To devise and test a self-management course for chronic pain patients based on evidence and underpinned by theory using the Medical Research Council (MRC) framework for developing complex interventions.
We used a mixed method approach. We conducted a systematic review of the effectiveness of components and characteristics of pain management courses. We then interviewed chronic pain patients who had attended pain and self-management courses. Behavioural change theories were mapped onto our findings and used to design the intervention. We then conducted a feasibility study to test the intervention.
Primary care in the inner city of London, UK.
Adults (18 years or older) with chronic musculoskeletal pain.
Related disability, quality of life, coping, depression, anxiety, social integration and healthcare resource use.
The systematic reviews indicated that group-based courses with joint lay and healthcare professional leadership and that included a psychological component of short duration (<8 weeks) showed considerable promise. The qualitative research indicated that participants liked relaxation, valued social interaction and course location, and that timing and good tutoring were important determinants of attendance. We used behavioural change theories (social learning theory and cognitive behaviour approaches (CBA)) to inform course content. The course addressed: understanding and accepting pain, mood and pain, unhelpful thoughts and behaviour, problem solving, goal setting, action planning, movement, relaxation and social integration/reactivation. Attendance was 85%; we modified the recruitment of patients, the course and the training of facilitators as a result of testing.
The MRC guidelines were helpful in developing this intervention. It was possible to train both lay and non-psychologists to facilitate the courses and deliver CBA. The course was feasible and well received.
PAIN MANAGEMENT; PRIMARY CARE
Lack of efficacy and drug-related adverse effects are important reasons for the discontinuation of treatment in patients with rheumatic diseases. The development of new biologic therapies seeks to address these problems by specifically targeting the pathogenic mechanisms of disease. Most current biologics are proteins (particularly antibodies and enzymes) administered parenterally. It is important to optimize properties such as serum half-life, immunogenicity and solubility. Companies have thus begun to modify the drugs by conjugate chemistry, binding inert molecules such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) to biologic molecules to improve their pharmacodynamic properties. The use of PEG to alter these properties has to be weighed against the negative aspects of PEGylation, such as decreased activity and heterogeneity. This review focuses on the currently available PEGylated drugs used in rheumatological diseases, their efficacy, drawbacks and the current clinical trial evidence supporting their use.
PEGylation; gout; rheumatoid arthritis; clinical trials
Although renal biopsy is the most accurate way of assessing renal inflammation in patients with lupus nephritis (LN), the technique is invasive and cannot be performed frequently. Currently used blood and urine biomarkers have limited utility in monitoring the activity of nephritis. In a previous issue of Arthritis Research and Therapy, Singh and colleagues showed that measuring urinary levels of vascular cell adhesion molecule 1 could be useful in both diagnosing and monitoring LN. These levels are higher in patients with lupus than controls, are higher in lupus patients who have active renal disease compared with those who do not, and correlate significantly with the histological activity index in renal biopsies of patients with LN.
The prevalence and impact of chronic pain differ between ethnic groups. We report a study of the comparative prevalence and impact of chronic pain in Bangladeshi, British Bangladeshi and White British/Irish people. We posted a short questionnaire to a random sample of 4,480 patients registered with 16 general practices in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and conducted a longer questionnaire with patients in the waiting areas at those practices. We distinguished between Bangladeshi participants who were born in the UK or had arrived in the UK at the age of 14 or under (British Bangladeshi) and those who arrived in UK at the age of over 14 (Bangladeshi). We obtained 1,223/4,480 (27 %) responses to the short survey and 600/637 (94 %) to the long survey. From the former, the prevalence of chronic pain in the White, British Bangladeshi and Bangladeshi groups was 55, 54 and 72 %, respectively. The corresponding figures from the long survey were 49, 45 and 70 %. Chronic widespread pain was commoner in the Bangladeshi (16 %) than in the White (10 %) or British Bangladeshi (9 %) groups. People with chronic pain experienced poorer quality of life (odds ratio for scoring best possible health vs. good health (or good vs. poor health) 5.6 (95 % confidence interval 3.4 to 9.8)), but we found no evidence of differences between ethnic groups in the impact of chronic pain on the quality of life. Chronic pain is commoner and, of greater severity, in Bangladeshis than in Whites. On most measures in this study, British Bangladeshis resembled the Whites more than the Bangladeshis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10067-013-2286-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Chronic pain; Comparative prevalence; Ethnicity; Quality of life
A bulk of studies in rodents and humans suggest that sleep facilitates different phases of learning and memory process, while sleep deprivation (SD) impairs these processes. Here we tested the hypothesis that SD could alter spatial learning and memory processing in a non-human primate, the grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), which is an interesting model of aging and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Two sets of experiments were performed. In a first set of experiments, we investigated the effects of SD on spatial learning and memory retrieval after one day of training in a circular platform task. Eleven male mouse lemurs aged between 2 to 3 years were tested in three different conditions: without SD as a baseline reference, 8 h of SD before the training and 8 h of SD before the testing. The SD was confirmed by electroencephalographic recordings. Results showed no effect of SD on learning when SD was applied before the training. When the SD was applied before the testing, it induced an increase of the amount of errors and of the latency prior to reach the target. In a second set of experiments, we tested the effect of 8 h of SD on spatial memory retrieval after 3 days of training. Twenty male mouse lemurs aged between 2 to 3 years were tested in this set of experiments. In this condition, the SD did not affect memory retrieval. This is the first study that documents the disruptive effects of the SD on spatial memory retrieval in this primate which may serve as a new validated challenge to investigate the effects of new compounds along physiological and pathological aging.
