Publications by authors named "Asima Karim"

10 Publications

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Signature molecular changes in the skeletal muscle of hindlimb unloaded mice.

Biochem Biophys Rep 2021 Mar 29;25:100930. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, 27272, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Hind-limb unloaded (HU) mouse is a well-recognized model of muscle atrophy; however, the molecular changes in the skeletal muscle during unloading are poorly characterized. We have used Raman spectroscopy to evaluate the structure and behavior of signature molecules involved in regulating muscle structural and functional health. The Raman spectroscopic analysis of gastrocnemius muscles was compared between 16-18 weeks old HU c57Bl/6J mice and ground-based controls. The spectra showed that the signals for asparagine and glutamine were reduced in HU mice, possibly indicating increased catabolism. The peaks for hydroxyproline and proline were split, pointing towards molecular breakdown and reduced tendon repair. We also report a consistently increased intensity in> 1300 cm range in the Raman spectra along with a shift towards higher frequencies in the HU mice, indicating activation of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) stress during HU.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrep.2021.100930DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851774PMC
March 2021

Growth and socio-economic status, influence on the age at menarche in school going girls.

J Adolesc 2021 Jan 9;86:40-53. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Finance and Economics, College of Business Administration, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark.

Introduction: Onset age at menarche has been considered an important indicator of reproductive maturity in females and reflects the health status of the population. The purpose of this study was to determine the mean menarcheal age and to examine whether anthropometric and socio-economic status (SES) influences age at menarche in the girls from Punjab province of Pakistan.

Methods: In this population-based cross-sectional study, 10,050 school-going girls aged 8-16 years from 35 schools across 12 districts of Punjab were recruited. Menarcheal data was obtained by using a questionnaire, while the anthropometric data were obtained by the measurements of standing height, body weight, waist, and hip circumference. The anthropometric indices of pre- and post-menarcheal girls were compared. Student's t-test, ANOVA, and post-hoc Tukey's test was applied for comparison between two and multiple groups respectively, P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

Results: There was a normal distribution of age at menarche and mean was 12.4 years in the study population. The girls who reached menarche were found to be taller and heavier with higher BMIs, having a greater waist and hip circumference as compared to their pre-menarcheal peers. Waist-hip-ratio was less, and the waist-to-height ratio was higher in post-menarcheal as compared to pre-menarcheal girls. The girls belonging to low SES had delayed onset of menarche as compared to those belonging to middle/high SES.

Conclusion: The age at menarche was associated with SES and changes in various anthropometric measurements reflecting the growth status of girls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2020.12.001DOI Listing
January 2021

Circulating Biomarkers of Accelerated Sarcopenia in Respiratory Diseases.

Biology (Basel) 2020 Oct 3;9(10). Epub 2020 Oct 3.

Department of Cardiology, Al Qassimi Hospital, Sharjah 27272, UAE.

Skeletal muscle dysfunction is a critical finding in many respiratory diseases. However, a definitive biomarker to assess muscle decline in respiratory diseases is not known. We analyzed the association of plasma levels of glycoprotein Dickkopf-3 (Dkk-3), c-terminal agrin fragment-22 (CAF22) and microRNAs miR-21, miR-134a, miR-133 and miR-206 with hand-grip strength (HGS) and appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI) in male, 54-73-year-old patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma or pulmonary TB ( = 83-101/group). Patients with respiratory diseases showed a reduction in HGS and gait speed, while a reduction in ASMI was only found in patients with pulmonary TB. Among the sarcopenia indexes, HGS showed the strongest correlation with plasma CAF22, miR-21 and miR-206 levels while ASMI showed the strongest correlation with Dkk-3 and miR-133 in respiratory diseases. We found a modest-to-significant increase in the plasma markers of inflammation, oxidative stress and muscle damage, which had varying degrees of correlations with Dkk-3, CAF22 and selected micro RNAs (miRs) in respiratory diseases. Taken together, our data show that plasma levels of Dkk-3, CAF22 and selected miRs can be useful tools to assess accelerated sarcopenia phenotype in the elderly with respiratory diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology9100322DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7600620PMC
October 2020

Plasma CAF22 Levels as a Useful Predictor of Muscle Health in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Biology (Basel) 2020 Jul 15;9(7). Epub 2020 Jul 15.

