Publications by authors named "Marta Casado"

85 Publications

Implications of the use of organic fertilizers for antibiotic resistance gene distribution in agricultural soils and fresh food products. a plot-scale study.

Sci Total Environ 2021 Nov 26:151973. Epub 2021 Nov 26.

Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Catalunya 08034, Spain.

The spread of antibiotic resistance genes (ARG) into agricultural soils, products, and foods severely limits the use of organic fertilizers in agriculture. In order to help designing agricultural practices that minimize the spread of ARG, we fertilized, sown, and harvested lettuces and radish plants in experimental land plots for two consecutive agricultural cycles using four types of fertilizers: mineral fertilization, sewage sludge, pig slurry, or composted organic fraction of municipal solid waste. The analysis of the relative abundances of more than 200,000 ASV (Amplicon Sequence Variants) identified a small, but significant overlap (<10%) between soil's and fertilizer microbiomes. Clinically relevant ARG were found in higher loads (up to 100 fold) in fertilized soils than in the initial soil, particularly in those treated with organic fertilizers, and their loads grossly correlated to the amount of antibiotic residues found in the corresponding fertilizer. Similarly, low, but measurable ARG loads were found in lettuce (tetM, sul1) and radish (sul1), corresponding the lowest values to samples collected from minerally fertilized fields. Comparison of soil samples collected along the total period of the experiment indicated a relatively year-round stability of soil microbiomes in amended soils, whereas ARG loads appeared as unstable and transient. The results indicate that ARG loads in soils and foodstuffs were likely linked to the contribution of bacteria from organic fertilizer to the soil microbiomes, suggesting that an adequate waste management and good pharmacological and veterinarian practices may significantly reduce the presence of these ARGs in agricultural soils and plant products.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.151973DOI Listing
November 2021

A 2-Step Strategy Combining FIB-4 With Transient Elastography and Ultrasound Predicted Liver Cancer After HCV Cure.

Am J Gastroenterol 2021 Sep 9. Epub 2021 Sep 9.

Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocio, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.

Introduction: Despite the direct-acting antiviral therapy has dramatically decreased the likelihood of having liver-related complications and extrahepatic outcomes, the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not totally eliminated after sustained virological response (SVR). We aimed to develop an easy-to-apply strategy to be adopted in clinical practice for accurately classifying the HCC risk in hepatitis C virus patients after SVR.

Methods: Prospective and multicenter study enrolling hepatitis C virus patients with advanced fibrosis (transient elastography [TE] > 10 kPa) or cirrhosis by ultrasound showing SVR. They were followed up until HCC, liver transplantation, death, or until October 2020, which occurred first, with a minimum follow-up period of 6 months after SVR (follow-up: 49 [interquartile range 28-59] months).

Results: Patients with cirrhosis by ultrasound represented 58% (611/1,054) of the overall cohort. During the study, HCC occurrence was 5.3% (56/1,054). Multivariate analyses revealed that Fibrosis-4 (FIB-4) > 3.25 (hazard ratio [HR] 2.26 [1.08-4.73]; P = 0.030), TE (HR 1.02 [1.00-1.04]; P = 0.045) and cirrhosis by ultrasound (HR 3.15 [1.36-7.27]; P = 0.007) predicted HCC occurrence. Baseline HCC screening criteria (TE > 10 kPa or cirrhosis) identified patients at higher risk of HCC occurrence in presence of FIB-4 > 3.25 (8.8%; 44/498) vs FIB-4 < 3.25 (2.4%; 12/506), while those with only FIB > 3.25 had no HCC (0%; 0/50) (logRank 22.129; P = 0.0001). A combination of baseline FIB-4 > 3.25 and HCC screening criteria had an annual incidence >1.5 cases per 100 person-years, while the rest of the groups remained <1 case. Patients who maintained post-treatment FIB-4 > 3.25 and HCC screening criteria remained at the highest risk of HCC occurrence (13.7% [21/153] vs 4.9% [9/184]; logRank 7.396, P = 0.007).

Discussion: We demonstrated that a two-step strategy combining FIB-4, TE, and ultrasound could help stratify HCC incidence risk after SVR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000001503DOI Listing
September 2021

Mitochondrial bioenergetics boost macrophages activation promoting liver regeneration in metabolically compromised animals.

Hepatology 2021 Sep 12. Epub 2021 Sep 12.

Transplant Coordination Unit. Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital-IDIVAL. Cantabria University, Santander, Spain.

Background And Aims: Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is the leading cause of early post-transplantation organ failure, as mitochondrial respiration and ATP production are affected. Shortage of donors has extended liver donor criteria, including aged or steatotic livers, which are more susceptible to IRI. Given the lack of an effective treatment and the extensive transplantation waitlist, we aimed at characterizing the effects of an accelerated mitochondrial activity by silencing Methylation-controlled J protein (MCJ) in three pre-clinical models of IRI and liver regeneration, focusing on metabolically compromised animal models.

Approach And Results: Wt, MCJ KO and Mcj silenced Wt mice were subjected to 70% Partial hepatectomy (Phx), prolonged IRI and 70% Phx with IRI. Old and mice with metabolic syndrome were also subjected to these procedures. Expression of MCJ, an endogenous negative regulator of mitochondrial respiration, increases in pre-clinical models of Phx with or without vascular occlusion, and in donors' livers. Mice lacking MCJ initiate liver regeneration 12h faster than WT, show reduced ischemic injury and increased survival. MCJ knockdown enables a mitochondrial adaptation that restores the bioenergetic supply for enhanced regeneration and prevents cell death after IRI. Mechanistically, increased ATP secretion facilitates the early activation of kupffer cells and production of TNF, IL-6 and HB-EGF accelerating the priming phase and the progression through G1/S transition during liver regeneration. Therapeutic silencing of MCJ in 15-month-old mice and in mice fed with a high fat-high fructose diet for 12 weeks improves mitochondrial respiration, reduces steatosis and overcomes regenerative limitations.

Conclusions: Boosting mitochondrial activity by silencing MCJ could pave the way for a novel protective approach after major liver resection or IRI, specially in metabolically compromised, IRI susceptible organs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.32149DOI Listing
September 2021

Obeticholic Acid and Fibrates in Primary Biliary Cholangitis: Comparative Effects in a Multicentric Observational Study.

Am J Gastroenterol 2021 11;116(11):2250-2257

Unidad de Hepatología, Servicio de Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Universitari Sagrat Cor, Barcelona, Spain.

