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1.  Apoptosis-like programmed cell death induces antisense ribosomal RNA (rRNA) fragmentation and rRNA degradation in Leishmania 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2012;19(12):1972-1982.
Few natural antisense (as) RNAs have been reported as yet in the unicellular protozoan Leishmania. Here, we describe that Leishmania produces natural asRNAs complementary to all ribosomal RNA (rRNA) species. Interestingly, we show that drug-induced apoptosis-like programmed cell death triggers fragmentation of asRNA complementary to the large subunit gamma (LSU-γ) rRNA, one of the six 28S rRNA processed fragments in Leishmania. Heat and oxidative stress also induce fragmentation of asrRNA, but to a lesser extent. Extensive asrRNA cleavage correlates with rRNA breakdown and translation inhibition. Indeed, overexpression of asLSU-γ rRNA accelerates rRNA degradation upon induction of apoptosis. In addition, we provide mechanistic insight into the regulation of apoptosis-induced asrRNA fragmentation by a 67 kDa ATP-dependent RNA helicase of the DEAD-box subfamily. This helicase binds both sense (s)LSU-γ and asLSU-γ rRNAs, and appears to have a key role in protecting rRNA from degradation by preventing asrRNA cleavage and thus cell death. Remarkably, the asrRNA fragmentation process operates not only in trypanosomatid protozoa but also in mammals. Our findings uncover a novel mechanism of regulation involving asrRNA fragmentation and rRNA breakdown, that is triggered by apoptosis and conditions of reduced translation under stress, and seems to be evolutionary conserved.
PMCID: PMC3504711  PMID: 22767185
Leishmania; stress; apoptosis-like programmed cell death; antisense rRNA fragmentation; rRNA degradation; ATP-dependent DEAD-box helicase
2.  The role of depression severity in the cognitive functioning of elderly subjects with central nervous system disease. 
OBJECTIVE: To examine the hypothesis that there is a causal relation between depression and cognitive dysfunction in patients with central nervous system (CNS) disease. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of a clinical database. SETTING: Tertiary geriatric day hospital. PATIENTS: Sixty-five patients with depression and CNS disease, and 201 patients with depression but without CNS disease. OUTCOME MEASURES: Scores on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (Ham-D) and the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale (MDRS). RESULTS: A logistic regression analysis using MDRS status as the dependent variable, and a number of clinical variables as the predictor variables, showed that, in patients with CNS disease, only the Ham-D score predicted MDRS status (R = -0.19, p = 0.02). Ham-D score even more strongly predicted scores on a frontal system subtest of the MDRS (R = -0.262, p = 0.005). Ham-D score did not predict MDRS status in patients without CNS disease. Mean Mini Mental State Examination scores for the group with CNS disease were 25.1 at admission and 26.1 at discharge (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that depression contributes to frontal cognitive dysfunction in patients with CNS disease.
PMCID: PMC1407717  PMID: 10863886
3.  The prediction and prevention of Alzheimer's disease--towards a research agenda. 
This paper sets a research agenda for the prediction and prevention of future onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD). From a MEDLINE review of the literature, the authors found age to be a predictor of AD. The literature also indicates that memory and attentional impairments predict AD, although the relative risk is relatively low. Late-onset depression may also predict AD, but these data are limited by a lack of cohort studies. Studying cognitively impaired subjects with late-onset depression may identify a high-risk group, facilitating prevention trials. Characteristics of an "ideal" preventive agent are suggested. There is a biologic rationale, and preliminary evidence, that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including ASA), estrogen and vitamin E may play a preventive role in AD. Other compounds (such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors) are also promising, but costs, side effects, and lack of other health benefits may preclude their use in all but very high-risk groups.
PMCID: PMC1189056  PMID: 10586533
4.  An element in the 5' common exon of the NCAM alternative splicing unit interacts with SR proteins and modulates 5' splice site selection. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1999;27(12):2529-2537.
