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1.  Systematic mechanism-orientated approach to chronic pancreatitis pain 
Pain in chronic pancreatitis (CP) shows similarities with other visceral pain syndromes (i.e., inflammatory bowel disease and esophagitis), which should thus be managed in a similar fashion. Typical causes of CP pain include increased intrapancreatic pressure, pancreatic inflammation and pancreatic/extrapancreatic complications. Unfortunately, CP pain continues to be a major clinical challenge. It is recognized that ongoing pain may induce altered central pain processing, e.g., central sensitization or pro-nociceptive pain modulation. When this is present conventional pain treatment targeting the nociceptive focus, e.g., opioid analgesia or surgical/endoscopic intervention, often fails even if technically successful. If central nervous system pain processing is altered, specific treatment targeting these changes should be instituted (e.g., gabapentinoids, ketamine or tricyclic antidepressants). Suitable tools are now available to make altered central processing visible, including quantitative sensory testing, electroencephalograpy and (functional) magnetic resonance imaging. These techniques are potentially clinically useful diagnostic tools to analyze central pain processing and thus define optimum management approaches for pain in CP and other visceral pain syndromes. The present review proposes a systematic mechanism-orientated approach to pain management in CP based on a holistic view of the mechanisms involved. Future research should address the circumstances under which central nervous system pain processing changes in CP, and how this is influenced by ongoing nociceptive input and therapies. Thus we hope to predict which patients are at risk for developing chronic pain or not responding to therapy, leading to improved treatment of chronic pain in CP and other visceral pain disorders.
PMCID: PMC4284360  PMID: 25574079
Chronic pancreatitis; Pain; Pain treatment; Central sensitization; Quantitative sensory testing; Electroencephalograpy; Magnetic resonance imaging
2.  Genetic Analysis of Intracapillary Glomerular Lipoprotein Deposits in Aging Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111308.
Renal aging is characterized by functional and structural changes like decreased glomerular filtration rate, and glomerular, tubular and interstitial damage. To gain insight in pathways involved in renal aging, we studied aged mouse strains and used genetic analysis to identify genes associated with aging phenotypes.
Upon morphological screening in kidneys from 20-month-old mice from 26 inbred strains we noted intracapillary PAS-positive deposits. The severity of these deposits was quantified by scoring of a total of 50 glomeruli per section (grade 0–4). Electron microscopy and immunohistochemical staining for apoE, apoB, apoA-IV and perilipin-2 was performed to further characterize the lesions. To identify loci associated with these PAS-positive intracapillary glomerular deposits, we performed haplotype association mapping.
Six out of 26 mouse strains showed glomerular PAS-positive deposits. The severity of these deposits varied: NOD(0.97), NZW(0.41), NON(0.30), B10(0.21), C3 H(0.9) and C57BR(0.7). The intracapillary deposits were strongly positive for apoE and weakly positive for apoB and apoA-IV. Haplotype association mapping showed a strong association with a 30-Kb haplotype block on Chr 1 within the Esrrg gene. We investigated 1 Mb on each site of this region, which includes the genes Spata17, Gpatch2, Esrrg, Ush2a and Kctd3.
By analyzing 26 aged mouse strains we found that some strains developed an intracapillary PAS and apoE-positive lesion and identified a small haplotype block on Chr 1 within the Esrrg gene to be associated with these lipoprotein deposits. The region spanning this haplotype block contains the genes Spata17, Gpatch2, Esrrg, Ush2a and Kctd3, which are all highly expressed in the kidney. Esrrg might be involved in the evolvement of these glomerular deposits by influencing lipid metabolism and possibly immune reponses.
PMCID: PMC4213026  PMID: 25353171
3.  Efficacy and safety of the C-Qur™ Film Adhesion Barrier for the prevention of surgical adhesions (CLIPEUS Trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15(1):378.
Adhesions develop in over 90% of patients after intra-abdominal surgery. Adhesion barriers are rarely used despite the high morbidity caused by intra-abdominal adhesions. Only one of the currently available adhesion barriers has demonstrated consistent evidence for reducing adhesions in visceral surgery. This agent has limitations through poor handling characteristics because it is sticky on both sides. C-Qur™ Film is a novel thin film adhesion barrier and it is sticky on only one side, resulting in better handling characteristics. The objective of this study is to assess efficacy and safety of C-Qur™ Film to decrease the incidence of adhesions after colorectal surgery.
This is a prospective, investigator initiated, randomized, double-blinded, multicenter trial. Eligible patients undergoing colorectal resection requiring temporary loop ileostomy or loop/split colostomy by laparotomy or hand assisted laparoscopy will be included in the trial. Before closure, patients are randomized 1:1 to either the treatment arm (C-Qur™ Film) or control arm (no adhesion barrier). Patients will return 8 to 16 weeks post-colorectal resection for take down of their ostomy. During ostomy takedown, adhesions will be evaluated for incidence, extent, and severity. The primary outcome evaluation will be assessment of adhesions to the incision site. It is hypothesized that the use of C-Qur™ Film underneath the primary incision reduces the incidence of adhesion at the incision by 30%. To demonstrate 30% reduction in the incidence of adhesions, a sample size of 84 patients (32 + 10 per group (25% drop out)) is required (two-sided test, α = 0.05, 80% power).
