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1.  ADORA2A polymorphism predisposes children to encephalopathy with febrile status epilepticus 
Neurology  2013;80(17):1571-1576.
Acute encephalopathy with biphasic seizures and late reduced diffusion (AESD) is a childhood encephalopathy following severe febrile seizures, leaving neurologic sequelae in many patients. However, its pathogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we clarified that genetic variation in the adenosine A2A receptor (ADORA2A), whose activation is involved in excitotoxicity, may be a predisposing factor of AESD.
We analyzed 4 ADORA2A single nucleotide polymorphisms in 85 patients with AESD. The mRNA expression in brain samples, mRNA and protein expression in lymphoblasts, as well as the production of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) by lymphoblasts in response to adenosine were compared among ADORA2A diplotypes.
Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were completely linked, which resulted in 2 haplotypes, A and B. Haplotype A (C at rs2298383, T at rs5751876, deletion at rs35320474, and C at rs4822492) frequency in patients was significantly higher than in controls (p = 0.005). Homozygous haplotype A (AA diplotype) had a higher risk of developing AESD (odds ratio 2.32, 95% confidence interval 1.32–4.08; p = 0.003) via a recessive model. mRNA expression was significantly higher in AA than AB and BB diplotypes, both in the brain (p = 0.003 and 0.002, respectively) and lymphoblasts (p = 0.035 and 0.003, respectively). In lymphoblasts, ADORA2A protein expression (p = 0.024), as well as cellular cAMP production (p = 0.0006), was significantly higher in AA than BB diplotype.
AA diplotype of ADORA2A is associated with AESD and may alter the intracellular adenosine/cAMP cascade, thereby promoting seizures and excitotoxic brain damage in patients.
PMCID: PMC3662331  PMID: 23535492
2.  Epigenetic therapy with 3-deazaneplanocin A, an inhibitor of the histone methyltransferase EZH2, inhibits growth of non-small cell lung cancer cells 
EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog 2) is the catalytic subunit of PRC2 (polycomb repressive complex 2), which mediates histone methyltransferase activity and functions as transcriptional repressor involved in gene silencing. EZH2 is involved in malignant transformation and biological aggressiveness of several human malignancies. We previously demonstrated that non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) also overexpress EZH2 and that high expression of EZH2 correlates with poor prognosis. Growing evidence indicates that EZH2 may be an appropriate therapeutic target in malignancies, including NSCLCs. Recently, an S-adenosyl-L homocysteine hydrolase inhibitor, 3-Deazaneplanocin A (DZNep), has been shown to deplete and inhibit EZH2. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of DZNep in NSCLC cells. Knockdown of EZH2 by small-interfering RNA (siRNA) resulted in decreased growth of four NSCLC cell lines. MTT assays demonstrated that DZNep treatment resulted in dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation in the NSCLC cell lines with a half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) ranging from 0.08 to 0.24 μM. Immortalized but non-cancerous bronchial epithelial and fibroblast cell lines were less sensitive to DZNep than the NSCLC cell lines. Soft agarose assays demonstrated that anchorage-independent growth was also reduced in all three NSCLC cell lines that were evaluated using this assay. Flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that DZNep induced apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest in NSCLC cells, which was partially associated with cyclin A decrease and p27Kip1 accumulation. DZNep depleted cellular levels of EZH2 and inhibited the associated histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation. These results indicated that an epigenetic therapy that pharmacologically targets EZH2 via DZNep may constitute a novel approach to treatment of NSCLCs.
PMCID: PMC3472089  PMID: 22925699
3-deazaneplanocin A (DZNep); polycomb-group protein; EZH2; non-small cell lung cancer; epigenetics; proliferation; apoptosis
3.  Structural equation modeling of factors contributing to quality of life in Japanese patients with multiple sclerosis 
BMC Neurology  2013;13:10.
To improve quality of life (QOL) in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), it is important to decrease disability and prevent relapse. The aim of this study was to examine the causal and mutual relationships contributing to QOL in Japanese patients with MS, develop path diagrams, and explore interventions with the potential to improve patient QOL.
Data of 163 Japanese MS patients were obtained using the Functional Assessment of MS (FAMS) and Nottingham Adjustment Scale-Japanese version (NAS-J) tests, as well as four additional factors that affect QOL (employment status, change of income, availability of disease information, and communication with medical staff). Data were then used in structural equation modeling to develop path diagrams for factors contributing to QOL.
The Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score had a significant effect on the total FAMS score. Although EDSS negatively affected the FAMS symptom score, NAS-J subscale scores of anxiety/depression and acceptance were positively related to the FAMS symptom score. Changes in employment status after MS onset negatively affected all NAS-J scores. Knowledge of disease information improved the total NAS-J score, which in turn improved many FAMS subscale scores. Communication with doctors and nurses directly and positively affected some FAMS subscale scores.
