A number of adherent mycoplasmas have developed highly complex polar structures that are involved in diverse aspects of the biology of these microorganisms and play a key role as virulence factors by promoting adhesion to host cells in the first stages of infection. Attachment activity of mycoplasma cells has been traditionally investigated by determining their hemadsorption ability to red blood cells and it is a distinctive trait widely examined when characterizing the different mycoplasma species. Despite the fact that protocols to qualitatively determine the hemadsorption or hemagglutination of mycoplasmas are straightforward, current methods when investigating hemadsorption at the quantitative level are expensive and poorly reproducible. By using flow cytometry, we have developed a procedure to quantify rapidly and accurately the hemadsorption activity of mycoplasmas in the presence of SYBR Green I, a vital fluorochrome that stains nucleic acids, allowing to resolve erythrocyte and mycoplasma cells by their different size and fluorescence. This method is very reproducible and permits the kinetic analysis of the obtained data and a precise hemadsorption quantification based on standard binding parameters such as the dissociation constant Kd. The procedure we developed could be easily implemented in a standardized assay to test the hemadsorption activity of the growing number of clinical isolates and mutant strains of different mycoplasma species, providing valuable data about the virulence of these microorganisms.
Objectives: To evaluate and compare the influence of posterior gummy smile on the perception of smile esthetics by orthodontists, general-dentists and laypersons.
Study Design: A frontal photograph of a smile with normal gum exposure was chosen and manipulated digitally using Adobe Photoshop C3 to generate three further images with posterior gum exposure of 4, 6 and 8mm. These four images were assessed by the three evaluator groups: orthodontists (n=40), general-dentists (n=40) and laypersons (n=40). Both orthodontists and dentists had at least ten years professional experience and laypersons were aged between 40-50 years. The proportion of men to women was 20:20 in each group.
Evaluators awarded a score to the smile esthetics of each image: 1=acceptable, 2=moderately acceptable, 3=unacceptable. Afterwards, each evaluator placed the four images in order of esthetic preference.
Results: No significant differences (p>0.05) were detected between the three evaluator groups for the photo without posterior gummy smile. The perception of smile esthetics for a the 4mm posterior gummy smile (median for orthodontists=2, general-dentists= 1, laypersons=1), the 6mm (median for orthodontists=2, general-dentists=1, laypersons=1) and the 8mm (median for orthodontists=3, general-dentists=2, laypersons=2) was significantly different between orthodontists and the other two evaluator groups (p<0.0017).
The three evaluator groups coincided in placing the image with the 6mm gum exposure in first place in order of esthetic preference.
Conclusions: Posterior gummy smile influences the perception of smile esthetics more negatively among orthodontists than the rest of the groups.
Key words:Aesthetics, gummy smile back, orthodontists, dentists, laypersons.
The importance within sport expertise of cognitive factors has been emphasised in many research studies. Adaptations that take place in athletes’ long-term memories are going to condition their decision-making and performance, and training programmes must be developed that improve these adaptations. In our study, we provide a tactical-cognitive training programme based on video-feedback and questioning in order to improve tactical knowledge in tennis players and verify its effect when transferred to athletes’ decision-making. 11 intermediate tennis players participated in this study (12.9±0.7 years old), distributed into two groups (experimental, n = 5; control, n = 6). Tactical knowledge was measured by problem representation and strategy planning with a verbal protocol. Decision-making was measured by a systematic observation instrument. Results confirm the effectiveness of a combination of video-feedback and questioning on cognitive expertise, developing adaptations in long-term memory that produce an improvement in the quality of tactical knowledge (content, sophistication and structure). This, in turn, is transferred to the athletes’ decision-making capacity, leading to a higher percentage of successful decisions made during game play. Finally, we emphasise the need to develop effective programmes to develop cognitive expertise and improve athletes' performance, and include it in athletes’ formative stages.
