During the transition from compensated hypertrophy to heart failure, the signaling between L-type Ca2+ channels (LCCs) in the cell membrane/T-tubules (TTs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs) in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) becomes defective, partially due to the decreased expression of a TT-SR anchoring protein, junctophilin-2 (JP2). MiR-24, a JP2 suppressing microRNA, is up-regulated in hypertrophied and failing cardiomyocytes.
To test whether miR-24 suppression can protect the structural and functional integrity of LCC-RyR signaling in hypertrophied cardiomyocytes.
Methods and Results
In vivo silencing of miR-24 by a specific antagomir in an aorta-constricted mouse model effectively prevented the degradation of heart contraction but not ventricular hypertrophy. Electrophysiology and confocal imaging studies showed that antagomir treatment prevented the decreases in LCC-RyR signaling fidelity/efficiency and whole-cell Ca2+ transients. Further studies showed that antagomir treatment stabilized JP2 expression and protected the ultrastructure of TT-SR junctions from disruption.
MiR-24 suppression prevented the transition from compensated hypertrophy to decompensated hypertrophy, providing a potential strategy for early treatment against heart failure.
Hypertrophy; remodeling heart failure; myocardial contraction; Ca2+ signaling; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Disrupted white matter integrity and abnormal cortical thickness are widely reported in the pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the relationship between alterations in white matter connectivity and cortical thickness in OCD is unclear. In addition, the heritability of this relationship is poorly understood. To investigate the relationship of white matter microstructure with cortical thickness, we measure fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter in 30 OCD patients, 19 unaffected siblings and 30 matched healthy controls. Then, we take those regions of significantly altered FA in OCD patients compared with healthy controls to perform fiber tracking. Next, we calculate the fiber quantity in the same tracts. Lastly, we compare cortical thickness in the target regions of those tracts. Patients with OCD exhibited decreased FA in cingulum, arcuate fibers near the superior parietal lobule, inferior longitudinal fasciculus near the right superior temporal gyrus and uncinate fasciculus. Siblings showed reduced FA in arcuate fibers near the superior parietal lobule and anterior limb of internal capsule. Significant reductions in both fiber quantities and cortical thickness in OCD patients and their unaffected siblings were also observed in the projected brain areas when using the arcuate fibers near the left superior parietal lobule as the starting points. Reduced FA in the left superior parietal lobule was observed not only in patients with OCD but also in their unaffected siblings. Originated from the superior parietal lobule, the number of fibers was also found to be decreased and the corresponding cortical regions were thinner relative to controls. The linkage between disrupted white matter integrity and the abnormal cortical thickness may be a vulnerability marker for OCD.
Plant natural products have been co-opted for millennia by humans for various uses such as flavor, fragrances, and medicines. These compounds often are only produced in relatively low amounts and are difficult to chemically synthesize, limiting access. While elucidation of the underlying biosynthetic processes might help alleviate these issues (e.g., via metabolic engineering), investigation of this is hindered by the low levels of relevant gene expression and expansion of the corresponding enzymatic gene families. However, the often-inducible nature of such metabolic processes enables selection of those genes whose expression pattern indicates a role in production of the targeted natural product.
Here, we combine metabolomics and transcriptomics to investigate the inducible biosynthesis of the bioactive diterpenoid tanshinones from the Chinese medicinal herb, Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen). Untargeted metabolomics investigation of elicited hairy root cultures indicated that tanshinone production was a dominant component of the metabolic response, increasing at later time points. A transcriptomic approach was applied to not only define a comprehensive transcriptome (comprised of 20,972 non-redundant genes), but also its response to induction, revealing 6,358 genes that exhibited differential expression, with significant enrichment for up-regulation of genes involved in stress, stimulus and immune response processes. Consistent with our metabolomics analysis, there appears to be a slower but more sustained increased in transcript levels of known genes from diterpenoid and, more specifically, tanshinone biosynthesis. Among the co-regulated genes were 70 transcription factors and 8 cytochromes P450, providing targets for future investigation.
Our results indicate a biphasic response of Danshen terpenoid metabolism to elicitation, with early induction of sesqui- and tri- terpenoid biosynthesis, followed by later and more sustained production of the diterpenoid tanshinones. Our data provides a firm foundation for further elucidation of tanshinone and other inducible natural product metabolism in Danshen.
End-of-life cancer patients commonly receive more than one type of strong opioid. The three-step analgesic ladder framework of the World Health Organisation (WHO) provides no guidance on multiple opioid prescribing and there is little epidemiological data available to inform practice. This study aims to investigate the time trend of such cases and the associated factors.