Results of this study add to the evidence on the use of anti-adhesive barriers in open and laparoscopic ‘hand-assisted’ colorectal surgery. We chose incidence of adhesions to the incision site as primary outcome measure since clinical outcomes such as small bowel obstruction, secondary infertility and adhesiolysis related complications are considered multifactorial and difficult to interpret. Incidence of adhesions at repeat surgery is believed to be the most valuable surrogate endpoint for clinically relevant adhesion prevention, since small bowel obstruction and adhesiolysis at repeat surgery are not likely to occur when complete adhesion reduction in a patient is accomplished.
Trial registration Identifier NCT01872650, registration date 6 June 2013.
PMCID: PMC4195905  PMID: 25260232
adhesions; adhesion prevention; anti-adhesive barrier; C-Qur™ film; colorectal surgery
4.  α-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone Treatment in Pigs Does Not Improve Early Graft Function in Kidney Transplants from Brain Dead Donors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94609.
Delayed graft function and primary non-function are serious complications following transplantation of kidneys derived from deceased brain dead (DBD) donors. α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is a pleiotropic neuropeptide and its renoprotective effects have been demonstrated in models of acute kidney injury. We hypothesized that α-MSH treatment of the recipient improves early graft function and reduces inflammation following DBD kidney transplantation. Eight Danish landrace pigs served as DBD donors. After four hours of brain death both kidneys were removed and stored for 18 hours at 4°C in Custodiol preservation solution. Sixteen recipients were randomized in a paired design into two treatment groups, transplanted simultaneously. α-MSH or a vehicle was administered at start of surgery, during reperfusion and two hours post-reperfusion. The recipients were observed for ten hours following reperfusion. Blood, urine and kidney tissue samples were collected during and at the end of follow-up. α-MSH treatment reduced urine flow and impaired recovery of glomerular filtration rate (GFR) compared to controls. After each dose of α-MSH, a trend towards reduced mean arterial blood pressure and increased heart rate was observed. α-MSH did not affect expression of inflammatory markers. Surprisingly, α-MSH impaired recovery of renal function in the first ten hours following DBD kidney transplantation possibly due to hemodynamic changes. Thus, in a porcine experimental model α-MSH did not reduce renal inflammation and did not improve short-term graft function following DBD kidney transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3984270  PMID: 24728087
6.  Identification of Novel Genes Associated with Renal Tertiary Lymphoid Organ Formation in Aging Mice 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91850.
A hallmark of aging-related organ deterioration is a dysregulated immune response characterized by pathologic leukocyte infiltration of affected tissues. Mechanisms and genes involved are as yet unknown. To identify genes associated with aging-related renal infiltration, we analyzed kidneys from aged mice (≥20 strains) for infiltrating leukocytes followed by Haplotype Association Mapping (HAM) analysis. Immunohistochemistry revealed CD45+ cell clusters (predominantly T and B cells) in perivascular areas coinciding with PNAd+ high endothelial venules and podoplanin+ lymph vessels indicative of tertiary lymphoid organs. Cumulative cluster size increased with age (analyzed at 6, 12 and 20 months). Based on the presence or absence of clusters in male and female mice at 20 months, HAM analysis revealed significant associations with loci on Chr1, Chr2, Chr8 and Chr14 in male mice, and with loci on Chr4, Chr7, Chr13 and Chr14 in female mice. Wisp2 (Chr2) showed the strongest association (P = 5.00×10−137) in male mice; Ctnnbip1 (P = 6.42×10−267) and Tnfrsf8 (P = 5.42×10−245) (both on Chr4) showed the strongest association in female mice. Both Wisp2 and Ctnnbip1 are part of the Wnt-signaling pathway and the encoded proteins were expressed within the tertiary lymphoid organs. In conclusion, this study revealed differential lymphocytic infiltration and tertiary lymphoid organ formation in aged mouse kidneys across different inbred mouse strains. HAM analysis identified candidate genes involved in the Wnt-signaling pathway that may be causally linked to tertiary lymphoid organ formation.
PMCID: PMC3956762  PMID: 24637805
7.  Retention of first aid and basic life support skills in undergraduate medical students 
Medical Education Online  2014;19:10.3402/meo.v19.24841.
Undergraduate medical students follow a compulsory first aid (FA) and basic life support (BLS) course. Retention of BLS seems poor and only little information is provided on the retention of FA skills. This study aims at evaluating 1- and 2-year retention of FA and BLS training in undergraduate medical students.
One hundred and twenty students were randomly selected from first year (n=349) medical students who successfully followed a compulsory FA and BLS course. From these 120 students, 94 (78%) and 69 (58%) participated in retention tests of FA and BLS skills after 1 and 2 years, respectively. The assessment consisted of two FA stations and one BLS station.
After 1 year, only 2% passed both FA and BLS stations and 68% failed both FA and BLS stations. After 2 years, 5% passed and 50% failed both FA and BLS stations. Despite the high failure rate at the stations, 90% adequately checked vital signs and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation appropriately.
The long-term retention of FA and BLS skills after a compulsory course in the first year is poor. Adequate check of vital signs and commencing cardiopulmonary resuscitation retained longer.
