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1.  The Flavonoid Quercetin Reverses Pulmonary Hypertension in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114492.
Quercetin is a dietary flavonoid which exerts vasodilator, antiplatelet and antiproliferative effects and reduces blood pressure, oxidative status and end-organ damage in humans and animal models of systemic hypertension. We hypothesized that oral quercetin treatment might be protective in a rat model of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Three weeks after injection of monocrotaline, quercetin (10 mg/kg/d per os) or vehicle was administered for 10 days to adult Wistar rats. Quercetin significantly reduced mortality. In surviving animals, quercetin decreased pulmonary arterial pressure, right ventricular hypertrophy and muscularization of small pulmonary arteries. Classic biomarkers of pulmonary arterial hypertension such as the downregulated expression of lung BMPR2, Kv1.5, Kv2.1, upregulated survivin, endothelial dysfunction and hyperresponsiveness to 5-HT were unaffected by quercetin. Quercetin significantly restored the decrease in Kv currents, the upregulation of 5-HT2A receptors and reduced the Akt and S6 phosphorylation. In vitro, quercetin induced pulmonary artery vasodilator effects, inhibited pulmonary artery smooth muscle cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. In conclusion, quercetin is partially protective in this rat model of PAH. It delayed mortality by lowering PAP, RVH and vascular remodeling. Quercetin exerted effective vasodilator effects in isolated PA, inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in PASMCs. These effects were associated with decreased 5-HT2A receptor expression and Akt and S6 phosphorylation and partially restored Kv currents. Therefore, quercetin could be useful in the treatment of PAH.
PMCID: PMC4252144  PMID: 25460361
2.  Fractal dimension analysis of malignant and benign endobronchial ultrasound nodes 
BMC Medical Imaging  2014;14:22.
Endobronchial ultrasonography (EBUS) has been applied as a routine procedure for the diagnostic of hiliar and mediastinal nodes. The authors assessed the relationship between the echographic appearance of mediastinal nodes, based on endobronchial ultrasound images, and the likelihood of malignancy.
The images of twelve malignant and eleven benign nodes were evaluated. A previous processing method was applied to improve the quality of the images and to enhance the details. Texture and morphology parameters analyzed were: the image texture of the echographies and a fractal dimension that expressed the relationship between area and perimeter of the structures that appear in the image, and characterizes the convoluted inner structure of the hiliar and mediastinal nodes.
Processed images showed that relationship between log perimeter and log area of hilar nodes was lineal (i.e. perimeter vs. area follow a power law). Fractal dimension was lower in the malignant nodes compared with non-malignant nodes (1.47(0.09), 1.53(0.10) mean(SD), Mann–Whitney U test p < 0.05)).
Fractal dimension of ultrasonographic images of mediastinal nodes obtained through endobronchial ultrasound differ in malignant nodes from non-malignant. This parameter could differentiate malignat and non-malignat mediastinic and hiliar nodes.
PMCID: PMC4061455  PMID: 24920158
3.  Ceramide Mediates Acute Oxygen Sensing in Vascular Tissues 
Aims: A variety of vessels, such as resistance pulmonary arteries (PA) and fetoplacental arteries and the ductus arteriosus (DA) are specialized in sensing and responding to changes in oxygen tension. Despite opposite stimuli, normoxic DA contraction and hypoxic fetoplacental and PA vasoconstriction share some mechanistic features. Activation of neutral sphingomyelinase (nSMase) and subsequent ceramide production has been involved in hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction (HPV). Herein we aimed to study the possible role of nSMase-derived ceramide as a common factor in the acute oxygen-sensing function of specialized vascular tissues. Results: The nSMase inhibitor GW4869 and an anticeramide antibody reduced the hypoxic vasoconstriction in chicken PA and chorioallantoic arteries (CA) and the normoxic contraction of chicken DA. Incubation with interference RNA targeted to SMPD3 also inhibited HPV. Moreover, ceramide and reactive oxygen species production were increased by hypoxia in PA and by normoxia in DA. Either bacterial sphingomyelinase or ceramide mimicked the contractile responses of hypoxia in PA and CA and those of normoxia in the DA. Furthermore, ceramide inhibited voltage-gated potassium currents present in smooth muscle cells from PA and DA. Finally, the role of nSMase in acute oxygen sensing was also observed in human PA and DA. Innovation: These data provide evidence for the proposal that nSMase-derived ceramide is a critical player in acute oxygen-sensing in specialized vascular tissues. Conclusion: Our results indicate that an increase in ceramide generation is involved in the vasoconstrictor responses induced by two opposite stimuli, such as hypoxia (in PA and CA) and normoxia (in DA). Antioxid. Redox Signal. 20, 1–14.
