Year of publication
- Specific immunotherapy in Albanian patients with anaphylaxis to hymenoptera venoms (2002)
- BACKGROUND: Severe allergic reactions during rush-specific immunotherapy (Rush-SIT) may occur in the treatment of hymenoptera sting allergy. The objective of the present study was to examine the characteristics of allergic reactions during Rush-SIT in a cohort of patients with allergy towards hymenoptera venom in the mediterranean population of Albania. METHODS: A retrospective study was performed using the clinical reports of 37 patients with venom of bee (apinae), wasp (vespidae, subfamily vespinae) or paperwasp (vespidae, subfamily polistinae) allergy treated with Rush-SIT between 1987 and 1996. After hymenoptera sting allergy diagnosis according to anamnesis and intracutaneous tests the patient were treated with Rush-SIT. The protocol lasted 3 - 4 d with an increase in the concentration from 0.01 microg/ml to 100 microg/ml. Anaphylactic reactions were classified according to the Mueller-classification. RESULTS: The frequency of reactions during Rush-SIT for bee-venom was 4.7% and for wasp-venom was 1.5% (p < 0.01). The mean frequency of reactions of Mueller grade II for the bee-venom Rush-SIT patients during the first 4 d (= 26 injections) was 0.73 and for the wasp-venom Rush-SIT patients 0.15. No patient experienced a third-degree reaction. 94.6% of the patient supported an end dose of 100 microg. CONCLUSIONS: Rush-SIT is a reliable method for the treatment of anaphylactic reactions to hymenoptera venom even in less developed countries. Bee-venom Rush-SIT was found to cause higher numbers allergic reactions than wasp or paperwasp Rush-SIT.
- Models of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (2004)
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major global health problem and is predicted to become the third most common cause of death by 2020. Apart from the important preventive steps of smoking cessation, there are no other specific treatments for COPD that are as effective in reversing the condition, and therefore there is a need to understand the pathophysiological mechanisms that could lead to new therapeutic strategies. The development of experimental models will help to dissect these mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level. COPD is a disease characterized by progressive airflow obstruction of the peripheral airways, associated with lung inflammation, emphysema and mucus hypersecretion. Different approaches to mimic COPD have been developed but are limited in comparison to models of allergic asthma. COPD models usually do not mimic the major features of human COPD and are commonly based on the induction of COPD-like lesions in the lungs and airways using noxious inhalants such as tobacco smoke, nitrogen dioxide, or sulfur dioxide. Depending on the duration and intensity of exposure, these noxious stimuli induce signs of chronic inflammation and airway remodelling. Emphysema can be achieved by combining such exposure with instillation of tissue-degrading enzymes. Other approaches are based on genetically-targeted mice which develop COPD-like lesions with emphysema, and such mice provide deep insights into pathophysiological mechanisms. Future approaches should aim to mimic irreversible airflow obstruction, associated with cough and sputum production, with the possibility of inducing exacerbations.
