by Saharat Aungsumart, Metha ApiwattanakulNeuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) is an inflammatory condition of the central nervous system. The extent of disability depends on the severity of the disease and the number of relapses. Although azathioprine is currently the main treatment for patients with NMOSD in Thailand, patients often relapse during its use. Hence, it is argued that there are other drugs that would be more effective. The purpose of this study is to evaluate, from a societal perspective and from the economic impact on Thailand’s healthcare system, the cost utility of treatment with mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) and rituximab in patients resistant to azathioprine. The Markov model with a one-year cycle length was applied to predict the health and cost outcomes in patients with NMOSD over a lifetime. The results showed that rituximab exhibited the highest quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gains among all the options. Among the rituximab-based treatments, the administration of a rituximab biosimilar with CD27+ memory B cell monitoring proved to be the most cost-effective option. At the willingness-to-pay threshold of 160,000 Thai baht (THB), or 5,289 US dollar (USD), per QALY gained, the treatment exhibited the highest probability of being cost effective (48%). A sensitivity analysis based on the adjusted price of a generic MMF determined that the treatment was cost effective, exhibiting an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of -164,653 THB (-5,443 USD) and a 32% probability of being cost effective. The calculated budget impact of treating patients resistant to conventional therapy was 1–6 million THB (33,000–198,000 USD) for the first three years, while after the third year, the budget impact stabilized at 3–4 million THB (99,000–132,000 USD). These data indicate that, in Thailand, treatment of drug resistant NMOSD with a rituximab biosimilar with CD27+ memory B cell monitoring or treatment with a generic MMF would be cost effective and would result in a low budget impact. Therefore, the inclusion of both the rituximab biosimilar and a generic MMF in the National Drug List of Essential Medicine for the treatment of NMOSD may be appropriate.
by Lara Milian, Manuel Mata, Javier Alcacer, María Oliver, María Sancho-Tello, José Javier Martín de Llano, Carlos Camps, José Galbis, Julian Carretero, Carmen CardaBackground/Objective
Patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) develop resistance to antitumor agents by mechanisms that involve the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). This necessitates the development of new complementary drugs, e.g., cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) agonists including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). The combined use of THC and CBD confers greater benefits, as CBD enhances the effects of THC and reduces its psychotropic activity. We assessed the relationship between the expression levels of CB1 and CB2 to the clinical features of a cohort of patients with NSCLC, and the effect of THC and CBD (individually and in combination) on proliferation, EMT and migration in vitro in A549, H460 and H1792 lung cancer cell lines.Methods
Expression levels of CB1, CB2, EGFR, CDH1, CDH2 and VIM were evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. THC and CBD (10–100 μM), individually or in combination (1:1 ratio), were used for in vitro assays. Cell proliferation was determined by BrdU incorporation assay. Morphological changes in the cells were visualized by phase-contrast and fluorescence microscopy. Migration was studied by scratch recolonization induced by 20 ng/ml epidermal growth factor (EGF).Results
The tumor samples were classified according to the level of expression of CB1, CB2, or both. Patients with high expression levels of CB1, CB2, and CB1/CB2 showed increased survival reaching significance for CB1 and CB1/CB2 (p = 0.035 and 0.025, respectively). Both cannabinoid agonists inhibited the proliferation and expression of EGFR in lung cancer cells, and CBD potentiated the effect of THC. THC and CBD alone or in combination restored the epithelial phenotype, as evidenced by increased expression of CDH1 and reduced expression of CDH2 and VIM, as well as by fluorescence analysis of cellular cytoskeleton. Finally, both cannabinoids reduced the in vitro migration of the three lung cancer cells lines used.Conclusions
The expression levels of CB1 and CB2 have a potential use as markers of survival in patients with NSCLC. THC and CBD inhibited the proliferation and expression of EGFR in the lung cancer cells studied. Finally, the THC/CBD combination restored the epithelial phenotype in vitro.
