Plant-derived anti-inflammatory compounds: hopes and disappointments regarding the translation of preclinical knowledge into clinical progress
- Many diseases have been described to be associated with inflammatory processes. The currently available anti-inflammatory drug therapy is often not successful or causes intolerable side effects. Thus, new anti-inflammatory substances are still urgently needed. Plants were the first source of remedies in the history of mankind. Since their chemical characterization in the 19th century, herbal bioactive compounds have fueled drug development. Also, nowadays, new plant-derived agents continuously enrich our drug arsenal (e.g., vincristine, galantamine, and artemisinin). The number of new, pharmacologically active herbal ingredients, in particular that of anti-inflammatory compounds, rises continuously. The major obstacle in this field is the translation of preclinical knowledge into evidence-based clinical progress. Human trials of good quality are often missing or, when available, are frequently not suitable to really prove a therapeutical value. This minireview will summarize the current situation of 6 very prominent plant-derived anti-inflammatory compounds: curcumin, colchicine, resveratrol, capsaicin, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and quercetin. We will highlight their clinical potential and/or pinpoint an overestimation. Moreover, we will sum up the planned trials in order to provide insights into the inflammatory disorders that are hypothesized to be beneficially influenced by the compound.
Myeloid knockout of HIF-1 α does not markedly affect hemorrhage/resuscitation-induced inflammation and hepatic injury.
- Background. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) and NF-κB play important roles in the inflammatory response after hemorrhagic shock and resuscitation (H/R). Here, the role of myeloid HIF-1α in liver hypoxia, injury, and inflammation after H/R with special regard to NF-κB activation was studied. Methods. Mice with a conditional HIF-1α knockout (KO) in myeloid cell-line and wild-type (WT) controls were hemorrhaged for 90 min ( mm Hg) and resuscitated. Controls underwent only surgical procedures. Results. After six hours, H/R enhanced the expression of HIF-1α-induced genes vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and adrenomedullin (ADM). In KO mice, this was not observed. H/R-induced liver injury in HIF-1α KO was comparable to WT. Elevated plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels after H/R were not reduced by HIF-1α KO. Local hepatic hypoxia was not significantly reduced in HIF-1α KO compared to controls after H/R. H/R-induced NF-κB phosphorylation in liver did not significantly differ between WT and KO. Conclusions. Here, deleting HIF-1α in myeloid cells and thereby in Kupffer cells was not protective after H/R. This data indicates that other factors, such as NF-κB, due to its upregulated phosphorylation in WT and KO mice, contrary to HIF-1α, are rather key modulators of inflammation after H/R in our model.
Competition in the economic crisis: analysis of procurement auctions
- We study the effects of the recent economic crisis on firms׳ bidding behavior and markups in sealed bid auctions. Using data from Austrian construction procurements, we estimate bidders׳ construction costs within a private value auction model. We find that markups of all bids submitted decrease by 1.5 percentage points in the recent economic crisis, markups of winning bids decrease by 3.3 percentage points. We also find that without the government stimulus package this decrease would have been larger. These two pieces of evidence point to pro-cyclical markups.
Retrieval of three-dimensional small-scale structures in upper-tropospheric/lower-stratospheric composition as measured by GLORIA
- The three-dimensional quantification of small-scale processes in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere is one of the challenges of current atmospheric research and requires the development of new measurement strategies. This work presents the first results from the newly developed Gimballed Limb Observer for Radiance Imaging of the Atmosphere (GLORIA) obtained during the ESSenCe (ESa Sounder Campaign) and TACTS/ESMVal (TACTS: Transport and composition in the upper troposphere/lowermost stratosphere, ESMVal: Earth System Model Validation) aircraft campaigns. The focus of this work is on the so-called dynamics-mode data characterized by a medium-spectral and a very-high-spatial resolution. The retrieval strategy for the derivation of two- and three-dimensional constituent fields in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere is presented. Uncertainties of the main retrieval targets (temperature, O3, HNO3, and CFC-12) and their spatial resolution are discussed. During ESSenCe, high-resolution two-dimensional cross-sections have been obtained. Comparisons to collocated remote-sensing and in situ data indicate a good agreement between the data sets. During TACTS/ESMVal, a tomographic flight pattern to sense an intrusion of stratospheric air deep into the troposphere was performed. It was possible to reconstruct this filament at an unprecedented spatial resolution of better than 500 m vertically and 20 × 20 km horizontally.
Gemcitabine plus sorafenib versus gemcitabine alone in advanced biliary tract cancer: a double-blind placebo-controlled multicentre phase II AIO study with biomarker and serum programme
Markus Hermann Möhler
Carl C. Schimanski
Frank Thomas Kolligs
Matthias P. Ebert
Matthias Maximilian Dollinger
E. M. Duerr
Peter R. Galle
Marcus Alexander Wörns
- Background: Since sorafenib has shown activity in different tumour types and gemcitabine regimens improved the outcome for biliary tract cancer (BTC) patients, we evaluated first-line gemcitabine plus sorafenib in a double-blind phase II study.
