J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(7), 63; doi:10.3390/jcm5070063 - published 29 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Transitory phenotypic changes such as the epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) help embryonic cells to generate migratory descendants that populate new sites and establish the distinct tissues in the developing embryo. The mesenchymal descendants of diverse epithelia also participate in the wound healing response of adult tissues, and facilitate the progression of cancer. EMT can be induced by several extracellular cues in the microenvironment of a given epithelial tissue. One such cue, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), prominently induces EMT via a group of specific transcription factors. The potency of TGFβ is partly based on its ability to perform two parallel molecular functions, i.e. to induce the expression of growth factors, cytokines and chemokines, which sequentially and in a complementary manner help to establish and maintain the EMT, and to mediate signaling crosstalk with other developmental signaling pathways, thus promoting changes in cell differentiation. The molecules that are activated by TGFβ signaling or act as cooperating partners of this pathway are impossible to exhaust within a single coherent and contemporary report. Here, we present selected examples to illustrate the key principles of the circuits that control EMT under the influence of TGFβ.
J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(7), 62; doi:10.3390/jcm5070062 - published 29 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Despite the advancement in medicine, management of heart failure (HF), which usually presents as a disease syndrome, has been a challenge to healthcare providers. This is reflected by the relatively higher rate of readmissions along with increased mortality and morbidity associated with HF. In this review article, we first provide a general overview of types of HF pathogenesis and diagnostic features of HF including the crucial role of exercise in determining the severity of heart failure, the efficacy of therapeutic strategies and the morbidity/mortality of HF. We then discuss the quality control measures to prevent the growing readmission rates for HF. We also attempt to elucidate published and ongoing clinical trials for HF in an effort to evaluate the standard and novel therapeutic approaches, including stem cell and gene therapies, to reduce the morbidity and mortality. Finally, we discuss the appropriate utilization/documentation and medical coding based on the severity of the HF alone and with minor and major co-morbidities. We consider that this review provides an extensive overview of the HF in terms of disease pathophysiology, management and documentation for the general readers, as well as for the clinicians/physicians/hospitalists.
J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(7), 60; doi:10.3390/jcm5070060 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) is the set of ischemia episodes that protects against subsequent periods of prolonged ischemia through the cascade of adaptive responses; however, the mechanisms of RIPC are not entirely clear. Here, we aimed to study the impact of RIPC in patients with stable angina pectoris and compare it with healthy individuals with respect to arterial stiffness and heart rate variability. In the randomized, sham-controlled, crossover blind design study, a group of 30 coronary heart disease (CHD) patients (63.9 ± 1.6 years) with stable angina pectoris NYHA II-III and a control group of 20 healthy individuals (58.2 ± 2.49) were both randomly allocated for remote RIPC or sham RIPC. Arterial stiffness, pulse wave velocity (Spygmacor, Australia), and heart rate variability (HRV) were recorded before and after the procedure followed by the crossover examination. In the group of healthy individuals, RIPC showed virtually no impact on the cardiovascular parameters, while, in the CHD group, the systolic and central systolic blood pressure, central pulse pressure, and augmentation decreased, and total power of HRV improved. We conclude that ischemic preconditioning reduces not only systolic blood pressure, but also reduces central systolic blood pressure and improves arterial compliance and heart rate modulation reserve, which may be associated with the antianginal effect of preconditioning.
J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(7), 61; doi:10.3390/jcm5070061 - published 23 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Ghrelin is a 28-amino acid peptide with an orexigenic property, which is predominantly produced by the stomach. Acylated ghrelin is the active form of this hormone. Obestatin is a 23-amino acid peptide which is produced by post-translational modification of a protein precursor that also produces ghrelin. Obestatin has the opposite effect of ghrelin on food intake. The aim of this study was to evaluate acylated ghrelin and obestatin levels and their ratio in obese and normal-weight children and adolescents, and their association with metabolic syndrome (MetS) parameters. Methods: Serum acyl-ghrelin, obestatin, leptin, insulin, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), lipid profile, and malondialdehyde (MDA) were evaluated in 73 children and adolescents (42 obese and 31 control). Insulin resistance was calculated by a homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). MetS was determined according to IDF criteria. Results: Acyl-ghrelin levels were significantly lower in obese subjects compared to the control group and lower in obese children with MetS compared to obese subjects without MetS. Obestatin was significantly higher in obese subjects compared to that of the control, but it did not differ significantly among those with or without MetS. Acyl-ghrelin to obestatin ratio was significantly lower in obese subjects compared to that in normal subjects. Acyl-ghrelin showed significant negative and obestatin showed significant positive correlations with body mass index (BMI), BMI Z-score, leptin, insulin, and HOMA-IR. Acyl-ghrelin had a significant negative correlation with MDA as an index of oxidative stress. Conclusion: Ghrelin is decreased and obestatin is elevated in obesity. Both of these hormones are associated with insulin resistance, and ghrelin is associated with oxidative stress. The balance between ghrelin and obestatin seems to be disturbed in obesity.
J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(6), 59; doi:10.3390/jcm5060059 - published 16 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains a very challenging malignancy. Disease is diagnosed in an advanced stage in the vast majority of patients, and PDAC cells are often resistant to conventional cytotoxic drugs. Targeted therapies have made no progress in the management of this disease, unlike other cancers. microRNAs (miRs) are small non-coding RNAs that regulate the expression of multitude number of genes by targeting their 3′-UTR mRNA region. Aberrant expression of miRNAs has been linked to the development of various malignancies, including PDAC. In PDAC, a series of miRs have been defined as holding promise for early diagnostics, as indicators of therapy resistance, and even as markers for therapeutic response in patients. In this mini-review, we present an update on the various different miRs that have been defined in PDAC biology.
J. Clin. Med.2016, 5(6), 58; doi:10.3390/jcm5060058 - published 13 June 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Objective: To evaluate the performance of three tele-echography systems for routine use in isolated medical centers. Methods: Three systems were used for deep (abdomen, pelvis, fetal) and superficial (muscle, thyroid, carotid artery) examinations: (a) a robotic arm (RA) holding an echographic probe; (b) an echograph with a motorized probe (MP); and (c) remote guidance (RG) where the patient site operator performed the examination assisted by an expert via videoconference. All systems were tested in the same medical center located 60 km away from the university hospital. Results: A total of 340 remote echography examinations were performed (41% RA and MP, 59% RG). MP and RA allowed full control of the probe orientation by the expert, and provided diagnoses in 97% of cases. The use of RG was sufficient for superficial vessel examinations and provided diagnoses in 98% of cases but was not suited for deep or superficial organs. Assessment of superficial organs was best accomplished using the MP. Discussion: Both teleoperated systems provided control of the probe orientation by the expert necessary for obtaining appropriate views of deep organs but the MP was much more ergonomic and easier to use than the RA. RG was appropriate for superficial vessels while the MP was better for superficial volumic organs.