Plate and screw fixation is a recent addition to the sternal wound treatment armamentarium. Patients undergoing cardiac and major vascular surgery have a higher risk of postoperative arrest than other elective patients. Those who undergo sternotomy for either cardiac or major vascular procedures are at a higher risk of postoperative arrest. Sternal plate design allows quick access to the mediastinum facilitating open cardiac massage, but chest compressions are the mainstay of re-establishing cardiac output in the event of arrest. The response of sternal plates and the chest wall to compressions when plated has not been studied. The safety of performing this maneuver is unknown. This study intends to demonstrate compressions are safe after sternal plating.
We investigated the effect of chest compressions on the plated sternum using a human cadaveric model. Cadavers were plated, an arrest was simulated, and an experienced physician performed a simulated resuscitation. Intrathoracic pressure was monitored throughout to ensure the plates encountered an appropriate degree of force. The hardware and viscera were evaluated for failure and trauma respectively.
No hardware failure or obvious visceral trauma was observed. Rib fractures beyond the boundaries of the plates were noted but the incidence was comparable to control and to the fracture incidence after resuscitation previously cited in the literature.
From this work we believe chest compressions are safe for the patient with sternal plates when proper plating technique is used. We advocate the use of this life-saving maneuver as part of an ACLS resuscitation in the event of an arrest for rapidly re-establishing circulation.
Controversy surrounds the expression of α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) in adrenal chromaffin cells. In these studies, α7 nAChRs expressed in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells are investigated. Using radiolabeled ligand binding techniques, [125I]α-bungarotoxin (αBGT) binding reaches equilibrium within 4 hours and is saturable with a Kd value of 4.2 nM. Using homologous competition experiments, the Ki for binding of αBGT was 1.9 nM. These data are consistent with the expression of homomeric α7 nAChRs. Methyllycaconatine (MLA), which binds α7 nAChRs with high affinity, inhibits [125I]αBGT binding in a concentration-dependent manner with a Ki of 30.6 nM; this value is ∼10 fold higher than the reported affinity of MLA for α7 nAChRs. We also document the ability of bromoacetylcholine (brACh) to alkylate α7 nAChRs, as has been previous demonstrated for bovine adrenal α3β4 nAChRs. When adrenal nAChRs are immunoprecipated with mAb 319, an antibody which recognizes α7 nAChR protein, and then probed with mAb 319 using Western blot analysis, a single band of ∼53 kD is identified. When adrenal nAChRs are immunoprecipated with mAb35, an antibody which recognizes α3 and α5 nAChR proteins, and then probed with mAb319 using Western blot analysis, a single band of ∼53 kD is identified. Together, these results support the expression of α7 nAChRs in bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. However, these data suggest that the subunit composition of some of these receptors may include heteromeric α7 nAChRs.
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor; binding; adrenal medulla; methyllycaconitine; α-bungarotoxin; α7
This article provides a description of a Community/University Collaborative Board, a formalized partnership between representatives from an inner-city community and university-based researchers. This Collaborative Board oversees a number of research projects focused on designing, delivering and testing family-based HIV prevention and mental health focused programs to elementary and junior high school age youth and their families. The Collaborative Board consists of urban parents, school staff members, representatives from community-based agencies and university-based researchers. One research project, the CHAMP (Collaborative HIV prevention and Adolescent Mental health Project) Family Program Study, an urban, family-based HIV prevention project will be used to illustrate how the Collaborative Board oversees a community-based research study. The process of establishing a Collaborative Board, recruiting members and developing subcommittees is described within this article. Examples of specific issues addressed by the Collaborative Board within its subcommittees, Implementation, Finance, Welcome, Research, Grant writing, Curriculum, and Leadership, are detailed in this article along with lessons learned.
