Research on implicit attitudes has raised questions about how well people know their own attitudes. Most research on this question has focused on the correspondence between measures of implicit attitudes and measures of explicit attitudes, with low correspondence interpreted as showing that people have little awareness of their implicit attitudes. We took a different approach and directly asked participants to predict their results on upcoming IAT measures of implicit attitudes toward five different social groups. We found that participants were surprisingly accurate in their predictions. Across four studies, predictions were accurate regardless of whether implicit attitudes were described as true attitudes or culturally learned associations (Studies 1 and 2), regardless of whether predictions were made as specific response patterns (Study 1) or as conceptual responses (Studies 2–4), and regardless of how much experience or explanation participants received before making their predictions (Study 4). Study 3 further suggested that participants’ predictions reflected unique insight into their own implicit responses, beyond intuitions about how people in general might respond. Prediction accuracy occurred despite generally low correspondence between implicit and explicit measures of attitudes, as found in prior research. All together, the research findings cast doubt on the belief that attitudes or evaluations measured by the IAT necessarily reflect unconscious attitudes.
Implicit attitudes; IAT; introspection; unconscious; racial bias
Preclinical imaging with SPECT combined with CT or MRI is used more and more frequently and has proven to be very useful in translational research. In this article, an overview of current preclinical research applications and trends of SPECT combined with CT or MRI, mainly in tumour imaging and neuroscience imaging, is given and the advantages and disadvantages of the different approaches are described. Today SPECT and CT systems are often integrated into a single device (commonly called a SPECT/CT system), whereas at present combined SPECT and MRI is almost always carried out with separate systems and fiducial markers to combine the separately acquired images. While preclinical SPECT/CT is most widely applied in oncology research, SPECT combined with MRI (SPECT/MRI when integrated in one system) offers the potential for both neuroscience applications and oncological applications. Today CT and MRI are still mainly used to localize radiotracer binding and to improve SPECT quantification, although both CT and MRI have additional potential. Future technology developments may include fast sequential or simultaneous acquisition of (dynamic) multimodality data, spectroscopy, fMRI along with high-resolution anatomic MRI, advanced CT procedures, and combinations of more than two modalities such as combinations of SPECT, PET, MRI and CT all together. This will all strongly depend on new technologies. With further advances in biology and chemistry for imaging molecular targets and (patho)physiological processes in vivo, the introduction of new imaging procedures and promising new radiopharmaceuticals in clinical practice may be accelerated.
Vorinostat is a small molecule inhibitor of class I and II histone deacetylase (HDAC) enzymes which alters expression of target genes including the cell cycle gene p21, leading to cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.
Patients enrolled in a phase I trial were treated with vorinostat alone on day 1 and vorinostat and bortezomib in combination on day 9. Paired biopsies were obtained in eleven subjects. Blood samples were obtained on days 1 and 9 of cycle 1 prior to dosing, and 2 hours and 6 hours post dosing in all 60 subjects. Gene expression of p21, HSP70, AKT, nur77, ERB1 and ERB2 were evaluated in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tissue samples. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of p21, HSP70 and Nur77 was also performed in biopsy samples.
In peripheral blood mononuclear cells, Nur77 was significantly and consistently decreased two hours after vorinostat administration on both days 1 and 9, median ratio of gene expression relative to baseline of 0.69 with interquartile range (IQR) 0.49-1.04 (p<0.001); 0.28 (0.15-0.7) (p<0.001), respectively, with more pronounced decrease on day 9, when patients received both vorinostat and bortezomib. p21, a downstream target of nur77, was significantly decreased on day 9 two hours and six hours after administration of vorinostat and bortezomib, 0.67 (0.41-1.03) (p<0.01); 0.44 (0.25-1.3) (p<0.01), respectively. The ChiP assay demonstrateed a protein DNA interaction, in this case interaction of Nur77, HSP70 and p21 with acetylated histone H3, at baseline and at day 9 after treatment with vorinostat in tissue biopsies in most patients.
