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1.  Novel Interventional Approaches for ALI/ARDS: Cell-Based Gene Therapy 
Mediators of Inflammation  2011;2011:560194.
Acute lung injury (ALI) and its more severe form, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), continue to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. The present therapeutic strategies for ALI/ARDS including supportive care, pharmacological treatments, and ventilator support are still controversial. More scientists are focusing on therapies involving stem cells, which have self-renewing capabilities and differentiate into multiple cell lineages, and, genomics therapy which has the potential to upregulate expression of anti-inflammatory mediators. Recently, the combination of cell and gene therapy which has been demonstrated to provide additive benefit has opened up a new chapter in therapeutic strategy and provides a basis for the development of an innovative approach for the prevention and treatment of ALI/ARDS.
PMCID: PMC3139183  PMID: 21785528
2.  Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Microvesicles for Treatment of E.coli Endotoxin-Induced Acute Lung Injury in Mice 
Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio)  2014;32(1):116-125.
We previously found that human mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) or its conditioned medium restored lung protein permeability and reduced alveolar inflammation following E.coli endotoxin-induced acute lung injury (ALI) in an ex vivo perfused human lung in part through the secretion of soluble factors such as keratinocyte growth factor (KGF). Recently, MSC were found to release microvesicles (MV) that were biologically active because of the presence of mRNA or miRNA with reparative properties. MVs are circular fragments of membrane released from the endosomal compartment as exosomes or shed from the surface membranes. The current studies were designed to determine if MVs released by human bone marrow derived MSCs would be effective in restoring lung protein permeability and reducing inflammation in E.coli endotoxin-induced ALI in C57BL/6 mice. The intra-tracheal instillation of MVs improved several indices of ALI at 48 h. Compared to endotoxin-injured mice, MVs reduced extravascular lung water by 43% and reduced total protein levels in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid by 35%, demonstrating a reduction in pulmonary edema and lung protein permeability. MVs also reduced the influx of neutrophils and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 levels in the BAL fluid by 73% and 49% respectively, demonstrating a reduction in inflammation. KGF siRNA-pretreatment of MSC partially eliminated the therapeutic effects of MVs released by MSCs, suggesting that KGF protein expression was important for the underlying mechanism. In summary, human MSC derived microvesicles were therapeutically effective following E.coli endotoxin-induced ALI in mice in part through the expression of KGF mRNA in the injured alveolus.
PMCID: PMC3947321  PMID: 23939814
Acute Lung injury; Keratinocyte growth factor; Lipopolysaccharide; Mesenchymal stem cell; Microvesicles
3.  Adult Stem Cells for Acute Lung Injury: Remaining Questions & Concerns 
Respirology (Carlton, Vic.)  2013;18(5):744-756.
Acute lung injury (ALI) or acute respiratory distress syndrome remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hospitalized patients. The pathophysiology of ALI involves complex interactions between the inciting event, such as pneumonia, sepsis or aspiration, and the host immune response resulting in lung protein permeability, impaired resolution of pulmonary edema, an intense inflammatory response in the injured alveolus and hypoxemia. In multiple pre-clinical studies, adult stem cells have been shown to be therapeutic due to both the ability to mitigate injury and inflammation through paracrine mechanisms and perhaps to regenerate tissue by virtue of their multi-potency. These characteristics have stimulated intensive research efforts to explore the possibility of using stem or progenitor cells for the treatment of lung injury. A variety of stem or progenitor cells have been isolated, characterized, and tested experimentally in pre-clinical animal models of ALI. However, questions remain concerning the optimal dose, route and the adult stem or progenitor cell to use. Here, we review current mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effect of stem cells in ALI as well as the questions that will arise as clinical trials for ALI are planned.
PMCID: PMC3690944  PMID: 23578018
Acute lung injury; cell-based therapy; endothelial progenitor cells; mesenchymal stem cells; paracrine soluble factors
4.  Probiotics' effects on the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia in critically ill patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
Critical Care  2012;16(3):R109.
To evaluate the efficacy of probiotics in preventing nosocomial pneumonia in critically ill patients.
We searched PubMed, EMBASE, and the Web of Science for relevant studies. Two reviewers extracted data and reviewed the quality of the studies independently. The primary outcome was the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia. Study-level data were pooled using a random-effects model when I2 was > 50% or a fixed-effects model when I2 was < 50%.
Twelve randomized controlled studies with a total of 1,546 patients were considered. Pooled analysis showed a statistically significant reduction in nosocomial pneumonia rates due to probiotics (odd ratio [OR]= 0.75, 95% CI 0.57 to 0.97, P = 0.03, I2 = 46%). However, no statistically significant difference was found between groups regarding in-hospital mortality (OR = 0.93, 95% CI 0.50 to 1.74, P = 0.82, I2 = 51%), intensive care unit mortality (OR = 0.84, 95% CI 0.55 to 1.29, P = 0.43, I2 = 0%), duration of stay in the hospital (mean difference [MD] in days = -0.13, 95% CI -0.93 to 0.67, P = 0.75, I2 = 46%), or duration of stay in the intensive care units (MD = -0.72, 95% CI -1.73 to 0.29, P = 0.16, I2 = 68%).
