into collaboratives and the spread of innovations in health care.
PMCID: PMC1757995  PMID: 12468695
16.  Active and Passive Intranasal Immunizations with Streptococcal Surface Protein C5a Peptidase Prevent Infection of Murine Nasal Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue, a Functional Homologue of Human Tonsils  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(12):7878-7886.
C5a peptidase, also called SCPA (surface-bound C5a peptidase), is a surface-bound protein on group A streptococci (GAS), etiologic agents for a variety of human diseases including pharyngitis, impetigo, toxic shock, and necrotizing fasciitis, as well as the postinfection sequelae rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. This protein is highly conserved among different serotypes and is also expressed in human isolates of group B, C, and G streptococci. Human tonsils are the primary reservoirs for GAS, maintaining endemic disease across the globe. We recently reported that GAS preferentially target nasal mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) in mice, a tissue functionally analogous to human tonsils. Experiments using a C5a peptidase loss-of-function mutant and an intranasal infection model showed that this protease is required for efficient colonization of NALT. An effective vaccine should prevent infection of this secondary lymphoid tissue; therefore, the potential of anti-SCPA antibodies to protect against streptococcal infection of NALT was investigated. Experiments showed that GAS colonization of NALT was significantly reduced following intranasal immunization of mice with recombinant SCPA protein administered alone or with cholera toxin, whereas a high degree of GAS colonization of NALT was observed in control mice immunized with phosphate-buffered saline only. Moreover, administration of anti-SCPA serum by the intranasal route protected mice against streptococcal infection. These results suggest that intranasal immunization with SCPA would prevent colonization and infection of human tonsils, thereby eliminating potential reservoirs that maintain endemic disease.
PMCID: PMC1307028  PMID: 16299278
17.  The M Protein Is Dispensable for Maturation of Streptococcal Cysteine Protease SpeB  
Infection and Immunity  2005;73(2):859-864.
The streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin B (SpeB) is an important virulence factor of group A streptococci (GAS) with cysteine protease activity. Maturation of SpeB to a proteolytically active form was suggested to be dependent on cell-wall-anchored M1 protein, the major surface protein of GAS (M. Collin and A. Olsén, Mol. Microbiol. 36:1306-1318, 2000). Collin and Olsén showed that mutant GAS strains expressing truncated M protein secrete a conformationally different form of unprocessed SpeB with no proteolytic activity. Alternatively, we hypothesized that a truncated M protein may interfere with processing of this secreted protease, and therefore we tested cysteine protease activity in genetically defined mutant strains that express either no M protein or membrane-anchored M protein with an in-frame deletion of the AB repeat region. Measurements of SpeB activity by cleavage of a substrate n-benzoyl-Pro-Phe-Arg-p-nitroanilide hydrochloride showed that the proteolytic activities in culture supernatants of both mutants were similar to those from the wild-type strain. In addition, Western blot analysis of culture supernatants showed that SpeB expression and processing to a mature form was unaffected by either deletion mutation. Therefore, we conclude that M protein is not required for maturation of the streptococcal cysteine protease SpeB.
PMCID: PMC546975  PMID: 15664926
18.  M1 Protein Triggers a Phosphoinositide Cascade for Group A Streptococcus Invasion of Epithelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(10):5823-5830.
Invasion of nonphagocytic cells by bacteria provides a favorable niche for persistence and evasion of host defenses and antibiotics. M protein is a major virulence factor because it promotes high-frequency invasion of epithelial cells by group A Streptococcus (GAS) and also renders the bacterium resistant to phagocytosis. In this study, we investigated the role of M1 protein from serotype M1 strain 90-226 in regulating mammalian signal transduction and cytoskeletal rearrangement for bacterial entry. LY294002 and wortmannin, which are inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K) blocked invasion of epithelial cells by GAS by 75 and 80%, respectively, but failed to inhibit invasion by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Also, epithelial cells transiently transfected with dominant negative p85 and p110 genes, the regulatory and catalytic subunits of PI 3-K, respectively, were less able to be invaded by GAS. To separate the influence of other streptococcal virulence factors from M protein, Lactococcus lactis was engineered to express M1 protein on its surface. L. lactis(pLM1) invaded epithelial cells efficiently in vitro, and PI 3-K inhibitors blocked 90% of this invasion. Purified soluble M1 protein stimulated the formation of stress fibers and actin tuffs on epithelial cells. LY294002 and wortmannin inhibited these cellular changes. A phosphoinositide analogue also inhibited the invasion of epithelial cells by GAS. Therefore, M1 protein, either directly or via bound fibronectin, initiates signals that depend on the lipid kinase PI 3-K pathway, which paves the way for cytoskeletal rearrangement that internalize the bacterium.
