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1.  Beneficial Effects of UV-Radiation: Vitamin D and beyond 
Aside from its well-known effects on bone and mineral metabolism, vitamin D may also play an important role in extra-skeletal processes like immunologic diseases, cancer, or cardiovascular diseases. Even though meta-analyses showed that vitamin D supplementation reduces fractures, falls, and overall mortality, its potential benefits did not find universal acclaim. Several health care authorities published Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin D, most of them ranging from 600 to 800 international units (IU) per day, corresponding to a serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L). However, studies conducted in the general population revealed a much lower overall intake of vitamin D than the proposed RDAs. Thus, strategies to increase the vitamin D intake in the general population, e.g., food fortification or vitamin D supplementation, are needed to match the existing evidence and recommendations. Therefore, several currently ongoing projects aim to investigate the effect of vitamin D supplementation in the general population and try to establish food-based solutions to improve vitamin D status.
PMCID: PMC5086767  PMID: 27775585
vitamin D; 25(OH)D; UV-radiation; review
2.  Functional Metagenomics of Spacecraft Assembly Cleanrooms: Presence of Virulence Factors Associated with Human Pathogens 
Strict planetary protection practices are implemented during spacecraft assembly to prevent inadvertent transfer of earth microorganisms to other planetary bodies. Therefore, spacecraft are assembled in cleanrooms, which undergo strict cleaning and decontamination procedures to reduce total microbial bioburden. We wanted to evaluate if these practices selectively favor survival and growth of hardy microorganisms, such as pathogens. Three geographically distinct cleanrooms were sampled during the assembly of three NASA spacecraft: The Lockheed Martin Aeronautics' Multiple Testing Facility during DAWN, the Kennedy Space Center's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility (KSC-PHSF) during Phoenix, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Spacecraft Assembly Facility during Mars Science Laboratory. Sample sets were collected from the KSC-PHSF cleanroom at three time points: before arrival of the Phoenix spacecraft, during the assembly and testing of the Phoenix spacecraft, and after removal of the spacecraft from the KSC-PHSF facility. All samples were subjected to metagenomic shotgun sequencing on an Illumina HiSeq 2500 platform. Strict decontamination procedures had a greater impact on microbial communities than sampling location Samples collected during spacecraft assembly were dominated by Acinetobacter spp. We found pathogens and potential virulence factors, which determine pathogenicity in all the samples tested during this study. Though the relative abundance of pathogens was lowest during the Phoenix assembly, potential virulence factors were higher during assembly compared to before and after assembly, indicating a survival advantage. Decreased phylogenetic and pathogenic diversity indicates that decontamination and preventative measures were effective against the majority of microorganisms and well implemented, however, pathogen abundance still increased over time. Four potential pathogens, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter lwoffii, Escherichia coli and Legionella pneumophila, and their corresponding virulence factors were present in all cleanroom samples. This is the first functional metagenomics study describing presence of pathogens and their corresponding virulence factors in cleanroom environments. The results of this study should be considered for microbial monitoring of enclosed environments such as schools, homes, hospitals and more isolated habitation such the International Space Station and future manned missions to Mars.
PMCID: PMC5017214  PMID: 27667984
cleanroom; pathogens; indoor environments; microbiome; spacecraft; virulence factors; Acinetobacter; functional metagenomics
3.  An Untargeted Metabolomics Approach to Characterize Short-Term and Long-Term Metabolic Changes after Bariatric Surgery 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0161425.
Bariatric surgery is currently one of the most effective treatments for obesity and leads to significant weight reduction, improved cardiovascular risk factors and overall survival in treated patients. To date, most studies focused on short-term effects of bariatric surgery on the metabolic profile and found high variation in the individual responses to surgery. The aim of this study was to identify relevant metabolic changes not only shortly after bariatric surgery (Roux-en-Y gastric bypass) but also up to one year after the intervention by using untargeted metabolomics. 132 serum samples taken from 44 patients before surgery, after hospital discharge (1–3 weeks after surgery) and at a 1-year follow-up during a prospective study (NCT01271062) performed at two study centers (Austria and Switzerland). The samples included 24 patients with type 2 diabetes at baseline, thereof 9 with diabetes remission after one year. The samples were analyzed by using liquid chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS, HILIC-QExactive). Raw data was processed with XCMS and drift-corrected through quantile regression based on quality controls. 177 relevant metabolic features were selected through Random Forests and univariate testing and 36 metabolites were identified. Identified metabolites included trimethylamine-N-oxide, alanine, phenylalanine and indoxyl-sulfate which are known markers for cardiovascular risk. In addition we found a significant decrease in alanine after one year in the group of patients with diabetes remission relative to non-remission. Our analysis highlights the importance of assessing multiple points in time in subjects undergoing bariatric surgery to enable the identification of biomarkers for treatment response, cardiovascular benefit and diabetes remission. Key-findings include different trend pattern over time for various metabolites and demonstrated that short term changes should not necessarily be used to identify important long term effects of bariatric surgery.
