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The Relationship Between In Utero Conditions and Adult Health and Disease


Novel Methods of Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

Abstract: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease characterized by the cell-mediated destruction of insulin-producing β-cells, leading to impaired glucose homeostasis, insulin insufficiency, and other complications. Although classic genetic studies have linked numerous genes to the susceptibility of developing diabetes, the mechanisms by which they influence the disease course remain poorly understood. Epigenetics, inheritable changes in gene expression that occur without accompanying genetic mutation, can both serve as a link between the environment and genetic causes of disease and help explain some of the observed vagaries of diabetes. Elucidation of the epigenetic landscape as it relates to putative treatment modalities is highly warranted. Drugs with histone deacetylase activity are in clinical trials for cancer and certain inflammatory diseases with high safety profiles and they hold similar promise for amelioration of type 1 diabetes with diminished secondary complications. Full-fledged studies on the epigenetics of type 1 diabetes are highly likely to provide novel tools for the manipulation of the disease in the years to come. In this review, epigenetic regulation mediated by small molecular inhibitors of histone deacetylases and their potential for preventing diabetes are discussed. Insights into the nature of the genetic mechanisms unraveled by these studies are also highlighted. ... Read more

Antidiabetic Drugs and Their Potential Role in Treating Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease

Abstract: The incidence of both diabetes mellitus (DM) and dementia increases with aging and the incidence of dementia are higher in people with diabetes. Epidemiological and pathological data suggest that DM contributes to mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia. DM seems to be an independent risk factor for MCI and Alzheimer's disease (AD) and is associated with more rapid cognitive decline. Recent evidence points out that insulin affects central nervous system functions, and can modulate cognitive functions. Impaired insulin signaling and insulin resistance in brain have been found to play an important role in the pathogenesis of AD. Human studies have shown that some oral antidiabetic medications can improve cognition in patients with MCI and AD. Intranasal insulin has also been shown to improve memory and cognitive abilities in MCI and AD patients. While it remains unclear whether management of diabetes will reduce the incidence of MCI and AD, emerging evidence suggests that diabetes therapies may improve cognitive function. ... Read more

Adipose Tissue Inflammation in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome

Abstract: Metabolic syndrome is a major risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Playing a central role in the development of metabolic syndrome and in its clinical consequences is visceral obesity. Adipose tissue is now considered to be an active endocrine organ that secretes various humoral factors (adipokines), and its shift to production of proinflammatory cytokines in obesity likely contributes to the low-level systemic inflammation that is seen in metabolic syndrome-associated chronic pathologies such as atherosclerosis. Recent studies have shown that obesity induces chronic local inflammation in adipose tissue, and that cells of the innate immune system, particularly macrophages, are crucially involved in adipose inflammation and systemic metabolic abnormalities. Moreover, we and others recently revealed that T cells are key regulators of adipose inflammation, and that the adaptive immune system is also crucially important. In mouse models modulation of T cell function ameliorated not only adipose inflammation but also systemic insulin resistance induced by obesity. Thus clarification of the inflammatory processes ongoing in obese adipose tissue would seem essential for the understanding of metabolic syndrome and for developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat it. ... Read more

Statins Lower Heart Disease Complications Among Diabetic Patients

A recent large clinical trial study concluded that cholesterol lowering statin drugs should be taken by diabetic patients to prevent heart disease complications regardless of their initial cholesterol levels (International Statin Study Group, Lancet 361:2005-2016, June 14, 2003). 5,963 UK adults with diabetes and 14,573 with occlusive arterial disease but no diagnosed diabetes were randomized into the treatment group who received Merck’s Zocor (simvastatin) 40 mg daily and the control group who received the placebo, for 5 years. In the three subgroups of patients evaluated: the diabetic patients with occlusive artery disease, diabetic patients who do not have occlusive artery ... Read more

Therapeutic Applications of Human Adipose-Derived Stromal Cells for Soft Tissue Reconstruction

Abstract: Adipose derived stromal cells (ASCs) are a multipotent cell population derived from the stromal vascular fraction of lipoaspirate. Given their relatively broad differentiation potential and paracrine capabilities, ASCs represent a readily accessible, endogenous resource for novel reconstructive strategies. In particular, augmentation of autologous fat grafts with ASCs has already been employed clinically for restoration of soft tissue defects. While fat grafting alone remains highly unpredictable, enrichment of fat with supplemental ASCs, also known as cell-assisted lipotransfer (CAL), has been shown to significantly enhance volume retention. How addition of these cells to fat grafts results in improved outcomes, however, remains poorly understood. Furthermore, the safety of CAL in the setting of prior malignancy and post-radiation wound beds has yet to be fully determined, an important consideration for its use in cancer reconstruction. Thus, further studies to determine the "how" and "why" behind the efficacy of CAL are necessary before it can be widely adopted as a safe and reliable surgical technique. ... Read more

CHFR Methylation Strongly Correlates with Methylation of DNA Damage Repair and Apoptotic Pathway Genes in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

