Browsing 2013/2014 Recipients by Date
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ItemBacterial expression strategies for several Sus scrofa diacylglycerol kinase alpha constructs: solubility challenges.(Nature Publishing Group, 2013-04-05) Petro, Elizabeth J.; Raben, Daniel M.We pursued several strategies for expressing either full-length Sus scrofa diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) alpha or the catalytic domain (alphacat) in Escherichia coli. Alphacat could be extracted, refolded, and purified from inclusion bodies, but when subjected to analytical gel filtration chromatography, it elutes in the void volume, in what we conclude are microscopic aggregates unsuitable for x-ray crystallography. Adding glutathione S-transferase, thioredoxin, or maltose binding protein as N-terminal fusion tags did not improve alphacat's solubility. Coexpressing with bacterial chaperones increased the yield of alphacat in the supernatant after high-speed centrifugation, but the protein still elutes in the void upon analytical gel filtration chromatography. We believe our work will be of interest to those interested in the structure of eukaryotic DGKs, so that they know which expression strategies have already been tried, as well as to those interested in protein folding and those interested in chaperone/target-protein interactions ItemTriglyceride/HDL ratio as a screening tool for predicting success at reducing anti-diabetic medications following weight loss.(PLoS Organization, 2013-07-15) Shantha, Ghanshyam Palamaner Subash; Kumar, Anita Ashok; Kahan, Scott; Irukulla, Pavan Kumar; Cheskin, Lawrence JayBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Intentional weight loss, by reducing insulin resistance, results in both better glycemic control and decreased need for anti-diabetic medications. However, not everyone who is successful with weight loss is able to reduce anti-diabetic medication use. In this retrospective cohort study, we assessed the predictive accuracy of baseline triglyceride (TGL)/HDL ratio, a marker of insulin resistance, to screen patients for success in reducing anti-diabetic medication use with weight loss. METHODS: Case records of 121 overweight and obese attendees at two outpatient weight management centers were analyzed. The weight loss intervention consisted of a calorie-restricted diet (~1000Kcal/day deficit), a behavior modification plan, and a plan for increasing physical activity. RESULTS: Mean period of follow-up was 12.5 ± 3.5 months. By study exit, mean weight loss and mean HbA1c% reduction were 15.4 ± 5.5 kgs and 0.5 ± 0.2% respectively. 81 (67%) in the study cohort achieved at least 1 dose reduction of any anti-diabetic medication. Tests for predictive accuracy of baseline TGL/HDL ratio ≤ 3 to determine success with dose reductions of anti-diabetic medications showed a sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, area under the curve, likelihood ratio (LR) + and LR-of 81, 83, 90, 70, 78, 4.8 and 0.2, respectively. Reproducibility of TGL/HDL ratio was acceptable. CONCLUSION: TGL/HDL ratio shows promise as an effective screening tool to determine success with dose reductions of anti-diabetic medications. The results of our study may inform the conduct of a systematic review using data from prior weight loss trials. ItemSympathetic innervation during development is necessary for pancreatic islet architecture and functional maturation.(Cell Press, 2013-07-25) Borden, Philip; Houtz, Jessica; Leach, Steven D.; Kuruvilla, RejjiSympathetic neurons depend on target-derived neurotrophic cues to control their survival and growth. However, whether sympathetic innervation contributes reciprocally to the development of target tissues is less clear. Here, we report that sympathetic innervation is necessary for the formation of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans and for their functional maturation. Genetic or pharmacological ablation of sympathetic innervation during development resulted in altered islet architecture, reduced insulin secretion, and impaired glucose tolerance in mice. Similar defects were observed with pharmacological blockade of β-adrenergic signaling. Conversely, the administration of a β-adrenergic agonist restored islet morphology and glucose tolerance in deinnervated animals. Furthermore, in neuron-islet cocultures, sympathetic neurons promoted islet cell migration in a β-adrenergic-dependent manner. This study reveals that islet architecture requires extrinsic inductive cues from neighboring tissues such as sympathetic nerves and suggests that early perturbations in sympathetic innervation might underlie metabolic disorders. ItemSexual and gender-based violence in areas of armed conflict: a systematic review of mental health and psychosocial support interventions.