Critical assessment of meteorological conditions and airflow connectivity during HCCT-2010
Dominik van Pinxteren
- This study presents a comprehensive and critical assessment of the meteorological conditions and atmospheric flow during the Lagrangian-type "Hill Cap Cloud Thuringia 2010" experiment (HCCT-2010). HCCT-2010 was performed in September and October 2010 at Mt. Schmücke in the Thuringian forest, Germany, applying three measurements sites (upwind, in-cloud, downwind) to study physical and chemical aerosol-cloud-interactions. A Lagrangian-type hill cap cloud experiment requires suitable cloud and particularly connected airflow conditions, i.e. representative air masses at the different measurement sites. Therefore, the present study aimed at the identification of time periods during the 6-weeks duration of the campaign, where such conditions were fulfilled and which can be used in further data examinations.
The following topics were studied in detail: (i) the general synoptic weather situations including the mesoscale flow conditions by means of a classification of advected air masses and calculation of non-dimensional flow parameters (e.g. Froude number), (ii) local meteorological conditions, including synoptic front passages, the presence of orographic or frontal cloudiness, cloud base heights and vertical stratification, and (iii) local flow conditions by means of statistical analyses using the quasi-inert trace gas ozone and selected size bins of particle number size distributions as well as SF6 tracer experiments in the campaign area. A comprehensive analyses using statistical measures such as the COD (Coefficient Of Divergence) and cross-correlation have been carried out for the first time in the context of a Lagrangian-type hill cap cloud experiment. Suitable criteria for the aimed statistical analyses were thus developed and applied in the present study to characterise the local flow connectivity in detail.
The comprehensive examination resulted in a total of 14 so-called "Full Cloud Events" (FCE), which are shown to conform to the Lagrange-type experimental philosophy of HCCT-2010. In addition, 15 so-called "Non-Cloud Events" (NCEs) could be established, which can be used as reference cases as they provide similarly suitable flow conditions but no cloud at the summit site. Orographic cloudiness was identified for approx. one third of the FCE periods, while about two thirds were associated to synoptic fronts. The statistical flow analyses indicate the existence of a strong link between the sites during the events, particularly under constant south-westerly flow conditions, high wind speeds and slightly stable stratification. The COD analyses using continuously measured concentrations of ozone and the 49 nm diameter particle bin revealed particularly for COD values below 0.1 very consistent time series, i.e. closely linked air masses between the different sites. The cross-correlation analysis revealed under connected flow conditions typical overflow times of about 15 to 30 min between the two valley sites. Additionally, the performed SF6 tracer experiments during the campaign clearly demonstrate that under appropriate meteorological conditions a Lagrangian-type approach is valid and that the connected flow validation procedure developed in this work is suitable for identifying such conditions. Finally, an overall evaluation of the identified FCEs is presented, which provides the basis for subsequent investigations of the measured chemical and physical data during HCCT-2010.
Certolizumab pegol in rheumatoid arthritis patients with low to moderate activity: the CERTAIN double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial
Josef S. Smolen
Owen R. Davies
- This 52-week, randomised, double-blind phase IIIb study assessed efficacy and safety of certolizumab pegol (CZP) as add-on therapy to non-biologic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients with low to moderate disease activity, and stopping therapy in patients in sustained remission.
METHODS:Patients were randomised 1:1 to CZP (400 mg at weeks 0, 2 and 4, then 200 mg every 2 weeks) or placebo (every 2 weeks) plus current non-biologic DMARDs. At week 24, patients who achieved the primary endpoint of Clinical Disease Activity Index (CDAI) remission at both weeks 20 and 24 stopped study treatment and continued in the study until week 52.
