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1.  Transient Inability to manage Proteobacteria promotes chronic gut inflammation in TLR5-deficient mice 
Cell host & microbe  2012;12(2):139-152.
SUMMARY
Colitis results from breakdown of homeostasis between intestinal microbiota and the mucosal immune system, with both environmental and genetic influencing factors. Flagellin receptor TLR5-deficient mice (T5KO) display elevated intestinal pro-inflammatory gene expression and colitis with incomplete penetrance, providing a genetically sensitized system to study the contribution of microbiota to driving colitis. Both colitic and non-colitic T5KO exhibited transiently unstable microbiotas, with lasting differences in colitic T5KO while their non-colitic siblings stabilized their microbiotas to resemble wild-type mice. Transient high levels of Proteobacteria, especially Enterobacteria species including E. coli, observed in close proximity to the gut epithelium was a striking feature of colitic microbiota. A Crohn’s disease-associated E. coli strain induced chronic colitis in T5KO, which persisted well after the exogenously introduced bacterial species had been eliminated. Thus, an innate immune deficiency can result in unstable gut microbiota associated with low-grade inflammation and harboring Proteobacteria can drive and/or instigate chronic colitis.
doi:10.1016/j.chom.2012.07.004
PMCID: PMC4310462  PMID: 22863420
TLR5; colitis; gut microbial diversity; 16S rRNA gene pyrosequencing; adherent-invasive Escherichia coli
2.  Postoperative epidural hematoma contributes to delayed upper cord tethering after decompression of Chiari malformation type I 
Surgical Neurology International  2014;5(Suppl 4):S278-S281.
Background:
Symptomatic arachnoiditis after posterior fossa surgical procedures such as decompression of Chiari malformation is a possible complication. Clinical presentation is generally insidious and delayed by months or years. It causes disturbances in the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid and enlargement of a syrinx cavity in the upper spinal cord. Surgical de-tethering has favorable results with progressive collapse of the syrinx and relief of the associated symptoms.
Case Description:
A 30-year-old male with Chiari malformation type I was treated by performing posterior fossa bone decompression, dura opening and closure with a suturable bovine pericardium dural graft. Postoperative period was uneventful until the fifth day in which the patient suffered intense headache and progressive loose of consciousness caused by an acute posterior fossa epidural hematoma. It was quickly removed with complete clinical recovering. One year later, the patient experienced progressive worsened of his symptoms. Upper spinal cord tethering was diagnosed and a new surgery for debridement was required.
Conclusions:
The epidural hematoma compressing the dural graft against the neural structures contributes to the upper spinal cord tethering and represents a nondescribed cause of postoperative fibrosis, adhesion formation, and subsequent recurrent hindbrain compression.
doi:10.4103/2152-7806.139384
PMCID: PMC4163907  PMID: 25225620
Arachnoiditis; arnold-chiary malformation; dural graft; posterior fossa; tethering
3.  Comparison of the Vaginal Microbial Communities in Women with Recurrent Genital HSV Receiving Acyclovir Intravaginal Rings 
Antiviral research  2013;102:87-94.
Vaginally administered antiviral agents may reduce the risk of HIV and HSV acquisition. Delivery of these drugs using intravaginal rings (IVRs) holds the potential benefits of improving adherence and decreasing systemic exposure, while maintaining steady-state drug levels in the vaginal tract. Elucidating how IVRs interact with the vaginal microbiome constitutes a critical step in evaluating the safety of these devices, as shifts the vaginal microbiome have been linked with several disease states. To date, clinical IVR trials have relied on culture-dependent methods that omit the high diversity of unculturable microbial population. Longitudinal, culture-independent characterization of the microbiota in vaginal samples from 6 women with recurrent genital HSV who used an acyclovir IVR was carried out and compared to the communities developing in biofilms on the IVR surface. The analysis utilized Illumina MiSeq sequence datasets generated from bar-coded amplicons of 16S rRNA gene fragments. Specific taxa in the vaginal communities of the study participants were found to be associated with the duration of recurrent genital HSV status and the number of HSV outbreaks. Taxonomic comparison of the vaginal and IVR biofilm communities did not reveal any significant differences, suggesting that the IVRs were not systematically enriched with members of the vaginal microbiome. Device usage did not alter the participants' vaginal microbial communities, within the confines of the current study design. Rigorous, molecular analysis of the effects of intravaginal devices on the corresponding microbial communities shows promise for integration with traditional approaches in the clinical evaluation of candidate products.
