To determine the effects of heat-killed VSL#3 (B. breve, B. longum and B. infantis; L. plantarum, L. bulgaricus, L. casei and L. acidophilus; S. salivarius subsp. thermophilus) therapy in the dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced acute experimental colitis in rats. Acute experimental colitis was induced in rats by 5% DSS and freely drink for seven days. Beginning on Day 8, rats underwent gavage once daily for seven days with heat-killed probiotic VSL#3 (0.6 g/kg/day), colonic damage was evaluated histologically and biochemically seven days after gavage. Expression of inflammatory related mediators (STAT3, P-STAT3) and cytokines (IL-6, IL-23, TGFβ) in colonic tissue were detected. The results revealed that heat-killed and live VSL#3 have identical anti-inflammatory properties by the assessed DAI (disease activity index), colon length, histological tissue and MPO activity. Heat-killed and live VSL#3 results in reduced IL-6, IL-23, TGFβ, STAT3 and P-STAT3 expression in colonic tissue. Heat-killed and live VSL#3 have showed the similar anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting IL-6/STAT3 pathway in the DSS-induced acute experimental colitis in rats.
probiotic; ulcerative colitis; inflammatory bowel disease; experimental colitis; IL-6/STAT3
We report the draft genome sequence of a New Delhi metallo-β-lactamase-1 (NDM-1)-positive Escherichia coli isolate obtained from a surgical patient. The assembled data indicate the presence of 3 multidrug resistance plasmids, 1 of which shares 100% identity with an NDM-1 plasmid isolated previously from a nearby hospital, suggesting possible local transmission.
HIV-1 subtype B and CRF01_AE are the predominant infecting subtypes among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Singapore. The genetic history, population dynamics and pattern of transmission networks of these genotypes remain largely unknown. We delineated the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and the recently characterized CRF51_01B strains circulating among the MSM population in Singapore. A total of 105 (49.5%) newly-diagnosed treatment-naïve MSM were recruited between February 2008 and August 2009. Phylogenetic reconstructions of the protease gene (HXB2: 2239 – 2629), gp120 (HXB2: 6942 – 7577) and gp41 (HXB2: 7803 – 8276) of the env gene uncovered five monophyletic transmission networks (two each within subtype B and CRF01_AE and one within CRF51_01B lineages) of different sizes (involving 3 – 23 MSM subjects, supported by posterior probability measure of 1.0). Bayesian coalescent analysis estimated that the emergence and dissemination of multiple sub-epidemic networks occurred between 1995 and 2005, driven largely by subtype B and later followed by CRF01_AE. Exponential increase in effective population size for both subtype B and CRF01_AE occurred between 2002 to 2007 and 2005 to 2007, respectively. Genealogical estimates suggested that the novel CRF51_01B lineages were probably generated through series of recombination events involving CRF01_AE and multiple subtype B ancestors. Our study provides the first insight on the phylodynamic profiles of HIV-1 subtype B, CRF01_AE and CRF51_01B viral strains circulating among MSM in Singapore.
Itraconazole (ITZ) is a synthetic triazole antifungal agent, which is widely used for treatment and prevention of fungal infections. The purpose of this study is to develop ITZ-loaded poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanospheres (PLGA-ITZ-NS) as a new sustained-release formulation for intravenous ITZ administration.
Materials and methods
PLGA-ITZ-NS were prepared by a nanoprecipitation method and optimized by modifying the surfactant poloxamer 188 concentration and PLGA:ITZ ratio. Their physicochemical properties, including size, zeta potential, external morphology and encapsulation efficiency, were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The effect of the different selected lyoprotectants with various concentrations on NS particles size and surface charge were also assessed. Rapid and sensitive HPLC and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) methods were developed to determine ITZ concentrations in formulation and in rat plasma, respectively. Pharmacokinetics of the optimum PLGA-ITZ-NS formulation was compared with the former commercial Sporanox® injection formulation using rats as the animal model. Noncompartmental pharmacokinetic parameters were obtained by WinNonlin® software.
