Background and purpose
Systemic upregulation of inflammatory cytokines is characteristic of critical severe hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) with pulmonary edema. Thus, immunomodulatory medicines such as steroids, including methylprednisolone, have been proposed to treat patients with severe HFMD in China, because it is postulated that inflammatory cytokines play a role in the development of severe complications. This study is to further investigate the inflammatory response in the relatively mild HFMD patients, and whether steroid treatment has a beneficial effect on the suppression of inflammation in HFMD patients.
We measured the levels of 50 kinds of chemokines, cytokines, growth factors and soluble receptors in serum samples from control patients without HFMD and the HFMD patients with or without prior treatment of intravenous methylprednisolone.
Our present study found that even relatively mild HFMD patients without central nervous system (CNS) complications had elevated serum levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-3, IL-6, IL-12p40, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, which suggested systemic inflammation. In contrast, these patients also have decreased levels of other serum biomarkers, including IL-1Ra, IL-8, IL-16, soluble ICAM-1, CXCL-1, and CCL27. The dysregulation of cytokine and chemokine expression may be involved in CNS complications and unbalanced circulating leukocytes in HFMD patients. Surprisingly, patients treated with methylprednisolone had no difference in the expression levels of HFMD-associated biomarkers instead had slightly increased levels of IL-17A, which was not associated with the occurrence of HFMD.
Whether steroid treatment has any beneficial effect on the prognosis of HFMD patients requires to be further investigated.
Systemic inflammation is characteristic of severe hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). Steroids are considered immunomodulators and have been officially recommended to treat the severe HFMD patients with CNS complications in China. So far, it is uncertain whether steroid treatment has an immunomodulatory role in inflammation in HFMD patients and has a real beneficial effect on their prognosis. This study revealed that even relatively mild HFMD patients without CNS complications had elevated inflammation. Unexpectedly, the inflammatory cytokine levels in patients treated with methylprednisolone, one kind of steroid, were not significantly different from those in patients without the treatment. Rather, the treated patients tended to have elevated levels of IL-17A, whose expression levels were actually not significantly associated with the presence of HFMD. IL-17A is known to play a role in the pathogenesis of CNS-related inflammatory diseases. Altogether, our study does not support the presumption that steroids have beneficial effect on the prognosis of HFMD patients by inhibiting systemic inflammation.
Background and Objectives
To determine the incidence rates and mortality of liver abscess in ESRD patients on dialysis.
Design, Setting, Participants, & Measurements
Using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database, we collected data from all ESRD patients who initiated dialysis between 2000 and 2006. Patients were followed until death, end of dialysis, or December 31, 2008. Predictors of liver abscess and mortality were identified using Cox models.
Of the 53,249 incident dialysis patients identified, 447 were diagnosed as having liver abscesses during the follow-up period (224/100,000 person-years). The cumulative incidence rate of liver abscess was 0.3%, 1.1%, and 1.5% at 1 year, 5 years, and 7 years, respectively. Elderly patients and patients on peritoneal dialysis had higher incidence rates. The baseline comorbidities of diabetes mellitus, polycystic kidney disease, malignancy, chronic liver disease, biliary tract disease, or alcoholism predicted development of liver abscess. Overall in-hospital mortality was 10.1%.
The incidence of liver abscess is high among ESRD dialysis patients. In addition to the well known risk factors of liver abscess, two other important risk factors, peritoneal dialysis and polycystic kidney disease, were found to predict liver abscess in ESRD dialysis patients.
Previous studies have shown that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has the potential to cause cognitive dysfunction. However, the underlying pathogenesis has yet to be fully elucidated. Increasing attention is being focused on infection in the central nervous system. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the behavioral performance of rats receiving intraperitoneal injections of LPS and to determine the expression levels of amyloid-β (Aβ), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and pro-inflammatory cytokines in the hippocampus. In total, 30 male Wistar rats were randomly divided into 3 groups (each n=10): Control and 3 and 7 day LPS administration groups. The rats were intraperitoneally injected with saline or LPS for 3 or 7 days. Following this, rats performed the Morris water maze test, in which the latency to the platform and proportion of time spent in the target quadrant were recorded. Rats were then sacrificed and the hippocampi were harvested for determination of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), Aβ and BDNF expression levels. LPS administration for 3 and 7 days significantly increased the latency to the platform and decreased the proportion of time spent in the target quadrant compared with those in the control group, (P<0.05). Administration of LPS for 3 and 7 days induced statistically significant increases in the expression levels of IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF-α in the hippocampus, compared with those in the control group (P<0.05). Additionally, the administration of LPS for 7 days induced a statistically significant increase in the expression level of Aβ in the hippocampus, compared with that in the control group (P<0.05). However, the administration of LPS did not elicit a statistically significant change in the expression level of BDNF in the hippocampus, compared with that in the control group (P>0.05). The results indicate that LPS induces cognitive dysfunction, which is associated with increased expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and Aβ, but does not affect the expression of BDNF in the hippocampus.
