The common nonsynonymous variant rs16969968 in the α5 nicotinic receptor subunit gene (CHRNA5) is the strongest genetic risk factor for nicotine dependence in European Americans and contributes to risk in African Americans. To comprehensively examine whether other CHRNA5 coding variation influences nicotine dependence risk, we performed targeted sequencing on 1582 nicotine dependent cases (Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence score≥4) and 1238 non-dependent controls, with independent replication of common and low frequency variants using 12 studies with exome chip data. Nicotine dependence was examined using logistic regression with individual common variants (MAF≥0.05), aggregate low frequency variants (0.05>MAF≥0.005), and aggregate rare variants (MAF<0.005). Meta-analysis of primary results was performed with replication studies containing 12 174 heavy and 11 290 light smokers. Next-generation sequencing with 180X coverage identified 24 nonsynonymous variants and 2 frameshift deletions in CHRNA5, including 9 novel variants in the 2820 subjects. Meta-analysis confirmed the risk effect of the only common variant (rs16969968, European ancestry: OR=1.3, p=3.5×10−11; African ancestry: OR=1.3, p=0.01) and demonstrated that 3 low frequency variants contributed an independent risk (aggregate term, European ancestry: OR=1.3, p=0.005; African ancestry: OR=1.4, p=0.0006). The remaining 22 rare coding variants were associated with increased risk of nicotine dependence in the European American primary sample (OR=12.9, p=0.01) and in the same risk direction in African Americans (OR=1.5, p=0.37). Our results indicate that common, low frequency and rare CHRNA5 coding variants are independently associated with nicotine dependence risk. These newly identified variants likely influence risk for smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified more than 100 genetic variants contributing to BMI, a measure of body size, or waist-to-hip ratio (adjusted for BMI, WHRadjBMI), a measure of body shape. Body size and shape change as people grow older and these changes differ substantially between men and women. To systematically screen for age- and/or sex-specific effects of genetic variants on BMI and WHRadjBMI, we performed meta-analyses of 114 studies (up to 320,485 individuals of European descent) with genome-wide chip and/or Metabochip data by the Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium. Each study tested the association of up to ~2.8M SNPs with BMI and WHRadjBMI in four strata (men ≤50y, men >50y, women ≤50y, women >50y) and summary statistics were combined in stratum-specific meta-analyses. We then screened for variants that showed age-specific effects (G x AGE), sex-specific effects (G x SEX) or age-specific effects that differed between men and women (G x AGE x SEX). For BMI, we identified 15 loci (11 previously established for main effects, four novel) that showed significant (FDR<5%) age-specific effects, of which 11 had larger effects in younger (<50y) than in older adults (≥50y). No sex-dependent effects were identified for BMI. For WHRadjBMI, we identified 44 loci (27 previously established for main effects, 17 novel) with sex-specific effects, of which 28 showed larger effects in women than in men, five showed larger effects in men than in women, and 11 showed opposite effects between sexes. No age-dependent effects were identified for WHRadjBMI. This is the first genome-wide interaction meta-analysis to report convincing evidence of age-dependent genetic effects on BMI. In addition, we confirm the sex-specificity of genetic effects on WHRadjBMI. These results may provide further insights into the biology that underlies weight change with age or the sexually dimorphism of body shape.
Adult body size and body shape differ substantially between men and women and change over time. More than 100 genetic variants that influence body mass index (measure of body size) or waist-to-hip ratio (measure of body shape) have been identified. While there is evidence that some genetic loci affect body shape differently in men than in women, little is known about whether genetic effects differ in older compared to younger adults, and whether such changes differ between men and women. Therefore, we conducted a systematic genome-wide search, including 114 studies (>320,000 individuals), to specifically identify genetic loci with age- and or sex-dependent effects on body size and shape. We identified 15 loci of which the effect on BMI was different in older compared to younger adults, whereas we found no evidence for loci with different effects in men compared to women. The opposite was seen for body shape as we identified 44 loci of which the effect on waist-to-hip ratio differed between men and women, but no difference between younger and older adults were observed. Our observations may provide new insights into the biology that underlies weight change with age or the sexual dimorphism of body shape.
