As the population ages, the occurrence of chronic pathologies becomes more common. Leukocyte telomere shortening associates to ageing and age-related diseases. Recent studies suggest that environmental chemicals can affect telomere length. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are most relevant, since they are ingested with foods, and accumulate in the body for a long time. This longitudinal study was undertaken to test if circulating POPs predict telomere length and shortening in elderly people. We studied 1082 subjects belonging to the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study (born 1934-1944), undergoing two visits (2001-2004 and 2011-2014). POPs (oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, p, p’-DDE, PCB 153, BDE 47, BDE 153) were analysed at baseline. Relative telomere length was measured twice, ’10 years apart, by quantitative real-time PCR. Oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and PCB-153 levels were significant predictors of telomere length and shortening. In men, we did not find a linear relationship between POPs exposure and telomere shortening. In women, a significant reduction across quartiles categories of oxychlordane and trans-nonachlor exposure was observed. Baseline characteristics of subjects in the highest POPs categories included higher levels of C-reactive protein and fasting glucose, and lower body fat percentage. This is one of few studies combining POPs and telomere length. Our results indicate that exposure to oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and PCB 153 predicts telomere attrition. This finding is important because concentrations of POPs observed here occur in contemporary younger people, and may contribute to an accelerated ageing.
Genetic and environmental protective factors and risks modulate brain structure and function in neurodegenerative diseases and their preclinical stages. We wanted to investigate whether the years of formal education, a proxy measure for cognitive reserve, would influence hippocampal structure in Alzheimer’s disease patients, and whether apolipoprotein Eε4 (APOE4) carrier status and a first-degree family history of the disease would change a possible association. Fifty-eight Alzheimer’s disease patients underwent 3T magnetic resonance imaging. We applied a cortical unfolding approach to investigate individual subregions of the medial temporal lobe. Among patients homozygous for the APOE4 genotype or carrying both APOE4 and family history risks, lower education was associated with a thinner cortex in multiple medial temporal regions, including the hippocampus. Our data suggest that the years of formal education and genetic risks interact in their influence on hippocampal structure in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
A promising strategy for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the identification of age-related changes that place the brain at risk for the disease. Additionally, AD is associated with chronic dehydration, and one of the significant changes that are known to result in metabolic dysfunction is an increase in the endogenous formaldehyde (FA) level. Here, we demonstrate that the levels of uric formaldehyde in AD patients were markedly increased compared with normal controls. The brain formaldehyde levels of wild-type C57 BL/6 mice increased with age, and these increases were followed by decreases in their drinking frequency and water intake. The serum arginine vasopressin (AVP) concentrations were also maintained at a high level in the 10-month-old mice. An intravenous injection of AVP into the tail induced decreases in the drinking frequency and water intake in the mice, and these decreases were associated with increases in brain formaldehyde levels. An ELISA assay revealed that the AVP injection increased both the protein level and the enzymatic activity of semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO), which is an enzyme that produces formaldehyde. In contrast, the intraperitoneal injection of formaldehyde increased the serum AVP level by increasing the angiotensin II (ANG II) level, and this change was associated with a marked decrease in water intake behavior. These data suggest that the interaction between formaldehyde and AVP affects the water intake behaviors of mice. Furthermore, the highest concentration of formaldehyde in vivo was observed in the morning. Regular water intake is conducive to eliminating endogenous formaldehyde from the human body, particularly when water is consumed in the morning. Establishing good water intake habits not only effectively eliminates excess formaldehyde and other metabolic products but is also expected to yield valuable approaches to reducing the risk of AD prior to the onset of the disease.
