• Changes in LXR signaling influence early-pregnancy lipogenesis and protect against dysregulated fetoplacental lipid homeostasis.

      Nikolova, Vanya; Papacleovoulou, Georgia; Bellafante, Elena; Borges Manna, Luiza; Jansen, Eugene; Baron, Silvère; Abu-Hayyeh, Shadi; Parker, Malcolm; Williamson, Catherine (2017-10-01)
      Human pregnancy is associated with enhanced de novo lipogenesis in the early stages followed by hyperlipidemia during advanced gestation. Liver X receptors (LXRs) are oxysterol-activated nuclear receptors that stimulate de novo lipogenesis and also promote the efflux of cholesterol from extrahepatic tissues followed by its transport back to the liver for biliary excretion. Although LXR is recognized as a master regulator of triglyceride and cholesterol homeostasis, it is unknown whether it facilitates the gestational adaptations in lipid metabolism. To address this question, biochemical profiling, protein quantification, and gene expression studies were used, and gestational metabolic changes in T0901317-treated wild-type mice and Lxrab-/- mutants were investigated. Here, we show that altered LXR signaling contributes to the enhanced lipogenesis in early pregnancy by increasing the expression of hepatic Fas and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (Scd1). Both the pharmacological activation of LXR with T0901317 and the genetic ablation of its two isoforms disrupted the increase in hepatic fatty acid biosynthesis and the development of hypertriglyceridemia during early gestation. We also demonstrate that absence of LXR enhances maternal white adipose tissue lipolysis, causing abnormal accumulation of triglycerides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids in the fetal liver. Together, these data identify LXR as an important factor in early-pregnancy lipogenesis that is also necessary to protect against abnormalities in fetoplacental lipid homeostasis.
    • The sample of choice for detecting Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus in asymptomatic dromedary camels using real-time reversetranscription polymerase chain reaction.

      Mohran, K A; Farag, E A B; Reusken, C B E; Raj, V S; Lamers, M M; Pas, S D; Voermans, J; Smits, S L; Alhajri, M M; Alhajri, F; Al-Romaihi, H E; Ghobashy, H; El-Maghraby, M M; Al Dhahiry, S H S; Al-Mawlawi, N; El-Sayed, A M; Al-Thani, M; Al-Marri, S A; Haagmans, B L; Koopmans, M P G (2016-12)
      The newly identified Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes severe respiratory disease, particularly in people with comorbidities, requires further investigation. Studies in Qatar and elsewhere have provided evidence that dromedary camels are a reservoir for the virus, but the exact modes of transmission of MERS-CoV to humans remain unclear. In February 2014, an assessment was made of the suitability and sensitivity of different types of sample for the detection of MERSCoV by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for three gene targets: UpE (upstream of the E gene), the N (nucleocapsid) gene and open reading frame (ORF) 1a. Fifty-three animals presented for slaughter were sampled. A high percentage of the sampled camels (79% [95% confidence interval 66.9-91.5%, standard error 0.0625]; 42 out of 53) were shown to be shedding MERS-CoV at the time of slaughter, yet all the animals were apparently healthy. Among the virus-positive animals, nasal swabs were most often positive (97.6%). Oral swabs were the second most frequently positive (35.7%), followed by rectal swabs (28.5%). In addition, the highest viral load, expressed as a cycle threshold (Ct) value of 11.27, was obtained from a nasal swab. These findings lead to the conclusion that nasal swabs are the candidate sample of choice for detecting MERS-CoV using RT-PCR technology in apparently healthy camels.