Background: People with advanced multiple sclerosis (MS) are less physically active than those with milder forms of the disease, and wheelchair use has a negative association with physical activity participation. Thus, wheelchair users with MS are doubly disadvantaged for accruing the benefits of physical activity and exercise. Appropriate physical activity and exercise interventions are needed for this population.
Methods: We undertook a qualitative study to explore the meanings, motivations, and outcomes of physical activity in wheelchair users with MS. We sought to understand daily opportunities to accumulate physical activity and exercise, and to identify perceived barriers, facilitators, and benefits that might inform the design of future interventions.
Results: We interviewed 15 wheelchair users (mean age, 52 ± 8.8 years; n = 12 women). Data were transcribed and analyzed to identify and explore common themes. Our first theme was the reduced opportunity to participate in physical activity due to participants' dependence on mobility devices, environmental adaptations, and tangible support. Our second theme was the importance of incorporating physical activity and exercise into the everyday environment, highlighting the need for adaptive exercise and accessible environments. This indicated the need to incorporate behavior change modulators into physical activity and exercise interventions for those with advanced MS. Health-care professionals played an important role in promoting increased physical activity and exercise participation in those with advanced MS.
Conclusions: Our findings may inform future interventions to increase initiation and maintenance of physical activity and exercise among people with advanced MS.
Ten full-time adolescent wheelchair users (ages 13–18) completed a total of three propulsion trials on carpet and tile surfaces, at a self-selected velocity, and on a concrete surface, at a controlled velocity. All trials were performed in their personal wheelchair with force and moment sensing wheels attached bilaterally. The first two trials on each surface were used as pre-intervention control trials. The third trial was performed after receiving training on proper propulsion technique. Peak resultant force, contact angle, stroke frequency, and velocity were recorded during all trials for primary analysis. Carpet and tile trials resulted in significant increases in contact angle and peak total force with decreased stroke frequency after training. During the velocity controlled trials on concrete, significant increases in contact angle occurred, as well as decreases in stroke frequency after training. Overall, the use of a training video and verbal feedback may help to improve short-term propulsion technique in adolescent wheelchair users and decrease the risk of developing upper limb pain and injury.
manual wheelchair; propulsion; biomechanics; training; adolescents
With challenges in data harmonization and covariate heterogeneity across various data sources, meta-analysis of gene-environment interaction studies can often involve subtle statistical issues. In this paper, we study the effect of environmental covariate heterogeneity (within and between cohorts) on two approaches for fixed-effect meta-analysis: the standard inverse-variance weighted meta-analysis and a meta-regression approach. Akin to the results in Simmonds and Higgins (2007), we obtain analytic efficiency results for both methods under the assumption of gene-environment independence. The relative efficiency of the two methods depends on the ratio of within- versus between- cohort variability of the environmental covariate. We propose to use an adaptively weighted estimator (AWE), between meta-analysis and meta-regression, for the interaction parameter. The AWE retains full efficiency of the joint analysis using individual level data under certain natural assumptions. Lin and Zeng (2010a, b) showed that a multivariate inverse-variance weighted estimator also had asymptotically full efficiency as joint analysis using individual level data, if the estimates with full covariance matrices for all the common parameters are pooled across all studies. We show consistency of our work with Lin and Zeng (2010a, b). Without sacrificing much efficiency, the AWE uses only univariate summary statistics from each study, and bypasses issues with sharing individual level data or full covariance matrices across studies. We compare the performance of the methods both analytically and numerically. The methods are illustrated through meta-analysis of interaction between Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in FTO gene and body mass index on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol data from a set of eight studies of type 2 diabetes.
