Few effective options are available for the treatment of unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Several phase I trials suggest promising activity of a combination of gemcitabine and docetaxel.
Patients with unresectable or metastatic HCC were treated with docetaxel 40 mg/m2 (later reduced to 30 mg/m2) and gemcitabine 800 mg/m2 on days 1, 8 every 3 weeks. Twenty-five patients were enrolled in 26 months. Median age was 64 (range 27-78), 17 were male, 14 had liver-only disease and, 11 had extrahepatic disease.
Of 25 patients evaluable for the primary endpoint (response), 2 (8%) have a confirmed partial response. The median TTP is 2.76 months (95% CI 1.84-6.64 months). Median survival was 12.8 months (95% CI: 5.26-28.00). Two patients died on-study due to adverse events (1 hepatic and 1 renal failure), neither of which were attributed to the study medications. Twenty patients (81%) have experienced grade 3+ adverse events, including 11 with grade 4+ adverse events, primarily neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, diarrhea, and fatigue.
While this combination appears to have potential benefit, as measured by overall survival, its toxicity and the recent introduction of sorafenib has further limited the use of chemotherapy. Approaches other than chemotherapy are likely to be of the greatest potential benefit.
A novel acetylenic tricyclic bis-(cyano enone), TBE-31, is a lead compound in a series of tricyclic compounds with enone functionalities in rings A and C. Nanomolar concentrations of this potent multifunctional molecule suppress the induction of the inflammatory protein, iNOS; activate phase 2 cytoprotective enzymes in vitro and in vivo; block cell proliferation; and induce differentiation and apoptosis of leukemia cells. Oral administration of TBE-31 also significantly reduces formation of aflatoxin-DNA adducts and decreases size and number of aflatoxin-induced pre-neoplastic hepatic lesions in rats by more than 90%. Because of the two cyano enones in rings A and C, TBE-31 may directly interact with dithiothreitol and protein targets such as Keap1 that contain reactive cysteine residues. The above findings suggest that TBE-31 should also be tested for chemoprevention and chemotherapy in relevant models of cancer and against other chronic, degenerative diseases in which inflammation and oxidative stress contribute to disease pathogenesis.
Chemoprevention; aflatoxin; Nrf2; triterpenoid; tricyclic bis-enone; TBE-31
Many studies have found that representations in working memory (WM) can guide visual attention towards items that match the features of the WM contents. While some researchers contend that this occurs involuntarily, others suggest that the impact of WM content on attention can be strategically controlled. Here, we varied the probability that WM items would coincide with either targets or distracters in a visual search task to examine (i) whether participants could intentionally enhance or inhibit the influence of WM items on attention, and (ii) whether cognitive control over WM biases would also affect access to the memory content in a surprise recognition test. We found visual search to be faster when the WM item coincided with the search target, and this effect was enhanced when the memory item reliably predicted the location of the target. Conversely, visual search was slowed when the memory item coincided with a search distracter, and this effect was diminished, but not abolished, when the memory item was reliably associated with distracters. This strategic dampening of the influence of WM items on attention came at a price to memory, however, as participants were slowest to perform WM recognition tests on blocks when the WM content was consistently invalid. These results document that attentional capture by WM contents is partly, but not fully, malleable by top-down control, which appears to adjust the state of the WM content to optimize search behavior. These data illustrate the role of cognitive control in modulating the strength of WM biases of selection, and support a tight coupling between WM and attention.
