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Journal: EBioMedicine


Infection of respiratory mucosa with viral pathogens triggers complex immunologic events in the affected host. We sought to characterize this response through proteomic analysis of nasopharyngeal lavage in human subjects experimentally challenged with influenza A/H3N2 or human rhinovirus, and to develop targeted assays measuring peptides involved in this host response allowing classification of acute respiratory virus infection. Unbiased proteomic discovery analysis identified 3285 peptides corresponding to 438 unique proteins, and revealed that infection with H3N2 induces significant alterations in protein expression. These include proteins involved in acute inflammatory response, innate immune response, and the complement cascade. These data provide insights into the nature of the biological response to viral infection of the upper respiratory tract, and the proteins that are dysregulated by viral infection form the basis of signature that accurately classifies the infected state. Verification of this signature using targeted mass spectrometry in independent cohorts of subjects challenged with influenza or rhinovirus demonstrates that it performs with high accuracy (0.8623 AUROC, 75% TPR, 97.46% TNR). With further development as a clinical diagnostic, this signature may have utility in rapid screening for emerging infections, avoidance of inappropriate antibacterial therapy, and more rapid implementation of appropriate therapeutic and public health strategies.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Protein, Bacteria, Virus, Innate immune system, Infection, Respiratory system


The complexity of the traumatic brain injury (TBI) pathology, particularly concussive injury, is a serious obstacle for diagnosis, treatment, and long-term prognosis. Here we utilize modern systems biology in a rodent model of concussive injury to gain a thorough view of the impact of TBI on fundamental aspects of gene regulation, which have the potential to drive or alter the course of the TBI pathology. TBI perturbed epigenomic programming, transcriptional activities (expression level and alternative splicing), and the organization of genes in networks centered around genes such as Anax2, Ogn, and Fmod. Transcriptomic signatures in the hippocampus are involved in neuronal signaling, metabolism, inflammation, and blood function, and they overlap with those in leukocytes from peripheral blood. The homology between genomic signatures from blood and brain elicited by TBI provides proof of concept information for development of biomarkers of TBI based on composite genomic patterns. By intersecting with human genome-wide association studies, many TBI signature genes and network regulators identified in our rodent model were causally associated with brain disorders with relevant link to TBI. The overall results show that concussive brain injury reprograms genes which could lead to predisposition to neurological and psychiatric disorders, and that genomic information from peripheral leukocytes has the potential to predict TBI pathogenesis in the brain.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Brain, Traumatic brain injury, Neurology, Concussion


Cellular senescence is a key mechanism that drives age-related diseases, but has yet to be targeted therapeutically in humans. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive, fatal cellular senescence-associated disease. Selectively ablating senescent cells using dasatinib plus quercetin (DQ) alleviates IPF-related dysfunction in bleomycin-administered mice.


The nascent field of ‘Nutritional Psychiatry’ offers much promise for addressing the large disease burden associated with mental disorders. A consistent evidence base from the observational literature confirms that the quality of individuals' diets is related to their risk for common mental disorders, such as depression. This is the case across countries and age groups. Moreover, new intervention studies implementing dietary changes suggest promise for the prevention and treatment of depression. Concurrently, data point to the utility of selected nutraceuticals as adjunctive treatments for mental disorders and as monotherapies for conditions such as ADHD. Finally, new studies focused on understanding the biological pathways that mediate the observed relationships between diet, nutrition and mental health are pointing to the immune system, oxidative biology, brain plasticity and the microbiome-gut-brain axis as key targets for nutritional interventions. On the other hand, the field is currently limited by a lack of data and methodological issues such as heterogeneity, residual confounding, measurement error, and challenges in measuring and ensuring dietary adherence in intervention studies. Key challenges for the field are to now: replicate, refine and scale up promising clinical and population level dietary strategies; identify a clear set of biological pathways and targets that mediate the identified associations; conduct scientifically rigorous nutraceutical and ‘psychobiotic’ interventions that also examine predictors of treatment response; conduct observational and experimental studies in psychosis focused on dietary and related risk factors and treatments; and continue to advocate for policy change to improve the food environment at the population level.

