The mechanisms regulating memory CD8+ T cell function and homeostasis during ageing are unclear. CD8+ effector memory T cells that re-express CD45RA (EMRA T cells) increase considerably in older humans and both ageing and persistent cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection are independent factors in this process. We used MHC class I tetrameric complexes that were mutated in the CD8 binding domain to identify CMV-specific CD8+ T cells with high antigen binding avidity. In individuals who were HLA-A*0201, CD8+ T cells that expressed CD45RA and were specific for the pp65 protein (NLV epitope) had lower avidity than those that expressed CD45RO and demonstrated decreased cytokine secretion and cytolytic potential after specific activation. Furthermore, low avidity NLV-specific CD8+ T cells were significantly increased in older individuals. The stimulation of blood leukocytes with CMV lysate induced high levels of IFNα that in turn induced IL-15 production. Moreover, the addition of IL-15 to CD45RA−CD45RO+ CMV-specific CD8+ T cells induced CD45RA expression while antigen activated cells remained CD45RO+. This raises the possibility that non-specific cytokine driven accumulation of CMV-specific CD8+ CD45RA+ T cells with lower antigen binding avidity may exacerbate the effects of viral re-activation on skewing the T cell repertoire in CMV infected individuals during ageing.
A small library of boron cluster and metallacarborane cluster-based ligands was designed, prepared and tested for isoform-selective activation or inhibition of the three nitric oxide synthase isoforms. Based on the concept of creating a hydrophobic analog of a natural substrate, a stable and non-toxic basic boron cluster system, previously used for boron neutron capture therapy, was modified by the addition of positively charged moieties to its periphery, providing hydrophobic and non-classical hydrogen bonding interactions with the protein. Several of these compounds show efficacy for inhibition of NO synthesis with differential effects on the various nitric oxide synthase isoforms.
Nitric oxide synthase; Isoform-specific affectors; Boron clusters; Metallacarboranes; Cobalt bis(dicarbollide)
The positive associations between education and health and survival are well established, but whether the strength of these associations depends on gender is not. Is the beneficial influence of education on survival and on self-rated health conditioned by gender in the same way, in opposite ways, or not at all? Because women are otherwise disadvantaged in socioeconomic resources that are inputs to health, their health and survival may depend more on education than will men’s. To test this hypothesis, we use data from the National Health Interview Survey-Linked Mortality Files (NHIS-LMF). We find that education’s beneficial influence on feeling healthy and on survival are conditional on gender, but in opposite ways. Education has a larger effect on women’s self-rated health than on men’s, but a larger effect on men’s mortality. To further examine the mortality results, we examine specific causes of death. We find that the conditional effect is largest for deaths from lung cancer, respiratory disease, stroke, homicide, suicide, and accidents. Because women report worse health, but men’s mortality is higher, education closes the gender gap in both health and mortality.
Education; Gender; Self-rated health; Mortality
Coronaviruses selectively package genomic RNA into assembled virions, despite the great molar excess of subgenomic RNA species that is present in infected cells. The genomic packaging signal (PS) for the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) was originally identified as an element that conferred packaging capability to defective interfering RNAs. The MHV PS is an RNA structure that maps to the region of the replicase gene encoding the nonstructural protein 15 subunit of the viral replicase-transcriptase complex. To begin to understand the role and mechanism of action of the MHV PS in its native genomic locus, we constructed viral mutants in which this cis-acting element was altered, deleted, or transposed. Our results demonstrated that the PS is pivotal in the selection of viral genomic RNA for incorporation into virions. Mutants in which PS RNA secondary structure was disrupted or entirely ablated packaged large quantities of subgenomic RNAs, in addition to genomic RNA. Moreover, the PS retained its function when displaced to an ectopic site in the genome. Surprisingly, the PS was not essential for MHV viability, nor did its elimination have a severe effect on viral growth. However, the PS was found to provide a distinct selective advantage to MHV. Viruses containing the PS readily outcompeted their otherwise isogenic counterparts lacking the PS.
