To test efficacy and safety of atorvastatin in subjects with clinically isolated syndrome (CIS).
Subjects with CIS were enrolled in a phase II, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 14-center randomized trial testing 80 mg atorvastatin on clinical and brain MRI activity. Brain MRIs were performed quarterly. The primary endpoint (PEP) was development of ≥3 new T2 lesions, or one clinical relapse within 12 months. Subjects meeting the PEP were offered additional weekly interferon β-1a (IFNβ-1a).
Due to slow recruitment, enrollment was discontinued after 81 of 152 planned subjects with CIS were randomized and initiated study drug. Median (interquartile range) numbers of T2 and gadolinium-enhancing (Gd) lesions were 15.0 (22.0) and 0.0 (0.0) at baseline. A total of 53.1% of atorvastatin recipients (n = 26/49) met PEP compared to 56.3% of placebo recipients (n = 18/32) (p = 0.82). Eleven atorvastatin subjects (22.4%) and 7 placebo subjects (21.9%) met the PEP by clinical criteria. Proportion of subjects who did not develop new T2 lesions up to month 12 or to starting IFNβ-1a was 55.3% in the atorvastatin and 27.6% in the placebo group (p = 0.03). Likelihood of remaining free of new T2 lesions was significantly greater in the atorvastatin group compared with placebo (odds ratio [OR] = 4.34, p = 0.01). Likelihood of remaining free of Gd lesions tended to be higher in the atorvastatin group (OR = 2.72, p = 0.11). Overall, atorvastatin was well tolerated. No clear antagonistic effect of atorvastatin plus IFNβ-1a was observed on MRI measures.
Atorvastatin treatment significantly decreased development of new brain MRI T2 lesion activity, although it did not achieve the composite clinical and imaging PEP.
Classification of Evidence:
This study provided Class II evidence that atorvastatin did not reduce the proportion of patients with CIS meeting imaging and clinical criteria for starting immunomodulating therapy after 12 months, compared to placebo. In an analysis of a secondary endpoint (Class III), atorvastatin was associated with a reduced risk for developing new T2 lesions.
We present a phenomenological one-parameter scaling equation of state that accurately represents osmotic pressures of neutral flexible polymers in good solvents from the dilute through the semidilute regime. The equation comprises a sum of scaled van’t Hoff and des Cloizeaux terms including a fitted parameter α, the “crossover index”, which encapsulates all chemical specificity and determines the relevant prefactors. Strikingly different values of α are found for the two very different systems poly(ethyleneglycol)/water (PEG) and poly(α-methylstyrene)/toluene (PAMS). α-dependent rescaling collapses both data sets to a simple one-parameter scaling function. The fact that the anomalous system PEG/water and the canonical system PAMS/toluene can both be described by the same equation of state attests to the robustness of the polymer-scaling concepts introduced by de Gennes.
Antibody levels to Clostridium difficile toxin A (TcdA), but not toxin B (TcdB), have been found to determine risk of C. difficile infection (CDI). Historically, TcdA was thought to be the key virulence factor; however the importance of TcdB in disease is now established. We re-evaluated the role of antibodies to TcdA and TcdB in determining patient susceptibility to CDI in two separate patient cohorts. In contrast to earlier studies, we find that CDI patients have lower pre-existing IgA titres to TcdB, but not TcdA, when compared to control patients. Our findings suggest that mucosal immunity to TcdB may be important in the early stages of infection and identifies a possible target for preventing CDI progression.
Clostridium difficile; toxin B (TcdB); toxin A (TcdA); Humoral immune response; case-control study
Columbus, Ohio has witnessed rapid growth in its Latino population as immigrants settle in the city to access jobs and a generally low cost of living. Immigrants also face discrimination as they settle in Columbus and interact with the city’s citizens. In this paper, we note how discrimination plays out in social and economic isolation; a lack of programs to support the incorporation of Latinos in the city; and state laws that target immigrants. We present results of ongoing ethnographic work with the Latino community in Columbus.
Latinos Migration; Midwest US; Ohio; Discrimination; policy
Bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are critical for metastatic progression. This study explores the effect of tetrathiomolybdate (TM), an anti-angiogenic copper chelator, on EPCs in patients at high risk for breast cancer recurrence.
Patients and methods
This phase 2 study enrolled breast cancer patients with stage 3 and stage 4 without evidence of disease (NED), and stage 2 if triple-negative. TM 100 mg orally was administered to maintain ceruloplasmin <17 mg/dl for 2 years or until relapse. The primary end point was change in EPCs.
