In clinical practice, an overwhelming majority of biopsied thyroid nodules are benign. Therefore, there is a need for a complementary and noninvasive imaging tool to provide clinically relevant diagnostic information about thyroid nodules to reduce the rate of unnecessary biopsies. The goal of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of utilizing Comb-push Ultrasound Shear Elastography (CUSE) to measure the mechanical properties (i.e., stiffness) of thyroid nodules and use this information to help classify nodules as benign or malignant. CUSE is a fast and robust 2D shear elastography technique in which multiple laterally distributed acoustic radiation force beams are utilized simultaneously to produce shear waves. Unlike other shear elasticity imaging modalities, CUSE does not suffer from limited field of view (FOV) due to shear wave attenuation and can provide a large FOV at high frame rates. To evaluate the utility of CUSE in thyroid imaging, a preliminary study was performed on a group of 5 healthy volunteers and 10 patients with ultrasound (US)-detected thyroid nodules prior to fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). The measured shear wave speeds in normal thyroid tissue and thyroid nodules were converted to Young's modulus (E), indicating a measure of tissue stiffness. Our results indicate an increase in E for thyroid nodules compared to normal thyroid tissue. This increase was significantly higher in malignant nodules compared to benign. The Young's modulus in normal thyroid tissue, benign and malignant nodules were found to be 23.2±8.29 kPa, 91.2±34.8 kPa, and 173.0±17.1 kPa, respectively. Results of this study suggest the utility of CUSE in differentiating between benign and malignant thyroid nodules.
Cancer; Elasticity; In vivo; Shear Wave Elastography; Thyroid; Ultrasound
Single-cell sequencing promotes our understanding of the heterogeneity of cellular populations, including the haplotypes and genomic variability among different generation of cells. Whole-genome amplification is crucial to generate sufficient DNA fragments for single-cell sequencing projects. Using sequencing data from single sperms, we quantitatively compare two prevailing amplification methods that extensively applied in single-cell sequencing, multiple displacement amplification (MDA) and multiple annealing and looping-based amplification cycles (MALBAC). Our results show that MALBAC, as a combination of modified MDA and tweaked PCR, has a higher level of uniformity, specificity and reproducibility.
Skeletal muscle is a very dynamic tissue, thus accurate quantification of
skeletal muscle stiffness throughout its functional range is crucial to improve
the physical functioning and independence following pathology. Shear wave
elastography (SWE) is an ultrasound-based technique that characterizes tissue
mechanical properties based on the propagation of remotely induced shear waves.
The objective of this study is to validate SWE throughout the functional range
of motion of skeletal muscle for three ultrasound transducer orientations. We
hypothesized that combining traditional materials testing (MTS) techniques with
SWE measurements will show increased stiffness measures with increasing tensile
load, and will correlate well with each other for trials in which the transducer
is parallel to underlying muscle fibers. To evaluate this hypothesis, we
monitored the deformation throughout tensile loading of four porcine brachialis
whole-muscle tissue specimens, while simultaneously making SWE measurements of
the same specimen. We used regression to examine the correlation between
Young's modulus from MTS and shear modulus from SWE for each of the
transducer orientations. We applied a generalized linear model to account for
repeated testing. Model parameters were estimated via generalized estimating
equations. The regression coefficient was 0.1944, with a 95% confidence
interval of (0.1463 – 0.2425) for parallel transducer trials. Shear
waves did not propagate well for both the 45° and perpendicular
transducer orientations. Both parallel SWE and MTS showed increased stiffness
with increasing tensile load. This study provides the necessary first step for
additional studies that can evaluate the distribution of stiffness throughout
Ultrasonography; passive stiffness; materials testing; elastic moduli; shear wave elastography
Comb-push Ultrasound Shear Elastography (CUSE) has recently been shown to be a fast and accurate two-dimensional (2D) elasticity imaging technique that can provide a full field-of- view (FOV) shear wave speed map with only one rapid data acquisition. The initial version of CUSE was termed U-CUSE because unfocused ultrasound push beams were used. In this paper, we present two new versions of CUSE – Focused CUSE (F-CUSE) and Marching CUSE (M-CUSE), which use focused ultrasound push beams to improve acoustic radiation force penetration and produce stronger shear waves in deep tissues (e.g. kidney and liver). F-CUSE divides transducer elements into several subgroups which transmit multiple focused ultrasound beams simultaneously. M-CUSE uses more elements for each focused push beam and laterally marches the push beams. Both F-CUSE and M-CUSE can generate comb-shaped shear wave fields that have shear wave motion at each imaging pixel location so that a full FOV 2D shear wave speed map can be reconstructed with only one data acquisition. Homogeneous phantom experiments showed that U-CUSE, F-CUSE and M-CUSE can all produce smooth shear wave speed maps with accurate shear wave speed estimates. An inclusion phantom experiment showed that all CUSE methods could provide good contrast between the inclusion and background with sharp boundaries while F-CUSE and M-CUSE require shorter push durations to achieve shear wave speed maps with comparable SNR to U-CUSE. A more challenging inclusion phantom experiment with a very stiff and deep inclusion shows that better shear wave penetration could be gained by using F-CUSE and M-CUSE. Finally, a shallow inclusion experiment showed that good preservations of inclusion shapes could be achieved by both U-CUSE and F-CUSE in the near field. Safety measurements showed that all safety parameters are below FDA regulatory limits for all CUSE methods. These promising results suggest that, using various push beams, CUSE is capable of reconstructing a 2D full FOV shear elasticity map using only one push-detection data acquisition in a wide range of depths for soft tissue elasticity imaging.