1 (AFB1) is a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma in humans. Infant, but not adult, mice are sensitive to AFB1-induced liver carcinogenesis; a single dose during the neonatal period leads to hepatocellular carcinoma in adulthood. Earlier work defined the mutational spectrum in the gpt gene of gpt delta B6C3F1 mice 3 weeks after exposure to aflatoxin. In the present study, we examined the gpt spectrum 10 weeks postdosing and expanded the study to examine, at 3 and 10 weeks, the spectrum at a second locus, the red/gam genes of the mouse λEG10 transgene. Whereas the gpt locus is typically used to define local base changes, the red/gam genes, via the Spi– assay, often are used to detect more global mutations such as large deletions and rearrangements. Three weeks after dosing with AFB1, there was a 10-fold increase over the control in the Spi– mutant fraction (MF) in liver DNA; after 10 weeks, a further increase was observed. The MF in the gpt gene was also increased at 10 weeks compared with the MF at 3 weeks. No gender-specific differences were found in the Spi– or gpt MFs. Whereas Spi– mutations often signal large genetic changes, they did not in this specific case. The Spi– spectrum was dominated by GC to TA transversions, with one exceptionally strong hotspot at position 314. Using two genetic loci, the data show a strong preference for the induction of GC to TA mutations in mice, which is the dominant mutation seen in people exposed to aflatoxin.
aflatoxin B1; hepatocellular carcinoma;; mutation; infant mouse.
Attention is attracted exogenously by physically salient stimuli, but this effect can be dampened by endogenous attention settings, a phenomenon called “contingent capture”. Emotionally salient stimuli are also thought to exert a strong exogenous influence on attention, especially in anxious individuals, but whether and how top-down attention can ameliorate bottom-up capture by affective stimuli is currently unknown. Here, we paired a novel spatial cueing task with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in order to investigate contingent capture as a function of the affective salience of bottom-up cues (face stimuli) and individual differences in trait anxiety. In the absence of top-down cues, exogenous stimuli validly cueing targets facilitated attention in low anxious participants, regardless of affective salience. However, while high anxious participants exhibited similar facilitation following neutral exogenous cues, this facilitation was completely absent following affectively negative exogenous cues. Critically, these effects were contingent on endogenous attentional settings, such that explicit top-down cues presented prior to the appearance of exogenous stimuli removed anxious individuals’ sensitivity to affectively salient stimuli. FMRI analyses revealed a network of brain regions underlying this variability in affective contingent capture across individuals, including the fusiform face area (FFA), posterior ventrolateral frontal cortex, and supplementary motor area. Importantly, activation in the posterior ventrolateral frontal cortex and the supplementary motor area fully mediated the effects observed in FFA, demonstrating a critical role for these frontal regions in mediating attentional orienting and interference resolution processes when engaged by affectively salient stimuli.
Attention; Posner cueing paradigm; ventral attention network; contingent capture; emotion; fear
Epidemiological evidence has suggested that consumption of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables reduces the risk of several types of cancers and chronic degenerative diseases. In particular, broccoli sprouts are a convenient and rich source of the glucosinolate, glucoraphanin, which can release the chemopreventive agent, sulforaphane, an inducer of glutathione S-transferases. Two broccoli sprout-derived beverages, one sulforaphane-rich (SFR) and the other glucoraphanin-rich (GRR), were evaluated for pharmacodynamic action in a crossover clinical trial design. Study participants were recruited from the farming community of He Zuo Township, Qidong, China, previously documented to have a high incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma with concomitant exposures to aflatoxin and more recently characterized with exposures to substantive levels of airborne pollutants. Fifty healthy participants were randomized into two treatment arms. The study protocol was as follows: a 5 days run-in period, a 7 days administration of beverage, a 5 days washout period and a 7 days administration of the opposite beverage. Urinary excretion of the mercapturic acids of acrolein, crotonaldehyde, ethylene oxide and benzene were measured both pre- and postinterventions using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Statistically significant increases of 20–50% in the levels of excretion of glutathione-derived conjugates of acrolein, crotonaldehyde and benzene were seen in individuals receiving SFR, GRR or both compared with their preintervention baseline values. No significant differences were seen between the effects of SFR versus GRR. Intervention with broccoli sprouts may enhance detoxication of airborne pollutants and attenuate their associated health risks.
