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1.  Study of Hydatidosis-Attributed Mortality in Endemic Area 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91342.
Cystic hydatid disease is still an important health problem in European Mediterranean areas. In spite of being traditionally considered as a “benign” pathology, cystic echinococcosis is an important cause of morbidity in these areas. Nevertheless, there are few analyses of mortality attributed to human hydatidosis.
To describe the epidemiology, the mortality rate and the causes of mortality due to E. granulosus infection in an endemic area.
A retrospective study followed up over a period of 14 years (1998–2011).
Principal Findings
Of the 567 patients diagnosed with hydatid disease over the period 1998–2011, eleven deaths directly related to hydatid disease complications were recorded. Ten patients (90.9%) died due to infectious complications and the remaining one (9.1%) died due to mechanical complications after a massive hemoptysis. We registered a case fatality rate of 1.94% and a mortality rate of 3.1 per 100.000 inhabitants.
Hydatidosis is still a frequent parasitic disease that causes a considerable mortality. The main causes of mortality in patients with hydatidosis are complications related to the rupture of CE cysts with supurative collangitis. Therefore, an expectant management can be dangerous and it must be only employed in well-selected patients.
PMCID: PMC3954695  PMID: 24632824
2.  Effects of rs7903146 Variation in the Tcf7l2 Gene in the Lipid Metabolism of Three Different Populations 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43390.
TCF7L2 rs7903146 is an important genetic factor predicting type 2 diabetes (T2DM) which has also been linked to higher cardiovascular risk. To date, there is little information about the additional impact of this single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) beyond glucose metabolism.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We studied whether rs7903146 influenced postprandial lipid metabolism in three different populations (healthy young men, metabolic syndrome (MetS) patients and elderly persons). Eighty-eight healthy males were submitted to a single saturated fatty acid-rich test meal. Additionally, 110 middle-aged MetS patients and 20 healthy elderly persons (≥65 years) were submitted to three different dietary models followed by test meals. Minor allele homozygotes for rs7903146 showed a worse postprandial lipemia profile in young males, as seen by a lower HDL-cholesterol and Apo A1 concentration during the postprandial lipemia and a trend towards higher triglycerides (TG), than the other genotypes. In healthy elderly persons, carriers of the minor allele showed higher total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, Apo B and TG in the fasting state, and a higher postprandial area under the curve for total cholesterol, Apo B, small-triglyceride rich lipoprotein (TRL) cholesterol and small-(TRL) triglycerides. These results were accompanied by differential changes in adipokines. We did not observe any influence of rs7903146 on the postprandium of MetS patients.
Healthy young males and elderly persons who are carriers of the mutant allele for rs7903146 have an impaired postprandial lipid metabolism that may be mediated by an alteration in adipokine regulation, and may be related to the higher cardiovascular risk observed in these persons.
Trial Registration NCT00429195
PMCID: PMC3423356  PMID: 22916254
3.  A Customized Pigmentation SNP Array Identifies a Novel SNP Associated with Melanoma Predisposition in the SLC45A2 Gene 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e19271.
As the incidence of Malignant Melanoma (MM) reflects an interaction between skin colour and UV exposure, variations in genes implicated in pigmentation and tanning response to UV may be associated with susceptibility to MM. In this study, 363 SNPs in 65 gene regions belonging to the pigmentation pathway have been successfully genotyped using a SNP array. Five hundred and ninety MM cases and 507 controls were analyzed in a discovery phase I. Ten candidate SNPs based on a p-value threshold of 0.01 were identified. Two of them, rs35414 (SLC45A2) and rs2069398 (SILV/CKD2), were statistically significant after conservative Bonferroni correction. The best six SNPs were further tested in an independent Spanish series (624 MM cases and 789 controls). A novel SNP located on the SLC45A2 gene (rs35414) was found to be significantly associated with melanoma in both phase I and phase II (P<0.0001). None of the other five SNPs were replicated in this second phase of the study. However, three SNPs in TYR, SILV/CDK2 and ADAMTS20 genes (rs17793678, rs2069398 and rs1510521 respectively) had an overall p-value<0.05 when considering the whole DNA collection (1214 MM cases and 1296 controls). Both the SLC45A2 and the SILV/CDK2 variants behave as protective alleles, while the TYR and ADAMTS20 variants seem to function as risk alleles. Cumulative effects were detected when these four variants were considered together. Furthermore, individuals carrying two or more mutations in MC1R, a well-known low penetrance melanoma-predisposing gene, had a decreased MM risk if concurrently bearing the SLC45A2 protective variant. To our knowledge, this is the largest study on Spanish sporadic MM cases to date.
