The transcription of genes that support memory processes are likely to be impacted by the normal aging process. Because Arc is necessary for memory consolidation and enduring synaptic plasticity, we examined Arc transcription within the aged hippocampus. Here, we report that Arc transcription is reduced within the aged hippocampus compared to the adult hippocampus during both “off line” periods of rest, and following spatial behavior. This reduction is observed within ensembles of CA1 “place cells”, which make less mRNA per cell, and in the dentate gyrus (DG) where fewer granule cells are activated by behavior. In addition, we present data suggesting that aberrant changes in methylation of the Arc gene may be responsible for age-related decreases in Arc transcription within CA1 and the DG. Given that Arc is necessary for normal memory function, these subregion-specific epigenetic and transcriptional changes may result in less efficient memory storage and retrieval during aging.
A novel mechanism is found by which Drosophila male germline stem cells (GSCs) slow their cell cycle under limited nutrient conditions. Upon culturing in poor media, GSCs misorient their centrosomes with respect to the stem cell niche, activating the centrosome orientation checkpoint and leading to slowdown of the cell cycle.
Drosophila male germline stem cells (GSCs) divide asymmetrically, balancing self-renewal and differentiation. Although asymmetric stem cell division balances between self-renewal and differentiation, it does not dictate how frequently differentiating cells must be produced. In male GSCs, asymmetric GSC division is achieved by stereotyped positioning of the centrosome with respect to the stem cell niche. Recently we showed that the centrosome orientation checkpoint monitors the correct centrosome orientation to ensure an asymmetric outcome of the GSC division. When GSC centrosomes are not correctly oriented with respect to the niche, GSC cell cycle is arrested/delayed until the correct centrosome orientation is reacquired. Here we show that induction of centrosome misorientation upon culture in poor nutrient conditions mediates slowing of GSC cell proliferation via activation of the centrosome orientation checkpoint. Consistently, inactivation of the centrosome orientation checkpoint leads to lack of cell cycle slowdown even under poor nutrient conditions. We propose that centrosome misorientation serves as a mediator that transduces nutrient information into stem cell proliferation, providing a previously unappreciated mechanism of stem cell regulation in response to nutrient conditions.
AIM: To understand the demographic characteristics of patients in Southwestern Ontario, Canada with ulcerative colitis (UC) in order to predict disease severity.
METHODS: Records from 1996 to 2001 were examined to create a database of UC patients seen in the London Health Sciences Centre South Street Hospital Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic. To be included, patients’ charts were required to have information of their disease presentation and a minimum of 5 years of follow-up. Charts were reviewed using standardized data collection forms. Disease severity was generated during the chart review process, and non-endoscopic Mayo Score criteria were collected into a composite.
RESULTS: One hundred and two consecutive patients’ data were entered into the database. Demographic analyses revealed that 51% of the patients were male, the mean age at diagnosis was 39 years, 13.7% had a first degree relative with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), 61.8% were nonsmokers and 24.5% were ex-smokers. In 22.5% of patients the disease was limited to the rectum, in 21.6% disease was limited to the sigmoid colon, in 22.5% disease was limited to the left colon, and 32.4% of patients had pancolitis. Standard multiple regression analysis which regressed a composite of physician global assessment of disease severity, average number of bowel movements, and average amount of blood in bowel movements on year of diagnosis and age at time of diagnosis was significant, R2 = 0.306, F (7, 74) = 4.66, P < 0.01. Delay from symptoms to diagnosis of UC, gender, family history of IBD, smoking status and disease severity at the time of diagnosis didnot significantly predict the composite measure.
CONCLUSION: UC severity is associated with younger age at diagnosis and year of diagnosis in a longitudinal cohort of UC patients, and may identify prognostic UC indicators.
