Fibrosis is a state, in which excess amounts of extracellular matrix are deposited in the tissue. Fibrosis can occur in various organs, including the liver, lung, kidney and heart. The progression of fibrosis involves interstitial hypercellularity, accumulation of extracellular matrix, and atrophy of epithelial structures, resulting in a loss of normal function. Myofibroblasts play a crucial role in the development and progress of fibrosis. When stimulated, myofibroblasts actively synthesize connective tissue components and cause organ fibrosis. As a result, the process and the mechanism of myofibroblast activation represent a target for antifibrotic treatment. As yet, however, an effective treatment has not been developed, and new treatment modalities are expected. Because activation of myofibroblasts is a key event during fibrosis development, there is great interest in identifying and characterizing proteins whose expression is changed after this activation. In this review, fibrosis is outlined and the role of myofibroblasts in this disorder is described. Furthermore, the search for candidate proteins to target for treatment and the prospects of antifibrotic therapy are discussed.
Poorly differentiated thyroid carcinoma (PDTC) is a newly recognized histological type of malignant thyroid tumor, accounting for about 2 - 13% of all thyroid carcinomas. PDTC is considered as a morphologically and biologically intermediate stage between well-differentiated thyroid carcinoma and anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. PDTC preferentially manifests bone metastases. We here established a cell line from a resected tumor specimen from a 70-year-old male patient with PDTC who presented with multiple bone metastases. This new thyroid tumor cell line was designated as DH-14-3 and was subsequently grown in culture for several years. DH-14-3 cells express thyroglobulin in the cytoplasm and thyroid transcription factor-1 in the nuclei, both proteins of which are specific markers for the thyroid gland. Importantly, triiodothyronine (T3) was detected in the cultured medium of DH-14-3 cells, in which, however, thyroxine (T4) was undetectable. Moreover, DH-14-3 cells secreted interleukin-8, transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase-1 and parathyroid hormone-related protein, all of which may be responsible for the aggressiveness or bone metastasis of PDTC. Thus, the production of these proteins may reflect the metastatic potential of this cell line. DH-14-3 cells also express CXC chemokine receptor-4 and epidermal growth factor receptor, and carry a missense mutation in the p53 tumor suppressor gene. In fact, transplantation of DH-14-3 cells into the back of nude mice resulted in the formation of tumors, thereby confirming the capability of tumorigenesis. DH-14-3 cells may be useful for investigating the biological features of PDTC and will contribute to the therapeutic study of thyroid cancer.
Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common symptoms in outpatient clinics, and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is one of the causes of LBP. In the present study, we examined the prevalence of chronic LBP in patients with aortic aneurysm. The study included 23 patients with AAA and 23 patients with thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA); all of them visited a regional center hospital in Akita, Japan. A total of 207 hypertension patients were also enrolled as a control. Chronic LBP was defined in patients who visited the orthopedic outpatient clinic for the LBP treatment for more than three months. The prevalence of chronic LBP in the AAA group (52.2%) was significantly higher than that in the TAA (17.4%, P < 0.05) or hypertension patients (11.6%, P < 0.01). The rate of a trigger point (TP) injection was significantly higher in the AAA group or the TAA group than that in hypertension patients (P < 0.01, P < 0.05), but there was no significant difference between the AAA and TAA groups. The TP injection represents an injection of local anesthesia to the low back muscles. We also evaluated the involvement of various factors in LBP caused by AAA, such as age, gender, blood pressure, the existence of dissection, and the maximum diameter of AAA, but none of them showed significant relationship to LBP. The prevalence of LBP is high in AAA patients, and doctors who treat chronic LBP should be aware of AAA as a potential cause of LBP.
Screening of medical students and international students for tuberculosis (TB) at the time of admission is a key strategy to control and prevent the spread of infection on university campus and teaching hospitals because of the high risk of exposure to TB patients. The Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen-specific T-cell interferon-γ release assays (IGRAs) are specific latent tuberculosis detection methods used in such groups. Currently, in Japan, there are no guidelines and no baseline data on IGRAs to evaluate the risk of TB in these high-risk groups. In order to evaluate TB risk at the time of admission in university campus and medical schools in Japan, a retrospective study was conducted. A total of 969 students (585 Japanese students and 384 international students) were screened for TB using the IGRAs at the time of admission. Eight Japanese students (0.9%) were positive for IGRAs, but none were diagnosed with active TB at the follow-up. In contrast, 30 international students (7.8%) were positive for IGRAs, including two students diagnosed with active TB during follow up. Positive ratio of IGRAs in international students was significantly higher than that of medical students at the time of admission. Here we propose a standard approach for TB screening with IGRAs at the time of admission for medical students and international students in Japan.
