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1.  Polymorphisms of the Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinase 3 Gene Are Associated with Resistance to High-Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) in a Japanese Population: A Case Control Study Using Polymorphic Microsatellite Markers 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71993.
High-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE) is a hypoxia-induced, life-threatening, high permeability type of edema attributable to pulmonary capillary stress failure. Genome-wide association analysis is necessary to better understand how genetics influence the outcome of HAPE.
Materials and Methods
DNA samples were collected from 53 subjects susceptible to HAPE (HAPE-s) and 67 elite Alpinists resistant to HAPE (HAPE-r). The genome scan was carried out using 400 polymorphic microsatellite markers throughout the whole genome in all subjects. In addition, six single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the gene encoding the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (TIMP3) were genotyped by Taqman® SNP Genotyping Assays.
The results were analyzed using case-control comparisons. Whole genome scanning revealed that allele frequencies in nine markers were statistically different between HAPE-s and HAPE-r subjects. The SNP genotyping of the TIMP3 gene revealed that the derived allele C of rs130293 was associated with resistance to HAPE [odds ratio (OR) = 0.21, P = 0.0012) and recessive inheritance of the phenotype of HAPE-s (P = 0.0012). A haplotype CAC carrying allele C of rs130293 was associated with resistance to HAPE.
This genome-wide association study revealed several novel candidate genes associated with susceptibility or resistance to HAPE in a Japanese population. Among those, the minor allele C of rs130293 (C/T) in the TIMP3 gene was linked to resistance to HAPE; while, the ancestral allele T was associated with susceptibility to HAPE.
PMCID: PMC3750038  PMID: 23991023
2.  Genetic Variants in EPAS1 Contribute to Adaptation to High-Altitude Hypoxia in Sherpas 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e50566.
Sherpas comprise a population of Tibetan ancestry in the Himalayan region that is renowned for its mountaineering prowess. The very small amount of available genetic information for Sherpas is insufficient to explain their physiological ability to adapt to high-altitude hypoxia. Recent genetic evidence has indicated that natural selection on the endothelial PAS domain protein 1 (EPAS1) gene was occurred in the Tibetan population during their occupation in the Tibetan Plateau for millennia. Tibetan-specific variations in EPAS1 may regulate the physiological responses to high-altitude hypoxia via a hypoxia-inducible transcription factor pathway. We examined three significant tag single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, rs13419896, rs4953354, and rs4953388) in the EPAS1 gene in Sherpas, and compared these variants with Tibetan highlanders on the Tibetan Plateau as well as with non-Sherpa lowlanders. We found that Sherpas and Tibetans on the Tibetan Plateau exhibit similar patterns in three EPAS1 significant tag SNPs, but these patterns are the reverse of those in non-Sherpa lowlanders. The three SNPs were in strong linkage in Sherpas, but in weak linkage in non-Sherpas. Importantly, the haplotype structured by the Sherpa-dominant alleles was present in Sherpas but rarely present in non-Sherpas. Surprisingly, the average level of serum erythropoietin in Sherpas at 3440 m was equal to that in non-Sherpas at 1300 m, indicating a resistant response of erythropoietin to high-altitude hypoxia in Sherpas. These observations strongly suggest that EPAS1 is under selection for adaptation to the high-altitude life of Tibetan populations, including Sherpas. Understanding of the mechanism of hypoxia tolerance in Tibetans is expected to provide lights to the therapeutic solutions of some hypoxia-related human diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
PMCID: PMC3515610  PMID: 23227185
3.  Comparison of gene expression profiling between lung fibrotic and emphysematous tissues sampled from patients with combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema 
Combined pulmonary fibrosis and emphysema (CPFE) is characterized by both emphysema of the upper zone and diffuse parenchymal lung disease with fibrosis of the lower zone of the lung on chest computed tomography. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of CPFE regarding gene expressions by comparing the results of microarray sequences between fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in the lungs of CPFE patients.
The expression profiles of the fibrotic and emphysematous lesions were remarkably different in terms of function. Genes related to the immune system, structural constituents of the cytoskeleton, and cellular adhesion were overexpressed in fibrotic lesions, while genes associated with the cellular fraction, cell membrane structures, vascular growth and biology, second-messenger-mediated signaling, and lung development (all processes that contribute to the destruction and repair of cells, vessels, and the lung) were overexpressed in emphysematous lesions.
The differences in gene expression were detected in fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in CPFE patients. We propose that the development of coexisting fibrotic and emphysematous lesions in CPFE is implemented by these different patterns of gene expressions.
