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  • Cytokine 12/2014; 70(2). DOI:10.1016/j.cyto.2014.05.028
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    ABSTRACT: Macrophages are one of the most abundant leucocytes in the intestinal mucosa where they are essential for maintaining homeostasis. However, they are also implicated in the pathogenesis of disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), offering potential targets for novel therapies. Here we discuss the function of intestinal monocytes and macrophages during homeostasis and describe how these populations and their functions change during infection and inflammation. Furthermore, we review the current evidence that the intestinal macrophage pool requires continual renewal from circulating blood monocytes, unlike most other tissue macrophages which appear to derive from primitive precursors that subsequently self-renew.
    Cellular Immunology 09/2014; 291(1-2). DOI:10.1016/j.cellimm.2014.03.012
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    ABSTRACT: Microbial contamination of used, unprocessed internal components of dental handpieces (HPs) was assessed. HPs were dismantled aseptically, immersed in phosphate-buffered saline, ultrasonicated, and cultured. A median of 200 CFU per turbine (n = 40), 400 CFU per spray channel (n = 40), and 1000 CFU per item of surgical gear (n = 20) was detected. Isolates included oral streptococci, Pseudomonas spp, and Staphylococcus aureus. Recovery of S aureus confirms the need for appropriate HP cleaning and sterilization after each patient to prevent cross-infection.
    American Journal of Infection Control 09/2014; 42(9):1019-21. DOI:10.1016/j.ajic.2014.06.008
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    ABSTRACT: Mononuclear phagocytes (MPs) in the murine intestine, comprising dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages (Mϕs), perform disparate yet complementary immunological functions. Functional analyses of these distinct MP subsets have been complicated by the substantial overlap in their surface phenotypes. Here, we review recent findings that have enabled more accurate definition of these MP subsets. We discuss these recent advances in the context of the current understanding of the functions of DCs and Mϕs in the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, and how their functions may alter when homeostasis is disrupted.
    Trends in Immunology 04/2014; 35(6). DOI:10.1016/j.it.2014.04.003
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    ABSTRACT: Molecular human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is an important and developing tool for cervical disease management. However there is a requirement to develop new HPV tests that can differentiate between clinically significant and benign, clinically insignificant infection. Evidence would indicate that clinically significant infection is linked to an abortive HPV replication cycle. In particular the later stages of the replication cycle (i.e., production of late messenger (m) RNAs and proteins) appear compromised. Compared to current DNA-based tests which indicate only presence or absence of virus, detecting virus mRNAs by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) may give a more refined insight into viral activity and by implication, clinical relevance. A novel quantitative (q)RT-PCR assay was developed for the detection of mRNAs produced late in the viral replication cycle. Initially this was validated on HPV-containing cell lines before being applied to a panel of 223 clinical cervical samples representing the cervical disease spectrum (normal to high grade). Samples were also tested by a commercial assay which detects expression of early HPV E6/E7 oncoprotein mRNAs. Late mRNAs were found in samples associated with no, low and high grade disease and did not risk-stratify HPV infection. The data reveal hidden complexities within the virus replication cycle and associated lesion development. This suggests that future mRNA tests for cervical disease may require quantitative detection of specific novel viral mRNAs. J. Med. Virol. 9999:1-7, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Medical Virology 04/2014; 86(4). DOI:10.1002/jmv.23793
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    ABSTRACT: Humans with autoimmune peripheral neuropathies frequently harbour serum antibodies to single glycosphingolipids, especially gangliosides. Recently it has been appreciated that glycolipid and lipid complexes, formed from two or more individual species, can interact to create molecular shapes capable of being recognised by these autoantibodies whilst not binding to the single individuals. As a result of this, novel autoantibody targets have been identified. This newly termed 'combinatorial glycomic' approach has provided the impetus to redesigning the assay methodologies traditionally used in the neuropathy-associated autoantibody field. Combinatorial glycoarrays can be readily constructed in house using lipids of interest. Herein we especially highlight the role of the neutral lipids cholesterol and galactocerebroside in modifying glycosphingolipid orientation that subsequently favours or inhibits autoantibody binding.
