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1.  Wnt11 Is Required for Oriented Migration of Dermogenic Progenitor Cells from the Dorsomedial Lip of the Avian Dermomyotome 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92679.
The embryonic origin of the dermis in vertebrates can be traced back to the dermomyotome of the somites, the lateral plate mesoderm and the neural crest. The dermal precursors directly overlying the neural tube display a unique dense arrangement and are the first to induce skin appendage formation in vertebrate embryos. These dermal precursor cells have been shown to derive from the dorsomedial lip of the dermomyotome (DML). Based on its expression pattern in the DML, Wnt11 is a candidate regulator of dorsal dermis formation. Using EGFP-based cell labelling and time-lapse imaging, we show that the Wnt11 expressing DML is the source of the dense dorsal dermis. Loss-of-function studies in chicken embryos show that Wnt11 is indeed essential for the formation of dense dermis competent to support cutaneous appendage formation. Our findings show that dermogenic progenitors cannot leave the DML to form dense dorsal dermis following Wnt11 silencing. No alterations were noticeable in the patterning or in the epithelial state of the dermomyotome including the DML. Furthermore, we show that Wnt11 expression is regulated in a manner similar to the previously described early dermal marker cDermo-1. The analysis of Wnt11 mutant mice exhibits an underdeveloped dorsal dermis and strongly supports our gene silencing data in chicken embryos. We conclude that Wnt11 is required for dense dermis and subsequent cutaneous appendage formation, by influencing the cell fate decision of the cells in the DML.
PMCID: PMC3966816  PMID: 24671096
2.  Common exonic missense variants in the C2 domain of the human KIBRA protein modify lipid binding and cognitive performance 
Translational Psychiatry  2013;3(6):e272-.
The human KIBRA gene has been linked to human cognition through a lead intronic single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP; rs17070145) that is associated with episodic memory performance and the risk to develop Alzheimer's disease. However, it remains unknown how this relates to the function of the KIBRA protein. Here, we identified two common missense SNPs (rs3822660G/T [M734I], rs3822659T/G [S735A]) in exon 15 of the human KIBRA gene to affect cognitive performance, and to be in almost complete linkage disequilibrium with rs17070145. The identified SNPs encode variants of the KIBRA C2 domain with distinct Ca2+ dependent binding preferences for monophosphorylated phosphatidylinositols likely due to differences in the dynamics and folding of the lipid-binding pocket. Our results further implicate the KIBRA protein in higher brain function and provide direction to the cellular pathways involved.
PMCID: PMC3693407  PMID: 23778582
C2 domain; human cognition; KIBRA; membrane binding; phosphatidylinositols
3.  The impact of a restrictive transfusion trigger on post-operative complication rate and well-being following elective orthopaedic surgery: a post-hoc analysis of a randomised study 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(2):289-295.
Peri-operative red blood cell transfusions have been associated with post-operative complications in patients undergoing elective orthopaedic hip or knee replacement surgery.
Materials and methods
We performed a post-hoc analysis of data extracted from a randomised study on transfusion triggers using pre-storage leucocyte-depleted red blood cells. Patients who were assigned to the most restrictive transfusion policy ("restrictive group") were compared with patients who were assigned to the most liberal policy ("liberal group"). End-points were red blood cell use, hospital stay, haemoglobin levels, post-operative complications and quality of life scores.
Of 603 patients, 26.4% patients in the restrictive group and 39.1% in the liberal group were transfused (P =0.001). The rate of post-operative infections was lower, although not statistically significantly so, in the restrictive group than in the liberal group (5.4% vs 10.2%, respectively) as was the rate of respiratory complications (1.7% vs 4.9%, respectively), whereas hospital stay, cardiovascular complications and mortality rate were not different in the two groups. Quality of life scores were not associated with type of transfusion policy, the number of red blood cell transfusions or the transfusion status.
A restrictive transfusion protocol was not associated with worse outcome and resulted in a lower transfusion rate compared to the liberal policy. Well-being (quality of life) was not associated with transfusion policy or with red blood cell transfusions.
PMCID: PMC3626482  PMID: 23399367
restrictive transfusion policy; complication rate; orthopaedic surgery; red blood cell transfusion; quality of life
4.  Multifocal White Matter Lesions Associated with the D313Y Mutation of the α-Galactosidase A Gene 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55565.
White matter lesions (WML) are clinically relevant since they are associated with strokes, cognitive decline, depression, or epilepsy, but the underlying etiology in young adults without classical risk factors still remains elusive. Our aim was to elucidate the possible clinical diagnosis and mechanisms leading to WML in patients carrying the D313Y mutation in the α-galactosidase A (GLA) gene, a mutation that was formerly described as nonpathogenic. Pathogenic GLA mutations cause Fabry disease, a vascular endothelial glycosphingolipid storage disease typically presenting with a symptom complex of renal, cardiac, and cerebrovascular manifestations. We performed in-depths clinical, biochemical and genetic examinations as well as advanced magnetic resonance imaging analyses in a pedigree with the genetically determined GLA mutation D313Y. We detected exclusive neurologic manifestations of the central nervous system of the “pseudo”-deficient D313Y mutation leading to manifest WML in 7 affected adult family members. Furthermore, two family members that do not carry the mutation showed no WML. The D313Y mutation resulted in a normal GLA enzyme activity in leukocytes and severely decreased activities in plasma. In conclusion, our results provide evidence that GLA D313Y is potentially involved in neural damage with significant WML, demonstrating the necessity of evaluating patients carrying D313Y more thoroughly. D313Y might broaden the spectrum of hereditary small artery diseases of the brain, which preferably occur in young adults without classical risk factors. In view of the existing causal therapy regime, D313Y should be more specifically taken into account in these patients.