Demographic; Disease severity; Prognosis; Ulcerative colitis
PCR was used to evaluate the occurrence of Toxoplasma gondii parasitemia by detection of the B1 gene in blood samples in two groups of immunosuppressed patients (148 subjects) suspected of having cerebral or extracerebral infection, respectively. Group I consisted of 52 patients with AIDS with suspected cerebral toxoplasmosis. The diagnosis was clinically proven in 15 cases. Parasitemia was detected by PCR in only two of these patients (13.3%), both showing evidence of disseminated infection. Group II consisted of 96 immunocompromised patients, either with AIDS or receiving iatrogenic immunosuppressive therapy. Of these patients, 65 (34 with AIDS and 31 others) showed abnormalities only in chest radiography and were first screened for the presence of Toxoplasma DNA in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Blood was then analyzed when the parasite was detected in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. The remaining 31 subjects (22 with AIDS and 9 others) were suspected of having extracerebral, pulmonary, or disseminated toxoplasmosis, and blood was studied directly in these cases. Among the nine patients with clinically diagnosed extracerebral infection in group II, the parasite was detected by PCR in the blood of five patients (55.5%), all having pulmonary toxoplasmosis. If all patients with clinical manifestations of extracerebral toxoplasmosis (from both groups) who had not received antitoxoplasma therapy when the samples were collected are considered, PCR detected parasitemia in seven of the nine cases (77.8%). The present study indicates that examination of blood by PCR may be valuable in cases of extracerebral toxoplasmosis because of the disseminated nature of the disease. Since most cases of cerebral toxoplasmosis result from the local reactivation of latent brain cysts, detection of parasitemia by PCR is useful only in cases associated with severe cerebral infection or dissemination of this disease.
TUSC2-defective gene expression is detected in the majority of lung cancers and is associated with worse overall survival. We analyzed the effects of TUSC2 re-expression on tumor cell sensitivity to the AKT inhibitor, MK2206, and explored their mutual signaling connections, in vitro and in vivo. TUSC2 transient expression in three LKB1-defective non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines combined with MK2206 treatment resulted in increased repression of cell viability and colony formation, and increased apoptotic activity. In contrast, TUSC2 did not affect the response to MK2206 treatment for two LKB1-wild type NSCLC cell lines. In vivo, TUSC2 systemic delivery, by nanoparticle gene transfer, combined with MK2206 treatment markedly inhibited growth of tumors in a human LKB1-defective H322 lung cancer xenograft mouse model. Biochemical analysis showed that TUSC2 transient expression in LKB1-defective NSCLC cells significantly stimulated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation and enzymatic activity. More importantly, AMPK gene knockdown abrogated TUSC2-MK2206 cooperation, as evidenced by reduced sensitivity to the combined treatment. Together, TUSC2 re-expression and MK2206 treatment was more effective in inhibiting the phosphorylation and kinase activities of AKT and mTOR proteins than either single agent alone. In conclusion, these findings support the hypothesis that TUSC2 expression status is a biological variable that potentiates MK2206 sensitivity in LKB1-defective NSCLC cells, and identifies the AMPK/AKT/mTOR signaling axis as an important regulator of this activity.
To generate doxycycline-inducible human tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα)–transgenic mice to overcome a major disadvantage of existing transgenic mice with constitutive expression of TNFα, which is the limitation in crossing them with various knockout or transgenic mice.
A transgenic mouse line that expresses the human TNFα cytokine exclusively after doxycycline administration was generated and analyzed for the onset of diseases.
Doxycycline-inducible human TNFα–transgenic mice developed an inflammatory arthritis– and psoriasis-like phenotype, with fore and hind paws being prominently affected. The formation of “sausage digits” with characteristic involvement of the distal interphalangeal joints and nail malformation was observed. Synovial hyperplasia, enthesitis, cartilage and bone alterations, formation of pannus tissue, and inflammation of the skin epidermis and nail matrix appeared as early as 1 week after the treatment of mice with doxycycline and became aggravated over time. The abrogation of human TNFα expression by the removal of doxycycline 6 weeks after beginning stimulation resulted in fast resolution of the most advanced macroscopic and histologic disorders, and 3–6 weeks later, only minimal signs of disease were visible.
