Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a growing health problem worldwide and in Malaysia. Until recently, research on COPD has been slow and difficult, partly due to the huge heterogeneity of this disease, and its variable and imprecise definitions. To perform a descriptive study on a convenient sample of local patients with COPD treated in a state hospital in Malaysia. Fifty-two patients [mean (95% CI) age: 67 (63-70) years; 86% male: 38% Malays, 36% Chinese, 25% Indians; mean (95% CI) PEFR: 45 (40-51) % predicted normal] were interviewed. Clinico-demographic data was collected using a structured questionnaire and health-related quality of life was scored using St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). For analysis, patients were also divided into moderate (n=17) [PEFR 50% to 80%] and severe (n=35) [PEFR < 50%] disease groups. Except for education and total family income, demographic and comorbidity variables were comparable between the two groups of COPD severity. All except 9% of patients were current or ex-smokers. Breathlessness, not chronic bronchitis (i.e. cough and sputum), was the first ranking respiratory symptom in over 70% of the patients, whether currently or at early disease manifestation. Between 5 and 15% of the patients denied any symptom of chronic bronchitis as current or early stage symptoms. Duration of symptoms prior to the diagnosis varied considerably with about 9% having symptoms for over 10 years. Over 80% of the patients smoked for over 15 years before the onset of symptoms. Quality of life in patients with COPI) was generally poor and similar between both COPD severity groups. About one fifth of the patients had exacerbations more than 12 times a year. While many features described in our local patients are well recognized in COPD, the finding that 'chronic bronchitis' is not a prominent symptom in the current or past history may have important implications in the diagnosis of at risk individuals and patients with early disease requiring attention. More research is required to confirm and to understand this.
Background:Gardnerella vaginalis (GV) is most frequently associated with bacterial vaginosis and is the second most common etiology causing intrauterine infection after Ureaplasma urealyticum. Intrauterine GV infection adversely affects pregnancy outcomes, resulting in preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, and neonatal pneumonia. The knowledge of how GV exerts its effects is limited. We developed an in vivo animal model to study its effects on fetal development. Materials and Methods: A survival mini-laparotomy was conducted on New Zealand rabbits on gestational day 21 (28 weeks of human pregnancy). In each dam, fetuses in the right uterine horn received intra-amniotic 0.5 × 102 colony-forming units of GV injections each, while their littermate controls in the left horn received sterile saline injections. A second laparotomy was performed seven days later. Assessment of the fetal pups, histopathology of the placenta and histomorphometric examination of the fetal lung tissues was done. Results: Three dams with a combined total of 12 fetuses were exposed to intra-amniotic GV, and 9 fetuses were unexposed. The weights of fetuses, placenta, and fetal lung were significantly lower in the GV group than the saline-inoculated control group [mean gross weight, GV (19.8 ± 3.8 g) vs. control (27.9 ± 1.7 g), p < 0.001; mean placenta weight, GV (5.5 ± 1.0 g) vs. control (6.5 ± 0.7 g), p = 0.027; mean fetal lung weight, GV (0.59 ± 0.11 g) vs. control (0.91 ± 0.08 g), p = 0.002. There was a two-fold increase in the multinucleated syncytiotrophoblasts in the placenta of the GV group than their littermate controls (82.9 ± 14.9 vs. 41.6 ± 13.4, p < 0.001). The mean alveolar septae of GV fetuses was significantly thicker than the control (14.8 ± 2.8 μm vs. 12.4 ± 3.8 μm, p = 0.007). Correspondingly, the proliferative index in the interalveolar septum was 1.8-fold higher in the GV group than controls (24.9 ± 6.6% vs. 14.2 ± 2.9%, p = 0.011). The number of alveoli and alveolar surface area did not vary between groups. Discussion: Low-dose intra-amniotic GV injection induces fetal growth restriction, increased placental multinucleated syncytiotrophoblasts and fetal lung re-modeling characterized by alveolar septal hypertrophy with cellular proliferative changes. Conclusion: This intra-amniotic model could be utilized in future studies to elucidate the acute and chronic effects of GV intrauterine infections.
Recently, studies on the development and investigation of carbohydrate-functionalized silica nanoparticles (NPs) and their biomedicine applications such as cell-specific targeting and bioimaging has been carried out extensively. Since the number of breast cancer patients has been growing in recent years, potential NPs were being studied in this project for targeting breast cancer cells. Mannose receptors can be found on the surface of MDA-MB-231, which is a kind of human breast cancer cell line. Therefore, we decorated a cyanine 3 fluorescent dye (Cy3) and mannosides on the surface of silica NPs for the purpose of imaging and targeting. Galactoside was also introduced onto the surface of silica NPs acting as a control sample. Various sizes of silica NPs were synthesized by using different amounts of ammonium to investigate the effect of the size of NPs on the cellular uptake rate. The physical properties of these NPs were characterized by scanning electron microscope, dynamic light scattering, and their zeta potential. Cellular experiments demonstrated that mannoside-modified NPs can be uptaken by MDA-MB-231. From the experiment, we found out that the best cellular uptake rate of nanoparticle size is about 250 nm. The MTT assay showed that Man@Cy3SiO2NPs are not cytotoxic, indicating they may have the potential for biomedical applications.