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1.  Novel mutations in the sarcomeric protein myopalladin in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy 
Recently, missense mutations in titin-associated proteins have been linked to the pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). The objective of this study was to search for novel disease-associated mutations in the two human titin-binding proteins myopalladin and its amino-terminal-interacting partner cardiac ankyrin-repeat protein (CARP). In a cohort of 255 cases with familial and sporadic DCM, we analyzed the coding regions and all corresponding intron flanks located in the MYPN and CARP-encoding ANKRD1 gene. Two heterozygous missense mutations were detected in the MYPN gene (p.R955W and p.P961L), but neither of these mutations was found in 300 healthy controls. Both mutations were located in the α-actinin-binding region of myopalladin. Endomyocardial biopsies from the p.R955W carrier showed normal subcellular localization of myopalladin and α-actinin in cardiac myocytes, while their regular sarcomeric staining pattern was significantly disrupted in the p.P961L carrier, indicating that disturbed myofibrillogenesis and altered sarcomere assembly are the cause of the disease. In the ANKRD1 gene, we identified synonymous base exchanges (c.108T>C and c.-79C>T, respectively), but no non-synonymous mutations. In summary, we have identified novel missense mutations in the third immunoglobulin-like domain of myopalladin, which have either no or profound effects on the molecular composition of the sarcomere. According to our epidemiological data, the prevalence of ANKRD1 mutations seems to be lower than that of its binding partner myopalladin, indicating the clinical significance of myopalladin for the functional integrity of the sarcomeric apparatus and the protection against DCM.
PMCID: PMC3573205  PMID: 22892539
myopalladin; cardiac ankyrin-repeat protein; CARP; point mutation; single-nucleotide polymorphism; dilated cardiomyopathy
2.  Metabolomic Heterogeneity of Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88727.
Although multiple gene and protein expression have been extensively profiled in human pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), the mechanism for the development and progression of pulmonary hypertension remains elusive. Analysis of the global metabolomic heterogeneity within the pulmonary vascular system leads to a better understanding of disease progression. Using a combination of high-throughput liquid-and-gas-chromatography-based mass spectrometry, we showed unbiased metabolomic profiles of disrupted glycolysis, increased TCA cycle, and fatty acid metabolites with altered oxidation pathways in the human PAH lung. The results suggest that PAH has specific metabolic pathways contributing to increased ATP synthesis for the vascular remodeling process in severe pulmonary hypertension. These identified metabolites may serve as potential biomarkers for the diagnosis of PAH. By profiling metabolomic alterations of the PAH lung, we reveal new pathogenic mechanisms of PAH, opening an avenue of exploration for therapeutics that target metabolic pathway alterations in the progression of PAH.
PMCID: PMC3923046  PMID: 24533144
3.  Primary Synovial Sarcoma of the Thyroid Gland: Case Report and Review of the Literature 
Case Reports in Oncology  2014;7(1):6-13.
Synovial sarcoma (SVS) of the thyroid gland is exceedingly rare. We report the case of a 55-year-old man with a rapidly growing 7-cm neck mass. Because of suspicion of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, a total thyroidectomy was planned, without preoperative cytology. During surgery, the tumor ruptured, leading to fragmented and incomplete resection. The morphological and immunohistochemical aspects suggested thyroid SVS, which was confirmed by fluorescent in situ hybridization (SYT gene rearrangement). The patient experienced immediate local relapse in close contact with large vessels and the thyroid cartilage and was referred to our institution. Doxorubicin-ifosfamide chemotherapy led to a minor response that authorized secondary conservative surgery. Because of microscopically incomplete resection, adjuvant radiotherapy was chosen and is ongoing 10 months after initial surgery. The prognosis of thyroid SVS is associated with a high risk for local and metastatic relapses. Pretreatment diagnosis is fundamental and may benefit from molecular analysis. Margin-free monobloc surgical excision is the best chance for cure, but adjuvant chemotherapy and radiotherapy deserve to be discussed.
