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5 Year Expression and Neutrophil Defect Repair after Gene Therapy in Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency is a monogenic disorder resulting in emphysema due principally to the unopposed effects of neutrophil elastase. We previously reported achieving plasma wild-type alpha-1 antitrypsin concentrations at 2.5%-3.8% of the purported therapeutic level at 1 year after a single intramuscular administration of recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 1 alpha-1 antitrypsin vector in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficient patients. We analyzed blood and muscle for alpha-1 antitrypsin expression and immune cell response. We also assayed previously reported markers of neutrophil function known to be altered in alpha-1 antitrypsin deficient patients. Here, we report sustained expression at 2.0%-2.5% of the target level from years 1-5 in these same patients without any additional recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype-1 alpha-1 antitrypsin vector administration. In addition, we observed partial correction of disease-associated neutrophil defects, including neutrophil elastase inhibition, markers of degranulation, and membrane-bound anti-neutrophil antibodies. There was also evidence of an active T regulatory cell response (similar to the 1 year data) and an exhausted cytotoxic T cell response to adeno-associated virus serotype-1 capsid. These findings suggest that muscle-based alpha-1 antitrypsin gene replacement is tolerogenic and that stable levels of M-AAT may exert beneficial neutrophil effects at lower concentrations than previously anticipated.

Change in Physical Activity and Sitting Time After Myocardial Infarction and Mortality Among Postmenopausal Women in the Women's Health Initiative-Observational Study

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

BACKGROUND: How physical activity (PA) and sitting time may change after first myocardial infarction (MI) and the association with mortality in postmenopausal women is unknown.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants included postmenopausal women in the Women's Health Initiative-Observational Study, aged 50 to 79 years who experienced a clinical MI during the study. This analysis included 856 women who had adequate data on PA exposure and 533 women for sitting time exposures. Sitting time was self-reported at baseline, year 3, and year 6. Self-reported PA was reported at baseline through year 8. Change in PA and sitting time were calculated as the difference between the cumulative average immediately following MI and the cumulative average immediately preceding MI. The 4 categories of change were: maintained low, decreased, increased, and maintained high. The cut points were > /=7.5 metabolic equivalent of task hours/week versus /=8 h/day versus /day for sitting time. Cox proportional hazard models estimated hazard ratios and 95% CIs for all-cause, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease mortality. Compared with women who maintained low PA (referent), the risk of all-cause mortality was: 0.54 (0.34-0.86) for increased PA and 0.52 (0.36-0.73) for maintained high PA. Women who had pre-MI levels of sitting time /day, every 1 h/day increase in sitting time was associated with a 9% increased risk (hazard ratio=1.09, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.19) of all-cause mortality.

CONCLUSIONS: Meeting the recommended PA guidelines pre- and post-MI may have a protective role against mortality in postmenopausal women.

History of Periodontitis Diagnosis and Edentulism as Predictors of Cardiovascular Disease, Stroke, and Mortality in Postmenopausal Women

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

BACKGROUND: Few studies have reported associations between periodontitis and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk in older women, which is the objective of the present investigation.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Participants were 57 001 postmenopausal women ages 55 to 89 years (mean 68 years; > 85% 60 and older) who were enrolled (1993-1998) in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study, and were without known CVD when history of periodontitis and edentulism was assessed by questionnaire at study Year-5 (1998-2003). There were 3589 incident CVD events and 3816 total deaths during a mean follow-up of 6.7 years. In multivariable analysis, periodontitis was not associated with CVD events, but was associated with higher total mortality (hazard ratio (HR)=1.12, 95% CI: 1.05-1.21). Edentulism was associated with higher age- and smoking-adjusted risks of CVD (HR=1.42, 95% CI: 1.27-1.59) and mortality (HR=1.47, 95% CI: 1.32-1.63). Further adjustment eliminated the association with CVD, but mortality remained significantly increased (HR=1.17, 95% CI: 1.02-1.33). Stratification on age, race-ethnicity, smoking, and diabetes mellitus yielded comparable results; however, edentulism was more strongly associated with CVD in women reporting > /=1 dental visit (HR=1.57) compared with (HR 1.03, interaction P=0.004) annually.

