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1.  Caffeine extends life span, improves healthspan, and delays age-associated pathology in Caenorhabditis elegans 
The longevity of an organism is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. With respect to genetic factors, a significant effort is being made to identify pharmacological agents that extend life span by targeting pathways with a defined role in the aging process. On the environmental side, the molecular mechanisms responsible for the positive influence of interventions such as dietary restriction are being explored. The environment experienced by humans in modern societies already contains countless compounds that may influence longevity. Understanding the role played by common compounds that substantially affect the aging process will be critical for predicting and interpreting the outcome of introducing new interventions. Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug worldwide. Prior studies in flies, worms, and mice indicate that caffeine may positively impact age-associated neurodegenerative pathology, such as that observed in Alzheimer’s disease.
Here we report that caffeine is capable of extending life span and improving healthspan in Caenorhabditis elegans, a finding that is in agreement with a recently published screen looking for FDA-approved compounds capable of extending worm life span. Life span extension using caffeine displays epistatic interaction with two known longevity interventions: dietary restriction and reduced insulin signaling. Caffeine treatment also delays pathology in a nematode model of polyglutamine disease.
The identification of caffeine as a relevant factor in aging and healthspan in worms, combined with prior work in both humans and rodents linking caffeine consumption to reduced risk of age-associated disease, suggests that caffeine may target conserved longevity pathways. Further, it may be important to consider caffeine consumption when developing clinical interventions, particularly those designed to mimic dietary restriction or modulate insulin/IGF-1-like signaling. The positive impact of caffeine on a worm model of polyglutamine disease suggests that chronic caffeine consumption may generally enhance resistance to proteotoxic stress and may be relevant to assessing risk and developing treatments for human diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. Future work addressing the relevant targets of caffeine in models of aging and healthspan will help to clarify the underlying mechanisms and potentially identify new molecular targets for disease intervention.
PMCID: PMC3922918  PMID: 24764514
Aging; Life span; Longevity; Healthspan; Worms; Caffeine; Proteotoxicity; Neurodegeneration
2.  In vitro and clinical studies examining the expression of osteopontin in cigarette smoke-exposed endothelial cells and cigarette smokers 
Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of mortality and morbidity and is associated with cardiovascular disease via contributory processes such as endothelial dysfunction, inflammation and thrombosis. Cigarette smoke both contains and stimulates the production of cellular oxidants and it may also promote vascular inflammation. Osteopontin is a non-collagenous matrix protein first identified in bone and there is increasing evidence for its role in inflammation and cardiovascular disease via its action as a soluble cytokine.
In this study we have examined the mechanisms underlying the expression of osteopontin in human vascular endothelial cells in vitro following exposure to cigarette smoke particulate matter (PM), using PCR, electrochemiluminescence, immunostaining and Western blotting. We further determined if serum osteopontin levels changed in humans who quit smoking.
Non-cytotoxic concentrations of PM increased osteopontin levels in cultured human endothelial cells and this effect was reduced in the presence of ascorbate, suggesting a role for oxidants in the response to PM. However, oxidant production played no role in the PM-evoked induction MMP-3, an enzyme which cleaves osteopontin. In smokers who quit smoking for 5 days, serum osteopontin levels were significantly lowered compared to those measured prior to smoking cessation.
In vitro cigarette smoke extract exposure induced osteopontin expression in human endothelial cells in an oxidative stress-dependent manner, which may involve MMP-3 cleavage. In humans, serum osteopontin was decreased with short-term smoking cessation. Endothelial-derived osteopontin may contribute to inflammation in smokers, and may also contribute to atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease-related processes.
PMCID: PMC3465212  PMID: 22978720
Osteopontin; In vitro; Endothelial cells; MMP-3; Smoking; Atherosclerosis
3.  Concurrent Analysis of Nose and Groin Swab Specimens by the IDI-MRSA PCR Assay Is Comparable to Analysis by Individual-Specimen PCR and Routine Culture Assays for Detection of Colonization by Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(8):2904-2908.
The IDI-MRSA assay (Infectio Diagnostic, Inc., Sainte-Foy, Quebec, Canada) with the Smart Cycler II rapid DNA amplification system (Cepheid, Sunnyvale, CA) appears to be sensitive and specific for the rapid detection of nasal colonization by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We assessed the sensitivity and specificity of this assay under conditions in which both the nose and cutaneous groin specimens were analyzed together and compared the accuracy of this PCR approach to that when these specimens were tested separately and by culture assays in an inpatient population with known high rates (12 to 15%) of MRSA colonization. Of 211 patients screened, 192 had results assessable by all three methods (agar-broth culture, separate nose and groin IDI-MRSA assay, and combined nose-groin IDI-MRSA assay), with MRSA carriage noted in 31/192 (16.1%), 41/192 (21.4%), and 36/192 (18.8%) patients by each method, respectively. Compared to agar culture results, the sensitivity and specificity of the combined nose-groin IDI-MRSA assay were 88.0% and 91.6%, respectively, whereas when each specimen was processed separately, the sensitivities were 90.0% (nose) and 83.3% (groin) and the specificities were 91.7% (nose) and 90.2% (groin). IDI-MRSA assay of a combined nose-groin specimen appears to have an accuracy similar to that of the current recommended PCR protocol, providing results in a clinically useful time frame, and may represent a more cost-effective approach to using this assay for screening for MRSA colonization.
PMCID: PMC1594615  PMID: 16891510
4.  Good Clinical Outcomes but High Rates of Adverse Reactions during Linezolid Therapy for Serious Infections: a Proposed Protocol for Monitoring Therapy in Complex Patients 
We assessed the toxicity and clinical outcomes associated with linezolid therapy (mean duration, 29 ± 28 days; range, 8 to 185 days) in 44 patients with serious gram-positive infections. Although a clinical cure was achieved in 73% of the cases, 28/44 (64%) had adverse reactions (thrombocytopenia, n = 13; anemia, n = 7; gastrointestinal, n = 12; peripheral neuropathy, n = 1; serotonin syndrome, n = 1), such that a systematic monitoring protocol was developed.
PMCID: PMC1426936  PMID: 16569895

Results 1-4 (4)