Sex allocation is one of the most successful applications of evolutionary game theory. This theory has usually been applied to multicellular organisms; however, conditional sex allocation in unicellular organisms remains an unexplored field of research. Observations at the cellular level are indispensable for an understanding of the phenotypic sex allocation strategy among individuals within clonal unicellular organisms. The diatom Cyclotella meneghiniana, in which the sexes are generated from vegetative cells, is suitable for investigating effects of phenotypic plasticity factors on sex allocation while excluding genetic differences. We designed a microfluidic system that allowed us to trace the fate of individual cells. Sex allocation by individual mother cells was affected by cell lineage, cell size and cell density. Sibling cell pairs tended to differentiate into the same fates (split sex ratio). We found a significant negative correlation between the cell area of the mother cell and sex ratio of the two sibling cells. The male-biased sex ratio declined with higher local cell population density, supporting the fertility insurance hypothesis. Our results characterize multiple non-genetic factors that affect the phenotypic single cell-level sex allocation. Sex allocation in diatoms may provide a model system for testing evolutionary game theory in unicellular organisms.
sex allocation; split sex ratio; size advantage model; fertility insurance; unicellular organism; microfluidic system
The Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signalling pathway has been shown to have oncogenic effects in vitro and in vivo. To demonstrate the role of TLR4 signalling in colon tumourigenesis, we examined the expression of TLR4 and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88) in colorectal cancer (CRC).
The expression of TLR4 and MyD88 in 108 CRC samples, 15 adenomas, and 15 normal mucosae was evaluated by immunohistochemistry, and the correlations between their immunoscores and clinicopathological variables, including disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS), were analysed.
Compared with normal mucosae and adenomas, 20% cancers displayed high expression of TLR4, and 23% cancers showed high expression of MyD88. The high expression of TLR4 and MyD88 was significantly correlated with liver metastasis (P=0.0001, P=0.0054). In univariate analysis, the high expression of TLR4 was significantly associated with shorter OS (hazard ratio (HR): 2.17; 95% confidence interval (95% CI): 1.15–4.07; P=0.015). The high expression of MyD88 expression was significantly associated with poor DFS and OS (HR: 2.33; 95% CI: 1.31–4.13; P=0.0038 and HR: 3.03; 95% CI: 1.67–5.48; P=0.0002). The high combined expression of TLR4 and MyD88 was also significantly associated with poor DFS and OS (HR: 2.25; 95% CI: 1.27–3.99; P=0.0053 and HR: 2.97; 95% CI: 1.64–5.38; P=0.0003). Multivariate analysis showed that high expressions of TLR4 (OS: adjusted HR: 1.88; 95% CI: 0.99–3.55; P=0.0298) and MyD88 (DFS: adjusted HR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.01–3.67; P=0.0441; OS: adjusted HR: 2.25; 95% CI: 1.17–4.33; P=0.0112) were independent prognostic factors of OS. Furthermore, high co-expression of TLR4/MyD88 was strongly associated with both poor DFS and OS.
Our findings suggest that high expression of TLR4 and MyD88 is associated with liver metastasis and is an independent predictor of poor prognosis in patients with CRC.
TLR4; MyD88; colorectal cancer; prognosis
This multicentre randomised phase III trial was designed to determine whether adjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine improves the outcomes of patients with resected pancreatic cancer.
Eligibility criteria included macroscopically curative resection of invasive ductal carcinoma of the pancreas and no earlier radiation or chemotherapy. Patients were randomly assigned at a 1 : 1 ratio to either the gemcitabine group or the surgery-only group. Patients assigned to the gemcitabine group received gemcitabine at a dose of 1000 mg m−2 over 30 min on days 1, 8 and 15, every 4 weeks for 3 cycles.
Between April 2002 and March 2005, 119 patients were enrolled in this study. Among them, 118 were eligible and analysable (58 in the gemcitabine group and 60 in the surgery-only group). Both groups were well balanced in terms of baseline characteristics. Although heamatological toxicity was frequently observed in the gemcitabine group, most toxicities were transient, and grade 3 or 4 non-heamatological toxicity was rare. Patients in the gemcitabine group showed significantly longer disease-free survival (DFS) than those in the surgery-only group (median DFS, 11.4versus 5.0 months; hazard ratio=0.60 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.40–0.89); P=0.01), although overall survival did not differ significantly between the gemcitabine and surgery-only groups (median overall survival, 22.3 versus 18.4 months; hazard ratio=0.77 (95% CI: 0.51–1.14); P=0.19).