PMCID: PMC3541270  PMID: 23025845
Emphysematous lesion; Cellular fraction; Fibrotic lesion; Gene expression profiles; Immune system; Lung
4.  Increased human Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 expression and mucus overproduction in airway epithelia of smokers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients 
Respiratory Research  2012;13(1):55.
The mechanisms underlying the association between smoking and mucus overproduction remain unknown. Because of its involvement in other airway diseases, such as asthma, we hypothesized that Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 (CLCA1) was associated with overproduction of mucus in the airways of smokers and COPD patients.
Using real-time quantitative PCR analyses, we compared the CLCA1 mRNA expression levels in induced-sputum cells from COPD patients (n = 20), smokers without COPD (n = 5), and non-smokers (n =13). We also examined the relationship between CLCA1 protein expression and mucus production in lung airway epithelia of COPD patients (n = 6), smokers without COPD (n = 7), and non-smokers (n = 7).
CLCA1 mRNA expression was significantly up-regulated in the induced-sputum cells of COPD patients compared with cells of non-smokers (p = 0.02), but there was no significant difference compared with cells of smokers without COPD. Using immunostaining with an anti-CLCA1 antibody, semi-quantitative image analyses of airway epithelium demonstrated significantly increased CLCA1 expression in smokers without COPD (p = 0.02) and in COPD patients (p = 0.002) compared with non-smokers. There were significant negative correlations between CLCA1 protein expression and FEV1/FVC (r = −0.57, p = 0.01) and %predicted FEV1 (r = −0.56, p = 0.01). PAS staining for mucus showed that there was a significant positive correlation between CLCA1 protein expression and mucus production (r = 0.67, p = 0.001). These markers were significantly increased in smokers without COPD (p = 0.04) and in COPD patients (p = 0.003) compared with non-smokers (non-smokers < smokers ≤ COPD).
CLCA1 expression is significantly related to mucus production in the airway epithelia of smokers and COPD patients, and may contribute to the development and pathogenesis of COPD by inducing mucus production.
PMCID: PMC3489697  PMID: 22731784
Ca2+-activated Cl- channel 1 (CLCA1); Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Smoking; Mucus production; Airway epithelia
5.  Sputum eosinophilia can predict responsiveness to inhaled corticosteroid treatment in patients with overlap syndrome of COPD and asthma 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma may overlap and converge in older people (overlap syndrome). It was hypothesized that patients with overlap syndrome may have different clinical characteristics such as sputum eosinophilia, and better responsiveness to treatment with inhaled corticosteroid (ICS).
Sixty-three patients with stable COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] ≤80%) underwent pulmonary function tests, including reversibility of airflow limitation, arterial blood gas analysis, analysis of inflammatory cells in induced sputum, and chest high-resolution computed tomography. The inclusion criteria for COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms included having asthmatic symptoms such as episodic breathlessness, wheezing, cough, and chest tightness worsening at night or in the early morning (COPD with asthma group). The clinical features of COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms were compared with those of COPD patients without asthmatic symptoms (COPD without asthma group).
The increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS were significantly higher in the COPD with asthma group. The peripheral eosinophil counts and sputum eosinophil counts were significantly higher. The prevalence of patients with bronchial wall thickening on chest high-resolution computed tomography was significantly higher. A significant correlation was observed between the increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS and sputum eosinophil counts, and between the increases in FEV1 in response to treatment with ICS and the grade of bronchial wall thickening. Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed 82.4% sensitivity and 84.8% specificity of sputum eosinophil count for detecting COPD with asthma, using 2.5% as the cutoff value.
COPD patients with asthmatic symptoms had some clinical features. ICS should be considered earlier as a potential treatment in such patients. High sputum eosinophil counts and bronchial wall thickening on chest high-resolution computed tomography might therefore be a good predictor of response to ICS.
PMCID: PMC3346210  PMID: 22589579
COPD; asthma; HRCT; inhaled corticosteroid; pulmonary function
6.  The association of Toll-like receptor 4 gene polymorphisms with the development of emphysema in Japanese subjects: a case control study 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:36.
