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1.  Effect of genistein on basal jejunal chloride secretion in R117H CF mice is sex and route specific 
Cystic fibrosis (CF) results from the loss or reduction in function of the CFTR (cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulatory protein) chloride channel. The third most common CFTR mutation seen clinically is R117H. Genistein, a naturally occurring phytoestrogen, is known to stimulate CFTR function in vitro. We aimed to determine whether route of administration of genistein could mediate differential effects in R117H male and female CF mice. Mice were fed (4 weeks) or injected subcutaneously (1 week) with the following: genistein 600 mg/kg diet (600Gd); genistein-free diet (0Gd); genistein injection 600 mg/kg body weight (600Gi); dimethyl sulfoxide control (0Gi). In male R117H mice fed 600Gd, basal short circuit current (Isc) was unchanged. In 600Gd-fed female mice, there was a subgroup that demonstrated a significant increase in basal Isc (53.14±7.92 μA/cm2, n=6, P<0.05) and a subgroup of nonresponders (12.05±6.59 μA/cm2, n=4), compared to 0Gd controls (29.3±6.5 μA/cm2, n=7). In R117H mice injected with 600Gi, basal Isc was unchanged in both male and female mice compared to 0Gi controls. Isc was measured in response to the following: the adenylate cyclase activator forskolin (10 μM, bilateral), bumetanide (100 μM, basolateral) to indicate the Cl− secretory component, and acetazolamide (100 μM, bilateral) to indicate the HCO3− secretory component; however, there was no effect of genistein (diet or injection) on any of these parameters. Jejunal morphology (ie, villi length, number of goblet cells per villus, crypt depth, and number of goblet cells per crypt) in R117H mice suggested no genistein-mediated difference among the groups. Serum levels of genistein were significantly elevated, compared to respective controls, by either 600Gd (equally elevated in males and females) or 600Gi (elevated more in females versus males). These data suggest a sex-dependent increase in basal Isc of R117H mice and that the increase is also specific for route of administration.
PMCID: PMC4321419
genistein; intestine; secretion; CFTR; R117H
2.  Influence of perception of colorectal cancer risk and patient bowel preparation behaviors: a study in minority populations 
Large disparities exist in the utilization rates of screening modalities for colorectal cancer (CRC) in different socioeconomic areas. In this study, we evaluated whether the quality of bowel preparation differed significantly among populations with a high risk of CRC compared with that among the general population after matching for potential confounding factors.
Hispanic and African American patients who underwent routine screening or surveillance colonoscopies in an outpatient setting between 2003 and 2013 were included in this retrospective study. Patients who underwent colonoscopies for emergent indications and repeat routine screening colonoscopies because of prior history of inadequate bowel preparation were excluded from this study. The patients were divided into three groups: patients having an average risk of being diagnosed with CRC (group 1); patients having a high risk of being diagnosed with CRC because of a personal history of adenomatous polyps (group 2); and patients having a high risk of being diagnosed with CRC because of a family history of CRC in first-degree relatives (group 3). All the patients were given preprocedural counseling and written instructions for bowel preparation. Data on demographic information, method of bowel preparation, quality of bowel preparation, comorbidities, and prescription medications were collected.
In all, 834 patients had a “high-risk for CRC” surveillance colonoscopy in view of their personal history of adenomatous polyps and were included in group 2. In total, 250 patients had a “high-risk for CRC” screening colonoscopy in view of their family history of CRC in first-degree relatives and were included in group 3. Further, 1,000 patients were selected to serve as controls (after matching for age, sex and ethnicity) and were included in group 1. Bowel preparation was graded as good, fair, or poor by the endoscopist performing the study. We observed a significantly higher number of good bowel preparations in group 2 and group 3 (P=0.0001) when compared with group 1 (controls) after adjusting for comorbidities and usage of prescription medication that could potentially cause colonic dysmotility. These differences were significant in both Hispanic and African American patients.
Our study showed that perception of CRC risk significantly influenced the bowel preparation behaviors of patients belonging to minority populations, with a significantly greater number of patients with a high risk of CRC having adequate bowel preparations.
PMCID: PMC4315465
colorectal cancer; bowel preparation; quality; screening colonoscopy; high-risk populations; minority populations
3.  Reduced expression of aquaporins in human intestinal mucosa in early stage inflammatory bowel disease 
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between aquaporin (AQP) water channel expression and the pathological features of early untreated inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in humans.
Patients suspected to have IBD on the basis of predefined symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and/or blood in stool for more than 10 days, were examined at the local hospital. Colonoscopy with biopsies was performed and blood samples were taken. Patients who did not meet the diagnostic criteria for IBD and who displayed no evidence of infection or other pathology in the gut were included as symptomatic non-IBD controls. AQP1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 9 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were quantified in biopsies from the distal ileum and colon by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Protein expression of selected AQPs was assessed by confocal microscopy. Through multiple alignments of the deduced amino acid sequences, the putative three-dimensional structures of AQP1, 3, 7, and 8 were modeled.
