Individual common variants exert weak effects on the risk for autism spectrum disorders
Patrick F. Bolton
Emily L. Crawford
Maretha de Jonge
Bridget A. Fernandez
Susan E. Folstein
Joseph T. Glessner
Stephen J. Guter
Elizabeth A. Heron
Jennifer L. Howe
Graham P. Kenny
Clara M. Lajonchere
Janine A. Lamb
Ann Le Couteur
Bennett L. Leventhal
Sabata C. Lund
Tiago R. Magalhaes
Christopher J. McDougle
Nadine M. Melhem
Nancy J. Minshew
Ghazala K. Mirza
Alistair T. Pagnamenta
David J. Posey
Michael L. Rutter
Val C. Sheffield
Ann P. Thompson
Herman Van Engeland
John B. Vincent
Anthony J. Bailey
Rita M. Cantor
Michael L. Cuccaro
Christine M. Freitag
Daniel H. Geschwind
Jonathan L. Haines
Sabine M. Klauck
William M. McMahon
Anthony P. Monaco
Stanley F. Nelson
John I. Nurnberger
Jeremy R. Parr
Margaret A. Pericak-Vance
Gerard D. Schellenberg
Stephen W. Scherer
Astrid M. Vicente
Thomas H. Wassink
Ellen M. Wijsman
Joseph D. Buxbaum
Edwin H. Cook
Andrew D. Paterson
James S. Sutcliffe
Veronica J. Vieland
- While it is apparent that rare variation can play an important role in the genetic architecture of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), the contribution of common variation to the risk of developing ASD is less clear. To produce a more comprehensive picture, we report Stage 2 of the Autism Genome Project genome-wide association study, adding 1301 ASD families and bringing the total to 2705 families analysed (Stages 1 and 2). In addition to evaluating the association of individual single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we also sought evidence that common variants, en masse, might affect the risk. Despite genotyping over a million SNPs covering the genome, no single SNP shows significant association with ASD or selected phenotypes at a genome-wide level. The SNP that achieves the smallest P-value from secondary analyses is rs1718101. It falls in CNTNAP2, a gene previously implicated in susceptibility for ASD. This SNP also shows modest association with age of word/phrase acquisition in ASD subjects, of interest because features of language development are also associated with other variation in CNTNAP2. In contrast, allele scores derived from the transmission of common alleles to Stage 1 cases significantly predict case status in the independent Stage 2 sample. Despite being significant, the variance explained by these allele scores was small (Vm< 1%). Based on results from individual SNPs and their en masse effect on risk, as inferred from the allele score results, it is reasonable to conclude that common variants affect the risk for ASD but their individual effects are modest.
Dissociating memory networks in early Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration - a combined study of hypometabolism and atrophy
Matthias L. Schroeter
- Introduction: We aimed at dissociating the neural correlates of memory disorders in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Methods: We included patients with AD (n = 19, 11 female, mean age 61 years) and FTLD (n = 11, 5 female, mean age 61 years) in early stages of their diseases. Memory performance was assessed by means of verbal and visual memory subtests from the Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-R), including forgetting rates. Brain glucose utilization was measured by [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) and brain atrophy by voxel-based morphometry (VBM) of T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Using a whole brain approach, correlations between test performance and imaging data were computed separately in each dementia group, including a group of control subjects (n = 13, 6 female, mean age 54 years) in both analyses. The three groups did not differ with respect to education and gender.
Results: Patients in both dementia groups generally performed worse than controls, but AD and FTLD patients did not differ from each other in any of the test parameters. However, memory performance was associated with different brain regions in the patient groups, with respect to both hypometabolism and atrophy: Whereas in AD patients test performance was mainly correlated with changes in the parieto-mesial cortex, performance in FTLD patients was correlated with changes in frontal cortical as well as subcortical regions. There were practically no overlapping regions associated with memory disorders in AD and FTLD as revealed by a conjunction analysis.
Conclusion: Memory test performance may not distinguish between both dementia syndromes. In clinical practice, this may lead to misdiagnosis of FTLD patients with poor memory performance. Nevertheless, memory problems are associated with almost completely different neural correlates in both dementia syndromes. Obviously, memory functions are carried out by distributed networks which break down in brain degeneration.
Human endothelial-like differentiated precursor cells maintain their endothelial characteristics when cocultured with mesenchymal stem cell and seeded onto human cancellous bone
- Introduction. Cancellous bone is frequently used for filling bone defects in a clinical setting. It provides favourable conditions for regenerative cells such as MSC and early EPC. The combination of MSC and EPC results in superior bone healing in experimental bone healing models. Materials and Methods. We investigated the influence of osteogenic culture conditions on the endothelial properties of early EPC and the osteogenic properties of MSC when cocultured on cancellous bone. Additionally, cell adhesion, metabolic activity, and differentiation were assessed 2, 6, and 10 days after seeding.
