Mitochondria are key organelles for the maintenance of life and death of the cell, and their morphology is controlled by continual and balanced fission and fusion dynamics. A balance between these events is mandatory for normal mitochondrial and neuronal function, and emerging evidence indicates that mitochondria undergo extensive fission at an early stage during programmed cell death in several neurodegenerative diseases. A pathway for selective degradation of damaged mitochondria by autophagy, known as mitophagy, has been described, and is of particular importance to sustain neuronal viability. In the present work, we analyzed the effect of autophagy stimulation on mitochondrial function and dynamics in a model of remote degeneration after focal cerebellar lesion. We provided evidence that lesion of a cerebellar hemisphere causes mitochondria depolarization in axotomized precerebellar neurons associated with PTEN-induced putative kinase 1 accumulation and Parkin translocation to mitochondria, block of mitochondrial fusion by Mfn1 degradation, increase of calcineurin activity and dynamin-related protein 1 translocation to mitochondria, and consequent mitochondrial fission. Here we suggest that the observed neuroprotective effect of rapamycin is the result of a dual role: (1) stimulation of autophagy leading to damaged mitochondria removal and (2) enhancement of mitochondria fission to allow their elimination by mitophagy. The involvement of mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in brain injury, especially in the context of remote degeneration after acute focal brain damage, has not yet been investigated, and these findings may offer new target for therapeutic intervention to improve functional outcomes following acute brain damage.
This study was conducted to assess the association between prior history of respiratory disease and lung cancer among Mexican Americans using data from a multi-racial/ethnic lung cancer case–control study. Cases (n = 204) were patients with previously untreated lung cancer. Healthy control participants (n = 325) were recruited from a large physician group practice. Demographics, cigarette use, and history of respiratory disease were collected. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate relative risk. Prior history of COPD (OR = 2.0; 95 % CI 1.2–3.3) and pneumonia (OR = 2.2; 95 % CI 1.3–3.6) were associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. These findings illustrate that prior COPD and pneumonia are associated with an increased risk of lung cancer among Mexican Americans. To our knowledge, this is one of largest case–control analyses assessing the role of respiratory disease and lung cancer risk specifically among Mexican-Americans.
Lung diseases; Mexican Americans; Case–control studies; Epidemiology; Lung cancer
Bone metastases represent a common and severe complication in breast cancer, and the involvement of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in the promotion of bone metastasis is currently under discussion. Here, we used a human-in-mice model to study bone metastasis formation due to primary breast CSCs-like colonisation.
Primary CD44+CD24− breast CSCs-like were transduced by a luciferase-lentiviral vector and injected through subcutaneous and intracardiac (IC) routes in non-obese/severe-combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice carrying subcutaneous human bone implants. The CSCs-like localisation was monitored by in vivo luciferase imaging. Bone metastatic CSCs-like were analysed through immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry, and gene expression analyses were performed by microarray techniques.
Breast CSCs-like colonised the human-implanted bone, resulting in bone remodelling. Bone metastatic lesions were histologically apparent by tumour cell expression of epithelial markers and vimentin. The bone-isolated CSCs-like were CD44−CD24+ and showed tumorigenic abilities after injection in secondary mice. CD44−CD24+ CSCs-like displayed a distinct bone tropism signature that was enriched in genes that discriminate bone metastases of breast cancer from metastases at other organs.
Breast CSCs-like promote bone metastasis and display a CSCs-like bone tropism signature. This signature has clinical prognostic relevance, because it efficiently discriminates osteotropic breast cancers from tumour metastases at other sites.
bone metastasis; breast cancer; cancer stem cell; human-in-mice model; osteotropism
Infections which complicate rheumatic diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Spondyloarthropathy (SpA) (Psoriatic Arthritis [PA] and Ankylosing Spondylitis [AS]), may cause significant morbidity and mortality. However, among the studies on the incidence rate (IR) of infections in such patients, very few have involved controls and the results have been controversial, probably due to methodological difficulties.
To estimate infection rates in RA and SpA patients under disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), corticosteroids (CS) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α antagonists, alone or combined, a single-centre retrospective observational cohort study has been performed.