Optimal PLGA-ITZ-NS had a mean particle size of about 200 nm with a high homogeneity (polydispersity index ≈0.2), favorable zeta potential (approximately −20 to −30 mV) and encapsulation efficiency (72%). In addition, 2% w/v sucrose was selected as a lyoprotectant for NS freeze-drying. The newly developed LC-MS/MS assay was validated and found to be accurate and precise. The in vivo study showed that the NS formulation has a similar systemic bioavailability to Sporanox® while providing a sustained plasma level (> 100 ng/mL) for up to 24 hours after intravenous administration.
Our newly developed PLGA-ITZ-NS has shown great sustained release and comparable bioavailability with Sporanox®, therefore having the potential to be an alternative injectable formulation of ITZ.
itraconazole; poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid); PLGA; nanoparticle; sustained release; pharmacokinetics; intravenous injection
This study aimed to determine the efficacy and safety of recombinant Mycobacterium tuberculosis ESAT-6 protein for diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB).
A phase II trial was performed in 158 patients with pulmonary TB (145 initially-treated and 13 re-treated) and 133 healthy subjects. Skin testing was carried out by injecting purified protein derivative (PPD) (on left forearm) or recombinant ESAT-6 protein at a dosage of 2, 5, or 10 μg/mL (on the right forearm) in each subject. Reaction activity and adverse events were monitored at 24, 48, and 72 h following the injection. Receiver operating characteristic curves were plotted to determine the areas under the curves (AUCs) and the cut-off induration diameters for the optimal diagnostic performance.
The reaction activity was significantly increased upon recombinant ESAT-6 injection in pulmonary TB patients compared with healthy subjects. In pulmonary TB patients, the reaction was dose-dependent, and at 48 h, 10 μg/mL recombinant ESAT-6 produced a reaction similar to that produced by PPD. The AUCs for a 10 μg/mL dosage were 0.9823, 0.9552, and 0.9266 for 24 h, 48 h, and 72 h, respectively, and the induration diameters of 4.5–5.5 mm were the optimal trade-off values between true positive rates and false positive rates. No serious adverse events occurred in any subjects.
Recombinant ESAT-6 protein is efficacious and safe for diagnosing pulmonary TB. Based on the reaction, performance, safety, and practicability, we recommend that 10 μg/mL at 48 h with an induration cut-off value of 5.0 mm be used.
pulmonary tuberculosis; recombinant ESAT-6 protein; skin testing; phase II trial
We investigated whole saliva as a source of biomarkers to distinguish individuals who have, and who have not, been chronically exposed to severe and threatening life difficulties. We evaluated RNA and DNA metrics, expression of 37 candidate genes, and cortisol release in response to the Trier Social Stress Test, as well as clinical characteristics, from 48 individuals stratified on chronic exposure to psychosocial stressors within the last year as measured by the Life Events and Difficulties Schedule. Candidate genes were selected based on their differential gene expression ratio in circulating monocytes from a published genome-wide analysis of adults experiencing different levels of exposure to a chronic stressor.
In univariate analyses, we observed significantly decreased RNA integrity (RIN) score (P = 0.04), and reduced expression of glucocorticoid receptor-regulated genes (Ps < 0.05) in whole saliva RNA from individuals exposed to chronic stressors, as compared to those with no exposure. In those exposed, we observed significantly decreased BMI (P < 0.001), increased ever-smoking and increased lifetime alcohol abuse or dependence (P ≤ 0.03), and a reduction of cortisol release. In post hoc multivariate analyses including clinical and biospecimen-derived variables, we consistently observed significantly decreased expression of IL8 (Ps < 0.05) in individuals exposed, with no significant association to RIN score. Alcohol use disorders, tobacco use, a reduced acute stress response and decreased salivary IL8 gene expression characterize emerging adults chronically exposed to severe and threatening psychosocial stressors.
Human; Saliva; Gene expression; IL8; qPCR
Recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is a promising therapeutic vaccine platform. Using a transgenic mouse model of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, we evaluated the therapeutic potential of a VSV vector expressing the HBV middle surface envelope glycoprotein (MS). VSV-MS immunization generated HBV-specific CD8 T cell and antibody responses in transgenic mice that express low HBV antigen levels. These findings support the further development of VSV as a therapeutic vaccine vector for chronic HBV.
