Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Recent publications
The mechanism of action of intravesical Mycobacterium bovis BCG immunotherapy treatment for bladder cancer is not completely known, leading to misinterpretation of BCG-unresponsive patients, who have scarce further therapeutic options. BCG is grown under diverse culture conditions worldwide, which can impact the antitumor effect of BCG strains and could be a key parameter of treatment success. Here, BCG and the nonpathogenic Mycobacterium brumae were grown in four culture media currently used by research laboratories and BCG manufacturers: Sauton-A60, -G15 and -G60 and Middlebrook 7H10, and used as therapies in the orthotopic murine BC model. Our data reveal that each mycobacterium requires specific culture conditions to induce an effective antitumor response. since higher survival rates of tumor-bearing mice were achieved using M. brumae-A60 and BCG-G15 than the rest of the treatments. M. brumae-A60 was the most efficacious among all tested treatments in terms of mouse survival, cytotoxic activity of splenocytes against tumor cells, higher systemic production of IL-17 and IFN-ɣ, and bladder infiltration of selected immune cells such as ILCs and CD4TEM. BCG-G15 triggered an antitumor activity based on a massive infiltration of immune cells, mainly CD3+ (CD4+ and CD8+) T cells, together with high systemic IFN-ɣ release. Finally, a reduced variety of lipids was strikingly observed in the outermost layer of M. brumae-A60 and BCG-G15 compared to the rest of the cultures, suggesting an influence on the antitumor immune response triggered. These findings contribute to understand how mycobacteria create an adequate niche to help the host subvert immunosuppressive tumor actions.
Background Recent multicenter studies identified COVID-19 as a risk factor for invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). However, no large multicenter study has compared the incidence of IPA between COVID-19 and influenza patients. Objectives To determine the incidence of putative IPA in critically ill SARS-CoV-2 patients, compared with influenza patients. Methods This study was a planned ancillary analysis of the coVAPid multicenter retrospective European cohort. Consecutive adult patients requiring invasive mechanical ventilation for > 48 h for SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia or influenza pneumonia were included. The 28-day cumulative incidence of putative IPA, based on Blot definition, was the primary outcome. IPA incidence was estimated using the Kalbfleisch and Prentice method, considering extubation (dead or alive) within 28 days as competing event. Results A total of 1047 patients were included (566 in the SARS-CoV-2 group and 481 in the influenza group). The incidence of putative IPA was lower in SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia group (14, 2.5%) than in influenza pneumonia group (29, 6%), adjusted cause-specific hazard ratio (cHR) 3.29 (95% CI 1.53–7.02, p = 0.0006). When putative IPA and Aspergillus respiratory tract colonization were combined, the incidence was also significantly lower in the SARS-CoV-2 group, as compared to influenza group (4.1% vs. 10.2%), adjusted cHR 3.21 (95% CI 1.88–5.46, p < 0.0001). In the whole study population, putative IPA was associated with significant increase in 28-day mortality rate, and length of ICU stay, compared with colonized patients, or those with no IPA or Aspergillus colonization. Conclusions Overall, the incidence of putative IPA was low. Its incidence was significantly lower in patients with SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia than in those with influenza pneumonia. Clinical trial registration The study was registered at, number NCT04359693 .
Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) is a minimally invasive treatment proposed as an alternative to open repair in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms. EVAR consists in a stent-graft placement within the aorta in order to exclude the aneurysm from arterial circulation and reduce the risk of rupture. Knowledge of the various types of devices is mandatory because some stents/grafts are more frequently associated with complications. CT angiography is the gold standard diagnostic technique for preprocedural planning and postprocedural surveillance. EVAR needs long-term follow-up due to the high rate of complications. Complications can be divided in endograft device-related and systemic complications. The purpose of this article is to review the CT imaging findings of EVAR complications and the key features for the diagnosis.
