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See detailRetirement age and the age of onset of Alzheimer’s disease: Results from the ICTUS study
Grotz, Catherine ULg; Letenneur, Luc; Bonsang, Eric ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(2), 0115056

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See detailGenome-Wide Analysis of In Vivo Binding of the Master Regulator DasR in Streptomyces coelicolor Identifies Novel Non-Canonical Targets
Świątek-Połatyńska, MA; Bucca, G; Laing, E et al

in PLoS ONE (2015)

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See detailEstimation of canine leishmania infection prevalence in six cities of the algerian littoral zone using a bayesian approach
Amel, A; Abatih, E; Speybroeck, N et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(3),

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See detailQuality of Antimicrobial Products Used in Striped Catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) Aquaculture in Vietnam.
Tran Minh Phu; Nguyen Than Phuong; Scippo, Marie-Louise ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10

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See detailCharacterization of Proteinuria in Dogue de Bordeaux Dogs, a Breed Predisposed to a Familial Glomerulonephropathy: A Retrospective Study.
Lavoue, Rachel; Trumel, Catherine; Smets, Pascale M. Y. et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(7), 0133311

Dogue de Bordeaux dog has been reported to be predisposed to a familial glomerulonephropathy that displays some morphological modifications reported in focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis. Prevalence ... [more ▼]

Dogue de Bordeaux dog has been reported to be predisposed to a familial glomerulonephropathy that displays some morphological modifications reported in focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis. Prevalence of quantitatively abnormal renal proteinuria was recently reported to be 33% in this breed. The nature of the proteinuria was assessed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis and determinations of urinary markers (urinary retinol-binding protein, urinary N-acetyl-beta-glucosaminidase, urinary albumin and urinary immunoglobulin G) on stored specimens. Diagnostic performances of sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis to identify dogs with elevated urinary biomarkers were assessed. Samples from 102 adult Dogue de Bordeaux dogs (47 non-proteinuric [urine protein-to-creatinine ratio </= 0.2], 20 borderline-proteinuric [0.2< urine protein-to-creatinine ratio </= 0.5] and 35 proteinuric dogs [urine protein-to-creatinine ratio >0.5]) were used, of which 2 were suffering from familial glomerulonephropathy. The electrophoretic protein patterns, for all but one proteinuric dog, were indicative of a glomerular origin and, in all dogs, the urinary albumin concentration related to creatinine concentration and the urinary immunoglobulin G concentration related to creatinine concentration were above the upper limit of the reference interval established for the breed. Sensitivity and specificity of sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis identifying dogs with elevated urinary albumin concentration were 94% and 92%, respectively, while diagnostic performance of sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis in detecting dogs with elevated urinary immunoglobulin G concentration yielded sensitivity and specificity of 90% and 74%, respectively. These results suggest that all proteinuric and some borderline-proteinuric Dogue de Bordeaux dogs likely have underlying glomerular lesions and that sodium dodecyl sulfate-agarose gel electrophoresis and urinary markers might be useful to screen dogs with borderline-proteinuria. Additional investigations are warranted to assess if these findings are related to the familial glomerulonephropathy. [less ▲]

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See detailIndividual Monitoring of Immune Response in Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar following Experimental Infection with Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus (ISAV).
Collet, Bertrand; Urquhart, Katy; Mira Monte, Milena ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(9), 0137767

Monitoring the immune response in fish over the progression of a disease is traditionally carried out by experimental infection whereby animals are killed at regular intervals and samples taken. We ... [more ▼]

