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Skeletal aging is accompanied by decreased cancellous bone mass and increased formation of pores within cortical bone. The latter accounts for a large portion of the increase in non-vertebral fractures after age 65 in humans. We selectively deleted Bak and Bax, two genes essential for apoptosis, in two types of terminally differentiated bone cells: the short-lived osteoblasts that elaborate the bone matrix, and the long-lived osteocytes that are immured within the mineralized matrix and choreograph the regeneration of bone. Attenuation of apoptosis in osteoblasts increased their working lifespan and thereby cancellous bone mass in the femur. In long-lived osteocytes, however, it caused dysfunction with advancing age and greatly magnified intracortical femoral porosity associated with increased production of receptor activator of nuclear factor-κB ligand and vascular endothelial growth factor. Increasing bone mass by artificial prolongation of the inherent lifespan of short-lived osteoblasts, while exaggerating the adverse effects of aging on long-lived osteocytes, highlights the seminal role of cell age in bone homeostasis. In addition, our findings suggest that distress signals produced by old and/or dysfunctional osteocytes are the culprits of the increased intracortical porosity in old age.
PMCID: PMC3823639  PMID: 23761243
apoptosis; osteoblasts; osteocytes; bone formation; aging; cortical porosity; RANKL
Bone  2012;54(2):264-271.
Apoptotic death of osteocytes was recognized over 15 years ago, but its significance for bone homeostasis has remained elusive. A new paradigm has emerged that invokes osteocyte apoptosis as a critical event in the recruitment of osteoclasts to a specific site in response to skeletal unloading, fatigue damage, estrogen deficiency and perhaps in other states where bone must be removed. This is accomplished by yet to be defined signals emanating from dying osteocytes, which stimulate neighboring viable osteocytes to produce osteoclastogenic cytokines. The osteocyte apoptosis caused by chronic glucocorticoid administration does not increase osteoclasts; however, it does negatively impact maintenance of bone hydration, vascularity, and strength.
PMCID: PMC3624050  PMID: 23238124
osteocytes; apoptosis; RANKL; bone remodeling; mechanical force; ovariectomy; glucocorticoid excess
3.  Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization Burden in HIV-Infected Patients 
We examined community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus extranasal colonization among newly admitted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and HIV-negative inpatients. HIV-infected patients had higher colonization burden and more often carried the USA300 strain type. In certain populations, enhanced outpatient community and healthcare-based infection control strategies may be needed.
Background. The epidemic of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has had a disproportionate impact on patients with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Methods. We evaluated CA-MRSA colonization burden (number of colonized sites per total number sampled) among HIV-infected and HIV-negative inpatients within 72 hours of hospitalization. From March 2011 through April 2012, we obtained cultures from nasal and extranasal sites (throat, axilla, inguinal, perirectal, and chronic wound if present) and collected risk factor data.
Results. Of 745 patients (374 HIV-infected, 371 HIV-negative), 15.7% were colonized with CA-MRSA at any site: 20% of HIV and 11% of HIV-negative patients (relative prevalence = 1.8, P = .002). HIV-infected patients had a higher prevalence of nasal, extranasal, and exclusive extranasal colonization as well as higher colonization burden. Perirectal and inguinal areas were the extranasal sites most frequently colonized, and 38.5% of colonized patients had exclusive extranasal colonization. Seventy-three percent of isolates were identified as USA300. Among HIV-infected patients, male sex, younger age, and recent incarceration were positively associated whereas Hispanic ethnicity was negatively associated with higher colonization burden. Among HIV-negative patients, temporary housing (homeless, shelter, or substance abuse center) was the only factor associated with higher colonization burden. Predictors of USA300 included HIV, younger age, illicit drug use, and male sex; all but 1 colonized individual with current or recent incarceration carried USA300.
Conclusions. HIV-infected patients were more likely to have a higher CA-MRSA colonization burden and carry USA300. In certain populations, enhanced community and outpatient-based infection control strategies may be needed to prevent CA-MRSA cross-transmission and infection.
PMCID: PMC3601722  PMID: 23325428
CA-MRSA; HIV; extranasal colonization
4.  Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis and Osteonecrosis 
Glucocorticoid administration is the most common cause of secondary osteoporosis and the leading cause of nontraumatic osteonecrosis. In patients receiving long-term therapy, glucocorticoids induce fractures in 30 to 50% and osteonecrosis in 9 to 40%. This article reviews glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and osteonecrosis addressing the risk factors, pathogenesis, evaluation, treatment, and uncertainties in the clinical management of these disorders.
