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Concept: PBMC


One of the most common integrative medicine (IM) modalities is yoga and related practices. Previous work has shown that yoga may improve wellness in healthy people and have benefits for patients. However, the mechanisms of how yoga may positively affect the mind-body system are largely unknown. Here we have assessed possible rapid changes in global gene expression profiles in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in healthy people that practiced either a comprehensive yoga program or a control regimen. The experimental sessions included gentle yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation (Sudarshan Kriya and Related Practices - SK&P) compared with a control regimen of a nature walk and listening to relaxing music. We show that the SK&P program has a rapid and significantly greater effect on gene expression in PBMCs compared with the control regimen. These data suggest that yoga and related practices result in rapid gene expression alterations which may be the basis for their longer term cell biological and higher level health effects.

Concepts: DNA, Medicine, Gene, Genetics, Cell nucleus, Gene expression, Organism, PBMC


BACKGROUND: Expression profile of the toll like receptors (TLRs) on PBMCs is central to the regulation of proinflammatory markers. An imbalance in the TLRs expression may lead to several types of inflammatory disorders. Furthermore, the dynamic regulation of inflammatory activity and associated impaired production of cytokines by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in obese individulas remain poorly understood. Therefore, we determined the perturbation in TLRs (TLR2 and TLR4), their adaptor proteins (MyD88, IRAK1 and TRAF6) expression in PBMCs/subcutaneous adipose tissue (AT) as well as inflammatory cytokines changes in obese individuals. METHODS: mRNA expression levels of TLR2, TLR4, IL-6, TNF-alpha and adaptor proteins were determined by RT-PCR. TLR2, TLR4 and adaptor proteins expression in AT was determined by immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: Obese and overweight individuals showed significantly increased expression of TLR2, TLR4 and MyD88 in both PBMCs and AT as compared with lean individuals (P < 0.05). Interestingly, we found a remarkably higher expression of TLRs in obese and overweight individuals with type 2 diabetes (P < 0.05). Increased expression of TLR2, TLR4, MyD88 and IRAK1 correlated with body mass index (BMI) (TLR2: r = 0.91; TLR4: r = 0.88, P <0.0001; MyD88: r = 0.95, P < 0.0001; IRAK1 r = 0.78, P < 0.002). TLRs' expression was also correlated with fasting blood glucose (FBG) (TLR2: r = 0.61, P < 0.002; TLR4: r = 0.52, P < 0.01) and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ( TLR2: r = 0.44, P <0.03; TLR4: r = 0.48, P < 0.03). Transcript levels of IL-6 and TNF-alpha were highly elevated in obese subjects compared to lean subjects. There was a strong association of TLRs' expression in PBMCs with TNF-alpha (TLR2: r = 0.92; TLR4: r = 0.92; P < 0.0001) and IL-6 (TLR2: r = 0.91, P < 0.0001; TLR4: r = 0.81; P < 0.001). Similarly adaptor proteins were significantly correlated with TNF-alpha (MyD88: r = 0.9, P < 0.0001; IRAK1: r = 0.86; P < 0.0002) and IL-6 (MyD88: r = 0.91, P < 0.0001; IRAK1: 0.77; P < 0.002). CONCLUSIONS: TLRs and adapter proteins were overexpressed in PBMCs from obese subjects, which correlated with increased expression of TNF-alpha and IL-6. This association may explain a potential pathophysiological link between obesity and inflammation leading to insulin resistance.

Concepts: Inflammation, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Toll-like receptor, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, PBMC


BACKGROUND: Leprosy is a contagious and chronic systemic granulomatous disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae. In the pathogenesis of leprosy, granulomas play a key role, however, the mechanisms of the formation and maintenance of M. leprae granulomas are still not clearly understood. METHODS: To better understand the molecular physiology of M. leprae granulomas and the interaction between the bacilli and human host cells, we developed an in vitro model of human granulomas, which mimicked the in vivo granulomas of leprosy. Macrophages were differentiated from human monocytes, and infected with M. leprae, and then cultured with autologous human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). RESULTS: Robust granuloma-like aggregates were obtained only when the M. leprae infected macrophages were co-cultured with PBMCs. Histological examination showed M. leprae within the cytoplasmic center of the multinucleated giant cells, and these bacilli were metabolically active. Macrophages of both M1 and M2 types co-existed in the granuloma like aggregates. There was a strong relationship between the formation of granulomas and changes in the expression levels of cell surface antigens on macrophages, cytokine production and the macrophage polarization. The viability of M. leprae isolated from granulomas indicated that the formation of host cell aggregates benefited the host, but the bacilli also remained metabolically active. CONCLUSIONS: A simple in vitro model of human M. leprae granulomas was established using human monocyte-derived macrophages and PBMCs. This system may be useful to unravel the mechanisms of disease progression, and subsequently develop methods to control leprosy.

