The genetic structure of the indigenous hunter-gatherer peoples of southern Africa, the oldest known lineage of modern human, is important for understanding human diversity. Studies based on mitochondrial1 and small sets of nuclear markers2 have shown that these hunter-gatherers, known as Khoisan, San, or Bushmen, are genetically divergent from other humans1,3. However, until now, fully sequenced human genomes have been limited to recently diverged populations4–8. Here we present the complete genome sequences of an indigenous hunter-gatherer from the Kalahari Desert and a Bantu from southern Africa, as well as protein-coding regions from an additional three hunter-gatherers from disparate regions of the Kalahari. We characterize the extent of whole-genome and exome diversity among the five men, reporting 1.3 million novel DNA differences genome-wide, including 13,146 novel amino acid variants. In terms of nucleotide substitutions, the Bushmen seem to be, on average, more different from each other than, for example, a European and an Asian. Observed genomic differences between the hunter-gatherers and others may help to pinpoint genetic adaptations to an agricultural lifestyle. Adding the described variants to current databases will facilitate inclusion of southern Africans in medical research efforts, particularly when family and medical histories can be correlated with genome-wide data.
Trypanosome-derived lymphocyte triggering factor (TLTF) is a molecule released by African trypanosomes that interacts with the host immune system, resulting in increased levels of IFN-γ production.
TLTF and anti-TLTF antibodies were assessed in sera and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from patients infected with Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (T. b. gambiense) in an attempt to identify alternative markers for diagnosis and stage determination of human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness. Seventy-four serum and sixty-one CSF samples from patients with parasitologically confirmed infection and known disease stage along with 13 sera and CSF from uninfected controls were tested. In serum the levels of anti-TLTF antibodies were unrelated to the disease stage. In contrast, levels of anti-TLTF antibodies in CSF were higher in intermediate/late stages than in early stage disease patients. Specificity of the detected antibodies was assessed by inhibition of TLTF bioactivity as represented by its ability to induce IFN-γ production. Additionally, TLTF was detected in CSF from late stage patients by Western blotting with the anti-TLTF specific monoclonal antibody MO3.
These findings suggest a new possibility for disease diagnosis with focus on involvement of the CNS through detection of TLTF and anti-TLTF antibodies in the CSF.
Scoparone, a natural compound isolated from Artemisia capillaris, has been used in Chinese herbal medicine to treat neonatal jaundice. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) contributes to the growth and survival of many human tumors. This study was undertaken to investigate the anti-tumor activity of scoparone against DU145 prostate cancer cells and to determine whether its effects are mediated by inhibition of STAT3 activity. Scoparone inhibited proliferation of DU145 cells via cell cycle arrest in G1 phase. Transient transfection assays showed that scoparone repressed both constitutive and IL-6-induced transcriptional activity of STAT3. Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR analyses demonstrated that scoparone suppressed the transcription of STAT3 target genes such as cyclin D1, c-Myc, survivin, Bcl-2, and Socs3. Consistent with this, scoparone decreased phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation of STAT3, but did not reduce phosphorylation of janus kinase 2 (JAK2) or Src, the major upstream kinases responsible for STAT3 activation. Moreover, transcriptional activity of a constitutively active mutant of STAT3 (STAT3C) was inhibited by scoparone, but not by AG490, a JAK2 inhibitor. Furthermore, scoparone treatment suppressed anchorage-independent growth in soft agar and tumor growth of DU145 xenografts in nude mice, concomitant with a reduction in STAT3 phosphorylation. Computational modeling suggested that scoparone might bind the SH2 domain of STAT3. Our findings suggest that scoparone elicits an anti-tumor effect against DU145 prostate cancer cells in part through inhibition of STAT3 activity.