Chronic musculoskeletal pain is a common condition that often responds poorly to treatment. Self-management courses have been advocated as a non-drug pain management technique, although evidence for their effectiveness is equivocal. We designed and piloted a self-management course based on evidence for effectiveness for specific course components and characteristics.
COPERS (coping with persistent pain, effectiveness research into self-management) is a pragmatic randomised controlled trial testing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an intensive, group, cognitive behavioural-based, theoretically informed and manualised self-management course for chronic pain patients against a control of best usual care: a pain education booklet and a relaxation CD. The course lasts for 15 h, spread over 3 days, with a –2 h follow-up session 2 weeks later. We aim to recruit 685 participants with chronic musculoskeletal pain from primary, intermediate and secondary care services in two UK regions. The study is powered to show a standardised mean difference of 0.3 in the primary outcome, pain-related disability. Secondary outcomes include generic health-related quality of life, healthcare utilisation, pain self-efficacy, coping, depression, anxiety and social engagement. Outcomes are measured at 6 and 12 months postrandomisation. Pain self-efficacy is measured at 3 months to assess whether change mediates clinical effect.
Ethics approval was given by Cambridgeshire Ethics 11/EE/046. This trial will provide robust data on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of an evidence-based, group self-management programme for chronic musculoskeletal pain. The published outcomes will help to inform future policy and practice around such self-management courses, both nationally and internationally.
Randomised Controlled Trial; Protocol; Chronic Pain; Self Management
Antenatal Care (ANC) during pregnancy can play an important role in the uptake of evidence-based services vital to the health of women and their infants. Studies report positive effects of ANC on use of facility-based delivery and perinatal mortality. However, most existing studies are limited to cross-sectional surveys with long recall periods, and generally do not include population-based samples.
This study was conducted within the Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) in Matlab, Bangladesh. The HDSS area is divided into an icddr,b service area (SA) where women and children receive care from icddr,b health facilities, and a government SA where people receive care from government facilities. In 2007, a new Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health (MNCH) program was initiated in the icddr,b SA that strengthened the ongoing maternal and child health services including ANC. We estimated the association of ANC with facility delivery and perinatal mortality using prospectively collected data from 2005 to 2009. Using a before-after study design, we also determined the role of ANC services on reduction of perinatal mortality between the periods before (2005 – 2006) and after (2008–2009) implementation of the MNCH program.
Antenatal care visits were associated with increased facility-based delivery in the icddr,b and government SAs. In the icddr,b SA, the adjusted odds of perinatal mortality was about 2-times higher (odds ratio (OR) 1.91; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.50, 2.42) among women who received ≤1 ANC compared to women who received ≥3 ANC visits. No such association was observed in the government SA. Controlling for ANC visits substantially reduced the observed effect of the intervention on perinatal mortality (OR 0.64; 95% CI: 0.52, 0.78) to non-significance (OR 0.81; 95% CI: 0.65, 1.01), when comparing cohorts before and after the MNCH program initiation (Sobel test of mediation P < 0.001).
