The critical roles of TGF-β in the reciprocal differentiation of tolerance-promoting CD4+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Treg) and pro-inflammatory Th17 effector cells impact alloimmune reactivity and transplant outcome. We reasoned that a strategy that harnessed TGF-β and blocked pro-inflammatory cytokines would inhibit the differentiation of Th17 cells and strengthen the cadre of Treg to promote tolerance induction and long-term allograft survival. Herein we report the development of a novel, long-lasting auto-active human mutant TGF-β1/Fc fusion protein that acts in conjunction with rapamycin to inhibit T cell proliferation and induce the de novo generation of Foxp3+ Treg in the periphery, while at the same time inhibiting IL-6-mediated Th17 cell differentiation. Short-term combined treatment with TGF-β1/Fc and rapamycin achieved long-term pancreatic islet allograft survival and donor-specific tolerance in a mouse model. This effect was accompanied by expansion of Foxp3+ Treg, enhanced alloantigen-specific Treg function, and modulation of transcript levels of Foxp3, IL-6 and IL-17. Our strategy of combined TGF-β1/Fc and rapamycin to target the IL-6-related Treg and Th17 signaling pathways provides a promising approach for inducing transplant tolerance and its clinical application.
AIM: To investigate the therapeutic efficacy and mechanisms of action of oncolytic-herpes-simplex-virus encoding granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (HSVGM-CSF) in pancreatic carcinoma.
METHODS: Tumor blocks were homogenized in a sterile grinder in saline. The homogenate was injected into the right armpit of each mouse. After vaccination, the mice were randomly assigned into four groups: a control group, a high dose HSVGM-CSF group [1 × 107 plaque forming units (pfu)/tumor], a medium dose HSVGM-CSF group (5 × 106 pfu/tumor) and a low dose HSVGM-CSF group (5 × 105 pfu/tumor). After initiation of drug administration, body weights and tumor diameters were measured every 3 d. Fifteen days later, after decapitation of the animal by cervical dislocation, each tumor was isolated, weighed and stored in 10% formaldehyde solution. The drug effectiveness was evaluated according to the weight, volume and relative volume change of each tumor. Furthermore, GM-CSF protein levels in serum were assayed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays at 1, 2, 3 and 4 d after injection of HSVGM-CSF.
RESULTS: Injection of the recombinant mouse HSV encoding GM-CSF resulted in a significant reduction in tumor growth compared to the control group, and dose-dependent effects were observed: the relative tumor proliferation rates of the low dose, medium dose and high dose groups on 15 d after injection were 45.5%, 55.2% and 65.5%, respectively. The inhibition rates of the tumor weights of the low, middle, and high dose groups were 41.4%, 46.7% and 50.5%, respectively. Furthermore, the production of GM-CSF was significantly increased in the mice infected with HSVGM-CSF. The increase in the GM-CSF level was more pronounced in the high dose group compared to the other two dose groups.
CONCLUSION: Our study provides the first evidence that HSVGM-CSF could inhibit the growth of pancreatic cancer. The enhanced GM-CSF expression might be responsible for the phenomenon.
Pancreatic carcinoma; Gene therapy; Animal test; Herpes-simplex-virus encoding granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor
To assess the clinical significance of WD40 repeat containing 62 (WDR62), a novel centrosome abnormalities-associated gene, in ovarian cancer.
Materials and methods
In this study, WDR62 expression was assessed by western blot (6 ovarian cancer cell lines) and immunohistochemistry (primary epithelial ovarian cancer clinical specimens), and clinical variables were collected by retrospective chart review. Centrosome amplification was assessed by immunofluorescence staining in ovarian cancer cell lines, and by immunohistochemistry staining in ovarian cancer samples.
Six ovarian cancer cell lines exhibited significant WDR62 protein overexpression, and amplification of centrosome. High-grade ovarian cancer specimens exhibited significantly stronger nuclear staining of WDR62 than low-grade ovarian carcinoma specimens (80.4% vs 41.3%; P<0.012). High WDR62 expression was strongly associated with supernumerary centrosome count in tumor cells (P < 0.001).