Macrophages are multifunctional immune cells that may either drive or modulate disease pathogenesis depending on their activation phenotype. Autoimmune type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a chronic proinflammatory condition characterized by unresolved destruction of pancreatic islets. Adoptive cell transfer of macrophages with immunosuppressive properties represents a novel immunotherapy for treatment of such chronic autoimmune diseases. We used a panel of cytokines and other stimuli to discern the most effective regimen for in vitro induction of immunosuppressive macrophages (M2r) and determined interleukin (IL)-4/IL-10/transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) to be optimal. M2r cells expressed programmed cell death 1 ligand-2, fragment crystallizable region γ receptor IIb, IL-10, and TGF-β, had a potent deactivating effect on proinflammatory lipopolysaccharide/interferon-γ–stimulated macrophages, and significantly suppressed T-cell proliferation. Clinical therapeutic efficacy was assessed after adoptive transfer in NOD T1D mice, and after a single transfer of M2r macrophages, >80% of treated NOD mice were protected against T1D for at least 3 months, even when transfer was conducted just prior to clinical onset. Fluorescent imaging analyses revealed that adoptively transferred M2r macrophages specifically homed to the inflamed pancreas, promoting β-cell survival. We suggest that M2r macrophage therapy represents a novel intervention that stops ongoing autoimmune T1D and may have relevance in a clinical setting.
Growth hormone (GH) is a counter-regulatory hormone that plays an important role in preventing hypoglycemia during fasting. Because inhibition of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) by pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) conserves substrates for gluconeogenesis, we tested whether GH increases PDK4 expression in liver by a signaling pathway sensitive to inhibition by metformin. The effects of GH and metformin were determined in the liver of wild-type, small heterodimer partner (SHP)-, PDK4-, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5)-null mice. Administration of GH in vivo increased PDK4 expression via a pathway dependent on STAT5 phosphorylation. Metformin inhibited the induction of PDK4 expression by GH via a pathway dependent on AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and SHP induction. The increase in PDK4 expression and PDC phosphorylation by GH was reduced in STAT5-null mice. Metformin decreased GH-mediated induction of PDK4 expression and metabolites in wild-type but not in SHP-null mice. In primary hepatocytes, dominant-negative mutant-AMPK and SHP knockdown prevented the inhibitory effect of metformin on GH-stimulated PDK4 expression. SHP directly inhibited STAT5 association on the PDK4 gene promoter. Metformin inhibits GH-induced PDK4 expression and metabolites via an AMPK-SHP–dependent pathway. The metformin-AMPK-SHP network may provide a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of hepatic metabolic disorders induced by the GH-mediated pathway.
To evaluate the clinical and immunologic outcomes of DC (dendritic cell) vaccine with interleukin (IL)-2 and IFN-α 2a in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients.
Eighteen consented and eligible patients were treated. Peripheral blood monocytes were cultured ex vivo into mature DCs and loaded with autologous tumor lysate. Treatment consisted of five cycles of intranodal vaccination of DCs (1 × 107 cells/1 mL Lactated Ringer’s solution), 5-day continuous i.v. infusion of IL-2 (18MiU/m2), and three s.c. injections of IFN-α 2a (6MiU) every other day. Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria were used for disease assessment. Correlative immunologic end points included peripheral blood lymphocyte cell phenotype and function as well as peripheral blood anti–renal cell carcinoma antibody and cytokine levels.
All patients received between two and five treatment cycles. Toxicities consisted of known and expected cytokine side effects. Overall objective clinical response rate was 50% with three complete responses. Median time to progression for all patients was 8 months, and median survival has not been reached (median follow up of 37+ months). Treatment-related changes in correlative immunologic end points were noted and the level of circulating CD4+ T regulatory cells had a strong association with outcome. Pre–IP-10 serum levels approached significance for predicting outcome.
The clinical and immunologic responses observed in this trial suggest an interaction between DC vaccination and cytokine therapy. Our data support the hypothesis that modulation of inflammatory, regulatory, and angiogenic pathways are necessary to optimize therapeutic benefit in renal cell carcinoma patients. Further exploration of this approach is warranted.
Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinases (PDK1-4) play a critical role in the inhibition of the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex especially when blood glucose levels are low and pyruvate can be conserved for gluconeogenesis. Under diabetic conditions, the Pdk genes, particularly Pdk4, are often induced, and the elevation of the Pdk4 gene expression has been implicated in the increased gluconeogenesis in the liver and the decreased glucose utilization in the peripheral tissues. However, there is no direct evidence yet to show to what extent that the dysregulation of hepatic Pdk genes attributes to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in vivo. To address this question, we crossed Pdk2 or Pdk4 null mice with a diabetic model that is deficient in hepatic insulin receptor substrates 1 and 2 (Irs1/2). Metabolic analyses reveal that deletion of the Pdk4 gene had better improvement in hyperglycemia and glucose tolerance than knockout of the Pdk2 gene whereas the Pdk2 gene deletion showed better insulin tolerance as compared to the Pdk4 gene inactivation on the Irs1/2 knockout genetic background. To examine the specific hepatic effects of Pdks on diabetes, we also knocked down the Pdk2 or Pdk4 gene using specific shRNAs. The data also indicate that the Pdk4 gene knockdown led to better glucose tolerance than the Pdk2 gene knockdown. In conclusion, our data suggest that hepatic Pdk4 may be critically involved in the pathogenesis of diabetes.
The current study examined the use of voxel-wise changes in 18F-FDOPA and 18F-FLT PET uptake, referred to as parametric response maps (PRMs), to determine whether they were predictive of response to bevacizumab in patients with recurrent malignant gliomas. Twenty-four patients with recurrent malignant gliomas who underwent bevacizumab treatment were analyzed. Patients had MR and PET images acquired before and at 2 time points after bevacizumab treatment. PRMs were created by examining the percentage change in tracer uptake between time points in each image voxel. Voxel-wise increase in PET uptake in areas of pretreatment contrast enhancement defined by MRI stratified 3-month progression-free survival (PFS) and 6-month overall survival (OS) according to receiver-operating characteristic curve analysis. A decrease in PET tracer uptake was associated with longer PFS and OS, whereas an increase in PET uptake was associated with short PFS and OS. The volume fraction of increased 18F-FDOPA PET uptake between the 2 posttreatment time points also stratified long- and short-term PFS and OS (log-rank, P < .05); however, 18F-FLT uptake did not stratify OS. This study suggests that an increase in FDOPA or FLT PET uptake on PRMs after bevacizumab treatment may be a useful biomarker for predicting PFS and that FDOPA PET PRMs are also predictive of OS in recurrent gliomas treated with bevacizumab.
Bevacizumab; 18F-FDOPA; 18F-FLT, glioblastoma; PRMs
Autism spectrum disorders are a genetically heterogeneous constellation of syndromes characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction. Available somatic treatments have limited efficacy. We have identified inactivating mutations in the gene BCKDK (Branched Chain Ketoacid Dehydrogenase Kinase) in consanguineous families with autism, epilepsy, and intellectual disability. The encoded protein is responsible for phosphorylation-mediated inactivation of the E1α subunit of branched-chain ketoacid dehydrogenase (BCKDH). Patients with homozygous BCKDK mutations display reductions in BCKDK messenger RNA and protein, E1α phosphorylation, and plasma branched-chain amino acids. Bckdk knockout mice show abnormal brain amino acid profiles and neurobehavioral deficits that respond to dietary supplementation. Thus, autism presenting with intellectual disability and epilepsy caused by BCKDK mutations represents a potentially treatable syndrome.
