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1.  Characterization of the severe asthma phenotype by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Severe Asthma Research Program 
Severe asthma causes the majority of asthma morbidity. Understanding mechanisms that contribute to the development of severe disease is important.
The goal of the Severe Asthma Research Program is to identify and characterize subjects with severe asthma to understand pathophysiologic mechanisms in severe asthma.
We performed a comprehensive phenotypic characterization (questionnaires, atopy and pulmonary function testing, phlebotomy, exhaled nitric oxide) in subjects with severe and not severe asthma.
A total of 438 subjects with asthma were studied (204 severe, 70 moderate, 164 mild). Severe subjects with asthma were older with longer disease duration (P < .0001), more daily symptoms, intense urgent health care utilization, sinusitis, and pneumonia (P ≤ .0001). Lung function was lower in severe asthma with marked bronchodilator reversibility (P < .001). The severe group had less atopy by skin tests (P = .0007), but blood eosinophils, IgE, and exhaled nitric oxide levels did not differentiate disease severity. A reduced FEV1, history of pneumonia, and fewer positive skin tests were risk factors for severe disease. Early disease onset (age < 12 years) in severe asthma was associated with longer disease duration (P < .0001) and more urgent health care, especially intensive care (P = .002). Later disease onset (age ≥ 12 years) was associated with lower lung function and sinopulmonary infections (P ≤ .02).
Severe asthma is characterized by abnormal lung function that is responsive to bronchodilators, a history of sinopulmonary infections, persistent symptoms, and increased health care utilization.
Clinical implications
Lung function abnormalities in severe asthma are reversible in most patients, and pneumonia is a risk factor for the development of severe disease.
PMCID: PMC2837934  PMID: 17291857
Severe asthma; definition; bronchodilator response; pathophysiology; phenotype; pneumonia
2.  A combined pulmonary -radiology workshop for visual evaluation of COPD: study design, chest CT findings and concordance with quantitative evaluation 
COPD  2012;9(2):151-159.
The purposes of this study were: to describe chest CT findings in normal non-smoking controls and cigarette smokers with and without COPD; to compare the prevalence of CT abnormalities with severity of COPD; and to evaluate concordance between visual and quantitative chest CT (QCT) scoring
Volumetric inspiratory and expiratory CT scans of 294 subjects, including normal non-smokers, smokers without COPD, and smokers with GOLD Stage I-IV COPD, were scored at a multi-reader workshop using a standardized worksheet. There were fifty-eight observers (33 pulmonologists, 25 radiologists); each scan was scored by 9–11 observers. Interobserver agreement was calculated using kappa statistic. Median score of visual observations was compared with QCT measurements.
Interobserver agreement was moderate for the presence or absence of emphysema and for the presence of panlobular emphysema; fair for the presence of centrilobular, paraseptal, and bullous emphysema subtypes and for the presence of bronchial wall thickening; and poor for gas trapping, centrilobular nodularity, mosaic attenuation, and bronchial dilation. Agreement was similar for radiologists and pulmonologists. The prevalence on CT readings of most abnormalities (e.g. emphysema, bronchial wall thickening, mosaic attenuation, expiratory gas trapping) increased significantly with greater COPD severity, while the prevalence of centrilobular nodularity decreased. Concordances between visual scoring and quantitative scoring of emphysema, gas trapping and airway wall thickening were 75%, 87% and 65%, respectively.
Despite substantial inter-observer variation, visual assessment of chest CT scans in cigarette smokers provides information regarding lung disease severity; visual scoring may be complementary to quantitative evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3752926  PMID: 22429093
3.  Gender Differences of Airway Dimensions in Anatomically Matched Sites on CT in Smokers 
COPD  2011;8(4):285-292.
Rationale and Objectives
There are limited data on, and controversies regarding gender differences in the airway dimensions of smokers. Multi-detector CT (MDCT) images were analyzed to examine whether gender could explain differences in airway dimensions of anatomically matched airways in smokers.
