In 2008 we published the first set of guidelines for standardizing research in autophagy. Since then, research on this topic has continued to accelerate, and many new scientists have entered the field. Our knowledge base and relevant new technologies have also been expanding. Accordingly, it is important to update these guidelines for monitoring autophagy in different organisms. Various reviews have described the range of assays that have been used for this purpose. Nevertheless, there continues to be confusion regarding acceptable methods to measure autophagy, especially in multicellular eukaryotes. A key point that needs to be emphasized is that there is a difference between measurements that monitor the numbers or volume of autophagic elements (e.g., autophagosomes or autolysosomes) at any stage of the autophagic process vs. those that measure flux through the autophagy pathway (i.e., the complete process); thus, a block in macroautophagy that results in autophagosome accumulation needs to be differentiated from stimuli that result in increased autophagic activity, defined as increased autophagy induction coupled with increased delivery to, and degradation within, lysosomes (in most higher eukaryotes and some protists such as Dictyostelium) or the vacuole (in plants and fungi). In other words, it is especially important that investigators new to the field understand that the appearance of more autophagosomes does not necessarily equate with more autophagy. In fact, in many cases, autophagosomes accumulate because of a block in trafficking to lysosomes without a concomitant change in autophagosome biogenesis, whereas an increase in autolysosomes may reflect a reduction in degradative activity. Here, we present a set of guidelines for the selection and interpretation of methods for use by investigators who aim to examine macroautophagy and related processes, as well as for reviewers who need to provide realistic and reasonable critiques of papers that are focused on these processes. These guidelines are not meant to be a formulaic set of rules, because the appropriate assays depend in part on the question being asked and the system being used. In addition, we emphasize that no individual assay is guaranteed to be the most appropriate one in every situation, and we strongly recommend the use of multiple assays to monitor autophagy. In these guidelines, we consider these various methods of assessing autophagy and what information can, or cannot, be obtained from them. Finally, by discussing the merits and limits of particular autophagy assays, we hope to encourage technical innovation in the field.
LC3; autolysosome; autophagosome; flux; lysosome; phagophore; stress; vacuole
Summary: We present iAnn, an open source community-driven platform for dissemination of life science events, such as courses, conferences and workshops. iAnn allows automatic visualisation and integration of customised event reports. A central repository lies at the core of the platform: curators add submitted events, and these are subsequently accessed via web services. Thus, once an iAnn widget is incorporated into a website, it permanently shows timely relevant information as if it were native to the remote site. At the same time, announcements submitted to the repository are automatically disseminated to all portals that query the system. To facilitate the visualization of announcements, iAnn provides powerful filtering options and views, integrated in Google Maps and Google Calendar. All iAnn widgets are freely available.
Pancreatitis is a complex, progressively destructive inflammatory disorder. Alcohol was long thought to be the primary causative agent, but genetic contributions have been of interest since the discovery that rare PRSS1, CFTR, and SPINK1 variants were associated with pancreatitis risk. We now report two significant genome-wide associations identified and replicated at PRSS1-PRSS2 (1×10-12) and x-linked CLDN2 (p < 1×10-21) through a two-stage genome-wide study (Stage 1, 676 cases and 4507 controls; Stage 2, 910 cases and 4170 controls). The PRSS1 variant affects susceptibility by altering expression of the primary trypsinogen gene. The CLDN2 risk allele is associated with atypical localization of claudin-2 in pancreatic acinar cells. The homozygous (or hemizygous male) CLDN2 genotype confers the greatest risk, and its alleles interact with alcohol consumption to amplify risk. These results could partially explain the high frequency of alcohol-related pancreatitis in men – male hemizygous frequency is 0.26, female homozygote is 0.07.
To investigate predictors of missing data in a longitudinal study of Alzheimer disease (AD).
The Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) is a clinic-based, multicenter, longitudinal study with blood, CSF, PET, and MRI scans repeatedly measured in 229 participants with normal cognition (NC), 397 with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and 193 with mild AD during 2005–2007. We used univariate and multivariable logistic regression models to examine the associations between baseline demographic/clinical features and loss of biomarker follow-ups in ADNI.
CSF studies tended to recruit and retain patients with MCI with more AD-like features, including lower levels of baseline CSF Aβ42. Depression was the major predictor for MCI dropouts, while family history of AD kept more patients with AD enrolled in PET and MRI studies. Poor cognitive performance was associated with loss of follow-up in most biomarker studies, even among NC participants. The presence of vascular risk factors seemed more critical than cognitive function for predicting dropouts in AD.
