To analyze the prevalence of myositis-specific and myositis-associated autoantibodies and their clinical correlations in a large series of patients with dermatomyositis/polymyositis.
This cross-sectional study enrolled 127 dermatomyositis cases and 95 polymyositis cases. The disease-related autoantibody profiles were determined using a commercially available blood testing kit.
The prevalence of myositis-specific autoantibodies in all 222 patients was 34.4%, whereas myositis-associated autoantibodies were found in 41.4% of the patients. The most frequently found autoantibody was anti-Ro-52 (36.9%), followed by anti-Jo-1 (18.9%), anti-Mi-2 (8.1%), anti-Ku (4.1%), anti-SRP (3.2%), anti-PL-7 (3.2%), anti-PL-12 (2.7%), anti-PM/Scl75 (2.7%), and anti-PM/Scl100 (2.7%). The distributions of these autoantibodies were comparable between polymyositis and dermatomyositis, except for a higher prevalence of anti-Jo-1 in polymyositis. Anti-Mi-2 was more prevalent in dermatomyositis. Notably, in the multivariate analysis, anti-Mi-2 and anti-Ro-52 were associated with photosensitivity and pulmonary disorders, respectively, in dermatomyositis. Anti-Jo-1 was significantly correlated with pulmonary disorders in polymyositis. Moreover, anti-Ro-52 was associated with anti-Jo-1 in both diseases. No significant correlation was observed between the remaining autoantibodies and the clinical and/or laboratory findings.
Our data are consistent with those from other published studies involving other populations, although certain findings warrant consideration. Anti-Ro-52 and anti-Jo-1 were strongly associated with one another. Anti-Ro-52 was correlated with pulmonary disorders in dermatomyositis, whereas anti-Jo-1 was correlated with pulmonary alterations in polymyositis.
Dermatomyositis; Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies; Myositis-Associated Autoantibodies; Myositis-Specific Autoantibodies; Polymyositis
Herpes zoster has been widely described in the context of different systemic autoimmune diseases but not dermatomyositis/polymyositis. Therefore, we analyzed the prevalence, risk factors and herpes zoster outcomes in this population.
A retrospective cohort study of herpes zoster infections in dermatomyositis/polymyositis patients was performed. The patients were followed at a tertiary center from 1991 to 2012. For the control group, each patient with herpes zoster was paired with two patients without herpes zoster. Patients were matched by gender and the type of myositis, age at myositis onset and disease duration.
Of 230 patients, 24 (10.4%) had a histories of herpes zoster (19 with dermatomyositis and five with polymyositis, two-thirds female). The mean age of the patients with herpes zoster was 44.6±16.8 years. No difference between the groups was found regarding cumulative clinical manifestations. Disease activity, autoantibody, muscle and leukogram parameters were also comparable between the groups. No differences in immunosuppressive (alone or in association with other immunosuppressive therapies) or glucocorticoid (current use, medium dose and cumulative dose in the last two months) therapies were found between patients with and without herpes zoster. However, a higher proportion of patients in the herpes zoster group received chloroquine diphosphate compared to the control group. All of the patients received acyclovir; 58.3% of patients had postherpetic neuralgia and no cases of recurrence were reported. Furthermore, individuals who were taking high prednisone doses at the time of the herpes zoster diagnosis had reduced levels of postherpetic neuralgia.
These data suggest that chloroquine diphosphate could predispose patients with dermatomyositis/polymyositis to developing herpes zoster, particularly women and dermatomyositis patients.
Antimalarial; Chloroquine Diphosphate; Dermatomyositis; Herpes Zoster; Inflammatory Myopathies; Polymyositis; Risk Factors
Pulmonary embolism is an underdiagnosed major cause of death for hospitalized patients. The objective of this study was to identify the conditions associated with fatal pulmonary embolism in this population.
A total of 13,074 autopsy records were evaluated in a case-control study. Patients were matched by age, sex, and year of death, and factors potentially associated with fatal pulmonary embolism were analyzed using univariate and multivariate conditional logistic regression.