The current results suggest that adjuvant gemcitabine contributes to prolonged DFS in patients undergoing macroscopically curative resection of pancreatic cancer.
pancreatic cancer; phase III; adjuvant chemotherapy; gemcitabine
Benzodiazepines in intravenous sedation are useful, owing to their outstanding amnesic effect when used for oral surgery as well as dental treatments on patients with intellectual disability or dental phobia. However, compared with propofol, the effect of benzodiazepine lasts longer and may impede discharge, especially when it is administered orally because of fear of injections. Although flumazenil antagonizes the effects of benzodiazepine quickly, its effect on the equilibrium function (EF) has never been tested. Since EF is more objective than other tests, the purpose of this study is to assess the sedation level and EF using a computerized static posturographic platform. The collection of control values was followed by the injection of 0.075 mg/kg of midazolam. Thirty minutes later, 0.5 mg or 1.0 mg of flumazenil was administered, and the sedation level and EF were measured until 150 minutes after flumazenil administration. Flumazenil antagonized sedation, and there was no apparent resedation; however, it failed to antagonize the disturbance in EF. This finding may be due to differences in the difficulty of assessing the sedation level and performing the EF test, and a greater amount of flumazenil may effectively antagonize the disturbance in EF.
Midazolam; Equilibrium function; Flumazenil; Reversal; Sedation
Aim: Angiopoietin 1 (Ang-1) and its antagonist, angiopoietin 2 (Ang-2), are novel ligands that regulate the Tie2 receptor. The Ang-2 gene is upregulated in the hypervascular type of human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). To gain a better understanding of the role of the Ang–Tie2 system in HCC the expression of these genes was investigated in a series of human HCCs.
Methods: The expression of the angiopoietin and Tie2 proteins was investigated in nine normal liver tissues and 52 surgically resected HCCs. In addition, the effects of hypoxic stimuli on Ang-1, Ang-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and erythropoietin (EPO) expression was investigated in Hep3B cells.
Results: Ang-1, rather than Ang-2, was more frequently expressed in the normal liver. Ang-1 was expressed in 68% of HCCs, whereas Ang-2 was expressed in 81%, and was significantly higher in poorly differentiated HCCs characterised by high vascularity (p = 0.02), and in tumours with a peliotic change (p = 0.02). Strong expression of Tie2 was seen in tumour vessels in accordance with Ang-2 expression. In Hep3B cells, hypoxic stimuli upregulated VEGF and EPO, but not Ang-1 or Ang-2.
Conclusions: These data support the evidence that the reversal of Ang-1 and Ang-2 expression plays an important role in the angiogenic and dedifferentiation processes in HCC. The hypoxic stimuli were not responsible for Ang-2 upregulation, unlike that of VEGF, in human HCC cells.
angiopoietin; Tie2; hypoxia; angiogenesis; hepatocellular carcinoma
Recently, endovascular surgery became common approach for management of intracranial aneurysms. Though its efficacy, this approach is still new and under development. Here, we report our clinical experience in patients treated with two methods - balloon or Gugliemi detachable coil.
In addition, to understand better the mechanisms underlying postoperative complications, we studied them in histopathological specimens of patients and in a model of experimental aneurysm. From our data we conclude that choice of appropriate therapeutic method should respect specific conditions of patients as well as of facility.
Careful postoperative studies including examination of intravascular surface by endovascular scope examination would be useful for prediction of possible complications.
