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1.  Periodontal Disease: A Covert Source of Inflammation in Chronic Kidney Disease Patients 
The prevalence of atherosclerotic complications (myocardial infarction, stroke, and sudden death) is increased in end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, especially in haemodialysis patients. Increasing evidence suggests that both in general population and in dialysis patients, systemic inflammation plays a dominant role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerotic complications. In general population, also, evidence shows that moderate to severe periodontitis can contribute to inflammatory burden by increasing serum CRP levels and may increase the prevalence of atherosclerotic events. Moreover, the results of some new interventional studies reveal that effective phase I periodontal therapy may decrease serum CRP levels, the most important acute phase protein, monitored as a systemic marker of inflammation and endothelial dysfunction as well, used as an initial predictor of atherosclerotic events. Considering that moderate to severe periodontal diseases have a higher prevalence in CKD and in dialysis population and that periodontal examination is not part of the standard medical assessment, destructive periodontitis might be an ignored source of systemic inflammation in end-stage renal disease patients and may add to the chronic inflammatory status in CKD.
doi:10.1155/2013/515796
PMCID: PMC3690231  PMID: 23840952
2.  Antidiabetic Properties of Germinated Brown Rice: A Systematic Review 
Diet is an important variable in the course of type 2 diabetes, which has generated interest in dietary options like germinated brown rice (GBR) for effective management of the disease among rice-consuming populations. In vitro data and animal experiments show that GBR has potentials as a functional diet for managing this disease, and short-term clinical studies indicate encouraging results. Mechanisms for antidiabetic effects of GBR due to bioactive compounds like γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), γ-oryzanol, dietary fibre, phenolics, vitamins, acylated steryl β-glucoside, and minerals include antihyperglycemia, low insulin index, antioxidative effect, antithrombosis, antihypertensive effect, hypocholesterolemia, and neuroprotective effects. The evidence so far suggests that there may be enormous benefits for diabetics in rice-consuming populations if white rice is replaced with GBR. However, long-term clinical studies are still needed to verify these findings on antidiabetic effects of GBR. Thus, we present a review on the antidiabetic properties of GBR from relevant preclinical and clinical studies, in order to provide detailed information on this subject for researchers to review the potential of GBR in combating this disease.
doi:10.1155/2012/816501
PMCID: PMC3529503  PMID: 23304216
3.  A new biological marker candidate in female reproductive system diseases: Matrix metalloproteinase with thrombospondin motifs (ADAMTS) 
Playing a key role in the pathophysiology of many diseases, A Disintegrin-like and Metalloproteinase with Thrombospondin type-1 motif (ADAMTS) proteinases have been attracted more attention in obstetrics and gynecology. First discovered in 1997, this zinc-dependent proteinase family has 19 members today. These enzymes, which are located in the extracellular matrix (ECM), have a lot of very important functions, like matrix formation and resorption, angiogenesis, ovulation, and coagulation. In addition, in the pathogenesis of cancer, inflammation, arthritis, and connective tissue diseases, ADAMTS proteinases have crucial roles. The purpose of this review is to collect previous studies about obstetrics and gynecology that are related to ADAMTS enzymes and discuss the subject in many aspects to give an idea to the investigators who are interested in the subject.
doi:10.5152/jtgga.2014.14206
PMCID: PMC4285216  PMID: 25584036
ADAMTS; reproductive diseases; biological marker
4.  Limbal stem cells: Central concepts of corneal epithelial homeostasis 
World Journal of Stem Cells  2014;6(4):391-403.
