Chronological information on the composition and structure of agrocenoses and detailed features of land cover referring to specific areas are uncommon in ethnobotanical studies, especially for periods before the XIX century. The aim of this study was to analyse the type of crop or the characteristics of soil cover from the XVI century to the present.
This diachronic analysis was accomplished through archival research on the inventories of the Parish of St. Mary and those of the Municipality of Pignone and from recent surveys conducted in an area of eastern Liguria (Italy).
Archival data revealed that in study area the primary means of subsistence during the last five centuries, until the first half of the XX century, was chestnuts. In the XVIII and XIX centuries, crop diversification strongly increased in comparison with previous and subsequent periods. In more recent times, the abandonment of agricultural practices has favoured the re-colonisation of mixed woodland or cluster-pine woodland.
Ancient documents in the ecclesiastic or municipal inventories can be a very useful tool for enhancing the knowledge of agricultural practice, as well as of subsistence methods favoured by local populations during a particular time and for reconstructing land use change over time.
Despite the variety of functional properties of molecular materials, which make them of interest for a number of technologies, their tendency to form inhomogeneous aggregates in thin films and to self-organize in polymorphs are considered drawbacks for practical applications. Here, we report on the use of polymorphic molecular fluorescent thin films as time temperature integrators, a class of devices that monitor the thermal history of a product. The device is fabricated by patterning the fluorescent model compound thieno(bis)imide-oligothiophene. The fluorescence colour of the pattern changes as a consequence of an irreversible phase variation driven by temperature, and reveals the temperature at which the pattern was exposed. The experimental results are quantitatively analysed in the range 20–200°C and interpreted considering a polymorph recrystallization in the thin film. Noteworthy, the reported method is of general validity and can be extended to every compound featuring irreversible temperature-dependent change of fluorescence.
Ichthyoses are a common group of keratinization disorders. A non-inflammatory
generalized persistent skin desquamation is observed. It is characterized by
increased cell turnover, thickening of the stratum corneum and functional changes of
sebaceous and sweat glands. All of these favor fungal proliferation. Dermatophytes
may infect skin, hair and nails causing ringworm or tinea. They have the ability to
obtain nutrients from keratinized material. One of its most prevalent genera is
Trichophyton rubrum. Although tineas and ichthyoses are quite common, the association
of the two entities is rarely reported in the literature. Three cases of ichthyosis
associated with widespread infection by T. rubrum are presented. Resistance to
several antifungal treatments was responsible for worsening of ichthyosis signs and
Dermatomycoses; Ichthyosis; Therapeutics; Tinea
In order to approach human hand performance levels, artificial anthropomorphic hands/fingers have increasingly incorporated human biomechanical features. However, the performance of finger reaching movements to visual targets involving the complex kinematics of multi-jointed, anthropomorphic actuators is a difficult problem. This is because the relationship between sensory and motor coordinates is highly nonlinear, and also often includes mechanical coupling of the two last joints. Recently, we developed a cortical model that learns the inverse kinematics of a simulated anthropomorphic finger. Here, we expand this previous work by assessing if this cortical model is able to learn the inverse kinematics for an actual anthropomorphic humanoid finger having its two last joints coupled and controlled by pneumatic muscles. The findings revealed that single 3D reaching movements, as well as more complex patterns of motion of the humanoid finger, were accurately and robustly performed by this cortical model while producing kinematics comparable to those of humans. This work contributes to the development of a bioinspired controller providing adaptive, robust and flexible control of dexterous robotic and prosthetic hands.
It has been suggested that the human mirror neuron system (MNS) plays a critical role in action observation and imitation. However, the transformation of perspective between the observed (allocentric) and the imitated (egocentric) actions has received little attention. We expand a previously proposed biologically plausible MNS model by incorporating general spatial transformation capabilities that are assumed to be encoded by the intraparietal sulcus (IPS) and the superior parietal lobule (SPL) as well as investigating their interactions with the inferior frontal gyrus and the inferior parietal lobule. The results reveal that the IPS/SPL could process the frame of reference and the viewpoint transformations, and provide invariant visual representations for the temporo-parieto-frontal circuit. This allows the imitator to imitate the action performed by a demonstrator under various perspectives while replicating results from the literatures. Our results confirm and extend the importance of perspective transformation processing during action observation and imitation.