by Lihong Gu, Feng Wang, Zhemin Lin, Tieshan Xu, Dajie Lin, Manping Xing, Shaoxiong Yang, Zhe Chao, Baoguo Ye, Peng Lin, Chunhui Hui, Lizhi Lu, Shuisheng HouJiaji Duck (JJ) is a Muscovy duck species that possesses many superior characteristics, and it has become an important genetic resource in China. However, to date, its genetic characteristics and genetic relationship with other duck breeds have not been explored yet, which greatly limits the utilization of JJ. In the present study, we investigated the genome sequences of 15 individual ducks representing five different duck populations, including JJ, French Muscovy duck (FF), mallard (YD), hong duck (HD) and Beijing duck (BD). Moreover, we investigated the characteristics of JJ-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and compared the genome sequences of JJ vs. YD and JJ vs. BD using integrated strategies, including mutation detection, selective screening, and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis. More than 40 Gb of clean data were obtained for each population (mean coverage of 13.46 Gb per individual). A total number of 22,481,367 SNPs and 4,156,829 small insertion-deletions (Indels) were identified for the five duck populations, which could be used as molecular markers in breeding and utilization of JJ. Moreover, we identified 1,447,932 JJ-specific SNPs, and found that genes covering at least one JJ-specific SNP mainly involved in protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, as well as DNA modification. Phylogenetic tree and principal components analysis (PCA) revealed that the genetic relationship of JJ was closest to FF, while it was farthest to BD. A total of 120 and 111 genes were identified as positive selection genes for JJ vs. BD and JJ vs. YD, respectively. GO and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) analyses showed that the positive selection genes for JJ vs. BD ducks mainly involved in pigmentation, muscle contraction and stretch, gland secretion, and immunology, while the positive selection genes obtained from JJ vs. YD ducks mainly involved in embryo development, muscle contraction and stretch, and gland secretion. Taken together, our findings enabled us to better understand the characteristics of JJ and provided a molecular basis for the breeding and hybrid utilization of JJ in the future.
by Olivier R. Seynnes, Neil J. CroninIn vivo measurements of muscle architecture (i.e. the spatial arrangement of muscle fascicles) are routinely included in research and clinical settings to monitor muscle structure, function and plasticity. However, in most cases such measurements are performed manually, and more reliable and time-efficient automated methods are either lacking completely, or are inaccessible to those without expertise in image analysis. In this work, we propose an ImageJ script to automate the entire analysis process of muscle architecture in ultrasound images: Simple Muscle Architecture Analysis (SMA). Images are filtered in the spatial and frequency domains with built-in commands and external plugins to highlight aponeuroses and fascicles. Fascicle dominant orientation is then computed in regions of interest using the OrientationJ plugin. Bland-Altman plots of analyses performed manually or with SMA indicate that the automated analysis does not induce any systematic bias and that both methods agree equally through the range of measurements. Our test results illustrate the suitability of SMA to analyse images from superficial muscles acquired with a broad range of ultrasound settings.
by Halldis Ringvold, Truls Moum
by Jesús Guinea, Pilar Escribano, Antonio Vena, Patricia Muñoz, María del Carmen Martínez-Jiménez, Belén Padilla, Emilio Bouza
by Tim Rahmel, Stefanie Schmitz, Hartmuth Nowak, Kaspar Schepanek, Lars Bergmann, Peter Halberstadt, Stefan Hörter, Jürgen Peters, Michael AdamzikPatients with severe infections and especially sepsis have a high in-hospital mortality, but even hospital survivors face long-term sequelae, decreased health-related quality of life, and high risk of death, suggesting a great need for specialized aftercare. However, data regarding a potential benefit of post-discharge rehabilitation in these patients are scarce. In this retrospective matched cohort study the claim data of a large German statutory health care insurer was analyzed. 83,974 hospital survivors having suffered from septic shock, sepsis, and severe infections within the years 2009–2016 were identified using an ICD abstraction strategy closely matched to the current Sepsis-3 definition. Cases were analyzed and compared with their matched pairs to determine their 5-year mortality and the impact of post-discharge rehabilitation. Five years after hospital discharge, mortality of initial hospital survivors were still increased after septic shock (HRadj 2.03, 95%-CI 1.87 to 2.19; Padj 1.73, 95%-CI 1.71 to 1.76; Padj 1.70, 95%-CI 1.65 to 1.74; Padj 0.81, 95%-CI 0.77 to 0.85; Padj 0.81, 95%-CI 0.73 to 0.90; P
