CD271, (or p75NTR) is the sixteenth member of the Tumor Necrosis Factor receptor (TNFR) super family of transmembrane proteins. Members of the TNFR family including CD271, share homology in their extracellular domain, and have a cytoplasmic death domain, although CD271 has unique intracellular structure and downstream signalling partners. CD271 is also differentiated from other members of the TNFR receptor family in that it binds pro and mature neurotrophins and affects the growth, differentiation and death of the nervous system. The ligands for CD271 are neurotrophins, which are Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), Brain-Derived Growth factor (BDNF), Neurotrophin 3 (NT3) and Neurotrophin 4/5 (NT4/5). Recent studies have provided evidence that CD271 also serves as a receptor for the pro-forms of these neurotrophins.
Microarray experiments have a large variety of applications and several important achievements have been obtained by means of this technology, especially within the field of whole genome expression profiling, which undoubtedly is the most diffused world-wide. Nevertheless, care must be taken in unconditionally applying such high-throughput techniques and in extracting/interpreting their results. Both the validity and the reproducibility of microarray-based clinical research have recently been challenged. Pitfalls and potentials of the microarray technology for gene expression profiling are critically reviewed in this paper.
Toll-like receptors are a family of transmembrane receptors responsible for recognition and initiation of a response to invading microbes by the immune system. As part of the innate immune system, Toll-like receptors recognise pathogen-associated molecular patterns, highly conserved components that are essential to microbial function. Some of ten toll-like receptors identified in humans are able to recognise several pathogen-associated molecular patterns.
Although atopy patch tests (APT) seem a valuable additional tool in the diagnostic work-up for food allergy in children with atopic eczema/dermatitis syndrome, the immunopathology and some technical aspects of testing remain controversial. Few published data are available on the reproducibility of APT with inhalants and only two studies include fresh food allergens. In this study we therefore investigated the reproducibility of duplicate APT (left versus right side of the back) with native and commercially available food (cow s milk, hen s egg, tomato, wheat flour) and with inhalant allergens (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and mixed grasses) in a large unselected population of children. We tested a population of 277 Italian school children with three APT allergens: fresh food (cow s milk, hen s egg, tomato and wheat flour), standardised food allergens in petrolatum (the same four foods) and standardised inhalant allergens routinely used for skin prick testing. For the four food allergens (applied in the natural form or as the standardised commercial preparation) from one- to three quarters of the APT gave positive results on one side and negative reactions on the opposite side (Cohen s K coefficient between 0.38, fresh tomato and 0.81, fresh cow s milk). Conversely, APT with inhalant allergens were invariably reproducible (Cohen s K = 1.00). The possible technical and immunologic reasons explaining why reproducibility of APT differed for the two types of allergens await an answer from extensive controlled studies.
There is growing interest in osteoinductive agents for fracture healing especially in patients with non-union or delayed-union fractures. The aim of the present study is the assessment of the association of Vitamins D3 and K1 on proliferation and differentiation of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) derived from fracture sites in view of a possible clinical use. The synergic effect of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 in preventing osteoporosis has been documented in clinical practice; however no reports investigating this association for fracture healing are present. Our data show a different outcome on cell proliferation linked to the different timing of drug administration as well as a synergic effect of the two vitamins on cell differentiation. The high level of osteocalcin and carboxylated osteocalcin detected in hMSCs treated with the association of the two vitamins in comparison with controls and with single vitamin administration underline the differentiation of these cells into osteoblastic phenotype. Our results indicate for the first time that vitamin D3 and K1 association is able to modulate in vitro the differentiation towards osteoblastic phenotype of hMSCs derived from fracture sites, thus offering clinicians a promising and low-cost strategy for reparative osteogenesis.
We previously reported that forest bathing trips enhanced human NK activity, number of NK cells, and intracellular anti-cancer proteins in lymphocytes, and that the increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip in male subjects. In the present study, we investigated the effect of forest bathing trip on human NK activity in female subjects. Thirteen healthy nurses, age 25-43 years, professional career 4-18 years, were selected with informed consent. The subjects experienced a three-day/two-night trip to forest fields. On day 1, the subjects walked for two hours in the afternoon in a forest field; on day 2, they walked for two hours each in the morning and afternoon in two different forest fields; and on day 3, the subjects finished the trip and returned to Tokyo after drawing blood and completing a questionnaire. Blood and urine were sampled on the second and third days during the trip, and on days 7 and 30 after the trip. NK activity, numbers of NK and T cells, and granulysin, perforin, and granzymes A/B-expressing lymphocytes in the blood samples, the concentrations of estradiol and progesterone in serum, and the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine were measured. Similar control measurements were made before the trip on a normal working day. The concentrations of phytoncides in the forests were measured. The forest bathing trip significantly increased NK activity and the numbers of NK, perforin, granulysin, and granzymes A/B-expressing cells and significantly decreased the percentage of T cells, and the concentrations of adrenaline and noradrenaline in urine. The increased NK activity lasted for more than 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides, such as alpha-pinene and beta-pinene were detected in forest air. These findings indicate that a forest bathing trip also increased NK activity, number of NK cells, and levels of intracellular anti-cancer proteins in female subjects, and that this effect lasted at least 7 days after the trip. Phytoncides released from trees and decreased stress hormone levels may partially contribute to the increased NK activity.