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1.  Osteoporosis 2014 
PMCID: PMC4531186  PMID: 26290663
2.  Overexpression of microRNA-155 increases IL-21 mediated STAT3 signaling and IL-21 production in systemic lupus erythematosus 
Interleukin (IL)-21 is a key cytokine in autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by its regulation of autoantibody production and inflammatory responses. The objective of this study is to investigate the signaling capacity of IL-21 in T and B cells and assess its possible regulation by microRNA (miR)-155 and its target gene suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) in SLE.
The signaling capacity of IL-21 was quantified by stimulating peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with IL-21 and measuring phosphorylation of STAT3 (pSTAT3) in CD4+ T cells, B cells, and natural killer cells. Induction of miR-155 by IL-21 was investigated by stimulating purified CD4+ T cells with IL-21 and measuring miR-155 expression levels. The functional role of miR-155 was assessed by overexpressing miR-155 in PBMCs from SLE patients and healthy controls (HCs) and measuring its effects on STAT3 and IL-21 production in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells.
Induction of pSTAT3 in CD4+ T cells in response to IL-21 was significantly decreased in SLE patients compared to HCs (p < 0.0001). Further, expression levels of miR-155 were significantly decreased and SOCS1 correspondingly increased in CD4+ T cells from SLE patients. Finally, overexpression of miR-155 in CD4+ T cells increased STAT3 phosphorylation in response to IL-21 treatment (p < 0.01) and differentially increased IL-21 production in SLE patients compared to HCs (p < 0.01).
We demonstrate that SLE patients have reduced IL-21 signaling capacity, decreased miR-155 levels, and increased SOCS1 levels compared to HCs. The reduced IL-21 signaling in SLE could be rescued by overexpression of miR-155, suggesting an important role for miR-155 in the reduced IL-21 signaling observed in SLE.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0660-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4504038  PMID: 26055806
3.  Computational Design and Experimental Discovery of an Antiestrogenic Peptide Derived from α-Fetoprotein 
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, and tamoxifen is the preferred drug for estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer treatment. Many of these cancers are intrinsically resistant to tamoxifen or acquire resistance during treatment. Consequently, there is an ongoing need for breast cancer drugs that have different molecular targets. Previous work has shown that 8-mer and cyclic 9-mer peptides inhibit breast cancer in mouse and rat models, interacting with an unsolved receptor, while peptides smaller than eight amino acids did not. We show that the use of replica exchange molecular dynamics predicts the structure and dynamics of active peptides, leading to the discovery of smaller peptides with full biological activity. Simulations identified smaller peptide analogues with the same conserved reverse turn demonstrated in the larger peptides. These analogues were synthesized and shown to inhibit estrogen-dependent cell growth in a mouse uterine growth assay, a test showing reliable correlation with human breast cancer inhibition.
PMCID: PMC4272344  PMID: 17441722
4.  Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) versus posterolateral instrumented fusion (PLF) in degenerative lumbar disorders: a randomized clinical trial with 2-year follow-up 
European Spine Journal  2013;22(9):2022-2029.
The aim of the present study was to analyze outcome, with respect to functional disability, pain, fusion rate, and complications of patients treated with transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF) in compared to instrumented poserolateral fusion (PLF) alone, in low back pain. Spinal fusion has become a major procedure worldwide. However, conflicting results exist. Theoretical circumferential fusion could improve functional outcome. However, the theoretical advantages lack scientific documentation.
Prospective randomized clinical study with a 2-year follow-up period. From November 2003 to November 2008 100 patients with severe low back pain and radicular pain were randomly selected for either posterolateral lumbar fusion [titanium TSRH (Medtronic)] or transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion [titanium TSRH (Medtronic)] with anterior intervertebral support by tantalum cage (Implex/Zimmer). The primary outcome scores were obtained using Dallas Pain Questionnaire (DPQ), Oswestry disability Index, SF-36, and low back pain Rating Scale. All measures assessed the endpoints at 2-year follow-up after surgery.
The overall follow-up rate was 94 %. Sex ratio was 40/58. 51 patients had TLIF, 47 PLF. Mean age 49(TLIF)/45(PLF). No statistic difference in outcome between groups could be detected concerning daily activity, work leisure, anxiety/depression or social interest. We found no statistic difference concerning back pain or leg pain. In both the TLIF and the PLF groups the patients had significant improvement in functional outcome, back pain, and leg pain compared to preoperatively. Operation time and blood loss in the TLIF group were significantly higher than in the PLF group (p < 0.001). No statistic difference in fusion rates was detected.
