INSTITUTE OF PATHOLOGY

Institute Profile

Objectives

History

Infrastructural and instrumentation facilities

Departmental Structure

Thrust Areas of Research

Communication and Computational facilities

Education & Training programmes

Epidemiological studies undertaken by the institute

Research Projects

Services provided to outsiders

 

 

 

 

Objectives  

            The Institute is one of the premier centres for research in pathology and basic sciences, providing diagnostic and referral services. The Scientific Advisory Committee of the Institute at its last meeting in Dec. 1998 took up a complete reappraisal of the Institute's objectives, which were formulated at the time of its creation in 1965.   The SAC approved following objectives.

  1. To conduct research, basic and applied on health problems of national importance  

  2. To promote human resource development of pathologists, biomedical scientists and technologists in specialized research methodologies and to conduct and provide facilities for training programmes leading to Ph.D. in basic and applied health related subjects.

  3. To provide specialized research, consultative, investigative and instrumentation facilities to investigators from other institutions  

  4. To provide facilities of laboratory investigation requiring specialized technology and expertise including consultancy services to the medical profession.  

  5. To collect, duplicate and distribute representative spectrum of pathologic educational material to interested medical colleges and institutions  

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History

            The Institute of Pathology was called Indian Registry of Pathology (IRP) at the time of establishment on 1st May 1965. It was established at the Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, with the major aim of promoting the collection and distribution of teaching material in pathology. Over the years, the IRP, collected, duplicated and distributed teaching material in different branches of Pathology to various institutes/medical colleges in India and also succeeded in mass-producing colour transparencies at a very low cost.

 

            The original aims and objectives of the Indian Registry of Pathology, which was to develop into a service-cum-research organization, were clearly defined as follows:  

  1. Collection, classification, duplication and distribution of a representative spectrum of histopathological teaching material to the several interested medical colleges, institutions and individual pathologists and clinicians.

  2. Promotion of impersonal consultative machinery through the medium of consultative panels for different branches of the special pathology.  They will help in the verification and classification of all accessioned material and also promote further research on specific disease entitities.  

  3. Gradual development of a training centre for pathologists, technicians etc. At a later stage evolution of an advanced centre for research in the field of pathology.

            On research front the IRP made significant contributions in the area of Indian childhood cirrhosis, cerebral oedema, encephalopathy syndrome, experimental neurolathyrism, osteopathology, etc.  In view of its multifarious activities and expanded scope, the IRP was re-designated as the Institute of Pathology (IOP) in 1980. The Institute is now one of the premier centres for research in pathology, providing diagnostic and referral services.  

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Infrastructural and instrumentation facilities

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 Laboratory facilities

1. Animal House

2. Clinical Chemistry and Haematology

3. Confocal Microscopy

4. Cytopathology

5. Direct Current Plasma Spectrometry

6. Electron Microscopy

7. Flowcytometery

8. Histopathology

9. HIV Surveillance

10. Immuno-histochemistry

11. Medical Education and Technology

12. Microbiology  

13. Molecular Biology

14. Radiobiology

15. Tissue Culture

16. Tumour Biology

 

 Clinical facilities

            In collaboration with Safdarjang Hospital and other collaborators, IOP has taken responsibility of specialized investigations for diagnosis viz., immuno-histochemistry, electron microscopy, and molecular techniques besides routine histopathological and cyto-pathological examinations.

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Departmental Structure

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Departmental Structure

 

 

 

Departmental Structure

Specialized Research Laboratories

a.         Animal House

b.         Confocal Microscope Laboratory

c.         Electron Microscope Laboratory

d.         Flowcytometer Laboratory

e.         Immuno-histochemistry Laboratory

f.           Microbiology Laboratory

g.         Molecular Biology Laboratory

h.         Radiobiology Laboratory

i.           Tissue Culture Laboratory

j.           Trace Element Laboratory

k.         Tumor Biology Laboratory

 

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    Service Laboratories

a.          Clinical Chemistry and Haematology Laboratory

b.         Computer Section

c.          Cytopathology Laboratory

d.         Division of Medical Education and Technology

e.          Histopathology Laboratory

f.           HIV Surveillance Laboratory

g.          Library

h.          Museum

i.            Workshop

 

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                                                            Administration

a.       Accounts Section

b.      Administration Section

c.       Maintenance Section

d.      Project Cell

e.       Stores Section

   

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Thrust Areas of Research

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            Research Studies at Institute of Pathology have made significant contributions in the area of Indian childhood cirrhosis, cerebral oedema, encephalopathy syndrome, experimental neurolathyrism, osteopathology, pigment cell biology, tumour biology, tropical pathology and pathology of sexually transmitted diseases etc.

