Multimodal imaging of dynamic functional connectivity
- The study of large-scale functional interactions in the human brain with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) extends almost to the first applications of this technology. Due to historical reasons and preconceptions about the limitations of this brain imaging method, most studies have focused on assessing connectivity over extended periods of time. It is now clear that fMRI can resolve the temporal dynamics of functional connectivity, like other faster imaging techniques such as electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography (albeit on a different temporal scale). However, the indirect nature of fMRI measurements can hinder the interpretability of the results. After briefly summarizing recent advances in the field, we discuss how the simultaneous combination of fMRI with electrophysiological activity measurements can contribute to a better understanding of dynamic functional connectivity in humans both during rest and task, wakefulness, and other brain states
Risk Factors for the Presence of Chikungunya and Dengue Vectors (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus), Their Altitudinal Distribution and Climatic Determinants of Their Abundance in Central Nepal
Hari Datt Joshi
Robert B. O’Hara
- Background:The presence of the recently introduced primary dengue virus vector mosquito Aedes aegypti in Nepal, in association with the likely indigenous secondary vector Aedes albopictus, raises public health concerns. Chikungunya fever cases have also been reported in Nepal, and the virus causing this disease is also transmitted by these mosquito species. Here we report the results of a study on the risk factors for the presence of chikungunya and dengue virus vectors, their elevational ceiling of distribution, and climatic determinants of their abundance in central Nepal.
Methodology/Principal Findings: We collected immature stages of mosquitoes during six monthly cross-sectional surveys covering six administrative districts along an altitudinal transect in central Nepal that extended from Birgunj (80 m above sea level [asl]) to Dhunche (highest altitude sampled: 2,100 m asl). The dengue vectors Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were commonly found up to 1,350 m asl in Kathmandu valley and were present but rarely found from 1,750 to 2,100 m asl in Dhunche. The lymphatic filariasis vector Culex quinquefasciatus was commonly found throughout the study transect. Physiographic region, month of collection, collection station and container type were significant predictors of the occurrence and co-occurrence of Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus. The climatic variables rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity were significant predictors of chikungunya and dengue virus vectors abundance.
Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that chikungunya and dengue virus vectors have already established their populations up to the High Mountain region of Nepal and that this may be attributed to the environmental and climate change that has been observed over the decades in Nepal. The rapid expansion of the distribution of these important disease vectors in the High Mountain region, previously considered to be non-endemic for dengue and chikungunya fever, calls for urgent actions to protect the health of local people and tourists travelling in the central Himalayas.
Adventitial vessel growth and progenitor cells activation in an ex vivo culture system mimicking human saphenous vein wall strain after coronary artery bypass graftin
Maria Cristina Vinci
Gianfranco Beniamino Fiore
- Saphenous vein graft disease is a timely problem in coronary artery bypass grafting. Indeed, after exposure of the vein to arterial blood flow, a progressive modification in the wall begins, due to proliferation of smooth muscle cells in the intima. As a consequence, the graft progressively occludes and this leads to recurrent ischemia. In the present study we employed a novel ex vivo culture system to assess the biological effects of arterial-like pressure on the human saphenous vein structure and physiology, and to compare the results to those achieved in the presence of a constant low pressure and flow mimicking the physiologic vein perfusion. While under both conditions we found an activation of Matrix Metallo-Proteases 2/9 and of microRNAs-21/146a/221, a specific effect of the arterial-like pressure was observed. This consisted in a marked geometrical remodeling, in the suppression of Tissue Inhibitor of Metallo-Protease-1, in the enhanced expression of TGF-β1 and BMP-2 mRNAs and, finally, in the upregulation of microRNAs-138/200b/200c. In addition, the veins exposed to arterial-like pressure showed an increase in the density of the adventitial vasa vasorum and of cells co-expressing NG2, CD44 and SM22α markers in the adventitia. Cells with nuclear expression of Sox-10, a transcription factor characterizing multipotent vascular stem cells, were finally found in adventitial vessels. Our findings suggest, for the first time, a role of arterial-like wall strain in the activation of pro-pathologic pathways resulting in adventitial vessels growth, activation of vasa vasorum cells, and upregulation of specific gene products associated to vascular remodeling and inflammation.
