Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The precise mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis in humans by HCV is currently unclear. It was recently shown, however, that transgenic mice with the HCV core gene often develop HCC, suggesting tumorigenic activity of the HCV core protein. Further, the HCV core protein expressed in HepG2 cells transfected with the core gene was shown to stimulate proliferation of transfectants through activation of nuclear factor‐κB (NF‐κB). The downstream target molecule(s) of NF‐κB activated by the HCV core protein to evoke cell proliferation is not yet identified. Transforming growth factor (TGF) α, which is often overexpressed in various tumour tissues such as HCC, has been shown to stimulate hepatocyte proliferation through activation of the mitogen‐activated protein kinase or extracellular signal‐related protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) cascade.
To explore the possibility that TGFα might be a target molecule for NF‐κB activated by the HCV core, and that TGFα participates in the growth promotion of the core transfectants in an autocrine manner, activating the MAPK/ERK pathway.
A HCV core expression vector was transfected into human hepatoma Huh‐7, HepG2 and Hep3B cells. NF‐κB activity was examined by an electrophoretic mobility shift assay. TGFα transcription was assessed by a luciferase reporter assay. TGFα protein was determined by immunoblot and ELISA. MAPK/ERK activity was examined by an in vitro kinase assay. Cell proliferation was assessed by a water‐soluble tetrazolium salt‐1 assay.
In the HCV core transfectants, NF‐κB bound to the κB site in the TGFα proximal promoter region, resulting in an increase in TGFα transcription. Immunoblot as well as ELISA showed increased TGFα expression in the HCV core transfectants. SN50, a specific inhibitory peptide for NF‐κB, cancelled HCV core‐induced TGFα expression. HCV core protein increased cell proliferation as well as ERK activity of the HCV core transfectants as compared with the mock transfectants. The growth‐promoting activity and activation of ERK by the HCV core protein were negated by treatment with anti‐TGFα antibodies.
These results suggest that the HCV core protein promotes proliferation of human hepatoma cells by activation of the MAPK/ERK pathway through up regulation of TGFα transcription via activation of NF‐κB. Our finding provides a new insight into the mechanism of hepatocarcinogenesis by HCV infection.
Ionizing radiation persistently reduces the pool of neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus, which may explain some of the learning deficits observed in patients treated with radiotherapy, particularly pediatric patients. A single dose of 8 Gy irradiation (IR) was administered to the brains of postnatal day 14 (P14) C57BL/6 mice and 1.0 × 105 bromodeoxyuridine-labeled, syngeneic NSPCs were injected into the hippocampus 1 day, 1 week or 6 weeks after IR. Cell survival and phenotype were evaluated 5 weeks after grafting. When grafted 1 day post-IR, survival and neuronal differentiation of the transplanted NSPCs were lower in irradiated brains, whereas the survival and cell fate of grafted cells were not significantly different between irradiated and control brains when transplantation was performed 1 or 6 weeks after IR. A young recipient brain favored neuronal development of grafted cells, whereas the older recipient brains displayed an increasing number of cells developing into astrocytes or unidentified cells. Injection of NSPCs, but not vehicle, induced astrogliosis and reduced thickness of the dorsal blade of the GCL after 5 months. In summary, we demonstrate that age and interval between IR and grafting can affect survival and differentiation of grafted NSPCs. The observed long-term gliosis and degeneration warrant caution in the context of NSPC grafting for therapeutical purposes.
neurogenesis; radiotherapy; transplantation; grafting; astrogliosis; differentiation
To critically evaluate an information-theoretic method for identifying gene–environmental interactions (GEI) associated with pharmacokinetic (PK), pharmacodynamic (PD), and clinical outcomes from genome-wide pharmacogenetic data. Our approach, which is built on the K-way interaction information (KWII) metric, was challenged with simulated data and clinical PK/PD data sets from the International Warfarin Pharmacogenetics Consortium (IWPC) and a gemcitabine clinical trial. The KWII efficiently identified both novel and known interactions for warfarin and gemcitabine. Interactions between herbal supplementation and VKORC1 genotype were associated with warfarin response. For gemcitabine-associated neutropenia, combination treatment with carboplatin and cytidine deaminase (CDA) 208G→A genotypes were identified as risk factors. Gemcitabine disposition was associated with drug metabolism–transporter interactions between deoxycytidine kinase (DCK) and the equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT). This novel approach is effective for detecting GEI involved in drug exposure and response and could enable integration of genome-wide pharmacogenetic data into the population PK/PD analysis paradigm.