PMCID: PMC3564750  PMID: 23393592
5.  Association of genetic variation with systolic and diastolic blood pressure among African Americans: the Candidate Gene Association Resource study 
Fox, Ervin R. | Young, J. Hunter | Li, Yali | Dreisbach, Albert W. | Keating, Brendan J. | Musani, Solomon K. | Liu, Kiang | Morrison, Alanna C. | Ganesh, Santhi | Kutlar, Abdullah | Ramachandran, Vasan S. | Polak, Josef F. | Fabsitz, Richard R. | Dries, Daniel L. | Farlow, Deborah N. | Redline, Susan | Adeyemo, Adebowale | Hirschorn, Joel N. | Sun, Yan V. | Wyatt, Sharon B. | Penman, Alan D. | Palmas, Walter | Rotter, Jerome I. | Townsend, Raymond R. | Doumatey, Ayo P. | Tayo, Bamidele O. | Mosley, Thomas H. | Lyon, Helen N. | Kang, Sun J. | Rotimi, Charles N. | Cooper, Richard S. | Franceschini, Nora | Curb, J. David | Martin, Lisa W. | Eaton, Charles B. | Kardia, Sharon L.R. | Taylor, Herman A. | Caulfield, Mark J. | Ehret, Georg B. | Johnson, Toby | Chakravarti, Aravinda | Zhu, Xiaofeng | Levy, Daniel | Munroe, Patricia B. | Rice, Kenneth M. | Bochud, Murielle | Johnson, Andrew D. | Chasman, Daniel I. | Smith, Albert V. | Tobin, Martin D. | Verwoert, Germaine C. | Hwang, Shih-Jen | Pihur, Vasyl | Vollenweider, Peter | O'Reilly, Paul F. | Amin, Najaf | Bragg-Gresham, Jennifer L. | Teumer, Alexander | Glazer, Nicole L. | Launer, Lenore | Zhao, Jing Hua | Aulchenko, Yurii | Heath, Simon | Sõber, Siim | Parsa, Afshin | Luan, Jian'an | Arora, Pankaj | Dehghan, Abbas | Zhang, Feng | Lucas, Gavin | Hicks, Andrew A. | Jackson, Anne U. | Peden, John F. | Tanaka, Toshiko | Wild, Sarah H. | Rudan, Igor | Igl, Wilmar | Milaneschi, Yuri | Parker, Alex N. | Fava, Cristiano | Chambers, John C. | Kumari, Meena | JinGo, Min | van der Harst, Pim | Kao, Wen Hong Linda | Sjögren, Marketa | Vinay, D.G. | Alexander, Myriam | Tabara, Yasuharu | Shaw-Hawkins, Sue | Whincup, Peter H. | Liu, Yongmei | Shi, Gang | Kuusisto, Johanna | Seielstad, Mark | Sim, Xueling | Nguyen, Khanh-Dung Hoang | Lehtimäki, Terho | Matullo, Giuseppe | Wu, Ying | Gaunt, Tom R. | Charlotte Onland-Moret, N. | Cooper, Matthew N. | Platou, Carl G.P. | Org, Elin | Hardy, Rebecca | Dahgam, Santosh | Palmen, Jutta | Vitart, Veronique | Braund, Peter S. | Kuznetsova, Tatiana | Uiterwaal, Cuno S.P.M. | Campbell, Harry | Ludwig, Barbara | Tomaszewski, Maciej | Tzoulaki, Ioanna | Palmer, Nicholette D. | Aspelund, Thor | Garcia, Melissa | Chang, Yen-Pei C. | O'Connell, Jeffrey R. | Steinle, Nanette I. | Grobbee, Diederick E. | Arking, Dan E. | Hernandez, Dena | Najjar, Samer | McArdle, Wendy L. | Hadley, David | Brown, Morris J. | Connell, John M. | Hingorani, Aroon D. | Day, Ian N.M. | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Beilby, John P. | Lawrence, Robert W. | Clarke, Robert | Collins, Rory | Hopewell, Jemma C. | Ongen, Halit | Bis, Joshua C. | Kähönen, Mika | Viikari, Jorma | Adair, Linda S. | Lee, Nanette R. | Chen, Ming-Huei | Olden, Matthias | Pattaro, Cristian | Hoffman Bolton, Judith A. | Köttgen, Anna | Bergmann, Sven | Mooser, Vincent | Chaturvedi, Nish | Frayling, Timothy M. | Islam, Muhammad | Jafar, Tazeen H. | Erdmann, Jeanette | Kulkarni, Smita R. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Grässler, Jürgen | Groop, Leif | Voight, Benjamin F. | Kettunen, Johannes | Howard, Philip | Taylor, Andrew | Guarrera, Simonetta | Ricceri, Fulvio | Emilsson, Valur | Plump, Andrew | Barroso, Inês | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Weder, Alan B. | Hunt, Steven C. | Bergman, Richard N. | Collins, Francis S. | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Scott, Laura J. | Stringham, Heather M. | Peltonen, Leena | Perola, Markus | Vartiainen, Erkki | Brand, Stefan-Martin | Staessen, Jan A. | Wang, Thomas J. | Burton, Paul