To determine differences in the rates of growth, endocrine and calcium related abnormalities in the various thalassemia syndromes in North America with current therapy.
Medical history, physical examinations and blood and urine collections were obtained from patients with all thalassemia syndromes age 6 years and older in the Thalassemia Clinical Research Network.
361 subjects, 49% male, mean age 23.2 years (range 6.1 to 75 years) were studied. Approximately 25% of children and adults, regardless of the thalassemia syndrome, had short stature. Overall growth in children was mildly affected. Final height was close to midparental height (z = -0.73 ± 1.24). Patients with beta thalassemia major (TM) had higher rates of hypogonadism, multiple endocrinopathies, worse hyperglycemia, subclinical hypoparathyroidism and hypercalciuria. Hypogonadism remained the most frequent endocrinopathy and was frequently under-treated. 12.8% of the subjects had 25 vitamin D concentrations less than 27nmol/L and 82% less than 75nmol/L, regardless of the thalassemia syndrome. Adolescents had lower 25 vitamin D levels than children and adults.
Compared to patients with other thalassemia syndromes, those with beta TM suffer from higher rates of multiple endocrinopathies, abnormal calcium metabolism and hypercalciuria. Vitamin D abnormalities are high among adolescents.
The mechanisms underlying craniosynostosis remains unknown. However, mutations in FGFR2 are associated with craniosynostotic syndromes. We previously compared gene expression patterns of patent and synostosing coronal sutures in the nude rat and demonstrated down regulation of Noggin in synostosing sutures. Noggin expression is also suppressed by FGF2 and constitutive FGFR2 signaling.(1–2) Thus, we therefore hypothesized that the addition of rhNoggin to prematurely fusing sutures should prevent synostosis.
Materials and Methods
Cohorts of nude rats were subjected to: 1) surgical elevation of the coronal suture (shams); 2) surgical elevation and placement of normal or FGFR2 mutant human osteoblasts onto the underlying dura (xenotranplants); or 3) xenotransplantation with co-application of heparin acrylic beads soaked with recombinant human (rh) Noggin. Eleven days post surgery the sutures were harvested, stained, and histologically examined.
Animals that received control osteoblasts, sham surgery, or no surgery demonstrated normal skull growth and coronal suture histology, whereas animals transplanted only with FGFR2 mutant osteoblasts showed evidence of bridging synostosis on the calvarial dural surface. Sutures treated with FGFR2 mutant osteoblasts and rhNoggin remained patent.
The chimeric nude rate model is a viable model of craniosynostosis. FGFR2 mutations in osteoblasts induce bridging osteosynthesis demonstrating one of the mechanisms for premature suture fusion. Topical application of rhNoggin protein prevents craniosynostosis in the weanling nude rat xenotransplantation model of syndromic craniosynostosis.
Craniosynostosis; FGFR2; noggin; tissue engineering; xenotransplant
We developed and tested three dimensional (3-D) indices for quantifying severity of deformational plagiocephaly (DP).
We evaluated the extent to which infants with and without DP (as determined by clinic referral and two experts’ ratings) could be correctly classified.
Infants ages 4–11 months, including 154 with diagnosed DP and 100 infants without a history of DP or other craniofacial condition. After excluding participants with discrepant expert ratings, data from 90 infants with DP and 50 infants without DP were retained.
Two-dimensional histograms of surface normal vector angles were extracted from 3-D mesh data and used to compute the severity scores below.
Left Posterior Flattening Score (LPFS), Right Posterior Flattening Score (RPFS), Asymmetry Score (AS), Absolute Asymmetry Score (AAS) and an approximation of a previously described 2-D measure, the Oblique Cranial Length Ratio (aOCLR). Two-dimensional histograms localized the posterior flatness for each participant.
We fit receiver operating characteristic curves and calculated the area under the curves (AUC) to evaluate the relative accuracy of DP classification using the above measures.
The AUC statistics were: AAS=91%; LPFS=97%, RPFS=91%; AS=99%, and aOCLR=79%.
