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1.  Growth Hormone Therapy Is Safe and Effective in Patients with Lysinuric Protein Intolerance 
JIMD Reports  2011;1:43-47.
Background: Lysinuric protein intolerance (LPI) is an autosomal recessive cationic amino acid transport defect characterized by episodes of postprandial hyperammonemias and spontaneous protein aversion. Subnormal growth is common in spite of appropriate nutritional therapy. Growth hormone (GH) therapy promotes appetite, protein synthesis and accretion, but its possible growth-promoting effects and safety in patients with LPI are poorly known.
Methods: Four LPI children aged 7–16 years were treated with GH for a period of 3–4.5 years. Dietary intakes and plasma amino acid levels were analyzed frequently in addition to routine monitoring of GH therapy.
Results: Insulin-like growth factor-1 concentration was low and bone age was delayed in all LPI patients, but GH provocative test was pathological in only one of the patients. During the 3–4.5 years of GH therapy (dose 0.035–0.050 mg/kg/day), bone age did not catch up but height standard deviation score (SDS) improved by 0.7–1.8 SDS. There were no episodes of hyperammonemias.
Conclusions: Our data support safety and growth-promoting potential of long-term GH therapy in patients with LPI.
PMCID: PMC3509816  PMID: 23430827
Children; Growth; Growth hormone; Lysinuric protein intolerance; Nutrition
3.  Individuals with mutations in XPNPEP3, which encodes a mitochondrial protein, develop a nephronophthisis-like nephropathy  
The autosomal recessive kidney disease nephronophthisis (NPHP) constitutes the most frequent genetic cause of terminal renal failure in the first 3 decades of life. Ten causative genes (NPHP1–NPHP9 and NPHP11), whose products localize to the primary cilia-centrosome complex, support the unifying concept that cystic kidney diseases are “ciliopathies”. Using genome-wide homozygosity mapping, we report here what we believe to be a new locus (NPHP-like 1 [NPHPL1]) for an NPHP-like nephropathy. In 2 families with an NPHP-like phenotype, we detected homozygous frameshift and splice-site mutations, respectively, in the X-prolyl aminopeptidase 3 (XPNPEP3) gene. In contrast to all known NPHP proteins, XPNPEP3 localizes to mitochondria of renal cells. However, in vivo analyses also revealed a likely cilia-related function; suppression of zebrafish xpnpep3 phenocopied the developmental phenotypes of ciliopathy morphants, and this effect was rescued by human XPNPEP3 that was devoid of a mitochondrial localization signal. Consistent with a role for XPNPEP3 in ciliary function, several ciliary cystogenic proteins were found to be XPNPEP3 substrates, for which resistance to N-terminal proline cleavage resulted in attenuated protein function in vivo in zebrafish. Our data highlight an emerging link between mitochondria and ciliary dysfunction, and suggest that further understanding the enzymatic activity and substrates of XPNPEP3 will illuminate novel cystogenic pathways.
PMCID: PMC2827951  PMID: 20179356
4.  Mistreatment of university students most common during medical studies 
This study concerns the occurrence of various forms of mistreatment by staff and fellow students experienced by students in the Faculty of Medicine and the other four faculties of the University of Oulu, Finland.
A questionnaire with 51 questions on various forms of physical and psychological mistreatment was distributed to 665 students (451 females) after lectures or examinations and filled in and returned. The results were analysed by gender and faculty. The differences between the males and females were assessed statistically using a test for the equality of two proportions. An exact two-sided P value was calculated using a mid-P approach to Fisher's exact test (the null hypothesis being that there is no difference between the two proportions).
About half of the students answering the questionnaire had experienced some form of mistreatment by staff during their university studies, most commonly humiliation and contempt (40%), negative or disparaging remarks (34%), yelling and shouting (23%), sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based mistreatment (17%) and tasks assigned as punishment (13%). The students in the Faculty of Medicine reported every form of mistreatment more commonly than those in the Faculties of Humanities, Education, Science and Technology. Experiences of mistreatment varied, but clear messages regarding its patterns were to be found in each faculty. Female students reported more instances of mistreatment than males and were more disturbed by them. Professors, lecturers and other staff in particular mistreated female students more than they mistreated males. About half of the respondents reported some form of mistreatment by their fellow students.
Students in the Faculty of Medicine reported the greatest amount of mistreatment. If a faculty mistreats its students, its success in the main tasks of universities, research, teaching and learning, will be threatened. The results challenge university teachers, especially in faculties of medicine, to evaluate their ability to create a safe environment conducive to learning.
PMCID: PMC1285362  PMID: 16232310

Results 1-4 (4)