Pulmonary embolism was considered fatal in 328 (2.5%) patients. In the multivariate analysis, conditions that were more common in patients who died of pulmonary embolism were atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and neurological surgery. Some conditions were negatively associated with fatal pulmonary embolism, including hemorrhagic stroke, aortic aneurism, cirrhosis, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and pneumonia. In the control group, patients with hemorrhagic stroke and aortic aneurism had short hospital stays (8.5 and 8.8 days, respectively), and the hemorrhage itself was the main cause of death in most of them (90.6% and 68.4%, respectively), which may have prevented the development of pulmonary embolism. Cirrhotic patients in the control group also had short hospital stays (7 days), and 50% died from bleeding complications.
In this large autopsy study, atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and neurological surgery were diagnoses associated with fatal pulmonary embolism.
Atherosclerosis; Heart Failure; Neurosurgery; Pulmonary Embolism; Venous Thromboembolism
Inhibitor of DNA Binding 4 (ID4) is a member of the helix-loop-helix ID family of transcription factors, mostly present in the central nervous system during embryonic development, that has been associated with TP53 mutation and activation of SOX2. Along with other transcription factors, ID4 has been implicated in the tumorigenic process of astrocytomas, contributing to cell dedifferentiation, proliferation and chemoresistance. In this study, we aimed to characterize the ID4 expression pattern in human diffusely infiltrative astrocytomas of World Health Organization (WHO) grades II to IV of malignancy (AGII-AGIV); to correlate its expression level to that of SOX2, SOX4, OCT-4 and NANOG, along with TP53 mutational status; and to correlate the results with the clinical end-point of overall survival among glioblastoma patients. Quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) was performed in 130 samples of astrocytomas for relative expression, showing up-regulation of all transcription factors in tumor cases. Positive correlation was found when comparing ID4 relative expression of infiltrative astrocytomas with SOX2 (r = 0.50; p<0.005), SOX4 (r = 0.43; p<0.005) and OCT-4 (r = 0.39; p<0.05). The results from TP53 coding exon analysis allowed comparisons between wild-type and mutated status only in AGII cases, demonstrating significantly higher levels of ID4, SOX2 and SOX4 in mutated cases (p<0.05). This pattern was maintained in secondary GBM and further confirmed by immunohistochemistry, suggesting a role for ID4, SOX2 and SOX4 in early astrocytoma tumorigenesis. Combined hyperexpression of ID4, SOX4 and OCT-4 conferred a much lower (6 months) median survival than did hypoexpression (18 months). Because both ID4 alone and a complex of SOX4 and OCT-4 activate SOX2 transcription, it is possible that multiple activation of SOX2 impair the prognosis of GBM patients. These observational results of associated expression of ID4 with SOX4 and OCT-4 may be used as a predictive factor of prognosis upon further confirmation in a larger GBM series.
A heterogeneous population of uncommon neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS) cause significant morbidity and mortality. To explore their genetic origins, we sequenced the exomes of 12 pleomorphic xanthoastrocytomas (PXA), 17 non-brainstem pediatric glioblastomas (PGBM), 8 intracranial ependymomas (IEP) and 8 spinal cord ependymomas (SCEP). Analysis of the mutational spectra revealed that the predominant single base pair substitution was a C:G>T:A transition in each of the four tumor types. Our data confirm the critical roles of several known driver genes within CNS neoplasms, including TP53 and ATRX in PGBM, and NF2 in SCEPs. Additionally, we show that activating BRAF mutations play a central role in both low and high grade glial tumors. Furthermore, alterations in genes coding for members of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway were observed in 33% of PXA. Our study supports the hypothesis that pathologically similar tumors arising in different age groups and from different compartments may represent distinct disease processes with varied genetic composition.
