A 30-year-old woman affected by Mixed Connective Tissue Disease with scleroderma spectrum developed a facial eruption, a clinical and histological characteristic of subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE). Speckled anti-nuclear antibodies, high-titer anti-ribonucleoprotein1, anti-Sm, anti-Cardiolipin (aCL) IgG/IgM, and anti-Ro/SSA antibodies were positive. SCLE was resistant to Azathioprine, Hydroxychloroquine, and Methotrexate while Mycophenolate Mofetil was suspended due to side effects. Subsequently, the patient was treated with three cycles of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) followed, one month after the last TPE, by the anti-CD20 antibody Rituximab (RTX) (375 mg/m2 weekly for 4 weeks). Eight and 16 months later the patient received other two TPE and RTX cycles, respectively. This therapeutic approach has allowed to obtain a complete skin healing persistent even after 8-month follow-up. Moreover, mitigation of Raynaud's phenomenon, resolution of alopecia, and a decline of aCL IgG/IgM and anti-Ro/SSA antibodies were observed.
In the last two decades, numerous scientists have highlighted the interactions between bone and immune cells as well as their overlapping regulatory mechanisms. For example, osteoclasts, the bone-resorbing cells, are derived from the same myeloid precursor cells that give rise to macrophages and myeloid dendritic cells. On the other hand, osteoblasts, the bone-forming cells, regulate hematopoietic stem cell niches from which all blood and immune cells are derived. Furthermore, many of the soluble mediators of immune cells, including cytokines and growth factors, regulate the activities of osteoblasts and osteoclasts. This increased recognition of the complex interactions between the immune system and bone led to the development of the interdisciplinary osteoimmunology field. Research in this field has great potential to provide a better understanding of the pathogenesis of several diseases affecting both the bone and immune systems, thus providing the molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies. In these review, we reported the latest findings about the reciprocal regulation of bone and immune cells.
Spermine oxidase is a FAD-containing enzyme involved in polyamines catabolism, selectively oxidizing spermine to produce H2O2, spermidine, and 3-aminopropanal. Spermine oxidase is highly expressed in the mouse brain and plays a key role in regulating the levels of spermine, which is involved in protein synthesis, cell division and cell growth. Spermine is normally released by neurons at synaptic sites where it exerts a neuromodulatory function, by specifically interacting with different types of ion channels, and with ionotropic glutamate receptors. In order to get an insight into the neurobiological roles of spermine oxidase and spermine, we have deregulated spermine oxidase gene expression producing and characterizing the transgenic mouse model JoSMOrec, conditionally overexpressing the enzyme in the neocortex. We have investigated the effects of spermine oxidase overexpression in the mouse neocortex by transcript accumulation, immunohistochemical analysis, enzymatic assays and polyamine content in young and aged animals. Transgenic JoSMOrec mice showed in the neocortex a higher H2O2 production in respect to Wild-Type controls, indicating an increase of oxidative stress due to SMO overexpression. Moreover, the response of transgenic mice to excitotoxic brain injury, induced by kainic acid injection, was evaluated by analysing the behavioural phenotype, the immunodistribution of neural cell populations, and the ultrastructural features of neocortical neurons. Spermine oxidase overexpression and the consequently altered polyamine levels in the neocortex affects the cytoarchitecture in the adult and aging brain, as well as after neurotoxic insult. It resulted that the transgenic JoSMOrec mouse line is more sensitive to KA than Wild-Type mice, indicating an important role of spermine oxidase during excitotoxicity. These results provide novel evidences of the complex and critical functions carried out by spermine oxidase and spermine in the mammalian brain.
β2 glycoprotein I (β2GPI)-dependent anti-phospholipid antibodies (aPL) induce thrombosis and affect pregnancy. The CMV-derived synthetic peptide TIFI mimics the PL-binding site of β2GPI and inhibits β2GPI cell-binding in vitro and aPL-mediated thrombosis in vivo. Here we investigated the effect of TIFI on aPL-induced fetal loss in mice. TIFI inhibitory effect on in vitro aPL binding to human trophoblasts was evaluated by indirect immunofluorescence and ELISA. TIFI effect on aPL-induced fetal loss was investigated in pregnant C57BL/6 mice treated with aPL or normal IgG (NHS). Placenta/fetus weight and histology and RNA expression were analyzed. TIFI, but not the control peptide VITT, displayed a dose-dependent inhibition of aPL binding to trophoblasts in vitro. Injection of low doses of aPL at day 0 of pregnancy caused growth retardation and increased fetal loss rate, both significantly reduced by TIFI but not VITT. Consistent with observations in humans, histological analysis showed no evidence of inflammation in this model, as confirmed by the absence of an inflammatory signature in gene expression analysis, which in turn revealed a TIFI-dependent modulation of molecules involved in differentiation and development processes. These findings support the non-inflammatory pathogenic role of aPL and suggest innovative therapeutic approaches to aPL-dependent fetal loss.