CONCLUSIONS: In community-dwelling older women, edentulism was associated with increased risks of CVD and total mortality, and presence of periodontitis, which is more prevalent than edentulism, was associated with 17% higher mortality rate. These findings suggest that improving periodontal condition of the general population could reduce overall mortality.

Dementia and Outcomes of Mechanical Ventilation

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

OBJECTIVES: To describe the effect of dementia on hospital outcomes of individuals requiring invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV).

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: 2011 Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

PARTICIPANTS: Hospitalized individuals with and without dementia undergoing IMV.

MEASUREMENTS: The adjusted predicted probability of undergoing IMV was examined in individuals with and without dementia. Then the dataset was limited to individuals who received IMV, and a multivariable logistic regression model was created in which dementia was the primary predictor and mortality was the outcome.

RESULTS: Of the 13,816,586 hospitalizations of older adults in the United States in 2011, 2,204,506 (16%) with a dementia diagnosis code were identified. Individuals with dementia had statistically significantly lower predicted probability of undergoing IMV (5.7%, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 5.6-5.8% than those without (6.5%, 95% CI = 6.4-6.6%). When the dataset was limited to individuals undergoing IMV, those with dementia were older (mean age 80 vs 76, P < .001) and had a higher combined Gagne comorbidity score (4.4 vs 4.1, P < .001) than those without. In a multivariable model, dementia was associated with greater likelihood of survival to hospital discharge (odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, P < .001). Individuals with dementia also had shorter mean length of stay (12.5 +/- 0.2 vs 13.1 +/- 0.2, P = .01) and lower cost per hospitalization for survivors ($37,213 vs $44,557, P < .001).

CONCLUSION: Older critically ill adults with dementia undergoing IMV had better in-hospital outcomes than those without dementia. Because a lower adjusted percentage of individuals with dementia underwent IMV, it is likely that patient selection drove outcome differences. These findings suggest that individuals, families, and clinicians are carefully considering prognosis, quality of life, and appropriate use of intensive care unit resources when deciding whether to use IMV in individuals with dementia.

Reproductive Factors and Incidence of Heart Failure Hospitalization in the Women's Health Initiative

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

BACKGROUND: Reproductive factors reflective of endogenous sex hormone exposure might have an effect on cardiac remodeling and the development of heart failure (HF).

OBJECTIVES: This study examined the association between key reproductive factors and the incidence of HF.

METHODS: Women from a cohort of the Women's Health Initiative were systematically evaluated for the incidence of HF hospitalization from study enrollment through 2014. Reproductive factors (number of live births, age at first pregnancy, and total reproductive duration [time from menarche to menopause]) were self-reported at study baseline in 1993 to 1998. We employed Cox proportional hazards regression analysis in age- and multivariable-adjusted models.

RESULTS: Among 28,516 women, with an average age of 62.7 +/- 7.1 years at baseline, 1,494 (5.2%) had an adjudicated incident HF hospitalization during an average follow-up of 13.1 years. After adjusting for covariates, total reproductive duration in years was inversely associated with incident HF: hazard ratios (HRs) of 0.99 per year (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98 to 0.99 per year) and 0.95 per 5 years (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.99 per 5 years). Conversely, early age at first pregnancy and nulliparity were significantly associated with incident HF in age-adjusted models, but not after multivariable adjustment. Notably, nulliparity was associated with incident HF with preserved ejection fraction in the fully adjusted model (HR: 2.75; 95% CI: 1.16 to 6.52).

CONCLUSIONS: In post-menopausal women, shorter total reproductive duration was associated with higher risk of incident HF, and nulliparity was associated with higher risk for incident HF with preserved ejection fraction. Whether exposure to endogenous sex hormones underlies this relationship should be investigated in future studies.

