The scale-invariant and intermittent dynamics of animal behavior are attracting scientific interest. Recent findings concerning the statistical laws of behavioral organization shared between healthy humans and wild-type mice (WT) and their alterations in human depression patients and circadian clock gene (Period 2; Per2) mutant mice indicate that clock genes play functional roles in intermittent, ultradian locomotor dynamics. They also claim the clinical and biological importance of the laws as objective biobehavioral measures or endophenotypes for psychiatric disorders. In this study, to elucidate the roles of breakdown of the broader circadian regulatory circuit in intermittent behavioral dynamics, we studied the statistical properties and rhythmicity of locomotor activity in Per2 mutants and mice deficient in other clock genes (Bmal1, Clock). We performed wavelet analysis to examine circadian and ultradian rhythms and estimated the cumulative distributions of resting period durations during which locomotor activity levels are continuously lower than a predefined threshold value. The wavelet analysis revealed significant amplification of ultradian rhythms in the BMAL1-deficient mice, and instability in the Per2 mutants. The resting period distributions followed a power-law form in all mice. While the distributions for the BMAL1-deficient and Clock mutant mice were almost identical to those for the WT mice, with no significant differences in their parameter (power-law scaling exponent), only the Per2 mutant mice showed consistently and significantly lower values of the scaling exponent, indicating the increased intermittency in ultradian locomotor dynamics. Furthermore, based on a stochastic priority queuing model, we explained the power-law nature of resting period distributions, as well as its alterations shared with human depressive patients and Per2 mutant mice. Our findings lead to the development of a novel mathematical model for abnormal behaviors in psychiatric disorders.
Tension-type headache is a common psychosomatic disease. However, diurnal variation of headache is yet to be clarified, perhaps due to the lack of an appropriate method to investigate it. Like other painful diseases, it would be helpful to know if there is diurnal variation in tension-type headaches, both for managing headaches and understanding their pathophysiology. The aim of this study was to determine if there is diurnal variation in the intensity and exacerbation of tension-type headache.
Patients (N = 31) with tension-type headache recorded for one week their momentary headache intensity several times a day and their acute headache exacerbations using a watch-type computer as an electronic diary (computerized ecological momentary assessment). Multilevel modeling was used to test the effects of time of day on momentary headache intensity and on the occurrence of acute exacerbations.
A significant diurnal variation in momentary headache intensity was shown (P = 0.0005), with the weakest headaches in the morning and a peak in the late afternoon. A between-individual difference in the diurnal pattern was suggested. On-demand medication use was associated with a different diurnal pattern (P = 0.025), suggesting that headache intensity decreases earlier in the evening in subjects who used on-demand medication, while headache subtype, prophylactic medication use, and sex were not associated with the difference. The occurrence of acute headache exacerbation also showed a significant diurnal variation, with a peak after noon (P = 0.0015).
Tension-type headache was shown to have a significant diurnal variation. The relation to pathophysiology and psychosocial aspects needs to be further explored.
Tension-type headache; Ecological momentary assessment; Electronic diary; Diurnal variation
Patients with schizophrenia frequently exhibit behavioral abnormalities associated with its pathological symptoms. Therefore, a quantitative evaluation of behavioral dynamics could contribute to objective diagnoses of schizophrenia. However, such an approach has not been fully established because of the absence of quantitative biobehavioral measures. Recently, we studied the dynamical properties of locomotor activity, specifically how resting and active periods are interwoven in daily life. We discovered universal statistical laws (“behavioral organization”) and their alterations in patients with major depressive disorder. In this study, we evaluated behavioral organization of schizophrenic patients (n = 19) and healthy subjects (n = 11) using locomotor activity data, acquired by actigraphy, to investigate whether the laws could provide objective and quantitative measures for a possible diagnosis and assessment of symptoms. Specifically, we evaluated the cumulative distributions of resting and active periods, defined as the periods with physical activity counts successively below and above a predefined threshold, respectively. Here we report alterations in the laws governing resting and active periods; resting periods obeyed a power-law cumulative distribution with significantly lower parameter values (power-law scaling exponents), whereas active periods followed a stretched exponential distribution with significantly lower parameter values (stretching exponents), in patients. Our findings indicate enhanced persistency of both lower and higher locomotor activity periods in patients with schizophrenia, probably reflecting schizophrenic pathophysiology.
