Functional Validation and Comparison Framework for EIT Lung Imaging
- Introduction: Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is an emerging clinical tool for monitoring ventilation distribution in mechanically ventilated patients, for which many image reconstruction algorithms have been suggested. We propose an experimental framework to assess such algorithms with respect to their ability to correctly represent well-defined physiological changes. We defined a set of clinically relevant ventilation conditions and induced them experimentally in 8 pigs by controlling three ventilator settings (tidal volume, positive end-expiratory pressure and the fraction of inspired oxygen). In this way, large and discrete shifts in global and regional lung air content were elicited.
Methods: We use the framework to compare twelve 2D EIT reconstruction algorithms, including backprojection (the original and still most frequently used algorithm), GREIT (a more recent consensus algorithm for lung imaging), truncated singular value decomposition (TSVD), several variants of the one-step Gauss-Newton approach and two iterative algorithms. We consider the effects of using a 3D finite element model, assuming non-uniform background conductivity, noise modeling, reconstructing for electrode movement, total variation (TV) reconstruction, robust error norms, smoothing priors, and using difference vs. normalized difference data.
Results and Conclusions: Our results indicate that, while variation in appearance of images reconstructed from the same data is not negligible, clinically relevant parameters do not vary considerably among the advanced algorithms. Among the analysed algorithms, several advanced algorithms perform well, while some others are significantly worse. Given its vintage and ad-hoc formulation backprojection works surprisingly well, supporting the validity of previous studies in lung EIT.
Elevated Heart Rate Triggers Action Potential Alternans and Sudden Death. Translational Study of a Homozygous KCNH2 Mutation
Rafael J. Ramirez
Ralf P. Brandes
Stefan H. Hohnloser
Joachim R. Ehrlich
- Background: Long QT syndrome (LQTS) leads to arrhythmic events and increased risk for sudden cardiac death (SCD). Homozygous KCNH2 mutations underlying LQTS-2 have previously been termed “human HERG knockout” and typically express severe phenotypes. We studied genotype-phenotype correlations of an LQTS type 2 mutation identified in the homozygous index patient from a consanguineous Turkish family after his brother died suddenly during febrile illness.
Methods and Results: Clinical work-up, DNA sequencing, mutagenesis, cell culture, patch-clamp, in silico mathematical modelling, protein biochemistry, confocal microscopy were performed. Genetic analysis revealed a homozygous C-terminal KCNH2 mutation (p.R835Q) in the index patient (QTc ~506 ms with notched T waves). Parents were I° cousins – both heterozygous for the mutation and clinically unremarkable (QTc ~447 ms, father and ~396 ms, mother). Heterologous expression of KCNH2-R835Q showed mildly reduced current amplitudes. Biophysical properties of ionic currents were also only nominally changed with slight acceleration of deactivation and more negative V50 in R835Q-currents. Protein biochemistry and confocal microscopy revealed similar expression patterns and trafficking of WT and R835Q, even at elevated temperature. In silico analysis demonstrated mildly prolonged ventricular action potential duration (APD) compared to WT at a cycle length of 1000 ms. At a cycle length of 350 ms M-cell APD remained stable in WT, but displayed APD alternans in R835Q.
Conclusion: Kv11.1 channels affected by the C-terminal R835Q mutation display mildly modified biophysical properties, but leads to M-cell APD alternans with elevated heart rate and could precipitate SCD under specific clinical circumstances associated with high heart rates.
