Multipotent Isl1+ heart progenitors give rise to three major cardiovascular cell types; cardiac, smooth muscle, and endothelial cells, and play a pivotal role in lineage diversification during cardiogenesis. A critical question is pinpointing when this cardiac-vascular lineage decision is made, and how this plasticity serves to coordinate cardiac chamber and vessel growth. The posterior domain of the Isl1-positive second heart field contributes to the SLN-positive atrial myocardium and myocardial sleeves in the cardiac inflow tract, where myocardial and vascular smooth muscle layers form anatomical and functional continuity. Herein, using a new atrial specific SLN-Cre knockin mouse line, we report that an Isl1+/SLN+ transient cell population contributes to cardiac as well as smooth muscle cells at the heart-vessel junction in cardiac inflow tract. The Isl1+/SLN+ cells are capable of giving rise to cardiac and smooth muscle cells until late gestational stages. These data suggest that the cardiac and smooth muscle cells in the cardiac inflow tract share a common developmental origin.
cardiogenesis; myogenic progenitor; smooth muscle; great vessel; plasticity
Recent evidence suggests that IL-17 contributes to airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR); however, the mechanisms that suppress the production of this cytokine remain poorly defined.
We sought to understand the cellular and molecular basis for suppression of established, IL-17-dependent allergic airways disease.
Mice were sensitized by airway instillations of ovalbumin (OVA) together with low levels of lipopolysaccharide. Leukocyte recruitment to the lung and AHR were assessed following daily challenges with aerosolized OVA. Flow cytometry and gene targeted mice were used to identify naturally-arising subsets of regulatory T cells (Tregs) and their cytokines required for the suppression of established allergic airway disease.
Allergic sensitization through the airway primed both effector and regulatory responses. Effector responses were initially dominant and led to airway inflammation and IL-17-dependent AHR. However, after multiple daily allergen challenges, IL-17 production and AHR declined, even though pulmonary levels of Th17 cells remained high. This loss of AHR was reversible and required the expansion of a Treg subset expressing both Foxp3 and inducible co-stimulator (ICOS). These Tregs also expressed the regulatory cytokines, IL-10, TGF-beta and IL-35. Whereas IL-10 and TGF-beta were dispensable for suppression of airway hyperresponsiveness, IL-35 was required. Analysis of human ICOS+ Tregs revealed that they also selectively expressed IL-35.
IL-35 production by ICOS+ Tregs can suppress IL-17 production and thereby reverse established, IL-17-dependent AHR in mice. The production of IL-35 by human ICOS+ Tregs suggests that targeting this pathway might be of therapeutic value for treating allergic asthma in humans.
Asthma; airway hyperresponsiveness; AHR; IL-17; Th17; Th2; IL-35; ICOS; ovalbumin
Eye tracking has been used to investigate gaze behaviours in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, traditional analysis has yet to find behavioural characteristics shared by both children and adults with ASD. To distinguish core ASD gaze behaviours from those that change with development, we examined temporo-spatial gaze patterns in children and adults with and without ASD while they viewed video clips. We summarized the gaze patterns of 104 participants using multidimensional scaling so that participants with similar gaze patterns would cluster together in a two-dimensional plane. Control participants clustered in the centre, reflecting a standard gaze behaviour, whereas participants with ASD were distributed around the periphery. Moreover, children and adults were separated on the plane, thereby showing a clear effect of development on gaze behaviours. Post hoc frame-by-frame analyses revealed the following findings: (i) both ASD groups shifted their gaze away from a speaker earlier than the control groups; (ii) both ASD groups showed a particular preference for letters; and (iii) typical infants preferred to watch the mouth rather than the eyes during speech, a preference that reversed with development. These results highlight the importance of taking the effect of development into account when addressing gaze behaviours characteristic of ASD.
