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1.  ST6Gal-I expression in ovarian cancer cells promotes an invasive phenotype by altering integrin glycosylation and function 
Ovarian adenocarcinoma is not generally discovered in patients until there has been widespread intraperitoneal dissemination, which is why ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic malignancy. Though incompletely understood, the mechanism of peritoneal metastasis relies on primary tumor cells being able to detach themselves from the tumor, escape normal apoptotic pathways while free floating, and adhere to, and eventually invade through, the peritoneal surface. Our laboratory has previously shown that the Golgi glycosyltransferase, ST6Gal-I, mediates the hypersialylation of β1 integrins in colon adenocarcinoma, which leads to a more metastatic tumor cell phenotype. Interestingly, ST6Gal-I mRNA is known to be upregulated in metastatic ovarian cancer, therefore the goal of the present study was to determine whether ST6Gal-I confers a similarly aggressive phenotype to ovarian tumor cells.
Three ovarian carcinoma cell lines were screened for ST6Gal-I expression, and two of these, PA-1 and SKOV3, were found to produce ST6Gal-I protein. The third cell line, OV4, lacked endogenous ST6Gal-I. In order to understand the effects of ST6Gal-I on cell behavior, OV4 cells were stably-transduced with ST6Gal-I using a lentiviral vector, and integrin-mediated responses were compared in parental and ST6Gal-I-expressing cells.
Forced expression of ST6Gal-I in OV4 cells, resulting in sialylation of β1 integrins, induced greater cell adhesion to, and migration toward, collagen I. Similarly, ST6Gal-I expressing cells were more invasive through Matrigel.
ST6Gal-I mediated sialylation of β1 integrins in ovarian cancer cells may contribute to peritoneal metastasis by altering tumor cell adhesion and migration through extracellular matrix.
PMCID: PMC2584051  PMID: 19014651
2.  Cerebellar c9RAN proteins associate with clinical and neuropathological characteristics of C9ORF72 repeat expansion carriers 
Acta Neuropathologica  2015;130(4):559-573.
Clinical and neuropathological characteristics associated with G4C2 repeat expansions in chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9ORF72), the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia, are highly variable. To gain insight on the molecular basis for the heterogeneity among C9ORF72 mutation carriers, we evaluated associations between features of disease and levels of two abundantly expressed “c9RAN proteins” produced by repeat-associated non-ATG (RAN) translation of the expanded repeat. For these studies, we took a departure from traditional immunohistochemical approaches and instead employed immunoassays to quantitatively measure poly(GP) and poly(GA) levels in cerebellum, frontal cortex, motor cortex, and/or hippocampus from 55 C9ORF72 mutation carriers [12 patients with ALS, 24 with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and 19 with FTLD with motor neuron disease (FTLD-MND)]. We additionally investigated associations between levels of poly(GP) or poly(GA) and cognitive impairment in 15 C9ORF72 ALS patients for whom neuropsychological data were available. Among the neuroanatomical regions investigated, poly(GP) levels were highest in the cerebellum. In this same region, associations between poly(GP) and both neuropathological and clinical features were detected. Specifically, cerebellar poly(GP) levels were significantly lower in patients with ALS compared to patients with FTLD or FTLD-MND. Furthermore, cerebellar poly(GP) associated with cognitive score in our cohort of 15 patients. In the cerebellum, poly(GA) levels similarly trended lower in the ALS subgroup compared to FTLD or FTLD-MND subgroups, but no association between cerebellar poly(GA) and cognitive score was detected. Both cerebellar poly(GP) and poly(GA) associated with C9ORF72 variant 3 mRNA expression, but not variant 1 expression, repeat size, disease onset, or survival after onset. Overall, these data indicate that cerebellar abnormalities, as evidenced by poly(GP) accumulation, associate with neuropathological and clinical phenotypes, in particular cognitive impairment, of C9ORF72 mutation carriers.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00401-015-1474-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4575385  PMID: 26350237
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; C9ORF72 repeat expansion; c9RAN proteins; Cognition; Dipeptide repeat proteins; Frontotemporal dementia; Frontotemporal lobar degeneration; Neuropathological diagnosis; Repeat-associated non-ATG translation
3.  A nomogram for predicting distant brain failure in patients treated with gamma knife stereotactic radiosurgery without whole brain radiotherapy 
Neuro-Oncology  2014;16(9):1283-1288.
We review our single institution experience to determine predictive factors for early and delayed distant brain failure (DBF) after radiosurgery without whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) for brain metastases.
Materials and methods
Between January 2000 and December 2010, a total of 464 patients were treated with Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) without WBRT for primary management of newly diagnosed brain metastases. Histology, systemic disease, RPA class, and number of metastases were evaluated as possible predictors of DBF rate. DBF rates were determined by serial MRI. Kaplan–Meier method was used to estimate rate of DBF. Multivariate analysis was performed using Cox Proportional Hazard regression.
