Medical Education - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 1188
Migraine Increases Centre-Surround Suppression for Drifting Visual Stimuli
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-04-11)
BACKGROUND: The pathophysiology of migraine is incompletely understood, but evidence points to hyper-responsivity of cortical neurons being a key feature. The basis of hyper-responsiveness is not clear, with an excitability imbalance potentially arising from either reduced inhibition or increased excitation. In this study, we measure centre-surround contrast suppression in people with migraine as a perceptual analogue of the interplay between inhibition and excitation in cortical areas responsible for vision. We predicted that reduced inhibitory function in migraine would reduce perceptual surround suppression. Recent models of neuronal surround suppression incorporate excitatory feedback that drives surround inhibition. Consequently, an increase in excitation predicts an increase in perceptual surround suppression. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Twenty-six people with migraine and twenty approximately age- and gender-matched non-headache controls participated. The perceived contrast of a central sinusoidal grating patch (4 c/deg stationary grating, or 2 c/deg drifting at 2 deg/sec, 40% contrast) was measured in the presence and absence of a 95% contrast annular grating (same orientation, spatial frequency, and drift rate). For the static grating, similar surround suppression strength was present in control and migraine groups with the presence of the surround resulting in the central patch appearing to be 72% and 65% of its true contrast for control and migraine groups respectively (t(44) = 0.81, p = 0.42). For the drifting stimulus, the migraine group showed significantly increased surround suppression (t(44) = 2.86, p<0.01), with perceived contrast being on average 53% of actual contrast for the migraine group and 68% for non-headache controls. CONCLUSIONS: In between migraines, when asymptomatic, visual surround suppression for drifting stimuli is greater in individuals with migraine than in controls. The data provides evidence for a behaviourally measurable imbalance in inhibitory and excitatory visual processes in migraine and is incompatible with a simple model of reduced cortical inhibitory function within the visual system.
Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells Derived from Grand Multigravidae Display a Distinct Cytokine Profile in Response to P. falciparum Infected Erythrocytes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-01-22)
Immunopathology of placental malaria is most significant in women in their first pregnancy especially in endemic areas, due to a lack of protective immunity to Plasmodium falciparum, which is acquired in successive pregnancies. In some studies (but not all), grand multigravidae (defined as 5 or more pregnancies, G5-7) are more susceptible to poor birth outcomes associated with malaria compared to earlier gravidities. By comparing peripheral cellular responses in primigravidae (G1), women in their second to fourth pregnancy (G2-4) and grand multigravidae we sought to identify key components of the dysregulated immune response. PBMC were exposed to CS2-infected erythrocytes (IE) opsonised with autologous plasma or unopsonised IE, and cytokine and chemokine secretion was measured. Higher levels of opsonising antibody were present in plasma derived from multigravid compared to primigravid women. Significant differences in the levels of cytokines and chemokines secreted in response to IE were observed. Less IL-10, IL-1β, IL-6 and TNF but more CXCL8, CCL8, IFNγ and CXCL10 were detected in G5-7 compared to G2-4 women. Our study provides fresh insight into the modulation of peripheral blood cell function and effects on the balance between host protection and immunopathology during placental malaria infection.
Accuracy of an HRP-2/panLDH rapid diagnostic test to detect peripheral and placental Plasmodium falciparum infection in Papua New Guinean women with anaemia or suspected malaria
BACKGROUND: The diagnosis of malaria during pregnancy is complicated by placental sequestration, asymptomatic infection, and low-density peripheral parasitaemia. Where intermittent preventive treatment (IPT) with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine is threatened by drug resistance, or is inappropriate due to low transmission, intermittent screening and treatment (ISTp) with rapid diagnostic tests for malaria (RDT) could be a valuable alternative. Therefore, the accuracy of RDTs to detect peripheral and placental infection was assessed in a declining transmission setting in Papua New Guinea (PNG). METHODS: The performance of a combination RDT detecting histidine-rich protein-2 (HRP-2) and Plasmodium lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH), and light microscopy (LM), to diagnose peripheral Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax infections during pregnancy, were assessed using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) as the reference standard. Participants in a malaria prevention trial in PNG with a haemoglobin ≤90 g/L, or symptoms suggestive of malaria, were tested. Ability of RDT and LM to detect active placental infection on histology was evaluated in some participants. RESULTS: Among 876 women, 1162 RDTs were undertaken (anaemia: 854 [73.5 %], suspected malaria: 308 [26.5 %]). qPCR detected peripheral infection during 190 RDT episodes (165 P. falciparum, 19 P. vivax, 6 mixed infections). Overall, RDT detected peripheral P. falciparum infection with 45.6 % sensitivity (95 % CI 38.0-53.4), a specificity of 96.4 % (95.0-97.4), a positive predictive value of 68.4 % (59.1-76.8), and a negative predictive value of 91.1 % (89.2-92.8). RDT performance to detect P. falciparum was inferior to LM, more so amongst anaemic women (18.6 vs 45.3 % sensitivity, Liddell's exact test, P < 0.001) compared to symptomatic women (72.9 vs 82.4 % sensitivity, P = 0.077). RDT and LM missed 88.0 % (22/25) and 76.0 % (19/25) of P. vivax infections, respectively. In a subset of women tested at delivery and who had placental histology (n = 158) active placental infection was present in 19.6 %: all three peripheral blood infection detection methods (RDT, LM, qPCR) missed >50 % of these infections. CONCLUSIONS: In PNG, HRP-2/pLDH RDTs may be useful to diagnose peripheral P. falciparum infections in symptomatic pregnant women. However, they are not sufficiently sensitive for use in intermittent screening amongst asymptomatic (anaemic) women. These findings have implications for the management of malaria in pregnancy. The adverse impact of infections undetected by RDT or LM on pregnancy outcomes needs further evaluation.
