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1.  Development of an Instrument to Assess the Quality of Acupuncture: Results from a Delphi Process 
Quality acupuncture influences the outcomes of clinical research, and issues associated with effective administration of acupuncture in randomized controlled trials need to be addressed when appraising studies.
The study objective was to achieve consensus on domains and items for inclusion in a rating scale to assess quality acupuncture administered in clinical research.
Study design and subjects
An active group of Australian acupuncture researchers initially identified a pool of items assessing quality. The Delphi consensus process was then used to select and reduce the number of items, and an additional expert panel of 42 researchers were invited to participate. Participants initially ranked items along a five-point scale for the first Delphi round, and indicated an agree or disagree response during the second round. For an item to be retained into the second round, an item had to attain greater than 80% agreement that the item described a dimension of quality acupuncture and related study design.
Thirty-two (32) experts agreed to participate in the study. After two rounds of the Delphi process, consensus was reached on 14 domains and 26 items relating to quality acupuncture. Domains, items, and minimum standards related to study design; rationale of the intervention; criteria relating to needling stimulation either manual or electrostimulation; duration and frequency of treatment; and practitioner training.
Items for inclusion in an instrument to assess quality acupuncture in clinical research were identified. Further development of the instrument including relative weighting of items and reliability testing is under way.
PMCID: PMC3096500  PMID: 21548817
2.  Catalytic inhibition of topoisomerase II by a novel rationally designed ATP-competitive purine analogue 
Topoisomerase II poisons are in clinical use as anti-cancer therapy for decades and work by stabilizing the enzyme-induced DNA breaks. In contrast, catalytic inhibitors block the enzyme before DNA scission. Although several catalytic inhibitors of topoisomerase II have been described, preclinical concepts for exploiting their anti-proliferative activity based on molecular characteristics of the tumor cell have only recently started to emerge. Topoisomerase II is an ATPase and uses the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to orchestrate the movement of the DNA double strands along the enzyme. Thus, interfering with ATPase function with low molecular weight inhibitors that target the nucleotide binding pocket should profoundly affect cells that are committed to undergo mitosis.
Here we describe the discovery and characterization of a novel purine diamine analogue as a potent ATP-competitive catalytic inhibitor of topoisomerase II. Quinoline aminopurine compound 1 (QAP 1) inhibited topoisomerase II ATPase activity and decatenation reaction at sub-micromolar concentrations, targeted both topoisomerase II alpha and beta in cell free assays and, using a quantitative cell-based assay and a chromosome segregation assay, displayed catalytic enzyme inhibition in cells. In agreement with recent hypothesis, we show that BRCA1 mutant breast cancer cells have increased sensitivity to QAP 1.
The results obtained with QAP 1 demonstrate that potent and selective catalytic inhibition of human topoisomerase II function with an ATP-competitive inhibitor is feasible. Our data suggest that further drug discovery efforts on ATP-competitive catalytic inhibitors are warranted and that such drugs could potentially be developed as anti-cancer therapy for tumors that bear the appropriate combination of molecular alterations.
PMCID: PMC2628638  PMID: 19128485
3.  Increased susceptibility for intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and contraceptive-induced cholestasis in carriers of the 1331T>C polymorphism in the bile salt export pump 
AIM: To study the association of three common ABCB11 and ABCC2 polymorphisms (ABCB11: 1331T>C V444A; ABCC2: 3563T>A V1188E and 4544G>A C1515Y) with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) and contraceptive-induced cholestasis (CIC).
METHODS: ABCB11 and ABCC2 genotyping data were available from four CIC patients and from 42 and 33 ICP patients, respectively. Allele-frequencies of the studied polymorphisms were compared with those in healthy pregnant controls and Caucasian individuals. Furthermore, serum bile acid levels were correlated with the presence or absence of the 1331 C allele.
RESULTS: The ABCB11 1331T>C polymorphism was significantly more frequent in cholestatic patients than in pregnant controls: C allele 76.2% (CI, 58.0-94.4) vs 51.3% (CI 35.8-66.7), respectively (P = 0.0007); and CC allele 57.1% (CI 36.0-78.3) vs 20% (CI 7.6-32.4), respectively (P = 0.0065). All four CIC patients were homozygous carriers of the C allele. In contrast, none of the studied ABCC2 polymorphism was overrepresented in ICP or CIC patients. Higher serum bile acid levels were found in carriers of the 1331CC genotype compared to carriers of the TT genotype.
CONCLUSION: Our data support a role for the ABCB11 1331T>C polymorphism as a susceptibility factor for the development of estrogen-induced cholestasis, whereas no such association was found for ABCC2. Serum bile acid and γ-glutamyl transferase levels might help to distinguish ABCB4- and ABCB11-related forms of ICP and CIC.
PMCID: PMC2673389  PMID: 18176959
Cholestasis of pregnancy; Contraceptive-induced cholestasis; Bile salt export pump; Multidrug resistance associated protein 2; Pharmacogenetics
4.  Stable expression and functional characterization of a Na+-taurocholate cotransporting green fluorescent protein in human hepatoblastoma HepG2 cells 
Cytotechnology  2000;34(1-2):1-9.
Sodium-dependent uptake of bile acids from blood is aliver-specific function which is mediated by theNa+-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide(Ntcp). We report the stable expression of aNa+-taurocholate cotransporting green fluorescentfusion protein in the human hepatoblastoma cell lineHepG2, normally lacking Ntcp expression. Ntcp-EGFPassociated green fluorescence colocalized with Ntcpimmunofluorescence in the plasma membrane. Intransfected HepG2 cells, the fusion protein mediatedthe sodium-dependent uptake of the bile acidtaurocholate (Km: 24.6 μmol/l) and of the anionicsteroids estrone-3-sulfate and dehydroepiandrosteronesulfate. We conclude that the Ntcp-EGFP fusion proteinfollows the sorting route of Ntcp, is functionallyidentical to Ntcp and could be used to monitor proteintrafficking in living HepG2 cells.
PMCID: PMC3449731  PMID: 19003375
bile acids and salts; bile formation; cholestasis; luminescent proteins; organic anion transport

Results 1-4 (4)