Publications by authors named "R Scott Pirie"

84 Publications

Application across species of a one health approach to liquid sample handling for respiratory based -omics analysis.

Sci Rep 2021 Jul 12;11(1):14292. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9PS, UK.

Airway inflammation is highly prevalent in horses, with the majority of non-infectious cases being defined as equine asthma. Currently, cytological analysis of airway derived samples is the principal method of assessing lower airway inflammation. Samples can be obtained by tracheal wash (TW) or by lavage of the lower respiratory tract (bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid; BALF). Although BALF cytology carries significant diagnostic advantages over TW cytology for the diagnosis of equine asthma, sample acquisition is invasive, making it prohibitive for routine and sequential screening of airway health. However, recent technological advances in sample collection and processing have made it possible to determine whether a wider range of analyses might be applied to TW samples. Considering that TW samples are relatively simple to collect, minimally invasive and readily available in the horse, it was considered appropriate to investigate whether, equine tracheal secretions represent a rich source of cells and both transcriptomic and proteomic data. Similar approaches have already been applied to a comparable sample set in humans; namely, induced sputum. Sputum represents a readily available source of airway biofluids enriched in proteins, changes in the expression of which may reveal novel mechanisms in the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The aim of this study was to establish a robust protocol to isolate macrophages, protein and RNA for molecular characterization of TW samples and demonstrate the applicability of sample handling to rodent and human pediatric bronchoalveolar lavage fluid isolates. TW samples provided a good quality and yield of both RNA and protein for downstream transcriptomic/proteomic analyses. The sample handling methodologies were successfully applicable to BALF for rodent and human research. TW samples represent a rich source of airway cells, and molecular analysis to facilitate and study airway inflammation, based on both transcriptomic and proteomic analysis. This study provides a necessary methodological platform for future transcriptomic and/or proteomic studies on equine lower respiratory tract secretions and BALF samples from humans and mice.
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July 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer diagnosis and service access in New Zealand-a country pursuing COVID-19 elimination.

Lancet Reg Health West Pac 2021 May 22;10:100127. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

Te Aho o Te Kahu - Cancer Control Agency, Molesworth St, Wellington, New Zealand.

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted cancer services globally. New Zealand has pursued an elimination strategy to COVID-19, reducing (but not eliminating) this disruption. Early in the pandemic, our national Cancer Control Agency () began monitoring and reporting on service access to inform national and regional decision-making. In this manuscript we use high-quality, national-level data to describe changes in cancer registrations, diagnosis and treatment over the course of New Zealand's response to COVID-19.

Methods: Data were sourced (2018-2020) from national collections, including cancer registrations, inpatient hospitalisations and outpatient events. Cancer registrations, diagnostic testing (gastrointestinal endoscopy), surgery (colorectal, lung and prostate surgeries), medical oncology access (first specialist appointments [FSAs] and intravenous chemotherapy attendances) and radiation oncology access (FSAs and megavoltage attendances) were extracted. Descriptive analyses of count data were performed, stratified by ethnicity (Indigenous Māori, Pacific Island, non-Māori/non-Pacific).

Findings: Compared to 2018-2019, there was a 40% decline in cancer registrations during New Zealand's national shutdown in March-April 2020, increasing back to pre-shutdown levels over subsequent months. While there was a sharp decline in endoscopies, pre-shutdown volumes were achieved again by August. The impact on cancer surgery and medical oncology has been minimal, but there has been an 8% year-to-date decrease in radiation therapy attendances. With the exception of lung cancer, there is no evidence that existing inequities in service access between ethnic groups have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Interpretation: The impact of COVID-19 on cancer care in New Zealand has been largely mitigated. The New Zealand experience may provide other agencies or organisations with a sense of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer services within a country that has actively pursued elimination of COVID-19.

Funding: Data were provided by New Zealand's Ministry of Health, and analyses completed by Te Aho o Te Kahu staff.
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May 2021

Use of quantitative real-time PCR to determine the local inflammatory response in the intestinal mucosa and muscularis of horses undergoing small intestinal resection.

Equine Vet J 2021 Feb 1. Epub 2021 Feb 1.

The Roslin Institute and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Roslin, UK.

Background: Studies in rodents and humans have demonstrated that intestinal manipulation or surgical trauma initiates an inflammatory response in the intestine which results in leucocyte recruitment to the muscularis externa causing smooth muscle dysfunction.

Objectives: To examine the intestinal inflammatory response in horses undergoing colic surgery by measuring relative differential gene expression in intestinal tissues harvested from surgical colic cases and control horses.

Study Design: Prospective case-control study.