Inflammatory mediators have crucial roles in leukocyte recruitment and subsequent central nervous system (CNS) neuroinflammation. The extent of neuronal injury and axonal loss are associated with the degree of CNS inflammation and determine physical disability in multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to explore possible associations between a panel of selected cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers and robust clinical and demographic parameters in a large cohort of patients with MS and controls (n = 1066) using data-driven multivariate analysis. Levels of matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9), chemokine (C–X–C motif) ligand 13 (CXCL13), osteopontin (OPN) and neurofilament-light chain (NFL) were measured by ELISA in 548 subjects comprising different MS subtypes (relapsing-remitting, secondary progressive and primary progressive), clinically isolated syndrome and persons with other neurological diseases with or without signs of inflammation/infection. Principal component analyses and orthogonal partial least squares methods were used for unsupervised and supervised interrogation of the data. Models were validated using data from a further 518 subjects in which one or more of the four selected markers were measured. There was a significant association between increased patient age and lower levels of CXCL13, MMP9 and NFL. CXCL13 levels correlated well with MMP9 in the younger age groups, but less so in older patients, and after approximately 54 years of age the levels of CXCL13 and MMP9 were consistently low. CXCL13 and MMP9 levels also correlated well with both NFL and OPN in younger patients. We demonstrate a strong effect of age on both inflammatory and neurodegenerative biomarkers in a large cohort of MS patients. The findings support an early use of adequate immunomodulatory disease modifying drugs, especially in younger patients, and may provide a biological explanation for the relative inefficacy of such treatments in older patients at later disease stages.
Although improving glucose metabolism by inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) might prove beneficial in the treatment of type 2 diabetes or diet-induced obesity, it might induce detrimental effects by inhibiting fatty acid oxidation. PPARα agonists are often used to treat dyslipidemia in patients, especially in type 2 diabetes. Combinational treatment with a PDK4 inhibitor and PPARα agonists may prove beneficial. However, PPARα agonists may be less effective in the presence of a PDK4 inhibitor because PPARα agonists induce PDK4 expression. In the present study, the effects of clofibric acid, a PPARα agonist, on blood and liver lipids were determined in wild type and PDK4 knockout mice fed a high fat diet. As expected, treatment of wild type mice with clofibric acid resulted in less body weight gain, smaller epididymal fat pads, greater insulin sensitivity, and lower levels of serum and liver triacylglycerol. Surprisingly, rather than decreasing the effectiveness of clofibric acid, PDK4 deficiency enhanced the beneficial effects of clofibric acid on hepatic steatosis, lowered blood glucose levels, and did not prevent the positive effects of clofibric acid on serum triacylglycerols and free fatty acids. The metabolic effects of clofibric acid are therefore independent of the induction of PDK4 expression. The additive beneficial effects on hepatic steatosis may be due to induction of increased capacity for fatty acid oxidation and partial uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation by clofibric acid and a reduction in the capacity for fatty acid synthesis by PDK4 deficiency.
Diet-induced obesity; Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α; Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex; Pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase; Clofibric acid
The management of massively transfused trauma patients has improved with a better understanding of trauma-induced coagulopathy, the limitations of crystalloid infusion, and the implementation of massive transfusion protocols (MTPs), which encompass transfusion management and other patient care needs to mitigate the “lethal triad” of acidosis, hypothermia, and coagulopathy. MTPs are currently changing in the United States and worldwide because of recent data showing that earlier and more aggressive transfusion intervention and resuscitation with blood components that approximate whole blood significantly decrease mortality. In this context, MTPs are a key element of “damage control resuscitation,” which is defined as the systematic approach to major trauma that addresses the lethal triad mentioned above. MTPs using adequate volumes of plasma, and thus coagulation factors, improve patient outcome. The ideal amounts of plasma, platelet, cryoprecipitate and other coagulation factors given in MTPs in relationship to the red blood cell transfusion volume are not known precisely, but until prospective, randomized, clinical trials are performed and more clinical data are obtained, current data support a target ratio of plasma:red blood cell:platelet transfusions of 1:1:1. Future prospective clinical trials will allow continued improvement in MTPs and thus in the overall management of patients with trauma.
