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Role of intestinal microbiota in transplantation outcomes.

While allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantations have a curative potential, infections and graft-versus-host disease remain significant problems. The intestinal microbiota can influence responses to cancer chemotherapy and the role of the microbiota in affecting allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation outcomes is increasingly appreciated. The following paper discusses the most recent developments in this area.

Zinc and smoking habits in the setting of hypertension in a Spanish populations.

The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between trace and toxic amounts of zinc (Zn) in biological samples (blood and urine) and the smoking habits of hypertensive patients and healthy control subjects in Valladolid (Spain). In order to compare biological samples, the concentrations of these samples were measured using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The limits of detection for Zn in blood plasma ranged between 4.22 and 17.34 µmol l(-1) and were <0.08 µmol g(-1) creatinine in urine. The results of this study indicate that the highest mean values of serum Zn were found in non-hypertensive nonsmokers (13.39±4.35 µmol l(-1)), whereas the highest urine Zn values were observed in hypertensive nonsmokers (2.78±2.13 µmol l(-1)). Higher Zn serum/urine quotient levels were observed in non-hypertensive and nonsmoking women, whereas lower levels were noted in non-hypertensive and smoking women (P=0.012). This study identified a correlation between Zn serum/urine quotients and cotinine levels (a marker of smoking), a correlation that suggests that smoking lowers the Zn serum/urine quotient, which was lower in hypertensive subjects than in control subjects.

Progastrin represses the alternative activation of human macrophages and modulates their influence on colon cancer epithelial cells.

Macrophage infiltration is a negative prognostic factor for most cancers but gastrointestinal tumors seem to be an exception. The effect of macrophages on cancer progression depends on their phenotype, which may vary between M1 (pro-inflammatory, defensive) to M2 (tolerogenic, pro-tumoral). Gastrointestinal cancers often become an ectopic source of gastrins and macrophages present receptors for these peptides. The aim of the present study is to analyze whether gastrins can affect the pattern of macrophage infiltration in colorectal tumors. We have evaluated the relationship between gastrin expression and the pattern of macrophage infiltration in samples from colorectal cancer and the influence of these peptides on the phenotype of macrophages differentiated from human peripheral monocytes in vitro. The total number of macrophages (CD68+ cells) was similar in tumoral and normal surrounding tissue, but the number of M2 macrophages (CD206+ cells) was significantly higher in the tumor. However, the number of these tumor-associated M2 macrophages correlated negatively with the immunoreactivity for gastrin peptides in tumor epithelial cells. Macrophages differentiated from human peripheral monocytes in the presence of progastrin showed lower levels of M2-markers (CD206, IL10) with normal amounts of M1-markers (CD86, IL12). Progastrin induced similar effects in mature macrophages treated with IL4 to obtain a M2-phenotype or with LPS plus IFN? to generate M1-macrophages. Macrophages differentiated in the presence of progastrin presented a reduced expression of Wnt ligands and decreased the number and increased cell death of co-cultured colorectal cancer epithelial cells. Our results suggest that progastrin inhibits the acquisition of a M2-phenotype in human macrophages. This effect exerted on tumor associated macrophages may modulate cancer progression and should be taken into account when analyzing the therapeutic value of gastrin immunoneutralization.

Rationale and study design for an individualized perioperative open lung ventilatory strategy (iPROVE): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Postoperative pulmonary and non-pulmonary complications are common problems that increase morbidity and mortality in surgical patients, even though the incidence has decreased with the increased use of protective lung ventilation strategies. Previous trials have focused on standard strategies in the intraoperative or postoperative period, but without personalizing these strategies to suit the needs of each individual patient and without considering both these periods as a global perioperative lung-protective approach. The trial presented here aims at comparing postoperative complications when using an individualized ventilatory management strategy in the intraoperative and immediate postoperative periods with those when using a standard protective ventilation strategy in patients scheduled for major abdominal surgery.

Trends in socioeconomic inequalities in preventable mortality in urban areas of 33 Spanish cities, 1996-2007 (MEDEA project)