Transforaminal interbody fusion did not improve functional outcome in patients compared to posterolateral fusion. Both groups improved significantly in all categories compared to preoperatively. Operation time and blood loss were significantly higher in the TLIF group.
PMCID: PMC3777065  PMID: 23584162
Prospective; RCT; Lumbar interbody fusion
5.  Prevalence of complications in neuromuscular scoliosis surgery: a literature meta-analysis from the past 15 years 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(6):1230-1249.
Our objectives were primarily to review the published literature on complications in neuromuscular scoliosis (NMS) surgery and secondarily, by means of a meta-analysis, to determine the overall pooled rates (PR) of various complications associated with NMS surgery.
PubMed and Embase databases were searched for studies reporting the outcomes and complications of NMS surgery, published from 1997 to May 2011. We focused on NMS as defined by the Scoliosis Research Society’s classification. We measured the pooled estimate of the overall complication rates (PR) using a random effects meta-analytic model. This model considers both intra- and inter-study variation in calculating PR.
Systematic review and meta-analysis were performed for 68 cohort and case–control studies with a total of 15,218 NMS patients. Pulmonary complications were the most reported (PR = 22.71 %) followed by implant complications (PR = 12.51 %), infections (PR = 10.91 %), neurological complications (PR = 3.01 %) and pseudoarthrosis (PR = 1.88 %). Revision, removal and extension of implant had highest PR (7.87 %) followed by malplacement of the pedicle screws (4.81 %). Rates of individual studies have moderate to high variability. The studies were heterogeneous in methodology and outcome types, which are plausible explanations for the variability; sensitivity analysis with respect to age at surgery, sample size, publication year and diagnosis could also partly explain this variability. In regard to surgical complications affiliated with various surgical techniques in NMS, the level of evidence of published literature ranges between 2+ to 2−; the subsequent recommendations are level C.
NMS patients have diverse and high complication rates after scoliosis surgery. High PRs of complications warrant more attention from the surgical community. Although the PR of all complications are affected by heterogeneity, they nevertheless provide valuable insights into the impact of methodological settings (sample size), patient characteristics (age at surgery), and continual advances in patient care on complication rates.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2542-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3676557  PMID: 23085815
Neuromuscular scoliosis; Complications; Scoliosis surgery; Deformity surgery; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
6.  Long-term health care utilisation and costs after spinal fusion in elderly patients 
European Spine Journal  2012;22(5):977-984.
Spinal fusion surgery rates in the elderly are increasing. Cost effectiveness analyses with relatively short-length follow-up have been performed. But the long-term effects in terms of health care use are largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to describe the long-term consequences of spinal fusion surgery in elderly patients on health care use and costs using a health care system perspective.
194 patients undergoing spinal fusion between 2001 and 2005 (70 men, 124 women) with a mean age of 70 years (range 59–88) at surgery were included. Average length of follow-up was 6.2 years (range 0.3–9.0 years). Data on resource utilisation and costs were obtained from national registers providing complete coverage of all reimbursed contacts with primary- and secondary health care providers. Data were available from 3 years prior fusion surgery until the end of 2009.
Use of hospital-based health care increased in the year prior to and the first year following surgery. Hereafter it normalised to the level of the background population and was mainly composed of diseases unrelated to the spine. In contrast, the use of primary health care appeared to increase immediately after surgery and continued to increase to a level that significantly exceeded that of the background population. It could be demonstrated that the increase was mainly due to an increasing number of general practitioner consultations.
Spinal fusion surgery in older patients does not generate excess hospital-based health care use in the longer term as compared with the background population, but primary care use increases.
PMCID: PMC3657062  PMID: 22907726
Spinal stenosis; Spinal fusion; Elderly; Costs; Health care utilisation
7.  Interleukin-21 Receptor Signalling Is Important for Innate Immune Protection against HSV-2 Infections 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81790.
Interleukin (IL) -21 is produced by Natural Killer T (NKT) cells and CD4+ T cells and is produced in response to virus infections, where IL-21 has been shown to be essential in adaptive immune responses. Cells from the innate immune system such as Natural Killer (NK) cells and macrophages are also important in immune protection against virus. These cells express the IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) and respond to IL-21 with increased cytotoxicity and cytokine production. Currently, however it is not known whether IL-21 plays a significant role in innate immune responses to virus infections. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of IL-21 and IL-21R in the innate immune response to a virus infection. We used C57BL/6 wild type (WT) and IL-21R knock out (KO) mice in a murine vaginal Herpes Simplex Virus type 2 (HSV-2) infection model to show that IL-21 – IL-21R signalling is indeed important in innate immune responses against HSV-2. We found that the IL-21R was expressed in the vaginal epithelium in uninfected (u.i) WT mice, and expression increased early after HSV-2 infection. IL-21R KO mice exhibited increased vaginal viral titers on day 2 and 3 post infection (p.i.) and subsequently developed significantly higher disease scores and a lower survival rate compared to WT mice. In addition, WT mice infected with HSV-2 receiving intra-vaginal pre-treatment with murine recombinant IL-21 (mIL-21) had decreased vaginal viral titers on day 2 p.i., significantly lower disease scores, and a higher survival rate compared to infected untreated WT controls. Collectively our data demonstrate the novel finding that the IL-21R plays a critical role in regulating innate immune responses against HSV-2 infection.
