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1.  Autopsy analyses in acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):109.
Acute exacerbation of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (AE-IPF) is associated with high mortality. However, few studies have so far reviewed analyses of autopsy findings in patients with AE-IPF.
We retrospectively reviewed 52 consecutive patients with AE-IPF who underwent autopsies at five university hospitals and one municipal hospital between 1999 and 2013. The following variables were abstracted from the medical records: demographic and clinical data, autopsy findings and complications during the clinical course until death.
The median age at autopsy was 71 years (range 47–86 years), and the subjects included 38 (73.1%) males. High-dose corticosteroid therapy was initiated in 45 (86.5%) patients after AE-IPF. The underling fibrotic lesion was classified as having the usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP) pattern in all cases. Furthermore, 41 (78.8%) patients had diffuse alveolar damage (DAD), 15 (28.8%) exhibited pulmonary hemorrhage, nine (17.3%) developed pulmonary thromboembolism and six (11.5%) were diagnosed with lung carcinoma. In addition, six (11.5%) patients developed pneumothorax prior to death and 26 (53.1%) developed diabetes that required insulin treatment after the administration of high-dose corticosteroid therapy. In addition, 15 (28.8%) patients presented with bronchopneumonia during their clinical course and/or until death, including fungal (seven, 13.5%), cytomegalovirus (six, 11.5%) and bacterial (five, 9.6%) infections.
The pathological findings in patients with AE-IPF represent not only DAD, but also a variety of pathological conditions. Therefore, making a diagnosis of AE-IPF is often difficult, and the use of cautious diagnostic approaches is required for appropriate treatment.
PMCID: PMC4243719  PMID: 25176016
Acute exacerbation; Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; Autopsy; Diffuse alveolar damage
2.  Mechanism of Resistance to S138A Substituted Enfuvirtide and its Application to Peptide Design 
T-20 (enfuvirtide) resistance is caused by the N43D primary resistance mutation at its presumed binding site at the N-terminal heptad repeat (N-HR) of gp41, accompanied by the S138A secondary mutation at the C-terminal HR of gp41 (C-HR). We have discovered that modifying T-20 to include S138A (T-20S138A) allows it to efficiently block wild-type and T20-resistant viruses, by a mechanism that involves improved binding of T-20S138A to the N-HR that contains the N43D primary mutation. To determine how HIV-1 in turn escapes T-20S138A we used a dose escalation method to select T-20S138A-resistant HIV-1 starting with either wild-type (HIV-1WT) or T-20-resistant (HIV-1N43D/S138A) virus. We found that when starting with WT background, I37N and L44M emerged in the N-HR of gp41, and N126K in the C-HR. However, when starting with HIV-1N43D/S138A, L33S and I69L emerged in N-HR, and E137K in C-HR. T-20S138A-resistant recombinant HIV-1 showed cross-resistance to other T-20 derivatives, but not to C34 derivatives, suggesting that T-20S138A suppressed HIV-1 replication by a similar mechanism to T-20. Furthermore, E137K enhanced viral replication kinetics and restored binding affinity with N-HR containing N43D, indicating that it acts as a secondary, compensatory mutation. We therefore introduced E137K into T-20S138A (T-20E137K/S138A) and revealed that T-20E137K/S138A moderately suppressed replication of T-20S138A-resistant HIV-1. T-20E137K/S138A retained activity to HIV-1 without L33S, which seems to be a key mutation for T-20 derivatives. Our data demonstrate that secondary mutations can be consistently used for the design of peptide inhibitors that block replication of HIV resistant to fusion inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4136414  PMID: 23357451
resistance; HIV-1; gp41; T-20; mutation; fusion inhibitor
3.  Pleuroparenchymal Fibroelastosis: Its Clinical Characteristics 
Pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis (PPFE) is a rare pulmonary fibrosis that is clinically characterized by upper-lobe predominant fibrosis. PPFE is a slowly progressive disorder and its first symptom is dyspnea or dry cough. Chest pain because of pneumothorax may be the first symptom in some patients. Patients with PPFE are slender with a flat rib cage or abnormally narrowed anterior–posterior thoracic dimension. Decreases in forced vital capacity, total lung capacity, and diffusing capacity are respiratory-function characteristics of PPFE, similar to those seen in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The most remarkable difference in clinical features between PPFE and IPF is imaging findings, with upper-lobe-predominant lesions in PPFE and lower-lobe-predominant lesions in IPF.
