Nanomaterials have been increasingly employed as drug(s)-incorporated vectors for drug delivery due to their potential of maximizing therapeutic efficacy while minimizing systemic side effects. However, there have been two main challenges for these vectors: (i) the existing synthetic approaches are cumbersome and incapable of achieving precise control of their structural properties, which will affect their biodistribution and therapeutic efficacies, and (ii) lack of an early checkpoint to quickly predict which drug(s)-incorporated vectors exhibit optimal therapeutic outcomes. In this work, we utilized a new rational developmental approach to rapidly screen nanoparticle (NP)-based cancer therapeutic agents containing a built-in companion diagnostic utility for optimal therapeutic efficacy. The approach leverages the advantages of a self-assembly synthetic method for preparation of two different sizes of drug-incorporated supramolecular nanoparticles (SNPs), and a positron emission tomography (PET) imaging-based biodistribution study to quickly evaluate the accumulation of SNPs at a tumor site in vivo and select the favorable SNPs for in vivo therapeutic study. Finally, the enhanced in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of the selected SNPs was validated by tumor reduction/inhibition studies. We foresee our rational developmental approach providing a general strategy in the search of optimal therapeutic agents among the diversity of NP-based therapeutic agents.
Supramolecular assembly; Nanoparticles; Drug delivery; Positron emission tomography; Cancer therapeutics
Liver regeneration is the basic physiological process after partial hepatectomy (PH), and is important for the functional rehabilitation of the liver after acute hepatic injury. This study was designed to explore the effects of neurolytic celiac plexus block (NCPB) on liver regeneration after PH. We established a model of PH in rats, assessing hepatic blood flow, liver function, and serum CRP, TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 concentrations of the residuary liver after PH. Additionally, histopathological studies, immunohistochemistry, and western blotting were also performed. Our results indicated that NCPB treatment after PH improved liver regeneration and survival rates, increased hepatic blood flow, reduced hepatocyte damage, decreased the secretion and release of inflammatory cytokines, increased the expression of B cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 (Bcl-2), and decreased the expression of Bcl-2 associated X protein (Bax). Additionally, Western blotting revealed that the expression of NF-κB p65 and c-Jun were decreased in liver after NCPB. In conclusion, the results of our present study indicate that NCPB treatment has a favorable effect on liver regeneration after PH. We suggest that NCPB can be utilized as an effective therapeutic method to help the functional rehabilitation of the liver after acute hepatic injury or liver cancer surgery.
Endothelial dysfunction is a primary contributor to sepsis-related organ dysfunction and death. In sepsis animal models, endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) have contributed to vascular repair. The role of endothelial progenitor cells as a biomarker for organ dysfunction is still unknown. We hypothesized that circulating numbers of endothelial progenitor cells would be associated with improved outcomes in sepsis.
Prospective, observational single-center cohort study in adult intensive care units at Grady Memorial Hospital, an affiliate of Emory University, from July 2007 through April 2009. Peripheral blood was obtained from 95 patients with sepsis, 37 intensive care unit controls, and 51 healthy controls, of whom only 86 patients with sepsis were used in the analysis because we were not able to obtain enough blood in 9 sepsis patients. Clinical data were obtained, and organ dysfunction was measured by Sepsis-Related Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score. Endothelial progenitor cells were assessed by a colony-forming unit (CFU) assay in which peripheral blood mononuclear cells were isolated using Ficoll density-gradient centrifugation and cultured in growth media.
The patients with sepsis had significantly lower mean endothelial progenitor cell colony counts compared with intensive care unit controls (p = 0.035) and healthy controls (p = 0.0005). There was no difference in colony counts between ICU controls and healthy controls (p = 0.81). In the sepsis patients, EPC CFU numbers inversely associated with SOFA score, adjusting for mortality (r2 = 0.05, p = 0.04).
Increased circulating endothelial progenitor cells inversely correlate with organ dysfunction in sepsis patients.
Sepsis; Septic shock; Endothelium; Progenitor cells; SOFA; Outcomes
This study was to investigate the effects and safety of cathepsin B-cleavable doxorubicin (DOX)-prodrug (PDOX) for targeting therapy of metastatic human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using DOX as a positive control drug.
