Open AccessReview
The Importance of Pericytes in Healing: Wounds and other Pathologies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1129; doi:10.3390/ijms18061129 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Much of current research investigates the beneficial properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a treatment for wounds and other forms of injury. In this review, we bring attention to and discuss the role of the pericyte, a cell type which shares much
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Much of current research investigates the beneficial properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a treatment for wounds and other forms of injury. In this review, we bring attention to and discuss the role of the pericyte, a cell type which shares much of the differentiation potential and regenerative properties of the MSC as well as specific roles in the regulation of angiogenesis, inflammation and fibrosis. Pericytes have been identified as dysfunctional or depleted in many disease states, and observing the outcomes of pericyte perturbation in models of disease and wound healing informs our understanding of overall pericyte function and identifies these cells as an important target in the development of therapies to encourage healing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Regulatory Plasticity of Earthworm wMT-2 Gene Expression
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1113; doi:10.3390/ijms18061113 -
Abstract
Metallothioneins (MTs) are multifunctional proteins occurring throughout the animal kingdom. While the expression and transcriptional regulation of MTs is well-studied in vertebrates, the mechanism of MT activation is still unknown for most invertebrates. Therefore, we examined wMT-2 gene regulation and expression patterns in
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Metallothioneins (MTs) are multifunctional proteins occurring throughout the animal kingdom. While the expression and transcriptional regulation of MTs is well-studied in vertebrates, the mechanism of MT activation is still unknown for most invertebrates. Therefore, we examined wMT-2 gene regulation and expression patterns in Lumbricus rubellus and L. terrestris. Transcription levels, the occupation of DNA binding sites, the expression of putative transcriptional regulators, and promotor DNA methylation were determined. We found that wMT-2 expression does not follow a circadian pattern. However, Cd-induced wMT-2 induction was observed, and was, interestingly, suppressed by physical injury. Moreover, the promotor region that is responsible for the wMT-2 gene regulation was elucidated. ATF, a putative transcriptional regulator, showed increased phosphorylation upon Cd exposure, suggesting that it plays a major role in wMT-2 gene activation. The promotor methylation of wMT-2, on the other hand, is probably not involved in transcriptional regulation. Elucidating the regulatory mechanism of the earthworm MT gene activation might provide insights into the molecular coordination of the environmental stress response in invertebrates, and might also reveal a link to wound repair and, in a broader sense, to immunity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Mass Spectrometry Based Profiling and Imaging of Various Ginsenosides from Panax ginseng Roots at Different Ages
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1114; doi:10.3390/ijms18061114 -
Abstract
(1) Background: Panax ginseng root is one of the most important herbal products, and the profiling of ginsenosides is critical for the quality control of ginseng roots at different ages in the herbal markets. Furthermore, interest in assessing the contents as well as
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(1) Background: Panax ginseng root is one of the most important herbal products, and the profiling of ginsenosides is critical for the quality control of ginseng roots at different ages in the herbal markets. Furthermore, interest in assessing the contents as well as the localization of biological compounds has been growing. The objective of this study is to carry out the mass spectrometry (MS)-based profiling and imaging of ginsenosides to assess ginseng roots at different ages; (2) Methods: Optimal ultra performance liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time of flight/MS (UPLC-QTOF/MS) was used to profile various ginsenosides from P. ginseng roots. Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI)-time of flight (TOF)/MS-based imaging was also optimized to visualize ginsenosides in ginseng roots; (3) Results: UPLC-QTOF/MS was used to profile 30 ginsenosides with high mass accuracy, with an in-house library constructed for the fast and exact identification of ginsenosides. Using this method, the levels of 14 ginsenosides were assessed in P. ginseng roots cultivated for 4, 5, and 6 years. The optimal MALDI-imaging MS (IMS) was also applied to visualize the 14 ginsenosides in ginseng roots. As a result, the MSI cross sections showed the localization of 4 ginsenoside ions ([M + K]+) in P. ginseng roots at different ages; (4) Conclusions: The contents and localization of various ginsenosides differ depending on the cultivation years of P. ginseng roots. Furthermore, this study demonstrated the utility of MS-based profiling and imaging of ginsenosides for the quality control of ginseng roots. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Cytokine Flt3-Ligand in Normal and Malignant Hematopoiesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1115; doi:10.3390/ijms18061115 -
