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1.  Type IV Pilus Assembly Proficiency and Dynamics Influence Pilin Subunit Phospho-Form Macro- and Microheterogeneity in Neisseria gonorrhoeae 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96419.
The PilE pilin subunit protein of the gonococcal Type IV pilus (Tfp) colonization factor undergoes multisite, covalent modification with the zwitterionic phospho-form modification phosphoethanolamine (PE). In a mutant lacking the pilin-like PilV protein however, PilE is modified with a mixture of PE and phosphocholine (PC). Moreover, intrastrain variation of PilE PC modification levels have been observed in backgrounds that constitutively express PptA (the protein phospho-form transferase A) required for both PE and PC modification. The molecular basis underlying phospho-form microheterogeneity in these instances remains poorly defined. Here, we examined the effects of mutations at numerous loci that disrupt or perturb Tfp assembly and observed that these mutants phenocopy the pilV mutant vis a vis phospho-form modification status. Thus, PC modification appears to be directly or indirectly responsive to the efficacy of pilin subunit interactions. Despite the complexity of contributing factors identified here, the data favor a model in which increased retention in the inner membrane may act as a key signal in altering phospho-form modification. These results also provide an alternative explanation for the variation in PilE PC levels observed previously and that has been assumed to be due to phase variation of pptA. Moreover, mass spectrometry revealed evidence for mono- and di-methylated forms of PE attached to PilE in mutants deficient in pilus assembly, directly implicating a methyltransferase-based pathway for PC synthesis in N. gonorrhoeae.
PMCID: PMC4010543  PMID: 24797914
2.  An effective system to produce smoke solutions from dried plant tissue for seed germination studies1 
Applications in Plant Sciences  2014;2(3):apps.1300097.
• Premise of the study: An efficient and inexpensive system was developed to produce smoke solutions from plant material to research the influence of water-soluble compounds from smoke on seed germination.
• Methods and Results: Smoke solutions (300 mL per batch) were produced by burning small quantities (100–200 g) of dried plant material from a range of species in a bee smoker attached by a heater hose to a side-arm flask. The flask was attached to a vacuum water aspirator, to pull the smoke through the water. The entire apparatus was operated in a laboratory fume hood.
• Conclusions: Compared with other smoke solution preparation systems, the system described is easy to assemble and operate, inexpensive to build, and effective at producing smoke solutions from desired species in a small indoor space. Quantitative measurements can be made when using this system, allowing for replication of the process.
PMCID: PMC4103107  PMID: 25202613
seed germination; smoke compounds; smoke solution system
3.  High Prevalence of Papillary Thyroid Microcarcinoma in Danish Patients: A Prospective Study of 854 Consecutive Patients with a Cold Thyroid Nodule Undergoing Fine-Needle Aspiration 
European Thyroid Journal  2012;1(2):110-117.
We aimed to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of ultrasound (US)-guided fine-needle aspirates (FNAs) obtained from 854 consecutive Danish patients with a scintigraphically cold thyroid nodule in a borderline iodine-deficient area. Clinical, sonographic, and pathological findings in patients with a cold thyroid nodule undergoing US-guided FNA were prospectively registered. 408 patients underwent thyroid surgery, resulting in 50 cancers and in addition 37 patients had an incidental finding of papillary thyroid microcarcinomas. Based on the diagnostic FNA, we found sensitivity and specificity for malignancy of 73.9 and 99.2%, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values of a diagnostic FNA for malignancy were 89.5 and 97.7%. We identified 6 false-negative and 2 false-positive diagnoses. Solid versus cystic feature of the nodule, as well as >2 high-risk US features, were predictive for malignancy. Cancer incidence was 13% among females and 9% among males. The accuracy of a diagnostic set-up based on clinical examination, scintigraphy, US, and US-guided FNA was determined with a 48% rate of histopathological validation in the cohort. The overall thyroid cancer incidence has increased worldwide, but our results suggest that the most frequent occurring cancer is an incidental papillary thyroid microcarcinoma of which the clinical significance has yet to be established.
PMCID: PMC3821465  PMID: 24783005
Cold thyroid nodules; Fine-needle aspiration; Ultrasound; Papillary thyroid microcarcinoma; Borderline iodine-deficient area
4.  Localization of Brain 5α-Reductase Messenger RNA in Mice Selectively Bred for High Chronic Alcohol Withdrawal Severity 
Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.)  2011;45(8):763-772.
Several lines of evidence suggest that fluctuations in endogenous levels of the γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO) represent one mechanism for regulation of GABAergic inhibitory tone in the brain, with an ultimate impact on behavior. Consistent with this idea, there was an inverse relationship between ALLO levels and symptoms of anxiety and depression in humans and convulsive activity in rodents during alcohol withdrawal. Our recent studies examined activity and expression of 5α-reductase (Srd5a1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of ALLO, during alcohol withdrawal in mice selectively bred for high chronic alcohol withdrawal (Withdrawal Seizure-Prone, WSP) and found that Srd5a1 was down-regulated in the cortex and hippocampus over the time course of dependence and withdrawal. The purpose of the present studies was to extend these findings and more discretely map the regions of Srd5a1 expression in mouse brain using radioactive in situ hybridization in WSP mice that were ethanol naïve, following exposure to 72 h ethanol vapor (dependent) or during peak withdrawal. In naïve animals, expression of Srd5a1 was widely distributed throughout the mouse brain, with highest expression in specific regions of the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus, and amygdala. In dependent animals and during withdrawal, there was no change in Srd5a1 expression in cortex or hippocampus, which differed from our recent findings in dissected tissues. These results suggest that local Srd5a1 mRNA expression in WSP brain may not change in parallel with local ALLO content or withdrawal severity.
PMCID: PMC3218258  PMID: 21917407
ethanol; neurosteroid; GABA; convulsion; in situ hybridization
5.  A registry-based follow-up study, comparing the incidence of cardiovascular disease in native Danes and immigrants born in Turkey, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia: do social inequalities play a role? 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:662.
This study compared the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between native Danes and immigrants born in Turkey, Pakistan and the former Yugoslavia. Furthermore, we examined whether different indicators of socioeconomic status (SES), such as employment, income and housing conditions influenced potential differences.
