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  • Annals of Emergency Medicine 08/2014; 64(2):214. DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2014.03.029
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    ABSTRACT: Receptor-type protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) have been implicated as direct or indirect regulators of neurotrophin receptors (Trks). It remains less clear if and how such RPTPs might regulate Trk proteins in vivo during development. Here we present a comparative expression profile of RPTP genes and Trk genes during early stages of murine, dorsal root ganglion maturation. We find little if any specific, temporal mRNA co-regulation between individual RPTP and Ntrk genes between E12.5-E14.5. Moreover, a double fluorescent in-situ hybridization and immunofluorescence study of seven Rptp genes with Ntrks revealed widespread co-expression of RPTPs in individual neurons, but no tight correlation with Trk expression profiles. No Rptp is expressed in 100% of Ntrk1-expressing neurons, whereas at least 6 RPTPs are expressed in 100% of Ntrk2- and Ntrk3-expressing neurons. An exception is Ptpro, which showed very selective expression. Short hairpin RNA suppression of Ptprf, Ptprs or Ptpro in primary, E13.5 DRG neurons did not alter Trk signaling. We therefore propose that Trk signaling may not be simply dependent on rate-limiting regulation by individual RPTP subtypes during sensory neuron development. Instead, Trk signaling has the potential to be buffered by concurrent inputs from several RPTPs in individual neurons.
    International journal of developmental neuroscience: the official journal of the International Society for Developmental Neuroscience 05/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2014.01.005
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    ABSTRACT: Attending postmortems enables students to learn anatomy and pathology within a clinical context, provides insights into effects of treatment and introduces the reality that patients die. Rates of clinical autopsies have declined and medical schools have cut obligatory autopsy sessions from their curricula making it difficult to assess medical student perceptions of, and attitudes towards, the educational value of autopsy. Our aim was to investigate these perceptions by designing a brief qualitative study comprising nominal technique and focus group discussions with Cambridge Graduate Course students, all of whom had attended autopsies. Three general themes emerged from the focus group discussions: the value of autopsy as a teaching tool and ways the experience could be improved, the initial impact of the mortuary and the autopsy itself, and the "emerging patient"-an emotional continuum running from cadaver to autopsy subject and living patient. Educational benefits of autopsy-based teaching included greater understanding of anatomy and physiology, greater appreciation of the role of other health care professionals and an enhanced appreciation of psycho-social aspects of medical practice. Students suggested improvements for ameliorating the difficult emotional consequences of attendance. We conclude that autopsy-based teaching represents a low-cost teaching technique which is highly valued by students and has application to many diverse medical specialties and skills. However, careful preparation and organization of sessions is required to maximize potential educational benefits and reduce any negative emotional impact. Anat Sci Educ. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.
    Anatomical Sciences Education 03/2014; 7(2). DOI:10.1002/ase.1384
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    ABSTRACT: Low-to-moderate levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) govern different steps of neurogenesis via molecular pathways that have been decrypted only partially. Although it has been postulated that redox-sensitive molecules are involved in neuronal differentiation, the molecular bases for this process have not been elucidated yet. The aim of this work was therefore to study the role played by the redox-sensitive, multifunctional protein APE1/Ref-1 (APE1) in the differentiation process of human adipose tissue-derived multipotent adult stem cells (hAT-MASC) and embryonic carcinoma stem cells (EC) towards a neuronal phenotype. Applying a definite protocol, hAT-MASC can adopt a neural fate. During this maturation process, differentiating cells significantly increase their intracellular Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) levels and increase the APE1 nuclear fraction bound to chromatin. This latter event is paralleled by the increase of nuclear NF-κB, a transcription factor regulated by APE1 in a redox-dependent fashion. Importantly, the addition of the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) to the differentiation medium partially prevents the nuclear accumulation of APE1, increasing the neuronal differentiation of hAT-MASC. To investigate the involvement of APE1 in the differentiation process, we employed E3330, a specific inhibitor of the APE1 redox function. The addition of E3330, either to the neurogenic embryonic carcinoma cell line NT2-D1or to hAT-MASC, increases the differentiation of stem cells towards a neural phenotype, biasing the differentiation towards specific subtypes, such as dopaminergic cells. In conclusion, during the differentiation process of stem cells towards a neuroectodermic phenotype, APE1 is recruited, in a ROS-dependent manner, to the chromatin. This event is associated with an inhibitory effect of APE1 on neurogenesis that may be reversed by E3330. Therefore, E3330 may be employed both to boost neural differentiation and to bias the differentiation potential of stem cells towards specific neuronal subtypes. These findings provide a molecular basis for the redox-mediated hypothesis of neuronal differentiation program.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e89232. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0089232