Community collaborative board; family-based HIV prevention and mental health; community board recruitment and development; elementary and junior high school age youth and their families
Bangladesh is underlain by shallow aquifers in which millions of drinking water wells are emplaced without annular seals. Fecal contamination has been widely detected in private tubewells. To evaluate the impact of well construction on microbial water quality 35 private tubewells (11 with intact cement platforms, 19 without) and 17 monitoring wells (11 with the annulus sealed with cement, 6 unsealed) were monitored for cultured E. coli over 18 months. Additionally, two “snap shot” sampling events were performed on a subset of wells during late-dry and early-wet seasons, wherein the fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) E. coli, Bacteroidales and the pathogenicity genes eltA (ETEC E. coli), ipaH (Shigella) and 40/41 hexon (adenovirus) were detected using qPCR. No difference in E. coli detection frequency was found between tubewells with and without platforms. Unsealed private wells, however, contained cultured E. coli more frequently and higher concentrations of FIB than sealed monitoring wells (p<0.05), suggestive of rapid downward flow along unsealed annuli. As a group the pathogens ETEC, Shigella and adenovirus were detected more frequently (10/22) during the wet season than the dry season (2/20). This suggests proper sealing of private tubewell annuli may lead to substantial improvements in microbial drinking water quality.
adenovirus; Asia; Bacteroidales; E. coli; shigella; tubewells
The Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) measures abilities broadly related to executive function (EF), including WAIS-R Digit Symbol Substitution, Digit Span Backwards, Trails A and B, Category Fluency, and Clock Drawing. This study investigates whether a composite executive function measure based on these multiple indicators has better psychometric characteristics than the widely used individual components. We applied item response theory methods to 800 ADNI participants to derive an EF composite score (ADNI-EF) from the above measures. We then compared ADNI-EF with component measures in 390 longitudinally-followed participants with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with respect to: (1) Ability to detect change over time; (2) Ability to predict conversion to dementia; (3) Strength of cross-sectional association with MRI-derived measures of structures involved in frontal systems, and (4) Strength of baseline association with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of amyloid β1-42, total tau, and phosphorylated tau181P. ADNI-EF showed the greatest change over time, followed closely by Category Fluency. ADNI-EF needed a 40 % smaller sample size to detect change. ADNI-EF was the strongest predictor of AD conversion. ADNI-EF was the only measure significantly associated with all the MRI regions, though other measures were more strongly associated in a few of the regions. ADNI-EF was associated with all the CSF measures. ADNI-EF appears to be a useful composite measure of EF in MCI, as good as or better than any of its composite parts. This study demonstrates an approach to developing a psychometrically sophisticated composite score from commonly-used tests.
Executive function; Mild cognitive impairment; Item response theory; Composite scores
Motivational Interviewing (MI) is an effective treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) that focuses on resolving ambivalence and increasing commitment to positive behavior change. While MI has a well developed clinical theory, research findings have been mixed in supporting its view of how change occurs. The primary aim of this pilot study was to test hypothesized MI active ingredients and mechanisms of change in reducing drinking during the initiation of a behavior change episode. Problem drinkers (N=89) seeking treatment were randomly assigned to MI, relational MI without directive elements (Spirit-Only MI, SOMI), or a self-change (SC) control condition. Participants were followed during an eight week treatment period. The first two of four treatment sessions were videotaped and coded for fidelity, discriminability, and change talk. Overall, conditions demonstrated high fidelity. As predicted, change talk significantly increased in MI relative to the SOMI condition. Drinking was significantly reduced at end treatment, but the reduction was equivalent across conditions. Post-hoc analyses found that MI reduced drinking more rapidly than SOMI and SC and that increased change talk mediated the effects of MI relative to SOMI during the week immediately following the first session. Findings are discussed in the context of the pilot nature of the study and the relative absence of experimental tests of mechanisms of behavior change in SUD treatment research.
