- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to develop a cost-effective genotyping method using high-quality DNA for human identification. Twenty-one short tandem repeats (STRs) and amelogenin were selected, and fluorescent fragments at 22 loci were simultaneously amplified in a single-tube reaction using locus-specific primers with 24-base universal tails and four fluorescent universal primers. Several nucleotide substitutions in universal tails and fluorescent universal primers enabled the detection of specific fluorescent fragments from the 22 loci. Multiplex PCR produced intense FAM-, VIC-, NED- and PET-labeled fragments ranging from 90 to 400 bp, and these fragments were discriminated using standard capillary electrophoretic analysis. The selected 22 loci were also analyzed using two commercial kits (the AmpFLSTR Identifiler kit and the PowerPlex ESX 17 System), and results for two loci (D19S433 and D16S539) were discordant between these kits due to mutations at the primer binding sites. All genotypes from the 100 samples were determined using 2.5 ng of DNA by our method, and the expected alleles were completely recovered. Multiplex 22-locus genotyping using four fluorescent universal primers effectively reduces the costs to less than 20% of genotyping using commercial kits, and our method would be useful to detect silent alleles from commercial kit analysis.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of oxyhemoglobin (O2-Hb) saturation levels in the left and right heart blood is useful in the assessment of exposure to cold surroundings before death. We quantified conventional subjective visual evaluation of O2-Hb saturation levels and developed useful diagnostic criteria for fatal hypothermia: O2-Hb saturation in the left heart blood (L-O2Hb) was ⩾36%, the O2-Hb saturation gap between the left and right heart blood (L–R gap) was ⩾13%, and the O2-Hb saturation ratio of the left to right heart blood (L/R ratio) was ⩾1.8. When we used L-O2Hb of ⩾36% as a basic criterion and applied a further criterion of an L–R gap of ⩾13% or an L/R ratio of ⩾1.8, these criteria registered a sensitivity level of ⩾86% and specificity level of ⩾93% for the diagnosis of fatal hypothermia. This method can be useful for determining fatal hypothermia in connection with conventional autopsy findings, as well as histological and biochemical markers.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although Kawasaki disease (KD) is a self-limiting disease, it may cause sudden cardiac death. Diagnosis of KD is principally based on clinical signs; however, some infant cases do not meet the criteria. Such cases are identified as incomplete KD. The sudden death risk in incomplete KD cases is similar to conventional KD. In our 5-month-old case, he had been admitted to a hospital for a fever and suppuration at the site of Bacille de Calmette et Guerin (BCG) vaccination. However, after discharge from the hospital, his C-reactive protein (CRP) levels declined, he got indisposed and died suddenly. A medico-legal autopsy revealed myocarditis, coronaritis, platelet-aggregated emboli in coronary arteries, and myocardial degeneration, suggesting that the fatal myocardial infarction was due to thrombus emboli in the coronary arteries. Forensic pathologists therefore should pay attention to the cardiac pathology originated from incomplete KD as a potential cause in cases of sudden infant death.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Blood and tissue samples from a forensic autopsy of a man in his late 60s, who developed dementia and died of multiple head traumas due to a fall from a moving vehicle, contained certain amounts of n-butane and i-butane. The concentration of n-butane was in the range of 0.48-70.5μL/g, which would be considered as toxic or lethal levels. We had to distinguish whether the cause of his unexplained behavior was due to his pre-existing condition (dementia), or from a confused state induced by butane abuse. No traces of butane use were found at the scene. Police investigation revealed that a propellant used in an anticontagious plugging spray had been administered to him during a postmortem treatment in the emergency hospital. In order to prove the postmortem butane diffusion had resulted from the spray administration and to estimate the diffused concentration, experimental simulation was conducted by using rats. As a result of postmortem treatment with the spray, n-butane at concentrations of 0.54-15.5μL/mL or g were found in the rat blood and tissues. In this case, we provided further evidence that the postmortem butane diffusion, caused by using the anticontagious plugging spray containing butane gas as a propellant administered to a cadaver during a postmortem procedure prior to forensic autopsy, should be distinguished from cases of actual butane poisoning. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amplification of fluorescently labeled products is one of the most popular methods for genotyping genetic variations. Two-step amplification using fluorescent universal primers simultaneously produces multiple targeted fragments labeled with fluorescent dyes, and this strategy is applicable to large-scale, cost-effective genotyping. In this study, we developed a fast PCR-based, multiple short tandem repeat (STR) genotyping method using fluorescent universal primers containing locked nucleic acids (LNAs). Four amplification reactions, each assaying six or seven markers and using 0.5-1.0 ng of genomic DNA, produced obvious Fam-labeled peaks in all 26 loci tested (25 autosomal STRs and amelogenin). The overall amplification time was 37 min. Moreover, fluorescent signals for the 25 STRs obtained from LNA-containing primers were 1.5-9.0 fold higher compared to those from non-LNA primers. Using genomic DNA from 120 Japanese individuals, 16 out of the 25 STRs had observed heterozygosity greater than 0.7. Some of these 25 STRs also had high discriminatory power, similar to that of the 13 core STRs in the Combined DNA Index System dataset. The probability of incorrectly assigning a match based on the accumulated matching probability for these 25 STRs is 1.2 × 10(-22), and their combined use can provide robust information for Japanese forensics. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report findings from an autopsy of a male in his 40s who died of a brain stem hemorrhage associated with cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA), senile plaques (SPs) and neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), which are histopathological changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Our immunohistochemical study demonstrated amyloid β (Aβ) deposition in the small cerebral arteries and SPs. Although hypertension (178/132 mmHg) was detected, the subject was not treated accordingly. CAA coupled with hypertension might have caused the intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Short insertion/deletion (Indel) polymorphisms of approximately 2-6 bp are useful as biallelic markers for forensic analysis, and the application of Indel genotyping as a supplementary tool would improve human identification accuracy. We examined the allele frequencies of 37 autosomal Indels in the Japanese population and developed a novel dual-color genotyping method for human identification on the basis of universal fluorescent PCR, including the sex-typing amelogenin locus. Target genomic fragment sizes for 38 Indels were 49-143 bp. We analyzed these Indels in 100 Japanese individuals using the M13(-47) sequence as a universal primer. For dual-color genotyping, we designed a novel universal primer with high amplification efficiency and specificity. Using FAM-labeled M13(-47) and HEX-labeled modified M13(-47) primers, fluorescent signals at all loci were clearly distinguished in two independent multiplex PCRs. Average minor allele frequency was 0.39, and accumulated matching probability was 2.12 × 10(-15). Complete profiles were successfully amplified with as little as 0.25 ng of DNA. This method provides robust, sensitive, and cost-effective genotyping for human identification.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Paraquat is a commonly used herbicide; however, it is highly toxic to humans and animals. Exposure to paraquat causes severe lung damage, leading to pulmonary fibrosis. However, it has not been well clarified as how paraquat causes cellular damage, and there is no established standard therapy for paraquat poisoning. Meanwhile, endoplasmic reticulum stress (ERS) is reported to be one of the causative factors in many diseases, although mammalian cells have a defense mechanism against ERS-induced apoptosis (unfolded protein response). Here, we demonstrated that paraquat changed the expression levels of unfolded protein response-related molecules, resulting in ERS-related cell death in human lung epithelial A549 cells. Moreover, treatment with sodium tauroursodeoxycholate (TUDCA), a chemical chaperone, crucially rescued cells from death caused by exposure to paraquat. These results indicate that paraquat toxicity may be associated with ERS-related molecules/events. Through chemical chaperone activity, treatment with TUDCA reduced paraquat-induced ERS and mildly suppressed cell death. Our findings also suggest that TUDCA treatment represses the onset of pulmonary fibrosis caused by paraquat, and therefore chemical chaperones may have novel therapeutic potential for the treatment of paraquat poisoning.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amplification/hybridization-based genetic analyses using primers containing locked nucleic acids (LNAs) present many benefits. Here, we developed a novel design for universal fluorescent PCR using LNAs. Universal fluorescent PCR generates intermediate non-labeled fragments and final fluorescent fragments in a two-step amplification process that uses locus-specific primers with universal tails and universal fluorescent primers. In this study, a few standard nucleotides were replaced with LNAs only in the fluorescent universal primers. The sequence of the fluorescent universal primer significantly affected the amplification efficiency. For primers with three LNAs, the fluorescent primers with stable M13(-47) sequences provided the most efficient signal (approximately 10-fold higher than the primers with M13(-21) sequences at lower Tm values). Moreover, AT-rich LNA substitutions in the fluorescent primers produced much lower amplification efficiencies than GC-rich substitutions. GC-rich LNAs produced greater differences in Tm values among primers, and resulted in the preferential production of fluorescently labeled amplicons. The specificity and sensitivity of LNA-containing fluorescent primers were assessed by genotyping eight short tandem repeats (STRs) in Japanese individuals, and full STR profiles could be generated using as little as 0.25 ng of genomic DNA. The method permitted clear discrimination of alleles and represents sensitive STR genotyping at a reduced cost.