Epistemic curiosity as the desire to acquire new knowledge and ideas is considered as an important attribute for successful entrepreneurs among practitioners, yet there is lacking empirical evidence of epistemic curiosity having an effect on entrepreneurial outcomes. This study aims to put a spotlight on epistemic curiosity as a predictor for entrepreneurial intentions and orientation. We found that epistemic curiosity has a stronger influence on entrepreneurial outcomes in comparison to the Big Five personality trait openness to experience, which is a widely used and conceptually related predictor for entrepreneurship. Furthermore, we found evidence for a mediating role of entrepreneurial alertness which gives further insights about how personality influences the ability to recognize business opportunities and leads to the formation of entrepreneurship orientation and intentions. Our findings contribute to the field of entrepreneurship research by emphasizing that epistemic curiosity may be one of the most important personality indicators for the emergence of entrepreneurial intentions and behavior.View less
In 2022 JAXA issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for receiving Hayabusa2 samples returned to Earth. We responded to the AO submitting a proposal based on using a multi-prong approach to achieve two main goals. The first goal is to address the subdued contrast of remote-sensing observations compared to measurements performed under laboratory conditions on analog materials. For this we will link the hyperspectral and imaging data collected from the spacecraft and the in-situ observations from the MASCOT lander instruments (MARA and MASCam) with laboratory-based measurements of Hayabusa2 samples using bi-directional reflectance spectroscopy under simulated asteroid surface conditions from UV to MIR/FIR achieved using three Bruker Vertex 80 V spectrometers in the Planetary Spectroscopy Laboratory. The second goal is the investigation of the mineralogy and organic matter of the samples collected by Hayabusa2, to better understanding the evolution of materials characterizing Ryugu and in general of protoplanetary disk and organic matter, investigating the aqueous alteration that took place in the parent body, and comparing the results with data collected from pristine carbonaceous chondrite analog meteorites. Spectral data will be complemented by Raman spectroscopy under simulated asteroid surface conditions, X-ray diffraction, would also allow us to define the bulk mineralogy of the samples as well as investigate the presence and nature of organic matter within the samples. In situ mineralogical and geochemical characterization will involve a pre-characterization of the sample fragments through scanning electron microscopy low voltage electron dispersive X-ray (EDX) maps, and micro IR analyses of the fragments. If allowed, a thin section of one grain will be used for electron microprobe analyses to geochemically characterize its mineralogical composition. To train our data collection and analysis methods on a realistic sample, we selected a piece of the Mukundpura meteorite, as one of the closer analogs to Ryugu’s surface (Ray et al., Planetary and Space Science, 2018, 151, 149–154). The Mukundpura chunk we selected for this study measures 3 mm in its maximum dimension, and we chose it so to have a test sample of the same size as the Hayabusa2 grain we requested in our proposal to JAXA’s AO. The test gave us confidence that we can measure with good SNR measurements in bi-directional reflectance for samples around 3 mm in size (see Figures 3, 4 below). To address our second goal the spectral data was complemented by Raman spectroscopy measured again under simulated asteroid surface conditions in our Raman Mineralogy and Biodetection Laboratory at DLR.View less
Background and objectives: The significance of antibodies to red blood cells (RBCs) is variable and cannot be predicted solely by serological testing. A flow cytometry-based erythrophagocytosis assay was established using phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-treated THP-1 cells and RBCs labelled with PKH26 to assess allo- and autoantibodies to RBCs.
Materials and methods: THP-1 cells were differentiated into macrophage-like cells by treatment with PMA. RBC samples coated with alloantibodies or autoantibodies were obtained from 16 patients with autoimmune haemolytic anaemia of warm type (wAIHA) as well as from five pregnant women with warm autoantibodies. RBCs from healthy blood donors were used as controls. RBCs were labelled with the red lipophilic fluorescent dye PKH26 and incubated with PMA-treated THP-1 cells. After removal of nonadherent RBCs by washing and haemolysis of adherent RBCs, erythrophagocytosis was quantified by flow cytometry.
