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1.  Genome-Wide Study of Percent Emphysema on Computed Tomography in the General Population. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis Lung/SNP Health Association Resource Study 
Rationale: Pulmonary emphysema overlaps partially with spirometrically defined chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and is heritable, with moderately high familial clustering.
Objectives: To complete a genome-wide association study (GWAS) for the percentage of emphysema-like lung on computed tomography in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) Lung/SNP Health Association Resource (SHARe) Study, a large, population-based cohort in the United States.
Methods: We determined percent emphysema and upper-lower lobe ratio in emphysema defined by lung regions less than −950 HU on cardiac scans. Genetic analyses were reported combined across four race/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white (n = 2,587), African American (n = 2,510), Hispanic (n = 2,113), and Chinese (n = 704) and stratified by race and ethnicity.
Measurements and Main Results: Among 7,914 participants, we identified regions at genome-wide significance for percent emphysema in or near SNRPF (rs7957346; P = 2.2 × 10−8) and PPT2 (rs10947233; P = 3.2 × 10−8), both of which replicated in an additional 6,023 individuals of European ancestry. Both single-nucleotide polymorphisms were previously implicated as genes influencing lung function, and analyses including lung function revealed independent associations for percent emphysema. Among Hispanics, we identified a genetic locus for upper-lower lobe ratio near the α-mannosidase–related gene MAN2B1 (rs10411619; P = 1.1 × 10−9; minor allele frequency [MAF], 4.4%). Among Chinese, we identified single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with upper-lower lobe ratio near DHX15 (rs7698250; P = 1.8 × 10−10; MAF, 2.7%) and MGAT5B (rs7221059; P = 2.7 × 10−8; MAF, 2.6%), which acts on α-linked mannose. Among African Americans, a locus near a third α-mannosidase–related gene, MAN1C1 (rs12130495; P = 9.9 × 10−6; MAF, 13.3%) was associated with percent emphysema.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that some genes previously identified as influencing lung function are independently associated with emphysema rather than lung function, and that genes related to α-mannosidase may influence risk of emphysema.
PMCID: PMC3977717  PMID: 24383474
emphysema; computed tomography; multiethnic; cohort study; genetic association
2.  Racial Differences in CT Phenotypes in COPD 
COPD  2013;10(1):20-27.
Whether African Americans (AA) are more susceptible to COPD than non-Hispanic Whites (NHW) and whether racial differences in disease phenotype exist is controversial. The objective is to determine racial differences in the extent of emphysema and airway remodeling in COPD.
First, 2,500 subjects enrolled in the COPDGene study were used to evaluate racial differences in quantitative CT (QCT) parameters of % emphysema, air trapping and airway wall thickness. Independent variables studied included race, age, gender, education, BMI, pack-years, smoking status, age at smoking initiation, asthma, previous work in dusty job, CT scanner and center of recruitment.
Of the 1,063 subjects with GOLD Stage II-IV COPD, 200 self-reported as AA. AAs had a lower mean % emphysema (13.1 % vs. 16.1%, p = 0.005) than NHW and proportionately less emphysema in the lower lung zones. After adjustment for covariates, there was no statistical difference by race in air trapping or airway wall thickness. Measured QCT parameters were more predictive of poor functional status in NHWs compared to AAs.
AAs have less emphysema than NHWs but the same degree of airway disease. Additional factors not easily assessed by current QCT techniques may account for the poor functional status in AAs.
PMCID: PMC4321889  PMID: 23413893
Airway wall thickness; Air trapping; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Emphysema; Quantitative CT; Race
3.  Air Pollution and Percent Emphysema Identified by Computed Tomography in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;123(2):144-151.
Background: Air pollution is linked to low lung function and to respiratory events, yet little is known of associations with lung structure.
Objectives: We examined associations of particulate matter (PM2.5, PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) with percent emphysema-like lung on computed tomography (CT).
Methods: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) recruited participants (45–84 years of age) in six U.S. states. Percent emphysema was defined as lung regions < –910 Hounsfield Units on cardiac CT scans acquired following a highly standardized protocol. Spirometry was also conducted on a subset. Individual-level 1- and 20-year average air pollution exposures were estimated using spatiotemporal models that included cohort-specific measurements. Multivariable regression was conducted to adjust for traditional risk factors and study location.
Results: Among 6,515 participants, we found evidence of an association between percent emphysema and long-term pollution concentrations in an analysis leveraging between-city exposure contrasts. Higher concentrations of PM2.5 (5 μg/m3) and NOx (25 ppb) over the previous year were associated with 0.6 (95% CI: 0.1, 1.2%) and 0.5 (95% CI: 0.1, 0.9%) higher average percent emphysema, respectively. However, after adjustment for study site the associations were –0.6% (95% CI: –1.5, 0.3%) for PM2.5 and –0.5% (95% CI: –1.1, 0.02%) for NOx. Lower lung function measures (FEV1 and FVC) were associated with higher PM2.5 and NOx levels in 3,791 participants before and after adjustment for study site, though most associations were not statistically significant.
