Sensitivity of simulated global-scale freshwater fluxes and storages to input data, hydrological model structure, human water use and calibration
Hannes Müller Schmied
Felix Theodor Portmann
- Global-scale assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages by hydrological models under historic climate conditions are subject to a variety of uncertainties. Using the global hydrological model WaterGAP 2.2, we investigated the sensitivity of simulated freshwater fluxes and water storage variations to five major sources of uncertainty: climate forcing, land cover input, model structure, consideration of human water use and calibration (or no calibration). In a modelling experiment, five variants of the standard version of WaterGAP 2.2 were generated that differed from the standard version only regarding the investigated source of uncertainty. Sensitivity was analyzed by comparing water fluxes and water storage variations computed by the variants to those of the standard version, considering both global averages and grid cell values for the time period 1971–2000. The basin-specific calibration approach for WaterGAP, which forces simulated mean annual river discharge to be equal to observed values at 1319 gauging stations (representing 54% of global land area except Antarctica and Greenland), has the highest effect on modelled water fluxes and leads to the best fit of modelled to observed monthly and seasonal river discharge. Alternative state-of-the-art climate forcings rank second regarding the impact on grid cell specific fluxes and water storage variations, and their impact is ubiquitous and stronger than that of alternative land cover inputs. The diverse model refinements during the last decade lead to an improved fit to observed discharge, and affect globally averaged fluxes and storage values (the latter mainly due to modelling of groundwater depletion) but only affect a relatively small number of grid cells. Considering human water use is important for the global water storage trend (in particular in the groundwater compartment) but impacts on water fluxes are rather local and only important where water use is high. The best fit to observed time series of monthly river discharge (Nash–Sutcliffe criterion) or discharge seasonality is obtained with the standard WaterGAP 2.2 model version which is calibrated and driven by a sequence of two time series of daily observation-based climate forcings, WFD/WFDEI. Discharge computed by a calibrated model version using monthly CRU 3.2 and GPCC v6 climate input reduced the fit to observed discharge for most stations. Taking into account the investigated uncertainties of climate and land cover data, we estimate that the global 1971–2000 discharge into oceans and inland sinks is between 40 000 and 42 000 km3 yr−1. The range is mainly due differences in precipitation data that affect discharge in uncalibrated river basins. Actual evapotranspiration, with approximately 70 000 km3 yr−1, is rather unaffected by climate and land cover in global sum but differs spatially. Human water use is calculated to reduce river discharge by approximately 1000 km3 yr−1. Thus, global renewable water resources are estimated to range between 41 000 and 43 000 km3 yr−1. The climate data sets WFD (available until 2001) and WFDEI (starting in 1979) were found to be inconsistent with respect to short wave radiation data, resulting in strongly different potential evapotranspiration. Global assessments of freshwater fluxes and storages would therefore benefit from the development of a global data set of consistent daily climate forcing from 1900 to current.
Phenotypic Characterization of miR-92a−/− Mice Reveals an Important Function of miR-92a in Skeletal Development
Ralf P. Brandes
Andreas M. Zeiher
- MicroRNAs (miRNAs, miRs) emerged as key regulators of gene expression. Germline hemizygous deletion of the gene that encodes the miR-17~92 miRNA cluster was associated with microcephaly, short stature and digital abnormalities in humans. Mice deficient for the miR-17~92 cluster phenocopy several features such as growth and skeletal development defects and exhibit impaired B cell development. However, the individual contribution of miR-17~92 cluster members to this phenotype is unknown. Here we show that germline deletion of miR-92a in mice is not affecting heart development and does not reduce circulating or bone marrow-derived hematopoietic cells, but induces skeletal defects. MiR-92a−/− mice are born at a reduced Mendelian ratio, but surviving mice are viable and fertile. However, body weight of miR-92a−/− mice was reduced during embryonic and postnatal development and adulthood. A significantly reduced body and skull length was observed in miR-92a−/− mice compared to wild type littermates. µCT analysis revealed that the length of the 5th mesophalanx to 5th metacarpal bone of the forelimbs was significantly reduced, but bones of the hindlimbs were not altered. Bone density was not affected. These findings demonstrate that deletion of miR-92a is sufficient to induce a developmental skeletal defect.