Monitoring the immune response in fish over the progression of a disease is traditionally carried out by experimental infection whereby animals are killed at regular intervals and samples taken. We describe here a novel approach to infectiology for salmonid fish where blood samples are collected repeatedly in a small group of PIT-tagged animals. This approach contributes to the reduction of animals used in research and to improved data quality. Two groups of 12 PIT-tagged Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) were i.p infected with Infectious Salmon Anaemia Virus (ISAV) or culture medium and placed in 1 m3 tanks. Blood samples were collected at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16, 21 and 25 days post infection. The viral load, immune and stress response were determined in individual fish by real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) on the blood cells, as well as the haematocrit used as an indicator of haemolysis, a clinical consequence of ISAV infection. "In-tank" anaesthesia was used in order to reduce the stress related to chase and netting prior to sampling. The data were analysed using a statistical approach which is novel with respect to its use in fish immunology. The repeated blood collection procedure did not induce stress response as measured by HSP70 and HSP90 gene expression in the un-infected animals. A strong increase in viraemia as well as a significant induction of Mx and gammaIP gene expression were observed in the infected group. Interleukin 10 was found induced at the later stage of the infection whereas no induction of CD8 or gamma IFN could be detected. These results and the advantages of this approach are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailAnatomically discrete sex differences in neuroplasticity in zebra finches as reflected by perineuronal nets.
Cornez, Gilles ULg; Ter Haar, Sita M.; Cornil, Charlotte ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(4), 0123199

Large morphological sex differences in the vertebrate brain were initially identified in song control nuclei of oscines. Besides gross differences between volumes of nuclei in males and females, sex ... [more ▼]

Large morphological sex differences in the vertebrate brain were initially identified in song control nuclei of oscines. Besides gross differences between volumes of nuclei in males and females, sex differences also concern the size and dendritic arborization of neurons and various neurochemical markers, such as the calcium-binding protein parvalbumin (PV). Perineuronal nets (PNN) of the extracellular matrix are aggregates of different compounds, mainly chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that surround subsets of neurons, often expressing PV. PNN develop in zebra finches song control nuclei around the end of the sensitive period for song learning and tutor deprivation, known to delay the end of the song learning sensitive period, decreases the numbers of PNN in HVC. We demonstrate here the existence in zebra finches of a major sex difference (males > females) affecting the number of PNN (especially those surrounding PV-positive cells) in HVC and to a smaller extent the robust nucleus of the arcopallium, RA, the two main nuclei controlling song production. These differences were not present in Area X and LMAN, the lateral magnocellular nucleus of the anterior nidopallium. A dense expression of material immunoreactive for chondroitin sulfate was also detected in several nuclei of the auditory and visual pathways. This material was often organized in perineuronal rings but quantification of these PNN did not reveal any sex difference with the exception that the percentage of PNN surrounding PV-ir cells in the dorsal lateral mesencephalic nucleus, MLd, was larger in females than in males, a sex difference in the opposite direction compared to what is seen in HVC and RA. These data confirm and extend previous studies demonstrating the sex difference affecting PNN in HVC-RA by showing that this sex difference is anatomically specific and does not concern visual or auditory pathways. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Interferon-Inducible Mouse Apolipoprotein L9 and Prohibitins Cooperate to Restrict Theiler's Virus Replication.
Kreit, Marguerite; Vertommen, Didier; Gillet, Laurent ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(7), 0133190

Apolipoprotein L9b (Apol9b) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that has antiviral activity and is weakly expressed in primary mouse neurons as compared to other cell types. Here, we show that both ... [more ▼]

Apolipoprotein L9b (Apol9b) is an interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) that has antiviral activity and is weakly expressed in primary mouse neurons as compared to other cell types. Here, we show that both Apol9 isoforms (Apol9b and Apol9a) inhibit replication of Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) but not replication of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4), or infection by a lentiviral vector. Apol9 genes are strongly expressed in mouse liver and, to a lesser extent, in pancreas, adipose tissue and intestine. Their expression is increased by type I interferon and viral infection. In contrast to genuine apolipoproteins that are involved in lipid transport, ApoL9 has an intracytoplasmic localization and does not seem to be secreted. The cytoplasmic localization of ApoL9 is in line with the observation that ApoL9 inhibits the replication step of TMEV infection. In contrast to human ApoL6, ApoL9 did not sensitize cells to apoptosis, in spite of the presence of a conserved putative BH3 domain, required for antiviral activity. ApoL9a and b isoforms interact with cellular prohibitin 1 (Phb1) and prohibitin 2 (Phb2) and this interaction might contribute to ApoL9 antiviral activity. Knocking down Phb2 slightly increased TMEV replication, irrespective of ApoL9 overexpression. The antiviral activity of prohibitins against TMEV contrasts with the pro-viral activity of prohibitins observed for VSV and reported previously for Dengue 2 (DENV-2), Chikungunya (CHIKV) and influenza H5N1 viruses. ApoL9 is thus an example of ISG displaying a narrow antiviral range, which likely acts in complex with prohibitins to restrict TMEV replication. [less ▲]