Materials and Methods
We used VIDA imaging software to analyze MDCT scans from 2047 smokers (M:F, 1021:1026) from the COPDGene® cohort. The airway dimensions were analyzed from segmental to subsubsegmental bronchi. We compared the differences of luminal area, inner diameter, wall thickness, wall area percentage (WA%) for each airway between men and women, and multiple linear regression including covariates (age, gender, body sizes, and other relevant confounding factors) was used to determine the predictors of each airway dimensions.
Lumen area, internal diameter and wall thickness were smaller for women than men in all measured airway (18.4 vs 22.5 mm2 for segmental bronchial lumen area, 10.4 vs 12.5 mm2 for subsegmental bronchi, 6.5 vs 7.7 mm2 for subsubsegmental bronchi, respectively p < 0.001). However, women had greater WA% in subsegmental and subsubsegmental bronchi. In multivariate regression, gender remained one of the most significant predictors of WA%, lumen area, inner diameter and wall thickness.
Women smokers have higher WA%, but lower luminal area, internal diameter and airway thickness in anatomically matched airways as measured by CT scan than do male smokers. This difference may explain, in part, gender differences in the prevalence of COPD and airflow limitation.
PMCID: PMC3703311  PMID: 21756032
Airway dimensions; CT scan; Gender differences; Smoker
4.  Parental Influence on Child Change in Physical Activity during a Family-Based Intervention for Child Weight Gain Prevention 
This study examined the association between parent and child change in physical activity during a family-based intervention for child weight gain prevention.
Daily step counts were recorded for parents and children in 83 families given a goal to increase activity by 2000 steps per day above baseline. Linear mixed effects models were utilized to predict child change in daily step counts from parental change in step counts.
Both maternal (p < .0001) and paternal (p < .0001) change in step counts for the current day strongly predicted child change in step counts for that day. On average, a child took an additional 2117.6 steps above baseline on days his or her mother met her goal versus 1175.2 additional steps when the mother did not meet her goal. The respective values were 1598.0 versus 1123.1 steps for fathers. Day of week moderated the maternal effect (p = 0.0019), with a larger impact on Saturday and Sunday compared to weekdays. A similar but non-significant pattern was observed for fathers.
Encouraging parents to increase physical activity, particularly on weekends, may be a highly effective way to leverage parental involvement in interventions to increase children's physical activity.
PMCID: PMC3624075  PMID: 21946342
pediatric overweight; parent-child associations; daily step counts
5.  A Dimensional Bus model for integrating clinical and research data 
Many clinical research data integration platforms rely on the Entity–Attribute–Value model because of its flexibility, even though it presents problems in query formulation and execution time. The authors sought more balance in these traits.
Materials and Methods
Borrowing concepts from Entity–Attribute–Value and from enterprise data warehousing, the authors designed an alternative called the Dimensional Bus model and used it to integrate electronic medical record, sponsored study, and biorepository data. Each type of observational collection has its own table, and the structure of these tables varies to suit the source data. The observational tables are linked to the Bus, which holds provenance information and links to various classificatory dimensions that amplify the meaning of the data or facilitate its query and exposure management.
The authors implemented a Bus-based clinical research data repository with a query system that flexibly manages data access and confidentiality, facilitates catalog search, and readily formulates and compiles complex queries.
The design provides a workable way to manage and query mixed schemas in a data warehouse.
