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- 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.
- 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.
- Resource-mediated indirect effects of grassland management on arthropod diversity (2014)
- Intensive land use is a driving force for biodiversity decline in many ecosystems. In semi-natural grasslands, land-use activities such as mowing, grazing and fertilization affect the diversity of plants and arthropods, but the combined effects of different drivers and the chain of effects are largely unknown. In this study we used structural equation modelling to analyse how the arthropod communities in managed grasslands respond to land use and whether these responses are mediated through changes in resource diversity or resource quantity (biomass). Plants were considered resources for herbivores which themselves were considered resources for predators. Plant and arthropod (herbivores and predators) communities were sampled on 141 meadows, pastures and mown pastures within three regions in Germany in 2008 and 2009. Increasing land-use intensity generally increased plant biomass and decreased plant diversity, mainly through increasing fertilization. Herbivore diversity decreased together with plant diversity but showed no response to changes in plant biomass. Hence, land-use effects on herbivore diversity were mediated through resource diversity rather than quantity. Land-use effects on predator diversity were mediated by both herbivore diversity (resource diversity) and herbivore quantity (herbivore biomass), but indirect effects through resource quantity were stronger. Our findings highlight the importance of assessing both direct and indirect effects of land-use intensity and mode on different trophic levels. In addition to the overall effects, there were subtle differences between the different regions, pointing to the importance of regional land-use specificities. Our study underlines the commonly observed strong effect of grassland land use on biodiversity. It also highlights that mechanistic approaches help us to understand how different land-use modes affect biodiversity.
- Oxidative stress induces CHIP-mediated ubiquitination and roteasomal degradation of soluble guanylyl cyclase : oral presentation (2007)
- Oxidative stress attenuates the NO-cGMP pathway, e.g. in the vascular system, through scavenging of free NO radicals by superoxide O2•-, by inactivation of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) via oxidation of its central Fe2+ ion, and by down-regulation of sGC protein levels. While the former pathways are well established, the molecular mechanisms underlying the latter are still obscure. Using oxidative sGC inhibitor ODQ we demonstrate rapid down-regulation of sGC protein in mammalian cells. Co-incubation with proteasomal inhibitor MG132 results in accumulation of ubiquitinated sGC whereas sGC activator BAY 58–2667 prevents ubiquitination. ODQ-induced down-regulation of sGC is mediated through selective ubiquitination of its b subunit, and BAY 58–2667 abrogates this effect. Ubiquitination of sGC-b is dramatically enhanced by E3 ligase CHIP. Our data indicate that oxidative stress promotes ubiquitination of sGC b subunit through E3 ligase CHIP, and that sGC activator 58–2667 reverts this effect, most likely through stabilization of the heme-free b subunit. Thus the deleterious effects of oxidative stress can be counter-balanced by an activator of a key enzyme of vascular homeostasis.
- The amyloid precursor protein potentiates CHOP induction and cell death in response to ER Ca2+ depletion (2007)
- Poster presentation: Here we investigated the role of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in regulation of Ca2+ store depletion-induced neural cell death. Ca2+ store depletion from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was induced by the SERCA (Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium ATPase) inhibitor thapsigargin which led to a rapid induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) and a delayed activation of executioner caspases in the cultures. Overexpression of APP potently enhanced cytosolic Ca2+ levels and cell death after ER Ca2+ store depletion in comparison to vector-transfected controls. GeneChipR and RT-PCR analysis revealed that the expression of classical UPR chaperone genes was not altered by overexpression of APP.Interestingly, the induction of the ER stress-responsive pro-apoptotic transcription factor CHOP was significantly upregulated in APP-overexpressing cells in comparison to vectortransfected controls. Chelation of intracellular Ca2+ with BAPTA-AM revealed that enhanced CHOP expression after store depletion occured in a Ca2+-dependent manner in APPoverexpressing cells. Prevention of CHOP induction by BAPTA-AM and by RNA interference was also able to abrogate the potentiating effect of APP on thapsigargin-induced apoptosis. Application of the store-operated channel (SOC)-inhibitors SK F96365 and 2-APB downmodulated APP-triggered potentiation of cytosolic Ca2+ levels and apoptosis after treatment with thapsigargin. Our data demonstrate that APP-mediated regulation of ER Ca2+ homeostasis significantly modulates Ca2+ store depletion-induced cell death in a SOC- and CHOP-dependent manner, but independent of the UPR.
