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  • Pöyhönen, Pauli; Hiippala, Anita; Ollila, Laura; Kaasalainen, Touko; Hänninen, Helena; Heliö, Tiina; Tallila, Jonna; Vasilescu, Catalina; Kivistö, Sari; Ojala, Tiina; Holmström, Miia (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Autosomal dominantly inherited PRKAG2 cardiac syndrome is due to a unique defect of the cardiac cell metabolism and has a distinctive histopathology with excess intracellular glycogen, and prognosis different from sarcomeric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. We aimed to define the distinct characteristics of PRKAG2 using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Methods CMR (1.5 T) and genetic testing were performed in two families harboring PRKAG2 mutations. On CMR, segmental analysis of left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy (LVH), function, native T1 mapping, and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) were performed. Results Six individuals (median age 23 years, range 16–48; two females) had a PRKAG2 mutation: five with an R302Q mutation (family 1), and one with a novel H344P mutation (family 2). Three of six mutation carriers had LV mass above age and gender limits (203 g/m2, 157 g/m2 and 68 g/m2) and others (with R302Q mutation) normal LV masses. All mutation carriers had LVH in at least one segment, with the median maximal wall thickness of 13 mm (range 11–37 mm). Two R302Q mutation carriers with markedly increased LV mass (203 g/m2 and 157 g/m2) showed a diffuse pattern of hypertrophy but predominantly in the interventricular septum, while other mutation carriers exhibited a non-symmetric mid-infero-lateral pattern of hypertrophy. In family 1, the mutation negative male had a mean T1 value of 963 ms, three males with the R302Q mutation, LVH and no LGE a mean value of 918 ± 11 ms, and the oldest male with the R302Q mutation, extensive hypertrophy and LGE a mean value of 973 ms. Of six mutations carriers, two with advanced disease had LGE with 11 and 22 % enhancement of total LV volume. Conclusions PRKAG2 cardiac syndrome may present with eccentric distribution of LVH, involving focal mid-infero-lateral pattern in the early disease stage, and more diffuse pattern but focusing on interventricular septum in advanced cases. In patients at earlier stages of disease, without LGE, T1 values may be reduced, while in the advanced disease stage T1 mapping may result in higher values caused by fibrosis. CMR is a valuable tool in detecting diffuse and focal myocardial abnormalities in PRKAG2 cardiomyopathy.
  • Baig, Abiyad; McNally, Alan; Dunn, Steven; Paszkiewicz, Konrad H; Corander, Jukka; Manning, Georgina (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Campylobacter jejuni is a major zoonotic pathogen, causing gastroenteritis in humans. Invasion is an important pathogenesis trait by which C. jejuni causes disease. Here we report the genomic analysis of 134 strains to identify traits unique to hyperinvasive isolates. Methods A total of 134 C. jejuni genomes were used to create a phylogenetic tree to position the hyperinvasive strains. Comparative genomics lead to the identification of mosaic capsule regions. A pan genome approach led to the discovery of unique loci, or loci with unique alleles, to the hyperinvasive strains. Results Phylogenetic analysis showed that the hyper-invasive phenotype is a generalist trait. Despite the fact that hyperinvasive strains are only distantly related based on the whole genome phylogeny, they all possess genes within the capsule region with high identity to capsule genes from C. jejuni subsp. doylei and C. lari. In addition there were genes unique to the hyper-invasive strains with identity to non-C. jejuni genes, as well as allelic variants of mainly pathogenesis related genes already known in the other C. jejuni. In particular, the sequence of flagella genes, flgD-E and flgL were highly conserved amongst the hyper-invasive strains and divergent from sequences in other C. jejuni. A novel cytolethal distending toxin (cdt) operon was also identified as present in all hyper-invasive strains in addition to the classic cdt operon present in other C. jejuni. Conclusions Overall, the hyper-invasive phenotype is strongly linked to the presence of orthologous genes from other Campylobacter species in their genomes, notably within the capsule region, in addition to the observed association with unique allelic variants in flagellar genes and the secondary cdt operon which is unlikely under random sharing of accessory alleles in separate lineages.