ANC visits are associated with increased uptake of facility-based delivery and improved perinatal survival in the icddr,b SA. Further testing of the icddr,b approach to simultaneously improving quality of ANC and facility delivery care is needed in the existing health system in Bangladesh and in other low-income countries to maximize health benefits to mothers and newborns.
Post–kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a complication of visceral leishmaniasis. Bangladesh national treatment guidelines during the study period called for 120 intramuscular injections of sodium antimony gluconate (SAG). We assessed care-seeking behavior, diagnosis and treatment costs, and coping strategies among 134 PKDL patients; 56 (42%) patients had been treated with SAG, and 78 (58%) remained untreated. The median direct cost per patient treated was US$367 (interquartile range [IQR] = 90–284), more than two times the estimated per capita annual income for the study population. The most common coping strategy was to take a loan; the median amount borrowed was US$98 (IQR = 71–150), with a median interest of US$32 (IQR = 16–95). Households lost a median of 123 work-days per patient treated. The current regimen for PKDL imposes a significant financial burden, reinforcing the link between poverty and visceral leishmaniasis. More practical shorter-course regimens for PKDL are urgently needed to achieve national and regional visceral leishmaniasis elimination goals.
Objective. This was an exploratory analysis to develop a new way of representing BILAG-2004 system scores longitudinally that would be clinically meaningful and easier to analyse in comparison with multiple categorical variables.
Methods. Data from a multicentre longitudinal study of SLE patients (the BILAG-2004 index and therapy collected at every visit) were used. External responsiveness analysis of the index suggested the possibility of using counts of systems with specified transitions in scores as a basis to analyse the system scores. Exploratory analyses with multinomial logistic regression were used to examine the appropriateness of this new method of analysing BILAG-2004 system scores. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was used to assess the performance of this approach.
Results. There were 1414 observations from 347 patients. A novel method was devised based on counts of systems with defined transitions in score (BILAG-2004 systems tally, BST). It has six components (systems with major deterioration, systems with minor deterioration, systems with persistent significant activity, systems with major improvement, systems with minor improvement and systems with persistent minimal or no activity). This was further simplified (simplified BST, sBST) into three components (systems with active/worsening disease, systems with improving disease and systems with persistent minimal or no activity). Both versions had expected associations with change in therapy. ROC curve analyses demonstrated that both versions had similar good performance characteristics (areas under the curve >0.80) in predicting increase in therapy.
Conclusion. The BST and sBST provide alternative approaches to representing BILAG-2004 disease activity longitudinally. Further validation of their use is required.
BILAG-2004; SLE; disease activity; longitudinal study; BILAG-2004 systems tally; BST; sBST
Background: Cadmium (Cd) is an embryotoxic and teratogenic metal in a variety of animal species, but data from humans are limited.
Objectives: The aim of the present study was to assess the effects of maternal Cd exposure in pregnancy on size at birth.
Methods: This prospective cohort study was nested in a population-based nutritional supplementation trial in pregnancy conducted in rural Bangladesh. We selected women recruited from February 2002 through January 2003 who had a singleton birth with measurements of size at birth and had donated a urine sample in early pregnancy for Cd analyses (n = 1,616). Urinary Cd was measured with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and adjusted for specific gravity.
Results: Multiple linear regression analyses adjusted for sex and other potential confounders showed that maternal urinary Cd (median, 0.63 μg/L) was significantly negatively associated with birth weight [unstandardized regression coefficient B = –31.0; 95% confidence interval (CI): –59, –2.8] and head circumference (B = –0.15; 95% CI: –0.27, –0.026). However, associations appeared to be limited to girls, with little evidence of effects in boys. A 1-μg/L increase in Cd in maternal urine was associated with a 0.26-cm (95% CI: –0.43, –0.088 cm) and 0.24-cm (95% CI: –0.44, –0.030 cm) decrease in girls’ head and chest circumferences, respectively, and a 45-g (95% CI: –82.5, 7.3 g) decrease in birth weight. Quantile regression analyses indicated that associations with maternal Cd were similar for girls of smaller (25th percentile) and larger (50th and 75th percentiles) sizes at birth.
Conclusion: We found evidence of a sex difference in the association between maternal Cd exposure and birth size, which was apparent only in girls. Results add support for the need to reduce Cd pollution to improve public health.
arsenic; birth weight; cadmium; sex; urine
Improving perinatal health is the key to achieving the Millennium Development Goal for child survival. Recently, several reviews suggest that scaling up available effective perinatal interventions in an integrated approach can substantially reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rates worldwide. We evaluated the effect of packaged interventions given in pregnancy, delivery and post-partum periods through integration of community- and facility-based services on perinatal mortality.
