ResearchPad - cardiovascular-anatomy https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Right ventricular pressure overload directly affects left ventricular torsion mechanics in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8470 This study examined the impact of septal flattening on left ventricular (LV) torsion in patients with precapillary pulmonary hypertension (PH). Fifty-two patients with proven precapillary PH and 13 healthy controls were included. Ventricular function was assessed including 4D-measurements, tissue velocity imaging, and speckle tracking analysis. Increased eccentricity index (1.39 vs. 1.08, p<0.001), systolic pulmonary artery pressure (64 vs. 29mmHg, p<0.001) and right ventricular Tei index (0.55 vs. 0.28, p = 0.007), and reduced tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (19.0 vs. 26.5mm, p<0.001) were detected in PH patients as compared to controls. With increasing eccentricity of left ventricle, LV torsion was both decreased and delayed. Torsion rate paralleled this pattern of change during systole, but not during diastole. In conclusion, right ventricular pressure overload directly affects LV torsion mechanics. The echocardiographic methodology applied provides novel insights in the interrelation of right- and left ventricular function.

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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[Investigating gene-microRNA networks in atrial fibrillation patients with mitral valve regurgitation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7684 Atrial fibrillation (AF) is predicted to affect around 17.9 million individuals in Europe by 2060. The disease is associated with severe electrical and structural remodelling of the heart, and increased the risk of stroke and heart failure. In order to improve treatment and find new drug targets, the field needs to better comprehend the exact molecular mechanisms in these remodelling processes.ObjectivesThis study aims to identify gene and miRNA networks involved in the remodelling of AF hearts in AF patients with mitral valve regurgitation (MVR).MethodsTotal RNA was extracted from right atrial biopsies from patients undergoing surgery for mitral valve replacement or repair with AF and without history of AF to test for differentially expressed genes and miRNAs using RNA-sequencing and miRNA microarray. In silico predictions were used to construct a mRNA-miRNA network including differentially expressed mRNAs and miRNAs. Gene and chromosome enrichment analysis were used to identify molecular pathways and high-density AF loci.ResultsWe found 644 genes and 43 miRNAs differentially expressed in AF patients compared to controls. From these lists, we identified 905 pairs of putative miRNA-mRNA interactions, including 37 miRNAs and 295 genes. Of particular note, AF-associated miR-130b-3p, miR-338-5p and miR-208a-3p were differentially expressed in our AF tissue samples. These miRNAs are predicted regulators of several differentially expressed genes associated with cardiac conduction and fibrosis. We identified two high-density AF loci in chromosomes 14q11.2 and 6p21.3.ConclusionsAF in MVR patients is associated with down-regulation of ion channel genes and up-regulation of extracellular matrix genes. Other AF related genes are dysregulated and several are predicted to be targeted by miRNAs. Our novel miRNA-mRNA regulatory network provides new insights into the mechanisms of AF. ]]> <![CDATA[Genetic algorithm-based personalized models of human cardiac action potential]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7669 We present a novel modification of genetic algorithm (GA) which determines personalized parameters of cardiomyocyte electrophysiology model based on set of experimental human action potential (AP) recorded at different heart rates. In order to find the steady state solution, the optimized algorithm performs simultaneous search in the parametric and slow variables spaces. We demonstrate that several GA modifications are required for effective convergence. Firstly, we used Cauchy mutation along a random direction in the parametric space. Secondly, relatively large number of elite organisms (6–10% of the population passed on to new generation) was required for effective convergence. Test runs with synthetic AP as input data indicate that algorithm error is low for high amplitude ionic currents (1.6±1.6% for IKr, 3.2±3.5% for IK1, 3.9±3.5% for INa, 8.2±6.3% for ICaL). Experimental signal-to-noise ratio above 28 dB was required for high quality GA performance. GA was validated against optical mapping recordings of human ventricular AP and mRNA expression profile of donor hearts. In particular, GA output parameters were rescaled proportionally to mRNA levels ratio between patients. We have demonstrated that mRNA-based models predict the AP waveform dependence on heart rate with high precision. The latter also provides a novel technique of model personalization that makes it possible to map gene expression profile to cardiac function.