Median number of lesions treated was 1 (range 1–13). Median time to DBF was 4.9 months. Twenty-seven percent of patients ultimately required WBRT with median time to WBRT of 5.6 months. Progressive systemic disease (χ2= 16.748, P < .001), number of metastases at SRS (χ2 = 27.216, P < .001), discovery of new metastases at time of SRS (χ2 = 9.197, P < .01), and histology (χ2 = 12.819, P < .07) were factors that predicted for earlier time to distant failure. High risk histologic subtypes (melanoma, her2 negative breast, χ2 = 11.020, P < .001) and low risk subtypes (her2 + breast, χ2 = 11.343, P < .001) were identified. Progressive systemic disease (χ2 = 9.549, P < .01), number of brain metastases (χ2 = 16.953, P < .001), minimum SRS dose (χ2 = 21.609, P < .001), and widespread metastatic disease (χ2 = 29.396, P < .001) were predictive of shorter time to WBRT.
Systemic disease, number of metastases, and histology are factors that predict distant failure rate after primary radiosurgical management of brain metastases.
PMCID: PMC4136890  PMID: 24558022
brain metastases; distant brain failure; nomogram; stereotactic radiosurgery
4.  Anaplastic ganglioglioma: a report of three cases and review of the literature 
Journal of neuro-oncology  2015;123(1):171-177.
Gangliogliomas are rare tumors of the central nervous system that are thought to arise from a glioneuronal precursor and consist of both neuronal and glial elements. Grade III, or anaplastic ganglioglioma (AGG), most commonly affects children and young adults, generally arises in a supratentorial location, is highly epileptogenic, and often results in diffuse local and distant failure within the craniospinal axis. Pathologically, these tumors are graded by the degree of malignancy in their glial portion and radiologic diagnosis is difficult due to the wide variation in its degree of solid and cystic components, contrast uptake, and calcification patterns. This report presents three cases of AGG, with initial treatment including subtotal resection followed by conformal radio-therapy. In the case where the AGG developed in the setting of an existent low-grade astrocytoma, the patient received no chemotherapy. Both of the other de novo cases were managed with adjuvant chemoradiotherapy with temozolomide. Recurrence occurred at 6, 16, and 20 months following therapy. Two of the three patients experienced symptomatic decline at recurrence, but experienced Karnofsky performance status (KPS) improvement after salvage therapy, including the reduction of cranial neuropathy and balance. All patients had a significant reduction in presenting symptoms following salvage therapy. Patients died at 23, 20, and 22 months following initial surgical management, respectively. A review of anaplastic and malignant gangliogliomas is presented in the context of these three cases.
PMCID: PMC4471868  PMID: 25862009
Anaplastic ganglioglioma; Radiotherapy; Reirradiation; BRAF
5.  Predictive Nomogram for the Durability of Pain Relief From Gamma Knife Radiation Surgery in the Treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia 
To determine factors associated with the durability of stereotactic radiation surgery (SRS) for treatment of trigeminal neuralgia (TN).
Methods and Materials
Between 1999 and 2008, 446 of 777 patients with TN underwent SRS and had evaluable follow-up in our electronic medical records and phone interview records. The median follow-up was 21.2 months. The Barrow Neurologic Institute (BNI) pain scale was used to determine pre- and post-SRS pain. Dose-volume anatomical measurements, Burchiel pain subtype, pain quality, prior procedures, and medication usage were included in this retrospective cohort to identify factors impacting the time to BNI 4-5 pain relapse by using Cox proportional hazard regression. An internet-based nomogram was constructed based on predictive factors of durable relief pre- and posttreatment at 6-month intervals.
Rates of freedom from BNI 4-5 failure at 1, 3, and 5 years were 84.5%, 70.4%, and 46.9%, respectively. Pain relief was BNI 1-3 at 1, 3, and 5 years in 86.1%, 74.3%, and 51.3% of type 1 patients; 79.3%, 46.2%, and 29.3% of type 2 patients; and 62.7%, 50.2%, and 25% of atypical facial pain patients. BNI type 1 pain score was achieved at 1, 3, and 5 years in 62.9%, 43.5%, and 22.0% of patients with type 1 pain and in 47.5%, 25.2%, and 9.2% of type 2 patients, respectively. Only 13% of patients with atypical facial pain achieved BNI 1 response; 42% of patients developed post-Gamma Knife radiation surgery (GKRS) trigeminal dysfunction. Multivariate analysis revealed that post-SRS numbness (hazard ratio [HR], 0.47; P<.0001), type 1 (vs type 2) TN (HR, 0.6; P=.02), and improved post-SRS BNI score at 6 months (HR, 0.009; P<.0001) were predictive of a durable pain response.
The durability of SRS for TN depends on the presenting Burchiel pain type, the post-SRS BNI score, and the presence of post-SRS facial numbness. The durability of pain relief can be estimated pre- and posttreatment by using our nomogram for situations when the potential of relapse may guide the decision for initial intervention.
PMCID: PMC4127576  PMID: 24613811
6.  Management of Mediastinal Relapse after Treatment with Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy or Accelerated Hypofractionated Radiotherapy for Stage I/II Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer 
Regional failures occur in up to 15% of patients treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for stage I/II lung cancer. This report focuses on the management of the unique scenario of isolated regional failures.
Patients treated initially with SBRT or accelerated hypo-fractionated radiotherapy were screened for curative intent treatment of isolated mediastinal failures (IMFs). Local control, regional control, progression-free survival, and distant control were estimated from the date of salvage treatment using the Kaplan–Meier method.