Central nervous system (CNS) tumors; cancer genetics; exome sequencing; pediatric tumors; brain tumors
An organic matrix consisting of a protein-polysaccharide complex is generally accepted as an important medium for the calcification process. While the role this “calcified organic matrix” plays in the calcification process has long been appreciated, the complex mixture of proteins that is induced and assembled during the mineral phase of calcification remains uncharacterized in many organisms. Thus, we investigated organic matrices from the calcitic sclerites of a soft coral, Sinularia sp., and used a proteomic approach to identify the functional matrix proteins that might be involved in the biocalcification process. We purified eight organic matrix proteins and performed in-gel digestion using trypsin. The tryptic peptides were separated by nano-liquid chromatography (nano-LC) and analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) using a matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) – time-of-flight-time-of-flight (TOF-TOF) mass spectrometer. Periodic acid Schiff staining of an SDS-PAGE gel indicated that four proteins were glycosylated. We identified several proteins, including a form of actin, from which we identified a total of 183 potential peptides. Our findings suggest that many of those peptides may contribute to biocalcification in soft corals.
Clear cell adenocarcinoma of the ovary (OCC) is a chemo-resistant tumor with a relatively poor prognosis and is frequently associated with endometriosis. Although it is assumed that oxidative stress plays some role in the malignant transformation of this tumor, the characteristic molecular events leading to carcinogenesis remain unknown. In this study, an array-based comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis revealed Met gene amplification in 4/13 OCC primary tumors and 2/8 OCC cell lines. Amplification of the AKT2 gene, which is a downstream component of the Met/PI3K signaling pathway, was also observed in 5/21 samples by array-based CGH analysis. In one patient, both the Met and AKT2 genes were amplified. These findings were confirmed using fluorescence in situ hybridization, real-time quantitative PCR, immunoblotting, and immunohistochemistry. In total, 73 OCC cases were evaluated using real-time quantitative PCR; 37.0% demonstrated Met gene amplification (>4 copies), and 8.2% had AKT2 amplification. Furthermore, stage 1 and 2 patients with Met gene amplification had significantly worse survival than patients without Met gene amplification (p<0.05). Met knockdown by shRNA resulted in reduced viability of OCC cells with Met amplification due to increased apoptosis and cellular senescence, suggesting that the Met signaling pathway plays an important role in OCC carcinogenesis. Thus, we believe that targeted inhibition of the Met pathway may be a promising treatment for OCC.
To describe demographic features, disease manifestations and therapy in patients with giant cell arteritis from referral centers in Brazil.
A retrospective cohort study was performed on 45 giant cell arteritis patients from three university hospitals in Brazil. Diagnoses were based on the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for giant cell arteritis or temporal artery biopsy findings.
Most patients were Caucasian, and females were slightly more predominant. The frequencies of disease manifestations were as follows: temporal headache in 82.2%, neuro-ophthalmologic manifestations in 68.9%, jaw claudication in 48.9%, systemic symptoms in 44.4%, polymyalgia rheumatica in 35.6% and extra-cranial vessel involvement in 17.8% of cases. Aortic aneurysms were observed in 6.6% of patients. A comparison between patients with biopsy-proven giant cell arteritis and those without temporal artery biopsies did not yield significant differences in disease manifestations. All patients were treated with oral prednisone, and intravenous methylprednisolone was administered to nearly half of the patients. Methotrexate was the most commonly used immunosuppressive agent, and low-dose aspirin was prescribed to the majority of patients. Relapses occurred in 28.9% of patients, and aspirin had a protective effect against relapses. Females had higher prevalences of polymyalgia rheumatica, systemic manifestations and jaw claudication, while permanent visual loss was more prevalent in men.
Most of the clinical features of Brazilian giant cell arteritis patients were similar to those found in other studies, except for the high prevalence of neuro-ophthalmic manifestations and permanent blindness in the Brazilian patients. Aspirin had a protective effect on relapses.
Giant Cell Arteritis; Glucocorticoids; Methotrexate; Multicenter Study; Vasculitis
The author has been actively engaged in research on nanomagnetic materials for about 50 years. Nanomagnetic materials are comprised of ferromagnetic systems for which the size and shape are controlled on a nanometer scale. Typical examples are ultrafine particles, ultrathin films, multilayered films and nano-patterned films. In this article, the following four areas of the author’s studies are described.
