Abstract-C-reactive protein (CRP) is a predictor of cardiovascular risk. It circulates as a pentamer (pentameric CRP) in plasma. The in vivo existence of monomeric (m)CRP has been postulated, but its function and source are not clear. We show that mCRP is deposited in human aortic and carotid atherosclerotic plaques but not in healthy vessels. pCRP is found neither in healthy nor in diseased vessels. As source of mCRP, we identify a mechanism of dissociation of pCRP to mCRP. We report that activated platelets, which play a central role in cardiovascular events, mediate this dissociation via lysophosphatidylcholine, which is present on activated but not resting platelets. Furthermore, the dissociation of pCRP to mCRP can also be mediated by apoptotic monocytic THP-1 and Jurkat T cells. The functional consequence is the unmasking of proinflammatory effects of CRP as demonstrated in experimental settings that are pathophysiologically relevant for atherogenesis: compared to pCRP, mCRP induces enhanced monocyte chemotaxis; monocyte activation, as determined by conformational change of integrin Mac-1; generation of reactive oxygen species; and monocyte adhesion under static and physiological flow conditions. In conclusion, we demonstrate mCRP generation via pCRP dissociation on activated platelets and H 2 O 2 -treated apoptotic THP-1 and Jurkat T cells, thereby identifying a mechanism of localized unmasking of the proinflammatory properties of CRP. This novel mechanism provides a potential link between the established cardiovascular risk marker, circulating pCRP, and localized platelet-mediated inflammatory and proatherogenic effects. Key Words: C-reactive protein Ⅲ atherosclerosis Ⅲ platelets C -reactive protein (CRP) is a highly conserved protein of the pentraxin family that consists of 5 noncovalently linked subunits of Ϸ23 kDa. It is mainly produced in the liver, but under certain conditions can also be secreted by smooth muscle cells 1 and endothelial cells. 2 It was first discovered as an acute phase reactant, with plasma levels increasing from a baseline level of 1 to 2 g/mL up to 100-to 1000-fold within 24 to 72 hours. Because of this rapid cytokinedriven response to tissue injury, infection, and inflammation, CRP is seen as the prototypic inflammatory marker.Small, 2-to 5-fold increases in the baseline level of plasma CRP in asymptomatic individuals have been associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular events such as stroke and myocardial infarction. 3,4 In the recently published Jupiter trial, mildly elevated CRP levels were used to guide primary prevention, resulting in a significant reduction of major cardiovascular events in apparently healthy individuals. 5 Although the exact role of CRP in atherosclerosis and its complications are unknown, evidence is now emerging to suggest that it may be a direct, causative factor. 6,7 In vitro, CRP has been reported to increase interleukin-8 production in monocytes, 8 inhibit endothelial nitric oxide synthase, 9 alter the antioxidant defenses, and promote...
A therosclerosis, a progressive, chronic, inflammatory disease with specific, localized manifestations in the arterial wall, is a major health burden and is predicted to become the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. 1,2 Complications of atherosclerosis, such as myocardial infarction (MI), which is the largest single cause of death in developed countries, are caused by inflammation-driven rupture of atherosclerotic plaques. 3A major hurdle in research on mechanisms of plaque rupture is the lack of appropriate mouse models which exhibit plaque rupture and lesion characteristics of vulnerable, unstable, and thus rupture-prone plaques as found in humans.4 Such characteristics most importantly include a thin and ruptured fibrous cap, plaque inflammation, neovascularization within the plaque (vasa vasorum), plaque hemorrhage, and intravascular (often occlusive) thrombus formation. 2,3, In addition, an animal model of plaque instability/rupture should include responsiveness to pharmacological agents known to reduce the risk of plaque rupture in humans. 8,9 Currently discussed animal models of atherosclerosis typically represent a few but not the full combination of the characteristics seen in human unstable/ruptured plaques.  