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1.  Malignant mesotheliomas in former miners and millers of crocidolite at Wittenoom (Western Australia) after more than 50 years follow-up 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;106(5):1016-1020.
To report the number of malignant pleural and peritoneal mesotheliomas that have occurred in former Wittenoom crocidolite workers to the end of 2008, to compare this with earlier predictions, and to relate the mesothelioma rate to amount of exposure.
A group of 6489 men and 419 women who had worked for the company operating the former Wittenoom crocidolite mine and mill at some time between 1943 and 1966 have been followed up throughout Australia and Italy to the end of 2008.
The cumulative number of mesotheliomas up to 2008 was 316 in men (268 pleural, 48 peritoneal) and 13 (all pleural) in women. There had been 302 deaths with mesothelioma in men and 13 in women, which was almost 10% of all known deaths. Mesothelioma rate, both pleural and peritoneal, increased with time since first exposure and appeared to reach a plateau after about 40 to 50 years. The mesothelioma rate increased with amount of exposure and the peritoneal mesotheliomas occurred preferentially in the highest exposure group, 37% compared with 15% overall.
By the end of 2008, the number of mesothelioma deaths had reached 4.7% for all the male workers and 3.1% for the females. Over the past 8 years the numbers were higher than expected. It is predicted that about another 60 to 70 deaths with mesothelioma may occur in men by 2020.
PMCID: PMC3305966  PMID: 22315054
crocidolite; asbestos; mesothelioma; predictions; Wittenoom
2.  25-OH vitamin D levels in African American and Caucasian/Hispanic cutaneous lupus subjects 
The British Journal of Dermatology  2012;166(2):372-379.
Because exposure to UV radiation accounts for a significant portion of endogenous vitamin D production, cutaneous lupus (CLE) subjects practicing sun-protective measures are at risk for vitamin D insufficiency. Previous studies have shown light-skinned CLE subjects to have lower serum 25-hydroxy (25-OH) vitamin D levels than normal controls.
To assess the status of vitamin D insufficiency in dark-skinned CLE individuals.
We performed a cross-sectional study comparing serum 25-OH vitamin D levels in 25 CLE and 26 normal African American (AA) age-, gender-, and season-matched subjects in Dallas, Texas. A questionnaire on demographics, medical history, and lifestyle habits was administered to determine factors potentially affecting vitamin D levels. Findings were contrasted to a similar comparison in 26 CLE and 24 age-, gender-, and season-matched normal Caucasian and Hispanic (C/H) subjects.
We found similar 25-OH vitamin D levels in CLE (52.0±18.5 nmol/L) and normal AA subjects (54.8±21.2 nmol/L) (p = 0.62). Almost half of AA subjects in both groups were vitamin D-insufficient. A larger gap in 25-OH vitamin D levels was found in C/H CLE (59.4±21.0 nmol/L) and normal subjects (70.5±27.4 nmol/L) (p = 0.12). Two-way ANOVA analysis demonstrated that skin color (AA vs. C/H) had a significant effect on 25-OH vitamin D levels (p = 0.008), though CLE status (CLE vs. normal) did not (p = 0.13).
Providers are encouraged to address vitamin D insufficiency concerns in all dark-skinned individuals. Future studies should stratify subjects by skin color in determining differences between CLE and normal controls.
PMCID: PMC3265693  PMID: 21966891
African American; cutaneous lupus; skin color; vitamin D
3.  A highly informative probe for two polymorphic Vh gene regions that contain one or more autoantibody-associated Vh genes. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1989;84(2):706-710.
Efforts to determine the role of specific Ig variable region (V) genes in human autoimmune responses have been hampered by the lack of suitably polymorphic probes. Recently we isolated a heavy chain V (Vh) gene, designated Humhv3005, that is 99% homologous to the 1.9III Vh gene and can encode an anti-DNA antibody. To study the relation between these two genes, different DNA fragments from the isolated Humhv3005 clone were used to probe Southern blots of human genomic DNA. A 1.6-kb Eco RI fragment (designated hv3005/E1.6) was found to hybridize with only one band in Eco RI-digested DNA, and with two major bands in Bam HI-digested DNA. Importantly, the sizes of the latter two bands were indistinguishable from the corresponding Bam HI fragment sizes of the isolated hv3005 clone and the isolated 1.9III clone, respectively. Population and family studies with the hv3005/E1.6 probe revealed five different hybridization patterns of these two characteristic bands, which defined nine possible genotypes for two human Ig Vh gene loci. Together the data demonstrate that hv3005/E1.6 is a highly informative probe for an autoantibody-associated Vh gene(s), and should prove useful in elucidating the role of Ig Vh genes in autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC548935  PMID: 2569476
4.  Population and family studies of three disease-related polymorphic genes in systemic lupus erythematosus. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(4):1766-1772.
The contribution to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) of three lupus-associated polymorphisms (involving the C4A2 complement component, Humhv3005 and the T cell antigen receptor alpha chain gene) are investigated in 81 individuals from 14 multiplex SLE families, 41 unrelated lupus patients, and 88 unrelated healthy controls. The results show a strong association between C4A deletion and SLE in these families. While the current study confirms the previously reported association between hv3005 deletion and sporadic SLE, the study fails to support this association in familial SLE patients. Moreover, no correlation is detected between the occurrence of hv3005 deletion and C4A null alleles in lupus patients, suggesting that the effects of these genetic polymorphisms on predisposition to lupus are independent. The previously reported lupus-associated T cell receptor (TCR) alpha chain polymorphism is not detected in any of the individuals studied here. The combined data suggest that C4A null alleles predispose strongly to development of lupus, whereas the influence of hv3005 deletion is relatively weak. The results also suggest that contributions of weak susceptibility genes such as hv3005 to disease predisposition may be obscured by the effects of stronger genetic factors and thus need to be examined in patients lacking these factors.
PMCID: PMC295700  PMID: 7706484
5.  Molecular basis of an autoantibody-associated restriction fragment length polymorphism that confers susceptibility to autoimmune diseases. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1991;88(1):193-203.
Recently, combined serological and molecular studies of autoantibodies have revealed that these antibodies play an important role in the normal function of the immune system and in the development of the B cell repertoire. Accordingly, we hypothesized that a homozygous deletion of a critical autoantibody-associated Ig variable (V) gene may alter the immune system and thus predispose the host to autoimmune disorders. Initial experiments revealed several restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) of the Humhv3005 gene, that is likely to encode heavy chains of rheumatoid factors, and the closely related 1.9III gene. By probing EcoR1-digested DNA with the Humhv3005/P1 probe, we found that one of the four major hybridizing bands was missing in approximately 20% of patients with either rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus, but only 2% of normal subjects. To delineate the genetic basis of this polymorphism, we have now employed the PCR to amplify and analyze hv3005, 1.9III, and homologous genes in individuals with characteristic RFLP genotypes. Our results indicate that the human Vh gene repertoire contains several hv3005- and 1.9III-like genes, and that a complete deletion of the hv3005-like genes is relatively restricted to a subset of autoimmune patients. These findings provide initial evidence for deletion of developmentally regulated autoreactive V genes in autoimmune diseases.
PMCID: PMC296020  PMID: 1676037

Results 1-5 (5)