Japan has become the world’s most aged country. The percentage of elderly people in Japan is estimated to reach 25.2% in 2013, and the number of patients with dementia is estimated to reach 2.5 million in 2015. In addition to its deterioration of physical function and activities of daily living (ADL), behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) often become major clinical problems, greatly annoying patients and their caregivers. In Japan, we utilize wards for elderly patients with dementia (WEDs) for BPSD treatment. However, there are few studies investigating the effectiveness of treatment in a WED. In such treatment, physical complications are a challenge physicians must overcome while treating BPSD and safely returning patients home or to the institutions in which they live. Therefore, we investigated the effectiveness of treatment in a WED, focusing on physical complications.
The subjects were 88 patients who were admitted to and discharged from a WED. Severity of dementia, basic ADL, and BPSD were investigated using the Clinical Dementia Rating, Physical Self-Maintenance Scale (PSMS), and Neuropsychiatric Inventory. Differences in characteristics between patients discharged from the WED because of physical complications and all other patients were also examined.
We found significant improvements in the PSMS score and decreases in delusions and sleep disturbances in all patients. Patients discharged from the WED because of physical complications had significantly greater severity of dementia at discharge compared to all other patients.
Treatment in a WED seems to be effective for BPSD and ADL, but care should be taken regarding physical complications, especially in patients with advanced dementia.
aged country; behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia; physical complications; activities of daily living
Infection with the human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) results in a variety of diseases including adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), a fatal malignancy characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of virally infected CD4+ T cells. The HTLV-1 basic leucine zipper factor (HBZ) is believed to contribute to development and maintenance of ATL. Unlike the other HTLV-1 genes, the hbz gene is encoded on the complementary strand of the provirus and therefore is not under direct control of the promoter within the 5′ long terminal repeat (LTR) of the provirus. This promoter can undergo inactivating genetic or epigenetic changes during the course of ATL that eliminates expression of all viral genes except that of hbz. In contrast, repressive modifications are not known to occur on the hbz promoter located in the 3′ LTR, and hbz expression has been consistently detected in all ATL patient samples. Although Sp1 regulates basal transcription from the HBZ promoter, other factors that activate transcription remain undefined. In this study, we used a proviral reporter construct deleted of the 5′ LTR to show that HBZ upregulates its own expression through cooperation with JunD. Activation of antisense transcription was apparent in serum-deprived cells in which the level of JunD was elevated, and elimination of JunD expression by gene knockout or shRNA-mediated knockdown abrogated this effect. Activation through HBZ and JunD additionally required Sp1 binding at the hbz promoter. These data favor a model in which JunD is recruited to the promoter through Sp1, where it heterodimerizes with HBZ thereby enhancing its activity. Separately, hbz gene expression led to an increase in JunD abundance, and this effect correlated with emergence of features of transformed cells in immortalized fibroblasts. Overall, our results suggest that JunD represents a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of ATL.
Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) are widely used cell source for clinical bone regeneration. Achieving the greatest therapeutic effect is dependent on the osteogenic differentiation potential of the stem cells to be implanted. However, there are still no practical methods to characterize such potential non-invasively or previously. Monitoring cellular morphology is a practical and non-invasive approach for evaluating osteogenic potential. Unfortunately, such image-based approaches had been historically qualitative and requiring experienced interpretation. By combining the non-invasive attributes of microscopy with the latest technology allowing higher throughput and quantitative imaging metrics, we studied the applicability of morphometric features to quantitatively predict cellular osteogenic potential. We applied computational machine learning, combining cell morphology features with their corresponding biochemical osteogenic assay results, to develop prediction model of osteogenic differentiation. Using a dataset of 9,990 images automatically acquired by BioStation CT during osteogenic differentiation culture of hBMSCs, 666 morphometric features were extracted as parameters. Two commonly used osteogenic markers, alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and calcium deposition were measured experimentally, and used as the true biological differentiation status to validate the prediction accuracy. Using time-course morphological features throughout differentiation culture, the prediction results highly correlated with the experimentally defined differentiation marker values (R>0.89 for both marker predictions). The clinical applicability of our morphology-based prediction was further examined with two scenarios: one using only historical cell images and the other using both historical images together with the patient's own cell images to predict a new patient's cellular potential. The prediction accuracy was found to be greatly enhanced by incorporation of patients' own cell features in the modeling, indicating the practical strategy for clinical usage. Consequently, our results provide strong evidence for the feasibility of using a quantitative time series of phase-contrast cellular morphology for non-invasive cell quality prediction in regenerative medicine.
