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1.  Determination of Split Renal Function Using Dynamic CT-Angiography: Preliminary Results 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91774.
Objectives
To determine the feasibility of a dynamic CT angiography-protocol with regard to simultaneous assessment of renal anatomy and function.
Methods
7 healthy potential kidney donors (58±7 years) underwent a dynamic computed tomography angiography (CTA) using a 128-slice CT-scanner with continuous bi-directional table movement, allowing the coverage of a scan range of 18 cm within 1.75 sec. Twelve scans of the kidneys (n = 14) were acquired every 3.5 seconds with the aim to simultaneously obtain CTA and renal function data. Image quality was assessed quantitatively (HU-measurements) and qualitatively (grade 1–4, 1 = best). The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) was calculated by a modified Patlak method and compared with the split renal function obtained with renal scintigraphy.
Results
Mean maximum attenuation was 464±58 HU, 435±48 HU and 277±29 HU in the aorta, renal arteries, and renal veins, respectively. The abdominal aorta and all renal vessels were depicted excellently (grade 1.0). The image quality score for cortex differentiation was 1.6±0.49, for the renal parenchyma 2.4±0.49. GFR obtained from dynamic CTA correlated well with renal scintigraphy with a correlation coefficient of r = 0.84; P = 0.0002 (n = 14). The average absolute deviation was 1.6 mL/min. The average effective dose was 8.96 mSv.
Conclusion
Comprehensive assessment of renal anatomy and function is feasible using a single dynamic CT angiography examination. The proposed protocol may help to improve management in case of asymmetric kidney function as well as to simplify evaluation of potential living kidney donors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091774
PMCID: PMC3950217  PMID: 24618919
2.  Respiratory-Gated MRgHIFU in Upper Abdomen Using an MR-Compatible In-Bore Digital Camera 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:421726.
Objective. To demonstrate the technical feasibility and the potential interest of using a digital optical camera inside the MR magnet bore for monitoring the breathing cycle and subsequently gating the PRFS MR thermometry, MR-ARFI measurement, and MRgHIFU sonication in the upper abdomen. Materials and Methods. A digital camera was reengineered to remove its magnetic parts and was further equipped with a 7 m long USB cable. The system was electromagnetically shielded and operated inside the bore of a closed 3T clinical scanner. Suitable triggers were generated based on real-time motion analysis of the images produced by the camera (resolution 640 × 480 pixels, 30 fps). Respiratory-gated MR-ARFI prepared MRgHIFU ablation was performed in the kidney and liver of two sheep in vivo, under general anaesthesia and ventilator-driven forced breathing. Results. The optical device demonstrated very good MR compatibility. The current setup permitted the acquisition of motion artefact-free and high resolution MR 2D ARFI and multiplanar interleaved PRFS thermometry (average SNR 30 in liver and 56 in kidney). Microscopic histology indicated precise focal lesions with sharply delineated margins following the respiratory-gated HIFU sonications. Conclusion. The proof-of-concept for respiratory motion management in MRgHIFU using an in-bore digital camera has been validated in vivo.
doi:10.1155/2014/421726
PMCID: PMC3925565  PMID: 24716196
3.  An experimental model to investigate the targeting accuracy of MR-guided focused ultrasound ablation in liver 
Background
Magnetic Resonance-guided High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (MRgHIFU) is a hybrid technology that aims to offer non-invasive thermal ablation of targeted tumors or other pathological tissues. Acoustic aberrations and non-linear wave propagating effects may shift the focal point significantly away from the prescribed (or, theoretical) position. It is therefore mandatory to evaluate the spatial accuracy of ablation for a given HIFU protocol and/or device. We describe here a method for producing a user-defined ballistic target as an absolute reference marker for MRgHIFU ablations.
Methods
The investigated method is based on trapping a mixture of MR contrast agent and histology stain using radiofrequency (RF) ablation causing cell death and coagulation. A dedicated RF-electrode was used for the marker fixation as follows: a RF coagulation (4 W, 15 seconds) and injection of the mixture followed by a second RF coagulation. As a result, the contrast agent/stain is encapsulated in the intercellular space. Ultrasonography imaging was performed during the procedure, while high resolution T1w 3D VIBE MR acquisition was used right after to identify the position of the ballistic marker and hence the target tissue. For some cases, after the marker fixation procedure, HIFU volumetric ablations were produced by a phased-array HIFU platform. First ex vivo experiments were followed by in vivo investigation on four rabbits in thigh muscle and six pigs in liver, with follow-up at Day 7.
Results
At the end of the procedure, no ultrasound indication of the marker’s presence could be observed, while it was clearly visible under MR and could be conveniently used to prescribe the HIFU ablation, centered on the so-created target. The marker was identified at Day 7 after treatment, immediately after animal sacrifice, after 3 weeks of post-mortem formalin fixation and during histology analysis. Its size ranged between 2.5 and 4 mm.