An animal model of New Methods in Cardiovascular Biology© 2013 American Heart Association, Inc. Rationale: The high morbidity/mortality of atherosclerosis is typically precipitated by plaque rupture and consequent thrombosis. However, research on underlying mechanisms and therapeutic approaches is limited by the lack of animal models that reproduce plaque instability observed in humans.Objective: Development and use of a mouse model of plaque rupture that reflects the end stage of human atherosclerosis. Methods and Results:On the basis of flow measurements and computational fluid dynamics, we applied a tandem stenosis to the carotid artery of apolipoprotein E-deficient mice on high-fat diet. At 7 weeks postoperatively, we observed intraplaque hemorrhage in ≈50% of mice, as well as disruption of fibrous caps, intraluminal thrombosis, neovascularization, and further characteristics typically seen in human unstable plaques. Administration of atorvastatin was associated with plaque stabilization and downregulation of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 and ubiquitin. Microarray profiling of mRNA and microRNA (miR) and, in particular, its combined analysis demonstrated major differences in the hierarchical clustering of genes and miRs among nonatherosclerotic arteries, stable, and unstable plaques and allows the identification of distinct genes/miRs, potentially representing novel therapeutic targets for plaque stabilization. The feasibility of the described animal model as a discovery tool was established in a pilot approach, identifying a disintegrin and metalloprotease with thrombospondin motifs 4 (ADAMTS4) and miR-322 as potential pathogenic factors of plaque instability in mice and validated in human plaques. Conclusions:The newly described mouse mod...
Optical second- and third-harmonic generations have attracted a lot of attention in the biomedical imaging research field recently due to their intrinsic sectioning ability and noninvasiveness. Combined with near-infrared excitation sources, their deep-penetration ability makes these imaging modalities suitable for tissue characterization. In this article, we demonstrate a polarization harmonics optical microscopy, or P-HOM, to study the nonlinear optical anisotropy of the nanometer-scaled myosin and actin filaments inside myofibrils. By using tight focusing we can avoid the phase-matching condition due to micron-scaled, high-order structures in skeletal muscle fibers, and obtain the submicron-scaled polarization dependencies of second/third-harmonic generation intensities on the inclination angle between the long axes of the filaments and the polarization direction of the linear polarized fundamental excitation laser light. From these dependencies, detailed information on the tensor elements of the second/third-order nonlinear susceptibilities contributed from the myosin/actin filaments inside myofibrils can thus be analyzed and obtained, reflecting the detailed arrangements and structures of the constructing biomolecules. By acquiring a whole, nonlinearly sectioned image with a submicron spatial resolution, we can also compare the polarization dependency and calculate the nonlinear susceptibilities over a large area of the tissue at the same time-which not only provides statistical information but will be especially useful with complex specimen geometry.
With the popularity of mobile devices and the pervasive use of cellular technology, there is widespread interest in hybrid networks and on how to achieve robustness and good performance from them. As most smart phones and mobile devices are equipped with dual interfaces (WiFi and 3G/4G), a promising approach is through the use of multi-path TCP, which leverages path diversity to improve performance and provide robust data transfers. In this paper we explore the performance of multi-path TCP in the wild, focusing on simple 2-path multi-path TCP scenarios. We seek to answer the following questions: How much can a user benefit from using multi-path TCP over cellular and WiFi relative to using the either interface alone? What is the impact of flow size on average latency? What is the effect of the rate/route control algorithm on performance? We are especially interested in understanding how application level performance is affected when path characteristics (e.g., round trip times and loss rates) are diverse. We address these questions by conducting measurements using one commercial Internet service provider and three major cellular carriers in the US.