PMCID: PMC3864838  PMID: 24358128
8.  The Bone Resorption Inhibitors Odanacatib and Alendronate Affect Post-Osteoclastic Events Differently in Ovariectomized Rabbits 
Calcified Tissue International  2013;94(2):212-222.
Odanacatib (ODN) is a bone resorption inhibitor which differs from standard antiresorptives by its ability to reduce bone resorption without decreasing bone formation. What is the reason for this difference? In contrast with other antiresorptives, such as alendronate (ALN), ODN targets only the very last step of the resorption process. We hypothesize that ODN may therefore modify the remodeling events immediately following osteoclastic resorption. These events belong to the reversal phase and include recruitment of osteoblasts, which is critical for connecting bone resorption to formation. We performed a histomorphometric study of trabecular remodeling in vertebrae of estrogen-deficient rabbits treated or not with ODN or ALN, a model where ODN, but not ALN, was previously shown to preserve bone formation. In line with our hypothesis, we found that ODN treatment compared to ALN results in a shorter reversal phase, faster initiation of osteoid deposition on the eroded surfaces, and higher osteoblast recruitment. The latter is reflected by higher densities of mature bone forming osteoblasts and an increased subpopulation of cuboidal osteoblasts. Furthermore, we found an increase in the interface between osteoclasts and surrounding osteoblast-lineage cells. This increase is expected to favor the osteoclast–osteoblast interactions required for bone formation. Regarding bone resorption itself, we show that ODN, but not ALN, treatment results in shallower resorption lacunae, a geometry favoring bone stiffness. We conclude that, compared to standard antiresorptives, ODN shows distinctive effects on resorption geometry and on reversal phase activities which positively affect osteoblast recruitment and may therefore favor bone formation.
PMCID: PMC3899456  PMID: 24085265
Cathepsin K; Bisphosphonate; Osteoclast; Reversal phase; Bone formation; Coupling of bone resorption and formation
10.  Degenerative Spondylolisthesis Is Associated with Low Spinal Bone Density: A Comparative Study between Spinal Stenosis and Degenerative Spondylolisthesis 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:123847.
Spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis share many symptoms and the same treatment, but their causes remain unclear. Bone mineral density has been suggested to play a role. The aim of this study was to investigate differences in spinal bone density between spinal stenosis and degenerative spondylolisthesis patients. 81 patients older than 60 years, who underwent DXA-scanning of their lumbar spine one year after a lumbar spinal fusion procedure, were included. Radiographs were assessed for disc height, vertebral wedging, and osteophytosis. Pain was assessed using the Low Back Pain Rating Scale pain index. T-score of the lumbar spine was significantly lower among degenerative spondylolisthesis patients compared with spinal stenosis patients (−1.52 versus −0.52, P = 0.04). Thirty-nine percent of degenerative spondylolisthesis patients were classified as osteoporotic and further 30% osteopenic compared to only 9% of spinal stenosis patients being osteoporotic and 30% osteopenic (P = 0.01). Pain levels tended to increase with poorer bone status (P = 0.06). Patients treated surgically for symptomatic degenerative spondylolisthesis have much lower bone mass than patients of similar age treated surgically for spinal stenosis. Low BMD might play a role in the development of the degenerative spondylolisthesis, further studies are needed to clarify this.
PMCID: PMC3760191  PMID: 24024179
11.  Design and Synthesis of Biologically Active Peptides: A ‘Tail’ of Amino Acids can Modulate Activity of Synthetic Cyclic Peptides 
Peptides  2011;32(12):2504-2510.
