Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) has been used as the adjuvant or vector for tumor and viral vaccine for its capability of eliciting all aspects of cell-mediated immunity including T cell activation and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) production. These effector components play critical roles in the protection against Plasmodium infection in both human malaria and mouse models. Therefore, immune response induced by Lm infection may benefit the defense against malaria. To test this hypothesis, we employed blood-stage Plasmodium yoelii (PyL) infected mice and challenged them with Lm. C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice that are sensitive to PyL infection were used in experiments. These two strains are resistant and sensitive, respectively, to Lm infection. The outcomes of double infection with PyL and Lm and the changes of immune response were investigated. We found that live Lm inoculation inhibited PyL multiplication in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. Lm inoculation increased production of IFN-γ, infiltration of CD11b-positive macrophages and generation of nitric oxide in the spleen of C57BL/6 mice at day 5 after parasite infection. Both CD4- and CD8- positive T cells contributed to IFN-γ production induced by Lm inoculation in PyL-infected mice. The protective effect of Lm against PyL infection depended on the viability of the bacteria. Live Lm, rather than heat-killed Lm, stimulated early IFN-γ production which provided essential cytokine environment for the development of Th1 response in PyL-infected mice. Our data show for the first time that Lm inoculation has protective effect against blood-stage murine malaria, which provides a new clue for enhancing anti-Plasmodium immunity.
Hyponatremia is prevalent before liver transplantation and generally corrected immediately after transplantation. However, the clinical significance of correction rate of hyponatremia is not well investigated. The prognostic impact of pre-transplant serum sodium concentrations and post-transplant correction rate of hyponatremia were assessed. A total of 512 patients who received orthotopic liver transplants were enrolled. The correction rate of hyponatremia (delta sodium, ΔNa) was calculated based on the data collected during the first 48 hours following liver transplantation. Outcomes, including in-hospital mortality, delirium, neurological complications, acute kidney injury, and infections, were compared according to the serum sodium levels (sNa < 125, 125-135, and ≥ 135 mmol/L), and the risk factors for in-hospital mortality and neurological complications were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression methods. Patients with severe hyponatremia (sNa < 125 mmol/L) had higher rates of in-hospital mortality (9.6%, P = 0.010), delirium (54.8%, P = 0.003), neurological complications (24.7%, P = 0.003), and acute kidney injury (57.5%, P = 0.005). In multivariate analysis, serum sodium levels (OR = 0.975, P = 0.402) and delta sodium (OR = 1.097, P = 0.066) were not independent risk factors for in-hospital mortality. However, delta sodium (OR = 1.093, P = 0.003) and fast correction rate of hyponatremia (ΔNa ≥ 12 mmol/L/24h, OR = 3.397, P = 0.023) were significantly associated with post-transplant neurological complications. Pre-transplantation hyponatremia was not independently associated with clinical outcomes. However, rapid correction of hyponatremia is an independent risk factor for the development of post-transplant neurological complications.
A prodrug, irinotecan (CPT-11), is a semisynthetic derivative of camptothecin. It inhibits topoisomerase I and is used for treatment of lung, stomach, and colon cancers in Japan. The active form of CPT-11, SN-38, causes the adverse events such as neutropenia and diarrhea. Since SN-38 is metabolized to non-toxic SN-38-glucuronide by hepatic uridine diphosphate glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) 1A enzymes, UGT1A enzyme activities may influence adverse events of CPT-11. UGT1A enzymes consist of three isozymes (1A1, 1A7, 1A9), and their genes are characterized by polymorphisms. Here, to identify the genetic factors that affect the adverse events of CPT-11, we determined the polymorphism in three UGT 1A isozyme genes in 45 inpatients with lung, colon, or stomach cancer. The univariate and multivariate analysis of patients' physiological and genetic factors revealed that one or more genotypes of UGT1A1*6/*28, UGT1A7*3/*3, and UGT1A9*1/*1 may enhance the adverse events. Each of the first two genotypes is expected to generate the enzyme with low catalytic activity. The UGT1A9*1 represents the wild-type allele, which however provides the lower catalytic activity, compared to the UGT1A9*22 variant that is common in this study population. Indeed, four (67%) out of six patients who carry one or more of the above-mentioned genotypes suffered from adverse events, leading to the discontinuation of chemotherapy or the decreased dose of CPT-11. By contrast, only six (15%) out of 39 patients with other genotypes suffered from adverse events. In conclusion, UGT1A1*6/*28, UGT1A7*3/*3, and UGT1A9*1/*1 should be taken into consideration as markers for preventing severe adverse events of CPT-11 administration.