Department of Biochemistry, Gomal Medical College, Dera Ismail Khan 29050, Pakistan.

Skeletal muscle dysfunction and reduced physical capacity are characteristic features of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the search for a reliable biomarker to assess muscle health in CODP remains elusive. We analyzed the course of hand-grip strength (HGS) and appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI) in COPD in relation to spirometry decline and plasma extracellular heat shock protein-72 (eHSP72) and c-terminal fragment of agrin-22 (CAF22) levels. We evaluated male, 62-73 years old patients of COPD ( = 265) and healthy controls ( = 252) at baseline and after 12 and 24 months for plasma biomarkers, spirometry and HGS measurements. HGS declined significantly over time and plasma CAF22, but not eHSP72 levels, had a significant negative association with HGS and ASMI in COPD. Plasma CAF22 also had an association with walking speed and daily steps count in advanced COPD. Lower ASMI was associated with reduced HGS at all time-point. Narrow age-span of the study cohort and exclusion of lower-limb muscles from the analysis are limitations of this study. Taken together, we report that the plasma CAF22 may be a useful tool to assess muscle weakness and atrophy in COPD patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology9070166DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7408122PMC
July 2020

Anthropometric measurements of school-going-girls of the Punjab, Pakistan.

BMC Pediatr 2020 05 16;20(1):223. Epub 2020 May 16.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.

Background: Child's growth has been considered an important indicator to evaluate health trends in a population and to devise strategies accordingly. The purpose of the present study was to determine most commonly occurring weight abnormalities among school-going girls from Punjab and to compare with international growth references devised by World Health Organization (WHO) and Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study a sample of 10,050 child and adolescent girls from 12 districts, 35 public/private sector schools, located in rural, semi-urban and urban areas of northern, central and southern Punjab were included. Parameters were measured according to standardised techniques and centile curves obtained by Lambda, Mu, Sigma (LMS) method.

Results: The results showed an increase in weight, height and BMI of the Punjabi girls until 15 years. When compared with international growth references, weight and BMI in our population were significantly lowered; however, height was lower during 12-16 years of age and the differences observed were more pronounced with CDC as compared to WHO. When 3rd, 50th and 90th percentiles of weight, height and BMI in our population were compared with international standards, the values were lower in our paediatric population.

Conclusion: The Punjabi schoolgirls significantly differed from CDC and WHO references, and this difference should be taken into consideration for evaluation of growth abnormalities in our paediatric population. However, in the absence of national reference data, WHO standards have been considered more appropriate for comparison.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12887-020-02135-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229613PMC
May 2020

Circulating Biomarkers of Handgrip Strength and Lung Function in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis 2020 11;15:311-321. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Department of Biochemistry, Gomal Medical College, Gomal University, Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.

Purpose: COPD is a multisystem disease and there is a need for clinical serum markers that can assess the decline in lung and muscle function in COPD. The goal of this study was to evaluate the potential association of serum club-cell protein 16 (CC16), α-1 acid glycoprotein (AGP) and total sialic acid (TSA) with spirometry, hand-grip strength and quality of life to assess important disease outcomes.

Methods: This is a population-based cross-sectional study and data were collected from the patients at teaching hospitals of Gomal University and the University of Health Sciences in Pakistan. The study population included 1582 participants (Non-COPD; N = 788, COPD; N = 845) >55 years of age from both sexes, with data from structural interviews, clinical examinations, laboratory investigations, spirometry and hand-grip strength measurements.