PMCID: PMC3084811  PMID: 21559390
4.  The effect of H. pylori eradication on meal-associated changes in plasma ghrelin and leptin 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:37.
Appetite and energy expenditure are regulated in part by ghrelin and leptin produced in the gastric mucosa, which may be modified by H. pylori colonization. We prospectively evaluated the effect of H. pylori eradication on meal-associated changes in serum ghrelin and leptin levels, and body weight.
Veterans referred for upper GI endoscopy were evaluated at baseline and ≥8 weeks after endoscopy, and H. pylori status and body weight were ascertained. During the first visit in all subjects, and during subsequent visits in the initially H. pylori-positive subjects and controls, blood was collected after an overnight fast and 1 h after a standard high protein meal, and levels of eight hormones determined.
Of 92 enrolled subjects, 38 were H. pylori-negative, 44 H. pylori-positive, and 10 were indeterminate. Among 23 H. pylori-positive subjects who completed evaluation after treatment, 21 were eradicated, and 2 failed eradication. After a median of seven months following eradication, six hormones related to energy homeostasis showed no significant differences, but post-prandial acylated ghrelin levels were nearly six-fold higher than pre-eradication (p = 0.005), and median integrated leptin levels also increased (20%) significantly (p < 0.001). BMI significantly increased (5 ± 2%; p = 0.008) over 18 months in the initially H. pylori-positive individuals, but was not significantly changed in those who were H. pylori-negative or indeterminant at baseline.
Circulating meal-associated leptin and ghrelin levels and BMI changed significantly after H. pylori eradication, providing direct evidence that H. pylori colonization is involved in ghrelin and leptin regulation, with consequent effects on body morphometry.
PMCID: PMC3089783  PMID: 21489301
5.  Hypertriglyceridemia Influences the Degree of Postprandial Lipemic Response in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome and Coronary Artery Disease: From the Cordioprev Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96297.
To determine whether metabolic syndrome traits influence the postprandial lipemia response of coronary patients, and whether this influence depends on the number of MetS criteria.
Materials and Methods
1002 coronary artery disease patients from the CORDIOPREV study were submitted to an oral fat load test meal with 0.7 g fat/kg body weight (12% saturated fatty acids, 10% polyunsaturated fatty acids, 43% monounsaturated fatty acids), 10% protein and 25% carbohydrates. Serial blood test analyzing lipid fractions were drawn at 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 hours during the postprandial state. Total and incremental area under the curves of the different postprandial parameters were calculated following the trapezoid rule to assess the magnitude of change during the postprandial state
Postprandial lipemia response was directly related to the presence of metabolic syndrome. We found a positive association between the number of metabolic syndrome criteria and the response of postprandial plasma triglycerides (p<0.001), area under the curve of triglycerides (p<0.001) and incremental area under the curve of triglycerides (p<0.001). However, the influence of them on postprandial triglycerides remained statistically significant only in those patients without basal hypertriglyceridemia. Interestingly, in stepwise multiple linear regression analysis with the AUC of triglycerides as the dependent variable, only fasting triglycerides, fasting glucose and waist circumference appeared as significant independent (P<0.05) contributors. The multiple lineal regression (R) was 0.77, and fasting triglycerides showed the greatest effect on AUC of triglycerides with a standardized coefficient of 0.75.
Fasting triglycerides are the major contributors to the postprandial triglycerides levels. MetS influences the postprandial response of lipids in patients with coronary heart disease, particularly in non-hypertriglyceridemic patients.
PMCID: PMC4011695  PMID: 24802225
6.  Quantitation and Composition of Cutaneous Microbiota in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Men 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;207(7):1105-1114.
Background. Diabetic foot infections are a leading cause of lower extremity amputations. Our study examines the microbiota of diabetic skin prior to ulcer development or infection.
Methods. In a case-control study, outpatient males were recruited at a veterans hospital. Subjects were swabbed at 4 cutaneous sites, 1 on the forearm and 3 on the foot. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) with primers and probes specific for bacteria, Staphylococcus species, Staphylococcus aureus, and fungi were performed on all samples. High-throughput 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) sequencing was performed on samples from the forearm and the plantar aspect of the foot.
