Infection with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, a known causal pathogen of human bacterial gastroenteritis, causes various symptoms and complications. A previously healthy 7-year-old girl was admitted because of fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. She was initially diagnosed with intussusception by abdominal ultrasonography. Although the patient was successfully treated by air enema, the fever persisted. The patient was then diagnosed with incomplete Kawasaki disease based on the presence of four principal clinical features. Intravenous immunoglobulin and oral aspirin were initiated. The patient defervesced and the other symptoms subsided after the treatment. Cardiac ultrasound results showed normal coronary arteries. Because of the gastrointestinal symptoms, stool samples were cultured repeatedly, only to yield normal flora. However, serum levels of anti-Y. pseudotuberculosis-derived mitogen antibody were elevated between the 7th and 18th days of the disease, thereby confirming Y. pseudotuberculosis infection. Because Y. pseudotuberculosis infection results in various clinical manifestations, we must be aware of each symptom and address them systematically.
The uncontrolled growth of blood vessels is a major pathological factor in human eye diseases that can result in blindness. This effect is termed ocular neovascularization and is seen in diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinopathy of prematurity. Current treatments for these diseases include laser photocoagulation, topical injection of corticosteroids, intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) agents and vitreoretinal surgery. Although strategies to inhibit VEGF have proved to be dramatically successful in some clinical studies, there remains the possibility of significant adverse effects regarding the blockade of crucial physiological roles of VEGF and the invasive nature of the treatments. Moreover, it is evident that other pro-angiogenic factors also play important roles in the development of these diseases, as seen in cases in which anti-VEGF therapies have failed. Therefore, new types of effective treatments are required. In this review, we discuss a promising strategy for the treatment of ocular neovascular diseases, i.e., the inhibition of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), a master regulator of angiogenesis. We also summarize promising recently investigated HIF inhibitors as treatments for ocular diseases. This review will facilitate more comprehensive approaches to understanding the protective aspects of HIF inhibition in the prevention of ocular diseases.
Although the severity of acute cerebral infarction varies in patients receiving direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), no practical method to predict the severity has been established. We analyzed retrospectively the relationship between cardioembolic cerebral infarction severity and coagulation indicators in patients treated with DOACs. We assessed the anticoagulation effect of DOACs using the activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), prothrombin time (PT), and prothrombin time international standardized ratio (PT-INR) in 71 patients with cardioembolic cerebral infarction admitted to our hospital between January 2015 and December 2019. The participants were divided into a prolongation group (prolonged APTT for oral thrombin inhibitors or prolonged PT for oral factor Xa inhibitors, n =37) and a normal group (no prolongation of coagulation markers, n =34). Of the 71 patients, 21 (30%) and 50 (70%) were using oral thrombin and oral factor Xa inhibitors, respectively. PT, PT-INR, and APTT were significantly higher in the prolongation group (PT: 17.4 ± 5.1 vs. 12.8 ± 1.4 s, P < 0.001; PT-INR: 1.5 ± 0.5 vs. 1.1 ± 0.1, P < 0.001; APTT: 44.8 ± 26.4 vs. 30.4 ± 4.1 s, P = 0.003). The median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score on admission and the prevalence of large vessel occlusion were significantly lower in the prolongation group (NIHSS: 2.0 vs. 9.5, P = 0.007; large vessel occlusion: 27% vs. 53%, P = 0.031). The prevalence of large vessel occlusion was low and stroke severity was mild in patients undergoing DOAC therapy with prolongation of coagulation assay markers upon onset of cardioembolic cerebral infarction.
Lymphedema occurs when interstitial fluid and fibroadipose tissues accumulate abnormally because of decreased drainage of lymphatic fluid as a result of injury, infection, or congenital abnormalities of the lymphatic system drainage pathway. An accurate anatomical map of the lymphatic vasculature is needed not only for understanding the pathophysiology of lymphedema but also for surgical planning. However, because of their limited spatial resolution, no imaging modalities are currently able to noninvasively provide a clear visualization of the lymphatic vessels. Photoacoustic imaging is an emerging medical imaging technique that provides unique scalability of optical resolution and acoustic depth of penetration. Moreover, light-absorbing biomolecules, including oxy- and deoxyhemoglobin, lipids, water, and melanin, can be imaged. Using exogenous contrast agents that are taken up by lymphatic vessels, e.g., indocyanine green, photoacoustic lymphangiography, which has a higher spatial resolution than previous imaging modalities, is possible. Using a new prototype of a photoacoustic imaging system with a wide field of view developed by a Japanese research group, high-resolution three-dimensional structural information of the vasculatures was successfully obtained over a large area in both healthy and lymphedematous extremities. Anatomical information on the lymphatic vessels and adjacent veins provided by photoacoustic lymphangiography is helpful for the management of lymphedema. In particular, such knowledge will facilitate the planning of microsurgical lymphaticovenular anastomoses to bypass the excess fluid component by joining with the circulatory system peripherally. Although challenges remain to establish its implementation in clinical practice, photoacoustic lymphangiography may contribute to improved treatments for lymphedema patients in the near future.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a progressive disease characterized by increased pulmonary vascular resistance that leads to right ventricular (RV) failure, a condition that determines its prognosis. This review focuses on the clinical value of the evaluation of RV function in PH. First, the pathophysiology of PH, including hemodynamics, RV function, and their interaction (known as ventriculoarterial coupling), are summarized. Next, non-invasive imaging modalities and the parameters of RV function, mainly assessed by echocardiography, are reviewed. Finally, the clinical impacts of RV function in PH are described. This review will compare the techniques that yield comprehensive information on RV function and their roles in the assessment of PH.
Uterus transplantation (UTx) has seen increasing global adoption as an alternative for women with uterine factor infertility to achieve pregnancy. However, several medical, ethical, and social issues need to be addressed before UTx can be applied clinically. Since 2009, Japan has amassed a large database of basic research on UTx in non-human primates, but clinical application has not been realized because of conservative attitudes and prudent concerns. Nonetheless, UTx may be viable in Japan after comprehensive resolution of the concerns associated with this medical technology.
Heart failure is a life-threatening disease prevalent worldwide. Cardiac transplantation is the last resort for patients with severe heart failure, but donor shortages represent a critical issue. Cardiac regenerative therapy is beneficial, but it is currently unsuitable as a substitute for cardiac transplantation. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are excellent sources for the generation of terminally differentiated cells. The preparation of a large number of pure cardiomyocytes (CMs) is the major premise for translational studies. To control the quality of the generated CMs, an efficient differentiation method, purification strategy, and mass-scale culture must be developed. Metabolic purification and large-scale culture systems have been established, and pure hiPSC-derived CMs of clinical grade are now available for translational research. The most critical challenge in cell therapy is the engraftment of transplanted cells. To overcome the low engraftment ratio of single CMs, aggregations of CMs are developed as cardiac spheroids. A cardiac transplantation device with domed tips and lateral holes has been developed for the transplantation of cardiac spheroids. Large animal models are necessary as the next step in the process toward clinical application. The transplant device has successfully been used to inject cardiac spheroids uniformly into myocardial layers in swine, and this approach is progressing toward clinical use. Remaining issues include immunological rejection and arrhythmia, which will require further investigation to establish safe and effective transplantation. This review summarizes the present status and future challenges of cardiac regenerative therapies.