Background and Purpose. The aim of this study is to determine the prognostic value of interim and final FDG-PET in major histotypes of B-cell NHL patients treated with rituximab containing-chemotherapy. Methods. We searched for articles published in English, limited to lymphoma, rituximab, and FDG-PET, and dedicated to deal with the impact on progression and survival. The log hazard ratios (HR) and their variances were estimated. Results. A PubMed and Scopus review of published trials identified 13 studies of Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) which were set as the main outcome measures. The combined HRs of I-PET for PFS and OS in DLBCL were 4.4 (P = 0.11) and 3.99 (P = 0.46), respectively. The combined HRs of F-PET for PFS and OS in DLBCL were 5.91 (P = 0.39) and 6.75 (P = 0.92), respectively. Regarding to non-DLBCL with F-PET, the combined HRs of F-PET for PFS and OS were 4.05 (P = 0.79) and 5.1 (P = 0.51), respectively. No publication bias existed. Conclusion. In DLBCL, both I-PET and F-PET can be performed for survival and progression analysis. But in other B-cell subtypes such as follicular lymphoma (FL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), it would be necessary to perform F-PET for predictive purposes.
To achieve an easily established, safe, and reproducible animal model for the study of heterotopic bone formation around vessels, a small animal series using New Zealand White rabbits was performed. Three different dosages of recombinant human bone morphogenic protein (rhBMP-2) carried by fibrin matrix were tested. A guided tissue regeneration (GTR) membrane sheet was formed into a tube and allowed to harden; it served both to maintain the space around the vessel bundle and to separate the fibrin matrix with rhBMP-2 from skeletal muscle. Wrapped around the femoral vessel bundle and fixed in place, the tube was filled with the fibrin matrix containing rhBMP-2. The surgical site was closed in layers, and the postoperative healing was uneventful. All animals resumed their full preoperative daily activities 3–4 days after the operation. No adverse events such as wound dehiscence or infection occurred, and all animals could be sacrified at the scheduled date. Micro–computed tomography and histological investigations showed heterotopic bone formation around the vessel bundle in the medium- and high-dosage rhBMP-2 groups. An easy, safe, and reproducible animal model that allows the study of heterotopic bone formation around vessels was successfully established.
biomaterials; growth factor; tissue engineering
High-voltage spindles (HVSs) have been reported to appear spontaneously and widely in the cortical–basal ganglia networks of rats. Our previous study showed that dopamine depletion can significantly increase the power and coherence of HVSs in the globus pallidus (GP) and motor cortex of freely moving rats. However, it is unclear whether dopamine regulates HVS activity by acting on dopamine D1-like receptors or D2-like receptors. We employed local-field potential and electrocorticogram methods to simultaneously record the oscillatory activities in the GP and primary motor cortex (M1) in freely moving rats following systemic administration of dopamine receptor antagonists or saline. The results showed that the dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists, raclopride and haloperidol, significantly increased the number and duration of HVSs, and the relative power associated with HVS activity in the GP and M1 cortex. Coherence values for HVS activity between the GP and M1 cortex area were also significantly increased by dopamine D2-like receptor antagonists. On the contrary, the selective dopamine D1-like receptor antagonist, SCH23390, had no significant effect on the number, duration, or relative power of HVSs, or HVS-related coherence between M1 and GP. In conclusion, dopamine D2-like receptors, but not D1-like receptors, were involved in HVS regulation. This supports the important role of dopamine D2-like receptors in the regulation of HVSs. An siRNA knock-down experiment on the striatum confirmed our conclusion.