In earlier work, we synthesized a cyclic 9-amino acid peptide (AFPep, cyclo[EKTOVNOGN]) and showed it to be useful for prevention and therapy of breast cancer. In an effort to explore the structure-function relationships of AFPep, we have designed analogs that bear a short ‘tail’ (one or two amino acids) attached to the cyclic peptide distal to its pharmacophore. Analogs that bore a tail of either one or two amino acids, either of which had a hydrophilic moiety in the side chain (example: cyclo[EKTOVNOGN]FS) exhibited greatly diminished biological activity (inhibition of estrogen-stimulated uterine growth) relative to AFPep. Analogs that bore a tail of either one or two amino acids which had hydrophobic (aliphatic or aromatic) side chains (example: cyclo[EKTOVNOGN]FI) retained (or had enhanced) growth inhibition activity. Combining in the same biological assay a hydrophilic-tailed analog with either AFPep or a hydrophobic-tailed analog resulted in decreased activity relative to that for AFPep or for the hydrophobic-tailed analog alone, suggesting that hydrophilic-tailed analogs are binding to a biologically active receptor. An analog with a disrupted pharmacophore (cyclo[EKTOVGOGN]) exhibited little or no growth inhibition activity. An analog with a hydrophilic tail and a disrupted pharmacophore (cyclo[EKTOVGOGN]FS) exhibited no growth inhibition activity of its own and did not affect the activity of a hydrophobic-tailed analog, but enhanced the growth inhibition activity of AFPep. These results are discussed in the context of a two-receptor model for binding of AFPep and ring-and-tail analogs. We suggest that tails on cyclic peptides may comprise a useful method to enhance diversity of peptide design and specificity of ligand-receptor interactions.
PMCID: PMC3230782  PMID: 22015269
Cyclic peptide; ring-and-tail synthetic peptide; rational design of synthetic peptide; two-receptor model; antagonist; homobiotic peptide
12.  Escherichia coli Uropathogenesis In Vitro: Invasion, Cellular Escape, and Secondary Infection Analyzed in a Human Bladder Cell Infection Model 
Infection and Immunity  2012;80(5):1858-1867.
Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strains are capable of invading bladder epithelial cells (BECs) on the bladder luminal surface. Based primarily on studies in mouse models, invasion is proposed to trigger an intracellular uropathogenic cascade involving intracellular bacterial proliferation followed by escape of elongated, filamentous bacteria from colonized BECs. UPEC filaments on the mouse bladder epithelium are able to revert to rod-shaped bacteria, which are believed to invade neighboring cells to initiate new rounds of intracellular colonization. So far, however, these late-stage infection events have not been replicated in vitro. We have established an in vitro model of human bladder cell infection by the use of a flow chamber (FC)-based culture system, which allows investigation of steps subsequent to initial invasion. Short-term bacterial colonization on the FC-BEC layer led to intracellular colonization. Exposing invaded BECs to a flow of urine, i.e., establishing conditions similar to those faced by UPEC reemerging on the bladder luminal surface, led to outgrowth of filamentous bacteria similar to what has been reported to occur in mice. These filaments were capable of reverting to rods that could invade other BECs. Hence, under growth conditions established to resemble those present in vivo, the elements of the proposed uropathogenic cascade were inducible in a human BEC model system. Here, we describe the model and show how these characteristics are reproduced in vitro.
PMCID: PMC3347433  PMID: 22354025
13.  The distribution pattern of critically short telomeres in human osteoarthritic knees 
Telomere shortening is associated with a number of common age-related diseases. A role of telomere shortening in osteoarthritis (OA) has been suggested, mainly based on the assessment of mean telomere length in ex vivo expanded chondrocytes. We addressed this role directly in vivo by using a newly developed assay, which measures specifically the load of ultra-short single telomeres (below 1,500 base pairs), that is, the telomere subpopulation believed to promote cellular senescence.
Samples were obtained from human OA knees at two distances from the central lesion site. Each sample was split into three: one was used for quantification of ultra-short single telomeres through the Universal single telomere length assay (STELA), one for histological Mankin grading of OA, and one for mean telomere length measurement through quantitative fluorescence in situ hybridization (Q-FISH) as well as for assessment of senescence through quantification of senescence-associated heterochromatin foci (SAHF).
The load of ultra-short telomeres as well as mean telomere length was significantly associated with proximity to lesions, OA severity, and senescence level. The degree of significance was higher when assessed through load of ultra-short telomeres per cell compared with mean telomere length.
These in vivo data, especially the quantification of ultra-short telomeres, stress a role of telomere shortening in human OA.
PMCID: PMC3392801  PMID: 22257826
14.  Fusion mass bone quality after uninstrumented spinal fusion in older patients 
European Spine Journal  2010;19(12):2200-2208.
