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- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- Reliability exercise for the polymyalgia rheumatica classification criteria study : the Oranjewoud ultrasound substudy (2009)
- Objective. A study supported by the EULAR and the ACR being conducted to establish classification criteria for polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) will include ultrasound examination of the shoulders and hips. Ultrasound (US) depicts glenohumeral joint effusion, biceps tenosynovitis, subdeltoid bursitis, hip joint synovitis, and trochanteric bursitis in PMR. These findings may aid in distinguishing PMR from other diseases. The purpose of this study was to assess standards and US interreader agreement of participants in the PMR classification criteria study. Methods. Sixteen physicians in four groups examined shoulders and hips of 4 patients and 4 healthy adults with ultrasound. Overall agreement and interobserver agreement were calculated. Results. The overall agreement (OA) between groups was 87%. The OA for healthy shoulders was 88.8%, for healthy hips 100%, for shoulders with pathology 85.2%, and 74.3% for hips with pathology, respectively. Conclusion. There was a high degree of agreement found for the examination of healthy shoulders and pathologic hips. Agreement was moderate for pathologic shoulders and perfect for healthy hips. US of shoulder and hips performed by different examiners is a reliable and feasible tool for assessment of PMR related disease pathology and can be incorporated into a classification criteria study.
- Forest ecosystem research in Hainich National Park (Thuringia) : first results on flora and vegetation in stands with contrasting tree species diversity (2006)
- A floristic description is presented of the study sites of the Research Training Group “The role of biodi-versity for biogeochemical cycles and biotic interactions in temperate deciduous forests”. To investi-gate different aspects of plant biodiversity in Hainich National Park (Thuringia), deciduous forest stands with low, medium and high canopy tree species diversity were compared. The results of species richness and forest communities show that the research sites are characterised by a typical central European forest flora. Greater vascular plant species richness occurs with higher diversity of tree species. Six of altogether twelve research sites are assigned to the beech forest alliance (Galioodorati-Fagion), the second half belongs to the oak-hornbeam forest alliance (Carpinionbetuli). Suballiances within the Galioodorati-Fagion in the study area include the Galio-Fagetum and the Hordelymo-Fagetum. All Carpinionbetuli relevées are assigned to the suballiance Stellario-Carpinetum.
- Spider (Arachnida: Araneae) distribution across the timberline in the Swiss Central Alps (Alp Flix, Grisons) and three morphologically remarkable species (2007)
- We collected 6251 adult epigeic spiders from the dwarf-shrub heath to subalpine coniferous forest on Alp Flix (CH, canton Grisons, 1950 m) between May 2005 and May 2006 using pitfall traps. Total species richness and activity density of all species decreased from the open land to the forest, although this pattern varied according to family. The distribution of the 102 species found indicates that the small area around a single tree at the timberline provides habitats for both open land and forest spider species as well as some possible timberline specialists. Five species were new to the canton Grisons: Centromerita bicolor, Centromerita concinna, Hilaira excisa, Meioneta alpica and Tallusia experta. Three species showed remarkable morphological characteristics and were analysed in more detail. We found males of Pelecopsis radicicola without the characteristic longitudinal depression on the raised carapace. It is shown that the males of Meioneta alpica have a considerably variable lamella characteristica, which is nevertheless distinct from the sister species Meioneta ressli. Because we found intermediate forms of the head region described for Metopobactrus prominulus and M. schenkeli, respectively, M. schenkeli is considered a syn. nov. of M. prominulus. This study shows that the known distribution and taxonomic status of various spider taxa in the Central Alps are still incomplete and further work on arthropods in remote areas should be strongly encouraged.
- The estimation of aboveground biomass and nutrient pools of understorey plants in closed Norway spruce forests and on clearcuts (2010)
- The estimation model PhytoCalc allows a non-destructive quantification of dry weight and nutrient pools of understorey plants in forests by using the relationship between species biomass, cover and mean shoot length. The model has been validated with independent samples in several German forest types and can be a useful tool in forest monitoring. However, in open areas within forests (e.g. clearcuts), the current model version underestimates biomass and produces unreliable nutrient pool estimations. Thus, tissue density, as approximated by leaf dry matter content (LDMC), is systematically higher under high light compared to low light conditions. We demonstrate that the ratio of LDMC under clearcut conditions to LDMC under forest conditions can be used to adjust the PhytoCalc model to clearcut conditions. We investigated the LDMC ratio of five exemplary species commonly occurring on clearcuts. Integrating the square of the ratio as a correction factor improved estimates of biomass to more than 70% fit between observations and predictions. Results also suggest this ratio can be used to correct nutrient concentrations modelled in PhytoCalc, which tend to be overestimated in clearcuts. As morphological groups of plant species exhibit significantly different ratios, we advise using group-specific correction factors for clearcut adjustments in the future.