Female pattern hair loss (FPHL) is the most common hair loss disorder in women and it may impact on the psychological and social activities of patients, thereby reducing their quality of life (QoL). Topical minoxidil has been shown to be effective and safe in the treatment of patients with FPHL. The aim of this study was to assess the QoL of patients with FPHL and investigate whether topical minoxidil solution treatment improves the QoL of these patients. In this study, we enrolled 125 female patients aged 16–72 years to answer visual analog scale (VAS) and dermatology life quality index (DLQI) questionnaires. Of these patients, 31 were recruited for the follow-up study after 12 months of treatment with 2% minoxidil. Each index and the change in QoL prior to and following treatment were statistically analyzed. There was identified to be a correlation between clinical severity and the values of the indices in all patients. There was a statistically significant difference between the VAS and DLQI scores prior to and following treatment with 2% minoxidil. A comparison between the good responders (n=23) and the poor responders (n=8) revealed no significant difference in the improvement of VAS and DLQI scores. The QoL of the patients was severely impaired by FPHL. The DLQI and VAS used in this study were validated as useful indices for the evaluation of QoL due to their high reliability, sensitivity and simplicity. This evaluation is recommended for the management of FPHL treatment. The results of the study demonstrated that topical minoxidil improved the QoL of the patients.
China; dermatology life quality index; visual analog scale
To investigate the ability of rESAT6 to identify different mycobacteria-sensitized guinea pigs and its safety in preclinical and phase I clinical study.
Guinea pigs were sensitized with different Mycobacteria. After sensitization, all animals were intradermally injected with rESAT6 and either PPD or PPD-B. At 24 h after the injection, the erythema of the injection sites were measured using a double-blind method. For the preclinical safety study, different doses of rESAT6 and BSA were given 3 times intramuscularly to guinea pigs. On day 14 after the final immunization, the guinea pigs were intravenously injected with the same reagents in the hind legs and the allergic reactions were observed. A single-center, randomized, open phase I clinical trial was employed. The skin test was conducted in 32 healthy volunteers aged 19–65 years with 0.1 μg, 0.5 μg, and 1 μg rESAT6. Physical examination and laboratory tests were performed before and after the skin test and adverse reactions were monitored. The volunteers’ local and systemic adverse reactions and adverse events were recorded for 7 days.
Positive PPD or PPD-B skin tests were observed in all Mycobacteria-sensitized guinea pigs; the diameters of erythema were all >10 mm. The rESAT6 protein induced a positive skin test result in the guinea pigs sensitized with MTB, M. bovis, M. africanum and M. kansasii; the diameters of erythema were 14.7±2.0, 9.3±3.8, 18.7±2.4, and 14.8±4.2 mm, respectively. A negative skin test result was detected in BCG-vaccinated and other NTM-sensitized guinea pigs. The rESAT6 caused no allergic symptoms, but many allergic reactions, such as cough, dyspnea, and even death, were observed in the guinea pigs who were administered BSA. During the phase I clinical trial, no adverse reactions were found in the 0.1 μg rESAT6 group, but in the 0.5 μg rESAT6 group 2 volunteers reported pain and 1 reported itching, and in the 1 μg rESAT6 group there was 1 case of pain, 1 case of itching, and 1 case of blister. No other local or systemic adverse reactions or events were reported.
The rESAT6 can differentiate effectively among MTB infection, BCG vaccination, and NTM infection and is safe in healthy volunteers.
phase I clinical trial; recombinant protein; skin test; latent M. tuberculosis infection
The technology of sensor, pervasive computing, and intelligent information processing is widely used in Body Sensor Networks (BSNs), which are a branch of wireless sensor networks (WSNs). BSNs are playing an increasingly important role in the fields of medical treatment, social welfare and sports, and are changing the way humans use computers. Existing surveys have placed emphasis on the concept and architecture of BSNs, signal acquisition, context-aware sensing, and system technology, while this paper will focus on sensor, data fusion, and network communication. And we will introduce the research status of BSNs, the analysis of hotspots, and future development trends, the discussion of major challenges and technical problems facing currently. The typical research projects and practical application of BSNs are introduced as well. BSNs are progressing along the direction of multi-technology integration and intelligence. Although there are still many problems, the future of BSNs is fundamentally promising, profoundly changing the human-machine relationships and improving the quality of people's lives.
body sensor network; sensor; data fusion; network communication; practical application of BSNs
Prospectively assess the performance of diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DW-MRI) for differentiation of central lung cancer from atelectasis.