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See detailStreptococcus pneumoniae GAPDH Is Released by Cell Lysis and Interacts with Peptidoglycan.
Terrasse, Remi; Amoroso, Ana Maria ULg; Vernet, Thierry et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(4), 0125377

Release of conserved cytoplasmic proteins is widely spread among Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Because these proteins display additional functions when located at the bacterial surface, they ... [more ▼]

Release of conserved cytoplasmic proteins is widely spread among Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Because these proteins display additional functions when located at the bacterial surface, they have been qualified as moonlighting proteins. The GAPDH is a glycolytic enzyme which plays an important role in the virulence processes of pathogenic microorganisms like bacterial invasion and host immune system modulation. However, GAPDH, like other moonlighting proteins, cannot be secreted through active secretion systems since they do not contain an N-terminal predicted signal peptide. In this work, we investigated the mechanism of GAPDH export and surface retention in Streptococcus pneumoniae, a major human pathogen. We addressed the role of the major autolysin LytA in the delivery process of GAPDH to the cell surface. Pneumococcal lysis is abolished in the DeltalytA mutant strain or when 1% choline chloride is added in the culture media. We showed that these conditions induce a marked reduction in the amount of surface-associated GAPDH. These data suggest that the presence of GAPDH at the surface of pneumococcal cells depends on the LytA-mediated lysis of a fraction of the cell population. Moreover, we demonstrated that pneumococcal GAPDH binds to the bacterial cell wall independently of the presence of the teichoic acids component, supporting peptidoglycan as a ligand to surface GAPDH. Finally, we showed that peptidoglycan-associated GAPDH recruits C1q from human serum but does not activate the complement pathway. [less ▲]

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See detailPhenotype Classification of Zebrafish Embryos by Supervised Learning
Jeanray, Nathalie ULg; Marée, Raphaël ULg; Pruvot, Benoist et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(1), 01169891-20

Zebrafish is increasingly used to assess biological properties of chemical substances and thus is becoming a specific tool for toxicological and pharmacological studies. The effects of chemical substances ... [more ▼]

Zebrafish is increasingly used to assess biological properties of chemical substances and thus is becoming a specific tool for toxicological and pharmacological studies. The effects of chemical substances on embryo survival and development are generally evaluated manually through microscopic observation by an expert and documented by several typical photographs. Here, we present a methodology to automatically classify brightfield images of wildtype zebrafish embryos according to their defects by using an image analysis approach based on supervised machine learning. We show that, compared to manual classification, automatic classification results in 90 to 100 % agreement with consensus voting of biological experts in nine out of eleven considered defects in 3 days old zebrafish larvae. Automation of the analysis and classification of zebrafish embryo pictures reduces the workload and time required for the biological expert and increases the reproducibility and objectivity of this classification. [less ▲]

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See detailElevated Plasma Soluble ST2 Is Associated with Heart Failure Symptoms and Outcome in Aortic Stenosis.
LANCELLOTTI, Patrizio ULg; DULGHERU, Raluca Elena ULg; Magne, Julien et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(9), 0138940

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is often used as a complementary finding in the diagnostic work-up of patients with aortic stenosis (AS). Whether soluble ST2, a new biomarker of cardiac stretch, is ... [more ▼]