PMCID: PMC5008721  PMID: 27584017
4.  The Salivary Microbiome in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and Its Association with Disease-Related Parameters: A Pilot Study 
Background: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common female endocrine condition of unclear etiology characterized by hyperandrogenism, oligo/amenorrhoea, and polycystic ovarian morphology. PCOS is often complicated by infertility, overweight/obesity, insulin resistance, and low-grade inflammation. The gut microbiome is known to contribute to several of these conditions. Recently, an association between stool and saliva microbiome community profiles was shown, making saliva a possible convenient, non-invasive sample type for detecting gut microbiome changes in systemic disease. In this study, we describe the saliva microbiome of PCOS patients and the association of microbiome features with PCOS-related parameters.
Methods: 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing was performed on saliva samples from 24 PCOS patients and 20 healthy controls. Data processing and microbiome analyses were conducted in mothur and QIIME. All study subjects were characterized regarding reproductive, metabolic, and inflammatory parameters.
Results: PCOS patients showed a decrease in bacteria from the phylum Actinobacteria and a borderline significant shift in bacterial community composition in unweighted UniFrac analysis. No differences between patients and controls were found in alpha diversity, weighted UniFrac analysis, or on other taxonomic levels. We found no association of saliva alpha diversity, beta diversity, or taxonomic composition with serum testosterone, oligo/amenorrhoea, overweight, insulin resistance, inflammatory markers, age, or diet.
Conclusions: In this pilot study, patients with PCOS showed a reduced salivary relative abundance of Actinobacteria. Reproductive and metabolic components of the syndrome were not associated with saliva microbiome parameters, indicating that the majority of between-subject variation in saliva microbiome profiles remains to be explained.
PMCID: PMC4996828  PMID: 27610099
polycystic ovary syndrome; sex steroids; human oral microbiome; next-generation sequencing; 16S rRNA; obesity; inflammation
5.  Open Flow Microperfusion as a Dermal Pharmacokinetic Approach to Evaluate Topical Bioequivalence 
Clinical Pharmacokinetics  2016;56(1):91-98.
The availability of generic topical dermatological drug products is constrained by the limited methods established to assess topical bioequivalence (BE). A novel cutaneous pharmacokinetic approach, dermal open-flow microperfusion (dOFM), can continuously assess the rate and extent to which a topical drug becomes available in the dermis, to compare in vivo dermal bioavailability (BA) and support BE evaluations for topical products.
To evaluate whether dOFM is an accurate, sensitive, and reproducible in vivo method to characterize the intradermal BA of acyclovir from 5 % acyclovir creams, comparing a reference (R) product either to itself or to a different test (T) product.
In a single-center clinical study, R or T products were applied to six randomized treatment sites on the skin of 20 healthy human subjects. Two dOFM probes were inserted in each treatment site to monitor the intradermal acyclovir concentration for 36 h. Comparative BA (of R vs. R and T vs. R) was evaluated based on conventional BE criteria for pharmacokinetic endpoints (area under the curve and maximum plasma concentration) where the 90 % confidence interval of the geometric mean ratio between the T and R falls within 0.80–1.25.
The positive control products (R vs. R) were accurately and reproducibly confirmed to be bioequivalent, while the negative control products (T vs. R) were sensitively discriminated not to be bioequivalent.
dOFM accurately, sensitively, and reproducibly characterized the dermal BA in a manner that can support BE evaluations for topical acyclovir 5 % creams in a study with n = 40 (20 subjects in this study).
PMCID: PMC5222896  PMID: 27539717
6.  Accuracy of Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) during Continuous and High-Intensity Interval Exercise in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus 
Nutrients  2016;8(8):489.
Continuous exercise (CON) and high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) can be safely performed with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Additionally, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems may serve as a tool to reduce the risk of exercise-induced hypoglycemia. It is unclear if CGM is accurate during CON and HIIE at different mean workloads. Seven T1DM patients performed CON and HIIE at 5% below (L) and above (M) the first lactate turn point (LTP1), and 5% below the second lactate turn point (LTP2) (H) on a cycle ergometer. Glucose was measured via CGM and in capillary blood (BG). Differences were found in comparison of CGM vs. BG in three out of the six tests (p < 0.05). In CON, bias and levels of agreement for L, M, and H were found at: 0.85 (−3.44, 5.15) mmol·L−1, −0.45 (−3.95, 3.05) mmol·L−1, −0.31 (−8.83, 8.20) mmol·L−1 and at 1.17 (−2.06, 4.40) mmol·L−1, 0.11 (−5.79, 6.01) mmol·L−1, 1.48 (−2.60, 5.57) mmol·L−1 in HIIE for the same intensities. Clinically-acceptable results (except for CON H) were found. CGM estimated BG to be clinically acceptable, except for CON H. Additionally, using CGM may increase avoidance of exercise-induced hypoglycemia, but usual BG control should be performed during intense exercise.
PMCID: PMC4997402  PMID: 27517956
continuous glucose monitoring; exercise; diabetes; blood glucose
7.  Characterization of the microbiome of nipple aspirate fluid of breast cancer survivors 
Scientific Reports  2016;6:28061.