Upon doxycycline administration, the doxycycline-inducible human TNFα–transgenic mouse displays the major features of inflammatory arthritis. It represents a unique animal model for studying the molecular mechanisms of arthritis, especially the early phases of disease genesis and tissue remodeling steps upon abrogation of TNFα expression. Furthermore, unlimited crossing of doxycycline-inducible human TNFα–transgenic mice with various knockout or transgenic mice opens new possibilities for unraveling the role of various signaling molecules acting in concert with TNFα.
During important cellular processes such as centrosome and spindle positioning, dynein at the cortex interacts with dynamic microtubules in an apparent “end-on” fashion. It is well-established that dynein can generate forces by moving laterally along the microtubule lattice, but much less is known about dynein’s interaction with dynamic microtubule ends. In this paper, we review recent in vitro experiments that show that dynein, attached to an artificial cortex, is able to capture microtubule ends, regulate microtubule dynamics and mediate the generation of pulling forces on shrinking microtubules. We further review existing ideas on the involvement of dynein-mediated cortical pulling forces in the positioning of microtubule organizing centers such as centrosomes. Recent in vitro experiments have demonstrated that cortical pulling forces in combination with pushing forces can lead to reliable centering of microtubule asters in quasi two-dimensional microfabricated chambers. In these experiments, pushing leads to slipping of microtubule ends along the chamber boundaries, resulting in an anisotropic distribution of cortical microtubule contacts that favors centering, once pulling force generators become engaged. This effect is predicted to be strongly geometry-dependent, and we therefore finally discuss ongoing efforts to repeat these experiments in three-dimensional, spherical and deformable geometries.
microtubules; centrosome; dynein; positioning; centering; aster; pulling; pushing; slipping; microfabricated chambers; emulsion droplets; GUVs; cytoskeleton; molecular motors
In multicellular organisms, proteins of the extracellular matrix (ECM) play structural and functional roles in essentially all organs, so understanding ECM protein organization in health and disease remains an important goal. Here, we used sub-diffraction resolution stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy (STORM) to resolve the in situ molecular organization of proteins within the kidney glomerular basement membrane (GBM), an essential mediator of glomerular ultrafiltration. Using multichannel STORM and STORM-electron microscopy correlation, we constructed a molecular reference frame that revealed a laminar organization of ECM proteins within the GBM. Separate analyses of domains near the N- and C-termini of agrin, laminin, and collagen IV in mouse and human GBM revealed a highly oriented macromolecular organization. Our analysis also revealed disruptions in this GBM architecture in a mouse model of Alport syndrome. These results provide the first nanoscopic glimpse into the organization of a complex ECM.
The blood that flows through the body must be continually filtered to remove waste products and to ensure that it contains optimal levels of water and salts. Filtration is performed inside the kidneys by tufts of small blood vessels called glomeruli. These glomerular capillaries allow water and waste products to pass from the blood into the urine, while holding back proteins and blood cells. The wall of a glomerular capillary consists of two layers of cells flanking a third layer called the glomerular basement membrane. If any of these layers malfunctions, it becomes possible for proteins to pass into the urine. This is a clear sign of kidney disease.
The basement membrane is composed of proteins secreted by the two layers of cells, but little was known about how these proteins are organized. Now, Suleiman et al. have adapted a new form of high-resolution optical microscopy called STORM to study the structure of the glomerular basement membrane in both mouse and human kidney tissue. By combining data from STORM and electron microscopy, Suleiman et al. showed that the proteins in the glomerular basement membranes of both species are arranged similarly to form a distinctive layered structure. This suggests that the organization of the basement membrane plays a critical role in its function.