    Current opinion in chemical biology 02/2014; 18C(1):78-86. DOI:10.1016/j.cbpa.2014.01.008
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    ABSTRACT: Dengue viruses (DENV), a group of four serologically distinct but related flaviviruses, are responsible for one of the most important emerging viral diseases. This mosquito-borne disease has a great impact in tropical and subtropical areas of the world in terms of illness, mortality and economic costs, mainly due to the lack of approved vaccine or antiviral drugs. Infections with one of the four serotypes of DENV (DENV-1–4) result in symptoms ranging from an acute, self-limiting febrile illness, dengue fever, to severe dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. We reviewed the existing mouse models of infection, including the DENV-2-adapted strain P23085. The role of CC chemokines, interleukin-17 (IL-17), IL-22 and invariant natural killer T cells in mediating the exacerbation of disease in immune-competent mice is highlighted. Investigations in both immune-deficient and immune-competent mouse models of DENV infection may help to identify key host–pathogen factors and devise novel therapies to restrain the systemic and local inflammatory responses associated with severe DENV infection.
    Immunology 01/2014; 141(2):143–156. DOI:10.1111/imm.12188
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    ABSTRACT: Protein kinases mediate protein phosphorylation which is a fundamental component of cell signalling, with crucial roles in most signal transduction cascades; from controlling cell growth and proliferation, to the initiation and regulation of immunologic responses. Aberrant kinase activity is implicated in an increasing number of diseases, with over 400 human diseases now linked either directly or indirectly to protein kinases. Protein kinases are therefore regarded as highly important drug targets, and are the subject of intensive research activity. The success of small molecule kinase inhibitors in the treatment of cancer, coupled with a greater understanding of inflammatory signalling cascades has led to kinase inhibitors taking centre stage in the pursuit for new anti-inflammatory agents for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases. Herein we discuss the main classes of kinase inhibitors; namely janus kinase (JAK), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) inhibitors. We provide a mechanistic insight into how these inhibitors interfere with kinase signalling pathways and discuss the clinical successes and failures in the implementation of kinase-directed therapeutics in the context of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.
    Clinical & Experimental Immunology 12/2013; 176(1). DOI:10.1111/cei.12248
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    ABSTRACT: Cell transplantation is a promising strategy to promote CNS repair and has been studied for several decades with a focus on glial cells. Promising candidates include Schwann cells (SCs) and olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs). Both cell types are thought to be neural crest derived and share many properties in common, although OECs appear to be a better candidate for transplantation by evoking less astrogliosis. Using CNS mixed myelinating rat cultures plated on to a monolayer of astrocytes, we demonstrated that SCs, but not OECs, secrete a heat labile factor(s) that inhibits oligodendrocyte myelination. Comparative qRT-PCR and ELISA showed that SCs expressed higher levels of mRNA and protein for connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) than OECs. Anti-CTGF reversed the SCM-mediated effects on myelination. Both SCM and CTGF inhibited the differentiation of purified rat oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs). Furthermore, pretreatment of astrocyte monolayers with SCM inhibited CNS myelination and led to transcriptional changes in the astrocyte, corresponding to upregulation of bone morphogenic protein 4 mRNA and CTGF mRNA (inhibitors of OPC differentiation) and the downregulation of insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA (promoter of OPC differentiation). CTGF pretreatment of astrocytes increased their expression of CTGF, suggesting that this inhibitory factor can be positively regulated in astrocytes. These data provide evidence for the advantages of using OECs, and not mature SCs, for transplant-mediated repair and provide more evidence that they are a distinct and unique glial cell type.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 11/2013; 33(47):18686-18697. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3233-13.2013
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    ABSTRACT: Treat-to-target strategies have been widely adopted as the standard of care for the management of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The concept of 'tight control' is prevalent in other disciplines, particularly in diabetes and cardiovascular risk management. In these disciplines, evidence has accumulated that the utility of tight control strategies must be carefully weighed against the disutility that may arise from multiple interventions, particularly in patients at low risk. There is a lively debate in rheumatology circles about whether treatment should be targeted at achieving low disease activity, clinical remission or imaging remission. As rheumatologists we should learn the lessons from other disciplines, and ensure that we expand the evidence base to ensure our recommendations are securely underpinned by robust evidence.
    Annals of the rheumatic diseases 11/2013; 73(3). DOI:10.1136/annrheumdis-2013-204339
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