A53T-alpha-synuclein-overexpression in the mouse nigrostriatal pathway leads to early increase of 14-3-3 epsilon and late increase of GFAP
Helmut E. Meyer
- Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder frequent at old age characterized by atrophy of the nigrostriatal projection. Overexpression and A53T-mutation of the presynaptic, vesicle-associated chaperone alpha-synuclein are known to cause early-onset autosomal dominant PD. We previously generated mice with transgenic overexpression of human A53T-alpha-synuclein (A53T-SNCA) in dopaminergic substantia nigra neurons as a model of early PD. To elucidate the early and late effects of A53T-alpha-synuclein on the proteome of dopaminergic nerve terminals in the striatum, we now investigated expression profiles of young and old mice using two-dimensional fluorescence difference in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry. In total, 15 proteins were upregulated and 2 downregulated. Mice before the onset of motor anomalies showed an upregulation of the spot containing 14-3-3 proteins, in particular the epsilon isoform, as well as altered levels of chaperones, vesicle trafficking and bioenergetics proteins. In old mice, the persistent upregulation of 14-3-3 proteins was aggravated by an increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) suggesting astrogliosis due to initial neurodegeneration. Independent immunoblots corroborated GFAP upregulation and 14-3-3 upregulation for the epsilon isoform, and also detected significant eta and gamma changes. Only for 14-3-3 epsilon a corresponding mRNA increase was observed in midbrain, suggesting it is transcribed in dopaminergic perikarya and accumulates as protein in presynapses, together with A53T-SNCA. 14-3-3 proteins associate with alpha-synuclein in vitro and in pathognomonic Lewy bodies of PD brains. They act as chaperones in signaling, dopamine synthesis and stress response. Thus, their early dysregulation probably reflects a response to alpha-synuclein toxicity.
Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00702-011-0717-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The group-based social skills training SOSTA-FRA in children and adolescents with high functioning autism spectrum disorder - study protocol of the randomised, multi-centre controlled SOSTA - net trial
Christine M. Freitag
Anne K. Kroeger
Cornelia Ursula Kunz
- Background: Group-based social skills training (SST) has repeatedly been recommended as treatment of choice in high-functioning autism spectrum disorder (HFASD). To date, no sufficiently powered randomised controlled trial has been performed to establish efficacy and safety of SST in children and adolescents with HFASD. In this randomised, multi-centre, controlled trial with 220 children and adolescents with HFASD it is hypothesized, that add-on group-based SST using the 12 weeks manualised SOSTA–FRA program will result in improved social responsiveness (measured by the parent rated social responsiveness scale, SRS) compared to treatment as usual (TAU). It is further expected, that parent and self reported anxiety and depressive symptoms will decline and pro-social behaviour will increase in the treatment group. A neurophysiological study in the Frankfurt HFASD subgroup will be performed pre- and post treatment to assess changes in neural function induced by SST versus TAU.
Methods/design: The SOSTA – net trial is designed as a prospective, randomised, multi-centre, controlled trial with two parallel groups. The primary outcome is change in SRS score directly after the intervention and at 3 months follow-up. Several secondary outcome measures are also obtained. The target sample consists of 220 individuals with ASD, included at the six study centres.
Discussion: This study is currently one of the largest trials on SST in children and adolescents with HFASD worldwide. Compared to recent randomised controlled studies, our study shows several advantages with regard to in- and exclusion criteria, study methods, and the therapeutic approach chosen, which can be easily implemented in non-university-based clinical settings.
Trial registration: ISRCTN94863788 – SOSTA – net: Group-based social skills training in children and adolescents with high functioning autism spectrum disorder.
Translation and adaptation of an international questionnaire to measure usage of complementary and alternative medicine (I-CAM-G)
Meike Lo Re
- BACKGROUND: The growing body of data on prevalence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) usage means there is a need to standardize measurement on an international level. An international team has published a questionnaire0020 (I-CAM-Q), but no validation has yet been provided. The aim of the present study was to provide a German measurement instrument for CAM usage (I-CAM-G) which closely resembles the original English version, and to assess it's performance in two potential samples for measuring CAM usage.
