Background Drinking alcohol has a long tradition in Chinese culture. However, data on the prevalence and patterns of alcohol consumption in China, and its main correlates, are limited.
Methods During 2004–08 the China Kadoorie Biobank recruited 512 891 men and women aged 30–79 years from 10 urban and rural areas of China. Detailed information on alcohol consumption was collected using a standardized questionnaire, and related to socio-demographic, physical and behavioural characteristics in men and women separately.
Results Overall, 76% of men and 36% of women reported drinking some alcohol during the past 12 months, with 33% of men and 2% of women drinking at least weekly; the prevalence of weekly drinking in men varied from 7% to 51% across the 10 study areas. Mean consumption was 286 g/week and was higher in those with less education. Most weekly drinkers habitually drank spirits, although this varied by area, and beer consumption was highest among younger drinkers; 37% of male weekly drinkers (12% of all men) reported weekly heavy drinking episodes, with the prevalence highest in younger men. Drinking alcohol was positively correlated with regular smoking, blood pressure and heart rate. Among male weekly drinkers, each 20 g/day alcohol consumed was associated with 2 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure. Potential indicators of problem drinking were reported by 24% of male weekly drinkers.
Conclusion The prevalence and patterns of drinking in China differ greatly by age, sex and geographical region. Alcohol consumption is associated with a number of unfavourable health behaviours and characteristics.
Alcohol; drinking; cohort study; descriptive analysis; China
The importance of BMP receptor Ia (BMPRIa) mediated signaling in the development of craniofacial organs, including the tooth and palate, has been well illuminated in several mouse models of loss of function, and by its mutations associated with juvenile polyposis syndrome and facial defects in humans. In this study, we took a gain-of-function approach to further address the role of BMPR-IA-mediated signaling in the mesenchymal compartment during tooth and palate development. We generated transgenic mice expressing a constitutively active form of BmprIa (caBmprIa) in cranial neural crest (CNC) cells that contributes to the dental and palatal mesenchyme. Mice bearing enhanced BMPRIa-mediated signaling in CNC cells exhibit complete cleft palate and delayed odontogenic differentiation. We showed that the cleft palate defect in the transgenic animals is attributed to an altered cell proliferation rate in the anterior palatal mesenchyme and to the delayed palatal elevation in the posterior portion associated with ectopic cartilage formation. Despite enhanced activity of BMP signaling in the dental mesenchyme, tooth development and patterning in transgenic mice appeared normal except delayed odontogenic differentiation. These data support the hypothesis that a finely tuned level of BMPRIa-mediated signaling is essential for normal palate and tooth development.
The mammalian temporomandibular joint (TMJ) develops from two distinct mesenchymal condensations that grow towards each other and ossify through different mechanisms, with the glenoid fossa undergoing intramembranous ossification while the condyle being endochondral in origin. In this study, we used various genetically modified mouse models to investigate tissue interaction between the condyle and glenoid fossa during TMJ formation in mice. We report that either absence or dislocation of the condyle results in an arrested glenoid fossa development. In both cases, glenoid fossa development was initiated, but failed to sustain, and became regressed subsequently. However, condyle development appears to be independent upon the presence of the forming glenoid fossa. In addition, we show that substitution of condyle by Meckel’s cartilage is able to sustain glenoid fossa development. These observations suggest that proper signals from the developing condyle or Meckel’s cartilage are required to sustain the glenoid fossa development.
TMJ formation; glenoid fossa development; condyle; tissue interaction; Sox9
This review summarizes the first clinical reports from the CONVERGE consortium: China, Oxford and VCU Experimental Research on Genetic Epidemiology. CONVERGE sets out to investigate the nature and mode of action of the genetic and environmental risk factors for major depressive disorder (MDD). CONVERGE aims to collect 6000 cases of recurrent MDD and 6000 controls. The consortium includes hospitals in 30 cities, all with populations exceeding 5 million, and has collected over 2000 cases and controls. High quality phenotype data on MDD collected in China is now available to determine the source and nature of this highly heterogeneous condition. Analyses reported in a series of papers indicate that the clinical features and risk factors of MDD are sufficiently similar to those in the West that we can confidently predict that the results of subsequent analyses will be widely applicable.
