Year of publication
- Safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab therapy in patients with different autoimmune diseases: experience from a national registry (GRAID) (2011)
- Introduction Evidence from a number of open-label, uncontrolled studies has suggested that rituximab may benefit patients with autoimmune diseases who are refractory to standard of care. The objective of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes of rituximab in several standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases (within rheumatology, nephrology, dermatology and neurology) other than rheumatoid arthritis or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in a real-life clinical setting. Methods Patients who received rituximab having shown an inadequate response to standard of care had their safety and clinical outcomes data retrospectively analysed as part of the German Registry of Autoimmune Diseases. The main outcome measures were safety and clinical response, as judged at the discretion of the investigators. Results A total of 370 patients (299 patient-years) with various autoimmune diseases (23.0% with systemic lupus erythematosus, 15.7% antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitides, 15.1% multiple sclerosis and 10.0% pemphigus) from 42 centres received a mean dose of 2440 mg of rituximab over a median (range) of 194 (180 to 1407) days. The overall rate of serious infections was 5.3 per 100 patient-years during rituximab therapy. Opportunistic infections were infrequent across the whole study population, and mostly occurred in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. There were 11 deaths (3.0% of patients) after rituximab treatment (mean 11.6 months after first infusion, range 0.8 to 31.3 months), with most of the deaths caused by infections. Overall (n = 293), 13.3% of patients showed no response, 45.1% showed a partial response and 41.6% showed a complete response. Responses were also reflected by reduced use of glucocorticoids and various immunosuppressives during rituximab therapy and follow-up compared with before rituximab. Rituximab generally had a positive effect on patient well-being (physician's visual analogue scale; mean improvement from baseline of 12.1 mm). Conclusions Data from this registry indicate that rituximab is a commonly employed, well-tolerated therapy with potential beneficial effects in standard of care-refractory autoimmune diseases, and support the results from other open-label, uncontrolled studies. Additional file 1: Supplemental tables. Table A1. Duration of follow-up from first rituximab infusion to last control visit by diagnosis. Table A2. Number of rituximab infusions by diagnosis.
- Oxidative stress induces CHIP-mediated ubiquitination and roteasomal degradation of soluble guanylyl cyclase : oral presentation (2007)
- Oxidative stress attenuates the NO-cGMP pathway, e.g. in the vascular system, through scavenging of free NO radicals by superoxide O2•-, by inactivation of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) via oxidation of its central Fe2+ ion, and by down-regulation of sGC protein levels. While the former pathways are well established, the molecular mechanisms underlying the latter are still obscure. Using oxidative sGC inhibitor ODQ we demonstrate rapid down-regulation of sGC protein in mammalian cells. Co-incubation with proteasomal inhibitor MG132 results in accumulation of ubiquitinated sGC whereas sGC activator BAY 58–2667 prevents ubiquitination. ODQ-induced down-regulation of sGC is mediated through selective ubiquitination of its b subunit, and BAY 58–2667 abrogates this effect. Ubiquitination of sGC-b is dramatically enhanced by E3 ligase CHIP. Our data indicate that oxidative stress promotes ubiquitination of sGC b subunit through E3 ligase CHIP, and that sGC activator 58–2667 reverts this effect, most likely through stabilization of the heme-free b subunit. Thus the deleterious effects of oxidative stress can be counter-balanced by an activator of a key enzyme of vascular homeostasis.
- Nitric oxide-independent vasodilator rescues heme-oxidized soluble guanylate cyclase from proteosomal degradation (2009)
- Poster presentation: Background Nitric oxide (NO) is an essential vasodilator. In vascular diseases, oxidative stress attenuates NO signaling by both chemical scavenging of free NO and oxidation and down-regulation of its major intracellular receptor, the alpha/beta heterodimeric heme-containing soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). Oxidation can also induce loss of sGC's heme and responsiveness to NO. Results sGC activators such as BAY 58-2667 bind to oxidized/heme-free sGC and reactivate the enzyme to exert disease-specific vasodilation. Here we show that oxidation-induced down-regulation of sGC protein extends to isolated blood vessels. Mechanistically, degradation was triggered through sGC ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. The heme-binding site ligand, BAY 58-2667, prevented sGC ubiquitination and stabilized both alpha and beta subunits. Conclusion Collectively, our data establish oxidation-ubiquitination of sGC as a modulator of NO/cGMP signaling and point to a new mechanism of action for sGC activating vasodilators by stabilizing their receptor, oxidized/heme-free sGC.
