Editor's Choice Articles
- The histochemical characteristics of human basophils and tissue mast cells were described over a century ago by Paul Ehrlich. When mast cells are activated by an allergen that binds to serum IgE attached to their FcɛRI receptors, they release cytokines, eicosanoids and their secretory granules. Mast cells are now thought to exert critical proinflammatory functions, as well as potential immunoregulatory roles, in various immune disorders through the release of mediators such as histamine, leukotrienes, cytokines chemokines, and neutral proteases (chymase and tryptase).
- α1-Antitrypsin (AAT) is the archetype member of the serine protease inhibitor (SERPIN) supergene family. The AAT deficiency is most often associated with the Z mutation, which results in abnormal Z AAT folding in the endoplasmic reticulum of hepatocytes during biogenesis. This causes intra-cellular retention of the AAT protein rather than efficient secretion with consequent deficiency of circulating AAT. The reduced serum levels of AAT contribute to the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and the accumulation of abnormally folded AAT protein increases risk for liver diseases.
- Lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related mortality in Scotland, accounting for 28.9% of all cancer deaths in 2007.1 Current guidelines recommend assessment of patient fitness and operability by a multi-disciplinary team when selecting management options.2–6 Two of the most important prognostic markers are the stage of disease and ECOG performance status. The most commonly used cancer staging system is the tumour, node, metastasis (TNM) staging system, which is maintained by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) and the International Union Against Cancer (UICC).