Gastric plasmacytoma (GP) is a rare variant of gastric lymphomas. In the exceptional event that a patient presents with GP, the lesion occupies the mucosal layer in the vast majority of cases. Here we report a case of nodular plasmacytoma confined to the submucosa with no evidence of Helicobacter pylori (Hp) infection. The patient was a 59-year old female presenting with no particular symptoms. The tumor was well-demarcated and consisted of a diffuse monomorphic proliferation of plasma cells with numerous lymphoid follicles scattered throughout the tumor. The mucosal surface was intact and not associated with any tumor nodules. The cells were diffusely positive for CD79a, Bob1, EMA and IgA and consistently negative for CD3, CD19, CD20, PAX5, CD56, IgM and IgG. Additionally, in situ hybridization demonstrated clonality in the form of λ light-chain restriction. This submucosal nodular proliferation pattern of plasmacytoma is poorly recognized and considered to be a novel variant of lymphoma.
The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/3489998708673079
Plasmacytoma; Solitary; Stomach; Submucosa; Lymphoma
The BRCT repeats of BRCA1 are essential for tumor suppression. Phospho-peptide affinity proteomic analysis identified a novel protein, Abraxas, that directly binds the BRCA1 BRCT repeats through a phospho-SXXF motif. Abraxas binds BRCA1 mutually exclusively with BACH1 and CTIP, forming a third Brca1 complex. Abraxas recruits the ubiquitin-interacting motif (UIM) containing protein Rap80 to BRCA1. Both Abraxas and Rap80 are required for DNA damage resistance, G2/M checkpoint control and DNA repair. Rap80 is required for a subset of Brca1-foci formation in response to IR and the UIM domains alone are capable of foci formation. The Rap80/Abraxas complex may help recruit Brca1 to DNA damage sites in part through recognition of ubiquitinated proteins.
It is generally known that peripheral nerve injury causes changes in expression of some growth factors in the dorsal root ganglion. Altered expression of ErbB receptors, a well-known growth factor in somatic cells, reportedly follows peripheral nerve injury in the spinal dorsal horn; however, it remains unknown whether the expression of these receptors is altered in the dorsal root ganglion after nerve injury. Therefore, this study examined the gene expression profiles of ErbB receptors in bilateral lumbar (L)4/L5 dorsal root ganglia, using L5-selective spinal nerve ligation in model rats as a peripheral nerve injury model. The expression of ErbB2 and ErbB3 was observed in the dorsal root ganglia of the mature rat, despite ErbB1 and ErbB4 showing only subtle expression. We also demonstrated that peripheral nerve injury induced significant increases in ErbB2 and ErbB3 in the ipsilateral dorsal root ganglion as compared with uninjured nerve. Expression changes in ErbB receptors appear to play important roles in nerve injury and subsequent nerve regeneration.
DRG; spinal nerve ligation; SNL
Because body fluids and blood have a tendency to adhere to transesophageal echo devices, a high level of sterilisation is required when cleaning them. Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) has been widely used in Japan since being approved as a high-level sterilant. The authors report a patient with widespread, severe skin and mucous membrane damage of the lip, tongue, pharynx and oesophagus areas that was attributed to inadequate washing after the sterilisation of a transesophageal echo device with OPA. This patient experienced sequelae, which did not improve after more than 1 year of continuous treatment. When using medical devices sterilised with OPA, the use of a probe cover, when applicable, is recommended and complete washing prior to use is required.
