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1.  124Iodine: A Longer-Life Positron Emitter Isotope—New Opportunities in Molecular Imaging 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:672094.
124Iodine (124I) with its 4.2 d half-life is particularly attractive for in vivo detection and quantification of longer-term biological and physiological processes; the long half-life of 124I is especially suited for prolonged time in vivo studies of high molecular weight compounds uptake. Numerous small molecules and larger compounds like proteins and antibodies have been successfully labeled with 124I. Advances in radionuclide production allow the effective availability of sufficient quantities of 124I on small biomedical cyclotrons for molecular imaging purposes. Radioiodination chemistry with 124I relies on well-established radioiodine labeling methods, which consists mainly in nucleophilic and electrophilic substitution reactions. The physical characteristics of 124I permit taking advantages of the higher PET image quality. The availability of new molecules that may be targeted with 124I represents one of the more interesting reasons for the attention in nuclear medicine. We aim to discuss all iodine radioisotopes application focusing on 124I, which seems to be the most promising for its half-life, radiation emissions, and stability, allowing several applications in oncological and nononcological fields.
PMCID: PMC4034399  PMID: 24895600
2.  The Copper Radioisotopes: A Systematic Review with Special Interest to 64Cu 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:786463.
Copper (Cu) is an important trace element in humans; it plays a role as a cofactor for numerous enzymes and other proteins crucial for respiration, iron transport, metabolism, cell growth, and hemostasis. Natural copper comprises two stable isotopes, 63Cu and 65Cu, and 5 principal radioisotopes for molecular imaging applications (60Cu, 61Cu, 62Cu, and 64Cu) and in vivo targeted radiation therapy (64Cu and 67Cu). The two potential ways to produce Cu radioisotopes concern the use of the cyclotron or the reactor. A noncopper target is used to produce noncarrier-added Cu thanks to a chemical separation from the target material using ion exchange chromatography achieving a high amount of radioactivity with the lowest possible amount of nonradioactive isotopes. In recent years, Cu isotopes have been linked to antibodies, proteins, peptides, and nanoparticles for preclinical and clinical research; pathological conditions that influence Cu metabolism such as Menkes syndrome, Wilson disease, inflammation, tumor growth, metastasis, angiogenesis, and drug resistance have been studied. We aim to discuss all Cu radioisotopes application focusing on 64Cu and in particular its form 64CuCl2 that seems to be the most promising for its half-life, radiation emissions, and stability with chelators, allowing several applications in oncological and nononcological fields.
PMCID: PMC4033511  PMID: 24895611
3.  Prospective Analysis of 18F-FDG PET/CT Predictive Value in Patients with Low Rectal Cancer Treated with Neoadjuvant Chemoradiotherapy and Conservative Surgery 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:952843.
This study prospectively assessed 18F-FDG PET/CT in predicting the response of locally advanced low rectal cancer (LRC) to neoadjuvant chemoradiation (nCRT). Methods. 56 patients treated with chemoradiation underwent two 18F-FDG PET/CT scans (baseline and 5-6 weeks post-nCRT). 18F-FDG uptake (SUVmax and SUVmean) and differences between baseline (SUV1) and post-nCRT (SUV2) scans (ΔSUV and RI%) were evaluated. Results were related to the Mandard's TRG and (y)pTNM. Results. 18F-FDG PET/CT sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, PPV and NPV resulted in 88.6%, 66.7%, 83.92%, 90.7%, and 61.5%. SUV2 resulted in better than SUV1 to predict nCRT response by TRG, with no significant statistical difference between the SUVmax2 and SUVmean2 AUC (0.737 versus 0.736; P = 0.928). The same applies to the (y)pTNM (0.798 versus 0.782; P = 0.192). In relation to the TRG, RI values had a higher AUC than ΔSUV, with no significant difference between RImax and RImean (0.672 versus 0.695; P = 0.292). The same applied to the (y)pTNM (0.742 versus 0.741; P = 0.940). In both cases ΔSUV does not appear to be a good predictive tool. Logistic regression confirmed the better predictive role of SUVmax2 for the (y)pTNM (odds ratio = 1.58) and SUVmean2 for the TRG (odds ratio = 1.87). Conclusions. 18F-FDG PET/CT can evaluate response to nCRT in LRC, even if more studies are required to define the most significant parameter for predicting pathologic tumor changes.
