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1.  Maternal Antibody and Viral Factors in the Pathogenesis of Dengue Virus in Infants 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2007;196(3):416-424.
The pathogenesis of dengue in infants is poorly understood. We postulated that dengue severity in infants would be positively associated with markers of viral burden and that maternally derived, neutralizing antidengue antibody would have decayed before the age at which infants with dengue presented to the hospital. In 75 Vietnamese infants with primary dengue, we found significant heterogeneity in viremia and NS1 antigenemia at hospital presentation, and these factors were independent of disease grade or continuous measures of disease severity. Neutralizing antibody titers, predicted in each infant at the time of their illness, suggested that the majority of infants (65%) experienced dengue hemorrhagic fever when the maternally derived neutralizing antibody titer had declined to <1:20. Collectively, these data have important implications for dengue vaccine research because they suggest that viral burden may not solely explain severe dengue in infants and that neutralizing antibody is a reasonable but not absolute marker of protective immunity in infants.
PMCID: PMC4333207  PMID: 17597456
2.  Fever in sepsis: is it cool to be hot? 
Critical Care  2014;18(1):109.
Changes in body temperature are a characteristic feature of sepsis. The study by Kushimoto and colleagues in a recent issue of Critical Care demonstrates that hypothermia is a very important manifestation of infection associated with very high mortality. Combined with recent data suggesting that febrile patients with infections have the lowest mortality risk, the study raises the question of whether inducing therapeutic hyperthermia might be beneficial in this patient group. Body temperature is easily measured and manipulated in the ICU, and interventional trials defining the most appropriate temperature targets in ICU patients with infections are urgently needed. One such study is in progress.
PMCID: PMC4056432  PMID: 24521542
3.  Combined Inhaled Salbutamol and Mannitol Therapy for Mucus Hyper-secretion in Pulmonary Diseases 
The AAPS Journal  2014;16(2):269-280.
This study focuses on the co-engineering of salbutamol sulphate (SS), a common bronchodilator, and mannitol (MA), a mucolytic, as a potential combination therapy for mucus hypersecretion. This combination was chosen to have a synergic effect on the airways: the SS will act on the β2-receptor for relaxation of smooth muscle and enhancement of ciliary beat frequency, whilst mannitol will improve the fluidity of mucus, consequently enhancing its clearance from the lung. A series of co-spray-dried samples, containing therapeutically relevant doses of SS and MA, were prepared. The physico-chemical characteristics of the formulations were evaluated in terms of size distribution, morphology, thermal and moisture response and aerosol performance. Additionally, the formulations were evaluated for their effects on cell viability and transport across air interface Calu-3 bronchial epithelial cells, contractibility effects on bronchial smooth muscle cells and cilia beat activity using ciliated nasal epithelial cells in vitro. The formulations demonstrated size distributions and aerosol performance suitable for inhalation therapy. Transport studies revealed that the MA component of the formulation enhanced penetration of SS across the complex mucus layer and the lung epithelia cells. Furthermore, the formulation in the ratios of SS 10−6 and MA 10−3 M gave a significant increase in cilia beat frequency whilst simultaneously preventing smooth muscle contraction associated with mannitol administration. These studies have established that co-spray dried combination formulations of MA and SS can be successfully prepared with limited toxicity, good aerosol performance and the ability to increase ciliary beat frequency for improving the mucociliary clearance in patients suffering from hyper-secretory diseases, whilst simultaneously acting on the underlying smooth muscle.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1208/s12248-014-9560-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3933573  PMID: 24431080
cilia responce; epithelia transport; lung delivery; mannitol; salbutamol; smooth muscle responce
4.  Structural Conservation, Variability, and Immunogenicity of the T6 Backbone Pilin of Serotype M6 Streptococcus pyogenes 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(7):2949-2957.