The genus Vibrio is a member of the family Vibrionaceae, and among their
disease-causing species, Vibrio vulnificus, a lactose-positive
gram-negative bacillus, is one of the most virulent pathogen of the noncholerae
vibrios. We describe the case of a 39-year-old male patient, who was using
immunosuppressive therapy, admitted to the hospital for liver transplantation. Twelve
hours later, the patient presented high fever, myalgia, anuria and erythematous
plaques on lower limbs, of rapid growth and proximal progression. The patient was
treated with ceftriaxone, meropenem and oxacillin, however he expired within 30
hours. Blood cultures showed growth of a gram-negative bacillus, which was later
identified as Vibrio vulnificus.
Immunosuppression; Immunocompromised host; Seafood; Sepsis; Shellfish; Skin diseases
Neuropathic pain is commonly associated with cancer. Current treatments include combination opioid and adjuvant therapies, but no guidelines are available for dose escalation strategies. This phase II study compared the efficacy and tolerability of two dose escalation strategies for oxycodone and pregabalin combination therapy.
Patients (N = 75) with oncological neuropathic pain, previously untreated with pregabalin, were recruited in 5 Italian institutions between 2007 and 2010. Patients were randomised to two different dose escalation strategies (arm A; N = 38) oxycodone at a fixed dose with increasing pregabalin doses; (arm B; N = 37) pregabalin at a fixed dose with increasing oxycodone doses. Patients were evaluated from daily diaries and follow-ups at 3, 7, 10, and 14 days after beginning treatment with a numerical rating scale (NRS), neuropathic pain scale (SDN), and well-being scale (ESAS). The primary endpoint was a ≥1/3 reduction in pain (NRS); secondary endpoints included the time to analgesia and adverse effects. The study had a 90% probability of detecting the best strategy for a true difference of at least 15%.
More patients in arm A (76%) than arm B (64%) achieved ≥1/3 overall pain reduction even after controlling for baseline factors (gender, baseline pain). Group A reported fewer side effects than group B; constipation 52.8% vs. 66.7%; nausea: 27.8% vs. 44.4%; drowsiness: 44.4% vs. 55.6%; confusion: 16.7% vs. 27.8%; itching: 8.3% vs. 19.4%.
Both strategies effectively controlled neuropathic pain, but according to the adopted selection design arm A is preferable to arm B for pain control.
Bone marrow stimulation techniques in cartilage repair such as drilling are limited by the formation of fibrous to hyaline-like repair tissue. It has been suggested such techniques can be enhanced by covering the defect with scaffolds. We present an innovative approach using a polyglycolic acid (PGA)-hyaluronan scaffold with platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) in drilling.
We asked whether (1) PRP immersed in a cell-free PGA-hyaluronan scaffold improves patient-reported 1-year outcomes for the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Score (KOOS), and (2) implantation of the scaffold in combination with bone marrow stimulation leads to the formation of hyaline-like cartilage repair tissue.
Patients and Methods
We reviewed 52 patients who had arthroscopic implantation of the PGA-hyaluronan scaffold immersed with PRP in articular cartilage defects of the knee pretreated with Pridie drilling. Patients were assessed by KOOS. At 9 months followup, histologic staining was performed in specimens obtained from five patients to assess the repair tissue quality.
The KOOS subscores improved for pain (55 to 91), symptoms (57 to 88), activities of daily living (69 to 86), sports and recreation (36 to 70), and quality of life (38 to 73). The histologic evaluation showed a homogeneous hyaline-like cartilage repair tissue.
The cell-free PGA-hyaluronan scaffold combined with PRP leads to cartilage repair and improved patient-reported outcomes (KOOS) during 12 months of followup. Histologic sections showed morphologic features of hyaline-like repair tissue. Long-term followup is needed to determine if the cartilage repair tissue is durable.