PMCID: PMC3933942  PMID: 24578677
Pleuroparenchymal fibroelastosis (PPFE); pulmonary upper lobe fibrosis; pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
4.  Two patients with new granulomatous lung lesions during treatment of Crohn's disease 
Two patients with granulomatous lung lesions thought to be related to Crohn's disease (CD) are reported. Patient 1 was a 43-year-old man who was diagnosed with CD at age 11 years. He developed a fever in the 38 °C, and a chest X-ray and CT scan showed infiltrates with air bronchograms in the right upper lobe and left lingular segment. Transbronchial lung biopsy (TBLB) revealed granulomatous lesions. Patient 2 was a 76-year-old woman who was diagnosed with CD at age 44 years. Chest CT showed infiltrates and nodular shadows in both lung fields. Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS) in June 2012 revealed granulomatous lesions. Tuberculosis, fungal infections, drug-induced lung disorder, and sarcoidosis were ruled out as a cause of the granulomatous lesions in both patients. The aetiology was thought to be CD.
PMCID: PMC4061430
Crohn's disease; Sarcoidosis; Granulomatous lung lesions
5.  HIV-1 Resistance Mechanism to an Electrostatically Constrained Peptide Fusion Inhibitor That Is Active against T-20-Resistant Strains 
T-20EK is a novel fusion inhibitor designed to have enhanced α-helicity over T-20 (enfuvirtide) through engineered electrostatic interactions between glutamic acid (E) and lysine (K) substitutions. T-20EK efficiently suppresses wild-type and T-20-resistant variants. Here, we selected T-20EK-resistant variants. A combination of L33S and N43K substitutions in gp41 were required for high resistance to T-20EK. While these substitutions also caused resistance to T-20, they did not cause cross-resistance to other known fusion inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3719727  PMID: 23689710
6.  Relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia with unusual multiple bone invasions: A case report 
Oncology Letters  2014;7(4):991-993.
The present study describes a unique pediatric case with multiple bone invasions of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during remission. An eight-year-old male with a history of ALL was admitted complaining of intermittent and migrating pain in the limb 2 years following complete remission. Magnetic resonance imaging and whole-body positron emission tomography with 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose revealed abnormal multifocal involvement in the bones and corresponding soft tissues. Repeated bone marrow (BM) aspiration indicated normal cellular marrow without leukemic cells, and marked leukemic cell infiltration in different sections of the ilium, respectively. These findings suggested isolated bone relapse, and it is probable that systematic BM relapse occurred as a consequence.
PMCID: PMC3961366  PMID: 24944655
acute lymphoblastic leukemia; bone relapse; positron emission tomography; computed tomography
7.  Low-molecular-weight lipoprotein (a) and low relative lymphocyte concentration are significant and independent risk factors for coronary heart disease in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: Lp(a) phenotype, lymphocyte, and coronary heart disease 
The aim of the present prospective study was to examine whether lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] phenotypes and/or low relative lymphocyte concentration (LRLC) are independently associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Serum Lp(a) concentration, Lp(a) phenotypes, and RLC were analyzed in 214 subjects. Lp(a) phenotypes were classified into 7 subtypes according to sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis by Western blotting. Subjects were assigned to the low-molecular-weight (LMW (number of KIV repeats: 11–22) ) and high-molecular-weight (HMW( number of KIV repeats: >22 )) Lp(a) groups according to Lp(a) phenotype and to the LRLC (RLC: <20.3%) and normal RLC (NRLC; RLC: ≥20.3%) groups according to RLC. A CHD event was defined as the occurrence of angina pectoris or myocardial infarction during the follow-up period.
During the follow-up period, 30 cases of CHD events were verified. Neutrophil count showed no correlation with CHD, while relative neutrophil concentration and RLC showed positive and negative correlations, respectively, with CHD. The Cox proportional hazard model analysis revealed the following hazard ratios adjusted for LMW Lp(a), LRLC, and LMW Lp(a) + LRLC: (4.31; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.99-9.32; P < 0.01, 3.621; 95% CI, 1.50-8.75; P < 0.05, and 7.15; 95% CI, 2.17-23.56; P < 0.01, respectively).
Our results suggest that both LMW Lp(a) and LRLC are significant and independent risk factors for CHD and that the combination thereof more strongly predicts CHD in patients with T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3606419  PMID: 23496967
Lipoprotein (a) phenotype; Relative lymphocyte concentration; Coronary heart disease
8.  Relationship between postprandial glucose level and carotid artery stiffness in patients without diabetes or cardiovascular disease 
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between postprandial glucose level and atherosclerosis in patients without diabetes and cardiovascular disease by determining carotid ultrasonographic variables and serum levels of 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG).