Group A streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) is a Gram-positive human pathogen that causes a broad range of diseases ranging from acute pharyngitis to the poststreptococcal sequelae of acute rheumatic fever. GAS pili are highly diverse, long protein polymers that extend from the cell surface. They have multiple roles in infection and are promising candidates for vaccine development. This study describes the structure of the T6 backbone pilin (BP; Lancefield T-antigen) from the important M6 serotype. The structure reveals a modular arrangement of three tandem immunoglobulin-like domains, two with internal isopeptide bonds. The T6 pilin lysine, essential for polymerization, is located in a novel VAKS motif that is structurally homologous to the canonical YPKN pilin lysine in other three- and four-domain Gram-positive pilins. The T6 structure also highlights a conserved pilin core whose surface is decorated with highly variable loops and extensions. Comparison to other Gram-positive BPs shows that many of the largest variable extensions are found in conserved locations. Studies with sera from patients diagnosed with GAS-associated acute rheumatic fever showed that each of the three T6 domains, and the largest of the variable extensions (V8), are targeted by IgG during infection in vivo. Although the GAS BP show large variations in size and sequence, the modular nature of the pilus proteins revealed by the T6 structure may aid the future design of a pilus-based vaccine.
PMCID: PMC4097639  PMID: 24778112
5.  Expert consensus and recommendations on safety criteria for active mobilization of mechanically ventilated critically ill adults 
Critical Care  2014;18(6):658.
The aim of this study was to develop consensus recommendations on safety parameters for mobilizing adult, mechanically ventilated, intensive care unit (ICU) patients.
A systematic literature review was followed by a meeting of 23 multidisciplinary ICU experts to seek consensus regarding the safe mobilization of mechanically ventilated patients.
Safety considerations were summarized in four categories: respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and other. Consensus was achieved on all criteria for safe mobilization, with the exception being levels of vasoactive agents. Intubation via an endotracheal tube was not a contraindication to early mobilization and a fraction of inspired oxygen less than 0.6 with a percutaneous oxygen saturation more than 90% and a respiratory rate less than 30 breaths/minute were considered safe criteria for in- and out-of-bed mobilization if there were no other contraindications. At an international meeting, 94 multidisciplinary ICU clinicians concurred with the proposed recommendations.
Consensus recommendations regarding safety criteria for mobilization of adult, mechanically ventilated patients in the ICU have the potential to guide ICU rehabilitation whilst minimizing the risk of adverse events.
PMCID: PMC4301888  PMID: 25475522
6.  Beyond early infant diagnosis: case finding strategies for identification of HIV-infected infants and children 
AIDS (London, England)  2013;27(0 2):S235-S245.
There are 3.4 million children infected with HIV worldwide, with up to 2.6 million eligible for treatment under current guidelines. However, roughly 70% of infected children are not receiving live-saving HIV care and treatment. Strengthening case finding through improved diagnosis strategies, and actively linking identified HIV-infected children to care and treatment is essential to ensuring that these children benefit from the care and treatment available to them. Without attention or advocacy, the majority of these children will remain undiagnosed and die from complications of HIV. In this article, we summarize the challenges of identifying HIV-infected infants and children, review currently available evidence and guidance, describe promising new strategies for case finding, and make recommendations for future research and interventions to improve identification of HIV-infected infants and children.
PMCID: PMC4122794  PMID: 24361633
case finding; HIV testing; pediatric HIV; PITC
7.  Discovery of a Novel Retrovirus Sequence in an Australian Native Rodent (Melomys burtoni): A Putative Link between Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus and Koala Retrovirus 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e106954.
Gibbon ape leukaemia virus (GALV) and koala retrovirus (KoRV) share a remarkably close sequence identity despite the fact that they occur in distantly related mammals on different continents. It has previously been suggested that infection of their respective hosts may have occurred as a result of a species jump from another, as yet unidentified vertebrate host. To investigate possible sources of these retroviruses in the Australian context, DNA samples were obtained from 42 vertebrate species and screened using PCR in order to detect proviral sequences closely related to KoRV and GALV. Four proviral partial sequences totalling 2880 bases which share a strong similarity with KoRV and GALV were detected in DNA from a native Australian rodent, the grassland melomys, Melomys burtoni. We have designated this novel gammaretrovirus Melomys burtoni retrovirus (MbRV). The concatenated nucleotide sequence of MbRV shares 93% identity with the corresponding sequence from GALV-SEATO and 83% identity with KoRV. The geographic ranges of the grassland melomys and of the koala partially overlap. Thus a species jump by MbRV from melomys to koalas is conceivable. However the genus Melomys does not occur in mainland South East Asia and so it appears most likely that another as yet unidentified host was the source of GALV.