Strong opioid prescribing in the last three months of life of cancer patients were extracted from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD). The outcome variable was the number of different types of prescribed non-rescue doses of opioids (1 vs 2–4, referred to as a complex case). Associated factors were evaluated using prevalence ratios (PR) derived from multivariate log-binomial model, adjusting for clustering effects and potential confounding variables.
Overall, 26.4% (95% CI: 25.6–27.1%) of 13,427 cancer patients (lung 41.7%, colorectal 19.1%, breast 18.6%, prostate 15.5%, head and neck 5.0%) were complex cases. Complex cases increased steadily over the study period (1.02% annually, 95%CI: 0.42–1.61%, p = 0.048) but with a small dip (7.5% reduction, 95%CI: −0.03 to 17.8%) around the period of the Shipman case, a British primary care doctor who murdered his patients with opioids. The dip significantly affected the correlation of the complex cases with persistent increasing background opioid prescribing (weighted correlation coefficients pre-, post-Shipman periods: 0.98(95%CI: 0.67–1.00), p = 0.011; 0.14 (95%CI: −0.85 to 0.91), p = 0.85). Multivariate adjusted analysis showed that the complex cases were predominantly associated with year of death (PRs vs 2000: 1.05–1.65), not other demographic and clinical factors except colorectal cancer (PR vs lung cancer: 1.24, 95%CI: 1.12–1.37).
These findings suggest that prescribing behaviour, rather than patient factors, plays an important role in multiple opioid prescribing at the end of life; highlighting the need for training and education that goes beyond the well-recognised WHO approach for clinical practitioners.
In the present study, we used Caenorhabditis elegans assay system to investigate in vivo toxicity from clentuberol and ractopamine and the possible underlying mechanism. Both acute and prolonged exposures to clentuberol or ractopamine decreased brood size and locomotion behavior, and induced intestinal autofluorescence and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Although acute exposure to the examined concentrations of clentuberol or ractopamine did not induce lethality, prolonged exposure to 10 µg/L of clentuberol and ractopamine reduced lifespan. At relatively high concentrations, ractopamine exhibited more severe toxicity than clentuberol on nematodes. Overexpression of sod-2 gene encoding a Mn-SOD to prevent induction of oxidative stress effectively inhibited toxicity from clentuberol or ractopamine. Besides oxidative stress, we found that clentuberol might reduce lifespan through influencing insulin/IGF signaling pathway; however, ractopamine might reduce lifespan through affecting both insulin/IGF signaling pathway and TOR signaling pathway. Ractopamine more severely decreased expression levels of daf-16, sgk-1, skn-1, and aak-2 genes than clentuberol, and increased expression levels of daf-2 and age-1 genes at the examined concentration. Therefore, the C. elegans assay system may be useful for assessing the possible toxicity from weight loss agents, and clentuberol and ractopamine may induce toxicity through different molecular mechanisms.
Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is highly aggressive and is characterized by malignant metastasis. Approximately 90% of patients die due to extensive metastasis. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a natural barrier that can prevent cellular invasion and metastasis. Therefore, degradation of the ECM must take place in order for extensive metastasis to occur. A disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM) is a multi-domain protease that plays an important role in tumorigenesis, as well as tumor development, invasion and metastasis. However, there have been few reports on the expression and role of ADAMs in SCLC. In the current study, the expression and role of ADAMs in SCLC proliferation, invasion and metastasis was investigated. A total of 150 SCLC tissue samples were examined by immunohistochemistry for ADAMs expression. ADAM-12 was found to be abundantly expressed in 72.67% samples and other ADAMs were found to be expressed in 10% to 40% of samples. ADAM-12 levels in serum and urine, from 70 SCLC patients and 40 normal controls, were also measured using ELISA. ADAM-12 expression was significantly higher in SCLC patients than in healthy controls and in patients with extensive disease compared to those with more limited disease. Silencing the expression of ADAM-12 in H1688 cells through the use of specific siRNA significantly reduced cellular proliferation, invasion and metastasis. Supplementing the expression of ADAM-12-L or -S in H345 cells, significantly enhanced cellular proliferation, invasion and metastasis. Animal models with metastatic SCLC also exhibited increased expression of ADAM-12 along with enhanced invasion and metastasis. In brief, ADAM-12 is an independent prognostic factor and diagnostic marker, and is involved in the proliferation, invasion and metastasis of SCLC.
Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) strains often arise by mutations in the essential two-component regulator walKR; however their impact on walKR function has not been definitively established. Here, we investigated 10 MRSA strains recovered serially after exposure of vancomycin-susceptible S. aureus (VSSA) JKD6009 to simulated human vancomycin dosing regimens (500 mg to 4,000 mg every 12 h) using a 10-day hollow fiber infection model. After continued exposure to the vancomycin regimens, two isolates displayed reduced susceptibility to both vancomycin and daptomycin, developing independent IS256 insertions in the walKR 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR). Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) revealed a 50% reduction in walKR gene expression in the IS256 mutants compared to the VSSA parent. Green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter analysis, promoter mapping, and site-directed mutagenesis confirmed these findings and showed that the IS256 insertions had replaced two SigA-like walKR promoters with weaker, hybrid promoters. Removal of IS256 reverted the phenotype to VSSA, showing that reduced expression of WalKR did induce the VISA phenotype. Analysis of selected WalKR-regulated autolysins revealed upregulation of ssaA but no change in expression of sak and sceD in both IS256 mutants. Whole-genome sequencing of the two mutants revealed an additional IS256 insertion within agrC for one mutant, and we confirmed that this mutation abolished agr function. These data provide the first substantial analysis of walKR promoter function and show that prolonged vancomycin exposure can result in VISA through an IS256-mediated reduction in walKR expression; however, the mechanisms by which this occurs remain to be determined.
The integrated navigation system with strapdown inertial navigation system (SINS), Beidou (BD) receiver and Doppler velocity log (DVL) can be used in marine applications owing to the fact that the redundant and complementary information from different sensors can markedly improve the system accuracy. However, the existence of multisensor asynchrony will introduce errors into the system. In order to deal with the problem, conventionally the sampling interval is subdivided, which increases the computational complexity. In this paper, an innovative integrated navigation algorithm based on a Cubature Kalman filter (CKF) is proposed correspondingly. A nonlinear system model and observation model for the SINS/BD/DVL integrated system are established to more accurately describe the system. By taking multi-sensor asynchronization into account, a new sampling principle is proposed to make the best use of each sensor's information. Further, CKF is introduced in this new algorithm to enable the improvement of the filtering accuracy. The performance of this new algorithm has been examined through numerical simulations. The results have shown that the positional error can be effectively reduced with the new integrated navigation algorithm. Compared with the traditional algorithm based on EKF, the accuracy of the SINS/BD/DVL integrated navigation system is improved, making the proposed nonlinear integrated navigation algorithm feasible and efficient.
integrated navigation; Beidou; Cubature Kalman filter; asynchronous; information fusion
A common promoter polymorphism (rs35705950) in MUC5B, the gene encoding mucin 5B, is associated with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It is not known whether this polymorphism is associated with interstitial lung disease in the general population.
We performed a blinded assessment of interstitial lung abnormalities detected in 2633 participants in the Framingham Heart Study by means of volumetric chest computed tomography (CT). We evaluated the relationship between the abnormalities and the genotype at the rs35705950 locus.
Of the 2633 chest CT scans that were evaluated, interstitial lung abnormalities were present in 177 (7%). Participants with such abnormalities were more likely to have shortness of breath and chronic cough and reduced measures of total lung and diffusion capacity, as compared with participants without such abnormalities. After adjustment for covariates, for each copy of the minor rs35705950 allele, the odds of interstitial lung abnormalities were 2.8 times greater (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.0 to 3.9; P<0.001), and the odds of definite CT evidence of pulmonary fibrosis were 6.3 times greater (95% CI, 3.1 to 12.7; P<0.001). Although the evidence of an association between the MUC5B genotype and interstitial lung abnormalities was greater among participants who were older than 50 years of age, a history of cigarette smoking did not appear to influence the association.
The MUC5B promoter polymorphism was found to be associated with interstitial lung disease in the general population. Although this association was more apparent in older persons, it did not appear to be influenced by cigarette smoking. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00005121.)
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), the application of biventricular stimulation to correct discoordinate contraction, is the only heart failure treatment that enhances acute and chronic systolic function, increases cardiac work, and reduces mortality. Resting myocyte function also increases after CRT despite only modest improvement in calcium transients, suggesting that CRT may enhance myofilament calcium responsiveness. To test this hypothesis, we examined adult dogs subjected to tachypacing-induced heart failure for 6 weeks, concurrent with ventricular dyssynchrony (HFdys) or CRT. Myofilament force-calcium relationships were measured in skinned trabeculae and/or myocytes. Compared with control, maximal calcium-activated force and calcium sensitivity declined globally in HFdys; however, CRT restored both. Phosphatase PP1 induced calcium desensitization in control and CRT-treated cells, while HFdys cells were unaffected, implying that CRT enhances myofilament phosphorylation. Proteomics revealed phosphorylation sites on Z-disk and M-band proteins, which were predicted to be targets of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). We found that GSK-3β was deactivated in HFdys and reactivated by CRT. Mass spectrometry of myofilament proteins from HFdys animals incubated with GSK-3β confirmed GSK-3β–dependent phosphorylation at many of the same sites observed with CRT. GSK-3β restored calcium sensitivity in HFdys, but did not affect control or CRT cells. These data indicate that CRT improves calcium responsiveness of myofilaments following HFdys through GSK-3β reactivation, identifying a therapeutic approach to enhancing contractile function.