Outcomes Among Older Patients Receiving Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators for Secondary Prevention: From the NCDR ICD Registry

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:32am

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials of implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) for secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death were conducted nearly 2 decades ago and enrolled few older patients. OBJECTIVES: This study assessed morbidity and mortality of older patients receiving ICDs for secondary prevention in contemporary clinical practice. METHODS: We identified 12,420 Medicare beneficiaries from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD Registry undergoing first-time secondary prevention ICD implantation between 2006 and 2009 in 956 U.S. hospitals. Risks of death, hospitalization, and admission to a skilled nursing facility (SNF) were assessed over 2 years in age strata (65 to 69, 70 to 74, 75 to 79, and > /=80 years of age) using Medicare claims. The adjusted association between age and outcomes was evaluated using multivariable models. RESULTS: The mean age was 75 years at the time of implantation; 25.3% were <70 years of age and>25.7% were > /=80 years of age. Overall, the risk of death at 2 years was 21.8%, ranging from 14.7% among those <70 years of age to>28.9% among those > /=80 years of age (adjusted risk ratio [aRR]: 2.01; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.85 to 2.33; p for trend <0.001). The cumulative incidence of hospitalizations was 65.4%, ranging from 60.5% in those <70 years of age to 71.5% in those > /=80 years of age (aRR: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.19 to 1.36; p for trend <0.001). The cumulative incidence of admission to a SNF ranged from 13.1% among those <70 years of age to 31.9% among those > /=80 years of age (aRR: 2.67; 95% CI: 2.37 to 3.01; p for trend <0.001); SNF admission risk was highest in the first 30 days. CONCLUSIONS: Almost 1 in 5 older patients receiving a secondary prevention ICD survives at least 2 years. High hospitalization and SNF admission rates, particularly among the oldest patients, identify substantial care needs after device implantation.

A proactive approach to ending the use of university debit cards for indoor tanning

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 9:31am

Recently, a review of the top 125 colleges ranked by US News and World Report found that 14.4% of universities have a campus debit card that can be used to purchase tanning services. We sought to dissolve the affiliations between universities and tanning salons.

Investigating the Role of PIR1 and CD200R1 in the Innate Immune Response to Viral Pathogens

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 9:58am

After initially being infected with a virus, before an adaptive immune response can be mounted, the innate immune system of a cell recognizes and responds to certain patterns present in pathogenic molecules. I studied the role of two genes—PIR1 and CD200R1—on the innate immune responses in two different mouse models of viral infection, infection with the picornavirus EMCV (encephalomyocarditis virus) and infection with HSV-1 (herpes simplex virus) in a mouse model of herpes simplex encephalitis, respectively.

PIR1 is a putative RNA phosphatase that has been shown to play an important role in antiviral small RNA processing in C. elegans. It has also been shown to interact with the RIG-I-like receptor LGP2 in preliminary mammalian experiments. I sought to characterize the effect PIR1 has on the innate immune response to the virus EMCV in mice. By developing a PIR1-null mouse, I have found that the role of PIR1 in the progression of EMCV in mice is limited. However, in vitro studies show that PIR1 might play an important role in regulating foreign RNA recognition during the earliest time points post-infection.

CD200R1 is an anti-inflammatory signaling molecule that is expressed on myeloidderived cells, and whose ligand is highly expressed within the central nervous system. I investigated the role of this receptor in an intracranial model of herpes simplex encephalitis. CD200R1KO mice show improved survival following direct intracranial infection with HSV. I found this increased survival can be attributed to decreased levels of viral replication in CD200R1KO compared to wild-type mice. Further investigation has shown that CD200R1 affects the signaling and upregulation of the pattern-recognition receptor TLR-2 (toll-like receptor 2), and thus CD200R1 may impact HSV-1 replication by affecting TLR2 signaling.

Amyand's hernia: a rare inguinal hernia

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 9:38pm

Inguinal hernia repair is commonplace in general surgery practice and an estimated 700 000 are performed each year in the USA. The presence of the vermiform appendix contained in the hernia sac, or an Amyand's hernia, is exceedingly rare, occurring in 1% of inguinal hernia patients. We report the intra-operative findings of a standard inguinal hernia repair and discuss the management of the four types of Amyand's hernia.