Abstract: DNA methylation occurs commonly in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We sought to determine the frequency and relationship of methylation of key genes involved in the pathways of mitotic checkpoint control, DNA damage repair, apoptosis, and growth factor signaling in these patients. We analyzed the DNA methylation status of eight genes (CHFR, FANCF, MGMT, p16, DAPK, ASC or TMS-1, RAR-B, and CRBP1) using nested methylation-specific PCR (MSP) on over 314 paraffin-embedded, human non-small cell lung cancer samples. We determined the methylation frequency of each gene in addition to the association of the methylation of each gene with other members of the panel. Methylation was a common event in these samples. Our methylation analysis showed frequencies of methylation of 10% for CHFR, 14% for FANCF, 30% for MGMT, 29% for p16, 17% for DAPK, 33% for ASC, 38% for RAR-B, and 7% for CRBP1. There was a strong correlation between methylation of the mitotic G2-M checkpoint gene, CHFR, and methylation of other genes in our panel involved in DNA damage repair (FANCF and MGMT) and apoptosis (DAPK and ASC) but not with other genes in our panel, including p16 (the G1-S checkpoint gene), CRBP1, or RAR-B. In addition, MGMT methylation strongly correlated with the pro-apoptotic gene, ASC. There are distinct associations of methylated genes in non-small cell lung cancer involving DNA damage repair, apoptosis, and the G2-M mitotic checkpoint control. Further studies are warranted to determine whether these methylation patterns have implications for prognosis in addition to prediction of response to chemotherapeutic agents commonly used in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, such as radiotherapy and platinum- or taxane-based chemotherapy. ... Read more

Epigenetics in Atherosclerosis: a Clinical Perspective

Abstract: Significant progress has been made in understanding in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Nevertheless, atherosclerosis remains a great threat to human health worldwide. Epigenetic mechanisms, which involve DNA methylation, histone modification, and microRNA, have significantly enhanced our understanding of the pathological process of atherosclerosis. More importantly, epigenetic processes (in contrast to genetic alterations) are reversible and thus provide a potential therapeutic target in atherosclerosis treatment. Both in vitro and in vivo studies using drugs targeting enzymes involved in epigenetic modifications have shown considerable promise in atherosclerosis treatment. This review aims to present an overview of current epigenetic mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and discuss points in these processes where therapeutic interventions likely bear fruition. ... Read more

Enterovirus Persistence as a Mechanism in the Pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract: Beyond acute clinical conditions, the role of enteroviruses (EVs) in chronic human diseases has been described. Although they are considered as highly cytolytic viruses, EVs can persist in various tissues. The persistence is believed to play a major role in the pathogenesis of EV related chronic diseases such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). T1D is characterized by an autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells, and results from interplay between a genetic predisposition, the immune system, and environmental factors. EVs and especially group B coxsackieviruses (CVB) have been the most incriminated as exogenous agents involved in the development of T1D. Enteroviral persistence is the result of a virus-host coevolution combining a cell resistance to lysis through mutations or down-regulation of viral receptor, and a decrease of the viral replication by genomic modifications or the production of a stable double-stranded RNA form. CVB can persist in pancreatic cells and therefore could trigger, in genetically predisposed individuals, the autoimmune destruction of beta cells mainly through an activation of inflammation. The persistence of the virus in other tissues such as intestine, blood cells, and thymus has been described, and could also contribute to some extent to the enteroviral pathogenesis of T1D. The molecular and cellular mechanisms of CVB persistence and the link with the development of T1D should be investigated further. ... Read more

New Drugs for the Treatment of Hyperkalemia in Patients Treated with Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System Inhibitors -- Hype or Hope?

Abstract: Hyperkalemia (serum potassium >5.5 mmol/L) may result from increased potassium intake, impaired distribution between the intracellular and extracellular spaces, and/or reduced renal excretion. Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system inhibitors (RAASIs) represent an important therapeutic strategy in patients with hypertension, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes, but hyperkalemia is a key limitation to fully titrate RAASIs in these patients who are most likely to benefit from treatment. Thus, we need new drugs to control hyperkalemia in these patients while maintaining the use of RAASIs. We review two new polymer-based, non-systemic agents under clinical development, patiromer calcium and zirconium silicate, designed to increase potassium loss via the gastrointestinal tract for the management of hyperkalemia. ... Read more

Advances in the Etiology and Mechanisms of Type 1 Diabetes

Abstract: Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an insulin-dependent form of diabetes resulting from the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells. The past few decades have seen tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of the disease, with the identification of susceptibility genes and autoantigens, the demonstration of several abnormalities affecting various cell types and functions, and the development of improved assays to detect and monitor autoimmunity and beta cell function. New findings about the disease pathology and pathogenesis are emerging from extensive studies of organ donors with T1D promoted by the JDRF nPOD (Network for the Pancreatic Organ Donor with Diabetes). Furthermore, the establishment of extensive collaborative projects including longitudinal follow-up studies in relatives and clinical trials are setting the stage for a greater understanding of the role of environmental factors, the natural history of the disease, and the discovery of novel biomarkers for improved prediction, which will positively impact future clinical trials. Recent studies have highlighted the chronicity of islet autoimmunity and the persistence of some beta cell function for years after diagnosis, which could be exploited to expand therapeutic options and the time window during which a clinical benefit can be achieved. ... Read more

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