ResearchPad - blood-vessels https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Is transjugular insertion of a temporary pacemaker a safe and effective approach?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13814 Temporary pacemakers (TPMs) are usually inserted in an emergency situation. However, there are few reports available regarding which route of access is best or what the most preferred approach is currently in tertiary hospitals. This study aimed to compare procedure times, complication rates, and indications for temporary pacing between the transjugular and transfemoral approaches to TPM placement. We analyzed consecutive patients who underwent TPM placement. Indications; procedure times; and rates of complications including localized infection, any bleeding, and pacing wire repositioning rates were analyzed. A total of 732 patients (361 treated via the transjugular approach and 371 treated via the transfemoral approach) were included. Complete atrioventricular block was the most common cause of TPM placement in both groups, but sick sinus syndrome was especially common in the transjugular approach group. Separately, procedure time was significantly shorter in the transjugular approach group (9.0 ± 8.0 minutes vs. 11.9 ± 9.7 minutes; P < 0.001). Overall complication rates were not significantly different between the two groups, and longer duration of temporary pacing was a risk factor for repositioning. The risk of reposition was significantly increased when the temporary pacing was continued more than 5 days and 3 days in the transjugular approach group and the transfemoral approach group, respectively. The transjugular approach should be considered if the TPM is required for more than 3 days.

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<![CDATA[The adipokine vaspin is associated with decreased coronary in-stent restenosis <i>in vivo</i> and inhibits migration of human coronary smooth muscle cells <i>in vitro</i>]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7692 Percutaneous coronary intervention represents the most important treatment modality of coronary artery stenosis. In-stent restenosis (ISR) is still a limitation for the long-term outcome despite the introduction of drug eluting stents. It has been shown that adipokines directly influence vessel wall homeostasis by influencing the function of endothelial cells and arterial smooth muscle cells. Visceral adipose tissue-derived serpin vaspin was recently identified as a member of serine protease inhibitor family and serveral studies could demonstrate a relation to metabolic diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate a role of vaspin in the development of in-stent restenosis in vivo and on migration of smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells in vitro.MethodsWe studied 85 patients with stable coronary artery disease who underwent elective and successful PCI with implatation of drug eluting stents. Blood samples were taken directly before PCI. Vaspin plasma levels were measured by specific ELISA. ISR was evaluated eight months later by coronary angiography. Human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (HCASMC) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) migration was analyzed by an in-vitro migration assay with different concentrations (0.004ng/mL up to 40ng/mL) of vaspin as well as by an scratch assay. For proliferation an impedance measurement with specialiced E-Plates was performed.ResultsDuring the follow up period, 14 patients developed ISR. Patients with ISR had significantly lower vaspin plasma levels compared to patients without ISR (0.213 ng/ml vs 0.382 ng/ml; p = 0.001). In patients with plasma vaspin levels above 1.35 ng/ml we could not observe any restenosis. There was also a significant correlation of plasma vaspin levels and late lumen loss in the stented coronary segments. Further we could demonstrate that vaspin nearly abolishes serum induced migration of HCASMC (100% vs. 9%; p<0.001) in a biphasic manner but not migration of HUVEC. Proliferation of HCASMC and HUVEC was not modulated by vaspin treatment.ConclusionWe were able to show that the adipokine vaspin selectively inhibits human coronary SMC migration in vitro and has no effect on HUVEC migration. Vaspin had no effect on proliferation of HUVEC which is an important process of the healing of the stented vessel. In addition, the occurrence of ISR after PCI with implantation of drug eluting stents was significantly associated with low vaspin plasma levels before intervention. Determination of vaspin plasma levels before PCI might be helpful in the identification of patients with high risk for development of ISR after stent implantation. In addition, the selective effects of vaspin on smooth muscle cell migration could potentially be used to reduce ISR without inhibition of re-endothelialization of the stented segment. ]]> <![CDATA[Constitutive hydrogen inhalation prevents vascular remodeling via reduction of oxidative stress]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ne1330967-900e-43ee-b1f2-140543b0d511