eye tracking; eye movements; autism; development; mouth viewing; turn taking
The ResD-ResE signal transduction system is essential for aerobic and anaerobic respiration in Bacillus subtilis. ResDE-dependent gene expression is induced by oxygen limitation, but full induction under anaerobic conditions requires nitrite or nitric oxide (NO). Here we report that NsrR (formerly YhdE) is responsible for the NO-dependent up-regulation of the ResDE regulon. The null mutation of nsrR led to aerobic derepression of hmp (flavohemoglobin gene) partly in a ResDE-independent manner. In addition to its negative role in aerobic hmp expression, NsrR plays an important role under anaerobic conditions for regulation of ResDE-controlled genes, including hmp. ResDE-dependent gene expression was increased by the nsrR mutation in the absence of NO, but the expression was decreased by the mutation when NO was present. Consequently, B. subtilis cells lacking NsrR no longer sense and respond to NO (and nitrite) to up-regulate the ResDE regulon. Exposure to NO did not significantly change the cellular concentration of NsrR, suggesting that NO likely modulates the activity of NsrR. NsrR is similar to the recently described nitrite- or NO-sensitive transcription repressors present in various bacteria. NsrR likely has an Fe-S cluster, and interaction of NO with the Fe-S center is proposed to modulate NsrR activity.
Background: 5-Nitro-o-toluidine is an aromatic nitro amino compound. While other aromatic compounds are known to damage the human liver and are registered as toxic substances, toxicity information concerning 5-nitro-o-toluidine is lacking.
Aims: To investigate the hepatotoxicity of 5-nitro-o-toluidine.
Patients and methods: Of 15 workers in the same factory who handled 5-nitro-o-toluidine, three were hospitalised with symptoms of acute liver dysfunction. Suspecting a link between liver dysfunction and working conditions, we correlated workplace factors with clinical findings in all 15 workers.
Results: Blood biochemistry tests indicated liver damage in seven of 15 study subjects. Workers who handled 5-nitro-o-toluidine and nitrosyl sulphuric acid often loosened their respiratory protective equipment shortly after 5-nitro-o-toluidine powder had been dispersed into the air of the room. No potential hepatotoxins were present except for 5-nitro-o-toluidine. Six of the affected workers had handled 5-nitro-o-toluidine 12 to 20 times; the seventh worker had handled the powder three times; and the other eight workers without liver dysfunction had handled the material once or twice. No other significant differences in background were evident between the affected and unaffected workers, such as age, sex, or protective measures. Histological findings during recovery from liver damage were similar to those of acute viral hepatitis. None of the 15 subjects has demonstrated liver damage since the factory was closed.
Conclusions: A link between liver dysfunction and 5-nitro-o-toluidine exposure is suggested by greater severity of liver dysfunction associated with more episodes of handling.
5-nitro-o-toluidine; liver toxicity; liver function; toxicity
BACKGROUND—Genotype 1b of hepatitis C virus (HCV) comprises mainly three subtypes, each named for its geographic prevalence (worldwide, W; Japan, J; and not in Japan, NJ).
AIM—To characterise the newly identified subtypes of genotype 1b and to review factors associated with response to interferon (IFN) for each subtype.
PATIENTS—Chronic hepatitis patients (80 men and 41 women; mean age 48.5 years, range 20.7-69.3) with HCV genotype 1b (W type, n=41; J type, n=38) or genotype 2a (n=42) were treated according to the same IFN protocol. Forty four patients (36.4%) negative for serum HCV RNA six months after cessation of treatment were considered complete responders.
METHODS—Factors associated with complete response were investigated.
RESULTS—Genotype 2a patients had lower viral loads (odds ratio 0.11 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.049-0.256)) and a better IFN response (odds ratio 0.25 (95% CI 0.117-0.552)) than genotype 1b patients whereas W type and J type patients had similar viral loads and responses to IFN. IFN response in W type patients was associated with female sex (odds ratio 0.23 (95% CI 0.055-0.983)) and low viral load (odds ratio 84.00 (95% CI 14.04-502.6)) whereas response in J type patients was related to transfusion history (odds ratio 7.20 (95% CI 1.443-35.91)), low viral load (odds ratio 117.0 (95% CI 17.82-768.3)), and genetic mutation in the interferon sensitivity determining region of the virus (odds ratio 0.08 (95% CI 0.013-0.553)). Multivariate analysis found low viral load (odds ratio 64.19 (95% CI 14.66-281.06)) to be the only significant independent factor associated with IFN response.
CONCLUSIONS—Factors associated with IFN responsiveness in HCV infection differ with viral subtype.
