Mellisa Theodore

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States

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Publications (8)29.86 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) are a promising platform for sensing in vivo biomarkers due to their biocompatibility, stability, and their ability to carry a wide range of active ingredients. The skin is a prominent target organ for numerous inflammatory and stress-related biomarkers, making it an excellent site for early detection of physiological imbalance and application of sensory nanoparticles. Though smaller particle size has generally been correlated with increased penetration of skin models, there has been little attention paid to the significance of other nanoparticle synthesis parameters with respect to their physical properties. In this study, we demonstrate the synthesis of sub-10 nm SLNs by the phase inversion temperature (PIT) method. These particles were specifically designed for topical delivery of hydrogen peroxide-detecting chemiluminescent dyes. A systematic design of experiments approach was used to investigate the role of the processing variables on SLN form and properties. The processing variables were correlated with the SLN properties (e.g., dye solubility, phase inversion temperature, particle size, polydispersity, melting point, and latent heat of melting). Statistical analysis revealed that the PIT method, while allowing total control over the thermal properties, resulted in well-controlled synthesis of ultra-small particles, while allowing great flexibility in the processing conditions and incorporated compounds.
    Journal of Nanoparticle Research 02/2014; 16(2). DOI:10.1007/s11051-014-2252-2 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract One primary challenge in nanotoxicology studies is the lack of well-characterised nanoparticle reference materials which could be used as positive or negative nanoparticle controls. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has developed three gold nanoparticle (AuNP) reference materials (10, 30 and 60 nm). The genotoxicity of these nanoparticles was tested using HepG2 cells and calf-thymus DNA. DNA damage was assessed based on the specific and sensitive measurement of four oxidatively-modified DNA lesions (8-hydroxy-2´-deoxyguanosine, 8-hydroxy-2´-deoxyadenosine, (5´S)-8,5´-cyclo-2´-deoxyadenosine and (5´R)-8,5´-cyclo-2´-deoxyadenosine) using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Significantly elevated, dose-dependent DNA damage was not detected at concentrations up to 0.2 μg/ml, and free radicals were not detected using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy. These data suggest that the NIST AuNPs could potentially serve as suitable negative-control nanoparticle reference materials for in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity studies. NIST AuNPs thus hold substantial promise for improving the reproducibility and reliability of nanoparticle genotoxicity studies.
    Nanotoxicology 11/2011; 7(1). DOI:10.3109/17435390.2011.626537 · 7.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The activity of mitochondrial complex I of the electron transport chain (ETC) is known to be affected by an extraordinarily large number of diverse xenobiotics, and dysfunction at complex I has been associated with a variety of disparate human diseases, including those with potentially environmentally relevant etiologies. However, the risks associated with mixtures of complex I inhibitors have not been fully explored, and this warrants further examination of potentially greater than additive effects that could lead to toxicity. A potential complication for the prediction of mixture effects arises because mammalian mitochondrial complex I has been shown to exist in two distinct dynamic conformations based upon substrate availability. In this study, we tested the accepted models of additivity as applied to mixtures of rotenone, deguelin, and pyridaben, with and without substrate limitation. These compounds represent both natural and synthetic inhibitors of complex I of the ETC, and experimental evidence to date indicates that these inhibitors share a common binding domain with partially overlapping binding sites. Therefore, we hypothesized that prediction of their mixtures effects would follow dose addition. Using human hepatocytes, we analyzed the effects of these mixtures at doses between 0.001 and 100 μM on overall cellular viability. Analysis of the dose-response curves resulting from challenge with all possible binary and ternary mixtures revealed that the appropriate model was not clear. All of the mixtures tested were found to be in agreement with response addition, but only rotenone plus deguelin and the ternary mixture followed dose addition. To determine if conformational regulation via substrate limitation could improve model selection and our predictions, we tested the models of additivity for the binary and ternary mixtures of inhibitors when coexposed with 2-deoxy-d-glucose (2-DG), which limits NADH via upstream inhibition of glycolysis. Coexposure of inhibitors with 2-DG did facilitate model selection: Rotenone plus pyridaben and the ternary mixture were in sole agreement with dose addition, while deguelin plus pyridaben was in sole agreement with response addition. The only ambiguous result was the agreement of both models with the mixture of rotenone plus deguelin with 2-DG, which may be explained by deguelin's well-known affinity for protein kinase B (Akt) in addition to complex I. Thus, our findings indicate that predictive models for mixtures of mitochondrial complex I inhibitors appear to be compound specific, and our research highlights the need to control for dynamic conformational changes to improve our mechanistic understanding of additivity with these inhibitors.
