Viral infections have a major impact on morbidity and mortality of immunosuppressed solid organ transplant (SOT) patients because of missing or failure of adequate pharmacologic antiviral treatment. Adoptive antiviral T-cell therapy (AVTT), regenerating disturbed endogenous T-cell immunity, emerged as an attractive alternative approach to combat severe viral complications in immunocompromised patients. AVTT is successful in patients after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation where T-cell products (TCPs) are manufactured from healthy donors. In contrast, in the SOT setting TCPs are derived from/applied back to immunosuppressed patients.We and others demonstrated feasibility of TCP generation from SOT patients and first clinical proof-of-concept trials revealing promising data. However, the initial efficacy is frequently lost longterm, because of limited survival of transferred short-lived T-cells indicating a need for next-generation TCPs. Our recent data suggest that Rapamycin treatment during TCP manufacture, conferring partial inhibition of mTOR, might improve its composition. The aim of this study was to confirm these promising observations in a setting closer to clinical challenges and to deeply characterize the next-generation TCPs. Using cytomegalovirus (CMV) as model, our next-generation Rapamycin-treated (Rapa-)TCP showed consistently increased proportions of CD4+ T-cells as well as CD4+ and CD8+ central-memory T-cells (TCM). In addition, Rapamycin sustained T-cell function despite withdrawal of Rapamycin, showed superior T-cell viability and resistance to apoptosis, stable metabolism upon activation, preferential expansion of TCM, partial conversion of other memory T-cell subsets to TCM and increased clonal diversity. On transcriptome level, we observed a gene expression profile denoting long-lived early memory T-cells with potent effector functions. Furthermore, we successfully applied the novel protocol for the generation of Rapa-TCPs to 19/19 SOT patients in a comparative study, irrespective Amini et al. Advanced CMV-Specific T-Cell Therapy for SOT of their history of CMV reactivation. Moreover, comparison of paired TCPs generated before/after transplantation did not reveal inferiority of the latter despite exposition to maintenance immunosuppression post-SOT. Our data imply that the Rapa-TCPs, exhibiting longevity and sustained T-cell memory, are a reasonable treatment option for SOT patients. Based on our success to manufacture Rapa-TCPs from SOT patients under maintenance immunosuppression, now, we seek ultimate clinical proof of efficacy in a clinical study.View less
All memory T cells mount an accelerated response on antigen reencounter, but significant functional heterogeneity is present within the respective memory T-cell subsets as defined by CCR7 and CD45RA expression, thereby warranting further stratification. Here we show that several surface markers, including KLRB1, KLRG1, GPR56, and KLRF1, help define low, high, or exhausted cytokine producers within human peripheral and intrahepatic CD4+ memory T-cell populations. Highest simultaneous production of TNF and IFN-γ is observed in KLRB1+KLRG1+GPR56+ CD4 T cells. By contrast, KLRF1 expression is associated with T-cell exhaustion and reduced TNF/IFN-γ production. Lastly, TCRβ repertoire analysis and in vitro differentiation support a regulated, progressive expression for these markers during CD4+ memory T-cell differentiation. Our results thus help refine the classification of human memory T cells to provide insights on inflammatory disease progression and immunotherapy development.View less
Clinically relevant exocytosis of mast cell (MC) mediators can be triggered by high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI)-aggregation (allergic route) or by the so-called pseudo-allergic pathway elicited via MAS-related G protein-coupled receptor-X2 (MRGPRX2). The latter is activated by drugs and endogenous neuropeptides. We recently reported that FcεRI-triggered degranulation is attenuated when human skin mast cells are chronically exposed to IL-33. Here, we were interested in the regulation of the MRGPRX2-route. Chronic exposure of skin MCs to IL-33 basically eliminated the pseudo-allergic/neurogenic route as a result of massive MRGPRX2 reduction. This downregulation seemed to partially require c-Jun N-terminal Kinase (JNK), but not p38, the two kinases activated by IL-33 in skin MCs. Surprisingly, however, JNK had a positive effect on MRGPRX2 expression in the absence of IL-33. This was evidenced by Accell®-mediated JNK knockdown and JNK inhibition. In stark contrast to the dampening effect upon prolonged exposure, IL-33 was able to prime for increased degranulation by MRGPRX2 ligands when administered directly before stimulation. This supportive effect depended on p38, but not on JNK activity. Our data reinforce the concept that exposure length dictates whether IL-33 will enhance or attenuate secretion. IL-33 is, thus, the first factor to acutely enhance MRGPRX2-triggered degranulation. Finally, we reveal that p38, rarely associated with MC degranulation, can positively affect exocytosis in a context-dependent manner.View less
To investigate whether nasal high-frequency oscillatory ventilation (nHFOV) started immediately after extubation of mechanically ventilated very low birth weight infants reduces the partial pressure of carbon dioxide at 72 h after extubation in comparison with nasal continuous positive airway pressure. This randomised controlled single-centre trial aimed to include 68 preterm infants at high risk of extubation failure.
