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  • The structural basis of ZMPSTE24-dependent laminopathies

    20 February 2019

    Mutations in the nuclear membrane zinc metalloprotease ZMPSTE24 lead to diseases of lamin processing (laminopathies), such as the premature aging disease progeria and metabolic disorders. ZMPSTE24 processes prelamin A, a component of the nuclear lamina intermediate filaments, by cleaving it at two sites. Failure of this processing results in accumulation of farnesylated, membrane-associated prelamin A. The 3.4 angstrom crystal structure of human ZMPSTE24 has a seven transmembrane α-helical barrel structure, surrounding a large, water-filled, intramembrane chamber, capped by a zinc metalloprotease domain with the catalytic site facing into the chamber. The 3.8 angstrom structure of a complex with a CSIM tetrapeptide showed that the mode of binding of the substrate resembles that of an insect metalloprotease inhibitor in thermolysin. Laminopathy-associated mutations predicted to reduce ZMPSTE24 activity map to the zinc metalloprotease peptide - binding site and to the bottom of the chamber.

  • Time Trends in Atrial Fibrillation-Associated Stroke and Premorbid Anticoagulation.

    7 January 2019

    Background and Purpose- Prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) is increasing, but the impact on overall burden of stroke is uncertain, as is the proportion that could be attributed to under anticoagulation. We did a population-based study of AF-associated stroke and a systematic review of time trends in other stroke incidence studies and of rates of premorbid anticoagulation. Methods- The proportion of incident strokes with associated AF was determined in the OXVASC (Oxford Vascular Study; 2002-2017) and in other prospective, population-based stroke incidence studies published before December 2017. Proportions were pooled by Mantel Haenszel methods, and the pooled percentage of cases with premorbid anticoagulation was determined. Analyses were stratified by the age of study population, mid-study year, country, and ethnicity. Results- Of 1928 patients with incident ischemic stroke in OXVASC, 629 (32.6%; 95% CI, 30.5-34.7) were AF associated, consistent with the pooled estimate from 4 smaller studies over the same study period (608/1948; 31.2%, 30.0-32.4; Phet=0.80). The pooled estimate from all studies reporting premorbid AF over 25 million person-years of observation (1960 onwards; 33 reports) was lower (18.6%, 16.8-20.3) and more heterogeneous ( Phet<0.0001), but 62% of heterogeneity was explained by the age of study population, study period, country, and ethnicity. The proportion of incident strokes on premorbid anticoagulation increased over time, both for ischemic stroke in OXVASC (2002-2007: 15.1%, 2008-2012: 19.6%, and 2013-2017: 35.9%; Ptrend<0.0001), and across all studies ( P=0.002), but the pooled estimates suggested substantial undertreatment even in the most recent periods (2001-2015: 25.7%, 21.1-30.3 and ≥2010: 31.6%, 18.2-44.9). Conclusions- About 1 in 3 incident ischemic strokes are still AF associated, due partly to low rates of anticoagulation for known prior AF, which therefore represents a major public health opportunity to reduce the burden of stroke.

  • Modelling the distribution of white matter hyperintensities due to ageing on MRI images using Bayesian inference

    4 December 2018

    <jats:p>White matter hyperintensities (WMH), also known as white matter lesions, are localised white matter areas that appear hyperintense on MRI scans. WMH commonly occur in the ageing population, and are often associated with several factors such as cognitive disorders, cardiovascular risk factors, cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Despite the fact that some links between lesion location and parametric factors such as age have already been established, the relationship between voxel-wise spatial distribution of lesions and these factors is not yet well understood. Hence, it would be of clinical importance to model the distribution of lesions at the population-level and quantitatively analyse the effect of various factors on the lesion distribution model. In this work we compare various methods, including our proposed method, to generate voxel-wise distributions of WMH within a population with respect to various factors. Our proposed Bayesian spline method models the spatio-temporal distribution of WMH with respect to a parametric factor of interest, in this case age, within a population. Our probabilistic model takes as input the lesion segmentation binary maps of subjects belonging to various age groups and provides a population-level parametric lesion probability map as output. We used a spline representation to ensure a degree of smoothness in space and the dimension associated with the parameter, and formulated our model using a Bayesian framework. We tested our algorithm output on simulated data and compared our results with those obtained using various existing methods with different levels of algorithmic and computational complexity. We then compared the better performing methods on a real dataset, consisting of 1000 subjects of the UK Biobank, divided in two groups based on hypertension diagnosis. Finally, we applied our method on a clinical dataset of patients with vascular disease. On simulated dataset, the results from our algorithm showed a mean square error (MSE) value of 7.27x10-5, which was lower than the MSE value reported in the literature, with the advantage of being robust and computationally efficient. In the UK Biobank data, we found that the lesion probabilities are higher for the hypertension group compared to the non-hypertension group and further verified this finding using a statistical t-test. Finally, when applying our method on patients with vascular disease, we observed that the overall probability of lesions is significantly higher in later age groups, which is in line with the current literature.</jats:p>