- Molecular mechanisms of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) (2005)
- Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a new infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus that leads to deleterious pulmonary pathological features. Due to its high morbidity and mortality and widespread occurrence, SARS has evolved as an important respiratory disease which may be encountered everywhere in the world. The virus was identified as the causative agent of SARS due to the efforts of a WHO-led laboratory network. The potential mutability of the SARS-CoV genome may lead to new SARS outbreaks and several regions of the viral genomes open reading frames have been identified which may contribute to the severe virulence of the virus. With regard to the pathogenesis of SARS, several mechanisms involving both direct effects on target cells and indirect effects via the immune system may exist. Vaccination would offer the most attractive approach to prevent new epidemics of SARS, but the development of vaccines is difficult due to missing data on the role of immune system-virus interactions and the potential mutability of the virus. Even in a situation of no new infections, SARS remains a major health hazard, as new epidemics may arise. Therefore, further experimental and clinical research is required to control the disease. Keywords: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome; SARS; coronavirus; molecular mechanisms; therapy; vaccination
- Analysis of airway secretions in a model of sulfur dioxide induced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (2006)
- Hypersecretion and chronic phlegm are major symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) but animal models of COPD with a defined functional hypersecretion have not been established so far. To identify an animal model of combined morphological signs of airway inflammation and functional hypersecretion, rats were continuously exposed to different levels of sulfur dioxide (SO2, 5 ppm, 10 ppm, 20 ppm, 40 ppm, 80 ppm) for 3 (short-term) or 20–25 (long-term) days. Histology revealed a dose-dependent increase in edema formation and inflammatory cell infiltration in short-term-exposed animals. The submucosal edema was replaced by fibrosis after long-term-exposure. The basal secretory activity was only significantly increased in the 20 ppm group. Also, stimulated secretion was significantly increased only after exposure to 20 ppm. BrdU-assays and AgNOR-analysis demonstrated cellular metaplasia and glandular hypertrophy rather than hyperplasia as the underlying morphological correlate of the hypersecretion. In summary, SO2-exposure can lead to characteristic airway remodeling and changes in mucus secretion in rats. As only long-term exposure to 20 ppm leads to a combination of hypersecretion and airway inflammation, only this mode of exposure should be used to mimic human COPD. Concentrations less or higher than 20 ppm or short term exposure do not induce the respiratory symptom of hypersecretion. The present model may be used to characterize the effects of new compounds on mucus secretion in the background of experimental COPD.
- Chronic cough due to occupational factors (2006)
- Within the large variety of subtypes of chronic cough, either defined by their clinical or pathogenetic causes, occupational chronic cough may be regarded as one of the most preventable forms of the disease. Next to obstructive airway diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which are sometimes concomitant with chronic cough, this chronic airway disease gains importance in the field of occupational medicine since classic fiber-related occupational airway diseases will decrease in the future. Apart from acute accidents and incidental exposures which may lead to an acute form of cough, there are numerous sources for the development of chronic cough within the workplace. Over the last years, a large number of studies has focused on occupational causes of respiratory diseases and it has emerged that chronic cough is one of the most prevalent work-related airway diseases. Best-known examples of occupations related to the development of cough are coal miners, hard-rock miners, tunnel workers, or concrete manufacturing workers. As chronic cough is often based on a variety of non-occupational factors such as tobacco smoke, a distinct separation into either occupational or personally -evoked can be difficult. However, revealing the occupational contribution to chronic cough and to the symptom cough in general, which is the commonest cause for the consultation of a physician, can significantly lead to a reduction of the socioeconomic burden of the disease.
- The toxicity of cadmium and resulting hazards for human health (2006)
- Cadmium (Cd) has been in industrial use for a long period of time. Its serious toxicity moved into scientific focus during the middle of the last century. In this review, we discuss historic and recent developments of toxicological and epidemiological questions, including exposition sources, resorption pathways and organ damage processes.
- Reference values and physiological characterization of a specific isolated pig kidney perfusion model (2007)
- BACKGROUND: Models of isolated and perfused kidneys are used to study the effects of drugs, hazardous or toxic substances on renal functions. Since physiological and morphological parameters of small laboratory animal kidneys are difficult to compare to human renal parameters, porcine kidney perfusion models have been developed to simulate closer conditions to the human situation, but exact values of renal parameters for different collection and perfusion conditions have not been reported so far. If the organs could be used out of regular slaughtering processes animal experiments may be avoided. METHODS: To assess renal perfusion quality, we analyzed different perfusion settings in a standardized model of porcine kidney hemoperfusion with organs collected in the operating theatre (OP: groups A-D) or in a public abattoir (SLA: group E) and compared the data to in vivo measurements in living animals (CON). Experimental groups had defined preservation periods (0, 2 and 24 hrs), one with additional albumin in the perfusate (C) for edema reduction. RESULTS: Varying perfusion settings resulted in different functional values (mean +/- SD): blood flow (RBF [ml/min*100 g]: (A) 339.9 +/- 61.1; (C) 244.5 +/- 53.5; (D) 92.8 +/- 25.8; (E) 153.8 +/- 41.5); glomerular filtration (GFR [ml/min*100 g]: (CON) 76.1 +/- 6.2; (A) 59.2 +/- 13.9; (C) 25.0 +/- 10.6; (D) 1.6 +/- 1.3; (E) 16.3 +/- 8.2); fractional sodium reabsorption (RFNa [%] (CON) 99.8 +/- 0.1; (A) 82.3 +/- 8.1; (C) 86.8 +/- 10.3; (D) 38.4 +/- 24.5; (E) 88.7 +/- 5.8). Additionally the tubular coupling-ratio of Na-reabsorption/O2-consumption was determined (TNa/O2-cons [mmol-Na/mmol- O2] (CON) 30.1; (A) 42.0, (C) 80.6; (D) 17.4; (E) 23.8), exhibiting OP and SLA organs with comparable results. CONCLUSION: In the present study functional values for isolated kidneys with different perfusion settings were determined to assess organ perfusion quality. It can be summarized that the hemoperfused porcine kidney can serve as a biological model with acceptable approximation to in vivo renal physiology, also if the organs originate from usual slaughtering processes.
