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.
Developing medical educators - a mixed method evaluation of a teaching education program
- BACKGROUND: It is well accepted that medical faculty teaching staff require an understanding of educational theory and pedagogical methods for effective medical teaching. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 5-day teaching education program.
METHODS: An open prospective interventional study using quantitative and qualitative instruments was performed, covering all four levels of the Kirkpatrick model: Evaluation of 1) 'Reaction' on a professional and emotional level using standardized questionnaires; 2) 'Learning' applying a multiple choice test; 3) 'Behavior' by self-, peer-, and expert assessment of teaching sessions with semistructured interviews; and 4) 'Results' from student evaluations.
RESULTS: Our data indicate the success of the educational intervention at all observed levels. 1) Reaction: The participants showed a high acceptance of the instructional content. 2) Learning: There was a significant increase in knowledge (P<0.001) as deduced from a pre-post multiple-choice questionnaire, which was retained at 6 months (P<0.001). 3) Behavior: Peer-, self-, and expert-assessment indicated a transfer of learning into teaching performance. Semistructured interviews reflected a higher level of professionalism in medical teaching by the participants. 4) Results: Teaching performance ratings improved in students' evaluations.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate the success of a 5-day education program in embedding knowledge and skills to improve performance of medical educators. This multimethodological approach, using both qualitative and quantitative measures, may serve as a model to evaluate effectiveness of comparable interventions in other settings.
A non-linear detection of phospho-histone H2AX in EA.hy926 endothelial cells following low-dose X-irradiation is modulated by reactive oxygen species
- BACKGROUND: A discontinuous dose response relationship is a major characteristic of the anti-inflammatory effects of low-dose X-irradiation therapy. Although recent data indicate an involvement of a variety of molecular mechanisms in these characteristics, the impact of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production to give rise or contribute to these phenomena in endothelial cells (EC) remains elusive.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: HUVEC derived immortalized EA.hy926 cells were stimulated by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α, 20 ng/ml) 4 h before irradiation with doses ranging from 0.3 to 1 Gy. To analyse DNA repair capacity, phospho-histone H2AX foci were assayed at 1 h, 4 h and 24 h after irradiation. ROS production and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity were analysed by fluorometric 2',7'-dichlorodihydrofluorescein-diacetate (H2DCFDA) and colorimetric assays. A functional impact of ROS on γH2AX production was analysed by treatment with the scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC).
RESULTS: Irrespective of stimulation by TNF-α, EA.hy926 cells revealed a linear dose response characteristic of γH2AX foci detection at 1 h and 4 h after irradiation. By contrast, we observed a discontinuity in residual γH2AX foci detection at 24 h after irradiation with locally elevated values following a 0.5 Gy exposure that was abolished by inhibition of ROS by NAC. Moreover, SOD protein expression was significantly decreased at doses of 0.5 Gy and 0.7 Gy concomitant with a reduced SOD activity.
CONCLUSION: These data implicate a non-linear regulation of ROS production and SOD activity in EA.hy926 EC following irradiation with doses < 1 Gy that may contribute to a discontinuous dose-response relationship of residual γH2AX foci detection.
The Autism Simplex Collection: an international, expertly phenotyped autism sample for genetic and phenotypic analyses
Joseph D. Buxbaum
Jessica M. Brownfeld
Richard J. L. Anney
Edwin H. Cook,
Christine M. Freitag
Sabine M. Klauck
John I. Nurnberger
Stephen W. Scherer
James S. Sutcliffe
Astrid M. Vicente
- Background: There is an urgent need for expanding and enhancing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) samples, in order to better understand causes of ASD.
Methods: In a unique public-private partnership, 13 sites with extensive experience in both the assessment and diagnosis of ASD embarked on an ambitious, 2-year program to collect samples for genetic and phenotypic research and begin analyses on these samples. The program was called The Autism Simplex Collection (TASC). TASC sample collection began in 2008 and was completed in 2010, and included nine sites from North America and four sites from Western Europe, as well as a centralized Data Coordinating Center.