Current thrust areas of research are 

1.      Tumour Biology

      A.Breast Cancer

      B. Genitourinary Malignancies

      C. Lymphoma

2. Infectious Disease

       A. Chlamydial Infection

       B. Leishmaniasis

       C. Tuberculosis

3.      Miscellaneous

       A.Reproductive Biology

       B. Toxicology

       C. Indian Childhood Cirrhosis  

       D. Environmental Biology

       E.  Other Studies

 

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Communication and Computational facilities

  1. Fifteen (15) Pentium Computers {PIII/550 – 8 + PI/200 – 6 + PI/100 – 1} plus other PC  Compatibles (6)  

  2. Colour Flat Bed Scanner  

  3. FAX Machine  

  4. Internet Connection  

  5. EPBX Exchange

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Education & Training programmes

  1.   Post-graduate teaching programme for DNB (Pathology)

  2. Ph.D. programme in association with BITS, Pilani, and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University

  3. Teaching-aid contribution in the form of teaching atlases for post-graduate and undergraduate medical students

  4. Institute of Pathology has been recognized by WHO as Centre of Excellence for imparting training to 

  5. Pathologists and Laboratory Technicians in India.

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Epidemiological studies undertaken by the institute

  1.  ZBTC’s HIV Surveillance and

  2. Genetic Screening of Indian Women for Breast Cancer.

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Research Projects  

 

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1.      Tumour Biology

      A.Breast Cancer

      B. Genitourinary Malignancies

      C. Lymphoma

2. Infectious Disease

       A. Chlamydial Infection

       B. Leishmaniasis

       C. Tuberculosis

3.      Miscellaneous

       A.Reproductive Biology

       B. Toxicology

       C. Indian Childhood Cirrhosis  

       D. Environmental Biology

       E.  Other Studies

 

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1.Tumour Biology

                                                        a. Breast Cancer

        1. Molecular events leading to senescence in HMEC Cells in vitro 

            To study regulation of tumour suppressor protein p53 by oestrogen and anti estrogens in breast cancer cells, we cultured oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells in media containing 5% FCS and studied the proliferation and level of p53 expression.  Exogenous addition of 17-beta-estradiol (E2) in the medium had no significant effect on either proliferation or p53 expression however a significant decrease in cell number and p53 expression was found on addition of tamoxifen in the media.  On culture of these cells growth media devoid of serum but containing hydrocortisone, Cholera toxin, Na selenium, insulin and ascorbic acid, cell number and p53 level declined but addition of 17-B estradiol in the medium increased cell proliferation and p53 expression.  Role of TGF-B in mediation of effect of 17-beta estradiol and tamoxifen is presently under study.

        2. Genetics of breast cancer in Indian Women  

            Preliminary work done on mutation analysis of BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer susceptibility genes showed presence of mutations in both BRCA1 and BACA 2 genes in approximately 20% Indian breast cancer patients. To characterize the mutation spectrum in Indian population, this project has been awarded from Indo-French centre for promotion of advanced research.

        3. To correlate host-immune surveillance with the clinical response to neo-adjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer  

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b. Genitourinary Malignancies

        1.Study of oncogenes, tumour suppressor gene and growth factor status in pre-malignant and malignant enlargement of prostate

            Forty cases of prostate enlargement including adeno-carcinoma (20), prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (10) and benign hyperplasia (10), studied for expression of tumour suppressor protein p53 and ras onco-protein p21 showed that the lower grades of prostate cancer were associated with higher p53 nuclear reactivity as compared to p21 positive cases which showed inverse correlation.  Out of 10 cases of PIN, p53 positivity was found in 40% cases while none of these cases showed positive p21 reaction.   

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    c. Lymphoma

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         1. An in vitro model to predict chemotherapeutic response in haematopoietic-lymphoid malignancies

            Combination chemotherapy has transformed malignancies of the haematopoietic-lymphoid system from a fatal disease to one that is often curable. However, clinical experience has shown that over 50% of leukaemias and lymphomas are not cured by chemotherapy with current regimes either because they represent a higher risk group with different long-term prognosis or because of mechanisms and events involved in cellular drug resistance. Such patients may benefit from new experimental approaches and their identification would also and in the design and interpretation of therapeutic trials.