RESULTS: Of 194 patients (CZP=96; placebo=98), >90% had moderate disease activity at baseline. Significantly more CZP patients met the primary endpoint than placebo patients (week 20 and 24 CDAI remission rates: 18.8% vs 6.1%; p≤0.05). At week 24, 63.0% vs 29.7% of CZP versus placebo patients (p<0.001) achieved LDA. Disease activity score (ESR) based on 28-joint count and Simplified Disease Activity Index remission rates were also significantly higher with CZP versus placebo (19.8% vs 3.1%; p≤0.01 and 14.6% vs 4.1%; p≤0.05). CZP patients reported improvements in physical function versus placebo (mean Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability-Index change from baseline: CZP, -0.25 vs placebo, -0.03; p≤0.01). During the period following withdrawal of CZP or placebo, only 3/17 prior CZP patients and 2/6 prior placebo patients maintained CDAI remission until week 52, but CZP reinstitution allowed renewed improvement. Adverse and serious adverse event rates were comparable between CZP and placebo groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Addition of CZP to non-biologic DMARDs is an effective treatment in RA patients with predominantly moderate disease activity, allowing low-disease activity or remission to be reached in a majority of the patients. However, the data suggest that CZP cannot be withdrawn in patients achieving remission.
Upregulation of APP, ADAM10 and ADAM17 in the Denervated Mouse Dentate Gyrus
Domenico Del Turco
- The disintegrin and metalloproteinases ADAM10 and ADAM17 are regarded as the most important α-secretases involved in the physiological processing of amyloid precursor protein (APP) in brain. Since it has been suggested that processing of APP by α-secretases could be involved in the reorganization of the brain following injury, we studied mRNA expression of the two α-secretases Adam10 and Adam17, the ß-secretase Bace1, and the App-gene family (App, Aplp1, Aplp2) in the dentate gyrus of the mouse following entorhinal denervation. Using laser microdissection, tissue was harvested from the outer molecular layer and the granule cell layer of the denervated dentate gyrus. Expression levels of candidate genes were assessed using Affymetrix GeneChip Mouse Gene 1.0 ST arrays and reverse transcription-quantitative PCR, revealing an upregulation of Adam10 mRNA and Adam17 mRNA in the denervated outer molecular layer and an upregulation of Adam10 mRNA and App mRNA in the dentate granule cell layer. Immunolabeling for ADAM10 or ADAM17 in combination with markers for astro- and microglia revealed an increased labeling of ADAM10 and ADAM17 in the denervated outer molecular layer that was associated with reactive astrocytes but not with microglia. Collectively, these data show that denervation affects the expression level of APP and its two most important α-secretases. This suggests that APP-processing could be shifted towards the non-amyloidogenic pathway in denervated areas of the brain and, thus, towards the formation of neuroprotective APP cleavage products, such as APPsα.
Lateralization of Travelling Wave Response in the Hearing Organ of Bushcrickets
Arun Palghat Udayashankar
- Travelling waves are the physical basis of frequency discrimination in many vertebrate and invertebrate taxa, including mammals, birds, and some insects. In bushcrickets (Tettigoniidae), the crista acustica is the hearing organ that has been shown to use sound-induced travelling waves. Up to now, data on mechanical characteristics of sound-induced travelling waves were only available along the longitudinal (proximal-distal) direction. In this study, we use laser Doppler vibrometry to investigate in-vivo radial (anterior-posterior) features of travelling waves in the tropical bushcricket Mecopoda elongata. Our results demonstrate that the maximum of sound-induced travelling wave amplitude response is always shifted towards the anterior part of the crista acustica. This lateralization of the travelling wave response induces a tilt in the motion of the crista acustica, which presumably optimizes sensory transduction by exerting a shear motion on the sensory cilia in this hearing organ.