Results. qPCR analysis of swab specimens from 30 diabetic subjects and 30 control subjects showed no differences in total numbers of bacteria or fungi at any sampled site. Increased log10 concentrations of Staphylococcus aureus, quantified by the number of nuc gene copies, were present in diabetic men on the plantar aspect of the foot. High-throughput 16S rRNA sequencing found that, on the foot, the microbiota in controls (n = 24) was dominated by Staphylococcus species, whereas the microbiota in diabetics (n = 23) was more diverse at the genus level. The forearm microbiota had similar diversity in diabetic and control groups.
Conclusions. The feet of diabetic men had decreased populations of Staphylococcus species, increased populations of S. aureus, and increased bacterial diversity, compared with the feet of controls. These ecologic changes may affect the risk for wound infections.
PMCID: PMC3583274  PMID: 23300163
microbiota; microbiome; diabetic foot; cutaneous; Staphylococcus; Staphylococcus aureus
7.  A handy approximation for a mediated bioelectrocatalysis process, related to Michaelis-Menten equation 
SpringerPlus  2014;3:162.
In this article, Perturbation Method (PM) is employed to obtain a handy approximate solution to the steady state nonlinear reaction diffusion equation containing a nonlinear term related to Michaelis-Menten of the enzymatic reaction. Comparing graphics between the approximate and exact solutions, it will be shown that the PM method is quite efficient.
PMCID: PMC3982037  PMID: 24741477
Michaelis-Menten kinetics; Perturbation method; Reaction/diffusion equation; Mediated bioelectrocatalysis
8.  Preoperative chemoradiotherapy in rectal cancer induces changes in the expression of nuclear β-catenin: prognostic significance 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:192.
Preoperative chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is the cornerstone of treatment for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). Although high local control is achieved, overall rates of distant control remain suboptimal. Colorectal carcinogenesis is associated with critical alterations of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway involved in proliferation and survival. The aim of this study was to assess whether CRT induces changes in the expression of β-catenin/E-cadherin, and to determine whether these changes are associated with survival.
The Immunohistochemical expression of nuclear β-catenin and membranous E-cadherin was prospectively analysed in tumour blocks from 98 stage II/III rectal cancer patients treated with preoperative CRT. Tumour samples were collected before and after CRT treatment. All patients were treated with pelvic RT (46–50 Gy in 2 Gy fractions) and 5-fluorouracil (5FU) intravenous infusion (225 mg/m2) or capecitabine (825 mg/m2) during RT treatment, followed by total mesorectal excision (TME). Disease-free survival (DFS) was analysed using the Kaplan-Meier method and a multivariate Cox regression model was employed for the Multivariate analysis.
CRT induced significant changes in the expression of nuclear β-catenin (49% of patients presented an increased expression after CRT, 17% a decreased expression and 34% no changes; p = 0.001). After a median follow-up of 25 months, patients that overexpressed nuclear β-catenin after CRT showed poor survival compared with patients that experienced a decrease in nuclear β-catenin expression (3-year DFS 92% vs. 43%, HR 0.17; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.8; p = 0.02). In the multivariate analysis for DFS, increased nuclear β-catenin expression after CRT almost reached the cut-off for significance (p = 0.06).
In our study, preoperative CRT for LARC induced significant changes in nuclear β-catenin expression, which had a major impact on survival. Finding a way to decrease CRT resistance would significantly improve LARC patient survival.
PMCID: PMC3995577  PMID: 24629143
Locally advanced rectal cancer; Radiotherapy; Chemotherapy; β-catenin
9.  A review of Helicobacter pylori diagnosis, treatment, and methods to detect eradication 
Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) affects nearly half of the world’s population and, thus, is one of the most frequent and persistent bacterial infections worldwide. H. pylori is associated with peptic ulcer disease, gastric ulcers, mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, and gastric cancer. Various diagnostic methods exist to detect infection, and the choice of one method or another depends on several factors, such as accessibility, advantages and disadvantages of each method, cost, and the age of patients. Once H. pylori infection is diagnosed, the clinician decides whether treatment is necessity, according to the patient’s clinical condition. Typically, eradication of H. pylori is recommended for treatment and prevention of the infection. Cure rates with the standard triple therapy are acceptable, and effective quadruple therapies, sequential therapies, and concomitant therapies have been introduced as key alternatives to treat H. pylori infection. In this work, we review the main diagnostic methods used to identify H. pylori infection and to confirm eradication of infection. In addition, key factors related to treatment are reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3925853  PMID: 24587620
Diagnosis; Helicobacter pylori; Treatment; Hybrid therapy; Concomitant therapy; Sequential therapy
10.  Postprandial antioxidant gene expression is modified by Mediterranean diet supplemented with coenzyme Q10 in elderly men and women 
Age  2011;35(1):159-170.