- Impact of the admixture of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) on plant species diversity and naturalness of conifer stands in Lower Saxony (2011)
- The promotion and extension of continuous cover mixed stands with a simultaneous reduction of conifer-monocultures play a major role in current silvicultural practices in Central Europe. It is assumed that the admixture of the natural dominant beech (Fagus sylvatica) in pure non site-specific conifer stands automatically indicates better conditions in terms of nature conservation and forest management. To test this hypothesis three different conifer-beech-comparisons of pure and mixed stands in Lower Saxony are studied, analyzing plant species diversity and naturalness of understory vegetation as one important indicator for the ecological status of forests. Each comparison includes pure coniferous stands (Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, Pseudotsuga menziesii), mixed coniferous-beech-stands, and pure beech stands on similar acidic mineral soils where the potential natural vegetation will be an oligotrophic beech forest (L u z u l o - Fa g e t um). The age of stands varies between 50 and 150 years. To specify tree species influence on site conditions and vegetation, the study also includes light climate and soil data of the stands. It is observed that, with regard to all comparisons, the admixture of beech reduces plant species diversity but increases naturalness of the stands. The intensity of beech admixture effects differs. While in Scots pine stands the impact of admixed beech is very noticeable, with the mixed stands being nearly identical with pure beech stands, the species change in Douglas-fir and Norway spruce stands proceeds more slowly. Assuming that the status in nature conservation and forest management is improving with increasing plant species diversity and increasing naturalness, the results of this study show a contrary development on a stand scale, as the potential natural vegetation of the L u z u l o - F a g e t u m is in its self very species poor on vascular plants.
- The Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 genome encodes a homologue of the V. cholerae CqsA and L. pneumophila LqsA autoinducer synthases (2013)
- Janthinobacteria commonly form biofilms on eukaryotic hosts and are known to synthesize antibacterial and antifungal compounds. Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 was recently isolated from an aquatic environment and its genome sequence was established. The genome consists of a single chromosome and reveals a size of 7.10 Mb, being the largest janthinobacterial genome so far known. Approximately 80% of the 5,980 coding sequences (CDSs) present in the HH01 genome could be assigned putative functions. The genome encodes a wealth of secretory functions and several large clusters for polyketide biosynthesis. HH01 also encodes a remarkable number of proteins involved in resistance to drugs or heavy metals. Interestingly, the genome of HH01 apparently lacks the N-acylhomoserine lactone (AHL)-dependent signaling system and the AI-2-dependent quorum sensing regulatory circuit. Instead it encodes a homologue of the Legionella- and Vibrio-like autoinducer (lqsA/cqsA) synthase gene which we designated jqsA. The jqsA gene is linked to a cognate sensor kinase (jqsS) which is flanked by the response regulator jqsR. Here we show that a jqsA deletion has strong impact on the violacein biosynthesis in Janthinobacterium sp. HH01 and that a jqsA deletion mutant can be functionally complemented with the V. cholerae cqsA and the L. pneumophila lqsA genes.
- "Denervation" of autonomous nervous system in idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension by low-dose radiation: a case report with an unexpected outcome (2014)
- Vasointestinal peptide metabolism plays a key physiological role in multimodular levels of vasodilatory, smooth muscle cell proliferative, parenchymal, and inflammatory lung reactions. In animal studies, vasointestinal peptide relaxes isolated pulmonary arterial segments from several mammalian species in vitro and neutralizes the pulmonary vasoconstrictor effect of endothelin. In some animal models, it reduces pulmonary vascular resistance in vivo and in monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension. A 58-year-old woman presented with dyspnea and mild edema of the lower extremities. A bronchoscopy was performed without any suspicious findings suggesting a central tumor or other infiltrative disease. Endobronchial ultrasound revealed enlarged pulmonary arteries containing thrombi, a few enlarged lymph nodes, and enlarged mediastinal tissue anatomy with suspicion for mediastinal infiltration of a malignant process. We estimated that less than 10% of the peripheral vascular bed of the lung was involved in direct consolidated fibrosis as demonstrated in the left upper lobe apex. Further, direct involvement of fibrosis around the main stems of the pulmonary arteries was assumed to be low from positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans. Assuming a positive influence of low-dose radiation, it was not expected that this could have reduced pulmonary vascular resistance by over two thirds of the initial result. However; it was noted that this patient had idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension mixed with "acute" (mediastinal) fibrosis which could have contributed to the unexpected success of reduction of pulmonary vascular resistance. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of successful treatment of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension, probably as a result of low-dose radiation to the pulmonary arterial main stems. The patient continues to have no specific complaints concerning her idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension.