The general organization of neocortical connectivity in rhesus monkey is relatively well understood. However, mounting evidence points to an organizing principle that involves clustered synapses at the level of individual dendrites. Several synaptic plasticity studies have reported cooperative interaction between neighboring synapses on a given dendritic branch, which may potentially induce synapse clusters. Additionally, theoretical models have predicted that such cooperativity is advantageous, in that it greatly enhances a neuron’s computational repertoire. However, largely because of the lack of sufficient morphologic data, the existence of clustered synapses in neurons on a global scale has never been established. The majority of excitatory synapses are found within dendritic spines. In this study, we demonstrate that spine clusters do exist on pyramidal neurons by analyzing the three-dimensional locations of ~40,000 spines on 280 apical dendritic branches in layer III of the rhesus monkey prefrontal cortex. By using clustering algorithms and Monte Carlo simulations, we quantify the probability that the observed extent of clustering does not occur randomly. This provides a measure that tests for spine clustering on a global scale, whenever high-resolution morphologic data are available. Here we demonstrate that spine clusters occur significantly more frequently than expected by pure chance and that spine clustering is concentrated in apical terminal branches. These findings indicate that spine clustering is driven by systematic biological processes. We also found that mushroom-shaped and stubby spines are predominant in clusters on dendritic segments that display prolific clustering, independently supporting a causal link between spine morphology and synaptic clustering.
clustering; dendritic spines; plasticity; morphology; image analysis
The production and turnover of fine roots play substantial roles in the biogeochemical cycles of terrestrial ecosystems. However, the disparity among the estimates of both production and turnover, particularly due to technical limitations, has been debated for several decades. Here, we conducted a meta-analysis to compare published estimates of fine root production and turnover rates derived from different methods at the same sites and at the same sampling time. On average, the estimates of fine root production and turnover rates were 87% and 124% higher, respectively, by indirect methods than by direct methods. The substantially higher fine root production and turnover estimated by indirect methods, on which most global carbon models are based, indicate the necessity of re-assessing the global carbon model predictions for atmospheric carbon sequestration in soils as a result of the production and turnover of fine roots.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been employed successfully to treat various immune disorders in animal models and clinical settings. Our previous studies have shown that MSCs can become highly immunosuppressive upon stimulation by inflammatory cytokines, an effect exerted through the concerted action of chemokines and nitric oxide (NO). Here, we show that MSCs can also enhance immune responses. This immune-promoting effect occurred when proinflammatory cytokines were inadequate to elicit sufficient NO production. When inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) production was inhibited or genetically ablated, MSCs strongly enhance T-cell proliferation in vitro and the delayed-type hypersensitivity response in vivo. Furthermore, iNOS−/− MSCs significantly inhibited melanoma growth. It is likely that in the absence of NO, chemokines act to promote immune responses. Indeed, in CCR5−/−CXCR3−/− mice, the immune-promoting effect of iNOS−/− MSCs is greatly diminished. Thus, NO acts as a switch in MSC-mediated immunomodulation. More importantly, the dual effect on immune reactions was also observed in human MSCs, in which indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) acts as a switch. This study provides novel information about the pathophysiological roles of MSCs.
mesenchymal stem cells; chemokine; immunomodulation; tissue repair
JNJ-26483327 is an oral, potent, multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, inhibiting kinases of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-1, -2 and -4, rearranged during transfection (RET) receptor, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR)-3 and Src family (Lyn, Fyn, Yes) at low nanomolar concentrations. This phase I, accelerated titration study assessed maximum tolerated dose, safety, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamic effects of JNJ-26483327.
Nineteen patients with advanced cancers received JNJ-26483327 continuous twice daily (BID) in escalating dose cohorts ranging from 100 to 2100 mg. Pharmacodynamic effects were assessed in paired skin biopsies and blood.
JNJ-26483327 was well tolerated in doses up to 1500 mg BID, with target-inhibition-related toxicity such as diarrhoea and skin rash, and other common reported toxicities being nausea, vomiting, anorexia and fatigue. At 2100 mg, two episodes of dose-limiting toxicity were observed, consisting of grade 3 anorexia and a combination of grade 3 anorexia and fatigue, respectively. Pharmacokinetics were dose proportional up to 1500 mg in which plasma levels were obtained showing anti-tumour activity in xenograft mouse models. Pharmacodynamic analysis did not show a substantial effect on expression of Ki-67, p27kip1, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase, phosphorylated Akt and EGFR, and serum levels of sVEGFR-2, VEGF-C and VEGF-D remained unchanged. Stable disease was noted in six patients (32%).
