Beta (β)- thalassaemia is a public health problem in Malaysia. The carrier rate is estimated to be 4.5% by micro-mapping studies particularly among Malays who comprise 53.5% of the population in Malaysia. The common diagnostic method in Malaysia for mutation detection is by amplification refractory mutation system (ARMS). It allows single mutation detection in each reaction but is labour intensive and time consuming when many mutations need to be identified. The purpose of this study was to develop a diagnostic tool for effective mutation detection of beta thalassaemia in Malay patients and compare its efficacy with ARMS-PCR, the current method in use. Methods: Reverse dot blot hybridization (RDBH) technique was incorporated in the development of two strip assays [RDBH-Strip M(6) and RDBH-Strip C(6)] to identify common beta thalassaemia mutations in the Malays. The panels of selected mutations were based on the mutation frequencies in Malaysia reported in previous studies. RDBH-Strip M(6) was applied as step 1 and RDBH-Strip C(6) was applied as step 2 for unidentified mutations. The strips were validated with the gold standard method, ARMS- PCR. Results: One hundred and thirty seven Malay patients with 274 alleles were studied. In Step 1 mutation detection, 238 alleles (86.9%) were identified in 119 of patients by RDBH-Strip M(6). Step 2 resulted in a further detection of 20 alleles in another 10 patients by RDBH-Strip C(6). The combination of both strips resulted in the identification of 258 alleles in 129 (94.6%) of 137 Malay patients. The strip assays were 100% sensitive and specific when compared with ARMS-PCR method. Conclusion: Two strip assays utilising the RDBH technique were developed to identify common β-thalassaemia mutations in Malays. The RDBH Strip M(6) identified 86.9% of the mutations and the RDBH-Strip C (6) detected further 7.3% alleles. This two step strategy was found to be rapid and cost effective for the direct diagnosis of β-thalassaemia mutations in the Malays. The remaining unidentified mutations would require DNA sequencing. It can serve as a specific molecular diagnostic tool for effective diagnosis of
β-thalassaemia mutations in this ethnic group.
Introduction: Amniotic fluid (AF) consists of heterogenous population of cells with high diagnostic
and therapeutic values. The study of rat amniotic fluid cells is very limited, despite the extensive use
of this animal model in biomedical research. Primary culture of rat AF cells, especially from full term pregnancies has not been well established. Here we attempt to determine the suitable medium in
culturing rat AF cells that would enhance the cell viability, growth rate and heterogeneity. Methods:
The cell viability, growth rate and heterogeneity of rat AF cells were compared upon culturing the
primary cells in two different media; Amniomax or RPMI. Cell viability study was carried out using
trypan blue staining, while the growth rate was monitored based on the time required to passage the cells (population doubling time in hour). The heterogeneity of cells was examined based on the morphology of the cells. Statistical analysis was performed using t-test. Results: Amniomax was observed to provide a better culture condition in culturing rat AF cells as the cells are more viable, grow faster and more heterogenous as compared to the cells grown in RPMI. Conclusion: Amniomax is a more suitable medium for high quality and viability of full term rat AF cell culture, as compared to RPMI. Thus, warranting propagation of more rat AF cells for biomedical research.
Food wastes with high moisture and organic matter content are likely to emit odours as a result of the decomposition process. The management of odour from decomposing wastes is needed to sustain the interest of residents and local councils in the source separation of kitchen wastes. This study investigated the potential of baking soda (at 50 g, 75 g and 100g per kg food waste) to control odour from seven days stored food waste. It was found that 50 g of baking soda, spread at the bottom of 8l food wastes bin, can reduce the odour by about 70%. A higher amount (above 100g) is not advised as a pH higher than 9.0 may be induced leading to the volatilization of odorous ammonia. This research finding is expected to benefit the waste management sector, food processing industries as well as the local authorities where malodour from waste storage is a pressing issue.