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the leading cause of dementia and represents a significant burden on the global economy and society. The role of transition metals, in particular copper (Cu), in AD has become of significant interest due to the dyshomeostasis of these essential elements, which can impart profound effects on cell viability and neuronal function. We tested the hypothesis that there is a systemic perturbation in Cu compartmentalization in AD, within the brain as well as in the periphery, specifically within erythrocytes. Our results showed that the previously reported decrease in Cu within the human frontal cortex was confined to the soluble (P < 0.05) and total homogenate (P < 0.05) fractions. No differences were observed in Cu concentration in erythrocytes. Our data indicate that there is a brain specific alteration in Cu levels in AD localized to the soluble extracted material, which is not reflected in erythrocytes. Further studies using metalloproteomics approaches will be able to elucidate the metabolic mechanism(s) that results in the decreased brain Cu levels during the progression of AD.
To assess regional patterns of gray and white matter atrophy in familial Alzheimer disease (FAD) mutation carriers.
A total of 192 participants with volumetric T1-weighted MRI, genotyping, and clinical diagnosis were available from the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network. Of these, 69 were presymptomatic mutation carriers, 50 were symptomatic carriers (31 with Clinical Dementia Rating [CDR] = 0.5, 19 with CDR > 0.5), and 73 were noncarriers from the same families. Voxel-based morphometry was used to identify cross-sectional group differences in gray matter and white matter volume.
Significant differences in gray matter (p < 0.05, family-wise error–corrected) were observed between noncarriers and mildly symptomatic (CDR = 0.5) carriers in the thalamus and putamen, as well as in the temporal lobe, precuneus, and cingulate gyrus; the same pattern, but with more extensive changes, was seen in those with CDR > 0.5. Significant white matter differences between noncarriers and symptomatic carriers were observed in the cingulum and fornix; these form input and output connections to the medial temporal lobe, cingulate, and precuneus. No differences between noncarriers and presymptomatic carriers survived correction for multiple comparisons, but there was a trend for decreased gray matter in the thalamus for carriers closer to their estimated age at onset. There were no significant increases of gray or white matter in asymptomatic or symptomatic carriers compared to noncarriers.
Atrophy in FAD is observed early, both in areas commonly associated with sporadic Alzheimer disease and also in the putamen and thalamus, 2 regions associated with early amyloid deposition in FAD mutation carriers.
Eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs both evolved lineages of huge terrestrial herbivores. Although significantly more saurischian dinosaurs were giants than eutherians, the long bones of both taxa scale similarly and suggest that locomotion was dynamically similar. However, articular cartilage is thin in eutherian mammals but thick in saurischian dinosaurs, differences that could have contributed to, or limited, how frequently gigantism evolved. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that sub-articular bone, which supports the articular cartilage, changes shape in different ways between terrestrial mammals and dinosaurs with increasing size. Our sample consisted of giant mammal and reptile taxa (i.e., elephants, rhinos, sauropods) plus erect and non-erect outgroups with thin and thick articular cartilage. Our results show that eutherian mammal sub-articular shape becomes narrow with well-defined surface features as size increases. In contrast, this region in saurischian dinosaurs expands and remains gently convex with increasing size. Similar trends were observed in non-erect outgroup taxa (monotremes, alligators), showing that the trends we report are posture-independent. These differences support our hypothesis that sub-articular shape scales differently between eutherian mammals and saurischian dinosaurs. Our results show that articular cartilage thickness and sub-articular shape are correlated. In mammals, joints become ever more congruent and thinner with increasing size, whereas archosaur joints remained both congruent and thick, especially in sauropods. We suggest that gigantism occurs less frequently in mammals, in part, because joints composed of thin articular cartilage can only become so congruent before stress cannot be effectively alleviated. In contrast, frequent gigantism in saurischian dinosaurs may be explained, in part, by joints with thick articular cartilage that can deform across large areas with increasing load.