Introduction: Obeticholic acid (OCA) and fibrates therapy results in biochemical improvement in placebo-controlled trials in patients with primary biliary cholangitis and insufficient response to ursodeoxycholic acid. There is scarce information outside of clinical trials. Therefore, we have assessed the effectiveness and adverse events of these treatments.

Methods: Data from patients included in the ColHai registry treated with OCA, fibrates, or both were recorded during a year, as well as adverse events and treatment discontinuation.

Results: Eighty-six patients were treated with OCA, 250 with fibrates (81% bezafibrate; 19% fenofibrate), and 15 with OCA plus fibrates. OCA group had baseline significantly higher alkaline phosphatase (ALP) (P = 0.01) and lower platelets (P = 0.03) than fibrates. Both treatments significantly decreased ALP, gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), and transaminases and improved Globe score. Albumin and immunoglobulin type M improved in the fibrates group. ALP decrease was higher under fibrates, whereas alanine aminotransferase decline was higher under OCA. Although baseline transaminases and GGT were higher in patients with OCA plus fibrates, significant ALP, GGT, alanine aminotransferase, and Globe score improvement were observed during triple therapy. Adverse events were reported in 14.7% of patients (21.3% OCA; 17.6% fenofibrate; 10.7% bezafibrate), mainly pruritus (10.1% with OCA). Discontinuation was more frequent in fenofibrate treatment mainly because of intolerance or adverse events.

Discussion: Second-line therapy with OCA or fibrates improves hepatic biochemistry and the GLOBE score in primary biliary cholangitis patients with suboptimal response to ursodeoxycholic acid. Simultaneous treatment with OCA and fibrates improved ALP as well.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.14309/ajg.0000000000001343DOI Listing
November 2021

Chronic treatment with acetaminophen protects against liver aging by targeting inflammation and oxidative stress.

Aging (Albany NY) 2021 03 29;13(6):7800-7827. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols", (CSIC-UAM), Department of Metabolism and Cellular Signaling, Madrid 28029, Spain.

The liver exhibits a variety of functions that are well-preserved during aging. However, the cellular hallmarks of aging increase the risk of hepatic alterations and development of chronic liver diseases. Acetaminophen (APAP) is a first choice for relieving mild-to-moderate pain. Most of the knowledge about APAP-mediated hepatotoxicity arises from acute overdose studies due to massive oxidative stress and inflammation, but little is known about its effect in age-related liver inflammation after chronic exposure. Our results show that chronic treatment of wild-type mice on the B6D2JRcc/Hsd genetic background with APAP at an infratherapeutic dose reduces liver alterations during aging without affecting body weight. This intervention attenuates age-induced mild oxidative stress by increasing HO-1, MnSOD and NQO1 protein levels and reducing ERK1/2 and p38 MAPK phosphorylation. More importantly, APAP treatment counteracts the increase in Cd8 and the reduction in Cd4 T lymphocytes observed in the liver with age. This response was also found in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. In conclusion, chronic infratherapeutic APAP treatment protects mice from age-related liver alterations by attenuating oxidative stress and inflammation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/aging.202884DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8034963PMC
March 2021

Hepatic COX-2 expression protects mice from an alcohol-high fat diet-induced metabolic disorder by involving protein acetylation related energy metabolism.

Alcohol 2021 05 2;92:41-52. Epub 2021 Mar 2.

Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Purpose: A diet high in fat and ethanol often results in chronic metabolic disorder, hepatic steatosis, and liver inflammation. Constitutive hepatic cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression could protect from high fat-induced metabolism disturbance in a murine model. In this study, we explored the influence of hCOX-2 transgenic [TG] to high fat with ethanol-induced metabolic disorder and liver injury using a mouse animal model.

Methods: 12-week-old male hepatic hCOX-2 transgenic (TG) or wild type mice (WT) were fed either a high fat and ethanol liquid diet (HF+Eth) or a regular control diet (RCD) for 5 weeks (four groups: RCD/WT, RCD/TG; HF+Eth/TG, HF+Eth/WT). We assessed metabolic biomarkers, cytokine profiles, histomorphology, and gene expression to study the impact of persistent hepatic COX-2 expression on diet-induced liver injury.

Results: In the HF+Eth diet, constitutively hepatic human COX-2 expression protects mice from body weight gain and white adipose tissue accumulation, accompanied by improved IPGTT response, serum triglyceride/cholesterol levels, and lower levels of serum and liver inflammatory cytokines. Histologically, hCOX-2 mice showed decreased hepatic lipid droplets accumulation, decreased hepatocyte ballooning, and improved steatosis scores. Hepatic hCOX-2 overexpression enhanced AKT insulin signaling and increased fatty acid synthesis in both RCD and HF+Eth diet groups. The anti-lipogenic effect of hCOX-2 TG in the HF+Eth diet animals was mediated by increasing lipid disposal through enhanced β-oxidation via elevations in the expression of PPARα and PPARγ, and increased hepatic autophagy as assessed by the ratio of autophagy markers LC3 II/I in hepatic tissue. Various protein acetylation pathway components, including HAT, HDAC1, SIRT1, and SNAIL1, were modulated in hCOX-2 TG mice in either RCD or HF+Eth diet.

Conclusions: Hepatic human COX-2 expression protected mice from the metabolic disorder and liver injury induced by a high fat and ethanol diet by enhancing hepatic lipid expenditure. Epigenetic reprogramming of diverse metabolic genes might be involved in the anti-lipogenic effect of COX-2.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.alcohol.2020.08.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8095085PMC
May 2021

Comprehensive analysis and insights gained from long-term experience of the Spanish DILI Registry.

J Hepatol 2021 07 1;75(1):86-97. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

UGC Aparato Digestivo and Servicio de Farmacología Clínica, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Málaga-IBIMA, Hospital Universitario Virgen de la Victoria, Universidad de Málaga, Málaga, Spain; Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas (CIBERehd), Madrid, Spain.

Background & Aims: Prospective drug-induced liver injury (DILI) registries are important sources of information on idiosyncratic DILI. We aimed to present a comprehensive analysis of 843 patients with DILI enrolled into the Spanish DILI Registry over a 20-year time period.

Methods: Cases were identified, diagnosed and followed prospectively. Clinical features, drug information and outcome data were collected.

