Emerging evidence suggests that ubiquitination serves as a protein trafficking signal in addition to its well characterized role in promoting protein degradation. The yeast G protein alpha subunit Gpa1 represents a rare example of a protein that undergoes both mono- and poly-ubiquitination. Whereas mono-ubiquitinated Gpa1 is targeted to the vacuole, poly-ubiquitinated Gpa1 is directed instead to the proteasome. Here we investigate the structural requirements for mono- and poly-ubiquitination of Gpa1. We find that variants of Gpa1 engineered to be unstable are more likely to be poly-ubiquitinated and less likely to be mono-ubiquitinated. In addition, mutants that cannot be myristoylated are no longer mono-ubiquitinated but are still polyubiquitinated. Finally, we show that the ubiquitin ligase Rsp5 is necessary for Gpa1 mono-ubiquitination in vivo and that the purified enzyme is sufficient to catalyze Gpa1 mono-ubiquitination in vitro. Taken together, these data indicate that mono- and poly-ubiquitination have distinct enzyme and substrate recognition requirements; whereas poly-ubiquitination targets misfolded protein for degradation, a distinct ubiquitination apparatus targets the fully mature, fully myristoylated G protein for mono-ubiquitination and delivery to the vacuole.
Combined experimental and computational analysis of DNA damage signaling reveals context-dependent roles for Erk in apoptosis and G1/S arrest after genotoxic stress
Following DNA damage, cells display complex multi-pathway signaling dynamics that connect cell-cycle arrest and DNA repair in G1, S, or G2/M phase with phenotypic fate decisions made between survival, cell-cycle re-entry and proliferation, permanent cell-cycle arrest, or cell death. How these phenotypic fate decisions are determined remains poorly understood, but must derive from integrating genotoxic stress signals together with inputs from the local microenvironment. To investigate this in a systematic manner, we undertook a quantitative time-resolved cell signaling and phenotypic response study in U2OS cells receiving doxorubicin-induced DNA damage in the presence or absence of TNFalpha co-treatment; we measured key nodes in a broad set of DNA damage signal transduction pathways along with apoptotic death and cell-cycle regulatory responses. Two relational modeling approaches were then used to identify network-level relationships between signals and cell phenotypic events: a partial least squares regression approach and a complementary new technique which we term 'time-interval stepwise regression.' Taken together, the results from these analysis methods revealed complex, cytokine-modulated inter-relationships among multiple signaling pathways following DNA damage, and identified an unexpected context-dependent role for Erk in both G1/S arrest and apoptotic cell death following treatment with this commonly used clinical chemotherapeutic drug.
Sequential application of anticancer drugs enhances cell death by rewiring apoptotic signaling networks
Crosstalk and complexity within signaling pathways and their perturbation by oncogenes limit component-by-component approaches to understanding human disease. Network analysis of how normal and oncogenic signaling can be rewired by drugs may provide opportunities to target tumors with high specificity and efficacy. Using targeted inhibition of oncogenic signaling pathways, combined with DNA-damaging chemotherapy, we report that time-staggered EGFR inhibition, but not simultaneous coadministration, dramatically sensitizes a subset of triple-negative breast cancer cells to genotoxic drugs. Systems-level analysis-using high-density time-dependent measurements of signaling networks, gene expression profiles, and cell phenotypic responses in combination with mathematical modeling-revealed an approach for altering the intrinsic state of the cell through dynamic rewiring of oncogenic signaling pathways. This process converts these cells to a less tumorigenic state that is more susceptible to DNA damage-induced cell death by reactivation of an extrinsic apoptotic pathway whose function is suppressed in the oncogene-addicted state.
DNA damage activates a signalling network that blocks cell-cycle progression, recruits DNA repair factors and/or triggers senescence or programmed cell death. Alterations in chromatin structure are implicated in the initiation and propagation of the DNA damage response. Here we further investigate the role of chromatin structure in the DNA damage response by monitoring ionizing-radiation-induced signalling and response events with a high-content multiplex RNA-mediated interference screen of chromatin-modifying and -interacting genes. We discover that an isoform of Brd4, a bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family member, functions as an endogenous inhibitor of DNA damage response signalling by recruiting the condensin II chromatin remodelling complex to acetylated histones through bromodomain interactions. Loss of this isoform results in relaxed chromatin structure, rapid cell-cycle checkpoint recovery and enhanced survival after irradiation, whereas functional gain of this isoform compacted chromatin, attenuated DNA damage response signalling and enhanced radiation-induced lethality. These data implicate Brd4, previously known for its role in transcriptional control, as an insulator of chromatin that can modulate the signalling response to DNA damage.