A strong cohort of evidence exists that supports the localisation of corneal stem cells at the limbus. The distinguishing characteristics of limbal cells as stem cells include slow cycling properties, high proliferative potential when required, clonogenicity, absence of differentiation marker expression coupled with positive expression of progenitor markers, multipotency, centripetal migration, requirement for a distinct niche environment and the ability of transplanted limbal cells to regenerate the entire corneal epithelium. The existence of limbal stem cells supports the prevailing theory of corneal homeostasis, known as the XYZ hypothesis where X represents proliferation and stratification of limbal basal cells, Y centripetal migration of basal cells and Z desquamation of superficial cells. To maintain the mass of cornea, the sum of X and Y must equal Z and very elegant cell tracking experiments provide strong evidence in support of this theory. However, several recent studies have suggested the existence of oligopotent stem cells capable of corneal maintenance outside of the limbus. This review presents a summary of data which led to the current concepts of corneal epithelial homeostasis and discusses areas of controversy surrounding the existence of a secondary stem cell reservoir on the corneal surface
doi:10.4252/wjsc.v6.i4.391
PMCID: PMC4172668  PMID: 25258661
Limbal stem cell; Corneal epithelium; XYZ hypothesis; Corneal homeostasis; Corneal wound repair
5.  The Effects of Herbs and Fruits on Leukaemia 
In developing countries, herbal therapy is the first and basis form of treatment for most types of diseases. About 75–80% of the world's population prefers herbal therapy as a major treatment due to its better adequacy and satisfactoriness, which enhance human body's symmetry with minimal side effects. Fruits and plants have been presented from the past as promising tools in becoming a natural anticancer agents. Many of these plant extracts are currently used in cancer therapy and prevention. This review paper will particularly explore and emphasize on herbs and fruits used in the treatment of the leukaemia.
doi:10.1155/2014/494136
PMCID: PMC4163312  PMID: 25250054
6.  Molecular Mechanisms of Diabetic Retinopathy, General Preventive Strategies, and Novel Therapeutic Targets 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:801269.
The growing number of people with diabetes worldwide suggests that diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME) will continue to be sight threatening factors. The pathogenesis of diabetic retinopathy is a widespread cause of visual impairment in the world and a range of hyperglycemia-linked pathways have been implicated in the initiation and progression of this condition. Despite understanding the polyol pathway flux, activation of protein kinase C (KPC) isoforms, increased hexosamine pathway flux, and increased advanced glycation end-product (AGE) formation, pathogenic mechanisms underlying diabetes induced vision loss are not fully understood. The purpose of this paper is to review molecular mechanisms that regulate cell survival and apoptosis of retinal cells and discuss new and exciting therapeutic targets with comparison to the old and inefficient preventive strategies. This review highlights the recent advancements in understanding hyperglycemia-induced biochemical and molecular alterations, systemic metabolic factors, and aberrant activation of signaling cascades that ultimately lead to activation of a number of transcription factors causing functional and structural damage to retinal cells. It also reviews the established interventions and emerging molecular targets to avert diabetic retinopathy and its associated risk factors.
doi:10.1155/2014/801269
PMCID: PMC4106080  PMID: 25105142
7.  New orally active anticoagulant agents for the prevention and treatment of venous thromboembolism in cancer patients 
Patients with cancer have a 6–7-fold higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) as compared with non-cancer patients. Effective and safe anticoagulation for the prevention and treatment of VTE is the cornerstone of the management of patients with cancer, aiming to decrease morbidity and mortality and to improve quality of life. Unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparins, fondaparinux and vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are used in the prevention and treatment of VTE in cancer patients. Heparins and fondaparinux are administered subcutaneously. VKAs are orally active, but they have a narrow therapeutic window, numerous food and drug interactions, and treatment requires regular laboratory monitoring and dose adjustment. These limitations among others have important negative impact on the quality of life of patients and decrease adherence to the treatment. New orally active anticoagulant (NOAC) agents are specific inhibitors of activated factor Xa (FXa) (rivaroxaban and apixaban) or thrombin (dabigatran). It is expected that NOACs will improve antithrombotic treatment. Cancer patients are a particular group that could benefit from treatment with NOACs. However, NOACs present some significant interactions with drugs frequently used in cancer patients, which might influence their pharmacokinetics, compromising their efficacy and safety. In the present review, we analyzed the available data from the subgroups of patients with active cancer who were included in Phase III clinical trials that assessed the efficacy and safety of NOACs in the prevention and treatment of VTE. The data from the Phase III trials in prophylaxis of VTE by rivaroxaban or apixaban highlight that these two agents, although belonging to the same pharmacological group (direct inhibitors of factor Xa), have substantially different profiles of efficacy and safety, especially in hospitalized acutely ill medical patients with active cancer. A limited number of patients with VTE and active cancer were included in the Phase III trials (EINSTEIN, AMPLIFY, and RE-COVER) which evaluated the efficacy and safety of NOACs in the acute phase and secondary prevention of VTE. Although, from a conceptual point of view, NOACs could be an attractive alternative for the treatment of VTE in cancer patients, the available data do not support this option. In addition, due to the elimination of the NOACs by the liver and renal pathway as well as because of their pharmacological interactions with drugs which are frequently used in cancer patients, an eventual use of these drugs in cancer patients should be extremely cautious and be restricted only to patients presenting with contraindications for low molecular weight heparins, fondaparinux, or VKAs. The analysis of the available data presented in this review reinforces the request for the design of new Phase III clinical trials for the assessment of the efficacy and safety of NOACs in specific populations of patients with cancer.