Level of Evidence
Level IV, therapeutic study. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
This study investigated changes in brain hemodynamics, as measured by functional near infrared spectroscopy, during performance of a cognitive-motor adaptation task. The adaptation task involved the learning of a novel visuomotor transformation (a 60° counterclockwise screen-cursor rotation), which required inhibition of a prepotent visuomotor response. A control group experienced a familiar transformation and thus, did not face any executive challenge. Analysis of the experimental group hemodynamic responses revealed that the performance enhancement was associated with a monotonic reduction in the oxygenation level in the prefrontal cortex. This finding confirms and extends functional magnetic resonance imaging and electroencephalography studies of visuomotor adaptation and learning. The changes in prefrontal brain activation suggest an initial recruitment of frontal executive functioning to inhibit prepotent visuomotor mappings followed by a progressive de-recruitment of the same prefrontal regions. The prefrontal hemodynamic changes observed in the experimental group translated into enhanced motor performance revealed by a reduction in movement time, movement extent, root mean square error and the directional error. These kinematic adaptations are consistent with the acquisition of an internal model of the novel visuomotor transformation. No comparable change was observed in the control group for either the hemodynamics or for the kinematics. This study (1) extends our understanding of the frontal executive processes from the cognitive to the cognitive-motor domain and (2) suggests that optical brain imaging can be employed to provide hemodynamic based-biomarkers to assess and monitor the level of adaptive cognitive-motor performance.
visuomotor adaptation-learning; frontal executive; functional near infrared spectroscopy; internal models; arm reaching movement
The brain is an exceedingly rare site of metastasis in medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). A 50-year-old female who had a history of micro-MTC 11 years prior developed a cerebellar metastasis which was incidentally discovered. Imaging revealed a right cerebellar hemispheric mass with contrast enhancement on CT scans. Histopathologic exam demonstrated a metastatic tumour composed of nodules and sheets of large tumour cells with abundant cytoplasm. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the origin from a MTC. This case report highlights the unique features of an unusual metastatic brain tumour, which followed an indolent course for a long time despite multiple distant metastases.
Bone invasive skull base meningiomas are a subset of meningiomas that present a unique clinical challenge due to brain and neural structure involvement and limitations in complete surgical resection, resulting in higher recurrence and need for repeat surgery. To date, the pathogenesis of meningioma bone invasion has not been investigated. We investigated immunoexpression of proteins implicated in bone invasion in other tumor types to establish their involvement in meningioma bone invasion.
Retrospective review of our database identified bone invasive meningiomas operated on at our institution over the past 20 years. Using high-throughput tissue microarray (TMA), we established the expression profile of osteopontin (OPN), matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2), and integrin beta-1 (ITGB1). Differential expression in tumor cell and vasculature was evaluated and comparisons were made between meningioma anatomical locations.
MMP2, OPN, and ITGB1 immunoreactivity was cytoplasmic in tumor and/or endothelial cells. Noninvasive transbasal meningiomas exhibited higher vascular endothelial cell MMP2 immunoexpression compared to invasive meningiomas. We found higher expression levels of OPN and ITGB1 in bone invasive transbasal compared to noninvasive meningiomas. Strong vascular ITGB1 expression extending from the endothelium through the media and into the adventitia was found in a subset of meningiomas.
We have demonstrated that key proteins are differentially expressed in bone invasive meningiomas and that the anatomical location of bone invasion is a key determinant of expression pattern of MMP1, OPN, and ITGB1. This data provides initial insights into the pathophysiology of bone invasion in meningiomas and identifies factors that can be pursued as potential therapeutic targets.
Bone invasion; Integrins; Matrix metalloproteinase; Meningioma; Osteopontin; Transbasal meningioma
Background. The study aims to verify if the time of preoperative stabilization (≤24 or >24 hours) could be predictive for the severity of clinical condition among patients affected by congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Methods. 55 of the 73 patients enrolled in the study achieved presurgical stabilization and underwent surgical correction. Respiratory and hemodynamic indexes, postnatal scores, the need for advanced respiratory support, the length of HFOV, tracheal intubation, PICU, and hospital stay were compared between patients reaching stabilization in ≤24 or >24 hours. Results. Both groups had a 100% survival rate. Neonates stabilized in ≤24 hours are more regular in the postoperative period and had an easier intensive care path; those taking >24 hours showed more complications and their care path was longer and more complex. Conclusions. The length of preoperative stabilization does not affect mortality, but is a valid parameter to identify difficulties in survivors' clinical pathway.