Major depressive disorder; China; Co-morbidity; Anxiety
The sinoatrial node (SAN), functionally known as the pacemaker, regulates the cardiac rhythm or heart beat. Several genes are expressed in the developing SAN and form a genetic network regulating the fate of the SAN cells. The short stature homeobox gene Shox2 is an important player in the SAN genetic network by regulating the expression of different cardiac conduction molecular markers including the early cardiac differentiation marker Nkx2.5. Here we report that the expression patterns of Shox2 and Nkx2.5 are mutually exclusive from the earliest stages of the venous pole and the SAN formation. We show that tissue specific ectopic expression of Shox2 in the developing mouse heart downregulates the expression of Nkx2.5 and causes cardiac malformations; however, it is not sufficient to induce a SAN cell fate switch in the working myocardium. On the other hand, tissue specific overexpression of Nkx2.5 in the heart leads to severe hypoplasia of the SAN and the venous valves, dis-regulation of the SAN genetic network, and change of the SAN cell fate into working myocardium, and causes embryonic lethality, recapitulating the phenotypes including bradycardia observed in Shox2−/− mutants. These results indicate that Nkx2.5 activity is detrimental to the normal formation of the SAN. Taken together, our results demonstrate that Shox2 downregulation of Nkx2.5 is essential for the proper development of the SAN and that Shox2 functions to shield the SAN from becoming working myocardium by acting upstream of Nkx2.5.
Shox2; Nkx2.5; sinoatrial node; pacemaker; heart development
Regression of vestigial tooth buds results in the formation of the toothless diastema, a unique feature of the mouse dentition. Revitalization of the diastemal vestigial tooth bud provides an excellent model for studying tooth regeneration and replacement. It was shown previously that suppression of FGF signaling in the diastema is a causative of vestigial tooth bud regression. In this study, we report that application of exogenous FGF8 to the mouse embryonic diastemal region rescues diastemal tooth development. However, this rescue of diastemal tooth development occurs only in isolated diastemal region, but not in mandibular quadrant containing incisor and molar germs. FGF8 promotes cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in diastemal tooth epithelium, and revitalizes tooth developmental program, evidenced by the expression of genes critical for normal tooth development. Our results support the idea that the adjacent tooth germs contribute to the suppression of diastemal vestigial tooth buds via multiple signals.
FGF8; diastemal tooth; tooth development; ex vivo culture
The canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays essential role in development and diseases. Previous studies have implicated the canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the regulation of normal palate development, but functional Wnt/β-catenin signaling and its tissue-specific activities remain to be accurately elucidated. In this study, we show that functional Wnt/β-catenin signaling operates primarily in the palate epithelium, particularly in the medial edge epithelium (MEE) of the developing mouse palatal shelves, consistent with the expression patterns of β-catenin and several Wnt ligands and receptors. Epithelial specific inactivation of β-catenin by the K14-Cre transgenic allele abolishes the canonical Wnt signaling activity in the palatal epithelium and leads to an abnormal persistence of the medial edge seam (MES), ultimately causing a cleft palate formation, a phenotype resembling that in Tgfβ3 mutant mice. Consistent with this phenotype is the down-regulation of Tgfβ3 and suppression of apoptosis in the MEE of the β-catenin mutant palatal shelves. Application of exogenous Tgfβ3 to the mutant palatal shelves in organ culture rescues the midline seam phenotype. On the other hand, expression of stabilized β-catenin in the palatal epithelium also disrupts normal palatogenesis by activating ectopic Tgfβ3 expression in the palatal epithelium and causing an aberrant fusion between the palate shelf and mandible in addition to severely deformed palatal shelves. Collectively, our results demonstrate an essential role for Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the epithelial component at the step of palate fusion during palate development by controlling the expression of Tgfβ3 in the MEE.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling; Tgf-β3; palate fusion; cleft palate
Wnt/β-catenin signaling is essential for tooth development beyond the bud stage, but little is known about the role of non-canonical Wnt signaling in odontogenesis. Here we compared the expression of Wnt5a, a representative of noncanonical Wnts, with that of Ror2, the Wnt5a receptor for non-canonical signaling, in the developing tooth, and analyzed tooth phenotype in Wnt5a mutants. Wnt5a deficient mice exhibit retarded tooth development beginning from E16.5, leading to the formation of smaller and abnormally patterned teeth with a delayed odontoblast differentiation at birth. These defects are associated with upregulated Axin2 and Shh expression in the dental epithelium and reduced levels of cell proliferation in the dental epithelium and mesenchyme. Retarded tooth development and defective odontoblast differentiation were also observed in Ror2 mutant mice. Our results suggest that Wnt5a regulates growth, patterning, and odontoblast differentiation during odontogenesis, at least partially by modulating Wnt/β-catenin canonical signaling.