The technique was used to demonstrate that proteins were not organized in the glomerular basement membrane in tissue samples taken from mice suffering from Alport syndrome, a genetic disorder of the kidneys. In addition to suggesting that the disorganization of basement membranes may play an important role in disease, this work also provides a method for investigating the structure of the basement membrane in diverse types of tissue.
super-resolution microscopy; extracellular matrix; kidney; basement membrane; Human; Mouse
We study the temporal evolution of the structure of the world's largest subway networks in an exploratory manner. We show that, remarkably, all these networks converge to a shape that shares similar generic features despite their geographical and economic differences. This limiting shape is made of a core with branches radiating from it. For most of these networks, the average degree of a node (station) within the core has a value of order 2.5 and the proportion of k = 2 nodes in the core is larger than 60 per cent. The number of branches scales roughly as the square root of the number of stations, the current proportion of branches represents about half of the total number of stations, and the average diameter of branches is about twice the average radial extension of the core. Spatial measures such as the number of stations at a given distance to the barycentre display a first regime which grows as r2 followed by another regime with different exponents, and eventually saturates. These results—difficult to interpret in the framework of fractal geometry—confirm and yield a natural explanation in the geometric picture of this core and their branches: the first regime corresponds to a uniform core, while the second regime is controlled by the interstation spacing on branches. The apparent convergence towards a unique network shape in the temporal limit suggests the existence of dominant, universal mechanisms governing the evolution of these structures.
evolution of networks; urban transportation; spatial networks; core and branch geometry
Microscopic colitis (MC) often debuts around or after menopause and is divided into lymphocytic- and collagenous colitis. The aim of this study was to examine whether factors influencing sex hormone levels differed between subgroups of MC as well as between patients and controls. A self-administered questionnaire about parity was completed which included questions surrounding age at first childbirth, menarche and menopause, the use of oral contraceptives, and hormonal replacement therapy. Patients with lymphocytic colitis had children less often compared to those with collagenous colitis (OR = 0.20, 95% CI = 0.05–0.86), however no differences were observed between patients with persistent or transient disease. Patients were less often older than 15 years of age at menarche (OR = 0.48, 95% CI = 0.26–0.91) and were younger at menopause (OR = 0.30, 95% CI = 0.16–0.56) compared with controls. Thus, no obvious association between factors influencing sex hormone levels and presence of MC could be found.
microscopic colitis; reproductive factors; estrogen; progesterone
Mutations in the parkin gene are linked to development of juvenile onset of Parkinson’s disease and recent studies have reported that parkin can protect against increased oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction caused by a variety of oxidative and toxic insults. Overexpression of parkin has also been reported to selectively protect dopaminergic neurons from Mn toxicity. Accordingly, in this paper we compare the effect that mutations in parkin have on Mn toxicity and associated apoptotic signals in normal and human B lymphocyte cell lines containing a homozygous mutation in the gene. Results of these studies reveal that Mn toxicity was similar in both control and mutant parkin lymphocyte cells indicating that cell death caused by Mn was not altered in cells devoid of parkin activity. In contrast, Mn did inhibit mitochondrial function to a greater extent in cells devoid of active parkin as indicated by a decrease in ATP production although mitochondrial membrane potential was essentially unaffected. Consistent with inactive parkin influencing the Mn response is the observation of increased activity in the down-stream apoptotic signal, caspase 3. In summary, results reported in this paper demonstrate that mutations in parkin can lead to functional changes in potential signaling processes known to provoke Mn toxicity. The selectivity and magnitude of this response, however, does not necessarily lead to cell death in lymphocytes which are devoid of dopamine.