doi:10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.12.004
PMCID: PMC4006976  PMID: 24361269
4.  Ultrastructural Study on Tissue Alterations Caused by Trypanosomatids in Experimental Murine Infections 
The ultrastructural study in different tissues of mice experimentally infected with isolates of Trypanosoma evansi, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Leishmania mexicana reveals changes in cardiac myocytes, skeletal muscle fibers, and hepatic, adrenal, kidney, and spleen cells. Some of these changes were cytoarchitectural and others consisted of necrosis. Alterations in the microvasculature were also found. The mononuclear cell infiltrate included neutrophils, eosinophils, and macrophages. This work shows that diverse mice tissues are important target for trypanosomatids.
doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00075
PMCID: PMC4085721  PMID: 25072046
pathology; ultrastructure; murine tissues; experimental infections; trypanosomatids
5.  Indocyanine green videoangiography “in negative”: definition and usefulness in spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(Suppl 3):471-477.
Purpose
Indocyanine green videoangiography (IGV) has proven its effectiveness in the field of exovascular neurosurgery, both in the intracranial and spinal compartment, but is necessary to define a systematic process for the performance of the IGV to facilitate its interpretation during the procedure. We have defined and applied the concept of videoangiography “in negative” (INIGV) to spinal dural arteriovenous fistulae (dAVF) for the detection and treatment of arteriovenous shunts, so called because the first phase is performed with the vessel suggestive of being pathological occluded.
Methods
A Pentero-operating microscope with near-infrared IGV-integrated system (Carl Zeiss Co., Germany) was used. At our institution, 24 patients were treated for a spinal dAVF between 1995 and 2011, only in the last 4 cases, INIGV was performed.
Results
We describe the IGV in negative procedure and show the most illustrative cases. In all cases, the fistula occlusion was confirmed by postoperative selective digital subtraction angiography (DSA). INIGV demonstrate its capacity in detecting vessels not actually arterialized that should be respected and avoid some of the main limitations of the conventional IGV. This is a technical description about an Indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiographic procedure modification that is superior to merely performing ICG before and after clipping of a dAVF.
Conclusion
The INIGV results are rapid and easy to interpret procedure and provide great advantages to the dAVF treatment. Nevertheless, further studies are needed with a larger sample size to determine if INIGV may reduce the need to perform immediate postoperative DSA.
doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2646-8
PMCID: PMC3641275  PMID: 23314841
Indocyanine green; Videoangiography; Dural arteriovenous fistula
6.  Ebselen Alters Mitochondrial Physiology and Reduces Viability of Rat Hippocampal Astrocytes 
DNA and Cell Biology  2013;32(4):147-155.
The seleno-organic compound and radical scavenger ebselen (2-phenyl-1,2-benzisoselenazol-3(2H)-one) have been extensively employed as an anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective compound. However, its glutathione peroxidase activity at the expense of cellular thiols groups could underlie certain deleterious actions of the compound on cell physiology. In this study, we have analyzed the effect of ebselen on rat hippocampal astrocytes in culture. Cellular viability, the intracellular free-Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]c), the mitochondrial free-Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]m), and mitochondrial membrane potential (ψm) were analyzed. The caspase-3 activity was also assayed. Our results show that cell viability was reduced by treatment of cells with ebselen, depending on the concentration employed. In the presence of ebselen, we observed an initial transient increase in [Ca2+]c that was then followed by a progressive increase to an elevated plateau. We also observed a transient increase in [Ca2+]m in the presence of ebselen that returned toward a value over the prestimulation level. The compound induced depolarization of ψm and altered the permeability of the mitochondrial membrane. Additionally, a disruption of the mitochondrial network was observed. Finally, we did not detect changes in caspase-3 activation in response to ebselen treatment. Collectively, these data support the likelihood of ebselen, depending on the concentration employed, reduces viability of rat hippocampal astrocytes via its action on the mitochondrial activity. These may be early effects that do not involve caspase-3 activation. We conclude that, depending on the concentration used, ebselen might exert deleterious actions on astrocyte physiology that could compromise cell function.