  • Koskinen, Patrik; Deptula, Paulina; Smolander, Olli-Pekka; Tamene, Fitsum; Kammonen, Juhana; Savijoki, Kirsi; Paulin, Lars; Piironen, Vieno; Auvinen, Petri; Varmanen, Pekka (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. freudenreichii DSM 20271T is the type strain of species Propionibacterium freudenreichii that has a long history of safe use in the production dairy products and B12 vitamin. P. freudenreichii is the type species of the genus Propionibacterium which contains Gram-positive, non-motile and non-sporeforming bacteria with a high G + C content. We describe the genome of P. freudenreichii subsp. freudenreichii DSM 20271T consisting of a 2,649,166 bp chromosome containing 2320 protein-coding genes and 50 RNA-only encoding genes.
  • Kaurilind, Eve; Xu, Enjun; Brosché, Mikael (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background To survive in a changing environment plants constantly monitor their surroundings. In response to several stresses and during photorespiration plants use reactive oxygen species as signaling molecules. The Arabidopsis thaliana catalase2 (cat2) mutant lacks a peroxisomal catalase and under photorespiratory conditions accumulates H2O2, which leads to activation of cell death. Methods A cat2 double mutant collection was generated through crossing and scored for cell death in different assays. Selected double mutants were further analyzed for photosynthetic performance and H2O2 accumulation. Results We used a targeted mutant analysis with more than 50 cat2 double mutants to investigate the role of stress hormones and other defense regulators in H2O2-mediated cell death. Several transcription factors (AS1, MYB30, MYC2, WRKY70), cell death regulators (RCD1, DND1) and hormone regulators (AXR1, ERA1, SID2, EDS1, SGT1b) were essential for execution of cell death in cat2. Genetic loci required for cell death in cat2 was compared with regulators of cell death in spontaneous lesion mimic mutants and led to the identification of a core set of plant cell death regulators. Analysis of gene expression data from cat2 and plants undergoing cell death revealed similar gene expression profiles, further supporting the existence of a common program for regulation of plant cell death. Conclusions Our results provide a genetic framework for further study on the role of H2O2 in regulation of cell death. The hormones salicylic acid, jasmonic acid and auxin, as well as their interaction, are crucial determinants of cell death regulation.
  • Rizzello, Carlo G; Hernández-Ledesma, Blanca; Fernández-Tomé, Samuel; Curiel, José A; Pinto, Daniela; Marzani, Barbara; Coda, Rossana; Gobbetti, Marco (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background There is an increasing interest toward the use of legumes in food industry, mainly due to the quality of their protein fraction. Many legumes are cultivated and consumed around the world, but few data is available regarding the chemical or technological characteristics, and especially on their suitability to be fermented. Nevertheless, sourdough fermentation with selected lactic acid bacteria has been recognized as the most efficient tool to improve some nutritional and functional properties. This study investigated the presence of lunasin-like polypeptides in nineteen traditional Italian legumes, exploiting the potential of the fermentation with selected lactic acid bacteria to increase the native concentration. An integrated approach based on chemical, immunological and ex vivo (human adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cell cultures) analyses was used to show the physiological potential of the lunasin-like polypeptides. Results Italian legume varieties, belonging to Phaseulus vulgaris, Cicer arietinum, Lathyrus sativus, Lens culinaris and Pisum sativum species, were milled and flours were chemically characterized and subjected to sourdough fermentation with selected Lactobacillus plantarum C48 and Lactobacillus brevis AM7, expressing different peptidase activities. Extracts from legume doughs (unfermented) and sourdoughs were subjected to western blot analysis, using an anti-lunasin primary antibody. Despite the absence of lunasin, different immunoreactive polypeptide bands were found. The number and the intensity of lunasin-like polypeptides increased during sourdough fermentation, as the consequence of the proteolysis of the native proteins carried out by the selected lactic acid bacteria. A marked inhibitory effect on the proliferation of human adenocarcinoma Caco-2 cells was observed using extracts from legume sourdoughs. In particular, sourdoughs from Fagiolo di Lamon, Cece dell’Alta Valle di Misa, and Pisello riccio di Sannicola flours were the most active, showing a decrease of Caco-2 cells viability up to 70 %. The over-expression of Caco-2 filaggrin and involucrin genes was also induced. Nine lunasin-like polypeptides, having similarity to lunasin, were identified. Conclusions The features of the sourdough fermented legume flours suggested the use for the manufacture of novel functional foods and/or pharmaceuticals preparations.