Abstract
The cytokine Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FL) is an important regulator of hematopoiesis. Its receptor, Flt3, is expressed on myeloid, lymphoid and dendritic cell progenitors and is considered an important growth and differentiation factor for several hematopoietic lineages. Activating mutations of Flt3
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The cytokine Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FL) is an important regulator of hematopoiesis. Its receptor, Flt3, is expressed on myeloid, lymphoid and dendritic cell progenitors and is considered an important growth and differentiation factor for several hematopoietic lineages. Activating mutations of Flt3 are frequently found in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients and associated with a poor clinical prognosis. In the present review we provide an overview of our current knowledge on the role of FL in the generation of blood cell lineages. We examine recent studies on Flt3 expression by hematopoietic stem cells and its potential instructive action at early stages of hematopoiesis. In addition, we review current findings on the role of mutated FLT3 in leukemia and the development of FLT3 inhibitors for therapeutic use to treat AML. The importance of mouse models in elucidating the role of Flt3-ligand in normal and malignant hematopoiesis is discussed. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Molecular Basis of Alcohol-Related Gastric and Colon Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1116; doi:10.3390/ijms18061116 -
Abstract
Many meta-analysis, large cohort studies, and experimental studies suggest that chronic alcohol consumption increases the risk of gastric and colon cancer. Ethanol is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH), catalase or cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) to acetaldehyde, which is then further oxidized to acetate
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Many meta-analysis, large cohort studies, and experimental studies suggest that chronic alcohol consumption increases the risk of gastric and colon cancer. Ethanol is metabolized by alcohol dehydrogenases (ADH), catalase or cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) to acetaldehyde, which is then further oxidized to acetate by aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). Acetaldehyde has been classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen to humans. The acetaldehyde level in the stomach and colon is locally influenced by gastric colonization by Helicobacter pylori or colonic microbes, as well as polymorphisms in the genes encoding tissue alcohol metabolizing enzymes, especially ALDH2. Alcohol stimulates the uptake of carcinogens and their metabolism and also changes the composition of enteric microbes in a way to enhance the aldehyde level. Alcohol also undergoes chemical coupling to membrane phospholipids and disrupts organization of tight junctions, leading to nuclear translocation of β-catenin and ZONAB, which may contributes to regulation of genes involved in proliferation, invasion and metastasis. Alcohol also generates reactive oxygen species (ROS) by suppressing the expression of antioxidant and cytoprotective enzymes and inducing expression of CYP2E1 which contribute to the metabolic activation of chemical carcinogens. Besides exerting genotoxic effects by directly damaging DNA, ROS can activates signaling molecules involved in inflammation, metastasis and angiogenesis. In addition, alcohol consumption induces folate deficiency, which may result in aberrant DNA methylation profiles, thereby influencing cancer-related gene expression. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Melatonin Attenuates Pulmonary Hypertension in Chronically Hypoxic Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1125; doi:10.3390/ijms18061125 -
Abstract
Chronic hypoxia induces pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling, which are clinically relevant to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) associated with a decreased level of nitric oxide (NO). Oxidative stress and inflammation play important roles in the pathophysiological processes in COPD. We
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Chronic hypoxia induces pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling, which are clinically relevant to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) associated with a decreased level of nitric oxide (NO). Oxidative stress and inflammation play important roles in the pathophysiological processes in COPD. We examined the hypothesis that daily administration of melatonin (10 mg/kg) mitigates the pulmonary hypertension and vascular remodeling in chronically hypoxic rats. The right ventricular systolic pressure (RVSP) and the thickness of pulmonary arteriolar wall were measured from normoxic control, vehicle- and melatonin-treated hypoxic rats exposed to 10% O2 for 14 days. Levels of markers for oxidative stress (malondialdhyde) and inflammation (tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), inducible NO synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)) and the expressions of total endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) and phosphorylated eNOS at serine1177 (ser1177) were determined in the lung tissue. We found that the RVSP and the thickness of the arteriolar wall were significantly increased in the vehicle-treated hypoxic animals with elevated levels of malondialdhyde and mRNA expressions of the inflammatory mediators, when compared with the normoxic control. In addition, the phosphorylated eNOS (ser1177) level was significantly decreased, despite an increased eNOS expression in the vehicle-treated hypoxic group. Melatonin treatment significantly attenuated the levels of RVSP, thickness of the arteriolar wall, oxidative and inflammatory markers in the hypoxic animals with a marked increase in the eNOS phosphorylation in the lung. These results suggest that melatonin attenuates pulmonary hypertension by antagonizing the oxidative injury and restoration of NO production. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Peroxisome-Mitochondria Connection: How and Why?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1126; doi:10.3390/ijms18061126 -
Abstract
Over the past decades, peroxisomes have emerged as key regulators in overall cellular lipid and reactive oxygen species metabolism. In mammals, these organelles have also been recognized as important hubs in redox-, lipid-, inflammatory-, and innate immune-signaling networks. To exert these activities, peroxisomes
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Over the past decades, peroxisomes have emerged as key regulators in overall cellular lipid and reactive oxygen species metabolism. In mammals, these organelles have also been recognized as important hubs in redox-, lipid-, inflammatory-, and innate immune-signaling networks. To exert these activities, peroxisomes must interact both functionally and physically with other cell organelles. This review provides a comprehensive look of what is currently known about the interconnectivity between peroxisomes and mitochondria within mammalian cells. We first outline how peroxisomal and mitochondrial abundance are controlled by common sets of cis- and trans-acting factors. Next, we discuss how peroxisomes and mitochondria may communicate with each other at the molecular level. In addition, we reflect on how these organelles cooperate in various metabolic and signaling pathways. Finally, we address why peroxisomes and mitochondria have to maintain a healthy relationship and why defects in one organelle may cause dysfunction in the other. Gaining a better insight into these issues is pivotal to understanding how these organelles function in their environment, both in health and disease. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Engineering Exosomes for Cancer Therapy
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1122; doi:10.3390/ijms18061122 -
Abstract
There remains an urgent need for novel therapeutic strategies to treat metastatic cancer, which results in over 8 million deaths annually worldwide. Following secretion, exosomes are naturally taken up by cells, and capable of the stable transfer of drugs, therapeutic microRNAs and proteins.
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There remains an urgent need for novel therapeutic strategies to treat metastatic cancer, which results in over 8 million deaths annually worldwide. Following secretion, exosomes are naturally taken up by cells, and capable of the stable transfer of drugs, therapeutic microRNAs and proteins. As knowledge of the biogenesis, release and uptake of exosomes continues to evolve, and thus also has interest in these extracellular vesicles as potential tumor-targeted vehicles for cancer therapy. The ability to engineer exosome content and migratory itinerary holds tremendous promise. Studies to date have employed viral and non-viral methods to engineer the parent cells to secrete modified exosomes, or alternatively, to directly manipulate exosome content following secretion. The majority of studies have demonstrated promising results, with decreased tumor cell invasion, migration and proliferation, along with enhanced immune response, cell death, and sensitivity to chemotherapy observed. The studies outlined in this review highlight the exciting potential for exosomes as therapeutic vehicles for cancer treatment. Successful implementation in the clinical setting will be dependent upon establishment of rigorous standards for exosome manipulation, isolation, and characterisation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Essential Role of Growth Hormone and IGF-1 in Therapeutic Effect of Ghrelin in the Course of Acetic Acid-Induced Colitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1118; doi:10.3390/ijms18061118 -
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that ghrelin exhibits a protective and therapeutic effect in the gut. The aim of the present study was to examine whether administration of ghrelin affects the course of acetic acid-induced colitis and to determine what is the role of