motivational interviewing; mechanisms of action; active ingredients; alcohol; problem drinkers; moderation; alcohol use disorder treatment
We sought to develop and evaluate a composite memory score from the neuropsychological battery used in the Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI). We used modern psychometric approaches to analyze longitudinal Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT, 2 versions), AD Assessment Schedule - Cognition (ADAS-Cog, 3 versions), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Logical Memory data to develop ADNI-Mem, a composite memory score. We compared RAVLT and ADAS-Cog versions, and compared ADNI-Mem to AVLT recall sum scores, four ADAS-Cog-derived scores, the MMSE, and the Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes. We evaluated rates of decline in normal cognition, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and AD, ability to predict conversion from MCI to AD, strength of association with selected imaging parameters, and ability to differentiate rates of decline between participants with and without AD cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) signatures. The second version of the RAVLT was harder than the first. The ADAS-Cog versions were of similar difficulty. ADNI-Mem was slightly better at detecting change than total RAVLT recall scores. It was as good as or better than all of the other scores at predicting conversion from MCI to AD. It was associated with all our selected imaging parameters for people with MCI and AD. Participants with MCI with an AD CSF signature had somewhat more rapid decline than did those without. This paper illustrates appropriate methods for addressing the different versions of word lists, and demonstrates the additional power to be gleaned with a psychometrically sound composite memory score.
Memory; psychometrics; longitudinal analysis; cognition; hippocampus
This prospective case-controlled clinical study was undertaken to investigate to what extent the manually assisted treadmill stepping Locomotor Training with body weight support (LT) can change respiratory function in individuals with chronic Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Pulmonary function outcomes (Forced Vital Capacity /FVC/, Forced Expiratory Volume one second /FEV1/, Maximum Inspiratory Pressure /PImax/, Maximum Expiratory Pressure /PEmax/) and surface electromyographic (sEMG) measures of respiratory muscles activity during respiratory taskswere obtained from eight individuals with chronic C3-T12 SCI before and after 62±10 (Mean ± SD) sessions of the LT. FVC, FEV1, PImax, PEmax, amount of overall sEMG activity and rate of motor unit recruitment were significantly increased after LT (p<0.05) These results suggest that these improvements induced by the LT are likely the result of neuroplastic changes in spinal neural circuitry responsible for the activation of respiratory muscles preserved after injury.
Spinal Cord Injury; Respiratory Function; Motor Control; Locomotor Training
Root systems are critical for water and nutrient acquisition by crops. Current methods measuring root biomass and length are slow and labour-intensive for studying root responses to environmental stresses in the field. Here, we report the development of a method that measures changes in the root DNA concentration in soil and detects root responses to drought in controlled environment and field trials. To allow comparison of soil DNA concentrations from different wheat genotypes, we also developed a procedure for correcting genotypic differences in the copy number of the target DNA sequence. The new method eliminates the need for separation of roots from soil and permits large-scale phenotyping of root responses to drought or other environmental and disease stresses in the field.
Study Design: Prospective cohort study.
Objective: This study examined the relationship between motor control and clinical function outcomes after spinal cord injury (SCI).
Setting: University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.
Materials: Eleven persons with SCI and 5 non-injured subjects were included in this study.
Methods: The ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS) was used to categorize injury level and severity. Multi-muscle, surface EMG (sEMG) recording, was carried out using a protocol of reflex and volitional motor tasks and was analyzed using a vector-based tool that calculates index values that relate a distribution of multi-muscle activation pattern of each SCI subject to the prototype obtained from non-injured subject group and presents overall magnitude as a separate value. Functional Independence Measure motor sub-scale, Spinal Cord Injury Independence Measure (SCIM-III), and Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI) scale scores were compared to neurophysiological parameters.
Results: AIS category and injury level correlated significantly with the WISCI and SCIM mobility sub-scales. sEMG-derived parameters were significantly correlated with SCIM and WISCI scores but only for examinations carried out 48 or more days post-injury.
