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1.  Identification of Differentially Expressed Transcripts and Pathways in Blood One Week and Six Months Following Implant of Left Ventricular Assist Devices 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77951.
Continuous-flow left ventricular assist devices (LVADs) are an established therapy for patients with end-stage heart failure. The short- and long-term impact of these devices on peripheral blood gene expression has not been characterized, and may provide insight into the molecular pathways mediated in response to left ventricular remodeling and an improvement in overall systemic circulation. We performed RNA sequencing to identify genes and pathways influenced by these devices.
RNA was extracted from blood of 9 heart failure patients (8 male) prior to LVAD implantation, and at 7 and 180 days postoperatively. Libraries were sequenced on an Illumina HiSeq2000 and sequences mapped to the human Ensembl GRCh37.67 genome assembly.
A specific set of genes involved in regulating cellular immune response, antigen presentation, and T cell activation and survival were down-regulated 7 days after LVAD placement. 6 months following LVAD placement, the expression levels of these genes were significantly increased; yet importantly, remained significantly lower than age and sex-matched samples from healthy controls.
In summary, this genomic analysis identified a significant decrease in the expression of genes that promote a healthy immune response in patients with heart failure that was partially restored 6 months following LVAD implant.
PMCID: PMC3804545  PMID: 24205042
2.  Revision of metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty in a tertiary center 
Acta Orthopaedica  2013;84(3):237-245.
Background and purpose
Operative findings during revision of metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty (MOMHA) vary widely and can involve massive soft tissue and bone disruption. As a result, planning of theater time and resources is difficult, surgery is challenging, and outcomes are often poor. We describe our experience with revision of MOMHA and provide recommendations for management.
Patients and methods
We present the findings and outcomes of 39 consecutive MOMHAs (in 35 patients) revised in a tertiary unit (median follow-up time 30 (12–54) months). The patients underwent a preoperative work-up including CT, metal artifact reduction sequence (MARS) MRI, and blood metal ion levels.
We determined 5 categories of failure. 8 of 39 hips had conventional failure mechanisms including infection and impingement. Of the other 31 hips, 14 showed synovitis without significant disruption of soft tissue; 6 had a cystic pseudotumor with significant soft tissue disruption; 7 had significant osteolysis; and 4 had a solid pseudotumor. Each category of failure had specific surgical hazards that could be addressed preoperatively. There were 2 reoperations and 1 patient (2 hips) died of an unrelated cause. Median Oxford hip score (OHS) was 37 (9–48); median change (ΔOHS) was 17 (–10 to 41) points. ΔOHS was similar in all groups—except those patients with solid pseudotumors and those revised to metal-on-metal bearings, who fared worse.
Planning in revision MOMHA is aided by knowledge of the different categories of failure to enable choice of appropriate personnel, theater time, and equipment. With this knowledge, satisfactory outcomes can be achieved in revision of metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty.
PMCID: PMC3715818  PMID: 23621810
3.  Evaluation of 64 Candidate Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms as Risk Factors for Neural Tube Defects in a Large Irish Study Population 
Individual studies of the genetics of neural tube defects (NTDs) contain results on a small number of genes in each report. To identify genetic risk factors for NTDs, we evaluated potentially functional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are biologically plausible risk factors for NTDs but that have never been investigated for an association with NTDs, examined SNPs that previously showed no association with NTDs in published studies, and tried to confirm previously reported associations in folate-related and non-folate-related genes. We investigated 64 SNPs in 34 genes for association with spina bifida in up to 558 case-families (520 cases, 507 mothers, 457 fathers) and 994 controls in Ireland. Case-control and mother-control comparisons of genotype frequencies, tests of transmission disequilibrium, and log-linear regression models were used to calculate effect estimates. Spina bifida was associated with over-transmission of the LEPR (leptin receptor) rs1805134 minor C allele (genotype relative risk (GRR): 1.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0, 2.1; P = 0.0264) and the COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) rs737865 major T allele (GRR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.1, 2.0; P = 0.0206). After correcting for multiple comparisons, these individual test P-values exceeded 0.05. Consistent with previous reports, spina bifida was associated with MTHFR 677C>T, T (Brachyury) rs3127334, LEPR K109R, and PDGFRA promoter haplotype combinations. The associations between LEPR SNPs and spina bifida suggest a possible mechanism for the finding that obesity is a NTD risk factor. The association between a variant in COMT and spina bifida implicates methylation and epigenetics in NTDs.