doi:10.2147/TCRM.S49063
PMCID: PMC4063799  PMID: 24966680
rivaroxaban; apixaban; dabigatran; antithrombotic treatment
8.  Cancer cell sensing and therapy using affinity tag-conjugated gold nanorods 
Interface Focus  2013;3(3):20130006.
Through the developments in controlling the shape of gold nanoparticles, synthesis of gold nanorods (AuNRs) can be considered as a milestone discovery in the area of nanomaterial-based cancer treatments. Besides having tuneable absorption maxima at near infrared (NIR) range, AuNRs have superior absorption cross section at NIR frequencies compared with other gold nanoparticles. When this unique optical property is combined with the specificity against cancer cells used by affinity tag conjugations, AuNRs become one of the most important nanoparticles used in both cancer cell sensing and in therapy. In this review, the impact of size and shape control of nanoparticles, especially AuNRs, on cancer cell treatments and a range of aptamer-conjugated AuNR applications in this regard are reviewed.
doi:10.1098/rsfs.2013.0006
PMCID: PMC3638421  PMID: 24427543
gold nanorods; surface plasmon resonance; photothermal therapy; aptamer; near infrared; photoacoustic imaging
9.  Significance of Chromosome 9p Status in Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Quality of the Reported Studies 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:521380.
Defining the prognosis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) using genetic tests is an evolving area. The prognostic significance of 9p status in RCC, although described in the literature, remains underutilised in clinical practice. The study explored the causes of this translational gap. A systematic review on the significance of 9p status in RCC was performed to assess its clinical applicability and impact on clinical decision-making. Medline, Embase, and other electronic searches were made for studies reporting on 9p status in RCC. We collected data on: genetic techniques, pathological parameters, clinical outcomes, and completeness of follow-up assessment. Eleven studies reporting on 1,431 patients using different genetic techniques were included. The most commonly used genetic technique for the assessment of 9p status in RCC was fluorescence in situ hybridization. Combined genomic hybridisation (CGH), microsatellite analysis, karyotyping, and sequencing were other reported techniques. Various thresholds and cut-off values were used for the diagnosis of 9p deletion in different studies. Standardization, interobserver agreement, and consensus on the interpretation of test remained poor. The studies lacked validation and had high risk of bias and poor clinical applicability as assessed by two independent reviewers using a modified quality assessment tool. Further protocol driven studies with standardised methodology including use of appropriate positive and negative controls, assessment of interobserver variations, and evidenced based follow-up protocols are needed to clarify the role of 9p status in predicting oncological outcomes in renal cell cancer.
doi:10.1155/2014/521380
PMCID: PMC4022119  PMID: 24877109
10.  Cardiovascular Complications of Sleep Apnea: Role of Oxidative Stress 
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs in 2% of middle-aged women and 4% of middle-aged men with a higher prevalence among obese subjects. This condition is considered as an independent risk factor for cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases. One of the major pathophysiological characteristics of OSA is intermittent hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to oxidative stress and overproduction of reactive oxygen species, which can lead to endothelial dysfunction, a hallmark of atherosclerosis. Many animal models, such as the rodent model of intermittent hypoxia, mimic obstructive sleep apnea in human patients and allow more in-depth investigation of biological and cellular mechanisms of this condition. This review discusses the role of oxidative stress in cardiovascular disease resulting from OSA in humans and animal models.