Patients and methods
Incidence rates/100 patient-years of any infections were evaluated in RA and SpA outpatients observed in the period November 1, 2003 through December 31, 2009 and stratified according to therapy. Infection incidence rate ratios (IRR) were calculated using Poisson regression models which adjusted for demographic/clinical characteristics of the patients.
Three hundred and thirtyone infections [318 (96.1%) non-serious and 13 (3.9%) serious] have been registered among 176 of the 341 patients (52%). The IR/100 patient-years of all infections was 36.3 ranging from 12.4 (DMARDs + CS) to 62.7 (anti-TNFα + CS). The most frequent infection site was respiratory tract, and bacteria were responsible for three quarters of all infections. In the multivariate analysis, adding anti-TNFα to DMARDs doubled the IRR compared to DMARDs alone, anti-TNFα + CS significantly tripled it, whereas anti-TNFα + CS + DMARDs only increased the risk 2.5 times. The degree of disease activity was strongly and significantly associated with the infection risk (severe or moderate versus mild, IRR = 4). Female sex was significantly associated with increased infection risk, while duration of disease and anti-influenza vaccination were protective, the latter even for cutaneous/soft-tissue (mainly herpetic) infections.
The combination anti-TNFα with CS was found to be the most pro-infective treatment, whereas DMARDs alone were relatively safe. Physicians, therefore, should be aware that there may be an increased risk of infection when using anti-TNFα and CS therapy together. Anti-influenza vaccination appears to provide broad protection, adding evidence to support its use in these patients, and deserves further study.
Rheumatoid Arthritis; Spondyloarthropathy; Infection risk; anti-TNFα; DMARDs; Corticosteroids
Dickoppf-1 (DKK-1) is a negative regulator of bone formation with tumorigenic potential. The up-regulation of DKK-1 is an early event in prostate cancer (PCa) development, thus we investigated its role as a marker in the diagnosis and prognosis of PCa.
We retrospectively enrolled 159 patients who underwent prostate biopsy, either for elevated PSA or suspect digital rectal examination, between 2003 and 2010. During the biopsy, one serum sample was collected from all patients; PSA and DKK-1 were measured by ELISA technique. Amongst the biopsy of 159 patients 75 were affected by PCa and 84 were not the mean period of follow-up for these patients was 5 years; a new biopsy was performed in case of PCa suspicion.
PSA performed better than DKK-1 in detecting PCa (0.63 vs 0.51 respectively). Differently from PSA DKK-1 was significantly higher in patients who developed PCa during follow-up than in cancer-free ones, thus DKK-1 performed better than PSA in detecting these patients (0.67 vs 0.55). DKK-1 was significantly lower in patients with bone metastases, whereas PSA was not significantly different in patients with different outcomes.
DKK-1 might be predictive for patients negative at first biopsy who will develop PCa and in the prognosis of bone metastases. It performed worse than PSA in the early diagnosis of Pca.
Prostate cancer; PSA; Dickoppf-1; DKK-1; Bone metastases
Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA) are chronic inflammatory disorders of unknown etiology characterized by a wide range of abnormalities of the immune system that may compromise the function of several organs, such as kidney, heart, joints, brain and skin. Corticosteroids (CCS), synthetic and biologic immunosuppressive agents have demonstrated the capacity to improve the course of autoimmune diseases. However, a significant number of patients do not respond or develop resistance to these therapies over time. P-glycoprotein (P-gp) is a transmembrane protein that pumps several drugs out of the cell, including CCS and immunosuppressants; thus, its over-expression or hyper-function has been proposed as a possible mechanism of drug resistance in patients with autoimmune disorders. Recently, different authors have demonstrated that P-gp inhibitors, such as cyclosporine A (CsA) and its analogue Tacrolimus, are able to reduce P-gp expression and or function in SLE, RA and PsA patients. These observations suggest that P-gp antagonists could be adopted to revert drug resistance and improve disease outcome. The complex inter-relationship among drug resistance, P-gp expression and autoimmunity still remains elusive.
p-glycoprotein; autoimmune diseases; multidrug resistance; lymphocytes
Oxidative stress involvement has been strongly hypothesized among the possible pathogenic mechanisms of motor neuron degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The intracellular redox balance is finely modulated by numerous complex mechanisms critical for cellular functions, among which the nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (NFE2L2/Nrf2) pathways.