Among 160 patients treated from 2002 to 2012, 12 suffered IMF and were amenable to salvage treatment. The median interval between treatments was 16 months (2–57 mo). Median salvage dose was 66 Gy (60–70 Gy). With a median follow-up of 10 months, the median overall survival was 15 months (95% confidence interval, 5.8–37 mo). When estimated from original treatment, the median overall survival was 38 months (95% confidence interval, 17–71 mo). No subsequent regional failures occurred. Distant failure was the predominant mode of relapse following salvage for IMF with a 2-year distant control rate of 38%. At the time of this analysis, three patients have died without recurrence while four are alive and no evidence of disease. High-grade toxicity was uncommon.
To our knowledge, this is first analysis of salvage mediastinal radiation after SBRT or accelerated hypofractionated radiotherapy in lung cancer. Outcomes appear similar to stage III disease at presentation. Distant failures were common, suggesting a role for concurrent or sequential chemotherapy. A standard full course of external beam radiotherapy is advisable in this unique clinical scenario.
PMCID: PMC4075996  PMID: 24736084
Lung cancer; Salvage; Regional relapse
7.  Evaluation of the Role of Secretory Sphingomyelinase and Bioactive Sphingolipids as Biomarkers in Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis 
American journal of hematology  2013;88(11):E265-E272.
Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH) is a rare systemic inflammatory syndrome that results from unrestrained immune cell activation. Despite significant advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of HLH, interventions remain limited for this often-fatal condition. Secretory sphingomyelinase (S-SMase) is a pro-inflammatory lipid hydrolase that is upregulated in several inflammatory conditions, including HLH. S-SMase promotes the formation of ceramide, a bioactive lipid implicated in several human disease states. However, the role of the S-SMase/ceramide pathway in HLH remains unexplored. To further evaluate the role of S-SMase upregulation in HLH, we tested the serum of patients with HLH (n=16; primary=3, secondary=13) and healthy control patients (n=25) for serum S-SMase activity with tandem sphingolipid metabolomic profiling. Patients with HLH exhibited elevated levels of serum S-SMase activity, with concomitant elevations in several ceramide species and sphingosine, while levels of sphingosine-1-phosphate were significantly decreased. Importantly, the ratio of C16-ceramide:sphingosine was uniquely elevated in HLH patients that died despite appropriate treatment, but remained low in HLH patients that survived, suggesting that this ratio may be of prognostic significance. Together, these results demonstrate upregulation of the S-SMase/ceramide pathway in HLH, and suggest that the balance of ceramide and sphingosine determine clinical outcomes in HLH.
PMCID: PMC4348111  PMID: 23828274
hemophagocytic syndrome; sphingolipids; inflammation; acid sphingomyelinase; sphingosine
8.  Evaluation of Memory Endophenotypes for Association with CLU, CR1 and PICALM variants in African-American and Caucasian Subjects 
Genetic variants at the CLU, CR1 and PICALM loci associate with risk for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) in genome-wide association studies (GWAS). In this study, our aim was to determine whether the LOAD risk variants at these three loci influence memory endophenotypes in African-American and Caucasian subjects.
We pursued an association study between single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotypes at the CLU, CR1 and PICALM loci and memory endophenotypes. We assessed African-American subjects (AA: 44 with LOAD, 224 controls) recruited at Mayo Clinic Florida and Caucasians recruited at Mayo Clinic Minnesota (RS: 372 with LOAD, 1,690 controls) and Florida (JS: 60 with LOAD, 529 controls). SNPs at the LOAD risk loci CLU (rs11136000), CR1 (rs6656401, rs3818361) and PICALM (rs3851179) were genotyped and tested for association with Logical Memory immediate recall (LMIR), delayed recall (LMDR) and percent retention (LMPR) and Visual Reproduction (VRIR, VRDR, VRPR) scores from Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised, using multivariable linear regression analysis, adjusting for age-at-exam, sex, education and APOE ε4 dosage.
We identified nominally significant or suggestive associations between the LOAD risky CR1 variants and worse LMIR scores in the African-Americans (p=0.068 - 0.046, β= −2.7 to −1.2). The LOAD protective CLU variant is associated with better logical memory endophenotypes in the Caucasian subjects (p=0.099-0.027, β= 0.31 to 0.93). The CR1 associations persisted when the control subjects from the African-American series were assessed separately. The CLU associations appeared to be driven by one of the Caucasian series (RS) and were also observed when the control subset from RS was analyzed.
These results suggest for the first time that LOAD risk variants at CR1 may influence memory endophenotypes in African-Americans. Additionally, CLU LOAD protective variant may confer enhanced memory in Caucasians. Although these results would not remain significant after stringent corrections for multiple testing, they need to be considered in the context of the LOAD associations, with which they have biological consistency. They also provide estimates for effect sizes on memory endophenotypes that could guide future studies. The detection of memory effects for these variants in clinically normal subjects, implies that these LOAD risk loci might modify memory prior to clinical diagnosis of AD.
PMCID: PMC3815516  PMID: 23643458
9.  Dissociable causal roles for left and right parietal cortex in controlling attentional biases from the contents of working memory 
NeuroImage  2014;100:200-205.
