Antithymocyte globulin (ATG) has been increasingly used to prevent graft-vs-host disease (GVHD), however, its impact on immune reconstitution is relatively unknown. Here we studied (1) immune reconstitution after ATG-conditioned hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), (2) determined factors influencing the reconstitution, and (3) compared it to non-ATG-conditioned HCT.
Immune cell subset counts were determined at 1–24 months posttransplant in 125 HCT recipients who received ATG during conditioning. The subset counts were also determined in 46 non-ATG-conditioned patients (similarly treated).
(1) Reconstitution after ATG-conditioned HCT was fast for innate immune cells, intermediate for B cells and CD8 T cells, and very slow for CD4 T cells and invariant NKT (iNKT) cells. (2) Faster reconstitution after ATG-conditioned HCT was associated with higher number of cells of the same subset transferred with the graft in case of memory B cells, naïve CD4 T cells, naïve CD8 T cells, iNKT cells and myeloid dendritic cells; lower recipient age in case of naïve CD4 T cells and naïve CD8 T cells; cytomegalovirus recipient seropositivity in case of memory/effector T cells; absence of GVHD in case of naïve B cells; lower ATG serum levels in case of most T cell subsets including iNKT cells, and higher ATG levels in case of NK cells and B cells. (3) Compared to non-ATG-conditioned HCT, reconstitution after ATG-conditioned HCT was slower for CD4 T cells, and faster for NK cells and B cells.
ATG worsens reconstitution of CD4 T cells but improves reconstitution of NK and B cells.
Anti-thymocyte globulin (ATG); Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation; Immune reconstitution; Immune system; Immunity; Lymphocytes
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common, autosomal dominant, tumor-predisposition syndrome that arises secondary to mutations in NF1. Glomus tumors are painful benign tumors that originate from the glomus body in the fingers and toes due to biallelic inactivation of NF1. We karyotyped cultures from four previously reported and one new glomus tumor and hybridized tumor (and matching germline) DNA on Illumina HumanOmni1-Quad SNP arrays (~1 × 106 SNPs). Two tumors displayed evidence of copy-neutral loss of heterozygosity of chromosome arm 17q not observed in the germline sample, consistent with a mitotic recombination event. One of these two tumors, NF1-G12, featured extreme polyploidy (near-tetraploidy, near-hexaploidy, or near-septaploidy) across all chromosomes. In the remaining four tumors, there were few cytogenetic abnormalities observed, and copy-number analysis was consistent with diploidy in all chromosomes. This is the first study of glomus tumors cytogenetics, to our knowledge, and the first to report biallelic inactivation of NF1 secondary to mitotic recombination of chromosome arm 17q in multiple NF1-associated glomus tumors. We have observed mitotic recombination in 22% of molecularly-characterized NF1-associated glomus tumors, suggesting that it is a not uncommon mechanism in the reduction to homozygosity of the NF1 germline mutation in these tumors. In tumor NF1-G12, we hypothesize that mitotic recombination also “unmasked” (reduced to homozygosity) a hypomorphic germline allele in a gene on chromosome arm 17q associated with chromosomal instability, resulting in the extreme polyploidy.
Since current antifungal drugs have not kept pace with the escalating medical demands of fungal infections, new, effective medications are required. However, antifungal drug discovery is hindered by the evolutionary similarity of mammalian and fungal cells, which results in fungal drug targets having human homologs and drug non-selectivity. The group III hybrid histidine kinases (HHKs) are an attractive drug target since they are conserved in fungi and absent in mammals. We used a Saccharomyces cerevisiae reporter strain that conditionally expresses HHK to establish a high-throughput bioassay to screen microbial extracts natural products for antifungals. We identified macrotetrolides, a group of related ionophores thought to exhibit restricted antifungal activity. In addition to confirming the use of this bioassay for the discovery of antifungal natural products, we demonstrated broader, more potent fungistatic activity of the macrotetrolides against multiple Candida spp., Cryptococcus spp., and Candida albicans in biofilms. Macrotetrolides were also active in an animal model of C. albicans biofilm, but were found to have inconsistent activity against fluconazole-resistant C. albicans, with most isolates resistant to this natural product. The macrotetrolides do not directly target HHKs, but their selective activity against S. cerevisiae grown in galactose (regardless of Drk1 expression) revealed potential new insight into the role of ion transport in the mode of action of these promising antifungal compounds. Thus, this simple, high-throughput bioassay permitted us to screen microbial extracts, identify natural products as antifungal drugs, and expand our understanding of the activity of macrotetrolides.