Disability and change in employment status decrease patient QOL. However, the present findings suggest that other factors, such as acquiring information on MS and communicating with medical staff, can compensate for the worsening of QOL.
PMCID: PMC3560116  PMID: 23339479
Multiple sclerosis; Quality of life; Structural equation modeling; Severity; Treatment; and Intervention
4.  Expression of Bim, Noxa, and Puma in non-small cell lung cancer 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:286.
The BH3-only members of the Bcl-2 protein family have been proposed to play a key role in the control of apoptosis and in the initiation of the apoptotic pathways. In this study, we evaluated the expression of Bim, Noxa, and Puma in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
A total of 135 surgically resected NSCLCs were immunohistochemically assessed for Bim, Noxa, and Puma expression. The immunoscores were determined, and then its correlation with either the clinicopathological variables or the survival outcomes were analyzed.
Immunohistochemical reactivity for Bim, Noxa, and Puma was detected in the cytoplasm of the tumor cells. Bim expression was associated with several clinicopathological factors, including sex (p < 0.001), smoking habit (p = 0.03), pathological histology (p = 0.001), pathological T stage (p = 0.03), pathological disease stage (p = 0.02), and differentiation of tumor (p < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed a significant correlation between low Bim expression and squamous cell carcinoma (p = 0.04), in addition to a correlation between high Bim expression and well differentiated tumors (p = 0.02). Analysis of cellular biological expression demonstrated a link between low Bim expression and high Ki67. While Noxa expression was also shown to be correlated with both smoking habit (p = 0.02) and the pathological histology (p = 0.03), there was no strong association observed between the expression and the clinical features when they were examined by a multivariate logistic regression analysis. No correlations were noted between Puma expression and any of the variables. Our analyses also indicated that the expression levels of the BH3-only proteins were not pertinent to the survival outcome.
The current analyses demonstrated that Bim expression in the NSCLCs was associated with both squamous cell carcinoma histology and tumor proliferation.
PMCID: PMC3438016  PMID: 22788963
5.  γ-Secretase inhibitor enhances antitumour effect of radiation in Notch-expressing lung cancer 
British Journal of Cancer  2012;106(12):1953-1959.
Notch receptor has an important role in both development and cancer. We previously reported that inhibition of the Notch3 by γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) induces apoptosis and suppresses tumour proliferation in non-small-cell lung cancer. Although radiation is reported to induce Notch activation, little is known about the relationship between radiation and Notch pathway.
We examined the effect of combining GSI and radiation at different dosing in three Notch expressing lung cancer cell lines. The cytotoxic effect of GSI and radiation was evaluated using MTT assay and clonogenic assay in vitro and xenograft models. Expressions of Notch pathway, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway and Bcl-2 family proteins were investigated using western blot analysis.
We discovered that the antitumour effect of combining GSI and radiation was dependent on treatment schedule. γ-Secretase inhibitor administration after radiation had the greatest growth inhibition of lung cancer in vitro and in vivo. We showed that the combination induced apoptosis of lung cancer cell lines through the regulation of MAPK and Bcl-2 family proteins. Furthermore, activation of Notch after radiation was ameliorated by GSI administration, suggesting that treatment with GSI prevents Notch-induced radiation resistance.
Notch has an important role in lung cancer. Treatment with GSI after radiation can significantly enhance radiation-mediated tumour cytotoxicity.
PMCID: PMC3388558  PMID: 22596234
Notch; γ-secretase inhibitor; radiation; apoptosis; non-small-cell lung cancer
6.  Secondary prevention of stroke: Pleiotropic effects of optimal oral pharmacotherapy 
Stroke is a major cause of mortality and disability worldwide. During the past three decades, major advances have occurred in secondary prevention, which have demonstrated the broader potential for the prevention of stroke. Risk factors for stroke include previous stroke or transient ischemic attack, hypertension, high blood cholesterol and diabetes. Proven secondary prevention strategies are anti-platelet agents, antihypertensive drugs, statins and glycemic control. In the present review, we evaluated the secondary prevention of stroke in light of clinical studies and discuss new pleiotropic effects beyond the original effects and emerging clinical evidence, with a focus on the effect of optimal oral pharmacotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3460248  PMID: 23060914
stroke; secondary prevention; oral pharmacotherapy; pleiotropic effects
7.  Beyond free radical scavenging: Beneficial effects of edaravone (Radicut) in various diseases (Review) 
Free radicals play an important role in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases; thus, they are an attractive target for therapeutic intervention in these diseases. Compounds capable of scavenging free radicals have been developed for this purpose and some, developed for the treatment of cerebral ischemic stroke, have progressed to clinical trials. One such scavenger, edaravone, is used to treat patients within 24 h of stroke. Edaravone, which can diffuse into many disease-affected organs, also shows protective effects in the heart, lung, intestine, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and testis. As well as scavenging free radicals, edaravone has anti-apoptotic, anti-necrotic and anti-cytokine effects in various diseases. Here, we critically review the literature on its clinical efficacy and examine whether edaravone should be considered a candidate for worldwide development, focusing on its effects on diseases other than cerebral infarction. Edaravone has been safely used as a free radical scavenger for more than 10 years; we propose that edaravone may offer a novel treatment option for several diseases.