lipopolysaccharide; cognitive dysfunction; pro-inflammatory cytokines; amyloid-β; brain-derived neurotrophic factor
Patients with repaired tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) account for the majority of cases with late onset right ventricle (RV) failure. The current surgical approach, which includes pulmonary valve replacement/insertion (PVR), has yielded mixed results. A new surgical option placing an elastic band in the right ventricle is proposed to improve RV cardiac function measured by ejection fraction (EF).
A total of 20 computational RV/LV/Patch/Band combination models based on cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging from a TOF patient were constructed to investigate the impact of band material stiffness variations, band length and active contraction. These models included 4 different band material properties, 3 band length, three active contracting band materials, and models with patch and scar replaced by contracting tissues.
Our results indicate that the band insertion, combined with active band contraction and tissue regeneration techniques that restore RV myocardium, has the potential to improve right ventricle ejection fraction by 7.5% (41.63% EF from the best active band model over 34.10% EF from baseline passive band model) and 4.2% (41.63% from the best active band model over CMR-measured EF 37.45%).
The CMR-based RV/LV/Patch/Band model provides a “proof of concept” for using elastic bands to improve RV cardiac function. The band insertion combined with myocardium regeneration techniques and RV remodeling surgical procedures has the potential to improve ventricular function in patients with repaired TOF and other similar forms of RV dysfunction after surgery. Further investigations using in vitro experiments, animal models and final patient studies are warranted.
Right ventricle; congenital heart disease; heart model; Dacron scaffold patch; fluid-structural interaction
Studies of transcriptome profiles have provided new insights into mechanisms underlying the development of hypertension. Cell type heterogeneity in tissue samples, however, has been a significant hindrance in these studies. We performed a transcriptome analysis in medullary thick ascending limbs of the loop of Henle isolated from Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Genes differentially expressed between Dahl salt-sensitive rats and salt-insensitive consomic SS.13BN rats on either 0.4% or 7 days of 8% NaCl diet (n=4) were highly enriched for genes located on chromosome 13, the chromosome substituted in the SS.13BN rat. A pathway involving cell proliferation and cell cycle regulation was identified as one of the most highly ranked pathways based on differentially expressed genes and by a Bayesian model analysis. Immunofluorescent analysis indicated that just one week of a high salt diet resulted in a several fold increase in proliferative medullary thick ascending limb cells in both rat strains and that Dahl salt-sensitive rats exhibited significantly greater proportion of medullary thick ascending limb cells in a proliferative state than in SS.13BN rats (15.0% ± 1.4% vs. 10.1% ± 0.6%, n=7–9, P<0.05). The total number of cells per medullary thick ascending limb section analyzed was not different between the two strains. The study revealed alterations in regulatory pathways in Dahl salt-sensitive rats in tissues highly enriched for a single cell type, leading to the unexpected finding of a greater increase in the number of proliferative medullary thick ascending limb cells in Dahl salt-sensitive rats on a high-salt diet.
Kidney; gene expression; physiological genomics; cell cycle; salt intake
Phrenic nerve paralysis is an unusual complication associated with central venous catheterization. Various mechanisms have been proposed. We present a case of transient right hemidiaphragmatic paralysis after subclavian venous catheterization. We hypothesize that anatomical variation of the phrenic nerve was responsible for this complication.
Central venous catheterization; Phrenic nerve
An animal model for HBV that more closely approximates the disease in humans is needed. The tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) is closely related to primates and susceptible to HBV. We previously established that neonatal tree shrews can be persistently infected with HBV in vivo, and here present a six year follow-up histopathological study of these animals.
Group A consists of six tree shrews with persistent HBV infection, group B consists of three tree shrews with suspected persistent HBV infection, while group C consists of four tree shrews free of HBV infection. Serum and liver tissues samples were collected periodically from all animals. HBV antigen and HBV antibodies were detected by ELISA and/or TRFIA. HBV DNA in serum and in liver biopsies was measured by FQ-PCR. Liver biopsies were applied for general histopathologic observation and scoring, immunohistochemical detections of HBsAg and HBcAg, and ultrastructural observation with electron microscope technique.
