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1.  Clinical outcomes of compensated and decompensated cirrhosis: A long term study 
World Journal of Hepatology  2014;6(7):504-512.
AIM: To study these characteristics and prognostic patterns in a Greek patient population.
METHODS: We analyzed a large cohort of cirrhotic patients referred to the department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and the outpatient clinics of this tertiary hospital, between 1991 and 2008. We included patients with established cirrhosis, either compensated or decompensated, and further decompensation episodes were registered. A data base was maintained and updated prospectively throughout the study period. We analyzed differences in cirrhosis aetiology, time to and mode of decompensation, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) occurrence and ultimately patient survival.
RESULTS: Five hundreds and twenty-two patients with median age 67 (range, 29-91) years and average follow up 9 years-10 mo (range, 1-206 mo) were studied. Commonest aetiology was hepatitis C virus (HCV, 41%) followed by alcohol (31%). The median survival time in compensated cirrhotics was 115 mo (95%CI: 95-133), whereas in decompensated patients was 55 mo (95%CI: 36-75). HCV patients survived longer while HBV patients had over twice the risk of death of HCV patients. The median time to decompensation was 65 mo (95%CI: 51-79), with alcoholics having the highest risk (RR = 2.1 vs HCV patients). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) patients had the highest risk of HCC, alcoholics the lowest. Leading causes of death: liver failure, hepatorenal syndrome, sepsis and HCC progression.
CONCLUSION: Cirrhosis aetiology and decompensation at presentation were predictors of survival. Alcoholics had the highest decompensation risk, HBV cirrhotics the highest risk of HCC and HCV cirrhotics the highest decompensation-free time.
PMCID: PMC4110542  PMID: 25068002
Survival; Decompensation; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Bleeding; Ascites
2.  Effects of octreotide and insulin on colon cancer cellular proliferation and correlation with hTERT activity 
Oncoscience  2014;1(6):457-467.
Peptide hormone somatostatin and its receptors have a wide range of physiological functions and play a role in the treatment of numerous human diseases, including colorectal cancer. Octreotide, a synthetic somatostatin-analog peptide, inhibits growth of colonic cancer cells primarily by binding to G-protein coupled receptors and elicits cellular responses through second-messenger systems. Insulin also initiates mitogenic signals in certain cell types. The objective of the present study was to explore the effects of octreotide with or without insulin treatment, on Caco-2 and HT-29 human colon-cancer cell proliferation and to correlate their effects with the activation of telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT). The involvement of protein tyrosine phosphatases in the regulation of the anti-proliferative effect of octreotide was also evaluated. Sodium orthovanadate was used to reverse the anti- proliferative effect of octreotide. Telomerase activity was determined for each time point under octreotide and/or insulin treatment. Elevated expression of sst1, sst2 and sst5 was confirmed in both cell lines by RT-PCR. Immunocytochemistry detected sst1, sst2A, sst2B, sst3, sst4 and sst5 protein expression in the membranes of both cell lines. Octreotide inhibited the proliferation of Caco-2 and HT-29 cells in a time and dose-dependent manner. Insulin exerted proliferative effects in Caco-2 cells and octreotide reversed its effect in both cell lines. Sodium orthovanadate suppressed the anti-proliferative effect of octreotide both in Caco-2 and HT-29 cells. Telomerase activity was significantly reduced when Caco-2 cells were exposed to octreotide, under serum-free cultured medium. On the other hand, telomerase attenuation after octreotide treatment could not counteract the actions of insulin on both cells. Our data indicate that the use of octreotide could provide a possible therapeutic approach to the management of certain patients who suffer from colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC4284627  PMID: 25594044
Octreotide; insulin; colorectal cancer; hTERT activity; protein tyrosine phosphatases; sodium orthovanadate
3.  Presence of disease specific autoantibodies against liver sinusoidal cells in primary biliary cirrhosis 
World Journal of Hepatology  2013;5(10):568-576.
AIM: To investigate the presence of autoantibodies directed against liver sinusoidal cells in primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC).
METHODS: Liver biopsies from 21 PBC patients were studied and compared with 12 liver biopsies from disease controls [3 patients with hepatitis B (HBV) virus, 3 patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), 3 patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and 3 patients with acute alcoholic hepatitis (AAH)]. As healthy controls, we used tissue specimens adjacent to metastatic liver adenocarcinoma. Normal serum was taken from staff members of the unit. The determination of the cell type targeted by autoantibodies present in the patients sera was performed by indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) analysis using paraffin-embedded liver sections as a substrate. Sera from homologous or heterologous PBC patients or sera from the disease control group were used as primary antibodies. The presence of autoantibodies was identified using confocal microscopy.