The orthotopic nude mice model of highly metastatic HCC was established and the animals were randomized and treated with PDOX, DOX and saline, respectively. Hematology, biochemistry and tumor markers were studied. At autopsy, liver tumor weight and size, ascites, abdominal lymph nodes metastases, experimental peritoneal carcinomatosis index (ePCI), and tumor-host body weight ratio were investigated. Immunohistochemical studies and western blotting were done to investigate key molecules involved in the mechanism of action.
Compared with Control, both PDOX and DOX could similarly and significantly reduce liver tumor weight and tumor volume by over 40%, ePCI values, retroperitoneal lymph node metastases and lung metastases and serum AFP levels (P < 0.05). The PDOX group had significantly higher WBC than the DOX group (P < 0.05), and higher PLT than Control (P < 0.05). Serum BUN and Cr levels were lower in the PDOX group than DOX and Control groups (P < 0.05). Compared with Control, DOX increased CK and CK-MB; while PDOX decreased CK compared with DOX (P < 0.05). Multiple spotty degenerative changes of the myocardium were observed in DOX-treated mice, but not in the Control and PDOX groups. PDOX could significantly reduce the Ki-67 positive rate of tumor cells, compared with DOX and Control groups. PDOX produced the effects at least via the ERK pathway.
Compared with DOX, PDOX may have better anti-metastatic efficacy and reduced side effects especially cardio-toxicities in this HCC model.
Hepatocellular carcinoma; Molecular targeting therapy; Doxorubicin; PDOX; Metastases
Overexpression of the sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway is an essential characteristic of pancreatic cancer stem cells (PCSCs) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) is described as a SHH inhibitor. This study evaluates whether ATO has the potential to inhibit viability of PCSCs via binding to SHH-Gli proteins.
Cell counting kit-8 and flow cytometry were used for analyzing apoptosis in cells in vitro. The animal model was an athymic nude mouse model bearing subcutaneous xenografts of SW1990 pancreatic cancer cells. The terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling assay and immunohistochemistry were used for tumor tissue analysis. The interaction between Gli1 and ATO was examined by a confocal system and an ultraviolet absorption spectrum assay.
ATO induced apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells, especially CD24+CD44+ cells in vitro. Combination treatment of ATO and low dose gemcitabine inhibited tumor growth by 60.9% (P = 0.004), and decreased the expression of CD24, CD44, and aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family, member A1 significantly in vivo. ATO changed the structure of the recombinant Gli1 zinc finger peptides in a cell-free condition and the binding action of ATO to recombinant Gli1 was observed in cultured pancreatic cancer cells.
ATO may have the potential to inhibit viability of PCSCs via binding to SHH-Gli proteins in vitro and in vivo.
pancreatic cancer; stem cells; gemcitabine; arsenic trioxide; sonic hedgehog; Gli
The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical value of serum cytokeratin 19 fragment (CYFRA21-1) and carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) in the prediction of chemotherapy response and prognosis in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Serum CYFRA21-1 and CEA levels of 98 patients with advanced NSCLC were measured using immunoradiometric kits prior to and after 2 cycles of chemotherapy. After 2 cycles of chemotherapy, 45 patients achieved a radiological objective response (OR), 30 patients achieved stable disease (SD) and 23 patients had progressive disease (PD). Serum CYFRA21-1 and CEA were significantly decreased compared to baseline levels (P<0.001). By ROC curve analysis, a ≥60% reduction in CYFRA21-1 and a ≥25% reduction in CEA were the optimal cut-off levels with best sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of radiologic OR. The median survival of all patients was 10.2 months (range 2.6–26.3). Univariate survival analysis showed that the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) score, radiologic OR, a ≥60% reduction in CYFRA21-1 and a ≥25% reduction in CEA were significant prognostic factors for better overall survival. The median overall survival time in patients with a ≥60% reduction in CYFRA21-1 was significantly longer than in those with a <60% reduction (P<0.001). Similarly, the median overall survival time in patients with a ≥25% reduction in CEA was also significantly longer than in those with a <25% reduction (P<0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that ECOG PS score, a ≥60% reduction in CYFRA21-1 and a ≥25% reduction in CEA were independent prognostic factors of survival, while radiologic OR was not. In conclusion, a ≥60% reduction in CYFRA21-1 and a ≥25% reduction in CEA may be reliable surrogate markers for the prediction of chemothrapy response and prognosis, especially for the diagnosis of radiologic OR.
