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  • Activation of central orexin/hypocretin neurons by dietary amino acids.

    24 October 2018

    Hypothalamic orexin/hypocretin (orx/hcrt) neurons regulate energy balance, wakefulness, and reward; their loss produces narcolepsy and weight gain. Glucose can lower the activity of orx/hcrt cells, but whether other dietary macronutrients have similar effects is unclear. We show that orx/hcrt cells are stimulated by nutritionally relevant mixtures of amino acids (AAs), both in brain slice patch-clamp experiments, and in c-Fos expression assays following central or peripheral administration of AAs to mice in vivo. Physiological mixtures of AAs electrically excited orx/hcrt cells through a dual mechanism involving inhibition of K(ATP) channels and activation of system-A amino acid transporters. Nonessential AAs were more potent in activating orx/hcrt cells than essential AAs. Moreover, the presence of physiological concentrations of AAs suppressed the glucose responses of orx/hcrt cells. These results suggest a new mechanism of hypothalamic integration of macronutrient signals and imply that orx/hcrt cells sense macronutrient balance, rather than net energy value, in extracellular fluid.

  • Human X-linked variable immunodeficiency caused by a hypomorphic mutation in XIAP in association with a rare polymorphism in CD40LG.

    24 October 2018

    The present study focuses on a large family with an X-linked immunodeficiency in which there are variable clinical and laboratory phenotypes, including recurrent viral and bacterial infections, hypogammaglobulinemia, Epstein-Barr virus-driven lymphoproliferation, splenomegaly, colitis, and liver disease. Molecular and genetic analyses revealed that affected males were carriers of a hypomorphic hemizygous mutation in XIAP (XIAP(G466X)) that cosegregated with a rare polymorphism in CD40LG (CD40 ligand(G219R)). These genes are involved in the X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome 2 and the X-linked hyper-IgM syndrome, respectively. Single expression of XIAP(G466X) or CD40L(G219R) had no or minimal effect in vivo, although in vitro, they lead to altered functional activities of their gene products, which suggests that the combination of XIAP and CD40LG mutations contributed to the expression of clinical manifestations observed in affected individuals. Our report of a primary X-linked immunodeficiency of oligogenic origin emphasizes that primary immunodeficiencies are not caused by a single defective gene, which leads to restricted manifestations, but are likely to be the result of an interplay between several genetic determinants, which leads to more variable clinical phenotypes.

  • Recombinant TCR ligand induces tolerance to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein 35-55 peptide and reverses clinical and histological signs of chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in HLA-DR2 transgenic mice.

    24 October 2018

    In a previous study, we demonstrated that myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-35-55 peptide could induce severe chronic experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in HLA-DR2(+) transgenic mice lacking all mouse MHC class II genes. We used this model to evaluate clinical efficacy and mechanism of action of a novel recombinant TCR ligand (RTL) comprised of the alpha(1) and beta(1) domains of DR2 (DRB1*1501) covalently linked to the encephalitogenic MOG-35-55 peptide (VG312). We found that the MOG/DR2 VG312 RTL could induce long-term tolerance to MOG-35-55 peptide and reverse clinical and histological signs of EAE in a dose- and peptide-dependent manner. Some mice treated with lower doses of VG312 relapsed after cessation of daily treatment, but the mice could be successfully re-treated with a higher dose of VG312. Treatment with VG312 strongly reduced secretion of Th1 cytokines (TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma) produced in response to MOG-35-55 peptide, and to a lesser degree purified protein derivative and Con A, but had no inhibitory effect on serum Ab levels to MOG-35-55 peptide. Abs specific for both the peptide and MHC moieties of the RTLs were also present after treatment with EAE, but these Abs had only a minor enhancing effect on T cell activation in vitro. These data demonstrate the powerful tolerance-inducing therapeutic effects of VG312 on MOG peptide-induced EAE in transgenic DR2 mice and support the potential of this approach to inhibit myelin Ag-specific responses in multiple sclerosis patients.

  • Redirecting therapeutic T cells against myelin-specific T lymphocytes using a humanized myelin basic protein-HLA-DR2-zeta chimeric receptor.

    24 October 2018

    Therapies that Ag-specifically target pathologic T lymphocytes responsible for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases would be expected to have improved therapeutic indices compared with Ag-nonspecific therapies. We have developed a cellular immunotherapy that uses chimeric receptors to selectively redirect therapeutic T cells against myelin basic protein (MBP)-specific T lymphocytes implicated in MS. We generated two heterodimeric receptors that genetically link the human MBP84-102 epitope to HLA-DR2 and either incorporate or lack a TCRzeta signaling domain. The Ag-MHC domain serves as a bait, binding the TCR of MBP-specific target cells. The zeta signaling region stimulates the therapeutic cell after cognate T cell engagement. Both receptors were well expressed on primary T cells or T hybridomas using a tricistronic (alpha, beta, green fluorescent protein) retroviral expression system. MBP-DR2-zeta-, but not MBP-DR2, modified CTL were specifically stimulated by cognate MBP-specific T cells, proliferating, producing cytokine, and killing the MBP-specific target cells. The receptor-modified therapeutic cells were active in vivo as well, eliminating Ag-specific T cells in a humanized mouse model system. Finally, the chimeric receptor-modified CTL ameliorated or blocked experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) disease mediated by MBP84-102/DR2-specific T lymphocytes. These results provide support for the further development of redirected therapeutic T cells able to counteract pathologic, self-specific T lymphocytes, and specifically validate humanized MBP-DR2-zeta chimeric receptors as a potential therapeutic in MS.

  • Therapeutic vaccination of active arthritis with a glycosylated collagen type II peptide in complex with MHC class II molecules.