PMCID: PMC4175076  PMID: 25251014
8.  The human Piwi protein Hiwi2 associates with tRNA-derived piRNAs in somatic cells 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(14):8984-8995.
The Piwi-piRNA pathway is active in animal germ cells where its functions are required for germ cell maintenance and gamete differentiation. Piwi proteins and piRNAs have been detected outside germline tissue in multiple phyla, but activity of the pathway in mammalian somatic cells has been little explored. In particular, Piwi expression has been observed in cancer cells, but nothing is known about the piRNA partners or the function of the system in these cells. We have surveyed the expression of the three human Piwi genes, Hiwi, Hili and Hiwi2, in multiple normal tissues and cancer cell lines. We find that Hiwi2 is ubiquitously expressed; in cancer cells the protein is largely restricted to the cytoplasm and is associated with translating ribosomes. Immunoprecipitation of Hiwi2 from MDAMB231 cancer cells enriches for piRNAs that are predominantly derived from processed tRNAs and expressed genes, species which can also be found in adult human testis. Our studies indicate that a Piwi-piRNA pathway is present in human somatic cells, with an uncharacterised function linked to translation. Taking this evidence together with evidence from primitive organisms, we propose that this somatic function of the pathway predates the germline functions of the pathway in modern animals.
PMCID: PMC4132735  PMID: 25038252
9.  Impact of next-generation sequencing error on analysis of barcoded plasmid libraries of known complexity and sequence 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;42(16):e129.
Barcoded vectors are promising tools for investigating clonal diversity and dynamics in hematopoietic gene therapy. Analysis of clones marked with barcoded vectors requires accurate identification of potentially large numbers of individually rare barcodes, when the exact number, sequence identity and abundance are unknown. This is an inherently challenging application, and the feasibility of using contemporary next-generation sequencing technologies is unresolved. To explore this potential application empirically, without prior assumptions, we sequenced barcode libraries of known complexity. Libraries containing 1, 10 and 100 Sanger-sequenced barcodes were sequenced using an Illumina platform, with a 100-barcode library also sequenced using a SOLiD platform. Libraries containing 1 and 10 barcodes were distinguished from false barcodes generated by sequencing error by a several log-fold difference in abundance. In 100-barcode libraries, however, expected and false barcodes overlapped and could not be resolved by bioinformatic filtering and clustering strategies. In independent sequencing runs multiple false-positive barcodes appeared to be represented at higher abundance than known barcodes, despite their confirmed absence from the original library. Such errors, which potentially impact barcoding studies in an application-dependent manner, are consistent with the existence of both stochastic and systematic error, the mechanism of which is yet to be fully resolved.
PMCID: PMC4176369  PMID: 25013183
10.  Structure and Activity of Streptococcus pyogenes SipA: A Signal Peptidase-Like Protein Essential for Pilus Polymerisation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99135.
The pili expressed on the surface of the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes play an important role in host cell attachment, colonisation and pathogenesis. These pili are built from two or three components, an adhesin subunit at the tip, a major pilin that forms a polymeric shaft, and a basal pilin that is attached to the cell wall. Assembly is carried out by specific sortase (cysteine transpeptidase) enzyme. These components are encoded in a small gene cluster within the S. pyogenes genome, often together with another protein, SipA, whose function is unknown. We show through functional assays, carried out by expressing the S. pyogenes pilus components in Lactococcus lactis, SipA from the clinically important M1T1 strain is essential for pilus assembly, and that SipA function is likely to be conserved in all S. pyogenes. From the crystal structure of SipA we confirm that SipA belongs to the family of bacterial signal peptidases (SPases), which process the signal-peptides of secreted proteins. In contrast to a previous arm-swapped SipA dimer, this present structure shows that its principal domain closely resembles the catalytic domain of SPases and has a very similar peptide-binding cleft, but it lacks the catalytic Ser and Lys residues characteristic of SPases. In SipA these are replaced by Asp and Gly residues, which play no part in activity. We propose that SipA functions by binding a key component at the bacterial cell surface, in a conformation that facilitates pilus assembly.