Hydropic, fatty and eosinophilic degeneration of hepatocytes, lymphocytic infiltration and hyperplasia of small bile ducts in the portal area were observed in group A. One animal infected with HBV for over six years showed multiple necrotic areas which had fused to form bridging necrosis and fibrosis, and megalocytosis. The hepatic histopathological scores of group A were higher than those of group B and C. The histopathological score correlated positively with the duration of infection.
Hepatic histopathological changes observed in chronically HBV-infected tree shrews are similar to those observed in HBV-infected humans. The tree shrew may represent a novel animal model for HBV infection.
Tree shrew (Tupaia); Hepatitis B virus; Histopathological change
We undertook this study to investigate whether there is an association between atmospheric fine particles (PM2.5) levels and inpatient admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Taipei, Taiwan. Data on inpatient admissions for COPD and ambient on air pollution levels in Taipei were obtained for years 2006 to 2010. We estimated the relative risk of inpatient admissions for COPD using a case-crossover design with the following control variables: weather measures, day of the week, seasonality, and long-term time trends. For the single-pollutant model (not controlling for other atmospheric pollutants), COPD admissions were significantly and positively associated with higher PM2.5 levels during both warm days (>23 °C) and cool days (<23 °C), with an interquartile range increase of 12% (95% CI = 8–16%) and 3% (95% CI = 0–7%) in COPD admissions, respectively. In the two-pollutant models, PM2.5 remained significant even controlling for SO2 or O3 on both warm and cool days. Taken as a whole, our study demonstrates that higher levels of PM2.5 may increase the risk of inpatient admissions for COPD.
fine particulate; air pollution; COPD; case-crossover; hospital admissions
Increasing evidence suggests that mechanisms governing advanced plaque progression may be different from those for early progression and require further investigation. Serial MRI data and 3D fluid–structure interaction (FSI) models were employed to identify possible correlations between mechanical stresses and advanced plaque progression measured by vessel wall thickness increase (WTI). Long-term patient follow up was used to gather data and investigate if the correlations identified above were reproducible.
In vivo MRI data were acquired from 16 patients in a follow-up study with 2 to 4 scans for each patient (scan interval: average 18 months and standard deviation 6.8 months). A total of 38 scan pairs (baseline and follow-up) were formed for analysis using the carotid bifurcation as the registration point. 3D FSI models were constructed to obtain plaque wall stress (PWS) and flow shear stress (FSS) to quantify their correlations with plaque progression. The Linear Mixed-Effects models were used to study possible correlations between WTI and baseline PWS and FSS with nodal dependence taken into consideration.
Of the 38 scan pairs, 22 pairs showed positive correlation between baseline PWS and WTI, 1 pair showed negative correlation, and 15 pairs showed no correlation. Thirteen patients changed their correlation sign (81.25%). Between baseline FSS and WTI, 16 pairs showed negative correlation, 1 pair showed positive correlation. Twelve patients changed correlation sign (75%).
Our results showed that advanced plaque progression had an overall positive correlation with plaque wall stress and a negative correlation with flow shear stress at baseline. However, long-term follow up showed that correlations between plaque progress and mechanical stresses (FSS and PWS) identified for one time period were not re-producible for most cases (>80%). Further investigations are needed to identify the reasons causing the correlation sign changes.
Plaque progression; Flow shear stress; Atherosclerosis; Carotid; Fluid–structure interaction
Implementation of evidence-based practice (EBP) is regarded as core competence to improve healthcare quality. In the current study, we investigated the EBP of six groups of professionals: physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, technicians, and other allied healthcare personnel.
A structured questionnaire survey of regional hospitals throughout Taiwan was conducted by post in 2011. Questionnaires were mailed to all healthcare workers of 11 randomly selected hospitals. Linear and logistic regression models were used to examine predictors for implementing EBP.