JNJ-26483327 is well tolerated and shows a predictable pharmacokinetic profile; the recommended dose for further studies is 1500 mg BID.
phase I; JNJ-26483327; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
The aim of this study was to investigate the movement, and the factors that influence such movement, of pancreatic lesions and to provide a reference for determination of planning target volume (PTV) during stereotactic radiotherapy. We implanted 19 gold markers into the inner pancreatic tumours of 16 pancreatic carcinoma patients percutaneously under B-ultrasonographic guidance. The marked motion of pancreatic lesions in the x (right–left), y (superoinferior) and z (anteroposterior) directions was measured using an X-ray simulator system. Based on the statistical analysis of the detected movements, we investigated the relevant influencing factors of pancreatic lesions with multinomial linear regression. Data showed that the mean motion amplitudes of pancreatic lesions were 0.16 cm ± 0.06 (range 0.1–0.3 cm) in the x direction, 0.25 cm ± 0.12 (range 0.1–0.4 cm) in the y direction and 0.88 cm ± 0.24 (0.5–1.6 cm) in the z direction. Motion amplitude was not correlated with the height, weight or age of the patients nor with the location or size of the tumour. The motion of pancreatic lesions was mainly influenced by the respiratory motion and has maximal amplitude in the z direction. Therefore, motion in the z direction should be given a priority consideration while determining the PTV.
The abundant amelogenin proteins are responsible for generating proper enamel thickness and structure, and most amelogenins include a conserved hydrophilic C-terminus. To evaluate the importance of the C-terminus, we generated transgenic mice that express an amelogenin lacking the C-terminal 13 amino acids (CTRNC). MicroCT analysis of TgCTRNC29 teeth (low transgene number) indicated that molar enamel density was similar to that of wild-type mice, but TgCTRNC18 molar enamel (high transgene number) was deficient, indicating that extra transgene copies were associated with a more severe phenotype. When amelogenin-null (KO) and TgCTRNC transgenic mice were mated, density and volume of molar enamel from TgCTRNCKO offspring were not different from those of KO mice, indicating that neither TgCTRNC18 nor TgCTRNC29 rescued enamel’s physical characteristics. Because transgenic full-length amelogenin partially rescues both density and volume of KO molar enamel, it was concluded that the amelogenin C-terminus is essential for proper enamel density, volume, and organization.
amelogenin; enamel; transgenic mice
The abundant amelogenin proteins are responsible for generating proper enamel thickness and structure, and most amelogenins include a conserved hydrophilic C-terminus. To evaluate the importance of the C-terminus, transgenic mice were generated that express an amelogenin lacking the C-terminal 13 amino acids (CTRNC). MicroCT analysis of TgCTRNC29 teeth (low transgene number) indicated molar enamel density was similar to wild-type, but TgCTRNC18 molar enamel (high transgene number) was deficient, indicating that extra transgene copies were associated with a more severe phenotype. When Amelogenin null (KO) and TgCTRNC transgenic mice were mated, density and volume of molar enamel from TgCTRNCKO offspring were not different from KO, indicating that neither TgCTRNC18 nor TgCTRNC29 rescued enamel physical characteristics. Because transgenic full-length amelogenin partially rescues both density and volume of KO molar enamel, it was concluded that the amelogenin C-terminus is essential for proper enamel density, volume and organization.
amelogenin; enamel; transgenic mice
The present method of C2 laminar screw placement relies on anatomical landmarks for screw placement. Placement of C2 laminar screws using drill template has not been described in the literature. The authors reported on their experience with placement of C2 laminar screws using a novel computer-assisted drill guide template in nine patients undergoing posterior occipito-cervical fusion. CT scan of C2 vertebrae was performed. 3D model of C2 vertebrae was reconstructed by software MIMICS 10.01. The 3D vertebral model was then exported in STL format, and opened in a workstation running software UG imageware12.0 for determining the optimal laminar screw size and orientation. A virtual navigational template was established according to the laminar anatomic trait. The physical vertebrae and navigational template were manufactured using rapid prototyping. The navigational template was sterilized and used intraoperative to assist the placement of laminar screw. Overall, 19 C2 laminar screws were placed and the accuracy of screw placement was confirmed with postoperative X-ray and CT scanning. There were not complications of related screws insertion. Average follow-up was 9 months (range 4–13 months), 77.8% of the patients exhibited improvement in their myelopathic symptoms; in 22.2% the symptoms were unchanged. Postoperative computed tomographic (CT) scanning was available for allowing the evaluation of placement of thirteen C2 laminar screws, all of which were in good position with no spinal canal violation. This study shows a patient-specific template technique that is easy to use, can simplify the surgical act and generates highly accurate C2 laminar screw placement. Advantages of this technology over traditional techniques include planning of the screw trajectory is done completely in the presurgical period as well as the ability to size the screw to the patient’s anatomy.