Forty patients (28 stage 2/3, 12 stage 4 NED) were enrolled. Seventy-five percent patients achieved the copper depletion target by 1 month. Ninety-one percent of triple-negative patients copper-depleted compared with 41% luminal subtypes. In copper-depleted patients only, there was a significant reduction in EPCs/ml by 27 (P = 0.04). Six patients relapsed while on study, of which only one patient had EPCs maintained below baseline. The 10-month relapse-free survival was 85.0% (95% CI 74.6%–96.8%). Only grade 3/4 toxicity was hematologic: neutropenia (3.1% of cycles), febrile neutropenia (0.2%), and anemia (0.2%).
TM is safe and appears to maintain EPCs below baseline in copper-depleted patients. TM may promote tumor dormancy and ultimately prevent relapse.
breast cancer; endothelial progenitor cells; tetrathiomolybdate
A study at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) Medical Center demonstrated that quality of life in cutaneous lupus erythematosus (CLE) patients is negatively impacted. Whether CLE patients in other geographic locations have similar quality of life is unknown.
We sought to compare quality of life indicators between CLE patients at the University of Texas Southwestern (UTSW) Medical Center at Dallas and UPenn.
248 CLE patients at UTSW (N=91) and UPenn (N=157) completed the Skindex-29+3 and Short Form-36 (SF-36) surveys related to quality of life. Additional information including demographics, presence of SLE, and disease severity were collected from UTSW CLE patients.
Most Skindex-29+3 and SF-36 sub-domain scores between UTSW and UPenn CLE patients were similar. However, UTSW CLE patients were significantly more affected in the functioning and lupus-specific Skindex-29+3 domains, and physical functioning, role-physical, and general health SF-36 subscales than UPenn CLE patients (p<0.05). Factors related to poor quality of life in UTSW CLE patients include gender, income, education, presence of SLE, and skin disease activity.
Most quality of life indicators were similar between the two CLE populations. Differences in psychosocial behavior, and a larger proportion of SLE patients and females in the UTSW group likely attributed to differences in a minority of Skindex-29+3 and SF-36 sub-domains. Capturing data from CLE populations in different locations provides a more thorough picture of the quality of life that CLE patients experience on a daily basis with special attention to quality of life issues in select CLE patients.
cutaneous lupus erythematosus; quality of life; Short Form-36; Skindex-29; Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus Disease Area and Severity Index; multi-center
Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the leading cause of inherited intellectual and developmental disability. Policy development relating to carrier screening programmes for FXS requires input from large studies examining not only test uptake but also psychosocial aspects. This study will compare carrier screening in pregnant and non-pregnant populations, examining informed decision-making, psychosocial issues and health economics.
Methods and Analysis
Pregnant and non-pregnant women are being recruited from general practices and obstetric services. Women receive study information either in person or through clinic mail outs. Women are provided pretest counselling by a genetic counsellor and make a decision about testing in their own time. Data are being collected from two questionnaires: one completed at the time of making the decision about testing and the second 1 month later. Additional data are gathered through qualitative interviews conducted at several time points with a subset of participating women, including all women with a positive test result, and with staff from recruiting clinics. A minimum sample size of 500 women/group has been calculated to give us 88% power to detect a 10% difference in test uptake and 87% power to detect a 10% difference in informed choice between the pregnant and non-pregnant groups. Questionnaire data will be analysed using descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression models. Interview data will be thematically analysed. Willingness-to-pay and cost effectiveness analyses will also be performed. Recruitment started in July 2009 and data collection will be completed by December 2013.
Ethics and Dissemination
Ethics approval has been granted by the Universities of Melbourne and Western Australia and by recruiting clinics, where required. Results will be reported in peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and through a website http://www.fragilexscreening.net.au. The results of this study will make a significant contribution to discussions about the wider introduction of population carrier screening for FXS.
Genetics; Public Health
The T-box transcription factor Brachyury, a molecule frequently detected in human cancers but seldom found in normal adult tissue, has recently been characterized as a driver of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal switch of human carcinomas. In the current investigation, we present data demonstrating that in two different human lung carcinoma models expression of Brachyury strongly correlates with increased in vitro resistance to cytotoxic therapies, such as chemotherapy and radiation. We also demonstrate that chemotherapy treatment in vitro selects for tumor cells with high levels of Brachyury and that the degree of resistance to therapy correlates with the level of Brachyury expression. In vitro and in vivo, human lung carcinoma cells with higher levels of Brachyury divide at slower rates than those with lower levels of Brachyury, a phenomenon associated with marked downregulation of cyclin D1, phosphorylated Rb and CDKN1A (p21). Chromatin immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays revealed that Brachyury binds to a half T-box consensus site located within the promoter region of the p21 gene, indicating a potential mechanism for the observed therapeutic resistance associated with Brachyury expression. Finally, we demonstrate that in vivo treatment of tumor xenografts with chemotherapy results in the selective growth of resistant tumors characterized by high levels of Brachyury expression. Altogether, these results suggest that Brachyury expression may attenuate cell cycle progression, enabling tumor cells to become less susceptible to chemotherapy and radiation in human carcinomas.