Patients and methods: 102 unresectable or metastatic BTC patients with histologically proven adenocarcinoma of gallbladder or intrahepatic bile ducts, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) 0–2 were randomised to gemcitabine (1000 mg/m2 once weekly, first 7-weeks + 1-week rest followed by once 3-weeks + 1-week rest) plus sorafenib (400 mg twice daily) or placebo. Treatment continued until progression or unacceptable toxicity. Tumour samples were prospectively stained for sorafenib targets and potential biomarkers. Serum samples (first two cycles) were measured for vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) and stromal cell-derived factor 1 (SDF1)α by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
Results: Gemcitabine plus sorafenib was generally well tolerated. Four and three patients achieved partial responses in the sorafenib and placebo groups, respectively. There was no difference in the primary end-point, median progression-free survival (PFS) for gemcitabine plus sorafenib versus gemcitabine plus placebo (3.0 versus 4.9 months, P = 0.859), and no difference for median overall survival (OS) (8.4 versus 11.2 months, P = 0.775). Patients with liver metastasis after resection of primary BTC survived longer with sorafenib (P = 0.019) compared to placebo. Patients who developed hand-foot syndrome (HFS) showed longer PFS and OS than patients without HFS. Two sorafenib targets, VEGFR-2 and c-kit, were not expressed in BTC samples. VEGFR-3 and Hif1α were associated with lymph node metastases and T stage. Absence of PDGFRβ expression correlated with longer PFS.
Conclusion: The addition of sorafenib to gemcitabine did not demonstrate improved efficacy in advanced BTC patients. Biomarker subgroup analysis suggested that some patients might benefit from combined treatment.
Integrating retrogenesis theory to Alzheimer's disease pathology: insight from DTI-TBSS investigation of the white matter microstructural integrity
Gilberto Sousa Alves
Viola Oertel Knöchel
André Férrer Carvalho
- Microstructural abnormalities in white matter (WM) are often reported in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and may reflect primary or secondary circuitry degeneration (i.e., due to cortical atrophy). The interpretation of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) eigenvectors, known as multiple indices, may provide new insights into the main pathological models supporting primary or secondary patterns of WM disruption in AD, the retrogenesis, and Wallerian degeneration models, respectively. The aim of this review is to analyze the current literature on the contribution of DTI multiple indices to the understanding of AD neuropathology, taking the retrogenesis model as a reference for discussion. A systematic review using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PUBMED was performed. Evidence suggests that AD evolves through distinct patterns of WM disruption, in which retrogenesis or, alternatively, the Wallerian degeneration may prevail. Distinct patterns of WM atrophy may be influenced by complex interactions which comprise disease status and progression, fiber localization, concurrent risk factors (i.e., vascular disease, gender), and cognitive reserve. The use of DTI multiple indices in addition to other standard multimodal methods in dementia research may help to determine the contribution of retrogenesis hypothesis to the understanding of neuropathological hallmarks that lead to AD.
The burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in children with underlying risk factors in North America and Europe
Markus A. Rose
Tin Tin Htar Myint
Iris de Schutter
- Background:Characterisation of risk groups who may benefit from pneumococcal vaccination is essential for the generation of recommendations and policy.
Methods: We reviewed the literature to provide information on the incidence and risk of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) in at-risk children in Europe and North America. The PubMed database was searched using predefined search terms and inclusion/exclusion criteria for papers reporting European or North American data on the incidence or risk of IPD in children with underlying medical conditions.
Results: Eighteen references were identified, 11 from North America and 7 from Europe, with heterogeneous study methods, periods and populations. The highest incidence was seen in US children positive for human immunodeficiency virus infection, peaking at 4167 per 100,000 patient-years in 2000. Studies investigating changes in incidence over time reported decreases in the incidence of IPD between the late 1990s and early 2000s. The highest risk of IPD was observed in children with haematological cancers or immunosuppression. Overall, data on IPD in at-risk children were limited, lacking incidence data for a wide range of predisposing conditions. There was, however, a clear decrease in the incidence of IPD in at-risk children after the introduction of 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine into immunisation programmes, as previously demonstrated in the general population.
Conclusion: Despite the heterogeneity of the studies identified, the available data show a substantial incidence of IPD in at-risk children, particularly those who are immunocompromised. Further research is needed to determine the true risk of IPD in at-risk children, particularly in the post-PCV period, and to understand the benefits of vaccination and optimal vaccination schedules.
