The architect who never sleeps: tumor-induced plasticity
Tiago de Oliveira
Florian R. Greten
- Tumor cell plasticity is an event that has been observed in several malignancies. In fact, most of the solid tumors are characterized by cellular heterogeneity and undergo constant changes as the tumor develops. The increased plasticity displayed by these cells allows them to acquire additional properties, enabling epithelial-mesenchymal transitions, dedifferentiation and the acquisition of stem cell-like properties. Here we discuss the particular importance of an inflammatory microenvironment for the bidirectional control of cellular plasticity and the potential for therapeutic intervention.
CSF biomarkers for Alzheimer's pathology and the effect size of APOE ε4
Jonathan M. Schott
Anticoagulant treatment in German family practices – screening results from a cluster randomized controlled trial
Juliana J. Petersen
- ackgroundOral anticoagulation (OAC) with coumarins and new anticoagulants are highly effective in preventing thromboembolic complications. However, some studies indicate that over- and under-treatment with anticoagulants are fairly common. The aim of this paper is to assess the appropriateness of treatment in patients with a long-term indication for OAC, and to describe the corresponding characteristics of such patients on the basis of screening results from the cluster randomized PICANT trial.MethodsRandomly selected family practices in the federal state of Hesse, Germany, were visited by study team members. Eligible patients were screened using an anonymous patient list that was generated by the general practitioners? software according to predefined instructions. A documentation sheet was filled in for all screened patients. Eligible patients were classified into 3 categories (1: patients with a long-term indication for OAC and taking anticoagulants, 2: patients with a long-term indication for OAC but not taking anticoagulants, 3: patients without a long-term indication for OAC but taking an anticoagulant on a permanent basis). IBM SPSS Statistics 20 was used for descriptive statistical analysis.ResultsWe screened 2,036 randomly selected, potentially eligible patients from 52 family practices. 275 patients could not be assigned to one of the 3 categories and were therefore not considered for analysis. The final study sample comprised 1,761 screened patients, 1,641 of whom belonged to category 1, 78 to category 2, and 42 to category 3. INR values were available for 1,504 patients of whom 1,013 presented INR values within their therapeutic ranges. The majority of screened patients had very good compliance, as assessed by the general practitioner. New antithrombotic drugs were prescribed in 6.1% of cases.ConclusionsThe screening results showed that a high proportion of patients were receiving appropriate anticoagulation therapy. The numbers of patients with a long-term indication for OAC therapy that were not receiving oral anticoagulants, and without a long-term indication that were receiving OAC, were considerably lower than expected. Most patients take coumarins, and the quality of OAC control is reasonably high.Trial registrationCurrent Controlled Trials ISRCTN41847489.
Response-retrieval in identity negative priming is modulated by temporal discriminability
- Reaction times to previously ignored information are often delayed, a phenomenon referred to as negative priming (NP). Rothermund et al. (2005) proposed that NP is caused by the retrieval of incidental stimulus-response associations when consecutive displays share visual features but require different responses. In two experiments we examined whether the features (color, shape) that reappear in consecutive displays, or their level of processing (early-perceptual, late-semantic) moderate the likelihood that stimulus-response associations are retrieved. Using a perceptual matching task (Experiment 1), NP occurred independently of whether responses were repeated or switched. Only when implementing a semantic-matching task (Experiment 2), negative priming was determined by response-repetition as predicted by response-retrieval theory. The results can be explained in terms of a task-dependent temporal discrimination process (Milliken et al., 1998): Response-relevant features are encoded more strongly and/or are more likely to be retrieved than irrelevant features.