The missing data are not missing completely at random in ADNI and likely conditional on certain features in addition to cognitive function. Missing data predictors vary across biomarkers and even MCI and AD groups do not share the same missing data pattern. Understanding the missing data structure may help in the design of future longitudinal studies and clinical trials in AD.
Resistance to ESAs (erythropoietin stimulating agents) is highly prevalent in hemodialysis patients with diabetes and associated with an increased mortality. The aim of this study was to identify predictors for ESA resistance and to develop a prediction model for the risk stratification in these patients.
A post-hoc analysis was conducted of the 4D study, including 1015 patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing hemodialysis. Determinants of ESA resistance were identified by univariate logistic regression analyses. Subsequently, multivariate models were performed with stepwise inclusion of significant predictors from clinical parameters, routine laboratory and specific biomarkers.
In the model restricted to clinical parameters, male sex, shorter dialysis vintage, lower BMI, history of CHF, use of ACE-inhibitors and a higher heart rate were identified as independent predictors of ESA resistance. In regard to routine laboratory markers, lower albumin, lower iron saturation, higher creatinine and higher potassium levels were independently associated with ESA resistance. With respect to specific biomarkers, higher ADMA and CRP levels as well as lower Osteocalcin levels were predictors of ESA resistance.
Easily obtainable clinical parameters and routine laboratory parameters can predict ESA resistance in diabetic hemodialysis patients with good discrimination. Specific biomarkers did not meaningfully further improve the risk prediction of ESA resistance. Routinely assessed data can be used in clinical practice to stratify patients according to the risk of ESA resistance, which may help to assign appropriate treatment strategies.
Clinical trial registration
The study was registered at the German medical authority (BfArM; registration number 401 3206). The sponsor protocol ID and clinical trial unique identified number was CT-981-423-239. The results of the study are published and available at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16034009.
Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), initially thought to act specifically on the vascular system, exert trophic effects on neural cells during development and adulthood. Therefore, the VEGF system serves as a promising therapeutic target for brain pathologies, but its simultaneous action on vascular cells paves the way for harmful side effects. To circumvent these deleterious effects, many studies have aimed to clarify whether VEGFs directly affect neural cells or if the effects are mediated secondarily via other cell types, like vascular cells. A great number of reports have shown the expression and function of VEGF receptors (VEGFRs), mainly VEGFR-1 and -2, in neural cells, where VEGFR-2 has been described as the major mediator of VEGF-A signals. This review aims to summarize and compare the divergent roles of VEGFR-1 and -2 during CNS development and homeostasis.
VEGF receptors; Neurogenesis; Neural stem cells; Brain development; Brain repair; Migration
Asbestos is a potent carcinogen associated with malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer but its carcinogenic mechanisms are still poorly understood. Asbestos toxicity is ascribed to its particular physico-chemical characteristics, and one of them is the presence of and ability to adsorb iron, which may cause an alteration of iron homeostasis in the tissue. This observational study reports a combination of advanced synchrotron-based X-ray imaging and micro-spectroscopic methods that provide correlative morphological and chemical information for shedding light on iron mobilization features during asbestos permanence in lung tissue. The results show that the processes responsible for the unusual distribution of iron at different stages of interaction with the fibres also involve calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It has been confirmed that the dominant iron form present in asbestos bodies is ferritin, while the concurrent presence of haematite suggests alteration of iron chemistry during asbestos body permanence.