PMCID: PMC3880904  PMID: 23725018
4.  Obesity is an independent risk factor for pre-transplant portal vein thrombosis in liver recipients 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:114.
Portal vein thrombosis is a frequent complication in end-stage cirrhosis with a considerable peri-operative risk for liver transplant candidates. We aimed to characterize the pre-transplant portal vein thrombosis in a cohort of liver transplant recipients, and to identify independent risk factors for this complication.
380 consecutive primary orthotopic liver transplants were performed in the Digestive Surgery Department of “12 de Octubre” Hospital (Madrid, Spain), between January 2001 and December 2006. The main risk factors considered were smoking, obesity, metabolic disorders, previous immobility, surgery or trauma, nephrotic syndrome, associated tumor, inflammatory disease, neoplasm myeloprolipherative. Furthermore we have reported genetic thrombophilia results for 271 recipients.
Sixty-two (16.3%) patients developed pre-transplant portal vein thrombosis and its presence had no impact in the overall survival of liver recipients. Obesity was the only independent risk factor for pre-transplant portal vein thrombosis.
We recommend close control of cardiovascular factors in patients with liver cirrhosis in order to avoid associated thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC3502589  PMID: 22909075
Thrombophilia; Portal vein thrombosis; Liver transplant recipient
5.  Recipient and donor thrombophilia and the risk of portal venous thrombosis and hepatic artery thrombosis in liver recipients 
BMC Gastroenterology  2011;11:130.
Vascular complications, such as HAT, are an important cause of graft loss and recipient mortality. We aimed to characterize post-transplant thrombotic events in a cohort of liver transplant recipients, and identify independent risk factors for these complications.
We conducted a thrombophilic study of 293 orthotopic liver transplants performed in the Digestive Surgery Department of the 12 de Octubre Hospital (Madrid, Spain) between January 2001 and December 2006.
The most frequent post-transplant thrombotic events were HAT (9%) and PVT (1.7%). The one variable associated with post-transplant thrombotic event was a high fibrinogen level in the global cohort of liver transplantation. But toxicity as event post-OLT has been associated with post-transplant thrombotic event in the retrospective group and high fibrinogen level and low protein C levels were associated post-transplant thrombotic event in the prospective group. Liver disease relapse (HR 6.609, p < 0.001), high levels of FVIII (HR 1.008, p = 0.019)) and low levels of antithrombin (HR 0.946, p < 0.001) were associated with poor overall survival (OS).
In conclusion, high fibrinogen and decreased protein C levels were associated with allograft thrombosis. Further studies are required in order to assess the clinical relevance of these parameters in prospective studies and to study the effect of anticoagulation prophylaxis in this group of risk.
PMCID: PMC3287260  PMID: 22123067
6.  Pulmonary arterial dysfunction in insulin resistant obese Zucker rats 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):51.
Insulin resistance and obesity are strongly associated with systemic cardiovascular diseases. Recent reports have also suggested a link between insulin resistance with pulmonary arterial hypertension. The aim of this study was to analyze pulmonary vascular function in the insulin resistant obese Zucker rat.
Large and small pulmonary arteries from obese Zucker rat and their lean counterparts were mounted for isometric tension recording. mRNA and protein expression was measured by RT-PCR or Western blot, respectively. KV currents were recorded in isolated pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells using the patch clamp technique.
Right ventricular wall thickness was similar in obese and lean Zucker rats. Lung BMPR2, KV1.5 and 5-HT2A receptor mRNA and protein expression and KV current density were also similar in the two rat strains. In conductance and resistance pulmonary arteries, the similar relaxant responses to acetylcholine and nitroprusside and unchanged lung eNOS expression revealed a preserved endothelial function. However, in resistance (but not in conductance) pulmonary arteries from obese rats a reduced response to several vasoconstrictor agents (hypoxia, phenylephrine and 5-HT) was observed. The hyporesponsiveness to vasoconstrictors was reversed by L-NAME and prevented by the iNOS inhibitor 1400W.
In contrast to rat models of type 1 diabetes or other mice models of insulin resistance, the obese Zucker rats did not show any of the characteristic features of pulmonary hypertension but rather a reduced vasoconstrictor response which could be prevented by inhibition of iNOS.
PMCID: PMC3111360  PMID: 21513515

Results 1-6 (6)