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) infection can induce immunological disorders with different clinical expressions such as arthritis, Sjogren Syndrome and various forms of vasculitis. Retrospectively, the prevalence of anti-Cyclic Citrullinated peptide antibodies (anti-CCP) in a group of patients affected by HCV-related arthritis with positivity for Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and the eventual correlations with RF and/or Anti-Nuclear Antibodies (ANA) and articular involvement were studied. Thirty patients with arthritis were selected from a population of 380 subjects affected by HCV infection. Each patient was evaluated by clinical examination (23 denoted poliarticular and 7 mono-oligoarticular involvement), by X-graphic aspects of joint involvement (8 patients presented joint erosions), by ANA, RF and anti-CCP positivity. Ten of the HCV-related arthritis patients (33.3 percent) presented positivity for anti-CCP, without significant correlation between such parameter and ANA, RF and articular involvement. Anti-CCP resulted positive in 4 out of the 8 patients with joint erosions, and only in 6 out of the 22 patients without joint erosions. Such frequencies analyzed by chi square resulted with no significant differences. Our patients presented an interesting prevalence of the positivity for anti-CCP. These data are cause to consider the specificity recently attributed to this parameter in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
The main therapeutic approaches for inflammatory periodontal diseases include the mechanical treatment of root surfaces. Multi-center clinical trials have demonstrated that the adjunctive use of a chlorhexidine (CHX) chip is effective in improving clinical results compared to scaling and root planing (SRP) alone. However, some recent studies failed to confirm these clinical results, nor have any data been reported regarding the capability of the CHX chip in affecting the activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in the gingival crevicular fluid (GCF). This enzyme has been related to a condition of destructive activity of periodontitis. The aim of this study is to provide further data on the clinical and biochemical effects of CHX chips when used as an adjunct to SRP. Eighty-two systemically healthy patients, aged 31-63, with moderate and advanced periodontitis were recruited from the departments of Periodontology of the University of Chieti. In each patient 2 experimental sites, located in two symmetric quadrants, were chosen with a probing depth of > or = 5 mm and bleeding on probing. The 2 sites were selected randomly at the split-mouth level; control sites received SRP alone, and test sites SRP plus 1 CHX chip. Clinical indices, including probing depth (PPD), clinical attachment level (CAL), bleeding on probing (BOP), and the ALP activity in GCF were evaluated at baseline and after 6 months. Alkaline phosphatase activity was assayed spectrophotometrically. The PPD and CAL were significantly lower at 6 months as compared to the baseline scores in both treatments (p less than 0.01). The PPD reduction was 2.7 mm in the CHX+SRP group and 1.9 mm in the SRP alone group. The CHX+SRP group showed a significantly greater gain of clinical attachment (mean: 1.4 mm) in comparison with the SRP group (mean: 0.9; p less than 0.05). No differences were observed in the decrease of the percent of BOP-positive sites between the experimental groups. Conversely, the CHX+SRP group underwent a significantly greater decrease (p less than 0.01) of the GCF-ALP activity 6 months after treatment in comparison with the SRP alone group. The adjunctive use of the CHX chip resulted in a significant improvement of pocket reduction and clinical attachment gain as compared with SRP alone. These results were concomitant with a significantly greater reduction of the GCF-ALP activity levels.
Three main types of inflammatory Non-Allergic Rhinitis (NAR) have been defined: NAR infiltrated by eosinophils (NARES), by mast cells (NARMA), and by neutrophils (NARNE). In the absence of studies that investigated the Quality of Life (QoL) in NAR, the present work is aimed at evaluating the Quality of Life of patients with NARES, NARMA, and NARNE. One hundred thirty one (131) NAR patients were prospectively and consecutively evaluated: 54 patients with NARES, 38 with NARMA, and 39 with NARNE. Their history, nasal infiltration and rhinomanometry were characterized, and Quality of Life (using 2 instruments) was evaluated, and associated to clinical and histological features. Quality of Life was significantly different in the 3 groups (p less than 0.001); NARES patients had the worst Quality of Life. Nasal resistances were significantly higher in the NARES group. Significant associations were shown in NARES patients between Quality of Life and nasal function. This study provides the first evidence that Quality of Life is impaired in NAR as well as in allergic rhinitis. Furthermore, Quality of Life impairment differs among the various forms of NAR, and there is a correlation with the cellular infiltrating type.
The aim of this study is to investigate whether subjective well-being in patients under treatment with typical (ATPs) and atypical antipsychotic (ATPsA) compounds can be compared with the improvement of psychopathological state and to verify if both variables correlate to adherence to treatment. We assessed 106 consecutive patients receiving ATPs or ATPsA in the University Psychiatric Ward of L?Aquila, according to DSM-IV diagnosis of Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. Psychopathological state was assessed by Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale-4.0 version (BPRS), adherence to treatment and subjective well-being was assessed by Drug Attitude Inventory (DAI-10) and Subjective Well-being under Neuroleptics (SWN), respectively. BPRS and DAI-10 were administered on admission (T0) and at the end of recovery (T1). The subjects enrolled in this study were divided into 2 groups according to ATP prescribed. We observed an improvement of BPRS and SWN total scores in each group, and increasing scores in DAI-10, from admission to discharge, both in total samples and in each group. There were statistical differences between the patients receiving ATPs and those receving ATPsA regardindg the SWN total score and its different dimensions. This study emphasizes that patients receiving ATPsA show better subjective response compared with patients undergoing ATP treatment, although the adherence to pharmacotherapy and clinical improvement do not differ between the groups.