Conclusions
Experimental validation of this new ballistic marker method was performed for liver MRgHIFU ablation, free of any side effects (e.g. no edema around the marker, no infection, no bleeding). The study suggests that the absolute reference marker had ultrasound conspicuity below the detection threshold, was irreversible, MR-compatible and MR-detectable, while also being a well-established histology staining technique.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-12-12
PMCID: PMC3901025  PMID: 24433332
MR guided HIFU; Ballistic marker; Tracer encapsulation; Targeting; Pre-clinical quality assurance
4.  Detection and quantification of focal uptake in head and neck tumours: 18F-FDG PET/MR versus PET/CT 
Purpose
Our objectives were to assess the quality of PET images and coregistered anatomic images obtained with PET/MR, to evaluate the detection of focal uptake and SUV, and to compare these findings with those of PET/CT in patients with head and neck tumours.
Methods
The study group comprised 32 consecutive patients with malignant head and neck tumours who underwent whole-body 18F-FDG PET/MR and PET/CT. PET images were reconstructed using the attenuation correction sequence for PET/MR and CT for PET/CT. Two experienced observers evaluated the anonymized data. They evaluated image and fusion quality, lesion conspicuity, anatomic location, number and size of categorized (benign versus assumed malignant) lesions with focal uptake. Region of interest (ROI) analysis was performed to determine SUVs of lesions and organs for both modalities. Statistical analysis considered data clustering due to multiple lesions per patient.
Results
PET/MR coregistration and image fusion was feasible in all patients. The analysis included 66 malignant lesions (tumours, metastatic lymph nodes and distant metastases), 136 benign lesions and 470 organ ROIs. There was no statistically significant difference between PET/MR and PET/CT regarding rating scores for image quality, fusion quality, lesion conspicuity or anatomic location, number of detected lesions and number of patients with and without malignant lesions. A high correlation was observed for SUVmean and SUVmax measured on PET/MR and PET/CT for malignant lesions, benign lesions and organs (ρ = 0.787 to 0.877, p < 0.001). SUVmean and SUVmax measured on PET/MR were significantly lower than on PET/CT for malignant tumours, metastatic neck nodes, benign lesions, bone marrow, and liver (p < 0.05). The main factor affecting the difference between SUVs in malignant lesions was tumour size (p < 0.01).
Conclusion
In patients with head and neck tumours, PET/MR showed equivalent performance to PET/CT in terms of qualitative results. Comparison of SUVs revealed an excellent correlation for measurements on both modalities, but underestimation of SUVs measured on PET/MR as compared to PET/CT.
doi:10.1007/s00259-013-2580-y
PMCID: PMC3913851  PMID: 24108458
PET/MR; PET/CT; Hybrid imaging; Head and neck tumours; SUV
5.  N-acetylcysteine does not prevent contrast nephropathy in patients with renal impairment undergoing emergency CT: a randomized study 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:119.
Background
Patients admitted to the emergency room with renal impairment and undergoing a contrast computed tomography (CT) are at high risk of developing contrast nephropathy as emergency precludes sufficient hydration prior to contrast use. The value of an ultra-high dose of intravenous N-acetylcysteine in this setting is unknown.
Methods
From 2008 to 2010, we randomized 120 consecutive patients admitted to the emergency room with an estimated clearance lower than 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 by MDRD (mean GFR 42 ml/min/1.73 m2) to either placebo or 6000 mg N-acetylcysteine iv one hour before contrast CT in addition to iv saline. Serum cystatin C and creatinine were measured one hour prior to and at day 2, 4 and 10 after contrast injection. Nephrotoxicity was defined either as 25% or 44 μmol/l increase in serum creatinine or cystatin C levels compared to baseline values.
Results
Contrast nephrotoxicity occurred in 22% of patients who received placebo (13/58) and 27% of patients who received N-acetylcysteine (14/52, p = 0.66). Ultra-high dose intravenous N-acetylcysteine did not alter creatinine or cystatin C levels. No secondary effects were noted within the 2 groups during follow-up.
Conclusions
An ultra-high dose of intravenous N-acetylcysteine is ineffective at preventing nephrotoxicity in patients with renal impairment undergoing emergency contrast CT.
Trial registration
The study was registered as Clinical trial (NCT01467154).
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-14-119
PMCID: PMC3682900  PMID: 23731573
Computerized Tomography; Contrast media; Emergency medicine; N-acetylcysteine; Nephrotoxicity
6.  Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy for In Vivo Diagnosis of Clostridium difficile Associated Colitis — A Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58753.
Background
Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) is one of the most dreaded causes of hospital-acquired diarrhea. Main objective was to investigate whether confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) has the capability for in vivo diagnosis of C. difficile associated histological changes. Second objective was to prove the presence of intramucosal bacteria using CLE.
Methods
80 patients were prospectively included, 10 patients were diagnosed with CDI based on toxigenic culture. To validate the presence of intramucosal bacteria ex vivo, CLE was performed in pure C. difficile culture; additionally fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was performed. Finally, CLE with fluorescence labelled oligonucleotide probe specific for C. difficile was performed ex vivo in order to prove the presence of bacteria.