In total, 6,160 returned questionnaires, including 645 from physicians, 4,206 from nurses, 430 from pharmacists, 179 from physical therapists, 537 from technicians, and 163 from other allied healthcare professionals, were valid for the analysis. Physicians and pharmacists were more aware of EBP than were the other professional groups (p < 0.001). Positive attitudes toward and beliefs in EBP were significantly lower among nurses than in the other groups (p < 0.001). Physicians had more sufficient knowledge and skills of EBP than did the other professionals (p < 0.001); in addition, they implemented EBP for clinical decision-making more often and perceived fewer personal barriers to EBP (p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that EBP implementation was associated with the following characteristics of participants: EBP training, having a faculty position, academic degree, one's profession, and perceptions (beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, skills and barriers).
This study depicts various levels of EBP implementation among medical, nursing, pharmacological, and allied healthcare personnel. There were significant differences in their implementation of EBP. We observed that certain factors were associated with EBP implementation, including personal backgrounds and perceptions toward EBP. The data suggest that strategies for enhancing EBP implementation should differ for various groups of professionals.
Quality assessment of pediatric randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in China is limited. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quantitative trends and quality indicators of RCTs published in mainland China over a recent 10-year period.
We individually searched all 17 available pediatric journals published in China from January 1, 2002 to December 30, 2011 to identify RCTs of drug treatment in participants under the age of 18 years. The quality was evaluated according to the Cochrane quality assessment protocol.
Of 1287 journal issues containing 44398 articles, a total of 2.4% (1077/44398) articles were included in the analysis. The proportion of RCTs increased from 0.28% in 2002 to 0.32% in 2011. Individual sample sizes ranged from 10 to 905 participants (median 81 participants); 2.3% of the RCTs were multiple center trials; 63.9% evaluated Western medicine, 32.5% evaluated traditional Chinese medicine; 15% used an adequate method of random sequence generation; and 10.4% used a quasi-random method for randomization. Only 1% of the RCTs reported adequate allocation concealment and 0.6% reported the method of blinding. The follow-up period was from 7 days to 96 months, with a median of 7.5 months. There was incomplete outcome data reported in 8.3%, of which 4.5% (4/89) used intention-to-treat analysis. Only 0.4% of the included trials used adequate random sequence allocation, concealment and blinding. The articles published from 2007 to 2011 revealed an improvement in the randomization method compared with articles published from 2002 to 2006 (from 2.7% to 23.6%, p = 0.000).
In mainland China, the quantity of RCTs did not increase in the pediatric population, and the general quality was relatively poor. Quality improvements were suboptimal in the later 5 years.
Children; Drugs; Randomized controlled trials; Quality assessment
Coffee and tea contain the stimulants caffeine and theophylline. These compounds act as antagonists of adenosine receptors. Adenosine promotes sleep and its extracellular concentration rises in association with prolonged wakefulness, particularly in the basal forebrain (BF) region involved in activating the cerebral cortex. However, the effect of adenosine on identified BF neurons, especially non-cholinergic neurons, is incompletely understood. Here we used whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in mouse brain slices prepared from two validated transgenic mouse lines with fluorescent proteins expressed in GABAergic or parvalbumin (PV) neurons to determine the effect of adenosine. Whole-cell recordings were made from BF cholinergic neurons and from BF GABAergic and PV neurons with the size (>20 μm) and intrinsic membrane properties (prominent H-currents) corresponding to cortically projecting neurons. A brief (2 min) bath application of adenosine (100 μM) decreased the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in all groups of BF cholinergic, GABAergic, and PV neurons we recorded. In addition, adenosine decreased the frequency of miniature EPSCs in BF cholinergic neurons. Adenosine had no effect on the frequency of spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents in cholinergic neurons or GABAergic neurons with large H-currents but reduced them in a group of GABAergic neurons with smaller H-currents. All effects of adenosine were blocked by a selective, adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, cyclopentyltheophylline (CPT, 1 μM). Adenosine had no postsynaptic effects. Taken together, our work suggests that adenosine promotes sleep by an A1 receptor-mediated inhibition of glutamatergic inputs to cortically projecting cholinergic and GABA/PV neurons. Conversely, caffeine and theophylline promote attentive wakefulness by inhibiting these A1 receptors in BF thereby promoting the high-frequency oscillations in the cortex required for attention and cognition.
patch-clamp; adenosine A1 receptor; presynaptic modulation; sleep; transgenic mice
Background and Purpose
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) have been reported to be associated with metabolic syndrome and may predispose subjects to cardiovascular disease. The magnitude of the impact on the medical care remains to be elucidated. Based on a population-based claims dataset in Taiwan, we explored the association between LUTS and the risk of subsequent hospitalization for acute cardiovascular events.