Structural Alterations of the Social Brain: A Comparison between Schizophrenia and Autism
Christine Margarete Freitag
- Autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia share a substantial number of etiologic and phenotypic characteristics. Still, no direct comparison of both disorders has been performed to identify differences and commonalities in brain structure. In this voxel based morphometry study, 34 patients with autism spectrum disorder, 21 patients with schizophrenia and 26 typically developed control subjects were included to identify global and regional brain volume alterations. No global gray matter or white matter differences were found between groups. In regional data, patients with autism spectrum disorder compared to typically developed control subjects showed smaller gray matter volume in the amygdala, insula, and anterior medial prefrontal cortex. Compared to patients with schizophrenia, patients with autism spectrum disorder displayed smaller gray matter volume in the left insula. Disorder specific positive correlations were found between mentalizing ability and left amygdala volume in autism spectrum disorder, and hallucinatory behavior and insula volume in schizophrenia. Results suggest the involvement of social brain areas in both disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate these findings and to quantify the amount of distinct and overlapping neural correlates in autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
Treatment of Naïve Patients with Chronic Hepatitis C Genotypes 2 and 3 with Pegylated Interferon Alpha and Ribavirin in a Real World Setting: Relevance for the New Era of DAA
Steffen B. Wiegand
Klaus H. W. Böker
Heiner W. Busch
Michael P. Manns
- Evidence based clinical guidelines are implemented to treat patients efficiently that include efficacy, tolerability but also health economic considerations. This is of particular relevance to the new direct acting antiviral agents that have revolutionized treatment of chronic hepatitis C. For hepatitis C genotypes 2/3 interferon free treatment is already available with sofosbuvir plus ribavirin. However, treatment with sofosbuvir-based regimens is 10–20 times more expensive compared to pegylated interferon alfa and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV). It has to be discussed if PegIFN/RBV is still an option for easy to treat patients. We assessed the treatment of patients with chronic hepatitis C genotypes 2/3 with PegIFN/RBV in a real world setting according to the latest German guidelines. Overall, 1006 patients were recruited into a prospective patient registry with 959 having started treatment. The intention-to-treat analysis showed poor SVR (GT2 61%, GT3 47%) while patients with adherence had excellent SVR in the per protocol analysis (GT2 96%, GT3 90%). According to guidelines, 283 patients were candidates for shorter treatment duration, namely a treatment of 16 weeks (baseline HCV-RNA <800.000 IU/mL, no cirrhosis and RVR). However, 65% of these easy to treat patients have been treated longer than recommended that resulted in higher costs but not higher SVR rates. In conclusion, treatment with PegIFN/RBV in a real world setting can be highly effective yet similar effective than PegIFN± sofosbuvir/RBV in well-selected naïve G2/3 patients. Full adherence to guidelines could be further improved, because it would be important in the new era with DAA, especially to safe resources.
Aurora Kinases as Targets in Drug-Resistant Neuroblastoma Cells
Wilhelm G. Dirks
Jindrich Cinatl Jr
- Aurora kinase inhibitors displayed activity in pre-clinical neuroblastoma models. Here, we studied the effects of the pan-aurora kinase inhibitor tozasertib (VX680, MK-0457) and the aurora kinase inhibitor alisertib (MLN8237) that shows some specificity for aurora kinase A over aurora kinase B in a panel of neuroblastoma cell lines with acquired drug resistance. Both compounds displayed anti-neuroblastoma activity in the nanomolar range. The anti-neuroblastoma mechanism included inhibition of aurora kinase signalling as indicated by decreased phosphorylation of the aurora kinase substrate histone H3, cell cycle inhibition in G2/M phase, and induction of apoptosis. The activity of alisertib but not of tozasertib was affected by ABCB1 expression. Aurora kinase inhibitors induced a p53 response and their activity was enhanced in combination with the MDM2 inhibitor and p53 activator nutlin-3 in p53 wild-type cells. In conclusion, aurora kinases are potential drug targets in therapy-refractory neuroblastoma, in particular for the vast majority of p53 wild-type cases.
Amygdalin Influences Bladder Cancer Cell Adhesion and Invasion In Vitro
Roman A. Blaheta
- The cyanogenic diglucoside amygdalin, derived from Rosaceae kernels, is employed by many patients as an alternative anti-cancer treatment. However, whether amygdalin indeed acts as an anti-tumor agent is not clear. Metastasis blocking properties of amygdalin on bladder cancer cell lines was, therefore, investigated. Amygdalin (10 mg/ml) was applied to UMUC-3, TCCSUP or RT112 bladder cancer cells for 24 h or for 2 weeks. Tumor cell adhesion to vascular endothelium or to immobilized collagen as well as tumor cell migration was examined. Effects of drug treatment on integrin α and β subtypes, on integrin-linked kinase (ILK) and total and activated focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were also determined. Integrin knock-down was carried out to evaluate integrin influence on migration and adhesion. A 24 h or 2 week amygdalin application distinctly reduced tumor cell adhesion and migration of UMUC-3 and RT112 cells. TCCSUP adhesion was also reduced, but migration was elevated under amygdalin. Integrin subtype expression was significantly and specifically altered by amygdalin depending on the cell line. ILK was moderately, and activated FAK strongly, lost in all tumor cell lines in the presence of amygdalin. Knock down of β1 integrin caused a significant decrease in both adhesion and migration of UMUC-3 cells, but a significant increase in TCCSUP adhesion. Knock down of β4 integrin caused a significant decrease in migration of RT112 cells. Since the different actions of amygdalin on the different cell lines was mirrored by β1 or β4 knock down, it is postulated that amygdalin influences adhesion and migratory properties of bladder cancer cells by modulating β1 or β4 integrin expression. The amygdalin induced increase in TCCSUP migratory behavior indicates that any anti-tumor benefits from amygdalin (seen with the other two cell lines) may depend upon the cancer cell type.