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to remember faces is critical for the development of social competence. From childhood to adulthood, we acquire a high level of expertise in the recognition of facial images, and neural processes become dedicated to sustaining competence. Many people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have poor face recognition memory; changes in hairstyle or other non-facial features in an otherwise familiar person affect their recollection skills. The observation implies that they may not use the configuration of the inner face to achieve memory competence, but bolster performance in other ways. We aimed to test this hypothesis by comparing the performance of a group of high-functioning unmedicated adolescents with ASD and a matched control group on a "surprise" face recognition memory task. We compared their memory for unfamiliar faces with their memory for images of houses. To evaluate the role that is played by peripheral cues in assisting recognition memory, we cropped both sets of pictures, retaining only the most salient central features. ASD adolescents had poorer recognition memory for faces than typical controls, but their recognition memory for houses was unimpaired. Cropping images of faces did not disproportionately influence their recall accuracy, relative to controls. House recognition skills (cropped and uncropped) were similar in both groups. In the ASD group only, performance on both sets of task was closely correlated, implying that memory for faces and other complex pictorial stimuli is achieved by domain-general (non-dedicated) cognitive mechanisms. Adolescents with ASD apparently do not use domain-specialized processing of inner facial cues to support face recognition memory. Autism Res 2013, ●●: ●●-●●. © 2013 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Autism Research 12/2013; 6(6). DOI:10.1002/aur.1318
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    ABSTRACT: Duchenne muscular Dystrophy (DMD) is an inherited disease caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene that disrupt the open reading frame, while in frame mutations result in Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD). Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy (UCMD) is due to mutations affecting collagen VI genes. Specific muscle miRNAs (dystromirs) are potential non-invasive biomarkers for monitoring the outcome of therapeutic interventions and disease progression. We quantified miR-1, miR-133a,b, miR-206 and miR-31 in serum from patients with DMD, BMD, UCMD and healthy controls. MiR-1, miR-133a,b and miR-206 were upregulated in DMD, but unchanged in UCMD compared to controls. Milder DMD patients had higher levels of dystromirs than more severely affected patients. Patients with low forced vital capacity (FVC) values, indicating respiratory muscle weakness, had low levels of serum miR-1 and miR-133b. There was no significant difference in the level of the dystromirs in BMD compared to controls. We also assessed the effect of dystrophin restoration on the expression of the five dystromirs in serum of DMD patients treated systemically for 12 weeks with antisense oligomer eteplirsen that induces skipping of exon 51 in the dystrophin gene. The dystromirs were also analysed in muscle biopsies of DMD patients included in a single dose intramuscular eteplirsen clinical trial. Our analysis detected a trend towards normalization of these miRNA between the pre- and post-treatment samples of the systemic trial, which however failed to reach statistical significance. This could possibly be due to the small number of patients and the short duration of these clinical trials. Although longer term studies are needed to clarify the relationship between dystrophin restoration following therapeutic intervention and the level of circulating miRNAs, our results indicate that miR-1 and miR-133 can be considered as exploratory biomarkers for monitoring the progression of muscle weakness and indirectly the remaining muscle mass in DMD.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80263. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0080263
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    ABSTRACT: The European Network for Cancer Research in Children and Adolescents consortium organized a workshop in Rome, in June 2012, on "Biology-Driven Drug Development Renal Tumors Workshop" to discuss the current knowledge in pediatric renal cancers and to recommend directions for further research. Wilms tumor is the most common renal tumor of childhood and represents a success of pediatric oncology, with cure rates of more than 85% of cases. However, a substantial minority (∼25%) responds poorly to current therapies and requires "high-risk" treatment or relapse. Moreover, the successfully treated majority are vulnerable to the late effects of treatment, with nearly one quarter reporting severe chronic health conditions by 25 years of follow-up. Main purposes of this meeting were to advance our understanding on the molecular drivers in Wilms tumor, their heterogeneity and interdependencies; to provide updates on the clinical-pathologic associations with biomarkers; to identify eligible populations for targeted drugs; and to model opportunities to use preclinical model systems and prioritize targeted agents for early phase clinical trials. At least three different pathways are involved in Wilms tumor; this review represents the outcome of the workshop discussion on the WNT/β-catenin pathway in Wilms tumorigenesis. Mol Cancer Ther; 12(12); 1-9. ©2013 AACR.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2013; 12(12). DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-0335