Our findings suggest that WDR62 overexpression is related to centrosome amplification in ovarian cancer. It may be a novel useful differentiation biomarker and a potential therapy target for OC. Further assessment of WDR62 expression is highly warranted in large, prospective studies.
Ovarian cancer; WDR62; Centrosome
AIM: To investigate the role of T helper 17 cells (Th17) and regulatory T cells (Treg) in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF).
METHODS: We enrolled 79 patients with HBV infection into the study, 50 patients with HBV-related ACLF and 29 patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB), from the First Affiliated Hospital of Medical College from January 2009 to June 2012. The ACLF patients were diagnosed according to the criteria recommended by The 19th Conference of the Asian Pacific Association for the Study of the Liver in 2009. Twenty healthy individuals with a similar gender and age structures to the two patient groups were also included as the normal controls (NC). Of the 50 ACLF patients, 28 were subsequently classified as non-survivors: 19 patients died from multi-organ failure, 3 underwent liver transplantation, and 6 discontinued therapy during follow-up because of financial reasons. The remaining 22 ACLF patients whose liver and anticoagulation function recovered to nearly normal levels within the next 6 mo were classified as survivors. The number of circulating Treg and Th17 cells was determined upon diagnosis and during the 8th week of follow-up through flow cytometry.
RESULTS: The percentage of circulating Treg cells in the ACLF group was significantly higher than that in the CHB group (5.50% ± 1.15% vs 3.30% ± 1.13%, P < 0.01). The percentages of circulating Th17 cells in the ACLF and the CHB groups were significantly higher than that in the NC group (6.32% ± 2.22% vs 1.56% ± 0.44%, P < 0.01; 3.53% ± 1.65% vs 1.56% ± 0.44%, P < 0.01). No significant difference in Treg cell to Th17 cell ratio was observed between the ACLF group and the CHB group (0.98 ± 0.44 vs 1.12 ± 0.64, P = 0.991), whereas those in the two HBV infection groups were significantly lower than that in the NC group (1.85 ± 1.22; both P < 0.01). The percentage of Treg cells in the survivors during the 8th week of follow-up was significantly lower than that during peak ACLF severity [total bilirubin (TBIL) peak] (3.45% ± 0.97% vs 5.18% ± 1.02%, P < 0.01). The percentage of Th17 cells in survivors during the 8th week of follow-up was significantly lower than that during the peak TBIL (2.89% ± 0.60% vs 5.24% ± 1.46%; P < 0.01). The Treg cell to Th17 cell ratio during the 8th week of follow-up was significantly higher than that during the TBIL peak (1.22 ± 0.36 vs 1.10 ± 0.54; P < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: Restoring the Treg cell to Th17 cell ratio during the follow-up phase of ACLF could maintain the immune system at a steady state, which favours good prognosis.
Hepatitis B virus; Acute-on-chronic liver failure; Regulatory T cells; T helper 17 cells; Treg cell to Th17 cell ratio
In this work, we assessed the effects of sinomenine (SN) on intestinal octreotide (OCT) absorption both in Caco-2 cell monolayers and in rats. We also investigated the molecular mechanisms of tight junction (TJ) disruption and recovery by SN-mediated changes in the claudin-1 and protein kinase C (PKC) signaling pathway. The data showed that exposure to SN resulted in a significant decrease in the expression of claudin-1, which represented TJ weakening and paracellular permeability enhancement. Then, the recovery of TJ after SN removal required an increase in claudin-1, which demonstrated the transient and reversible opening for TJ. Meanwhile, the SN-mediated translocation of PKC-α from the cytosol to the membrane was found to prove PKC activation. Finally, SN significantly improved the absolute OCT bioavailability in rats and the transport rate in Caco-2 cell monolayers. We conclude that SN has the ability to enhance intestinal OCT absorption and that these mechanisms are related at least in part to the important role of claudin-1 in SN-mediated, reversible TJ opening via PKC activation.