The microbiome impacts human health and disease. Until recently, human breast tissue and milk were presumed to be sterile. Here, we investigated the presence of microbes in the nipple aspirate fluid (NAF) and their potential association with breast cancer. We compared the NAF microbiome between women with a history of breast cancer (BC) and healthy control women (HC) using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. The NAF microbiome from BC and HC showed significant differences in community composition. Two Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) showed differences in relative abundances between NAF collected from BC and HC. In NAF collected from BC, there was relatively higher incidence of the genus Alistipes. By contrast, an unclassified genus from the Sphingomonadaceae family was relatively more abundant in NAF from HC. These findings reflect the ductal source DNA since there were no differences between areolar skin samples collected from BC and HC. Furthermore, the microbes associated with BC share an enzymatic activity, Beta-Glucuronidase, which may promote breast cancer. This is the first report of bacterial DNA in human breast ductal fluid and the differences between NAF from HC and BC. Further investigation of the ductal microbiome and its potential role in breast cancer are warranted.
PMCID: PMC4914981  PMID: 27324944
8.  Pharmacokinetic Properties of Liraglutide as Adjunct to Insulin in Subjects with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus 
Clinical Pharmacokinetics  2016;55(11):1457-1463.
The pharmacokinetic properties of liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), have been established in healthy individuals and subjects with T2D. Liraglutide has been under investigation as adjunct treatment to insulin in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). This single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, clinical pharmacology trial is the first to analyze the pharmacokinetic properties of liraglutide as add-on to insulin in T1D.
Subjects (18–64 years; body mass index 20.0–28.0 kg/m2; glycated hemoglobin ≤9.5 %) were randomized 1:1:1 to 0.6, 1.2, or 1.8 mg liraglutide/placebo. Each group underwent two 4-week treatment periods (liraglutide then placebo or placebo then liraglutide) separated by a 2- to 3-week washout. Both trial drugs were administered subcutaneously, once daily, as adjunct to insulin. A stepwise hypoglycemic clamp was performed at the end of each treatment period (data reported previously). Pharmacokinetic endpoints were derived from liraglutide concentration–time curves after the final dose and exposure was compared with data from previous trials in healthy volunteers and subjects with T2D.
The pharmacokinetic properties of liraglutide in T1D were comparable with those observed in healthy volunteers and subjects with T2D. Area under the steady-state concentration–time curve (AUC) and maximum plasma concentration data were consistent with dose proportionality of liraglutide. Comparison of dose-normalized liraglutide AUC suggested that exposure in T1D, when administered with insulin, is comparable with that observed in T2D.
Liraglutide, administered as adjunct to insulin in subjects with T1D, shows comparable pharmacokinetics to those in subjects with T2D. Identifier: NCT01536665.
PMCID: PMC5069309  PMID: 27282158
9.  LEADER 7: cardiovascular risk profiles of US and European participants in the LEADER diabetes trial differ 
To determine whether US and European participants in the Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes: Evaluation of cardiovascular outcome Results (LEADER) trial differ regarding risk factors for cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.
Baseline data, stratified for prior cardiovascular disease (CVD), were compared using multivariable logistic regression analysis to establish whether region is an independent determinant of achieved targets for glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), blood pressure (BP), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol.
Independent of CVD history, US participants were more often of non-White origin and had a longer history of type 2 diabetes, higher body weight, and higher baseline HbA1c. They had substantially lower systolic and diastolic BP, and a marginally lower LDL-cholesterol level. Fewer US participants were diagnosed with left ventricular dysfunction. In the largest group of patients, those with prior CVD and the highest cardiovascular risk, US participants were more often female, had a higher waist circumference, and had a decreased estimated glomerular filtration rate, but less frequently prior myocardial infarction or angina pectoris.
There were baseline differences between US and European participants. These differences may result from variation in regional targets for cardiovascular risk factor management, and should be considered in the analysis and reporting of the trial results.
Clinical trial identifier:, NCT01179048
PMCID: PMC4891842  PMID: 27274772
Type 2 diabetes; External validity; Generalizability; Cardiovascular outcome trial; Heterogeneity
10.  Successful Medical Treatment of Adult Nesidioblastosis With Pasireotide over 3 Years 
Medicine  2016;95(14):e3272.
Nesidioblastosis is a rare cause of endogenous hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia in adults. Diagnosis is often challenging and therapeutic options are scarce.
In 2009, a 46-year-old female patient presented with recurrent severe hypoglycemia and immediate recovery after glucose ingestion. Although 72-h-fasting test was positive, various imaging technologies (sonography, computed tomography, somatostatin receptor scintigraphy, dopamine receptor positron emission tomography [DOPA-PET]) were negative. Endoscopic ultrasound revealed a lesion in the pancreatic corpus, whereas selective arterial calcium stimulation test, portal venous sampling and GLP-1-receptor scintigraphy were indicative of a lesion in the pancreatic tail, which was surgically removed. The histopathologic examination revealed beta cell hyperplasia and microadenomas expressing glucagon. After surgery, the patient was free of symptoms for 6 months, after which hypoglycemic episodes recurred. After unsuccessful treatment with corticosteroids and somatostatin analogs, treatment with pasireotide, a novel somatostatin analog with high affinity to somatostatin receptor 5 and a possible side effect of hyperglycemia, was initiated (0.6 mg BID). To date, our patient has been free of severe hypoglycemic episodes ever since. Yearly repeated imaging procedures have shown no abnormities over the last 3 years.
