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1.  Blood Pressure Control and Primary Prevention of Stroke: Summary of the Recent Clinical Trial Data and Meta-Analyses 
Current Hypertension Reports  2013;15:559-574.
Stroke is the second most common cause of death worldwide and of adult disability, but in the near future the global burden of cerebrovascular diseases will rise due to ageing and adverse lifestyle changes in populations worldwide. The risk of stroke increases at blood pressure levels above 115/75 mm Hg and high blood pressure (BP) is the most important modifiable risk factor for stroke, associated with 54 % episodes of stroke worldwide. There is strong evidence from clinical trials that antihypertensive therapy reduces substantially the risk of any type of stroke, as well as stroke-related death and disability. The risk attributed to BP is associated not only with absolute values but also with certain parameters describing BP diurnal pattern as well as short-term and long-term variability. Many studies reported that certain features of BP like nocturnal hypertension, morning surge or increased variability predict an increased stroke risk. However, there is no accepted effective modality for correction of these disturbances (chronotherapy, certain classes of antihypertensive drugs). In the elderly, who are mostly affected by stroke, the primary prevention guidelines recommend treatment with diuretics and calcium channel blockers to lower blood pressure to the standard level.
PMCID: PMC3838588  PMID: 24158454
Stroke; Risk, risk factors; Blood, blood pressure; Ambulatory, ambulatory blood pressure measurement; Circadian, circadian rhythm; Non, non-dipping; Morning, morning surge; Blood, blood pressure variability; Antihypertensive, antihypertensive treatment; Randomized, randomized clinical trial; Meta, meta-analysis; Hypertension
2.  A High Red Blood Cell Distribution Width Predicts Failure of Arteriovenous Fistula 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36482.
In hemodialysis patients, a native arteriovenous fistula (AVF) is the preferred form of permanent vascular access. Despite recent improvements, vascular access dysfunction remains an important cause of morbidity in these patients. In this prospective observational cohort study, we evaluated potential risk factors for native AVF dysfunction. We included 68 patients with chronic renal disease stage 5 eligible for AVF construction at the Department of General and Vascular Surgery, Central Clinical Hospital Ministry of Internal Affairs, Warsaw, Poland. Patient characteristics and biochemical parameters associated with increased risk for AVF failure were identified using Cox proportional hazards models. Vessel biopsies were analyzed for inflammatory cells and potential associations with biochemical parameters. In multivariable analysis, independent predictors of AVF dysfunction were the number of white blood cells (hazard ratio [HR] 1.67; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24 to 2.25; p<0.001), monocyte number (HR 0.02; 95% CI 0.00 to 0.21; p = 0.001), and red blood cell distribution width (RDW) (HR 1.44; 95% CI 1.17 to 1.78; p<0.001). RDW was the only significant factor in receiver operating characteristic curve analysis (area under the curve 0.644; CI 0.51 to 0.76; p = 0.046). RDW>16.2% was associated with a significantly reduced AVF patency frequency 24 months after surgery. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed CD45-positive cells in the artery/vein of 39% of patients and CD68-positive cells in 37%. Patients with CD68-positive cells in the vessels had significantly higher white blood cell count. We conclude that RDW, a readily available laboratory value, is a novel prognostic marker for AVF failure. Further studies are warranted to establish the mechanistic link between high RDW and AVF failure.
PMCID: PMC3344886  PMID: 22574168
3.  Statins Impair Glucose Uptake in Tumor Cells1 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(4):311-323.
Statins, HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are used in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases owing to their lipid-lowering effects. Previous studies revealed that, by modulating membrane cholesterol content, statins could induce conformational changes in cluster of differentiation 20 (CD20) tetraspanin. The aim of the presented study was to investigate the influence of statins on glucose transporter 1 (GLUT1)-mediated glucose uptake in tumor cells. We observed a significant concentration- and time-dependent decrease in glucose analogs' uptake in several tumor cell lines incubated with statins. This effect was reversible with restitution of cholesterol synthesis pathway with mevalonic acid as well as with supplementation of plasma membrane with exogenous cholesterol. Statins did not change overall GLUT1 expression at either transcriptional or protein levels. An exploratory clinical trial revealed that statin treatment decreased glucose uptake in peripheral blood leukocytes and lowered 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) uptake by tumor masses in a mantle cell lymphoma patient. A bioinformatics analysis was used to predict the structure of human GLUT1 and to identify putative cholesterol-binding motifs in its juxtamembrane fragment. Altogether, the influence of statins on glucose uptake seems to be of clinical significance. By inhibiting 18F-FDG uptake, statins can negatively affect the sensitivity of positron emission tomography, a diagnostic procedure frequently used in oncology.
