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Editor’s Focus

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    Lymphocytes and biliary atresia

    Guo and colleagues investigated the role of T lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) lymphocytes in the destruction of extrahepatic bile ducts of patients with biliary atresia. Their results suggest that specific immune responses from NK and CD8+ cells were involved in the injury to the duct epithelium and might help characterize the phenotype of experimental biliary atresia.

    See Combinatory effects of hepatic CD8+ and NK lymphocytes in bile duct injury from biliary atresia

    Bilirubin neurotoxicity

    Few data exist regarding regional differences in brain bilirubin accumulation and expression of cytochrome P450 mono-oxygenases (Cyps) that oxidize bilirubin. In a study in Gunn rat pups, Gazzin et al. identified an inverse relationship between bilirubin accumulation and induction of Cyps mRNA in certain brain regions. This in turn may suggest regionally defined protection mechanisms.

    See Bilirubin accumulation and Cyp mRNA expression in selected brain regions of jaundiced Gunn rat pups

    IUGR and brain injury

    Campbell et al. hypothesized that intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) due to placental insufficiency sensitizes the neonatal rat brain to subsequent inflammatory insult. Indeed, results from this study suggest that lipopolysaccharide insult induces a more vigorous inflammatory response and more extensive characteristics of brain damage in growth-restricted fetuses as compared with normally grown controls.

    See Intracerebral lipopolysaccharide induces neuroinflammatory change and augmented brain injury in growth-restricted neonatal rats

    IUGR, glucocorticoids, and lung development

    To clarify differential pulmonary effects of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and maternal betamethasone (BM), Sutherland and co-investigators used a single umbilical artery ligation (SUAL) model in fetal sheep with or without additional maternal exposure to BM. They found that BM could accelerate structural fetal lung development in both SUAL animals and controls but induced surfactant protein production only in the SUAL animals, not in controls.

    See The effects of intrauterine growth restriction and antenatal glucocorticoids on ovine fetal lung development

    Nonocclusive mesenteric hypertension’s effect on gastroschisis

    Shah and colleagues hypothesized that mechanical constriction due to gastroschisis, an abdominal-wall defect, is a stimulus for intestinal dysfunction. They observed that nonocclusive mesenteric hypertension seems to produce an intestinal injury pattern similar to that seen in current models of gastroschisis.

    See Effects of nonocclusive mesenteric hypertension on intestinal function: implications for gastroschisis-related intestinal dysfunction

    Gray matter volume in CCHS

    Individuals with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome (CCHS) exhibit abnormalities in various areas of the brain. Kumar and colleagues found that gray matter volume appears to decrease with advancing age in autonomic, respiratory, and cognitive regulatory areas, whereas it seems to increase in sensory, temporal, and medullary regions.

    See Progressive gray matter changes in patients with congenital central hypoventilation syndrome

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