Results
CLE identified CDI-associated histological changes in vivo (sensitivity and accuracy of 88.9% and 96.3%). In addition, intramucosal bacteria were visualized. The presence of these bacteria could be proven by CLE with labeled, specific molecular C. difficile probe and FISH-technique. Based on comparison between CLE and FISH analyses, sensitivity and specificity for the presence of intramucosal bacteria were 100%.
Conclusion
CLE has the potential for in vivo diagnosis of CDI associated colitis. In addition, CLE allowed the detection of intramucosal bacteria in vivo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058753
PMCID: PMC3602426  PMID: 23527018
7.  Tumor fibroblast–derived epiregulin promotes growth of colitis-associated neoplasms through ERK 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(4):1428-1443.
Molecular mechanisms specific to colitis-associated cancers have been poorly characterized. Using comparative whole-genome expression profiling, we observed differential expression of epiregulin (EREG) in mouse models of colitis-associated, but not sporadic, colorectal cancer. Similarly, EREG expression was significantly upregulated in cohorts of patients with colitis-associated cancer. Furthermore, tumor-associated fibroblasts were identified as a major source of EREG in colitis-associated neoplasms. Functional studies showed that Ereg-deficient mice, although more prone to colitis, were strongly protected from colitis-associated tumors. Serial endoscopic studies revealed that EREG promoted tumor growth rather than initiation. Additionally, we demonstrated that fibroblast-derived EREG requires ERK activation to induce proliferation of intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) and tumor development in vivo. To demonstrate the functional relevance of EREG-producing tumor-associated fibroblasts, we developed a novel system for adoptive transfer of these cells via mini-endoscopic local injection. It was found that transfer of EREG-producing, but not Ereg-deficient, fibroblasts from tumors significantly augmented growth of colitis-associated neoplasms in vivo. In conclusion, our data indicate that EREG and tumor-associated fibroblasts play a crucial role in controlling tumor growth in colitis-associated neoplasms.
doi:10.1172/JCI63748
PMCID: PMC3613905  PMID: 23549083
8.  Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Transplantation in Patients with Decompensated Alcoholic Liver Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e53719.
Objective
Impaired liver regeneration is associated with a poor outcome in patients with decompensated alcoholic liver disease (ALD). We assessed whether autologous bone marrow mononuclear cell transplantation (BMMCT) improved liver function in decompensated ALD.
Design
58 patients (mean age 54 yrs; mean MELD score 19, all with cirrhosis, 81% with alcoholic steatohepatitis at baseline liver biopsy) were randomized early after hospital admission to standard medical therapy (SMT) alone (n = 30), including steroids in patients with a Maddrey’s score ≥32, or combined with G-CSF injections and autologous BMMCT into the hepatic artery (n = 28). Bone marrow cells were harvested, isolated and reinfused the same day. The primary endpoint was a ≥3 points decrease in the MELD score at 3 months, corresponding to a clinically relevant improvement in liver function. Liver biopsy was repeated at week 4 to assess changes in Ki67+/CK7+ hepatic progenitor cells (HPC) compartment.
Results
Both study groups were comparable at baseline. After 3 months, 2 and 4 patients died in the BMMCT and SMT groups, respectively. Adverse events were equally distributed between groups. Moderate alcohol relapse occurred in 31% of patients. The MELD score improved in parallel in both groups during follow-up with 18 patients (64%) from the BMMCT group and 18 patients (53%) from the SMT group reaching the primary endpoint (p = 0.43 (OR 1.6, CI 0.49–5.4) in an intention to treat analysis. Comparing liver biopsy at 4 weeks to baseline, steatosis improved (p<0.001), and proliferating HPC tended to decrease in both groups (−35 and −33%, respectively).
Conclusion
Autologous BMMCT, compared to SMT is a safe procedure but did not result in an expanded HPC compartment or improved liver function. These data suggest either insufficient regenerative stimulation after BMMCT or resistance to liver regenerative drive in patients with decompensated alcoholic cirrhosis.
Trial Registration
Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN83972743.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053719
PMCID: PMC3544843  PMID: 23341981
9.  SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging as an adjunct to coronary calcium score for the detection of hemodynamically significant coronary artery stenosis 
Background
Coronary artery calcifications (CAC) are markers of coronary atherosclerosis, but do not correlate well with stenosis severity. This study intended to evaluate clinical situations where a combined approach of coronary calcium scoring (CS) and nuclear stress test (SPECT-MPI) is useful for the detection of relevant CAD.
Methods
Patients with clinical indication for invasive coronary angiography (ICA) were included into our study during 08/2005-09/2008. At first all patients underwent CS procedure as part of the study protocol performed by either using a multidetector computed tomography (CT) scanner or a dual-source CT imager. CAC were automatically defined by dedicated software and the Agatston score was semi-automatically calculated. A stress-rest SPECT-MPI study was performed afterwards and scintigraphic images were evaluated quantitatively. Then all patients underwent ICA. Thereby significant CAD was defined as luminal stenosis ≥75% in quantitative coronary analysis (QCA) in ≥1 epicardial vessel. To compare data lacking Gaussian distribution an unpaired Wilcoxon-Test (Mann–Whitney) was used. Otherwise a Students t-test for unpaired samples was applied. Calculations were considered to be significant at a p-value of <0.05.