Antidepressant augmentation using the N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist memantine: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial
OBJECTIVE: Intravenous N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) antagonists have shown promising results in rapidly ameliorating depression symptoms, but placebo-controlled trials of oral NMDA antagonists as monotherapy have not observed efficacy. We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of the NMDA antagonist memantine as an augmentation treatment for patients with DSM-IV major depressive disorder.
METHOD: Adult outpatients with major depressive disorder and partial response or nonresponse to their current antidepressant (as indicated by a 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score of >/= 16 at baseline) were randomized (from July 2006-December 2011) to add memantine (flexible dose 5-20 mg/d, with all memantine group participants reaching the dose of 20 mg/d) (n = 15) or placebo (n = 16) to their existing treatment for 8 weeks. The primary outcome, change in Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Score (MADRS), was evaluated with repeated-measures mixed effects models using last-observation-carried-forward methods. Secondary outcomes included other depression and anxiety rating scales, suicidal and delusional ideation, and other adverse effects.
RESULTS: 84% of participants completed the trial, including 93% of participants receiving memantine. Participants receiving memantine did not show a statistically or clinically significant change in MADRS scores compared to placebo, either over the entire study (beta = 0.133, favoring placebo, P = .74) or at study completion (week 8 mean [SD] MADRS score change = -7.13 [6.61] [memantine]; -7.25 [11.14] [placebo]; P = .97). A minimal to small effect size (comparing change to baseline variability) favoring placebo was observed (Cohen d = 0.19). Similarly, no substantial effect sizes favoring memantine nor statistically significant between-group differences were observed on secondary efficacy outcomes.
CONCLUSIONS: This trial did not detect significant statistical or effect size differences between memantine and placebo augmentation among nonresponders or poor responders to conventional antidepressants. While the small number of participants is a limitation, this study suggests memantine lacks substantial efficacy as an augmentation treatment for major depressive disorder.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00344682.
A gender analysis of the study of pharmacotherapy of psychotic depression (STOP-PD): gender and age as predictors of response and treatment-associated changes in body mass index and metabolic measures
BACKGROUND: Gender differences exist in psychiatric disorders; however, gender has not been well studied in psychotic depression. This analysis of the largest clinical trial in psychotic depression examined the effects of age and gender on clinical characteristics and predictors of treatment outcome and treatment-associated changes in body mass index (BMI) and metabolic measures.
METHOD: Secondary analyses were performed on data from 259 subjects with major depressive disorder with psychotic features (DSM-IV-TR) aged 18-93 years in the double-blind randomized controlled trial of olanzapine plus sertraline versus olanzapine plus placebo for psychotic depression (Study of Pharmacotherapy of Psychotic Depression). Sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics, treatment outcome, and treatment-associated changes in BMI and metabolic measures were analyzed by gender and age. Subjects were enrolled from December 2002 to June 2007.
RESULTS: Female gender was associated with divorced (χ(2)(1) = 5.3, P = .03) or widowed (χ(2)(1) = 8.1, P ≤ .01) marital status. Comorbid anxiety disorders were more common in women than in men (χ(2)(1) = 4.9, P = .03). Hallucinations (χ(2)(1) = 7.8, P = .005) and delusions with disorganization (t(257) = -2.10, P = .04) were significantly associated with female gender, as were higher cholesterol measures (χ(2)(1) = 7.15, P = .008). There were no significant interactions between treatment and gender in terms of change in BMI. Gender was not associated with treatment response.
DISCUSSION: This study is the first analysis of gender and age as predictors of treatment outcome and treatment-associated changes in BMI and metabolic adverse effects in psychotic depression. Gender differences exist in patients with psychotic depression, most notably with regard to the presence of hallucinations. Female gender was associated with metabolic measures. Future studies with larger sample sizes may detect small gender differences in treatment outcome and treatment-associated changes in BMI and metabolic measures in psychotic depression.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00056472.
Complementary and alternative medicine therapies are increasingly sought out by people with psychiatric disorders. In this chapter, we review the evidence for several commonly used CAM therapies (i.e. omega-3 fatty acids, folate, S-adenosyl-methionine, St John's Wort, bright light therapy, exercise, massage, and acupuncture) in the treatment of perinatal depression. A number of these treatments may be reasonable to consider for women during pregnancy or postpartum, but the safety and efficacy of these relative to standard treatments must still be systematically determined. Evidence-based use of complementary and alternative medicine therapies treatments for perinatal depression is discussed. Adequately powered systematic studies are necessary to determine the role of complementary and alternative medicine therapies in the treatment of perinatal depression.