ADAPTIVELY WEIGHTED ESTIMATOR; COVARIATE HETEROGENEITY; GENE-ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION; INDIVIDUAL PATIENT DATA; META-ANALYSIS; META-REGRESSION; POWER CALCULATION
There are few data on the persistence of individual human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmitted drug resistance (TDR) mutations in the absence of selective drug pressure. We studied 313 patients in whom TDR mutations were detected at their first resistance test and who had a subsequent test performed while ART-naive. The rate at which mutations became undetectable was estimated using exponential regression accounting for interval censoring. Most thymidine analogue mutations (TAMs) and T215 revertants (but not T215F/Y) were found to be highly stable, with NNRTI and PI mutations being relatively less persistent. Our estimates are important for informing HIV transmission models.
persistence; transmitted; HIV-1; resistance; mutations
To determine protease mutations that develop at viral failure for protease inhibitor (PI)-naive patients on a regimen containing the PI atazanavir.
Resistance tests on patients failing atazanavir, conducted as part of routine clinical care in a multicentre observational study, were randomly matched by subtype to resistance tests from PI-naive controls to account for natural polymorphisms. Mutations from the consensus B sequence across the protease region were analysed for association and defined using the IAS-USA 2011 classification list.
Four hundred and five of 2528 (16%) patients failed therapy containing atazanavir as a first PI over a median (IQR) follow-up of 1.76 (0.84–3.15) years and 322 resistance tests were available for analysis. Recognized major atazanavir mutations were found in six atazanavir-experienced patients (P < 0.001), including I50L and N88S. The minor mutations most strongly associated with atazanavir experience were M36I, M46I, F53L, A71V, V82T and I85V (P < 0.05). Multiple novel mutations, I15S, L19T, K43T, L63P/V, K70Q, V77I and L89I/T/V, were also associated with atazanavir experience.
Viral failure on atazanavir-containing regimens was not common and major resistance mutations were rare, suggesting that adherence may be a major contributor to viral failure. Novel mutations were described that have not been previously documented.
HIV; drug resistance mutations; naive patients; protease inhibitors; virological failure
Recent meta-analyses of European ancestry subjects show strong evidence for association between smoking quantity and multiple genetic variants on chromosome 15q25. This meta-analysis extends the examination of association between distinct genes in the CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4 region and smoking quantity to Asian and African American populations to confirm and refine specific reported associations.
Association results for a dichotomized cigarettes smoked per day (CPD) phenotype in 27 datasets (European ancestry (N=14,786), Asian (N=6,889), and African American (N=10,912) for a total of 32,587 smokers) were meta-analyzed by population and results were compared across all three populations.
We demonstrate association between smoking quantity and markers in the chromosome 15q25 region across all three populations, and narrow the region of association. Of the variants tested, only rs16969968 is associated with smoking (p < 0.01) in each of these three populations (OR=1.33, 95%C.I.=1.25–1.42, p=1.1×10−17 in meta-analysis across all population samples). Additional variants displayed a consistent signal in both European ancestry and Asian datasets, but not in African Americans.
The observed consistent association of rs16969968 with heavy smoking across multiple populations, combined with its known biological significance, suggests rs16969968 is most likely a functional variant that alters risk for heavy smoking. We interpret additional association results that differ across populations as providing evidence for additional functional variants, but we are unable to further localize the source of this association. Using the cross-population study paradigm provides valuable insights to narrow regions of interest and inform future biological experiments.
smoking; genetics; meta-analysis; cross-population
Life abounds with genetic variations writ in sequences that are often only a few hundred nucleotides long. Rapid detection of these variations for identification of genetic diseases, pathogens and organisms has become the mainstay of molecular science and medicine. This report describes a new, highly informative closed-tube polymerase chain reaction (PCR) strategy for analysis of both known and unknown sequence variations. It combines efficient quantitative amplification of single-stranded DNA targets through LATE-PCR with sets of Lights-On/Lights-Off probes that hybridize to their target sequences over a broad temperature range. Contiguous pairs of Lights-On/Lights-Off probes of the same fluorescent color are used to scan hundreds of nucleotides for the presence of mutations. Sets of probes in different colors can be combined in the same tube to analyze even longer single-stranded targets. Each set of hybridized Lights-On/Lights-Off probes generates a composite fluorescent contour, which is mathematically converted to a sequence-specific fluorescent signature. The versatility and broad utility of this new technology is illustrated in this report by characterization of variant sequences in three different DNA targets: the rpoB gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a sequence in the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 gene of nematodes and the V3 hypervariable region of the bacterial 16 s ribosomal RNA gene. We anticipate widespread use of these technologies for diagnostics, species identification and basic research.
