Robert House

University of Colorado Hospital, Denver, Colorado, United States

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Publications (5)12.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs), including alcohol abuse and dependence, have been linked to the development of acute lung injury (ALI). Prior clinical investigations suggested an association between AUDs and abnormal alveolar epithelial permeability mediated through pulmonary oxidative stress that may partially explain this relationship. We sought to determine if correcting pulmonary oxidative stress in the setting of AUDs would normalize alveolar epithelial permeability in a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of Protandim, a nutraceutical reported to enhance antioxidant activity. We randomized 30 otherwise healthy AUD subjects to receive directly observed inpatient oral therapy with either Protandim (1,350 mg/day) or placebo. Subjects underwent bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and blood sampling before study drug administration and after 7 days of therapy; all AUD subjects completed the study protocol without adverse events. BAL total protein was measured at each timepoint as an indicator of alveolar epithelial permeability. In subjects with AUDs, before study drug initiation, BAL total protein values were not significantly higher than in 11 concurrently enrolled controls (P = 0.07). Over the 7-day study period, AUD subjects did not exhibit a significant change in BAL total protein, regardless of their randomization to Protandim {n = 14, -2% [intraquartile range (IQR), -56-146%]} or to placebo [n = 16, 77% (IQR -20-290%); P = 0.19]. Additionally, among those with AUDs, no significant changes in BAL oxidative stress indexes, epithelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, interleukin-1β, or interleukin-10 were observed regardless of drug type received. Plasma thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, a marker of lipid peroxidation, decreased significantly over time among AUD subjects randomized to placebo (P < 0.01). These results suggest that Protandim for 7 days in individuals with AUDs who are newly abstinent does not alter alveolar epithelial permeability. However, our work demonstrates the feasibility of safely conducting clinical trials that include serial bronchoscopies in a vulnerable population at risk for acute lung injury.
    AJP Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology 01/2012; 302(7):L688-99. · 3.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Unhealthy alcohol use predisposes to multiple conditions that frequently result in critical illness and is present in up to one-third of patients admitted to a medical intensive care unit (ICU). We sought to determine the baseline readiness to change in medical ICU patients with unhealthy alcohol use and hypothesized that the severity of acute illness would be independently associated with higher scores on readiness to change scales. We further sought to determine whether this effect is modified by the severity of unhealthy alcohol use. We performed a cross-sectional observational study of current regular drinkers in 3 medical ICUs. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test was used to differentiate low-risk and unhealthy alcohol use and further categorize patients into risky alcohol use or an alcohol use disorder. The severity of a patient's acute illness was assessed by calculating the Acute Physiologic and Chronic Health Evaluation II (APACHE II) score at the time of admission to the medical ICU. Readiness to change was assessed using standardized questionnaires. Of 101 medical ICU patients who were enrolled, 65 met the criteria for unhealthy alcohol use. The association between the severity of acute illness and readiness to change depended on the instrument used. A higher severity of illness measured by APACHE II score was an independent predictor of readiness to change as assessed by the Stages of Change Readiness and Treatment Eagerness Scale (Taking Action scale; p < 0.01). When a visual analog scale was used to assess readiness to change, there was a significant association with severity of acute illness (p < 0.01) that was modified by the severity of unhealthy alcohol use (p = 0.04 for interaction term). Medical ICU patients represent a population where brief interventions require further study. Studies of brief intervention should account for the severity of acute illness and the severity of unhealthy alcohol use as potential effect modifiers.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 09/2011; 36(3):544-51. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are associated with an increased susceptibility to a variety of common and devastating pulmonary diseases including community- and hospital-acquired pneumonias, as well as the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Alveolar macrophages play an important role in preventing the development of these disorders through maintaining lung sterility and resolving lung inflammation. Although alcohol exposure has been associated with aberrant alveolar macrophage function in animal models, the clinical relevance of these observations in humans is not established. Therefore, we sought to determine the effects of AUDs on human alveolar macrophage gene expression. Whole genome microarray analysis was performed on alveolar macrophages obtained by bronchoalveolar lavage from a test cohort of subjects with AUDs (n = 7), and controls (n = 7) who were pair-matched on age, gender, and smoking. Probe set expression differences in this cohort were validated by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT RT-PCR). Functional analysis with web-based bioinformatics tools was utilized with microarray data to assess differentially expressed candidate genes (p < 0.01) based on alcohol consumption. Alveolar macrophage mRNA samples from a second cohort of subjects with AUDs (n = 7) and controls (n = 7) were used to confirm gene expression differences related to AUDs. In both the test and the confirmatory cohorts, AUDs were associated with upregulation of alveolar macrophage gene expression related to apoptosis, including perforin-1, granzyme A, and CXCR4 (fusin). Pathways governing the regulation of progression through cell cycle and immune response were also affected, as was upregulation of gene expression for mitochondrial superoxide dismutase. Overall, 12 genes' expression was affected by AUDs independent of smoking. Alcohol use disorders are associated with unique changes in human alveolar macrophage gene expression. Novel therapies targeting alveolar macrophage gene expression in the setting of AUDs may prove to be clinically useful in limiting susceptibility for pulmonary disorders in these individuals.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 02/2011; 35(2):284-94. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Severe mental disorders like schizophrenia are a leading cause of disability in people in the prime years of their lives (aged 15 to 44 years). Relapse is a primary contributor to schizophrenia disease burden and is frequently attributed to medication noncompliance and inadequate doses. Currently, a patient's neuroleptic dose is titrated to clinical response within recommended dose ranges. Use of unbiased biomarkers of effective neuroleptic treatment-response would greatly facilitate the identification of a person's lowest effective dose to minimize unsafe side effects and improve compliance. Biomarkers may allow precisely tailored adjustments of neuroleptic dose to reduce relapse due to variable disease course. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Biomarkers of active psychosis were sought among persons with schizophrenia hospitalized with acute psychosis. The transcriptional response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to treatment of psychosis was measured using RNA expression profiling in 12-paired samples from patients with schizophrenia. The paired samples were collected early after treatment initiation and again just before patients were released from the hospital. Patients showed significant improvement in positive symptoms of psychosis assessed at each sample collection using a brief psychiatric rating scale (BPRS) (P<0.05). Preliminary evidence is presented indicating that decreased transcript levels of isoforms of disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1) measured in PBMCs were associated with treatment in 91% of samples (P=0.037). CONCLUSION: Further studies are warranted to identify neuroleptic-response biomarkers and to replicate this initial finding of association of DISC1 transcript levels with treatment of psychosis.
    Translational biomedicine. 01/2011; 2(1).
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    ABSTRACT: Our overall objective was to examine whether characteristics of epithelial lining fluid (ELF) from subjects with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) obtained via bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) contribute to their predisposition to pneumococcal pneumonia. We sought to compare the anti-pneumococcal activity of acellular human BAL from subjects with AUDs to matched controls. Further, differences in BAL lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations between these two groups were examined to determine the effect of AUDs on these antimicrobial proteins. BAL was performed in subjects with AUDs and matched controls. Acellular BAL was used at varying concentrations in an in vitro killing assay of Streptococcus pneumoniae, type 2, and the percent kill of organisms per microgram per milliliter total BAL protein was ascertained. Lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were measured in BAL from subjects and controls at measured concentrations of BAL protein. AUD subjects (n = 15) and controls (n = 10) were enrolled in these investigations who were balanced in terms of smoking history. Using a mixed effect model, across the range of BAL protein concentrations, killing of pneumococcus tended to be less potent with BAL fluid from AUD subjects. Additionally, lysozyme activity and lactoferrin concentrations were significantly lower in the AUD group. The predisposition for pneumococcal pneumonia among those with AUDs may be in part mediated through effects of alcohol on substances within ELF that include antimicrobial proteins. Clarifying the composition and activity of ELF antimicrobial proteins in the setting of AUDs via investigations with human BAL fluid can help establish their contribution to the susceptibility for pulmonary infections in these individuals.
    Alcohol and Alcoholism 01/2010; 45(5):414-21. · 1.96 Impact Factor