            Using an in vitro assay, the current study proposes to differentiate, if possible, those patients who are likely to achieve complete remission after induction therapy from those who either achieve partial remission or fail to respond to current therapeutic regimes. This will be done by measuring spontaneous or drug-induced ability of the neoplastic cells to undergo cell death in an ELISA based MTT (3-{4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl}-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium) bromide assay. The prognostic significance of T-cell immuno-phenotype in lymphoid malignancies is uncertain and it is doubtful if it represents an independent prognostic variable. In the current study, chemo-sensitivity of T-cells and B-cells will be compared to determine if variation in drug sensitivity may possibly be a factor associated with the poor prognosis seen in most T-cell neoplasms.

            This study is being conducted in cases diagnosed as 1) acute and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and 2) non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In each group, immuno-phenotyping is done to classify the cases as T or B cell leukaemia/lymphoma. A combination of various anti-neoplastic drugs against the freshly isolated tumour cells will be studied in vitro and the difference in cytotoxicity under experimental conditions will be compared to the clinical response of the patient to standard chemotherapeutic regimes. The possibility of a pre-clinical rationale for a clinical trail using combinations, which could possibly lead to, improved response rates and more durable remissions will be evaluated.

            Immuno-phenotyping has so far been done on 17 cases of leukaemia and 18 cases of lymphomas. Nine of the 17 leukaemia cases were positive for Ki-My2P (>25% blast cells positive) and were diagnosed as acute myeloid leukaemia. Four cases were diagnosed, as B-cell CLL while four more cases could not be typed using the current panel of monoclonal antibodies. Of the 18 cases of lymphomas, there were 3 cases of Hodgkin's disease, 2 cases of extra-nodal lymphoma (one each in liver and testis, T-cell lymphomas), 3 cases of cutaneous infiltrates (one diagnosed as B-cell lymphoma, one as Langerhans cell histiocytosis and the third as B-cell cutaneous lymphoid hyperplasia) and 1 case as B- cell follicular centre lymphoma. Nine other nodal NHL cases were diagnosed as diffuse large B-cell (1 case), lympho-plasmacytoid (2 cases), plasmacytoma (1 case), peripheral T-cell lymphoma, unspecified (3 cases) and angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma (1 case). In a preliminary work for this, attempt is being made to collect sufficient material from fine needle aspirate samples of lymph nodes, so that these FNA samples can be used for in vitro cell culture. The study is in progress. 

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2.Infectious Disease

    a. Chlamydial Infection

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        A high prevalence (up to 40%) of chlamydial lower and upper genital tract infections has been reported from many laboratories in India.  There is a need for developing a diagnostic assay for C. trachomatis, which would be cost effective and sensitive for screening of larger population.  Our major goals are as follows:

        1. Collection of well characterized C. trachomatis isolates and development of diagnostic assays for C. trachomatis', which will consist of:

            a.       Developing a DNA probe from Indian strain of C. trachomatis

            b.      To develop serovar specific monoclonal antibody to C. trachomatis from prevalent serovars (D/E). 

                    This study will have impact on incidence and prevalence data.  Diagnosis of C. trachomatis infection will also have impact on public health intervention control programme, since control of genital chlamydial infection could potentially have a major impact on HIV transmission. Therefore, targeted screening for genital Chlamydial infections in high-risk population should be a priority for STD/HIV control programme.  This project is funded by DBT and is initially for three years but can be extended for 5 years i.e. till 2005.  Once we develop these molecular probe from our Indian strain and also develop serovar specific monoclonal antibody.  We would like to patent these.  The research on these aspects is being published in peer reviewed journals/symposia proceedings.  Training is being given in some of these specialized techniques to scientists from other Institute and workshop will be organized in future.  

        2.      To understand immuno-pathogenesis of C. trachomatis infection with particular reference to salpingitis/Infertility.

            a. In vitro by Cytokine regulation

            b. In vivo mouse model of chlamydial salpingitis.

                There is also a need to pursue research in immunopathogenesis of scarring leading to infertility in women for better management and control of chlamydial infection.  Cytokines play a significant role in the immunoregulation of lymphocyte functions and mediate pathological immune responses.  This study on protective and tissue damaging cytokines is of utmost importance in understanding basic immunological functions in disease pathogenesis.  In addition, it will help in identifying a marker to predict severity of upper genital tract disease with implications in a better prognosis of infertile women and also in vaccine designing. 