Results: Over 1,700 trios are part of this collection, with DNA from transformed cells now available through the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) measures are available for all probands, as are standardized IQ measures, Vineland Adaptive Behavioral Scales (VABS), the Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS), Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT), and physical measures (height, weight, and head circumference). At almost every site, additional phenotypic measures were collected, including the Broad Autism Phenotype Questionnaire (BAPQ) and Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised (RBS-R), as well as the non-word repetition scale, Communication Checklist (Children?s or Adult), and Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC). Moreover, for nearly 1,000 trios, the Autism Genome Project Consortium (AGP) has carried out Illumina 1?M SNP genotyping and called copy number variation (CNV) in the samples, with data being made available through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Whole exome sequencing (WES) has been carried out in over 500 probands, together with ancestry matched controls, and this data is also available through the NIH. Additional WES is being carried out by the Autism Sequencing Consortium (ASC), where the focus is on sequencing complete trios. ASC sequencing for the first 1,000 samples (all from whole-blood DNA) is complete and data will be released in 2014. Data is being made available through NIH databases (database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) and National Database for Autism Research (NDAR)) with DNA released in Dist 11.0. Primary funding for the collection, genotyping, sequencing and distribution of TASC samples was provided by Autism Speaks and the NIH, including the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Human Genetics Research Institute (NHGRI).
Conclusions: TASC represents an important sample set that leverages expert sites. Similar approaches, leveraging expert sites and ongoing studies, represent an important path towards further enhancing available ASD samples.
Treadmill walking during vocabulary encoding improves verbal long-term memory
- Moderate physical activity improves various cognitive functions, particularly when it is applied simultaneously to the cognitive task. In two psychoneuroendocrinological within-subject experiments, we investigated whether very low-intensity motor activity, i.e. walking, during foreign-language vocabulary encoding improves subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum and salivary cortisol. Previous research has associated both substances with memory performance.In both experiments, subjects performed better when they were motorically active during encoding compared to being sedentary. BDNF in serum was unrelated to memory performance. In contrast we found a positive correlation between salivary cortisol concentration and the number of correctly recalled items. In summary, even very light physical activity during encoding is beneficial for subsequent recall.
A multi-resource data integration approach: identification of candidate genes regulating cell proliferation during neocortical development
Cynthia M. Vied
Alexandre A. S. F. Raposo
Richard S. Nowakowski
- Neurons of the mammalian neocortex are produced by proliferating cells located in the ventricular zone (VZ) lining the lateral ventricles. This is a complex and sequential process, requiring precise control of cell cycle progression, fate commitment and differentiation. We have analyzed publicly available databases from mouse and human to identify candidate genes that are potentially involved in regulating early neocortical development and neurogenesis. We used a mouse in situ hybridization dataset (The Allen Institute for Brain Science) to identify 13 genes (Cdon, Celsr1, Dbi, E2f5, Eomes, Hmgn2, Neurog2, Notch1, Pcnt, Sox3, Ssrp1, Tead2, Tgif2) with high correlation of expression in the proliferating cells of the VZ of the neocortex at early stages of development (E15.5). We generated a similar human brain network using microarray and RNA-seq data (BrainSpan Atlas) and identified 407 genes with high expression in the developing human VZ and subventricular zone (SVZ) at 8–9 post-conception weeks. Seven of the human genes were also present in the mouse VZ network. The human and mouse networks were extended using available genetic and proteomic datasets through GeneMANIA. A gene ontology search of the mouse and human networks indicated that many of the genes are involved in the cell cycle, DNA replication, mitosis and transcriptional regulation. The reported involvement of Cdon, Celsr1, Dbi, Eomes, Neurog2, Notch1, Pcnt, Sox3, Tead2, and Tgif2 in neural development or diseases resulting from the disruption of neurogenesis validates these candidate genes. Taken together, our knowledge-based discovery method has validated the involvement of many genes already known to be involved in neocortical development and extended the potential number of genes by 100's, many of which are involved in functions related to cell proliferation but others of which are potential candidates for involvement in the regulation of neocortical development.
Spatiotemporal dynamics of brain activation in multiple sclerosis patients and healthy control subjects : a TMS-EEG study
Carl Moritz Zipser
- Aim: The aim of this study was to measure cortico-cortical connectivity in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients by TMS-evoked potential (TEP) latencies in EEG evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) of the hand area of the primary motor cortex of one hemisphere. TEPs were recorded on the stimulated- and at the homologue site in the non-stimulated contralateral hemisphere. Both interhemispheric directions were tested. Interhemispheric latencies of the two main reproducible TEPs, the positive component at 60 ms and the negative component at 100 ms (P60 and N100, respectively), were expected to be significantly prolonged in MS-patients compared to healthy volunteers.