Every year in the United States, thousands of young children are injured by passenger vehicles in driveways or parking areas. Little is known about risk factors, and incidence rates are difficult to estimate because ascertainment using police collision reports or media sources is incomplete. This study used surveillance at trauma centers to identify incidents and parent interviews to obtain detailed information on incidents, vehicles, and children.
Eight California trauma centers conducted surveillance of nontraffic pedestrian collision injury to children aged 14 years or younger from January 2005 to July 2007. Three of these centers conducted follow-up interviews with family members.
Ninety-four injured children were identified. Nine children (10%) suffered fatal injury. Seventy children (74%) were 4 years old or younger. Family members of 21 victims from this study (23%) completed an interview. Of these 21 interviewed victims, 17 (81%) were male and 13 (62%) were 1 or 2 years old. In 13 cases (62%), the child was backed over, and the driver was the mother or father in 11 cases (52%). Fifteen cases (71%) involved a sport utility vehicle, pickup truck, or van. Most collisions occurred in a residential driveway.
Trauma center surveillance can be used for case ascertainment and for collecting information on circumstances of nontraffic pedestrian injuries. Adoption of a specific external cause-of-injury code would allow passive surveillance of these injuries. Research is needed to understand the contributions of family, vehicular, and environmental characteristics and injury risk to inform prevention efforts.
Gli3 is a zinc-finger transcription factor whose activity is dependent on the level of hedgehog (Hh) ligand. Hh signaling has key roles during endochondral ossification; however, its role in intramembranous ossification is still unclear. In this study, we show that Gli3 performs a dual role in regulating both osteoprogenitor proliferation and osteoblast differentiation during intramembranous ossification. We discovered that Gli3Xt−J/Xt−J mice, which represent a Gli3-null allele, exhibit craniosynostosis of the lambdoid sutures and that this is accompanied by increased osteoprogenitor proliferation and differentiation. These cellular changes are preceded by ectopic expression of the Hh receptor Patched1 and reduced expression of the transcription factor Twist1 in the sutural mesenchyme. Twist1 is known to delay osteogenesis by binding to and inhibiting the transcription factor Runx2. We found that Runx2 expression in the lambdoid suture was altered in a pattern complimentary to that of Twist1. We therefore propose that loss of Gli3 results in a Twist1-, Runx2-dependent expansion of the sutural osteoprogenitor population as well as enhanced osteoblastic differentiation which results in a bony bridge forming between the parietal and interparietal bones. We show that FGF2 will induce Twist1, normalize osteoprogenitor proliferation and differentiation and rescue the lambdoid suture synostosis in Gli3Xt−J/Xt−J mice. Taken together, we define a novel role for Gli3 in osteoblast development; we describe the first mouse model of lambdoid suture craniosynostosis and show how craniosynostosis can be rescued in this model.