AQP1, 3, 7, and 8 mRNAs were detected in all parts of the intestinal mucosa. Notably, AQP1 and AQP3 mRNA levels were reduced in the ileum of patients with Crohn’s disease, and AQP7 and AQP8 mRNA levels were reduced in the ileum and the colon of patients with ulcerative colitis. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy showed localization of AQP3, 7, and 8 at the mucosal epithelium, whereas the expression of AQP1 was mainly confined to the endothelial cells and erythrocytes. The reduction in the level of AQP3, 7, and 8 mRNA was confirmed by immunofluorescence, which also indicated a reduction of apical immunolabeling for AQP8 in the colonic surface epithelium and crypts of the IBD samples. This could indicate loss of epithelial polarity in IBD, leading to disrupted barrier function.
AQPs 1 and 8 and the aquaglyceroporins AQPs 3 and 7 are the AQPs predominantly expressed in the lower intestinal tract of humans. Their expression is significantly reduced in patients with IBD, and they are differentially expressed in specific bowel segments in patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The data present a link between gut inflammation and water/solute homeostasis, suggesting that AQPs may play a significant role in IBD pathophysiology.
PMCID: PMC4296881  PMID: 25624769
inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis; aquaporins; aquaglyceroporins
4.  Celiac disease in children: is it a problem in Kuwait? 
Celiac disease (CD) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the small intestine triggered by gluten ingestion. The objective of this study is to describe our experience with CD children in Kuwait.
The records of children with CD seen in the pediatric gastroenterology unit between February 1998 and December 2010 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were referred because of symptoms or positive CD antibody screening of a high-risk group (type 1 diabetes and Down syndrome).
Forty-seven patients were diagnosed: 53% were symptomatic and 47% were identified by screening. The median age at diagnosis was 66 (range 7–189) months. All cases were biopsy-proven except one. The symptomatic patients were significantly younger than those identified following screening (P<0.004). In the whole group, 66% were females and 77% were Kuwaitis; 9% had a positive family history of CD. The estimated cumulative incidence was 6.9/105. The median duration of symptoms before diagnosis was 8.5 (range 2–54) months. Failure to thrive was the most common presenting complaint (72%) followed by diarrhea (64%) and abdominal distension (56%). Atypical manifestations were seen in 60% of patients. Underweight and short stature were confirmed in 19% and 17% of patients, respectively. Overweight and obesity were detected in 14% and 6%, respectively. CD serology was based on a combination of antiendomysial and antigliadin antibodies. The median follow up was 24 (range 12–144) months. All patients were commenced on a gluten free diet, but good compliance was only achieved in 78%.
The low frequency of childhood CD in Kuwait could probably be attributed to either an underestimation of the atypical presentations or failure of proper screening. Also, adherence to a gluten free diet is a major problem in our population.
PMCID: PMC4284061  PMID: 25565879
celiac disease; children; Kuwait
5.  Developments in flexible endoscopic surgery: a review 
Flexible endoscopy is increasingly developing into a therapeutic instead of a purely diagnostic discipline. Improved visualization makes early lesions easily detectable and allows us to decide ad hoc on the required treatment. Deep enteroscopy allows the exploration of even the small bowel – for long a “white spot” for gastrointestinal endoscopy – and to perform direct treatment. Endoscopic submucosal dissection is a considerable step forward in oncologically correct endoscopic treatment of (early) malignant lesions. Though still technically challenging, it is increasingly facilitated by new manipulation techniques and tools that are being steadily optimized. Closure of wall defects and hemostasis could be improved significantly. Even the anatomy beyond the gastrointestinal wall is being explored by the therapeutic use of endoluminal ultrasound. Endosonographic-guided surgery is not only a suitable fallback solution if conventional endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography fails, but even makes necrosectomy procedures, abscess drainage, and neurolysis feasible for the endoscopist. Newly developed endoscopic approaches aim at formerly distinctive surgical domains like gastroesophageal reflux disease, appendicitis, and cholecystitis. Combined endoscopic/laparoscopic interventional techniques could become the harbingers of natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery, whereas pure natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery is currently still in its beginnings.
PMCID: PMC4278730  PMID: 25565878
flexible endoscopic surgery; endoscopic ultrasound; advanced techniques; natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery
6.  Endoscopic therapy in chronic pancreatitis: current perspectives 
Endoscopic therapy in chronic pancreatitis (CP) aims to provide pain relief and to treat local complications, by using the decompression of the pancreatic duct and the drainage of pseudocysts and biliary strictures, respectively. This is the reason for using it as first-line therapy for painful uncomplicated CP. The clinical response has to be evaluated at 6–8 weeks, when surgery may be chosen. This article reviews the main possibilities of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) therapies. Endotherapy for pancreatic ductal stones uses ultrasound wave lithotripsy and sometimes additional stone extractions. The treatment of pancreatic duct strictures consists of a single large stenting for 1 year. If the stricture persists, simultaneous multiple stents are applied. In case of unsuccessful ERCP, the EUS-guided drainage of the main pancreatic duct (MPD) or a rendezvous technique can solve the ductal strictures. EUS-guided celiac plexus block has limited efficiency in CP. The drainage of symptomatic or complicated pancreatic pseudocysts can be performed transpapillarily or transgastrically/transduodenally, preferably by EUS guidance. When the biliary stricture is symptomatic or progressive, multiple plastic stents are indicated. In conclusion, as in many fields of symptomatic treatment, endoscopy remains the first choice, either by using ERCP or EUS-guided procedures, after consideration of a multidisciplinary team with endoscopists, surgeons, and radiologists. However, what is crucial is establishing the right timing for surgery.