Functional diffusion mapping (fDM) has shown promise as a sensitive imaging biomarker for predicting survival in initial studies consisting of a small number of patients, mixed tumor grades, and before routine use of anti-angiogenic therapy. The current study tested whether fDM performed before and after radiochemotherapy could predict progression-free and overall survival in 143 patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma from 2007 through 2010, many treated with anti-angiogenic therapy after recurrence. Diffusion and conventional MRI scans were obtained before and 4 weeks after completion of radiotherapy and concurrent temozolomide treatment. FDM was created by coregistering pre- and posttreatment apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps and then performing voxel-wise subtraction. FDMs were categorized according to the degree of change in ADC in pre- and posttreatment fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and contrast-enhancing regions. The volume fraction of fDM-classified increasing ADC(+), decreasing ADC(−), and change in ADC(+/−) were tested to determine whether they were predictive of survival. Both Bonferroni-corrected univariate log-rank analysis and Cox proportional hazards modeling demonstrated that patients with decreasing ADC in a large volume fraction of pretreatment FLAIR or contrast-enhancing regions were statistically more likely to progress earlier and expire sooner than in patients with a lower volume fraction. The current study supports the hypothesis that fDM is a sensitive imaging biomarker for predicting survival in glioblastoma.
biomarker; fDMs; functional diffusion maps; glioblastoma; MRI
Protein phosphorylations, as well as phosphate metabolite binding, are well characterized posttranslational mechanisms that regulate enzyme activity in the cytosol, but remain poorly defined in mitochondria. Recently extensive matrix protein phosphorylation sites have been discovered but their functional significance is unclear. Herein we describe methods of using 32P labeling of intact mitochondria to determine the dynamic pools of protein phosphorylation as well as phosphate metabolite association. This screening approach may be useful in not only characterizing the dynamics of these pools, but also provide insight into which phosphorylation sites have a functional significance. Using the mitochondrial ATP synthetic capacity under appropriate conditions, inorganic 32P was added to energized mitochondria to generate high specific activity γ-P32-ATP in the matrix. In general, SDS denaturing and gel electrophoresis was used to primarily follow protein phosphorylation, whereas native gel techniques were used to observe weaker metabolite associations since the structure of mitochondrial complexes were minimally affected. The protein phosphorylation and metabolite association within the matrix was found to be extensive using these approaches. 32P labeling in 2D gels was detected in over 40 proteins, including most of the complexes of the cytochrome chain and proteins associated with intermediary metabolism, biosynthetic pathways, membrane transport, and reactive oxygen species metabolism. 32P pulse-chase experiments further revealed the overall dynamics of these processes that included phosphorylation site turnover as well as phosphate-protein pool size alterations. The high sensitivity of 32P resulted in many proteins being intensely labeled, but not identified due to the sensitivity limitations of mass spectrometry. These low concentration proteins may represent signaling proteins within the matrix. These results demonstrate that the mitochondrial matrix phosphoproteome is both extensive and dynamic. The use of this, in situ, labeling approach is extremely valuable in confirming protein phosphorylation sites as well as examining the dynamics of these processes under near physiological conditions.
The ENCODE Project has generated a wealth of experimental information mapping diverse chromatin properties in several human cell lines. Although each such data track is independently informative toward the annotation of regulatory elements, their interrelations contain much richer information for the systematic annotation of regulatory elements. To uncover these interrelations and to generate an interpretable summary of the massive datasets of the ENCODE Project, we apply unsupervised learning methodologies, converting dozens of chromatin datasets into discrete annotation maps of regulatory regions and other chromatin elements across the human genome. These methods rediscover and summarize diverse aspects of chromatin architecture, elucidate the interplay between chromatin activity and RNA transcription, and reveal that a large proportion of the genome lies in a quiescent state, even across multiple cell types. The resulting annotation of non-coding regulatory elements correlate strongly with mammalian evolutionary constraint, and provide an unbiased approach for evaluating metrics of evolutionary constraint in human. Lastly, we use the regulatory annotations to revisit previously uncharacterized disease-associated loci, resulting in focused, testable hypotheses through the lens of the chromatin landscape.