PMCID: PMC3934617  PMID: 24575008
Primary synovial sarcoma; Thyroid gland; Chemotherapy; Prognosis
5.  Multi-atlas segmentation of subcortical brain structures via the AutoSeg software pipeline 
Automated segmenting and labeling of individual brain anatomical regions, in MRI are challenging, due to the issue of individual structural variability. Although atlas-based segmentation has shown its potential for both tissue and structure segmentation, due to the inherent natural variability as well as disease-related changes in MR appearance, a single atlas image is often inappropriate to represent the full population of datasets processed in a given neuroimaging study. As an alternative for the case of single atlas segmentation, the use of multiple atlases alongside label fusion techniques has been introduced using a set of individual “atlases” that encompasses the expected variability in the studied population. In our study, we proposed a multi-atlas segmentation scheme with a novel graph-based atlas selection technique. We first paired and co-registered all atlases and the subject MR scans. A directed graph with edge weights based on intensity and shape similarity between all MR scans is then computed. The set of neighboring templates is selected via clustering of the graph. Finally, weighted majority voting is employed to create the final segmentation over the selected atlases. This multi-atlas segmentation scheme is used to extend a single-atlas-based segmentation toolkit entitled AutoSeg, which is an open-source, extensible C++ based software pipeline employing BatchMake for its pipeline scripting, developed at the Neuro Image Research and Analysis Laboratories of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. AutoSeg performs N4 intensity inhomogeneity correction, rigid registration to a common template space, automated brain tissue classification based skull-stripping, and the multi-atlas segmentation. The multi-atlas-based AutoSeg has been evaluated on subcortical structure segmentation with a testing dataset of 20 adult brain MRI scans and 15 atlas MRI scans. The AutoSeg achieved mean Dice coefficients of 81.73% for the subcortical structures.
PMCID: PMC3915103  PMID: 24567717
segmentation; registration; MRI; atlas; brain; Insight Toolkit
6.  A Dietary Supplementation with Leucine and Antioxidants Is Capable to Accelerate Muscle Mass Recovery after Immobilization in Adult Rats 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e81495.
Prolonged inactivity induces muscle loss due to an activation of proteolysis and decreased protein synthesis; the latter is also involved in the recovery of muscle mass. The aim of the present work was to explore the evolution of muscle mass and protein metabolism during immobilization and recovery and assess the effect of a nutritional strategy for counteracting muscle loss and facilitating recovery. Adult rats (6–8 months) were subjected to unilateral hindlimb casting for 8 days (I0–I8) and then permitted to recover for 10 to 40 days (R10–R40). They were fed a Control or Experimental diet supplemented with antioxidants/polyphenols (AOX) (I0 to I8), AOX and leucine (AOX + LEU) (I8 to R15) and LEU alone (R15 to R40). Muscle mass, absolute protein synthesis rate and proteasome activities were measured in gastrocnemius muscle in casted and non-casted legs in post prandial (PP) and post absorptive (PA) states at each time point. Immobilized gastrocnemius protein content was similarly reduced (-37%) in both diets compared to the non-casted leg. Muscle mass recovery was accelerated by the AOX and LEU supplementation (+6% AOX+LEU vs. Control, P<0.05 at R40) due to a higher protein synthesis both in PA and PP states (+23% and 31% respectively, Experimental vs. Control diets, P<0.05, R40) without difference in trypsin- and chymotrypsin-like activities between diets. Thus, this nutritional supplementation accelerated the recovery of muscle mass via a stimulation of protein synthesis throughout the entire day (in the PP and PA states) and could be a promising strategy to be tested during recovery from bed rest in humans.
PMCID: PMC3843669  PMID: 24312309
7.  Chlorido(η6-N 2-diphenylphosphanyl-N 1,N 1-diisopropyl-4-methoxybenz­amidine-κP)(triphenylphosphane-κP)ruthenium(II) trifluoromethansulfonate acetone disolvate 
In the title compound, [RuCl(C18H15P)(C26H31N2OP)](CF3O3S)·2C3H6O, the RuII ion is coordinated in a three-legged piano stool, half-sandwich-type geometry by a chlorido ligand, a tri­phenyl­phosphine and a tethered η6-(phenyl-p-O-meth­oxy) κ1-P N-di­phenyl­phosphino N′-diisopropyl amidine ligand charge-balanced by a trifluormethansulfonate counter-anion. The η6-coordination mode of the arene incorporated into the structure was generated in situ after addition of methyl tri­fluoro­methane­sulfonate to the neutral η5-arene tethered precursor complex [RuCl(PPh3)(η5:κ1-OC6H4C(NiPr2)=N-PPh2)] in di­chloro­methane solution.