Gastric cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the world. H. pylori infection, a major risk factor for gastric cancer, generates high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Glutathione peroxidase 3 (GPX3), a plasma GPX member and a major scavenger of ROS, catalyzes the reduction of hydrogen peroxide and lipid peroxides by reduced glutathione. To study the expression and gene regulation of GPX3, we examined GPX3 gene expression in 9 gastric cancer cell lines, 108 primary gastric cancer samples and 45 normal gastric mucosa adjacent to cancers using quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Downregulation or silencing of GPX3 was detected in 8 of 9 cancer cell lines, 83% (90/108) gastric cancers samples, as compared to non-tumor adjacent normal gastric samples (P<0.0001). Examination of GPX3 promoter demonstrated DNA hypermethylation (≥10% methylation level determined by Bisulfite Pyrosequencing) in 6 of 9 cancer cell lines and 60% of gastric cancer samples (P = 0.007). We also detected a significant loss of DNA copy number of GPX3 in gastric cancers (P<0.001). Treatment of SNU1 and MKN28 cells with 5-Aza-2′ Deoxycytidine restored the GPX3 gene expression with a significant demethylation of GPX3 promoter. The downregulation of GPX3 expression and GPX3 promoter hypermethylation were significantly associated with gastric cancer lymph node metastasis (P = 0.018 and P = 0.029, respectively). We also observed downregulation, DNA copy number losses, and promoter hypermethylation of GPX3 in approximately one-third of tumor-adjacent normal gastric tissue samples, suggesting the presence of a field defect in areas near tumor samples. Reconstitution of GPX3 in AGS cells reduced the capacity of cell migration, as measured by scratch wound healing assay. Taken together, the dysfunction of GPX3 in gastric cancer is mediated by genetic and epigenetic alterations, suggesting impairment of mechanisms that regulate ROS and its possible involvement in gastric tumorigenesis and metastasis.
The current standard treatment, at least in Europe, for patients with primarily resectable tumors, consists of surgery followed by adjuvant chemotherapy. But even in this prognostic favourable group, long term survival is disappointing because of high local and distant failure rates. Postoperative chemoradiation has shown improved local control and overalls survival compared to surgery alone but the value of additional radiation has been questioned in case of adjuvant chemotherapy. However, there remains a strong rationale for the addition of radiation therapy considering the high rates of microscopically incomplete resections after surgery. As postoperative administration of radiation therapy has some general disadvantages, neoadjuvant and intraoperative approaches theoretically offer benefits in terms of dose escalation, reduction of toxicity and patients comfort especially if hypofractionated regimens with highly conformal techniques like intensity-modulated radiation therapy are considered.
The NEOPANC trial is a prospective, one armed, single center phase I/II study investigating a combination of neoadjuvant short course intensity-modulated radiation therapy (5 × 5 Gy) in combination with surgery and intraoperative radiation therapy (15 Gy), followed by adjuvant chemotherapy according to the german treatment guidelines, in patients with primarily resectable pancreatic cancer. The aim of accrual is 46 patients.
The primary objectives of the NEOPANC trial are to evaluate the general feasibility of this approach and the local recurrence rate after one year. Secondary endpoints are progression-free survival, overall survival, acute and late toxicity, postoperative morbidity and mortality and quality of life.
Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA), and principally c9t11 CLA, are suspected to have numerous preventive properties regarding non-infectious pathologies such as inflammatory diseases, atherosclerosis and several types of cancer. C9t11 CLA is produced in the rumen during biohydrogenation of linoleic acid, but can also be synthesized in mammalian tissues from trans-vaccenic acid (C18:1 t11) through the action of delta-9 desaturase (D9D). For several years, it is also known that c9t11 CLA can be synthesized from conjugated linolenic acids (CLnA), i.e. c9t11c13 CLnA and c9t11t13 CLnA. This study aimed at investigating to which extent and by which route c9t11 CLA can be produced from another isomer of CLA, the t11t13 CLA that is structurally very similar to c9t11t13 CLnA, in Caco-2 cells.
Caco-2 cells were incubated for 24 h with 20 µmol/l of t11t13 CLA in the absence or presence of sterculic oil used as an inhibitor of D9D. Caco-2 cells were able to convert t11t13 CLA into c9t11 CLA, and c9t11t13 CLnA was formed as an intermediate compound. In the presence of sterculic oil, the production of this intermediate was decreased by 46% and the formation of c9t11 CLA was decreased by 26%. No other metabolite was detected.
These results not only highlight the conversion of t11t13 CLA into c9t11 CLA but demonstrate also that this conversion involves first a desaturation step catalysed by D9D to produce c9t11t13 CLnA and then the action of another enzyme reducing the double bond on the Δ13 position.
Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has been developed to minimize operative morbidity and mortality in high-risk symptomatic patients unfit for open surgery. With the proximity of the aortic valve annulus to the conduction system there is, however, an unknown risk of conduction disturbances necessitating monitoring and often cardiac pacing.
Materials and methods
We enrolled 50 consecutive patients from January 2007 to 2008 in our prospective evaluation of conduction disturbances measured by surface and intracardiac ECG recordings. Baseline parameters, procedural characteristics as well as twelve-lead surface ECG and intracardiac conduction times were revealed pre-interventionally, after TAVI and at 7-day follow-up.