PMCID: PMC201040  PMID: 14500504
19.  Up-Regulation of Interleukin-8 by Novel Small Cytoplasmic Molecules of Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae via p38 and Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Pathways  
Infection and Immunity  2003;71(10):5523-5530.
Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is an important etiological agent of otitis media (OM) and of exacerbated chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). Inflammation is a hallmark of both diseases. Interleukin-8 (IL-8), one of the important inflammatory mediators, is induced by NTHI and may play a significant role in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Our studies demonstrated that a soluble cytoplasmic fraction (SCF) from NTHI induced much greater IL-8 expression by human epithelial cells than did NTHI lipooligosaccharides and envelope proteins. The IL-8-inducing activity was associated with molecules of ≤3 kDa from SCF and was peptidase and lipase sensitive, suggesting that small lipopeptides are responsible for the strong IL-8 induction. Moreover, multiple intracellular signaling pathways were activated in response to cytoplasmic molecules. The results indicated that the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Src-dependent Raf-1-Mek1/2-extracellular signal-regulated kinase mitogen-activated protein kinase (ERK MAPK) pathways are required for NTHI-induced IL-8 production. In contrast, the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt pathway did not affect IL-8 expression, although this pathway was concomitantly activated upon exposure to NTHI SCF. The PI3K-Akt pathway was also directly activated by IL-8 and significantly inhibited by an antagonist of IL-8 receptors during NTHI stimulation. These results indicated that the PI3K-Akt pathway is activated in response to IL-8 that is induced by NTHI and may lead to other important epithelial cell responses. This work provides insight into essential molecular and cellular events that may impact on the pathogenesis of OM and COPD and identifies rational targets for anti-inflammatory intervention.
PMCID: PMC201079  PMID: 14500470
20.  Prevention of visual field defects after macular hole surgery 
BACKGROUND/AIM—The pathogenesis of visual field loss associated with macular hole surgery is uncertain but a number of explanations have been proposed, the most convincing of which is the effect of peeling of the posterior hyaloid, causing either direct damage to the nerve fibre layer or to its blood supply at the optic nerve head. The purpose of this preliminary prospective study was to determine the incidence of visual field defects following macular hole surgery in cases in which peeling of the posterior hyaloid was confined only to the area of the macula.
METHODS—102 consecutive eyes that had macular hole surgery had preoperative and postoperative visual field examination using a Humphrey's perimeter. A comparison was made between two groups: I, those treated with vitrectomy with complete posterior cortical vitreous peeling; and II, those treated with a vitrectomy with peeling of the posterior hyaloid in the area of the macula but without attempting a complete posterior vitreous detachment. Specifically, no attempt was made to separate the posterior hyaloid from the optic nerve head. Eyes with stage II or III macular holes were operated. Autologous platelet concentrate and non-expansile gas tamponade was used. Patients were postured prone for 1 week.
RESULTS—In group I, 22% of patients were found to have visual field defects. In group II, it was possible to separate the posterior hyaloid from the macula without stripping it from the optic nerve head and in these eyes no pattern of postoperative visual field loss emerged. There were no significant vision threatening complications in this group. The difference in the incidence of visual field loss between group I and group II was significant (p=0.02). The anatomical and visual success rates were comparable between both groups.
CONCLUSION—The results from this preliminary study suggest that the complication of visual field loss after macular surgery may be reduced if peeling of the posterior hyaloid is confined to the area of the macula so that the hyaloid remains attached at the optic nerve head. The postoperative clinical course does not appear to differ from eyes in which a complete posterior vitreous detachment has been effected during surgery.

PMCID: PMC1723448  PMID: 10729293
22.  Immunization with C5a Peptidase or Peptidase-Type III Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccines Enhances Clearance of Group B Streptococci from Lungs of Infected Mice  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(11):6409-6415.
