Obstetrics and Gynaecology - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 356
Prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis and human papillomavirus) in female attendees of a sexually transmitted diseases clinic in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
(Hindawi Limited, 2001)
BACKGROUND: Epidemiological data suggest that the prevalence of syphilis, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis has increased in both urban and rural areas of Mongolia. These data are primarily substantiated by notifications of cases of clinically apparent disease in both rural and urban areas, plus laboratory diagnoses from the AIDS/STD Reference Center, Ulaanbaatar. In the past 5 years, however, there has been a marked decline in the total number of patients being screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An assessment of true prevalence of STIs in a female population attending an urban sexually transmitted diseases (STD) clinic was therefore commenced. METHODS: Consecutive women attending an STD clinic in Ulaanbaatar had genital samples collected by the insertion and immediate removal of a tampon, which was then tested for the presence of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, human papillomavirus (HPV) and Trichomonas vaginalis, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. RESULTS: A total of 110 women were studied (mean age 26.7 years). Overall, 58 (53%) patients had one or more pathogens identified; 43 (39%) had a single pathogen, while 15 (14%) had mixed pathogens. C. trachomatis was found in 15 (14%), N. gonorrhoeae in 12 (11%), T. vaginalis in nine (8%) and HPV in 39 (36%). Among the 39 HPV-positive patients, oncogenicgenotypes (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52) were found in 17(44%) patients. CONCLUSIONS: Sexually transmitted infections as defined by PCR were common, and found in 53% of female attendees of an urban STD clinic in Mongolia. As infections with conventional STIs increase the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission, it is imperative that strategies be introduced to reduce the prevalence of STIs. Furthermore, detection of oncogenic HPV was common, indicating that it is vital that a strategy to reduce cervical cancer such as a pre-cancer cervical cytology screening program also be introduced.
Health consequences for mother and baby of substantial pre-conception weight loss in obese women: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial
BACKGROUND: Current guidelines for the management of obesity in women planning pregnancy suggest lifestyle modification before conception. However, there is little evidence that lifestyle modification alters pregnancy outcomes. Bariatric surgery results in significant weight loss. This appears to reduce the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes for the mother but may increase the risk of adverse outcomes for the infant. In order to reduce the risks of obesity-related adverse pregnancy outcomes for both mother and offspring, alternative approaches to the management of obesity in women planning pregnancy are needed. METHODS/DESIGN: This study, a two-arm, parallel group, randomized control trial, will be conducted at the Metabolic Disorders Centre, University of Melbourne. This trial will recruit 164 women aged 18-38 years with a body mass index of 30-55 kg/m2 who plan to conceive in the next 6-12 months. Women will be randomized to one of two 12-week interventions (Group A and Group B). Group A will aim for modest weight loss (MWL; ≤ 3% body weight) using a hypocaloric diet. Group B will aim for substantial weight loss (SWL; 10-15% body weight) using a modified very low energy diet (VLED) program. All participants will be asked to comply with National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines for exercise and will be provided with standard pre-pregnancy advice according to Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology guidelines. All participants will then be observed for the subsequent 12 months. If pregnancy occurs within the 12-month follow-up period, data on weight and metabolic status of the mother, and pregnancy outcomes of mother and offspring will be recorded. The primary outcome is maternal fasting plasma glucose at 26-28 weeks' gestation, given that this is known to correlate with pregnancy outcomes. Time to conception, live birth rate, gestational weight gain, and a composite of adverse pregnancy outcomes for mother and baby will comprise the secondary outcomes. DISCUSSION: There is increasing emphasis on obese women losing weight before conception. To date, no randomized controlled trial has demonstrated an effective means of weight loss that results in improved pregnancy outcomes for both mother and baby. This study intends to determine if substantial pre-conception weight loss, achieved using a VLED, improves pregnancy outcomes for mother and baby when compared with standard care. This research will potentially change clinical care of an obese woman planning pregnancy. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ANZCTR, 12,614,001,160,628 . Registered on 5 November 2014.