Genome-wide association study identifies new multiple sclerosis susceptibility loci on chromosomes 12 and 20
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2009-07-01)
To identify multiple sclerosis (MS) susceptibility loci, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in 1,618 cases and used shared data for 3,413 controls. We performed replication in an independent set of 2,256 cases and 2,310 controls, for a total of 3,874 cases and 5,723 controls. We identified risk-associated SNPs on chromosome 12q13-14 (rs703842, P = 5.4 x 10(-11); rs10876994, P = 2.7 x 10(-10); rs12368653, P = 1.0 x 10(-7)) and upstream of CD40 on chromosome 20q13 (rs6074022, P = 1.3 x 10(-7); rs1569723, P = 2.9 x 10(-7)). Both loci are also associated with other autoimmune diseases. We also replicated several known MS associations (HLA-DR15, P = 7.0 x 10(-184); CD58, P = 9.6 x 10(-8); EVI5-RPL5, P = 2.5 x 10(-6); IL2RA, P = 7.4 x 10(-6); CLEC16A, P = 1.1 x 10(-4); IL7R, P = 1.3 x 10(-3); TYK2, P = 3.5 x 10(-3)) and observed a statistical interaction between SNPs in EVI5-RPL5 and HLA-DR15 (P = 0.001).
Comparing genotyping algorithms for Illumina's Infinium whole-genome SNP BeadChips
BACKGROUND: Illumina's Infinium SNP BeadChips are extensively used in both small and large-scale genetic studies. A fundamental step in any analysis is the processing of raw allele A and allele B intensities from each SNP into genotype calls (AA, AB, BB). Various algorithms which make use of different statistical models are available for this task. We compare four methods (GenCall, Illuminus, GenoSNP and CRLMM) on data where the true genotypes are known in advance and data from a recently published genome-wide association study. RESULTS: In general, differences in accuracy are relatively small between the methods evaluated, although CRLMM and GenoSNP were found to consistently outperform GenCall. The performance of Illuminus is heavily dependent on sample size, with lower no call rates and improved accuracy as the number of samples available increases. For X chromosome SNPs, methods with sex-dependent models (Illuminus, CRLMM) perform better than methods which ignore gender information (GenCall, GenoSNP). We observe that CRLMM and GenoSNP are more accurate at calling SNPs with low minor allele frequency than GenCall or Illuminus. The sample quality metrics from each of the four methods were found to have a high level of agreement at flagging samples with unusual signal characteristics. CONCLUSIONS: CRLMM, GenoSNP and GenCall can be applied with confidence in studies of any size, as their performance was shown to be invariant to the number of samples available. Illuminus on the other hand requires a larger number of samples to achieve comparable levels of accuracy and its use in smaller studies (50 or fewer individuals) is not recommended.
Estimation and partitioning of polygenic variation captured by common SNPs for Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis and endometriosis
(OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2013-02-15)
Common diseases such as endometriosis (ED), Alzheimer's disease (AD) and multiple sclerosis (MS) account for a significant proportion of the health care burden in many countries. Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) for these diseases have identified a number of individual genetic variants contributing to the risk of those diseases. However, the effect size for most variants is small and collectively the known variants explain only a small proportion of the estimated heritability. We used a linear mixed model to fit all single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) simultaneously, and estimated genetic variances on the liability scale using SNPs from GWASs in unrelated individuals for these three diseases. For each of the three diseases, case and control samples were not all genotyped in the same laboratory. We demonstrate that a careful analysis can obtain robust estimates, but also that insufficient quality control (QC) of SNPs can lead to spurious results and that too stringent QC is likely to remove real genetic signals. Our estimates show that common SNPs on commercially available genotyping chips capture significant variation contributing to liability for all three diseases. The estimated proportion of total variation tagged by all SNPs was 0.26 (SE 0.04) for ED, 0.24 (SE 0.03) for AD and 0.30 (SE 0.03) for MS. Further, we partitioned the genetic variance explained into five categories by a minor allele frequency (MAF), by chromosomes and gene annotation. We provide strong evidence that a substantial proportion of variation in liability is explained by common SNPs, and thereby give insights into the genetic architecture of the diseases.