TAVI was performed successfully in all patients. During 7 days of follow-up the rate for first-degree AV block raised from 14% at baseline to 44% at day 7 (p < 0.001), while rates for type II second- and third-degree were 0 versus 8% (p < 0.001) and 0 versus 12% (p < 0.001), respectively. Similarly, the prevalence of new left bundle branch block (LBBB) rose from 2 to 54% (p < 0.001). Intracardiac measurements revealed a prolongation of both AH and HV interval from 123.7 ± 41.6 to 136.6 ± 40.5 ms (p < 0.001) and from 54.8 ± 11.7 to 71.4 ± 20.0 ms (p < 0.001), respectively. Pacemaker implantation at a mean follow-up of 4.8 ± 1.2 days was subsequently performed in 23 patients (46%) due to complete AV block (12%) and type II second-degree AV block (8%) while another 13 patients (26%) received a pacemaker for the combination of new LBBB with marked HV prolongation. The high rate of first-degree AV block was primarily driven by an increase in HV interval.
Cardiac conduction disturbances were common in the early experience with CoreValve implantation necessitating close surveillance for at least 1 week.
Conduction disorders; CoreValve; AV block; Pacemaker; Left bundle branch block; His bundle
The establishment of the left-right (LR) axis in zebrafish embryos relies on signals from the dorsal forerunner cells (DFC) and the Kupffer’s vesicle (KV). While the Wnt signaling network influences many aspects of embryonic development, its precise role in LR patterning is still unclear. One branch of the Wnt network leads to stabilization of β-catenin and activation of downstream target genes. Other Wnt ligands appear to act independently of β-catenin to modulate calcium release and influence cell polarity. Central to regulation of β-catenin and coordination of convergent extension (CE) movements is Dishevelled (Dvl). Naked Cuticle (Nkd) binds Dvl and modulates β-catenin dependent and independent Wnt signaling. Here, we analyze the expression patterns of three zebrafish Nkd homologs and find enriched expression of nkd1 in DFCs and KV. Dvl is degraded upon Nkd1 overexpression in zebrafish. Knockdown of Nkd1 specifically in the DFC results in β-catenin nuclear localization and transcriptional activation as well as alterations to DFC migration, KV formation, ciliogenesis and LR patterning. Furthermore, we identify asymmetric expression of the Nodal antagonist charon around the KV and show that Nkd1 knockdown impacts asymmetric charon expression. Our findings show that Nkd1 acts as a β-catenin antagonist in the DFCs necessary for LR patterning.
Naked Cuticle; Dorsal forerunner cells; Kupffer’s vesicle; Left-Right patterning; cilia; zebrafish
The Alzheimer Disease Genetics Consortium (ADGC) performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of late-onset Alzheimer disease (LOAD) using a 3 stage design consisting of a discovery stage (Stage 1) and two replication stages (Stages 2 and 3). Both joint and meta-analysis analysis approaches were used. We obtained genome-wide significant results at MS4A4A [rs4938933; Stages 1+2, meta-analysis (PM) = 1.7 × 10−9, joint analysis (PJ) = 1.7 × 10−9; Stages 1–3, PM = 8.2 × 10−12], CD2AP (rs9349407; Stages 1–3, PM = 8.6 × 10−9), EPHA1 (rs11767557; Stages 1–3 PM = 6.0 × 10−10), and CD33 (rs3865444; Stages 1–3, PM = 1.6 × 10−9). We confirmed that CR1 (rs6701713; PM = 4.6×10−10, PJ = 5.2×10−11), CLU (rs1532278; PM = 8.3 × 10−8, PJ = 1.9×10−8), BIN1 (rs7561528; PM = 4.0×10−14; PJ = 5.2×10−14), and PICALM (rs561655; PM = 7.0 × 10−11, PJ = 1.0×10−10) but not EXOC3L2 are LOAD risk loci1–3.
Corynebacterium ulcerans has been detected as a commensal in domestic and wild animals that may serve as reservoirs for zoonotic infections. During the last decade, the frequency and severity of human infections associated with C. ulcerans appear to be increasing in various countries. As the knowledge of genes contributing to the virulence of this bacterium was very limited, the complete genome sequences of two C. ulcerans strains detected in the metropolitan area of Rio de Janeiro were determined and characterized by comparative genomics: C. ulcerans 809 was initially isolated from an elderly woman with fatal pulmonary infection and C. ulcerans BR-AD22 was recovered from a nasal sample of an asymptomatic dog.