PMCID: PMC3349257  PMID: 22577346
4.  Different diagnostic criteria significantly affect the rates of hypertension in 18-year-old high school students 
Childhood hypertension is defined based on the normative distribution of blood pressure (BP), but from the age of 18 years high BP is diagnosed using adult criteria. We compared the rates of diagnosis of hypertension in a group of 18-year-old subjects using BP percentiles and the adult criteria.
Material and methods
Blood pressure was measured by registered nurses in 1472 18-year-old high-school students (780 men and 692 women). Also weight, height and waist circumference were recorded.
The prevalence of hypertension was 9% (16.2% in men and 0.9% in women, p < 0.001) using adult cut-off values and 14.7% (21.9% in men and 6.6% in women, p < 0.001) using percentile charts. Obesity was diagnosed in 2.4% and overweight in 13% of subjects, respectively. The relative risk ratio of diagnosing hypertension according to the adult criteria in overweight or obese subjects was 2.94 (95% CI 2.25-3.86) in men and 6.44 (95% CI 3.51-11.82) in women.
Our study indicates high prevalence of hypertension in 18-year-old students – especially in men – and the importance of obesity as a risk factor of hypertension. The use of percentile charts instead of adult cut-off values increases the prevalence of hypertension in men by 35% from 16.2% to 21.9% and in women more than 7 times, i.e. from 0.9% to 6.6%. It seems reasonable to use higher (i.e. 98th) percentile values for definition of high blood pressure.
PMCID: PMC3298336  PMID: 22419926
blood pressure; obesity; adolescents
5.  Host-Derived Smooth Muscle Cells Accumulate in Cardiac Allografts: Role of Inflammation and Monocyte Chemoattractant Protein 1 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(1):e4187.
Transplant arteriosclerosis is characterized by inflammation and intimal thickening caused by accumulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) both from donor and recipient. We assessed the relationship between clinical factors and the presence of host-derived SMCs in 124 myocardial biopsies from 26 consecutive patients who received hearts from opposite-sex donors. Clinical and demographic information was obtained from the patients' medical records. Host-derived SMCs accounted for 3.35±2.3% of cells in arterioles (range, 0.08–12.51%). As shown by linear regression analysis, an increased number of SMCs was associated with rejection grade (mean, 1.41±1.03, p = 0.034) and the number of leukocytes (19.1±12.7 per 20 high-power fields, p = 0.01). The accumulation of host-derived SMCs was associated with an increased number of leukocytes in the allografts. In vitro, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) released from leukocytes was crucial for SMC migration. After heart allotransplantion, mice treated with MCP-1-specific antibodies had significantly fewer host-derived SMCs in the grafts than mice treated with isotypic antibody controls. We conclude that the number of host-derived SMCs in human cardiac allografts is associated with the rejection grade and that MCP-1 may play pivotal role in recruiting host-derived SMCs into cardiac allografts.
PMCID: PMC2615209  PMID: 19142231
6.  Statins Impair Antitumor Effects of Rituximab by Inducing Conformational Changes of CD20 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e64.
Rituximab is used in the treatment of CD20+ B cell lymphomas and other B cell lymphoproliferative disorders. Its clinical efficacy might be further improved by combinations with other drugs such as statins that inhibit cholesterol synthesis and show promising antilymphoma effects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of statins on rituximab-induced killing of B cell lymphomas.
Methods and Findings
Complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC) was assessed by MTT and Alamar blue assays as well as trypan blue staining, and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) was assessed by a 51Cr release assay. Statins were found to significantly decrease rituximab-mediated CDC and ADCC of B cell lymphoma cells. Incubation of B cell lymphoma cells with statins decreased CD20 immunostaining in flow cytometry studies but did not affect total cellular levels of CD20 as measured with RT-PCR and Western blotting. Similar effects are exerted by other cholesterol-depleting agents (methyl-β-cyclodextrin and berberine), but not filipin III, indicating that the presence of plasma membrane cholesterol and not lipid rafts is required for rituximab-mediated CDC. Immunofluorescence microscopy using double staining with monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against a conformational epitope and a linear cytoplasmic epitope revealed that CD20 is present in the plasma membrane in comparable amounts in control and statin-treated cells. Atomic force microscopy and limited proteolysis indicated that statins, through cholesterol depletion, induce conformational changes in CD20 that result in impaired binding of anti-CD20 mAb. An in vivo reduction of cholesterol induced by short-term treatment of five patients with hypercholesterolemia with atorvastatin resulted in reduced anti-CD20 binding to freshly isolated B cells.