Genome-wide scans of nucleotide variation in human subjects are providing an increasing number of replicated associations with complex disease traits. Most of the variants detected have small effects and, collectively, they account for a small fraction of the total genetic variance. Very large sample sizes are required to identify and validate findings. In this situation, even small sources of systematic or random error can cause spurious results or obscure real effects. The need for careful attention to data quality has been appreciated for some time in this field, and a number of strategies for quality control and quality assurance (QC/QA) have been developed. Here we extend these methods and describe a system of QC/QA for genotypic data in genome-wide association studies. This system includes some new approaches that (1) combine analysis of allelic probe intensities and called genotypes to distinguish gender misidentification from sex chromosome aberrations, (2) detect autosomal chromosome aberrations that may affect genotype calling accuracy, (3) infer DNA sample quality from relatedness and allelic intensities, (4) use duplicate concordance to infer SNP quality, (5) detect genotyping artifacts from dependence of Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE) test p-values on allelic frequency, and (6) demonstrate sensitivity of principal components analysis (PCA) to SNP selection. The methods are illustrated with examples from the ‘Gene Environment Association Studies’ (GENEVA) program. The results suggest several recommendations for QC/QA in the design and execution of genome-wide association studies.
GWAS; DNA sample quality; genotyping artifact; Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium; chromosome aberration
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) induces granulocytic maturation of WEHI-3B D+ leukemia cells and LiCl enhances this maturation, while WEHI-3B D− cells are non-responsive to ATRA. Transfection of SCL, expressed in D− but absent in D+ cells, into D+ cells, caused resistance to ATRA, while transfection of GATA-1 into D+ cells produced resistance to the combination of ATRA and LiCl. SCL expression in D+ cells did not induce the expression of c-Kit, a putative target gene for SCL. LiCl, known to inhibit some kinases by displacing Mg2+, did not affect tyrosine kinase activity of the cytoplasmic domain of c-Kit.
WEHI-3B D+; WEHI-3B D−; SCL (TAL1); GATA-1; All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA); Lithium chloride (LiCl); c-Kit
Classical research has suggested that early palate formation develops via epithelial-mesenchymal interactions, and in this study we reveal which signals control this process. Using Fgf10–/–, FGF receptor 2b–/– (Fgfr2b–/–), and Sonic hedgehog (Shh) mutant mice, which all exhibit cleft palate, we show that Shh is a downstream target of Fgf10/Fgfr2b signaling. Our results demonstrate that mesenchymal Fgf10 regulates the epithelial expression of Shh, which in turn signals back to the mesenchyme. This was confirmed by demonstrating that cell proliferation is decreased not only in the palatal epithelium but also in the mesenchyme of Fgfr2b–/– mice. These results reveal a new role for Fgf signaling in mammalian palate development. We show that coordinated epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are essential during the initial stages of palate development and require an Fgf-Shh signaling network.
Poly-d-lysine of high molecular weight enhances interferon induction in mice by the double-stranded complex of polyinosinic and polycytidylic acids and is superior to diethylaminoethyl-dextran in this respect.
We have compiled the DNA sequence data for E. coli available from the GENBANK and EMBL data libraries and independently from the literature. Starting with this update of our Escherichia coli database (ECD release 20) we provide major changes compared to previous issues. This update not only represents another substantial increase in sequence information, it also allows now to find the exact physical location of each individual gene or regulatory region, even regarding discrepancies in nomenclature. In order to save space this printed version does not contain the database itself anymore, but we provide several examples. The complete database is publically available in electronic form together with a self explaining application program or as a flat file. The complete compilation including a full set of genetic map data and the E. coli protein index can be obtained in machine readable form from the EMBL data library as a part of the CD-ROM issue of the EMBL sequence database, released and updated every three months. After deletion of all detected overlaps a total of 2,878,364 individual bp is found to be determined till the end of June 1994. This corresponds to a total of 60.98% of the entire E. coli chromosome consisting of about 4,720 kbp. This number may actually be higher by 9161 bp derived from other strains of E. coli.