The impact of polymicrobial bacterial infection on chronic wounds has been studied extensively, but standard bacteriological analysis is not always sensitive enough. Molecular approaches represent a promising alternative to the standard bacteriological analysis. This work aimed to assess the usefulness of a panbacterial quantitative real-time PCR reaction to quantitate the total bacterial load in chronic wounds treated with Cutimed™ Sorbact™, a novel therapeutic approach based on hydrophobic binding of bacteria to a membrane. The results obtained by panbacterial real-time PCR on conserved sequences of the bacterial 16S gene show that the bacterial burden significantly decreased in 10 out of 15 healing chronic wounds, and did not change in 5 out of 5 non-healing chronic wounds. On the contrary, classical culture for S. aureus and P. aeruginosa, and real-time PCR for Bacteroides and Fusobacterium did not show any correlation with the clinical outcome. Our study also shows that quantification of chronic wounds by panbacterial real-time PCR is to be performed on biopsies and not on swabs. These results show that panbacterial real-time PCR is a promising and quick method of determining the total bacterial load in chronic wounds, and suggest that it might be an important biomarker for the prognosis of chronic wounds under treatment.
Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs) are rare neuroectodermal neoplasms arising within the posterior petrous bone. We present a case of a 21-year-old man who presented with a 6-month history of intermittent morning headaches, fatigue, diplopia, and gait ataxia. Imaging and surgical pathology identified an adenocarcinoma of the endolymphatic sac compressing the cerebellum and brain stem. The tumor and multiple metastases were treated with surgery, radiation, and radiosurgery. Following insertion of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt for hydrocephalus, he developed symptomatic tension pneumocephalus secondary to radionecrosis of his petrous bone, requiring flap reconstruction and use of a programmable shunt valve complemented by hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy. We document here a young patient with a rare adenocarcinoma of the endolymphatic sac. This case is unique for its initial presentation without any vestibuloauditory symptoms. Metastatic spread of ELSTs is also rare. While osteoradionecrosis (ORN) of the temporal bone has been reported previously in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, this is the first time it has been presented in the context of an ELST. Tension pneumocephalus is a rare complication of skull base ORN. This is the first reported use of a programmable shunt valve and HBO therapy in the management of tension pneumocephalus.
Endolymphatic sac tumor; osteoradionecrosis; hyperbaric oxygen therapy; tension pneumocephalus
The mono- and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG and DGDG) galactolipids have been purified from the thermophilic blue-green alga Phormidium sp. ETS-05 that colonizes the therapeutic thermal mud of Abano Terme and Montegrotto Terme, Italy. Both compounds present a marked composition in polyunsaturated fatty acids, mainly omega-3. The therapeutic thermal mud is applied mainly to osteoarthritic cartilage patients. In the present study the effect of MGDG treatment on proteins and factors expressed by human articular cartilage cells in culture and on pathways activated in inflammatory conditions was studied.
Primary cultures of human articular chondrocytes were used at cell passage number 1 (P1). Cells were treated in serum-free medium with inflammatory cytokines in the presence and in the absence of MGDG. Western blot was performed on collected medium and on cell layers. At least three different experiments were performed on primary cultures. The quantitation of the MGDG effect was performed by densitometric scanning of Western blots. p38 Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (p38) activation, Nuclear Factor-kappaB (NF-kB) activation and Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) quantitation were performed by commercially available assays. Results are given as the mean values ± SD. All statistical analyses were performed using GraphPad software. The two-tailed Student's t -test was performed.
