- Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, Entwicklung und Sicherheit (41)
Heavy ions and X-rays in brain tumor treatment : a comparison of their biological effects on tissue slice cultures
Michel Guy André Mittelbronn
Patrick Nikolaus Harter
- Background: In this interdisciplinary project, the biological effects of heavy ions are compared to those of X-rays using tissue slice culture preparations from rodents and humans. Advantages of this biological model are the conservation of an organotypic environment and the independency from genetic immortalization strategies used to generate cell lines. Its open access allows easy treatment and observation via live-imaging microscopy. Materials and methods: Rat brains and human brain tumor tissue are cut into 300 micro m thick tissue slices. These slices are cultivated using a membrane-based culture system and kept in an incubator at 37°C until treatment. The slices are treated with X-rays at the radiation facility of the University Hospital in Frankfurt at doses of up to 40 Gy. The heavy ion irradiations were performed at the UNILAC facility at GSI with different ions of 11.4 A MeV and fluences ranging from 0.5–10 x 106 particles/cm². Using 3D-confocal microscopy, cell-death and immune cell activation of the irradiated slices are analyzed. Planning of the irradiation experiments is done with simulation programs developed at GSI and FIAS. Results: After receiving a single application of either X-rays or heavy ions, slices were kept in culture for up to 9d post irradiation. DNA damage was visualized using gamma H2AXstaining. Here, a dose-dependent increase and time-dependent decrease could clearly be observed for the X-ray irradiation. Slices irradiated with heavy ions showed less gamma H2AX-positive cells distributed evenly throughout the slice, even though particles were calculated to penetrate only 90–100 micro m into the slice. Conclusions: Single irradiations of brain tissue, even at high doses of 40 Gy, will result neither in tissue damage visible on a macroscopic level nor necrosis. This is in line with the view that the brain is highly radio-resistant. However, DNA damage can be detected very well in tissue slices using gamma H2AX-immuno staining. Thus, slice cultures are an excellent tool to study radiation-induced damage and repair mechanisms in living tissues.
Inter-strain differences of serotonergic inhibitory pain control in inbred mice
- Background: Descending inhibitory pain control contributes to the endogenous defense against chronic pain and involves noradrenergic and serotonergic systems. The clinical efficacy of antidepressants suggests that serotonin may be particularly relevant for neuropathic pain conditions. Serotonergic signaling is regulated by synthesis, metabolisms, reuptake and receptors. To address the complexity, we used inbred mouse strains, C57BL/6J, 129 Sv, DBA/2J and Balb/c, which differ in brain serotonin levels. Results: Serotonin analysis after nerve injury revealed inter-strain differences in the adaptation of descending serotonergic fibers. Upregulation of spinal cord and midbrain serotonin was apparent only in 129 Sv mice and was associated with attenuated nerve injury evoked hyperalgesia and allodynia in this strain. The increase of dorsal horn serotonin was blocked by hemisectioning of descending fibers but not by rhizotomy of primary afferents indicating a midbrain source. Para-chlorophenylalanine-mediated serotonin depletion in spinal cord and midbrain intensified pain hypersensitivity in the nerve injury model. In contrast, chronic inflammation of the hindpaw did not evoke equivalent changes in serotonin levels in the spinal cord and midbrain and nociceptive thresholds dropped in a parallel manner in all strains. Conclusion: The results suggest that chronic nerve injury evoked hypernociception may be contributed by genetic differences of descending serotonergic inhibitory control.