Phytochrome B (phyB), a major photoreceptor in plants, interacts with transcription factors to regulate gene expression and induce various light responses. Recently, we identified an SR-like splicing factor, RRC1 (reduced red-light responses in cry1cry2 background 1), as a novel component of phyB signaling in Arabidopsis. RRC1 has a C-terminal arginine/serine-rich (RS) domain that is generally important for the regulation of alternative splicing. Whereas rrc1 hypomorphic mutant alleles produce truncated RRC1 proteins that lack the C-terminal region, including the RS domain, and exhibit splicing defects and reduced phyB signaling, the rrc1-4 null allele additionally displays pleiotropic developmental abnormalities with more severe splicing defects. Here, we show that transgenic Arabidopsis plants that express truncated RRC1 lacking the RS domain in the rrc1-4 null allele background exhibited the same phenotype as the hypomorphic alleles. Hence, we conclude that deletion of the RS domain of RRC1 reduces phyB signaling, probably due to aberrant regulation of alternative splicing of target genes.
Arabidopsis thaliana; RS domain; SR protein; alternative splicing; light signaling; photomorphogenesis; phytochrome B
Hyperthermia is widely used to treat patients with cancer, especially in combination with other treatments such as radiation therapy. Heat treatment per se activates DNA damage responses mediated by the ATR-Chk1 and ATM-Chk2 pathways but it is not fully understood how these DNA damage responses are activated and affect heat tolerance. By performing a genetic analysis of human HeLa cells and chicken B lymphoma DT40 cells, we found that heat-induced Chk1 Ser345 phosphorylation by ATR was largely dependent on Rad9, Rad17, TopBP1 and Claspin. Activation of the ATR-Chk1 pathway by heat, however, was not associated with FancD2 monoubiquitination or RPA32 phosphorylation, which are known as downstream events of ATR kinase activation when replication forks are stalled. Downregulation of ATR, Rad9, Rad17, TopBP1 or Claspin drastically reduced clonogenic cell viability upon hyperthermia, while gene knockout or inhibition of ATM kinase reduced clonogenic viability only modestly. Suppression of the ATR-Chk1 pathway activation enhanced heat-induced phosphorylation of Chk2 Thr68 and simultaneous inhibition of ATR and ATM kinases rendered severe heat cytotoxicity. These data indicate that essential factors for activation of the ATR-Chk1 pathway at stalled replication forks are also required for heat-induced activation of ATR kinase, which predominantly contributes to heat tolerance in a non-overlapping manner with ATM kinase.
S100A12 protein is an endogenous receptor ligand for advanced glycation end products. In this study, the plasma S100A12 level was assessed as an independent predictor of mortality, and its utility in clinical settings was examined.
In a previous cross-sectional study, plasma S100A12 levels were measured in 550 maintenance hemodialysis patients to determine the association between S100A12 and the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). In this prospective study, the risk of mortality within a two-year period was determined. An integer scoring system was developed to predict mortality on the basis of the plasma S100A12 levels.
Higher plasma S100A12 levels (≥18.79 ng/mL) were more closely associated with higher all-cause mortality than lower plasma S100A12 levels (<18.79 ng/mL; P = 0.001). Multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis revealed higher plasma S100A12 levels [hazard ratio (HR), 2.267; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.195–4.302; P = 0.012], age ≥65 years (HR, 1.961; 95%CI, 1.017–3.781; P = 0.044), serum albumin levels <3.5 g/dL (HR, 2.198; 95%CI, 1.218–3.968; P = 0.012), and history of CVD (HR, 2.068; 95%CI, 1.146–3.732; P = 0.016) to be independent predictors of two-year all-cause mortality. The integer score was derived by assigning points to these factors and determining total scores. The scoring system revealed trends across increasing scores for predicting the all-cause mortality [c-statistic = 0.730 (0.656–0.804)]. The resulting model demonstrated good discriminative power for distinguishing the validation population of 303 hemodialysis patients [c-statistic = 0.721 (0.627–0.815)].
The results indicate that plasma S100A12 level is an independent predictor for two-year all-cause mortality. A simple integer scoring system was therefore established for predicting mortality on the basis of plasma S100A12 levels.
