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    ABSTRACT: The discovery of the antiplatelet effect of low-dose aspirin led to the hugely successful strategy of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Increasing the dose of aspirin beyond 75-100 mg has never been shown to offer additional efficacy in ACS patients but could possibly increase the risk of bleeding. In the Platelet Inhibition and Patients Outcome (PLATO) study, higher doses of aspirin appeared to neutralise the additional benefit of the potent P2Y12 inhibitor ticagrelor compared to clopidogrel (Circulation 124: 544-554, 2011). However, higher doses of aspirin have not been shown to have an adverse interaction with the potent P2Y12 inhibition provided by prasugrel and double-dose clopidogrel (Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 2013, in press; N Engl J Med 363: 930-942, 2010). This potentially suggests that the mechanism for this interaction is not related to the inhibition of platelet P2Y12 receptors or could simply be a chance finding.
    Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research 12/2013; 7(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Cell- and tissue-based therapies are innovative strategies to repair and regenerate injured hearts. Despite major advances achieved in optimising these strategies in terms of cell source and delivery method, the clinical outcome of cell-based therapy remains unsatisfactory. The non-genetic approach of ischemic/hypoxic preconditioning to enhance cell- and tissue-based therapies has received much attention in recent years due to its non-invasive drug-free application. Here we discuss the current development of hypoxic/ischemic preconditioning to enhance stem cell-based cardiac repair and regeneration.
    Pharmacology [?] Therapeutics 12/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract In the PLATelet inhibition and patient Outcomes (PLATO) study of patients with acute coronary syndromes, ticagrelor reduced mortality compared to clopidogrel but the mechanisms for this mortality reduction remain uncertain. We analysed adverse events (AEs) consistent with either pulmonary infection or sepsis, and subsequent mortality, in 18,421 PLATO patients treated with ticagrelor or clopidogrel. AEs occurring within 7 days of last dose of study medication were defined as "on-treatment". Serial measurements of blood leukocyte counts, C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 were performed. Fewer on-treatment pulmonary AEs occurred in the ticagrelor compared to the clopidogrel group (275 vs. 331 respectively; p = 0.019), with fewer deaths following these AEs (33 vs. 71; p < 0.001), particularly in those who remained on study medication three days after AE onset (10 vs. 43; p < 0.001). There were fewer deaths attributed to sepsis in the ticagrelor group (7 vs. 23; p = 0.003). Leukocyte counts were lower in the clopidogrel group during treatment (p < 0.0001 at 1, 3 and 6 months) but not at 1 month post-discontinuation. C-reactive protein increased more at discharge in the ticagrelor group (28.0 ± 38.0 vs. 26.1 ± 36.6 mg/l; p < 0.001) and interleukin-6 remained higher during the first month of treatment with ticagrelor. We conclude that the mortality risk following pulmonary AEs and sepsis in acute coronary syndrome patients appears to be lower during ticagrelor compared to clopidogrel therapy. Further work should assess whether ticagrelor and clopidogrel have differential effects on immune signalling.