Simultaneous and dose dependent melanoma cytotoxic and immune stimulatory activity of betulin
Josef M. Pfeilschifter
Heinfried H. Radeke
- Conventional cytostatic cancer treatments rarely result in the complete eradication of tumor cells. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies focus on antagonizing the immunosuppressive activity of established tumors. In particular, recent studies of antigen-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) eliciting a specific antitumor immune response has raised the hopes of achieving the complete elimination of tumor tissue. Genistein, fingolimod and betulin have already been described as active compounds in different types of cancer. Herein, we applied an integrated screening approach to characterize both their cytostatic and their immune-modulating properties side-by-side. As will be described in detail, our data confirmed that all three compounds exerted proapoptotic and antiproliferative activity in different B16 melanoma cell lines to a given extent, as revealed by an MTT assay, CFSE and DAPI staining. However, while genistein and fingolimod also affected the survival of primary bone marrow (BM) derived DCs of C57BL/6 mice, betulin exhibited a lower cytotoxicity for BMDCs in comparison to the melanoma cells. Moreover, we could show for the first time, that only betulin caused a simultaneous, highly specific immune-stimulating activity, as measured by the IL-12p70 release of Toll-like receptor 4-stimulated BMDCs by ELISA, which was due to increased IL-12p35 mRNA expression. Interestingly, the activation of DCs resulted in enhanced T lymphocyte stimulation, indicated by increased IL-2 and IFN-γ production of cytotoxic T cells in spleen cell co-culture assays which led to a decreased viability of B16 cells in an antigen specific model system. This may overcome the immunosuppressive environment of a tumor and destroy tumor cells more effectively in vivo if the immune response is specific targeted against the tumor tissue by antigen-loaded dendritic cells. In summary, cytostatic agents, such as betulin, that simultaneously exhibit immune stimulatory activity may serve as lead compounds and hold great promise as a novel approach for an integrated cancer therapy
Both Ubiquitin Ligases FBXW8 and PARK2 Are Sequestrated into Insolubility by ATXN2 PolyQ Expansions, but Only FBXW8 Expression Is Dysregulated
Melanie Vanessa Halbach
Nesli Ece Şen
A. Nazlı Başak
- The involvement of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in the course of various age-associated neurodegenerative diseases is well established. The single RING finger type E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase PARK2 is mutated in a Parkinson’s disease (PD) variant and was found to interact with ATXN2, a protein where polyglutamine expansions cause Spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2) or increase the risk for Levodopa-responsive PD and for the motor neuron disease Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We previously reported evidence for a transcriptional induction of the multi-subunit RING finger Skp1/Cul/F-box (SCF) type E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase complex component FBXW8 in global microarray profiling of ATXN2-expansion mouse cerebellum and demonstrated its role for ATXN2 degradation in vitro. Now, we documented co-localization in vitro and co-immunoprecipitations both in vitro and in vivo, which indicate associations of FBXW8 with ATXN2 and PARK2. Both FBXW8 and PARK2 proteins are driven into insolubility by expanded ATXN2. Whereas the FBXW8 transcript upregulation by ATXN2- expansion was confirmed also in qPCR of skin fibroblasts and blood samples of SCA2 patients, a FBXW8 expression dysregulation was not observed in ATXN2-deficient mice, nor was a PARK2 transcript dysregulation observed in any samples. Jointly, all available data suggest that the degradation of wildtype and mutant ATXN2 is dependent on FBXW8, and that ATXN2 accumulation selectively modulates FBXW8 levels, while PARK2 might act indirectly through FBXW8. The effects of ATXN2-expansions on FBXW8 expression in peripheral tissues like blood may become useful for clinical diagnostics
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Interplay between endothelin and erythropoietin in astroglia: the role in protection against hypoxia
Christoph H. Gleiter
- We show that, under in vitro conditions, the vulnerability of astroglia to hypoxia is reflected by alterations in endothelin (ET)-1 release and capacity of erythropoietin (EPO) to regulate ET-1 levels. Exposure of cells to 24 h hypoxia did not induce changes in ET-1 release, while 48–72 h hypoxia resulted in increase of ET-1 release from astrocytes that could be abolished by EPO. The endothelin receptor type A (ETA) antagonist BQ123 increased extracellular levels of ET-1 in human fetal astroglial cell line (SV-FHAS). The survival and proliferation of rat primary astrocytes, neural precursors, and neurons upon hypoxic conditions were increased upon administration of BQ123. Hypoxic injury and aging affected the interaction between the EPO and ET systems. Under hypoxia EPO decreased ET-1 release from astrocytes, while ETA receptor blockade enhanced the expression of EPO mRNA and EPO receptor in culture-aged rat astroglia. The blockade of ETA receptor can increase the availability of ET-1 to the ETB receptor and can potentiate the neuroprotective effects of EPO. Thus, the new therapeutic use of combined administration of EPO and ETA receptor antagonists during hypoxia-associated neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) can be suggested.
