Abstract Personalized Medicine represents a paradigm shift in the conceptual framework of research and clinical care. This shift argues that Down syndrome is a treatable condition, and therefore we must invest in research to improve outcomes. Individuals with Down syndrome have varying levels of increased risk for a number of co-morbidities, including infantile spasms and early onset Alzheimer's disease. We will review research in these associated conditions to show how investigators are attempting to identify biomarkers, including genomic, epigenomic, proteomic and metabolomic “signatures” that will predict who may be at risk to develop a specific co-morbidity prior to onset and will provide novel targets for therapeutic development. This Personalized Medicine approach will permit predictive and preventive approaches for individuals at increased risk for co-morbidities. The support for clinical trials among individuals with Down syndrome is beginning to overcome the “culture of intractability” that has surrounded this disorder.
Abstract Pelizaeus–Merzbacher disease (PMD) is a congenital hypomyelination disorder caused by alterations affecting the proteolipid protein 1 gene (PLP1) located on Xq22.2. Generally, patients with PLP1 missense mutations show the most severe form of PMD (connatal form); however, two-thirds of patients with PMD carry PLP1 duplications and present typical manifestations of the disorder, recognized as the classical form. Other rare PLP1 abnormalities have been also identified, including X-chromosome translocations, triplications, and a partial duplication, all involving PLP1. The genomic structure of the distal end of the PLP1 locus, characterized by repeated genomic segments, contributes to the chromosomal rearrangements around PLP1 and the manifestation of PMD. Thus, PMD is recognized as a chromosomal disorder.
Abstract Unrecognizable exposure to estrogenic substance may cause estrogen-dependent diseases, endometriosis and cancer. Pregnant mice (ICR/Jcl, CLEA) were exposed to 0.01 mg ethinyl estradiol (EE2)/kg per day or vehicle (olive oil) through oral intubation from day 11 to 17 of gestation. They delivered their offspring and raised them. When the experimental female F1 mice were at 8 weeks of age, they were not exposed to EE2 or to the same dose of EE2 or to vehicle twice a week until 20 weeks of age. The control female F1 mice were exposed to the same dose of EE2 or vehicle alone, similarly. All mice were killed at 28 weeks of age. The resected uteri and ovaries were processed for microscopic examinations and for determination of the aromatase mRNA levels and aromatase protein through quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Adenomyosis and adenocarcinomatous changes were significantly discernible in the EE2-exposed uteri, and incidence of ectopic glands and serous cysts were significantly increased in the prenatally EE2-exposed ovaries as compared with respective controls. Significant upregulation of the aromatase mRNA was seen in the prenatally EE2-exposed uteri and in the EE2-exposed ovaries. The aromatase protein was identified in all ovaries examined, and in EE2-exposed uteri but not in controls and confirmed its localization in eutopic and ectopic glands, abnormally proliferated lesions and the lining of the cysts. Taken together, continuous EE2 exposure may cause endometriotic and precancerous lesions due to excessive estrogen synthesis in both target organs.
Abstract Before establishment of feto-placental circulation, decidua can synthesize hemoproteins to maintain oxygen homeostasis in situ. Using the human decidua of induced abortions ranging from 5 to 8 weeks of gestation, we determined the expression levels of erythropoietin, erythropoietin receptor, cytoglobin, myoglobin, embryonic-, fetal- and adult hemoglobin mRNA by quantitative RT-PCR analysis and identified their proteins by Western blot and immunohistochemical analyses. Erythropoietin signaling was demonstrated in phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/protein kinase B pathway by Western blot, and the transcriptional factors for erythroid and non-erythroid heme synthesis were examined by RT-PCR analysis. In decidua, erythropoietin and its receptor mRNAs, erythropoietin receptor protein and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase, were expressed with a peak at 6 weeks of gestation. Moreover, the decidua during 5 to 8 weeks of gestation expressed embryonic, fetal and adult hemoglobins additionally cytoglobin and myoglobin at transcriptional and protein levels. The heme portion of these hemoproteins is considered to be synthesized by non-erythroid δ-aminolevulinate synthase. These hemoproteins were discernible especially in decidual cells concomitant with cytotrophoblast cells and macrophage in these developing decidua. Considering the different capacity for oxygen binding and dissociation among hemoglobins with the oxygen storage capacity for cytoglobin and myoglobin, these hemoproteins appear to play a role in oxygen demand in decidua in situ before development of feto-placental circulation under the control of erythropoietin signaling.