The correlates of indices of long-term ambulatory heart rate variability (HRV) of the autonomic nervous system have not been completely understood. In this study, we evaluated conventional HRV indices, obtained from the daytime (12:00–18:00) Holter recording, and a recently proposed non-Gaussianity index (λ; Kiyono et al., 2008) in 12 patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA) and 10 patients with Parkinson disease (PD), known to have varying degrees of cardiac vagal and sympathetic dysfunction. Compared with the age-matched healthy control group, the MSA patients showed significantly decreased HRV, most probably reflecting impaired vagal heart rate control, but the PD patients did not show such reduced variability. In both MSA and PD patients, the low-to-high frequency (LF/HF) ratio and the short-term fractal exponent α1, suggested to reflect the sympathovagal balance, were significantly decreased, as observed in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients with sympathetic overdrive. In contrast, the analysis of the non-Gaussianity index λ showed that a marked increase in intermittent and non-Gaussian HRV observed in the CHF patients was not observed in the MSA and PD patients with sympathetic dysfunction. These findings provide additional evidence for the relation between the non-Gaussian intermittency of HRV and increased sympathetic activity.
heart rate variability; ambulatory ECG; multiple system atrophy; Parkinson disease; autonomic failure
The genomes of three plants, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), rice (Oryza sativa), and soybean (Glycine max), have been sequenced, and their many genes and promoters have been predicted. In Arabidopsis, cis-acting promoter elements involved in cold- and dehydration-responsive gene expression have been extensively analysed; however, the characteristics of such cis-acting promoter sequences in cold- and dehydration-inducible genes of rice and soybean remain to be clarified. In this study, we performed microarray analyses using the three species, and compared characteristics of identified cold- and dehydration-inducible genes. Transcription profiles of the cold- and dehydration-responsive genes were similar among these three species, showing representative upregulated (dehydrin/LEA) and downregulated (photosynthesis-related) genes. All (46 = 4096) hexamer sequences in the promoters of the three species were investigated, revealing the frequency of conserved sequences in cold- and dehydration-inducible promoters. A core sequence of the abscisic acid-responsive element (ABRE) was the most conserved in dehydration-inducible promoters of all three species, suggesting that transcriptional regulation for dehydration-inducible genes is similar among these three species, with the ABRE-dependent transcriptional pathway. In contrast, for cold-inducible promoters, the conserved hexamer sequences were diversified among these three species, suggesting the existence of diverse transcriptional regulatory pathways for cold-inducible genes among the species.
plant genome; cis-acting promoter elements; cold; dehydration; microarray
Non-Gaussianity index (λ) is a new index of heart rate variability (HRV) that characterizes increased probability of the large heart rate deviations from its trend. A previous study has reported that increased λ is an independent mortality predictor among patients with chronic heart failure. The present study examined predictive value of λ in patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Among 670 post-AMI patients, we performed 24-h Holter monitoring to assess λ and other HRV predictors, including SD of normal-to-normal interval, very-low frequency power, scaling exponent α1 of detrended fluctuation analysis, deceleration capacity, and heart rate turbulence (HRT). At baseline, λ was not correlated substantially with other HRV indices (|r| < 0.4 with either indices) and was decreased in patients taking β-blockers (P = 0.04). During a median follow-up period of 25 months, 45 (6.7%) patients died (32 cardiac and 13 non-cardiac) and 39 recurrent non-fatal AMI occurred among survivors. While all of these HRV indices but λ were significant predictors of both cardiac and non-cardiac deaths, increased λ predicted exclusively cardiac death (RR [95% CI], 1.6 [1.3–2.0] per 1 SD increment, P < 0.0001). The predictive power of increased λ was significant even after adjustments for clinical risk factors, such as age, diabetes, left ventricular function, renal function, prior AMI, heart failure, and stroke, Killip class, and treatment ([95% CI], 1.4 [1.1–2.0] per 1 SD increment, P = 0.01). The prognostic power of increased λfor cardiac death was also independent of all other HRV indices and the combination of increased λ and abnormal HRT provided the best predictive model for cardiac death. Neither λ nor other HRV indices was an independent predictor of AMI recurrence. Among post-AMI patients, increased λ is associated exclusively with increased cardiac mortality risk and its predictive power is independent of clinical risk factors and of other HRV predictors.
heart rate variability; myocardial infarction; ambulatory ECG; sudden cardiac death; mortality; non-Gaussianity; prospective study; ENRICHD study
Both insufficient sleep and oversleeping have been reported as precipitating and aggravating factors of tension-type headache (TTH). However, previous studies relied on recalled self-reports, and the relationship has not been confirmed prospectively and objectively in a daily life situation. Recently, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) using electronic diaries, i.e., computerized EMA, is used to record subjective symptoms with the advantages of avoiding recall bias and faked compliance in daily settings. In addition, actigraphy has become an established method to assess sleep outside laboratories. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the within-individual effect of sleep on the following momentary headache intensity in TTH patients during their daily lives utilizing EMA and actigraphy.