Investigation on the use of herbal-based biopolymers for probiotic-Lactobacillus plantarum 15HN-encapsulation is presented. The objectives are to enhance its oral delivery, colonic release and survival rate of these probiotic cultures in gastrointestinal environment.
Anterior corpectomy and reconstruction using a plate with locking screws are standard procedures for the treatment of cervical spondylotic myelopathy. Although adding more screws to the construct will normally result in improved fixation stability, several issues need to be considered. Past reports have suggested that increasing the number of screws can result in the increase in spinal rigidity, decreased spine mobility, loss of bone and, possibly, screw loosening. In order to overcome this, options to have constrained, semi-constrained or hybrid screw and plate systems were later introduced. The purpose of this study is to compare the stability achieved by four and two screws using different plate systems after one-level corpectomy with placement of cage. A three-dimensional finite-element model of an intact C1-C7 segment was developed from computer tomography data sets, including the cortical bone, soft tissue and simulated corpectomy fusion at C4-C5. A spinal cage and an anterior cervical plate with different numbers of screws and plate systems were constructed to a fit one-level corpectomy of C5. Moment load of 1.0 N m was applied to the superior surface of C1, with C7 was fixed in all degrees of freedom. The kinematic stability of a two-screw plate was found to be statistically equivalent to a four-screw plate for one-level corpectomy. Thus, it can be a better option of fusion and infers comparable stability after one-level anterior cervical corpectomy, instead of a four-screw plate.
Calreticulin (CRT) as a multi-functional endoplasmic reticulum protein is involved in a spectrum of cellular processes which ranges from calcium homeostasis and chaperoning to cell adhesion and finally malignant formation and progression. Previous studies have shown a contributing role for CRT in a range of different cancers. This present review will focus on the possible roles of CRT in the progression of malignant proliferation and the mechanisms involved in its contribution to cancer invasion.
Frogs caught from two States (Selangor and Langkawi) in Malaysia were examined for spargana of Spirometra sp. Infected frogs usually show no marks of infection but some had swelling and bleeding at the infection site. The size and weight of the infected frogs did not correlate with the infection status. The infection status in relation to human health is discussed.
An embryonic stem cell (ESC) is a good tool to generate neurons in vitro and can be used to mimic neural development in vivo. It has been widely used in research to examine the role of cell signalling during neuronal development, test the effects of drugs on neurons, and generate a large population of functional neurons. So far, a number of protocols have been established to promote the differentiation of ESCs, such as direct and indirect differentiation. One of the widely used protocols to generate neurons is through the spontaneous formation of multicellular aggregates known as embryonic bodies (EBs). However, for some, it is not clear why EB protocol could be the protocol of choice. EB also is known to mimic an early embryo; hence, knowing the similarities between EB and an early embryo is essential, particularly the information on the players that promote the formation of EBs or the aggregation of ESCs. This review paper focuses on these issues and discusses further the generation of neural cells from EBs using a well-known protocol, the 4-/4+ protocol.
Matrix metallopeptidase 3 or MMP3, is a zinc-dependent proteolytic enzyme that is involved in various physiological processes via modification of the extracellular matrix. In particular, its over-expression has been associated with cancer metastasis and tumor growth in various cancers including breast cancer. MMP3 gene expression is regulated by several factors such as DNA polymorphisms which also serve as risk factors for breast cancer. As such, DNA polymorphisms of MMP3 have the potential to be utilized as genetic biomarkers for prediction and prognosis of metastatic breast cancer. Presently, genome-wide association studies of MMP3 gene polymorphisms which are associated with breast cancer risk and patient survival in a variety of populations are reviewed. In order to understand the potential role of MMP3 polymorphisms as genetic markers for breast cancer metastasis, the domain structure of MMP3, the regulation of its expression and its role in breast cancer metastasis are also briefly discussed in this review. The emergence of MMP3 gene polymorphisms as prognostic biomarker candidates for breast cancer metastasis may contribute towards improving targeted therapies and categorization of breast cancer cases in order to provide a better and more accurate prognosis.