Results: A total of 843 patients, with a mean age of 54 years (48% females), were enrolled up to 2018. Hepatocellular injury was associated with younger age (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] per year 0.983; 95% CI 0.974-0.991) and lower platelet count (aOR per unit 0.996; 95% CI 0.994-0.998). Anti-infectives were the most common causative drug class (40%). Liver-related mortality was more frequent in patients with hepatocellular damage aged ≥65 years (p = 0.0083) and in patients with underlying liver disease (p = 0.0221). Independent predictors of liver-related death/transplantation included nR-based hepatocellular injury, female sex, higher onset aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and bilirubin values. nR-based hepatocellular injury was not associated with 6-month overall mortality, for which comorbidity burden played a more important role. The prognostic capacity of Hy's law varied between causative agents. Empirical therapy (corticosteroids, ursodeoxycholic acid and MARS) was prescribed to 20% of patients. Drug-induced autoimmune hepatitis patients (26 cases) were mainly females (62%) with hepatocellular damage (92%), who more frequently received immunosuppressive therapy (58%).

Conclusions: AST elevation at onset is a strong predictor of poor outcome and should be routinely assessed in DILI evaluation. Mortality is higher in older patients with hepatocellular damage and patients with underlying hepatic conditions. The Spanish DILI Registry is a valuable tool in the identification of causative drugs, clinical signatures and prognostic risk factors in DILI and can aid physicians in DILI characterisation and management.

Lay Summary: Clinical information on drug-induced liver injury (DILI) collected from enrolled patients in the Spanish DILI Registry can guide physicians in the decision-making process. We have found that older patients with hepatocellular type liver injury and patients with additional liver conditions are at a higher risk of mortality. The type of liver injury, patient sex and analytical values of aspartate aminotransferase and total bilirubin can also help predict clinical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2021.01.029DOI Listing
July 2021

Dysregulation of lipid metabolism in PLHC-1 and ZFL cells exposed to tributyltin an all-trans retinoic acid.

Aquat Toxicol 2021 Feb 24;231:105733. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Environmental Chemistry Department, IDAEA -CSIC-, C/ Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

There is increasing awareness that exposure to endocrine disrupters interferes with lipid homeostasis in vertebrates, including fish. Many of these compounds exert their action by binding to nuclear receptors, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors and retinoid X receptor. This work investigates the use of fish liver cells (PLHC-1 and ZFL cells) for the screening of metabolic and lipid disrupters in the aquatic environment by assessing changes in the cell's lipidome after exposure to the model compounds, tributyltin chloride and all-trans retinoic acid. Lipid extracts, analyzed by FIA-ESI (+/-) Orbitrap, evidenced the intracellular accumulation of triglycerides and diglycerides in both cell models after exposure to 100 and 200 nM tributyltin chloride for 24 h. Exposure to 1 μM all-trans retinoic acid led to a significant accumulation of triglycerides in PLHC-1 cells, while few triglycerides were accumulated in ZFL cells. Retinoic acid (cyp26b1, cyp3a65, lrata) and lipid metabolism (fasn, scd, elovl6) related genes were up-regulated by tributyltin chloride and all-trans retinoic acid, while only all-trans retinoic acid down-regulated the expression of dgat1a. The two cell models show sensitivity and responses to tributyltin chloride and all-trans retinoic acid comparable to those previously reported in mammalian cells. These results support the use of fish liver cells as alternative models for the detection of contaminants that act as lipid disrupters in the aquatic environment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2020.105733DOI Listing
February 2021

Effectiveness and safety of obeticholic acid in a Southern European multicentre cohort of patients with primary biliary cholangitis and suboptimal response to ursodeoxycholic acid.

Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2021 02 12;53(4):519-530. Epub 2020 Dec 12.

Madrid, Spain.

Background: Obeticholic acid (OCA) was recently approved as the only on-label alternative for patients with primary biliary cholangitis (PBC) with intolerance or suboptimal response to ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). However, few data are available outside clinical trials.

Aim: To assess the effectiveness and safety of OCA in a real-world cohort of patients with non-effective UDCA therapy.

Methods: Open-label, prospective, real-world, multicentre study, enrolling consecutive patients who did not meet Paris II criteria, from 18 institutions in Spain and Portugal. Effectiveness was assessed by the changes in GLOBE and UK-PBC scores from baseline. POISE and Paris II criteria were evaluated after 12 months of OCA . Liver fibrosis was evaluated by FIB-4 and AST to platelet ratio index (APRI).

Results: One hundred and twenty patients were eligible, median time since PBC diagnosis 9.3 (4.0-13.8) years, 21.7% had cirrhosis, and 26.7% received had previous or concomitant treatment with fibrates. Seventy-eight patients completed at least 1 year of OCA. The Globe-PBC score decreased to 0.17 (95% CI 0.05 to 0.28; P = 0.005) and the UK-PBC score decreased to 0.81 (95% CI -0.19 to 1.80; P = 0.11). There was a significant decrease in alkaline phosphatase of 81.3 U/L (95% CI 42.5 to 120; P < 0.001), ALT 22.1 U/L (95% CI 10.4 to 33.8; P < 0.001) and bilirubin 0.12 mg/dL (95% CI 0 to 0.24; P = 0.044). FIB-4 and APRI remained stable. According to the POISE criteria, 29.5% (23 out of 78) achieved response. The adverse events rate was 35%; 11.67% discontinued (8.3% due to pruritus).

Conclusions: This study supports data from phase III trials with significant improvement of PBC-Globe continuous prognostic marker score among OCA-treated patients with good tolerability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/apt.16181DOI Listing
February 2021

Antibiotic and antibiotic-resistant gene loads in swine slurries and their digestates: Implications for their use as fertilizers in agriculture.

Environ Res 2021 03 24;194:110513. Epub 2020 Nov 24.