Implementation of the study protocol was feasible. However, from 2015 to 2017, only six patients could be recruited, leading to early termination of the trial. The slow recruitment was due to the introduction of new strategies to avoid endotracheal mechanical ventilation, which reduced the number of eligible infants. Moreover, the included infants failed their extubation more often than anticipated, thereby increasing the required sample size. Based on our single-centre experience, we provide information for study planning and discuss the specific requirements for future trial protocols on nHFOV. The extubation of high-risk infants into nHFOV could well be beneficial, but a multicentric approach is necessary to investigate this hypothesis.
Trial Registration Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02340299, on 16 January 2015.View less
Background: Anti-tumour immune competence has an impact in hepatocarcinogenesis and success of anti-cancer therapies. Tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and monocytes/macrophages (TAMs) are proposed to have significance in cancer. However, there is only limited data concerning their impact on patient outcome and survival in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Methods: Frequencies of CD68+, CD163+M2-polarized TAMs and TILs were measured in de novo HCC tumours in noncirrhosis (n = 58) using immunohistology and correlated to patients’ clinicopathological characteristics and survival rates. Results: Patients with tumours marked by appearance of TILs and CD68+ TAMs showed an improved 1-, 3- and 5-year recurrence-free survival (all p ≤ 0.05). CD68+ TAMs were associated with reduced incidence of recurrent and multifocal disease. Conversely, CD163+ TAMs were associated with multifocal HCC and lymphangiosis carcinomatosa (all p ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: TILs and CD68+ TAMs are associated with multiple tumour characteristics and patient survival in HCC. However, there is only scarce data about the biology underlying their mechanistic involvement in human tumour progression. Thus, experimental data on functional links might help develop novel immunologic checkpoint inhibitor targets for liver cancer.View less
Background: While literature on the theoretical value of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) for assessment is rapidly expanding, little experience exists on its application. The aims of this study are to develop and explore the utility of an EPA-based assessment tool for capturing the workplace performance of final-year medical students based on a full set of end-of-training EPAs.
Methods: The tool was developed in a systematic iterative process. Twelve 12 end-of-undergraduate medical training EPAs were nested into 72 smaller EPAs and cross-mapped onto a 6-point supervision level scale, both adjusted to the context of final-year clerkships. One version was created for students’ self-assessment of their ability to carry out tasks and their history of carrying out tasks, and another version was created for supervisors’ assessment of students’ ability to carry out tasks. The tool was administered to final-year clerkship students and their clinical supervisors to explore its utility as an assessment approach. The results were analysed using descriptive and interferential statistics.
Results: We enrolled a total of 60 final-year medical students. For 33 students, ratings were provided from one supervisor and for 27 students from two supervisors. With regard to the reliability and validity of the tool, students’ and supervisors’ ratings showed an overall good internal consistency as well as variability between and within the EPAs. Over the full EPA range, students rated their ability to perform a task slightly higher than their task performance history and slightly lower than the supervisors’ ratings. Students’ self-ratings of their ability to perform a task correlated with their history in performing the task. Supervisors’ ratings correlated among supervisors and not with students’ ratings. Concerning educational outcomes, supervisors’ average rating of students’ ability to perform the EPAs without direct supervision was 64%, and key findings being double-checked.
Conclusions: This study introduces a tool that is adjusted to the final-year clerkship context and can assess the workplace performance of trainees based on a full set of end-of-training EPAs. Its utility characteristics suggest that the tool may be employed as a formative and outcome-aligned approach to the assessment of final-year students before entering into residency.View less
The transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily C member 6 (TRPC6) is a Ca2+-permeable nonselective cation channel and has received recent attention because of its capability to promote chronic kidney disease (CKD). The aims of this study were (i) to examine whether deletion of TRPC6 impacts on renal fibrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration in an early CKD model of unilateral ureter obstruction (UUO) in mice; and (ii) whether TRPC6-deficiency as well as UUO affect the regulation of TRPC expression in murine kidneys.