R. | SolerArtigas, Maria | Dong, Yanbin | Snieder, Harold | Wang, Xiaoling | Zhu, Haidong | Lohman, Kurt K. | Rudock, Megan E. | Heckbert, Susan R. | Smith, Nicholas L. | Wiggins, Kerri L. | Shriner, Daniel | Veldre, Gudrun | Viigimaa, Margus | Kinra, Sanjay | Prabhakaran, Dorairajan | Tripathy, Vikal | Langefeld, Carl D. | Rosengren, Annika | Thelle, Dag S. | MariaCorsi, Anna | Singleton, Andrew | Forrester, Terrence | Hilton, Gina | McKenzie, Colin A. | Salako, Tunde | Iwai, Naoharu | Kita, Yoshikuni | Ogihara, Toshio | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Okamura, Tomonori | Ueshima, Hirotsugu | Umemura, Satoshi | Eyheramendy, Susana | Meitinger, Thomas | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Cho, Yoon Shin | Kim, Hyung-Lae | Lee, Jong-Young | Scott, James | Sehmi, Joban S. | Zhang, Weihua | Hedblad, Bo | Nilsson, Peter | Smith, George Davey | Wong, Andrew | Narisu, Narisu | Stančáková, Alena | Raffel, Leslie J. | Yao, Jie | Kathiresan, Sekar | O'Donnell, Chris | Schwartz, Steven M. | Arfan Ikram, M. | Longstreth, Will T. | Seshadri, Sudha | Shrine, Nick R.G. | Wain, Louise V. | Morken, Mario A. | Swift, Amy J. | Laitinen, Jaana | Prokopenko, Inga | Zitting, Paavo | Cooper, Jackie A. | Humphries, Steve E. | Danesh, John | Rasheed, Asif | Goel, Anuj | Hamsten, Anders | Watkins, Hugh | Bakker, Stephan J.L. | van Gilst, Wiek H. | Janipalli, Charles S. | Radha Mani, K. | Yajnik, Chittaranjan S. | Hofman, Albert | Mattace-Raso, Francesco U.S. | Oostra, Ben A. | Demirkan, Ayse | Isaacs, Aaron | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Lakatta, Edward G. | Orru, Marco | Scuteri, Angelo | Ala-Korpela, Mika | Kangas, Antti J. | Lyytikäinen, Leo-Pekka | Soininen, Pasi | Tukiainen, Taru | Würz, Peter | Twee-Hee Ong, Rick | Dörr, Marcus | Kroemer, Heyo K. | Völker, Uwe | Völzke, Henry | Galan, Pilar | Hercberg, Serge | Lathrop, Mark | Zelenika, Diana | Deloukas, Panos | Mangino, Massimo | Spector, Tim D. | Zhai, Guangju | Meschia, James F. | Nalls, Michael A. | Sharma, Pankaj | Terzic, Janos | Kranthi Kumar, M.J. | Denniff, Matthew | Zukowska-Szczechowska, Ewa | Wagenknecht, Lynne E. | Fowkes, Gerald R. | Charchar, Fadi J. | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Hayward, Caroline | Guo, Xiuqing | Bots, Michiel L. | Brand, Eva | Samani, Nilesh J. | Polasek, Ozren | Talmud, Philippa J. | Nyberg, Fredrik | Kuh, Diana | Laan, Maris | Hveem, Kristian | Palmer, Lyle J. | van der Schouw, Yvonne T. | Casas, Juan P. | Mohlke, Karen L. | Vineis, Paolo | Raitakari, Olli | Wong, Tien Y. | Shyong Tai, E. | Laakso, Markku | Rao, Dabeeru C. | Harris, Tamara B. | Morris, Richard W. | Dominiczak, Anna F. | Kivimaki, Mika | Marmot, Michael G. | Miki, Tetsuro | Saleheen, Danish | Chandak, Giriraj R. | Coresh, Josef | Navis, Gerjan | Salomaa, Veikko | Han, Bok-Ghee | Kooner, Jaspal S. | Melander, Olle | Ridker, Paul M. | Bandinelli, Stefania | Gyllensten, Ulf B. | Wright, Alan F. | Wilson, James F. | Ferrucci, Luigi | Farrall, Martin | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Elosua, Roberto | Soranzo, Nicole | Sijbrands, Eric J.G. | Altshuler, David | Loos, Ruth J.F. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Gieger, Christian | Meneton, Pierre | Uitterlinden, Andre G. | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Rettig, Rainer | Uda, Manuela | Strachan, David P. | Witteman, Jacqueline C.M. | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boehnke, Michael | Larson, Martin G. | Järvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Psaty, Bruce M. | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Elliott, Paul | van Duijn , Cornelia M. | Newton-Cheh, Christopher
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(11):2273-2284.