by Gedefaw Abeje Fekadu, Akinyinka O. Omigbodun, Olumuyiwa A. Roberts, Alemayehu Worku Yalew
by Yohann Moanahere Chiu, Alain Vanasse, Josiane Courteau, Maud-Christine Chouinard, Marie-France Dubois, Nicole Dubuc, Nicolas Elazhary, Isabelle Dufour, Catherine HudonBackground
Frequent emergency department users are patients cumulating at least four visits per year. Few studies have focused on persistent frequent users, who maintain their frequent user status for multiple consecutive years. This study targets an adult population with chronic conditions, and its aims are: 1) to estimate the prevalence of persistent frequent ED use; 2) to identify factors associated with persistent frequent ED use (frequent use for three consecutive years) and compare their importance with those associated with occasional frequent ED use (frequent use during the year following the index date); and 3) to compare characteristics of “persistent frequent users” to “occasional frequent users” and to “users other than persistent frequent users”.Methods
This is a retrospective cohort study using Quebec administrative databases. All adult patients who visited the emergency department in 2012, diagnosed with chronic conditions, and living in non-remote areas were included. Patients who died in the three years following their index date were excluded. The main outcome was persistent frequent use (≥4 visits per year during three consecutive years). Potential predictors included sociodemographic characteristics, physical and mental comorbidities, and prior healthcare utilization. Odds ratios were computed using multivariable logistic regression.Results
Out of 297,182 patients who visited ED at least once in 2012, 3,357 (1.10%) were persistent frequent users. Their main characteristics included poor socioeconomic status, mental and physical comorbidity, and substance abuse. Those characteristics were also present for occasional frequent users, although with higher percentages for the persistent user group. The number of previous visits to the emergency department was the most important factor in the regression model. The occasional frequent users’ attrition rate was higher between the first and second year of follow-up than between the second and third year.Conclusions
Persistent frequent users are a subpopulation of frequent users with whom they share characteristics, such as physical and mental comorbidities, though the former are poorer and younger. More research is needed in order to better understand what factors can contribute to persistent frequent use.
by Lina Olsson, Marie-Louise Hammarström, Anne Israelsson, Gudrun Lindmark, Sten HammarströmBackground and aims
Curative surgery saves ≈50% of all patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) while remaining patients have synchronous or will develop metachronous metastases. Presently, the single most important prognostic factor is histopathological detection of disseminated tumor cells in regional lymph nodes. However, the routine method has several limitations. The aim was to identify biomarker mRNAs that could be combined in a formula that would allow better prediction of patients' survival after surgery.Methods
Screening for biomarker mRNAs overexpressed in CRC was performed by genome-wide hybridization bead array, with verification by qRT-PCR. Specific qRT-PCR assays with copy standards were developed for 5 selected genes and mRNA expression levels determined in lymph nodes from 174 CRC patients (517 nodes) and 24 control patients (118 nodes). Prognostic value of biomarker mRNAs was estimated. A cut-off was set using univariate Cox regression analysis and used for calculation of differences between patient groups in disease-free survival 12 years after surgery (Kaplan-Meier survival model) and risk for recurrent disease (Cox's regression analysis). A formula was constructed for evaluation of the prognostic value of the biomarkers in combination.Results
Two new biomarkers, SLC35D3 and POSTN with prognostic value were identified. SLC35D3 was expressed in the epithelium derived tumor cells and POSTN in fibroblasts. Combined with CEACAM5, KLK6 and MUC2 they could be used to identify risk groups. A formula was constructed using CEACAM5 as denominator for KLK6, SLC35D3 and MUC2 and 18S rRNA as denominator for POSTN. The formula yielded 5 categories (-1, 0, 1, 2, 3). Categories (-1 and 0) had good prognosis, categories (1 and 2) relatively poor prognosis and category (3) very poor prognosis.Conclusion
Lymph node analysis using 5 selected biomarker mRNAs and 18S rRNA in combination allowed allocation of CRC patients to different risk categories with respect to recurrent disease.