This study took advantage of an ongoing health and demographic surveillance system (HDSS) and a new Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH) Project initiated in 2007 in Matlab, Bangladesh in half (intervention area) of the HDSS area. In the other half, women received usual care through the government health system (comparison area). The MNCH Project strengthened ongoing maternal and child health services as well as added new services. The intervention followed a continuum of care model for pregnancy, intrapartum, and post-natal periods by improving established links between community- and facility-based services. With a separate pre-post samples design, we compared the perinatal mortality rates between two periods--before (2005-2006) and after (2008-2009) implementation of MNCH interventions. We also evaluated the difference-of-differences in perinatal mortality between intervention and comparison areas.
Antenatal coverage, facility delivery and cesarean section rates were significantly higher in the post- intervention period in comparison with the period before intervention. In the intervention area, the odds of perinatal mortality decreased by 36% between the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods (odds ratio: 0.64; 95% confidence intervals: 0.52-0.78). The reduction in the intervention area was also significant relative to the reduction in the comparison area (OR 0.73, 95% CI: 0.56-0.95; P = 0.018).
The continuum of care approach provided through the integration of service delivery modes decreased the perinatal mortality rate within a short period of time. Further testing of this model is warranted within the government health system in Bangladesh and other low-income countries.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a multisystem, autoimmune disease known to be one of the strongest risk factors for atherosclerosis. Patients with SLE have an excess cardiovascular risk compared with the general population, leading to increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although the precise explanation for this is yet to be established, it seems to be associated with the presence of an accelerated atherosclerotic process, arising from the combination of traditional and lupus-specific risk factors. Moreover, cardiovascular-disease associated mortality in patients with SLE has not improved over time. One of the main reasons for this is the poor performance of standard risk stratification tools on assessing the cardiovascular risk of patients with SLE. Therefore, establishing alternative ways to identify patients at increased risk efficiently is essential. With recent developments in several imaging techniques, the ultimate goal of cardiovascular assessment will shift from assessing symptomatic patients to diagnosing early cardiovascular disease in asymptomatic patients which will hopefully help us to prevent its progression. This review will focus on the current status of the imaging tools available to assess cardiac and vascular function in patients with SLE.
► Bacterial expressed human recombinant DI has a structure consistent with that of DI in the published β2GPI crystal structure. ► Mutating residues D8/D9 and R39 do not alter the overall DI protein fold but cause local changes in surface contour. ► Monoclonal aPL-derived antibodies and DI of β2GPI interactions are influenced by specific arginine residues in aPL and particular epitopes in DI.
Pathogenic antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) cause the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) by interacting with domain I (DI) of beta-2-glycoprotein I (β2GPI). The aPL/β2GPI complex then exerts pathogenic effects on target cells. We previously described periplasmic bacterial expression of native and mutated variants of DI, and reported the presence of immunodominant epitopes at positions 8–9 (D8/D9) and position 39 (R39). Mutations at these positions strongly influenced the ability of recombinant DI to bind patient-derived IgG aPL and to inhibit pathogenic effects of these aPL in a mouse model of APS.
We now describe an improved cytoplasmic bacterial expression system allowing higher yield of DI. We demonstrate that the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of a 15N,13C-isotope-labelled sample of the recombinant DI protein exhibit properties consistent with the structure of DI in crystal structure of intact β2GPI. Mutations at D8/D9 and R39 had limited impact on the NMR spectrum of DI indicating maintenance of the overall fold of the DI domain.
We investigated interactions between five variants of DI and ten monoclonal human IgG antibodies, all derived from the IgG aPL antibody IS4 by sequence manipulation and in vitro expression. Arginine residues at positions 100 and 100g in IS4VH CDR3 play a particularly important role in binding to DI, but this is unlikely to be due to electrostatic interactions with negatively charged amino acids on DI. Both the strength of binding to DI and the ability to discriminate different DI variants varies between the different IgG antibodies tested. There was no simple relationship between these binding properties and antibody pathogenicity.
aPL, antiphospholipid antibodies; APS, antiphospholipid syndrome; β2GPI, beta-2-glycoprotein I; CL, cardiolipin; DI, domain I of β2GPI; E. coli, Escherichia coli; His6-tag, hexahistidine tag; HSQC, 15N,1H-heteronuclear single quantum correlation; NMR, nuclear magnetic resonance; PL, phospholipids; VH, variable heavy chain of Ig; VL, variable light chain of Ig; Antiphospholipid antibodies; Beta-2-glycoprotein I; Domain I; Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
Objectives. Clinical and laboratory markers in current use have limited specificity and sensitivity for predicting the development of renal disease in lupus patients. In this longitudinal study, we investigated whether urinary neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (uNGAL) predicts active nephritis and renal flares in lupus patients with and without a history of biopsy-proven lupus nephritis.
