38 research outputs found

    Dissecting the role of Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor in adipose and vascular homeostasis

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    Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AHR) is a ligand activated transcription factor, which was initially characterised as an environmental sensor, that mediates toxic effects in response to harmful chemicals. Early research therefore focussed on exogenous ligands such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), which elicit a sustained activation of the AHR pathway, rather than a transient one associated with natural ligands. More recently, AHR has been implicated in obesity. The incidence of obesity has increased dramatically over recent decades, and carries a high burden to health care systems, along with increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Continued work surrounding obesity has shown that thermogenesis contributes to energy balance, and is now an attractive therapeutic target to attempt to reduce obesity rates. Findings show that AHR is not required for activation, nor regulation of thermogenesis through the characterisation of the global AHR knock out (KO) and adipocyte-specific AHR KO mouse models when exposed to cold. Both AHR KO and adipocyte-specific KO animals are able to maintain body temperature when exposed to acute cold challenge. No differences were observed in oxygen consumption nor energy expenditure. These mice were also able to maintain body temperature upon fasting prior to cold exposure. Endothelial cells (ECs) were also selected as an important cell-type to investigate AHR function due to the severe vascular defects of global AHR KO animals. Vascular disease is again associated with a high burden on healthcare, especially in the ageing population and in individuals who are obese. A human model system of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was used to investigate novel functions of AHR in ECs in vitro. Bulk RNA sequencing revealed that AHR activation caused a downregulation of many cell cycle-related pathways. Functional data using EdU staining also verified that activation of AHR with various concentrations of FICZ for 6Hrs caused a transient accumulation of cells in G0/1, whilst S and G2/M remained unchanged when compared to DMSO control. Further protein expression analysis at a single cell resolution using Operetta indicated that these effects were mediated through E2F. In addition, AHR was knocked down in HUVECs, which saw a decrease in cells at G1/0 compared to control siKD cells, and an increase in S phase when stained with EdU. Cells reached confluency more rapidly in siAHR group, compared to siKD control group using Incucyte. Increases in E2F were also observed using the Operetta system.Open Acces

    Levetiracetam versus phenytoin for second-line treatment of paediatric convulsive status epilepticus (EcLiPSE): a multicentre, open-label, randomised trial

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    Background Phenytoin is the recommended second-line intravenous anticonvulsant for treatment of paediatric convulsive status epilepticus in the UK; however, some evidence suggests that levetiracetam could be an effective and safer alternative. This trial compared the efficacy and safety of phenytoin and levetiracetam for second-line management of paediatric convulsive status epilepticus.Methods This open-label, randomised clinical trial was undertaken at 30 UK emergency departments at secondary and tertiary care centres. Participants aged 6 months to under 18 years, with convulsive status epilepticus requiring second-line treatment, were randomly assigned (1:1) using a computer-generated randomisation schedule to receive levetiracetam (40 mg/kg over 5 min) or phenytoin (20 mg/kg over at least 20 min), stratified by centre. The primary outcome was time from randomisation to cessation of convulsive status epilepticus, analysed in the modified intention-to-treat population (excluding those who did not require second-line treatment after randomisation and those who did not provide consent). This trial is registered with ISRCTN, number ISRCTN22567894.Findings Between July 17, 2015, and April 7, 2018, 1432 patients were assessed for eligibility. After exclusion of ineligible patients, 404 patients were randomly assigned. After exclusion of those who did not require second-line treatment and those who did not consent, 286 randomised participants were treated and had available data: 152 allocated to levetiracetam, and 134 to phenytoin. Convulsive status epilepticus was terminated in 106 (70%) children in the levetiracetam group and in 86 (64%) in the phenytoin group. Median time from randomisation to cessation of convulsive status epilepticus was 35 min (IQR 20 to not assessable) in the levetiracetam group and 45 min (24 to not assessable) in the phenytoin group (hazard ratio 1¬∑20, 95% CI 0¬∑91‚Äď1¬∑60; p=0¬∑20). One participant who received levetiracetam followed by phenytoin died as a result of catastrophic cerebral oedema unrelated to either treatment. One participant who received phenytoin had serious adverse reactions related to study treatment (hypotension considered to be immediately life-threatening [a serious adverse reaction] and increased focal seizures and decreased consciousness considered to be medically significant [a suspected unexpected serious adverse reaction]). Interpretation Although levetiracetam was not significantly superior to phenytoin, the results, together with previously reported safety profiles and comparative ease of administration of levetiracetam, suggest it could be an appropriate alternative to phenytoin as the first-choice, second-line anticonvulsant in the treatment of paediatric convulsive status epilepticus