Background: Preventable mortality is a good indicator of possible problems to be investigated in the primary prevention chain, making it also a useful tool with which to evaluate health policies particularly public health policies. This study describes inequalities in preventable avoidable mortality in relation to socioeconomic status in small urban areas of thirty three Spanish cities, and analyses their evolution over the course of the periods 1996-2001 and 2002-2007. Methods: We analysed census tracts and all deaths occurring in the population residing in these cities from 1996 to 2007 were taken into account. The causes included in the study were lung cancer, cirrhosis, AIDS/HIV, motor vehicle traffic accidents injuries, suicide and homicide. The census tracts were classified into three groups, according their socioeconomic level. To analyse inequalities in mortality risks between the highest and lowest socioeconomic levels and over different periods, for each city and separating by sex, Poisson regression were used. Results: Preventable avoidable mortality made a significant contribution to general mortality (around 7.5%, higher among men), having decreased over time in men (12.7 in 1996-2001 and 10.9 in 2002-2007), though not so clearly among women (3.3% in 1996-2001 and 2.9% in 2002-2007). It has been observed in men that the risks of death are higher in areas of greater deprivation, and that these excesses have not modified over time. The result in women is different and differences in mortality risks by socioeconomic level could not be established in many cities. Conclusions: Preventable mortality decreased between the 1996-2001 and 2002-2007 periods, more markedly in men than in women. There were socioeconomic inequalities in mortality in most cities analysed, associating a higher risk of death with higher levels of deprivation. Inequalities have remained over the two periods analysed. This study makes it possible to identify those areas where excess preventable mortality was associated with more deprived zones. It is in these deprived zones where actions to reduce and monitor health inequalities should be put into place. Primary healthcare may play an important role in this process.

Diet quality and nutrient density in subjects with metabolic syndrome: Influence of socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors. A cross-sectional assessment in the PREDIMED-Plus study.

BACKGROUND: Socioeconomic disparities and lifestyle factors are likely to determine the overall quality of the diet. In addition, overeating is compatible with inadequate micronutrient intake and it can lead to adverse health outcomes. OBJECTIVE: To assess adequacy of dietary nutrient intake and to investigate the influence of socioeconomic and lifestyle factors on nutrient density in a large primary cardiovascular prevention trial conducted in healthy participants with metabolic syndrome (MetS) to assess the cardiovascular effects of an energy-restricted Mediterranean diet (PREDIMED-Plus). METHODS: Baseline cross-sectional analysis of the PREDIMED-Plus trial with 6646 Spanish participants (aged 55-75 years in men and 60-75 years in women) with overweight/obesity and MetS. Energy and nutrient intake (for 10 nutrients) were calculated using a validated 143-item Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and nutrient density was estimated dividing the absolute nutrient intake by total energy intake. The prevalence of inadequate intake was estimated according to dietary reference intakes. Multivariable linear regression models were fitted to examine associations between socioeconomic status or lifestyle factors and nutrient density. RESULTS: A considerable proportion of the screened participants showed a deficient intake of vitamins A, D, E, B9, calcium, magnesium and dietary fibre. Inadequate intake of four or more of the ten nutrients considered was present in 17% of participants. A higher nutrient density was directly and significantly associated with female sex, higher educational level and a better adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Lifestyle factors such as non-smoking and avoidance of sedentary lifestyles were also independently associated with better nutrient density. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with MetS, despite being overweight, exhibited suboptimal nutrient intake, especially among men. Low nutrient density diet can be largely explained by differences in socioeconomic and lifestyle factors. These results highlight the importance of focussing on nutritional education in vulnerable populations, taking into account nutrient requirements.

A novel common variant in DCST2 is associated with length in early life and height in adulthood.

Common genetic variants have been identified for adult height, but not much is known about the genetics of skeletal growth in early life. To identify common genetic variants that influence fetal skeletal growth, we meta-analyzed 22 genome-wide association studies (Stage 1; N = 28 459). We identified seven independent top single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (P < 1 × 10(-6)) for birth length, of which three were novel and four were in or near loci known to be associated with adult height (LCORL, PTCH1, GPR126 and HMGA2). The three novel SNPs were followed-up in nine replication studies (Stage 2; N = 11 995), with rs905938 in DC-STAMP domain containing 2 (DCST2) genome-wide significantly associated with birth length in a joint analysis (Stages 1 + 2; ß = 0.046, SE = 0.008, P = 2.46 × 10(-8), explained variance = 0.05%). Rs905938 was also associated with infant length (N = 28 228; P = 5.54 × 10(-4)) and adult height (N = 127 513; P = 1.45 × 10(-5)). DCST2 is a DC-STAMP-like protein family member and DC-STAMP is an osteoclast cell-fusion regulator. Polygenic scores based on 180 SNPs previously associated with human adult stature explained 0.13% of variance in birth length. The same SNPs explained 2.95% of the variance of infant length. Of the 180 known adult height loci, 11 were genome-wide significantly associated with infant length (SF3B4, LCORL, SPAG17, C6orf173, PTCH1, GDF5, ZNFX1, HHIP, ACAN, HLA locus and HMGA2). This study highlights that common variation in DCST2 influences variation in early growth and adult height.

Epidemiology of congenital diaphragmatic hernia in Europe: a register-based study.

Published prevalence rates of congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) vary. This study aims to describe the epidemiology of CDH using data from high-quality, population-based registers belonging to the European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT).

Population-based multicase-control study in common tumors in Spain (MCC-Spain): rationale and study design.

We present the protocol of a large population-based case-control study of 5 common tumors in Spain (MCC-Spain) that evaluates environmental exposures and genetic factors.

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