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1.  Influence of the cystathionine β-synthase 844ins68 and methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase 677C>T polymorphisms on folate and homocysteine concentrations 
A high homocysteine, low folate phenotype is a feature of many diseases. The effect of the cystathionine β-synthase (CBS) 844ins68 polymorphism on homocysteine and folate concentrations was examined alone and in the context of the 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) 677C>T polymorphism in a Northwestern European male population. The MTHFR 677TT genotype is known to be associated with increased homocysteine and decreased folate relative to CT heterozygotes and CC homozygotes in this and other populations. MTHFR 677TT homozygotes who were also CBS 844ins68 carriers had homocysteine and folate concentrations similar to those of individuals with the MTHFR 677CT and CC genotypes. Homocysteine levels in MTHFR 677TT subjects carrying the CBS 844ins68 allele were 24.1% lower than in non-carriers (6.66 vs 8.77 μmol/l, P=0.045), and serum folate levels were 27.7% higher (11.16 vs 8.74 nmol/l, P=0.034). These findings suggest that the CBS 844ins68 allele ‘normalizes’ homocysteine and folate levels in MTHFR 677TT individuals.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2008.69
PMCID: PMC4051220  PMID: 18398434
folate; homocysteine; hyperhomocysteinemia; MTHFR; CBS
2.  Identification of MicroRNAs Regulating the Developmental Pathways of Bone Marrow Derived Mast Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98139.
Background
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in leukocyte differentiation, although those utilised for specific programs and key functions remain incompletely characterised. As a global approach to gain insights into the potential regulatory role of miRNA in mast cell differentiation we characterised expression in BM cultures from the initiation of differentiation. In cultures enriched in differentiating mast cells we characterised miRNA expression and identified miRNA targeting the mRNA of putative factors involved in differentiation pathways and cellular identity. Detailed pathway analysis identified a unique miRNA network that is intimately linked to the mast cell differentiation program.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identified 86 unique miRNAs with expression patterns that were up- or down- regulated at 5-fold or more during bone marrow derived mast cells (BMMC) development. By employing TargetScan and MeSH databases, we identified 524 transcripts involved in 30 canonical pathways as potentially regulated by these specific 86 miRNAs. Furthermore, by applying miRanda and IPA analyses, we predict that 7 specific miRNAs of this group are directly associated with the expression of c-Kit and FcεRIα and likewise, that 18 miRNAs promote expression of Mitf, GATA1 and c/EBPα three core transcription factors that direct mast cell differentiation. Furthermore, we have identified 11 miRNAs that may regulate the expression of STATs-3, -5a/b, GATA2 and GATA3 during differentiation, along with 13 miRNAs that target transcripts encoding Ndst2, mMCP4 and mMCP6 and thus may regulate biosynthesis of mast cell secretory mediators.
Conclusions/Significance
This investigation characterises changes in miRNA expression in whole BM cultures during the differentiation of mast cells and predicts functional links between miRNAs and their target mRNAs for the regulation of development. This information provides an important resource for further investigations of the contributions of miRNAs to mast cell differentiation and function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098139
PMCID: PMC4029961  PMID: 24848502
3.  Expression Profiling of Differentiating Eosinophils in Bone Marrow Cultures Predicts Functional Links between MicroRNAs and Their Target mRNAs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97537.
Background
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate complex transcriptional networks underpin immune responses. However, little is known about the specific miRNA networks that control differentiation of specific leukocyte subsets. In this study, we profiled miRNA expression during differentiation of eosinophils from bone marrow (BM) progenitors (bmEos), and correlated expression with potential mRNA targets involved in crucial regulatory functions. Profiling was performed on whole BM cultures to document the dynamic changes in miRNA expression in the BM microenvironment over the differentiation period. miRNA for network analysis were identified in BM cultures enriched in differentiating eosinophils, and chosen for their potential ability to target mRNA of factors that are known to play critical roles in eosinophil differentiation pathways or cell identify.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identified 68 miRNAs with expression patterns that were up- or down- regulated 5-fold or more during bmEos differentiation. By employing TargetScan and MeSH databases, we identified 348 transcripts involved in 30 canonical pathways as potentially regulated by these miRNAs. Furthermore, by applying miRanda and Ingenuity Pathways Analysis (IPA), we identified 13 specific miRNAs that are temporally associated with the expression of IL-5Rα and CCR3 and 14 miRNAs associated with the transcription factors GATA-1/2, PU.1 and C/EBPε. We have also identified 17 miRNAs that may regulate the expression of TLRs 4 and 13 during eosinophil differentiation, although we could identify no miRNAs targeting the prominent secretory effector, eosinophil major basic protein.