Previous studies have demonstrated the beneficial effect of statin loading prior to elective and early percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), in which the ‘pleiotropic effects’ of statins may contribute to these clinical benefits. The aim of the present study was to examine the potential effects of atorvastatin loading prior to primary PCI on coronary endothelial function and inflammatory factors in patients with acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). A total of 60 patients with STEMI were randomized into three groups: Loading dose (80 mg atorvastatin prior to PCI; n=20), regular dose (20 mg atorvastatin prior to PCI; n=20) and control (without atorvastatin prior to PCI; n=20). The plasma samples were collected prior to, and immediately, 6 and 24 h after PCI in all the patients. The plasma concentrations of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), nitric oxide (NO), interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) were examined using ELISA. The plasma eNOS levels immediately and 24 h after PCI were significantly higher in the regular dose group compared with the other groups. However, there were no significant differences in the plasma eNOS concentration prior to and 6 h after PCI, or in the plasma NO concentration at any of the time-points among the three groups. The plasma IL-6 levels prior to PCI were significantly lower in the loading dose group compared with the other groups; however, there were no significant differences in the plasma concentration of IL-6 following PCI or in the concentrations of TNF-α and ICAM-1 at any of the time-points among the three groups. In conclusion, atorvastatin loading in patients with STEMI undergoing primary PCI may not have protective effects on endothelial function and the inflammatory reaction.
ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction; primary percutaneous coronary intervention; atorvastatin; endothelial function; inflammatory reaction
Mesothelin is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored glycoprotein that is highly expressed on the cell surface of malignant mesothelioma. Monoclonal antibodies against mesothelin are being evaluated for the treatment of mesothelioma. Immunocytokines represent a novel class of armed antibodies. To provide an alternative approach to current mesothelin-targeted antibody therapies, we have developed a novel immunocytokine based on interleukin-12 (IL12) and the SS1 Fv specific for mesothelin. IL12 possesses potent anti-tumor activity in a wide variety of solid tumors. The newly-developed recombinant immunocytokine, IL12-SS1 (Fv), was produced in insect cells using a baculovirus-insect cell expression system. The SS1 single-chain Fv was fused to the C terminus of the p35 subunit of IL12 through a short linker (GSADGG). The single-chain IL12-SS1 (Fv) immunocytokine bound native mesothelin proteins on malignant mesothelioma (NCI-H226) and ovarian (OVCAR-3) cells as well as recombinant mesothelin on A431/H9 cells. The immunocytokine retained sufficient bioactivity of IL12 and significantly inhibited human malignant mesothelioma (NCI-H226) grown in the peritoneal cavity of nude mice and showed comparable anti-tumor activity to that of the SS1P immunotoxin. IL12-SS1 (Fv) is the first reported immunocytokine to mesothelin-positive tumors and may be an attractive addition to mesothelin-targeted cancer therapies.
The fruit of Schisandra chinensis has been used in the traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Accumulating evidence suggests that Schisandrin B (Sch B) has cardioprotection effect on myocardial ischemia in
vitro. However, it is unclear whether Sch B has beneficial effects on continuous myocardial ischemia in vivo. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether Sch B could improve cardiac function and attenuate myocardial remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI) in mice. Mice model of MI was established by permanent ligation of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery. Then the MI mice were randomly treated with Sch B or vehicle alone. After treatment for 3 weeks, Sch B could increase survival rate, improve heart function and decrease infarct size compared with vehicle. Moreover, Sch B could down-regulate some inflammatory cytokines, activate eNOS pathway, inhibit cell apoptosis, and enhance cell proliferation. Further in vitro study on H9c2 cells showed similar effects of Sch B on prevention of hypoxia-induced inflammation and cell apoptosis. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Sch B can reduce inflammation, inhibit apoptosis, and improve cardiac function after ischemic injury. It represents a potential novel therapeutic approach for treatment of ischemic heart disease.