Vorinostat inhibits Nur77 expression, which in turn may decrease p21 and AKT expression in PBMCs. The influence of vorinostat on target gene expression in tumor tissue was variable, however, most patients demonstrated interaction of acetylated H3 with Nur77, HSP70 and p21 which provides evidence of interaction with the transcriptions active acetylated H3.
SAHA; vorinostat; PS-341; bortezomib; phase I
Many predators quickly learn to avoid attacking aposematic prey. If the prey vary in toxicity, the predators may alternatively learn to capture and taste-sample prey carefully before ingesting or rejecting them (go-slow behaviour). An increase in prey toxicity is generally thought to decrease predation on prey populations. However, while prey with a higher toxin load are more harmful to ingest, they may also be easier to recognize and reject owing to greater distastefulness, which can facilitate a taste-sampling foraging strategy. Here, the classic diet model is used to study the separate effects of taste and toxicity on predator preferences. The taste-sampling process is modelled using signal detection theory. The model is applicable to automimicry and Batesian mimicry. It shows that when the defensive toxin is sufficiently distasteful, a mimicry complex may be less profitable to the predator and better protected against predation if the models are moderately toxic than if they are highly toxic. Moreover, taste mimicry can reduce the profitability of the mimicry complex and increase protection against predation. The results are discussed in relation to the selection pressures acting on prey defences and the evolution of mimicry.
predation; taste-rejection; toxin; aposematism; Batesian mimicry; automimicry
Current knowledge is limited regarding patient characteristics related to treatment outcome of posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in refugees and asylum seekers.
Gender, torture status, offender status, level of anger, and level of depression were investigated for possible effects on the treatment outcome.
Patient characteristics were explored in 54 refugees and asylum seekers who had completed a treatment program for PTSD. Non-responders (10), those who had the same or higher levels of symptom severity after treatment, were compared with responders, those who had lower symptom severity after treatment (44). Symptom severity was measured by Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale. The non-responders and responders constituted the dichotomous, dependent variable. The independent variables were gender, torture status, offender status, level of anger, and level of depression. T-tests and Exact Unconditional Homogeneity/Independence Tests for 2×2 Tables were used to study the relationship to treatment outcome.
Being male and reporting to have been a violent offender were significantly more frequent characteristics among the non-responders compared to the responders. The levels of pretreatment anger, depression and torture status did not affect the treatment outcome.
The study adds support to findings that females benefit more from treatment of PTSD than males and that violent offenders are difficult to treat within the standard treatment programs.
Treatment; patient characteristics; gender; offender; trauma; torture
Background and Rationale Bortezomib
(PS-341, VELCADE®) is a selective inhibitor of the 26S proteasome, an integral component of the ubiquitinproteasome pathway. This phase II study evaluated the activity and tolerability of bortezomib in unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients.
The primary endpoint was confirmed tumor response rate (RR) with secondary endpoints including duration of response, time to disease progression, survival and toxicity. Treatment consisted of bortezomib, 1.3 mg/m2 IV bolus on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of each 21-day treatment cycle. Eligibility included: no prior systemic chemotherapy, ECOG PS 0-2, Child-Pugh A or B, preserved hematologic, hepatic and neurologic function; prior liver-directed therapy was permitted.
Thirty-five patients enrolled and received a median of 2 cycles of treatment (range 1–12). Overall, 24 and 4 patients had a maximum severity of grade 3 and 4 adverse events (AEs), respectively. No treatment related deaths occurred. Only thrombocytopenia (11%) was seen in greater than 10% of patients. One patient achieved a partial response, lasting 13 weeks during treatment and progressed 11.6 months later; two patients received treatment for greater than 6 months. Median time-to-progression was 1.6 months and median survival was 6.0 months.
This international, multicenter trial evaluated bortezomib as monotherapy in unresectable HCC patients. And, despite the lack of significant activity, this report serves as a baseline clinical experience for the development of future dual biologic approaches including bortezomib.
Boronic acids; Antineoplastic agents; Biologic agents; Treatment outcome
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are rational targets for therapy in hepatocellular cancer (HCC).