Fungi; reporter; natural products; drug discovery; macrotetrolide
The efficiency of three different biosensor flow cells is reported. All three flow cells featured a central channel that expands in the vicinity of the sensing element to provide the same diameter active region, but the rate of channel expansion and contraction varied between the designs. For each cell the rate at which the analyte concentration in the sensor chamber responds to a change in the influent analyte concentration was determined numerically using a finite element model and experimentally using a flow-fluorescence technique. Reduced flow cell efficiency with increasing flow rates was observed for all three designs and was related to the increased importance of diffusion relative to advection, with efficiency being limited by the development of regions of recirculating flow (eddies). However, the onset of eddy development occurred at higher flow rates for the design with the most gradual channel expansion, producing a considerably more efficient flow cell across the range of flow rates considered in this study. It is recommended that biosensor flow cells be designed to minimize the tendency towards, and be operated under conditions that prevent the development of flow recirculation.
fluidics; sensors; flow cell; computational fluid dynamics
Left main coronary artery (LMCA) thrombus is a clinically rare event and is thought to be secondary to plaque rupture with subsequent thrombus formation, persistent hypercoagulable state, cocaine use, or vasospasm. (Klein et al., 2008) here we present a case of LMCA thrombus that presented as an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in a hypercoagulable patient.
Glomus tumors are benign painful tumors of the glomus body, a thermoregulatory shunt in the digits. Glomus tumors of the fingers and toes are associated with the monogenic disorder neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) and are recently recognized as part of the NF1 phenotype.
Methods and Results
We report our multi-institutional experience with 15 individuals with NF1 and glomus tumors of the fingers or toes. The majority of individuals presented with at least two of the symptoms in the classic triad of localized tenderness, severe paroxysmal pain and sensitivity to cold. Appearance of the nail and finger or toe is often normal. Women are affected more often than men. Multi-focal tumors are common. There is often a delay in diagnosis of many years and clinical suspicion is key to diagnosis, although magnetic resonance imaging may be useful in some scenarios. Surgical extirpation can be curative, however local tumor recurrence and metachronous tumors are common. Three of our patients developed signs and symptoms of the complex regional pain syndrome.
Glomus tumors in NF1 are more common than previously recognized and NF1 patients should be specifically queried about fingertip or toe pain.
Neurofibromatosis type 1; Glomus tumor; Glomus body; Fingertip; Complex regional pain syndrome
Two cohorts of women with PCOS (400 probands and affected sisters in 365 families and a case-control group including 395 women with PCOS and 171 healthy women with regular menstrual cycles) were studied to determine whether SNPs identified as susceptibility loci in genome-wide association studies of type 2 diabetes are also associated with PCOS. None of the 18 allelic variants in ten genes previously shown to be associated with type 2 diabetes were found to be associated with PCOS, but some were associated with indices of beta cell function.
Legius syndrome is a RAS-MAPK syndrome characterized by pigmentary findings similar to neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), but without tumor complications. Learning difficulties and behavioral problems have been reported to be associated with Legius syndrome, but have not been studied systematically. We investigated intelligence and behavior in 15 patients with Legius syndrome and 7 unaffected family members. We report a mean full scale IQ of 101.57 in patients with Legius syndrome, which does not differ from the control group. We find a significantly lower performance IQ in children with Legius syndrome compared to their unaffected family members. Few behavioral problems are present as assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) questionnaire. Our observations suggest that, akin to the milder somatic phenotype, the cognitive phenotype in Legius syndrome is less severe than that of NF1.