Cognitive models have long distinguished between “automatic” associative processes that can be triggered in a bottom-up fashion, and “controlled” processes, where internal goals guide information processing in a deliberate, top-down manner. However, recent behavioral studies have cast doubt on the validity of this dichotomy, showing that implicit contextual cues can modulate performance in a way suggestive of an associative triggering of specific top-down control states. Here, we harnessed functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in humans to test whether these behavioral findings truly reflect online, bottom-up priming of top-down attentional control settings. Using a flanker interference task where stimulus location cued the likelihood of incongruent trials, we found that the behavioral phenomenon of implicit, context-specific improvements in interference resolution was mirrored in hemodynamic activity in the medial superior parietal lobule (mSPL), previously implicated in voluntary (as opposed to primed) attention shifts. Moreover, the mSPL displayed context-specific functional coupling with visual regions involved in processing the flanker stimuli, and the modulation of the latter was predictive of the behavioral effects. Finally, the implementation of this contextual control was “on the fly”, that is, it was primed online by a switch to the context associated with high conflict. These results suggest that top-down control states can be bound into episodic event representations and can subsequently be primed by other features of those representations. Together, our findings illustrate a more intimate link between associative and controlled processing than is traditionally assumed, and place the neural substrate of that linkage in the posterior parietal cortex.
Interference resolution is improved for stimuli presented in contexts (e.g., locations) associated with frequent conflict. This phenomenon, the context-specific proportion congruent (CSPC) effect, has challenged the traditional juxtaposition of “automatic” and “controlled” processing because it suggests that contextual cues can prime top-down control settings in a bottom-up manner. We recently obtained support for this “priming of control” hypothesis with functional magnetic resonance imaging by showing that CSPC effects are mediated by contextually cued adjustments in processing selectivity. However, an equally plausible explanation is that CSPC effects reflect adjustments in response caution triggered by expectancy violations (i.e., prediction errors) when encountering rare events as compared to common ones (e.g., incongruent trials in a task context associated with infrequent conflict). Here, we applied a quantitative model of choice, the linear ballistic accumulator (LBA), to distil the reaction time and accuracy data from four independent samples that performed a modified flanker task into latent variables representing the psychological processes underlying task-related decision making. We contrasted models which differentially accounted for CSPC effects as arising either from contextually cued shifts in the rate of sensory evidence accumulation (“drift” models) or in the amount of evidence required to reach a decision (“threshold” models). For the majority of the participants, the LBA ascribed CSPC effects to increases in response threshold for contextually infrequent trial types (e.g., congruent trials in the frequent conflict context), suggesting that the phenomenon may reflect more a prediction error-triggered shift in decision criterion rather than enhanced sensory evidence accumulation under conditions of frequent conflict.
cognitive control; conflict; evidence accumulation models; interference; mathematical modeling; priming; prediction error; response threshold
Visual cortical responses are usually attenuated by repetition, a phenomenon known as repetition suppression (RS). Here, we use multivoxel pattern analyses of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data to show that RS co-occurs with the converse phenomenon (repetition enhancement, RE) in a single cortical region. We presented human volunteers with short sequences of repeated faces and measured brain activity using fMRI. In an independently defined face-responsive extrastriate region, the response of each voxel to repetition (RS vs. RE) was consistent across scanner runs, and multivoxel patterns for both RS and RE voxels were stable. Moreover, RS and RE voxels responded to repetition with dissociable latencies and exhibited different patterns of connectivity with lower and higher visual regions. Computational simulations demonstrated that these effects must be due to differences in repetition sensitivity, and not feature selectivity. These findings establish that 2 classes of repetition responses coexist within 1 visual region and support models acknowledging this distinction, such as predictive coding models where perception requires the computation of both predictions (which are enhanced by repetition) and prediction errors (which are suppressed by repetition).