Abstract The purpose of this paper was to shed some light on anorectal development from a viewpoint of the tail bud and splanchnic mesenchyme for better understanding of the morphogenesis of the human anorectum. Human embryos ranging from Carnegie stage 11 to 23 (CS 11 to 23) were adopted in this study. Seventeen embryos preserved at the Congenital Anomaly Research Center of Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine were histologically examined. The cloaca, extending caudally to the hindgut, was dramatically enlarged, particularly both its dorsal portion and membrane, that is, the cloacal membrane resulting from the development of the tailgut derived from the tail bud. The splanchnic mesenchyme surrounding the hindgut was spread out in the direction of the urorectal septum ventrally, suggesting that it participated in the formation of the septum. No fusion of the urorectal septum and the cloacal membrane was found. The splanchnic mesenchyme proliferated and developed into smooth muscle (circular and longitudinal) layers from cranial to caudal along the hindgut. The tail bud seems to cause both the adequate dilation of the dorsal cloaca and the elongation of the cloacal membrane; its dorsal portion in particular will be necessary for normal anorectal development. The splanchnic mesenchyme developed and descended toward the pectinate line and formed the internal sphincter muscle at the terminal bowel.
Abstract β-catenin is a molecule belonging to the armadillo family of proteins that is a crucial core-component of cellular adherens junctions, and a component of the canonical Wnt-signaling pathway. We attempted to analyze the functional significance of ectodermal-derived β-catenin during the development of the mouse genital tubercle, a mammalian anlage of the external genitalia. For this purpose, the conditional loss of function mouse mutant Wnt7a-Cre;β-catf/f was utilized. Loss of ectodermal β-catenin leads to the formation of urethral cleft during preputial uprising. Although expression of E-cadherin was retained in the genital tubercle ectoderm of mutants, probably through plakoglobin compensatory expression, expression of other crucial adherens junction components such as α-catenin and F-actin in the cell-cell border were distinctly reduced. We also showed that β-catenin is necessary for the expression of its transcriptional downstream target Lef-1 which was localized in the basal layer of the preputial ectoderm, excluding the midventral region at E15.5. Such specialized region was observed to possess cytoplasmic β-catenin expression at this stage. Coincidentally, mitotically active cells were also found in the basal layer of the preputial ectoderm excluding the midventral region. In mutant genital tubercle, cell proliferation in the preputial ectoderm was decreased. Taken together, we suggest that ectodermal β-catenin is necessary not only to maintain adherens junction integrity, but also to regulate cell proliferation possibly through Lef-1 functions. Thus, β-catenin is shown to perform dual functions, initially as an adhesion molecule and later on as a possible transcription factor.
Abstract We evaluated the effects of bisphenol A (BPA) on embryonic mouse hypothalamic cells. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) indicated that gonadotropin-releasing hormone 1 (Gnrh1) expression in 0.02–20 μM BPA-treated cells did not differ from that in control cells but decreased significantly in 200 μM BPA-treated cells. The mRNA level for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Bdnf), which participates in GNRH1 secretory system development, decreased significantly in 200 μM BPA-treated cells, but that for neurotrophic tyrosine kinase, receptor, type 2 (Ntrk2), did not change. This indicates that Gnrh1 gene expression in mice fetuses is not affected by exposure to <20 μM BPA and that the adverse effects of BPA on the BDNF-NTRK2 neurotrophin system are induced by decrease in the mRNA level of the ligand, not of its receptor.
Abstract Japan Association for Laboratory Animal Medicine (JALAM) recommends humane handling of rat fetuses. However, it is a challenge to accept proposed euthanizing methods such as cervical dislocation, decapitation and/or intracardiac injection of potassium chloride, because these methods would damage fetal specimens for skeletal and visceral examinations in developmental toxicity studies. The present study aimed at seeking better methodologies for fetal euthanasia and anesthesia. We were unable to accomplish fetal euthanasia directly, but instead, we could euthanize fetuses under pain-controlled anesthesia. It is recommended that hypothermia by immersion in cold physiological saline is an appropriate method for anesthesia. Moreover, we recommend that the anesthetized fetuses should be euthanized immediately by removal of the vital organs or immersion in appropriate fixatives.
ABSTRACT We describe a patient with typical manifestations of 9p monosomy syndrome, including trigonocephaly and sex reversal. Array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) revealed a 9p terminal deletion of approximately 9 Mb with the breakpoint at 9p23. We compared the deleted segments of 9p associated with reported cases of 9p monosomy syndrome with trigonocephaly. We did not identify a region that was shared by all patients; however, when only pure terminal or interstitial deletions that did not involve material from any other chromosome were compared, we identified a segment from D9S912 to RP11-439I6 of approximately 1 Mb that was deleted in every patient. We propose that this 1-Mb segment might be the critical region for 9p monosomy syndrome with trigonocephaly.
ABSTRACT Familial congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is extremely rare; it comprises about 2% of all CDH cases. The empirical risk is about 2%, increasing to 10% in a family with two affected children. This report describes severe CDH in two siblings who had been diagnosed prenatally. The female newborn diagnosed with left CDH prenatally was born at 38 weeks of gestation. Despite surgical repair and intensive treatment, she died 10 days after birth. Her younger brother was born at 39 weeks of gestation after being diagnosed with bilateral CDH prenatally, and died 75 min after birth. Both infants had neither other congenital anomaly nor chromosomal abnormalities. Their parents are healthy without consanguinity. Their first daughter and the fourth child have no congenital anomalies.