- 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.
- R-flurbiprofen reduces neuropathic pain in rodents by restoring endogenous cannabinoids (2010)
- Background: R-flurbiprofen, one of the enantiomers of flurbiprofen racemate, is inactive with respect to cyclooxygenase inhibition, but shows analgesic properties without relevant toxicity. Its mode of action is still unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings: We show that R-flurbiprofen reduces glutamate release in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord evoked by sciatic nerve injury and thereby alleviates pain in sciatic nerve injury models of neuropathic pain in rats and mice. This is mediated by restoring the balance of endocannabinoids (eCB), which is disturbed following peripheral nerve injury in the DRGs, spinal cord and forebrain. The imbalance results from transcriptional adaptations of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and NAPE-phospholipase D, i.e. the major enzymes involved in anandamide metabolism and synthesis, respectively. R-flurbiprofen inhibits FAAH activity and normalizes NAPE-PLD expression. As a consequence, R-Flurbiprofen improves endogenous cannabinoid mediated effects, indicated by the reduction of glutamate release, increased activity of the anti-inflammatory transcription factor PPAR gamma and attenuation of microglia activation. Antinociceptive effects are lost by combined inhibition of CB1 and CB2 receptors and partially abolished in CB1 receptor deficient mice. R-flurbiprofen does however not cause changes of core body temperature which is a typical indicator of central effects of cannabinoid-1 receptor agonists. Conclusion: Our results suggest that R-flurbiprofen improves the endogenous mechanisms to regain stability after axonal injury and to fend off chronic neuropathic pain by modulating the endocannabinoid system and thus constitutes an attractive, novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of chronic, intractable pain.
- The ALICE TPC, a large 3-dimensional tracking device with fast readout for ultra-high multiplicity events (2010)
- The design, construction, and commissioning of the ALICE Time-Projection Chamber (TPC) is described. It is the main device for pattern recognition, tracking, and identification of charged particles in the ALICE experiment at the CERN LHC. The TPC is cylindrical in shape with a volume close to 90 m3 and is operated in a 0.5 T solenoidal magnetic field parallel to its axis. In this paper we describe in detail the design considerations for this detector for operation in the extreme multiplicity environment of central Pb–Pb collisions at LHC energy. The implementation of the resulting requirements into hardware (field cage, read-out chambers, electronics), infrastructure (gas and cooling system, laser-calibration system), and software led to many technical innovations which are described along with a presentation of all the major components of the detector, as currently realized. We also report on the performance achieved after completion of the first round of stand-alone calibration runs and demonstrate results close to those specified in the TPC Technical Design Report.
- Antinociceptive activity of the S1P-receptor agonist FTY720 (2008)
- FTY720 is a novel immunosuppressive drug that inhibits the egress of lymphocytes from secondary lymphoid tissues and thymus. In its phosphorylated form FTY720 is a potent S1P receptor agonist. Recently it was also shown that FTY720 can reduce prostaglandin synthesis through the direct inhibition of the cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2). Since prostaglandins are important mediators of nociception, we studied the effects of FTY720 in different models of nociception. We found that intraperitoneal administration of FTY720 reduced dose-dependently the nociceptive behaviour of rats in the formalin assay. Although the antinociceptive doses of FTY720 were too low to alter the lymphocyte count, prostanoid concentrations in the plasma were dramatically reduced. Surprisingly, intrathecally administered FTY720 reduced the nociceptive behaviour in the formalin assay without altering spinal prostaglandin synthesis, indicating that additional antinociceptive mechanisms beside the inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis are involved. Accordingly, FTY720 reduced also the nociceptive behaviour in the spared nerve injury model for neuropathic pain which does not depend on prostaglandin synthesis. In this model the antinociceptive effect of FTY720 was similar to gabapentin, a commonly used drug to treat neuropathic pain. Taken together we show for the first time that FTY720 possesses antinociceptive properties and that FTY720 reduces nociceptive behaviour during neuropathic pain.
- A53T-alpha-synuclein-overexpression in the mouse nigrostriatal pathway leads to early increase of 14-3-3 epsilon and late increase of GFAP (2011)
- Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder frequent at old age characterized by atrophy of the nigrostriatal projection. Overexpression and A53T-mutation of the presynaptic, vesicle-associated chaperone alpha-synuclein are known to cause early-onset autosomal dominant PD. We previously generated mice with transgenic overexpression of human A53T-alpha-synuclein (A53T-SNCA) in dopaminergic substantia nigra neurons as a model of early PD. To elucidate the early and late effects of A53T-alpha-synuclein on the proteome of dopaminergic nerve terminals in the striatum, we now investigated expression profiles of young and old mice using two-dimensional fluorescence difference in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry. In total, 15 proteins were upregulated and 2 downregulated. Mice before the onset of motor anomalies showed an upregulation of the spot containing 14-3-3 proteins, in particular the epsilon isoform, as well as altered levels of chaperones, vesicle trafficking and bioenergetics proteins. In old mice, the persistent upregulation of 14-3-3 proteins was aggravated by an increase of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) suggesting astrogliosis due to initial neurodegeneration. Independent immunoblots corroborated GFAP upregulation and 14-3-3 upregulation for the epsilon isoform, and also detected significant eta and gamma changes. Only for 14-3-3 epsilon a corresponding mRNA increase was observed in midbrain, suggesting it is transcribed in dopaminergic perikarya and accumulates as protein in presynapses, together with A53T-SNCA. 14-3-3 proteins associate with alpha-synuclein in vitro and in pathognomonic Lewy bodies of PD brains. They act as chaperones in signaling, dopamine synthesis and stress response. Thus, their early dysregulation probably reflects a response to alpha-synuclein toxicity. Electronic supplementary material: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00702-011-0717-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
- Financial locations : Frankfurt’s place and perspectives (2008)
- The introduction of a common currency as well as the harmonization of rules and regulations in Europe has significantly reduced distance in all its guises. With reduced costs of overcoming space, this emphasizes centripetal forces and it should foster consolidation of financial activity. In a national context, as a rule, this led to the emergence of one financial center. Hence, Europeanization of financial and monetary affairs could foretell the relegation of some European financial hubs such as Frankfurt and Paris to third-rank status. Frankfurt’s financial history is interesting insofar as it has lost (in the 1870s) and regained (mainly in the 1980s) its preeminent place in the German context. Because Europe is still characterized by local pockets of information-sensitive assets as well as a demand for variety the national analogy probably does not hold. There is room in Europe for a number of financial hubs of an international dimension, including Frankfurt.