The circular chromosome of C. ulcerans 809 has a total size of 2,502,095 bp and encodes 2,182 predicted proteins, whereas the genome of C. ulcerans BR-AD22 is 104,279 bp larger and comprises 2,338 protein-coding regions. The minor difference in size of the two genomes is mainly caused by additional prophage-like elements in the C. ulcerans BR-AD22 chromosome. Both genomes show a highly similar order of orthologous coding regions; and both strains share a common set of 2,076 genes, demonstrating their very close relationship. A screening for prominent virulence factors revealed the presence of phospholipase D (Pld), neuraminidase H (NanH), endoglycosidase E (EndoE), and subunits of adhesive pili of the SpaDEF type that are encoded in both C. ulcerans genomes. The rbp gene coding for a putative ribosome-binding protein with striking structural similarity to Shiga-like toxins was additionally detected in the genome of the human isolate C. ulcerans 809.
The molecular data deduced from the complete genome sequences provides considerable knowledge of virulence factors in C. ulcerans that is increasingly recognized as an emerging pathogen. This bacterium is apparently equipped with a broad and varying set of virulence factors, including a novel type of a ribosome-binding protein. Whether the respective protein contributes to the severity of human infections (and a fatal outcome) remains to be elucidated by genetic experiments with defined bacterial mutants and host model systems.
Molecular descriptors are essential for many applications in computational chemistry, such as ligand-based similarity searching. Spherical harmonics have previously been suggested as comprehensive descriptors of molecular structure and properties. We investigate a spherical harmonics descriptor for shape-based virtual screening.
We introduce and validate a partially rotation-invariant three-dimensional molecular shape descriptor based on the norm of spherical harmonics expansion coefficients. Using this molecular representation, we parameterize molecular surfaces, i.e., isosurfaces of spatial molecular property distributions. We validate the shape descriptor in a comprehensive retrospective virtual screening experiment. In a prospective study, we virtually screen a large compound library for cyclooxygenase inhibitors, using a self-organizing map as a pre-filter and the shape descriptor for candidate prioritization.
12 compounds were tested in vitro for direct enzyme inhibition and in a whole blood assay. Active compounds containing a triazole scaffold were identified as direct cyclooxygenase-1 inhibitors. This outcome corroborates the usefulness of spherical harmonics for representation of molecular shape in virtual screening of large compound collections. The combination of pharmacophore and shape-based filtering of screening candidates proved to be a straightforward approach to finding novel bioactive chemotypes with minimal experimental effort.
Background. Due to the predominantly advanced stage at the time of diagnosis treatment of cholangiocarcinoma is difficult. Apart from surgical resection, interventional treatment strategies are increasingly used in advanced stage tumours. The aim of the study was a retrospective comparison of the effect of the various forms of treatment on morbidity and mortality. Method. A total of 195 patients, received either chemotherapy or a combination of photodynamic therapy (PDT) or transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) and chemotherapy. Results. The median survival rate for all patients was 15.6 months, 50.8% were still alive 1 year after diagnosis. Patients, who had previously undergone surgery, survived 17.1 months longer than those without surgical treatment (P < .01). Chemotherapy prolonged the survival by 9.2 months (P = .47). Palliative patients under combination of chemotherapy and PDT survived on average 1.8 months longer (P = .28), with chemotherapy and TACE 9.8 months longer (P = .04) compared to chemotherapy alone. Conclusions. It appears that surgical treatment and chemotherapy combined with PDT or TACE may prolong survival.
The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a main cause for gastric inflammation and cancer. Increasing bacterial resistance against antibiotics demands for innovative strategies for therapeutic intervention.
We present a method for structure-based virtual screening that is based on the comprehensive prediction of ligand binding sites on a protein model and automated construction of a ligand-receptor interaction map. Pharmacophoric features of the map are clustered and transformed in a correlation vector (‘virtual ligand’) for rapid virtual screening of compound databases. This computer-based technique was validated for 18 different targets of pharmaceutical interest in a retrospective screening experiment. Prospective screening for inhibitory agents was performed for the protease HtrA from the human pathogen H. pylori using a homology model of the target protein. Among 22 tested compounds six block E-cadherin cleavage by HtrA in vitro and result in reduced scattering and wound healing of gastric epithelial cells, thereby preventing bacterial infiltration of the epithelium.