PMCID: PMC4274042  PMID: 25565876
chronic pancreatitis; treatment; endoscopy; ERCP; endoscopic ultrasound
7.  Cathelicidin suppresses colon cancer development by inhibition of cancer associated fibroblasts 
Cathelicidin (LL-37 in humans and mCRAMP in mice) represents a family of endogenous antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory peptides. Cancer-associated fibroblasts can promote the proliferation of colon cancer cells and growth of colon cancer tumors.
We examined the role of cathelicidin in the development of colon cancer, using subcutaneous human HT-29 colon-cancer-cell-derived tumor model in nude mice and azoxymethane- and dextran sulfate-mediated colon cancer model in C57BL/6 mice. We also determined the indirect antitumoral mechanism of cathelicidin via the inhibition of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) of colon cancer cells and fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.
Intravenous administration of cathelicidin expressing adeno-associated virus significantly reduced the size of tumors, tumor-derived collagen expression, and tumor-derived fibroblast expression in HT-29-derived subcutaneous tumors in nude mice. Enema administration of the mouse cathelicidin peptide significantly reduced the size and number of colonic tumors in azoxymethane- and dextran sulfate-treated mice without inducing apoptosis in tumors and the adjacent normal colonic tissues. Cathelicidin inhibited the collagen expression and vimentin-positive fibroblast expression in colonic tumors. Cathelicidin did not directly affect HT-29 cell viability, but did significantly reduce tumor growth factor-β1-induced EMT of colon cancer cells. Media conditioned by the human colonic CCD-18Co fibroblasts promoted human colon cancer HT-29 cell proliferation. Cathelicidin pretreatment inhibited colon cancer cell proliferation mediated by media conditioned by human colonic CCD-18Co fibroblasts. Cathelicidin disrupted tubulin distribution in colonic fibroblasts. Disruption of tubulin in fibroblasts reduced fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.
Cathelicidin effectively inhibits colon cancer development by interfering with EMT and fibroblast-supported colon cancer cell proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4274046  PMID: 25565877
colon cancer; epithelial–mesenchymal transition; fibroblasts
8.  Targeted therapy of short-bowel syndrome with teduglutide: the new kid on the block 
Extensive intestinal resection impairs the absorptive capacity and results in short-bowel syndrome-associated intestinal failure (SBS-IF), when fluid, electrolyte, acid-base, micro-, and macronutrient homeostasis cannot be maintained on a conventional oral diet. Several factors, including the length and site of the resected intestine, anatomical conformation of the remnant bowel, and the degree of postresection intestinal adaptation determine the disease severity. While mild SBS patients achieve nutritional autonomy with dietary modification (eg, hyperphagia, small frequent meals, and oral rehydration fluids), those with moderate-to-severe disease may develop SBS-IF and become dependent on parenteral support (PS) in the form of intravenous fluids and/or nutrition for sustenance of life. SBS-IF is a chronic debilitating disease associated with a poor quality of life, and carries significant morbidity and health care costs. Medical management of SBS-IF is primarily focused on individually tailored symptomatic treatment strategies, such as antisecretory and antidiarrheal agents to mitigate fluid losses, and PS. However, PS administration is associated with potentially life-threatening complications, such as central venous thromboses, bloodstream infections, and liver disease. In pursuit of a targeted therapy to augment intestinal adaptation, research over the past 2 decades has identified glucagon-like peptide, an intestinotrophic gut peptide that has been shown to enhance intestinal absorptive capacity by causing an increase in the villus length, crypt depth, and mesenteric blood flow and by decreasing gastrointestinal motility and secretions. Teduglutide, a recombinant analog of glucagon-like peptide-2, is the first targeted therapeutic agent to gain approval for use in adult SBS-IF. Teduglutide was shown to result in significant (20%–100%) reduction in PS-volume requirement and have a satisfactory safety profile in three randomized control trials. Further research is warranted to see if reduction in PS dependency translates to improved quality of life and reduced PS-associated complications.
PMCID: PMC4266252  PMID: 25525380
short-gut syndrome; intestinal adaptation; glucagon-like peptide-2; teduglutide
9.  Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics in inflammatory bowel disease 
Probiotics are microorganisms that are ingested either in combination or as a single organism in an effort to normalize intestinal microbiota and potentially improve intestinal barrier function. Recent evidence has suggested that inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may result from an inappropriate immunologic response to intestinal bacteria and a disruption in the balance of the gastrointestinal microbiota in genetically susceptible individuals. Prebiotics, synbiotics, and probiotics have all been studied with growing interest as adjuncts to standard therapies for IBD. In general, probiotics have been shown to be well-tolerated with few side effects, making them a potential attractive treatment option in the management of IBD.
To perform a systematic review of randomized controlled trials on the use of probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics in IBD.