Glucocorticoid receptor (GR) ontogeny and distribution in postnatal rat brain have been demonstrated, but onset and distribution of GR gene expression during fetal life has not been reported. This study focuses on the distribution of GR-mRNA in the fetal and postnatal rat fore-brain, with emphasis on hypothalamic and limbic structures. Time pregnant rats were decapitated at 8:30–9:30 AM on Gestational Days 14 (F14), F16, F17, F18, and F19. Postnatally, rats were sacrificed on Days 1, 4, 6,10, and 16. Cryostat sections were subjected to in situ hybridization, using a cRNA probe directed to the GR-mRNA. GR-mRNA was detectible in the hippocampo-septal formation as early as F14. By F16, GR gene expression was evident in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) as well. During late gestation (F17–F19), GR-mRNA was localized also in the thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, and discrete cortical regions. Postnatally, GR-mRNA abundance was high in the PVN, CA1/CA2 hippocampal field, piriform cortex and dorsal endopiriform nucleus, specific amygdaloid nuclei, and the suprachiasmatic nucleus. In PVN, GR-mRNA was present prior to the onset of CRH gene expression (F17), which may suggest a role for GR in neuronal differentiation.
The ability to design biomaterials that interact with biological environments in a predictable manner necessitates an improved understanding of how surface chemistry influences events such as protein adsorption and cell adhesion. In this work, we examined mechanisms governing the interactions between 3T3 fibroblasts and nylon-3 polymers, which have a protein-like polyamide backbone and are highly amenable to tuning of chemical and physical properties. Protein adsorption and cell adhesion to a library of nylon-3 polymers were characterized and analyzed by partial least squares regression. This analysis revealed that specific chemical features of the nylon-3 polymers correlated with the extent of protein adsorption, which, in turn, correlated with cell adhesion in a serum-containing environment. In contrast, in a serum-free environment, cell adhesion could be predicted solely from chemical properties. Enzymatic treatments of 3T3 cells prior to plating indicated that proteins bound to the cell surface mediated cell-nylon-3 polymer interactions under serum-free conditions, with additional analysis suggesting that cell-associated fibronectin played a dominant role in adhesion in the absence of serum. The mechanistic insight gained from these studies can be used to inform the design of new polymer structures in addition to providing a basis for continued development of nylon-3 copolymers for tissue engineering applications.
Cell adhesion; Protein adsorption; Cell-material interactions; Nylon-3; PLSR
The Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network (DIAN) is a collaborative effort of international Alzheimer disease (AD) centers that are conducting a multifaceted prospective biomarker study in individuals at-risk for autosomal dominant AD (ADAD). DIAN collects comprehensive information and tissue in accordance with standard protocols from asymptomatic and symptomatic ADAD mutation carriers and their non-carrier family members to determine the pathochronology of clinical, cognitive, neuroimaging, and fluid biomarkers of AD. This article describes the structure, implementation, and underlying principles of DIAN, as well as the demographic features of the initial DIAN cohort.
Alzheimer disease; autosomal dominant; biomarkers of Alzheimer disease; PSEN1; PSEN2; APP; amyloid-beta; preclinical Alzheimer disease
NADPH-cytochrome P450 oxidoreductase (POR) is the primary electron donor for cytochromes P450, dehydrocholesterol reductase, heme oxygenase, and squalene monooxygenase. Human patients with specific mutations in POR exhibit severe developmental malformations including disordered steroidogenesis, sexual ambiguities and various bone defects, similar to those seen in patients with Antley-Bixler syndrome (ABS). To probe the role of POR during bone development, we generated a conditional knockout mouse (CKO) by cross breeding Porlox/lox and Dermo1 Cre mice. CKO mice were smaller than their littermate controls and exhibited significant craniofacial and long bone abnormalities. Differential staining of the CKO mice skull bases shows premature fusion of the sphenooccipital and basioccipital-exoccipital synchondroses. Class III malocclusion was noted in adult knockout mice with an unusual overgrowth of the lower incisors. Shorter long bones were observed along with a reduction in the bone volume fraction, measured by microCT, in the Por-deleted mice compared to age- and sex-matched littermate controls. Concerted up- or down-regulation of proteins in the FGF signaling pathway observed by immunohistochemistry in the tibia samples of CKO mice compared to wild type controls shows a decrease in the FGF signaling pathway. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a mouse model that recapitulates both skull and long bone defects upon Por deletion, offering an approach to study the sequelae of POR mutations. This unique model demonstrates that P450 metabolism in bone itself is potentially important for proper bone development, and that an apparent link exists between the POR and FGF signaling pathways, begging the question of how an oxidation-reduction flavoprotein affects developmental and cellular signaling processes.