Conclusions/Significance
This is the first study to map changes in miRNA expression in whole BM cultures during the differentiation of eosinophils, and to predict functional links between miRNAs and their target mRNAs for the regulation of eosinophilopoiesis. Our findings provide an important resource that will promote the platform for further understanding of the role of these non-coding RNAs in the regulation of eosinophil differentiation and function.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097537
PMCID: PMC4019607  PMID: 24824797
4.  A randomised controlled trial of increasing fruit and vegetable intake and how this influences the carotenoid concentration and activities of PON-1 and LCAT in HDL from subjects with type 2 diabetes 
Background
High density lipoproteins (HDL) have many cardioprotective roles; however, in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D) these cardioprotective properties are diminished. Conversely, increased fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake may reduce cardiovascular disease risk, although direct trial evidence of a mechanism by which this occurs in subjects with T2D is lacking. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine if increased F&V consumption influenced the carotenoid content and enzymes associated with the antioxidant properties of HDL in subjects with T2D.
Methods
Eighty obese subjects with T2D were randomised to a 1- or ≥6-portion/day F&V diet for 8-weeks. Fasting serum was collected pre- and post-intervention. HDL was subfractionated into HDL2 and HDL3 by rapid ultracentrifugation. Carotenoids were measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by high performance liquid chromatography. The activity of paraoxonase-1 (PON-1) was measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by a spectrophotometric assay, while the activity of lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) was measured in serum, HDL2 and HDL3 by a fluorometric assay.
Results
In the ≥6- vs. 1-portion post-intervention comparisons, carotenoids increased in serum, HDL2 and particularly HDL3, (α-carotene, p = 0.008; β-cryptoxanthin, p = 0.042; lutein, p = 0.012; lycopene, p = 0.016), as did the activities of PON-1 and LCAT in HDL3 (p = 0.006 and 0.044, respectively).
Conclusion
To our knowledge, this is the first study in subjects with T2D to demonstrate that increased F&V intake augmented the carotenoid content and influenced enzymes associated with the antioxidant properties of HDL. We suggest that these changes would enhance the cardioprotective properties of this lipoprotein.
Clinical trial registration
ISRCTN21676269
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-16
PMCID: PMC3898240  PMID: 24423117
Type-2 diabetes; Fruit and vegetables; High density lipoprotein; Carotenoids; Paraoxonase-1; Lecithin cholesterol acyltransferase
5.  DEVELOPMENT OF A PRELIMINARY CLINICAL PREDICTION RULE TO IDENTIFY PATIENTS WITH NECK PAIN THAT MAY BENEFIT FROM A STANDARDIZED PROGRAM OF STRETCHING AND MUSCLE PERFORMANCE EXERCISE: A PROSPECTIVE COHORT STUDY 
Background and Purpose:
Neck pain is a significant problem and many treatment options exist. While some studies suggest exercise is beneficial for individuals with non‐specific neck pain clinicians have few tools to assist in the decision making process. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to derive a preliminary clinical prediction rule (CPR) for identifying patients with neck pain (NP) who may respond to an exercise‐based treatment program. Exercise‐based interventions have demonstrated positive outcomes in patients with NP, however it is unclear which patients are more likely to respond to this treatment approach.
Methods:
Consecutive patients with a primary report of nonspecific NP with or without arm pain were recruited. All patients participated in a standardized exercise program and then were classified as having a successful or non‐successful outcome at 6 weeks. Potential predictor variables were entered into a stepwise regression analysis. Variables retained in the regression model were used to develop a multivariate CPR that can be used to classify patients with NP that may benefit from exercise‐based treatment. A 6‐month follow up of the patients was used to evaluate the long‐term effects.
Results:
Ninety‐one patients were enrolled in the study of which 50 had a successful outcome. A CPR with 5 variables was identified (Neck Disability Index score < 18/50, presence of shoulder protraction during static postural assessment, patient does not bicycle for exercise, cervical side bending < 32°, and Fear Avoidance Belief Questionnaire–Physical Activity Score < 15). If 4 of the 5 variables were present, the probability of a successful outcome shifted from 56% to 78% (+LR 2.97). At 6 months no significant difference existed in self‐reported outcomes between those considered positive on the rule for a successful outcome and those negative on the rule for a successful outcome.
Conclusions:
The proposed CPR may identify patients with NP likely to benefit from exercise‐based treatment in the short term. However, long‐term follow up did not demonstrate a significant difference between groups.
Level of Evidence:
2b
PMCID: PMC3867069  PMID: 24377062
Clinical prediction rule; exercise; neck pain
6.  High Yield Production of a Soluble Human Interleukin-3 Variant from E. coli with Wild-Type Bioactivity and Improved Radiolabeling Properties 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e74376.