In our systematic review we found 14 studies in patients with Crohn’s disease (CD), 21 studies in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC), and five studies in patients with pouchitis. These were randomized controlled trials using probiotics, prebiotics, and/or synbiotics. In patients with CD, multiple studies comparing probiotics and placebo showed no significant difference in clinical outcomes. Adding a probiotic to conventional treatment improved the overall induction of remission rates among patients with UC. There was also a similar benefit in maintaining remission in UC. Probiotics have also shown some efficacy in the treatment of pouchitis after antibiotic-induced remission.
To date, there is insufficient data to recommend probiotics for use in CD. There is evidence to support the use of probiotics for induction and maintenance of remission in UC and pouchitis. Future quality studies are needed to confirm whether probiotics, prebiotics, and synbiotics have a definite role in induction or maintenance of remission in CD, UC, and pouchitis. Similar to probiotics, fecal microbiota transplantation provides an alternate modality of therapy to treat IBD by influencing the intestinal flora.
PMCID: PMC4266241  PMID: 25525379
inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis; pouchitis; probiotics; prebiotics; synbiotics
10.  Pharmacokinetics and safety of dexlansoprazole MR in pediatric patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease 
To evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetic profile of dexlansoprazole modified-release (MR) capsules in pediatric patients with symptomatic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
This Phase I, open-label study enrolled male and female patients (1 to 11 years of age) with GERD. Patients received dexlansoprazole MR 15 mg, 30 mg, or 60 mg (according to weight) once daily for 7 days. Blood samples for the measurement of plasma dexlansoprazole concentrations were collected for 24 hours after the day 7 dose. Dexlansoprazole plasma concentrations and pharmacokinetic parameters were summarized by dose group. Safety assessments included adverse events (AEs), clinical laboratory evaluations, fasting gastrin concentrations, physical examinations, electrocardiograms, and vital signs.
Thirty-six patients received study drug (12 per dose group), and 31 had evaluable pharmacokinetic data. There was a significant effect of weight on dose-normalized area under the curve (AUC, P=0.003) and dose-normalized maximum plasma concentration (Cmax) (P=0.013), indicating that for a given dose, dexlansoprazole exposure decreases as body weight increases. After adjusting for body weight, both dexlansoprazole Cmax and AUC increased in an approximately dose-proportional manner with increasing dexlansoprazole dose. A total of ten of 36 patients reported at least one treatment-emergent AE, with most events considered mild in intensity. The most common AEs were vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and nausea.
In 1- to 11-year-old patients with symptomatic GERD, weight-adjusted dexlansoprazole AUC and Cmax increased approximately dose-proportionally. However, for a given dose, dexlansoprazole exposure decreased with increasing body weight. Dexlansoprazole MR was well tolerated, and the incidence of AEs did not increase with increasing dose.
PMCID: PMC4266249  PMID: 25525378
TAK-390MR; dual delayed release; proton pump inhibitor
11.  Radiofrequency ablation using BarRx for the endoscopic treatment of radiation proctopathy: a series of three cases 
Radiation proctopathy is a complication of pelvic radiotherapy, which occurs in patients treated for carcinoma of the prostate, rectum, urinary bladder, cervix, uterus, and testes. If it presents within 6 weeks to 9 months after therapy, it is called acute radiation proctitis/proctopathy (ARP), and if it occurs 9 months to a year after treatment, it is classified as chronic radiation proctitis/proctopathy (CRP). CRP occurs in 5%–20% of patients receiving pelvic radiation, depending on the radiation dose and the presence or absence of chemotherapy. In many cases, CRP resolves spontaneously, but in some, it can lead to persistent rectal bleeding. Other symptoms of CRP include diarrhea, mucoid discharge, urgency, tenesmus, rectal pain, and fecal incontinence. Despite the availability of several therapies, many patients fail to respond, and continue to suffer in their quality of life. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a newer endoscopic technique that uses radiofrequency energy to ablate tissue. This is an emerging way to treat radiation proctopathy and other mucosal telangiectasia. We present three cases of radiation proctopathy treated with RFA at our institute and review the literature on treatment modalities for CRP. We were also able to find 16 other cases of CRP that used RFA, and review their literature as well as literature on other treatment modalities.
PMCID: PMC4266256  PMID: 25525377
radiofrequency ablation; radiation proctopathy; BarRx; Halo catheter
12.  Association between juxtapapillary diverticulum and acute cholangitis determined using laboratory data 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between juxtapapillary diverticulum (JD) and acute cholangitis (AC), and to analyze laboratory data to reveal the underlying mechanism. We conducted a retrospective review of 139 patients who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) between April 2008 and March 2013 for diagnosis or treatment of biliary tract conditions. The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used for comparison of variables between patients with or without JD. The χ2 test was used to analyze the association between JD and AC duct dilatation. Logistic regression analysis was performed to identify variables with strong correlation with AC. ERCP was attempted in 139 patients, but in one patient the endoscope did not reach the papilla of Vater because of a partial gastrectomy, and in two patients evaluation for JD was not possible because of duodenal or papilla of Vater cancer. Therefore, 136 patients were included in this study. JD was significantly associated with AC (P<0.0001) and bile-duct dilatation (P=0.0107), and AC was strongly associated with bile duct dilatation (P=0.0013). Alkaline phosphatase levels were significantly elevated in patients with JD (P=0.0237). In AC patients without JD, χ2 for C-reactive protein was 4.48 (P=0.0342), whereas in AC patients with JD, χ2 values for the white blood cell count, alkaline phosphatase, and aspartate aminotransferase were 2.62, 3.1, and 3.61, respectively (P=0.025, 0.015, and 0.0336, respectively). JD was strongly associated with AC. Logistic regression analysis suggested that bile flow was disturbed with JD.