Alleviating acute pain and providing pain relief are central to caring for surgical patients as pain can lead to many adverse medical consequences. This study aimed to explore patients' experience of pain and satisfaction with postoperative pain control. A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 107 respondents who had undergone abdominal surgery in the surgical ward of an urban hospital using the Revised American Pain Society's Patient Outcome and Satisfaction Survey Questionnaires (APS-POQ-R). Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and chi-square test. Chi-square test showed significant association between race (P = 0.038), education level (P ≤ 0.001), previous operation status (P = 0.032) and operation status (P ≤ 0.001). Further analysis on nominal regression, association between dissatisfaction with factors of operation status (46.09 (95% CI 7.456, 284.947)) and previous operation status (13.38 (95% CI 1.39, 128.74)) was found to be significant. Moderate to high levels of pain intensity in the last 24 h after surgery, as well as moderate to high rates of pain-related interference with care activities were most reported. Pain still remains an issue among surgical patients, and effective pain management and health education are needed to manage pain more effectively after surgery.
Existing nonviral gene delivery systems to lungs are inefficient and associated with dose limiting toxicity in mammalian cells. Therefore, carbonate apatite (CO3Ap) nanoparticles were examined as an alternative strategy for effective gene delivery to the lungs. This study aimed to (1) assess the gene delivery efficiency of CO3Ap in vitro and in mouse lungs, (2) evaluate the cytotoxicity effect of CO3Ap/pDNA in vitro, and (3) characterize the CO3Ap/pDNA complex formulations. A significantly high level of reporter gene expression was detected from the lung cell line transfected with CO3Ap/pDNA complex prepared in both serum and serum-free medium. Cytotoxicity analysis revealed that the percentage of the viable cells treated with CO3Ap to be almost similar to the untreated cells. Characterization analyses showed that the CO3Ap/pDNA complexes are in a nanometer range with aggregated spherical structures and tended to be more negatively charged. In the lung of mice, highest level of transgene expression was observed when CO3Ap (8 μL) was complexed with 40 μg of pDNA at day 1 after administration. Although massive reduction of gene expression was seen beyond day 1 post administration, the level of expression remained significant throughout the study period.
Conventional therapies for malignant cancer such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are associated with poor survival rates owing to the development of cellular resistance to cancer drugs and the lack of targetability, resulting in unwanted adverse effects on healthy cells and necessitating the lowering of therapeutic dose with consequential lower efficacy of the treatment. Gene therapy employing different types of viral and non-viral carriers to transport gene(s) of interest and facilitating production of the desirable therapeutic protein(s) has tremendous prospects in cancer treatments due to the high-level of specificity in therapeutic action of the expressed protein(s) with diminished off-target effects, although cancer cell-specific delivery of transgene(s) still poses some challenges to be addressed. Depending on the potential therapeutic target genes, cancer gene therapy could be categorized into tumor suppressor gene replacement therapy, immune gene therapy and enzyme- or prodrug-based therapy. This review would shed light on the current progress of delivery of potentially therapeutic genes into various cancer cells in vitro and animal models utilizing a variety of viral and non-viral vectors.