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<![CDATA[Identification of miRNA signatures associated with radiation-induced late lung injury in mice]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7641 Acute radiation exposure of the thorax can lead to late serious, and even life-threatening, pulmonary and cardiac damage. Sporadic in nature, late complications tend to be difficult to predict, which prompted this investigation into identifying non-invasive, tissue-specific biomarkers for the early detection of late radiation injury. Levels of circulating microRNA (miRNA) were measured in C3H and C57Bl/6 mice after whole thorax irradiation at doses yielding approximately 70% mortality in 120 or 180 days, respectively (LD70/120 or 180). Within the first two weeks after exposure, weight gain slowed compared to sham treated mice along with a temporary drop in white blood cell counts. 52% of C3H (33 of 64) and 72% of C57Bl/6 (46 of 64) irradiated mice died due to late radiation injury. Lung and heart damage, as assessed by computed tomography (CT) and histology at 150 (C3H mice) and 180 (C57Bl/6 mice) days, correlated well with the appearance of a local, miRNA signature in the lung and heart tissue of irradiated animals, consistent with inherent differences in the C3H and C57Bl/6 strains in their propensity for developing radiation-induced pneumonitis or fibrosis, respectively. Radiation-induced changes in the circulating miRNA profile were most prominent within the first 30 days after exposure and included miRNA known to regulate inflammation and fibrosis. Importantly, early changes in plasma miRNA expression predicted survival with reasonable accuracy (88–92%). The miRNA signature that predicted survival in C3H mice, including miR-34a-5p, -100-5p, and -150-5p, were associated with pro-inflammatory NF-κB-mediated signaling pathways, whereas the signature identified in C57Bl/6 mice (miR-34b-3p, -96-5p, and -802-5p) was associated with TGF-β/SMAD signaling. This study supports the hypothesis that plasma miRNA profiles could be used to identify individuals at high risk of organ-specific late radiation damage, with applications for radiation oncology clinical practice or in the context of a radiological incident.

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<![CDATA[Model based estimation of QT intervals in non-invasive fetal ECG signals]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7659 The end timing of T waves in fetal electrocardiogram (fECG) is important for the evaluation of ST and QT intervals which are vital markers to assess cardiac repolarization patterns. Monitoring malignant fetal arrhythmias in utero is fundamental to care in congenital heart anomalies preventing perinatal death. Currently, reliable detection of end of T waves is possible only by using fetal scalp ECG (fsECG) and fetal magnetocardiography (fMCG). fMCG is expensive and less accessible and fsECG is an invasive technique available only during intrapartum period. Another safer and affordable alternative is the non-invasive fECG (nfECG) which can provide similar assessment provided by fsECG and fMECG but with less accuracy (not beat by beat). Detection of T waves using nfECG is challenging because of their low amplitudes and high noise. In this study, a novel model-based method that estimates the end of T waves in nfECG signals is proposed. The repolarization phase has been modeled as the discharging phase of a capacitor. To test the model, fECG signals were collected from 58 pregnant women (age: (34 ± 6) years old) bearing normal and abnormal fetuses with gestational age (GA) 20-41 weeks. QT and QTc intervals have been calculated to test the level of agreement between the model-based and reference values (fsECG and Doppler Ultrasound (DUS) signals) in normal subjects. The results of the test showed high agreement between model-based and reference values (difference < 5%), which implies that the proposed model could be an alternative method to detect the end of T waves in nfECG signals.

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<![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[The SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 expression of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs by single-cell transcriptome study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N6fc22072-15f3-4c64-b34f-34474f5cf931

The new type of pneumonia caused by the SARS-CoV-2 (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) has been declared as a global public health concern by WHO. As of April 3, 2020, more than 1,000,000 human infections have been diagnosed around the world, which exhibited apparent person-to-person transmission characteristics of this virus. The capacity of vertical transmission in SARS-CoV-2 remains controversial recently. Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is now confirmed as the receptor of SARS-CoV-2 and plays essential roles in human infection and transmission. In present study, we collected the online available single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) data to evaluate the cell specific expression of ACE2 in maternal-fetal interface as well as in multiple fetal organs. Our results revealed that ACE2 was highly expressed in maternal-fetal interface cells including stromal cells and perivascular cells of decidua, and cytotrophoblast and syncytiotrophoblast in placenta. Meanwhile, ACE2 was also expressed in specific cell types of human fetal heart, liver and lung, but not in kidney. And in a study containing series fetal and post-natal mouse lung, we observed ACE2 was dynamically changed over the time, and ACE2 was extremely high in neonatal mice at post-natal day 1~3. In summary, this study revealed that the SARS-CoV-2 receptor was widely spread in specific cell types of maternal-fetal interface and fetal organs. And thus, both the vertical transmission and the placenta dysfunction/abortion caused by SARS-CoV-2 need to be further carefully investigated in clinical practice.