manganese; parkin; Parkinson’s disease; manganism; lymphocytes; oxidative stress; apoptosis
The benzodiazepine receptor agonists (BzRAs) a melatonin receptor agonist and a histamine antagonist have all been approved as hypnotics. Beyond their differing mechanisms of action, they have differences in pharmacokinetics, and among the BzRAs differences in receptor subtype affinity and formulations, which provides the physician with broad options for tailoring therapy to each patient’s specific needs. Consistent with their specific pharmacokinetics and formulations, these Food and Drug Administration-approved hypnotics have been shown to improve sleep with no evidence of tolerance development in long-term use. In addition, emerging data indicate these drugs also improve aspects of daytime function. Their side effects are either associated with the direct sedating effects of the drugs, doses greater than clinical doses, or a combination with alcohol or other sedating drugs. Anxiolytic BzRAs, sedating antidepressants and antipsychotics have been used off-label as hypnotics. However, in the absence of information regarding their dose range for efficacy and safety, their use as hypnotics is ill-advised.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-012-0148-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Hypnotic efficacy; Hypnotic safety; Hypnotic pharmacology; Off-label use; Treatment considerations
Sponsored by the New York Academy of Sciences and with support from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Life Technologies Foundation, and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, “Advancing Drug Discovery for Schizophrenia” was held March 9–11 at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City. The meeting, comprising individual talks and panel discussions, highlighted basic, clinical, and translational research approaches, all of which contribute to the overarching goal of enhancing the pharmaceutical armamentarium for treating schizophrenia. This report surveys work by the vanguard of schizophrenia research in such topics as genetic and epigenetic approaches; small molecule therapeutics; and the relationships between target genes, neuronal function, and symptoms of schizophrenia.
schizophrenia; genetics; GWAS; neuronal function; small molecules; therapeutics
Despite early detection programs, many patients with prostate cancer present with intermediate- or high-risk disease. We prospectively investigated whether 11C-acetate PET/CT predicts lymph-node (LN) metastasis and treatment failure in men planned for radical prostatectomy.
107 men with intermediate-or-high-risk localized prostate cancer with negative conventional imaging underwent PET/CT with 11C-acetate. Five underwent LN staging only and 102 LN staging and prostatectomy. PET/CT findings were correlated with pathologic nodal status. Treatment-failure-free survival (TFFS) was estimated by Kaplan-Meier method. The ability of PET/CT to predict outcomes was evaluated by multivariate Cox proportional hazards analysis.
PET/CT was positive for pelvic LN or distant metastasis in 36 of 107 patients (33.6%). LN metastasis was present histopathologically in 25 (23.4%). The sensitivity, specificity, positive- and negative-predictive values of PET/CT for detecting LN metastasis were 68.0%, 78.1%, 48.6% and 88.9% respectively. 64 patients failed: 25 with metastasis, 17 with persistent post-prostatectomy prostate specific antigen (PSA) >0.20 ng/mL, and 22 with biochemical recurrence (PSA >0.20 ng/mL after nadir) during follow-up for a median of 44.0 months. TFFS was worse in PET-positive than in PET-negative patients (p<0.0001) and in those with false-positive versus true-negative scans (p<0.01), suggesting that PET may have demonstrated nodal disease not removed surgically or identified pathologically. PET positivity independently predicted failure in preoperative (hazard ratio=3.26, p<0.0001) and postoperative (HR=3.07, p=0.0001) multivariate models.
In patients planned for or completing prostatectomy, 11C-acetate-PET/CT detects LN metastasis not identified by conventional imaging and independently predicts TTFS.
prostatic cancer; PET; acetate; cancer staging; lymphatic metastasis
Prenatal folic acid supplements reduce the risk of neural tube defects and may have beneficial effects on other aspects of neurodevelopment.
To examine associations between mothers' use of prenatal folic acid supplements and risk of severe language delay in their children at age 3 years.
Design, Setting, and Patients
The prospective observational Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study recruited pregnant women between 1999 and December 2008. Data on children born before 2008 whose mothers returned the 3-year follow-up questionnaire by June 16, 2010, were used. Maternal use of folic acid supplements within the interval from 4 weeks before to 8 weeks after conception was the exposure. Relative risks were approximated by estimating odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs in a logistic regression analysis.
Main Outcome Measure
Children's language competency at age 3 years measured by maternal report on a 6-point ordinal language grammar scale. Children with minimal expressive language (only 1-word or unintelligible utterances) were rated as having severe language delay.