B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is often used as a complementary finding in the diagnostic work-up of patients with aortic stenosis (AS). Whether soluble ST2, a new biomarker of cardiac stretch, is associated with symptomatic status and outcome in asymptomatic AS is unknown. sST2 and BNP levels were measured in 86 patients (74+/-13 years; 59 asymptomatic, 69%) with AS (<1.5 cm2) and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction who were followed-up for 26+/-16 months. Both BNP and sST2 were associated with NYHA class but sST2 (>23 ng/mL, AUC = 0.68, p<0.01) was more accurate to identify asymptomatic patients or those who developed symptoms during follow-up. sST2 was independently related to left atrial index (p<0.0001) and aortic valve area (p = 0.004; model R2 = 0.32). A modest correlation was found with BNP (r = 0.4, p<0.01). During follow-up, 29 asymptomatic patients (34%) developed heart failure symptoms. With multivariable analysis, peak aortic jet velocity (HR = 2.7, p = 0.007) and sST2 level (HR = 1.04, p = 0.03) were independent predictors of cardiovascular events. In AS, sST2 levels could provide complementary information regarding symptomatic status, new onset heart failure symptoms and outcome. It might become a promising biomarker in these patients. [less ▲]

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See detailMembrane Topology and Biochemical Characterization of the Escherichia coli BacA Undecaprenyl-Pyrophosphate Phosphatase.
Manat, Guillaume; El Ghachi, Meriem ULg; Auger, Rodolphe et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(11), 0142870

Several integral membrane proteins exhibiting undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate (C55-PP) phosphatase activity were previously identified in Escherichia coli that belonged to two distinct protein families: the ... [more ▼]

Several integral membrane proteins exhibiting undecaprenyl-pyrophosphate (C55-PP) phosphatase activity were previously identified in Escherichia coli that belonged to two distinct protein families: the BacA protein, which accounts for 75% of the C55-PP phosphatase activity detected in E. coli cell membranes, and three members of the PAP2 phosphatidic acid phosphatase family, namely PgpB, YbjG and LpxT. This dephosphorylation step is required to provide the C55-P carrier lipid which plays a central role in the biosynthesis of various cell wall polymers. We here report detailed investigations of the biochemical properties and membrane topology of the BacA protein. Optimal activity conditions were determined and a narrow-range substrate specificity with a clear preference for C55-PP was observed for this enzyme. Alignments of BacA protein sequences revealed two particularly well-conserved regions and several invariant residues whose role in enzyme activity was questioned by using a site-directed mutagenesis approach and complementary in vitro and in vivo activity assays. Three essential residues Glu21, Ser27, and Arg174 were identified, allowing us to propose a catalytic mechanism for this enzyme. The membrane topology of the BacA protein determined here experimentally did not validate previous program-based predicted models. It comprises seven transmembrane segments and contains in particular two large periplasmic loops carrying the highly-conserved active site residues. Our data thus provide evidence that all the different E. coli C55-PP phosphatases identified to date (BacA and PAP2) catalyze the dephosphorylation of C55-PP molecules on the same (outer) side of the plasma membrane. [less ▲]

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See detailLayman versus Professional Musician: Who Makes the Better Judge?
Larrouy, Pauline ULg; Magis, David ULg; Grabenhorst, Matthias et al

in PLoS ONE (2015)

The increasing number of casting shows and talent contests in the media over the past years suggests a public interest in rating the quality of vocal performances. In many of these formats, laymen ... [more ▼]

