Usher syndrome type 1B is a combined deaf-blindness condition caused by mutations in the MYO7A gene. Loss of functional myosin VIIa in the retinal pigment epithelia (RPE) and/or photoreceptors leads to blindness. We evaluated the impact of subretinally delivered UshStat, a recombinant EIAV-based lentiviral vector expressing human MYO7A, on photoreceptor function in the shaker1 mouse model for Usher type 1B that lacks a functional Myo7A gene. Subretinal injections of EIAV-CMV-GFP, EIAV-RK-GFP (photoreceptor specific), EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) or EIAV-CMV-Null (control) vectors were performed in shaker1 mice. GFP and myosin VIIa expression was evaluated histologically. Photoreceptor function in EIAV-CMV-MYO7A treated eyes was determined by evaluating ?-transducin translocation in photoreceptors in response to low light intensity levels, and protection from light induced photoreceptor degeneration was measured. The safety and tolerability of subretinally delivered UshStat was evaluated in macaques. Expression of GFP and myosin VIIa was confirmed in the RPE and photoreceptors in shaker1 mice following subretinal delivery of the EIAV-CMV-GFP/MYO7A vectors. The EIAV-CMV-MYO7A vector protected the shaker1 mouse photoreceptors from acute and chronic intensity light damage, indicated by a significant reduction in photoreceptor cell loss, and restoration of the ?-transducin translocation threshold in the photoreceptors. Safety studies in the macaques demonstrated that subretinal delivery of UshStat is safe and well-tolerated. Subretinal delivery of EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) rescues photoreceptor phenotypes in the shaker1 mouse. In addition, subretinally delivered UshStat is safe and well-tolerated in macaque safety studies These data support the clinical development of UshStat to treat Usher type 1B syndrome.
As the progression of multidrug-resistant organisms and lack of novel antibiotics move us closer toward a potential postantibiotic era, it is paramount to preserve the longevity of current therapeutic agents. Moreover, novel interventions for antimicrobial stewardship programs are integral to combating antimicrobial resistance worldwide. One unique method that may decrease the use of second-line antibiotics (e.g., fluoroquinolones, vancomycin) while facilitating access to a preferred ?-lactam regimen in numerous health care settings is a penicillin skin test. Provided that up to 10% of patients have a reported penicillin allergy, of whom ~10% have true IgE-mediated hypersensitivity, significant potential exists to utilize a penicillin skin test to safely identify those who may receive penicillin or a ?-lactam antibiotic. In this article, we provide information on the background, associated costs, currently available literature, pharmacists role, antimicrobial stewardship implications, potential barriers, and misconceptions, as well as future directions associated with the penicillin skin test.
Usher syndrome combines congenital hearing loss and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Mutations in the whirlin gene (DFNB31/WHRN) cause a subtype of Usher syndrome (USH2D). Whirler mice have a defective whirlin gene. They have inner ear defects but usually do not develop retinal degeneration. Here we report that, in whirler mouse photoreceptors, the light-activated rod transducin translocation is delayed and its activation threshold is shifted to a higher level. Rhodopsin mis-localization is observed in rod inner segments. Continuous moderate light exposure can induce significant rod photoreceptor degeneration. Whirler mice reared under a 1500 lux light/dark cycle also develop severe photoreceptor degeneration. Previously, we have reported that shaker1 mice, a USH1B model, show moderate light-induced photoreceptor degeneration with delayed transducin translocation. Here, we further show that, in both whirler and shaker1 mice, short-term moderate light/dark changes can induce rod degeneration as severe as that induced by continuous light exposure. The results from shaker1 and whirler mice suggest that defective transducin translocation may be functionally related to light-induced degeneration, and these two symptoms may be caused by defects in Usher protein function in rods. Furthermore, these results indicate that both Usher syndrome mouse models possess a light-induced retinal phenotype and may share a closely related pathobiological mechanism.
c-Myc (Myc) is a mediator of glucotoxicity but could also independently compromise ?-cell survival and function. We have shown that after Myc activation in adult ?-cells in vivo, apoptosis is preceded by hyperglycemia, suggesting glucotoxicity might contribute to Myc-induced apoptosis. To address this question conditional Myc was activated in ?-cells of adult pIns-c-MycER(TAM) mice in vivo in the presence or absence of various glucose-lowering treatments, including exogenous insulin and prior to transplantation with wild-type islets. Changes in blood glucose levels were subsequently correlated with changes in ?-cell mass and markers of function/differentiation. Activation of c-Myc resulted in reduced insulin secretion, hyperglycemia and loss of ?-cell differentiation, followed by reduction in mass. Glucose-lowering interventions did not prevent loss of ?-cells. Therefore, Myc can cause diabetes by direct effects on ?-cell apoptosis even in the absence of potentially confounding secondary hyperglycemia. Moreover, as loss of ?-cell differentiation/function and hyperglycemia are not prevented by preventing ?-cell apoptosis, we conclude that Myc might contribute to the pathogenesis of diabetes by directly coupling cell cycle entry and ?-cell failure through two distinct pathways.