5-Lipoxygenase: underappreciated role of a pro-inflammatory enzyme in tumorigenesis
Astrid Stefanie Fischer
Svenja Dorothea Steinbrink
Thorsten Jürgen Maier
- Leukotrienes constitute a group of bioactive lipids generated by the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway. An increasing body of evidence supports an acute role for 5-LO products already during the earliest stages of pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal carcinogenesis. Several pieces of experimental data form the basis for this hypothesis and suggest a correlation between 5-LO expression and tumor cell viability. First, several independent studies documented an overexpression of 5-LO in primary tumor cells as well as in established cancer cell lines. Second, addition of 5-LO products to cultured tumor cells also led to increased cell proliferation and activation of anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. 5-LO antisense technology approaches demonstrated impaired tumor cell growth due to reduction of 5-LO expression. Lastly, pharmacological inhibition of 5-LO potently suppressed tumor cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest and triggering cell death via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the documented strong cytotoxic off-target effects of 5-LO inhibitors, in combination with the relatively high concentrations of 5-LO products needed to achieve mitogenic effects in cell culture assays, raise concern over the assignment of the cause, and question the relationship between 5-LO products and tumorigenesis. Keywords: leukotriene, apoptosis, cell proliferation, mitogenic effects, cytotoxicity
R-flurbiprofen reduces neuropathic pain in rodents by restoring endogenous cannabinoids
Ingo Jürgen Bechmann
- Background: R-flurbiprofen, one of the enantiomers of flurbiprofen racemate, is inactive with respect to cyclooxygenase inhibition, but shows analgesic properties without relevant toxicity. Its mode of action is still unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings: We show that R-flurbiprofen reduces glutamate release in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord evoked by sciatic nerve injury and thereby alleviates pain in sciatic nerve injury models of neuropathic pain in rats and mice. This is mediated by restoring the balance of endocannabinoids (eCB), which is disturbed following peripheral nerve injury in the DRGs, spinal cord and forebrain. The imbalance results from transcriptional adaptations of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and NAPE-phospholipase D, i.e. the major enzymes involved in anandamide metabolism and synthesis, respectively. R-flurbiprofen inhibits FAAH activity and normalizes NAPE-PLD expression. As a consequence, R-Flurbiprofen improves endogenous cannabinoid mediated effects, indicated by the reduction of glutamate release, increased activity of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor PPAR gamma and attenuation of microglia activation. Antinociceptive effects are lost by combined inhibition of CB1 and CB2 receptors and partially abolished in CB1 receptor deficient mice. R-flurbiprofen does however not cause changes of core body temperature which is a typical indicator of central effects of cannabinoid-1 receptor agonists. Conclusion: Our results suggest that R-flurbiprofen improves the endogenous mechanisms to regain stability after axonal injury and to fend off chronic neuropathic pain by modulating the endocannabinoid system and thus constitutes an attractive, novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic, intractable pain.
Quick discrimination of A delta and C fiber mediated pain based on three verbal descriptors
Bruno Georg Oertel
- Background: A delta and C fibers are the major pain-conducting nerve fibers, activate only partly the same brain areas, and are differently involved in pain syndromes. Whether a stimulus excites predominantly A delta or C fibers is a commonly asked question in basic pain research but a quick test was lacking so far. Methodology/Principal Findings: Of 77 verbal descriptors of pain sensations, "pricking", "dull" and "pressing" distinguished best (95% cases correctly) between A delta fiber mediated (punctate pressure produced by means of von Frey hairs) and C fiber mediated (blunt pressure) pain, applied to healthy volunteers in experiment 1. The sensation was assigned to A delta fibers when "pricking" but neither "dull" nor "pressing" were chosen, and to C fibers when the sum of the selections of "dull" or "pressing" was greater than that of the selection of "pricking". In experiment 2, with an independent cohort, the three-descriptor questionnaire achieved sensitivity and specificity above 0.95 for distinguishing fiber preferential non-mechanical induced pain (laser heat, exciting A delta fibers, and 5-Hz electric stimulation, exciting C fibers). Conclusion: A three-item verbal rating test using the words "pricking", "dull", and "pressing" may provide sufficient information to characterize a pain sensation evoked by a physical stimulus as transmitted via A delta or via C fibers. It meets the criteria of a screening test by being easy to administer, taking little time, being comfortable in handling, and inexpensive while providing high specificity for relevant information.