octreotide; sinomenine; intestinal absorption; tight junction
Medulloblastoma is the most common brain tumor in children. Here, we report that bortezomib, a proteasome inhibitor, induced apoptosis and inhibited cell proliferation in two established cell lines and a primary culture of human medulloblastomas. Bortezomib increased the release of cytochrome c to cytosol and activated caspase-9 and caspase-3, resulting in cleavage of PARP. Caspase inhibitor (Z-VAD-FMK) could rescue medulloblastoma cells from the cytotoxicity of bortezomib. Phosphorylation of AKT and its upstream regulator mTOR were reduced by bortezomib treatment in medulloblastoma cells. Bortezomib increased the expression of Bad and Bak, pro-apoptotic proteins, and p21Cip1 and p27Kip1, negative regulators of cell cycle progression, which are associated with the growth suppression and induction of apoptosis in these tumor cells. Bortezomib also increased the accumulation of phosphorylated IĸBα, and decreased nuclear translocation of NF-ĸB. Thus, NF-ĸB signaling and activation of its downstream targets are suppressed. Moreover, ERK inhibitors or downregulating ERK with ERK siRNA synergized with bortezomib on anticancer effects in medulloblastoma cells. Bortezomib also inhibited the growth of human medulloblastoma cells in a mouse xenograft model. These findings suggest that proteasome inhibitors are potentially promising drugs for treatment of pediatric medulloblastomas.
Apoptosis; brain tumor; JAK2; neuroblastoma; NFκB; proliferation; Sorafenib; STAT3
AIM: To examine the clinical features and analyze prognostic factors in a prospective study of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) patients.
METHODS: From 1995 to 2010, PBC patients without hepatic decompensation seen at the Peking Union Medical College Hospital were enrolled. Clinical signs and manifestations (pruritus, persistent fatigue, jaundice and pain in the right hypochondrium), laboratory parameters (auto-antibodies for autoimmune hepatic disease, biliary and hepatic enzymes, immunoglobulin, bilirubin, and albumin) and imaging findings were recorded at entry and at specific time points during follow-up. Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses, respectively, assessed the risk factors for hepatic decompensation and survival.
RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-two PBC patients were enrolled with a median follow-up of 75.2 mo (range, 21-201 mo). The 240 patients were aged 51.5 ± 10.2 years at diagnosis and 91.6% were female. Two hundred and forty-five (93.5%) were seropositive for anti-mitochondrial antibodies. At presentation, 170 patients (64.9%) were symptomatic, while 96 patients (36.6%) had extra-hepatic autoimmune disease. During the follow-up period, 62 (23.7%) patients developed hepatic decompensation of whom four underwent liver transplantation and 17 died. The cumulative survival rate and median survival time were 83.9% and 181.7 mo, respectively. Cox regression analysis revealed that an incomplete ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) response or inconsistent treatment [P < 0.001; hazard risk (HR) 95%CI = 2.423-7.541], anti-centromere antibodies (ACA) positivity (P < 0.001; HR 95%CI = 2.516-7.137), alanine aminotransferase ratio (AAR) elevations (P < 0.001; HR 95%CI = 1.357-2.678), and histological advanced liver disease (P = 0.006; HR 95%CI = 1.481-10.847) were predictors of hepatic decompensation. The clinical features and survival of PBC in China are consistent with those described in Western countries.
CONCLUSION: Incomplete UDCA response or inconsistent treatment, ACA positivity, AAR elevations, and advanced histological stage are predictors of decompensation.
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Risk factor; Hepatic decompensation; Survival; Ursodeoxycholic acid response; Anti-centromere antibodies; Histological stage
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an autoimmune liver disease characterized by the presence of serum autoantibodies and chronic nonsuppurative destructive cholangitis. The pathogenesis of PBC involves environmental factors, genetic predisposition and loss of immune tolerance. In recent years, it has become univocally accepted that an inappropriately activated immune response is one of the most important factors in PBC. In this study, the role of autoimmunity in PBC is summarized and a feasible research orientation is recommended.