Twenty-seven patients with TTH wore watch-type computers as electronic diaries for seven consecutive days and recorded their momentary headache intensity using a visual analog scale of 0-100 approximately every six hours, on waking up, when going to bed, and at the time of headache exacerbations. They also recorded their self-report of sleep quality, hours of sleep and number of awakenings with the computers when they woke up. Physical activity was continuously recorded by an actigraph inside the watch-type computers. Activity data were analyzed by Cole's algorithm to obtain total sleep time, sleep efficiency, sleep latency, wake time after sleep onset and number of awakenings for each night. Multilevel modeling was used to test the effect of each subjective and objective sleep-related variable on momentary headache intensity on the following day.
Objectively measured total sleep time was significantly positively associated with momentary headache intensity on the following day, while self-reported sleep quality was significantly negatively associated with momentary headache intensity on the following day.
Using computerized EMA and actigraphy, longer sleep and worse sleep quality were shown to be related to more intense headache intensity on within-individual basis and they may be precipitating or aggravating factors of TTH.
It is now well known that vertebrates use multiple types of core promoter to accomplish differentiated tasks in Pol II-dependent transcription. Several transcriptional characteristics are known to be associated with core types, including distribution patterns of transcription start sites (TSSs) and selection between tissue-specific and constitutive expression profiles. However, their relationship to gene structure is poorly understood. In this report, we carried a comparative analysis of three Arabidopsis core types, TATA, GA, and Coreless, with regard to gene structure. Our genome-wide investigation was based on the peak TSS positions in promoters that had been identified in a large-scale experimental analysis. This analysis revealed that the types of core promoter are related with the room for promoters that is measured as the distance from the TSS to the end of the upstream gene, the distance from the TSS to the start position of the coding sequence (CDS), and the number and species of the cis-regulatory elements. Of these, it was found that the distance from the TSS to the CDS has a tight, inverse correlation to the expression level, and thus the observed relationship to the core type appears to be indirect. However, promoter length and preference of cis-elements are thought to be a direct reflection of core type-specific transcriptional initiation mechanisms.
plant genome; core promoter; environmental response; 5′ UTR
We evaluated the effects of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), named Zeng-xiao An-shen Zhi-chan 2 (ZAZ2), on patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). Among 115 patients with idiopathic PD enrolled (mean age, 64.7 ± 10.2 years old), 110 patients (M = 65, F = 45; mean age, 64.9 ± 10.7 years old) completed the study. Patients took either ZAZ2 (n = 59) or placebo granule (n = 56) in a blind manner for 13 weeks while maintaining other anti-Parkinson medications unchanged. All participants wore a motion logger, and we analyzed the power-law temporal autocorrelation of the motion logger records taken on 3 occasions (before, one week, and 13 weeks after the drug administration). Drug efficacy was evaluated with the conventional Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), as well as the power-law exponent α, which corresponds to the level of physical activity of the patients. ZAZ2 but not placebo granule improved the awake-sleep rhythm, the UPDRS Part II, Part II + III, and Part IV scores, and the α values. The results indicate that ZAZ2 improved activities of daily living (ADL) of parkinsonism and, thus, is a potentially suitable drug for long-term use.
Phytohormones organize plant development and environmental adaptation through cell-to-cell signal transduction, and their action involves transcriptional activation. Recent international efforts to establish and maintain public databases of Arabidopsis microarray data have enabled the utilization of this data in the analysis of various phytohormone responses, providing genome-wide identification of promoters targeted by phytohormones.
We utilized such microarray data for prediction of cis-regulatory elements with an octamer-based approach. Our test prediction of a drought-responsive RD29A promoter with the aid of microarray data for response to drought, ABA and overexpression of DREB1A, a key regulator of cold and drought response, provided reasonable results that fit with the experimentally identified regulatory elements. With this succession, we expanded the prediction to various phytohormone responses, including those for abscisic acid, auxin, cytokinin, ethylene, brassinosteroid, jasmonic acid, and salicylic acid, as well as for hydrogen peroxide, drought and DREB1A overexpression. Totally 622 promoters that are activated by phytohormones were subjected to the prediction. In addition, we have assigned putative functions to 53 octamers of the Regulatory Element Group (REG) that have been extracted as position-dependent cis-regulatory elements with the aid of their feature of preferential appearance in the promoter region.