                In vivo studies on Immunopathogenesis of chlamydial salpingitis/ infertility in women are poorly documented because of the need for invasive techniques requiring hospitalization.  However, animal models offer substantial advantages.  We plan to develop a mouse model of Chlamydial salpingitis/infertility that is inoculated which a Indian strain human serovar of C. trachomatis.  This future study will have impact on treatment as it will help us in identifying markers of progressive scarring and indicators of risk for scarring.

 

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    b.Leishmaniasis

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            Kala-azar and Post Kala-azar Dermal Leishmaniasis are protozoan infections, which are second only to Malaria in terms of population at risk in Indian Subcontinent. Like Malaria, Leishmaniases are also spread through insect vectors (Sand fly).  Although the disease had been recognized more than a century ago, it is still known to occur epidemically and endemically in well defined areas in the eastern India, mainly in Bihar, West Bengal, Eastern UP, Sikkim etc. Recently cases of leishmaniasis have also been reported from MP, Gujarat, H P and J & K. Hence a multi–pronged attack on the disease is warranted towards diagnostic as well as therapeutic areas. Accordingly following studies are undertaken and planned in future:

        1. Immunoblot analysis of Kala-azar sera

            Western blot analysis of 35 kala-azar sera revealed that Leishmania antigens of 40, 55, 65, 70 and 82 kDa were recognized most frequently (Fig I). Majority (83%) of Kala-azar cases recognized at least four of these five antigens. The 70-kDa antigen, which may include a member of the heat shock protein 70, produced a positive reaction in 94% of patients.

        2.      Stage specific gene expression in Leishmania

            Based on the methodology employing Arbitrarily primed PCR (AP-PCR) we have already demonstrated the presence of Centrin gene that exhibits stage specific expression in Leishmania. We propose to identify several more genes that exhibit stage specific expression in Leishmania donovani.

        3.      Possible role of the Hyaluronic Acid Binding Protein (HABP) in visceral leishmaniasis

            Over-expression of HABP was observed in spleen, liver, macrophages and serum of hamsters infected with L. donovani as also in macrophage cell line J774.G8 upon infection with the parasite.  A significant increase in the level of HABP was also observed in serum of kala-azar patients (Fig III). Interestingly, HABP was shown to bind with 2 proteins of L. donovani, suggesting a possible role for HABP in adhesion during the interaction of promastigotes and macrophages.

        4.      Immunohistological studies on skin lesions in post kala azar dermal leishmaniasis

            Identification of L. donowani amastigotes in the three forms of PKDL skin lesions, using MAB G2D10 forms an important part of this study.  The immunohistochemical staining procedure for antigen detection has been carried out on other forms of cutaneous & visceral leishmaniasis for purpose of comparison. The cellular infiltrate in PKDL skin lesions are being characterized by immunophenotyping.  A semiquantitative assessment of the %age of T.B, helper T, suppressor T, N/C & dendric cells is being done. The tissue profile of  Th1 and Th2 cytokines like IL-10, IL-12, IFN-r, TNF  is being analysed.

        5.      Evaluation of divergence in gene structure and expression in Leishmania donovani of PKDL origin

            We have developed methodology for setting up and maintaining parasite cultures from PKDL skin lesions. Using this methodology we have been successful in setting up several PKDL cultures. This provides an unlimited source of valuable material for investigating the genetic and biochemical characteristics of parasites of PKDL origin. We plan to identify and characterize parasite genes that are responsible for the differential tropism and phenotype in PKDL using sensitive methodologies and expertise already built in our institute. This will lead to understand the genetic factors that control the shift in the site of predilection and clinical manifestation of the disease.

        6.      Characterization of Immunodominant antigens in PKDL

            We have demonstrated that the humoral immune response in PKDL patients is distinct from that in Kala-azar. We propose to screen leishmania genomic expression library with PKDL sera and identify genes coding for the immunodominant antigens. Manipulation of gene expression in PKDL derived parasites will be performed to define the role of the immunodominant antigens.

