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The proportion of elderly patients beginning to undergo dialysis is increasing globally. Whether early referral (ER) of elderly patients is associated with favorable outcomes remains under debate. We investigated the influence of referral timing on the mortality of elderly patients. We retrospectively assessed mortality in 820 patients aged ≥70 years with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who initiated hemodialysis at a tertiary university hospital between 2000 and 2010. Mortality data was obtained from the time of dialysis initiation until December 2010. We assigned patients to one of two groups according to the time of their first encounters with nephrologists: ER (≥ 3 months) and late referral (LR; < 3 months). During a mean follow-up period of 25.1 months, the ER group showed a 24% reduced risk of long-term mortality relative to the LR group (HR = 0.760, P = 0.009). Rate of reduction in 90-day mortality for ER patients was 58% (HR = 0.422, P=0.012). However, the statistical significance of the difference in mortality rates between ER and LR group was not observed across age groups after 90 days. Old age, LR, central venous catheter, high white blood cell count and corrected Ca level, and lower levels of albumin, creatinine, hemoglobin, and sodium were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality. Timely referral was also associated with reduced mortality in elderly ESRD patients who initiated hemodialysis. In particular, the initial 90-day mortality reduction in ER patients contributed to mortality differences during the follow-up period.
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The skin forms an efficient barrier against the environment, and rapid cutaneous wound healing after injury is therefore essential. Healing of the uppermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, involves collective migration of keratinocytes, which requires coordinated polarization of the cells. To study this process, we developed a model that allows analysis of live-cell images of migrating keratinocytes in culture based on a small number of parameters, including the radius of the cells, their mass and their polarization. This computational approach allowed the analysis of cell migration at the front of the wound and a reliable identification and quantification of the impaired polarization and migration of keratinocytes from mice lacking fibroblast growth factors 1 and 2--an established model of impaired healing. Therefore, our modeling approach is suitable for large-scale analysis of migration phenotypes of cells with specific genetic defects or upon treatment with different pharmacological agents.
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Although it has been proposed that neurons that contain both acetylcholine (ACh) and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are present in the prepositus hypoglossi nucleus (PHN), these neurons have not been characterized because of the difficulty in identifying them. In the present study, PHN neurons that express both choline acetyltransferase and the vesicular GABA transporter (VGAT) were identified using double-transgenic rats, in which the cholinergic and inhibitory neurons express the fluorescent proteins tdTomato and Venus, respectively. To characterize the neurons that express both tdTomato and Venus (D+ neurons), the afterhyperpolarization (AHP) profiles and firing patterns of these neurons were investigated via whole-cell recordings of brainstem slice preparations. Regarding the three AHP profiles and four firing patterns that the D+ neurons exhibited, an AHP with an afterdepolarization and a firing pattern that exhibited a delay in the generation of the first spike were the preferential properties of these neurons. In the three morphological types classified, the multipolar type that exhibited radiating dendrites was predominant among the D+ neurons. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that the VGAT-immunopositive axonal boutons that expressed tdTomato were primarily located in the dorsal cap of inferior olive (IO) and the PHN. Although the PHN receives cholinergic inputs from the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus and laterodorsal tegmental nucleus, D+ neurons were absent from these brain areas. Together, these results suggest that PHN neurons that co-express ACh and GABA exhibit specific electrophysiological and morphological properties, and innervate the dorsal cap of the IO and the PHN.
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The unique beauty of spherical aggregation forming algae has attracted much attention from both the scientific and lay communities. Several aegagropilous seaweeds have been identified to date, including the plants of genus Cladophora and Chaetomorpha. However, this phenomenon remains poorly understood. In July 2013, a mass occurrence of spherical Cladophora aggregations was observed in a salt field reservoir in Central Thailand. The aims of the present study were to describe the habitat of the spherical aggregations and confirm the species. We performed a field survey, internal and external morphological observations, pyrenoid ultrastructure observations, and molecular sequence analysis. Floating spherical Cladophora aggregations (1-8 cm in diameter) were observed in an area ~560 m2, on the downwind side of the reservoir where there was water movement. Individual filaments in the aggregations were entangled in each other; consequently, branches growing in different directions were observed within a clump. We suggest that water movement and morphological characteristics promote the formation of spherical aggregations in this species. The molecular sequencing results revealed that the study species was highly homologous to both C. socialis and C. coelothrix. However, the diameter of the apical cells in the study species was less than that of C. coelothrix. The pyrenoid ultrastructure was more consistent with that of C. socialis. We conclude that the study species is C. socialis. This first record of spherical aggregations in this species advances our understanding of these formations. However, further detailed physical measurements are required to fully elucidate the mechanism behind these spherical formations.