Elucidating the functional relationship between working memory capacity and psychometric intelligence: a fixed-links modeling approach for experimental repeated-measures designs
- Numerous studies reported a strong link between working memory capacity (WMC) and fluid intelligence (Gf), although views differ in respect to how close these two constructs are related to each other. In the present study, we used a WMC task with five levels of task demands to assess the relationship between WMC and Gf by means of a new methodological approach referred to as fixed-links modeling. Fixed-links models belong to the family of confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and are of particular interest for experimental, repeated-measures designs. With this technique, processes systematically varying across task conditions can be disentangled from processes unaffected by the experimental manipulation. Proceeding from the assumption that experimental manipulation in a WMC task leads to increasing demands on WMC, the processes systematically varying across task conditions can be assumed to be WMC-specific. Processes not varying across task conditions, on the other hand, are probably independent of WMC. Fixed-links models allow for representing these two kinds of processes by two independent latent variables. In contrast to traditional CFA where a common latent variable is derived from the different task conditions, fixed-links models facilitate a more precise or purified representation of the WMC-related processes of interest.
By using fixed-links modeling to analyze data of 200 participants, we identified a non-experimental latent variable, representing processes that remained constant irrespective of the WMC task conditions, and an experimental latent variable which reflected processes that varied as a function of experimental manipulation. This latter variable represents the increasing demands on WMC and, hence, was considered a purified measure of WMC controlled for the constant processes. Fixed-links modeling showed that both the purified measure of WMC (β = .48) as well as the constant processes involved in the task (β = .45) were related to Gf. Taken together, these two latent variables explained the same portion of variance of Gf as a single latent variable obtained by traditional CFA (β = .65) indicating that traditional CFA causes an overestimation of the effective relationship between WMC and Gf. Thus, fixed-links modeling provides a feasible method for a more valid investigation of the functional relationship between specific constructs.
Social inequalities in patient-reported outcomes among older multimorbid patients - results of the MultiCare cohort study
Olaf von dem Knesebeck
Steffi Gerlinde Riedel-Heller
Hendrik van den Bussche
- Introduction: In this article three research questions are addressed: (1) Is there an association between socioeconomic status (SES) and patient-reported outcomes in a cohort of multimorbid patients? (2) Does the association vary according to SES indicator used (income, education, occupational position)? (3) Can the association between SES and patient-reported outcomes (self-rated health, health-related quality of life and functional status) be (partly) explained by burden of disease?
Methods: Analyses are based on the MultiCare Cohort Study, a German multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study of multimorbid patients from general practice. We analysed baseline data and data from the first follow-up after 15 months (N = 2,729). To assess burden of disease we used the patients’ morbidity data from standardized general practitioner (GP) interviews based on a list of 46 groups of chronic conditions including the GP’s severity rating of each chronic condition ranging from marginal to very severe.
Results: In the cross-sectional analyses SES was significantly associated with the patient-reported outcomes at baseline. Associations with income were more consistent and stronger than with education and occupational position. Associations were partly explained (17% to 44%) by burden of disease. In the longitudinal analyses only income (but not education and occupational position) was significantly related to the patient-reported outcomes at follow-up. Associations between income and the outcomes were reduced by 18% to 27% after adjustment for burden of disease.
Conclusions: Results indicate social inequalities in self-rated health, functional status and health related quality of life among older multimorbid patients. As associations with education and occupational position were inconsistent, these inequalities were mainly due to income. Inequalities were partly explained by burden of disease. However, even among patients with a similar disease burden, those with a low income were worse off in terms of the three patient-reported outcomes under study.
The genome of the basal agaricomycete Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous provides insights into the organization of its acetyl-CoA derived pathways and the evolution of Agaricomycotina
- Background: Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous is a basal agaricomycete with uncertain taxonomic placement, known for its unique ability to produce astaxanthin, a carotenoid with antioxidant properties. It was the aim of this study to elucidate the organization of its CoA-derived pathways and to use the genomic information of X. dendrorhous for a phylogenomic investigation of the Basidiomycota.
Results: The genome assembly of a haploid strain of Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous revealed a genome of 19.50 Megabases with 6385 protein coding genes. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted including 48 fungal genomes. These revealed Ustilaginomycotina and Agaricomycotina as sister groups. In the latter a well-supported sister-group relationship of two major orders, Polyporales and Russulales, was inferred. Wallemia occupies a basal position within the Agaricomycotina and X. dendrorhous represents the basal lineage of the Tremellomycetes, highlighting that the typical tremelloid parenthesomes have either convergently evolved in Wallemia and the Tremellomycetes, or were lost in the Cystofilobasidiales lineage. A detailed characterization of the CoA-related pathways was done and all genes for fatty acid, sterol and carotenoid synthesis have been assigned.
Conclusions: The current study ascertains that Wallemia with tremelloid parenthesomes is the most basal agaricomycotinous lineage and that Cystofilobasidiales without tremelloid parenthesomes are deeply rooted within Tremellomycetes, suggesting that parenthesomes at septal pores might be the core synapomorphy for the Agaricomycotina. Apart from evolutionary insights the genome sequence of X. dendrorhous will facilitate genetic pathway engineering for optimized astaxanthin or oxidative alcohol production.