Patients with histologically proven HCC and not amenable to curative or liver directed therapy were included in this 2-stage phase 2 trial. Eligibility included an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status (PS) of 0 or 1 and Child’s Pugh score of A or B, and 1 prior systemic therapy. Patients received erlotinib 150 mg daily and bevacizumab 10 mg/kg on days 1 and 15 every 28 days. Objective tumor response was the primary end point.
Twenty-seven patients with advanced HCC (median age, 60 years) were enrolled in this multi-institutional study. The proportion of patients with Child’s A classification was 74%. One patient had a confirmed partial response and 11 (48%) achieved stable disease. Median time to disease progression was 3.0 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-7.1). Median survival time was 9.5 months (95% CI, 7.1-17.1). Grade 3 toxicities included rash, hypertension, fatigue, and diarrhea.
In this trial, erlotinib combined with bevacizumab had minimal activity in patients with advanced HCC based on objective response and progression-free survival. The role of targeting EGFR and VEGF in HCC needs further evaluation in molecularly selected patients.
hepatocellular cancer; erlotinib; bevacizumab; vascular endothelial growth factor; epidermal growth factor receptor
Nondirective meditation techniques are practiced with a relaxed focus of attention that permits spontaneously occurring thoughts, images, sensations, memories, and emotions to emerge and pass freely, without any expectation that mind wandering should abate. These techniques are thought to facilitate mental processing of emotional experiences, thereby contributing to wellness and stress management. The present study assessed brain activity by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 14 experienced practitioners of Acem meditation in two experimental conditions. In the first, nondirective meditation was compared to rest. Significantly increased activity was detected in areas associated with attention, mind wandering, retrieval of episodic memories, and emotional processing. In the second condition, participants carried out concentrative practicing of the same meditation technique, actively trying to avoid mind wandering. The contrast nondirective meditation > concentrative practicing was characterized by higher activity in the right medial temporal lobe (parahippocampal gyrus and amygdala). In conclusion, the present results support the notion that nondirective meditation, which permits mind wandering, involves more extensive activation of brain areas associated with episodic memories and emotional processing, than during concentrative practicing or regular rest.
fMRI; meditation; attention; nondirective; brain; default mode network; mind wandering
Mutations in ATP13A2 lead to Kufor-Rakeb syndrome, a parkinsonism with dementia. ATP13A2 belongs to the P-type transport ATPases, a large family of primary active transporters that exert vital cellular functions. However, the cellular function and transported substrate of ATP13A2 remain unknown. To discuss the role of ATP13A2 in neurodegeneration, we first provide a short description of the architecture and transport mechanism of P-type transport ATPases. Then, we briefly highlight key P-type ATPases involved in neuronal disorders such as the copper transporters ATP7A (Menkes disease), ATP7B (Wilson disease), the Na+/K+-ATPases ATP1A2 (familial hemiplegic migraine) and ATP1A3 (rapid-onset dystonia parkinsonism). Finally, we review the recent literature of ATP13A2 and discuss ATP13A2's putative cellular function in the light of what is known concerning the functions of other, better-studied P-type ATPases. We critically review the available data concerning the role of ATP13A2 in heavy metal transport and propose a possible alternative hypothesis that ATP13A2 might be a flippase. As a flippase, ATP13A2 may transport an organic molecule, such as a lipid or a peptide, from one membrane leaflet to the other. A flippase might control local lipid dynamics during vesicle formation and membrane fusion events.
alpha-synuclein; mitochondria; mitophagy; lysosome; dystonia; parkinsonism; flippase; heavy metal toxicity
This study assessed implicit and explicit bias against both Latinos and African Americans, among experienced primary care providers (PCPs) and community members (CMs) in the same geographic area.
210 PCPs and 190 CMs from three health care organizations in the Denver metro area completed Implicit Association Tests and self-report measures of implicit and explicit bias, respectively.