Older people are at increased risk of non-union after spinal fusion, but little is known about the factors determining the quality of the fusion mass in this patient group. The aim of this study was to investigate fusion mass bone quality after uninstrumented spinal fusion and to evaluate if it could be improved by additional direct current (DC) electrical stimulation. A multicenter RCT compared 40 and 100 μA DC stimulation with a control group of uninstrumented posterolateral fusion in patients older than 60 years. This report comprised 80 patients who underwent DEXA scanning at the 1 year follow-up. The study population consisted of 29 men with a mean age of 72 years (range 62–85) and 51 women with a mean age of 72 years (range 61–84). All patients underwent DEXA scanning of their fusion mass. Fusion rate was assessed at the 2 year follow-up using thin slice CT scanning. DC electrical stimulation did not improve fusion mass bone quality. Smokers had lower fusion mass BMD (0.447 g/cm2) compared to non-smokers (0.517 g/cm2) (P = 0.086). Women had lower fusion mass BMD (0.460 g/cm2) compared to men (0.552 g/cm2) (P = 0.057). Using linear regression, fusion mass bone quality, measured as BMD, was significantly influenced by gender, age of the patient, bone density of the remaining part of the lumbar spine, amount of bone graft applied and smoking. Fusion rates in this cohort was 34% in the control group and 33 and 43% in the 40 and 100 μA groups, respectively (not significant). Patients classified as fused after 2 years had significant higher fusion mass BMD at 1 year (0.592 vs. 0.466 g/cm2, P = 0.0001). Fusion mass bone quality in older patients depends on several factors. Special attention should be given to women with manifest or borderline osteoporosis. Furthermore, bone graft materials with inductive potential might be considered for this patient population.
PMCID: PMC2997208  PMID: 20429017
Spinal fusion; Randomised clinical trial; Bone mineral density; Electrical stimulation; Bone graft; Age; Smoking
15.  OSCAR is a collagen receptor that costimulates osteoclastogenesis in DAP12-deficient humans and mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(9):3505-3516.
Osteoclasts are terminally differentiated leukocytes that erode the mineralized bone matrix. Osteoclastogenesis requires costimulatory receptor signaling through adaptors containing immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs), such as Fc receptor common γ (FcRγ) and DNAX-activating protein of 12 kDa. Identification of these ITAM-containing receptors and their ligands remains a high research priority, since the stimuli for osteoclastogenesis are only partly defined. Osteoclast-associated receptor (OSCAR) was proposed to be a potent FcRγ-associated costimulatory receptor expressed by preosteoclasts in vitro, but OSCAR lacks a cognate ligand and its role in vivo has been unclear. Using samples from mice and patients deficient in various ITAM signaling pathways, we show here that OSCAR costimulates one of the major FcRγ-associated pathways required for osteoclastogenesis in vivo. Furthermore, we found that OSCAR binds to specific motifs within fibrillar collagens in the ECM that become revealed on nonquiescent bone surfaces in which osteoclasts undergo maturation and terminal differentiation in vivo. OSCAR promoted osteoclastogenesis in vivo, and OSCAR binding to its collagen motif led to signaling that increased numbers of osteoclasts in culture. Thus, our results suggest that ITAM-containing receptors can respond to exposed ligands in collagen, leading to the functional differentiation of leukocytes, which provides what we believe to be a new concept for ITAM regulation of cytokine receptors in different tissue microenvironments.
PMCID: PMC3163954  PMID: 21841309
16.  Compact on-Chip Temperature Sensors Based on Dielectric-Loaded Plasmonic Waveguide-Ring Resonators 
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)  2011;11(2):1992-2000.
The application of a waveguide-ring resonator based on dielectric-loaded surface plasmon-polariton waveguides as a temperature sensor is demonstrated in this paper and the influence of temperature change to the transmission through the waveguide-ring resonator system is comprehensively analyzed. The results show that the roundtrip phase change in the ring resonator due to the temperature change is the major reason for the transmission variation. The performance of the temperature sensor is also discussed and it is shown that for a waveguide-ring resonator with the resonator radius around 5 μm and waveguide-ring gap of 500 nm which gives a footprint around 140 μm2, the temperature sensitivity at the order of 10−2 K can be achieved with the input power of 100 μW within the measurement sensitivity limit of a practical optical detector.
PMCID: PMC3274012  PMID: 22319394
temperature sensor; dielectric-loaded surface plasmon-polariton waveguide; waveguide-ring resonator
17.  Potential of Resveratrol Analogues as Antagonists of Osteoclasts and Promoters of Osteoblasts 
Calcified Tissue International  2010;87(5):437-449.
The plant phytoalexin resveratrol was previously demonstrated to inhibit the differentiation and bone resorbing activity of osteoclasts, to promote the formation of osteoblasts from mesenchymal precursors in cultures, and inhibit myeloma cell proliferation, when used at high concentrations. In the current study, we screened five structurally modified resveratrol analogues for their ability to modify the differentiation of osteoclasts and osteoblasts and proliferation of myeloma cells. Compared to resveratrol, analogues showed an up to 5,000-fold increased potency to inhibit osteoclast differentiation. To a lesser extent, resveratrol analogues also promoted osteoblast maturation. However, they did not antagonize the proliferation of myeloma cells. The potency of the best-performing candidate in vitro was tested in vivo in an ovariectomy-induced model of osteoporosis, but an effect on bone loss could not be detected. Based on their powerful antiresorptive activity in vitro, resveratrol analogues might be attractive modulators of bone remodeling. However, further studies are required to establish their efficacy in vivo.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00223-010-9399-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2964465  PMID: 20842496
Resveratrol; Resveratrol analogue; Osteoclast; Osteoblast; Multiple myeloma
18.  Sodium Polyanethole Sulfonate as an Inhibitor of Activation of Complement Function in Blood Culture Systems ▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;48(3):908-914.
Sodium polyanethole sulfonate (SPS; trade name, Liquoid) is a constituent in culture media used to grow bacteria from blood samples from patients suspected of bacteremia. SPS prevents the killing of bacteria by innate cellular and humoral factors. We analyzed the effect of SPS on the three complement activation pathways: the classical, alternative, and lectin pathways, respectively. Inhibition of complement activity by SPS is caused by a blocking of complement activation and is not a result of complement consumption. The classical pathway is inhibited at SPS concentrations greater than 0.1 mg/ml, and complete inhibition is seen at 0.4 mg/ml. An SPS concentration of 0.5 mg/ml completely inhibits the binding of C1q and subsequent incorporation of C3, C4, and C9. The same was observed for the alternative pathway with an inhibition at SPS concentrations from 0.1 mg/ml and a complete inhibition from 0.4 mg/ml. Here, properdin binding was completely absent, and no incorporation of C3 and C9 was observed. In contrast, the lectin complement pathway remains unaffected at these SPS concentrations, and inhibition is first observed from 0.7 mg/ml. A complete inhibition required concentrations greater than 1 mg/ml. SPS is used in growth media (e.g., BACTEC and BacT/Alert) at concentrations from 0.3 to 0.5 mg/ml. The well-known finding that certain bacteria are growth inhibited by blood factors could therefore be a consequence of the lectin pathway, which is not inhibited at these concentrations. In addition, our findings also open up the possibility of a new assay for the assessment of the functional capacity of the lectin complement pathway.
PMCID: PMC2832435  PMID: 20042630
19.  Impact of instrumentation in lumbar spinal fusion in elderly patients 
Acta Orthopaedica  2009;80(4):445-450.
Background and purpose An increasing number of lumbar fusions are performed using allograft to avoid donor-site pain. In elderly patients, fusion potential is reduced and the patient may need supplementary stability to achieve a solid fusion if allograft is used. We investigated the effect of instrumentation in lumbar spinal fusion performed with fresh frozen allograft in elderly patients.
Methods 94 patients, mean age 70 (60–88) years, who underwent posterolateral spinal fusion either non-instrumented (51 patients) or instrumented (43 patients) were followed for 2–7 years. Functional outcome was assessed with the Dallas pain questionnaire (DPQ), the low back pain rating scale pain index (LBPRS), and SF-36. Fusion was assessed using plain radiographs.
Results Instrumented patients had statistically significantly better outcome scores in 6 of 7 parameters. Fusion rate was higher in the instrumented group (81% vs. 68%, p = 0.1). Solid fusion was associated with a better functional outcome at follow-up (significant in 2 of 7 parameters). 15 patients (6 in the non-instrumented group and 9 in the instrumented group) had repeated lumbar surgery after their initial fusion procedure. Functional outcome was poorer in the group with additional spine surgeries (significant in 4 of 7 parameters).
Interpretation Superior outcomes after lumbar spinal fusion in elderly patients can be achieved by use of instrumentation in selected patients. Outcome was better in patients in which a solid fusion was obtained. Instrumentation was associated with a larger number of additional surgeries, which resulted in a lesser degree of improvement. Instrumentation should not be discarded just because of the age of the patient.
PMCID: PMC2823186  PMID: 19626471
20.  The positive effect of posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion is preserved at long-term follow-up: a RCT with 11–13 year follow-up 
European Spine Journal  2007;17(2):272-280.