The outer membrane protein, Wza from E. coli K30, forms an octameric complex that is essential for capsular polysaccharide export. Homologs of Wza are widespread in gram-negative bacterial pathogens where capsules are critical virulence determinants. Wza is unusual in that it spans the outer membrane using a barrel composed of amphipathic α-helices, rather than being a β-barrel like almost all other outer membrane channels. The transmembrane helical barrel of Wza also forms the external opening to a hydrophilic translocation pathway that spans the periplasm. Here, we have probed the structure and function of the Wza complex using both cryo-electron microscopy and mutagenesis. The helical barrel structure is stable in detergent micelles under mildly acidic conditions but is destabilised at basic pH, although the overall quaternary structure is retained. Truncation of the C-terminal region that forms the helical barrel by 4 residues has no effect on the ability of Wza to oligomerize and support capsule export, but larger truncations of 18, 24 or 35 amino acids abolish its function. The bulk of the C-terminal domain is essential for the stability and assembly of the E. coli Wza complex.
Outer membrane protein; capsular polysaccharide; transport; Wza; cryo-electron microscopy
Members of the core pooids represent the most important crops in temperate zones including wheat, barley, and oats. Their importance as crops is largely due to the grain, particularly the storage capabilities of the endosperm. In this study, a comprehensive survey of grain morphology and endosperm organization in representatives of wild and cultivated species throughout the core pooids was performed. As sister to the core pooid tribes Poeae, Aveneae, Triticeae, and Bromeae within the Pooideae subfamily, Brachypodium provides a taxonomically relevant reference point. Using macroscopic, histological, and molecular analyses distinct patterns of grain tissue organization in these species, focusing on the peripheral and modified aleurone, are described. The results indicate that aleurone organization is correlated with conventional grain quality characters such as grain shape and starch content. In addition to morphological and organizational variation, expression patterns of candidate gene markers underpinning this variation were examined. Features commonly associated with grains are largely defined by analyses on lineages within the Triticeae and knowledge of grain structure may be skewed as a result of the focus on wheat and barley. Specifically, the data suggest that the modified aleurone is largely restricted to species in the Triticeae tribe.
Aleurone; Brachypodium; cereal grain; endosperm; monocot; temperate grasses
Multiple cellular signaling pathways that control metabolism and survival are activated when cell are incubated under hypoxic conditions. Activation of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1 promotes expression of genes that increase the capacity to cope with the stress imposed by a reduced oxygen environment. Here we show that the orphan nuclear receptor estrogen related receptor γ (ERRγ) plays a critical role in hypoxia–mediated activation of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) gene expression. ERRγ mRNA and protein levels were increased by hypoxia or desferrioxamine (DFO) treatment in hepatoma cell lines. Co-expression of HIF-1α and β increased ERRγ promoter activity as well as mRNA expression, while knockdown of endogenous HIF-1α reduced the hypoxia-mediated induction of ERRγ. In addition, hypoxia also increased the promoter activity and mRNA level of PDK4 in HepG2 cells. Adenovirus mediated-overexpression of ERRγ specifically increased PDK4 gene expression, while ablation of endogenous ERRγ significantly decreased hypoxia-mediated induction of PDK4 gene expression. Finally, GSK5182, an inverse agonist of ERRγ, strongly inhibited the hypoxia-mediated induction of PDK4 protein and promoter activity. Regulation of the transcriptional activity of ERRγ may provide a therapeutic approach for the regulation of PDK4 gene expression under hypoxia.