The small fibrinopeptide bβ15-42 as renoprotective agent preserving the endothelial and vascular integrity in early ischemia reperfusion injury in the mouse kidney and vascular integrity in early ischemia reperfusion injury in the mouse kidney
- Disruption of the renal endothelial integrity is pivotal for the development of a vascular leak, tissue edema and consequently acute kidney injury. Kidney ischemia amplifies endothelial activation and up-regulation of pro-inflammatory mechanisms. After restoring a sufficient blood flow, the kidney is damaged through complex pathomechanisms that are classically referred to as ischemia and reperfusion injury, where the disruption of the inter-endothelial connections seems to be a crucial step in this pathomechanism. Focusing on the molecular cell-cell interaction, the fibrinopeptide Bβ15–42 prevents vascular leakage by stabilizing these inter-endothelial junctions. The peptide associates with vascular endothelial-cadherin, thus preventing early kidney dysfunction by preserving blood perfusion efficacy, edema formation and thus organ dysfunction. We intended to demonstrate the early therapeutic benefit of intravenously administered Bβ15–42 in a mouse model of renal ischemia and reperfusion. After 30 minutes of ischemia, the fibrinopeptide Bβ15–42 was administered intravenously before reperfusion was commenced for 1 and 3 hours. We show that Bβ15–42 alleviates early functional and morphological kidney damage as soon as 1 h and 3 h after ischemia and reperfusion. Mice treated with Bβ15–42 displayed a significantly reduced loss of VE-cadherin, indicating a conserved endothelial barrier leading to less neutrophil infiltration which in turn resulted in significantly reduced structural renal damage. The significant reduction in tissue and serum neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin levels reinforced our findings. Moreover, renal perfusion analysis by color duplex sonography revealed that Bβ15–42 treatment preserved resistive indices and even improved blood velocity. Our data demonstrate the efficacy of early therapeutic intervention using the fibrinopeptide Bβ15–42 in the treatment of acute kidney injury resulting from ischemia and reperfusion. In this context Bβ15–42 may act as a potent renoprotective agent by preserving the endothelial and vascular integrity.
Early postoperative serum cystatin C predicts severe acute kidney injury following cardiac surgery: a post-hoc analysis of a randomized controlled trial
Ulrich A. Stock
- OBJECTIVE: Acute kidney injury (AKI) after cardiac surgery procedures is associated with poor patient outcomes. Cystatin C as a marker for renal failure has been shown to be of prognostic value; however, a wide range of its predictive accuracy has been reported. The aim of the study was to evaluate whether the measurement of pre- and postoperative serum cystatin C improves the prediction of AKI.
METHODS: In a single-centre, prospective study of 70 patients (74 ± 9ys; range 47-85ys; 77% male), cystatin C was measured six times: (T1 = preoperative, T2 = start cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), T3 = 20 min after CPB, T4 = end of operation; T5 = 24 h postoperatively; T6 = 7d postoperatively). Predictive property, in terms of the need for renal replacement therapy (RRT), was analysed by receiver operating characteristics (ROC) statistics and described by the area under the curve (AUC).
RESULTS: With respect to RRT (n = 8), serum cystatin C was significantly higher at the end of the operation (T4), 24 h postoperatively at T5 and at T6. The AUCs for preoperative T1 and intraoperative T2/3 cystatin C were <0.7 (95% CI, 0.47-0.85). The earliest significant predictive AUCs were found at the end of the operation (T4: p = 0.03 95% CI 0.58-0.88 AUC 0.73) and 24 h postoperatively (T5: p = 0.003 95% CI 0.74-0.96 AUC 0.85).
CONCLUSIONS: Early postoperative serum cystatin C increase appears to be a moderate biomarker in the prediction of AKI, whereas a preoperative and intraoperative cystatin C increase has only a limited diagnostic and predictive value.
A Gaussian limit process for optimal FIND algorithms
- We consider versions of the FIND algorithm where the pivot element used is the median of a subset chosen uniformly at random from the data. For the median selection we assume that subsamples of size asymptotic to c⋅nα are chosen, where 0<α≤12, c>0 and n is the size of the data set to be split. We consider the complexity of FIND as a process in the rank to be selected and measured by the number of key comparisons required. After normalization we show weak convergence of the complexity to a centered Gaussian process as n→∞, which depends on α. The proof relies on a contraction argument for probability distributions on càdlàg functions. We also identify the covariance function
Nonlinear dynamics analysis of a self-organizing recurrent neural network: chaos waning
- Self-organization is thought to play an important role in structuring nervous systems. It frequently arises as a consequence of plasticity mechanisms in neural networks: connectivity determines network dynamics which in turn feed back on network structure through various forms of plasticity. Recently, self-organizing recurrent neural network models (SORNs) have been shown to learn non-trivial structure in their inputs and to reproduce the experimentally observed statistics and fluctuations of synaptic connection strengths in cortex and hippocampus. However, the dynamics in these networks and how they change with network evolution are still poorly understood. Here we investigate the degree of chaos in SORNs by studying how the networks' self-organization changes their response to small perturbations. We study the effect of perturbations to the excitatory-to-excitatory weight matrix on connection strengths and on unit activities. We find that the network dynamics, characterized by an estimate of the maximum Lyapunov exponent, becomes less chaotic during its self-organization, developing into a regime where only few perturbations become amplified. We also find that due to the mixing of discrete and (quasi-)continuous variables in SORNs, small perturbations to the synaptic weights may become amplified only after a substantial delay, a phenomenon we propose to call deferred chaos.