Aberrant reactivation of hedgehog (Hh) signaling has been described in a wide variety of human cancers including cancer stem cells. However, involvement of the Hh-signaling system in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment during the development of myeloid neoplasms is unknown. In this study, we assessed the expression of Hh-related genes in primary human CD34+ cells, CD34+ blastic cells and BM stromal cells. Both Indian Hh (Ihh) and its signal transducer, smoothened (SMO), were expressed in CD34+ acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)-derived cells. However, Ihh expression was relatively low in BM stromal cells. Remarkably, expression of the intrinsic Hh-signaling inhibitor, human Hh-interacting protein (HHIP) in AML/MDS-derived stromal cells was markedly lower than in healthy donor-derived stromal cells. Moreover, HHIP expression levels in BM stromal cells highly correlated with their supporting activity for SMO+ leukemic cells. Knockdown of HHIP gene in stromal cells increased their supporting activity although control cells marginally supported SMO+ leukemic cell proliferation. The demethylating agent, 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine rescued HHIP expression via demethylation of HHIP gene and reduced the leukemic cell-supporting activity of AML/MDS-derived stromal cells. This indicates that suppression of stromal HHIP could be associated with the proliferation of AML/MDS cells.
acute myeloid leukemia (AML); myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS); human hedgehog-interacting protein (HHIP); stromal cells
Recently popularised, the combined angiography and CT (angio-CT) system is useful for correctly identifying the feeding arteries and their perfusion in various organs. We applied this system for advanced maxillary cancer to expose its feeding arteries and their supplying territories. In addition to the maxillary artery, extramaxillary feeding arteries were usually observed, including the ophthalmic, accessory meningeal, facial, transverse facial and ascending palatine arteries. These extramaxillary feeding arteries exhibited uniform tendencies, depending on the site of extramaxillary tumour extension.
Cranial radiotherapy in children often leads to progressive cognitive decline. We have established a rodent model of irradiation-induced injury to the young brain. A single dose of 8 Gy was administered to the left hemisphere of postnatal day 10 (P10) mice. Harlequin (Hq) mice, carrying the hypomorphic apoptosis-inducing factor AIFHq mutation, express 60% less AIF at P10 and displayed significantly fewer dying cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) 6 h after IR, compared with wild type (Wt) littermates. Irradiated cyclophilin A-deficient (CypA−/−) mice confirmed that CypA has an essential role in AIF-induced apoptosis after IR. Hq mice displayed no reduction in SVZ size 7 days after IR, whereas 48% of the SVZ was lost in Wt mice. The proliferation rate was lower in the SVZ of Hq mice. Cultured neural precursor cells from the SVZ of Hq mice displayed a slower proliferation rate and were more resistant to IR. IR preferentially kills proliferating cells, and the slower proliferation rate in the SVZ of Hq mice may, at least partly, explain the protective effect of the Hq mutation. Together, these results indicate that targeting AIF may provide a fruitful strategy for protection of normal brain tissue against the detrimental side effects of IR.
proliferation; stem cell; neurogenesis; progenitor; radiotherapy
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic relapsing inflammatory bowel disease, known to be associated with a markedly increased risk of colorectal carcinoma development.
Using proteomic analysis with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry, differentially expressed proteins were assessed between UC-associated cancer and sporadic colon cancer cell lines. Western blot and immunostaining were performed for confirming the expression.
Heat-shock protein of 47 kDa (HSP47) was identified as one of the proteins expressed more highly in UC-associated cancer cell lines, and an immunohistochemical examination confirmed significantly higher levels of HSP47 in UC-associated colon cancers than in sporadic counterparts, the expression increasing with a progression of neoplastic lesions. Heat-shock protein of 47 kDa was further found to be coexpressed with type I collagen in the cytoplasm, and both HSP47 and type I collagen were released from cultured cells into the culture medium.
These results suggest that overexpression of HSP47 is a unique characteristic of UC-associated carcinoma related to type I collagen synthesis, with possible clinical applications.