Differentiated thyroid cancers (DTCs) derive from thyroid follicular cells and include papillary and follicular cancers. In patients with DTCs, the initial treatment includes thyroidectomy and radioactive iodine (131-I) therapy. The objective of this study was to examine whether the intensity of DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) of DTC patients depends on the amount of 131-I retained in the selected regions of interest (thyroid and abdominal region) as well as in the whole-body 72 hours after therapy. In addition, the possible influence of other factors that may affect micronuclei (MN) frequency, such as age, gender, smoking habits, and histological type of tumour was analyzed. The study population consisted of 22 DTC patients and 20 healthy donors. Data on the distribution of 131-I were obtained from the whole-body scans. MN frequency and cytokinesis-block proliferation index (CBPI) were measured using cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay. 131-I therapy significantly increased the MN frequency (19.50 ± 6.90 vs. 27.10 ± 19.50 MN) and significantly decreased the CBPI (1.52 ± 0.20 vs. 1.38 ± 0.17) in patients' lymphocytes. There was a clear correlation between the increased MN frequency and 131-I accumulation in the thyroid region in patients without metastases. The MN values did not differ in relation to the factors that could affect MN, such as age, gender, smoking habits, and histological type of tumour. In conclusion, the MN frequency in PBLs of DTC patients without metastases depends on the accumulation of 131-I in the thyroid region and does not depend on the other factors examined.
The number of physicians engaged in basic sciences and teaching is sharply decreasing in Japan. To alleviate this shortage, central government has increased the quota of medical students entering the field. This study investigated medical students' interest in basic sciences in efforts to recruit talent. A questionnaire distributed to 501 medical students in years 2 to 6 of Juntendo University School of Medicine inquired about sex, grade, interest in basic sciences, interest in research, career path as a basic science physician, faculties' efforts to encourage students to conduct research, increases in the number of lectures, and practical training sessions on research. Associations between interest in basic sciences and other variables were examined using χ2 tests. From among the 269 medical students (171 female) who returned the questionnaire (response rate 53.7%), 24.5% of respondents were interested in basic sciences and half of them considered basic sciences as their future career. Obstacles to this career were their original aim to become a clinician and concerns about salary. Medical students who were likely to be interested in basic sciences were fifth- and sixth-year students, were interested in research, considered basic sciences as their future career, considered faculties were making efforts to encourage medical students to conduct research, and wanted more research-related lectures. Improving physicians' salaries in basic sciences is important for securing talent. Moreover, offering continuous opportunities for medical students to experience research and encouraging advanced-year students during and after bedside learning to engage in basic sciences are important for recruiting talent.
Acyclovir is known for its antiviral activity against some pathogenic viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) that causes infectious mononucleosis (IM) and IM-like illness. Therefore, we empirically administered acyclovir to patients with suspected EBV-IM and IM like-illness, upon their admission to our hospital. We admitted 25 patients, who were hospitalized for fever and lymphadenopathy, to the Tohoku University Hospital Infectious Disease Ward. As part of treatment, 8 of these patients were given acyclovir (750 mg/day) with their consent and were assigned to the acyclovir group; the remaining 17 patients were assigned to the control group. The mean age of acyclovir patients (all men) was 42 ± 5.2 years, and that of control patients (13 men and 4 women) was 31 ± 3.0 years. The cause of illness was confirmed as EBV-IM in 6 patients (1, acyclovir; 5, control), and remained unknown for the other 19 IM-like illness patients (7, acyclovir; 12, control). A shorter duration of hospitalization and fever was observed in the acyclovir compared to that in the control patients (hospitalization duration: 16 ± 3.7 vs. 27 ± 7.7 days, P = 0.36; fever duration: 4.5 ± 1.8 vs. 18 ± 6.5 days, P = 0.04). Additionally, serum amyloid A (SAA) levels were lower in acyclovir than that in control patients (98 ± 37 vs. 505 ± 204 μg/mL, P = 0.02). Therefore, we propose that acyclovir is a potential therapeutic agent for both EBV-IM and IM like-illnesses. Future studies should further examine its mechanism of action.
Familial adenomatous polyposis is an autosomal dominant hereditary disease leading to the development of numerous colorectal polyps with malignant potential. Extra-colonic neoplasms are observed often in patients with familial adenomatous polyposis, but clinical characteristics of gastric cancer associated with familial adenomatous polyposis are not well understood. We studied the clinical characteristics of five Japanese patients who developed gastric cancer after undergoing colectomy for familial adenomatous polyposis. Gastric cancer was found on gastroduodenal endoscopy performed during postoperative follow-up in all five patients. Mean ages at the time of colectomy and at the time of diagnosis of gastric cancer were 39.2 and 58 years, respectively. Importantly, gastric fundic gland polyps were undetectable in these five patients. The mean duration between colectomy and diagnosis of gastric cancer was more than 20 years in three of five patients (mean: 19 years and 1 month). Cancers were multiple in three of five patients. Two patients developed metachronous gastric cancer in the gastric remnant. All five patients presented with well to moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma; four of the five patients were stage IA. Characteristics of the gastric cancer with familial adenomatous polyposis include a long duration between occurrence of gastric cancer and colectomy, metachronous cancers, multicentric lesions, and a high rate of well to moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma. Long-term and periodic gastroduodenal surveillance endoscopy is recommended for patients with FAP who underwent colectomy.
Epilepsy is defined as a disorder of the brain characterized by an enduring predisposition to experience epileptic seizures and the neurobiological, cognitive, psychological, and social difficulties relating to the condition. An epileptic spasm (ES) is a type of seizure characterized by clusters of short contractions involving axial muscles and proximal segments. However, the precise mechanism of ESs remains unknown. Despite the potential of magnetoencephalography (MEG) as a tool for investigating the neurophysiological mechanism of ESs, it has been difficult to use this methodology due to magnetic artifacts attributable to patient movement. We report on an 8-year-old girl suffering from intractable epileptic spasms from the age of 7 months. She was diagnosed with possible Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), characterized by the triad of callosal agenesis, infantile spasms, and chorioretinal lacunae. She is now intellectually delayed and suffers from intractable ES. We used both MEG and electroencephalography to investigate her epilepsy. The recording captured two series of spasm clusters. Spikes were clearly identified with MEG in about four-fifths of all spasms but were identified poorly or not at all in the remainder. MEG findings support previous studies that used intracranial electrodes to analyze patients with ESs and that showed variability in ES-associated spikes in terms of manner of cortical involvement and magnitude. Given the limitations of intracranial electrodes, such as sampling restrictions and invasiveness, MEG may be a helpful tool for non-invasively investigating the unique pathophysiological profile of focal-onset ESs.
Lung cancer is a major cause of cancer-related death worldwide. It is believed that obesity-related malignancies such as breast, endometrial, colorectal, and kidney carcinomas have lower plasma level and/or tissue expression of adiponectin receptors. However, the association between adiponectin receptors and lung cancer, a non obesity-related malignancy, is still unknown. We evaluated the tissue expression of adiponectin receptor (AdipoR) 1 and AdipoR2 in 83 cases of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and matched non-neoplastic lung tissues by immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Clinicopathological data, including smoking history, smoker's bronchiolitis, emphysema, lymph node metastasis, and T-stage were collected and evaluated. Expression of immunohistochemically stained AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 was observed in all samples of non-neoplastic lung tissues. Both receptors showed higher mRNA expression in non-neoplastic than neoplastic tissues (p < 0.05). In NSCLC tissues, AdipoR1 immunohistochemical expression was not observed in most of patients with squamous cell carcinoma and current smoking history (31/42, p = 0.04 and 25/29, p = 0.003, respectively). Additionally, AdipoR1 mRNA expression was significantly lower in patients with lymph node metastasis (p = 0.05). Meanwhile, AdipoR2 immunohistochemical stain expression was inversely correlated with T-stage (p = 0.05) and AdipoR2 mRNA expression was significantly lower in patients with smoker's bronchiolitis (p = 0.01) and emphysema (p = 0.03). Patients with expression of AdipoR1 had longer overall survival. AdipoR2 expression was not correlated with patients' survival. In conclusion, we suggest that expression of AdipoR1 is indicative of favorable prognosis and may be used as prognostic marker in NSCLC.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major health problem with increasing morbidity and mortality throughout the world. YKL-40 is a chitin-binding glycoprotein consisting of 383 amino acids, with a molecular mass of 40 kDa, and its serum level is elevated in inflammatory diseases. YKL-40 is a newly recognized biomarker of inflammation and has not been thoroughly investigated in COPD. The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between serum YKL-40 levels and severity of COPD. The study population consisted of 52 patients with COPD with the mean age of 60.2 ± 10.1 years. The serum YKL-40 level increased significantly with increasing age (p = 0.022, r = 0.346). In COPD patients, high serum YKL-40 level is correlated to low forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1, percent of predicted) (r = −0.277, p = 0.047). Moreover, high serum YKL-40 level is correlated to low arterial oxygen pressure (PaO2, mmHg) (r = −0.387, p = 0.005). The mean serum YKL-40 level was found as 243.1 ± 129.2 ng/ml in COPD patients with desaturation during 6-minute walk test (6MWT) and this value was higher than the mean serum YKL-40 level (155.8 ± 59.1 ng/ml) of COPD patients without desaturation during 6MWT (p = 0.004). This study demonstrated that high serum YKL-40 levels were correlated to severity of COPD. We propose that circulating YKL-40 levels could be a biomarker for hypoxemia and decline in lung function.