Osteopetrosis is a rare, inherited disease characterized by dense and brittle bones, and it is associated with an increased risk of femoral fractures. However, the surgical treatment of the fracture patients with osteopetrosis is a subject of controversy, because it is difficult to compare the treatment effects between surgical treatment and conservative treatment in part due to the rarity of siblings with osteopetrosis. In fact, the genetic background and the environmental factors, such as living conditions and daily work, may influence the prognosis of the fracture patients with osteopetrosis. Here we describe siblings with osteopetrosis, a 23-year-old female patient and her older brother, both of whom had suffered from bilateral femoral fractures at their childhood. They do not have other brothers or sisters, and their parents are healthy. The younger sister had undergone surgical treatment for femoral fractures at the age of 8 years and recovered very well. In contrast, her brother had received the conservative treatment for femoral fractures at the age of 6 years, and thereafter he is badly disabled due to the malunion of the fractured femurs. Apparently, the surgical treatment is superior to the conservative treatment for the fracture patient with osteopetrosis. Unfortunately, fifteen years later, the sister fractured again at both femurs and underwent another operation. She recovered quickly from the second operation, indicating that second operation should be considered in osteopetrosis patients with postoperative fractures. The present report provides valuable information for the choice of treatment of femoral fractures associated with osteopetrosis.
Lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2) is an enzyme that hydrolyzes oxidized phospholipids to generate bioactive proatherogenic products. Nonculprit lesions have been assumed to contribute to the pathogenesis of recurrent acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The role of LP-PLA2 in the progression of nonculprit coronary lesions after successful percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) remains unclear. Our study included 123 patients with ACS who underwent initial PCI and a long-term follow-up (mean interval, one year) with coronary angiography. Among them, 19 patients were diagnosed as the progression of nonculprit lesions, based on the presence of at least one of the following factors: (1) ≥ 10% reduction in the diameter of a preexisting ≥ 50% stenosis; (2) ≥ 30% reduction in the diameter of a < 50% stenosis; and (3) early-onset stenosis with ≥ 30% reduction in the diameter of a segment that was normal on the primary angiogram. Blood sampling was drawn from all patients at 12-14 hours after PCI. The ACS patients with progression had higher total cholesterol (4.47 ± 1.02 mmol/L vs. 3.59 ± 0.57 mmol/L, P < 0.05), higher levels of Lp-PLA2 activity (14.39 ± 6.13 nmol/min/ml vs. 8.86 ± 3.14 nmol/min/ml, P < 0.001) and a higher proportion of multi-vessel disease than those without progression. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that Lp-PLA2 activity (β = 0.024, P = 0.005) was an independent predictor for rapid progression of nonculprit coronary lesions. In conclusion, elevated Lp-PLA2 activity is associated with rapid progression of nonculprit coronary lesions in ACS patients who underwent PCI.
Mutations of isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) and isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) have been reported in gliomas, cartilaginous tumors, and acute myeloid leukemias. IDH mutations are specific to a single codon in the conserved and functionally important arginine 132 residue (R132) of IDH1 or arginine 172 residue (R172) of IDH2 in gliomas. Although IDH1 and IDH2 catalyze the oxidative carboxylation of isocitrate to α-ketoglutarate in cytosol and mitochondria, respectively, mutated IDH1/2 proteins can possess the ability to change α-ketoglutarate to an oncometabolite R(−)-2-hydroxyglutarate. We have established several monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific for IDH1/2 mutations. However, no multi-specific mAb against IDH1/2 mutations has been reported. For this study, we immunized mice with an IDH1-R132G peptide of 19 amino acids (GGVKPIIIGGHAYGDQYRA), and established a novel mAb MsMab-1 that recognizes IDH1-R132G, but not wild type IDH1 in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). It is particularly interesting that MsMab-1 recognizes all IDH1 mutants (R132H, R132C, R132S, R132G, R132L) in ELISA. Western blot analysis also revealed that MsMab-1 reacted with recombinant proteins of IDH1-R132H, IDH1-R132S, and IDH1-R132G, but not with wild type IDH1 and other IDH1 mutations, indicating that MsMab-1 is a multi-specific anti-mutated IDH1 mAb. Unexpectedly, MsMab-1 recognizes IDH2-R172M protein, despite that the IDH1-R132G peptide shows only 73.7% identity with the equivalent portion of IDH2-R172M (GGTKPITIGMHAHGDQYKA). Moreover, MsMab-1 stained the IDH1-R132S or IDH1-R132G-expressing glioma cells in immunohistochemistry. This report is the first to establish a multi-specific anti-mutated IDH1/2 mAb, that is expected to be useful for immunohistochemical determination of IDH1/2 mutation-bearing tumors.
