2,035 research outputs found

    Biofilm producing Salmonella typhi: Chronic colonization and development of gallbladder cancer

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    Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Typhi is the aetiological agent of typhoid or enteric fever. In a subset of individuals, S. Typhi colonizes the gallbladder causing an asymptomatic chronic infection. Nonetheless, these asymptomatic carriers provide a reservoir for further spreading of the disease. Epidemiological studies performed in regions where S. Typhi is endemic, revealed that the majority of chronically infected carriers also harbour gallstones, which in turn, have been indicated as a primary predisposing factor for the onset of gallbladder cancer (GC). It is now well recognised, that S. Typhi produces a typhoid toxin with a carcinogenic potential, that induces DNA damage and cell cycle alterations in intoxicated cells. In addition, biofilm production by S. Typhi may represent a key factor for the promotion of a persistent infection in the gallbladder, thus sustaining a chronic local inflammatory response and exposing the epithelium to repeated damage caused by carcinogenic toxins. This review aims to highlight the putative connection between the chronic colonization by highly pathogenic strains of S. Typhi capable of combining biofilm and toxin production and the onset of GC. Considering the high risk of GC associated with the asymptomatic carrier status, the rapid identification and profiling of biofilm production by S. Typhi strains would be key for effective therapeutic management and cancer prevention

    A new numerical method for processing longitudinal data: clinical applications

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    Background: Processing longitudinal data is a computational issue that arises in many applications, such as in aircraft design, medicine, optimal control and weather forecasting. Given some longitudinal data, i.e. scattered measurements, the aim consists in approximating the parameters involved in the dynamics of the considered process. For this problem, a large variety of well-known methods have already been developed. Results: Here, we propose an alternative approach to be used as effective and accurate tool for the parameters fitting and prediction of individual trajectories from sparse longitudinal data. In particular, our mixed model, that uses Radial Basis Functions (RBFs) combined with Stochastic Optimization Algorithms (SOMs), is here presented and tested on clinical data. Further, we also carry out comparisons with other methods that are widely used in this framework. Conclusions: The main advantages of the proposed method are the flexibility with respect to the datasets, meaning that it is effective also for truly irregularly distributed data, and its ability to extract reliable information on the evolution of the dynamics

    Hypovitaminosis D in recent onset rheumatoid arthritis is predictive of reduced response to treatment and increased disease activity: a 12 month follow-up study.

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    BACKGROUND: Vitamin D displays immunomodulatory activities and has been proposed as a potential player in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). A negative association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels and RA activity was demonstrated but longitudinal studies investigating the role of vitamin D levels in predicting RA activity and response to treatment are lacking. Therefore, this study was designed to test the hypothesis of an association between serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels at RA diagnosis and disease activity evaluated by clinimetric, laboratory and ultrasound (US) parameters and to detect the prevalence of remission and response to treatment after 12 months follow-up. METHODS: This is a longitudinal, retrospective study on data obtained from thirty-seven patients with early RA treatment-naïve. Serum inflammatory markers, auto-antibodies and 25(OH) vitamin D levels were obtained at baseline. Hypovitaminosis D was diagnosed for 25(OH) vitamin D levels < 20 ng/ml. Tender joint count (TJCs), swollen joint count (SJCs), Visual Analog Scales (VAS), Disease Activity Score (DAS) 28 score were assessed at baseline and 12 months after diagnosis. Joints synovitis and power-Doppler were evaluated at baseline and 12 months later. RESULTS: At baseline mean 25(OH) vitamin D levels were 24.4 ± 11.9 ng/ml; 35% of study subjects had hypovitaminosis D which strongly associated with higher RA activity and lower prevalence of remission and response to treatment (all p-values < 0.001). The percentage of patients not presenting a reduction of the US synovitis score after 12 months from diagnosis was significantly higher among patients with hypovitaminosis D than in those with normal serum 25(OH) vitamin D at baseline. CONCLUSIONS: In patients with early RA and basal hypovitaminosis D after 12 months follow-up reduction of disease activity and percentage of remission and response to treatment were significantly lower than those observed in patients with normal vitamin D levels. These results provide further support to the immunomodulatory action of vitamin D in RA and suggest a role of basal vitamin D status in the prediction of disease evolution. Vitamin D measurement and possibly vitamin D supplementation should be considered an additional option in the management of early RA patients