Results
We consecutively included 351 symptomatic patients (mean age: 61.2±12.3 years; range: 18–94 years; male: n=240) with a mean Agatston score of 258.5±512.2 (range: 0–4214). ICA verified exclusion of significant CAD in 66/67 (98.5%) patients without CAC. CAC was detected in remaining 284 patients. In 132/284 patients (46.5%) with CS>0 significant CAD was confirmed by ICA, and excluded in 152/284 (53.5%) patients. Sensitivity for CAD detection by CS alone was calculated as 99.2%, specificity was 30.3%, and negative predictive value was 98.5%. An additional SPECT in patients with CS>0 increased specificity to 80.9% while reducing sensitivity to 87.9%. Diagnostic accuracy was 84.2%.
Conclusions
In patients without CS=0 significant CAD can be excluded with a high negative predictive value by CS alone. An additional SPECT-MPI in those patients with CS>0 leads to a high diagnostic accuracy for the detection of CAD while reducing the number of patients needing invasive diagnostic procedure.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-116
PMCID: PMC3527199  PMID: 23206557
Computed tomography coronary calcium scoring; Single photon emission computed tomography myocardial perfusion imaging; Invasive coronary angiography; Coronary artery disease
10.  Evaluation of a handheld creatinine measurement device for real-time determination of serum creatinine in radiology departments 
World Journal of Radiology  2012;4(7):328-334.
AIM: To assess the feasibility/accuracy of a commercial handheld device in the context of increased demand for point-of-care serum creatinine (SCr) determination.
METHODS: In this institutional review board-approved, prospective study, 401 patients referred for contrast-enhanced computed tomography were included at two centres. Capillary (c)SCr was determined using two devices A+B and venous (v)SCr was determined in the centre’s laboratory. Method comparison statistics for both centres and for vSCr<>1.2 mg/dL, receiver operating characteristic analysis, negative predictive values (NPV), sensitivity and specificity were calculated pre-/post-curve offset correction with vSCr.
RESULTS: Pearson’s coefficients for cSCr vs vSCr were: centre 1-A:0.93/B:0.92; centre 2-A:0.85/B:0.82 (all P < 0.0001). Overall correlation was better for vSCr > 1.2 mg/dL. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curves showed a high accuracy for cSCr, but the device underestimated SCr, which was confirmed by Bland-Altman plot. Addition of the offset correction factor to the original data from centre 1 resulted in an improvement in sensitivity for detecting patients at risk (> 1.2 mg/dL), whilst maintaining acceptable specificity and improving NPV.
CONCLUSION: This study showed the feasibility of SCr determination using the evaluated handheld device in a routine clinical setting. The device showed high sensitivity and high NPV, but may significantly underestimate SCr without offset correction to local laboratories.
doi:10.4329/wjr.v4.i7.328
PMCID: PMC3419870  PMID: 22900135
Contrast-medium-induced nephropathy; Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis; Point of care testing; Serum creatinine determination; StatSensor
11.  Colovesical fistula causing an uncommon reason for failure of computed tomography colonography: a case report 
Introduction
Computed tomography colonography, or virtual colonoscopy, is a good alternative to optical colonoscopy. However, suboptimal patient preparation or colon distension may reduce the diagnostic accuracy of this imaging technique.
Case presentation
We report the case of an 83-year-old Caucasian woman who presented with a five-month history of pneumaturia and fecaluria and an acute episode of macrohematuria, leading to a high clinical suspicion of a colovesical fistula. The fistula was confirmed by standard contrast-enhanced computed tomography. Optical colonoscopy was performed to exclude the presence of an underlying colonic neoplasm. Since optical colonoscopy was incomplete, computed tomography colonography was performed, but also failed due to inadequate colon distension. The insufflated air directly accumulated within the bladder via the large fistula.
Conclusions
Clinicians should consider colovesical fistula as a potential reason for computed tomography colonography failure.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-214
PMCID: PMC3423059  PMID: 22823906
12.  Caspase-8 regulates TNF-alpha induced epithelial necroptosis and terminal ileitis 
Nature  2011;477(7364):335-339.
Dysfunction of the intestinal epithelium is believed to result in excessive translocation of commensal bacteria into the bowel wall that drives chronic mucosal inflammation in Crohn's disease; an incurable inflammatory bowel disease in humans characterized by inflammation of the terminal ileum1. Beside the physical barrier established by the tight contact of cells, specialized epithelial cells such as Paneth cells and goblet cells provide innate immune defence functions by secreting mucus and antimicrobial peptides which hamper access and survival of bacteria adjacent to the epithelium2. Epithelial cell death is a hallmark of intestinal inflammation and has been discussed as a pathogenic mechanism driving Crohn's disease (CD) in humans3. However, the regulation of epithelial cell death and its role in intestinal homeostasis remains poorly understood.