PMCID: PMC3417039  PMID: 22877431
glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis; bone strength; osteoblasts; osteocytes; osteoclasts; bone vascularity; bisphosphonates; teriparatide; denosumab; glucocorticoid-associated litigation
5.  Glucocorticoid-induced osteonecrosis 
Endocrine  2011;41(2):183-190.
Awareness of the need for prevention of glucocorticoid- induced fractures is growing, but glucocorticoid administration is often overlooked as the most common cause of nontraumatic osteonecrosis. Glucocorticoid- induced osteonecrosis develops in 9–40% of patients receiving long-term therapy although it may also occur with short-term exposure to high doses, after intra-articular injection, and without glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis. The name, osteonecrosis, is misleading because the primary histopathological lesion is osteocyte apoptosis. Apoptotic osteocytes persist because they are anatomically unavailable for phagocytosis and, with glucocorticoid excess, decreased bone remodeling retards their replacement. Glucocorticoid-induced osteocyte apoptosis, a cumulative and unrepairable defect, uniquely disrupts the mechanosensory function of the osteocyte–lacunar–canalicular system and thus starts the inexorable sequence of events leading to collapse of the femoral head. Current evidence indicates that bisphosphonates may rapidly reduce pain, increase ambulation, and delay joint collapse in patients with osteonecrosis.
PMCID: PMC3712793  PMID: 22169965
Glucocorticoids; Osteonecrosis; Avascular necrosis; Apoptosis; Osteoblasts; Osteocytes; Bisphosphonates
6.  FOXOs attenuate bone formation by suppressing Wnt signaling 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(8):3409-3419.
Wnt/β-catenin/TCF signaling stimulates bone formation and suppresses adipogenesis. The hallmarks of skeletal involution with age, on the other hand, are decreased bone formation and increased bone marrow adiposity. These changes are associated with increased oxidative stress and decreased growth factor production, which activate members of the FOXO family of transcription factors. FOXOs in turn attenuate Wnt/β-catenin signaling by diverting β-catenin from TCF- to FOXO-mediated transcription. We show herein that mice lacking Foxo1, -3, and -4 in bipotential progenitors of osteoblast and adipocytes (expressing Osterix1) exhibited increased osteoblast number and high bone mass that was maintained in old age as well as decreased adiposity in the aged bone marrow. The increased bone mass in the Foxo-deficient mice was accounted for by increased proliferation of osteoprogenitor cells and bone formation resulting from upregulation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling and cyclin D1 expression, but not changes in redox balance. Consistent with this mechanism, β-catenin deletion in Foxo null cells abrogated both the increased cyclin D1 expression and proliferation. The elucidation of a restraining effect of FOXOs on Wnt signaling in bipotential progenitors suggests that FOXO activation by accumulation of age-associated cellular stressors may be a seminal pathogenetic mechanism in the development of involutional osteoporosis.
PMCID: PMC3726166  PMID: 23867625
7.  Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization in High-Risk Groups of HIV-Infected Patients 
We examined the epidemiology of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) nasal colonization among human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and HIV-negative outpatients. We identified at-risk outpatients with high levels of CA-MRSA colonization. In certain populations, community exposures may be more important for predicting CA-MRSA colonization than HIV status.
Background. We examined the epidemiology of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) nasal colonization among 3 groups of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)–infected and 1 group of HIV-negative outpatients.
Methods. We determined prevalence and risk factors associated with MRSA colonization among women, recently incarcerated, and Hispanic HIV-infected patients and HIV-negative patients; isolates were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Relative prevalence was calculated using Poisson regression, and logistic regression was used for multivariate analysis.
Results. Of 601 patients, 9.3% were colonized with MRSA; 11% of HIV-infected and 4.2% of HIV-negative patients were colonized (relative prevalence, 2.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12–6.07; P = .03). Among HIV-infected patients, recently incarcerated patients had the highest colonization prevalence (15.6%) followed by women (12%); Hispanic patients had the lowest (2.8%). Eighty percent of confirmed MRSA isolates were identified as USA300.