Results. The number of adhering EPC and MSC decreased over time; however the cells remained metabolically active over the 10-day measurement period. In spite of a decline of lineage specific markers, cells maintained their differentiation to a reduced level. Osteogenic stimulation of EPC caused a decline but not abolishment of endothelial characteristics and did not induce osteogenic gene expression. Osteogenic stimulation of MSC significantly increased their metabolic activity whereas collagen-1α and alkaline phosphatase gene expressions declined. When cocultured with EPC, MSC’s collagen-1α gene expression increased significantly. Conclusion. EPC and MSC can be cocultured in vitro on cancellous bone under osteogenic conditions, and coculturing EPC with MSC stabilizes the latter’s collagen-1α gene expression.
IAPs as E3 ligases of Rac1 : shaping the move
Tripat Kaur Oberoi-Khanuja
- Inhibitors of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) are well-studied E3 ubiquitin ligases predominantly known for regulation of apoptosis. We uncovered that IAPs can function as a direct E3 ubiquitin ligase of RhoGTPase Rac1. cIAP1 and XIAP directly conjugate polyubiquitin chains to Lysine 147 of activated Rac1 and target it for proteasomal degradation. Consistently, loss of these IAPs by various strategies led to stabilization of Rac1 and mesenchymal mode of migration in tumor cells. IAPs also regulate Rac1 degradation upon RhoGDI1 depletion and CNF1 toxin treatment. Our observations revealed an evolutionarily conserved role of IAPs in regulating Rac1 stability shedding light on to the mechanisms behind ubiquitination–dependent inactivation of Rac1 signaling.
HER2 and ESR1 mRNA expression levels and response to neoadjuvant trastuzumab plus chemotherapy in patients with primary breast cancer
Carsten Michael Denkert
Jan C. Brase
Peter A. Fasching
Bruno V. Sinn
Gunter von Minckwitz
- Introduction: Recent data suggest that benefit from trastuzumab and chemotherapy might be related to expression of HER2 and estrogen receptor (ESR1). Therefore, we investigated HER2 and ESR1 mRNA levels in core biopsies of HER2-positive breast carcinomas from patients treated within the neoadjuvant GeparQuattro trial.
Methods: HER2 levels were centrally analyzed by immunohistochemistry (IHC), silver in-situ hybridization (SISH) and qRT-PCR in 217 pretherapeutic formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) core biopsies. All tumors had been HER2-positive by local pathology and had been treated with neoadjuvant trastuzumab/ chemotherapy in GeparQuattro.
Results: Only 73% of the tumors (158 of 217) were centrally HER2-positive (cHER2-positive) by IHC/SISH, with cHER2-positive tumors showing a significantly higher pCR rate (46.8% vs. 20.3%, p<0.0005). HER2 status by qRT-PCR showed a concordance of 88.5% with the central IHC/SISH status, with a low pCR rate in those tumors that were HER2-negative by mRNA analysis (21.1% vs. 49.6%, p<0.0005). The level of HER2 mRNA expression was linked to response rate in ESR1-positive tumors, but not in ESR1-negative tumors. HER2 mRNA expression was significantly associated with pCR in the HER2-positive/ESR1-positive tumors (p=0.004), but not in HER2-positive/ESR1-negative tumors.
Conclusions: Only patients with cHER2-positive tumors - irrespective of the method used - have an increased pCR rate with trastuzumab plus chemotherapy. In patients with cHER2-negative tumors the pCR rate is comparable to the pCR rate in the non-trastuzumab treated HER-negative population. Response to trastuzumab is correlated to HER2 mRNA levels only in ESR1-positive tumors. This study adds further evidence to the different biology of both subsets within the HER2-positive group.
Prospective, open, multi-centre phase I/II trial to assess safety and efficacy of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy with docetaxel and oxaliplatin in patients with adenocarcinoma of the oesophagogastric junction
Peter R. Galle
Carl Christoph Adolf Schimanski
- Background: This phase I/II-trial assessed the dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) and maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of neoadjuvant radiochemotherapy (RCT) with docetaxel and oxaliplatin in patients with locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the oesophagogastric junction.
Methods: Patients received neoadjuvant radiotherapy (50.4 Gy) together with weekly docetaxel (20 mg/m2 at dose level (DL) 1 and 2, 25 mg/m2 at DL 3) and oxaliplatin (40 mg/m2 at DL 1, 50 mg/m2 at DL 2 and 3) over 5 weeks. The primary endpoint was the DLT and the MTD of the RCT regimen. Secondary endpoints included overall response rate (ORR) and progression-free survival (PFS).