The increasing number of casting shows and talent contests in the media over the past years suggests a public interest in rating the quality of vocal performances. In many of these formats, laymen alongside music experts act as judges. Whereas experts' judgments are considered objective and reliable when it comes to evaluating singing voice, little is known about laymen’s ability to evaluate peers. On the one hand, layman listeners–who by definition did not have any formal training or regular musical practice–are known to have internalized the musical rules on which singing accuracy is based. On the other hand, lay- man listeners’ judgment of their own vocal skills is highly inaccurate. Also, when compared with that of music experts, their level of competence in pitch perception has proven limited. The present study investigates laypersons' ability to objectively evaluate melodies per- formed by untrained singers. For this purpose, laymen listeners were asked to judge sung melodies. The results were compared with those of music experts who had performed the same task in a previous study. Interestingly, the findings show a high objectivity and reliabil- ity in layman listeners. Whereas both the laymen's and experts' definition of pitch accuracy overlap, differences regarding the musical criteria employed in the rating task were evident. The findings suggest that the effect of expertise is circumscribed and limited and supports the view that laypersons make trustworthy judges when evaluating the pitch accuracy of untrained singers. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat do Pneumocystis organisms tell us about the phylogeography of their hosts? The case of the woodmouse Apodemus sylvaticus in continental Europe and western Mediterranean islands
Demanche, christine; Deville, Manjula; Michaux, Johan ULg et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), DOI:10.1371

Pneumocystis fungi represent a highly diversified biological group with numerous species, which display a strong host-specificity suggesting a long co-speciation process. In the present study, the ... [more ▼]

Pneumocystis fungi represent a highly diversified biological group with numerous species, which display a strong host-specificity suggesting a long co-speciation process. In the present study, the presence and genetic diversity of Pneumocystis organisms was investigated in 203 lung samples from woodmice (Apodemus sylvaticus) collected on western continental Europe and Mediterranean islands. The presence of Pneumocystis DNA was assessed by nested PCR at both large and small mitochondrial subunit (mtLSU and mtSSU) rRNA loci. Direct sequencing of nested PCR products demonstrated a very high variability among woodmouse-derived Pneumocystis organisms with a total number of 30 distinct combined mtLSU and mtSSU sequence types. However, the genetic divergence among these sequence types was very low (up to 3.87%) and the presence of several Pneumocystis species within Apodemus sylvaticus was considered unlikely. The analysis of the genetic structure of woodmouse-derived Pneumocystis revealed two distinct groups. The first one comprised Pneumocystis from woodmice collected in continental Spain, France and Balearic islands. The second one included Pneumocystis from woodmice collected in continental Italy, Corsica and Sicily. These two genetic groups were in accordance with the two lineages currently described within the host species Apodemus sylvaticus. Pneumocystis organisms are emerging as powerful tools for phylogeographic studies in mammals [less ▲]

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See detailCarnosol Inhibits Pro-Inflammatory and Catabolic Mediators of Cartilage Breakdown in Human Osteoarthritic Chondrocytes and Mediates Cross-Talk between Subchondral Bone Osteoblasts and Chondrocytes.
Sanchez, Christelle ULg; Horcajada, Marie-Noelle; Membrez Scalfo, Fanny et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(8), 0136118

AIM: The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of carnosol, a rosemary polyphenol, on pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes and via bone-cartilage ... [more ▼]