The manner in which groups of neurons represent events in the external world is a central question in neuroscience. Estimation of the information encoded by small groups of neurons has shown that in many neural systems, cells carry mildly redundant information. These measures average over all the activity patterns of a neural population. Here, we analyze the population code of the salamander and guinea pig retinas by quantifying the information conveyed by specific multi-cell activity patterns. Synchronous spikes, even though they are relatively rare and highly informative, convey less information than the sum of either spike alone, making them redundant coding symbols. Instead, patterns of spiking in one cell and silence in others, which are relatively common and often overlooked as special coding symbols, were found to be mostly synergistic. Our results reflect that the mild average redundancy between ganglion cells that was previously reported is actually the result of redundant and synergistic multi-cell patterns, whose contributions partially cancel each other when taking the average over all patterns. We further show that similar coding properties emerge in a generic model of neural responses, suggesting that this form of combinatorial coding, in which specific compound patterns carry synergistic or redundant information, may exist in other neural circuits.
The authors examined the relationship of alcohol outlet density (AOD) and neighborhood poverty with binge drinking and alcohol-related problems among drinkers in married and cohabitating relationships and assessed whether these associations differed across sex. A U.S. national population couples survey was linked to U.S. Census data on AOD and neighborhood poverty. The 1,784 current drinkers in the survey reported on their binge drinking, alcohol-related problems, and other covariates. AOD was defined as the number of alcohol outlets per 10,000 persons and was obtained at the zip code level. Neighborhood poverty was as having a low (<20%) or high (≥20%) proportion of residents living in poverty at the census tract level. We used logistic regression for survey data to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals and tested for differences of associations by sex. Associations of neighborhood poverty with binge drinking were stronger for male than for female drinkers. The association of neighborhood poverty with alcohol-related problems was also stronger for men than for women. We observed no relationships between AOD and binge drinking or alcohol-related problems in this couples survey. Efforts to reduce binge drinking or alcohol-related problems among partners in committed relationships may have the greatest impact if targeted to male drinkers living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Binge drinking and alcohol-related problems, as well as residence in an impoverished neighborhood are risk factors for intimate partner violence (IPV) and other relationship conflicts.
alcohol outlet density; neighborhood poverty; married/cohabitating drinkers; binge drinking; alcohol-related problems
Background: Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) is a brominated flame retardant used in polystyrene foams in thermal insulation and electrical equipment. The HBCD commercial mixture consists mainly of α, β, and γ stereoisomers. Health concerns of HBCD exposure include alterations in immune and reproductive systems, neurotoxic effects, and endocrine disruption. Stereoisomer-specific levels of HBCD have not been measured previously in U.S. food.
Objectives: We measured HBCD stereoisomer levels in U.S. foods from Dallas, Texas, supermarkets.
Methods: Convenience samples of commonly consumed foods were purchased from supermarkets in Dallas in 2009–2010. Food samples included a wide variety of lipid-rich foods: fish, peanut butter, poultry, pork, and beef. Thirty-six individual food samples were collected in 2010 and analyzed for α-, β-, and γ-HBCD stereoisomers using liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Ten pooled food samples previously collected in 2009 for a study of total HBCD levels using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), were reanalyzed for α-, β-, and γ-HBCD stereoisomers using LC-MS/MS.
Results: Of the 36 measured individual foods, 15 (42%) had detectable levels of HBCD. Median (ranges) of α- and γ-HBCD concentrations were 0.003 (< 0.005–1.307) and 0.005 (< 0.010–0.143) ng/g wet weight (ww), respectively; β-HBCD was present in three samples with a median (range) of 0.003 (< 0.005–0.019) ng/g ww. Median levels (range) for α-, β-, and γ-HBCD, in pooled samples were 0.077 (0.010–0.310), 0.008 (< 0.002–0.070), and 0.024 (0.012–0.170) ng/g ww, respectively.
Conclusions: α-HBCD was detected most frequently and at highest concentrations, followed by γ-, and then β-HBCD, in food samples from Dallas, Texas. Food may be a substantial contributor to the elevated α-HBCD levels observed in humans. These data suggest that larger and more representative sampling should be conducted.
