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1.  Non-invasive monitoring of BMP-2 retention and bone formation in composites for bone tissue engineering using SPECT/CT and scintillation probes 
Non-invasive imaging can provide essential information for the optimization of new drug delivery-based bone regeneration strategies to repair damaged or impaired bone tissue. This study investigates the applicability of nuclear medicine and radiological techniques to monitor growth factor retention profiles and subsequent effects on bone formation. Recombinant human bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2, 6.5 μg/scaffold) was incorporated into a sustained release vehicle consisting of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres embedded in a poly(propylene fumarate) scaffold surrounded by a gelatin hydrogel and implanted subcutaneously and in 5-mm segmental femoral defects in 9 rats for a period of 56 days. To determine the pharmacokinetic profile, BMP-2 was radiolabeled with 125I and the local retention of 125I-BMP-2 was measured by single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), scintillation probes and ex vivo scintillation analysis. Bone formation was monitored by micro-computed tomography (μCT). The scaffolds released BMP-2 in a sustained fashion over the 56-day implantation period. A good correlation between the SPECT and scintillation probe measurements was found and there were no significant differences between the non-invasive and ex-vivo counting method after 8 weeks of follow up. SPECT analysis of the total body and thyroid counts showed a limited accumulation of 125I within the body. Ectopic bone formation was induced in the scaffolds and the femur defects healed completely. In vivo μCT imaging detected the first signs of bone formation at days 14 and 28 for the orthotopic and ectopic implants, respectively, and provided a detailed profile of the bone formation rate. Overall, this study clearly demonstrates the benefit of applying non-invasive techniques in drug delivery-based bone regeneration strategies by providing detailed and reliable profiles of the growth factor retention and bone formation at different implantation sites in a limited number of animals.
doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.11.023
PMCID: PMC3974410  PMID: 19105972
Drug delivery; Controlled release; Bone morphogenetic protein-2; Single photon emission computed; tomography; Scintillation probes; Micro-computed tomography
2.  Non-invasive screening method for simultaneous evaluation of in vivo growth factor release profiles from multiple ectopic bone tissue engineering implants 
The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a screening method based on scintillation probes for the simultaneous evaluation of in vivo growth factor release profiles of multiple implants in the same animal. First, we characterized the scintillation probes in a series of in vitro experiments to optimize the accuracy of the measurement setup. The scintillation probes were found to have a strong geometric dependence and experience saturation effects at high activities. In vitro simulation of 4 subcutaneous limb implants in a rat showed minimal interference of surrounding implants on local measurements at close to parallel positioning of the probes. These characteristics were taken into consideration for the design of the probe setup and in vivo experiment. The measurement setup was then validated in a rat subcutaneous implantation model using 4 different sustained release carriers loaded with 125I-BMP-2 per animal. The implants were removed after 42 or 84 days of implantation, for comparison of the non-invasive method to ex-vivo radioisotope counting. The non-invasive method demonstrated a good correlation with the ex-vivo counting method at both time-points of all 4 carriers. Overall, this study showed that scintillation probes could be successfully used for paired measurement of 4 release profiles with minimal interference of the surrounding implants, and may find use as non-invasive screening tools for various drug delivery applications.
doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2008.05.004
PMCID: PMC2601638  PMID: 18554743
Controlled drug delivery; non-invasive screening; scintillation detector; radiolabelled growth factor; method validation
3.  A Differential Effect of Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Release Timing on Osteogenesis at Ectopic and Orthotopic Sites in a Large-Animal Model 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2012;18(19-20):2052-2062.