- Editorial: Experimental models of asthma (2008)
- Since 2002, a workshop entitled “Asthma in animal models” has been held once a year in Hannover, Germany. It is organized by the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in collaboration with the collaborative research centre “Sonderforschungsbereich” 587, “Immune reactions of the lung in infection and allergy” (Hannover Medical School). The aim of these meetings is an intense scientific exchange between researchers and clinicians coming from academic or industrial background. Over the years the topics within the extensive field of asthma and COPD have ranged from methodological aspects to the influence of infections and environmental factors up to perspectives in the development of new therapeutic strategies.
- Effect of montelukast on platelet activating factor- and tachykinin induced mucus secretion in the rat (2008)
- Background: Platelet activating factor and tachykinins (substance P, neurokinin A, neurokinin B) are important mediators contributing to increased airway secretion in the context of different types of respiratory diseases including acute and chronic asthma. Leukotriene receptor antagonists are recommended as add-on therapy for this disease. The cys-leukotriene-1 receptor antagonist montelukast has been used in clinical asthma therapy during the last years. Besides its inhibitory action on bronchoconstriction, only little is known about its effects on airway secretions. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of montelukast on platelet activating factor- and tachykinin induced tracheal secretory activity. Methods: The effects of montelukast on platelet activating factor- and tachykinin induced tracheal secretory activity in the rat were assessed by quantification of secreted 35SO4 labelled mucus macromolecules using the modified Ussing chamber technique. Results: Platelet activating factor potently stimulated airway secretion, which was completely inhibited by the platelet activating factor receptor antagonist WEB 2086 and montelukast. In contrast, montelukast had no effect on tachykinin induced tracheal secretory activity. Conclusion: Cys-leukotriene-1 receptor antagonism by montelukast reverses the secretagogue properties of platelet activating factor to the same degree as the specific platelet activating factor antagonist WEB 2086 but has no influence on treacheal secretion elicited by tachykinins. These results suggest a role of montelukast in the signal transduction pathway of platelet activating factor induced secretory activity of the airways and may further explain the beneficial properties of cys-leukotriene-1 receptor antagonists.
- Development and evaluation of a computer-based medical work assessment programme (2008)
- Background: There are several ways to conduct a job task analysis in medical work environments including pencil-paper observations, interviews and questionnaires. However these methods implicate bias problems such as high inter-individual deviations and risks of misjudgement. Computer-based observation helps to reduce these problems. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the development process of a computer-based job task analysis instrument for real-time observations to quantify the job tasks performed by physicians working in different medical settings. In addition reliability and validity data of this instrument will be demonstrated. Methods: This instrument was developed in consequential steps. First, lists comprising tasks performed by physicians in different care settings were classified. Afterwards content validity of task lists was proved. After establishing the final task categories, computer software was programmed and implemented in a mobile personal computer. At least inter-observer reliability was evaluated. Two trained observers recorded simultaneously tasks of the same physician. Results: Content validity of the task lists was confirmed by observations and experienced specialists of each medical area. Development process of the job task analysis instrument was completed successfully. Simultaneous records showed adequate interrater reliability. Conclusion: Initial results of this analysis supported the validity and reliability of this developed method for assessing physicians' working routines as well as organizational context factors. Based on results using this method, possible improvements for health professionals' work organisation can be identified.