(1) Mössbauer spectroscopic studies of nanomagnetic materials and interface magnetism.
(2) Preparation and characterization of metallic multilayers with artificial superstructures.
(3) Giant magnetoresistance (GMR) effect in magnetic multilayers.
(4) Novel properties of nanostructured ferromagnetic thin films (dots and wires).
A subject of particular interest in the author’s research was the artificially prepared multilayers consisting of metallic elements. The motivation to initiate the multilayer investigation is described and the physical properties observed in the artificial multilayers are introduced. The author’s research was initially in the field of pure physical science and gradually extended into applied science. His achievements are highly regarded not only from the fundamental point of view but also from the technological viewpoint.
Mössbauer spectroscopy; interface magnetism; artificial multilayers with superstructures; non-coupled type GMR (giant magnetoresistance); magnetic vortex cores; domain walls in nanomagnetic wires
We investigated four components of the Wnt signaling pathway in medulloblastomas. Medulloblastoma is the most common type of malignant pediatric brain tumor, and the Wnt signaling pathway has been shown to be activated in this type of tumor.
Sixty-one medulloblastoma cases were analyzed for β-catenin gene (CTNNB1) mutations, β-catenin protein expression via immunostaining and Wnt signaling pathway-related gene expression. All data were correlated with histological subtypes and patient clinical information.
CTNNB1 sequencing analysis revealed that 11 out of 61 medulloblastomas harbored missense mutations in residues 32, 33, 34 and 37, which are located in exon 3. These mutations alter the glycogen synthase kinase-3β phosphorylation sites, which participate in β-catenin degradation. No significant differences were observed between mutation status and histological medulloblastoma type, patient age and overall or progression-free survival times. Nuclear β-catenin accumulation, which was observed in 27.9% of the cases, was not associated with the histological type, CTNNB1 mutation status or tumor cell dissemination. The relative expression levels of genes that code for proteins involved in the Wnt signaling pathway (CTNNB1, APC, AXIN1 and WNT1) were also analyzed, but no significant correlations were found. In addition, large-cell variant medulloblastomas presented lower relative CTNNB1 expression as compared to the other tumor variants.
A small subset of medulloblastomas carry CTNNB1 mutations with consequent nuclear accumulation of β-catenin. The Wnt signaling pathway plays a role in classic, desmoplastic and extensive nodularity medulloblastoma variants but not in large-cell medulloblastomas.
β-catenin; Gene Expression; Immunohistochemistry; Medulloblastoma; Wnt Pathway
Inflammation involving adipose tissue is regarded as one of the major molecular mechanisms underlying obesity-related insulin resistance. Recent studies have suggested a series of angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) to improve insulin resistance or protect against the development of diabetes mellitus. We previously demonstrated that valsartan suppresses the inflammatory response of macrophages. Interestingly, however, this effect did not occur via peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ or the AT1a receptor. This suppression appears to secondarily lead to amelioration of insulin resistance and reductions in abnormal gene expressions in adipocytes. In addition to these in vitro findings, we herein demonstrate the in vivo effects of valsartan, using mice constitutively infused with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 4 weeks. Oral administration of valsartan to LPS-infused mice normalized the increased expressions of inflammatory cytokines in adipose and liver tissues. These results raise the possibility that valsartan not only contributes to normalization of obesity-related insulin resistance, but is also beneficial for the treatment of other diseases with inflammation related to the metabolic syndrome such as atherosclerosis and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Further study is necessary to clarify these issues.
valsartan; adipocyte; macrophage; type 2 diabetes; ARB; inflammation
CA19-9 is a tumor marker mainly used for biliary tract, pancreas and colorectum. Since the marker applies usually for adults, the normal range of serum CA19-9 among children has been rarely reported. This is the first study reporting the distribution of serum CA19-9 levels among cancer-free children as well as their parents, taking into account the Lewis and secretor gene polymorphism and physical growth.