In bone tissue engineering, growth factors are widely used. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are the most well-known regulators of osteogenesis and angiogenesis. We investigated whether the timing of dual release of VEGF and BMP-2 influences the amount of bone formation in a large-animal model. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) microparticles (MPs) were loaded with BMP-2 or VEGF to create sustained-release profiles, and rapidly degrading gelatin was loaded with either growth factor for fast-release profiles. To study in vivo osteogenicity, the two delivery vehicles were combined with biphasic calcium phosphate (BCP) scaffolds and implanted in 10 Beagle dogs for 9 weeks, at both ectopic (paraspinal muscles) and orthotopic sites (critical-size ulnar defect). The 9 ectopic groups contained combined or single BMP/VEGF dosage, in sustained- or fast-release profiles. In the ulnae of 8 dogs, fast VEGF and sustained BMP-2 were applied to one leg, and the other received the opposite release profiles. The two remaining dogs received bilateral control scaffolds. Bone growth dynamics was analyzed by fluorochrome injection at weeks 3, 5, and 7. Postoperative and posteuthanization X-rays of the ulnar implants were taken. After 9 weeks of implantation, bone quantity and bone growth dynamics were studied by histology, histomorphometry, and fluorescence microscopy. The release of the growth factors resulted in both enhanced orthotopic and ectopic bone formation. Bone formation started before 3 weeks and continued beyond 7 weeks. The ectopic BMP-2 fast groups showed significantly more bone compared to sustained release, independent of the VEGF profile. The ulna implants revealed no significant differences in the amount of bone formed. This study shows that timing of BMP-2 release largely determines speed and amount of ectopic bone formation independent of VEGF release. Furthermore, at the orthotopic site, no significant effect on bone formation was found from a timed release of growth factors, implicating that timed-release effects are location dependent.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2011.0560
PMCID: PMC3463278  PMID: 22563713
4.  Sustained Release of BMP-2 in Bioprinted Alginate for Osteogenicity in Mice and Rats 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72610.
The design of bioactive three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds is a major focus in bone tissue engineering. Incorporation of growth factors into bioprinted scaffolds offers many new possibilities regarding both biological and architectural properties of the scaffolds. This study investigates whether the sustained release of bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) influences osteogenicity of tissue engineered bioprinted constructs. BMP-2 loaded on gelatin microparticles (GMPs) was used as a sustained release system, which was dispersed in hydrogel-based constructs and compared to direct inclusion of BMP-2 in alginate or control GMPs. The constructs were supplemented with goat multipotent stromal cells (gMSCs) and biphasic calcium phosphate to study osteogenic differentiation and bone formation respectively. BMP-2 release kinetics and bioactivity showed continuous release for three weeks coinciding with osteogenicity. Osteogenic differentiation and bone formation of bioprinted GMP containing constructs were investigated after subcutaneous implantation in mice or rats. BMP-2 significantly increased bone formation, which was not influenced by the release timing. We showed that 3D printing of controlled release particles is feasible and that the released BMP-2 directs osteogenic differentiation in vitro and in vivo.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072610
PMCID: PMC3747086  PMID: 23977328
5.  Of Mice, Men and Elephants: The Relation between Articular Cartilage Thickness and Body Mass 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57683.
Mammalian articular cartilage serves diverse functions, including shock absorption, force transmission and enabling low-friction joint motion. These challenging requirements are met by the tissue’s thickness combined with its highly specific extracellular matrix, consisting of a glycosaminoglycan-interspersed collagen fiber network that provides a unique combination of resilience and high compressive and shear resistance. It is unknown how this critical tissue deals with the challenges posed by increases in body mass. For this study, osteochondral cores were harvested post-mortem from the central sites of both medial and lateral femoral condyles of 58 different mammalian species ranging from 25 g (mouse) to 4000 kg (African elephant). Joint size and cartilage thickness were measured and biochemical composition (glycosaminoclycan, collagen and DNA content) and collagen cross-links densities were analyzed. Here, we show that cartilage thickness at the femoral condyle in the mammalian species investigated varies between 90 µm and 3000 µm and bears a negative allometric relationship to body mass, unlike the isometric scaling of the skeleton. Cellular density (as determined by DNA content) decreases with increasing body mass, but gross biochemical composition is remarkably constant. This however need not affect life-long performance of the tissue in heavier mammals, due to relatively constant static compressive stresses, the zonal organization of the tissue and additional compensation by joint congruence, posture and activity pattern of larger mammals. These findings provide insight in the scaling of articular cartilage thickness with body weight, as well as in cartilage biochemical composition and cellularity across mammalian species. They underscore the need for the use of appropriate in vivo models in translational research aiming at human applications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057683