Ebselen treatment reduced primary rat astrocyte viability in a concentration-dependent manner. This was associated with a transient calcium increase and alteration of mitochondrial potential.
doi:10.1089/dna.2012.1939
PMCID: PMC3624633  PMID: 23496767
7.  Lack of validation of genetic variants associated with anti–tumor necrosis factor therapy response in rheumatoid arthritis: a genome-wide association study replication and meta-analysis 
Introduction
In this study, our aim was to elucidate the role of four polymorphisms identified in a prior large genome-wide association study (GWAS) in which the investigators analyzed the responses of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to treatment with tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNFi). The authors of that study reported that the four genetic variants were significantly associated. However, none of the associations reached GWAS significance, and two subsequent studies failed to replicate these associations.
Methods
The four polymorphisms (rs12081765, rs1532269, rs17301249 and rs7305646) were genotyped in a total of 634 TNFi-treated RA patients of Spanish Caucasian origin. Four outcomes were evaluated: changes in the Disease Activity Score in 28 joints (DAS28) after 6 and 12 months of treatment and classification according to the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) response criteria at the same time points. Association with DAS28 changes was assessed by linear regression using an additive genetic model. Contingency tables of genotype and allele frequencies between EULAR responder and nonresponder patients were compared. In addition, we combined our data with those of previously reported studies in a meta-analysis including 2,998 RA patients.
Results
None of the four genetic variants showed an association with response to TNFi in any of the four outcomes analyzed in our Spanish patients. In addition, only rs1532269 yielded a suggestive association (P = 0.0033) with the response to TNFi when available data from previous studies were combined in the meta-analysis.
Conclusion
Our data suggest that the rs12081765, rs1532269, rs17301249 and rs7305646 genetic variants do not have a role as genetic predictors of TNFi treatment outcomes.
doi:10.1186/ar4504
PMCID: PMC4060376  PMID: 24612463
8.  Anal gas evacuation and colonic microbiota in patients with flatulence: effect of diet 
Gut  2013;63(3):401-408.
Objective
To characterise the influence of diet on abdominal symptoms, anal gas evacuation, intestinal gas distribution and colonic microbiota in patients complaining of flatulence.
Design
Patients complaining of flatulence (n=30) and healthy subjects (n=20) were instructed to follow their usual diet for 3 days (basal phase) and to consume a high-flatulogenic diet for another 3 days (challenge phase).
Results
During basal phase, patients recorded more abdominal symptoms than healthy subjects in daily questionnaires (5.8±0.3 vs 0.4±0.2 mean discomfort/pain score, respectively; p=<0.0001) and more gas evacuations by an event marker (21.9±2.8 vs 7.4±1.0 daytime evacuations, respectively; p=0.0001), without differences in the volume of gas evacuated after a standard meal (262±22 and 265±25 mL, respectively). On flatulogenic diet, both groups recorded more abdominal symptoms (7.9±0.3 and 2.8±0.4 discomfort/pain, respectively), number of gas evacuations (44.4±5.3 and 21.7±2.9 daytime evacuations, respectively) and had more gas production (656±52 and 673±78 mL, respectively; p<0.05 vs basal diet for all). When challenged with flatulogenic diet, patients’ microbiota developed instability in composition, exhibiting variations in the main phyla and reduction of microbial diversity, whereas healthy subjects’ microbiota were stable. Taxa from Bacteroides fragilis or Bilophila wadsworthia correlated with number of gas evacuations or volume of gas evacuated, respectively.
Conclusions
Patients complaining of flatulence have a poor tolerance of intestinal gas, which is associated with instability of the microbial ecosystem.
doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2012-303013
PMCID: PMC3933177  PMID: 23766444
Colonic Bacteria; Colonic Fermentation; Colonic Microflora; Functional Bowel Disorder; Visceral Sensitivity
9.  Histoplasma capsulatum and Pneumocystis spp. co-infection in wild bats from Argentina, French Guyana, and Mexico 
BMC Microbiology  2014;14:23.