Materials and Methods
Among a representative sample of one million subjects from nationwide health insurance enrollees, subjects with codes of LUTS in service claims and without previous cardiovascular diseases including stroke were compared with age- and sex-matched non-LUTS subjects in subsequent hospitalization for acute coronary syndrome or stroke from the recruited date (between 2001–2004) to 2009. The risk of outcomes was assessed with Kaplan-Meier curves and the impact of LUTS was estimated with Poison regression analysis and Cox proportional hazards models.
We included 4,553 LUTS subjects and 22,765 matched non-LUTS subjects, with a mean age of 47 years and 43% of men. Hypertension, diabetes, and hyperlipidemia were more prevalent in the LUTS group. The incidence rate of the composite endpoint was significantly higher in the LUTS group than in the non-LUTS group (5.4/1000 vs. 4.0/1000 person-years). The difference mainly derived from stroke rather than acute coronary syndrome. After adjusting for age, sex, diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia in multivariable analysis, LUTS remained a significant predictor (hazard ratio, 1.29; 95% confidence incidence, 1.06–1.50).
Subjects free of cardiovascular disease and presenting with LUTS are at risk of subsequent hospitalization for acute cardiovascular events, mainly stroke. The information might prompt practitioners encountering such patients to undergo appropriate diagnostic and preventive measures.
This paper presents an investigation into spreading dynamics and dynamic contact angle of TiO2-deionized water nanofluids. Two mechanisms of energy dissipation, (1) contact line friction and (2) wedge film viscosity, govern the dynamics of contact line motion. The primary stage of spreading has the contact line friction as the dominant dissipative mechanism. At the secondary stage of spreading, the wedge film viscosity is the dominant dissipative mechanism. A theoretical model based on combination of molecular kinetic theory and hydrodynamic theory which incorporates non-Newtonian viscosity of solutions is used. The model agreement with experimental data is reasonable. Complex interparticle interactions, local pinning of the contact line, and variations in solid–liquid interfacial tension are attributed to errors.
Dynamic contact angle; Hydrodynamic theory; Molecular kinetic theory; Nanofluids; Nanoparticles; Non-Newtonian fluid; 68.08.Bc
Avoidable mortality (AM), or “unnecessary untimely death,” is considered an indicator of health care quality. We investigated trends in the age-standardized mortality rates (ASMRs) and associated standard expected years of life lost (SEYLL) for deaths amenable to medical care or public health measures in Taiwan from 1971-2008, with an emphasis on identifying areas where additional medical or public health investment may help reduce the burden of AM.
Taiwan’s ASMRs per 100,000 for AM and other causes of death were calculated using data from the National Death Certificate Registry in five-year bins from 1971 to 2008. SEYLL rates per 100,000 were calculated annually from 1971 to 2008 using the same data source.
ASMR for almost all AM and other causes of death declined dramatically from 1971 to 2008 except for lung cancer (16.6% and 7.4% increase among men and women, respectively) and breast cancer (109.8% increase among women). In the same period, SEYLL due to lung cancer increased from 269.2 to 555.7 for men and 249.7 to 342.5 for women. For women, SEYLL due to breast cancer increased from 263.5 in 1971 to 659.3 in 2008. There were gender-specific differences in the reduction (or increase) in AM rates, with women showing larger rates of reduction or smaller rates of increase. Among men, AM fell by 65.9% from 1971-1975 to 2006-2008, and deaths from other causes increased by 15.6%. Among women, AM and deaths from other causes fell by 80.8% and 59.8% respectively. SEYLL decreased, respectively among males and females, from 23,147.3 and 24,081.1 in 1971 to 11,261.8 and 5,929.6 in 2008.
From 1971 to 2008, Taiwan experienced a dramatic reduction in most AM and corresponding SEYLL except for lung cancer (for both males and females) and breast cancer (for females). Additional effort should be devoted to public health measures to combat the rising prevalence of smoking in Taiwan, which may be responsible for the increasing AM from lung cancer. If AM in breast cancer continues unabated in the future, greater policy emphasis on the early detection and treatment of breast cancer may also be warranted.