The subjects were 72 patients without diabetes and cardiovascular disease being treated for hypertension or dyslipidemia. The clinical characteristics of all subjects, including the serum level of 1,5-AG, which appears to be well suited for monitoring postprandial hyperglycemia, were evaluated after an overnight fast. The average intima-media thickness (IMT) and the average pulsatility index (PI) of the right and left common carotid arteries were determined with high-resolution ultrasonography and used as ultrasonographic variables. The subjects were divided into a Lower 1,5-AG group (n = 36) and a Higher 1,5-AG group (n = 36). We evaluated the relationship between clinical characteristics and ultrasonographic variables of the carotid artery in both groups.
The average PI in the Lower 1,5-AG group was significantly higher than that in the Higher 1,5-AG group, but the average IMT did not differ between the groups. Linear regression analysis, with the ultrasonographic variables as the dependent variables, with 1,5-AG as the independent variable, and adjusted for other clinical characteristics, showed significant correlation between 1,5-AG and the PI but not between 1,5-AG and IMT.
Our results suggest that postprandial hyperglycemia increases carotid artery stiffness, but not morphological change, in patients without diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3598373  PMID: 23442745
1,5-anhydroglucitol; Pulsatility index; Postprandial glucose; Nondiabetic patients
9.  Catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide into dimethyl carbonate using reduced copper-cerium oxide catalysts as low as 353 K and 1.3 MPa and the reaction mechanism 
Synthesis of dimethyl carbonate (DMC) from CO2 and methanol under milder reaction conditions was performed using reduced cerium oxide catalysts and reduced copper-promoted Ce oxide catalysts. Although the conversion of methanol was low (0.005–0.11%) for 2 h of reaction, DMC was synthesized as low as 353 K and at total pressure of as low as 1.3 MPa using reduced Cu–CeO2 catalyst (0.5 wt% of Cu). The apparent activation energy was 120 kJ mol−1 and the DMC synthesis rates were proportional to the partial pressure of CO2. An optimum amount of Cu addition to CeO2 was 0.1 wt% for DMC synthesis under the conditions at 393 K and total pressure of 1.3 MPa for 2 h (conversion of methanol: 0.15%) due to the compromise of two effects of Cu: the activation of H2 during reduction prior to the kinetic tests and the block (cover) of the surface active site. The reduction effects in H2 were monitored through the reduction of Ce4+ sites to Ce3+ based on the shoulder peak intensity at 5727 eV in the Ce L3-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES). The Ce3+ content was 10% for reduced CeO2 catalyst whereas it increased to 15% for reduced Cu–CeO2 catalyst (0.5 wt% of Cu). Moreover, the content of reduced Ce3+ sites (10%) associated with the surface O vacancy (defect sites) decreased to 5% under CO2 at 290 K for reduced Cu–CeO2 catalyst (0.1 wt% of Cu). The adsorption step of CO2 on the defect sites might be the key step in DMC synthesis and thus the DMC synthesis rate dependence on the partial pressure of CO2 was proportional. Subsequent H atom subtraction steps from methanol at the neighboring surface Lewis base sites should combine two methoxy species to the adsorbed CO2 to form DMC, water, and restore the surface O vacancy.
PMCID: PMC3982563  PMID: 24790937
CO2; dimethyl carbonate; cerium oxide; partial reduction; X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES); oxygen vacancy; hydrogen subtraction; environmental catalyst
10.  The effects of postprandial glucose and insulin levels on postprandial endothelial function in subjects with normal glucose tolerance 
Previous studies have demonstrated that postprandial hyperglycemia attenuates brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD) in prediabetic patients, in diabetic patients, and even in normal subjects. We have previously reported that postprandial hyperinsulinemia also attenuates FMD. In the present study we evaluated the relationship between different degrees of postprandial attenuation of FMD induced by postprandial hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia and differences in ingested carbohydrate content in non-diabetic individuals.
Thirty-seven healthy subjects with no family history of diabetes were divided into 3 groups: a 75-g oral glucose loading group (OG group) (n = 14), a test meal group (TM group) (n = 12; 400 kcal, carbohydrate content 40.7 g), and a control group (n = 11). The FMD was measured at preload (FMD0) and at 60 minutes (FMD60) and 120 (FMD120) minutes after loading. Plasma glucose (PG) and immunoreactive insulin (IRI) levels were determined at preload (PG0, IRI0) and at 30 (PG30, IRI30), 60 (PG60, IRI60), and 120 (PG120, IRI120) minutes after loading.