In this registry-based follow-up study individuals were identified in a large database that included individuals from two major regions in Denmark, corresponding to about 60% of the Danish population. Incident cases of CVD and AMI included fatal and non-fatal events and were taken from registries. Using Cox regression models, we estimated incidence rates at 5-year follow-up.
Immigrant men and women from Turkey and Pakistan had an increased incidence of CVD, compared with native Danish men. In the case of AMI, a similar pattern was observed; however, differences were more pronounced. Pakistanis and Turks with a shorter duration of residence had a lower incidence, compared with those of a longer residence. Generally, no notable differences were observed between former Yugoslavians and native Danes. In men, differences in CVD and AMI were reduced after adjustment for SES, in particular, among Turks regarding CVD. In women, effects were particularly reduced among Yugoslavians in the case of CVD and in Turks in the case of CVD and AMI after adjustment for SES.
In conclusion, country of birth-related differences in the incidence of CVD and AMI were observed. At least some of the differences that we uncovered were results of a socioeconomic effect. Duration of residence also played a certain role. Future studies should collect and test different indicators of SES in studies of CVD among immigrants.
PMCID: PMC3189134  PMID: 21861890
6.  The Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis: Genetic Evidence for the Involvement of the Human Endogenous Retrovirus HERV-Fc1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16652.
We have investigated the role of human endogenous retroviruses in multiple sclerosis by analyzing the DNA of patients and controls in 4 cohorts for associations between multiple sclerosis and polymorphisms near viral restriction genes or near endogenous retroviral loci with one or more intact or almost-intact genes. We found that SNPs in the gene TRIM5 were inversely correlated with disease. Conversely, SNPs around one retroviral locus, HERV-Fc1, showed a highly significant association with disease. The latter association was limited to a narrow region that contains no other known genes. We conclude that HERV-Fc1 and TRIM5 play a role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis. If these results are confirmed, they point to new modes of treatment for multiple sclerosis.
PMCID: PMC3032779  PMID: 21311761
7.  Metronidazole-induced encephalopathy after prolonged metronidazole course for treatment of C. difficile colitis 
BMJ Case Reports  2015;2015:bcr2014206162.
A 65-year-old woman with a diagnosis of Clostridium difficile colitis undergoing prolonged treatment with metronidazole was admitted to hospital for altered mentation, slurred speech and weakness. She was diagnosed with metronidazole-induced encephalopathy, confirmed with brain MRI and improved when the offending agent was removed. This case report highlights encephalopathy as a complication of prolonged metronidazole treatment, which has become more common in clinical practice for the treatment of C. difficile infection.
PMCID: PMC4307074  PMID: 25596288
8.  Chemical Synthesis of GM2 Glycans, Bioconjugation with Bacteriophage Qβ, and the Induction of Anticancer Antibodies 
The development of carbohydrate-based antitumor vaccines is an attractive approach towards tumor prevention and treatment. Herein, we focused on the ganglioside GM2 tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen (TACA), which is overexpressed in a wide range of tumor cells. GM2 was synthesized chemically and conjugated with a virus-like particle derived from bacteriophage Qβ. Although the copper-catalyzed azide–alkyne cyclo-addition reaction efficiently introduced 237 copies of GM2 per Qβ, this construct failed to induce significant amounts of anti-GM2 antibodies compared to the Qβ control. In contrast, GM2 immobilized on Qβ through a thiourea linker elicited high titers of IgG antibodies that recognized GM2-positive tumor cells and effectively induced cell lysis through complement-mediated cytotoxicity. Thus, bacteriophage Qβ is a suitable platform to boost antibody responses towards GM2, a representative member of an important class of TACA: the ganglioside.
PMCID: PMC4726457  PMID: 26538065
antibodies; carbohydrates; immunology; synthesis; vaccines
9.  The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project 