Conclusion: These results supported the hypothesis that clinically relevant function after SCI is related to the degree to which functional organization within the central nervous system is disrupted. Further, due likely to the constraints placed on the expression of functional ability by early post-injury immobilization and hospitalization, neurophysiological assessment of motor function may provide better sensitivity and reliability than can be obtained using the clinical function scales examined here within the early period after injury.
spinal cord injury; motor control; assessment; functional outcome; neurological outcome; FIM; SCIM; WISCI
Regenerative medicine, relying on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) technology, opens promising new avenues for therapy of many severe diseases. However, this approach is restricted by limited production of the desired cells due to the refractory properties of hESC growth in vitro. It is further hindered by insufficient control of cellular stress, growth rates, and heterogeneous cellular states under current culture conditions. In this study, we report a novel cell culture method based on a non-colony type monolayer (NCM) growth. Human ESCs under NCM remain pluripotent as determined by teratoma assays and sustain the potential to differentiate into three germ layers. This NCM culture has been shown to homogenize cellular states, precisely control growth rates, significantly increase cell production, and enhance hESC recovery from cryopreservation without compromising chromosomal integrity. This culture system is simple, robust, scalable, and suitable for high-throughput screening and drug discovery.
Studies of sexuality have increasingly shifted their attention towards understanding the social contexts that inform and organise sexual behaviour. Building on this work, we examine how substance use and sex are socially organised and meaningful activities for young African American and Latino gay and bisexual men who use substances with sex. Drawing on 30 qualitative interviews in Los Angeles and New York, we identify the ways in which social boundaries inform substance use among these young men. We find that many of them view the gay and racial/ethnic communities they belong to as differentiated by patterns of substance use. Further, they see these communities as actively constructing group boundaries through substance use, sanctioning the use of particular substances while simultaneously discouraging the use or discussion of others. For these young men, racial/ethnic and gay communities provide salient contexts in which the use of certain substances and not others is socially meaningful. Findings demonstrate the important and heretofore unrecognised ways that perceived social boundaries inform these young men’s use of substances. As both protective and marginalising influences, perceptions of communities and social identities have real consequences for the sexual health of young African American and Latino gay and bisexual men.
substance use; race; sexuality; identity; community
MK-801 is a use-dependent NMDA receptor open channel blocker with a very slow off-rate. These properties can be exploited to ‘pre-block’ a population of NMDARs, such as synaptic ones, enabling the selective activation of a different population, such as extrasynaptic NMDARs. However, the usefulness of this approach is dependent on the stability of MK-801 blockade after washout. We have revisited this issue, and confirm that recovery of NMDAR currents from MK-801 blockade is enhanced by channel opening by NMDA, and find that it is further increased when Mg2+ is also present. In the presence of Mg2+, 50% recovery from MK-801 blockade is achieved after 10′ of 100 μM NMDA, or 30′ of 15 μM NMDA exposure. In Mg2+-free medium, NMDA-induced MK-801 dissociation was found to be much slower. Memantine, another PCP-site antagonist, could substitute for Mg2+ in accelerating the unblock of MK-801 in the presence of NMDA. This suggests a model whereby, upon dissociation from its binding site in the pore, MK-801 is able to re-bind in a process antagonized by Mg2+ or another PCP-site antagonist. Finally we show that even when all NMDARs are pre-blocked by MK-801, incubation of neurons with 100 μM NMDA in the presence of Mg2+ for 2.5 h triggers sufficient unblocking to kill >80% of neurons. We conclude that while synaptic MK-801 ‘pre-block’ protocols are useful for pharmacologically assessing synaptic vs. extrasynaptic contributions to NMDAR currents, or studying short-term effects, it is problematic to use this technique to attempt to study the effects of long-term selective extrasynaptic NMDAR activation.
This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Glutamate Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity’.
► Use-dependent recovery of NMDAR currents after MK-801 blockade is boosted by Mg2+. ► Use-dependent recovery is also accelerated by memantine. ► NMDA + Mg2+ can trigger 45% MK-801 dissociation in only 10 min ► NMDA + Mg2+ can promote death in neurons with NMDARs 100% pre-blocked by MK-801. ► Care should be taken not to overestimate the stability of MK-801 blockade of NMDARs.