Intelligence; behavior; Legius syndrome; SPRED1; MAPK
New antifungal drugs are urgently needed due to the currently limited selection, the emergence of drug resistance, and the toxicity of several commonly used drugs. To identify drug leads, we screened small molecules using a Saccharomyces cerevisiae reporter bioassay in which S. cerevisiae heterologously expresses Hik1, a group III hybrid histidine kinase (HHK) from Magnaporthe grisea. Group III HHKs are integral in fungal cell physiology, and highly conserved throughout this kingdom; they are absent in mammals, making them an attractive drug target. Our screen identified compounds 13 and 33, which showed robust activity against numerous fungal genera including Candida spp., Cryptococcus spp. and molds such as Aspergillus fumigatus and Rhizopus oryzae. Drug-resistant Candida albicans from patients were also highly susceptible to compounds 13 and 33. While the compounds do not act directly on HHKs, microarray analysis showed that compound 13 induced transcripts associated with oxidative stress, and compound 33, transcripts linked with heavy metal stress. Both compounds were highly active against C. albicans biofilm, in vitro and in vivo, and exerted synergy with fluconazole, which was inactive alone. Thus, we identified potent, broad-spectrum antifungal drug leads from a small molecule screen using a high-throughput, S. cerevisiae reporter bioassay.
We have reported a lower incidence of acute graft versus host disease (aGVHD) with a novel conditioning regimen using low dose rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (TG, Thymoglobulin) with fludarabine and intravenous busulfan (FluBuTG). To assess further this single center experience, we performed a retrospective matched pair analysis comparing outcomes of adult patients transplanted using the FluBuTG conditioning regimen with matched controls from patients reported to the CIBMTR receiving a first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HCT) after standard oral busulfan and cyclophosphamide (BuCy). 120 cases and 215 matched controls were available for comparison. Patients receiving FluBuTG had significantly less treatment related mortality (12% vs 34%, p<0.001) and grades II–IV aGVHD (15% vs 34% p<0.001) compared to BuCy patients. The risk of relapse was higher in the FluBuTG patients (42% vs 20%, p<0.001). The risks of chronic GVHD (cGVHD) and disease free survival (DFS) were similar in the cases and controls. These results suggest that the novel regimen FluBuTG decreases the risk of aGVHD and transplant mortality after HLA-identical sibling HCT, but is associated with an increased risk of relapse, resulting in similar DFS. Whether these conditioning regimens may be more suitable for specific patient populations based on relapse risk requires testing in prospective randomized trials.
anti-thymocyte globulin; allogeneic transplantation; Busulfan
The death of a patient under sedation in New South Wales, Australia, in 2002 has again raised the question of the safety of dental sedation. This study sought answers to 2 questions: Can safe oxygen saturation levels (≥94%) be consistently maintained by a single operator/sedationist? Does the additional use of propofol, in subanesthetic doses, increase the risk of exposure to hypoxemia? Three thousand five hundred cases generated between 1996 and 2006 were randomly examined and divided into 2 subcohorts: 1750 patients were sedated with midazolam and fentanyl, and 1750 patients received propofol, in subanesthetic increments, in addition to midazolam and fentanyl. Initial sedation was established using midazolam and fentanyl in both subcohorts. The second subcohort received propofol during times of noxious stimulation. Patient exposure to 2 or more oxygen desaturations below 94% was uncommon. The variables that were significantly associated with low saturations were age, gender, and weight. Neither the dose of midazolam nor the additional use of propofol was a significant risk factor. ASA classification (I or II) was not a determinant of risk. The data, within the limitations of the study, showed that a single operator/sedationist, supported by a well-trained team of nurses, can consistently maintain safe oxygen saturation levels. The additional use of propofol did not increase exposure to hypoxemia.
Dental sedation; Safe oxygen saturation levels; Propofol
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of anovulatory infertility in women. It is also associated with metabolic disturbances that place women at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes. There is strong evidence for familial clustering of PCOS and a genetic predisposition. However, the gene(s) responsible for the PCOS phenotypes have not been elucidated. This two-phase family-based and case-control genetic study was designed to address the question of whether SNPs identified as susceptibility loci for obesity in genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are also associated with PCOS and elevated BMI. Members of 439 families having at least one offspring with PCOS were genotyped for 15 SNPs previously shown to be associated with obesity. Linkage and association with PCOS was assessed using the transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT). These SNPs were also analyzed in an independent case-control study involving 395 women with PCOS and 176 healthy women with regular menstrual cycles. Only one of these 15 SNPs (rs2815752 in NEGR1) was found to have a nominally significant association with PCOS (χ2 = 6.11, P = 0.013), but this association failed to replicate in the case-control study. While not associated with PCOS itself, five SNPs in FTO and two in MC4R were associated with BMI as assessed with a quantitative-TDT analysis, several of which replicated association with BMI in the case-control cohort. These findings demonstrate that certain SNPs associated with obesity contribute to elevated BMI in PCOS, but do not appear to play a major role in PCOS per se. These findings support the notion that PCOS phenotypes are a consequence of an oligogenic/polygenic mechanism.