PMCID: PMC4242068  PMID: 25429235
logistic regression analysis; bile-duct dilatation; alkaline phosphatase; bile flow; papilla of Vater; Wilcoxon singed-rank test; χ2 test
13.  Hereditary angioedema: what the gastroenterologist needs to know 
Up to 93% of patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE) experience recurrent abdominal pain. Many of these patients, who often present to emergency departments, primary care physicians, general surgeons, or gastroenterologists, are misdiagnosed for years and undergo unnecessary testing and surgical procedures. Making the diagnosis of HAE can be challenging because symptoms and attack locations are often inconsistent from one episode to the next. Abdominal attacks are common and can occur without other attack locations. An early, accurate diagnosis is central to managing HAE. Unexplained abdominal pain, particularly when accompanied by swelling of the face and extremities, suggests the diagnosis of HAE. A family history and radiologic imaging demonstrating edematous bowel also support an HAE diagnosis. Once HAE is suspected, C4 and C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH) laboratory studies are usually diagnostic. Patients with HAE may benefit from recently approved specific treatments, including plasma-derived C1-INH or recombinant C1-INH, a bradykinin B2-receptor antagonist, or a kallikrein inhibitor as first-line therapy and solvent/detergent-treated or fresh frozen plasma as second-line therapy for acute episodes. Short-term or long-term prophylaxis with nanofiltered C1-INH or attenuated androgens will prevent or reduce the frequency and severity of episodes. Gastroenterologists can play a critical role in identifying and treating patients with HAE, and should have a high index of suspicion when encountering patients with recurrent, unexplained bouts of abdominal pain. Given the high rate of abdominal attacks in HAE, it is important for gastroenterologists to appropriately diagnose and promptly recognize and treat HAE, or refer patients with HAE to an allergist.
PMCID: PMC4242071  PMID: 25429234
hereditary angioedema; abdominal pain; diagnosis
14.  Reexamination of the relationship between the prevalence of hepatitis C virus and parenteral antischistosomal therapy among Egyptians resident in Qatar 
Egypt has the highest prevalence of recorded hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide, estimated nationally at 14.7%, which is attributed to extensive iatrogenic transmission during the era of parenteral antischistosomal therapy (PAT) mass-treatment campaigns. The objective of our study was to attempt to highlight to what extent HCV transmission is ongoing and discuss the possible risk factors. We studied the prevalence of HCV among 7.8% of Egyptians resident in Qatar in relation to age, socioeconomic status, and PAT and discuss the possible risk factors. HCV testing was conducted in 2,335 participants, and results were positive for 13.5%, and 8.5% for those aged below 35 years. The prevalence of HCV in the PAT-positive population was 23.7% (123 of 518, 95% confidence interval [CI] 20.2%–27.6%) compared with 11.2% in the PAT-negative group. Significantly higher HCV prevalence occurred in participants who were older than 50 years (23%, 95% CI 19.3%–27.1%) compared to those aged 45–50 years (19.3%, 95% CI 15.2%–23.8%), 35–45 years (11.1%, 95% CI 8.9%–13.7%), and less than 35 years (8.5%, 95% CI 6.8%–10.4%) (P<0.0001). Insignificant higher prevalence occurred in the low socioeconomic group (14.2%, 95% CI 11.3%–17.4%). Logistic regression analysis revealed that increasing age, history of PAT, bilharziasis, and praziquantel were common risk factors, but there was no relation with dental care. Host genetic predisposition seems to be a plausible underlying factor for susceptibility among Egyptians and intense ongoing infection.
PMCID: PMC4224023  PMID: 25395869
epidemiology; HCV; schistosomiasis
15.  Fungal infection of the colon 
Fungi are pathogens that commonly infect immunocompromised patients and can affect any organs of the body, including the colon. However, the literature provides limited details on colonic infections caused by fungi. This article is an intensive review of information available on the fungi that can cause colon infections. It uses a comparative style so that its conclusions may be accessible for clinical application.
PMCID: PMC4211850  PMID: 25364269
fungus; colitis; large bowel; large intestine
16.  The p53/microRNA connection in gastrointestinal cancer 
The protein encoded by the TP53 gene is one of the most important suppressors of tumor formation, which is also frequently inactivated in gastrointestinal cancer. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that inhibit translation and/or promote degradation of their target messenger RNAs. In recent years, several miRNAs have been identified as mediators and regulators of p53’s tumor suppressing functions. p53 induces expression and/or maturation of several miRNAs, which leads to the repression of critical effector proteins. Furthermore, certain miRNAs regulate the expression and activity of p53 through direct repression of p53 or its regulators. Experimental findings indicate that miRNAs are important components of the p53 network. In addition, the frequent genetic and epigenetic alterations of p53-regulated miRNAs in tumors indicate that they play an important role in cancer initiation and/or progression. Therefore, p53-regulated miRNAs may represent attractive diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers. Moreover, restoration of p53-induced miRNAs results in suppression of tumor growth and metastasis in mouse models of cancer. Thus, miRNA-based therapeutics may represent a feasible strategy for future cancer treatment. Here we summarize the current published state-of-the-art on the role of the p53-miRNA connection in gastrointestinal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4198153  PMID: 25328413
p53; microRNA; cancer; gastrointestinal tract
17.  Psychometric validation of patient-reported outcome measures assessing chronic constipation 
Measures assessing treatment outcomes in previous CC clinical trials have not met the requirements described in the US Food and Drug Administration’s guidance on patient-reported outcomes.