Methods: Mucosa and muscularis externa were harvested from healthy margins of resected small intestine from horses undergoing colic surgery (n = 12) and from intestine derived from control horses euthanised for reasons unrelated to the gastrointestinal tract (n = 6). Tissue was analysed for genes encoding proteins involved in the inflammatory response: interleukin (IL) 6 and IL1β, C-C motif chemokine ligand 2 (CCL2), tumour necrosis factor (TNF), prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (PTGS2) and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO1). Relative expression of these genes was compared between the two groups. Further analysis was applied to the colic cases to determine whether the magnitude of relative gene expression was associated with the subsequent development of post-operative reflux (POR).

Results: Samples obtained from colic cases had increased relative expression of IL1β, IL6, CCL2 and TNF in the mucosa and muscularis externa when compared with the control group. There was no difference in relative gene expression between proximal and distal resection margins and no association between duration of colic, age, resection length, short-term survival and the presence of pre-operative reflux and the relative expression of the genes of interest. Horses that developed POR had significantly greater relative gene expression of TNF in the mucosa compared with horses that did not develop POR.

Main Limitations: Small sample size per group and variation within the colic cases.

Conclusions: These preliminary data support an upregulation of inflammatory genes in the intestine of horses undergoing colic surgery.
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February 2021

Inhaled ciclesonide is efficacious and well tolerated in the treatment of severe equine asthma in a large prospective European clinical trial.

Equine Vet J 2021 Jan 5. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica GmbH, Ingelheim, Germany.

Background: Ciclesonide is a glucocorticoid prodrug, already registered for human use. Due to its mode of action and inhaled route of administration, it was considered an appropriate treatment option for horses with severe equine asthma. Although the efficacy of inhaled ciclesonide has been demonstrated in horses with asthma exacerbations under controlled mouldy hay challenge conditions, it has not yet been reported under field conditions.

Objectives: To assess the effectiveness and safety of inhaled ciclesonide for the treatment of severe equine asthma.

Study Design: Prospective, multicentre, placebo-controlled, randomised, double-blinded study.

Methods: Two-hundred and twenty-four client-owned horses with severe equine asthma were randomised (1:1 ratio) to receive either ciclesonide inhalation (343 µg/actuation) solution or placebo (0 µg/actuation). Treatments (placebo or ciclesonide) were administered with a nonpressurised Soft Mist™ inhaler specifically developed for horses (Aservo EquiHaler ) at doses of 8 actuations twice daily for the first 5 days and 12 actuations once daily for the following 5 days. Primary outcome was a success/failure analysis with the a priori definition of treatment success as a 30% or greater reduction in weighted clinical score (WCS) between Day 0 and Day 10 (±1).

Results: The treatment success rate (as defined above) in ciclesonide-treated horses was 73.4% (80/109) after 10 (±1) days of treatment, being significantly higher than in the placebo group with 43.2% (48/111; P < 0.0001). Few systemic and local adverse events of ciclesonide were observed.

Main Limitations: The severity of clinical signs of severe equine asthma varies over time; despite the prohibition of environmental management changes during the study, a placebo effect was also identified. This potentially contributed, in part, to the clinical improvement observed in the ciclesonide-treated group.

Conclusions: Ciclesonide inhalation solution administered by the Aservo EquiHaler effectively reduced severity of clinical signs in a majority of horses with severe equine asthma and was well tolerated.
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January 2021

Comparative anatomy of the mammalian neuromuscular junction.

J Anat 2020 11 23;237(5):827-836. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Edinburgh Medical School: Biomedical Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK.

The neuromuscular junction (NMJ)-a synapse formed between lower motor neuron and skeletal muscle fibre-represents a major focus of both basic neuroscience research and clinical neuroscience research. Although the NMJ is known to play an important role in many neurodegenerative conditions affecting humans, the vast majority of anatomical and physiological data concerning the NMJ come from lower mammalian (e.g. rodent) animal models. However, recent findings have demonstrated major differences between the cellular anatomy and molecular anatomy of human and rodent NMJs. Therefore, we undertook a comparative morphometric analysis of the NMJ across several larger mammalian species in order to generate baseline inter-species anatomical reference data for the NMJ and to identify animal models that better represent the morphology of the human NMJ in vivo. Using a standardized morphometric platform ('NMJ-morph'), we analysed 5,385 individual NMJs from lower/pelvic limb muscles (EDL, soleus and peronei) of 6 mammalian species (mouse, cat, dog, sheep, pig and human). There was marked heterogeneity of NMJ morphology both within and between species, with no overall relationship found between NMJ morphology and muscle fibre diameter or body size. Mice had the largest NMJs on the smallest muscle fibres; cats had the smallest NMJs on the largest muscle fibres. Of all the species examined, the sheep NMJ had the most closely matched morphology to that found in humans. Taken together, we present a series of comprehensive baseline morphometric data for the mammalian NMJ and suggest that ovine models are likely to best represent the human NMJ in health and disease.
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November 2020