The TBP-like protein (TLP/TRF2/TLF), which belongs to the TBP family of proteins, is present in all metazoan organisms. Although the human TLP has been reported to interfere with transcription from TATA-containing promoters, the transcription activation potential of TLP in higher animals is obscure. We previously demonstrated that artificially promoter-recruited TLP behaves like an unconventional transcriptional activator. In this study, we investigated the effects of TLP on TATA-less promoters of mouse and human terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT) genes by transient reporter assays. As expected, TLP repressed both basal and activator-augmented transcription from the TATA-containing adenovirus major late promoter (MLP) and E1B promoter. On the other hand, however, TLP significantly stimulated both basal and activated transcription from TdT promoters. We investigated the strength of the promoters in chicken DT40 cells that lack the TLP gene. The MLP showed higher activity but the TdT promoter showed lower activity in TLP-null cells than in the wild-type cells. Moreover, ectopic expression of mouse TLP in the TLP-null cells considerably stimulated the TdT promoter. Insertion of a TATA element upstream from the TdT core promoter resulted in a loss of TLP-mediated activation. The mouse TLP was demonstrated to bind specifically to TFIIA with greater strength than TBP. We constructed mutated TLPs having amino acid substitutions that impair TFIIA binding. A representative TLP mutant lacking TFIIA-binding ability could not stimulate transcription from the TdT promoter, whereas that mutation suppressed TLP-mediated transcription repression of TATA promoters. The results of the present study suggest that the vertebrate TLP potentiates exogenous TATA-less promoters and that TFIIA plays an important role in the TLP function.
We conducted the present study to determine the relationship between p53-dependent apoptosis and telomerase activity in ovarian cancer cells. A human ovarian adenocarcinoma cell line, SK-OV-3 that had homozygous deletion of the p53 gene was used in this study. Wild-type p53 genes were transducted to SK-OV-3 cells with a recombinant adenovirus that contained a wild-type p53 gene (AxCAp53). IC 50 to cisplatin (CDDP) was 12.9 μM for SK-OV-3 cells and 9.2 μM for p53 gene-transducted SK-OV-3 cells. The apoptotic index for cells with p53 gene transduction was significantly higher than cells without transduction. Additionally, p53 gene transduction significantly enhanced CDDP-induced apoptosis. Bax protein in SK-OV-3 cells did not differ before and after exposure to CDDP. In SK-OV-3 cells with transduction of the p53 gene, the expression of p53 and Bax proteins increased after exposure to CDDP. Expression of Bcl-xL decreased after exposure to CDDP in SK-OV-3 cells with and without transduction. The telomerase activity in SK-OV-3 cells with the p53 gene was significantly lower compared with the cells without the p53 gene. CDDP exposure did not affect telomerase activity and human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) expression in both cell lines. We suggest that the p53 gene may relate to telomerase activity, but that p53-dependent apoptosis does not affect the activity. © 2001 Cancer Research Campaign http://www.bjcancer.com
telomerase; p53; apoptosis; ovarian cancer cells
TLP (TBP-like protein), which is a new protein dis-covered by us, has a structure similar to that of the C-terminal conserved domain (CCD) of TBP, although its function has not yet been elucidated. We isolated cDNA and genomic DNA that encode chicken TLP (cTLP) and determined their structures. The predicted amino acid sequence of cTLP was 98 and 91% identical to that of its mammalian and Xenopus counterparts, respectively, and its translation product was ubiquitously observed in chicken tissues. FISH detection showed that chicken tlp and tbp genes were mapped at 3q2.6-2.8 and 3q2.4-2.6 of the same chromosome, respectively. Genome analysis revealed that the chicken tlp gene was spliced with five introns. Interestingly, the vertebrate tbp genes were also found to be split by five introns when we focused on the CCDs, and their splicing points were similar to those of tlp. On the contrary, another TBP-resembling gene of Drosophila, trf1, is split by only one intron, as is the Drosophila 's tbp gene. These results support our earlier assumption that vertebrate TLPs did not directly descend from Drosophila TRF1. On the basis of these results together with phylogenetical exam-ination, we speculate that tlp diverged from an ancestral tbp gene through a process of gene duplication and point mutations.