Hudson, Lawrence N. | Newbold, Tim | Contu, Sara | Hill, Samantha L. L. | Lysenko, Igor | De Palma, Adriana | Phillips, Helen R. P. | Alhusseini, Tamera I. | Bedford, Felicity E. | Bennett, Dominic J. | Booth, Hollie | Burton, Victoria J. | Chng, Charlotte W. T. | Choimes, Argyrios | Correia, David L. P. | Day, Julie | Echeverría‐Londoño, Susy | Emerson, Susan R. | Gao, Di | Garon, Morgan | Harrison, Michelle L. K. | Ingram, Daniel J. | Jung, Martin | Kemp, Victoria | Kirkpatrick, Lucinda | Martin, Callum D. | Pan, Yuan | Pask‐Hale, Gwilym D. | Pynegar, Edwin L. | Robinson, Alexandra N. | Sanchez‐Ortiz, Katia | Senior, Rebecca A. | Simmons, Benno I. | White, Hannah J. | Zhang, Hanbin | Aben, Job | Abrahamczyk, Stefan | Adum, Gilbert B. | Aguilar‐Barquero, Virginia | Aizen, Marcelo A. | Albertos, Belén | Alcala, E. L. | del Mar Alguacil, Maria | Alignier, Audrey | Ancrenaz, Marc | Andersen, Alan N. | Arbeláez‐Cortés, Enrique | Armbrecht, Inge | Arroyo‐Rodríguez, Víctor | Aumann, Tom | Axmacher, Jan C. | Azhar, Badrul | Azpiroz, Adrián B. | Baeten, Lander | Bakayoko, Adama | Báldi, András | Banks, John E. | Baral, Sharad K. | Barlow, Jos | Barratt, Barbara I. P. | Barrico, Lurdes | Bartolommei, Paola | Barton, Diane M. | Basset, Yves | Batáry, Péter | Bates, Adam J. | Baur, Bruno | Bayne, Erin M. | Beja, Pedro | Benedick, Suzan | Berg, Åke | Bernard, Henry | Berry, Nicholas J. | Bhatt, Dinesh | Bicknell, Jake E. | Bihn, Jochen H. | Blake, Robin J. | Bobo, Kadiri S. | Bóçon, Roberto | Boekhout, Teun | Böhning‐Gaese, Katrin | Bonham, Kevin J. | Borges, Paulo A. V. | Borges, Sérgio H. | Boutin, Céline | Bouyer, Jérémy | Bragagnolo, Cibele | Brandt, Jodi S. | Brearley, Francis Q. | Brito, Isabel | Bros, Vicenç | Brunet, Jörg | Buczkowski, Grzegorz | Buddle, Christopher M. | Bugter, Rob | Buscardo, Erika | Buse, Jörn | Cabra‐García, Jimmy | Cáceres, Nilton C. | Cagle, Nicolette L. | Calviño‐Cancela, María | Cameron, Sydney A. | Cancello, Eliana M. | Caparrós, Rut | Cardoso, Pedro | Carpenter, Dan | Carrijo, Tiago F. | Carvalho, Anelena L. | Cassano, Camila R. | Castro, Helena | Castro‐Luna, Alejandro A. | Rolando, Cerda B. | Cerezo, Alexis | Chapman, Kim Alan | Chauvat, Matthieu | Christensen, Morten | Clarke, Francis M. | Cleary, Daniel F.R. | Colombo, Giorgio | Connop, Stuart P. | Craig, Michael D. | Cruz‐López, Leopoldo | Cunningham, Saul A. | D'Aniello, Biagio | D'Cruze, Neil | da Silva, Pedro Giovâni | Dallimer, Martin | Danquah, Emmanuel | Darvill, Ben | Dauber, Jens | Davis, Adrian L. V. | Dawson, Jeff | de Sassi, Claudio | de Thoisy, Benoit | Deheuvels, Olivier | Dejean, Alain | Devineau, Jean‐Louis | Diekötter, Tim | Dolia, Jignasu V. | Domínguez, Erwin | Dominguez‐Haydar, Yamileth | Dorn, Silvia | Draper, Isabel | Dreber, Niels | Dumont, Bertrand | Dures, Simon G. | Dynesius, Mats | Edenius, Lars | Eggleton, Paul | Eigenbrod, Felix | Elek, Zoltán | Entling, Martin H. | Esler, Karen J. | de Lima, Ricardo F. | Faruk, Aisyah | Farwig, Nina | Fayle, Tom M. | Felicioli, Antonio | Felton, Annika M. | Fensham, Roderick J. | Fernandez, Ignacio C. | Ferreira, Catarina C. | Ficetola, Gentile F. | Fiera, Cristina | Filgueiras, Bruno K. C. | Fırıncıoğlu, Hüseyin K. | Flaspohler, David | Floren, Andreas | Fonte, Steven J. | Fournier, Anne | Fowler, Robert E. | Franzén, Markus | Fraser, Lauchlan H. | Fredriksson, Gabriella M. | Freire, Geraldo B. | Frizzo, Tiago L. M. | Fukuda, Daisuke | Furlani, Dario | Gaigher, René | Ganzhorn, Jörg U. | García, Karla P. | Garcia‐R, Juan C. | Garden, Jenni G. | Garilleti, Ricardo | Ge, Bao‐Ming | Gendreau‐Berthiaume, Benoit | Gerard, Philippa J. | Gheler‐Costa, Carla | Gilbert, Benjamin | Giordani, Paolo | Giordano, Simonetta | Golodets, Carly | Gomes, Laurens G. L. | Gould, Rachelle K. | Goulson, Dave | Gove, Aaron D. | Granjon, Laurent | Grass, Ingo | Gray, Claudia L. | Grogan, James | Gu, Weibin | Guardiola, Moisès | Gunawardene, Nihara R. | Gutierrez, Alvaro G. | Gutiérrez‐Lamus, Doris L. | Haarmeyer, Daniela H. | Hanley, Mick E. | Hanson, Thor | Hashim, Nor R. | Hassan, Shombe N. | Hatfield, Richard G. | Hawes, Joseph E. | Hayward, Matt W. | Hébert, Christian | Helden, Alvin J. | Henden, John‐André | Henschel, Philipp | Hernández, Lionel | Herrera, James P. | Herrmann, Farina | Herzog, Felix | Higuera‐Diaz, Diego | Hilje, Branko | Höfer, Hubert | Hoffmann, Anke | Horgan, Finbarr G. | Hornung, Elisabeth | Horváth, Roland | Hylander, Kristoffer | Isaacs‐Cubides, Paola | Ishida, Hiroaki | Ishitani, Masahiro | Jacobs, Carmen T. | Jaramillo, Víctor J. | Jauker, Birgit | Hernández, F. Jiménez | Johnson, McKenzie F. | Jolli, Virat | Jonsell, Mats | Juliani, S. Nur | Jung, Thomas S. | Kapoor, Vena | Kappes, Heike | Kati, Vassiliki | Katovai, Eric | Kellner, Klaus | Kessler, Michael | Kirby, Kathryn R. | Kittle, Andrew M. | Knight, Mairi E. | Knop, Eva | Kohler, Florian | Koivula, Matti | Kolb, Annette | Kone, Mouhamadou | Kőrösi, Ádám | Krauss, Jochen | Kumar, Ajith | Kumar, Raman | Kurz, David J. | Kutt, Alex S. | Lachat, Thibault | Lantschner, Victoria | Lara, Francisco | Lasky, Jesse R. | Latta, Steven C. | Laurance, William F. | Lavelle, Patrick | Le Féon, Violette | LeBuhn, Gretchen | Légaré, Jean‐Philippe | Lehouck, Valérie | Lencinas, María V. | Lentini, Pia E. | Letcher, Susan G. | Li, Qi | Litchwark, Simon A. | Littlewood, Nick A. | Liu, Yunhui | Lo‐Man‐Hung, Nancy | López‐Quintero, Carlos A. | Louhaichi, Mounir | Lövei, Gabor L. | Lucas‐Borja, Manuel Esteban | Luja, Victor H. | Luskin, Matthew S. | MacSwiney G, M Cristina | Maeto, Kaoru | Magura, Tibor | Mallari, Neil Aldrin | Malone, Louise A. | Malonza, Patrick K. | Malumbres‐Olarte, Jagoba | Mandujano, Salvador | Måren, Inger E. | Marin‐Spiotta, Erika | Marsh, Charles