PMCID: PMC3438756  PMID: 22969835
cerebral infarction; edaravone; Radicut; free radical scavenger; non-neurologic disease
8.  HMGB1 as a therapeutic target in spinal cord injury: A hypothesis for novel therapy development 
Historically, clinical outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI) have been dismal. Severe SCI leads to devastating neurological deficits, and there is no treatment available that restores the injury-induced loss of function to a degree that an independent life can be guaranteed. To address all the issues associated with SCI, a multidisciplinary approach is required, as it is unlikely that a single approach, such as surgical intervention, pharmacotherapy or cellular transplantation, will suffice. High mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is an inflammatory cytokine. Various studies have shown that HMGB1 plays a critical role in SCI and that inhibition of HMGB1 release may be a novel therapeutic target for SCI and may support spinal cord repair. In addition, HMGB1 has been associated with graft rejection in the early phase. Therefore, HMGB1 may be a promising therapeutic target for SCI transplant patients. We hypothesize that inhibition of HMGB1 release rescues patients with SCI. Taken together, our findings suggest that anti-HMGB1 monoclonal antibodies or short hairpin RNA-mediated HMGB1 could be administered for spinal cord repair in SCI patients.
PMCID: PMC3440833  PMID: 22977572
high mobility group box 1; spinal cord injury; transplantation
9.  Comparison of the Pharmacodynamics of Biapenem in Bronchial Epithelial Lining Fluid in Healthy Volunteers Given Half-Hour and Three-Hour Intravenous Infusions▿  
The time above the MIC (T>MIC) is the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) parameter that correlates with the therapeutic efficacy of beta-lactam antibiotics. A prolonged infusion can provide plasma drug concentrations that remain above the MIC for a long period. The objective of this study was to compare the PK/PD parameters in bronchial epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of biapenem given as 0.5-h and 3-h infusions by using bronchoscopic microsampling (BMS). Six healthy adult volunteers received 0.5-h and 3-h infusions of 0.3 g of biapenem with a washout interval. BMS was performed repeatedly from 0.5 to 24 h after biapenem administration in order to determine the pharmacokinetics in bronchial ELF. The subjects received intravenous biapenem with the same regimens again and then underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) at the end of infusion in order to determine the concentration of the drug in alveolar ELF. The percentages (means ± standard deviations) of T>MIC in bronchial ELF at MICs from 0.25 to 4 μg/ml ranged from zero to 34.6% ± 5.2% after the 0.5-h infusion and from 5.1% ± 5.6% to 52.2% ± 17.0% after the 3-h infusion. The percentage of T>MIC in bronchial ELF after the 3-h infusion tended to be higher than that after the 0.5-h infusion. The concentrations of the drug in alveolar ELF after 0.5-h and 3-h infusions were 3.5 ± 1.2 μg/ml and 1.3 ± 0.3 μg/ml, respectively. The present results support the use of prolonged infusions of beta-lactam antibiotics and may provide critical information for successful treatment of lower respiratory tract infections based on PK/PD parameters in bronchial ELF.
PMCID: PMC2704648  PMID: 19380601
10.  Outbreaks of Multidrug-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Community Hospitals in Japan▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;45(3):979-989.
We previously reported an outbreak in a neurosurgery ward of catheter-associated urinary tract infection with multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain IMCJ2.S1, carrying the 6′-N-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase gene [aac(6′)-Iae]. For further epidemiologic studies, 214 clinical isolates of MDR P. aeruginosa showing resistance to imipenem (MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml), amikacin (MIC ≥ 64 μg/ml), and ciprofloxacin (MIC ≥ 4 μg/ml) were collected from 13 hospitals in the same prefecture in Japan. We also collected 70 clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa that were sensitive to one or more of these antibiotics and compared their characteristics with those of the MDR P. aeruginosa isolates. Of the 214 MDR P. aeruginosa isolates, 212 (99%) were serotype O11. We developed a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay and a slide agglutination test for detection of the aac(6′)-Iae gene and the AAC(6′)-Iae protein, respectively. Of the 212 MDR P. aeruginosa isolates, 212 (100%) and 207 (98%) were positive in the LAMP assay and in the agglutination test, respectively. Mutations of gyrA and parC genes resulting in amino acid substitutions were detected in 213 of the 214 MDR P. aeruginosa isolates (99%). Of the 214 MDR P. aeruginosa isolates, 212 showed pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns with ≥70% similarity to that of IMCJ2.S1 and 83 showed a pattern identical to that of IMCJ2.S1, indicating that clonal expansion of MDR P. aeruginosa occurred in community hospitals in this area. The methods developed in this study to detect aac(6′)-Iae were rapid and effective in diagnosing infections caused by various MDR P. aeruginosa clones.