Results: We observed significant phagocytosis of RBCs coated with clinically relevant alloantibodies (i.e. anti-D and anti-K) or autoantibodies from patients with active wAIHA, but not of those coated with alloantibodies (anti-Ch) or autoantibodies from patients and pregnant women without haemolysis.
Conclusion: The flow cytometry-based erythrophagocytosis test described here is quantitative, highly reliable, and may be helpful for the assessment of the clinical significance of antibodies to RBCs.View less
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation is a very common and potentially lethal complication of renal transplantation. However, its risk factors and effects on transplant outcome are not well known. Here, we have analysed a large, multi-centre cohort (N = 512) in which 18.4% of the patients experienced EBV reactivation during the first post-transplant year. The patients were characterized pre-transplant and two weeks post-transplant by a multi-level biomarker panel. EBV reactivation was episodic for most patients, only 12 patients showed prolonged viraemia for over four months. Pre-transplant EBV shedding and male sex were associated with significantly increased incidence of post-transplant EBV reactivation. Importantly, we also identified a significant association of post-transplant EBV with acute rejection and with decreased haemoglobin levels. No further severe complications associated with EBV, either episodic or chronic, could be detected. Our data suggest that despite relatively frequent EBV reactivation, it had no association with serious complications during the first post-transplantation year. EBV shedding prior to transplantation could be employed as biomarkers for personalized immunosuppressive therapy. In summary, our results support the employed immunosuppressive regimes as relatively safe with regard to EBV. However, long-term studies are paramount to support these conclusions.View less
To identify predictors of biopsy success and complications in CT-guided pancreas transplant (PTX) core biopsy. We retrospectively identified all CT fluoroscopy-guided PTX biopsies performed at our institution (2000-2017) and included 187 biopsies in 99 patients. Potential predictors related to patient characteristics (age, gender, body mass index (BMI), PTX age, PTX volume) and procedure characteristics (biopsy depth, needle size, access path, number of samples, interventionalist's experience) were correlated with biopsy success (sufficient tissue for histologic diagnosis) and the occurrence of complications. Biopsy success (72.2%) was more likely to be obtained in men [+25.3% (10.9, 39.7)] and when the intervention was performed by an experienced interventionalist [+27.2% (8.1, 46.2)]. Complications (5.9%) occurred more frequently in patients with higher PTX age [OR: 1.014 (1.002, 1.026)] and when many (3-4) tissue samples were obtained [+8.7% (-2.3, 19.7)]. Multivariable regression analysis confirmed male gender [OR: 3.741 (1.736, 8.059)] and high experience [OR: 2.923 (1.255, 6.808)] (biopsy success) as well as older PTX age [OR: 1.019 (1.002, 1.035)] and obtaining many samples [OR: 4.880 (1.240, 19.203)] (complications) as independent predictors. Our results suggest that CT-guided PTX biopsy should be performed by an experienced interventionalist to achieve higher success rates, and not more than two tissue samples should be obtained to reduce complications. Caution is in order in patients with older transplants because of higher complication rates.View less
The number of patients returning to dialysis after graft failure increases. Surprisingly, little is known about the clinical and immunological outcomes of this cohort. We retrospectively analyzed 254 patients after kidney allograft loss between 1997 and 2017 and report clinical outcomes such as mortality, relisting, retransplantations, transplant nephrectomies, and immunization status. Of the 254 patients, 49% had died 5 years after graft loss, while 27% were relisted, 14% were on dialysis and not relisted, and only 11% were retransplanted 5 years after graft loss. In the complete observational period, 111/254 (43.7%) patients were relisted. Of these, 72.1% of patients were under 55 years of age at time of graft loss and only 13.5% of patients were >= 65 years. Age at graft loss was associated with relisting in a logistic regression analysis. In the complete observational period, 42 patients (16.5%) were retransplanted. Only 4 of those (9.5%) were >= 65 years at time of graft loss. Nephrectomy had no impact on survival, relisting, or development of dnDSA. Patients after allograft loss have a high overall mortality. Immunization contributes to long waiting times. Only a very limited number of patients are retransplanted especially when >= 65 years at time of graft loss.View less
Background: Since phase III trials for the most prominent vaccines excluded immunocompromised or immunosuppressed patients, data on safety and efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for recipients of solid organ transplantations are scarce.