Here we demonstrate a critical role for caspase-8 in regulating necroptosis of intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) and terminal ileitis. Mice with a conditional deletion of caspase-8 in the intestinal epithelium (Casp8ΔIEC) spontaneously developed inflammatory lesions in the terminal ileum and were highly susceptible to colitis. Casp8ΔIEC mice lacked Paneth cells and showed reduced numbers of goblet cells suggesting dysregulated anti-microbial immune cell functions of the intestinal epithelium. Casp8ΔIEC mice showed increased cell death in the Paneth cell area of small intestinal crypts. Epithelial cell death was induced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF) -α, was associated with increased expression of receptor-interacting protein 3 (RIP3) and could be inhibited upon blockade of necroptosis. Finally, we identified high levels of RIP3 in human Paneth cells and increased necroptosis in the terminal ileum of patients with Crohn's disease, suggesting a potential role of necroptosis in the pathogenesis of this disease. Taken together, our data demonstrate a critical function of caspase-8 in regulating intestinal homeostasis and in protecting IEC from TNF-α induced necroptotic cell death.
doi:10.1038/nature10400
PMCID: PMC3373730  PMID: 21921917
13.  Pancreatic magnetic resonance imaging after manganese injection distinguishes type 2 diabetic and normoglycemic patients 
Islets  2012;4(3):243-248.
A non-invasive method to image the mass and/or function of human pancreatic islets is needed to monitor the progression of diabetes, and the effect of therapeutic interventions. As yet, no method is available for this purpose, which could be applied to in situ human islets. Animal and in vitro studies have documented that manganese infusion could improve the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the endocrine pancreas. Here, we have tested whether a similar approach could discriminate diabetic and non-diabetic patients. In vitro, human isolated islets readily incorporated manganese. In vivo, 243 manganese-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MEMRI) examinations were reviewed, including 41 examinations which were run on 24 patients with type 2 diabetes and 202 examinations which were run on 119 normoglycemic patients. The results show that MEMRI discriminates type 2 diabetics from non-diabetic patients, based on the signal enhancement of pancreas.
doi:10.4161/isl.20857
PMCID: PMC3442822  PMID: 22722479
MEMRI; MRI; diabetes; imaging; manganese
14.  Lack of Intestinal Epithelial Atg7 Affects Paneth Cell Granule Formation but Does Not Compromise Immune Homeostasis in the Gut 
Genetic polymorphisms of autophagy-related genes have been associated with an increased risk to develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Autophagy is an elementary process participating in several cellular events such as cellular clearance and nonapoptotic programmed cell death. Furthermore, autophagy may be involved in intestinal immune homeostasis due to its participation in the digestion of intracellular pathogens and in antigen presentation. In the present study, the role of autophagy in the intestinal epithelial layer was investigated. The intestinal epithelium is essential to maintain gut homeostasis, and defects within this barrier have been associated with the pathogenesis of IBD. Therefore, mice with intestinal epithelial deletion of Atg7 were generated and investigated in different mouse models. Knockout mice showed reduced size of granules and decreased levels of lysozyme in Paneth cells. However, this was dispensable for gut immune homeostasis and had no effect on susceptibility in mouse models of experimentally induced colitis.
doi:10.1155/2012/278059
PMCID: PMC3265132  PMID: 22291845
15.  VEGF receptor signaling links inflammation and tumorigenesis in colitis-associated cancer 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(13):2855-2868.
Inflammation drives expression of VEGFR2, which is expressed on and drives growth of tumor cells in colitis-associated cancer.
Whereas the inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has shown promising results in sporadic colon cancer, the role of VEGF signaling in colitis-associated cancer (CAC) has not been addressed. We found that, unlike sporadic colorectal cancer and control patients, patients with CAC show activated VEGFR2 on intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). We then explored the function of VEGFR2 in a murine model of colitis-associated colon cancer characterized by increased VEGFR2 expression. Epithelial cells in tumor tissue expressed VEGFR2 and responded to VEGF stimulation with augmented VEGFR2-mediated proliferation. Blockade of VEGF function via soluble decoy receptors suppressed tumor development, inhibited tumor angiogenesis, and blocked tumor cell proliferation. Functional studies revealed that chronic inflammation leads to an up-regulation of VEGFR2 on IECs. Studies in conditional STAT3 mutant mice showed that VEGFR signaling requires STAT3 to promote epithelial cell proliferation and tumor growth in vivo. Thus, VEGFR-signaling acts as a direct growth factor for tumor cells in CAC, providing a molecular link between inflammation and the development of colon cancer.
doi:10.1084/jem.20100438
PMCID: PMC3005238  PMID: 21098094
16.  Critical role of the disintegrin metalloprotease ADAM17 for intestinal inflammation and regeneration in mice 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2010;207(8):1617-1624.