Psychometric analyses using data from one Phase IIb study and two Phase III trials of linaclotide for the treatment of chronic constipation (CC) were conducted to document the measurement properties of patient-reported CC Symptom Severity Measures.
Study methods
Each study had a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design, comparing placebo to four doses of oral linaclotide taken once daily for 4 weeks in the Phase IIb dose-ranging study (n=307) and to two doses of linaclotide taken once daily for 12 weeks in the Phase III trials (n=1,272). The CC Symptom Severity Measures addressing bowel function (Bowel Movement Frequency, Stool Consistency, Straining) and abdominal symptoms (Bloating, Abdominal Discomfort, Abdominal Pain) were administered daily using interactive voice-response system technology. Intraclass correlations, Pearson correlations, factor analyses, F-tests, and effect sizes were computed.
The CC Symptom Severity Measures demonstrated satisfactory test–retest reliability and construct validity. Factor analyses indicated one factor for abdominal symptoms and another for bowel symptoms. Known-groups F-tests substantiated the discriminating ability of the CC Symptom Severity Measures. Responsiveness statistics were moderate to strong, indicating that these measures are capable of detecting change.
In large studies of CC patients, linaclotide significantly improved abdominal and bowel symptoms. These psychometric analyses support the reliability, validity, discriminating ability, and responsiveness of the CC Symptom Severity Measures for evaluating treatment outcomes in the linaclotide clinical studies.
PMCID: PMC4186570  PMID: 25298737
psychometric evaluation; patient-reported outcomes; linaclotide
18.  Long-term efficacy and safety of once-daily mesalazine granules for the treatment of active ulcerative colitis 
In 1977, 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) was discovered as a therapeutically active moiety of sulfasalazine (SASP) and was launched for topical and oral therapy of ulcerative colitis (UC) in 1984. As a first-step, delivery systems had to be developed to protect 5-ASA against absorption in the upper gastrointestinal tract, resulting in different and competing strategies (azo compounds, controlled release, and pH-dependent release). In a second step, at the beginning of the new century, coinciding with the expiration of patent protection for the first 5-ASA formulations, two component composite release mechanisms (pH-dependent and controlled release) were developed. Furthermore, the drug was formulated as granules instead of tablets, allowing higher unit strengths compared with tablets. Neither Salofalk Granu-Stix®, nor MMX 5-ASA, nor Pentasa® granules have initially been developed for once-daily (OD) dosing. A review of the achievements of 20 years of 5-ASA development has demonstrated that 5-ASA has equal efficacy compared with SASP at best, that there are no measurable differences in efficacy between various 5-ASA preparations, and that in a group of patients tolerating SASP, adverse event profiles of SASP and 5-ASA did not differ significantly, with SASP being the far cheaper substance. Therefore, drug adherence came into focus as a new goal for improving UC therapy. Although adherence is a complex and multifactorial construct, a simple dosing schedule may contribute to higher drug adherence and better efficacy of treatment. Simultaneously, the US 5-ASA market, estimated to be worth US$1.4 billion, is expected to grow continuously. Naturally, this very competitive market is not only driven by scientific progress but also by commercial interests. Thus, patents for minor changes to the formulation may serve as protection against drug companies trying to launch generic versions. Randomized controlled trials performed on OD dosing in induction of remission have demonstrated that OD administration of 5-ASA is as effective as conventional dosing in mild to moderate active UC. The three 5-ASA products MMX, Salofalk®, and Pentasa® employed in those studies so far have not shown differences in efficacy between OD and conventional dosing. No differences regarding safety outcomes have been detected between OD and conventional dosing, including incidence of adverse events, serious adverse events, or withdrawal from treatment due to an adverse event. Although the majority of patients prefer OD dosing to conventional dosing, it was not possible to detect differences in adherence between OD and multiple dose regimens in the clinical trial setting. Well-designed and controlled large-scale community-based studies are necessary to further investigate and prove the point of improved long-term adherence and treatment efficacy in OD dosing.