Concepts: Immune system, Scientific method, Nutrition, Measurement, Mental health, Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Nutraceutical


The emergence and prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are an increasing cause of death worldwide, resulting in a global ‘call to action’ to avoid receding into an era lacking effective antibiotics. Despite the urgency, the healthcare industry still relies on a single in vitro bioassay to determine antibiotic efficacy. This assay fails to incorporate environmental factors normally present during host-pathogen interactions in vivo that significantly impact antibiotic efficacy. Here we report that standard antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) failed to detect antibiotics that are in fact effective in vivo; and frequently identified antibiotics that were instead ineffective as further confirmed in mouse models of infection and sepsis. Notably, AST performed in media mimicking host environments succeeded in identifying specific antibiotics that were effective in bacterial clearance and host survival, even though these same antibiotics failed in results using standard test media. Similarly, our revised media further identified antibiotics that were ineffective in vivo despite passing the AST standard for clinical use. Supplementation of AST medium with sodium bicarbonate, an abundant in vivo molecule that stimulates global changes in bacterial structure and gene expression, was found to be an important factor improving the predictive value of AST in the assignment of appropriate therapy. These findings have the potential to improve the means by which antibiotics are developed, tested, and prescribed.

Concepts: Gene, Gene expression, Bacteria, Evolution, Antibiotic resistance, Microorganism, Penicillin, Clostridium difficile


Iron deficiency causes long-term adverse consequences for children and is the most common nutritional deficiency worldwide. Observational studies suggest that iron deficiency anemia protects against Plasmodiumfalciparum malaria and several intervention trials have indicated that iron supplementation increases malaria risk through unknown mechanism(s). This poses a major challenge for health policy. We investigated how anemia inhibits blood stage malaria infection and how iron supplementation abrogates this protection.

Concepts: Immune system, Hemoglobin, Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, Red blood cell, Iron deficiency anemia, Sickle-cell disease, Transferrin


We aimed to determine whether the levels of total serum IgM and IgG, together with specific antibodies against malondialdehyde-conjugated low-density lipoprotein (MDA-LDL), can improve cardiovascular risk discrimination.

Concepts: Immune system, Glycoproteins, Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiovascular disease, Immunology, Antibodies


Dupuytren’s disease is a common fibrotic condition of the hand that causes irreversible flexion contractures of the fingers, with no approved therapy for early stage disease. Our previous analysis of surgically-excised tissue defined tumour necrosis factor (TNF) as a potential therapeutic target. Here we assessed the efficacy of injecting nodules of Dupuytren’s disease with a TNF inhibitor.


Molecular assays have not yet been able to replace time-consuming culture-based methods in clinical mycobacteriology. Using 6875 clinical samples and a study period of 35months we evaluated the use of PCR-based assays to establish a diagnostic workflow with a fast time-to-result of 1-2days, for 1. detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTB), 2. detection and identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), and 3. identification of drug susceptible MTB. MTB molecular-based detection and culture gave concordant results for 97.7% of the specimens. NTM PCR-based detection and culture gave concordant results for 97.0% of the specimens. Defining specimens on the basis of combined laboratory data as true positives or negatives with discrepant results resolved by clinical chart reviews, we calculated sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV for PCR-based MTB detection as 84.7%, 100%, 100%, and 98.7%; the corresponding values for culture-based MTB detection were 86.3%, 100%, 100%, and 98.8%. PCR-based detection of NTM had a sensitivity of 84.7% compared to 78.0% of that of culture-based NTM detection. Molecular drug susceptibility testing (DST) by line-probe assay was found to predict phenotypic DST results in MTB with excellent accuracy. Our findings suggest a diagnostic algorithm to largely replace lengthy culture-based techniques by rapid molecular-based methods.

Concepts: Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Tuberculosis, Assay, Mycobacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium avium complex, Nontuberculous mycobacteria


Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has become a global epidemic. Although several drugs are available to manage T2D, problems associated with person-to-person variability in drug efficacy and potential side-effects remain unresolved. Owing to the emerging role of the gut microbiome in obesity and T2D, the interaction between gut microbes and anti-diabetic drugs and its influence on drugs' functions remains of immediate research interest. On one hand, drugs can manipulate gut microbiome composition and metabolic capacity. Conversely, the metabolic activities of the microbiome and its metabolites can also influence drug metabolism and effects. Hence, understanding this bi-directional drug-microbiome interaction and how it influences the clinical outcomes of antidiabetic drugs can pave the way to develop next-generation strategies to ameliorate diabetes. This review presents evidences demonstrating the putative interactions between anti-diabetic drugs and the gut microbiome, and discusses the potential of microbiome modulators to manipulate drug-microbiome interactions and the drug metabolism.