Postprandial oxidative stress is characterized by an increased susceptibility of the organism towards oxidative damage after consumption of a meal rich in lipids and/or carbohydrates. We have investigated whether the quality of dietary fat alters postprandial gene expression and protein levels involved in oxidative stress and whether the supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) improves this situation in an elderly population. Twenty participants were randomized to receive three isocaloric diets each for 4 weeks: Mediterranean diet supplemented with CoQ (Med + CoQ diet), Mediterranean diet (Med diet), saturated fatty acid-rich diet (SFA diet). After 12-h fast, volunteers consumed a breakfast with a fat composition similar to that consumed in each of the diets. Nrf2, p22phox and p47phox, superoxide dismutase 1 and 2 (SOD1 and SOD2), glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx1), thiorredoxin reductase (TrxR) gene expression and Kelch-like ECH associating protein 1 (Keap-1) and citoplasmic and nuclear Nrf2 protein levels were determined. Med and Med + CoQ diets induced lower Nrf2, p22phox, p47phox, SOD1, SOD2 and TrxR gene expression and higher cytoplasmic Nrf2 and Keap-1 protein levels compared to the SFA diet. Moreover, Med + CoQ diet produced lower postprandial Nrf2 gene expression and lower nuclear Nrf2 protein levels compared to the other diets and lower GPx1 gene expression than the SFA diet. Our results support the antioxidant effect of a Med diet and that exogenous CoQ supplementation has a protective effects against free radical overgeneration through the lowering of postprandial oxidative stress modifying the postprandial antioxidant protein levels and reducing the postprandial expression of antioxidant genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9331-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3543746  PMID: 22057896
CoQ10; Mediterranean diet; Oxidative stress; Gene expression
12.  Starvation Increases Insulin Sensitivity and Reduces Juvenile Hormone Synthesis in Mosquitoes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86183.
The interactions between the insulin signaling pathway (ISP) and juvenile hormone (JH) controlling reproductive trade-offs are well documented in insects. JH and insulin regulate reproductive output in mosquitoes; both hormones are involved in a complex regulatory network, in which they influence each other and in which the mosquito's nutritional status is a crucial determinant of the network's output. Previous studies reported that the insulin-TOR (target of rapamacyn) signaling pathway is involved in the nutritional regulation of JH synthesis in female mosquitoes. The present studies further investigate the regulatory circuitry that controls both JH synthesis and reproductive output in response to nutrient availability.
We used a combination of diet restriction, RNA interference (RNAi) and insulin treatments to modify insulin signaling and study the cross-talk between insulin and JH in response to starvation. JH synthesis was analyzed using a newly developed assay utilizing fluorescent tags.
Our results reveal that starvation decreased JH synthesis via a decrease in insulin signaling in the corpora allata (CA). Paradoxically, starvation-induced up regulation of insulin receptor transcripts and therefore “primed” the gland to respond rapidly to increases in insulin levels. During this response to starvation the synthetic potential of the CA remained unaffected, and the gland rapidly and efficiently responded to insulin stimulation by increasing JH synthesis to rates similar to those of CA from non-starved females.
PMCID: PMC3906049  PMID: 24489697
13.  A Pilot Study on the Potential of RNA-Associated to Urinary Vesicles as a Suitable Non-Invasive Source for Diagnostic Purposes in Bladder Cancer 
Cancers  2014;6(1):179-192.
Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers and, together with prostate carcinoma, accounts for the majority of the malignancies of the genitourinary tract. Since prognosis ameliorates with early detection, it will be beneficial to have a repertoire of diagnostic markers that could complement the current diagnosis protocols. Recently, cell-secreted extracellular vesicles have received great interest as a source of low invasive disease biomarkers because they are found in many body fluids, including urine. The current work describes a pilot study to generate an array-based catalogue of mRNA associated to urinary vesicles, and also a comparison with samples obtained from bladder cancer patients. After an analysis of presence/absence of transcripts in bladder cancer EVs, a list of genes was selected for further validation using PCR technique. We found four genes differentially expressed in cancer samples. LASS2 and GALNT1 were present in cancer patients, while ARHGEF39 and FOXO3 were found only in non-cancer urinary vesicles. Previous studies have pointed to the involvement of those genes in tumour progression and metastasis.