Myofascial Pain: etiological factors and therapeutical methods ; a systematic literature review of the last thirteen years
Carolina Isabel Roldán Barraza
- Myofacial Pain is the most common form of temporomandibular disorders (TMD), affecting principally women in reproductive age. The etiology of TMD is still controversial. Currently a multifactorial theory has received a great support among the scientific community. This theory draws attention to the interaction of psychological, neuromuscular and oral pathogenic factors. Objectives: to describe the possible etiological factors of the Myofacial Pain; and to evaluate the effectiveness of the current treatments for Myofacial Pain. Materials and methods: a narrative review of the etiological factors and epidemiological data of Myofacial Pain introduces this work. Thereafter the author presents five systematic reviews of RCTs which have been published during the last thirteen years (1999-2012) for the use of acupuncture, low level laser therapy, drugs, physiotherapeutical interventions, splint therapy, and psychosocial interventions in the treatment of Myofacial Pain. Moreover, the author reports a systematic review and meta-analysis of all the available literature of two modern approaches for the treatment of Myofacial Pain. A comparison between the “usual treatment” based on splint therapy and psychosocial interventions was conducted. Results: the author did not find sufficient evidence to support therapies based on one single intervention. However, the condition of the patients with myofacial pain could be treated more effectively with combined treatments. After comparing “usual treatment” with psychosocial interventions, the author observed a tendency of the latter to improve psychological outcomes, whereas the first one was slightly more effective to enhance clinical functional outcomes. In general, a high level of heterogeneity was observed among the included studies of the different systematic reviews. The quality of the studies is susceptible to be improved. Clinical implications: the author proposes core outcomes to be implemented within the research on myofacial pain in particular and temporomandibular disorders in general, in order to enable scientifical comparisons between different therapies.
Efficacy and safety of AEZS-108 (LHRH agonist linked to doxorubicin) in women with advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer expressing LHRH receptors: a multicenter phase 2 trial (AGO-GYN5)
Matthias W. Beckmann
- OBJECTIVE: Advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer (EC) no longer amenable to surgery or radiotherapy is a life-threatening disease with limited therapeutic options left. Eighty percent of ECs express receptors for luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), which can be targeted by AEZS-108 (zoptarelin doxorubicin acetate). This phase 2 trial was performed to assess the efficacy and safety of AEZS-108 in this group of patients.
METHODS: Patients had FIGO (Fédération Internationale de Gynécologie et d'Obstétrique) III or IV or recurrent EC, LHRH receptor-positive tumor status, and at least had 1 measurable lesion (Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors). Prior anthracycline therapy was not allowed. Patients received AEZS-108 as a 2-hour infusion on day 1 of a 21-day cycle. The treatment was continued for a maximum of 6 to 8 cycles. The primary end point was the response rate determined by the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors.
RESULTS: From April 2008 to November 2009, 44 patients were included in the study at 8 centers in Germany (AGO) and 3 centers in Bulgaria. Forty-three of these patients were eligible. Two (5%) patients had a complete remission, and 8 (18%) achieved a partial remission. Stable disease for at least 6 weeks was observed in 44%. The median time to progression was 7 months, and the median overall survival was 15 months. The most frequently reported grade 3 or 4 adverse effects were neutropenia (12%) and leucopenia (9%).
CONCLUSIONS: AEZS-108, an LHRH-agonist coupled to doxorubicin, has significant activity and low toxicity in women with advanced or recurrent LHRH receptor-positive EC, supporting the principle of receptor-mediated targeted chemotherapy.