Inhibiting Axon Degeneration in a Mouse Model of Acute Brain Injury Through Deletion of Sarm1

Fri, 06/09/2017 - 12:15pm

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Annually, 150 to 200/1,000,000 people become disabled as a result of brain trauma. Axonal degeneration is a critical, early event following TBI of all severities but whether axon degeneration is a driver of TBI remains unclear. Molecular pathways underlying the pathology of TBI have not been defined and there is no efficacious treatment for TBI.

Despite this significant societal impact, surprisingly little is known about the molecular mechanisms that actively drive axon degeneration in any context and particularly following TBI. Although severe brain injury may cause immediate disruption of axons (primary axotomy), it is now recognized that the most frequent form of traumatic axonal injury (TAI) is mediated by a cascade of events that ultimately result in secondary axonal disconnection (secondary axotomy) within hours to days.

Proposed mechanisms include immediate post-traumatic cytoskeletal destabilization as a direct result of mechanical breakage of microtubules, as well as catastrophic local calcium dysregulation resulting in microtubule depolymerization, impaired axonal transport, unmitigated accumulation of cargoes, local axonal swelling, and finally disconnection. The portion of the axon that is distal to the axotomy site remains initially morphologically intact. However, it undergoes sudden rapid fragmentation along its full distal length ~72 h after the original axotomy, a process termed Wallerian degeneration.

Remarkably, mice mutant for the Wallerian degeneration slow (Wlds) protein exhibit ~tenfold (for 2–3 weeks) suppressed Wallerian degeneration. Yet, pharmacological replication of the Wlds mechanism has proven difficult. Further, no one has studied whether Wlds protects from TAI. Lastly, owing to Wlds presumed gain-of-function and its absence in wild-type animals, direct evidence in support of a putative endogenous axon death signaling pathway is lacking, which is critical to identify original treatment targets and the development of viable therapeutic approaches.

Novel insight into the pathophysiology of Wallerian degeneration was gained by the discovery that mutant Drosophila flies lacking dSarm (sterile a/Armadillo/Toll-Interleukin receptor homology domain protein) cell-autonomously recapitulated the Wlds phenotype. The pro-degenerative function of the dSarm gene (and its mouse homolog Sarm1) is widespread in mammals as shown by in vitro protection of superior cervical ganglion, dorsal root ganglion, and cortical neuron axons, as well as remarkable in-vivo long-term survival (>2 weeks) of transected sciatic mouse Sarm1 null axons. Although the molecular mechanism of function remains to be clarified, its discovery provides direct evidence that Sarm1 is the first endogenous gene required for Wallerian degeneration, driving a highly conserved genetic axon death program.

The central goals of this thesis were to determine (1) whether post-traumatic axonal integrity is preserved in mice lacking Sarm1, and (2) whether loss of Sarm1 is associated with improved functional outcome after TBI. I show that mice lacking the mouse Toll receptor adaptor Sarm1 gene demonstrate multiple improved TBI-associated phenotypes after injury in a closed-head mild TBI model. Sarm1-/- mice developed fewer beta amyloid precursor protein (βAPP) aggregates in axons of the corpus callosum after TBI as compared to Sarm1+/+ mice. Furthermore, mice lacking Sarm1 had reduced plasma concentrations of the phosphorylated axonal neurofilament subunit H, indicating that axonal integrity is maintained after TBI. Strikingly, whereas wild type mice exhibited a number of behavioral deficits after TBI, I observed a strong, early preservation of neurological function in Sarm1-/- animals. Finally, using in vivo proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy, I found tissue signatures consistent with substantially preserved neuronal energy metabolism in Sarm1-/- mice compared to controls immediately following TBI. My results indicate that the Sarm1-mediated prodegenerative pathway promotes pathogenesis in TBI and suggest that anti-Sarm1 therapeutics are a viable approach for preserving neurological function after TBI.