PMCID: PMC3241170  PMID: 21856687
Data bus; data warehouse; EMR extract
6.  Genome-Wide Association Analysis of Body Mass in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Cachexia, whether assessed by body mass index (BMI) or fat-free mass index (FFMI), affects a significant proportion of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and is an independent risk factor for increased mortality, increased emphysema, and more severe airflow obstruction. The variable development of cachexia among patients with COPD suggests a role for genetic susceptibility. The objective of the present study was to determine genetic susceptibility loci involved in the development of low BMI and FFMI in subjects with COPD. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BMI was conducted in three independent cohorts of European descent with Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage II or higher COPD: Evaluation of COPD Longitudinally to Identify Predictive Surrogate End-Points (ECLIPSE; n = 1,734); Norway-Bergen cohort (n = 851); and a subset of subjects from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT; n = 365). A genome-wide association of FFMI was conducted in two of the cohorts (ECLIPSE and Norway). In the combined analyses, a significant association was found between rs8050136, located in the first intron of the fat mass and obesity–associated (FTO) gene, and BMI (P = 4.97 × 10−7) and FFMI (P = 1.19 × 10−7). We replicated the association in a fourth, independent cohort consisting of 502 subjects with COPD from COPDGene (P = 6 × 10−3). Within the largest contributing cohort of our analysis, lung function, as assessed by forced expiratory volume at 1 second, varied significantly by FTO genotype. Our analysis suggests a potential role for the FTO locus in the determination of anthropomorphic measures associated with COPD.
PMCID: PMC3266061  PMID: 21037115
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease genetics; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease epidemiology; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease metabolism; genome-wide association study
7.  Clinical and Radiographic Predictors of GOLD–Unclassified Smokers in the COPDGene Study 
Rationale: A significant proportion of smokers have lung function impairment characterized by a reduced FEV1 with a preserved FEV1/FVC ratio. These smokers are a poorly characterized group due to their systematic exclusion from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) studies.
Objectives: To characterize the clinical, functional, and radiographic features of Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD)-Unclassified (FEV1/FVC ≥ 0.7 and FEV1 < 80% predicted) and lower limits of normal (LLN)-unclassified (FEV1/FVC ≥ LLN and FEV1 < LLN) subjects compared to smokers with normal lung function and subjects with COPD.
Methods: Data from the first 2,500 subjects enrolled in the COPDGene study were analyzed. All subjects had 10 or more pack-years of smoking and were between the ages of 45 and 80 years. Multivariate regression models were constructed to determine the clinical and radiological variables associated with GOLD-Unclassified (GOLD-U) and LLN-Unclassified status. Separate multivariate regressions were performed in the subgroups of subjects with complete radiologic measurement variables available.
Measurements and Main Results: GOLD-U smokers account for 9% of smokers in COPDGene and have increased body mass index (BMI), a disproportionately reduced total lung capacity, and a higher proportion of nonwhite subjects and subjects with diabetes. GOLD-U subjects exhibit increased airway wall thickness compared to smoking control subjects and decreased gas trapping and bronchodilator responsiveness compared to subjects with COPD. When LLN criteria were used to define the “unclassified” group, African American subjects were no longer overrepresented. Both GOLD-U and LLN-Unclassified subjects demonstrated a wide range of lung function impairment, BMI, and percentage of total lung emphysema.
Conclusions: Subjects with reduced FEV1 and a preserved FEV1/FVC ratio are a heterogeneous group with significant symptoms and functional limitation who likely have a variety of underlying etiologies beyond increased BMI.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT000608764).
PMCID: PMC3172890  PMID: 21493737
lung diseases, classification; lung diseases, diagnosis; lung diseases, epidemiology
8.  Application of adaptive design and decision making to a phase II trial of a phosphodiesterase inhibitor for the treatment of intermittent claudication 
Trials  2011;12:134.
Claudication secondary to peripheral artery disease (PAD) is associated with substantial functional impairment. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) inhibitors have been shown to increase walking performance in these patients. K-134 is a selective PDE 3 inhibitor being developed as a potential treatment for claudication. The use of K-134, as with other PDE 3 inhibitors, in patients with PAD raises important safety and tolerability concerns, including the induction of cardiac ischemia, tachycardia, and hypotension. We describe the design, oversight, and implementation of an adaptive, phase II, dose-finding trial evaluating K-134 for the treatment of stable, intermittent claudication.