Anti-phospholipid syndrome; pregnancy complications; β2 glycoprotein I; murine models; TIFI
The taxonomic distinctiveness of Ascaris lumbricoides and A. suum, two of the world's most significant nematodes, still represents a much-debated scientific issue. Previous studies have described two different scenarios in transmission patterns, explained by two hypotheses: (1) separated host-specific transmission cycles in highly endemic regions, (2) a single pool of infection shared by humans and pigs in non-endemic regions. Recently, A. suum has been suggested as an important cause of human ascariasis in endemic areas such as China, where cross-infections and hybridization have also been reported. The main aims of the present study were to investigate the molecular epidemiology of human and pig Ascaris from non-endemic regions and, with reference to existing data, to infer the phylogenetic and phylogeographic relationships among the samples.
151 Ascaris worms from pigs and humans were characterized using PCR-RFLP on nuclear ITS rDNA. Representative geographical sub-samples were also analysed by sequencing a portion of the mitochondrial cox1 gene, to infer the extent of variability at population level. Sequence data were compared to GenBank sequences from endemic and non-endemic regions.
No fixed differences between human and pig Ascaris were evident, with the exception of the Slovak population, which displays significant genetic differentiation. The RFLP analysis confirmed pig as a source of human infection in non-endemic regions and as a corridor for the promulgation of hybrid genotypes. Epidemiology and host-affiliation seem not to be relevant in shaping molecular variance. Phylogenetic and phylogeographical analyses described a complex scenario, involving multiple hosts, sporadic contact between forms and an ancestral taxon referable to A. suum.
These results suggest the existence of homogenizing gene flow between the two taxa, which appear to be variants of a single polytypic species. This conclusion has implications on the systematics, transmission and control programs relating to ascariasis.
Ascaris lumbricoides, the world's most common human nematode, and A. suum, the pig roundworm, are two of the most important soil-transmitted helminthes of public health and socio-economic concern. However, previously documented similarities at the morphological and genetic level, coupled with evidence for hybridization and gene flow, have clouded the taxonomic distinctiveness of these two nematodes. To date, molecular epidemiological studies have been carried out, mostly in highly endemic regions, where two different transmission cycles have been described. Recently, pigs have been recognized as an important source of human ascariasis in China, opening questions about the zoonotic potential and the efficiency of control programs. Here, samples from non-endemic regions have been analysed using a nuclear marker to identify nematodes to species level plus a mitochondrial marker to investigate the phylogeographic relationships among individuals of the two species from both endemic and non-endemic regions. Results obtained suggested that A. suum and A. lumbricoides may be variants of the same species, with the lack of fixed genetic differences and considerable phylogeographic admixture confirming an extremely close evolutionary relationship among these nematodes. This study highlights the need to further explore the evolutionary affinities of the two taxa to help shed light on the epidemiology of ascariasis.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, especially affecting the hippocampus. Impairment of cognitive and memory functions is associated with amyloid β-peptide-induced oxidative stress and alterations in lipid metabolism. In this scenario, the dual role of peroxisomes in producing and removing ROS, and their function in fatty acids β-oxidation, may be critical. This work aims to investigating the possible involvement of peroxisomes in AD onset and progression, as studied in a transgenic mouse model, harboring the human Swedish familial AD mutation. We therefore characterized the peroxisomal population in the hippocampus, focusing on early, advanced, and late stages of the disease (3, 6, 9, 12, 18 months of age). Several peroxisome-related markers in transgenic and wild-type hippocampal formation were comparatively studied, by a combined molecular/immunohistochemical/ultrastructural approach.
