AIM: To investigate the effects of Lizhong Tang, an herbal product used in traditional Chinese medicine, on mouse small intestine interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs).
METHODS: Enzymatic digestions were used to dissociate ICCs from mouse small intestine tissues. The ICCs were morphologically distinct from other cell types in culture and were identified using phase contrast microscopy after verification with anti c-kit antibody. A whole-cell patch-clamp configuration was used to record potentials (current clamp) from cultured ICCs. All of the experiments were performed at 30-32 °C.
RESULTS: ICCs generated pacemaker potentials, and Lizhong Tang produced membrane depolarization in current-clamp mode. The application of flufenamic acid (a nonselective cation channel blocker) abolished the generation of pacemaker potentials by Lizhong Tang. Pretreatment with thapsigargin (a Ca2+-ATPase inhibitor in the endoplasmic reticulum) also abolished the generation of pacemaker potentials by Lizhong Tang. However, pacemaker potentials were completely abolished in the presence of an external Ca2+-free solution, and under this condition, Lizhong Tang induced membrane depolarizations. Furthermore, When GDP-β-S (1 mmol/L) was in the pipette solution, Lizhong Tang still induced membrane depolarizations. In addition, membrane depolarizations were not inhibited by chelerythrine or calphostin C, which are protein kinase C inhibitors, but were inhibited by U-73122, an active phospholipase C inhibitors.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that Lizhong Tang might affect gastrointestinal motility by modulating pacemaker activity in interstitial cells of Cajal.
Interstitial cells of Cajal; Lizhong Tang; Motility; Gastrointestinal tract; Whole-cell patch clamp configuration
The aim of this study was to evaluate screening methods in the lower extremities by measurement of the digital pulse oximetry (oxygen percent saturation [SpO2]) of toes for peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
A prospective study was performed among 49 patients (98 limbs) with lower extremity arterial occlusive disease. We attempted to measure the ankle-brachial index (ABI), digital pulse oximetry (SpO2), and computerized tomographic angiography (CTA). Patients were divided into three groups by the traditional Fontaine classification system by symptom and CTA criteria: 1) Critical limb ischemia (Fontaine III and IV), 2) Claudication; (Fontaine II), and 3) asymptomatic limbs (Fontaine I).
The sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values between active treatment groups (group I and II; endovascular and open surgery) and conservative group (group III) are all statistically significant. ABI; 55.09%, 94%, 96.7%, 39.02% (R = 12.54, P < 0.000) SpO2; 87.06%, 87.8%, 84.3%, 90% (R = 40.11, P < 0.000). Pre-SpO2 and pre-ABI all show statistically significant correlation in group I vs. group II, symptomatic PAD (group I and II) vs. asymptomatic PAD (group III), and the total PAD comparison. The Pearson's correlation coefficient between SpO2 and ABI all show significant correlation in group II. Pre-SpO2 vs. Pre-ABI show strong positive correlation except asymptomatic group (group III).
Digital pulse oximetry can be a useful, simple, noninvasive screening device as well as ABI in PAD.
Peripheral arterial disease; Digital; Pulse oximetry; Ankle-brachial index
Prostaglandin (PG) E2 is an immunomodulatory lipid mediator generated mainly via the cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) pathway from arachidonic acid at sites of infection and inflammation. A positive feedback loop of PGE2 on COX-2 expression is critical for homeostasis during toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated inflammatory processes. The mechanism of PGE2-regulated COX-2 expression remains poorly understood. The low-molecular-weight stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) contributes to the anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic response against environmental stress.
We explored the involvement of HO-1 on PGE2 regulation of LPS-induced COX-2 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages.