The aims of this study were to examine the predictors of time-to-neuropsychiatric (NP) damage and its impact on mortality in 632 systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) African American, Hispanic and Caucasian LUMINA patients, age ≥ 16 years and disease duration ≤ 5 years at baseline (T0). Time-to-NP damage and its impact on mortality were examined by Cox proportional hazards regressions. One-hundred eighty-five (29.3%) patients developed NP-damage over a mean (SD) disease duration of 5.6 (3.7) years. After adjusting for neuropsychiatric manifestations present, older age [Hazard ratio (HR)=1.02; 95% [Confidence interval (CI) 1.00–1.04)], Caucasian ethnicity (HR=1.87; 95% CI 1.22-2.87), disease activity over the disease course (HR=1.16; 95% CI 1.12–1.21), diabetes (HR=3.47; 95% CI 1.44–8.38) and abnormal illness-related behaviors (HR=1.05; 95% CI 1.02–1.08) were associated with a shorter time to NP-damage. Photosensitivity (HR=0.65; 95% CI 0.44–0.95), anemia (HR=0.56; 95% CI 0.31–0.98), Raynaud’s phenomenon (HR=0.49; 95% CI 0.34–0.72), a medium dose of prednisone (HR=0.56; 95% CI 0.35–0.92) and hydroxychloroquine use (HR=0.58; 95% CI 0.36–0.93) were associated with a longer time. NP-damage did not contribute to mortality. Older age, Caucasian ethnicity, disease activity and abnormal illness-related behaviors are associated with a shorter time-to-NP damage; hydroxychloroquine and a medium dose of prednisone with a longer time.
Double-stranded pBS plasmid DNA was irradiated with gamma rays at doses ranging from 1 to 12 kGy and electron beams from 1 to 10 kGy. Fragment-size distributions were determined by direct visualization, using atomic force microscopy with nanometer-resolution operating in non-tapping mode, combined with an improved methodology. The fragment distributions from irradiation with gamma rays revealed discrete-like patterns at all doses, suggesting that these patterns are modulated by the base pair composition of the plasmid. Irradiation with electron beams, at very high dose rates, generated continuous distributions of highly shattered DNA fragments, similar to results at much lower dose rates found in the literature. Altogether, these results indicate that AFM could supplement traditional methods for high-resolution measurements of radiation damage to DNA, while providing new and relevant information.
Plasmid DNA; Fragment-size distributions; AFM; Gamma radiation; Electron beams
The non-structural protein 1 (NS1) of influenza A virus (IAV), coded by its third most diverse gene, interacts with multiple molecules within infected cells. NS1 is involved in host immune response regulation and is a potential contributor to the virus host range. Early phylogenetic analyses using 50 sequences led to the classification of NS1 gene variants into groups (alleles) A and B. We reanalyzed NS1 diversity using 14,716 complete NS IAV sequences, downloaded from public databases, without host bias. Removal of sequence redundancy and further structured clustering at 96.8% amino acid similarity produced 415 clusters that enhanced our capability to detect distinct subgroups and lineages, which were assigned a numerical nomenclature. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic reconstruction using RNA sequences indicated the previously identified deep branching separating group A from group B, with five distinct subgroups within A as well as two and five lineages within the A4 and A5 subgroups, respectively. Our classification model proposes that sequence patterns in thirteen amino acid positions are sufficient to fit >99.9% of all currently available NS1 sequences into the A subgroups/lineages or the B group. This classification reduces host and virus bias through the prioritization of NS1 RNA phylogenetics over host or virus phenetics. We found significant sequence conservation within the subgroups and lineages with characteristic patterns of functional motifs, such as the differential binding of CPSF30 and crk/crkL or the availability of a C-terminal PDZ-binding motif. To understand selection pressures and evolution acting on NS1, it is necessary to organize the available data. This updated classification may help to clarify and organize the study of NS1 interactions and pathogenic differences and allow the drawing of further functional inferences on sequences in each group, subgroup and lineage rather than on a strain-by-strain basis.