Our results demonstrate early and significant peroxisomal modifications in AD mice, compared to wild-type. Indeed, the peroxisomal membrane protein of 70 kDa and acyl-CoA oxidase 1 are induced at 3 months, possibly reflecting the need for efficient fatty acid β-oxidation, as a compensatory response to mitochondrial dysfunction. The concomitant presence of oxidative damage markers and the altered expression of antioxidant enzymes argue for early oxidative stress in AD. During physiological and pathological brain aging, important changes in the expression of peroxisome-related proteins, also correlating with ongoing gliosis, occur in the hippocampus. These age- and genotype-based alterations, strongly dependent on the specific marker considered, indicate metabolic and/or numerical remodeling of peroxisomal population.
Overall, our data support functional and biogenetic relationships linking peroxisomes to mitochondria and suggest peroxisomal proteins as biomarkers/therapeutic targets in pre-symptomatic AD.
Peroxisome; Brain aging; Alzheimer’s disease; Neurodegeneration; Oxidative stress; Lipid metabolism; Catalase; Superoxide dismutase; Glutathione peroxidase; Acyl-CoA beta-oxidation
Established psychosocial risk factors increase the risk for experimentation among Mexican-origin youth. Now we comprehensively investigate the added contribution of select polymorphisms in candidate genetic pathways associated with sensation seeking, risk taking, and smoking phenotypes to predict experimentation.
Participants, (N=1,118 Mexican origin youth) recruited from a large population-based cohort study in Houston, Texas, provided prospective data on cigarette experimentation over three years. Psychosocial data were elicited twice—baseline and final follow-up. Participants were genotyped for 672 functional and tagging variants in the dopamine, serotonin and opioid pathways.
After adjusting for gender and age, with a Bayesian False Discovery Probability set at 0.8 and prior probability of 0.05, six gene variants were significantly associated with risk of experimentation. After controlling for established risk factors, multivariable analyses revealed that participants with six or more risk alleles were 2.25 (95%CI: 1.62–3.13) times more likely to have experimented since baseline compared to participants with five or fewer. Among committed never smokers (N=872), three genes (OPRM1, SNAP25, HTR1B) were associated with experimentation as were all psychosocial factors. Among susceptible youth (N=246) older age at baseline, living with a smoker, and three different genes (HTR2A, DRD2, SLC6A3) predicted experimentation.
Our findings, which have implications for development of culturally-specific interventions, need to be validated in other ethnic groups.
These results suggest that variations in select genes interact with a cognitive predisposition toward smoking. In susceptible adolescents, the impact of the genetic variants appears to be larger compared to committed never smokers.
The relation between bone remodelling and energy expenditure is an intriguing, and yet unexplained, challenge of the past ten years. In fact, it was only in the last few years that the skeleton was found to function, not only in its obvious roles of body support and protection, but also as an important part of the endocrine system. In particular, bone produces different hormones, like osteocalcin (OC), which influences energy expenditure in humans. The undercarboxylated form of OC has a reduced affinity for hydroxyapatite; hence it enters the systemic circulation more easily and exerts its metabolic functions for the proliferation of pancreatic β-cells, insulin secretion, sensitivity, and glucose tolerance. Leptin, a hormone synthesized by adipocytes, also has an effect on both bone remodelling and energy expenditure; in fact it inhibits appetite through hypothalamic influence and, in bone, stimulates osteoblastic differentiation and inhibits apoptosis. Leptin and serotonin exert opposite influences on bone mass accrual, but several features suggest that they might operate in the same pathway through a sympathetic tone. Serotonin, in fact, acts via two opposite pathways in controlling bone remodelling: central and peripheral. Serotonin product by the gastrointestinal tract (95%) augments bone formation by osteoblast, whereas brain-derived serotonin influences low bone mineral density and its decrease leads to an increase in bone resorption parameters. Finally, amylin (AMY) acts as a hormone that alters physiological responses related to feeding, and plays a role as a growth factor in bone. In vitro AMY stimulates the proliferation of osteoblasts, and osteoclast differentiation. Here we summarize the evidence that links energy expenditure and bone remodelling, with particular regard to humans.
Leptin; Osteocalcin; Serotonin; Amylin; Bone mass; Energy metabolism
For many decades, the standard of care radiotherapy regimen for medulloblastoma has been photon (megavoltage x-rays) craniospinal irradiation (CSI). The late effects associated with CSI are well-documented in the literature and are in-part attributed to unwanted dose to healthy tissue. Recently, there is growing interest in using proton therapy for CSI in pediatric and adolescent patients to reduce this undesirable dose. Previous comparisons of dose to target and non-target organs from conventional photon CSI and passively scattered proton CSI have been limited to small populations (n ≤ 3) and have not considered the use of age-dependent target volumes in proton CSI.