PMCID: PMC4181447  PMID: 25285021
dosing; adherence; mesalamine; 5-aminosalicylic acid
19.  Clinical potential of naloxegol in the management of opioid-induced bowel dysfunction 
Opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OIBD) is a burdensome condition which limits the therapeutic benefit of analgesia. It affects the entire gastrointestinal tract, predominantly by activating opioid receptors in the enteric nervous system, resulting in a wide range of symptoms, such as reflux, bloating, abdominal cramping, hard, dry stools, and incomplete evacuation. The majority of studies evaluating OIBD focus on constipation experienced in approximately 60% of patients. Nevertheless, other presentations of OIBD seem to be equally frequent. Furthermore, laxative treatment is often insufficient, which in many patients results in decreased quality of life and discontinuation of opioid treatment. Novel mechanism-based pharmacological approaches targeting the gastrointestinal opioid receptors have been marketed recently and even more are in the pipeline. One strategy is prolonged release formulation of the opioid antagonist naloxone (which has limited systemic absorption) and oxycodone in a combined tablet. Another approach is peripherally acting, μ-opioid receptor antagonists (PAMORAs) that selectively target μ-opioid receptors in the gastrointestinal tract. However, in Europe the only PAMORA approved for OIBD is the subcutaneously administered methylnaltrexone. Alvimopan is an oral PAMORA, but only approved in the US for postoperative ileus in hospitalized patients. Finally, naloxegol is a novel, oral PAMORA expected to be approved soon. In this review, the prevalence and pathophysiology of OIBD is presented. As PAMORAs seem to be a promising approach, their potential effect is reviewed with special focus on naloxegol’s pharmacological properties, data on safety, efficacy, and patient-focused perspectives. In conclusion, as naloxegol is administered orally once daily, has proven efficacious compared to placebo, has an acceptable safety profile, and can be used as add-on to existing pain treatment, it is a welcoming addition to the targeted treatment possibilities for OIBD.
PMCID: PMC4179399  PMID: 25278772
opioids; gut; dysfunction; constipation; naloxegol; opioid antagonists
20.  Management of inflammatory bowel disease in poor responders to infliximab 
Infliximab (IFX) is an effective treatment for inducing and maintaining response in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis patients. Some patients present lack of response or loss of response to IFX during maintenance therapy. Empirical management with combination therapy with an immunomodulator, IFX dose escalation, or switching IFX for another antitumor necrosis factor-α drug, mainly adalimumab, is common in clinical practice. Selecting the best choice with the help of serum drug concentrations and trough IFX antibody concentrations could be a very interesting approach. In addition to surgery, a broad spectrum of new drugs has been tested and could expand treatment options in the near future.
PMCID: PMC4171998  PMID: 25258548
inflammatory bowel disease; Crohn’s disease; ulcerative colitis; anti-TNF; infliximab; treatment
21.  Quantitative assessment of the multiple processes responsible for bilirubin homeostasis in health and disease 
Serum bilirubin measurements are commonly obtained for the evaluation of ill patients and to screen for liver disease in routine physical exams. An enormous research effort has identified the multiple mechanisms involved in the production and metabolism of conjugated (CB) and unconjugated bilirubin (UB). While the qualitative effects of these mechanisms are well understood, their expected quantitative influence on serum bilirubin homeostasis has received less attention. In this review, each of the steps involved in bilirubin production, metabolism, hepatic cell uptake, and excretion is quantitatively examined. We then attempt to predict the expected effect of normal and defective function on serum UB and CB levels in health and disease states including hemolysis, extra- and intrahepatic cholestasis, hepatocellular diseases (eg, cirrhosis, hepatitis), and various congenital defects in bilirubin conjugation and secretion (eg, Gilbert’s, Dubin–Johnson, Crigler–Najjar, Rotor syndromes). Novel aspects of this review include: 1) quantitative estimates of the free and total UB and CB in the plasma, hepatocyte, and bile; 2) detailed discussion of the important implications of the recently recognized role of the hepatic OATP transporters in the maintenance of CB homeostasis; 3) discussion of the differences between the standard diazo assay versus chromatographic measurement of CB and UB; 4) pharmacokinetic implications of the extremely high-affinity albumin binding of UB; 5) role of the enterohepatic circulation in physiologic jaundice of newborn and fasting hyperbilirubinemia; and 6) insights concerning the clinical interpretation of bilirubin measurements.
PMCID: PMC4159128  PMID: 25214800
liver; conjugation; diazo; albumin; Rotor
22.  The role of everolimus in liver transplantation 
During the last 5 decades, liver transplantation has witnessed rapid development in terms of both technical and pharmacologic advances. Since their discovery, calcineurin inhibitors (CNIs) have remained the standard of care for immunosuppression therapy in liver transplantation, improving both patient and graft survival. However, adverse events, particularly posttransplant nephrotoxicity, associated with long-term CNI use have necessitated the development of alternate treatment approaches. These include combination therapy with a CNI and the inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase inhibitor mycophenolic acid and use of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors. Everolimus, a 40-O-(2-hydroxyethyl) derivative of mTOR inhibitor sirolimus, has a distinct pharmacokinetic profile. Several studies have assessed the role of everolimus in liver transplant recipients in combination with CNI reduction or as a CNI withdrawal strategy. The efficacy of everolimus-based immunosuppressive therapy has been demonstrated in both de novo and maintenance liver transplant recipients. A pivotal study in 719 de novo liver transplant recipients formed the basis of the recent approval of everolimus in combination with steroids and reduced-dose tacrolimus in liver transplantation. In this study, everolimus introduced at 30 days posttransplantation in combination with reduced-dose tacrolimus (exposure reduced by 39%) showed comparable efficacy (composite efficacy failure rate of treated biopsy-proven acute rejection, graft loss, or death) and achieved superior renal function as early as month 1 and maintained it over 2 years versus standard exposure tacrolimus. This review provides an overview of the efficacy and safety of everolimus-based regimens in liver transplantation in the de novo and maintenance settings, as well as in special populations such as patients with hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence, hepatitis C virus-positive patients, and pediatric transplant recipients. We also provide an overview of ongoing studies and discuss potential expansion of the role for everolimus in these settings.