Aims: Our study offers a synthesis of expert opinions aligned with available data addressing key questions of the clinical management of SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations for transplant patients.
Method: An online research was performed retrieving available recommendations by national and international transplantation organizations and state institutions on SARS-CoV2 vaccination management for transplant recipients.
Results: Eleven key statements were identified from recommendations by 18 national and international societies, and consensus for the individual statements was evaluated by means of the Society Recommendation Consensus score. The highest consensus level (SRC A) was found for prioritized access to vaccination for transplant patients despite anticipation of a weakened immune response. All currently authorized vaccines can be considered safe for transplant patients (SRC A). The handling of immunosuppressive medication, the timely management of vaccines, and other aspects were aligned with available expert opinions.
Conclusion: Expert consensus can be determined for crucial aspects of the implementation of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination programs. We hereby offer a tool for immediate decision-making until empirical data becomes available.View less
Introduction: Campylobacteriosis is an enteric bacterial zoonotic infection caused by members of the Campylobacter genus (Kirkpatrick and Tribble, 2011). C. jejuni (> 85%) and C. coli (5–10%) are the most common species associated with the disease (Patrick et al., 2018). Ingestion of as few as 500 bacteria can cause campylobacteriosis (Robinson, 1981). Although Campylobacter typically causes self-limiting human gastroenteritis, it can lead to prolonged post-infectious complications, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, reactive arthritis, and/or post infectious-irritable bowel syndrome (Rees et al., 1995). The treatment of campylobacteriosis poses significant economic burdens worldwide, resulting in $1.56 billion in healthcare costs in the USA, $80 million in Canada, and €2.4 billion in the European Union per year (Devleesschauwer et al., 2017).
The high prevalence of Campylobacter in the agri-food system is likely a major contributing factor to the incidence of campylobacteriosis. Due to its microaerobic nature, Campylobacter can colonize the intestinal tract of food-producing animals such as poultry, cattle, sheep, and swine (Hansson et al., 2018). However, it can also survive under aerobic conditions and infect humans through the food supply chain by forming biofilms or entering the viable but non-culturable state (Lv et al., 2019; Ma et al., 2022). The main route of infection has been identified as the consumption of contaminated food commodities, such as unpasteurized dairy products, undercooked poultry meat and/or contaminated water (Silva et al., 2011). Therefore, detection, characterization, and reduction of Campylobacter in the agroecosystem are of great importance. This mini-review provides an overview of the current trends in understanding Campylobacter and its interaction with the agroecosystem. We first introduce the improved methods to detect Campylobacter in various agri-food settings. Then, the prevalence of this microbe in the agri-food system as well as its characteristics are summarized. Finally, novel control strategies of Campylobacter are summarized and discussed.View less
West Nile Virus (WNV) infections are increasingly detected in birds and horses in central Europe, with the first mosquito-borne autochthonous human infection detected in Germany in 2019. Human infections are typically asymptomatic, with occasional severe neurological disease. Because of a low number of cases in central Europe, awareness regarding potential cases is low and WNV diagnostic testing is not routine. We tested cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin from 2019 to 2020, and describe a WNV-encephalitis case in a 33-year-old kidney transplant recipient. The infectious course was resolved by serology, RT-PCR and sequencing of stored samples. Phylogenetic sequence analysis revealed a close relationship of the patient's WNV strain to German sequences from 2019 and 2020. A lack of travel history and patient self-isolation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic suggest the infection was acquired in the patient's home or garden. Serological tests of four people sharing the living space were negative. Retrospective RT-PCR and WNV-IgM testing of 671 CSF samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin detected no additional infections. The recent increase of WNV cases illustrates the importance of considering WNV in cases of meningoencephalitis, especially in immunocompromised patients, as described here. Proper education and communication and a revised diagnostic strategy will help to raise awareness and to detect future WNV infections.View less
In humans, co-infection of hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV) is common and aggravates disease outcome. Infection-mediated disease aggravation is poorly understood, partly due to lack of suitable animal models. Carnivores are understudied for hepatitis virus homologues. We investigated Mexican carnivores (ringtails, Bassariscus astutus) for HBV and HCV homologues. Three out of eight animals were infected with a divergent HBV termed ringtail HBV (RtHBV) at high viral loads of 5 x 10(9) -1.4 x 10(10) copies/ml serum. Two of the RtHBV-infected animals were co-infected with a divergent hepacivirus termed ringtail hepacivirus (RtHV) at 4 x 10(6)-7.5 x 10(7) copies/ml in strain-specific qRT-PCR assays. Immunofluorescence assays relying on HBV core and RtHV NS3/4a proteins indicated that none of the animals had detectable hepadnavirus core-specific antibodies, whereas one RtHV-infected animal had concomitant RtHV-specific antibodies at 1:800 end-point titre. RtHBV and RtHV complete genomes showed typical HBV and HCV structure and length. All RtHBV genomes were identical, whereas RtHV genomes showed four amino acid substitutions located predominantly in the E1/E2-encoding genomic regions. Both RtHBV (>28% genomic nucleotide sequence distance) and RtHV (>30% partial NS3/NS5B amino acid sequence distance) formed new species within their virus families. Evolutionary analyses showed that RtHBV grouped with HBV homologues from different laurasiatherian hosts (carnivores, bats, and ungulates), whereas RtHV grouped predominantly with rodent-borne viruses. Ancestral state reconstructions showed that RtHV, but not RtHBV, likely emerged via a non-recent host switch involving rodent-borne hepacivirus ancestors. Conserved hepatitis virus infection patterns in naturally infected ringtails indicate that carnivores may be promising animal models to understand HBV/HCV co-infection.View less
Dog-mediated rabies is responsible for approximately 60,000 human deaths annually worldwide. Although dog slaughter for human consumption and its potential risk for rabies transmission has been reported, mainly in some parts of Western Africa and South-East Asia, more information on this and factors that influence dog meat consumption is required for a better understanding from places like Ghana where the practice is common. We tested 144 brain tissues from apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption for the presence of rabies viruses using a Lyssavirus-specific real-Time RT-PCR. Positive samples were confirmed by virus genome sequencing. We also administered questionnaires to 541 dog owners from three regions in Ghana and evaluated factors that could influence dog meat consumption. We interacted with butchers and observed slaughtering and meat preparation procedures. Three out of 144 (2.1%) brain tissues from apparently healthy dogs tested positive for rabies virus RNA. Two of the viruses with complete genomes were distinct from one another, but both belonged to the Africa 2 lineage. The third virus with a partial genome fragment had high sequence identity to the other two and also belonged to the Africa 2 lineage. Almost half of the study participants practiced dog consumption [49% (265/541)]. Males were almost twice (cOR = 1.72, 95% CI (1.17-2.52), p-value = .006) as likely to consume dog meat compared to females. Likewise, the Frafra tribe from northern Ghana [cOR = 825.1, 95% CI (185.3-3672.9), p-value < .0001] and those with non-specific tribes [cOR = 47.05, 95% CI (10.18-217.41), p-value < .0001] presented with higher odds of dog consumption compared to Ewes. The butchers used bare hands in meat preparation. This study demonstrates the presence of rabies virus RNA in apparently healthy dogs slaughtered for human consumption in Ghana and suggests a potential risk for rabies transmission. Veterinary departments and local assemblies are recommended to monitor and regulate this practice.View less
Background: Survival in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) has been associated with tumor mutational status, muscle loss, and weight loss. We sought to explore the combined effects of these variables on overall survival.
Materials and methods: We performed an observational cohort study, prospectively enrolling patients receiving chemotherapy for mCRC. We retrospectively assessed changes in muscle (using computed tomography) and weight, each dichotomized as >5% or ≤5% loss, at 3, 6, and 12 months after diagnosis of mCRC. We used regression models to assess relationships between tumor mutational status, muscle loss, weight loss, and overall survival. Additionally, we evaluated associations between muscle loss, weight loss, and tumor mutational status.