Implementing a Fee-for-Service Cervical Cancer Screening and Treatment Program in Cameroon: Challenges and Opportunities

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 9:02pm

BACKGROUND: Cervical cancer screening is one of the most effective cancer prevention strategies, but most women in Africa have never been screened. In 2007, the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services, a large faith-based health care system in Cameroon, initiated the Women's Health Program (WHP) to address this disparity. The WHP provides fee-for-service cervical cancer screening using visual inspection with acetic acid enhanced by digital cervicography (VIA-DC), prioritizing care for women living with HIV/AIDS. They also provide clinical breast examination, family planning (FP) services, and treatment for reproductive tract infection (RTI). Here, we document the strengths and challenges of the WHP screening program and the unique aspects of the WHP model, including a fee-for-service payment system and the provision of other women's health services.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed WHP medical records from women who presented for cervical cancer screening from 2007-2014.

RESULTS: In 8 years, WHP nurses screened 44,979 women for cervical cancer. The number of women screened increased nearly every year. The WHP is sustained primarily on fees-for-service, with external funding totaling about $20,000 annually. In 2014, of 12,191 women screened for cervical cancer, 99% received clinical breast exams, 19% received FP services, and 4.7% received treatment for RTIs. We document successes, challenges, solutions implemented, and recommendations for optimizing this screening model.

CONCLUSION: The WHP's experience using a fee-for-service model for cervical cancer screening demonstrates that in Cameroon VIA-DC is acceptable, feasible, and scalable and can be nearly self-sustaining. Integrating other women's health services enabled women to address additional health care needs.

IMPLICATION FOR PRACTICE: The Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services Women's Health Program successfully implemented a nurse-led, fee-for-service cervical cancer screening program using visual inspection with acetic acid-enhanced by digital cervicography in the setting of a large faith-based health care system in Cameroon. It is potentially replicable in many African countries, where faith-based organizations provide a large portion of health care. The cost-recovery model and concept of offering multiple services in a single clinic rather than stand-alone "silo" cervical cancer screening could provide a model for other low-and-middle-income countries planning to roll out a new, or make an existing, cervical cancer screening services accessible, comprehensive, and sustainable.

Burden of Psychosocial and Cognitive Impairment in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 9:02pm

BACKGROUND: Impairments in psychosocial status and cognition relate to poor clinical outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). However, how often these conditions co-occur and associations between burden of psychosocial and cognitive impairment and quality of life (QoL) have not been systematically examined in patients with AF.

METHODS: A total of 218 patients with symptomatic AF were enrolled in a prospective study of AF and psychosocial factors between May 2013 and October 2014 at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Cognitive function, depression, and anxiety were assessed at baseline and AF-specific QoL was assessed 6 months after enrollment using validated instruments. Demographic and clinical information were obtained from a structured interview and medical record review.

RESULTS: The mean age of the study participants was 63.5 +/- 10.2 years, 35% were male, and 81% had paroxysmal AF. Prevalences of impairment in 1, 2, and 3 psychosocial/cognitive domains (eg, depression, anxiety, or cognition) were 75 (34.4%), 51 (23.4%), and 16 (7.3%), respectively. Patients with co-occurring psychosocial/cognitive impairments (eg, > 1 domain) were older, more likely to smoke, had less education, and were more likely to have heart failure (all P < 0.05). Compared with participants with no psychosocial/cognitive impairments, AF-specific QoL at 6 months was significantly poorer among participants with baseline impairment in 2 (B = -13.6, 95% CI: -21.7 to -5.4) or 3 (B = -15.1, 95% CI: -28.0 to -2.2) psychosocial/cognitive domains.

CONCLUSION: Depression, anxiety, and impaired cognition were common in our cohort of patients with symptomatic AF and often co-occurred. Higher burden of psychosocial/cognitive impairment was associated with poorer AF-specific QoL.

