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1.  Report on the 6th scientific meeting of the “Verein zur Förderung des Wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses in der Neurologie” (NEUROWIND e.V.) held in Motzen, Germany, Oct. 31th – Nov. 2nd, 2014 
From October 31th – November 2nd, 2014, the 6th NEUROWIND e.V. meeting was held in Motzen, Brandenburg, Germany. 70 doctoral students and postdocs from over 25 different groups working in German and Swiss university hospitals or research institutes attended the meeting to discuss their latest experiments and findings in the fields of neuroimmunology, neurodegeneration and neurovascular research. The meeting was regarded as a very well organized platform to support research of young investigators in Germany and all participants enjoyed the stimulating environment for lively in depth discussions.
According to the major aim of NEUROWIND e.V. to support younger researchers in Germany the 4th NEUROWIND YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD for experimental neurology was awarded to Michael Breckwoldt on his work in the group of Thomas Misgeld (Institute of Neuronal Cell Biology, Technische Universität München, Germany). The successful project was published in Nature Medicine entitled “Multiparametric optical analysis of mitochondrial redox signals during neuronal physiology and pathology in vivo”. This outstanding paper deals with a molecular imaging approach in living mice to optically analyze the role of mitochondrial redox signals in axons in health and disease. The award is endowed with 20.000 Euro sponsored by Merck Serono GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany (unrestricted educational grant).
This year’s keynote lecture was given by Bernhard Hemmer, Head of the Department of Neurology at the Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technische Universität München. Dr. Hemmer highlighted the particular role of B cells and (auto)antibodies in multiple sclerosis (MS). As a new highlight Dr. Urbahns, head of global discovery technologies at Merck research laboratories, gave insights from research practice in the pharmaceutical industry and introduced a shift in the view on present-day drug discovery paradigms.
PMCID: PMC4302105
2.  Categorization of multiple sclerosis relapse subtypes by B cell profiling in the blood 
B cells are attracting increasing attention in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). B cell-targeted therapies with monoclonal antibodies or plasmapheresis have been shown to be successful in a subset of patients. Here, patients with either relapsing-remitting (n = 24) or secondary progressive (n = 6) MS presenting with an acute clinical relapse were screened for their B cell reactivity to brain antigens and were re-tested three to nine months later. Enzyme-linked immunospot technique (ELISPOT) was used to identify brain-reactive B cells in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) directly ex vivo and after 96 h of polyclonal stimulation. Clinical severity of symptoms was determined using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS).
Nine patients displayed B cells in the blood producing brain-specific antibodies directly ex vivo. Six patients were classified as B cell positive donors only after polyclonal B cell stimulation. In 15 patients a B cell response to brain antigens was absent. Based on the autoreactive B cell response we categorized MS relapses into three different patterns. Patients who displayed brain-reactive B cell responses both directly ex vivo and after polyclonal stimulation (pattern I) were significantly younger than patients in whom only memory B cell responses were detectable or entirely absent (patterns II and III; p = 0.003). In one patient a conversion to a positive B cell response as measured directly ex vivo and subsequently also after polyclonal stimulation was associated with the development of a clinical relapse. The evaluation of the predictive value of a brain antigen-specific B cell response showed that seven of eight patients (87.5%) with a pattern I response encountered a clinical relapse during the observation period of 10 months, compared to two of five patients (40%) with a pattern II and three of 14 patients (21.4%) with a pattern III response (p = 0.0005; hazard ratio 6.08 (95% confidence interval 1.87-19.77).
Our data indicate actively ongoing B cell-mediated immunity against brain antigens in a subset of MS patients that may be causative of clinical relapses and provide new diagnostic and therapeutic options for a subset of patients.