Novel 3-D-based plagiocephaly posterior severity scores provided better sensitivity and specificity in the discrimination of plagiocephalic and typical head shapes than the 2-D measurements provided by a close approximation of OCLR. These indices will allow for more precise quantification of the DP phenotype in future studies on the prevalence of this condition, which may lead to improved clinical care.
plagiocephaly; head shape
Many types of electrographic seizures are readily identifiable by direct visual examination of electroencephalographic or electrocorticographic recordings. This process can, however, be painstakingly slow, and much effort has been expended to automate the process using various dynamic properties of epileptiform waveforms. As methods have become more subtle and powerful they have been used for seizure subclassification, seizure prediction, and seizure onset identification and localization. Here we concentrate on the last, with reference to seizures of neocortical origin. We briefly review some of the methods used and introduce preliminary results from a very simple dynamic model based on key electrophysiological properties found in some seizure types: occurrence of very fast oscillations (sometimes called ripples), excess gamma frequency oscillations, electroencephalographic/electrocorticographic flattening, and changes in global synchrony. We show how this multiscale analysis may reveal features unique to seizure onset and speculate on the underlying cellular and network phenomena responsible.
Focal epilepsy; Neocortex; Seizure onset detection; Seizure localization
Objective: To determine the rate of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation across the UK during the period 1998 to 2002.
Design: Observational self reporting with cross checking.
Setting: All ICD implanting centres coordinated by the National Pacemaker and ICD Database.
Patients: Every patient receiving an ICD in the UK from 1998 to 2002.
Main outcome measures: Date of implantation and postcode of each ICD recipient during the study period.
Results: ICD implantation increased in the UK in the five year period studied but fell far short of the European average and national targets. Implantation rates varied greatly by region.
Conclusions: The low rate of ICD implantation in the UK and the disparity between regions require further study to determine the barriers to this evidence based treatment.
ICD; implantable cardioverter-defibrillator
Overexpression of the c-Myc oncoprotein is observed in a large number of hematopoietic malignancies, and transgenic animal models have revealed a potent role for c-Myc in the generation of leukemias and lymphomas. However, the reason for high c-Myc protein levels in most cases is unknown. We examined whether aberrant protein stabilization could be a mechanism of c-Myc overexpression in leukemia cell lines and in primary bone marrow samples from pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) patients. We found that c-Myc protein half-life was prolonged in the majority of leukemia cell lines and bone marrow samples tested. There were no mutations in the c-myc gene in any of the leukemia cell lines that could account for increased c-Myc stability. However, abnormal phosphorylation at two conserved sites, Threonine 58 and Serine 62, was observed in leukemia cell lines with stabilized c-Myc. Moreover, stabilized c-Myc from the ALL cell lines showed decreased affinity for glycogen synthase kinase3β, the kinase that phosphorylates c-Myc at Threonine 58 and facilitates its degradation. These findings reveal that deregulation of the c-Myc degradation pathway controlled by Serine 62 and Threonine 58 phosphorylation is a novel mechanism for increased expression of a potent oncoprotein known to be involved in hematopoietic malignancies.
oncogene; ubiquitylation; phosphorylation; GSK3β; PI(3)K
Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is responsible for an estimated 25 000 deaths per annum in UK hospital practice. It is well established that many of these deaths could be prevented through the use of appropriate thromboprophylaxis. This issue is of particular relevance in oncology practice, where the risks of VTE and bleeding are both significantly higher than those observed in general medical patients. Cancer patients with in-dwelling central venous catheters (CVCs) are at particularly high risk of developing thrombotic complications. However, the literature has produced conflicting conclusions regarding the efficacy of using routine primary thromboprophylaxis in these patients. Indeed such is the level of confusion around this topic, that the most recent version of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP) guidelines published in 2004 actually reversed their previous recommendation (published in 2001). Nevertheless, minidose warfarin continues to be routinely used in many oncology centres in the UK. In this article, we have performed a systematic review of the published literature regarding the efficacy and the risks, associated with using thromboprophylaxis (either minidose warfarin or low-dose LMWH) in cancer patients with CVC. On the basis of this evidence, we conclude that there is no proven role for using such thromboprophylaxis. However, asymptomatic CVC-related venous thrombosis remains common, and further more highly powered studies of better design are needed in order to define whether specific subgroups of cancer patients might benefit from receiving thromboprophylaxis.