doi:10.1155/2014/985258
PMCID: PMC3964889  PMID: 24734153
11.  Nanoscale drug delivery systems and the blood–brain barrier 
The protective properties of the blood–brain barrier (BBB) are conferred by the intricate architecture of its endothelium coupled with multiple specific transport systems expressed on the surface of endothelial cells (ECs) in the brain’s vasculature. When the stringent control of the BBB is disrupted, such as following EC damage, substances that are safe for peripheral tissues but toxic to neurons have easier access to the central nervous system (CNS). As a consequence, CNS disorders, including degenerative diseases, can occur independently of an individual’s age. Although the BBB is crucial in regulating the biochemical environment that is essential for maintaining neuronal integrity, it limits drug delivery to the CNS. This makes it difficult to deliver beneficial drugs across the BBB while preventing the passage of potential neurotoxins. Available options include transport of drugs across the ECs through traversing occludins and claudins in the tight junctions or by attaching drugs to one of the existing transport systems. Either way, access must specifically allow only the passage of a particular drug. In general, the BBB allows small molecules to enter the CNS; however, most drugs with the potential to treat neurological disorders other than infections have large structures. Several mechanisms, such as modifications of the built-in pumping-out system of drugs and utilization of nanocarriers and liposomes, are among the drug-delivery systems that have been tested; however, each has its limitations and constraints. This review comprehensively discusses the functional morphology of the BBB and the challenges that must be overcome by drug-delivery systems and elaborates on the potential targets, mechanisms, and formulations to improve drug delivery to the CNS.
doi:10.2147/IJN.S52236
PMCID: PMC3926460  PMID: 24550672
apoE; blood–brain barrier; CNS; drug targeting; liposomes; nanoparticles
12.  The living aortic valve: From molecules to function 
The aortic valve lies in a unique hemodynamic environment, one characterized by a range of stresses (shear stress, bending forces, loading forces and strain) that vary in intensity and direction throughout the cardiac cycle. Yet, despite its changing environment, the aortic valve opens and closes over 100,000 times a day and, in the majority of human beings, will function normally over a lifespan of 70–90 years. Until relatively recently heart valves were considered passive structures that play no active role in the functioning of a valve, or in the maintenance of its integrity and durability. However, through clinical experience and basic research the aortic valve can now be characterized as a living, dynamic organ with the capacity to adapt to its complex mechanical and biomechanical environment through active and passive communication between its constituent parts. The clinical relevance of a living valve substitute in patients requiring aortic valve replacement has been confirmed. This highlights the importance of using tissue engineering to develop heart valve substitutes containing living cells which have the ability to assume the complex functioning of the native valve.
doi:10.5339/gcsp.2014.11
PMCID: PMC4104380  PMID: 25054122
Cells; endothelium; nerves; developmental biology; mechanobiology; nanostructure aortic stenosis; calcification
13.  Exercise Induced Adipokine Changes and the Metabolic Syndrome 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2014;2014:726861.
The lack of adequate physical activity and obesity created a worldwide pandemic. Obesity is characterized by the deposition of adipose tissue in various parts of the body; it is now evident that adipose tissue also acts as an endocrine organ capable of secreting many cytokines that are though to be involved in the pathophysiology of obesity, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Adipokines, or adipose tissue-derived proteins, play a pivotal role in this scenario. Increased secretion of proinflammatory adipokines leads to a chronic inflammatory state that is accompanied by insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Lifestyle change in terms of increased physical activity and exercise is the best nonpharmacological treatment for obesity since these can reduce insulin resistance, counteract the inflammatory state, and improve the lipid profile. There is growing evidence that exercise exerts its beneficial effects partly through alterations in the adipokine profile; that is, exercise increases secretion of anti-inflammatory adipokines and reduces proinflammatory cytokines. In this paper we briefly describe the pathophysiologic role of four important adipokines (adiponectin, leptin, TNF-α, and IL-6) in the metabolic syndrome and review some of the clinical trials that monitored these adipokines as a clinical outcome before and after exercise.