PMCID: PMC4177072  PMID: 25597707
B cells; ELISPOT; MS; Predictive value; Relapse
3.  von Willebrand factor: an emerging target in stroke therapy 
Thrombus formation is of paramount importance in the pathophysiology of acute ischemic stroke. Current antithrombotics used to treat or prevent cerebral ischemia are only moderately effective or bear an increased risk of severe bleeding. von Willebrand factor (VWF) has long been known to be a key player in thrombus formation at sites of vascular damage. While the association between VWF and coronary heart disease has been well studied, knowledge about the role of VWF in stroke is much more limited. However, in recent years, an increasing amount of clinical and preclinical evidence has revealed the critical involvement of VWF in stroke development. This review summarizes the latest insights into the pathophysiologic role of VWF-related processes in ischemic brain injury under experimental conditions and in humans. Potential clinical merits of novel inhibitors of VWF-mediated platelet adhesion and activation as powerful and safe tools to combat thromboembolic disorders including ischemic stroke are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4102321  PMID: 22180250
stroke; von Willebrand factor; platelets; glycoprotein Ib
4.  Von Willebrand Factor Regulation in Patients with Acute and Chronic Cerebrovascular Disease: A Pilot, Case–Control Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e99851.
Background and Purpose
In animal models, von Willebrand factor (VWF) is involved in thrombus formation and propagation of ischemic stroke. However, the pathophysiological relevance of this molecule in humans, and its potential use as a biomarker for the risk and severity of ischemic stroke remains unclear. This study had two aims: to identify predictors of altered VWF levels and to examine whether VWF levels differ between acute cerebrovascular events and chronic cerebrovascular disease (CCD).
A case–control study was undertaken between 2010 and 2013 at our University clinic. In total, 116 patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) or transitory ischemic attack (TIA), 117 patients with CCD, and 104 healthy volunteers (HV) were included. Blood was taken at days 0, 1, and 3 in patients with AIS or TIA, and once in CCD patients and HV. VWF serum levels were measured and correlated with demographic and clinical parameters by multivariate linear regression and ANOVA.
Patients with CCD (158±46%) had significantly higher VWF levels than HV (113±36%, P<0.001), but lower levels than AIS/TIA patients (200±95%, P<0.001). Age, sex, and stroke severity influenced VWF levels (P<0.05).
VWF levels differed across disease subtypes and patient characteristics. Our study confirms increased VWF levels as a risk factor for cerebrovascular disease and, moreover, suggests that it may represent a potential biomarker for stroke severity, warranting further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4061052  PMID: 24937073
5.  Neuroprotection After Stroke by Targeting NOX4 As a Source of Oxidative Stress 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2013;18(12):1418-1427.
Significance: Stroke, a leading cause of death and disability, poses a substantial burden for patients, relatives, and our healthcare systems. Only one drug is approved for treating stroke, and more than 30 contraindications exclude its use in 90% of all patients. Thus, new treatments are urgently needed. In this review, we discuss oxidative stress as a pathomechanism of poststroke neurodegeneration and the inhibition of its source, type 4 nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase (NOX4), as a conceptual breakthrough in stroke therapy. Recent Advances: Among potential sources of reactive oxygen species (ROS), the NOXes stand out as the only enzyme family that is solely dedicated to forming ROS. In rodents, three cerebrovascular NOXes exist: the superoxide-forming NOX1 and 2 and the hydrogen peroxide-forming NOX4. Studies using NOX1 knockout mice gave conflicting results, which overall do not point to a role for this isoform. Several reports find NOX2 to be relevant in stroke, albeit to variable and moderate degrees. In our hands, NOX4 is, by far, the major source of oxidative stress and neurodegeneration on ischemic stroke. Critical Issues: We critically discuss the tools that have been used to validate the roles of NOX in stroke. We also highlight the relevance of different animal models and the need for advanced quality control in preclinical stroke research. Future Directions: The development of isoform-specific NOX inhibitors presents a precious tool for further clarifying the role and drugability of NOX homologues. This could pave the avenue for the first clinically effective neuroprotectant applied poststroke, and even beyond this, stroke could provide a proof of principle for antioxidative stress therapy. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 18, 1418–1427.
PMCID: PMC3603500  PMID: 22937798
6.  Glatiramer acetate does not protect from acute ischemic stroke in mice 
The role of the immune system in the pathophysiology of acute ischemic stroke is increasingly recognized. However, targeted treatment strategies to modulate immunological pathways in stroke are still lacking. Glatiramer acetate is a multifaceted immunomodulator approved for the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Experimental studies suggest that glatiramer acetate might also work in other neuroinflammatory or neurodegenerative diseases apart from multiple sclerosis.