Wild-type (WT), Trpc6-knockout (Trpc6-/-) and New Zealand obese (NZO) mice underwent sham operation or unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). The kidneys were harvested 7 days after surgery. We examined renal fibrosis and inflammatory cell infiltration by histological and immunohistochemical staining. The mRNA expression of TRPC members and markers of fibrosis and inflammation in kidney were assessed by using real-time quantitative reverse transcription PCR.
Histological and immunohistochemical analyses revealed less inflammatory cell infiltration (F4/80 and CD3) in UUO kidneys of Trpc6-/- mice compared to UUO kidneys of WT mice as well as less fibrosis. Genomic deletion of TRPC6 also affected the expression of pro-fibrotic genes in UUO Trpc6-/- kidneys compared to UUO WT kidneys while the expression of pro-inflammatory genes did not differ. UUO caused marked up-regulation of Trpc6 and down-regulation of Trpc1 mRNA in kidneys of WT and NZO mice. Trpc3 mRNA expression was significantly elevated in kidneys of Trpc6-/- mice underwent UUO while the levels did not change in kidneys of neither WT nor in NZO mice underwent UUO.
TRPC6 contributes to renal fibrosis and immune cell infiltration in the UUO mouse model. Therefore, inhibition of TRPC6 emerges as a promising novel therapeutic strategy for treatment of chronic kidney failure in chronic obstructive nephropathy. However, confounding genomic and non-genomic effects of other TRPC channels should be taken into consideration to fully comprehend the renoprotective potential of targeting TRPC6 therapeutically under chronic kidney damaging conditions.View less
Retroperitoneal sarcomas (RPS) include a heterogeneous group of rare malignant tumours, and various treatment algorithms are still controversially discussed until today. The present study aimed to examine postoperative and long-term outcomes after resection of primary RPS. Patients and methods:
Clinicopathological data of patients who underwent resection of primary RPS between 2005 and 2015 were assessed, and predictors for overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were identified. Results:
Sixty-one patients underwent resection for primary RPS. Postoperative morbidity and mortality rates were 31 and 3%, respectively. After a median follow-up time of 74 months, 5-year OS and DFS rates were 58 and 34%, respectively. Histologic high grade (5-year OS: G1: 92% vs. G2: 54% vs. G3: 43%, P = 0.030) was significantly associated with diminished OS in univariate and multivariate analyses. When assessing DFS, histologic high grade (5-year DFS: G1: 63% vs. G2: 24% vs. G3: 22%, P = 0.013), positive surgical resection margins (5-year DFS: R0: 53% vs. R1: 10% vs. R2: 0%, P = 0.014), and vascular involvement (5-year DFS: yes: 33% vs no: 39%, P = 0.001), were significantly associated with inferior DFS in univariate and multivariate analyses. Conclusions:
High-grade tumours indicated poor OS, while vascular involvement, positive surgical resection margins, and histologic grade are the most important predictors of DFS. Although multimodal treatment strategies are progressively established, surgical resection remains the mainstay in the majority of patients with RPS, even in cases with vascular involvement.View less
Correct staging and grading of patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (cRCC) is of clinical relevance for the prediction of operability and for individualized patient management. As partial or radial resection with postoperative tumor grading currently remain the methods of choice for the classification of cRCC, non-invasive preoperative alternatives to differentiate lower grade from higher grade cRCC would be beneficial. Methods:
This institutional-review-board approved cross-sectional study included twenty-seven patients (8 women, mean age ± SD, 61.3 ± 14.2) with histopathologically confirmed cRCC, graded according to the International Society of Urological Pathology (ISUP). A native, balanced steady-state free precession T2 mapping sequence (TrueFISP) was performed at 1.5 T. Quantitative T2 values were measured with circular 2D ROIs in the solid tumor portion and also in the normal renal parenchyma (cortex and medulla). To estimate the optimal cut-off T2 value for identifying lower grade cRCC, a Receiver Operating Characteristic Curve (ROC) analysis was performed and sensitivity and specificity were calculated. Students’ t-tests were used to evaluate the differences in mean values for continuous variables, while intergroup differences were tested for significance with two-tailed Mann-Whitney-U tests. Results:
There were significant differences between the T2 values for lower grade (ISUP 1–2) and higher grade (ISUP 3–4) cRCC (p < 0.001), with higher T2 values for lower grade cRCC compared to higher grade cRCC. The sensitivity and specificity for the differentiation of lower grade from higher grade tumors were 83.3% (95% CI: 0.59–0.96) and 88.9% (95% CI: 0.52–1.00), respectively, using a threshold value of ≥110 ms. Intraobserver/interobserver agreement for T2 measurements was excellent/substantial. Conclusions:
Native T2 mapping based on a balanced steady-state free precession MR sequence might support an image-based distinction between lower and higher grade cRCC in a two-tier-system and could be a helpful addition to multiparametric imaging.View less
Background: Aged long-term care receivers are affected by various adverse skin conditions like pressure ulcers, incontinence-associated dermatitis, dryness, intertrigo, and many more. Prevention of these skin problems and the provision of general hygiene and skin care activities are key areas of nursing practice. Numerous condition-specific guidelines are available and are implemented separately. On the other hand, there is huge overlap in terms of etiology, pathogenesis, and prevention of the skin conditions mentioned above. This leads to fragmented practice neglecting shared etiologies and prevention and treatment principles.