central venous catheter; malignancy; thrombosis; antithrombotic prophylaxis
Anomalous mole-fraction effects (AMFE) were studied, using the inside-out configuration of the patchclamp technique, in both recombinant wild-type alpha-homomeric rat olfactory adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP)-gated channels (rOCNC1) expressed in human embryonic kidney cells (HEK 293) and native cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels in acutely isolated rat olfactory receptor neurons. Single-channel and macroscopic currents were activated by 200 microM and 500 microM cAMP, respectively. Macroscopic currents, measured with mixtures of Na(+)-NH(4)(+) or Cs(+)-Li(+) in the cytoplasmic bathing solution, displayed AMFE in the rOCNC1 channels at both positive and negative membrane potentials. The rOCNC1 single-channel conductance showed a distinct minimum (or maximum) in an 80% Na(+)-20% NH(4)(+) mixture (or a 60% Cs(+)-40% Li(+) mixture), but only at positive membrane potentials. Macroscopic measurements in native olfactory CNG channels with mixtures of Na(+)-NH(4)(+) indicated similar AMFE. These results suggest that both native CNG channels and recombinant alpha-homomeric channels allow several ions to be present simultaneously within the channel pore. They also further validate the dominant role of the alpha-subunit in permeation through these channels, provide the first evidence to suggest that rOCNC1 channels have multi-ion properties and further justify the use of the rOCNC1 channel as an effective model for structure-function studies of ion permeation and selectivity in olfactory CNG channels.
The group A streptococcal M protein is an important virulence determinant eliciting protective and autoimmune responses against the streptococcus and cardiac myosin, respectively. In this report, the major human cardiac myosin-cross-reactive T-cell epitopes of M5 protein are identified and localized to myosin-like repeats within the M5 molecule. BALB/c mice were immunized with human cardiac myosin, and the dominant myosin-cross-reactive T-cell epitopes of M5 protein were identified with a panel of 23 overlapping peptides spanning the A, B, and C repeat regions of M5 protein. Human cardiac myosin-cross-reactive T-cell epitopes of M5 protein were localized to several sequences in the M5 peptides NT4 (GLKTENEGLKTENEGLKTE), NT5 (KKEHEAENDKLKQQRDTL), B1B2 (VKDKIAKEQENKETIGTL), B2 (TIGTLKKILDETVKDKIA), B3A (IGTLKKILDETVKDKLAK), and C3 (KGLRRDLDASREAKKQ). The NT4 repeated sequence LKTEN was highly homologous with a site conserved in cardiac myosins, the B repeat region peptides were 47% homologous to human cardiac myosin amino acid sequence, and the C3 sequence RRDL was identical to a highly conserved site in skeletal and cardiac myosins. Immunization of BALB/c mice with each of the overlapping M5 peptides revealed myosin-cross-reactive B-cell epitopes throughout the A and C repeat regions and one major epitope in the B repeat region containing the previously reported Gln-Lys-Ser-Lys-Gln (QKSKQ) epitope. The data suggest that the M5 peptides elicited higher antibody titers to cardiac myosin than to skeletal myosin and that several sites in the A and B repeat regions of M5 protein induced myocardial inflammatory infiltrates.
CD14 is a key molecule responsible for the innate host inflammatory response to microbial infection. It is able to bind a wide variety of microbial ligands and facilitate the activation of both myeloid and nonmyeloid cells. However, its specific contribution to the innate recognition of bacteria is not known. Presently there is no information on the contribution of individual CD14 residues to Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide (LPS) binding or on the molecular basis of the interaction between CD14 and LPS from other bacteria. LPS obtained from Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium associated with chronic inflammatory disease, binds CD14 and activates myeloid cells but does not facilitate the activation of nonmyeloid cells. The transfer and binding of these two LPS species to soluble CD14 recombinant globulin proteins with single point mutations was examined. Functional activity of the mutant proteins was monitored by E-selectin expression on human umbilical cord endothelial cells. The analysis identified a charge reversal mutation in a single residue, E47, that demonstrated selective binding to E. coli LPS but not to P. gingivalis LPS. E-selectin activation assays indicated that proteins with mutations at position E47 maintained their structural integrity. Other mutations, including a charge reversal mutation of residue E58, did not significantly reduce the binding of either LPS ligand or the ability of the molecule to facilitate E-selectin activation. These data demonstrate that CD14 can selectively recognize different LPS ligands.