Avoidable mortality; Standard estimated years of life lost; Taiwan; Lung cancer; Breast cancer
Gene regulation remains one of the major challenges for gene therapy in clinical trials. In the present study, we first generated a binary tetracycline-on (Tet-On) system based on two lentivirus vectors, one expressing both human glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (hGDNF) and humanized recombinant green fluorescent protein (hrGFP) genes under second-generation tetracycline response element (TRE), and the other expressing the advanced reverse tetracycline-controlled transactivator - rtTA2S-M2 under a human minimal cytomegalovirus immediate early (CMV-IE) promoter. This system allows simultaneous expression of hGDNF and hrGFP genes in the presence of doxycycline (Dox). Human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) were transduced with the binary Tet-On lentivirus vectors and characterized in vitro in the presence (On) or absence (Off) of Dox. The expression of hGDNF and hrGFP transgenes in transduced hMSCs was tightly regulated as determined by flow cytometry (FCM), GDNF enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and quantitative real time-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). There was a dose-dependent regulation for hrGFP transgene expression. The levels of hGDNF protein in culture medium were correlated with the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) units of hrGFP. The levels of transgene background expression were very low in the absence of Dox. The treatment of the conditioned medium from cultures of transduced hMSCs in the presence of Dox protected SH-SY5Y cells against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) toxicity as determined by cell viability using 3, [4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]- diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. The treatment of the conditioned medium was also found to improve the survival of dopaminergic (DA) neurons of ventral mesencephalic (VM) tissue in serum-free culture conditions as assessed by cell body area, the number of neurites and dendrite branching points, and proportion of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-immunoreactive (IR) cells. Our inducible lentivirus-mediated hGDNF gene delivery system may provide useful tools for basic research on gene therapy for chronic neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD).
We have recently demonstrated that adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9)-mediated human erythropoietin (hEPO) gene delivery into the brain protects dopaminergic (DA) neurons in the substantia nigra in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. In the present study, we examined whether pre-exposure to AAV9-hEPO vectors with an intramuscular or intrastriatal injection would reduce AAV9-mediated hEPO transduction in rat brain. We first characterized transgene expression and immune responses against AAV9-hEPO vectors in rat striatum at 4 days, 3 weeks and 6 months, and with doses ranging from 1011 to 1013 viral genomes. To sensitize immune system, rats received an injection of AAV9-hEPO into either the muscle or the left striatum, and then sequentially an injection of AAV9-hEPO into the right striatum 3 weeks later. We observed that transgene expression exhibited in a time course and dose dependent manner, and inflammatory and immune responses displayed in a time course manner. Intramuscular, but not intrastriatal injections of AAV9-hEPO resulted in reduced levels of hEPO transduction and increased levels of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and class II antigen expression in the striatum following AAV9-hEPO re-administration. There were infiltration of the cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4)-and CD8-lymphacytes, and accumulation of activated microglial cells and astrocytes in the virally injected striatum. In addition, the sera from the rats with intramuscular injections of AAV9-hEPO contained greater levels of antibodies against both AAV9 capsid protein and hEPO protein than the other treatment groups. hEPO gene expression was negatively correlated with the levels of circulating antibodies against AAV9 capsid protein. Intramuscular and intrastriatal re-administration of AAV9-hEPO led to increased numbers of red blood cells in peripheral blood. Our results suggest that pre-immunization with an intramuscular injection can lead to the reduction of transgene expression in the striatal re-administration.
Competition and education are intimately related and can be combined in many ways. The role of competition in medical education of evidence-based medicine (EBM) has not been investigated. In order to enhance the dissemination and implementation of EBM in Taiwan, EBM competitions have been established among healthcare professionals. This study was to evaluate the impact of competition in EBM learning.
The EBM competition used PICO (patient, intervention, comparison, and outcome) queries to examine participants’ skills in framing an answerable question, literature search, critical appraisal and clinical application among interdisciplinary teams. A structured questionnaire survey was conducted to investigate EBM among participants in the years of 2009 and 2011. Participants completed a baseline questionnaire survey at three months prior to the competition and finished the same questionnaire right after the competition.
Valid questionnaires were collected from 358 participants, included 162 physicians, 71 nurses, 101 pharmacists, and 24 other allied healthcare professionals. There were significant increases in participants’ knowledge of and skills in EBM (p < 0.001). Their barriers to literature searching and forming answerable questions significantly decreased (p < 0.01). Furthermore, there were significant increases in their access to the evidence-based retrieval databases, including the Cochrane Library (p < 0.001), MD Consult (p < 0.001), ProQuest (p < 0.001), UpToDate (p = 0.001), CINAHL (p = 0.001), and MicroMedex (p = 0.024).