Conclusions: Associations between ambient air pollution and percentage of emphysema-like lung were inconclusive in this cross-sectional study, thus longitudinal analyses may better clarify these associations with percent emphysema.
Citation: Adar SD, Kaufman JD, Diez-Roux AV, Hoffman EA, D’Souza J, Stukovsky KH, Rich SS, Rotter JI, Guo X, Raffel LJ, Sampson PD, Oron AP, Raghunathan T, Barr RG. 2015. Air pollution and percent emphysema identified by computed tomography in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Environ Health Perspect 123:144–151;
PMCID: PMC4314244  PMID: 25302408
4.  A New Approach of Arc Skeletonization for Tree-Like Objects Using Minimum Cost Path 
Traditional arc skeletonization algorithms using the principle of Blum's transform, often, produce unwanted spurious branches due to boundary irregularities and digital effects on objects and other artifacts. This paper presents a new robust approach of extracting arc skeletons for three-dimensional (3-D) elongated fuzzy objects, which avoids spurious branches without requiring post-pruning. Starting from a root voxel, the method iteratively expands the skeleton by adding a new branch in each iteration that connects the farthest voxel to the current skeleton using a minimum-cost geodesic path. The path-cost function is formulated using a novel measure of local significance factor defined by fuzzy distance transform field, which forces the path to stick to the centerline of the object. The algorithm terminates when dilated skeletal branches fill the entire object volume or the current farthest voxel fails to generate a meaningful branch. Accuracy of the algorithm has been evaluated using computer-generated blurred and noisy phantoms with known skeletons. Performance of the method in terms of false and missing skeletal branches, as defined by human expert, has been examined using in vivo CT imaging of human intrathoracic airways. Experimental results from both experiments have established the superiority of the new method as compared to a widely used conventional method in terms of accuracy of medialness as well as robustness of true and false skeletal branches.
PMCID: PMC4303904  PMID: 25621320
Arc skeletonization; distance transform; geodesic distance; minimum cost path; airway tree
5.  An analysis of DNA methylation in human adipose tissue reveals differential modification of obesity genes before and after gastric bypass and weight loss 
Genome Biology  2015;16(1):8.
Environmental factors can influence obesity by epigenetic mechanisms. Adipose tissue plays a key role in obesity-related metabolic dysfunction, and gastric bypass provides a model to investigate obesity and weight loss in humans.
Here, we investigate DNA methylation in adipose tissue from obese women before and after gastric bypass and significant weight loss. In total, 485,577 CpG sites were profiled in matched, before and after weight loss, subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue. A paired analysis revealed significant differential methylation in omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue. A greater proportion of CpGs are hypermethylated before weight loss and increased methylation is observed in the 3′ untranslated region and gene bodies relative to promoter regions. Differential methylation is found within genes associated with obesity, epigenetic regulation and development, such as CETP, FOXP2, HDAC4, DNMT3B, KCNQ1 and HOX clusters. We identify robust correlations between changes in methylation and clinical trait, including associations between fasting glucose and HDAC4, SLC37A3 and DENND1C in subcutaneous adipose. Genes investigated with differential promoter methylation all show significantly different levels of mRNA before and after gastric bypass.
This is the first study reporting global DNA methylation profiling of adipose tissue before and after gastric bypass and associated weight loss. It provides a strong basis for future work and offers additional evidence for the role of DNA methylation of adipose tissue in obesity.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13059-014-0569-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4301800  PMID: 25651499
6.  Elevated stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 expression in skeletal muscle contributes to abnormal fatty acid partitioning in obese humans 
Cell metabolism  2005;2(4):251-261.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are strongly associated with abnormal lipid metabolism and accumulation of intramyocellular triacylglycerol, but the underlying cause of these perturbations are yet unknown. Herein, we show that the lipogenic gene, stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), is robustly up-regulated in skeletal muscle from extremely obese humans. High expression and activity of SCD1, an enzyme that catalyzes the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids, corresponded with low rates of fatty acid oxidation, increased triacylglycerol synthesis and increased monounsaturation of muscle lipids. Elevated SCD1 expression and abnormal lipid partitioning were retained in primary skeletal myocytes derived from obese compared to lean donors, implying that these traits might be driven by epigenetic and/or heritable mechanisms. Overexpression of human SCD1 in myotubes from lean subjects was sufficient to mimic the obese phenotype. These results suggest that elevated expression of SCD1 in skeletal muscle contributes to abnormal lipid metabolism and progression of obesity.