PMCID: PMC4224704  PMID: 25382803
basic life support; first aid; education; medical students; retention; skills
8.  Altered Cortical Responsiveness to Pain Stimuli after High Frequency Electrical Stimulation of the Skin in Patients with Persistent Pain after Inguinal Hernia Repair 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e82701.
High Frequency electrical Stimulation (HFS) of the skin induces enhanced brain responsiveness expressed as enhanced Event-Related Potential (ERP) N1 amplitude to stimuli applied to the surrounding unconditioned skin in healthy volunteers. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether this enhanced ERP N1 amplitude could be a potential marker for altered cortical sensory processing in patients with persistent pain after surgery.
Materials and Methods
Nineteen male patients; 9 with and 10 without persistent pain after inguinal hernia repair received HFS. Before, directly after and thirty minutes after HFS evoked potentials and the subjective pain intensity were measured in response to electric pain stimuli applied to the surrounding unconditioned skin.
The results show that, thirty minutes after HFS, the ERP N1 amplitude observed at the conditioned arm was statistically significantly larger than the amplitude at the control arm across all patients. No statistically significant differences were observed regarding ERP N1 amplitude between patients with and without persistent pain. However, thirty minutes after HFS we did observe statistically significant differences of P2 amplitude at the conditioned arm between the two groups. The P2 amplitude decreased in comparison to baseline in the group of patients with pain.
The ERP N1 effect, induced after HFS, was not different between patients with vs. without persistent pain. The decreasing P2 amplitude was not observed in the patients without pain and also not in the previous healthy volunteer study and thus might be a marker for altered cortical sensory processing in patients with persistent pain after surgery.
PMCID: PMC3871559  PMID: 24376568
9.  Altered resting state EEG in chronic pancreatitis patients: toward a marker for chronic pain 
Journal of Pain Research  2013;6:815-824.
Electroencephalography (EEG) may be a promising source of physiological biomarkers accompanying chronic pain. Several studies in patients with chronic neuropathic pain have reported alterations in central pain processing, manifested as slowed EEG rhythmicity and increased EEG power in the brain’s resting state. We aimed to investigate novel potential markers of chronic pain in the resting state EEG of patients with chronic pancreatitis.
Resting state EEG data from 16 patients with persistent abdominal pain due to chronic pancreatitis (CP) were compared to data from healthy controls matched for age, sex and education.
The peak alpha frequency (PAF) and power amplitude in the alpha band (7.5–13 Hz) were compared between groups in four regions of interest (frontal, central, parietal, and occipital) and were correlated with pain duration.
The average PAF was lowered in CP patients compared with that in healthy controls, observed as a statistically significant between-group effect (mean 9.9 versus 9.5 Hz; P=0.049). Exploratory post hoc analysis of average PAF per region of interest revealed a significant difference, particularly in the parietal and occipital regions. In addition, we observed a significant correlation between pain duration and PAF and showed increased shifts in PAF with longer pain durations. No significant group differences were found in peak power amplitudes.
CP pain is associated with alterations in spontaneous brain activity, observed as a shift toward lower PAF. This shift correlates with the duration of pain, which demonstrates that PAF has the potential to be a clinically feasible biomarker for chronic pain. These findings could be helpful for assisting diagnosis, establishing optimal treatment, and studying efficacy of new therapeutic agents in chronic pain patients.
PMCID: PMC3843642  PMID: 24379694
chronic pain; neuropathic pain; chronic pancreatitis; electroencephalography; EEG; alpha oscillations; peak frequency
10.  Transluminal endoscopic step-up approach versus minimally invasive surgical step-up approach in patients with infected necrotising pancreatitis (TENSION trial): design and rationale of a randomised controlled multicenter trial [ISRCTN09186711] 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:161.
Infected necrotising pancreatitis is a potentially lethal disease that nearly always requires intervention. Traditionally, primary open necrosectomy has been the treatment of choice. In recent years, the surgical step-up approach, consisting of percutaneous catheter drainage followed, if necessary, by (minimally invasive) surgical necrosectomy has become the standard of care. A promising minimally invasive alternative is the endoscopic transluminal step-up approach. This approach consists of endoscopic transluminal drainage followed, if necessary, by endoscopic transluminal necrosectomy. We hypothesise that the less invasive endoscopic step-up approach is superior to the surgical step-up approach in terms of clinical and economic outcomes.
The TENSION trial is a randomised controlled, parallel-group superiority multicenter trial. Patients with (suspected) infected necrotising pancreatitis with an indication for intervention and in whom both treatment modalities are deemed possible, will be randomised to either an endoscopic transluminal or a surgical step-up approach. During a 4 year study period, 98 patients will be enrolled from 24 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite of death and major complications within 6 months following randomisation. Secondary endpoints include complications such as pancreaticocutaneous fistula, exocrine or endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, need for additional radiological, endoscopic or surgical intervention, the need for necrosectomy after drainage, the number of (re-)interventions, quality of life, and total direct and indirect costs.