Helicobacter pylori and Porphyromonas gingivalis are gram-negative bacteria associated with chronic inflammatory diseases. These bacteria possess lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) that are able to activate human monocytes to produce tumor necrosis factor alpha but fail to activate human endothelial cells to express E-selectin. With Escherichia coli LPS, tumor necrosis factor alpha activation requires membrane-bound CD14 and E-selectin expression requires soluble CD14 (sCD14). Therefore, the ability of H. pylori and P. gingivalis LPSs to transfer to and bind sCD14 was examined by using immobilized recombinant sCD14 and human serum or recombinant LPS-binding protein (LBP). H. pylori and P. gingivalis LPSs were transferred to sCD14 when serum or LBP was present. However, the transfer of these LPSs to CD14 in serum was significantly slower than the transfer of E. coli LPS. Quantitation of the transfer rates by Michaelis-Menten kinetics yielded K(m) values of 6 and 0.1 nM for H. pylori and E. coli LPSs, respectively. The amount of P. gingivalis LPS required to obtain half-maximum binding to CD14 was approximately 10-fold greater than the amount of E. coli LPS required. The slower transfer rates displayed by these LPSs can be explained by the poor binding to LBP observed in direct binding assays. These results are consistent with the proportionately lower ability of these LPSs to activate monocytes compared with E. coli LPS. However, the ability of H. pylori and P. gingivalis LPSs to bind LBP and transfer to sCD14 demonstrates that the lack of endothelial cell CD14-dependent cell activation by these LPSs occurs distal to sCD14 binding.
The aromatic amines 2,4-diaminotoluene (2,4-DAT) and 2,6-diaminotoluene (2,6-DAT) are structural isomers that have been extensively studied for their mutagenic and carcinogenic characteristics. Both compounds are rapidly absorbed after oral administration and are equally mutagenic in the Ames test; however, 2,4-DAT is a potent hepatocarcinogen, whereas 2,6-DAT does not produce an increased incidence of tumors in rats or mice at similar doses. The Big Blue transgenic B6C3F1 mouse carries multiple copies of the lacl mutational target gene. Our studies were designed to determine whether the Big Blue system could be used to detect differences in the vivo mutagenic activity between the carcinogen-noncarcinogen pair 2,4-DAT and 2,6-DAT and to determine whether the in vivo mutagenesis assay results correspond to the rodent carcinogen bioassay results. Male B6C3F1 transgenic mice were exposed to 2,4-DAT or 2,6-DAT at 0 or 1,000 ppm in the diet for 30 and 90 days or to dimethylnitrosamine as a positive control. Mutant frequencies were nearly identical for all three groups at 30 days, while at 90 days the mutant frequency for the hepatocarcinogen 2,4-DAT (12.1 +/- 1.4 x 10(-5)) was significantly higher (p < 0.01) as compared to both age-matched (spontaneous) controls (5.7 +/- 2.9 x 10(-5)) and the 2,6-DAT-exposed group (5.7 +/- 2.4 x 10(-5)). Results from this study demonstrate that the Big Blue transgenic mutation assay can distinguish differences in vivo between the mutagenic responses of hepatic carcinogens ad a noncarcinogen; is sensitive to mutagens through subchronic dietary exposure; and yields a differential response depending upon the length of time mice are exposed to a mutagen.
Group A streptococcal M protein and the mycobacterial heat shock protein, hsp65, are strong bacterial immunogens that have been linked to arthritis and autoimmunity. Recent evidence has shown that streptococcal arthritis and adjuvant arthritis may be related to epitopes shared between group A streptococci and hsp65. We investigated the possibility that immunological similarities were shared between streptococcal M protein and hsp65. Antibodies against the 65-kDa heat shock protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis were tested for reactivity with group A streptococci and purified recombinant M proteins (rM5 and rM6). Rabbit polyclonal anti-hsp65 serum was highly reactive with M type 5 Streptococcus pyogenes and rM5 and rM6 proteins in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). A mouse anti-hsp65 monoclonal antibody (MAb), IIC8, reacted with streptococcal M types 5, 6, 19, 24, and 49 in an ELISA but showed no reactivity with an isogenic streptococcal mutant which did not express M protein. Anti-hsp65 MAb IIC8 recognized rM5 and rM6 proteins in the ELISA, and MAbs IIC8 and IIH9 reacted strongly with rM6 protein in Western immunoblots. The binding of M protein by anti-hsp65 MAbs was shown to be inhibited by both hsp65 and M protein. These data show that anti-hsp65 antibodies recognize streptococcal M proteins.
