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Folate receptor-targeted RNAi nanoparticles for silencing STAT3 in tumor-associated macrophages and tumor cells.

We developed a STAT3 silencing siRNA to both tumor cells and M2 macrophages. The dual-targeting system prepared by electronic self-assembly was composed of folic acid-conjugated carboxymethyl chitosan for targeting and cationic chitosan derivatives for siRNA package. The effects of siRNA delivery was investigated in M2 macropahges and Lewis lung cancer cells(LLC). Due to the enhanced delivery efficiency, the dual-targeting delivery system exhibited a higher efficacy compared with non-targeting nanoparticles, resulting in a dramatically reduction of STAT3 expression in both cells, and a successful shift from M2 phenotypes(pro-tumor) to M1 phenotypes(anti-tumor) for macrophages. Additionally, the influence of the nanoparticles on LLC cells co-cultured with M2 macrophages was also investigated. The increased apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation of LLC cells were observed. In vivo therapeutic effect was also evaluated in s.c tumor models, tumor growth was effectively inhibited and the level of M2 macrophages in tumor tissues was dramatically reduced.

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The role of Glial cell derived neurotrophic factor in head and neck cancer.

Glial cell-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is reported to promote the survival of neurons and salivary gland regeneration after radiation damage. This study investigated the effect of GDNF on cell migration, growth, and response to radiation in preclinical models of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and correlated GDNF expression to treatment outcomes in HNSCC patients. Our ultimate goal is to determine whether systemic administration of GDNF at high dose is safe for the management of hyposalivation or xerostomia in HNSCC patients. Three HPV-positive and three HPV-negative cell lines were examined for cell migration, growth, and clonogenic survival in vitro and tumor growth assay in vivo. Immunohistochemical staining of GDNF, its receptors GFRα1 and its co-receptor RET was performed on two independent HNSCC tissue microarrays (TMA) and correlated to treatment outcomes. Results showed that GDNF only enhanced cell migration in two HPV-positive cells at supra-physiologic doses, but not in HPV-negative cells. GDNF did not increase cell survival in the tested cell lines post-irradiation. Likewise, GDNF treatment affected neither tumor growth in vitro nor response to radiation in xenografts in two HPV-positive and two HPV-negative HNSCC models. High stromal expression of GDNF protein was associated with worse overall survival in HPV-negative HNSCC on multivariate analysis in a combined cohort of patients from Stanford University (n = 82) and Washington University (n = 189); however, the association between GDNF gene expression and worse survival was not confirmed in a separate group of HPV-negative HNSCC patients identified from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database. Based on these data, we do not believe that GNDF is a safe systemic treatment to prevent or treat xerostomia in HNSCC and a local delivery approach such as intraglandular injection needs to be explored.

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Genetics and major depressive disorder: clinical implications for disease risk, prognosis and treatment.

In the post-genomic era, genetics has led to limited clinical applications in the diagnosis and treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). Variants in genes coding for cytochrome enzymes are included in guidelines for assisting in antidepressant choice and dosing, but there are no recommendations involving genes responsible for antidepressant pharmacodynamics and no consensus applications for guiding diagnosis or prognosis. However, genetics has contributed to a better understanding of MDD pathogenesis and the mechanisms of antidepressant action, also thanks to recent methodological innovations that overcome the challenges posed by the polygenic architecture of these traits. Polygenic risk scores can be used to estimate the risk of disease at the individual level, which may have clinical relevance in cases with extremely high scores (e.g. top 1%). Genetic studies have also shed light on a wide genetic overlap between MDD and other psychiatric disorders. The relationships between genes/pathways associated with MDD and known drug targets are a promising tool for drug repurposing and identification of new pharmacological targets. Increase in power thanks to larger samples and methods integrating genetic data with gene expression, the integration of common variants and rare variants, are expected to advance our knowledge and assist in personalized psychiatry.

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Increased diaphragm motor unit discharge frequencies during quiet breathing in people with chronic tetraplegia.

Respiratory muscle strength is compromised in people with tetraplegia, which may be compensated for by an increase in neural drive to the diaphragm. We found that the discharge frequencies of diaphragm motor units are higher in people with chronic tetraplegia compared to able-bodied people during quiet breathing. Furthermore, we found that the area of single motor unit potentials was increased in people with tetraplegia. These results suggest an increased motoneurone output to the diaphragm and re-modelling of diaphragm motor units to maintain ventilation in tetraplegia.

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Recent Detection of Multiple Populations of the Tropical Bed Bug (Hemiptera: Cimicidae) Exhibiting kdr-Associated Mutations in Hawaii.

In recent years, bed bugs have experienced a remarkable resurgence on a near global scale. While reports have primarily focused on the common bed bug, Cimex lectularius (L.), which has resurged largely in temperate regions, in tropical regions the tropical bed bug, Cimex hemipterus (F.) (Hemiptera: Cimicidae), has reemerged as well. Recent reports of C. hemipterus introductions to subtropical and temperate regions, outside of the species natural distribution, suggest the potential for establishment and further spread. Establishment may be aided by insecticide resistance mechanisms, such as the presence of knockdown resistance (kdr)-associated mutations, which potentially confer resistance to pyrethroid, pyrethrin, and organochloride insecticides. Here, we present the first report of the detection and likely establishment of C. hemipterus in Honolulu, Hawaii, from samples collected in 2009 and 2019. Furthermore, through partial sequencing of the voltage-gated sodium channel, we report the presence of kdr-associated mutations in all samples. These findings have implications for the implementation of control strategies aimed at eradicating infestations.

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Variability in Action Selection Relates to Striatal Dopamine 2/3 Receptor Availability in Humans: A PET Neuroimaging Study Using Reinforcement Learning and Active Inference Models.

Choosing actions that result in advantageous outcomes is a fundamental function of nervous systems. All computational decision-making models contain a mechanism that controls the variability of (or confidence in) action selection, but its neural implementation is unclear-especially in humans. We investigated this mechanism using two influential decision-making frameworks: active inference (AI) and reinforcement learning (RL). In AI, the precision (inverse variance) of beliefs about policies controls action selection variability-similar to decision 'noise' parameters in RL-and is thought to be encoded by striatal dopamine signaling. We tested this hypothesis by administering a 'go/no-go' task to 75 healthy participants, and measuring striatal dopamine 2/3 receptor (D2/3R) availability in a subset (n = 25) using [11C]-(+)-PHNO positron emission tomography. In behavioral model comparison, RL performed best across the whole group but AI performed best in participants performing above chance levels. Limbic striatal D2/3R availability had linear relationships with AI policy precision (P = 0.029) as well as with RL irreducible decision 'noise' (P = 0.020), and this relationship with D2/3R availability was confirmed with a 'decision stochasticity' factor that aggregated across both models (P = 0.0006). These findings are consistent with occupancy of inhibitory striatal D2/3Rs decreasing the variability of action selection in humans.

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