Wnt5a; tooth development; patterning; growth
Years of education are inversely related to the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), but the relationship between the clinical features of MDD and educational status is poorly understood. We investigated this in 1970 Chinese women with recurrent MDD identified in a clinical setting.
Clinical and demographic features were obtained from 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depression between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between educational level and clinical features of MDD.
Subjects with more years of education are more likely to have MDD, with an odds ratio of 1.14 for those with more than ten years. Low educational status is not associated with an increase in the number of episodes, nor with increased rates of co-morbidity with anxiety disorders. Education impacts differentially on the symptoms of depression: lower educational attainment is associated with more biological symptoms and increased suicidal ideation and plans to commit suicide.
Findings may not generalize to males or to other patient populations. Since the threshold for treatment seeking differs as a function of education there may an ascertainment bias in the sample.
The relationship between symptoms of MDD and educational status in Chinese women is unexpectedly complex. Our findings are inconsistent with the simple hypothesis from European and US reports that low levels of educational attainment increase the risk and severity of MDD.
Major depressive disorder; Education; Socio-economic status; Symptom
Post partum depression (PPD) is relatively common in China but its clinical characteristics and risk factors have not been studied. We set out to investigate whether known risk factors for PPD could be found in Chinese women.
A case control design was used to determine the impact of known risk factors for PPD in a cohort of 1970 Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD). In a within-case design we examined the risk factors for PPD in patients with recurrent MDD. We compared the clinical features of MDD in cases with PPD to those without MDD. Odds ratios were calculated using logistic and ordinal regression.
Lower occupational and educational statuses increased the risk of PPD, as did a history of pre-menstrual symptoms, stressful life events and elevated levels of the personality trait of neuroticism. Patients with PPD and MDD were more likely to experience a comorbid anxiety disorder, had a younger age of onset of MDD, have higher levels of neuroticism and dysthymia.
Results obtained in this clinical sample may not be applicable to PPD within the community. Data were obtained retrospectively and we do not know whether the correlations we observe have the same causes as those operating in other populations.
Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the despite cultural differences between Chinese and Western women, the phenomenology and risk factors for PPD are very similar.
Postpartum depression; Major depressive disorder; Neuroticism; Anxiety disorder
The BMP signaling plays a pivotal role in the development of craniofacial organs, including the tooth and palate. BmprIa and BmprIb encode two type I BMP receptors that are primarily responsible for BMP signaling transduction. We investigated mesenchymal tissue-specific requirement of BmprIa and its functional redundancy with BmprIb during the development of mouse tooth and palate. BmprIa and BmprIb exhibit partially overlapping and distinct expression patterns in the developing tooth and palatal shelf. Neural crest specific inactivation of BmprIa leads to formation of an unusual type of anterior clefting of the secondary palate, an arrest of tooth development at the bud/early cap stages, and severe hypoplasia of the mandible. Defective tooth and palate development is accompanied by the down-regulation of BMP responsive genes and reduced cell proliferation levels in the palatal and dental mesenchyme. To determine if BmprIb could substitute for BmprIa during tooth and palate development, we expressed a constitutively active form of BmprIb (caBmprIb) in the neural crest cells in which BmprIa was simultaneously inactivated. We found that substitution of BmprIa by caBmprIb in neural rest cells rescues the development of molars and maxillary incisor, but the rescued teeth exhibit a delayed odontoblast and ameloblast differentiation. In contrast, caBmprIb fails to rescue the palatal and mandibular defects including the lack of lower incisors. Our results demonstrate an essential role for BmprIa in the mesenchymal component and a limited functional redundancy between BmprIa and BmprIb in a tissue specific manner during tooth and palate development.