Materials and Methods
38 consecutive lung cancer patients (26 males, 12 females; age range: 28–71 years; mean age: 49 years) who were referred for thoracic MR imaging examinations were enrolled. MR examinations were performed using a 1.5-T clinical scanner and scanning sequences of T1WI, T2WI, and DWI. Cancers and atelectasis were measured by mapping of the apparent diffusion coefficients (ADCs) obtained with a b-value of 500 s/mm2.
PET/CT and DW-MR allowed differentiation of tumor and atelectasis in all 38 cases, but T2WI did not allow differentiation in 9 cases. Comparison of conventional T2WI and DW-MRI indicated a higher contrast noise ratio of the central lung carcinoma than the atelectasis by DW-MRI. ADC maps indicated significantly lower mean ADC in the central lung carcinoma than in the atelectasis (1.83±0.58 vs. 2.90±0.26 mm2/s, p<0.0001). ADC values of small cell lung carcinoma were significantly greater than those from squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma (p<0.0001 for both).
DW-MR imaging provides valuable information not obtained by conventional MR and may be useful for differentiation of central lung carcinoma from atelectasis. Future developments may allow DW-MR imaging to be used as an alternative to PET-CT in imaging of patients with lung cancer.
Marine xylanases are rather less studied compared to terrestrial xylanases. In this study, a new xylanase gene, xynB, was cloned from the marine bacterium, Glaciecola mesophila KMM241, and expressed in Escherichia coli. xynB encodes a multi-domain xylanase XynB of glycoside hydrolase (GH) family 8. The recombinant XynB comprises an N-terminal domain (NTD) with unknown function and a catalytic domain, which is structurally novel among the characterized xylanases of GH family 8. XynB has the highest identity (38%) to rXyn8 among the characterized xylanases. The recombinant XynB showed maximal activity at pH 6–7 and 35 °C. It is thermolabile and salt-tolerant. XynB is an endo-xylanase that demands at least five sugar moieties for effective cleavage and to hydrolyze xylohexaose and xylopentaose into xylotetraose, xylotriose and xylobiose. NTD was expressed in Escherichia coli to analyze its function. The recombinant NTD exhibited a high binding ability to insoluble xylan and avicel and little binding ability to chitosan and chitin. Since the NTD shows no obvious homology to any known carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) sequence in public databases, XynB may contain a new type of CBM.
xylanase; XynB; cold-active; Glaciecola mesophila KMM241; carbohydrate-binding module
Allergic rhinitis (AR) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the nasal mucosa, involving a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Evidence suggests that polymorphisms in the gene coding for mitochondrial ribosomal protein L4 (MRPL4), located in close proximity to intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) gene on chromosome location 19p13.2, may influence the risk factor for the development of AR.
The aim of our study was to investigate any association between AR susceptibility and polymorphisms in ICAM-1 gene, as well as associations between AR risk and polymorphisms in MRPL4, nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) and tumor necrosis factor alpha(TNF-α) genes, associated with ICAM-1 expression.
A cohort of 414 patients with AR and 293 healthy controls was enrolled from the Han Chinese population in Beijing, China. Blood was drawn for DNA extraction and total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE). A total of 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ICAM-1, NF-κB, TNF-α, and MRPL4 genes were selected using the CHB genotyping data from the International Haplotype Mapping (HapMap) and assessed for differences in frequencies of the alleles and genotypes between the AR patients and control subjects.
TNF-α SNP rs1799964 and MRPL4 SNP rs11668618 were found to occur in significantly greater frequencies in the AR group compared to control group. There were no significant associations between SNPs in NF-κB, ICAM-1 and AR. The SNP-SNP interaction information analysis further indicated that there were no synergistic effects among the selected sets of polymorphisms.
Our results suggest a strong association between AR risk and polymorphisms of MRPL4 and TNF-α genes in Han Chinese population.
Recent studies suggest HIV-1 inter-subtype differences in co-receptor usage. We examined the correlation between HIV-1 subtype and co-receptor usage among treatment-naïve HIV-1 subjects in Singapore. Additionally, we investigated whether the subtype co-receptor association was influenced by stage of infection.