METHODS: The English I-CAM-Q questionnaire was translated into German, and adapted slightly. The resulting I-CAM-G questionnaire was then pre-tested on N=16 healthy volunteers, and 12 cognitive interviews were carried out. The questionnaire was employed in a sample of breast cancer patients (N=92, paper and pencil), and a sample from the general population (N=210, internet survey). Descriptive analyses of items and missing data, as well as results from the cognitive interviews, are presented in this paper.
RESULTS: The translated questionnaire had to be adapted to be consistent with the German health care system. All items were comprehensible, whereby some items were unambiguous (e.g. CAM use yes/no, helpfulness), while others gave rise to ambiguous answers (e.g. reasons for CAM use), or high rates of missing data (e.g. number of times the CAM modality had been used during the last 3 months). 78% of the breast cancer patients and up to 85% of a sample of the general population had used some form of CAM.
CONCLUSIONS: Following methodologically sound and comprehensive translation, adaptation and assessment processes using recognized translation procedures, cognitive interviews, and studying the performance of the questionnaire in two samples, we arrived at a German questionnaire for measuring CAM use which is comparable with the international (English) version. The questionnaire appropriately measures CAM use, with some items being more appropriate than others. We recommend the development of a short version.
Publication of original research in urologic journals - a neglected orphan?
Roman A. Blaheta
- The pathophysiologic mechanisms behind urologic disease are increasingly being elucidated. The object of this investigation was to evaluate the publication policies of urologic journals during a period of progressively better understanding and management of urologic disease. Based on the ISI Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports and the PubMed database, the number and percentage of original experimental, original clinical, review or commentarial articles published between 2002–2010 in six leading urologic journals were analyzed. “British Journal of Urology International”, “European Urology”, “Urologic Oncology-Seminars and Original Investigations” (“Urologic Oncology”), “Urology”, “The Journal of Urology”, and “World Journal of Urology” were chosen, because these journals publish articles in all four categories. The publication policies of the six journals were very heterogeneous during the time period from 2002 to 2010. The percentage of original experimental and original clinical articles, related to all categories, remained the same in “British Journal of Urology International”, “Urologic Oncology”, “Urology” and “The Journal of Urology”. The percentage of experimental reports in “World Journal of Urology” between 2002–2010 significantly increased from 10 to 20%. A distinct elevation in the percentage of commentarial articles accompanied by a reduction of clinical articles became evident in “European Urology” which significantly correlated with a large increase in the journal’s impact factor. No clearly superior policy could be identified with regard to a general increase in the impact factors from all the journals. The publication policy of urologic journals does not expressly reflect the increase in scientific knowledge, which has occurred over the period 2002–2010. One way of increasing the exposure of urologists to research and expand the interface between experimental and clinical research, would be to enlarge the percentage of experimental articles published. There is no indication that such policy would be detrimental to a journal’s impact factor.
Changes in the prevalence, treatment and control of hypertension in Germany? : A clinical-epidemiological study of 50.000 primary care patients
Alexander Michael Labeit
Günter K. Stalla
Andreas Michael Zeiher
- INTRODUCTION: Medical societies have developed guidelines for the detection, treatment and control of hypertension (HTN). Our analysis assessed the extent to which such guidelines were implemented in Germany in 2003 and 2001.
METHODS: Using standardized clinical diagnostic and treatment appraisal forms, blood pressure levels and patient questionnaires for 55,518 participants from the cross-sectional Targets and Essential Data for Commitment of Treatment (DETECT) study (2003) were analyzed. Physician's diagnosis of hypertension (HTN(doc)) was defined as coding hypertension in the clinical appraisal questionnaire. Alternative definitions used were physician's diagnosis or the patient's self-reported diagnosis of hypertension (HTN(doc,pat)), physician's or patient's self-reported diagnosis or a BP measurement with a systolic BP≥140 mmHg and/or a diastolic BP≥90 (HTN(doc,pat,bp)) and diagnosis according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (HTN(NHANES)). The results were compared with the similar German HYDRA study to examine whether changes had occurred in diagnosis, treatment and adequate blood pressure control (BP below 140/90 mmHg) since 2001. Factors associated with pharmacotherapy and control were determined.
