Zentrum für Arzneimittelforschung, Entwicklung und Sicherheit
Heavy ions and X-rays in brain tumor treatment : a comparison of their biological effects on tissue slice cultures
Michel Guy André Mittelbronn
Patrick Nikolaus Harter
- Background: In this interdisciplinary project, the biological effects of heavy ions are compared to those of X-rays using tissue slice culture preparations from rodents and humans. Advantages of this biological model are the conservation of an organotypic environment and the independency from genetic immortalization strategies used to generate cell lines. Its open access allows easy treatment and observation via live-imaging microscopy. Materials and methods: Rat brains and human brain tumor tissue are cut into 300 micro m thick tissue slices. These slices are cultivated using a membrane-based culture system and kept in an incubator at 37°C until treatment. The slices are treated with X-rays at the radiation facility of the University Hospital in Frankfurt at doses of up to 40 Gy. The heavy ion irradiations were performed at the UNILAC facility at GSI with different ions of 11.4 A MeV and fluences ranging from 0.5–10 x 106 particles/cm². Using 3D-confocal microscopy, cell-death and immune cell activation of the irradiated slices are analyzed. Planning of the irradiation experiments is done with simulation programs developed at GSI and FIAS. Results: After receiving a single application of either X-rays or heavy ions, slices were kept in culture for up to 9d post irradiation. DNA damage was visualized using gamma H2AXstaining. Here, a dose-dependent increase and time-dependent decrease could clearly be observed for the X-ray irradiation. Slices irradiated with heavy ions showed less gamma H2AX-positive cells distributed evenly throughout the slice, even though particles were calculated to penetrate only 90–100 micro m into the slice. Conclusions: Single irradiations of brain tissue, even at high doses of 40 Gy, will result neither in tissue damage visible on a macroscopic level nor necrosis. This is in line with the view that the brain is highly radio-resistant. However, DNA damage can be detected very well in tissue slices using gamma H2AX-immuno staining. Thus, slice cultures are an excellent tool to study radiation-induced damage and repair mechanisms in living tissues.
Conditional gene deletion reveals functional redundancy of GABAB receptors in peripheral nociceptors in vivo
- Background Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter which mainly mediates its effects on neurons via ionotropic (GABAA) and metabotropic (GABAB) receptors. GABAB receptors are widely expressed in the central and the peripheral nervous system. Although there is evidence for a key function of GABAB receptors in the modulation of pain, the relative contribution of peripherally- versus centrally-expressed GABAB receptors is unclear. Results In order to elucidate the functional relevance of GABAB receptors expressed in peripheral nociceptive neurons in pain modulation we generated and analyzed conditional mouse mutants lacking functional GABAB(1) subunit specifically in nociceptors, preserving expression in the spinal cord and brain (SNS-GABAB(1)-/- mice). Lack of the GABAB(1) subunit precludes the assembly of functional GABAB receptor. We analyzed SNS-GABAB(1)-/- mice and their control littermates in several models of acute and neuropathic pain. Electrophysiological studies on peripheral afferents revealed higher firing frequencies in SNS-GABAB(1)-/- mice compared to corresponding control littermates. However no differences were seen in basal nociceptive sensitivity between these groups. The development of neuropathic and chronic inflammatory pain was similar across the two genotypes. The duration of nocifensive responses evoked by intraplantar formalin injection was prolonged in the SNS-GABAB(1)-/- animals as compared to their control littermates. Pharmacological experiments revealed that systemic baclofen-induced inhibition of formalin-induced nociceptive behaviors was not dependent upon GABAB(1) expression in nociceptors. Conclusion This study addressed contribution of GABAB receptors expressed on primary afferent nociceptive fibers to the modulation of pain. We observed that neither the development of acute and chronic pain nor the analgesic effects of a systematically-delivered GABAB agonist was significantly changed upon a specific deletion of GABAB receptors from peripheral nociceptive neurons in vivo. This lets us conclude that GABAB receptors in the peripheral nervous system play a less important role than those in the central nervous system in the regulation of pain.
cGMP-dependent signaling pathways in spinal pain processing
- Oral presentation from 4th International Conference of cGMP Generators, Effectors and Therapeutic Implications ; Regensburg, Germany. 19–21 June 2009 Background: An exaggerated pain sensitivity is the dominant feature of inflammatory and neuropathic pain both in the clinical setting and in experimental animal models. It manifests as pain in response to normally innocuous stimuli (allodynia), increased response to noxious stimuli (hyperalgesia) or spontaneous pain, and can persist long after the initial injury is resolved. Research over the last decades has revealed that several signaling pathways in the spinal cord essentially contribute to the pain sensitization. To test the contribution of cGMP produced by NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC) to pain sensitization, we investigated the localization of NO-GC in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the nociceptive behavior of mice deficient in NO-GC (GC-KO mice). Results: We show that NO-GC (β1 subunit) is distinctly expressed in neurons of the mouse spinal cord, while its distribution in dorsal root ganglia is restricted to non-neuronal cells. GC-KO mice exhibited a considerably reduced nociceptive behavior in models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, but their responses to acute pain were not impaired. Moreover, GC-KO mice failed to develop pain sensitization induced by spinal administration of drugs releasing NO. Surprisingly, during spinal nociceptive processing cGMP produced by NO-GC may activate signaling pathways different from cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), while cGKI can be activated by natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) dependent cGMP production. Conclusion: Taken together, our results provide evidence that NO-GC has a dominant role in the development of exaggerated pain sensitivity during inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, beside the NO-mediated cGMP synthesis, cGMP produced by NPR-B contributes to pain sensitization by activation of cGKI.
5-Lipoxygenase: underappreciated role of a pro-inflammatory enzyme in tumorigenesis
Astrid Stefanie Fischer
Svenja Dorothea Steinbrink
Thorsten Jürgen Maier
- Leukotrienes constitute a group of bioactive lipids generated by the 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) pathway. An increasing body of evidence supports an acute role for 5-LO products already during the earliest stages of pancreatic, prostate, and colorectal carcinogenesis. Several pieces of experimental data form the basis for this hypothesis and suggest a correlation between 5-LO expression and tumor cell viability. First, several independent studies documented an overexpression of 5-LO in primary tumor cells as well as in established cancer cell lines. Second, addition of 5-LO products to cultured tumor cells also led to increased cell proliferation and activation of anti-apoptotic signaling pathways. 5-LO antisense technology approaches demonstrated impaired tumor cell growth due to reduction of 5-LO expression. Lastly, pharmacological inhibition of 5-LO potently suppressed tumor cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest and triggering cell death via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the documented strong cytotoxic off-target effects of 5-LO inhibitors, in combination with the relatively high concentrations of 5-LO products needed to achieve mitogenic effects in cell culture assays, raise concern over the assignment of the cause, and question the relationship between 5-LO products and tumorigenesis. Keywords: leukotriene, apoptosis, cell proliferation, mitogenic effects, cytotoxicity
Effect sizes in experimental pain produced by gender, genetic variants and sensitization procedures
- Background: Various effects on pain have been reported with respect to their statistical significance, but a standardized measure of effect size has been rarely added. Such a measure would ease comparison of the magnitude of the effects across studies, for example the effect of gender on heat pain with the effect of a genetic variant on pressure pain. Methodology/Principal Findings: Effect sizes on pain thresholds to stimuli consisting of heat, cold, blunt pressure, punctuate pressure and electrical current, administered to 125 subjects, were analyzed for 29 common variants in eight human genes reportedly modulating pain, gender and sensitization procedures using capsaicin or menthol. The genotype explained 0–5.9% of the total interindividual variance in pain thresholds to various stimuli and produced mainly small effects (Cohen's d 0–1.8). The largest effect had the TRPA1 rs13255063T/rs11988795G haplotype explaining >5% of the variance in electrical pain thresholds and conferring lower pain sensitivity to homozygous carriers. Gender produced larger effect sizes than most variant alleles (1–14.8% explained variance, Cohen's d 0.2–0.8), with higher pain sensitivity in women than in men. Sensitization by capsaicin or menthol explained up to 63% of the total variance (4.7–62.8%) and produced largest effects according to Cohen's d (0.4–2.6), especially heat sensitization by capsaicin (Cohen's d = 2.6). Conclusions: Sensitization, gender and genetic variants produce effects on pain in the mentioned order of effect sizes. The present report may provide a basis for comparative discussions of factors influencing pain.
R-flurbiprofen reduces neuropathic pain in rodents by restoring endogenous cannabinoids
Ingo Jürgen Bechmann
- 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.
Agreeable smellers and sensitive neurotics - correlations among personality traits and sensory thresholds
Amy N. B. Johnston
- Correlations between personality traits and a wide range of sensory thresholds were examined. Participants (N = 124) completed a personality inventory (NEO-FFI) and underwent assessment of olfactory, trigeminal, tactile and gustatory detection thresholds, as well as examination of trigeminal and tactile pain thresholds. Significantly enhanced odor sensitivity in socially agreeable people, significantly enhanced trigeminal sensitivity in neurotic subjects, and a tendency for enhanced pain tolerance in highly conscientious participants was revealed. It is postulated that varied sensory processing may influence an individual's perception of the environment; particularly their perception of socially relevant or potentially dangerous stimuli and thus, varied with personality.