We evaluated the efficacy of glatiramer acetate in a mouse model of brain ischemia/reperfusion injury. 60 min of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion was induced in male C57Bl/6 mice. Pretreatment with glatiramer acetate (3.5 mg/kg bodyweight) 30 min before the induction of stroke did not reduce lesion volumes or improve functional outcome on day 1.
Glatiramer acetate failed to protect from acute ischemic stroke in our hands. Further studies are needed to assess the true therapeutic potential of glatiramer acetate and related immunomodulators in brain ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3943273  PMID: 24576335
Glatiramer acetate; Stroke; Inflammation; Neurodegeneration
7.  Intravital imaging in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats-a pilot study 
There is growing evidence that endothelial failure and subsequent blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown initiate cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) pathology. In spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats (SHRSP) endothelial damage is indicated by intraluminal accumulations of erythrocytes (erythrocyte thrombi) that are not observed with current magnetic resonance imaging techniques. Two-photon microscopy (2 PM) offers the potential for real-time direct detection of the small vasculature. Thus, within this pilot study we investigated the sensitivity of 2 PM to detect erythrocyte thrombi expressing initiating CSVD phenomena in vivo.
Eight SHRSP and 13 Wistar controls were used for in vivo imaging and subsequent histology with haematoxylin-eosin (HE). For 2 PM, cerebral blood vessels were labeled by fluorescent Dextran (70 kDa) applied intraorbitally. The correlation between vascular erythrocyte thrombi observed by 2 PM and HE-staining was assessed. Artificial surgical damage and parenchymal Dextran distribution were analyzed postmortem.
Dextran was distributed within the small vessel walls and co-localized with IgG.
Artificial surgical damage was comparable between SHRSP and Wistar controls and mainly affected the small vasculature. In fewer than 20% of animals there was correlation between erythrocyte thrombi as observed with 2 PM and histologically with HE.
Contrary to our initial expectations, there was little agreement between intravital 2 PM imaging and histology for the detection of erythrocyte thrombi. Two-photon microscopy is a valuable technique that complements but does not replace the value of conventional histology.
PMCID: PMC3996193  PMID: 24461046
SHRSP; Intravital imaging; 2 PM; CSVD
8.  C1-Inhibitor protects from focal brain trauma in a cortical cryolesion mice model by reducing thrombo-inflammation 
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) induces a strong inflammatory response which includes blood-brain barrier damage, edema formation and infiltration of different immune cell subsets. More recently, microvascular thrombosis has been identified as another pathophysiological feature of TBI. The contact-kinin system represents an interface between inflammatory and thrombotic circuits and is activated in different neurological diseases. C1-Inhibitor counteracts activation of the contact-kinin system at multiple levels. We investigated the therapeutic potential of C1-Inhibitor in a model of TBI. Male and female C57BL/6 mice were subjected to cortical cryolesion and treated with C1-Inhibitor after 1 h. Lesion volumes were assessed between day 1 and day 5 and blood-brain barrier damage, thrombus formation as well as the local inflammatory response were determined post TBI. Treatment of male mice with 15.0 IU C1-Inhibitor, but not 7.5 IU, 1 h after cryolesion reduced lesion volumes by ~75% on day 1. This protective effect was preserved in female mice and at later stages of trauma. Mechanistically, C1-Inhibitor stabilized the blood-brain barrier and decreased the invasion of immune cells into the brain parenchyma. Moreover, C1-Inhibitor had strong antithrombotic effects. C1-Inhibitor represents a multifaceted anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic compound that prevents traumatic neurodegeneration in clinically meaningful settings.