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Previous studies have shown that ghrelin exhibits a protective and therapeutic effect in the gut. The aim of the present study was to examine whether administration of ghrelin affects the course of acetic acid-induced colitis and to determine what is the role of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in this effect. In sham-operated or hypophysectomized male Wistar rats, colitis was induced by enema with 1 mL of 3% solution of acetic acid. Saline or ghrelin (given at the dose of 8 nmol/kg/dose) was administered intraperitoneally twice a day. Seven days after colitis induction, rats were anesthetized and the severity of the colitis was assessed. Treatment with ghrelin reduced the area of colonic mucosa damage in pituitary-intact rat. This effect was associated with increase in serum levels of GH and IGF-1. Moreover, administration of ghrelin improved blood flow in colonic mucosa and mucosal cell proliferation, as well as reduced mucosal concentration of proinflammatory interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and activity of myeloperoxidase. Hypophysectomy reduced serum levels of GH and IGF-1 and increased the area of colonic damage in rats with colitis. These effects were associated with additional reduction in mucosal blood follow and DNA synthesis when compared to pituitary-intact rats. Mucosal concentration of IL-1β and mucosal activity of myeloperoxidase were maximally increased. Moreover, in hypophysectomized rats, administration of ghrelin failed to affect serum levels of GH or IGF-1, as well as the healing rate of colitis, mucosal cell proliferation, and mucosal concentration of IL-1β, or activity of myeloperoxidase. We conclude that administration of ghrelin accelerates the healing of the acetic acid-induced colitis. Therapeutic effect of ghrelin in experimental colitis is mainly mediated by the release of endogenous growth hormone and IGF-1. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Mammalian Metallothionein-3: New Functional and Structural Insights
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1117; doi:10.3390/ijms18061117 -
Abstract
Metallothionein-3 (MT-3), a member of the mammalian metallothionein (MT) family, is mainly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). MT-3 possesses a unique neuronal growth inhibitory activity, and the levels of this intra- and extracellularly occurring metalloprotein are markedly diminished in the brain
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Metallothionein-3 (MT-3), a member of the mammalian metallothionein (MT) family, is mainly expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). MT-3 possesses a unique neuronal growth inhibitory activity, and the levels of this intra- and extracellularly occurring metalloprotein are markedly diminished in the brain of patients affected by a number of metal-linked neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In these pathologies, the redox cycling of copper, accompanied by the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), plays a key role in the neuronal toxicity. Although MT-3 shares the metal-thiolate clusters with the well-characterized MT-1 and MT-2, it shows distinct biological, structural and chemical properties. Owing to its anti-oxidant properties and modulator function not only for Zn, but also for Cu in the extra- and intracellular space, MT-3, but not MT-1/MT-2, protects neuronal cells from the toxicity of various Cu(II)-bound amyloids. In recent years, the roles of zinc dynamics and MT-3 function in neurodegeneration are slowly emerging. This short review focuses on the recent developments regarding the chemistry and biology of MT-3. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Cholesterol Crystal Embolism and Chronic Kidney Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1120; doi:10.3390/ijms18061120 -
Abstract
Renal disease caused by cholesterol crystal embolism (CCE) occurs when cholesterol crystals become lodged in small renal arteries after small pieces of atheromatous plaques break off from the aorta or renal arteries and shower the downstream vascular bed. CCE is a multisystemic disease
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Renal disease caused by cholesterol crystal embolism (CCE) occurs when cholesterol crystals become lodged in small renal arteries after small pieces of atheromatous plaques break off from the aorta or renal arteries and shower the downstream vascular bed. CCE is a multisystemic disease but kidneys are particularly vulnerable to atheroembolic disease, which can cause an acute, subacute, or chronic decline in renal function. This life-threatening disease may be underdiagnosed and overlooked as a cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD) among patients with advanced atherosclerosis. CCE can result from vascular surgery, angiography, or administration of anticoagulants. Atheroembolic renal disease has various clinical features that resemble those found in other kidney disorders and systemic diseases. It is commonly misdiagnosed in clinic, but confirmed by characteristic renal biopsy findings. Therapeutic options are limited, and prognosis is considered to be poor. Expanding knowledge of atheroembolic renal disease due to CCE opens perspectives for recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of this cause of progressive renal insufficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Stability Profiles and Therapeutic Effect of Cu/Zn Superoxide Dismutase Chemically Coupled to O-Quaternary Chitosan Derivatives against Dextran Sodium Sulfate-Induced Colitis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1121; doi:10.3390/ijms18061121 -
Abstract
Superoxide dismutase (SOD) has attracted considerable attention on treatment of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related disorders. We previously conjugated Cu/Zn SOD to O-quaternary chitosan derivatives (O-HTCC) to yield a polymer–enzyme conjugate O-HTCC-SOD that demonstrated superior therapeutic effect to native SOD.