CUSE; comb-push; ultrasound elastography; shear wave; acoustic radiation force; unfocused ultrasound beam; focused ultrasound beam
Tissue elasticity is related to pathology and therefore has important medical applications. Radiation force from a focused ultrasound beam has been used to produce shear waves in tissues for shear wave speed and tissue elasticity measurements. The feasibility of shear wave speed measurement using radiation force for an unfocused ultrasound beam is demonstrated in this study with a linear and a curved array transducer. Consistent measurement of shear wave speed was achieved over a relatively long axial extent (z = 10-40 mm for the linear array, and z = 15-60 mm for the curved array) in 3 calibrated phantoms with different shear moduli. In vivo measurements on the biceps of a healthy volunteer show consistent increase of shear wave speed for the biceps under 0, 1, 2, and 3 kg loading. Advantages and limitations of unfocused push are discussed.
Elasticity; Shear wave; Ultrasound radiation force; Unfocused
Fast and accurate tissue elasticity imaging is essential in studying dynamic tissue mechanical properties. Various ultrasound shear elasticity imaging techniques have been developed in the last two decades. However, to reconstruct a full field-of-view 2D shear elasticity map, multiple data acquisitions are typically required. In this paper, a novel shear elasticity imaging technique, comb-push ultrasound shear elastography (CUSE), is introduced in which only one rapid data acquisition (less than 35 ms) is needed to reconstruct a full field-of-view 2D shear wave speed map (40 mm × 38 mm). Multiple unfocused ultrasound beams arranged in a comb pattern (comb-push) are used to generate shear waves. A directional filter is then applied upon the shear wave field to extract the left-to-right (LR) and right-to-left (RL) propagating shear waves. Local shear wave speed is recovered using a time-of-flight method based on both LR and RL waves. Finally a 2D shear wave speed map is reconstructed by combining the LR and RL speed maps. Smooth and accurate shear wave speed maps are reconstructed using the proposed CUSE method in two calibrated homogeneous phantoms with different moduli. Inclusion phantom experiments demonstrate that CUSE is capable of providing good contrast (contrast-to-noise-ratio ≥ 25 dB) between the inclusion and background without artifacts and is insensitive to inclusion positions. Safety measurements demonstrate that all regulated parameters of the ultrasound output level used in CUSE sequence are well below the FDA limits for diagnostic ultrasound.
comb-push; unfocused ultrasound beam; ultrasound elastography; acoustic radiation force; inclusion
We have developed a new method, SOAPfuse, to identify fusion transcripts from paired-end RNA-Seq data. SOAPfuse applies an improved partial exhaustion algorithm to construct a library of fusion junction sequences, which can be used to efficiently identify fusion events, and employs a series of filters to nominate high-confidence fusion transcripts. Compared with other released tools, SOAPfuse achieves higher detection efficiency and consumed less computing resources. We applied SOAPfuse to RNA-Seq data from two bladder cancer cell lines, and confirmed 15 fusion transcripts, including several novel events common to both cell lines. SOAPfuse is available at http://soap.genomics.org.cn/soapfuse.html.
Measurement of shear wave propagation speed has important clinical applications because it is related to tissue stiffness and health state. Shear waves can be generated in tissues by the radiation force of a focused ultrasound beam (push beam). Shear wave speed can be measured by tracking its propagation laterally from the push beam focus using the time-of-flight principle. This study shows that shear wave speed measurements with such methods can be transducer, depth, and lateral tracking range dependent. Three homogeneous phantoms with different stiffness were studied using curvilinear and linear array transducer. Shear wave speed measurements were made at different depths, using different aperture sizes for push, and at different lateral distance ranges from the push beam. The curvilinear transducer shows a relatively large measurement bias that is depth dependent. The possible causes of the bias and options for correction are discussed. These bias errors must be taken into account to provide accurate and precise time-of-flight shear wave speed measurements for clinical use.