IDAEA-CSIC, Jordi Girona, 18, E-08034, Barcelona, Spain. Electronic address:

The spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria is a matter of global concern, and the identification of possible sources of the associated genetic elements (antibiotic resistance genes -ARGs-, components of the horizontal gene transfer mechanism), is becoming an urgent need. While the transmission of ARGs in medical settings have been adequately characterized, ARG propagation in agroecosystems remains insufficiently studied. Particularly crucial is the determination of potential risks associated to the use of swine slurries and related products as component of organic fertilizers, an increasingly used farming practice. We determined ARGs and antibiotic loads analysed from swine slurries and digestates from eight farms from Catalonia (NE Spain), and compared the results with their microbiome composition. Both ARGs and antibiotic were conspicuous in farm organic wastes, and the levels of some antibiotics exceeded currently accepted minimum inhibitory concentrations. Particularly, the presence of high loads of fluoroquinolones was directly correlated to the prevalence of the related qnrS1 ARG in the slurry. We also found evidence that ARG loads were directly correlated to the prevalence of determined bacterial taxa (Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria, Spirochaeta), a parameter that could be potentially modulated by the processing of the raw slurry prior to their use as fertilizer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2020.110513DOI Listing
March 2021

Metabolic Plasticity Is an Essential Requirement of Acquired Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Resistance in Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 19;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 19.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biomedicine, Faculty of Biology, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are currently the standard chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). However, due to TKI resistance acquisition in CML patients, identification of new vulnerabilities is urgently required for a sustained response to therapy. In this study, we have investigated metabolic reprogramming induced by TKIs independent of BCR-ABL1 alterations. Proteomics and metabolomics profiling of imatinib-resistant CML cells (ImaR) was performed. KU812 ImaR cells enhanced pentose phosphate pathway, glycogen synthesis, serine-glycine-one-carbon metabolism, proline synthesis and mitochondrial respiration compared with their respective syngeneic parental counterparts. Moreover, the fact that only 36% of the main carbon sources were utilized for mitochondrial respiration pointed to glycerol-phosphate shuttle as mainly contributors to mitochondrial respiration. In conclusion, CML cells that acquire TKIs resistance present a severe metabolic reprogramming associated with an increase in metabolic plasticity needed to overcome TKI-induced cell death. Moreover, this study unveils that KU812 Parental and ImaR cells viability can be targeted with metabolic inhibitors paving the way to propose novel and promising therapeutic opportunities to overcome TKI resistance in CML.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113443DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699488PMC
November 2020

MCR-ALS analysis of H NMR spectra by segments to study the zebrafish exposure to acrylamide.

Anal Bioanal Chem 2020 Sep 2;412(23):5695-5706. Epub 2020 Jul 2.

Department of Environmental Chemistry, IDAEA-CSIC, Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034, Barcelona, Spain.

Metabolomics is currently an important field within bioanalytical science and NMR has become a key technique for drawing the full metabolic picture. However, the analysis of H NMR spectra of metabolomics samples is often very challenging, as resonances usually overlap in crowded regions, hindering the steps of metabolite profiling and resonance integration. In this context, a pre-processing method for the analysis of 1D H NMR data from metabolomics samples is proposed, consisting of the blind resolution and integration of all resonances of the spectral dataset by multivariate curve resolution-alternating least squares (MCR-ALS). The resulting concentration estimates can then be examined with traditional chemometric methods such as principal component analysis (PCA), ANOVA-simultaneous component analysis (ASCA), and partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). Since MCR-ALS does not require the use of spectral templates, the concentration estimates for all resonances are obtained even before being assigned. Consequently, the metabolomics study can be performed without neglecting any relevant resonance. In this work, the proposed pipeline performance was validated with 1D H NMR spectra from a metabolomics study of zebrafish upon acrylamide (ACR) exposure. Remarkably, this method represents a framework for the high-throughput analysis of NMR metabolomics data that opens the way for truly untargeted NMR metabolomics analyses. Graphical abstract.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00216-020-02789-0DOI Listing
September 2020

PBX1 acts as terminal selector for olfactory bulb dopaminergic neurons.

Development 2020 04 13;147(8). Epub 2020 Apr 13.

Developmental Neurobiology Unit, Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia, IBV-CSIC, 46010 Valencia, Spain

Neuronal specification is a protracted process that begins with the commitment of progenitor cells and culminates with the generation of mature neurons. Many transcription factors are continuously expressed during this process but it is presently unclear how these factors modify their targets as cells transition through different stages of specification. In olfactory bulb adult neurogenesis, the transcription factor PBX1 controls neurogenesis in progenitor cells and the survival of migrating neuroblasts. Here, we show that, at later differentiation stages, PBX1 also acts as a terminal selector for the dopaminergic neuron fate. PBX1 is also required for the morphological maturation of dopaminergic neurons and to repress alternative interneuron fates, findings that expand the known repertoire of terminal-selector actions. Finally, we reveal that the temporal diversification of PBX1 functions in neuronal specification is achieved, at least in part, through the dynamic regulation of alternative splicing. In , PBX/CEH-20 also acts as a dopaminergic neuron terminal selector, which suggests an ancient role for PBX factors in the regulation of terminal differentiation of dopaminergic neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.186841DOI Listing
April 2020

Targeting redox metabolism: the perfect storm induced by acrylamide poisoning in the brain.

Sci Rep 2020 01 15;10(1):312. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Institute for Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Jordi Girona, 18, 08034, Barcelona, Spain.

Exposure to acrylamide may lead to different neurotoxic effects in humans and in experimental animals. To gain insights into this poorly understood type of neurotoxicological damage, we used a multi-omic approach to characterize the molecular changes occurring in the zebrafish brain exposed to acrylamide at metabolite, transcript and protein levels. We detected the formation of acrylamide adducts with thiol groups from both metabolites and protein residues, leading to a quasi-complete depletion of glutathione and to the inactivation of different components of the thioredoxin system. We propose that the combined loss-of-function of both redox metabolism-related systems configure a perfect storm that explains many acrylamide neurotoxic effects, like the dysregulation of genes related to microtubules, presynaptic vesicle alteration, and behavioral alterations. We consider that our mechanistical approach may help developing new treatments against the neurotoxic effects of acrylamide and of other neurotoxicants that may share its toxic mode of action.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-57142-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6962170PMC
January 2020

Changes in lipid profiles induced by bisphenol A (BPA) in zebrafish eleutheroembryos during the yolk sac absorption stage.

Chemosphere 2020 May 20;246:125704. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Catalunya, 08034, Spain. Electronic address:

Bisphenol A (BPA; 4,4'-(propane-2,2-diyl)diphenol) has been shown to act as an obesogen and to disrupt lipid metabolism in zebrafish eleutheroembryos (ZE). To characterize the consequences of this disruption, we performed a detailed lipidomic study using ZE exposed to different BPA concentrations (0, 4, 6 and 8 mg/L of BPA) from day 2 to up to day 6 post fertilization (dpf). Total lipids at 4, 5 and 6 dpf were extracted by Folch method and analyzed by high-performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) as wide-range preliminary screening. Selected conditions (0 and 6 mg/L of BPA) were used to obtain a high-quality lipid profile using ultra high-performance liquid chromatography/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-TOFMS). BPA exposed ZE exhibited increased amounts of triglycerides (TG), diglycerides (DG), phosphatidylcholines (PC) and phosphatidylinositols (PI), regarding the control group. Analysis of time- and BPA exposure-related patterns of specific lipid species showed a clear influence of unsaturation degree (mostly in DG and PC) and/or fatty acid chain length (mostly in TG and PC derivatives) on their response to the presence of BPA. A decreased yolk-sac and energy consumption in exposed individuals appeared as the main reason for the observed BPA-driven effects. Integration of these results with previous morphological, biochemical, transcriptomic, metabolomic and behavioral data suggests a disruption of different signalling pathways by BPA that starts at very low BPA concentrations, whose effects propagate across different organization levels, and that cannot be only explained by the relatively weak estrogenic effect of BPA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125704DOI Listing
May 2020

Prevalence of resistance associated substitutions and efficacy of baseline resistance-guided chronic hepatitis C treatment in Spain from the GEHEP-004 cohort.