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    ABSTRACT: Associations of cortisol and depression vary at different life-stages, yet population-based, prospective studies are scarce. We aimed to assess associations of morning cortisol with depressive symptoms in mid-life taking account of lifetime psychological health. Participants were 5,403 men and women from the 1958 British Birth Cohort whose salivary cortisol was assessed at 45y (45min after waking (T1) and 3h later (T2)) and who completed the 5-item Mental-Health Index (MHI-5) about depressive symptoms at age 50y. Lifetime psychological health was identified from child and adult measures. For women, higher T2 cortisol at 45y predicted depression (MHI-5 scores ≤52) at 50y (odds ratio [OR]=1.17; 95% confidence intervals [CI] 1.05,1.30 per standard deviation increase in T2 cortisol), attenuating when adjusted for current (45y) and previous (7-42y) psychological health (OR=1.11; 95% CI 0.98, 1.24). Similarly, an association in women of flatter cortisol delta (T2-T1) with depressive symptoms at 50y weakened after adjustment for current (45y) and previous (7-42y) psychological health. For men, lower T2 cortisol at 45y predicted greater depressive symptoms at 50y and the association strengthened when adjusted for lifetime psychological health. Likewise, lower cortisol AUC predicted higher risk of depression for men after adjusting for prior psychological health (OR=0.85; CI 0.72, 1.00). Associations were largely unaltered by control for covariates. In women, higher cortisol in late morning at 45y is prospectively associated with depressive symptoms at 50y through a link with lifetime psychological health. In men, lower cortisol predicts subsequent symptoms, independent of depressive history.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e77603. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0077603
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    ABSTRACT: The size and composition of the T lymphocyte compartment is subject to strict homeostatic regulation and is remarkably stable throughout life in spite of variable dynamics in cell production and death during T cell development and immune responses. Homeostasis is achieved by careful orchestration of lymphocyte survival and cell division. New T cells are generated from the thymus and the number of peripheral T cells is regulated by controlling survival and proliferation. How these processes combine is however very complex. Thymic output increases in the first year of life and then decreases but is crucial for establishing repertoire diversity. Proliferation of new naive T cells plays a crucial role for maintaining numbers but at a potential cost to TCR repertoire diversity. A mechanistic two-compartment model of T cell homeostasis is described here that includes specific terms for thymic output, cell proliferation, and cell death of both resting and dividing cells. The model successfully predicts the homeostatic set point for T cells in adults and identifies variables that determine the total number of T cells. It also accurately predicts T cell numbers in children in early life despite rapid changes in thymic output and growth over this period.
    Frontiers in Immunology 11/2013; 4:366. DOI:10.3389/fimmu.2013.00366
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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE In Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), the reading frame of an out-of-frame DMD deletion can be repaired by antisense oligonucleotide (AO)-mediated exon skipping. This creates a shorter dystrophin protein, similar to those expressed in the milder Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD). The skipping of some exons may be more efficacious than others. Patients with exon 44 or 45 skippable deletions (AOs in clinical development) have a less predictable phenotype than those skippable for exon 51, a group in advanced clinical trials. A way to predict the potential of AOs is the study of patients with BMD who have deletions that naturally mimic those that would be achieved by exon skipping. OBJECTIVE To quantify dystrophin messenger RNA (mRNA) and protein expression in patients with DMD deletions treatable by, or mimicking, exon 44 or 45 skipping. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Retrospective study of nondystrophic controls (n = 2), patients with DMD (n = 5), patients with intermediate muscular dystrophy (n = 3), and patients with BMD (n = 13) at 4 university-based academic centers and pediatric hospitals. Biochemical analysis of existing muscle biopsies was correlated with the severity of the skeletal muscle phenotype. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Dystrophin mRNA and protein expression. RESULTS Patients with DMD who have out-of-frame deletions skippable for exon 44 or 45 had an elevated number of revertant and trace dystrophin expression (approximately 19% of control, using quantitative immunohistochemistry) with 4 of 9 patients presenting with an intermediate muscular dystrophy phenotype (3 patients) or a BMD-like phenotype (1 patient). Corresponding in-frame deletions presented with predominantly mild BMD phenotypes and lower dystrophin levels (approximately 42% of control) than patients with BMD modeling exon 51 skipping (approximately 80% of control). All 12 patients with in-frame deletions had a stable transcript compared with 2 of 9 patients with out-of-frame deletions (who had intermediate muscular dystrophy and BMD phenotypes). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Exon 44 or 45 skipping will likely yield lower levels of dystrophin than exon 51 skipping, although the resulting protein is functional enough to often maintain a mild BMD phenotype. Dystrophin transcript stability is an important indicator of dystrophin expression, and transcript instability in DMD compared with BMD should be explored as a potential biomarker of response to AOs. This study is beneficial for the planning, execution, and analysis of clinical trials for exon 44 and 45 skipping.
    11/2013; 71(1). DOI:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.4908
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