PMCID: PMC1829129  PMID: 17122009
11.  Weight Loss by Ppc-1, a Novel Small Molecule Mitochondrial Uncoupler Derived from Slime Mold 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0117088.
Mitochondria play a key role in diverse processes including ATP synthesis and apoptosis. Mitochondrial function can be studied using inhibitors of respiration, and new agents are valuable for discovering novel mechanisms involved in mitochondrial regulation. Here, we screened small molecules derived from slime molds and other microorganisms for their effects on mitochondrial oxygen consumption. We identified Ppc-1 as a novel molecule which stimulates oxygen consumption without adverse effects on ATP production. The kinetic behavior of Ppc-1 suggests its function as a mitochondrial uncoupler. Serial administration of Ppc-1 into mice suppressed weight gain with no abnormal effects on liver or kidney tissues, and no evidence of tumor formation. Serum fatty acid levels were significantly elevated in mice treated with Ppc-1, while body fat content remained low. After a single administration, Ppc-1 distributes into various tissues of individual animals at low levels. Ppc-1 stimulates adipocytes in culture to release fatty acids, which might explain the elevated serum fatty acids in Ppc-1-treated mice. The results suggest that Ppc-1 is a unique mitochondrial regulator which will be a valuable tool for mitochondrial research as well as the development of new drugs to treat obesity.
PMCID: PMC4323345  PMID: 25668511
12.  HLA-A*33:01 as Protective Allele for Severe Dengue in a Population of Filipino Children 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0115619.
Dengue virus infection is a leading cause of morbidity among children in the Philippines in recent years. In order to investigate the association of HLA Class I and II alleles and dengue disease severity in a cohort of Filipino children, we performed a case control study in 2 hospitals in Metro Manila from June 2008 to December 2009. A total of 250 laboratory confirmed dengue patients and 300 healthy individuals aged 5 to 15 years old were typed for HLA-A, B and DRB1 alleles. The frequency of HLA-A*33:01 was significantly decreased in severe dengue (DHF/ DSS; Pc = 0.0016)) and DSS (Pc = 0.0032) compared to the background population. These findings support a previous study that this allele may confer protection against the severe form of dengue and provide the first evidence of HLA association with dengue in the Philippines. Future studies should be directed in investigating the possible mechanisms of protection.
PMCID: PMC4319754  PMID: 25659158
13.  Attentional Control and Interpretation of Facial Expression after Oxytocin Administration to Typically Developed Male Adults 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116918.
Deficits in attentional-inhibitory control have been reported to correlate to anger, hostility, and aggressive behavior; therefore, inhibitory control appears to play an important role in prosocial behavior. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated that oxytocin (OT) exerts a prosocial effect (e.g., decreasing negative behaviors, such as aggression) on humans. However, it is unknown whether the positively valenced effect of OT on sociality is associated with enhanced attentional-inhibitory control. In the present study, we hypothesized that OT enhances attentional-inhibitory control and that the positively valenced effect of OT on social cognition is associated with enhanced attentional-inhibitory control. In a single-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial, we tested this hypothesis using 20 healthy male volunteers. We considered a decrease in the hostility detection ratio, which reflects the positively valenced interpretation of other individuals’ facial expressions, to be an index of the positively valenced effects of OT (we reused the results of our previously published study). As a measure of attentional-inhibitory control, we employed a modified version of the flanker task (i.e., a shorter conflict duration indicated higher inhibitory control). These results failed to demonstrate any significant behavioral effects of OT (i.e., neither a positively valenced effect on facial cognition nor an effect on attentional-inhibitory control). However, the enhancement of attentional-inhibitory control after OT administration significantly correlated to the positively valenced effects on the interpretation of uncertain facial cognition (i.e., neutral and ambiguous facial expressions).
PMCID: PMC4319775  PMID: 25659131
14.  Human Marrow Stromal Cells Downsize the Stem Cell Fraction of Lung Cancers by Fibroblast Growth Factor 10 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2014;34(15):2848-2856.