doi:10.1155/2014/726861
PMCID: PMC3915640  PMID: 24563869
14.  Type I Interferons: Key Players in Normal Skin and Select Cutaneous Malignancies 
Interferons (IFNs) are a family of naturally existing glycoproteins known for their antiviral activity and their ability to influence the behavior of normal and transformed cell types. Type I Interferons include IFN-α and IFN-β. Currently, IFN-α has numerous approved antitumor applications, including malignant melanoma, in which IFN-α has been shown to increase relapse free survival. Moreover, IFN-α has been successfully used in the intralesional treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). In spite of these promising clinical results; however, there exists a paucity of knowledge on the precise anti-tumor action of IFN-α/β at the cellular and molecular levels in cutaneous malignancies such as SCC, BCC, and melanoma. This review summarizes current knowledge on the extent to which Type I IFN influences proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and immune function in normal skin, cutaneous SCC, BCC, and melanoma.
doi:10.1155/2014/847545
PMCID: PMC3913103  PMID: 24516470
15.  Bio-Mimic Optimization Strategies in Wireless Sensor Networks: A Survey 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2013;14(1):299-345.
For the past 20 years, many authors have focused their investigations on wireless sensor networks. Various issues related to wireless sensor networks such as energy minimization (optimization), compression schemes, self-organizing network algorithms, routing protocols, quality of service management, security, energy harvesting, etc., have been extensively explored. The three most important issues among these are energy efficiency, quality of service and security management. To get the best possible results in one or more of these issues in wireless sensor networks optimization is necessary. Furthermore, in number of applications (e.g., body area sensor networks, vehicular ad hoc networks) these issues might conflict and require a trade-off amongst them. Due to the high energy consumption and data processing requirements, the use of classical algorithms has historically been disregarded. In this context contemporary researchers started using bio-mimetic strategy-based optimization techniques in the field of wireless sensor networks. These techniques are diverse and involve many different optimization algorithms. As far as we know, most existing works tend to focus only on optimization of one specific issue of the three mentioned above. It is high time that these individual efforts are put into perspective and a more holistic view is taken. In this paper we take a step in that direction by presenting a survey of the literature in the area of wireless sensor network optimization concentrating especially on the three most widely used bio-mimetic algorithms, namely, particle swarm optimization, ant colony optimization and genetic algorithm. In addition, to stimulate new research and development interests in this field, open research issues, challenges and future research directions are highlighted.
doi:10.3390/s140100299
PMCID: PMC3926559  PMID: 24368702
wireless sensor networks; optimization; bio-mimetic algorithms; particle swarm optimization; ant colony optimization; genetic algorithm
16.  Quantitative Ultrasound: Measurement Considerations for the Assessment of Muscular Dystrophy and Sarcopenia 
doi:10.3389/fnagi.2014.00172
PMCID: PMC4094839  PMID: 25071570
ultrasound; muscular dystrophy; sarcopenia; screening; assessment; skeletal muscle
17.  Classical Signs and Appearances in Pediatric Neuroradiology: A Pictorial Review 
Polish Journal of Radiology  2014;79:479-489.
Summary
Radiological practice includes classification of illnesses with similar characteristics through recognizable signs. In this report, twenty-eight important and frequently seen neuroradiological signs in childhood are presented and described using X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance (MR) images, illustrations and photographs.
doi:10.12659/PJR.891107
PMCID: PMC4274733  PMID: 25538798
Brain Diseases, Metabolic; Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine; Multidetector Computed Tomography; Nervous System Malformations
18.  Immune-Mediated Vascular Injury and Dysfunction in Transplant Arteriosclerosis 
Solid organ transplantation is the only treatment for end-stage organ failure but this life-saving procedure is limited by immune-mediated rejection of most grafts. Blood vessels within transplanted organs are targeted by the immune system and the resultant vascular damage is a main contributor to acute and chronic graft failure. The vasculature is a unique tissue with specific immunological properties. This review discusses the interactions of the immune system with blood vessels in transplanted organs and how these interactions lead to the development of transplant arteriosclerosis, a leading cause of heart transplant failure.