A Circulating microRNA Signature Predicts Age-Based Development of Lymphoma

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

Extensive epidemiological data have demonstrated an exponential rise in the incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that is associated with increasing age. The molecular etiology of this remains largely unknown, which impacts the effectiveness of treatment for patients. We proposed that age-dependent circulating microRNA (miRNA) signatures in the host influence diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) development. Our objective was to examine tumor development in an age-based DLBCL system using an inventive systems biology approach. We harnessed a novel murine model of spontaneous DLBCL initiation (Smurf2-deficient) at two age groups: 3 and 15 months old. All Smurf2-deficient mice develop visible DLBCL tumor starting at 15 months of age. Total miRNA was isolated from serum, bone marrow and spleen and were collected for all age groups for Smurf2-deficient mice and age-matched wild-type C57BL/6 mice. Using systems biology techniques, we identified a list of 10 circulating miRNAs being regulated in both the spleen and bone marrow that were present in DLBCL forming mice starting at 3 months of age that were not present in the control mice. Furthermore, this miRNA signature was found to occur circulating in the blood and it strongly impacted JUN and MYC oncogenic signaling. In addition, quantification of the miRNA signature was performed via Droplet Digital PCR technology. It was discovered that a key miRNA signature circulates throughout a host prior to the formation of a tumor starting at 3 months old, which becomes further modulated by age and yielded calculation of a 'carcinogenic risk score'. This novel age-based circulating miRNA signature may potentially be leveraged as a DLBCL risk profile at a young age to predict future lymphoma development or disease progression as well as for potential innovative miRNA-based targeted therapeutic strategies in lymphoma.

Brain microvasculature defects and Glut1 deficiency syndrome averted by early repletion of the glucose transporter-1 protein

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

Haploinsufficiency of the SLC2A1 gene and paucity of its translated product, the glucose transporter-1 (Glut1) protein, disrupt brain function and cause the neurodevelopmental disorder, Glut1 deficiency syndrome (Glut1 DS). There is little to suggest how reduced Glut1 causes cognitive dysfunction and no optimal treatment for Glut1 DS. We used model mice to demonstrate that low Glut1 protein arrests cerebral angiogenesis, resulting in a profound diminution of the brain microvasculature without compromising the blood-brain barrier. Studies to define the temporal requirements for Glut1 reveal that pre-symptomatic, AAV9-mediated repletion of the protein averts brain microvasculature defects and prevents disease, whereas augmenting the protein late, during adulthood, is devoid of benefit. Still, treatment following symptom onset can be effective; Glut1 repletion in early-symptomatic mutants that have experienced sustained periods of low brain glucose nevertheless restores the cerebral microvasculature and ameliorates disease. Timely Glut1 repletion may thus constitute an effective treatment for Glut1 DS.

The Trypanosome Exocyst: A Conserved Structure Revealing a New Role in Endocytosis

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

Membrane transport is an essential component of pathogenesis for most infectious organisms. In African trypanosomes, transport to and from the plasma membrane is closely coupled to immune evasion and antigenic variation. In mammals and fungi an octameric exocyst complex mediates late steps in exocytosis, but comparative genomics suggested that trypanosomes retain only six canonical subunits, implying mechanistic divergence. We directly determined the composition of the Trypanosoma brucei exocyst by affinity isolation and demonstrate that the parasite complex is nonameric, retaining all eight canonical subunits (albeit highly divergent at the sequence level) plus a novel essential subunit, Exo99. Exo99 and Sec15 knockdowns have remarkably similar phenotypes in terms of viability and impact on morphology and trafficking pathways. Significantly, both Sec15 and Exo99 have a clear function in endocytosis, and global proteomic analysis indicates an important role in maintaining the surface proteome. Taken together these data indicate additional exocyst functions in trypanosomes, which likely include endocytosis, recycling and control of surface composition. Knockdowns in HeLa cells suggest that the role in endocytosis is shared with metazoan cells. We conclude that, whilst the trypanosome exocyst has novel components, overall functionality appears conserved, and suggest that the unique subunit may provide therapeutic opportunities.

