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- Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions (2012)
- Significant reductions in stratospheric ozone occur inside the polar vortices each spring when chlorine radicals produced by heterogeneous reactions on cold particle surfaces in winter destroy ozone mainly in two catalytic cycles, the ClO dimer cycle and the ClO/BrO cycle. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are responsible for most of the chlorine currently present in the stratosphere, have been banned by the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, and the ozone layer is predicted to recover to 1980 levels within the next few decades. During the same period, however, climate change is expected to alter the temperature, circulation patterns and chemical composition in the stratosphere, and possible geo-engineering ventures to mitigate climate change may lead to additional changes. To realistically predict the response of the ozone layer to such influences requires the correct representation of all relevant processes. The European project RECONCILE has comprehensively addressed remaining questions in the context of polar ozone depletion, with the objective to quantify the rates of some of the most relevant, yet still uncertain physical and chemical processes. To this end RECONCILE used a broad approach of laboratory experiments, two field missions in the Arctic winter 2009/10 employing the high altitude research aircraft M55-Geophysica and an extensive match ozone sonde campaign, as well as microphysical and chemical transport modelling and data assimilation. Some of the main outcomes of RECONCILE are as follows: (1) vortex meteorology: the 2009/10 Arctic winter was unusually cold at stratospheric levels during the six-week period from mid-December 2009 until the end of January 2010, with reduced transport and mixing across the polar vortex edge; polar vortex stability and how it is influenced by dynamic processes in the troposphere has led to unprecedented, synoptic-scale stratospheric regions with temperatures below the frost point; in these regions stratospheric ice clouds have been observed, extending over >106km2 during more than 3 weeks. (2) Particle microphysics: heterogeneous nucleation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles in the absence of ice has been unambiguously demonstrated; conversely, the synoptic scale ice clouds also appear to nucleate heterogeneously; a variety of possible heterogeneous nuclei has been characterised by chemical analysis of the non-volatile fraction of the background aerosol; substantial formation of solid particles and denitrification via their sedimentation has been observed and model parameterizations have been improved. (3) Chemistry: strong evidence has been found for significant chlorine activation not only on polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) but also on cold binary aerosol; laboratory experiments and field data on the ClOOCl photolysis rate and other kinetic parameters have been shown to be consistent with an adequate degree of certainty; no evidence has been found that would support the existence of yet unknown chemical mechanisms making a significant contribution to polar ozone loss. (4) Global modelling: results from process studies have been implemented in a prognostic chemistry climate model (CCM); simulations with improved parameterisations of processes relevant for polar ozone depletion are evaluated against satellite data and other long term records using data assimilation and detrended fluctuation analysis. Finally, measurements and process studies within RECONCILE were also applied to the winter 2010/11, when special meteorological conditions led to the highest chemical ozone loss ever observed in the Arctic. In addition to quantifying the 2010/11 ozone loss and to understand its causes including possible connections to climate change, its impacts were addressed, such as changes in surface ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the densely populated northern mid-latitudes.
- Reconciliation of essential process parameters for an enhanced predictability of Arctic stratospheric ozone loss and its climate interactions (RECONCILE): activities and results (2013)
- The international research project RECONCILE has addressed central questions regarding polar ozone depletion, with the objective to quantify some of the most relevant yet still uncertain physical and chemical processes and thereby improve prognostic modelling capabilities to realistically predict the response of the ozone layer to climate change. This overview paper outlines the scope and the general approach of RECONCILE, and it provides a summary of observations and modelling in 2010 and 2011 that have generated an in many respects unprecedented dataset to study processes in the Arctic winter stratosphere. Principally, it summarises important outcomes of RECONCILE including (i) better constraints and enhanced consistency on the set of parameters governing catalytic ozone destruction cycles, (ii) a better understanding of the role of cold binary aerosols in heterogeneous chlorine activation, (iii) an improved scheme of polar stratospheric cloud (PSC) processes that includes heterogeneous nucleation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) and ice on non-volatile background aerosol leading to better model parameterisations with respect to denitrification, and (iv) long transient simulations with a chemistry-climate model (CCM) updated based on the results of RECONCILE that better reproduce past ozone trends in Antarctica and are deemed to produce more reliable predictions of future ozone trends. The process studies and the global simulations conducted in RECONCILE show that in the Arctic, ozone depletion uncertainties in the chemical and microphysical processes are now clearly smaller than the sensitivity to dynamic variability.
