500 research outputs found

    Hypercholesterolemia is associated with hyperactive cardiac mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling

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    Nutritional excess and hyperlipidemia increase the heart’s susceptibility to ischemic injury. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) controls the cellular response to nutritional status and may play a role in ischemic injury. To explore the effect of hypercholesterolemia on cardiac mTOR signaling, we assessed mTOR signaling in hypercholesterolemic swine (HC) that are also susceptible to increased cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. Yucatan pigs were fed a high-fat/high-cholesterol diet for 4 weeks to induce hypercholesterolemia, and mTOR signaling was measured by immunoblotting and immunofluorescence in the non-ischemic left ventricular area. Total myocardial mTOR and raptor levels were markedly increased in the HC group compared to the normocholesterolemic group, and directly correlated with serum cholesterol levels. mTOR exhibited intense perinuclear staining in myocytes only in the HC group. Hypercholesterolemia was associated with hyperactive signaling upstream and downstream of both mTOR complexes, including myocardial Akt, S6K1, 4EBP1, S6 and PKC-alpha, increased levels of cardiac hypertrophy markers, and a trend toward lower levels of myocardial autophagy. Hypercholesterolemia can now be added to the growing list of conditions associated with aberrant mTOR signaling. Hypercholesterolemia produces a unique profile of alterations in cardiac mTOR signaling, which is a potential target in cardiac diseases associated with hypercholesterolemia and nutritional excess

    Inhibition of hypoxia-induced miR-155 radiosensitizes hypoxic lung cancer cells

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    miR-155 is a prominent microRNA (miRNA) that regulates genes involved in immunity and cancer-related pathways. miR-155 is overexpressed in lung cancer, which correlates with poor patient prognosis. It is unclear how miR-155 becomes increased in lung cancers and how this increase contributes to reduced patient survival. Here, we show that hypoxic conditions induce miR-155 expression in lung cancer cells and trigger a corresponding decrease in a validated target, FOXO3A. Furthermore, we find that increased levels of miR-155 radioprotects lung cancer cells, while inhibition of miR-155 radiosensitizes these cells. Moreover, we reveal a therapeutically important link between miR-155 expression, hypoxia, and irradiation by demonstrating that anti-miR-155 molecules also sensitize hypoxic lung cancer cells to irradiation. Our study helps explain how miR-155 becomes elevated in lung cancers, which contain extensive hypoxic microenvironments, and demonstrates that inhibition of miR-155 may have important therapeutic potential as a means to radiosensitize hypoxic lung cancer cells

    Measuring Adverse Selection in Managed Health Care

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    Health plans paid by capitation have an incentive to distort the quality of services they offer to attract profitable and to deter unprofitable enrollees. We characterize plans' rationing as imposing a show that the profit maximizing shadow price depends on the dispersion in health costs, how well individuals forecast their health costs, the correlation between use in different illness categories, and the risk adjustment system used for payment. We further show how these factors can be combined in an empirically implementable index that can be used to identify the services that will be most distorted in competition among managed care plans. A simple welfare measure is developed to quantify the distortion caused by selection incentives. We illustrate the application of our ideas with a Medicaid data set, and conduct policy analyses of risk adjustment and other options for dealing with adverse selection.

    A cardiovascular occlusion method based on the use of a smart hydrogel

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    Smart hydrogels for biomedical applications are highly researched materials. However, integrating them into a device for implantation is difficult. This paper investigates an integrated delivery device designed to deliver an electro-responsive hydrogel to a target location inside a blood vessel with the purpose of creating an occlusion. The paper describes the synthesis and characterization of a Pluronic/methacrylic acid sodium salt electro-responsive hydrogel. Application of an electrical bias decelerates the expansion of the hydrogel. An integrated delivery system was manufactured to deliver the hydrogel to the target location in the body. Ex vivo and in vivo experiments in the carotid artery of sheep were used to validate the concept. The hydrogel was able to completely occlude the blood vessel reducing the blood flow from 245 to 0 ml/min after implantation. Ex vivo experiments showed that the hydrogel was able to withstand physiological blood pressures of > 270 mm·Hg without dislodgement. The results showed that the electro-responsive hydrogel used in this paper can be used to create a long-term occlusion in a blood vessel without any apparent side effects. The delivery system developed is a promising device for the delivery of electro-responsive hydrogels

    New genetic loci implicated in fasting glucose homeostasis and their impact on type 2 diabetes risk.

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    Levels of circulating glucose are tightly regulated. To identify new loci influencing glycemic traits, we performed meta-analyses of 21 genome-wide association studies informative for fasting glucose, fasting insulin and indices of beta-cell function (HOMA-B) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in up to 46,186 nondiabetic participants. Follow-up of 25 loci in up to 76,558 additional subjects identified 16 loci associated with fasting glucose and HOMA-B and two loci associated with fasting insulin and HOMA-IR. These include nine loci newly associated with fasting glucose (in or near ADCY5, MADD, ADRA2A, CRY2, FADS1, GLIS3, SLC2A2, PROX1 and C2CD4B) and one influencing fasting insulin and HOMA-IR (near IGF1). We also demonstrated association of ADCY5, PROX1, GCK, GCKR and DGKB-TMEM195 with type 2 diabetes. Within these loci, likely biological candidate genes influence signal transduction, cell proliferation, development, glucose-sensing and circadian regulation. Our results demonstrate that genetic studies of glycemic traits can identify type 2 diabetes risk loci, as well as loci containing gene variants that are associated with a modest elevation in glucose levels but are not associated with overt diabetes

    Hundreds of variants clustered in genomic loci and biological pathways affect human height

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    Most common human traits and diseases have a polygenic pattern of inheritance: DNA sequence variants at many genetic loci influence the phenotype. Genome-wide association (GWA) studies have identified more than 600 variants associated with human traits, but these typically explain small fractions of phenotypic variation, raising questions about the use of further studies. Here, using 183,727 individuals, we show that hundreds of genetic variants, in at least 180 loci, influence adult height, a highly heritable and classic polygenic trait. The large number of loci reveals patterns with important implications for genetic studies of common human diseases and traits. First, the 180 loci are not random, but instead are enriched for genes that are connected in biological pathways (P = 0.016) and that underlie skeletal growth defects (P < 0.001). Second, the likely causal gene is often located near the most strongly associated variant: in 13 of 21 loci containing a known skeletal growth gene, that gene was closest to the associated variant. Third, at least 19 loci have multiple independently associated variants, suggesting that allelic heterogeneity is a frequent feature of polygenic traits, that comprehensive explorations of already-discovered loci should discover additional variants and that an appreciable fraction of associated loci may have been identified. Fourth, associated variants are enriched for likely functional effects on genes, being over-represented among variants that alter amino-acid structure of proteins and expression levels of nearby genes. Our data explain approximately 10% of the phenotypic variation in height, and we estimate that unidentified common variants of similar effect sizes would increase this figure to approximately 16% of phenotypic variation (approximately 20% of heritable variation). Although additional approaches are needed to dissect the genetic architecture of polygenic human traits fully, our findings indicate that GWA studies can identify large numbers of loci that implicate biologically relevant genes and pathways.