Human interleukin-3 (hIL-3) is a polypeptide growth factor that regulates the proliferation, differentiation, survival and function of hematopoietic progenitors and many mature blood cell lineages. Although recombinant hIL-3 is a widely used laboratory reagent in hematology, standard methods for its preparation, including those employed by commercial suppliers, remain arduous owing to a reliance on refolding insoluble protein expressed in E. coli. In addition, wild-type hIL-3 is a poor substrate for radio-iodination, which has been a long-standing hindrance to its use in receptor binding assays. To overcome these problems, we developed a method for expression of hIL-3 in E. coli as a soluble protein, with typical yields of >3mg of purified hIL-3 per litre of shaking microbial culture. Additionally, we introduced a non-native tyrosine residue into our hIL-3 analog, which allowed radio-iodination to high specific activities for receptor binding studies whilst not compromising bioactivity. The method presented herein provides a cost-effective and convenient route to milligram quantities of a hIL-3 analog with wild-type bioactivity that, unlike wild-type hIL‑3, can be efficiently radio-iodinated for receptor binding studies.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074376
PMCID: PMC3753260  PMID: 23991218
7.  Scoping Review on Search Queries and Social Media for Disease Surveillance: A Chronology of Innovation 
Background
The threat of a global pandemic posed by outbreaks of influenza H5N1 (1997) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, 2002), both diseases of zoonotic origin, provoked interest in improving early warning systems and reinforced the need for combining data from different sources. It led to the use of search query data from search engines such as Google and Yahoo! as an indicator of when and where influenza was occurring. This methodology has subsequently been extended to other diseases and has led to experimentation with new types of social media for disease surveillance.
Objective
The objective of this scoping review was to formally assess the current state of knowledge regarding the use of search queries and social media for disease surveillance in order to inform future work on early detection and more effective mitigation of the effects of foodborne illness.
Methods
Structured scoping review methods were used to identify, characterize, and evaluate all published primary research, expert review, and commentary articles regarding the use of social media in surveillance of infectious diseases from 2002-2011.
Results
Thirty-two primary research articles and 19 reviews and case studies were identified as relevant. Most relevant citations were peer-reviewed journal articles (29/32, 91%) published in 2010-11 (28/32, 88%) and reported use of a Google program for surveillance of influenza. Only four primary research articles investigated social media in the context of foodborne disease or gastroenteritis. Most authors (21/32 articles, 66%) reported that social media-based surveillance had comparable performance when compared to an existing surveillance program. The most commonly reported strengths of social media surveillance programs included their effectiveness (21/32, 66%) and rapid detection of disease (21/32, 66%). The most commonly reported weaknesses were the potential for false positive (16/32, 50%) and false negative (11/32, 34%) results. Most authors (24/32, 75%) recommended that social media programs should primarily be used to support existing surveillance programs.
Conclusions
The use of search queries and social media for disease surveillance are relatively recent phenomena (first reported in 2006). Both the tools themselves and the methodologies for exploiting them are evolving over time. While their accuracy, speed, and cost compare favorably with existing surveillance systems, the primary challenge is to refine the data signal by reducing surrounding noise. Further developments in digital disease surveillance have the potential to improve sensitivity and specificity, passively through advances in machine learning and actively through engagement of users. Adoption, even as supporting systems for existing surveillance, will entail a high level of familiarity with the tools and collaboration across jurisdictions.
doi:10.2196/jmir.2740
PMCID: PMC3785982  PMID: 23896182
disease; surveillance; social media; review
8.  Reproducibility and validity of a food frequency questionnaire among pregnant women in a Mediterranean area 
Nutrition Journal  2013;12:26.
Background
Studies exploring the role of diet during pregnancy are still scarce, in part due to the complexity of measuring diet and to the lack of valid instruments. The aim of this study was to examine the reproducibility and validity (against biochemical biomarkers) of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in pregnant women.
Methods
Participants were 740 pregnant women from a population-based birth cohort study in Valencia (INMA Study). We compared nutrient and food intakes from FFQs estimated for two periods of pregnancy (reproducibility), and compared energy-adjusted intake of several carotenoids, folate, vitamin B12, vitamin C and α-tocopherol of the FFQ in the first trimester with their concentration in blood specimens (validity).
Results
Significant correlations for reproducibility were found for major food groups and nutrients but not for lycopene (r=0.06); the average correlation coefficients for daily intake were 0.51 for food groups and 0.61 for nutrients. For validity, statistically significant correlations were observed for vitamin C (0.18), α-carotene (0.32), β-carotene (0.22), lutein-zeaxantin (0.29) and β-cryptoxantin(0.26); non-significant correlations were observed for retinol, lycopene, α-tocopherol, vitamin B12 and folate (r≤0.12). When dietary supplement use was considered, correlations were substantially improved for folate (0.53) and to a lesser extent for vitamin B12 (0.12) and vitamin C (0.20).
Conclusion
This study supports that the FFQ has a good reproducibility for nutrient and food intake, and can provide a valid estimate of several important nutrients during pregnancy.