Statins were shown to interfere with both detection of CD20 and antilymphoma activity of rituximab. These studies have significant clinical implications, as impaired binding of mAbs to conformational epitopes of CD20 elicited by statins could delay diagnosis, postpone effective treatment, or impair anti-lymphoma activity of rituximab.
Jakub Golab and colleagues found that statins significantly decrease rituximab-mediated complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity against B cell lymphoma cells.
Editors' Summary
Lymphomas are common cancers of the lymphatic system, the tissues and organs that produce and store the white blood cells (lymphocytes) that fight infections. In healthy people, the cells in the lymph nodes (collections of lymphocytes in the armpit, groin, and neck) and other lymphatic organs divide to form new cells only when the body needs them. Lymphomas form when a T or B lymphocyte starts to divide uncontrollably. The first sign of lymphoma is often a painless swelling in the armpit, groin, or neck caused by lymphocyte overgrowth in a lymph node. Eventually, the abnormal (malignant) lymphocytes, which provide no protection against infectious diseases, spread throughout the body. Treatments for lymphoma include chemotherapy (drugs that kill rapidly dividing cells) and radiotherapy. In addition, a drug called rituximab was recently developed for the treatment of some types of B cell lymphoma. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody, a laboratory-produced protein. It binds to a protein called CD20 that is present on the surface of both normal and malignant B lymphocytes and induces cell killing through processes called “complement-dependent cytotoxity” (CDC) and “antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxity” (ADCC).
Why Was This Study Done?
Although rituximab lengthens the lives of patients with some types of B cell lymphoma, it is not a cure—the lymphoma usually recurs. Researchers are trying to increase the effectiveness of rituximab by combining it with other anticancer agents. One group of drugs that might be combined with rituximab is the “statins,” drugs that reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering the level of cholesterol (a type of fat) in the blood. In laboratory experiments, statins kill some cancer cells, in part by altering the fat composition of their outer (plasma) membrane. In addition, some population-based studies suggest that statin treatment might slightly decrease the risk of developing some kinds of cancer, including lymphoma. Statins are already undergoing clinical evaluation in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of lymphoma, but in this study, the researchers investigate the influence of statins on rituximab-induced killing of B cell lymphomas.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
When the researchers tested the ability of rituximab and statin combinations to kill B cell lymphoma cells growing in dishes, they found that statins decreased rituximab-dependent CDC and ADCC of these cells. Statin treatment, they report, did not alter the total amount of CD20 made by the lymphoma cells or the amount of CD20 in their plasma membranes, but it did reduce the binding of another anti-CDC20 monoclonal antibody to the cells. Because both this antibody and rituximab bind to a specific three-dimensional structure in CD20 (a “conformational epitope”), the researchers hypothesized that statins might alter rituximab-induced killing by affecting the shape of the CD20 molecule on the lymphoma cell surface. To test this idea, they used two techniques—atomic force microscopy and limited proteolysis. The data obtained using both approaches confirmed that statins induce shape changes in CD20. Finally, the researchers took B cells from five patients who had taken statins for a short time and showed that this treatment had reduced the amount of anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody able to bind to these cells.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that statins change the shape of the CD20 molecules on the surface of normal and malignant B lymphocytes, probably by changing the amount of cholesterol in the cell membrane. This effect of statins has several clinical implications, which means that cancer specialists should check whether patients with known or suspected B cell lymphoma are taking statins to treat high cholesterol. First, the impaired binding of monoclonal antibodies to conformational epitopes of CD20 in patients being treated with statins might delay the diagnosis of B cell lymphomas (CD20 binding to lymphocytes is used during the diagnosis of lymphomas). Second, some patients with B cell lymphoma may receive an incorrect diagnosis and may not be offered rituximab. Finally, because statins impair the anti-lymphoma activity of rituximab, a possibility that needs to be investigated in clinical studies, cancer specialists should check that patients with B cell lymphoma are not taking statins before prescribing rituximab.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus has an encyclopedia page on lymphoma and a list of links to other sources of information on lymphoma (in English and Spanish)
The US National Cancer Institute provides information about lymphoma and about statins and cancer prevention (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Cancerbackup provides information for patients and caregivers on different types of B-cell lymphoma and on rituximab
The US Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also provides information for patients and caregivers about lymphoma
PMCID: PMC2270297  PMID: 18366248

Results 1-6 (6)