Molecular hydrogen is thought to have an inhibitory effect on oxidative stress, thereby attenuating the onset and progression of various diseases including cardiovascular disease; however, few reports have assessed the preventive effect of constitutive inhalation of hydrogen gas on of vascular remodeling. Here, we investigated the effect of constitutive inhalation of hydrogen gas on vascular neointima formation using a cuff-induced vascular injury mouse model. After constitutive inhalation of compressed hydrogen gas (O2 21%, N2 77.7%, hydrogen 1.3%) or compressed air only (O2 21%, N2 79%) by C57BL/6 mice for 2 weeks from 8 weeks of age in a closed chamber, inflammatory cuff injury was induced by polyethylene cuff placement around the femoral artery under anesthesia, and hydrogen gas administration was continued until sampling of the femoral artery. Neointima formation, accompanied by an increase in cell proliferation, was significantly attenuated in the hydrogen group compared with the control group. NADPH oxidase NOX1 downregulation in response to cuff injury was shown in the hydrogen group, but the expression levels of NADPH oxidase subunits, p40phox and p47phox, did not differ significantly between the hydrogen and control groups. Although the increase in superoxide anion production did not significantly differ between the hydrogen and control groups, DNA damage was decreased as a result of reduction of reactive oxygen species such as hydroxyl radical (⋅OH) and peroxynitrite (ONOO-) in the hydrogen group. These results demonstrate that constitutive inhalation of hydrogen gas attenuates vascular remodeling partly via reduction of oxidative stress, suggesting that constitutive inhalation of hydrogen gas at a safe concentration in the living environment could be an effective strategy for prevention of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

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<![CDATA[Serum levels of bone sialoprotein correlate with portal pressure in patients with liver cirrhosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nd170950f-0b0f-46af-a42d-6b06a3bc49ed

Liver cirrhosis represents the common end-stage of chronic liver diseases regardless of its etiology. Patients with compensated disease are mostly asymptomatic, however, progression to a decompensated disease stage is common. The available stratification strategies are often unsuitable to identify patients with a higher risk for disease progression and a limited prognosis. SIBLINGs, soluble glycophosphoproteins, are secreted into the blood by immune-cells. While osteopontin, the most prominent member of the SIBLINGs family, has been repeatedly associated with liver cirrhosis, data on the diagnostic and/or prognostic value of bone sialoprotein (BSP) are scarce and partly inconclusive. In this study, we analyzed the diagnostic and prognostic potential of circulating BSP in comparison to other standard laboratory markers in a large cohort of patients with liver cirrhosis receiving transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Serum levels of BSP were similar in patients with different disease stages and were not indicative for prognosis. Interestingly, BSP serum levels did correlate inversely with portal pressure, as well as its surrogates such as platelet count, the portal vein cross-sectional area and correlated positively with the portal venous velocity. In summary, our data highlight that BSP might represent a previously unrecognized marker for portal hypertension in patients with liver cirrhosis.

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<![CDATA[Nocturnal hypercapnia with daytime normocapnia in patients with advanced pulmonary arterial hypertension awaiting lung transplantation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nacc6463a-eb28-4f4a-acf0-c81fc9df01f4

Background

Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is frequently complicated by sleep disordered breathing (SDB), and previous studies have largely focused on hypoxemic SDB. Even though nocturnal hypercapnia was shown to exacerbate pulmonary hypertension, the clinical significance of nocturnal hypercapnia among PAH patients has been scarcely investigated.

Method

Seventeen patients with PAH were identified from 246 consecutive patients referred to Kyoto University Hospital for the evaluation of lung transplant registration from January 2010 to December 2017. Included in this study were 13 patients whose nocturnal transcutaneous carbon dioxide partial pressure (PtcCO2) monitoring data were available. Nocturnal hypercapnia was diagnosed according to the guidelines of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Associations of nocturnal PtcCO2 measurements with clinical features, the findings of right heart catheterization and pulmonary function parameters were evaluated.

Results

Nocturnal hypercapnia was diagnosed in six patients (46.2%), while no patient had daytime hypercapnia. Of note, nocturnal hypercapnia was found for 5 out of 6 patients with idiopathic PAH (83.3%). Mean nocturnal PtcCO2 levels correlated negatively with the percentage of predicted total lung capacity (TLC), and positively with cardiac output and cardiac index.

Conclusion

Nocturnal hypercapnia was prevalent among advanced PAH patients who were waiting for lung transplantation, and associated with %TLC. Nocturnal hypercapnia was associated with the increase in cardiac output, which might potentially worsen pulmonary hypertension especially during sleep. Further studies are needed to investigate hemodynamics during sleep and to clarify whether nocturnal hypercapnia can be a therapeutic target for PAH patients.