The measles elimination project led by the World Health Organization (WHO) has been moving toward the target of eliminating measles in the WHO Western Pacific Region. In Japan, prefectural public health institutes play a key role for the laboratory diagnosis of measles virus (MV) infection, which is based on PCR, virus isolation, and genotyping. Microscopic examination of viral-sensitive cell lines during routine virus isolation from nasopharyngeal specimens has been used to detect the morphological changes typical for the growth of respiratory viruses. Here, we describe the unexpected isolation of vaccine-derived MVs from the two unrelated 1-year-old boys with acute respiratory infection. The nasopharyngeal specimens were obtained from one patient in February 2007 and from another in December 2012. Incidentally, the two children had received measles-rubella vaccination 9 or 11 days before the sampling. The isolates from two children induced morphological changes of the viral-sensitive cell lines, such as syncythia formation (cell fusion). We finally identified the isolates as vaccine-derived MVs by sequence analysis and immunological methods with anti-measles nucleoprotein antibodies. As no typical symptoms of MV infection were observed in either patient, the vaccine-derived MVs were isolated not as causative pathogens but by chance. In fact, there was no suspected case of secondary MV infection in either patient, thereby excluding the possibility that vaccine-derived MVs spread from human to human. Our experiences suggest the possibility of vaccine-derived MV isolation by cell cultures and the difficulty in identifying MVs in specimens from patients other than clinically suspected measles cases.
Most dialysis centers adopt a standard dialysate sodium prescription. While pre-hemodialysis (HD) serum sodium levels remain relatively constant in each individual patient on chronic HD, these levels can vary between different patients. Therefore, a single dialysate sodium prescription may not be appropriate for all patients. Nineteen stable patients on maintenance HD were dialyzed for 9 HD sessions with their current dialysis solutions, followed by another 9 sessions using individualized prescriptions created by aligning dialysate sodium levels to each patient’s serum sodium concentration. Patients were divided into 2 groups according to whether the average pre-HD serum sodium concentration was higher than (higher serum sodium group, n = 13) or equal to (equal sodium group, n = 5) the standard dialysate sodium concentration. Pre-HD serum sodium levels remained constant during entire study period in both groups. In higher serum sodium group, interdialytic weight gain increased after implementation of the sodium alignment (2.0 ± 0.3 kg vs. 2.3 ± 0.4 kg; P = 0.008). Thirst scores also increased in patients whose dialysate sodium was increased by 4 mmol/L (n = 7) (6.4 ± 1.5 vs. 7.6 ± 1.5, P = 0.015). There were no significant changes in blood pressure and intradialytic complications. In equal sodium group, significant differences were not observed in any parameters. Our results suggest that alignment of dialysate sodium levels to each patient’s serum sodium concentration is of little benefit in hemodynamically stable patients who have pre-HD serum sodium concentrations higher than dialysate sodium concentration.
Juvenile xanthogranuloma (JXG) is a benign manifestation of non-Langerhans cell histiocytosis characterized by yellowish cutaneous nodules. Its occurrence in the larynx is very rare, but laryngeal JXG may cause severe respiratory distress. We report a patient with isolated laryngeal JXG treated by laryngomicrosurgery, and this is the first report of JXG extending to vocal fold. A 3-year-old girl presented with hoarseness and inspiration stridor. A bulky tumor was found in right glottic to subglottic region. Subtotal resection of the tumor was carried out by laryngomicrosurgery, and airway distress was diminished after the operation. In pathological examination, the resected specimen showed proliferation of histiocytic cells and spindle cells with Touton giant cells that are characterized by polynuclei or wreath nuclei and are known to appear in JXG but not in LCH. Immunohistochemistry of histiocytic cell markers demonstrated positivity for CD68, lysozyme, alpha1-anti-chymotrypsin, factor XIIIa and vimentin, and negativity for CD1a and S-100, leading to diagnosis of JXG, but not LCH. The patient was thus expected with benign prognosis, and additional resection of the tumor including vocal fold was not indicated in the initial treatment. Six weeks later, the JXG recurred and a second procedure using CO2 laser was needed. The tumor did not re-grow thereafter, and there was no residual voice handicap. Because of its favorable prognosis and tendency for spontaneous regression, JXG in the larynx needs to be considered carefully with regard to whether reduction surgery and/or tracheotomy are necessary, and thus precise diagnosis is required.