EMT; Brachyury; therapeutic resistance; CDKN1A
Twenty-five percent of new anti-factor VIII (FVIII) antibodies (inhibitors) that complicate hemophilia A occur in those with mild and moderate disease. Although intensive FVIII treatment has long been considered a risk factor for inhibitor development in those with non-severe disease, its strength of association and the influence of other factors have remained undefined.
To evaluate risk factors for inhibitor development in patients with non-severe hemophilia A.
Information on clinical and demographic variables and FVIII genotype was collected on 36 subjects with mild or moderate hemophilia A and an inhibitor and 62 controls also with mild or moderate hemophilia A but without an inhibitor.
Treatment with FVIII for six or more consecutive days during the prior year was more strongly associated with inhibitor development in those ≥ 30 years of age compared with those < 30 years of age [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 12.62; 95% confidence interval (CI), 2.76–57.81 vs. OR 2.54; 95% CI, 0.61–10.68]. Having previously received < 50 days of FVIII was also not statistically associated with inhibitor development on univariate or multivariate analysis.
These findings suggest that inhibitor development in mild and moderate hemophilia A varies with age, but does not vary significantly with lifetime FVIII exposure days: two features distinct from severe hemophilia A.
hemophilia A; inhibitor
Increased Aurora kinase A gene copy number (AURKA-CN) has been reported in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC), with unknown relationship to clinical outcome. We correlated increased AURKA-CN in mCRC tumours with KRAS mutation status, overall and progression-free survival (OS, PFS).
Sixty-one mCRC tumours were analysed for AURKA-CN using q-PCR, and KRAS mutation status by direct sequencing. Expression of AURKA protein was analysed by immunohistochemistry. Cox-proportional hazard method, Kaplan–Meier curves and log-rank statistics were used to estimate and compare the hazard ratios and median survival between the groups.
In all, 68% of tumour exhibited high AURKA-CN, and 29% had a KRAS mutation, without correlation between the two. Patients with high AURKA-CN tumours had longer median OS (48.6 vs 18.8 months, P=0.01), with stronger trend among KRAS wild-type tumours (median OS not reached vs 18.8 months, P=0.003). Progression-free survival was longer on first-line or second-line chemotherapy among patients with KRAS wild-type and high vs low AURKA-CN (first: 17.6 vs 5.13 months, P=0.04; second: 10.4 vs 5.1 months, P=0.01). AURKA-CN level did not affect outcomes among patients with KRAS mutant tumours.
Increased AURKA-CN is common in mCRC tumours and is associated with longer OS and longer PFS during chemotherapy, particularly in KRAS wild-type tumours.
colon cancer; aurora kinase A; copy number; KRAS mutation
To develop a scientifically sound and clinically relevant evidence-based guideline for the treatment of painful diabetic neuropathy (PDN).
We performed a systematic review of the literature from 1960 to August 2008 and classified the studies according to the American Academy of Neurology classification of evidence scheme for a therapeutic article, and recommendations were linked to the strength of the evidence. The basic question asked was: “What is the efficacy of a given treatment (pharmacologic: anticonvulsants, antidepressants, opioids, others; and nonpharmacologic: electrical stimulation, magnetic field treatment, low-intensity laser treatment, Reiki massage, others) to reduce pain and improve physical function and quality of life (QOL) in patients with PDN?”
Results and Recommendations:
Pregabalin is established as effective and should be offered for relief of PDN (Level A). Venlafaxine, duloxetine, amitriptyline, gabapentin, valproate, opioids (morphine sulfate, tramadol, and oxycodone controlled-release), and capsaicin are probably effective and should be considered for treatment of PDN (Level B). Other treatments have less robust evidence or the evidence is negative. Effective treatments for PDN are available, but many have side effects that limit their usefulness, and few studies have sufficient information on treatment effects on function and QOL.