The prevalence of hypertension in African Americans (AAs) is higher than in other US groups; yet, few have performed genome-wide association studies (GWASs) in AA. Among people of European descent, GWASs have identified genetic variants at 13 loci that are associated with blood pressure. It is unknown if these variants confer susceptibility in people of African ancestry. Here, we examined genome-wide and candidate gene associations with systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) using the Candidate Gene Association Resource (CARe) consortium consisting of 8591 AAs. Genotypes included genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data utilizing the Affymetrix 6.0 array with imputation to 2.5 million HapMap SNPs and candidate gene SNP data utilizing a 50K cardiovascular gene-centric array (ITMAT-Broad-CARe [IBC] array). For Affymetrix data, the strongest signal for DBP was rs10474346 (P= 3.6 × 10−8) located near GPR98 and ARRDC3. For SBP, the strongest signal was rs2258119 in C21orf91 (P= 4.7 × 10−8). The top IBC association for SBP was rs2012318 (P= 6.4 × 10−6) near SLC25A42 and for DBP was rs2523586 (P= 1.3 × 10−6) near HLA-B. None of the top variants replicated in additional AA (n = 11 882) or European-American (n = 69 899) cohorts. We replicated previously reported European-American blood pressure SNPs in our AA samples (SH2B3, P= 0.009; TBX3-TBX5, P= 0.03; and CSK-ULK3, P= 0.0004). These genetic loci represent the best evidence of genetic influences on SBP and DBP in AAs to date. More broadly, this work supports that notion that blood pressure among AAs is a trait with genetic underpinnings but also with significant complexity.
PMCID: PMC3090190  PMID: 21378095
6.  Pancreatic Cancer Patients Who Smoke and Drink are Diagnosed at Younger Ages 
Background & Aims
Cigarette smoking is an established risk factor for pancreatic cancer, but there is conflicting evidence regarding the effects of alcohol consumption. The effects of cigarettes and alcohol on age of sporadic pancreatic cancer diagnosis have not been examined; we evaluated the independent and synergistic effects of lifetime cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption on age at pancreatic cancer diagnosis in the United States.
We analyzed data on cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption from the IMPAC Medical Registry Services, Cancer Information Resource File (CIRF), collected from June 1, 1993 to December 31, 2003 for 29,239 reported, histologically confirmed cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. We also analyzed data on cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption for 820 histologically confirmed cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma from the University of Michigan Pancreatic Cancer Registry (UMPCR), collected from January 2004 to October 2007.
Current cigarette smokers were diagnosed at significantly younger ages than never smokers, according to data from the CIRF and UMPCR (8.3 years and 6.3 years, respectively); the UMPCR data indicated dose effects. Past and current alcohol consumption were associated with younger age at diagnosis age in both databases. Current smokers who were current drinkers were diagnosed significantly earlier (CIRF 10.2 years, UMPCR 8.6 years) than abstainers. Past cigarette smoking was modestly associated with younger diagnosis age.
Cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption were associated with pancreatic cancer presentation at a younger age among the general population and have a combined effect on diagnosis age. Past cigarette smoking is less influential. Smoking cessation programs could help prevent pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC2736339  PMID: 19560558
7.  Effects of transfusion with red cells filtered to remove leucocytes: randomised controlled trial in patients undergoing major surgery 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7451):1281.
Objective To compare postoperative complications in patients undergoing major surgery who received non-filtered or filtered red blood cell transfusions.
Design Prospective, randomised, double blinded trial.
Setting 19 hospitals throughout the Netherlands (three university; 10 clinical; six general).
Participants 1051 evaluable patients: 79 patients with ruptured aneurysm, 412 patients undergoing elective surgery for aneurysm, and 560 undergoing gastrointestinal surgery.
Interventions The non-filtered products had the buffy coat removed and were plasma reduced. The filtered products had the buffy coat removed, were plasma reduced, and filtered before storage to remove leucocytes.
Main outcome measures Mortality and duration of stay in intensive care. Secondary end points were occurrence of multi-organ failure, infections, and length of hospital stay.
Results No significant differences were found in mortality (odds ratio for filtered v non-filtered 0.80, 95% confidence interval 0.53 to 1.21) and in mean stay in intensive care (- 0.4 day, - 1.6 to 0.6 day). In the filtered group the mean length of hospital stay was 2.4 days shorter (- 4.8 to 0.0 day; P = 0.050) and the incidence of multi-organ failure was 30% lower (odds ratio 0.70, 0.49 to 1.00; P = 0.050). There were no differences in rates of infection (0.98, 0.73 to 1.32).
Conclusion The use of filtered transfusions in some types of major surgery may reduce the length of hospital stay and the incidence of postoperative multi-organ failure.
PMCID: PMC420164  PMID: 15142885
8.  Effect of economic barriers to medical care on patients' noncompliance. 
Public Health Reports  1977;92(1):72-78.
The post-hospital care of 290 patients with selected chronic conditions of a specific severity who were discharged over a 3-month period from a general hospital in Halifax, Canada, was studied. The majority of the patients were married. The average age of the men was 59.2 years and of the women 58.1. More than half of the patients belonged to the low socioeconomic group earning between $1,000 and $6,999 a year. Their average period of education was 8.4 years. Interviews with the patients about their compliance with physicians' orders revealed that 40.4 percent had not complied with one or more of their physician's recommendations. Lack of compliance was related to age, marital status, education, income, and severity of disease. It was also associated with high dosages of medicine and multiple prescriptions. Cost barriers constituted a significant factor in noncompliance.