Factors affecting date of implantation, parturition, and den entry estimated from activity and body temperature in free-ranging brown bears
Alina L. Evans
Jon M. Arnemo
Jon E. Swenson
- Knowledge of factors influencing the timing of reproduction is important for animal conservation and management. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are able to vary the birth date of their cubs in response to their fat stores, but little information is available about the timing of implantation and parturition in free-ranging brown bears. Body temperature and activity of pregnant brown bears is higher during the gestation period than during the rest of hibernation and drops at parturition. We compared mean daily body temperature and activity levels of pregnant and nonpregnant females during preimplantation, gestation, and lactation. Additionally we tested whether age, litter size, primiparity, environmental conditions, and the start of hibernation influence the timing of parturition. The mean date of implantation was 1 December (SD = 12), the mean date of parturition was 26 January (SD = 12), and the mean duration of the gestation period was 56 days (SD = 2). The body temperature of pregnant females was higher during the gestation and lactation periods than that of nonpregnant bears. The body temperature of pregnant females decreased during the gestation period. Activity recordings were also used to determine the date of parturition. The parturition dates calculated with activity and body temperature data did not differ significantly and were the same in 50% of the females. Older females started hibernation earlier. The start of hibernation was earlier during years with favorable environmental conditions. Dates of parturition were later during years with good environmental conditions which was unexpected. We suggest that free-ranging pregnant brown bears in areas with high levels of human activities at the beginning of the denning period, as in our study area, might prioritize investing energy in early denning than in early parturition during years with favorable environmental conditions, as a strategy to prevent disturbances caused by human.
Examining hidden coercion at state borders: why carrier sanctions cannot be justified
- Sanctions placed upon airlines and other operators transporting persons without the required paperwork are called ‘carrier sanctions’. They constitute a key example of how border control mechanisms are currently being outsourced, privatized, delegated, and moved from the border itself to new physical locations. These practices can lead to a phenomenon referred to in this paper as ‘hidden coercion’. This paper argues that, while hidden coercion is commonplace in the reality of migration policy in most states, it is so far neglected in theoretical discussions of state coercion. Moreover, the discussion of carrier sanctions demonstrates that this neglect is problematic, since hidden coercion is not justifiable even within a framework that legitimizes state border coercion.
Müller glia cells regulate Notch signaling and retinal angiogenesis via the generation of 19,20-dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid
Ralf H. Adams
- Cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases generate bioactive lipid epoxides which can be further metabolized to supposedly less active diols by the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). As the role of epoxides and diols in angiogenesis is unclear, we compared retinal vasculature development in wild-type and sEH−/− mice. Deletion of the sEH significantly delayed angiogenesis, tip cell, and filopodia formation, a phenomenon associated with activation of the Notch signaling pathway. In the retina, sEH was localized in Müller glia cells, and Müller cell–specific sEH deletion reproduced the sEH−/− retinal phenotype. Lipid profiling revealed that sEH deletion decreased retinal and Müller cell levels of 19,20–dihydroxydocosapentaenoic acid (DHDP), a diol of docosahexenoic acid (DHA). 19,20-DHDP suppressed endothelial Notch signaling in vitro via inhibition of the γ-secretase and the redistribution of presenilin 1 from lipid rafts. Moreover, 19,20-DHDP, but not the parent epoxide, was able to rescue the defective angiogenesis in sEH−/− mice as well as in animals lacking the Fbxw7 ubiquitin ligase, which demonstrate strong basal activity of the Notch signaling cascade. These studies demonstrate that retinal angiogenesis is regulated by a novel form of neuroretina–vascular interaction involving the sEH-dependent generation of a diol of DHA in Müller cells.
Emerging therapies for the treatment of hepatitis C
Christian M. Lange
Ira M. Jacobson
Charles M. Rice
- Opportunities to treat infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are evolving rapidly. From the introduction of interferon-α monotherapy in 1992 to the approval of telaprevir- and boceprevir-based triple therapies with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin in 2011, the chances of curing patients infected with HCV genotype 1 have improved from <10% to approximately 70%. Significant further improvements are on the horizon, which may well cure virtually all hepatitis C patients with an all-oral, interferon-free regimen in the very near future. These exciting developments are reviewed in the present article.
APADB: a database for alternative polyadenylation and microRNA regulation events
Adam M. Zawada
- Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is a widespread mechanism that contributes to the sophisticated dynamics of gene regulation. Approximately 50% of all protein-coding human genes harbor multiple polyadenylation (PA) sites; their selective and combinatorial use gives rise to transcript variants with differing length of their 3' untranslated region (3'UTR). Shortened variants escape UTR-mediated regulation by microRNAs (miRNAs), especially in cancer, where global 3'UTR shortening accelerates disease progression, dedifferentiation and proliferation. Here we present APADB, a database of vertebrate PA sites determined by 3' end sequencing, using massive analysis of complementary DNA ends. APADB provides (A)PA sites for coding and non-coding transcripts of human, mouse and chicken genes. For human and mouse, several tissue types, including different cancer specimens, are available. APADB records the loss of predicted miRNA binding sites and visualizes next-generation sequencing reads that support each PA site in a genome browser. The database tables can either be browsed according to organism and tissue or alternatively searched for a gene of interest. APADB is the largest database of APA in human, chicken and mouse. The stored information provides experimental evidence for thousands of PA sites and APA events. APADB combines 3' end sequencing data with prediction algorithms of miRNA binding sites, allowing to further improve prediction algorithms. Current databases lack correct information about 3'UTR lengths, especially for chicken, and APADB provides necessary information to close this gap. Database URL: http://tools.genxpro.net/apadb/
Non-aneurysmal non-traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage: patient characteristics, clinical outcome and prognostic factors based on a single-center experience in 125 patients
- BACKGROUND: Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is mainly caused by ruptured cerebral aneurysms but in up to 15% of patients with SAH no bleeding source could be identified. Our objective was to analyze patient characteristics, clinical outcome and prognostic factors in patients suffering from non-aneurysmal SAH.