PMCID: PMC4158993  PMID: 25249935
traumatic brain injury; edema; blood-brain barrier; C1-inhibitor; contact-kinin system; inflammation; thrombosis
9.  Role of the kallikrein–kinin system in traumatic brain injury 
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Despite improvements in acute intensive care, there are currently no specific therapies to ameliorate the effects of TBI. Successful therapeutic strategies for TBI should target multiple pathophysiologic mechanisms that occur at different stages of brain injury. The kallikrein–kinin system is a promising therapeutic target for TBI as it mediates key pathologic events of traumatic brain damage, such as edema formation, inflammation, and thrombosis. Selective and specific kinin receptor antagonists and inhibitors of plasma kallikrein and coagulation factor XII have been developed, and have already shown therapeutic efficacy in animal models of stroke and TBI. However, conflicting preclinical evaluation, as well as limited and inconclusive data from clinical trials in TBI, suggests that caution should be taken before transferring observations made in animals to humans. This review summarizes current evidence on the pathologic significance of the kallikrein–kinin system during TBI in animal models and, where available, the experimental findings are compared with human data.
PMCID: PMC4217500  PMID: 25404891
traumatic brain injury; kallikrein–kinin system; bradykinin; factor XII; kinin receptor
10.  Ischemia-induced cell depolarization: does the hyperpolarization-activated cation channel HCN2 affect the outcome after stroke in mice? 
Brain ischemia is known to include neuronal cell death and persisting neurological deficits. A lack of oxygen and glucose are considered to be key mediators of ischemic neurodegeneration while the exact mechanisms are yet unclear. In former studies the expression of two different two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channels (TASK1, TREK1) were shown to ameliorate neuronal damage due to cerebral ischemia. In neurons, TASK channels carrying hyperpolarizing K+ leak currents, and the pacemaker channel HCN2, carrying depolarizing Ih, stabilize the membrane potential by a mutual functional interaction. It is assumed that this ionic interplay between TASK and HCN2 channels enhances the resistance of neurons to insults accompanied by extracellular pH shifts.
In C57Bl/6 (wildtype, WT), hcn2+/+ and hcn2-/- mice we used an in vivo model of cerebral ischemia (transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO)) to depict a functional impact of HCN2 in stroke formation. Subsequent analyses comprise behavioural tests and hcn2 gene expression assays.
After 60 min of tMCAO induction in WT mice, we collected tissue samples at 6, 12, and 24 h after reperfusion. In the infarcted neocortex, hcn2 expression analyses revealed a nominal peak of hcn2 expression 6 h after reperfusion with a tendency towards lower expression levels with longer reperfusion times. Hcn2 gene expression levels in infarcted basal ganglia did not change after 6 h and 12 h. Only at 24 h after reperfusion, hcn2 expression significantly decreases by ~55%. However, 30 min of tMCAO in hcn2-/- as well as hcn2+/+ littermates induced similar infarct volumes. Behavioural tests for global neurological function (Bederson score) and motor function/coordination (grip test) were performed at day 1 after surgery. Again, we found no differences between the groups.
Here, we hypothesized that the absence of HCN2, an important functional counter player of TASK channels, affects neuronal survival during stroke-induced tissue damage. However, together with a former study on TASK3 these results implicate that both TASK3 and HCN2 which were supposed to be neuroprotective due to their pH-dependency, do not influence ischemic neurodegeneration during stroke in the tMCAO model.
PMCID: PMC3879998  PMID: 24373160
11.  Report on the 5‘th scientific meeting of the “Verein zur Förderung des Wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses in der Neurologie” (NEUROWIND e.V.) held in Motzen, Germany, Oct. 25th – Oct. 27th, 2013 
From october 25th - 27th 2013, the 5th NEUROWIND e.V. meeting was held in Motzen, Brandenburg, Germany. This year more than 60 doctoral students and postdocs from over 25 different groups working in German university hospitals or research institutes attended the meeting to discuss their latest findings in the fields of neuroimmunology, neurodegeneration and neurovascular research. All participants appreciated the stimulating environment in Motzen, Brandenburg, and people took the opportunity for scientific exchange, discussion about ongoing projects and already started further collaborations. Like in the previous years, the symposium was regarded as a very well organized platform to support research of young investigators in Germany.