Fragility fractures, or fractures occurring from a low-trauma event, are extremely prevalent among the elderly population worldwide and associated with significant mortality and morbidity. This study evaluated the relationship between FES-I Fear of Falling Survey results, self-reported activity restrictions via the SF-36 survey, and scores recorded by portable, inexpensive clinical assessment tools (CATs) during dynamic functional tasks. Low scores during these tasks may indicate functional deficits that put patients at risk for falls and subsequent fragility fractures. Forty-one subjects (20 fragility fracture patients, 21 controls without history of fragility fractures) over the age of 50 were recruited from three outpatient orthopaedic clinics. All subjects were administered a FES-I Fear of Falling Survey, a portion of an SF-36 survey, and tested using three different portable CATs: the Wii Balance Board, iPod Level Belt and Saehan Squeeze Hand Grip Dynamometer. There were several measured variables that showed a moderate correlation with Fear of Falling scores. Of note, correlations between FES-I scores and maximum hand grip strength for both the dominant hand (R= -0.302, p=0.069) and non-dominant hand (R= -0.309, p=0.059), as well as maximum anterior-posterior sway measured by the iPod Level Belt (R=0.320, p=0.056) were found to be marginally significant. In addition, the correlation between FES-I and average anterior-posterior sway was found to be significant (R=0.416, p=0.012). The Nintendo Wii and iPod Level Belt are relatively inexpensive, portable tools that can assess patients for subtle deficits during dynamic functional tasks. The results indicate that these tools can provide a more objective measure of a patient’s limitations during daily activities such as walking by assigning them a numerical value and correlating this value to physical deficits that impact balance and coordination. In the future, CATs may also have a role in predicting outcomes and in individualizing care, therapy, and at-home preventive measures.
Recent research on genome-wide associations has implicated that the serum resistin level and its gene polymorphism are associated with cerebral infarction (CI) morbidity and prognosis, and could thereby regulate CI. This study aimed to investigate the association between the resistin single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and the susceptibility to CI in the Chinese Han population. A total of 550 CI patients and 313 healthy controls were genotyped. Nine SNPs of the resistin gene previously shown were sequenced and assessed for an association with CI. The numbers of GG genotype carriers of rs3219175 and rs3486119 in the CI group were significantly higher than those in the control group among the middle-aged group (aged 45-65), at 76% vs 67.9% (P=0.025) and 75.5% vs 67.9% (P=0.031). rs3219175 and rs34861192 were associated with CI in the dominant and superdominant models according to the genetic model analysis (P<0.05). Meanwhile, there was strong linkage disequilibrium among the rs34124816, rs3219175, rs34861192, rs1862513, rs3745367, 180C/G and rs3745369 sites. In a haplotype analysis, the occurrence rate of the haplotype AGGCAGC was 1.97 times (P<0.05) higher in the patient group than in the control group. In addition, the numbers of GG genotype carriers of rs3219175 and rs3486119 in the middle-aged male CI patients and the middle-aged small artery occlusion (SAO) CI patients were higher than those in the control group (P<0.05). In the Chinese Han middle-aged population, the GG gene type carriers of the resistin gene sites rs3219175 and rs34861192 had a high risk for CI onset, especially in middle-aged male patients and SAO CI in all middle-aged patients.
The main mechanism of pathogenesis which causes systemic complications in obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) patients is believed to be intermittent hypoxia-induced intermediary effect and it depends on the burden of oxidative stress during sleep. We aimed to search the predictive markers which reflect the burden of systemic oxidative stress in patients with OSA and whether excessive telomere length shortening is a characteristic feature that can assess oxidative stress levels. We used quantitative PCR to measure telomere length using peripheral blood genomic DNA. Telomere lengths were compared in an age- and body mass index (BMI)-dependent manner in 34 healthy volunteers and 43 OSA subjects. We also performed reactive oxygen species assay to measure the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the peripheral blood of healthy volunteers and OSA subjects. We found that the serum concentration of hydrogen peroxide was considerably higher in OSA patients, and that this was closely related with the severity of OSA. Significantly shortened telomere length was observed in the circulating leukocytes of the peripheral blood of OSA patients, and telomere length shortening was aggravated more acutely in an age- and BMI-dependent manner. An inverse correlation was observed between the concentration of hydrogen peroxide and the telomere length of OSA patients and excessive telomere length shortening was also linked to severity of OSA. The results provided evidence that telomere length shortening or excessive cellular aging might be distinctive in circulating leukocyte of OSA patients and may be an predictive biomarker for reflect the burden of oxidative stress in the peripheral blood of OSA patients.