cytokeratin 19 fragment; carcinoembryonic antigen; non-small cell lung cancer; chemotherapy response; prognosis
Tumor metastases occur through both the cardiovascular and lymphatic circulations. However, the majority of nanoparticle biodistribution studies have been focused on the cardiovascular circulation. In this study, we report the formulation of Cy5-labeled polylactide (Cy5-PLA) nanoparticles with controlled size and surface features and the subsequent evaluation of their lymphatic biodistribution. Cy5-PLA nanoparticles were formulated through Cy5/(BDI)ZnN(TMS)2-mediated [(BDI) = 2-((2,6-diisopropylphenyl) amido)-4-((2,6-diisopropylphenyl)-imino)-2-pentene] ring-opening polymerization of lactide followed by nanoprecipitation. Their lymphatic biodistribution was evaluated by using whole-body fluorescence imaging of nude mice and ex vivo fluorescence imaging of the resected organs. This technique has the potential for providing optical contrast and drug delivery through the lymphatic circulation for the treatment of metastatic cancer.
The pentapeptide mimic 1,4-bis(9-O-dihydroquinidinyl)phthalazine / hydroquinidine 1,4-phathalazinediyl diether (“compound 61”) (C-61) is the first reported inhibitor targeting the P-site of SYK. Here we report a nanotechnology platform to target C-61 to mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells. Liposomal nanoparticles (NP) loaded with C-61 were prepared using the standard thin film evaporation method. The entrapment of C-61 was obtained using the pH gradient procedure with lactobionic acid (LBA) being used as a low pH buffer inside the NP. Formulation F6A was selected as a lead candidate for further biological testing. The average diameter, zeta potential and C-61 content of the F6A NP was 40 nm, 0.1 mV, and 12.6 mg/ml, respectively. F6A induces apoptosis in SYK+ but not SYK− leukemia/lymphoma cells. We also evaluated the cytotoxic activity of F6A in the context of an in vitro artificial bone marrow assay platform based on a 3D scaffold with inverted colloidal crystal geometry mimicking the structural topology of actual bone marrow matrix. The ability of C-61 to induce apoptosis in ALL-1 cells was not adversely affected by the scaffolds. F6A, but not the drug-free NP formulation F6B, caused apoptosis of MCL cell lines MAVER-1 and MINO within 24h. Further development of rationally designed SYK inhibitors and their nanoscale formulations may provide the foundation for therapeutic innovation against a broad spectrum of lymphoid malignancies, including MCL.
Drug-containing nanoparticles (NPs) with monodisperse, controlled particle sizes are highly desirable for drug delivery. Accumulating evidence suggests that NPs with sizes less than 50 nm demonstrate superior performance in vitro and in vivo. However, it is difficult to fabricate monodisperse, drug-containing NPs with discrete and incremental difference in sizes required for studying and characterizing existing relationships among particle size, biologic processing, and therapeutic functionality. Here, we report a scalable process of fabricating drug-silica conjugated nanoparticles, termed drug-silica nanoconjugates (drug-NCs), which possess monodisperse size distributions and desirable particle sizes as small as 20 nm. We found that 20-nm NCs are superior to their 50-nm and 200-nm NC analogues by 2–5 and 10–20 folds, respectively, with regard to tumor accumulation and penetration, and cellular internalization. These fundamental findings underscore the importance and necessity of further miniaturizing nanomedicine size for optimized drug delivery applications.
silica nanoparticle; nanoconjugates; chemotherapeutics; nanomedicine; drug delivery; cancer therapy; tumor penetration; cell uptake; nanoparticle biodistribution
The aim of this sub-study is to explore the incidence of skin rash among advanced breast cancer(ABC) patients in a phase II trial treated with weekly nab-paclitaxel and cisplatin combination.