Study subjects were 972 apparently healthy Japanese Brazilians including 476 children aged from 1 to 19 years.
The comparisons in five-year age groups demonstrated that the mean values of serum CA19-9 was lower in the boys than in the girls, and higher in younger age groups; 22.5 U/ml for 1–4 year-old (n=13), 17.4 U/ml for 5–9 year-old (n=36), 15.5 U/ml for 10–14 year-old (n=96) and 10.2 U/ml for 15–19 year-old (n=74) in boys, and 25.3 U/ml (n=11), 27.1 U/ml (n=50), 17.7 U/ml (n=105) and 13.5 U/ml (n=59) in girls, respectively. The difference in those geometric means was statistically significant among four age groups (p=0.006, ANOVA adjusted for sex). After Lewis and secretor genotypes, which are definitive factors of serum CA19-9, were taken into account, geometric mean of serum CA19-9 was associated with any of BMI (p<0.001), height (p<0.001) and weight (p<0.001) among children excluding those with le/le genotype. The associations were still significant when age was adjusted.
Serum CA19-9 values were higher among children than among adults, and influenced by sex, height, weight, and BMI even after the adjustment for age as well as Le and Se genotypes.
CA19-9; Healthy children; BMI; Lewis and secretor gene polymorphisms
Background. Glufosinate ammonium has a famous delayed complication as respiratory failure, however, delayed cardiogenic complication is not well known. Objectives. The aim of this study is to report a takotsubo cardiomyopathy as a delayed complication of glufosinate ammonium for suicide attempt. Case Report. A 75-year-old woman ingested about 90 mL of Basta, herbicide for suicide attempt at arousal during sleep. She came to our hospital at twelve hours after ingesting. She was admitted to our hospital for fear of delayed respiratory failure. Actually, she felt down to respiratory failure, needing a ventilator with intubation at 20 hours after ingesting. Procedure around respiratory management had smoothly done with no delay. Her vital status had been stable, however, she felt down to circulatory failure and diagnosed as Takotsubo cardiomyopathy at about 41 hours after ingestion. There was no trigger activities or events to evoke mental and physical stresses. Conclusion. We could successfully manage takotsubo cardiomyopathy resulted in circulatory failure in a patient with glufosinate poisoning for suicide attempt. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy should be taken into consideration if circulatory failure is observed for unexplained reasons.
The most frequent and malignant brain cancer is glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In gliomas, tumor progression and poor prognosis are associated with the tumorigenic ability of the cells. U87MG cells (wild-type p53) are known to be tumorigenic in nude mice, but T98G cells (mutant p53) are not tumorigenic. We investigated the proteomic profiling of these two cell lines in order to gain new insights into the mechanisms that may be involved in tumorigenesis.
We found 24 differentially expressed proteins between T98G and U87MG cells. Gene Ontology supports the notion that over-representation of differentially expressed proteins is involved in glycolysis, cell migration and stress oxidative response. Among those associated with the glycolysis pathway, TPIS and LDHB are up-regulated in U87MG cells. Measurement of glucose consumption and lactate production suggests that glycolysis is more effective in U87MG cells. On the other hand, G6PD expression was 3-fold higher in T98G cells and this may indicate a shift to the pentose-phosphate pathway. Moreover, GRP78 expression was also three-fold higher in T98G than in U87MG cells. Under thapsigargin treatment both cell lines showed increased GRP78 expression and the effect of this agent was inversely correlated to cell migration. Quantitative RT-PCR and immunohistochemistry of GRP78 in patient samples indicated a higher level of expression of GRP78 in grade IV tumors compared to grade I and non-neoplastic tissues, respectively.
Taken together, these results suggest an important role of proteins involved in key functions such as glycolysis and cell migration that may explain the difference in tumorigenic ability between these two glioma cell lines and that may be extrapolated to the differential aggressiveness of glioma tumors.
Glycolysis; Brain cancer; Cell migration; Glioma; Tumorigenesis; U87MG; T98G
To analyze major histocompatibility complex expression in the muscle fibers of juvenile and adult dermatomyositis.