This study demonstrates that receptor-based virtual screening with a permissive (‘fuzzy’) pharmacophore model can help identify small bioactive agents for combating bacterial infection.
Members of the tetraspanin family including CD9 contribute to the structural organization and plasticity of the plasma membrane. K41, a CD9-specific mAb, inhibits the release of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), and canine distemper virus (CDV)-, but not measles virus (MV)-induced cell-cell fusion. We now report that K41, which recognizes a conformational epitope on the large extracellular loop (LEL) of CD9, induces rapid relocation and clustering of CD9 in net-like structures at cell-cell contact areas. High resolution analyses revealed that CD9 clustering is accompanied by the formation of microvilli that protrude from either side of adjacent cell surfaces, thus forming structures like microvilli zippers. While the cellular CD9-associated proteins β1-integrin and EWI-F were co-clustered with CD9 at cell-cell interfaces, viral proteins in infected cells were differentially affected. MV envelope proteins were detected within, whereas CDV proteins were excluded from CD9 clusters. Thus, the tetraspanin CD9 can regulate cell-cell fusion by controlling the access of the fusion machinery to cell contact areas.
tetraspanin; CD9 clustering; microvilli; cell fusion; canine distemper virus (CDV); measles virus (MV)
Background and Objective
Exposure to ambient particles has been shown to be responsible for cardiovascular effects, especially in elderly with cardiovascular disease. The study assessed the association between deceleration capacity (DC) as well as heart rate variability (HRV) and ambient particulate matter (PM) in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD).
A prospective study with up to 12 repeated measurements was conducted in Erfurt, Germany, between October 2000 and April 2001 in 56 patients with physician-diagnosed ischemic heart disease, stable angina pectoris or prior myocardial infarction at an age of at least 50 years. Twenty-minute ECG recordings were obtained every two weeks and 24-hour ECG recordings every four weeks. Exposure to PM (size range from 10 nm to 2.5 μm), and elemental (EC) and organic (OC) carbon was measured. Additive mixed models were used to analyze the association between PM and ECG recordings.
The short-term recordings showed decrements in the high-frequency component of HRV as well as in RMSSD (root-mean-square of successive differences of NN intervals) in association with increments in EC and OC 0-23 hours prior to the recordings. The long-term recordings revealed decreased RMSSD and pNN50 (% of adjacent NN intervals that differed more than 50 ms) in association with EC and OC 24-47 hours prior to the recordings. In addition, highly significant effects were found for DC which decreased in association with PM2.5, EC and OC concurrent with the ECG recordings as well as with a lag of up to 47 hours.
The analysis showed significant effects of ambient particulate air pollution on DC and HRV parameters reflecting parasympathetic modulation of the heart in patients with CAD. An air pollution-related decrease in parasympathetic tone as well as impaired heart rate deceleration capacity may contribute to an increased risk for cardiac morbidity and sudden cardiac death in vulnerable populations.
Helicobacter pylori cagA–positive strains exert population-specific risks for gastric cancer. We determined whether variations in CagA phosphorylation motifs were associated with carcinogenic or proinflammatory epithelial phenotypes induced by strains from regions with divergent cancer risks (Colombia and Nashville, TN). Motif number was significantly related to levels of CagA phosphorylation and cytoskeletal abnormalities. Precancerous isolates possessed a higher number of motifs, and precancerous strains from Nashville induced higher levels of IL-8 than Colombian strains. These results indicate that CagA variants are linked with premalignant lesions in distinct populations and that epithelial responses to these strains are selective based upon locale.
The cervical zygapophyseal joints may be a primary source of pain in up to 60% of individuals with chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD) and may be a contributing factor for peripheral and centrally mediated pain (sensory hypersensitivity). Sensory hypersensitivity has been associated with a poor prognosis. The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a change in measures indicative of sensory hypersensitivity in patients with chronic WAD grade II following a medial branch block (MBB) procedure in the cervical spine.