PLoS One 2019 30;14(8):e0221231. Epub 2019 Aug 30.

Infectious Diseases Unit, University Hospital Nuestra Señora de Valme, Sevilla, Spain.

Treatment guidelines differ in their recommendation to determine baseline resistance associated substitutions (RAS) before starting a first-line treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). Here we analyze the efficacy of DAA treatment with baseline RAS information. We conducted a prospective study involving 23 centers collaborating in the GEHEP-004 DAA resistance cohort. Baseline NS5A and NS3 RASs were studied by Sanger sequencing. After issuing a comprehensive resistance report, the treating physician decided the therapy, duration and ribavirin use. Sustained virological response (SVR12) data are available in 275 patients. Baseline NS5A RAS prevalence was between 4.3% and 26.8% according to genotype, and NS3 RASs prevalence (GT1a) was 6.3%. Overall, SVR12 was 97.8%. Amongst HCV-GT1a patients, 75.0% had >800,000 IU/ml and most of those that started grazoprevir/elbasvir were treated for 12 weeks. In genotype 3, NS5A Y93H was detected in 9 patients. 42.8% of the HCV-GT3 patients that started sofosbuvir/velpatasvir included ribavirin, although only 14.7% carried Y93H. The efficacy of baseline resistance-guided treatment in our cohort has been high across the most prevalent HCV genotypes in Spain. The duration of the grazoprevir/elbasvir treatment adhered mostly to AASLD/IDSA recommendations. In cirrhotic patients infected with GT-3 there has been a high use of ribavirin.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221231PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6716636PMC
March 2020

High efficacy of resistance-guided retreatment of HCV patients failing NS5A inhibitors in the real world.

J Hepatol 2019 11 4;71(5):876-888. Epub 2019 Jul 4.

Clinical Microbiology Unit, University Hospital San Cecilio, Instituto de Investigacion Biosanitaria Ibs.Granada, Granada, Spain. Electronic address:

Background & Aims: Most hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients failing NS5A inhibitors develop resistance-associated substitutions (RASs). Here we report the use of resistance-guided retreatment of patients who failed prior NS5A inhibitor-containing regimens in the GEHEP-004 cohort. This is the largest direct-acting antiviral (DAA)-resistance cohort study conducted in Spain. We aim to provide indications on how to use resistance information in settings where sofosbuvir/velpatasvir/voxilaprevir may not be available.

Methods: GEHEP-004 is a prospective multicenter cohort enrolling HCV-infected patients treated with interferon (IFN)-free DAA regimens. Prior to retreatment, population-based sequencing of HCV NS3, NS5A and NS5B genes was performed. After receiving a comprehensive resistance interpretation report, the retreatment regimen was chosen and the sustained virological response (SVR) at 12 weeks after treatment completion (SVR12) was recorded.

Results: A total of 342 patients experiencing virological failure after treatment with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir±ribavirin (54%), sofosbuvir/daclatasvir±ribavirin (23%), or paritaprevir-ritonavir/ombitasvir±dasabuvir±ribavirin (20%) were studied. After a resistance report, 186 patients were retreated. An SVR12 was achieved for 88.1% of the patients who failed after sofosbuvir/ledipasvir±ribavirin, 83.3% of the patients who failed after sofosbuvir/daclatasvir±ribavirin, 93.7% of the patients who failed after paritaprevir-ritonavir+ombitasvir±dasabuvir±ribavirin.

Conclusions: In our study, we show how resistance-guided retreatment in conjunction with an interpreted report allows patients to achieve SVR rates close to 90%. We hypothesize that SVR rates may even be improved if resistance data are discussed between experienced virologists and treating clinicians. We believe that our data may be relevant for countries where the access to new DAA combination regimens is limited.

Lay Summary: Hepatitis C infection can be cured with currently available antiviral agents. Only a small proportion of patients experience treatment failure, however, in absolute numbers, a high number of patients may require retreatment. Highly effective combinations of antivirals are also available for retreatment. However, these antivirals might not be available in resource-limited settings. Herein, we show how, by analyzing the cause of resistance, retreatment efficacy with old drugs can get very close to the efficacy of new drug combinations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2019.06.022DOI Listing
November 2019

Morphometric signatures of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals in zebrafish eleutheroembryos.

Aquat Toxicol 2019 Sep 24;214:105232. Epub 2019 Jun 24.

Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research, IDAEA-CSIC, Barcelona, Catalunya, 08034, Spain. Electronic address:

Understanding the mode of action of the different pollutants in human and wildlife health is a key step in environmental risk assessment. The aim of this study was to determine signatures that could link morphological phenotypes to the toxicity mechanisms of four Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs): bisphenol A (BPA), perfluorooctanesulfonate potassium salt (PFOS), tributyltin chloride (TBT), and 17-ß-estradiol (E2). Zebrafish (Danio rerio) eleutheroembryos were exposed from 2 to 5 dpf to a wide range of BPA, PFOS, TBT and E2 concentrations. At the end of the exposures several morphometric features were assessed. Common and non-specific effects on larvae pigmentation or swim bladder area were observed after exposures to all compounds. BPA specifically induced yolk sac malabsorption syndrome and altered craniofacial parameters, whereas PFOS had specific effects on the notochord formation presenting higher rates of scoliosis and kyphosis. The main effect of E2 was an increase in the body length of the exposed eleutheroembryos. In the case of TBT, main alterations on the morphological traits were related to developmental delays. When integrating all morphometrical parameters, BPA showed the highest rates of malformations in terms of equilethality, followed by PFOS and, distantly, by TBT and E2. In the case of BPA and PFOS, we were able to relate our results with effects on the transcriptome and metabolome, previously reported. We propose that methodized morphometric analyses in zebrafish embryo model can be used as an inexpensive and easy screening tool to predict modes of action of a wide-range number of contaminants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2019.105232DOI Listing
September 2019

The simplification of the diagnosis process of chronic hepatitis C is cost-effective strategy.

Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin (Engl Ed) 2019 Dec 11;37(10):634-641. Epub 2019 Apr 11.

Unidad de Gestión Clínica de Enfermedades Infecciosas y Microbiología, Hospital Universitario de Jerez, Jerez de la Frontera, Cádiz, España.

Background: The cascade of care of the hepatitisC are complex. The diagnosis of active infection in the same serum sample would simplify the process establishing a rapid access for patients to treatment. Our objective was to estimate the impact on healthcare and economic outcomes of the diagnosis of chronic infection in one-step diagnosis compared to standard diagnosis in Andalusia (8.39 million people).

Methods: A decision tree was developed to estimate the referral of patients with chronic infection, loss of follow-up, access to treatment and costs of the diagnosis of the infection, for both processes. The unit costs (€, 2018) of the health resources (medical visits, antibodies, viral load and genotype), without considering the pharmacological cost, were obtained form public sources in Andalusia.

Results: Of the total estimated population (269,526 patients), 1,389 patients would be referred to the specialised care in the one-step diagnosis and 1,063 in de standard diagnosis, being treated 1,320 and 1,009, respectively. In one-step diagnosis, no negative viral loud patient would be referred to specialist versus 540 with standard diagnosis. One-step diagnosis would generate a cost saving of €184,928 versus standard diagnosis (€15,671,493 vs €15,856,421). When compared one-step diagnosis to standard diagnosis, the savings per patient with positive viral load referred to specialist would be €3,634 (€11,279 vs €14,923).

Conclusion: The one-step diagnosis will achieve an increase in diagnosed patients, will increase the access of chronic patient to treatment and will generate cost savings, demonstrating its efficiency in the system in Andalusia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eimc.2019.03.001DOI Listing
December 2019

Post-translational modifications of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 in colorectal cancer: An update.

World J Gastroenterol 2018 Dec;24(48):5454-5461

Department of Metabolism and Physiopathology of Inflammatory Diseases, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas Alberto Sols (CSIC-UAM), Madrid 28029, Spain.

The biosynthesis of prostanoids is involved in both physiological and pathological processes. The expression of prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2; also known as COX-2) has been traditionally associated to the onset of several pathologies, from inflammation to cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and oncologic events. For this reason, the search of selective PTGS2 inhibitors has been a focus for therapeutic interventions. In addition to the classic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, selective and specific PTGS2 inhibitors, termed coxibs, have been generated and widely used. PTGS2 activity is less restrictive in terms of substrate specificity than the homeostatic counterpart PTGS1, and it accounts for the elevated prostanoid synthesis that accompanies several pathologies. The main regulation of PTGS2 occurs at the transcription level. In addition to this, the stability of the mRNA is finely regulated through the interaction with several cytoplasmic elements, ranging from specific microRNAs to proteins that control mRNA degradation. Moreover, the protein has been recognized to be the substrate for several post-translational modifications that affect both the enzyme activity and the targeting for degradation proteasomal and non-proteasomal mechanisms. Among these modifications, phosphorylation, glycosylation and covalent modifications by reactive lipidic intermediates and by free radicals associated to the pro-inflammatory condition appear to be the main changes. Identification of these post-translational modifications is relevant to better understand the role of PTGS2 in several pathologies and to establish a correct analysis of the potential function of this protein in diseases progress. Finally, these modifications can be used as biomarkers to establish correlations with other parameters, including the immunomodulation dependent on molecular pathological epidemiology determinants, which may provide a better frame for potential therapeutic interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v24.i48.5454DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6319129PMC
December 2018

Hepatitis B surface antigen loss after discontinuing nucleos(t)ide analogue for treatment of chronic hepatitis B patients is persistent in White patients.

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 02;31(2):267-271

Digestive Diseases Department, Hospital Clínico Lozano Blesa, Zaragoza, Spain.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the long-term clinical outcome and persistence of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss after discontinuation of treatment.

Background: The prognosis of patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) treated with nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) who discontinue treatment after loss of HBsAg remains largely unknown, particularly in White patients.

Patients And Methods: We analysed a cohort of patients with CHB who discontinued NA treatment after loss of HBsAg. A total of 69 patients with hepatitis-B-e antigen-positive or hepatitis-B-e antigen-negative CHB with undetectable HBsAg during NA treatment were included after discontinuation of treatment, and followed up for a median period of 37.8 months (interquartile range: 23.8-54.6 months).

Results: At the end of follow-up, none of the patients showed spontaneous reappearance of HBsAg and only one patient had detectable hepatitis B virus DNA (22 IU/ml). Another patient negative for HBsAg and anti-HBs developed hepatitis B virus reactivation without elevated transaminases after treatment with corticosteroids and vincristine for dendritic cell neoplasm, 38 months after withdrawal of the antiviral treatment. Regarding clinical outcome, a patient with cirrhosis developed hepatocellular carcinoma, 6.6 years after discontinuing treatment. None of the patients had hepatic decompensation or underwent liver transplantation.

Conclusion: HBsAg clearance after discontinuing NAs in patients with CHB is persistent and associated with good prognosis. The risk for developing hepatocellular carcinoma persists among patients with cirrhosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MEG.0000000000001289DOI Listing
February 2019

Protective Role of Hepatocyte Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression Against Liver Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Mice.

Hepatology 2019 08 17;70(2):650-665. Epub 2019 Feb 17.

Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas "Alberto Sols," CSIC-UAM, Madrid, Spain.

Liver ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI) remains a serious clinical problem affecting liver transplantation outcomes. IRI causes up to 10% of early organ failure and predisposes to chronic rejection. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is involved in different liver diseases, but the significance of COX-2 in IRI is a matter of controversy. This study was designed to elucidate the role of COX-2 induction in hepatocytes against liver IRI. In the present work, hepatocyte-specific COX-2 transgenic mice (hCOX-2-Tg) and their wild-type (Wt) littermates were subjected to IRI. hCOX-2-Tg mice exhibited lower grades of necrosis and inflammation than Wt mice, in part by reduced hepatic recruitment and infiltration of neutrophils, with a concomitant decrease in serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines. Moreover, hCOX-2-Tg mice showed a significant attenuation of the IRI-induced increase in oxidative stress and hepatic apoptosis, an increase in autophagic flux, and a decrease in endoplasmic reticulum stress compared to Wt mice. Interestingly, ischemic preconditioning of Wt mice resembles the beneficial effects observed in hCOX-2-Tg mice against IRI due to a preconditioning-derived increase in endogenous COX-2, which is mainly localized in hepatocytes. Furthermore, measurement of prostaglandin E (PGE ) levels in plasma from patients who underwent liver transplantation revealed a significantly positive correlation of PGE levels and graft function and an inverse correlation with the time of ischemia. Conclusion: These data support the view of a protective effect of hepatic COX-2 induction and the consequent rise of derived prostaglandins against IRI.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.30241DOI Listing
August 2019

Characterization and evaluation of liver fibrosis grade in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and normal transaminases.

