- Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- Soluble serum CD81 is elevated in patients with chronic hepatitis C and correlates with alanine aminotransferase serum activity (2012)
- Aim: Cellular CD81 is a well characterized hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry factor, while the relevance of soluble exosomal CD81 in HCV pathogenesis is poorly defined. We performed a case-control study to investigate whether soluble CD81 in the exosomal serum fraction is associated with HCV replication and inflammatory activity. Patients and Methods: Four cohorts were investigated, patients with chronic hepatitis C (n = 37), patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels (n = 24), patients with long term sustained virologic response (SVR, n = 7), and healthy volunteers (n = 23). Concentration of soluble CD81 was assessed semi-quantitatively after differential centrifugation ranging from 200 g to 100,000 g in the fifth centrifugation fraction by immunoblotting and densitometry. Results: Soluble CD81 was increased in patients with chronic hepatitis C compared to healthy subjects (p = 0.03) and cured patients (p = 0.017). Patients with chronic HCV infection and persistently normal ALT levels and patients with long term SVR had similar soluble CD81 levels as healthy controls (p>0.2). Overall, soluble CD81 levels were associated with ALT levels (r = 0.334, p = 0.016) and severe liver fibrosis (p = 0.027). Conclusion: CD81 is increased in the exosomal serum fraction in patients with chronic hepatitis C and appears to be associated with inflammatory activity and severity of fibrosis.
- Mild hypothermia alone or in combination with anesthetic post-conditioning reduces expression of inflammatory cytokines in the cerebral cortex of pigs after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (2010)
- Introduction: Hypothermia improves survival and neurological recovery after cardiac arrest. Pro-inflammatory cytokines have been implicated in focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion in-jury. It is unknown whether cardiac arrest also triggers the release of cerebral inflammatory molecules, and whether therapeutic hypothermia alters this inflammatory response. This study sought to examine whether hypothermia or the combination of hypothermia with anes-thetic postconditioning with sevoflurane affect cerebral inflammatory response after cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Methods: Thirty pigs (28 - 34kg) were subjected to cardiac arrest following temporary coro-nary artery occlusion. After 7 minutes of ventricular fibrillation and 2 minutes of basic life support, advanced cardiac life support was started according to the current AHA guidelines. Return of spontaneous circulation was achieved in 21 animals who were randomized to ei-ther normothermia at 38degreesC, hypothermia at 33degreesC or hypothermia at 33degreesC combined with se-voflurane (each group: n = 7) for 24 hours. The effects of hypothermia and the combination of hypothermia with sevoflurane on cerebral inflammatory response after cardiopulmonary resuscitation were studied using tissue samples from the cerebral cortex of pigs euthanized after 24 hours and employing quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA techniques. Results: Global cerebral ischemia following resuscitation resulted in significant upregulation of cerebral tissue inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression (mean +/- SD; interleukin (IL)-1beta 8.7 +/- 4.0, IL-6 4.3 +/- 2.6, IL-10 2.5 +/- 1.6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha 2.8 +/- 1.8, intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) 4.0 +/- 1.9-fold compared with sham control) and IL-1beta protein concentration (1.9 +/- 0.6-fold compared with sham control). Hypothermia was associated with a significant (P <0.05 versus normothermia) reduction in cerebral inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression (IL-1beta 1.7 +/- 1.0, IL-6 2.2 +/- 1.1, IL-10 0.8 +/- 0.4, TNFalpha 1.1 +/- 0.6, ICAM-1 1.9 +/- 0.7-fold compared with sham control). These results were also confirmed for IL-1beta on protein level. Experimental settings employing hypothermia in combination with sevoflurane showed that the volatile anesthetic did not confer additional anti-inflammatory effects com-pared with hypothermia alone. Conclusions: Mild therapeutic hypothermia resulted in decreased expression of typical ce-rebral inflammatory mediators after cardiopulmonary resuscitation. This may confer, at least in part, neuroprotection following global cerebral ischemia and resuscitation.
- Serum microRNA-21 as marker for necroinflammation in hepatitis C patients with and without hepatocellular carcinoma (2011)
- Background: MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is up-regulated in tumor tissue of patients with malignant diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Elevated concentrations of miR-21 have also been found in sera or plasma from patients with malignancies, rendering it an interesting candidate as serum/plasma marker for malignancies. Here we correlated serum miR-21 levels with clinical parameters in patients with different stages of chronic hepatitis C virus infection (CHC) and CHC-associated HCC. Methodology/Principal Findings: 62 CHC patients, 29 patients with CHC and HCC and 19 healthy controls were prospectively enrolled. RNA was extracted from the sera and miR-21 as well as miR-16 levels were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR; miR-21 levels (normalized by miR-16) were correlated with standard liver parameters, histological grading and staging of CHC. The data show that serum levels of miR-21 were elevated in patients with CHC compared to healthy controls (P<0.001); there was no difference between serum miR-21 in patients with CHC and CHC-associated HCC. Serum miR-21 levels correlated with histological activity index (HAI) in the liver (r = −0.494, P = 0.00002), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (r = −0.309, P = 0.007), aspartate aminotransferase (r = −0.495, P = 0.000007), bilirubin (r = −0.362, P = 0.002), international normalized ratio (r = −0.338, P = 0.034) and γ-glutamyltransferase (r = −0.244, P = 0.034). Multivariate analysis revealed that ALT and miR-21 serum levels were independently associated with HAI. At a cut-off dCT of 1.96, miR-21 discriminated between minimal and mild-severe necroinflammation (AUC = 0.758) with a sensitivity of 53.3% and a specificity of 95.2%. Conclusions/Significance: The serum miR-21 level is a marker for necroinflammatory activity, but does not differ between patients with HCV and HCV-induced HCC.