    Biofilm is a major virulence determinant in bacterial colonization of chronic skin ulcers independently from the multidrug resistant phenotype

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    Bacterial biofilm is a major factor in delayed wound healing and high levels of biofilm production have been repeatedly described in multidrug resistant organisms (MDROs). Nevertheless, a quantitative correlation between biofilm production and the profile of antimicrobial drug resistance in delayed wound healing remains to be determined. Microbial identification, antibiotic susceptibility and biofilm production were assessed in 135 clinical isolates from 87 patients. Gram-negative bacteria were the most represented microorganisms (60.8%) with MDROs accounting for 31.8% of the total isolates. Assessment of biofilm production revealed that 80% of the strains were able to form biofilm. A comparable level of biofilm production was found with both MDRO and not-MDRO with no significant differences between groups. All the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and 80% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa MDR strains were found as moderate/high biofilm producers. Conversely, less than 17% of Klebsiella pneumoniae extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), Escherichia coli-ESBL and Acinetobacter baumannii were moderate/high biofilm producers. Notably, those strains classified as non-biofilm producers, were always associated with biofilm producer bacteria in polymicrobial colonization. This study shows that biofilm producers were present in all chronic skin ulcers, suggesting that biofilm represents a key virulence determinant in promoting bacterial persistence and chronicity of ulcerative lesions independently from the MDRO phenotype

    Relationship between adipose tissue dysfunction, Vitamin D deficiency and the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

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    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease ( NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease worldwide. Its pathogenesis is complex and not yet fully understood. Over the years many studies have proposed various pathophysiological hypotheses, among which the currently most widely accepted is the "multiple parallel hits" theory. According to this model, lipid accumulation in the hepatocytes and insulin resistance increase the vulnerability of the liver to many factors that act in a coordinated and cooperative manner to promote hepatic injury, inflammation and fibrosis. Among these factors, adipose tissue dysfunction and subsequent chronic low grade inflammation play a crucial role. Recent studies have shown that vitamin D exerts an immune-regulating action on adipose tissue, and the growing wealth of epidemiological data is demonstrating that hypovitaminosis D is associated with both obesity and NAFLD. Furthermore, given the strong association between these conditions, current findings suggest that vitamin D may be involved in the relationship between adipose tissue dysfunction and NAFLD. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of recent advances in the pathogenesis of NAFLD in relation to adipose tissue dysfunction, and in the pathophysiology linking vitamin D deficiency with NAFLD and adiposity, together with an overview of the evidence available on the clinical utility of vitamin D supplementation in cases of NAFLD

    How human papillomavirus replication and immune evasion strategies take advantage of the host DNA damage repair machinery

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    The DNA damage response (DDR) is a complex signalling network activated when DNA is altered by intrinsic or extrinsic agents. DDR plays important roles in genome stability and cell cycle regulation, as well as in tumour transformation. Viruses have evolved successful life cycle strategies in order to ensure a chronic persistence in the host, virtually avoiding systemic sequelae and death. This process promotes the periodic shedding of large amounts of infectious particles to maintain a virus reservoir in individual hosts, while allowing virus spreading within the community. To achieve such a successful lifestyle, the human papilloma virus (HPV) needs to escape the host defence systems. The key to understanding how this is achieved is in the virus replication process that provides by itself an evasion mechanism by inhibiting and delaying the host immune response against the viral infection. Numerous studies have demonstrated that HPV exploits both the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ataxia-telangiectasia and rad3-related (ATR) DDR pathways to replicate its genome and maintain a persistent infection by downregulating the innate and cell-mediated immunity. This review outlines how HPV interacts with the ATM-and ATR-dependent DDR machinery during the viral life cycle to create an environment favourable to viral replication, and how the interaction with the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) protein family and the deregulation of the Janus kinase (JAK)-STAT pathways may impact the expression of interferon-inducible genes and the innate immune responses

    Increased plasma proneurotensin levels identify NAFLD in adults with and without type 2 diabetes

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    Context Neurotensin (NT), an intestinal peptide released by fat ingestion, promotes lipid absorption; higher circulating NT levels are associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D), obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Whether NT is related to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has not been fully investigated. Objective To study the relationship between plasma proneurotensin 1 to 117 (pro-NT), a stable fragment of the NT precursor hormone, and the presence/severity of NAFLD/NASH and to unravel correlates of increased pro-NT levels. Design/Setting/Participants For this cross-sectional study, 60 obese individuals undergoing bariatric surgery for clinical purposes were recruited. The association between pro-NT and NAFLD was further investigated in 260 consecutive subjects referred to our outpatient clinics for metabolic evaluations, including liver ultrasonography. The study population underwent complete metabolic characterization; in the obese cohort, liver biopsies were performed during surgery. Main Outcome Measures Plasma pro-NT levels in relation to NAFLD/NASH. Results Obese subjects with biopsy-proven NAFLD (53%) had significantly higher plasma pro-NT than those without NAFLD (183.6 ± 81.4 vs 86.7 ± 56.8 pmol/L, P &lt; 0.001). Greater pro-NT correlated with NAFLD presence (P &lt; 0.001) and severity (P &lt; 0.001), age, female sex, insulin resistance, and T2D. Higher pro-NT predicted NAFLD with an area under receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.836 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.73 to 0.94; P &lt; 0.001]. Belonging to the highest pro-NT quartile correlated with increased NAFLD risk (odds ratio, 2.62; 95% CI, 1.08 to 6.40) after adjustment for confounders. The association between higher pro-NT and NAFLD was confirmed in the second cohort independently from confounders. Conclusions Increased plasma pro-NT levels identify the presence/severity of NAFLD; in dysmetabolic individuals, NT may specifically promote hepatic fat accumulation through mechanisms likely related to increased insulin resistance. © 2018 Endocrine Society

    The Emerging Role of Microbial Biofilm in Lyme Neuroborreliosis

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    Lyme borreliosis (LB) is the most common tick-borne disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi in North America and Borrelia afzelii or Borrelia garinii in Europe and Asia, respectively. The infection affects multiple organ systems, including the skin, joints, and the nervous system. Lyme neuroborreliosis (LNB) is the most dangerous manifestation of Lyme disease, occurring in 10-15% of infected individuals. During the course of the infection, bacteria migrate through the host tissues altering the coagulation and fibrinolysis pathways and the immune response, reaching the central nervous system (CNS) within 2 weeks after the bite of an infected tick. The early treatment with oral antimicrobials is effective in the majority of patients with LNB. Nevertheless, persistent forms of LNB are relatively common, despite targeted antibiotic therapy. It has been observed that the antibiotic resistance and the reoccurrence of Lyme disease are associated with biofilm-like aggregates in B. burgdorferi, B. afzelii, and B. garinii, both in vitro and in vivo, allowing Borrelia spp. to resist to adverse environmental conditions. Indeed, the increased tolerance to antibiotics described in the persisting forms of Borrelia spp., is strongly reminiscent of biofilm growing bacteria, suggesting a possible role of biofilm aggregates in the development of the different manifestations of Lyme disease including LNB

    Neurotensin is a lipid-induced gastrointestinal peptide associated with visceral adipose tissue inflammation in obesity

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    Neurotensin (NT) is a 13-amino acid peptide localized in the neuroendocrine cells of the small intestine, which promotes fat absorption and fatty acids translocation in response to lipid ingestion. NT-knock-out mice fed with a high-fat diet are protected from obesity, fatty liver, and the development of insulin-resistance. In humans, higher plasma levels of pro-NT, which is the stable circulating precursor of NT, predict obesity, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and cardiovascular disease. In obesity, the presence of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) inflammation leads to unfavorable metabolic outcomes and is associated with the development of T2D and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study, we investigated the relationship between plasma pro-NT levels and the presence of VAT inflammation in biopsies from 40 morbidly obese subjects undergoing bariatric surgery. We demonstrated that higher proNT levels are significantly associated with greater macrophages infiltration, HIF-1&alpha;, WISP-1, and UNC5B expression in VAT (all p < 0.01) due to the diagnosis of T2D and NAFLD. The overall results show that, in obesity, pro-NT is a biomarker of VAT inflammation and insulin-resistance. Additionally, NT may be involved in the development of dysmetabolic conditions likely mediated by increased gut fat absorption and the presence of a proinflammatory milieu in the adipose tissue
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