We genotyped, in a cohort of ALS patients (n = 145) and healthy controls (n = 168), three SNPs in Nrf2 gene promoter: −653 A/G, −651 G/A, and −617 C/A and evaluated, in a subset (n = 73) of patients, advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP), iron-reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and plasma thiols (-SH) as oxidative damage peripheral biomarkers.
Nrf2 polymorphisms were not different among patients and controls. Increased levels of AOPP (P < 0.05) and decreased levels of FRAP (P < 0.001) have been observed in ALS patients compared with controls, but no difference in -SH values was found. Furthermore, no association was found between biochemical markers of redox balance and Nrf2 polymorphisms. These data confirm an altered redox balance in ALS and indicate that, while being abnormally modified compared to controls, the oxidative stress biomarkers assessed in this study are independent from the −653 A/G, −651 G/A, and −617 C/A Nrf2 SNPs in ALS patients.
Despite extensive research on the topic, glioma etiology remains largely unknown. Exploration of potential interactions between single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of immune genes is a promising new area of glioma research. The case-only study design is a powerful and efficient design for exploring possible multiplicative interactions between factors that are independent of one another. The purpose of our study was to use this exploratory design to identify potential pair wise SNP-SNP interactions from genes involved in several different immune-related pathways for investigation in future studies.
The study population consisted of two case groups: 1224 histological-confirmed, non-Hispanic white glioma cases from the U.S. and a validation population of 634 glioma cases from the U.K. Polytomous logistic regression, in which one SNP was coded as the outcome and the other SNP was included as the exposure, was utilized to calculate the odds ratios of the likelihood of cases simultaneously having the variant alleles of two different SNPs. Potential interactions were examined only between SNPs located in different genes or chromosomes.
Using this data-mining strategy, we found 396 significant SNP-SNP interactions among polymorphisms of immune-related genes that were present in both the U.S. and U.K. study populations.
This exploratory study was conducted for the purpose of hypothesis generation, and thus has provided several new hypotheses that can be tested using traditional case-control study designs to obtain estimates of risk.
This is the first study, to our knowledge, to take this novel approach to identifying SNP-SNP interactions relevant to glioma etiology.
In this study, we estimated the association between the inferred haplotypes in the inflammation, DNA repair, and folate pathways, and developed risk models for Hodgkin Lymphoma. The study population consisted of 200 Hodgkin Lymphoma cases and 220 controls. A susceptible association was observed on the XPC gene with Haplotype CT (rs2228001 and rs2228000), and a protective association was observed on the IL4R gene with Haplotype TCA (rs1805012, rs1805015, and rs1801275). These results can provide the necessary tools to identify high-risk individuals after validation in large data sets.
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism; Haplotypes; Hodgkin lymphoma; DNA Repair; Inflammation
Intraparenchymal injections of the immunotoxin 192-IgG-saporin into medial septum and nucleus basalis magnocellularis causes a selective depletion of basal forebrain cholinergic neurons. Thus, it represents a valid model to mimic a key component of the cognitive deficits associated with aging and dementia. Here we administered donepezil, a potent acetylcholinesterase inhibitor developed for treating Alzheimer’s disease, 15 days before 192-IgG-saporin injection, and thus we examined donepezil effects on neurodegeneration and cognitive deficits.
Caspase-3 activity and cognitive performances of lesioned rats pre-treated with donepezil or saline were analyzed and compared to the outcomes obtained in pre-treated sham-lesioned rats.
Cholinergic depletion increased hippocampal and neocortical caspase-3 activity and impaired working memory, spatial discrimination, social novelty preference, and ultrasonic vocalizations, without affecting anxiety levels and fear conditioning. In lesioned animals, donepezil pre-treatment reduced hippocampal and neocortical caspase-3 activity and improved working memory and spatial discrimination performances and partially rescued ultrasonic vocalizations, without preventing social novelty alterations.
Present data indicate that donepezil pre-treatment exerts beneficial effects on behavioral deficits induced by cholinergic depletion, attenuating the concomitant hippocampal and neocortical neurodegeneration.
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.
In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
LC3; autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
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