Background The coordination between different levels of care is essential for the management of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The objective of this multicenter project was to develop a screening model for OSA in the primary care setting. Methods Anthropometric data, clinical history, and symptoms of OSA were recorded in randomly selected primary care patients, who also underwent a home sleep apnea test (HSAT). Respiratory polygraphy or polysomnography were performed at the sleep unit to establish definite indication for continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). By means of cross-validation, a logistic regression model (CPAP yes/no) was designed, and with the clinical variables included in the model, a scoring system was established using the β coefficients ( PASHOS Test ). In a second stage, results of HSAT were added, and the final accuracy of the model was assessed. Results 194 patients completed the study. The clinical test included the body mass index, neck circumference and observed apneas during sleep (AUC 0.824, 95% CI 0.763–0.886, P < 0.001). In a second stage, the oxygen desaturation index (ODI) of 3% (ODI3% ≥ 15%) from the HSAT was added (AUC 0.911, 95% CI 0.863–0.960, P < 0.001), with a sensitivity of 85.5% (95% CI 74.7–92.1) and specificity of 67.8% (95% CI 55.1–78.3). Conclusions The use of this model would prevent referral to the sleep unit for 55.1% of the patients. The two-stage PASHOS model is a useful and practical screening tool for OSA in primary care for detecting candidates for CPAP treatment. Clinical Trial Registration Registry:; Name: PASHOS Project: Advanced Platform for Sleep Apnea Syndrome Assessment; URL: ; Identifier: NCT02591979. Date of registration: October 30, 2015.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an overload of scientific information in the media, sometimes including misinformation or the dissemination of false content. This so-called infodemic, at a low intensity level, is also manifested in the spread of scientific and medical illustrations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Since the beginning of the pandemic, images of other long-known viruses, sometimes imaginary reconstructions, or viruses that cause diseases in other, non-human species have been attributed to SARS-CoV-2. In a certain way, one can thus speak of a case of an imagedemic based on an alteration of the rigour and truth of informative illustrations in the media. Images that illustrate informative data have an influence on the emotional perception of viewers and the formation of attitudes and behaviours in the face of the current or future pandemics. So, image disinformation should be avoided, making it desirable that journalists confirm the validity of scientific images with the same rigour that they apply to any other type of image, instead of working with fake, made-up images from photo stock services. At a time when scientific illustration has great didactic power, high-quality information must be illustrated using images that are as accurate and real as possible, as for any other news topic. It is fundamental that informative illustrations about COVID-19 used in the media are scientifically rigorous.
The accurate simulation of additional interactions at the ATLAS experiment for the analysis of proton–proton collisions delivered by the Large Hadron Collider presents a significant challenge to the computing resources. During the LHC Run 2 (2015–2018), there were up to 70 inelastic interactions per bunch crossing, which need to be accounted for in Monte Carlo (MC) production. In this document, a new method to account for these additional interactions in the simulation chain is described. Instead of sampling the inelastic interactions and adding their energy deposits to a hard-scatter interaction one-by-one, the inelastic interactions are presampled, independent of the hard scatter, and stored as combined events. Consequently, for each hard-scatter interaction, only one such presampled event needs to be added as part of the simulation chain. For the Run 2 simulation chain, with an average of 35 interactions per bunch crossing, this new method provides a substantial reduction in MC production CPU needs of around 20%, while reproducing the properties of the reconstructed quantities relevant for physics analyses with good accuracy.
Background Therapy resistance, which leads to the development of loco-regional relapses and distant metastases after treatment, constitutes one of the major problems that head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients currently face. Thus, novel therapeutic strategies are urgently needed. Targeted drug delivery to the chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) represents a promising approach for HNSCC management. In this context, we have developed the self-assembling protein nanotoxins T22-PE24-H6 and T22-DITOX-H6, which incorporate the de-immunized catalytic domain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PE24) exotoxin A and the diphtheria exotoxin (DITOX) domain, respectively. Both nanotoxins contain the T22 peptide ligand to specifically target CXCR4-overexpressing HNSCC cells. In this study, we evaluate the potential use of T22-PE24-H6 and T22-DITOX-H6 nanotoxins for the treatment of HNSCC. Methods T22-PE24-H6 and T22-DITOX-H6 CXCR4-dependent cytotoxic effect was evaluated in vitro in two different HNSCC cell lines. Both nanotoxins cell death mechanisms were assessed in HNSCC cell lines by phase-contrast microscopy, AnnexinV/ propidium iodide (PI) staining, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release assays, and western blotting. Nanotoxins antitumor effect in vivo was studied in a CXCR4 ⁺ HNSCC subcutaneous mouse model. Immunohistochemistry, histopathology, and toxicity analyses were used to evaluate both nanotoxins antitumor effect and possible treatment toxicity. GSMDE and CXCR4 expression in HNSCC patient tumor samples was also assessed by immunohistochemical staining. Results First, we found that both nanotoxins exhibit a potent CXCR4-dependent cytotoxic effect in vitro. Importantly, nanotoxin treatment triggered caspase-3/Gasdermin E (GSDME)-mediated pyroptosis. The activation of this alternative cell death pathway that differs from traditional apoptosis, becomes a promising strategy to bypass therapy resistance. In addition, T22-PE24-H6 and T22-DITOX-H6 displayed a potent antitumor effect in the absence of systemic toxicity in a CXCR4 ⁺ subcutaneous HNSCC mouse model. Lastly, GSDME was found to be overexpressed in tumor tissue from HNSCC patients, highlighting the relevance of this strategy. Conclusions Altogether, our results show that T22-PE24-H6 and T22-DITOX-H6 represent a promising therapy for HNSCC patients. Remarkably, this is the first study showing that both nanotoxins are capable of activating caspase-3/GSDME-dependent pyroptosis, opening a novel avenue for HNSCC treatment.