Post-traumatic anxiety notably involves inflammation, but its causes and functional significance are yet unclear. Here, we report that failure of the innate immune system Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) to limit inflammation is causally involved with anxiety-associated inflammation and that peripheral administration of specific oligonucleotide activators of TLR9 may prevent post-traumatic consequences in stressed mice. Suggesting involvement of NFκB-mediated enhancement of inflammatory reactions in the post-traumatic phenotype, we found association of serum interleukin-1β increases with symptoms severity and volumetric brain changes in post-traumatic stress disorder patients. In predator scent-stressed mice, the moderate NFκB-activating oligonucleotides mEN101 and its human ortholog BL-7040, but not the canonic NFκB activator oligonucleotide ODN1826, induced anxiolytic effects. In stressed mice, peripherally administered mEN101 prevented delayed stress-inducible serum interleukin-1β increases while limiting stress-characteristic hippocampal transcript modifications and the anxiety-induced EGR1-mediated neuronal activation. Attesting to the TLR9 specificity of this response, BL-7040 suppressed NFκB-mediated luciferase in transfected cells co-expressing TLR9, but not other TLRs. Furthermore, TLR9−/− mice were mEN101 and BL-7040 resistant and presented unprovoked anxiety-like behavior and anxiety-characteristic hippocampal transcripts. Our findings demonstrate functional relevance of TLR9 in protecting stressed mammals from overreacting to traumatic experiences and suggest using oligonucleotide-mediated peripheral TLR9 activation to potentiate the innate immune system and prevent post-traumatic inflammation and anxiety.
inflammation; innate immune system; NFκB; oligonucleotide; post-traumatic stress; TLR9
Recent studies have begun to elucidate the neural correlates of evidence accumulation in perceptual decision making, but few of them have used a combined modeling-electrophysiological approach to studying evidence accumulation. We introduce a multivariate approach to EEG analysis with which we can perform a comprehensive search for the neural correlate of dynamics predicted by accumulator models. We show that the dynamics of evidence accumulation are most strongly correlated with ramping of oscillatory power in the 4–9 Hz theta band over the course of a trial, although it also correlates with oscillatory power in other frequency bands. The rate of power decrease in the theta band correlates with individual differences in the parameters of drift diffusion models fitted to individuals’ behavioral data.
EEG; drift diffusion model; decision making; oscillations
Purpose. The purpose of this study was to compare the surgical and pathological variables which impact rate of re-excision following breast conserving therapy (BCS) with or without concurrent additional margin excision (AM). Methods. The pathology database was queried for all patients with DCIS from January 2004 to September 2008. Pathologic assessment included volume of excision, subtype, size, distance from margin, grade, necrosis, multifocality, calcifications, and ER/PR status. Results. 405 cases were identified and 201 underwent BCS, 151-BCS-AM, and 53-mastectomy. Among the 201 BCS patients, 190 underwent re-excision for close or involved margins. 129 of these were treated with BCS and 61 with BCS-AM (P < .0001). The incidence of residual DCIS in the re-excision specimens was 32% (n = 65) for BCS and 22% (n = 33) for BCS-AM (P < .05). For both the BCS and the BCS-AM cohorts, volume of tissue excised is inversely correlated to the rate of re-excision (P = .0284). Multifocality (P = .0002) and ER status (P = .0382) were also significant predictors for rate of re-excision and variation in surgical technique was insignificant. Conclusions. The rate of positive margins, re-excision, and residual disease was significantly higher in patients with lower volume of excision. The performance of concurrent additional margin excision increases the efficacy of BCS for DCIS.
The canonical Wnt/β-catenin pathway plays crucial roles in various aspects of lung morphogenesis and regeneration/repair. Here, we examined the lung phenotype and function in mice lacking the Wnt/β-catenin antagonist Chibby (Cby). In support of its inhibitory role in canonical Wnt signaling, expression of β-catenin target genes is elevated in the Cby−/− lung. Notably, Cby protein is prominently associated with the centrosome/basal body microtubule structures in embryonic lung epithelial progenitor cells, and later enriches as discrete foci at the base of motile cilia in airway ciliated cells. At birth, Cby−/− lungs are grossly normal but spontaneously develop alveolar airspace enlargement with reduced proliferation and abnormal differentiation of lung epithelial cells, resulting in altered pulmonary function. Consistent with the Cby expression pattern, airway ciliated cells exhibit a marked paucity of motile cilia with apparent failure of basal body docking. Moreover, we demonstrate that Cby is a direct downstream target for the master ciliogenesis transcription factor Foxj1. Collectively, our results demonstrate that Cby facilitates proper postnatal lung development and function.