HSP47; ulcerative colitis; adenocarcinoma; collagen; proteomics
Effects of high altitude on arterial stiffness and neuro-cardio-pulmonary function were studied. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were measured in a sitting position on resting Ladakhis, living at an altitude of 3250–4647 m (Phey village, 3250 m: 17 men and 55 women; Chumathang village, 4193 m: 29 men and 47 women; Sumdo village, 4540 m: 38 men and 57 women; and Korzok village, 4647 m: 84 men and 70 women). The neuro-cardio-pulmonary function, including the Kohs block design test, the Up and Go, the Functional Reach and the Button tests, was examined in 40 elderly subjects (19 men and 21 women, mean age: 74.7 ± 3.3 years) in Leh, Ladakh (altitude: 3524 m), for comparison with 324 elderly citizens (97 men and 227 women, mean age: 80.7 ± 4.7 years) of Tosa, Japan (altitude: 250 m). Cardio-Ankle Vascular Index (CAVI) was measured as the heart-ankle pulse wave velocity (PWV) in these subjects using a VaSera CAVI instrument (Fukuda Denshi, Tokyo).
SpO2 decreased while Hb and diastolic BP increased with increasing altitude. At higher altitude, residents were younger and leaner. Women in Leh vs. Tosa had a poorer cognitive function, estimated by the Kohs block design test (3.7 ± 3.6 vs. 16.4 ± 9.6 points, P < 0.0001) and poorer ADL functions (Functional Reach: 13.7 ± 7.0 cm vs. 25.3 ± 8.7 cm, P < 0.0001; Button test: 22.5 ± 4.8 vs. 14.8 ± 5.7 s, P < 0.0001). Time estimation was shorter at high altitude (60-s estimation with counting: 41.1% shorter in men and 23.0% shorter in women).
A higher voltage of the QRS complex was observed in the ECG of Leh residents, but two times measurement of CAVI showed no statistically significant differences between Leh and Tosa (two times of CAVI measures; 9.49 vs. 10.01 rn/s and 9.41 vs. 10.05 m/s, respectively), suggesting that most residents succeed to adapt sufficiently to the high-altitude environment. However, correlation of CAVI with age shows several cases who show an extreme increase in CAVI. Thus, for the prevention of stroke and other adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including dementia, CAVI may be very useful, especially at high altitude.
In conclusion, elderly people living at high altitude have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than low-latitude peers. To determine how these indices are associated with maintained cognitive function deserves further study by the longitudinal follow-up of these communities in terms of longevity and aging in relation to their neuro-cardio-pulmonary function.
High-altitude; Arterial stiffness; Cardio-ankle vascular index; Cognitive function; ADL function; Time estimation; Gender difference; Elderly community-dwelling people
The effect of aging on blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) was investigated in a cross-sectional study in the high-altitude community of Leh, Ladakh (altitude: 3524 m) and a Japanese community in U town, Hokkaido (altitude: 25 m). BP and HR were obtained in a sitting position from 332 subjects 13-81 years of age in Ladakh, and from 216 Japanese citizens, 24-79 years of age. Measurements were taken after a 2-min rest, using a semi-automated BP device (UA-767 PC, A&D Co. LTD, Tokyo). High-altitude people showed higher diastolic BP and HR values than lowland people (83.2 vs. 76.9 mmHg and 78.6 vs. 69.2 bpm, P < 0.001), but no difference in systolic BP. Highland people also showed a steeper BP increase with age than the lowland people (systolic BP: 0.7476 vs. 0.3179 mmHg/year, P < 0.0005; diastolic BP: 0.3196 vs. 0.0750 mmHg/year, P < 0.001). This chronoecologic investigation in Ladakh examined the circulation as a physiological system at high-altitude. Our data indicate the need for a more comprehensive cardiovascular assessment for a better diagnosis and a more fruitful treatment. Longitudinal observations of effects of socio-ecologic factors on the cardiovascular system should help prevent strokes and other cardiovascular events, especially at high altitude.
Aging; Blood pressure; High-altitude community; Comprehensive cardiovascular assessment
Tumour samples from 71 patients with stomach cancer, 41 patients with liver metastasis (group A) and 15 patients each in stages II–IV (group B) and stage I (group C) without liver metastasis were analysed. MAGE-A protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemistry using a 6C1 monoclonal antibody and MAGE-A10 mRNA expression was detected by highly sensitive in situ hybridisation using a cRNA probe. Expressions of MAGE-A protein and MAGE-A10 mRNA in group A were detected in 65.9 and 80.5%, respectively. Both protein and gene showed significantly higher expression in group A than those in groups B (6.7, 26.7%) and C (0, 0%) (P=0.0003, P=<0.0001, respectively). MAGE-A10 mRNA expression in liver metastasis was found in eight (88.9%) out of nine patients. The concordant rate between MAGE-A family protein expression and MAGE-A10 mRNA expression in the primary sites was 81.7% (P<0.0001). MAGE-A10 gene expression was associated with reduced survival duration. The results of this study suggest that MAGE-A10 is a possible target in active immunotherapy for advanced stomach cancer.