On multivariate analysis, history of incarceration or residence in alternative housing (odds ratio [OR], 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1–4.7; P = .03) was associated with MRSA colonization; Hispanic ethnicity was negatively associated (OR, 0.3; 95% CI, .11–.98; P = .045). There was a trend (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, .9–3.0; P = .097) toward geographic location of residence being associated with colonization. After controlling for incarceration, residence, and geography, HIV status was no longer significantly associated with colonization.
Conclusions. The CA-MRSA and HIV epidemics have intersected. Examination of networks of individuals released from incarceration, both HIV positive and negative, is needed to assess the role of social networks in spread of CA-MRSA and inform prevention strategies.
PMCID: PMC3404690  PMID: 22354926
8.  Relation of Chlorhexidine Gluconate Skin Concentration to Microbial Density on Skin of Critically Ill Patients Bathed Daily with Chlorhexidine Gluconate 
Previous work has shown that daily skin cleansing with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is effective in preventing infection in the medical intensive care unit (MICU).
A colorimetric, semi-quantitative indicator was used to measure CHG concentration on skin (neck, antecubital fossae, inguinal areas) of patients bathed daily with CHG during MICU stay and after discharge from MICU, when CHG bathing stopped. Skin sites were also cultured quantitatively. The relationship between CHG concentration and microbial density on skin was explored in a mixed effects model using gram-positive colony forming unit (CFU) counts.
For 20 MICU patients studied (240 measurements), lowest CHG concentrations (0–18.75μg/mL) and highest gram-positive CFUs were on the neck (median 1.07log10CFU, p=0.014). CHG concentration increased post-bath and decreased over 24h(p<0.001). In parallel, median log10CFUs decreased pre- to post-bath (0.78 to 0) and then increased over 24h to baseline of 0.78 (p=0.001). A CHG concentration >18.75μg/mL was associated with decreased gram-positive CFU(p=0.004). In all but 2 instances, CHG was detected on patient skin during entire inter-bath (~24h) period (18/20(90%) patients). In 11 patients studied after MICU discharge (80 measurements), CHG skin concentrations fell below effective levels after 1–3 days.
In MICU patients bathed daily with CHG, CHG concentration was inversely associated with microbial density on skin; residual antimicrobial activity on skin persisted up to 24h. Determination of CHG concentration on patients’ skin may be useful in monitoring adequacy of skin cleansing by healthcare workers.
PMCID: PMC3632447  PMID: 22869262
9.  Estrogen receptor-α signaling in osteoblast progenitors stimulates cortical bone accrual 
The detection of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) in osteoblasts and osteoclasts over 20 years ago suggested that direct effects of estrogens on both of these cell types are responsible for their beneficial effects on the skeleton, but the role of ERα in osteoblast lineage cells has remained elusive. In addition, estrogen activation of ERα in osteoclasts can only account for the protective effect of estrogens on the cancellous, but not the cortical, bone compartment that represents 80% of the entire skeleton. Here, we deleted ERα at different stages of differentiation in murine osteoblast lineage cells. We found that ERα in osteoblast progenitors expressing Osterix1 (Osx1) potentiates Wnt/β-catenin signaling, thereby increasing proliferation and differentiation of periosteal cells. Further, this signaling pathway was required for optimal cortical bone accrual at the periosteum in mice. Notably, this function did not require estrogens. The osteoblast progenitor ERα mediated a protective effect of estrogens against endocortical, but not cancellous, bone resorption. ERα in mature osteoblasts or osteocytes did not influence cancellous or cortical bone mass. Hence, the ERα in both osteoblast progenitors and osteoclasts functions to optimize bone mass but at distinct bone compartments and in response to different cues.
PMCID: PMC3533305  PMID: 23221342
11.  Matrix-embedded cells control osteoclast formation 
Nature Medicine  2011;17(10):1235-1241.
Osteoclasts resorb the mineralized matrices formed by chondrocytes or osteoblasts. The cytokine receptor activator of NFκB ligand (RANKL) is essential for osteoclast formation and thought to be supplied by osteoblasts or their precursors. However, RANKL is expressed by a variety of cell types and it is unclear which of them are essential sources for osteoclast formation. Here we have used a conditional mouse RANKL allele and a series of Cre-deleter strains to demonstrate that hypertrophic chondrocytes and osteocytes, both of which are embedded in matrix, are essential sources of the RANKL that controls mineralized cartilage resorption and bone remodeling, respectively. Moreover, osteocyte RANKL is responsible for the bone loss associated with unloading. Contrary to the current paradigm, RANKL produced by osteoblasts or their progenitors does not contribute to bone remodeling. These results suggest that the rate-limiting step of matrix resorption is controlled by cells embedded within the matrix itself.