PMCID: PMC3884995  PMID: 24454170
8.  “Let’s Talk about OA Pain”: A Qualitative Analysis of the Perceptions of People Suffering from OA. Towards the Development of a Specific Pain OA-Related Questionnaire, the Osteoarthritis Symptom Inventory Scale (OASIS) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79988.
Pain is the primary outcome measurement in osteoarthritis, and its assessment is mostly based on its intensity. The management of this difficult chronic condition could be improved by using pain descriptors to improve analyses of painful sensations. This should help to define subgroups of patients based on pain phenotype, for more adapted treatment. This study draws upon patients’ descriptions of their pain, to identify and understand their perception of osteoarthritis pain and to categorize pain dimensions.
This qualitative study was conducted with representative types of patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Two focus groups were conducted with a sample of 14 participants, with either recent or chronic OA, at one or multiple sites. Focus groups were semi-structured and used open-ended questions addressing personal experiences to explore the experiences of patients with OA pain and the meanings they attributed to these pains.
Two main points emerged from content analyses: -A major difficulty in getting patients to describe their osteoarthritis pain: perception that nobody wants to hear about it; necessity to preserve one’s self and social image; notion of self-imposed stoicism; and perception of osteoarthritis as a complex, changing, illogical disease associated with aging. -Osteoarthritis pains were numerous and differed in intensity, duration, depth, type of occurrence, impact and rhythm, but also in painful sensations and associated symptoms. Based on analyses of the verbatim interviews, seven dimensions of OA pain emerged: pain sensory description, OA-related symptoms, pain variability profile, pain-triggering factors, pain and physical activity, mood and image, general physical symptoms.
In osteoarthritis, pain analysis should not be restricted to intensity. Our qualitative study identified pain descriptors and defined seven dimensions of osteoarthritis pain. Based on these dimensions, we aim to develop a specific questionnaire on osteoarthritis pain quality for osteoarthritis pain phenotyping: the OsteoArthritis Symptom Inventory Scale (OASIS).
PMCID: PMC3823799  PMID: 24244589
9.  Long-term tolerability and maintenance of therapeutic response to sodium oxybate in an open-label extension study in patients with fibromyalgia 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R185.
The long-term safety and therapeutic response of sodium oxybate (SXB) in fibromyalgia syndrome (FM) patients were assessed for a combined period of up to 1 year in a prospective, multicenter, open-label, extension study in patients completing 1 of 2 phase 3 randomized, double-blind, controlled, 14-week trials that examined the efficacy and safety of SXB 4.5 g, SXB 6 g, and placebo for treatment of FM.
This extension study comprised an additional 38 weeks of treatment and was carried out at 130 clinical sites in 7 countries. Initial entry criteria for the previous 2 double-blind clinical trials required that patients aged ≥ 18 years met the American College of Rheumatology 1990 criteria for FM, had a body mass index (BMI) < 40 kg/m2, and had a score ≥ 50 on a 100-mm pain visual analog scale (VAS) at baseline. All patients began treatment in the extension study with SXB 4.5 g/night (administered in 2 equally divided doses) for at least 1 week, followed by possible serial 1.5 g/night dose increases to 9 g/night (maximum) or reductions to 4.5 g/night (minimum).
Of the 560 FM patients enrolled in this extension study, 319 (57.0%) completed the study. The main reason for early discontinuation was adverse events (AEs; 23.0% of patients). Patients were primarily middle-aged (mean 46.9 ± 10.8 years), female (91.1%), white (91.4%), with a mean duration of FM symptoms of 9.9 ± 8.7 years. Serious AEs were experienced by 3.6% of patients. The most frequently reported AEs (incidence ≥ 5% at any dose or overall) were nausea, headache, dizziness, nasopharyngitis, vomiting, sinusitis, diarrhea, anxiety, insomnia, influenza, somnolence, upper respiratory tract infection, muscle spasms, urinary tract infection, and gastroenteritis viral. Maintenance of SXB therapeutic response was demonstrated with continued improvement from controlled-study baseline in pain VAS, Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) total scores, and other measures. Responder analyses showed that 68.8% of patients achieved ≥ 30% reduction in pain VAS and 69.7% achieved ≥ 30% reduction in FIQ total score at study endpoint.