The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) gene contains an 801 nt exon that is included preferentially in neuronal cells. We have set up an in vitro splicing system that mimics the neuro-specific alternative splicing profile of NCAM exon 18. Splicing regulation is observed using model pre-mRNAs that contain competing 5' or 3' splice sites, suggesting that distinct pathways regulate NCAM 5' and 3' splice site selection. While inclusion of exon 18 is the predom-inant choice in neuronal cells, an element in the 5' common exon 17 improves exon 17/exon 19 splicing in a neuronal cell line. A similar behavior is observed in vitro as the element can stimulate the 5' splice site of exon 17 or a heterologous 5' splice site. The minimal 32 nt sequence of the exon 17 enhancer consists of purine stretches and A/C motifs. Mutations in the purine stretches compromise the binding of SR proteins and decreases splicing stimulation in vitro. Mutations in the A/C motifs do not affect SR protein binding but reduce enhancing activity. Our results suggest that the assembly of an enhancer complex containing SR proteins in a 5' common exon ensures that NCAM mRNAs lacking exon 18 are made in neuronal cells.
PMCID: PMC148457  PMID: 10352182
5.  Diagnosis of dementia and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Pharmacologic management of disease progression and cognitive impairment. 
Canadian Family Physician  1999;45:945-952.
OBJECTIVE: To highlight the importance of family physicians in the management of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias. To provide an update on the diagnostic workup of people with suspected dementia and on the pharmacologic management of cognitive impairment and disease progression in AD. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: MEDLINE and Psychological Abstracts were searched using the terms "cognitive enhancers" or a specific drug name and "dementia (exp)." Evidence is generally limited but promising. Methodologic flaws in existing research likely to affect clinicians are briefly reviewed. MAIN MESSAGE: Increasing evidence suggests that early intervention can delay the progression of AD and improve the symptoms and function of those affected. Available treatments have modest but important effects on the outcome of patients with AD; some patients respond dramatically. Most currently available treatments are relatively safe in carefully selected cases. CONCLUSIONS: The diagnostic workup of most cases of dementia can at least be initiated in family physicians' offices. Beginning the workup is important because, for treating AD, the earlier you start, the better. Donepezil, vitamin E, and, in the near future, propentofylline are the main pharmacologic choices for improving cognition and slowing disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2328342  PMID: 10216793
6.  Differential Response to Root-Knot Nematodes in Prunus Species and Correlative Genetic Implications 
Journal of Nematology  1997;29(3):370-380.
Responses of 17 Prunus rootstocks or accessions (11 from the subgenus Amygdalus and 6 from the subgenus Prunophora) were evaluated against 11 isolates of Meloidogyne spp. including one M. arenaria, four M. incognita, four M. javanica, one M. hispanica, and an unclassified population from Florida. Characterization of plant response to root-knot nematodes was based on a gall index rating. Numbers of females and juveniles plus eggs in the roots were determined for 10 of the rootstocks evaluated against one M. arenaria, one M. incognita, one M. javanica, and the Florida isolate. These 10 rootstocks plus Nemaguard and Nemared were retested by growing three different rootstock genotypes together in containers of soil infested individually with each of the above four isolates. Garfi and Garrigues almonds, GF.305 and Rutgers Red Leaf peaches, and the peach-almond GF.677 were susceptible to all isolates. Differences in resistance were detected among the other rootstocks of the subgenus Amygdalus. The peach-almond GF.557 and Summergrand peach were resistant to M. arenaria and M. incognita but susceptible to M. javanica and the Florida isolate. Nemaguard, Nemared, and its two hybrids G x N no. 15 and G x N no. 22 were resistant to all but the Florida isolate. In the subgenus Prunophora, Myrobalan plums P.1079, P.2175, P.2980, and P.2984; Marianna plum 29C; and P. insititia plum AD.101 were resistant to all isolates. Thus, two different genetic systems of RKN resistance were found in the subgenus Amygdalus: one system acting against M. arenaria and M. incognita, and another system also acting against M. javanica. Prunophora rootstocks bear a complete genetic system for resistance also acting against the Florida isolate. The hypotheses on the relationships between these systems and the corresponding putative genes of resistance are presented.
PMCID: PMC2619779  PMID: 19274170
Amygdalus; Meloidogyne arenaria; Meloidogyne incognita; Meloidogyne javanica; Prunophora; Prunus amygdalus; Prunus cerasifera; Prunus persica; resistance
7.  Differential distributions in tissues and efficacies of aztreonam and ceftazidime and in vivo bacterial morphological changes following treatment. 