The TENSION trial will answer the question whether an endoscopic step-up approach reduces the combined primary endpoint of death and major complications, as well as hospital stay and related costs compared with a surgical step-up approach in patients with infected necrotising pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC4222267  PMID: 24274589
Acute pancreatitis; Necrotising; Treatment; Drainage; Trial; Endoscopy; Minimally invasive; Surgery; Necrosectomy; Pancreas
11.  Renoprotective capacities of non-erythropoietic EPO derivative, ARA290, following renal ischemia/reperfusion injury 
ARA290 is a non-erythropoietic EPO derivative which only binds to the cytoprotective receptor complex (EPOR2-βcR2) consisting of two EPO-receptors (EPOR) and two β common receptors (βcR). ARA290 is renoprotective in renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). In a renal I/R model we focussed on timing of post-reperfusional administration of ARA290. Furthermore, we investigated the anti-inflammatory properties of ARA290.
Twenty-six male Lewis/HanHsd rats were exposed to unilateral ischemia for 30 minutes, with subsequent removal of the contralateral kidney. Post-reperfusion, ARA290 was administered early (one hour), late (four hours) or repetitive (one and four hours). Saline was used as vehicle treatment. Rats were sacrificed after three days.
Early ARA290 treatment improved renal function. Late- or repetitive treatment tended to improve clinical markers. Furthermore, early ARA290 treatment reduced renal inflammation and acute kidney injury at three days post-reperfusion. Late- or repetitive treatment did not affect inflammation or acute kidney injury.
ARA290 attenuated renal ischemia/reperfusion injury. This study showed the anti-inflammatory effect of ARA290 and suggests early administration in the post-reperfusional phase is most effective. ARA290 is a candidate drug for protection against ischemic injury following renal transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3842642  PMID: 24225194
Erythropoietin; Renoprotection; ARA290; Pyroglutamate helix B-surface peptide; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; Renal transplantation
13.  Circulating alpha-klotho levels are not disturbed in patients with type 2 diabetes with and without macrovascular disease in the absence of nephropathy 
Diabetes is associated with a high incidence of macrovascular disease (MVD), including peripheral and coronary artery disease. Circulating soluble-Klotho (sKlotho) is produced in the kidney and is a putative anti-aging and vasculoprotective hormone. Reduced Klotho levels may therefore increase cardiovascular risk in diabetes. We investigated if sKlotho levels are decreased in type 2 diabetes and associate with MVD in the absence of diabetic nephropathy, and whether hyperglycemia affects renal Klotho production in vitro and in vivo.
sKlotho levels were determined with ELISA in diabetic and non-diabetic patients with and without MVD, and healthy control subjects. Human renal tubular epithelial cells (TECs) were isolated and exposed to high glucose levels (15 and 30 mM) in vitro and Klotho levels were measured with qPCR and quantitative immunofluorescence. Klotho mRNA expression was quantified in kidneys obtained from long term (3 and 8 months) diabetic Ins2Akita mice and normoglycemic control mice.
No significant differences in sKlotho levels were observed between diabetic patients with and without MVD (527 (433–704) pg/mL, n = 35), non-diabetic MVD patients (517 (349–571) pg/mL, n = 27), and healthy control subjects (435 (346–663) pg/mL, n = 15). High glucose (15 and 30 mM) did not alter Klotho expression in TECs. Long-term hyperglycemia in diabetic Ins2Akita mice (characterized by increased HbA1c levels [12.9 ± 0.3% (3 months) and 11.3 ± 2.0% (8 months)], p < 0.05 vs. non-diabetic mice) did not affect renal Klotho mRNA expression.
These data indicate that sKlotho levels are not affected in type 2 diabetes patients with and without MVD. Furthermore, hyperglycemia per se does not affect renal Klotho production. As type 2 diabetes does not alter sKlotho levels, sKlotho does not seem to play a major role in the pathogenesis of MVD in type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3765553  PMID: 23945089
Atherosclerosis; Coronary artery disease; Klotho; Macrovascular disease; Peripheral artery disease; Type 2 diabetes
14.  Gaseous Hydrogen Sulfide Protects against Myocardial Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Mice Partially Independent from Hypometabolism 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63291.
Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major cause of cardiac damage following various pathological processes. Gaseous hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is protective during IRI by inducing a hypometabolic state in mice which is associated with anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. We investigated whether gaseous H2S administration is protective in cardiac IRI and whether non-hypometabolic concentrations of H2S have similar protective properties.
Male C57BL/6 mice received a 0, 10, or 100 ppm H2S-N2 mixture starting 30 minutes prior to ischemia until 5 minutes pre-reperfusion. IRI was inflicted by temporary ligation of the left coronary artery for 30 minutes. High-resolution respirometry equipment was used to assess CO2-production and blood pressure was measured using internal transmitters. The effects of H2S were assessed by histological and molecular analysis.
Treatment with 100 ppm H2S decreased CO2-production by 72%, blood pressure by 14% and heart rate by 25%, while treatment with 10 ppm H2S had no effects. At day 1 of reperfusion 10 ppm H2S showed no effect on necrosis, while treatment with 100 ppm H2S reduced necrosis by 62% (p<0.05). Seven days post-reperfusion, both 10 ppm (p<0.01) and 100 ppm (p<0.05) H2S showed a reduction in fibrosis compared to IRI animals. Both 10 ppm and 100 ppm H2S reduced granulocyte-influx by 43% (p<0.05) and 60% (p<0.001), respectively. At 7 days post-reperfusion both 10 and 100 ppm H2S reduced expression of fibronectin by 63% (p<0.05) and 67% (p<0.01) and ANP by 84% and 63% (p<0.05), respectively.