AIM: The aim of this work was to evaluate the effects of carnosol, a rosemary polyphenol, on pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes and via bone-cartilage crosstalk. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Osteoarthritic (OA) human chondrocytes were cultured in alginate beads for 4 days in presence or absence of carnosol (6 nM to 9 muM). The production of aggrecan, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-3, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1, interleukin (IL)-6 and nitric oxide (NO) and the expression of type II collagen and ADAMTS-4 and -5 were analyzed. Human osteoblasts from sclerotic (SC) or non-sclerotic (NSC) subchondral bone were cultured for 3 days in presence or absence of carnosol before co-culture with chondrocytes. Chondrocyte gene expression was analyzed after 4 days of co-culture. RESULTS: In chondrocytes, type II collagen expression was significantly enhanced in the presence of 3 muM carnosol (p = 0.008). MMP-3, IL-6, NO production and ADAMTS-4 expression were down-regulated in a concentration-dependent manner by carnosol (p<0.01). TIMP-1 production was slightly increased at 3 muM (p = 0.02) and ADAMTS-5 expression was decreased from 0.2 to 9 muM carnosol (p<0.05). IL-6 and PGE2 production was reduced in the presence of carnosol in both SC and NSC osteoblasts while alkaline phosphatase activity was not changed. In co-culture experiments preincubation of NSC and SC osteoblasts wih carnosol resulted in similar effects to incubation with anti-IL-6 antibody, namely a significant increase in aggrecan and decrease in MMP-3, ADAMTS-4 and -5 gene expression by chondrocytes. CONCLUSIONS: Carnosol showed potent inhibition of pro-inflammatory and catabolic mediators of cartilage breakdown in chondrocytes. Inhibition of matrix degradation and enhancement of formation was observed in chondrocytes cocultured with subchondral osteoblasts preincubated with carnosol indicating a cross-talk between these two cellular compartments, potentially mediated via inhibition of IL-6 in osteoblasts as similar results were obtained with anti-IL-6 antibody. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of Pre-Transplant Anti-T Cell Globulin (ATG) on Immune Recovery after Myeloablative Allogeneic Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation.
SERVAIS, Sophie ULg; Menten-Dedoyart, Catherine; Beguin, Yves ULg et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0130026

BACKGROUND: Pre-transplant infusion of rabbit anti-T cell globulin (ATG) is increasingly used as prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Pre-transplant infusion of rabbit anti-T cell globulin (ATG) is increasingly used as prevention of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) after allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation (PBSCT). However, the precise impact of pre-transplant ATG on immune recovery after PBSCT is still poorly documented. METHODS: In the current study, we compared immune recovery after myeloablative PBSCT in 65 patients who either received (n = 37) or did not (n = 28) pre-transplant ATG-Fresenius (ATG-F). Detailed phenotypes of circulating T, B, natural killer (NK) and invariant NKT (iNKT) cells were analyzed by multicolor flow cytometry at serial time-points from day 40 to day 365 after transplantation. Thymic function was also assessed by sjTREC quantification. Serious infectious events were collected up to 2 years post-transplantation. RESULTS: Pre-transplant ATG-F had a prolonged (for at least up to 1-year) and selective negative impact on the T-cell pool, while it did not impair the recovery of B, NK nor iNKT cells. Among T cells, ATG-F selectively compromised the recovery of naive CD4+, central memory CD4+ and naive CD8+ cells, while it spared effector memory T and regulatory T cells. Levels of sjTRECs were similar in both cohorts at 1-year after PBSCT, suggesting that ATG-F unlikely impaired thymopoiesis at long-term after PBSCT. Finally, the incidence and rate of serious infections were similar in both groups, while ATG-F patients had a lower incidence of grade II-IV acute graft-versus-host disease. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-transplant ATG-F induces long-lasting modulation of the circulating T-cell pool after myeloablative PBSCT, that may participate in preventing graft-versus-host disease without deeply compromising anti-pathogen defenses. [less ▲]

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See detailNon Digestible Oligosaccharides Modulate the Gut Microbiota to Control the Development of Leukemia and Associated Cachexia in Mice.
Bindels, Laure B.; Neyrinck, Audrey M.; Salazar, Nuria et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0131009

We tested the hypothesis that changing the gut microbiota using pectic oligosaccharides (POS) or inulin (INU) differently modulates the progression of leukemia and related metabolic disorders. Mice were ... [more ▼]