The presence of fungi on liquorice could contaminate the crop and result in elevated levels of mycotoxin. In this study, the mycobiota associated with fresh and dry liquorice was investigated in 3 producing regions of China. Potential toxigenic fungi were tested for ochratoxin A (OTA) and aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) production using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry. Based on a polyphasic approach using morphological characters, β-tubulin and RNA polymerase II second largest subunit gene phylogeny, a total of 9 genera consisting of 22 fungal species were identified, including two new Penicillium species (Penicillium glycyrrhizacola sp. nov. and Penicillium xingjiangense sp. nov.). The similarity of fungal communities associated with fresh and dry liquorice was low. Nineteen species belonging to 8 genera were detected from fresh liquorice with populations affiliated with P. glycyrrhizacola, P. chrysogenum and Aspergillus insuetus comprising the majority (78.74%, 33.33% and 47.06% of total) of the community from Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang samples, respectively. In contrast, ten species belonging to 4 genera were detected from dry liquorice with populations affiliated with P. chrysogenum, P. crustosum and Aspergillus terreus comprising the majority (64.00%, 52.38% and 90.91% of total) of the community from Gansu, Ningxia and Xinjiang samples, respectively. Subsequent LC/MS/MS analysis indicated that 5 fungal species were able to synthesize OTA in vitro including P. chrysogenum, P. glycyrrhizacola, P. polonicum, Aspergillus ochraceus and A. westerdijkiae, the OTA concentration varied from 12.99 to 39.03 µg/kg. AFB1 was absent in all tested strains. These results demonstrate the presence of OTA producing fungi on fresh liquorice and suggest that these fungi could survive on dry liquorice after traditional sun drying. Penicillium chrysogenum derived from surrounding environments is likely to be a stable contributor to high OTA level in liquorice. The harvesting and processing procedure needs to be monitored in order to keep liquorice free of toxigenic fungi.
Advanced button mushroom cultivars that are less sensitive to mechanical bruising are required by the mushroom industry, where automated harvesting still cannot be used for the fresh mushroom market. The genetic variation in bruising sensitivity (BS) of Agaricus bisporus was studied through an incomplete set of diallel crosses to get insight in the heritability of BS and the combining ability of the parental lines used and, in this way, to estimate their breeding value. To this end nineteen homokaryotic lines recovered from wild strains and cultivars were inter-crossed in a diallel scheme. Fifty-one successful hybrids were grown under controlled conditions, and the BS of these hybrids was assessed. BS was shown to be a trait with a very high heritability. The results also showed that brown hybrids were generally less sensitive to bruising than white hybrids. The diallel scheme allowed to estimate the general combining ability (GCA) for each homokaryotic parental line and to estimate the specific combining ability (SCA) of each hybrid. The line with the lowest GCA is seen as the most attractive donor for improving resistance to bruising. The line gave rise to hybrids sensitive to bruising having the highest GCA value. The highest negative SCA possibly indicates heterosis effects for resistance to bruising. This study provides a foundation for estimating breeding value of parental lines to further study the genetic factors underlying bruising sensitivity and other quality-related traits, and to select potential parental lines for further heterosis breeding. The approach of studying combining ability in a diallel scheme was used for the first time in button mushroom breeding.
Multiple sclerosis is now more common among minority ethnic groups in the UK but little is known about their experiences, especially in advanced stages. We examine disease progression, symptoms and psychosocial concerns among Black Caribbean (BC) and White British (WB) people severely affected by MS.
Mixed methods study of 43 BC and 43 WB people with MS (PwMS) with an Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) ≥6 involving data from in clinical records, face-to-face structured interviews and a nested-qualitative component. Progression Index (PI) and Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) were calculated. To control for selection bias, propensity scores were derived for each patient and adjusted for in the comparative statistical analysis; qualitative data were analysed using the framework approach.
Median EDSS for both groups was (6.5; range: 6.0–9.0). Progression Index (PI) and Multiple Sclerosis Severity Score (MSSS) based on neurological assessment of current EDSS scores identified BC PwMS were more likely to have aggressive disease (PI F = 4.04, p = 0.048, MSSS F = 10.30, p<0.001). Patients’ reports of the time required to reach levels of functional decline equivalent to different EDSS levels varied by group; EDSS 4: BC 2.7 years v/s WB 10.2 years (U = 258.50, p = 0.013), EDSS 6∶6.1 years BC v/s WB 12.7 years (U = 535.500, p = 0.011), EDSS 8: BC 8.7 years v/s WB 10.2 years. Both groups reported high symptom burden. BC PwMS were more cognitively impaired than WB PwMS (F = 9.65, p = 0.003). Thematic analysis of qualitative interviews provides correspondence with quantitative findings; more BC than WB PwMS referred to feelings of extreme frustration and unresolved loss/confusion associated with their rapidly advancing disease. The interviews also reveal the centrality, meanings and impact of common MS-related symptoms.