Our prediction of Arabidopsis cis-regulatory elements for phytohormone responses provides guidance for experimental analysis of promoters to reveal the basis of the transcriptional network of phytohormone responses.
The symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are consistent with cytokine dysregulation. This has led to the hypothesis of immune dysregulation as the cause of this illness. To further test this hypothesis, we did repeated blood sampling for cytokines while patients and matched healthy controls slept in the sleep lab. Because no one method for assaying cytokines is acknowledged to be better than another, we assayed for protein in serum, message in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs), and function in resting and stimulated PBLs. We found no evidence of proinflammatory cytokine upregulation. Instead, in line with some of our earlier studies, we did find some evidence to support a role for an increase in interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Although the changes were small, they may contribute to the common complaint in CFS patients of disrupted sleep.
Blinks are generally suppressed during a task that requires visual attention and tend to occur immediately before or after the task when the timing of its onset and offset are explicitly given. During the viewing of video stories, blinks are expected to occur at explicit breaks such as scene changes. However, given that the scene length is unpredictable, there should also be appropriate timing for blinking within a scene to prevent temporal loss of critical visual information. Here, we show that spontaneous blinks were highly synchronized between and within subjects when they viewed the same short video stories, but were not explicitly tied to the scene breaks. Synchronized blinks occurred during scenes that required less attention such as at the conclusion of an action, during the absence of the main character, during a long shot and during repeated presentations of a similar scene. In contrast, blink synchronization was not observed when subjects viewed a background video or when they listened to a story read aloud. The results suggest that humans share a mechanism for controlling the timing of blinks that searches for an implicit timing that is appropriate to minimize the chance of losing critical information while viewing a stream of visual events.
spontaneous eyeblink; synchronization; attention
Patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) report substantial symptom worsening after exercise. However, the time course over which this develops has not been explored. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the influence of exercise on subjective symptoms and on cognitive function in CFS patients in natural settings using a computerized ecological momentary assessment method, which allowed us to track the effects of exercise within and across days. Subjects were 9 female patients with CFS and 9 healthy women. A watch-type computer was used to collect real time data on physical and psychological symptoms and cognitive function for one week before and two weeks after a maximal exercise test. For each variable, we investigated temporal changes after exercise using multilevel modeling. Following exercise, physical symptoms did get worse but not until a five-day delay in CFS patients. Despite this, there was no difference in the temporal pattern of changes in psychological symptoms or in cognitive function after exercise between CFS patients and controls. In conclusion, physical symptoms worsened after a several day delay in patients with CFS following exercise while psychological symptoms or cognitive function did not change after exercise.
chronic fatigue syndrome; ecological momentary assessment; multilevel modeling
Panic disorder is one of the anxiety disorders, and anxiety is associated with some locomotor activity changes such as "restlessness". However, there have been few studies on locomotor activity in panic disorder using actigraphy, although many studies on other psychiatric disorders have been reported using actigraphy. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the relationship between panic disorder and locomotor activity pattern using a wrist-worn activity monitor. In addition, an ecological momentary assessment technique was used to record panic attacks in natural settings.
Sixteen patients with panic disorder were asked to wear a watch-type computer as an electronic diary for recording panic attacks for two weeks. In addition, locomotor activity was measured and recorded continuously in an accelerometer equipped in the watch-type computer. Locomotor activity data were analyzed using double cosinor analysis to calculate mesor and the amplitude and acrophase of each of the circadian rhythm and 12-hour harmonic component. Correlations between panic disorder symptoms and locomotor activity were investigated.
There were significant positive correlations between the frequency of panic attacks and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.55) and between HAM-A scores and mesor calculated from double cosinor analysis of locomotor activity (r = 0.62).
Panic disorder patients with more panic attacks and more anxiety have greater objectively assessed locomotor activity, which may reflect the "restlessness" of anxiety disorders.
Many physical diseases have been reported to be associated with psychosocial factors. In these diseases, assessment relies mainly on subjective symptoms in natural settings. Therefore, it is important to assess symptoms and/or relationships between psychosocial factors and symptoms in natural settings. Symptoms are usually assessed by self-report when patients visit their doctors. However, self-report by recall has an intrinsic problem; "recall bias". Recently, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) has been proposed as a reliable method to assess and record events and subjective symptoms as well as physiological and behavioral variables in natural settings. Although EMA is a useful method to assess stress-related diseases, it has not been fully acknowledged, especially by clinicians. Therefore, the present brief review introduces the application and future direction of EMA for the assessment and intervention for stress-related diseases.