Gaseous administration of H2S is protective when administered during a cardiac ischemic insult. Although hypometabolism is restricted to small animals, we now showed that low non-hypometabolic concentrations of H2S also have protective properties in IRI. Since IRI is a frequent cause of myocardial damage during percutaneous coronary intervention and cardiac transplantation, H2S treatment might lead to novel therapeutical modalities.
PMCID: PMC3651205  PMID: 23675473
15.  Nephrin phosphorylation regulates podocyte adhesion through the PINCH-1-ILK-α-parvin complex 
BMB Reports  2013;46(4):230-235.
Nephrin, a structural molecule, is also a signaling molecule after phosphorylation. Inhibition of nephrin phosphorylation is correlated with podocyte injury. The PINCH-1-ILK-α-parvin (PIP) complex plays a crucial role in cell adhesion and cytoskeleton formation. We hypothesized that nephrin phosphorylation influenced cytoskeleton and cell adhesion in podocytes by regulating the PIP complex. The nephrin phosphorylation, PIP complex formation, and F-actin in Wistar rats intraperitoneally injected with puromycin aminonucleoside were gradually decreased but increased with time, coinciding with the recovery from glomerular/podocyte injury and proteinuria. In cultured podocytes, PIP complex knockdown resulted in cytoskeleton reorganization and decreased cell adhesion and spreading. Nephrin and its phosphorylation were unaffected after PIP complex knockdown. Furthermore, inhibition of nephrin phosphorylation suppressed PIP complex expression, disorganized podocyte cytoskeleton, and decreased cell adhesion and spreading. These findings indicate that alterations in nephrin phosphorylation disorganize podocyte cytoskeleton and decrease cell adhesion through a PIP complex-dependent mechanism. [BMB Reports 2013; 46(4): 230-235]
PMCID: PMC4133885  PMID: 23615266
Cell adhesion; Nephrin phosphorylation; PINCH-1-ILK-α-parvin complex; Podocyte
16.  Early surgery versus optimal current step-up practice for chronic pancreatitis (ESCAPE): design and rationale of a randomized trial 
BMC Gastroenterology  2013;13:49.
In current practice, patients with chronic pancreatitis undergo surgical intervention in a late stage of the disease, when conservative treatment and endoscopic interventions have failed. Recent evidence suggests that surgical intervention early on in the disease benefits patients in terms of better pain control and preservation of pancreatic function. Therefore, we designed a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the benefits, risks and costs of early surgical intervention compared to the current stepwise practice for chronic pancreatitis.
The ESCAPE trial is a randomized controlled, parallel, superiority multicenter trial. Patients with chronic pancreatitis, a dilated pancreatic duct (≥ 5 mm) and moderate pain and/or frequent flare-ups will be registered and followed monthly as potential candidates for the trial. When a registered patient meets the randomization criteria (i.e. need for opioid analgesics) the patient will be randomized to either early surgical intervention (group A) or optimal current step-up practice (group B). An expert panel of chronic pancreatitis specialists will oversee the assessment of eligibility and ensure that allocation to either treatment arm is possible. Patients in group A will undergo pancreaticojejunostomy or a Frey-procedure in case of an enlarged pancreatic head (≥ 4 cm). Patients in group B will undergo a step-up practice of optimal medical treatment, if needed followed by endoscopic interventions, and if needed followed by surgery, according to predefined criteria. Primary outcome is pain assessed with the Izbicki pain score during a follow-up of 18 months. Secondary outcomes include complications, mortality, total direct and indirect costs, quality of life, pancreatic insufficiency, alternative pain scales, length of hospital admission, number of interventions and pancreatitis flare-ups. For the sample size calculation we defined a minimal clinically relevant difference in the primary endpoint as a difference of at least 15 points on the Izbicki pain score during follow-up. To detect this difference a total of 88 patients will be randomized (alpha 0.05, power 90%, drop-out 10%).
The ESCAPE trial will investigate whether early surgery in chronic pancreatitis is beneficial in terms of pain relief, pancreatic function and quality of life, compared with current step-up practice.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3610165  PMID: 23506415
Chronic pancreatitis; Pain; Surgical management; Surgery; Endoscopic treatment; Endoscopy; ERCP; Opioid; Pancreaticojejunostomy; Frey procedure
17.  Quantitative Sensory Testing Predicts Pregabalin Efficacy in Painful Chronic Pancreatitis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e57963.
A major problem in pain medicine is the lack of knowledge about which treatment suits a specific patient. We tested the ability of quantitative sensory testing to predict the analgesic effect of pregabalin and placebo in patients with chronic pancreatitis.
Sixty-four patients with painful chronic pancreatitis received pregabalin (150–300 mg BID) or matching placebo for three consecutive weeks. Analgesic effect was documented in a pain diary based on a visual analogue scale. Responders were defined as patients with a reduction in clinical pain score of 30% or more after three weeks of study treatment compared to baseline recordings. Prior to study medication, pain thresholds to electric skin and pressure stimulation were measured in dermatomes T10 (pancreatic area) and C5 (control area). To eliminate inter-subject differences in absolute pain thresholds an index of sensitivity between stimulation areas was determined (ratio of pain detection thresholds in pancreatic versus control area, ePDT ratio). Pain modulation was recorded by a conditioned pain modulation paradigm. A support vector machine was used to screen sensory parameters for their predictive power of pregabalin efficacy.