We report that MGDG: 1) represses the expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) induced by interleukin-1alpha (IL-1α) or IL-1α + tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) interfering with the p38 and NF-kB pathways; 2) is not toxic for the cells and does not affect the cell phenotype; 3) strongly enhances COX-2 expression induced by IL-1α or IL-1α + TNFα; 4) represses mPGES expression induced by IL-1α and the synthesis of PGE2 and induces the synthesis of 15-deoxy-Δ 12,14-prostaglandin J2 (15ΔPGJ2). In addition, the COX-2 product 15ΔPGJ2 added to the cells: 1) strongly represses IL-6 and IL-8 induced by IL-1α; 2) represses mPGES expression induced by IL-1α and the synthesis of PGE2.
All together these data suggest that MGDG has an anti-inflammatory activity in human articular cartilage and possibly activates an anti-inflammatory loop triggered by COX-2 via 15ΔPGJ2 production, indicating a possible role of COX-2 in resolution of inflammation. The purified compound is a novel anti-inflammatory agent potentially active for human articular cartilage pathologies related to inflammation.
The objective of the study was to measure upper limb motor function in young adults with spina bifida meningomyelocele (SBM) and typically developing age peers.
Participants were 26 young adults with SBM, with a Verbal or Performance IQ score of at least 70 on the Wechsler scales, and 27 age- and gender-matched controls. Four upper limb motor function tasks were performed under four different visual and cognitive challenge conditions. Motor independence was assessed by questionnaire.
Fewer SBM than control participants obtained perfect posture and rebound scores. The SBM group performed less accurately and was more disrupted by cognitive challenge than controls on limb dysmetria tasks. The SBM group was slower than controls on the diadochokinesis task. Adaptive motor independence was related to one upper limb motor task, arm posture, and upper rather than lower spinal lesions were associated with less motor independence.
Young adults with SBM have significant limitations in upper limb function and are more disrupted by some challenges while performing upper limb motor tasks. Within the group of young adults with SBM, upper spinal lesions compromise motor independence more than lower spinal lesions.
Spina bifida; Upper limb motor function; Quality of life
The amygdala is often found to be abnormally recruited in social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients. The question whether amygdala activation is primarily abnormal and affects other brain systems or whether it responds “normally” to an abnormal pattern of information conveyed by other brain structures remained unanswered. To address this question, we investigated a network of effective connectivity associated with the amygdala using Granger causality analysis on resting-state functional MRI data of 22 SAD patients and 21 healthy controls (HC). Implications of abnormal effective connectivity and clinical severity were investigated using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). Decreased influence from inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) to amygdala was found in SAD, while bidirectional influences between amygdala and visual cortices were increased compared to HCs. Clinical relevance of decreased effective connectivity from ITG to amygdala was suggested by a negative correlation of LSAS avoidance scores and the value of Granger causality. Our study is the first to reveal a network of abnormal effective connectivity of core structures in SAD. This is in support of a disregulation in predescribed modules involved in affect control. The amygdala is placed in a central position of dysfunction characterized both by decreased regulatory influence of orbitofrontal cortex and increased crosstalk with visual cortex. The model which is proposed based on our results lends neurobiological support towards cognitive models considering disinhibition and an attentional bias towards negative stimuli as a core feature of the disorder.
Individual variability in emotion processing may be associated with genetic variation as well as with psychological predispositions such as dispositional affect styles. Our previous fMRI study demonstrated that amygdala reactivity was independently predicted by affective-cognitive styles (phobic prone or eating disorders prone) and genotype of the serotonin transporter in a discrimination task of fearful facial expressions. Since the insula is associated with the subjective evaluation of bodily states and is involved in human feelings, we explored whether its activity could also vary in function of individual differences. In the present fMRI study, the association between dispositional affects and insula reactivity has been examined in two groups of healthy participants categorized according to affective-cognitive styles (phobic prone or eating disorders prone). Images of the faces of partners and strangers, in both painful and neutral situations, were used as visual stimuli. Interaction analyses indicate significantly different activations in the two groups in reaction to a loved one's pain: the phobic prone group exhibited greater activation in the left posterior insula. These results demonstrate that affective-cognitive style is associated with insula activity in pain empathy processing, suggesting a greater involvement of the insula in feelings for a certain cohort of people. In the mapping of individual differences, these results shed new light on variability in neural networks of emotion.