Among 38 954 children, 204 (0.5%) had severe language delay. Children whose mothers took no dietary supplements in the specified exposure interval were the reference group (n=9052 [24.0%], with severe language delay in 81 children [0.9%]). Adjusted ORs for 3 patterns of exposure to maternal dietary supplements were (1) other supplements, but no folic acid (n=2480 [6.6%], with severe language delay in 22 children [0.9%]; OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 0.62-1.74); (2) folic acid only (n=7127 [18.9%], with severe language delay in 28 children [0.4%]; OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.35-0.86); and (3) folic acid in combination with other supplements (n=19005 [50.5%], with severe language delay in 73 children [0.4%]; OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.39-0.78).
Among this Norwegian cohort of mothers and children, maternal use of folic acid supplements in early pregnancy was associated with a reduced risk of severe language delay in children at age 3 years.
Grounded on the ethical principle of respect for persons, parental permission and
child assent function together to protect the child and to foster the
development of the child’s self-determination. Although both parental permission
and child assent involve the same components of information sharing,
comprehension, and voluntariness, how these three components are understood and
operationalized should differ depending on the developmental level of the child.
For example, the amount of information that a child must comprehend to provide
meaningful and developmentally appropriate child assent (or dissent) should be
allowed to vary with the age and maturity of the child. By understanding child
assent together with the important protections of parental permission, child
assent does not need to be burdened with the same informational and process
requirements. As a result, the age (as a proxy for developmental stage) at which
a child is deemed capable of assent would be lower (i.e., 5 to 7 years old). By
assuming a lack of capacity, the potential arises to dishonor and disregard a
child’s wishes by failing to solicit meaningful assent or dissent. Further
research needs to be done on how best to obtain truly informed and voluntary
parental permission and child assent for research participation.
parental permission; child assent; pediatric; research; ethics
Azaspiracids (AZA) are polyether marine dinoflagellate toxins that accumulate in shellfish and represent an emerging human health risk. Although human exposure is primarily manifested by severe and protracted diarrhea, this toxin class has been shown to be highly cytotoxic, a teratogen to developing fish, and a possible carcinogen in mice. Until now, AZA's molecular target(s) has not yet been determined. Using three independent methods (voltage clamp, channel binding assay, and thallium flux assay), we have for the first time demonstrated that AZA1, AZA2, and AZA3 each bind to and block the hERG (human ether-à-go-go related gene) potassium channel heterologously expressed in HEK-293 mammalian cells. Inhibition of K+ current for each AZA analogue was concentration-dependent (IC50 value range: 0.64 - 0.84 μM). The mechanism of hERG channel inhibition by AZA1 was investigated further in Xenopus oocytes where it was shown to be an open state-dependent blocker and, using mutant channels, to interact with F656 but not with Y652 within the S6 transmembrane domain that forms the channel's central pore. AZA1, AZA2, and AZA3 were each shown to inhibit [3H]dofetilide binding to the hERG channel and thallium ion flux through the channel (IC50 value range: 2.1 – 6.6 μM). AZA1 did not block K+ current of the closely related EAG1 channel. Collectively, these data suggest that the AZAs physically block the K+ conductance pathway of hERG1 channels by occluding the cytoplasmic mouth of the open pore. Although the concentrations necessary to block hERG channels are relatively high, AZA-induced blockage may prove to contribute to the toxicological properties of the AZAs.
azaspiracid (AZA); hERG; molecular target; voltage clamp; phycotoxin; potassium channel; channel binding assay; thallium flux assay
We recently showed that IGFBP2 is overexpressed in primary lung cancer tissues. This study aims to determine whether IGFBP2 is elevated in blood samples of lung cancer patients and whether its level is associated with clinical outcomes.