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<![CDATA[Optimization of tissue sampling for Borrelia burgdorferi in white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nff220985-8630-4822-8507-6b577103a931

Peromyscus leucopus (the white-footed mouse) is a known reservoir of the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Sampling of white-footed mice allows for year-round B. burgdorferi surveillance as well as opportunities to establish the diversity of the different variants in a geographic region. This study explores the prevalence of B. burgdorferi infections in the tissues of white-footed mice, investigates the correlations between B. burgdorferi infected tissues, and determines the optimum field methods for surveillance of B. burgdorferi in P. leucopus. A total of 90 mice and 573 tissues (spleen, liver, ear, tongue, tail, heart, and kidney) were screened via nested PCR for B. burgdorferi infections. A large number of infections were found in the 90 mice as well as multiple infections within individual mice. Infections in a single mouse tissue (spleen, liver, ear, tongue and tail) were predictive of concurrent infection in other tissues of the same mouse at a statistically significant level. Ear tissue accounted for 68.4% of detected infections, which increased to 78.9% of the infected mice with the inclusion of tail samples. The use of ear punch or tail snip samples (used individually or in tandem) have multiple advantages over current Lyme disease ecological studies and surveillance methodologies, including lower associated costs, minimization of delays, year-round B. burgdorferi testing opportunities, as well as longitudinal monitoring of B. burgdorferi in defined geographic regions. In the absence of an effective vaccine, personal prevention measures are currently the most effective way to reduce Lyme disease transmission to humans. Thus, the identification and monitoring of environmental reservoirs to inform at-risk populations remains a priority. The sampling methods proposed in this study provide a reasonable estimate of B. burgdorferi in white-footed mice in a timely and cost-effective manner.

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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[Evaluation of upconverting nanoparticles towards heart theranostics]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nf188e231-36c5-4bb6-9ed3-e7a465fadb41

Restricted and controlled drug delivery to the heart remains a challenge giving frequent off-target effects as well as limited retention of drugs in the heart. There is a need to develop and optimize tools to allow for improved design of drug candidates for treatment of heart diseases. Over the last decade, novel drug platforms and nanomaterials were designed to confine bioactive materials to the heart. Yet, the research remains in its infancy, not only in the development of tools but also in the understanding of effects of these materials on cardiac function and tissue integrity. Upconverting nanoparticles are nanomaterials that recently accelerated interest in theranostic nanomedicine technologies. Their unique photophysical properties allow for sensitive in vivo imaging that can be combined with spatio-temporal control for targeted release of encapsulated drugs.

Here we synthesized upconverting NaYF4:Yb,Tm nanoparticles and show for the first time their innocuity in the heart, when injected in the myocardium or in the pericardial space in mice. Nanoparticle retention and upconversion in the cardiac region did not alter heart rate variability, nor cardiac function as determined over a 15-day time course ensuing the sole injection. Altogether, our nanoparticles show innocuity primarily in the pericardial region and can be safely used for controlled spatiotemporal drug delivery. Our results support the use of upconverting nanoparticles as potential theranostics tools overcoming some of the key limitations associated with conventional experimental cardiology.

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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[VGLL4 plays a critical role in heart valve development and homeostasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c784fb6d5eed0c4840073d9

Heart valve disease is a major clinical problem worldwide. Cardiac valve development and homeostasis need to be precisely controlled. Hippo signaling is essential for organ development and tissue homeostasis, while its role in valve formation and morphology maintenance remains unknown. VGLL4 is a transcription cofactor in vertebrates and we found it was mainly expressed in valve interstitial cells at the post-EMT stage and was maintained till the adult stage. Tissue specific knockout of VGLL4 in different cell lineages revealed that only loss of VGLL4 in endothelial cell lineage led to valve malformation with expanded expression of YAP targets. We further semi-knockout YAP in VGLL4 ablated hearts, and found hyper proliferation of arterial valve interstitial cells was significantly constrained. These findings suggest that VGLL4 is important for valve development and manipulation of Hippo components would be a potential therapy for preventing the progression of congenital valve disease.

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<![CDATA[Furin, a transcriptional target of NKX2-5, has an essential role in heart development and function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c897793d5eed0c4847d307a

The homeodomain transcription factor NKX2-5 is known to be essential for both normal heart development and for heart function. But little is yet known about the identities of its downstream effectors or their function during differentiation of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs). We have used transgenic analysis and CRISPR-mediated ablation to identify a cardiac enhancer of the Furin gene. The Furin gene, encoding a proprotein convertase, is directly repressed by NKX2-5. Deletion of Furin in CPCs is embryonic lethal, with mutant hearts showing a range of abnormalities in the outflow tract. Those defects are associated with a reduction in proliferation and premature differentiation of the CPCs. Deletion of Furin in differentiated cardiomyocytes results in viable adult mutant mice showing an elongation of the PR interval, a phenotype that is consistent with the phenotype of mice and human mutant for Nkx2-5. Our results show that Furin mediate some aspects of Nkx2-5 function in the heart.

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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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