PMCID: PMC1431971  PMID: 189344
9.  SIAH ubiquitin ligases target the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase ACK1 for ubiquitinylation and proteasomal degradation 
Oncogene  2012;32(41):4913-4920.
Activated Cdc42-associated kinase 1 (ACK1) is a nonreceptor tyrosine kinase linked to cellular transformation. The aberrant regulation of ACK1 promotes tumor progression and metastasis. Therefore, ACK1 is regarded as a valid target in cancer therapy. Seven in absentia homolog (SIAH) ubiquitin ligases facilitate substrate ubiquitinylation that targets proteins to the proteasomal degradation pathway. Here we report that ACK1 and SIAH1 from Homo sapiens interact in a yeast two-hybrid screen. Protein–protein interaction studies and protein degradation analyses using deletion and point mutants of ACK1 verify that SIAH1 and the related SIAH2 interact with ACK1. The association between SIAHs and ACK1 depends on the integrity of a highly conserved SIAH-binding motif located in the far C-terminus of ACK1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the interaction of ACK1 with SIAH1 and the induction of proteasomal degradation of ACK1 by SIAH1 are independent of ACK1’s kinase activity. Chemical inhibitors blocking proteasomal activity corroborate that SIAH1 and SIAH2 destabilize the ACK1 protein by inducing its proteasomal turnover. This mechanism apparently differs from the lysosomal pathway targeting ACK1 after stimulation with the epidermal growth factor. Our data also show that ACK1, but not ACK1 mutants lacking the SIAH binding motif, has a discernable negative effect on SIAH levels. Additionally, knockdown approaches targeting the SIAH2 mRNA uncover specifically that the induction of SIAH2 expression, by hormonally-induced estrogen receptor (ER) activation, decreases the levels of ACK1 in luminal human breast cancer cells. Collectively, our data provide novel insights into the molecular mechanisms modulating ACK1 and they position SIAH ubiquitin ligases as negative regulators of ACK1 in transformed cells.
PMCID: PMC3731393  PMID: 23208506
ACK1; estrogen; proteasome; SIAH1; SIAH2; TNK2
10.  Crystal structure of the trithorax group protein Ash2L reveals a Forkhead-like DNA binding domain 
Human ASH2L is a trithorax group (TrxG) protein and a regulatory subunit of the SET1 family of lysine methyltransferases. Here we report that Ash2L binds DNA employing a Forkhead-like helix-wing-helix (HWH) domain. In vivo, Ash2L HWH domain is required for binding to the β-globin locus control region (LCR), histone H3 Lys4 tri-methylation and maximal expression of the β-globin gene, validating the functional importance of Ash2L DNA binding activity.
PMCID: PMC3983046  PMID: 21642971 CAMSID: cams4090
11.  Walking the Oxidative Stress Tightrope: A Perspective from the Naked Mole-Rat, the Longest-Living Rodent 
Current pharmaceutical design  2011;17(22):2290-2307.
Reactive oxygen species (ROS), by-products of aerobic metabolism, cause oxidative damage to cells and tissue and not surprisingly many theories have arisen to link ROS-induced oxidative stress to aging and health. While studies clearly link ROS to a plethora of divergent diseases, their role in aging is still debatable. Genetic knock-down manipulations of antioxidants alter the levels of accrued oxidative damage, however, the resultant effect of increased oxidative stress on lifespan are equivocal. Similarly the impact of elevating antioxidant levels through transgenic manipulations yield inconsistent effects on longevity. Furthermore, comparative data from a wide range of endotherms with disparate longevity remain inconclusive. Many long-living species such as birds, bats and mole-rats exhibit high-levels of oxidative damage, evident already at young ages. Clearly, neither the amount of ROS per se nor the sensitivity in neutralizing ROS are as important as whether or not the accrued oxidative stress leads to oxidative-damage-linked age-associated diseases. In this review we examine the literature on ROS, its relation to disease and the lessons gleaned from a comparative approach based upon species with widely divergent responses. We specifically focus on the longest lived rodent, the naked mole-rat, which maintains good health and provides novel insights into the paradox of maintaining both an extended healthspan and lifespan despite high oxidative stress from a young age.
PMCID: PMC3980719  PMID: 21736541
Comparative biology of aging; mitochondria; naked mole-rat; oxidative stress; proteasome; autophagy; reactive oxygen species
12.  Oncostatin M Mediates STAT3-Dependent Intestinal Epithelial Restitution via Increased Cell Proliferation, Decreased Apoptosis and Upregulation of SERPIN Family Members 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e93498.
Oncostatin M (OSM) is produced by activated T cells, monocytes, and dendritic cells and signals through two distinct receptor complexes consisting of gp130 and LIFR (I) or OSMR-β and gp130 (II), respectively. Aim of this study was to analyze the role of OSM in intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) and intestinal inflammation.
OSM expression and OSM receptor distribution was analyzed by PCR and immunohistochemistry experiments, signal transduction by immunoblotting. Gene expression studies were performed by microarray analysis and RT-PCR. Apoptosis was measured by caspases-3/7 activity. IEC migration and proliferation was studied in wounding and water soluble tetrazolium assays.
