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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Using a prospective, longitudinal study design, this paper addresses the impact of genetic counseling and testing for deafness on deaf adults and the Deaf community. This study specifically evaluated the effect of genetic counseling and Connexin-26 and Connexin-30 genetic test results on participants' deaf identity and understanding of their genetic test results. Connexin-26 and Connexin-30 genetic testing was offered to participants in the context of linguistically and culturally appropriate genetic counseling. Questionnaire data collected from 209 deaf adults at four time points (baseline, immediately following pre-test genetic counseling, 1-month following genetic test result disclosure, and 6-months after result disclosure) were analyzed. Four deaf identity orientations (hearing, marginal, immersion, bicultural) were evaluated using subscales of the Deaf Identity Development Scale-Revised. We found evidence that participants understood their specific genetic test results following genetic counseling, but found no evidence of change in deaf identity based on genetic counseling or their genetic test results. This study demonstrated that culturally and linguistically appropriate genetic counseling can improve deaf clients' understanding of genetic test results, and the formation of deaf identity was not directly related to genetic counseling or Connexin-26 and Connexin-30 genetic test results.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In their natural habitat, the peripheral nerve, Schwann cells (SCs) form nicely aligned pathways (also known as the bands of Büngner) that guide regenerating axons to their targets. Schwann cells that are implanted in the lesioned spinal cord fail to align in pathways that could support axon growth but form cellular clusters that exhibit only limited intermingling with the astrocytes and meningeal cells (MCs) that are present in the neural scar. The formation of cell clusters can be studied in co-cultures of SCs and MCs. In these co-cultures SCs form cluster-like non-overlapping cell aggregates with well-defined boundaries. There are several indications that neuropilins (NRPs) play an important role in MC-induced SC aggregation. Both SCs and MCs express NRP1 and NRP2 and SCs express the NRP ligands Sema3B, C and E while MCs express Sema3A, C, E and F. We now demonstrate that in SC-MC co-cultures, siRNA mediated knockdown of NRP2 in SCs decreased the formation of SC clusters while these SCs maintained their capacity to align in bands of Büngner-like columnar arrays. Unexpectedly, knockdown of NRP1 expression resulted in a significant increase in SC aggregation. These results suggest that a reduction in NRP2 expression may enhance the capacity of implanted SCs to interact with MCs that invade a neural scar formed after a lesion of the spinal cord.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Introduction Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease with high incidence of cardiovascular disease due to accelerated atherosclerosis. Osteoprotegerin (OPG) has been associated with increased risk of atherosclerotic disease in the general population. Several polymorphisms in the OPG gene with functional effects on cardiovascular disease in non-rheumatic individuals have been described. Therefore, we aimed to analyze the effect of three of these functional OPG polymorphisms on the risk of cardiovascular disease in a large and well-characterized cohort of Spanish patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Methods Three OPG gene variants (rs3134063, rs2073618 and rs3134069) were genotyped by TaqMan assays in 2027 Spanish patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibody testing was positive in 997 of 1714 tested. Also, 18.3% of the whole series had experienced cardiovascular events, including 5.4% with cerebrovascular accidents. The relationship between OPG variants and cardiovascular events was assessed using Cox regression. Results No association between OPG gene variants and cardiovascular disease was observed in the whole group of rheumatoid arthritis patients or in anti-CCP positive patients. Nevertheless, a protective effect of CGA haplotype on the risk of cardiovascular disease in general, and specifically in the risk of cerebrovascular complications after adjusting for sex, age at disease diagnosis and traditional cardiovascular risk factors was disclosed in anti-CCP negative patients (HR = 0.54; 95%CI: 0.31–0.95; p = 0.032 and HR = 0.17; 95%CI: 0.04–0.78; p = 0.022, respectively). Conclusion Our results indicate a protective effect of the OPG CGA haplotype on cardiovascular risk, mainly due to a protective effect against cerebrovascular events in anti-CCP negative rheumatoid arthritis patients.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · PLoS ONE


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