Melbourne Medical School Collected Works - Research Publications

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    Distinct roles for FOXP3 and FOXP3 CD4 T cells in regulating cellular immunity to uncomplicated and severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria.
    Walther, M ; Jeffries, D ; Finney, OC ; Njie, M ; Ebonyi, A ; Deininger, S ; Lawrence, E ; Ngwa-Amambua, A ; Jayasooriya, S ; Cheeseman, IH ; Gomez-Escobar, N ; Okebe, J ; Conway, DJ ; Riley, EM ; Kazura, JW (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2009-04)
    Failure to establish an appropriate balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory immune responses is believed to contribute to pathogenesis of severe malaria. To determine whether this balance is maintained by classical regulatory T cells (CD4(+) FOXP3(+) CD127(-/low); Tregs) we compared cellular responses between Gambian children (n = 124) with severe Plasmodium falciparum malaria or uncomplicated malaria infections. Although no significant differences in Treg numbers or function were observed between the groups, Treg activity during acute disease was inversely correlated with malaria-specific memory responses detectable 28 days later. Thus, while Tregs may not regulate acute malarial inflammation, they may limit memory responses to levels that subsequently facilitate parasite clearance without causing immunopathology. Importantly, we identified a population of FOXP3(-), CD45RO(+) CD4(+) T cells which coproduce IL-10 and IFN-gamma. These cells are more prevalent in children with uncomplicated malaria than in those with severe disease, suggesting that they may be the regulators of acute malarial inflammation.
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    The Effect of Insecticide Synergists on the Response of Scabies Mites to Pyrethroid Acaricides
    Pasay, C ; Arlian, L ; Morgan, M ; Gunning, R ; Rossiter, L ; Holt, D ; Walton, S ; Beckham, S ; McCarthy, J ; Lehane, MJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2009-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: Permethrin is the active component of topical creams widely used to treat human scabies. Recent evidence has demonstrated that scabies mites are becoming increasingly tolerant to topical permethrin and oral ivermectin. An effective approach to manage pesticide resistance is the addition of synergists to counteract metabolic resistance. Synergists are also useful for laboratory investigation of resistance mechanisms through their ability to inhibit specific metabolic pathways. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To determine the role of metabolic degradation as a mechanism for acaricide resistance in scabies mites, PBO (piperonyl butoxide), DEF (S,S,S-tributyl phosphorotrithioate) and DEM (diethyl maleate) were first tested for synergistic activity with permethrin in a bioassay of mite killing. Then, to investigate the relative role of specific metabolic pathways inhibited by these synergists, enzyme assays were developed to measure esterase, glutathione S-transferase (GST) and cytochrome P450 monooxygenase (cytochrome P450) activity in mite extracts. A statistically significant difference in median survival time of permethrin-resistant Sarcoptes scabiei variety canis was noted when any of the three synergists were used in combination with permethrin compared to median survival time of mites exposed to permethrin alone (p<0.0001). Incubation of mite homogenates with DEF showed inhibition of esterase activity (37%); inhibition of GST activity (73%) with DEM and inhibition of cytochrome P450 monooxygenase activity (81%) with PBO. A 7-fold increase in esterase activity, a 4-fold increase in GST activity and a 2-fold increase in cytochrome P450 monooxygenase activity were observed in resistant mites compared to sensitive mites. CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate the potential utility of synergists in reversing resistance to pyrethroid-based acaricides and suggest a significant role of metabolic mechanisms in mediating pyrethroid resistance in scabies mites.
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    Changes in serum adiponectin concentrations in critical illness: a preliminary investigation
    Venkatesh, B ; Hickman, I ; Nisbet, J ; Cohen, J ; Prins, J (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-01-01)
    INTRODUCTION: Adiponectin plays an important role in the regulation of tissue inflammation and insulin sensitivity. Perturbations in adiponectin concentration have been associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Data on adiponectin pathophysiology in critical illness are limited. METHODS: Twenty three critically ill patients (9 severe sepsis, 7 burns, 7 trauma). Adiponectin assays on Days 3 (D3) and 7 (D7). Simultaneous, cortisol, cortisone and CRP measurements. Data from 16 historical controls were used for comparison. RESULTS: The mean plasma adiponectin concentration for the ICU cohort on D3 and D7 were not significantly different (4.1 +/- 1.8 and 5.0 +/- 3.3 mcg/ml respectively, P = 0.38). However, these were significantly lower than the mean plasma adiponectin in the control population (8.78 +/- 3.81 mcg/ml) at D3 (P < 0.0001) and D7 (P = 0.002). Plasma adiponectin showed a strong correlation with plasma cortisol in the ICU group on both D3 (R2 = 0.32, P < 0.01) and D7 (R2 = 0.64, 0.001). There was an inverse correlation between plasma adiponectin and CRP on D7, R = -0.35. CONCLUSIONS: In this preliminary study, critical illness was associated with lower adiponectin concentrations as compared with controls. A significant relationship between plasma cortisol and adiponectin in critically ill patients was evident, both during the early and late phases. These data raise the possibility that adiponectin may play a part in the inflammatory response in patients with severe illness.