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<![CDATA[Xanthine Oxidase Inhibition by Febuxostat in Macrophages Suppresses Angiotensin II-Induced Aortic Fibrosis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N005e1f4f-0254-4509-8f8f-73304dc9463c

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Several reports from basic researches and clinical studies have suggested that xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitors have suppressive effects on cardiovascular diseases. However, the roles of a XO inhibitor, febuxostat (FEB), in the pathogenesis of vascular remodeling and hypertension independent of the serum uric acid level remain unclear.

METHODS

To induce vascular remodeling in mice, angiotensin II (Ang II) was infused for 2 weeks with a subcutaneously implanted osmotic minipump. FEB was administered every day during Ang II infusion. Aortic fibrosis was assessed by elastica van Gieson staining. Mouse macrophage RAW264.7 cells (RAW) and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were used for in vitro studies.

RESULTS

FEB suppressed Ang II-induced blood pressure elevation and aortic fibrosis. Immunostaining showed that Ang II-induced macrophage infiltration in the aorta tended to be suppressed by FEB, and XO was mainly colocalized in macrophages, not in fibroblasts. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) mRNA expression was induced in the aorta in the Ang II alone group, but not in the Ang II + FEB group. Ang II induced α-smooth muscle actin-positive fibroblasts in the aortic wall, but FEB suppressed them. XO expression and activity were induced by Ang II stimulation alone but not by Ang II + FEB in RAW. FEB suppressed Ang II-induced TGF-β1 mRNA expression in RAW.

CONCLUSIONS

Our results suggested that FEB ameliorates Ang II-induced aortic fibrosis via suppressing macrophage-derived TGF-β1 expression.

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<![CDATA[A novel visual ranking system based on arterial spin labeling perfusion imaging for evaluating perfusion disturbance in patients with ischemic stroke]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N32085c18-73a0-407b-8668-9d011597efb2

We developed a visual ranking system by combining the parenchymal perfusion deficits (PPD) and hyperintense vessel signals (HVS) on arterial spin labeling (ASL) imaging. This study aimed to assess the performance of this ranking system by correlating with subtypes classified based on dynamic susceptibility contrast (DSC) imaging for evaluating the perfusion disturbance observed in patients with ischemic stroke. 32 patients with acute or subacute infarcts detected by DSC imaging were reviewed. Each patient’s brain was divided into 12 areas. ASL ranks were defined by the presence (+) or absence (-) of PPD/HVS as follows; I:–/–, II:–/+, III: +/+, and IV: +/–. DSC imaging findings were categorized based on cerebral blood flow (CBF) and time to peak (TTP) as normal (normal CBF/TTP), mismatched (normal CBF/delayed TTP), and matched (decreased CBF/delayed TTP). Two reviewers rated perfusion abnormalities in the total of 384 areas. The four ASL ranks correlated well with the DSC subtypes (Spearman’s r = 0.82). The performance of ASL ranking system was excellent as indicated by the area under the curve value of 0.94 using either matched or mismatched DSC subtype as the gold standard and 0.97 using only the matched DSC subtype as the gold standard. The two methods were in good-to-excellent agreement (maximum κ-values, 0.86). Inter-observer agreement was excellent (κ-value, 0.98). Although the number of patients was small and the number of dropouts was high, our proposed, ASL-based visual ranking system represented by PPD and HVS provides good, graded estimates of perfusion disturbance that agree well with those obtained by DSC perfusion imaging.

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<![CDATA[MRI, CT and high resolution macro-anatomical images with cryosectioning of a Beagle brain: Creating the base of a multimodal imaging atlas]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8acc89d5eed0c48498f996

Most common methods that directly show macro- or microscopic anatomy of the brain usually require the removal of the organ from the neurocranium. However, the brain can be revealed in situ by using proper sectioning techniques. Our aim was to both improve the cryosectioning method, test its limits and create a high-resolution macro-anatomical image series of a Beagle brain, which at the time of the study did not exist. A two-year-old female Beagle has been scanned with CT and MRI ante and post mortem, then the arteries of the head were filled with red resin. After freezing to -80°C, a neurocranium block was created and was embedded into a water-gelatin mix. Using a special milling device and a DSLR camera, 1112 consecutive RGB-color cryosections were made with a 100 μm layer thickness and captured in high resolution (300 dpi, 24-bit color, and pixel size was 19.5 x 19.5 μm). Image post-processing was done with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Thermo Scientific Amira 6.0 softwares, and as a result of the proper alignment and coregistration, visualization and comparing was possible with all the applied imaging modalities (CT, MRI, cryosectioning) in any arbitrary plane. Surface models from the arteries, veins, brain and skull were also generated after segmentation in the same coordinate system, giving a unique opportunity for comparing the two-dimensional and three-dimensional anatomy. This is the first study which focuses directly to this high-definition multimodal visualization of the canine brain, and it provides the most accurate results compared to previous cryosectioning studies, as using an improved method, higher image quality, more detailed image, proper color fidelity and lower artefact formation were achieved. Based on the methodology we described, it can serve as a base for future multimodal (CT, MR, augmented- or virtual reality) imaging atlases for medical, educational and scientific purposes.