PMCID: PMC3192296  PMID: 21909103
12.  A Research Framework for Reducing Preventable Patient Harm 
Programs to reduce central line–associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) have improved the safety of hospitalized patients. Efforts are underway to disseminate these successes broadly to reduce other types of hospital-acquired infectious and noninfectious preventable harms. Unfortunately, the ability to broadly measure and prevent other types of preventable harms, especially infectious harms, needs enhancement. Moreover, an overarching research framework for creating and integrating evidence will help expedite the development of national prevention programs. This article outlines a 5-phase translational (T) framework to develop robust research programs that reduce preventable harm, as follows: phase T0, discover opportunities and approaches to prevent adverse health care events; phase T1, use T0 discoveries to develop and test interventions on a small scale; phase T2, broaden and strengthen the evidence base for promising interventions to develop evidence-based guidelines; phase T3, translate guidelines into clinical practice; and phase T4, implement and evaluate T3 work on a national and international scale. Policy makers should use this framework to fill in the knowledge gaps, coordinate efforts among federal agencies, and prioritize research funding.
PMCID: PMC3060902  PMID: 21258104
13.  Continuous Elevation of PTH Increases the Number of Osteoblasts via Both Osteoclast-Dependent and -Independent Mechanisms 
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research  2010;25(11):2427-2437.
Sustained parathyroid hormone (PTH) elevation stimulates bone remodeling (ie, both resorption and formation). The former results from increased RANKL synthesis, but the cause of the latter has not been established. Current hypotheses include release of osteoblastogenic factors from osteoclasts or from the bone matrix during resorption, modulation of the production and activity of osteoblastogenic factors from cells of the osteoblast lineage, and increased angiogenesis. To dissect the contribution of these mechanisms, 6-month-old Swiss-Webster mice were infused for 5 days with 470 ng/h PTH(1-84) or 525 ng/h soluble RANKL (sRANKL). Both agents increased osteoclasts and osteoblasts in vertebral cancellous bone, but the ratio of osteoblasts to osteoclasts and the increase in bone formation was greater in PTH-treated mice. Cancellous bone mass was maintained in mice receiving PTH but lost in mice receiving sRANKL, indicating that maintenance of balanced remodeling requires osteoblastogenic effects beyond those mediated by osteoclasts. Consistent with this contention, PTH, but not sRANKL, decreased the level of the Wnt antagonist sclerostin and increased the expression of the Wnt target genes Nkd2, Wisp1, and Twist1. Furthermore, PTH, but not sRANKL, increased the number of blood vessels in the bone marrow. Weekly injections of the RANKL antagonist osteoprotegerin at 10 µg/g for 2 weeks prior to PTH infusion eliminated osteoclasts and osteoblasts and prevented the PTH-induced increase in osteoclasts, osteoblasts, and blood vessels. These results indicate that PTH stimulates osteoclast-dependent as well as osteoclast-independent (Wnt signaling) pro-osteoblastogenic pathways, both of which are required for balanced focal bone remodeling in cancellous bone. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
PMCID: PMC3179285  PMID: 20533302
parathyroid hormone; sRANKL; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; bone remodeling; hyperparathyroidism
14.  Skeletal Involution by Age-associated Oxidative Stress and Its Acceleration by Loss of Sex Steroids* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;282(37):27285-27297.
Both aging and loss of sex steroids have adverse effects on skeletal homeostasis, but whether and how they may influence each others negative impact on bone remains unknown. We report herein that both female and male C57BL/6 mice progressively lost strength (as determined by load-to-failure measurements) and bone mineral density in the spine and femur between the ages of 4 and 31 months. These changes were temporally associated with decreased rate of remodeling as evidenced by decreased osteoblast and osteoclast numbers and decreased bone formation rate; as well as increased osteoblast and osteocyte apoptosis, increased reactive oxygen species levels, and decreased glutathione reductase activity and a corresponding increase in the phosphorylation of p53 and p66shc, two key components of a signaling cascade that are activated by reactive oxygen species and influences apoptosis and lifespan. Exactly the same changes in oxidative stress were acutely reproduced by gonadectomy in 5-month-old females or males and reversed by estrogens or androgens in vivo as well as in vitro.We conclude that the oxidative stress that underlies physiologic organismal aging in mice may be a pivotal pathogenetic mechanism of the age-related bone loss and strength. Loss of estrogens or androgens accelerates the effects of aging on bone by decreasing defense against oxidative stress.