The differential tissue distributions of aztreonam and ceftazidime within fibrin clots infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter cloacae, and Serratia marcescens, their efficacies, and the in vivo bacterial morphological changes induced by these drugs were evaluated. Rabbits were given intravenously a single dose of 100 mg of either agents/kg of body weight. In the cores of the clots, the peak levels of both drugs were much lower than those observed in the peripheries and in serum. Aztreonam's half-lives within the peripheries and in the cores of the fibrin clots were up to six times higher than observed in serum, while ceftazidime's half-lives in clots were twice that observed in serum. This resulted in a much greater penetration ratio for aztreonam than for ceftazidime. Both drugs controlled the growth of P. aeruginosa in vivo, but E. cloacae and S. marcescens responded better to ceftazidime. Morphological changes were more abundant in the peripheries than in the cores of the clots. In the control group, P. aeruginosa's morphology in the cores was different than that in the peripheries of the clots. Against P. aeruginosa, aztreonam did induce morphological changes in the cores while ceftazidime did not. Electron microscopic studies revealed that morphological changes associated with aztreonam seemed different than those of ceftazidime. Along with elongation of bacteria, more bow tie and herniated bacteria were observed with aztreonam. Though both agents selectively affect PBP 3, as manifested by elongated bacteria, they induce in the peripheries of the clots thickening, breaks, and detachment in bacterial cell walls, alterations which are generally associated with antibiotics affecting PBP 1a and 1b.
PMCID: PMC163720  PMID: 9021198
8.  Temporal variation in nephrotoxicity of low doses of isepamicin in rats. 
The temporal variation in the nephrotoxicity of low doses of isepamicin was studied in male Sprague-Dawley rats treated with a single daily intraperitoneal injection of saline (NaCl, 0.9%) or isepamicin (80 mg/kg of body weight) at either 0800, 1400, 2000, or 0200 h for 4 and 10 days. On day 10, the cellular regeneration (incorporation of [3H] thymidine into DNA of renal cortex) and cortical accumulation of isepamicin were significantly higher in animals treated at 1400 h than at 0200 h (P < 0.01). Immunogold labeling studies showed that isepamicin was essentially localized in the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells in all treated groups, but the density of the gold particles over the lysosomes was higher in animals treated at 1400 than at 0200 h. The results of the present study show that the renal toxicity of isepamicin was maximal at 1400 h (midlight period) and minimal at 0200 h (middark period).
PMCID: PMC163205  PMID: 8851618
9.  Attenuation by daptomycin of gentamicin-induced experimental nephrotoxicity. 
Previously, daptomycin was shown to reduce tobramycin nephrotoxicity in vivo (D. Beauchamp, M. Pellerin, P. Gourde, M. Pettigrew, and M. G. Bergeron, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 34:139-147, 1990; C. A. Wood, H. C. Finkbeiner, S. J. Kohlhepp, P. W. Kohnen, and D. C. Gilbert, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 33:1280-1285, 1989). Female Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with saline (NaCl, 0.9%), daptomycin (10 mg/kg of body weight every 12 h, subcutaneously), gentamicin (30 mg/kg/12 h, intraperitoneally) or with a combination of daptomycin plus gentamicin over a 10-day period. Animals were killed 4, 10, and 20 days after the end of treatment. Four days after the end of drug administration, gentamicin and daptomycin levels in the renal cortices of animals treated with the combination of daptomycin and gentamicin were significantly higher than in those of rats given gentamicin or daptomycin alone (P < 0.01). Despite the higher cortical concentrations of gentamicin, rats given the combination of gentamicin and daptomycin had less reduction in renal cortex sphingomyelinase activity, less evidence of regeneration of cellular cortical cells ([3H]thymidine incorporation into cortex DNA), lower creatinine concentration in serum, and less histopathologic evidence of injury than rats given gentamicin alone. By immunogold technique, both daptomycin and gentamicin were localized to the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells, regardless of whether animals received the drugs alone or in combination. Interestingly, myeloid body formation occurred in both those animals given gentamicin alone and those given daptomycin plus gentamicin. No significant changes were observed for all groups between 10 and 20 days after the end of therapy, suggesting that the toxicity of gentamicin was not delayed by the concomitant injection of daptomycin. The results confirm that daptomycin can attenuate experimental gentamicin nephrotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC188145  PMID: 8067733