RESULTS: In total, 18/21 (85.7%) PBC patients exhibited positive staining in the sinusoidal cells, 10/21 (47.6%) in lymphocytes, 8/21 (38%) in cholangiocytes and 7/21 (33.3%) in hepatocytes, when homologous serum and fluorescein isothiocyanate-conjugated immunoglobulin type G (IgG) secondary antibody were used. PBC sections incubated with heterologous PBC serum showed reduced staining (20% for sinusoidal cells, 20% for lymphocytes, 20% for cholangiocytes and 13.3% for hepatocytes). When IgM immunoglobulin, instead of IgG, was used as secondary antibody, positive staining was observed in 75% of lymphocytes, 62.5% of cholangiocytes, 37.5% of hepatocytes and 50% of the sinusoidal cells with a much stronger staining intensity. No staining was observed when either normal or PBC sera were used as a primary antibody on liver sections from the disease control group. When PBC sera were incubated with healthy control sections, weak positive staining of cholangiocytes was observed in 3/21 (14.3%) PBC serum samples. Steatohepatitis serum on PBC sections gave a positive staining of some hepatocytes and lymphocytes but no staining on viral hepatitis sections. Incubation with HBV sera stained some hepatocytes, cholangiocytes and intra-sinusoidal or portal lymphocytes of PBC, HBV and AAH patients but not HCV patients.
CONCLUSION: In this study, for the first time in diseased liver tissue, we have demonstrated that a large proportion of PBC patients have disease specific autoantibodies against liver sinusoidal cells.
PMCID: PMC3812459  PMID: 24179616
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Autoantibodies; Sinusoidal cells; Cholangiocytes; Liver tissue
4.  Irritable bowel syndrome and organic diseases: A comparative analysis of esophageal motility 
AIM: To assess the esophageal motility in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and to compare those with patients with autoimmune disorders.
METHODS: 15 patients with IBS, 22 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and 19 with systemic sclerosis (SSc) were prospectively selected from a total of 115 patients at a single university centre and esophageal motility was analysed using standard manometry (Mui Scientific PIP-4-8SS). All patients underwent esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy before entering the study so that only patients with normal endoscopic findings were included in the current study. All patients underwent a complete physical, blood biochemistry and urinary examination. The grade of dysphagia was determined for each patient in accordance to the intensity and frequency of the presented esophageal symptoms. Furthermore, disease activity scores (SLEDAI and modified Rodnan score) were obtained for patients with autoimmune diseases. Outcome parameter: A correlation coefficient was calculated between amplitudes, velocity and duration of the peristaltic waves throughout esophagus and patients’ dysphagia for all three groups.
RESULTS: There was no statistical difference in the standard blood biochemistry and urinary analysis in all three groups. Patients with IBS showed similar pathologic dysphagia scores compared to patients with SLE and SSc. The mean value of dysphagia score was in IBS group 7.3, in SLE group 6.73 and in SSc group 7.56 with a P-value > 0.05. However, the manometric patterns were different. IBS patients showed during esophageal manometry peristaltic amplitudes at the proximal part of esophagus greater than 60 mmHg in 46% of the patients, which was significant higher in comparison to the SLE (11.8%) and SSc-Group (0%, P = 0.003). Furthermore, IBS patients showed lower mean resting pressure of the distal esophagus sphincter (Lower esophageal sphincter, 22 mmHg) when compared with SLE (28 mmHg, P = 0.037) and SSc (26 mmHg, P = 0.052). 23.5% of patients with SLE showed amplitudes greater as 160 mmHg in the distal esophagus (IBS and SSc: 0%) whereas 29.4% amplitudes greater as 100 mmHg in the middle one (IBS: 16.7%, SSc: 5.9% respectively, P = 0.006). Patients with SSc demonstrated, as expected, in almost half of the cases reduced peristalsis or even aperistalsis in the lower two thirds of the esophagus. SSc patients demonstrated a negative correlation coefficient between dysphagia score, amplitude and velocity of peristaltic activity at middle and lower esophagus [r = -0.6, P < 0.05].
CONCLUSION: IBS patients have comparable dysphagia-scores as patients with autoimmune disorders. The different manometric patterns might allow differentiating esophageal symptoms based on IBS from other organic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3801311  PMID: 24151359
Irritable bowel syndrome; Systemic lupus erythematosus; Systemic sclerosis; Esophageal manometry; Dysphagia
6.  Primary Biliary Cirrhosis in a genetically homogeneous population: Disease associations and familial occurrence rates 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:110.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a disease with genetic and environmental pathogenetic background. Chemicals, infectious agents, hormone therapy, reproductive history and surgical interventions have been implicated in the induction of PBC. Familial PBC has been documented in first degree relatives (FDR). Most cohort studies are genetically heterogeneous. Our study aimed to determine eventual lifestyle or disease associations and familial occurrence rates in a genetically homogeneous and geographically defined population of PBC patients.