We tested the hypothesis that changing the gut microbiota using pectic oligosaccharides (POS) or inulin (INU) differently modulates the progression of leukemia and related metabolic disorders. Mice were transplanted with Bcr-Abl-transfected proB lymphocytes mimicking leukemia and received either POS or INU in their diet (5%) for 2 weeks. Combination of pyrosequencing, PCR-DGGE and qPCR analyses of the 16S rRNA gene revealed that POS decreased microbial diversity and richness of caecal microbiota whereas it increased Bifidobacterium spp., Roseburia spp. and Bacteroides spp. (affecting specifically B. dorei) to a higher extent than INU. INU supplementation increased the portal SCFA propionate and butyrate, and decreased cancer cell invasion in the liver. POS treatment did not affect hepatic cancer cell invasion, but was more efficient than INU to decrease the metabolic alterations. Indeed, POS better than INU delayed anorexia linked to cancer progression. In addition, POS treatment increased acetate in the caecal content, changed the fatty acid profile inside adipose tissue and counteracted the induction of markers controlling beta-oxidation, thereby hampering fat mass loss. Non digestible carbohydrates with prebiotic properties may constitute a new nutritional strategy to modulate gut microbiota with positive consequences on cancer progression and associated cachexia. [less ▲]

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See detailMultifactorial Optimization of Contrast-Enhanced Nanofocus Computed Tomography for Quantitative Analysis of Neo-Tissue Formation in Tissue Engineering Constructs.
Sonnaert, Maarten; Kerckhofs, Greet; Papantoniou, Ioannis et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(6), 0130227

To progress the fields of tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine, development of quantitative methods for non-invasive three dimensional characterization of engineered constructs (i.e. cells ... [more ▼]

To progress the fields of tissue engineering (TE) and regenerative medicine, development of quantitative methods for non-invasive three dimensional characterization of engineered constructs (i.e. cells/tissue combined with scaffolds) becomes essential. In this study, we have defined the most optimal staining conditions for contrast-enhanced nanofocus computed tomography for three dimensional visualization and quantitative analysis of in vitro engineered neo-tissue (i.e. extracellular matrix containing cells) in perfusion bioreactor-developed Ti6Al4V constructs. A fractional factorial 'design of experiments' approach was used to elucidate the influence of the staining time and concentration of two contrast agents (Hexabrix and phosphotungstic acid) and the neo-tissue volume on the image contrast and dataset quality. Additionally, the neo-tissue shrinkage that was induced by phosphotungstic acid staining was quantified to determine the operating window within which this contrast agent can be accurately applied. For Hexabrix the staining concentration was the main parameter influencing image contrast and dataset quality. Using phosphotungstic acid the staining concentration had a significant influence on the image contrast while both staining concentration and neo-tissue volume had an influence on the dataset quality. The use of high concentrations of phosphotungstic acid did however introduce significant shrinkage of the neo-tissue indicating that, despite sub-optimal image contrast, low concentrations of this staining agent should be used to enable quantitative analysis. To conclude, design of experiments allowed us to define the most optimal staining conditions for contrast-enhanced nanofocus computed tomography to be used as a routine screening tool of neo-tissue formation in Ti6Al4V constructs, transforming it into a robust three dimensional quality control methodology. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of the neutralizing epitopes of Merkel cell polyomavirus major capsid protein within the BC and EF surface loops.
Fleury, Maxime J. J.; Nicol, Jérôme ULg; Samimi, Mahtab et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(3), 0121751

Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is the first polyomavirus clearly associated with a human cancer, i.e. the Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Polyomaviruses are small naked DNA viruses that induce a robust ... [more ▼]

Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) is the first polyomavirus clearly associated with a human cancer, i.e. the Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Polyomaviruses are small naked DNA viruses that induce a robust polyclonal antibody response against the major capsid protein (VP1). However, the polyomavirus VP1 capsid protein epitopes have not been identified to date. The aim of this study was to identify the neutralizing epitopes of the MCPyV capsid. For this goal, four VP1 mutants were generated by insertional mutagenesis in the BC, DE, EF and HI loops between amino acids 88-89, 150-151, 189-190, and 296-297, respectively. The reactivity of these mutants and wild-type VLPs was then investigated with anti-VP1 monoclonal antibodies and anti-MCPyV positive human sera. The findings together suggest that immunodominant conformational neutralizing epitopes are present at the surface of the MCPyV VLPs and are clustered within BC and EF loops. [less ▲]

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