Results: Serum TSA and CC16 were significant predictors of FEV% (p < 0.05) and hand-grip strength in advanced stages of COPD (p < 0.05 each) in both sexes. Men had higher absolute and adjusted hand-grip strength than women in all groups (p < 0.05). Hand-grip strength was significantly associated with FEV% in both genders (p < 0.05) with stronger effect in women (r = 0.075). Serum HDL-C was an independent predictor of hand-grip strength and FEV% (p < 0.05) in both genders. Participants with extreme problem on EQ-5D parameters had more severe COPD and reduced hand-grip strength (all p values < 0.05).

Conclusion: Taken together, these studies show that the serum expressions of TSA and CC16 have correlations with spirometry and muscle decline in COPD. Further studies should be conducted to establish their efficacy in monitoring disease progression in COPD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S225765DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023869PMC
February 2021

Muscle unloading: A comparison between spaceflight and ground-based models.

Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2020 03 30;228(3):e13431. Epub 2019 Dec 30.

Department of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.

Prolonged unloading of skeletal muscle, a common outcome of events such as spaceflight, bed rest and hindlimb unloading, can result in extensive metabolic, structural and functional changes in muscle fibres. With advancement in investigations of cellular and molecular mechanisms, understanding of disuse muscle atrophy has significantly increased. However, substantial gaps exist in our understanding of the processes dictating muscle plasticity during unloading, which prevent us from developing effective interventions to combat muscle loss. This review aims to update the status of knowledge and underlying mechanisms leading to cellular and molecular changes in skeletal muscle during unloading. We have also discussed advances in the understanding of contractile dysfunction during spaceflights and in ground-based models of muscle unloading. Additionally, we have elaborated on potential therapeutic interventions that show promising results in boosting muscle mass and strength during mechanical unloading. Finally, we have identified key gaps in our knowledge as well as possible research direction for the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apha.13431DOI Listing
March 2020

The clustering and morphology of chondrocytes in normal and mildly degenerate human femoral head cartilage studied by confocal laser scanning microscopy.

J Anat 2018 04 28;232(4):686-698. Epub 2017 Dec 28.

Centre for Integrative Physiology, Deanery of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

Chondrocytes are the major cell type present in hyaline cartilage and they play a crucial role in maintaining the mechanical resilience of the tissue through a balance of the synthesis and breakdown of extracellular matrix macromolecules. Histological assessment of cartilage suggests that articular chondrocytes in situ typically occur singly and demonstrate a rounded/elliptical morphology. However, there are suggestions that their grouping and fine shape is more complex and that these change with cartilage degeneration as occurs in osteoarthritis. In the present study we have used confocal laser scanning microscopy and fluorescently labelled in situ human chondrocytes and advanced imaging software to visualise chondrocyte clustering and detailed morphology within grade-0 (non-degenerate) and grade-1 (mildly degenerate) cartilage from human femoral heads. Graded human cartilage explants were incubated with 5-chloromethylfluorescein diacetate and propidium iodide to identify the morphology and viability, respectively, of in situ chondrocytes within superficial, mid- and deep zones. In grade-0 cartilage, the analysis of confocal microscope images showed that although the majority of chondrocytes were single and morphologically normal, clusters (i.e. three or more chondrocytes within the enclosed lacunar space) were occasionally observed in the superficial zone, and 15-25% of the cell population exhibited at least one cytoplasmic process of ~ 5 μm in length. With degeneration, cluster number increased (~ 50%) but not significantly; however, the number of cells/cluster (P < 0.001) and the percentage of cells forming clusters increased (P = 0.0013). In the superficial zone but not the mid- or deep zones, the volume of clusters and average volume of chondrocytes in clusters increased (P < 0.001 and P < 0.05, respectively). The percentage of chondrocytes with processes, the number of processes/cell and the length of processes/cell increased in the superficial zone of grade-1 cartilage (P = 0.0098, P = 0.02 and P < 0.001, respectively). Processes were categorised based on length (L0 - no cytoplasmic processes; L1 < 5 μm; 5 < L2 ≤ 10 μm; 10 < L3 ≤ 15 μm; L4 > 15 μm). With cartilage degeneration, for chondrocytes in all zones, there was a significant decrease (P = 0.015) in the percentage of chondrocytes with 'normal' morphology (i.e. L0), with no change in the percentage of cells with L1 processes; however, there were significant increases in the other categories. In grade-0 cartilage, chondrocyte clustering and morphological abnormalities occurred and with degeneration these were exacerbated, particularly in the superficial zone. Chondrocyte clustering and abnormal morphology are associated with aberrant matrix metabolism, suggesting that these early changes to chondrocyte properties may be associated with cartilage degeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.12768DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5835791PMC
April 2018

Chondrocyte Morphology in Stiff and Soft Agarose Gels and the Influence of Fetal Calf Serum.