by Wesuk Kang, Tao Tong, Taesun ParkChronic stress and continually high glucocorticoid levels can induce muscle atrophy. Unfortunately, there is a lack of appropriate animal models for stress-induced muscle atrophy research. Corticotropin releasing factor-overexpressing (CRF-OE) mice are a transgenic model of chronic stress that exhibit increased plasma corticosterone levels and Cushing’s syndrome; however, the skeletal muscle pathology of the CRF-OE mouse has not been well studied. We observed that male, 19-week-old CRF-OE mice had significantly lower skeletal muscle mass, average cross-sectional myofiber area, and total muscle protein content than their wild type (WT) littermates. Muscle function determined by grip strength, wire-hang, and open field tests showed that 19-week-old male CRF-OE mice had impaired physical ability. Additionally, the skeletal muscles of CRF-mice exhibited decreased expression of factors involved in the IGF-1/AKT/mTOR protein synthesis pathway and increased ubiquitin proteasome pathway activity compared to the WT control mice. In conclusion, 19-week-old CRF-OE mice display numerous features of muscle atrophy and thus serve as a model for investigating stress-induced muscle atrophy and interventions to target the deleterious effects of stress on skeletal muscle.
by Nomaxabiso Mildred Mooi, Busisiwe Purity NcamaIntroduction
The need for specialized care, particularly enteral nutritional therapy in community settings is now increasing with implications for both patients and primary care providers. More research is needed to identify the needs of patients and primary caregivers. The study aimed to explore the perceived support needs regarding the provision of home-based enteral nutritional therapy among critically ill adult patients and family caregivers in the KwaZulu-Natal Province of South Africa.Methods
A qualitative study of purposely selected adult patients on homebased enteral nutritional therapy and family caregivers was conducted in a district hospital, a community health centre, two primary health care clinics and selected households in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted between June and September 2018 and the content analysis approach was used to analyse data.Results
Two major themes and five subthemes emerged from the results of the interviews. The major themes concerned socioeconomic and psychosocial support needs related to the provision of home-based enteral nutritional therapy. Subthemes included the need for financial assistance, need for enteral nutrition products and supplementary supplies, need for infrastructure for continuity of care, and psychological support needs.Conclusion
Results of this study confirm the need for developing strategies adapted to a South African context and yonder to meet patients’ and family caregivers’ needs with regard to nutritional services. More research on the identification of needs through monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of nutritional guidelines is needed, particularly in the district hospital and primary health care (PHC) setting.
by Abdellatif El-Ahmadi, Mujahed Sebastian Abassi, Hedvig Bille Andersson, Thomas Engstrøm, Peter Clemmensen, Steffen Helqvist, Erik Jørgensen, Henning Kelbæk, Frants Pedersen, Kari Saunamäki, Jacob Lønborg, Lene Holmvang
by Kanwal Rehman, Syeda Mehak Munawar, Muhammad Sajid Hamid Akash, Manal Ali Buabeid, Tahir Ali Chohan, Muhammad Tariq, Komal Jabeen, El-Shaimaa A. Arafa
by Abdul-Aziz Seidu, Bright Opoku Ahinkorah, Ebenezer Agbaglo, Eugene Kofuor Maafo Darteh, Edward Kwabena Ameyaw, Eugene Budu, Hawa IddrisuIntroduction
Physical activity (PA) has both short- and long-term importance. In this study we sought to assess the prevalence and correlates of PA among 1,542 Senior High School (SHS) students.Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Ghana among SHS students using the 2012 version of the Ghana Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSHS) data, which utilised two-stage cluster sampling technique. The population for the study comprised SHS students. The outcome variable was physical activity. The data were analysed using STATA version 14.2 for Mac OS. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were employed. At the bivariate level, Pearson chi-square test between each independent variable and PA was conducted and the level of statistical significance was set at 5%. All the significant variables from the chi-square test were selected for the multivariate analysis. In the multivariate analysis, Poisson regression with robust variance was performed to estimate crude and adjusted prevalence ratios (APR).Results
It was found that 25.0% (29.0% males and 21.9% females) of SHS students were physically active. Female students (APR = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.65, 0.94), students in SHS 2 (APR = 0.76, 95% CI = 0.577, 0.941) and SHS3 (APR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.63, 0.93), and those who went hungry (APR = 0.77, 95% CI = 0.65, 0.92) were less likely to be physically active compared to males, those in SHS1 and those who did not go hungry respectively. On the other hand, students who actively commuted to school (APR = 2.40, 95% CI = 1.72, 2.42) and got support from their peers were more likely to be physically active (APR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.09–2.41).Conclusion
Only a quarter of SHS students who participated in the 2012 version of the GSHS met the WHO’s recommended level of physical activity. Sex, grade/form and experience of hunger are associated with physical activity. Physical activity is a major component of any health promotion program. Policies and programmes targeting improvement in physical activity among SHS students should take these associated factors into consideration.
by John R. Pooley, Caroline A. Rivers, Michael T. Kilcooley, Susana N. Paul, Ayse Derya Cavga, Yvonne M. Kershaw, Serena Muratcioglu, Attila Gursoy, Ozlem Keskin, Stafford L. LightmanGlucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) are believed to classically bind DNA as homodimers or MR-GR heterodimers to influence gene regulation in response to pulsatile basal or stress-evoked glucocorticoid secretion. Pulsed corticosterone presentation reveals MR and GR co-occupy DNA only at the peaks of glucocorticoid oscillations, allowing interaction. GR DNA occupancy was pulsatile, while MR DNA occupancy was prolonged through the inter-pulse interval. In mouse mammary 3617 cells MR-GR interacted in the nucleus and at a chromatin-associated DNA binding site. Interactions occurred irrespective of ligand type and receptors formed complexes of higher order than heterodimers. We also detected MR-GR interactions ex-vivo in rat hippocampus. An expanded range of MR-GR interactions predicts structural allostery allowing a variety of transcriptional outcomes and is applicable to the multiple tissue types that co-express both receptors in the same cells whether activated by the same or different hormones.
by Carolina Gamez, Barbara Schneider-Wald, Andy Schuette, Michael Mack, Luisa Hauk, Arif ul Maula Khan, Norbert Gretz, Marcus Stoffel, Karen Bieback, Markus L. SchwarzIntroduction
Articular cartilage (AC) is a viscoelastic tissue with a limited regenerative capability because of the lack of vasculature. Mechanical stimulation contributes to the homeostasis of functional AC since it promotes the delivery of nutrients, cytokines and growth factors between the distant chondrocytes. We hypothesized that biomechanical stimulation might enhance mobilization of endogenous mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) from neighboring niches as the bone marrow.Aim
This study aimed to introduce a bioreactor for inducing mobilization of MSCs from one compartment to another above by mechanical stimulation in vitro.Methods
A novel mechanical system for evaluating mobilization of cells in a 3D context in vitro is presented. The system consists of a compression bioreactor able to induce loading on hydrogel-based scaffolds, custom-made software for settings management and data recording, and image based biological evaluation. Intermittent load was applied under a periodic regime with frequency of 0.3 Hz and unload phases of 10 seconds each 180 cycles over 24 hours. The mechanical stimulation acted on an alginate scaffold and a cell reservoir containing MSCs below it. The dynamic compression exerted amplitude of 200 μm as 10% strain regarding the original height of the scaffold.Results
The bioreactor was able to stimulate the scaffolds and the cells for 24.4 (±1.7) hours, exerting compression with vertical displacements of 185.8 (±17.8) μm and a force-amplitude of 1.87 (±1.37; min 0.31, max 4.42) N. Our results suggest that continuous mechanical stimulation hampered the viability of the cells located at the cell reservoir when comparing to intermittent mechanical stimulation (34.4 ± 2.0% vs. 66.8 ± 5.9%, respectively).Functionalizing alginate scaffolds with laminin-521 (LN521) seemed to enhance the mobilization of cells from 48 (±21) to 194 (±39) cells/mm3 after applying intermittent mechanical loading.Conclusion
The bioreactor presented here was able to provide mechanical stimulation that seemed to induce the mobilization of MSCs into LN521-alginate scaffolds under an intermittent loading regime.