Keywords: hepatitis C virus; genotype 1b; chronic hepatitis; interferon therapy; interferon sensitivity determining region
A clinical isolate of Escherichia coli from a patient in Japan, isolate KU6400, was found to produce a plasmid-encoded β-lactamase that conferred resistance to extended-spectrum cephalosporins and cephamycins. Resistance arising from production of a β-lactamase could be transferred by either conjugation or transformation with plasmid pKU601 into E. coli ML4947. The substrate and inhibition profiles of this enzyme resembled those of the AmpC β-lactamase. The resistance gene of pKU601, which was cloned and expressed in E. coli, proved to contain an open reading frame showing 99.8% DNA sequence identity with the ampC gene of Citrobacter freundii GC3. DNA sequence analysis also identified a gene upstream of ampC whose sequence was 99.0% identical to the ampR gene from C. freundii GC3. In addition, a fumarate operon (frdABCD) and an outer membrane lipoprotein (blc) surrounding the ampR-ampC genes in C. freundii were identified, and insertion sequence (IS26) elements were observed on both sides of the sequences identified (forming an IS26 composite transposon); these results confirm the evidence of the translocation of a β-lactamase-associated gene region from the chromosome to a plasmid. Finally, we describe a novel plasmid-encoded AmpC β-lactamase, CFE-1, with an ampR gene derived from C. freundii.
The expression of genes involved in nitrate respiration in Bacillus subtilis is regulated by the ResD-ResE two-component signal transduction system. The membrane-bound ResE sensor kinase perceives a redox-related signal(s) and phosphorylates the cognate response regulator ResD, which enables interaction of ResD with ResD-dependent promoters to activate transcription. Hydroxyl radical footprinting analysis revealed that ResD tandemly binds to the −41 to −83 region of hmp and the −46 to −92 region of nasD. In vitro runoff transcription experiments showed that ResD is necessary and sufficient to activate transcription of the ResDE regulon. Although phosphorylation of ResD by ResE kinase greatly stimulated transcription, unphosphorylated ResD, as well as ResD with a phosphorylation site (Asp57) mutation, was able to activate transcription at a low level. The D57A mutant was shown to retain the activity in vivo to induce transcription of the ResDE regulon in response to oxygen limitation, suggesting that ResD itself, in addition to its activation through phosphorylation-mediated conformation change, senses oxygen limitation via an unknown mechanism leading to anaerobic gene activation.
ATP-dependent proteases degrade denatured or misfolded proteins and are recruited for the controlled removal of proteins that block activation of regulatory pathways. Among the ATP-dependent proteases, those of the Clp family are particularly important for the growth and development of Bacillus subtilis. Proteolytic subunit ClpP, together with regulatory ATPase subunit ClpC or ClpX, is required for the normal response to stress, for development of genetic competence, and for sporulation. The spx (formally yjbD) gene was previously identified as a site of mutations that suppress defects in competence conferred by clpP and clpX. The level of Spx in wild-type cells grown in competence medium is low, and that in clpP mutants is high. This suggests that the Spx protein is a substrate for ClpP-containing proteases and that accumulation of Spx might be partly responsible for the observed pleiotropic phenotype resulting from the clpP mutation. In this study we examined, both in vivo and in vitro, which ClpP protease is responsible for degradation of Spx. Western blot analysis showed that Spx accumulated in clpX mutant to the same level as that observed in the clpP mutant. In contrast, a very low concentration of Spx was detected in a clpC mutant. An in vitro proteolysis experiment using purified proteins demonstrated that Spx was degraded by ClpCP but only in the presence of one of the ClpC adapter proteins, MecA or YpbH. However, ClpXP, either in the presence or in the absence of MecA and YpbH, was unable to degrade Spx. Transcription of spx, as measured by expression of spx-lacZ, was slightly increased by the clpX mutation. To exclude a possible effect of clpX and clpP on spx transcription, the spx gene was placed under the control of the IPTG (isopropyl-β-d-thiogalactopyranoside)-inducible Pspac promoter. In this strain, Spx accumulated when ClpX or ClpP was absent, suggesting that ClpX and ClpP are required for degradation of Spx. Taken together, these results suggest that Spx is degraded by both ClpCP and ClpXP. The putative proteolysis by ClpXP might require another adapter protein. Spx probably is degraded by ClpCP under as yet unidentified conditions. This study suggests that the level of Spx is tightly controlled by two different ClpP proteases.