Curcumin, which is derived from turmeric has gained much attention in recent years for its anticancer activities against various cancers. However, due to its poor absorption, rapid metabolism and elimination, curcumin has a very low oral bioavailability. Therefore, we have formulated mucoadhesive nanoparticles to deliver curcumin to the colon, such that prolonged contact between the nanoparticles and the colon leads to a sustained level of curcumin in the colon, improving the anticancer effect of curcumin on colorectal cancer. The current work entails the ex vivo mucoadhesion study of the formulated nanoparticles and the in vitro effect of mucoadhesive interaction between the nanoparticles and colorectal cancer cells. The ex vivo study showed that curcumin-containing chitosan nanoparticles (CUR-CS-NP) have improved mucoadhesion compared to unloaded chitosan nanoparticles (CS-NP), suggesting that curcumin partly contributes to the mucoadhesion process. This may lead to an enhanced anticancer effect of curcumin when formulated in CUR-CS-NP. Our results show that CUR-CS-NP are taken up to a greater extent by colorectal cancer cells, compared to free curcumin. The prolonged contact offered by the mucoadhesion of CUR-CS-NP onto the cells resulted in a greater reduction in percentage cell viability as well as a lower IC50, indicating a potential improved treatment outcome. The formulation and free curcumin appeared to induce cell apoptosis in colorectal cancer cells, by arresting the cell cycle at G2/M phase. The superior anticancer effects exerted by CUR-CS-NP indicated that this could be a potential treatment for colorectal cancer.
Most of the classical drugs used today to destroy cancer cells lead to the development of acquired resistance in those cells by limiting cellular entry of the drugs or exporting them out by efflux pumps. As a result, higher doses of drugs are usually required to kill the cancer cells affecting normal cells and causing numerous side effects. Accumulation of the therapeutic level of drugs inside the cancer cells is thus required for an adequate period of time to get drugs' complete therapeutic efficacy minimizing the side effects on normal cells. In order to improve the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs, nanoparticles of carbonate apatite and its strontium (Sr(2+))-substituted derivative were used in this study to make complexes with three classical anticancer drugs, methotrexate, cyclophosphamide and 5-flurouracil. The binding affinities of these drugs to apatite were evaluated by absorbance and HPLC analysis and the therapeutic efficacy of drug-apatite complexes was determined by cell viability assay. Carbonate apatite demonstrated significant binding affinity towards methotrexate and cyclophosphamide leading to more cellular toxicity than free drugs in MCF-7 and 4T1 breast cancer cells. Moreover, Sr(2+) substitution in carbonate apatite with resulting tiny particles less than 100 nm in diameter further promoted binding of methotrexate to the nanocarriers indicating that Sr(2+)-substituted apatite nanoparticles have the high potential for loading substantial amount of anti-cancer drugs with eventual more therapeutic effectiveness.
Cancer nanotherapeutics is beginning to overwhelm the global research and viewed to be the revolutionary treatment regime in the medical field. This investigation describes the development of a stable nanostructured lipid carrier (NLC) system as carrier for Tamoxifen (TAM). The TAM-loaded NLC (TAM-NLC) developed with 200mg of TAM showed a spherical particle with the size of 46.6nm, polydispersity index of 0.267, entrapment efficiency of 99.74% and with the zeta potential of -23.78mV. Besides, the equivalent cytotoxicity of TAM and TAM-NLC to human (MCF-7) and mice (4T1) mammary breast cancer cell lines were observed. Incubating the formulation at the physiological pH resulted into reduced Ostwald ripening rate but without any significant change in the absorptivity. When coupled with the measurements of zeta potential and Ostwald ripening rate, the absorbance assay may be used to predict the long-term stability of drug-loaded nanoparticle formulations. The results of the study also suggest that TAM-NLC is a promising drug delivery system for breast cancer therapy. This is the first encouraging report on the in vitro effect of TAM-NLC against human and mouse mammary adenocarcinoma cell lines.
Polymeric carriers in the form of cellulose acetate phthalate (CAP) and alginate (ALG) microspheres were used for encapsulation of plasmid DNA for oral mucosal immunization. Access into the intestinal mucosa by pVAX1 eukaryotic expression plasmid vectors carrying gene-coding sequences, either for the cholera enterotoxin B subunit (ctxB) immunostimulatory antigen or the green fluorescent protein (GFP), delivered from both types of microsphere carriers were examined in orally immunized BALB/c mice. Demonstration of transgene protein expression and IgA antibody responses at local mucosal sites suggest immunological response to a potential oral DNA vaccine formulated within the microsphere carriers.