The study design was a double-blind, multi-dose (25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg of K-134), randomized trial with both placebo and active comparator arms conducted in the United States and Russia. The primary objective of the study was to compare the highest tolerable dose of K-134 versus placebo using peak walking time after 26 weeks of therapy as the primary outcome. Study visits with intensive safety assessments were included early in the study period to provide data for adaptive decision making. The trial used an adaptive, dose-finding strategy to efficiently identify the highest dose(s) most likely to be safe and well tolerated, based on the side effect profiles observed within the trial, so that less promising doses could be abandoned. Protocol specified criteria for safety and tolerability endpoints were used and modeled prior to the adaptive decision making. The maximum target sample size was 85 subjects in each of the retained treatment arms.
When 199 subjects had been randomized and 28-day data were available from 143, the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) recommended termination of the lowest dose (25 mg) treatment arm. Safety evaluations performed during 14- and 28-day visits which included in-clinic dosing and assessments at peak drug concentrations provided core data for the DMC review. At the time of review, no subject in any of the five treatment arms (placebo, three K-134-containing arms, and cilostazol) had met pre-specified definitions for resting tachycardia or ischemic changes on exercise ECG. If, instead of dropping the 25-mg K-134 treatment arm, all arms had been continued to full enrollment, then approximately 43 additional research subjects would have been required to complete the trial.
In this phase II, dose-finding trial of K-134 in the treatment of stable intermittent claudication, no concerning safety signals were seen at interim analysis, allowing the discontinuation of the lowest-dose-containing arm and the retention of the two highest-dose-containing arms. The adaptive design facilitated safe and efficient evaluation of K-134 in this high-risk cardiovascular population.
Trial registration NCT00783081
PMCID: PMC3126735  PMID: 21612611
9.  IgG antibodies produced during subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy mediate inhibition of basophil activation via a mechanism involving both FcγRIIA and FcγRIIB 
Immunology letters  2009;130(1-2):57-65.
1. Summary
The majority of human subjects who receive subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (IT) develop decreased sensitivity to their allergens. Multiple factors may explain the efficacy of IT, some evidence supports a role for allergen specific IgG antibodies. There is controversy whether such antibodies act by blocking allergen binding to IgE or initiation of active inhibitory signaling through low affinity IgG receptors (FcγRIIB) on mast cells and basophils. In this study, we addressed this question using peripheral blood from cat non-allergic, cat allergic, and immunotherapy-treated cat allergic subjects. Blood from subjects who received IT contain IgG antibodies that mediate inhibition of basophil activation by a mechanism that is blocked by antibodies specific for the inhibitory IgG receptor FcγRIIB. Surprisingly, inhibition was also blocked by aglycosylated, putatively non-FcR binding, antibodies that are specific for the FcγRIIA, suggesting a contribution of this receptor to the observed effect. Consistent with a cooperative effect, ex vivo basophils were found to express both IgG receptors. In other studies we found that basophils from subjects who were both chronically exposed to allergen and were producing both cat allergen specific IgE and IgG, are hypo-responsive to allergen. These studies confirm that IgG antibodies produced during IT act primarily by stimulation of inhibitory signaling, and suggest that FcγRIIA and FcγRIIB function cooperatively in activation of inhibitory signaling circuit. We suggest that under normal physiologic conditions in which only a small proportion of FcεRI are occupied by IgE of a single allergen specificity, FcγRIIA co-aggregation may, by providing activated Lyn, be required to fuel activation of inhibitory FcγRIIB function.
PMCID: PMC2849848  PMID: 20004689
Human; Mast Cells/Basophils; Fc Receptors; Antibodies; Allergy
10.  Decreased Serum Vitamin D Levels in Children with Asthma are Associated with Increased Corticosteroid Usage 
There is little knowledge about clinical variables associated with vitamin D (vitD) insufficiency in asthmatic children.