BMP signaling; BmprIA; BmprIB; tooth development; palatogenesis
Diagnostic information for psychiatric research often depends on both clinical interviews and medical records. Although discrepancies between these two sources are well known, there have been few studies into the degree and origins of inconsistencies.
We compared data from structured interviews and medical records on 1,970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV major depression (MD). Correlations were high for age at onset of MD (0.93) and number of episodes (0.70), intermediate for family history (+0.62) and duration of longest episode (+0.43) and variable but generally more modest for individual depressive symptoms (mean kappa = 0.32). Four factors were identified for twelve symptoms from medical records and the same four factors emerged from analysis of structured interviews. Factor congruencies were high but the correlation of factors between interviews and records were modest (i.e. +0.2 to +0.4).
Structured interviews and medical records are highly concordant for age of onset, and the number and length of episodes, but agree more modestly for individual symptoms and symptom factors. The modesty of these correlations probably arises from multiple factors including i) inconsistency in the definition of the worst episode, ii) inaccuracies in self-report and iii) difficulties in coding medical records where symptoms were recorded solely for clinical purposes.
In Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, Gsk3β functions to facilitate β-catenin degradation. Inactivation of Gsk3β in mice causes a cleft palate formation, suggesting an involvement of Wnt/β-catenin signaling during palatogenesis. In this study, we have investigated the expression pattern, tissue-specific requirement and function of Gsk3β during mouse palatogenesis. We showed that Gsk3β is primarily expressed in the palatal epithelium, particularly in the medial edge epithelium (MEE) overlapping with β-catenin. Tissue-specific gene inactivation studies demonstrated an essential role for Gsk3β in the epithelium for palate elevation, and disruption of which contributes to cleft palate phenotype in Gsk3β mutant. We observed that expression of Aixn2, a direct target gene of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, is ectopically activated in the mutant tongue, but not in the palate. Our results indicate that Gsk3β is an intrinsic regulator required in the epithelium for palate elevation, and could act through a pathway independent of Wnt/β-catenin signaling to regulate palate development.
Gsk3β; cleft palate; palatal elevation; palate development
The personality trait of neuroticism is a risk factor for major depressive disorder (MDD), but this relationship has not been demonstrated in clinical samples from Asia.
We examined a large-scale clinical study of Chinese Han women with recurrent major depression and community-acquired controls.
Elevated levels of neuroticism increased the risk for lifetime MDD (with an odds ratio of 1.37 per SD), contributed to the comorbidity of MDD with anxiety disorders, and predicted the onset and severity of MDD. Our findings largely replicate those obtained in clinical populations in Europe and US but differ in two ways: we did not find a relationship between melancholia and neuroticism; we found lower mean scores for neuroticism (3.6 in our community control sample).
Our findings do not apply to MDD in community-acquired samples and may be limited to Han Chinese women. It is not possible to determine whether the association between neuroticism and MDD reflects a causal relationship.
Neuroticism acts as a risk factor for MDD in Chinese women, as it does in the West and may particularly predispose to comorbidity with anxiety disorders. Cultural factors may have an important effect on its measurement.
Major depressive disorder; Anxiety disorders; Neuroticism
The relationship between major depressive disorder (MDD) and dysthymia, a form of chronic depression, is complex. The two conditions are highly comorbid and it is unclear whether they are two separate disease entities. We investigated the extent to which patients with dysthymia superimposed on major depression can be distinguished from those with recurrent MDD.
We examined the clinical features in 1970 Han Chinese women with MDD (DSM-IV) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Logistic regression was used to determine the association between clinical features of MDD and dysthymia and between dysthymia and disorders comorbid with major depression.
The 354 cases with dysthymia had more severe MDD than those without, with more episodes of MDD and greater co-morbidity for anxiety disorders. Patients with dysthymia had higher neuroticism scores and were more likely to have a family history of MDD. They were also more likely to have suffered serious life events.
Results were obtained in a clinically ascertained sample of Chinese women and may not generalize to community-acquired samples or to other populations. It is not possible to determine whether the associations represent causal relationships.
The additional diagnosis of dysthymia in Chinese women with recurrent MDD defines a meaningful and potentially important subtype. We conclude that in some circumstances it is possible to distinguish double depression from recurrent MDD.
