- Deletion of the Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) alpha-subunit but not the BK-beta-1-subunit leads to progressive hearing loss (2004)
- The large conductance voltage- and Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) channel has been suggested to play an important role in the signal transduction process of cochlear inner hair cells. BK channels have been shown to be composed of the pore-forming alpha-subunit coexpressed with the auxiliary beta-1-subunit. Analyzing the hearing function and cochlear phenotype of BK channel alpha-(BKalpha–/–) and beta-1-subunit (BKbeta-1–/–) knockout mice, we demonstrate normal hearing function and cochlear structure of BKbeta-1–/– mice. During the first 4 postnatal weeks also, BKalpha–/– mice most surprisingly did not show any obvious hearing deficits. High-frequency hearing loss developed in BKalpha–/– mice only from ca. 8 weeks postnatally onward and was accompanied by a lack of distortion product otoacoustic emissions, suggesting outer hair cell (OHC) dysfunction. Hearing loss was linked to a loss of the KCNQ4 potassium channel in membranes of OHCs in the basal and midbasal cochlear turn, preceding hair cell degeneration and leading to a similar phenotype as elicited by pharmacologic blockade of KCNQ4 channels. Although the actual link between BK gene deletion, loss of KCNQ4 in OHCs, and OHC degeneration requires further investigation, data already suggest human BK-coding slo1 gene mutation as a susceptibility factor for progressive deafness, similar to KCNQ4 potassium channel mutations. © 2004, The National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
- Mycophenolate mofetil modulates adhesion receptors of the beta I integrin family on tumor cells: impact on tumor recurrence and malignancy (2005)
- Background: Tumor development remains one of the major obstacles following organ transplantation. Immunosuppressive drugs such as cyclosporine and tacrolimus directly contribute to enhanced malignancy, whereas the influence of the novel compound mycophenolate mofetil (MMF) on tumor cell dissemination has not been explored. We therefore investigated the adhesion capacity of colon, pancreas, prostate and kidney carcinoma cell lines to endothelium, as well as their beta1 integrin expression profile before and after MMF treatment. Methods: Tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cell monolayers was evaluated in the presence of 0.1 and 1 μM MMF and compared to unstimulated controls. beta1 integrin analysis included alpha1beta1 (CD49a), alpha2beta1 (CD49b), alpha3beta1 (CD49c), alpha4beta1 (CD49d), alpha5beta1 (CD49e), and alpha6beta1 (CD49f) receptors, and was carried out by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. Results: Adhesion of the colon carcinoma cell line HT-29 was strongly reduced in the presence of 0.1 μM MMF. This effect was accompanied by down-regulation of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 surface expression and of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 coding mRNA. Adhesion of the prostate tumor cell line DU-145 was blocked dose-dependently by MMF. In contrast to MMF's effects on HT-29 cells, MMF dose-dependently up-regulated alpha1beta1, alpha2beta1, alpha3beta1, and alpha5beta1 on DU-145 tumor cell membranes. Conclusion: We conclude that MMF possesses distinct anti-tumoral properties, particularly in colon and prostate carcinoma cells. Adhesion blockage of HT-29 cells was due to the loss of alpha3beta1 and alpha6beta1 surface expression, which might contribute to a reduced invasive behaviour of this tumor entity. The enhancement of integrin beta1 subtypes observed in DU-145 cells possibly causes re-differentiation towards a low-invasive phenotype.
- Evaluating frequency, diagnostic quality, and cost of Lyme borreliosis testing in Germany: a retrospective model analysis (2011)
- Background. Data on the economic impact of Lyme borreliosis (LB) on European health care systems is scarce. This project focused on the epidemiology and costs for laboratory testing in LB patients in Germany. Materials and Methods. We performed a sentinel analysis of epidemiological and medicoeconomic data for 2007 and 2008. Data was provided by a German statutory health insurance (DAK) company covering approx. 6.04 million members. In addition, the quality of diagnostic testing for LB in Germany was studied. Results. In 2007 and 2008, the incident diagnosis LB was coded on average for 15,742 out of 6.04 million insured members (0.26%). 20,986 EIAs and 12,558 immunoblots were ordered annually for these patients. For all insured members in the outpatient sector, a total of 174,820 EIAs and 52,280 immunoblots were reimbursed annually to health care providers (cost: 2,600,850€). For Germany, the overall expected cost is estimated at 51,215,105€. However, proficiency testing data questioned test quality and standardization of diagnostic assays used. Conclusion. Findings from this study suggest ongoing issues related to care for LB and may help to improve future LB disease management.
- Nanolesions induced by heavy ions in human tissues: experimental and theoretical studies (2012)
- The biological effects of energetic heavy ions are attracting increasing interest for their applications in cancer therapy and protection against space radiation. The cascade of events leading to cell death or late effects starts from stochastic energy deposition on the nanometer scale and the corresponding lesions in biological molecules, primarily DNA. We have developed experimental techniques to visualize DNA nanolesions induced by heavy ions. Nanolesions appear in cells as “streaks” which can be visualized by using different DNA repair markers. We have studied the kinetics of repair of these “streaks” also with respect to the chromatin conformation. Initial steps in the modeling of the energy deposition patterns at the micrometer and nanometer scale were made with MCHIT and TRAX models, respectively.
- Sex-stratified genome-wide association studies including 270,000 individuals show sexual dimorphism in genetic loci for anthropometric traits (2013)
- Men and women differ substantially regarding height, weight, and body fat. Interestingly, previous work detecting genetic effects for waist-to-hip ratio, to assess body fat distribution, has found that many of these showed sex-differences. However, systematic searches for sex-differences in genetic effects have not yet been conducted. Therefore, we undertook a genome-wide search for sexually dimorphic genetic effects for anthropometric traits including 133,723 individuals in a large meta-analysis and followed promising variants in further 137,052 individuals, including a total of 94 studies. We identified seven loci with significant sex-difference including four previously established (near GRB14/COBLL1, LYPLAL1/SLC30A10, VEGFA, ADAMTS9) and three novel anthropometric trait loci (near MAP3K1, HSD17B4, PPARG), all of which were significant in women, but not in men. Of interest is that sex-difference was only observed for waist phenotypes, but not for height or body-mass-index. We found no evidence for sex-differences with opposite effect direction for men and women. The PPARG locus is of specific interest due to its link to diabetes genetics and therapy. Our findings demonstrate the importance of investigating sex differences, which may lead to a better understanding of disease mechanisms with a potential relevance to treatment options.
- The bryophyte flora of nature reserves in central Chile : 1., the moss flora of Los Ruiles Nature Reserve near Talca (2006)
- The moss flora of the Los Ruiles Nature Reserve, Maule region (VII), central Chile was investigated. Los Ruiles is a small forest reserve dominated by Nothofagus trees and surrounded by plantations of Pinus radiata. The moss species list contains 72 taxa, among which are 36 species newly reported for the Maule region. Several species reach their northernmost known limit in the reserve, including Achrophyllum magellanicum var. magellanicum, Ancistrodes genuflexa, Cryphaea consimilis, Dendrocryphaea lechleri, Lembophyllum orbiculatum, Leptostomum menziesii, Symblepharis krausei, and Zygodon papillatus. To ensure the survival of these rare or local bryophytes, an increase of the proportion of Nothofagus trees in the forests surrounding the reserve is desirable.