The contents of working memory (WM) steer visual attention, but the extent of this guidance can be strategically enhanced or inhibited when WM content is reliably helpful or harmful to a visual task. Current understanding of the neural substrates mediating the cognitive control over WM biases is limited, however, by the correlational nature of functional MRI approaches. A recent fMRI study provided suggestive evidence for a functional lateralization of these control processes in posterior parietal cortex (PPC): activity in left PPC correlated with the presentation of WM cues that ought to be strategically enhanced to optimize performance, while activity in the right PPC correlated with the presentation of cues that ought to be inhibited to prevent detrimental attentional biases in a visual search. Here, we aimed to directly assess whether the left and right PPC are causally involved in the cognitive control of WM biases, and to clarify their precise functional contributions. We therefore applied 1Hz repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to left and right PPC (and a vertex control site) prior to administering a behavioral task assessing WM biasing control functions. We observed that the perturbation of left PPC eliminated the strategic benefit of predictably helpful WM cueing, while the perturbation of right PPC amplified the cost of unpredictable detrimental WM cueing. Left and right PPC thus play distinct causal roles in WM-attention interactions: left PPC to maximize benefits, and right PPC to minimize costs, of internally maintained content on visual attention.
PMCID: PMC4209476  PMID: 24945665
working memory; cognitive control; visual attention; parietal cortex
10.  The Role of Endocrine Disruptors in the Epigenetics of Reproductive Disease and Dysfunction: Potential Relevance to Humans 
In a murine model, we have linked early life toxicant exposure to reduced uterine sensitivity to progesterone, a phenotype we had previously associated with inflammation in endometriosis patients. Subsequent studies revealed that developmental toxicant exposure not only reduces fertility in male and female mice but also negatively impacts pregnancy leading to spontaneous preterm birth (PTB). An epigenetic alteration of the progesterone receptor gene correlated with reduced fertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes and persisted in multiple generations of mice in the absence of an additional toxicant exposure. Gene-environment interactions in women may explain why some patients “at risk” for PTB deliver at term while others without known risks deliver early. Our model provides a unique system to unravel the interactive influences of inflammation and reduced progesterone responsiveness on PTB and suggests that therapy needs to begin prior to pregnancy (and involve both partners) rather than once the inflammatory cascade has been initiated.
PMCID: PMC4056573  PMID: 24932427
11.  Dietary fish oil supplementation inhibits formation of endometriosis-associated adhesions in a chimeric mouse model 
Fertility and sterility  2012;99(2):543-550.e1.
To examine whether dietary fish oil supplementation reduces development of spontaneous endometriosis-associated adhesions using an established model.
Laboratory-based study.
Medical center research laboratory.
Disease-free women of reproductive age and nude mice.
Women were not provided any intervention. Mice were randomized to receive fish oil supplementation or control diet.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
Experimental endometriosis was established in mice via injection of human endometrial tissue within 16 hours of ovariectomy. Mice were provided standard or menhaden fish oil–supplemented diets for ≥2 weeks before initiation of experimental endometriosis and until killing them 1 week later. At necropsy, mice were examined for the presence and extent of adhesions and endometriotic-like lesions. Tissues were excised and morphologically characterized.
Adhesions/lesions were reduced in mice provided with dietary fish oil compared with control animals. Leukocytes were more numerous within the adhesions/lesions of the mice maintained on the standard diet compared with animals provided with fish oil. As indicated by staining intensity, collagen deposition was greater at adhesion sites within control mice compared with fish oil–supplemented animals.
Wound-healing associated with surgery created an inflammatory peritoneal microenvironment that promoted the development of both experimental endometriosis and adhesions in a murine model. Targeting excessive inflammation with fish oil may be an effective adjuvant therapy to reduce the development of postsurgical adhesions related to endometriosis.
PMCID: PMC3582352  PMID: 23103017
Omega-3 fatty acids; adhesions; endometriosis; mice; inflammation
12.  A multi-center, randomized, double blind placebo-controlled trial of estrogens to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and loss of memory in women: design and baseline characteristics 
Clinical trials (London, England)  2008;5(5):10.1177/1740774508096313.
Observational studies and small clinical trials suggested that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) decreases risk of cognitive loss and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in postmenopausal women and may have value in primary prevention.
A clinical trial was designed to determine if HRT delays AD or memory loss. This report describes the rationale and original design of the trial and details extensive modifications that were required to respond to unanticipated findings that emerged from other studies during the course of the trial.
The trial was designed as a multi-center, placebo-controlled primary prevention trial for women 65 years of age or older with a family history of dementia. Recruitment from local sites was supplemented by centralized efforts to use names of Medicare beneficiaries. Inclusion criteria included good general health and intact memory functioning. Participants were randomized to HRT or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Assignment was stratified by hysterectomy status and site. The primary outcomes were incident AD and memory decline on neuropsychological testing.
Enrollment began in March 1998. In response to the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) May 2002 report of increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and breast cancer among women randomized to HRT, participants were re-consented with a revised consent form. Procedural modifications, including discontinuation of study medication and a modification of the planned primary outcome based on a final enrollment below the target enrollment (N = 477), were enacted in response to the subsequent WHI Memory Study report of increased risk of dementia and poorer cognitive function with HRT. The mean length of treatment exposure prior to discontinuation was 2.14 years. Participants’ mean age at baseline was 72.8; mean education was 14.2 years. Minority participation was 19% and 34% had a hysterectomy. The study continues to follow these participants for a total of 5 years blind to the original medication assignment.