The long-term safety profile of SXB in FM patients was similar to that in the previously reported controlled clinical trials. Improvement in pain and other FM clinical domains was maintained during long-term use.
Trial registration NCT00423605.
PMCID: PMC3978755  PMID: 24286114
10.  VEGF isoforms 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2012;6(6):526-527.
PMCID: PMC3547898  PMID: 23257829
11.  Autocrine functions of VEGF in breast tumor cells 
Cell Adhesion & Migration  2012;6(6):547-553.
Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is well known for its key roles in blood vessel growth. Although most studies on VEGF and VEGF receptors have been focused on their functions in angiogenesis and in endothelial cells, the role of VEGF in cancer biology appears as an emerging area of importance. In this context, the presence of VEGF receptors in tumor cells strongly suggests that VEGF-A also promotes a wide range of functions, both in vitro and in vivo, all autocrine functions on tumor cells, including adhesion, survival, migration and invasion. Ultimately, refining our knowledge of VEGF signaling pathways in tumor cells should help us to understand why the current used treatments targeting the VEGF pathway in cancer are not universally effective in inhibiting metastasis tumors, and it should also provide new avenues for future therapies.
PMCID: PMC3547902  PMID: 23257828
VEGF; VEGF receptors; VEGF-A; breast tumor; tumor cells
12.  Fibulin-3 as a Blood and Effusion Biomarker for Pleural Mesothelioma 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(15):1417-1427.
New biomarkers are needed to detect pleural mesothelioma at an earlier stage and to individualize treatment strategies. We investigated whether fibulin-3 in plasma and pleural effusions could meet sensitivity and specificity criteria for a robust biomarker.
We measured fibulin-3 levels in plasma (from 92 patients with mesothelioma, 136 asbestos-exposed persons without cancer, 93 patients with effusions not due to mesothelioma, and 43 healthy controls), effusions (from 74 patients with mesothelioma, 39 with benign effusions, and 54 with malignant effusions not due to mesothelioma), or both. A blinded validation was subsequently performed. Tumor tissue was examined for fibulin-3 by immunohistochemical analysis, and levels of fibulin-3 in plasma and effusions were measured with an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Plasma fibulin-3 levels did not vary according to age, sex, duration of asbestos exposure, or degree of radiographic changes and were significantly higher in patients with pleural mesothelioma (105±7 ng per milliliter in the Detroit cohort and 113±8 ng per milliliter in the New York cohort) than in asbestos-exposed persons without mesothelioma (14±1 ng per milliliter and 24±1 ng per milliliter, respectively; P<0.001). Effusion fibulin-3 levels were significantly higher in patients with pleural mesothelioma (694±37 ng per milliliter in the Detroit cohort and 636±92 ng per milliliter in the New York cohort) than in patients with effusions not due to mesothelioma (212±25 and 151±23 ng per milliliter, respectively; P<0.001). Fibulin-3 preferentially stained tumor cells in 26 of 26 samples. In an overall comparison of patients with and those without mesothelioma, the receiver-operating-characteristic curve for plasma fibulin-3 levels had a sensitivity of 96.7% and a specificity of 95.5% at a cutoff value of 52.8 ng of fibulin-3 per milliliter. In a comparison of patients with early-stage mesothelioma with asbestos-exposed persons, the sensitivity was 100% and the specificity was 94.1% at a cutoff value of 46.0 ng of fibulin-3 per milliliter. Blinded validation revealed an area under the curve of 0.87 for plasma specimens from 96 asbestos-exposed persons as compared with 48 patients with mesothelioma.
Plasma fibulin-3 levels can distinguish healthy persons with exposure to asbestos from patients with mesothelioma. In conjunction with effusion fibulin-3 levels, plasma fibulin-3 levels can further differentiate mesothelioma effusions from other malignant and benign effusions. (Funded by the Early Detection Research Network, National Institutes of Health, and others.)
PMCID: PMC3761217  PMID: 23050525
13.  Levels of Key Enzymes of Methionine-Homocysteine Metabolism in Preeclampsia 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:731962.