Breast tumors infiltrated by matrix metalloprotease 11 (MMP-11)+ mononuclear inflammatory cells are prone to form metastases; express high levels of interleukin (IL)-1, IL-5, IL-6, IL-17, interferon β (IFNβ) and NFκB; and exhibit an increased CD68+/(CD3+CD20+) cell ratio at their invasive front. These factors, which are implicated in the crosstalk between tumors and their inflammatory microenvironment, may emerge as attractive prognostic factors and therapeutic targets.
inflammation; interleukins; matrix metalloprotease 11; metastasis
According to most historians, Christopher Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy. However, based on some key facts in the discoverer's biography, as well as in the linguistic analysis of his texts, some historians and linguists believe that Columbus could have been of Catalan origin. A Ligurian Columbus would have carried the Colombo surname, whereas he would have been called Colom if he were Catalan. In order to test whether it would be possible to discriminate between a Ligurian or a Catalan origin were Columbus' Y-chromosome haplotype to be retrieved, we genotyped 17 Y-chromosome STRs in 238 Spanish (from Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands) and French Colom men, and 114 North Italian Colombo (from Liguria, Lombardy, and Piedmont). The Italian samples and, in particular, the Lombard Colombos were genetically as diverse as the general population, and we found little evidence of clusters of haplotypes that could indicate descent from a single founder. Colombo is actually the most frequent surname in Lombardy, where foundlings and orphans used to be given the surname Colombo. By contrast, Y-chromosome diversity was reduced in the Iberian Colom, where most of the men had Y chromosomes belonging to a few lineages. This implies that a positive identification would be more likely if Columbus were of Catalan descent. In this study, we have shown the diverse dynamics of two surnames linked by their etymology, in what is, to the best of our knowledge, the first genetic analysis of a surname in Southern Europe.
surnames; Y chromosome; Christopher Columbus
Tumors are infiltrated by macrophages, T and B-lymphocytes, which may favor tumor development by promoting angiogenesis, growth and invasion. The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical relevance of the relative amount of macrophages (CD68+), T-cells (CD3+) and B-cells (CD20+) at the invasive front of breast carcinomas, and the expression of matrix metalloproteases (MMPs) and their inhibitors (TIMPs) either at the invasive front or at the tumor center. We performed an immunohistochemical study counting CD3, CD20 and CD68 positive cells at the invasive front, in 102 breast carcinomas. Also, tissue sections were stained with MMP-2, -9, -11, -14 and TIMP-2 antibodies, and immunoreactivity location, percentage of reactive area and intensity were determined at the invasive front and at the tumor center. The results showed that an increased CD68 count and CD68/(CD3+CD20) ratio were directly associated with both MMP-11 and TIMP-2 expression by mononuclear inflammatory cells at the tumor center (p = 0.041 and p = 0.025 for CD68 count and p = 0.001 and p = 0.045 for ratio, respectively for MMP-11 and TIMP-2). In addition, a high CD68/(CD3+CD20) ratio (>0.05) was directly associated with a higher probability of shortened relapse-free survival. Multivariate analysis revealed that CD68/(CD3+CD20) ratio was an independent factor associated with distant relapse-free survival (RR: 2.54, CI: (1.23–5.24), p<0.01). Therefore, CD68/(CD3+CD20) ratio at the invasive front could be used as an important prognostic marker.
Inflammatory conditions may promote tumor progression and aggressiveness. In previous reports, we found a group of breast cancer tumors characterized by metalloprotease-11 (MMP-11) expression by intratumoral mononuclear inflammatory cells (MICs), which was associated with distant metastasis development. Thus, in the present study we evaluated the relationship between MMP-11 expression by MICs, distant metastasis development, and a wide panel of inflammatory factors in breast carcinoma. In an initial approach, we analyzed 65 factors associated with tumor progression and inflammation, in a tumor population classified in good or bad prognosis, based on MMP-11 expression by intratumoral MICs. The most differentially expressed factors were then analyzed in a wider tumor population classified according to MMP-11 expression by MICs and also according to metastasis development. These analyses were carried out by Real-time PCR. The results showed that of the 65 starting factors analyzed, those related with MMP-11 expression by MICs were: IL-1, −5, −6, −8, −17, −18, MMP-1, TIMP-1, ADAM-8, −10, −15, −23, ADAMTS-1, −2, −15, Annexin A2, IFNβ, Claudin-3, CCL-3, MyD88, IRAK-4 and NFκB. Of them, factors more differentially expressed between both groups of tumors were IL-1, IL-5, IL-6, IL-17, IFNβ and NFκB. Thereafter, we confirmed in the wider tumor population, that there is a higher expression of those factors in tumors infiltrated by MMP-11 positive MICs. Altogether these results indicate that tumors developing worse prognosis and identified by MMP-11 expression by intratumoral MICs, shows an up-regulation of inflammatory-related genes.