The IEC lines Caco-2, DLD-1, SW480, HCT116 and HT-29 express mRNA for the OSM receptor subunits gp130 and OSMR-β, while only HCT116, HT-29 and DLD-1 cells express LIFR mRNA. OSM binding to its receptor complex activates STAT1, STAT3, ERK-1/2, SAPK/JNK-1/2, and Akt. Microarray analysis revealed 79 genes that were significantly up-regulated (adj.-p≤0.05) by OSM in IEC. Most up-regulated genes belong to the functional categories “immunity and defense” (p = 2.1×10−7), “apoptosis” (p = 3.7×10−4) and “JAK/STAT cascade” (p = 3.4×10−6). Members of the SERPIN gene family were among the most strongly up-regulated genes. OSM significantly increased STAT3- and MEK1-dependent IEC cell proliferation (p<0.05) and wound healing (p = 3.9×10−5). OSM protein expression was increased in colonic biopsies of patients with active inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
OSM promotes STAT3-dependent intestinal epithelial cell proliferation and wound healing in vitro. Considering the increased OSM expression in colonic biopsy specimens of patients with active IBD, OSM upregulation may modulate a barrier-protective host response in intestinal inflammation. Further in vivo studies are warranted to elucidate the exact role of OSM in intestinal inflammation and the potential of OSM as a drug target in IBD.
PMCID: PMC3977870  PMID: 24710357
13.  RIG-1 receptor expression in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease 
Neuroinflammation plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and involves activation of the innate immune response via recognition of diverse stimuli by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). The inflammatory inducers and precise innate signaling pathway contributing to AD pathology remain largely undefined.
In the present study we analyzed expression levels of innate immune proteins in temporal and occipital cortices from preclinical (no cognitive impairment, NCI, N = 22) to mild cognitive impairment (MCI, N = 20) associated with AD pathology (N = 20) and AD patients (N = 23). We found that retinoic acid-inducible gene-I (RIG-1) is significantly elevated in the temporal cortex and plasma in patients with MCI. In addition, primary human astrocytes stimulated with the RIG-1 ligand 5′ppp RNA showed increased expression of amyloid precursor protein (APP) and amyloid-β (Aβ), supporting the idea that RIG-1 is involved in the pathology of MCI associated with early progression to AD.
These findings suggest that RIG-1 may play a critical role in incipient AD.
PMCID: PMC3977677  PMID: 24694234
Innate immunity; Rig signaling; RLR; Inflammation; Alzheimer’s disease; Mild cognitive impairment
16.  Biographical Sketch: Franz König, MD 1832–1910 
This biographical sketch on Franz König corresponds to the historic text, The Classic: Ueber freie Körper in den Gelenken [On loose bodies in the joint] (1887), available at DOI 10.1007/s11999-013-2824-y
(Translated by Drs. Richard A. Brand and Christian-Dominik Peterlein).
PMCID: PMC3586039  PMID: 23381622
17.  Age at Menopause, Reproductive Life Span, and Type 2 Diabetes Risk 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):1012-1019.
Age at menopause is an important determinant of future health outcomes, but little is known about its relationship with type 2 diabetes. We examined the associations of menopausal age and reproductive life span (menopausal age minus menarcheal age) with diabetes risk.
Data were obtained from the InterAct study, a prospective case-cohort study nested within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. A total of 3,691 postmenopausal type 2 diabetic case subjects and 4,408 subcohort members were included in the analysis, with a median follow-up of 11 years. Prentice weighted Cox proportional hazards models were adjusted for age, known risk factors for diabetes, and reproductive factors, and effect modification by BMI, waist circumference, and smoking was studied.
Mean (SD) age of the subcohort was 59.2 (5.8) years. After multivariable adjustment, hazard ratios (HRs) of type 2 diabetes were 1.32 (95% CI 1.04–1.69), 1.09 (0.90–1.31), 0.97 (0.86–1.10), and 0.85 (0.70–1.03) for women with menopause at ages <40, 40–44, 45–49, and ≥55 years, respectively, relative to those with menopause at age 50–54 years. The HR per SD younger age at menopause was 1.08 (1.02–1.14). Similarly, a shorter reproductive life span was associated with a higher diabetes risk (HR per SD lower reproductive life span 1.06 [1.01–1.12]). No effect modification by BMI, waist circumference, or smoking was observed (P interaction all > 0.05).
Early menopause is associated with a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3609516  PMID: 23230098
18.  Androgen Receptor Gene Rearrangements: New Perspectives on Prostate Cancer Progression 
Current drug targets  2013;14(4):441-449.