Methods. Renal disease activity and flare status was determined by SLEDAI and BILAG scores. Random effects models were used to determine whether uNGAL was a significant predictor for renal disease activity in SLE patients, and for renal flares in patients with established nephritis. To assess the predictive performance of uNGAL, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were constructed using the previous visit’s uNGAL level. These curves were then compared with curves constructed with currently used biomarkers. Cut-offs determined by ROC curves were tested in an independent validation cohort.
Results. uNGAL was found to be a significant predictor of renal disease activity in all SLE patients, and a significant predictor for flare in patients with a history of biopsy-proven nephritis, in multivariate models adjusting for age, race, sex and anti-double-stranded (ds)DNA antibody titres. As a predictor of renal flare in patients with biopsy-proven nephritis, uNGAL outperformed anti-dsDNA antibody titres. These results were confirmed in an independent validation cohort.
Conclusions. uNGAL predicts renal flare in patients with a history of biopsy-proven nephritis with high sensitivity and specificity. Furthermore, uNGAL is a more sensitive and specific forecaster of renal flare in patients with a history of lupus nephritis than anti-dsDNA antibody titres.
Systemic lupus erythematosus; Lupus nephritis; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Disease Activity Index; British Isles Lupus Assessment Group; Biomarkers
Previous studies have reported associations between prenatal arsenic exposure and increased risk of infant mortality. An increase in infectious diseases has been proposed as the underlying cause of these associations, but there is no epidemiologic research to support the hypothesis.
We evaluated the association between arsenic exposure in pregnancy and morbidity during infancy.
This prospective population-based cohort study included 1,552 live-born infants of women enrolled during 2002–2004 in Matlab, Bangladesh. Arsenic exposure was assessed by the concentrations of metabolites of inorganic arsenic in maternal urine samples collected at gestational weeks 8 and 30. Information on symptoms of lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) and diarrhea in infants was collected by 7-day recalls at monthly home visits.
In total, 115,850 person-days of observation were contributed by the infants during a 12-month follow-up period. The estimated risk of LRTI and severe LRTI increased by 69% [adjusted relative risk (RR) = 1.69; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.36–2.09)] and 54% (RR = 1.54; 95% CI, 1.21–1.97), respectively, for infants of mothers with urinary arsenic concentrations in the highest quintile (average of arsenic concentrations measured in early and late gestation, 262–977 μg/L) relative to those with exposure in the lowest quintile (< 39 μg/L). The corresponding figure for diarrhea was 20% (RR = 1.20; 95% CI, 1.01–1.43).
Arsenic exposure during pregnancy was associated with increased morbidity in infectious diseases during infancy. Taken together with the previous evidence of adverse effects on health, the findings strongly emphasize the need to reduce arsenic exposure via drinking water.
arsenic; Bangladesh; diarrhea; infants; pregnancy; respiratory tract infection
Arsenic exposure in pregnancy is associated with adverse pregnancy outcome and infant mortality. Knowledge of the spatial characteristics of the outcomes and their possible link to arsenic exposure are important for planning effective mitigation activities. The aim of this study was to identify spatial and spatiotemporal clustering of fetal loss and infant death, and spatial relationships between high and low clusters of fetal loss and infant death rates and high and low clusters of arsenic concentrations in tube-well water used for drinking.
Pregnant women from Matlab, Bangladesh, who used tube-well water for drinking while pregnant between 1991 and 2000, were included in this study. In total 29,134 pregnancies were identified. A spatial scan test was used to identify unique non-random spatial and spatiotemporal clusters of fetal loss and infant death using a retrospective spatial and spatiotemporal permutation and Poisson probability models.