A method for selecting plant species for reintroduction purposes: A case-study on steppe grassland plants in Thuringia (Germany)
- Reintroductions of plant species are increasingly popular in conservation practice. Steppe grasslands contain many rare and endangered plant species that are potential objects for such reintroductions. Most reintroduction projects, however, can only target a restricted number of species, which raises the question of how species should be prioritised. Here, we present a method to select priority species for reintroduction based on species’ characteristics that are widely used in conservation practice. We first determined the local species pool containing those vascular plant species that occurred both in our target region (Thuringia, Germany) and target habitat (steppe grasslands), yielding 369 species. With the help of an a priori filter that selected currently endangered species with limited distribution, 136 potential target species were determined. These potential target species had experienced stronger decline, had a narrower phytosociological amplitude and were more likely to be species of the Festuco-Brometea class and the Festucetalia valesiacae order than non-target species. Potential target species were then ranked by a points system based on ten conservation-relevant characteristics of the species from the categories ‘threat and protection status’, ‘distribution and decline’, and ‘habitat affiliation’. In the ranking, six steppe grassland plant species (Astragalus exscapus, Bothriochloa ischaemum, Prunella laciniata, Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. nigricans, Scorzonera purpurea, and Seseli hippomarathrum) achieved the highest scores. An additional seven species not specifically characteristic for steppe grasslands also scored highly. A post hoc evaluation of these 13 highest scoring species based on additional conservation criteria left five species (Astragalus exscapus, Linum leonii, Orchis morio, Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. nigricans and Scorzonera purpurea) as species with highest priority for reintroductions and another five species as highly suitable for reintroductions. Associations between the ranking order and different ranking criteria revealed that a species’ threat and rarity in Thuringia and its protection status had the highest representation in the ranking, followed by threat in Germany, regional decline and habitat affiliation. In contrast, international threat and responsibility of Thuringia for its conservation had only low representation in the ranking, probably because these characteristics applied to only a few species. The ranking list gives a selection of species for reintroductions, which combined with additional information based on comprehensive local and floristic knowledge, allows the identification of the species with the highest priority. Our method can be transferred to other regions or habitat types.
Environmental drivers of species composition and richness in dry grasslands of northern and central Bohemia, Czech Republic
- Central European dry grasslands are remarkably diverse plant communities that occur at the western edge of the Eurasian forest-steppe zone and harbour many species of continental distribution. Although their plant community types have been described in detail, the diversity patterns and their environmental determinants are still poorly known for these grasslands. Here, we study environmental drivers of species composition and richness in dry grasslands of northern Bohemia (České středohoří Mts) and central Bohemia (Křivoklát region), both in the Czech Republic. In vegetation plots of 100 m² we recorded all vascular plant species, measured soil chemistry variables, above-ground biomass production and nutrient concentrations in biomass. Species richness in these plots ranged from 13 to 55. The relationships between species composition and the environment were explored using detrended correspondence analysis and canonical correspondence analysis, while the relationships between species richness and the environment were assessed using univariate and multiple regression models. In both regions, species composition and richness strongly responded to the soil pH (ranging from 4.0 to 7.8), which was positively correlated with calcium and magnesium concentrations and negatively with annual precipitation. The response of species richness to soil pH was unimodal with a peak at pH of about 6.5 in the České středohoří Mts, and positive in the Křivoklát region. Plots on soils with a pH higher than 5 consistently contained more than 35 species. In the České středohoří Mts, species richness was positively related to the aboveground biomass production, whereas in the Křivoklát region, this relationship was only significant for graminoid species. In both areas, plots with soils deeper than 20 cm and with aboveground biomass dry weight above 200 g/m² harboured more than 40 species per 100 m². Moreover, in the České středohoří Mts, nitrogen concentrations in the biomass had considerable effects on both species composition and richness: species numbers were lower at sites with higher nitrogen concentration. This indicates a threat to diversity of these dry grasslands under currently high atmospheric nitrogen deposition coupled with the absence of management at most of the studied sites.
Diversity and spatial structure of cryophytic steppes of the Minusinskaya intermountain basin in Southern Siberia (Russia)
Yakiv P. Didukh
- Cryophytic steppes in the Minusinskaya intermountain basin containing plant species that are predominantly distributed in the alpine zone such as Androsace dasyphylla, Dryas oxyodonta, Festuca sphagnicola, Kobresia myosuroides, K. filifolia, Minuartia verna, Oxytropis bracteata, Sagina saginoides, Papaver nudicaule, Patrinia sibirica, Pedicularis lasiostachys, Pulsatilla ambigua, Saussurea schanginiana, which are considered remnants of the Pleistocene vegetation. Based on 89 relevés, we classified cryophytic steppes using the Braun-Blanquet method within two phytosociological classes: Central Asian steppes of the Cleistogenetea squarrosae and West Palearctic steppes of the Festuco-Brometea. Three associations (Androsaco dasyphyllae-Caricetum pediformis, Pulsatillo patentis-Caricetum pediformis and Bupleuro multinervi-Helictotrichetum desertori) with three subassociations and three variants were described with respect to their phytosociological affinities and ecology. DCA ordination showed floristic differences between syntaxa, while correlations of DCA axes and floristic and environmental variables detected substrate type and temperature regime as presumably main drivers for vegetation differentiation. Another driver for vegetation differentiation seems to be continentality of the climate. Small scale distribution of cryophytic steppes were mapped using satellite images with resolution of 1.8 m. Cryophytic steppes always occupy only small areas in landscapes, on convex parts of undulated microrelief of mountain slopes and summits characterised by drought in summer and deep soil freezing in winter. These special microecological conditions play an essential role for the existence of alpine flora in the Minusinskaya intermountain basin.