Serum microRNA-21 as marker for necroinflammation in hepatitis C patients with and without hepatocellular carcinoma
Jan Franz-Josef Peveling-Oberhag
Michael von Wagner
Heinfried Hermann Radeke
- Background: MicroRNA-21 (miR-21) is up-regulated in tumor tissue of patients with malignant diseases, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Elevated concentrations of miR-21 have also been found in sera or plasma from patients with malignancies, rendering it an interesting candidate as serum/plasma marker for malignancies. Here we correlated serum miR-21 levels with clinical parameters in patients with different stages of chronic hepatitis C virus infection (CHC) and CHC-associated HCC.
Methodology/Principal Findings: 62 CHC patients, 29 patients with CHC and HCC and 19 healthy controls were prospectively enrolled. RNA was extracted from the sera and miR-21 as well as miR-16 levels were analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR; miR-21 levels (normalized by miR-16) were correlated with standard liver parameters, histological grading and staging of CHC. The data show that serum levels of miR-21 were elevated in patients with CHC compared to healthy controls (P<0.001); there was no difference between serum miR-21 in patients with CHC and CHC-associated HCC. Serum miR-21 levels correlated with histological activity index (HAI) in the liver (r = −0.494, P = 0.00002), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (r = −0.309, P = 0.007), aspartate aminotransferase (r = −0.495, P = 0.000007), bilirubin (r = −0.362, P = 0.002), international normalized ratio (r = −0.338, P = 0.034) and γ-glutamyltransferase (r = −0.244, P = 0.034). Multivariate analysis revealed that ALT and miR-21 serum levels were independently associated with HAI. At a cut-off dCT of 1.96, miR-21 discriminated between minimal and mild-severe necroinflammation (AUC = 0.758) with a sensitivity of 53.3% and a specificity of 95.2%.
Conclusions/Significance: The serum miR-21 level is a marker for necroinflammatory activity, but does not differ between patients with HCV and HCV-induced HCC.
Additive antinociceptive effects of a combination of vitamin C and vitamin E after peripheral nerve injury
- Accumulating evidence indicates that increased generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) contributes to the development of exaggerated pain hypersensitivity during persistent pain. In the present study, we investigated the antinociceptive efficacy of the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E in mouse models of inflammatory and neuropathic pain. We show that systemic administration of a combination of vitamins C and E inhibited the early behavioral responses to formalin injection and the neuropathic pain behavior after peripheral nerve injury, but not the inflammatory pain behavior induced by Complete Freund's Adjuvant. In contrast, vitamin C or vitamin E given alone failed to affect the nociceptive behavior in all tested models. The attenuated neuropathic pain behavior induced by the vitamin C and E combination was paralleled by a reduced p38 phosphorylation in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and was also observed after intrathecal injection of the vitamins. Moreover, the vitamin C and E combination ameliorated the allodynia induced by an intrathecally delivered ROS donor. Our results suggest that administration of vitamins C and E in combination may exert synergistic antinociceptive effects, and further indicate that ROS essentially contribute to nociceptive processing in special pain states.
Wound healing in mice with high-fat diet- or ob gene-induced diabetes-obesity syndromes: a comparative study
Josef Martin Pfeilschifter
- In the past, the genetically diabetic-obese diabetes/diabetes (db/db) and obese/obese (ob/ob) mouse strains were used to investigate mechanisms of diabetes-impaired wound healing. Here we determined patterns of skin repair in genetically normal C57Bl/6J mice that were fed using a high fat diet (HFD) to induce a diabetes-obesity syndrome. Wound closure was markedly delayed in HFD-fed mice compared to mice which had received a standard chow diet (CD). Impaired wound tissue of HFD mice showed a marked prolongation of wound inflammation. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) was delayed and associated with the disturbed formation of wound margin epithelia and an impaired angiogenesis in the reduced granulation tissue. Normal wound contraction was retarded and disordered. Wound disorders in obese C57Bl/6J mice were paralleled by a prominent degradation of the inhibitor of NFκB (IκB-α) in the absence of an Akt activation. By contrast to impaired wound conditions in ob/ob mice, late wounds of HFD mice did not develop a chronic inflammatory state and were epithelialized after 11 days of repair. Thus, only genetically obese and diabetic ob/ob mice finally developed chronic wounds and therefore represent a better suited experimental model to investigate diabetes-induced wound healing disorders.