Objective. To evaluate the role of key enzymes in the methionine-homocysteine metabolism (MHM) in the physiopathology of preeclampsia (PE). Methods. Plasma and placenta from pregnant women (32 controls and 16 PE patients) were analyzed after informed consent. Protein was quantified by western blot. RNA was obtained with RNA purification kit and was quantified by reverse transcritase followed by real-time PCR (RT-qPCR). Identification of the C677T and A1298C methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and A2756G methionine synthase (MTR) SNP was performed using PCR followed by a high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis. S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) and S-adenosyl homocysteine (SAH) were measured in plasma using high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS/MS). The SNP association analysis was carried out using Fisher's exact test. Statistical analysis was performed using a Mann-Whitney test. Results. RNA expression of MTHFR and MTR was significantly higher in patients with PE as compared with controls. Protein, SAM, and SAH levels showed no significant difference between preeclamptic patients and controls. No statistical differences between controls and PE patients were observed with the different SNPs studied. Conclusion. The RNA expression of MTHFR and MTR is elevated in placentas of PE patients, highlighting a potential compensation mechanism of the methionine-homocysteine metabolism in the physiopathology of this disease.
PMCID: PMC3762171  PMID: 24024209
14.  Null alleles of ABCG2 encoding the breast cancer resistance protein define the new blood group system Junior 
Nature genetics  2012;44(2):174-177.
The breast cancer resistance protein, also known as ABCG2, is one of the most studied ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, due to its ability to confer multidrug resistance1,2. The lack of information on the physiological roles of ABCG2 in humans severely limits cancer chemotherapeutic approaches targeting this transporter. We report here that ABCG2 comprises the molecular basis of a new blood group system (Junior, Jr), and that individuals of the Jr(a−) blood type have inherited two null alleles of ABCG2. We thus identified 5 frameshift and 3 nonsense mutations in ABCG2. Furthermore, we show that the prevalence of the Jr(a−) blood type in the Japanese and European Gypsy populations is related to the mutations p.Q126X and p.R236X, respectively. The identification of ABCG2−/− (Jr(a−)) individuals, who appear phenotypically normal, is an essential step towards targeting ABCG2 in cancer, but also understanding the physiological and pharmacological roles of this promiscuous transporter in humans.
PMCID: PMC3653631  PMID: 22246505
15.  Insights into the Transforming Growth Factor-β Signaling Pathway in Cutaneous Melanoma 
Annals of Dermatology  2013;25(2):135-144.
Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a pleiotropic growth factor with broad tissue distribution that plays critical roles during embryonic development, normal tissue homeostasis, and cancer. While its cytostatic activity on normal epithelial cells initially defined TGF-β signaling as a tumor suppressor pathway, there is ample evidence indicating that TGF-β is a potent pro-tumorigenic agent, acting via autocrine and paracrine mechanisms to promote peri-tumoral angiogenesis, together with tumor cell migration, immune escape, and dissemination to metastatic sites. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the implication of TGF-β signaling in melanoma.
PMCID: PMC3662904  PMID: 23717002
Melanoma; Metastasis; TGF-beta signaling; Therapeutic-targets
16.  Giant axonal neuropathy–associated gigaxonin mutations impair intermediate filament protein degradation 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(5):1964-1975.
Giant axonal neuropathy (GAN) is an early-onset neurological disorder caused by mutations in the GAN gene (encoding for gigaxonin), which is predicted to be an E3 ligase adaptor. In GAN, aggregates of intermediate filaments (IFs) represent the main pathological feature detected in neurons and other cell types, including patients’ dermal fibroblasts. The molecular mechanism by which these mutations cause IFs to aggregate is unknown. Using fibroblasts from patients and normal individuals, as well as Gan–/– mice, we demonstrated that gigaxonin was responsible for the degradation of vimentin IFs. Gigaxonin was similarly involved in the degradation of peripherin and neurofilament IF proteins in neurons. Furthermore, proteasome inhibition by MG-132 reversed the clearance of IF proteins in cells overexpressing gigaxonin, demonstrating the involvement of the proteasomal degradation pathway. Together, these findings identify gigaxonin as a major factor in the degradation of cytoskeletal IFs and provide an explanation for IF aggregate accumulation, the subcellular hallmark of this devastating human disease.
PMCID: PMC3635735  PMID: 23585478
17.  Surface Area Loss and Increased Sphericity Account for the Splenic Entrapment of Subpopulations of Plasmodium falciparum Ring-Infected Erythrocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e60150.