    Children must be protected from the tobacco industry's marketing tactics.

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    Development and validation of a targeted gene sequencing panel for application to disparate cancers

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    Next generation sequencing has revolutionised genomic studies of cancer, having facilitated the development of precision oncology treatments based on a tumour’s molecular profile. We aimed to develop a targeted gene sequencing panel for application to disparate cancer types with particular focus on tumours of the head and neck, plus test for utility in liquid biopsy. The final panel designed through Roche/Nimblegen combined 451 cancer-associated genes (2.01 Mb target region). 136 patient DNA samples were collected for performance and application testing. Panel sensitivity and precision were measured using well-characterised DNA controls (n = 47), and specificity by Sanger sequencing of the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Interacting Protein (AIP) gene in 89 patients. Assessment of liquid biopsy application employed a pool of synthetic circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA). Library preparation and sequencing were conducted on Illumina-based platforms prior to analysis with our accredited (ISO15189) bioinformatics pipeline. We achieved a mean coverage of 395x, with sensitivity and specificity of >99% and precision of >97%. Liquid biopsy revealed detection to 1.25% variant allele frequency. Application to head and neck tumours/cancers resulted in detection of mutations aligned to published databases. In conclusion, we have developed an analytically-validated panel for application to cancers of disparate types with utility in liquid biopsy

    Health, education, and social care provision after diagnosis of childhood visual disability

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    Aim: To investigate the health, education, and social care provision for children newly diagnosed with visual disability.Method: This was a national prospective study, the British Childhood Visual Impairment and Blindness Study 2 (BCVIS2), ascertaining new diagnoses of visual impairment or severe visual impairment and blindness (SVIBL), or equivalent vi-sion. Data collection was performed by managing clinicians up to 1-year follow-up, and included health and developmental needs, and health, education, and social care provision.Results: BCVIS2 identified 784 children newly diagnosed with visual impairment/SVIBL (313 with visual impairment, 471 with SVIBL). Most children had associated systemic disorders (559 [71%], 167 [54%] with visual impairment, and 392 [84%] with SVIBL). Care from multidisciplinary teams was provided for 549 children (70%). Two-thirds (515) had not received an Education, Health, and Care Plan (EHCP). Fewer children with visual impairment had seen a specialist teacher (SVIBL 35%, visual impairment 28%, Ōá2p < 0.001), or had an EHCP (11% vs 7%, Ōá2p < 0 . 01).Interpretation: Families need additional support from managing clinicians to access recommended complex interventions such as the use of multidisciplinary teams and educational support. This need is pressing, as the population of children with visual impairment/SVIBL is expected to grow in size and complexity.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

    Psychosocial impact of undergoing prostate cancer screening for men with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations.

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    OBJECTIVES: To report the baseline results of a longitudinal psychosocial study that forms part of the IMPACT study, a multi-national investigation of targeted prostate cancer (PCa) screening among men with a known pathogenic germline mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. PARTICPANTS AND METHODS: Men enrolled in the IMPACT study were invited to complete a questionnaire at collaborating sites prior to each annual screening visit. The questionnaire included sociodemographic characteristics and the following measures: the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Impact of Event Scale (IES), 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36), Memorial Anxiety Scale for Prostate Cancer, Cancer Worry Scale-Revised, risk perception and knowledge. The results of the baseline questionnaire are presented. RESULTS: A total of 432 men completed questionnaires: 98 and 160 had mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, respectively, and 174 were controls (familial mutation negative). Participants' perception of PCa risk was influenced by genetic status. Knowledge levels were high and unrelated to genetic status. Mean scores for the HADS and SF-36 were within reported general population norms and mean IES scores were within normal range. IES mean intrusion and avoidance scores were significantly higher in BRCA1/BRCA2 carriers than in controls and were higher in men with increased PCa risk perception. At the multivariate level, risk perception contributed more significantly to variance in IES scores than genetic status. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to report the psychosocial profile of men with BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations undergoing PCa screening. No clinically concerning levels of general or cancer-specific distress or poor quality of life were detected in the cohort as a whole. A small subset of participants reported higher levels of distress, suggesting the need for healthcare professionals offering PCa screening to identify these risk factors and offer additional information and support to men seeking PCa screening

    The FANCM:p.Arg658* truncating variant is associated with risk of triple-negative breast cancer

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    Abstract: Breast cancer is a common disease partially caused by genetic risk factors. Germline pathogenic variants in DNA repair genes BRCA1, BRCA2, PALB2, ATM, and CHEK2 are associated with breast cancer risk. FANCM, which encodes for a DNA translocase, has been proposed as a breast cancer predisposition gene, with greater effects for the ER-negative and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) subtypes. We tested the three recurrent protein-truncating variants FANCM:p.Arg658*, p.Gln1701*, and p.Arg1931* for association with breast cancer risk in 67,112 cases, 53,766 controls, and 26,662 carriers of pathogenic variants of BRCA1 or BRCA2. These three variants were also studied functionally by measuring survival and chromosome fragility in FANCM‚ąí/‚ąí patient-derived immortalized fibroblasts treated with diepoxybutane or olaparib. We observed that FANCM:p.Arg658* was associated with increased risk of ER-negative disease and TNBC (OR = 2.44, P = 0.034 and OR = 3.79; P = 0.009, respectively). In a country-restricted analysis, we confirmed the associations detected for FANCM:p.Arg658* and found that also FANCM:p.Arg1931* was associated with ER-negative breast cancer risk (OR = 1.96; P = 0.006). The functional results indicated that all three variants were deleterious affecting cell survival and chromosome stability with FANCM:p.Arg658* causing more severe phenotypes. In conclusion, we confirmed that the two rare FANCM deleterious variants p.Arg658* and p.Arg1931* are risk factors for ER-negative and TNBC subtypes. Overall our data suggest that the effect of truncating variants on breast cancer risk may depend on their position in the gene. Cell sensitivity to olaparib exposure, identifies a possible therapeutic option to treat FANCM-associated tumors

    Multiorgan MRI findings after hospitalisation with COVID-19 in the UK (C-MORE): a prospective, multicentre, observational cohort study