The protease a disintegrin and metalloprotease (ADAM) 17 cleaves tumor necrosis factor (TNF), L-selectin, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) ligands from the plasma membrane. ADAM17 is expressed in most tissues and is up-regulated during inflammation and cancer. ADAM17-deficient mice are not viable. Conditional ADAM17 knockout models demonstrated proinflammatory activities of ADAM17 in septic shock via shedding of TNF. We used a novel gene targeting strategy to generate mice with dramatically reduced ADAM17 levels in all tissues. The resulting mice called ADAM17ex/ex were viable, showed compromised shedding of ADAM17 substrates from the cell surface, and developed eye, heart, and skin defects as a consequence of impaired EGF-R signaling caused by failure of shedding of EGF-R ligands. Unexpectedly, although the intestine of unchallenged homozygous ADAM17ex/ex mice was normal, ADAM17ex/ex mice showed substantially increased susceptibility to inflammation in dextran sulfate sodium colitis. This was a result of impaired shedding of EGF-R ligands resulting in failure to phosphorylate STAT3 via the EGF-R and, consequently, in defective regeneration of epithelial cells and breakdown of the intestinal barrier. Besides regulating the systemic availability of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF, our results demonstrate that ADAM17 is needed for vital regenerative activities during the immune response. Thus, our mouse model will help investigate ADAM17 as a potential drug target.
doi:10.1084/jem.20092366
PMCID: PMC2916135  PMID: 20603312
17.  The T‐box transcription factor eomesodermin controls CD8 T cell activity and lymph node metastasis in human colorectal cancer 
Gut  2007;56(11):1572-1578.
Background/aims
An efficient cytolytic T cell function is essential for immune mediated rejection of colorectal cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms driving T cell mediated cancer rejection are still poorly understood. Here, we assessed the relevance of the T‐box transcription factor eomesodermin in colorectal cancer.
Methods/results
By analysing tissue probes from 88 different colorectal tumours, a significant (p<0.02) inverse correlation between eomesodermin expression in colorectal cancers and the presence of lymph node metastases could be shown, whereas no such correlation was noted for the master transcription factor of regulatory T cells, FoxP3 and CD8alpha expression. To evaluate whether this effect might be due to effects of eomesodermin on tumour infiltrating CD8 T cells, we subsequently analysed the regulated expression and function of this transcription factor in human T cells. Whereas overexpression of this factor induced perforin but not granzyme expression, siRNA mediated suppression of eomesodermin expression led to significantly reduced IFN‐γ production, perforin levels and cytolytic activity of CD8 T cells. Furthermore, TGF‐β and IL4 could be identified as important inducer of eomesodermin expression.
Conclusion
These data define for the first time a regulatory role of eomesodermin for CD8 T cell activity in humans. Our findings are consistent with a model in which eomesodermin expression in tumour infiltrating T cells regulates cytolytic functions of CD8 T cells via perforin expression. These data provide novel insights into control mechanisms governing the functional activity of human CD8 T lymphocytes via T‐box transcription factors in cancer.
doi:10.1136/gut.2006.117812
PMCID: PMC2095672  PMID: 17566017
cytokines; eomesodermin; colorectal cancer
18.  Computed tomography of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum in adults: a pictorial review 
Insights into Imaging  2010;1(2):53-61.
Objective
To show various CT aspects of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum in adult patients to facilitate the preoperative diagnosis of this rare pathology in emergency settings.
Methods
A computer search of medical records over a 15 year period identified 23 adult patients who underwent surgery for acute abdomen generated by a complicated Meckel’s diverticulum. CT images available for review were analyzed, and some specific patterns leading to the diagnosis of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum are presented in this review.
Results
Complications were related to inflammation (14 patients), bleeding (5 patients), intestinal obstruction (3 patients), and penetrating foreign body (1 patient). The presence of a Meckel’s diverticulum was usually suggested at CT scan by an abnormal outpouching, blind-ending digestive structure connected to the terminal ileum by a neck of variable caliber. Depending on the type of complications, the diverticulum was surrounded by mesenteric inflammatory changes, or presented as a localized fluid or air-fluid collection contiguous with the terminal ileum. The diverticulum was also the source of active bleeding or acted as the lead point to intestinal obstruction or intussusception.
Conclusion
CT findings of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum are polymorphic and should be considered in the evaluation of adult patients with acute abdomen.
doi:10.1007/s13244-010-0017-8
PMCID: PMC3259399  PMID: 22347905
Meckel’s diverticulum; Computed tomography; Acute abdomen; Complications; Bowel
19.  Computed tomography of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum in adults: a pictorial review 
Insights into Imaging  2010;1(2):53-61.
Objective
To show various CT aspects of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum in adult patients to facilitate the preoperative diagnosis of this rare pathology in emergency settings.
Methods
A computer search of medical records over a 15 year period identified 23 adult patients who underwent surgery for acute abdomen generated by a complicated Meckel’s diverticulum. CT images available for review were analyzed, and some specific patterns leading to the diagnosis of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum are presented in this review.
Results
Complications were related to inflammation (14 patients), bleeding (5 patients), intestinal obstruction (3 patients), and penetrating foreign body (1 patient). The presence of a Meckel’s diverticulum was usually suggested at CT scan by an abnormal outpouching, blind-ending digestive structure connected to the terminal ileum by a neck of variable caliber. Depending on the type of complications, the diverticulum was surrounded by mesenteric inflammatory changes, or presented as a localized fluid or air-fluid collection contiguous with the terminal ileum. The diverticulum was also the source of active bleeding or acted as the lead point to intestinal obstruction or intussusception.