Ex vivo perfusion of human spleens revealed innate retention of numerous cultured Plasmodium falciparum ring-infected red blood cells (ring-iRBCs). Ring-iRBC retention was confirmed by a microsphiltration device, a microbead-based technology that mimics the mechanical filtering function of the human spleen. However, the cellular alterations underpinning this retention remain unclear. Here, we use ImageStream technology to analyze infected RBCs’ morphology and cell dimensions before and after fractionation with microsphiltration. Compared to fresh normal RBCs, the mean cell membrane surface area loss of trophozoite-iRBCs, ring-iRBCs and uninfected co-cultured RBCs (uRBCs) was 14.2% (range: 8.3–21.9%), 9.6% (7.3–12.2%) and 3.7% (0–8.4), respectively. Microsphilters retained 100%, ∼50% and 4% of trophozoite-iRBCs, ring-iRBCs and uRBCs, respectively. Retained ring-iRBCs display reduced surface area values (estimated mean, range: 17%, 15–18%), similar to the previously shown threshold of surface-deficient RBCs retention in the human spleen (surface area loss: >18%). By contrast, ring-iRBCs that successfully traversed microsphilters had minimal surface area loss and normal sphericity, suggesting that these parameters are determinants of their retention. To confirm this hypothesis, fresh normal RBCs were exposed to lysophosphatidylcholine to induce a controlled loss of surface area. This resulted in a dose-dependent retention in microsphilters, with complete retention occurring for RBCs displaying >14% surface area loss. Taken together, these data demonstrate that surface area loss and resultant increased sphericity drive ring-iRBC retention in microsphilters, and contribute to splenic entrapment of a subpopulation of ring-iRBCs. These findings trigger more interest in malaria research fields, including modeling of infection kinetics, estimation of parasite load, and analysis of risk factors for severe clinical forms. The determination of the threshold of splenic retention of ring-iRBCs has significant implications for diagnosis (spleen functionality) and drug treatment (screening of adjuvant therapy targeting ring-iRBCs).
PMCID: PMC3610737  PMID: 23555907
18.  Dramatic and Delayed Response to Doxorubicin-Dacarbazine Chemotherapy of a Giant Desmoid Tumor: Case Report and Literature Review 
Case Reports in Oncology  2013;6(1):127-133.
Desmoid tumors are benign, slow-growing mesenchymal tumors. Aggressiveness is local with no potential for metastasis or dedifferentiation. The treatment is challenging, particularly in the case of huge intra-abdominal locations. We, herein, report on a 21-year-old patient with a giant intra-abdominal desmoid tumor occupying substantially the entire abdominal cavity. After failure of a first-line combination of celecoxib and tamoxifen, the patient was given doxorubicin-dacarbazine chemotherapy. The treatment was well tolerated, and rapidly, the clinical digestive symptoms improved. After 6 cycles, the computed tomography scan showed a partial response (regression of tumor volume by 55%). During follow-up, the tumor continued to regress: 25 months after the end of chemotherapy, the tumor volume had regressed by 95% when compared to the start of computed tomography and by 90% when compared to the end of chemotherapy. Thirty-three months after the diagnosis, the patient is alive without any symptom. Our case provides further evidence of the remarkable efficacy of a doxorubicin-dacarbazine regimen, especially in function- or life-threatening situations where a rapid response is required. We review the literature and discuss the challenging issue regarding treatment of desmoid tumors.
PMCID: PMC3618027  PMID: 23569447
Desmoid tumor; Chemotherapy; Doxorubicin; Dacarbazine
19.  Left Ventricle Fibrosis Associated With Nonsustained Ventricular Tachycardia in an Elite Athlete: Is Exercise Responsible? A Case Report 
Journal of Athletic Training  2012;47(2):224-227.
To emphasize the potentially harmful effects of high-intensity exercise on cardiac health and the fine line between physiologic and pathologic adaptation to chronic exercise in the elite athlete. This case also highlights the crucial need for regular evaluation of symptoms that suggest cardiac abnormality in athletes.
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) of young athletes is always a tragedy because they epitomize health. However, chronic, high-intensity exercise sometimes has harmful effects on cardiac health, and pathologic changes, such as myocardial fibrosis, have been observed in endurance athletes. In this case, a highly trained 30-year-old cyclist reported brief palpitations followed by presyncope feeling while exercising. Immediate investigations revealed nonsustained ventricular tachycardia originating from the left ventricle on a stress test associated with myocardial fibrosis of the left ventricle as shown with magnetic resonance imaging. Despite complete cessation of exercise, life-threatening arrhythmia and fibrosis persisted, leading to complete restriction from competition.