(BioMed Central, 2013-08-05) Tol, Wietse A.; Stavrou, Vivi; Greene, M. Claire; Mergenthaler, Christina; Ommeren, Mark van; Moreno, Claudia GarcíaBACKGROUND: Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence are common in conflict settings and are known risk factors for mental health and psychosocial wellbeing. We present findings from a systematic review of the academic and grey literature focused on the effectiveness of mental health and psychosocial support interventions for populations exposed to sexual and other forms of gender-based violence in the context of armed conflicts. METHODS: We searched the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, PubMed/ Medline, psycINFO, and PILOTS, as well as grey literature to search for evaluations of interventions, without date limitations. RESULTS: Out of 5,684 returned records 189 full text papers were assessed for eligibility. Seven studies met inclusion criteria: 1 non-randomized controlled study; 3 non-controlled pre- post-test designs; 1 retrospective cohort with a matched comparison group; and 2 case studies. Studies were conducted in West and Central Africa; Albania; UK and USA, included female participants, and focused on individual and group counseling; combined psychological, medical, social and economic interventions; and cognitive behavioral therapy (two single case studies). CONCLUSIONS: The seven studies, while very limited, tentatively suggest beneficial effects of mental health and psychosocial interventions for this population, and show feasibility of evaluation and implementation of such interventions in real-life settings through partnerships with humanitarian organizations. Robust conclusions on the effectiveness of particular approaches are not possible on the basis of current evidence. More rigorous research is urgently needed. ItemLongitudinal changes in intracardiac repolarization lability in patients with implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.(Frontiers Research Foundation, 2013-08-12) Guduru, Abhilash; Lansdown, Jason; Chernichenko, Daniil; Berger, Ronald D.; Tereshchenko, Larisa G.Background: While it is known that elevated baseline intracardiac repolarization lability is associated with the risk of fast ventricular tachycardia (FVT)/ventricular fibrillation (VF), the effect of its longitudinal changes on the risk of FVT/VF is unknown. Methods and Results: Near-field (NF) right ventricular (RV) intracardiac electrograms (EGMs) were recorded every 3-6 months at rest in 248 patients with structural heart disease [mean age 61.2 ± 13.3; 185(75%) male; 162(65.3%) ischemic cardiomyopathy] and implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) or cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator (CRT-D) [201 (81%) primary prevention]. Intracardiac beat-to-beat QT variability index (QTVINF) was measured on NF RV EGM. During the first study phase (median 18 months), participants made on average 2.4 visits. Then remote follow-up was continued for an additional median period of 3 years. Average QTVINF did not change during the first year after ICD implantation (-0.342 ± 0.603 at baseline vs. -0.262 ± 0.552 at 6 months vs. -0.334 ± 0.603 at 12 months); however, it decreased thereafter (-0.510 ± 0.603 at 18 months; P = 0.042). Adjusted population-averaged GEE model showed that the odds of developing FVT/VF increased by 75% for each 1 unit increase in QTVINF. (OR 1.75 [95%CI 1.05-2.92]; P = 0.031). However, individual patient-specific QTVINF trends (increasing, decreasing, flat) varied from patient to patient. For a given patient, the odds of developing FVT/VF were not associated with increasing or decreasing QTVINF over time [OR 1.27; (95%CI 0.05-30.10); P = 0.881]. Conclusion: While on average the odds of FVT/VF increased with an increase in QTVINF, patient-specific longitudinal trends in QTVINF did not affect the odds of FVT/VF. ItemCD36 and Fyn kinase mediate malaria-induced lung endothelial barrier dysfunction in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei.(PLoS Organization, 2013-08-15) Anidi, Ifeanyi U.; Servinsky, Laura E.; Rentsendorj, Otgonchimeg; Stephens, R. Scott; Scott, Alan L.; Pearse, David B.Severe malaria can trigger acute lung injury characterized by pulmonary edema resulting from increased endothelial permeability. However, the mechanism through which lung fluid conductance is altered during malaria remains unclear. To define the role that the scavenger receptor CD36 may play in mediating this response, C57BL/6J (WT) and CD36-/- mice were infected with P. berghei ANKA and monitored for changes in pulmonary endothelial barrier function employing an isolated perfused lung system. WT lungs demonstrated a >10-fold increase in two measures of paracellular fluid conductance and a decrease in the albumin reflection coefficient (σalb) compared to control lungs indicating a loss of barrier function. In contrast, malaria-infected CD36-/- mice had near normal fluid conductance but a similar reduction in σalb. In WT mice, lung sequestered iRBCs demonstrated production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To determine whether knockout of CD36 could protect against ROS-induced endothelial barrier dysfunction, mouse lung microvascular endothelial monolayers (MLMVEC) from WT and CD36-/- mice were exposed to H2O2. Unlike WT monolayers, which showed dose-dependent decreases in transendothelial electrical resistance (TER) from H2O2 indicating loss of barrier function, CD36-/- MLMVEC demonstrated dose-dependent increases in TER. The differences between responses in WT and CD36-/- endothelial cells correlated with important differences in the intracellular compartmentalization of the CD36-associated Fyn kinase. Malaria infection increased total lung Fyn levels in CD36-/- lungs compared to WT, but this increase was due to elevated production of the inactive form of Fyn further suggesting a dysregulation of Fyn-mediated signaling. The importance of Fyn in CD36-dependent endothelial signaling was confirmed using in vitro Fyn knockdown as well as Fyn-/- mice, which were also protected from H2O2- and malaria-induced lung endothelial leak, respectively. Our results demonstrate that CD36 and Fyn kinase are critical mediators of the increased lung endothelial fluid conductance caused by malaria infection. ItemMorphological characterization of bushy cells and their inputs in the laboratory mouse (Mus musculus) anteroventral cochlear nucleus.(PLoS Organization, 2013-08-26) Lauer, Amanda M.; Connelly, Catherine J.; Graham, Heather; Ryugo, David K.Spherical and globular bushy cells of the AVCN receive huge auditory nerve endings specialized for high fidelity neural transmission in response to acoustic events. Recent studies in mice and other rodent species suggest that the distinction between bushy cell subtypes is not always straightforward. We conducted a systematic investigation of mouse bushy cells along the rostral-caudal axis in an effort to understand the morphological variation that gives rise to reported response properties in mice. We combined quantitative light and electron microscopy to investigate variations in cell morphology, immunostaining, and the distribution of primary and non-primary synaptic inputs along the rostral-caudal axis. Overall, large regional differences in bushy cell characteristics were not found; however, rostral bushy cells received a different complement of axosomatic input compared to caudal bushy cells. The percentage of primary auditory nerve terminals was larger in caudal AVCN, whereas non-primary excitatory and inhibitory inputs were more common in rostral AVCN. Other ultrastructural characteristics of primary auditory nerve inputs were similar across the rostral and caudal AVCN. Cross sectional area, postsynaptic density length and curvature, and mitochondrial volume fraction were similar for axosomatic auditory nerve terminals, although rostral auditory nerve terminals contained a greater concentration of synaptic vesicles near the postsynaptic densities. These data demonstrate regional differences in synaptic organization of inputs to mouse bushy cells rather than the morphological characteristic of the cells themselves. ItemViolence against women in sex work and HIV risk implications differ qualitatively by perpetrator.