111 consenting PBC patients, were compared with 115 FDR and 149 controls matched for age, sex, Cretan origin and residence. All participants completed a questionnaire regarding demographics, lifestyle, medical, surgical and reproductive history. Significant variables on the univariate analysis were analyzed by multivariate analysis using a forward step-wise logistic regression model.
Dyslipidaemia was found in 69.4% of patients, 60% of FDR and 40.9% of controls (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.003 respectively), autoimmune diseases in 36.9% of patients, 30.4% of FDR and 13.4% of controls (p < 0.0001 and p = 0.011 respectively). Hashimoto’s disease (p = 0.003), Raynaud syndrome (p = 0.023) and Sjögren syndrome (p = 0.044) were significantly associated with PBC. On multivariate analysis statistically significant associations were found with primary educational level (AOR 2.304, 95% CI 1.024-5.181), cholecystectomy (AOR 2.927, 95% CI 1.347-6.362) and the presence of at least another autoimmune disease (AOR 3.318, 95% CI 1.177-6.22). Cancer history was more frequent in patients than in controls (p = 0.033). Familial PBC was found to be 9.9%.
Dyslipidaemia and autoimmune diseases were significantly increased not only in patients as expected but also in their FDR. An increased prevalence of malignancies was found in patients. Primary educational level, cholecystectomy and the presence of at least another autoimmune disease were found as putative risk factors for PBC. No association was found with smoking, urinary tract infection or reproductive history. The reported high familial occurrence of PBC could imply screening with AMA of FDR with at least another autoimmune disease.
PMCID: PMC3444887  PMID: 22898439
Familial pbc; risk factors; cholecystectomy; dyslipidaemia; cancer; educational level
8.  Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome, pregnancy and the liver: an unusual interplay 
Annals of Gastroenterology  2012;25(4):365-367.
Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome is a rare congenital syndrome characterized by capillary malformations, soft tissue and bone hypertrophy, and varicose veins. There is a well-established risk for thrombotic complications in these patients. A case of a young patient diagnosed post partum with the very rare liver involvement is presented. The complex clinical course, the multidisciplinary management and the long-term outcome are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3959411  PMID: 24714267
Klippel-Trénaunay syndrome; portal vein thrombosis; varicose veins; pregnancy
9.  Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy for dyspepsia: Εxploratory study of factors influencing patient compliance in Greece 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:11.
Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy is the most preferable diagnostic examination for patients over fifty when upper gastrointestinal symptoms appear. However, limited knowledge exists in concerns to the compliance of primary care patients' to the doctors' recommendations for endoscopy.
Patients who visited primary care practices in Greece and experienced upper gastrointestinal symptoms within a 10 days screening study, were referred for an upper endoscopy exam. The patients which refused to complete the endoscopy exam, were interviewed by the use of an open- ended translated and validated questionnaire, the Identification of Dyspepsia in General Population (IDGP) questionnaire. A qualitative thematic analysis grounded on the theory of planned behavior was performed to reveal the reasons for patients' refusal, while socio-demographic predictors were also assessed.
Nine hundred and ninety two patients were recorded, 159 of them (16%) were found positive for dyspepsia and gastro-esophageal reflux disease according to the IDGP questionnaire. Out of the above, 131 (83.6%) patients refused further investigation with endoscopy. Patients who refused upper endoscopy were predominantly female (87.8%) (p = 0.036) and over the age of 50. The lack of severe symptoms, fear of pain, concerns of sedation, comorbidity and competing life demands were reported by patients as barriers to performing an endoscopic investigation.
Patients with dyspepsia in rural Greece tend to avoid upper gastrointestinal endoscopy, with two major axons considered to be the causes of patients' refusal: their beliefs towards endoscopy and their personal capability to cope with it. Future research examining reasons of low compliance should be carried out in combination with modern behavioral theories so as to investigate into the above.
PMCID: PMC3042973  PMID: 21320314
10.  Environmental Agents Involved in the Cause of Primary Biliary Cirrhosis 
Disease markers  2011;29(6):329-336.
Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is an immune mediated chronic cholestatic liver disease with a slowly progressive course It is a universal disease with a reported latitudinal gradient in prevalence and incidence. The aetiology of primary biliary cirrhosis is still unknown. It is characterized by a 60% concordance in monozygotic twins and is considered an autoimmune disease because of several features common to other autoimmune conditions and the relatively homogeneous serological and biochemical features. However geoepidemiological and clinical studies strongly imply that environmental factors also play an important role. It is accepted that the disease is clearly the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Several risk factors have been suggested to be associated with PBC, including exposure to infectious agents and chemical xenobiotics. This review will attempt to place such factors in perspective.
PMCID: PMC3835382  PMID: 21297252
11.  Octreotide induces caspase activation and apoptosis in human hepatoma HepG2 cells 
AIM: To investigate the role of octreotide on cellular proliferation and apoptosis of human hepatoma (HepG2) cells.