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    Adiponectin is associated with cardiovascular disease in male renal transplant recipients: baseline results from the LANDMARK 2 study
    Kaisar, MO ; Armstrong, K ; Hawley, C ; Campbell, S ; Mudge, D ; Johnson, DW ; Prins, JB ; Isbel, NM (BMC, 2009-10-12)
    BACKGROUND: Adiponectin is a major adipocyte-derived protein with insulin-sensitizing, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic properties. Adiponectin levels correlate inversely with renal function and higher levels are predictive of lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with normal renal function and chronic kidney disease. No data exists on the association between adiponectin and CVD in renal transplant recipients (RTR). METHODS: Standard biochemistry, clinical data and adiponectin were collected from 137 RTR recruited to the LANDMARK 2 study at baseline. The LANDMARK 2 study is an ongoing randomized controlled study that compares the outcome of aggressive risk factor modification for cardiovascular disease versus standard post-transplant care in renal transplant recipients with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes mellitus. RESULTS: Mean patient age was 53.4 +/- 12 years and the median post-transplantation period was 5 (0.5-31.9) years. Mean serum adiponectin level was 12.3 +/- 7.1 microg/mL. On univariate analysis, adiponectin was positively associated with female gender (P = 0.01) and serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) concentration (P < 0.001), and inversely with body mass index (P = 0.009), metabolic syndrome (P = 0.047), abnormal glucose tolerance (P = 0.01), C-reactive protein (P = 0.001) and serum triglyceride (P < 0.001). On stepwise multivariate analysis, adiponectin in males was negatively correlated with combined baseline CVD (P = 0.03), waist-hip ratio (P = 0.003) and glomerular filtration rate (P = 0.046), and positively with HDL (P < 0.001). In contrast, in females adiponectin was inversely associated with C-reactive protein (P = 0.001) and serum triglyceride. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, adiponectin is positively correlated with inflammation, dyslipidemia and abnormal glucose tolerance in RTR. Furthermore, hypoadiponectinemia correlated with increased baseline CVD in male RTR.
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    RTKN2 Induces NF-KappaB Dependent Resistance to Intrinsic Apoptosis in HEK Cells and Regulates BCL-2 Genes in Human CD4(+) Lymphocytes.
    Collier, FM ; Loving, A ; Baker, AJ ; McLeod, J ; Walder, K ; Kirkland, MA (SAGE Publications, 2009)
    The gene for Rhotekin 2 (RTKN2) was originally identified in a promyelocytic cell line resistant to oxysterol-induced apoptosis. It is differentially expressed in freshly isolated CD4(+) T-cells compared with other hematopoietic cells and is down-regulated following activation of the T-cell receptor. However, very little is known about the function of RTKN2 other than its homology to Rho-GTPase effector, rhotekin, and the possibility that they may have similar roles. Here we show that stable expression of RTKN2 in HEK cells enhanced survival in response to intrinsic apoptotic agents; 25-hydroxy cholesterol and camptothecin, but not the extrinsic agent, TNFα. Inhibitors of NF-KappaB, but not MAPK, reversed the resistance and mitochondrial pro-apoptotic genes, Bax and Bim, were down regulated. In these cells, there was no evidence of RTKN2 binding to the GTPases, RhoA or Rac2. Consistent with the role of RTKN2 in HEK over-expressing cells, suppression of RTKN2 in primary human CD4(+) T-cells reduced viability and increased sensitivity to 25-OHC. The expression of the pro-apoptotic genes, Bax and Bim were increased while BCL-2 was decreased. In both cell models RTKN2 played a role in the process of intrinsic apoptosis and this was dependent on either NF-KappaB signaling or expression of downstream BCL-2 genes. As RTKN2 is a highly expressed in CD4(+) T-cells it may play a role as a key signaling switch for regulation of genes involved in T-cell survival.