V3 sequences of HIV-1 envelope protein gp120 were obtained from 110 HIV treatment-naïve patients and genotypic co-receptor tropism determination was performed using Geno2pheno. Two false-positive rate (FPR) cut-offs, 10% and 5.75% were selected for tropism testing.
Subtype assignment of viral strains from 110 HIV-infected individuals based on partial sequencing of HIV-1 pol, gp120 and gp41 were as follows: 27 subtype B, 64 CRF01_AE, 10 CRF51_01B, and 9 other subtypes. At FPR=10%, 10 (100%) CRF51_01B-infected subjects and 26 (40.6%) CRF01_AE-infected subjects had CXCR4-using virus, compared to 7 (25.9%) subtype B subjects and 1 (11.1%) CRF33_01B-infected subject (P < 0.001). At FPR=5.75%, 10 (100%) CRF51_01B-infected subjects and 20 (31.3%) CRF01_AE-infected subjects had CXCR4-using virus, compared to 4 (14.8%) subtype B and 1 (11.1%) CRF33_01B-infected subjects (P < 0.001). Among those with evidence of seroconversion within 2 years prior to study enrolment, 100% of CRF51_01B-infected subjects had CXCR4-using virus, independent of Geno2pheno FPR.
CRF51_01B and CRF01_AE-infected individuals have higher prevalence of CXCR4-usage compared to subtype B infected individuals. Further studies examining these differences could help optimise the use of CCR5-antagonist in populations with these subtypes, and increase our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
CXCR4 usage; HIV-1; treatment-naïve
Loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) accounts for visual function deficits after optic nerve injury, but how axonal insults leading to neuronal death remains elusive. By using an optic nerve crush model which results in the death of the majority of RGCs, we demonstrate that axotomy induces differential activation of distinct pathways of the unfolded protein response (UPR) in axotomized RGCs. Optic nerve injury provokes a sustained CCAAT/enhancer binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) up-regulation, and deletion of CHOP promotes RGC survival. In contrast, IRE/XBP-1 is only transiently activated, and forced XBP-1 activation dramatically protects RGCs from axon injury-induced death. Importantly, such differential activations of CHOP and XBP-1 and their distinct effects on neuronal cell death are also observed in RGCs with other types of axonal insults, such as vincristine treatment and intraocular pressure (IOP) elevation, suggesting a new protective strategy for neurodegeneration associated with axonal damage.
Properties of the small group of cancer cells called tumor-initiating or cancer stem cells (CSCs) involved in drug resistance, metastasis and relapse of cancers can significantly affect tumor therapy. Importantly, tumor drug resistance seems to be closely related to many intrinsic or acquired properties of CSCs, such as quiescence, specific morphology, DNA repair ability and overexpression of antiapoptotic proteins, drug efflux transporters and detoxifying enzymes. The specific microenvironment (niche) and hypoxic stability provide additional protection against anticancer therapy for CSCs. Thus, CSC-focused therapy is destined to form the core of any effective anticancer strategy. Nanomedicine has great potential in the development of CSC-targeting drugs, controlled drug delivery and release, and the design of novel gene-specific drugs and diagnostic modalities. This review is focused on tumor drug resistance-related properties of CSCs and describes current nanomedicine approaches, which could form the basis of novel combination therapies for eliminating metastatic and CSCs.
cancer microenvironment; cancer stem cells; drug efflux transporters; drug resistance; nanomedicine
Pathologic studies play an important role in evaluating patients with Alport syndrome besides genotyping. Difficulties still exist in diagnosing Alport syndrome (AS), and misdiagnosis is a not-so-rare event, even in adult patient evaluated with renal biopsy.
We used nested case–control study to investigate 52 patients previously misdiagnosed and 52 patients initially diagnosed in the China Alport Syndrome Treatments and Outcomes Registry e-system.