Insulin resistance is often associated with atherosclerotic diseases in subjects with obesity and impaired glucose tolerance. This study examined the effects of insulin resistance on coronary risk factors in IRS-1 deficient mice, a nonobese animal model of insulin resistance. Blood pressure and plasma triglyceride levels were significantly higher in IRS-1 deficient mice than in normal mice. Impaired endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation was also observed in IRS-1 deficient mice. Furthermore, lipoprotein lipase activity was lower than in normal mice, suggesting impaired lipolysis to be involved in the increase in plasma triglyceride levels under insulin-resistant conditions. Thus, insulin resistance plays an important role in the clustering of coronary risk factors which may accelerate the progression of atherosclerosis in subjects with insulin resistance.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the relation between atrophy of the hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus (the % hippocampal area) and cerebral metabolic rate for glucose (CMRGlc) in Alzheimer's disease. METHODS: 13 patients with probable Alzheimer's disease by NINCDS-ADRDA criteria (six men; seven women, mean age 71 years, mini mental state 13.8 (SD 4.6)) and age matched controls were studied. T1 weighted MRI (0.5T) images were used for evaluation of the hippocampal area. With a digitiser system, a percentage of the hippocampal area to the brain (the % hippocampal area) was calculated. Eight patients received another T1 weighted MRI (1.5T) for further evaluation of the minimum thickness of the hippocampus. Regional CMRGlc (rCMRGlc) was measured using PET and the FDG technique. RESULTS: The hippocampal area in patients with Alzheimer's disease was significantly lower than that of controls (P < 0.01). All the cortical rCMRGlc values in patients with Alzheimer's disease were lower than those of controls (P < 0.01). A significant correlation (P < 0.05) was found between the % hippocampal area and rCMRGlc in the temporal lobe, temporoparieto-occipital (TPO) region, and frontal lobe in Alzheimer's disease. There was a significant correlation between minimal hippocampal thickness and ipsilateral TPO metabolism on both sides. CONCLUSION: The ipsilateral correlation between hippocampal atrophy and decreased TPO metabolism in Alzheimer's disease suggests a functional relation and the asymmetries show that Alzheimer's disease is an asymmetric disease in its early stages.
We investigated extranodal connective tissue involvement (ECTI) in 39 patients with oesophageal carcinoma. Both the primary tumour and ECTI were immunohistochemically examined using the monoclonal antibody 32-2B for desmosomal glycoprotein 1 (DG1). Connective tissue carcinoma deposits were identified as cells within small lymph nodes, as lymphatic or venous vessel invasion or as widespread invasion beyond the capsule of metastatic lymph nodes. These histological findings were present in at least one area in 20 of 39 patients (51.3%). DG1 immunostaining intensity by tumour was graded as DG1 (++), DG1 (+) or DG1 (-). DG1 (+) or DG1 (-) primary tumours demonstrated lymph node metastases and ECTI more frequently than DG1(++) tumours (P<0.05). Among 17 patients in whom DG1 immunohistochemistry was performed on ECTI, there were three DG1(++), five DG1(+) and nine DG1(-) patients. The DG1 expression of ECTI was equal to or less intense than the primary tumour. These results indicate that reduction or loss of DG1 expression may promote ECTI and lymph node metastases. One should be aware of the potential for ECTI in oesophageal carcinomas. In the future, adjuvant therapy may be advisable for some oesophageal carcinomas based on the phenotype of individual cancer cells, including expression of DG1.
A 67 year old woman with rheumatoid arthritis was admitted to hospital in acute renal failure. Her clinical features included increasing dyspnoea and oedema, and a computed tomogram of the abdomen showed a large mass in the retroperitoneum. Twenty six days later, she died, and a post mortem examination was carried out. The histological changes of the mass indicated B cell lymphoma of diffuse large cell type, with a reactive proliferation of erythrophagocytosing histiocytes. Immunocytochemical studies showed that the histiocytes were positive for CD-68 and lysozyme, but negative for S-100 protein. Such neoplastic B cell proliferation accompanied by activation of benign looking histiocytes with erythrophagocytosis is very rare.
A safe and simple technique for exchanging central venous catheters is herein described. Our technique is based on a modification of Seldinger's method, in which a new outer sheath is introduced over the previous catheter as a guidewire in order to simplify the exchange of central venous catheters. This technique can be successfully performed by new residents and can be applied to the exchange of clotted catheters.
Two sisters with familial Alzheimer's disease developed spastic gait disturbance as an initial manifestation. Their gait disturbance progressed gradually, followed by dementia a few years later. Post-mortem examination of one of the patients disclosed degeneration of the thalamus and corticospinal tract in addition to numerous senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the neocortex, both of which were confirmed by immunohistochemistry. This is the first report in which clinicopathological evaluation is sufficient to establish a new variant of Alzheimer's disease presenting initially as spastic tetraplegia.
