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1.  Gastrointestinal symptoms among endometriosis patients—A case-cohort study 
BMC Women's Health  2015;15:59.
Women with endometriosis often experience gastrointestinal symptoms. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs are used to treat endometriosis; however, some patients develop gastrointestinal dysmotility following this treatment. The aims of the present study were to investigate gastrointestinal symptoms among patients with endometriosis and to examine whether symptoms were associated with menstruation, localization of endometriosis lesions, or treatment with either opioids or GnRH analogs, and if hormonal treatment affected the symptoms.
All patients with diagnosed endometriosis at the Department of Gynecology were invited to participate in the study. Gastrointestinal symptoms were registered using the Visual Analogue Scale for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (VAS-IBS); socioeconomic and medical histories were compiled using a clinical data survey. Data were compared to a control group from the general population.
A total of 109 patients and 65 controls were investigated. Compared to controls, patients with endometriosis experienced significantly aggravated abdominal pain (P = 0.001), constipation (P = 0.009), bloating and flatulence (P = 0.000), defecation urgency (P = 0.010), and sensation of incomplete evacuation (P = 0.050), with impaired psychological well-being (P = 0.005) and greater intestinal symptom influence on their daily lives (P = 0.001). The symptoms were not associated with menstruation or localization of endometriosis lesions, except increased nausea and vomiting (P = 0.010) in patients with bowel-associated lesions. Half of the patients were able to differentiate between abdominal pain from endometriosis and from the gastrointestinal tract. Patients using opioids experienced more severe symptoms than patients not using opioids, and patients with current or previous use of GnRH analogs had more severe abdominal pain than the other patients (P = 0.024). Initiation of either combined oral contraceptives or progesterone for endometriosis had no effect on gastrointestinal symptoms when the patients were followed prospectively.
The majority of endometriosis patients experience more severe gastrointestinal symptoms than controls. A poor association between symptoms and lesion localization was found, indicating existing comorbidity between endometriosis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Treatment with opioids or GnRH analogs is associated with aggravated gastrointestinal symptoms.
PMCID: PMC4535676  PMID: 26272803
Abdominal pain; Endometriosis; Gastrointestinal symptoms; Gonadotropin-releasing hormone; Menstruation; Opioids
2.  Identification of a Common Non-Apoptotic Cell Death Mechanism in Hereditary Retinal Degeneration 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112142.
Cell death in neurodegenerative diseases is often thought to be governed by apoptosis; however, an increasing body of evidence suggests the involvement of alternative cell death mechanisms in neuronal degeneration. We studied retinal neurodegeneration using 10 different animal models, covering all major groups of hereditary human blindness (rd1, rd2, rd10, Cngb1 KO, Rho KO, S334ter, P23H, Cnga3 KO, cpfl1, Rpe65 KO), by investigating metabolic processes relevant for different forms of cell death. We show that apoptosis plays only a minor role in the inherited forms of retinal neurodegeneration studied, where instead, a non-apoptotic degenerative mechanism common to all mutants is of major importance. Hallmark features of this pathway are activation of histone deacetylase, poly-ADP-ribose-polymerase, and calpain, as well as accumulation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate and poly-ADP-ribose. Our work thus demonstrates the prevalence of alternative cell death mechanisms in inherited retinal degeneration and provides a rational basis for the design of mutation-independent treatments.
PMCID: PMC4230983  PMID: 25392995
3.  Calpain and PARP Activation during Photoreceptor Cell Death in P23H and S334ter Rhodopsin Mutant Rats 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22181.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a heterogeneous group of inherited neurodegenerative diseases affecting photoreceptors and causing blindness. Many human cases are caused by mutations in the rhodopsin gene. An important question regarding RP pathology is whether different genetic defects trigger the same or different cell death mechanisms. To answer this question, we analysed photoreceptor degeneration in P23H and S334ter transgenic rats carrying rhodopsin mutations that affect protein folding and sorting respectively. We found strong activation of calpain and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in both mutants, concomitant with calpastatin down-regulation, increased oxidative DNA damage and accumulation of PAR polymers. These parameters were strictly correlated with the temporal progression of photoreceptor degeneration, mirroring earlier findings in the phosphodiesterase-6 mutant rd1 mouse, and suggesting execution of non-apoptotic cell death mechanisms. Interestingly, activation of caspases-3 and -9 and cytochrome c leakage—key events in apoptotic cell death—were observed only in the S334ter mutant, which also showed increased expression of PARP-1. The identification of the same metabolic markers triggered by different mutations in two different species suggests the existence of common cell death mechanisms, which is a major consideration for any mutation independent treatment.