LPS-induced COX-2 expression in RAW 264.7 macrophages was enhanced by exogenous PGE2 or cyclic AMP (cAMP) analogue and was suppressed by a COX inhibitor (indomethacin), a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor (KT5720), and A kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) disruptors (Ht31 and RIAD). This result suggests that the stimulatory effects of endogenous and exogenous PGE2 on COX-2 expression are mediated by a cAMP-PKA-AKAP-dependent pathway. The induction of HO-1 was observed in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages. This induction was suppressed by exogenous PGE2 and enhanced by blockage of the endogenous PGE2 effect by the PKA inhibitor or AKAP disruptors. In addition, HO-1 induction by the HO activator copper protoporphyrin suppressed LPS-induced COX-2 expression, which was restored by the addition of exogenous PGE2. The induction of HO-1 inhibited LPS-induced NF-κB p-65 nuclear expression and translocation.
AKAP plays an important role in PGE2 regulation of COX-2 expression, and the suppression of HO-1 by PGE2-cAMP-PKA-AKAP signaling helps potentiate the LPS-induced COX-2 expression through a positive feedback loop in RAW 264.7 macrophages.
Cyclooxygenase-2; heme oxygenase-1; lipopolysaccharide; prostaglandin E2; macrophages
Elevated blood pressure (BP) is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease. Salt intake has a strong influence on BP, and plasma sodium (pNa) is increased with progressive increases in salt intake. However, the associations with pNa and BP had been reported inconsistently. We evaluated the association between pNa and BP, and estimated the risks of all-cause-mortality according to pNa levels. On the basis of data collected from health checkups during 1995-2009, 97,009 adult subjects were included. Positive correlations between pNa and systolic BP, diastolic BP, and pulse pressure (PP) were noted in participants with pNa ≥138 mM/L (P<0.001). In participants aged ≥50 yr, SBP, DBP, and PP were positively associated with pNa. In participants with metabolic syndrome components, the differences in SBP and DBP according to pNa were greater (P<0.001). A cumulative incidence of mortality was increased with increasing pNa in women aged ≥50 yr during the median 4.2-yr-follow-up (P<0.001). In women, unadjusted risks for mortality were increased according to sodium levels. After adjustment, pNa ≥145 mM/L was related to mortality. The positive correlation between pNa and BP is stronger in older subjects, women, and subjects with metabolic syndrome components. The incidence and adjusted risks of mortality increase with increasing pNa in women aged ≥50 yr.
Age; Blood Pressure; Mortality; Plasma Sodium; Sex Characteristics
Recurrence after hepatic resection is one of the most important factors impacting the prognosis and survival of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We identified prognostic factors affecting overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) in patients with HCC after hepatic resection.
This study was of a retrospective cohort design, and 126 patients who underwent hepatic resection for HCC at Gachon University Gil Medical Center between January 2005 and December 2010 were enrolled. Various clinical, laboratory, and pathological data were evaluated to determine the prognostic factors affecting OS and DFS.
Two- and 4-year OS and 2- and 4-year DFS were 78.1% and 65% and 51.1% and 26.6%, respectively. In a multivariate analysis, preoperative α-fetoprotein (> 400 ng/mL), tumor size (≥ 5 cm), multiple tumors (two or more nodules), presence of portal vein invasion, modified Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) stage III/IV, and Barcelona Clinic Liver Cancer (BCLC) stage B/C were independent prognostic factors affecting a shorter OS. In the multivariate analysis, presence of microvascular invasion, modified UICC stage III/IV, and BCLC stage B/C were independent prognostic factors for a shorter DFS.
The presence of vascular invasion was an independent poor prognostic factor for OS and DFS in patients with HCC after hepatic resection. Thus, close postoperative surveillance for early detection of recurrence and additional treatments are urgently needed in patients with vascular invasion after hepatic resection.
Carcinoma, hepatocellular; Hepatic resection; Prognosis; Vascular invasion
Warfarin-related nephropathy (WRN) is a recently described disease entity, in which excessive warfarinization (international normalized ratio (INR) >3.0) causes acute kidney injury. Previous reports regarding WRN included few Asian patients who might have differed from the western WRN patients in terms of genetic and environmental factors.