With a 60% participation rate, the PCPs demonstrated substantial implicit bias against both Latinos and African Americans, but this was no different from CMs. Explicit bias was largely absent in both groups. Adjustment for background characteristics showed the PCPs to have slightly weaker ethnic/racial bias than CMs.
This research provides the first evidence of implicit bias against Latinos in health care, as well as confirming prior findings of implicit bias against African Americans. The lack of substantive differences in bias between the experienced PCPs and CMs suggests a wider societal problem. At the same time, the wide range of implicit bias suggests that bias in healthcare is neither uniform nor inevitable, and important lessons may be learned from providers who do not exhibit bias.
Expression of the mammalian enzyme methionine sulfoxide reductase B1 (MsrB1) in Escherichia coli growing in cobalt-containing media resulted in the reproducible appearance
of the stable cobalt-containing protein MsrB1-Co. NMR studies and biocomputing using the programs AnisoFit and Amber allowed us to generate a structure of MsrB1-Co sharing the overall fold with the native zinc-containing protein MsrB1-Zn. Our data suggest that the N-terminus containing resolving cysteine tends to be closer to the protein’s catalytic center than was previously reported. It is argued that this proximity supports the proposed catalytic mechanism and ensures high catalytic efficiency of MsrB1. Functional studies showed that both MsrB1-Zn and MsrB1-Co exhibit similar levels of activity, in agreement with the structural studies performed. The proposed metal ion substitution approach may have a methodological significance in determining whether methionine sulfoxide reductase B proteins contain a metal ion.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00775-013-1064-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cell metabolism; Metal homeostasis; Metalloenzymes; Protein–metal ion interaction; NMR
Breast cancer remains a significant scientific, clinical and societal challenge. This gap analysis has reviewed and critically assessed enduring issues and new challenges emerging from recent research, and proposes strategies for translating solutions into practice.
More than 100 internationally recognised specialist breast cancer scientists, clinicians and healthcare professionals collaborated to address nine thematic areas: genetics, epigenetics and epidemiology; molecular pathology and cell biology; hormonal influences and endocrine therapy; imaging, detection and screening; current/novel therapies and biomarkers; drug resistance; metastasis, angiogenesis, circulating tumour cells, cancer ‘stem’ cells; risk and prevention; living with and managing breast cancer and its treatment. The groups developed summary papers through an iterative process which, following further appraisal from experts and patients, were melded into this summary account.
The 10 major gaps identified were: (1) understanding the functions and contextual interactions of genetic and epigenetic changes in normal breast development and during malignant transformation; (2) how to implement sustainable lifestyle changes (diet, exercise and weight) and chemopreventive strategies; (3) the need for tailored screening approaches including clinically actionable tests; (4) enhancing knowledge of molecular drivers behind breast cancer subtypes, progression and metastasis; (5) understanding the molecular mechanisms of tumour heterogeneity, dormancy, de novo or acquired resistance and how to target key nodes in these dynamic processes; (6) developing validated markers for chemosensitivity and radiosensitivity; (7) understanding the optimal duration, sequencing and rational combinations of treatment for improved personalised therapy; (8) validating multimodality imaging biomarkers for minimally invasive diagnosis and monitoring of responses in primary and metastatic disease; (9) developing interventions and support to improve the survivorship experience; (10) a continuing need for clinical material for translational research derived from normal breast, blood, primary, relapsed, metastatic and drug-resistant cancers with expert bioinformatics support to maximise its utility. The proposed infrastructural enablers include enhanced resources to support clinically relevant in vitro and in vivo tumour models; improved access to appropriate, fully annotated clinical samples; extended biomarker discovery, validation and standardisation; and facilitated cross-discipline working.
With resources to conduct further high-quality targeted research focusing on the gaps identified, increased knowledge translating into improved clinical care should be achievable within five years.