Lentivirus (LV) encoding woodchuck posttranscriptional regulatory element (WPRE) and central polypurine tract (cPPT) driven by CMV promoter have been proven to act synergistically to increase both transduction efficiency and gene expression. However, the inclusion of WPRE and cPPT in a lentiviral construct may pose safety risks when administered to human. A simple lentiviral construct driven by an alternative promoter with proven extended duration of gene expression without the two regulatory elements would be free from the risks. In a non-viral gene delivery context, gene expression driven by human polybiquitin C (UbC) promoter resulted in higher and more persistent expression in mouse as compared to cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. In this study, we measured the efficiency and persistency of green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter gene expression in cells transduced with LV driven by UbC (LV/UbC/GFP) devoid of the WPRE and cPPT in comparison to the established LV construct encoding WPRE and cPPT, driven by CMV promoter (LV/CMV/GFP). However, we found that LV/UbC/GFP was inferior to LV/CMV/GFP in many aspects: (i) the titer of virus produced; (ii) the levels of reporter gene expression when MOI value was standardized; and (iii) the transduction efficiency in different cell types. The duration of reporter gene expression in selected cell lines was also determined. While the GFP expression in cells transduced with LV/CMV/GFP persisted throughout the experimental period of 14 days, expression in cells transduced with LV/UbC/GFP declined by day 2 post-transduction. In summary, the LV driven by the UbC promoter without the WPRE and cPPT does not exhibit enhanced or durable transgene expression.
Species-specific simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers are favored for genetic studies and marker-assisted selection (MAS) breeding for oil palm genetic improvement. This report characterizes 20 SSR markers from an Elaeis oleifera genomic library (gSSR). Characterization of the repeat type in 2000 sequences revealed a high percentage of di-nucleotides (63.6%), followed by tri-nucleotides (24.2%). Primer pairs were successfully designed for 394 of the E. oleifera gSSRs. Subsequent analysis showed the ability of the 20 selected E. oleifera gSSR markers to reveal genetic diversity in the genus Elaeis. The average Polymorphism Information Content (PIC) value for the SSRs was 0.402, with the tri-repeats showing the highest average PIC (0.626). Low values of observed heterozygosity (H(o)) (0.164) and highly positive fixation indices (F(is)) in the E. oleifera germplasm collection, compared to the E. guineensis, indicated an excess of homozygosity in E. oleifera. The transferability of the markers to closely related palms, Elaeis guineensis, Cocos nucifera and ornamental palms is also reported. Sequencing the amplicons of three selected E. oleifera gSSRs across both species and palm taxa revealed variations in the repeat-units. The study showed the potential of E. oleifera gSSR markers to reveal genetic diversity in the genus Elaeis. The markers are also a valuable genetic resource for studying E. oleifera and other genus in the Arecaceae family.
The ubiquitous Candida spp. is an opportunistic fungal pathogen which, despite treatment with antifungal drugs, can cause fatal bloodstream infections (BSIs) in immunocompromised and immunodeficient persons. Thus far, several major C. albicans virulence factors have been relatively well studied, including morphology switching and secreted degradative enzymes. However, the exact mechanism of Candida pathogenesis and the host response to invasion are still not well elucidated. The relatively recent discovery of the quorum-sensing molecule farnesol and the existence of quorum sensing as a basic regulatory phenomenon of the C. albicans population behavior has revolutionized Candida research. Through population density regulation, the quorum-sensing mechanism also controls the cellular morphology of a C. albicans population in response to environmental factors, thereby, effectively placing morphology switching downstream of quorum sensing. Thus, the quorum-sensing phenomenon has been hailed as the 'missing piece' of the pathogenicity puzzle. Here, we review what is known about Candida spp. as the etiological agents of invasive candidiasis and address our current understanding of the quorum-sensing phenomenon in relation to virulence in the host.