The androgen receptor (AR) is a master regulator transcription factor in normal and cancerous prostate cells. Canonical AR activation requires binding of androgen ligand to the AR ligand binding domain, translocation to the nucleus, and transcriptional activation of AR target genes. This regulatory axis is targeted for systemic therapy of advanced prostate cancer. However, a new paradigm for AR activation in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has emerged wherein alternative splicing of AR mRNA promotes synthesis of constitutively active AR variants that lack the AR ligand binding domain (LBD). Recent work has indicated that structural alteration of the AR gene locus represents a key mechanism by which alterations in AR mRNA splicing arise. In this review, we examine the role of truncated AR variants (ARVs) and their corresponding genomic origins in models of prostate cancer progression, as well as the challenges they pose to the current standard of prostate cancer therapies targeting the AR ligand binding domain. Since ARVs lack the COOH-terminal LBD, the genesis of these AR gene rearrangements and their resulting ARVs provides strong rationale for the pursuit of new avenues of therapeutic intervention targeted at the AR NH2-terminal domain. We further suggest that genomic events leading to ARV expression could act as novel biomarkers of disease progression that may guide the optimal use of current and next-generation AR-targeted therapy.
PMCID: PMC3957184  PMID: 23410127
Androgen Receptor; alternative splicing; castration resistance; genomic rearrangement; prostate cancer
19.  Dedifferentiation of Neurons Precedes Tumor Formation in lola Mutants 
Developmental Cell  2014;28(6):685-696.
The ability to reprogram differentiated cells into a pluripotent state has revealed that the differentiated state is plastic and reversible. It is evident, therefore, that mechanisms must be in place to maintain cells in a differentiated state. Transcription factors that specify neuronal characteristics have been well studied, but less is known about the mechanisms that prevent neurons from dedifferentiating to a multipotent, stem cell-like state. Here, we identify Lola as a transcription factor that is required to maintain neurons in a differentiated state. We show that Lola represses neural stem cell genes and cell-cycle genes in postmitotic neurons. In lola mutants, neurons dedifferentiate, turn on neural stem cell genes, and begin to divide, forming tumors. Thus, neurons rather than stem cells or intermediate progenitors are the tumor-initiating cells in lola mutants.
Graphical Abstract
•The BTB-Zn finger factor, Lola, maintains neurons in a differentiated state•Lola represses neural stem cell genes and cell-cycle genes in postmitotic neurons•In lola mutants, neurons dedifferentiate•Dedifferentiated neurons are tumor-initiating cells in lola mutants
Southall et al. show that the BTB-Zn finger transcription factor, Lola, is required to maintain neurons in a differentiated state. Lola represses neural stem cell genes and cell-cycle genes in postmitotic neurons. In lola mutants, neurons dedifferentiate, turn on neural stem cell genes, and divide, forming tumors.
PMCID: PMC3978655  PMID: 24631403
21.  The Bamboo-Eating Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) Has a Sweet Tooth: Behavioral and Molecular Responses to Compounds That Taste Sweet to Humans 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e93043.
A growing body of behavioral and genetic information indicates that taste perception and food sources are highly coordinated across many animal species. For example, sweet taste perception is thought to serve to detect and motivate consumption of simple sugars in plants that provide calories. Supporting this is the observation that most plant-eating mammals examined exhibit functional sweet perception, whereas many obligate carnivores have independently lost function of their sweet taste receptors and exhibit no avidity for simple sugars that humans describe as tasting sweet. As part of a larger effort to compare taste structure/function among species, we examined both the behavioral and the molecular nature of sweet taste in a plant-eating animal that does not consume plants with abundant simple sugars, the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). We evaluated two competing hypotheses: as plant-eating mammals, they should have a well-developed sweet taste system; however, as animals that do not normally consume plants with simple sugars, they may have lost sweet taste function, as has occurred in strict carnivores. In behavioral tests, giant pandas avidly consumed most natural sugars and some but not all artificial sweeteners. Cell-based assays revealed similar patterns of sweet receptor responses toward many of the sweeteners. Using mixed pairs of human and giant panda sweet taste receptor units (hT1R2+gpT1R3 and gpT1R2+hT1R3) we identified regions of the sweet receptor that may account for behavioral differences in giant pandas versus humans toward various sugars and artificial sweeteners. Thus, despite the fact that the giant panda's main food, bamboo, is very low in simple sugars, the species has a marked preference for several compounds that taste sweet to humans. We consider possible explanations for retained sweet perception in this species, including the potential extra-oral functions of sweet taste receptors that may be required for animals that consume plants.
PMCID: PMC3966865  PMID: 24671207
22.  The Brm-HDAC3-Erm repressor complex suppresses dedifferentiation in Drosophila type II neuroblast lineages 
eLife  2014;3:e01906.
The control of self-renewal and differentiation of neural stem and progenitor cells is a crucial issue in stem cell and cancer biology. Drosophila type II neuroblast lineages are prone to developing impaired neuroblast homeostasis if the limited self-renewing potential of intermediate neural progenitors (INPs) is unrestrained. Here, we demonstrate that Drosophila SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling Brahma (Brm) complex functions cooperatively with another chromatin remodeling factor, Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) to suppress the formation of ectopic type II neuroblasts. We show that multiple components of the Brm complex and HDAC3 physically associate with Earmuff (Erm), a type II-specific transcription factor that prevents dedifferentiation of INPs into neuroblasts. Consistently, the predicted Erm-binding motif is present in most of known binding loci of Brm. Furthermore, brm and hdac3 genetically interact with erm to prevent type II neuroblast overgrowth. Thus, the Brm-HDAC3-Erm repressor complex suppresses dedifferentiation of INPs back into type II neuroblasts.
eLife digest
Stem cells show great promise for repairing damaged tissue, and maybe even generating new organs, but stem cell therapies will only be successful if researchers can understand and control the behaviour of stem cells in the lab. Neural stem cells or ‘neuroblasts’ from the brains of larval fruit flies have become a popular model for studying these processes, and one type of neuroblast—known as a ‘type II’ neuroblast—is similar to mammalian neural stem cells in many ways.