Background Variable disease progression confounds accurate prognosis in Fabry disease. Evidence supports the long-term benefit of early intervention with disease-specific therapy, but current guidelines recommend treatment initiation based on signs that may present too late to avoid irreversible organ damage. Findings from the ‘PRoposing Early Disease Indicators for Clinical Tracking in Fabry Disease’ (PREDICT-FD) initiative included expert consensus on 27 early indicators of disease progression in Fabry disease and on drivers of and barriers to treatment initiation in Fabry disease. Here, we compared the PREDICT-FD indicators with guidance from the European Fabry Working Group and various national guidelines to identify differences in signs supporting treatment initiation and how guidelines themselves might affect initiation. Finally, anonymized patient histories were reviewed by PREDICT-FD experts to determine whether PREDICT-FD indicators supported earlier treatment than existing guidance. Results Current guidelines generally aligned with PREDICT-FD on indicators of renal involvement, but most lacked specificity regarding cardiac indicators. The prognostic significance of neurological indicators such as white matter lesions (excluded by PREDICT-FD) was questioned in some guidelines and excluded from most. Some PREDICT-FD patient-reported signs (e.g., febrile crises) did not feature elsewhere. Key drivers of treatment initiation in PREDICT-FD were: (A) male sex, young age, and clinical findings (e.g., severe pain, organ involvement), (B) improving clinical outcomes and preventing disease progression, and (C) a family history of Fabry disease (especially if outcomes were severe). All guidelines aligned with (A) and several advocated therapy for asymptomatic male patients. There was scant evidence of (B) in current guidance: for example, no countries mandated ancillary symptomatic therapy, and no guidance advocated familial screening with (C) when diagnosis was confirmed. Barriers were misdiagnosis and a lack of biomarkers to inform timing of treatment. Review of patient histories generally found equal or greater support for treatment initiation with PREDICT-FD indicators than with other guidelines and revealed that the same case and guideline criteria often yielded different treatment recommendations. Conclusions Wider adoption of PREDICT-FD indicators at a national level could promote earlier treatment in Fabry disease. Clearer, more concise guidance is needed to harmonize treatment initiation in Fabry disease internationally.
Background Inbreeding depression can adversely affect traits related to fitness, reproduction and productive performance. Although current research suggests that inbreeding levels are generally low in most goat breeds, the impact of inbreeding depression on phenotypes of economic interest has only been investigated in a few studies based on genealogical data. Results We genotyped 1040 goats with the Goat SNP50 BeadChip. This information was used to estimate different molecular inbreeding coefficients and characterise runs of homozygosity and homozygosity patterns. We detected 38 genomic regions with increased homozygosity as well as 8 ROH hotspots mapping to chromosomes 1, 2, 4, 6, 14, 16 and 17. Eight hundred seventeen goats with available records for dairy traits were analysed to evaluate the potential consequences of inbreeding depression on milk phenotypes. Four regions on chromosomes 8 and 25 were significantly associated with inbreeding depression for the natural logarithm of the somatic cell count. Notably, these regions contain several genes related with immunity, such as SYK , IL27 , CCL19 and CCL21 . Moreover, one region on chromosome 2 was significantly associated with inbreeding depression for milk yield. Conclusions Although genomic inbreeding levels are low in Murciano-Granadina goats, significant evidence of inbreeding depression for the logarithm of the somatic cell count, a phenotype closely associated with udder health and milk yield, have been detected in this population. Minimising inbreeding would be expected to augment economic gain by increasing milk yield and reducing the incidence of mastitis, which is one of the main causes of dairy goat culling.