Glutamate receptor; NMDA receptor; Pharmacology; Synapse; Extrasynaptic; Excitotoxicity; MK-801; Magnesium
The binding of a ligand to orotidine 5’-monophosphate decarboxylase (OMPDC) is accompanied by a conformational change from an open, inactive conformation (Eo) to a closed, active conformation (Ec). As the substrate traverses the reaction coordinate to form the stabilized vinyl carbanion/carbene intermediate, interactions are enforced that destabilize the carboxylate group of the substrate as well as stabilize the intermediate (in the Ec•S‡ complex). Focusing on the OMPDC from Methanothermobacter thermautotrophicus, the “remote” 5’-phosphate group of the substrate activates the enzyme 2.4 × 108-fold; the activation is equivalently described by an intrinsic binding energy (IBE) of 11.4 kcal/mol. We studied residues in the activation that 1) directly contact the 5’-phosphate group; 2) participate in a hydrophobic cluster near the base of the active site loop that sequesters the bound substrate from solvent; and 3) form hydrogen-bonding interactions across the interface between the “mobile” and “fixed” half-barrel domains of the (β/α8-barrel structure. Our data support a model in which the IBE provided by the 5’-phosphate group is used to enable interactions both near the N-terminus of the active site loop and across the domain interface that stabilize both the Ec•S and Ec•S‡ complexes relative to the Eo•S complex. The conclusion that the IBE of the 5’-phosphate group provides stabilization of both the Ec•S and Ec•S‡ complexes, not just the Ec•S‡ complex, is central to understanding the structural origins of enzymatic catalysis as well as the requirements for the de novo design of enzymes that catalyze novel reactions.
Follistatin is a potent regulator of the inflammatory response and binds to and inhibits activin A action. Activin A is a member of the TGFβ protein superfamily which has regulatory roles in the inflammatory response and in the fibrotic process. Fibrosis can occur following cell injury and cell death induced by agents such as ionizing radiation (IR). IR is used to treat cancer and marked fibrotic response is a normal tissue (non-tumour) consequence in a fraction of patients under the current dose regimes. The discovery and development of a therapeutic to abate fibrosis in these radiosensitive patients would be a major advance for cancer radiotherapy. Likewise, prediction of which patients are susceptible to fibrosis would enable individualization of treatment and provide an opportunity for pre-emptive fibrosis control and better tumour treatment outcomes. The levels of activin A and follistatin were measured in fibroblasts derived from patients who developed severe radiation-induced fibrosis following radiotherapy and compared to fibroblasts from patients who did not. Both follistatin and activin A gene expression levels were increased following IR and the follistatin gene expression level was lower in the fibroblasts from fibrosis patients compared to controls at both basal levels and after IR. The major follistatin transcript variants were found to have a similar response to IR and both were reduced in fibrosis patients. Levels of follistatin and activin A secreted in the fibroblast culture medium also increased in response to IR and the relative follistatin protein levels were significantly lower in the samples derived from fibrosis patients. The decrease in the follistatin levels can lead to an increased bioactivity of activin A and hence may provide a useful measurement to identify patients at risk of a severe fibrotic response to IR. Additionally, follistatin, by its ability to neutralise the actions of activin A may be of value as an anti-fibrotic for radiation induced fibrosis.
