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1.  The Effect of Synthetic C-Reactive Protein on the In Vitro Immune Response of Human PBMCs Stimulated with Bacterial Reagents 
Inflammation  2013;36(4):781-792.
Synthetic C-reactive protein (CRP) rescues mice from lethal endotoxin shock or bacterial infection by suppressing tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), but in turn, enhances Kupffer cell phagocytic activity. We herein assessed the influence of CRP in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). When human PBMCs were stimulated in vitro with penicillin-treated Streptococcus pyogenes, bacterial DNA motifs and lipopolysaccharide with or without synthetic CRP, CRP suppressed the production of TNF-α and IL-12, but not that of IFN-γ. This was also the case for the in vitro Shwartzman reaction induced in PBMCs. CRP also decreased high-mobility group box 1 production from macrophages, which is crucial in the later phase of endotoxin/septic shock. However, CRP upregulated the perforin expression by CD56+ NK cells and increased their antitumor cytotoxicity. CRP may thus be a potent immunomodulatory factor in the human immune system, suggesting its therapeutic potential for use against human septic shock.
PMCID: PMC3708291  PMID: 23407995
inflammation; C-reactive protein; tumor necrosis factor-α; high-mobility group box 1; human PBMCs
2.  Activation of CD11b+ Kupffer Cells/Macrophages as a Common Cause for Exacerbation of TNF/Fas-Ligand-Dependent Hepatitis in Hypercholesterolemic Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(1):e49339.
We have reported that the mouse hepatic injury induced by either α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) or bacterial DNA motifs (CpG-ODN) is mediated by the TNF/NKT cell/Fas-ligand (FasL) pathway. In addition, F4/80+ Kupffer cells can be subclassified into CD68+ subset with a phagocytosing capacity and CD11b+ subset with a TNF-producing capacity. CD11b+ subset increase if mice are fed high-fat and cholesterol diet (HFCD). The present study examined how a HFCD affects the function of NKT cells and F4/80+ CD11b+ subset and these hepatitis models. After the C57BL/6 mice received a HFCD, high-cholesterol diet (HCD), high-fat diet (HFD) and control diet (CD) for four weeks, the HFCD mice increased surface CD1d and intracellular TLR-9 expression by the CD11b+ population compared to CD mice. Hepatic injury induced either by α-GalCer or CpG-ODN was more severe in HCD and HFCD mice compared to CD mice, which was in proportion to the serum TNF levels. In addition, liver cholesterol levels but not serum cholesterol levels nor liver triglyceride levels were involved in the aggravation of hepatitis. The FasL expression of NKT cells induced by both reagents was upregulated in HFCD mice. Furthermore, the liver mononuclear cells and purified F4/80+ CD11b+ subset from HFCD mice stimulated with either reagent in vitro produced a larger amount of TNF than did those from CD mice. Intracellular TNF production in F4/80+ CD11b+ cells was confirmed. The increased number of F4/80+ CD11b+ Kupffer cells/macrophages by HFCD and their enhanced TNF production thus play a pivotal role in TNF/NKT cell/FasL dependent hepatic injury.
PMCID: PMC3553091  PMID: 23372642
3.  Point-of-purchase health information encourages customers to purchase vegetables: objective analysis by using a point-of-sales system 
Point-of-purchase (POP) information at food stores could help promote healthy dietary habits. However, it has been difficult to evaluate the effects of such intervention on customers’ behavior. We objectively evaluated the usefulness of POP health information for vegetables in the modification of customers’ purchasing behavior by using the database of a point-of-sales (POS) system.
Two supermarket stores belonging to the same chain were assigned as the intervention store (store I) and control store (store C). POP health information for vegetables was presented in store I for 60 days. The percent increase in daily sales of vegetables over the sales on the same date of the previous year was compared between the stores by using the database of the POS system, adjusting for the change in monthly visitors from the previous year (adjusted ∆sales).
The adjusted ∆sales significantly increased during the intervention period (Spearman’s ρ = 0.258, P for trend = 0.006) at store I but did not increase at store C (ρ = −0.037, P for trend = 0.728). The growth of the mean adjusted ∆sales of total vegetables from 30 days before the intervention period through the latter half of the intervention period was estimated to be greater at store I than at store C by 18.7 percentage points (95% confidence interval 1.6–35.9).
Health-related POP information for vegetables in supermarkets can encourage customers to purchase and, probably, consume vegetables.
PMCID: PMC3117216  PMID: 21431791
Point-of-purchase information; Vegetables; Intervention; Point-of-sales system; Behavior modification
4.  Adult seafood allergy in the Texas Medical Center: A 13-year experience 
Allergy & Rhinology  2011;2(2):e71-e77.
There is a paucity of data regarding prevalence and characteristics of adult seafood allergy in United States cohorts. This study was designed to determine the characteristics of patient-reported seafood allergy in a large allergy referral adult population. Retrospective analysis was performed of laboratory and clinical characteristics of seafood-allergic patients in three allergy clinics in the Texas Medical Center between January 1, 1997 and January 30, 2010. Of 5162 patients seen in this adult allergy referral population, 159 had physician-diagnosed seafood allergy with an average age of diagnosis of 50.2 (18–81 years) years. Shellfish allergy (59.1%) was more frequent than fish allergy (13.8%). Crustacean allergy (82.6%) was more frequent than mollusk allergy (7.2%). Shrimp (72.5%), crab (34.8%), and lobster (17.4%) were the most common shellfish allergies and tuna (28.6%), catfish (23.8%), and salmon (23.8%) were the most common fish allergies. One-third of seafood-allergic patients reported reactions to more than one seafood. Shellfish-allergic adults were more likely to experience respiratory symptoms than fish-allergic adults (p < 0.05). The likelihood of having anaphylaxis (32%) was not statistically different between shellfish- and fish-allergic subjects. Severe reactions were 12.9 times more likely to occur within the 1st hour of ingestion compared with nonsevere reactions (p < 0.005). The percentage of seafood allergy in this adult allergy referral population was 3.08%.
PMCID: PMC3390121  PMID: 22852122
Anaphylaxis; fish; food allergy; hypersensitivity; seafood; shrimp; urticaria

Results 1-4 (4)