Cell surface protein antigen (PAc) and water-insoluble glucan-synthesizing enzyme (GTF-I) produced by cariogenic Streptococcus mutans are two major factors implicated in the colonization of the human oral cavity by this bacterium. We examined the effect of bovine milk, produced after immunization with a fusion protein of functional domains of these proteins, on the recolonization of S. mutans. To prepare immune milk, a pregnant Holstein cow was immunized with the fusion protein PAcA-GB, a fusion of the saliva-binding alanine-rich region (PAcA) of PAc and the glucan-binding (GB) domain of GTF-I. After eight adult subjects received cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) treatment, one subgroup (n = 4) rinsed their mouths with immune milk and a control group (n = 4) rinsed with nonimmune milk. S. mutans levels in saliva and dental plaque decreased after CPC treatment in both groups. Mouth rinsing with immune milk significantly inhibited recolonization of S. mutans in saliva and plaque. On the other hand, the numbers of S. mutans cells in saliva and plaque in the control group increased immediately after the CPC treatment and surpassed the baseline level 42 and 28 days, respectively, after the CPC treatment. The ratios of S. mutans to total streptococci in saliva and plaque in the group that received immune milk were lower than those in the control group. These results suggest that milk produced from immunized cow may be useful for controlling S. mutans in the human oral cavity.
Chemotactic factors regulate the recruitment of neutrophils, lymphocytes, or monocytes-macrophages to infectious and inflammatory sites. The purpose of this study was to determine whether monocyte-chemotactic and -activating factor (MCAF [MCP-1], a JE gene product) also influences the host defense mechanism against microbial infection. We evaluated the effect of recombinant human MCAF on the survival rate of mice systemically infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Salmonella typhimurium. The administration of 2.5 micrograms of MCAF 6 h before infection completely protected the mice from lethal infection. Mice with cyclophosphamide-induced leukopenia exhibiting increased susceptibility to P. aeruginosa were also endowed with resistance by the same dose of MCAF. Administration of MCAF at -6 h was critical, since MCAF given either earlier or later than -6 h failed to rescue mice from lethal infection. The in vivo effect on the survival of mice paralleled the reduced recovery of viable P. aeruginosa or S. typhimurium from the peritoneal cavity, i.e., the number of recovered bacteria from the MCAF (2.5 micrograms per mouse)-treated mice was reduced to less than 2% of control mice for P. aeruginosa and 4% of control mice for S. typhimurium at 24 h. Since MCAF exhibited chemotaxis on murine macrophages as well as enhanced phagocytosis and killing of bacteria in vitro, the activation of macrophages, followed by the recruitment into the peritoneal cavity, is responsible for eliminating bacteria and thus enhancing the survival rate.
Microcystis aeruginosa is a common cyanobacterium in water blooms that appear widely in nutrient-rich, fresh, and brackish waters, and its toxic blooms cause the death of domestic animals. The administration of a crude toxic cell extract of M. aeruginosa K-139 to mice can produce tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and prompt severe physiological disturbances, especially liver damage, which can lead to death. The in vitro production of TNF-alpha by peritoneal macrophages was observed after stimulation with the cell extract or the purified toxin from K-139 cells. The expression of a TNF-alpha mRNA was also detected in spleen cells and peritoneal macrophages after stimulation with the cell extract. However, a previous injection of rabbit anti-murine TNF-alpha serum could prevent the liver damage to some extent and protect the mice from death. These findings indicate the involvement of TNF in microcystin shock.
The encounter between antigen-presenting cells and T cells is crucial for initiating immune responses to infectious microorganisms. In the spleen, interaction between dendritic cells (DC) and T cells occurs in the periarteriolar lymphoid sheath (PALS) into which DC and T cells migrate from the marginal zone (MZ) along chemokine gradients. However, the importance of DC migration from the MZ into the PALS for immune responses and host resistance to microbial infection has not yet been elucidated. Here we report that following Leishmania donovani infection of mice the migration of splenic DC is regulated by the CCR7 ligands CCL19 / CCL21. DC in plt/plt mutant mice which lack these chemokines are less activated and produce less IL-12, compared to those in wild type mice. Similar findings are seen when mice are treated with Pertussis toxin, which blocks chemokine signalling in vivo. plt/plt mice had increased susceptibility to L. donovani infection compared to wild type mice, as determined by spleen and liver parasite burden. Analysis of splenic cytokine profiles at day 14 post infection demonstrated that IFNγ and IL-4 mRNA accumulation was comparable in wild type and plt/plt mice. In contrast, accumulation of mRNA for IL-10 was elevated in plt/plt mice. In addition, plt/plt mice mounted a delayed hepatic granulomatous response and fewer effector T cells migrated into the liver. Taken together, we conclude that DC migration from the MZ to the PALS is necessary for full activation of DC and the optimal induction of protective immunity against L. donovani.