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: When the population parameters of drug pharmacokinetics in the human body system are known, the time-course of a certain drug in an individual can generally be estimated by pharmacokinetics. In the present two cases where methamphetamine abusers were suspected to have inflicted mortalities in traffic accidents, the time-elapse or duration immediately after methamphetamine injection to the time when the accidents occurred became points of contention. In each case, we estimated the time-course of blood methamphetamine after the self-administration in the suspects using a 2-compartment pharmacokinetic model with known pharmacokinetic parameters from the literatures. If the injected amount can be determined to a certain extent, it is easy to calculate the average time-elapse after injection by referring to reference values. However, there is considerable individual variability in the elimination rate based on genetic polymorphism and a considerably large error range in the estimated time-elapse results. To minimize estimation errors in such cases, we also analyzed genotype of CYP2D6, which influenced methamphetamine metabolism. Estimation based on two time-point blood samples would usefully benefit legal authorities in passing ruling sentences in cases involving similar personalities and circumstances as those involved in the present study.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Discrimination of Alu insertions is a useful tool for geographic ancestry analysis, and is usually performed by Alu element amplification and agarose gel electrophoresis. Here, we have developed a new fluorescence-based method for multiple Alu genotyping in forensic identification. Allele frequencies were determined in 70 Japanese individuals, and we selected 30 polymorphic Alu insertions. Three primers were designed for each Alu locus to discriminate alleles using the 3-6 bp differences in amplicon sizes. Furthermore, we classified the amplification primers for the 30 loci into three different sets, and PCR using each set of primers provided 10 loci fragments ranging from 50 to 137 bp. Based on population data, the probability of incorrectly assigning a match was 3.7×10(-13). Three independent amplifications and subsequent capillary electrophoresis enabled the sensitive genotyping of small amounts of DNA, indicating that this method is suitable for identifying individuals of Japanese ethnicity.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Zonisamide, which is commonly prescribed at high doses (200-400 mg/day) for the treatment of partial seizures, has recently been used at a low dose (25 mg/day) for improving parkinsonian syndrome. However, the molecular mechanisms that underlie the antiparkinsonian effects of zonisamide have not been clarified. Here we show that low micromolar concentrations of zonisamide prevented cleavage of caspase-3 and cell death in human dopaminergic SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells that were subjected to endoplasmic reticulum stress induced by tunicamycin or 6-hydroxydopamine. Hypodense zonisamide increased the expression levels of SEL1L, which is known to stabilize the ubiquitin ligase HRD1. Indeed, upregulation of HRD1 protein was observed. Thus, the results of this study strongly suggest that low concentrations of zonisamide inhibit neuronal cell death by increasing HRD1 protein levels in patients with Parkinson's disease. Consequently, in addition to the treatment of Parkinson's disease, the therapeutic potential of zonisamide should be considered for the treatment of several neurodegenerative disorders with pathophysiological mechanisms involving endoplasmic reticulum stress.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ligase detection reaction (LDR) is a highly specific genotyping method for single nucleotide variations. Although LDR typically discriminates single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) alleles at the 3' end of so-called LDR discriminating probes, we designed probes in which the position of nucleotide differences for discrimination was shifted to the second and third nucleotides from the 3' end. Using the 3'-modified probes, we targeted SNPs of the human ABO group and investigated the specificity and efficiency of ligation by a universal LDR assay. We demonstrated that one or two nucleotide shifts of differences in discriminating probes improve the allele balance in detecting both base substitutions and short deletions. In regard to short deletions, moreover, the shifts of nucleotide differences in discriminating probes form the perfect-machted or multiple-mismatched structures (the bulge structures) in the discriminating probe-target DNA duplex and may contribute to enhance ligation efficiency.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We developed a new method for forensic ABO genotyping based on a universal reporter primer (URP) system. This allows for the simultaneous detection of six single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) sites in the ABO gene (nucleotide positions 261, 297, 526, 703, 796, and 803). This URP system provides obvious peaks, ranging from 82 to 151 bp in length. ABO genotypes were classified and successfully genotyped by our method, including minor alleles that may cause a discrepancy between the genetic data and serological phenotypes. Full profiles were identified using as little as 0.1 ng (0.05 ng ⁄ reaction) of standard K562 and 9947A DNA. Moreover, the success rate of genotyping from a URP system was much higher than that from a conventional primer extension method in degraded DNA. This method enables simple and rapid detection of multiple SNP sites on human ABO genes and is highly specific and sensitive when using limited and degraded DNA.