Conclusion
CT findings of complicated Meckel’s diverticulum are polymorphic and should be considered in the evaluation of adult patients with acute abdomen.
doi:10.1007/s13244-010-0017-8
PMCID: PMC3259399  PMID: 22347905
Meckel’s diverticulum; Computed tomography; Acute abdomen; Complications; Bowel
20.  Smad7 in T cells drives T helper 1 responses in multiple sclerosis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis 
Brain  2010;133(4):1067-1081.
Autoreactive CD4+ T lymphocytes play a vital role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Since the discovery of T helper 17 cells, there is an ongoing debate whether T helper 1, T helper 17 or both subtypes of T lymphocytes are important for the initiation of autoimmune neuroinflammation. We examined peripheral blood CD4+ cells from patients with active and stable relapsing–remitting multiple sclerosis, and used mice with conditional deletion or over-expression of the transforming growth factor-β inhibitor Smad7, to delineate the role of Smad7 in T cell differentiation and autoimmune neuroinflammation. We found that Smad7 is up-regulated in peripheral CD4+ cells from patients with multiple sclerosis during relapse but not remission, and that expression of Smad7 strongly correlates with T-bet, a transcription factor defining T helper 1 responses. Concordantly, mice with transgenic over-expression of Smad7 in T cells developed an enhanced disease course during experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, accompanied by elevated infiltration of inflammatory cells and T helper 1 responses in the central nervous system. On the contrary, mice with a T cell-specific deletion of Smad7 had reduced disease and central nervous system inflammation. Lack of Smad7 in T cells blunted T cell proliferation and T helper 1 responses in the periphery but left T helper 17 responses unaltered. Furthermore, frequencies of regulatory T cells were increased in the central nervous system of mice with a T cell-specific deletion and reduced in mice with a T cell-specific over-expression of Smad7. Downstream effects of transforming growth factor-β on in vitro differentiation of naïve T cells to T helper 1, T helper 17 and regulatory T cell phenotypes were enhanced in T cells lacking Smad7. Finally, Smad7 was induced during T helper 1 differentiation and inhibited during T helper 17 differentiation. Taken together, the level of Smad7 in T cells determines T helper 1 polarization and regulates inflammatory cellular responses. Since a Smad7 deletion in T cells leads to immunosuppression, Smad7 may be a potential new therapeutic target in multiple sclerosis.
doi:10.1093/brain/awq039
PMCID: PMC2850583  PMID: 20354004
EAE; multiple sclerosis; immune regulation; T cell responses; T helper 1
21.  Spontaneous dissection of the superior mesenteric artery and the right hepatic artery: a case report 
Introduction
Isolated spontaneous dissection of the superior mesenteric artery is a very rare condition. Endovascular stent placement has been proposed recently for selected cases, which has led to some good clinical results.
Case presentation
We report a case of spontaneous dissection of the superior mesenteric artery spreading to the origin of a right hepatic artery in a 48-year-old Chinese man. He benefited from the placement of an endovascular stent that yielded excellent results.
Conclusion
Endovascular stent placement is a good alternative treatment for dissection of the superior mesenteric artery. We propose an algorithm for the management of this rare condition.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-4-87
PMCID: PMC2848679  PMID: 20233417
22.  STAT3 links IL-22 signaling in intestinal epithelial cells to mucosal wound healing 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2009;206(7):1465-1472.
Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3 is a pleiotropic transcription factor with important functions in cytokine signaling in a variety of tissues. However, the role of STAT3 in the intestinal epithelium is not well understood. We demonstrate that development of colonic inflammation is associated with the induction of STAT3 activity in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs). Studies in genetically engineered mice showed that epithelial STAT3 activation in dextran sodium sulfate colitis is dependent on interleukin (IL)-22 rather than IL-6. IL-22 was secreted by colonic CD11c+ cells in response to Toll-like receptor stimulation. Conditional knockout mice with an IEC-specific deletion of STAT3 activity were highly susceptible to experimental colitis, indicating that epithelial STAT3 regulates gut homeostasis. STAT3IEC-KO mice, upon induction of colitis, showed a striking defect of epithelial restitution. Gene chip analysis indicated that STAT3 regulates the cellular stress response, apoptosis, and pathways associated with wound healing in IECs. Consistently, both IL-22 and epithelial STAT3 were found to be important in wound-healing experiments in vivo. In summary, our data suggest that intestinal epithelial STAT3 activation regulates immune homeostasis in the gut by promoting IL-22–dependent mucosal wound healing.
doi:10.1084/jem.20082683
PMCID: PMC2715097  PMID: 19564350
23.  64-Slice CT angiography of the abdominal aorta and abdominal arteries: comparison of the diagnostic efficacy of iobitridol 350 mgI/ml versus iomeprol 400 mgI/ml in a prospective, randomised, double-blind multi-centre trial 
European Radiology  2009;20(3):572-583.
Purpose
The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of iodine concentration on diagnostic efficacy in multi-detector-row computed tomography (MDCT) angiography of the abdominal aorta and abdominal arteries.