Leishmania; chemokine; dendritic cells; cytokines; granulomas
Detachment of plant organs occurs in abscission zones (AZs). During plant growth, the AZ forms, but does not develop further until the cells perceive abscission-promoting signals and initiate detachment. Upon signal perception, abscission initiates immediately; if there is no signal, abscission is not induced and the organ remains attached to the plant. However, little attention has been paid to the genes that maintain competence to respond to the abscission signal in the pre-abscission AZ. Recently, we found that the tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) transcription factors BLIND (Bl), GOBLET (GOB), Lateral suppressor (Ls) and a tomato WUSCHEL homologue (LeWUS) are expressed specifically in pre-abscission tissue, the anthesis pedicel AZs. To advance our understanding of abscission, here we profiled genome-wide gene expression in tomato flower pedicels at the pre-abscission stage.
We examined the transcriptomes of three tomato flower pedicel regions, the AZ and flanking proximal- (Prox) and distal- (Dis) regions, and identified 89 genes that were preferentially expressed in the AZ compared to both Prox and Dis. These genes included several transcription factors that regulate apical or axillary shoot meristem activity. Also, genes associated with auxin activity were regulated in a Prox-Dis region-specific manner, suggesting that a gradient of auxin exists in the pedicel. A MADS-box gene affecting floral transition was preferentially expressed in the Prox region and other MADS-box genes for floral organ identification were preferentially expressed in Dis, implying that the morphologically similar Prox and Dis regions have distinct identities. We also analyzed the expression of known regulators; in anthesis pedicels, Bl, GOB, Ls and LeWUS were expressed in the vascular cells of the AZ region. However, after an abscission signal, Bl was up-regulated, but GOB, Ls and LeWUS were down-regulated, suggesting that Bl may be a positive regulator of abscission, but the others may be negative regulators.
This study reveals region-specific gene expression in tomato flower pedicels at anthesis and identifies factors that may determine the physiological properties of the pre-abscission pedicel. The region-specific transcriptional regulators and genes for auxin activity identified here may prevent flower abscission in the absence of signal or establish competence to respond to the abscission signal.
Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum); Abscission zone; Flower pedicel; Auxin; Shoot meristem; Competence to respond to abscission signals; Transcription factor; MADS-box genes
In the United States alone, more than 400,000 Americans die annually from coronary artery disease and more than 1,000,000 suffer acute coronary events, i.e., myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.1 Considering the aging of our population and increasing incidence of diabetes and obesity, the morbidity from coronary artery disease, and its associated costs, will place an increasing, substantial burden on our society.2 Between 2010 and 2030, total direct medical costs spent in the US for cardiovascular diseases are projected to triple from 273 to 818 billion dollars.2 Although effective treatments are available and considerable efforts are ongoing to identify new strategies for the prevention of coronary events, predicting such events in an individual has been challenging.3 In hopes of improving our ability to determine the risk of coronary events, it is prudent to review our knowledge of factors that lead to acute coronary events.
 Acute coronary syndromes;  Acute myocardial infarction;  Pathophysiology;  Risk Factors
Signaling by fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptor (FGFR) 2IIIb regulates branching morphogenesis in the mammalian lung. FGFR2IIIb is primarily expressed in epithelial cells, whereas its ligands, FGF-10 and keratinocyte growth factor (KGF; FGF-7), are expressed in mesenchymal cells. FGF-10 null mice lack lungs, whereas KGF null animals have normal lung development, indicating that FGF-10 regulates lung branching morphogenesis. In this study, we determined the effects of FGF-10 on lung branching morphogenesis and accompanying gene expression in cultures of embryonic rat lungs.
Embryonic day 14 rat lungs were cultured with FGF-10 (0–250 ng/ml) in the absence or presence of heparin (30 ng/ml) for 4 days. Gene expression profiles were analyzed by Affymetrix microchip array including pathway analysis. Some of these genes, functionally important in FGF-10 signaling, were further analyzed by Northern blot, real-time PCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry.