PMCID: PMC3503244  PMID: 21204206
congenital abnormalities; folic acid; neural tube defects; single nucleotide polymorphism; spina bifida
4.  Evaluation of common genetic variants in 82 candidate genes as risk factors for neural tube defects 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:62.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are common birth defects (~1 in 1000 pregnancies in the US and Europe) that have complex origins, including environmental and genetic factors. A low level of maternal folate is one well-established risk factor, with maternal periconceptional folic acid supplementation reducing the occurrence of NTD pregnancies by 50-70%. Gene variants in the folate metabolic pathway (e.g., MTHFR rs1801133 (677 C > T) and MTHFD1 rs2236225 (R653Q)) have been found to increase NTD risk. We hypothesized that variants in additional folate/B12 pathway genes contribute to NTD risk.
A tagSNP approach was used to screen common variation in 82 candidate genes selected from the folate/B12 pathway and NTD mouse models. We initially genotyped polymorphisms in 320 Irish triads (NTD cases and their parents), including 301 cases and 341 Irish controls to perform case–control and family based association tests. Significantly associated polymorphisms were genotyped in a secondary set of 250 families that included 229 cases and 658 controls. The combined results for 1441 SNPs were used in a joint analysis to test for case and maternal effects.
Nearly 70 SNPs in 30 genes were found to be associated with NTDs at the p < 0.01 level. The ten strongest association signals (p-value range: 0.0003–0.0023) were found in nine genes (MFTC, CDKN2A, ADA, PEMT, CUBN, GART, DNMT3A, MTHFD1 and T (Brachyury)) and included the known NTD risk factor MTHFD1 R653Q (rs2236225). The single strongest signal was observed in a new candidate, MFTC rs17803441 (OR = 1.61 [1.23-2.08], p = 0.0003 for the minor allele). Though nominally significant, these associations did not remain significant after correction for multiple hypothesis testing.
To our knowledge, with respect to sample size and scope of evaluation of candidate polymorphisms, this is the largest NTD genetic association study reported to date. The scale of the study and the stringency of correction are likely to have contributed to real associations failing to survive correction. We have produced a ranked list of variants with the strongest association signals. Variants in the highest rank of associations are likely to include true associations and should be high priority candidates for further study of NTD risk.
PMCID: PMC3458983  PMID: 22856873
Neural tube defects; Spina bifida; Folic acid; One-carbon metabolism; Candidate gene
5.  Uncoupling Protein 2 Polymorphisms as Risk Factors for Neural Tube Defects 
Both environmental and genetic factors are involved in the etiology of neural tube defects (NTDs). Inadequate folate intake and obesity are important environmental risk factors. Several folate-related genetic variants have been identified as risk factors; however, little is known about how genetic variants relate to the increased risk seen in obese women. Uncoupling Protein 2 (UCP2) is an attractive candidate to screen for NTD risk because of its possible role in obesity as well as energy metabolism, type-2 diabetes, and the regulation of reactive oxygen species. Interestingly, a previous study found that a common UCP2 compound homozygous genotype was associated with a threefold increase in NTD risk.
We evaluated three polymorphisms, −866G>A, A55V, and the 3′UTR 45bp insertion/deletion, as risk factors for NTDs in Irish NTD cases (N=169), their mothers (N=163), their fathers (N=167) and normal control subjects (N=332).
Allele and genotype frequencies were not significantly different when comparing NTD mothers, NTD fathers, or affected children to controls. Additionally, the previously reported risk genotype (combined homozygosity of 55VV and 3′UTR 45bp deletion/deletion) was not present at a higher frequency in any NTD group when compared to controls.
In our Irish study population, UCP2 polymorphisms do not influence NTD risk. Moreover, the prevalence of this allele in other populations was similar to the Irish prevalence but far lower than reported in the previous NTD study, suggesting that this previous finding of an association with NTDs might have been due to an unrepresentative study sample.
PMCID: PMC2724655  PMID: 19137581
neural tube defects; spina bifida; UCP2; obesity

Results 1-5 (5)