Group B streptococci (GBS) are among the most common causes of life-threatening neonatal infections. Vaccine development since the late 1970s has focused on the capsular polysaccharides, but a safe, effective product is still not available. Our quest for a vaccine turned to the streptococcal C5a peptidase (SCPB). This surface protein is antigenically conserved across most if not all serotypes. A murine model was used to assess the impact of SCPB on clearance of GBS from the lungs of intranasally infected animals. Mutational inactivation of SCPB resulted in more-rapid clearance of streptococci from the lung. Immunization with recombinant SCPB alone or SCPB conjugated to type III capsular polysaccharide produced serotype-independent protection, which was evidenced by more-rapid clearance of the serotype VI strain from the lungs. Immunization of mice with tetanus toxoid-type III polysaccharide conjugate did not produce protection, confirming that protection induced by SCPB conjugates was independent of type III polysaccharide antigen. Histological evaluation of lungs from infected mice revealed that pathology in animals immunized with SCPB or SCPB conjugates was significantly less than that in animals immunized with a tetanus toxoid-polysaccharide conjugate. These experiments suggest that inclusion of C5a peptidase in a vaccine will both add another level to and broaden the spectrum of the protection of a polysaccharide vaccine.
PMCID: PMC130386  PMID: 12379721
24.  Surgical management of macular holes: results using gas tamponade alone, or in combination with autologous platelet concentrate, or transforming growth factor β2 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  1997;81(12):1073-1079.
BACKGROUND—Vitrectomy and gas tamponade has become a recognised technique for the treatment of macular holes. In an attempt to improve the anatomic and visual success of the procedure, various adjunctive therapies—cytokines, serum, and platelets—have been employed. A consecutive series of 85 eyes which underwent macular hole surgery using gas tamponade alone, or gas tamponade with either the cytokine transforming growth factor β2 (TGF-β2) or autologous platelet concentrate is reported.
METHODS—Twenty eyes had vitrectomy and 20% SF6 gas tamponade; 15 had vitrectomy, 20% SF6 gas, and TGF-β2; 50 had vitrectomy, 16% C3F8 gas tamponade, and 0.1 ml of autologous platelet concentrate prepared during the procedure.
RESULTS—Anatomic success occurred in 86% of eyes, with 96% of the platelet treated group achieving closure of the macular hole. Visual acuity improved by two lines or more in 65% of the SF6 only group, 33% of those treated with TGF-β2, and in 74% of the platelet treated group. In the platelet treated group 40% achieved 6/12 or better and 62% achieved 6/18 or better. The best visual results were obtained in stage 2 holes.
CONCLUSION—Vitrectomy for macular holes is often of benefit and patients may recover good visual acuity, especially early in the disease process. The procedure has a number of serious complications, and the postoperative posturing requirement is difficult. Patients need to be informed of such concerns before surgery.

PMCID: PMC1722094  PMID: 9497468
25.  Characterization of the Streptococcal C5a Peptidase Using a C5a-Green Fluorescent Protein Fusion Protein Substrate 
Journal of Bacteriology  2000;182(11):3254-3258.
A glutathione-S-transferase (GST)–C5a–green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein was designed for use as a substrate for the streptococcal C5a peptidase (SCPA). The substrate was immobilized on a glutathione-Sepharose affinity matrix and used to measure wild-type SCPA activity in the range of 0.8 to 800 nM. The results of the assay demonstrated that SCPA is highly heat stable and has optimal activity on the synthetic substrate at or above pH 8.0. SCPA activity was unaffected by 0.1 to 10 mM Ca2+, Mg2+, and Mn2+ but was inhibited by the same concentrations of Zn2+. The assay shows high sensitivity to ionic strength; NaCl inhibits SCPA cleavage of GST-C5a-GFP in a dose-dependent manner. Based on previously published computer homology modeling, four substitutions were introduced into the putative active site of SCPA: Asp130-Ala, His193-Ala, Asn295-Ala, and Ser512-Ala. All four mutant proteins had over 1,000-fold less proteolytic activity on C5a in vitro, as determined both by the GFP assay described here and by a polymorphonuclear cell adherence assay. In addition, recombinant SCPA1 and SCPA49, from two distinct lineages of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococci), and recombinant SCPB, from Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococci), were compared in the GFP assay. The three enzymes had similar activities, all cleaving approximately 6 mol of C5a mmol of SCP−1 liter−1 min−1.
PMCID: PMC94514  PMID: 10809707

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