A unique screen was used to identify mutations in Escherichia coli lipid A biosynthesis that result in a decreased ability to stimulate E-selectin expression by human endothelial cells. A mutation was identified in the msbB gene of E. coli that resulted in lipopolysaccharide (LPS) that lacks the myristoyl fatty acid moiety of the lipid A. Unlike all previously reported lipid A mutants, the msbB mutant was not conditionally lethal for growth. Viable cells or purified LPS from an msbB mutant had a 1000-10,000-fold reduction in the ability to stimulate E-selectin production by human endothelial cells and TNF alpha production by adherent monocytes. The cloned msbB gene was able to functionally complement the msbB mutant, restoring both the LPS to its native composition and the ability of the strain to stimulate immune cells. Nonmyristoylated LPS acted as an antagonist for E-selectin expression when mixed with LPS obtained from the parental strain. These studies demonstrate a significant role for the myristate component of LPS in immune cell activation and antagonism. In addition, the msbB mutant allowed us to directly examine the crucial role that the lipid A structure plays when viable bacteria are presented to host defense cells.
Porphyromonas gingivalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Helicobacter pylori have been shown to be associated with adult periodontal disease, chronic lung infections, and peptic ulcers, respectively. The ability of these bacteria to stimulate E-selectin expression and promote neutrophil adhesion, two components necessary for the recruitment of leukocytes in response to infection, was investigated. Little or no stimulation of E-selectin expression was observed with either P. gingivalis or H. pylori when whole cells, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), or cell wall preparations added to human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells were examined. P. aeruginosa was able to induce E-selectin to near-maximal levels; however, it required approximately 100 to 1,000 times more whole cells or LPS than that required by E. coli. Neutrophil-binding assays revealed that LPS and cell wall preparations obtained from these bacteria did not promote endothelial cell adhesiveness by E-selectin-independent mechanisms. In addition, P. gingivalis LPS blocked E-selectin expression by LPS obtained from other bacteria. We propose that lack of E-selectin stimulation and the inability to promote endothelial cell adhesiveness are two additional indications of low biologically reactive LPS. We suggest that this property of LPS may contribute to host tissue colonization. In addition, the ability of P. gingivalis to inhibit E-selectin expression may represent a new virulence factor for this organism.
The group A streptococcal sequela acute rheumatic fever (ARF) has been associated with immunological cross-reactivity between streptococcal and heart proteins. To identify Streptococcus pyogenes genes that encode a myosin cross-reactive antigen(s) recognized by ARF sera, a genomic library from an emm deletion strain (T28/51/4) was screened with a single ARF serum. A positively identified lambda EMBL3 clone (T.2.18) produced a protein which reacted with myosin-specific antibodies affinity purified from individual ARF sera. The recombinant protein was initially estimated to be 60 kDa in size by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis; however, upon sequence analysis it had a molecular mass equivalent to 67 kDa. Sera from patients with streptococcal infections, acute glomerulonephritis, and ARF were reactive with the recombinant 67-kDa protein. However, individual sera from healthy persons were negative or demonstrated low levels of reactivity with the 67-kDa antigen. The gene encoding the 67-kDa myosin-cross-reactive antigen was subcloned, and its nucleotide sequence was determined by using a combined strategy of DNA sequencing of the cloned gene and N-terminal amino acid sequencing of the protein expressed in Escherichia coli. The amino-terminal sequence deduced from the nucleotide sequence of an open reading frame was identical to that determined from the 67-kDa protein expressed in E. coli. The gene encoded 590 amino acids with a calculated molecular weight of 67,381. No cleavable signal peptide was detected with the 67-kDa protein expressed in E. coli. The deduced amino acid sequence of the 67-kDa protein did not exhibit significant similarity to any known streptococcal proteins. However, it was found to be 19% identical and 62% similar over 151 amino acid residues to the beta chain of mouse major histocompatibility complex class II antigen (I-Au). Similar degrees of homology to the beta chains of other murine and human class II haplotypes were found. Mouse anti-IA sera reacted with the recombinant 67-kDa protein about five times more strongly than normal mouse sera in the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Southern hybridization experiments using a probe for the gene encoding the 67-kDa protein showed that the gene was present and conserved among pathogenic groups A, C, and G of streptococci. These data suggest that the streptococcal protein, which is distinct from the M protein, may have structural features in common with the beta chain of the class II antigens, as well as myosin, and may play an important role in the pathogenesis of streptococcal infections.