PMCID: PMC3578797  PMID: 23437402
6.  Biofabrication of Osteochondral Tissue Equivalents by Printing Topologically Defined, Cell-Laden Hydrogel Scaffolds 
Osteochondral defects are prone to induce osteoarthritic degenerative changes. Many tissue-engineering approaches that aim to generate osteochondral implants suffer from poor tissue formation and compromised integration. This illustrates the need for further improvement of heterogeneous tissue constructs. Engineering of these structures is expected to profit from strategies addressing the complexity of tissue organization and the simultaneous use of multiple cell types. Moreover, this enables the investigation of the effects of three-dimensional (3D) organization and architecture on tissue function. In the present study, we characterize the use of a 3D fiber deposition (3DF) technique for the fabrication of cell-laden, heterogeneous hydrogel constructs for potential use as osteochondral grafts. Changing fiber spacing or angle of fiber deposition yielded scaffolds of varying porosity and elastic modulus. We encapsulated and printed fluorescently labeled human chondrocytes and osteogenic progenitors in alginate hydrogel yielding scaffolds of 1×2 cm with different parts for both cell types. Cell viability remained high throughout the printing process, and cells remained in their compartment of the printed scaffold for the whole culture period. Moreover, distinctive tissue formation was observed, both in vitro after 3 weeks and in vivo (6 weeks subcutaneously in immunodeficient mice), at different locations within one construct. These results demonstrate the possibility of manufacturing viable centimeter-scaled structured tissues by the 3DF technique, which could potentially be used for the repair of osteochondral defects.
doi:10.1089/ten.tec.2011.0060
PMCID: PMC3245674  PMID: 21854293
7.  Hypoxia Impedes Vasculogenesis of In Vitro Engineered Bone 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2011;18(1-2):208-218.
To ensure the survival of engineered bone after implantation, we combined human endothelial colony forming cells (ECFCs) and multipotent stromal cells (MSCs) as a proof of concept in a co-culture model to create in vitro prevascularized bone constructs. We hypothesized that a hypoxic stimulus will contribute to prevascularization of engineered bone. Bone marrow-derived MSCs and ECFCs from human adult peripheral blood were allowed to form co-culture pellets containing ECFCs and MSCs (1:4) or MSCs only in controls. After culture under normoxia or hypoxia (5%), pellets were harvested and processed for immunohistochemistry of CD31, α-smooth muscle actin, and osteocalcin. Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor and SDF-1α was analyzed by PCR to elucidate their involvement in hypoxic stimulation of prevascularization. The normoxic condition in co-cultures of MSCs and ECFCs supported the formation and maintenance of prevascular structures, including organized CD31-positive cells embraced by differentiated mural cells. These structures failed to form in hypoxic conditions, thereby rejecting the hypothesis that hypoxia stimulates prevasculogenesis in three-dimensional engineered bone constructs. Further, the formation of prevascular structures was paralleled by increased SDF-1α expression. It is suggested that actual oxygen levels were below 5% in the hypoxic co-cultures, which prevented prevascular structure formation. In conclusion, our normoxic co-culture model containing cells from clinically relevant sources sustained simultaneous endothelial, smooth muscle, and osteogenic differentiation.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2010.0731
PMCID: PMC3246420  PMID: 21859278
8.  Biomechanical assessment of the effects of decompressive surgery in non-chondrodystrophic and chondrodystrophic canine multisegmented lumbar spines 
European Spine Journal  2012;21(9):1692-1699.
Purpose
Dogs are often used as an animal model in spinal research, but consideration should be given to the breed used as chondrodystrophic (CD) dog breeds always develop IVD degeneration at an early age, whereas non-chondrodystrophic (NCD) dog breeds may develop IVD degeneration, but only later in life. The aim of this study was to provide a mechanical characterization of the NCD [non-degenerated intervertebral discs (IVDs), rich in notochordal cells] and CD (degenerated IVDs, rich in chondrocyte-like cells) canine spine before and after decompressive surgery (nucleotomy).