Plasma IGFBP2 levels were determined blindly by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 80 lung cancer patients and 80 case-matched healthy controls for comparison. We analyzed blood samples for IGFBP2 levels from an additional 84 patients with lung cancer and then tested for associations between blood IGFBP2 levels and clinical parameters in all 164 lung cancer patients. All statistical tests were two-sided and differences with p<0.05 were considered significant. The mean plasma concentration of IGFBP2 in lung cancer patients was significantly higher than that in healthy controls (388.12±261.00 ng/ml vs 219.30±172.84 ng/ml, p<0.001). IGFBP2 was increased in all types of lung cancer, including adenocarcinoma, squamous cell cancer, and small-cell cancer, regardless of patients’ age, sex, or smoking status. IGFBP2 levels were mildly but significantly associated with tumor size and were significantly higher in stage IV than stage I or III disease. A multivariate analysis showed that lung cancer patients whose blood IGFBP2 was higher than 160.9 ng/ml had a poor survival outcome, with a hazard ratio of 8.76 (95% CI 1.12-68.34, p=0.038 after adjustment for tumor size, pathology, and stage). The median survival time for patients with blood IGFBP2 >160.9 ng/ml is 15.1 months; whereas median survival time was 128.2 months for the patients whose blood IGFBP2 was ≤160.9 ng/ml (p =0.0002).
Blood IGFBP2 is significantly increased in lung cancer patients. A high circulating level of IGFBP2 is significantly associated with poor survival, suggesting that blood IGFBP2 levels could be a prognostic biomarker for lung cancer.
Constitutive activation of the Wnt pathway leads to adenoma formation, an obligatory step towards intestinal cancer. In view of the established role of Wnt in regulating stemness, we attempted the isolation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) from Apc- and Apc/KRAS-mutant intestinal tumours. Whereas CSCs are present in Apc/KRAS tumours, they appear to be very rare (<10−6) in the Apc–mutant adenomas. In contrast, the Lin−CD24hiCD29+ subpopulation of adenocarcinoma cells appear to be enriched in CSCs with increased levels of active β-catenin. Expression profiling analysis of the CSC-enriched subpopulation confirmed their enhanced Wnt activity and revealed additional differential expression of other signalling pathways, growth factor binding proteins, and extracellular matrix components. As expected, genes characteristic of the Paneth cell lineage (e.g. defensins) are co-expressed together with stem cell genes (e.g. Lgr5) within the CSC-enriched subpopulation. This is of interest as it may indicate a cancer stem cell niche role for tumor-derived Paneth-like cells, similar to their role in supporting Lgr5+ stem cells in the normal intestinal crypt. Overall, our results indicate that oncogenic KRAS activation in Apc-driven tumours results in the expansion of the CSCs compartment by increasing ®-catenin intracellular stabilization.
Ischemic damage is recognized to cause cardiomyocyte (CM) death and myocardial dysfunction, but the role of cell-matrix interactions and integrins in this process has not been extensively studied. Expression of α7β1D integrin, the dominant integrin in normal adult CMs, increases during ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), while deficiency of β1 integrins increases ischemic damage. We hypothesized that the forced overexpression of integrins on the CM would offer protection from I/R injury. Tg mice with CM-specific overexpression of integrin α7β1D exposed to I/R had a substantial reduction in infarct size compared with that of α5β1D-overexpressing mice and WT littermate controls. Using isolated CMs, we found that α7β1D preserved mitochondrial membrane potential during hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) injury via inhibition of mitochondrial Ca2+ overload but did not alter H/R effects on oxidative stress. Therefore, we assessed Ca2+ handling proteins in the CM and found that β1D integrin colocalized with ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2) in CM T-tubules, complexed with RyR2 in human and rat heart, and specifically bound to RyR2 amino acids 165–175. Integrins stabilized the RyR2 interdomain interaction, and this stabilization required integrin receptor binding to its ECM ligand. These data suggest that α7β1D integrin modifies Ca2+ regulatory pathways and offers a means to protect the myocardium from ischemic injury.