Variants of ST8SIA1 Are Associated with Risk of Developing Multiple Sclerosis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2008-07-09)
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system of unknown etiology with both genetic and environmental factors playing a role in susceptibility. To date, the HLA DR15/DQ6 haplotype within the major histocompatibility complex on chromosome 6p, is the strongest genetic risk factor associated with MS susceptibility. Additional alleles of IL7 and IL2 have been identified as risk factors for MS with small effect. Here we present two independent studies supporting an allelic association of MS with polymorphisms in the ST8SIA1 gene, located on chromosome 12p12 and encoding ST8 alpha-N-acetyl-neuraminide alpha-2,8-sialyltransferase 1. The initial association was made in a single three-generation family where a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs4762896, was segregating together with HLA DR15/DQ6 in MS patients. A study of 274 family trios (affected child and both unaffected parents) from Australia validated the association of ST8SIA1 in individuals with MS, showing transmission disequilibrium of the paternal alleles for three additional SNPs, namely rs704219, rs2041906, and rs1558793, with p = 0.001, p = 0.01 and p = 0.01 respectively. These findings implicate ST8SIA1 as a possible novel susceptibility gene for MS.
Overview of the study protocols and statistical analysis plan for the Saline versus Plasma-Lyte 148 for Intravenous Fluid Therapy (SPLIT) research program
(AUSTRALASIAN MED PUBL CO LTD, 2015-03-01)
BACKGROUND: 0.9% saline is the most commonly used intravenous (IV) fluid in the world but recent data raise the possibility that, compared with buffered crystalloid fluids such as Plasma-Lyte 148, the administration of 0.9% saline might increase the risk of developing acute kidney injury. OBJECTIVE: To provide an overview of the study protocols and statistical analysis plan for the six studies making up the (0.9% Saline v Plasma-Lyte 148 for Intravenous Fluid Therapy (SPLIT) research program. METHODS: The SPLIT study consists of six integrated clinical trials, including a double-blind, cluster, randomised, double-crossover study in intensive care unit patients, incorporating two nested studies within it; an open-label, before-and-after study in emergency department (ED) patients; a single-centre, double-blind, crossover trial in major surgical patients; and a randomised, double-blind study in ICU patients. All studies focus on biochemical and renal outcomes but will also provide preliminary data on patient-centred outcomes including inhospital mortality and requirements for dialysis. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The SPLIT study program will provide preliminary data on the comparative effectiveness of using 0.9% saline v Plasma-Lyte 148 for IV fluid therapy in ED, surgical and ICU patients.
Erythropoietin in traumatic brain injury: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial
BACKGROUND: Traumatic brain injury is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Laboratory and clinical studies demonstrate a possible beneficial effect of erythropoietin in improving outcomes in the traumatic brain injury cohort. However, there are concerns regarding the association of erythropoietin and thrombosis in the critically ill. A large-scale, multi-centre, blinded, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, randomised trial is currently underway to address this hypothesis. METHODS/DESIGN: The erythropoietin in traumatic brain injury trial is a stratified prospective, multi-centre, randomised, blinded, parallel-group, placebo-controlled phase III trial. It aims to determine whether the administration of erythropoietin compared to placebo improves neurological outcome in patients with moderate or severe traumatic brain injury at six months after injury. The trial is designed to recruit 606 patients between 15 and 65 years of age with severe (Glasgow Coma Score: 3 to 8) or moderate (Glasgow Coma Score: 9 to 12) traumatic brain injury in Australia, New Zealand, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, France, Finland, Germany and Ireland. Trial patients will receive either subcutaneous erythropoietin or placebo within 24 hours of injury, and weekly thereafter for up to three doses during the intensive care unit admission. The primary outcome will be the combined proportion of unfavourable neurological outcomes at six months: severe disability or death. Secondary outcomes will include the rate of proximal deep venous thrombosis detected by compression Doppler ultrasound, six-month mortality, the proportion of patients with composite vascular events (deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, cardiac arrest and cerebrovascular events) at six months and quality of life with health economic evaluations. DISCUSSION: When completed, the trial aims to provide evidence on the efficacy and safety of erythropoietin in traumatic brain injury patients, and to provide clear guidance for clinicians in their management of this devastating condition. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials registry: ACTRN12609000827235 (registered on 22 September 2009). Clinicaltrials.gov: NCT00987454 (registered on 29 September 2009). European Drug Regulatory Authorities Clinical Trials: 2011-005235-22 (registered on 18 January 2012).
Loss of synaptic Zn2+ transporter function increases risk of febrile seizures
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-12-09)
Febrile seizures (FS) are the most common seizure syndrome and are potentially a prelude to more severe epilepsy. Although zinc (Zn(2+)) metabolism has previously been implicated in FS, whether or not variation in proteins essential for Zn(2+) homeostasis contributes to susceptibility is unknown. Synaptic Zn(2+) is co-released with glutamate and modulates neuronal excitability. SLC30A3 encodes the zinc transporter 3 (ZNT3), which is primarily responsible for moving Zn(2+) into synaptic vesicles. Here we sequenced SLC30A3 and discovered a rare variant (c.892C > T; p.R298C) enriched in FS populations but absent in population-matched controls. Functional analysis revealed a significant loss-of-function of the mutated protein resulting from a trafficking deficit. Furthermore, mice null for ZnT3 were more sensitive than wild-type to hyperthermia-induced seizures that model FS. Together our data suggest that reduced synaptic Zn(2+) increases the risk of FS and more broadly support the idea that impaired synaptic Zn(2+) homeostasis can contribute to neuronal hyperexcitability.
Effects of Hemodiafiltration and High Flux Hemodialysis on Nerve Excitability in End-Stage Kidney Disease
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-03-11)
OBJECTIVES: Peripheral neuropathy is the most common neurological complication in end-stage kidney disease. While high flux hemodialysis (HFHD) and hemodiafiltration (HDF) have become the preferred options for extracorporeal dialysis therapy, the effects of these treatments on nerve excitability have not yet been examined. METHODS: An observational proof-of-concept study of nerve excitability and neuropathy was undertaken in an incident dialysis population (n = 17) receiving either HFHD or HDF. Nerve excitability techniques were utilised to assess nerve ion channel function and membrane potential, in conjunction with clinical assessment and standard nerve conduction studies. A mathematical model of axonal excitability was used to investigate the underlying basis of the observed changes. Nerve excitability was recorded from the median nerve, before, during and after a single dialysis session and correlated with corresponding biochemical markers. Differences in nerve excitability were compared to normal controls with longitudinal follow-up over an 18 month period. RESULTS: Nerve excitability was performed in patient cohorts treated with either HFHD (n = 9) or online HDF (n = 8), with similar neuropathy status. Nerve excitability measures in HDF-treated patients were significantly closer to normal values compared to HFHD patients obtained over the course of a dialysis session (p<0.05). Longitudinal studies revealed stability of nerve excitability findings, and thus maintenance of improved nerve function in the HDF group. CONCLUSIONS: This study has provided evidence that nerve excitability in HDF-treated patients is significantly closer to normal values prior to dialysis, across a single dialysis session and at longitudinal follow-up. These findings offer promise for the management of neuropathy in ESKD and should be confirmed in randomised trials.
Mechanisms Underlying Early Rapid Increases in Creatinine in Paraquat Poisoning
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2015-03-27)
BACKGROUND: Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common after severe paraquat poisoning and usually heralds a fatal outcome. The rapid large increases in serum creatinine (Cr) exceed that which can be explained by creatinine kinetics based on loss of glomerular filtration rate (GFR). METHODS AND FINDINGS: This prospective multi-centre study compared the kinetics of two surrogate markers of GFR, serum creatinine and serum cystatin C (CysC), following paraquat poisoning to understand and assess renal functional loss after paraquat poisoning. Sixty-six acute paraquat poisoning patients admitted to medical units of five hospitals were included. Relative changes in creatinine and CysC were monitored in serial blood and urine samples, and influences of non-renal factors were also studied. RESULTS: Forty-eight of 66 patients developed AKI (AKIN criteria), with 37 (56%) developing moderate to severe AKI (AKIN stage 2 or 3). The 37 patients showed rapid increases in creatinine of >100% within 24 hours, >200% within 48 hours and >300% by 72 hours and 17 of the 37 died. CysC concentration increased by 50% at 24 hours in the same 37 patients and then remained constant. The creatinine/CysC ratio increased 8 fold over 72 hours. There was a modest fall in urinary creatinine and serum/urine creatinine ratios and a moderate increase in urinary paraquat during first three days. CONCLUSION: Loss of renal function contributes modestly to the large increases in creatinine following paraquat poisoning. The rapid rise in serum creatinine most probably represents increased production of creatine and creatinine to meet the energy demand following severe oxidative stress. Minor contributions include increased cyclisation of creatine to creatinine because of acidosis and competitive or non-competitive inhibition of creatinine secretion. Creatinine is not a good marker of renal functional loss after paraquat poisoning and renal injury should be evaluated using more specific biomarkers of renal injury.