Two significant clusters of fetal loss and infant death were identified and these clusters remained stable after adjustment for covariates. One cluster of higher rates of fetal loss and infant death was in the vicinity of the Meghna River, and the other cluster of lower rates was in the center of Matlab. The average concentration of arsenic in the water differed between these clusters (319 μg/L for the high cluster and 174 μg/L for the low cluster). The spatial patterns of arsenic concentrations in tube-well water were found to be linked with the adverse pregnancy outcome clusters. In the spatiotemporal analysis, only one high fetal loss and infant death cluster was identified in the same high cluster area obtained from purely spatial analysis. However, the cluster was no longer significant after adjustment for the covariates.
The finding of this study suggests that given the geographical variation in tube-well water contamination, higher fetal loss and infant deaths were observed in the areas of higher arsenic concentrations in groundwater. This illustrates a possible link between arsenic contamination in tube-well water and adverse pregnancy outcome. Thus, these areas should be considered a priority in arsenic mitigation programs.
To devise treatment strategies for neonatal infections, the population-level incidence and antibiotic susceptibility of pathogens must be defined.
Surveillance for suspected neonatal sepsis was conducted in Mirzapur, Bangladesh, from February 2004 through November 2006. Community health workers assessed neonates on postnatal days 0, 2, 5, and 8 and referred sick neonates to a hospital, where blood was collected for culture from neonates with suspected sepsis. We estimated the incidence and pattern of community-acquired neonatal bacteremia and determined the antibiotic susceptibility profile of pathogens.
The incidence rate of community-acquired neonatal bacteremia was 3.0 per 1000 person–neonatal periods. Among the 30 pathogens identified, the most common was Staphylococcus aureus (n = 10); half of all isolates were gram positive. Nine were resistant to ampicillin and gentamicin or to ceftiaxone, and 13 were resistant to cotrimoxazole.
S. aureus was the most common pathogen to cause community-acquired neonatal bacteremia. Nearly 40% of infections were identified on days 0–3, emphasizing the need to address maternal and environmental sources of infection. The combination of parenteral procaine benzyl penicillin and an aminoglycoside is recommended for the first-line treatment of serious community-acquired neonatal infections in rural Bangladesh, which has a moderate level of neonatal mortality. Additional population-based data are needed to further guide national and global strategies.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00198627.
Women with antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) are at risk for recurrent miscarriage, preeclampsia and preterm labor. aPL target the placenta directly by binding to Beta2-Glycoprotein I (β2GPI) expressed on the surface of trophoblast cells. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of aPL on trophoblast function and the mechanisms involved.
Method of study
First trimester trophoblast were treated with anti-β2GPI monoclonal antibodies and patient-derived aPL, after which cell survival and function was evaluated.
We report that anti-β2GPI antibodies trigger an inflammatory response in trophoblast, characterized by increased secretion of IL-8, MCP-1, GRO-α and IL-1β, and that this occurs in a TLR-4/MyD88-dependent manner. At high concentrations, these antibodies also induce caspase-mediated cell death. This was attenuated upon disabling of the MyD88 pathway, suggesting that anti-β2GPI-induced inflammatory mediators compromise trophoblast survival by acting in an autocrine/paracrine manner. Enhanced IL-8, GRO-α and IL-1β secretion also occured when trophoblast were incubated with antibodies from patients with antiphospholipid syndrome. Heparin, which acts as a pro-survival factor in human trophoblast, attenuated the anti-β2GPI antibody-mediated cell death, and also the pro-inflammatory response, but only at high concentrations.
These findings demonstrate that aPL triggers a placental inflammatory response via the TLR-4/MyD88 pathway, which in turn compromises trophoblast survival. Thus, the TLR-4/MyD88 pathway may provide a new therapeutic target to improve pregnancy outcome in antiphospholipid syndrome patients.
