Research Collected: May 2015

epigenetics and aging, microbiome and depression, brain lymphatics, grip strength, delayed umbilical clamping

Epigenetic regulation of the nuclear-coded GCAT and SHMT2 genes confers human age-associated mitochondrial respiration defects

“Our findings revealed that epigenetic downregulation of nuclear-coded genes, including GCAT and SHMT2, which regulate glycine production in mitochondria, results in respiration defects. Our previous studies showed that the age-associated respiration defects in elderly fibroblasts are likely due in part to reduced translation activity in the mitochondria, but not in the cytoplasm. Therefore, defects in glycine metabolism in the mitochondria as a result of a reduction in SHMT2 and GCAT expression would be partly responsible for the reduction in mitochondrial translation, resulting in the expression of age-associated respiration defects. Because continuous glycine treatment restored respiration defects in elderly human fibroblasts, glycine supplementation may be effective in preventing age-associated respiration defects and thus benefiting the health of elderly human subjects.”

Structural and functional features of central nervous system lymphatic vessels

“One of the characteristics of the central nervous system is the lack of a classical lymphatic drainage system. Although it is now accepted that the central nervous system undergoes constant immune surveillance that takes place within the meningeal compartment, the mechanisms governing the entrance and exit of immune cells from the central nervous system remain poorly understood. In searching for T-cell gateways into and out of the meninges, we discovered functional lymphatic vessels lining the dural sinuses. These structures express all of the molecular hallmarks of lymphatic endothelial cells, are able to carry both fluid and immune cells from the cerebrospinal fluid, and are connected to the deep cervical lymph nodes. The unique location of these vessels may have impeded their discovery to date, thereby contributing to the long-held concept of the absence of lymphatic vasculature in the central nervous system. The discovery of the central nervous system lymphatic system may call for a reassessment of basic assumptions in neuroimmunology and sheds new light on the aetiology of neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases associated with immune system dysfunction.”

Prognostic value of grip strength: findings from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study

“This study suggests that measurement of grip strength is a simple, inexpensive risk-stratifying method for all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and cardiovascular disease.”

Altered fecal microbiota composition in patients with major depressive disorder

“We found 11 statistically significant differences between [active major depressive disorder (A-MDD)] and [healthy control (HC)] groups at the family level. The relative proportions of Acidaminococcaceae, Enterobacteriaceae, Fusobacteriaceae, Porphyromonadaceae, and Rikenellaceae were significantly higher in the A-MDD group compared with the HC group; we also found significantly lower levels of Bacteroidaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae, Lachnospiraceae, Prevotellaceae, Ruminococcaceae, and Veillonellaceae in the A-MDD than in the HC group.”

The Most Distinctive Causes of Death by State, 2001-2010

“Some of the findings make intuitive sense (influenza in some northern states, pneumoconioses in coal-mining states, air and water accidents in Alaska and Idaho), while the explanations for others are less immediately apparent (septicemia in New Jersey, deaths by legal intervention in 3 Western states).”

Genetics and the placebo effect: the placebome

“The study of genomic effects on placebo response, ‘the placebome’, is in its infancy. Here, we review evidence from placebo studies and RCTs to identify putative genes in the placebome, examine evidence for placebo–drug interactions, and discuss implications for RCTs and clinical care.”

Effect of Delayed Cord Clamping on Neurodevelopment at 4 Years of Age: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Delayed CC compared with early CC improved scores in the fine-motor and social domains at 4 years of age, especially in boys, indicating that optimizing the time to CC may affect neurodevelopment in a low-risk population of children born in a high-income country.

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