- Temporal regularity effects on pre-attentive and attentive processing of deviance (2011)
- Temporal regularity allows predicting the temporal locus of future information thereby potentially facilitating cognitive processing. We applied event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to investigate how temporal regularity impacts pre-attentive and attentive processing of deviance in the auditory modality. Participants listened to sequences of sinusoidal tones differing exclusively in pitch. The inter-stimulus interval (ISI) in these sequences was manipulated to convey either isochronous or random temporal structure. In the pre-attentive session, deviance processing was unaffected by the regularity manipulation as evidenced in three event-related-potentials (ERPs): mismatch negativity (MMN), P3a, and reorienting negativity (RON). In the attentive session, the P3b was smaller for deviant tones embedded in irregular temporal structure, while the N2b component remained unaffected. These findings confirm that temporal regularity can reinforce cognitive mechanisms associated with the attentive processing of deviance. Furthermore, they provide evidence for the dynamic allocation of attention in time and dissociable pre-attentive and attention-dependent temporal processing mechanisms.
- Aesthetic and emotional effects of meter and rhyme in poetry (2013)
- Metrical patterning and rhyme are frequently employed in poetry but also in infant-directed speech, play, rites, and festive events. Drawing on four line-stanzas from nineteenth and twentieth German poetry that feature end rhyme and regular meter, the present study tested the hypothesis that meter and rhyme have an impact on aesthetic liking, emotional involvement, and affective valence attributions. Hypotheses that postulate such effects have been advocated ever since ancient rhetoric and poetics, yet they have barely been empirically tested. More recently, in the field of cognitive poetics, these traditional assumptions have been readopted into a general cognitive framework. In the present experiment, we tested the influence of meter and rhyme as well as their interaction with lexicality in the aesthetic and emotional perception of poetry. Participants listened to stanzas that were systematically modified with regard to meter and rhyme and rated them. Both rhyme and regular meter led to enhanced aesthetic appreciation, higher intensity in processing, and more positively perceived and felt emotions, with the latter finding being mediated by lexicality. Together these findings clearly show that both features significantly contribute to the aesthetic and emotional perception of poetry and thus confirm assumptions about their impact put forward by cognitive poetics. The present results are explained within the theoretical framework of cognitive fluency, which links structural features of poetry with aesthetic and emotional appraisal.
- Why pitch sensitivity matters: event-related potential evidence of metric and syntactic violation detection among spanish late learners of german (2011)
- Event-related potential (ERP) data in monolingual German speakers have shown that sentential metric expectancy violations elicit a biphasic ERP pattern consisting of an anterior negativity and a posterior positivity (P600). This pattern is comparable to that elicited by syntactic violations. However, proficient French late learners of German do not detect violations of metric expectancy in German. They also show qualitatively and quantitatively different ERP responses to metric and syntactic violations. We followed up the questions whether (1) latter evidence results from a potential pitch cue insensitivity in speech segmentation in French speakers, or (2) if the result is founded in rhythmic language differences. Therefore, we tested Spanish late learners of German, as Spanish, contrary to French, uses pitch as a segmentation cue even though the basic segmentation unit is the same in French and Spanish (i.e., the syllable). We report ERP responses showing that Spanish L2 learners are sensitive to syntactic as well as metric violations in German sentences independent of attention to task in a P600 response. Overall, the behavioral performance resembles that of German native speakers. The current data suggest that Spanish L2 learners are able to extract metric units (trochee) in their L2 (German) even though their basic segmentation unit in Spanish is the syllable. In addition Spanish in contrast to French L2 learners of German are sensitive to syntactic violations indicating a tight link between syntactic and metric competence. This finding emphasizes the relevant role of metric cues not only in L2 prosodic but also in syntactic processing.
