Abstract Recent advancements in the research field of stem cell biology have enabled the realization of regenerative medicine in various systems of the body, including the central nervous system. However, fundamental knowledge regarding how neural stem cells divide and generate young neurons in mammals, especially in vivo, is still inadequate. In this article, we shall summarize the concept of cell cycle/division of neural stem cells that generate projection neurons in the murine cerebral cortex. We shall also review the molecular mechanisms that modulate the critical parameters related to the cell cycle regulatory mechanisms, with special reference to the cell cycle regulatory protein p27Kip1, an inhibitor of progression of the cell cycle at the G1 phase. A better understanding of the mechanisms controlling cell cycle progression is expected to contribute to the development of novel strategies to increase the efficiency of neural cell/tissue production, both in vivo and in vitro.
Abstract The tympanic membrane is a thin layer that originates from the ectoderm, endoderm, and mesenchyme. Molecular-genetic investigations have revealed that interaction between epithelial and mesenchymal cells in the pharyngeal arches is essential for development of the tympanic membrane. We have recently reported that developmental mechanisms underlying the tympanic membrane seem to be different between mouse and chicken, suggesting that the tympanic membrane evolved independently in mammals and non-mammalian amniotes. In this review, we summarize previous studies of tympanic membrane formation in the mouse. We also discuss its formation in amniotes from an evolutionary point of view.
Abstract With the high cost and the long-term assessment of developmental toxicity testing in mammals, the vertebrate zebrafish has become a useful alternative model organism for high-throughput developmental toxicity testing. Zebrafish is also very favorable for the 3R perspective in toxicology; however, the methodologies used by research groups vary greatly, posing considerable challenges to integrative analysis. In this review, we discuss zebrafish developmental toxicity testing, focusing on the methods of chemical exposure, the assessment of morphological abnormalities, housing conditions and their effects on the production of healthy embryos, and future directions. Zebrafish as a systems toxicology model has the potential to elucidate developmental toxicity pathways, and to provide a sound basis for human health risk assessments.
Abstract Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a life-threatening disease characterized by progressive pulmonary arterial remodeling and right ventricular failure. Despite recent advances in pathophysiological mechanism exploration and new therapeutic approaches, PAH remains a challenging condition. In this study, we investigated the roles of the peptide fragments from proadrenomedullin (proADM) such as adrenomedullin (ADM), adrenotensin (ADT), and proadrenomedullin N-terminal 20 peptide (PAMP) during pulmonary remodeling caused by high pulmonary blood flow, and probed the possible involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction pathways. Sixteen rat models of PAH were artificially established by surgically connecting the left common carotid artery to the external jugular vein. We subcutaneously injected an extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK1/2) inhibitor, PD98059, in eight rats, treated another eight rats with an equal volume of saline. Eight rats without connections served as the control group. We observed that mRNA expression levels of ADM, stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK), and ERK1/2 were significantly elevated in the shunted rats; furthermore, ERK1/2 levels were significantly inhibited by PD98059. Protein levels of ADM, PAMP, p-SAPK, and p-ERK1/2 were significantly higher ADT was lower, and p-p38 remained unchanged in the rat models compared with the controls. However, the protein expression of both ADM and p-ERK1/2 was significantly inhibited by PD98059. Our results suggest that levels of ADM, ADT, and PAMP respond to pulmonary remodeling, and that activation of the SAPK and ERK1/2 signaling pathways is involved in pulmonary hypertension and artery remodeling caused by high pulmonary blood flow.
Abstract To investigate the pregnancy outcome of the fetuses with trisomy 18, we studied 123 cases of trisomy 18 who were born at our hospital from 1993 to 2009. Among them, 95.9% were diagnosed with trisomy 18 prenatally. Prenatal ultrasound findings showed fetal growth restriction in 77.2%, polyhydramnios in 63.4% and congenital heart defects in 95.1%. For 18 cases, cesarean section (C-section) was chosen, and for 75 cases, transvaginal delivery was chosen. Premature delivery occurred in 35.5%. Stillbirths occurred in 50 cases (40.7%). Fetal demise before onset of labor occurred in 30 cases and fetal demise during labor occurred in 20 cases which was 26.7% of vaginal deliveries. Among the 73 live-born infants, the survival rate for 24 h, 1 week, 1 month and 1 year were 63%, 43%, 33% and 3%. The median survival time was 3.5 days. There was no significant difference between the survival time of C-section and that of vaginal delivery. However, for the births involving breech presentation, the survival time of C-section was significantly longer than that of vaginal delivery. When the fetus is diagnosed with trisomy 18, the parents have to make many choices. These findings constitute critical information in prenatal counseling to the couples whose fetuses have been found to have trisomy 18, especially when they choose palliative approaches in the perinatal management.
Abstract In most patients affected by isolated anorectal malformation (IARM) the etiology is largely unknown. Thus, the aim of our project was to analyze possible risk factors for IARM. In the first step, birth outcomes of cases with IARM were analyzed on the basis of maternal socio-demographic variables, and these data are presented in this paper. Gestational age at delivery, birthweight, preterm birth, low birthweight and small for gestational age of cases with IARM were evaluated in the function of maternal age, birth/pregnancy order, marital and employment status of mothers in the population-based large dataset of the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance of Congenital Abnormalities, 1980–1996. The study samples included 231 live-born cases with IARM, 361 matched and 38 151 population controls without any defect. IARMs are more frequent in males, twins and newborn infants with low birthweight and small-for-gestational-age, the latter being the consequence of intrauterine growth restriction. In addition, mothers of cases were younger but with higher birth order, and had lower socio-economic status. These maternal variables are characteristic for the gypsy population in Hungary. The higher proportion of gypsy women among the mothers of cases with IARM was confirmed during the home visits of the study. Male sex and intrauterine growth restriction of cases, in addition to low socioeconomic status and gypsy origin of mothers may have a role in the risk of IARMs.