Methods
The biomechanical properties of multisegmented lumbar spine specimens (T13–L5 and L5–Cd1) from 2-year-old NCD dogs (healthy) and CD dogs (early degeneration) were investigated in flexion/extension (FE), lateral bending (LB), and axial rotation (AR), in the native state and after nucleotomy of L2–L3 or dorsal laminectomy and nucleotomy of L7–S1. The range of motion (ROM), neutral zone (NZ), and NZ stiffness (NZS) of L1–L2, L2–L3, L6–L7, and L7–S1 were calculated.
Results
In native spines in both dog groups, the greatest mobility in FE was found at L7–S1, and the greatest mobility in LB at L2–L3. Surgery significantly increased the ROM and NZ, and significantly decreased the NZS in FE, LB, and AR in both breed groups. However, surgery at L2–L3 resulted in a significantly larger increase in NZ and decrease in NZS in the CD spines compared with the NCD spines, whereas surgery at L7–S1 induced a significantly larger increase in ROM and decrease in NZS in the NCD spines compared with the CD spines.
Conclusions
Spinal biomechanics significantly differ between NCD and CD dogs and researchers should consider this aspect when using the dog as a model for spinal research.
doi:10.1007/s00586-012-2285-0
PMCID: PMC3459126  PMID: 22492242
Biomechanics; Lumbar spine; Intervertebral disc degeneration; Canine model; Nucleotomy
9.  Enhanced Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2-Induced Ectopic and Orthotopic Bone Formation by Intermittent Parathyroid Hormone (1–34) Administration 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2010;16(12):3769-3777.
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) play a central role in local bone regeneration strategies, whereas the anabolic features of parathyroid hormone (PTH) are particularly appealing for the systemic treatment of generalized bone loss. The aim of the current study was to investigate whether local BMP-2-induced bone regeneration could be enhanced by systemic administration of PTH (1–34). Empty or BMP-2-loaded poly(lactic-co glycolic acid)/poly(propylene fumarate)/gelatin composites were implanted subcutaneously and in femoral defects in rats (n = 9). For the orthotopic site, empty defects were also tested. Each of the conditions was investigated in combination with daily administered subcutaneous PTH (1–34) injections in the neck. After 8 weeks of implantation, bone mineral density (BMD) and bone volume were analyzed using microcomputed tomography and histology. Ectopic bone formation and almost complete healing of the femoral defect were only seen in rats that received BMP-2-loaded composites. Additional treatment of the rats with PTH (1–34) resulted in significantly (p < 0.05) enhanced BMD and bone volume in the BMP-2 composites at both implantation sites. Despite its effect on BMD in the humerus and vertebra, PTH (1–34) treatment had no significant effect on BMD and bone volume in the empty femoral defects and the ectopically or orthotopically implanted empty composites. Histological analysis showed that the newly formed bone had a normal woven and trabecular appearance. Overall, this study suggests that intermittent administration of a low PTH dose alone has limited potential to enhance local bone regeneration in a critical-sized defect in rats. However, when combined with local BMP-2-releasing scaffolds, PTH administration significantly enhanced osteogenesis in both ectopic and orthotopic sites.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2010.0173
PMCID: PMC2991197  PMID: 20666615
10.  Incidence of low-grade infection in aseptic loosening of total hip arthroplasty 
Acta Orthopaedica  2010;81(6):667-673.
Purpose
We investigated the hypothesis that many total hip arthroplasty revisions that are classified as aseptic are in fact low-grade infections missed with routine diagnostics.
Methods
In 7 Dutch hospitals, 176 consecutive patients with the preoperative diagnosis of aseptic loosening of their total hip arthroplasty were enrolled. During surgery, between 14 and 20 tissue samples were obtained for culture, pathology, and broad-range 16S rRNA PCR with reverse line blot hybridization. Patients were classified as either not being infected, suspected of having infection, or infected according to strict, predefined criteria. Each patient had a follow-up visit after 1 year.
Results
7 patients were classified as infected, 4 of whom were not identified by routine culture. 15 additional patients were suspected of having infection. 20 of these 22 patients received a cemented prosthesis, fixated with antibiotic-loaded bone cement. All 22 patients received prophylactic systemic antibiotics. 7 of them reported complaints one year after surgery, but only one showed signs of early loosening. However, additional surgery was not performed in any of the patients.
