Recently, monkeypox has become a global concern amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Monkeypox is an acute rash zoonosis caused by the monkeypox virus, which was previously concentrated in Africa. The re-emergence of this pathogen seems unusual on account of outbreaks in multiple nonendemic countries and the incline to spread from person to person. We need to revisit this virus to prevent the epidemic from getting worse. In this review, we comprehensively summarize studies on monkeypox, including its epidemiology, biological characteristics, pathogenesis, and clinical characteristics, as well as therapeutics and vaccines, highlighting its unusual outbreak attributed to the transformation of transmission. We also analyze the present situation and put forward countermeasures from both clinical and scientific research to address it.
Transthyretin (TTR) is a small liver-secreted plasma protein that shows close correlations with changes in lean body mass (LBM) during the entire human lifespan and agglomerates the bulk of nitrogen (N)-containing substrates, hence constituting the cornerstone of body building. Amino acids (AAs) dietary restriction causes inhibition of TTR production and impairs the accretion of LBM reserves. Inflammatory disorders result in cytokine-induced abrogation of TTR synthesis and urinary leakage of nitrogenous catabolites. Taken together, the data indicate that malnutrition and inflammation may similarly suppress the production of TTR through distinct and unrelated pathophysiological mechanisms while operating in concert to downsize LBM stores. The hepatic synthesis of TTR integrates both machineries, acting as a marker of reduced LBM resources still available for defense and repair processes. TTR operates as a universal surrogate analyte that allows for the grading of residual LBM capacity to reflect disease burden. Measurement of TTR is a simple, rapid, and inexpensive micro-method that may be reproduced on a daily basis, hence ideally suited for the follow-up of the most intricated clinical situations and as a reliable predictor of any morbidity outcome.
The discovery of immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1/PD-L1 and CTLA-4, has played an important role in the development of cancer immunotherapy. However, immune-related adverse events often occur because of the enhanced immune response enabled by these agents. Antibiotics are widely applied in clinical treatment, and they are inevitably used in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Clinical practice has revealed that antibiotics can weaken the therapeutic response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. Studies have shown that the gut microbiota is essential for the interaction between immune checkpoint inhibitors and antibiotics, although the exact mechanisms remain unclear. This review focuses on the interactions between immune checkpoint inhibitors and antibiotics, with an in-depth discussion about the mechanisms and therapeutic potential of modulating gut microbiota, as well as other new combination strategies.
During mitosis, the allocation of genetic material concurs with organelle transformation and distribution. The coordination of genetic material inheritance with organelle dynamics directs accurate mitotic progression, cell fate determination, and organismal homeostasis. Small GTPases belonging to the Ras superfamily regulate various cell organelles during division. Being the key regulators of membrane dynamics, the dysregulation of small GTPases is widely associated with cell organelle disruption in neoplastic and non-neoplastic diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Recent discoveries shed light on the molecular properties of small GTPases as sophisticated modulators of a remarkably complex and perfect adaptors for rapid structure reformation. This review collects current knowledge on small GTPases in the regulation of cell organelles during mitosis and highlights the mediator role of small GTPase in transducing cell cycle signaling to organelle dynamics during mitosis.
The record speed at which Chinese scientists identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and shared its genomic sequence with the world, has greatly facilitated the development of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines. It is unprecedented in pandemic control history to develop a dozen successful vaccines in the first year and to immunize over half of the global population in the second year, due to the efforts of the scientific community, biopharmaceutical industry, and regulatory agencies worldwide. The challenges are both great and multidimensional due to the rapid emergence of virus variants and waning of vaccine immunity. Vaccination strategies need to adapt to these challenges to keep population immunity above the herd immunity threshold, by increasing vaccine coverage, especially for older adults and young people, and providing timely booster doses with homologous or heterologous vaccine boosts. Further research should be undertaken to develop more effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 variants and to understand the best prime-boost vaccine combinations and immunization strategies to provide sufficient and sustainable immune protection against COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a global pandemic disease. SARS-CoV-2 variants have aroused great concern and are expected to continue spreading. Although many countries have promoted roll-out vaccination, the immune barrier has not yet been fully established, indicating that populations remain susceptible to infection. In this review, we summarize the literature on variants of concern and focus on the changes in their transmissibility, pathogenicity, and resistance to the immunity constructed by current vaccines. Furthermore, we analyzed relationships between variants and breakthrough infections, as well as the paradigm of new variants in countries with high vaccination rates. Terminating transmission, continuing to strengthen variant surveillance, and combining nonpharmaceutical intervention measures and vaccines are necessary to control these variants.