Delays in diagnosis should be avoided and more frequent reviews may be justified by healthcare services. Culturally acceptable interventions to better support people who perceive MS as an assault on identity should be developed to help them achieve normalisation and enhance self-identity.
A systematic study was conducted on round spermatids (ROS) injection (ROSI) using the goat model. After ROSI, the oocytes were treated or not with ionomycin (ROSI+I and ROSI−I, respectively) and compared with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). After ROSI−I, most oocytes were arrested with premature chromatin condensation and few oocytes formed pronuclei. In contrast, most oocytes formed pronuclei after ROSI+I. Some ROS were observed to form asters that organized a dense microtubule network after ROSI+I, but after ROSI−I, no ROS asters were observed. Whereas most of the oocytes showed Ca2+ rises and a significant decline in maturation-promoting factor (MPF) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activities after ROSI+I, no such changes were observed after ROSI−I. Due to the lack of Ca2+ oscillations after ROSI−I, oocytes were injected with more ROS. Interestingly, different from the results observed in a single ROS injection, injection with four ROS effectively activated oocytes by inducing typical Ca2+ oscillations. Whereas ROSI+I oocytes and ICSI oocytes both showed extensive microtubule networks, no such a network was observed in parthenogenetic oocytes. Together, the results suggest that goat ROS is not able to trigger intracellular Ca2+ rises and thus to inhibit MPF and MAPK activities, but artificial activation improved fertilization and development of ROSI goat oocytes. Goat ROS can organize functional microtubular asters in activated oocytes. A ROS-derived factor(s) may be essential for organization of a functional microtubule network to unite pronuclei. Goat centrosome is of paternal origin because both ROS and sperm asters organized an extensive microtubule network after intra-oocyte injection.
A ratio of the vancomycin area under the concentration-time curve to the MIC (AUC/MIC) of ≥400 has been associated with clinical success when treating Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia, and this target was recommended by recently published vancomycin therapeutic monitoring consensus guidelines for treating all serious S. aureus infections. Here, vancomycin serum trough levels and vancomycin AUC/MIC were evaluated in a “real-world” context by following a cohort of 182 patients with S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) and analyzing these parameters within the critical first 96 h of vancomycin therapy. The median vancomycin trough level at this time point was 19.5 mg/liter. There was a significant difference in vancomycin AUC/MIC when using broth microdilution (BMD) compared with Etest MIC (medians of 436.1 and 271.5, respectively; P < 0.001). Obtaining the recommended vancomycin target AUC/MIC of ≥400 using BMD was not associated with lower 30-day all-cause or attributable mortality from SAB (P = 0.132 and P = 0.273, respectively). However, an alternative vancomycin AUC/MIC of >373, derived using classification and regression tree analysis, was associated with reduced mortality (P = 0.043) and remained significant in a multivariable model. This study demonstrated that we obtained vancomycin trough levels in the target therapeutic range early during the course of therapy and that obtaining a higher vancomycin AUC/MIC (in this case, >373) within 96 h was associated with reduced mortality. The MIC test method has a significant impact on vancomycin AUC/MIC estimation. Clinicians should be aware that the current target AUC/MIC of ≥400 was derived using the reference BMD method, so adjustments to this target need to be made when calculating AUC/MIC ratio using other MIC testing methods.
Early diagnosis and knowledge of infarct size is critical for the management of acute myocardial infarction (MI). We evaluated whether early elevated plasma level of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is useful for these purposes in patients with ST‐elevation MI (STEMI).
Methods and Results
We first studied MIF level in plasma and the myocardium in mice and determined infarct size. MI for 15 or 60 minutes resulted in 2.5‐fold increase over control values in plasma MIF levels while MIF content in the ischemic myocardium reduced by 50% and plasma MIF levels correlated with myocardium‐at‐risk and infarct size at both time‐points (P<0.01). In patients with STEMI, we obtained admission plasma samples and measured MIF, conventional troponins (TnI, TnT), high sensitive TnI (hsTnI), creatine kinase (CK), CK‐MB, and myoglobin. Infarct size was assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging. Patients with chronic stable angina and healthy volunteers were studied as controls. Of 374 STEMI patients, 68% had elevated admission MIF levels above the highest value in healthy controls (>41.6 ng/mL), a proportion similar to hsTnI (75%) and TnI (50%), but greater than other biomarkers studied (20% to 31%, all P<0.05 versus MIF). Only admission MIF levels correlated with CMR‐derived infarct size, ventricular volumes and ejection fraction (n=42, r=0.46 to 0.77, all P<0.01) at 3 day and 3 months post‐MI.
Plasma MIF levels are elevated in a high proportion of STEMI patients at the first obtainable sample and these levels are predictive of final infarct size and the extent of cardiac remodeling.
infarct size; macrophage migration inhibitory factor; myocardial infarction
In the myocardium, redox/cysteine modification of proteins regulating Ca2+ cycling can affect contraction and may have therapeutic value. Nitroxyl (HNO), the one electron reduced form of nitric oxide, enhances cardiac function in a manner that suggests reversible cysteine modifications of the contractile machinery.
To determine the effects of HNO modification in cardiac myofilament proteins.
Methods and Results
The HNO-donor, 1-nitrosocyclohexyl acetate (NCA), was found to act directly on the myofilament proteins increasing maximum force (Fmax) and reducing the concentration of Ca2+ for 50% activation (Ca50) in intact and skinned cardiac muscles. The effects of NCA are reversible by reducing agents and distinct from those of another HNO-donor Angeli’s salt (AS), which was previously reported to increase Fmax without affecting Ca50. Using a new mass spectrometry capture technique based on the biotin switch assay, we identified and characterized the formation by HNO of a disulfide linked actin-tropomyosin and myosin heavy chain (MHC)-myosin light chain 1 (MLC1). Comparison of the NCA and AS effects with the modifications induced by each donor indicated the actin-tropomyosin and MHC-MLC1 interactions independently correlated with increased Ca2+ sensitivity and force generation, respectively.
HNO exerts a direct effect on cardiac myofilament proteins increasing myofilament Ca2+ responsiveness by promoting disulfide bond formation between critical cysteine residues. These findings indicate a novel, redox-based modulation of the contractile apparatus which positively impacts myocardial function, providing further mechanistic insight for HNO as a therapeutic agent.
contractility; nitroxyl; redox-switch; oxidation; calcium; oxidant signalling; redox
Severe shortage of liver donors and hepatocytes highlights urgent requirement of extra-liver and stem cell source of hepatocytes for treating liver-related diseases. Here we hypothesized that spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) can directly transdifferentiate to hepatic stem-like cells capable of differentiating into mature hepatocyte-like cells in vitro without an intervening pluripotent state.
SSCs first changed into hepatic stem-like cells since they resembled hepatic oval cells in morphology and expressed Ck8, Ck18, Ck7, Ck19, OV6, and albumin. Importantly, they co-expressed CK8 and CK19 but not ES cell markers. Hepatic stem-like cells derived from SSCs could differentiate into small hepatocytes based upon their morphological features and expression of numerous hepatic cell markers but lacking of bile epithelial cell hallmarks. Small hepatocytes were further coaxed to differentiate into mature hepatocyte-like cells, as identified by their morphological traits and strong expression of Ck8, Ck18, Cyp7a1, Hnf3b, Alb, Tat, Ttr, albumin, and CYP1A2 but not Ck7 or CK19. Notably, these differentiated cells acquired functional attributes of hepatocyte-like cells because they secreted albumin, synthesized urea, and uptake and released indocyanine green. Moreover, phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Smad2/3 rather than Akt was activated in hepatic stem cells and mature hepatocytes. Additionally, cyclin A, cyclin B and cyclin E transcripts and proteins but not cyclin D1 or CDK1 and CDK2 transcripts or proteins were reduced in mature hepatocyte-like cells or hepatic stem-like cells derived from SSCs compared to SSCs.
SSCs can transdifferentiate to hepatic stem-like cells capable of differentiating into cells with morphological, phenotypic and functional characteristics of mature hepatocytes via the activation of ERK1/2 and Smad2/3 signaling pathways and the inactivation of cyclin A, cyclin B and cyclin E. This study thus provides an invaluable source of mature hepatocytes for treating liver-related diseases and drug toxicity screening and offers novel insights into mechanisms of liver development and cell reprogramming.
Spermatogonial stem cells; Direct transdifferentiation; Hepatic stem cells; Mature hepatocytes; Morphology and phenotype; Function; ERK1/2 and Smad2/3 signaling pathways
Immune cell adaptor protein ADAP (adhesion and degranulation-promoting adaptor protein) mediates aspects of T-cell adhesion and proliferation. Despite this, a connection between ADAP and infection by the HIV-1 (human immunodeficiency virus-1) has not been explored.