Mental or cognitive brain functions, and the effect on them of abnormal psychiatric diseases, are difficult to approach through molecular biological techniques due to the lack of appropriate assay systems with objective measures. We therefore study laws of behavioral organization, specifically how resting and active periods are interwoven throughout daily life, using objective criteria, and first discover that identical laws hold both for healthy humans subject to the full complexity of daily life, and wild-type mice subject to maximum environmental constraints. We find that active period durations with physical activity counts successively above a predefined threshold, when rescaled with individual means, follow a universal stretched exponential (gamma-type) cumulative distribution, while resting period durations below the threshold obey a universal power-law cumulative distribution with identical parameter values for both of the mammalian species. Further, by analyzing the behavioral organization of mice with a circadian clock gene (Period2) eliminated, and humans suffering from major depressive disorders, we find significantly lower parameter values (power-law scaling exponents) for the resting period durations in both these cases. Such a universality and breakdown of the behavioral organization of mice and humans, revealed through objective measures, is expected to facilitate the understanding of the molecular basis of the pathophysiology of neurobehavioral diseases, including depression, and lay the foundations for formulating a range of neuropsychiatric behavioral disorder models.
ppdb (http://www.ppdb.gene.nagoya-u.ac.jp) is a plant promoter database that provides promoter annotation of Arabidopsis and rice. The database contains information on promoter structures, transcription start sites (TSSs) that have been identified from full-length cDNA clones and also a vast amount of TSS tag data. In ppdb, the promoter structures are determined by sets of promoter elements identified by a position-sensitive extraction method called local distribution of short sequences (LDSS). By using this database, the core promoter structure, the presence of regulatory elements and the distribution of TSS clusters can be identified. Although no differentiation of promoter architecture among plant species has been reported, there is some divergence of utilized sequences for promoter elements. Therefore, ppdb is based on species-specific sets of promoter elements, rather than on general motifs for multiple species. Each regulatory sequence is hyperlinked to literary information, a PLACE entry served by a plant cis-element database, and a list of promoters containing the regulatory sequence.
Mammalian promoters are categorized into TATA and CpG-related groups, and they have complementary roles associated with differentiated transcriptional characteristics. While the TATA box is also found in plant promoters, it is not known if CpG-type promoters exist in plants. Plant promoters contain Y Patches (pyrimidine patches) in the core promoter region, and the ubiquity of these beyond higher plants is not understood as well. Sets of promoter sequences were utilized for the analysis of local distribution of short sequences (LDSS), and approximately one thousand octamer sequences have been identified as promoter constituents from Arabidopsis, rice, human and mouse, respectively. Based on their localization profiles, the identified octamer sequences were classified into several major groups, REG (Regulatory Element Group), TATA box, Inr (Initiator), Kozak, CpG and Y Patch. Comparison of the four species has revealed three categories: (i) shared groups found in both plants and mammals (TATA box), (ii) common groups found in both kingdoms but the utilized sequence is differentiated (REG, Inr and Kozak) and (iii) specific groups found in either plants or mammals (CpG and Y Patch). Our comparative LDSS analysis has identified conservation and differentiation of promoter architectures between higher plants and mammals.
Plant promoter architecture is important for understanding regulation and evolution of the promoters, but our current knowledge about plant promoter structure, especially with respect to the core promoter, is insufficient. Several promoter elements including TATA box, and several types of transcriptional regulatory elements have been found to show local distribution within promoters, and this feature has been successfully utilized for extraction of promoter constituents from human genome.
LDSS (Local Distribution of Short Sequences) profiles of short sequences along the plant promoter have been analyzed in silico, and hundreds of hexamer and octamer sequences have been identified as having localized distributions within promoters of Arabidopsis thaliana and rice. Based on their localization patterns, the identified sequences could be classified into three groups, pyrimidine patch (Y Patch), TATA box, and REG (Regulatory Element Group). Sequences of the TATA box group are consistent with the ones reported in previous studies. The REG group includes more than 200 sequences, and half of them correspond to known cis-elements. The other REG subgroups, together with about a hundred uncategorized sequences, are suggested to be novel cis-regulatory elements. Comparison of LDSS-positive sequences between Arabidopsis and rice has revealed moderate conservation of elements and common promoter architecture. In addition, a dimer motif named the YR Rule (C/T A/G) has been identified at the transcription start site (-1/+1). This rule also fits both Arabidopsis and rice promoters.
LDSS was successfully applied to plant genomes and hundreds of putative promoter elements have been extracted as LDSS-positive octamers. Identified promoter architecture of monocot and dicot are well conserved, but there are moderate variations in the utilized sequences.