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- Efficacy of modafinil on fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness associated with neurological disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(12):e81802.
Modafinil is a novel wake-promoting agent approved by the FDA ameliorating excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in three disorders: narcolepsy, shift work sleep disorder and obstructive sleep apnea. Existing trials of modafinil for fatigue and EDS associated with neurological disorders provided inconsistent results. This meta-analysis was aimed to assess drug safety and effects of modafinil on fatigue and EDS associated with neurological disorders.A comprehensive literature review was conducted in order to identify published studies assessing the effects of modafinil on fatigue and EDS associated with neurological disorders. Primary outcomes included fatigue and EDS. Secondary outcomes included depression and adverse effects.Ten randomized controlled trials were identified including 4 studies of Parkinson's disease (PD), 3 of multiple sclerosis (MS), 2 of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and 1 of post-polio syndrome (PPS). A total of 535 patients were enrolled. Our results suggested a therapeutic effect of modafinil on fatigue in TBI (MD -0.82 95% CI -1.54 - -0.11 p=0.02, I(2)=0%), while a beneficial effect of modafinil on fatigue was not confirmed in the pooled studies of PD or MS. Treatment results demonstrated a clear beneficial effect of modafinil on EDS in patients with PD (MD -2.45 95% CI -4.00 - -0.91 p=0.002 I(2)=14%), but not with MS and TBI. No difference was seen between modafinil and placebo treatments in patients with PPS. Modafinil seemed to have no therapeutic effect on depression. Adverse events were similar between modafinil and placebo groups except that more patients were found with insomnia and nausea in modafinil group.Existing trials of modafinil for fatigue and EDS associated with PD, MS, TBI and PPS provided inconsistent results. The majority of the studies had small sample sizes. Modafinil is not yet sufficient to be recommended for these medical conditions until solid data are available.
- BtcA, A Class IA Type III Chaperone, Interacts with the BteA N-Terminal Domain through a Globular/Non-Globular Mechanism. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(12):e81557.
Bordetella pertussis, the etiological agent of "whooping cough" disease, utilizes the type III secretion system (T3SS) to deliver a 69 kDa cytotoxic effector protein, BteA, directly into the host cells. As with other T3SS effectors, prior to its secretion BteA binds BtcA, a 13.9 kDa protein predicted to act as a T3SS class IA chaperone. While this interaction had been characterized for such effector-chaperone pairs in other pathogens, it has yet to be fully investigated in Bordetella. Here we provide the first biochemical proof that BtcA is indeed a class IA chaperone, responsible for the binding of BteA's N-terminal domain. We bring forth extensive evidence that BtcA binds its substrate effector through a dual-interface binding mechanism comprising of non-globular and bi-globular interactions at a moderate micromolar level binding affinity. We demonstrate that the non-globular interactions involve the first 31 N-terminal residues of BteA287 and their removal leads to destabilization of the effector-chaperone complex and lower binding affinities to BtcA. These findings represent an important first step towards a molecular understanding of BteA secretion and cell entry.
- Characterization and Drug Resistance Patterns of Ewing's Sarcoma Family Tumor Cell Lines. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(12):e80060.
Despite intensive treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, over 70% of patients with metastatic Ewing's Sarcoma Family of Tumors (EFT) will die of their disease. We hypothesize that properly characterized laboratory models reflecting the drug resistance of clinical tumors will facilitate the application of new therapeutic agents to EFT. To determine resistance patterns, we studied newly established EFT cell lines derived from different points in therapy: two established at diagnosis (CHLA-9, CHLA-32), two after chemotherapy and progressive disease (CHLA-10, CHLA-25), and two at relapse after myeloablative therapy and autologous bone marrow transplantation (post-ABMT) (CHLA-258, COG-E-352). The new lines were compared to widely studied EFT lines TC-71, TC-32, SK-N-MC, and A-673. These lines were extensively characterized with regard to identity (short tandem repeat (STR) analysis), p53, p16/14 status, and EWS/ETS breakpoint and target gene expression profile. The DIMSCAN cytotoxicity assay was used to assess in vitro drug sensitivity to standard chemotherapy agents. No association was found between drug resistance and the expression of EWS/ETS regulated genes in the EFT cell lines. No consistent association was observed between drug sensitivity and p53 functionality or between drug sensitivity and p16/14 functionality across the cell lines. Exposure to chemotherapy prior to cell line initiation correlated with drug resistance of EFT cell lines in 5/8 tested agents at clinically achievable concentrations (CAC) or the lower tested concentration (LTC): (cyclophosphamide (as 4-HC) and doxorubicin at CAC, etoposide, irinotecan (as SN-38) and melphalan at LTC; P<0.1 for one agent, and P<0.05 for four agents. This panel of well-characterized drug-sensitive and drug-resistant cell lines will facilitate in vitro preclinical testing of new agents for EFT.
- Putative Panmixia in Restricted Populations of Trypanosoma cruzi Isolated from Wild Triatoma infestans in Bolivia. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e82269.
Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, is subdivided into six discrete typing units (DTUs; TcI-TcVI) of which TcI is ubiquitous and genetically highly variable. While clonality is the dominant mode of propagation, recombinant events play a significant evolutive role. Recently, foci of wild Triatoma infestans have been described in Bolivia, mainly infected by TcI. Hence, for the first time, we evaluated the level of genetic exchange within TcI natural potentially panmictic populations (single DTU, host, area and sampling time). Seventy-nine TcI stocks from wild T. infestans, belonging to six populations were characterized at eight microsatellite loci. For each population, Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium (HWE), linkage disequilibrium (LD), and presence of repeated multilocus genotypes (MLG) were analyzed by using a total of seven statistics, to test the null hypothesis of panmixia (H0). For three populations, none of the seven statistics allowed to rejecting H0; for another one the low size did not allow us to conclude, and for the two others the tests have given contradictory results. Interestingly, apparent panmixia was only observed in very restricted areas, and was not observed when grouping populations distant of only two kilometers or more. Nevertheless it is worth stressing that for the statistic tests of "HWE", in order to minimize the type I error (i. e. incorrect rejection of a true H0), we used the Bonferroni correction (BC) known to considerably increase the type II error ( i. e. failure to reject a false H0). For the other tests (LD and MLG), we did not use BC and the risk of type II error in these cases was acceptable. Thus, these results should be considered as a good indicator of the existence of panmixia in wild environment but this must be confirmed on larger samples to reduce the risk of type II error.
- Pathotype and Genetic Diversity amongst Indian Isolates of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e81996.
A number of rice resistance genes, called Xa genes, have been identified that confer resistance against various strains of Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), the causal agent of bacterial blight. An understanding of pathotype diversity within the target pathogen population is required for identifying the Xa genes that are to be deployed for development of resistant rice cultivars. Among 1024 isolates of Xoo collected from 20 different states of India, 11 major pathotypes were distinguished based on their reaction towards ten Xa genes (Xa1, Xa3, Xa4, xa5, Xa7, xa8, Xa10, Xa11, xa13, Xa21). Isolates belonging to pathotype III showing incompatible interaction towards xa8, xa13 and Xa21 and compatible interaction towards the rest of Xa genes formed the most frequent (41%) and widely distributed pathotype. The vast majority of the assayed Xoo isolates were incompatible with one or more Xa genes. Exceptionally, the isolates of pathotype XI were virulent on all Xa genes, but have restricted distribution. Considering the individual R-genes, Xa21 appeared as the most broadly effective, conferring resistance against 88 % of the isolates, followed in decreasing order by xa13 (84 %), xa8 (64 %), xa5 (30 %), Xa7 (17 %) and Xa4 (14 %). Fifty isolates representing all the eleven pathotypes were analyzed by southern hybridization to determine their genetic relatedness using the IS1112 repeat element of Xoo. Isolates belonging to pathotype XI were the most divergent. The results suggest that one RFLP haplotype that is widely distributed all over India and is represented in strains from five different pathotypes might be an ancestral haplotype. A rice line with xa5, xa13 and Xa21 resistance genes is resistant to all strains, including those belonging to pathotype XI. This three gene combination appears to be the most suitable Xa gene combination to be deployed in Indian rice cultivars.
- Enhanced Reliability and Accuracy for Field Deployable Bioforensic Detection and Discrimination of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca, Causal Agent of Citrus Variegated Chlorosis Using Razor Ex Technology and TaqMan Quantitative PCR. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e81647.
A reliable, accurate and rapid multigene-based assay combining real time quantitative PCR (qPCR) and a Razor Ex BioDetection System (Razor Ex) was validated for detection of Xylella fastidiosa subsp. pauca (Xfp, a xylem-limited bacterium that causes citrus variegated chlorosis [CVC]). CVC, which is exotic to the United States, has spread through South and Central America and could significantly impact U.S. citrus if it arrives. A method for early, accurate and sensitive detection of Xfp in plant tissues is needed by plant health officials for inspection of products from quarantined locations, and by extension specialists for detection, identification and management of disease outbreaks and reservoir hosts. Two sets of specific PCR primers and probes, targeting Xfp genes for fimbrillin and the periplasmic iron-binding protein were designed. A third pair of primers targeting the conserved cobalamin synthesis protein gene was designed to detect all possible X. fastidiosa (Xf) strains. All three primer sets detected as little as 1 fg of plasmid DNA carrying X. fastidiosa target sequences and genomic DNA of Xfp at as little as 1 - 10 fg. The use of Razor Ex facilitates a rapid (about 30 min) in-field assay capability for detection of all Xf strains, and for specific detection of Xfp. Combined use of three primer sets targeting different genes increased the assay accuracy and broadened the range of detection. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a field-deployable rapid and reliable bioforensic detection and discrimination method for a bacterial phytopathogen based on multigene targets.
- Self-healing efficiency of cementitious materials containing microcapsules filled with healing adhesive: mechanical restoration and healing process monitored by water absorption. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e81616.