MAGE-A protein; MAGE-A10 mRNA; highly sensitive in situ hybridisation; stomach cancer; liver metastasis; active immunotherapy
The aim of this dose escalation study was to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and preliminary efficacy of docetaxel, S-1 and cisplatin combination chemotherapy in patients with unresectable metastatic gastric cancer. Seventeen patients received oral S-1 (40 mg m−2 bid) on days 1–14, intravenous cisplatin (60 mg m−2) and docetaxel (60, 70 or 80 mg m−2 depending on DLT) on day 8 every 3 weeks. The MTD of this combination was presumed to be docetaxel 70 mg m−2. At this dose level, 40% of the patients (two of five) developed grade 4 neutropenia and 20% (one of five) exhibited grade 3 nausea during the first course. Therefore, the recommended dose of docetaxel was defined as 60 mg m−2. The DLT was neutropenia. The response rate (RR) was 88.2% (15 of 17), consisting of one complete response and 14 partial responses. There were two stable diseases but no progressive disease. Of these 15 responders, four (23.5%) with high VEGF expression showed rapid tumour regression and achieved downstaging, leading to subsequent curative gastrectomy. Three of these have been disease free for about 3 years, suggesting a complete cure. In conclusion, this regimen was tolerable and showed a quite high RR, with an appreciable downstaging rate in metastatic gastric cancer.
gastric cancer; S-1; docetaxel; cisplatin; downstaging; VEGF
Objective: To determine the proportion of platelets and fibrin in coronary thrombi.
Design: Immunohistochemical and morphometric means to examine the coronary arteries of 31 patients who died of acute myocardial infarction.
Results: Fresh thrombi were detected in the feeding arteries of infarction areas in 23 cases (74%) and were associated with plaque rupture in 18 (78%) and plaque erosion in 5 (22%). An immunohistochemical study showed that the thrombi consisted of a mixture of fibrin and platelets as well as some other types of blood cells. The fibrin and platelet positive areas in the thrombi associated with plaque rupture accounted for 74 (19)% and 35 (20)% (p < 0.01) and those associated with erosion accounted for 51 (6)% and 70 (21)%, respectively, of the total areas. Areas of positive immunoreactivity for tissue factor and C reactive protein were also significantly greater in ruptured than in eroded plaques.
Conclusion: These results indicate that the proportions of fibrin and of platelets differ in coronary thrombi on ruptured and eroded plaques. Higher proportions of tissue factor and C reactive protein contribute more significantly to thrombus formation on plaque rupture than on plaque erosion.
thrombus; acute myocardial infarction; fibrin; platelet
This review discusses the role of biochemical markers of myocyte injury in patients with chronic congestive heart failure. Heart specific assays have been developed for the measurement of cardiac troponin T (cTnT), cardiac troponin I (cTnI), heart type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP), and myosin light chain 1 (MLC-1). Concentrations of these biochemical markers increase in the absence of ischaemic events in the subset of patients with heart failure whose long term outcomes are most adverse. The markers are easy to measure serially and it is therefore easy to follow patients without inter-observer variability. The serial clinical use of these markers, separately or in combination, will sharpen our understanding of the state of heart failure.
heart failure; troponin; heart type fatty acid binding protein; myosin light chain 1; brain natriuretic peptide
troponin T; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Background: Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a dangerous complication in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD).
Aims: To evaluate the efficacy of methylprednisolone pulse therapy compared to placebo in PD patients with NMS.
Methods: In a double blind, placebo controlled study, 20 PD patients with NMS received steroid pulse therapy for three days, and 20 PD patients received placebo. Both groups received levodopa, bromocriptine, and dantrolene.
Results: NMS in the steroid group healed within 10 days in 17 patients; median value of duration of illness of NMS in this group was 7 days (range 4–20). NMS in the placebo group healed within 10 days in five patients; in the remaining 15, it persisted for 12–27 days after the onset of NMS; median value of duration illness of NMS in this group was 18 days. Hyperthermia, rigidity, and consciousness improved within 10 days in many patients in the steroid group; these signs persisted more than 10 days in many patients in the placebo group.
Conclusions: Steroid pulse therapy is useful in NMS for reducing the illness duration and improving symptoms.
Background: In recent years, there has been an increasing number of cases of early gastric cancer (T1, NX) with intramucosal invasion, which are untreatable by surgical or endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) because of their high risk. Currently, no adequate treatment is available for such patients.