Emerging evidence indicates that the gut microbiome contributes to the host immune response to infectious diseases. Here, to explore the role of the gut microbiome in the host immune responses in COVID-19, we conducted shotgun metagenomic sequencing and immune profiling of 14 severe/critical and 24 mild/moderate COVID-19 cases as well as 31 healthy control samples. We found that the diversity of the gut microbiome was reduced in severe/critical COVID-19 cases compared to mild/moderate ones. We identified the abundance of some gut microbes altered post-SARS-CoV-2 infection and related to disease severity, such as Enterococcus faecium, Coprococcus comes, Roseburia intestinalis, Akkermansia muciniphila, Bacteroides cellulosilyticus and Blautia obeum. We further analyzed the correlation between the abundance of gut microbes and host responses, and obtained a correlation map between clinical features of COVID-19 and 16 severity-related gut microbe, including Coprococcus comes that was positively correlated with CD3+/CD4+/CD8+ lymphocyte counts. In addition, an integrative analysis of gut microbiome and the transcriptome of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) showed that genes related to viral transcription and apoptosis were up-regulated in Coprococcus comes low samples. Moreover, a number of metabolic pathways in gut microbes were also found to be differentially enriched in severe/critical or mild/moderate COVID-19 cases, including the superpathways of polyamine biosynthesis II and sulfur oxidation that were suppressed in severe/critical COVID-19. Together, our study highlighted a potential regulatory role of severity related gut microbes in the immune response of host.
Malaria is an ancient infectious disease that threatens millions of lives globally even today. The discovery of artemisinin, inspired by traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has brought in a paradigm shift and been recognized as the “best hope for the treatment of malaria” by World Health Organization. With its high potency and low toxicity, the wide use of artemisinin effectively treats the otherwise drug-resistant parasites and helps many countries, including China, to eventually eradicate malaria. Here, we will first review the initial discovery of artemisinin, an extraordinary journey that was in stark contrast with many drugs in western medicine. We will then discuss how artemisinin and its derivatives could be repurposed to treat cancer, inflammation, immunoregulation-related diseases, and COVID-19. Finally, we will discuss the implications of the “artemisinin story” and how that can better guide the development of TCM today. We believe that artemisinin is just a starting point and TCM will play an even bigger role in healthcare in the 21st century.
Cardiovascular diseases account for approximately 80% of deaths among individuals with diabetes mellitus, with diabetic cardiomyopathy as the major diabetic cardiovascular complication. Hyperglycemia is a symptom that abnormally activates multiple downstream pathways and contributes to cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, apoptosis, and other pathophysiological changes. Although glycemic control has long been at the center of diabetes therapy, multicenter randomized clinical studies have revealed that intensive glycemic control fails to reduce heart failure-associated hospitalization and mortality in patients with diabetes. This finding indicates that hyperglycemic stress persists in the cardiovascular system of patients with diabetes even if blood glucose level is tightly controlled to the normal level. This process is now referred to as hyperglycemic memory (HGM) phenomenon. We briefly reviewed herein the current advances that have been achieved in research on the underlying mechanisms of HGM in diabetic cardiomyopathy.
The current standard of care in hematological malignancies has brought considerable clinical benefits to patients. However, important bottlenecks still limit optimal achievements following a current medical practice. The genetic complexity of the diseases and the heterogeneity of tumor clones cause difficulty in ensuring long-term efficacy of conventional treatments for most hematological disorders. Consequently, new treatment strategies are necessary to improve clinical outcomes. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR T) immunotherapy opens a new path for targeted therapy of hematological malignancies. In this review, through a representative case study, we summarize the current experience of CAR T-cell therapy, the management of common side effects, the causative mechanisms of therapy resistance, and new strategies to improve the efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy.