The objectives of this systematic review were to examine the reproducibility of sonographic estimates of amniotic fluid volume (AFV) in twin pregnancies, compare the association of sonographic estimates of AFV with dye-determined AFV, and correlate AFV with antepartum, intrapartum, and perinatal outcomes in twin pregnancies. Studies were included if they were adequately powered and investigated antepartum, intrapartum, and/or perinatal adverse outcome parameters in twin gestations. Studies with comparable populations and exclusion criteria were merged into forest plots. Data comparing the accuracy of AFV assessment, correlation of AFV with gestational age, and adverse outcomes were tabulated. Five of the 6 studies investigating AFV by the amniotic fluid index as a function of gestational age reported data fitting a quadratic equation, with fluid volumes peaking at mid gestation and then declining. This trend was less pronounced when AFV was assessed by the single deepest pocket (2 of 4 studies reporting a quadratic fit). Polyhydramnios was associated with prematurity in 2 of 4 studies (1 amniotic fluid index and 1 single deepest pocket), and oligohydramnios was associated with prematurity in 1 single deepest pocket study. Stillbirth was the only intrapartum outcome reported in more than 1 study. Perinatal outcomes associated with polyhydramnios included neonatal death (P < .05 in 1 of 2 studies), low Apgar scores (1 of 2 studies), neonatal intensive care unit admission (1 of 2 studies), and low birth weight (2 of 3 studies).
A convergence of technological breakthroughs in the past decade has facilitated the development of rapid screening tools for biomarkers of toxicant exposure and effect. Platforms using the whole adult organism to evaluate the genome-wide response to toxicants are especially attractive. Recent work demonstrates the feasibility of this approach in vertebrates using the experimentally robust zebrafish model. In the present study, we evaluated gene expression changes in whole adult male zebrafish following an acute 24 hr high dose exposure to three metals with known human health risks. Male adult zebrafish were exposed to nickel chloride, cobalt chloride or sodium dichromate concentrations corresponding to their respective 96 hr LC20, LC40 and LC60. Histopathology was performed on a subset of metal-exposed zebrafish to phenotypically anchor transcriptional changes associated with each metal.
Toxic liver injury causes necrosis and fibrosis, which may lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. Despite recent progress in understanding the mechanism of liver fibrosis, our knowledge of the molecular-level details of this disease is still incomplete. The elucidation of networks and pathways associated with liver fibrosis can provide insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms of the disease, as well as identify potential diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers. Towards this end, we analyzed rat gene expression data from a range of chemical exposures that produced observable periportal liver fibrosis as documented in DrugMatrix, a publicly available toxicogenomics database. We identified genes relevant to liver fibrosis using standard differential expression and co-expression analyses, and then used these genes in pathway enrichment and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analyses. We identified a PPI network module associated with liver fibrosis that includes known liver fibrosis-relevant genes, such as tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1, galectin-3, connective tissue growth factor, and lipocalin-2. We also identified several new genes, such as perilipin-3, legumain, and myocilin, which were associated with liver fibrosis. We further analyzed the expression pattern of the genes in the PPI network module across a wide range of 640 chemical exposure conditions in DrugMatrix and identified early indications of liver fibrosis for carbon tetrachloride and lipopolysaccharide exposures. Although it is well known that carbon tetrachloride and lipopolysaccharide can cause liver fibrosis, our network analysis was able to link these compounds to potential fibrotic damage before histopathological changes associated with liver fibrosis appeared. These results demonstrated that our approach is capable of identifying early-stage indicators of liver fibrosis and underscore its potential to aid in predictive toxicity, biomarker identification, and to generally identify disease-relevant pathways.