- Renal AA-amyloidosis in intravenous drug users - a role for HIV-infection? (2012)
- Background: Chronic renal disease is a serious complication of long-term intravenous drug use (IVDU). Recent reports have postulated a changing pattern of underlying nephropathy over the last decades. Methods: Retrospective investigation including all patients with prior or present IVDU that underwent renal biopsy because of chronic kidney disease between 01.04.2002 and 31.03.2012 in the city of Frankfurt/Main, Germany. Results: Twenty four patients with IVDU underwent renal biopsy because of progressive chronic kidney disease or proteinuria. Renal AA-amyloidosis was the predominant cause of renal failure in 50% of patients. Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (GN) was the second most common cause found in 21%. Patients with AA-amyloidosis were more likely to be HIV infected (67 vs.17%; p=0.036) and tended to have a higher rate of repeated systemic infections (92 vs. 50%; p=0.069). Patients with AA-amyloidosis presented with progressive renal disease and nephrotic-range proteinuria but most patients had no peripheral edema or systemic hypertension. Development of proteinuria preceded the decline of GFR for approximately 1--2 years. Conclusions: AA-amyloidosis was the predominant cause of progressive renal disease in the last 10 years in patients with IVDU. The highest rate of AA-amyloidosis observed was seen in HIV infected patients with IVDU. We speculate that chronic HIV-infection as well as the associated immunosuppression might promote development of AA-amyloidosis by increasing frequency and duration of infections acquired by IVDU.
- The Rainbow Cohort: saquinavir/r is effective and well tolerated in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve patients – 48-week results from Germany (2008)
- Poster presentation: Purpose of the study The aim of the Rainbow Cohort is to assess the tolerability and efficacy of initiating treatment with, or switching treatment to saquinavir (SQV) 500 mg film-coated tablet formulation. We present the final 48-week subgroup analysis of antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naïve patients. ...
- Antiretroviral tolerability and efficacy after switch to saquinavir in PI-experienced patients : 48-week analysis of the German Rainbow Cohort (2008)
- Poster presentation: Purpose of the study The aim of the Rainbow Cohort is to assess the tolerability and efficacy of initiating treatment with, or switching treatment to the saquinavir (SQV) 500 mg film-coated tablet formulation. We present the final 48-week subgroup analysis of PI-experienced, but SQV-naïve patients. ...
- LICC: L-BLP25 in patients with colorectal carcinoma after curative resection of hepatic metastases-a randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter, multinational, double-blinded phase II trial (2012)
- Background: 15-20% of all patients initially diagnosed with colorectal cancer develop metastatic disease and surgical resection remains the only potentially curative treatment available. Current 5-year survival following R0-resection of liver metastases is 28-39%, but recurrence eventually occurs in up to 70%. To date, adjuvant chemotherapy has not improved clinical outcomes significantly. The primary objective of the ongoing LICC trial (L-BLP25 In Colorectal Cancer) is to determine whether L-BLP25, an active cancer immunotherapy, extends recurrence-free survival (RFS) time over placebo in colorectal cancer patients following R0/R1 resection of hepatic metastases. L-BLP25 targets MUC1 glycoprotein, which is highly expressed in hepatic metastases from colorectal cancer. In a phase IIB trial, L-BLP25 has shown acceptable tolerability and a trend towards longer survival in patients with stage IIIB locoregional NSCLC. Methods: This is a multinational, phase II, multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with a sample size of 159 patients from 20 centers in 3 countries. Patients with stage IV colorectal adenocarcinoma limited to liver metastases are included. Following curative-intent complete resection of the primary tumor and of all synchronous/metachronous metastases, eligible patients are randomized 2:1 to receive either L-BLP25 or placebo. Those allocated to L-BLP25 receive a single dose of 300 mg/m2 cyclophosphamide (CP) 3 days before first L-BLP25 dose, then primary treatment with s.c. L-BLP25 930 mug once weekly for 8 weeks, followed by s.c. L-BLP25 930 mug maintenance doses at 6-week (years 1&2) and 12-week (year 3) intervals unless recurrence occurs. In the control arm, CP is replaced by saline solution and L-BLP25 by placebo. Primary endpoint is the comparison of recurrence-free survival (RFS) time between groups. Secondary endpoints are overall survival (OS) time, safety, tolerability, RFS/OS in MUC-1 positive cancers. Exploratory immune response analyses are planned. The primary endpoint will be assessed in Q3 2016. Follow-up will end Q3 2017. Interim analyses are not planned. Discussion: The design and implementation of such a vaccination study in colorectal cancer is feasible. The study will provide recurrence-free and overall survival rates of groups in an unbiased fashion. Trial Registration EudraCT Number 2011-000218-20
- A genetic validation study reveals a role of vitamin D metabolism in the response to interferon-alfa-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C (2012)
- Background: To perform a comprehensive study on the relationship between vitamin D metabolism and the response to interferon-α-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C. Methodology/Principal Findings: Associations between a functionally relevant polymorphism in the gene encoding the vitamin D 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012) and the response to treatment with pegylated interferon-α (PEG-IFN-α) and ribavirin were determined in 701 patients with chronic hepatitis C. In addition, associations between serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 (25[OH]D3) and treatment outcome were analysed. CYP27B1-1260 rs10877012 was found to be an independent predictor of sustained virologic response (SVR) in patients with poor-response IL28B genotypes (15% difference in SVR for rs10877012 genotype AA vs. CC, p = 0.02, OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.061–2.188), but not in patients with favourable IL28B genotype. Patients with chronic hepatitis C showed a high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency (25[OH]D3<20 ng/mL) during all seasons, but 25(OH)D3 serum levels were not associated with treatment outcome. Conclusions/Significance: Our study suggests a role of bioactive vitamin D (1,25[OH]2D3, calcitriol) in the response to treatment of chronic hepatitis C. However, serum concentration of the calcitriol precursor 25(OH)D3 is not a suitable predictor of treatment outcome.