PMCID: PMC4049620  PMID: 24911348
11.  Decreased dendritic spine density as a consequence of tetanus toxin light chain expression in single neurons in vivo 
Neuroscience letters  2013;555:36-41.
Tetanus toxin light chain has been used for some time as a genetically-encoded tool to inhibit neurotransmission and thereby dissect mechanisms underlying neural circuit formation and function. In addition to cleaving v-SNARE proteins involved in axonal neurotransmitter release, tetanus toxin light chain can also block activity-dependent dendritic exocytosis. The application of tetanus toxin light chain as a research tool in mammalian models has been limited to a small number of cell types however. Here, we have induced expression of tetanus toxin light chain in a very small number of fluorescently labeled neurons in many regions of the adult mouse brain. This was achieved by crossing SLICK (single-neuron labeling with inducible cre-mediated knockout) transgenic lines with RC::Ptox mice that have Cre recombinase-controlled expression of the tetanus toxin light chain. Using this system we have examined the cell-autonomous effects of tetanus toxin light chain expression on dendritic spines in vivo. We find that dendritic spine density is reduced by 15% in tetanus toxin expressing hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells, while spine morphology is unaltered. This effect is likely to be a consequence of inhibition of activity-dependent dendritic exocytosis and suggests that on-going plasticity-associated exocytosis is required for long-term dendritic spine maintenance in vivo.
PMCID: PMC4035819  PMID: 24035894
12.  Fever management in intensive care patients with infections 
Critical Care  2014;18(2):206.
PMCID: PMC4056101  PMID: 25029624
13.  The Human Immune Response to Dengue Virus Is Dominated by Highly Cross-Reactive Antibodies Endowed with Neutralizing and Enhancing Activity 
Cell host & microbe  2010;8(3):10.1016/j.chom.2010.08.007.
Antibodies protect against homologous Dengue virus (DENV) infection but can precipitate severe dengue by promoting heterotypic virus entry via Fcγ receptors (FcγR). We immortalized memory B cells from individuals after primary or secondary infection and analyzed anti-DENV monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) thus generated. MAbs to envelope (E) protein domain III (DIII) were either serotype specific or cross-reactive and potently neutralized DENV infection. DI/DII- or viral membrane protein prM-reactive mAbs neutralized poorly and showed broad cross-reactivity with the four DENV serotypes. All mAbs enhanced infection at subneutralizing concentrations. Three mAbs targeting distinct epitopes on the four DENV serotypes and engineered to prevent FcγR binding did not enhance infection and neutralized DENV in vitro and in vivo as postexposure therapy in a mouse model of lethal DENV infection. Our findings reveal an unexpected degree of cross-reactivity in human antibodies against DENV and illustrate the potential for an antibody-based therapy to control severe dengue.
PMCID: PMC3884547  PMID: 20833378
14.  Genetic and physical interaction of Ssp1 CaMKK and Rad24 14-3-3 during low pH and osmotic stress in fission yeast 
Open Biology  2014;4(1):130127.
The Ssp1 calmodulin kinase kinase (CaMKK) is necessary for stress-induced re-organization of the actin cytoskeleton and initiation of growth at the new cell end following division in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In addition, it regulates AMP-activated kinase and functions in low glucose tolerance. ssp1− cells undergo mitotic delay at elevated temperatures and G2 arrest in the presence of additional stressors. Following hyperosmotic stress, Ssp1-GFP forms transient foci which accumulate at the cell membrane and form a band around the cell circumference, but not co-localizing with actin patches. Hyperosmolarity-induced localization to the cell membrane occurs concomitantly with a reduction of its interaction with the 14-3-3 protein Rad24, but not Rad25 which remains bound to Ssp1. The loss of rad24 in ssp1− cells reduces the severity of hyperosmotic stress response and relieves mitotic delay. Conversely, overexpression of rad24 exacerbates stress response and concomitant cell elongation. rad24− does not impair stress-induced localization of Ssp1 to the cell membrane, however this response is almost completely absent in cells overexpressing rad24.