Methods: The overall aims of this trial are to test the feasibility and to estimate possible effects of the implementation of a comprehensive skin care and prevention strategy targeting main nursing-relevant skin problems at the same time. A two-arm cluster-randomized controlled trial will be performed in 20 nursing homes randomly selected from the population of nursing homes of the state of Berlin, comparing skin care according to the skin care and prevention strategy with standard skin care.
Discussion: It is expected that the implementation of this evidence-based skin care and prevention strategy will reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers, incontinence dermatitis, and other skin problems frequently related to care dependency. This trial will benefit individual patients and aged nursing home residents in general given the high prevalence and incidence of the addressed skin conditions. Findings of this exploratory trial may lay the foundation for a change in the development and evaluation of clinical standards and practices in general as it moves the perspective from individual conditions to a more comprehensive view on overlapping or coexisting health problems, in this case common skin conditions, in old-age long-term care receivers.View less
Oxytocin (OXT) is critically involved in the regulation of attachment and interpersonal function. In this study, emotional childrens movies were used to stimulate OXT secretion in patients with schizophrenia and healthy controls (HCs). Furthermore, associations of OXT levels with measures of attachment style (Psychosis Attachment Measure), childhood adversity (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire) and symptom severity [Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)] were considered. In 35 patients with schizophrenia and 35 matched HCs, radioimmunoassay with sample extraction was used to determine OXT plasma levels before and after viewing of movie scenes portraying emotional bonding and loss and compared to a non-emotional condition. Statistical analysis indicated lower baseline OXT levels in female patients than in all other groups. OXT reactivity during emotional movies was significantly higher in patients when compared to HCs. OXT reactivity during the control movie related to PANSS `general psychopathology. No significant associations appeared between baseline or induced OXT levels and other PANSS subscales, attachment style or childhood adversity in patients. Our findings suggest differences of baseline OXT and a higher OXT reactivity toward strong emotional stimuli in patients with schizophrenia, suggesting a role of OXT as a gender- and context-dependent modulator of socio-emotional function.View less
New inhibitors of tubulin polymerization and/or histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity were synthesized by attaching alkyl tethered hydroxamic acid appendages of varying length to oxazole-bridged combretastatin A-4 analogous caps. While their antiproliferative and microtubule disrupting effect was most pronounced for derivatives with short spacers, HDAC inhibition was strongest for those with longer spacers. These findings were further supported by computational methods such as structure-based docking experiments exploring the target interactions of the derivatives with varying linkers. For instance, compounds featuring short four-atom spacers between cap and hydroxamic acid inhibited the growth of various cancer cell lines and human endothelial hybrid cells with IC50 values in the low nanomolar range. In line with their ability to inhibit the microtubule assembly, four- and five-atom spacered hydroxamic acids caused an accumulation of 518A2 melanoma cells in G2/M phase, whereas a compound featuring a six-atom spacer and performing best in HDAC inhibition, induced a G1 arrest in these cells. All these beneficial anticancer activities together with their selectivity for cancer cells over non-malignant cells, point out the great potential of these novel pleiotropic HDAC and tubulin inhibitors as drug candidates for cancer therapy.View less