J. | Marshall, E. J. P. | Martínez, Eliana | Martínez Pastur, Guillermo | Moreno Mateos, David | Mayfield, Margaret M. | Mazimpaka, Vicente | McCarthy, Jennifer L. | McCarthy, Kyle P. | McFrederick, Quinn S. | McNamara, Sean | Medina, Nagore G. | Medina, Rafael | Mena, Jose L. | Mico, Estefania | Mikusinski, Grzegorz | Milder, Jeffrey C. | Miller, James R. | Miranda‐Esquivel, Daniel R. | Moir, Melinda L. | Morales, Carolina L. | Muchane, Mary N. | Muchane, Muchai | Mudri‐Stojnic, Sonja | Munira, A. Nur | Muoñz‐Alonso, Antonio | Munyekenye, B. F. | Naidoo, Robin | Naithani, A. | Nakagawa, Michiko | Nakamura, Akihiro | Nakashima, Yoshihiro | Naoe, Shoji | Nates‐Parra, Guiomar | Navarrete Gutierrez, Dario A. | Navarro‐Iriarte, Luis | Ndang'ang'a, Paul K. | Neuschulz, Eike L. | Ngai, Jacqueline T. | Nicolas, Violaine | Nilsson, Sven G. | Noreika, Norbertas | Norfolk, Olivia | Noriega, Jorge Ari | Norton, David A. | Nöske, Nicole M. | Nowakowski, A. Justin | Numa, Catherine | O'Dea, Niall | O'Farrell, Patrick J. | Oduro, William | Oertli, Sabine | Ofori‐Boateng, Caleb | Oke, Christopher Omamoke | Oostra, Vicencio | Osgathorpe, Lynne M. | Otavo, Samuel Eduardo | Page, Navendu V. | Paritsis, Juan | Parra‐H, Alejandro | Parry, Luke | Pe'er, Guy | Pearman, Peter B. | Pelegrin, Nicolás | Pélissier, Raphaël | Peres, Carlos A. | Peri, Pablo L. | Persson, Anna S. | Petanidou, Theodora | Peters, Marcell K. | Pethiyagoda, Rohan S. | Phalan, Ben | Philips, T. Keith | Pillsbury, Finn C. | Pincheira‐Ulbrich, Jimmy | Pineda, Eduardo | Pino, Joan | Pizarro‐Araya, Jaime | Plumptre, A. J. | Poggio, Santiago L. | Politi, Natalia | Pons, Pere | Poveda, Katja | Power, Eileen F. | Presley, Steven J. | Proença, Vânia | Quaranta, Marino | Quintero, Carolina | Rader, Romina | Ramesh, B. R. | Ramirez‐Pinilla, Martha P. | Ranganathan, Jai | Rasmussen, Claus | Redpath‐Downing, Nicola A. | Reid, J. Leighton | Reis, Yana T. | Rey Benayas, José M. | Rey‐Velasco, Juan Carlos | Reynolds, Chevonne | Ribeiro, Danilo Bandini | Richards, Miriam H. | Richardson, Barbara A. | Richardson, Michael J. | Ríos, Rodrigo Macip | Robinson, Richard | Robles, Carolina A. | Römbke, Jörg | Romero‐Duque, Luz Piedad | Rös, Matthias | Rosselli, Loreta | Rossiter, Stephen J. | Roth, Dana S. | Roulston, T'ai H. | Rousseau, Laurent | Rubio, André V. | Ruel, Jean‐Claude | Sadler, Jonathan P. | Sáfián, Szabolcs | Saldaña‐Vázquez, Romeo A. | Sam, Katerina | Samnegård, Ulrika | Santana, Joana | Santos, Xavier | Savage, Jade | Schellhorn, Nancy A. | Schilthuizen, Menno | Schmiedel, Ute | Schmitt, Christine B. | Schon, Nicole L. | Schüepp, Christof | Schumann, Katharina | Schweiger, Oliver | Scott, Dawn M. | Scott, Kenneth A. | Sedlock, Jodi L. | Seefeldt, Steven S. | Shahabuddin, Ghazala | Shannon, Graeme | Sheil, Douglas | Sheldon, Frederick H. | Shochat, Eyal | Siebert, Stefan J. | Silva, Fernando A. B. | Simonetti, Javier A. | Slade, Eleanor M. | Smith, Jo | Smith‐Pardo, Allan H. | Sodhi, Navjot S. | Somarriba, Eduardo J. | Sosa, Ramón A. | Soto Quiroga, Grimaldo | St‐Laurent, Martin‐Hugues | Starzomski, Brian M. | Stefanescu, Constanti | Steffan‐Dewenter, Ingolf | Stouffer, Philip C. | Stout, Jane C. | Strauch, Ayron M. | Struebig, Matthew J. | Su, Zhimin | Suarez‐Rubio, Marcela | Sugiura, Shinji | Summerville, Keith S. | Sung, Yik‐Hei | Sutrisno, Hari | Svenning, Jens‐Christian | Teder, Tiit | Threlfall, Caragh G. | Tiitsaar, Anu | Todd, Jacqui H. | Tonietto, Rebecca K. | Torre, Ignasi | Tóthmérész, Béla | Tscharntke, Teja | Turner, Edgar C. | Tylianakis, Jason M. | Uehara‐Prado, Marcio | Urbina‐Cardona, Nicolas | Vallan, Denis | Vanbergen, Adam J. | Vasconcelos, Heraldo L. | Vassilev, Kiril | Verboven, Hans A. F. | Verdasca, Maria João | Verdú, José R. | Vergara, Carlos H. | Vergara, Pablo M. | Verhulst, Jort | Virgilio, Massimiliano | Vu, Lien Van | Waite, Edward M. | Walker, Tony R. | Wang, Hua‐Feng | Wang, Yanping | Watling, James I. | Weller, Britta | Wells, Konstans | Westphal, Catrin | Wiafe, Edward D. | Williams, Christopher D. | Willig, Michael R. | Woinarski, John C. Z. | Wolf, Jan H. D. | Wolters, Volkmar | Woodcock, Ben A. | Wu, Jihua | Wunderle, Joseph M. | Yamaura, Yuichi | Yoshikura, Satoko | Yu, Douglas W. | Zaitsev, Andrey S. | Zeidler, Juliane | Zou, Fasheng | Collen, Ben | Ewers, Rob M. | Mace, Georgina M. | Purves, Drew W. | Scharlemann, Jörn P. W. | Purvis, Andy
Ecology and Evolution  2016;7(1):145-188.
The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used this evidence base to develop global and regional statistical models of how local biodiversity responds to these measures. We describe and make freely available this 2016 release of the database, containing more than 3.2 million records sampled at over 26,000 locations and representing over 47,000 species. We outline how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. To our knowledge, this is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically representative database of spatial comparisons of biodiversity that has been collated to date; it will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.