Chronic kidney disease; Receptor for advanced glycation end products; Damage-associated molecular pattern molecules
Treating extended prostatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (PSCNC) is extremely difficult and no standard treatment has yet been established. We experienced a case of advanced mixed-type PSCNC in which the patient achieved long-term survival and local control following combined therapy. Locally advanced PSCNC causing lower urinary obstruction was detected during androgen-ablation therapy for stage D2 mixed adenocarcinoma PSCNC. The patient was treated with intra-arterial infusion chemotherapy using a reservoir system and external-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) to the whole pelvis and local tumor. After chemoradiotherapy, the patient’s lower urinary obstruction was reduced and did not return during the remaining 40 months of the patient’s life. The patient survived for 70 months following the start of the androgen-ablation therapy. The present study reports a useful treatment for advanced mixed-type PSCNC, androgen-ablation therapy and chemoradiotherapy. The present results also suggest that the prognostic factors for advanced mixed-type PSCNC are the sensitivity of the conventional adenocarcinoma to androgen-ablation therapy, degree of metastasis and extent of the small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma component.
prostatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma; external-beam radiotherapy with intra-arterial chemotherapy; ischuria; locally advanced tumor
The molecular mechanisms that underlie asymmetric PTEN distribution at the posterior of polarized motile cells and regulate anterior pseudopod formation were addressed by novel single-molecule tracking analysis. Heterogeneity in the lateral mobility of PTEN on a membrane indicated the existence of three membrane-binding states with different diffusion coefficients and membrane-binding lifetimes. The stochastic state transition kinetics of PTEN among these three states were suggested to be regulated spatially along the cell polarity such that only the stable binding state is selectively suppressed at the anterior membrane to cause local PTEN depletion. By incorporating experimentally observed kinetic parameters into a simple mathematical model, the asymmetric PTEN distribution can be explained quantitatively to illustrate the regulatory mechanisms for cellular asymmetry based on an essential causal link between individual stochastic reactions and stable localizations of the ensemble.
Signaling molecules can adopt multiple states that are characterized by intermolecular interactions and chemical modifications, and can thus describe a mechanistic basis for signal transduction. To understand the molecular mechanisms driving signaling reactions, the kinetics and spatial regulation of the state transitions are indispensable. However, using data from single-molecule imaging observations, state transition behaviors of only signaling molecules integrated into the plasma membrane have been analyzed. Here, we propose a novel analysis method which estimates the kinetics of the state transitions and membrane dissociation of signaling molecules that shuttle between the cytoplasm and membrane, a method based on the statistics of the diffusive mobilities of individual molecules. Applying the method to single-molecule tracking analysis of PTEN, a key player in the cellular polarity of Dictyostelium discoideum and mammalian neutrophils, we demonstrate the validity of our method for investigating the mechanism of asymmetric membrane localization. The method enables a quantitative prediction of signaling activities at local membrane regions and therefore provides a powerful tool for understanding the essential mechanisms of a signaling system.
Preclinical and clinical studies suggest that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids after trauma might reduce subsequent posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To date, we have shown in an open trial that PTSD symptoms in critically injured patients can be reduced by taking omega-3 fatty acids, hypothesized to stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis. The primary aim of the present randomized controlled trial is to examine the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation in the secondary prevention of PTSD following accidental injury, as compared with placebo. This paper describes the rationale and protocol of this trial.
The Tachikawa Project for Prevention of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (TPOP) is a double-blinded, parallel group, randomized controlled trial to assess whether omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can prevent PTSD symptoms among accident-injured patients consecutively admitted to an intensive care unit. We plan to recruit accident-injured patients and follow them prospectively for 12 weeks. Enrolled patients will be randomized to either the omega-3 fatty acid supplement group (1,470 mg docosahexaenoic acid and 147 mg eicosapentaenoic acid daily) or placebo group. Primary outcome is score on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS). We will need to randomize 140 injured patients to have 90% power to detect a 10-point difference in mean CAPS scores with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation compared with placebo. Secondary measures are diagnosis of PTSD and major depressive disorder, depressive symptoms, physiologic response in the experiment using script-driven imagery and acoustic stimulation, serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor, health-related quality of life, resilience, and aggression. Analyses will be by intent to treat. The trial was initiated on December 13 2008, with 104 subjects randomized by November 30 2012.