Major depressive disorder; Dysthymia; Symptom; Comorbidity
Individuals with early-onset depression may be a clinically distinct group with particular symptom patterns, illness course, comorbidity and family history. This question has not been previously investigated in a Han Chinese population.
We examined the clinical features of 1970 Han Chinese women with DSM-IV major depressive disorder (MDD) between 30 and 60 years of age across China. Analysis of linear, logistic and multiple logistic regression models was used to determine the association between age at onset (AAO) with continuous, binary and discrete characteristic clinical features of MDD.
Earlier AAO was associated with more suicidal ideation and attempts and higher neuroticism, but fewer sleep, appetite and weight changes. Patients with an earlier AAO were more likely to suffer a chronic course (longer illness duration, more MDD episodes and longer index episode), increased rates of MDD in their parents and a lower likelihood of marriage. They tend to have higher comorbidity with anxiety disorders (general anxiety disorder, social phobia and agoraphobia) and dysthymia.
Early AAO in MDD may be an index of a more severe, highly comorbid and familial disorder. Our findings indicate that the features of MDD in China are similar to those reported elsewhere in the world.
Major depressive disorder; Age at onset; Symptom; Comorbidity
In European and US studies, patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) report more stressful life events (SLEs) than controls, but this relationship has rarely been studied in Chinese populations.
Sixteen lifetime SLEs were assessed at interview in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MDD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
60% of controls and 72% of cases reported at least one lifetime SLE. Fourteen of the sixteen SLEs occurred significantly more frequently in those with MDD (median odds ratio of 1.6). The three SLEs most strongly associated with risk for MDD (OR > 3.0) preceded the onset of MDD the majority of the time: rape (82%), physical abuse (100%) and serious neglect (99%).
Our results may apply to females only. SLEs were rated retrospectively and are subject to biases in recollection. We did not assess contextual information for each life event.
More severe SLEs are more strongly associated with MDD. These results support the involvement of psychosocial adversity in the etiology of MDD in China.
Major depressive disorder; Stressful life event; Social adversity; Symptom
BMP signaling plays many important roles during organ development, including palatogenesis. Loss of BMP signaling leads to cleft palate formation. During development, BMP activities are finely tuned by a number of modulators at the extracellular and intracellular levels. Among the extracellular BMP antagonists is Noggin, which preferentialy binds to BMP2, BMP4 and BMP7, all of which are expressed in the developing palatal shelves. Here we use targeted Noggin mutant mice as a model for gain of BMP signaling function to investigate the role of BMP signaling in palate development. We find prominent Noggin expression in the palatal epithelium along the anterior-posterior axis during early palate development. Loss of Noggin function leads to overactive BMP signaling, particularly in the palatal epithelium. This results in disregulation of cell proliferation, excessive cell death, and changes in gene expression, leading to formation of complete palatal cleft. The excessive cell death in the epithelium disrupts the palatal epithelium integrity, which in turn leads to an abnormal palate-mandible fusion and prevents palatal shelf elevation. This phenotype is recapitulated by ectopic expression of a constitutively active form of BMPR-IA but not BMPR-IB in the epithelium of the developing palate; this suggests a role for BMPR-IA in mediating overactive BMP signaling in the absence of Noggin. Together with the evidence that overexpression of Noggin in the palatal epithelium does not cause a cleft palate defect, we conclude from our results that Noggin mediated modulation of BMP signaling is essential for palatal epithelium integrity and for normal palate development.
Bmp signaling; Noggin; cleft palate; palatal epithelium; palate development
Mammalian tooth development relies heavily on the reciprocal and sequential interactions between cranial neural crest-derived mesenchymal cells and stomadial epithelium. During mouse tooth development, odontogenic potential, that is, the capability to direct an adjacent tissue to form a tooth, resides in dental epithelium initially, and shifts subsequently to dental mesenchyme. Recent studies have shown that mouse embryonic dental epithelium possessing odontogenic potential is able to induce the formation of a bioengineered tooth crown when confronted with postnatal mesenchymal stem cells of various sources. Despite many attempts, however, postnatal stem cells have not been used successfully as the epithelial component in the generation of a bioengineered tooth. We show here that epithelial sheets of cultured human keratinocytes, when recombined with mouse embryonic dental mesenchyme, are able to support tooth formation. Most significantly, human keratinocytes, recombined with mouse embryonic dental mesenchyme in the presence of exogenous FGF8, are induced to express the dental epithelial marker PITX2 and differentiate into enamel-secreting ameloblasts that develop a human-mouse chimeric whole tooth crown. We conclude that in the presence of appropriate odontogenic signals, human keratinocytes can be induced to become odontogenic competent; and that these are capable of participating in tooth crown morphogenesis and differentiating into ameloblasts. Our studies identify human keratinocytes as a potential cell source for in vitro generation of bioengineered teeth that may be used in replacement therapy.