PMCID: PMC5215197  PMID: 28070282
data sharing; global biodiversity modeling; global change; habitat destruction; land use
10.  Shape of the association between income and mortality: a cohort study of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden in 1995 and 2003 
BMJ Open  2016;6(12):e010974.
Prior work has examined the shape of the income–mortality association, but work has not compared gradients between countries. In this study, we focus on changes over time in the shape of income–mortality gradients for 4 Nordic countries during a period of rising income inequality. Context and time differentials in shape imply that the relationship between income and mortality is not fixed.
Population-based cohort study of Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
We collected data on individuals aged 25 or more in 1995 (n=12.98 million individuals, 0.84 million deaths) and 2003 (n=13.08 million individuals, 0.90 million deaths). We then examined the household size equivalised disposable income at the baseline year in relation to the rate of mortality in the following 5 years.
A steep income gradient in mortality in men and women across all age groups except the oldest old in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. From the 1990s to 2000s mortality dropped, but generally more so in the upper part of the income distribution than in the lower part. As a consequence, the shape of the income gradient in mortality changed. The shift in the shape of the association was similar in all 4 countries.
A non-linear gradient exists between income and mortality in most cases and because of a more rapid mortality decline among those with high income the income gradient has become steeper over time.
PMCID: PMC5223725  PMID: 28011804
income; health inequality; mortality; cohort study
11.  Pathway Analysis of Skin from Psoriasis Patients after Adalimumab Treatment Reveals New Early Events in the Anti-Inflammatory Mechanism of Anti-TNF-α 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(12):e0167437.
Psoriasis is a chronic cutaneous inflammatory disease. The immunopathogenesis is a complex interplay between T cells, dendritic cells and the epidermis in which T cells and dendritic cells maintain skin inflammation. Anti-tumour necrosis factor (anti-TNF)-α agents have been approved for therapeutic use across a range of inflammatory disorders including psoriasis, but the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of anti-TNF-α in lesional psoriatic skin are not fully understood. We investigated early events in skin from psoriasis patients after treatment with anti-TNF-α antibodies by use of bioinformatics tools. We used the Human Gene 1.0 ST Array to analyse gene expression in punch biopsies taken from psoriatic patients before and also 4 and 14 days after initiation of treatment with the anti-TNF-α agent adalimumab. The gene expression was analysed by gene set enrichment analysis using the Functional Annotation Tool from DAVID Bioinformatics Resources. The most enriched pathway was visualised by the Pathview Package on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) graphs. The analysis revealed new very early events in psoriasis after adalimumab treatment. Some of these events have been described after longer periods of anti-TNF-α treatment when clinical and histological changes appear, suggesting that effects of anti-TNF-α treatment on gene expression appear very early before clinical and histological changes. Combining microarray data on biopsies from psoriasis patients with pathway analysis allowed us to integrate in vitro findings into the identification of mechanisms that may be important in vivo. Furthermore, these results may reflect primary effect of anti-TNF-α treatment in contrast to studies of gene expression changes following clinical and histological changes, which may reflect secondary changes correlated to the healing of the skin.
PMCID: PMC5179238  PMID: 28005985
12.  Genetic and environmental influences on adult human height across birth cohorts from 1886 to 1994 
Jelenkovic, Aline | Hur, Yoon-Mi | Sund, Reijo | Yokoyama, Yoshie | Siribaddana, Sisira H | Hotopf, Matthew | Sumathipala, Athula | Rijsdijk, Fruhling | Tan, Qihua | Zhang, Dongfeng | Pang, Zengchang | Aaltonen, Sari | Heikkilä, Kauko | Öncel, Sevgi Y | Aliev, Fazil | Rebato, Esther | Tarnoki, Adam D | Tarnoki, David L | Christensen, Kaare | Skytthe, Axel | Kyvik, Kirsten O | Silberg, Judy L | Eaves, Lindon J | Maes, Hermine H | Cutler, Tessa L | Hopper, John L | Ordoñana, Juan R | Sánchez-Romera, Juan F | Colodro-Conde, Lucia | Cozen, Wendy | Hwang, Amie E | Mack, Thomas M | Sung, Joohon | Song, Yun-Mi | Yang, Sarah | Lee, Kayoung | Franz, Carol E | Kremen, William S | Lyons, Michael J | Busjahn, Andreas | Nelson, Tracy L | Whitfield, Keith E | Kandler, Christian | Jang, Kerry L | Gatz, Margaret | Butler, David A | Stazi, Maria A | Fagnani, Corrado | D'Ippolito, Cristina | Duncan, Glen E | Buchwald, Dedra | Derom, Catherine A | Vlietinck, Robert F | Loos, Ruth JF | Martin, Nicholas G | Medland, Sarah E | Montgomery, Grant W | Jeong, Hoe-Uk | Swan, Gary E | Krasnow, Ruth | Magnusson, Patrik KE | Pedersen, Nancy L | Dahl-Aslan, Anna K | McAdams, Tom A | Eley, Thalia C | Gregory, Alice M | Tynelius, Per | Baker, Laura A | Tuvblad, Catherine | Bayasgalan, Gombojav | Narandalai, Danshiitsoodol | Lichtenstein, Paul | Spector, Timothy D | Mangino, Massimo | Lachance, Genevieve | Bartels, Meike | van Beijsterveldt, Toos CEM | Willemsen, Gonneke | Burt, S Alexandra | Klump, Kelly L | Harris, Jennifer R | Brandt, Ingunn | Nilsen, Thomas Sevenius | Krueger, Robert F | McGue, Matt | Pahlen, Shandell | Corley, Robin P | Hjelmborg, Jacob v B | Goldberg, Jack H | Iwatani, Yoshinori | Watanabe, Mikio | Honda, Chika | Inui, Fujio | Rasmussen, Finn | Huibregtse, Brooke M | Boomsma, Dorret I | Sørensen, Thorkild I A | Kaprio, Jaakko | Silventoinen, Karri
eLife  null;5:e20320.