Exogenous FGF-10 inhibited branching and induced cystic lung growth only in cultures containing heparin. In total, 252 upregulated genes and 164 downregulated genes were identified, and these included Spry1 (Sprouty-1), Spry2 (Sprouty-2), Spred-1, Bmp4 (bone morphogenetic protein-4, BMP-4), Shh(sonic hedgehog, SHH), Pthlh (parathyroid hormone-related protein, PTHrP), Dusp6 (MAP kinase phosphatase-3, MKP-3) and Clic4 (chloride intracellular channel-4, CLIC-4) among the upregulated genes and Igf1 (insulin-like growth factor-1, IGF-1), Tcf21 (POD), Gyg1 (glycogenin 1), Sparc (secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine, SPARC), Pcolce (procollagen C-endopeptidase enhancer protein, Pro CEP) and Lox (lysyl oxidase) among the downregulated genes. Gsk3β and Wnt2, which are involved in canonical Wnt signaling, were up- and downregulated, respectively.
Unlike FGF-7, FGF-10 effects on lung branching morphogenesis are heparin-dependent. Sprouty-2, BMP-4, SHH, IGF-1, SPARC and POD are known to regulate branching morphogenesis; however, potential roles of CLIC-4 and MKP-3 in lung branching morphogenesis remain to be investigated. FGF-10 may also function in regulating branching morphogenesis or inducing cystic lung growth by inhibiting Wnt2/β-catenin signaling.
Cystic lung development; Microarray; Fibroblast growth factor-10; Heparin; Keratinocyte growth factor
The primary targets of our project are to drastically improve the photovoltaic conversion efficiency and to develop new energy storage and delivery technologies. Our approach to obtain an efficiency over 40% starts from the improvement of III–V multi-junction solar cells by introducing a novel material for each cell realizing an ideal combination of bandgaps and lattice-matching. Further improvement incorporates quantum structures such as stacked quantum wells and quantum dots, which allow higher degree of freedom in the design of the bandgap and the lattice strain. Highly controlled arrangement of either quantum dots or quantum wells permits the coupling of the wavefunctions, and thus forms intermediate bands in the bandgap of a host material, which allows multiple photon absorption theoretically leading to a conversion efficiency exceeding 50%. In addition to such improvements, microfabrication technology for the integrated high-efficiency cells and the development of novel material systems that realizes high efficiency and low cost at the same time are investigated.
Multi-junction; Quantum well; Concentrator; Photovoltaic
The trans-Golgi network (TGN) contains multiple sorting domains and acts as the compartment for cargo sorting. Recent evidence indicates that the TGN also functions as an early endosome, the first compartment in the endocytic pathway in plants. The SYP4 group, plant Qa-SNAREs localized on the TGN, regulates both secretory and vacuolar transport pathways. Consistent with a secretory role, SYP4 proteins are required for extracellular resistance to fungal pathogens. However, the physiological role of SYP4 in abiotic stress remains unknown. Here, we report the phenotypes of a syp4-mutant in regard to salinity and osmotic response, and describe the physiological roles of the SYP4 group in the abiotic stress response.
SNARE; SYP4; TGN; salinity stress
Necroptosis is a regulated form of necrotic cell death that has been implicated in the pathogenesis of various diseases including intestinal inflammation and systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). In this work, we investigated the signaling mechanisms controlled by the necroptosis mediator receptor interacting protein-1 (RIP1) kinase. We show that Akt kinase activity is critical for necroptosis in L929 cells and plays a key role in TNFα production. During necroptosis, Akt is activated in a RIP1 dependent fashion through its phosphorylation on Thr308. In L929 cells, this activation requires independent signaling inputs from both growth factors and RIP1. Akt controls necroptosis through downstream targeting of mammalian Target of Rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1). Akt activity, mediated in part through mTORC1, links RIP1 to JNK activation and autocrine production of TNFα. In other cell types, such as mouse lung fibroblasts and macrophages, Akt exhibited control over necroptosis-associated TNFα production without contributing to cell death. Overall, our results provide new insights into the mechanism of necroptosis and the role of Akt kinase in both cell death and inflammatory regulation.
CD133 was recently reported to be a cancer stem cell marker and a prognostic marker for several tumors. However, few studies have investigated CD133 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Therefore, we examined whether CD133 could serve as a prognostic marker of ESCC and investigated the correlation between CD133 expression and the clinicopathological findings of ESCC patients and several markers.