  • Kuuskeri, Jaana; Mäkelä, Miia R; Isotalo, Jarkko; Oksanen, Ilona; Lundell, Taina (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The fungal genus Phlebia consists of a number of species that are significant in wood decay. Biotechnological potential of a few species for enzyme production and degradation of lignin and pollutants has been previously studied, when most of the species of this genus are unknown. Therefore, we carried out a wider study on biochemistry and systematics of Phlebia species. Methods Isolates belonging to the genus Phlebia were subjected to four-gene sequence analysis in order to clarify their phylogenetic placement at species level and evolutionary relationships of the genus among phlebioid Polyporales. rRNA-encoding (5.8S, partial LSU) and two protein-encoding gene (gapdh, rpb2) sequences were adopted for the evolutionary analysis, and ITS sequences (ITS1 + 5.8S + ITS2) were aligned for in-depth species-level phylogeny. The 49 fungal isolates were cultivated on semi-solid milled spruce wood medium for 21 days in order to follow their production of extracellular lignocellulose-converting oxidoreductases and carbohydrate active enzymes. Results Four-gene phylogenetic analysis confirmed the polyphyletic nature of the genus Phlebia. Ten species-level subgroups were formed, and their lignocellulose-converting enzyme activity profiles coincided with the phylogenetic grouping. The highest enzyme activities for lignin modification (manganese peroxidase activity) were obtained for Phlebia radiata group, which supports our previous studies on the enzymology and gene expression of this species on lignocellulosic substrates. Conclusions Our study implies that there is a species-level connection of molecular systematics (genotype) to the efficiency in production of both lignocellulose-converting carbohydrate active enzymes and oxidoreductases (enzyme phenotype) on spruce wood. Thus, we may propose a similar phylogrouping approach for prediction of lignocellulose-converting enzyme phenotypes in new fungal species or genetically and biochemically less-studied isolates of the wood-decay Polyporales.
  • Bashandy, Hany; Jalkanen, Salla; Teeri, Teemu H (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Transient gene expression utilizing syringe agroinfiltration offers a simple and efficient technique for different transgenic applications. Leaves of Nicotiana benthamiana show reliable and high transformation efficiency, but in quantitative assays also a certain degree of variation. We used a nested design in our agroinfiltration experiments to dissect the sources of this variation. Results An intron containing firefly luciferase gene was used as a reporter for agroinfiltration. A number of 6 week old tobacco plants were infiltrated for their top leaves, several samples were punched from the leaves after 2 days of transient expression, and protein extracts from the samples were repeatedly measured for luciferase activity. Interestingly, most of the variation was due to differences between the sampling spots in the leaves, the next important source being the different leaves on each plant. Variation between similar experiments, between plants and between repetitive measurements of the extracts could be easily minimized. Conclusions Efforts and expenditure of agroinfiltration experiments can be optimized when sources of variation are known. In summary, infiltrate more plants but less leaves, sample more positions on the leaf but run only few technical replicates.
  • Loponen, Tiina; Lallukka, Tea; Holstila, Ansku; Lahti, Jouni (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Physical activity level and overweight have shown associations with mental health problems but it is not known whether the risk of mental health problems due to overweight varies by physical activity. We examined joint association of physical activity and overweight with subsequent psychotropic medication among 40–60-year-old employees. Methods The questionnaire survey data were derived from Helsinki Health Study baseline postal questionnaires in 2000–02 among employees of the City of Helsinki aged 40–60 years (n = 8960, response rate 67 %). Baseline survey data were linked with prospective register data on prescribed psychotropic medication (ATC-codes N05 and N06, except N06D) among those with written consent (74 %) for such linkage. The analyses included 6169 responders (78 % women, corresponding to the target population). We divided participants into six groups according to their baseline self-reported body mass index and leisure-time physical activity using physically highly active normal-weight participants as a reference group. We used Cox regression analysis adjusted for age, gender, psychotropic medication prior to baseline, and socioeconomic position, marital status, working conditions, limiting long-standing illness, alcohol use, and smoking. Results At baseline, 49 % were overweight and 23 % were physically inactive. After adjusting for age and gender, inactive normal-weight (hazard ratio (HR) 1.3, 95 % CI 1.1–1.5), moderately active overweight (HR 1.3, 95 % CI 1.1–1.5) and inactive overweight (HR 1.4, 95 % CI 1.2–1.6) had higher risk for any psychotropic medication compared with group of highly active normal-weight. After adjusting for prior medication, only the inactive overweight group had higher risk (HR 1.4, 95 % CI 1.2–1.6). Other covariates made but a minor contribution to the examined associations. For antidepressants the associations were somewhat stronger than for sedatives. Conclusions Both normal-weight and physical activity help prevent psychotropic medication but physical activity dominates the association over normal-weight.