The globally rising incidences of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Psae) in humans and live-stock animals has prompted the World Health Organization to rate MDR Psae as serious threat for human health. Only little is known, however, regarding factors facilitating gastrointestinal Psae-acquisition by the vertebrate host and subsequently induced in fl ammatory sequelae. In the present study, we addressed whether subacute ileitis predisposed mice harboring a human gut microbiota for intestinal MDR Psae carriage and whether in fl ammatory responses might be induced following peroral challenge with the opportunistic pathogen. To accomplish this, secondary abiotic mice were associated with a human gut microbiota by fecal microbiota transplantation. Ten days later (i.e., on day 0), subacute ileitis was induced in human microbiota associated (hma) mice by peroral low-dose Toxoplasma gondii infection. On day 5 post-infection, mice were perorally challenged with 10(9) colony forming units of a clinical MDR Psae isolate by gavage and the fecal bacterial loads surveyed thereafter. Four days post-peroral challenge, only approximately one third of mice with a human gut microbiota and subacute ileitis harbored the opportunistic pathogen in the intestinal tract. Notably, the gut microbiota composition was virtually unaffected by the Psae-carriage status during subacute ileitis of hma mice. The Psae challenge resulted, however, in more pronounced intestinal epithelial apoptotic cell and T lymphocyte responses upon ileitis induction that were not restricted to the ileum, but also affected the large intestines. Higher Psae-induced abundances of T cells could additionally be observed in extra-intestinal compartments including liver, kidney, lung, and heart of hma mice with subacute ileitis. Furthermore, higher apoptotic cell numbers, but lower anti-in fl ammatory IL-10 concentrations were assessed in the liver of Psae as compared to mock treated mice with ileitis. Remarkably, Psae-challenge was accompanied by even more pronounced systemic secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF and IL-6 at day 9 post ileitis induction. In conclusion, whereas in one third of hma mice with subacute ileitis Psae could be isolated from the intestines upon peroral challenge, the opportunistic pathogen was responsible for inflammatory sequelae in intestinal, extra-intestinal, and even systemic compartments and thus worsened subacute ileitis outcome irrespective of the Psae-carrier status.View less
Mucous membrane pemphigoid (MMP) is a rare autoimmune bullous disease of the mucous membranes, which can cause irreversible scarring and is discussed to be associated with cancer, if laminin-332-autoantibodies are present. MMP with severe ocular and laryngeal involvement is difficult to treat and can be treatment-refractory to conventional immunosuppressant therapy. A 67-year-old man with a history of prostate cancer presented to our clinic with sore throat, intraoral bullae, odynophagia, dysphonia, exertional dyspnea, and erosions of the glans penis. Clinical examination confirmed a laryngo-pharyngitis with involvement of the epiglottis and bilateral symblepharon. Diagnostics comprising multiple biopsies, direct and indirect immunofluorescence, serology analysis, and immunoblotting confirmed the diagnosis of a paraneoplastic MMP by showing a subepithelial split in histology and the presence of anti-laminin-332-antibodies. Despite combined systemic treatment with prednisolone and either dapsone or azathioprine, a progress of the disease occurred leading to severe ocular and laryngeal complications. Two month after rituximab treatment, complete disease control was achieved. This case report shows a severe ocular and life threatening laryngeal involvement of therapy-refractory paraneoplastic MMP highlighting the importance of interdisciplinary management and difficulty of diagnosing MMP despite repeated diagnostic testing.View less
Known human coronaviruses are believed to have originated in animals and made use of intermediate hosts for transmission to humans. The intermediate hosts of most of the human coronaviruses are known, but not for HCoV-NL63. This study aims to assess the possible role of some major domestic livestock species as intermediate hosts of HCoV-NL63. We developed a testing algorithm for high throughput screening of livestock sera with ELISA and confirmation with recombinant immunofluorescence assay testing for antibodies against HCoV-NL63 in livestock. Optimization of the ELISA showed a capability of the assay to significantly distinguish HCoV-NL63 from HCoV-229E (U = 27.50, p < 0.001) and HCoV-OC43 (U = 55.50, p < 0.001) in coronavirus-characterized sera. Evaluation of the assay with collected human samples showed no significant difference in mean optical density values of immunofluorescence-classified HCoV-NL63-positive and HCoV-NL63-negative samples (F (1, 215) = 0.437, p = 0.509). All the top 5% (n = 8) most reactive human samples tested by ELISA were HCoV-NL63 positive by immunofluorescence testing. In comparison, only a proportion (84%, n = 42) of the top 25% were positive by immunofluorescence testing, indicating an increased probability of the highly ELISA reactive samples testing positive by the immunofluorescence assay. None of the top 5% most ELISA reactive livestock samples were positive for HCoV-NL63-related viruses by immunofluorescence confirmation. Ghanaian domestic livestock are not likely intermediate hosts of HCoV-NL63-related coronaviruses.View less
CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3(+) human regulatory T-CELLS (T-REG) are promising candidates for reshaping undesired immunity/inflammation by adoptive cell transfer, yet their application is strongly dependent on robust assays testing their functionality. Several studies along with first clinical data indicate T-REG to be auspicious to use for future cell therapies, e.g., to induce tolerance after solid organ transplantation. To this end, T-REG suppressive capacity has to be thoroughly evaluated prior to any therapeutic application. A 7 h-protocol for the assessment of T-REG function by suppression of the early activation markers CD154 and CD69 on CD4(+)CD25(-) responder T-CELLS (T-RESP) upon polyclonal stimulation via alpha CD3/28-coated activating microbeads has previously been published. Even though this assay has since been applied by various groups, the protocol comes with a critical pitfall, which is yet not corrected by the journal of its original publication. Our results demonstrate that the observed decrease in activation marker frequency on T-RESP is due to competition for alpha CD3/28-coated microbeads as opposed to a T-REG-attributable effect and therefore the protocol cannot further be used as a diagnostic test to assess suppressive TREG function.View less
Although riboflavin (RF) belongs to the water-soluble vitamins of group B, its solubility is low. Therefore, the application of micro-formulations may help to overcome this limiting factor for the delivery of RF. In this study we immobilized RF in newly developed albumin submicron particles prepared using the Co-precipitation Crosslinking Dissolution technique (CCD-technique) of manganese chloride and sodium carbonate in the presence of human serum albumin (HSA) and RF. The resulting RF containing HSA particles (RF-HSA-MPs) showed a narrow size distribution in the range of 0.9 to 1 mu m, uniform peanut-like morphology, and a zeta-potential of -15 mV. In vitro release studies represented biphasic release profiles of RF in a phosphate buffered saline (PBS) pH 7.4 and a cell culture medium (RPMI) 1640 medium over a prolonged period. Hemolysis, platelet activation, and phagocytosis assays revealed a good hemocompatibility of RF-HSA-MPs.View less
Sprouting angiogenesis is a necessary process in regeneration and development as well as in tumorigenesis. VEGF-A is the main pro-angiogenic chemoattractant and it can bind to the decoy receptor VEGFR1 or to VEGFR2 to induce sprouting. Active sprout cells express Dll4, which binds to Notch1 on neighboring cells, in turn inhibiting VEGFR2 expression. It is known that the balance between VEGFR2 and VEGFR1 determines tip selection and network architecture, however the quantitative interrelationship of the receptors and their interrelated balances, also with relation to Dll4-Notch1 signaling, remains yet largely unknown. Here, we present an agent-based computer model of sprouting angiogenesis, integrating VEGFR1 and VEGFR2 in a detailed model of cellular signaling. Our model reproduces experimental data on VEGFR1 knockout. We show that soluble VEGFR1 improves the efficiency of angiogenesis by directing sprouts away from existing cells over a wide range of parameters. Our analysis unravels the relevance of the stability of the active notch intracellular domain as a dominating hub in this regulatory network. Our analysis quantitatively dissects the regulatory interactions in sprouting angiogenesis. Because we use a detailed model of intracellular signaling, the results of our analysis are directly linked to biological entities. We provide our computational model and simulation engine for integration in complementary modeling approaches.View less
As in many countries, the numbers of older prisoners are rising in Germany, but scientific information on this group is scarce. For the current study, a survey was used that included all prison suicides in Germany between the years of 2000 and 2013. Suicide rates of the elderly prisoners exceeded the suicide rates of the general population and the same age group. We observed a continuous decrease in the suicide rate of elderly prisoners. When compared to the younger suicide victims in prison, significantly more elderly suicide victims were: female, of German nationality, remand prisoners, or serving a life sentence. In Germany, elderly prisoners are a vulnerable subpopulation of the prison population. Higher suicide rates than in the same age group in the general population indicate unmet needs regarding mental disorders and their specific treatment.View less