Background
Histoplasma capsulatum and Pneumocystis organisms cause host infections primarily affecting the lung tissue. H. capsulatum is endemic in the United States of America and Latin American countries. In special environments, H. capsulatum is commonly associated with bat and bird droppings. Pneumocystis-host specificity has been primarily studied in laboratory animals, and its ability to be harboured by wild animals remains as an important issue for understanding the spread of this pathogen in nature. Bats infected with H. capsulatum or Pneumocystis spp. have been found, with this mammal serving as a probable reservoir and disperser; however, the co-infection of bats with both of these microorganisms has never been explored. To evaluate the impact of H. capsulatum and Pneumocystis spp. infections in this flying mammal, 21 bat lungs from Argentina (AR), 13 from French Guyana (FG), and 88 from Mexico (MX) were screened using nested-PCR of the fragments, employing the Hcp100 locus for H. capsulatum and the mtLSUrRNA and mtSSUrRNA loci for Pneumocystis organisms.
Results
Of the 122 bats studied, 98 revealed H. capsulatum infections in which 55 of these bats exhibited this infection alone. In addition, 51 bats revealed Pneumocystis spp. infection of which eight bats exhibited a Pneumocystis infection alone. A total of 43 bats (eight from AR, one from FG, and 34 from MX) were found co-infected with both fungi, representing a co-infection rate of 35.2% (95% CI = 26.8-43.6%).
Conclusion
The data highlights the H. capsulatum and Pneumocystis spp.co-infection in bat population’s suggesting interplay with this wild host.
doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-23
PMCID: PMC3916801  PMID: 24495513
Histoplasma; Pneumocystis; Co-infection; Bats; PCR
10.  Inhibition of Neuronal Apoptosis and Axonal Regression Ameliorates Sympathetic Atrophy and Hemodynamic Alterations in Portal Hypertensive Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84374.
Background and Aim
A neuronal pathway participates in the development of portal hypertension: blockade of afferent sensory nerves in portal vein ligated (PVL) rats simultaneously prevents brain cardiovascular regularory nuclei activation, neuromodulator overexpression in superior mesenteric ganglia, sympathetic atrophy of mesenteric innervation and hemodynamic alterations. Here we investigated in PVL rats alterations in neuromodulators and signaling pathways leading to axonal regression or apoptosis in the superior mesenteric ganglia and tested the effects of the stimulation of neuronal proliferation/survival by using a tyrosine kinase receptor A agonist, gambogic amide.
Results
The neuronal pathway was confirmed by an increased neuronal afferent activity at the vagal nodose ganglia and the presence of semaphorin3A in sympathetic pre-ganglionic neurons at the intermediolateral nucleus of the spinal cord of PVL rats. Expression of the active form of tyrosine kinase receptor A (phosphorylated), leading to proliferation and survival signaling, showed a significant reduction in PVL comparing to sham rats. In contrast, the apoptotic and axonal retraction pathways were stimulated in PVL, demonstrated by a significant overexpression of semaphorin 3A and its receptor neuropilin1, together with increases of cleaved caspase7, inactive poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase and Rho kinase expression. Finally, the administration of gambogic amide in PVL rats showed an amelioration of hemodynamic alterations and sympathetic atrophy, through the activation of survival pathways together with the inhibition of apoptotic cascades and Rho kinase mediated axonal regression.
Conclusion
The adrenergic alteration and sympathetic atrophy in mesenteric vessels during portal hypertension is caused by alterations on neuromodulation leading to post-ganglionic sympathetic regression and apoptosis and contributing to splanchnic vasodilation.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0084374
PMCID: PMC3882227  PMID: 24400086
11.  Frequency and Genetic Diversity of the MAT1 Locus of Histoplasma capsulatum Isolates in Mexico and Brazil 
Eukaryotic Cell  2013;12(7):1033-1038.
The MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 idiomorphs associated with the MAT1 locus of Histoplasma capsulatum were identified by PCR. A total of 28 fungal isolates, 6 isolates from human clinical samples and 22 isolates from environmental (infected bat and contaminated soil) samples, were studied. Among the 14 isolates from Mexico, 71.4% (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 48.3% to 94.5%) were of the MAT1-2 genotype, whereas 100% of the isolates from Brazil were of the MAT1-1 genotype. Each MAT1 idiomorphic region was sequenced and aligned, using the sequences of the G-217B (+ mating type) and G-186AR (− mating type) strains as references. BLASTn analyses of the MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 sequences studied correlated with their respective + and − mating type genotypes. Trees were generated by the maximum likelihood (ML) method to search for similarity among isolates of each MAT1 idiomorph. All MAT1-1 isolates originated from Brazilian bats formed a well-defined group; three isolates from Mexico, the G-217B strain, and a subgroup encompassing all soil-derived isolates and two clinical isolates from Brazil formed a second group; last, one isolate (EH-696P) from a migratory bat captured in Mexico formed a third group of the MAT1-1 genotype. The MAT1-2 idiomorph formed two groups, one of which included two H. capsulatum isolates from infected bats that were closely related to the G-186AR strain. The other group was formed by two human isolates and six isolates from infected bats. Concatenated ML trees, with internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) -5.8S-ITS2 and MAT1-1 or MAT1-2 sequences, support the relatedness of MAT1-1 or MAT1-2 isolates. H. capsulatum mating types were associated with the geographical origin of the isolates, and all isolates from Brazil correlated with their environmental sources.
doi:10.1128/EC.00012-13
PMCID: PMC3697462  PMID: 23709181
12.  Cardiovascular and Renal Effects of Bromocriptine in Diabetic Patients with Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:104059.
Objective. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of bromocriptine (BEC) on left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and residual renal function (RRF) in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Research Design and Methods. A 6-month double-blind randomized controlled trial was conducted in 28 patients with T2D and stage 4 CKD with increased LVMI. Fourteen patients received BEC (2.5 mg, initially 1 tablet with subsequent increase to three times a day) and 14 received a placebo (PBO; initially 1 tablet with subsequent increase to three times a day). Cardiovascular changes were assessed by monitoring 24 h ambulatory blood pressure, two-dimensional-guided M-mode echocardiography, and N-terminal brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) plasma levels. RRF was evaluated by creatinine clearance and cystatin-C plasma levels. Results. Both BEC and PBO groups decreased blood pressure—but the effect was more pronounced in the BEC group. Average 24 h, diurnal and nocturnal blood pressures, and circadian profile showed improved values compared to the PBO group; LVMI decreased by 14% in BEC and increased by 8% in PBO group. NT-proBNP decreased in BEC (0.54 ± 0.15 to 0.32 ± 0.17 pg/mL) and increased in PBO (0.37 ± 0.15 to 0.64 ± 0.17 pg/mL). Creatinine clearance did not change in the BEC group and decreased in the PBO group. Conclusions. BEC resulted in a decrease on blood pressure and LVMI. BEC also prevented the progression of CKD while maintaining the creatinine clearance unchanged.
doi:10.1155/2013/104059
PMCID: PMC3747336  PMID: 23984312
13.  Characterizing Pneumocystis in the Lungs of Bats: Understanding Pneumocystis Evolution and the Spread of Pneumocystis Organisms in Mammal Populations 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2012;78(22):8122-8136.
Bats belong to a wide variety of species and occupy diversified habitats, from cities to the countryside. Their different diets (i.e., nectarivore, frugivore, insectivore, hematophage) lead Chiroptera to colonize a range of ecological niches. These flying mammals exert an undisputable impact on both ecosystems and circulation of pathogens that they harbor. Pneumocystis species are recognized as major opportunistic fungal pathogens which cause life-threatening pneumonia in severely immunocompromised or weakened mammals. Pneumocystis consists of a heterogeneous group of highly adapted host-specific fungal parasites that colonize a wide range of mammalian hosts. In the present study, 216 lungs of 19 bat species, sampled from diverse biotopes in the New and Old Worlds, were examined. Each bat species may be harboring a specific Pneumocystis species. We report 32.9% of Pneumocystis carriage in wild bats (41.9% in Microchiroptera). Ecological and behavioral factors (elevation, crowding, migration) seemed to influence the Pneumocystis carriage. This study suggests that Pneumocystis-host association may yield much information on Pneumocystis transmission, phylogeny, and biology in mammals. Moreover, the link between genetic variability of Pneumocystis isolated from populations of the same bat species and their geographic area could be exploited in terms of phylogeography.
doi:10.1128/AEM.01791-12
PMCID: PMC3485942  PMID: 23001662
14.  Potentially-toxic and essential elements profile of AH1N1 patients in Mexico City 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:1284.