PMCID: PMC3134478  PMID: 21765948
4.  PARP1 Gene Knock-Out Increases Resistance to Retinal Degeneration without Affecting Retinal Function 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15495.
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited neurodegenerative diseases affecting photoreceptors and causing blindness in humans. Previously, excessive activation of enzymes belonging to the poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) group was shown to be involved in photoreceptor degeneration in the human homologous rd1 mouse model for RP. Since there are at least 16 different PARP isoforms, we investigated the exact relevance of the predominant isoform - PARP1 - for photoreceptor cell death using PARP1 knock-out (KO) mice. In vivo and ex vivo morphological analysis using optic coherence tomography (OCT) and conventional histology revealed no major alterations of retinal phenotype when compared to wild-type (wt). Likewise, retinal function as assessed by electroretinography (ERG) was normal in PARP1 KO animals. We then used retinal explant cultures derived from wt, rd1, and PARP1 KO animals to test their susceptibility to chemically induced photoreceptor degeneration. Since photoreceptor degeneration in the rd1 retina is triggered by a loss-of-function in phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6), we used selective PDE6 inhibition to emulate the rd1 situation on non-rd1 genotypes. While wt retina subjected to PDE6 inhibition showed massive photoreceptor degeneration comparable to rd1 retina, in the PARP1 KO situation, cell death was robustly reduced. Together, these findings demonstrate that PARP1 activity is in principle dispensable for normal retinal function, but is of major importance for photoreceptor degeneration under pathological conditions. Moreover, our results suggest that PARP dependent cell death or PARthanatos may play a major role in retinal degeneration and highlight the possibility to use specific PARP inhibitors for the treatment of RP.
PMCID: PMC2990765  PMID: 21124852
5.  Tumor necrosis factor and its receptors in the neuroretina and retinal vasculature after ischemia-reperfusion injury in the pig retina 
Molecular Vision  2010;16:2317-2327.
Numerous studies have been performed aimed at limiting the extent of retinal injury after ischemia, but there is still no effective pharmacological treatment available. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and its receptors (TNF-R1 and TNF-R2), especially considering the neuroretina and the retinal vasculature since the retinal blood vessels are key organs in circulatory failure.
Retinal ischemia was induced in pigs by elevating the intraocular pressure to 80 mmHg in one eye, while the other eye served as a control (sham-operated). One hour of ischemia was followed by 5 or 12 h of reperfusion. Retinal circulation was examined in vivo by fundus imaging and fluorescein angiography. TNF-α levels were measured in the vitreous using an angiogenesis antibody array test. The presence and amounts of TNF-α, TNF-R1, and TNF-R2 were investigated in the neuroretina and in the retinal blood vessels, using immunofluorescence staining and real-time PCR techniques.
Fundus imaging showed obstructed blood flow when ischemia was induced, and reperfusion was clearly visualized using fluorescein angiography. Ischemia resulted in elevated levels of TNF-α protein in the vitreous and TNF-α mRNA in the neuroretina. TNF-α immunofluorescence staining was localized to the Müller cells and the outer plexiform layer of the neuroretina. The expression of TNF-R1 and TNF-R2 mRNA was increased in both the neuroretina and retinal arteries following ischemia-reperfusion. Immunofluorescence double staining for TNF-R1 and either smooth muscle actin or 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) indicated expression in the cell membranes of the vascular smooth muscle cells. Double staining with TNF-R1 and calbindin showed localization to the horizontal cells in the outer plexiform layer of the neuroretina.
Retinal ischemia results in increased expression of TNF-α and its receptors (TNF-R1 and TNF-R2). Cellular signaling pathways involving TNF may be important in the development of retinal injury following ischemia and thus an interesting target for future development of pharmacological therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC2994763  PMID: 21152396

Results 1-5 (5)