Material and methods: The study compared interhemispheric propagation of P60 and N100 in groups of 12 patients with early-stage relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and 16 age- and gender-matched healthy controls. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty of the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main and conformed to the latest revision of the Declaration of Helsinki of 2008. TEPs were recorded by means of EEG and their latencies were statistically evaluated in 10 channels around the stimulation site and in 10 corresponding electrodes in the non-stimulated contralateral hemisphere. Interhemispheric conduction time was calculated by the difference of TEP latency in non-stimulated vs. stimulated hemisphere.
Results: An ANOVA on interhemispheric conduction time showed a significant prolongation for the N100 from left to right hemisphere in MS compared to controls, while no group differences were found for the P60 and the N100 from right to left hemisphere.
Conclusion: The results provide first evidence that the N100 may constitute an interesting marker to measure interhemispheric conduction delays in early-stage RRMS. The specificity of the present finding and its relation to fiber tract pathology should be examined in further correlative analyses with diffusion tensor imaging and other structural MRI data.
Efficient Transfer Entropy Analysis of Non-Stationary Neural Time Series
Francisco J. Díaz-Pernas
- Information theory allows us to investigate information processing in neural systems in terms of information transfer, storage and modification. Especially the measure of information transfer, transfer entropy, has seen a dramatic surge of interest in neuroscience. Estimating transfer entropy from two processes requires the observation of multiple realizations of these processes to estimate associated probability density functions. To obtain these necessary observations, available estimators typically assume stationarity of processes to allow pooling of observations over time. This assumption however, is a major obstacle to the application of these estimators in neuroscience as observed processes are often non-stationary. As a solution, Gomez-Herrero and colleagues theoretically showed that the stationarity assumption may be avoided by estimating transfer entropy from an ensemble of realizations. Such an ensemble of realizations is often readily available in neuroscience experiments in the form of experimental trials. Thus, in this work we combine the ensemble method with a recently proposed transfer entropy estimator to make transfer entropy estimation applicable to non-stationary time series. We present an efficient implementation of the approach that is suitable for the increased computational demand of the ensemble method's practical application. In particular, we use a massively parallel implementation for a graphics processing unit to handle the computationally most heavy aspects of the ensemble method for transfer entropy estimation. We test the performance and robustness of our implementation on data from numerical simulations of stochastic processes. We also demonstrate the applicability of the ensemble method to magnetoencephalographic data. While we mainly evaluate the proposed method for neuroscience data, we expect it to be applicable in a variety of fields that are concerned with the analysis of information transfer in complex biological, social, and artificial systems.
Prediction of the age at onset in spinocerebellar ataxia type 1, 2, 3 and 6
Sophie Tezenas du Montcel
Bart P. van de Warrenburg
Roberto Di Fabio
- Background The most common spinocerebellar ataxias (SCA)—SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6—are caused by (CAG)n repeat expansion. While the number of repeats of the coding (CAG)n expansions is correlated with the age at onset, there are no appropriate models that include both affected and preclinical carriers allowing for the prediction of age at onset.
Methods We combined data from two major European cohorts of SCA1, SCA2, SCA3, and SCA6 mutation carriers: 1187 affected individuals from the EUROSCA registry and 123 preclinical individuals from the RISCA cohort. For each SCA genotype, a regression model was fitted using a log-normal distribution for age at onset with the repeat length of the alleles as covariates. From these models, we calculated expected age at onset from birth and conditionally that this age is greater than the current age.
Results For SCA2 and SCA3 genotypes, the expanded allele was a significant predictor of age at onset (−0.105±0.005 and −0.056±0.003) while for SCA1 and SCA6 genotypes both the size of the expanded and normal alleles were significant (expanded: −0.049±0.002 and −0.090±0.009, respectively; normal: +0.013±0.005 and −0.029±0.010, respectively). According to the model, we indicated the median values (90% critical region) and the expectancy (SD) of the predicted age at onset for each SCA genotype according to the CAG repeat size and current age.
Conclusions These estimations can be valuable in clinical and research. However, results need to be confirmed in other independent cohorts and in future longitudinal studies.