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Immediately following a fracture, a fibrin laden hematoma is formed to prevent bleeding and infection. Subsequently, the organized removal of fibrin, via the protease plasmin, is essential to permit fracture repair through angiogenesis and ossification. Yet, when plasmin activity is lost, the depletion of fibrin alone is insufficient to fully restore fracture repair, suggesting the existence of additional plasmin targets important for fracture repair. Previously, activated matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) was demonstrated to function in fracture repair by promoting angiogenesis. Given that MMP-9 is a defined plasmin target, it was hypothesized that pro-MMP-9, following plasmin activation, promotes fracture repair. This hypothesis was tested in a fixed murine femur fracture model with serial assessment of fracture healing. Contrary to previous findings, a complete loss of MMP-9 failed to affect fracture healing and union through 28 days post injury. Therefore, these results demonstrated that MMP-9 is dispensable for timely fracture union and cartilage transition to bone in fixed femur fractures. Pro-MMP-9 is therefore not a significant target of plasmin in fracture repair and future studies assessing additional plasmin targets associated with angiogenesis are warranted.
Bacterial DNA has been reported in the placenta and amniotic fluid by several independent groups of investigators. However, it's taxonomic overlap with fetal and maternal bacterial DNA in different sites has been poorly characterized. Here, we determined the presence of bacterial DNA in the intestines and placentas of fetal mice at gestational day 17 (n = 13). These were compared to newborn intestines (n = 15), maternal sites (mouth, n = 6; vagina, n = 6; colon, n = 7; feces, n = 8), and negative controls to rule out contamination. The V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene indicated a pattern of bacterial DNA in fetal intestine similar to placenta but with higher phylogenetic diversity than placenta or newborn intestine. Firmicutes were the most frequently assignable phylum. SourceTracker analysis suggested the placenta as the most commonly identifiable origin for fetal bacterial DNA, but also over 75% of fetal gut genera overlapped with maternal oral and vaginal taxa but not with maternal or newborn feces. These data provide evidence for the presence of bacterial DNA in the mouse fetus.
There is a persistent shortage of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty who are involved in basic biomedical research at medical schools. We examined the entire training pathway of potential candidates to identify the points of greatest loss. Using a range of recent national data sources, including the National Science Foundation's Survey of Earned Doctorates and Survey of Doctoral Recipients, we analyzed the demographics of the population of interest, specifically those from URM backgrounds with an interest in biomedical sciences. We examined the URM population from high school graduates through undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training as well as the URM population in basic science tenure track faculty positions at medical schools. We find that URM and non-URM trainees are equally likely to transition into doctoral programs, to receive their doctoral degree, and to secure a postdoctoral position. However, the analysis reveals that the diversions from developing a faculty career are found primarily at two clearly identifiable places, specifically during undergraduate education and in transition from postdoctoral fellowship to tenure track faculty in the basic sciences at medical schools. We suggest focusing additional interventions on these two stages along the educational pathway.
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), the discrete genome which encodes subunits of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, is present at highly variable copy numbers across cell types. Though severe mtDNA depletion dramatically reduces mitochondrial function, the impact of tissue-specific mtDNA reduction remains debated. Previously, our lab identified reduced mtDNA quantity in the putamen of Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients who had developed L-DOPA Induced Dyskinesia (LID), compared to PD patients who had not developed LID and healthy subjects. Here, we present the consequences of mtDNA depletion by ethidium bromide (EtBr) treatment on the bioenergetic function of primary cultured neurons, astrocytes and neuron-enriched cocultures from rat striatum. We report that EtBr inhibition of mtDNA replication and transcription consistently reduces mitochondrial oxygen consumption, and that neurons are significantly more sensitive to EtBr than astrocytes. EtBr also increases glycolytic activity in astrocytes, whereas in neurons it reduces the expression of mitochondrial creatine kinase mRNA and levels of phosphocreatine. Further, we show that mitochondrial creatine kinase mRNA is similarly downregulated in dyskinetic PD patients, compared to both non-dyskinetic PD patients and healthy subjects. Our data support a hypothesis that reduced striatal mtDNA contributes to energetic dysregulation in the dyskinetic striatum by destabilizing the energy buffering system of the phosphocreatine/creatine shuttle.
Central insulin resistance (IR) influences striatal dopamine (DA) tone, an important determinant of behavioral self-regulation. We hypothesized that an association exists between the degree of peripheral IR and impulse control, mediated by the impact of IR on brain circuits controlling the speed of executing "go" and/or "stop" responses. We measured brain activation and associated performance on a stop signal task (SST) in obese adults with type 2 diabetes (age, 48.1 ± 6.9 yrs (mean ± SD); BMI, 36.5 ± 4.0 kg/m2; HOMA-IR, 7.2 ± 4.1; 12 male, 18 female). Increasing IR, but not BMI, was a predictor of shorter critical stop signal delay (cSSD), a measure of the time window during which a go response can be successfully countermanded (R2 = 0.12). This decline was explained by an IR-associated increase in go speed (R2 = 0.13) with little impact of IR or BMI on stop speed. Greater striatal fMRI activation contrast in stop error (SE) compared with stop success (SS) trials (CONSE>SS) was a significant predictor of faster go speeds (R2 = 0.33, p = 0.002), and was itself predicted by greater IR (CONSE>SS vs HOMA-IR: R2 = 0.10, p = 0.04). Furthermore, this impact of IR on striatal activation was a significant mediator of the faster go speeds and greater impulsivity observed with greater IR. These findings suggest a neural mechanism by which IR may increase impulsivity and degrade behavioral self-regulation.
Biomarker definitions for preclinical Alzheimer's disease (AD) have identified individuals with neurodegeneration (ND+) without β-amyloidosis (Aβ-) and labeled them with suspected non-AD pathophysiology (SNAP). We evaluated Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε2 and ε4 allele frequencies across biomarker definitions-Aβ-/ND- (n = 268), Aβ+/ND- (n = 236), Aβ-/ND+ or SNAP (n = 78), Aβ+/ND+ (n = 204)-hypothesizing that SNAP would have an APOE profile comparable to Aβ-/ND-. Using AD Neuroimaging Initiative data (n = 786, 72±7 years, 48% female), amyloid status (Aβ+ or Aβ-) was defined by cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) Aβ-42 levels, and neurodegeneration status (ND+ or ND-) was defined by hippocampal volume from MRI. Binary logistic regression related biomarker status to APOE ε2 and ε4 allele carrier status, adjusting for age, sex, education, and cognitive diagnosis. Compared to the biomarker negative (Aβ-/ND-) participants, higher proportions of ε4 and lower proportions of ε2 carriers were observed among Aβ+/ND- (ε4: OR = 6.23, p<0.001; ε2: OR = 0.53, p = 0.03) and Aβ+/ND+ participants (ε4: OR = 12.07, p<0.001; ε2: OR = 0.29, p = 0.004). SNAP participants were statistically comparable to biomarker negative participants (p-values>0.30). In supplemental analyses, comparable results were observed when coding SNAP using amyloid imaging and when using CSF tau levels. In contrast to APOE, a polygenic risk score for AD that excluded APOE did not show an association with amyloidosis or neurodegeneration (p-values>0.15), but did show an association with SNAP defined using CSF tau (β = 0.004, p = 0.02). Thus, in a population with low levels of cerebrovascular disease and a lower prevalence of SNAP than the general population, APOE and known genetic drivers of AD do not appear to contribute to the neurodegeneration observed in SNAP. Additional work in population based samples is needed to better elucidate the genetic contributors to various etiological drivers of SNAP.
Helicobacter pylori is a genetically diverse bacterial species that colonizes the stomach in about half of the human population. Most persons colonized by H. pylori remain asymptomatic, but the presence of this organism is a risk factor for gastric cancer. Multiple populations and subpopulations of H. pylori with distinct geographic distributions are recognized. Genetic differences among these populations might be a factor underlying geographic variation in gastric cancer incidence. Relatively little is known about the genomic features of African H. pylori strains compared to other populations of strains. In this study, we first analyzed the genomes of H. pylori strains from seven globally distributed populations or subpopulations and identified encoded proteins that exhibited the highest levels of sequence divergence. These included secreted proteins, an LPS glycosyltransferase, fucosyltransferases, proteins involved in molybdopterin biosynthesis, and Clp protease adaptor (ClpS). Among proteins encoded by the cag pathogenicity island, CagA and CagQ exhibited the highest levels of sequence diversity. We then identified proteins in strains of Western African origin (classified as hspWAfrica by MLST analysis) with sequences that were highly divergent compared to those in other populations of strains. These included ATP-dependent Clp protease, ClpS, and proteins of unknown function. Three of the divergent proteins sequences identified in West African strains were characterized by distinct insertions or deletions up to 8 amino acids in length. These polymorphisms in rapidly evolving proteins represent robust genetic signatures for H. pylori strains of West African origin.
Myelin abnormalities are increasingly being recognized as an important component of a number of neurologic developmental disorders. The integration of many signaling pathways and cell types are critical for correct myelinogenesis. The PI3-K and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways have been found to play key roles. mTOR is found within two distinct complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2. mTORC1 activity has been shown to play a major role during myelination, while the role of mTORC2 is not yet well understood. To determine the role of mTORC2 signaling in myelinogenesis, we generated a mouse lacking the critical mTORC2 component Rictor in oligodendrocyte precursors (OPCs). Targeted deletion of Rictor in these cells decreases and delays the expression of myelin related proteins and reduces the size of cerebral white matter tracts. This is developmentally manifest as a transient reduction in myelinated axon density and g-ratio. OPC cell number is reduced at birth without detectable change in proliferation with proportional reductions in mature oligodendrocyte number at P15. The total number of oligodendrocytes as well as extent of myelination, does improve over time. Adult conditional knock-out (CKO) animals do not demonstrate a behavioral phenotype likely due in part to preserved axonal conduction velocities. These data support and extend prior studies demonstrating an important but transient contribution of mTORC2 signaling to myelin development.
Limited information exists on the anatomically-specific early stage events leading to clinically detectable mineral aggregates in the renal papilla. In this study, quantitative multiscale correlative maps of structural, elemental and biochemical properties of whole medullo-papillary complexes from human kidneys were developed. Correlative maps of properties specific to the uriniferous and vascular tubules using high-resolution X-ray computed tomography, scanning and transmission electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and immunolocalization of noncollagenous proteins (NCPs) along with their association with anatomy specific biominerals were obtained. Results illustrated that intratubular spherical aggregates primarily form at the proximal regions distant from the papillary tip while interstitial spherical and fibrillar aggregates are distally located near the papillary tip. Biominerals at the papillary tip were closely localized with 10 to 50 μm diameter vasa recta immunolocalized for CD31 inside the medullo-papillary complex. Abundant NCPs known to regulate bone mineralization were localized within nanoparticles, forming early pathologic mineralized regions of the complex. Based on the physical association between vascular and urothelial tubules, results from light and electron microscopy techniques suggested that these NCPs could be delivered from vasculature to prompt calcification of the interstitial regions or they might be synthesized from local vascular smooth muscle cells after transdifferentiation into osteoblast-like phenotypes. In addition, results provided insights into the plausible temporal events that link the anatomically specific intratubular mineral aggregates with the interstitial biomineralization processes within the functional unit of the kidney.
A viable vascular endothelial layer prevents vasomotor dysfunction, thrombosis, inflammation, and intimal hyperplasia. Injury to the endothelium occurs during harvest and "back table" preparation of human saphenous vein prior to implantation as an arterial bypass conduit. A subfailure overstretch model of rat aorta was used to show that subfailure stretch injury of vascular tissue leads to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Stretch-induced impaired relaxation was mitigated by treatment with purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) inhibitors, brilliant blue FCF (FCF) and A740003, or apyrase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of ATP. Alternatively, treatment of rat aorta with exogenous ATP or 2'(3')-O-(4-Benzoyl benzoyl)-ATP (BzATP) also impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Treatment of human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) with exogenous ATP led to reduced nitric oxide production which was associated with increased phosphorylation of the stress activated protein kinase, p38 MAPK. ATP- stimulated p38 MAPK phosphorylation of HSVEC was inhibited by FCF and SB203580. Moreover, ATP inhibition of nitric oxide production in HSVEC was prevented by FCF, SB203580, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition. Finally, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition restored endothelial dependent relaxation after stretch injury of rat aorta. These results suggest that vascular stretch injury leads to ATP release, activation of P2X7R and p38 MAPK resulting in endothelial dysfunction due to arginase activation. Endothelial function can be restored in both ATP treated HSVEC and intact stretch injured rat aorta by P2X7 receptor inhibition with FCF or L-arginine supplementation, implicating straightforward therapeutic options for treatment of surgical vascular injury.