PMCID: PMC3980604  PMID: 24458310
extracellular vesicles; bladder cancer; gene expression analysis; LASS2; GALNT1; ARHGEF39; FOXO3
14.  Comparative Genome Analysis of Campylobacter fetus Subspecies Revealed Horizontally Acquired Genetic Elements Important for Virulence and Niche Specificity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85491.
Campylobacter fetus are important animal and human pathogens and the two major subspecies differ strikingly in pathogenicity. C. fetus subsp. venerealis is highly niche-adapted, mainly infecting the genital tract of cattle. C. fetus subsp. fetus has a wider host-range, colonizing the genital- and intestinal-tract of animals and humans. We report the complete genomic sequence of C. fetus subsp. venerealis 84-112 and comparisons to the genome of C. fetus subsp. fetus 82-40. Functional analysis of genes predicted to be involved in C. fetus virulence was performed. The two subspecies are highly syntenic with 92% sequence identity but C. fetus subsp. venerealis has a larger genome and an extra-chromosomal element. Aside from apparent gene transfer agents and hypothetical proteins, the unique genes in both subspecies comprise two known functional groups: lipopolysaccharide production, and type IV secretion machineries. Analyses of lipopolysaccharide-biosynthesis genes in C. fetus isolates showed linkage to particular pathotypes, and mutational inactivation demonstrated their roles in regulating virulence and host range. The comparative analysis presented here broadens knowledge of the genomic basis of C. fetus pathogenesis and host specificity. It further highlights the importance of surface-exposed structures to C. fetus pathogenicity and demonstrates how evolutionary forces optimize the fitness and host-adaptation of these pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3887049  PMID: 24416416
15.  Mediterranean diet reduces senescence-associated stress in endothelial cells 
Age  2011;34(6):1309-1316.
This paper aims to study the effects of the oxidative stress induced by quality and quantity of dietary fat on cellular senescence. Twenty elderly subjects consumed three diets, each for 4 weeks: a saturated fatty acid diet (SFA), a low-fat and high-carbohydrate diet (CHO-ALA), and a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) enriched in monounsaturated fatty acid following a randomized crossover design. For each diet, we investigated intracellular reactive oxidative species (ROS), cellular apoptosis and telomere length in human umbilical endothelial cells incubated with serum from each patient. MedDiet induced lower intracellular ROS production, cellular apoptosis, and percentage of cell with telomere shortening, compared with the baseline and with SFA and CHO-ALA diets. Dietary fat modulates the oxidative stress in human endothelial cells. MedDiet protects these cells from oxidative stress, prevents cellular senescence and reduces cellular apoptosis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11357-011-9305-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3528364  PMID: 21894446
Mediterranean diet; Cellular senescence; Endothelial cell; Oxidative stress; Telomere
16.  Pattern of recurrence of early breast cancer is different according to intrinsic subtype and proliferation index 
Recurrence risk in breast cancer varies throughout the follow-up time. We examined if these changes are related to the level of expression of the proliferation pathway and intrinsic subtypes.
Expression of estrogen and progesterone receptor, Ki-67, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cytokeratin 5/6 (CK 5/6) was performed on tissue-microarrays constructed from a large and uniformly managed series of early breast cancer patients (N = 1,249). Subtype definitions by four biomarkers were as follows: luminal A (ER + and/or PR+, HER2-, Ki-67 <14), luminal B (ER + and/or PR+, HER2-, Ki-67 ≥14), HER2-enriched (any ER, any PR, HER2+, any Ki-67), triple-negative (ER-, PR-, HER2-, any Ki-67). Subtype definitions by six biomarkers were as follows: luminal A (ER + and/or PR+, HER2-, Ki-67 <14, any CK 5/6, any EGFR), luminal B (ER + and/or PR+, HER2-, Ki-67 ≥14, any CK 5/6, any EGFR), HER2-enriched (ER-, PR-, HER2+, any Ki-67, any CK 5/6, any EGFR), Luminal-HER2 (ER + and/or PR+, HER2+, any Ki-67, any CK 5/6, any EGFR), Basal-like (ER-, PR-, HER2-, any Ki-67, CK5/6+ and/or EGFR+), triple-negative nonbasal (ER-, PR-, HER2-, any Ki-67, CK 5/6-, EGFR-). Each four- or six-marker defined intrinsic subtype was divided in two groups, with Ki-67 <14% or with Ki-67 ≥14%. Recurrence hazard rate function was determined for each intrinsic subtype as a whole and according to Ki-67 value.