We report for the first time that pasireotide was successfully used in the treatment of adult nesidioblastosis.
PMCID: PMC4998801  PMID: 27057885
11.  Effects of High-Intensity Interval Exercise versus Moderate Continuous Exercise on Glucose Homeostasis and Hormone Response in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus Using Novel Ultra-Long-Acting Insulin 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0136489.
We investigated blood glucose (BG) and hormone response to aerobic high-intensity interval exercise (HIIE) and moderate continuous exercise (CON) matched for mean load and duration in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).
Material and Methods
Seven trained male subjects with T1DM performed a maximal incremental exercise test and HIIE and CON at 3 different mean intensities below (A) and above (B) the first lactate turn point and below the second lactate turn point (C) on a cycle ergometer. Subjects were adjusted to ultra-long-acting insulin Degludec (Tresiba/ Novo Nordisk, Denmark). Before exercise, standardized meals were administered, and short-acting insulin dose was reduced by 25% (A), 50% (B), and 75% (C) dependent on mean exercise intensity. During exercise, BG, adrenaline, noradrenaline, dopamine, cortisol, glucagon, and insulin-like growth factor-1, blood lactate, heart rate, and gas exchange variables were measured. For 24 h after exercise, interstitial glucose was measured by continuous glucose monitoring system.
BG decrease during HIIE was significantly smaller for B (p = 0.024) and tended to be smaller for A and C compared to CON. No differences were found for post-exercise interstitial glucose, acute hormone response, and carbohydrate utilization between HIIE and CON for A, B, and C. In HIIE, blood lactate for A (p = 0.006) and B (p = 0.004) and respiratory exchange ratio for A (p = 0.003) and B (p = 0.003) were significantly higher compared to CON but not for C.
Hypoglycemia did not occur during or after HIIE and CON when using ultra-long-acting insulin and applying our methodological approach for exercise prescription. HIIE led to a smaller BG decrease compared to CON, although both exercises modes were matched for mean load and duration, even despite markedly higher peak workloads applied in HIIE. Therefore, HIIE and CON could be safely performed in T1DM.
Trial Registration NCT02075567
PMCID: PMC4552855  PMID: 26317981
12.  Novel Simple Insulin Delivery Device Reduces Barriers to Insulin Therapy in Type 2 Diabetes 
Background: The PaQ® insulin delivery system is a simple-to-use patch-on device that provides preset basal rates and bolus insulin on demand. In addition to feasibility of use, safety, and efficacy (reported elsewhere), this study analyzed the impact of PaQ on patient-reported outcomes, including barriers to insulin treatment, diabetes-related distress, and attitudes toward insulin therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes on a stable multiple daily injection (MDI) regimen. Methods: This single-center, open-label, single-arm study comprised three 2-week periods: baseline (MDI), transition from MDI to PaQ, and PaQ treatment. Validated questionnaires were administered during the baseline and PaQ treatment periods: Barriers to Insulin Treatment questionnaire (BIT), Insulin Treatment Appraisal Scale (ITAS), and Problem Areas in Diabetes scale (PAID). Results: Eighteen patients (age 59 ± 5 years, diabetes duration 15 ± 7 years, 21% female, HbA1c 7.7 ± 0.7%) completed the questionnaires. There was a strong, significant effect of PaQ use in mean BIT total scores (difference [D] = −5.4 ± 0.7.7, P = .01, effect size [d] = 0.70). Patients perceived less stigmatization by insulin injection (D = −2.2 ± 6.2, P = .18, d = 0.35), increased positive outcome (D = 1.9 ± 6.6, P = .17, d = 0.29), and less fear of injections (1.3 ± 4.8, P = .55, d = 0.28). Mean change in ITAS scores after PaQ device use showed a nonsignificant improvement of 1.71 ± 5.63 but moderate effect size (d = 0.30, P = .14). No increase in PAID scores was seen. Conclusions: The results and moderate to large effects sizes suggest that PaQ device use has beneficial and clinically relevant effects to overcoming barriers to and negative appraisal of insulin treatment, without increasing other diabetes-related distress.
PMCID: PMC4604549  PMID: 25670847
type 2 diabetes; MDI; multiple daily insulin injections; insulin pumps; CSII; PAID; BIT; ITAS
13.  Accuracy of Continuous Glucose Monitoring During Three Closed-Loop Home Studies Under Free-Living Conditions 
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics  2015;17(11):801-807.
Objectives: Closed-loop (CL) systems modulate insulin delivery based on glucose levels measured by a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Accuracy of the CGM affects CL performance and safety. We evaluated the accuracy of the Freestyle Navigator® II CGM (Abbott Diabetes Care, Alameda, CA) during three unsupervised, randomized, open-label, crossover home CL studies.