Clin Mol Hepatol 2018 12 4;24(4):384-391. Epub 2018 Jul 4.

Department of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine, University of Almería, Almería, Spain.

Backgrounds/aims: The objective of our study was to determine the epidemiological, laboratory, and serological characteristics of patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and normal transaminases. The study also aimed to evaluate liver damage by measuring the liver fibrosis (LF) grade and to identify possible factors associated with the presence of fibrosis.

Methods: A retrospective observational study was conducted in patients with chronic HBV infection and classified as inactive carriers or immune-tolerant. Epidemiological variables of age, sex, immigrant, alcohol consumption, and body mass index (BMI), as well as virological variables (HBV DNA) and transaminase level were collected throughout the follow-up. The LF grade was evaluated by transient elastography. The cutoff value for significant fibrosis (SF) was liver stiffness ≥7.9 kPa.

Results: A total of 214 patients were included in the analysis, and 62% of them had a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 . During follow-up, 4% of patients showed transaminase elevation (<1.5 times normal). Most patients had a viral DNA level <2,000 IU/mL (83%). Data on LF were available in 160 patients; of these, 14% had SF, 9% F3, and 6% F4. The variables associated with the presence of SF were transaminase alteration during follow-up, as 23% of patients with SF had elevated transaminases versus 3% of patients without SF (P<0.005), and BMI, as the vast majority of patients with SF (88%) had a BMI ≥25 kg/m2 versus 56% of patients without SF (P<0.05).

Conclusion: In patients with chronic HBV infection and normal transaminases, liver damage does not seem to be related to DNA levels, alcohol consumption, or immigrant status. SF seems to be associated with transaminase alteration during follow-up and elevated BMI. It is therefore recommended to measure LF grade with validated non-invasive methods in such patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3350/cmh.2018.0004DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6313027PMC
December 2018

Emerging contaminants in Brazilian rivers: Occurrence and effects on gene expression in zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos.

Chemosphere 2018 Oct 7;209:696-704. Epub 2018 Jun 7.

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Federal University of Grande Dourados/UFGD, Dourados, MS, Brazil. Electronic address:

Emerging contaminants (ECs) are synthetic or naturally occurring chemicals that are not commonly monitored despite having the potential of entering the environment and causing adverse ecological and/or human health effects. This study aimed to determine whether ECs are present in the surface waters of two rivers in Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil, and evaluate the effects of ECs mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations on zebrafish (Danio rerio) gene expression. ECs concentrations were determined using solid-phase extraction and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The ECs most frequently detected were caffeine, imidacloprid, 2-hydroxy atrazine, tebuthiuron, atrazine, and bisphenol A. We used these data to reconstruct ECs mixtures reflecting environmental concentrations, codenamed T1, T2, and T3. No effects were observed, so the concentrations were increased. After a preliminary evaluation of the No Observed Effect Concentration for each mixture, we analyzed changes in the expression of zebrafish target genes (cyp1a, hsp70, cat, sod1, tsh, cyp19a1a, cyp19a1b, cyp26b1, casp8, sox2, cyb561d2, and thrb). cat was overrepresented in T1 and underrepresented in the other treatments. All of the mixtures induced the expression of cyp19a1b, which is a marker for (xeno-)estrogen exposure, and two of them increased the expression of cyp1a, which is used to indicate the presence of dioxin-like compounds. The rivers studied had low EC concentrations, and there was no indication of any harmful effects on the zebrafish. However, intensive agricultural activity may result in unsuspected peaks of EC pollution, and subsequent negative effects on living organisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.06.046DOI Listing
October 2018

Efficacy of Sofosbuvir and Velpatasvir, With and Without Ribavirin, in Patients With Hepatitis C Virus Genotype 3 Infection and Cirrhosis.

Gastroenterology 2018 10 27;155(4):1120-1127.e4. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Hospital Universitario Vall d'Hebron and CIBERehd del Instituto Carlos III, Barcelona, Spain.

Background & Aims: In phase 3 trials and real-world settings, smaller proportions of patients with genotype 3 hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and cirrhosis have a sustained virologic response 12 weeks after treatment (SVR12) with the combination of sofosbuvir and velpatasvir than in patients without cirrhosis. It is unclear whether adding ribavirin to this treatment regimen increases SVRs in patients with genotype 3 HCV infection and cirrhosis.

Methods: We performed a phase 2 trial of 204 patients with genotype 3 HCV infection and compensated cirrhosis (mean age 51 ± 7.4 years) at 29 sites in Spain from August 19, 2016 through April 18, 2017. Patients were assigned to groups given sofosbuvir and velpatasvir for 12 weeks (n = 101) or sofosbuvir and velpatasvir plus ribavirin for 12 weeks (n = 103). The primary efficacy end point was SVR12.

Results: The overall rates of SVR12 were 91% (92 of 101; 95% CI 84-96) for the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir group and 96% (99 of 103; 95% CI 90-99) for the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin group. In the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir group, a smaller proportion of patients with baseline resistance-associated substitutions (RASs) in nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) achieved an SVR12 (84%) than did patients without (96%). In the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin group, baseline RASs had less effect on the proportion of patients with an SVR12 (96% for patients with baseline RASs; 99% for patients without). The most common adverse events (which occurred in ≥10% of patients) were asthenia (12%) in the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir group and asthenia (27%), headache (24%), and insomnia (12%) in the sofosbuvir-velpatasvir plus ribavirin group.

Conclusions: Consistent with findings from previous studies, a high rate of patients (91% and 96%) with genotype 3 HCV infection and compensated cirrhosis achieved an SVR12 with sofosbuvir and velpatasvir, with or without ribavirin. Of patients treated with sofosbuvir and velpatasvir without ribavirin, fewer patients with baseline NS5A RASs achieved an SVR12 compared with patients without baseline NS5A. ClinicalTrials.govNCT02781558.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2018.06.042DOI Listing
October 2018

Omics in Zebrafish Teratogenesis.