10.  Daptomycin may attenuate experimental tobramycin nephrotoxicity by electrostatic complexation to tobramycin. 
The lipopeptidic antibiotic daptomycin is reported to reduce experimental tobramycin nephrotoxicity (D. Beauchamp, M. Pellerin, P. Gourde, M. Pettigrew and M. G. Bergeron, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 34:139-147, 1990; C. A. Wood, H. C. Finkbeiner, S. J. Kohlhepp, P. W. Kohnen, and D. C. Gilbert, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 33:1280-1285, 1989). In an attempt to explain these results, the in vivo and in vitro interactions between daptomycin and tobramycin were studied. Tobramycin alone and preincubated with negatively charged phospholipid bilayers (liposomes) was dialyzed against increasing concentrations of daptomycin in buffer at pH 5.4. A significant drop in the concentration of tobramycin was observed when daptomycin was added to the opposite half cells. Furthermore, daptomycin induced a concentration-dependent release of lipid-bound tobramycin. Gold labeling experiments showed that daptomycin could be incorporated into phospholipid layers. Female Sprague-Dawley rats were treated with daptomycin alone, with tobramycin alone, or with the combination over 2 to 10 days. Levels of daptomycin and tobramycin in serum were similar in all groups. The levels of tobramycin in the renal cortex increased significantly with time and, on day 10, reached values of 654 +/- 122 and 844 +/- 298 micrograms/g of tissue (mean +/- standard deviation; not significant) in animals treated with tobramycin and the combination of daptomycin-tobramycin, respectively. No significant difference was observed in the levels of tobramycin in the kidneys between animals treated with tobramycin or the daptomycin-tobramycin combination at any time. By contrast, daptomycin levels were significantly higher in the renal cortexes of animals treated with daptomycin-tobramycin in comparison with those in the renal cortexes of animals treated with daptomycin alone on days 6,8, and 10 (P < 0.01). For immunogold labeling studies, animals were killed 4 h after a single injection of daptomycin alone or daptomycin in combination with tobramycin. Daptomycin was found throughout the matrixes of the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells of animals treated with daptomycin alone. In animals treated with the combination of daptomycin and tobramycin, daptomycin was associated with intralysosomal myeloid bodies. Our results suggest that daptomycin might attenuate experimental aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity by interacting with the aminoglycoside, perhaps electrostatically, and thereby protecting intracellular targets of toxicity.
PMCID: PMC284536  PMID: 8031040
11.  Subcellular distribution of daptomycin given alone or with tobramycin in renal proximal tubular cells. 
Previous studies in experimental animals showed that daptomycin, a lipopeptide antibiotic, protects against aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity (C. A. Wood, H. C. Finkbeiner, S. J. Kohlhepp, P. W. Kohnen, and D. N. Gilbert, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 33:1280-1285, 1989; D. Beauchamp, M. Pellerin, P. Gourde, M. Pettigrew, and M. G. Bergeron, Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 34:139-147, 1990). In order to better understand the mechanism involved in this protective effect, the subcellular distribution of daptomycin was investigated in the proximal tubular cells of animals treated with daptomycin alone or in combination with tobramycin. A first group of female Sprague-Dawley rats received a single intravenous injection of daptomycin at a dose of 100 mg/kg of body weight and were killed at 10 min, 1 h, or 24 h after the injection. Other groups of rats were treated during 10 days with saline (NaCl, 0.9%), tobramycin at dosages of 20 mg/kg/12 h, daptomycin at dosages of 10 mg/kg/12 h, or the combination tobramycin-daptomycin at the same dosages. At the time of sacrifice, the renal cortex of the right kidney of each animal was dissected, and small blocks of tissue were fixed, dehydrated, and embedded in Araldite 502 epoxy resin. The subcellular distribution of daptomycin and tobramycin was determined on ultrathin sections by immunogold labeling. Ten minutes after the injection of daptomycin alone, gold particles were seen over the brush border membrane and on the membranes of the endocytic vacuoles of proximal tubular cells. One hour after the injection, a similar distribution was seen and numerous gold particles were found over the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells. The results suggest that daptomycin might protect against aminoglycoside nephrotoxicity by interfering with the interaction between the aminoglycoside and phospholipids inside the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells.