The morbidity and mortality from sepsis continues to remain high despite extensive research into understanding this complex immunologic process. Further, while source control and antibiotic therapy have improved patient outcomes, many immunologically based therapies have fallen short. Microparticles (MPs) are intact vesicles that serve as mediators of intercellular communication as well as markers of inflammation in various disease processes. We have previously demonstrated that MPs can be produced at the infected foci during sepsis, are predominantly of neutrophil derivation (NDMPs) and can modulate immune cells. In this study, we sought to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying NDMP generation. Using thioglycolate (TGA) to recruit and activate neutrophils, we first determined that intra-peritoneal TGA increase NDMP accumulation. We next utilized TGA-elicited neutrophils in vitro to investigate signaling intermediates involved in NDMP production, including the intrinsic and extrinsic caspase pathways, cAMP dependent PKA and Epac activation as well as the role myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) as a final mediator of NDMP release. We observed that NDMP generation was dependent on the extrinsic caspase apoptotic pathway (caspase 3 and caspase 8), cAMP activation of PKA but not of Epac, and on activation of MLCK. Altogether, these data contribute to an overall framework depicting the molecular mechanisms that regulate NDMP generation.
Caspase; cAMP; MLCK; thioglycolate; inflammation
The mechanisms that lead to microtubule catastrophe are poorly understood. Computational simulations and experiments show that GDP-to-GTP exchange on the microtubule end can contribute to the initiation of catastrophe. This reaction does not figure into the current understanding, and so the results complement more mechanochemical models.
Microtubules are dynamic polymers of αβ-tubulin that have essential roles in chromosome segregation and organization of the cytoplasm. Catastrophe—the switch from growing to shrinking—occurs when a microtubule loses its stabilizing GTP cap. Recent evidence indicates that the nucleotide on the microtubule end controls how tightly an incoming subunit will be bound (trans-acting GTP), but most current models do not incorporate this information. We implemented trans-acting GTP into a computational model for microtubule dynamics. In simulations, growing microtubules often exposed terminal GDP-bound subunits without undergoing catastrophe. Transient GDP exposure on the growing plus end slowed elongation by reducing the number of favorable binding sites on the microtubule end. Slower elongation led to erosion of the GTP cap and an increase in the frequency of catastrophe. Allowing GDP-to-GTP exchange on terminal subunits in simulations mitigated these effects. Using mutant αβ-tubulin or modified GTP, we showed experimentally that a more readily exchangeable nucleotide led to less frequent catastrophe. Current models for microtubule dynamics do not account for GDP-to-GTP exchange on the growing microtubule end, so our findings provide a new way of thinking about the molecular events that initiate catastrophe.
Aspiring junior investigators from groups underrepresented in the biomedical sciences face various challenges as they pursue research independence. However, the biomedical research enterprise needs their participation to effectively address critical research issues such as health disparities and health inequities. In this article, we share a research education and mentoring initiative that seeks to address this challenge: Programs to Increase Diversity among Individuals Engaged in Health Related Research (PRIDE), funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). This longitudinal research-education and mentoring program occurs through summer institute programs located at US-based academic institutions. Recruited participants are exposed to didactic and lab-based research-skill enhancement experiences, with year-round mentoring over the course of two years. Mentor-mentee matching is based on shared research interests to promote congruence and to enhance skill acquisition.
Program descriptions and sample narratives of participants’ perceptions of PRIDE’s impact on their career progress are showcased. Additionally, we highlight the overall program design and structure of four of seven funded summer institutes that focus on cardiovascular disease, related conditions, and health disparities. Mentees’ testimonials about the value of the PRIDE mentoring approach in facilitating career development are also noted.
Meeting the clinical and research needs of an increasingly diverse US population is an issue of national concern. The PRIDE initiative, which focuses on increasing research preparedness and professional development of groups underrepresented in the biomedical research workforce, with an emphasis on mentoring as the critical approach, provides a robust model that is impacting the careers of future investigators.
Diversity; Workforce; Biomedical Research; NHLBI
Diagnostic errors causing harm in children are understudied,
resulting in a knowledge gap regarding pediatricians’ interest in
reducing their incidence.
Electronic survey of general pediatricians focusing on diagnostic
error incidence, errors they were interested in trying to improve, and
errors reduced by their electronic health record (EHR).