Human height variation is determined by genetic and environmental factors, but it remains unclear whether their influences differ across birth-year cohorts. We conducted an individual-based pooled analysis of 40 twin cohorts including 143,390 complete twin pairs born 1886–1994. Although genetic variance showed a generally increasing trend across the birth-year cohorts, heritability estimates (0.69-0.84 in men and 0.53-0.78 in women) did not present any clear pattern of secular changes. Comparing geographic-cultural regions (Europe, North America and Australia, and East Asia), total height variance was greatest in North America and Australia and lowest in East Asia, but no clear pattern in the heritability estimates across the birth-year cohorts emerged. Our findings do not support the hypothesis that heritability of height is lower in populations with low living standards than in affluent populations, nor that heritability of height will increase within a population as living standards improve.
PMCID: PMC5156525  PMID: 27964777
height; twins; heritability; birth cohorts; CODATwins project; Human
13.  Economic independence in survivors of cancer diagnosed at a young age: A Norwegian national cohort study 
Cancer  2016;122(24):3873-3882.
The impact of cancer on socioeconomic outcomes is attracting attention as the number of survivors of cancer in young age continues to rise. This study examines economic independence in a national cohort of survivors of cancer at a young age in Norway.
Through the linkage of several national registries, the study cohort comprised 1,212,013 individuals born in Norway during 1965 through 1985, of which 5440 had received a cancer diagnosis before age 25 years. Follow‐up was through 2007, and the main outcomes were receipt of governmental financial assistance, employment, income, and occupation. Analytic methods included Cox proportional hazard regression, log‐binomial regression, and quantile regression models.
Individuals in the cancer survivor group had an increased probability of receiving governmental financial assistance (men: hazard ratio [HR], 1.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3‐1.5; women: HR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3‐1.6) and of not being employed (men: HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2‐1.7; women: HR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2‐1.6) compared with those in the noncancer group. Income discrepancies were particularly pronounced for survivors of central nervous system tumors. There was no difference in representation in higher skilled occupations.
Survivors of cancer at a young age in Norway had an increased risk of being economically dependent and unemployed. This was evident in several tumor groups and was most pronounced in female survivors. There were only small differences in income or representation in higher skilled occupations for most employed survivors compared with the noncancer group. The current results are important for understanding the impact of a cancer diagnosis at a young age on subsequent job market outcomes. Cancer 2016;122:3873–3882. © 2016 The Authors. Cancer published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of American Cancer Society.
Cancer during childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood can influence subsequent economic and occupational outcomes. In a national cohort study from Norway, increased economic dependence and unemployment is demonstrated; however, overall, there are no substantial differences in income or occupational fields among survivors of cancer diagnosed before age 25 years when compared with cancer‐free references except for survivors of central nervous system tumors.
PMCID: PMC5157778  PMID: 27518040
adolescent; cancer; childhood; cohort studies; employment; income; occupations; socioeconomic factors; survivors; young adult
14.  Endothelin B Receptors on Primary Chicken Müller Cells and the Human MIO-M1 Müller Cell Line Activate ERK Signaling via Transactivation of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(12):e0167778.
Injury to the eye or retina triggers Müller cells, the major glia cell of the retina, to dedifferentiate and proliferate. In some species they attain retinal progenitor properties and have the capacity to generate new neurons. The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) system and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling are key regulators of these processes in Müller cells. The extracellular signals that modulate and control these processes are not fully understood. In this work we studied whether endothelin receptor signaling can activate EGFR and ERK signaling in Müller cells. Endothelin expression is robustly upregulated at retinal injury and endothelin receptors have been shown to transactivate EGFRs in other cell types. We analyzed the endothelin signaling system in chicken retina and cultured primary chicken Müller cells as well as the human Müller cell line MIO-M1. The Müller cells were stimulated with receptor agonists and treated with specific blockers to key enzymes in the signaling pathway or with siRNAs. We focused on endothelin receptor mediated transactivation of EGFRs by using western blot analysis, quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and immunocytochemistry. The results showed that chicken Müller cells and the human Müller cell line MIO-M1 express endothelin receptor B. Stimulation by the endothelin receptor B agonist IRL1620 triggered phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and autophosphorylation of (Y1173) EGFR. The effects could be blocked by Src-kinase inhibitors (PP1, PP2), EGFR-inhibitor (AG1478), EGFR-siRNA and by inhibitors to extracellular matrix metalloproteinases (GM6001), consistent with a Src-kinase mediated endothelin receptor response that engage ligand-dependent and ligand-independent EGFR activation. Our data suggest a mechanism for how injury-induced endothelins, produced in the retina, may modulate the Müller cell responses by Src-mediated transactivation of EGFRs. The data give support to a view in which endothelins among several other functions, serve as an injury-signal that regulate the gliotic response of Müller cells.
PMCID: PMC5145189  PMID: 27930693
15.  GABAergic anxiolytic drug in water increases migration behaviour in salmon 
Nature Communications  2016;7:13460.
Migration is an important life-history event in a wide range of taxa, yet many migrations are influenced by anthropogenic change. Although migration dynamics are extensively studied, the potential effects of environmental contaminants on migratory physiology are poorly understood. In this study we show that an anxiolytic drug in water can promote downward migratory behaviour of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in both laboratory setting and in a natural river tributary. Exposing salmon smolt to a dilute concentration of a GABAA receptor agonist (oxazepam) increased migration intensity compared with untreated smolt. These results implicate that salmon migration may be affected by human-induced changes in water chemical properties, such as acidification and pharmaceutical residues in wastewater effluent, via alterations in the GABAA receptor function.
PMCID: PMC5155400  PMID: 27922016
16.  Short-term Impact of Mass Drug Administration With Dihydroartemisinin Plus Piperaquine on Malaria in Southern Province Zambia: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2016;214(12):1831-1839.
Background. Mass drug administration (MDA) using dihydroartemisinin plus piperaquine (DHAp) represents a potential strategy to clear Plasmodium falciparum infections and reduce the human parasite reservoir.
Methods. A cluster-randomized controlled trial in Southern Province, Zambia, was used to assess the short-term impact of 2 rounds of community-wide MDA and household-level (focal) MDA with DHAp compared with no mass treatment. Study end points included parasite prevalence in children, infection incidence, and confirmed malaria case incidence.
Results. All end points significantly decreased after intervention, irrespective of treatment group. Parasite prevalence from 7.71% at baseline to 0.54% after MDA in lower-transmission areas, resulting in an 87% reduction compared with control (adjusted odds ratio, 0.13; 95% confidence interval, .02–.92; P = .04). No difference between treatment groups was observed in areas of high transmission. The 5-month cumulative infection incidence was 70% lower (crude incidence rate ratio, 0.30; 95% confidence interval, .06–1.49; P = .14) and 58% lower (0.42; .18–.98; P = .046) after MDA compared with control in lower- and higher-transmission areas, respectively. No significant impact of focal MDA was observed for any end point.