The current study demonstrates a method that successfully enhanced the knowledge of, skills in, and behavior of EBM. The data suggest competition using PICO queries may serve as an effective way to facilitate the learning of EBM.
In this cohort study, we investigated whether a diagnosis of herpes zoster (HZ) was associated with a higher risk of subsequent cancer as compared with the Taiwanese general population.
Data were obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. In total, 38 743 patients who were aged 50 years or older and had received ambulatory care for HZ between 1997 and 2006 were identified as the study cohort; 116 229 age- and sex-matched patients without HZ were included as the comparison cohort. We used Cox proportional hazards regression models to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) for subsequent cancer, after controlling for potential confounders.
The HR for subsequent cancer varied according to time since HZ diagnosis. The HR was 1.58 (95% CI, 1.38–1.80) within the first year, 1.30 (95% CI, 1.15–1.46) between 1 and 2 years, 1.10 (95% CI, 0.98–1.24) between 2 and 3 years, 1.02 (95% CI, 0.91–1.15) between 3 and 4 years, and 1.08 (95% CI, 0.96–1.21) between 4 and 5 years. The risk of subsequent cancer, particularly lung cancer, was significantly higher during the first 2 years after initial diagnosis of HZ.
Our findings suggest that an HZ diagnosis is a marker of occult malignancy, particularly in lung cancer. The HRs for cancer decreased gradually over time and were no longer significant after 2 years of follow-up, which indicates that the association between HZ and cancer is likely due to detection bias.
herpes zoster; cancer; risk; incidence; cohort study
With improved overall survival of cervical cancer patients, the importance of the quality of life (QOL) is increasingly recognized. This study was conducted to compare the QOL of women with different stage cervical cancer before and after treatment to facilitate improved cervical cancer prevention and treatment. We used the generic Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (MOS SF-36) to collect QOL information. Based on SF-36, we interviewed cervical cancer patients at West China Second Affiliated Hospital and Sichuan Cancer Hospital between May 2010 and January 2011. A total of 92 patients with precancerous lesions, 93 with early cancer, and 35 with advanced cancer responded to our survey. Average physical component summary (PCS) scores were significantly different between the three groups at every time point (P < 0.05). Average mental component summary (MCS) scores were significantly different between the three groups after treatment (P < 0.05). Average PCS and MCS scores increased gradually from the pretreatment to posttreatment period for patients with precancerous lesions. However, they reached the lowest at 1 month after treatment for patients with early and advanced cancers and rebounded between 1 and 6 months after treatment. Our results indicate that patients with precancerous lesions and early cervical cancer show better overall QOL than do those with advanced cervical cancer. Additionally, patients with early cancer recover more quickly than do those with advanced cancer in terms of both physical and mental functions. Thus, early detection and treatment initiatives may improve the QOL for patients with precancerous lesions and cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer; clinical stage; quality of life
Atherosclerotic plaques may rupture without warning and cause acute cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. Current clinical screening tools are insufficient to identify those patients with risks early and prevent the adverse events from happening. Medical imaging and image-based modeling have made considerable progress in recent years in identifying plaque morphological and mechanical risk factors which may be used in developing improved patient screening strategies. The key steps and factors in image-based models for human carotid and coronary plaques were illustrated, as well as grand challenges facing the researchers in the field to develop more accurate screening tools.
Atherosclerosis; Fluid-structure interaction; IVUS-based modeling; MRI-based modeling; vulnerable plaques
Thiol-ene-based poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) hydrogels provide a unique functional platform for the sustained and localized delivery of bioactive small molecules like glucocorticoids. As a proof of concept, the synthetic glucocorticoid Dexamethasone (Dex) was conjugated to the N-terminus of a matrix metalloproteinase(MMP)-degradable peptide, which was then easily co-polymerized into PEG gel scaffolds by a thiol-ene polymerization mechanism. The conjugated Dex was locally sequestered until released by cleavage of the MMP-degradable peptide tether triggered by cell-secreted MMPs, and was only available for uptake by local co-encapsulated cells. Elevated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities and calcium deposition levels were observed for human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) that were encapsulated in PEG hydrogels functionalized with 10μM of a Dexamethasone-conjugated peptide (Dex-peptide). The cellular responses stimulated by the tethered Dex lasted for over 21 days. Using co-culture experiments, hMSCs encapsulated in hydrogels with the MMP-degradable Dex-peptides had elevated levels of ALP activity and calcium deposition, whereas no elevated cellular responses were observed in co-cultured hMSCs surrounding the gel. Moreover, modifying the peptide sequence to alter its susceptibility to cleavage and/or changing the Dex-peptide loading further regulated the hMSC response to Dex at different levels and on different time scales. Collectively, these results demonstrate a tunable system for the delivery of glucocorticoids in a localized and cell-dictated manner.