During the period of March 2003 to December 2011, the data about a total of 1297 patients who had serum creatinine (sCr) level measured within 1 week after INR >3.0 and within 6 months before INR >3.0 was analyzed through the retrospective review of electronic medical records of a single tertiary hospital in Korea.
WRN developed in 19.3% of patients having excessive warfarinization. The incidence was higher in the chronic kidney disease (CKD) group than the non-CKD group. The risk of WRN increased as the basal serum albumin level decreased and was strongly associated with highest quartile serum AST level at post INR elevation and the presence of congestive heart failure. But the presence of atrial fibrillation was protective against the development of WRN. Neither the presence of CKD nor basal estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was an independent risk factor for WRN. Despite no difference in the basal sCr level, the sCr level was higher in patients with WRN than those without WRN after follow-up. The mortality rates were also higher in patients with WRN.
WRN developed in 19.3% of patients having excessive warfarinization. A lower basal serum albumin, highest quartile serum AST level at post INR elevation, and congestive heart failure were associated with the occurrence of WRN. The development of WRN adversely affected renal and patient outcomes.
Severe hyperkalemia, with potassium (K+) levels ≥ 6.5 mEq/L, is a potentially life-threatening electrolyte imbalance. For prompt and effective treatment, it is important to know its risk factors, clinical manifestations, and predictors of mortality.
An observational cohort study was performed at 2 medical centers. A total of 923 consecutive Korean patients were analyzed. All were 19 years of age or older and were hospitalized with severe hyperkalemia between August 2007 and July 2010; the diagnosis of severe hyperkalemia was made either at the time of admission to the hospital or during the period of hospitalization. Demographic and baseline clinical characteristics at the time of hyperkalemia diagnosis were assessed, and clinical outcomes such as in-hospital mortality were reviewed, using the institutions' electronic medical record systems.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) was the most common underlying medical condition, and the most common precipitating factor of hyperkalemia was metabolic acidosis. Emergent admission was indicated in 68.6% of patients, 36.7% had electrocardiogram findings typical of hyperkalemia, 24.5% had multi-organ failure (MOF) at the time of hyperkalemia diagnosis, and 20.3% were diagnosed with severe hyperkalemia at the time of cardiac arrest. The in-hospital mortality rate was 30.7%; the rate was strongly correlated with the difference between serum K+ levels at admission and at their highest point, and with severe medical conditions such as malignancy, infection, and bleeding. Furthermore, a higher in-hospital mortality rate was significantly associated with the presence of cardiac arrest and/or MOF at the time of diagnosis, emergent admission, and intensive care unit treatment during hospitalization. More importantly, acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients with normal baseline renal function was a strong predictor of mortality, compared with AKI superimposed on CKD.
Severe hyperkalemia occurs in various medical conditions; the precipitating factors are similarly diverse. The mortality rate is especially high in patients with severe underlying disease, coexisting medical conditions, and those with normal baseline renal function.
Dendritic cells (DCs) are increasingly used as adjuvants for vaccination strategies; however, there has been very little development in DC vaccines for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In this study, we assessed the safety, feasibility and efficacy of a multiple tumor-associated antigen (TAA)-pulsed DC vaccine in 5 patients with advanced HCC. DCs were generated by culturing blood monocytes in the presence of granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor and interleukin-4 for 5 days. The DC vaccine was prepared by pulsing DCs with cytoplasmic transduction peptide-attached α-fetoprotein, glypican-3 and MAGE-1 recombinant fusion proteins and cultivating them in the presence of maturation cocktail. DCs were injected subcutaneously near the inguinal lymph nodes, followed by topical application of toll-like receptor-7 agonist around the injection site. We showed that our DC vaccine was safe and well-tolerated over 6 vaccinations in 5 patients. All 5 patients showed T cell responses against TAAs. Clinical benefit was observed in one of the 5 patients. In conclusion, the feasibility, safety and immune activity of DCs pulsed with TAAs were confirmed in HCC patients. However, clinical response was detected only in one patient. Future trials may consider applying this therapy in a less advanced stage to obtain better clinical responses.
dendritic cells; hepatocellular carcinoma; clinical trial
Renal failure is one of the most serious complications associated with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). To date, early markers have failed to predict renal function deterioration at the early stages. This 1-year prospective study evaluated N-acetyl-β-D-glucosaminidase (NAG) as a new surrogate marker for renal function in ADPKD.