PMCID: PMC3909272  PMID: 24451546
Ssp1; Rad24; 14-3-3; hyperosmotic stress; relocalization; pH
15.  Ciprofloxacin Is Actively Transported across Bronchial Lung Epithelial Cells Using a Calu-3 Air Interface Cell Model 
Ciprofloxacin is a well-established broad-spectrum fluoroquinolone antibiotic that penetrates well into the lung tissues; still, the mechanisms of its transepithelial transport are unknown. The contributions of specific transporters, including multidrug efflux transporters, organic cation transporters, and organic anion-transporting polypeptide transporters, to the uptake of ciprofloxacin were investigated in vitro using an air interface bronchial epithelial model. Our results demonstrate that ciprofloxacin is subject to predominantly active influx and a slight efflux component.
PMCID: PMC3716180  PMID: 23507281
16.  Koala retroviruses: characterization and impact on the life of koalas 
Retrovirology  2013;10:108.
Koala retroviruses (KoRV) have been isolated from wild and captive koalas in Australia as well as from koala populations held in zoos in other countries. They are members of the genus Gammaretrovirus, are most closely related to gibbon ape leukemia virus (GaLV), feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and porcine endogenous retrovirus (PERV) and are likely the result of a relatively recent trans-species transmission from rodents or bats. The first KoRV to be isolated, KoRV-A, is widely distributed in the koala population in both integrated endogenous and infectious exogenous forms with evidence from museum specimens older than 150 years, indicating a relatively long engagement with the koala population. More recently, additional subtypes of KoRV that are not endogenized have been identified based on sequence differences and host cell receptor specificity (KoRV-B and KoRV-J). A specific association with fatal lymphoma and leukemia has been recently suggested for KoRV-B. In addition, it has been proposed that the high viral loads found in many animals may lead to immunomodulation resulting in a higher incidence of diseases such as chlamydiosis. Although the molecular basis of this immunomodulation is still unclear, purified KoRV particles and a peptide corresponding to a highly conserved domain in the envelope protein have been shown to modulate cytokine expression in vitro, similar to that induced by other gammaretroviruses. While much is still to be learned, KoRV induced lymphoma/leukemia and opportunistic disease arising as a consequence of immunomodulation are likely to play an important role in the stability of koala populations both in the wild and in captivity.
PMCID: PMC4016316  PMID: 24148555
Gammaretroviruses; Koala retrovirus; Lymphoma; Immunodeficiency
17.  Glioma microvesicles carry selectively packaged coding and non-coding RNAs which alter gene expression in recipient cells 
RNA Biology  2013;10(8):1333-1344.
Interactions between glioma cells and their local environment are critical determinants of brain tumor growth, infiltration and neovascularisation. Communication with host cells and stroma via microvesicles represents one pathway by which tumors can modify their surroundings to achieve a tumor-permissive environment. Here we have taken an unbiased approach to identifying RNAs in glioma-derived microvesicles, and explored their potential to regulate gene expression in recipient cells. We find that glioma microvesicles are predominantly of exosomal origin and contain complex populations of coding and noncoding RNAs in proportions that are distinct from those in the cells from which they are derived. Microvesicles show a relative depletion in microRNA compared with their cells of origin, and are enriched in unusual or novel noncoding RNAs, most of which have no known function. Short-term exposure of brain microvascular endothelial cells to glioma microvesicles results in many gene expression changes in the endothelial cells, most of which cannot be explained by direct delivery of transcripts. Our data suggest that the scope of potential actions of tumor-derived microvesicles is much broader and more complex than previously supposed, and highlight a number of new classes of small RNA that remain to be characterized.