METHODS: We studied cellular proliferation, apoptosis and the possible internal caspase-mediated apoptosis pathway involved, after treatment of HepG2 carcinoma cells with octreotide in comparison with the apoptosis caused by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Activities of caspase-3, caspase-9, caspase-8 and caspase-2 were studied, while apoptosis was investigated through detection of DNA fragmentation and through identification of apoptotic cells with the annexin-V/propidium iodide flow cytometric method.
RESULTS: After an initial increase in HepG2 cellular proliferation, a significant inhibition was observed with 10-8 mol/L octreotide, while TNF-α dose-dependently decreased proliferation. Early and late apoptosis was significantly increased with both substances. Octreotide significantly increased caspase-3, caspase-8 and caspase-2 activity. TNF-α significantly increased only caspase-2. Cellular proliferation was decreased after treatment with octreotide or TNF-α alone but, in contrast to TNF-α, octreotide decreased proliferation only at concentrations of 10-8 mol/L, while lower concentrations increased proliferation.
CONCLUSION: Our findings are suggestive of caspase-mediated signaling pathways of octreotide antitumor activity in HepG2 cells, and indicate that measurements of serum octreotide levels may be important, at least in clinical trials, to verify optimal therapeutic drug concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3022290  PMID: 21253389
Octreotide; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Apoptosis; Caspases; Somatostatin
12.  Soluble transferrin receptor-ferritin index in the evaluation of anemia in inflammatory bowel disease: a case-control study 
No reliable biochemical markers exist for the differentiation between iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and anemia of chronic disease (ACD) in the setting of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The aim of this study was to investigate the use of soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) and sTfR-ferritin (sTfR-F) index in the evaluation of anemia in patients with IBD.
One hundred IBD patients [49 ulcerative colitis (UC), 51 Crohn’s disease (CD)] and 102 healthy controls were enrolled. Serum levels of ferritin, transferrin saturation and sTfR were analyzed in all patients and controls. sTfR-F index was calculated based on the ratio: sTfR/ log ferritin. The value of sTfR and sTfR-F for diagnosis of IDA was assessed.
Forty two IBD patients (41% of UC and 42.9 % of CD) fulfilled the WHO criteria for the diagnosis of anemia. Among them thirty (30 %) had IDA, four (4%) had ACD and eight (8%) had mixed IDA/ACD. Patients with IDA had significantly higher sTfR and sTfR-F index levels compared with those without IDA (P<0.0001). Both sTfR and sTfR-F index were not correlated with CRP levels or disease activity. High sTfR levels (>1.8 mg/L) had sensitivity 81% and specificity 80%, whereas high sTfR-F index (>1.4) had sensitivity 91% and specificity 92% for the diagnosis of IDA.
These results suggest that the sTfR-F index seems to be very efficient in the detection and diagnosis of IDA, among patients with IBD.
PMCID: PMC3959302  PMID: 24713758
anemia; Crohn’s disease; ferritin; iron deficiency; ulcerative colitis
13.  Pseudomembranous colitis with presence of signet – ring cells: report of two cases and review of the literature 
We describe two cases with pseudomembranous colitis: the first case concerns a 73-year-old male patient with clinical history of cardiovascular disease and pulmonary insufficiency, admitted to the hospital for urinary tract infection and was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics for a long period of time. During his hospitalization he developed abdominal pain and haematochezia. The second case concerns a 64-year-old woman treated with antibiotics for community-acquired pneumonia. After the treatment she developed abdominal pain and diarrhea. In both cases the colonic biopsy showed pseudomembranous colitis with presence of signet-ring cells within dilated crypts of the colonic mucosa. The presence of signet–ring cells is a rare finding in pseudomembranous colitis and may lead to misdiagnosis of signet-ring carcinoma of the colon.
PMCID: PMC3959304  PMID: 24713772
pseudomembranous colitis; signet – ring cells; immunoprofile
14.  An unusual infection on an unusual gastroenteritis 
A 35-year-old lady was admitted to our Department due to fever and symptoms from the respiratory and gastrointestinal system. She was recently diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteritis and had been on steroids until two months prior to admission. Legionella pneumophila pneumonia was diagnosed and targeted therapy was initiated. The combined approach to the two entities is discussed as well as the options for maintenance therapy.
PMCID: PMC3959328  PMID: 24713779
Legionella pneumophila; pneumonia; eosinophilic enteritis
15.  Low bone mineral density in Greek patients with inflammatory bowel disease: prevalence and risk factors 
A high prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis is observed in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Various risk factors of bone loss have been suggested in IBD. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence of low bone mineral density (BMD) and to identify related risk factors in Greek patients with IBD.
One hundred and eighteen consecutive IBD patients were included. All patients underwent bone densitometry by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry at the femoral neck and lumbar spine levels. Serum levels of 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25 OH D), 1.25 dihydroxyvitamin D (1.25 OH 2D), osteocalcin, calcitonin and homocysteine were measured in all participants.