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Superoxide dismutase (SOD) has attracted considerable attention on treatment of reactive oxygen species (ROS)-related disorders. We previously conjugated Cu/Zn SOD to O-quaternary chitosan derivatives (O-HTCC) to yield a polymer–enzyme conjugate O-HTCC-SOD that demonstrated superior therapeutic effect to native SOD. The present study demonstrated that O-HTCC-SOD had wider pH activity range, better thermal stability, excellent long-term stability for storage, as well as unique reinstatement of activity exposure to proteolytic degradation that was helpful for longer half-life in vivo. O-HTCC-SOD exerted significant anti-inflammatory effects on lipopolysaccharides (LPS)-stimulated mouse peritoneal macrophages by down-regulating production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and intracellular ROS. O-HTCC-SOD significantly attenuated dextran sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice as observed by the colitis severity, neutrophil infiltration and histopathological damage, whereas native SOD failed to do so. In conclusion, conjugation of O-HTCC conferred SOD with better stability and enhanced therapeutic potential, offering a promising option in treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Chlorpromazine Increases the Expression of Polysialic Acid (PolySia) in Human Neuroblastoma Cells and Mouse Prefrontal Cortex
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1123; doi:10.3390/ijms18061123 -
Abstract
The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is modified by polysialic acid (polySia or PSA) in embryonic brains. In adult brains, polySia modification of NCAM is only observed in restricted areas where neural plasticity, remodeling of neural connections, or neural generation is ongoing although
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The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is modified by polysialic acid (polySia or PSA) in embryonic brains. In adult brains, polySia modification of NCAM is only observed in restricted areas where neural plasticity, remodeling of neural connections, or neural generation is ongoing although the amount of NCAM remains unchanged. Impairments of the polySia-expression and several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the polysialyltransferase (polyST) ST8SIA2 gene are reported to be associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Chlorpromazine (CPZ) is well-known as an agent for treating schizophrenia, and our hypothesis is that CPZ may affect the polySia expression or the gene expression of polySTs or NCAM. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the effects of CPZ on the expression of polySia-NCAM on human neuroblastoma cell line, IMR-32 cells, by immunochemical and chemical methods. Interestingly, the cell surface expression of polySia, especially those with lower chain lengths, was significantly increased on the CPZ-treated cells, while mRNAs for polySTs and NCAM, and the amounts of total polySia-NCAM remained unchanged. The addition of brefeldin A, an inhibitor of endocytosis, suppressed the CPZ-induced cell surface polySia expression. In addition, polySia-NCAM was also observed in the vesicle compartment inside the cell. All these data suggest that the level of cell surface expression of polySia in IMR-32 is highly regulated and that CPZ changes the rate of the recycling of polySia-NCAM, leading to the up-regulation of polySia-NCAM on the cell surface. We also analyzed the effect of CPZ on polySia-expression in various brain regions in adult mice and found that CPZ only influenced the total amounts of polySia-NCAM in prefrontal cortex. These results suggest a brain-region-specific effect of CPZ on the expression of total polySia in mouse brain. Collectively, anti-schizophrenia agent CPZ consistently up-regulates the expression polySia at both cellular and animal levels. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Translational Development and Application of (1→3)-β-d-Glucan for Diagnosis and Therapeutic Monitoring of Invasive Mycoses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1124; doi:10.3390/ijms18061124 -
Abstract
Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of appropriate antimicrobial therapy are crucial steps in the management of patients with invasive fungal infections. However, the diagnosis of invasive mycoses remains a major challenge in clinical practice, because presenting symptoms may be subtle and non-invasive diagnostic
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Early diagnosis and prompt initiation of appropriate antimicrobial therapy are crucial steps in the management of patients with invasive fungal infections. However, the diagnosis of invasive mycoses remains a major challenge in clinical practice, because presenting symptoms may be subtle and non-invasive diagnostic assays often lack sensitivity and specificity. Diagnosis is often expressed on a scale of probability (proven, probable and possible) based on a constellation of imaging findings, microbiological tools and histopathology, as there is no stand-alone assay for diagnosis. Recent data suggest that the carbohydrate biomarker (1→3)-β-d-glucan may be useful in both the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of invasive fungal infections due to some yeasts, molds, and dimorphic fungi. In this paper, we review recent advances in the use of (1→3)-β-d-glucan to monitor clinical response to antifungal therapy and explore how this assay may be used in the future. Full article