Interpretation
Although the proportions were not as high as previously reported in the literature, between 4% and 13% of patients with the preoperative diagnosis of aseptic loosening were infected. However, as thorough debridement was performed during surgery and prophylactic antibiotics were used, the diagnosis of infection did not have any obvious clinical consequences, as most patients performed well at the 1-year follow-up. Whether this observation has implications for long-term implant survival remains to be seen.
doi:10.3109/17453674.2010.525201
PMCID: PMC3216075  PMID: 20919816
11.  Perivascular and Diffuse Lymphocytic Inflammation are not Specific for Failed Metal-on-metal Hip Implants 
Background
Several studies suggest that histologic findings from tissues obtained at revision arthroplasty for failed metal-on-metal (MOM) total hip implants may reflect an immune reaction to particles or ions in some patients. However, only a limited number of cases without MOM implants were reported as controls in those studies.
Questions/purposes
The purpose of this study is to better define the extent and distribution of morphologic features attributed to an immune reaction in tissues sampled at revision surgery for failed nonMOM THA.
Patients and Methods
As part of a multicenter, prospective study, we reviewed 612 capsular and interface tissues obtained from 130 patients at revision THA. The samples were selected from periacetabular regions (154 samples from 103 patients), femoral implant/cement-bone interface (154 samples from 79 patients), and from areas of the joint capsule that had an intraoperative gross appearance suggesting the possibility of either infection or metallosis (256 samples from 129 patients). All patients had more than one sample obtained. The extent and distribution of lymphocytes and plasma cells, acute inflammation, and visible particles of debris were graded using criteria similar to those described to grade inflammation around failed MOM implants.
Results
We identified perivascular lymphocytes in 111 biopsy samples taken from 65 (50%) of 130 patients, and in 87 specimens from 57 (53%) of 107 patients thought to have aseptic loosening. Diffusely distributed lymphocytes were identified in 86 (66%) of 130 patients, and in 66 (62%) of the 107 hips with aseptic loosening, although few had the highest grade of inflammation. Increasing extent of diffuse and perivascular lymphocytes correlated with increasing extent of metal particles.
Conclusions
Mild lymphocytic inflammation, diffuse and especially perivascular, is common in tissues around failed nonMOM implants. Although extensive inflammation in an inflammatory pseudotumor pattern is rare, it does occur in some cases of failed metal-polyethylene hip arthroplasties. The importance of inflammation is unknown, but the extent of diffuse inflammation shows a positive correlation with metal debris, so it could reflect a reaction to particles or ions in some patients.
doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1649-1
PMCID: PMC3048271  PMID: 21046298
12.  Perivascular and Diffuse Lymphocytic Inflammation are not Specific for Failed Metal-on-metal Hip Implants 
Background
Several studies suggest that histologic findings from tissues obtained at revision arthroplasty for failed metal-on-metal (MOM) total hip implants may reflect an immune reaction to particles or ions in some patients. However, only a limited number of cases without MOM implants were reported as controls in those studies.
Questions/purposes
The purpose of this study is to better define the extent and distribution of morphologic features attributed to an immune reaction in tissues sampled at revision surgery for failed nonMOM THA.
Patients and Methods
As part of a multicenter, prospective study, we reviewed 612 capsular and interface tissues obtained from 130 patients at revision THA. The samples were selected from periacetabular regions (154 samples from 103 patients), femoral implant/cement-bone interface (154 samples from 79 patients), and from areas of the joint capsule that had an intraoperative gross appearance suggesting the possibility of either infection or metallosis (256 samples from 129 patients). All patients had more than one sample obtained. The extent and distribution of lymphocytes and plasma cells, acute inflammation, and visible particles of debris were graded using criteria similar to those described to grade inflammation around failed MOM implants.