Introduction Few studies have investigated the long-term effect of posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion on functional outcome. Aim To investigate the long-term result after posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion with and without pedicle screw instrumentation. Methods Questionnaire survey of 129 patients originally randomised to posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion with or without pedicle screw instrumentation. Follow-up included Dallas Pain Questionnaire (DPQ), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), SF-36 and a question regarding willingness to undergo the procedure again knowing the result as global outcome parameter. Results Follow-up was 83% of the original study population (107 patients). Average follow-up time was 12 years (range 11–13 years). DPQ-scores were significantly lower than preoperatively in both groups (P < 0.005) and no drift towards the preoperative level was seen. No difference between the two groups were observed (instrumented vs. non-instrumented): DPQ Daily Activity mean 37.0 versus 32.0, ODI mean 33.4 versus 30.6, SF-36 PCS mean 38.8 versus 39.8, SF-36 MCS mean 49.0 versus 53.3. About 71% in both groups were answered positively to the global outcome question. Patients who had retired due to low back pain had poorer outcome than patients retired for other reasons, best outcome was seen in patients still at work (P = 0.01 or less in all questionnaires, except SF-36 MCS P = 0.08). Discussion Improvement in functional outcome is preserved for 10 or more years after posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion. No difference between instrumented fusion and non-instrumented fusion was observed. Patients who have to retired due to low back pain have the smallest improvement.
PMCID: PMC2365547  PMID: 17851701
Lumbar spinal fusion; Randomised clinical trial; Outcome
21.  The response to oestrogen deprivation of the cartilage collagen degradation marker, CTX-II, is unique compared with other markers of collagen turnover 
The urinary level of the type II collagen degradation marker CTX-II is increased in postmenopausal women and in ovariectomised rats, suggesting that oestrogen deprivation induces cartilage breakdown. Here we investigate whether this response to oestrogen is also true for other type II collagen turnover markers known to be affected in osteoarthritis, and whether it relates to its presence in specific areas of cartilage tissue.
The type II collagen degradation markers CTX-II and Helix-II were measured in the body fluids of premenopausal and postmenopausal women and in those of ovariectomised rats receiving oestrogen or not. Levels of PIIANP, a marker of type II collagen synthesis, were also measured in rats. Rat knee cartilage was analysed for immunoreactivity of CTX-II and PIIANP and for type II collagen expression.
As expected, urinary levels of CTX-II are significantly increased in postmenopausal women and also in oestrogen-deprived rats, although only transiently. However, in neither case were these elevations paralleled by a significant increase of Helix-II levels and PIIANP levels did not change at any time. CTX-II immunoreactivity and collagen expression were detected in different cartilage areas. The upper zone is the area where CTX-II immunoreactivity and collagen expression best reflected the differences in urinary levels of CTX-II measured in response to oestrogen. However, correlations between urinary levels of CTX-II and tissue immunostainings in individual rats were not statistically significant.
We found only a small effect of oestrogen deprivation on cartilage. It was detected by CTX-II, but not by other type II collagen turnover markers typically affected in osteoarthritis.
PMCID: PMC2688240  PMID: 20527083
22.  Outbreak of Salmonella Dublin-associated abortion in Danish fur farms 
The Canadian Veterinary Journal  2006;47(12):1201-1205.
Outbreaks of Salmonella Dublin infections were recorded in 25 Danish mink and fox farms. All farms suffered extensive disease problems; clinical and pathological observations included abortion, stillbirths, necrotizing endometritis, and increased mortality. By genotyping with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and amplified fragment length polymorphism, all isolates of S. Dublin had indistinguishable patterns. The outbreaks took place during April and May, around the time of whelping. During this period, mink are particularly susceptible to Salmonella infections. All affected farms were served by the same feed factory and it was concluded that a batch of contaminated feed was responsible for the outbreaks, although repeated culture of feed samples collected during the same period were negative. No other likely source could be identified. The results emphasize the importance of strict hygiene measures at feed factories and the proper use of ingredients of known Salmonella status, in particular during the whelping season. Infected mink farms did not have a higher risk of outbreak of salmonellosis in the year following the outbreak.
PMCID: PMC1636603  PMID: 17217090
23.  Radiographic evaluation of destructive periodontal disease in blue mink in relation to age and blood morphology 
In this study, blood samples and jaws were collected from 2 genotypes of blue mink (n = 289) in order to examine phenotypic expression of specific characteristics of Chediak-Higashi Syndrome (C-HS). Blood samples were subjected to differential counts to assess the proportion of abnormal polymorphonuclear leukocytes characteristic for CH-S (C-HS-leukocytes). Abnormal leukocytes with characteristic signs of C-HS were found in blood smears from all mink included in this study. Four teeth in one half of the mandible (P3, P4, M1, M2) were subjected to quantitative radiographic evaluation of alveolar bone loss and tooth loss. There was a high prevalence of destructive periodontal disease among blue mink included in this study. Mild to moderate periodontal disease (defined by less than 50% alveolar bone loss related to 1 or more teeth) affected 73.7% of young mink (age = 7 mo) and 67.9% of older animals (age ≥ 19 mo). Severe periodontal disease (defined by more than 50% bone loss related to one or more teeth) was not detected in mink aged 7 mo, but affected 15.3% of mink aged 19 mo and 39.6% of mink aged 31 mo. The positive relationship between age and periodontal disease was statistically significant (P < 0.01). The prevalence of tooth loss was found to be high among blue mink aged >19 mo (21.6%) and was also significantly related to age (P < 0.01). A significant positive interaction between alveolar bone loss and tooth loss (P < 0.01), implies that the highly prevalent tooth loss in the mink was related to and possibly caused by destructive periodontal disease. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of periodontal disease between the 2 genotypes and age was found to be the only statistical predictor of poor production results (P < 0.01) in blue mink.