Nab-paclitaxel(125 mg/m2) was administered on days 1, 8, 15, followed by cisplatin(75 mg/m2) on day 1 every 28 day cycle until disease progression, intolerable toxicities or the maximum of 6 cycles. Patients who received at least one injection of the study drug were included in this analysis of the incidence of skin rash among Chinese patients. Toxicity was graded using the CTCAE4.0 criteria. Statistical analysis was carried out by using SPSS 16.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, IL).
Seventy three patients were enrolled and eligible for analysis. A total of 384 cycles were administered at the time of this analysis. Rash was presented in 27 patients (37.0%). The most common sites involved were face (14/27), neck (14/27), limbs (18/27) and frictional parts of the trunk (10/27). Macular and papular rash with pruritus commonly occurred 2 (95% CI: 1–7) days after the first day of chemotherapy. Only one patient developed Grade 3 skin toxicity with generalized erythroderma and disfigurement of the face requiring dose reduction. The rash gradually regressed 2 (95% CI: 1–10) days after antihistamines used, but pigmentation remained in 13/27 cases. The incidence rate of skin rash was significantly higher than what has been described for western patients (approximate 4%, P < 0.0001).
A higher rate of maculo-papular rash occurred in Chinese breast cancer patients treated with weekly nab-paclitaxel compared to western patients. The albumin component of nab-paclitaxel might be the cause of the skin disorder.
Phase II study; Albumin-bound paclitaxel; Cisplatin; Rash
The podocyte functions as a glomerular filtration barrier. Autophagy of postmitotic cells is an important protective mechanism that is essential for maintaining the homeostasis of podocytes. Exploring an in vivo rat model of passive Heymann nephritis and an in vitro model of puromycin amino nucleotide (PAN)-cultured podocytes, we examined the specific mechanisms underlying changing autophagy levels and podocyte injury. In the passive Heymann nephritis model rats, the mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR) levels were upregulated in injured podocytes while autophagy was inhibited. In PAN-treated podocytes, mTOR lowered the level of autophagy through the mTOR-ULK1 pathway resulting in damaged podocytes. Rapamycin treatment of these cells reduced podocyte injury by raising the levels of autophagy. These in vivo and in vitro experiments demonstrate that podocyte injury is associated with changes in autophagy levels, and that rapamycin can reduce podocyte injury by increasing autophagy levels via inhibition of the mTOR-ULK1 pathway. These results provide an important theoretical basis for future treatment of diseases involving podocyte injury.
The aim of this study was to explore the role of astragalus polysaccharide (APS) in the pathogenesis of bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm children using an established BPD cell model. EA.hy926 cell cultures were divided into three groups: the air group as the blank control, the hyperoxia group as the experimental control and the APS group (2.5 mg/ml). The production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were analyzed by biochemical assays. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting were used to detect the RNA and protein expression levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-8, intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) and nuclear factor (NF)-κB p65. Compared with the hyperoxia group, the ROS and MDA levels of the APS group were significantly reduced. By contrast, SOD production was significantly increased. The expression of IL-8, ICAM-1 and NF-κB p65 in the APS group was downregulated. APS acts as an antioxidant by stimulating SOD production while inhibiting lipid peroxidation in the EA.hy926 cells. Furthermore, this study demonstrated that APS retards the inflammatory response, as shown by the reduced expression of NF-κB p65, IL-8 and ICAM-1 when APS was added.
bronchopulmonary dysplasia; oxidative stress; inflammatory response; astragalus polysaccharide
Several studies have shown a positive association between body mass index (BMI) and the
development of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women; however,
the associations between BMI groups and molecular subtypes have yet to be well defined
in premenopausal breast cancer patients.
A total of 2465 female breast cancer patients diagnosed at our institution were
recruited for this study. Clinicopathologic information (including age, body height and
weight, as well as tumor subtypes and stages) was collected; analyses of these
characteristics and the associations between them were performed.
A total of 1951 cases were included in the study. The mean age was 47.3 years, the
majority of patients were of normal weight, premenopausal, had stage 2 cancer, and did
not present with positive nodes. The prevalence of the luminal A, luminal B, human
epidermal growth factor receptor 2+, and triple-negative subtypes were
57.8%, 11.6%, 6.1%, and 24.5%, respectively. There were
significant differences in the clinicopathologic features among BMI groups in
premenopausal patients. The case-only odds ratio (OR) analysis revealed that normal
weight patients tended to have luminal B cancer (OR = 1.4, P
= 0.206), and overweight and obese patients tended to have triple-negative
cancer in premenopausal patients (OR = 2.8, OR = 3.7, respectively;
P < 0.001).