The pregabalin responders group was hypersensitive to electric tetanic stimulation of the pancreatic area (ePDT ratio 1.2 (0.9–1.3)) compared to non-responders group (ePDT ratio: 1.6 (1.5–2.0)) (P = 0.001). The electrical pain detection ratio was predictive for pregabalin effect with a classification accuracy of 83.9% (P = 0.007). The corresponding sensitivity was 87.5% and specificity was 80.0%. No other parameters were predictive of pregabalin or placebo efficacy.
The present study provides first evidence that quantitative sensory testing predicts the analgesic effect of pregabalin in patients with painful chronic pancreatitis. The method can be used to tailor pain medication based on patient’s individual sensory profile and thus comprises a significant step towards personalized pain medicine.
PMCID: PMC3585877  PMID: 23469256
18.  Is Altered Central Pain Processing Related to Disease Stage in Chronic Pancreatitis Patients with Pain? An Exploratory Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e55460.
The most dominant feature in chronic pancreatitis is intense abdominal pain. Changes in spinal and/or supraspinal central nervous system pain processing due to visceral nociceptive input play an important role in this pain. How altered pain processing is related to disease stage still needs study.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Sixty chronic pancreatitis patients were compared to 15 healthy controls. Two subgroups of pancreatitis patients were defined based on the M-ANNHEIM severity index of chronic pancreatitis; i.e. moderate and severe. Pain detection and tolerance thresholds for pressure and electric stimuli were measured in six selected dermatomes (C5, T4, T10, L1, L4 and T10BACK). In addition, the conditioned pain modulation response to cold pressor task was determined. These measures were compared between the healthy controls and chronic pancreatitis patients. Severe pancreatitis patients showed lower pain thresholds than moderate pancreatitis patients or healthy volunteers. Healthy controls showed a significantly larger conditioned pain modulation response compared to all chronic pancreatitis patients taken together.
The present study confirms that chronic pancreatitis patients show signs of altered central processing of nociception compared to healthy controls. The study further suggests that these changes, i.e. central sensitization, may be influenced by disease stage. These findings underline the need to take altered central pain processing into account when managing the pain of chronic pancreatitis.
PMCID: PMC3566206  PMID: 23405154
19.  Brain death induces renal expression of heme oxygenase-1 and heat shock protein 70 
Kidneys derived from brain dead donors have lower graft survival and higher graft-function loss compared to their living donor counterpart. Heat Shock Proteins (HSP) are a large family of stress proteins involved in maintaining cell homeostasis. We studied the role of stress-inducible genes Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1), HSP27, HSP40, and HSP70 in the kidney following a 4 hour period of brain death.
Brain death was induced in rats (n=6) by inflating a balloon catheter in the epidural space. Kidneys were analysed for HSPs using RT-PCR, Western blotting, and immunohistochemistry.
RT-PCR data showed a significant increase in gene expression for HO-1 and HSP70 in kidneys of brain dead rats. Western blotting revealed a massive increase in HO-1 protein in brain dead rat kidneys. Immunohistochemistry confirmed these findings, showing extensive HO-1 protein expression in the renal cortical tubules of brain dead rats. HSP70 protein was predominantly increased in renal distal tubules of brain dead rats treated for hypotension.
Renal stress caused by brain death induces expression of the cytoprotective genes HO-1 and HSP70, but not of HSP27 and HSP40. The upregulation of these cytoprotective genes indicate that renal damage occurs during brain death, and could be part of a protective or recuperative mechanism induced by brain death-associated stress.
PMCID: PMC3568717  PMID: 23356498
Kidney; Protective genes; Rat; Organ donation; HSP; HSP70; HSP40; HSP27
20.  ARA290, a non-erythropoietic EPO derivative, attenuates renal ischemia/reperfusion injury 
In contrast with various pre-clinical studies, recent clinical trials suggest that high dose erythropoietin (EPO) treatment following kidney transplantation does not improve short-term outcome and that it even increases the risk of thrombotic events. ARA290 is a non-erythropoietic EPO derivative and does not increase the risk of cardiovascular events, but potentially has cytoprotective capacities in prevention of renal ischemia/reperfusion injury.
Eight female Dutch Landrace pigs were exposed to unilateral renal ischemia for 45 minutes with simultaneous cannulation of the ureter of the ischemic kidney. ARA290 or saline was administered by an intravenous injection at 0, 2, 4 and 6 hours post-reperfusion. The animals were sacrificed seven days post-reperfusion.
ARA290 increased glomerular filtration rate during the observation period of seven days. Furthermore, ARA290 tended to reduce MCP-1 and IL-6 expression 15 minutes post-reperfusion. Seven days post-reperfusion ARA290 reduced interstitial fibrosis.
The improvement in renal function following renal ischemia/reperfusion and reduced structural damage observed in this study by ARA290 warrants further investigation towards clinical application.