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-26
PMCID: PMC3584829  PMID: 23421854
Diet; Nutrient intake; Food frequency questionnaire; Pregnancy; Validity
9.  Evidence of association of APOE with age-related macular degeneration - a pooled analysis of 15 studies 
Human mutation  2011;32(12):1407-1416.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment in high-income countries. Previous studies report inconsistent associations between AMD and apolipoprotein E (APOE), a lipid transport protein involved in low-density cholesterol modulation. Potential interaction between APOE and sex, and smoking status, has been reported. We present a pooled analysis (n=21,160) demonstrating associations between late AMD and APOε4 (OR=0.72 per haplotype; CI: 0.65–0.74; P=4.41×10−11) and APOε2 (OR=1.83 for homozygote carriers; CI: 1.04–3.23; P=0.04), following adjustment for age-group and sex within each study and smoking status. No evidence of interaction between APOE and sex or smoking was found. Ever smokers had significant increased risk relative to never smokers for both neovascular (OR=1.54; CI: 1.38–1.72; P=2.8×10−15) and atrophic (OR=1.38; CI: 1.18–1.61; P=3.37×10−5) AMD but not early AMD (OR=0.94; CI: 0.86–1.03; P=0.16), implicating smoking as a major contributing factor to disease progression from early signs to the visually disabling late forms. Extended haplotype analysis incorporating rs405509 did not identify additional risks beyondε2 and ε4 haplotypes. Our expanded analysis substantially improves our understanding of the association between the APOE locus and AMD. It further provides evidence supporting the role of cholesterol modulation, and low-density cholesterol specifically, in AMD disease etiology.
doi:10.1002/humu.21577
PMCID: PMC3217135  PMID: 21882290
age-related macular degeneration; AMD; apolipoprotein E; APOE; case-control association study
10.  Enantioselective Total Syntheses of (−)-Palau’amine, (−)- Axinellamines, and (−)-Massadines 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(37):14710-14726.
Dimeric pyrrole-imidazole alkaloids represent a rich and topologically unique class of marine natural products. This full account will follow the progression of efforts that culminated in the enantioselective total syntheses of the most structurally ornate members of this family: the axinellamines, the massadines, and palau’amine. A bio-inspired approach capitalizing on the pseudo-symmetry of the members of this class is recounted, delivering a deschloro derivative of the natural product core. Next, the enantioselective synthesis of the chlorocyclopentane core featuring a scalable, catalytic, enantioselective Diels–Alder reaction of a 1-siloxydiene is outlined in detail. Finally, the successful divergent conversion of this core to each of the aforementioned natural products, and the ensuing methodological developments are described.
doi:10.1021/ja2047232
PMCID: PMC3173569  PMID: 21861522
11.  Optimal Glycemic Control, Pre-eclampsia, and Gestational Hypertension in Women With Type 1 Diabetes in the Diabetes and Pre-eclampsia Intervention Trial 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(8):1683-1688.
OBJECTIVE
To assess the relationship between glycemic control, pre-eclampsia, and gestational hypertension in women with type 1 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Pregnancy outcome (pre-eclampsia or gestational hypertension) was assessed prospectively in 749 women from the randomized controlled Diabetes and Pre-eclampsia Intervention Trial (DAPIT). HbA1c (A1C) values were available up to 6 months before pregnancy (n = 542), at the first antenatal visit (median 9 weeks) (n = 721), at 26 weeks’ gestation (n = 592), and at 34 weeks’ gestation (n = 519) and were categorized as optimal (<6.1%: referent), good (6.1–6.9%), moderate (7.0–7.9%), and poor (≥8.0%) glycemic control, respectively.
RESULTS
Pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension developed in 17 and 11% of pregnancies, respectively. Women who developed pre-eclampsia had significantly higher A1C values before and during pregnancy compared with women who did not develop pre-eclampsia (P < 0.05, respectively). In early pregnancy, A1C ≥8.0% was associated with a significantly increased risk of pre-eclampsia (odds ratio 3.68 [95% CI 1.17–11.6]) compared with optimal control. At 26 weeks’ gestation, A1C values ≥6.1% (good: 2.09 [1.03–4.21]; moderate: 3.20 [1.47–7.00]; and poor: 3.81 [1.30–11.1]) and at 34 weeks’ gestation A1C values ≥7.0% (moderate: 3.27 [1.31–8.20] and poor: 8.01 [2.04–31.5]) significantly increased the risk of pre-eclampsia compared with optimal control. The adjusted odds ratios for pre-eclampsia for each 1% decrement in A1C before pregnancy, at the first antenatal visit, at 26 weeks’ gestation, and at 34 weeks’ gestation were 0.88 (0.75–1.03), 0.75 (0.64–0.88), 0.57 (0.42–0.78), and 0.47 (0.31–0.70), respectively. Glycemic control was not significantly associated with gestational hypertension.