In Chinese women, breast cancer came with these characteristics: young mean age
(premenopause), luminal A subtype, and the majority of them were within a normal weight
range. In premenopausal patients, underweight patients tended to have luminal A, lower
human epidermal growth factor receptor 2+ expression, stage 1 and no positive
node cancer. However, overweight and obese patients tended to have a triple-negative,
stage 3, and lymph node metastatic cancer.
breast cancer; body mass index; molecular subtype; Chinese
To develop an automated method for the detection of retinal hemorrhages on color fundus images to characterize malarial retinopathy, which may help in the assessment of patients with cerebral malaria.
A fundus image dataset from 14 patients (200 fundus images, with an average of 14 images per patient) previously diagnosed with malarial retinopathy was examined. We developed a pattern recognition–based algorithm, which extracted features from image watershed regions called splats (tobogganing). A reference standard was obtained by manual segmentation of hemorrhages, which assigned a label to each splat. The splat features with the associated splat label were used to train a linear k-nearest neighbor classifier that learnt the color properties of hemorrhages and identified the splats belonging to hemorrhages in a test dataset. In a crossover design experiment, data from 12 patients were used for training and data from two patients were used for testing, with 14 different permutations; and the derived sensitivity and specificity values were averaged.
The experiment resulted in hemorrhage detection sensitivities in terms of splats as 80.83%, and in terms of lesions as 84.84%. The splat-based specificity was 96.67%, whereas for the lesion-based analysis, an average of three false positives was obtained per image. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was reported as 0.9148 for splat-based, and as 0.9030 for lesion-based analysis.
The method provides an automated means of detecting retinal hemorrhages associated with malarial retinopathy. The results matched well with the reference standard. With further development, this technique may provide automated assistance for screening and quantification of malarial retinopathy.
A supervised hemorrhage recognition method is proposed for automated detection of retinal hemorrhages to characterize malarial retinopathy, which may help in the assessment of patients with cerebral malaria. The results of a crossover design experiment match well with the reference standard.
A robust multiscale stereo matching algorithm is proposed to find reliable correspondences between low contrast and weakly textured retinal image pairs with radiometric differences. Existing algorithms designed to deal with piecewise planar surfaces with distinct features and Lambertian reflectance do not apply in applications such as 3D reconstruction of medical images including stereo retinal images. In this paper, robust pixel feature vectors are formulated to extract discriminative features in the presence of noise in scale space, through which the response of low-frequency mechanisms alter and interact with the response of high-frequency mechanisms. The deep structures of the scene are represented with the evolution of disparity estimates in scale space, which distributes the matching ambiguity along the scale dimension to obtain globally coherent reconstructions. The performance is verified both qualitatively by face validity and quantitatively on our collection of stereo fundus image sets with ground truth, which have been made publicly available as an extension of standard test images for performance evaluation.
Depth from stereo; radiometric differences; pixel feature vector; fundus image; scale space
Accumulating evidence reveals that intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) can cause varying degrees of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) later in life. Moreover, epigenetics plays an important role in the fetal origin of adult disease. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of epigenetics in the development of PAH following IUGR.
The IUGR rats were established by maternal undernutrition during pregnancy. Pulmonary vascular endothelial cells (PVEC) were isolated from the rat lungs by magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS). We investigated epigenetic regulation of the endothelin-1 (ET-1) gene in PVEC of 1-day and 6-week IUGR rats, and response of IUGR rats to hypoxia.
The maternal nutrient restriction increased the histone acetylation and hypoxia inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) binding levels in the ET-1 gene promoter of PVEC in IUGR newborn rats, and continued up to 6 weeks after birth. These epigenetic changes could result in an IUGR rat being highly sensitive to hypoxia later in life, causing more significant PAH or pulmonary vascular remodeling.