Hydrogel; Dexamethasone; mesenchymal stem cells; glucocorticoid; poly(ethylene glycol)
The risk of allergic diseases among Kawasaki disease (KD) patients relative to the general population is not known. The aim of this study was to perform a population-based cohort study to investigate the risk of allergic diseases among children after KD in Taiwan- a country with the third highest incidence of KD in the world.
Data were obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. In total, 253 patients who were 5 years of age or younger and had a first-time hospitalization with a diagnosis of KD between 1997 and 2005 were included as the study cohort and 1,012 non-KD patients matched for age and sex were included as comparison cohort. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard regression model was used to adjust for confounding and to compare the 6-year allergic-free survival rate between these two cohorts.
The incidence rate of allergic diseases (184.66 per 1000 person-year) was significantly higher in the KD cohort than in the control cohort (124.99 per 1000 person-years). After adjusting for potential confounders, the adjusted hazard ratios of asthma and allergic rhinitis were 1.51 (95% confidence interval = 1.17-1.95) and 1.30 (95% confidence interval = 1.04-1.62), respectively.
We conclude that KD patients were at an increased risk for allergic diseases compared with the comparison cohort.
Kawasaki disease; Allergic disease; Cohort study
To evaluate the frequency, distribution and clinical significance of the antibodies to the fetal and/or adult acetylcholine receptor (AChR) in patients with myasthenia gravis (MG).
AChR antibodies were detected by cell-based assay in the serum of ocular MG (OMG) (n = 90) and generalized MG (GMG) patients (n = 110). The fetal-type (2α: β: γ: δ) and adult-type (2α: β: ε: δ) AChR were used as antigens, and their relevance to disease presentation was assessed.
The overall frequencies of anti-adult and anti-fetal AChR antibodies were similar in all 200 patients examined, with 14 having serum specific to the AChR-γ subunit, and 22 to the AChR-ε subunit. The overall sensitivity when using the fetal and adult AChR antibodies was higher than that when using the fetal AChR antibody only (P = 0.015). Compared with OMG patients, the mean age at disease onset and the positive ratio of antibodies to both isoforms of the AChR were significantly higher in patients who subsequently progressed to GMG. Older patients and patients with both anti-fetal and anti-adult AChR antibodies had a greater risk for developing generalized disease [odds ratio (OR), 1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.01–1.06 and OR, 5.09; 95% CI, 2.23–11.62].
Using both fetal- and adult-type AChRs as the antigens may be more sensitive than using either subtype. Patients with serum specific to both isoforms are at a greater risk of progressing to GMG. Patients with disease onset at an advanced age appear to have a higher frequency of GMG conversion.
myasthenia gravis; acetylcholine receptor antibodies; acetylcholine receptor subunit; cell-based assay; adult; fetal
Previous studies have shown that a single sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine exerts fast-acting antidepressant effects in patients and in animal models of depression. However, the underlying mechanisms are not totally understood. This study aims to investigate the effects of acute administration of different doses of ketamine on the immobility time of rats in the forced swimming test (FST) and to determine levels of hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR).
Forty male Wistar rats weighing 180–220 g were randomly divided into four groups (n = 10 each): group saline and groups ketamine 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg. On the first day, all animals were forced to swim for 15 min. On the second day ketamine (5, 10, and 15 mg/kg, respectively) was given intraperitoneally, at 30 min before the second episode of the forced swimming test. Immobility times of the rats during the forced swimming test were recorded. The animals were then decapitated. The hippocampus was harvested for determination of BDNF and mTOR levels.
Compared with group saline, administration of ketamine at a dose of 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg decreased the duration of immobility (P < 0.05 for all doses). Ketamine at doses of both 10 and 15 mg/kg showed a significant increase in the expression of hippocampal BDNF (P < 0.05 for both doses). Ketamine given at doses of 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg showed significant increases in relative levels of hippocampal p-mTOR (P < 0.05 for all doses)
The antidepressant effect of ketamine might be related to the increased expression of BDNF and mTOR in the hippocampus of rats.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; depression; ketamine; mammalian target of rapamycin