  • Tenorio-Laranga, Jofre; Montoliu, Carmina; Urios, Amparo; Hernandez-Rabaza, Vicente; Ahabrach, Hanan; García-Horsman, J. A; Felipo, Vicente (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Liver failure in experimental animals or in human cirrhosis elicits neuroinflammation. Prolyl oligopeptidase (PREP) has been implicated in neuroinflammatory events in neurodegenerative diseases: PREP protein levels are increased in brain glial cells upon neuroinflammatory insults, but the circulating PREP activity levels are decreased in multiple sclerosis patients in a process probably mediated by bioactive peptides. In this work, we studied the variation of PREP levels upon liver failure and correlated it with several inflammatory markers to conclude on the relation of PREP with systemic and/or neuroinflammation. Methods PREP enzymatic activity and protein levels measured with immunological techniques were determined in the brain and plasma of rats with portacaval shunt (PCS) and after treatment with ibuprofen. Those results were compared with the levels of PREP measured in plasma from cirrhotic patients with or without minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE). Levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines and those of NO/cGMP homeostasis metabolites were measured in PCS rats and cirrhotic patients to conclude on the role of PREP in inflammation. Results In PCA rats, we found that PREP levels are significantly increased in the hippocampus, striatum and cerebellum, that in the cerebellum the PREP increase was significantly found in the extracellular space and that the levels were restored to those measured in control rats after administration of an anti-inflammatory agent, ibuprofen. In cirrhotic patients, circulatory PREP activity was found to correlate to systemic and neuroinflammatory markers and had a negative correlation with the severity of the disease, although no clear relation to MHE. Conclusions These results support the idea that PREP levels could be used as indicators of cirrhosis severity in humans, and using other markers, it might contribute to assessing the level of neuroinflammation in those patients. This work reports, for the first time, that PREP is secreted to the extracellular space in the cerebellum most probably due to glial activation and supports the role of the peptidase in the inflammatory response.
  • Hanifeh, Mohsen; Heilmann, Romy M; Sankari, Satu; Rajamäki, Minna M; Mäkitalo, Laura; Syrjä, Pernilla; Kilpinen, Susanne; Suchodolski, Jan S; Steiner, Jörg M; Spillmann, Thomas (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Relatively few laboratory markers have been evaluated for the detection or monitoring of intestinal inflammation in canine chronic enteropathies, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Previous research found that the intestinal mucosal levels of S100A12 and myeloperoxidase (MPO), as biomarkers of gut inflammation, were elevated in human patients with IBD. To date, the S100A12 and MPO levels in intestinal mucosal samples from either healthy dogs or from dogs suffering from IBD remain unreported. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the mucosal S100A12 and MPO levels in four different parts of the intestine (duodenum, jejunum, ileum and colon) in 12 healthy laboratory Beagle dogs using the ELISA and spectrophotometric methods, respectively. Results Based on histological examinations, the recorded findings for all the samples were considered normal. The mucosal concentration of S100A12 in the ileum was significantly higher than in all other segments of the intestine (p < 0.05). MPO activity was significantly higher in the ileal, jejunal and duodenal than in colonic mucosal samples (p < 0.05). Moreover, its concentration was higher in the jejunum than in the duodenum. Conclusions This study showed that S100A12 and MPO are reliably detectable in canine intestinal mucosa. The assays used appeared to be sufficient to further evaluate the role of S100A12 and MPO in the pathogenesis of canine chronic enteropathies, including IBD. These biomarkers may play a role in the initial detection of gut inflammation suggesting the need for further investigations to confirm IBD or to differentiate between IBD subtypes. Understanding the role of S100A12 and MPO in the pathogenesis of chronic intestinal inflammation in future may result in an improved understanding of canine chronic intestinal inflammation.
