• Socio-Economic Factors and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality: A County-Level Analysis of Georgia

      Adepu, Sanjana (Augusta University, 2019-10)
      Background: With over 20,000 deaths (~1 in every 3 deaths) per year, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Georgia. Studying the overall impact of multiple socioeconomic factors (SES) on CVD could lead to a better understanding of the determinants of public health. The factors examined in this study include physical inactivity, median household income, health insurance, and air quality. While several studies examine the effects of a single SES factor on CVD, this study analyses multiple SES factors on CVD death rates in Georgia. Methods: County-level socioeconomic factors for Georgia were obtained from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A multiple regression model was developed to identify the factors that explain CVD death rates in Georgia. Results: In Georgia, the median household income and annual average ambient concentrations of PM2.5 were the most significant factors. Lower levels of median household income were associated with higher CVD death rates; higher concentrations of PM2.5 were associated with higher CVD death rates. Additionally, leisure-time physical inactivity was marginally significant, which indicates higher percentages of physical inactivity led to higher CVD death rates. Conclusion: Policies that increase median household income and lower annual ambient concentrations may also have secondary benefits to public health and, in particular, cardiovascular disease death rates in Georgia. Future studies could expand upon this analysis by studying the effects of SES on the national level.
    • Small and Dangerous: MicroRNA-21 and Blindness

      Rajpurohit, Shubhra (Augusta University, 2018-12)
      Background: Retinal and choroidal neovascularization (RNV and CNV, respectively) are characterized by the inappropriate growth of retinal capillaries that may progress to retinal scarring, detachment and vision loss. MicroRNAs (miRs) are short noncoding RNAs which have been demonstrated to modulate diverse cellular processes such as cell differentiation, proliferation, and apoptosis. Our group and others have shown that miR-21 plays a crucial role in regulating angiogenesis and neovascularization in retina. We have previously shown that activation of STAT3/miR-21 pathway leads to loss of TIMP3 and activation of MMP2 and MMP9. Increased activity of MMP2 and MMP9 in the ischemic retina has been linked to the proteolytic degradation of pigmented epithelial derived factor (PEDF), a key retinal angiostatic factor. Importantly, miR-21 targets peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα). PPARα-responsive elements are found in PEDF promoter suggesting that this could be a potential transcription factor for PEDF. The role of miR-21 in regulating PEDF and PPARα in Human Retinal Pigmented Epithelial cells (HuRPE) has never been investigated and is the main goal of the present study. Methods: HuRPE were treated with VEGF at different time points. Transfection of HuRPE cells was performed using a specific miR-21 inhibitor, a miR-21 mimic, and scrambled miRNA as a negative control. Western blot and real-time PCR were used to evaluate the expression of PEDF and PPARα. Luciferase assay was performed to study the interactions between PPARα and PEDF. Results: VEGF treatment of HuRPE cells promoted the expression of miR-21 while PEDF and PPARα expression was down regulated. Further, overexpression of miR-21 decreased PEDF and PPARα expression. Next, we observed that inhibiting miR-21 expression could rescue VEGF-induced down regulation of PEDF and PPARα. To study the specific relationship between PPARα and PEDF, we treated HuRPE cells with siPPARα (inhibition) or PPARα agonist (fenofibrate) (induction). While, inhibition of PPARα expression decreased PEDF expression, PPARα agonist enhanced PEDF 5 expression. Lastly, using a PEDF promoter plasmid we observed that, PPARα could regulate PEDF expression by modulating its promoter activity. Conclusion: Collectively, our data shows that VEGF-mediates induction of miR-21 expression regulates PPARα-PEDF axis and could have a significant role in choroidal neovascularization. This suggests that miR-21 potentially plays a critical role in age-related macular degeneration.
    • The Effect of Nrf2 on Inflammatory Responses of Human Monocytic Cells After Blue Light Exposure

      Trotter, Leigh Ann; Trotter, Leigh Ann; Department of Oral Biology (12-Apr)
      Blue light treatment alters cellular signaling and affects intracellular biochemical processes in tissues. PURPOSE: This study determined the ability of blue light to modulate Nrf2 and decrease LPS-induced secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines from cultured, human monocytic cells. METHODS: Cultured THP-1 human monocytic cells were exposed to LPS and blue light treatment. Western Blot analyses, EMSA, and ELISA were used to evaluate NF?B, Nrf2, HO-1, TNF-?, IL-6 and IL-8 production. RESULTS: Light treatment increased nuclear Nrf2 and increased HO-1. Cells pretreated with light had no detectable NF?B-DNA binding. LPS treatment increased nuclear NF?B, and had little effect on Nrf2. Light pre-treatment significantly decreased the amount of TNF-? by 63% and IL-8 by 55%. CONCLUSIONS: Blue light increases the production of Nrf2 and HO-1, decreases the ability of Nf?B to bind in the nucleus, and leads to a decrease in the secretion of pro-inflammatory proteins in human monocytic cells.
    • The role of Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 in the systemic immune response profile of mice induced to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract

      El-Shafey, Sally; El-Shafey, Sally; Department of Oral Biology (4/1/2017)
      Background Head and necksquamous cell carcinomais associated with immunosuppression, a state in which the progression of cancer is associated with disturbances in the immune system functions. Emerging studies suggest a fundamental role for the innate immune system, particularly Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2), in this process.QuestionsIn this study, we investigated the potential roles of TLR2 on systemic immune profile in a mouse model of headand necksquamous cell carcinoma.MethodsTwo different protocols of a mouse model of 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide and ethanol-induced carcinogenesis to induce head and neck squamous cell carcinoma were used. To evaluate the systemic immune profiles, total RNA wasisolated from the spleens of four groups of animals, including carcinogen-treated and control untreated wild-type and toll-like receptor 2-deficient animals. Quantitative real-time PCR was performed forgenesrepresentative of house-keeping genes, type 1 and type 2 immune responses, regulatory T and B cells, and adenosine receptors.Results and ConclusionIn the standard protocol of 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide and ethanol-induced carcinogenesis, there was asignificant upregulation of adenosine receptor A2a in the spleens of wild type iiimice treatedwith4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide and ethanolrelative to wild type untreatedanimals. In the standard protocol of carcinogenesis, there was a significant upregulation of CD39 in the spleens of TLR2-koanimalstreated with 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide and ethanol relative to untreated TLR2-ko mice. These results suggest that carcinogenesis in the upper aerodigestive tract is associated with alterations in the systemic immune profile reflected in the spleen. However, the specific impact on the immune profiles appears to be affected by the presence or absence of TLR2.

      Elzinga, Jennifer Lynn; Department of Oral Biology (2/1/2013)

      Abraham, Pheba; Abraham, Pheba; Department of Oral Biology (5/1/2017)
      This study was to explore the effect of local, matrix-bound bisphosphonates to monocytedifferentiation and osteoclast function in vitro. Experiments were designed using osteoassay plates. Cell-viability, differentiation, resorption pits and gene expression were analyzed to see the effect of matrix-bound BPs on monocyte differentiation and osteoclast function. EDTA was used as a chelating agent to remove the bound BPs. There was a dose dependent response in the differentiation and resorption pits. With chelation, there was increase in differentiation, resorption pits and increase in the calcium and PYD in the supernatant. Thus, matrix-bound Bisphosphonatesare biologically active and they inhibit monocyte differentiation and osteoclast function. Thereby removal of this matrix-bound drug can rescue osteoclast differentiation and function.
    • Inherent Gene Expression and Protein Profile Differences Between Alveolar and Basal Bone

      Alotaibi, Fawwaz; Alotaibi, Fawwaz; Department of Oral Biology (5/1/2015)
      The mandible is composed to two bone types: alveolar and basal. Previous studies on the mandible have shown that the alveolar bone resorbs more than the basal bone after tooth extraction or as a result of tooth movement. Reasons for why the resorption rates are different is not well understood. This research begins exploring the differences of the alveolar and basal bone by using comparison characteristics such as bone mineral density (BMD), gene expression, protein profiles, and number of osteocytes. The research investigates these characteristics by using Real time RCR to study the differences in gene expression and protein profiles of the alveolar and basal bone. Micro-CT was used in comparing density and bone architecture characteristics of the alveolar and basal bone. Immunohistochemistry was used to better understand how osteocytes are different between the two bone types in hopes of later being able to understand the differences in resorption rates. The real time PCR showed that four genes are expressed significantly higher in basal bone than alveolar bone: SOST, E-11, DMP-1, MEPE. Three of which are associated with mature osteocytes indicating that basal bone has more mature osteocyte phenotypes. Micro-CT data indicated that the basal bone is denser and less porous than alveolar bone. There was no significant difference in immunohistochemistry and further quantitative testing is needed to draw and significant correlation.
    • Two Minute Poem

      Department of English and Foreign Languages
      The creation of two poems using techniques of sampling, mixing, transforming, and reinventing lines from previously written poems of others.
    • Sonnets and its History: A Digital Timeline

      Department of English and Foreign Languages
      A class assignment for HUMN 2010 in Spring 2019 presents the growth and shifts of sonnets through an interactive timeline using Timeline JS software and platform.
    • Chicago House Music: A Digital Timeline

      Department of English and Foreign Languages
      A class assignment for HUMN 2010 in Spring 2019 presents the growth and shifts of Chicago House Music through an interactive timeline using Timeline JS software and platform.
    • Berlin Wall: A Reese Library Environmental Scan Infographic

      Department of English and Foreign Languages (Augusta University, Spr. 2019)
    • Reese Library Infographic

      Halder, Bithika; Department of English and Foreign Languages (Spr. 2019)
      A class assignment presents an infographic of Reese Library.