We assessed brainstem inflammation in children exposed to air pollutants by comparing brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) and blood inflammatory markers in children age 96.3± 8.5 months from highly polluted (n=34) versus a low polluted city (n=17). The brainstems of nine children with accidental deaths were also examined. Children from the highly polluted environment had significant delays in wave III (t(50)=17.038; p<0.0001) and wave V (t(50)=19.730; p<0.0001) but no delay in wave I (p=0.548). They also had significantly longer latencies than controls for interwave intervals I–III, III–V, and I–V (all t(50)> 7.501; p<0.0001), consisting with delayed central conduction time of brainstem neural transmission. Highly exposed children showed significant evidence of inflammatory markers and their auditory and vestibular nuclei accumulated α synuclein and/or β amyloid 1–42. Medial superior olive neurons, critically involved in BAEPs, displayed significant pathology. Children’s exposure to urban air pollution increases their risk for auditory and vestibular impairment.
Air pollution; alpha synuclein; auditory nuclei; brainstem inflammation; brainstem evoked auditory potentials; beta amyloid; children; neuroinflammation
Osteosarcoma is the most common primary high-grade bone tumor in both adolescents and children. Early tumor detection is key to ensuring effective treatment. Serum marker discovery and validation for pediatric osteosarcoma has accelerated in recent years, coincident with an evolving understanding of molecules and their complex interactions, and the compelling need for improved pediatric osteosarcoma outcome measures in clinical trials. This review gives a short overview of serological markers for pediatric osteosarcoma, and highlights advances in pediatric osteosarcoma-related marker research within the past year. Studies in the past year involving serum markers in patients with pediatric osteosarcoma can be assigned to one of four categories, i.e., new approaches and new markers, exploratory studies in specialized disease subsets, large cross-sectional validation studies, and longitudinal studies, with and without an intervention.
Most of the studies have examined the association of a serum marker with some aspect of the natural history of pediatric osteosarcoma. As illustrated by the many studies reviewed, several serum markers are emerging that show a credible association with disease modification. The expanding pool of informative osteosarcoma-related markers is expected to impact development of therapeutics for pediatric osteosarcoma positively and, it is hoped, ultimately clinical care. Combinations of serum markers of natural immunity, thyroid hormone homeostasis, and bone tumorigenesis may be undertaken together in patients with pediatric osteosarcoma. These serum markers in combination may do better. The potential effect of an intrinsic dynamic balance of tumor angiogenesis residing within a single hormone (tri-iodothyronine) is an attractive concept for regulation of vascularization in pediatric osteosarcoma.
pediatric osteosarcoma; serum tumor markers; natural immunity; thyroid hormone homeostasis; bone tumorigenesis
Previous works have demonstrated that protein rigidity is related to thermodynamic stability, especially under conditions that favor formation of native structure. Mechanical network rigidity properties of a single conformation are efficiently calculated using the integer body-bar Pebble Game (PG) algorithm. However, thermodynamic properties require averaging over many samples from the ensemble of accessible conformations to accurately account for fluctuations in network topology. We have developed a mean field Virtual Pebble Game (VPG) that represents the ensemble of networks by a single effective network. That is, all possible number of distance constraints (or bars) that can form between a pair of rigid bodies is replaced by the average number. The resulting effective network is viewed as having weighted edges, where the weight of an edge quantifies its capacity to absorb degrees of freedom. The VPG is interpreted as a flow problem on this effective network, which eliminates the need to sample. Across a nonredundant dataset of 272 protein structures, we apply the VPG to proteins for the first time. Our results show numerically and visually that the rigidity characterizations of the VPG accurately reflect the ensemble averaged properties. This result positions the VPG as an efficient alternative to understand the mechanical role that chemical interactions play in maintaining protein stability.