  • Castrén, Eeva; Sillat, Tarvo; Oja, Sofia; Noro, Ariel; Laitinen, Anita; Konttinen, Yrjö T; Lehenkari, Petri; Hukkanen, Mika; Korhonen, Matti (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Introduction Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have been intensely studied for the purpose of developing solutions for clinical tissue engineering. Autologous MSCs can potentially be used to replace tissue defects, but the procedure also carries risks such as immunization and xenogeneic infection. Replacement of the commonly used fetal calf serum (FCS) with human platelet lysate and plasma (PLP) to support cell growth may reduce some of these risks. Altered media could, however, influence stem cell differentiation and we address this experimentally. Methods We examined human MSC differentiation into the osteoblast lineage using in vitro two- and three-dimensional cultures with PLP or FCS as cell culture medium supplements. Differentiation was followed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and alkaline phosphatase activity, matrix formation and matrix calcium content were quantified. Results Three-dimensional culture, where human MSCs were grown on collagen sponges, markedly stimulated osteoblast differentiation; a fourfold increase in calcium deposition could be observed in both PLP and FCS groups. PLP-grown cells showed robust osteogenic differentiation both in two- and three-dimensional MSC cultures. The calcium content of the matrix in the two-dimensional PLP group at day 14 was 2.2-fold higher in comparison to the FCS group (p < 0.0001), and at day 21 it was still 1.3-fold higher (p < 0.001), suggesting earlier calcium accumulation to the matrix in the PLP group. This was supported by stronger Alizarin Red staining in the PLP group at day 14. In two-dimesional PLP cultures, cellular proliferation appeared to decrease during later stages of differentiation, while in the FCS group the number of cells increased throughout the experiment. In three-dimensional experiments, the PLP and FCS groups behaved more congruently, except for the alkaline phosphatase activity and mRNA levels which were markedly increased by PLP. Conclusions Human PLP was at least equal to FCS in supporting osteogenic differentiation of human MSCs in two- and three-dimensional conditions; however, proliferation was inferior. As PLP is free of animal components, and thus represents reduced risk for xenogeneic infection, its use for human MSC-induced bone repair in the clinic by the three-dimensional live implants presented here appears a promising therapy option.
  • Syrjänen, Leo; Valanne, Susanna; Kuuslahti, Marianne; Tuomela, Tea; Sriram, Ashwin; Sanz, Alberto; Jacobs, Howard T; Rämet, Mika; Parkkila, Seppo (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Carbonic anhydrases (CAs, EC are ubiquitous enzymes that catalyze the reversible hydration reaction of carbon dioxide. CAs are present as six structurally divergent enzyme families: α, β, γ, δ, ζ and η. β-CAs have a wide distribution across different species including invertebrates. Previously, we showed that Drosophila melanogaster β-CA is a highly active mitochondrial enzyme. In this study, we investigated the function of Drosophila β-CA by silencing the expression of the β-CA gene using UAS/GAL4-based RNA interference (RNAi) in Drosophila in vivo. Results Crossing β-CA RNAi lines over ubiquitous Actin driver flies did not produce any viable progeny, indicating that β-CA expression is required for fly development. RNAi silencing of β-CA ubiquitously in adult flies did not affect their survival rate or function of mitochondrial electron transport chain. Importantly, β-CA RNAi led to impaired reproduction. All β-CA knockdown females were sterile, and produced few or no eggs. Whole ovaries of knockdown females looked normal but upon cadherin staining, there was an apparent functional defect in migration of border cells, which are considered essential for normal fertilization. Conclusions These results indicate that although Drosophila β-CA is dispensable for survival of adult flies, it is essential for female fertility.