Traumatic diaphragmatic hernias are an unusual presentation of trauma, and are observed in about 10% of diaphragmatic injuries. The diagnosis is often missed because of non-specific clinical signs, and the absence of additional intra-abdominal and thoracic injuries.
We report a case of a 59-year-old Italian man hospitalized for abdominal pain and vomiting. His medical history included a blunt trauma seven years previously. A chest X-ray showed right diaphragm elevation, and computed tomography revealed that the greater omentum, a portion of the colon and the small intestine had been transposed in the hemithorax through a diaphragm rupture. The patient underwent laparotomy, at which time the colon and small intestine were reduced back into the abdomen and the diaphragm was repaired.
This was a unusual case of traumatic right-sided diaphragmatic hernia. Diaphragmatic ruptures may be revealed many years after the initial trauma. The suspicion of diaphragmatic rupture in a patient with multiple traumas contributes to early diagnosis. Surgical repair remains the only curative treatment for diaphragmatic hernias. Prosthetic patches may be a good solution when the diaphragmatic defect is severe and too large for primary closure, whereas primary repair remains the gold standard for the closure of small to moderate sized diaphragmatic defects.
Fetal adaptations to periods of substrate deprivation can result in the programming of glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and metabolic dysfunction in later life. Placental insufficiency can be associated with either sparing or sacrifice of fetal liver growth, and these different responses may have different metabolic consequences. It is unclear what intrahepatic mechanisms determine the differential responses of the fetal liver to substrate restriction. We investigated the effects of placental restriction (PR) on liver growth and the hepatic expression of SLC2A1, IGF1, IGF2, IGF1R, IGF2R, PPARGC1A, PPARA, PRKAA1, PRKAA2, PCK2, and HSDL1 mRNA in fetal sheep at 140–145 days of gestation. A mean gestational arterial partial pressure of oxygen less than 17 mmHg was defined as hypoxic, and a relative liver of weight more than 2 SD below the mean liver weight of controls was defined as reduced liver growth. Fetuses therefore were defined as control-normoxic (C-N; n = 9), PR-normoxic (PR-N; n = 7), PR-hypoxic (PR-H; n = 8), or PR-hypoxic reduced liver growth (PR-H RLG; n = 4). Hepatic SLC2A1 mRNA expression was highest (P < 0.05) in the PR-H fetuses, in which liver growth was maintained. Expression of IGF1 mRNA was decreased (P < 0.05) only in the PR-H RLG group. Hepatic expression of HSDL1, PPARGC1A, and PCK2 mRNA also were increased (P < 0.05) in the PR-H RLG fetuses. The present study highlights that intrahepatic responses to fetal substrate restriction may exist that protect the liver from decreased growth and, potentially, from a decreased responsiveness to the actions of insulin in postnatal life.
Intrauterine growth restriction results in differential growth of the fetal liver that is associated with changes in metabolic gene expression, including PCK2, and glucose transporters.
developmental biology; fetus; insulin-like growth factor receptor; liver; placenta
Assessment of the viral load in hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype 1-infected patients is critical before, during, and after antiviral therapy. In patients achieving a rapid virological response at week 4 of treatment, the viral load at the baseline is considered a predictive criterion of a sustained virological response 24 weeks after the discontinuation of treatment. A ≥2-log10 drop in the viral load at week 12 of treatment (early virological response) triggers the continuation of therapy. We organized a multicenter study (MS) for diagnostic laboratories involved in the quantification of HCV RNA. Commercial assays, including two based on real-time reverse transcription-PCR (TaqMan system), and in-house methods, were used by the 61 participants. The overall reproducibility of the commercial quantitative nucleic acid amplification techniques (qNAT) was acceptable. As the intermethod variability among commercial qNAT for HCV RNA was still present, the manufacturers of these test kits should join efforts to harmonize the means of quantification of HCV RNA. This study also shows that caution should be exercised when the baseline viral load is evaluated and when the 2-log10 reduction after 12 weeks of therapy is interpreted. Finally, this MS confirms the higher sensitivity of the commercial qNAT based on the TaqMan system, making them the elective assays for the monitoring of therapy.