Platelet activation causes conformational changes of integrin GPIIb/IIIa (alpha(IIb)beta3), resulting in the exposure of its ligand-binding pocket. This provides the unique possibility to design agents that specifically block activated platelets only. We used phage display of single-chain antibody (scFv) libraries in combination with several rounds of depletion/selection to obtain human scFvs that bind specifically to the activated conformation of GPIIb/IIIa. Functional evaluation of these scFv clones revealed that fibrinogen binding to human platelets and platelet aggregation can be effectively inhibited by activation-specific scFvs. In contrast to clinically used GPIIb/IIIa blockers, which are all conformation unspecific, activation-specific GPIIb/IIIa blockers do not induce conformational changes in GPIIb/IIIa or outside-in signaling, as evaluated by ligand-induced binding-site (LIBS) exposure in flow cytometry or P-selectin expression in immunofluorescence microscopy, respectively. In contrast to the conformation-unspecific blocker abciximab, activation-specific scFvs permit cell adhesion and spreading on immobilized fibrinogen, which is mediated by nonactivated GPIIb/IIIa. Mutagenesis studies and computer modeling indicate that exclusive binding of activation-specific scFv is mediated by RXD motifs in the heavy-chain complementary-determining region (CDR) 3 of the antibodies, which in comparison with other antibodies forms an exceptionally extended loop. In vivo experiments in a ferric-chloride thrombosis model of the mouse carotid artery demonstrate similar antithrombotic potency of activation-specific scFv, when compared with the conformation-unspecific blockers tirofiban and eptifibatide. However, in contrast to tirofiban and eptifibatide, bleeding times are not prolonged with the activation-specific scFvs, suggesting lower bleeding risks. In conclusion, activation-specific GPIIb/IIIa blockade via human single-chain antibodies represents a promising novel strategy for antiplatelet therapy.
Rationale: Myocardial infarction and stroke are leading causes of morbidity/mortality. The typical underlying pathology is the formation of thrombi/emboli and subsequent vessel occlusion. Systemically administered fibrinolytic drugs are the most effective pharmacological therapy. However, bleeding complications are relatively common and this risk as such limits their broader use. Furthermore, a rapid non-invasive imaging technology is not available. Thereby, many thrombotic events are missed or only diagnosed when ischemic damage has already occurred.Objective: Design and preclinical testing of a novel 'theranostic' technology for the rapid non-invasive diagnosis and effective, bleeding-free treatment of thrombosis.Methods and Results: A newly created, innovative theranostic microbubble combines a recombinant fibrinolytic drug, an echo-enhancing microbubble and a recombinant thrombus-targeting device in form of an activated-platelet-specific single-chain antibody. After initial in vitro proof of functionality, we tested this theranostic microbubble both in ultrasound imaging and thrombolytic therapy using a mouse model of ferric-chloride-induced thrombosis in the carotid artery. We demonstrate the reliable highly sensitive detection of in vivo thrombi and the ability to monitor their size changes in real time. Furthermore, these theranostic microbubbles proofed to be as effective in thrombolysis as commercial urokinase but without the prolongation of bleeding time as seen with urokinase.Conclusions: We describe a novel theranostic technology enabling simultaneous diagnosis and treatment of thrombosis, as well as monitoring of success or failure of thrombolysis. This technology holds promise for major progress in rapid diagnosis and bleeding-free thrombolysis thereby potentially preventing the often devastating consequences of thrombotic disease in many patients.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. Noninvasive proteome analysis could guide clinical evaluation and early/preventive treatment. Under routine clinical conditions, urine of 67 patients presenting with symptoms suspicious for CAD were analyzed by capillary electrophoresis directly coupled with mass spectrometry (CE-MS). All patients were subjected to coronary angiography and either assigned to a CAD or non-CAD group. A training set of 29 patients was used to establish CAD and non-CAD-associated proteome patterns of plasma as well as urine. Significant discriminatory power was achieved in urine but not in plasma. Therefore, urine proteomic analysis of further 38 patients was performed in a blinded study. A combination of 17 urinary polypeptides allowed separation of both groups in the test set with a sensitivity of 81%, a specificity of 92%, and an accuracy of 84%. Sequencing of urinary marker peptides identified fragments of collagen alpha1 (I and III), which we furthermore demonstrated to be expressed in atherosclerotic plaques of human aorta. In conclusion, specific CE-MS polypeptide patterns in urine were associated with significant CAD in patients with angina-typical symptoms. These promising findings need to be further evaluated in regard to reliability of a urine-based screening method with the potential of improving the diagnostic approaches for CAD.
Pressure reduction through nucleoplasty is highly dependent on the degree of spine degeneration. Nucleoplasty markedly reduced intradiscal pressure in nondegenerative discs, but had a negligible effect on highly degenerative discs.
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