Materials and Methods: Paired CGM and capillary glucose values (10,597 pairs) were collected from 57 participants with type 1 diabetes (41 adults [mean±SD age, 39±12 years; mean±SD hemoglobin A1c, 7.9±0.8%] recruited at five centers and 16 adolescents [mean±SD age, 15.6±3.6 years; mean±SD hemoglobin A1c, 8.1±0.8%] recruited at two centers). Numerical accuracy was assessed by absolute relative difference (ARD) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15197:2013 15/15% limits, and clinical accuracy was assessed by Clarke error grid analysis.
Results: Total duration of sensor use was 2,002 days (48,052 h). Overall sensor accuracy for the capillary glucose range (1.1–27.8 mmol/L) showed mean±SD and median (interquartile range) ARD of 14.2±15.5% and 10.0% (4.5%, 18.4%), respectively. Lowest mean ARD was observed in the hyperglycemic range (9.8±8.8%). Over 95% of pairs were in combined Clarke error grid Zones A and B (A, 80.1%, B, 16.2%). Overall, 70.0% of the sensor readings satisfied ISO criteria. Mean ARD was consistent (12.3%; 95% of the values fall within ±3.7%) and not different between participants (P=0.06) within the euglycemic and hyperglycemic range, when CL is actively modulating insulin delivery.
Conclusions: Consistent accuracy of the CGM within the euglycemic–hyperglycemic range using the Freestyle Navigator II was observed and supports its use in home CL studies. Our results may contribute toward establishing normative CGM performance criteria for unsupervised home use of CL.
PMCID: PMC4649721  PMID: 26241693
14.  Lactobacillus casei Shirota Supplementation Does Not Restore Gut Microbiota Composition and Gut Barrier in Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Pilot Study 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(10):e0141399.
Metabolic syndrome is associated with disturbances in gut microbiota composition. We aimed to investigate the effect of Lactobacillus casei Shirota (LcS) on gut microbiota composition, gut barrier integrity, intestinal inflammation and serum bile acid profile in metabolic syndrome. In a single-centre, prospective, randomised controlled pilot study, 28 subjects with metabolic syndrome received either LcS for 12 weeks (n = 13) or no LcS (n = 15). Data were compared to healthy controls (n = 16). Gut microbiota composition was characterised from stool using 454 pyrosequencing of 16S rRNA genes. Serum bile acids were quantified by tandem mass spectrometry. Zonulin and calprotectin were measured in serum and stool by ELISA. Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes ratio was significantly higher in healthy controls compared to metabolic syndrome but was not influenced by LcS. LcS supplementation led to enrichment of Parabacteroides. Zonulin and calprotectin were increased in metabolic syndrome stool samples but not influenced by LcS supplementation. Serum bile acids were similar to controls and not influenced by LcS supplementation. Metabolic syndrome is associated with a higher Bacteroidetes/Firmicutes ratio and gut barrier dysfunction but LcS was not able to change this. LcS administration was associated with subtle microbiota changes at genus level.
Trial Registration NCT01182844
PMCID: PMC4625062  PMID: 26509793
15.  Standardized Glycemic Management with a Computerized Workflow and Decision Support System for Hospitalized Patients with Type 2 Diabetes on Different Wards 
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics  2015;17(10):685-692.
Background: This study investigated the efficacy, safety, and usability of standardized glycemic management by a computerized decision support system for non-critically ill hospitalized patients with type 2 diabetes on four different wards.
Materials and Methods: In this open, noncontrolled intervention study, glycemic management of 99 patients with type 2 diabetes (62% acute admissions; 41 females; age, 67±11 years; hemoglobin A1c, 65±21 mmol/mol; body mass index, 30.4±6.5 kg/m2) on clinical wards (Cardiology, Endocrinology, Nephrology, Plastic Surgery) of a tertiary-care hospital was guided by GlucoTab® (Joanneum Research GmbH [Graz, Austria] and Medical University of Graz [Graz, Austria]), a mobile decision support system providing automated workflow support and suggestions for insulin dosing to nurses and physicians.
Results: Adherence to insulin dosing suggestions was high (96.5% bolus, 96.7% basal). The primary outcome measure, percentage of blood glucose (BG) measurements in the range of 70–140 mg/dL, occurred in 50.2±22.2% of all measurements. The overall mean BG level was 154±35 mg/dL. BG measurements in the ranges of 60–70 mg/dL, 40–60 mg/dL, and <40 mg/dL occurred in 1.4%, 0.5%, and 0.0% of all measurements, respectively. A regression analysis showed that acute admission to the Cardiology Ward (+30 mg/dL) and preexisting home insulin therapy (+26 mg/dL) had the strongest impact on mean BG. Acute admission to other wards had minor effects (+4 mg/dL). Ninety-one percent of the healthcare professionals felt confident with GlucoTab, and 89% believed in its practicality and 80% in its ability to prevent medication errors.