Differential Diagnosis:
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, postmyocarditis, use of drugs and toxic agents, doping, and systemic disease.
The arrhythmia could not be treated with catheter ablation procedure or drug suppression. Therefore, the athlete was instructed to withdraw completely from sport participation and to have a medical follow-up twice each year.
To our knowledge, no other report of left ventricle exercise-induced fibrosis associated with life-threatening arrhythmia in a living young elite athlete exists. Only postmortem evidence supports such myocardial pathologic adaptation to exercise.
To prevent SCD in young athletes, careful attention must be paid to exercise-related symptoms that suggest a cardiac abnormality because they more often are linked to life-threatening cardiovascular disease.
PMCID: PMC3418136  PMID: 22488290
myocardial fibrosis; high-intensity exercise; sudden death
20.  Enhanced Sensitivity to Low Dose Irradiation of ApoE−/− Mice Mediated by Early Pro-Inflammatory Profile and Delayed Activation of the TGFβ1 Cascade Involved in Fibrogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57052.
Investigating long-term cardiac effects of low doses of ionizing radiation is highly relevant in the context of interventional cardiology and radiotherapy. Epidemiological data report that low doses of irradiation to the heart can result in significant increase in the cardiovascular mortality by yet unknown mechanisms. In addition co-morbidity factor such as hypertension or/and atherosclerosis can enhance cardiac complications. Therefore, we explored the mechanisms that lead to long-term cardiac remodelling and investigated the interaction of radiation-induced damage to heart and cardiovascular systems with atherosclerosis, using wild-type and ApoE-deficient mice.
Methods and Results
ApoE−/− and wild-type mice were locally irradiated to the heart at 0, 0.2 and 2 Gy (RX). Twenty, 40 and 60 weeks post-irradiation, echocardiography were performed and hearts were collected for cardiomyocyte isolation, histopathological analysis, study of inflammatory infiltration and fibrosis deposition. Common and strain-specific pathogenic pathways were found. Significant alteration of left ventricular function (eccentric hypertrophy) occurred in both strains of mice. Low dose irradiation (0.2 Gy) induced premature death in ApoE−/− mice (47% died at 20 weeks). Acute inflammatory infiltrate was observed in scarring areas with accumulation of M1-macrophages and secretion of IL-6. Increased expression of the fibrogenic factors (TGF-β1 and PAI-1) was measured earlier in cardiomyocytes isolated from ApoE−/− than in wt animals.
The present study shows that cardiac exposure to low dose of ionizing radiation induce significant physiological, histopathological, cellular and molecular alterations in irradiated heart with mild functional impairment. Atherosclerotic predisposition precipitated cardiac damage induced by low doses with an early pro-inflammatory polarization of macrophages.
PMCID: PMC3579799  PMID: 23451141
21.  RBM20, a gene for hereditary cardiomyopathy, regulates titin splicing 
Nature medicine  2012;18(5):766-773.
Alternative splicing plays a major role in the adaptation of cardiac function exemplified by the isoform switch of titin, which adjusts ventricular filling. We previously identified a rat strain deficient in titin splicing. Using genetic mapping, we found a loss-of-function mutation in RBM20 as the underlying cause for the pathological titin isoform expression. Mutations in human RBM20 have previously been shown to cause dilated cardiomyopathy. We showed that the phenotype of Rbm20 deficient rats resembles the human pathology. Deep sequencing of the human and rat cardiac transcriptome revealed an RBM20 dependent regulation of alternative splicing. Additionally to titin we identified a set of 30 genes with conserved regulation between human and rat. This network is enriched for genes previously linked to cardiomyopathy, ion-homeostasis, and sarcomere biology. Our studies emphasize the importance of posttranscriptional regulation in cardiac function and provide mechanistic insights into the pathogenesis of human heart failure.
PMCID: PMC3569865  PMID: 22466703
22.  LRP-1–CD44, a New Cell Surface Complex Regulating Tumor Cell Adhesion 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(16):3293-3307.