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<![CDATA[Exploring magnetohydrodynamic voltage distributions in the human body: Preliminary results]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89777ed5eed0c4847d2e42

Background

The aim of this study was to noninvasively measure regional contributions of vasculature in the human body using magnetohydrodynamic voltages (VMHD) obtained from electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings performed inside MRI’s static magnetic field (B0). Integrating the regional VMHD over the Swave-Twave segment of the cardiac cycle (Vsegment) provides a non-invasive method for measuring regional blood volumes, which can be rapidly obtained during MRI without incurring additional cost.

Methods

VMHD was extracted from 12-lead ECG traces acquired during gradual introduction into a 3T MRI. Regional contributions were computed utilizing weights based on B0’s strength at specified distances from isocenter. Vsegment mapping was performed in six subjects and validated against MR angiograms (MRA).

Results

Fluctuations in Vsegment, which presented as positive trace deflections, were found to be associated with aortic-arch flow in the thoracic cavity, the main branches of the abdominal aorta, and the bifurcation of the common iliac artery. The largest fluctuation corresponded to the location where the aortic arch was approximately orthogonal to B0. The smallest fluctuations corresponded to areas of vasculature that were parallel to B0. Significant correlations (specifically, Spearman’s ranked correlation coefficients of 0.96 and 0.97 for abdominal and thoracic cavities, respectively) were found between the MRA and Vsegment maps (p < 0.001).

Conclusions

A novel non-invasive method to extract regional blood volumes from ECGs was developed and shown to be a rapid means to quantify peripheral and abdominal blood volumes.

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<![CDATA[High-resolution contrast-enhanced vessel wall imaging in patients with suspected cerebral vasculitis: Prospective comparison of whole-brain 3D T1 SPACE versus 2D T1 black blood MRI at 3 Tesla]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1948d5eed0c484b4d33a

Purpose

Vessel wall imaging (VWI) using T1 dark blood MRI can depict inflammation of intracranial arteries in patients with cerebral vasculitis. Recently, 3D VWI sequences were introduced at 3 Tesla. We aimed to compare 2D and 3D VWI for detection of intracranial vessel wall enhancement (VWE) in patients suspected of cerebral vasculitis.

Methods

44 MRI scans of 39 patients were assessed that included bi-planar 2D T1 and whole-brain 3D T1 SPACE dark blood VWI pre and post contrast. Visibility and VWE were analyzed in 31 pre-specified intracranial artery segments. Additionally, leptomeningeal and parenchymal contrast enhancement was assessed.

Results

Overall, more arterial segments were visualized with 3D VWI (p<0.0001). Detection of VWE showed fair agreement between 2D and 3D VWI (κ = 0.583). On segmental level, more VWE was detected in intradural ICA by 2D VWI (p<0.001) and in VA V4 segment by 3D VWI (p<0.05). 3D VWI showed more leptomeningeal (p<0.05) and parenchymal (p<0.01) contrast enhancement. In patients with positive diagnosis of cerebral vasculitis, sensitivity was of 67% (2D and 3D VWI) and specificity was 44% (2D VWI) and 48% (3D VWI); more VWE was seen in arteries distal to VA and ICA compared to non-vasculitic patients.

Conclusion

2D and 3D VWI differed in the ability to detect VWE. Whole brain coverage with better evaluability of VAs and distal intracranial artery segments, and depiction of more parenchymal and leptomeningeal enhancement make 3D VWI more favorable. As VWE in arteries distal to VA and ICA may be used for discrimination of vasculitic and non-vasculitic patients, future increase in spatial resolution of 3D VWI sequences may be beneficial.