Results: We included 226 patients (mean age 59 ± 13 years, 53% male). Tumor mutational status included 44% wild type, 42% RAS-mutant, and 14% BRAF-mutant. Patients with >5% muscle loss at 3 and 12 months experienced worse survival controlling for mutational status and weight (3 months hazard ratio, 2.66; p < .001; 12 months hazard ratio, 2.10; p = .031). We found an association of >5% muscle loss with BRAF-mutational status at 6 and 12 months. Weight loss was not associated with survival nor mutational status.
Conclusion: Increased muscle loss at 3 and 12 months may identify patients with mCRC at risk for decreased overall survival, independent of tumor mutational status. Specifically, >5% muscle loss identifies patients within each category of tumor mutational status with decreased overall survival in our sample. Our findings suggest that quantifying muscle loss on serial computed tomography scans may refine survival estimates in patients with mCRC.
Implications for practice: In this study of 226 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, it was found that losing >5% skeletal muscle at 3 and 12 months after the diagnosis of metastatic disease was associated with worse overall survival, independent of tumor mutational status and weight loss. Interestingly, results did not show a significant association between weight loss and overall survival. These findings suggest that muscle quantification on serial computed tomography may refine survival estimates in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer beyond mutational status.View less
Objective: In the 8th Edition TNM Classification for Head and Neck Cancer, the classification for carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) changed in addition to oropharyngeal carcinomas. The current classification considers extranodal extension (ENE), determination of p16 (surrogate marker for human papillomavirus), and detection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of the new classification on the prognosis of p16-positive and p16-negative CUP and the impact of EBV proof.
Methods: Clinical and pathological data from patients with CUP of the head and neck between 2009 and 2018 were evaluated. The 7th (UICC7) and 8th (UICC8) edition of the Union for International Cancer Control staging system were applied and compared.
Results: There were 97 patients treated, 26.8% women and 73.2% men. The average age at initial diagnosis was 64.6 years. Of which, 58.8% had a documented history of smoking, 37.1% were positive for p16, 4.1% were positive for EBV, and 66% had ENE. Most of the patients were at stage III/IVa (78.4% according to UICC7). According to UICC8, p16+ patients were mainly at stage I (86.1%), and p16- at stage IVb (56.1%). P16 status (P = .002), ENE (P = .001), nodal category (TNM7, P < .001), UICC stage (TNM7, P < .001) and UICC stage (TNM8, P < .001) had a significant impact on survival in the univariate analysis. The 8th TNM classification resulted in a downstaging of p16-positive CUP syndromes and an upstaging of p16-negative syndromes.
Conclusion: The 8th TNM classification shows the lower UICC stage in p16-positive CUP syndromes. The prognostic significance for survival has improved from the 7th to the 8th TNM classification.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE USING THE 2011 OCEBM: Level 3.View less
In head and neck squamous cell cancers (HNSCs) that present as metastases with an unknown primary (HNSC-CUPs), the identification of a primary tumor improves therapy options and increases patient survival. However, the currently available diagnostic methods are laborious and do not offer a sufficient detection rate. Predictive machine learning models based on DNA methylation profiles have recently emerged as a promising technique for tumor classification. We applied this technique to HNSC to develop a tool that can improve the diagnostic work-up for HNSC-CUPs. On a reference cohort of 405 primary HNSC samples, we developed four classifiers based on different machine learning models [random forest (RF), neural network (NN), elastic net penalized logistic regression (LOGREG), and support vector machine (SVM)] that predict the primary site of HNSC tumors from their DNA methylation profile. The classifiers achieved high classification accuracies (RF = 83%, NN = 88%, LOGREG = SVM = 89%) on an independent cohort of 64 HNSC metastases. Further, the NN, LOGREG, and SVM models significantly outperformed p16 status as a marker for an origin in the oropharynx. In conclusion, the DNA methylation profiles of HNSC metastases are characteristic for their primary sites, and the classifiers developed in this study, which are made available to the scientific community, can provide valuable information to guide the diagnostic work-up of HNSC-CUP. (c) 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.View less