First-episode psychosis (FEP) patients show structural brain abnormalities at the first episode. Whether the cortical changes that follow a FEP are progressive and whether age at onset modulates these changes remains unclear. This is a multicenter MRI study in a deeply phenotyped sample of 74 FEP patients with a wide age range at onset (15–35 years) and 64 neurotypical healthy controls (HC). All participants underwent two MRI scans with a 2-year follow-up interval. We computed the longitudinal percentage of change (PC) for cortical thickness (CT), surface area (CSA) and volume (CV) for frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes. We used general linear models to assess group differences in PC as a function of age at FEP. We conducted post-hoc analyses for metrics where PC differed as a function of age at onset. We found a significant age-by-diagnosis interaction effect for PC of temporal lobe CT ( d = 0.54; p = 002). In a post-hoc-analysis, adolescent-onset (≤19 y) FEP showed more severe longitudinal cortical thinning in the temporal lobe than adolescent HC. We did not find this difference in adult-onset FEP compared to adult HC. Our study suggests that, in individuals with psychosis, CT changes that follow the FEP are dependent on the age at first episode, with those with an earlier onset showing more pronounced cortical thinning in the temporal lobe.
The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider has a broad physics programme ranging from precision measurements to direct searches for new particles and new interactions, requiring ever larger and ever more accurate datasets of simulated Monte Carlo events. Detector simulation with Geant4 is accurate but requires significant CPU resources. Over the past decade, ATLAS has developed and utilized tools that replace the most CPU-intensive component of the simulation—the calorimeter shower simulation—with faster simulation methods. Here, AtlFast3, the next generation of high-accuracy fast simulation in ATLAS, is introduced. AtlFast3 combines parameterized approaches with machine-learning techniques and is deployed to meet current and future computing challenges, and simulation needs of the ATLAS experiment. With highly accurate performance and significantly improved modelling of substructure within jets, AtlFast3 can simulate large numbers of events for a wide range of physics processes.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common sport-related injuries and the request for ACL reconstructions is increasing nowadays. Unfortunately, ACL graft failures are reported in up to 34.2% in athletes, representing a traumatic and career-threatening event. It can be convenient to understand the various risk factors for ACL failure, in order to properly inform the patients about the expected outcomes and to minimize the chance of poor results. In literature, a multitude of studies have been performed on the failure risks after ACL reconstruction, but the huge amount of data may generate much confusion. The aim of this review is to resume the data collected from literature on the risk of graft failure after ACL reconstruction in athletes, focusing on the following three key points: individuate the predisposing factors to ACL reconstruction failure, analyze surgical aspects which may have significant impact on outcomes, highlight the current criteria regarding safe return to sport after ACL reconstruction.
Background Newborn piglets can trigger an elementary immune response, but the acquirement of specific antibodies and/or cellular immunity against pathogens before they get infected post-natally is paramount to preserve their health. This is especially important for the pathogens involved in porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC) as they are widespread, fairly resistant at environment, and genetically variable; moreover, some of them can cause intrauterine/early life infections. Main body Piglet protection can be achieved by either passive transfer of maternal derived immunity (MDI) and/or actively through vaccination. However, vaccinating piglets in the presence of remaining MDI might interfere with vaccine efficacy. Hence, the purpose of this work is to critically review the putative interference that MDI may exert on vaccine efficacy against PRDC pathogens. This knowledge is crucial to design a proper vaccination schedule. Conclusion MDI transferred from sows to offspring could potentially interfere with the development of an active humoral immune response. However, no conclusive interference has been shown regarding performance parameters based on the existing published literature.
Given the increasing research activity on epigenetics to monitor human diseases and its connection with lifestyle and environmental expositions, the field of epigenetics has attracted a great deal of interest also at the ethical and societal level. In this review, we will identify and discuss current ethical, legal and social issues of epigenetics research in the context of personalized medicine. The review covers ethical aspects such as how epigenetic information should impact patient autonomy and the ability to generate an intentional and voluntary decision, the measures of data protection related to privacy and confidentiality derived from epigenome studies (e.g., risk of discrimination, patient re-identification and unexpected findings) or the debate in the distribution of responsibilities for health (i.e., personal versus public responsibilities). We pay special attention to the risk of social discrimination and stigmatization as a consequence of inferring information related to lifestyle and environmental exposures potentially contained in epigenetic data. Furthermore, as exposures to the environment and individual habits do not affect all populations equally, the violation of the principle of distributive justice in the access to the benefits of clinical epigenetics is discussed. In this regard, epigenetics represents a great opportunity for the integration of public policy measures aimed to create healthier living environments. Whether these public policies will coexist or, in contrast, compete with strategies reinforcing the personalized medicine interventions needs to be considered. The review ends with a reflection on the main challenges in epigenetic research, some of them in a technical dimension (e.g., assessing causality or establishing reference epigenomes) but also in the ethical and social sphere (e.g., risk to add an epigenetic determinism on top of the current genetic one). In sum, integration into life science investigation of social experiences such as exposure to risk, nutritional habits, prejudice and stigma, is imperative to understand epigenetic variation in disease. This pragmatic approach is required to locate clinical epigenetics out of the experimental laboratories and facilitate its implementation into society.