Measures of sensory hypersensitivity were taken via quantitative sensory testing (QST) consisting of pressure pain thresholds (PPT's) and cold pain thresholds (CPT's). In patients with chronic WAD (n = 18), the measures were taken at three sites bilaterally, pre- and post- MBB. Reduced pain thresholds at remote sites have been considered an indicator of central hypersensitivity. A healthy age and gender matched comparison group (n = 18) was measured at baseline. An independent t-test was applied to determine if there were any significant differences between the WAD and normative comparison groups at baseline with respect to cold pain and pressure pain thresholds. A dependent t-test was used to determine whether there were any significant differences between the pre and post intervention cold pain and pressure pain thresholds in the patients with chronic WAD.
At baseline, PPT's were decreased at all three sites in the WAD group (p < 0.001). Cold pain thresholds were increased in the cervical spine in the WAD group (p < 0.001). Post-MBB, the WAD group showed significant increases in PPT's at all sites (p < 0.05), and significant decreases in CPT's at the cervical spine (p < 0.001).
The patients with chronic WAD showed evidence of widespread sensory hypersensitivity to mechanical and thermal stimuli. The WAD group revealed decreased sensory hypersensitivity following a decrease in their primary source of pain stemming from the cervical zygapophyseal joints.
Subtle structural brain abnormalities are an established finding in first-episode psychosis. Nevertheless their relationship to the clinical course of schizophrenia is controversially discussed. In a multicentre study 45 first-episode schizophrenia patients (FE-SZ) underwent standardized MRI scanning and were followed up to 1 year. In 32 FE-SZ volumetric measurement of three regions of interests (ROIs) potentially associated with disease course, hippocampus, lateral ventricle and the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) could be performed. The subgroups of FE-SZ with good (12 patients) and poor outcome (11 patients), defined by a clinically relevant change of the PANSS score, were compared with regard to these volumetric measures. Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed a significant reduced maximal cross sectional area of the left ALIC in FE-SZ with clinically relevant deterioration compared to those with stable psychopathology. There were no differences in the other selected ROIs between the two subgroups. In conclusion, reduced maximal area of ALIC, which can be interpreted as a disturbance of fronto-thalamic connectivity, is associated with poor outcome during the 1 year course of first-episode schizophrenia.
first-episode schizophrenia; magnetic resonance imaging; disease course; outcome
To test in a neonatal animal model the feasibility and biocompatibility of a new breakable stent that can be broken open by balloon dilatation during reintervention for use in neonates and infants.
Materials and methods
Medical grade stainless steel breakable stents (n = 16) were interventionally implanted in systemic arteries in neonatal piglets (n = 7). Patency of the stented segments was shown by repeated angiography. Stents were redilated up to three times. After a follow up of 18–165 days the animals were killed and the tissue block containing the stent was excised. Besides standard histological examination, scanning electron microscopy was used for biocompatibility screening.
The stents were broken by redilatation with a conventional angioplasty balloon catheter. During follow up, patency of all stented segments was shown angiographically. One stent became dislocated during implantation. One vessel ruptured during redilatation when an inadequately large balloon catheter was used for dilatation. No other complications were observed. Scanning electron microscopy showed complete cellular coverage of the stent struts. Histological examination showed thinning of the vessel wall and partial rupture of the media at the site of stent breakage. An only mild inflammatory reaction was detected.
The new breakable stent can be broken open by simple angioplasty. Feasibility, effectiveness, and biocompatibility were shown in an animal model. Surgery to remove stents from paediatric patients due to disproportion between a previously implanted stent and the growing vessel may be avoided by the use of a breakable stent.
congenital heart disease; intervention; stent; infant; neonate
In contrast to studies with genetically modified viruses, RNA interference allows the analysis of virus infections with identical viruses and posttranscriptional ablation of individual gene functions. Using RNase III-generated multiple short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) against the six measles virus genes, we found efficient downregulation of viral gene expression in general with siRNAs against the nucleocapsid (N), phosphoprotein (P), and polymerase (L) mRNAs, the translation products of which form the ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex. Silencing of the RNP mRNAs was highly efficient in reducing viral messenger and genomic RNAs. siRNAs against the mRNAs for the hemagglutinin (H) and fusion (F) proteins reduced the extent of cell-cell fusion. Interestingly, siRNA-mediated knockdown of the matrix (M) protein not only enhanced cell-cell fusion but also increased the levels of both mRNAs and genomic RNA by a factor of 2 to 2.5 so that the genome-to-mRNA ratio was constant. These findings indicate that M acts as a negative regulator of viral polymerase activity, affecting mRNA transcription and genome replication to the same extent.