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    Hyperglycemia Induces a Dynamic Cooperativity of Histone Methylase and Demethylase Enzymes Associated With Gene-Activating Epigenetic Marks That Coexist on the Lysine Tail
    Brasacchio, D ; Okabe, J ; Tikellis, C ; Balcerczyk, A ; George, P ; Baker, EK ; Calkin, AC ; Brownlee, M ; Cooper, ME ; El-Osta, A (AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2009-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Results from the Diabetes Control Complications Trial (DCCT) and the subsequent Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC) Study and more recently from the U.K. Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) have revealed that the deleterious end-organ effects that occurred in both conventional and more aggressively treated subjects continued to operate >5 years after the patients had returned to usual glycemic control and is interpreted as a legacy of past glycemia known as "hyperglycemic memory." We have hypothesized that transient hyperglycemia mediates persistent gene-activating events attributed to changes in epigenetic information. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Models of transient hyperglycemia were used to link NFkappaB-p65 gene expression with H3K4 and H3K9 modifications mediated by the histone methyltransferases (Set7 and SuV39h1) and the lysine-specific demethylase (LSD1) by the immunopurification of soluble NFkappaB-p65 chromatin. RESULTS: The sustained upregulation of the NFkappaB-p65 gene as a result of ambient or prior hyperglycemia was associated with increased H3K4m1 but not H3K4m2 or H3K4m3. Furthermore, glucose was shown to have other epigenetic effects, including the suppression of H3K9m2 and H3K9m3 methylation on the p65 promoter. Finally, there was increased recruitment of the recently identified histone demethylase LSD1 to the p65 promoter as a result of prior hyperglycemia. CONCLUSIONS: These studies indicate that the active transcriptional state of the NFkappaB-p65 gene is linked with persisting epigenetic marks such as enhanced H3K4 and reduced H3K9 methylation, which appear to occur as a result of effects of the methyl-writing and methyl-erasing histone enzymes.
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    Gene expression profiling identifies activated growth factor signaling in poor prognosis (Luminal-B) estrogen receptor positive breast cancer
    Loi, S ; Sotiriou, C ; Haibe-Kains, B ; Lallemand, F ; Conus, NM ; Piccart, MJ ; Speed, TP ; McArthur, GA (BMC, 2009-06-24)
    BACKGROUND: Within estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (ER+ BC), the expression levels of proliferation-related genes can define two clinically distinct molecular subtypes. When treated with adjuvant tamoxifen, those ER+ BCs that are lowly proliferative have a good prognosis (luminal-A subtype), however the clinical outcome of those that are highly proliferative is poor (luminal-B subtype). METHODS: To investigate the biological basis for these observations, gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) was performed using microarray data from 246 ER+ BC samples from women treated with adjuvant tamoxifen monotherapy. To create an in vitro model of growth factor (GF) signaling activation, MCF-7 cells were treated with heregulin (HRG), an HER3 ligand. RESULTS: We found that a gene set linked to GF signaling was significantly enriched in the luminal-B tumors, despite only 10% of samples over-expressing HER2 by immunohistochemistry. To determine the biological significance of this observation, MCF-7 cells were treated with HRG. These cells displayed phosphorylation of HER2/3 and downstream ERK and S6. Treatment with HRG overcame tamoxifen-induced cell cycle arrest with higher S-phase fraction and increased anchorage independent colony formation. Gene expression profiles of MCF-7 cells treated with HRG confirmed enrichment of the GF signaling gene set and a similar proliferative signature observed in human ER+ BCs resistant to tamoxifen. CONCLUSION: These data demonstrate that activation of GF signaling pathways, independent of HER2 over-expression, could be contributing to the poor prognosis of the luminal-B ER+ BC subtype.
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    Identification and validation of housekeeping genes in brains of the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria under different developmental conditions
    Van Hiel, MB ; Van Wielendaele, P ; Temmerman, L ; Van Soest, S ; Vuerinckx, K ; Huybrechts, R ; Broeck, JV ; Simonet, G (BMC, 2009-06-09)
    BACKGROUND: To obtain reliable quantitative RT-PCR data, normalization relative to stable housekeeping genes is required. However, in practice, expression levels of 'typical' housekeeping genes have been found to vary between tissues and under different experimental conditions. To date, validation studies of reference genes in insects are extremely rare and have never been performed in locusts. In this study, putative housekeeping genes were identified in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria and two different software programs (geNorm and Normfinder) were applied to assess the stability of these genes. RESULTS: We have identified seven orthologs of commonly used housekeeping genes in the desert locust. The selected genes were the orthologs of actin, EF1a, GAPDH, RP49, TubA1, Ubi, and CG13220. By employing real time RT-PCR we have analysed the expression of these housekeeping genes in brain tissue of fifth instar nymphs and adults. In the brain of fifth instar nymphs geNorm indicated Sg-EF1a, Sg-GAPDH and Sg-RP49 as most stable genes, while Normfinder ranked Sg-RP49, Sg-EF1a and Sg-ACT as most suitable candidates for normalization. The best normalization candidates for gene expression studies in the brains of adult locusts were Sg-EF1a, Sg-GAPDH and Sg-Ubi according to geNorm, while Normfinder determined Sg-GAPDH, Sg-Ubi and Sg-ACT as the most stable housekeeping genes. CONCLUSION: To perform transcript profiling studies on brains of the desert locust, the use of Sg-RP49, Sg-EF1a and Sg-ACT as reference genes is proposed for studies of fifth instar nymphs. In experiments with adult brains, however, the most preferred reference genes were Sg-GAPDH, Sg-Ubi and Sg-EF1a. These data will facilitate transcript profiling studies in desert locusts and provide a good starting point for the initial selection of genes for validation studies in other insects.