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Autoimmunity; Humoral immunity; Cellular immunity; Nonspecific immunity
Melanoma is generally refractory to current chemotherapy, thus new treatment strategies are needed. In this study, we synthesized a series of spirooxindole derivatives (SOID-1 to SOID-12) and evaluated their antitumor effects on melanoma. Among the 12 spirooxindole derivatives, SOID-8 showed the strongest antitumor activity by viability screening. SOID-8 inhibited viability of A2058, A375, SK-MEL-5 and SK-MEL-28 human melanoma cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. SOID-8 also induced apoptosis of these tumor cells, which was confirmed by positive Annexin V staining and an increase of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. The antiapoptotic protein Mcl-1, a member of the Bcl-2 family, was downregulated and correlated with SOID-8 induced apoptosis. In addition, SOID-8 reduced tyrosine phosphorylation of Signal Tansducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) in both dose- and time-dependent manners. This inhibition was associated with decreased levels of phosphorylation of Janus-activated kinase-2 (JAK2), an upstream kinase that mediates STAT3 phosphorylation at Tyr705. Accordingly, SOID-8 inhibited IL-6-induced activation of STAT3 and JAK2 in melanoma cells. Finally, SOID-8 suppressed melanoma tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model, accompanied with a decrease of phosphorylation of JAK2 and STAT3. Our results indicate that the antitumor activity of SOID-8 is at least partially due to inhibition of JAK2/STAT3 signaling in melanoma cells. These findings suggest that the spirooxindole derivative SOID-8 is a promising lead compound for further development of new preventive and therapeutic agents for melanoma.
The skin, the body's largest organ, plays an important role in the biotransformation/detoxification and elimination of xenobiotics and endogenous toxic substances, but its role in oxidative stress and insulin resistance is unclear. We investigated the relationship between skin detoxification and oxidative stress/insulin resistance by examining burn-induced changes in nicotinamide degradation. Rats were divided into four groups: sham-operated, sham-nicotinamide, burn, and burn-nicotinamide. Rats received an intraperitoneal glucose injection (2 g/kg) with (sham-nicotinamide and burn-nicotinamide groups) or without (sham-operated and burn groups) coadministration of nicotinamide (100 mg/kg). The results showed that the mRNA of all detoxification-related enzymes tested was detected in sham-operated skin but not in burned skin. The clearance of nicotinamide and N1-methylnicotinamide in burned rats was significantly decreased compared with that in sham-operated rats. After glucose loading, burn group showed significantly higher plasma insulin levels with a lower muscle glycogen level than that of sham-operated and sham-nicotinamide groups, although there were no significant differences in blood glucose levels over time between groups. More profound changes in plasma H2O2 and insulin levels were observed in burn-nicotinamide group. It may be concluded that decreased skin detoxification may increase the risk for oxidative stress and insulin resistance.
Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) is persistently activated and contributes to malignant progression in various cancers. Janus kinases (JAKs) phosphorylate STAT3 in response to stimulation with cytokines or growth factors. The STAT3 signaling pathway has been validated as a promising target for development of anti-cancer therapeutics. Small-molecule inhibitors of JAK/STAT3 signaling represent potential molecular-targeted cancer therapeutic agents. In this study, we investigated the role of JAK/STAT3 signaling in 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime (6BIO) mediated growth inhibition of human melanoma cells and assessed 6BIO as an anticancer drug candidate. We found that 6BIO is a pan-JAK inhibitor that induced apoptosis of human melanoma cells. 6BIO directly inhibited JAK family kinase activity both in vitro and in cancer cells. Apoptosis of human melanoma cells induced by 6BIO was associated with reduced phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3 in both a dose- and time-dependent manners. Consistent with inhibition of STAT3 signaling, the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1 was down-regulated. In contrast to the decreased levels of phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3, phosphorylation levels of the AKT and MAPK signaling proteins were not inhibited in cells treated with 6BIO. Importantly, 6BIO suppressed tumor growth in vivo with low toxicity in a mouse xenograft model of melanoma. Taken together, these results demonstrate that 6BIO is a novel pan-JAK inhibitor that can selectively inhibit STAT3 signaling and induced tumor cell apoptosis. Our findings support further development of 6BIO as a potential anti-cancer therapeutic agent that targets JAK/STAT3 signaling in tumor cells.