Results reported from the WHI during the course of this study mandated extensive procedural modifications, including discontinuing recruitment before completion and halting study medication. Alternative strategies for study redesign that were considered are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3884686  PMID: 18827045
13.  Prothioconazole and Prothioconazole-Desthio Activities against Candida albicans Sterol 14-α-Demethylase 
Prothioconazole is a new triazolinthione fungicide used in agriculture. We have used Candida albicans CYP51 (CaCYP51) to investigate the in vitro activity of prothioconazole and to consider the use of such compounds in the medical arena. Treatment of C. albicans cells with prothioconazole, prothioconazole-desthio, and voriconazole resulted in CYP51 inhibition, as evidenced by the accumulation of 14α-methylated sterol substrates (lanosterol and eburicol) and the depletion of ergosterol. We then compared the inhibitor binding properties of prothioconazole, prothioconazole-desthio, and voriconazole with CaCYP51. We observed that prothioconazole-desthio and voriconazole bind noncompetitively to CaCYP51 in the expected manner of azole antifungals (with type II inhibitors binding to heme as the sixth ligand), while prothioconazole binds competitively and does not exhibit classic inhibitor binding spectra. Inhibition of CaCYP51 activity in a cell-free assay demonstrated that prothioconazole-desthio is active, whereas prothioconazole does not inhibit CYP51 activity. Extracts from C. albicans grown in the presence of prothioconazole were found to contain prothioconazole-desthio. We conclude that the antifungal action of prothioconazole can be attributed to prothioconazole-desthio.
PMCID: PMC3591943  PMID: 23275516
14.  Diagnostic Accuracy of the MMSE in Detecting Probable and Possible Alzheimer's Disease in Ethnically Diverse Highly Educated Individuals: An Analysis of the NACC Database 
To validate and extend the findings of a raised cut score of O’Bryant and colleagues (O’Bryant SE, Humphreys JD, Smith GE, et al. Detecting dementia with the mini-mental state examination in highly educated individuals. Arch Neurol. 2008;65(7):963–967.) for the Mini-Mental State Examination in detecting cognitive dysfunction in a bilingual sample of highly educated ethnically diverse individuals.
Archival data were reviewed from participants enrolled in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center minimum data set. Data on 7,093 individuals with 16 or more years of education were analyzed, including 2,337 cases with probable and possible Alzheimer's disease, 1,418 mild cognitive impairment patients, and 3,088 nondemented controls. Ethnic composition was characterized as follows: 6,296 Caucasians, 581 African Americans, 4 American Indians or Alaska natives, 2 native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders, 149 Asians, 43 “Other,” and 18 of unknown origin.
Diagnostic accuracy estimates (sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio) of Mini-Mental State Examination cut scores in detecting probable and possible Alzheimer's disease were examined. A standard Mini-Mental State Examination cut score of 24 (≤23) yielded a sensitivity of 0.58 and a specificity of 0.98 in detecting probable and possible Alzheimer's disease across ethnicities. A cut score of 27 (≤26) resulted in an improved balance of sensitivity and specificity (0.79 and 0.90, respectively). In the cognitively impaired group (mild cognitive impairment and probable and possible Alzheimer's disease), the standard cut score yielded a sensitivity of 0.38 and a specificity of 1.00 while raising the cut score to 27 resulted in an improved balance of 0.59 and 0.96 of sensitivity and specificity, respectively.
These findings cross-validate our previous work and extend them to an ethnically diverse cohort. A higher cut score is needed to maximize diagnostic accuracy of the Mini-Mental State Examination in individuals with college degrees.
PMCID: PMC3403860  PMID: 22396476
Alzheimer's disease; Dementia diagnosis; Ethnicity; Language; Mini-Mental State Examination
15.  Preconception Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation of Adult Male Mice with a History of Developmental TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) Exposure Prevents Preterm Birth in Unexposed Female Partners 
Reproduction (Cambridge, England)  2011;142(2):235-241.
We recently reported that adult male C57BL/6 mice exposed in utero to the environmental toxicant TCDD confer an increased risk of preterm birth (PTB) to unexposed females. Risk of PTB was coincident with decreased placental progesterone receptor (PR) mRNA expression and increased toll-like receptor-4 (TLR-4) mRNA expression, suggesting toxicant exposure induced a heightened inflammatory response at the maternal-fetal interface. Since omega-3 fatty acids exhibit anti-inflammatory activity, herein, we provided TCDD-exposed males a fish oil-enriched diet prior to mating. Although PTB was common in control females mated to TCDD-exposed males on the standard diet, fish oil supplementation of TCDD-exposed males eliminated PTB in unexposed partners. We also determined the influence of preconception, paternal fish oil supplementation on the placental inflammatory response in late pregnancy (E18.5) by examining expression of PR and TLR-4 mRNA as well as expression of 15-hydroxy prostaglandin dehydrogenase (PGDH). PGDH catabolizes the inflammatory PGE2 to an inactive form; thus, reduced expression of this enzyme would promote tissue inflammation. Compared to control pregnancies, examination of E18.5 placentas arising from TCDD-exposed males on the standard diet revealed a significant increase in TLR-4 mRNA expression corresponding to a reduction in PR mRNA and PGDH protein expression. In contrast, fish oil supplementation of toxicant-exposed males led to normalization of placental expression of both PR and TLR-4 mRNA and a marked increase in PGDH expression. These studies suggest that a paternal preconception diet which includes omega-3 fatty acids prevents the toxicant-associated increase in the placental inflammatory response at late gestation, preventing PTB.