CONCLUSIONS
Women who developed pre-eclampsia had significantly higher A1C values before and during pregnancy. These data suggest that optimal glycemic control both early and throughout pregnancy may reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia in women with type 1 diabetes.
doi:10.2337/dc11-0244
PMCID: PMC3142058  PMID: 21636798
12.  Mitochondrial J haplogroup is associated with lower blood pressure and anti-oxidant status: findings in octo/nonagenarians from the BELFAST Study 
Age  2012;35(4):1445-1456.
Mitochondria produce cellular energy but also free-radicals, which damage cells despite an array of endogenous anti-oxidants. In Northern Europe, the mitochondrial haplogroup J has been related to longevity in nonagenarians and centenarians but also with age-related disease. Hypertension is an important contributor to atherosclerotic-related diseases and its pathogenesis is associated with increased oxidative stress. In this study, we questioned whether J haplogroup octo/nonagenarians from the Belfast Elderly Longitudinal Free-living Elderly STudy (BELFAST) study showed evidence of protective blood pressure or anti-oxidant profile which might explain their longevity advantage. Briefly, in a cross-sectional study, community-living, mentally alert (Folstein >25/30), octo/nonagenarian subjects, recruited for good health, were enlisted and consented as part of the BELFAST study, for blood pressure, anthropometric measurements and blood sampling. DNA typing for mitochondrial haplotypes was carried out with measurements for enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. J haplogroup carriers showed lower systolic blood pressure and glutathione peroxidase activity (Gpx) with higher folate measurements. There was no change in urate, bilirubin, albumin or nutrition-related antioxidants-selenium or vitamins A, C and α and β carotene. BELFAST study mtDNA J haplogroup octo/nonagenarians showed lower blood pressure and reduced glutathione peroxidase activity and higher folate, but no change for other antioxidants. These findings are of interest in view of mtDNA J haplogroup’s association with increased age in some previous studies.
doi:10.1007/s11357-012-9444-4
PMCID: PMC3705099  PMID: 22777651
Blood pressure; J mitochondrial haplogroup; Longevity; Antioxidant status; Glutathione peroxidase activity; Vitamins A, E, C, α and β carotene; Urate
13.  Total Synthesis of Palau’amine 
doi:10.1002/anie.200907112
PMCID: PMC3367661  PMID: 20041464
14.  Prevalence and Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiency in North and South India: A Two Centre Population Based Study in People Aged 60 Years and Over 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28588.
Background
Studies from the UK and North America have reported vitamin C deficiency in around 1 in 5 men and 1 in 9 women in low income groups. There are few data on vitamin C deficiency in resource poor countries.
Objectives
To investigate the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in India.
Design
We carried out a population-based cross-sectional survey in two areas of north and south India. Randomly sampled clusters were enumerated to identify people aged 60 and over. Participants (75% response rate) were interviewed for tobacco, alcohol, cooking fuel use, 24 hour diet recall and underwent anthropometry and blood collection. Vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid. We categorised vitamin C status as deficient (<11 µmol/L), sub-optimal (11–28 µmol/L) and adequate (>28 µmol/L). We investigated factors associated with vitamin C deficiency using multivariable Poisson regression.
Results
The age, sex and season standardized prevalence of vitamin C deficiency was 73.9% (95% confidence Interval, CI 70.4,77.5) in 2668 people in north India and 45.7% (95% CI 42.5,48.9) in 2970 from south India. Only 10.8% in the north and 25.9% in the south met the criteria for adequate levels. Vitamin C deficiency varied by season, and was more prevalent in men, with increasing age, users of tobacco and biomass fuels, in those with anthropometric indicators of poor nutrition and with lower intakes of dietary vitamin C.
Conclusions
In poor communities, such as in our study, consideration needs to be given to measures to improve the consumption of vitamin C rich foods and to discourage the use of tobacco.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028588
PMCID: PMC3232233  PMID: 22163038
15.  Robust nuclear lamina-based cell classification of aging and senescent cells 
Aging (Albany NY)  2011;3(12):1192-1201.
Changes in the shape of the nuclear lamina are exhibited in senescent cells, as well as in cells expressing mutations in lamina genes. To identify cells with defects in the nuclear lamina we developed an imaging method that quantifies the intensity and curvature of the nuclear lamina. We show that this method accurately describes changes in the nuclear lamina. Spatial changes in nuclear lamina coincide with redistribution of lamin A proteins and local reduction in protein mobility in senescent cell. We suggest that local accumulation of lamin A in the nuclear envelope leads to bending of the structure. A quantitative distinction of the nuclear lamina shape in cell populations was found between fresh and senescent cells, and between primary myoblasts from young and old donors. Moreover, with this method mutations in lamina genes were significantly distinct from cells with wild-type genes. We suggest that this method can be applied to identify abnormal cells during aging, in in vitro propagation, and in lamina disorders.