Our laboratory has been examining the mechanisms whereby chemicals are mutagenic in short-term in-vitro assays yet are not carcinogenic in 2-year rodent bioassays. Previous studies indicated that mutagenic carcinogens increased the amount of cell turnover in the target organ, but that mutagenic noncarcinogens failed to do so. The present study compares the incidence of cell proliferation in specific regions of the kidney, which is the site of carcinogenicity, with cell proliferation induced in a nontarget tissue, the liver, by the mutagenic renal tubular carcinogen tris(2,3-dibromopropyl)phosphate (TRIS). Renal tubular adenocarcinoma induced by TRIS was the only tumor type identified in male F344 rats, and it was localized in the outer medulla. Male F344 rats were fed a diet containing 0, 50, or 100 ppm TRIS for 14 days. These doses were identical to the doses given in the National Toxicology Program cancer bioassay. Replicating cells were labeled with bromodeoxyuridine administered by an osmotic minipump and identified in tissue sections from liver and kidney using immunohistochemical techniques. Examination of liver sections showed no chemically related increases in cell proliferation above control for either dose group. However, in the kidney, TRIS induced significant cell proliferation that was localized in the renal outer medulla region, the target area for carcinogenesis. The labeling index (number of labeled cells/total number of cells counted) in the kidneys of TRIS-exposed rats was increased approximately 4-fold in the outer medulla and was not increased in the cortex or inner medulla. The results of this study suggest an association between the chemically-induced renal cell proliferation and the renal carcinogenicity of TRIS.
OBJECTIVE--To investigate the possible interference with acute hepatitis B virus infection by co-infection with hepatitis C virus. DESIGN--Analysis of stored sera collected for transfusion transmitted viruses study in 1970s. SETTING--Four major medical centres in the United States. PATIENTS--12 recipients of blood infected with hepatitis B virus. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--In 1970s, presence of antibodies in hepatitis B virus and raised serum alanine aminotransferase concentration; detection of antibodies to hepatitis C virus with new enzyme linked immunoassays. RESULTS--Five of the 12 patients were coinfected with hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis B surface antigen was first detected at day 59 in patients infected with hepatitis B virus alone and at day 97 in those coinfected with hepatitis C virus (p = 0.01); median durations of antigenaemia were 83 and 21 days respectively (p = 0.05), and the antigen concentration was lower in the coinfected patients. Alanine aminotransferase patterns were uniphasic when hepatitis B virus infection occurred alone (range 479-2465 IU/l) and biphasic in patients with combined acute infection (no value > 380 IU/l; p = 0.0025). Four coinfected recipients developed chronic hepatitis C virus infection. The fifth patient was followed for only four months. CONCLUSIONS--Acute coinfection with hepatitis C virus and hepatitis B virus inhibits hepatitis B virus infection in humans, and onset of hepatitis B may reduce the severity of hepatitis C virus infection but not frequency of chronicity. Alanine aminotransferase concentration showed a biphasic pattern in dual infection.