The presence of two or more Lisch nodules (melanocytic hamartomas of the iris) is one of seven diagnostic criteria for neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), a common monogenic disorder of dysregulated neurocutaneous growth. We investigated the hypothesis that Lisch nodules arise secondary to ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from sunlight.
We mapped and quantified Lisch nodule burden in the irides of 77 adults with NF1. We also inventoried lifetime sunlight (UV radiation) exposure, determined NF1 neurocutaneous severity, and selectively genotyped two NF1 mutations predictive of severity.
There was high inter-individual variability in Lisch nodule burden. Lisch nodules were primarily located in the inferior hemifield (half) of the iris, regardless of its color (P = 3.0 × 10−20). Light irides harbored significantly more Lisch nodules than dark irides (P = 4.8 × 10−5). There was no statistically significant correlation of Lisch nodule burden to lifetime sunlight exposure “dose” or NF1 neurocutaneous severity.
The difference in Lisch nodule burden between the superior and inferior iris hemifields is likely due to the sunlight-shielding effects on the superior half by peri-ocular structures. The difference in Lisch nodule burden between light and dark irides is likely due to the photo-protective effects of pigmentation. The genes underlying the control of iris color may thus be viewed as modifiers of severity of Lisch nodule burden in NF1. Given the role of UV radiation and, presumably, DNA damage in Lisch nodule pathogenesis, “benign tumor of the iris,” not “hamartoma,” may be a better descriptor.
Neurofibromatosis type 1; Lisch nodule; Ultraviolet radiation; Iris color; Genetic modifiers
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common disorder that arises secondary to mutations in the tumor suppressor gene NF1. Glomus tumors are small, benign but painful tumors that originate from the glomus body, a thermoregulatory shunt concentrated in the fingers and toes. We report eleven individuals with NF1 who harbored 20 glomus tumors of the fingers and one in the toe; five individuals had multiple glomus tumors. We hypothesized that bi-allelic inactivation of NF1 underlies the pathogenesis of these tumors. In twelve NF1-associated glomus tumors, we used cell culture and laser capture micro-dissection to isolate DNA. We also analyzed two sporadic (not-NF1-associated) glomus tumors. Genetic analysis showed germline and somatic NF1 mutations in seven tumors. RAS-MAPK hyper-activation was observed in cultured NF1-/- glomus cells, reflecting a lack of inhibition of the pathway by functional neurofibromin, the protein product of NF1. No abnormalities in NF1 or RAS-MAPK activation were found in sporadic glomus tumors. By comparative genomic hybridization, we observed amplification of the 3′-end of CRTAC1 and a deletion of the 5′-end of WASF1 in two NF1-associated glomus tumors. For the first time, we show that loss of neurofibromin function is crucial in the pathogenesis of glomus tumors in NF1. Glomus tumors of the fingers or toes should be considered as part of the tumor spectrum of NF1.
Neurofibromatosis type 1; Glomus tumor; Comparative genomic hybridization; RAS-MAPK hyper-activation; Bi-allelic inactivation
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common monogenic tumor-predisposition disorder that arises secondary to mutations in the tumor suppressor gene NF1. Haploinsufficiency of NF1 fosters a permissive tumorigenic environment through changes in signalling between cells, however the intracellular mechanisms for this tumor-promoting effect are less clear. Most primary human NF1+/- cells are a challenge to obtain, however lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs) have been collected from large NF1 kindreds. We hypothesized that the genetic effects of NF1-haploinsufficiency may be discerned by comparison of genome-wide transcriptional profiling in somatic, non-tumor cells (LCLs) from NF1-affected and -unaffected individuals. As a cross-species filter for heterogeneity, we compared the results from two human kindreds to whole-genome transcriptional profiling in spleen-derived B lymphocytes from age- and gender-matched Nf1+/- and wild-type mice, and used gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA), Onto-Express, Pathway-Express and MetaCore tools to identify genes perturbed in NF1-haploinsufficiency.