Indication for 'Over the Scope' (OTS)-Clip vs. Covered Self-Expanding Metal Stent (cSEMS) Is Unequal in Upper Gastrointestinal Leakage: Results from a Retrospective Head-to-Head Comparison
Wolf O. Bechstein
Jörg G. Albert
- Background: Intestinal perforation or leakage increases morbidity and mortality of surgical and endoscopic interventions. We identified criteria for use of full-covered, extractable self-expanding metal stents (cSEMS) vs. ‘Over the scope’-clips (OTSC) for leak closure.
Methods: Patients who underwent endoscopic treatment for postoperative leakage, endoscopic perforation, or spontaneous rupture of the upper gastrointestinal tract between 2006 and 2013 were identified at four tertiary endoscopic centers. Technical success, outcome (e.g. duration of hospitalization, in-hospital mortality), and complications were assessed and analyzed with respect to etiology, size and location of leakage.
Results: Of 106 patients (male: 75 (71%), female: 31 (29%); age (mean ± SD): 62.5 ± 1.3 years, 72 (69%) were treated by cSEMS and 34 (31%) by OTSC. For cSEMS vs. OTSC, mean treatment duration was 41.1 vs. 25 days, p<0.001, leakage size 10 (1-50) vs. 5 (1-30) mm (median (range)), and complications were observed in 68% vs. 8.8%, p<0.001, respectively. Clinical success for primary interventional treatment was observed in 29/72 (40%) vs. 24/34 (70%, p = 0.006), and clinical success at the end of follow-up was 46/72 (64%) vs. 29/34 (85%) for patients treated by cSEMS vs. OTSC; p = 0.04.
Conclusion: OTSC is preferred in small-sized lesions and in perforation caused by endoscopic interventions, cSEMS in patients with concomitant local infection or abscess. cSEMS is associated with a higher frequency of complications. Therefore, OTSC might be preferred if technically feasible. Indication criteria for cSEMS vs. OTSC vary and might impede design of randomized studies.
Primary Biliary Acids Inhibit Hepatitis D Virus (HDV) Entry into Human Hepatoma Cells Expressing the Sodium-Taurocholate Cotransporting Polypeptide (NTCP)
Isabel Veloso Alves Pereira
Michael P. Manns
Cláudia Pinto Marques Souza de Oliveira
Thomas von Hahn
- Background: The sodium-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) is both a key bile acid (BA) transporter mediating uptake of BA into hepatocytes and an essential receptor for hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis D virus (HDV). In this study we aimed to characterize to what extent and through what mechanism BA affect HDV cell entry.
Methods: HuH-7 cells stably expressing NTCP (HuH-7/NTCP) and primary human hepatocytes (PHH) were infected with in vitro generated HDV particles. Infectivity in the absence or presence of compounds was assessed using immunofluorescence staining for HDV antigen, standard 50% tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) assays and quantitative PCR.
Results: Addition of primary conjugated and unconjugated BA resulted in a dose dependent reduction in the number of infected cells while secondary, tertiary and synthetic BA had a lesser effect. This effect was observed both in HuH-7/NTCP and in PHH. Other replication cycle steps such as replication and particle assembly and release were unaffected. Moreover, inhibitory BA competed with a fragment from the large HBV envelope protein for binding to NTCP-expressing cells. Conversely, the sodium/BA-cotransporter function of NTCP seemed not to be required for HDV infection since infection was similar in the presence or absence of a sodium gradient across the plasma membrane. When chenodeoxycolic acid (15 mg per kg body weight) was administered to three chronically HDV infected individuals over a period of up to 16 days there was no change in serum HDV RNA.
Conclusions: Primary BA inhibit NTCP-mediated HDV entry into hepatocytes suggesting that modulation of the BA pool may affect HDV infection of hepatocytes.
Der vergessene Retter : Philipp Schwartz – Organisator der Wissenschaftsemigration während des Nationalsozialismus
- Eine Liste mit den Namen von 1.794 Wissenschaftlern, die in Nazideutschland entlassen wurden, steht seit 30 Jahren im Regal des Frankfurter Neurologischen Instituts. Von dort geht die Initiative aus, ihren Urheber wiederzuentdecken: den zu Unrecht in Vergessenheit geratenen Neuropathologen Philipp Schwartz.