PMCID: PMC4285571  PMID: 16213227
7.  Pharmacologic Management of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Target Identification and Preclinical Trials 
ILAR Journal  2014;55(1):119-149.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked human disorder in which absence of the protein dystrophin causes degeneration of skeletal and cardiac muscle. For the sake of treatment development, over and above definitive genetic and cell-based therapies, there is considerable interest in drugs that target downstream disease mechanisms. Drug candidates have typically been chosen based on the nature of pathologic lesions and presumed underlying mechanisms and then tested in animal models. Mammalian dystrophinopathies have been characterized in mice (mdx mouse) and dogs (golden retriever muscular dystrophy [GRMD]). Despite promising results in the mdx mouse, some therapies have not shown efficacy in DMD. Although the GRMD model offers a higher hurdle for translation, dogs have primarily been used to test genetic and cellular therapies where there is greater risk. Failed translation of animal studies to DMD raises questions about the propriety of methods and models used to identify drug targets and test efficacy of pharmacologic intervention. The mdx mouse and GRMD dog are genetically homologous to DMD but not necessarily analogous. Subcellular species differences are undoubtedly magnified at the whole-body level in clinical trials. This problem is compounded by disparate cultures in clinical trials and preclinical studies, pointing to a need for greater rigor and transparency in animal experiments. Molecular assays such as mRNA arrays and genome-wide association studies allow identification of genetic drug targets more closely tied to disease pathogenesis. Genes in which polymorphisms have been directly linked to DMD disease progression, as with osteopontin, are particularly attractive targets.
PMCID: PMC4158345  PMID: 24936034
animal models; drug development; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; golden retriever muscular dystrophy; genome wide association studies; mRNA arrays; mdx mouse; preclinical studies
8.  Pulmonary Emphysema Subtypes on Computed Tomography in Smokers 
The American journal of medicine  2013;127(1):10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.09.020.
Pulmonary emphysema is divided into three major subtypes at autopsy: centrilobular, paraseptal and panlobular emphysema. These subtypes can be defined by visual assessment on computed tomography (CT); however, clinical characteristics of emphysema subtypes on CT are not well-defined. We developed a reliable approach to visual assessment of emphysema subtypes on CT and examined if emphysema subtypes have distinct characteristics.
The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis COPD Study recruited smokers with COPD and controls age 50–79 years with ≥10 pack-years. Participants underwent CT following a standardized protocol. Definitions of centrilobular, paraseptal and panlobular emphysema were obtained by literature review. Six-minute walk distance and pulmonary function were performed following guidelines.
Twenty-seven percent of 318 smokers had emphysema on CT. Inter-rater reliability of emphysema subtype was substantial (K:0.70). Compared to participants without emphysema, individuals with centrilobular or panlobular emphysema had greater dyspnea, reduced walk distance, greater hyperinflation, and lower diffusing capacity. In contrast, individuals with PSE were similar to controls, except for male predominance. Centrilobular but not panlobular or paraseptal emphysema was associated with greater smoking history (+21 pack-years P<0.001). Panlobular but not other types of emphysema was associated with reduced body mass index (−5 kg/m2;P=0.01). Other than for dyspnea, these findings were independent of the forced expiratory volume in one second. Seventeen percent of smokers without COPD on spirometry had emphysema, which was independently associated with reduced walk distance.
Emphysema subtypes on CT are common in smokers with and without COPD. Centrilobular and panlobular emphysema but not paraseptal emphysema have considerable symptomatic and physiological consequences.
PMCID: PMC3882898  PMID: 24384106
Emphysema; computed tomography; centrilobular; paraseptal; panlobular
9.  Neck and waist circumference biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in a cohort of predominantly African-American college students: A preliminary study 
PMCID: PMC4038263  PMID: 24051106
African Americans; anthropometry; blood pressure; body fat; health risk appraisal; low density lipoprotein cholesterol; students; waist-hip ratio
10.  Repeatability and Sample Size Assessment Associated with Computed Tomography-Based Lung Density Metrics 
Rationale and Objectives
Density-based metrics assess severity of lung disease but vary with lung inflation and method of scanning. The aim of this study was to evaluate the repeatability of single center, CT-based density metrics of the lung in a normal population and assess study sample sizes needed to detect meaningful changes in lung density metrics when scan parameters and volumes are tightly controlled.
Materials and Methods
Thirty-seven subjects (normal smokers and non-smokers) gave consent to have randomly assigned repeated, breath-held scans at either inspiration (90% vital capacity: TLC) or expiration (20% vital capacity: FRC). Repeated scans were analyzed for: mean lung density (MLD), 15th percentile point of the density histogram (P15), low attenuation areas (LAA) and alpha (fractal measure of hole size distribution). Using inter-subject differences and previously reported bias, sample size was estimated from month or yearly change in density metrics obtained from published literature (i.e. meaningful change).
Inter-scan difference measurements were small for density metrics (ICC > 0.80) and average ICCs for whole lung alpha−910 and alpha−950 were 0.57 and 0.64, respectively. Power analyses demonstrated that, under the control conditions with minimal extrinsic variation, population sizes needed to detect meaningful changes in density measures for TLC or FRC repeated scans ranged from a few (20–40) to a few hundred subjects, respectively.