This study promises to be the first trial to provide a novel prevention strategy for PTSD among traumatized people.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier NCT00671099
Fish oil; Omega-3 fatty acid; Docosahexaenoic acid; Eicosapentaenoic acid; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Accidental injury; Prevention
Interactions of proteins regulate signaling, catalysis, gene expression and many other cellular functions. Therefore, characterizing the entire human interactome is a key effort in current proteomics research. This challenge is complicated by the dynamic nature of protein-protein interactions (PPIs), which are conditional on the cellular context: both interacting proteins must be expressed in the same cell and localized in the same organelle to meet. Additionally, interactions underlie a delicate control of signaling pathways, e.g. by post-translational modifications of the protein partners - hence, many diseases are caused by the perturbation of these mechanisms. Despite the high degree of cell-state specificity of PPIs, many interactions are measured under artificial conditions (e.g. yeast cells are transfected with human genes in yeast two-hybrid assays) or even if detected in a physiological context, this information is missing from the common PPI databases. To overcome these problems, we developed a method that assigns context information to PPIs inferred from various attributes of the interacting proteins: gene expression, functional and disease annotations, and inferred pathways. We demonstrate that context consistency correlates with the experimental reliability of PPIs, which allows us to generate high-confidence tissue- and function-specific subnetworks. We illustrate how these context-filtered networks are enriched in bona fide pathways and disease proteins to prove the ability of context-filters to highlight meaningful interactions with respect to various biological questions. We use this approach to study the lung-specific pathways used by the influenza virus, pointing to IRAK1, BHLHE40 and TOLLIP as potential regulators of influenza virus pathogenicity, and to study the signalling pathways that play a role in Alzheimer's disease, identifying a pathway involving the altered phosphorylation of the Tau protein. Finally, we provide the annotated human PPI network via a web frontend that allows the construction of context-specific networks in several ways.
Protein-protein-interactions (PPIs) participate in virtually all biological processes. However, the PPI map is not static but the pairs of proteins that interact depends on the type of cell, the subcellular localization and modifications of the participating proteins, among many other factors. Therefore, it is important to understand the specific conditions under which a PPI happens. Unfortunately, experimental methods often do not provide this information or, even worse, measure PPIs under artificial conditions not found in biological systems. We developed a method to infer this missing information from properties of the interacting proteins, such as in which cell types the proteins are found, which functions they fulfill and whether they are known to play a role in disease. We show that PPIs for which we can infer conditions under which they happen have a higher experimental reliability. Also, our inference agrees well with known pathways and disease proteins. Since diseases usually affect specific cell types, we study PPI networks of influenza proteins in lung tissues and of Alzheimer's disease proteins in neural tissues. In both cases, we can highlight interesting interactions potentially playing a role in disease progression.
We recently discovered the antisense protein of human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV) type 2 (APH-2), whose messenger RNA is encoded by the antisense strand of the HTLV-2 genome. We quantified proviral load, level of tax, and APH-2 in a series of blood samples obtained from a cohort of HTLV-2 carriers. We determined whether APH-2 promotes cell proliferation. APH-2 was detectable in most samples tested and was correlated with proviral load. APH-2 levels were not correlated with lymphocyte count in vivo, consistent with the inability of APH-2 to promote cell proliferation in vitro. APH-2 does not promote cell proliferation and does not cause lymphocytosis.
The antigenicity of seasonal human influenza virus changes continuously; thus, a cross-protective influenza vaccine design needs to be established. Intranasal immunization with an influenza split-virion (SV) vaccine and a mucosal adjuvant induces cross-protection; however, no mucosal adjuvant has been assessed clinically. Formalin-inactivated intact human and avian viruses alone (without adjuvant) induce cross-protection against the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus. However, it is unknown whether seasonal human influenza formalin-inactivated whole-virion (WV) vaccine alone induces cross-protection against strains within a subtype or in a different subtype of human influenza virus. Furthermore, there are few reports comparing the cross-protective efficacy of the WV vaccine and SV vaccine-mucosal adjuvant mixtures. Here, we found that the intranasal human influenza WV vaccine alone induced both the innate immune response and acquired immune response, resulting in cross-protection against drift variants within a subtype of human influenza virus. The cross-protective efficacy conferred by the WV vaccine in intranasally immunized mice was almost the same as that conferred by a mixture of SV vaccine and adjuvants. The level of cross-protective efficacy was correlated with the cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titer in the nasal wash and bronchoalveolar fluids. However, neither the SV vaccine with adjuvant nor the WV vaccine induced cross-reactive virus-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activity. These results suggest that the intranasal human WV vaccine injection alone is effective against variants within a virus subtype, mainly through a humoral immune response, and that the cross-protection elicited by the WV vaccine and the SV vaccine plus mucosal adjuvants is similar.