Conclusions. Two rounds of MDA with DHAp rapidly reduced infection prevalence, infection incidence, and confirmed case incidence rates, especially in low-transmission areas.
Clinical Trials Registration. NCT02329301.
PMCID: PMC5142084  PMID: 27923947
malaria; elimination; mass drug administration
17.  The Application of Frailty to the Modern Cardiac Risk Assessment: a Case-Based Review 
Cardiac risk assessment in aging patients poses a significant challenge to the practicing clinician, particularly when evaluating the use of invasive procedures. Frailty is a valuable risk marker that has been associated with worse outcomes in patients with coronary artery disease, heart failure, and aortic stenosis. Integrating the available frailty studies into cardiac risk assessments can help improve shared decision-making between physicians and their patients. In this review, we provide an up-to-date, case-based appraisal of the available clinical trial data focusing on the impact of frailty in patients with cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC5033127  PMID: 27668030
Frailty; Cardiac risk assessment; Aging; Geriatric; Elderly; Aortic stenosis; Transcatheter aortic valve replacement; Coronary artery disease; Heart failure
18.  Class I HDACs specifically regulate E‐cadherin expression in human renal epithelial cells 
Epithelial‐mesenchymal transition (EMT) and renal fibrosis are closely involved in chronic kidney disease. Inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) has an anti‐fibrotic effect in various diseases. However, the pathophysiological role of isoform‐specific HDACs or class‐selective HDACs in renal fibrosis remains unknown. Here, we investigated EMT markers and extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins in a human proximal tubular cell line (HK‐2) by using HDAC inhibitors or by knockdown of class I HDACs (HDAC1, 2, 3 and 8). Trichostatin A (TSA), MS275, PCI34051 and LMK235 inhibited ECM proteins such as collagen type I or fibronectin in transforming growth factor β1 (TGF‐β1)‐induced HK2 cells. However, restoration of TGF‐β1‐induced E‐cadherin down‐regulation was only seen in HK‐2 cells treated with TSA or MS275, but not with PCI34051, whereas TGF‐β1‐induced N‐cadherin expression was not affected by the inhibitors. ECM protein and EMT marker levels were prevented or restored by small interfering RNA transfection against HDAC8, but not against other class I HDACs (HDAC1, 2 and 3). E‐cadherin regulation is mediated by HDAC8 expression, but not by HDAC8 enzyme activity. Thus, class I HDACs (HDAC1, 2, 3 and 8) play a major role in regulating ECM and EMT, whereas class IIa HDACs (HDAC4 and 5) are less effective.
PMCID: PMC5134402  PMID: 27420561
class I HDAC; epithelial‐mesenchymal transition (EMT); renal fibrosis; HK‐2 cells; E‐cadherin
19.  Intra- and Extra-Cellular Events Related to Altered Glycosylation of MUC1 Promote Chronic Inflammation, Tumor Progression, Invasion, and Metastasis 
Biomolecules  2016;6(4):39.
Altered glycosylation of mucin 1 (MUC1) on tumor cells compared to normal epithelial cells was previously identified as an important antigenic modification recognized by the immune system in the process of tumor immunosurveillance. This tumor form of MUC1 is considered a viable target for cancer immunotherapy. The importance of altered MUC1 glycosylation extends also to its role as a promoter of chronic inflammatory conditions that lead to malignant transformation and cancer progression. We review here what is known about the role of specific cancer-associated glycans on MUC1 in protein-protein interactions and intracellular signaling in cancer cells and in their adhesion to each other and the tumor stroma. The tumor form of MUC1 also creates a different landscape of inflammatory cells in the tumor microenvironment by controlling the recruitment of inflammatory cells, establishing specific interactions with dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages, and facilitating tumor escape from the immune system. Through multiple types of short glycans simultaneously present in tumors, MUC1 acquires multiple oncogenic properties that control tumor development, progression, and metastasis at different steps of the process of carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC5197949  PMID: 27754373
mucin 1 (MUC1); protein-protein interaction; tumor microenvironment; inflammation
20.  InterPro in 2017—beyond protein family and domain annotations 
Nucleic Acids Research  2016;45(Database issue):D190-D199.
InterPro ( is a freely available database used to classify protein sequences into families and to predict the presence of important domains and sites. InterProScan is the underlying software that allows both protein and nucleic acid sequences to be searched against InterPro's predictive models, which are provided by its member databases. Here, we report recent developments with InterPro and its associated software, including the addition of two new databases (SFLD and CDD), and the functionality to include residue-level annotation and prediction of intrinsic disorder. These developments enrich the annotations provided by InterPro, increase the overall number of residues annotated and allow more specific functional inferences.
PMCID: PMC5210578  PMID: 27899635
21.  Repression of RNA polymerase by the archaeo-viral regulator ORF145/RIP 
Nature Communications  2016;7:13595.
Little is known about how archaeal viruses perturb the transcription machinery of their hosts. Here we provide the first example of an archaeo-viral transcription factor that directly targets the host RNA polymerase (RNAP) and efficiently represses its activity. ORF145 from the temperate Acidianus two-tailed virus (ATV) forms a high-affinity complex with RNAP by binding inside the DNA-binding channel where it locks the flexible RNAP clamp in one position. This counteracts the formation of transcription pre-initiation complexes in vitro and represses abortive and productive transcription initiation, as well as elongation. Both host and viral promoters are subjected to ORF145 repression. Thus, ORF145 has the properties of a global transcription repressor and its overexpression is toxic for Sulfolobus. On the basis of its properties, we have re-named ORF145 RNAP Inhibitory Protein (RIP).
How archaeal viruses perturb host transcription machinery is poorly understood. Here, the authors provide evidence that the archaeo-viral transcription factor ORF145/RIP targets host RNA polymerase, repressing its activity.
PMCID: PMC5123050  PMID: 27882920
22.  FAIRDOMHub: a repository and collaboration environment for sharing systems biology research 
Nucleic Acids Research  2016;45(Database issue):D404-D407.