PMCID: PMC3730265  PMID: 21653731
16.  Reliable Change on the Boston Naming Test 
Serial assessments are commonplace in neuropsychological practice and used to document cognitive trajectory for many clinical conditions. However, true change scores may be distorted by measurement error, repeated exposure to the assessment instrument, or person variables. The present study provides reliable change indices (RCI) for the Boston Naming Test, derived from a sample of 844 cognitively normal adults aged 56 years and older. All participants were retested between 9 and 24 months after their baseline exam. Results showed that a 4-point decline during a 9–15 month retest period or a 6-point decline during a 16–24 month retest period represents reliable change. These cutoff values were further characterized as a function of a person’s age and family history of dementia. These findings may help clinicians and researchers to characterize with greater precision the temporal changes in confrontation naming ability.
PMCID: PMC3617478  PMID: 22264406
BNT; RCI; Aging; Dementia; Serial; Assessment
17.  Diagnostic Validity of Age- And Education-Corrections for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in African American Elders 
To investigate whether demographic (age and education) adjustments for the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) attenuate mean score discrepancies between African American and Caucasian adults, and to determine whether demographically-adjusted MMSE scores improve the diagnostic classification accuracy of dementia in African American adults when compared to unadjusted MMSE scores.
Cross-sectional study.
Community-dwelling adults participating in the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Registry (ADPR) and Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC).
Three thousand two hundred fifty-four adults (2819 Caucasian, 435 African American) aged 60 and older.
MMSE at study entry.
African American adults obtained significantly lower unadjusted MMSE scores (23.0 ± 7.4) compared to Caucasian adults (25.3 ± 5.4). This discrepancy persisted despite adjustment of MMSE scores for age and years of education using established regression weights or newly-derived weights. However, controlling for dementia severity at baseline and adjusting MMSE scores for age and quality of education attenuated this discrepancy. Among African American adults, an age- and education-adjusted MMSE cut score of 23/24 provided optimal dementia classification accuracy, but this represented only a modest improvement over an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23. The posterior probability of dementia in African American adults is presented for various unadjusted MMSE cut scores and prevalence rates of dementia.
Age, dementia severity at study entry, and quality of educational experience are important explanatory factors to understand the existing discrepancies in MMSE performance between Caucasian and African American adults. Our findings support the use of unadjusted MMSE scores when screening African American elders for dementia, with an unadjusted MMSE cut score of 22/23 yielding optimal classification accuracy.
PMCID: PMC3288600  PMID: 22150301
MMSE; African American; ethnicity; dementia; cognition
18.  Difficulty and Discrimination Parameters of Boston Naming Test Items in a Consecutive Clinical Series 
The Boston Naming Test is one of the most widely used neuropsychological instruments; yet, there has been limited use of modern psychometric methods to investigate its properties at the item level. The current study used Item response theory to examine each item's difficulty and discrimination properties, as well as the test's measurement precision across the range of naming ability. Participants included 300 consecutive referrals to the outpatient neuropsychology service at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Results showed that successive items do not necessarily reflect a monotonic increase in psychometric difficulty, some items are inadequate to distinguish individuals at various levels of naming ability, multiple items provide redundant psychometric information, and measurement precision is greatest for persons within a low-average range of ability. These findings may be used to develop short forms, improve reliability in future test versions by replacing psychometrically poor items, and analyze profiles of intra-individual variability.
PMCID: PMC3142950  PMID: 21593059
Boston Naming Test; Item response theory; Item difficulty; Item discriminability
19.  Immune interactions in endometriosis 
Endometriosis is a common, complex gynecologic disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial glands and stroma at extrauterine (ectopic) sites. In women who develop this disease, alterations in specific biological processes involving both the endocrine and immune systems have been observed, which may explain the survival and growth of displaced endometrial tissue in affected women. In the past decade, a considerable amount of research has implicated a role for alterations in progesterone action at both eutopic and ectopic sites of endometrial growth which may contribute to the excessive inflammation associated with progression of endometriosis; however, it remains unclear whether these anomalies induce the condition or are simply a consequence of the disease process. In this article, we summarize current knowledge of alterations within the immune system of endometriosis patients and discuss how endometrial cells from women with this disease not only have the capacity to escape immunosurveillance, but also use inflammatory mechanisms to promote their growth within the peritoneal cavity. Finally, we discuss evidence that exposure to an environmental endocrine disruptor, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, can mediate the development of an endometrial phenotype that exhibits both reduced progesterone responsiveness and hypersensitivity to proinflammatory stimuli mimicking the endometriosis phenotype. Future studies in women with endometriosis should consider whether a heightened inflammatory response within the peritoneal microenvironment contributes to the development and persistence of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3204940  PMID: 21895474
chemokines; cytokines; dioxin; endocrine-disrupting chemicals; endometriosis; estrogen; immune–endocrine interactions; inflammation; peritoneum; progesterone; TCDD
20.  Validation of the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire to Screen for REM Sleep Behavior Disorder in an Aging and Dementia Cohort 
Sleep medicine  2011;12(5):445-453.