A number of (1H-1,2,3-triazol-1-yl)benzo[d]thiazoles were synthesized utilizing a versatile Cu-catalyzed azide-alkyne click reaction (CuAAC) on tautomeric benzo[4,5]thiazolo[3,2-d]tetrazole (1) and 2-azidobenzo[d]thiazole (2) starting materials. Moreover, one of the resulting products of this investigation, triazolbenzo[d]thiazole 22, was found to possess significant neuroprotective activity in human neuroblastoma (SH-SY5Y) cells.
Click chemistry; Triazolbenzo[d]thiazoles; Neuroprotective agents
Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA) receive extra federal resources, but recent reports suggest that HPSA may not consistently identify areas of need.
To assess areas of need based on county-level ischemic heart disease (IHD) and stroke mortality regions.
Need was defined by lack of awareness, treatment, or control of hypertension, diabetes, or hyperlipidemia. Counties were categorized into race-specific tertiles of IHD and stroke mortality using 1999–2006 CDC data. Multivariable logistic regression was used to model the relationships between IHD and stroke mortality region and each element of need.
Awareness and treatment of cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors were similar for residents in counties across IHD and stroke mortality tertiles, but control tended to be lower in counties with the highest mortality.
High stroke and IHD mortality identify distinct regions from current HPSA designations, and may be an additional criterion for designating areas of need.
Control; ischemia; stroke; HPSA
A recent trend in drug development is to identify drug combinations or multi-target agents that effectively modify multiple nodes of disease-associated networks. Such polypharmacological effects may reduce the risk of emerging drug resistance by means of attacking the disease networks through synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions. However, due to the exponentially increasing number of potential drug and target combinations, systematic approaches are needed for prioritizing the most potent multi-target alternatives on a global network level. We took a functional systems pharmacology approach toward the identification of selective target combinations for specific cancer cells by combining large-scale screening data on drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities. Our model-based prediction approach, named TIMMA, takes advantage of the polypharmacological effects of drugs and infers combinatorial drug efficacies through system-level target inhibition networks. Case studies in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells demonstrated how the target inhibition modeling allows systematic exploration of functional interactions between drugs and their targets to maximally inhibit multiple survival pathways in a given cancer type. The TIMMA prediction results were experimentally validated by means of systematic siRNA-mediated silencing of the selected targets and their pairwise combinations, showing increased ability to identify not only such druggable kinase targets that are essential for cancer survival either individually or in combination, but also synergistic interactions indicative of non-additive drug efficacies. These system-level analyses were enabled by a novel model construction method utilizing maximization and minimization rules, as well as a model selection algorithm based on sequential forward floating search. Compared with an existing computational solution, TIMMA showed both enhanced prediction accuracies in cross validation as well as significant reduction in computation times. Such cost-effective computational-experimental design strategies have the potential to greatly speed-up the drug testing efforts by prioritizing those interventions and interactions warranting further study in individual cancer cases.
Selective inhibition of specific panels of multiple protein targets provides an unprecedented potential for improving therapeutic efficacy of anticancer agents. We introduce a computational systems pharmacology strategy, which uses the concept of target inhibition networks to predict effective multi-target combinations for treating specific cancer types. The strategy is based on integration of two complementary information sources, drug treatment efficacies and drug-target binding affinities, which are readily available in drug screening labs. Compared to the cancer sequencing efforts, which often result in a huge number of non-targetable genetic alterations, the target combinations from our strategy are druggable, by definition, hence enabling more straightforward translation toward clinically actionable treatment strategies. The model predictions were experimentally validated using siRNA-mediated target silencing screens in three case studies involving MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer and BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cells. In more general terms, the cancer cell-specific target inhibition networks provided additional insights into the drugs' mechanisms of action, for instance, how the cancer cell survival pathways can be targeted by synergistic and synthetic lethal interactions through multi–target perturbations. These results demonstrate that the principles introduced here offer the possibilities to move toward more systematic prediction and evaluation of the most effective drug target combinations.