Incorporating sensory feedback with prosthetic devices is now possible, but the optimal methods of providing such feedback are still unknown. The relative utility of amplitude and pulse train frequency modulated stimulation paradigms for providing vibrotactile feedback for object manipulation was assessed in 10 participants. The two approaches were studied during virtual object manipulation using a robotic interface as a function of presentation order and a simultaneous cognitive load. Despite the potential pragmatic benefits associated with pulse train frequency modulated vibrotactile stimulation, comparison of the approach with amplitude modulation indicates that amplitude modulation vibrotactile stimulation provides superior feedback for object manipulation.
Oenothein B is a unique macrocyclic ellagitannin dimer that has been found in various medicinal plants belonging to Onagraceae, Lythraceae, and Myrtaceae, with diverse biological activities. The immunological effects of tannins in terms of cytokine-release from macrophages and monocytes have been discussed, while the effects on other immunocompetent cells have been the subject of minimal investigation. We evaluated the immunomodulatory effects induced by tannin treatment in human dendritic cells (DCs), which play a critical role in the initial immune response, by measuring the changes in cytokine production, cell differentiation, and cell viability. Oenothein B showed significant down-regulation of the expression of cell surface molecules, CD1a and CD83, suggesting the inhibition of DC differentiation and/or maturation. The suppressive effect on DCs was associated with the induction of apoptosis without the activation of caspase-3/7, 8, and 9, and this was supported by the morphological features indicating significant nuclear condensation. Oenothein B also markedly suppressed the production of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β and IL-6, in a dose-dependent manner. These data may, in part, be able to explain the traditional use of tannin-containing medicinal plants for the treatment of a variety of inflammatory diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
dendritic cell; oenothein B; epigallocatechin gallate; cytokine; caspase
Intra-abdominal hemorrhage caused by omental artery rupture is a rare condition. There are few reports on the treatment of omental artery rupture with only transcatheter arterial embolization (TAE). A 27-year-old man presented to our emergency room with upper abdominal pain that suddenly occurred during sleep. Abdominal computed tomography (CT) revealed fluid collection in the peritoneal cavity and a left subphrenic hematoma with extravasation. Celiac angiography revealed extravasation from the omental artery, which arose from the proximal left gastroepiploic artery. A microcatheter was advanced into the left gastroepiploic artery and around the culprit artery bifurcation, which was embolized by inserting coils. The postoperative course was uneventful without worsening of anemia or abdominal symptoms. The patient was discharged after the absence of extravasation was confirmed by contrast-enhanced CT. Although surgical therapy has often been performed for omental bleeding, TAE, which is less invasive and has the advantage of simultaneous diagnosis and treatment, should be attempted as the first-choice therapy.
Motivation: BioPAX is a standard language for representing and exchanging models of biological processes at the molecular and cellular levels. It is widely used by different pathway databases and genomics data analysis software. Currently, the primary source of BioPAX data is direct exports from the curated pathway databases. It is still uncommon for wet-lab biologists to share and exchange pathway knowledge using BioPAX. Instead, pathways are usually represented as informal diagrams in the literature. In order to encourage formal representation of pathways, we describe a software package that allows users to create pathway diagrams using CellDesigner, a user-friendly graphical pathway-editing tool and save the pathway data in BioPAX Level 3 format.
Availability: The plug-in is freely available and can be downloaded at ftp://ftp.pantherdb.org/CellDesigner/plugins/BioPAX/
Supplementary Information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Skin biopsy samples from 145 relapse leprosy cases and from five different regions in Brazil were submitted for sequence analysis of part of the genes associated with Mycobacterium leprae drug resistance. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in these genes were observed in M. leprae from 4 out of 92 cases with positive amplification (4.3%) and included a case with a mutation in rpoB only, another sample with SNPs in both folP1 and rpoB, and two cases showing mutations in folP1, rpoB, and gyrA, suggesting the existence of multidrug resistance (MDR). The nature of the mutations was as reported in earlier studies, being CCC to CGC in codon 55 in folP (Pro to Arg), while in the case of rpoB, all mutations occurred at codon 531, with two being a transition of TCG to ATG (Ser to Met), one TCG to TTC (Ser to Phe), and one TCG to TTG (Ser to Leu). The two cases with mutations in gyrA changed from GCA to GTA (Ala to Val) in codon 91. The median time from cure to relapse diagnosis was 9.45 years but was significantly shorter in patients with mutations (3.26 years; P = 0.0038). More than 70% of the relapses were multibacillary, including three of the mutation-carrying cases; one MDR relapse patient was paucibacillary.