Serum microRNA-21 as marker for necroinflammation in hepatitis C patients with and without hepatocellular carcinoma
Jan Franz-Josef Peveling-Oberhag
Michael von Wagner
Heinfried Hermann Radeke
- Background: MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is up-regulated in tumor tissue of patients with malignant diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Elevated concentrations of miR-21 have also been found in sera or plasma from patients with malignancies, rendering it an interesting candidate as serum/plasma marker for malignancies. Here we correlated serum miR-21 levels with clinical parameters in patients with different stages of chronic hepatitis C virus infection (CHC) and CHC-associated HCC.
Methodology/Principal Findings: 62 CHC patients, 29 patients with CHC and HCC and 19 healthy controls were prospectively enrolled. RNA was extracted from the sera and miR-21 as well as miR-16 levels were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR; miR-21 levels (normalized by miR-16) were correlated with standard liver parameters, histological grading and staging of CHC. The data show that serum levels of miR-21 were elevated in patients with CHC compared to healthy controls (P<0.001); there was no difference between serum miR-21 in patients with CHC and CHC-associated HCC. Serum miR-21 levels correlated with histological activity index (HAI) in the liver (r = −0.494, P = 0.00002), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (r = −0.309, P = 0.007), aspartate aminotransferase (r = −0.495, P = 0.000007), bilirubin (r = −0.362, P = 0.002), international normalized ratio (r = −0.338, P = 0.034) and γ-glutamyltransferase (r = −0.244, P = 0.034). Multivariate analysis revealed that ALT and miR-21 serum levels were independently associated with HAI. At a cut-off dCT of 1.96, miR-21 discriminated between minimal and mild-severe necroinflammation (AUC = 0.758) with a sensitivity of 53.3% and a specificity of 95.2%.
Conclusions/Significance: The serum miR-21 level is a marker for necroinflammatory activity, but does not differ between patients with HCV and HCV-induced HCC.
Additive antinociceptive effects of a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E after peripheral nerve injury
- Accumulating evidence indicates that increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to the development of exaggerated pain hypersensitivity during persistent pain. In the present study, we investigated the antinociceptive efficacy of the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. We show that systemic administration of a combination of vitamins C and E inhibited the early behavioral responses to formalin injection and the neuropathic pain behavior after peripheral nerve injury, but not the inflammatory pain behavior induced by Complete Freund's Adjuvant. In contrast, vitamin C or vitamin E given alone failed to affect the nociceptive behavior in all tested models. The attenuated neuropathic pain behavior induced by the vitamin C and E combination was paralleled by a reduced p38 phosphorylation in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and was also observed after intrathecal injection of the vitamins. Moreover, the vitamin C and E combination ameliorated the allodynia induced by an intrathecally delivered ROS donor. Our results suggest that administration of vitamins C and E in combination may exert synergistic antinociceptive effects, and further indicate that ROS essentially contribute to nociceptive processing in special pain states.
A common HLA-DPA1 variant is associated with hepatitis B virus infection but fails to distinguish active from inactive Caucasian carriers
- Background and Aims: Chronic infection with the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major health issue worldwide. Recently, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DP locus were identified to be associated with HBV infection in Asian populations. Most significant associations were observed for the A alleles of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 and HLA-DPB1 rs9277535, which conferred a decreased risk for HBV infection. We assessed the implications of these variants for HBV infection in Caucasians.
Methods: Two HLA-DP gene variants (rs3077 and rs9277535) were analyzed for associations with persistent HBV infection and with different clinical outcomes, i.e., inactive HBsAg carrier status versus progressive chronic HBV (CHB) infection in Caucasian patients (n = 201) and HBsAg negative controls (n = 235).
Results: The HLA-DPA1 rs3077 C allele was significantly associated with HBV infection (odds ratio, OR = 5.1, 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.9–13.7; p = 0.00093). However, no significant association was seen for rs3077 with progressive CHB infection versus inactive HBsAg carrier status (OR = 2.7, 95% CI: 0.6–11.1; p = 0.31). In contrast, HLA-DPB1 rs9277535 was not associated with HBV infection in Caucasians (OR = 0.8, 95% CI: 0.4–1.9; p = 1).