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    Introduction: The multiorgan impact of moderate to severe coronavirus infections in the post-acute phase is still poorly understood. We aimed to evaluate the excess burden of multiorgan abnormalities after hospitalisation with COVID-19, evaluate their determinants, and explore associations with patient-related outcome measures. Methods: In a prospective, UK-wide, multicentre MRI follow-up study (C-MORE), adults (aged ‚Č•18 years) discharged from hospital following COVID-19 who were included in Tier 2 of the Post-hospitalisation COVID-19 study (PHOSP-COVID) and contemporary controls with no evidence of previous COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibody negative) underwent multiorgan MRI (lungs, heart, brain, liver, and kidneys) with quantitative and qualitative assessment of images and clinical adjudication when relevant. Individuals with end-stage renal failure or contraindications to MRI were excluded. Participants also underwent detailed recording of symptoms, and physiological and biochemical tests. The primary outcome was the excess burden of multiorgan abnormalities (two or more organs) relative to controls, with further adjustments for potential confounders. The C-MORE study is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04510025. Findings: Of 2710 participants in Tier 2 of PHOSP-COVID, 531 were recruited across 13 UK-wide C-MORE sites. After exclusions, 259 C-MORE patients (mean age 57 years [SD 12]; 158 [61%] male and 101 [39%] female) who were discharged from hospital with PCR-confirmed or clinically diagnosed COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and Nov 1, 2021, and 52 non-COVID-19 controls from the community (mean age 49 years [SD 14]; 30 [58%] male and 22 [42%] female) were included in the analysis. Patients were assessed at a median of 5¬∑0 months (IQR 4¬∑2‚Äď6¬∑3) after hospital discharge. Compared with non-COVID-19 controls, patients were older, living with more obesity, and had more comorbidities. Multiorgan abnormalities on MRI were more frequent in patients than in controls (157 [61%] of 259 vs 14 [27%] of 52; p&lt;0¬∑0001) and independently associated with COVID-19 status (odds ratio [OR] 2¬∑9 [95% CI 1¬∑5‚Äď5¬∑8]; padjusted=0¬∑0023) after adjusting for relevant confounders. Compared with controls, patients were more likely to have MRI evidence of lung abnormalities (p=0¬∑0001; parenchymal abnormalities), brain abnormalities (p&lt;0¬∑0001; more white matter hyperintensities and regional brain volume reduction), and kidney abnormalities (p=0¬∑014; lower medullary T1 and loss of corticomedullary differentiation), whereas cardiac and liver MRI abnormalities were similar between patients and controls. Patients with multiorgan abnormalities were older (difference in mean age 7 years [95% CI 4‚Äď10]; mean age of 59¬∑8 years [SD 11¬∑7] with multiorgan abnormalities vs mean age of 52¬∑8 years [11¬∑9] without multiorgan abnormalities; p&lt;0¬∑0001), more likely to have three or more comorbidities (OR 2¬∑47 [1¬∑32‚Äď4¬∑82]; padjusted=0¬∑0059), and more likely to have a more severe acute infection (acute CRP &gt;5mg/L, OR 3¬∑55 [1¬∑23‚Äď11¬∑88]; padjusted=0¬∑025) than those without multiorgan abnormalities. Presence of lung MRI abnormalities was associated with a two-fold higher risk of chest tightness, and multiorgan MRI abnormalities were associated with severe and very severe persistent physical and mental health impairment (PHOSP-COVID symptom clusters) after hospitalisation. Interpretation: After hospitalisation for COVID-19, people are at risk of multiorgan abnormalities in the medium term. Our findings emphasise the need for proactive multidisciplinary care pathways, with the potential for imaging to guide surveillance frequency and therapeutic stratification

    Genomic investigations of unexplained acute hepatitis in children

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    Since its first identification in Scotland, over 1,000 cases of unexplained paediatric hepatitis in children have been reported worldwide, including 278 cases in the UK1. Here we report an investigation of 38 cases, 66 age-matched immunocompetent controls and 21 immunocompromised comparator participants, using a combination of genomic, transcriptomic, proteomic and immunohistochemical methods. We detected high levels of adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) DNA in the liver, blood, plasma or stool from 27 of 28 cases. We found low levels of adenovirus (HAdV) and human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) in 23 of 31 and 16 of 23, respectively, of the cases tested. By contrast, AAV2 was infrequently detected and at low titre in the blood or the liver from control children with HAdV, even when profoundly immunosuppressed. AAV2, HAdV and HHV-6 phylogeny excluded the emergence of novel strains in cases. Histological analyses of explanted livers showed enrichment for T cells and B lineage cells. Proteomic comparison of liver tissue from cases and healthy controls identified increased expression of HLA class 2, immunoglobulin variable regions and complement proteins. HAdV and AAV2 proteins were not detected in the livers. Instead, we identified AAV2 DNA complexes reflecting both HAdV-mediated and HHV-6B-mediated replication. We hypothesize that high levels of abnormal AAV2 replication products aided by HAdV and, in severe cases, HHV-6B may have triggered immune-mediated hepatic disease in genetically and immunologically predisposed children

    Effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker initiation on organ support-free days in patients hospitalized with COVID-19