The IL7Rα gene is unequivocally associated with susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS). Haplotype 2 (Hap 2) confers protection from MS, and T cells and dendritic cells (DCs) of Hap 2 exhibit reduced splicing of exon 6, resulting in production of relatively less soluble receptor, and potentially more response to ligand. We have previously shown in CD4 T cells that IL7Rα haplotypes 1 and 2, but not 4, respond to interferon beta (IFNβ), the most commonly used immunomodulatory drug in MS, and that haplotype 4 (Hap 4) homozygotes have the highest risk of developing MS. We now show that IL7R expression increases in myeloid cells in response to IFNβ, but that the response is haplotype-dependent, with cells from homozygotes for Hap 4 again showing no response. This was shown using freshly derived monocytes, in vitro cultured immature and mature monocyte-derived dendritic cells, and by comparing homozygotes for the common haplotypes, and relative expression of alleles in heterozygotes (Hap 4 vs not Hap 4). As for T cells, in all myeloid cell subsets examined, Hap 2 homozygotes showed a trend for reduced splicing of exon 6 compared to the other haplotypes, significantly so in most conditions. These data are consistent with increased signaling being protective from MS, constitutively and in response to IFNβ. We also demonstrate significant regulation of immune response, chemokine activity and cytokine biosynthesis pathways by IL7Rα signaling in IFNβ -treated myeloid subsets. IFNβ-responsive genes are over-represented amongst genes associated with MS susceptibility. IL7Rα haplotype may contribute to MS susceptibility through reduced capacity for IL7Rα signalling in myeloid cells, especially in the presence of IFNβ, and is currently under investigation as a predictor of therapeutic response.
To describe changes in workplace physical activity, and health-, and work-related outcomes, in workers who transitioned from a conventional to an ‘activity-permissive’ workplace.
A natural pre-post experiment conducted in Vancouver, Canada in 2011. A convenience sample of office-based workers (n=24, 75% women, mean [SD] age = 34.5 [8.1] years) were examined four months following relocation from a conventional workplace (pre) to a newly-constructed, purpose-built, movement-oriented physical environment (post). Workplace activity- (activPAL3-derived stepping, standing, and sitting time), health- (body composition and fasting cardio-metabolic blood profile), and work- (performance; job satisfaction) related outcomes were measured pre- and post-move and compared using paired t-tests.
Pre-move, on average (mean [SD]) the majority of the day was spent sitting (364 [43.0] mins/8-hr workday), followed by standing (78.2 [32.1] mins/8-hr workday) and stepping (37.7 [15.6] mins/8-hr workday). The transition to the ‘activity-permissive’ workplace resulted in a significant increase in standing time (+18.5, 95% CI: 1.8, 35.2 mins/8-hr workday), likely driven by reduced sitting time (-19.7, 95% CI: -42.1, 2.8 mins/8-hr workday) rather than increased stepping time (+1.2, 95% CI: -6.2, 8.5 mins/8-hr workday). There were no statistically significant differences observed in health- or work-related outcomes.
This novel, opportunistic study demonstrated that the broader workplace physical environment can beneficially impact on standing time in office workers. The long-term health and work-related benefits, and the influence of individual, organizational, and social factors on this change, requires further evaluation.
The expression and function of several multidrug transporters (including ABCB1 and ABCG2) have been studied in human cancer cells and in mouse and human adult stem cells. However, the expression of ABCG2 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) remains unclear. Limited and contradictory results in the literature from two research groups have raised questions regarding its expression and function. In this study, we used quantitative real-time PCR, Northern blots, whole genome RNA sequencing, Western blots, and immunofluorescence microscopy to study ABCG2 expression in hESCs. We found that full-length ABCG2 mRNA transcripts are expressed in undifferentiated hESC lines. However, ABCG2 protein was undetectable even under embryoid body differentiation or cytotoxic drug induction. Moreover, surface ABCG2 protein was coexpressed with the differentiation marker SSEA-1 of hESCs, following constant BMP-4 signaling at days 4 and 6. This expression was tightly correlated with the down-regulation of two microRNAs (i.e., hsa-miR-519c and hsa-miR-520h). Transfection of microRNA mimics and inhibitors of these two microRNAs confirmed their direct involvement in the regulation ABCG2 translation. Our findings clarify the controversy regarding the expression of the ABCG2 gene and also provide new insights into translational control of the expression of membrane transporter mRNAs by microRNAs in hESCs.