by Yoon Hae Kwak, Dae-Kyung Kwak, Nan Young Kim, Yun Joong Kim, Jeong Seop Lim, Je-Hyun YooHigh tibial osteotomy (HTO) is a well-established treatment for medial compartmental knee osteoarthritis. Several microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in osteoarthritis progression and are useful as osteoarthritis-related biomarkers. In this prospective study, we investigated differentially expressed microRNAs in the synovial fluid (SF) before and after HTO in patients with medial compartmental knee osteoarthritis to identify microRNAs that can be used as prognostic biomarkers. We used miRNA-PCR arrays to screen for miRNAs in SF samples obtained preoperatively and 6 months postoperatively from 6 patients with medial compartmental knee osteoarthritis who were treated with medial open wedge HTO. Differentially expressed miRNAs identified in the profiling stage were validated by real-time quantitative PCR in 22 other patients who had also been treated with HTO. All patients radiographically corresponded to Kellgren-Lawrence grade II or III with medial compartmental osteoarthritis. These patients were clinically assessed using a visual analogue scale and Western Ontario McMaster Universities scores. Mechanical axis changes were measured on standing anteroposterior radiographs of the lower limbs assessed preoperatively and at 6 months postoperatively. Among 84 miRNAs known to be involved in the inflammatory process, 14 were expressed in all SF specimens and 3 (miR-30a-5p, miR-29a-3p, and miR-30c-5p) were differentially expressed in the profiling stage. These 3 miRNAs, as well as 4 other miRNAs (miR-378a-5p, miR-140-3p, miR-23a-3p, miR-27b-3p), are related to osteoarthritis progression. These results were validated in the SF from 22 patients. Clinical and radiological outcomes improved after HTO in all patients, and only 2 miRNAs (miR-30c-5p and miR-23a-3p) were significantly differentially expressed between preoperative and postoperative 6-month SF samples (p = 0.006 and 0.007, respectively). Of these two miRNAs, miR-30c-5p correlated with postoperative pain relief. This study provides potential prognostic miRNAs after HTO and further investigations should be considered to determine clinical implications of these miRNAs.
by Fiona G. Kouyoumdjian, Ji Yun Lee, Aaron M. Orkin, Stephanie Y. Cheng, Kinwah Fung, Tim O’Shea, Gordon GuyattWe aimed to compare 30-day readmission after medical-surgical hospitalization for people who experience imprisonment and matched people in the general population in Ontario, Canada. We used linked population-based correctional and health administrative data. Of people released from Ontario prisons in 2010, we identified those with at least one medical or surgical hospitalization between 2005 and 2015 while they were in prison or within 6 months after release. For those with multiple eligible hospitalizations, we randomly selected one hospitalization. We stratified people by whether they were in prison or recently released from prison at the time of hospital discharge. We matched each person with a person in the general population based on age, sex, hospitalization case mix group, and hospital discharge year. Our primary outcome was 30-day hospital readmission. We included 262 hospitalizations for people in prison and 1,268 hospitalizations for people recently released from prison. Readmission rates were 7.7% (95%CI 4.4–10.9) for people in prison and 6.9% (95%CI 5.5–8.3) for people recently released from prison. Compared with matched people in the general population, the unadjusted HR was 0.72 (95%CI 0.41–1.27) for people in prison and 0.78 (95%CI 0.60–1.02) for people recently released from prison. Adjusted for baseline morbidity and social status, hospitalization characteristics, and post-discharge health care use, the HR for 30-day readmission was 0.74 (95%CI 0.40–1.37) for people in prison and 0.48 (95%CI 0.36–0.63) for people recently released from prison. In conclusion, people recently released from prison had relatively low rates of readmission. Research is needed to elucidate reasons for lower readmission to ensure care quality and access.
by Konstanze Schoeps, Estefanía Mónaco, Amparo Cotolí, Inmaculada Montoya-CastillaAttachment theories postulate that during adolescence, peer relationships become more important as a predictor of positive social, emotional and behavioral outcomes. Adolescents develop the ability to empathize with others, which is related to healthy functioning and positive peer relationships. Empathy has been studied as a potential mechanism that may help to explain how strong and healthy emotional bonds are associated with less emotional disorders and conduct problems in youth. The main purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between peer attachment and strengths and difficulties during adolescence, considering empathy as a potential mediator of this association. A total of 800 Spanish adolescents (56.65% girls), aged between 12 and 15 years (M = 14.02, SD = 1.21), completed measures of peer attachment, empathy, conduct problems, emotional difficulties and prosocial behavior. Structural equation models indicated that peer attachment was negatively associated with conduct problems and emotional difficulties but positively related to prosocial behavior. In general, empathy mediated the link between peer attachment and both emotional and behavioral outcomes, without significant group differences between boys and girls. The discussion focuses on the importance of healthy peer relationships as a powerful predictor of emotional well-being and psychological problems in adolescence.