We studied 86 ESCC patients who underwent curative surgery without neoadjuvant treatment at Tohoku University Hospital (Sendai, Japan) between January 2000 and December 2005. We analyzed tissue specimens by immunohistochemical staining for CD133, p53, p16, p27, murine double minute 2 (MDM2), Ki-67, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).
Pathological tumor depth and tumor stage were significantly more advanced among CD133-negative patients than among CD133-positive patients. A log-rank test showed that CD133 immunoreactivity was significantly correlated with the overall survival of the patients (P = 0.049). However, multivariate analysis showed that it was not significantly correlated (P = 0.078). Moreover, CD133 was significantly positively correlated with p27 immunoreactivity (P = 0.0013) and tended to be positively correlated with p16 immunoreactivity (P = 0.057). In addition, p16 immunoreactivity was correlated with smoking history (P = 0.018), pathological lymph node status (P = 0.033), and lymphatic invasion (P = 0.018).
This study indicated that CD133 immunoreactivity is a good predictor of prognosis in ESCC patients. In addition, CD133 may play a role in the regulation of tumor cell cycle through p27 and p16 in ESCC. At present, it thus remains controversial whether CD133 expression is a valid prognostic marker for ESCC. To elucidate this relationship, further investigations are required.
AC133; Esophagus; Prominin-1; p16; p27; Stem cell marker
Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) are treated with prednisolone (PSL), which causes adverse side effects. Extracorporeal granulocyte/monocyte adsorption (GMA) with an Adacolumn depletes elevated/activated myeloid lineage leucocytes as sources of inflammatory cytokines. We were interested to evaluate the efficacy, safety and the treatment cost for PSL and GMA.
Forty-one patients with active UC had achieved remission with GMA, at 1 or 2 sessions/week, up to 10 sessions (n=24) or with orally administered PSL (1mg/kg bodyweight, n=17). Clinical activity index (CAI) ≤4 was considered clinical remission. Following remission, patients received 5-aminosalicylic acid (2250-3000mg/day) or sulphasalazine (4000-6000mg/day) as maintenance therapy and were followed for 600 days. The total treatment cost was assessed based on 1€=150JPY.
PSL was tapered after two weeks, and discontinued when a patient achieved remission. The average time to the disappearance of at least one major UC symptom (haematochezia, diarrhoea, or abdominal discomfort) was 15.3 days in the GMA group and 12.7 days in the PSL group, while time to remission was 27.9 days in the GMA group and 27.6 days in the PSL group, CAI 0.8 and 2.0, respectively. The Kaplan-Meier plots showed similar remission maintenance rates over the 600 days follow-up period. The average medical cost was 12739.4€/patient in the GMA group and 8751.3€ in the PSL group (P<0.05). In the GMA group, 5 transient adverse events were observed vs 10 steroid related adverse events in the PSL group (P<0.001).
In appropriately selected patients, GMA has significant efficacy with no safety concern. The higher cost of GMA vs PSL should be compromised by good safety profile of this non-pharmacological treatment intervention.
Ulcerative colitis; Adsorptive granulocyte and monocyte apheresis; Prednisolone; Medical cost; Treatment safety
The fruit of melting-flesh peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) cultivars produce high levels of ethylene caused by high expression of PpACS1 (an isogene of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase), resulting in rapid fruit softening at the late-ripening stage. In contrast, the fruit of stony hard peach cultivars do not soften and produce little ethylene due to low expression of PpACS1. To elucidate the mechanism for suppressing PpACS1 expression in stony hard peaches, a microarray analysis was performed. Several genes that displayed similar expression patterns as PpACS1 were identified and shown to be indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)-inducible genes (Aux/IAA, SAUR). That is, expression of IAA-inducible genes increased at the late-ripening stage in melting flesh peaches; however, these transcripts were low in mature fruit of stony hard peaches. The IAA concentration increased suddenly just before harvest time in melting flesh peaches exactly coinciding with system 2 ethylene production. In contrast, the IAA concentration did not increase in stony hard peaches. Application of 1-naphthalene acetic acid, a synthetic auxin, to stony hard peaches induced a high level of PpACS1 expression, a large amount of ethylene production and softening. Application of an anti-auxin, α-(phenylethyl-2-one)-IAA, to melting flesh peaches reduced levels of PpACS1 expression and ethylene production. These observations indicate that suppression of PpACS1 expression at the late-ripening stage of stony hard peach may result from a low level of IAA and that a high concentration of IAA is required to generate a large amount of system 2 ethylene in peaches.