Standard of care treatment plans were developed for both photon and proton CSI for 18 patients. This cohort included both male and female medulloblastoma patients whose ages, heights, and weights spanned a clinically relevant and representative spectrum (age 2–16, BMI 16.4–37.9 kg/m2). Differences in plans were evaluated using Wilcoxon signed rank tests for various dosimetric parameters for the target volumes and normal tissue.
Proton CSI improved normal tissue sparing while also providing more homogeneous target coverage than photon CSI for patients across a wide age and BMI spectrum. Of the 24 parameters (V5, V10, V15, and V20 in the esophagus, heart, liver, thyroid, kidneys, and lungs) Wilcoxon signed rank test results indicated 20 were significantly higher for photon CSI compared to proton CSI (p ≤ 0.05) . Specifically, V15 and V20 in all six organs and V5, V10 in the esophagus, heart, liver, and thyroid were significantly higher with photon CSI.
Our patient cohort is the largest, to date, in which CSI with proton and photon therapies have been compared. This work adds to the body of literature that proton CSI reduces dose to normal tissue compared to photon CSI for pediatric patients who are at substantial risk for developing radiogenic late effects. Although the present study focused on medulloblastoma, our findings are generally applicable to other tumors that are treated with CSI.
Proton; Photon; Craniospinal irradiation; CSI; Medulloblastoma
Overall success of current tinnitus therapies is low, which may be due to the heterogeneity of tinnitus patients. Therefore, subclassification of tinnitus patients is expected to improve therapeutic allocation, which, in turn, is hoped to improve therapeutic success for the individual patient. The present study aims to define factors that differentially influence subjectively perceived tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related distress.
In a questionnaire-based cross-sectional survey, the data of 4705 individuals with tinnitus were analyzed. The self-report questionnaire contained items about subjective tinnitus loudness, type of onset, awareness and localization of the tinnitus, hearing impairment, chronic comorbidities, sleep quality, and psychometrically validated questionnaires addressing tinnitus-related distress, depressivity, anxiety, and somatic symptom severity. In a binary step-wise logistic regression model, we tested the predictive power of these variables on subjective tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related distress.
The present data contribute to the distinction between subjective tinnitus loudness and tinnitus-related distress. Whereas subjective loudness was associated with permanent awareness and binaural localization of the tinnitus, tinnitus-related distress was associated with depressivity, anxiety, and somatic symptom severity.
Subjective tinnitus loudness and the potential presence of severe depressivity, anxiety, and somatic symptom severity should be assessed separately from tinnitus-related distress. If loud tinnitus is the major complaint together with mild or moderate tinnitus-related distress, therapies should focus on auditory perception. If levels of depressivity, anxiety or somatic symptom severity are severe, therapies and further diagnosis should focus on these symptoms at first.
The interactions between intestinal microbiota, immune system, and pathogens describe the human gut as a complex ecosystem, where all components play a relevant role in modulating each other and in the maintenance of homeostasis. The balance among the gut microbiota and the human body appear to be crucial for health maintenance. Intestinal parasites, both protozoans and helminths, interact with the microbial community modifying the balance between host and commensal microbiota. On the other hand, gut microbiota represents a relevant factor that may strongly interfere with the pathophysiology of the infections. In addition to the function that gut commensal microbiota may have in the processes that determine the survival and the outcome of many parasitic infections, including the production of nutritive macromolecules, also probiotics can play an important role in reducing the pathogenicity of many parasites. On these bases, there is a growing interest in explaining the rationale on the possible interactions between the microbiota, immune response, inflammatory processes, and intestinal parasites.