We observed moderate expression of NF1 in human LCLs and of Nf1 in CD19+ mouse B lymphocytes. Using the t test to evaluate individual transcripts, we observed modest expression differences in the transcriptome in NF1-haploinsufficient LCLs and Nf1-haploinsuffiicient mouse B lymphocytes. However, GSEA, Onto-Express, Pathway-Express and MetaCore analyses identified genes that control cell cycle, DNA replication and repair, transcription and translation, and immune response as the most perturbed in NF1-haploinsufficient conditions in both human and mouse.
Haploinsufficiency arises when loss of one allele of a gene is sufficient to give rise to disease. Haploinsufficiency has traditionally been viewed as a passive state. Our observations of perturbed, up-regulated cell cycle and DNA repair pathways may functionally contribute to NF1-haploinsufficiency as an "active state" that ultimately promotes the loss of the wild-type allele.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a neurocutaneous disorder resulting in the growth of a variety of tumours, and is inherited in an autosomal dominant pattern. Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are mesenchymal tumours that commonly harbour oncogenic mutations in KIT or PDGFRA and are thought to arise from the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC; the pacemaker cells of the gut).
To characterise two patients with NF1 and GISTs.
Two patients were genotyped for germline mutations in NF1. GISTs from both patients were genotyped for somatic mutations in KIT and PDGFRA. Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of NF1 in one GIST was assessed by genotyping seven microsatellite markers spanning 2.39 Mb of the NF1 locus in the tumour and in genomic DNA. The known germline mutation in NF1 was confirmed in GIST DNA by sequencing. The copy number of the mutated NF1 allele was determined by multiplex ligand‐dependent probe amplification.
GISTs from both patients were of wild type for mutations in KIT and PDGFRA. In the GIST with adequate DNA, all seven markers were informative and showed LOH at the NF1 locus; sequencing of NF1 from that GIST showed no wild‐type sequence, suggesting that it was lost in the tumour. Multiplex ligand‐dependent probe amplification analysis showed that two copies of all NF1 exons were present.
This is the first evidence of mitotic recombination resulting in a reduction to homozygosity of a germline NF1 mutation in an NF1‐associated GIST. We hypothesise that the LOH of NF1 and lack of KIT and PDGFRA mutations are evidence of an alternative pathogenesis in NF1‐associated GISTs.
Interstitial cell of Cajal; loss of heterozygosity; mitotic recombination
The fabrication of novel uranyl (UO22+) binding protein based sensors is reported. The new biosensor responds to picomolar levels of aqueous uranyl ions within minutes using Lysinibacillus sphaericus JG-A12 S-layer protein tethered to gold electrodes. In comparison to traditional self assembled monolayer based biosensors the porous bioconjugated layer gave greater stability, longer electrode life span and a denser protein layer. Biosensors responded specifically to UO22+ ions and showed minor interference from Ni2+, Cs+, Cd2+ and Co2+. Chemical modification of JG-A12 protein phosphate and carboxyl groups prevented UO22+ binding, showing that both moieties are involved in the recognition to UO22+.
S-layer; surface layer; protein biosensor; uranium; uranyl; metal ion; sequestering; impedance spectroscopy
We previously reported a phase 2 trial of 69 patients with newly diagnosed anaplastic or aggressive oligodendroglioma who were treated with intensive procarbazine, CCNU (lomustine), and vincristine (PCV) followed by high-dose thiotepa with autologous stem cell rescue. This report summarizes the long-term follow-up of the cohort of 39 patients who received high-dose thiotepa with autologous stem cell support. Thirty-nine patients with a median age of 43 (range, 18–67) and a median KPS of 100 (range, 70–100) were treated. Surviving patients now have a median follow-up of 80.5 months (range, 44–142). The median progression-free survival is 78 months, and median overall survival has not been reached. Eighteen patients (46%) have relapsed. Neither histology nor prior low-grade oligodendroglioma correlated with risk of relapse. Persistent nonenhancing tumor at transplant was identified in our initial report as a significant risk factor for relapse; however, long-term follow-up has not confirmed this finding. Long-term neurotoxicity has developed only in those patients whose disease relapsed and required additional therapy; no patient in continuous remission has developed a delayed neurologic injury. This treatment strategy affords long-term disease control to a subset of patients with newly diagnosed anaplastic oligodendroglioma without evidence of delayed neurotoxicity or myelodysplasia.
anaplastic; chemotherapy; oligodendroglioma