The functional interplay between cancer cells and marrow stromal cells (MSCs) has attracted a great deal of interest due to the MSC tropism for tumors but remains to be fully elucidated. In this study, we investigated human MSC-secreted paracrine factors that appear to have critical functions in cancer stem cell subpopulations. We show that MSC-conditioned medium reduced the cancer stem cell-enriched subpopulation, which was detected as a side population and quiescent (G0) cell cycle fraction in human lung cancer cells by virtue of fibroblast growth factor 10 (FGF10). This reduction of the stem cell-enriched fraction was also observed in lung cancer cells supplemented with recombinant human FGF10 protein. Moreover, supplementary FGF10 attenuated the expression of stemness genes encoding transcription factors, such as OCT3/4 and SOX2, and crippled the self-renewal capacity of lung cancer cells, as evidenced by the impaired formation of floating spheres in the suspension culture. We finally confirmed the therapeutic potential of the FGF10 treatment, which rendered lung cancer cells prone to a chemotherapeutic agent, probably due to the reduced cancer stem cell subpopulation. Collectively, these results add further clarification to the molecular mechanisms underlying MSC-mediated cancer cell kinetics, facilitating the development of future therapies.
PMCID: PMC4135576  PMID: 24865969
15.  Cone Dystrophy in Patient with Homozygous RP1L1 Mutation 
BioMed Research International  2015;2015:545243.
The purpose of this study was to determine whether an autosomal recessive cone dystrophy was caused by a homozygous RP1L1 mutation. A family including one subject affected with cone dystrophy and four unaffected members without evidence of consanguinity underwent detailed ophthalmic evaluations. The ellipsoid and interdigitation zones on the spectral-domain optical coherence tomography images were disorganized in the proband. The proband had a reduced amplitude of cone and flicker full-field electroretinograms (ERGs). Focal macular ERGs and multifocal ERGs were severely reduced in the proband. A homozygous RP1L1 mutation (c.3628T>C, p.S1210P) was identified in the proband. Family members who were heterozygous for the p.S1210P mutation had normal visual acuity and normal results of clinical evaluations. To investigate other putative pathogenic variant(s), a next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach was applied to the proband. NGS identified missense changes in the heterozygous state of the PCDH15, RPGRIP1, and GPR98 genes. None of these variants cosegregated with the phenotype and were predicted to be benign reinforcing the putative pathogenicity of the RP1L1 homozygous mutation. The AO images showed a severe reduction of the cone density in the proband. Our findings indicate that a homozygous p.S1210P exchange in the RP1L1 gene can cause cone dystrophy.
PMCID: PMC4322316
16.  Three Cases of Organized Hematoma of the Maxillary Sinus: Clinical Features and Immunohistological Studies for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 2 Expressions 
Case Reports in Otolaryngology  2015;2015:846832.
Objectives. Organized hematoma (OH) is a rare, nonneoplastic, hemorrhagic lesion causing mucosal swelling and bone thinning, mainly in the maxillary sinus. We aimed to clarify the clinical presentation and treatment of OH. Methods. Three cases of maxillary sinus OH and a literature review are presented. Results. Three men aged 16–40 years complained of nasal obstruction, frequent epistaxis, and/or headache. Clinical and radiological examinations revealed a maxillary sinus OH. They were cured in a piecemeal fashion via endoscopic middle meatal antrostomy. Furthermore, vascular endothelial growth factor and its receptor were expressed in the lesion. Conclusions. The pathogenesis of OH is unclear and it presents various histological and imaging findings; however, it is not difficult to rule out malignant tumors. Minimally invasive surgery such as endoscopic sinus surgery can cure it completely. Thus, it is important to determine the diagnosis using CT and MRI and to quickly provide surgical treatment.
PMCID: PMC4325202
17.  Effect of Phase Shift from Corals to Zoantharia on Reef Fish Assemblages 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(1):e0116944.
Consequences of reef phase shifts on fish communities remain poorly understood. Studies on the causes, effects and consequences of phase shifts on reef fish communities have only been considered for coral-to-macroalgae shifts. Therefore, there is a large information gap regarding the consequences of novel phase shifts and how these kinds of phase shifts impact on fish assemblages. This study aimed to compare the fish assemblages on reefs under normal conditions (relatively high cover of corals) to those which have shifted to a dominance of the zoantharian Palythoa cf. variabilis on coral reefs in Todos os Santos Bay (TSB), Brazilian eastern coast. We examined eight reefs, where we estimated cover of corals and P. cf. variabilis and coral reef fish richness, abundance and body size. Fish richness differed significantly between normal reefs (48 species) and phase-shift reefs (38 species), a 20% reduction in species. However there was no difference in fish abundance between normal and phase shift reefs. One fish species, Chaetodon striatus, was significantly less abundant on normal reefs. The differences in fish assemblages between different reef phases was due to differences in trophic groups of fish; on normal reefs carnivorous fishes were more abundant, while on phase shift reefs mobile invertivores dominated.
