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1.  Hemoglobin A2 Lowered by Iron Deficiency and α-Thalassemia: Should Screening Recommendation for β-Thalassemia Change? 
ISRN Hematology  2013;2013:858294.
Screening for β-thalassemia trait (BTT) relies on measuring hemoglobin (Hb) A2. Since multiple factors can affect HbA2 levels, the screening can become unreliable. In 1356 healthy Arabs enrolled into a federally funded premarital BTT screening program, the effects of iron deficiency (ID), α+-thalassemia trait, gender, smoking, and tribalism on HbA2 were studied. The complete blood count and hemoglobin fractions were determined on the entire cohort; serum ferritin (<15 μg/L) in 391 subjects was used to determine ID. BTT was present in 29 (2.1%) subjects (HbA2 > 3.5%). Among 77(20.3%) subjects with ID, the mean HbA2 (2.30 ± 0.23%) was 0.2% lower than in subjects without iron deficiency (2.50 ± 0.24%, P < 0.0001). In 65 (38%)/172 subjects with phenotypic α+-thalassemia trait, the mean HbA2 (2.43 ± 0.24%) was 0.13% lower than in subjects without α+-thalassemia trait, P < 0.0001. The mean HbA2 did not differ between males and females, smokers and nonsmokers, and between the tribes. Thus, 35 (2.6%) subjects with HbA2 between 3.2 and 3.5% were at a risk of false negative diagnosis of BTT. Since iron deficiency and α+-thalassemia are both common and both lower HbA2, modifications in screening recommendations for BTT are proposed.
PMCID: PMC3610360  PMID: 23577263
2.  Bioenergetic study of murine hepatic tissue treated in vitro with atorvastatin 
Atorvastatin (a 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme-A reductase inhibitor) is a widely used cholesterol-lowering drug, which is recognized for its potential hepatotoxicity. This study investigated in vitro effects of this agent on hepatic tissue respiration, ATP content, caspase activity, urea synthesis and histology. Liver fragments from Taylor Outbred and C57Bl/6 mice were incubated at 37°C in Krebs-Henseleit buffer continuously gassed with 95% O2: 5% CO2 in the presence and absence of atorvastatin. Phosphorescence O2 analyzer that measured dissolved [O2] as a function of time was used to monitor cellular mitochondrial O2 consumption. The caspase-3 substrate N-acetyl-asp-glu-val-asp-7-amino-4-methylcoumarin was used to monitor caspase activity. The rates of hepatocyte respiration (μM O2 min-1 mg-1) in untreated samples were 0.15 ± 0.07 (n = 31). The corresponding rates for samples treated with 50 nM (therapeutic concentration), 150 nM or 1.0 μM atorvastatin for ≤13 h were 0.13 ± 0.05 (n = 19), p = 0.521. The contents of hepatocyte ATP (pmol-1 mg-1) in untreated samples were 40.3 ± 14.0 and in samples treated with 1.0 μM atorvastatin for ≤4.5 h were 48.7 ± 23.9 (p = 0.7754). The concentrations of urea (mg/dL mg-1, produced over 50 min) for untreated samples were 0.061 ± 0.020 (n = 6) and for samples treated with 1.0 μM atorvastatin for ≤6 h were 0.072 ± 0.022 (n = 6), p = 0.3866. Steadily, hepatocyte caspase activity and histology were unaffected by treatments with up to 1.0 μM atorvastatin for ≤6 h. Thus, the studied murine model showed preserved hepatocyte function and structure in the presence of high concentrations of atorvastatin.
PMCID: PMC3602108  PMID: 23448291
Statins; Mitochondria; Respiration; Caspases; Apoptosis
3.  A preparation of murine liver fragments for in vitro studies: liver preparation for toxicological studies 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:70.
The aim of this study was to develop liver tissue preparation suitable for investigating toxins. Hepatocyte respiration, ATP content, urea synthesis, caspase activity and morphology were measured as a function of in vitro incubation time. Mice were anesthetized by sevoflurane inhalation. Small liver fragments were then rapidly excised and incubated at 37°C in Krebs-Henseleit buffer (continuously gassed with 95% O2: 5% CO2) for up to 6 h. Phosphorescence O2 analyzer was used to determine the rate of cellular mitochondrial O2 consumption (kc, μM O2 min-1 mg-1). Cellular ATP was measured using the luciferin/luciferase system. The caspase-3 substrate N-acetyl-asp-glu-val-asp-7-amino-4-methylcoumarin (Ac-DEVD-AMC) was used to monitor intracellular caspase activity; cleaved AMC moieties (reflecting caspase activity) were separated on HPLC and detected by fluorescence.
Respiration was inhibited by cyanide, confirming the oxidation occurred in the respiratory chain. The values of kc (mean ± SD) for 0≤ t ≤6 h were 0.15 ± 0.02 μM O2 min-1 mg-1 (n = 18, coefficient of variation, CV = 13%), ATP content 131 ± 69 pmol mg-1 (1≤ t ≤6 h, n = 16, CV = 53%), synthesized urea 0.134 ± 0.017 mg/dL mg-1 in 50 min (0≤ t ≤6 h, n = 14, CV = 13%), and AMC peak area 62,540 ± 26,227 arbitrary units mg-1 (1≤ t ≤6 h, n = 3, CV = 42%). Hepatocyte morphology and organelles were reasonably persevered.
The described liver tissue preparation demonstrates stable hepatocyte structure, ultrastructure and biomarkers for up to 6 h, permitting in vitro studies.
PMCID: PMC3598918  PMID: 23442607
In vitro; Cytotoxicity; Apoptosis; Liver; Mice; Cellular respiration; Bioenergetics; Caspases
4.  Gender Disparities in the Presentation, Management and Outcomes of Acute Coronary Syndrome Patients: Data from the 2nd Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events (Gulf RACE-2) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55508.
Gender-related differences in mortality of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) have been reported. The extent and causes of these differences in the Middle-East are poorly understood. We studied to what extent difference in outcome, specifically 1-year mortality are attributable to demographic, baseline clinical differences at presentation, and management differences between female and male patients.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Baseline characteristics, treatment patterns, and 1-year mortality of 7390 ACS patients in 65 hospitals in 6 Arabian Gulf countries were evaluated during 2008–2009, as part of the 2nd Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events (Gulf RACE-2). Women were older (61.3±11.8 vs. 55.6±12.4; P<0.001), more overweight (BMI: 28.1±6.6 vs. 26.7±5.1; P<0.001), and more likely to have a history of hypertension, hyperlipidemia or diabetes. Fewer women than men received angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), aspirin, clopidogrel, beta blockers or statins at discharge. They also underwent fewer invasive procedures including angiography (27.0% vs. 34.0%; P<0.001), percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (10.5% vs. 15.6%; P<0.001) and reperfusion therapy (6.9% vs. 20.2%; P<0.001) than men. Women were at higher unadjusted risk for in-hospital death (6.8% vs. 4.0%, P<0.001) and heart failure (HF) (18% vs. 11.8%, P<0.001). Both 1-month and 1-year mortality rates were higher in women than men (11% vs. 7.4% and 17.3% vs. 11.4%, respectively, P<0.001). Both baseline and management differences contributed to a worse outcome in women. Together these variables explained almost all mortality disparities.
Differences between genders in mortality appeared to be largely explained by differences in prognostic variables and management patterns. However, the origin of the latter differences need further study.
PMCID: PMC3566183  PMID: 23405162
5.  Characteristics and in-hospital outcomes of patients with acute coronary syndromes and heart failure in the United Arab Emirates 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:534.
Heart failure (HF) is a serious complication of acute coronary syndromes (ACS), and is associated with high in-hospital mortality and poor long-term survival. The aims of this study were to describe the clinical characteristics, management and in-hospital outcomes of coronary syndrome (ACS) patients with HF in the United Arab Emirates.