The aim of this study was to compare the sensitivity of the serological level of anti-p53 antibodies in breast cancer patients and to correlate its expression level with patient age, histological stage and grade of tumor differentiation. Total p53 protein expression (mutant and wild-type) was also determined in the breast cancer tissues using immunohistochemistry (IHC). The serological levels of mutant p53 expression were found to be age-dependent, reaching the highest level at 50 years of age. Faint or low detection was observed in patients ≤30 years of age. Anti-p53-antibodies were detected in patients ≤40 and ≥61 years of age. The serological levels of mutant p53 protein were highly detected in all stages of breast cancer, including the early stages. However, anti-p53 antibodies reached a high level of detection only in stage III breast carcinomas. No expression was found in patients with benign breast disease. The detection of p53 mutations was dependent on the grade of tumor differentiation, achieving the highest level in the poorly differentiated breast carcinomas. Results from IHC were highly correlated with serological p53 mutational analysis. Our findings indicate that mutant p53 in serum is a promising novel parameter for the evaluation of cellular biology and the prognosis of breast cancer from its early stages using blood samples. Anti-p53 antibodies were demonstrated to be less sensitive in this study. It is also possible to use the expression of mutant p53 protein as a molecular marker to differentiate benign breast disease from breast carcinoma prior to surgery.
breast cancer; p53 mutational analysis; serological detection of p53 mutations
Recently, a differential recruitment of brain areas throughout the distributed neural system for face perception has been found in social phobic patients as compared to healthy control subjects. These functional abnormalities in social phobic patients extend beyond emotion-related brain areas, such as the amygdala, to include cortical networks that modulate attention and process other facial features, and they are also associated with an alteration of the task-related activation/deactivation trade-off. Functional connectivity is becoming a powerful tool to examine how components of large-scale distributed neural systems are coupled together while performing a specific function. This study was designed to determine whether functional connectivity networks among brain regions within the distributed system for face perception also would differ between social phobic patients and healthy controls. Data were obtained from eight social phobic patients and seven healthy controls by using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Our findings indicated that social phobic patients and healthy controls have different patterns of functional connectivity across brain regions within both the core and the extended systems for face perception and the default mode network. To our knowledge, this is the first study that shows that functional connectivity during brain response to socially relevant stimuli differs between social phobic patients and healthy controls. These results expand our previous findings and indicate that brain functional changes in social phobic patients are not restricted to a single specific brain structure, but rather involve a mis-communication among different sensory and emotional processing brain areas.
social phobia; functional connectivity; face perception; fMRI
Human middle temporal complex (hMT+) responds also to the perception of non-visual motion in both sighted and early blind individuals, indicating a supramodal organization. Visual experience, however, leads to a segregation of hMT+ into a more anterior subregion, involved in the supramodal representation of motion, and a posterior subregion that processes visual motion only. In contrast, in congenitally blind subjects tactile motion activates the full extent of hMT+. Here, we used fMRI to investigate brain areas functionally connected with the two hMT+ subregions (seeds) during visual and tactile motion in sighted and blind individuals. A common functional connectivity network for motion processing, including bilateral ventral and dorsal extrastriate, inferior frontal, middle and inferior temporal areas, correlated with the two hMT+ seeds both in sighted and blind individuals during either visual or tactile motion, independently from the sensory modality through which the information was acquired. Moreover, ventral premotor, somatosensory, and posterior parietal areas correlated only with the anterior but not with the posterior portion of hMT+ in sighted subjects, and with both hMT+ seeds in blind subjects. Furthermore, a correlation between middle temporal and occipital areas with primary somatosensory seeds was demonstrated across conditions in both sighted and blind individuals, suggesting a cortico-cortical pathway that conveys non-visual information from somatosensory cortex, through posterior parietal regions, to ventral extrastriate cortex. These findings expand our knowledge about the development of the functional organization within hMT+ by showing that distinct patterns of brain functional correlations originate from the anterior and posterior hMT+ subregions as a result of visual experience.
human middle temporal complex; supramodality; visual motion; tactile motion; blindness; functional connectivity; fMRI