Cutaneous, ocular, and mucosal melanomas are histologically indistinguishable tumors that are driven by a different spectrum of genetic alterations. With current methods, identification of the site of origin of a melanoma metastasis is challenging. DNA methylation profiling has shown promise for the identification of the site of tumor origin in various settings. Here we explore the DNA methylation landscape of melanomas from different sites and analyze if different melanoma origins can be distinguished by their epigenetic profile. We performed DNA methylation analysis, next generation DNA panel sequencing, and copy number analysis of 82 non-cutaneous and 25 cutaneous melanoma samples. We further analyzed eight normal melanocyte cell culture preparations. DNA methylation analysis separated uveal melanomas from melanomas of other primary sites. Mucosal, conjunctival, and cutaneous melanomas shared a common global DNA methylation profile. Still, we observed location-dependent DNA methylation differences in cancer-related genes, such as low frequencies of RARB (7/63) and CDKN2A promoter methylation (6/63) in mucosal melanomas, or a high frequency of APC promoter methylation in conjunctival melanomas (6/9). Furthermore, all investigated melanomas of the paranasal sinus showed loss of PTEN expression (9/9), mainly caused by promoter methylation. This was less frequently seen in melanomas of other sites (24/98). Copy number analysis revealed recurrent amplifications in mucosal melanomas, including chromosomes 4q, 5p, 11q and 12q. Most melanomas of the oral cavity showed gains of chromosome 5p with TERT amplification (8/10), while 11q amplifications were enriched in melanomas of the nasal cavity (7/16). In summary, mucosal, conjunctival, and cutaneous melanomas show a surprisingly similar global DNA methylation profile and identification of the site of origin by DNA methylation testing is likely not feasible. Still, our study demonstrates tumor location-dependent differences of promoter methylation frequencies in specific cancer-related genes together with tumor site-specific enrichment for specific chromosomal changes and genetic mutations. (c) 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.View less
Objective: The immediate impact of child maltreatment on health and developmental trajectories over time is unknown. Longitudinal studies starting in the direct aftermath of exposure with repeated follow-up are needed.
Method: We assessed health and developmental outcomes in 6-month intervals over 2 years in 173 children, aged 3-5 years at study entry, including 86 children with exposure to emotional and physical abuse or neglect within 6 months and 87 nonmaltreated children. Assessments included clinician-administered, self- and parent-report measures of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms, development, and physical health. Linear mixed models and latent growth curve analyses were used to contrast trajectories between groups and to investigate the impact of maltreatment features on trajectories.
Results: Maltreated children exhibited greater numbers of psychiatric diagnoses (b = 1.998, p < .001), externalizing (b = 13.29, p < .001) and internalizing (b = 11.70, p < .001) symptoms, impairments in cognitive (b = -11.586, p < .001), verbal (b = -10.687, p < .001), and motor development (b = -7.904, p = .006), and greater numbers of medical symptoms (b = 1.021, p < .001) compared to nonmaltreated children across all time-points. Lifetime maltreatment severity and/or age at earliest maltreatment exposure predicted adverse outcomes over time.
Conclusion: The profound, immediate, and stable impact of maltreatment on health and developmental trajectories supports a biological embedding model and provides foundation to scrutinize the precise underlying mechanisms. Such knowledge will enable the development of early risk markers and mechanism-driven interventions that mitigate adverse trajectories in maltreated children.View less
Background: Hereditary angioedema due to C1 inhibitor deficiency (HAE-1/2) is a chronic and debilitating disease. The unpredictable clinical course represents a significant patient burden.
Objective: To analyse longitudinal registry data from the Icatibant Outcome Survey (IOS) in order to characterize temporal changes in disease activity in patients with HAE-1/2.
Methods: Icatibant Outcome Survey (NCT01034969) is an international observational registry monitoring the clinical outcomes of patients eligible for icatibant treatment. The current analyses are based on data collected between July 2009 and July 2019. Retrospective data for attacks recorded in the 12 months prior to IOS enrolment and for each 12-month period up to 7 years were analysed.