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<![CDATA[Hepatocellular carcinoma with extrahepatic metastasis: Are there still candidates for transarterial chemoembolization as an initial treatment?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c99029ed5eed0c484b98241

Background and aim

Currently, sorafenib is indicated for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with extrahepatic metastasis (EHM), and many other systemic agents are becoming available. However, a few HCC patients with EHM still undergo transarterial chemoembolization (TACE) for intrahepatic tumor control. We aimed to investigate whether TACE is appropriate for patients with EHM, and if so, which subgroup may benefit from TACE.

Methods

A total of 186 consecutive HCC patients (median: 55 years, male: 86.0%, hepatitis B virus: 81.7%, Child-Pugh Class A: 83.3%) with EHM (nodal metastasis: 60.8%, distant metastasis: 39.2%) between 2010 and 2014 were analyzed. Initial treatment included sorafenib in 69 patients, and TACE in 117 patients.

Results

During a median follow-up of 6.6 months (range: 0.2–94.6 months), mortality was observed in 90.3% (168/186). The median survival was better for patients who received TACE than those treated with sorafenib (8.2 months vs. 4.6 months, p < 0.001). However, baseline characteristics varied between patients initially treated with TACE and sorafenib, and the treatment modality was not an independent factor associated with overall survival (hazard ratio: 1.19, 95% confidence interval: 0.81–1.75, p = 0.36). In sub-group analysis, TACE was associated with better survival only among younger patients and those with segmental/lobar portal vein invasion.

Conclusion

In HCC patients with EHM, TACE was not an independent favorable prognostic factor compared to sorafenib. The concept of intrahepatic control in HCC patients with EHM may need to be reevaluated in the era of promising systemic therapies, although there can be specific subgroups who still benefit from TACE.

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<![CDATA[Hypoglycemia does not affect the progression of preclinical atherosclerosis in subjects with type 2 diabetes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823c0d5eed0c484638f5b

Introduction

Intensive treatment aimed at achieving optimal metabolic control to prevent the development of chronic diabetic complications is often associated with an increased rate of hypoglycemic events. Hypoglycemia is believed to be responsible for acute fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events likely as a consequence of the activation of pro-inflammatory and pro-atherothrombotic pathways. Hypoglycemia has been reported to influence the development of preclinical atherosclerosis. The present study was designed to prospectively evaluate whether hypoglycemia influences the function and the morphology of the arteries in subjects with type 2 diabetes without complications and uncontrolled diabetes.

Material and methods

Seventy-six subjects underwent a noninvasive evaluation of carotid wall thickness and brachial artery function at baseline and after one year of treatment with the intent of obtaining optimal glycemic control. At the end of the observation time, subjects were divided in two groups: with hypoglycemia (H-group) or without hypoglycemia (C-group).

Results

Baseline characteristic were comparable between groups. HbA1c significantly decreased in both groups, and fasting plasma glucose was only significant in the H-group. Subjects with hypoglycemia showed a significant reduction of carotid wall thickness after one-year of treatment (H-groups: right baseline 834±141 vs. 1-year 770±132 μ p<0.05; C-group: 757±162 vs. 767±135 μ p = ns). Endothelial function remained unchanged during the study for both groups.

Discussion

The present findings demonstrate that hypoglycemia does not affect endothelial function. Furthermore, subjects who experience more hypoglycemia show significant reduction of carotid wall thickness. Optimal metabolic control should be pursued as soon as possible.

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<![CDATA[An anatomical study on lumbar arteries related to the extrapedicular approach applied during lumbar PVP (PKP)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823e7d5eed0c48463929f

To observe the regional anatomy of the lumbar artery (LA) associated with the extrapedicular approach applied during percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) and percutaneous kyphoplasty (PKP), we collected 78 samples of abdominal computed tomography angiography imaging data. We measured the nearest distance from the center of the vertebral body puncture point to the LA (distance VBPP-LA, DVBPP-LA). According to the DVBPP-LA, four zones, Zone I, Zone II, Zone III and Zone IV, were identified. LAs that passed through these zones were called Type I, Type II, Type III and Type IV LAs, respectively. A portion of the lumbar vertebrae had an intersegmental branch that originated from the upper segmental LA and extended longitudinally across the lateral wall of the pedicle; it was called Type V LA. Compared with the DVBPP-LA in L1, L2, L3 and L4, the overall difference and between-group differences were significant (P < 0.05). In L1, L2, L3, L4 and L5, there were 8, 4, 4, 0 and 1 Type I LAs, respectively. There were no Type V LAs in L1 and L2, but there were 2, 16 and 26 Type V LAs in L3, L4 and L5, respectively. In L1-L5, the numbers of Type I LA plus Type V LA were 8, 4, 6, 16 and 27, and the presence ratios were 5.1%, 2.6%, 5.6%, 10.3% and 17.3%, respectively. In L4 and L5, the male presence ratios of Type I LA plus Type V LA were 7.1% and 10.7%, respectively, and the female presence ratios were 13.9% and 25.0%, respectively. Thus, extrapedicular PVP (PKP) in lumbar vertebrae had a risk of LA injury and was not suggested for use in L4 and L5, especially in female patients.