Luminal A displayed a slow risk increase, reaching its maximum after three years and then remained steady. Luminal B presented most of its relapses during the first five years. HER2-enriched tumors show a peak of recurrence nearly twenty months post-surgery, with a greater risk in Ki-67 ≥14%. However a second peak occurred at 72 months but the risk magnitude was greater in Ki-67 <14%. Triple negative tumors with low proliferation rate display a smooth risk curve, but with Ki-67 ≥14% show sharp peak at nearly 18 months.
Each intrinsic subtype has a particular pattern of relapses over time which change depending on the level of activation of the proliferation pathway assessed by Ki-67. These findings could have clinical implications both on adjuvant treatment trial design and on the recommendations concerning the surveillance of patients.
PMCID: PMC3978680  PMID: 24148581
17.  Comprehensive identification of mutational cancer driver genes across 12 tumor types 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2650.
With the ability to fully sequence tumor genomes/exomes, the quest for cancer driver genes can now be undertaken in an unbiased manner. However, obtaining a complete catalog of cancer genes is difficult due to the heterogeneous molecular nature of the disease and the limitations of available computational methods. Here we show that the combination of complementary methods allows identifying a comprehensive and reliable list of cancer driver genes. We provide a list of 291 high-confidence cancer driver genes acting on 3,205 tumors from 12 different cancer types. Among those genes, some have not been previously identified as cancer drivers and 16 have clear preference to sustain mutations in one specific tumor type. The novel driver candidates complement our current picture of the emergence of these diseases. In summary, the catalog of driver genes and the methodology presented here open new avenues to better understand the mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3788361  PMID: 24084849
18.  Microbiomic Signatures of Psoriasis: Feasibility and Methodology Comparison 
Scientific Reports  2013;3:2620.
Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the skin. We sought to use bacterial community abundance data to assess the feasibility of developing multivariate molecular signatures for differentiation of cutaneous psoriatic lesions, clinically unaffected contralateral skin from psoriatic patients, and similar cutaneous loci in matched healthy control subjects. Using 16S rRNA high-throughput DNA sequencing, we assayed the cutaneous microbiome for 51 such matched specimen triplets including subjects of both genders, different age groups, ethnicities and multiple body sites. None of the subjects had recently received relevant treatments or antibiotics. We found that molecular signatures for the diagnosis of psoriasis result in significant accuracy ranging from 0.75 to 0.89 AUC, depending on the classification task. We also found a significant effect of DNA sequencing and downstream analysis protocols on the accuracy of molecular signatures. Our results demonstrate that it is feasible to develop accurate molecular signatures for the diagnosis of psoriasis from microbiomic data.
PMCID: PMC3965359  PMID: 24018484
19.  A Short cis-Acting Motif in the M112-113 Promoter Region Is Essential for IE3 To Activate M112-113 Gene Expression and Is Important for Murine Cytomegalovirus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(5):2639-2647.
Immediate-early 3 (IE3) gene products are required to activate early (E)-stage gene expression of murine cytomegaloviruses (MCMV). The first early gene activated by IE3 is the M112-113 gene (also called E1), although a complete understanding of the activation mechanism is still lacking. In this paper, we identify a 10-bp cis-regulating motif upstream of the M112-113 TATA box as important for IE3 activation of M112-113 expression. Results from DNA affinity assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays show that the association of IE3 with the M112-113 gene promoter was eliminated by deletion of the 10-bp DNA sequence, now named IE3AM (for IE3 activating motif). In addition, IE3 interacts with TATA box binding protein (TBP), a core protein of TFIID (transcription initiation) complexes. Finally, we created an IE3AM-deleted MCMV (MCMVdIE3AM) using a bacterial artificial chromosome system. The mutant virus can still replicate in NIH 3T3 cells but at a significantly lower level. The defectiveness of the MCMVdIE3AM infection can be rescued in an M112-113-complemented cell line. Our results suggest that the interactions of IE3 with IE3AM and with TBP stabilize the TFIID complex at the M112-113 promoter such that M112-113 gene expression can be activated and/or enhanced.
PMCID: PMC3571397  PMID: 23255797
20.  The Effect of Laparoscopic Gastric Banding Surgery on Plasma Levels of Appetite-Control, Insulinotropic, and Digestive Hormones 
Obesity surgery  2008;18(9):1089-1096.