Dry grassland vegetation of Central Podolia (Ukraine) – a preliminary overview of its syntaxonomy, ecology and biodiversity
Anna A. Kuzemko
Yakiv P. Didukh
Ioana Violeta Ardelean
Evgeniy I. Vorona
Olena H. Yavorska
- We present the data of the 2nd research expedition of the European Dry Grassland Group (EDGG), which was conducted in 2010 in Central Podolia, Ukraine. The aim was to collect plot data to compare Ukrainian dry grasslands with those of other parts of Europe in terms of syntaxonomy and biodiversity. We sampled 21 nested-plot series (0.0001–100 m²) and 184 normal plots (10 m²) covering the full variety of dry grassland types occurring in the study region. For all plots, we recorded species composi-tion of terrestrial vascular plants, bryophytes and lichens, while for the 226 10-m² plots we estimated and measured percentage cover of all species, structural, topographic, soil and landuse parameters. The 10-m² plots were used for phytosociological classification based on iteratively refined TWINSPAN classification as well as for DCA ordination. Differences between the derived vegetation types with respect to environmental conditions and species richness were assessed with ANOVAs. We assigned our plots to nine association-level units but refrained from placing them into formal associations with two exceptions. In the study area, dry grasslands of the Festuco-Brometea were far more common than those of the Koelerio-Corynephoretea. Among the Festuco-Brometea, xeric Festucetalia valesiacae grasslands were more frequent and represented by the Festucion valesiacae (2 associations, including the Allio taurici-Dichanthietum ischaemi ass. nova) and the Stipion lessingianae (1) compared to the Brachypodietalia pinnati with the Agrostio vinealis-Avenulion schellianae (3). The Koelerio-Corynephoretea were represented by three associations, each from a different order and alliance: basiphilous outcrops (Alysso alyssoidis-Sedetalia: Alysso alyssoidis-Sedion?), acidophilous outcrops (Sedo-Scleranthetalia: Veronico dillenii-Sedion albi?) and mesoxeric sandy grasslands (Trifolio arvensis-Festucetalia ovinae: Agrostion vinealis). We discuss the issue of the mesoxeric order Galietalia veri placed within the Molinio-Arrhenatheretea by Ukrainian authors and conclude that the content of that order would probably be better placed in the mesoxeric orders of the Koelerio-Corynephoretea and Festuco-Brometea. Other syntaxonomic questions could not be solved with our geographically limited dataset and await a supraregional analysis, e.g. whether the Ukrainian outcrop communities should be assigned to the same alliances as known from Central Europe or rather represent new vicariant units. The analysis of the biodiversity patterns showed that at a grain size of 10 m², Podolian Koelerio-Corynephoretea communities were overall richer than Festuco-Brometea communities (46.4 vs. 40.6 species). This difference was due to the Koelerio-Corynephoretea containing twice as many bryophytes and nine times more lichens, while vascular plant species richness did not differ significantly between classes. The orders within the classes showed no real differences in species richness. The richness patterns observed in Podolia were almost the opposite of those usually found in dry grasslands, where Brachypodietalia pinnati are richer than Festucetalia valesiacae, and these richer than stands of the Koelerio-Corynpehoretea – and we do not have a good explanation for these idiosyncrasies. In conclusion, Podolian dry grasslands behave quite unexpectedly regarding biodiversity, and their syntaxonomy is still poorly understood. These knowledge gaps can only be addressed with supranational analyses based on comprehensive datasets.
Nomenclatural revision of dry grassland syntaxa of the Central Balkan
Zora Dajić Stevanović
- An extensive survey of the relevant literature of dry grassland communities described for the territory of Serbia allowed us to check the validity and legitimacy of the nomenclature of this vegetation. Nomenclature rules of the International Code of Phytosociological Nomenclature were strictly followed. The syntaxonomic affiliation of communities to higher syntaxa was assessed according to existing syntaxonomic schemes for Serbia and the position determined by the original source. Higher syntaxa followed the synsystem of the socalled “EuroVegChecklist”. We have highlighted problems and some disagreement with the existing classification of dry grassland communities in Europe. A total of 134 dry grassland communities have so far been registered for Serbia. This list of syntaxa may serve for further research of grassland vegetation and its appropriate positioning within a syntaxonomical scheme of Europe.
Continental dry grasslands from range margin to range centre – Editorial to the 9th Dry Grassland Special Feature