        7.      Ultrastructural Studies in PKDL

            Leishmania, appears to divide by simple binary fission in both the vertebrate and invertebrate hosts and there is no conclusive evidence of a sexual cycle. The EM study at IOP, has revealed membrane bound dense core bodies and multi-lamellar bodies along with the Leishmania parasites in the cytoplasm of macrophages. Such bodies have not been reported previously in PKDL cases and possibly represent some morphological variant of the parasite during its life cycle in mammalian host. This study has been undertaken to investigate the detailed ultra-structure of dermal granulomas and hypopigmented skin lesions and various morphological variants of parasite present in the skin lesions of PKDL patients before and after treatment with sodium antimony gluconate.  Attempts will also be made to localize the antimony within the host cell using energy dispersive microanalysis.  The information gained is likely to provide an insight into the pathogenesis of disease and mode of action of the drug.

        8.      Identification of L. donovani in Phlebotomine flies

            Vector incrimination is most important aspect so far as transmission cycle is concerned. The vector's infection carrying potential is yet to be ascertained.  Mere presence of vector in the community is not responsible for the transmission of the disease and Kala-azar infectivity needs to be ascertained in the vectors, P. argentipes is considered the vector of Indian Kala-azar .In 1914, Mackie first reported that sand fly could be responsible for the transmission of Kala-azar.  By dissecting the sand flies, Swaminath et al (1942) detected the first natural infection of L. donovani in P. argentipes in Bihar.  Kishore et al. (1999) dissected thousand of sand flies but could find only 6 nos. of P. argentipes positive for promastigotes.      This project is being initiated in collaboration with RMRI, Patna, with the following objectives:

            v     To evaluate different methods of identifying L. donovani (promastigotes) within the gut of P. argentipes

            v     To correlate the presence of infected vector with disease incidence

            v     To study the degree infectivity in vector and differentiation in endemic areas

   

 

 

 

 

    c. Tuberculosis 

        1.      Immunohistochemical detection of Mycobacterial antigen in tuberculous lymphadenitis

            Immunohistochemical (IHC) stains with polyclonal antibodies showed presence of Mycobacterial antigen in approximately 78% of cases.  Z-N stains demonstrated the AFB as solid, fragmented or beaded rods.  IHC stains highlighted the antigen either as solid or beaded rods within epithelioid cell cytoplasm, caseous areas and giant cells or as antigenic dust within caseous areas.  

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3. Miscellaneous

    a. Reproductive Biology

        1.  Male Fertility

            i. To evaluate the role of environmental estrogens on human male fertility

                The various reports on the continuous reduction in the sperm count over last three decades and the demonstration of its reversibility in developed countries following strict enforcement of antipollution measures, suggest that environmental estrogens possibly play a role for the decrease in sperm count as well as increase in incidence of Cryptorchidism,  testicular cancers etc.  However, the hypothesis is yet to be proved with hot data. The aims & objectives of the study are:

                v     Immunoistochemical localization of oestrogen receptor / progesterone receptor in human spermatozoa and relationship with seminal steroidal concentrations with fertility status

                v     Evaluation of status of membrane bound oestrogen and progesterone receptor status of monkey and human spermatozoa following intra-vasdeferens administration of contraceptive RISUG.  

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b. Toxicology

        1. Pre-Clinical Studies

            i. Establishment of reference laboratory for undertaking haematological biochemical, histopathological and immuno-pathological evaluation of pre-clinical toxicological studies

                Many of the Indian Universities and Research Institutions have been involved in new drug development and development of diagnostics.  Similarly advances in biotechnology will also give a boost to drug development.  But non-availability of trained manpower to scientifically evaluate and provide authenticated data to the drug regulatory authorities can stop or indefinitely delay the laboratory efforts in reaching the masses. This project has been initiated with a aim to pool the expertise of toxicologists and investigative pathologists to hasten indigenous drug development.

                Establishment of a reference laboratory will make the different expertise and facilities available to boost the drug development scenario of the country.  Such an infrastructure can also act as nodal agency to recognize and find solutions to different problems hitherto unrecognised but now potentially toxic intermediate industrial products, which can reach critically toxic concentrations in some not so natural situations.