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is informative for human identification, and much shorter regions are targeted in analysis of biallelic SNP compared with highly polymorphic short tandem repeat (STR). Therefore, SNP genotyping is expected to be more sensitive than STR genotyping of degraded human DNA. To achieve simple, economical, and sensitive SNP genotyping for identification of degraded human DNA, we developed 18 loci for a SNP genotyping technique based on the mini-primer allele-specific amplification (ASA) combined with universal reporter primers (URP). The URP/ASA-based genotyping consisted of two amplifications followed by detection using capillary electrophoresis. The sizes of the target genome fragments ranged from 40 to 67bp in length. In the Japanese population, the frequencies of minor alleles of 18 SNPs ranged from 0.36 to 0.50, and these SNPs are informative for identification. The success rate of SNP genotyping was much higher than that of STR genotyping of artificially degraded DNA. Moreover, we applied this genotyping method to case samples and showed successful SNP genotyping of severely degraded DNA from a 4-year buffered formalin-fixed tissue sample for human identification.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the first autopsy case of fatal gastric dilatation without rupture. A 31-year-old woman who lived alone was found dead in her living room. Despite being very thin, she showed marked abdominal distention. Autopsy and histological findings revealed that a severely distended stomach, of which walls notably thin and displayed transmural necrosis, occupied the entire abdominal cavity. Severe congestion was observed in the intestine and cecum. Theses findings suggest that bulimia nervosa together with anorexia nervosa resulted in rapid dilation of the stomach. We conclude that the cause of death was acute circulatory failure from hypovolemic shock that occurred following compression of the inferior vena cava and superior mesenteric vein, and by loss of circulatory volume to the third space.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sequence analysis of HV2 in mitochondrial DNA has been performed as a tool for forensic identification, in addition to that of HV1. HV2 contains length heteroplasmy, which shows high variability within an individual or in maternal relatives. In this study, we used cloning analysis and PCR direct sequencing to compare, between mothers and their children, HV2 length heteroplasmic profiles in different tissues. For two mother-child pairs, different types of variant distribution were observed by cloning analysis. In pair 1, length heteroplasmic patterns in most tissues were similar (predominantly 9 and 10Cs variants), but different length heteroplasmic levels, with shifts in predominant genotype, were observed for some hairs in both mother and child. In pair 2, genotype distribution was similar for all tissues, with a predominant 8Cs genotype, but varying in the proportion of minor component. The proportion of one minor length variant (9Cs) in blood from the child was significantly higher than that from the mother, but the proportions of minor components (7 and/or 9Cs) in other tissue samples decreased from mother to child. Moreover, we could confirm that sequence types of PCR products were reflected by the distribution of length variants, which were observed especially in high proportion, in cloning analysis. Our results reveal variable changes in length heteroplasmic level in various tissues between generations. Variability between tissues, especially among hairs, within an individual would result in complicated differences in genotype distribution between maternal generations, and correlate with longer length of Cs for predominant variants.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In addition to stabilizing the RNA-DNA hybrid, conserved sequence block (CSB) II, which is located at nucleotides 299-315 on mitochondrial DNA, relates with the transcription termination for initiation of heavy strand synthesis in human mitochondrial replication. Due to length polymorphisms at nucleotides 303-315, individuals contain homo- or heteroplasmic profiles with length variants from C(5)TC(6) to C(15)TC(6) or from C(9) to C(13). Using in vitro transcription with templates containing these variations, we demonstrated that the production of prematurely terminated (PT) transcripts depends on the 303-315 sequences, and that longer templates result in relatively higher levels of PT transcripts. The 3' ends of PT transcripts were observed within or downstream of CSB II. Termination positions downstream of nucleotide 303 were shifted upstream by longer variations, but not shifted by shorter variations. We found that length variations between 303 and 315 generate quantitative and qualitative differences in PT transcripts.
Asahikawa Medical University
Asakhigava, Hokkaidō, Japan
- Department of Legal Medicine
Matsu, Shimane Prefecture, Japan
- Department of Legal Medicine
Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan
- Department of Ophthalmology