human embryonic stem cells; ATP-binding cassette; ABCG2; BMP-4; differentiation
TERT-locus single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and leucocyte telomere measures are reportedly associated with risks of multiple cancers. Using the iCOGs chip, we analysed ~480 TERT-locus SNPs in breast (n=103,991), ovarian (n=39,774) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (11,705) cancer cases and controls. 53,724 participants have leucocyte telomere measures. Most associations cluster into three independent peaks. Peak 1 SNP rs2736108 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=5.8×10−7), reduced estrogen receptor negative (ER-negative) (P=1.0×10−8) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.1×10−5) breast cancer risks, and altered promoter-assay signal. Peak 2 SNP rs7705526 minor allele associates with longer telomeres (P=2.3×10−14), increased low malignant potential ovarian cancer risk (P=1.3×10−15) and increased promoter activity. Peak 3 SNPs rs10069690 and rs2242652 minor alleles increase ER-negative (P=1.2×10−12) and BRCA1 mutation carrier (P=1.6×10−14) breast and invasive ovarian (P=1.3×10−11) cancer risks, but not via altered telomere length. The cancer-risk alleles of rs2242652 and rs10069690 respectively increase silencing and generate a truncated TERT splice-variant.
This study examines the relationship between common genetic variation within DNA methyltransferase genes and inter-individual variation in DNA methylation. Eleven polymorphisms spanning DNMT1 and DNMT3B were genotyped. Global and gene specific (IGF2, IGFBP3, ZNT5) DNA methylation was quantified by LUMA and bisulfite Pyrosequencing assays, respectively, in neonatal cord blood and in maternal peripheral blood. Associations between maternal genotype and maternal methylation (n ≈ 333), neonatal genotype and neonatal methylation (n ≈ 454), and maternal genotype and neonatal methylation (n ≈ 137) were assessed. The findings of this study provide some support to the hypothesis that genetic variation in DNA methylating enzymes influence DNA methylation at global and gene-specific levels; however observations were not robust to correction for multiple testing. More comprehensive analysis of the influence of genetic variation on global and site specific DNA methylation is warranted.
Vaccination through mucosal surfaces has been shown to elicit antiviral immune responses against a number of mucosal pathogens. Here we demonstrate that both mucosal and systemic immune responses can be elicited against a model HIV-1 CN54gp140 antigen when cation-complexed plasmid DNA vaccines are applied topically to the murine pulmonary mucosa as an immune priming strategy. Furthermore, using an influenza challenge model we show that a plasmid DNA vaccine complexed to a less toxic form of PEI called dPEI (a nearly fully hydrolysed linear PEI with 11% additional free protonatable nitrogen atoms) can provide significant protection against a respiratory challenge infection in mice. Furthermore, we show that dPEI polyplexes have the potential to transfect not only mucosal epithelium, but also to enter deeper into tissues through the modulation of tight junction integrity. Taken together, these results demonstrate that less toxic forms of PEI can be effective delivery vehicles for plasmid DNAs to elicit cellular and humoral protective responses in vivo. Moreover, our observations suggest that these less toxic derivatives of PEI could be utilised for topical plasmid DNA vaccine delivery to human mucosal tissue surfaces, and that this application may permit dissemination of the immune responses through the linked mucosal network thus providing protective immunity at distal portals of pathogen entry.
Mucosal; Vaccination; Gene delivery; Immunity; HIV-1; Influenza
Learning-related intrinsic excitability changes of pyramidal neurons via modulation of the postburst afterhyperpolarization (AHP) have been repeatedly demonstrated in multiple brain regions (especially the hippocampus), after a variety of learning tasks, and in multiple species. While exciting and important, the changes in pyramidal neurons are only a part of the neural circuitry involved in successful learning. For a more complete picture of the dynamic learning-related changes in the neural network, changes in inhibitory circuitry must also be systematically examined and characterized. Here we show in young adult rats and mice that learning the hippocampus-dependent trace eyeblink conditioning task induces enhanced inhibition onto CA1 pyramidal neurons mediated, in part, by an increase in intrinsic excitability of somatostatin-positive inhibitory neurons (SOMs). Furthermore, both CA1 pyramidal and SOM interneurons shared a common cellular mechanism (reduction in SK channel mediated AHP) that led to the learning-induced increased intrinsic excitability.