RESULTS: The overall prevalence rate for hypertension was 35.5% according to HTN(doc) and 56.0% according to NHANES criteria. Among those defined by NHANES criteria, treatment and control rates were 56.0% and 20.3% in 2003, and these rates had improved from 55.3% and 18.0% in 2001. Significant predictors of receiving antihypertensive medication were: increasing age, female sex, obesity, previous myocardial infarction and the prevalence of comorbid conditions such as coronary heart disease (CHD), hyperlipidemia and diabetes mellitus (DM). Significant positive predictors of adequate blood pressure control were CHD and antihypertensive medication. Inadequate control was associated with increasing age, male sex and obesity.
CONCLUSIONS: Rates of treated and controlled hypertension according to NHANES criteria in DETECT remained low between 2001 and 2003, although there was some minor improvement.
PI3K inhibition enhances doxorubicin-induced apoptosis in sarcoma cells
- We searched for a drug capable of sensitization of sarcoma cells to doxorubicin (DOX). We report that the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor PI103 enhances the efficacy of DOX in several sarcoma cell lines and interacts with DOX in the induction of apoptosis. PI103 decreased the expression of MDR1 and MRP1, which resulted in DOX accumulation. However, the enhancement of DOX-induced apoptosis was unrelated to DOX accumulation. Neither did it involve inhibition of mTOR. Instead, the combination treatment of DOX plus PI103 activated Bax, the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway, and caspase 3. Caspase 3 activation was also observed in xenografts of sarcoma cells in nude mice upon combination of DOX with the specific PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941. Although the increase in apoptosis did not further impact on tumor growth when compared to the efficient growth inhibition by GDC-0941 alone, these findings suggest that inhibition of PI3K may improve DOX-induced proapoptotic effects in sarcoma. Taken together with similar recent studies of neuroblastoma- and glioblastoma-derived cells, PI3K inhibition seems to be a more general option to sensitize tumor cells to anthracyclines.
Feasibility of azacitidine added to standard chemotherapy in older patients with acute myeloid leukemia - a randomised SAL pilot study
Christian Hubertus Brandts
Wolfgang E. Berdel
- INTRODUCTION: Older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) experience short survival despite intensive chemotherapy. Azacitidine has promising activity in patients with low proliferating AML. The aim of this dose-finding part of this trial was to evaluate feasibility and safety of azacitidine combined with a cytarabine- and daunorubicin-based chemotherapy in older patients with AML.
TRIAL DESIGN: Prospective, randomised, open, phase II trial with parallel group design and fixed sample size.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients aged 61 years or older, with untreated acute myeloid leukemia with a leukocyte count of <20,000/µl at the time of study entry and adequate organ function were eligible. Patients were randomised to receive azacitidine either 37.5 (dose level 1) or 75 mg/sqm (dose level 2) for five days before each cycle of induction (7+3 cytarabine plus daunorubicine) and consolidation (intermediate-dose cytarabine) therapy. Dose-limiting toxicity was the primary endpoint.
RESULTS: Six patients each were randomised into each dose level and evaluable for analysis. No dose-limiting toxicity occurred in either dose level. Nine serious adverse events occurred in five patients (three in the 37.5 mg, two in the 75 mg arm) with two fatal outcomes. Two patients at the 37.5 mg/sqm dose level and four patients at the 75 mg/sqm level achieved a complete remission after induction therapy. Median overall survival was 266 days and median event-free survival 215 days after a median follow up of 616 days.
CONCLUSIONS: The combination of azacitidine 75 mg/sqm with standard induction therapy is feasible in older patients with AML and was selected as an investigational arm in the randomised controlled part of this phase-II study, which is currently halted due to an increased cardiac toxicity observed in the experimental arm.