The anti-TNFα therapy has been since its approval by the FDA, along with nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), one of the most important therapies for control of spondyloarthritis (SpA). The onset of Lupus Like Syndrome (LLS) has been described in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) treated with anti-TNFα therapy but there is little literature on the occurrence of this entity in patients with SpA.
We studied 57 patients with SpA who received more than 1 year of anti-TNFα therapy (infliximab, adalimumab or etanercept). Patients were analyzed for the development of LLS, in addition to measuring ANA levels ≥ 1:160 and Anti-dsDNA (measured by IIF).
In total, 7.01% of patients treated with anti-TNFα had titers of ANA ≥ 1:160, whereas 3.5% of patients had serum levels of dsDNA. However, only one patient (1.75%; n = 1) experienced clinical symptoms of LLS; this was a female patient with a history of psoriatic arthritis.
The presence of LLS secondary to anti-TNFα therapy in patients with SpA is observed less frequently compared with patients with RA. LLS was only detected in a patient with a history of psoriasis since youth, who developed psoriatic arthritis after 27 years of age and had received anti-TNFα therapy for > 2 years. This may be because LLS is an entity clearly associated with innate immunity, with little central role of B and T cells.
Antinuclear antibodies; Lupus-like syndrome; Anti-TNFα therapy; Anti-dsDNA; Psoriasis
Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks (VANETs) are considered by car manufacturers and the research community as the enabling technology to radically improve the safety, efficiency and comfort of everyday driving. However, before VANET technology can fulfill all its expected potential, several difficulties must be addressed. One key issue arising when working with VANETs is the complexity of the networking protocols compared to those used by traditional infrastructure networks. Therefore, proper design of the routing strategy becomes a main issue for the effective deployment of VANETs. In this paper, a reliable freestanding position-based routing algorithm (FPBR) for highway scenarios is proposed. For this scenario, several important issues such as the high mobility of vehicles and the propagation conditions may affect the performance of the routing strategy. These constraints have only been partially addressed in previous proposals. In contrast, the design approach used for developing FPBR considered the constraints imposed by a highway scenario and implements mechanisms to overcome them. FPBR performance is compared to one of the leading protocols for highway scenarios. Performance metrics show that FPBR yields similar results when considering freespace propagation conditions, and outperforms the leading protocol when considering a realistic highway path loss model.
geographic routing; VANET; highway; location service
The Ala-Pro-rich O-glycoprotein known as the 45/47 kDa or APA antigen from Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an immunodominant adhesin restricted to mycobacterium genus and has been proposed as an alternative candidate to generate a new vaccine against tuberculosis or for diagnosis kits. In this work, the recombinant O-glycoprotein APA was produced by the non-pathogenic filamentous bacteria Streptomyces lividans, evaluating three different culture conditions. This strain is known for its ability to produce heterologous proteins in a shorter time compared to M. tuberculosis.
Three different shake flask geometries were used to provide different shear and oxygenation conditions; and the impact of those conditions on the morphology of S. lividans and the production of rAPA was characterized and evaluated. Small unbranched free filaments and mycelial clumps were found in baffled and coiled shake flasks, but one order of magnitude larger pellets were found in conventional shake flasks. The production of rAPA is around 3 times higher in small mycelia than in larger pellets, most probably due to difficulties in mass transfer inside pellets. Moreover, there are four putative sites of O-mannosylation in native APA, one of which is located at the carboxy-terminal region. The carbohydrate composition of this site was determined for rAPA by mass spectrometry analysis, and was found to contain different glycoforms depending on culture conditions. Up to two mannoses residues were found in cultures carried out in conventional shake flasks, and up to five mannoses residues were determined in coiled and baffled shake flasks.
The shear and/or oxygenation parameters determine the bacterial morphology, the productivity, and the O-mannosylation of rAPA in S. lividans. As demonstrated here, culture conditions have to be carefully controlled in order to obtain recombinant O-glycosylated proteins with similar "quality" in bacteria, particularly, if the protein activity depends on the glycosylation pattern. Furthermore, it will be an interesting exercise to determine the effect of shear and oxygen in shake flasks, to obtain evidences that may be useful in scaling-up these processes to bioreactors. Another approach will be using lab-scale bioreactors under well-controlled conditions, and study the impact of those on rAPA productivity and quality.