bromoindirubin; JAK inhibitor; STAT3 signaling; apoptosis; melanoma
In the title compound, C21H21ClN6O2·C2H6O, a member of the insecticidal active neonicotinoid group of compounds, the 1,4-dihydropyridine ring adopts a boat conformation. An intramolecular C—H⋯O hydrogen bond occurs while the components are linked by an N—H⋯O interaction. The crystal packing is stablized by O—H⋯N hydrogen bonds and C—H⋯O interactions.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are important regulators of multiple cellular processes, and the deregulation of miRNA is a common event in diverse human diseases, particularly cancer. However, the mechanisms underlying the relationship between disordered miRNA expression and tumorigenesis have remained largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated the down-regulation of miR-125b in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues and HCC cell lines by Northern blot and quantitative RT-PCR analyses. The ectopic expression of miR-125b reduced the cellular proliferation and cell cycle progression of HCC cells by targeting Mcl-1 and IL6R. Furthermore, the miR-125b-induced inhibition of cell proliferation was rescued by the expression of Mcl-1 or IL6R variants that lacked 3′ UTRs. Thus, this study revealed the differential expression of miR-125b in HCC cells and elucidated its potential as a tumor suppressor in HCC development.
hepatocellular carcinoma; miR-125b; Mcl-1; IL6R
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by interacting with the 3′ untranslated region (3′-UTR) of multiple mRNAs. Recent studies have linked miRNAs to the development of cancer metastasis. In this study, we show that miR-194 is specifically expressed in the human gastrointestinal tract and kidney. Moreover, miR-194 is highly expressed in hepatic epithelial cells, but not in Kupffer cells or hepatic stellate cells, two types of mesenchymal cells in the liver. miR-194 expression was decreased in hepatocytes cultured in vitro, which had undergone a dedifferentiation process. Furthermore, expression of miR-194 was low in liver mesenchymal-like cancer cell lines. The overexpression of miR-194 in liver mesenchymal-like cancer cells reduced the expression of the mesenchymal cell marker N-cadherin and suppressed invasion and migration of the mesenchymal-like cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. We further demonstrated that miR-194 targeted the 3′-UTRs of several genes that were involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition and cancer metastasis. Conclusion: These results support a role of miR-194, which is specifically expressed in liver parenchymal cells, in preventing liver cancer cell metastasis.
To assess features of cavernous hemangioma (CH) in the orbit revealed by CT and MRI and summarize prediction of preoperative CT and MRI for the adhesion degree of CH in the orbit.
A total of 97 patients with pathologically confirmed CH in the orbit were examined with axial and coronal CT scan, and axial, coronal, sagittal, and enhanced fat suppression MRI scan. CT and MRI findings and intraoperative adhesion degrees were retrospectively analyzed.
There were 47 patients with slight adhesion, for whom CT and MRI showed round masses with well defined margins in the extraocular muscles; 14 patients with mild adhesion, for whom CT and MRI revealed irregular masses with unclear boundary between CH and the optic nerve in coronal images, and emissary veins in the posterior region of masses in contrast-enhanced images; 36 patients with severe adhesion, for whom CT and MRI exhibited an irregular or ovoid mass filling the orbital apex, or showed distorted and even spiky margins in the posterior region of masses in contrast enhanced images at the presence of a transparent triangle between the mass and the orbital apex.
Preoperative CT and MRI aid in accurate diagnosis, selection of the surgical approach, and assessment of the adhesion degree and surgical risks for CH.
cavernous hemangioma; computerized tomography; magnetic resonance imaging
Dental caries (tooth decay) is caused by a specific group of cariogenic bacteria, like Streptococcus mutans, which convert dietary sugars into acids that dissolve the mineral in tooth structure. Killing cariogenic bacteria is an effective way to control or prevent tooth decay. In a previous study, we discovered a novel compound (Glycyrrhizol A), from the extraction of licorice roots, with strong antimicrobial activity against cariogenic bacteria. In the current study, we developed a method to produce these specific herbal extracts in large quantities, and then used these extracts to develop a sugar-free lollipop that effectively kills cariogenic bacteria like Streptococcus mutans. Further studies showed that these sugar-free lollipops are safe and their antimicrobial activity is stable. Two pilot human studies indicate that a brief application of these lollipops (twice a day for ten days) led to a marked reduction of cariogenic bacteria in oral cavity among most human subjects tested. This herbal lollipop could be a novel tool to promote oral health through functional foods.