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<![CDATA[Endothelin receptor Aa regulates proliferation and differentiation of Erb-dependent pigment progenitors in zebrafish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c803c68d5eed0c484ad88f6

Skin pigment patterns are important, being under strong selection for multiple roles including camouflage and UV protection. Pigment cells underlying these patterns form from adult pigment stem cells (APSCs). In zebrafish, APSCs derive from embryonic neural crest cells, but sit dormant until activated to produce pigment cells during metamorphosis. The APSCs are set-aside in an ErbB signaling dependent manner, but the mechanism maintaining quiescence until metamorphosis remains unknown. Mutants for a pigment pattern gene, parade, exhibit ectopic pigment cells localised to the ventral trunk, but also supernumerary cells restricted to the Ventral Stripe. Contrary to expectations, these melanocytes and iridophores are discrete cells, but closely apposed. We show that parade encodes Endothelin receptor Aa, expressed in the blood vessels, most prominently in the medial blood vessels, consistent with the ventral trunk phenotype. We provide evidence that neuronal fates are not affected in parade mutants, arguing against transdifferentiation of sympathetic neurons to pigment cells. We show that inhibition of BMP signaling prevents specification of sympathetic neurons, indicating conservation of this molecular mechanism with chick and mouse. However, inhibition of sympathetic neuron differentiation does not enhance the parade phenotype. Instead, we pinpoint ventral trunk-restricted proliferation of neural crest cells as an early feature of the parade phenotype. Importantly, using a chemical genetic screen for rescue of the ectopic pigment cell phenotype of parade mutants (whilst leaving the embryonic pattern untouched), we identify ErbB inhibitors as a key hit. The time-window of sensitivity to these inhibitors mirrors precisely the window defined previously as crucial for the setting aside of APSCs in the embryo, strongly implicating adult pigment stem cells as the source of the ectopic pigment cells. We propose that a novel population of APSCs exists in association with medial blood vessels, and that their quiescence is dependent upon Endothelin-dependent factors expressed by the blood vessels.

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<![CDATA[Automated localization and quality control of the aorta in cine CMR can significantly accelerate processing of the UK Biobank population data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6f151bd5eed0c48467adda

Introduction

Aortic distensibility can be calculated using semi-automated methods to segment the aortic lumen on cine CMR (Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance) images. However, these methods require visual quality control and manual localization of the region of interest (ROI) of ascending (AA) and proximal descending (PDA) aorta, which limit the analysis in large-scale population-based studies. Using 5100 scans from UK Biobank, this study sought to develop and validate a fully automated method to 1) detect and locate the ROIs of AA and PDA, and 2) provide a quality control mechanism.

Methods

The automated AA and PDA detection-localization algorithm followed these steps: 1) foreground segmentation; 2) detection of candidate ROIs by Circular Hough Transform (CHT); 3) spatial, histogram and shape feature extraction for candidate ROIs; 4) AA and PDA detection using Random Forest (RF); 5) quality control based on RF detection probability. To provide the ground truth, overall image quality (IQ = 0–3 from poor to good) and aortic locations were visually assessed by 13 observers. The automated algorithm was trained on 1200 scans and Dice Similarity Coefficient (DSC) was used to calculate the agreement between ground truth and automatically detected ROIs.

Results

The automated algorithm was tested on 3900 scans. Detection accuracy was 99.4% for AA and 99.8% for PDA. Aorta localization showed excellent agreement with the ground truth, with DSC ≥ 0.9 in 94.8% of AA (DSC = 0.97 ± 0.04) and 99.5% of PDA cases (DSC = 0.98 ± 0.03). AA×PDA detection probabilities could discriminate scans with IQ ≥ 1 from those severely corrupted by artefacts (AUC = 90.6%). If scans with detection probability < 0.75 were excluded (350 scans), the algorithm was able to correctly detect and localize AA and PDA in all the remaining 3550 scans (100% accuracy).