Shake flasks; shear; oxygenation; APA 45/47 kDa; O-mannosylation; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Streptomyces lividans
Electrocution by power lines is one of the main causes of non-natural mortality in birds of prey. In an area in central Spain, we surveyed 6304 pylons from 333 power lines to determine electrocution rates, environmental and design factors that may influence electrocution and the efficacy of mitigation measures used to minimise electrocution cases. A total of 952 electrocuted raptors, representing 14 different species, were observed. Electrocuted raptors were concentrated in certain areas and the environmental factors associated with increased electrocution events were: greater numbers of prey animals; greater vegetation cover; and shorter distance to roads. The structural elements associated with electrocutions were shorter strings of insulators, one or more phases over the crossarm, cross-shaped design and pylon function. Of the 952 carcasses found, 148 were eagles, including golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) and Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata). Electrocuted eagles were clustered in smaller areas than other electrocuted raptors. The factors associated with increased eagle electrocution events were: pylons function, shorter strings of insulators, higher slopes surrounding the pylon, and more numerous potential prey animals. Pylons with increased string of insulators had lower raptor electrocution rates than unimproved pylons, although this technique was unsuccessful for eagles. Pylons with cable insulation showed higher electrocution rates than unimproved pylons, both for raptors and eagles, despite this is the most widely used and recommended mitigation measure in several countries. To optimize the application of mitigation measures, our results recommend the substitution of pin-type insulators to suspended ones and elongating the strings of insulators.
To determine the features predictive of time-to-integument damage in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) from a multiethnic cohort (LUMINA).
SLE LUMINA patients (n=580), age ≥16 years, disease duration ≤5 years at baseline (T0), of African American, Hispanic and Caucasian ethnicity were studied. Integument damage was defined per the SLICC damage index (scarring alopecia, extensive skin scarring and skin ulcers lasting at least six months); factors associated with time-to-its occurrence were examined by Cox proportional univariable and multivariable (main model) hazards regression analyses. Two alternative models were also examined; in model 1 all patients, regardless of when integument damage occurred (n=94), were included; in model 2 a time-varying approach (GEE) was employed.
Thirty-nine (6.7%) of 580 patients developed integument damage over a mean (SD) total disease duration of 5.9 (3.7) years and were included in the main multivariable regression model. After adjusting for discoid rash, nailfold infarcts, photosensitivity and Raynaud’s phenomenon (significant in the univariable analyses), disease activity over time [Hazard ratio (HR)=1.17; 95% Confidence interval (CI) 1.09–1.26)] was associated with a shorter time-to-integument damage whereas hydroxychloroquine use (HR=0.23, 95% CI 0.12–0.47) and Texan-Hispanic (HR=0.35; 95% CI 0.14–0.87) and Caucasian ethnicities (HR=0.37; 95% CI 0.14–0.99) were associated with a longer time. Results of the alternative models were consistent with those of the main model albeit in model 2 the association with hydroxychloroquine was not significant.
Our data indicate that hydroxychloroquine use is possibly associated with a delay in integument damage development in patients with SLE.
Integument; skin; lupus; LUMINA Hispanics; African Americans; damage; hydroxychloroquine
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have garnered an extraordinary amount of interest in cancer research due to their role in tumor progression. By activating the production of several biological factors, TLRs induce type I interferons and other cytokines, which drive an inflammatory response and activate the adaptive immune system. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression and clinical relevance of TLR3, 4 and 9 in breast cancer.
The expression levels of TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9 were analyzed on tumors from 74 patients with breast cancer. The analysis was performed by immunohistochemistry.
Samples of carcinomas with recurrence exhibited a significant increase in the mRNA levels of TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9. Tumors showed high expression of TLRs expression levels by cancer cells, especially TLR4 and 9. Nevertheless, a significant percentage of tumors also showed TLR4 expression by mononuclear inflammatory cells (21.6%) and TLR9 expression by fibroblast-like cells (57.5%). Tumors with high TLR3 expression by tumor cell or with high TLR4 expression by mononuclear inflammatory cells were significantly associated with higher probability of metastasis. However, tumours with high TLR9 expression by fibroblast-like cells were associated with low probability of metastasis.