Computer-assisted; C2 laminar screw; Rapid prototyping; Drill template; Surgery
Recently, penalized regression methods have attracted much attention in the statistical literature. In this article, we argue that such methods can be improved for the purposes of prediction by utilizing model averaging ideas. We propose a new algorithm that combines penalized regression with model averaging for improved prediction. We also discuss the issue of model selection versus model averaging and propose a diagnostic based on the notion of generalized degrees of freedom. The proposed methods are studied using both simulated and real data.
Classification; Model Selection; Prediction; Risk bound; Stability
Background: To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD), safety, potential pharmacokinetic (PK) interactions, and effect on liver histology of trabectedin in combination with pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD) for advanced malignancies.
Patients and methods: Entry criteria for the 36 patients included normal liver function, prior doxorubicin exposure <250 mg/m2, and normal cardiac function. A 1-h PLD (30 mg/m2) infusion was followed immediately by one of six trabectedin doses (0.4, 0.6, 0.75, 0.9, 1.1, and 1.3 mg/m2) infused over 3 h, repeated every 21 days until evidence of complete response (CR), disease progression, or unacceptable toxicity. Plasma samples were obtained to assess PK profiles.
Results: The MTD of trabectedin was 1.1 mg/m2. Drug-related grade 3 and 4 toxic effects were neutropenia (31%) and elevated transaminases (31%). Six patients responded (one CR, five partial responses), with an overall response rate of 16.7%, and 14 had stable disease (less than a 50% reduction and less than a 25% increase in the sum of the products of two perpendicular diameters of all measured lesions and the appearance of no new lesions) >4 months (39%). Neither drug had its PK affected significantly by concomitant administration compared with trabectedin and PLD each given as a single agent.
Conclusion: Trabectedin combined with PLD is generally well tolerated at therapeutic doses of both drugs in pretreated patients with diverse tumor types and appears to provide clinical benefit. These results support the need for additional studies of this combination in appropriate cancer types.
ET-743; ovarian cancer; pegylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD); sarcomas; trabectedin
Full details of a systematic exploration of the intramolecular [4+2]/[3+2] cycloaddition cascade of 1,3,4-oxadiazoles are disclosed in which the scope and utility of the reaction are defined.
Bovine papillomavirus type 1 (BPV-1) and, less commonly, BPV-2 are associated with the pathogenesis of common equine skin tumors termed sarcoids. In an attempt to understand the mechanisms by which BPV-1 induces sarcoids, we used gene expression profiling as a screening tool to identify candidate genes implicated in disease pathogenesis. Gene expression profiles of equine fibroblasts transformed by BPV-1 experimentally or from explanted tumors were compared with those of control equine fibroblasts to identify genes associated with expression of BPV-1. Analysis of the microarray data identified 81 probe sets that were significantly (P < 0.01) differentially expressed between the BPV-1-transformed and control cell lines. Expression of several deregulated genes, including MMP-1, CXCL5, FRA-1, NKG7, TLR4, and the gene encoding the major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) protein, was confirmed using other BPV-1-transformed cell lines. Furthermore, expression of these genes was examined using a panel of 10 sarcoids. Increased expression of MMP-1, CXCL5, FRA-1, and NKG7 was detected in a subset of tumors, and TLR4 and MHC I showed robust down-regulation in all tumors. Deregulated expression was confirmed at the protein level for MMP-1 and MHC-I. The present report identifies genes modulated by BPV-1 transformation and will help identify the molecular mechanisms involved in disease pathogenesis.
Objective: To test the hypothesis that activation of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPAR-γ) reduces experimental autoimmune myocarditis (EAM) associated with inhibitor κB (IκB) α induction, blockade of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), and inhibition of inflammatory cytokine expression.
Methods: EAM was induced in Lewis rats by immunisation with porcine cardiac myosin. PPAR-γ activators 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2) and pioglitazone (PIO) were administered to rats with EAM.