METHODS: From 1999 to 2009, data of 125 patients with non-aneurysmal SAH were prospectively entered into a database. All patients underwent repetitive cerebral angiography. Outcome was assessed according to the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) (mRS 0-2 favorable vs. 3-6 unfavorable). Also, patients were divided in two groups according to the distribution of blood in the CT scan (perimesencephalic and non-perimesencephalic SAH).
RESULTS: 106 of the 125 patients were in good WFNS grade (I-III) at admission (85%). Overall, favorable outcome was achieved in 104 of 125 patients (83%). Favorable outcome was associated with younger age (P < 0.001), good admission status (P < 0.0001), and absence of hydrocephalus (P = 0.001).73 of the 125 patients suffered from perimesencephalic SAH, most patients (90%) were in good grade at admission, and 64 achieved favorable outcome.52 of the 125 patients suffered from non-perimesencephalic SAH and 40 were in good grade at admission. Also 40 patients achieved favorable outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients suffering from non-aneurysmal SAH have better prognosis compared to aneurysm related SAH and poor admission status was the only independent predictor of unfavorable outcome in the multivariate analysis. Patients with a non-perimesencephalic SAH have an increased risk of a worse neurological outcome. These patients should be monitored attentively.
Socioeconomic burden of hereditary angioedema: results from the hereditary angioedema burden of illness study in Europe
Henrik B. Boysen
- BACKGROUND: Hereditary angioedema (HAE) due to C1 inhibitor deficiency is a rare but serious and potentially life-threatening disease marked by spontaneous, recurrent attacks of swelling. The study objective was to characterize direct and indirect resource utilization associated with HAE from the patient perspective in Europe.
METHODS: The study was conducted in Spain, Germany, and Denmark to assess the real-world experience of HAE via a cross-sectional survey of HAE patients, including direct and indirect resource utilization during and between attacks for patients and their caregivers over the past 6 months. A regression model examined predictors of medical resource utilization.
RESULTS: Overall, 164 patients had an attack in the past 6 months and were included in the analysis. The most significant predictor of medical resource utilization was the severity of the last attack (OR 2.6; p < 0.001). Among patients who sought medical care during the last attack (23%), more than half utilized the emergency department. The last attack prevented patients from their normal activities an average of 4-12 hours. Patient and caregiver absenteeism increased with attack severity and frequency. Among patients who were working or in school (n = 120), 72 provided work/school absenteeism data, resulting in an estimated 20 days missing from work/school on average per year; 51% (n = 84) indicated that HAE has hindered their career/educational advancement.
CONCLUSION: HAE poses a considerable burden on patients and their families in terms of direct medical costs and indirect costs related to lost productivity. This burden is substantial at the time of attacks and in between attacks.
Low expression of T-cell transcription factor BCL11b predicts inferior survival in adult standard risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia patients
Claudia D. Baldus
- Background: Risk stratification, detection of minimal residual disease (MRD), and implementation of novel therapeutic agents have improved outcome in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but survival of adult patients with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) remains unsatisfactory. Thus, novel molecular insights and therapeutic approaches are urgently needed.
Methods: We studied the impact of B-cell CLL/lymphoma 11b (BCL11b), a key regulator in normal T-cell development, in T-ALL patients enrolled into the German Multicenter Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Study Group trials (GMALL; n = 169). The mutational status (exon 4) of BCL11b was analyzed by Sanger sequencing and mRNA expression levels were determined by quantitative real-time PCR. In addition gene expression profiles generated on the Human Genome U133 Plus 2.0 Array (affymetrix) were used to investigate BCL11b low and high expressing T-ALL patients.
Results: We demonstrate that BCL11b is aberrantly expressed in T-ALL and gene expression profiles reveal an association of low BCL11b expression with up-regulation of immature markers. T-ALL patients characterized by low BCL11b expression exhibit an adverse prognosis [5-year overall survival (OS): low 35% (n = 40) vs. high 53% (n = 129), P = 0.02]. Within the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL (n = 102), low BCL11b expression identified patients with an unexpected poor outcome compared to those with high expression (5-year OS: 20%, n = 18 versus 62%, n = 84, P < 0.01). In addition, sequencing of exon 4 revealed a high mutation rate (14%) of BCL11b.
Conclusions: In summary, our data of a large adult T-ALL patient cohort show that low BCL11b expression was associated with poor prognosis; particularly in the standard risk group of thymic T-ALL. These findings can be utilized for improved risk prediction in a significant proportion of adult T-ALL patients, which carry a high risk of standard therapy failure despite a favorable immunophenotype.