Kappa opioid receptors (KOR) are believed to be involved in the pathophysiology of depression, anxiety disorders, drug abuse and alcoholism. To date, only one tracer, the kappa opioid receptor agonist [11C]GR103545, has been reported to be able to image KOR in primates. The goal of the present study was to synthesize the selective KOR antagonist [11C]LY2795050 and evaluate its potential as a PET tracer to image KOR in vivo.
In vitro binding affinity of LY2795050 was measured in radioligand competition binding assays. Ex vivo experiments were conducted using microdosing of the unlabelled ligand in Sprague-Dawley rats, as well as wild-type and KOR knock-out mice, to assess the ligand’s potential as a tracer candidate. Imaging experiments with [11C]LY2795050 in monkeys were carried out on the Focus-220 PET scanner with arterial blood input function measurement. Binding parameters were determined with kinetic modeling analysis.
LY2795050 displays full antagonist activity and high binding affinity and selectivity for KOR. Microdosing studies in rodents and ex vivo analysis of tissue concentrations with LC/MS/MS identified LY2795050 as an appropriate tracer candidate able to provide specific binding signals in vivo. [11C]LY2795050 was prepared in an average yield of 12% and >99% radiochemical purity. In rhesus monkeys, [11C]LY2795050 displayed a moderate rate of peripheral metabolism, with ∼40% of parent compound remaining at 30 min postinjection. In the brain, [11C]LY2795050 displayed fast uptake kinetics (regional activity peak times < 20 min) and an uptake pattern consistent with the distribution of KOR in primates. Pretreatment with naloxone (1 mg/kg, iv) resulted in a uniform distribution of radioactivity. Further, specific binding of [11C]LY2795050 was reduced by the selective KOR antagonist LY2456302 in a dose-dependent manner.
[11C]LY2795050 displayed favorable pharmacokinetic properties and binding profiles in vivo, and therefore is a suitable ligand for imaging the KOR in primates. This newly developed KOR antagonist tracer has since been advanced to PET imaging of KOR in humans and constitutes the first successful KOR antagonist radiotracer.
Kappa opioid receptor; Antagonist; PET; Radioligand; Synthesis
We aimed to determine the effect of surgical approach on the
histology of the femoral head following resurfacing of the hip.
We performed a histological assessment of the bone under the
femoral component taken from retrieval specimens of patients having
revision surgery following resurfacing of the hip. We compared the
number of empty lacunae in specimens from patients who had originally
had a posterior surgical approach with the number in patients having alternative
We found a statistically significant increase in the percentage
of empty lacunae in retrieval specimens from patients who had the
posterior approach compared with other surgical approaches (p <
This indicates that the vascular compromise that occurs during
the posterior surgical approach does have long-term effects on the
bone of the femoral head, even if it does not cause overt avascular
Cite this article: Bone Joint Res 2013;2:200–5.