PMCID: PMC3119455  PMID: 17623659
15.  Endogenous glucocorticoids decrease skeletal angiogenesis, vascularity, hydration, and strength in 21-month-old mice 
Aging cell  2009;9(2):147-161.
Aging or glucocorticoid excess decrease bone strength more than bone mass in humans and mice, but an explanation for this mismatch remains elusive. We report that aging in C57BL/6 mice was associated with an increase in adrenal production of glucocorticoids as well as bone expression of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (11β-HSD) type 1, the enzyme that activates glucocorticoids. Aging also decreased the volume of the bone vasculature and solute transport from the peripheral circulation to the lacunar-canalicular system. The same changes were reproduced by pharmacologic hyperglucocorticoidism. Furthermore, mice in which osteoblasts and osteocytes were shielded from glucocorticoids via cell-specific transgenic expression of 11β-HSD type 2, the enzyme that inactivates glucocorticoids, were protected from the adverse effects of aging on osteoblast and osteocyte apoptosis, bone formation rate and microarchitecture, crystallinity, vasculature volume, interstitial fluid, and strength. In addition, glucocorticoids suppressed angiogenesis in fetal metatarsals and hypoxia inducible factor 1α transcription and VEGF production in osteoblasts and osteocytes. These results, together with the evidence that dehydration of bone decreases strength, revealed that endogenous glucocorticoids increase skeletal fragility in old age as a result of cell autonomous effects on osteoblasts and osteocytes leading to interconnected decrements in bone angiogenesis, vasculature volume, and osteocyte-lacunar-canalicular fluid.
PMCID: PMC2858771  PMID: 20047574
Aging; glucocorticoids; angiogenesis; hydraulic support; apoptosis; bone histomorphometry; osteoporosis; 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
16.  Estrogens Attenuate Oxidative Stress and the Differentiation and Apoptosis of Osteoblasts by DNA-Binding-Independent Actions of the ERα 
Estrogens diminish oxidative stress in bone and bone marrow, attenuate the generation of osteoblasts, and decrease the prevalence of mature osteoblast apoptosis. We have searched for the molecular mechanism of these effects using as tools a mouse model bearing an estrogen receptor α (ERα) knock-in mutation that prevents binding to DNA (ERαNERKI/−) and several osteoblast progenitor cell models expressing the wild-type ERα or the ERαNERKI/−. We report that the ability of estrogens to diminish the generation of reactive oxygen species, stimulate the activity of glutathione reductase, and decrease the phosphorylation of p66shc, as well as osteoblastogenesis and osteoblast number and apoptosis, were fully preserved in ERαNERKI/− mice, indicating that the DNA-binding function of the ERα is dispensable for all these effects. Consistent with the attenuation of osteoblastogenesis in this animal model, 17β-estradiol attenuated bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2)–induced gene transcription and osteoblast commitment and differentiation in murine and human osteoblastic cell lines. Moreover, 17β-estradiol attenuated BMP-2-induced differentiation of primary cultures of calvaria- or bone marrow–derived osteoblastic cells from ERαNERKI/− mice as effectively as in cells from wild-type littermates. The inhibitory effect of the hormone on BMP-2 signaling resulted from an ERα-mediated activation of ERKs and the phosphorylation of Smad1 at the linker region of the protein, which leads to proteasomal degradation. These results illustrate that the effects of estrogens on oxidative stress and the birth and death of osteoblasts do not require the binding of ERα to DNA response elements, but instead they result from the activation of cytoplasmic kinases. © 2010 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research
PMCID: PMC3153331  PMID: 19821774
reactive oxygen species; p66shc; ERKs; BMP-2; estrogen receptor
17.  Alkaline Phosphatase Knock-Out Mice Recapitulate the Metabolic and Skeletal Defects of Infantile Hypophosphatasia* 
Hypophosphatasia is an inborn error of metabolism characterized by deficient activity of the tissue-nonspecific isoenzyme of alkaline phosphatase (TNSALP) and skeletal disease due to impaired mineralization of cartilage and bone matrix. We investigated two independently generated TNSALP gene knock-out mouse strains as potential models for hypophosphatasia. Homozygous mice (−/−) had < 1% of wild-type plasma TNSALP activity; heterozygotes had the predicted mean of ~50%. Phosphoethanolamine, inorganic pyrophosphate, and pyridoxal 5′-phosphate are putative natural substrates for TNSALP and all were increased endogenously in the knock-out mice. Skeletal disease first appeared radiographically at ~10 days of age and featured worsening rachitic changes, osteopenia, and fracture. Histologic studies revealed developmental arrest of chondrocyte differentiation in epiphyses and in growth plates with diminished or absent hypertrophic zones. Progressive osteoidosis from defective skeletal matrix mineralization was noted but not associated with features of secondary hyperparathyroidism. Plasma and urine calcium and phosphate levels were unremarkable. Our findings demonstrate that TNSALP knock-out mice are a good model for the infantile form of hypophosphatasia and provide compelling evidence for an important role for TNSALP in postnatal development and mineralization of the murine skeleton.
