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1.  Intraclonal Complexity in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Fractions Enriched in Recently Born/Divided and Older/Quiescent Cells 
Molecular Medicine  2011;17(11-12):1374-1382.
The failure of chemotherapeutic regimens to eradicate cancers often results from the outgrowth of minor subclones with more dangerous genomic abnormalities or with self-renewing capacity. To explore such intratumor complexities in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we measured B-cell kinetics in vivo by quantifying deuterium (2H)-labeled cells as an indicator of a cell that had divided. Separating CLL clones on the basis of reciprocal densities of chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 4 (CXCR4) and cluster designation 5 (CD5) revealed that the CXCR4dimCD5bright (proliferative) fraction contained more 2H-labeled DNA and hence divided cells than the CXCR4brightCD5dim (resting) fraction. This enrichment was confirmed by the relative expression of two cell cycle–associated molecules in the same fractions, Ki-67 and minichromosome maintenance protein 6 (MCM6). Comparisons of global gene expression between the CXCR4dimCD5bright and CXCR4brightCD5dim fractions indicated higher levels of pro-proliferation and antiapoptotic genes and genes involved in oxidative injury in the proliferative fraction. An extended immunophenotype was also defined, providing a wider range of surface molecules characteristic of each fraction. These intraclonal analyses suggest a model of CLL cell biology in which the leukemic clone contains a spectrum of cells from the proliferative fraction, enriched in recently divided robust cells that are lymphoid tissue emigrants, to the resting fraction enriched in older, less vital cells that need to immigrate to lymphoid tissue or die. The model also suggests several targets preferentially expressed in the two populations amenable for therapeutic attack. Finally, the study lays the groundwork for future analyses that might provide a more robust understanding of the development and clonal evolution of this currently incurable disease.
doi:10.2119/molmed.2011.00360
PMCID: PMC3321822  PMID: 21968788
2.  A Randomized Pilot Trial of a Moderate Carbohydrate Diet Compared to a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet in Overweight or Obese Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Prediabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e91027.
We compared the effects of two diets on glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) and other health-related outcomes in overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (HbA1c>6%). We randomized participants to either a medium carbohydrate, low fat, calorie-restricted, carbohydrate counting diet (MCCR) consistent with guidelines from the American Diabetes Association (n = 18) or a very low carbohydrate, high fat, non calorie-restricted diet whose goal was to induce nutritional ketosis (LCK, n = 16). We excluded participants receiving insulin; 74% were taking oral diabetes medications. Groups met for 13 sessions over 3 months and were taught diet information and psychological skills to promote behavior change and maintenance. At 3 months, mean HbA1c level was unchanged from baseline in the MCCR diet group, while it decreased 0.6% in the LCK group; there was a significant between group difference in HbA1c change favoring the LCK group (−0.6%, 95% CI, −1.1% to −0.03%, p = 0.04). Forty-four percent of the LCK group discontinued one or more diabetes medications, compared to 11% of the MCCR group (p = 0.03); 31% discontinued sulfonylureas in the LCK group, compared to 5% in the MCCR group (p = 0.05). The LCK group lost 5.5 kg vs. 2.6 kg lost in MCCR group (p = 0.09). Our results suggest that a very low carbohydrate diet coupled with skills to promote behavior change may improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes while allowing decreases in diabetes medications.
This clinical trial was registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01713764.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0091027
PMCID: PMC3981696  PMID: 24717684
3.  Plasma bile acids are not associated with energy metabolism in humans 
Bile acids (BA) have recently been shown to increase energy expenditure in mice, but this concept has not been tested in humans. Therefore, we investigated the relationship between plasma BA levels and energy expenditure in humans. Type 2 diabetic (T2DM) patients (n = 12) and gender, age and BMI-matched healthy controls (n = 12) were studied before and after 8 weeks of treatment with a BA sequestrant. In addition, patients with liver cirrhosis (n = 46) were investigated, since these display elevated plasma BA together with increased energy expenditure. This group was compared to gender-, age- and BMI-matched healthy controls (n = 20). Fasting plasma levels of total BA and individual BA species as well as resting energy expenditure were determined. In response to treatment with the BA sequestrant, plasma deoxycholic acid (DCA) levels decreased in controls (-60%, p < 0.05) and T2DM (-32%, p < 0.05), while chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) decreased in controls only (-33%, p < 0.05). Energy expenditure did not differ between T2DM and controls at baseline and, in contrast to plasma BA levels, was unaffected by treatment with the BA sequestrant. Total BA as well as individual BA species did not correlate with energy expenditure at any time throughout the study. Patients with cirrhosis displayed on average an increase in energy expenditure of 18% compared to values predicted by the Harris-Benedict equation, and plasma levels of total BA (up to 12-fold) and individual BA (up to 20-fold) were increased over a wide range. However, neither total nor individual plasma BA levels correlated with energy expenditure. In addition, energy expenditure was identical in patients with a cholestatic versus a non-cholestatic origin of liver disease while plasma total BA levels differed four-fold between the groups. In conclusion, in the various (patho)physiological conditions studied, plasma BA levels were not associated with changes in energy expenditure. Therefore, our data do not support an important role of circulating BA in the control of human energy metabolism.
doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-73
PMCID: PMC2942888  PMID: 20815878
4.  In vivo measurements document the dynamic cellular kinetics of chronic lymphocytic leukemia B cells 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2005;115(3):755-764.
Due to its relatively slow clinical progression, B cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) is classically described as a disease of accumulation rather than proliferation. However, evidence for various forms of clonal evolution suggests that B-CLL clones may be more dynamic than previously assumed. We used a nonradioactive, stable isotopic labeling method to measure B-CLL cell kinetics in vivo. Nineteen patients drank an aliquot of deuterated water (2H2O) daily for 84 days, and 2H incorporation into the deoxyribose moiety of DNA of newly divided B-CLL cells was measured by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, during and after the labeling period. Birth rates were calculated from the kinetic profiles. Death rates were defined as the difference between calculated birth and growth rates. These analyses demonstrated that the leukemic cells of each patient had definable and often substantial birth rates, varying from 0.1% to greater than 1.0% of the entire clone per day. Those patients with birth rates greater than 0.35% per day were much more likely to exhibit active or to develop progressive disease than those with lower birth rates Thus, B-CLL is not a static disease that results simply from accumulation of long-lived lymphocytes. Rather, it is a dynamic process composed also of cells that proliferate and die, often at appreciable levels. The extent to which this turnover occurs has not been previously appreciated. A correlation between birth rates and disease activity and progression appears to exist, which may help identify patients at risk for worsening disease in advance of clinical deterioration.
doi:10.1172/JCI200523409
PMCID: PMC548318  PMID: 15711642

Results 1-5 (5)