Conclusions: An efficacious, safe, and user-accepted implementation of GlucoTab was demonstrated. However, for optimized personalized patient care, further algorithm modifications are required.
PMCID: PMC4575539  PMID: 26355756
16.  Opposing roles of Prostaglandin D2 receptors in ulcerative colitis 
Pro-resolution functions were reported for Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) in colitis, but the role of its two receptors, DP and in particular CRTH2 are less well defined. We investigated DP and CRTH2 expression and function during human and murine ulcerative colitis (UC). Expression of receptors was measured by flow cytometry on peripheral blood leukocytes, and by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting in colon biopsies of patients with active UC and healthy individuals. Receptor involvement in UC was evaluated in a mouse model of DSS colitis. DP and CRTH2 expression changed in leukocytes of patients with active UC in a differential manner. In UC patients, DP showed higher expression in neutrophils but lower in monocytes as compared to control subjects. In contrast, CRTH2 was decreased in eosinophils, NK and CD3+ T cells but not in monocytes and CD3+/CD4+ T cells. The decrease of CRTH2 on blood eosinophils clearly correlated with disease activity. DP correlated positively with disease activity in eosinophils but inversely in neutrophils. CRTH2 internalized upon treatment with PGD2 and 11-dehydroTXB2 in eosinophils of controls. Biopsies of UC patients revealed an increase of CRTH2-positive cells in the colonic mucosa and high CRTH2 protein content. The CRTH2 antagonist CAY10595 improved while the DP antagonist MK0524 worsened inflammation in murine colitis. DP and CRTH2 play differential roles in UC. Although expression of CRTH2 on blood leukocytes is downregulated in UC, CRTH2 is present in colon tissue where it may contribute to inflammation whereas DP likely promotes anti-inflammatory actions.
PMCID: PMC4121674  PMID: 24929001
inflammatory bowel disease; eicosanoids; prostanoids; pro-inflammatory; DSS colitis
17.  Acetyl-coenzyme A 
Autophagy  2014;10(7):1335-1337.
As the major lysosomal degradation pathway, autophagy represents the guardian of cellular homeostasis, removing damaged and potentially harmful material and replenishing energy reserves in conditions of starvation. Given its vast physiological importance, autophagy is crucially involved in the process of aging and associated pathologies. Although the regulation of autophagy strongly depends on nutrient availability, specific metabolites that modulate autophagic responses are poorly described. Recently, we revealed nucleo-cytosolic acetyl-coenzyme A (AcCoA) as a phylogenetically conserved inhibitor of starvation-induced and age-associated autophagy. AcCoA is the sole acetyl-group donor for protein acetylation, explaining why pharmacological or genetic manipulations that modify the concentrations of nucleo-cytosolic AcCoA directly affect the levels of protein acetylation. The acetylation of histones and cytosolic proteins inversely correlates with the rate of autophagy in yeast and mammalian cells, respectively, despite the fact that the routes of de novo AcCoA synthesis differ across phyla. Thus, we propose nucleo-cytosolic AcCoA to act as a conserved metabolic rheostat, linking the cellular metabolic state to the regulation of autophagy via effects on protein acetylation.
PMCID: PMC4203557  PMID: 24904996
autophagy; aging; acetyl-coenzyme A; histone acetylation; transcription; epigenetics; ATG
18.  Effects of high doses of vitamin D3 on mucosa-associated gut microbiome vary between regions of the human gastrointestinal tract 
European Journal of Nutrition  2015;55:1479-1489.
Vitamin D is well known for its effects on bone mineralisation but has also been attributed immunomodulatory properties. It positively influences human health, but in vivo data describing vitamin D effects on the human gut microbiome are missing. We aimed to investigate the effects of oral vitamin D3 supplementation on the human mucosa-associated and stool microbiome as well as CD8+ T cells in healthy volunteers.
This was an interventional, open-label, pilot study. Sixteen healthy volunteers (7 females, 9 males) were endoscopically examined to access a total of 7 sites. We sampled stomach, small bowel, colon, and stools before and after 8 weeks of vitamin D3 supplementation. Bacterial composition was assessed by pyrosequencing the 16S rRNA gene (V1–2), and CD8+ T cell counts were determined by flow cytometry.
Vitamin D3 supplementation changed the gut microbiome in the upper GI tract (gastric corpus, antrum, and duodenum). We found a decreased relative abundance of Gammaproteobacteria including Pseudomonas spp. and Escherichia/Shigella spp. and increased bacterial richness. No major changes occurred in the terminal ileum, appendiceal orifice, ascending colon, and sigmoid colon or in stools, but the CD8+ T cell fraction was significantly increased in the terminal ileum.
Vitamin D3 modulates the gut microbiome of the upper GI tract which might explain its positive influence on gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease or bacterial infections. The local effects of vitamin D demonstrate pronounced regional differences in the response of the GI microbiome to external factors, which should be considered in future studies investigating the human microbiome.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00394-015-0966-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4875045  PMID: 26130323
Vitamin D; Human gut microbiome; IBD; Inflammation; Gammaproteobacteria
19.  A histone point mutation that switches on autophagy 
Autophagy  2014;10(6):1143-1145.