Retrieval; Hip resurfacing; Femoral head vascularity; Histology; Nuclei counts; Avascular necrosis
Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) is a key mediator of inflammation and oxidative stress produced during pathological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases and central nervous system (CNS) injury. iNOS is responsible for the formation of high levels of nitric oxide (NO). The production of highly reactive and cytotoxic NO species, such as peroxynitrite, plays an important role in secondary tissue damage. We have previously demonstrated that acute administration of iNOS antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) 3 h after moderate contusive spinal cord injury (SCI) potently inhibits iNOS-mediated increases in NO levels, leading to reduced blood–spinal cord barrier permeability, decreased neutrophil accumulation, and less neuronal cell death. In the current study we investigated if iNOS ASOs could also provide long-term (10-week) histological and behavioral improvements after moderate thoracic T8 contusive SCI. Adult rats were randomly assigned to three groups (n=10/group): SCI alone, SCI and mixed base control oligonucleotides (MBOs), or SCI and iNOS ASOs (200 nM). Oligonucleotides were administered by spinal superfusion 3 h after injury. Behavioral analysis (Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan [BBB] score and subscore) was employed weekly for 10 weeks post-SCI. Although animals treated with iNOS ASOs demonstrated no significant differences in BBB scores compared to controls, subscore analysis revealed a significant improvement in foot positioning, trunk stability, and tail clearance. Histologically, while no gross improvement in preserved white and gray matter was observed, greater numbers of surviving neurons were present adjacent to the lesion site in iNOS ASO-treated animals than controls. These results support the effectiveness of targeting iNOS acutely as a therapeutic approach after SCI.
neuronal cell death; nitric oxide; nitric oxide synthase; oligonucleotides; spinal cord injury
Periprosthetic infection about the knee is a devastating complication that may affect between 1% and 5% of knee replacement. With over 79 000 knee replacements being implanted each year in the UK, periprosthetic infection (PJI) is set to become an important burden of disease and cost to the healthcare economy. One of the important controversies in treatment of PJI is whether a single stage revision operation is superior to a two-stage procedure. This study sought to systematically evaluate the published evidence to determine which technique had lowest reinfection rates.
A systematic review of the literature was undertaken using the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases with the aim to identify existing studies that present the outcomes of each surgical technique. Reinfection rate was the primary outcome measure. Studies of specific subsets of patients such as resistant organisms were excluded.
63 studies were identified that met the inclusion criteria. The majority of which (58) were reports of two-stage revision. Reinfection rated varied between 0% and 41% in two-stage studies, and 0% and 11% in single stage studies. No clinical trials were identified and the majority of studies were observational studies.
Evidence for both one-stage and two-stage revision is largely of low quality. The evidence basis for two-stage revision is significantly larger, and further work into direct comparison between the two techniques should be undertaken as a priority.
Infection; Knee replacement; One stage; Two-stage; Arthroplasty; Revision
Ipilimumab, a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) binding agent, has proven to be an effective monotherapy for metastatic melanoma and has shown antitumor activity in trials when administered with other therapeutic agents. We hypothesized that the combination of ipilimumab with chemotherapeutic agents, such as ixabepilone, paclitaxel, etoposide, and gemcitabine, may produce therapeutic synergy based on distinct but complementary mechanisms of action for each drug and unique cellular targets. This concept was investigated using a mouse homolog of ipilimumab in preclinical murine tumor models, including SA1N fibrosarcoma, EMT-6 mammary carcinoma, M109 lung carcinoma, and CT-26 colon carcinoma. Results of CTLA-4 blockade in combination with one of various chemotherapeutic agents demonstrate that synergy occurs in settings where either agent alone was not effective in inducing tumor regression. Furthermore, when combined with CTLA-4 blockade, ixabepilone, etoposide, and gemcitabine elicited prolonged antitumor effects in some murine models with induction of a memory immune response. Future investigations are warranted to determine which specific chemo-immunotherapy combinations, if any, will produce synergistic antitumor effects in the clinical setting.
Chemotherapy; CTLA-4; Preclinical; Synergy; Tumor model
To assess the efficacy and toxicity of carboplatin, etoposide, and the bcl-2 antisense oligonucleotide oblimersen as initial therapy for extensive-stage small-cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC). bcl-2 has been implicated as a key factor in SCLC oncogenesis and chemotherapeutic resistance.
Patients and Methods
A 3:1 randomized phase II study was performed to evaluate carboplatin and etoposide with (arm A) or without oblimersen (arm B) in 56 assessable patients with chemotherapy-naïve ES-SCLC. Outcome measures including toxicity, objective response rate, complete response rate, failure-free survival, overall survival, and 1-year survival rate.