During spring of 2009, a new influenza virus AH1N1 spread in the world causing acute respiratory illness and death, resulting in the first influenza pandemic since 1968. Blood levels of potentially-toxic and essential elements of 40 pneumonia and confirmed AH1N1 were evaluated against two different groups of controls, both not infected with the pandemic strain. Significant concentrations of potentially-toxic elements (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic) along with deficiency of selenium or increased Zn/Cu ratios characterized AH1N1 cases under study when evaluated versus controlled cases. Deficiency of selenium is progressively observed from controls I (influenza like illness) through controls II (pneumonia) and finally pneumonia -AH1N1 infected patients. Cases with blood Se levels greater than the recommended for an optimal cut-off to activate glutathione peroxidase (12.5 μg/dL) recovered from illness and survived. Evaluation of this essential element in critical pneumonia patients at the National Institutes is under evaluation as a clinical trial.
doi:10.1038/srep01284
PMCID: PMC3576630  PMID: 23422930
15.  Using QIIME to analyze 16S rRNA gene sequences from Microbial Communities 
QIIME (canonically pronounced ‘chime’) is software that performs microbial community analysis. It is an acronym for Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology, and has been used to analyze and interpret nucleic acid sequence data from fungal, viral, bacterial, and archaeal communities.
The following protocols describe how to install QIIME on a single computer, and use it to analyze microbial 16S sequence data from 9 distinct microbial communities.
doi:10.1002/0471250953.bi1007s36
PMCID: PMC3249058  PMID: 22161565
16.  Dual tracer imaging of SPECT and PET probes in living mice using a sequential protocol 
Over the past 20 years, multimodal imaging strategies have motivated the fusion of Positron Emission Tomography (PET) or Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scans with an X-ray computed tomography (CT) image to provide anatomical information, as well as a framework with which molecular and functional images may be co-registered. Recently, pre-clinical nuclear imaging technology has evolved to capture multiple SPECT or multiple PET tracers to further enhance the information content gathered within an imaging experiment. However, the use of SPECT and PET probes together, in the same animal, has remained a challenge. Here we describe a straightforward method using an integrated trimodal imaging system and a sequential dosing/acquisition protocol to achieve dual tracer imaging with 99mTc and 18F isotopes, along with anatomical CT, on an individual specimen. Dosing and imaging is completed so that minimal animal manipulations are required, full trimodal fusion is conserved, and tracer crosstalk including down-scatter of the PET tracer in SPECT mode is avoided. This technique will enhance the ability of preclinical researchers to detect multiple disease targets and perform functional, molecular, and anatomical imaging on individual specimens to increase the information content gathered within longitudinal in vivo studies.
PMCID: PMC3484419  PMID: 23145357
Dual tracer imaging; trimodal imaging; Positron Emission Tomography (PET); Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT); X-ray Computed Tomography (CT); nuclear imaging
17.  Role of Adipokines in Atherosclerosis: Interferences with Cardiovascular Complications in Rheumatic Diseases 
Mediators of Inflammation  2012;2012:125458.
Patients with rheumatic diseases have an increased risk of mortality by cardiovascular events. In fact, several rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and ankylosing spondylitis are associated with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Although traditional cardiovascular risk factors have been involved in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases in rheumatic patients, these alterations do not completely explain the enhanced cardiovascular risk in this population. Obesity and its pathologic alteration of fat mass and dysfunction, due to an altered pattern of secretion of proinflammatory adipokines, could be one of the links between cardiovascular and rheumatic diseases. Indeed, the incidence of CVDs is augmented in obese individuals with rheumatic disorders. Thus, in this paper we explore in detail the relationships among adipokines, rheumatic diseases, and cardiovascular complications by giving to the reader a holistic vision and several suggestions for future perspectives and potential clinical implications.