parasites; protozoans; helminths; microbiota; parasitome; pathogenesis; immune system; probiotics
Missing data often occur in cross-sectional surveys and longitudinal and experimental studies. The purpose of this study was to compare the prediction of self-rated health (SRH), a robust predictor of morbidity and mortality among diverse populations, before and after imputation of the missing variable “yearly household income.” We reviewed data from 4,162 participants of Mexican origin recruited from July 1, 2002, through December 31, 2005, and who were enrolled in a population-based cohort study. Missing yearly income data were imputed using three different single imputation methods and one multiple imputation under a Bayesian approach. Of 4,162 participants, 3,121 were randomly assigned to a training set (to derive the yearly income imputation methods and develop the health-outcome prediction models) and 1,041 to a testing set (to compare the areas under the curve (AUC) of the receiver-operating characteristic of the resulting health-outcome prediction models). The discriminatory powers of the SRH prediction models were good (range, 69–72%) and compared to the prediction model obtained after no imputation of missing yearly income, all other imputation methods improved the prediction of SRH (P<0.05 for all comparisons) with the AUC for the model after multiple imputation being the highest (AUC = 0.731). Furthermore, given that yearly income was imputed using multiple imputation, the odds of SRH as good or better increased by 11% for each $5,000 increment in yearly income. This study showed that although imputation of missing data for a key predictor variable can improve a risk health-outcome prediction model, further work is needed to illuminate the risk factors associated with SRH.
Self-rated health; Missing income data; Data imputation techniques; Mean substitution; Multiple imputation; Minority health
The term cardiorenal syndrome (CRS) describes a broad spectrum of clinical conditions with four combinations of acute and chronic heart and kidney failure. Based on the pathophysiological primum movens, the actual classification recognizes five CRS types: in type I and II CRS, the initiating event is heart failure (acute or chronic), while it is kidney failure in type III and IV CRS; type V is linked to systemic diseases. Ultrasound techniques (echocardiography and ultrasonography of the kidney, inferior vena cava and chest) can be extremely helpful in establishing a prompt diagnosis and a correct CRS classification. Basic echocardiography allows evaluation of ventricular diastolic and systolic functions, investigates pulmonary congestion and pericardial effusion, and describes volume overload. On the other hand, renal ultrasound helps clinicians to distinguish between acute and chronic renal failure, excludes urinary tract dilation or pathological bladder repletion, and provides crucial information regarding kidney volume or echogenicity. Applying basic knowledge of echocardiography and renal ultrasound, nephrologists may be in a better position for patient treatment and management, bearing in mind that doctors can properly use a stethoscope although not being a cardiologist.
Acute renal failure; Chronic renal failure; Heart failure; Ultrasonography
Three lung cancer (LC) models have recently been constructed to predict an individual's absolute risk of LC within a defined period. Given their potential application in prevention strategies, a comparison of their accuracy in an independent population is important.
We used data for 3197 patients with LC and 1703 cancer-free controls recruited to an ongoing case–control study at the Harvard School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital. We estimated the 5-year LC risk for each risk model and compared the discriminatory power, accuracy, and clinical utility of these models.
Overall, the Liverpool Lung Project (LLP) and Spitz models had comparable discriminatory power (0.69), whereas the Bach model had significantly lower power (0.66; P=0.02). Positive predictive values were highest with the Spitz models, whereas negative predictive values were highest with the LLP model. The Spitz and Bach models had lower sensitivity but better specificity than did the LLP model.
We observed modest differences in discriminatory power among the three LC risk models, but discriminatory powers were moderate at best, highlighting the difficulty in developing effective risk models.
lung cancer; risk model; 5-year lung cancer risk; relative risks; discriminatory power
When autophagy is induced, ULK1 phosphorylates AMBRA1, releasing the autophagy core complex from the cytoskeleton and allowing its relocalization to the ER membrane to nucleate autophagosome formation.
Autophagy is an evolutionary conserved catabolic process involved in several physiological and pathological processes such as cancer and neurodegeneration. Autophagy initiation signaling requires both the ULK1 kinase and the BECLIN 1–VPS34 core complex to generate autophagosomes, double-membraned vesicles that transfer cellular contents to lysosomes. In this study, we show that the BECLIN 1–VPS34 complex is tethered to the cytoskeleton through an interaction between the BECLIN 1–interacting protein AMBRA1 and dynein light chains 1/2. When autophagy is induced, ULK1 phosphorylates AMBRA1, releasing the autophagy core complex from dynein. Its subsequent relocalization to the endoplasmic reticulum enables autophagosome nucleation. Therefore, AMBRA1 constitutes a direct regulatory link between ULK1 and BECLIN 1–VPS34, which is required for core complex positioning and activity within the cell. Moreover, our results demonstrate that in addition to a function for microtubules in mediating autophagosome transport, there is a strict and regulatory relationship between cytoskeleton dynamics and autophagosome formation.