According to the major aim of NEUROWIND e.V. to support younger researchers in Germany the 3rd NEUROWIND YOUNG SCIENTIST AWARD for experimental neurology was awarded to Ruth Stassart working in the group of Klaus Armin Nave and Wolfgang Brück (MPI Göttingen and Department of Neuropathology, Göttingen Germany). The successful work was published in Nature Neuroscience entitled “A role for Swann cell-derived neuregulin-1 in remyelination”. This outstanding paper deals with the function of Schwann cell neuregulin as an endogenous factor for myelin repair. The award is endowed with 20.000 Euro sponsored by Merck Serono GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany (unrestricted educational grant).
This year’s keynote lecture was given by Albert Ludolph, Head of the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic of Ulm. Dr. Ludolph highlighted the particular role of individual scientists for the development of research concepts in Alzheimer´s disease (AD) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
PMCID: PMC4029090  PMID: 24330587
14.  The neuroprotective impact of the leak potassium channel TASK1 on stroke development in mice 
Neurobiology of disease  2008;33(1):1-11.
Oxygen depletion (O2) and a decrease in pH are initial pathophysiological events in stroke development, but secondary mechanisms of ischemic cell death are incompletely understood. By patch-clamp recordings of brain slice preparations we show that TASK1 and TASK3 channels are inhibited by pH-reduction (42 ± 2%) and O2 deprivation (36 ± 5%) leading to membrane depolarization, increased input resistance and a switch in action potential generation under ischemic conditions. In vivo TASK blockade by anandamide significantly increased infarct volumes at 24h in mice undergoing 30 min of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). Moreover, blockade of TASK channels accelerated stroke development. Supporting these findings TASK1−/− mice developed significantly larger infarct volumes after tMCAO accompanied by worse outcome in functional neurological tests compared to wild type mice. In conclusion, our data provide evidence for an important role of functional TASK channels in limiting tissue damage during cerebral ischemia.
PMCID: PMC3714864  PMID: 18930826
cerebral ischemia; transient middle cerebral artery occlusion; Two-pore domain potassium channels; TASK channels; thalamic neurons; TASK1−/− mice; electrophysiology
15.  Impaired αIIbβ3 integrin activation and shear-dependent thrombus formation in mice lacking phospholipase D1 
Science signaling  2010;3(103):ra1.
Platelet aggregation is essential for hemostasis, but can also cause myocardial infarction and stroke. A key but poorly understood step in platelet activation is increased function of the major adhesive receptor, αIIbβ3 integrin, which enables adhesion and aggregation. Phospholipases (PL), in response to agonist receptor stimulation, cleave membrane phospholipids to generate lipid second messengers. An essential role in platelet activation has been established for PLC, but not for PLD and its product phosphatidic acid. Here, we report the generation of Pld1−/− mice and show that their platelets display impaired αIIbβ3 integrin activation in response to classic agonists, and defective glycoprotein Ib-dependent aggregate formation under high shear flow conditions. This defect resulted in protection from thrombosis and ischemic brain infarction, without affecting tail bleeding times. These results indicate that PLD1 may be a critical regulator of platelet activity in the setting of ischemic cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events.
PMCID: PMC3701458  PMID: 20051593
16.  Gray platelet syndrome and defective thrombo-inflammation in Nbeal2-deficient mice  
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2013;123(8):3331-3342.
Platelets are anuclear organelle-rich cell fragments derived from bone marrow megakaryocytes (MKs) that safeguard vascular integrity. The major platelet organelles, α-granules, release proteins that participate in thrombus formation and hemostasis. Proteins stored in α-granules are also thought to play a role in inflammation and wound healing, but their functional significance in vivo is unknown. Mutations in NBEAL2 have been linked to gray platelet syndrome (GPS), a rare bleeding disorder characterized by macrothrombocytopenia, with platelets lacking α-granules. Here we show that Nbeal2-knockout mice display the characteristics of human GPS, with defective α-granule biogenesis in MKs and their absence from platelets. Nbeal2 deficiency did not affect MK differentiation and proplatelet formation in vitro or platelet life span in vivo. Nbeal2-deficient platelets displayed impaired adhesion, aggregation, and coagulant activity ex vivo that translated into defective arterial thrombus formation and protection from thrombo-inflammatory brain infarction following focal cerebral ischemia. In a model of excisional skin wound repair, Nbeal2-deficient mice exhibited impaired development of functional granulation tissue due to severely reduced differentiation of myofibroblasts in the absence of α-granule secretion. This study demonstrates that platelet α-granule constituents are critically required not only for hemostasis but also thrombosis, acute thrombo-inflammatory disease states, and tissue reconstitution after injury.