ACC synthase; auxin; ethylene; softening; stony hard peach.
We examined the effects of angiotensin II AT1–receptor blockade with olmesartan on high fat (HF) diet–induced vascular oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in normal salt (NS) diet–fed Dahl salt-sensitive (DSS) rats. Treatment with NS + HF diet (32% crude fat, 0.3% NaCl) for 20 weeks significantly increased blood pressure in DSS rats. NS + HF diet–fed DSS rats also showed higher plasma levels of thiobarbituric acid–reactive substances, aortic superoxide production, and mRNA levels of p22phox and gp91phox in aortic tissues than NS diet–fed DSS rats. Furthermore, acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation of aorta from NS + HF diet–fed DSS rats was significantly reduced. In NS + HF diet–fed DSS rats, treatment with olmesartan medoxomil (10 mg/kg per day, p.o.) and hydralazine (25 mg/kg per day, p.o.) similarly decreased blood pressure. However, in these animals, only olmesartan normalized plasma levels of thiobarbituric acid–reactive substances, vascular superoxide in aortic tissues, and acetylcholine-induced vasorelaxation. These data indicate that HF diet–induced hypertension is associated with vascular oxidative stress and endothelial dysfunction in NS diet–treated DSS rats. Inhibition of angiotensin II AT1 receptors may elicit beneficial effects on HF-induced hypertension and vascular injury in subjects that have genetically enhanced sodium-sensitive blood pressure.
high fat (HF) diet; Dahl salt-sensitive (DSS) rats; oxidative stress; endothelial dysfunction; angiotensin II (AngII)
Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders worldwide. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment option for patients with SAD. In the present study, we examined the efficacy of group CBT for patients with generalized SAD in Japan at 1-year follow-up and investigated predictors with regard to outcomes.
This study was conducted as a single-arm, naturalistic, follow-up study in a routine Japanese clinical setting. A total of 113 outpatients with generalized SAD participated in group CBT from July 2003 to August 2010 and were assessed at follow-ups for up to 1 year. Primary outcome was the total score on the Social Phobia Scale/Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SPS/SIAS) at 1 year. Possible baseline predictors were investigated using mixed-model analyses.
Among the 113 patients, 70 completed the assessment at the 1-year follow-up. The SPS/SIAS scores showed significant improvement throughout the follow-ups for up to 1 year. The effect sizes of SPS/SIAS at the 1-year follow-up were 0.68 (95% confidence interval 0.41–0.95)/0.76 (0.49–1.03) in the intention-to-treat group and 0.77 (0.42–1.10)/0.84 (0.49–1.18) in completers. Older age at baseline, late onset, and lower severity of SAD were significantly associated with good outcomes as a result of mixed-model analyses.
CBT for patients with generalized SAD in Japan is effective for up to 1 year after treatment. The effect sizes were as large as those in previous studies conducted in Western countries. Older age at baseline, late onset, and lower severity of SAD were predictors for a good outcome from group CBT.
social phobia; cognitive behavior therapy; psychotherapy
Streptococcus mutans produces 3 types of glucosyltransferases (GTFs), whose cooperative action is essential for cellular adhesion. The recombinase A (RecA) protein is required for homologous recombination. In our previous study, we isolated several strains with a smooth colony morphology and low GTF activity, characteristics speculated to be derived from the GTF fusions. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the mechanism of those fusions. S. mutans strain MT8148 was grown in the presence of recombinant RecA (rRecA) protein, after which smooth colonies were isolated. The biological functions and sequences of the gtfB and gtfC genes of this as well as other clinical strains were determined. The sucrose-dependent adherence rates of those strains were reduced as compared to that of MT8148. Determination of the sequences of the gtfB and gtfC genes showed that an approximately 3500 bp region was deleted from the area between them. Furthermore, expression of the recA gene was elevated in those strains as compared to MT8148. These results suggest that RecA has an important role in fusions of gtfB and gtfC genes, leading to alteration of colony morphology and reduction in sucrose-dependent adhesion.