The study was selected from the Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events (Gulf RACE), a prospective multi-national, multicenter registry of patients hospitalized with ACS in six Middle East countries. The present analysis was focused on participants admitted to various hospitals in the UAE with a diagnosis of ACS in 2007 and were analyzed in terms of HF (Killip class II/III and IV) on admission. Of 1691 patients (mean age: 52.6 ± 11.7 years; 210 Females, 1481 Males) with ACS, 356 (21%) had an admission diagnosis of HF (Killip class II/III and IV). HF patients were less frequently males (19.2% vs. 34.3%; P < 0.001). HF was more frequently associated with hypertension (64.3% vs. 43.9%; P < 0.001), hyperlipidemia (49.4% vs. 31.8%; P < 0.001) and diabetes mellitus (DM) (51.1% vs. 36.2%; P < 0.001). HF was significantly associated with in-hospital mortality (OR = 11.821; 95% CI: 5.385-25.948; P < 0.001). In multivariate logistic regression, age, hyperlipidemia, heart rate and DM were associated with higher in-hospital HF.
HF is observed in about 1 in 5 patients with ACS in the UAE and is associated with a significant increase in in-hospital mortality and other adverse outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3527184  PMID: 23014157
Heart failure; Acute coronary syndrome; United Arab Emirates
6.  Characteristics, Management, and In-Hospital Outcomes of Diabetic Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome in the United Arab Emirates 
The Scientific World Journal  2012;2012:698597.
We describe the baseline characteristics, management, and in-hospital outcomes of patients in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with DM admitted with an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and assess the influence of DM on in-hospital mortality. Data was analyzed from 1697 patients admitted to various hospitals in the UAE with a diagnosis of ACS in 2007 as part of the 1st Gulf RACE (Registry of Acute Coronary Events). Of 1697 patients enrolled, 668 (39.4%) were diabetics. Compared to patients without DM, diabetic patients were more likely to have a past history of coronary artery disease (49.1% versus 30.1%, P < 0.001), hypertension (67.2% versus 36%, P < 0.001), and prior revascularization (21% versus 11.4%, P < 0.001). They experienced more in-hospital recurrent ischemia (8.5% versus 5.1%; P = 0.004) and heart failure (20% versus 10%; P < 0.001). The mortality rate was 2.7% for diabetics and 1.6% for nondiabetics (P = 0.105). After age adjustment, in-hospital mortality increased by 3.5% per year of age (P = 0.016). This mortality was significantly higher in females than in males (P = 0.04). ACS patients with DM have different clinical characteristics and appear to have poorer outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3385598  PMID: 22778703
7.  Prevalence, Characteristics, and In-Hospital Outcomes of Metabolic Syndrome among Patients with Acute Coronary Syndrome in the United Arab Emirates 
To evaluate clinical profiles, management and in-hospital outcomes of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients with metabolic syndrome (MetS) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
MetS was defined according to the criteria for its diagnosis by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (AHA/NHLBI). Participants were admitted to various hospitals in the UAE with a diagnosis of ACS in 2007 as part of the Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events (Gulf RACE) project. We compared baseline characteristics, treatment patterns, and in-hospital outcomes stratified by MetS status.
Of 1259 patients with ACS in the UAE (mean age: 52 ± 11 years, 88.8% males), the majority (n = 851, 67.6%) had MetS. MetS patients were more frequently males (86.4 vs 13.6%; P < 0.001). They were more obese (waist circumference and BMI, P < 0.001) as compared with non-MetS patients. MetS was more frequently associated with hypertension (51.1 vs 37.7%; P < 0.001) and diabetes mellitus (45.6 vs 24.3%; P < 0.001). After multivariate adjustment, certain MetS criteria rather than MetS itself were associated with higher in-hospital mortality and heart failure. Paradoxically, hypertension was associated with lower in-hospital mortality.
Prevalence of MetS among patients with ACS in our study population was high. Certain MetS criteria were associated with higher in-hospital mortality and heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3414714  PMID: 22888374
acute coronary syndrome; Gulf Registry of Acute Coronary Events; metabolic syndrome; Middle East; obesity; United Arab Emirates.
8.  Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Muraymycin Analogues Active against Anti-Drug-Resistant Bacteria 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2010;1(6):258-262.