    Platelets 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Analysis of the cardiovascular system represents a classical problem in which the solid and fluid phases interact intimately, and so is a rich field of application for state-of-the-art fluid-solid interaction (FSI) analyses. In this paper, we focus on the human aorta. Solution of the full FSI problem requires knowledge of the material properties of the wall and information on vessel support. We show that variation of distensibility along the aorta can be obtained from four-dimensional image data using image registration. If pressure data at one point in the vessel are available, these can be converted to absolute values. Alternatively, values of pulse wave velocity along the vessel can be obtained. The quality of the extracted data is improved by the incorporation into the registration of a regularisation term based on the one-dimensional wave equation. The method has been validated using simulated data. For idealised vessels, the accuracy with which the distensibility and wave velocity can be extracted is high (1%-2%). The method is applied to six clinical datasets from patients with mild coarctation, for which it is shown that wave velocity along the aorta is relatively constant. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    International journal for numerical methods in biomedical engineering. 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Dual antiplatelet therapy consisting of clopidogrel in addition to aspirin has previously been the standard of care for patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) but international guidelines have been evolving over the last 4 years with the introduction of prasugrel and ticagrelor. In October 2009, prasugrel was approved in the UK by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for use in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), diabetic patients with non-ST-elevation (NSTE) ACS undergoing PCI and patients with stent thrombosis while other ACS patients were to continue receiving clopidogrel. Ticagrelor was approved in October 2011 by NICE for use in patients with moderate-to-high risk NSTE ACS and STEMI undergoing primary PCI and was recommended in preference to clopidogrel in European guidelines. These recommendations were adopted in our region, constituting a population of 1.8 million. We studied the effect of changing patterns of P2Y12 inhibitor usage on levels of platelet inhibition during maintenance therapy. Patients admitted to Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, with NSTE ACS or STEMI managed with primary PCI were enrolled over two periods of time: May 2010 to November 2011 (T1); and October 2012 to February 2013 (T2). Venous blood samples were obtained at 1 month after the onset of ACS. Light transmittance aggregometry (LTA) was performed and maximum aggregation response to ADP 20 μM was determined. A total of 116 patients were enrolled in T1 of whom 82 were receiving clopidogrel and 34 were receiving prasugrel. Twenty-nine patients were enrolled in T2, all of whom were receiving ticagrelor. Mean LTA results according to treatment with clopidogrel, prasugrel and ticagrelor were 57 ± 18%, 41 ± 20%, and 31 ± 12%, respectively. Prasugrel was associated with significantly lower platelet aggregation responses than clopidogrel (p < 0.001) and ticagrelor was associated with significantly lower platelet aggregation responses than both prasugrel (p = 0.015) and clopidogrel (p < 0.001). We conclude that international guidelines and NICE approval have led to increasing levels of P2Y12 inhibition in ACS patients in this UK centre between May 2010 and February 2013. Ticagrelor was associated with significantly greater P2Y12 inhibition than both clopidogrel and prasugrel during maintenance therapy.
    Platelets 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We analysed candidate platelet function disorder genes in 13 index cases with a history of excessive bleeding in association with a significant reduction in dense granule secretion and impaired aggregation to a panel of platelet agonists. Five of the index cases also had mild thrombocytopenia. Heterozygous alterations in FLI1 and RUNX1, encoding Friend Leukemia Integration-1 and RUNT-related transcription factor 1, respectively, which have a fundamental role in megakaryocytopoeisis, were identified in 6 cases, 4 of whom had mild thrombocytopenia. Two FLI1 alterations predicting p.Arg337Trp and p.Tyr343Cys substitutions in the FLI1 DNA binding domain abolished transcriptional activity of FLI1. A 4 bp deletion in FLI1, and 2 splicing alterations and a nonsense variation in RUNX1, which were predicted to cause haploinsufficiency of either FLI1 or RUNX1, were also identified. Our findings suggest that alterations in FLI1 and RUNX1 may be common in patients with platelet dense granule secretion defects and mild thrombocytopenia.