- Interleukin-22 predicts severity and death in advanced liver cirrhosis: a prospective cohort study (2012)
- Background: Interleukin-22 (IL-22), recently identified as a crucial parameter of pathology in experimental liver damage, may determine survival in clinical end-stage liver disease. Systematic analysis of serum IL-22 in relation to morbidity and mortality of patients with advanced liver cirrhosis has not been performed so far. Methods: This is a prospective cohort study including 120 liver cirrhosis patients and 40 healthy donors to analyze systemic levels of IL-22 in relation to survival and hepatic complications. Results: A total of 71% of patients displayed liver cirrhosis-related complications at study inclusion. A total of 23% of the patients died during a mean follow-up of 196 +/- 165 days. Systemic IL-22 was detectable in 74% of patients but only in 10% of healthy donors (P <0.001). Elevated levels of IL-22 were associated with ascites (P = 0.006), hepatorenal syndrome (P <0.0001), and spontaneous bacterial peritonitis (P = 0.001). Patients with elevated IL-22 (>18 pg/ml, n = 57) showed significantly reduced survival compared to patients with regular ([less than or equal to]18 pg/ml) levels of IL-22 (321 days versus 526 days, P = 0.003). Other factors associated with overall survival were high CRP ([greater than or equal to]2.9 mg/dl, P = 0.005, hazard ratio (HR) 0.314, confidence interval (CI) (0.141 to 0.702)), elevated serum creatinine (P = 0.05, HR 0.453, CI (0.203 to 1.012)), presence of liver-related complications (P = 0.028, HR 0.258 CI (0.077 to 0.862)), model of end stage liver disease (MELD) score [greater than or equal to]20 (P = 0.017, HR 0.364, CI (0.159 to 0.835)) and age (P = 0.011, HR 1.047, CI (1.011 to 1.085)). Adjusted multivariate Cox proportional-hazards analysis identified elevated systemic IL-22 levels as independent predictors of reduced survival (P = 0.007, HR 0.218, CI (0.072 to 0.662)). Conclusions: In patients with liver cirrhosis, elevated systemic IL-22 levels are predictive for reduced survival independently from age, liver-related complications, CRP, creatinine and the MELD score. Thus, processes that lead to a rise in systemic interleukin-22 may be relevant for prognosis of advanced liver cirrhosis.
- Hypothermia and postconditioning after cardiopulmonary resuscitation reduce cardiac dysfunction by modulating inflammation, apoptosis and remodeling (2009)
- Background: Mild therapeutic hypothermia following cardiac arrest is neuroprotective, but its effect on myocardial dysfunction that is a critical issue following resuscitation is not clear. This study sought to examine whether hypothermia and the combination of hypothermia and pharmacological postconditioning are cardioprotective in a model of cardiopulmonary resuscitation following acute myocardial ischemia. Methodology/Principal Findings: Thirty pigs (28–34 kg) were subjected to cardiac arrest following left anterior descending coronary artery ischemia. After 7 minutes of ventricular fibrillation and 2 minutes of basic life support, advanced cardiac life support was started according to the current AHA guidelines. After successful return of spontaneous circulation (n = 21), coronary perfusion was reestablished after 60 minutes of occlusion, and animals were randomized to either normothermia at 38°C, hypothermia at 33°C or hypothermia at 33°C combined with sevoflurane (each group n = 7) for 24 hours. The effects on cardiac damage especially on inflammation, apoptosis, and remodeling were studied using cellular and molecular approaches. Five animals were sham operated. Animals treated with hypothermia had lower troponin T levels (p<0.01), reduced infarct size (34±7 versus 57±12%; p<0.05) and improved left ventricular function compared to normothermia (p<0.05). Hypothermia was associated with a reduction in: (i) immune cell infiltration, (ii) apoptosis, (iii) IL-1beta and IL-6 mRNA up-regulation, and (iv) IL-1beta protein expression (p<0.05). Moreover, decreased matrix metalloproteinase-9 activity was detected in the ischemic myocardium after treatment with mild hypothermia. Sevoflurane conferred additional protective effects although statistic significance was not reached. Conclusions/Significance: Hypothermia reduced myocardial damage and dysfunction after cardiopulmonary resuscitation possible via a reduced rate of apoptosis and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression.