PMCID: PMC4024401  PMID: 24877151
4.  Prefronto-striatal physiology is associated with schizotypy and is modulated by a functional variant of DRD2 
“Schizotypy” is a latent organization of personality related to the genetic risk for schizophrenia. Some evidence suggests that schizophrenia and schizotypy share some biological features, including a link to dopaminergic D2 receptor signaling. A polymorphism in the D2 gene (DRD2 rs1076560, guanine > thymine (G > T)) has been associated with the D2 short/long isoform expression ratio, as well as striatal dopamine signaling and prefrontal cortical activity during different cognitive operations, which are measures that are altered in patients with schizophrenia. Our aim is to determine the association of schizotypy scores with the DRD2 rs1076560 genotype in healthy individuals and their interaction with prefrontal activity during attention and D2 striatal signaling. A total of 83 healthy subjects were genotyped for DRD2 rs1076560 and completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Twenty-six participants underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM D2 receptor radiotracer, while 68 performed an attentional control task during fMRI. We found that rs1076560 GT subjects had greater SPQ scores than GG individuals. Moreover, the interaction between schizotypy and the GT genotype predicted prefrontal activity and related attentional behavior, as well as striatal binding of IBZM. No interaction was found in GG individuals. These results suggest that rs1076560 GT healthy individuals are prone to higher levels of schizotypy, and that the interaction between rs1076560 and schizotypy scores modulates phenotypes related to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, such as prefrontal activity and striatal dopamine signaling. These results provide systems-level qualitative evidence for mapping the construct of schizotypy in healthy individuals onto the schizophrenia continuum.
PMCID: PMC4089730  PMID: 25071490
schizotypy; dopamine; DRD2; fMRI; SPECT
5.  Sources of error in emergency ultrasonography 
Critical Ultrasound Journal  2013;5(Suppl 1):S1.
To evaluate the common sources of diagnostic errors in emergency ultrasonography.
The authors performed a Medline search using PubMed (National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland) for original research and review publications examining the common sources of errors in diagnosis with specific reference to emergency ultrasonography. The search design utilized different association of the following terms : (1) emergency ultrasonography, (2) error, (3) malpractice and (4) medical negligence. This review was restricted to human studies and to English-language literature. Four authors reviewed all the titles and subsequent the abstract of 171 articles that appeared appropriate. Other articles were recognized by reviewing the reference lists of significant papers. Finally, the full text of 48 selected articles was reviewed.
Several studies indicate that the etiology of error in emergency ultrasonography is multi-factorial. Common sources of error in emergency ultrasonography are: lack of attention to the clinical history and examination, lack of communication with the patient, lack of knowledge of the technical equipment, use of inappropriate probes, inadequate optimization of the images, failure of perception, lack of knowledge of the possible differential diagnoses, over-estimation of one’s own skill, failure to suggest further ultrasound examinations or other imaging techniques.
To reduce errors in interpretation of ultrasonographic findings, the sonographer needs to be aware of the limitations of ultrasonography in the emergency setting, and the similarities in the appearances of various physiological and pathological processes. Adequate clinical informations are essential. Diagnostic errors should be considered not as signs of failure, but as learning opportunities.
PMCID: PMC3711733  PMID: 23902656
Emergency Ultrasonography; Error; Malpractice; Medical negligence
6.  Restored perfusion and reduced inflammation in the infarcted heart after grafting stem cells with a hyaluronan-based scaffold 
The aim of this study is to investigate the blood perfusion and the inflammatory response of the myocardial infarct area after transplanting a hyaluronan-based scaffold (HYAFF®11) with bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Nine-week-old female pigs were subjected to a permanent left anterior descending coronary artery ligation for 4 weeks. According to the kind of the graft, the swine subjected to myocardial infarction were divided into the HYAFF®11, MSCs, HYAFF®11/MSCs and untreated groups. The animals were killed 8 weeks after coronary ligation. Scar perfusion, evaluated by Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound echography, was doubled in the HYAFF®11/MSCs group and was comparable with the perfusion of the healthy, non-infarcted hearts. The inflammation score of the MSCs and HYAFF®11/MSCs groups was near null, revealing the role of the grafted MSCs in attenuating the cell infiltration, but not the foreign reaction strictly localized around the fibres of the scaffold. Apart from the inflammatory response, the native tissue positively interacted with the HYAFF®11/MSCs construct modifying the extracellular matrix with a reduced presence of collagene and increased amount of proteoglycans. The border-zone cardiomyocytes also reacted favourably to the graft as a lower degree of cellular damage was found. This study demonstrates that the transplantation in the myocardial infarct area of autologous MSCs supported by a hyaluronan-based scaffold restores blood perfusion and almost completely abolishes the inflammatory process following an infarction. These beneficial effects are superior to those obtained after grafting only the scaffold or MSCs, suggesting that a synergic action was achieved using the cell-integrated polymer construct.