    Chemical Research in Toxicology 08/2011; 24(8):1242-50. DOI:10.1021/tx200098r · 4.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Traditionally, culture and immunoassays have been performed for the detection of sexually transmitted diseases, including Chlamydia trachomatis. However, these assays may often require invasive specimen collection methods, such as female cervical and male urethral swabs. Recently, nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) have been approved for testing for the presence of C. trachomatis in urine samples. Our objective was to compare the sensitivities and specificities of C. trachomatis detection in urine samples with three NAATs: the Abbott LCx (LCx), BD ProbeTec ET (ProbeTec), and Gen-Probe APTIMA Combo 2 (AC2). Urine specimens (n = 506) were collected from both symptomatic and asymptomatic males and females from various high school health clinics. Specimens were tested for C. trachomatis with the three NAATs, and a true-positive result was defined as any two positive NAATs. The C. trachomatis prevalence was 14.8% (75 of 506 samples). Of the 75 urine samples defined as true positives, LCx detected 72, ProbeTec 72, and AC2 detected 75. The sensitivities of LCx, ProbeTec, and AC2 for C. trachomatis detection were 96.0, 96.0, and 100%, and the specificities were 99.1, 100, and 98.8%, respectively. Four of five samples that were positive with AC2 and negative with LCx and ProbeTec were found to be positive with an alternative target TMA-based NAAT, APTIMA C. trachomatis, suggesting that they may have been true positives. Two of four uniquely positive LCx samples available for subsequent testing were both found to be positive by Roche PCR. We found that the LCx, ProbeTec, and AC2 NAATs are highly sensitive and specific methods for the detection of C. trachomatis in urine specimens and can be recommended for noninvasive screening of C. trachomatis in urine.
    Journal of Clinical Microbiology 08/2004; 42(7):3041-5. DOI:10.1128/JCM.42.7.3041-3045.2004 · 4.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydia pneumoniae (CPN) causes pneumonia in humans, and has emerged as an important respiratory pathogen. There are also established links between CPN infection and coronary artery disease. Traditional culture methods for CPN detection can be time consuming and difficult. There are a variety of molecular-based amplification methods for CPN detection. These methods are more sensitive than culture, but have the disadvantage of being inconsistent and non-comparable across studies. In this paper, we describe the adaptation of the existing primer set CPN 90/CPN91 for use in a real-time PCR assay using the Roche Lightcycler and a Taqman probe. This assay had an analytical sensitivity of between 4 and 0.4 infection-forming units (IFUs)/PCR reaction. A total of 355 samples were tested for validation of the assay. Tested samples included two standardized panels of blinded samples from culture (N = 70), archived specimens consisting of a CPN dilution series, CPN-spiked porcine aortal tissue and endarterectomy specimens (N = 87). The third group consisted of prospectively collected PBMCs from clinical samples (N = 198). Results were compared to nested PCR, which targets the ompA gene of CPN; TETR PCR, which targets the 16S rRNA gene of CPN; or the known result for the sample. Overall, the assay had a sensitivity of 88.5% (69 of 78) and a specificity of 99.3% (275 of 277). This method should prove useful for accurate, high throughput detection of CPN.