A meaningful sample size was predicted from this study using volume-controlled normal subjects in a controlled imaging environment. Under proper breath-hold conditions, high repeatability was obtained in cohorts of normal smokers and non-smokers.
PMCID: PMC4278434  PMID: 25553338
Quantitative Computed Tomography; Pulmonary Imaging; COPD; Air Trap ping; Lung Volume Control
11.  Air Trapping and Airflow Obstruction in Newborn Cystic Fibrosis Piglets 
Rationale: Air trapping and airflow obstruction are being increasingly identified in infants with cystic fibrosis. These findings are commonly attributed to airway infection, inflammation, and mucus buildup.
Objectives: To learn if air trapping and airflow obstruction are present before the onset of airway infection and inflammation in cystic fibrosis.
Methods: On the day they are born, piglets with cystic fibrosis lack airway infection and inflammation. Therefore, we used newborn wild-type piglets and piglets with cystic fibrosis to assess air trapping, airway size, and lung volume with inspiratory and expiratory X-ray computed tomography scans. Micro–computed tomography scanning was used to assess more distal airway sizes. Airway resistance was determined with a mechanical ventilator. Mean linear intercept and alveolar surface area were determined using stereologic methods.
Measurements and Main Results: On the day they were born, piglets with cystic fibrosis exhibited air trapping more frequently than wild-type piglets (75% vs. 12.5%, respectively). Moreover, newborn piglets with cystic fibrosis had increased airway resistance that was accompanied by luminal size reduction in the trachea, mainstem bronchi, and proximal airways. In contrast, mean linear intercept length, alveolar surface area, and lung volume were similar between both genotypes.
Conclusions: The presence of air trapping, airflow obstruction, and airway size reduction in newborn piglets with cystic fibrosis before the onset of airway infection, inflammation, and mucus accumulation indicates that cystic fibrosis impacts airway development. Our findings suggest that early airflow obstruction and air trapping in infants with cystic fibrosis might, in part, be caused by congenital airway abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3917378  PMID: 24168209
porcine; computed tomography; CFTR; infant; congenital
12.  Non-Invasive MRI and Spectroscopy of mdx Mice Reveal Temporal Changes in Dystrophic Muscle Imaging and in Energy Deficits 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112477.
In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disruption of dystrophin protein expression results in repeated muscle injury and chronic inflammation. Magnetic resonance imaging shows promise as a surrogate outcome measure in both DMD and rehabilitation medicine that is capable of predicting clinical benefit years in advance of functional outcome measures. The mdx mouse reproduces the dystrophin deficiency that causes DMD and is routinely used for preclinical drug testing. There is a need to develop sensitive, non-invasive outcome measures in the mdx model that can be readily translatable to human clinical trials. Here we report the use of magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy techniques for the non-invasive monitoring of muscle damage in mdx mice. Using these techniques, we studied dystrophic mdx muscle in mice from 6 to 12 weeks of age, examining both the peak disease phase and natural recovery phase of the mdx disease course. T2 and fat-suppressed imaging revealed significant levels of tissue with elevated signal intensity in mdx hindlimb muscles at all ages; spectroscopy revealed a significant deficiency of energy metabolites in 6-week-old mdx mice. As the mdx mice progressed from the peak disease stage to the recovery stage of disease, each of these phenotypes was either eliminated or reduced, and the cross-sectional area of the mdx muscle was significantly increased when compared to that of wild-type mice. Histology indicates that hyper-intense MRI foci correspond to areas of dystrophic lesions containing inflammation as well as regenerating, degenerating and hypertrophied myofibers. Statistical sample size calculations provide several robust measures with the ability to detect intervention effects using small numbers of animals. These data establish a framework for further imaging or preclinical studies, and they support the development of MRI as a sensitive, non-invasive outcome measure for muscular dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC4229202  PMID: 25390038
13.  Scatter Correction Associated with Dedicated Dual-Source CT Hardware Improves Accuracy of Lung Air Measures 
Academic radiology  2013;20(11):10.1016/j.acra.2013.04.018.
Rationale and Objectives
Accurate assessment of air density used to quantitatively characterize amount and distribution of emphysema in COPD subjects has remained challenging. Hounsfield units (HU) within tracheal air can be considerably less negative than −1000HU. This study has sought to characterize the effects of improved scatter correction used in dual-source pulmonary CT.
Materials and Methods
Dual-source dual-energy (DSDE) and single-source (SS) scans taken at multiple energy levels and scan settings were acquired for quantitative comparison using anesthetized ovine (N=6), swine (N=13) and a lung phantom. Data were evaluated for the lung, IVC, and tracheal segments. To minimize the effect of cross-scatter, the phantom scans in the DSDE mode was obtained by reducing the current of one of the tubes to near zero.