(BioMed Central, 2013-09-23) Decker, Michele R.; Pearson, Erin; Illangasekare, Samantha L.; Clark, Erin; Sherman, Susan G.BACKGROUND: Physical and sexual violence heighten STI/HIV risk for women in sex work. Against this backdrop, we describe the nature of abuse against women in sex work, and its STI/HIV implications, across perpetrators. METHODS: Adult women involved in sex work (n = 35) in Baltimore, MD participated in an in-depth interview and brief survey. RESULTS: Physical and sexual violence were prevalent, with 43% reporting past-month abuse. Clients were the primary perpetrators; their violence was severe, compromised women's condom and sexual negotiation, and included forced and coerced anal intercourse. Sex work was a factor in intimate partner violence. Police abuse was largely an exploitation of power imbalances for coerced sex. CONCLUSIONS: Findings affirm the need to address physical and sexual violence, particularly that perpetrated by clients, as a social determinant of health for women in sex work, as well as a threat to safety and wellbeing, and a contextual barrier to HIV risk reduction. ItemA horizontal alignment tool for numerical trend discovery in sequence data: application to protein hydropathy.(PLoS Organization, 2013-10-10) Hadzipasic, Omar; Wrabl, James O.; Hilser, Vincent J.An algorithm is presented that returns the optimal pairwise gapped alignment of two sets of signed numerical sequence values. One distinguishing feature of this algorithm is a flexible comparison engine (based on both relative shape and absolute similarity measures) that does not rely on explicit gap penalties. Additionally, an empirical probability model is developed to estimate the significance of the returned alignment with respect to randomized data. The algorithm's utility for biological hypothesis formulation is demonstrated with test cases including database search and pairwise alignment of protein hydropathy. However, the algorithm and probability model could possibly be extended to accommodate other diverse types of protein or nucleic acid data, including positional thermodynamic stability and mRNA translation efficiency. The algorithm requires only numerical values as input and will readily compare data other than protein hydropathy. The tool is therefore expected to complement, rather than replace, existing sequence and structure based tools and may inform medical discovery, as exemplified by proposed similarity between a chlamydial ORFan protein and bacterial colicin pore-forming domain. The source code, documentation, and a basic web-server application are available. ItemCutaneous collateral axonal sprouting re-innervates the skin component and restores sensation of denervated Swine osteomyocutaneous alloflaps.(PLoS Organization, 2013-10-18) Ibrahim, Zuhaib; Ebenezer, Gigi; Christensen, Joani M.; Sarhane, Karim A.; Hauer, Peter; Cooney, Damon S.; Sacks, Justin M.; Schneeberger, Stefan; Lee, W. P. Andrew; Polydefkis, Michael; Brandacher, GeraldReconstructive transplantation such as extremity and face transplantation is a viable treatment option for select patients with devastating tissue loss. Sensorimotor recovery is a critical determinant of overall success of such transplants. Although motor function recovery has been extensively studied, mechanisms of sensory re-innervation are not well established. Recent clinical reports of face transplants confirm progressive sensory improvement even in cases where optimal repair of sensory nerves was not achieved. Two forms of sensory nerve regeneration are known. In regenerative sprouting, axonal outgrowth occurs from the transected nerve stump while in collateral sprouting, reinnervation of denervated tissue occurs through growth of uninjured axons into the denervated tissue. The latter mechanism may be more important in settings where transected sensory nerves cannot be re-apposed. In this study, denervated osteomyocutaneous alloflaps (hind- limb transplants) from Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC)-defined MGH miniature swine were performed to specifically evaluate collateral axonal sprouting for cutaneous sensory re-innervation. The skin component of the flap was externalized and serial skin sections extending from native skin to the grafted flap were biopsied. In order to visualize regenerating axonal structures in the dermis and epidermis, 50 um frozen sections were immunostained against axonal and Schwann cell markers. In all alloflaps, collateral axonal sprouts from adjacent recipient skin extended into the denervated skin component along the dermal-epidermal junction from the periphery towards the center. On day 100 post-transplant, regenerating sprouts reached 0.5 cm into the flap centripetally. Eight months following transplant, epidermal fibers were visualized 1.5 cm from the margin (rate of regeneration 0.06 mm per day). All animals had pinprick sensation in the periphery of the transplanted skin within 3 months post-transplant. Restoration of sensory input through collateral axonal sprouting can revive interaction with the environment; restore defense mechanisms and aid in cortical re-integration of vascularized composite allografts.