Results: Included patients reported angioedema attacks without long-term prophylaxis (LTP; n = 315) and with LTP (n = 292) use at the time of attack onset. Androgens were the most frequently used LTP option (80.8%). At the population level, regardless of LTP use, most patients (52-80%) reporting <5 attacks in Year 1 continued experiencing this rate; similarly, many patients (25-76%) who reported high attack frequency continued reporting ≥10 attacks/year. However, year on year, 31-51% of patients experienced notable changes (increase/decrease of ≥5 attacks) in annual attack frequency. Of patients who reported an absolute change of ≥10 attacks from Year 1 to 2, 17-50% continued to experience a change of this magnitude in subsequent years.
Conclusion: At the population level, attack frequency was generally consistent over 7 years. At the small group level, 28.8-34.5% of patients reported a change in attack frequency of ≥5 attacks from Year 1 to Year 2; up to half of these patients continued to experience this magnitude of variation in disease activity in later years, reflecting high intra-patient variability.View less
Implementation of DNA metabarcoding for diatoms for environmental monitoring is now moving from a research to an operational phase, requiring rigorous guidelines and standards. In particular, the first steps of the diatom metabarcoding process, which consist of sampling and storage, have been addressed in various ways in scientific and pilot studies and now need to be rationalised. The objective of this study was to compare three currently applied preservation protocols through different storage durations (ranging from one day to one year) for phytobenthos and phytoplankton samples intended for diatom DNA metabarcoding analysis. The experimental design used samples from four freshwater and two marine sites of diverse ecological characteristics. The impact of the sample preservation and storage duration was assessed through diatom metabarcoding endpoints: DNA quality and quantity, diversity and richness, diatom assemblage composition and ecological index values (for freshwater samples). The yield and quality of extracted DNA only decreased for freshwater phytobenthos samples preserved with ethanol. Diatom diversity was not affected and their taxonomic composition predominantly reflected the site origin. Only rare taxa (< 100 reads) differed among preservation methods and storage durations. For biomonitoring purposes, freshwater ecological index values were not affected by the preservation method and storage duration tested (including ethanol preservation), all treatments returning the same ecological status for a site. This study contributes to consolidating diatom metabarcoding. Thus, accompanied by operational standards, the method will be ready to be confidently deployed and prescribed in future regulatory monitoring.View less
Background: Autoimmune chronic spontaneous urticaria (CSU) is due to mast cell (MC)-activating autoantibodies, which are screened for by the autologous serum skin test (ASST) and basophil tests (BTs). Many CSU patients are positive in only one of these tests. How often this occurs and why is currently unknown.
Objectives: To characterize the prevalence of mismatched ASST and BTs in CSU patients, and to investigate possible reasons for these mismatches.
Methods: We determined the rates of ASST+/BT- and ASST-/BT+ mismatches in published CSU studies. We assessed sera from 48 CSU patients by ASST, two BTs (basophil histamine release assay, BHRA; basophil activation test, BAT), a MC histamine release assay (MCHRA) and by ex vivo skin microdialysis (SMD).
Results: The ASST/BT mismatch rate in published CSU studies was 31% (ASST+/BT-: 22%, ASST-/BT+: 9%). In our patients, the ASST/BHRA and ASST/BAT mismatch rate was 35.4% (ASST+/BHRA-: 18.8% and ASST-/BHRA+: 16.7%) and 31.3% (ASST+/BAT-: 6.3% and ASST-/BAT+: 25.0%), respectively, and the two BTs were significantly correlated (P = 0.0002). The use of heterologous MCs, in vitro and in situ, instead of basophils produced similar results (MCHRA mismatch: 47.9%, ASST+/MCHRA-: 18.8%, ASST-/MCHRA+: 29.2%; SMD mismatch: 40.0%, ASST+/SMD-: 10.0% and ASST-/SMD+: 30.0%), and the MCHRA was highly correlated with SMD results (P = 0.0002).
Conclusions: The ASST and BTs show divergent results in a third of CSU patients. Mismatches cannot be explained by the choice of basophil assay, the type of heterologous cells exposed to CSU serum in vitro (basophils vs. mast cells), nor the experimental setting of heterologous skin mast cells (in vitro vs. in situ). Thus, serum-induced whealing, in CSU patients, seems to involve autologous skin signals modulating MC degranulation.View less