A significant shift in mean HU values in the tracheal regions of animals and the phantom is observed, with values consistently closer to −1000HU in DSDE mode. HU values associated with SS mode demonstrated a positive shift of up to 32HU. In-vivo tracheal air measurements demonstrated considerable variability with SS scanning while these values were more consistent with DSDE imaging. Scatter effects in the lung parenchyma differed from adjacent tracheal measures.
Data suggest that the scatter correction introduced into the dual energy mode of imaging has served to provide more accurate CT lung density measures sought to quantitatively assess the presence and distribution of emphysema in COPD subjects. Data further suggest that CT images, acquired without adequate scatter correction, cannot be corrected by linear algorithms given the variability in tracheal air HU values and the independent scatter effects on lung parenchyma.
PMCID: PMC3825679  PMID: 24119345
lung density; quantitative CT; COPD; emphysema; dual energy
14.  Comparison of spirometric thresholds in diagnosing smoking related airflow obstruction 
Thorax  2013;69(5):409-414.
The diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is based on detection of airflow obstruction on spirometry. There is no consensus regarding using a fixed threshold to define airflow obstruction versus using the lower limit of normal (LLN) adjusted for age. We compared the accuracy and discrimination of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) recommended Fixed ratio of FEV1/FVC<0.70 with LLN in diagnosing smoking related airflow obstruction using computed tomography defined emphysema and gas trapping as the disease gold standard.
Data from a large multicenter study (COPDGene), which included current and former smokers (age range 45 to 80 years) with and without airflow obstruction, was analyzed. Concordance between spirometric thresholds was measured. The accuracy of the thresholds in diagnosing emphysema and gas trapping was assessed using quantitative CT as gold standard.
7743 subjects were included. There was very good agreement between the two spirometric cut-offs (kappa = 0.85; 95%CI=0.83–0.86, p<0.001). 7.3% were discordant. Subjects with airflow obstruction by Fixed ratio only had a greater degree of emphysema (4.1% vs 1.2%, p<0.001) and gas trapping (19.8% vs 7.5%, p<0.001) than those positive by LLN only, and also smoking controls without airflow obstruction (4.1% vs 1.9%, and 19.8% vs 10.9% respectively, p<0.001). On follow up, the Fixed ratio only group had more exacerbations than smoking controls.
As compared to the Fixed ratio, the use of LLN will fail to identify a number of patients with significant pulmonary pathology and respiratory morbidity.
PMCID: PMC4146523  PMID: 23525095
Fixed ratio; Lower Limit of Normal; Spirometry; COPD
15.  Comparison of Spatially Matched Airways Reveals Thinner Airway Walls in COPD. The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) COPD Study and the Subpopulations and Intermediate Outcomes in COPD Study (SPIROMICS) 
Thorax  2014;69(11):987-996.
COPD is characterized by reduced airway lumen dimensions and fewer peripheral airways. Most studies of airway properties sample airways based upon lumen dimension or at random, which may bias comparisons given reduced airway lumen dimensions and number in COPD. We sought to compare central airway wall dimensions on computed tomography (CT) in COPD and controls using spatially matched airways, thereby avoiding selection bias of airways in the lung.
The MESA COPD Study and SPIROMICS recruited smokers with COPD and controls aged 50–79 years and 40–80 years, respectively. COPD was defined by current guidelines. Using CT image data, airway dimensions were measured for all central airway segments (generations 0–6) following 5 standardized paths into the lungs. Case-control airway comparisons were spatially matched by generation and adjusted for demographics, body size, smoking, CT dose, percent emphysema, airway length, and lung volume.
Among 311 MESA COPD participants, airway wall areas at generations 3–6 were smaller in COPD compared to controls(all p<0.001). Among 1248 SPIROMICS participants, airway wall areas at generations 1–6 were smaller(all p<0.001), and this reduction was monotonic with increasing COPD severity(P<0.001). In both studies, sampling airways by lumen diameter or randomly resulted in a comparison of more proximal airways in COPD to more peripheral airways in controls(p<0.001) resulting in the appearance of thicker walls in COPD(p<0.02).
Airway walls are thinner in COPD when comparing spatially matched central airways. Other approaches to airway sampling result in comparisons of more proximal to more distal airways and potentially biased assessment of airway properties in COPD.
PMCID: PMC4198462  PMID: 24928812
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; computed tomography; airways; walls
16.  Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise 
European journal of applied physiology  2010;111(6):1063-1071.
Volume load (VL) is suggested to influence the adaptation of muscle to resistance exercise (RE). We sought to examine the independent association between total VL and hypertrophy and strength following a progressive RE protocol of equated sets and intensity. Total VL was calculated in 83 subjects (n = 43 males, n = 40 females; age = 25.12 ± 5.5 years) who participated in unilateral arm RE for 12 weeks. Subjects were tested for biceps muscle volume (MRI of the upper arm), isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC), and dynamic biceps strength (1RM), at baseline and following RE. Linear regression analysis revealed that sex was a significant predictor of hypertrophy (β = 0.06; p = 0.01) and strength (β = 0.14; p = 0.04), and that males had greater increases. Total VL was independently associated with hypertrophy only among females (β = 0.12; p < 0.01). For males, only baseline strength was (inversely) related to hypertrophy (β = −0.12; p = 0.04). VL was strongly associated with changes in 1RM strength improvement for both males (β = 0.66; p < 0.01) and females (β = 0.26; p = 0.02), but only related to MVC among females (β = 0.20; p = 0.02). Findings reveal that VL was independently associated with hypertrophy only among females. For males baseline strength was independently and inversely related to changes in muscle mass. Conversely, VL was found to be strongly associated with changes in 1RM for both males and females, controlling for age, body mass, and baseline strength.
PMCID: PMC4215195  PMID: 21113614
Strength training; Volume load; FAMuSS; Muscle mass; Periodization
17.  Mathematical Modeling of Corticosteroid Pharmacogenomics in Rat Muscle following Acute and Chronic Methylprednisolone Dosing 
Molecular pharmaceutics  2008;5(2):328-339.
The pharmacogenomic effects of a corticosteroid (CS) were assessed in rat skeletal muscle using microarrays. Adrenalectomized (ADX) rats were treated with methylprednisolone (MPL) by either 50 mg/kg intravenous injection or 7-day 0.3 mg/kg/h infusion through subcutaneously implanted pumps. RNAs extracted from individual rat muscles were hybridized to Affymetrix Rat Genome Genechips. Data mining yielded 653 and 2316 CS-responsive probe sets following MPL bolus and infusion treatments. Of these, 196 genes were controlled by MPL under both dosing conditions. Cluster analysis revealed that 124 probe sets exhibited three typical expression dynamic profiles following acute dosing. Cluster A consisted of up-regulated probe sets which were grouped into five subclusters each exhibiting unique temporal patterns during the infusion. Cluster B comprised down-regulated probe sets which were divided into two subclusters with distinct dynamics during the infusion. Cluster C probe sets exhibited delayed down-regulation under both bolus and infusion conditions. Among those, 104 probe sets were further grouped into subclusters based on their profiles following chronic MPL dosing. Several mathematical models were proposed and adequately captured the temporal patterns for each subcluster. Multiple types of dosing regimens are needed to resolve common determinants of gene regulation as chronic exposure results in unexpected differences in gene expression compared to acute dosing. Pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling provides a quantitative tool for elucidating the complexities of CS pharmacogenomics in skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC4196382  PMID: 18271548
Microarray studies; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; mathematical models; computational biology
18.  Microarray analysis of the temporal response of skeletal muscle to methylprednisolone: comparative analysis of two dosing regimens 
Physiological genomics  2007;30(3):282-299.
The transcriptional response of skeletal muscle to chronic corticosteroid exposure was examined over 168 h and compared with the response profiles observed following a single dose of corticosteroid. Male adrenalectomized Wistar rats were given a constant-rate infusion of 0.3 mg•kg−1•h−1 methylprednisolone for up to 7 days via subcutaneously implanted minipumps. Four control and forty drug-treated animals were killed at ten different time points during infusion. Liver total RNAs were hybridized to 44 individual Affymetrix REA230A gene chips. Previously, we described a filtration approach for identifying genes of interest in microarray data sets developed from tissues of rats treated with methylprednisolone (MPL) following acute dosing. Here, a similar approach involving a series of three filters was applied sequentially to identify genes of interest. These filters were designed to eliminate probe sets that were not expressed in the tissue, not regulated by the drug, or did not meet defined quality control standards. Filtering eliminated 86% of probe sets, leaving a remainder of 2,316 for further consideration. In a previous study, 653 probe sets were identified as MPL regulated following administration of a single (acute) dose of the drug. Comparison of the two data sets yielded 196 genes identified as regulated by MPL in both dosing regimens. Because of receptor downregulation, it was predicted that genes regulated by receptor-glucocorticoid response element interactions would exhibit tolerance in chronic profiles. However, many genes did not exhibit steroid tolerance, indicating that present perspectives on the mechanism of glucocorticoid action cannot entirely explain all temporal profiles.
PMCID: PMC4186702  PMID: 17473217
glucocorticoids; corticosteroids; Affymetrix gene chips; gene expression; time series
20.  Application of Scaling Factors in Simultaneous Modeling of Microarray Data from Diverse Chips 
Pharmaceutical research  2007;24(4):643-649.
Microarrays have been utilized in many biological, physiological and pharmacological studies as a high-throughput genomic technique. Several generations of Affymetrix GeneChip® microarrays are widely used in gene expression studies. However, differences in intensities of signals for different probe sets that represent the same gene on various types of Affymetrix chips make comparison of datasets complicated.
Materials and Methods
A power coefficient scaling factor was applied in the pharmacokinetic/ pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) modeling to account for differences in probe set sensitivities (i.e., signal intensities). Microarray data from muscle and liver following methylprednisolone 50 mg/kg i.v. bolus and 0.3 mg/kg/h infusion regimens were taken as an exemplar.