The expression levels of TLR3, TLR4 and TLR9 have clinical interest as indicators of tumor aggressiveness in breast cancer. TLRs may represent therapeutic targets in breast cancer.
Objective. To determine the features predictive of atherosclerotic cardiovascular damage in patients with SLE.
Methods. SLE LUMINA (LUpus in MInorities: NAture vs nurture) patients (n = 637), aged ⩾16 years, disease duration ⩽5 years at baseline (T0), of African–American, Hispanic and Caucasian ethnicity were studied. Atherosclerotic cardiovascular damage was defined by the following items of the SLICC Damage Index (SDI) cardiovascular domain: angina or coronary artery by pass surgery, myocardial infarction and/or congestive heart failure; factors associated with its occurrence were examined by univariable and multivariable regression analyses.
Results. Forty-three (6.8%) of 637 patients developed cardiovascular damage over a mean ± s.d. total disease duration of 6.6 ± 3.6 years. Nearly 90% of the patients were women with a mean ± s.d. age of 36.5 (12.6) years; all ethnic groups were represented. By multivariable analyses, after adjusting for the cardiovascular manifestations present, age [odds ratio (OR) = 1.06; 95% CI 1.03, 1.09], male gender (OR = 3.57; 95% CI 1.35, 9.09) SDI at baseline (OR = 1.28; 95% CI 1.09, 1.50) and CRP levels [highest tertile (OR = 2.63; 95% CI 1.17, 5.91)] were associated with the occurrence of cardiovascular damage, whereas the number of years of education was negatively associated with such outcome (OR = 0.85; 95% CI 0.74, 0.94).
Conclusions. Our data suggest that atherosclerotic cardiovascular damage in SLE is multifactorial; traditional (age, gender) and disease-related factors (CRP levels, SDI at baseline) appear to be important contributors to such an occurrence. Tight control of the inflammatory process must be achieved to prevent it.
Lupus; Cardiovascular; Atherosclerosis; Damage; Ethnicity; C-reactive protein
A previously described Taenia saginata HDP2 DNA sequence, a 4-kb polymorphic fragment, was previously used as the basis for developing PCR diagnostic protocols for the species-specific discrimination of T. saginata from T. solium and for the differentiation of T. saginata from T. asiatica. The latter was shown subsequently to lack the required specificity, so we undertook genetic studies of the HDP2 sequence from T. saginata and T. asiatica to determine why, and to develop a novel HDP2-PCR protocol for the simultaneous unambiguous identification of human taeniids. Sequencing and further analysis of the HDP2 DNA fragments of 19 Asiatic isolates of T. saginata and T. asiatica indicated that the HDP2 sequences of both species exhibited clear genomic variability, due to polymorphic variable fragments, that could correspond to the non-transcribed region of ribosomal DNA. This newly observed polymorphism allowed us to develop a novel, reproducible and reliable HDP2-PCR protocol which permitted the simultaneous discrimination of all T. saginata and T. asiatica isolates examined. This species-specific identification was based on, and facilitated by, the clear size difference in amplicon profiles generated: fragments of 1300 bp, 600 bp and 300 bp were produced for T. asiatica, amplicons of 1300 bp and 300 bp being obtained for T. saginata. Control T. solium samples produced one amplicon of 600 bp with the HDP2-PCR protocol. The assay has the potential to prove useful as a diagnostic tool in areas such as South East Asia where T. saginata, T. asiatica and T. solium coexist.
A C-to-A nucleotide transversion (T1405N) in the gene that encodes carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) has been associated with changes in plasma concentrations of L-arginine in term and near term infants but not in adults. In preterm infants homozygosity for the CPS1 Thr1405 variant (CC genotype) was associated with an increased risk of having necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Plasma L-arginine concentrations are decreased in preterm infants with NEC.
To examine the putative association between the CPS1 T1405N polymorphism and plasma arginine concentrations in preterm infants.