In total, 28 untreated adult dermatomyositis patients, 28 juvenile dermatomyositis patients (Bohan and Peter's criteria) and a control group consisting of four dystrophic and five Pompe's disease patients were analyzed. Routine histological and immunohistochemical (major histocompatibility complex I and II, StreptoABComplex/HRP, Dakopatts) analyses were performed on serial frozen muscle sections. Inflammatory cells, fiber damage, perifascicular atrophy and increased connective tissue were analyzed relative to the expression of major histocompatibility complexes I and II, which were assessed as negatively or positively stained fibers in 10 fields (200X).
The mean ages at disease onset were 42.0±15.9 and 7.3±3.4 years in adult and juvenile dermatomyositis, respectively, and the symptom durations before muscle biopsy were similar in both groups. No significant differences were observed regarding gender, ethnicity and frequency of organ involvement, except for higher creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase levels in adult dermatomyositis (p<0.050). Moreover, a significantly higher frequency of major histocompatibility complex I (96.4% vs. 50.0%, p<0.001) compared with major histocompatibility complex II expression (14.3% vs. 53.6%, p = 0.004) was observed in juvenile dermatomyositis. Fiber damage (p = 0.006) and increased connective tissue (p<0.001) were significantly higher in adult dermatomyositis compared with the presence of perifascicular atrophy (p<0.001). The results of the histochemical and histological data did not correlate with the demographic data or with the clinical and laboratory features.
The overexpression of major histocompatibility complex I was an important finding for the diagnosis of both groups, particularly for juvenile dermatomyositis, whereas there was lower levels of expression of major histocompatibility complex II than major histocompatibility complex I. This finding was particularly apparent in juvenile dermatomyositis.
Adult Dermatomyositis; Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies; Juvenile Dermatomyositis; Major Histocompatibility Complex; Muscle Biopsy
The IRE1α-XBP1 pathway, a key component of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response, is considered to be a critical regulator for survival of multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Therefore, the availability of small-molecule inhibitors targeting this pathway would offer a new chemotherapeutic strategy for MM. Here, we screened small-molecule inhibitors of ER stress-induced XBP1 activation, and identified toyocamycin from a culture broth of an Actinomycete strain. Toyocamycin was shown to suppress thapsigargin-, tunicamycin- and 2-deoxyglucose-induced XBP1 mRNA splicing in HeLa cells without affecting activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) and PKR-like ER kinase (PERK) activation. Furthermore, although toyocamycin was unable to inhibit IRE1α phosphorylation, it prevented IRE1α-induced XBP1 mRNA cleavage in vitro. Thus, toyocamycin is an inhibitor of IRE1α-induced XBP1 mRNA cleavage. Toyocamycin inhibited not only ER stress-induced but also constitutive activation of XBP1 expression in MM lines as well as primary samples from patients. It showed synergistic effects with bortezomib, and induced apoptosis of MM cells including bortezomib-resistant cells at nanomolar levels in a dose-dependent manner. It also inhibited growth of xenografts in an in vivo model of human MM. Taken together, our results suggest toyocamycin as a lead compound for developing anti-MM therapy and XBP1 as an appropriate molecular target for anti-MM therapy.