doi:10.3389/fimmu.2014.00684
PMCID: PMC4290675  PMID: 25628623
organ transplantation; transplant arteriosclerosis; blood vessels; endothelium; T cell; antibodies
19.  Ancient Alexandria and the dawn of medical science 
Global Cardiology Science & Practice  2013;2013(4):395-404.
doi:10.5339/gcsp.2013.47
PMCID: PMC3991212  PMID: 24749113
20.  Automated Bone Age Assessment: Motivation, Taxonomies, and Challenges 
Bone age assessment (BAA) of unknown people is one of the most important topics in clinical procedure for evaluation of biological maturity of children. BAA is performed usually by comparing an X-ray of left hand wrist with an atlas of known sample bones. Recently, BAA has gained remarkable ground from academia and medicine. Manual methods of BAA are time-consuming and prone to observer variability. This is a motivation for developing automated methods of BAA. However, there is considerable research on the automated assessment, much of which are still in the experimental stage. This survey provides taxonomy of automated BAA approaches and discusses the challenges. Finally, we present suggestions for future research.
doi:10.1155/2013/391626
PMCID: PMC3876824  PMID: 24454534
21.  Prevalence of Vitamin A Deficiency in South Asia: Causes, Outcomes, and Possible Remedies 
Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) has been recognized as a public-health issue in developing countries. Economic constraints, sociocultural limitations, insufficient dietary intake, and poor absorption leading to depleted vitamin A stores in the body have been regarded as potential determinants of the prevalence of VAD in South Asian developing countries. VAD is exacerbated by lack of education, poor sanitation, absence of new legislation and enforcement of existing food laws, and week monitoring and surveillance system. Several recent estimates confirmed higher morbidly and mortality rate among children and pregnant and non-pregnant women of childbearing age. Xerophthalmia is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness with its earliest manifestations as night blindness and Bitot's spots, followed by blinding keratomalacia, all of which are the ocular manifestations of VAD. Children need additional vitamin A because they do not consume enough in their normal diet. There are three general ways for improving vitamin A status: supplementation, fortification, and dietary diversification. These approaches have not solved the problem in South Asian countries to the desired extent because of poor governmental support and supervision of vitamin A supplementation twice a year. An extensive review of the extant literature was carried out, and the data under various sections were identified by using a computerized bibliographic search via PubMed, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. All abstracts and full-text articles were examined, and the most relevant articles were selected for screening and inclusion in this review. Conclusively, high prevalence of VAD in South Asian developing countries leads to increased morbidity and mortality among infants, children, and pregnant women. Therefore, stern efforts are needed to address this issue of public-health significance at local and international level in lower- and middle-income countries of South Asia.
PMCID: PMC3905635  PMID: 24592582
Blindness; Infections; Malnutrition; Vitamin A; South Asia
22.  Potential Roles of Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni in Abrogating Insulin Resistance and Diabetes: A Review 
Insulin resistance is a key factor in metabolic disorders like hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, which are promoted by obesity and may later lead to Type II diabetes mellitus. In recent years, researchers have identified links between insulin resistance and many noncommunicable illnesses other than diabetes. Hence, studying insulin resistance is of particular importance in unravelling the pathways employed by such diseases. In this review, mechanisms involving free fatty acids, adipocytokines such as TNFα and PPARγ and serine kinases like JNK and IKKβ, asserted to be responsible in the development of insulin resistance, will be discussed. Suggested mechanisms for actions in normal and disrupted states were also visualised in several manually constructed diagrams to capture an overall view of the insulin-signalling pathway and its related components. The underlying constituents of medicinal significance found in the Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni plant (among other plants that potentiate antihyperglycemic activities) were explored in further depth. Understanding these factors and their mechanisms may be essential for comprehending the progression of insulin resistance towards the development of diabetes mellitus.