A hemodialysis cohort study of protocol-based anticoagulation management

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

BACKGROUND: Chronic hemodialysis patients frequently require anticoagulation treatment with warfarin for a variety of co-morbidities. The optimal method for monitoring and dose adjustment of warfarin-based anticoagulation in this population, however, remains unclear. To examine this more closely, we reviewed all hemodialysis patients at a single institution on chronic warfarin therapy for a 10-month period prior to and after the institution of a standardized protocol for warfarin dose adjustment and monitoring. Anticoagulation efficacy was assessed by time within the therapeutic INR range (TTR), and resource utilization was assessed by the number of weekly INR measurements required for monitoring.

RESULTS: We retrospectively analyzed 4481 patient-days of warfarin therapy data (from 25 hemodialysis patients) in the pre-protocol timeframe, and 3308 patient-days of warfarin therapy data (from 21 hemodialysis patients) in the on-protocol timeframe. Time within the therapeutic INR range (TTR) did not improve with institution of the dosing protocol-51.18% using non protocol-based management, and 51.57% using protocol-based management (p 0.73). However, overall resource utilization was reduced with institution of protocolized warfarin monitoring-from 1.71 INR measurements per patient-week pre-protocol, to 1.20 INR measurements per patient-week (p < 0.0001) post-protocol.

CONCLUSIONS: In this single-center study, institution of a standardized dosing protocol in a hemodialysis population on chronic warfarin therapy did not improve the rate of on-target anticoagulation, but did result in significantly lower resource utilization. We support protocol-based warfarin management in the hemodialysis population, but future work should examine the rate of on-target anticoagulation typically achieved in this group.

Intracranial AAV-IFN-beta gene therapy eliminates invasive xenograft glioblastoma and improves survival in orthotopic syngeneic murine model

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

The highly invasive property of glioblastoma (GBM) cells and genetic heterogeneity are largely responsible for tumor recurrence after the current standard-of-care treatment and thus a direct cause of death. Previously, we have shown that intracranial interferon-beta (IFN-beta) gene therapy by locally administered adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV) successfully treats noninvasive orthotopic glioblastoma models. Here, we extend these findings by testing this approach in invasive human GBM xenograft and syngeneic mouse models. First, we show that a single intracranial injection of AAV encoding human IFN-beta eliminates invasive human GBM8 tumors and promotes long-term survival. Next, we screened five AAV-IFN-beta vectors with different promoters to drive safe expression of mouse IFN-beta in the brain in the context of syngeneic GL261 tumors. Two AAV-IFN-beta vectors were excluded due to safety concerns, but therapeutic studies with the other three vectors showed extensive tumor cell death, activation of microglia surrounding the tumors, and a 56% increase in median survival of the animals treated with AAV/P2-Int-mIFN-beta vector. We also assessed the therapeutic effect of combining AAV-IFN-beta therapy with temozolomide (TMZ). As TMZ affects DNA replication, an event that is crucial for second-strand DNA synthesis of single-stranded AAV vectors before active transcription, we tested two TMZ treatment regimens. Treatment with TMZ prior to AAV-IFN-beta abrogated any benefit from the latter, while the reverse order of treatment doubled the median survival compared to controls. These studies demonstrate the therapeutic potential of intracranial AAV-IFN-beta therapy in a highly migratory GBM model as well as in a syngeneic mouse model and that combination with TMZ is likely to enhance its antitumor potency.

Resting-state functional connectivity changes within the default mode network and the salience network after antipsychotic treatment in early-phase schizophrenia