Oblimersen was associated with slightly more grade 3 to 4 hematologic toxicity (88% v 60%; P = .05). Response rates were 61% (95% CI, 45% to 76%) for arm A and 60% (95% CI, 32% to 84%) for arm B. The percentage of patients alive at 1 year was 24% (95% CI, 12% to 40%) with oblimersen, and 47% (95% CI, 21% to 73%) without oblimersen. Hazard ratios for failure-free survival (1.79; P = .07) and overall survival (2.13; P = .02) suggested worse outcome for patients receiving oblimersen. These results hold when adjusted for other prognostic factors, such as weight loss, in multivariate regression analysis.
Despite extensive data supporting a critical role for Bcl-2 in chemoresistance in SCLC, addition of oblimersen to a standard regimen for this disease did not improve any clinical outcome measure. Emerging data from several groups suggest that this lack of efficacy may be due to insufficient suppression of Bcl-2 in vivo. Additional evaluation of this agent in SCLC is not warranted.
The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers amyloid β (Aβ)-42, total-tau (T-tau), and phosphorylated-tau (P-tau) demonstrate good diagnostic accuracy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, there are large variations in biomarker measurements between studies, and between and within laboratories. The Alzheimer’s Association has initiated a global quality control program to estimate and monitor variability of measurements, quantify batch-to-batch assay variations, and identify sources of variability. In this article, we present the results from the first two rounds of the program.
The program is open for laboratories using commercially available kits for Aβ, T-tau, or P-tau. CSF samples (aliquots of pooled CSF) are sent for analysis several times a year from the Clinical Neurochemistry Laboratory at the Molndal campus of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Each round consists of three quality control samples.
Forty laboratories participated. Twenty-six used INNOTESTenzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, 14 used Luminex xMAP with the INNO-BIA AlzBio3 kit (both measure Aβ-(1-42), P-tau(181P), and T-tau), and 5 used Meso Scale Discovery with the Aβ triplex (AβN-42, AβN-40, and AβN-38) or T-tau kits. The total coefficients of variation between the laboratories were 13% to 36%. Five laboratories analyzed the samples six times on different occasions. Within-laboratory precisions differed considerably between biomarkers within individual laboratories.
Measurements of CSF AD biomarkers show large between-laboratory variability, likely caused by factors related to analytical procedures and the analytical kits. Standardization of laboratory procedures and efforts by kit vendors to increase kit performance might lower variability, and will likely increase the usefulness of CSF AD biomarkers.
Alzheimer’s disease; Cerebrospinal fluid; Biomarkers; External assurance; External control; Proficiency testing
How accurately do people perceive extreme water speeds and how does their perception affect perceived risk? Prior research has focused on the characteristics of moving water that can reduce human stability or balance. The current research presents the first experiment on people's perceptions of risk and moving water at different speeds and depths.
Using a randomized within-person 2 (water depth: 0.45, 0.90 m) ×3 (water speed: 0.4, 0.8, 1.2 m/s) experiment, we immersed 76 people in moving water and asked them to estimate water speed and the risk they felt.
Multilevel modeling showed that people increasingly overestimated water speeds as actual water speeds increased or as water depth increased. Water speed perceptions mediated the direct positive relationship between actual water speeds and perceptions of risk; the faster the moving water, the greater the perceived risk. Participants' prior experience with rip currents and tropical cyclones moderated the strength of the actual–perceived water speed relationship; consequently, mediation was stronger for people who had experienced no rip currents or fewer storms.
These findings provide a clearer understanding of water speed and risk perception, which may help communicate the risks associated with anticipated floods and tropical cyclones.
Facilitating motor learning in patients during clinical practice is complex, especially in people with cognitive impairments. General principles of motor learning are available for therapists to use in their practice. However, the translation of evidence from the different fields of motor learning for use in clinical practice is problematic due to lack of uniformity in definition and taxonomy of terms related to motor learning.