antimicrobial therapy; licorice; Streptococcus mutans
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to trillions of microbes. Within the same GI tract substantial differences in the bacterial species that inhabit the oral cavity and intestinal tract have been noted. While the influence of host environments and nutritional availability in shaping different microbial communities is widely accepted, we hypothesize that the existing microbial flora also plays a role in selecting the bacterial species that are being integrated into the community. In this study, we used cultivable microbial communities isolated from different parts of the GI tract of mice (oral cavity and intestines) as a model system to examine this hypothesis. Microbes from these two areas were harvested and cultured using the same nutritional conditions, which led to two distinct microbial communities, each with about 20 different species as revealed by PCR-DGGE analysis. In vitro community competition assays showed that the two microbial floras exhibited antagonistic interactions towards each other. More interestingly, all the original isolates tested and their closely related species displayed striking community preferences: they persisted when introduced into the bacterial community of the same origin, while their viable count declined more than 3 orders of magnitude after 4 days of coincubation with the microbial flora of foreign origin. These results suggest that an existing microbial community might impose a selective pressure on incoming foreign bacterial species independent of host selection. The observed inter-flora interactions could contribute to the protective effect of established microbial communities against the integration of foreign bacteria to maintain the stability of the existing communities.
Associations between stress hormones and preterm delivery have not been fully explored. In this study, pregnant women enrolled from 52 clinics in 5 Michigan communities (1998–2004) provided urine samples for 3 days (waking and bedtime) during midpregnancy. Urinary catecholamine levels (epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine) were measured in a subcohort (247 preterm and 760 term deliveries), and a 3-day median value was calculated. Polytomous logistic regression models assessed relations between catecholamine quartiles (of the median) and a 4-level outcome variable (i.e., term (referent) and 3 preterm delivery subtypes: spontaneous; premature rupture of membranes; and medically indicated). Final models incorporated other relevant covariates (e.g., creatinine, demographic, behavior). The risk of spontaneous preterm delivery was increased in the highest versus lowest quartile of norepinephrine and dopamine: norepinephrine, waking (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 3.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.8, 7.9) and bedtime (AOR = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.3, 4.9); dopamine, waking (AOR = 2.6, 95% CI: 1.4, 5.1) and bedtime (AOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.2, 4.6). Adjusted odds ratios were further strengthened after removing women whose placentas showed evidence of acute infection or vascular pathology. High catecholamine levels in maternal urine may be indicative of excess stressors and/or predisposition to elevated sympathetic activation that contributes to increased risk of spontaneous preterm delivery.
catecholamines; dopamine; epinephrine; gestational age; norepinephrine; pregnancy; pregnancy outcome; premature birth
Within the same human gastrointestinal (GI) tract, substantial differences in the bacterial species that inhabit oral cavity and intestinal tract have been noted. Previous research primarily attributed the differences to the influences of host environments and nutritional availabilities (“host habitat” effect). Our recent study indicated that, other than the host habitat effect, an existing microbial community could impose a selective pressure on incoming foreign bacterial species independent of host-mediated selection (“community selection” effect). In this study, we employed in vitro microbial floras representing microorganisms that inhabit the oral cavities and intestinal tract of mice in combination with Escherichia coli as a model intestinal bacterium and demonstrated that E. coli displays a striking community preference. It thrived when introduced into the intestinal microbial community, and survived poorly in the microbial flora of foreign origin (oral community). A more detailed examination of this phenomenon showed that the oral community produced oxygen free radicals in the presence of wild type E. coli while mutants deficient in lipopolysaccharides (LPS) did not trigger significant production of these cell damaging agents. Furthermore, mutants of E. coli defective in the oxidative stress response experienced a more drastic reduction in viability when co-cultivated with the oral flora, while the exogenous addition of the anti-oxidant vitamin C was able to rescue it. We concluded that the oral-derived microbial community senses the E. coli LPS and kills the bacterium with oxygen free radicals. This study reveals a new mechanism of community invasion resistance employed by established microflora to defend their domains.