Patients with Alports syndrome develop a number of pro-inflammatory cytokine and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) abnormalities that contribute to progressive renal failure. Changes in the composition and structure of the glomerular basement membranes likely alter the biomechanics of cell adhesion and signaling in these patients. To test if enhanced strain on the capillary tuft due to these structural changes contributes to altered gene regulation, we subjected cultured podocytes to cyclic biomechanical strain. There was robust induction of interleukin (IL)-6, along with MMP-3, -9, -10, and -14, but not MMP-2 or -12 by increased strain. Neutralizing antibodies against IL-6 attenuated the strain-mediated induction of MMP-3 and -10. Alport mice treated with a general inhibitor of nitric oxide synthase (L-NAME) developed significant hypertension and increased IL-6 and MMP-3 and -10 in their glomeruli relative to those of normotensive Alport mice. These hypertensive Alport mice also had elevated proteinuria along with more advanced histological and ultrastructural glomerular basement membrane damage. We suggest that MMP and cytokine dysregulation may constitute a maladaptive response to biomechanical strain in the podocytes of Alport patients, thus contributing to glomerular disease initiation and progression.
Influenza A viruses are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the human population, causing epidemics in the winter, and occasional worldwide pandemics. In addition there are periodic outbreaks in domestic poultry, horses, pigs, dogs, and cats. Infections of domestic birds can be fatal for the birds and their human contacts. Control in man operates through vaccines and antivirals, but both have their limitations. In the search for an alternative treatment we have focussed on defective interfering (DI) influenza A virus. Such a DI virus is superficially indistinguishable from a normal virus but has a large deletion in one of the eight RNAs that make up the viral genome. Antiviral activity resides in the deleted RNA. We have cloned one such highly active DI RNA derived from segment 1 (244 DI virus) and shown earlier that intranasal administration protects mice from lethal disease caused by a number of different influenza A viruses. A more cogent model of human influenza is the ferret. Here we found that intranasal treatment with a single dose of 2 or 0.2 µg 244 RNA delivered as A/PR/8/34 virus particles protected ferrets from disease caused by pandemic virus A/California/04/09 (A/Cal; H1N1). Specifically, 244 DI virus significantly reduced fever, weight loss, respiratory symptoms, and infectious load. 244 DI RNA, the active principle, was amplified in nasal washes following infection with A/Cal, consistent with its amelioration of clinical disease. Animals that were treated with 244 DI RNA cleared infectious and DI viruses without delay. Despite the attenuation of infection and disease by DI virus, ferrets formed high levels of A/Cal-specific serum haemagglutination-inhibiting antibodies and were solidly immune to rechallenge with A/Cal. Together with earlier data from mouse studies, we conclude that 244 DI virus is a highly effective antiviral with activity potentially against all influenza A subtypes.
The main antivirals employed to combat seasonal and pandemic influenza are oseltamivir and zanamivir which act by inhibiting the virus-encoded neuraminidase. These have to be deployed close to the time of infection and antiviral resistance to the more widely used oseltamivir has arisen relatively rapidly. Defective interfering (DI) influenza virus is a natural antiviral that works in a different way to oseltamivir and zanamivir, and a cloned version (segment 1 244 DI RNA in a cloned A/PR/8/34 virus; 244/PR8) has proved effective in preclinical studies in mice. The active principle is the DI RNA, and this is thought to interact with all influenza A viruses by inhibiting RNA virus synthesis and packaging of the cognate virion RNA into nascent DI virus particles. We have compared the ability of DI virus and oseltamivir to protect ferrets from intranasal 2009 pandemic influenza virus A/California/04/09 (A/Cal, H1N1). Ferrets were treated with a single 2 ?g intranasal dose of 244 DI RNA delivered as 244/PR8 virus, or a total of 25mg/kg body weight of oseltamivir given as 10 oral doses over 5 days. Both DI virus and oseltamivir reduced day 2 infectivity and the influx of cells into nasal fluids, and permitted the development of adaptive immunity. However DI virus, but not oseltamivir, significantly reduced weight loss, facilitated better weight gain, reduced respiratory disease, and reduced infectivity on days 4 and 6. 244 DI RNA was amplified by A/Cal by >25,000-fold, consistent with the amelioration of clinical disease. Treatment with DI virus did not delay clearance or cause persistence of infectious virus or DI RNA. Thus in this system DI virus was overall more effective than oseltamivir in combatting pandemic A/California/04/09.
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