Centrioles, cilia, and flagella are ancestral conserved organelles of eukaryotic cells. Among the proteins identified in the proteomics of ciliary proteins in Paramecium, we focus here on a protein, Bug22p, previously detected by cilia and basal-body high-throughput studies but never analyzed per se. Remarkably, this protein is also present in plants, which lack centrioles and cilia. Bug22p sequence alignments revealed consensus positions that distinguish species with centrioles/cilia from plants. In Paramecium, antibody and green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion labeling localized Bug22p in basal bodies and cilia, and electron microscopy immunolabeling refined the localization to the terminal plate of the basal bodies, the transition zone, and spots along the axoneme, preferentially between the membrane and the microtubules. RNA interference (RNAi) depletion of Bug22p provoked a strong decrease in swimming speed, followed by cell death after a few days. High-speed video microscopy and morphological analysis of Bug22p-depleted cells showed that the protein plays an important role in the efficiency of ciliary movement by participating in the stroke shape and rigidity of cilia. The defects in cell swimming and growth provoked by RNAi can be complemented by expression of human Bug22p. This is the first reported case of complementation by a human gene in a ciliate.
Background: Recently novel Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) lymphoproliferative diseases (LPDs) have been identified in non-immunocompromised hosts, both in Asia and Western countries. These include aggressive T-cell and NK-cell LPDs often subsumed under the heading of chronic active Epstein–Barr virus (CAEBV) infection and EBV-driven B-cell LPDs mainly affecting the elderly.
Design: To better define the pathogenesis, classification, and treatment of these disorders, participants from Asia, The Americas, Europe, and Australia presented clinical and experimental data at an international meeting.
Results: The term systemic EBV-positive T-cell LPD, as adopted by the WHO classification, is preferred as a pathological classification over CAEBV (the favored clinical term) for those cases that are clonal. The disease has an aggressive clinical course, but may arise in the background of CAEBV. Hydroa vacciniforme (HV) and HV-like lymphoma represent a spectrum of clonal EBV-positive T-cell LPDs, which have a more protracted clinical course; spontaneous regression may occur in adult life. Severe mosquito bite allergy is a related syndrome usually of NK cell origin. Immune senescence in the elderly is associated with both reactive and neoplastic EBV-driven LPDs, including EBV-positive diffuse large B-cell lymphomas.
Conclusion: The participants proposed an international consortium to facilitate further clinical and biological studies of novel EBV-driven LPDs.
chronic active EBV infection; diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; hemophagocytic syndrome; hydroa vacciniforme; immune senescence; senile EBV-positive lymphoproliferative disease; systemic EBV-positive lymphoproliferative disease
To understand the role of reactive oxygen species in mechanicosensory control of lung development a new approach to interfere with protein-protein interactions via a short interacting peptide was developed. This technology was used in the developing rodent lung to examine the role of NADPH oxidase (NOX), CK2 (casein kinase 2), and the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) in stretch induced differentiation. Interactions between these molecules was targeted in an in utero system with rAAV containing inserted DNA sequences that express a control peptide or small interfering peptides (siPs) specific for subunit interaction or phosphorylation predicted to be necessary for multimeric enzyme formation. In all cases only siPs with sequences necessary for a predicted normal function were found to interfere with assembly of the multimeric enzyme. A non-interfering control siP to non-essential regions or reporter genes alone had no effect. Physiologically, it was shown that siPs that interfered with the NOX-CFTR-CK2 complex that we call an “interactonome” affected markers of stretch induced lung organogenesis including Wnt/β-catenin signaling.
One of the mechanisms by which adult disease can arise from a fetal origin is by in utero disruption of organogenesis. These studies were designed to examine respiratory function changes in aging rats following transient disruption of lung growth at 16 days gestation. Fetuses were treated in utero with a replication deficient adenovirus containing the cystic fibrosis conductance transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene fragment cloned in the anti-sense direction. The in utero-treated rats demonstrated abnormal lung function beginning as early as 30 days of age and the pathology progressed as the animals aged. The pulmonary function abnormalities included decreased static compliance as well as increased conducting airway resistance, tissue damping, and elastance. Pressure volume (PV) curves demonstrated a slower early rise to volume and air trapping at end-expiration. The alterations of pulmonary function correlated with lung structural changes determined by morphometric analysis. These studies demonstrate how transient disruption of lung organogensis by single gene interference can result in progressive change in lung function and structure. They illustrate how an adult onset disease can arise from subtle changes in gene expression during fetal development.