face perception; fMRI; predictive coding; repetition enhancement; repetition suppression
Exposure to genotoxic chemicals at a young age increases cancer incidence later in life. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a potent genotoxin that induces hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in many animal species and in humans. Whereas adult mice are insensitive to aflatoxin-induced carcinogenesis, mice treated with AFB1 shortly after birth develop a high incidence of HCC in adulthood. Furthermore, the incidence of HCC in adult male mice treated as infants is much greater than in females, reasons for which are unclear. In this study, treatment with AFB1 produced similar levels of DNA damage and mutations in the liver of newborn male and female gpt delta B6C3F1 mice. Twenty-four hours after dosing with AFB1 (6 mg/kg), the highly mutagenic AFB1-FAPY adduct was present at twice the level of AFB1-N7-guanine in liver DNA of males and females. A multiple dose regimen (3 × 2 mg/kg), while delivering the same total dose, resulted in lower AFB1 adduct levels. Mutation frequencies in the gpt transgene in liver were increased by 20- to 30-fold. The most prominent mutations in AFB1-treated mice were G:C to T:A transversions and G:C to A:T transitions. At this 21-day time point, no significant differences were found in mutation frequency or types of mutations between males and females. These results show that infant male and female B6C3F1 mice experience similar amounts of DNA damage and mutation from AFB1 that may initiate the neoplastic process. The gender difference in the subsequent development of HCC highlights the importance of elucidating additional factors that modulate HCC development.
aflatoxin; neonatal mouse; hepatocarcinoma; mutation; gpt delta mouse
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a leading cause of cancer mortality with nearly 700 000 deaths occurring annually. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major contributor to HCC and acquired mutations in the HBV genome may accelerate its pathogenesis. In this study, a matched case–control investigation of 345 men who died of HCC and 625 controls were nested within a cohort of male hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers from Qidong, China. Matched preserving odds ratios (ORs) were used as a measure of association and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) as a measure of precision. Real-time polymerase chain reaction allowed for a quantitative comparison of the levels of the HBV 1762T/1764A mutation in cases and controls. A total of 278 (81%) of the cases were positive for the HBV 1762T/1764A mutation compared with 250 (40%) of the controls. The matched preserving OR of 6.72 (95% CI: 4.66 to 9.68) strongly indicated that cases were significantly more probably than controls to have the mutation. Plasma levels of DNA harboring the HBV mutation were on average 15-fold higher in cases compared with controls (P < 0.001). Most strikingly, the level of the mutation in the 20 controls who later developed and died of HCC were on average 274-fold higher than controls who did not develop HCC. Thus, within this cohort of HBsAg carriers at high risk of developing HCC, individuals positive for the HBV 1762T/1764A mutation at enrollment were substantially more probably to subsequently develop HCC, with a higher concentration of the mutation in plasma enhancing predisposition for cancer development.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a DNA-binding toxin that contributes to the burden of liver cancer in tropical areas. AFB1-DNA adducts are powerful biomarkers that discern individual and population risk from exposure to this carcinogen. The discovery of concordance between the metabolic pathways of the male Fischer rat and humans allowed data from rats to guide the development of chemoprevention strategies employed in clinical trials in high-risk regions. In this study, the variables of strain and sex are studied in the rat model, as a step toward understanding how ethnic differences and sex influence DNA adduct formation and the induction of enzymes by chemoprotective agents. Sulforaphane (SF), which induces phase II enzymes including glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), was evaluated for its ability to induce GST activity and reduce the AFB1-DNA adducts in livers of both sexes of two rat strains that differ in susceptibility to AFB1 hepatocarcinogenesis. A dose-dependent relationship was found for SF for both induction of GST and reduction in of AFB1-N7-guanine in both Fischer (sensitive to AFB1) and Sprague-Dawley rats (relatively resistant). Sprague-Dawley rats exhibited the greatest increase in GST levels and the largest reduction in AFB1-N7-guanine in liver DNA. Males and females of each strain were also compared to determine if the ability of SF to induce GST and reduce AFB1-N7-guanine correlated with gender differences in sensitivity to AFB1 carcinogenesis. No gender-specific responses to SF were observed. These results support the view that SF induction of liver GST activity may play a role in its chemoprotective activity.