These findings suggest that epigenetics is closely associated with the development of hypoxic PAH following IUGR, further providing a new insight for improved prevention and treatment of IUGR-related PAH.
Epigenetics; Pulmonary arterial hypertension; Endothelial cells; Endothelin-1; Intrauterine growth retardation
Combining targeted therapy has been extensively investigated in previously treated advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but it is still unclear whether combining targeted therapy might offer any benefits against standard monotherapy with erlotinib. We thus performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to compare the efficacy and safety of combining targeted therapy versus erlotinib alone as second-line treatment for advanced NSCLC.
Several databases were searched, including Pubmed, Embase and Cochrane databases. The endpoints were overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), overall response rate (ORR) and grade 3 or 4 adverse event (AEs). The pooled hazard ratio (HR) or odds ratio (OR), and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated employing fixed- or random-effects models depending on the heterogeneity of the included trials.
Eight eligible trials involved 2417 patients were ultimately identified. The intention to treatment (ITT) analysis demonstrated that combining targeted therapy significantly improved OS (HR 0.90, 95%CI: 0.82–0.99, p = 0.024), PFS (HR 0.83, 95%CI: 0.72–0.97, p = 0.018), and ORR (OR 1.35, 95%CI 1.01–1.80, P = 0.04). Sub-group analysis based on phases of trials, EGFR-status and KRAS status also showed that there was a tendency to improve PFS and OS in combining targeted therapy, except that PFS for patients with EGFR-mutation or wild type KRAS favored erlotinib monotherapy. Additionally, more incidence of grade 3 or 4 rash, fatigue and hypertension were observed in combining targeted therapy.
With the available evidence, combining targeted therapy seems superior over erlotinib monotherapy as second-line treatment for advanced NSCLC. More studies are still needed to identify patients who will most likely benefit from the appropriate combining targeted therapy.
To derive a computerized measurement of optic disc volume from digital stereoscopic fundus photographs for the purpose of diagnosing and managing papilledema.
Twenty-nine pairs of stereoscopic fundus photographs and optic nerve head (ONH) centered spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scans were obtained at the same visit in 15 patients with papilledema. Some patients were imaged at multiple visits in order to assess their changes. Three-dimensional shape of the ONH was estimated from stereo fundus photographs using an automated multi-scale stereo correspondence algorithm. We assessed the correlation of the stereo volume measurements with the SD-OCT volume measurements quantitatively, in terms of volume of retinal surface elevation above a reference plane and also to expert grading of papilledema from digital fundus photographs using the Frisén grading scale.
The volumetric measurements of retinal surface elevation estimated from stereo fundus photographs and OCT scans were positively correlated (correlation coefficient r2 = 0.60; P < 0.001) and were positively correlated with Frisén grade (Spearman correlation coefficient r = 0.59; P < 0.001).
Retinal surface elevation among papilledema patients obtained from stereo fundus photographs compares favorably with that from OCT scans and with expert grading of papilledema severity. Stereoscopic color imaging of the ONH combined with a method of automated shape reconstruction is a low-cost alternative to SD-OCT scans that has potential for a more cost-effective diagnosis and management of papilledema in a telemedical setting. An automated three-dimensional image analysis method was validated that quantifies the retinal surface topography with an imaging modality that has lacked prior objective assessment.
A computerized measurement of optic disc volume from stereo fundus photographs was validated in a sample of subjects with papilledema by correlating it with the same measurement derived from SD-OCT images and with expert Frisén grading, which would be of significant value for more cost-effective diagnosis and management of papilledema as well as other optic neuropathies.
The need for resource-intensive laboratory assays to assess exposures in many epidemiologic studies provides ample motivation to consider study designs that incorporate pooled samples. In this paper, we consider the case in which specimens are combined for the purpose of determining the presence or absence of a pool-wise exposure, in lieu of assessing the actual binary exposure status for each member of the pool. We presume a primary logistic regression model for an observed binary outcome, together with a secondary regression model for exposure. We facilitate maximum likelihood analysis by complete enumeration of the possible implications of a positive pool, and we discuss the applicability of this approach under both cross-sectional and case-control sampling. We also provide a maximum likelihood approach for longitudinal or repeated measures studies where the binary outcome and exposure are assessed on multiple occasions and within-subject pooling is conducted for exposure assessment. Simulation studies illustrate the performance of the proposed approaches along with their computational feasibility using widely available software. We apply the methods to investigate gene–disease association in a population-based case-control study of colorectal cancer.