doi:10.1155/2012/125458
PMCID: PMC3403095  PMID: 22910888
18.  Carbon, Metals, and Grain Size Correlate with Bacterial Community Structure in Sediments of a High Arsenic Aquifer 
Bacterial communities can exert significant influence on the biogeochemical cycling of arsenic (As). This has globally important implications since As in drinking water affects the health of over 100 million people worldwide, including in the Ganges–Brahmaputra Delta region of Bangladesh where geogenic arsenic in groundwater can reach concentrations of more than 10 times the World Health Organization’s limit. Thus, the goal of this research was to investigate patterns in bacterial community composition across gradients in sediment texture and chemistry in an aquifer with elevated groundwater As concentrations in Araihazar, Bangladesh. We characterized the bacterial community by pyrosequencing 16S rRNA genes from aquifer sediment samples collected at three locations along a groundwater flow path at a range of depths between 1.5 and 15 m. We identified significant differences in bacterial community composition between locations in the aquifer. In addition, we found that bacterial community structure was significantly related to sediment grain size, and sediment carbon (C), manganese (Mn), and iron (Fe) concentrations. Deltaproteobacteria and Chloroflexi were found in higher proportions in silty sediments with higher concentrations of C, Fe, and Mn. By contrast, Alphaproteobacteria and Betaproteobacteria were in higher proportions in sandy sediments with lower concentrations of C and metals. Based on the phylogenetic affiliations of these taxa, these results may indicate a shift to more Fe-, Mn-, and humic substance-reducers in the high C and metal sediments. It is well-documented that C, Mn, and Fe may influence the mobility of groundwater arsenic, and it is intriguing that these constituents may also structure the bacterial community.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2012.00082
PMCID: PMC3311048  PMID: 22470368
arsenic; aquifer; bacteria; pyrosequencing; Deltaproteobacteria; Chloroflexi
19.  Diet drives convergence in gut microbiome functions across mammalian phylogeny and within humans 
Science (New York, N.y.)  2011;332(6032):970-974.
Co-evolution of mammals and their gut microbiota has profoundly effected their radiation into myriad habitats. We used shotgun sequencing of microbial community DNA and targeted sequencing of bacterial 16S rRNA genes to understand how microbial communities adapt to extremes of diets, sampling fecal DNAs from 33 mammalian species and 18 humans who kept detailed diet records. We found that microbiota adaptation to diet is reproducible across different mammalian lineages. Functional repertoires of microbiome genes, such as those encoding carbohydrate-active enzymes and proteases, can be predicted from bacterial species assemblages. These results illustrate the value of characterizing vertebrate gut microbiomes to fully understand host evolutionary histories at a supra-organismal level.
doi:10.1126/science.1198719
PMCID: PMC3303602  PMID: 21596990
20.  Prognostic Evaluation of Patients with Acute Variceal Bleeding 
Disease markers  2011;31(3):155-164.
doi:10.3233/DMA-2011-0838
PMCID: PMC3826583  PMID: 22045401
21.  Interpreting finite element results for brittle materials in endodontic restorations 
Background
Finite element simulation has been used in last years for analysing the biomechanical performance of post-core restorations in endodontics, but results of these simulations have been interpreted in most of the works using von Mises stress criterion. However, the validity of this failure criterion for brittle materials, which are present in these restorations, is questionable. The objective of the paper is to analyse how finite element results for brittle materials of endodontic restorations should be interpreted to obtain correct conclusions about the possible failure in the restoration.
Methods
Different failure criteria (Von Mises, Rankine, Coulomb-Mohr, Modified Mohr and Christensen) and material strength data (diametral tensile strength and flexural strength) were considered in the study. Three finite element models (FEM) were developed to simulate an endodontic restoration and two typical material tests: diametral tensile test and flexural test.
Results
Results showed that the Christensen criterion predicts similar results as the Von Mises criterion for ductile components, while it predicts similar results to all other criteria for brittle components. The different criteria predict different failure points for the diametral tensile test, all of them under multi-axial stress states. All criteria except Von Mises predict failure for flexural test at the same point of the specimen, with this point under uniaxial tensile stress.