Percentage decreases from FMD0 to FMD60 were significantly greater in the TM group (−21.19% ± 17.90%; P < 0.001) and the OG group (−17.59% ± 26.64%) than in the control group (6.46% ± 9.17%; P < 0.01), whereas no significant difference was observed between the TM and OG groups. In contrast, the percentage decrease from FMD0 to FMD120 was significantly greater in the OG group (−18.91% ± 16.58%) than in the control group (6.78% ± 11.43%; P < 0.001) or the TM group (5.22% ± 37.22%; P < 0.05), but no significant difference was observed between the control and TM groups. The FMD60 was significantly correlated with HOMA-IR (r = −0.389; P < 0.05). In contrast, FMD120 was significantly correlated with IRI60 (r = −0.462; P < 0.05) and the AUC of IRI (r = −0.468; P < 0.05). Furthermore, the percentage change from FMD0 to FMD120 was significantly correlated with the CV of PG (r = 0.404; P < 0.05), IRI60 (r = 0.401; p < 0.05) and the AUC of IRI (r = 0.427; P < 0.05). No significant correlation was observed between any other FMDs and glucose metabolic variables.
Differences in the attenuation of postprandial FMD induced by different postprandial insulin levels may occur a long time postprandially but not shortly after a meal.
PMCID: PMC3471039  PMID: 22891922
Flow-mediated dilation; Carbohydrate content; Postprandial; Glucose metabolism; Non-diabetic individuals
11.  Prognostic value of immunohistochemical surfactant protein A expression in regenerative/hyperplastic alveolar epithelial cells in idiopathic interstitial pneumonias 
Diagnostic Pathology  2011;6:25.
It is difficult to predict survival in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Recently, several proteins, such as surfactant protein (SP) and KL-6, have been reported to be useful biologic markers for prediction of prognosis for interstitial pneumonias. It is not clear whether there is any relationship between expression of these proteins in regenerative/hyperplastic alveolar epithelial cells and prognosis of idiopathic interstitial pneumonias (IIPs).
This study aimed to elucidate the clinical significance of the expression of such lung secretory proteins as SP-A and KL-6 in lung tissues of patients with IIPs.
We retrospectively investigated the immunohistochemical expression of SP-A, KL-6, cytokeratin (CK), and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA) in alveolar epithelial cells in lung tissues obtained from surgical lung biopsy in 43 patients with IIPs, and analyzed the correlation between expression of these markers and the prognosis of each IIP patient. CK and EMA were used as general markers for epithelial cells.
In patients with usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP), the ratio of SP-A positive epithelial cells to all alveolar epithelial cells (SP-A positive ratio) in the collapsed and mural fibrosis areas varied, ranging from cases where almost all alveolar epithelial cells expressed SP-A to cases where only a few did. On the other hand, in many patients with nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP), many of the alveolar epithelial cells in the diseased areas expressed SP-A. The SP-A positive ratio was significantly lower in patients who died from progression of UIP than in patients with UIP who remained stable or deteriorated but did not die. In NSIP patients, a similar tendency was noted between the SP-A positive ratio and prognosis.
The results suggest that the paucity of immunohistochemical SP-A expression in alveolar epithelial cells in diseased areas (i.e. regenerative/hyperplastic alveolar epithelial cells) may predict a worse prognosis for patients with IIPs, especially patients with UIP. A prospective study is needed to confirm these results.
PMCID: PMC3072304  PMID: 21435274
12.  SC29EK, a Peptide Fusion Inhibitor with Enhanced α-Helicity, Inhibits Replication of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Mutants Resistant to Enfuvirtide ▿  
Peptides derived from the α-helical domains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 (HIV-1) gp41 inhibit HIV-1 fusion to the cell membrane. Enfuvirtide (T-20) is a peptide-based drug that targets the step of HIV fusion, and as such, it effectively suppresses the replication of HIV-1 strains that are either wild type or resistant to multiple reverse transcriptase and/or protease inhibitors. However, HIV-1 variants with T-20 resistance have emerged; therefore, the development of new and potent inhibitors is urgently needed. We have developed a novel HIV fusion inhibitor, SC34EK, which is a gp41-derived 34-amino-acid peptide with glutamate (E) and lysine (K) substitutions on its solvent-accessible site that stabilize its α-helicity. Importantly, SC34EK effectively inhibits the replication of T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains as well as wild-type HIV-1. In this report, we introduce SC29EK, a 29-amino-acid peptide that is a shorter variant of SC34EK. SC29EK blocked the replication of T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains and maintained antiviral activity even in the presence of high serum concentrations (up to 50%). Circular dichroism analysis revealed that the α-helicity of SC29EK was well maintained, while that of the parental peptide, C29, which showed moderate and reduced inhibition of wild-type and T-20-resistant HIV-1 strains, was lower. Our results show that the α-helicity in a peptide-based fusion inhibitor is a key factor for activity and enables the design of short peptide inhibitors with improved pharmacological properties.
