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1.  Genes Involved in Type 1 Diabetes: An Update 
Genes  2013;4(3):499-521.
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a chronic multifactorial disease with a strong genetic component, which, through interactions with specific environmental factors, triggers disease onset. T1D typically manifests in early to mid childhood through the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β cells resulting in a lack of insulin production. Historically, prior to genome-wide association studies (GWAS), six loci in the genome were fully established to be associated with T1D. With the advent of high-throughput single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping array technologies, enabling investigators to perform high-density GWAS, many additional T1D susceptibility genes have been discovered. Indeed, recent meta-analyses of multiple datasets from independent investigators have brought the tally of well-validated T1D disease genes to almost 60. In this mini-review, we address recent advances in the genetics of T1D and provide an update on the latest susceptibility loci added to the list of genes involved in the pathogenesis of T1D.
PMCID: PMC3924830  PMID: 24705215
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D); genome-wide association studies (GWAS); immune system; susceptibility loci; natural killer (NK) cells; pancreatic β-cells
2.  Triglycidylamine Cross-linking Combined with Ethanol Inhibits Bioprosthetic Heart Valve Calcification 
The Annals of Thoracic Surgery  2011;92(3):858-865.
One of the most important factors responsible for the calcific failure of bioprosthetic heart valves is glutaraldehyde cross-linking. Ethanol (EtOH) incubation after glutaraldehyde cross-linking has previously been reported to confer anti-calcification efficacy for bioprostheses. The present studies investigated the anticalcification efficacy in vivo of the novel cross-linking agent, triglycidyl amine (TGA), with or without EtOH incubation, in comparison to glutaraldehyde.
TGA cross-linking (+/− EtOH) was used to prepare porcine aortic valves for both rat subdermal implants and sheep mitral valve replacements, for comparisons with glutaraldehyde-fixed controls. Thermal denaturation temperature (Ts), an index of cross-linking, cholesterol extraction, and hydrodynamic properties were quantified. Explant endpoints included quantitative and morphologic assessment of calcification.
Ts after TGA were intermediate between unfixed and glutaraldehyde-fixed. EtOH incubation resulted in almost complete extraction of cholesterol from TGA or glutaraldehyde-fixed cusps. Rat subdermal explants (90days) demonstrated that TGA-EtOH resulted in a significantly greater level of inhibition of calcification than other conditions. Thus, TGA-ethanol stent mounted porcine aortic valve bioprostheses were fabricated for comparisons with glutaraldehyde-pretreated controls. In hydrodynamic studies, TGA-EtOH bioprostheses had lower pressure gradients than glutaraldehyde-fixed. TGA-ethanol bioprostheses used as mitral valve replacements in juvenile sheep (150 days) demonstrated significantly lower calcium levels in both explanted porcine aortic cusp and aortic wall samples compared to glutaraldehyde-fixed controls. However, TGA-EtOH sheep explants also demonstrated isolated calcific nodules and intracuspal hematomas.
TGA-EtOH pretreatment of porcine aortic valves confers significant calcification resistance in both rat subdermal and sheep circulatory implants, but with associated structural instability.
PMCID: PMC3265762  PMID: 21871270
Heart valve bioprosthesis; biomaterials; calcification (heart valve); animal model
3.  Aortic Valve Cyclic Stretch Causes Increased Remodeling Activity and Enhanced Serotonin Receptor Responsiveness 
The Annals of thoracic surgery  2011;92(1):147-153.
Increased serotonin(5HT) receptor(5HTR) signaling has been associated with cardiac valvulopathy. Prior cell culture studies of 5HTR signaling in heart valve interstitial cells have provided mechanistic insights concerning only static conditions. We investigated the hypothesis that aortic valve biomechanics participate in the regulation of both 5HTR expression and inter-related extracellular matrix remodeling events.
The effects of cyclic-stretch on aortic valve 5HTR, expression, signaling and extracellular matrix remodeling were investigated using a tensile stretch bioreactor in studies which also compared the effects of adding 5HT and/or the 5HT-transporter inhibitor, Fluoxetine.
Cyclic-stretch alone increased both proliferation and collagen in porcine aortic valve cusp samples. However, with cyclic-stretch, unlike static conditions, 5HT plus Fluoxetine caused the greatest increase in proliferation (p<0.0001), and also caused significant increases in collagen(p<0.0001) and glycosaminoglycans (p<0.0001). DNA microarray data demonstrated upregulation of 5HTR2A and 5HTR2B (>4.5 fold) for cyclic-stretch versus static (p<0.001), while expression of the 5HT transporter was not changed significantly. Extracellular matrix genes (eg. Collagen Types I,II,III, and proteoglycans) were also upregulated by cyclic-stretch.
Porcine aortic valve cusp samples subjected to cyclic stretch upregulate 5HTR2A and 2B, and also initiate remodeling activity characterized by increased proliferation and collagen production. Importantly, enhanced 5HTR responsiveness, due to increased 5HTR2A and 2B expression, results in a significantly greater response in remodeling endpoints (proliferation, collagen and GAG production) to 5HT in the presence of 5HT transporter blockade.
PMCID: PMC3184405  PMID: 21718840
Heart valve; Molecular biology; Pharmacology (serotonergic receptors)
4.  Local Delivery of Gene Vectors From Bare-Metal Stents by Use of a Biodegradable Synthetic Complex Inhibits In-Stent Restenosis in Rat Carotid Arteries 
Circulation  2008;117(16):2096-2103.
Local drug delivery from polymer-coated stents has demonstrated efficacy for preventing in-stent restenosis; however, both the inflammatory effects of polymer coatings and concerns about late outcomes of drug-eluting stent use indicate the need to investigate innovative approaches, such as combining localized gene therapy with stent angioplasty. Thus, we investigated the hypothesis that adenoviral vectors (Ad) could be delivered from the bare-metal surfaces of stents with a synthetic complex for reversible vector binding.