PMCID: PMC4011026  PMID: 23863626
17.  Early microvascular dysfunction in cerebral small vessel disease is not detectable on 3.0 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging: a longitudinal study in spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats 
Human cerebral small vessel disease (CSVD) has distinct histopathologic and imaging findings in its advanced stages. In spontaneously hypertensive stroke-prone rats (SHRSP), a well-established animal model of CSVD, we recently demonstrated that cerebral microangiopathy is initiated by early microvascular dysfunction leading to the breakdown of the blood–brain barrier and an activated coagulatory state resulting in capillary and arteriolar erythrocyte accumulations (stases). In the present study, we investigated whether initial microvascular dysfunction and other stages of the pathologic CSVD cascade can be detected by serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Fourteen SHRSP and three control (Wistar) rats (aged 26–44 weeks) were investigated biweekly by 3.0 Tesla (3 T) MRI. After perfusion, brains were stained with hematoxylin–eosin and histology was correlated with MRI data. Three SHRSP developed terminal CSVD stages including cortical, hippocampal, and striatal infarcts and macrohemorrhages, which could be detected consistently by MRI. Corresponding histology showed small vessel thromboses and increased numbers of small perivascular bleeds in the infarcted areas. However, 3 T MRI failed to visualize intravascular erythrocyte accumulations, even in those brain regions with the highest densities of affected vessels and the largest vessels affected by stases, as well as failing to detect small perivascular bleeds.
Serial MRI at a field strength of 3 T failed to detect the initial microvascular dysfunction and subsequent small perivascular bleeds in SHRSP; only terminal stages of cerebral microangiopathy were reliably detected. Further investigations at higher magnetic field strengths (7 T) using blood- and flow-sensitive sequences are currently underway.
PMCID: PMC3724477  PMID: 23800299
Cerebral small vessel disease; SHRSP; MRI
18.  Acute tetraparesis secondary to bilateral precentral gyral cerebral ischemia: a case report 
Sudden tetraparesis represents a neurological emergency and is most often caused by traumatic spinal cord injury, spinal epidural bleeding or brainstem ischemia and less frequently by medial disc herniation or spinal ischemia.
Case presentation
Here we report the rare case of an 82-year-old Caucasian man who developed severe tetraparesis four days after radical cystoprostatectomy. An emergency diagnostic study for spinal cord affection was normal. Brain magnetic resonance imaging revealed acute bilateral ischemic strokes in the precentral gyri as the underlying cause.
This case report underlines the need to also consider unusual causes of tetraparesis in an emergency situation apart from spinal cord or brain stem injury in order not to leave severe symptomatology unclear and possibly miss therapeutic options.
PMCID: PMC3600992  PMID: 23497685
20.  Fatal atypical reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome: a case report 
Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome – a reversible subacute global encephalopathy clinically presenting with headache, altered mental status, visual symptoms such as hemianopsia or cortical blindness, motor symptoms, and focal or generalized seizures – is characterized by a subcortical vasogenic edema symmetrically affecting posterior brain regions. Complete reversibility of both clinical signs and magnetic resonance imaging lesions is regarded as a defining feature of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome. Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome is almost exclusively seen in the setting of a predisposing clinical condition, such as pre-eclampsia, systemic infections, sepsis and shock, certain autoimmune diseases, various malignancies and cytotoxic chemotherapy, transplantation and concomitant immunosuppression (especially with calcineurin inhibitors) as well as episodes of abrupt hypertension. We describe for the first time clinical, radiological and histological findings in a case of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome with an irreversible and fatal outcome occurring in the absence of any of the known predisposing clinical conditions except for a hypertensive episode.