Results
We identified perivascular lymphocytes in 111 biopsy samples taken from 65 (50%) of 130 patients, and in 87 specimens from 57 (53%) of 107 patients thought to have aseptic loosening. Diffusely distributed lymphocytes were identified in 86 (66%) of 130 patients, and in 66 (62%) of the 107 hips with aseptic loosening, although few had the highest grade of inflammation. Increasing extent of diffuse and perivascular lymphocytes correlated with increasing extent of metal particles.
Conclusions
Mild lymphocytic inflammation, diffuse and especially perivascular, is common in tissues around failed nonMOM implants. Although extensive inflammation in an inflammatory pseudotumor pattern is rare, it does occur in some cases of failed metal-polyethylene hip arthroplasties. The importance of inflammation is unknown, but the extent of diffuse inflammation shows a positive correlation with metal debris, so it could reflect a reaction to particles or ions in some patients.
doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1649-1
PMCID: PMC3048271  PMID: 21046298
13.  Effect of Autologous Bone Marrow Stromal Cell Seeding and Bone Morphogenetic Protein-2 Delivery on Ectopic Bone Formation in a Microsphere/Poly(Propylene Fumarate) Composite 
Tissue Engineering. Part A  2008;15(3):587-594.
A biodegradable microsphere/scaffold composite based on the synthetic polymer poly(propylene fumarate) (PPF) holds promise as a scaffold for cell growth and sustained delivery vehicle for growth factors for bone regeneration. The objective of the current work was to investigate the in vitro release and in vivo bone forming capacity of this microsphere/scaffold composite containing bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2) in combination with autologous bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) in a goat ectopic implantation model. Three composites consisting of 0, 0.08, or 8 μg BMP-2 per mg of poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) microspheres, embedded in a porous PPF scaffold, were combined with either plasma (no cells) or culture-expanded BMSCs. PPF scaffolds impregnated with a BMP-2 solution and combined with BMSCs as well as empty PPF scaffolds were also tested. The eight different composites were implanted subcutaneously in the dorsal thoracolumbar area of goats. Incorporation of BMP-2–loaded microspheres in the PPF scaffold resulted in a more sustained in vitro release with a lower burst phase, as compared to BMP-2–impregnated scaffolds. Histological analysis after 9 weeks of implantation showed bone formation in the pores of 11/16 composites containing 8 μg/mg BMP-2–loaded microspheres with no significant difference between composites with or without BMSCs (6/8 and 5/8, respectively). Bone formation was also observed in 1/8 of the BMP-2–impregnated scaffolds. No bone formation was observed in the other conditions. Overall, this study shows the feasibility of bone induction by BMP-2 release from microspheres/scaffold composites.
doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2007.0376
PMCID: PMC2810278  PMID: 18925831
15.  Correlation of MR images of disc injuries with anatomic sections in experimental thoracolumbar spine fractures 
European Spine Journal  1999;8(3):194-198.
This cadaver study evaluated the value of MR images for detection of acute intervertebral disc damage associated with fractures of the thoracolumbar spine. Damage to the intervertebral disc may be a major contributor to chronic instability in non-operative treatment or failure of fixation and recurrence of deformity in posterior fixation methods. MR imaging can help us to understand the injury patterns and their prognostic significance. However, before we can justify the use of MRI in clinical cases, determination of MRI’s ability to detect acute injury to the disc is necessary. Ten fresh cadaver specimens were used for this study. After obtaining radiograms and MR images, injuries were created with a weight-dropping apparatus using a variety of weights and compression angles. Post-injury radiograms and MR images were taken and the specimens were frozen at –20 °C. Slides of these specimens obtained with cryosection techniques were compared with MR images for evaluation of the damage to different parts of the discs. A total of 20 fractures were observed on cryosections. In 12 of the discs adjacent to fractured vertebral bodies, macroscopic damage was seen on the sections. These were all detected on the corresponding MR images. The study showed that MRI is able to detect acute, macroscopic injury to the intervertebral disc. It is therefore justified to use MR for the study of acute disc damage associated with thoracolumbar fractures.
doi:10.1007/s005860050156
PMCID: PMC3611165  PMID: 10413344
Key words Spine fractures; Trauma; MRI; Intervertebral disc; Cadaver study

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