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Journal: Journal of clinical pathology


Biofilms are ubiquitous and when mature have a complex structure of microcolonies in an extracellular polysaccharide and extracellular DNA matrix. Indwelling medical devices harbour biofilms which have been shown to cause infections and act as reservoirs for pathogens. Urinary catheters are often in place for considerable periods of time and are susceptible to both encrustation and biofilm formation. Strategies for minimising biofilm occurrence underpin an active research area in biomedicine. Manuka honey has, inter alia, well-established antibacterial properties. This study aims to assess the influence of honey on early biofilm formation in an established in vitro model.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Biofilm, Epidural, Catheter, Catheters, Foley catheter, Urinary catheterization


To determine the hospital autopsy rate for the UK in 2013.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Autopsy, Decolonization


OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the effect of the systemic inflammatory response (SIR), as provoked by elective orthopaedic surgery, on serum vitamin D [25-(OH)D]. METHODS: Serum 25-(OH)D, serum vitamin D binding protein (VDBP) and urinary VDBP were measured in 30 patients before and 48-hours after knee or hip arthroplasty. C-reactive protein (CRP) was measured to assess the SIR. RESULTS: The mean (SD) CRP increased following surgery [5.0 (5.5) vs 116.0 (81.2) mg/L; P<0.0001] as did urine VDBP/Creatinine ratio [8 (9) vs 20 (25) pg/mmol; p=0.0004]. Serum 25-(OH)D [56.2 (30.3) vs 46.0 (27.6) nmol/L; p = 0.0006] and serum VDBP [334 (43) vs 298 (37) mg/L]; P<0.0001] decreased. CONCLUSIONS: Serum 25-(OH)D is a negative acute phase reactant, which has implications for acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. Serum 25-(OH)D is an unreliable biomarker of vitamin D status after acute inflammatory insult. Hypovitaminosis D may be the consequence rather than cause of chronic inflammatory diseases.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Vitamin D, Nutrition, Vitamin, Hip replacement, Orthopedic surgery, C-reactive protein


Reticulocytes are the most sensitive index available to authorities who seek to sanction athletes for blood doping based on deviations beyond individual reference ranges. Because such data comprise longitudinal results that are generated by different laboratories, the comparability of reticulocyte counts from different instruments is of crucial importance.

Concepts: Red blood cell, Anemia, Reticulocyte, Musical instrument, Tour de France


AIMS: Understanding the exact relationship between serum thyrotropin/thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT(4)) is a prerequisite for improving diagnostic reliability and clinical decision making. METHODS: We (1) retrospectively studied the relationship between TSH and FT(4) in a large unselected clinical sample (n=6641) of primary hypothyroid, euthyroid and hyperthyroid subjects, and (2) applied a mathematical model of thyroid hormone feedback control to assess the relation between structural parameters and TSH levels in the different functional states. RESULTS: When separately analysing total sample and untreated subjects, the correlation slope for logTSH versus FT(4) for hypothyroid subjects was significantly different from that of the euthyroid panel and hyperthyroid subjects (the latter being compromised by reaching the TSH assay’s lower detection limit). As trends between functional states changed, each functional segment appeared to become differently regulated. Theoretical modelling and sensitivity analysis revealed that the influence of various structural parameters on TSH levels also depends on the overall function of the feedback loop. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that the states of hypothyroidism, euthyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be regarded as differently regulated entities. The apparent complexity could be replicated by mathematical modelling suggesting a hierarchical type of feedback regulation involving patterns of operative mechanisms unique to each condition. For clinical purposes and assay evaluation, neither the standard model relating logTSH with FT(4), nor an alternative model based on non-competitive inhibition can be reliably represented by a single correlation comparing all samples for both hormones in one all-inclusive group.

Concepts: Physics, Thyroid-stimulating hormone, Thyroid disease, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Thyroid, Thyroid hormone, Triiodothyronine


To determine the degree of variation in the handling of prostate needle biopsies (PBNx) in laboratories across Europe.

Concepts: Cancer, Biopsy, Pathology, University, Medical tests, Needle aspiration biopsy


AIMS: Acute Helicobacter pylori infection is associated with transient hypochlorhydria. In H pylori-associated atrophy, hypochlorhydria has a role in iron deficiency (ID) through changes in the physiology of iron-complex absorption. The aims were to evaluate the association between H pylori-associated hypochlorhydria and ID in children. METHODS: Symptomatic children (n=123) were prospectively enrolled. Blood, gastric juice and gastric biopsies were taken, respectively, for haematological analyses, pH assessment and H pylori determination, and duodenal biopsies for exclusion of coeliac disease. Stool samples were collected for parasitology/microbiology. Thirteen children were excluded following parasitology and duodenal histopathology, and five due to impaired blood analysis. RESULTS: Ten children were hypochlorhydric (pH>4) and 33 were H pylori positive. In H pylori-positive children with pH>4 (n=6) serum iron and transferrin saturation levels % were significantly lower (p<0.01) than H pylori-positive children with pH≤4. No differences in ferritin, or total iron binding capacity, were observed. In H pylori-negative children with pH>4, iron and transferrin saturation were not significantly different from children with pH≤4. CONCLUSIONS: Low serum iron and transferrin in childhood H pylori infection is associated with hypochlorhydria. In uninfected children, hypochlorhydria was not associated with altered serum iron parameters, indicating a combination of H pylori infection and/or inflammation, and hypochlorhydria has a role in the aetiology of ID. Although H pylori-associated hypochlorhydria is transient during acute gastritis, this alters iron homeostasis with clinical impact in developing countries with a high H pylori prevalence.

Concepts: Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Iron deficiency anemia, Gastritis, Transferrin, Transferrin saturation, Total iron-binding capacity


Desmosomes are intercellular junctions that confer strong cell-cell adhesion. Two main members of desmosomal cadherins, desmogleins (DSGs) and desmocollins (DSCs), are involved in carcinogenesis. However, their role in human lung cancer remained elusive. The aims of this study were to analyse the expression of DSCs and to evaluate their clinical application in lung cancer.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Cancer, Metastasis, Lung cancer, Cancer staging, Prognosis, Desmosome, Cell junction


Analysis of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) status has become standard of care in breast cancer patients due to its important prognostic and therapeutic implications. Immunohistochemistry (IHC) is the most commonly used primary method for detection of HER-2 overexpression. Controversy exists on the interpretation of samples that are equivocal for HER 2 status (IHC 2+). Recent guidelines state that samples equivocal for HER 2 status require validation with fluorescent in situ hybridisation (FISH). The use of FISH, however, despite higher accuracy comes at a higher cost that is not affordable to all patients.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Carcinoma in situ, Epidermal growth factor receptor, Epidermal growth factor, Growth factor, Trastuzumab, HER2/neu


The distinction between benign and malignant thyroid nodules has important therapeutic implications. Our objective was to develop an assay that could classify indeterminate thyroid nodules as benign or suspicious, using routinely prepared fine needle aspirate (FNA) cytology smears.

Concepts: Needle aspiration biopsy, Thyroid nodule