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1.  Rate of cardiac arrhythmias and silent brain lesions in experienced marathon runners: rationale, design and baseline data of the Berlin Beat of Running study 
Regular exercise is beneficial for cardiovascular health but a recent meta-analysis indicated a relationship between extensive endurance sport and a higher risk of atrial fibrillation, an independent risk factor for stroke. However, data on the frequency of cardiac arrhythmias or (clinically silent) brain lesions during and after marathon running are missing.
Methods/ Design
In the prospective observational “Berlin Beat of Running” study experienced endurance athletes underwent clinical examination (CE), 3 Tesla brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), carotid ultrasound imaging (CUI) and serial blood sampling (BS) within 2-3 days prior (CE, MRI, CUI, BS), directly after (CE, BS) and within 2 days after (CE, MRI, BS) the 38th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2011. All participants wore a portable electrocardiogram (ECG)-recorder throughout the 4 to 5 days baseline study period. Participants with pathological MRI findings after the marathon, troponin elevations or detected cardiac arrhythmias will be asked to undergo cardiac MRI to rule out structural abnormalities. A follow-up is scheduled after one year.
Here we report the baseline data of the enrolled 110 athletes aged 36-61 years. Their mean age was 48.8 ± 6.0 years, 24.5% were female, 8.2% had hypertension and 2.7% had hyperlipidaemia. Participants have attended a mean of 7.5 ± 6.6 marathon races within the last 5 years and a mean of 16 ± 36 marathon races in total. Their weekly running distance prior to the 38th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON was 65 ± 17 km. Finally, 108 (98.2%) Berlin Beat-Study participants successfully completed the 38th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON 2011.
Findings from the “Berlin Beats of Running” study will help to balance the benefits and risks of extensive endurance sport. ECG-recording during the marathon might contribute to identify athletes at risk for cardiovascular events. MRI results will give new insights into the link between physical stress and brain damage.
Trial registration NCT01428778
PMCID: PMC3458995  PMID: 22938148
Marathon running; ECG-recording; Magnetic resonance imaging; Blood sampling; Cardiac arrhythmia
2.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Strain-Dependent Activation of Human Endothelial Cells  
Infection and Immunity  2004;72(10):5910-5918.
Porphyromonas gingivalis is an important bacterium involved in periodontal diseases. Colonization by periodontopathogens has been associated with severe local inflammatory reactions in the connective tissue. In this study we characterized P. gingivalis-mediated infection and activation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells by using two strains of different virulence capacities, strains ATCC 53977 and DSMZ 20709. Both strains were able to adhere to and infect endothelial cells with an infection rate of 0.48% for ATCC 53977 and 0.007% for DSMZ 20709. The triggering of two signal transduction pathways in P. gingivalis-infected endothelial cells was demonstrated for both strains, with a rapid increase of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphorylation and a more delayed degradation of IκBα, followed by nuclear translocation of NF-κB. In addition, both strains induced enhanced expression of endothelial adhesion molecules E-selectin and intracellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1). Target cell activation was independent of bacterial fimbriae expression since the fimA knockout strain A7436 ΔfimA induced the same level of ICAM-1 as the corresponding wild type (A7436-WT). Thus, two P. gingivalis strains, ATCC 53799 and DSMZ 20709, infect endothelial cells and trigger signaling cascades leading to endothelial activation, which in turn may result in or promote severe local and systemic inflammation.
PMCID: PMC517532  PMID: 15385493
3.  Bartonella henselae Induces NF-κB-Dependent Upregulation of Adhesion Molecules in Cultured Human Endothelial Cells: Possible Role of Outer Membrane Proteins as Pathogenic Factors 
Infection and Immunity  2001;69(8):5088-5097.
The endothelium is a specific target for Bartonella henselae, and endothelial cell infection represents an important step in the pathogenesis of cat scratch disease and bacillary angiomatosis. Mechanisms of Bartonella-endothelial cell interaction as well as signaling pathways involved in target cell activation were analyzed. B. henselae strain Berlin-1, isolated from bacillary angiomatosis lesions of a human immunodeficiency virus-infected patient, potently stimulated human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), as determined by NF-κB activation and enhanced adhesion molecule expression. These effects were accompanied by increased PMN rolling on and adhesion to infected endothelial cell monolayers, as measured in a parallel-plate flow chamber assay. Monoclonal antibodies against E-selectin significantly reduced PMN rolling and adhesion. In our hands, B. henselae Berlin-1 was substantially more active than the typing strain B. henselae ATCC 49882. E-selectin and ICAM-1 upregulation occurred for up to 9 days, as verified by Northern blotting and cell surface enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Induction of adhesion molecules was mediated via NF-κB activation and could be blocked by a specific NF-κB inhibitor. Additional studies indicated that B. henselae-induced effects did not require living bacteria or Bartonella lipopolysaccharides. Exposure of HUVEC to purified B. henselae outer membrane proteins (OMPs), however, reproduced all aspects of endothelial cell activation. In conclusion, B. henselae, the causative agent of cat scratch disease and bacillary angiomatosis, infects and activates endothelial cells. B. henselae OMPs are sufficient to induce NF-κB activation and adhesion molecule expression followed by enhanced rolling and adhesion of leukocytes. These observations identify important new properties of B. henselae, demonstrating its capacity to initiate a cascade of events culminating in a proinflammatory phenotype of infected endothelial cells.
PMCID: PMC98604  PMID: 11447190

Results 1-3 (3)