Results: A total of 24 patients were included. Four patients were treated at DL 1, 13 patients at DL 2 and 7 patients at DL 3. The MTD of the RCT was considered DL 2 with docetaxel 20 mg/m2 and oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2. Objective response (CR/PR) was observed in 32% (7/22) of patients. Eighteen patients (75%) underwent surgery after RCT. The median PFS for all patients (n = 24) was 6.5 months. The median overall survival for all patients (n = 24) was 16.3 months. Patients treated at DL 2 had a median overall survival of 29.5 months.
Conclusion: Neoadjuvant RCT with docetaxel 20 mg/m2 and oxaliplatin 50 mg/m2 was effective and showed a good toxicity profile. Future studies should consider the addition of targeted therapies to current neoadjuvant therapy regimens to further improve the outcome of patients with advanced cancer of the oesophagogastric junction.
Trial Registration: NCT00374985
CSF and serum biomarkers focusing on cerebral vasospasm and ischemia after subarachnoid hemorrhage
Carla Sabine Jung
- Delayed cerebral vasospasm (CVS) and delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI) remain severe complications after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Although focal changes in cerebral metabolism indicating ischemia are detectable by microdialysis, routinely used biomarkers are missing. We therefore sought to evaluate a panel of possible global markers in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients after SAH.
CSF and serum of SAH patients were analyzed retrospectively. In CSF, levels of inhibitory, excitatory, and structural amino acids were detected by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). In serum, neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and S100B level were measured and examined in conjunction with CVS and DCI. CVS was detected by arteriography, and ischemic lesions were assessed by computed tomography (CT) scans.
All CSF amino acids were altered after SAH. CSF glutamate, glutamine, glycine, and histidine were significantly correlated with arteriographic CVS. CSF glutamate and serum S100B were significantly correlated with ischemic events after SAH; however, NSE did not correlate neither with ischemia nor with vasospasm. Glutamate, glutamine, glycine, and histidine might be used in CSF as markers for CVS. Glutamate also indicates ischemia. Serum S100B, but not NSE, is a suitable marker for ischemia. These results need to be validated in larger prospective cohorts.
Toxicity modelling of Plk1-targeted therapies in genetically engineered mice and cultured primary mammalian cells
Dirk H. Busch
Nicole R. Sänger
Martin Hrabě de Angelis
- High attrition rates of novel anti-cancer drugs highlight the need for improved models to predict toxicity. Although polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) inhibitors are attractive candidates for drug development, the role of Plk1 in primary cells remains widely unexplored. Therefore, we evaluated the utility of an RNA interference-based model to assess responses to an inducible knockdown (iKD) of Plk1 in adult mice. Here we show that Plk1 silencing can be achieved in several organs, although adverse events are rare. We compared responses in Plk1-iKD mice with those in primary cells kept under controlled culture conditions. In contrast to the addiction of many cancer cell lines to the non-oncogene Plk1, the primary cells' proliferation, spindle assembly and apoptosis exhibit only a low dependency on Plk1. Responses to Plk1-depletion, both in cultured primary cells and in our iKD-mouse model, correspond well and thus provide the basis for using validated iKD mice in predicting responses to therapeutic interventions.
Malignant melanoma of the urethra: a rare histologic subdivision of vulvar cancer with a poor prognosis
- Malignant melanoma of the urethra is a rare tumour that is difficult to diagnose and treat, resulting in a poor prognosis. In this paper, we present the case of a 65-year-old woman who was referred to a gynaecologist because of a urethral mass that mimicked a caruncle. The tumour was removed by local excision, and a pathological analysis revealed a malignant melanoma. Distal urethrectomy was performed after three months with no evidence of residual tumour. There was no evidence of disease at a six-year followup. In this paper, we compare the epidemiology, treatment, staging, and prognosis of vulvar cancer in general to malignant melanoma of the vulva in particular.
Alternative cell death pathways and cell metabolism
- While necroptosis has for long been viewed as an accidental mode of cell death triggered by physical or chemical damage, it has become clear over the last years that necroptosis can also represent a programmed form of cell death in mammalian cells. Key discoveries in the field of cell death research, including the identification of critical components of the necroptotic machinery, led to a revised concept of cell death signaling programs. Several regulatory check and balances are in place in order to ensure that necroptosis is tightly controlled according to environmental cues and cellular needs. This network of regulatory mechanisms includes metabolic pathways, especially those linked to mitochondrial signaling events. A better understanding of these signal transduction mechanisms will likely contribute to open new avenues to exploit our knowledge on the regulation of necroptosis signaling for therapeutic application in the treatment of human diseases.