The aim of this study is to investigate whether reliable and accurate 3D geometrical models of the murine aortic arch can be constructed from sparse-view data in vivo micro-CT acquisitions. This would considerably reduce acquisition time and X-ray dose. In vivo contrast-enhanced micro-CT datasets were reconstructed using a conventional filtered back projection algorithm (FDK), the image space reconstruction algorithm (ISRA) and total variation regularized ISRA (ISRA-TV). The reconstructed images were then semi-automatically segmented. Segmentations of high- and low-dose protocols were compared and evaluated based on voxel classification, 3D model diameters and centerline differences. FDK reconstruction does not lead to accurate segmentation in the case of low-view acquisitions. ISRA manages accurate segmentation with 1024 or more projection views. ISRA-TV needs a minimum of 256 views. These results indicate that accurate vascular models can be obtained from micro-CT scans with 8 times less X-ray dose and acquisition time, as long as regularized iterative reconstruction is used.
A growing number of DNA transacting proteins is found in the nucleus and in mitochondria, including the DNA repair and replication protein Flap endonuclease 1, FEN1. Here we show a truncated FEN1 isoform is generated by alternative translation initiation, exposing a mitochondrial targeting signal. The shortened form of FEN1, which we term FENMIT, localizes to mitochondria, based on import into isolated organelles, immunocytochemistry and subcellular fractionation. In vitro FENMIT binds to flap structures containing a 5′ RNA flap, and prefers such substrates to single-stranded RNA. FENMIT can also bind to R-loops, and to a lesser extent to D-loops. Exposing human cells to ethidium bromide results in the generation of RNA/DNA hybrids near the origin of mitochondrial DNA replication. FENMIT is recruited to the DNA under these conditions, and is released by RNase treatment. Moreover, high levels of recombinant FENMIT expression inhibit mtDNA replication, following ethidium bromide treatment. These findings suggest FENMIT interacts with RNA/DNA hybrids in mitochondrial DNA, such as those found at the origin of replication.
In spite of amazing progress in food supply and nutritional science, and a striking increase in life expectancy of approximately 2.5 months per year in many countries during the previous 150 years, modern nutritional research has a great potential of still contributing to improved health for future generations, granted that the revolutions in molecular and systems technologies are applied to nutritional questions. Descriptive and mechanistic studies using state of the art epidemiology, food intake registration, genomics with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, advanced biostatistics, imaging, calorimetry, cell biology, challenge tests (meals, exercise, etc.), and integration of all data by systems biology, will provide insight on a much higher level than today in a field we may name molecular nutrition research. To take advantage of all the new technologies scientists should develop international collaboration and gather data in large open access databases like the suggested Nutritional Phenotype database (dbNP). This collaboration will promote standardization of procedures (SOP), and provide a possibility to use collected data in future research projects. The ultimate goals of future nutritional research are to understand the detailed mechanisms of action for how nutrients/foods interact with the body and thereby enhance health and treat diet-related diseases.
molecular nutrition; nutrigenomics; genomics; transcriptomics; proteomics; metabolomics; systems biology; adipokines; myokines
There are risks related to blood incompatibility and blood-borne diseases when using allogeneic blood transfusion. Several alternatives exist today, one of which, used for autologous blood salvage perioperatively, is the Sangvia Blood Management System. This study was designed to investigate the efficacy of the system and to add data to previously reported safety results.
Two hundred sixteen patients undergoing primary or revision total hip arthroplasty (THA) were enrolled in this randomized, controlled, assessor-blinded multicenter study. Randomization was either autologous blood transfusion (Sangvia group) or no use of autologous blood (Control group), both in combination with a transfusion protocol for allogeneic transfusion. Patients were followed during hospital stay and at two months after discharge. The primary outcome was allogeneic blood transfusion frequency. Data on blood loss, postoperative hemoglobin/hematocrit, safety and quality of life were also collected. The effectiveness analysis including all patients showed an allogeneic blood transfusion rate of 14% in both groups. The efficacy analysis included 197 patients and showed a transfusion rate of 9% in the Sangvia group as compared to 13% in the Control group (95%CI −0.05–0.12, p = 0.5016). A mean of 522 mL autologous blood was returned in the Sangvia group and lower calculated blood loss was seen. 1095 mL vs 1285 mL in the Control group (95%CI 31–346, p = 0.0175). No differences in postoperative hemoglobin was detected but a lower hematocrit reduction after surgery was seen among patients receiving autologous blood. No relevant differences were found for safety parameters or quality of life.