J Cell Physiol 2017 05 16;232(5):1041-1052. Epub 2016 Aug 16.

Centre for Integrative Physiology, Deanery of Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom.

Changes to chondrocyte volume/morphology may have deleterious effects on extracellular matrix (ECM) metabolism potentially leading to cartilage deterioration and osteoarthritis (OA). The factors controlling chondrocyte properties are poorly understood, however, pericellular matrix (PCM) weakening may be involved. We have studied the density, volume, morphology, and clustering of cultured bovine articular chondrocytes within stiff (2% w/v) and soft (0.2% w/v) three-dimensional agarose gels. Gels with encapsulated chondrocytes were cultured in Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM; fetal calf serum (FCS) 1-10%;380 mOsm) for up to 7 days. Chondrocytes were fluorescently labeled after 1, 3, and 7 days with 5-chloromethylfluorescein-diacetate (CMFDA) and propidium iodide (PI) or 1,5-bis{[2-(di-methylamino)ethyl]amino}-4,8-dihydroxyanthracene-9,10-dione (DRAQ5) to identify cytoplasmic space or DNA and imaged by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Chondrocyte density, volume, morphology, and clustering were quantified using Volocity™ software. In stiff gels after 7 d with 10% FCS, chondrocyte density remained unaffected and morphology was relatively normal with occasional cytoplasmic processes. However, in soft gels by day 1, chondrocyte volume increased (P = 0.0058) and by day 7, density increased (P = 0.0080), along with the percentage of chondrocytes of abnormal morphology (P < 0.0001) and enhanced clustering (P < 0.05), compared to stiff gels. FCS exacerbated changes to density (P < 0.01), abnormal morphology (P < 0.001) and clustering (P < 0.01) compared to lower concentrations at the same gel strength. Reduced gel stiffness and/or increased FCS concentrations promoted chondrocyte proliferation and clustering, increased cell volume, and stimulated abnormal morphology, producing similar changes to those occurring in OA. The increased penetration of factors in FCS into soft gels may be important in the development of these abnormal chondrocyte properties. J. Cell. Physiol. 232: 1041-1052, 2017. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcp.25507DOI Listing
May 2017

Association of polycystic ovary syndrome with cardiovascular risk factors.

Gynecol Endocrinol 2010 Jan;26(1):47-53

Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Health Sciences (UHS), Khayaban-e-Jamia Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.

Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), also clinically known as Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is an endocrine disorder that affects 5-10% of women.

Objective: To evaluate the risk factors for developing early onset of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in young patients with PCOS from our local population.

Design: Case-control study.

Methods: Fifty women with PCOS selected by history and transvaginal ultrasounds and 30 age-matched healthy women (controls). The case subjects and controls were further divided into two age categories comprising of equal number of subjects, of 20-29 and 30-39 years of age. The subjects underwent a detailed medical history, general physical examination, systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressures (DBP). Fasting blood samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin, triacylglycerides (TAG), total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein-C (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein-C (LDL-C), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Results: Women with the PCOS had significantly higher mean arterial pressure (MAP), serum TAG, LDL-C, insulin, and LH levels when compared with the age-matched control subjects. No significant differences were observed between serum cholesterol, glucose, and FSH levels between cases and controls. However, no marked differences were observed in biochemical parameters between the two age groups of PCOS patients.

Conclusions: Younger women with PCOS are equally at risk of developing CVD as older women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3109/09513590903159565DOI Listing
January 2010