doi:10.1155/2013/718049
PMCID: PMC3845826  PMID: 24324517
23.  A Review of Microsatellite Markers and Their Applications in Rice Breeding Programs to Improve Blast Disease Resistance 
Over the last few decades, the use of molecular markers has played an increasing role in rice breeding and genetics. Of the different types of molecular markers, microsatellites have been utilized most extensively, because they can be readily amplified by PCR and the large amount of allelic variation at each locus. Microsatellites are also known as simple sequence repeats (SSR), and they are typically composed of 1–6 nucleotide repeats. These markers are abundant, distributed throughout the genome and are highly polymorphic compared with other genetic markers, as well as being species-specific and co-dominant. For these reasons, they have become increasingly important genetic markers in rice breeding programs. The evolution of new biotypes of pests and diseases as well as the pressures of climate change pose serious challenges to rice breeders, who would like to increase rice production by introducing resistance to multiple biotic and abiotic stresses. Recent advances in rice genomics have now made it possible to identify and map a number of genes through linkage to existing DNA markers. Among the more noteworthy examples of genes that have been tightly linked to molecular markers in rice are those that confer resistance or tolerance to blast. Therefore, in combination with conventional breeding approaches, marker-assisted selection (MAS) can be used to monitor the presence or lack of these genes in breeding populations. For example, marker-assisted backcross breeding has been used to integrate important genes with significant biological effects into a number of commonly grown rice varieties. The use of cost-effective, finely mapped microsatellite markers and MAS strategies should provide opportunities for breeders to develop high-yield, blast resistance rice cultivars. The aim of this review is to summarize the current knowledge concerning the linkage of microsatellite markers to rice blast resistance genes, as well as to explore the use of MAS in rice breeding programs aimed at improving blast resistance in this species. We also discuss the various advantages, disadvantages and uses of microsatellite markers relative to other molecular marker types.
doi:10.3390/ijms141122499
PMCID: PMC3856076  PMID: 24240810
simple sequence repeats; marker development and application; blast resistance; marker assisted selection; rice breeding
24.  Early intervention in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: focus on tocilizumab 
Tocilizumab is a fully humanized monoclonal antibody against interleukin-6 receptors that was approved for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Several lines of evidence, obtained both from conventional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors, have supported the concept of “window of opportunity” as showing that these therapies consistently work better in early disease as compared to established RA. This review addresses the question of whether a window of opportunity gained with conventional DMARDs and TNF inhibitors can also be achieved with tocilizumab. To this end, data regarding the use of tocilizumab in early RA patients are summarized. Currently available data suggest that the earlier the treatment with tocilizumab, the better the clinical outcome can be, which may have implications for various aspects of RA treatment strategies.
doi:10.2147/TCRM.S35784
PMCID: PMC3810895  PMID: 24179334
rheumatoid arthritis; tocilizumab; early intervention
25.  Renal trauma imaging: Diagnosis and management. A pictorial review 
Polish Journal of Radiology  2013;78(4):27-35.
Summary
Background
The purpose of this review is to illustrate and discuss the spectrum of imaging findings, particularly computed tomography (CT), of blunt and penetrating renal trauma, based on our own materials, according to the American Association for Surgery of Trauma (AAST) renal injury grading scale. The article also indicates the conditions in which interventional radiology procedures can be applied for the management of renal trauma.
Material/Method
Cases for this pictorial review were selected from the imaging material collected at the Radiology Department of Hamad Medical Corporation during a 14-year period from 1999 to 2012. The material includes 176 cases (164 males and 12 females) with confirmed blunt or penetrating renal trauma. Following abdominal trauma, all patients had a CT examination performed on admission to the hospital and/or during hospitalization. The most representative and illustrative cases of renal trauma were reviewed according to CT findings and were categorized according to the AAST grading system.
Discusion
The review describes a spectrum of imaging presentations with special emphasis on the 5 grades of renal injury on a CT according to the AAST scale.
The most representative cases were illustrated and discussed with indications of possible interventional radiology treatment. Two groups of patients not included in the AAST grading system were presented separately: those with preexisting renal abnormalities and those with sustained iatrogenic renal injury.
Conclusions
Proper application of renal trauma grading scale is essential for selecting the patients for conservative treatment, surgery or interventional radiology procedure.
doi:10.12659/PJR.889780
PMCID: PMC3908505  PMID: 24505221
kidney; injury; trauma; computed tomography; ultrasound; embolization

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