- Ultrathin Tropical Tropopause Clouds (UTTCs): II. Stabilization mechanisms (2003)
- Mechanisms by which subvisible cirrus clouds (SVCs) might contribute to dehydration close to the tropical tropopause are not well understood. Recently Ultrathin Tropical Tropopause Clouds (UTTCs) with optical depths around 10−4 have been detected in the western Indian ocean. These clouds cover thousands of square kilometers as 200–300 m thick distinct and homogeneous layer just below the tropical tropopause. In their condensed phase UTTCs contain only 1–5% of the total water, and essentially no nitric acid. A new cloud stabilization mechanism is required to explain this small fraction of the condensed water content in the clouds and their small vertical thickness. This work suggests a mechanism, which forces the particles into a thin layer, based on upwelling of the air of some mm/s to balance the ice particles, supersaturation with respect to ice above and subsaturation below the UTTC. In situ measurements suggest that these requirements are fulfilled. The basic physical properties of this mechanism are explored by means of a single particle model. Comprehensive 1-D cloud simulations demonstrate this stabilization mechanism to be robust against rapid temperature fluctuations of +/−0.5 K. However, rapid warming (ΔT>2 K) leads to evaporation of the UTTC, while rapid cooling (ΔT<−2 K) leads to destabilization of the particles with the potential for significant dehydration below the cloud.
- Ultrathin Tropical Tropopause Clouds (UTTCs): I. Cloud morphology and occurrence (2003)
- Subvisible cirrus clouds (SVCs) may contribute to dehydration close to the tropical tropopause. The higher and colder SVCs and the larger their ice crystals, the more likely they represent the last efficient point of contact of the gas phase with the ice phase and, hence, the last dehydrating step, before the air enters the stratosphere. The first simultaneous in situ and remote sensing measurements of SVCs were taken during the APE-THESEO campaign in the western Indian ocean in February/March 1999. The observed clouds, termed Ultrathin Tropical Tropopause Clouds (UTTCs), belong to the geometrically and optically thinnest large-scale clouds in the Earth's atmosphere. Individual UTTCs may exist for many hours as an only 200–300 m thick cloud layer just a few hundred meters below the tropical cold point tropopause, covering up to 105 km2. With temperatures as low as 181 K these clouds are prime representatives for defining the water mixing ratio of air entering the lower stratosphere.
- RP1 Is a Phosphorylation Target of CK2 and Is Involved in Cell Adhesion (2013)
- RP1 (synonym: MAPRE2, EB2) is a member of the microtubule binding EB1 protein family, which interacts with APC, a key regulatory molecule in the Wnt signalling pathway. While the other EB1 proteins are well characterized the cellular function and regulation of RP1 remain speculative to date. However, recently RP1 has been implicated in pancreatic cancerogenesis. CK2 is a pleiotropic kinase involved in adhesion, proliferation and anti-apoptosis. Overexpression of protein kinase CK2 is a hallmark of many cancers and supports the malignant phenotype of tumor cells. In this study we investigate the interaction of protein kinase CK2 with RP1 and demonstrate that CK2 phosphorylates RP1 at Ser236 in vitro. Stable RP1 expression in cell lines leads to a significant cleavage and down-regulation of N-cadherin and impaired adhesion. Cells expressing a Phospho-mimicking point mutant RP1-ASP236 show a marked decrease of adhesion to endothelial cells under shear stress. Inversely, we found that the cells under shear stress downregulate endogenous RP1, most likely to improve cellular adhesion. Accordingly, when RP1 expression is suppressed by shRNA, cells lacking RP1 display significantly increased cell adherence to surfaces. In summary, RP1 phosphorylation at Ser236 by CK2 seems to play a significant role in cell adhesion and might initiate new insights in the CK2 and EB1 family protein association.