aflatoxin B1; chemoprevention; liver cancer; sulforaphane; DNA adducts; glutathione S-Transferase
Emotional arousal at encoding is known to facilitate later memory recall. In the present study, we asked whether this emotion-modulation of episodic memory is also evident at very short time scales, as measured by “feature integration effects,” the moment-by-moment binding of relevant stimulus and response features in episodic memory. This question was motivated by recent findings that negative emotion appears to potentiate first-order trial sequence effects in classic conflict tasks, which has been attributed to emotion-modulation of conflict-driven cognitive control processes. However, these effects could equally well have been carried by emotion-modulation of mnemonic feature binding processes, which were perfectly confounded with putative control processes in these studies. In the present experiments, we tried to shed light on this question by testing explicitly whether feature integration processes, assessed in isolation of conflict–control, are in fact susceptible to negative emotion-modulation. For this purpose, we adopted a standard protocol for assessing the rapid binding of stimulus and response features in episodic memory (Experiment 1) and paired it with the presentation of either neutral or fearful background face stimuli, shown either at encoding only (Experiment 2), or at both encoding and retrieval (Experiment 3). Whereas reliable feature integration effects were observed in all three experiments, no evidence for emotion-modulation of these effects was detected, in spite of significant effects of emotion on response times. These findings suggest that rapid feature integration of foreground stimulus and response features is not subject to modulation by negative emotional background stimuli and further suggest that previous reports of emotion-modulated trial–transition effects are likely attributable to the effects of emotion on cognitive control processes.
feature integration; emotion; cognitive control; event files; binding
The increasing prevalence of obesity has become one of the most challenging problems facing healthcare providers. Despite recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force many health professionals fail to discuss obesity with their patients. This study sought to identify terms that individuals with obesity and being treated in primary care find the most and least acceptable for describing their excess weight. Three-hundred ninety obese adult primary care patients in the Philadelphia area were administered the Weight Preferences Questionnaire from January 2008 through February 2009. Ratings of 11 terms used to describe excess weight were transformed to a five-point scale, ranging from “very desirable” (+2) to neutral (0) to “very undesirable” (-2). The term “fatness” (mean score -1.1 ± 1.3) was rated as significantly more undesirable than all other descriptors (p < 0.001). The terms “excess fat” (-0.6 ± 1.3), “large size” (-0.6 ± 1.3), “obesity” (-0.5 ± 1.4), and “heaviness” (-0.4 ± 1.2) were rated as significantly more undesirable then the remaining terms, which included weight problem, body mass index (BMI), and excess weight (p<0.001). In contrast, the term “weight” was viewed as the most desirable term for characterizing excess weight. Patients' preferences for terms were not significantly influenced by gender, race/ethnicity, or a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2. Practitioners who treat obesity are encouraged to avoid undesirable terms when discussing this condition with their patients. Instead practitioners may want to consider broaching the topic using more patient-friendly term such as “weight,” “BMI,” “weight problem,” or excess weight.”
obesity; preferred terms
One of several challenges in design of clinical chemoprevention trials is the selection of the dose, formulation and dose schedule of the intervention agent. Therefore, a cross-over clinical trial was undertaken to compare the bioavailability and tolerability of sulforaphane from two of broccoli sprout-derived beverages: one glucoraphanin-rich (GRR) and the other sulforaphane-rich (SFR). Sulforaphane was generated from glucoraphanin contained in GRR by gut microflora or formed by treatment of GRR with myrosinase from daikon (Raphanus sativus) sprouts to provide SFR. Fifty healthy, eligible participants were requested to refrain from crucifer consumption and randomized into two treatment arms. The study design was as follows: 5-day run-in period, 7-day administration of beverages, 5-day washout period, and 7-day administration of the opposite intervention. Isotope dilution mass spectrometry was used to measure levels of glucoraphanin, sulforaphane and sulforaphane thiol conjugates in urine samples collected daily throughout the study. Bioavailability, as measured by urinary excretion of sulforaphane and its metabolites (in approximately 12 hour collections after dosing), was substantially greater with the SFR (mean = 70%) than with GRR (mean = 5%) beverages. Interindividual variability in excretion was considerably lower with SFR than GRR beverage. Elimination rates were considerably slower with GRR allowing for achievement of steady state dosing as opposed to bolus dosing with SFR. Optimal dosing formulations in future studies should consider blends of sulforaphane and glucoraphanin as SFR and GRR mixtures to achieve peak concentrations for activation of some targets and prolonged inhibition of others implicated in the protective actions of sulforaphane.