Prospective multicenter cohort study. Plasma and DNA samples were collected from 128 preterm infants (<30 weeks) between 6 and 12 hours after birth. Plasma amino acid and CPS1 T1405N polymorphism analysis were performed.
Distribution of genotypes did not differ between the preterm (CC∶CA∶AA = 55.5%∶33.6%∶10.9%, n = 128) and term infants (CC∶CA∶AA = 54.2%∶35.4%∶10.4%, n = 96). There was no association between the CPS1 genotype and plasma L-arginine or L-citrulline concentration, or the ornithine to citrulline ratio, which varies inversely with CPS1 activity. Also the levels of asymmetric dimethylarginine, and symmetric dimethylarginine were not significantly different among the three genotypes.
The present study in preterm infants did not confirm the earlier reported association between CPS1 genotype and L-arginine levels in term infants.
Ritonavir-boosted saquinavir (SQVr) is nowadays regarded as an alternative antiretroviral drug probably due to several drawbacks, such as its high pill burden, twice daily dosing and the requirement of 200 mg ritonavir when given at the current standard 1000/100 mg bid dosing. Several once-daily SQVr dosing schemes have been studied with the 200 mg SQV old formulations, trying to overcome some of these disadvantages. SQV 500 mg strength tablets became available at the end of 2005, thus facilitating a once-daily regimen with fewer pills, although there is very limited experience with this formulation yet.
Prospective, multicentre study in which efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of a regimen of once-daily SQVr 1500/100 mg plus 2 NRTIs were evaluated under routine clinical care conditions in either antiretroviral-naïve patients or in those with no previous history of antiretroviral treatments and/or genotypic resistance tests suggesting SQV resistance. Plasma SQV trough levels were measured by HPLV-UV.
Five hundred and fourteen caucasian patients were included (47.2% coinfected with hepatitis C and/or B virus; 7.8% with cirrhosis). Efficacy at 52 weeks (plasma RNA-HIV <50 copies/ml) was 67.7% (CI95: 63.6 - 71.7%) by intention-to-treat, and 92.2% (CI95: 89.8 - 94.6%) by on-treatment analysis. The reasons for failure were: dropout or loss to follow-up (18.4%), virological failure (7.8%), adverse events (3.1%), and other reasons (4.6%). The high rate of dropout may be explained by an enrollement and follow-up under routine clinical care condition, and a population with a significant number of drug users. The median SQV Cmin (n = 49) was 295 ng/ml (range, 53-2172). The only variable associated with virological failure in the multivariate analysis was adherence (OR: 3.36; CI95, 1.51-7.46, p = 0.003).
Our results suggests that SQVr (1500/100 mg) once-daily plus 2 NRTIs is an effective regimen, without severe clinical adverse events or hepatotoxicity, scarce lipid changes, and no interactions with methadone. All these factors and its once-daily administration suggest this regimen as an appropriate option in patients with no SQV resistance-associated mutations.
To investigate the relationship between the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of breast cancer and its clinicopathological and biological factors.
Dynamic MRI parameters of 68 invasive breast carcinomas were investigated. We also analyzed microvessel density (MVD), estrogen and progesterone receptor status, and expression of p53, HER2, ki67, VEGFR-1 and 2.
Homogeneous enhancement was significantly associated with smaller tumor size (T1: < 2 cm) (p = 0.015). Tumors with irregular or spiculated margins had a significantly higher MVD than tumors with smooth margins (p = 0.038). Tumors showing a maximum enhancement peak at two minutes, or longer, after injecting the contrast, had a significantly higher MVD count than those which reached this point sooner (p = 0.012). The percentage of tumors with vascular invasion or high mitotic index was significantly higher among those showing a low percentage (≤ 150%) of maximum enhancement before two minutes than among those ones showing a high percentage (>150%) of enhancement rate (p = 0.016 and p = 0.03, respectively). However, there was a significant and positive association between the mitotic index and the peak of maximum intensity (p = 0.036). Peritumor inflammation was significantly associated with washout curve type III (p = 0.042).
Variations in the early phase of dynamic MRI seem to be associated with parameters indicatives of tumor aggressiveness in breast cancer.