The principal role of Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is the induction of immune responses to lipopolysaccharides. Previously, mice deficient in the TLR4 gene exhibited up-regulation of the NADPH oxidase system in the lungs. This resulted in increased oxidant generation and elastolytic activity, which led to pulmonary emphysema. It was suggested that TLR4 might maintain constitutive lung integrity by modulating oxidant generation. We investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the TLR4 gene were associated with the emphysema phenotype in Japanese subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Seven SNPs in the TLR4 gene (rs10759930, rs1927914, rs12377632, rs2149356, rs11536889, rs7037117, and rs7045953) were genotyped with allelic discrimination assays. The frequencies of SNPs were compared between 106 patients with the emphysema phenotype of COPD and 137 healthy smokers. We found that the positivity of the individuals with the major G allele of rs11536889 was significantly less in the emphysema group than the control group (p = 0.019). The frequencies of the minor C allele and the distribution of the CC genotype as well as the frequency of the major haplotype that carried the minor C allele of rs11536889 were all significantly higher in the emphysema group than the control group (p = 0.0083, 0.019, and 0.004, respectively). Furthermore, the strength of the association of the CC genotype with the emphysema phenotype was in an odds ratio of 2.60 with 95% confidence intervals from 1.17 to 5.78. However, these significances were not apparent after adjust for age and smoking history by logistic regression. No associations were observed between the rs11536889 and the low attenuation area score, the forced expiratory volume, and the carbon monoxide diffusion capacity in the emphysema group.
The minor C allele of the rs11536889 SNP in the TLR4 gene is likely associated with the risk of developing emphysema in the Japanese population.
PMCID: PMC3333474  PMID: 22251849
7.  Superior mesenteric artery syndrome following initiation of cisplatin-containing chemotherapy: a case report 
Superior mesenteric artery syndrome is a rare cause of upper intestinal obstruction resulting from compression of the duodenum by the superior mesenteric artery and abdominal aorta.
Case presentation
We describe a case of superior mesenteric artery syndrome in a 61-year-old Japanese man with non-small cell lung cancer who had been treated with cisplatin-containing chemotherapy and had lost 7 kg in weight. The diagnosis was confirmed by the typical findings of abdominal computed tomography showing distended stomach resulting from compression of the third portion of the duodenum and reduction of an aortomesenteric distance and aortomesenteric angle.
This case highlights the importance of considering the possibility of superior mesenteric artery syndrome in patients treated with chemotherapy, especially those presenting with a low body mass index and showing weight loss during chemotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3275446  PMID: 22248296
superior mesenteric artery syndrome; body weight loss; emesis; non-small cell lung cancer
8.  Comparison of efficacy of long-acting bronchodilators in emphysema dominant and emphysema nondominant chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
The purpose of this study was to clarify the association between morphological phenotypes according to the predominance of emphysema and efficacy of long-acting muscarinic antagonist and β2 agonist bronchodilators in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Seventy-two patients with stable COPD treated with tiotropium (n = 41) or salmeterol (n = 31) were evaluated for pulmonary function, dynamic hyperinflation following metronome-paced incremental hyperventilation, six-minute walking distance, and St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) before and 2–3 months following treatment with tiotropium or salmeterol. They were then visually divided into an emphysema dominant phenotype (n = 25 in the tiotropium-treated group and n = 22 in the salmeterol-treated group) and an emphysema nondominant phenotype on high-resolution computed tomography, and the efficacy of the two drugs in each phenotype was retrospectively analyzed.
Tiotropium significantly improved airflow limitation, oxygenation, and respiratory impedance in both the emphysema dominant and emphysema nondominant phenotypes, and improved dynamic hyperinflation, exercise capacity, and SGRQ in the emphysema dominant phenotype but not in the emphysema nondominant phenotype. Salmeterol significantly improved total score for SGRQ in the emphysema phenotype, but no significant effects on other parameters were found for either of the phenotypes.
These findings suggest that tiotropium is more effective than salmeterol for airflow limitation regardless of emphysema dominance, and also can improve dynamic hyperinflation in the emphysema dominant phenotype, which results in further improvement of exercise capacity and health-related quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3107698  PMID: 21660299
emphysema; dynamic hyperinflation; long-acting β2 agonist; long-acting muscarinic antagonist; exercise capacity; quality of life
9.  Cisplatin plus Docetaxel Chemotherapy for Thoracic Lymph Node Metastasis from Cancer of Unknown Primary – Experience of Three Cases 
Case Reports in Oncology  2009;2(2):84-91.
The optimal chemotherapeutic regimen for cancer of unknown primary (CUP) remains uncertain. We encountered 3 cases with CUP who presented with thoracic lymph node metastasis. Detailed physical examination and diagnostic tests, including laboratory investigations, bronchoscopy, upper and lower gastrointestinal studies, computed tomography of the head, neck, abdomen and pelvis and 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, failed to identify the primary site in these cases. The patients were treated with the cisplatin plus docetaxel chemotherapy regimen. Concomitant thoracic radiotherapy was conducted in one patient and surgical resection in another. All patients showed good response to the chemotherapy and achieved long-term disease-free survival.