To investigate disease variables associated with vitD insufficiency in childhood asthma and interaction of vitD with corticosteroid-mediated anti-inflammatory responses.
We analyzed 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum levels in 100 asthmatic children to investigate relationships between 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels and patient characteristics. We determined vitD effects on dexamethasone (DEX) induction of mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatase-1 (MKP-1) and IL-10 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).
The median 25-hydroxyvitamin D serum level was 31 ng/mL. 47% of subjects had vitD levels in the insufficient range (<30 ng/mL), while 17% were vitD deficient (<20 ng/mL). Log10 IgE (p=0.01, ρ=−0.25) and the number of positive aeroallergen skin prick tests (p=0.02, ρ=−0.23) showed a significant inverse correlation with vitD, whereas FEV1% predicted (p =0.004, ρ=0.34) and FEV1/FVC ratio (p=0.01, ρ=0.30) showed a significant positive correlation with vitD. The use of inhaled steroids (p=0.0475), oral steroids (p=0.02), and total steroid dose (p=0.001), all showed significant inverse correlations with vitD. The amount of MKP-1 and IL-10 mRNA induced by vitD plus DEX was significantly greater than that induced by DEX alone (p<0.01). In an experimental model of steroid resistance where DEX alone did not inhibit T cell proliferation, addition of vitD to DEX resulted in significant dose dependent suppression of cell proliferation.
Corticosteroid use and worsening airflow limitation is associated with lower vitD serum levels in asthmatics. VitD enhances glucocorticoid action in asthmatic PBMC and enhances the immunosuppressive function of DEX in vitro.
Clinical Implications
Our study suggests that vitD supplementation may potentiate anti-inflammatory function of corticosteroids in asthmatics and thereby improve asthma control.
PMCID: PMC2866800  PMID: 20381849
vitamin D; children; asthma
11.  Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene) Study Design 
COPD  2010;7(1):32-43.
COPDGeneis a multicenter observational study designed to identify genetic factors associated with COPD. It will also characterize chest CT phenotypes in COPD subjects, including assessment of emphysema, gas trapping, and airway wall thickening. Finally, subtypes of COPD based on these phenotypes will be used in a comprehensive genome-wide study to identify COPD susceptibility genes.
COPDGene will enroll 10,000 smokers with and without COPD across the GOLD stages. Both Non-Hispanic white and African-American subjects are included in the cohort. Inspiratory and expiratory chest CT scans will be obtained on all participants. In addition to the cross-sectional enrollment process, these subjects will be followed regularly for longitudinal studies. A genome-wide association study (GWAS) will be done on an initial group of 4000 subjects to identify genetic variants associated with case-control status and several quantitative phenotypes related to COPD. The initial findings will be verified in an additional 2000 COPD cases and 2000 smoking control subjects, and further validation association studies will be carried out.
COPDGene will provide important new information about genetic factors in COPD, and will characterize the disease process using high resolution CT scans. Understanding genetic factors and CT phenotypes that define COPD will potentially permit earlier diagnosis of this disease and may lead to the development of treatments to modify progression.
PMCID: PMC2924193  PMID: 20214461
12.  Epidemiology, radiology, and genetics of nicotine dependence in COPD 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):9.
Cigarette smoking is the principal environmental risk factor for developing COPD, and nicotine dependence strongly influences smoking behavior. This study was performed to elucidate the relationship between nicotine dependence, genetic susceptibility to nicotine dependence, and volumetric CT findings in smokers.
Current smokers with COPD (GOLD stage ≥ 2) or normal spirometry were analyzed from the COPDGene Study, a prospective observational study. Nicotine dependence was determined by the Fagerstrom test for nicotine dependence (FTND). Volumetric CT acquisitions measuring the percent of emphysema on inspiratory CT (% of lung <-950 HU) and gas trapping on expiratory CT (% of lung <-856 HU) were obtained. Genotypes for two SNPs in the CHRNA3/5 region (rs8034191, rs1051730) previously associated with nicotine dependence and COPD were analyzed for association to COPD and nicotine dependence phenotypes.