  • Koli, Raika; Köhler, Klaus; Tonteri, Elina; Peltonen, Juha; Tikkanen, Heikki; Fogelholm, Mikael (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Several studies have shown that cocoa and cocoa-containing foods have the potential to lower blood pressure and improve endothelial function. Most of the studies reporting the beneficial effects of dark chocolate on blood pressure have been short (≤ 4 weeks). The aim of the present 8-wks (weeks) study was to assess the effects of regular consumption of dark chocolate during a reduced snack consumption intervention on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in mildly hypertensive individuals. Design This was a randomized, controlled, cross-over trial involving 22 adults (8 women, 14 men), aged 33–64 y, BMI 27.7 ± 3.7 kg/m2 with mild hypertension. During the intervention period (8-wks) the participants reduced the intake of habitual snacks and replaced them with dark chocolate (49 g/day). In the control period, they only reduced the snacks without any added chocolate. Data (blood lipid profile, glucose, insulin, 24 h blood pressure) was collected in the beginning and end of both periods (intervention and control), and some variables also in the run-in and run-out periods (weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure, arterial stiffness index, diet and physical activity). Results Daily consumption of dark chocolate had no effects on 24 h blood pressure, resting blood pressure (mean ± SD, pre 142 ± 11.5/89 ± 8.4 mmHg vs. post 142 ± 14.2/88 ± 9.4 mmHg in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, respectively) or arterial stiffness (mean ± SD, pre 7.68 ± 0.88 vs. post 7.76 ± 0.89). Weight was reduced by 1.0 ± 2.2 kg during the control (reduced snack only) period, but was unchanged while eating chocolate (p < 0.027 between the treatments). Conclusion The data collected in this study indicates that inclusion of dark chocolate daily in the diet had no significant effects on blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors during a reduced snack period. Trial registration identifier NCT02130141
  • Lee, Jamie; Prokopec, Stephenie D; Watson, John D; Sun, Ren X; Pohjanvirta, Raimo; Boutros, Paul C (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background 2,3,7,8–tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dixion (TCDD) is the most potent of the dioxin congeners, capable of causing a wide range of toxic effects across numerous animal models. Previous studies have demonstrated that males and females of the same species can display divergent sensitivity phenotypes to TCDD toxicities. Although it is now clear that most TCDD-induced toxic outcomes are mediated by the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), the mechanism of differential responses to TCDD exposure between sexes remains largely unknown. To investigate the differential sensitivities in male and female mice, we profiled the hepatic transcriptomic responses 4 days following exposure to various amounts of TCDD (125, 250, 500 or 1000 μg/kg) in adult male and female C57BL/6Kuo mice. Results Several key findings were revealed by our study. 1) Hepatic transcriptomes varied significantly between the sexes at all doses examined. 2) The liver transcriptome of males was more dysregulated by TCDD than that of females. 3) The alteration of “AHR-core” genes was consistent in magnitude, regardless of sex. 4) A subset of genes demonstrated sex-dependent TCDD-induced transcriptional changes, including Fmo3 and Nr1i3, which were significantly induced in livers of male mice only. In addition, a meta-analysis was performed to contrast transcriptomic profiles of various organisms and tissues following exposure to equitoxic doses of TCDD. Minimal overlap was observed in the differences between TCDD-sensitive or TCDD-resistant models. Conclusions Sex-dependent sensitivities to TCDD exposure are associated with a set of sex-specific TCDD-responsive genes. In addition, complex interactions between the aryl hydrocarbon and sex hormone receptors may affect the observable differences in sensitivity phenotypes between the sexes. Further work is necessary to better understand the roles of those genes altered by TCDD in a sex-dependent manner, and their association with changes to sex hormones and receptors.
  • Kaunisto, Jaana; Kelloniemi, K.; Sutinen, E.; Hodgson, U.; Piilonen, A.; Kaarteenaho, R.; Mäkitaro, R.; Purokivi, M.; Lappi-Blanco, E.; Saarelainen, S.; Kankaanranta, H.; Mursu, A.; Kanervisto, M.; Salomaa, E-R.; Myllärniemi, M. (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background The FinnishIPF registry is a prospective, longitudinal national registry study on the epidemiology of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). It was designed to describe the characteristics, management and prognosis of prevalent and incident IPF patients. The study was initiated in 2012. Methods We present here results limited to five university hospitals. Patients with IPF were screened from hospital registries using ICD-10 diagnosis codes J84.1 and J84.9. All patients who gave informed consent were included and evaluated using novel diagnostic criteria. Point prevalence on the 31st of December in 2012 was calculated using the reported population in each university hospital city as the denominator. Results Patients with ICD-10 codes J84.1 and J84.9 yielded a heterogeneous group – on the basis of patient records assessed by pulmonologists only 20–30 % of the cases were IPF. After clinical, radiological and histological re-evaluation 111 of 123 (90 %) of patients fulfilled the clinical criteria of IPF. The estimated prevalence of IPF was 8.6 cases/100 000. 60.4 % were men. Forty four percent of the patients were never-smokers. At diagnosis, the patients’ mean age was 73.5 years and mean FVC was 80.4 % and DLCO 57.3 % of predicted. Conclusions Our results suggest that hospital registries are inaccurate for epidemiological studies unless patients are carefully re-evaluated. IPF is diagnosed in Finland at a stage when lung function is still quite well preserved. Smoking in patients with IPF was less common than in previous reports.
  • Mikonranta, Lauri; Mappes, Johanna; Laakso, Jouni; Ketola, Tarmo (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Pathogens evolve in a close antagonistic relationship with their hosts. The conventional theory proposes that evolution of virulence is highly dependent on the efficiency of direct host-to-host transmission. Many opportunistic pathogens, however, are not strictly dependent on the hosts due to their ability to reproduce in the free-living environment. Therefore it is likely that conflicting selection pressures for growth and survival outside versus within the host, rather than transmission potential, shape the evolution of virulence in opportunists. We tested the role of within-host selection in evolution of virulence by letting a pathogen Serratia marcescens db11 sequentially infect Drosophila melanogaster hosts and then compared the virulence to strains that evolved only in the outside-host environment. Results We found that the pathogen adapted to both Drosophila melanogaster host and novel outside-host environment, leading to rapid evolutionary changes in the bacterial life-history traits including motility, in vitro growth rate, biomass yield, and secretion of extracellular proteases. Most significantly, selection within the host led to decreased virulence without decreased bacterial load while the selection lines in the outside-host environment maintained the same level of virulence with ancestral bacteria. Conclusions This experimental evidence supports the idea that increased virulence is not an inevitable consequence of within-host adaptation even when the epidemiological restrictions are removed. Evolution of attenuated virulence could occur because of immune evasion within the host. Alternatively, rapid fluctuation between outside-host and within-host environments, which is typical for the life cycle of opportunistic bacterial pathogens, could lead to trade-offs that lower pathogen virulence.
  • Tabassum, Rubina; Sivadas, Ambily; Agrawal, Vartika; Tian, Haozheng; Arafat, Dalia; Gibson, Greg (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Personalized medicine is predicated on the notion that individual biochemical and genomic profiles are relatively constant in times of good health and to some extent predictive of disease or therapeutic response. We report a pilot study quantifying gene expression and methylation profile consistency over time, addressing the reasons for individual uniqueness, and its relation to N = 1 phenotypes. Methods Whole blood samples from four African American women, four Caucasian women, and four Caucasian men drawn from the Atlanta Center for Health Discovery and Well Being study at three successive 6-month intervals were profiled by RNA-Seq, miRNA-Seq, and Illumina Methylation 450 K arrays. Standard regression approaches were used to evaluate the proportion of variance for each type of omic measure among individuals, and to quantify correlations among measures and with clinical attributes related to wellness. Results Longitudinal omic profiles were in general highly consistent over time, with an average of 67 % variance in transcript abundance, 42 % in CpG methylation level (but 88 % for the most differentiated CpG per gene), and 50 % in miRNA abundance among individuals, which are all comparable to 74 % variance among individuals for 74 clinical traits. One third of the variance could be attributed to differential blood cell type abundance, which was also fairly stable over time, and a lesser amount to expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) effects. Seven conserved axes of covariance that capture diverse aspects of immune function explained over half of the variance. These axes also explained a considerable proportion of individually extreme transcript abundance, namely approximately 100 genes that were significantly up-regulated or down-regulated in each person and were in some cases enriched for relevant gene activities that plausibly associate with clinical attributes. A similar fraction of genes had individually divergent methylation levels, but these did not overlap with the transcripts, and fewer than 20 % of genes had significantly correlated methylation and gene expression. Conclusions People express an “omic personality” consisting of peripheral blood transcriptional and epigenetic profiles that are constant over the course of a year and reflect various types of immune activity. Baseline genomic profiles can provide a window into the molecular basis of traits that might be useful for explaining medical conditions or guiding personalized health decisions.
  • Viitasaari, Elina; Raekallio, Marja; Valros, Anna; Peltoniemi, Olli; Hänninen, Laura; Heinonen, Mari (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract No research has been reported on the effect of intramuscular ketoprofen administration on the feeding behavior of tail-bitten pigs. In order to investigate this, a longitudinal, double blind, placebo-controlled field trial was conducted with a total of 77 pigs from a finishing herd. Pigs received either ketoprofen (KET) or a placebo (PLAC) intramuscularly for three days and procaine penicillin for five days after the tail was first observed to be damaged. Pigs were followed from day −2 to day 3 with respect to a noted tail wound. Only new incidence of tail biting was included. Nine to 11 pigs per pen were reared with a single automatic feeder. A transponder attached to the ear of each pig recorded times of entrance and exit to the feeder and feed consumed. To calculate average daily weight gain (ADG), pigs were weighed at days 0, 6 and 13. Time spent at the feeder by visit and on a daily basis, and mean daily intervals between feeder visits per pig were computed in minutes. Daily feeding rate (FR) was calculated from the feeder data (consumed feed (g) / time at the feeder (s)). Placebo pigs consumed more feed and spent more time at the feeder on day 1 than KET pigs (P < 0.05). For all pigs, FR increased from day 1 to day 3 (P < 0.05). Feeder visit intervals were longer and frequency lower on day 0 compared with other days (P < 0.05). Average feed consumption and time spent at the feeder per day decreased on day 0 and returned to the initial level on day 1 (P < 0.05 for both). No effect on ADG was recorded. Intramuscular administration of ketoprofen induced little change in feeding behavior and had no effect on weight gain. Placebo-treated pigs may have used feed as an analgesic and calming substance to some degree, leading to temporarily increased feed consumption.