cross-sectional study; case-control study; efficiency; logistic regression; pooling; repeated measures; single nucleotide polymorphism
The large numbers of human intestinal microorganisms have a highly co-evolved relationship with the immune system. Dysbacteriosis of intestinal microbiota induces alterations of immune responses, and is closely related to disease development. Peyer’s patches are immune sensors in intestine which exert essential functions during development of inflammatory disease. However, interactions between commensal bacteria and PPs have been poorly characterized. In this study, changes of lymphocyte subpopulations and production of cytokines in PPs of mice with intestinal dysbacteriosis were investigated. The ceftriaxone-induced dysbacteriosis caused a notable change in populations of T lymphocytes, their subpopulations in PPs and expressions of various cytokines. Our results suggest intestinal dysbacteriosis in mice reduces immune tolerance in PPs and orients immune response towards humoral immunity.
Intestinal dysbacteriosis; Peyer’s patches; Immune response; T lymphocytes; Cytokines
Certain aminoglycosides are capable of inducing “translational readthrough” of premature termination codons (PTCs). However, toxicity and relative lack of efficacy deter treatment with clinically available aminoglycosides for genetic diseases caused by PTCs, including cystic fibrosis (CF). Using a structure-based approach, the novel aminoglycoside NB54 was developed that exhibits reduced toxicity and enhanced suppression of PTCs in cell-based reporter assays relative to gentamicin. We examined whether NB54 administration rescued CFTR protein and function in clinically relevant CF models. In a fluorescence-based halide efflux assay, NB54 partially restored halide efflux in a CF bronchial epithelial cell line (CFTR genotype W1282X/F508del), but not in a CF epithelial cell line lacking a PTC (F508del/F508del). In polarized airway epithelial cells expressing either a CFTR-W1282X or -G542X cDNA, treatment with NB54 increased stimulated short-circuit current (ISC) with greater efficiency than gentamicin. NB54 and gentamicin induced comparable increases in forskolin-stimulated ISC in primary airway epithelial cells derived from a G542X/F508del CF donor. Systemic administration of NB54 to Cftr−/− mice expressing a human CFTR-G542X transgene restored 15–17% of the average stimulated transepithelial chloride currents observed in wild-type (Cftr+/+) mice, comparable to gentamicin. NB54 exhibited reduced cellular toxicity in vitro and was tolerated at higher concentrations than gentamicin in vivo. These results provide evidence that synthetic aminoglycosides are capable of PTC suppression in relevant human CF cells and a CF animal model and support further development of these compounds as a treatment modality for genetic diseases caused by PTCs.
Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator; Premature termination codons; Aminoglycosides; Short-circuit current; Primary human bronchial epithelial cells
Aptamers can bind a wide range of biomedically relevant proteins with affinities and specificities that have therapeutic utility. Although aptamers are susceptible to nuclease-mediated degradation and cannot easily cross biological barriers, specific aptamer modification can feasibly solve these problems. To address these obstacles, Lau et al. developed a general strategy for generating natural packaging and transport vehicles for targeting agents, such as aptamers and their small-molecule ligands, by using virus-like particles (VLPs) assembled from the recombinant expression of the bacteriophage Qβ coat protein. Since RNA and DNA molecules are susceptible to nuclease-mediated degradation, it is important that Qβ VLPs protect their encapsulated aptamers from nuclease-mediated degradation and enhance their permeability. Moreover, if self-assembled using natural proteins, VLPs can guarantee the biocompatibility and biodegradability of modified aptamers in therapeutic applications. Therefore, this Perspective explores the outlook for such aptamer modification strategies for nanodrug preparation and delivery applications and the challenges that lie ahead.