PMCID: PMC3049802  PMID: 10620060
18.  Glucocorticoids, Osteocytes, and Skeletal Fragility: The Role of Bone Vascularity 
Bone  2009;46(3):564-570.
Glucocorticoid administration is required for many inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, but use of these drugs is associated with skeletal side effects including bone loss, fractures, and osteonecrosis. Fractures often occur without a reduction in bone mineral density, strongly suggesting that glucocorticoid excess adversely affects other aspects of bone strength. Although the primary effects of glucocorticoid excess on the skeleton are directly on bone cells, a vascular connection between these cells and the loss of bone strength appears likely. This review examines this connection and how it may explain the greater decline in bone strength than loss of bone mass that occurs with glucocorticoid excess.
PMCID: PMC2823999  PMID: 19591965
glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis; fractures; osteoblast and osteocyte apoptosis; bone formation; 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase; bone vasculature; bone hydration; angiogenesis; bone density; bone strength; osteonecrosis
19.  Genetic Variation in Spatio-Temporal Confined USA300 Community-Associated MRSA Isolates: A Shift from Clonal Dispersion to Genetic Evolution? 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e16419.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are increasingly isolated, with USA300-0114 being the predominant clone in the USA. Comparative whole genome sequencing of USA300 isolates collected in 2002, 2003 and 2005 showed a limited number of single nucleotide polymorphisms and regions of difference. This suggests that USA300 has undergone rapid clonal expansion without great genomic diversification. However, whole genome comparison of CA-MRSA has been limited to isolates belonging to USA300. The aim of this study was to compare the genetic repertoire of different CA-MRSA clones with that of HA-MRSA from the USA and Europe through comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) to identify genetic clues that may explain the successful and rapid emergence of CA-MRSA.
Materials and Methods
Hierarchical clustering based on CGH of 48 MRSA isolates from the community and nosocomial infections from Europe and the USA revealed dispersed clustering of the 19 CA-MRSA isolates. This means that these 19 CA-MRSA isolates do not share a unique genetic make-up. Only the PVL genes were commonly present in all CA-MRSA isolates. However, 10 genes were variably present among 14 USA300 isolates. Most of these genes were present on mobile elements.
The genetic variation present among the 14 USA300 isolates is remarkable considering the fact that the isolates were recovered within one month and originated from a confined geographic area, suggesting continuous evolution of this clone.
PMCID: PMC3033884  PMID: 21326601
20.  FoxO-mediated defense against oxidative stress in osteoblasts is indispensable for skeletal homeostasis in mice 
Cell metabolism  2010;11(2):136.
Aging increases oxidative stress and osteoblast apoptosis and decreases bone mass, whereas forkhead box O (FoxO) transcription factors defend against oxidative stress by activating genes involved in free radical scavenging and apoptosis. Conditional deletion of FoxO1, 3 and 4 in three month-old mice resulted in an increase in oxidative stress in bone and osteoblast apoptosis and a decrease in the number of osteoblasts, the rate of bone formation, and bone mass at cancellous and cortical sites. The effect of the deletion on osteoblast apoptosis was cell autonomous and resulted from oxidative stress. Conversely, overexpression of a FoxO3 transgene in mature osteoblasts decreased oxidative stress and osteoblast apoptosis, and increased osteoblast number, bone formation rate and vertebral bone mass. We conclude that FoxO-dependent oxidative defense provides a mechanism to handle the oxygen free radicals constantly generated by the aerobic metabolism of osteoblasts and is thereby indispensable for bone mass homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2819984  PMID: 20142101
21.  Formulation of a model for automating infection surveillance: algorithmic detection of central-line associated bloodstream infection 
To formulate a model for translating manual infection control surveillance methods to automated, algorithmic approaches.