Liver injuries due to ingestion or exposure to chemicals and industrial toxicants pose a serious health risk that may be hard to assess due to a lack of non-invasive diagnostic tests. Mapping chemical injuries to organ-specific damage and clinical outcomes via biomarkers or biomarker panels will provide the foundation for highly specific and robust diagnostic tests. Here, we have used DrugMatrix, a toxicogenomics database containing organ-specific gene expression data matched to dose-dependent chemical exposures and adverse clinical pathology assessments in Sprague Dawley rats, to identify groups of co-expressed genes (modules) specific to injury endpoints in the liver. We identified 78 such gene co-expression modules associated with 25 diverse injury endpoints categorized from clinical pathology, organ weight changes, and histopathology. Using gene expression data associated with an injury condition, we showed that these modules exhibited different patterns of activation characteristic of each injury. We further showed that specific module genes mapped to 1) known biochemical pathways associated with liver injuries and 2) clinically used diagnostic tests for liver fibrosis. As such, the gene modules have characteristics of both generalized and specific toxic response pathways. Using these results, we proposed three gene signature sets characteristic of liver fibrosis, steatosis, and general liver injury based on genes from the co-expression modules. Out of all 92 identified genes, 18 (20%) genes have well-documented relationships with liver disease, whereas the rest are novel and have not previously been associated with liver disease. In conclusion, identifying gene co-expression modules associated with chemically induced liver injuries aids in generating testable hypotheses and has the potential to identify putative biomarkers of adverse health effects.
Patients at risk for preterm delivery are frequently administered both antenatal steroids for fetal maturation and magnesium sulfate for neuroprotection. In this study, we investigate whether steroids coadministered with magnesium sulfate preserve blood-brain barrier integrity in neuroinflammation. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells were grown in astroglial conditioned media in a 2-chamber cell culture apparatus. Treatment with tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?) or catalytically active recombinant matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9) simulated neuroinflammation. Membrane integrity was assessed by zona occludens 1 (ZO-1) immunoreactivity, permeability to fluorescently conjugated dextran, and transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER). The TNF-? and MMP-9 treatment increased the rate of dextran transit, decreased TEER, and decreased ZO-1 immunoreactivity at junctional interfaces. Dexamethasone pretreatment alone or in combination with 0.5 mmol/L magnesium sulfate preserved monolayer integrity after inflammatory insult. Magnesium sulfate alone was not protective. This study supports a possible interaction between steroids and magnesium in neuroprotection.
Glycosylation of plasma proteins increases during pregnancy. Our objectives were to investigate an anti-inflammatory role of these proteins in normal pregnancies and determine whether aberrant protein glycosylation promotes monocyte adhesion in preeclampsia. Plasma was prospectively collected from nonpregnant controls and nulliparous patients in all 3 trimesters. Patients were divided into cohorts based on the applicable postpartum diagnosis. U937 monocytes were preconditioned with enzymatically deglycosylated plasma, and monocyte adhesion to endothelial cell monolayers was quantified by spectrophotometry. Plasma from nonpregnant controls, first trimester normotensives, and first trimester patients with mild preeclampsia inhibited monocyte-endothelial cell adhesion (P < .05), but plasma from first trimester patients with severe preeclampsia and second and third trimester normotensives did not. Deglycosylating plasma proteins significantly increased adhesion in all the cohorts. These results support a role of plasma glycoprotein interaction in monocyte-endothelial cell adhesion and could suggest a novel therapeutic target for severe preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder unique to pregnancy. Although the pathogenesis of the disease begins with aberrant spiral artery invasion in the first trimester, clinical symptoms usually do not present until late in pregnancy. Apolipoprotein CII (ApoCII) and its negative regulator, apolipoprotein CIII (ApoCIII), have recently been described as atherogenesis biomarkers in models of cardiovascular disease. Given the similarities in pathology, etiology, and clinical presentation between cardiovascular disease and preeclampsia, we hypothesized that the ratio of ApoCIII to ApoCII in maternal first trimester plasma would predict preeclampsia later in pregnancy. To test this hypothesis, plasma was prospectively collected from 311 nulliparas at 8 to 12 weeks gestation. After delivery, patients were divided into cohorts based on preeclampsia diagnosis. Conditioning monocytes with preeclamptic plasma potentiated monocyte adhesion to endothelial cells in an in vitro model. The ratio of ApoCIII to ApoCII was significantly elevated in patients with severe preeclampsia relative to normotensive and gestational hypertensive individuals (P < .05) as determined by mass spectrometry and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) assays. These results support a predictive change in the ratio of ApoCIII to ApoCII in pregnancies complicated by severe preeclampsia.
Group B Streptococcus (GBS) serotype (Ia, Ib, II-IX) correlates with pathogen virulence and clinical prognosis. Epidemiological studies of seroprevalence are an important metric for determining the proportion of serotypes in a given population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of individual GBS serotypes at Madigan Healthcare System (Madigan), the largest military tertiary healthcare facility in the Pacific Northwestern United States, and to compare seroprevalences with international locations.