We hypothesized that laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) reduces weight and modulates ghrelin production, but largely spares gastrointestinal endocrine function. To examine this hypothesis, we determined plasma concentrations of appetite-control, insulinotropic, and digestive hormones in relation to LAGB.
Twenty-four patients undergoing LAGB were prospectively enrolled. Body mass index (BMI) was measured and blood samples obtained at baseline and 6 and 12 months post-surgery. Plasma concentrations of leptin, acylated and total ghrelin, pancreatic polypeptide (PP), insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), active glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), gastrin, and pepsinogens I and II were measured using enzyme-linked immunoassays.
Median percent excess weight loss (%EWL) over 12 months was 45.7% with median BMI decreasing from 43.2 at baseline to 33.8 at 12 months post-surgery (p<0.001). Median leptin levels decreased from 19.7 ng/ml at baseline to 6.9 ng/ml at 12 months post-surgery (p<0.001). In contrast, plasma levels of acylated and total ghrelin, PP, insulin, GIP, GLP-1, gastrin, and pepsinogen I did not change in relation to surgery (p>0.05). Pepsinogen II levels were significantly lower 6 months after LAGB but returned to baseline levels by 12 months.
LAGB yielded substantial %EWL and a proportional decrease in plasma leptin. Our results support the hypothesis that LAGB works in part by suppressing the rise in ghrelin that normally accompanies weight loss. Unchanged concentrations of insulinotropic and digestive hormones suggest that gastrointestinal endocrine function is largely maintained in the long term.
PMCID: PMC3743550  PMID: 18408980
Obesity; Weight loss; Bariatric surgery; Adjustable gastric banding; Ghrelin; Leptin; GIP; GLP-1
21.  Risk factors and classifications of hilar cholangiocarcinoma 
Cholangiocarcinoma is the second most common primary malignant tumor of the liver. Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma or Klatskin tumor represents more than 50% of all biliary tract cholangiocarcinomas. A wide range of risk factors have been identified among patients with Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma including advanced age, male gender, primary sclerosing cholangitis, choledochal cysts, cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, parasitic infection (Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis), inflammatory bowel disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, nonalcoholic cirrhosis, chronic pancreatitis and metabolic syndrome. Various classifications have been used to describe the pathologic and radiologic appearance of cholangiocarcinoma. The three systems most commonly used to evaluate Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma are the Bismuth-Corlette (BC) system, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the TNM classification. The BC classification provides preoperative assessment of local spread. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering cancer center proposes a staging system according to three factors related to local tumor extent: the location and extent of bile duct involvement, the presence or absence of portal venous invasion, and the presence or absence of hepatic lobar atrophy. The TNM classification, besides the usual descriptors, tumor, node and metastases, provides additional information concerning the possibility for the residual tumor (R) and the histological grade (G). Recently, in 2011, a new consensus classification for the Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma had been published. The consensus was organised by the European Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association which identified the need for a new staging system for this type of tumors. The classification includes information concerning biliary or vascular (portal or arterial) involvement, lymph node status or metastases, but also other essential aspects related to the surgical risk, such as remnant hepatic volume or the possibility of underlying disease.
PMCID: PMC3731526  PMID: 23919107
Hilar cholangiocarcinoma; Klatskin tumor; Perihilar cholangiocarcinoma; Bile duct cancer
22.  JBioWH: an open-source Java framework for bioinformatics data integration 
The Java BioWareHouse (JBioWH) project is an open-source platform-independent programming framework that allows a user to build his/her own integrated database from the most popular data sources. JBioWH can be used for intensive querying of multiple data sources and the creation of streamlined task-specific data sets on local PCs. JBioWH is based on a MySQL relational database scheme and includes JAVA API parser functions for retrieving data from 20 public databases (e.g. NCBI, KEGG, etc.). It also includes a client desktop application for (non-programmer) users to query data. In addition, JBioWH can be tailored for use in specific circumstances, including the handling of massive queries for high-throughput analyses or CPU intensive calculations. The framework is provided with complete documentation and application examples and it can be downloaded from the Project Web site at A MySQL server is available for demonstration purposes at
Database URL:
PMCID: PMC3708619  PMID: 23846595
23.  A review of oral biopsies in children and adolescents: A clinicopathological study of a case series 
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinicopathological features of oral lesions in children and adolescents diagnosed in an Oral Pathology Laboratory. Study design: Between 2000 and 2010, all oral lesions diagnosed in patients younger than 18 years old, from the Oral Pathology Laboratory, Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, were selected for the study. The clinical data were obtained from the patient charts filed in the Laboratory. All cases were microscopically reviewed and the diagnosis classified into 10 categories. Results: From the 2395 lesions, 315 (13.1%) occurred in this age group. The lesions were more common in the female gender (59%) during the second decade of life (69%). The inflammatory/reactive lesions were the most common (64.4%), followed by the epithelial and soft tissue neoplasms (8.6%). The mucocele (33.3%) was the most common lesion, with the lip mucosa representing the most affected site (48%). In 61.5% there was concordance between clinical hypothesis of diagnosis and histopathological diagnosis. Conclusions: Inflammatory/reactive lesions were the most common biopsied lesions and the lip the most frequent site. Similar studies are important, reinforced by the low correlation between clinical diagnosis and histopathological diagnosis.
