Year of publication
- A large-scale chemical modification screen identifies design rules to generate siRNAs with high activity, high stability and low toxicity (2009)
- The use of chemically synthesized short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) is currently the method of choice to manipulate gene expression in mammalian cell culture, yet improvements of siRNA design is expectably required for successful application in vivo. Several studies have aimed at improving siRNA performance through the introduction of chemical modifications but a direct comparison of these results is difficult. We have directly compared the effect of 21 types of chemical modifications on siRNA activity and toxicity in a total of 2160 siRNA duplexes. We demonstrate that siRNA activity is primarily enhanced by favouring the incorporation of the intended antisense strand during RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) loading by modulation of siRNA thermodynamic asymmetry and engineering of siRNA 3-overhangs. Collectively, our results provide unique insights into the tolerance for chemical modifications and provide a simple guide to successful chemical modification of siRNAs with improved activity, stability and low toxicity.
- Extracorporeal immune therapy with immobilized agonistic anti-Fas antibodies leads to transient reduction of circulating neutrophil numbers and limits tissue damage after hemorrhagic shock/resuscitation in a porcine model (2010)
- Background: Hemorrhagic shock/resuscitation is associated with aberrant neutrophil activation and organ failure. This experimental porcine study was done to evaluate the effects of Fas-directed extracorporeal immune therapy with a leukocyte inhibition module (LIM) on hemodynamics, neutrophil tissue infiltration, and tissue damage after hemorrhagic shock/resuscitation. Methods: In a prospective controlled double-armed animal trial 24 Munich Mini Pigs (30.3 +/- 3.3 kg) were rapidly haemorrhaged to reach a mean arterial pressure (MAP) of 35 +/- 5 mmHg, maintained hypotensive for 45 minutes, and then were resuscitated with Ringer's solution to baseline MAP. With beginning of resuscitation 12 pigs underwent extracorporeal immune therapy for 3 hours (LIM group) and 12 pigs were resuscitated according to standard medical care (SMC). Haemodynamics, haematologic, metabolic, and organ specific damage parameters were monitored. Neutrophil infiltration was analyzed histologically after 48 and 72 hours. Lipid peroxidation, and apoptosis were specifically determined in lung, bowel, and liver. Results: In the LIM group, neutrophil counts were reduced versus SMC during extracorporeal immune therapy. After 72 hours, the haemodynamic parameters MAP and cardiac output (CO) were significantly better in the LIM group. Histological analyses showed reduction of shock-related neutrophil tissue infiltration in the LIM group, especially in the lungs. Lower amounts of apoptotic cells and lipid peroxidation were found in organs after LIM treatment. Conclusions: Transient Fas-directed extracorporeal immune therapy may protect from posthemorrhagic neutrophil tissue infiltration and tissue damage.
- A tunable strain sensor using nanogranular metals (2010)
- This paper introduces a new methodology for the fabrication of strain-sensor elements for MEMS and NEMS applications based on the tunneling effect in nano-granular metals. The strain-sensor elements are prepared by the maskless lithography technique of focused electron-beam-induced deposition (FEBID) employing the precursor trimethylmethylcyclopentadienyl platinum [MeCpPt(Me)3]. We use a cantilever-based deflection technique to determine the sensitivity (gauge factor) of the sensor element. We find that its sensitivity depends on the electrical conductivity and can be continuously tuned, either by the thickness of the deposit or by electron-beam irradiation leading to a distinct maximum in the sensitivity. This maximum finds a theoretical rationale in recent advances in the understanding of electronic charge transport in nano-granular metals.
- Dependence of aptamer activity on opposed terminal extensions: improvement of light-regulation efficiency (2009)
- Aptamers that can be regulated with light allow precise control of protein activity in space and time and hence of biological function in general. In a previous study, we showed that the activity of the thrombin-binding aptamer HD1 can be turned off by irradiation using a light activatable "caged" intramolecular antisense-domain. However, the activity of the presented aptamer in its ON state was only mediocre. Here we studied the nature of this loss in activity in detail and found that switching from 5'- to 3'-extensions affords aptamers that are even more potent than the unmodified HD1. In particular we arrived at derivatives that are now more active than the aptamer NU172 that is currently in phase 2 clinical trials as an anticoagulant. As a result, we present light-regulatable aptamers with a superior activity in their ON state and an almost digital ON/OFF behavior upon irradiation.
- Safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab therapy in patients with different autoimmune diseases: experience from a national registry (GRAID) (2011)
- Introduction Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting. Methods Patients who received rituximab having shown an inadequate response to standard of care had their safety and clinical outcomes data retrospectively analysed as part of the German Registry of Autoimmune Diseases. The main outcome measures were safety and clinical response, as judged at the discretion of the investigators. Results A total of 370 patients (299 patient-years) with various autoimmune diseases (23.0% with systemic lupus erythematosus, 15.7% antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides, 15.1% multiple sclerosis and 10.0% pemphigus) from 42 centres received a mean dose of 2440 mg of rituximab over a median (range) of 194 (180 to 1407) days. The overall rate of serious infections was 5.3 per 100 patient-years during rituximab therapy. Opportunistic infections were infrequent across the whole study population, and mostly occurred in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. There were 11 deaths (3.0% of patients) after rituximab treatment (mean 11.6 months after first infusion, range 0.8 to 31.3 months), with most of the deaths caused by infections. Overall (n = 293), 13.3% of patients showed no response, 45.1% showed a partial response and 41.6% showed a complete response. Responses were also reflected by reduced use of glucocorticoids and various immunosuppressives during rituximab therapy and follow-up compared with before rituximab. Rituximab generally had a positive effect on patient well-being (physician's visual analogue scale; mean improvement from baseline of 12.1 mm). Conclusions Data from this registry indicate that rituximab is a commonly employed, well-tolerated therapy with potential beneficial effects in standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases, and support the results from other open-label, uncontrolled studies. Additional file 1: Supplemental tables. Table A1. Duration of follow-up from first rituximab infusion to last control visit by diagnosis. Table A2. Number of rituximab infusions by diagnosis.
- Simulation of denitrification and ozone loss for the Arctic winter 2002/2003 (2004)
- We present simulations with the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere (CLaMS) for the Arctic winter 2002/2003. We integrated a Lagrangian denitrification scheme into the three-dimensional version of CLaMS that calculates the growth and sedimentation of nitric acid trihydrate (NAT) particles along individual particle trajectories. From those, we derive the HNO3 downward flux resulting from different particle nucleation assumptions. The simulation results show a clear vertical redistribution of total inorganic nitrogen (NOy), with a maximum vortex average permanent NOy removal of over 5 ppb in late December between 500 and 550 K and a corresponding increase of NOy of over 2 ppb below about 450 K. The simulated vertical redistribution of NOy is compared with balloon observations by MkIV and in-situ observations from the high altitude aircraft Geophysica. Assuming a globally uniform NAT particle nucleation rate of 3.4·10−6 cm−3 h−1 in the model, the observed denitrification is well reproduced. In the investigated winter 2002/2003, the denitrification has only moderate impact (<=10%) on the simulated vortex average ozone loss of about 1.1 ppm near the 460 K level. At higher altitudes, above 600 K potential temperature, the simulations show significant ozone depletion through NOx-catalytic cycles due to the unusual early exposure of vortex air to sunlight.
- Methodik (2002)
- Die vegetationskundliche und strukturelle Zuordnung der Lebensraumtypen erfolgt nach der vorrangig von Braun-Blanquet entwickelten Vegetationsklassifizierung, einer hierarchischen Gliederung der Vegetationstypen (Syntaxonomie), die die Ebenen der Assoziation, des Verbandes, der Ordnung und der Klasse umfasst. Hierbei ist die Assoziation die grundlegende Einheit, in der die Pflanzengesellschaften zusammengefasst werden, die sich durch gleiche charakteristische Arten(gruppen)kombinationen auszeichnen. Der Verband vereinigt ähnliche Assoziationen. Das sind bereits umfassendere, jedoch standörtlich noch recht einheitliche Vegetationseinheiten. In Ordnungen werden ähnliche Verbände zusammengefasst. Die Klasse vereinigt ähnliche Ordnungen.
- 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.
- The impact of mixing across the polar vortex edge on Match ozone loss estimates (2007)
- The Match method for quantification of polar chemical ozone loss is investigated mainly with respect to the impact of mixing across the vortex edge onto this estimate. We show for the winter 2002/03 that significant mixing across the vortex edge occurred and was accurately modeled by the Chemical Lagrangian Model of the Stratosphere. Observations of inert tracers and ozone in-situ from HAGAR on the Geophysica aircraft and sondes and also remote from MIPAS on ENVISAT were reproduced well. The model even reproduced a small vortex remnant that was isolated until June 2003 and was observed in-situ by a balloon-borne whole air sampler. We use this CLaMS simulation to quantify the impact of cross vortex edge mixing on the results of the Match method. It is shown that a time integration of the determined vortex average ozone loss rates as performed in Match results in larger ozone loss than the polar vortex average ozone loss in CLaMS. Also, the determination of the Match ozone loss rates can be influenced by mixing. This is especially important below 430 K, where ozone outside the vortex is lower than inside and the vortex boundary is not a strong transport barrier. This effect and further sampling effects cause an offset between vortex average ozone loss rates derived from Match and deduced from CLaMS with an even sampling for the entire vortex. Both, the time-integration of ozone loss and the determination of ozone loss rates for Match are evaluated using the winter 2002/03 CLaMS simulation. These impacts can explain the differences between CLaMS and Match column ozone loss. While the investigated effects somewhat reduce the apparent discrepancy in January ozone loss rates, a discrepancy between simulations and Match remains. However, its contribution to the accumulated ozone loss over the winter is not large.
- 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.