Different patterns of white matter degeneration using multiple diffusion indices and volumetric data in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer patients
Gilberto Sousa Alves
Carlos Eduardo Alves
- Alzheimeŕs disease (AD) represents the most prevalent neurodegenerative disorder that causes cognitive decline in old age. In its early stages, AD is associated with microstructural abnormalities in white matter (WM). In the current study, multiple indices of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and brain volumetric measurements were employed to comprehensively investigate the landscape of AD pathology. The sample comprised 58 individuals including cognitively normal subjects (controls), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and AD patients. Relative to controls, both MCI and AD subjects showed widespread changes of anisotropic fraction (FA) in the corpus callosum, cingulate and uncinate fasciculus. Mean diffusivity and radial changes were also observed in AD patients in comparison with controls. After controlling for the gray matter atrophy the number of regions of significantly lower FA in AD patients relative to controls was decreased; nonetheless, unique areas of microstructural damage remained, e.g., the corpus callosum and uncinate fasciculus. Despite sample size limitations, the current results suggest that a combination of secondary and primary degeneration occurrs in MCI and AD, although the secondary degeneration appears to have a more critical role during the stages of disease involving dementia.
Identification and characterization of FAM124B as a novel component of a CHD7 and CHD8 containing complex
Tamara I. Rabe
Silke Jeannette Pauli
- BACKGROUND: Mutations in the chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein 7 gene (CHD7) lead to CHARGE syndrome, an autosomal dominant multiple malformation disorder. Proteins involved in chromatin remodeling typically act in multiprotein complexes. We previously demonstrated that a part of human CHD7 interacts with a part of human CHD8, another chromodomain helicase DNA binding protein presumably being involved in the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental (NDD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Because identification of novel CHD7 and CHD8 interacting partners will provide further insights into the pathogenesis of CHARGE syndrome and ASD/NDD, we searched for additional associated polypeptides using the method of stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) in combination with mass spectrometry.
PRINCIPLE FINDINGS: The hitherto uncharacterized FAM124B (Family with sequence similarity 124B) was identified as a potential interaction partner of both CHD7 and CHD8. We confirmed the result by co-immunoprecipitation studies and showed a direct binding to the CHD8 part by direct yeast two hybrid experiments. Furthermore, we characterized FAM124B as a mainly nuclear localized protein with a widespread expression in embryonic and adult mouse tissues.
CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that FAM124B is a potential interacting partner of a CHD7 and CHD8 containing complex. From the overlapping expression pattern between Chd7 and Fam124B at murine embryonic day E12.5 and the high expression of Fam124B in the developing mouse brain, we conclude that Fam124B is a novel protein possibly involved in the pathogenesis of CHARGE syndrome and neurodevelopmental disorders.
Borrelia valaisiana resist complement-mediated killing independently of the recruitment of immune regulators and inactivation of complement components
Peter F. Zipfel
- Spirochetes belonging to the Borrelia (B.) burgdorferi sensu lato complex differ in their resistance to complement-mediated killing, particularly in regard to human serum. In the present study, we elucidate the serum and complement susceptibility of B. valaisiana, a genospecies with the potential to cause Lyme disease in Europe as well as in Asia. Among the investigated isolates, growth of ZWU3 Ny3 was not affected while growth of VS116 and Bv9 was strongly inhibited in the presence of 50% human serum. Analyzing complement activation, complement components C3, C4 and C6 were deposited on the surface of isolates VS116 and Bv9, and similarly the membrane attack complex was formed on their surface. In contrast, no surface-deposited components and no aberrations in cell morphology were detected for serum-resistant ZWU3 Ny3. While further investigating the protective role of bound complement regulators in mediating complement resistance, we discovered that none of the B. valaisiana isolates analyzed bound complement regulators Factor H, Factor H-like protein 1, C4b binding protein or C1 esterase inhibitor. In addition, B. valaisiana also lacked intrinsic proteolytic activity to degrade complement components C3, C3b, C4, C4b, and C5. Taken together, these findings suggest that certain B. valaisiana isolates differ in their capability to resist complement-mediating killing by human serum. The molecular mechanism utilized by B. valaisiana to inhibit bacteriolysis appears not to involve binding of the key host complement regulators of the alternative, classical, and lectin pathways as already known for serum-resistant Lyme disease or relapsing fever borreliae.