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Glioblastomas (GBM) are comprised of a heterogeneous population of tumor cells, immune cells, and extracellular matrix. Interactions among these different cell types and pro-/anti-inflammatory cytokines may promote tumor development and progression. The objective of this study was to develop a cytokine-related gene signature to improve outcome prediction for patients with primary GBM. Here, we used Cox regression and risk-score analysis to develop a cytokine-related gene signature in primary GBMs from the whole transcriptome sequencing profile of the Chinese Glioma Genome Atlas (CGGA) database (n=105). We also examined differences in immune cell phenotype and immune factor expression between the high-risk and low-risk groups. Cytokine-related genes were ranked based on their ability to predict survival in the CGGA database. The six genes showing the strongest predictive value were CXCL10, IL17R, CCR2, IL17B, IL10RB, and CCL2. Patients with a high-risk score had poor overall survival and progression-free survival. Additionally, the high-risk group was characterized by increased mRNA expression of M2 microglia/macrophage markers and elevated levels of IL10 and TGFβ1. The six cytokine-related gene signature is sufficient to predict survival and to identify a subgroup of primary GBM exhibiting the M2 cell phenotype.
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Induced CREB activity is a hallmark of long-term memory, but the full repertoire of CREB transcriptional targets required specifically for memory is not known in any system. To obtain a more complete picture of the mechanisms involved in memory, we combined memory training with genome-wide transcriptional analysis of C. elegans CREB mutants. This approach identified 757 significant CREB/memory-induced targets and confirmed the involvement of known memory genes from other organisms, but also suggested new mechanisms and novel components that may be conserved through mammals. CREB mediates distinct basal and memory transcriptional programs at least partially through spatial restriction of CREB activity: basal targets are regulated primarily in nonneuronal tissues, while memory targets are enriched for neuronal expression, emanating from CREB activity in AIM neurons. This suite of novel memory-associated genes will provide a platform for the discovery of orthologous mammalian long-term memory components.
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This study attempts to compare the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the 40 mm High-Temperature Superconducting (HTS) surface resonator at 77 K and the 35 mm commercial quadrature (QD) surface resonator at 300 K in a 3 Tesla (T) MRI imager. To aquire images for the comparison, we implemented a phantom experiment using the 40 mm diameter Bi2Sr2Ca2Cu3Ox (Bi-2223) HTS surface resonator, the 35 mm commercial QD surface resonator and the 40 mm professionally-made copper surface resonator. The HTS surface resonator at 77 K provided a 1.43-fold SNR gain over the QD surface resonator at 300 K and provided a 3.84-fold SNR gain over the professionally-made copper surface resonator at 300 K on phantom images. The results agree with the predictions, and the difference between the predicted SNR gains and measured SNR gains is 1%. Although the geometry of the HTS surface resonator is different from the QD surface resonator, its SNR is still higher. The results demonstrate that a higher image quality can be obtained with the HTS surface resonator at 77 K. With the HTS surface resonator, the SNR can be improved, suggesting that the HTS surface resonator is a potentially helpful diagnostic tool for MRI imaging in various applications.