The FAIRDOMHub is a repository for publishing FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) Data, Operating procedures and Models ( for the Systems Biology community. It is a web-accessible repository for storing and sharing systems biology research assets. It enables researchers to organize, share and publish data, models and protocols, interlink them in the context of the systems biology investigations that produced them, and to interrogate them via API interfaces. By using the FAIRDOMHub, researchers can achieve more effective exchange with geographically distributed collaborators during projects, ensure results are sustained and preserved and generate reproducible publications that adhere to the FAIR guiding principles of data stewardship.
PMCID: PMC5210530  PMID: 27899646
23.  Survey Email Scheduling and Monitoring in eRCTs (SESAMe): A Digital Tool to Improve Data Collection in Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials 
Electronic questionnaires can ease data collection in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in clinical practice. We found no existing software that could automate the sending of emails to participants enrolled into an RCT at different study participant inclusion time points.
Our aim was to develop suitable software to facilitate data collection in an ongoing multicenter RCT of low back pain (the Acuback study). For the Acuback study, we determined that we would need to send a total of 5130 emails to 270 patients recruited at different centers and at 19 different time points.
The first version of the software was tested in a pilot study in November 2013 but was unable to deliver multiuser or Web-based access. We resolved these shortcomings in the next version, which we tested on the Web in February 2014. Our new version was able to schedule and send the required emails in the full-scale Acuback trial that started in March 2014. The system architecture evolved through an iterative, inductive process between the project study leader and the software programmer. The program was tested and updated when errors occurred. To evaluate the development of the software, we used a logbook, a research assistant dialogue, and Acuback trial participant queries.
We have developed a Web-based app, Survey Email Scheduling and Monitoring in eRCTs (SESAMe), that monitors responses in electronic surveys and sends reminders by emails or text messages (short message service, SMS) to participants. The overall response rate for the 19 surveys in the Acuback study increased from 76.4% (655/857) before we introduced reminders to 93.11% (1149/1234) after the new function (P<.001). Further development will aim at securing encryption and data storage.
The SESAMe software facilitates consecutive patient data collection in RCTs and can be used to increase response rates and quality of research, both in general practice and in other clinical trial settings.
PMCID: PMC5141334  PMID: 27876689
randomized controlled trials; data collection; surveys and questionnaires; quality improvement; sample size; Internet; email; text messaging
24.  The NOURISHED randomised controlled trial comparing mentalisation-based treatment for eating disorders (MBT-ED) with specialist supportive clinical management (SSCM-ED) for patients with eating disorders and symptoms of borderline personality disorder 
Trials  2016;17:549.
In this multi-centre randomized controlled trial (RCT) we compared modified mentalisation-based treatment (MBT-ED) to specialist supportive clinical management (SSCM-ED) in patients with eating disorders (EDs) and borderline personality disorder symptoms (BPD). This group of patients presents complex challenges to clinical services, and a treatment which addresses their multiple problems has the potential to improve outcome. MBT has been shown to be effective in improving outcome in patients with BPD, but its use has not been reported in ED.
Sixty-eight eligible participants were randomised to MBT-ED or SSCM-ED. The primary outcome measure was the global score on the Eating Disorder Examination. Secondary outcomes included measures of BPD symptoms (the Zanarini Rating Scale for Borderline Personality Disorder), general psychiatric state, quality of life and service utilisation. Participants were assessed at baseline and at 6, 12 and 18 months after randomisation. Analysis was performed using linear mixed models.
Only 15 participants (22 %) completed the 18 month follow-up. Early drop-out occurred significantly more in the SSCM-ED group. Drop-out did not vary with treatment model later in therapy and was sometimes attributed to participants moving away. There was higher drop--out amongst smokers and those with higher neuroticism scores. 47.1 % of participants in the MBT-ED arm and 37.1 % in the SSCM-ED arm attended at least 50 % of therapy sessions offered.
Amongst those remaining in the trial, at 12 and 18 months MBT-ED was associated with a greater reduction in Shape Concern and Weight Concern in the Eating Disorder Examination compared to SSCM-ED. At 6, 12 and 18 months there was a decline of ED and BPD symptoms in both groups combined.
Ten participants were reported as having had adverse events during the trial, mostly self-harm, and there was one death, attributed as ’unexplained’ by the coroner.
The high drop-out rate made interpretation of the results difficult. Greater involvement of research staff in clinical management might have improved compliance with both therapy and research assessment. MBT-ED may have had an impact on core body image psychopathology.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN51304415. Registered on 19 April 2011.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13063-016-1606-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC5114835  PMID: 27855714
Eating disorders; Psychotherapy; Borderline personality disorder; Mentalisation-based treatment; Specialist supportive clinical management; Randomised controlled trial; Drop-out
25.  Effect of the Obesity Epidemic on Kidney Transplantation: Obesity Is Independent of Diabetes as a Risk Factor for Adverse Renal Transplant Outcomes 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0165712.
Obesity is a growing epidemic in most developed countries including the United States resulting in an increased number of obese patients with end-stage renal disease. A previous study has shown that obese patients with end-stage renal disease have a survival benefit with transplantation compared with dialysis. However, due to serious comorbidities, many centers place restrictions on the selection of obese patients for transplantation. Further, due to obese patients having an increased risk of diabetes, it is unclear whether obesity can be an independent risk, independent of diabetes for increasing adverse renal transplant outcomes.
To investigate the role of obesity in kidney transplantation, we used the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database. After filtering for subjects that had the full set of covariates including age, gender, graft type, ethnicity, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, dialysis time and time period of transplantation for our analysis, 191,091 subjects were included in the analyses. Using multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for covariates we determined whether obesity is an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes such as delayed graft function, acute rejection, urine protein and graft failure. Cox regression modeling was used to determine hazard ratios of graft failure.
Using multivariate model analyses, we found that obese patients have significantly increased risk of adverse transplant outcomes, including delayed graft function, graft failure, urine protein and acute rejection. Cox regression modeling hazard ratios showed that obesity also increased risk of graft failure. Life-table survival curves showed that obesity may be a risk factor independent of diabetes mellitus for a shorter time to graft failure.
A key observation in our study is that the risks for adverse outcome of obesity are progressive with increasing body mass index. Furthermore, pre-obese overweight recipients compared with normal weight recipients also had increased risks of adverse outcomes related to kidney transplantation.
PMCID: PMC5112887  PMID: 27851743

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