Methods and Results
We synthesized the 3 components of a gene vector binding complex: (1) A polyallylamine bisphosphonate with latent thiol groups (PABT), (2) a polyethyleneimine (PEI) with pyridyldithio groups for amplification of attachment sites [PEI(PDT)], and (3) a bifunctional (amine- and thiol-reactive) cross-linker with a labile ester bond (HL). HL-modified Ad attached to PABT/PEI(PDT)-treated steel surfaces demonstrated both sustained release in vitro over 30 days and localized green fluorescent protein expression in rat arterial smooth muscle cell cultures, which were not sensitive to either inhibition by neutralizing anti-Ad antibodies or inactivation after storage at 37°C. In rat carotid studies, deployment of steel stents configured with PABT/PEI(PDT)/HL-tethered adenoviral vectors demonstrated both site-specific arterial AdGFP expression and adenovirus-luciferase transgene activity per optical imaging. Rat carotid stent delivery of adenovirus encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase resulted in significant inhibition of restenosis.
Reversible immobilization of adenovirus vectors on the bare-metal surfaces of endovascular stents via a synthetic complex represents an efficient, tunable method for sustained release of gene vectors to the vasculature.
PMCID: PMC3384493  PMID: 18413497
restenosis; stents; gene therapy
5.  A Genome-Wide Meta-Analysis of Six Type 1 Diabetes Cohorts Identifies Multiple Associated Loci 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(9):e1002293.
Diabetes impacts approximately 200 million people worldwide, of whom approximately 10% are affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). The application of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has robustly revealed dozens of genetic contributors to the pathogenesis of T1D, with the most recent meta-analysis identifying in excess of 40 loci. To identify additional genetic loci for T1D susceptibility, we examined associations in the largest meta-analysis to date between the disease and ∼2.54 million SNPs in a combined cohort of 9,934 cases and 16,956 controls. Targeted follow-up of 53 SNPs in 1,120 affected trios uncovered three new loci associated with T1D that reached genome-wide significance. The most significantly associated SNP (rs539514, P = 5.66×10−11) resides in an intronic region of the LMO7 (LIM domain only 7) gene on 13q22. The second most significantly associated SNP (rs478222, P = 3.50×10−9) resides in an intronic region of the EFR3B (protein EFR3 homolog B) gene on 2p23; however, the region of linkage disequilibrium is approximately 800 kb and harbors additional multiple genes, including NCOA1, C2orf79, CENPO, ADCY3, DNAJC27, POMC, and DNMT3A. The third most significantly associated SNP (rs924043, P = 8.06×10−9) lies in an intergenic region on 6q27, where the region of association is approximately 900 kb and harbors multiple genes including WDR27, C6orf120, PHF10, TCTE3, C6orf208, LOC154449, DLL1, FAM120B, PSMB1, TBP, and PCD2. These latest associated regions add to the growing repertoire of gene networks predisposing to T1D.
Author Summary
Despite the fact that there is clearly a large genetic component to type 1 diabetes (T1D), uncovering the genes contributing to this disease has proven challenging. However, in the past three years there has been relatively major progress in this regard, with advances in genetic screening technologies allowing investigators to scan the genome for variants conferring risk for disease without prior hypotheses. Such genome-wide association studies have revealed multiple regions of the genome to be robustly and consistently associated with T1D. More recent findings have been a consequence of combining of multiple datasets from independent investigators in meta-analyses, which have more power to pick up additional variants contributing to the trait. In the current study, we describe the largest meta-analysis of T1D genome-wide genotyped datasets to date, which combines six large studies. As a consequence, we have uncovered three new signals residing at the chromosomal locations 13q22, 2p23, and 6q27, which went on to be replicated in independent sample sets. These latest associated regions add to the growing repertoire of gene networks predisposing to T1D.
PMCID: PMC3183083  PMID: 21980299
6.  Sources of variability and effect of experimental approach on expression profiling data interpretation 
BMC Bioinformatics  2002;3:4.
We provide a systematic study of the sources of variability in expression profiling data using 56 RNAs isolated from human muscle biopsies (34 Affymetrix MuscleChip arrays), and 36 murine cell culture and tissue RNAs (42 Affymetrix U74Av2 arrays).
We studied muscle biopsies from 28 human subjects as well as murine myogenic cell cultures, muscle, and spleens. Human MuscleChip arrays (4,601 probe sets) and murine U74Av2 Affymetrix microarrays were used for expression profiling. RNAs were profiled both singly, and as mixed groups. Variables studied included tissue heterogeneity, cRNA probe production, patient diagnosis, and GeneChip hybridizations. We found that the greatest source of variability was often different regions of the same patient muscle biopsy, reflecting variation in cell type content even in a relatively homogeneous tissue such as muscle. Inter-patient variation was also very high (SNP noise). Experimental variation (RNA, cDNA, cRNA, or GeneChip) was minor. Pre-profile mixing of patient cRNA samples effectively normalized both intra- and inter-patient sources of variation, while retaining a high degree of specificity of the individual profiles (86% of statistically significant differences detected by absolute analysis; and 85% by a 4-pairwise comparison survival method).
Using unsupervised cluster analysis and correlation coefficients of 92 RNA samples on 76 oligonucleotide microarrays, we found that experimental error was not a significant source of unwanted variability in expression profiling experiments. Major sources of variability were from use of small tissue biopsies, particularly in humans where there is substantial inter-patient variability (SNP noise).
PMCID: PMC65691  PMID: 11936955

Results 1-6 (6)