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Open AccessReview
State of Art of Cancer Pharmacogenomics in Latin American Populations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 639; doi:10.3390/ijms18060639 -
Abstract
Over the past decades, several studies have shown that tumor-related somatic and germline alterations predicts tumor prognosis, drug response and toxicity. Latin American populations present a vast geno-phenotypic diversity due to the great interethnic and interracial mixing. This genetic flow leads to the
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Over the past decades, several studies have shown that tumor-related somatic and germline alterations predicts tumor prognosis, drug response and toxicity. Latin American populations present a vast geno-phenotypic diversity due to the great interethnic and interracial mixing. This genetic flow leads to the appearance of complex characteristics that allow individuals to adapt to endemic environments, such as high altitude or extreme tropical weather. These genetic changes, most of them subtle and unexplored, could establish a mutational profile to develop new pharmacogenomic therapies specific for Latin American populations. In this review, we present the current status of research on somatic and germline alterations in Latin America compared to those found in Caucasian and Asian populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Emergence of CD26+ Cancer Stem Cells with Metastatic Properties in Colorectal Carcinogenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1106; doi:10.3390/ijms18061106 -
Abstract
Colorectal cancer results from genetic aberrations which accumulate over a long period of time, with malignant and metastatic properties acquired at a relatively late stage. A subpopulation of CD26+ colorectal cancer stem cells are known to be implicated in metastasis. We quantified CD26+
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Colorectal cancer results from genetic aberrations which accumulate over a long period of time, with malignant and metastatic properties acquired at a relatively late stage. A subpopulation of CD26+ colorectal cancer stem cells are known to be implicated in metastasis. We quantified CD26+ cancer cells in 11 primary tumor samples by flow cytometry, and showed that tumors having confirmed or suspected metastases harbored a relatively high CD26+ level in these samples. We hypothesized that this subpopulation of cancer stem cells arises in the late stage of carcinogenesis from the bulk of tumor daughter cells which are CD26−. The manipulation of PIK3CA and TP53, two genes commonly deregulated in the late stage, had an effect on the maintenance of the CD26+ cell population. When CD26− tumor daughter cells were sorted and cultured, the emergence of tumor spheres containing CD26+ cells occurred. These findings shed light to the origin of colorectal cancer stem cells with metastatic properties, which has an implication on conventional treatments by surgery or adjuvant chemotherapy for tumor debulking. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Aberrant DNA Methylation as a Biomarker and a Therapeutic Target of Cholangiocarcinoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1111; doi:10.3390/ijms18061111 -
Abstract
Cholangiocarcinoma is an epithelial malignancy arising in the region between the intrahepatic bile ducts and the ampulla of Vater at the distal end of the common bile duct. The effect of current chemotherapy regimens against cholangiocarcinoma is limited, and the prognosis of patients
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Cholangiocarcinoma is an epithelial malignancy arising in the region between the intrahepatic bile ducts and the ampulla of Vater at the distal end of the common bile duct. The effect of current chemotherapy regimens against cholangiocarcinoma is limited, and the prognosis of patients with cholangiocarcinoma is poor. Aberrant DNA methylation and histone modification induce silencing of tumor suppressor genes and chromosomal instability during carcinogenesis. Studies have shown that the tumor suppressor genes and microRNAs (miRNAs) including MLH1, p14, p16, death-associated protein kinase (DAPK), miR-370 and miR-376c are frequently methylated in cholangiocarcinoma. Silencing of these tumor suppressor genes and miRNAs plays critical roles in the initiation and progression of cholangiocarcinoma. In addition, recent studies have demonstrated that DNA methylation inhibitors induce expression of endogenous retroviruses and exert the anti-tumor effect of via an anti-viral immune response. Aberrant DNA methylation of tumor suppressor genes and miRNAs could be a powerful biomarker for the diagnosis and treatment of cholangiocarcinoma. Epigenetic therapy with DNA methylation inhibitors holds considerable promise for the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma through the reactivation of tumor suppressor genes and miRNAs as well as the induction of an anti-viral immune response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
NANOG Plays a Hierarchical Role in the Transcription Network Regulating the Pluripotency and Plasticity of Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1107; doi:10.3390/ijms18061107 -
Abstract
The stromal vascular cell fraction (SVF) of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT and SAT) has increasingly come into focus in stem cell research, since these compartments represent a rich source of multipotent adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs exhibit a self-renewal potential and