Conclusion

The proposed method for automated AA and PDA localization was extremely accurate and the automatically derived detection probabilities provided a robust mechanism to detect low quality scans for further human review. Applying the proposed localization and quality control techniques promises at least a ten-fold reduction in human involvement without sacrificing any accuracy.

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<![CDATA[Apolipoprotein B correlates with intra-plaque necrotic core volume in stable coronary artery disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac91d5eed0c484d08a4e

Objective

To determine the relationship between plaque composition and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), apolipoprotein B (Apo-B), and Apo-A1 using virtual-histology intravascular ultrasound (VH-IVUS).

Methods

We assessed plaque composition in patients with stable coronary artery disease (SCD) admitted to our hospital for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) between November 1, 2012, and March 10, 2015. Before PCI, fibrous (FI), fibrofatty (FF), necrotic core (NC), and dense calcium (DC) regions were evaluated using VH-IVUS, and the contributions of each to the culprit lesion volume were recorded. Plasma LDL-C, HDL-C, Apo-B, and Apo-A1 levels were assessed before PCI. The relationship between the regions on VH-IVUS and plasma lipid levels was assessed. Patients were categorized into low Apo-B (LAB) and high Apo-B (HAB) groups, based on the overall cohort median Apo-B level.

Results

We enrolled 115 patients (median Apo-B, 91 mg/dL, male n = 88) with 57 and 58 patients in the LAB (Apo-B ≤ 90 mg/dL) and HAB (Apo-B ≥ 91 mg/dL) groups, respectively. Vessel, plaque, and %NC volumes were significantly greater in the HAB group than in the LAB group. The %FI, %FF, and %DC volumes were similar in both groups. In all 115 patients, the %NC volume correlated with LDL-C (r = 0.2353, P = 0.0114) and Apo-B (r = 0.2487, P = 0.0074) but not with HDL-C and Apo A-1. The high-sensitivity C-reactive protein level tended to be higher in the HAB group than in the LAB group. Multiple regression analysis showed that being male, Apo-A1, and Apo-B were significant predictors of %NC volume extent.

Conclusions

Elevated Apo-B level was related to the %NC in target coronary artery lesions in SCD patients, suggesting a role of Apo-B as a biomarker of unstable plaque in this population.

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<![CDATA[Elevated levels of autoantibodies against EXD2 and PHAX in the sera of patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca33d5eed0c48452a8b5

While circulating autoantibodies have been detected in patients with several cardiovascular diseases, such studies have not been performed for chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Here we investigated the production of certain auto-antibodies in CTEPH patients. Initial screening was performed in 5 CTEPH patients and 5 healthy donors (HDs) using a ProtoArray Human Protein Microarray v5.1 containing 9,375 human proteins, and we selected 34 antigens recognized by IgG antibodies more strongly in the sera of CTEPH patients than in the sera of HDs. In subsequent second/third analyses, we validated the auto-antibody level using amplified luminescent proximity homogeneous assay-linked immunosorbent assay (AlphaLISA) in 96 CTEPH patients and 96 HDs as follows: At the second screening, we used 63 crude peptides derived from those selected 34 antigens and found that the serum levels of autoantibodies for 4 peptides seemed higher in CTEPH patients than in HDs. In third analysis, we used the purified peptides of those selected in second screening and found that serum antibodies against peptides derived from exonuclease 3'-5' domain-containing 2 (EXD2) and phosphorylated adaptor for RNA export (PHAX) were significantly higher in CTEPH patients than in HDs. The serum antibody levels to these antigens were also elevated in PAH patients. The titers against EXD2 peptide decreased after surgical treatment in CTEPH patients. These autoantibodies may be useful as biomarkers of CTEPH and PAH, and further investigations may provide novel insight into the etiology.

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<![CDATA[Subclinical atherosclerosis in psoriasis. Usefulness of femoral artery ultrasound for the diagnosis, and analysis of its relationship with insulin resistance]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730cfd5eed0c484f38183

Background

Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) at younger ages that is not identifiable by traditional risk factors. Screening for subclinical atherosclerosis with ultrasound has only been investigated in carotid arteries. Femoral artery ultrasound has never been considered for this purpose. The link between psoriasis and accelerated atherosclerosis has not yet been established.