Conclusions: A highly significant association of HLA-DPA1 rs3077 with HBV infection was observed in Caucasians. However, as a differentiation between different clinical courses of HBV infection was not possible, knowledge of the HLA-DPA1 genotype cannot be translated into personalized anti-HBV therapy approaches.
The human operculo-insular cortex is pain-preferentially but not pain-exclusively activated by trigeminal and olfactory stimuli
Bruno Georg Oertel
- Increasing evidence about the central nervous representation of pain in the brain suggests that the operculo-insular cortex is a crucial part of the pain matrix. The pain-specificity of a brain region may be tested by administering nociceptive stimuli while controlling for unspecific activations by administering non-nociceptive stimuli. We applied this paradigm to nasal chemosensation, delivering trigeminal or olfactory stimuli, to verify the pain-specificity of the operculo-insular cortex. In detail, brain activations due to intranasal stimulation induced by non-nociceptive olfactory stimuli of hydrogen sulfide (5 ppm) or vanillin (0.8 ppm) were used to mask brain activations due to somatosensory, clearly nociceptive trigeminal stimulations with gaseous carbon dioxide (75% v/v). Functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) images were recorded from 12 healthy volunteers in a 3T head scanner during stimulus administration using an event-related design. We found that significantly more activations following nociceptive than non-nociceptive stimuli were localized bilaterally in two restricted clusters in the brain containing the primary and secondary somatosensory areas and the insular cortices consistent with the operculo-insular cortex. However, these activations completely disappeared when eliminating activations associated with the administration of olfactory stimuli, which were small but measurable. While the present experiments verify that the operculo-insular cortex plays a role in the processing of nociceptive input, they also show that it is not a pain-exclusive brain region and allow, in the experimental context, for the interpretation that the operculo-insular cortex splay a major role in the detection of and responding to salient events, whether or not these events are nociceptive or painful.
Primary care management for optimized antithrombotic treatment [PICANT]: study protocol for a cluster-randomized controlled trial
Lisa R. Ulrich
Ferdinand M. Gerlach
Juliana J. Petersen
- Background: Antithrombotic treatment is a continuous therapy that is often performed in general practice and requires careful safety management. The aim of this study is to investigate whether a best practice model that applies major elements of case management, including patient education, can improve antithrombotic management in primary health care in terms of reducing major thromboembolic and bleeding events.
Methods: This 24-month cluster-randomized trial will be performed in 690 adult patients from 46 practices. The trial intervention will be a complex intervention involving general practitioners, health care assistants and patients with an indication for oral anticoagulation. To assess adherence to medication and symptoms in patients, as well as to detect complications early, health care assistants will be trained in case management and will use the Coagulation-Monitoring-List (Co-MoL) to regularly monitor patients. Patients will receive information (leaflets and a video), treatment monitoring via the Co-MoL and be motivated to perform self-management. Patients in the control group will continue to receive treatment-as-usual from their general practitioners. The primary endpoint is the combined endpoint of all thromboembolic events requiring hospitalization, and all major bleeding complications. Secondary endpoints are mortality, hospitalization, strokes, major bleeding and thromboembolic complications, severe treatment interactions, the number of adverse events, quality of anticoagulation, health-related quality of life and costs. Further secondary objectives will be investigated to explain the mechanism by which the intervention is effective: patients' assessment of chronic illness care, self-reported adherence to medication, general practitioners' and health care assistants' knowledge, patients' knowledge and satisfaction with shared decision making. Practice recruitment is expected to take place between July and December 2012. Recruitment of eligible patients will start in July 2012. Assessment will occur at three time points: baseline (T0), follow-up after 12 (T1) and after 24 months (T2).
Discussion: The efficacy and effectiveness of individual elements of the intervention, such as antithrombotic interventions, self-management concepts in orally anticoagulated patients and the methodological tool, case-management, have already been extensively demonstrated. This project foresees the combination of several proven instruments, as a result of which we expect to profit from a reduction in the major complications associated with antithrombotic treatment.