PMCID: PMC3567997  PMID: 23302512
ARA290; Pyroglutamate helix B-surface peptide; Erythropoietin; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; Kidney transplantation
21.  Complicated intra-abdominal infections in Europe: a comprehensive review of the CIAO study 
Sartelli, Massimo | Catena, Fausto | Ansaloni, Luca | Leppaniemi, Ari | Taviloglu, Korhan | van Goor, Harry | Viale, Pierluigi | Lazzareschi, Daniel Vasco | Coccolini, Federico | Corbella, Davide | de Werra, Carlo | Marrelli, Daniele | Colizza, Sergio | Scibè, Rodolfo | Alis, Halil | Torer, Nurkan | Navarro, Salvador | Sakakushev, Boris | Massalou, Damien | Augustin, Goran | Catani, Marco | Kauhanen, Saila | Pletinckx, Pieter | Kenig, Jakub | Di Saverio, Salomone | Jovine, Elio | Guercioni, Gianluca | Skrovina, Matej | Diaz-Nieto, Rafael | Ferrero, Alessandro | Rausei, Stefano | Laine, Samipetteri | Major, Piotr | Angst, Eliane | Pittet, Olivier | Herych, Ihor | Agresta, Ferdinando | Vettoretto, Nereo | Poiasina, Elia | Tepp, Jaan | Weiss, Gunter | Vasquez, Giorgio | Vladov, Nikola | Tranà, Cristian | Delibegovic, Samir | Dziki, Adam | Giraudo, Giorgio | Pereira, Jorge | Tzerbinis, Helen | van Dellen, David | Hutan, Martin | Vereczkei, Andras | Krasniqi, Avdyl | Seretis, Charalampos | Mesina, Cristian | Rems, Miran | Campanile, Fabio Cesare | Coletta, Pietro | Uotila-Nieminen, Mirjami | Dente, Mario | Bouliaris, Konstantinos | Lasithiotakis, Konstantinos | Khokha, Vladimir | Zivanovic, Dragoljub | Smirnov, Dmitry | Marinis, Athanasios | Negoi, Ionut | Ney, Ludwig | Bini, Roberto | Leon, Miguel | Aloia, Sergio | Huchon, Cyrille | Moldovanu, Radu | de Melo, Renato Bessa | Giakoustidis, Dimitrios | Ioannidis, Orestis | Cucchi, Michele | Pintar, Tadeja | Krivokapic, Zoran | Petrovic, Jelena
The CIAO Study (“Complicated Intra-Abdominal infection Observational” Study) is a multicenter investigation performed in 68 medical institutions throughout Europe over the course of a 6-month observational period (January-June 2012).
Patients with either community-acquired or healthcare-associated complicated intra-abdominal infections (IAIs) were included in the study.
2,152 patients with a mean age of 53.8 years (range: 4–98 years) were enrolled in the study. 46.3% of the patients were women and 53.7% were men. Intraperitoneal specimens were collected from 62.2% of the enrolled patients, and from these samples, a variety of microorganisms were collectively identified.
The overall mortality rate was 7.5% (163/2.152).
According to multivariate analysis of the compiled data, several criteria were found to be independent variables predictive of patient mortality, including patient age, the presence of an intestinal non-appendicular source of infection (colonic non-diverticular perforation, complicated diverticulitis, small bowel perforation), a delayed initial intervention (a delay exceeding 24 hours), sepsis and septic shock in the immediate post-operative period, and ICU admission.
Given the sweeping geographical distribution of the participating medical centers, the CIAO Study gives an accurate description of the epidemiological, clinical, microbiological, and treatment profiles of complicated intra-abdominal infections (IAIs) throughout Europe.
PMCID: PMC3539964  PMID: 23190741
22.  Proteinuria Triggers Renal Lymphangiogenesis Prior to the Development of Interstitial Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50209.
Proteinuria is an important cause of progressive tubulo-interstitial damage. Whether proteinuria could trigger a renal lymphangiogenic response has not been established. Moreover, the temporal relationship between development of fibrosis, inflammation and lymphangiogenesis in chronic progressive kidney disease is not clear yet. Therefore, we evaluated the time course of lymph vessel (LV) formation in relation to proteinuria and interstitial damage in a rat model of chronic unilateral adriamycin nephrosis. Proteinuria and kidneys were evaluated up to 30 weeks after induction of nephrosis. LVs were identified by podoplanin/VEGFR3 double staining. After 6 weeks proteinuria was well-established, without influx of interstitial macrophages and myofibroblasts, collagen deposition, osteopontin expression (tubular activation) or LV formation. At 12 weeks, a ∼3-fold increase in cortical LV density was found (p<0.001), gradually increasing over time. This corresponded with a significant increase in tubular osteopontin expression (p<0.01) and interstitial myofibroblast numbers (p<0.05), whereas collagen deposition and macrophage numbers were not yet increased. VEGF-C was mostly expressed by tubular cells rather than interstitial cells. Cultured tubular cells stimulated with FCS showed a dose-dependent increase in mRNA and protein expression of VEGF-C which was not observed by human albumin stimulation. We conclude that chronic proteinuria provoked lymphangiogenesis in temporal conjunction with tubular osteopontin expression and influx of myofibroblasts, that preceded interstitial fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3506584  PMID: 23189189
23.  Pancreatitis of biliary origin, optimal timing of cholecystectomy (PONCHO trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:225.