Nonhuman primate AIDS models are essential for the analysis of AIDS pathogenesis and the evaluation of vaccine efficacy. Multiple studies on human immunodeficiency virus and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection have indicated the association of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) genotypes with rapid or slow AIDS progression. The accumulation of macaque groups that share not only a single MHC-I allele but also an MHC-I haplotype consisting of multiple polymorphic MHC-I loci would greatly contribute to the progress of AIDS research. Here, we investigated SIVmac239 infections in four groups of Burmese rhesus macaques sharing individual MHC-I haplotypes, referred to as A, E, B, and J. Out of 20 macaques belonging to A+ (n = 6), E+ (n = 6), B+ (n = 4), and J+ (n = 4) groups, 18 showed persistent viremia. Fifteen of them developed AIDS in 0.5 to 4 years, with the remaining three at 1 or 2 years under observation. A+ animals, including two controllers, showed slower disease progression, whereas J+ animals exhibited rapid progression. E+ and B+ animals showed intermediate plasma viral loads and survival periods. Gag-specific CD8+ T-cell responses were efficiently induced in A+ animals, while Nef-specific CD8+ T-cell responses were in A+, E+, and B+ animals. Multiple comparisons among these groups revealed significant differences in survival periods, peripheral CD4+ T-cell decline, and SIV-specific CD4+ T-cell polyfunctionality in the chronic phase. This study indicates the association of MHC-I haplotypes with AIDS progression and presents an AIDS model facilitating the analysis of virus-host immune interaction.
Intermuscular coherence can identify oscillatory coupling between two electromyographic (EMG) signals, measuring common presynaptic drive to motor neurons. Beta band oscillations (15–30 Hz) are hypothesized to originate largely from primary motor cortex, and are reduced during dynamic relative to static motor tasks. It has yet to be established whether motor imagery modulates beta intermuscular coherence. Using visual feedback, 10 unimpaired participants completed eighteen trials of pinching their right thumb and index finger at a constant force. During the 60-second trials, participants simultaneously engaged in one of three types of kinesthetic imagery: the right thumb and index finger executing a constant force pinch (static), the fingers of the right hand sequentially flexing and extending (dynamic), and the right foot pushing down with constant force (foot). Motor imagery of a dynamic motor task resulted in significantly lower intermuscular beta coherence than imagery of a static motor pinch task, without any difference in task performance or root-mean-square EMG. Thus, motor imagery affects intermuscular coherence in the beta band, even while measures of task performance remain constant. This finding provides insight for incorporation of beta band intermuscular coherence in future motor rehabilitation schemes and brain computer interface design.
Most hand prostheses do not provide intentional haptic feedback about movement performance; thus users must rely almost completely on visual feedback. This paper focuses on understanding the effects of learning and different stimulation sites when vibrotactile stimulation is used as the intentional haptic feedback. Eighteen unimpaired individuals participated in this study with a robotic interface to manipulate a virtual object with visual and vibrotactile feedback at four body sites (finger, arm, neck, and foot) presented in a random order. All participants showed improvements in object manipulation performance with the addition of vibrotactile feedback. Specifically, performance showed a strong learning effect across time, with learning transferring across different sites of vibrotactile stimulation. The effects of learning over the experiment overshadowed the effects of different stimulation sites. The addition of a cognitive task slowed participants and increased the subjective difficulty. User preference ratings showed no difference in their preference between vibrotactile stimulation sites. These findings indicate that the stimulation site may not be as critical as ensuring adequate training with vibrotactile feedback during object manipulation. Future research to identify improvements in vibrotactile-based feedback parameters with amputees is warranted.