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    c.  Indian Childhood Cirrhosis  

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            Indian Childhood Cirrhosis is a hepatic disorder, frequently fatal and unique to Indian Children. The disease, which was rampant in later part of 19th Century and earlier part of 20th Century, is now on the verge of extinction.  Its aetiopathogenesis is not yet established. Involvement of trace metals specifically copper either as a cause or consequence has been generally accepted although the hypothesis of dietary copper toxicity though the use of copper yielding utensils, proposed by Tanner et al. (1979) has been rejected by ICMR's Multi-centric National Collaborative study (1983).  Dr. Sriramachari working as INSA Senior Scientist along with his co-workers found an elevation of not only copper but also zinc in the residual paraffin blocks of Hepatic biopsies from children afflicted with ICC or allied hepatic disorders. Accordingly Dr. S. Sriramachari and his colleagues have been continuing following studies:

          1.         Studies on an Experimental Model of Indian Childhood Cirrhosis

                This project had been initiated with a view to understand the role of Iatrogenic factors in inducing ICC related liver disorders. Based on analysis of customs prevailing in Southern Part of India, a list of ingredient, which could have hepatotoxic effects, had been made.  Different batches of rat were put on standard low protein (3-5%) diet containing traditional remedies like garlic, ginger, chitramoolam, vayuvidangam, borax (suhaga), hing etc. Long-term chronic toxicity experiments have revealed interesting changes ranging from hepato-cellular necrosis and fibrosis to fatty changes. A typical picture of cirrhosis had not yet emerged in any of the animals. As a final effort, it is proposed to undertake short-term acute toxicity studies on the possible role of poly-sulphides and poly-phenols in naturally occurring herbal components. The study is expected to be completed in next 1 to 2 years.

        2.          An Immuno-histochemical study on ICC

                As a direct corollary of yoked elevation of hepatic Cu and Zn in ICC the involvement of hepatic metallothionein (MT) has been postulated. In this study immuno-histochemical procedure for localisation of MT using Monoclonal Mouse anti-Metallothionein Antibody by Avidin Biotin Complex (ABC) method has been planned.  Preliminary trials on liver biopsy sections from cases of clinical ICC and liver sections from animals in our ongoing Experimental Model of ICC, have revealed often a positive reaction.  During next 2 years, it is proposed to undertake the experiment on few paraffin blocks of ICC and other related disorders available in the Institute of Pathology. Later, based on the results, attempts will be made to collect such material available in different parts of the country on a collaborative basis.

        3.         Localisation of Copper and Zinc in ICC

                At present, there is no ready explanation for the twin element response of increased hepatic Cu and Zn in biological parlance nor do we know the exact localisation of these metals in the liver tissue.  Although several histological features such as appearance of Mallory hyaline, bile duct proliferation, fibrosis are distinctive of ICC, which histological component is directly associated with copper and zinc accumulation has still not been studied. 

                The purpose of the proposed study is to undertake ultrastructural localisation of Copper and Zinc in ICC and other related disorders of liver in Indian Children so as to demonstrate for the first time at the presence of Cu and Zn in hepatic tissue at the ultrastructural level.  The results may also shed some light on the aetiopathogensis of the disorder.  

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    d. Environmental Biology

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        1. Use of Placental Tissue for Human Environmental Biomonitoring of Inorganic & Organic Pollutants

            Human beings (urban as well as rural) are exposed to a large scale of pollution resulting from a variety of man-made factors. The constituents of polluted air include particulates, Pb, CO, SO2, oxides of N2, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, chlorinated organic compounds etc. These pollutants cause a variety of disorders ranging from minor irritation to cancers and increased mortality in those chronically exposed to high levels of pollutants. To control and minimize such effects, it is obligatory to monitor changes in the environment and continuously take remedial actions. Although initial emphasis was on monitoring changes in physical environment of air, water, and soil, it was soon realised that such monitoring could not provide useful results until it was supplemented with monitoring of the effects of changing environment on biological systems.  Since the conclusions drawn from other species may not always be applicable to Homo sapiens and the ultimate aim is to know the harmful effects of pollution on human beings themselves Human Environmental Bio-Monitoring (HEBM) has gained more importance in recent times.   Hence, attempts are now being made to assess the effect of environmental changes on different types of human samples such as hair, nail, blood, or samples of viscera from autopsies.  Each type of sample has its own limitations and may not be able to fulfil the stringent requirements of HEBM or Environmental Specimen Banking (ESB).

            Baseline work on the detection of inorganic pollutants, such as Pb, Cd, As, Ni etc. had been accomplished under a Pitambar Pant Fellowship of Min. of Environ. Awarded to Dr. S. Sriramachari.  The placenta was found to be an ideal tissue for environmental biomonitoring. The project proposal has been finalized and submitted to the Ministry of Environment & Forest for a comprehensive programme for Biomonitoring of Inorganic and Organic pollutants and the gradual development of an Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB).  The project is expected to be initiated by the beginning of the next year and the duration of the project is Four Years.