Among 842 currently smoking subjects (335 COPD cases and 507 controls), 329 subjects (39.1%) showed high nicotine dependence. Subjects with high nicotine dependence had greater cumulative and current amounts of smoking. However, emphysema severity was negatively correlated with the FTND score in controls (ρ = -0.19, p < .0001) as well as in COPD cases (ρ = -0.18, p = 0.0008). Lower FTND score, male gender, lower body mass index, and lower FEV1 were independent risk factors for emphysema severity in COPD cases. Both CHRNA3/5 SNPs were associated with FTND in current smokers. An association of genetic variants in CHRNA3/5 with severity of emphysema was only found in former smokers, but not in current smokers.
Nicotine dependence was a negative predictor for emphysema on CT in COPD and control smokers. Increased inflammation in more highly addicted current smokers could influence the CT lung density distribution, which may influence genetic association studies of emphysema phenotypes.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials (NCT): NCT00608764
PMCID: PMC3033825  PMID: 21232152
13.  Variants in FAM13A are associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Nature genetics  2010;42(3):200-202.
Substantial evidence suggests that there is genetic susceptibility to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To identify common genetic risk variants, we performed a genome-wide association study in 2940 cases and 1380 smoking controls with normal lung function. We demonstrate a novel susceptibility locus at 4q22.1 in FAM13A (rs7671167, OR=0.76, P=8.6×10−8) and provide evidence of replication in one case-control and two family-based cohorts (for all studies, combined P=1.2×10−11).
PMCID: PMC2828499  PMID: 20173748
14.  Extracellular Superoxide Dismutase Haplotypes Are Associated with Acute Lung Injury and Mortality 
Rationale: Extracellular superoxide dismutase (EC-SOD) is a potent antioxidant that plays an important role in controlling oxidant-mediated stress and inflammation. High levels of EC-SOD are found in the lung. Acute lung injury (ALI) frequently occurs in patients with infection, and levels of EC-SOD have been shown to modulate severity of lung injury in transgenic animal models of endotoxemia-induced ALI. An R213G single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) has been shown to alter levels of EC-SOD and patient outcomes in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ischemic heart disease.
Objectives: To determine genetic variation in the promoter and EC-SOD gene and to examine whether EC-SOD haplotype blocks are associated with clinical outcomes.
Methods: We sequenced the EC-SOD promoter and gene to determine genetic variation and linkage disequilibrium (LD) patterns in a European American population. Two separate patient populations with infection-associated ALI were also evaluated to determine whether EC-SOD haplotypes were associated with clinical outcomes.
Measurements and Main Results: Sequencing resulted in the identification of 28 SNPs with relatively strong LD and 1 block consisting of 4691-5321-5360-5955-5982. This specific block was shown to be protective in two separate patient populations with infection associated ALI. In particular, patients with a GCCT haplotype had a reduced risk of time on the ventilator and mortality.
Conclusions: These results indicate that a GCCT haplotype may reduce inflammation in the lung, thereby decreasing the severity of lung injury and ultimately protecting patients from mortality associated with infection-induced ALI.
PMCID: PMC2633057  PMID: 18948423
EC-SOD; haplotypes; acute lung injury; single nucleotide polymorphism
To determine if an elevated level of the complement activation fragment Bb in early pregnancy was associated with spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB) at less than 34 weeks gestation or SPTB between 34 and 37 weeks gestation (late SPTB).
Study Design
Prospective study of 784 women enrolled at < 20 weeks gestation.
Following exclusions, 13 women (1.7%) had a SPTB at less than 34 weeks gestation and 25 (3.2%) a SPTB between 34 and 37 weeks gestation. Women with Bb in the top quartile were 4.7 times more likely to have an SPTB less than 34 weeks gestation as compared with women who had levels of Bb in the lower three quartiles (95% CI 1.5 to 14, P = 0.003). There was no association between Bb and late SPTB (RR= 0.8, 95% CI = 0.3 to 2).
A significant relationship was found between an elevated Bb in early pregnancy and SPTB < 34 weeks gestation. These results suggest that inflammatory events in early pregnancy are part of the pathogenic mechanisms of this condition.
PMCID: PMC2586079  PMID: 18928972
Inflammation; prematurity; early pregnancy
16.  Severe Necrotizing Pneumonia in Children, Houston, Texas, USA 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2009;15(10):1696-1698.
PMCID: PMC2866410  PMID: 19861083
Streptococcus pneumoniae; serotype 19A; necrotizing pneumonia; empyema; Texas; United States; bacteria; streptococci; letter
17.  Alternative complement pathway activation fragment Bb in early pregnancy as a predictor of preeclampsia 
Preeclampsia is a multisystem disease classically defined on the basis of hypertension and proteinuria. As shown in animal studies, complement activation is associated with inflammation in the placenta and adverse pregnancy outcomes. The association between complement activation in humans and adverse pregnancy outcomes is unclear. The purpose of this study was to determine whether elevated levels of the activation fragment Bb in early pregnancy are predictive of preeclampsia.
This prospective study of 701 women was conducted in Denver, CO. A single plasma sample was obtained from each woman before 20 weeks’ gestation. The cohort was followed up throughout pregnancy for the development of preeclampsia. Analysis included multivariate logistic regression to adjust for established risk factors for preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia developed in 4.6% of the cohort. Women with elevated Bb (90th or greater percentile) were substantially more likely to develop preeclampsia than women who had levels less than the 90th percentile (unadjusted relative risk [RR], 3.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6 to 7, P = .0009). Other significant risk factors for preeclampsia included nulliparity (RR, 2.1, 95% CI, 1–4), a high body mass index (P = .006 for trend), and maternal medical (preexisting maternal hypertension, type 1 diabetes, systemic lupus erythematosus) disease (RR, 4.4, 95% CI, 2–10). Significant risk factors among multiparous women included a history of hypertension in a previous pregnancy (RR, 5, 95% CI, 1.6 to 16) and a change of paternity (RR, 5.1, 95% CI, 1.6 to 15). Adjustment for risk factors did not attenuate the association between an elevated Bb and preeclampsia (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 3.8, 95% CI, 1.6 to 9, P = .002) in the cohort. After removing women with plasma obtained before 10 weeks, the adjusted OR of Bb in the top decile for preeclampsia was 6.1 (95% CI 2.2, 17, P = .0005).
The complement activation product Bb in early pregnancy is a biomarker for elevated risk of preeclampsia. This observation suggests that events linked to activation of complement in early pregnancy are associated with the pathogenesis of preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC2362503  PMID: 18221926
alternative complement pathway; complement activation fragment Bb; preeclampsia
18.  Variant IRAK-1 Haplotype Is Associated with Increased Nuclear Factor–κB Activation and Worse Outcomes in Sepsis 
Rationale: The IL-1 receptor–associated kinase (IRAK-1) plays a central role in TLR2- and TLR4-induced activation of nuclear factor (NF)-κB, a critical event in the transcriptional regulation of many sepsis-associated proinflammatory mediators. There are two haplotypes for the IRAK-1 gene in Caucasians, with the variant haplotype consisting of five intron single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and three exon SNPs.
Objectives: To examine the functional significance of the IRAK-1 variant haplotype in modifying nuclear translocation of NF-κB and affecting outcomes from sepsis.
