Chromosomal translocations are a genomic hallmark of many hematologic malignancies. Often as initiating events, these structural abnormalities result in fusion proteins involving transcription factors important for hematopoietic differentiation and/or signaling molecules regulating cell proliferation and cell cycle. In contrast, epigenetic regulator genes are more frequently targeted by somatic sequence mutations, possibly as secondary events to further potentiate leukemogenesis. Through comprehensive whole-transcriptome sequencing of 231 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), we identified 58 putative functional and predominant fusion genes in 54.1% of patients (n = 125), 31 of which have not been reported previously. In particular, we described a distinct ALL subtype with a characteristic gene expression signature predominantly driven by chromosomal rearrangements of the ZNF384 gene with histone acetyltransferases EP300 and CREBBP ZNF384-rearranged ALL showed significant up-regulation of CLCF1 and BTLA expression, and ZNF384 fusion proteins consistently showed higher activity to promote transcription of these target genes relative to wild-type ZNF384 in vitro. Ectopic expression of EP300-ZNF384 and CREBBP-ZNF384 fusion altered differentiation of mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and also potentiated oncogenic transformation in vitro. EP300- and CREBBP-ZNF384 fusions resulted in loss of histone lysine acetyltransferase activity in a dominant-negative fashion, with concomitant global reduction of histone acetylation and increased sensitivity of leukemia cells to histone deacetylase inhibitors. In conclusion, our results indicate that gene fusion is a common class of genomic abnormalities in childhood ALL and that recurrent translocations involving EP300 and CREBBP may cause epigenetic deregulation with potential for therapeutic targeting.
In childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), cytogenetics play an important role in diagnosis, allocation of treatment and prognosis. Conventional cytogenetic analysis, involving mainly karyotyping in our experience, has not been successful in a large proportion of cases due to inadequate metaphase spreads and poor chromosome morphology. Our aim is to develop a highly sensitive and specific method to screen simultaneously for the four most frequent fusion transcripts resulting from specific chromosomal translocations, namely, both the CML- and ALLtype BCR-ABL transcripts of t(9;22), E2A-PBX1 transcript of t(1;19), the MLL-AF4 transcript of t(4;11) and TEL-AML1 (also termed ETV6-CBFA2) of the cryptic t(12;21). A multiplex reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction protocol (RT-PCR) was developed and tested out on archival bone marrow samples and leukaemia cell lines. In all samples with a known translocation detected by cytogenetic techniques, the same translocation was identified by the multiplex-PCR assay. Multiplex RT-PCR assay is an effective, sensitive, accurate and cost-effective diagnostic tool which can improve our ability to accurately and rapidly risk-stratify patients with childhood ALL.
The relationship between the timing of maternal tetanus toxoid immunization and the presence of protective antitoxin in placental cord blood was investigated among women admitted to the obstetrical service of the University Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 1st dose was given between 13-39 weeks of gestation, with a median of 29 weeks. The 2nd dose was given an average of 4 weeks later. Protection was conferred on 80% or more of newborns whose mothers received their 1st tetanus toxoid injection 60 days or more before delivery. Protective levels were seen in all cord blood samples from infants whose mothers had received their 1st injection 90 days before delivery. Similarly,protective titers were found in 100% of cord blood samples when the 2nd maternal injection was give 60 days or more before delivery. There was no significant degree of protection when immunization was carried out less than 20 days before delivery. A single-dose schedule provided no protection when less than 70 days before delivery. Cord and maternal antiotoxin titers differed by no more than 1 2-fold dilution for almost all of the individual paired sera. A cord: maternal antitoxin ratio of 2 was more likely to occur with increasing time between the 2nd injection and delivery. Overall, these findings indicate that the 1st injection of a 2-dose maternal tetanus toxoid schedule should be given at least 60 days and preferably 90 days before delivery.
OBJECTIVES: This study examines the associations of Internet addiction with social anxiety, depression, and psychosocial well-being among Asian adolescents. A self-medication model conceptualizing Internet addiction as a mediating role in relating depression and social anxiety to negative psychosocial well-being was tested.
STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey.
METHODS: In the Asian Adolescent Risk Behavior Survey (AARBS), 5366 adolescents aged 12-18 years from six Asian countries (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Philippines) completed a questionnaire with items of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents (SAS-A), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD), Self-Rated Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA-SR) in the 2012-2013 school year. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the mediating role of Internet addiction in depression, social anxiety, and subjective psychosocial well-being.