PMCID: PMC3817155  PMID: 23807490
exosome; microparticle; glioblastoma; small noncoding RNA; vault RNA; gene expression
18.  Novel and recurrent non-truncating mutations of the MITF basic domain: genotypic and phenotypic variations in Waardenburg and Tietz syndromes 
The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factor, which regulates melanocyte development and the biosynthetic melanin pathway. A notable relationship has been described between non-truncating mutations of its basic domain and Tietz syndrome, which is characterized by albinoid-like hypopigmentation of the skin and hair, rather than the patchy depigmentation seen in Waardenburg syndrome, and severe hearing loss. Twelve patients with new or recurrent non-truncating mutations of the MITF basic domain from six families were enrolled in this study. We observed a wide range of phenotypes and some unexpected features. All the patients had blue irides and pigmentation abnormalities that ranged from diffuse hypopigmentation to Waardenburg-like patches. In addition, they showed congenital complete hearing loss, diffuse hypopigmentation of the skin, freckling and ocular abnormalities, more frequently than patients with MITF mutations outside the basic domain. In conclusion, the non-truncating mutations of the basic domain do not always lead to Tietz syndrome but rather to a large range of phenotypes. Sun-exposed freckles are interestingly observed more frequently in Asian populations. This variability argues for the possible interaction with modifier loci.
PMCID: PMC3330215  PMID: 22258527
Waardenburg syndrome; Tietz syndrome; MITF; freckles; pigmentation
19.  Maternal obesity and diabetes induces latent metabolic defects and widespread epigenetic changes in isogenic mice 
Epigenetics  2013;8(6):602-611.
Intrauterine nutrition can program metabolism, creating stable changes in physiology that may have significant health consequences. The mechanism underlying these changes is widely assumed to involve epigenetic changes to the expression of metabolic genes, but evidence supporting this idea is limited. Here we have performed the first study of the epigenomic consequences of exposure to maternal obesity and diabetes. We used a mouse model of natural-onset obesity that allows comparison of genetically identical mice whose mothers were either obese and diabetic or lean with a normal metabolism. We find that the offspring of obese mothers have a latent metabolic phenotype that is unmasked by exposure to a Western-style diet, resulting in glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis. The offspring show changes in hepatic gene expression and widespread but subtle alterations in cytosine methylation. Contrary to expectation, these molecular changes do not point to metabolic pathways but instead reside in broadly developmental ontologies. We propose that, rather than being adaptive, these changes may simply produce an inappropriate response to suboptimal environments; maladaptive phenotypes may be avoidable if postnatal nutrition is carefully controlled.
PMCID: PMC3857340  PMID: 23764993
fetal programming; epigenetic programming; obesity; diabetes; cytosine methylation; Avy
20.  Expected Changes in Clinical Measures of Adiposity During Puberty 
Clinicians use several measures to estimate adiposity. Body mass index (BMI), although not a measure of adiposity, is commonly used to define weight status. Percent body fat (%BF) measures total body fatness, which is composed of central and peripheral fat, estimated by waist circumference (WC) and skinfold thickness, respectively. Abnormal increases in fat during puberty may reflect an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it is important to establish the normal patterns of change in clinically relevant measures of adiposity.
To describe the normal patterns of change in clinical measures of adiposity during puberty.
Multilevel modeling and linear regression analyses of 642 children in Project HeartBeat!, aged 8–18 years (non-black and black), who had assessments of BMI, %BF, WC, sums of 2- and 6-skinfolds, and pubertal stage (PS) triennially between 1991 and 1995.
In males, the normal pattern from PS1 to PS5 is for %BF to decrease, skinfold thickness to remain stable, and WC to increase. However, after adjusting for height, WC does not change. In females, %BFremains stable from PS1 to PS5, whereas skin fold thickness increases. As in males waist-height ratio does not change, indicating that central adiposity does not normally increase during puberty. Although BMI increases in both genders and races from PS1 to PS5, mean values at PS5 were well below 25 kg/m2.
During puberty, increase in %BF is abnormal in females and even more so in males. Likewise, increase in waist-height ratio is also abnormal and may suggest an increased risk for adiposity-associated morbidity.
PMCID: PMC3590003  PMID: 20864005
Adiposity; Adolescent; Body composition; Children; Puberty
21.  Modification of Disodium Cromoglycate Passage Across Lung Epithelium In Vitro Via Incorporation into Polymeric Microparticles 
The AAPS Journal  2011;14(1):79-86.