- Savings banks and cooperative banks in Europe (2013)
- Until about 25 years ago, almost all European countries had a so-called “three pillar” banking system comprising private banks, (public) savings banks and (mutual) cooperative banks. Since that time, several European countries have implemented far-reaching changes in their banking systems, which have more than anything else affected the two “pillars” of the savings and cooperative banks. The article describes the most important changes in Germany, Austria, France, Italy and Spain and characterizes the former and the current roles of savings banks and cooperative banks in these countries. A particular focus is placed on the German case, which is almost unique in so far as the German savings banks and cooperative banks have maintained most of their traditional features. The article concludes with a plea for diversity of institutional forms of banks and argues that it is important to safeguard the strengths of those types of banks that do not conform to the model of a large shareholder-oriented commercial bank.
- Refinement of protein tertiary structure by using spin-spin coupling constants from nuclear magnetic resonance measurements (2012)
- Modelling protein structure seems a challenging enterprise because the number of structure parameters required ordinarily exceeds the amount of independent data points available from experimental observations. Expressing the predominant conformation of a protein in terms of a geometry model, a polypeptide chain consisting of N atoms would command 3N – 6 Cartesian coordinates be fixed. Even for small proteins, this becomes a daunting number. Fortunately, so-called holonomic constraints limit the number of variables, leaving substantially fewer, truly relevant parameters for folding the polypeptide chain into its native tertiary structure. For example, adjusting bond lengths and the many angles between the covalent bonds connecting the atoms is of little concern and appropriate standard values can be inserted from tableworks (Pople & Gordon, 1967; Engh & Huber, 1991, 2006). Table 1 exemplifies for the 147-residue protein Desulfovibrio vulgaris flavodoxin how the number of truly independent internal rotational degrees of freedom amounts to less than one-tenth of the Cartesian coordinate set size...
- Molluskengemeinschaften im Deichrückverlegungsgebiet Roßlauer Oberluch im Biosphärenreservat Mittelelbe (2009)
- Mollusken eignen sich aufgrund ihrer spezifischen Eigenschaften sehr gut zur ökologischen Charakterisierung, naturschutzfachlichen Bewertung und Beweissicherung bei bevorstehenden Veränderungen innerhalb ihrer Lebensräume. Durch ihre geringe aktive Mobilität sind sie sehr stark an ihren Lebensraum gebunden. Ihre Biologie, Ökologie und Habitatansprüche sind gut bekannt. Gerade in Flussauen erreichen Mollusken sehr hohe Arten- und je nach standörtlichen Verhältnissen sehr hohe Individuenzahlen. Im Herbst 2006 sowie im Frühjahr und Herbst 2007 wurden Molluskenproben auf den Wiesen im Roßlauer Oberluch und auf zwei Referenzstandorten in der Kliekener Altaue entnommen mit dem Ziel, den Status Quo vor der Deichöffnung festzuhalten und die Entwicklung dieser Artengruppe nach der Deichrückverlegungsmaßnahme zu analysieren. Bislang liegen die Status-Quo-Ergebnisse der Herbst- und Frühjahrsaufsammlungen aus den Jahren 2006 und 2007 vor.
- Physical exercise during encoding improves vocabulary learning in young female adults: a neuroendocrinological study (2013)
- Acute physical activity has been repeatedly shown to improve various cognitive functions. However, there have been no investigations comparing the effects of exercise during verbal encoding versus exercise prior to encoding on long-term memory performance. In this current psychoneuroendocrinological study we aim to test whether light to moderate ergometric bicycling during vocabulary encoding enhances subsequent recall compared to encoding during physical rest and encoding after being physically active. Furthermore, we examined the kinetics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in serum which has been previously shown to correlate with learning performance. We also controlled for the BDNF val66met polymorphism. We found better vocabulary test performance for subjects that were physically active during the encoding phase compared to sedentary subjects. Post-hoc tests revealed that this effect was particularly present in initially low performers. BDNF in serum and BDNF genotype failed to account for the current result. Our data indicates that light to moderate simultaneous physical activity during encoding, but not prior to encoding, is beneficial for subsequent recall of new items.