The etiology of prostate cancer remains elusive, although steroid hormones probably play a role. Considering the carcinogenic potential of estrogen metabolites as well as altered intraprostatic estrogen biosynthesis during the development of prostate cancer, we investigated associations between repeat polymorphisms of three key estrogen-related genes (CYP11A1, CYP19A1, UGT1A1) and risk of prostate cancer in the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial (PCPT), designed to test finasteride versus placebo as a chemoprevention agent. Using data and specimens from 1154 cases and 1351 controls who were frequency matched on age, family history of prostate cancer and PCPT treatment arm, we used logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) separately in the placebo and finasteride arms. Among men in the placebo arm, CYP19A1 7/8 genotype carriers had a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer compared with those with the 7/7 genotype (OR = 1.70, 95% CI = 1.16–2.5), regardless of Gleason grade. This genotype was also associated with elevated serum estrogen levels. For the (TA)n repeat polymorphism in UGT1A1, the heterozygous short (<7 repeats)/long (≥7 repeats) genotype was significantly associated with the risk of low-grade prostate cancer (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.05–1.70) compared with the short/short genotype. No significant association was found with CYP11A1. These associations were not observed among men in the finasteride arm. The results indicate that repeat polymorphisms in genes involved in estrogen biosynthesis and metabolism may influence risk of prostate cancer but that their effects may be modified by factors altering hormone metabolism, such as finasteride treatment.
Misclassification of binary outcome variables is a known source of potentially serious bias when estimating adjusted odds ratios. Although researchers have described frequentist and Bayesian methods for dealing with the problem, these methods have seldom fully bridged the gap between statistical research and epidemiologic practice. In particular, there have been few real-world applications of readily grasped and computationally accessible methods that make direct use of internal validation data to adjust for differential outcome misclassification in logistic regression. In this paper, we illustrate likelihood-based methods for this purpose that can be implemented using standard statistical software. Using main study and internal validation data from the HIV Epidemiology Research Study, we demonstrate how misclassification rates can depend on the values of subject-specific covariates, and illustrate the importance of accounting for this dependence. Simulation studies confirm the effectiveness of the maximum likelihood approach. We emphasize clear exposition of the likelihood function itself, to permit the reader to easily assimilate appended computer code that facilitates sensitivity analyses as well as the efficient handling of main/external and main/internal validation-study data. These methods are readily applicable under random cross-sectional sampling, and we discuss the extent to which the main/internal analysis remains appropriate under outcome-dependent (case-control) sampling.
Mucus stasis in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality. Potentiators of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) activity pharmacologically enhance CFTR function; ivacaftor is one such agent approved to treat CF patients with the G551D-CFTR gating mutation. CFTR potentiators may also be useful for other diseases of mucus stasis, including COPD.
Methods and Findings
In primary human bronchial epithelial cells, exposure to cigarette smoke extract diminished CFTR-mediated anion transport (65.8±0.2% of control, P<0.005) and mucociliary transport (0.17±0.05 µm/sec vs. 2.4±0.47 µm/sec control, P<0.05) by reducing airway surface liquid depth (7.3±0.6 µm vs. 13.0±0.6 µm control, P<0.005) and augmenting mucus expression (by 64%, P<0.05) without altering transepithelial resistance. Smokers with or without COPD had reduced CFTR activity measured by nasal potential difference compared to age-matched non-smokers (−6.3±1.4 and −8.0±2.0 mV, respectively vs. −15.2±2.7 mV control, each P<0.005, n = 12–14/group); this CFTR decrement was associated with symptoms of chronic bronchitis as measured by the Breathlessness Cough and Sputum Score (r = 0.30, P<0.05) despite controlling for smoking (r = 0.31, P<0.05). Ivacaftor activated CFTR-dependent chloride transport in non-CF epithelia and ameliorated the functional CFTR defect induced by smoke to 185±36% of non-CF control (P<0.05), thereby increasing airway surface liquid (from 7.3±0.6 µm to 10.1±0.4 µm, P<0.005) and mucociliary transport (from 0.27±0.11 µm/s to 2.7±0.28 µm/s, P<0.005).
Cigarette smoking reduces CFTR activity and is causally related to reduced mucus transport in smokers due to inhibition of CFTR dependent fluid transport. These effects are reversible by the CFTR potentiator ivacaftor, representing a potential therapeutic strategy to augment mucociliary clearance in patients with smoking related lung disease.