Methods Mol Biol 2018 ;1797:421-441

Department of Environmental Chemistry, Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain.

The genome revolution represents a complete change on our view of biological systems. The quantitative determination of changes in all major molecular components of the living cells, the "omics" approach, opened whole new fields for all health sciences. Genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and others, together with appropriate prediction and modeling tools, will mark the future of developmental toxicity assessment both for wildlife and humans. This is especially true for disciplines, like teratology, which rely on studies in model organisms, as studies at lower levels of organization are difficult to implement. Rodents and frogs have been the favorite models for studying human reproductive and developmental disorders for decades. Recently, the study of the development of zebrafish embryos (ZE) is becoming a major alternative tool to adult animal testing. ZE intrinsic characteristics makes this model a unique system to analyze in vivo developmental alterations that only can be studied applying in toto approaches. Moreover, under actual legislations, ZE is considered as a replacement model (and therefore, excluded from animal welfare regulations) during the first 5 days after fertilization. Here we review the most important components of the zebrafish toolbox available for analyzing early stages of embryotoxic events that could eventually lead to teratogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-7883-0_23DOI Listing
February 2019

Astrocytes: new players in progressive myoclonus epilepsy of Lafora type.

Hum Mol Genet 2018 04;27(7):1290-1300

Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (IBV-CSIC), Valencia, Spain.

Lafora disease (LD) is a fatal form of progressive myoclonus epilepsy characterized by the accumulation of insoluble poorly branched glycogen-like inclusions named Lafora bodies (LBs) in the brain and peripheral tissues. In the brain, since its first discovery in 1911, it was assumed that these glycogen inclusions were only present in affected neurons. Mouse models of LD have been obtained recently, and we and others have been able to report the accumulation of glycogen inclusions in the brain of LD animals, what recapitulates the hallmark of the disease. In this work we present evidence indicating that, although in mouse models of LD glycogen inclusions co-localize with neurons, as originally established, most of them co-localize with astrocytic markers such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and glutamine synthase. In addition, we have observed that primary cultures of astrocytes from LD mouse models accumulate higher levels of glycogen than controls. These results suggest that astrocytes may play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of Lafora disease, as the accumulation of glycogen inclusions in these cells may affect their regular functionality leading them to a possible neuronal dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddy044DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6059194PMC
April 2018

Defects in the mitochondrial-tRNA modification enzymes MTO1 and GTPBP3 promote different metabolic reprogramming through a HIF-PPARγ-UCP2-AMPK axis.

Sci Rep 2018 01 18;8(1):1163. Epub 2018 Jan 18.

RNA Modification and Mitochondrial Diseases Laboratory, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe (CIPF), Valencia, 46012, Spain.

Human proteins MTO1 and GTPBP3 are thought to jointly catalyze the modification of the wobble uridine in mitochondrial tRNAs. Defects in each protein cause infantile hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with lactic acidosis. However, the underlying mechanisms are mostly unknown. Using fibroblasts from an MTO1 patient and MTO1 silenced cells, we found that the MTO1 deficiency is associated with a metabolic reprogramming mediated by inactivation of AMPK, down regulation of the uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) and transcription factor PPARγ, and activation of the hypoxia inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). As a result, glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation are uncoupled, while fatty acid metabolism is altered, leading to accumulation of lipid droplets in MTO1 fibroblasts. Unexpectedly, this response is different from that triggered by the GTPBP3 defect, as GTPBP3-depleted cells exhibit AMPK activation, increased levels of UCP2 and PPARγ, and inactivation of HIF-1. In addition, fatty acid oxidation and respiration are stimulated in these cells. Therefore, the HIF-PPARγ-UCP2-AMPK axis is operating differently in MTO1- and GTPBP3-defective cells, which strongly suggests that one of these proteins has an additional role, besides mitochondrial-tRNA modification. This work provides new and useful information on the molecular basis of the MTO1 and GTPBP3 defects and on putative targets for therapeutic intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-19587-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5773609PMC
January 2018

Dysregulatory effects of retinoic acid isomers in late zebrafish embryos.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2018 Feb 25;25(4):3849-3859. Epub 2017 Nov 25.

Department of Environmental Chemistry, IDAEA-CSIC, Jordi Girona 18-26, 08034, Barcelona, Spain.

All-trans retinoic acid (atRA) and 9-cis retinoic acid (9cRA) are two natural derivatives of vitamin A that contribute to the normal vertebrate development by affecting gene expression through the retinoic acid signalling pathway. We show transcriptomic effects of the ectopic addition of atRA or 9cRA to zebrafish embryos at the posthatching embryonic stage. Exposure for 24 or 72 h to sublethal concentrations of both isomers resulted in characteristic transcriptome changes, in which many proliferation and development-related genes became underexpressed, whereas genes related to retinoid metabolism and some metabolic functions became overrepresented. While short and long exposures elicit essentially the same set of genes, atRA specifically induced expression of a specific subset of proteases, likely acting at the extracellular level, and of elements of the response to xenobiotics. These results reflect the well-known antiproliferative activity of retinoids, and they suggest a dysregulation of the developmental process at final stages of embryogenesis. They also indicate a potential role of endopeptidases as markers of developmental alterations, as well as their possible control by the retinoic signalling pathway. We propose to monitor mRNA levels of cyp16a, cyp16b, and cyp16c in zebrafish embryos as a bioassay for retinoid disruption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-0732-5DOI Listing
February 2018

Cyclooxygenase 2 in liver dysfunction and carcinogenesis: Facts and perspectives.

World J Gastroenterol 2017 May;23(20):3572-3580

Paloma Martín-Sanz, Lisardo Boscá, Department of Metabolism and Cell Signaling, Institute of Biomedical Research Alberto Sols, Madrid 28029, Spain.

The biosynthesis of prostaglandins and thromboxanes has been a focus of interest in the management of many liver diseases. Cyclooxygenases are the enzymes involved in the first step of the biosynthesis of these lipid mediators and selective inhibitors for these isoenzymes as well as pharmacological analogues of prostaglandins have been developed and are currently applied therapeutically. Here we discuss the implications of these enzymes in the onset of metabolic and lipid disorders in the liver and their potential role in the progression of the diseases towards fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v23.i20.3572DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449414PMC
May 2017
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