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1.  Can you identify this condition? 
Canadian Family Physician  2013;59(8):853.
PMCID: PMC3743699  PMID: 23946030
3.  In Utero Exposure to Arsenic Alters Lung Development and Genes Related to Immune and Mucociliary Function in Mice 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;121(2):244-250.
Background: Exposure to arsenic via drinking water is a global environmental health problem. In utero exposure to arsenic via drinking water increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections during infancy and mortality from bronchiectasis in early adulthood.
Objectives: We aimed to investigate how arsenic exposure in early life alters lung development and pathways involved in innate immunity.
Methods: Pregnant BALB/c, C57BL/6, and C3H/HeARC mice were exposed to 0 (control) or 100 μg/L arsenic via drinking water from gestation day 8 until the birth of their offspring. We measured somatic growth, lung volume, and lung mechanics of mice at 2 weeks of age. We used fixed lungs for structural analysis and collected lung tissue for gene expression analysis by microarray.
Results: The response to arsenic was genetically determined, and C57BL/6 mice were the most susceptible. Arsenic-exposed C57BL/6 mice were smaller in size, had smaller lungs, and had impaired lung mechanics compared with controls. Exposure to arsenic in utero up-regulated the expression of genes in the lung involved in mucus production (Clca3, Muc5b, Scgb3a1), innate immunity (Reg3γ, Tff2, Dynlrb2, Lplunc1), and lung morphogenesis (Sox2). Arsenic exposure also induced mucous cell metaplasia and increased expression of CLCA3 protein in the large airways.
Conclusions: Alterations in somatic growth, lung development, and the expression of genes involved in mucociliary clearance and innate immunity in the lung are potential mechanisms through which early life arsenic exposure impacts respiratory health.
PMCID: PMC3569690  PMID: 23221970
gene expression; growth and development; innate immunity; mucociliary clearance; toxicity
4.  Development of the bronchial epithelial reticular basement membrane: relationship to epithelial height and age 
Thorax  2011;66(4):280-285.
The bronchial epithelium and underlying reticular basement membrane (RBM) have a close spatial and functional inter-relationship and are considered an epithelial–mesenchymal trophic unit (EMTU). An understanding of RBM development is critical to understanding the extent and time of appearance of its abnormal thickening that is characteristic of asthma.
RBM thickness and epithelial height were determined in histological sections of cartilaginous bronchi obtained postmortem from 47 preterm babies and infants (median age 40 weeks gestation (22 weeks gestation–8 months)), 40 children (2 years (1 month–17 years)) and 23 adults (44 (17–90) years) who had died from non-respiratory causes, and had no history of asthma.
The RBM was visible by light microscopy at 30 weeks gestation. RBM thickness increased in successive age groups in childhood; in infants (r=0.63, p<0.001) and in children between 1 month and 17 years (r=0.82, p<0.001). After 18 years, RBM thickness decreased with increasing age (r=−0.42, p<0.05). Epithelial height showed a similar relationship with age, a positive relationship from preterm to 17 years (r = 0.50, p<0.001) and a negative relationship in adulthood (r=−0.84, p<0.0001). There was a direct relationship between epithelial height and RBM thickness (r=0.6, p<0.001).
The RBM in these subjects was microscopically identifiable by 30 weeks gestation. It thickened during childhood and adolescence. In adults, there was either no relationship with age, or a slow reduction in thickness in older age. Developmental changes of RBM thickness were accompanied by similar changes in epithelial height, supporting the close relationship between RBM and epithelium within the EMTU.
PMCID: PMC3471130  PMID: 21233480
5.  Erythropoietin mimics the acute phase response in critical illness 
Critical Care  2003;7(3):R35-R40.
In a prospective observational study, we examined the temporal relationships between serum erythropoietin (EPO) levels, haemoglobin concentration and the inflammatory response in critically ill patients with and without acute renal failure (ARF).
Patients and method
Twnety-five critically ill patients, from general and cardiac intensive care units (ICUs) in a university hospital, were studied. Eight had ARF and 17 had normal or mildly impaired renal function. The comparator group included 82 nonhospitalized patients with normal renal function and varying haemoglobin concentrations. In the patients, levels of haemoglobin, serum EPO, C-reactive protein, IL-1β, IL-6, serum iron, ferritin, vitamin B12 and folate were measured, and Coombs test was performed from ICU admission until discharge or death. Concurrent EPO and haemoglobin levels were measured in the comparator group.
EPO levels were initially high in patients with ARF, falling to normal or low levels by day 3. Thereafter, almost all ICU patients demonstrated normal or low EPO levels despite progressive anaemia. IL-6 exhibited a similar initial pattern, but levels remained elevated during the chronic phase of critical illness. IL-1β was undetectable. Critically ill patients could not be distinguished from nonhospitalized anaemic patients on the basis of EPO levels.
EPO levels are markedly elevated in the initial phase of critical illness with ARF. In the chronic phase of critical illness, EPO levels are the same for patients with and those without ARF, and cannot be distinguished from noncritically ill patients with varying haemoglobin concentrations. Exogenous EPO therapy is unlikely to be effective in the first few days of critical illness.
PMCID: PMC270680  PMID: 12793888
acute renal failure; anemia; erythropoietin; haemoglobin; intensive care
6.  Ribosomal Mutations in Streptococcus pneumoniae Clinical Isolates 
Eleven clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae, isolated in Finland during 1996 to 2000, had an unusual macrolide resistance phenotype. They were resistant to macrolides and streptogramin B but susceptible, intermediate, or low-level resistant to lincosamides. No acquired macrolide resistance genes were detected from the strains. The isolates were found to have mutations in domain V of the 23S rRNA or ribosomal protein L4. Seven isolates had an A2059C mutation in two to four out of the four alleles encoding the 23S rRNA, two isolates had an A2059G mutation in two alleles, one isolate had a C2611G mutation in all four alleles, and one isolate had a 69GTG71-to-69TPS71 substitution in ribosomal protein L4.
PMCID: PMC127486  PMID: 11850244

Results 1-6 (6)