  • Sousa, Sofia; Brion, Régis; Lintunen, Minnamaija; Kronqvist, Pauliina; Sandholm, Jouko; Mönkkönen, Jukka; Kellokumpu-Lehtinen, Pirkko-Liisa; Lauttia, Susanna; Tynninen, Olli; Joensuu, Heikki; Heymann, Dominique; Määttä, Jorma A (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Introduction The immune system plays a major role in cancer progression. In solid tumors, 5-40 % of the tumor mass consists of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and there is usually a correlation between the number of TAMs and poor prognosis, depending on the tumor type. TAMs usually resemble M2 macrophages. Unlike M1-macrophages which have pro-inflammatory and anti-cancer functions, M2-macrophages are immunosuppressive, contribute to the matrix-remodeling, and hence favor tumor growth. The role of TAMs is not fully understood in breast cancer progression. Methods Macrophage infiltration (CD68) and activation status (HLA-DRIIα, CD163) were evaluated in a large cohort of human primary breast tumors (562 tissue microarray samples), by immunohistochemistry and scored by automated image analysis algorithms. Survival between groups was compared using the Kaplan-Meier life-table method and a Cox multivariate proportional hazards model. Macrophage education by breast cancer cells was assessed by ex vivo differentiation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in the presence or absence of breast cancer cell conditioned media (MDA-MB231, MCF-7 or T47D cell lines) and M1 or M2 inducing cytokines (respectively IFN-γ, IL-4 and IL-10). Obtained macrophages were analyzed by flow cytometry (CD14, CD16, CD64, CD86, CD200R and CD163), ELISA (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte colony stimulating factor M-CSF) and zymography (matrix metalloproteinase 9, MMP-9). Results Clinically, we found that high numbers of CD163+ M2-macrophages were strongly associated with fast proliferation, poor differentiation, estrogen receptor negativity and histological ductal type (p<0.001) in the studied cohort of human primary breast tumors. We demonstrated ex vivo that breast cancer cell-secreted factors modulate macrophage differentiation toward the M2 phenotype. Furthermore, the more aggressive mesenchymal-like cell line MDA-MB231, which secretes high levels of M-CSF, skews macrophages toward the more immunosuppressive M2c subtype. Conclusions This study demonstrates that human breast cancer cells influence macrophage differentiation and that TAM differentiation status correlates with recurrence free survival, thus further emphasizing that TAMs can similarly affect therapy efficacy and patient outcome.
  • Jokelainen, Pikka; Velström, Kaisa; Lassen, Brian (BioMed Central, 2015)
    Abstract Background Although the prevalence of human Toxoplasma gondii infections is high in Estonia, no information is available on the prevalence of infections in the local animal populations. Wild boars are a good indicator species for estimating the prevalence and spread of T. gondii and were thus investigated in this nationwide cross-sectional study. Volunteer hunters sampled cardiac or skeletal muscle of 471 wild boars legally hunted for human consumption in Estonia during the hunting season of 2012–2013. Serosanguineous meat juice samples were obtained from thawed tissue samples, diluted 1:40, and screened for specific anti-T. gondii IgG antibodies with a commercial direct agglutination test. Results Almost one-quarter (113; 24%) of the wild boars examined were seropositive for T. gondii. The seroprevalence did not differ significantly between age groups or sexes. The seroprevalence was lowest in Viljandimaa, which is located in the southern part of Estonia. In other counties, the infection was evenly prevalent. Conclusions In Estonia, wild boars are commonly exposed to T. gondii, which is endemic and widespread. The consumption of raw or undercooked meat of Estonian wild boars may pose an infection risk to humans and other hosts.