PMCID: PMC3822652  PMID: 23480821
tissue engineering; woven fabric; hyaluronan-based scaffold; mesenchymal stem cell; heart perfusion; myocardial infarction
7.  Cardiovascular risk evaluation and prevalence of silent myocardial ischemia in subjects with asymptomatic carotid artery disease 
Silent ischemia is an asymptomatic form of myocardial ischemia, not associated with angina or anginal equivalent symptoms, which can be demonstrated by changes in ECG, left ventricular function, myocardial perfusion, and metabolism. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of silent myocardial ischemia in a group of patients with asymptomatic carotid stenosis.
A total of 37 patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques, without chest pain or dyspnea, was investigated. These patients were studied for age, sex, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, smoking, and family history of cardiac disease, and underwent technetium-99 m sestamibi myocardial stress-rest scintigraphy and echo-color Doppler examination of carotid arteries.
A statistically significant relationship (P = 0.023) was shown between positive responders and negative responders to scintigraphy test when both were tested for degree of stenosis. This relationship is surprising in view of the small number of patients in our sample. Individuals who had a positive scintigraphy test had a mean stenosis degree of 35% ± 7% compared with a mean of 44% ± 13% for those with a negative test. Specificity of our detection was 81%, with positive and negative predictive values of 60% and 63%, respectively.
The present study confirms that carotid atherosclerosis is associated with coronary atherosclerosis and highlights the importance of screening for ischemic heart disease in patients with asymptomatic carotid plaques, considering eventually plaque morphology (symmetry, composition, eccentricity or concentricity of the plaque, etc) for patient stratification.
PMCID: PMC3064453  PMID: 21468172
asymptomatic carotid artery disease; silent myocardial ischemia; myocardial stress scintigraphy
8.  Genetically Determined Measures of Striatal D2 Signaling Predict Prefrontal Activity during Working Memory Performance 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9348.
Variation of the gene coding for D2 receptors (DRD2) has been associated with risk for schizophrenia and with working memory deficits. A functional intronic SNP (rs1076560) predicts relative expression of the two D2 receptors isoforms, D2S (mainly pre-synaptic) and D2L (mainly post-synaptic). However, the effect of functional genetic variation of DRD2 on striatal dopamine D2 signaling and on its correlation with prefrontal activity during working memory in humans is not known.
Thirty-seven healthy subjects were genotyped for rs1076560 (G>T) and underwent SPECT with [123I]IBZM (which binds primarily to post-synaptic D2 receptors) and with [123I]FP-CIT (which binds to pre-synaptic dopamine transporters, whose activity and density is also regulated by pre-synaptic D2 receptors), as well as BOLD fMRI during N-Back working memory.
Subjects carrying the T allele (previously associated with reduced D2S expression) had striatal reductions of [123I]IBZM and of [123I]FP-CIT binding. DRD2 genotype also differentially predicted the correlation between striatal dopamine D2 signaling (as identified with factor analysis of the two radiotracers) and activity of the prefrontal cortex during working memory as measured with BOLD fMRI, which was positive in GG subjects and negative in GT.
Our results demonstrate that this functional SNP within DRD2 predicts striatal binding of the two radiotracers to dopamine transporters and D2 receptors as well as the correlation between striatal D2 signaling with prefrontal cortex activity during performance of a working memory task. These data are consistent with the possibility that the balance of excitatory/inhibitory modulation of striatal neurons may also affect striatal outputs in relationship with prefrontal activity during working memory performance within the cortico-striatal-thalamic-cortical pathway.
PMCID: PMC2825256  PMID: 20179754

Results 1-8 (8)