We found mesangial proliferative glomerulonephritis (MsPGN, 26.9%) and focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS, 19.2%) were the most common misdiagnosis. FSGS was the most frequent misdiagnosis in female X-linked AS (fXLAS) patients (34.8%), and MsPGN in male X-linked AS (mXLAS) patients (41.2%). Previous misdiagnosed mXLAS patients (13/17, 76.5%) and autosomal recessive AS (ARAS) patients (8/12, 66.7%) were corrected after a second renal biopsy. While misdiagnosed fXLAS patients (18/23, 78.3%) were corrected after a family member diagnosed (34.8%) or after rechecking electronic microscopy and/or collagen-IV alpha-chains immunofluresence study (COL-IF) (43.5%) during follow-up. With COL-IF as an additional criterion for AS diagnosis, we found that patients with less than 3 criteria reached have increased risk of misdiagnosis (3.29-fold for all misdiagnosed AS patients and 3.90-fold for fXLAS patients).
We emphasize timely and careful study of electronic microscopy and COL-IF in pathologic evaluation of AS patients. With renal and/or skin COL-IF as additional criterion, 3 diagnosis criteria reached are the cutoff for diagnosing AS pathologically.
Alport syndrome; Diagnosis; Immunohistology; Renal biopsy
Neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) can affect cognitive function. We assessed cognitive function and cognitive impairment among community-dwelling elderly in a multi-ethnic urban low-SES Asian neighborhood and compared them with a higher-SES neighborhood.
The study population involved all residents aged ≥60 years in two housing estates comprising owner-occupied housing (higher SES) and rental flats (low SES) in Singapore in 2012. Cognitive impairment was defined as <24 on the Mini Mental State Examination. Demographic/clinical details were collected via questionnaire. Multilevel linear regression was used to evaluate factors associated with cognitive function, while multilevel logistic regression determined predictors of cognitive impairment.
Participation was 61.4% (558/909). Cognitive impairment was found in 26.2% (104/397) of residents in the low-SES community and in 16.1% (26/161) of residents in the higher-SES community. After adjusting for other sociodemographic variables, living in a low-SES community was independently associated with poorer cognitive function (β = −1.41, SD = 0.58, p < 0.01) and cognitive impairment (adjusted odds ratio 5.13, 95% CI 1.98–13.34). Among cognitively impaired elderly in the low-SES community, 96.2% (100/104) were newly detected.
Living in a low-SES community is independently associated with cognitive impairment in an urban Asian society.
Cognitive impairment; Socioeconomic status; Neighborhood; Asia
China is rich of germplasm resources of common wild rice (Oryza rufipogon Griff.) and Asian cultivated rice (O. sativa L.) which consists of two subspecies, indica and japonica. Previous studies have shown that China is one of the domestication centers of O. sativa. However, the geographic origin and the domestication times of O. sativa in China are still under debate. To settle these disputes, six chloroplast loci and four mitochondrial loci were selected to examine the relationships between 50 accessions of Asian cultivated rice and 119 accessions of common wild rice from China based on DNA sequence analysis in the present study. The results indicated that Southern China is the genetic diversity center of O. rufipogon and it might be the primary domestication region of O. sativa. Molecular dating suggested that the two subspecies had diverged 0.1 million years ago, much earlier than the beginning of rice domestication. Genetic differentiations and phylogeography analyses indicated that indica was domesticated from tropical O. rufipogon while japonica was domesticated from O. rufipogon which located in higher latitude. These results provided molecular evidences for the hypotheses of (i) Southern China is the origin center of O. sativa in China and (ii) the two subspecies of O. sativa were domesticated multiple times.
Despite advances in controlled drug delivery, reliable methods for activatable, high-resolution control of drug release are needed. We hypothesized that the photothermal effect mediated by a near-infrared (NIR) laser and hollow gold nanospheres (HAuNS) could modulate the release of anticancer agents. We tested this hypothesis by developing biodegradable and biocompatible microspheres (1~15 µm) containing the antitumor drug paclitaxel (PTX) and HAuNS (~35 nm in diameter) displaying surface plasmon absorbance in the near-infrared (NIR) region. HAuNS-containing microspheres exhibited an NIR light-induced thermal effect similar to that of plain HAuNS. Rapid, repetitive PTX release from the PTX/HAuNS-containing microspheres was observed when microspheres were irradiated with NIR light (808 nm), whereas PTX release became insignificant when NIR light was switched off. The release of PTX from the microspheres could be readily controlled by NIR laser output power, duration of laser irradiation, treatment frequency, and the concentration of HAuNS embedded inside the microspheres. In vitro, cancer cells incubated with PTX/HAuNS-loaded microspheres and irradiated with NIR light displayed significantly greater cytotoxic effects than cells incubated with the microspheres alone or cells irradiated with NIR light alone, owing to NIR light-triggered drug release. Treatment of human U87 gliomas and MDA-MB-231 mammary tumor xenografts in nude mice with intratumoral injection of PTX/HAuNS-loaded microspheres followed by NIR irradiation resulted in significant tumor growth delay compared to tumors treated with HAuNS-loaded microspheres (no PTX) and NIR irradiation or with PTX/HAuNS-loaded microspheres alone. Our data support the feasibility of a therapeutic approach in which NIR light is used for simultaneous modulation of drug release and induction of photothermal cell killing.