The multifaceted process of aging inevitably leads to disturbances in cellular metabolism and protein homeostasis. To meet this challenge, cells make use of autophagy, which is probably one of the most important pathways preserving cellular protection under stressful conditions. Thus, efficient autophagic flux is required for healthy aging in many if not all eukaryotic organisms. The regulation of autophagy itself is affected by changing metabolic conditions, but the precise metabolic circuitries are poorly understood. Recently, we found that the nucleocytosolic pool of acetyl-coenzyme A (AcCoA) functions as a major and dominant suppressor of cytoprotective autophagy during aging. Here, we propose an epigenetic mechanism for AcCoA-mediated autophagy suppression that causally involves the regulation of histone acetylation and changes in the autophagy-relevant transcriptome.
PMCID: PMC4091175  PMID: 24879160
acetyl-coenzyme A; aging; ATG; autophagy; epigenetic; histone acetylation; transcription
20.  Enhanced Absorption of Insulin Aspart as the Result of a Dispersed Injection Strategy Tested in a Randomized Trial in Type 1 Diabetic Patients 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(4):780-785.
We investigated the impact of two different injection strategies on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of insulin aspart in vivo in an open-label, two-period crossover study and verified changes in the surface-to-volume ratio ex vivo.
Before the clinical trial, insulin aspart was injected ex vivo into explanted human abdominal skin flaps. The surface-to-volume ratio of the subcutaneous insulin depot was assessed by microfocus computed tomography that compared 1 bolus of 18 IU with 9 dispersed boluses of 2 IU. These two injection strategies were then tested in vivo, in 12 C-peptide–negative type 1 diabetic patients in a euglycemic glucose clamp (glucose target 5.5 ± 1.1 mmol/L) for 8 h after the first insulin administration.
The ex vivo experiment showed a 1.8-fold higher mean surface-to-volume ratio for the dispersed injection strategy. The maximum glucose infusion rates (GIR) were similar for the two strategies (10 ± 4 vs. 9 ± 4; P = 0.5); however, times to reach maximum GIR and 50% and 10% of the maximum GIR were significantly reduced by using the 9 × 2 IU strategy (68 ± 33 vs. 127 ± 93 min; P = 0.01; 38 ± 9 vs. 49 ± 16 min; P < 0.01; 23 ± 6 vs. 30 ± 10 min; P < 0.05). For 9 × 2 IU, the area under the GIR curve was greater during the first 60 min (219 ± 89 vs. 137 ± 75; P < 0.01) and halved until maximum GIR (242 ± 183 vs. 501 ± 396; P < 0.01); however, it was similar across the whole study period (1,361 ± 469 vs. 1,565 ± 527; P = 0.08).
A dispersed insulin injection strategy enhanced the effect of a fast-acting insulin analog. The increased surface-to-volume ratio of the subcutaneous insulin depot can facilitate insulin absorption into the vascular system.
PMCID: PMC3609526  PMID: 23193211
21.  Assessing the effectiveness of 3 months day and night home closed-loop insulin delivery in adults with suboptimally controlled type 1 diabetes: a randomised crossover study protocol 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e006075.
Despite therapeutic advances, many people with type 1 diabetes are still unable to achieve optimal glycaemic control, limited by the occurrence of hypoglycaemia. The objective of the present study is to determine the effectiveness of day and night home closed-loop over the medium term compared with sensor-augmented pump therapy in adults with type 1 diabetes and suboptimal glycaemic control.
Methods and analysis
The study will adopt an open label, three-centre, multinational, randomised, two-period crossover study design comparing automated closed-loop glucose control with sensor augmented insulin pump therapy. The study will aim for 30 completed participants. Eligible participants will be adults (≥18 years) with type 1 diabetes treated with insulin pump therapy and suboptimal glycaemic control (glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥7.5% (58 mmol/mmol) and ≤10% (86 mmol/mmol)). Following a 4-week optimisation period, participants will undergo a 3-month use of automated closed-loop insulin delivery and sensor-augmented pump therapy, with a 4–6 week washout period in between. The order of the interventions will be random. All analysis will be conducted on an intention to treat basis. The primary outcome is the time spent in the target glucose range from 3.9 to 10.0 mmol/L based on continuous glucose monitoring levels during the 3 months free living phase. Secondary outcomes include HbA1c changes; mean glucose and time spent above and below target glucose levels. Further, participants will be invited at baseline, midpoint and study end to participate in semistructured interviews and complete questionnaires to explore usability and acceptance of the technology, impact on quality of life and fear of hypoglycaemia.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethical approval has been obtained at all sites. Before screening, all participants will be provided with oral and written information about the trial. The study will be disseminated by peer-review publications and conference presentations.