Pharmacotherapy for Mood Disorders in Pregnancy: A Review of Pharmacokinetic Changes and Clinical Recommendations for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
OBJECTIVE: Pharmacotherapy for mood disorders during pregnancy is often complicated by pregnancy-related pharmacokinetic changes and the need for dose adjustments. The objectives of this review are to summarize the evidence for change in perinatal pharmacokinetics of commonly used pharmacotherapies for mood disorders, discuss the implications for clinical and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM), and make clinical recommendations.
METHODS: The English-language literature indexed on MEDLINE/PubMed was searched for original observational studies (controlled and uncontrolled, prospective and retrospective), case reports, and case series that evaluated or described pharmacokinetic changes or TDM during pregnancy or the postpartum period.
RESULTS: Pregnancy-associated changes in absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination may result in lowered psychotropic drug levels and possible treatment effects, particularly in late pregnancy. Mechanisms include changes in both phase 1 hepatic cytochrome P450 and phase 2 uridine diphosphate glucuronosyltransferase enzyme activities, changes in hepatic and renal blood flow, and glomerular filtration rate. Therapeutic drug monitoring, in combination with clinical monitoring, is indicated for tricyclic antidepressants and mood stabilizers during the perinatal period.
CONCLUSIONS: Substantial pharmacokinetic changes can occur during pregnancy in a number of commonly used antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Dose increases may be indicated for antidepressants including citalopram, clomipramine, imipramine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, nortriptyline, paroxetine, and sertraline, especially late in pregnancy. Antenatal dose increases may also be needed for lithium, lamotrigine, and valproic acid because of perinatal changes in metabolism. Close clinical monitoring of perinatal mood disorders and TDM of tricyclic antidepressants and mood stabilizers are recommended.
The use of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for evaluation of neurological disorders has increased in the past two decades. This has led to an increased detection of incidental findings on brain MRI. The most common of these asymptomatic abnormalities are white matter lesions that are interpreted as demyelinating based on radiological criteria. However, in the absence of associated clinical symptoms suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS), a definite diagnosis of MS cannot be made in patients with these incidental white matter lesions. These patients are now diagnosed as radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS). The natural history and clinical approach to patients with RIS are reviewed in this article.
A randomized comparison of a 3-week and 6-week vascular surgery simulation course on junior surgical residents' performance of an end-to-side anastomosis
OBJECTIVE: We assessed the effect of an open vascular simulation course on the surgical skill of junior surgical residents in performing a vascular end-to-side anastomosis and determined the course length required for effectiveness. We hypothesized that a 6-week course would significantly increase the surgical skill of junior residents in performing an end-to-side anastomosis, while a 3-week course would not.
METHODS: We randomized 37 junior residents (postgraduate year 1 to 3) to a course consisting of three (short course, n = 18) or six (long course, n = 19) consecutive weekly 1-hour teaching sessions. Content focused on instrument recognition and performance of an end-to-side vascular anastomosis using a simulation model. A standardized 50-point vascular skills assessment (SVSA) measured knowledge and technical proficiency. Senior residents (postgraduate year 4 to 5) were tested at baseline. Junior residents were tested at baseline and at 1 and 16 weeks after course completion, and their scores were compared with baseline and senior resident scores. Residents and faculty completed a standardized anonymous evaluation of the course.
RESULTS: Baseline scores between short-course and long-course participants were not different. At baseline, junior residents had significantly lower SVSA scores than senior residents (36+/-7 vs 41.4+/-2.5; P=.002). One week after course completion, SVSA scores for short-course (43.5+/-2.9 vs 34.2+/-7.5; P=.008) and long-course (43.9+/-5.6 vs 38.3+/-5.9; P=.006) participants were significantly improved from baseline. SVSA scores decreased slightly at 16 weeks but remained above baseline in short-course (39+/-6.2 vs 34.2+/-7.5; P=.03) and long-course (40+/-4.5 vs 38.3+/-5.9; P=.08) participants. Long vs short course length did not affect improvement in SVSA scores at 1 or 16 weeks. In short-course and long-course participants, SVSA scores at 1 and 16 weeks were not significantly different from senior resident scores. Course ratings were high, and 95% of residents indicated the course "made them a better surgeon." Residents and faculty felt the educational benefit of the course merited the investment of resources.
CONCLUSIONS: An open vascular simulation course consisting of three weekly 1-hour sessions increased the surgical skill of junior residents in performing a vascular end-to-side anastomosis to that of senior residents on a standardized assessment. A 6-week course provided no additional benefit. This study supports the use of an open vascular simulation course to teach vascular surgical skills to junior residents. A course consisting of three 1-hour sessions is an effective and efficient component of a simulation program for junior surgical residents in a busy surgical center. rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE: Single-segment saphenous vein remains the optimal conduit for infrainguinal revascularization. In its absence, prosthetic conduit may be used. Existing data regarding the significance of anastomotic distal vein adjunct (DVA) usage with prosthetic grafts are based on small series.
METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort analysisderived from the regional Vascular Study Group of New England as well as the Brigham and Women's hospital database. A total of 1018 infrainguinal prosthetic bypass grafts were captured in the dataset from 73 surgeons at 15 participating institutions. Propensity scoring and 3:1 matching was performed to create similar exposure groups for analysis. Outcome measures of interest included: primary patency, freedom from major adverse limb events (MALEs), and amputation free survival at 1 year as a function of vein patch utilization. Time to event data were compared with the log-rank test; multivariable Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate the adjusted association between vein cuff usage and the primary end points. DVA was defined as a vein patch, cuff, or boot in any configuration.
RESULTS: Of the 1018 bypass operations, 94 (9.2%) had a DVA whereas 924 (90.8%) did not (no DVA). After propensity score matching, 88 DVAs (25%) and 264 no DVAs (75%) were analyzed. On univariate analysis of the matched cohort, the DVA and no DVA groups were similar in terms of mean age (70.0 vs 69.0; P = .55), male sex (58.0% vs 58.3%; P > .99), and preoperative characteristics such as living at home (93.2% vs 94.3%; P = .79) and independent ambulatory status (72.7% vs 75.7%; P = .64). The DVA and no DVA groups had similar rates of major comorbidities such as hypertension chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, coronary artery disease, and dialysis dependence (P > .05 for all). Likewise, they had similar rates of distal origin grafts (13.6% vs 12.5%; P = .85), critical limb ischemia indications (P = .53), and prior arterial bypass (58% vs 47%; P = .08). The DVA group had a higher rate of completion angiogram performed (55.7% vs 37.5%; P =.002) and were more likely to be discharged on coumadin (53.4% vs 37.1%; P =.01). By multivariable analysis, use of a distal DVA was protective against MALEs (hazard ratio, 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.14-0.90; P = .03).
CONCLUSIONS: This contemporary multi-institutional propensity-matched study demonstrates that patients that receive distal anastomotic vein adjuncts as part of infrainguinal prosthetic bypass operations in general have more extreme comorbidities and more technically challenging operations based on level of target vessel and prior bypass attempts. After propensity-matched analysis, the use of a DVA may protect against MALEs in prosthetic bypass surgery and should be considered when feasible. rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE: Smoking is the most important modifiable risk factor for patients with vascular disease. The purpose of this study was to examine smoking cessation rates after vascular procedures and delineate factors predictive of postoperative smoking cessation.
METHODS: The Vascular Study Group of New England registry was used to analyze smoking status preoperatively and at 1 year after carotid endarterectomy, carotid artery stenting, lower extremity bypass, and open and endovascular abdominal aortic aneurysm repair between 2003 and 2009. Of 10,734 surviving patients after one of these procedures, 1755 (16%) were lost to follow-up and 1172 (11%) lacked documentation of their smoking status at follow-up. The remaining 7807 patients (73%) were available for analysis. Patient factors independently associated with smoking cessation were determined using multivariate analysis. The relative contribution of patient and procedure factors including treatment center were measured by chi-pie analysis. Variation between treatment centers was further evaluated by calculating expected rates of cessation and by analysis of means. Vascular Study Group of New England surgeons were surveyed regarding their smoking cessation techniques (85% response rate).
RESULTS: At the time of their procedure, 2606 of 7807 patients (33%) were self-reported current smokers. Of these, 1177 (45%) quit within the first year of surgery, with significant variation by procedure type (open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, 50%; endovascular repair, 49%; lower extremity bypass, 46%; carotid endarterectomy, 43%; carotid artery stenting, 27%). In addition to higher smoking cessation rates with more invasive procedures, age >70 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.90; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.30-2.76; P < .001) and dialysis dependence (OR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.04-5.43; P = .04) were independently associated with smoking cessation, whereas hypertension (OR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.00-1.51; P = .051) demonstrated a trend toward significance. Treatment center was the greatest contributor to smoking cessation, and there was broad variation in smoking cessation rates, from 28% to 62%, between treatment centers. Cessation rates were higher than expected in three centers and significantly lower than expected in two centers. Among survey respondents, 78% offered pharmacologic therapy or referral to a smoking cessation specialist, or both. The smoking cessation rate for patients of these surgeons was 48% compared with 33% in those who did not offer medications or referral (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Patients frequently quit smoking after vascular surgery, and multiple patient-related and procedure-related factors contribute to cessation. However, we note significant influence of treatment center on cessation as well as broad variation in cessation rates between treatment centers. This variation indicates an opportunity for vascular surgeons to impact smoking cessation at the time of surgery. rights reserved.
Severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with adverse outcomes in patients undergoing elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repair
INTRODUCTION: Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been implicated as a risk factor for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) rupture, its effect on surgical repair is less defined. Consequently, variation in practice persists regarding patient selection and surgical management. The purpose of this study was to analyze the effect of COPD on patients undergoing AAA repair.
METHODS: We reviewed a prospective regional registry of 3455 patients undergoing elective open AAA repair (OAR) and endovascular AAA repair (EVAR) from 23 centers in the Vascular Study Group of New England from 2003 to 2011. COPD was categorized as none, medical (medically treated but not oxygen [O2]-dependent), and O2-dependent. End points included in-hospital death, pulmonary complications, major postoperative adverse events (MAEs), extubation in the operating room, and 5-year survival. Survival was determined using life-table analysis based on the Social Security Death Index. Predictors of in-hospital and long-term mortality were determined by multivariate logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards analysis.
RESULTS: During the study interval, 2043 patients underwent EVAR and 1412 patients underwent OAR with a nearly equal prevalence of COPD (35% EVAR vs 36% OAR). O2-dependent COPD (4%) was associated with significantly increased in-hospital mortality, pulmonary complications, and MAE and was also associated with significantly decreased extubation in the operating room among patients undergoing both EVAR and OAR. Five-year survival was significantly diminished among all patients undergoing AAA repair with COPD (none, 78%; medical, 72%; O2-dependent, 42%; P < .001). By multivariate analysis, O2-dependent COPD was independently associated with in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 2.02, 95% confidence interval, 1.0-4.0; P = .04) and diminished 5-year survival (hazard ratio, 3.02; 95% confidence interval, 2.2-4.1; P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with O2-dependent COPD undergoing AAA repair suffer increased pulmonary complications, overall MAE, and diminished long-term survival. This must be carefully factored into the risk-benefit analysis before recommending elective AAA repair in these patients. rights reserved.
Management of a patient with Turner syndrome presenting with an isolated left subclavian artery aneurysm
We describe a case of a 52-year-old female with Turner syndrome found to have an isolated 3.5-cm left subclavian artery aneurysm. Surgical intervention was performed to decrease the risk of compressive symptoms, distal embolization, and rupture. This entailed exclusion of the aneurysm proximally using thoracic stent graft, carotid-subclavian bypass, and ligation of the subclavian artery distal to the aneurysm. One-year follow-up demonstrated exclusion of the aneurysm with a 5-mm reduction in maximum aneurysm sac diameter. This case represents the management of a rare isolated left subclavian artery aneurysm, in the setting of Turner syndrome, treated with a successful endovascular approach.
Optimal selection of asymptomatic patients for carotid endarterectomy based on predicted 5-year survival
OBJECTIVE: Although carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is performed to prevent stroke, long-term survival is essential to ensure benefit, especially in asymptomatic patients. We examined factors associated with 5-year survival following CEA in patients with asymptomatic internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis.
METHODS: Prospectively collected data from 4114 isolated CEAs performed for asymptomatic stenosis across 24 centers in the Vascular Study Group of New England between 2003 and 2011 were used for this analysis. Late survival was determined with the Social Security Death Index. Cox proportional hazard models were used to identify risk factors for mortality within the first 5 years after CEA and to calculate a risk score for predicting 5-year survival.
RESULTS: Overall 3- and 5-year survival after CEA in asymptomatic patients were 90% (95% CI 89%-91%) and 82% (95% CI 81%-84%), respectively. By multivariate analysis, increasing age, diabetes, smoking history, congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, poor renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate dependence), absence of statin use, and worse contralateral ICA stenosis were all associated with worse survival. Patients classified as low (27%), medium (68%), and high risk (5%) based on number of risk factors had 5-year survival rates of 96%, 80%, and 51%, respectively (P < .001).
CONCLUSIONS: More than four out of five asymptomatic patients selected for CEA in the Vascular Study Group of New England achieved 5-year survival, demonstrating that, overall, surgeons in our region selected appropriate patients for carotid revascularization. However, there were patients selected for surgery with high risk profiles, and our models suggest that the highest risk patients (such as those with multiple major risk factors including age >/= 80, insulin-dependent diabetes, dialysis dependence, and severe contralateral ICA stenosis) are unlikely to survive long enough to realize a benefit of prophylactic CEA for asymptomatic stenosis. Predicting survival is important for decision making in these patients.