Forty (33.9%) patients were normal, 55 (46.6%) were osteopenic, and 23 (19.5%) were osteoporotic. No significant differences between IBD patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis and those with normal BMD concerning the use of steroids and the examined biochemical markers were found. Statistically significant differences among the three groups were found for body mass index (BMI), age and disease duration (P=0.002, P<0.0001 and P=0.03 respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that the most significant factors associated with BMD were age and BMI (P<0.0001). A weak but statistically significant correlation was also found for disease duration (P=0.04).
There is a high prevalence of osteopenia and osteoporosis in Greek patients with IBD. Low BMI, age and disease duration are the most important independent risk factors for osteoporosis in Greek IBD patients.
PMCID: PMC3959460  PMID: 24714255
bone mineral density; Crohn’s disease; osteocalcin; vitamin D; ulcerative colitis
16.  Increased ΤGF-β3 in primary biliary cirrhosis: An abnormality related to pathogenesis? 
AIM: To investigate the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) isoforms in the peripheral and hepatic venous blood of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) patients.
METHODS: We examined TGF-β1, TGF-β2 and TGF-β3 (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), in 27 stage IV PBC patients (27 peripheral and 15 hepatic vein sera), 35 early (I-II) PBC and 60 healthy controls. As disease controls 28 hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhosis (28 peripheral and 17 hepatic vein serum), 44 chronic HCV hepatitis and 38 HCV-related hepatocellular carcinomas were included. We also tested liver tissue by immunohistochemistry to identify localization of TGF isoforms.
RESULTS: TGF-β1 was significantly decreased in all cirrhotics (PBC III-IV: median 13.4 ng/mL; range, 7.4-26.2, HCV cirrhosis: 11.6 ng/mL; range, 5.0-33.8), compared to controls (30.9 ng/mL; range, 20.9-37.8). TGF-β2 was increased in viral cirrhosis but not in PBC and chronic hepatitis. TGF-β3 (47.2 pg/mL; range, 27.0-79.7 in healthy controls) was increased in early and late PBC (I-II: 94.3 pg/mL; range, 41.5-358.6; III-IV: 152.8 pg/mL; range, 60.4-361.2; P < 0.001) and decreased in viral cirrhosis (37.4 pg/mL; range, 13.3-84.0; P < 0.05). Hepatic vein TGF-β levels were analogous to those in peripheral blood. Immunohistochemistry identified all isoforms in portal tract lymphocytes, sinusoidal cells and cholangiocytes. TGF-β3 was additionally overexpressed in hepatocytes in PBC patients.
CONCLUSION: The serum profile of TGF-β isoforms is different in cirrhotics. Increased TGF-β3 is characteristic of PBC. These findings may be related to the immunological abnormalities of PBC.
PMCID: PMC2965282  PMID: 20976842
Transforming growth factor-β; Primary biliary cirrhosis; Liver fibrosis; Cirrhosis
17.  Peri-nuclear antibodies correlate with survival in Greek primary biliary cirrhosis patients 
AIM: To investigate possible associations of anti-nuclear envelope antibody (ANEA) with disease severity and survival in Greek primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) patients.
METHODS: Serum samples were collected at diagnosis from 147 PBC patients (85% female), who were followed-up for a median 89.5 mo (range 1-240). ANEA were detected with indirect immunofluorescence on 1% formaldehyde fixed Hep2 cells, and anti-gp210 antibodies were detected using an enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Findings were correlated with clinical data, histology, and survival.
RESULTS: ANEA were detected in 69/147 (46.9%) patients and 31/147 (21%) were also anti-gp210 positive. The ANEA positive patients were at a more advanced histological stage (I-II/III-IV 56.5%/43.5% vs 74.4%/25.6%, P = 0.005) compared to the ANEA negative ones. They had a higher antimitochondrial antibodies (AMA) titer (≤ 1:160/> 1:160 50.7%/49.3% vs 71.8%/28.2%, P = 0.001) and a lower survival time (91.7 ± 50.7 mo vs 101.8 ± 55 mo, P = 0.043). Moreover, they had more advanced fibrosis, portal inflammation, interface hepatitis, and proliferation of bile ductules (P = 0.008, P = 0.008, P = 0.019, and P = 0.027, respectively). They also died more frequently of hepatic failure and/or hepatocellular carcinoma (P = 0.016). ANEA positive, anti-gp210 positive patients had a difference in stage (I-II/III-IV 54.8%/45.2% vs 74.4%/25.6%, P = 0.006), AMA titer (≤ 1:160/> 1:160 51.6%/48.4% vs 71.8%/28.2%, P = 0.009), survival (91.1 ± 52.9 mo vs 101.8 ± 55 mo, P = 0.009), and Mayo risk score (5.5 ± 1.9 vs 5.04 ± 1.3, P = 0.04) compared to the ANEA negative patients. ANEA positive, anti-gp210 negative patients had a difference in AMA titer (≤ 1:160/> 1:160 50%/50% vs 71.8%/28.2%, P = 0.002), stage (I-II/III-IV 57.9%/42.1% vs 74.4%/25.6%, P = 0.033), fibrosis (P = 0.009), portal inflammation (P = 0.018), interface hepatitis (P = 0.032), and proliferation of bile ductules (P = 0.031). Anti-gp210 positive patients had a worse Mayo risk score (5.5 ± 1.9 vs 4.9 ± 1.7, P = 0.038) than the anti-gp210 negative ones.