Concepts: Immune system, Monocyte, Tuberculosis, Mycobacterium, PBMC, Granuloma, Leprosy, Mycobacterium leprae


A microfluidic device was developed to separate heterogeneous particle or cell mixtures in a continuous flow using acoustophoresis. In this device, two identical surface acoustic waves (SAWs) generated by interdigital transducers (IDTs) propagated toward a microchannel, which accordingly built up a standing surface acoustic wave (SSAW) field across the channel. A numerical model, coupling a piezoelectric effect in the solid substrate and acoustic pressure in the fluid, was developed to provide a better understanding of SSAW-based particle manipulation. It was found that the pressure nodes across the channel were individual planes perpendicular to the solid substrate. In the separation experiments, two side sheath flows hydrodynamically focused the injected particle or cell mixtures into a very narrow stream along the centerline. Particles flowing through the SSAW field experienced an acoustic radiation force that highly depends on the particle properties. As a result, dissimilar particles or cells were laterally attracted toward the pressure nodes at different magnitudes, and were eventually switched to different outlets. Two types of fluorescent microspheres with different sizes were successfully separated using the developed device. In addition, E. coli bacteria pre-mixed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were also efficiently isolated using the SSAW-base separation technique. Flow cytometric analysis on the collected samples found that the purity of separated E. coli bacteria was 95.65%.

Concepts: Protein, Bacteria, Escherichia coli, Acoustics, PBMC, Microphone, Transducers, Surface acoustic wave


The presence of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) serves as a prognostic marker and indicator of disease relapse, as well as a means of evaluating treatment efficacy in human and canine lymphoma patients. As an extension of our previous study for the construction of clinically useful GeneScan system, we utilized the GeneScan system for detecting CTCs in canine lymphoma patients. Samples from the primary lesion and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were obtained from 32 dogs with lymphoma at initial diagnosis. All samples were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for antigen receptor gene rearrangements (PARR) followed by GeneScan analysis. Common clonal rearrangements with identical amplified fragments were detected in both the primary lesion and PBMCs in 19 of the 32 dogs (59.4%). However, the detection rate of CTCs varied among the anatomical classification of lymphoma studied. GeneScan analysis following PARR would facilitate studies on determining the clinical significance of CTCs in canine lymphoma patients.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene expression, Cancer, Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, PBMC, Thermus aquaticus


Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a highly debilitating disease of unknown aetiology. Abnormalities in bioenergetic function have been cited as one possible cause for CFS. Preliminary studies were performed to investigate cellular bioenergetic abnormalities in CFS patients. A series of assays were conducted using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from CFS patients and healthy controls. These experiments investigated cellular patterns in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and glycolysis. Results showed consistently lower measures of OXPHOS parameters in PBMCs taken from CFS patients compared with healthy controls. Seven key parameters of OXPHOS were calculated: basal respiration, ATP production, proton leak, maximal respiration, reserve capacity, non-mitochondrial respiration, and coupling efficiency. While many of the parameters differed between the CFS and control cohorts, maximal respiration was determined to be the key parameter in mitochondrial function to differ between CFS and control PBMCs due to the consistency of its impairment in CFS patients found throughout the study (p≤0.003). The lower maximal respiration in CFS PBMCs suggests that when the cells experience physiological stress they are less able to elevate their respiration rate to compensate for the increase in stress and are unable to fulfil cellular energy demands. The metabolic differences discovered highlight the inability of CFS patient PBMCs to fulfil cellular energetic demands both under basal conditions and when mitochondria are stressed during periods of high metabolic demand.

