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Accurate estimates of the BOLD hemodynamic response function (HRF) are crucial for the interpretation and analysis of event-related functional MRI data. To date, however, there have been no comprehensive measurements of the HRF in white matter (WM) despite increasing evidence that BOLD signals in WM change after a stimulus. We performed an event-related cognitive task (Stroop color-word interference) to measure the HRF in selected human WM pathways. The task was chosen in order to produce robust, distributed centers of activity throughout the cortex. To measure the HRF in WM, fiber tracts were reconstructed between each pair of activated cortical areas. We observed clear task-specific HRFs with reduced magnitudes, delayed onsets and prolonged initial dips in WM tracts compared with activated grey matter, thus calling for significant changes to current standard models for accurately characterizing the HRFs in WM and for modifications of standard methods of analysis of functional imaging data.
Metals are a limiting resource for pathogenic bacteria and must be scavenged from host proteins. Hemoglobin provides the most abundant source of iron in the human body and is required by several pathogens to cause invasive disease. However, the consequences of hemoglobin evolution for bacterial nutrient acquisition remain unclear. Here we show that the α- and β-globin genes exhibit strikingly parallel signatures of adaptive evolution across simian primates. Rapidly evolving sites in hemoglobin correspond to binding interfaces of IsdB, a bacterial hemoglobin receptor harbored by pathogenic Using an evolution-guided experimental approach, we demonstrate that the divergence between primates and staphylococcal isolates governs hemoglobin recognition and bacterial growth. The reintroduction of putative adaptive mutations in α- or β-globin proteins was sufficient to impair binding, providing a mechanism for the evolution of disease resistance. These findings suggest that bacterial hemoprotein capture has driven repeated evolutionary conflicts with hemoglobin during primate descent. During infection, bacteria must steal metals, including iron, from the host tissue. Therefore, pathogenic bacteria have evolved metal acquisition systems to overcome the elaborate processes mammals use to withhold metal from pathogens. uses IsdB, a hemoglobin receptor, to thieve iron-containing heme from hemoglobin within human blood. We find evidence that primate hemoglobin has undergone rapid evolution at protein surfaces contacted by IsdB. Additionally, variation in the hemoglobin sequences among primates, or variation in IsdB of related staphylococci, reduces bacterial hemoglobin capture. Together, these data suggest that has evolved to recognize human hemoglobin in the face of rapid evolution at the IsdB binding interface, consistent with repeated evolutionary conflicts in the battle for iron during host-pathogen interactions.
Copyright © 2018 Choby et al.
Lung epithelial lineages have been difficult to maintain in pure form in vitro, and lineage-specific reporters have proven invaluable for monitoring their emergence from cultured pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). However, reporter constructs for tracking proximal airway lineages generated from PSCs have not been previously available, limiting the characterization of these cells. Here, we engineer mouse and human PSC lines carrying airway secretory lineage reporters that facilitate the tracking, purification, and profiling of this lung subtype. Through bulk and single-cell-based global transcriptomic profiling, we find PSC-derived airway secretory cells are susceptible to phenotypic plasticity exemplified by the tendency to co-express both a proximal airway secretory program as well as an alveolar type 2 cell program, which can be minimized by inhibiting endogenous Wnt signaling. Our results provide global profiles of engineered lung cell fates, a guide for improving their directed differentiation, and a human model of the developing airway.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Increased endothelial permeability is central to shock and organ dysfunction in sepsis but therapeutics targeted to known mediators of increased endothelial permeability have been unsuccessful in patient studies. We previously reported that cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) is elevated in the majority of patients with sepsis and is associated with organ dysfunction, poor clinical outcomes and elevated markers of oxidant injury. Others have shown that Vitamin C (ascorbate) may have endothelial protective effects in sepsis. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that high levels of CFH, as seen in the circulation of patients with sepsis, disrupt endothelial barrier integrity.
METHODS - Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were grown to confluence and treated with CFH with or without ascorbate. Monolayer permeability was measured by Electric Cell-substrate Impedance Sensing (ECIS) or transfer of C-inulin. Viability was measured by trypan blue exclusion. Intracellular ascorbate was measured by HPLC.
RESULTS - CFH increased permeability in a dose- and time-dependent manner with 1 mg/ml of CFH increasing inulin transfer by 50% without affecting cell viability. CFH (1 mg/ml) also caused a dramatic reduction in intracellular ascorbate in the same time frame (1.4 mM without CFH, 0.23 mM 18 h after 1 mg/ml CFH, p < 0.05). Pre-treatment of HUVECs with ascorbate attenuated CFH induced permeability.
CONCLUSIONS - CFH increases endothelial permeability in part through depletion of intracellular ascorbate. Supplementation of ascorbate can attenuate increases in permeability mediated by CFH suggesting a possible therapeutic approach in sepsis.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
RATIONALE - Cell-free hemoglobin (CFH) is a potent oxidant associated with poor clinical outcomes in a variety of clinical settings. Recent studies suggest that acetaminophen (APAP), a specific hemoprotein reductant, can abrogate CFH-mediated oxidative injury and organ dysfunction. Preoperative plasma CFH levels are independently associated with primary graft dysfunction (PGD) after lung transplant ( 1 ).
OBJECTIVES - Our objectives were to determine whether CFH would increase lung vascular permeability in the isolated perfused human lung and whether APAP would limit these effects.
METHODS - Human lungs declined for transplant were inflated and perfused with Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium/5% albumin at a pulmonary artery pressure of 8-12 mm Hg. After steady state was achieved, CFH (100 mg/dl) was added to the perfusate ± APAP (15 μg/ml). Lung permeability was measured by continuous monitoring of lung weight gain and by extravasation of Evans blue dye-labeled albumin from the vasculature into bronchoalveolar lavage. To test the mechanism of increased permeability, human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells were exposed to CFH (0.5 mg/ml) ± APAP (160 μM) for 24 hours and permeability was assessed by electrical cell-substrate impedance sensing.
MEASUREMENT AND MAIN RESULTS - In the isolated perfused human lung, CFH increased lung permeability over 2 hours compared with control lungs (12% vs. 2% weight gain from baseline, P = 0.03). Increased vascular permeability was confirmed by a 4.8-fold increase in Evans blue dye-labeled albumin in the airspace compared with control lungs. Pretreatment with APAP prevented lung weight gain (P = 0.06 vs. CFH). In human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells, CFH increased monolayer permeability (P = 0.03 vs. control), and this was attenuated by APAP (P = 0.045 vs. CFH).
CONCLUSIONS - Circulating CFH increases vascular permeability in the isolated perfused human lung and paracellular permeability in lung microvascular endothelial cells. These effects may explain the association of plasma CFH levels with PGD. The hemoprotein reductant APAP attenuates the effects of CFH and merits further exploration as a potential therapy for PGD prevention.
Haptoglobin (HP) protein plays a critical role in binding and removing free hemoglobin from blood. A deletion in the HP gene affects the protein structure and function. A recent study developed a novel method to impute this variant and discovered significant association of this variant with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels among European descendants. In the present study, we investigated this variant among 3608 Chinese women. Consistent with findings from Europeans, we found significant associations between the deletion with lower cholesterol levels; women homozygous for the deletion allele (HP1-HP1), had a lower level of total cholesterol (-4.24 mg dl, P=0.02) and LDL cholesterol (-3.43 mg dl, P=0.03) than those not carrying the deletion allele (HP2-HP2). Especially, women carrying the HP1S-HP1S, had an even lower level of total cholesterol (-5.59 mg dl, P=7.0 × 10) and LDL cholesterol (-4.68 mg dl, P=8.0 × 10) compared to those carrying HP2-HP2. These associations remained significant after an adjustment for an established cholesterol level-related variant, rs2000999. Our study extends the previous findings regarding the association of HP structure variant with blood cholesterol levels to East Asians and affirms the validity of the new methodology for assessing HP structure variation.
OBJECTIVE - Systemic loxoscelism is a rare illness resulting from the bite of the recluse spider and, in its most severe form, can lead to widespread hemolysis, coagulopathy, and death. We aim to describe the clinical features and outcomes of the largest known cohort of individuals with moderate to severe loxoscelism.
METHODS - We performed a retrospective, cross sectional study from January 1, 1995, to December 31, 2015, at a tertiary-care academic medical center, to determine individuals with clinical records consistent with moderate to severe loxoscelism. Age-, sex-, and race-matched controls were compared. Demographics, clinical characteristics, laboratory measures, and outcomes of individuals with loxoscelism are described. Case and control groups were compared with descriptive statistics and phenome-wide association study (PheWAS).
RESULTS - During the time period, 57 individuals were identified as having moderate to severe loxoscelism. Of these, only 33% had an antecedent spider bite documented. Median age of individuals diagnosed with moderate to severe loxoscelism was 14 years old (IQR 9.0-24.0 years). PheWAS confirmed associations of systemic loxoscelism with 29 other phenotypes, e.g., rash, hemolytic anemia, and sepsis. Hemoglobin level dropped an average of 3.1 g/dL over an average of 2.0 days (IQR 2.0-6.0). Lactate dehydrogenase and total bilirubin levels were on average over two times their upper limit of normal values. Eighteen individuals of 32 tested had a positive direct antiglobulin (Coombs') test. Mortality was 3.5% (2/57 individuals).
CONCLUSION - Systemic loxoscelism is a rare but devastating process with only a minority of patients recalling the toxic exposure; hemolysis reaches a peak at 2 days after admission, with some cases taking more than a week before recovery. In endemic areas, suspicion for systemic loxoscelism should be high in individuals, especially children and younger adults, presenting with a cutaneous ulcer and hemolysis or coagulopathy, even in the absence of a bite exposure history.
Staphylococcus lugdunensis is a coagulase negative bacterial pathogen that is particularly associated with severe cases of infectious endocarditis. Unique amongst the coagulase-negative staphylococci, S. lugdunensis harbors an iron regulated surface determinant locus (isd). This locus facilitates the acquisition of heme as a source of nutrient iron during infection and allows iron limitation caused by "nutritional immunity" to be overcome. The isd locus is duplicated in S. lugdunensis HKU09-01 and we show here that the duplication is intrinsically unstable and undergoes accordion-like amplification and segregation leading to extensive isd copy number variation. Amplification of the locus increased the level of expression of Isd proteins and improved binding of hemoglobin to the cell surface of S. lugdunensis. Furthermore, Isd overexpression provided an advantage when strains were competing for a limited amount of hemoglobin as the sole source of iron. Gene duplications and amplifications (GDA) are events of fundamental importance for bacterial evolution and are frequently associated with antibiotic resistance in many species. As such, GDAs are regarded as evolutionary adaptions to novel selective pressures in hostile environments pointing towards a special importance of isd for S. lugdunensis. For the first time we show an example of a GDA that involves a virulence factor of a Gram-positive pathogen and link the GDA directly to a competitive advantage when the bacteria were struggling with selective pressures mimicking "nutritional immunity".
Red blood cell (RBC) traits are important heritable clinical biomarkers and modifiers of disease severity. To identify coding genetic variants associated with these traits, we conducted meta-analyses of seven RBC phenotypes in 130,273 multi-ethnic individuals from studies genotyped on an exome array. After conditional analyses and replication in 27,480 independent individuals, we identified 16 new RBC variants. We found low-frequency missense variants in MAP1A (rs55707100, minor allele frequency [MAF] = 3.3%, p = 2 × 10(-10) for hemoglobin [HGB]) and HNF4A (rs1800961, MAF = 2.4%, p < 3 × 10(-8) for hematocrit [HCT] and HGB). In African Americans, we identified a nonsense variant in CD36 associated with higher RBC distribution width (rs3211938, MAF = 8.7%, p = 7 × 10(-11)) and showed that it is associated with lower CD36 expression and strong allelic imbalance in ex vivo differentiated human erythroblasts. We also identified a rare missense variant in ALAS2 (rs201062903, MAF = 0.2%) associated with lower mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin (p < 8 × 10(-9)). Mendelian mutations in ALAS2 are a cause of sideroblastic anemia and erythropoietic protoporphyria. Gene-based testing highlighted three rare missense variants in PKLR, a gene mutated in Mendelian non-spherocytic hemolytic anemia, associated with HGB and HCT (SKAT p < 8 × 10(-7)). These rare, low-frequency, and common RBC variants showed pleiotropy, being also associated with platelet, white blood cell, and lipid traits. Our association results and functional annotation suggest the involvement of new genes in human erythropoiesis. We also confirm that rare and low-frequency variants play a role in the architecture of complex human traits, although their phenotypic effect is generally smaller than originally anticipated.
Copyright © 2016 American Society of Human Genetics. All rights reserved.
Over the past decade significant advancement has occurred in the biological and pathological role that Hp has in cardiovascular disease. Hp is an acute-phase protein with a role in the neutralization and clearance of free heme. Iron has tremendous potential for initiating vascular oxidation, inflammation and exacerbating coronary atherosclerosis. Hp genotype has been linked as a prognostic biomarker of acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, restenosis and cardiac transplant rejection. The increased understanding of Hp as a biomarker has provided new insights into the mechanisms of inflammation after cardiac injury and support the concept that Hp is not only an important antioxidant in vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis, but also an enhancer of inflammation in cardiac transplant.