PMCID: PMC1142180  PMID: 15971677
24.  Pain 5 years after instrumented and non-instrumented posterolateral lumbar spinal fusion 
European Spine Journal  2003;12(4):393-399.
Pain drawings have been used in spine surgery for diagnostic use and psychological evaluation of fusion candidates; they have rarely been used to evaluate pain status after spinal fusion. This study is a 5-year follow-up on a randomised clinical trial assigning patients to posterolateral spinal fusion with or without pedicle screw instrumentation. Patients were mailed a pain drawing and questionnaires including questions regarding work, social status, smoking status, the Dallas Pain Questionnaire (DPQ), and the Low Back Pain Rating Scale (LBPRS). Pain drawings were scored using a visual inspection method and a surface-based point scoring and evaluated for the presence of donor site pain. Pain drawings from 109 patients (87% of the initially included patients), 56 men and 53 women, mean age at follow-up 51 years, were analysed. Fifty-three patients had undergone an instrumented fusion and 56 a non-instrumented fusion. Some presence of low back pain was marked by 79% and leg pain by 69%. Sixty-two percent of the pain drawings were classified as "organic" and 38% as "non-organic". There was no difference between the instrumented and the uninstrumented group. DPQ and LBPRS scores were higher in the non-organic group (P=0.007). Using the point scoring, no difference between the instrumented and the uninstrumented group was seen. The results of the point scoring were found to correlate with the DPQ and LBPRS scores (P=0.001). Working patients (39%) had significantly better scores than the rest. Ten percent of the patients had donor site pain. Twenty percent of spinal fusion patients are totally pain free at 5-year follow-up. Ten percent still experience donor site pain. In general, instrumentation does not affect the amount and localisation of pain 5 years after lumbar spinal fusion surgery. The pain drawing seems to be a valuable tool when following spinal fusion patients, but its use as prognostic marker in connection with fusion surgery needs further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3467782  PMID: 12756629
Pain drawing; Spinal fusion; Dallas Pain Questionnaire; Low Back Pain Rating Scale; Donor site pain; Instrumentation; Randomised clinical trial
25.  Ovariectomized rats as a model of postmenopausal osteoarthritis: validation and application 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(2):R169-R180.
We aimed to assess the effect of ovariectomy on cartilage turnover and degradation, to evaluate whether ovariectomized (OVX) rats could form an experimental model of postmenopausal osteoarthritis. The effect of ovariectomy on cartilage was studied using two cohorts of female Sprague–Dawley rats, aged 5 and 7 months. In a third cohort, the effect of exogenous estrogen and a selective estrogen receptor modulator was analyzed. Knee joints were assessed by histological analysis of the articular cartilage after 9 weeks. Cartilage turnover was measured in urine by an immunoassay specific for collagen type II degradation products (CTX-II), and bone resorption was quantified in serum using an assay for bone collagen type I fragments (CTX-I). Surface erosion in the cartilage of the knee was more severe in OVX rats than in sham-operated animals, particularly in the 7-month-old cohort (P = 0.008). Ovariectomy also significant increased CTX-I and CTX-II. Both the absolute levels of CTX-II and the relative changes from baseline seen at week 4 correlated strongly with the severity of cartilage surface erosion at termination (r = 0.74, P < 0.01). Both estrogen and the selective estrogen receptor modulator inhibited the ovariectomy-induced acceleration of cartilage and bone turnover and significantly suppressed cartilage degradation and erosion seen in vehicle-treated OVX rats. The study indicates that estrogen deficiency accelerates cartilage turnover and increases cartilage surface erosion. OVX rats provide a useful experimental model for the evaluation of the chondroprotective effects of estrogens and estrogen-like substances and the model may be an in vivo representation of osteoarthritis in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC400436  PMID: 15059281
estrogen; osteoarthritis; ovariectomy; selective estrogen receptor modulator

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