PMCID: PMC284424  PMID: 8192441
12.  Temporal changes of pharmacokinetics, nephrotoxicity, and subcellular distribution of tobramycin in rats. 
The present study was designed to determine the temporal changes in tobramycin nephrotoxicity during the dark and the light periods of the day and to look for the mechanisms of such changes. Female Sprague-Dawley rats (9 to 11 weeks old) were housed in a 14-h-light-10-h-dark cycle (lights on 0600 to 2000 h). A bolus of tobramycin (60 mg/kg of body weight) was intravenously injected into a first group of 15 rats, at either 1400 or 0200 h. Six blood samples were taken from each rat, 30 to 210 min after the bolus injection. The total clearance of the drug was reduced during the rest period (1400 h) of rats compared with the activity period (0200 h) (P = 0.0007). Another group of 99 rats was given intraperitoneally a single dose of tobramycin (40 mg/kg), and renal cortices were collected 2 to 222 h after injection. The cortical drug levels were always higher in animals injected at 1400 h than in those injected at 0200 h. A last group of 32 rats was used in the studies of tobramycin (30 mg/kg/day, once daily for 10 days, intraperitoneally) nephrotoxicity and subcellular distribution. Weight gain in the rats receiving tobramycin (both 1400 and 0200 h) was significantly (P = 0.028) less than that in the controls. Nephrotoxicity, indicated by the incorporation of [3H]thymidine into cortical DNA and urinary excretion of N-acetyl-beta-D-glucosaminidase, was significantly higher in animals treated at 1400 h than in those treated at 0200 h. No difference in the subcellular distribution of tobramycin was observed. The data indicate that the reduction in the clearance of tobramycin during the rest period is in part responsible for the higher nephrotoxicity in rats.
PMCID: PMC284396  PMID: 8141580
13.  Subcellular localization of tobramycin and vancomycin given alone and in combination in proximal tubular cells, determined by immunogold labeling. 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1992;36(10):2204-2210.
The subcellular localization of tobramycin and vancomycin in the renal cortices of rats was determined with ultrathin sections by immunogold labeling. Four groups of four rats each were treated for 10 days with saline (NaCl, 0.9%), tobramycin at dosages of 20 mg/kg of body weight per 12 h intraperitoneally, vancomycin at dosages of 25 mg/kg/12 h subcutaneously, or the combination tobramycin-vancomycin. On day 11, the animals were killed, and cubes of renal cortex were fixed overnight in phosphate-buffered glutaraldehyde (0.5%), dehydrated in ethanol, and embedded in Araldite 502 resin. Ultrathin sections were made and incubated with sheep antitobramycin antibody followed by protein A-gold (15-nm diameter) complex or rabbit antivancomycin antibody followed by gold (30-nm diameter)-labeled goat anti-rabbit antibody. For the double labeling, incubations were made on opposite sides of the grid. Tobramycin was detected over the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells, but the labeling was concentrated into small areas in the matrix of the lysosomes. Vancomycin was seen over the lysosomes of proximal tubular cells and was distributed uniformly throughout the matrix of the lysosomes. In rats treated with tobramycin-vancomycin, both drugs were still detected in lysosomes of proximal tubular cells. It is concluded that tobramycin and vancomycin accumulate in lysosomes of proximal tubular cells throughout 10 days of treatment and that vancomycin has no effect on the subcellular distribution of tobramycin.
PMCID: PMC245477  PMID: 1444301
14.  Opportunistic infections and acquired cellular immune deficiency among Haitian immigrants in Montreal. 
Canadian Medical Association Journal  1983;129(11):1205-1209.
Eight Haitian immigrants (five with acquired immune deficiency syndrome [AIDS] and three with the signs and symptoms of AIDS but without opportunistic infections or malignant diseases) are described. All had malaise, weight loss, fever and generalized lymphadenopathy. All five of those with opportunistic infections died from the infections, which were multiple in four cases. Septic shock due to Escherichia coli or Klebsiella pneumoniae developed in two patients. Evidence of immune deficiency in the AIDS patients included anergy, lymphocytopenia (in all but two), polyclonal hypergamma-globulinemia and abnormal sizes of the subsets of circulating T lymphocytes. Autopsies revealed no recognizable causes for immune deficiency; the lymph nodes showed follicular hyperplasia in four cases and lymphocyte depletion in one case. Except for the absence of opportunistic infections, the illness in the three patients not classed as having AIDS was indistinguishable from that in the other five, which suggests that this syndrome is AIDS-related, like the persistent generalized lymphadenopathy that occurs in homosexual men and patients with hemophilia.
PMCID: PMC1875519  PMID: 6315211

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