General low use of allogeneic blood in THA is seen in the current study of the Sangvia system used together with a transfusion protocol. The trial setting is under-powered due to premature termination and therefore not able to verify efficacy for the system itself but contributes with descriptive data on safety.
This study aimed to assess the safety and feasibility of administering volociximab, a chimeric monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to α5β1 integrin, and to determine the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary evidence of antitumor activity.
Patients with advanced solid malignancies were treated with escalating doses of volociximab i.v. administered over 60 minutes. Blood samples were assayed to determine plasma pharmacokinetic parameters, detect human antichimeric antibody formation, and determine the saturation of α5β1 sites on peripheral blood monocytes.
Twenty-one patients received 223 infusions of volociximab at doses ranging from 0.5 to 15 mg/kg i.v. on days 1, 15, 22, 29, and 36; and weekly thereafter. Treatment was well tolerated, and dose-limiting toxicity was not identified over the range examined. Mild (grade 1 or 2), reversible fatigue was the principal toxicity of volociximab at the highest dose levels of 10 and 15 mg/kg. Nausea, fever, anorexia, headache, vomiting, and myalgias were mild and infrequent, and there was no hematologic toxicity. Volociximab had biexponential distribution; clearance was inversely related to increasing dose, and the half-life at 15 mg/kg was estimated as being 30 days. Three patients tested positive for anti-volociximab antibodies. Saturation of monocyte α5β1 integrin sites was dose-dependent up to 15 mg/kg. There was one minor response (renal, 7 months) and one durable stable disease (melanoma, 14 months).
Volociximab can be safely administered at 15 mg/kg i.v. per week. The absence of severe toxicities and preliminary activity at the highest dose level warrants further disease-directed studies.
The kinesin spindle protein (KSP) is essential for separation of spindle poles during mitosis. Its inhibition results in mitotic arrest. This phase I trial examined safety, tolerability, dose-limiting toxicity (DLT), maximum tolerated dose (MTD), pharmacokinetic parameters, and anti-tumor activity of MK-0731, a potent inhibitor of KSP.
In part 1, patients with advanced solid tumors received MK-0731 intravenously over 24 h every 21 days starting at 6 mg/m2, escalating until MTD was reached. In part 2, patients with taxane-resistant tumors received the MTD. Plasma samples were collected to analyze the pharmacokinetics of MK-0731. Tumor response was evaluated using Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) v1.0.
In part 1, 21 patients (median age 63 years) were treated with MK-0731 at doses ranging from 6 to 48 mg/m2/24 h for median four cycles. The dose-limiting toxicity was neutropenia and the MTD was 17 mg/m2/24 h. At the MTD, AUC (±SD) was 10.5 (±7.3) μM × hour, clearance (±SD) was 153 mL/min (±84), and t1/2 was 5.9 h. In part 2, 22 patients received the MTD and there were no DLTs. Although there were no objective tumor responses, four patients (with cervical, non-small cell lung, and ovarian cancers) had prolonged stable disease.
MK-0731 at the MTD of 17 mg/m2/day every 21 days in patients with solid tumors had few grade 3 and 4 toxicities with the major DLTs at higher doses being myelosuppression. Anti-tumor efficacy was suggested by the length of stable disease in selected patients with taxane-resistant tumors.
Kinesin spindle protein; Oncology; Neutropenia
ZM336372 is small molecule tyrosine kinase modulator. It has been shown to inhibit glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) through phosphorylation of GSK-3β at Ser 9. GSK-3β has previously been shown to mediate cell survival in pancreatic cancer cells. Here we determine the effects of ZM336372 on GSK-3β phosphorylation, apoptosis, and growth in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell lines.
Panc-1 and MiaPaCa-2 cells were treated with ZM336372 or lithium chloride (LiCl) and compared to solvent control. The effects on proliferation for each cell line were determined using the MTT assay. Western blot analysis was performed to examine the effects of treatment on the phosphorylation of GSK-3β. In addition, western blot was utilized to examine the cleavage of PARP, a marker of apoptosis.