To validate a questionnaire focused on REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) among participants in an aging and dementia cohort.
RBD is a parasomnia that can develop in otherwise neurologically-normal adults as well as in those with a neurodegenerative disease. Confirmation of RBD requires polysomnography (PSG). A simple screening measure for RBD would be desirable for clinical and research purposes.
We had previously developed the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire (MSQ), a 16 item measure, to screen for the presence of RBD and other sleep disorders. We assessed the validity of the MSQ by comparing the responses of patients’ bed partners with the findings on PSG. All subjects recruited in the Mayo Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic Rochester and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville from 1/00 to 7/08 who had also undergone a PSG were the focus of this analysis.
The study sample was comprised of 176 subjects [150 male; median age 71 years (range 39–90)], with the following clinical diagnoses: normal (n=8), mild cognitive impairment (n=44), Alzheimer’s disease (n=23), dementia with Lewy bodies (n=74), as well as other dementia and/or parkinsonian syndromes (n=27). The core question on recurrent dream enactment behavior yielded a sensitivity (SN) of 98% and specificity (SP) of 74% for the diagnosis of RBD. The profile of responses on four additional subquestions on RBD and one on obstructive sleep apnea improved specificity.
These data suggest that among aged subjects with cognitive impairment and/or parkinsonism, the MSQ has adequate SN and SP for the diagnosis of RBD. The utility of this scale in other patient populations will require further study.
PMCID: PMC3083495  PMID: 21349763
sleep disorders; parasomnias; dementia; Alzheimer’s disease; dementia with Lewy bodies; parkinsonism
21.  Association of common KIBRA variants with episodic memory and AD risk 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;32(3):557.e1-557.e9.
KIBRA SNP rs17070145 was identified in a GWAS of memory performance, with some but not all follow-up studies confirming association of its T allele with enhanced memory. This allele was associated with reduced Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in one study, which also found overexpression of KIBRA in memory-related brain regions of ADs. We genotyped rs17070145 and 14 additional SNPs in 2571 LOADs vs. 2842 controls, including African-Americans. We found significantly reduced risk for rs17070145 T allele in the older African-American subjects (p=0.007) and a suggestive effect in the older Caucasian series. Meta-analysis of this allele in >8000 subjects from our and published series showed a suggestive protective effect (p=0.07). Analysis of episodic memory in control subjects did not identify associations with rs17070145, though other SNPs showed significant associations in one series. KIBRA showed evidence of overexpression in the AD temporal cortex (p=0.06) but not cerebellum. These results suggest a modest role for KIBRA as a cognition and AD risk gene, and also highlight the multifactorial complexity of its genetic associations.
PMCID: PMC3065956  PMID: 21185624
Alzheimer's disease; Association studies in genetics; Case control studies
22.  Characterization of frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis associated with the GGGGCC repeat expansion in C9ORF72 
Brain  2012;135(3):765-783.
Numerous kindreds with familial frontotemporal dementia and/or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have been linked to chromosome 9, and an expansion of the GGGGCC hexanucleotide repeat in the non-coding region of chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 has recently been identified as the pathogenic mechanism. We describe the key characteristics in the probands and their affected relatives who have been evaluated at Mayo Clinic Rochester or Mayo Clinic Florida in whom the hexanucleotide repeat expansion were found. Forty-three probands and 10 of their affected relatives with DNA available (total 53 subjects) were shown to carry the hexanucleotide repeat expansion. Thirty-six (84%) of the 43 probands had a familial disorder, whereas seven (16%) appeared to be sporadic. Among examined subjects from the 43 families (n = 63), the age of onset ranged from 33 to 72 years (median 52 years) and survival ranged from 1 to 17 years, with the age of onset <40 years in six (10%) and >60 in 19 (30%). Clinical diagnoses among examined subjects included behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia with or without parkinsonism (n = 30), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (n = 18), frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with or without parkinsonism (n = 12), and other various syndromes (n = 3). Parkinsonism was present in 35% of examined subjects, all of whom had behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia or frontotemporal dementia/amyotrophic lateral sclerosis as the dominant clinical phenotype. No subject with a diagnosis of primary progressive aphasia was identified with this mutation. Incomplete penetrance was suggested in two kindreds, and the youngest generation had significantly earlier age of onset (>10 years) compared with the next oldest generation in 11 kindreds. Neuropsychological testing showed a profile of slowed processing speed, complex attention/executive dysfunction, and impairment in rapid word retrieval. Neuroimaging studies showed bilateral frontal abnormalities most consistently, with more variable degrees of parietal with or without temporal changes; no case had strikingly focal or asymmetric findings. Neuropathological examination of 14 patients revealed a range of transactive response DNA binding protein molecular weight 43 pathology (10 type A and four type B), as well as ubiquitin-positive cerebellar granular neuron inclusions in all but one case. Motor neuron degeneration was detected in nine patients, including five patients without ante-mortem signs of motor neuron disease. While variability exists, most cases with this mutation have a characteristic spectrum of demographic, clinical, neuropsychological, neuroimaging and especially neuropathological findings.