Key words:Adolescents, children, differential diagnosis, oral diseases, prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3892252  PMID: 24455070
Helicobacter  2012;17(3):232-237.
The prevalence of Helicobacter pylori in Western populations has steadily decreased. This has been suggested as one of the factors involved in the recent increase of asthma and allergy. Some studies have reported a negative association between H.pylori and asthma and allergy, but data are inconsistent and there are a few studies in children.
We investigated whether the prevalence of H.pylori was associated with asthma symptoms, allergic rhinitis, and atopic dermatitis in childhood.
We determined IgG anti-H.pylori and CagA antibodies in serum of Dutch children, who took part in the PIAMA birth cohort study. Serum was collected from 545 children, aged 7–9 yrs (Dutch ethnicity 91.5%). Symptoms of asthma and atopy were assessed by yearly questionnaires. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used.
We found 9% H.pylori and 0.9% CagA seropositivity. Twelve (5.9%) children with reported wheezing ever were H.pylori positive, compared to 37 (10.9%) of the non-wheezers (p=0.05). No significant differences in H.pylori prevalence were found between children with or without allergic rhinitis (8.5% vs. 9.5%), atopic dermatitis (8.7% vs. 9.2%), and physician-diagnosed asthma (7.1% vs. 9.4%). Multivariate analysis showed no significant associations between H.pylori seropositivity and wheezing (OR 0.52; 95% CI 0.25–1.06), allergic rhinitis (OR 0.96; 95% CI 0.51–1.81), atopic dermatitis (OR 1.05; 95% CI 0.56–1.98) or physician-diagnosed asthma (OR 0.87; 95% CI 0.37–2.08).
We found a borderline significantly lower H.pylori seropositivity in children with wheezing compared to non-wheezers, but no association between H.pylori serum-antibody status and allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, or asthma.
PMCID: PMC3335763  PMID: 22515362
Helicobacter pylori; children; asthma; wheezing; atopy; disappearing microbiota hypothesis
25.  Oxidative stress is associated with the number of components of metabolic syndrome: LIPGENE study 
Previous evidence supports the important role that oxidative stress (OxS) plays in metabolic syndrome (MetS)-related manifestations. We determined the relationship between the number of MetS components and the degree of OxS in MetS patients. In this comparative cross-sectional study from the LIPGENE cohort, a total of 91 MetS patients (43 men and 48 women; aged between 45 and 68 years) were divided into four groups based on the number of MetS components: subjects with 2, 3, 4 and 5 MetS components (n=20, 31, 28 and 12, respectively). We measured ischemic reactive hyperemia (IRH), plasma levels of soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), total nitrite, lipid peroxidation products (LPO), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) plasma activities. sVCAM-1, H2O2 and LPO levels were lower in subjects with 2 or 3 MetS components than subjects with 4 or 5 MetS components. IRH and total nitrite levels were higher in subjects with 2 or 3 MetS components than subjects with 4 or 5 MetS components. SOD and GPx activities were lower in subjects with 2 MetS components than subjects with 4 or 5 MetS components. Waist circumference, weight, age, homeostatic model assessment-β, triglycerides (TGs), high-density lipoprotein and sVCAM-1 levels were significantly correlated with SOD activity. MetS subjects with more MetS components may have a higher OxS level. Furthermore, association between SOD activity and MetS components may indicate that this variable could be the most relevant OxS biomarker in patients suffering from MetS and could be used as a predictive tool to determine the degree of the underlying OxS in MetS.
PMCID: PMC3701288  PMID: 23788131
cardiovascular risk factors; endothelial dysfunction; LIPGENE study; metabolic syndrome; oxidative stress; redox state

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