Two microparticle systems containing disodium cromoglycate (DSCG) alone or with polyvinyl alcohol (DSCG/PVA) were produced via spray drying and compared in terms of their physicochemical characteristics, aerosol performance and drug uptake across a pulmonary epithelial cell line (Calu-3), cultured under air interface conditions. The particle size distribution of DSCG and DSCG/PVA were similar, of spherical geometry, amorphous and suitable for inhalation purposes. Aerosolisation studies using a modified twin-stage impinger showed the DSCG/PVA to have greater aerosol performance than that of DSCG alone. Aerosol particles of DSCG and DSCG/PVA were deposited onto the surface of the Calu-3 air interface epithelium monolayer and the drug uptake from apical to basal directions measured over time. Drug uptake was measured across a range of doses to allow comparison of equivalent drug and powder mass deposition. Analysis of the data indicated that the percentage cumulative drug uptake was independent of the mass of powder deposited, but dependent on the formulation. Specifically, with the formulation containing DSCG, the diffusion rate was observed to change with respect to time (indicative of a concentration-dependent diffusion process), whilst DSCG/PVA showed a time-independent drug uptake (suggesting a zero-order depot release).
PMCID: PMC3291191  PMID: 22203523
Calu-3; controlled release; disodium cromoglycate; dry powder inhaler; DSCG
22.  Novel and recurrent non-truncating mutations of the MITF basic domain: genotypic and phenotypic variations in Waardenburg and Tietz syndromes 
The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper transcription factor which regulates melanocyte development and the biosynthetic melanin pathway. A notable relationship has been described between non-truncating mutations of its basic domain and Tietz syndrome, which is characterized by albinoid-like hypopigmentation of the skin and hair, rather than the patchy depigmentation seen in Waardenburg syndrome, and severe hearing loss. Twelve patients with new or recurrent non-truncating mutations of the MITF basic domain from six families were enrolled in this study. We observed a wide range of phenotypes and some unexpected features. The patients all had blue irides and pigmentation abnormalities that ranged from diffuse hypopigmentation to Waardenburg-like patches. In addition, they showed congenital complete hearing loss, diffuse hypopigmentation of the skin, freckling and ocular abnormalities, more frequently than patients with MITF mutations outside the basic domain. In conclusion, the non-truncating mutations of the basic domain do not always lead to Tietz syndrome but rather to a large range of phenotypes. Sun-exposed freckles are interestingly observed more frequently in Asian populations. This variability argues for the possible interaction with modifier loci.
PMCID: PMC3330215  PMID: 22258527
Waardenburg syndrome; Tietz syndrome; MITF; Freckles; Pigmentation
23.  A systematic review and meta-analysis of the cardioprotective effects of remote ischaemic preconditioning in open cardiac surgery 
To investigate the cardioprotective efficacy of remote ischaemic preconditioning (RIPC) in cardiac surgery.
We have performed a systematic search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials to identify randomized controlled trials involving RIPC.
Randomized controlled trials of RIPC in open cardiac surgery patients.
Main outcome measures
Meta-analysis was performed with the primary outcome the standardized mean difference between intervention and control groups in 12 hour postoperative troponin concentration. Heterogeneity was examined by fixed effects meta-regression.
Ten studies with a total of 693 participants were included in the meta-analysis. RIPC reduced troponin levels 12 hours after surgery compared with control. The fixed and random effects differences were 0.35 (95% CI 0.19 to 0.51) and 0.53 (95% CI 0.18-0.88) respectively. However, important heterogeneity was present. Fixed effects meta-regression partially accounted for heterogeneity based on whether studies had full blinding, comprising blinding of patients, surgeons, anaesthetists and investigators. Studies with incomplete or no blinding demonstrated a larger estimate of effect, 0.74 (95% CI 0.47 to 1.00) compared to those with full blinding, 0.13 (95% CI - 0.07 to 0.33).
Although our analysis suggests RIPC may result in cardiac protection during cardiac surgery, the effect was most marked in studies without full blinding, with a smaller and statistically non-significant effect in fully blinded studies. We propose that further double blind randomized controlled trials investigating the cardioprotective effects of RIPC in cardiac surgery are required to resolve the current clinical uncertainty.
PMCID: PMC3480853  PMID: 23104947

Results 1-25 (64)