After an initial attack of biliary pancreatitis, cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis and other gallstone-related complications. Guidelines advocate performing cholecystectomy within 2 to 4 weeks after discharge for mild biliary pancreatitis. During this waiting period, the patient is at risk of recurrent biliary events. In current clinical practice, surgeons usually postpone cholecystectomy for 6 weeks due to a perceived risk of a more difficult dissection in the early days following pancreatitis and for logistical reasons. We hypothesize that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy minimizes the risk of recurrent biliary pancreatitis or other complications of gallstone disease in patients with mild biliary pancreatitis without increasing the difficulty of dissection and the surgical complication rate compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
PONCHO is a randomized controlled, parallel-group, assessor-blinded, superiority multicenter trial. Patients are randomly allocated to undergo early laparoscopic cholecystectomy, within 72 hours after randomization, or interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 25 to 30 days after randomization. During a 30-month period, 266 patients will be enrolled from 18 hospitals of the Dutch Pancreatitis Study Group. The primary endpoint is a composite endpoint of mortality and acute re-admissions for biliary events (that is, recurrent biliary pancreatitis, acute cholecystitis, symptomatic/obstructive choledocholithiasis requiring endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography including cholangitis (with/without endoscopic sphincterotomy), and uncomplicated biliary colics) occurring within 6 months following randomization. Secondary endpoints include the individual endpoints of the composite endpoint, surgical and other complications, technical difficulty of cholecystectomy and costs.
The PONCHO trial is designed to show that early laparoscopic cholecystectomy (within 72 hours) reduces the combined endpoint of mortality and re-admissions for biliary events as compared with interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy (between 25 and 30 days) after recovery of a first episode of mild biliary pancreatitis.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN72764151
PMCID: PMC3517749  PMID: 23181667
Acute pancreatitis; Gallstones; Trial; Common bile duct; Cholecystitis; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography; Surgery; Cholecystectomy; Timing; Mortality
24.  Pregnancy and Preeclampsia Affect Monocyte Subsets in Humans and Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45229.
Both nonclassical and intermediate monocytes have been implicated in different inflammatory conditions. We hypothesized that these monocytes would increase during pregnancy, a condition associated with generalized activation of inflammatory responses and that they would increase even more during preeclampsia, in which inflammatory responses are further stimulated. In the present study we investigated changes in monocyte subsets during healthy pregnancy and preeclampsia in humans and rats.
Blood monocyte subsets of nonpregnant, preeclamptic and healthy pregnant women were identified with CD14 and CD16. In nonpregnant and pregnant rats, blood monocytes were identified with CD172a and CD43, as well as in rats infused with adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a pro-inflammatory stimulus known to induce preeclampsia-like symptoms. Total and CD206-positive macrophages were quantified in placentas of these animals.
Lower percentages of classical monocytes were found in pregnant women (91%–[83–98%]) compared to nonpregnant women (94%–[90–98%]) and even less in preeclamptic patients (90%–[61–92%]). In contrast, the percentage of combined nonclassical/intermediate monocytes was higher in pregnant women (8.5%–[2.3–16.6%] vs. 5.6%–[1.9–9.5%]) and even higher in preeclamptic patients (9.9%–[7.8–38.7%]), which was caused by a selective increase of intermediate monocytes. In rats, we also found lower percentages of classical monocytes and higher percentages of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant versus nonpregnant rats. ATP infusion increased the percentage of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats even further but not in nonpregnant rats. These nonclassical monocytes showed a more activated phenotype in pregnant ATP-infused rats only. Mesometrial triangles of ATP-infused rats had less CD206-positive macrophages as compared to those of saline-infused rats.
The higher percentage of nonclassical/intermediate monocytes found in pregnancy and preeclampsia confirms their association with inflammatory responses. The observation that ATP stimulated numbers/activation of nonclassical monocytes in pregnant rats only, suggests that nonclassical monocytes are specifically altered in pregnancy and may play a role in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3441708  PMID: 23028864
25.  UMOD as a susceptibility gene for end-stage renal disease 
BMC Medical Genetics  2012;13:78.
In recent genetic association studies, common variants including rs12917707 in the UMOD locus have shown strong evidence of association with eGFR, prevalent and incident chronic kidney disease and uromodulin urinary concentration in general population cohorts. The association of rs12917707 with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in a recent case-control study was only nominally significant.
To investigate whether rs12917707 associates with ESRD, graft failure (GF) and urinary uromodulin levels in an independent cohort, we genotyped 1142 ESRD patients receiving a renal transplantation and 1184 kidney donors as controls. After transplantation, 1066 renal transplant recipients were followed up for GF. Urinary uromodulin concentration was measured at median [IQR] 4.2 [2.2-6.1] yrs after kidney transplantation.
The rs12917707 minor allele showed association with lower risk of ESRD (OR 0.89 [0.76-1.03], p = 0.04) consistent in effect size and direction with the previous report (Böger et al, PLoS Genet 2011). Meta-analysis of these findings showed significant association of rs12917707 with ESRD (OR 0.91 [0.85-98], p = 0.008). In contrast, rs12917707 was not associated with incidence of GF. Urinary uromodulin concentration was lower in recipients-carriers of the donor rs12917707 minor allele as compared to non-carriers, again consistent with previous observations in general population cohorts.
Our study thus corroborates earlier evidence and independently confirms the association between UMOD and ESRD.
PMCID: PMC3495046  PMID: 22947327
UMOD; Uromodulin; Polymorphisms; SNP; End-stage renal disease; Kidney transplantation

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