PMCID: PMC3273899  PMID: 22199022
cell senescence; aging cells; apoptosis; nuclear lamina; image processing
16.  Inverse Association of Vitamin C with Cataract in Older People in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(10):1958-1965.e2.
Objective
To examine the association between vitamin C and cataract in the Indian setting.
Design
Population-based cross-sectional analytic study.
Participants
A total of 5638 people aged ≥60 years.
Methods
Enumeration of randomly sampled villages in 2 areas of north and south India to identify people aged ≥60 years. Participants were interviewed for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors (tobacco, alcohol, household cooking fuel, work, and diet); attended a clinical examination, including lens photography; and provided a blood sample for antioxidant analysis. Plasma vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid, and other antioxidants were measured by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography.
Main Outcome Measures
Cataract and type of cataract were graded from digital lens images using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III), and cataract was classified from the grade in the worse eye of ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
Results
Of 7518 enumerated people, 5638 (75%) provided data on vitamin C, antioxidants, and potential confounders. Vitamin C was inversely associated with cataract (adjusted odds ratio [OR] for highest to lowest quartile = 0.61; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.51–0.74; P=1.1×10−6). Inclusion of other antioxidants in the model (lutein, zeaxanthin, retinol, β-carotene, and α-tocopherol) made only a small attenuation to the result (OR 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57–0.82; P < 0.0001). Similar results were seen with vitamin C by type of cataract: nuclear cataract (adjusted OR 0.66; CI, 0.54–0.80; P < 0.0001), cortical cataract (adjusted OR 0.70; CI, 0.54–0.90; P < 0.002), and PSC (adjusted OR 0.58; CI, 0.45–0.74; P < 0.00003). Lutein, zeaxanthin, and retinol were significantly inversely associated with cataract, but the associations were weaker and not consistently observed by type of cataract. Inverse associations were also observed for dietary vitamin C and cataract.
Conclusions
We found a strong association with vitamin C and cataract in a vitamin C–depleted population.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.03.016
PMCID: PMC3185206  PMID: 21705085
17.  Elevated soluble cellular adhesion molecules are associated with increased mortality in a prospective cohort of renal transplant recipients 
BMC Nephrology  2011;12:23.
Background
Increased plasma levels of cellular adhesion molecules (CAMs) have been shown to be predictors of all cause mortality in individuals with chronic renal failure [1,2] and patients with end-stage renal disease receiving haemodialysis [3]. In renal transplant recipients the predictive value of CAMs has not been well characterised. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between CAMs and all-cause mortality during prospective follow-up of a renal transplant cohort.
Methods
A total of 378 renal transplant recipients were recruited between June 2000 and December 2002. Soluble vascular CAM-1 (VCAM) and soluble intercellular CAM-1 (ICAM) were measured at baseline and prospective follow-up data was collected at a median of 2441 days after enrolment.
Results
In univariate survival analysis the renal transplant recipients with a VCAM or ICAM concentration in the lowest third were significantly more likely to have survived at follow-up (p < 0.001 and p = 0.009 respectively). In multivariate survival analysis VCAM and ICAM remained significant independent predictors of mortality following adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors, hsCRP and estimated GFR (p = 0.030 and p = 0.037 respectively).
Conclusions
The results of this prospective study are the first to show that the CAMs, ICAM and particularly VCAM, are significant independent predictors of mortality in patients with a renal transplant.
doi:10.1186/1471-2369-12-23
PMCID: PMC3120748  PMID: 21600046
18.  Low-Fat Versus Low-Carbohydrate Weight Reduction Diets 
Diabetes  2009;58(12):2741-2748.
OBJECTIVE
Low-fat hypocaloric diets reduce insulin resistance and prevent type 2 diabetes in those at risk. Low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets are advocated as an alternative, but reciprocal increases in dietary fat may have detrimental effects on insulin resistance and offset the benefits of weight reduction.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We investigated a low-fat (20% fat, 60% carbohydrate) versus a low-carbohydrate (60% fat, 20% carbohydrate) weight reduction diet in 24 overweight/obese subjects ([mean ± SD] BMI 33.6 ± 3.7 kg/m2, aged 39 ± 10 years) in an 8-week randomized controlled trial. All food was weighed and distributed, and intake was calculated to produce a 500 kcal/day energy deficit. Insulin action was assessed by the euglycemic clamp and insulin secretion by meal tolerance test. Body composition, adipokine levels, and vascular compliance by pulse-wave analysis were also measured.