- Low expression of T-cell transcription factor BCL11b predicts inferior survival in adult standard risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients (2014)
- Background: Risk stratification, detection of minimal residual disease (MRD), and implementation of novel therapeutic agents have improved outcome in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but survival of adult patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) remains unsatisfactory. Thus, novel molecular insights and therapeutic approaches are urgently needed. Methods: We studied the impact of B-cell CLL/lymphoma 11b (BCL11b), a key regulator in normal T-cell development, in T-ALL patients enrolled into the German Multicenter Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Study Group trials (GMALL; n = 169). The mutational status (exon 4) of BCL11b was analyzed by Sanger sequencing and mRNA expression levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition gene expression profiles generated on the Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (affymetrix) were used to investigate BCL11b low and high expressing T-ALL patients. Results: We demonstrate that BCL11b is aberrantly expressed in T-ALL and gene expression profiles reveal an association of low BCL11b expression with up-regulation of immature markers. T-ALL patients characterized by low BCL11b expression exhibit an adverse prognosis [5-year overall survival (OS): low 35% (n = 40) vs. high 53% (n = 129), P = 0.02]. Within the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL (n = 102), low BCL11b expression identified patients with an unexpected poor outcome compared to those with high expression (5-year OS: 20%, n = 18 versus 62%, n = 84, P < 0.01). In addition, sequencing of exon 4 revealed a high mutation rate (14%) of BCL11b. Conclusions: In summary, our data of a large adult T-ALL patient cohort show that low BCL11b expression was associated with poor prognosis; particularly in the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL. These findings can be utilized for improved risk prediction in a significant proportion of adult T-ALL patients, which carry a high risk of standard therapy failure despite a favorable immunophenotype.
- Serum Autotaxin Is a Parameter for the Severity of Liver Cirrhosis and Overall Survival in Patients with Liver Cirrhosis – A Prospective Cohort Study (2014)
- Background: Autotaxin (ATX) and its product lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) are considered to be involved in the development of liver fibrosis and elevated levels of serum ATX have been found in patients with hepatitis C virus associated liver fibrosis. However, the clinical role of systemic ATX in the stages of liver cirrhosis was unknown. Here we investigated the relation of ATX serum levels and severity of cirrhosis as well as prognosis of cirrhotic patients. Methods: Patients with liver cirrhosis were prospectively enrolled and followed until death, liver transplantation or last contact. Blood samples drawn at the day of inclusion in the study were assessed for ATX content by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. ATX levels were correlated with the stage as well as complications of cirrhosis. The prognostic value of ATX was investigated by uni- and multivariate Cox regression analyses. LPA concentration was determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Results: 270 patients were enrolled. Subjects with liver cirrhosis showed elevated serum levels of ATX as compared to healthy subjects (0.814±0.42 mg/l vs. 0.258±0.40 mg/l, P<0.001). Serum ATX levels correlated with the Child-Pugh stage and the MELD (model of end stage liver disease) score and LPA levels (r = 0.493, P = 0.027). Patients with hepatic encephalopathy (P = 0.006), esophageal varices (P = 0.002) and portal hypertensive gastropathy (P = 0.008) had higher ATX levels than patients without these complications. Low ATX levels were a parameter independently associated with longer overall survival (hazard ratio 0.575, 95% confidence interval 0.365–0.905, P = 0.017). Conclusion: Serum ATX is an indicator for the severity of liver disease and the prognosis of cirrhotic patients.
- Postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction in patients undergoing cardiac surgery after remote ischemic preconditioning : a double-blind randomized controlled pilot study (2013)
- Background: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) has been shown to enhance the tolerance of remote organs to cope with a subsequent ischemic event. We hypothesized that RIPC reduces postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction (POCD) in patients undergoing complex cardiac surgery. Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial including 180 adult patients undergoing elective cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Patients were randomized either to RIPC or to control group. Primary endpoint was postoperative neurocognitive dysfunction 5–7 days after surgery assessed by a comprehensive test battery. Cognitive change was assumed if the preoperative to postoperative difference in 2 or more tasks assessing different cognitive domains exceeded more than one SD (1 SD criterion) or if the combined Z score was 1.96 or greater (Z score criterion). Results: According to 1 SD criterion, 52% of control and 46% of RIPC patients had cognitive deterioration 5–7 days after surgery (p = 0.753). The summarized Z score showed a trend to more cognitive decline in the control group (2.16±5.30) compared to the RIPC group (1.14±4.02; p = 0.228). Three months after surgery, incidence and severity of neurocognitive dysfunction did not differ between control and RIPC. RIPC tended to decrease postoperative troponin T release at both 12 hours [0.60 (0.19–1.94) µg/L vs. 0.48 (0.07–1.84) µg/L] and 24 hours after surgery [0.36 (0.14–1.89) µg/L vs. 0.26 (0.07–0.90) µg/L]. Conclusions: We failed to demonstrate efficacy of a RIPC protocol with respect to incidence and severity of POCD and secondary outcome variables in patients undergoing a wide range of cardiac surgery. Therefore, definitive large-scale multicenter trials are needed. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00877305