Conclusions
From the results it is concluded that the Christensen criterion is recommended for FEM result interpretation in endodontic restorations and that the flexural test is recommended to estimate tensile strength instead of the diametral tensile test.
doi:10.1186/1475-925X-10-44
PMCID: PMC3123583  PMID: 21635759
22.  Matrix metalloproteinase-8 deficiency increases joint inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R224.
Introduction
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which joint inflammation leads to progressive cartilage and bone erosion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) implicated in homeostasis of the extracellular matrix play a central role in cartilage degradation. However, the role of specific MMPs in arthritis pathogenesis is largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of Mmp-8 (collagenase-2) in an arthritis model.
Methods
Arthritis was induced in Mmp8-deficient and wildtype mice by K/BxN serum transfer. Arthritis severity was measured by a clinical index and ankle sections were scored for synovial inflammation, cartilage damage and bone erosion. cDNA microarray analysis, real-time PCR and western blot were performed to identify differential changes in gene expression between mice lacking Mmp8 and controls.
Results
Mmp8 deficiency increased the severity of arthritis, although the incidence of disease was similar in control and deficient mice. Increased clinical score was associated with exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion. We also found that the absence of Mmp8 led to increased expression of IL-1β, pentraxin-3 (PTX3) and prokineticin receptor 2 (PROKR2) in arthritic mice joints.
Conclusions
Lack of Mmp-8 is accompanied by exacerbated synovial inflammation and bone erosion in the K/BxN serum-transfer arthritis model, indicating that this Mmp has a protective role in arthritis.
doi:10.1186/ar3211
PMCID: PMC3046537  PMID: 21190566
23.  Acute esophageal variceal bleeding: Current strategies and new perspectives 
World Journal of Hepatology  2010;2(7):261-274.
Management of acute variceal bleeding has greatly improved over recent years. Available data indicates that general management of the bleeding cirrhotic patient by an experienced multidisciplinary team plays a major role in the final outcome of this complication. It is currently recommended to combine pharmacological and endoscopic therapies for the initial treatment of the acute bleeding. Vasoactive drugs (preferable somatostatin or terlipressin) should be started as soon as a variceal bleeding is suspected (ideally during transfer to hospital) and maintained afterwards for 2-5 d. After stabilizing the patient with cautious fluid and blood support, an emergency diagnostic endoscopy should be done and, as soon as a skilled endoscopist is available, an endoscopic variceal treatment (ligation as first choice, sclerotherapy if endoscopic variceal ligation not feasible) should be performed. Antibiotic prophylaxis must be regarded as an integral part of the treatment of acute variceal bleeding and should be started at admission and maintained for at least 7 d. In case of failure to control the acute bleeding, rescue therapies should be immediately started. Shunt therapies (especially transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt) are very effective at controlling treatment failures after an acute variceal bleeding. Therapeutic developments and increasing knowledge in the prognosis of this complication may allow optimization of the management strategy by adapting the different treatments to the expected risk of complications for each patient in the near future. Theoretically, this approach would allow the initiation of early aggressive treatments in high-risk patients and spare low-risk individuals unnecessary procedures. Current research efforts will hopefully clarify this hypothesis and help to further improve the outcomes of the severe complication of cirrhosis.
doi:10.4254/wjh.v2.i7.261
PMCID: PMC2998973  PMID: 21161008
Portal hypertension; Variceal bleeding; Complications of cirrhosis
25.  Ethanol consumption as inductor of pancreatitis 
Alcohol abuse is a major cause of pancreatitis, a condition that can manifest as both acute necroinflammation and chronic damage (acinar atrophy and fibrosis). Pancreatic acinar cells can metabolize ethanol via the oxidative pathway, which generates acetaldehyde and involves the enzymes alcohol dehydrogenase and possibly cytochrome P4502E1. Additionally, ethanol can be metabolized via a nonoxidative pathway involving fatty acid ethyl ester synthases. Metabolism of ethanol by acinar and other pancreatic cells and the consequent generation of toxic metabolites, are postulated to play an important role in the development of alcohol-related acute and chronic pancreatic injury. This current work will review some recent advances in the knowledge about ethanol actions on the exocrine pancreas and its relationship to inflammatory disease and cancer.
doi:10.4292/wjgpt.v1.i1.3
PMCID: PMC3091140  PMID: 21577288
Pancreas; Calcium; Ethanol; Reactive oxygen species; Pancreatitis

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