17?-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) may decrease risk of prematurity by suppressing maternal immunity. We hypothesized that in vivo 17P treatment attenuates immunoresponsiveness of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
Clinical evidence suggests that magnesium sulfate may reduce the risk of fetal neurologic injury in preterm delivery. Matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) levels are elevated in preterm labor patients. There is evidence that MMP-9 may break down the blood-brain barrier in humans, causing cytokine mediated cell injury. Our objective was to determine whether the addition of magnesium sulfate attenuates activity of MMP-9, a complex zinc-dependent enzyme, in fetal cord plasma.
The expression of progesterone receptor membrane component 1 (PGRMC1) in breast cancer has generated interest in this recently discovered protein because of its role in tumorigenesis. However, correlations between patient age, PGRMC1 gene expression, breast cancer morphology, and breast cancer stage have not been adequately studied. Furthermore, very little is known about possible roles for other PGRMC isoforms in breast cancer, like PGRMC2. Thus, we examined the expression of PGRMC1 and PGRMC2 mRNA by relative quantitative PCR (RelqPCR) and determined whether transcript levels correlate with age, breast cancer staging, estrogen receptor alpha (ER?) status, and other morphometric features routinely used during the pathological examination of breast ductal adenocarcinomas.
Although the ERK pathway has a central role in the response of cells to growth factors, its regulatory structure and dynamics are incompletely understood. To investigate ERK activation in real time, we expressed an ERK-GFP fusion protein in human mammary epithelial cells. On EGF stimulation, we observed sustained oscillations of the ERK-GFP fusion protein between the nucleus and cytoplasm with a periodicity of approximately 15 min. The oscillations were persistent (>45 cycles), independent of cell cycle phase, and were highly dependent on cell density, essentially disappearing at confluency. Oscillations occurred even at ligand doses that elicited very low levels of ERK phosphorylation, and could be detected biochemically in both transfected and nontransfected cells. Mathematical modeling revealed that negative feedback from phosphorylated ERK to the cascade input was necessary to match the robustness of the oscillation characteristics observed over a broad range of ligand concentrations. Our characterization of single-cell ERK dynamics provides a quantitative foundation for understanding the regulatory structure of this signaling cascade.
Minimally invasive diagnostic tests are needed in obstetrics to identify women at risk for complications during delivery. The apolipoproteins fluctuate in complexity and abundance in maternal plasma during pregnancy and could be incorporated into a blood test to evaluate this risk. The objective of this study was to examine the relative plasma concentrations of apolipoproteins and their biochemically modified subtypes (i.e. proteolytically processed, sialylated, cysteinylated, dimerized) over gestational time using a targeted mass spectrometry approach. Relative abundance of modified and unmodified apolipoproteins A-I, A-II, C-I, C-II, and C-III was determined by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry in plasma prospectively collected from 11 gravidas with uncomplicated pregnancies at 4-5 gestational time points per patient. Apolipoproteins were readily identifiable by spectral pattern. Apo C-III(2) and Apo C-III(1) (doubly and singly sialylated Apo C-III subtypes) increased with gestational age (r(2)>0.8). Unmodified Apo A-II, Apo C-I, and Apo C-III(0) showed no correlation (r(2) = 0.01-0.1). Pro-Apo C-II did not increase significantly until third trimester (140 ± 13% of first trimester), but proteolytically cleaved, mature Apo C-II increased in late pregnancy (702 ± 130% of first trimester). Mature Apo C-II represented 6.7 ± 0.9% of total Apo C-II in early gestation and increased to 33 ± 4.5% in third trimester. A label-free, semiquantitative targeted proteomics approach was developed using LTQ-Orbitrap mass spectrometry to confirm the relative quantitative differences observed by surface-enhanced laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometry in Apo C-III and Apo C-II isoforms between first and third trimesters. Targeted apolipoprotein screening was applied to a cohort of term and preterm patients. Modified Apo A-II isoforms were significantly elevated in plasma from mothers who delivered prematurely relative to term controls (p = 0.02). These results support a role for targeted proteomics profiling approaches in monitoring healthy pregnancies and assessing risk of adverse obstetric outcomes.
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