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1.  Surface structure influences contact killing of bacteria by copper 
MicrobiologyOpen  2014;3(3):327-332.
Copper kills bacteria rapidly by a mechanism that is not yet fully resolved. The antibacterial property of copper has raised interest in its use in hospitals, in place of plastic or stainless steel. On the latter surfaces, bacteria can survive for days or even weeks. Copper surfaces could thus provide a powerful accessory measure to curb nosocomial infections. We here investigated the effect of the copper surface structure on the efficiency of contact killing of Escherichia coli, an aspect which so far has received very little attention. It was shown that electroplated copper surfaces killed bacteria more rapidly than either polished copper or native rolled copper. The release of ionic copper was also more rapid from electroplated copper compared to the other materials. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that the bacteria nudged into the grooves between the copper grains of deposited copper. The findings suggest that, in terms of contact killing, more efficient copper surfaces can be engineered.
PMCID: PMC4082706  PMID: 24740976
Antibacterial activity; contact killing; copper surfaces; electrodeposition; nosocomial infection
2.  Predicting erythropoietin resistance in hemodialysis patients with type 2 diabetes 
BMC Nephrology  2013;14:67.
Resistance to ESAs (erythropoietin stimulating agents) is highly prevalent in hemodialysis patients with diabetes and associated with an increased mortality. The aim of this study was to identify predictors for ESA resistance and to develop a prediction model for the risk stratification in these patients.
A post-hoc analysis was conducted of the 4D study, including 1015 patients with type 2 diabetes undergoing hemodialysis. Determinants of ESA resistance were identified by univariate logistic regression analyses. Subsequently, multivariate models were performed with stepwise inclusion of significant predictors from clinical parameters, routine laboratory and specific biomarkers.
In the model restricted to clinical parameters, male sex, shorter dialysis vintage, lower BMI, history of CHF, use of ACE-inhibitors and a higher heart rate were identified as independent predictors of ESA resistance. In regard to routine laboratory markers, lower albumin, lower iron saturation, higher creatinine and higher potassium levels were independently associated with ESA resistance. With respect to specific biomarkers, higher ADMA and CRP levels as well as lower Osteocalcin levels were predictors of ESA resistance.
Easily obtainable clinical parameters and routine laboratory parameters can predict ESA resistance in diabetic hemodialysis patients with good discrimination. Specific biomarkers did not meaningfully further improve the risk prediction of ESA resistance. Routinely assessed data can be used in clinical practice to stratify patients according to the risk of ESA resistance, which may help to assign appropriate treatment strategies.
Clinical trial registration
The study was registered at the German medical authority (BfArM; registration number 401 3206). The sponsor protocol ID and clinical trial unique identified number was CT-981-423-239. The results of the study are published and available at
PMCID: PMC3614514  PMID: 23521816
3.  Hierarchical super-structure identified by polarized light microscopy, electron microscopy and nanoindentation: Implications for the limits of biological control over the growth mode of abalone sea shells 
BMC Biophysics  2012;5:19.
Mollusc shells are commonly investigated using high-resolution imaging techniques based on cryo-fixation. Less detailed information is available regarding the light-optical properties. Sea shells of Haliotis pulcherina were embedded for polishing in defined orientations in order to investigate the interface between prismatic calcite and nacreous aragonite by standard materialographic methods. A polished thin section of the interface was prepared with a defined thickness of 60 μm for quantitative birefringence analysis using polarized light and LC-PolScope microscopy. Scanning electron microscopy images were obtained for comparison. In order to study structural-mechanical relationships, nanoindentation experiments were performed.
Incident light microscopy revealed a super-structure in semi-transparent regions of the polished cross-section under a defined angle. This super-structure is not visible in transmitted birefringence analysis due to the blurred polarization of small nacre platelets and numerous organic interfaces. The relative orientation and homogeneity of calcite prisms was directly identified, some of them with their optical axes exactly normal to the imaging plane. Co-oriented "prism colonies" were identified by polarized light analyses. The nacreous super-structure was also visualized by secondary electron imaging under defined angles. The domains of the super-structure were interpreted to consist of crystallographically aligned platelet stacks. Nanoindentation experiments showed that mechanical properties changed with the same periodicity as the domain size.
In this study, we have demonstrated that insights into the growth mechanisms of nacre can be obtained by conventional light-optical methods. For example, we observed super-structures formed by co-oriented nacre platelets as previously identified using X-ray Photo-electron Emission Microscopy (X-PEEM) [Gilbert et al., Journal of the American Chemical Society 2008, 130:17519–17527]. Polarized optical microscopy revealed unprecedented super-structures in the calcitic shell part. This bears, in principle, the potential for in vivo studies, which might be useful for investigating the growth modes of nacre and other shell types.
PMCID: PMC3507795  PMID: 22967319
4.  Drug-induced mild therapeutic hypothermia obtained by administration of a transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 agonist 
The use of mechanical/physical devices for applying mild therapeutic hypothermia is the only proven neuroprotective treatment for survivors of out of hospital cardiac arrest. However, this type of therapy is cumbersome and associated with several side-effects. We investigated the feasibility of using a transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) agonist for obtaining drug-induced sustainable mild hypothermia.
First, we screened a heterogeneous group of TRPV1 agonists and secondly we tested the hypothermic properties of a selected candidate by dose-response studies. Finally we tested the hypothermic properties in a large animal. The screening was in conscious rats, the dose-response experiments in conscious rats and in cynomologus monkeys, and the finally we tested the hypothermic properties in conscious young cattle (calves with a body weight as an adult human). The investigated TRPV1 agonists were administered by continuous intravenous infusion.
Screening: Dihydrocapsaicin (DHC), a component of chili pepper, displayed a desirable hypothermic profile with regards to the duration, depth and control in conscious rats. Dose-response experiments: In both rats and cynomologus monkeys DHC caused a dose-dependent and immediate decrease in body temperature. Thus in rats, infusion of DHC at doses of 0.125, 0.25, 0.50, and 0.75 mg/kg/h caused a maximal ΔT (°C) as compared to vehicle control of -0.9, -1.5, -2.0, and -4.2 within approximately 1 hour until the 6 hour infusion was stopped. Finally, in calves the intravenous infusion of DHC was able to maintain mild hypothermia with ΔT > -3°C for more than 12 hours.
Our data support the hypothesis that infusion of dihydrocapsaicin is a candidate for testing as a primary or adjunct method of inducing and maintaining therapeutic hypothermia.
PMCID: PMC2966451  PMID: 20932337
5.  Number needed to treat = six: therapeutic hypothermia following cardiac arrest – an effective and cheap approach to save lives 
Critical Care  2007;11(4):162.
In 2005, the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines stated: Unconscious adult patients with spontaneous circulation after out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest should be cooled to 32 to 34°C for 12 to 24 hours. Patients with cardiac arrest from a non-shockable rhythm, in-hospital patients and children may also benefit from hypothermia. There is no argument to wait. We have to treat the next unconscious cardiac arrest patient with hypothermia.
PMCID: PMC2206490  PMID: 17850681

Results 1-5 (5)