Dallas, Texas; food; HBCD; hexabromocyclododecane; stereoisomers
The ion size-modified Poisson Boltzmann equation (SMPBE) is applied to the simple model problem of a low-dielectric spherical cavity containing a central charge, in an aqueous salt solution to investigate the finite ion size effect upon the electrostatic free energy and its sensitivity to changes in salt concentration. The SMPBE is shown to predict a very different electrostatic free energy than the nonlinear Poisson-Boltzmann equation (NLPBE) due to the additional entropic cost of placing ions in solution. Although the energy predictions of the SMPBE can be reproduced by fitting an appropriatelysized Stern layer, or ion-exclusion layer to the NLPBE calculations, the size of the Stern layer is difficult to estimate a priori. The SMPBE also produces a saturation layer when the central charge becomes sufficiently large. Ion-competition effects on various integrated quantities such the total number of ions predicted by the SMPBE are qualitatively similar to those given by the NLPBE and those found in available experimental results.
ion size-modified Poisson-Boltzmann equation; electrostatics; saturation layer; salt concentration; Stern layer; ion size; implicit solvent model
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS). In the murine experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model of MS, T regulatory (Treg) cell therapy has proved to be beneficial, but generation of stable CNS-targeting Tregs needs further development. Here, we propose gene engineering to achieve CNS-targeting Tregs from naïve CD4 cells and demonstrate their efficacy in the EAE model.
CD4+ T cells were modified utilizing a lentiviral vector system to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) in trans with the murine FoxP3 gene that drives Treg differentiation. The cells were evaluated in vitro for suppressive capacity and in C57BL/6 mice to treat EAE. Cells were administered by intranasal (i.n.) cell delivery.
The engineered Tregs demonstrated suppressive capacity in vitro and could efficiently access various regions in the brain via i.n cell delivery. Clinical score 3 EAE mice were treated and the engineered Tregs suppressed ongoing encephalomyelitis as demonstrated by reduced disease symptoms as well as decreased IL-12 and IFNgamma mRNAs in brain tissue. Immunohistochemical markers for myelination (MBP) and reactive astrogliosis (GFAP) confirmed recovery in mice treated with engineered Tregs compared to controls. Symptom-free mice were rechallenged with a second EAE-inducing inoculum but remained healthy, demonstrating the sustained effect of engineered Tregs.
CNS-targeting Tregs delivered i.n. localized to the CNS and efficiently suppressed ongoing inflammation leading to diminished disease symptoms.
MS; redirected cells; T regulatory cells; EAE; FoxP3; Myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)
Background: For > 50 years, polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) have been used worldwide, mainly as surfactants and emulsifiers, and human exposure to some PFCs is widespread.
Objectives: Our goal was to report PFC serum concentrations from a convenience sample of Dallas, Texas, children from birth to < 13 years of age, and to examine age and sex differences in PFC concentrations.
Methods: We analyzed 300 serum samples collected in 2009 for eight PFCs by online solid phase extraction–high performance liquid chromatography–isotope dilution–tandem mass spectrometry.
Results: Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) were detected in > 92% of participants; the other PFCs measured were detected less frequently. Overall median concentrations of PFOS (4.1 ng/mL) were higher than those for PFOA (2.85 ng/mL), PFNA (1.2 ng/mL), and PFHxS (1.2 ng/mL). For PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, and PFHxS, we found no significant differences (p < 0.05) by sex, significantly increasing concentrations for all four chemicals by age, and significantly positive correlations between all four compounds.
Conclusions: We found no significant differences in the serum concentrations of PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, and PFHxS by sex, but increasing concentrations with age. Our results suggest that these 300 Texas children from birth through 12 years of age continued to be exposed to several PFCs in late 2009, years after changes in production of some PFCs in the United States.
blood; children; infants; PFC; PFOA; PFOS; polyfluoroalkyl compounds; United States