This study examined associations among maternal depression, measured in several ways, psychiatric medication use in pregnancy, and preterm delivery (PTD).
Data were from 3,019 women enrolled in the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health Study (1998–2004), a prospective study of pregnant women in five Michigan communities. Information on depressive symptoms, history of depression and psychiatric medication use was ascertained through interviews at mid-pregnancy. These variables and other relevant covariates were incorporated into regression models with a binary outcome, i.e., term (≥ 37 weeks’ gestation) as referent and PTD (< 37 weeks’ gestation). A second set of models used a multi-category outcome, i.e., term as referent and PTD further subdivided by gestational weeks and clinical circumstances.
The odds of overall PTD was increased among women who used psychiatric medication during pregnancy and had either elevated levels of depressive symptoms at mid-pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 2.0 [95% CI 1.1, 3.6]) or a history of depression prior to pregnancy (AOR= 1.6 [95% CI 1.1, 2.5]). The combination of psychiatric medication use in pregnancy and depression, prior to pregnancy or within pregnancy, was most strongly linked to a medically indicated delivery at < 35 weeks’ gestation (AOR 2.9 and 3.6 respectively).
There are at least two plausible explanations for these findings. First, psychiatric medication use in pregnancy may pose an excess risk of PTD. Second, medication use may be an indicator of depressive symptom severity, which is a direct or indirect (i.e., alters behavior) contributing factor to PTD.
Three types of nanoparticle formulation from biodegradable PLGA-TPGS random copolymer were developed in this research for oral administration of anticancer drugs, which include DMAB-modified PLGA nanoparticles, unmodified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles and DMAB-modified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles. Firstly, the PLGA-TPGS random copolymer was synthesized and characterized. DMAB was used to increase retention time at the cell surface, thus increasing the chances of particle uptake and improving oral drug bioavailability. Nanoparticles were found to be of spherical shape with an average particle diameter of around 250 nm. The surface charge of PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was changed to positive after DMAB modification. The results also showed that the DMAB-modified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles have significantly higher level of the cellular uptake than that of DMAB-modified PLGA nanoparticles and unmodified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles. In vitro, cytotoxicity experiment showed advantages of the DMAB-modified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticle formulation over commercial Taxotere® in terms of cytotoxicity against MCF-7 cells. In conclusion, oral chemotherapy by DMAB-modified PLGA-TPGS nanoparticle formulation is an attractive and promising treatment option for patients.
PLGA-TPGS; DMAB; Nanoparticle; Oral Chemotherapy; Docetaxel
The gastrointestinal (GI) tract is home to trillions of microbes. Within the same GI tract, substantial differences in the bacterial species that inhabit the oral cavity and intestinal tract have been noted. While the influence of host environments and nutritional availability in shaping different microbial communities is widely accepted, we hypothesize that the existing microbial flora also plays a role in selecting the bacterial species that are being integrated into the community. In this study, we used cultivable microbial communities isolated from different parts of the GI tract of mice (oral cavity and intestines) as a model system to examine this hypothesis. Microbes from these two areas were harvested and cultured using the same nutritional conditions, which led to two distinct microbial communities, each with about 20 different species as revealed by PCR-based denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis. In vitro community competition assays showed that the two microbial floras exhibited antagonistic interactions toward each other. More interestingly, all the original isolates tested and their closely related species displayed striking community preferences: They persisted when introduced into the bacterial community of the same origin, while their viable count declined more than three orders of magnitude after 4 days of coincubation with the microbial flora of foreign origin. These results suggest that an existing microbial community might impose a selective pressure on incoming foreign bacterial species independent of host selection. The observed inter-flora interactions could contribute to the protective effect of established microbial communities against the integration of foreign bacteria to maintain the stability of the existing communities.