CONCLUSION: The presence of ANEA and anti-gp210 identifies a subgroup of PBC patients with advanced disease severity and poor prognosis.
PMCID: PMC2957602  PMID: 20954280
Primary biliary cirrhosis; Antimitochondrial antibodies; Antinuclear antibodies; Antibodies against nuclear envelope antigens; Anti-gp210 antibodies
18.  Ciprofloxacin decreases survival in HT-29 cells via the induction of TGF-β1 secretion and enhances the anti-proliferative effect of 5-fluorouracil 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2009;157(3):362-370.
Background and purpose:
Fluoroquinolones are potent anti-microbial agents with multiple effects on host cells and tissues. Previous studies have highlighted their pro-apoptotic effect on human cancer cells and an immunoregulatory role in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease. We examined the effect of ciprofloxacin on proliferation, cell cycle and apoptosis of HT-29 cells, a human colonic epithelial cell line sensitive to transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-mediated growth inhibition and its role in TGF-β1 production. We also examined the effect of ciprofloxacin on proliferation of HT-29 cells in combination with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a well-established pro-apoptotic agent.
Experimental approach:
Using subconfluent cultures of HT-29 and Caco-2 cells, we studied the effect of ciprofloxacin, TGF-β1 and 5-FU on proliferation, apoptosis, necrosis and cell cycle. The effect of ciprofloxacin on TGF-β1 mRNA expression and production was studied in RNA extracts and cell culture supernatants respectively, using confluent cultures.
Key results:
Ciprofloxacin decreased proliferation of HT-29 cells in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. This was mediated by accumulation of HT-29 cells into the S-phase but without any effect on apoptosis or necrosis. Additionally, ciprofloxacin enhanced the antiproliferative effect of 5-FU. Interestingly, ciprofloxacin was found to up-regulate TGF-β1 production by HT-29 cells and its anti-proliferative effect was abolished when TGF-β1 was blocked. Confirming this mechanism further, ciprofloxacin had no effect on Caco-2, a human colonic epithelial cell line that lacks functional TGF-β1 receptors.
Conclusions and implications:
We demonstrate a novel anti-proliferative and immunoregulatory effect of ciprofloxacin on human intestinal epithelial cells mediated via TGF-β1.
PMCID: PMC2707983  PMID: 19371339
ciprofloxacin; TGF-β1; colon cancer; HT-29 cells; inflammatory bowel disease; chemoprevention; immunomodulation
19.  Differential detection of nuclear envelope autoantibodies in primary biliary cirrhosis using routine and alternative methods 
BMC Gastroenterology  2010;10:28.
Detection of autoantibodies giving nuclear rim pattern by immunofluorescence (anti-nuclear envelope antibodies - ANEA) in sera from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is a useful tool for the diagnosis and prognosis of the disease. Differences in the prevalence of ANEA in PBC sera so far reported have been attributed to the methodology used for the detection as well as to ethnic/geographical variations. Therefore, we evaluated the prevalence of ANEA in sera of Greek patients with PBC by using methods widely used by clinical laboratories and a combination of techniques and materials.
We screened 103 sera by immunoblotting on nuclear envelopes and indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) using cells and purified nuclei. Reactivities against specific autoantigens were assessed using purified proteins, ELISA, immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry.
We found higher prevalence of ANEA when sera were assayed by IIF on purified nuclei or cultured cells (50%) compared to Hep2 commercially available slides (15%). Anti-gp210 antibodies were identified in 22.3% and 33% of sera using ELISA for the C-terminal of gp210 or both ELISA and immunoprecipitation, respectively. Immunoblotting on nuclear envelopes revealed that immunoreactivity for the 210 kDa zone is related to anti-gp210 antibodies (p < 0.0001). Moreover, we found that sera had antibodies for lamins A (6.8%), B (1%) and C (1%) and LBR (8.7%), whereas none at all had detectable anti-p62 antibodies.
The prevalence of ANEA or anti-gp210 antibodies is under-estimated in PBC sera which are analyzed by conventional commercially available IIF or ELISA, respectively. Therefore, new substrates for IIF and ELISA should be included by clinical laboratories in the analysis of ANEA in autoimmune sera.
