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1.  Enhancing field GP engagement in hospital-based studies. Rationale, design, main results and participation in the diagest 3-GP motivation study 
BMC Family Practice  2012;13:63.
Diagest 3 was a study aimed at lowering the risk of developing type 2 diabetes within 3 years after childbirth. Women with gestational diabetes were enrolled in the study. After childbirth, the subjects showed little interest in the structured education programme and did not attend workshops. Their general practitioners (GPs) were approached to help motivate the subjects to participate in Diagest 3, but the GPs were reluctant. The present study aimed to understand field GPs’ attitudes towards hospital-based studies, and to develop strategies to enhance their involvement and reduce subject drop-out rates.
We used a three-step process: step one used a phenomenological approach exploring the beliefs, attitudes, motivations and environmental factors contributing to the GPs’ level of interest in the study. Data were collected in face-to-face interviews and coded by hand and with hermeneutic software to develop distinct GP profiles. Step two was a cross-sectional survey by questionnaire to determine the distribution of the profiles in the GP study population and whether completion of an attached case report form (CRF) was associated with a particular GP profile. In step three, we assessed the impact of the motivation study on participation rates in the main study.
Fifteen interviews were conducted to achieve data saturation. Theorisation led to the definition of 4 distinct GP profiles. The response rate to the questionnaire was 73%, but dropped to 52% when a CRF was attached. The link between GP profiles and the rate of CRF completion remains to be verified. The GPs provided data on the CRF that was of comparable quality to those collected in the main trial. Our analysis showed that the motivation study increased overall participation in the main study by 23%, accounting for 16% (24/152) of all final visits for 536 patients who were initially enrolled in the Diagest 3 study.
When a hospital-led study explores issues in primary care, its design must anticipate GP participation early in the trial. Based on our questionnaire response rates, we found that one in two GPs were willing to participate in our hospital-led study, regardless of their initial attitudes.
PMCID: PMC3441219  PMID: 22721372
General practice; Biomedical research; Behavioural research; Research design; Cooperative behaviour; Social identification
2.  Fractalkine Expression Induces Endothelial Progenitor Cell Lysis by Natural Killer Cells 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26663.
Circulating CD34+ cells, a population that includes endothelial progenitors, participate in the maintenance of endothelial integrity. Better understanding of the mechanisms that regulate their survival is crucial to improve their regenerative activity in cardiovascular and renal diseases. Chemokine-receptor cross talk is critical in regulating cell homeostasis. We hypothesized that cell surface expression of the chemokine fractalkine (FKN) could target progenitor cell injury by Natural Killer (NK) cells, thereby limiting their availability for vascular repair.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We show that CD34+-derived Endothelial Colony Forming Cells (ECFC) can express FKN in response to TNF-α and IFN-γ inflammatory cytokines and that FKN expression by ECFC stimulates NK cell adhesion, NK cell-mediated ECFC lysis and microparticles release in vitro. The specific involvement of membrane FKN in these processes was demonstrated using FKN-transfected ECFC and anti-FKN blocking antibody. FKN expression was also evidenced on circulating CD34+ progenitor cells and was detected at higher frequency in kidney transplant recipients, when compared to healthy controls. The proportion of CD34+ cells expressing FKN was identified as an independent variable inversely correlated to CD34+ progenitor cell count. We further showed that treatment of CD34+ circulating cells isolated from adult blood donors with transplant serum or TNF-α/IFN-γ can induce FKN expression.
Our data highlights a novel mechanism by which FKN expression on CD34+ progenitor cells may target their NK cell mediated killing and participate to their immune depletion in transplant recipients. Considering the numerous diseased contexts shown to promote FKN expression, our data identify FKN as a hallmark of altered progenitor cell homeostasis with potential implications in better evaluation of vascular repair in patients.
PMCID: PMC3200359  PMID: 22039526

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