- Ozone loss derived from balloon-borne tracer measurements in the 1999/2000 Arctic winter (2005)
- Balloon-borne measurements of CFC11 (from the DIRAC in situ gas chromatograph and the DESCARTES grab sampler), ClO and O3 were made during the 1999/2000 Arctic winter as part of the SOLVE-THESEO 2000 campaign, based in Kiruna (Sweden). Here we present the CFC11 data from nine flights and compare them first with data from other instruments which flew during the campaign and then with the vertical distributions calculated by the SLIMCAT 3D CTM. We calculate ozone loss inside the Arctic vortex between late January and early March using the relation between CFC11 and O3 measured on the flights. The peak ozone loss (~1200ppbv) occurs in the 440-470K region in early March in reasonable agreement with other published empirical estimates. There is also a good agreement between ozone losses derived from three balloon tracer data sets used here. The magnitude and vertical distribution of the loss derived from the measurements is in good agreement with the loss calculated from SLIMCAT over Kiruna for the same days.
- Chemical ozone loss in the Arctic winter 1991–1992 (2008)
- Chemical ozone loss in winter 1991–1992 is recalculated based on observations of the HALOE satellite instrument, Version 19, ER-2 aircraft measurements and balloon data. HALOE satellite observations are shown to be reliable in the lower stratosphere below 400 K, at altitudes where the measurements are most likely disturbed by the enhanced sulfate aerosol loading, as a result of the Mt.~Pinatubo eruption in June 1991. Significant chemical ozone loss (13–17 DU) is observed below 380 K from Kiruna balloon observations and HALOE satellite data between December 1991 and March 1992. For the two winters after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, HALOE satellite observations show a stronger extent of chemical ozone loss towards lower altitudes compared to other Arctic winters between 1991 and 2003. In spite of already occurring deactivation of chlorine in March 1992, MIPAS-B and LPMA balloon observations indicate that chlorine was still activated at lower altitudes, consistent with observed chemical ozone loss occurring between February and March and April. Large chemical ozone loss of more than 70 DU in the Arctic winter 1991–1992 as calculated in earlier studies is corroborated here.
- Taurolidine reduces the tumor stimulating cytokine interleukin-1beta in patients with resectable gastrointestinal cancer : a multicentre prospective randomized trial (2009)
- Background The effect of additional treatment strategies with antineoplastic agents on intraperitoneal tumor stimulating interleukin levels are unclear. Taurolidine and Povidone-iodine have been mainly used for abdominal lavage in Germany and Europe. Methods In the settings of a multicentre (three University Hospitals) prospective randomized controlled trial 120 patients were randomly allocated to receive either 0.5% taurolidine/2,500 IU heparin (TRD) or 0.25% povidone-iodine (control) intraperitoneally for resectable colorectal, gastric or pancreatic cancers. Due to the fact that IL-1beta (produced by macrophages) is preoperatively indifferent in various gastrointestinal cancer types our major outcome criterion was the perioperative (overall) level of IL-1beta in peritoneal fluid. Results Cytokine values were significantly lower after TRD lavage for IL-1beta, IL-6, and IL-10. Perioperative complications did not differ. The median follow-up was 50.0 months. The overall mortality rate (28 vs. 25, p = 0.36), the cancer-related death rate (17 vs. 19, p = .2), the local recurrence rate (7 vs. 12, p = .16), the distant metastasis rate (13 vs. 18, p = 0.2) as well as the time to relapse were not statistically significant different. Conclusion Reduced cytokine levels might explain a short term antitumorigenic intraperitoneal effect of TRD. But, this study analyzed different types of cancer. Therefore, we set up a multicentre randomized trial in patients undergoing curative colorectal cancer resection. Trial registration : ISRCTN66478538
- Nitric oxide-independent vasodilator rescues heme-oxidized soluble guanylate cyclase from proteosomal degradation (2009)
- Poster presentation: Background Nitric oxide (NO) is an essential vasodilator. In vascular diseases, oxidative stress attenuates NO signaling by both chemical scavenging of free NO and oxidation and down-regulation of its major intracellular receptor, the alpha/beta heterodimeric heme-containing soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). Oxidation can also induce loss of sGC's heme and responsiveness to NO. Results sGC activators such as BAY 58-2667 bind to oxidized/heme-free sGC and reactivate the enzyme to exert disease-specific vasodilation. Here we show that oxidation-induced down-regulation of sGC protein extends to isolated blood vessels. Mechanistically, degradation was triggered through sGC ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The heme-binding site ligand, BAY 58-2667, prevented sGC ubiquitination and stabilized both alpha and beta subunits. Conclusion Collectively, our data establish oxidation-ubiquitination of sGC as a modulator of NO/cGMP signaling and point to a new mechanism of action for sGC activating vasodilators by stabilizing their receptor, oxidized/heme-free sGC.