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The stromal vascular cell fraction (SVF) of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT and SAT) has increasingly come into focus in stem cell research, since these compartments represent a rich source of multipotent adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs). ASCs exhibit a self-renewal potential and differentiation capacity. Our aim was to study the different expression of the embryonic stem cell markers NANOG (homeobox protein NANOG), SOX2 (SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2) and OCT4 (octamer-binding transcription factor 4) and to evaluate if there exists a hierarchal role in this network in ASCs derived from both SAT and VAT. ASCs were isolated from SAT and VAT biopsies of 72 consenting patients (23 men, 47 women; age 45 ± 10; BMI between 25 ± 5 and 30 ± 5 range) undergoing elective open-abdominal surgery. Sphere-forming capability was evaluated by plating cells in low adhesion plastic. Stem cell markers CD90, CD105, CD29, CD31, CD45 and CD146 were analyzed by flow cytometry, and the stem cell transcription factors NANOG, SOX2 and OCT4 were detected by immunoblotting and real-time PCR. NANOG, SOX2 and OCT4 interplay was explored by gene silencing. ASCs from VAT and SAT confirmed their mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) phenotype expressing the specific MSC markers CD90, CD105, NANOG, SOX2 and OCT4. NANOG silencing induced a significant OCT4 (70 ± 0.05%) and SOX2 (75 ± 0.03%) downregulation, whereas SOX2 silencing did not affect NANOG gene expression. Adipose tissue is an important source of MSC, and siRNA experiments endorse a hierarchical role of NANOG in the complex transcription network that regulates pluripotency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of Splicing Events in Transcriptome Sequencing Data
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1110; doi:10.3390/ijms18061110 -
Abstract
Genomic alignments of sequenced cellular messenger RNA contain gapped alignments which are interpreted as consequence of intron removal. The resulting gap-sites, genomic locations of alignment gaps, are landmarks representing potential splice-sites. As alignment algorithms report gap-sites with a considerable false discovery rate, validations
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Genomic alignments of sequenced cellular messenger RNA contain gapped alignments which are interpreted as consequence of intron removal. The resulting gap-sites, genomic locations of alignment gaps, are landmarks representing potential splice-sites. As alignment algorithms report gap-sites with a considerable false discovery rate, validations are required. We describe two quality scores, gap quality score (gqs) and weighted gap information score (wgis), developed for validation of putative splicing events: While gqs solely relies on alignment data wgis additionally considers information from the genomic sequence. FASTQ files obtained from 54 human dermal fibroblast samples were aligned against the human genome (GRCh38) using TopHat and STAR aligner. Statistical properties of gap-sites validated by gqs and wgis were evaluated by their sequence similarity to known exon-intron borders. Within the 54 samples, TopHat identifies 1,000,380 and STAR reports 6,487,577 gap-sites. Due to the lack of strand information, however, the percentage of identified GT-AG gap-sites is rather low. While gap-sites from TopHat contain ≈89% GT-AG, gap-sites from STAR only contain ≈42% GT-AG dinucleotide pairs in merged data from 54 fibroblast samples. Validation with gqs yields 156,251 gap-sites from TopHat alignments and 166,294 from STAR alignments. Validation with wgis yields 770,327 gap-sites from TopHat alignments and 1,065,596 from STAR alignments. Both alignment algorithms, TopHat and STAR, report gap-sites with considerable false discovery rate, which can drastically be reduced by validation with gqs and wgis. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Epigenetic Strategies to Boost Cancer Immunotherapies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(6), 1108; doi:10.3390/ijms18061108 -
Abstract
Recently, immunotherapeutic approaches have shown impressive responses in a subset of cancer patients. However, the rate of success is low and a large percentage of treated patients do not experience clinical benefits. Therefore, additional strategies are needed to improve responses and select responsive
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Recently, immunotherapeutic approaches have shown impressive responses in a subset of cancer patients. However, the rate of success is low and a large percentage of treated patients do not experience clinical benefits. Therefore, additional strategies are needed to improve responses and select responsive patients. Emerging data suggest that epigenetic drugs can improve the responses to immunotherapy. Understanding the mechanisms of resistance to immunotherapy and the epigenetic events that take place during immune evasion is critical to providing a rational combined use of immunotherapies and epigenetic drugs. This review focuses in the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the responses to immunotherapy and how current drugs that target epigenetic regulators impact on them. Full article
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