    Journal of Molecular Diagnostics 06/2004; 6(2):132-6. DOI:10.1016/S1525-1578(10)60501-6 · 3.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the reported correlation between the presence of Chlamydia pneumoniae in temporal artery biopsy specimens and the diagnosis of temporal arteritis (TA). Among 90 possible cases of TA identified at our institution between 1968 and 2000, 79 of the positive biopsy specimens (88%) demonstrated giant cells and the other 11 cases (12%) had other histopathologic features compatible with TA; by chart review, all 90 patients were confirmed to have met the American College of Rheumatology classification criteria for TA. Controls had negative temporal artery biopsy specimens during the same 32-year time period and their postbiopsy disease courses were not compatible with TA. Controls were matched with each case by sex, year of biopsy, and age within 10 years. The biopsy specimens from all cases and controls were reevaluated and readings were confirmed in a masked manner by an experienced eye pathologist. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analyses for C pneumoniae were performed on the 180 samples using 2 different sets of PCR primers (which target 2 different genes). A primer set targeting the ompA gene (CP1-CP2/CPC-CPD) was used to perform a nested PCR, followed by confirmation of the findings with primers targeting the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene (Cpn90/Cpn91) in a touchdown-enzyme time-release PCR. We used positive and negative controls, as well as controls made from infected and noninfected HEp-2 cells, suspended in a formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded matrix. Seventy-six percent of the 180 cases and controls were women. The mean age of the cases was 72.0 years (range 53-90), and that of the controls was 70.4 years (range 51-86). Eighty percent of the control samples were obtained by temporal artery biopsy performed within 1 year of the biopsies performed on the matched cases. Using the CP1-CP2/CPC-CPD primer set, only 1 TA case sample (1% of all case samples) was positive for the ompA gene. One control sample was also positive using these primers. With the Cpn90/Cpn91 primers, none of the cases and none of the controls were positive for the 16S rRNA gene. The results of this study using sensitive and specific PCR analyses do not support a role for C pneumoniae in the pathogenesis of TA.
    Arthritis & Rheumatology 05/2002; 46(4):1056-60. DOI:10.1002/art.517 · 7.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Energy metabolism is a crucial element of the toxicodynamic response of cells to chemical insults, and is related to pathways of both proliferation and apoptosis. Understanding metabolic response to insults, including adaptation to achieve a new steady state of energy production following a chemical challenge, is vital to understanding the potential toxicodynamic interactions which may exist between low doses of compound mixtures. To this end, we defined metabolic steady state as a function of respiration and monitored the 24 hour oxygen consumption patterns of whole HepG2 cells post exposure to low doses (
    16th North American Regional International society for the study of xenobiotics Meeting;
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    ABSTRACT: While exposure to chemical mixtures is an everyday reality, an understanding of their combined effects, and any potential prediction thereof, is extremely limited. Realistic exposures potentially consist of hundreds to thousands of chemicals per day, but even relatively simple binary mixture interactions can be inherently difficult to predict based upon the lack of temporal and spatial mechanisms for the individual constituents. To this end my laboratory has been developing in vitro assays to enable a high-throughput means of defining general toxicodynamic response pathways in vitro, with a full dosing regimen, which has the potential to identify and predict possible interactions. A central aspect of our assays elucidates altered activity for cell signaling cascades following multiple time-course exposures to toxicants which allows for the identification of both their common and disparate response pathways. Rather than assess all possible interactions between the compound and multiple cellular targets, our approach is to determine the cell signaling response to multiple classes of toxicants and thereby map interactions in time and space for prediction of effects. Preliminary results will be presented with data gathered from hepatocytes exposed to deguelin (0.001-100 uM), potassium cyanide (0.001-100 uM), staurosporine (10 uM) and SB202190 (350 nM), alone and in combination, for 24 hours. Oxygen consumption kinetic profiles suggested key changes in ATP production at 400 minutes post-dose which initiated an investigation into the activity of the signaling cascades via a bead-based multiplexed (8-plex) immunoassay at that time point. Dose-dependent cascade initiation indicates a clear identification of threshold response to low-level exposures, and crosstalk amongst selected proteins correctly predicts interactions leading to “other-than-additive” mixtures interactions. In this study, we demonstrate the potential of a new in vitro approach for the prediction of toxic mixtures interactions that is fundamentally driven by the interdependence of energy metabolism, signal transduction, and cell survival.
    16th North American Regional International society for the study of xenobiotics Meeting;