We propose a model for creating electronic surveillance algorithms by translating existing manual surveillance practices into automated electronic methods. Our model suggests that three dimensions of expert knowledge be consulted: clinical, surveillance, and informatics. Once collected, knowledge should be applied through a process of conceptualization, synthesis, programming, and testing.
We applied our framework to central vascular catheter associated bloodstream infection surveillance, a major healthcare performance outcome measure. We found that despite major barriers such as differences in availability of structured data, in types of databases used and in semantic representation of clinical terms, bloodstream infection detection algorithms could be deployed at four very diverse medical centers.
We present a framework that translates existing practice—manual infection detection—to an automated process for surveillance. Our experience details barriers and solutions discovered during development of electronic surveillance for central vascular catheter associated bloodstream infections at four hospitals in a variety of data environments. Moving electronic surveillance to the next level—availability at a majority of acute care hospitals nationwide—would be hastened by the incorporation of necessary data elements, vocabularies and standards into commercially available electronic health records.
PMCID: PMC2995624  PMID: 20064800
Informatics; infection control; surveillance; bacteremia
22.  Staphylococcus aureus bacteriuria as a prognosticator for outcome of Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: a case-control study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2010;10:225.
When Staphylococcus aureus is isolated in urine, it is thought to usually represent hematogenous spread. Because such spread might have special clinical significance, we evaluated predictors and outcomes of S. aureus bacteriuria among patients with S. aureus bacteremia.
A case-control study was performed at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County among adult inpatients during January 2002-December 2006. Cases and controls had positive and negative urine cultures, respectively, for S. aureus, within 72 hours of positive blood culture for S. aureus. Controls were sampled randomly in a 1:4 ratio. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were done.
Overall, 59% of patients were African-American, 12% died, 56% of infections had community-onset infections, and 58% were infected with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA). Among 61 cases and 247 controls, predictors of S. aureus bacteriuria on multivariate analysis were urological surgery (OR = 3.4, p = 0.06) and genitourinary infection (OR = 9.2, p = 0.002). Among patients who died, there were significantly more patients with bacteriuria than among patients who survived (39% vs. 17%; p = 0.002). In multiple Cox regression analysis, death risks in bacteremic patients were bacteriuria (hazard ratio 2.9, CI 1.4-5.9, p = 0.004), bladder catheter use (2.0, 1.0-4.0, p = 0.06), and Charlson score (1.1, 1.1-1.3, p = 0.02). Neither length of stay nor methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection was a predictor of S. aureus bacteriuria or death.
Among patients with S. aureus bacteremia, those with S. aureus bacteriuria had 3-fold higher mortality than those without bacteriuria, even after adjustment for comorbidities. Bacteriuria may identify patients with more severe bacteremia, who are at risk of worse outcomes.
PMCID: PMC2920260  PMID: 20667139
23.  Giant Osteoclast Formation and Long-Term Oral Bisphosphonate Therapy 
Bisphosphonates decrease bone resorption and are commonly used to treat or prevent osteoporosis. However, the effect of bisphosphonates on their target cells remains enigmatic, since in patients benefiting from therapy, little change, if any, has been observed in the number of osteoclasts, which are the cells responsible for bone resorption.
We examined 51 bone-biopsy specimens obtained after a 3-year, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trial of oral alendronate to prevent bone resorption among healthy postmenopausal women 40 through 59 years of age. The patients were assigned to one of five groups: those receiving placebo for 3 years; alendronate at a dose of 1, 5, or 10 mg per day for 3 years; or alendronate at a dose of 20 mg per day for 2 years, followed by placebo for 1 year. Formalin-fixed, undecalcified planar sections were assessed by bone histomorphometric methods.