sulforaphane; glucoraphanin; broccoli sprouts; clinical trial
Negative emotional stimuli activate a broad network, including the medial prefrontal (mPFC) and anterior cingulate (ACC) cortices. An early influential view dichotomized these regions into dorsal-caudal “cognitive” and ventral-rostral “affective” subdivisions. In this review, we examine a wealth of recent research on negative emotions in animals and humans, using the example of fear/anxiety, and conclude that, contrary to the traditional dichotomy, both subdivisions make key contributions to emotional processing. Specifically, dorsal-caudal regions of the ACC/mPFC are involved in appraisal and expression of negative emotion, while ventral-rostral portions of the ACC/mPFC have a regulatory role with respect to limbic regions involved in generating emotional responses. Moreover, this new framework is broadly consistent with emerging data on other negative and positive emotions.
While it is commonly accepted that reward is an effective motivator of behavior, little is known about potential costs resulting from reward associations. Here, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural underpinnings of such reward-related performance-disrupting effects in a reward-modulated Stroop task in humans. While reward associations in the task-relevant dimension (i.e., ink color) facilitated performance, behavioral detriments were found when the task-irrelevant dimension (i.e., word meaning) implicitly referred to reward-predictive ink colors. Neurally, only relevant reward associations invoked a typical reward-anticipation response in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), which was in turn predictive of behavioral facilitation. In contrast, irrelevant reward associations increased activity in a medial prefrontal motor-control-related region, namely the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), which likely reflects the preemption and inhibition of automatic response tendencies that are amplified by irrelevant reward-related words. This view was further supported by a positive relationship between pre-SMA activity and pronounced response slowing in trials containing reward-related as compared to reward-unrelated incongruent words. Importantly, the distinct neural processes related to the beneficial and detrimental behavioral effects of reward associations appeared to arise from preferential-coding mechanisms in visual-processing areas that were shared by the two stimulus dimensions, suggesting a transfer of reward-related saliency to the irrelevant dimension, but with highly differential behavioral and neural ramifications. More generally, the data demonstrate that even entirely irrelevant reward associations can influence stimulus-processing and response-selection pathways relatively automatically, thereby representing an important flip-side of reward-driven performance enhancements.
reward; Stroop interference; fMRI; nucleus accumbens; pre-supplementary motor area; attention
At the presynaptic active zone, Ca2+ influx triggers fusion of synaptic vesicles. It is not well understood how Ca2+-channel clustering and synaptic vesicle docking are organized. Here we studied structure and function of hair cell ribbon synapses following genetic disruption of the presynaptic scaffold protein Bassoon. Mutant synapses - mostly lacking the ribbon - showed a reduction in membrane-proximal vesicles, with ribbonless synapses affected more than ribbon-occupied synapses. Ca2+-channels were also fewer at mutant synapses and appeared in abnormally shaped clusters. Ribbon absence reduced Ca2+-channel numbers at mutant and wild-type synapses. Fast and sustained exocytosis were reduced notwithstanding normal coupling of the remaining Ca2+-channels to exocytosis. In-vitro recordings revealed a slight impairment of vesicle replenishment. Mechanistic modeling of the in-vivo data independently supported morphological and functional in-vitro findings. We conclude that Bassoon and the ribbon (1) create a large number of release sites by organizing Ca2+-channels and vesicles, and (2) promote vesicle replenishment.