PMCID: PMC2650564  PMID: 19114674
13.  Drug interaction prediction using ontology-driven hypothetical assertion framework for pathway generation followed by numerical simulation 
BMC Bioinformatics  2008;9(Suppl 6):S11.
In accordance with the increasing amount of information concerning individual differences in drug response and molecular interaction, the role of in silico prediction of drug interaction on the pathway level is becoming more and more important. However, in view of the interferences for the identification of new drug interactions, most conventional information models of a biological pathway would have limitations. As a reflection of real world biological events triggered by a stimulus, it is important to facilitate the incorporation of known molecular events for inferring (unknown) possible pathways and hypothetic drug interactions. Here, we propose a new Ontology-Driven Hypothetic Assertion (OHA) framework including pathway generation, drug interaction detection, simulation model generation, numerical simulation, and hypothetic assertion. Potential drug interactions are detected from drug metabolic pathways dynamically generated by molecular events triggered after the administration of certain drugs. Numerical simulation enables to estimate the degree of side effects caused by the predicted drug interactions. New hypothetic assertions of the potential drug interactions and simulation are deduced from the Drug Interaction Ontology (DIO) written in Web Ontology Language (OWL).
The concept of the Ontology-Driven Hypothetic Assertion (OHA) framework was demonstrated with known interactions between irinotecan (CPT-11) and ketoconazole. Four drug interactions that involved cytochrome p450 (CYP3A4) and albumin as potential drug interaction proteins were automatically detected from Drug Interaction Ontology (DIO). The effect of the two interactions involving CYP3A4 were quantitatively evaluated with numerical simulation. The co-administration of ketoconazole may increase AUC and Cmax of SN-38(active metabolite of irinotecan) to 108% and 105%, respectively. We also estimates the potential effects of genetic variations: the AUC and Cmax of SN-38 may increase to 208% and 165% respectively with the genetic variation UGT1A1*28/*28 which reduces the expression of UGT1A1 down to 30%.
These results demonstrate that the Ontology-Driven Hypothetic Assertion framework is a promising approach for in silico prediction of drug interactions. The following future researches for the in silico prediction of individual differences in the response to the drug and drug interactions after the administration of multiple drugs: expansion of the Drug Interaction Ontology for other drugs, and incorporation of virtual population model for genetic variation analysis, as well as refinement of the pathway generation rules, the drug interaction detection rules, and the numerical simulation models.
PMCID: PMC2423434  PMID: 18541046
14.  Urinary N-acetyl-β-d-Glucosaminidase Levels are Positively Correlated With 2-Hr Plasma Glucose Levels During Oral Glucose Tolerance Testing in Prediabetes 
Urinary N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) excretion is increased in patients with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). This study investigated when during the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) the plasma glucose, urine glucose, and insulin levels correlate most strongly with urinary N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase (NAG) levels in prediabetic subjects.
The OGTT was administered to 80 subjects who had not yet received a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus (DM) and in whom HbA1c levels were ≤6.8% and fasting plasma glucose levels were <7.0 mmol/l. Forty-two subjects had normal glucose tolerance (NGT), 31 had impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and 7 had DM according to World Health Organization criteria. Serum levels of cystatin C, the estimated glomerular filtration rate, the urinary albumin-to-creatinine (Cr) ratio, urinary and serum β2-microglobulin, and urinary NAG were measured as markers of renal function.
NAG levels were significantly higher in subjects with DM and in subjects with IGT than in subjects with NGT. No significant associations were observed between glycemic status and other markers of renal function. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the NAG level was positively correlated with plasma glucose levels at 120 min of the OGTT and was associated with the glycemic status of prediabetic patients.
These results suggest that postprandial hyperglycemia is an independent factor that causes renal tubular damage in prediabetes patients.
PMCID: PMC3558795  PMID: 23143631
cystatin C; N-acetyl-β-d-glucosaminidase; tubular dysfunction; impaired glucose tolerance; diabetic nephropathy

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