To examine the human antibody repertoire generated against a biologically significant antigen we have obtained sequences of heavy chain variable region genes (IgVH) from 15 monoclonal antibodies specific for the capsular polysaccharide of Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib PS). All VH segments are members of the VH3 family and 9 of 15 are members of the smaller VH3b subfamily. Restriction is evident by the shared use of certain VDJ joints in independent hybridomas from different subjects. Two hybridomas generated from the same subject demonstrate identical heavy chain variable region gene sequences but differ in isotype and rearrange alternative light chain variable region genes (IgVL), suggesting that in a normal immune response, a single pre-B cell clone may use different light chain rearrangements and give rise to progeny capable of reacting with antigen. Using a polymerase chain reaction assay optimized to detect base pair differences among VH genes we demonstrate that at least a portion of expressed anti-Hib PS VH genes have undergone somatic mutation. Anti-Hib PS heavy chain genes are homologous to VH segments encoding autoantibodies and two hybridomas secrete anti-Hib PS antibody that cross-reacts with self antigens (double-stranded DNA and single-stranded DNA). Comparison of VH regions of self-reactive and monospecific anti-Hib PS Ab demonstrates no consistent structural feature correlating with fine antigen specificity. These data demonstrate significant restriction in VH usage and VDJ recombination in the anti-Hib PS response and confirm that autoantibodies may be elicited during normal immune responses.
Antigens shared between Streptococcus pyogenes and heart tissue may play an important role in autoimmune cardiac injury associated with acute rheumatic fever. Antiheart/antistreptococcal antibodies found in the disease react with antigens of S. pyogenes, including M protein and a 60-kDa antigen distinct from M protein. Heart antigens recognized by these cross-reactive antistreptococcal antibodies include myosin and actin. To investigate the presence of a streptococcal actin, established protocols for the polymerization and isolation of eukaryotic actin were used to extract and concentrate actinlike proteins from M- streptococcal cells. The polymerized bacterial actin from the streptococcal extract was probed in immunoblots with an antiactin monoclonal antibody. Two proteins of about 60 kDa in the polymerized bacterial actin reacted with the antiactin antibody. Proteins in the polymerized bacterial actin extract of about 43 and 60 kDa behaved like eukaryotic actin by binding to myosin and DNase I affinity columns. Filaments were demonstrated by electron microscopy in the polymerized bacterial actinlike extract, which also enhanced the ATPase activity of eukaryotic myosin. The data suggest that proteins resembling actin are present in S. pyogenes.
A peptide (C13) corresponding to the last 13 amino acids of the carboxyl terminus of human platelet factor IV was found to be antibacterial. Amino acid substitutions predicted to disrupt either the amphipathic or alpha-helical nature of C13 rendered the peptide inactive. Antibacterial activity was demonstrated in normal human serum on bacteria which had been previously exposed to low levels of cefepime, a beta-lactam antibiotic. Peptide analogues were examined for more potent antibacterial activity in an antibacterial assay that employed normal human serum and low levels of cefepime. A peptide analogue (C18G) with 80-fold more antibacterial activity than C13 was identified. Studies in C8-deficient sera confirmed an essential role of human serum complement for optimal antibacterial activity. Additional studies showed low levels of cefepime, although not essential, enhanced the antibacterial activity of C18G. Animal protection experiments demonstrated that either peptide C18G or an analogue with all D amino acids (C18X) significantly increased the survival of neutropenic mice when coadministered with a low level of cefepime. This work has resulted in the identification of a new group of antibacterial peptides.
The ability of magainin 2 to augment antibiotic therapy was examined. Susceptibility to magainin 2 was determined on Escherichia coli incubated in the presence and absence of sublethal concentrations of antibiotics both in vitro and in vivo. Experiments in buffer and normal human serum revealed that E. coli exposed to sublethal amounts of cefepime, a beta-lactam antibiotic, was significantly more susceptible to the antimicrobial activity of magainin 2. Bacteria incubated with subinhibitory concentrations of other beta-lactam type antibiotics, but not amikacin (an aminoglycoside) or ciprofloxacin (a quinolone), were also more susceptible to magainin 2 in normal human serum. Bacteria were less susceptible to magainin 2 when they were examined in heat-inactivated serum. Complement was shown to be required for magainin 2 activity in serum by using C8-deficient sera. The combination of magainin 2 and cefepime was shown to be more antimicrobial in normal human serum for a variety of bacterial strains. Magainin 2 was completely inactive as a therapeutic agent when it was administered alone (2 mg per mouse) but significantly increased the survival of mice when it was administered with a low level of cefepime.