Results: Enhanced PPAR-γ expression was prominently stained in the nuclear and perinuclear regions of infiltrating inflammatory cells. Administration of 15d-PGJ2 and PIO greatly reduced the severity of myocarditis and suppressed myocardial mRNA and protein expression of inflammatory cytokines in rats with EAM. In addition, treatment with PPAR-γ activators enhanced IκB concentrations in the cytoplasmic fractions and nuclear fractions from inflammatory myocardium. Concurrently, NF-κB was greatly activated in myocarditis; this activation was blocked in the 15d-PGJ2 treated and PIO treated groups.
Conclusions: PPAR-γ may have a role in the pathophysiology of EAM. Because an increase in IκB expression and inhibition of translocation of the NF-κB subunit p65 to the nucleus in inflammatory cells correlated with the protective effects of PPAR-γ activators, these results suggest that PPAR-γ activators act sequentially through PPAR-γ activation, IκB induction, blockade of NF-κB activation, and inhibition of inflammatory cytokine expression. These results suggest that PPAR-γ activators such as 15d-PGJ2 and PIO may have the potential to modulate human inflammatory heart diseases such as myocarditis.
myocarditis; immunity; PPAR-γ; NF-κB; cytokine; inflammation
To evaluate the efficacy and safety of phacoemulsification using torsional modality with different parameter settings for hard nucleus cataract extraction.
A prospective, randomised clinical study.
A clinical practice study conducted at the Cataract Service, Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun-Yat-Sen University, and Guangzhou. One eye each from 198 consecutive patients with cataract density grade IV according to the Emery–Little system classification system, requiring phacoemulsification and intraocular lens implantation, was included. Eyes were randomly assigned to the Linear Torsional combined with Ultrasound power group (Linear Tor+US group, n = 66), 100% Fixed Torsional group (Fixed Tor group, n = 65) and conventional Ultrasound burst group (US group, n = 67). All surgeries were performed by a single experienced surgeon and outcomes evaluated by another surgeon masked to treatment. Intraoperative parameters were Ultrasound Time (UST), Cumulative Dissipated Energy (CDE) and surgical complications. Patients were examined on post-op days 1, 7 and 30. Postoperative outcomes were final best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), average central and incisional corneal thickness and central endothelial cell counts.
The mean UST was lower in the Fixed Tor group than in the US group and in the Lin US+Tor group (p⩽0.0001). The mean CDE was lower in the Lin Tor+US group and in the Fixed Tor group than in the US group (p⩽0.0001). Comparing with the two Tor group, the US group had a lower average BCVA on post-op 1, 7 (p⩽0.0001) and 30 (p>0.01), greater average central corneal and incisional thickness on days 1, 7 (p⩽0.0001) and 30 (p>0.01), and higher average corneal endothelial cell losses on day 7 and 30 days (p⩽0.0001).
Torsional combined with ultrasound power or high fixed torsional amplitude can yield more effective hard nucleus phacoemulsification than conventional ultrasound modality.
Aims: To evaluate the usefulness of denaturing high performance liquid chromatography (DHPLC) as a high throughput tool in: (1) DNA mutation detection in familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHC), and (2) single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery and validation in sporadic motor neurone disease (MND).
Methods: The coding sequence and intron–exon boundaries of the cardiac β myosin heavy chain gene (MYH7) were screened by DHPLC for mutation identification in 150 unrelated patients diagnosed with FHC. One hundred and forty patients with sporadic MND were genotyped for the A67T SNP in the poliovirus receptor gene. All DHPLC positive signals were confirmed by conventional methods.
Results: Mutation screening of MYH7 covered 10 kb with a total of 5700 amplicons, and more than 6750 DHPLC injections were completed within 35 days. The causative mutation was identified in 14% of FHC cases, including seven novel missense mutations (L227V, E328G, K351E, V411I, M435T, E894G, and E927K). Genotyping of the A67T SNP was performed at two different temperatures both in MND cases and 280 controls. This coding SNP was found more frequently in MND cases (13.6%) than in controls (6.8%). Furthermore, 19 and two SNPs were identified in MYH7 and the poliovirus receptor gene, respectively, during DHPLC screening.
Conclusions: DHPLC is a high throughput, sensitive, specific, and robust platform for the detection of DNA variants, such as disease causing mutations or SNPs. It enables rapid and accurate screening of large genomic regions.