Case presentation
A 58-year-old Caucasian woman presented with a two-week history of subacute and progressive occipital headache, blurred vision and imbalance of gait and with no evidence for raised arterial blood pressure during the two weeks previous to admission. Her past medical history was unremarkable except for controlled arterial hypertension. Cerebral magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated cortical and subcortical lesions with combined vasogenic and cytotoxic edema atypical for both venous congestion and arterial infarction. Routine laboratory and cerebrospinal fluid parameters were normal. The diagnosis of reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome was established.
Within hours after admission the patient showed a rapidly decreasing level of consciousness, extension and flexion synergisms, bilaterally extensor plantar responses and rapid cardiopulmonary decompensation requiring ventilatory and cardiocirculatory support. Follow-up cerebral imaging demonstrated widespread and confluent cytotoxic edematous lesions in different arterial territories, global cerebral swelling, and subsequent upper and lower brainstem herniation. Four days after admission, the patient was declared dead because of brain death.
This case demonstrates that fulminant and fatal reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome may occur spontaneously, that is, in the absence of any of the known predisposing systemic conditions.
PMCID: PMC3562210  PMID: 23305457
Blood pressure; Cerebral autoregulation; Generalized cerebral edema; Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome
21.  A modified double injection model of cisterna magna for the study of delayed cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage in rats 
Delayed cerebral vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a serious medical complication, characterized by constriction of cerebral arteries leading to varying degrees of cerebral ischemia. Numerous clinical and experimental studies have been performed in the last decades; however, the pathophysiologic mechanism of cerebral vasospasm after SAH still remains unclear. Among a variety of experimental SAH models, the double hemorrhage rat model involving direct injection of autologous arterial blood into the cisterna magna has been used most frequently for the study of delayed cerebral vasospasm following SAH in last years. Despite the simplicity of the technique, the second blood injection into the cisterna magna may result in brainstem injury leading to high mortality. Therefore, a modified double hemorrhage model of cisterna magna has been developed in rat recently. We describe here step by step the surgical technique to induce double SAH and compare the degree of vasospasm with other cisterna magna rat models using histological assessment of the diameter and cross-sectional area of the basilar artery.
PMCID: PMC3552945  PMID: 23194464
Cerebral vasospasm; Cisterna magna; Double hemorrhage model; Rat; Subarachnoid hemorrhage
22.  Report on the 4'th scientific meeting of the “Verein zur Förderung des Wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses in der Neurologie” (NEUROWIND e.V.) held in Motzen, Germany, Nov. 2’nd – Nov. 4’th, 2012 
From November 2nd - 4th 2012, the 4th NEUROWIND e.V. meeting was held in Motzen, Brandenburg, Germany. Again more than 60 participants, predominantly at the doctoral student or postdoc level, gathered to share their latest findings in the fields of neurovascular research, neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. Like in the previous years, the symposium provided an excellent platform for scientific exchange and the presentation of innovative projects in the stimulating surroundings of the Brandenburg outback. This year’s keynote lecture on the pathophysiological relevance of neuronal networks was given by Christian Gerloff, Head of the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic of Hamburg-Eppendorf. Another highlight of the meeting was the awarding of the NEUROWIND e.V. prize for young scientists working in the field of experimental neurology. The award is donated by the Merck Serono GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany and is endowed with 20.000 Euro. This year the jury decided unanimously to adjudge the award to Michael Gliem from the Department of Neurology at the University Clinic of Düsseldorf (group of Sebastian Jander), Germany, for his outstanding work on different macrophage subsets in the pathogenesis of ischemic stroke published in the Annals of Neurology in 2012.