Compelling evidence supports the cost effectiveness and potential impact of physical activity on chronic disease prevention and health promotion. Quality of evidence is one piece, but certainly not the sole determinant of whether public health interventions, physical activity focused or otherwise, achieve their full potential for impact. Health promotion at both population and community levels must progress beyond health intervention models that isolate individuals from social, environmental, and political systems of influence.
We offer a critical evaluation of lessons learned from two successful research initiatives to provide insights as to how health promotion research contributes to sustained impact. We highlight factors key to success including the theoretical and methodological integration of: i) a social ecological approach; ii) participatory action research (PAR) methods; and iii) an interdisciplinary team.
To identify and illustrate the key elements of our success we layered an evaluation of steps taken atop a review of relevant literature.
In the school-based case study (Action Schools! BC), the success of our approach included early and sustained engagement with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, establishing partnerships across sectors and at different levels of government, and team members across multiple disciplines. In the neighbourhood built environment case study, the three domains guided our approach through study design and team development, and the integration of older adults’ perspectives into greenway design plans. In each case study we describe how elements of the domains serve as a guide for our work.
To sustain and maximize the impact of community-based public health interventions we propose the integration of elements from three domains of research that acknowledge the interplay between social, environmental and poilitical systems of influence. We emphasize that a number of key factors determine whether evidence from public health interventions in school and built environment settings is applied in practice and policy sectors. These include relationship building at individual, community, and societal levels of the social ecological model, using participatory action research methods, and involving an engaged and committed interdisciplinary team.
Physical activity; Built environment; Community-based research; Social ecological model; Participatory action research; Framework; Stakeholders
The identification of the loci and specific alleles underlying variation in quantitative traits is an important goal for evolutionary biologists and breeders. Despite major advancements in genomics technology, moving from QTL to causal alleles remains a major challenge in genetics research. Near-isogenic lines are the ideal raw material for QTL validation, refinement of QTL location and, ultimately, gene discovery.
In this study, a population of 75 Arabidopsis thaliana near-isogenic lines was developed from an existing recombinant inbred line (RIL) population derived from a cross between physiologically divergent accessions Kas-1 and Tsu-1. First, a novel algorithm was developed to utilize genome-wide marker data in selecting RILs fully isogenic to Kas-1 for a single chromosome. Seven such RILs were used in 2 generations of crossing to Tsu-1 to create BC1 seed. BC1 plants were genotyped with SSR markers so that lines could be selected that carried Kas-1 introgressions, resulting in a population carrying chromosomal introgressions spanning the genome. BC1 lines were genotyped with 48 genome-wide SSRs to identify lines with a targeted Kas-1 introgression and the fewest genomic introgressions elsewhere. 75 such lines were selected and genotyped at an additional 41 SNP loci and another 930 tags using 2b-RAD genotyping by sequencing. The final population carried an average of 1.35 homozygous and 2.49 heterozygous introgressions per line with average introgression sizes of 5.32 and 5.16 Mb, respectively. In a simple case study, we demonstrate the advantage of maintaining heterozygotes in our library whereby fine-mapping efforts are conducted simply by self-pollination. Crossovers in the heterozygous interval during this single selfing generation break the introgression into smaller, homozygous fragments (sub-NILs). Additionally, we utilize a homozygous NIL for validation of a QTL underlying stomatal conductance, a low heritability trait.
The present results introduce a new and valuable resource to the Brassicaceae research community that enables rapid fine-mapping of candidate loci in parallel with QTL validation. These attributes along with dense marker coverage and genome-wide chromosomal introgressions make this population an ideal starting point for discovery of genes underlying important complex traits of agricultural and ecological significance.
2b-RAD; Fine-mapping; Quantitative trait loci; Stomatal conductance