DNA variant analysis; denaturing high performance liquid chromatography; familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; motor neurone disease; high throughput
Peptide deformylase (PDF), a metallohydrolase essential for bacterial growth, is an attractive target for use in the discovery of novel antibiotics. Focused chelator-based chemical libraries were constructed and screened for inhibition of enzymatic activity, inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus growth, and cytotoxicity. Positive compounds were selected based on the results of all three assays. VRC3375 [N-hydroxy-3-R-butyl-3-(2-S-(tert-butoxycarbonyl)-pyrrolidin-1-ylcarbonyl)propionamide] was identified as having the most favorable properties through an integrated combinatorial and medicinal chemistry effort. This compound is a potent PDF inhibitor with a Ki of 0.24 nM against the Escherichia coli Ni2+ enzyme, possesses activity against gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial pathogens, and has a low cytotoxicity. Mechanistic experiments demonstrate that the compound inhibits bacterial growth through PDF inhibition. Pharmacokinetic studies of this drug in mice indicate that VRC3375 is orally bioavailable and rapidly distributed among various tissues. VRC3375 has in vivo activity against S. aureus in a murine septicemia model, with 50% effective doses of 32, 17, and 21 mg/kg of body weight after dosing by intravenous (i.v.), subcutaneous (s.c.), and oral (p.o.) administration, respectively. In murine single-dose toxicity studies, no adverse effects were observed after dosing with more than 400 mg of VRC3375 per kg by i.v., p.o., or s.c. administration. The in vivo efficacy and low toxicity of VRC3375 suggest the potential for developing this class of compounds to be used in future antibacterial drugs.
The I1307K polymorphism in APC has been found to predispose to colorectal cancer in Ashkenazi Jews, and has recently been associated with an increased risk for breast cancer in the same population. In that study, we genotyped 205 paraffin-embedded breast cancers from Ashkenazi Jewish women diagnosed below the age of 65. We now present an extended analysis, with clinicopathological correlations between carriers of I1307K and non-carriers. Twenty-four of 209 cases (11.5%, 95% confidence interval 7.5–16.6) were found to carry the I1307K polymorphism. When stratifying the data by other relevant clinicopathological variables, we observed no association between the presence of this polymorphism and age at diagnosis (P = 0.52), grade (P = 0.074), tumour size (P = 0.99), lymph node status (P = 0.82), oestrogen receptor status (P = 0.23) or P53 immunoreactivity (P = 0.80). The breast-cancer specific 5-year survival for women with I1307 K polymorphism was 88.9% compared with 81.6% in women without I1307K (P = 0.34). Using microdissected samples and direct sequencing, no somatic mutations were observed in any of the 24 I1307K-positive cases. Single-strand conformation analysis of 158 of the I1307K-negative breast cancers that were available for study revealed no mobility shifts. We conclude that the presence of the I1307K polymorphism does not appear to be associated with any particular clinicopathological feature of breast cancer and importantly, does not affect the prognosis. © 1999 Cancer Research Campaign
breast cancer; APC; I1307K; polymorphism; survival
Five different murine monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) to Mycobacterium tuberculosis were examined for degree of cross-reactivity with other mycobacterial species by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting. One MAb reacted solely with M. tuberculosis and M. bovis BCG. Two of the MAbs reacted with all mycobacterial species examined, whereas two MAbs demonstrated a limited reactivity pattern. The epitopes are located on molecules susceptible to protease treatment, and two of these molecules possess concanavalin A-binding moieties. Two of the antigens defined by these five MAbs are present in tuberculin purified protein derivative.
In the current study, we examined whether the combination of tumor vasculature-targeted gene therapy with adeno-associated virus bacteriophage-tumor necrosis factor-α (AAVP-TNF-α) and/or the orally administered LCL161, an antagonist of inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), enhanced antitumor efficacy without systemic toxicity. M21 human melanoma xenografts were grown subcutaneously in nude mice. Mice were treated according to one of four treatment regimens: AAVP-TNF-α alone (AAVP-TNF-α plus sodium acetate-acetic acid (NaAc) buffer) via tail vein injection; LCL161 alone (phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) plus LCL161) via oral gavage; AAVP-TNF-α plus LCL161; and PBS plus NaAc Buffer as a control group. Tumor volume, survival and toxicity were analyzed. AAVP trafficking and TNF-α production in vivo were detected on days 7 and 21 by real-time PCR, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunofluorescence. The levels of apoptosis and activation of caspases were assessed on days 7 and 21 by TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling) and immunofluorescence assays. Our results showed that the combination of AAVP-TNF-α and LCL161 significantly inhibited tumor growth and prolonged survival in mice with melanoma xenografts. The combination of AAVP-TNF-α and LCL161 was also significantly more effective than either agent alone, showing a synergistic effect without systemic toxicity.
targeted gene therapy; conventional chemotherapy; adeno-associated virus bacteriophage-tumor necrosis factor-α (AAVP-TNF-α); LCL161; apoptosis