PMCID: PMC2918853  PMID: 20740168
Empiric chemotherapy; FDG-PET; Chemotherapy
10.  Diffuse Endobronchial Wall Spread of Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Case Reports in Oncology  2009;2(2):77-83.
We present here a case of diffuse tracheobronchial wall spread of metastatic breast cancer who was successfully treated with trastuzumab plus vinorelbine chemotherapy. The patient had a left radical mastectomy for breast cancer in March 2000 and developed persistent cough and dyspnea in November 2006. Pulmonary function test demonstrated an obstructive pattern. Chest computed tomography showed a wall thickening of trachea and right side bronchus, but radiographic findings including 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography failed to detect the locations of disease in the lung. The findings on bronchofiberscopy showed edematous tracheobronchial mucosa, but also failed to visually detect direct masses. Transbronchial biopsy specimens revealed involvement of metastatic breast cancer. The patient was treated with trastuzumab plus vinorelbine chemotherapy and the wall thickening of bronchial tree and clinical symptoms were improved. Although endobronchial metastasis in metastatic breast cancer is not uncommon, diffuse spread without forming intraluminal mass is extremely rare. The pattern of endobronchial metastasis should be considered in patients with malignancies even when radiographic abnormalities are undetectable.
PMCID: PMC2918852  PMID: 20740167
HER-2; Vinorelbine; Trastuzumab; FDG-PET; Endobronchial metastasis
11.  Survey on negative impact of chironomid midges (Diptera) on bronchial asthmatic patients in a hyper-eutrophic lake area in Japan 
Chironomid midges have been revealed to be a hazardous inhalant antigen of bronchial asthma. To determine the awareness of the negative impact of chironomid midges (Chironomus plumosus and Propsilocerus akamusi) among patients, a questionnaire survey of 118 patients in the Lake Suwa area and in the Matsumoto area was conducted from early September to mid-November of 1993. The life style was almost the same among the asthmatic patients in the Lake Suwa area and in the Matsumoto area, but the reactions to the nuisance differed significantly from each other. Although “Flight density” was higher in the Lake Suwa area (p < 0.01) than that in the Matsumoto area, 25.5% of the patients in the Lake Suwa area and 9.1% of those in the Matsumoto area answered “Endurable” (p < 0.01). Further follow-up studies including prick tests, intradermal tests and provocation tests should be conducted for patients who complained a strong allergic reaction.
PMCID: PMC2723270  PMID: 21432506
Bronchial asthmatic patients; Chironomid midges; Lake Suwa; Nuisance; Questionnaire
12.  Pharmacokinetic Evaluation of Amphotericin B in Lung Tissue: Lung Lymph Distribution after Intravenous Injection and Airspace Distribution after Aerosolization and Inhalation of Amphotericin B 
We have studied the pharmacokinetics of amphotericin B (AmB) in lung lymph circulation and bronchial-wash fluid after intravenous infusion and inhalation, respectively. For two experiments with awake sheep, we used lung lymph fistulas and tracheotomy. In experiment 1, AmB concentrations in plasma and lung lymph after intravenous infusion of AmB (1 mg/kg of body weight) over 1.5 h were measured. The mean peak in plasma level was 756.0 ± 188.8 ng/ml at 3 h after the start of infusion, and the level then decreased gradually to 194.8 ± 28.9 ng/ml at 24 h. The stable and maximal levels in lung lymph last 5 to 9 h after the start of AmB infusion. The concentrations in lung lymph after 9 h were slightly higher than those in plasma. Thus, the lung lymph-to-plasma ratio of AmB concentrations increased gradually during infusion, and the ratio was more than 1.0 after the end of infusion, suggesting that AmB could be easily moved from plasma to pulmonary interstitium and/or lung lymph circulation. In another experiment, 5 or 30 mg of aerosol AmB was inhaled, and the concentration of AmB in the bronchial-wash fluid was determined by bronchoalveolar lavage. The peak AmB concentration in the fluid was observed at 0.5 h. After that, AmB was slowly eliminated over 24 h. The area under the concentration-time curve for 30 mg of inhaled AmB was higher than that for 5 mg, but maximum concentrations of AmB in serum for 5 and 30 mg were almost similar. These observations identify the pharmacokinetic characteristics of AmB in the lung and may provide a new insight into the strategy for clinical treatment of fungal pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC105652  PMID: 9660990

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