bioengineered tooth; human keratinocyte stem cell; mouse dental mesenchyme; FGF8
Lowering LDL cholesterol with statin regimens reduces the risk of myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, and the need for coronary revascularisation in people without kidney disease, but its effects in people with moderate-to-severe kidney disease are uncertain. The SHARP trial aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of the combination of simvastatin plus ezetimibe in such patients.
This randomised double-blind trial included 9270 patients with chronic kidney disease (3023 on dialysis and 6247 not) with no known history of myocardial infarction or coronary revascularisation. Patients were randomly assigned to simvastatin 20 mg plus ezetimibe 10 mg daily versus matching placebo. The key prespecified outcome was first major atherosclerotic event (non-fatal myocardial infarction or coronary death, non-haemorrhagic stroke, or any arterial revascularisation procedure). All analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT00125593, and ISRCTN54137607.
4650 patients were assigned to receive simvastatin plus ezetimibe and 4620 to placebo. Allocation to simvastatin plus ezetimibe yielded an average LDL cholesterol difference of 0·85 mmol/L (SE 0·02; with about two-thirds compliance) during a median follow-up of 4·9 years and produced a 17% proportional reduction in major atherosclerotic events (526 [11·3%] simvastatin plus ezetimibe vs 619 [13·4%] placebo; rate ratio [RR] 0·83, 95% CI 0·74–0·94; log-rank p=0·0021). Non-significantly fewer patients allocated to simvastatin plus ezetimibe had a non-fatal myocardial infarction or died from coronary heart disease (213 [4·6%] vs 230 [5·0%]; RR 0·92, 95% CI 0·76–1·11; p=0·37) and there were significant reductions in non-haemorrhagic stroke (131 [2·8%] vs 174 [3·8%]; RR 0·75, 95% CI 0·60–0·94; p=0·01) and arterial revascularisation procedures (284 [6·1%] vs 352 [7·6%]; RR 0·79, 95% CI 0·68–0·93; p=0·0036). After weighting for subgroup-specific reductions in LDL cholesterol, there was no good evidence that the proportional effects on major atherosclerotic events differed from the summary rate ratio in any subgroup examined, and, in particular, they were similar in patients on dialysis and those who were not. The excess risk of myopathy was only two per 10 000 patients per year of treatment with this combination (9 [0·2%] vs 5 [0·1%]). There was no evidence of excess risks of hepatitis (21 [0·5%] vs 18 [0·4%]), gallstones (106 [2·3%] vs 106 [2·3%]), or cancer (438 [9·4%] vs 439 [9·5%], p=0·89) and there was no significant excess of death from any non-vascular cause (668 [14·4%] vs 612 [13·2%], p=0·13).
Reduction of LDL cholesterol with simvastatin 20 mg plus ezetimibe 10 mg daily safely reduced the incidence of major atherosclerotic events in a wide range of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease.
Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals; Australian National Health and Medical Research Council; British Heart Foundation; UK Medical Research Council.
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) occurs in a fraction of patients with multiple sclerosis who were treated with natalizumab. Most adults who are infected with the JC virus, the etiologic agent in PML, do not have symptoms. We sought to determine whether exposure to natalizumab causes subclinical reactivation and neurotropic transformation of JC virus.
We followed 19 consecutive patients with multiple sclerosis who were treated with natalizumab over an 18-month period, performing quantitative polymerase-chain-reaction assays in blood and urine for JC virus reactivation; BK virus, a JC virus–related polyomavirus, was used as a control. We determined JC virus–specific T-cell responses by means of an enzyme-linked immunospot assay and antibody responses by means of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and analyzed JC virus regulatory-region sequences.
