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Archive - Jul 2017

Date

July 4th

Different Exosome Cargo in Males and Females May Relate to Different Susceptibility to Osteoarthritis

Researchers have more evidence that males and females are different, this time in the fluid that helps protect the cartilage in their knee joints. They have found in the synovial fluid of this joint, clear differences in the messages cells are sending and receiving via tiny pieces of RNA, called microRNA, in males and females with the common and debilitating condition osteoarthritis. The differences may help explain why the disease is more common in women as it points toward a more targeted way to diagnose and treat this “wear and tear” arthritis, said Dr. Sadanand Fulzele, bone biologist in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Augusta University. Osteoarthritis, which affects more than 30 million Americans, is fundamentally a destruction of the cartilage that provides padding between our bones. “It’s a huge problem,” says Dr. Monte Hunter, Chair of the MCG Department of Orthopedic Surgery and a coauthor of the study published online on May 17, 2017 in Scientific Reports. The open-access article is titled “Gender-Specific Differential Expression of Exosomal miRNA in Synovial Fluid of Patients with Osteoarthritis.” Today’s treatment of osteoarthritis addresses symptoms, like inflammation and pain, and the bottom line for some patients is knee replacement. Clinicians like Hunter would like to provide patients additional options for diagnosing and treating this common malady of aging. Synovial fluid is known to provide clues about joint health, so MCG researchers decided to look at what messages cells in the region were sending and receiving by looking inside traveling compartments in the fluid called exosomes, says Dr. Fulzele, corresponding author. “What we found is there is no change in the number of exosomes, but a change in the microRNA cargo they carry,” Dr. Fulzele says.

New Pestivirus Identified in Shaking Piglets in Austria

Some newly born piglets shiver even when they are kept warm. So-called “shaking piglets” have symptoms that resemble those of the classical swine fever, with extensive damage to the brain and the spinal cord. The viral origin of the disease was clarified only recently with the discovery in Europe and the USA of an atypical porcine pestivirus. Researchers at the Vetmeduni Vienna have now discovered a further new virus in shaking piglets on an Austrian farm. The pathogenic agent is related to the Australian Bungowannah virus and more distantly to the classical swine fewer virus. Because of the symptoms it causes, the new virus is termed LINDA virus (Lateral shaking Inducing NeuroDegenerative Agent). Its discovery was announced in the July 2017 issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” The open-access article is titled “Novel Pestivirus Species in Pigs, Austria, 2015.” In 2015, an Austrian pig breeder observed a number of new-born “shaking piglets” on his farm. Such piglets suffer from a disease in which heavy damage to the brain and spinal cord causes severe shaking. The condition is associated with huge financial losses for the farm. It is believed to be caused by an atypical porcine pestivirus (APPV) that was recently discovered in Europe and the USA. Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna have subsequently found the virus in Austria. Because of the pronounced symptoms on this particular farm, experts at the University Clinic for Swine checked whether the animals were infected with the recently described APPV. Despite comprehensive and highly specific tests, neither APPV nor another pathogen known to cause the disease could be found.

Point-of-Care Device for Rapid Detection of Sepsis

A new portable device can quickly find markers of deadly, unpredictable sepsis infection from a single drop of blood. A team of researchers from the University of Illinois and Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois, completed a clinical study of the device, which is the first to provide rapid, point-of-care measurement of the immune system's response, without any need to process the blood. This can help doctors identify sepsis at its onset, monitor infected patients, and could even point to a prognosis, said research team leader Dr. Rashid Bashir, a Professor of Bioengineering at the U. of I. and the Interim Vice Dean of the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. The research findings were published online on July 3, 2017 in Nature Communications. The open-access article is titled “A Point-of-Care Microfluidic Biochip for Quantification of CD64 Expression from Whole Blood for Sepsis Stratification.” Sepsis is triggered by an infection in the body. The body's immune system releases chemicals that fight the infection, but also cause widespread inflammation that can rapidly lead to organ failure and death. Sepsis strikes roughly 20 percent of patients admitted to hospital intensive care units, yet it is difficult to predict the inflammatory response in time to prevent organ failure, said Dr. Karen White, an intensive care physician at Carle Foundation Hospital. Dr. White led the clinical side of the study. "Sepsis is one of the most serious, life-threatening problems in the ICU. It can become deadly quickly, so a bedside test that can monitor patient's inflammatory status in real time would help us treat it sooner with better accuracy," Dr. White said. Sepsis is routinely detected by monitoring patients' vital signs - blood pressure, oxygen levels, temperature, and others.