Evaluation of the TMJ by means of Clinical TMD Examination and MRI Diagnostics in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Thomas J. Vogl
- This study included 30 patients with diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 30 test subjects without RA (control group). The objective of the study was to examine both groups for the presence of temporomandibular disorders (TMD) and morphological changes of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). All individuals were examined using a systematic detailed clinical TMD examination as well as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The clinical TMD examination yielded significant differences between the RA patients and the control group concerning crepitus of the TMJ, and palpation tenderness of the masticatory muscles as well as the unassisted mandibular opening. The evaluation of the MRI images for the RA group showed significantly more frequent deformations of the condyle, osteophyte formations and erosions in the condylar compacta, and degenerative changes in the spongiosa. Increased intra-articular accumulation of synovial liquid and signs of inflammatory changes of the spongiosa were only found in the RA group. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between crepitus and specific osteoarthrotic changes (MRI), respectively, and between crepitus and a complete anterior disk displacement without reduction (MRI). The duration of the RA disease correlated neither with the anamnestic and clinical dysfunction index by Helkimo nor with RA-specific MRI findings.
Cav1.3 channels control D2-autoreceptor responses via NCS-1 in substantia nigra dopamine neurons
Robert C. Malenka
- Dopamine midbrain neurons within the substantia nigra are particularly prone to degeneration in Parkinson’s disease. Their selective loss causes the major motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, but the causes for the high vulnerability of SN DA neurons, compared to neighbouring, more resistant ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons, are still unclear. Consequently, there is still no cure available for Parkinson’s disease. Current therapies compensate the progressive loss of dopamine by administering its precursor l-DOPA and/or dopamine D2-receptor agonists. D2-autoreceptors and Cav1.3-containing L-type Ca2+ channels both contribute to Parkinson’s disease pathology. L-type Ca2+ channel blockers protect SN DA neurons from degeneration in Parkinson’s disease and its mouse models, and they are in clinical trials for neuroprotective Parkinson’s disease therapy. However, their physiological functions in SN DA neurons remain unclear. D2-autoreceptors tune firing rates and dopamine release of SN DA neurons in a negative feedback loop through activation of G-protein coupled potassium channels (GIRK2, or KCNJ6). Mature SN DA neurons display prominent, non-desensitizing somatodendritic D2-autoreceptor responses that show pronounced desensitization in PARK-gene Parkinson’s disease mouse models. We analysed surviving human SN DA neurons from patients with Parkinson’s disease and from controls, and detected elevated messenger RNA levels of D2-autoreceptors and GIRK2 in Parkinson’s disease. By electrophysiological analysis of postnatal juvenile and adult mouse SN DA neurons in in vitro brain-slices, we observed that D2-autoreceptor desensitization is reduced with postnatal maturation. Furthermore, a transient high-dopamine state in vivo, caused by one injection of either l-DOPA or cocaine, induced adult-like, non-desensitizing D2-autoreceptor responses, selectively in juvenile SN DA neurons, but not ventral tegmental area dopamine neurons. With pharmacological and genetic tools, we identified that the expression of this sensitized D2-autoreceptor phenotype required Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channel activity, internal Ca2+, and the interaction of the neuronal calcium sensor NCS-1 with D2-autoreceptors. Thus, we identified a first physiological function of Cav1.3 L-type Ca2+ channels in SN DA neurons for homeostatic modulation of their D2-autoreceptor responses. L-type Ca2+ channel activity however, was not important for pacemaker activity of mouse SN DA neurons. Furthermore, we detected elevated substantia nigra dopamine messenger RNA levels of NCS-1 (but not Cav1.2 or Cav1.3) after cocaine in mice, as well as in remaining human SN DA neurons in Parkinson’s disease. Thus, our findings provide a novel homeostatic functional link in SN DA neurons between Cav1.3- L-type-Ca2+ channels and D2-autoreceptor activity, controlled by NCS-1, and indicate that this adaptive signalling network (Cav1.3/NCS-1/D2/GIRK2) is also active in human SN DA neurons, and contributes to Parkinson’s disease pathology. As it is accessible to pharmacological modulation, it provides a novel promising target for tuning substantia nigra dopamine neuron activity, and their vulnerability to degeneration.