Apoptosis; Autoantibodies; Human; Inflammation; Toll-like receptor
A major mechanism of hypercoagulability in the antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) is antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-mediated up-regulation of tissue factor (TF) on monocytes via activation of toll-like receptors (TLR), p38 mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) and nuclear factor (NF) κB pathways. We examined whether monocyte signalling pathways are differentially activated by IgG from patients with vascular thrombosis (VT) alone compared with IgG from patients with pregnancy morbidity (PM) alone. We purified IgG from 49 subjects. A human monocyte cell line and ex vivo healthy monocytes were treated with 100μg/ml IgG for 6 hours and cell extracts examined by immunoblot using antibodies to p38MAPK and NFκB. To further investigate intracellular signalling pathways induced by these IgG, specific inhibitors of p38MAPK, NFκB, TLR4 and TLR2 were used to determine their effect on TF activity. Only IgG from patients with VT but no PM (VT+/PM−) caused phosphorylation of NFκB, p38MAPK and up-regulation of TF activity in monocytes. These effects were not seen with IgG from patients with PM alone (VT−/PM+), aPL-positive patients without APS or healthy controls. TF up-regulation caused by the VT+/PM− samples was reduced by inhibitors of p38MAPK, NFkB, and TLR4. The effects of VT+/PM− IgG on signalling and TF up-regulation were concentrated in the fraction that bound b-2-glycoprotein I. Our findings demonstrate that IgG from patients with diverse clinical manifestations of APS have differential effects upon phosphorylation of NFkB, p38MAPK and TF activity which may be mediated by differential activation of TLR4.
To explore how chronic musculoskeletal pain is managed in multidisciplinary pain clinics for patients for whom physical interventions are inappropriate or ineffective.
A qualitative study was undertaken using semi-structured interviews with twenty five members of the pain management team drawn from seven pain clinics and one pain management unit located across the UK.
All clinics reported using a multidisciplinary bio-psychosocial model. However the chronic pain management strategy actually focussed on psychological approaches in preference to physical approaches. These approaches were utilised by all practitioners irrespective of their discipline. Consideration of social elements such as access to social support networks to support patients in managing their chronic pain was conspicuously absent from the approaches used.
Pain clinic practitioners readily embraced cognitive/behavioural based management strategies but relatively little consideration to the impact social factors played in managing chronic pain was reported. Consequently multidisciplinary pain clinics espousing a bio-psychosocial model of pain management may not be achieving their maximum potential.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system manifested by cognitive and memory deterioration, a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms, behavioral disturbances, and progressive impairment of daily life activities. Current pharmacotherapies are restricted to symptomatic interventions but do not prevent progressive neuronal degeneration. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are needed to intervene with these progressive pathological processes. In the past several years adenosine, a ubiquitously released purine ribonucleoside, has become important for its neuromodulating capability and its emerging positive experimental effects in neurodegenerative diseases. Recent research suggests that adenosine receptors play important roles in the modulation of cognitive function. The present paper attempts to review published reports and data from different studies showing the evidence of a relationship between adenosinergic function and AD-related cognitive deficits. Epidemiological studies have found an association between coffee (a nonselective adenosine receptor antagonist) consumption and improved cognitive function in AD patients and in the elderly. Long-term administration of caffeine in transgenic animal models showed a reduced amyloid burden in brain with better cognitive performance. Antagonists of adenosine A2A receptors mimic these beneficial effects of caffeine on cognitive function. Neuronal cell cultures with amyloid beta in the presence of an A2A receptor antagonist completely prevented amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity. These findings suggest that the adenosinergic system constitutes a new therapeutic target for AD, and caffeine and A2A receptor antagonists may have promise to manage cognitive dysfunction in AD.
Adenosine receptor; Alzheimer’s disease; amyloid beta; caffeine; cognition; neuromodulation.
Objective. To develop an additive numerical scoring scheme for the BILAG-2004 index.
Methods. SLE patients were recruited into this multi-centre cross-sectional study. At every assessment, data were collected on disease activity and therapy. Logistic regression was used to model an increase in therapy, as an indicator of active disease, by the BILAG-2004 index score in the nine systems. As both indicate inactivity, scores of D and E were set to 0 and used as the baseline in the fitted model. The models were used to determine the numerical values for Grades A–C. Different scoring schemes were compared.
Results. There were 1510 assessments from 369 SLE patients. The coding schemes suggested for the Classic BILAG index (A = 12, B = 5, C = 1, D/E = 0 and A = 9, B = 3, C = 1, D/E = 0) did not fit the data well. A coding scheme (A = 12, B = 8, C = 1 and D/E = 0) was recommended, based on analysis results and consistency with the numerical coding scheme of the Classic BILAG index.
Conclusion. A reasonable additive numerical scoring scheme based on treatment decision for the BILAG-2004 index is A = 12, B = 8, C = 1, D = 0 and E = 0.
SLE; Outcome measures; Disease activity; BILAG-2004; Statistics; Global score; Regression model; Treatment decision