When type II neuroblasts divide, they generate another neuroblast and a second cell called an intermediate neural progenitor (INP) cell. This progenitor cell then matures and undergoes a limited number of divisions to generate more INP cells and cells called ganglion mother cells. The process by which stem cells and INP cells become specific types of cells is known as differentiation. However, under certain circumstances, the INP cells can undergo the opposite process, which is called dedifferentiation, and become ‘ectopic neuroblasts’. This can give rise to tumors, so cells must employ a mechanism to prevent dedifferentiation. Researchers have known that a protein specifically expressed in INP cells called Earmuff is involved in this process, but many of the details have remained hidden.
Now, Koe et al. have discovered that a multi-protein complex containing Earmuff and a number of other proteins—Brahma and HDAC3—have important roles in preventing dedifferentiation. All three proteins are involved in different aspects of gene expression: Earmuff is a transcription factor that controls the process by which the genes in DNA are transcribed to make molecules of messenger RNA; Brahma and HDAC3 are both involved in a process called chromatin remodeling. The DNA inside cells is packaged into a compact structure known as chromatin, and chromatin remodeling involves partially unpacking this structure so that transcription factors and other proteins can have access to the DNA.
Koe et al. also showed that Earmuff, Brahma and HDAC3 combine to form a complex that prevents dedifferentiation. An immediate priority is to identify those genes whose expression is regulated by this complex in order to prevent dedifferentiation.
PMCID: PMC3944433  PMID: 24618901
neuroblast; self-renewal; differentiation; dedifferentiation; intermediate neural progenitor; Drosophila; D. melanogaster
23.  The impact of the therapeutic alliance on treatment outcome in patients with dissociative disorders 
European Journal of Psychotraumatology  2014;5:10.3402/ejpt.v5.22676.
Research has shown that the therapeutic alliance plays an important role in enhancing treatment outcome among individuals with a variety of disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the therapeutic alliance and treatment outcome has not yet been studied in dissociative disorders (DD).
The current study sought to investigate the impact of alliance on treatment outcome for DD patients.
Data from a naturalistic, longitudinal international treatment study of DD patients and their therapists were analyzed to determine if the alliance, as reported by patients and therapists, was associated with treatment outcome.
Patients with higher self-rated alliance had fewer symptoms of dissociation, PTSD, and general distress, as well as higher levels of therapist-rated adaptive functioning. Over time, self-rated alliance scores predicted better outcomes, after controlling for patient adaptive capacities including symptom management at the time when the alliance ratings were made. Patient-rated alliance was more strongly associated with outcome than therapist-rated alliance.
Therapists who work with DD patients should understand the importance of the alliance on treatment outcome. These findings are consistent with previous literature demonstrating the importance of developing and maintaining a strong therapeutic alliance, although the effect sizes of individuals with DD were stronger than what has been found in many other patient groups. A greater understanding of the impact of the alliance in traumatized individuals may contribute to better outcomes for these individuals.
PMCID: PMC3946510  PMID: 24616755
Dissociative; alliance; trauma; treatment; PTSD
25.  Therapeutic Efficacy of Tyro3, Axl, and MerTK Agonists in Collagen-Induced Arthritis 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2013;65(3):671-680.
Hyperactivation of innate immunity by Toll-Like Receptors (TLR) can contribute to the development of autoinflammatory or autoimmune diseases. This study evaluated TAM receptor activation, physiological negative regulators of TLRs, by their agonists Growth arrest specific 6 (Gas6) and Protein S (Pros1) to prevent collagen-induced arthritis.
Adenoviruses overexpressing Gas6 and Pros1 were injected intravenously (i.v.) or intra-articularly (i.a.) into mice during collagen-induced arthritis. Splenic T-helper subsets of intravenously injected mice were studied by flow cytometry and knee joints of mice injected i.v. and i.a. were assessed histologically. Synovium of i.a injected mice was evaluated for cytokine and suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) expression.
Pros1 significantly reduced ankle joint swelling when overexpressed systemically. Further analysis of knee joints revealed a moderate reduction of joint pathology and a significant reduction of splenic T-helper 1 cells when Pros1 was overexpressed systemically. Local Gas6 overexpression decreased joint inflammation and joint pathology. Pros1 treatment showed a similar trend of protection. Consistently, Gas6 and Pros1 reduced cytokine production in synovium. Moreover, IL-12 and IL-23 mRNA levels were reduced by Gas6 and Pros1 with a corresponding decrease in IFNγ and IL-17 production. TAM ligand overexpression was associated with an increase in SOCS3, which likely contributed to the amelioration of arthritis
We provide the first evidence that TAM receptor stimulation by Gas6 and Pros1 can be used to ameliorate arthritis when applied systemically or locally. TAM receptor stimulation limits proinflammatory signaling and the adaptive immunity. This pathway provides a novel strategy to combat rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC3582862  PMID: 23203851

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