Cohesin acetyltransferase Esco2 is a cell viability factor and is required for cohesion in pericentric heterochromatin
Genetic deletion of murine Esco2 (an acetylase known to establish cohesin during S-phase and genetically linked to Roberts syndrome) results in embryonic lethality that can be molecularly linked to novel and specific functions of Esco2 at pericentric heterochromatin.
Sister chromatid cohesion, mediated by cohesin and regulated by Sororin, is essential for chromosome segregation. In mammalian cells, cohesion establishment and Sororin recruitment to chromatin-bound cohesin depends on the acetyltransferases Esco1 and Esco2. Mutations in Esco2 cause Roberts syndrome, a developmental disease in which mitotic chromosomes have a ‘railroad' track morphology. Here, we show that Esco2 deficiency leads to termination of mouse development at pre- and post-implantation stages, indicating that Esco2 functions non-redundantly with Esco1. Esco2 is transiently expressed during S-phase when it localizes to pericentric heterochromatin (PCH). In interphase, Esco2 depletion leads to a reduction in cohesin acetylation and Sororin recruitment to chromatin. In early mitosis, Esco2 deficiency causes changes in the chromosomal localization of cohesin and its protector Sgo1. Our results suggest that Esco2 is needed for cohesin acetylation in PCH and that this modification is required for the proper distribution of cohesin on mitotic chromosomes and for centromeric cohesion.
cohesin acetylation; Esco2; pericentric heterochromatin; Roberts syndrome; Sororin
Numerous theories posit that affectively salient stimuli are privileged in their capacity to capture attention and disrupt ongoing cognition. Two underlying assumptions in this theoretical position are that the potency of affective stimuli transcends task boundaries (i.e., emotional distracters do not have to belong to a current task-set to disrupt processing) and that there is an asymmetry between emotional and cognitive processing (i.e., emotional distracters disrupt cognitive processing, but not vice versa). These assumptions have remained largely untested, as common experimental probes of emotion–cognition interaction rarely manipulate task-relevance and only examine one side of the presumed asymmetry of interference. To test these propositions directly, a face–word Stroop protocol was adapted to independently manipulate (a) the congruency between target and distracter stimulus features, (b) the affective salience of distracter features, and (c) the task-relevance of emotional compared to non-emotional target features. A three-way interaction revealed interdependent effects of distracter relevance, congruence, and affective salience. Compared to task-irrelevant distracters, task-relevant congruent distracters facilitated performance and task-relevant incongruent distracters impaired performance, but the latter effect depended on the nature of the target feature and task. Specifically, task-irrelevant emotional distracters resulted in equivalent performance costs as task-relevant non-emotional distracters, whereas task-irrelevant non-emotional distracters did not produce performance costs comparable to those generated by task-relevant emotional distracters. These results document asymmetric cross-task interference effects for affectively salient stimuli, supporting the notion of affective prioritization in human information processing.
attention; affect; interference resolution; emotional conflict; executive function; conflict; cognitive control; Stroop
While normal aging is associated with a marked decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory and executive functions, recent evidence suggests that control processes involved in regulating responses to emotional stimuli may remain well-preserved in the elderly. However, neither the precise nature of these preserved control processes, nor their domain-specificity with respect to comparable non-emotional control processes, are currently well-established. Here, we tested the hypothesis of domain-specific preservation of emotional control in the elderly by employing two closely matched behavioral tasks that assessed the ability to shield the processing of task-relevant stimulus information from competition by task-irrelevant distracter stimuli that could be either non-emotional or emotional in nature. The efficacy of non-emotional versus emotional task-set shielding, gauged via the ‘conflict adaptation effect’, was compared between cohorts of healthy young adults, healthy elderly adults, and individuals diagnosed with probable Alzheimer’s disease (PRAD), age-matched to the elderly subjects. It was found that, compared to the young adult cohort, the healthy elderly displayed deficits in task-set shielding in the non-emotional but not in the emotional task, whereas PRAD subjects displayed impaired performance in both tasks. These results provide new evidence that healthy aging is associated with a domain-specific preservation of emotional control functions, specifically, the shielding of a current task-set from interference by emotional distracter stimuli. This selective preservation of function supports the notion of partly dissociable affective control mechanisms, and may either reflect different time-courses of degeneration in the neuroanatomical circuits mediating task-set maintenance in the face of non-emotional versus emotional distracters, or a motivational shift towards affective processing in the elderly.