A dose-dependent increase in phosphorylation of GSK-3β was observed after treatment with both ZM336372 and LiCl. Growth inhibition due to treatment with ZM336372 and LiCl also occurred in a dose-dependent fashion. An increase in cleaved PARP was demonstrated after treatment with both agents, as was seen previously with GSK-3β inhibition in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells.
This is the first description of growth inhibition and apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells related to GSK-3β inhibition through treatment with ZM336372.
ZM336372; lithium; GSK-3β; pancreatic cancer; apoptosis
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain. Once released, it is removed from the extracellular space by cellular uptake catalyzed by GABA transporter proteins. Four GABA transporters (GAT1, GAT2, GAT3 and BGT1) have been identified. Inhibition of the GAT1 by the clinically available anti-epileptic drug tiagabine has been an effective strategy for the treatment of some patients with partial seizures. Recently, the investigational drug EF1502, which inhibits both GAT1 and BGT1, was found to exert an anti-convulsant action synergistic to that of tiagabine, supposedly due to inhibition of BGT1. The present study addresses the role of BGT1 in seizure control and the effect of EF1502 by developing and exploring a new mouse line lacking exons 3–5 of the BGT1 (slc6a12) gene. The deletion of this sequence abolishes the expression of BGT1 mRNA. However, homozygous BGT1-deficient mice have normal development and show seizure susceptibility indistinguishable from that in wild-type mice in a variety of seizure threshold models including: corneal kindling, the minimal clonic and minimal tonic extension seizure threshold tests, the 6 Hz seizure threshold test, and the i.v. pentylenetetrazol threshold test. We confirm that BGT1 mRNA is present in the brain, but find that the levels are several hundred times lower than those of GAT1 mRNA; possibly explaining the apparent lack of phenotype. In conclusion, the present results do not support a role for BGT1 in the control of seizure susceptibility and cannot provide a mechanistic understanding of the synergism that has been previously reported with tiagabine and EF1502.
GABA uptake; Epilepsy; Betaine–GABA transporter; SLC6A12; Conditional knockout; EF1502
Notch1 has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in neuroendocrine tumors. Previous in vitro studies in neuroendocrine tumor cell lines have also suggested that valproic acid, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, can induce Notch1 and that Notch1 activation correlates with a decrease in tumor markers for neuroendocrine tumors. This study showed that valproic acid activates Notch1 signaling in vivo and may have a role in treating low-grade neuroendocrine tumors.
Notch1 has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Previous in vitro studies in NET cell lines have also suggested that valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, can induce Notch1 and that Notch1 activation correlates with a decrease in tumor markers for NETs. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the role of VPA in treating NETs and to determine whether VPA induced the Notch signaling pathway signaling in vivo.
Patients and Methods.
Eight patients with low-grade NETs (carcinoid and pancreatic) were treated with 500 mg of oral VPA twice a day with dosing adjusted to maintain a goal VPA level between 50 and 100 μg/mL. All patients were followed for 12 months or until disease progression.
Notch1 signaling was absent in all tumors prior to treatment and was upregulated with VPA. One patient had an unconfirmed partial response and was noted to have a 40-fold increase in Notch1 mRNA levels. Four patients had stable disease as best response. Tumor markers improved in 5 out of 7 patients. Overall, treatment with VPA was well tolerated.
VPA activates Notch1 signaling in vivo and may have a role in treating low-grade NETs.
Neuroendocrine tumors; Valproic acid; Histone deacetylase inhibitor; Pancreatic carcinoid; Notch signaling
Prognosis remains poor after progression on first-line chemotherapy for colorectal adenocarcinoma, and inactivation of the EGFR pathway with monoclonal antibodies is an effective treatment strategy in selected patients with metastatic disease. Lapatinib is an oral EGFR and HER-2 dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has not shown significant activity in metastatic colorectal cancer. However, lapatinib may act synergistically with capecitabine in anticancer effects.