RESULTS
Significant weight loss occurred in both groups (P < 0.01), with no difference between groups (P = 0.40). Peripheral glucose uptake increased, but there was no difference between groups (P = 0.28), and suppression of endogenous glucose production was also similar between groups. Meal tolerance–related insulin secretion decreased with weight loss with no difference between groups (P = 0.71). The change in overall systemic arterial stiffness was, however, significantly different between diets (P = 0.04); this reflected a significant decrease in augmentation index following the low-fat diet, compared with a nonsignificant increase within the low-carbohydrate group.
CONCLUSIONS
This study demonstrates comparable effects on insulin resistance of low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets independent of macronutrient content. The difference in augmentation index may imply a negative effect of low-carbohydrate diets on vascular risk.
doi:10.2337/db09-0098
PMCID: PMC2780863  PMID: 19720791
19.  Inflammation Markers are Associated with Cardiovascular Diseases Risk in Adolescents: The Young Hearts Project 2000 
The Journal of Adolescent Health  2010;47(4):346-351.
Purpose
The traditional approach for identifying subjects at risk from cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is to determine the extent of clustering of biological risk factors adjusted for lifestyle. Recently, markers of endothelial dysfunction and low grade inflammation, including high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), soluble intercellular adhesion molecules (sICAM), and soluble vascular adhesion molecules (sVCAM), have been included in the detection for high risk individuals. However, the relationship of these novel biomarkers with CVD risk in adolescents remains unclear. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to establish the association of hsCRP, sICAM, and sVCAM with CVD risk in an adolescent population.
Methods
Data from the Young Hearts 2000 cross-sectional cohort study, carried out in 1999–2001, were used. From a total of 2,017 male and female participants, 95 obese subjects were identified and matched according to age, sex, and cigarette smoking, with 95 overweight and 95 normal-weight adolescents. Clustered CVD risk was computed using a sum of Z-scores of biological risk factors. The relationship was described using multiple linear regression analyses.
Results
hsCRP, sICAM, and sVCAM showed significant associations with CVD risk. hsCRP and sICAM had a positive relation with CVD risk, whereas sVCAM showed an inverse relationship. In this study, lifestyle factors showed no relation with CVD risk.
Conclusion
The results fit the hypothesized role of low grade inflammation and endothelial dysfunction in CVD risk in asymptomatic adolescents. The inverse relationship of VCAM, however, is hard to explain and indicates the complex mechanisms underlying CVD. Further research is needed to draw firm conclusions on the biomarkers used.
doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2010.04.008
PMCID: PMC2958312  PMID: 20864003
Cardiovascular diseases; Adolescence; hsCRP; sICAM; sVCAM
20.  Randomised controlled trial of home‐based walking programmes at and below current recommended levels of exercise in sedentary adults 
Objectives
To determine, using unsupervised walking programmes, the effects of exercise at a level lower than currently recommended to improve cardiovascular risk factors and functional capacity.
Design
12 week randomised controlled trial.
Setting
Northern Ireland Civil Service; home‐based walking.
Participants
106 healthy, sedentary 40 to 61 year old adults of both sexes.
Interventions
Participants were randomly allocated to a walking programme (30 minutes brisk walking three days a week (n = 44) or five days a week (n = 42)) or a control group (n = 20). Participants could choose to walk in bouts of at least 10 minutes. They used pedometers to record numbers of steps taken. Intention to treat analysis of changes within groups was done using paired t tests; extent of change (baseline to 12 week measurements) was compared between groups using analysis of variance and Gabriel's post hoc test.
Main outcome measures
Blood pressure, serum lipids, body mass index, waist:hip ratio, and functional capacity (using a 10 m shuttle walk test).
Main results
89% (93/106) completed the study. Systolic blood pressure and waist and hip circumferences fell significantly both in the three day group (5 mm Hg, 2.6 cm, and 2.4 cm, respectively) and in the five day group (6 mm Hg, 2.5 cm, and 2.2 cm) (p<0.05). Functional capacity increased in both groups (15%; 11%). Diastolic blood pressure fell in the five day group (3.4 mm Hg, p<0.05). No changes occurred in the control group.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence of benefit from exercising at a level below that currently recommended in healthy sedentary adults. Further studies are needed of potential longer term health benefits for a wider community from low levels of exercise.
doi:10.1136/jech.2006.053058
PMCID: PMC2660000  PMID: 17699531
walking; health promotion; exercise; randomised controlled trial; coronary artery disease
21.  Total Syntheses of (±)-Massadine and Massadine Chloride 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2008;130(49):16490-16491.
The total synthesis of the complex pyrrole–imidazole alkaloids (±)–massadine and (±)–massadine chloride is described using a carefully orchestrated sequence of manipulations on highly polar and structurally complex intermediates. Key to the completion of this synthetic endeavor was the exploration of a unique and chemoselective method to oxidize unprotected guanidines under aqueous conditions in air. This oxidation has been optimized and applied to a selection of spirocyclic guanidines of varying complexity. Additionally, the 3,7–epi analogues of these interesting natural products have been synthesized and fully characterized.
doi:10.1021/ja8074852
PMCID: PMC2913575  PMID: 19049446
22.  Vitamins C and E for prevention of pre-eclampsia in women with type 1 diabetes (DAPIT): a randomised placebo-controlled trial 
Lancet  2010;376(6736):259-266.