Objective

To study the usefulness of femoral artery ultrasound for the detection of subclinical atherosclerosis in psoriasis. We also investigated its possible relationship with changes in insulin resistance.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study in 140 participants, 70 patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis and 70 healthy controls, matched 1:1 for age, sex, and BMI. Femoral and carotid atherosclerotic plaques were evaluated by ultrasonography. Insulin resistance was assessed by the homeostasis model assessment method (HOMA-IR).

Results

Femoral atherosclerotic plaque prevalence was significantly higher in patients with psoriasis (44.64%) than in controls (19.07%) (p<0.005), but no significant difference was found in carotid plaque prevalence (p<0.3). Femoral plaques were significantly more prevalent than carotid plaques (21.42%) among patients with psoriasis (p<0.001). In the regression analysis, insulin resistance was the most influential determinant of atherosclerosis in psoriasis and C-reactive protein the most significant predictor of insulin resistance.

Conclusions

Ultrasound screening for femoral atherosclerotic plaques improves the detection of subclinical atherosclerosis in patients with psoriasis, whereas the study of carotid arteries is not sufficiently accurate. Insulin resistance appears to play a greater role in the development of atherosclerosis in these patients in comparison to other classical CVD risk factors.

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<![CDATA[The association of CHA2DS2-VASc score and carotid plaque in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c673079d5eed0c484f37bb6

Objective

The aim of this study was to assess the association between CHA2DS2-VASc score and carotid plaques in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF).

Methods

We conducted a retrospective study including 3,435 NVAF patients who underwent carotid ultrasound examinations from January 2015 to December 2017.We collected the clinical data on the medical records system. Chi-square trend test was used to analyze trends between the prevalence of carotid plaques with an increasing CHA2DS2-VASc score. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression was also used to assess the association between carotid plaques and CHA2DS2-VASc scores. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve (AUC) was used to determine the optimal cutoff points of different CHA2DS2-VASc scores in NVAF patients.

Results

NVAF patients with carotid plaques had higher CHA2DS2-VASc scores compared with patients who did not have carotid plaques (3.01±1.36 vs. 2.55±1.28, P < 0.05). In all participants, male participants and female participants, the prevalence of carotid plaques increased significantly as the CHA2DS2-VASc score increased (P for trend < 0.001). Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that for each 1-point increase in the CHA2DS2-VASc score, there was an associated 37% increase in the prevalence of carotid plaques. ROC curve analysis revealed that a CHA2DS2-VASc score ≥ 2 in male patients (sensitivity, 44.67%; specificity, 75.64%; AUC, 0.639) or ≥ 3 in female patients (sensitivity, 47.24%; specificity, 72.40%; AUC, 0.634) were associated with carotid plaques.

Conclusion

The prevalence of carotid plaques in patients with NVAF was associated with the CHA2DS2-VASc score.

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<![CDATA[Role of BRCA1-associated protein (BRAP) variant in childhood pulmonary arterial hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca2b0d5eed0c48441e8b1

Although mutations in several genes have been reported in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), most of PAH cases do not carry these mutations. This study aimed to identify a novel cause of PAH. To determine the disease-causing variants, direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification were performed to analyze 18 families with multiple affected family members with PAH. In one of the 18 families with PAH, no disease-causing variants were found in any of BMPR2, ACVRL1, ENG, SMAD1/4/8, BMPR1B, NOTCH3, CAV1, or KCNK3. In this family, a female proband and her paternal aunt developed PAH in their childhood. Whole-exome next-generation sequencing was performed in the 2 PAH patients and the proband’s healthy mother, and a BRCA1-associated protein (BRAP) gene variant, p.Arg554Leu, was identified in the 2 family members with PAH, but not in the proband’s mother without PAH. Functional analyses were performed using human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (hPASMCs). Knockdown of BRAP via small interfering RNA in hPASMCs induced p53 signaling pathway activation and decreased cell proliferation. Overexpression of either wild-type BRAP or p.Arg554Leu-BRAP cDNA constructs caused cell death confounding these studies, however we observed higher levels of p53 signaling inactivation and hPASMC proliferation in cells expressing p.Arg554Leu-BRAP compared to wild-type BRAP. In addition, p.Arg554Leu-BRAP induced decreased apoptosis of hPASMCs compared with wild-type BRAP. In conclusion, we have identified a novel variant of BRAP in a Japanese family with PAH and our results suggest it could have a gain-of-function. This study sheds light on new mechanism of PAH pathogenesis.

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