The use of probiotics was associated with a statistically significant reduction in the incidence of nosocomial pneumonia in critically ill patients. However, large, well-designed, randomized, multi-center trials are needed to confirm any effects of probiotics clinical endpoints such as mortality and length of ICU and hospital stay.
PMCID: PMC3580667  PMID: 22731894
5.  Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor variants associated with susceptibility to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a meta-analysis 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):158.
Only 10-15% of smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) which indicates genetic susceptibility to the disease. Recent studies suggested an association between COPD and polymorphisms in CHRNA coding subunits of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Herein, we performed a meta-analysis to clarify the impact of CHRNA variants on COPD.
We searched Web of Knowledge and Medline from 1990 through June 2011 for COPD gene studies reporting variants on CHRNA. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) were calculated using the major allele or genotype as reference group.
Among seven reported variants in CHRNA, rs1051730 was finally analyzed with sufficient studies. Totally 3460 COPD and 11437 controls from 7 individual studies were pooled-analyzed. A-allele of rs1051730 was associated with an increased risk of COPD regardless of smoking exposure (pooled OR = 1.26, 95% CI 1.18-1.34, p < 10-5). At the genotypic level, the ORs gradually increased per A-allele (OR = 1.27 and 1.50 for GA and AA respectively, p < 10-5). Besides, AA genotype exhibited an association with reduced FEV1% predicted (mean difference 3.51%, 95%CI 0.87-6.16%, p = 0.009) and increased risk of emphysema (OR 1.93, 95%CI 1.29-2.90, p = 0.001).
Our findings suggest that rs1051730 in CHRNA is a susceptibility variant for COPD, in terms of both airway obstruction and parenchyma destruction.
PMCID: PMC3283485  PMID: 22176972
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Nicotine acetylcholine receptor (nAChR); CHRNA -; ; Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)
6.  Pleural fluid soluble triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1 as a marker of bacterial infection: a meta-analysis 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:280.
Pleural infection is a common clinical problem. Its successful treatment depends on rapid diagnosis and early initiation of antibiotics. The measurement of soluble triggering receptor expressed in myeloid cells-1 (sTREM-1) level in pleural effusions has proven to be a valuable diagnostic tool for differentiating bacterial effusions from effusions of other etiologies. Herein, we performed a meta-analysis to assess the accuracy of pleural fluid sTREM-1 in the diagnosis of bacterial infection.
We searched Web of Knowledge and Medline from 1990 through March 2011 for studies reporting diagnostic accuracy data regarding the use of sTREM-1 in the diagnosis of bacterial pleural effusions. Pooled sensitivity and specificity and summary measures of accuracy and Q* were calculated.
Overall, the sensitivity of sTREM-1was 78% (95% CI: 72%-83%); the specificity was 84% (95% CI: 80%-87%); the positive likelihood ratio was 6.0 (95% CI: 3.3-10.7); and the negative likelihood ratio was 0.22 (95% CI: 0.12-0.40). The area under the SROC curve for sTREM-1 was 0.92. Statistical heterogeneity and inconsistency were found for sensitivity (p = 0.015, χ2 = 15.73, I2 = 61.9%), specificity (p = 0.000, χ2 = 29.90, I2 = 79.9%), positive likelihood ratio (p = 0.000, χ2 = 33.09, I2 = 81.9%), negative likelihood ratio (p = 0.008, χ2 = 17.25, I2 = 65.2%), and diagnostic odds ratio (p = 0.000, χ2 = 28.49, I2 = 78.9%). A meta-regression analysis performed showed that the Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies score (p = 0.3245; RDOR, 4.34; 95% CI, 0.11 to 164.01), the Standards for Reporting of Diagnostic Accuracy score (p = 0.3331; RDOR, 1.70; 95% CI, 0.44 to 6.52), lack of blinding (p = 0.7439; RDOR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.01 to 33.80), and whether the studies were prospective or retrospective studies (p = 0.2068; RDOR, 7.44; 95% CI, 0.18 to 301.17) did not affect the test accuracy. A funnel plot for publication bias suggested a remarkable trend of publication bias.
Our findings suggest that sTREM-1 has a good diagnostic accuracy and may provide a useful adjunctive tool for the diagnosis of bacterial pleural effusions. However, further studies are needed in order to identify any differences in the diagnostic performance of sTREM-1 of parapneumonic effusions and empyemas.
PMCID: PMC3209451  PMID: 22014385

Results 1-6 (6)