After 12 months of natalizumab therapy, the prevalence of JC virus in the urine of the 19 patients increased from a baseline value of 19% to 63% (P = 0.02). After 18 months of treatment, JC virus was detectable in 3 of 15 available plasma samples (20%) and in 9 of 15 available samples of peripheral-blood mononuclear cells (60%) (P = 0.02). JC virus regulatory-region sequences in blood samples and in most of the urine samples were similar to those usually found in PML. Conversely, BK virus remained stable in urine and was undetectable in blood. The JC virus–specific cellular immune response dropped significantly between 6 and 12 months of treatment, and variations in the cellular immune response over time tended to be greater in patients in whom JC viremia developed. None of the patients had clinical or radiologic signs of PML.
Subclinical reactivation of JC virus occurs frequently in natalizumab-treated patients with multiple sclerosis. Viral shedding is associated with a transient drop in the JC virus–specific cellular immune response.
The skin is the outer layer of protection against the environment. The development and formation of the skin is regulated by several genetic cascades including the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling pathway, which has been suggested to play an important role during embryonic organ development. Several skin defects and diseases are caused by genetic mutations or disorders. Ichthyosis is a common genetic skin disorder characterized by dry scaly skin. Loss-of-function mutations in the filaggrin (FLG) gene have been identified as the cause of the ichthyosis vulgaris (IV) phenotype; however, the direct regulation of filaggrin expression in vivo is unknown. We present evidence that BMP signaling regulates filaggrin expression in the epidermis. Mice expressing a constitutively active form of BMP-receptor-IB in the developing epidermis exhibit a phenotype resembling IV in humans, including dry flaky skin, compact hyperkeratosis, and an attenuated granular layer associated with a significantly downregulated expression of filaggrin. Regulation of filaggrin expression by BMP signaling has been further confirmed by the application of exogenous BMP2 in skin explants and by a transgenic model overexpressing Noggin in the epidermis. Our results demonstrate that aberrant BMP signaling in the epidermis causes overproliferation and hyperkeratinization, leading to an IV-like skin disease.
BMP signaling; Ichthyosis; Filaggrin; Skin; Mouse
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a unique synovial joint whose development differs from the formation of other synovial joints. Mutations have been associated with the developmental defects of the TMJ only in a few genes. In this study, we report the expression of the homeobox gene Shox2 in the cranial neural crest derived mesenchymal cells of the maxilla-mandibular junction and later in the progenitor cells and undifferentiated chondrocytes of the condyle as well as the glenoid fossa of the developing TMJ. A conditional inactivation of Shox2 in the cranial neural crest-derived cells causes developmental abnormalities in the TMJ, including dysplasia of the condyle and glenoid fossa. The articulating disc forms but fuses with the fibrous layers of the condyle and glenoid fossa, clinically known as TMJ ankylosis. Histological examination indicates a delay in development in the mutant TMJ, accompanied by a significantly reduced rate of cell proliferation. In situ hybridization further demonstrates an altered expression of several key osteogenic genes and a delayed expression of the osteogenic differentiation markers. Shox2 appears to regulate the expression of osteogenic genes and is essential for the development and function of the TMJ. The Shox2 conditional mutant thus provides a unique animal model of TMJ ankylosis.
Shox2; temporomandibular joint; ankylosis; condyle; glenoid fossa; synovial disc; cartilage; bone; development
Many genes are known to function in a region-specific manner in the developing secondary palate. We have previously shown that Shox2-deficient embryos die at mid-gestation stage and develop an anterior clefting phenotype. Here, we show that mice carrying a conditional inactivation of Shox2 in the palatal mesenchyme survive the embryonic and neonatal lethality, but develop a wasting syndrome. Phenotypic analyses indicate a delayed closure of the secondary palate at the anterior end, leading to a failed fusion of the primary and secondary palates. Consistent with a role proposed for Shox2 in skeletogenesis, Shox2 inactivation causes a significantly reduced bone formation in the hard palate, probably due to a down-regulation of Runx2 and Osterix. We conclude that the secondary palatal shelves are capable of fusion with each other, but fail to fuse with the primary palate in a developmentally delayed manner. Mice carrying an anterior cleft can survive neonatal lethality.
palatogenesis; cleft palate; Shox2; mice