Background Increased total tau (t-tau) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is a key characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and is considered to result from neurodegeneration. T-tau levels, however, can be increased in very early disease stages, when neurodegeneration is limited, and can be normal in advanced disease stages. This suggests that t-tau levels may be driven by other mechanisms as well. Because tau pathophysiology is emerging as treatment target for AD, we aimed to clarify molecular processes associated with CSF t-tau levels. Methods We performed a proteomic, genomic, and imaging study in 1380 individuals with AD, in the preclinical, prodromal, and mild dementia stage, and 380 controls from the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative and EMIF-AD Multimodality Biomarker Discovery study. Results We found that, relative to controls, AD individuals with increased t-tau had increased CSF concentrations of over 400 proteins enriched for neuronal plasticity processes. In contrast, AD individuals with normal t-tau had decreased levels of these plasticity proteins and showed increased concentrations of proteins indicative of blood–brain barrier and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction, relative to controls. The distinct proteomic profiles were already present in the preclinical AD stage and persisted in prodromal and dementia stages implying that they reflect disease traits rather than disease states. Dysregulated plasticity proteins were associated with SUZ12 and REST signaling, suggesting aberrant gene repression. GWAS analyses contrasting AD individuals with and without increased t-tau highlighted several genes involved in the regulation of gene expression. Targeted analyses of SNP rs9877502 in GMNC , associated with t-tau levels previously, correlated in individuals with AD with CSF concentrations of 591 plasticity associated proteins. The number of APOE-e4 alleles, however, was not associated with the concentration of plasticity related proteins. Conclusions CSF t-tau levels in AD are associated with altered levels of proteins involved in neuronal plasticity and blood–brain and blood-CSF barrier dysfunction. Future trials may need to stratify on CSF t-tau status, as AD individuals with increased t-tau and normal t-tau are likely to respond differently to treatment, given their opposite CSF proteomic profiles.
Background Clinical management in orthogeriatric units and outcome indicators are similar for extracapsular fragility hip fractures, without discriminating between subtrochanteric and pertrochanteric fractures. Hypothesis Geriatric patients, 75 years or older, with subtrochanteric fractures have worse clinical and functional outcomes than those with pertrochanteric fractures. Materials and methods Retrospective observational study of data prospectively collected by the Spanish Hip Fracture Registry including patients 75 years or older, admitted for extracapsular hip fractures from January 2017 to June 2019. Demographic and baseline status, pre-operative, post-operative and 30-day follow-up data were included. Results A total of 13,939 patients with extracapsular hip fractures were registered: 12,199 (87.5%) pertrochanteric and 1740 (12.5%) subtrochanteric. At admission, patients with subtrochanteric fractures were younger (86.5 ± 5.8 versus 87.1 ± 5.6 years old), had better pre-fracture mobility (3.7 ± 2.7 versus 3.9 ± 2.8) (1-to-10 scale, 1 being independent) and were more likely to be living at home; those with pertrochanteric fractures had worse cognitive function (Pfeiffer 3.3 ± 3.3 versus 3.8 ± 3.5). The subtrochanteric fracture group showed worse post-fracture mobility (7.3 ± 2.7 versus 6.7 ± 2.7) and greater deterioration of mobility (3.7 ± 3.0 versus 2.9 ± 2.7). Among individuals living at home at baseline, those with subtrochanteric fractures were more likely to remain in an assisted facility at 30-day follow-up. In-hospital mortality during acute admission was higher for the subtrochanteric group (5.6% versus 4.5%) ( p = 0.028). To our knowledge, this is the first paper highlighting the differences between these two fracture groups in the geriatric population. Conclusions Subtrochanteric fractures in the older population are a different and worse entity, with greater morbimortality and functional decline than pertrochanteric fractures. Despite being younger and fitter at admission, older patients with subtrochanteric fractures have a higher risk of remaining non-weight bearing and undergoing re-operation and institutionalization. Orthogeriatric units should be aware of this and manage subtrochanteric fractures accordingly. Level of evidence: IV.
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14,236 members
Màrius Montón
  • Department of Microelectronic and Electronic Systems
Agusti Lledos
  • Department of Chemistry
Montserrat Pallares-Barbera
  • Departamento de Geografía
Aura Hernàndez
  • Department of Computer Sciences
Ingrid Noguera
  • Departamento de Pedagogía Sistemática y Social
Campus UAB, 08193, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain
Head of institution
Margalida Arboix
+34 93 581 10 00