aging; cognitive control; emotional control; conflict adaptation; face-word Stroop task; probable Alzheimer’s disease
We report validation of the first high-pressure liquid chromatography isotope-dilution mass spectrometry method to measure sulforaphane (SFN) and its glutathione-derived conjugates in human urine. As epidemiological evidence continues to mount that the consumption of a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may reduce the risk of certain cancers, the development of analytical methodologies to accurately measure isothiocyanates (ITCs) and their subsequent metabolic products becomes paramount. SFN, the principal ITC produced by broccoli, is an effective chemopreventive agent with multiple modes of action. SFN and SFN conjugates have often been measured collectively utilizing a cyclocondensation assay with 1,2-benzenedithiol. More recently, some of the major SFN conjugates have been determined using mass spectrometry. Here, triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry has been coupled with the use of stable isotope-labeled internal standards of D8-SFN and all four D8-SFN mercapturic acid pathway conjugates to provide an accurate, precise, sensitive, and specific method for analysis of these compounds. Using urine samples collected during an earlier intervention with broccoli sprouts, the concentrations of SFN, SFN-cysteine, and the mercapturic acid SFN-N-acetylcysteine were sufficiently high such that as little as 50 nL of urine was required for analysis. Although each study participant received an equivalent dose of broccoli sprout preparation, the interindividual conversion of the precursor glucosinolate to SFN varied over 100-fold. These 98 urines provided an ideal sample set for examining the robustness of the assay. The mean urinary concentrations ± standard deviations in overnight voids following ingestion of the first dose were 4.7 ± 5.1, 0.03 ± 0.05, 0.06 ± 0.06, 18 ± 15, and 42 ± 23 nmol/mg creatinine for SFN, SFN-glutathione, SFN-cysteine-glycine, SFN-cysteine, and SFN-N-acetylcysteine, respectively. This method determines SFN and all four SFN glutathione-derived metabolites with minimal sample preparation and will be extremely useful in understanding the role of SFN-rich foods in preventing cancer and other chronic diseases.
Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) is a major risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in humans. However, mice, the major animal model for the study of AFB1 carcinogenesis, are resistant, due to high constitutive expression, in the mouse liver, of glutathione S-transferase A3 subunit (mGSTA3) that is lacking in humans. Our objective was to establish a mouse model for AFB1 toxicity could be used to study mechanisms of toxicity that are relevant for human disease, i.e., an mGSTA3 knockout (KO) mouse that responds to toxicants such as AFB1 in a manner similar to humans. Exons 3–6 of the mGSTA3 were replaced with a neomycin cassette by homologous recombination. Southern blotting, RT-PCR, Western blotting, and measurement of AFB1-N7-DNA adduct formation were used to evaluate the mGSTA3 KO mice. The KO mice have deletion of exons 3–6 of the mGSTA3 gene, as expected, as well as a lack of mGSTA3 expression at the mRNA and protein levels. Three hours after injection of 5 mg/kg AFB1, mGSTA3 KO mice have more than 100-fold more AFB1-N7-DNA adducts in their livers than do similarly treated wild-type (WT) mice. In addition, the mGSTA3 KO mice die of massive hepatic necrosis, at AFB1 doses that have minimal toxic effects in WT mice. We conclude that mGSTA3 KO mice are sensitive to the acute cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of AFB1, confirming the crucial role of GSTA3 subunit in protection of normal mice against AFB1 toxicity. We propose the mGSTA3 KO mouse as a useful model with which to study the interplay of risk factors leading to HCC development in humans, as well as for testing of additional possible functions of mGSTA3.
GSTA3; knockout mouse; aflatoxin B1; liver; DNA adducts; hepatocellular carcinoma