The low-density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 1 (LRP-1) is a large endocytic receptor mediating the clearance of various molecules from the extracellular matrix. In the field of cancer, LRP-1-mediated endocytosis was first associated with antitumor properties. However, recent results suggested that LRP-1 may coordinate the adhesion-deadhesion balance in malignant cells to support tumor progression. Here, we observed that LRP-1 silencing or RAP (receptor-associated protein) treatment led to accumulation of CD44 at the tumor cell surface. Moreover, we evidenced a tight interaction between CD44 and LRP-1, not exclusively localized in lipid rafts. Overexpression of LRP-1-derived minireceptors indicated that the fourth ligand-binding cluster of LRP-1 is required to bind CD44. Labeling of CD44 with EEA1 and LAMP-1 showed that internalized CD44 is routed through early endosomes toward lysosomes in a LRP-1-dependent pathway. LRP-1-mediated internalization of CD44 was highly reduced under hyperosmotic conditions but poorly affected by membrane cholesterol depletion, revealing that it proceeds mostly via clathrin-coated pits. Finally, we demonstrated that CD44 silencing abolishes RAP-induced tumor cell attachment, revealing that cell surface accumulation of CD44 under LRP-1 blockade is mainly responsible for the stimulation of tumor cell adhesion. Altogether, our data shed light on the LRP-1-mediated internalization of CD44 that appeared critical to define the adhesive properties of tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3434541  PMID: 22711991
23.  TLR3 and Rig-Like Receptor on Myeloid Dendritic Cells and Rig-Like Receptor on Human NK Cells Are Both Mandatory for Production of IFN-γ in Response to Double-Stranded RNA 
Cross-talk between NK cells and dendritic cells (DCs) is critical for the potent therapeutic response to dsRNA, but the receptors involved remained controversial. We show in this paper that two dsRNAs, polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)], similarly engaged human TLR3, whereas only poly(I:C) triggered human RIG-I and MDA5. Both dsRNA enhanced NK cell activation within PBMCs but only poly(I:C) induced IFN-γ. Although myeloid DCs (mDCs) were required for NK cell activation, induction of cytolytic potential and IFN-γ production did not require contact with mDCs but was dependent on type I IFN and IL-12, respectively. Poly(I:C) but not polyadenylic-polyuridylic acid synergized with mDC-derived IL-12 for IFN-γ production by acting directly on NK cells. Finally, the requirement of both TLR3 and Rig-like receptor (RLR) on mDCs and RLRs but not TLR3 on NK cells for IFN-γ production was demonstrated using TLR3- and Cardif-deficient mice and human RIG-I–specific activator. Thus, we report the requirement of cotriggering TLR3 and RLR on mDCs and RLRs on NK cells for a pathogen product to induce potent innate cell activation.
PMCID: PMC3545654  PMID: 20639488
24.  Privacy protection and public goods: building a genetic database for health research in Newfoundland and Labrador 
To provide a legal and ethical analysis of some of the implementation challenges faced by the Population Therapeutics Research Group (PTRG) at Memorial University (Canada), in using genealogical information offered by individuals for its genetics research database.
Materials and methods
This paper describes the unique historical and genetic characteristics of the Newfoundland and Labrador founder population, which gave rise to the opportunity for PTRG to build the Newfoundland Genealogy Database containing digitized records of all pre-confederation (1949) census records of the Newfoundland founder population. In addition to building the database, PTRG has developed the Heritability Analytics Infrastructure, a data management structure that stores genotype, phenotype, and pedigree information in a single database, and custom linkage software (KINNECT) to perform pedigree linkages on the genealogy database.
A newly adopted legal regimen in Newfoundland and Labrador is discussed. It incorporates health privacy legislation with a unique research ethics statute governing the composition and activities of research ethics boards and, for the first time in Canada, elevating the status of national research ethics guidelines into law. The discussion looks at this integration of legal and ethical principles which provides a flexible and seamless framework for balancing the privacy rights and welfare interests of individuals, families, and larger societies in the creation and use of research data infrastructures as public goods.
The complementary legal and ethical frameworks that now coexist in Newfoundland and Labrador provide the legislative authority, ethical legitimacy, and practical flexibility needed to find a workable balance between privacy interests and public goods. Such an approach may also be instructive for other jurisdictions as they seek to construct and use biobanks and related research platforms for genetic research.
PMCID: PMC3555321  PMID: 22859644
Privacy; public good; genetic research; genealogy; legal; ethical; Newfoundland

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