Near-infrared light; Photothermal effect; Hollow gold nanospheres; Microspheres; Paclitaxel; Triggered drug release
The plant-specific NAC (NAM, ATAF1/2, and CUC2) transcription factors (TFs) play important roles in plant growth, development, and stress responses. However, the precise role of NAC TFs in relation to fruit ripening is poorly understood. In this study, six NAC genes, designated MaNAC1–MaNAC6, were isolated and characterized from banana fruit. Subcellular localization showed that MaNAC1–MaNAC5 proteins localized preferentially to the nucleus, while MaNAC6 was distributed throughout the entire cell. A transactivation assay in yeast demonstrated that MaNAC4 and MaNAC6, as well as their C-terminal regions, possessed trans-activation activity. Gene expression profiles in fruit with four different ripening characteristics, including natural, ethylene-induced, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP)-delayed, and a combination of 1-MCP with ethylene treatment, revealed that the MaNAC genes were differentially expressed in peel and pulp during post-harvest ripening. MaNAC1 and MaNAC2 were apparently upregulated by ethylene in peel and pulp, consistent with the increase in ethylene production. In contrast, MaNAC3 in peel and pulp and MaNAC5 in peel were constitutively expressed, and transcripts of MaNAC4 in peel and pulp and MaNAC6 in peel decreased, while MaNAC5 or MaNAC6 in pulp increased slightly during fruit ripening. Furthermore, the MaNAC2 promoter was activated after ethylene application, further enhancing the involvement of MaNAC2 in fruit ripening. More importantly, yeast two-hybrid and bimolecular fluorescence complementation analyses confirmed that MaNAC1/2 physically interacted with a downstream component of ethylene signalling, ethylene insensitive 3 (EIN3)-like protein, termed MaEIL5, which was downregulated during ripening. Taken together, these results suggest that MaNACs such as MaNAC1/MaNAC2, may be involved in banana fruit ripening via interaction with ethylene signalling components.
banana; EIL; fruit ripening; interaction; NAC; regulation
Candida albicans biofilm infections are usually treated with azole antifungals such as fluconazole. However, the development of resistance to this drug in C. albicans biofilms is very common, especially in immunocompromised individuals. The upregulation of the sterol biosynthetic pathway gene ERG and the efflux pump genes CDR and MDR may contribute to this azole tolerance in Candida species. We hypothesize that farnesol, an endogenous quorum sensing molecule with possible antimicrobial properties which is also the precursor of ergosterols in C. albicans, may interfere with the development of fluconazole resistance in C. albicans biofilms. To test this hypothesis, MICs were compared and morphology changes were observed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) for farnesol-treated and -untreated and fluconazole-resistant groups. The expression of possible target genes (ERG11, ERG25, ERG6, ERG5, ERG3, ERG1, MDR1, CDR1, and CDR2) in biofilms was analyzed by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and quantitative PCR (qPCR) to investigate the molecular mechanisms of the inhibitory effects of farnesol. The results showed a decreased MIC of fluconazole and thinner biofilms for the farnesol-treated group, indicating that farnesol inhibited the development of fluconazole resistance. The sterol biosynthetic pathway may contribute to the inhibitory effects of farnesol, as the transcription levels of the ERG11, ERG25, ERG6, ERG3, and ERG1 genes decreased in the farnesol-treated group.