Autonomous crack healing of cementitious composite, a construction material that is susceptible to cracking, is of great significance to improve the serviceability and to prolong the longevity of concrete structures. In this study, the St-DVB microcapsules enclosing epoxy resins as the adhesive agent were embedded in cement paste to achieve self-healing capability. The self-healing efficiency was firstly assessed by mechanical restoration of the damaging specimens after being matured. The flexural and compressive configurations were both used to stimulate the localized and distributed cracks respectively. The effects of some factors, including the content of microcapsules, the curing conditions and the degree of damage on the healing efficiency were investigated. Water absorption was innovatively proposed to monitor and characterize the evolution of crack networks during the healing process. The healing cracks were observed by SEM-EDS following. The results demonstrated that the capsule-containing cement paste can achieve the various mechanical restorations depending on the curing condition and the degree of damage. But the voids generated by the surfactants compromised the strength. Though no noticeable improved stiffness obtained, the increasing fracture energy was seen particularly for the specimen acquiring 60% pre-damage. The sorptivity and amount of water decreased with cracks healing by the adhesive, which contributed to cut off and block ingress of water. The micrographs by SEM-EDS also validated that the cracks were bridged by the hardened epoxy as the dominated elements of C and O accounted for 95% by mass in the nearby cracks.
- Pup Mortality in a Rapidly Declining Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) Population. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e80727.
The harbour seal population in Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, has reduced by 65% between 2001 and 2010. The cause(s) of this decline are unknown but must affect the demographic parameters of the population. Here, satellite telemetry data were used to test the hypothesis that increased pup mortality could be a primary driver of the decline in Orkney. Pup mortality and tag failure parameters were estimated from the duration of operation of satellite tags deployed on harbour seal pups from the Orkney population (n = 24) and from another population on the west coast of Scotland (n = 24) where abundance was stable. Survival probabilities from both populations were best represented by a common gamma distribution and were not different from one another, suggesting that increased pup mortality is unlikely to be the primary agent in the Orkney population decline. The estimated probability of surviving to 6 months was 0.390 (95% CI 0.297 - 0.648) and tag failure was represented by a Gaussian distribution, with estimated mean 270 (95% CI = 198 - 288) and s.d. 21 (95% CI = 1 - 66) days. These results suggest that adult survival is the most likely proximate cause of the decline. They also demonstrate a novel technique for attaining age-specific mortality rates from telemetry data.
- Differentiation without Distancing. Explaining Bi-Polarization of Opinions without Negative Influence. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(11):e74516.
Explanations of opinion bi-polarization hinge on the assumption of negative influence, individuals' striving to amplify differences to disliked others. However, empirical evidence for negative influence is inconclusive, which motivated us to search for an alternative explanation. Here, we demonstrate that bi-polarization can be explained without negative influence, drawing on theories that emphasize the communication of arguments as central mechanism of influence. Due to homophily, actors interact mainly with others whose arguments will intensify existing tendencies for or against the issue at stake. We develop an agent-based model of this theory and compare its implications to those of existing social-influence models, deriving testable hypotheses about the conditions of bi-polarization. Hypotheses were tested with a group-discussion experiment (N = 96). Results demonstrate that argument exchange can entail bi-polarization even when there is no negative influence.
- P2X7 Receptor Inhibition Increases CNTF in the Subventricular Zone, But Not Neurogenesis or Neuroprotection After Stroke in Adult Mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Transl Stroke Res 2013 Oct 1; 4(5)
Increasing endogenous ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) expression with a pharmacological agent might be beneficial after stroke as CNTF both promotes neurogenesis and, separately, is neuroprotective. P2X7 purinergic receptor inhibition is neuroprotective in rats and increases CNTF release in rat CMT1A Schwann cells. We, first, investigated the role of P2X7 in regulating CNTF and neurogenesis in adult mouse subventricular zone (SVZ). CNTF expression was increased by daily intravenous injections of the P2X7 antagonist Brilliant Blue G (BBG) in naïve C57BL/6 or Balb/c mice over 3 days. Despite the ∼40-60 % increase or decrease in CNTF with BBG or the agonist BzATP, respectively, the number of proliferated BrdU+SVZ nuclei did not change. BBG failed to increase FGF2, which is involved in CNTF-regulated neurogenesis, but induced IL-6, LIF, and EGF, which are known to reduce SVZ proliferation. Injections of IL-6 next to the SVZ induced CNTF and FGF2, but not proliferation, suggesting that IL-6 counteracts their neurogenesis-inducing effects. Following ischemic injury of the striatum by middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), a 3-day BBG treatment increased CNTF in the medial penumbra containing the SVZ. BBG also induced CNTF and LIF, which are known to be protective following stroke, in the whole striatum after MCAO, but not GDNF or BDNF. However, BBG treatment did not reduce the lesion area or apoptosis in the penumbra. Even so, this study shows that P2X7 can be targeted with systemic drug treatments to differentially regulate neurotrophic factors in the brain following stroke.