A total of 270 patients were enrolled in the study, and we measured urinary NAG, β2-microglobulin, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) prospectively for 1 year to compare their predictive values for renal function.
Baseline urinary NAG/Cr was negatively correlated with estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR) (r2 = 0.153, P < 0.001) and positively correlated with total kidney volume (TKV) (r2 = 0.113, P < 0.001). Among other biomarkers, urinary NAG/Cr better discriminated patients with decreased renal function from those with conserved renal function, showing the largest area under the curve (AUC 0.794). Immunohistochemical study revealed strong staining along the cyst-lining epithelial cells as well as the nearby compressed tubular epithelial cells. However, both single and repeated measurements of urinary NAG/Cr failed to predict renal function decline in 1 year.
Urinary NAG/Cr may be a useful surrogate marker for renal function in ADPKD patients.
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease; Biomarkers; Renal function
Iron is an essential nutrient for virtually all organisms and acts as a cofactor for many key enzymes of major metabolic pathways. Furthermore, iron plays a critical role in pathogen-host interactions. In this study, we analyzed metabolomic changes associated with iron availability and the iron regulatory protein Cir1 in a human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus neoformans. Our metabolite analysis revealed that Cir1 influences the glycolytic pathway, ergosterol biosynthesis and inositol metabolism, which require numerous iron-dependent enzymes and play important roles in pathogenesis and antifungal sensitivity of the fungus. Moreover, we demonstrated that increased cellular iron content and altered gene expression in the cir1 mutant contributed to metabolite changes. Our study provides a new insight into iron regulation and the role of Cir1 in metabolome of C. neoformans.
Donor-specific tolerance; Antigen-presenting cells; Intercellular adhesion molecule 1
We report a patient of left atrial huge myxoma presenting with severe pulmonary hypertension in adolescents. A patient was a 14-year-old boy presented with sudden onset dyspnea. Transthoracic echocardiographic study revealed the presence of a nodular, 4.34 × 8.11 cm sized, mobile, hyperechoic mass in the left atrium and severe pulmonary hypertension with tricuspid insufficiency. After surgical therapy, tricuspid regurgitation and pulmonary hypertension was decreased and the patient was stabilized and had an uneventful clinical course.
Cardiac tumour; Pulmonary hypertension; Left atrial myxoma
Acanthosis nigricans is a symmetric eruption characterized by the presence of a hyperpigmented, velvety cutaneous thickening, that can develop on any part of the body, but characteristically affects the flexural areas of the body. The velvety hyperkeratotic lesions can be located on the dorsum of the hands and feet in dark-skinned people in the form of a variant of acanthosis nigricans called as acral acanthotic anomaly or acral type acanthosis nigricans. Although acanthosis nigricans is associated with malignant tumors, particularly gastric carcinoma, acral type acanthosis nigricans has never been reported to be associated with gastric adenocarcinoma. In our present study, we describe a case of 58-year-old man with acral type acanthosis nigricans and its association with carcinoma of the stomach; a marked improvement was seen in the skin condition of the patient with chemotherapy.