RESULTS: Significant differences on the scores of IAT, SAS-A, CESD, and HoNOSCA-SR across the six countries were found. The proposed self-medication model of Internet addiction received satisfactory goodness-of-fit with data of all countries. After the path from social anxiety to Internet addiction had been discarded in the revised model, there was a significant improvement of the goodness-of-fit in the models for Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
CONCLUSIONS: Depression and social anxiety reciprocally influenced, whereas depression associated with poorer psychosocial well-being directly and indirectly through Internet addiction in all six countries. Internet addiction mediated the association between social anxiety and poor psychosocial well-being in China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents; Asian; Depression; Internet addiction; Social anxiety; Structural equation modelling
In Malysia, the proportion of children fully immunized againest diphtheria is generally low (20%). On the other hand, the Schick conversion rate rises with age and reaches 90% by 11 years of age. It is noted that asymptomatic carriers are an important epidemiological factor in diphtheria and that carrier rates for school children are high (prevalence of 7.5% while the rate of coloization with C. diphtheriae over a period of one year was 30%). Although immunization protects against clinical diphtheria, it does not prevent the carrier state. Thus, for the control of diphtheria, one should aim for 100% compliance. Some suggestions as to how higher levels of immunity may be achieved are described.
Silver nanoparticles (AgNP) are known to penetrate into the brain and cause neuronal death. However, there is a paucity in studies examining the effect of AgNP on the resident immune cells of the brain, microglia. Given microglia are implicated in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), it is important to examine how AgNPs affect microglial inflammation to fully assess AgNP neurotoxicity. In addition, understanding AgNP processing by microglia will allow better prediction of their long term bioreactivity. In the present study, the in vitro uptake and intracellular transformation of citrate-capped AgNPs by microglia, as well as their effects on microglial inflammation and related neurotoxicity were examined. Analytical microscopy demonstrated internalization and dissolution of AgNPs within microglia and formation of non-reactive silver sulphide (Ag2S) on the surface of AgNPs. Furthermore, AgNP-treatment up-regulated microglial expression of the hydrogen sulphide (H2S)-synthesizing enzyme cystathionine-γ-lyase (CSE). In addition, AgNPs showed significant anti-inflammatory effects, reducing lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated ROS, nitric oxide and TNFα production, which translated into reduced microglial toxicity towards dopaminergic neurons. Hence, the present results indicate that intracellular Ag2S formation, resulting from CSE-mediated H2S production in microglia, sequesters Ag+ ions released from AgNPs, significantly limiting their toxicity, concomitantly reducing microglial inflammation and related neurotoxicity.
Over the past hundred years in industrialised countries and recently in some developing countries, children have been getting larger and growing to maturity more rapidly. This paper compares the growth of Malaysian children with similar socioeconomic backgrounds but born about twelve years apart. Data were obtained from records of 227 children born between 1968 and 1973 and 238 children born between 1980 and 1985. The children were followed-up regularly at the University Hospital Child Health Clinic in Kuala Lumpur for a variable period from birth to five years of age. Measurements for their weight, length and head circumference were taken at each visit. There is a directional indication that boys and girls of the 1980-1985 cohort are taller, heavier and have bigger head circumferences from birth to five years of age and the difference widens as the child grows older. This study clearly shows that a positive secular trend has taken place in the last decade, reflecting an improvement of living conditions with time. The factors involved in the positive secular trend are manifold and the most important is probably nutrition.
Hemoglobinopathies are among the most common autosomal-recessive disorders worldwide. A comprehensive next-generation sequencing (NGS) test would greatly facilitate screening and diagnosis of these disorders. An NGS panel targeting the coding regions of hemoglobin genes and four modifier genes was designed. We validated the assay by using 2522 subjects affected with hemoglobinopathies and applied it to carrier testing in a cohort of 10,111 couples who were also screened through traditional methods. In the clinical genotyping analysis of 1182 β-thalassemia subjects, we identified a group of additional variants that can be used for accurate diagnosis. In the molecular screening analysis of the 10,111 couples, we detected 4180 individuals in total who carried 4840 mutant alleles, and identified 186 couples at risk of having affected offspring. 12.1% of the pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants identified by our NGS assay, which were undetectable by traditional methods. Compared with the traditional methods, our assay identified an additional at-risk 35 couples. We describe a comprehensive NGS-based test that offers advantages over the traditional screening/molecular testing methods. To our knowledge, this is among the first large-scale population study to systematically evaluate the application of an NGS technique in carrier screening and molecular diagnosis of hemoglobinopathies.