The relationship between the immune system, estrogen deficiency and bone loss is an intriguing and, as yet, unexplained challenge of the past two decades. Here we summarize the evidence that links immune cells, inflammation, cytokine production and osteoclast formation and activity with particular regard to humans.
Osteoclast; T cells; Cytokines; Osteoporosis; Immune system; Menopause
Iloprost has been suggested to possess anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating actions and it is widely use as a vasodilatator in systemic sclerosis (SSc). In this study we evaluate the effect of iloprost on immune response in SSc patients. To this extend we enrolled 15 women affected by SSc and infused iloprost for 5 days. The effect of iloprost on T cells and monocytes was measured by flow cytometry, Real time PCR and measuring cytokines production in vivo and in vitro by ELISA.
Our results demonstrate that Iloprost reduces T cell and TNF alpha production both in vivo and in vitro. It reduces T regulatory cells number, but increases their activity after immune stimulation. It increases serum IL-2 and this increase persists 28 days after the last infusion, also RANKL was increased both in vivo and in vitro. We observed no effect on IFN gamma production.
These results suggest that iloprost has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulating effects, reducing TNF alpha production by T cells and the number of T regulatory cells and increasing IL-2 and RANKL.
Because existing risk prediction models for lung cancer were developed in white populations, they may not be appropriate for predicting risk among African-Americans. Therefore, a need exists to construct and validate a risk prediction model for lung cancer that is specific to African-Americans. We analyzed data from 491 African-Americans with lung cancer and 497 matched African-American controls to identify specific risks and incorporate them into a multivariable risk model for lung cancer and estimate the 5-year absolute risk of lung cancer. We performed internal and external validations of the risk model using data on additional cases and controls from the same ongoing multiracial/ethnic lung cancer case-control study from which the model-building data were obtained as well as data from two different lung cancer studies in metropolitan Detroit, respectively. We also compared our African-American model with our previously developed risk prediction model for whites. The final risk model included smoking-related variables [smoking status, pack-years smoked, age at smoking cessation (former smokers), and number of years since smoking cessation (former smokers)], self- reported physician diagnoses of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or hay fever, and exposures to asbestos or wood dusts. Our risk prediction model for African-Americans exhibited good discrimination [75% (95% confidence interval, 0.67−0.82)] for our internal data and moderate discrimination [63% (95% confidence interval, 0.57−0.69)] for the external data group, which is an improvement over the Spitz model for white subjects. Existing lung cancer prediction models may not be appropriate for predicting risk for African-Americans because (a) they were developed using white populations, (b) level of risk is different for risk factors that African-American share with whites, and (c) unique group-specific risk factors exist for African-Americans. This study developed and validated a risk prediction model for lung cancer that is specific to African-Americans and thus more precise in predicting their risks. These findings highlight the importance of conducting further ethnic-specific analyses of disease risk.
The body's immunological response to burn injury has been a subject of great inquiry in recent years. Burn injury disturbs the immune system, resulting in a progressive suppression of the immune response that is thought to contribute to the development of sepsis. Dendritic cells (DCs) are potent antigen-presenting cells that possess the ability to stimulate naïve T cells.
DCs are derived from bone marrow progenitors and circulate in the blood as immature precursors prior to migration into peripheral tissues. Within different tissues, DCs differentiate and become active in the taking up and processing of antigens, and their subsequent presentation on the cell surface is linked to major histocompatibility molecules. Upon appropriate stimulation, DCs undergo further maturation and migrate to secondary lymphoid tissues, where they present antigen to T cells and induce an immune response. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of burn injury on skin DCs in terms of percentage, HLA-DR, and Toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) expression. The skin DCs were isolated from burned skin and non-burned skin in the same patient at 7 days post-injury, and skin DCs were isolated from unburned healthy individuals as control. DCs from burned skin notably express low levels of HLA-DR and TLR-4 soon after cell isolation. In the post-burn period the ability of skin DCs to respond to bacterial stimuli is impaired. These changes in DC behaviour might contribute to the impaired host defences against bacteria during burn sepsis.