Medial prefrontal cortex stimulation modulates the processing of conditioned fear
Laura D. Müller
Sara V. Tupak
Martin J. Herrmann
- The extinction of conditioned fear depends on an efficient interplay between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In rats, high-frequency electrical mPFC stimulation has been shown to improve extinction by means of a reduction of amygdala activity. However, so far it is unclear whether stimulation of homologues regions in humans might have similar beneficial effects. Healthy volunteers received one session of either active or sham repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) covering the mPFC while undergoing a 2-day fear conditioning and extinction paradigm. Repetitive TMS was applied offline after fear acquisition in which one of two faces (CS+ but not CS−) was associated with an aversive scream (UCS). Immediate extinction learning (day 1) and extinction recall (day 2) were conducted without UCS delivery. Conditioned responses (CR) were assessed in a multimodal approach using fear-potentiated startle (FPS), skin conductance responses (SCR), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and self-report scales. Consistent with the hypothesis of a modulated processing of conditioned fear after high-frequency rTMS, the active group showed a reduced CS+/CS− discrimination during extinction learning as evident in FPS as well as in SCR and arousal ratings. FPS responses to CS+ further showed a linear decrement throughout both extinction sessions. This study describes the first experimental approach of influencing conditioned fear by using rTMS and can thus be a basis for future studies investigating a complementation of mPFC stimulation to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Dysregulated expression of lipid storage and membrane dynamics factors in Tia1 knockout mouse nervous tissue
Melanie Vanessa Heck
- During cell stress, the transcription and translation of immediate early genes are prioritized, while most other messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are stored away in stress granules or degraded in processing bodies (P-bodies). TIA-1 is an mRNA-binding protein that needs to translocate from the nucleus to seed the formation of stress granules in the cytoplasm. Because other stress granule components such as TDP-43, FUS, ATXN2, SMN, MAPT, HNRNPA2B1, and HNRNPA1 are crucial for the motor neuron diseases amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and for the frontotemporal dementia (FTD), here we studied mouse nervous tissue to identify mRNAs with selective dependence on Tia1 deletion. Transcriptome profiling with oligonucleotide microarrays in comparison of spinal cord and cerebellum, together with independent validation in quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and immunoblots demonstrated several strong and consistent dysregulations. In agreement with previously reported TIA1 knock down effects, cell cycle and apoptosis regulators were affected markedly with expression changes up to +2-fold, exhibiting increased levels for Cdkn1a, Ccnf, and Tprkb vs. decreased levels for Bid and Inca1 transcripts. Novel and surprisingly strong expression alterations were detected for fat storage and membrane trafficking factors, with prominent +3-fold upregulations of Plin4, Wdfy1, Tbc1d24, and Pnpla2 vs. a −2.4-fold downregulation of Cntn4 transcript, encoding an axonal membrane adhesion factor with established haploinsufficiency. In comparison, subtle effects on the RNA processing machinery included up to 1.2-fold upregulations of Dcp1b and Tial1. The effect on lipid dynamics factors is noteworthy, since also the gene deletion of Tardbp (encoding TDP-43) and Atxn2 led to fat metabolism phenotypes in mouse. In conclusion, genetic ablation of the stress granule nucleator TIA-1 has a novel major effect on mRNAs encoding lipid homeostasis factors in the brain, similar to the fasting effect.