Measurements and Main Results: One hundred fifty-five Caucasian patients with sepsis were included. Twenty-one (14%) were homozygous for the IRAK-1 variant haplotype as determined by a SNP in which T is replaced with C at nucleotide 1,595 within exon 12 of the IRAK-1 gene. The IRAK-1 variant haplotype was associated with increased nuclear levels of NF-κB in LPS-stimulated peripheral blood neutrophils from patients with sepsis compared with that found in patients with wild-type IRAK-1 haplotype (p = 0.0009). There was an increased incidence of shock (p = 0.047) (odds ratio [OR], 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1–7.7), greater requirement for more prolonged mechanical ventilator support (p = 0.04) (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.05–6.9), and higher 60-d mortality (p = 0.05) (OR, 2.7; 95% CI, 1.0–6.8) in patients with the IRAK-1 variant haplotype compared with wild type.
Conclusions: These results indicate that the IRAK-1 variant haplotype is functionally significant in patients with sepsis, being associated with increased nuclear translocation of NF-κB, more severe organ dysfunction, and higher mortality.
PMCID: PMC2662973  PMID: 16528020
acute lung injury; haplotype, inflammation; neutrophil; NF-κ; B; single nucleotide polymorphism
19.  Community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Pediatric Patients 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2005;11(6):966-968.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections increased from 2000 to 2003 in hospitalized pediatric patients in Houston. CA-MRSA was associated with greater illness than was infection with methicillin-susceptible strains. Children with CA-MRSA were younger and mostly African American. Of MRSA isolates, 4.5% had the inducible macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3367588  PMID: 15963299
Keywords: Methicillin Resistance; Staphylococcus; Pediatric Infectious Diseases/vaccines; AOM; bacterial respiratory infection; S. pneumoniae; antibiotic treatment; antibiotic tr; infection; Antibiotic resistance
20.  Differentiation of Campylobacter Isolates on the Basis of Sensitivity to Boiling in Water as Measured by PCR-Detectable DNA 
Differential sensitivity for the release of PCR-detectable genomic DNA upon boiling in water is reported for 45 Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli strains isolated in Egypt. All of the strains released PCR-detectable DNA when treated with proteinase K and sodium dodecyl sulfate. When DNA was extracted from these strains by boiling in water, nine (20%) of the strains were PCR negative or resistant to boiling, suggesting the presence of boiling-sensitive and boiling-resistant phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC124720  PMID: 9435091
21.  Host Defenses in Murine Malaria: Immunological Characteristics of a Protracted State of Immunity to Plasmodium yoelii 
Infection and Immunity  1980;27(1):68-74.
Random-bred ICR mice recovered from infection with avirulent Plasmodium yoelii were challenged at various later times with virulent P. yoelii or with another species of Plasmodium, P. berghei, to characterize the immunological nature of the long-term state of immunity generated in response to the avirulent infection. It was found that recovered mice resisted lethal challenge with virulent P. yoelii through at least 416 days after primary infection. However, the quality of this immunity changed as the time after avirulent infection increased. Mice challenged early after recovery were able to prevent the development of patent parasitemia. Later, these immune animals lost this capacity and after challenge infections progressed to patency at the same rate as did nonimmune controls. However, after the establishment of parasitemia, those animals which had encountered the homologous parasite a long time before controlled, and then eliminated, blood infection and survived. The “early” state of immunity was expressed by animals which may have harbored small numbers of viable avirulent parasites and possessed a protective humoral factor which could passively transfer anti-P. yoelii activity to naive recipients. In contrast, animals with “late” immunity showed evidence of neither persisting avirulent parasites nor serum anti-P. yoelii activity. The results support the proposition that immunity to this parasite exists as two distinct but interrelated states of immunological reactivity: an early “active” immunity and a later state which has characteristics suggestive of a state of immunological memory wherewith the animals were capable of anamnestically responding to P. yoelii challenge. Little evidence of heterologous immunity to P. berghei was observed for animals recovered from P. yoelii.
PMCID: PMC550723  PMID: 6987179

Results 1-21 (21)