In this paper, we show for the first time that ADAP and its binding to SLP-76 (SH2 domain-containing leukocyte protein of 76 kDa) regulate HIV-1 infection via two distinct mechanisms and co-receptors. siRNA down-regulation of ADAP, or expression of a mutant that is defective in associating to its binding partner SLP-76 (termed M12), inhibited the propagation of HIV-1 in T-cell lines and primary human T-cells. In one step, ADAP and its binding to SLP-76 were needed for the activation of NF-κB and its transcription of the HIV-1 long terminal repeat (LTR) in cooperation with ligation of co-receptor CD28, but not LFA-1. In a second step, the ADAP-SLP-76 module cooperated with LFA-1 to regulate conjugate formation between T-cells and dendritic cells or other T-cells as well as the development of the virological synapse (VS) and viral spread between immune cells.
These findings indicate that ADAP regulates two steps of HIV-1 infection cooperatively with two distinct receptors, and as such, serves as a new potential target in the blockade of HIV-1 infection.
ADAP; HIV-1 transcription; HIV-1 transmission; Integrin; Virological synapse
Failing cardiomyocytes exhibit decreased efficiency of excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling. The down-regulation of junctophilin-2 (JP2), a protein anchoring the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) to T-tubules (TTs), has been identified as a major mechanism underlying the defective E-C coupling. However, the regulatory mechanism of JP2 remains unknown.
To determine whether microRNAs regulate JP2 expression.
Methods and Results
Bioinformatic analysis predicted two potential binding sites of miR-24 in the 3′-untranslated regions of JP2 mRNA. Luciferase assays confirmed that miR-24 suppressed JP2 expression by binding to either of these sites. In the aortic stenosis model, miR-24 was up-regulated in failing cardiomyocytes. Adenovirus-directed over-expression of miR-24 in cardiomyocytes decreased JP2 expression and reduced Ca2+ transient amplitude and E-C coupling gain.
MiR-24-mediated suppression of JP2 expression provides a novel molecular mechanism for E-C coupling regulation in heart cells, and suggests a new target against heart failure.
myocardial contractility; excitation-contraction coupling; heart failure; calcium signaling; heart failure
Recently, an increasing body of evidence suggests that developmental abnormalities related to schizophrenia may occur as early as the neonatal stage. Impairments of brain gray matter and wiring problems of axonal fibers are commonly suspected to be responsible for the disconnection hypothesis in schizophrenia adults, but significantly less is known in neonates. In this study, we investigated 26 neonates who were at genetic risk for schizophrenia and 26 demographically matched healthy neonates using both morphological and white matter networks to examine possible brain connectivity abnormalities. The results showed that both populations exhibited small-world network topology. Morphological network analysis indicated that the brain structural associations of the high-risk neonates tended to have globally lower efficiency, longer connection distance, and less number of hub nodes and edges with relatively higher betweenness. Subgroup analysis showed that male neonates were significantly disease-affected, while the female neonates were not. White matter network analysis, however, showed that the fiber networks were globally unaffected, although several subcortical-cortical connections had significantly less number of fibers in high-risk neonates. This study provides new evidences in support of the disconnection hypothesis, reinforcing the notion that the genetic risk of schizophrenia induces alterations in both gray matter structural associations and white matter connectivity.
High genetic risk; newborn infant; diffusion tensor imaging; schizophrenia; brain development; network analysis
Isolating high-affinity antibodies against native tumor antigens on the cell surface is not straightforward using standard hybridoma procedures. Here, we describe a combination method of synthetic peptide immunization and high-throughput flow cytometry screening to efficiently isolate hybridomas for cell binding. Using this method, we identified high-affinity monoclonal antibodies specific for the native form of glypcian-3 (GPC3), a target heterogeneously expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and other cancers. We isolated a panel of monoclonal antibodies (YP6, YP7, YP8, YP9 and YP9.1) for cell surface binding. The antibodies were used to characterize GPC3 protein expression in human liver cancer cell lines and tissues by flow cytometry, immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. The best antibody (YP7) bound cell surface-associated GPC3 with equilibrium dissociation constant, KD = 0.3 nmol/L and was highly specific for HCC, not normal tissues or other forms of primary liver cancers (such as cholangiocarcinoma). Interestingly, the new antibody was highly sensitive in that it detected GPC3 in low expression ovarian clear cell carcinoma and melanoma cells. The YP7 antibody exhibited significant HCC xenograft tumor growth inhibition in nude mice. These results describe an improved method for producing high-affinity monoclonal antibodies to cell surface tumor antigens and represent a general approach to isolate therapeutic antibodies against cancer. The new high-affinity antibodies described here have significant potential for GPC3-expressing cancer diagnostics and therapy.
cell-surface glycoproteins; flow cytometry; heparan sulfate proteoglycans; hepatocellular carcinoma; high-throughput screening; hybridoma technology; peptide immunization