Accompanying increased commercial applications and production of silver nanomaterials is an increased probability of human exposure, with inhalation a key route. Nanomaterials that deposit in the pulmonary alveolar region following inhalation will interact firstly with pulmonary surfactant before they interact with the alveolar epithelium. It is therefore critical to understand the effects of human pulmonary surfactant when evaluating the inhalation toxicity of silver nanoparticles. In this study, we evaluated the toxicity of AgNPs on human alveolar type-I-like epithelial (TT1) cells in the absence and presence of Curosurf(®) (a natural pulmonary surfactant substitute), hypothesising that the pulmonary surfactant would act to modify toxicity. We demonstrated that 20nm citrate-capped AgNPs induce toxicity in human alveolar type I-like epithelial cells and, in agreement with our hypothesis, that pulmonary surfactant acts to mitigate this toxicity, possibly through reducing AgNP dissolution into cytotoxic Ag(+) ions. For example, IL-6 and IL-8 release by TT1 cells significantly increased 10.7- and 35-fold, respectively (P<0.01), 24h after treatment with 25μg/ml AgNPs. In contrast, following pre-incubation of AgNPs with Curosurf(®), this effect was almost completely abolished. We further determined that the mechanism of this toxicity is likely associated with Ag(+) ion release and lysosomal disruption, but not with increased reactive oxygen species generation. This study provides a critical understanding of the toxicity of AgNPs in target human alveolar type-I-like epithelial cells and the role of pulmonary surfactant in mitigating this toxicity. The observations reported have important implications for the manufacture and application of AgNPs, in particular for applications involving use of aerosolised AgNPs.
We explored the severity and risk factors for cardiac and liver iron overload (IOL) in 69 thalassemia patients who underwent T2* magnetic resonance imaging (T2* MRI) in a Malaysian tertiary hospital from 2011 to 2015. Fifty-three patients (76.8%) had transfusion-dependent thalassemia (TDT) and 16 (23.2%) had non transfusion-dependent thalassemia (NTDT). Median serum ferritin prior to T2* MRI was 3848.0 μg/L (TDT) and 3971.0 μg/L (NTDT). Cardiac IOL was present in 16 (30.2%) TDT patients and two (12.5%) NTDT patients, in whom severe cardiac IOL defined as T2* <10 ms affected six (11.3%) TDT patients. Liver IOL was present in 51 (96.2%) TDT and 16 (100%) NTDT patients, 37 (69.8%) TDT and 13 (81.3%) NTDT patients were in the most severe category (>15 mgFe/gm dry weight). Serum ferritin showed a significantly strong negative correlation with liver T2* in both TDT (rs = -0.507, p = 0.001) and NTDT (r = -0.762, p = 0.002) but no correlation to cardiac T2* in TDT (r = -0.252, p = 0.099) as well as NTDT (r = -0.457, p = 0.100). For the TDT group, regression analysis showed that cardiac IOL was more severe in males (p = 0.022) and liver IOL was more severe in the Malay ethnic group (p = 0.028) and those with higher serum ferritin levels (p = 0.030). The high prevalence of IOL in our study and the poor correlation between serum ferritin and cardiac T2* underline the need to routinely screen thalassemia patients using T2* MRI to enable the early detection of cardiac IOL.
Pneumonia and diarrhoeas are an important cause of toddler mortality and morbidity in developing countries. Of the 147 children admitted to the University Hospital at Kuala Lumpur in 1971 for pneumonia and diarrhoeas 50 (34%) were found to be suffering from protein-calorie malnutrition of varying degrees of severity. The malnourished children tended to come from poorer homes, and to have a larger number of siblings born in rapid succession when compared with normal weight children. Anemia was more common among the malnourished children. The interaction of infection and malnutrition and the social implications of these diseases are important. It is vital that hospitals in developing countries promote health in addition to their traditional curative role.