    Blood 10/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Microvascular inflammation occurs during sepsis and the endogenous opioid-like peptide nociceptin/orphanin FQ (N/OFQ) is known to regulate inflammation. This study aimed to determine the inflammatory role of N/OFQ and its receptor NOP (ORL1) within the microcirculation, along with anti-inflammatory effects of the NOP antagonist UFP-101 (University of Ferrara Peptide-101) in an animal model of sepsis (endotoxemia). Male Wistar rats (220 to 300 g) were administered lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 24 h (-24 h, 1 mg kg(-1); -2 h, 1 mg kg(-1) i.v., tail vein). They were then either anesthetised for observation of the mesenteric microcirculation using fluorescent in vivo microscopy, or isolated arterioles (~200 µm) were studied in vitro with pressure myography. 200 nM kg(-1) fluorescently labelled N/OFQ (FITC-N/OFQ, i.a., mesenteric artery) bound to specific sites on the microvascular endothelium in vivo, indicating sparse distribution of NOP receptors. In vitro, arterioles (~200 µm) dilated to intraluminal N/OFQ (10(-5)M) (32.6 + 8.4%) and this response was exaggerated with LPS (62.0 +7.9%, p=0.031). In vivo, LPS induced macromolecular leak of FITC-BSA (0.02 g kg(-1) i.v.) (LPS: 95.3 (86.7 to 97.9)%, p=0.043) from post-capillary venules (<40 µm) and increased leukocyte rolling as endotoxemia progressed (p=0.027), both being reduced by 150 nmol kg(-1) UFP-101 (i.v., jugular vein). Firstly, the rat mesenteric microcirculation expresses NOP receptors and secondly, NOP function (ability to induce dilation) is enhanced with LPS. UFP-101 also reduced microvascular inflammation to endotoxemia in vivo. Hence inhibition of the microvascular N/OFQ-NOP pathway may have therapeutic potential during sepsis and warrants further investigation.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e74943.
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a powerful pro-inflammatory cytokine and immuno-regulatory molecule, and modulates susceptibility to musculoskeletal diseases. Several meta-analyses and replicated association studies have implicated the minor 'A' variant within the TNF promoter single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs361525 (-238A/G) as a risk allele in joint related disorders, including psoriatic and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and osteolysis after joint arthroplasty. Here we characterized the effect of this variant on TNF promoter function. A transcriptional reporter, encoding the -238A variant of the TNF promoter, resulted in 2.2 to 2.8 times greater transcriptional activation versus the 'G' variant in murine macrophages when stimulated with pro-inflammatory stimuli. Bioinformatic analysis predicted a putative binding site for thyroid hormone receptor (TR) for the -238A but not the -238G allele. Overexpression of TR-α induced promoter expression 1.8-fold in the presence of the 'A' allele only. TR-α expression both potentiated and sensitized the -238A response to LPS or a titanium particulate stimulus, whilst siRNA knockdown of either THRA or THRB impaired transcriptional activation for the -238A variant only. This effect was independent of receptor-ligand binding of triiodothyronine. Immunohistochemical analysis of osteolysis interface membranes from patients undergoing revision surgery confirmed expression of TR-α within osteoclast nuclei at the resorption surface. The 'A' allele at rs361525 confers increased transcriptional activation of the TNF promoter and influences susceptibility to several arthritic conditions. This effect is modulated, at least in part, by binding of TR, which both sensitizes and potentiates transcriptional activation of the 'A' variant independent of its endogenous ligand.
    PLoS ONE 09/2013; 8(9):e76034.
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    ABSTRACT: We have developed a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-compatible system to enable gating of a scanner to the heartbeat of a foetus for cardiac, umbilical cord flow and other possible imaging applications. We performed radiofrequency safety testing prior to a fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) gated imaging study in pregnant volunteers (n = 3). A compact monitoring device with advanced software capable of reliably detecting both the maternal electrocardiogram (mECG) and fECG simultaneously was modified by the manufacturer (Monica Healthcare, Nottingham, UK) to provide an external TTL trigger signal from the detected fECG which could be used to trigger a standard 1.5 T MR (GE Healthcare, Milwaukee, WI, USA) gating system with suitable attenuation. The MR scanner was tested by triggering rapidly during image acquisition at a typical fetal heart rate (123 beats per minute) using a simulated fECG waveform fed into the gating system. Gated MR images were also acquired from volunteers who were attending for a repeat fetal Central Nervous System (CNS) examination using an additional rapid cardiac imaging sequence triggered from the measured fECG. No adverse safety effects were encountered. This is the first time fECG gating has been used with MRI and opens up a range of new possibilities to study a developing foetus.
    Sensors 09/2013; 13(9):11271-9.
    This article is viewable in ResearchGate's enriched format
  • Blood 07/2013; 122(4):471-3.
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