Methods
IRB approval and informed consent were obtained. In this double-blind trial, patients were randomised to undergo MDCT angiography of the abdominal arteries during administration of iobitridol (350 mgI/ml) or iomeprol (400 mgI/ml). Each centre applied its own technique for delivery of contrast medium, regardless of iodine concentration. Diagnostic efficacy, image quality, visualisation of the arterial wall and arterial enhancement were evaluated. A total of 153 patients received iobitridol and 154 received iomeprol.
Results
The ability to reach a diagnosis was “satisfactory” to “totally satisfactory” in 152 (99.3%) and 153 (99.4%) patients respectively. Image quality was rated as being “good” to “excellent” in 94.7 and 94.8% segments respectively. Similar results were observed for image quality of arterial walls (84.3 vs. 83.2%). The mean relative changes in arterial enhancement between baseline and arterial phase images showed no statistically significant differences.
Conclusion
This study demonstrated the non-inferiority of the 350 versus 400 mgI/ml iodine concentration, in terms of diagnostic efficacy, in abdominal MDCT angiography. It also confirmed the high robustness and reliability of this technique across multi-national practices.
doi:10.1007/s00330-009-1600-6
PMCID: PMC2822224  PMID: 19789884
CT angiography; Abdominal arterial tree; Diagnostic efficacy; Iodinated contrast agents
24.  MMP-1 serum levels predict coronary atherosclerosis in humans 
Background
Myocardial infarction results as a consequence of atherosclerotic plaque rupture, with plaque stability largely depending on the lesion forming extracellular matrix components. Lipid enriched non-calcified lesions are considered more instable and rupture prone than calcified lesions. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular matrix degrading enzymes with plaque destabilisating characteristics which have been implicated in atherogenesis. We therefore hypothesised MMP-1 and MMP-9 serum levels to be associated with non-calcified lesions as determined by CT-angiography in patients with coronary artery disease.
Methods
260 patients with typical or atypical chest pain underwent dual-source multi-slice CT-angiography (0.6-mm collimation, 330-ms gantry rotation time) to exclude coronary artery stenosis. Atherosclerotic plaques were classified as calcified, mixed or non-calcified.
Results
In multivariable regession analysis, MMP-1 serum levels were associated with total plaque burden (OR: 1.37 (CI: 1.02-1.85); p < 0.05) in a model adjusted for age, sex, BMI, classical cardiovascular risk factors, hsCRP, adiponectin, pericardial fat volume and medication. Specification of plaque morphology revealed significant association of MMP-1 serum levels with non-calcified plaques (OR: 1.16 (CI: 1.0-1.34); p = 0.05) and calcified plaques (OR: 1.22 (CI: 1,03-1.45); p < 0.05) while association with mixed plaques was lost in the fully adjusted model. No associations were found between MMP9 serum levels and total plaque burden or plaque morphology.
Conclusion
MMP-1 serum levels are associated with total plaque burden but do not allow a specification of plaque morphology.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-8-50
PMCID: PMC2754422  PMID: 19751510
25.  Low Adiponectin Levels Are an Independent Predictor of Mixed and Non-Calcified Coronary Atherosclerotic Plaques 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4733.
Background
Atherosclerosis is the primary cause of coronary artery disease (CAD). There is increasing recognition that lesion composition rather than size determines the acute complications of atherosclerotic disease. Low serum adiponectin levels were reported to be associated with coronary artery disease and future incidence of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The impact of adiponectin on lesion composition still remains to be determined.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We measured serum adiponectin levels in 303 patients with stable typical or atypical chest pain, who underwent dual-source multi-slice CT-angiography to exclude coronary artery stenosis. Atherosclerotic plaques were classified as calcified, mixed or non-calcified. In bivariate analysis adiponectin levels were inversely correlated with total coronary plaque burden (r = −0.21, p = 0.0004), mixed (r = −0.20, p = 0.0007) and non-calcified plaques (r = −0.18, p = 0.003). No correlation was seen with calcified plaques (r = −0.05, p = 0.39). In a fully adjusted multivariate model adiponectin levels remained predictive of total plaque burden (estimate: −0.036, 95%CI: −0.052 to −0.020, p<0.0001), mixed (estimate: −0.087, 95%CI: −0.132 to −0.042, p = 0.0001) and non-calcified plaques (estimate: −0.076, 95%CI: −0.115 to −0.038, p = 0.0001). Adiponectin levels were not associated with calcified plaques (estimate: −0.021, 95% CI: −0.043 to −0.001, p = 0.06). Since the majority of coronary plaques was calcified, adiponectin levels account for only 3% of the variability in total plaque number. In contrast, adiponectin accounts for approximately 20% of the variability in mixed and non-calcified plaque burden.
Conclusions/Significance
Adiponectin levels predict mixed and non-calcified coronary atherosclerotic plaque burden. Low adiponectin levels may contribute to coronary plaque vulnerability and may thus play a role in the pathophysiology of ACS.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004733
PMCID: PMC2649379  PMID: 19266101

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