Acanthosis nigricans; Acral type; Gastric adenocarcinoma
Human health relies on the composition of microbiota in an individual’s gut and the synthesized metabolites that may alter the gut environment. Gut microbiota and faecal metabolites are involved in several gastrointestinal diseases. In this study, 16S rRNA-specific denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and quantitative PCR analysis showed that the mean similarity of total bacteria was significantly different (P<0.001) in faecal samples from patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS; n = 11) and from non-IBS (nIBS) patients (n = 8). IBS subjects had a significantly higher diversity of total bacteria, as measured by the Shannon index (H′) (3.360.05). GC/MS-based multivariate analysis delineated the faecal metabolites of IBS from nIBS samples. Elevated levels of amino acids (alanine and pyroglutamic acid) and phenolic compounds (hydroxyphenyl acetate and hydroxyphenyl propionate) were found in IBS. These results were highly correlated with the abundance of lactobacilli and Clostridium, which indicates an altered metabolism rate associated with these gut micro-organisms. A higher diversity of Bacteroidetes and Lactobacillus groups in IBS faecal samples also correlated with the respective total quantity. In addition, these changes altered protein and carbohydrate energy metabolism in the gut.
The metabolically versatile Rhodococcus sp. strain DK17 utilizes indan as a growth substrate via the o-xylene pathway. Metabolite and reverse transcription-PCR analyses indicate that o-xylene dioxygenase hydroxylates indan at the 4,5 position of the aromatic moiety to form cis-indan-4,5-dihydrodiol, which is dehydrogenated to 4,5-indandiol by a dehydrogenase. 4,5-Indandiol undergoes ring cleavage by a meta-cleavage dioxygenase.
Mcm10 is a highly conserved nuclear protein that plays a key role in the initiation and elongation processes of DNA replication by providing a physical link between the Mcm2–7 complex and DNA polymerases. In this study, the central domain of human Mcm10 was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method in the presence of PEG 3350.
The initiation of eukaryotic DNA replication requires the tightly controlled assembly of a set of replication factors. Mcm10 is a highly conserved nuclear protein that plays a key role in the initiation and elongation processes of DNA replication by providing a physical link between the Mcm2–7 complex and DNA polymerases. The central domain, which contains the CCCH zinc-binding motif, is most conserved within Mcm10 and binds to DNA and several proteins, including proliferative cell nuclear antigen. In this study, the central domain of human Mcm10 was crystallized using the hanging-drop vapour-diffusion method in the presence of PEG 3350. An X-ray diffraction data set was collected to a resolution of 2.6 Å on a synchrotron beamline. The crystals formed belonged to space group R3, with unit-cell parameters a = b = 99.5, c = 133.0 Å. According to Matthews coefficient calculations, the crystals were predicted to contain six MCM10 central domain molecules in the asymmetric unit.
Mcm10; zinc-binding domain; DNA replication
Intrabdominal actinomycosis is difficult to diagnose preoperatively. This chronic infection has a propensity to mimic many other diseases and may present with a wide variety of symptoms. The aim of this study was to evaluate the characteristic clinical features with review of the literature.
Materials and Methods
We retrospectively analyzed 22 patients with intrabdominal actinomycosis between January 2000 and January 2006.
There were two men and 20 women with a mean age of 42.8 years (range, 24 - 69). Twelve patients presented with masses or abdominal pain, whereas 3 patients presented with acute appendicitis. The rate of performing an emergency surgery was 50% due to symptoms of peritonitis. The mean size of tumor was 5.5 cm (range, 2.5 - 11.0). Sixty percent (n = 12) of female patients had intrauterine device (IUD). The average time to definite diagnosis was 10.6 days.
Intrabdominal abdominal actinomycosis must first be suspected in any women with a history of current or recent IUD use who presents abdominal pain. If recognized preoperatively, a limited surgical procedure, may spare the patient from an extensive operation.
Actinomycosis; surgery; intrauterine device
A 37-year-old woman was admitted to Dong-A University Hospital for rapidly progressive congestive heart failure. Transthoracic echocardiography demonstrated a large mass with a stalk that appeared to be a myxoma on the posterior wall of the left atrium. However, the histological diagnosis was undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma. We report a case of primary undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma of the left atrium with acute pulmonary edema caused by mitral inflow obstruction.
Undifferentiated pleomorphic sarcoma; echocardiography; acute pulmonary edema