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    The role of 25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency in promoting insulin resistance and inflammation in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: a randomised controlled trial
    Petchey, WG ; Hickman, IJ ; Duncan, E ; Prins, JB ; Hawley, CM ; Johnson, DW ; Barraclough, K ; Isbel, NM (BMC, 2009-12-10)
    BACKGROUND: Approximately 50% of patients with stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease are 25-hydroxyvitamin D insufficient, and this prevalence increases with falling glomerular filtration rate. Vitamin D is now recognised as having pleiotropic roles beyond bone and mineral homeostasis, with the vitamin D receptor and metabolising machinery identified in multiple tissues. Worryingly, recent observational data has highlighted an association between hypovitaminosis D and increased cardiovascular mortality, possibly mediated via vitamin D effects on insulin resistance and inflammation. The main hypothesis of this study is that oral Vitamin D supplementation will ameliorate insulin resistance in patients with Chronic Kidney Disease stage 3 when compared to placebo. Secondary hypotheses will test whether this is associated with decreased inflammation and bone/adipocyte-endocrine dysregulation. METHODS/DESIGN: This study is a single-centre, double-blinded, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Inclusion criteria include; estimated glomerular filtration rate 30-59 ml/min/1.73 m(2); aged >or=18 on entry to study; and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <75 nmol/L. Patients will be randomised 1:1 to receive either oral cholecalciferol 2000IU/day or placebo for 6 months. The primary outcome will be an improvement in insulin sensitivity, measured by hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp. Secondary outcome measures will include serum parathyroid hormone, cytokines (Interleukin-1beta, Interleukin-6, Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha), adiponectin (total and High Molecular Weight), osteocalcin (carboxylated and under-carboxylated), peripheral blood mononuclear cell Nuclear Factor Kappa-B p65 binding activity, brachial artery reactivity, aortic pulse wave velocity and waveform analysis, and indirect calorimetry. All outcome measures will be performed at baseline and end of study. DISCUSSION: To date, no randomised controlled trial has been performed in pre-dialysis CKD patients to study the correlation between vitamin D status with supplementation, insulin resistance and markers of adverse cardiovascular risk. We remain hopeful that cholecalciferol may be a safe intervention, with health benefits beyond those related to bone-mineral homeostasis. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12609000246280.
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    Baseline and follow-up assessment of regional left ventricular volume using 3-dimensional echocardiography: comparison with cardiac magnetic resonance
    Jenkins, C ; Marwick, TH (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2009-11-19)
    The assessment of regional volumes is an option for analysis of the response of LV segments to interventions such as revascularization or cell therapy. We sought to compare regional volumes from 3D-echocardiography (3DE) with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) over follow-up. CMR regional volumes were assessed at baseline and after one year follow-up in 30 unselected patients (28 men, 65 +/- 11 years) presenting for evaluation of cardiac function with previous infarction. 3DE images were also gathered over 4 cardiac cycles and measurements were performed off-line. CMR images were obtained using a 1.5 Tesla scanner and measured offline by method of landmarks and by centre of mass. Regional volumes were measured at end-diastole (rEDV) and end-systole (rESV) and the change in volume was compared for each over follow-up. There was good correlation between 3DE and both CMR methods at baseline and follow-up. Changes in rEDV with 3DE vs CMR(L) were comparable (0.11 +/- 3 ml vs 0.12 +/- 3 ml, p = 0.94), as was change in CMR(M) (0.26 +/- 2 ml, p = 0.69). However the change in regional volume by 3DE and CMR(L) correlated poorly (r = 0.03, p = 0.68), as did change in 3DE vs CMR(M) (r = 0.04, p = 0.65). Similarly, changes in rESV with 3DE and CMR(L) were similar (0.27 +/- 2 ml vs 0.36 +/- 2 ml, p = 0.70), as was change in CMR(M) (0.05 +/- 1 ml, p = 0.31). Again, correlations between rESV by 3DE vs CMR(L) were poor (r = 0.03, p = 0.72), as well as 3DE vs CMR(M) (r = 0.07, p = 0.40). Although global 3DE volumes compare well with CMR volumes, new developments in image quality and automated software will be needed before changes in regional volumes can be reliably followed with 3DE.