The scaling factor applied to the pharmacodynamic output function was used to solve the problem of intensity differences between probe sets. This approach yielded consistent pharmacodynamic parameters for the applied models.
Modeling of pharmacodynamic/pharmacogenomic (PD/PG) data from diverse chips should be performed with caution due to differential probe set intensities. In such circumstances, a power scaling factor can be applied in the modeling.
PMCID: PMC4181592  PMID: 17318415
bioinformatics; computational biology; pharmacodynamics; pharmacogenomics; pharmacokinetics
21.  Differential Gene Expression Reveals Mitochondrial Dysfunction in an Imprinting Center Deletion Mouse Model of Prader-Willi Syndrome 
Clinical and translational science  2013;6(5):10.1111/cts.12083.
Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder caused by deficiency of imprinted gene expression from the paternal chromosome 15q11-15q13 and clinically characterized by neonatal hypotonia, short stature, cognitive impairment, hypogonadism, hyperphagia, morbid obesity and diabetes. Previous clinical studies suggest that a defect in energy metabolism may be involved in the pathogenesis of PWS. We focused our attention on the genes associated with energy metabolism and found that there were 95 and 66 mitochondrial genes differentially expressed in PWS muscle and brain, respectively. Assessment of enzyme activities of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes in the brain, heart, liver and muscle were assessed. We found the enzyme activities of the cardiac mitochondrial complexes II+III were upregulated in the imprinting center deletion (PWS-IC) mice compared to the wild type littermates. These studies suggest that differential gene expression, especially of the mitochondrial genes may contribute to the pathophysiology of PWS.
PMCID: PMC3815468  PMID: 24127921
22.  Phase I/II study of pegylated arginine deiminase (ADI-PEG 20) in patients with advanced melanoma 
Investigational new drugs  2012;31(2):425-434.
Arginine deiminase (ADI) is an enzyme that degrades arginine, an amino acid that is important for growth and development of normal and neoplastic cells. Melanoma cells are auxotrophic for arginine, because they lack argininosuccinatesynthetase (ASS), a key enzyme required for the synthesis of arginine.
Patients and methods
Patients with advanced melanoma were treated with 40, 80 or 160 IU/m2 ADI-PEG 20 i.m. weekly. Primary endpoints were toxicity and tumor response, secondary endpoints included metabolic response by 18FDG-PET, pharmacodynamic (PD) effects upon circulating arginine levels, and argininosuccinate synthetase tumor expression by immunohistochemistry.
31 previously treated patients were enrolled. The main toxicities were grade 1 and 2 adverse events including injection site pain, rash, and fatigue. No objective responses were seen. Nine patients achieved stable disease (SD), with 2 of these durable for >6 months. Four of the 9 patients with SD had uveal melanoma. PD analysis showed complete plasma arginine depletion in 30/31 patients by day 8. Mean plasma levels of ADI-PEG 20 correlated inversely with ADI-PEG 20 antibody levels. Immunohistochemical ASS expression analysis in tumor tissue was negative in 24 patients, whereas 5 patients had <5 % cells positive.
ADI-PEG 20 is well tolerated in advanced melanoma patients and leads to consistent, but transient, arginine depletion. Although no RECIST responses were observed, the encouraging rate of SD in uveal melanoma patients indicates that it may be worthwhile to evaluate ADI-PEG 20 in this melanoma subgroup.
PMCID: PMC4169197  PMID: 22864522
Melanoma; Metastatic; Auxotrophy; Arginine deiminase; Argininosuccinate synthetase
23.  Time Series Proteome Profiling To Study Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Response 
Journal of proteome research  2008;7(6):2435-2444.
Time series profiling is a powerful approach for obtaining information on protein expression dynamics and prevailing biochemical pathways. To date, such information could only be obtained at the mRNA level using mature and highly parallel technologies such as microarray gene expression profiling. The generation of time series data at the protein level has lagged due to the lack of robust and highly reproducible methodologies. Using a combination of SILAC strategy, SDS-PAGE and LC-MS/MS, we demonstrate successful monitoring of expression levels of the same set of proteins across different time points within the ER compartment of human primary fibroblast cells when exposed to ER stress inducers tunicamycin and thapsigargin. Data visualization was facilitated using GeneSpring GX analysis platform that was designed to process Affymetrix microarray data. This software also facilitated the generation of important parameters such as data normalization, calculation of statistical values to extract significant changes in protein expression, and the cross comparison of data sets.