Shear wave speed; Liver fibrosis; Bias; ARFI
The relationships between hydrothermal vent tubeworms and sulfide-oxidizing bacteria have served as model associations for understanding chemoautotrophy and endosymbiosis. Numerous studies have focused on the physiological and biochemical adaptations that enable these symbioses to sustain some of the highest recorded carbon fixation rates ever measured. However, far fewer studies have explored the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of host and symbiont interactions, specifically those mediated by the innate immune system of the host. To that end, we conducted a series of studies where we maintained the tubeworm, Ridgeia piscesae, in high-pressure aquaria and examined global and quantitative changes in gene expression via high-throughput transcriptomics and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR). We analyzed over 32,000 full-length expressed sequence tags as well as 26 Mb of transcript sequences from the trophosome (the organ that houses the endosymbiotic bacteria) and the plume (the gas exchange organ in contact with the free-living microbial community). R. piscesae maintained under conditions that promote chemoautotrophy expressed a number of putative cell signaling and innate immunity genes, including pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), often associated with recognizing microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs). Eighteen genes involved with innate immunity, cell signaling, cell stress and metabolite exchange were further analyzed using qPCR. PRRs, including five peptidoglycan recognition proteins and a Toll-like receptor, were expressed significantly higher in the trophosome compared to the plume. Although PRRs are often associated with mediating host responses to infection by pathogens, the differences in expression between the plume and trophosome also implicate similar mechanisms of microbial recognition in interactions between the host and symbiont. We posit that regulation of this association involves a molecular “dialogue” between the partners that includes interactions between the host’s innate immune system and the symbiont.
Much of what is known regarding Riftia pachyptila physiology is based on the wealth of studies of tubeworms living at diffuse flows along the fast-spreading, basalt-hosted East Pacific Rise (EPR). These studies have collectively suggested that Riftia pachyptila and its chemoautotrophic symbionts are physiologically specialized, highly productive associations relying on hydrogen sulfide and oxygen to generate energy for carbon fixation, and the symbiont's nitrate reduction to ammonia for energy and biosynthesis. However, Riftia also flourish in sediment-hosted vents, which are markedly different in geochemistry than basalt-hosted systems. Here we present data from shipboard physiological studies and global quantitative proteomic analyses of Riftia pachyptila trophosome tissue recovered from tubeworms residing in the EPR and the Guaymas basin, a sedimented, hydrothermal vent field. We observed marked differences in symbiont nitrogen metabolism in both the respirometric and proteomic data. The proteomic data further suggest that Riftia associations in Guaymas may utilize different sulfur compounds for energy generation, may have an increased capacity for energy storage, and may play a role in degrading exogenous organic carbon. Together these data reveal that Riftia symbionts are far more physiologically plastic than previously considered, and that -contrary to previous assertions- Riftia do assimilate reduced nitrogen in some habitats. These observations raise new hypotheses regarding adaptations to the geochemical diversity of habitats occupied by Riftia, and the degree to which the environment influences symbiont physiology and evolution.
In this chapter, roles of bioactive sphingolipids in the regulation of cancer pathogenesis and therapy will be reviewed. Sphingolipids have emerged as bioeffector molecules, which control various aspects of cell growth, proliferation, and anti-cancer therapeutics. Ceramide, the central molecule of sphingolipid metabolism, generally mediates anti-proliferative responses such as inhibition of cell growth, induction of apoptosis, and/or modulation of senescence. On the other hand, sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) plays opposing roles, and induces transformation, cancer cell growth, or angiogenesis. A network of metabolic enzymes regulates the generation of ceramide and S1P, and these enzymes serve as transducers of sphingolipid-mediated responses that are coupled to various exogenous or endogenous cellular signals. Consistent with their key roles in the regulation of cancer growth and therapy, attenuation of ceramide generation and/or increased S1P levels are implicated in the development of resistance to drug-induced apoptosis, and escape from cell death. These data strongly suggest that advances in the molecular and biochemical understanding of sphingolipid metabolism and function will lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies against human cancers, which may also help overcome drug resistance.
Apoptosis; ceramide; drug resistanc; cancer therapeutic; sphingolipids
The objective of this study was to develop a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method to detect MDR1 (human multidrug resistance gene) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) C3435T and G2677T. C3435T and G2677T are linked to MDR1*2, which is associated with enhanced efflux activity in vitro. Using the Smart Cycler, an allele-specific real-time PCR-based genotyping method was developed to detect C3435T and G2677T. The MDR1 genotype of human genomic DNA templates was determined by direct DNA sequencing. PCR reactions for genotyping C3435T and G2677T by using allele-specific primers were conducted in separate tubes. An additional nucleotide mismatch at the third position from the 3′ end of each allele-specific primer was used to abrogate nonspecific PCR amplification. The fluorescence emitted by SYBR Green I was monitored to detect formation of specific PCRproducts. PCR growth curves exceeding the threshold cycle were considered positive. Fluorescence melt-curve analysis was used to corroborate results from PCR growth curves. Using PCR growth curves, our assay accurately determined hetero- and homozygosity for C3435T and G2677T. Genotype assignments based on PCR growth curve, melt-curve analysis, agarose gel electrophoresis, and direct DNA sequencing results of PCR products were in perfect agreement. We have developed a rapid MDR1 genotyping method that can be used to assess the contribution of MDR1*2 to pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic variability of P-glycoprotein substrates.
P-glycoprotein; single nucleotide polymorphism; real-time polymerase chain reaction