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00248-010-9711-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Within the same human gastrointestinal tract, substantial differences in the bacterial species that inhabit oral cavity and intestinal tract have been noted. Previous research primarily attributed the differences to the influences of host environments and nutritional availabilities (“host habitat” effect). Our recent study indicated that, other than the host habitat effect, an existing microbial community could impose a selective pressure on incoming foreign bacterial species independent of host-mediated selection (“community selection” effect). In this study, we employed in vitro microbial floras representing microorganisms that inhabit the oral cavities and intestinal tract of mice in combination with Escherichia coli as a model intestinal bacterium and demonstrated that E. coli displays a striking community preference. It thrived when introduced into the intestinal microbial community and survived poorly in the microbial flora of foreign origin (oral community). A more detailed examination of this phenomenon showed that the oral community produced oxygen-free radicals in the presence of wild-type E. coli while mutants deficient in lipopolysaccharides (LPS) did not trigger significant production of these cell-damaging agents. Furthermore, mutants of E. coli defective in the oxidative stress response experienced a more drastic reduction in viability when cocultivated with the oral flora, while the exogenous addition of the antioxidant vitamin C was able to rescue it. We concluded that the oral-derived microbial community senses the E. coli LPS and kills the bacterium with oxygen-free radicals. This study reveals a new mechanism of community invasion resistance employed by established microflora to defend their domains.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00248-010-9708-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Depressive symptomatology during pregnancy has been associated with negative health outcomes for both the mother and child. This study examines the potential associations between depression and depressive symptoms in poor women and African-American women and their lifelong experiences of discrimination.
Data from 2,731 African-American and White participants in the Pregnancy Outcomes and Community Health (POUCH) Study were analyzed. Multiple regression analyses were used to investigate relations between depressive symptoms and total discrimination, and between depressive symptoms and three discrimination types (gender, race, and socioeconomic).
Initial results showed that African-American women had greater levels of depressive symptoms than White women. Self-reported total discrimination and discrimination types were each positively associated with depressive symptomatology in all women. After adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics (maternal age, education, employment status, partner status, and Medicaid status) and examining significant interactions, the race difference in depressive symptomatology was evident only in employed women. The addition of total discrimination to the multi-covariate model eliminated race differences in the adjusted mean level of depressive symptoms. When the three discrimination types were modeled simultaneously with all other covariates, only gender and economic discrimination remained positively associated with depressive symptoms in African-American and White women.
These results should be cautiously interpreted due to: 1) the study design; i.e., ascertainment of maternal discrimination and depressive symptoms at a single time point; and 2) limitations of the discrimination measure. Despite these limitations, the study points to potential links between lifetime discrimination and depressive symptoms in pregnancy.
depression; depressive symptoms; discrimination; race; pregnancy; race comparison; mental health
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies could provide potential solutions. In this research, a novel biodegradable poly(lactide-co-glycolide)-d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (PLGA-TPGS) random copolymer was synthesized from lactide, glycolide and d-a-tocopheryl polyethylene glycol 1000 succinate (TPGS) by ring-opening polymerization using stannous octoate as catalyst. The obtained random copolymers were characterized by 1H NMR, FTIR, GPC and TGA. The docetaxel-loaded nanoparticles made of PLGA-TPGS copolymer were prepared by a modified solvent extraction/evaporation method. The nanoparticles were then characterized by various state-of-the-art techniques. The results revealed that the size of PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was around 250 nm. The docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could achieve much faster drug release in comparison with PLGA nanoparticles. In vitro cellular uptakes of such nanoparticles were investigated by CLSM, demonstrating the fluorescence PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles could be internalized by human cervix carcinoma cells (HeLa). The results also indicated that PLGA-TPGS-based nanoparticles were biocompatible, and the docetaxel-loaded PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles had significant cytotoxicity against Hela cells. The cytotoxicity against HeLa cells for PLGA-TPGS nanoparticles was in time- and concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, PLGA-TPGS random copolymer could be acted as a novel and promising biocompatible polymeric matrix material applicable to nanoparticle-based drug delivery system for cancer chemotherapy.
PLGA-TPGS; Random copolymer; Docetaxel; Nanoparticle; HeLa; Cancer chemotherapy