This was an open-label, non-randomized phase II study of lapatinib 1,250 mg orally daily and capecitabine 2,000 mg/m2 by mouth split into twice-daily dosing for 14 days of a 21 days cycle. Inclusion criteria included metastatic or locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum with progression by RECIST on or within six months of receiving a fluoridopyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-containing regimen. Prior EGFR monoclonal antibody was permitted. K-ras testing was not routinely performed and was not a part of the study protocol.
Twenty nine patients (16 M; 13 F) were enrolled in this study. There were no complete or partial responses. 41.4% of patients achieved stable disease as a best response. Median overall survival was 6.8 months, with a 1-year survival rate of 22%, and median progression-free survival was 2.1 months. The combination produced few grade 3 and no grade 4 toxicities. No grade 3 toxicity occurred in more than 10% of patients.
Although capecitabine and lapatinib is well tolerated, it is not an effective regimen in patients with refractory colorectal adenocarcinoma.
Colorectal cancer; capecitabine; lapatinib; EGFR; Her-2
Notch1 has been shown to be a tumor suppressor in neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). Previous in-vitro studies in NET cell lines have also suggested that valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, can induce Notch1, and that Notch1 activation correlates with a decrease in tumor markers for NET. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate the role of valproic acid in treating NETs and if VPA induced the Notch signaling pathway signaling in-vivo‥
Patients & Methods
Eight patients with low grade NETs (carcinoid and pancreatic) were treated with valproic acid 500 mg orally twice a day with dosing adjusted to maintain a goal VPA level between 50–100 mcg/mL. All patients were followed for 12 months or until disease progression.
Notch1 signaling was absent in all tumors prior to treatment, and was upregulated with VPA. One patient had an unconfirmed PR and was noted to have a 40-fold increase in Notch1 mRNA levels. Four patients had stable disease as best response. Tumor markers improved in 5/7 patients. Overall, treatment with VPA was well tolerated.
Valproic acid activates Notch1 signaling in-vivo and may have a role in treating low grade NET.
Neuroendocrine tumors; Valproic Acid; histone deacetylase inhibitor; pancreatic carcinoid; Notch signaling
The majority of deaths from breast cancer are a result of metastases; however, little is understood about the genetic alterations underlying their onset. Genetic profiling has identified the adhesion molecule plakoglobin as being three-fold reduced in expression in primary breast tumors that have metastasized compared with nonmetastatic tumors. In this study, we demonstrate a functional role for plakoglobin in the shedding of tumor cells from the primary site into the circulation.
We investigated the effects of plakoglobin knockdown on breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, adhesion, and invasion in vitro and on tumor growth and intravasation in vivo. MCF7 and T47D cells were stably transfected with miRNA sequences targeting the plakoglobin gene, or scramble vector. Gene and protein expression was monitored by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blot. Cell proliferation, adhesion, migration, and invasion were measured by cell counting, flow cytometry, and scratch and Boyden Chamber assays. For in vivo experiments, plakoglobin knockdown and control cells were inoculated into mammary fat pads of mice, and tumor growth, shedding of tumor cells into the bloodstream, and evidence of metastatic bone lesions were monitored with caliper measurement, flow cytometry, and microcomputed tomography (μCT), respectively.
Plakoglobin and γ-catenin expression were reduced by more than 80% in all knockdown cell lines used but were unaltered after transfection with the scrambled sequence. Reduced plakoglobin resulted in significantly increased in MCF7 and T47D cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo, compared with control, with significantly more tumor cells being shed into the bloodstream of mice bearing plakoglobin knockdown tumors. In addition, plakoglobin knockdown cells showed a >250% increase in invasion through basement membrane and exhibited reduced cell-to-cell adhesion compared with control cells.
Decreased plakoglobin expression increases the invasive behavior of breast cancer cells. This is the first demonstration of a functional role for plakoglobin/γ-catenin in the metastatic process, indicating that this molecule may represent a target for antimetastatic therapies.