Of 300 contacted pediatricians, 77 (26%) responded, 58
(19%) served ambulatory patients, and 48 (16%) completed the
entire questionnaire. Of these 48, 17 (35%) reported making a
diagnostic error at least monthly, and 16 (33%) reported making a
diagnostic error resulting in an adverse event at least annually.
Pediatricians were “most” interested in “trying to
improve” missed diagnosis of hypertension (17%), delayed
diagnosis due to missed subspecialty referral (15%), and errors
associated with delayed follow-up of abnormal laboratory values
(13%). Among the 44 pediatricians with an EHR, 16 (36%) said
it reduced the likelihood of missing obesity and 14 (32%) said it
reduced the likelihood of missing hypertension. Also, 15 (34%) said
it helped avoid delays in follow-up of abnormal laboratory values. A third
(36%) reported no help in diagnostic error reduction from their
Pediatricians self-report an appreciable number of diagnostic errors
and were most interested in preventing high frequency, non-life-threatening
errors. There exists a need to leverage EHRs to support error reduction
diagnostic error; pediatrics; primary care
The Forkhead box C1 (FOXC1) transcriptional factor is a critical biomarker for basal-like breast cancer (BLBC). We recently reported that FOXC1 promotes cancer stem cell properties in BLBC by activating Smoothened (SMO)-independent Hedgehog (Hh) signaling, suggesting a FOXC1-mediated mechanism for BLBC cell function and anti-Hh therapy resistance.
Basal-like breast cancer; cancer stem cells; FOXC1; GLI2; Hedgehog; Smoothened
Epidemiological studies show low rates of diagnosed depression in men compared to women. At the same time, high rates of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) and completed suicide are found among men. These data suggest that a male-specific pattern for depression may exist that is linked to AUDs and suicidal behavior. To date, no underlying neuroendocrine model for this specific pattern of male depression has been suggested. In this paper, we integrate findings related to this specific pattern of depression with underlying steroid secretion patterns, polymorphisms, and methylation profiles of key genes in order to detail an original neuroendocrine model of male-specific depression. Low circulating levels of sex steroids seem to increase the vulnerability for male depression, while concomitant high levels of glucocorticoids further intensify this vulnerability. Interactions of hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) and hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis-related hormones seem to be highly relevant for a male-specific pattern of depression linked to AUDs and suicidal behavior. Moreover, genetic variants and the epigenetic profiles of the androgen receptor gene, well-known depression related genes, and HPA axis-related genes were shown to further interact with men’s steroid secretion and thus may further contribute to the proposed male-specific pattern for depression. This mini-review points out the multilevel interactions between the HPG and HPA axis for a male-specific pattern of depression linked to AUDs and suicidal behavior. An integration of multilevel interactions within the three-hit concept of vulnerability and resilience concludes the review.
male depression; alcohol use disorder; suicidal behavior; steroid secretion; polymorphism; methylation; stress reactivity; vulnerability
It is important to predict which invasive species will benefit from future changes in climate, and thereby identify those invaders that need particular attention and prioritization of management efforts. Because establishment, persistence, and spread determine invasion success, this prediction requires detailed demographic information. Explicit study of the impact of pattern on demographic response is particularly important for species that are naturally patchy, such as the invasive grass, Aegilops triuncialis. In the northern California Coast Range, where climate change may increase or decrease mean annual rainfall, we conducted a field experiment to understand the interaction of climate change and local-scale patterning on the demography of A. triuncialis. We manipulated precipitation (reduced, ambient, or augmented), seed density, and seeding pattern. Demographic and environmental data were collected for three years following initial seeding. Pattern and scale figure prominently in the demographic response of A. triuncialis to precipitation manipulation. Pattern interacts with precipitation and seeding density in its influence on per-plant seed output. Although per-plot seed production was highest when seeds were not aggregated, per-plant seed output was higher in aggregated patches. Results suggest aggregation of invasive A. triuncialis reduces the detrimental impact of interspecific competition in its invaded community, and that interspecific competition per se has a stronger impact than intraspecific competition.