Interleukin-33 (IL-33), a newly recognized IL-1 family member, is expressed in various tissues and cells, and involved in pathogenesis of many human diseases. For example, IL-33 plays a protective role in cardiovascular diseases. However, the role of IL-33 in acute ischemic stroke (AIS) remains unclear. This study aims to investigate whether IL-33 level in AIS patient serum can be used as a potential diagnostic and prognostic marker. The study included two hundred and six patients with first-ever ischemic stroke, who were admitted within 72 hours after stroke onset. The serum level of IL-33 was measured with ELISA and the severity of AIS patients on admission was evaluated based on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score. The functional outcome at 3 months was determined using the Barthel index (BI). We found that serum IL-33 was significantly higher (P < 0.001) in patients with AIS [57.68 ng/L (IQR, 44.95-76.73)] compared with healthy controls [47.48 ng/L (IQR, 38.67-53.78)]. IL-33 was an independent diagnostic biomarker for AIS with an OR of 1.051 (95%Cl, 1.018-1.085; P=0.002). Serum IL-33 was higher (P < 0.05) in the stroke patients with small cerebral infarction volume compared to AIS patients with large cerebral infarction. In addition, serum IL-33 was also significantly higher (P = 0.001) in the patients with mild stroke, compared to the patients with severe stroke. Furthermore, serum IL-33 level in AIS patients with a worse outcome was higher (P < 0.001) compared to AIS patients with a better outcome. IL-33 was also an independent predictor for the functional outcome with an adjusted OR of 0.932 (95% CI, 0.882-0.986). Our results suggest that the lower level of serum IL-33 is associated with large infarction volume and greater stroke severity in AIS patients. Thus, IL-33 can be used as a novel and independent diagnostic and predicting prognostic marker in AIS.
Among various therapeutic approaches for stroke, treatment with human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUC-MSCs) has acquired some promising results. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We analyzed the protein expression spectrum of the cortical peri-infarction region after ischemic stroke followed by treatment with hUC-MSCs, and found 16 proteins expressed differentially between groups treated with or without hUC-MSCs. These proteins were further determined by Gene Ontology term analysis and network with CD200-CD200R1, CCL21-CXCR3 and transcription factors. Three of them: Abca13, Grb2 and Ptgds were verified by qPCR and ELISA. We found the protein level of Abca13 and the mRNA level of Grb2 consistent with results from the proteomic analysis. Finally, the function of these proteins was described and the potential proteins that deserve to be further studied was also highlighted. Our data may provide possible underlying mechanisms for the treatment of stroke using hUC-MSCs.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent arrhythmia in the world, due both to its tenacious treatment resistance, and to the tremendous number of risk factors that set the stage for the atria to fibrillate. Cardiopulmonary, behavioral, and psychological risk factors generate electrical and structural alterations of the atria that promote reentry and wavebreak. These culminate in fibrillation once atrial ectopic beats set the arrhythmia process in motion. There is growing evidence that chronic stress can physically alter the emotion centers of the limbic system, changing their input to the hypothalamic-limbic-autonomic network that regulates autonomic outflow. This leads to imbalance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, most often in favor of sympathetic overactivation. Autonomic imbalance acts as a driving force behind the atrial ectopy and reentry that promote AF. Careful study of AF pathophysiology can illuminate the means that enable AF to elude both pharmacological control and surgical cure, by revealing ways in which antiarrhythmic drugs and surgical and ablation procedures may paradoxically promote fibrillation. Understanding AF pathophysiology can also help clarify the mechanisms by which emerging modalities aiming to correct autonomic imbalance, such as renal sympathetic denervation, may offer potential to better control this arrhythmia. Finally, growing evidence supports lifestyle modification approaches as adjuncts to improve AF control.
Guanosine is a purine nucleoside with important functions in cell metabolism and a protective role in response to degenerative diseases or injury. The past decade has seen major advances in identifying the modulatory role of extracellular action of guanosine in the central nervous system (CNS). Evidence from rodent and cell models show a number of neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of guanosine preventing deleterious consequences of seizures, spinal cord injury, pain, mood disorders and aging-related diseases, such as ischemia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The present review describes the findings of in vivo and in vitro studies and offers an update of guanosine effects in the CNS. We address the protein targets for guanosine action and its interaction with glutamatergic and adenosinergic systems and with calcium-activated potassium channels. We also discuss the intracellular mechanisms modulated by guanosine preventing oxidative damage, mitochondrial dysfunction, inflammatory burden and modulation of glutamate transport. New and exciting avenues for future investigation into the protective effects of guanosine include characterization of a selective guanosine receptor. A better understanding of the neuromodulatory action of guanosine will allow the development of therapeutic approach to brain diseases.