The number of osteoclasts was increased by a factor of 2.6 in patients receiving 10 mg of alendronate per day for 3 years as compared with the placebo group (P<0.01). Moreover, the number of osteoclasts increased as the cumulative dose of the drug increased (r = 0.50, P<0.001). Twenty-seven percent of these osteoclasts were giant cells with pyknotic nuclei that were adjacent to superficial resorption cavities. Furthermore, giant, hypernucleated, detached osteoclasts with 20 to 40 nuclei were found after alendronate treatment had been discontinued for 1 year. Of these large cells, 20 to 37% were apoptotic, according to both their morphologic features and positive findings from in situ end labeling.
Long-term alendronate treatment is associated with an increase in the number of osteoclasts, which include distinctive giant, hypernucleated, detached osteoclasts that are undergoing protracted apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC2866022  PMID: 19118304
24.  Giant osteoclasts after long-term bisphosphonate therapy: diagnostic challenges 
Nature reviews. Rheumatology  2009;5(6):341-346.
A 55-year-old woman with a 5-year history of osteoporosis treated for 4 years with an oral aminobisphosphonate presented with a recent vertebral fracture. A bone biopsy specimen revealed giant osteoclasts with more than 40 nuclear profiles.
Bone mineral density determinations, measurement of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D, intact parathyroid hormone, calcium, inorganic phosphorus, alkaline phosphatase and creatinine levels, urinary excretion levels of the N-telopeptide of type 1 collagen, and bone biopsy. Examination of the patient and review of the bone specimen.
Giant osteoclasts after long-term bisphosphonate use, without evidence of malignancy.
Interpretation of the bone biopsy specimen listed several bone disorders. The bone specimen was reviewed and the histological differential diagnosis was carefully considered. The giant osteoclasts were detached from bone and frequently apoptotic in a normal marrow stroma, with low-to-normal amounts of osteoid and osteoblasts. These features are typical of giant osteoclast formation after long-term aminobisphosphonate therapy. The patient was reassured that the bone findings were unlikely to be detrimental. Aminobisphosphonate treatment was reinstituted, and 1 year later the patient was asymptomatic.
PMCID: PMC2860596  PMID: 19491914
Bone  2008;44(2):275-286.
Intermittent administration of parathyroid hormone (PTH) stimulates bone formation on the surface of cancellous and periosteal bone by increasing the number of osteoblasts. Previous studies of ours in mice demonstrated that intermittent PTH increases cancellous osteoblast number at least in part by attenuating osteoblast apoptosis, but the mechanism responsible for the anabolic effect of the hormone on periosteal bone is unknown. We report that daily injections of 100 ng/g of PTH(1–34) to 4–6 month old mice increased the number of osteoblasts on the periosteum of lumbar vertebrae by 2–3 fold as early as after 2 days. However, the prevalence of apoptotic periosteal osteoblasts was only 0.2% in vehicle treated animals, which is ~20-fold lower than is the case for cancellous osteoblasts. Moreover, PTH did not have a discernable effect on periosteal osteoblast apoptosis. Administration of BrdU for 4 days failed to label periosteal osteoblasts under either basal conditions or following administration of PTH. Cancellous osteoblasts, on the other hand, were labeled under basal conditions, but PTH did not increase the percentage of BrdU-positive cells. Thus, intermittent PTH does not increase cancellous or periosteal osteoblast number by stimulating the proliferation of osteoblast progenitors. Consistent with high turnover of cancellous osteoblasts as compared to that of periosteal osteoblasts, ganciclovir-induced ablation of replicating osteoblast progenitors in mice expressing thymidine kinase under the control of the 3.6kb rat Col1A1 promoter resulted in disappearance of osteoblasts from cancellous bone over a 7–14 day period, whereas periosteal osteoblasts were unaffected. However, 14 days of pre-treatment with ganciclovir prevented PTH anabolism on periosteal bone. We conclude that in cancellous bone, attenuation of osteoblast apoptosis by PTH increases osteoblast number because their rate of apoptosis is high, making this effect of the hormone profound. However, in periosteal bone where the rate of osteoblast apoptosis is low, PTH must exert pro-differentiating and/or pro-survival effects on post-mitotic pre-osteoblasts. Targeting the latter cells is an effective mechanism for increasing osteoblast number in periosteal bone where the production of osteoblasts from replicating progenitors is slow.
PMCID: PMC2655212  PMID: 19010455
bone formation; PTH; osteoblasts; apoptosis; periosteal bone; cancellous bone

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