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Papers of the Month

By Jerry Phelps
February 2006

1) Sun Q, Wang A, Jin X, Natanzon A, Duquaine D, Brook RD, Aguinaldo JGS, Fayad ZA, Fuster V, Lippmann M, Chen LC, Rajagopalan S. Long-term Air Pollution Exposure and Acceleration of Atherosclerosis and Vascular Inflammation in an Animal Model. JAMA. 2005;294(23): p. 3003-3010.

Implications: The results suggest particulate air pollution is more dangerous to the heart and circulatory system than previously known. The authors conclude that identification of the mechanisms and specific particle components responsible for these atherosclerotic effects could lead to the downward revision of particulate matter air quality standards.

2) Walisser JA, Glover E, Pande K, Liss AL, Bradfield CA. Aryl hydrocarbon receptor-dependent liver development and hepatotoxicity are mediated by different cell types. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Dec 6;102(49):17858-63.

Implications: These data demonstrate that receptor signaling in specific cells is responsible for the generation of distinct Ah receptor-dependent physiological outcomes. These findings aid in the understanding of Ah receptor function and could have implications in the treatment of dioxin toxicity and the rare condition of a patent ductus venosus.

3) Rampersaud E, Bassuk AG, Enterline DS, George TM, Siegel DG, Melvin EC, Aben J, Allen J, Aylsworth A, Brei T, Bodurtha J, Buran C, Floyd LE, Hammock P, Iskandar B, Ito J, Kessler JA, Lasarsky N, Mack P, Mackey J, McLone D, Meeropol E, Mehltretter L, Mitchell LE, Oakes WJ, Nye JS, Powell C, Sawin K, Stevenson R, Walker M, West SG, Worley G, Gilbert JR, Speer MC. Whole genomewide linkage screen for neural tube defects reveals regions of interest on chromosomes 7 and 10. J Med Genet. 2005 Dec;42(12):940-6.

Implications: These researchers plan to add additional families to their analyses as they are identified and become available. They are also contemplating expanding the neural tube disorder classification to increase the sample size and integrating other data such as those from mouse models of neural tube defects. The data in the present study represent an important step in narrowing the search for the gene or genes responsible for neural tube defects and bring the medical community closer to the day when individual predictions of neural tube defect risk may be possible.

4) Blask DE, Brainard GC, Dauchy RT, Hanifin JP, Davidson LK, Krause JA, Sauer LA, Rivera-Bermudez MA, Dubocovich ML, Jasser SA, Lynch DT, Rollag MD, Zalatan F. Melatonin-depleted blood from premenopausal women exposed to light at night stimulates growth of human breast cancer xenografts in nude rats. Cancer Res. 2005 Dec 1;65(23):11174-84.

Implications: This study could have far reaching implications for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. It could encourage trials that test whether breast cancer can be slowed down by altering a woman's light environment or by using melatonin supplements. These researchers state that women should avoid even short exposures to bright light at night. They also point out that blue or white lights suppress melatonin more effectively than red or yellow; therefore, lights could be designed to filter out the more offending wavelengths. Similar studies could show whether nocturnal light exposure is associated with increased risk for prostate cancer in men as some researchers suspect.

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