Assessing the sensitivity of placental growth factor and soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 at 36 weeks' gestation to predict small-for-gestational-age infants or late-onset preeclampsia: a prospective nested case-control study
BACKGROUND: Fetal growth restriction is a disorder of placental dysfunction with three to four-fold increased risk of stillbirth. Fetal growth restriction has pathophysiological features in common with preeclampsia. We hypothesised that angiogenesis-related factors in maternal plasma, known to predict preeclampsia, may also detect fetal growth restriction at 36 weeks' gestation. We therefore set out to determine the diagnostic performance of soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1 (sFlt-1), placental growth factor (PlGF), and the sFlt-1:PlGF ratio, measured at 36 weeks' gestation, in identifying women who subsequently give birth to small-for-gestational-age (SGA; birthweight <10th centile) infants. We also aimed to validate the predictive performance of the analytes for late-onset preeclampsia in a large independent, prospective cohort. METHODS: A nested 1:2 case-control study was performed including 102 cases of SGA infants and a matched group of 207 controls; and 39 cases of preeclampsia. We determined the diagnostic performance of each angiogenesis-related factor, and of their ratio, to detect SGA infants or preeclampsia, for a predetermined 10% false positive rate. RESULTS: Median plasma levels of PlGF at 36 weeks' gestation were significantly lower in women who subsequently had SGA newborns (178.5 pg/ml) compared to normal birthweight controls (326.7 pg/ml, p < 0.0001). sFlt-1 was also higher among SGA cases, but this was not significant after women with concurrent preeclampsia were excluded. The sensitivity of PlGF to predict SGA infants was 28.8% for a 10% false positive rate. The sFlt-1:PlGF ratio demonstrated better sensitivity for preeclampsia than either analyte alone, detecting 69.2% of cases for a 10% false positive rate. CONCLUSIONS: Plasma PlGF at 36 weeks' gestation is significantly lower in women who subsequently deliver a SGA infant. While the sensitivity and specificity of PlGF currently limit clinical translation, our findings support a blood-based biomarker approach to detect late-onset fetal growth restriction. Thirty-six week sFlt-1:PlGF ratio predicts 69.2% of preeclampsia cases, and could be a useful screening test to triage antenatal surveillance.
Human Placental Mesenchymal Stem Cells (pMSCs) Play a Role as Immune Suppressive Cells by Shifting Macrophage Differentiation from Inflammatory M1 to Anti-inflammatory M2 Macrophages
(HUMANA PRESS INC, 2013-10-01)
BACKGROUND: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have a therapeutic potential in tissue repair because of capacity for multipotent differentiation and their ability to modulate the immune response. In this study, we examined the ability of human placental MSCs (pMSCs) to modify the differentiation of human monocytes into macrophages and assessed the influence of pMSCs on important macrophage functions. METHODS: We used GM-CSF to stimulate the differentiation of monocytes into the M1 macrophage pathway and then co-cultured these cells with pMSCs in the early stages of macrophage differentiation. We then evaluated the effect on differentiation by microscopic examination and by quantification of molecules important in the differentiation and immune functions of macrophages using flow cytometry and ELISA. The mechanism by which pMSCs could mediate their effects on macrophage differentiation was also studied. RESULTS: The co-culture of pMSCs with monocytes stimulated to follow the inflammatory M1 macrophage differentiation pathway resulted in a shift to anti-inflammatory M2-like macrophage differentiation. This transition was characterized by morphological of changes typical of M2 macrophages, and by changes in cell surface marker expression including CD14, CD36, CD163, CD204, CD206, B7-H4 and CD11b, which are distinctive of M2 macrophages. Co-culture with pMSCs reduced the expression of the costimulatory molecules (CD40, CD80 and CD86) and increased the expression of co-inhibitory molecules (CD273, CD274 and B7-H4) as well as the surface expression of major histocompatibility complex (MHC-II) molecules. Furthermore, the secretion of IL-10 was increased while the secretion of IL-1β, IL-12 (p70) and MIP-1α was decreased; a profile typical of M2 macrophages. Finally, pMSCs induced the phagocytic activity and the phagocytosis of apoptotic cells associated with M2- like macrophages; again a profile typical of M2 macrophages. We found that the immunoregulatory effect of pMSCs on macrophage differentiation was mediated by soluble molecules acting partially via glucocorticoid and progesterone receptors. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that pMSCs can transition macrophages from an inflammatory M1 into an anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype. Our findings suggest a new immunosuppressive property of pMSCs that may be employed in the resolution of inflammation associated with inflammatory diseases and in tissue repair.
Vascular endothelial growth factor-D over-expressing tumor cells induce differential effects on uterine vasculature in a mouse model of endometrial cancer
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2010-07-08)
BACKGROUND: It has been hypothesised that increased VEGF-D expression may be an independent prognostic factor for endometrial cancer progression and lymph node metastasis; however, the mechanism by which VEGF-D may promote disease progression in women with endometrial cancer has not been investigated. Our aim was to describe the distribution of lymphatic vessels in mouse uterus and to examine the effect of VEGF-D over-expression on these vessels in a model of endometrial cancer. We hypothesised that VEGF-D over-expression would stimulate growth of new lymphatic vessels into the endometrium, thereby contributing to cancer progression. METHODS: We initially described the distribution of lymphatic vessels (Lyve-1, podoplanin, VEGFR-3) and VEGF-D expression in the mouse uterus during the estrous cycle, early pregnancy and in response to estradiol-17beta and progesterone using immunohistochemistry. We also examined the effects of VEGF-D over-expression on uterine vasculature by inoculating uterine horns in NOD SCID mice with control or VEGF-D-expressing 293EBNA tumor cells. RESULTS: Lymphatic vessels positive for the lymphatic endothelial cell markers Lyve-1, podoplanin and VEGFR-3 profiles were largely restricted to the connective tissue between the myometrial circular and longitudinal muscle layers; very few lymphatic vessel profiles were observed in the endometrium. VEGF-D immunostaining was present in all uterine compartments (epithelium, stroma, myometrium), although expression was generally low. VEGF-D immunoexpression was slightly but significantly higher in estrus relative to diestrus; and in estradiol-17beta treated mice relative to vehicle or progesterone treated mice. The presence of VEGF-D over-expressing tumor cells did not induce endometrial lymphangiogenesis, although changes were observed in existing vessel profiles. For myometrial lymphatic and endometrial blood vessels, the percentage of profiles containing proliferating endothelial cells, and the cross sectional area of vessel profiles were significantly increased in response to VEGF-D in comparison to control tumor cells. In contrast, no significant changes were noted in myometrial blood vessels. In addition, examples of invading cells or tumor emboli were observed in mice receiving VEGF-D expressing 293EBNA cells. CONCLUSIONS: These results illustrate that VEGF-D over-expression has differential effects on the uterine vasculature. These effects may facilitate VEGF-D's ability to promote endometrial cancer metastasis and disease progression.
The regulation of mitochondrial DNA copy number in glioblastoma cells
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2013-12-01)
As stem cells undergo differentiation, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number is strictly regulated in order that specialized cells can generate appropriate levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to undertake their specific functions. It is not understood whether tumor-initiating cells regulate their mtDNA in a similar manner or whether mtDNA is essential for tumorigenesis. We show that human neural stem cells (hNSCs) increased their mtDNA content during differentiation in a process that was mediated by a synergistic relationship between the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and results in increased respiratory capacity. Differentiating multipotent glioblastoma cells failed to match the expansion in mtDNA copy number, patterns of gene expression and increased respiratory capacity observed in hNSCs. Partial depletion of glioblastoma cell mtDNA rescued mtDNA replication events and enhanced cell differentiation. However, prolonged depletion resulted in impaired mtDNA replication, reduced proliferation and induced the expression of early developmental and pro-survival markers including POU class 5 homeobox 1 (OCT4) and sonic hedgehog (SHH). The transfer of glioblastoma cells depleted to varying degrees of their mtDNA content into immunocompromised mice resulted in tumors requiring significantly longer to form compared with non-depleted cells. The number of tumors formed and the time to tumor formation was relative to the degree of mtDNA depletion. The tumors derived from mtDNA depleted glioblastoma cells recovered their mtDNA copy number as part of the tumor formation process. These outcomes demonstrate the importance of mtDNA to the initiation and maintenance of tumorigenesis in glioblastoma multiforme.
Non-Agonistic Bivalent Antibodies That Promote c-MET Degradation and Inhibit Tumor Growth and Others Specific for Tumor Related c-MET
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-04-12)
The c-MET receptor has a function in many human cancers and is a proven therapeutic target. Generating antagonistic or therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) targeting c-MET has been difficult because bivalent, intact anti-Met antibodies frequently display agonistic activity, necessitating the use of monovalent antibody fragments for therapy. By using a novel strategy that included immunizing with cells expressing c-MET, we obtained a range of mAbs. These c-MET mAbs were tested for binding specificity and anti-tumor activity using a range of cell-based techniques and in silico modeling. The LMH 80 antibody bound an epitope, contained in the small cysteine-rich domain of c-MET (amino acids 519-561), that was preferentially exposed on the c-MET precursor. Since the c-MET precursor is only expressed on the surface of cancer cells and not normal cells, this antibody is potentially tumor specific. An interesting subset of our antibodies displayed profound activities on c-MET internalization and degradation. LMH 87, an antibody binding the loop connecting strands 3d and 4a of the 7-bladed β-propeller domain of c-MET, displayed no intrinsic agonistic activity but promoted receptor internalization and degradation. LMH 87 inhibited HGF/SF-induced migration of SK-OV-3 ovarian carcinoma cells, the proliferation of A549 lung cancer cells and the growth of human U87MG glioma cells in a mouse xenograft model. These results indicate that c-MET antibodies targeting epitopes controlling receptor internalization and degradation provide new ways of controlling c-MET expression and activity and may enable the therapeutic targeting of c-MET by intact, bivalent antibodies.
Mitochondrial DNA copy number is regulated by DNA methylation and demethylation of POLGA in stem and cancer cells and their differentiated progeny
(NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2015-02-01)
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number is strictly regulated during differentiation so that cells with a high requirement for ATP generated through oxidative phosphorylation have high mtDNA copy number, whereas those with a low requirement have few copies. Using immunoprecipitation of DNA methylation on 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), which distinguish between de novo DNA methylation and demethylation, respectively, we set out to determine whether DNA methylation at exon 2 of the human mtDNA-specific polymerase (DNA polymerase gamma A (POLGA)) regulates cell-specific mtDNA copy number in highly proliferative and terminally differentiated cells. Highly proliferative cancer and pluripotent and multipotent cells possessed low mtDNA copy number and were highly methylated at exon 2 of POLGA in contrast to post-mitotic cells. Unlike neural stem cells, cancer cells were unable to differentiate and remained extensively DNA methylated at exon 2 of POLGA. However, mtDNA depletion of cancer cells reduced DNA methylation at exon 2 of POLGA as they replenished mtDNA to form tumours in mice. Glioblastoma cells treated with the DNA demethylation agent 5-azacytidine over 28 days of astrocyte-induced differentiation demethylated exon 2 of POLGA leading to increased mtDNA copy number and expression of the astrocyte endpoint marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP). However, the demethylation agent vitamin C (VitC) was unable to sustain increased mtDNA copy number and differentiation, as was the case when VitC was withdrawn after short-term treatment. These data demonstrate that DNA demethylation of POLGA is an essential regulator of mtDNA copy number and cellular fate and that cancer cells are only able to modulate DNA methylation of POLGA and mtDNA copy number in the presence of a DNA demethylation agent that inhibits de novo methyltransferase 1 activity.
Glioma Specific Extracellular Missense Mutations in the First Cysteine Rich Region of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) Initiate Ligand Independent Activation.
(MDPI AG, 2011-04-18)
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed or mutated in glioma. Recently, a series of missense mutations in the extracellular domain (ECD) of EGFR were reported in glioma patients. Some of these mutations clustered within a cysteine-rich region of the EGFR targeted by the therapeutic antibody mAb806. This region is only exposed when EGFR activates and appears to locally misfold during activation. We expressed two of these mutations (R324L and E330K) in NR6 mouse fibroblasts, as they do not express any EGFR-related receptors. Both mutants were autophosphorylated in the absence of ligand and enhanced cell survival and anchorage-independent and xenograft growth. The ECD truncation that produces the de2-7EGFR (or EGFRvIII), the most common EGFR mutation in glioma, generates a free cysteine in this same region. Using a technique optimized for detecting disulfide-bonded dimers, we definitively demonstrated that the de2-7EGFR is robustly dimerized and that ablation of the free cysteine prevents dimerization and activation. Modeling of the R324L mutation suggests it may cause transient breaking of disulfide bonds, leading to similar disulfide-bonded dimers as seen for the de2-7EGFR. These ECD mutations confirm that the cysteine-rich region of EGFR around the mAb806 epitope has a significant role in receptor activation.
The identification of mitochondrial DNA variants in glioblastoma multiforme
BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) encodes key proteins of the electron transfer chain (ETC), which produces ATP through oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and is essential for cells to perform specialised functions. Tumor-initiating cells use aerobic glycolysis, a combination of glycolysis and low levels of OXPHOS, to promote rapid cell proliferation and tumor growth. Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an aggressively malignant brain tumor and mitochondria have been proposed to play a vital role in GBM tumorigenesis. RESULTS: Using next generation sequencing and high resolution melt analysis, we identified a large number of mtDNA variants within coding and non-coding regions of GBM cell lines and predicted their disease-causing potential through in silico modeling. The frequency of variants was greatest in the D-loop and origin of light strand replication in non-coding regions. ND6 was the most susceptible coding gene to mutation whilst ND4 had the highest frequency of mutation. Both genes encode subunits of complex I of the ETC. These variants were not detected in unaffected brain samples and many have not been previously reported. Depletion of HSR-GBM1 cells to varying degrees of their mtDNA followed by transplantation into immunedeficient mice resulted in the repopulation of the same variants during tumorigenesis. Likewise, de novo variants identified in other GBM cell lines were also incorporated. Nevertheless, ND4 and ND6 were still the most affected genes. We confirmed the presence of these variants in high grade gliomas. CONCLUSIONS: These novel variants contribute to GBM by rendering the ETC. partially dysfunctional. This restricts metabolism to anaerobic glycolysis and promotes cell proliferation.
A Simple Guide Screw Method for Intracranial Xenograft Studies in Mice
(JOURNAL OF VISUALIZED EXPERIMENTS, 2011-09-01)
The grafting of human tumor cells into the brain of immunosuppressed mice is an established method for the study of brain cancers including glioblastoma (glioma) and medulloblastoma. The widely used stereotactic approach only allows for the injection of a single animal at a time, is labor intensive and requires highly specialized equipment. The guide screw method, initially developed by Lal et al.,(1) was developed to eliminate cumbersome stereotactic procedures. We now describe a modified guide screw approach that is rapid and exceptionally safe; both of which are critical ethical considerations. Notably, our procedure now incorporates an infusion pump that allows up to 10 animals to be simultaneously injected with tumor cells. To demonstrate the utility of this procedure, we established human U87MG glioma cells as intracranial xenografts in mice, which were then treated with AMG102; a fully human antibody directed to HGF/scatter factor currently undergoing clinical evaluation(2-5). Systemic injection of AMG102 significantly prolonged the survival of all mice with intracranial U87MG xenografts and resulted in a number of complete cures. This study demonstrates that the guide screw method is an inexpensive, highly reproducible approach for establishing intracranial xenografts. Furthermore, it provides a relevant physiological model for validating novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of brain cancers.
Axitinib Has Antiangiogenic and Antitumorigenic Activity in Myxoid Liposarcoma.
(Hindawi Limited, 2016)
Myxoid liposarcoma is a rare form of soft-tissue sarcoma. Although most patients initially respond well to treatment, approximately 21% relapse, highlighting the need for alternative treatments. To identify novel treatment regimens and gain a better understanding of myxoid liposarcoma tumor biology, we screened various candidate and approved targeted therapeutics and chemotherapeutics against myxoid liposarcoma cell lines. Therapeutics that target angiogenesis showed antitumor activity. The small molecule inhibitor axitinib, which targets angiogenesis by inhibiting the VEGFR and PDGFR families and c-Kit, inhibited cell cycle progression and induced apoptosis in vitro, as well as having significant antitumor activity against MLS 1765 myxoid liposarcoma xenografts in mice. Axitinib also displayed synergistic antitumor activity in vitro when combined with the potassium channel ionophore salinomycin or the BH3 mimetic ABT-737. Another angiogenesis-targeting therapeutic, 4EGI-1, which targets the oncoprotein eIF4E, significantly decreased angiogenic ligand expression by myxoid liposarcoma cells and reduced tumor cell growth. To verify this oncogenic addiction to angiogenic pathways, we utilized VEGFR-derived ligand traps and found that autocrine VEGFR signaling was crucial to myxoid liposarcoma cell survival. Overall, these findings suggest that autocrine angiogenic signaling through the VEGFR family is critical to myxoid liposarcoma cell survival and that further study of axitinib as a potential anticancer therapy is warranted.