Trial registration number
NCT01961622 (
PMCID: PMC4158197  PMID: 25186158
Closed-loop; Type 1 diabetes; Continuous glucose monitoring; Artificial pancreas; Model predictive control
22.  Glucose control in intensive care: usability, efficacy and safety of Space GlucoseControl in two medical European intensive care units 
The Space GlucoseControl system (SGC) is a nurse-driven, computer-assisted device for glycemic control combining infusion pumps with the enhanced Model Predictive Control algorithm (B. Braun, Melsungen, Germany). We aimed to investigate the performance of the SGC in medical critically ill patients.
Two open clinical investigations in tertiary centers in Graz, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland were performed. Efficacy was assessed by percentage of time within the target range (4.4-8.3 mmol/L; primary end point), mean blood glucose, and sampling interval. Safety was assessed by the number of hypoglycemic episodes (≤2.2 mmol/L) and the percentage of time spent below this cutoff level. Usability was analyzed with a standardized questionnaire given to involved nursing staff after the trial.
Forty medical critically ill patients (age, 62 ± 15 years; body mass index, 30.0 ± 8.9 kg/m2; APACHE II score, 24.8 ± 5.4; 27 males; 8 with diabetes) were included for a period of 6.5 ± 3.7 days (n = 20 in each center). The primary endpoint (time in target range 4.4 to 8.3 mmol/l) was reached in 88.3% ± 9.3 of the time and mean arterial blood glucose was 6.7 ± 0.4 mmol/l. The sampling interval was 2.2 ± 0.4 hours. The mean daily insulin dose was 87.2 ± 64.6 IU. The adherence to the given insulin dose advice was high (98.2%). While the percentage of time spent in a moderately hypoglycemic range (2.2 to 3.3 mmol/L) was low (0.07 ± 0.26% of the time), one severe hypoglycemic episode (<2.2 mmol/L) occurred (2.5% of patients or 0.03% of glucose readings).
SGC is a safe and efficient method to control blood glucose in critically ill patients as assessed in two European medical intensive care units.
PMCID: PMC4118658  PMID: 25074071
Tight glycemic control; Critical illness; Critically ill patients; Protocol; Computer-assisted glycemic control; Insulin infusion protocol; Glucose control in intensive care
24.  Multiple risk factor intervention reduces carotid atherosclerosis in patients with type 2 diabetes 
Patients with rapid progression of carotid intima media thickness (CIMT) were shown to have a higher future risk for cardiovascular events.
The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of multiple risk factor intervention on CIMT progression and to establish whether new cardiovascular surrogate measurements would allow prediction of CIMT changes.
Materials and methods
In this prospective, open, 2-years study, we included 97 patients with type 2 diabetes and at least two insufficiently treated cardiovascular risk factors, i.e. HbA1c > 7.5% (58 mmol/mol); LDL-cholesterol >3.1 mmol/l or blood pressure >140/90 mmHg. Treatment was intensified according to current guidelines over 3 months with the aim to maintain intensification over 2 years.
The primary outcome was the change in CIMT after 2 years. We also assessed markers of mechanical and biochemical endothelial function and endothelial progenitor cells before and after 3 months of treatment intensification. For testing differences between before and after multifactorial treatment measurements we used either the paired student’s t-test or the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, depending on the distribution of the data. Additional, explorative statistical data analysis was done on CIMT progression building a linear multivariate regression model.
Blood glucose, lipids and blood pressure significantly improved during the first 3 months of intensified treatment, which was sustained over the 2-year study duration. Mean CIMT significantly decreased from baseline to 2 year (0.883 ± 0.120 mm vs. 0.860 ± 0.130 mm; p = 0.021). None of the investigated surrogate measures, however, was able to predict changes in IMT early after treatment intensification.
Intensification of risk factor intervention in type 2 diabetes results in CIMT regression over a period of 2 years. None of the biomarkers used including endothelial function parameters or endothelial progenitor cells turned out to be useful to predict CIMT changes.
Trial registration
Clinical Trial Registration – Unique identifier: NCT00660790
PMCID: PMC4041351  PMID: 24884694
Intensified risk factor intervention; Carotid intima media thickness; Type 2 diabetes; Cardiovascular surrogate measurements; Carotid atherosclerosis
25.  Assessment of Blood-Brain Barrier Function and the Neuroinflammatory Response in the Rat Brain by Using Cerebral Open Flow Microperfusion (cOFM) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98143.
Blood-brain barrier (BBB) impairment in systemic inflammation leads to neuroinflammation. Several factors including cytokines, chemokines and signal transduction molecules are implicated in BBB dysfunction in response to systemic inflammation. Here, we have adopted a novel in vivo technique; namely, cerebral open flow microperfusion (cOFM), to perform time-dependent cytokine analysis (TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-10) in the frontal cortex of the rat brain in response to a single peripheral administration of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In parallel, we monitored BBB function using sodium fluorescein as low molecular weight reporter in the cOFM sample. In response to the systemic LPS administration, we observed a rapid increase of TNF-alpha in the serum and brain, which coincides with the BBB disruption. Brain IL-6 and IL-10 synthesis was delayed by approximately 1 h. Our data demonstrate that cOFM can be used to monitor changes in brain cytokine levels and BBB disruption in a rat sepsis model.
PMCID: PMC4031165  PMID: 24852285

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