    24 October 2018

    In both collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) and rheumatoid arthritis, T cells recognize a galactosylated peptide from type II collagen (CII). In this study, we demonstrate that the CII259-273 peptide, galactosylated at lysine 264, in complex with Aq molecules prevented development of CIA in mice and ameliorated chronic relapsing disease. In contrast, nonglycosylated CII259-273/Aq complexes had no such effect. CIA dependent on other MHC class II molecules (Ar/Er) was also down-regulated, indicating a bystander vaccination effect. T cells could transfer the amelioration of CIA, showing that the protection is an active process. Thus, a complex between MHC class II molecules and a posttranslationally modified peptide offers a new possibility for treatment of chronically active autoimmune inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Chorea.

    24 October 2018

    Two weeks after starting the oral contraceptive pill, a 16-year-old girl developed increasingly violent chorea and an evolving psychosis with prominent hallucinations, ideas of reference, and paranoia. An erythematous skin rash subsequently developed and Sydenham's chorea (SC) was diagnosed. Following neuroleptic medication and steroids, her chorea and psychosis subsided. This case illustrates that severe psychotic features can occur in SC. It is recommended that antistreptolysin O titres and antibasal ganglia antibodies are checked early in patients with evolving movement disorders and prominent neuropsychiatric features, as the window for modifying the course of this immune-mediated disorder may be narrow.

  • How well do we recognise non-motor symptoms in a British Parkinson's disease population?

    24 October 2018

    Although awareness of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease (PD) has recently increased, little is known about their recognition and treatment in routine clinical practice. We therefore applied non-motor rating scales for dementia, depression, anxiety and excessive daytime sleepiness to a community-ascertained cohort of 202 PD patients. Hospital case notes were reviewed for evidence that the non-motor problems had been recognized and whether any action had been taken to ameliorate or assess these symptoms. The prevalence of each non-motor problem was as follows: dementia 25.3% (95% CI 19.0, 32.4), depression 37.3% (95% CI 30.6, 44.4), anxiety 31.3% (95% CI 25.0, 38.2), excessive daytime sleepiness 59.4% (95% CI 52.2, 66.3). However, these features were only recognised in 27.2, 38.7, 9.5, and 12.8%, respectively. We did not identify any specific factor that predicted under-recognition. Our study shows that when rating scales are applied to formally assess for non-motor symptoms a large clinical 'iceberg effect' emerges with the majority of symptoms going unrecognised and untreated.

  • A two-stage meta-analysis identifies several new loci for Parkinson's disease.

    5 November 2018

    A previous genome-wide association (GWA) meta-analysis of 12,386 PD cases and 21,026 controls conducted by the International Parkinson's Disease Genomics Consortium (IPDGC) discovered or confirmed 11 Parkinson's disease (PD) loci. This first analysis of the two-stage IPDGC study focused on the set of loci that passed genome-wide significance in the first stage GWA scan. However, the second stage genotyping array, the ImmunoChip, included a larger set of 1,920 SNPs selected on the basis of the GWA analysis. Here, we analyzed this set of 1,920 SNPs, and we identified five additional PD risk loci (combined p<5×10(-10), PARK16/1q32, STX1B/16p11, FGF20/8p22, STBD1/4q21, and GPNMB/7p15). Two of these five loci have been suggested by previous association studies (PARK16/1q32, FGF20/8p22), and this study provides further support for these findings. Using a dataset of post-mortem brain samples assayed for gene expression (n = 399) and methylation (n = 292), we identified methylation and expression changes associated with PD risk variants in PARK16/1q32, GPNMB/7p15, and STX1B/16p11 loci, hence suggesting potential molecular mechanisms and candidate genes at these risk loci.

  • Cytomegalovirus papillitis in an immunocompetent patient.

    24 October 2018

    A 22-year-old immunocompetent woman who presented with a 3-week history of fever, headache, and visual loss and was found to have subnormal visual acuity and bilateral optic disc swelling. Serum cytomegalovirus (CMV) IgM and IgG and polymerase chain reaction results were positive, indicating an acute CMV infection. No cause of immunocompromise was found. After treatment with intravenous ganciclovir, the papillitis and systemic CMV illness resolved with no residual deficit. This is the first reported case of primary CMV papillitis to be successfully treated with ganciclovir alone.

  • Medications

    26 August 2016

  • Blood Vessel Flow Studies

    26 August 2016

  • Blood Pressure

    26 August 2016

  • Cognitive testing

    26 August 2016

  • CCRF

    26 August 2016

  • Support

    18 October 2016

    Link to the FMRIB-OHBA intranet for information and documents relating to the building, scanning, recording and computing.

  • Published Paper: Science Translational Medicine

    27 April 2017

    "Ipsilesional anodal tDCS enhances the functional benefits of rehabilitation in patients after stroke" - Allman, Amadi et al. 2016

  • Published Paper: eLife

    27 April 2017

    "Perceptually relevant remapping of human somatotopy in 24 hours" - Kolasinski et al. 2016

  • Kadoorie Centre Critical Care Research Blog: November 2016

    11 January 2017

    Marco Pimentel is the Post-Doctoral Research Assistant working on the HAVEN project. He studied biomedical engineering at the New University of Lisbon, Portugal, and joined the Oxford Centre for Doctoral training in Healthcare Innovation in 2010. He completed his DPhil in Engineering in 2015 for which he focused on multivariate time-series modelling using Gaussian processes for detecting deterioration in vital-sign data acquired from post-operative patients. He has been working with the Critical Care Research Group since 2014 and his talk to the group was an achievement that delivered a full explanation of using patient and hospital data for research purposes without using maths or equations!

  • Charlie awarded NDCN Outreach Funding

    16 January 2017

    £500 awarded for the Centre for the Creative Brain at St Edmund Hall