SKIN; DENDRITIC; CELLS; BURN; PATIENTS
Multiple cellular stressors, including activation of the tumour suppressor p53, can stimulate autophagy. Here we show that knockout, knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of p53 can induce autophagy in human, mouse and nematode cells. Enhanced autophagy improved the survival of p53-deficient cancer cells under conditions of hypoxia and nutrient depletion, allowing them to maintain high ATP levels. Inhibition of p53 led to autophagy in enucleated cells, and cytoplasmic, not nuclear, p53 was able to repress the enhanced autophagy of p53-/- cells. Many different inducers of autophagy (for example, starvation, rapamycin and toxins affecting the endoplasmic reticulum) stimulated proteasome-mediated degradation of p53 through a pathway relying on the E3 ubiquitin ligase HDM2. Inhibition of p53 degradation prevented the activation of autophagy in several cell lines, in response to several distinct stimuli. These results provide evidence of a key signalling pathway that links autophagy to the cancer-associated dysregulation of p53.
Brucellosis is an important zoonosis caused by the genus Brucella. In addition Brucella represents potential biological warfare agents due to the high contagious rates for humans and animals. Therefore, the strain typing epidemiological tool may be crucial for tracing back source of infection in outbreaks and discriminating naturally occurring outbreaks versus bioterroristic event. A Multiple Locus Variable-number tandem repeats (VNTR) Analysis (MLVA) assay based on 15 polymorphic markers was previously described. The obtained MLVA band profiles may be resolved by techniques ranging from low cost manual agarose gels to the more expensive capillary electrophoresis sequencing. In this paper a rapid, accurate and reproducible system, based on the Lab on a chip technology was set up for Brucella spp. genotyping.
Seventeen DNA samples of Brucella strains isolated in Sicily, previously genotyped, and twelve DNA samples, provided by MLVA Brucella VNTR ring trial, were analyzed by MLVA-15 on Agilent 2100. The DNA fragment sizes produced by Agilent, compared with those expected, showed discrepancies; therefore, in order to assign the correct alleles to the Agilent DNA fragment sizes, a conversion table was produced. In order to validate the system twelve unknown DNA samples were analyzed by this method obtaining a full concordance with the VNTR ring trial results.
In this paper we described a rapid and specific detection method for the characterization of Brucella isolates. The comparison of the MLVA typing data produced by Agilent system with the data obtained by standard sequencing or ethidium bromide slab gel electrophoresis showed a general concordance of the results. Therefore this platform represents a fair compromise among costs, speed and specificity compared to any conventional molecular typing technique.
Thermal injury is known to induce alterations in the immune system, but the precise mechanisms have yet to be elucidated.
It has been shown that thermal injury in more than 20% of the total body surface area (TBSA) leads to disturbances in
the cortisol metabolism and the equilibrium of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. We investigated the temporal relationship
between serum cortisol levels, C-reactive protein, and immunoglobulin levels in the post-burn period. Twenty-one adult burn patients
(mean age, 52 ± 17 yrs) were included in the study (TBSA, 10-80%); nine developed sepsis and five died. The nonseptic
group consisted of twelve patients. Thirty healthy blood donors served as controls. Our results suggest that increased cortisol and
decreased immunoglobulin levels could be related to severe sepsis and clinical outcome.
CORTISOL; IMMUNOGLOBULIN; C-REACTIVE PROTEIN; BURN PATIENTS
The aim of the presented study was to compare schizophrenia and schizoaffective patients early in the course of the disease with and without comorbid substance abuse disorder (SUD vs. NSUD) with regard to brain morphology. In a prospective design 41 patients (20 SUD vs. 21 NSUD) diagnosed as recent-onset schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder consecutively admitted to hospital received standardized psychopathological evaluation (BPRS, SANS, MADRS, CGI, GAF) and MRI scanning with volumetric measurement of superior temporal gyrus (STG), amygdala-hippocampal complex, and cingulum. Patients with SUD (primarily cannabis) were significantly younger, predominantly male and had a lower socioeconomic status. Despite less attentional impairment (SANS subscore) and elevated anxiety/depression (BPRS subscore) in patients with SUD compared to NSUD, no other psychopathological differences could be detected. There were no differences in the assessed temporolimbic brain morphology between the two subgroups. In conclusion, in this study substance abuse in recent-onset psychosis had no effect on brain morphology and the earlier onset of psychosis in patients with comorbid SUD could not be explained by supposed accentuated brain abnormalities in temporolimbic regions.
substance abuse; cannabis; recent-onset schizophrenia; first-episode psychosis; brain morphology; magnetic resonance imaging