PMCID: PMC4154506  PMID: 18435558
SILAC; Isotope Ratio; LC-MS/MS; Proteome profiling; Time series; ER stress; GRP78; Reticulocalbin
24.  Multiscale image-based modeling and simulation of gas flow and particle transport in the human lungs 
Improved understanding of structure and function relationships in the human lungs in individuals and sub-populations is fundamentally important to the future of pulmonary medicine. Image-based measures of the lungs can provide sensitive indicators of localized features, however to provide a better prediction of lung response to disease, treatment and environment, it is desirable to integrate quantifiable regional features from imaging with associated value-added high-level modeling. With this objective in mind, recent advances in computational fluid dynamics (CFD) of the bronchial airways - from a single bifurcation symmetric model to a multiscale image-based subject-specific lung model - will be reviewed. The interaction of CFD models with local parenchymal tissue expansion - assessed by image registration - allows new understanding of the interplay between environment, hot spots where inhaled aerosols could accumulate, and inflammation. To bridge ventilation function with image-derived central airway structure in CFD, an airway geometrical modeling method that spans from the model ‘entrance’ to the terminal bronchioles will be introduced. Finally, the effects of turbulent flows and CFD turbulence models on aerosol transport and deposition will be discussed.
CFD simulation of airflow and particle transport in the human lung has been pursued by a number of research groups, whose interest has been in studying flow physics and airways resistance, improving drug delivery, or investigating which populations are most susceptible to inhaled pollutants. The three most important factors that need to be considered in airway CFD studies are lung structure, regional lung function, and flow characteristics. Their correct treatment is important because the transport of therapeutic or pollutant particles is dependent on the characteristics of the flow by which they are transported; and the airflow in the lungs is dependent on the geometry of the airways and how ventilation is distributed to the peripheral tissue. The human airway structure spans more than 20 generations, beginning with the extra-thoracic airways (oral or nasal cavity, and through the pharynx and larynx to the trachea), then the conducting airways, the respiratory airways, and to the alveoli. The airways in individuals and sub-populations (by gender, age, ethnicity, and normal vs. diseased states) may exhibit different dimensions, branching patterns and angles, and thickness and rigidity. At the local level, one would like to capture detailed flow characteristics, e.g. local velocity profiles, shear stress, and pressure, for prediction of particle transport in an airway (lung structure) model that is specific to the geometry of an individual, to understand how inter-subject variation in airway geometry (normal or pathological) influences the transport and deposition of particles. In a systems biology – or multiscale modeling – approach, these local flow characteristics can be further integrated with epithelial cell models for the study of mechanotransduction. At the global (organ) level, one would like to match regional ventilation (lung function) that is specific to the individual, thus ensuring that the flow that transports inhaled particles is appropriately distributed throughout the lung model. Computational models that do not account for realistic distribution of ventilation are not capable of predicting realistic particle distribution or targeted drug deposition. Furthermore, the flow in the human lung can be transitional or turbulent in the upper and proximal airways, and becomes laminar in the distal airways. The flows in the laminar, transitional and turbulent regimes have different temporal and spatial scales. Therefore, modeling airway structure and predicting gas flow and particle transport at both local and global levels require image-guided multiscale modeling strategies.
In this article, we will review the aforementioned three key aspects of CFD studies of the human lungs: airway structure (conducting airways), lung function (regional ventilation and boundary conditions), and flow characteristics (modeling of turbulent flow and its effect on particle transport). For modeling airway structure, we will focus on the conducting airways, and review both symmetric vs. asymmetric airway models, idealized vs. CT-based airway models, and multiscale subject-specific airway models. Imposition of physiological subject-specific boundary conditions (BCs) in CFD is essential to match regional ventilation in individuals, which is also critical in studying preferential deposition of inhaled aerosols in sub-populations, e.g. normals vs. asthmatics that may exhibit different ventilation patterns. Subject-specific regional ventilation defines flow distributions and characteristics in airway segments and bifurcations, which subsequently determines the transport and deposition of aerosols in the entire lungs. Turbulence models are needed to capture the transient and turbulent nature of the gas flow in the human lungs. Thus, the advantages and disadvantages of different turbulence models as well as their effects on particle transport will be discussed. The ultimate goal of the development is to identify sensitive structural and functional variables in sub-populations of normal and diseased lungs for potential clinical applications.
PMCID: PMC3763693  PMID: 23843310
25.  Microarray Analysis Reveals Novel Features of the Muscle Aging Process in Men and Women 
To develop a global view of muscle transcriptional differences between older men and women and sex-specific aging, we obtained muscle biopsies from the biceps brachii of young and older men and women and profiled the whole-genome gene expression using microarray. A logistic regression-based method in combination with an intensity-based Bayesian moderated t test was used to identify significant sex- and aging-related gene functional groups. Our analysis revealed extensive sex differences in the muscle transcriptome of older individuals and different patterns of transcriptional changes with aging in men and women. In older women, we observed a coordinated transcriptional upregulation of immune activation, extracellular matrix remodeling, and lipids storage; and a downregulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and function and muscle regeneration. The effect of aging results in sexual dimorphic alterations in the skeletal muscle transcriptome, which may modify the risk for developing musculoskeletal and metabolic diseases in men and women.
PMCID: PMC3826860  PMID: 23418191
Aging; Sex; Sarcopenia; Transcription profile.

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