PMCID: PMC4309678  PMID: 25629532
18.  Splenic CD11c(+) cells derived from semi-immune mice protect naïve mice against experimental cerebral malaria 
Malaria Journal  2015;14:23.
Immunity to malaria requires innate, adaptive immune responses and Plasmodium-specific memory cells. Previously, mice semi-immune to malaria was developed. Three cycles of infection and cure (‘three-cure’) were required to protect mice against Plasmodium berghei (ANKA strain) infection.
C57BL/6 J mice underwent three cycles of P. berghei infection and drug-cure to become semi-immune. The spleens of infected semi-immune mice were collected for flow cytometry analysis. CD11c(+) cells of semi-immune mice were isolated and transferred into naïve mice which were subsequently challenged and followed up by survival and parasitaemia.
The percentages of splenic CD4(+) and CD11c(+) cells were increased in semi-immune mice on day 7 post-infection. The proportion and number of B220(+)CD11c(+)low cells (plasmacytoid dendritic cells, DCs) was higher in semi-immune, three-cure mice than in their naïve littermates on day 7 post-infection (2.6 vs 1.1% and 491,031 vs 149,699, respectively). In adoptive transfer experiment, three months after the third cured P. berghei infection, splenic CD11c(+) DCs of non-infected, semi-immune, three-cure mice slowed Plasmodium proliferation and decreased the death rate due to neurological pathology in recipient mice. In addition, anti-P. berghei IgG1 level was higher in mice transferred with CD11c(+) cells of semi-immune, three-cure mice than mice transferred with CD11c(+) cells of naïve counterparts.
CD11c(+) cells of semi-immune mice protect against experimental cerebral malaria three months after the third cured malaria, potentially through protective plasmacytoid DCs and enhanced production of malaria-specific antibody.
PMCID: PMC4318192  PMID: 25626734
Semi-immune; CD11c(+) DCs; Plasmacytoid DCs; Cerebral malaria; Malaria-specific antibody
19.  Wnt5a promotes cancer cell invasion and proliferation by receptor-mediated endocytosis-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8042.
Wnt5a activates the Wnt/β-catenin-independent pathway and its overexpression is associated with tumor aggressiveness enhancing invasive activity. For this action, Wnt5a-induced receptor endocytosis with clathrin is required. Wnt5a expression was previously believed to be associated with cancer cell motility but not proliferation. Recently, it was reported that Wnt5a is also implicated in cancer cell proliferation, but the mechanism was not clear. In this study, we generated a neutralizing anti-Wnt5a monoclonal antibody (mAb5A16) to investigate the mechanism by which Wnt5a regulates cancer cell proliferation. Wnt5a stimulated both invasion and proliferation of certain types of cancer cells, including HeLaS3 cervical cancer cells and A549 lung cancer cells although Wnt5a promoted invasion but not proliferation in other cancer cells such as KKLS gastric cancer cells. mAb5A16 did not affect the binding of Wnt5a to its receptor, but it suppressed Wnt5a-induced receptor-mediated endocytosis. mAb5A16 inhibited invasion but not proliferation of HeLaS3 and A549 cells. Wnt5a activated Src family kinases (SFKs) and Wnt5a-dependent cancer cell proliferation was dependent on SFKs, yet blockade of receptor-mediated endocytosis did not affect cancer cell proliferation and SFK activity. These results suggest that Wnt5a promotes invasion and proliferation of certain types of cancer cells through receptor-mediated endocytosis-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively.
PMCID: PMC4306915  PMID: 25622531
20.  Ghana’s Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care (EMBRACE) program: study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2015;16:22.
The United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals call for improving maternal and child health status. Their progress, however, has been minimal and uneven across countries. The continuum of care is a key to strengthening maternal, newborn, and child health. In this context, the Japanese government launched the Ghana Ensure Mothers and Babies Regular Access to Care (EMBRACE) Implementation Research Project in collaboration with the Ghanaian government. This study aims to evaluate the implementation process and effects of an intervention to increase the continuum of care for maternal, newborn, and child health status in Ghana.
We will conduct a cluster randomized controlled trial using an effectiveness-implementation hybrid design in Dodowa, Kintampo, and Navrongo, Ghana. We will provide an intervention package to women living in randomly allocated intervention clusters. The study population is women of reproductive age between the ages of 15 and 49 years. The package includes: 1) use of a new continuum of care card, 2) continuum of care orientation for health workers, 3) 24-hour health facility retention of mothers and newborns after delivery, and 4) postnatal care by home visits. We will measure maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes for both intervention and implementation impacts. The intervention outcomes are continuum of care completion rate, rate of postnatal care within 48 hours, complication rate requiring mothers' and newborns' hospitalizations, and perinatal and neonatal mortality. The implementation outcomes are intervention coverage of the target population, intervention adoption and fidelity, implementation cost, and sustainability.