Summary
Background
Results of several trials of antioxidant use during pregnancy have not shown a reduction in pre-eclampsia, but the effect in women with diabetes is unknown. We aimed to assess whether supplementation with vitamins C and E reduced incidence of pre-eclampsia in women with type 1 diabetes.
Methods
We enrolled women from 25 UK antenatal metabolic clinics in a multicentre randomised placebo-controlled trial. Eligibility criteria were type 1 diabetes preceding pregnancy, presentation between 8 weeks' and 22 weeks' gestation, singleton pregnancy, and age 16 years or older. Women were randomly allocated in a 1:1 ratio to receive 1000 mg vitamin C and 400 IU vitamin E (α-tocopherol) or matched placebo daily until delivery. The randomisation sequence was stratified by centre with balanced blocks of eight patients. All trial personnel and participants were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was pre-eclampsia, which we defined as gestational hypertension with proteinuria. Analysis was by modified intention to treat. This study is registered, ISRCTN27214045.
Findings
Between April, 2003, and June, 2008, 762 women were randomly allocated to treatment groups (379 vitamin supplementation, 383 placebo). The primary endpoint was assessed for 375 women allocated to receive vitamins, and 374 allocated to placebo. Rates of pre-eclampsia did not differ between vitamin (15%, n=57) and placebo (19%, 70) groups (risk ratio 0·81, 95% CI 0·59–1·12). No adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes were reported.
Interpretation
Supplementation with vitamins C and E did not reduce risk of pre-eclampsia in women with type 1 diabetes. However, the possibility that vitamin supplementation might be beneficial in women with a low antioxidant status at baseline needs further testing.
Funding
The Wellcome Trust.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60630-7
PMCID: PMC2911677  PMID: 20580423
23.  Molecular Image Analysis: Quantitative Description and Classification of the Nuclear Lamina in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
The nuclear lamina is an intermediate filament network that provides a structural framework for the cell nucleus. Changes in lamina structure are found during changes in cell fate such as cell division or cell death and are associated with human diseases. An unbiased method that quantifies changes in lamina shape can provide information on cells undergoing changes in cellular functions. We have developed an image processing methodology that finds and quantifies the 3D structure of the nuclear lamina. We show that measurements on such images can be used for cell classification and provide information concerning protein spatial localization in this structure. To demonstrate the efficacy of this method, we compared the lamina of unmanipulated human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) at passage 4 to cells activated for apoptosis. A statistically significant classification was found between the two populations.
doi:10.1155/2011/723283
PMCID: PMC3065845  PMID: 21490732
24.  Oxford desk reference: clinical genetics 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2006;43(5):393.
doi:10.1136/jmg.2005.038877
PMCID: PMC2564512
25.  Evaluating the Effects of A Low Volume Stairclimbing Programme on Measures of Health-Related Fitness in Sedentary Office Workers 
Despite its obvious advantages, few studies have examined health outcomes of regular stariclimbing. In this study, we investigated the training effects of eight weeks of stairclimbing on recognised measures of health-related fitness in an occupational setting. Forty-five public sector employees (22 male, 23 female) aged 42.3 ± 9.0 years were randomly assigned to control (n = 16) or stairclimbing (n = 29) groups. Stairclimbing training began with 1 bout 5d·wk-1 in week 1, increasing by one climb per day every two weeks until week 5, where a maintenance level of 3 climbs per day was reached. Participants climbed on staircases located within an 8 storey office block, consisting of 145 steps. The prescribed exercise intensity involved climbing the 8 flights of stairs at a rate of 75 steps·min-1. All participants agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period. Relative to controls, the stairclimbing group showed a significant increase of 9.4% in predicted VO2max (p < 0. 05). No significant changes in blood pressure, blood lipid concentrations or body composition were noted. These findings provide evidence that stairclimbing can enhance an important component of health-related fitness, namely cardiovascular fitness. Given that such improvement resulted from less than 30 minutes per week of moderate exercise, stairclimbing in the workplace should be promoted as a health-enhancing physical activity.
Key pointsLow volumes of stairclimbing significantly increased a key component of cardiorespiratory fitness, namely VO2max.Stairclimbing can therefore be promoted within the typical urban workplace as a health enhancing activity.Indices of morphological or metabolic fitness may require larger volumes of stairclimbing than as prescribed in the current study.
PMCID: PMC3794484  PMID: 24149477
Exercise therapy; physical fitness; dyslipidemias; occupational health

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