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1.  Dietary Alleviation of Maternal Obesity and Diabetes: Increased Resistance to Diet-Induced Obesity Transcriptional and Epigenetic Signatures 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66816.
According to the developmental origins of health and diseases (DOHaD), and in line with the findings of many studies, obesity during pregnancy is clearly a threat to the health and well-being of the offspring, later in adulthood. We previously showed that 20% of male and female inbred mice can cope with the obesogenic effects of a high-fat diet (HFD) for 20 weeks after weaning, remaining lean. However the feeding of a control diet (CD) to DIO mice during the periconceptional/gestation/lactation period led to a pronounced sex-specific shift (17% to 43%) from susceptibility to resistance to HFD, in the female offspring only. Our aim in this study was to determine how, in the context of maternal obesity and T2D, a CD could increase resistance on female fetuses. Transcriptional analyses were carried out with a custom-built mouse liver microarray and by quantitative RT-PCR for muscle and adipose tissue. Both global DNA methylation and levels of pertinent histone marks were assessed by LUMA and western blotting, and the expression of 15 relevant genes encoding chromatin-modifying enzymes was analyzed in tissues presenting global epigenetic changes. Resistance was associated with an enhancement of hepatic pathways protecting against steatosis, the unexpected upregulation of neurotransmission-related genes and the modulation of a vast imprinted gene network. Adipose tissue displayed a pronounced dysregulation of gene expression, with an upregulation of genes involved in lipid storage and adipocyte hypertrophy or hyperplasia in obese mice born to lean and obese mothers, respectively. Global DNA methylation, several histone marks and key epigenetic regulators were also altered. Whether they were themselves lean (resistant) or obese (sensitive), the offspring of lean and obese mice clearly differed in terms of several metabolic features and epigenetic marks suggesting that the effects of a HFD depend on the leanness or obesity of the mother.
PMCID: PMC3691260  PMID: 23826145
2.  Identification of Biological Markers of Liver X Receptor (LXR) Activation at the Cell Surface of Human Monocytes 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48738.
Liver X receptor (LXR) α and LXR β (NR1H3 and NR1H2) are oxysterol-activated nuclear receptors involved in the control of major metabolic pathways such as cholesterol homeostasis, lipogenesis, inflammation and innate immunity. Synthetic LXR agonists are currently under development and could find applications in various fields such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. The clinical development of LXR agonists requires the identification of biological markers for pharmacodynamic studies. In this context, monocytes represent an attractive target to monitor LXR activation. They are easily accessible cells present in peripheral blood; they express LXR α and β and respond to LXR agonist stimulation in vitro. The aim of our study was to identify cell surface markers of LXR agonists on monocytes. For this, we focused on clusters of differentiation (CD) markers because they are well characterized and accessible cell surface molecules allowing easy immuno-phenotyping.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By using microarray analysis of monocytes treated or not with an LXR agonist in vitro, we selected three CD, i.e. CD82, CD226, CD244 for further analysis by real time PCR and flow cytometry. The three CD were up-regulated by LXR agonist treatment in vitro in a time- and dose- dependent manner and this induction was LXR specific as assessed by a SiRNA or LXR antagonist strategy. By using flow cytometry, we could demonstrate that the expression of these molecules at the cell surface of monocytes was significantly increased after LXR agonist treatment.
We have identified three new cell surface markers that could be useful to monitor LXR activation. Future studies will be required to confirm the biological and diagnostic significance of the markers.
PMCID: PMC3504056  PMID: 23185273
3.  Performance of N-terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide in critically ill patients: a prospective observational cohort study 
Critical Care  2008;12(6):R137.
The purpose of this study was to assess the accuracy of N-terminal-pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) as a diagnostic tool to recognize acute respiratory failure of cardiac origin in an unselected cohort of critically ill patients.
We conducted a prospective observational study of medical ICU patients. NT-proBNP was measured at ICU admission, and diagnosis of cardiac dysfunction relied on the patient's clinical presentation and echocardiography.
Of the 198 patients included in this study, 102 (51.5%) had evidence of cardiac dysfunction. Median NT-proBNP concentrations were 5,720 ng/L (1,430 to 15,698) and 854 ng/L (190 to 3,560) in patients with and without cardiac dysfunction, respectively (P < 0.0001). In addition, NT-proBNP concentrations were correlated with age (ρ = 0.43, P < 0.0001) and inversely correlated with creatinine clearance (ρ = -0.58, P < 0.0001). When evaluating the performance of NT-proBNP concentrations to detect cardiac dysfunction, the area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was 0.76 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.69 to 0.83). In addition, a stepwise logistic regression model revealed that NT-proBNP (odds ratio (OR) = 1.01 per 100 ng/L, 95% CI 1.002 to 1.02), electrocardiogram modifications (OR = 11.03, 95% CI 5.19 to 23.41), and severity assessed by organ system failure score (OR = 1.63 per point, 95% CI 1.17 to 2.41) adequately predicted cardiac dysfunction. The area under the ROC curve of this model was 0.83 (95% CI 0.77 to 0.90).
NT-proBNP measured at ICU admission might represent a useful marker to exclude cardiac dysfunction in critically ill patients.
PMCID: PMC2646347  PMID: 18990203

Results 1-3 (3)