PMCID: PMC4159129  PMID: 25214801
mTOR inhibitors; everolimus; liver transplantation; efficacy; safety
23.  Interleukins in chronic liver disease: lessons learned from experimental mouse models 
Interleukins represent a class of immunomodulatory cytokines, small intercellular signaling proteins, that are critically involved in the regulation of immune responses. They are produced in large amounts by various cell types during inflammatory reactions, and the balance of cytokines determines the outcome of an immune response. Therefore, cytokines are regarded as interesting therapeutic targets for the treatment of patients with liver diseases. Mouse models provide a good tool for in vivo studies on cytokine function, as human and mouse cytokines share many homologies. Sophisticated mouse models either mimicking distinct pathological conditions or targeting cytokines and cytokine-signaling pathways in the liver or even in distinct cellular compartments have provided enormous insight into the different functions of interleukins during hepatic inflammation. Interleukins may have pro- as well as anti-inflammatory functions in chronic liver diseases, some interleukins even both, dependent on the inflammatory stimulus, the producing and the responding cell type. IL-17, for example, promotes hepatic fibrogenesis through activation of hepatic stellate cells and facilitates development of liver cancer through recruitment of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. IL-22, on the other hand, protects from development of fibrosis or steatohepatitis. IL-12 balances T-helper (Th)-1 and Th2 cell responses in infectious disease models. IL-13 and IL-33, two cytokines related to Th2 cells and innate lymphoid cells, promote fibrotic responses in the liver. IL-10 is the prototypic anti-inflammatory interleukin with tissue-protective functions during chronic liver injury and fibrogenesis. Despite its critical role for inducing the acute-phase response in the liver, IL-6 signaling is protective during fibrosis progression, but promotes hepatocellular carcinoma. Experimental studies in mice help to define the exact influence of a specific cytokine on the outcome of chronic liver diseases and to identify useful therapeutic targets.
PMCID: PMC4158890  PMID: 25214799
liver fibrosis; liver cirrhosis; liver cancer; interleukin; cytokine; T cell
24.  Advances, problems, and complications of polypectomy 
The major role of colonoscopy with polypectomy in reducing the incidence of and mortality from colorectal cancer has been firmly established. Yet there is cause to be uneasy. One of the most striking recent findings is that there is an alarmingly high incomplete polyp removal rate. This phenomenon, together with missed polyps during screening colonoscopy, is thought to be responsible for the majority of interval cancers. Knowledge of serrated polyps needs to broaden as well, since they are quite often missed or incompletely removed. Removal of small and diminutive polyps is almost devoid of complications. Cold snare polypectomy seems to be the best approach for these lesions, with biopsy forcep removal reserved only for the tiniest of polyps. Hot snare or hot biopsy forcep removal of these lesions is no longer recommended. Endoscopic mucosal resection and endoscopic submucosal dissection have proven to be effective in the removal of large colorectal lesions, avoiding surgery in the majority of patients, with acceptably low complication rates. Variants of these approaches, as well as new hybrid techniques, are being currently tested. In this paper, we review the current status of the different approaches in removing polypoid and nonpolypoid lesions of the colon, their complications, and future directions in the prevention of colorectal cancer.
PMCID: PMC4155740  PMID: 25210470
cold snare polypectomy; serrated polyps; endoscopic resection; submucosal; mucosal; colonoscopy; adenoma; colorectal cancer; bleeding; perforation
25.  Diagnosis and management of microscopic colitis: current perspectives 
Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis, together constituting microscopic colitis, are common causes of chronic diarrhea. They are characterized clinically by chronic nonbloody diarrhea and a macroscopically normal colonic mucosa where characteristic histopathological findings are seen. Previously considered rare, they now have emerged as common disorders that need to be considered in the investigation of the patient with chronic diarrhea. The annual incidence of each disorder is five to ten per 100,000 inhabitants, with a peak incidence in 60- to 70-year-old individuals and a predominance of female patients in collagenous colitis. The etiology and pathophysiology are not well understood, and the current view suggests an uncontrolled mucosal immune reaction to various luminal agents in predisposed individuals. Clinical symptoms comprise chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and fecal incontinence that may impair the patient’s health-related quality of life. An association is reported with other autoimmune disorders, such as celiac disease, thyroid disorders, diabetes mellitus, and arthritis. The best-documented treatment, both short-term and long-term, is budesonide, which induces clinical remission in up to 80% of patients after 8 weeks’ treatment. However, after successful budesonide therapy is ended, recurrence of clinical symptoms is common, and the best possible long-term management deserves further study. The long-term prognosis is good, and the risk of complications, including colonic cancer, is low. We present an update of the epidemiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, and management of microscopic colitis.
PMCID: PMC4144984  PMID: 25170275
microscopic colitis; collagenous colitis; lymphocytic colitis; chronic diarrhea; budesonide

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