PMCID: PMC3522059  PMID: 23174128
23.  α2-Adrenoceptors do not mediate neuroprotection in acute ischemic stroke in mice 
We assessed the neuroprotective potential of α2-adrenoceptors in ischemic stroke using mice with targeted deletions of individual α2-adrenoceptor subtypes (α2A−/−, α2B−/−, α2C−/−, α2A/C−/−). The effects of the α2-adrenoceptor agonist clonidine were studied in parallel. Focal cerebral ischemia was induced with or without clonidine pretreatment by transient middle cerebral artery occlusion. Neurologic outcome and infarct volumes were evaluated on day 1. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) and mean arterial pressure were determined. α2-Adrenoceptor null mice did not display larger infarct volumes compared with wild-type (WT) mice under basal conditions (P>0.05). In line with this finding, pretreatment with clonidine did not protect from ischemic brain damage in WT mice or α2A−/−, α2B−/−, and α2C−/− mice. Clonidine induced smaller infarct volumes only in α2A/C−/− mice (P<0.05), but this did not translate into improved neurologic function (P>0.05). Importantly, while clonidine caused a significant decrease in arterial blood pressure in all groups, it had no blood pressure lowering effect in α2A/C−/− mice, and this correlated with higher CBF and smaller infarct volumes in this group. In summary, we could not demonstrate a neuroprotective function of α2-adrenoceptors in focal cerebral ischemia. Careful controlling of physiological parameters relevant for stroke outcome is recommended in experimental stroke studies.
PMCID: PMC3208146  PMID: 21792243
α2-adrenoceptors; blood pressure; clonidine; experimental stroke; hemodynamics; neuroprotection
24.  Next-generation antithrombotics in ischemic stroke: preclinical perspective on ‘bleeding-free antithrombosis' 
The present antithrombotic drugs used to treat or prevent ischemic stroke have significant limitations: either they show only moderate efficacy (platelet inhibitors), or they significantly increase the risk for hemorrhages (thrombolytics, anticoagulants). Although most strokes are caused by thrombotic or embolic vessel occlusions, the pathophysiological role of platelets and coagulation is largely unclear. The introduction of novel transgenic mouse models and specific coagulation inhibitors facilitated a detailed analysis of molecular pathways mediating thrombus formation in models of acute ischemic stroke. Prevention of early platelet adhesion to the damaged vessel wall by blocking platelet surface receptors glycoprotein Ib alpha (GPIbα) or glycoprotein VI (GPVI) protects from stroke without provoking bleeding complications. In addition, downstream signaling of GPIbα and GPVI has a key role in platelet calcium homeostasis and activation. Finally, the intrinsic coagulation cascade, activated by coagulation factor XII (FXII), has only recently been identified as another important mediator of thrombosis in cerebrovascular disease, thereby disproving established concepts. This review summarizes the latest insights into the pathophysiology of thrombus formation in the ischemic brain. Potential clinical merits of novel platelet inhibitors and anticoagulants as powerful and safe tools to combat ischemic stroke are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3463876  PMID: 22805877
coagulation; FXII; glycoprotein Ib; platelets; Stim; von Willebrand factor
25.  Blocking of bradykinin receptor B1 protects from focal closed head injury in mice by reducing axonal damage and astroglia activation 
The two bradykinin receptors B1R and B2R are central components of the kallikrein–kinin system with different expression kinetics and binding characteristics. Activation of these receptors by kinins triggers inflammatory responses in the target organ and in most situations enhances tissue damage. We could recently show that blocking of B1R, but not B2R, protects from cortical cryolesion by reducing inflammation and edema formation. In the present study, we investigated the role of B1R and B2R in a closed head model of focal traumatic brain injury (TBI; weight drop). Increased expression of B1R in the injured hemispheres of wild-type mice was restricted to the later stages after brain trauma, i.e. day 7 (P<0.05), whereas no significant induction could be observed for the B2R (P>0.05). Mice lacking the B1R, but not the B2R, showed less functional deficits on day 3 (P<0.001) and day 7 (P<0.001) compared with controls. Pharmacological blocking of B1R in wild-type mice had similar effects. Reduced axonal injury and astroglia activation could be identified as underlying mechanisms, while inhibition of B1R had only little influence on the local inflammatory response in this model. Inhibition of B1R may become a novel strategy to counteract trauma-induced neurodegeneration.
PMCID: PMC3434625  PMID: 22569191
astrocytes; β-APP; closed head injury; kinin receptors; R-715; TNF-α

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