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

OBJECTIVE: Abnormal resting-state functional connectivity (FC), particularly in the default mode network (DMN) and the salience network (SN), has been reported in schizophrenia, but little is known about the effects of antipsychotics on these networks. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of atypical antipsychotics on DMN and SN and the relationship between these effects and symptom improvement in patients with schizophrenia. METHODS: This was a prospective study of 33 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia and treated with antipsychotics at Shanghai Mental Health Center. Thirty-three healthy controls matched for age and gender were recruited. All subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Healthy controls were scanned only once; patients were scanned before and after 6-8 weeks of treatment. RESULTS: In the DMN, the patients exhibited increased FC after treatment in the right superior temporal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus, and left superior frontal gyrus and decreased FC in the right posterior cingulate/precuneus (P<0.005). In the SN, the patients exhibited decreased FC in the right cerebellum anterior lobe and left insula (P<0.005). The FC in the right posterior cingulate/precuneus in the DMN negatively correlated with the difference between the Clinical Global Impression (CGI) score pre/post-treatment (r=-0.564, P=0.023) and negative trends with the difference in the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) total score pre/post-treatment (r=-0.475, P=0.063) and the difference in PANSS-positive symptom scores (r=-0.481, P=0.060). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that atypical antipsychotics could regulate the FC of certain key brain regions within the DMN in early-phase schizophrenia, which might be related to symptom improvement. However, the effects of atypical antipsychotics on SN are less clear.

Paucity of Intact Non-Induced Provirus with Early, Long-Term Antiretroviral Therapy of Perinatal HIV Infection

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

The latent reservoir is a major barrier to HIV eradication. Reservoir size is emerging as an important biomarker to assess the likelihood of HIV remission in the absence of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and may be reduced by earlier initiation of ART that restricts HIV spread into CD4+ T cells. Reservoir size is traditionally measured with a quantitative viral outgrowth assay (QVOA) that induces replication-competent HIV production through in vitro stimulation of resting CD4+ T cells. However, the recent identification of replication-intact, non-induced proviral genomes (NIPG) suggests the QVOA significantly underestimates (by 62-fold) latent reservoir size in chronically-infected adults. Whether formation and persistence of Intact, NIPG is thwarted by early ART initiation and long-term virologic suppression in perinatal infection is unclear. Here, we show that the latent reservoir in 11 early treated, long-term suppressed perinatally infected children and adolescents was not inducible by QVOA and dominated by defective, NIPG. Single genome analysis of 164 NIPG from 232 million cultured resting CD4+ T cells revealed no replication-intact, near-full length sequences. Forty-three (26%) NIPG contained APOBEC3G-mediated hypermutation, 115 (70%) NIPG contained large internal deletions, one NIPG contained nonsense mutations and indels, and 5 (3%) NIPG were assigned as "Not Evaluable" due to multiple failed sequencing attempts that precluded further classification. The lack of replication competent inducible provirus and intact NIPG in this cohort indicate early, long-term ART of perinatal infection leads to marked diminution of replication-competent HIV-1 reservoirs, creating a favorable state towards interventions aimed at virologic remission.

German translation, cultural adaptation, and validation of the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ)

Thu, 06/08/2017 - 4:12pm

The Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ), developed in Australia in 2012 using a 'validity-driven' approach, has been rapidly adopted and is being applied in many countries and languages. It is a multidimensional measure comprising nine distinct domains that may be used for surveys, needs assessment, evaluation and outcomes assessment as well as for informing service improvement and the development of interventions. The aim of this paper is to describe the German translation of the HLQ and to present the results of the validation of the culturally adapted version. The HLQ comprises 44 items, which were translated and culturally adapted to the German context. This study uses data collected from a sample of 1,058 persons with chronic conditions. Statistical analyses include descriptive and confirmatory factor analyses. In one-factor congeneric models, all scales demonstrated good fit after few model adjustments. In a single, highly restrictive nine-factor model (no cross-loadings, no correlated errors) replication of the original English-language version was achieved with fit indices and psychometric properties similar to the original HLQ. Reliability for all scales was excellent, with a Cronbach's Alpha of at least 0.77. High to very high correlations between some HLQ factors were observed, suggesting that higher order factors may be present. Our rigorous development and validation protocol, as well as strict adaptation processes, have generated a remarkable reproduction of the HLQ in German. The results of this validation provide evidence that the HLQ is robust and can be recommended for use in German-speaking populations.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: German Clinical Trial Registration (DRKS): DRKS00000584. Registered 23 March 2011.