            Depending on the progress achieved, it is planned to submit another project on the development of Environmental Specimen Bank and to establish the Institute as a nodal agency in HEBM and ESB. This effort may require further inputs in terms of space and equipment like liquid nitrogen plant, GC-MS, higher capacity deep freezers, freeze driers etc  

        2. Morphological Changes of Placenta in Tobacco Users and Non Tobacco Users

            In India, tobacco consumption is seen in the form of betel chewing, pan masala, gutka and smoking of bidi, cigarettes and hukka.  Of course this consumption is more noticed in man but women are no exception and is generally noticed in rural areas and, urban socialite circles.   Even if directly non-smokers, most of women are indirectly exposed to tobacco smoke as passive smokers. Tobacco contains nicotine, an alkaloid that stimulates post-ganglionic neurons of sympathetic and para-sympathetic systems resulting in strong sympathetic vasoconstrictions in the abdominal organs and limbs.  It has been noticed intake of nicotine in the form of cigarettes increases the level of carbon monoxide in blood leading to inactivation of foetal and maternal haemoglobin.  In case of chain smokers, disorders like pre-eclampsia, decreased placental and foetal weights, increased abortion and rate of neonatal mortality are seen to be common complications following pregnancy. 

            Though a large number of epidemiological, biochemical and histochemical studies have been conducted on the effects of tobacco exposure, very little information is available regarding morphological changes in human placenta at microscopic and electron microscopic level, particularly in Indian context.  Therefore this project has been initiated as an extramural project of ICMR in collaboration with Lady Hardinge Medical College to study the changes in trophoblasts / foetal capillaries and placental barrier in mothers exposed to tobacco and compare the structure with non-smoker mothers. The project has been initiated this year. The duration of the project is three years.  

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    e.  Other Studies  

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        1. Ultrastructural Studies in Dropsy

            Samples of skin, liver, kidney and other tissues were collected from patients afflicted with Dropsy during last two years.  So far 3 cases have been studied at light and electron microscopic level. Several interesting changes have been observed in the skin samples viz., dilatation of dermal vessels, presence of oedematous fluids, increase in number of mast cells etc. It is proposed to carry out and complete this study by next year.  

      2. Development of a database on normal histology and ultrastructure of various organs of Indian major carp, Labeo rohita

            The project aims at developing a systematic document / atlas on the anatomy and histology of various organs of Labeo rohita, the common carp.  This commercially important fish is reared on a wide-scale across the country.  The availability of a database on the normal histology of this species will help to understand the pathology of diseases effecting the species and also to understand normal structure-function co-relationship of different organs and tissues.  

        3.  To standardize and apply the culture technique to grow epidermal sheets from human keratinocytes for application in burns.

            Under Dermato-pathology, the institute has taken up the goal of developing a facility where keratinocyte culture technique will be used to provide resurfacing in burn wounds.  It is proposed to

            v     To extend the facility to provide pigmented epidermal grafting for vitiligo by establishing a technique of co-culturing keratinocytes and melanocytes.

            v     To undertake further studies in keratinocyte growth and newer areas such as keratinocyte-melanocyte interactions.

            v     To develop composite graft material consisting of in vitro propagation of human epidermis on dermal equivalent.

            v     To undertake studies towards achieving the possibility of hair follicle induction in dermal equivalent and related studies.

            v     To develop and apply newer sustainable treatment modalities in burns and vitiligo

        4. Development of an Intelligent System for Rapid Detection of Carcinoma Cervix

The DOE project was initiated three years ago in collaboration with Dr. Jyotsana Pande, Safdarjang Hospital.  The aim of the project is to develop an expert system for the rapid detection of Carcinoma Cervix in field conditions.  If successful, the project will provide an indigenous system for mass screening of population.  The PI, Dr. Pande has since moved to USA and the software development has not been completed hence it is proposed to collaborate with some other expert for the development of the software and to complete the project in one year time.

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Services provided to outsiders  

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Diagnostic:

Routine Investigations

1.      Histopathology and  

2.      Cytopathology

Special Investigations

1.      Electron Microscopy

2.      Immuno-histochemistry

3.      Molecular Biology

Medical Education and Technology

1.      Mass production and duplication of Colour Transparencies

2.      Supply of Teaching Material / Atlases for under-graduate and post-graduate medical students

 

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