In this trial, we will investigate how successful continuum of care can contribute to improving maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes. If successful, this model will then be implemented further in Ghana and other neighboring countries.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN90618993. Registered on 3 September 2014.
PMCID: PMC4324027
Continuum of Care; Maternal; Newborn; and Child Health Outcomes; Ghana
21.  Cost-effectiveness of adding rituximab to splenectomy and romiplostim for treating steroid-resistant idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura in adults 
Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is an autoimmune disease in which the platelet count falls to <100 × 109/L. Corticosteroids are recommended as the first-line treatment, splenectomy is recommended as the second-line treatment, and thrombopoietin receptor agonists (TPO-RAs) and rituximab are recommended as the third-line treatments for ITP in Japanese ITP treatment guidelines. However, in Japan, rituximab is not eligible for reimbursement for the treatment of ITP. The cost-effectiveness of ITP treatment has not been investigated in Japan. Therefore, in this study, the cost-effectiveness of adding rituximab treatment to the existing treatments indicated for ITP in Japan, namely splenectomy and the TPO-RA romiplostim, was investigated based on the scenario that rituximab is eligible for reimbursement in Japan as a treatment for ITP.
The efficacy endpoint was set as the number of years with a platelet count ≥30 × 109/L. The analysis was conducted from the healthcare payer’s perspective. If the first treatment is ineffective or relapse occurs, then the patient is given the following treatment. The analyzed treatment order consisted of three patterns: splenectomy-romiplostim (sequence 1), splenectomy-romiplostim-rituximab (sequence 2), and splenectomy-rituximab-romiplostim (sequence 3). A Markov model was built for ITP, and the analysis period was set as 2 years. The discount rate was an annual rate of 2%.
Sensitivity analyses of the efficacy of splenectomy, romiplostim, and rituximab; treatment cost; and romiplostim dose were performed.
The expected costs per patient over a 2-year period for sequences 1, 2, and 3 were USD 40,980, USD 39,822, and USD 33,551, respectively. The expected years with a platelet count ≥30 × 109/L for the three sequences were 1.75, 1.79, and 1.78 years, respectively. The sensitivity analyses illustrated that the results of the base case analysis were robust.
Adding rituximab to standard treatment for ITP (sequences 2–3) is less costly and marginally more effective than standard therapy in adults. According to the study results, if rituximab is reimbursed for the treatment of ITP in Japan, medical expenses are expected to decline.
PMCID: PMC4307915  PMID: 25609557
ITP; Splenectomy; Romiplostim; Rituximab; Cost-effectiveness
22.  Peripheral blood CD4+CD25+CD127low regulatory T cells are significantly increased by tocilizumab treatment in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: increase in regulatory T cells correlates with clinical response 
Tocilizumab (TCZ), an anti-interleukin-6 receptor antibody, is clinically effective against rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and several reports have indicated how TCZ influences a number of mechanisms underlying RA pathogenesis. However, it is still unclear whether TCZ affects inflammatory cells in peripheral blood and whether any such changes are associated with clinical response. We evaluated associations between proportions of subsets of peripheral immune cells and clinical response in patients with RA treated with TCZ.
Thirty-nine consecutive patients with RA who started to receive TCZ as their first biologic between March 2010 and April 2012 were enrolled. The proportions of several subsets of peripheral cells with their levels of expression of differentiation markers, activation markers and costimulatory molecules were measured sequentially from baseline to week 52 by flow cytometry analysis.
Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) remission was achieved in 53.8% of patients at week 52 of TCZ therapy. The proportions of CD4+CD25+CD127low regulatory T cells (Treg) and HLA-DR+ activated Treg cells significantly increased with TCZ therapy (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively), whereas proportions of CD3+CD4+CXCR3−CCR6+CD161+ T helper 17 cells did not change over the 52 weeks. The proportions of CD20+CD27+ memory B cells, HLA-DR+CD14+ and CD69+CD14+ activated monocytes, and CD16+CD14+ monocytes significantly decreased (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). Among them, only the change in Treg cells was inversely correlated with the change in CDAI score (ρ = −0.40, P = 0.011). The most dynamic increase in Treg cells was observed in the CDAI remission group (P < 0.001).
This study demonstrates that TCZ affected proportions of circulating immune cells in patients with RA. The proportion of Treg cells among CD4+ cells correlated well with clinical response.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0526-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4332922  PMID: 25604867
23.  Transplanted Bone Marrow–Derived Circulating PDGFRα+ Cells Restore Type VII Collagen in Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Mouse Skin Graft 
Recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB) is an intractable genetic blistering skin disease in which the epithelial structure easily separates from the underlying dermis because of genetic loss of functional type VII collagen (Col7) in the cutaneous basement membrane zone. Recent studies have demonstrated that allogeneic bone marrow transplantation (BMT) ameliorates the skin blistering phenotype of RDEB patients by restoring Col7. However, the exact therapeutic mechanism of BMT in RDEB remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the roles of transplanted bone marrow–derived circulating mesenchymal cells in RDEB (Col7-null) mice. In wild-type mice with prior GFP-BMT after lethal irradiation, lineage-negative/GFP-positive (Lin−/GFP+) cells, including platelet-derived growth factor receptor α-positive (PDGFRα+) mesenchymal cells, specifically migrated to skin grafts from RDEB mice and expressed Col7. Vascular endothelial cells and follicular keratinocytes in the deep dermis of the skin grafts expressed SDF-1α, and the bone marrow–derived PDGFRα+ cells expressed CXCR4 on their surface. Systemic administration of the CXCR4 antagonist AMD3100 markedly decreased the migration of bone marrow–derived PDGFRα+ cells into the skin graft, resulting in persistent epidermal detachment with massive necrosis and inflammation in the skin graft of RDEB mice; without AMD3100 administration, Col7 was significantly supplemented to ameliorate the pathogenic blistering phenotype. Collectively, these data suggest that the SDF1α/CXCR4 signaling axis induces transplanted bone marrow–derived circulating PDGFRα+ mesenchymal cells to migrate and supply functional Col7 to regenerate RDEB skin.
PMCID: PMC4319308  PMID: 25601922
24.  Role of extracytoplasmic function sigma factors in biofilm formation of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
BMC Oral Health  2015;15:4.
Porphyromonas gingivalis has been implicated as a major pathogen in the development and progression of chronic periodontitis. P. gingivalis biofilm formation in the subgingival crevice plays an important role in the ability of the bacteria to tolerate stress signals outside the cytoplasmic membrane. Some bacteria use a distinct subfamily of sigma factors to regulate their extracytoplasmic functions (the ECF subfamily). The objective of this study was to determine if P. gingivalis ECF sigma factors affect P. gingivalis biofilm formation.
To elucidate the role of ECF sigma factors in P. gingivalis, chromosomal mutants carrying a disruption of each ECF sigma factor-encoding gene were constructed. Bacterial growth curves were measured by determining the turbidity of bacterial cultures. The quantity of biofilm growing on plates was evaluated by crystal violet staining.
Comparison of the growth curves of wild-type P. gingivalis strain 33277 and the ECF mutants indicated that the growth rate of the mutants was slightly lower than that of the wild-type strain. The PGN_0274- and PGN_1740-defective mutants had increased biofilm formation compared with the wild-type (p < 0.001); however, the other ECF sigma factor mutants or the complemented strains did not enhance biofilm formation.
These results suggest that PGN_0274 and PGN_1740 play a key role in biofilm formation by P. gingivalis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1472-6831-15-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4324044  PMID: 25596817
Extracytoplasmic function sigma factor; Biofilm; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Periodontal disease
25.  Development of an ecological momentary assessment scale for appetite 
An understanding of eating behaviors is an important element of health education and treatment in clinical populations. To understand the biopsychosocial profile of eating behaviors in an ecologically valid way, ecological momentary assessment (EMA) is appropriate because its use is able to overcome the recall bias in patient-reported outcomes (PROs). As appetite is a key PRO associated with eating behaviors, this study was done to develop an EMA scale to evaluate the within-individual variation of momentary appetite and uses this scale to discuss the relationships between appetite and various psychological factors.
Twenty healthy participants (age 23.6 ± 4.2 years old) wore a watch-type computer for a week. Several times a day, including just before and after meals, they recorded their momentary psychological stress, mood states, and ten items related to appetite. In addition, they recorded everything they ate and drank into a personal digital assistant (PDA)-based food diary. Multilevel factor analysis was used to investigate the factor structure of the scale, and the reliability and validity of the scale were also explored.
Multilevel factor analyses found two factors at the within-individual level (hunger/fullness and cravings) and one factor at the between-individual level. Medians for the individually calculated Cronbach’s alphas were 0.89 for hunger/fullness, 0.71 for cravings, and 0.86 for total appetite (the sum of all items). Hunger/fullness, cravings, and total appetite all decreased significantly after meals compared with those before meals, and hunger/fullness, cravings, and total appetite before meals were positively associated with energy intake. There were significant negative associations between both hunger/fullness and total appetite and anxiety and depression as well as between cravings, and depression, anxiety and stress.
The within-individual reliability of the EMA scale to assess momentary appetite was confirmed in most subjects and it was also validated as a useful tool to understand eating behaviors in daily settings. Further refinement of the scale is necessary and further investigations need to be conducted, particularly on clinical populations.
PMCID: PMC4302437  PMID: 25614760
Appetite; Ecological momentary assessment; Food diary; Multilevel factor analysis

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