multiple myeloma; ER stress; IRE1α; XBP1; toyocamycin; adenosine analog
Mutations in the critical chromatin modifier ATRX and mutations in CIC and FUBP1, which are potent regulators of cell growth, have been discovered in specific subtypes of gliomas, the most common type of primary malignant brain tumors. However, the frequency of these mutations in many subtypes of gliomas, and their association with clinical features of the patients, is poorly understood. Here we analyzed these loci in 363 brain tumors. ATRX is frequently mutated in grade II-III astrocytomas (71%), oligoastrocytomas (68%), and secondary glioblastomas (57%), and ATRX mutations are associated with IDH1 mutations and with an alternative lengthening of telomeres phenotype. CIC and FUBP1 mutations occurred frequently in oligodendrogliomas (46% and 24%, respectively) but rarely in astrocytomas or oligoastrocytomas (<10%). This analysis allowed us to define two highly recurrent genetic signatures in gliomas: IDH1/ATRX (I-A) and IDH1/CIC/FUBP1 (I-CF). Patients with I-CF gliomas had a significantly longer median overall survival (96 months) than patients with I-A gliomas (51 months) and patients with gliomas that did not harbor either signature (13 months). The genetic signatures distinguished clinically distinct groups of oligoastrocytoma patients, which usually present a diagnostic challenge, and were associated with differences in clinical outcome even among individual tumor types. In addition to providing new clues about the genetic alterations underlying gliomas, the results have immediate clinical implications, providing a tripartite genetic signature that can serve as a useful adjunct to conventional glioma classification that may aid in prognosis, treatment selection, and therapeutic trial design.
ALT; IDH1; IDH2; Mixed Gliomas
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans are major inhibitory molecules for neural plasticity under both physiological and pathological conditions. The chondroitin sulfate degrading enzyme chondroitinase ABC promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury, and restores experience-dependent plasticity, such as ocular dominance plasticity and fear erasure plasticity, in adult rodents. These data suggest that the sugar chain in a proteoglycan moiety is essential for the inhibitory activity of proteoglycans. However, the significance of the core protein has not been studied extensively. Furthermore, considering that chondroitinase ABC is derived from bacteria, a mammalian endogenous enzyme which can inactivate the proteoglycans' activity is desirable for clinical use.
The degradation activity of ADAMTS-4 was estimated for the core proteins of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that is, brevican, neurocan and phosphacan. To evaluate the biological significance of ADMATS-4 activity, an in vitro neurite growth assay and an in vivo neuronal injury model, spinal cord contusion injury, were employed.
ADAMTS-4 digested proteoglycans, and reversed their inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Local administration of ADAMTS-4 significantly promoted motor function recovery after spinal cord injury. Supporting these findings, the ADAMTS-4-treated spinal cord exhibited enhanced axonal regeneration/sprouting after spinal cord injury.
Our data suggest that the core protein in a proteoglycan moiety is also important for the inhibition of neural plasticity, and provides a potentially safer tool for the treatment of neuronal injuries.
ADAMTS-4; Spinal cord injury; Extracellular matrix; Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan; Keratan sulfate proteoglycan; Rat
Research on the soft coral genus Sarcophyton extends over a wide range of fields, including marine natural products and the isolation of a number of cembranoid diterpenes. However, it is still unknown how soft corals produce this diverse array of metabolites, and the relationship between soft coral diversity and cembranoid diterpene production is not clear. In order to understand this relationship, we examined Sarcophyton specimens from Okinawa, Japan, by utilizing three methods: morphological examination of sclerites, chemotype identification, and phylogenetic examination of both Sarcophyton (utilizing mitochondrial protein-coding genes MutS homolog: msh1) and their endosymbiotic Symbiodinium spp. (utilizing nuclear internal transcribed spacer of ribosomal DNA: ITS- rDNA). Chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clades, and sclerites of Sarcophyton trocheliophorum specimens formed a clear and distinct group, but the relationships between chemotypes, molecular phylogenetic clade types and sclerites of the most common species, Sarcophyton glaucum, was not clear. S. glaucum was divided into four clades. A characteristic chemotype was observed within one phylogenetic clade of S. glaucum. Identities of symbiotic algae Symbiodinium spp. had no apparent relation to chemotypes of Sarcophyton spp. This study demonstrates that the complex results observed for S. glaucum are due to the incomplete and complex taxonomy of this species group. Our novel method of identification should help contribute to classification and taxonomic reassessment of this diverse soft coral genus.
1) To correlate the methylation status of the O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter to its gene and protein expression levels in glioblastoma and 2) to determine the most reliable method for using MGMT to predict the response to adjuvant therapy in patients with glioblastoma.