Concepts: Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Mitochondrion, Oxidative phosphorylation, Cellular respiration, Citric acid cycle, PBMC, Bioenergetics


Global HIV-1 treatment would benefit greatly from safe herbal medicines with scientifically validated novel anti-HIV-1 activities. The root extract from the medicinal plant Pelargonium sidoides (PS) is licensed in Germany as the herbal medicine EPs®7630, with numerous clinical trials supporting its safety in humans. Here we provide evidence from multiple cell culture experiments that PS extract displays potent anti-HIV-1 activity. We show that PS extract protects peripheral blood mononuclear cells and macrophages from infection with various X4 and R5 tropic HIV-1 strains, including clinical isolates. Functional studies revealed that the extract from PS has a novel mode-of-action. It interferes directly with viral infectivity and blocks the attachment of HIV-1 particles to target cells, protecting them from virus entry. Analysis of the chemical footprint of anti-HIV activity indicates that HIV-1 inhibition is mediated by multiple polyphenolic compounds with low cytotoxicity and can be separated from other extract components with higher cytotoxicity. Based on our data and its excellent safety profile, we propose that PS extract represents a lead candidate for the development of a scientifically validated herbal medicine for anti-HIV-1 therapy with a mode-of-action different from and complementary to current single-molecule drugs.

Concepts: Immune system, Pharmacology, Medicine, Ayurveda, Alternative medicine, Herbalism, PBMC, Pelargonium sidoides


Repeated nucleotide sequences combined with proteins called telomeres cover chromosome ends and dictate cells lifespan. Many factors can modify telomere length, among them are: nutrition and smoking habits, physical activities and socioeconomic status measured by education level. The aim of the study was to determine the influence of above mentioned factors on peripheral blood mononuclear cells telomere length.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Nutrition, DNA replication, Telomere, PBMC, Pork


Stress research has progressively become more integrative in nature, seeking to unfold crucial relations between the different phenotypic levels of stress manifestations. This study sought to unravel stress-induced variations in expression of human microRNAs sampled in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and further assess their relationship with neuronal and psychological indices. We obtained blood samples from 49 healthy male participants before and three hours after performing a social stress task, while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). A seed-based functional connectivity (FC) analysis was conducted for the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), a key area of stress regulation. Out of hundreds of microRNAs, a specific increase was identified in microRNA-29c (miR-29c) expression, corresponding with both the experience of sustained stress via self-reports, and alterations in vmPFC functional connectivity. Explicitly, miR-29c expression levels corresponded with both increased connectivity of the vmPFC with the anterior insula (aIns), and decreased connectivity of the vmPFC with the left dorso-lateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC). Our findings further revealed that miR-29c mediates an indirect path linking enhanced vmPFC-aIns connectivity during stress with subsequent experiences of sustained stress. The correlative patterns of miR-29c expression and vmPFC FC, along with the mediating effects on subjective stress sustainment and the presumed localization of miR-29c in astrocytes, together point to an intriguing assumption; miR-29c may serve as a biomarker in the blood for stress-induced functional neural alterations reflecting regulatory processes. Such a multi-level model may hold the key for future personalized intervention in stress psychopathology.

Concepts: Nervous system, Gene, Brain, Magnetic resonance imaging, Cerebrum, Regulation, PBMC, Acute stress reaction


The neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an extracellular signaling molecule in the brain and in pancreatic islets. Here, we demonstrate that GABA regulates cytokine secretion from human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and CD4+T cells. In anti-CD3 stimulated PBMCs, GABA (100nM) inhibited release of 47 cytokines in cells from patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but only 16 cytokines in cells from nondiabetic (ND) individuals. CD4+T cells from ND individuals were grouped into responder or non-responder T cells according to effects of GABA (100nM, 500nM) on the cell proliferation. In the responder T cells, GABA decreased proliferation, and inhibited secretion of 37 cytokines in a concentration-dependent manner. In the non-responder T cells, GABA modulated release of 8 cytokines. GABA concentrations in plasma from T1D patients and ND individuals were correlated with 10 cytokines where 7 were increased in plasma of T1D patients. GABA inhibited secretion of 5 of these cytokines from both T1D PBMCs and ND responder T cells. The results identify GABA as a potent regulator of both Th1- and Th2-type cytokine secretion from human PBMCs and CD4+T cells where GABA generally decreases the secretion.

Concepts: Immune system, Cytokine, Signal transduction, Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Cell biology, Diabetes mellitus type 1, PBMC