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Memory formation is associated with the generation of transiently stable neuronal assemblies. In hippocampal networks, such groups of functionally coupled neurons express highly ordered spatiotemporal activity patterns which are coordinated by local network oscillations. One of these patterns, sharp wave-ripple complexes (SPW-R), repetitively activates previously established groups of memory-encoding neurons, thereby supporting memory consolidation. This function implies that repetition of specific SPW-R induces plastic changes which render the underlying neuronal assemblies more stable. We modeled this repetitive activation in an in vitro model of SPW-R in mouse hippocampal slices. Weak electrical stimulation upstream of the CA3-CA1 networks reliably induced SPW-R of stereotypic waveform, thus representing re-activation of similar neuronal activity patterns. Frequent repetition of these patterns (100 times) reduced the variance of both, evoked and spontaneous SPW-R waveforms, indicating stabilization of pre-existing assemblies. These effects were most pronounced in the CA1 subfield and depended on the timing of stimulation relative to spontaneous SPW-R. Additionally, plasticity of SPW-R was blocked by application of a NMDA receptor antagonist, suggesting a role for associative synaptic plasticity in this process. Thus, repetitive activation of specific patterns of SPW-R causes stabilization of memory-related networks.
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Epigenetic and genetic alteration plays a major role to the development of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Consumption of tobacco (smoking/chewing) and human papilloma virus (HPV) are also associated with an increase the risk of HNSCC. Promoter hypermethylation of the tumor suppression genes is related with transcriptional inactivation and loss of gene expression. We investigated epigenetic alteration (promoter methylation of tumor-related genes/loci) in tumor tissues in the context of genetic alteration, viral infection, and tobacco exposure and survival status. The study included 116 tissue samples (71 tumor and 45 normal tissues) from the Northeast Indian population. Methylation specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) was used to determine the methylation status of 10 tumor-related genes/loci (p16, DAPK, RASSF1, BRAC1, GSTP1, ECAD, MLH1, MINT1, MINT2 and MINT31). Polymorphisms of CYP1A1, GST (M1 & T1), XRCC1and XRCC2 genes were studied by using polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) and multiplex-PCR respectively. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering analysis based on methylation pattern had identified two tumor clusters, which significantly differ by CpG island methylator phenotype (CIMP), tobacco, GSTM1, CYP1A1, HPV and survival status. Analyzing methylation of genes/loci individually, we have found significant higher methylation of DAPK, RASSF1, p16 and MINT31 genes (P = 0.031, 0.013, 0.031 and 0.015 respectively) in HPV (+) cases compared to HPV (-). Furthermore, a CIMP-high and Cluster-1 characteristic was also associated with poor survival. Promoter methylation profiles reflecting a correlation with tobacco, HPV, survival status and genetic alteration and may act as a marker to determine subtypes and patient outcome in HNSCC.
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Rats of the Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rij (WAG/Rij) strain show symptoms resembling human absence epilepsy. Thalamocortical neurons of WAG/Rij rats are characterized by an increased HCN1 expression, a negative shift in I h activation curve, and an altered responsiveness of I h to cAMP. We cloned HCN1 channels from rat thalamic cDNA libraries of the WAG/Rij strain and found an N-terminal deletion of 37 amino acids. In addition, WAG-HCN1 has a stretch of six amino acids, directly following the deletion, where the wild-type sequence (GNSVCF) is changed to a polyserine motif. These alterations were found solely in thalamus mRNA but not in genomic DNA. The truncated WAG-HCN1 was detected late postnatal in WAG/Rij rats and was not passed on to rats obtained from pairing WAG/Rij and non-epileptic August Copenhagen Irish rats. Heterologous expression in Xenopus oocytes revealed 2.2-fold increased current amplitude of WAG-HCN1 compared to rat HCN1. While WAG-HCN1 channels did not have altered current kinetics or changed regulation by protein kinases, fluorescence imaging revealed a faster and more pronounced surface expression of WAG-HCN1. Using co-expression experiments, we found that WAG-HCN1 channels suppress heteromeric HCN2 and HCN4 currents. Moreover, heteromeric channels of WAG-HCN1 with HCN2 have a reduced cAMP sensitivity. Functional studies revealed that the gain-of-function of WAG-HCN1 is not caused by the N-terminal deletion alone, thus requiring a change of the N-terminal GNSVCF motif. Our findings may help to explain previous observations in neurons of the WAG/Rij strain and indicate that WAG-HCN1 may contribute to the genesis of absence seizures in WAG/Rij rats.
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