PMCID: PMC3286335  PMID: 22366793
frontotemporal dementia; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; motor neuron disease; TDP-43; neurogenetics; chromosome 9
23.  Impact of Recently Emerged Sterol 14α-Demethylase (CYP51) Variants of Mycosphaerella graminicola on Azole Fungicide Sensitivity▿ 
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(11):3830-3837.
The progressive decline in the effectiveness of some azole fungicides in controlling Mycosphaerella graminicola, causal agent of the damaging Septoria leaf blotch disease of wheat, has been correlated with the selection and spread in the pathogen population of specific mutations in the M. graminicola CYP51 (MgCYP51) gene encoding the azole target sterol 14α-demethylase. Recent studies have suggested that the emergence of novel MgCYP51 variants, often harboring substitution S524T, has contributed to a decrease in the efficacy of prothioconazole and epoxiconazole, the two currently most effective azole fungicides against M. graminicola. In this study, we establish which amino acid alterations in novel MgCYP51 variants have the greatest impact on azole sensitivity and protein function. We introduced individual and combinations of identified alterations by site-directed mutagenesis and functionally determined their impact on azole sensitivity by expression in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutant YUG37::erg11 carrying a regulatable promoter controlling native CYP51 expression. We demonstrate that substitution S524T confers decreased sensitivity to all azoles when introduced alone or in combination with Y461S. In addition, S524T restores the function in S. cerevisiae of MgCYP51 variants carrying the otherwise lethal alterations Y137F and V136A. Sensitivity tests of S. cerevisiae transformants expressing recently emerged MgCYP51 variants carrying combinations of alterations D134G, V136A, Y461S, and S524T reveal a substantial impact on sensitivity to the currently most widely used azoles, including epoxiconazole and prothioconazole. Finally, we exploit a recently developed model of the MgCYP51 protein to predict that the substantial structural changes caused by these novel combinations reduce azole interactions with critical residues in the binding cavity, thereby causing resistance.
PMCID: PMC3127603  PMID: 21478305
24.  Continuous Three-Dimensional Control of a Virtual Helicopter Using a Motor Imagery Based Brain-Computer Interface 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26322.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) allow a user to interact with a computer system using thought. However, only recently have devices capable of providing sophisticated multi-dimensional control been achieved non-invasively. A major goal for non-invasive BCI systems has been to provide continuous, intuitive, and accurate control, while retaining a high level of user autonomy. By employing electroencephalography (EEG) to record and decode sensorimotor rhythms (SMRs) induced from motor imaginations, a consistent, user-specific control signal may be characterized. Utilizing a novel method of interactive and continuous control, we trained three normal subjects to modulate their SMRs to achieve three-dimensional movement of a virtual helicopter that is fast, accurate, and continuous. In this system, the virtual helicopter's forward-backward translation and elevation controls were actuated through the modulation of sensorimotor rhythms that were converted to forces applied to the virtual helicopter at every simulation time step, and the helicopter's angle of left or right rotation was linearly mapped, with higher resolution, from sensorimotor rhythms associated with other motor imaginations. These different resolutions of control allow for interplay between general intent actuation and fine control as is seen in the gross and fine movements of the arm and hand. Subjects controlled the helicopter with the goal of flying through rings (targets) randomly positioned and oriented in a three-dimensional space. The subjects flew through rings continuously, acquiring as many as 11 consecutive rings within a five-minute period. In total, the study group successfully acquired over 85% of presented targets. These results affirm the effective, three-dimensional control of our motor imagery based BCI system, and suggest its potential applications in biological navigation, neuroprosthetics, and other applications.
PMCID: PMC3202533  PMID: 22046274
25.  Regulation of Invasive Behavior by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor is HEF1-dependent 
Oncogene  2010;29(31):4449-4459.
We previously reported a VEGF autocrine loop in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) cell lines, supporting a role for VEGF in HNSCC tumorigenesis. Using a phosphotyrosine proteomics approach we screened the HNSCC cell line, SCC-9 for effectors of VEGFR2 signaling. A cluster of proteins involved in cell migration and invasion, including the p130Cas paralog, human enhancer of filamentation1 (HEF1/Cas-L/Nedd9) was identified. HEF1 silencing and overexpression studies revealed a role for VEGF in regulating cell migration, invasion, and MMP expression in a HEF1-dependent manner. Moreover, cells plated on extracellular matrix coated coverslips exhibited enhanced invadopodia formation in response to VEGF that was HEF1-dependent. Immunolocalization revealed that HEF1 colocalized to invadopodia with MT1-MMP. Analysis of HNSCC tissue microarrays for HEF1 immunoreactivity revealed a 6.5-fold increase in the odds of having a metastasis with a high HEF1 score compared to a low HEF1 score. These findings suggest that HEF1 may be prognostic for advanced stage HNSCC. They also demonstrate for the first time, that HEF1 is required for VEGF-mediated HNSCC cell migration and invasion, consistent with HEF1’s recent identification as a metastatic regulator. These results support a strategy targeting VEGF:VEGFR2 in HNSCC therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2921319  PMID: 20498643
VEGF; Invadopodia; Cell migration; invasion; HEF1; NEDD9; CAS-L; tyrosine phosphorylation

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