Aim: The main objective of this study was to evaluate whether argon plasma coagulation (APC) is an effective and safe modality for treating early gastric cancer untreatable by surgical resection or EMR.
Methods: The study group comprised 20 men and seven women diagnosed with gastric cancer with intramucosal invasion who were considered poor candidates for surgical resection or EMR due to risk factors such as severe cardiac failure or thrombocytopenia. Irradiation conditions for APC treatment were determined using swine gastric mucosa. We used an argon gas flow of 2 l/min at a power setting of 60 W and a maximum irradiation time of 15 s/cm2. The follow up period of the 27 patients ranged from 18 to 49 months (median 30 months).
Results: All lesions were irradiated easily, including areas anatomically difficult for EMR such as the gastric cardia or the posterior wall of the upper gastric body. In 26 of 27 patients (96%) there was no evidence of recurrence during the follow up period (median 30 months). One patient showed recurrence six months after the treatment but was successfully retreated. No serious complications were found in any of the 27 patients but three patients (11%) experienced a feeling of abdominal fullness.
Interpretation: APC is a safe and effective modality for treatment of early gastric cancer with intramucosal invasion untreatable by surgical resection or EMR. However, further observations are necessary to determine the long term prognosis of patients undergoing this treatment.
argon plasma coagulation; gastric cancer
troponin T; brain natriuretic peptide; cardiac decompensation
epidermal growth factor receptor; peptides; CTLs; Ab; cancer vaccine
peptide; cancer vaccine; immunotherapy; colon cancer; CTL
dysadherin; colorectal carcinoma; immunohistochemistry; prognosis
Development of therapeutic vaccines is one of the major areas of tumour immunotherapy today. However, clinical trials of peptide-based cancer vaccines have rarely resulted in tumour regression. This failure might be due to an insufficient induction of cytotoxic T lymphocytes in the current regimes, in which cytotoxic T lymphocytes-precursors in pre-vaccination peripheral blood mononuclear cells are not measured. Initiation of immune-boosting through vaccination could be better than that of immune-priming with regard to induction of prompt and strong immunity. If this is also the case for therapeutic vaccines, pre-vaccination measurement of peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes-precursors will be important. In the present study, we investigated whether cytotoxic T lymphocytes-precursors reacting to 28 kinds of peptides of vaccine candidates (13 and 15 peptides for HLA-A24+ and HLA-A2+ patients, respectively) were detectable in pre-vaccination peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 80 cancer patients. Peptide-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes-precursors were found to be detectable in peripheral blood mononuclear cells of the majority of cancer patients (57 out of 80 cases, 71%). The mean numbers of positive peptides were 2.0 peptides per positive case. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells incubated with positive peptides, not with negative peptides, showed significant levels of HLA-class-I-restricted cytotoxicity to cancer cells. The profiles of positive peptides entirely varied among patients, and were not influenced by the cancer origin. These results may provide a scientific basis for the development of a new approach to cancer immunotherapy, e.g.) cytotoxic T lymphocytes-precursor-oriented peptide vaccine.
British Journal of Cancer (2002) 87, 796–804. doi:10.1038/sj.bjc.6600548 www.bjcancer.com
© 2002 Cancer Research UK
immunotherapy; cancer; peptide vaccine; CTL-precursors; pre-vaccination
AIMS—To clarify the
phenotype-genotype relation associated with the A3243G mitochondrial
METHODS—Five unrelated probands
harbouring the A3243G mutation but presenting different clinical
phenotype were analysed. Probands include Leigh syndrome
(LS3243), mitochondrial myopathy, encephalopathy, lactic
acidosis and stroke like episodes (MELAS3243), progressive
external ophthalmoplegia (PEO3243), and mitochondrial
diabetes mellitus (MDM3243). Extensive clinical,
histological, biochemical, and molecular genetic studies were performed
on five families.
RESULTS—All patients showed ragged
red fibres (RRF), and focal cytochrome c oxidase (COX) deficiency
except for the patient with MDM3243. The mutation load was
highest in the proband with LS3243 (>90%), who also
presented the highest proportion of RRF (68%) and COX negative fibres
(10%), and severe complex I plus IV deficiency. These proportions were
lower in the probands with PEO3243 and with
CONCLUSION—The most severe
clinical phenotype, LS3243, was associated with the highest
proportion of the A3243G mutation as well as the most prominent
histological and biochemical abnormalities.