Vascular medial smooth muscle cells migrate, proliferate and transform to foam cells in the process of atherosclerosis. We have reported that the intimal smooth muscle cells express proto-oncogene c-fms, a characteristic gene of monocyte-macrophages, which is not normally expressed in medial smooth muscle cells. In the present study, we demonstrated that combinations of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and either epidermal growth factor (EGF) or fibroblast growth factor (FGF) induced high expression of c-fms in normal human medial smooth muscle cells to the level of intimal smooth muscle cells or monocyte-derived macrophages, whereas c-fms expression by PDGF-BB alone was 1/10 and both EGF and FGF had no independent effect on c-fms expression. By contrast, interferon (IFN)-gamma and macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) suppressed the induction of c-fms expression. These results indicate that multiple growth factors and cytokines may play a role in the phenotypic transformation of medial smooth muscle cells to intimal smooth muscle cells in atherosclerotic lesions by altering c-fms expression.
Apolipoprotein E (apoE) plays a crucial role in lipoprotein metabolism both in plasma and in peripheral tissues. To test whether apoE in the vascular wall has a direct and local effect on atherogenesis, we established transgenic mice expressing human apoE under control of H2 Ld promoter. Studies on mRNA levels and immunohistochemistry demonstrated that this line was characterized by high expression of human apoE in the arterial wall while its expression was relatively low in other tissues as compared with the respective endogenous expression of mouse apoE. They showed no difference in plasma cholesterol levels and lipoprotein profile from controls when fed both normal and atherogenic diets. However, after 24 wk of an atherogenic diet, the formation of fatty streak lesions in proximal aorta was markedly inhibited in transgenic mice as compared with controls. Both lesion area and esterified cholesterol content were < 30% of those in controls. In a tissue cholesterol labeling study with 3H-cholesterol, the specific activity of aorta cholesterol was much less in transgenic mice, suggesting that apoE enhances cholesterol efflux from the aortic wall into plasma. Thus, apoE has anti-atherogenic action which is mediated via enhancing reverse cholesterol transport from arterial wall.
Bacterial reverse transcriptase is responsible for the synthesis of multicopy single-stranded DNA (msDNA). Reverse transcriptases from retron-Ec73 and retron-Ec107 do not contain an RNase H domain. Cellular RNase H is therefore considered to be required to make the mature form of msDNA. We found that RNase HI, but not RNase HII, is required for the production of the mature form of both msDNAs.
To investigate the role of apoE in hepatic uptake of chylomicron remnants, we studied chylomicron metabolism in transgenic mice overexpressing apoE in the liver. Plasma clearance of injected 125I-labeled human chylomicrons was fivefold faster in transgenic mice than in controls. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that apoE was specifically localized at the basolateral surface of hepatocytes from fasted transgenic mice. After injection of a large amount of chylomicrons, the density of the cell surface apoE was markedly reduced and vesicular staining was observed in the cytoplasm, suggesting that the cell surface apoE was used for hepatic endocytosis of chylomicrons and remnants. Polyacrylamide gel analysis of chylomicrons and remnants that had been reisolated from plasma and from liver membrane after the injection of chylomicrons showed the particles to be enriched with apoE mainly after their influx into the liver rather than during their residence in plasma. These results provide strong evidence for the secretion-recapture process of apoE, whereby chylomicron remnants enter the sinusoidal space, acquire apoE molecules, and subsequently are endocytosed. Data from experiments with very low density lipoprotein and LDL showed that this system is specific for chylomicron remnants.
We report a sensitive and rapid method for detection of hiochi bacteria by PCR. This method involves the electrophoresis of amplified DNA. Nucleotide sequences of the spacer region between 16S and 23S rRNA genes of 11 Lactobacillus strains were identified by analysis of PCR products. Five primers were designed by analysis of similarities among these sequences. A single cell of Lactobacillus casei subsp. casei could be detected when purified genomic DNA was used as the template. When various cell concentrations of L. casei subsp. casei were added to 50 ml of pasteurized sake and the cells were recovered, the detection limit was about one cell. No discrete band was observed in electrophoresis after PCR when human, Escherichia coli, mycoplasma, Acholeplasma, yeast, or mold DNA was used as the template.