The MGMT gene is epigenetically silenced by promoter hypermethylation in gliomas, and this modification has emerged as a relevant predictor of therapeutic response.
Fifty-one cases of glioblastoma were analyzed for MGMT promoter methylation by methylation-specific PCR and pyrosequencing, gene expression by real time polymerase chain reaction, and protein expression by immunohistochemistry.
MGMT promoter methylation was found in 43.1% of glioblastoma by methylation-specific PCR and 38.8% by pyrosequencing. A low level of MGMT gene expression was correlated with positive MGMT promoter methylation (p = 0.001). However, no correlation was found between promoter methylation and MGMT protein expression (p = 0.297). The mean survival time of glioblastoma patients submitted to adjuvant therapy was significantly higher among patients with MGMT promoter methylation (log rank = 0.025 by methylation-specific PCR and 0.004 by pyrosequencing), and methylation was an independent predictive factor that was associated with improved prognosis by multivariate analysis.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:
MGMT promoter methylation status was a more reliable predictor of susceptibility to adjuvant therapy and prognosis of glioblastoma than were MGMT protein or gene expression levels. Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction and pyrosequencing methods were both sensitive methods for determining MGMT promoter methylation status using DNA extracted from frozen tissue.
Glioblastoma; MGMT promoter methylation; MGMT gene; MGMT protein; Prognosis
Oligodendrogliomas are the second most common malignant brain tumor in adults and exhibit characteristic losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q. To identify the molecular genetic basis for this alteration, we performed exomic sequencing of seven tumors. Among other changes, we found that the CIC gene (homolog of the Drosophila gene capicua) on chromosome 19q was somatically mutated in six cases and that the FUBP1 gene [encoding far upstream element (FUSE) binding protein] on chromosome 1p was somatically mutated in two tumors. Examination of 27 additional oligodendrogliomas revealed 12 and 3 more tumors with mutations of CIC and FUBP1, respectively, 58% of which were predicted to result in truncations of the encoded proteins. These results suggest a critical role for these genes in the biology and pathology of oligodendrocytes.
Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant brain tumor of children. To identify the genetic alterations in this tumor type, we searched for copy number alterations using high density microarrays and sequenced all known protein-coding genes and miRNA genes using Sanger sequencing in a set of 22 MBs. We found that, on average, each tumor had 11 gene alterations, 5 to 10-fold fewer than in the adult solid tumors that have been sequenced to date. In addition to alterations in the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways, our analysis led to the discovery of genes not previously known to be altered in MBs. Most notably, inactivating mutations of the histone-lysine N-methyltransferase genes MLL2 or MLL3 were identified in 16% of MB patients. These results demonstrate key differences between the genetic landscapes of adult and childhood cancers, highlight dysregulation of developmental pathways as an important mechanism underlying MBs, and identify a role for a specific type of histone methylation in human tumorigenesis.
The presence of stem cell characteristics in glioma cells raises the possibility that mechanisms promoting the maintenance and self-renewal of tissue specific stem cells have a similar function in tumor cells. Here we characterized human gliomas of various malignancy grades for the expression of stem cell regulatory proteins. We show that cells in high grade glioma co-express an array of markers defining neural stem cells (NSCs) and that these proteins can fulfill similar functions in tumor cells as in NSCs. However, in contrast to NSCs glioma cells co-express neural proteins together with pluripotent stem cell markers, including the transcription factors Oct4, Sox2, Nanog and Klf4. In line with this finding, in high grade gliomas mesodermal- and endodermal-specific transcription factors were detected together with neural proteins, a combination of lineage markers not normally present in the central nervous system. Persistent presence of pluripotent stem cell traits could only be detected in solid tumors, and observations based on in vitro studies and xenograft transplantations in mice imply that this presence is dependent on the combined activity of intrinsic and extrinsic regulatory cues. Together these results demonstrate a general deregulated expression of neural and pluripotent stem cell traits in malignant human gliomas, and indicate that stem cell regulatory factors may provide significant targets for therapeutic strategies.