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Placental trophoblastic cells play important roles in placental development and fetal health. However, the mechanism of trophoblastic cell fusion is still not entirely clear. The level of Tspan5 in the embryo culture medium was detected using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Fusion of BeWo cells was observed by immunofluorescence. Cell fusion-related factors and EMT-related factors were identified by qRT-PCR and western blotting. Notch protein repressor DAPT was used to verify the role of Tspan5 in BeWo cells. The expression of Tspan5 was significantly increased in embryo culture medium. The fusion of BeWo cells was observed after treatment with forskolin (FSK). Cell fusion-related factors (i.e. β-hCG and syncytin 1/2) and Tspan5 were significantly increased after FSK treatment. In addition, FSK treatment promoted EMT-related protein expression in BeWo cells. Knockdown of Tspan5 inhibited cell fusion and EMT-related protein levels. Notch-1 and Jagged-1 protein levels were significantly upregulated, and the EMT process was activated by overexpression of Tspan5 in FSK-treated BeWo cells. Interestingly, blocking the Notch pathway by the repressor DAPT had the opposite results. These results indicated that Tspan5 could promote the EMT process by activating the Notch pathway, thereby causing cell fusion. These findings contribute to a better understanding of trophoblast cell syncytialization and embryonic development. Tspan5 may be used as a therapeutic target for normal placental development.
Neuroimaging- and machine-learning-based brain-age prediction of schizophrenia is well established. However, the diagnostic significance and the effect of early medication on first-episode schizophrenia remains unclear.
To explore whether predicted brain age can be used as a biomarker for schizophrenia diagnosis, and the relationship between clinical characteristics and brain-predicted age difference (PAD), and the effects of early medication on predicted brain age.
The predicted model was built on 523 diffusion tensor imaging magnetic resonance imaging scans from healthy controls. First, the brain-PAD of 60 patients with first-episode schizophrenia, 60 healthy controls and 21 follow-up patients from the principal data-set and 40 pairs of individuals in the replication data-set were calculated. Next, the brain-PAD between groups were compared and the correlations between brain-PAD and clinical measurements were analysed.
The patients showed a significant increase in brain-PAD compared with healthy controls. After early medication, the brain-PAD of patients decreased significantly compared with baseline (P < 0.001). The fractional anisotropy value of 31/33 white matter tract features, which related to the brain-PAD scores, had significantly statistical differences before and after measurements (P < 0.05, false discovery rate corrected). Correlation analysis showed that the age gap was negatively associated with the positive score on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale in the principal data-set (r = −0.326, P = 0.014).
The brain age of patients with first-episode schizophrenia may be older than their chronological age. Early medication holds promise for improving the patient's brain ageing. Neuroimaging-based brain-age prediction can provide novel insights into the understanding of schizophrenia.
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