PMCID: PMC2838760  PMID: 20205958
20.  Fatty acid composition of subcutaneous adipose tissue and gastric mucosa: is there a relation with gastric ulceration? 
Both in vitro and epidemiological studies indicate that dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids may play a protective role against peptic ulcer in humans. Adipose tissue fatty acid composition is thought to reflect dietary fatty acid intake. The aim of the present study is to investigate adipose and gastric mucosa fatty acid levels in relation to gastric ulceration status.
Fifty two adult outpatients undergoing upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy participated in the study. Adipose tissue samples were taken from the abdomen and buttock during the endoscopy procedure and samples from gastric tissue were taken from a subsample of 30 subjects. The presence of Helicobacter pylori was determined using the CLO test. Capillary gas chromatography was used for the extraction of 36 and 42 adipose tissue and gastric mucosa lipids respectively.
The monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) C18:1n-12c, C16:1n-5, C16:4n-1 and the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) C16:3n-4, C20:3n-3, C20:4n-6, C21:5n-3 and C18:2n-9c,12t of the gastric mucosa were present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. These unsaturated fatty acids, however, each contributed less than 1% on average to total fatty acid content. In addition, higher average levels of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) C20:5n-3 and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) C22:6n-3 were detected in abdominal and buttock samples in CLO negative controls, compared to CLO positive controls. Adipose tissue and gastric mucosa n-6 and trans fatty acid levels were positively linearly correlated (r = 0.37 and 0.41 for n-6 and trans fatty acids respectively).
Certain minor MUFAs and PUFAs of the gastric mucosa appear to be present in higher proportions in ulcer negative patients. Overall, the findings provide only weak evidence of an association between the gastric mucosal fatty acids and the presence of gastric ulceration. The higher average levels of EPA and DHA in abdominal and buttock adipose tissue in CLO negative controls could be an indicator that dietary FAs inhibit Helicobacter pylori growth. Larger studies are necessary to provide evidence of a biologically relevant effect.
PMCID: PMC2636823  PMID: 19166613
21.  Exploring the agreement between diagnostic criteria for IBS in primary care in Greece 
BMC Research Notes  2008;1:127.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is frequently diagnosed in primary care. Its diagnosis is based on diagnostic criteria but their use is limited in primary care.
We aimed to assess the diagnostic agreement between the older (Manning's and Rome II) and the new (Rome III) criteria for the diagnosis of IBS in primary care in Greece.
Medical records of 5 Health Centers in rural Crete, Greece, were reviewed for a four-year period and patients with the diagnosis of IBS were invited to a structured interview. Kappa agreement of the Rome III criteria with the criteria of Manning and Rome II was estimated. One hundred and twenty three patients were eligible for interview and 67 (54.5%) participated. Forty-six (69%) fulfilled the Manning, 32(48%) the Rome II, and 16(24%) the Rome III criteria. Twenty-seven (40%) patients were identified as IBS according to the questionnaire for the identification of functional gastrointestinal diseases (FGIDs). The agreement of Rome III with Manning criteria was poor (kappa = 0.25). The agreement between the FGIDs questionnaire and the Manning, Rome II and Rome III criteria was: kappa = 0.30, 0.31 and 0.24 respectively. Moderate agreement was found between the Rome II and III criteria (kappa = 0.51).
Questionnaires and criteria deriving from expert's consensus meetings or tertiary hospitals are not easy to apply in rural primary care where symptoms are often underestimated by patients and complicated questions can be confusing.
PMCID: PMC2639592  PMID: 19055782
22.  Is there a role for Tc-99m (V) DMSA scintigraphy in ischemic colitis? 
AIM: To evaluate the role of pentavalent Tc-99m dimercaptosuccinic acid [Tc-99m (V) DMSA] in the diagnosis of ischemic colitis.
METHODS: Fourteen patients with endoscopically and histologically confirmed ischemic colitis were included in the study. Tc-99m (V) DMSA scintigraphy was performed within 2 d after colonoscopy. Images were considered positive when an area of increased activity was observed in the region of interest and negative when no abnormal tracer uptake was detected.
RESULTS: In 3 out of the 14 patients, Tc-99m (V) DMSA images showed moderate activity in the bowel. The scintigraphic results corresponded with the endoscopic findings. In the other 11 patients, no abnormal tracer uptake was detected in the abdomen.
CONCLUSION: Besides the limited number of patients, Tc-99m (V) DMSA could not be considered as a useful imaging modality for the evaluation of ischemic colitis.
PMCID: PMC2744169  PMID: 18803355
Scintigraphy; Technetium-99m pentavalent dimercaptosuccinic acid; Ischemic colitis; Intestinal ischemia; Diagnosis
23.  Role of Kupffer cells in the pathogenesis of liver disease 
Kupffer cells, the resident liver macrophages have long been considered as mostly scavenger cells responsible for removing particulate material from the portal circulation. However, evidence derived mostly from animal models, indicates that Kupffer cells may be implicated in the pathogenesis of various liver diseases including viral hepatitis, steatohepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, intrahepatic cholestasis, activation or rejection of the liver during liver transplantation and liver fibrosis. There is accumulating evidence, reviewed in this paper, suggesting that Kupffer cells may act both as effector cells in the destruction of hepatocytes by producing harmful soluble mediators as well as antigen presenting cells during viral infections of the liver. Moreover they may represent a significant source of chemoattractant molecules for cytotoxic CD8 and regulatory T cells. Their role in fibrosis is well established as they are one of the main sources of TGFβ1 production, which leads to the transformation of stellate cells into myofibroblasts. Whether all these variable functions in the liver are mediated by different Kupffer cell subpopulations remains to be evaluated. In this review we propose a model that demonstrates the role of Kupffer cells in the pathogenesis of liver disease.
PMCID: PMC4087584  PMID: 17167827
Kupffer cells; Liver disease; Hepatic injury; Liver fibrosis; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Hepatitis; Steatohepatitis
24.  Optimized detection of circulating anti-nuclear envelope autoantibodies by immunofluorescence 
BMC Immunology  2006;7:20.
Antinuclear antibodies are useful diagnostic tools in several autoimmune diseases. However, the routine detection of nuclear envelope autoantibodies using immunofluorescence (IF) is not always easy to perform in patients' sera because of the presence of autoantibodies to other nuclear and cytoplasmic components which could mask the characteristic rim-like pattern of nuclear envelope autoantibodies. This is particularly common in sera from patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which generaly have high titres of anti-mitochondrial antibodies. Therefore, we have assayed a number of commercial slides and alternative fixation conditions to optimize the detection of anti-nuclear envelope antibodies (ANEA) in PBC sera.
We have explored the presence of ANEA in 33 sera from patients with established PBC using three different Hep2 commercial slides and home-made slides with HeLa and Hep2 cells fixed with methanol, ethanol, 1% or 4% formaldehyde.
We observed that the IF pattern was related to the cell type used (Hep2 or HeLa), the manufacturer and the cell fixation scheme. When both cell lines were fixed with 1% formaldehyde, the intensity of the cytoplasmic staining was considerably decreased regardless to the serum sample, whereas the prevalence of cytoplasmic autoantibodies was significantly lowered, as compared to any of the Hep2 commercial slide and fixation used. In addition, the prevalence of ANEA was importantly increased in formaldehyde-fixed cells.
Immunofluorescence using appropriately fixed cells represent an easy, no time-consuming and low cost technique for the routine screening of sera for ANEA. Detection of ANEA is shown to be more efficient using formaldehyde-fixed cells instead of commercially available Hep2 cells.
PMCID: PMC1574344  PMID: 16956395
25.  Factors associated with disease evolution in Greek patients with inflammatory bowel disease 
BMC Gastroenterology  2006;6:21.
The majority of Crohn's disease patients with B1 phenotype at diagnosis (i.e. non-stricturing non-penetrating disease) will develop over time a stricturing or a penetrating pattern. Conflicting data exist on the rate of proximal disease extension in ulcerative colitis patients with proctitis or left-sided colitis at diagnosis. We aimed to study disease evolution in Crohn's disease B1 patients and ulcerative colitis patients with proctitis and left-sided colitis at diagnosis.
116 Crohn's disease and 256 ulcerative colitis patients were followed-up for at least 5 years after diagnosis. Crohn's disease patients were classified according to the Vienna criteria. Data were analysed actuarially.
B1 phenotype accounted for 68.9% of Crohn's disease patients at diagnosis. The cumulative probability of change in disease behaviour in B1 patients was 43.6% at 10 years after diagnosis. Active smoking (Hazard Ratio: 3.01) and non-colonic disease (non-L2) (Hazard Ratio: 3.01) were associated with behavioural change in B1 patients. Proctitis and left-sided colitis accounted for 24.2%, and 48.4% of ulcerative colitis patients at diagnosis. The 10 year cumulative probability of proximal disease extension in patients with proctitis and left-sided colitis was 36.8%, and 17.1%, respectively (p: 0.003). Among proctitis patients, proximal extension was more common in non-smokers (Hazard Ratio: 4.39).
Classification of Crohn's disease patients in B1 phenotype should be considered as temporary. Smoking and non-colonic disease are risk factors for behavioural change in B1 Crohn's disease patients. Proximal extension is more common in ulcerative colitis patients with proctitis than in those with left-sided colitis. Among proctitis patients, proximal extension is more common in non-smokers.
PMCID: PMC1557858  PMID: 16869971

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