Muraymycin analogues with a lipophilic substituent were synthesized using an Ugi four-component assemblage. This approach provides ready access to a range of analogues simply by altering the aldehyde component. The impact of the lipophilic substituent on the antibacterial activity was very large, and analogues 7b−e and 8b−e exhibited good activity against a range of Gram-positive bacterial pathogens including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium. This study also showed that the accessory urea-dipeptide motif contributes to MraY inhibitory and antibacterial activity. The knowledge obtained from our structure−activity relationship study of muraymycins provides further direction toward the design of potent MraY inhibitors. This study has set the stage for the generation of novel antibacterial “lead” compounds based on muraymycins.
PMCID: PMC4007965  PMID: 24900205
Antibiotics; drug resistance; MraY; muraymycin; peptidoglycan; Ugi four-component reaction
9.  Glycemic indices of five varieties of dates in healthy and diabetic subjects 
Nutrition Journal  2011;10:59.
This study was designed to determine the glycemic indices of five commonly used varieties of dates in healthy subjects and their effects on postprandial glucose excursions in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Composition analysis was carried out for five types of dates (Tamer stage). The weights of the flesh of the dates equivalent to 50 g of available carbohydrates were calculated. The study subjects were thirteen healthy volunteers with a mean (± SD) age of 40.2 ± 6.7 years and ten participants with type 2 diabetes mellitus (controlled on lifestyle measures and/or metformin) with a mean HbA1c (± SD) of 6.6 ± (0.7%) and a mean age (± SD) of 40.8 ± 5.7 years. Each subject was tested on eight separate days with 50 g of glucose (on 3 occasions) and 50 g equivalent of available carbohydrates from the 5 varieties of date (each on one occasion). Capillary glucose was measured in the healthy subjects at 0, 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min and for the diabetics at 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150 and 180 min. The glycemic indices were determined as ratios of the incremental areas under the response curves for the dates compared to glucose. Statistical analyses were performed using the Mann-Whitney U test and repeated measures analysis of variance.
Mean glycemic indices ± SEM of the dates for the healthy individuals were 54.0 ± 6.1, 53.5 ± 8.6, 46.3 ± 7.1, 49.1 ± 3.6 and 55.1 ± 7.7 for Fara'd, Lulu, Bo ma'an, Dabbas and Khalas, respectively. Corresponding values for those with type 2 diabetes were very similar (46.1 ± 6.2, 43.8 ± 7.7, 51.8 ± 6.9, 50.2 ± 3.9 and 53.0 ± 6.0). There were no statistically significant differences in the GIs between the control and the diabetic groups for the five types of dates, nor were there statistically significant differences among the dates' GIs (df = 4, F = 0.365, p = 0.83).
The results show low glycemic indices for the five types of dates included in the study and that their consumption by diabetic individuals does not result in significant postprandial glucose excursions. These findings point to the potential benefits of dates for diabetic subjects when used in a healthy balanced diet.
Trial Registration Number NCT01307904
PMCID: PMC3112406  PMID: 21619670
10.  Purification and Characterization of the Bacterial UDP-GlcNAc:Undecaprenyl-Phosphate GlcNAc-1-Phosphate Transferase WecA▿  
Journal of Bacteriology  2008;190(21):7141-7146.
To date, the structural and functional characterization of proteins belonging to the polyprenyl-phosphate N-acetylhexosamine-1-phosphate transferase superfamily has been relentlessly held back by problems encountered with their overexpression and purification. In the present work and for the first time, the integral membrane protein WecA that catalyzes the transfer of the GlcNAc-1-phosphate moiety from UDP-GlcNAc onto the carrier lipid undecaprenyl phosphate, yielding undecaprenyl-pyrophosphoryl-GlcNAc, the lipid intermediate involved in the synthesis of various bacterial cell envelope components, was overproduced and purified to near homogeneity in milligram quantities. An enzymatic assay was developed, and the kinetic parameters of WecA as well as the effects of pH, salts, cations, detergents, and temperature on the enzyme activity were determined. A minimal length of 35 carbons was required for the lipid substrate, and tunicamycin was shown to inhibit the enzyme at submicromolar concentrations.
PMCID: PMC2580700  PMID: 18723618

Results 1-10 (10)