The objective of this paper was to describe the design of a Delphi technique to reach consensus on definitions, descriptions, and taxonomy used within motor learning and to explore experts’ opinions and experiences on the application of motor learning in practice.
A heterogeneous sample of at least 30 international experts on motor learning will be recruited. Their opinions regarding several central topics on motor learning using a Delphi technique will be collected in 3 sequential rounds. The questionnaires in the 3 rounds will be developed based on the literature and answers of experts from earlier rounds. Consensus will be reached when at least 70% of the experts agree on a certain topic. Free text comments and answers from open questions on opinions and experiences will be described and clustered into themes.
This study is currently ongoing. It is financially supported by Stichting Alliantie Innovatie (Innovation Alliance Foundation), RAAK-international (Registration number: 2011-3-33int).
The results of this study will enable us to summarize and categorize expert knowledge and experiences in a format that should be more accessible for therapists to use in support of their clinical practice. Unresolved aspects will direct future research.
motor learning; Delphi technique; clinical practice; consensus; definitions
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in the elderly. Pathologically it is characterized by the presence of amyloid plaques and neuronal loss within the brain tissue of affected individuals. It is now widely hypothesised that fibrillar structures represent an inert structure. Biophysical and toxicity assays attempting to characterize the formation of both the fibrillar and the intermediate oligomeric structures of Aβ typically involves preparing samples which are largely monomeric; the most common method by which this is achieved is to use the fluorinated organic solvent 1,1,1,3,3,3-hexafluoro-2-propanol (HFIP). Recent evidence has suggested that this method is not 100% effective in producing an aggregate free solution. We show, using dynamic light scattering, size exclusion chromatography and small angle X-ray scattering that this is indeed the case, with HFIP pretreated Aβ peptide solutions displaying an increased proportion of oligomeric and aggregated material and an increased propensity to aggregate. Furthermore we show that an alternative technique, involving treatment with strong alkali results in a much more homogenous solution that is largely monomeric. These techniques for solubilising and controlling the oligomeric state of Aβ are valuable starting points for future biophysical and toxicity assays.
Amyloid; Hexafluoroisopropanol; Ammonium Hydroxide; Aggregation; A β; A β toxicity; Oligomers
Nylon-3 polymers have a polyamide backbone reminiscent of that found in proteins (β- vs. α-amino acid residues, respectively), which makes these materials interesting for biological applications. Because of the versatility of the ring-opening polymerization process and the variety of β-lactam starting materials available, the structure of nylon-3 copolymers is highly amenable to alteration. A previous study showed that relatively subtle changes in the structure or ratio of hydrophobic and cationic subunits that comprise these polymers can result in significant changes in the ability of nylon-3-bearing surfaces to support cell adhesion and spreading. In the present study we have exploited the highly tailorable nature of these polymers to synthesize new versions possessing a wide range of chain lengths, with the intent of optimizing these materials for use as cell-supportive substrates. We find that longer nylon-3 chains lead to better fibroblast growth on modified surfaces, and that at the optimal chain lengths, less hydrophobic subunits are superior. The best polymers we identified are comparable to an RGD-containing peptide in supporting fibroblast attachment. The results described here will help to focus future efforts aimed at refining nylon-3 copolymer substrates for specific tissue engineering applications.
Sellar aspergillosis is a rare infection commonly mistaken for a pituitary tumour. We present a rare case of pituitary fossa Aspergillus fumigatus mycetoma in an immunocompetent 90-year-old female, who presented with headaches. Magnetic resonance imaging scans demonstrated an enhancing pituitary fossa mass that appeared to infiltrate the sphenoid sinus, suggestive of an invasive tumour. Stereotactic trans-sphenoidal resection confirmed localized A. fumigatus infection. The abscess was debrided and the dura was left intact. Her headaches resolved post-operatively and she was treated with voriconazole. This indicates that aspergilloma should be considered as a differential for an unexplained pituitary lesion even in elderly immunocompetent patients.