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author:("robert, Ole")
1.  Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72934.
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072934
PMCID: PMC3767665  PMID: 24039826
2.  Effect of Stent Inflation Pressure and Post-Dilatation on the Outcome of Coronary Artery Intervention. A Report of More than 90 000 Stent Implantations 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e56348.
Background
Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) stent inflation pressure correlates to angiographic lumen improvement and stent expansion but the relation to outcome is not clarified. Using comprehensive registry data our aim was to evaluate how stent inflation pressure influences restenosis, stent thrombosis and death following PCI.
Methods
We evaluated all consecutive coronary stent implantations in Sweden during 46 months from 2008 using data from the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry (SCAAR). We used logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard modeling to estimate risk of outcomes with different balloon pressures.
Results
In total, 93 697 stents were eligible for analysis and divided into five different pressure interval groups: ≤15 atm, 16–17 atm, 18–19 atm, 20–21 atm and ≥22 atm. The risks of stent thrombosis and restenosis were significantly higher in the ≤15 atm, 18–19 atm and ≥22 atm groups (but not in the 16–17 atm group) compared to the 20–21 atm group. There were no differences in mortality. Post-dilatation was associated with a higher restenosis risk ratio (RR) of 1.22 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.14–1.32, P<0.001) but stent thrombosis did not differ statistically between procedures with or without post-dilatation. The risk of death was lower following post-dilatation (RR 0.81 (CI 0.71–0.93) P = 0.003) and the difference compared to no post-dilatation was seen immediately after PCI.
Conclusion
Our retrospective study of stent inflation pressure identified a possible biological pattern—the risks of stent thrombosis and of restenosis appeared to be higher with low and very high pressures. Post-dilatation might increase restenosis risk.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056348
PMCID: PMC3571959  PMID: 23418560
3.  Body Temperature during Hibernation Is Highly Correlated with a Decrease in Circulating Innate Immune Cells in the Brown Bear (Ursus arctos): A Common Feature among Hibernators? 
Background: Hibernation involves periods of severely depressed metabolism (torpor) and decreases in body temperature (Tb). Small arctic mammals (<5kg), in which Tb generally drop drastically, display leukopenia during hibernation. This raised the question of whether the decreased leukocyte counts in mammalian hibernators is due to torpor per se or is secondary to low Tb. The present study examined immune cell counts in brown bears (Ursus arctos), where torpor is only associated with shallow decreases in Tb. The results were compared across hibernator species for which immune and Tb data were available.
Methods and Results: The white blood cell counts were determined by flow cytometry in 13 bears captured in the field both during summer and winter over 2 years time. Tb dropped from 39.6±0.8 to 33.5±1.1°C during hibernation. Blood neutrophils and monocytes were lower during hibernation than during the active period (47%, p= 0.001; 43%, p=0.039, respectively), whereas no change in lymphocyte counts was detected (p=0.599). Further, combining our data and those from 10 studies on 9 hibernating species suggested that the decline in Tb explained the decrease in innate immune cells (R2=0.83, p<0.0001).
Conclusions: Bears have fewer innate immune cells in circulation during hibernation, which may represent a suppressed innate immune system. Across species comparison suggests that, both in small and large hibernators, Tb is the main driver of immune function regulation during winter dormancy. The lack of a difference in lymphocyte counts in this context requires further investigations.
doi:10.7150/ijms.4476
PMCID: PMC3607235  PMID: 23532623
Brown bear; Ursus arctos; Hibernation; Innate immunity; Leukocytes; Torpor.
4.  Capture, Anesthesia, and Disturbance of Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) during Hibernation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40520.
We conducted thirteen immobilizations of previously collared hibernating two- to four-year-old brown bears (Ursus arctos) weighing 21–66 kg in central Sweden in winter 2010 and 2011 for comparative physiology research. Here we report, for the first time, an effective protocol for the capture and anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears during hibernation and an assessment of the disturbance the captures caused. Bears were darted in anthill, soil, or uprooted tree dens on eleven occasions, but two bears in rock dens fled and were darted outside the den. We used medetomidine at 0.02–0.06 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine at 0.9–2.8 mg/kg for anesthesia. In addition, ketamine at 1.5 mg/kg was hand-injected intramuscularly in four bears and in six it was included in the dart at 1.1–3.0 mg/kg. Once anesthetized, bears were removed from the dens. In nine bears, arterial blood samples were analyzed immediately with a portable blood gas analyzer. We corrected hypoxemia in seven bears (PaO2 57–74 mmHg) with supplemental oxygen. We placed the bears back into the dens and antagonized the effect of medetomidine with atipamezole. Capturing bears in the den significantly increased the risk of den abandonment. One of twelve collared bears that were captured remained at the original den until spring, and eleven, left their dens (mean ± standard deviation) 3.2±3.6 (range 0.5–10.5) days after capture. They used 1.9±0.9 intermediate resting sites, during 6.2±7.8 days before entering a new permanent den. The eleven new permanent dens were located 730±589 m from the original dens. We documented that it was feasible and safe to capture hibernating brown bears, although they behaved differently than black bears. When doing so, researchers should use 25% of the doses used for helicopter darting during the active period and should consider increased energetic costs associated with den abandonment.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0040520
PMCID: PMC3398017  PMID: 22815757
5.  Effect of prolonged standardized bed rest on cystatin C and other markers of cardiovascular risk 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:17.
Background
Sedentary lifestyle is associated with coronary artery disease but even shorter periods of physical inactivity may increase cardiovascular risk. Cystatin C is independently associated with cardiovascular disease and our objective was to investigate the relation between this novel biomarker and standardized bed rest. Research of immobilization physiology in humans is challenging because good biological models are in short supply. From the Women International Space simulation for Exploration study (WISE) we studied markers of atherosclerosis and kidney function, including cystatin C, in a standardized bed rest study on healthy volunteers. Fifteen healthy female volunteers participated in a 20-day ambulatory control period followed by 60 days of bed rest in head-down tilt position (-6°) 24 h a day, finalized by 20 days of recovery. The subjects were randomized into two groups during bed rest: a control group (n = 8) that remained physically inactive and an exercise group (n = 7) that participated in both supine resistance and aerobic exercise training.
Results
Compared to baseline values there was a statistically significant increase in cystatin C in both groups after bed rest (P < 0.001). Glomerular filtration rate (GFR), calculated by both cystatin C and Cockcroft-Gault equation, decreased after bed rest while there were no differences in creatinine or creatine kinase levels. CRP did not change during bed rest in the exercise group, but there was an increase of CRP in the control group during recovery compared to both the baseline and the bed rest periods. The apo-B/apo-Ai ratio increased during bed rest and decreased again in the recovery period. Subjects experienced a small but statistically significant reduction in weight during bed rest and compared to baseline weights remained lower at day 8 of recovery.
Conclusion
During and following prolonged standardized bed rest the concentrations of several clinically relevant cardiovascular risk markers change.
doi:10.1186/1472-6793-11-17
PMCID: PMC3298483  PMID: 22152087
6.  Vitamin D Status and Bone and Connective Tissue Turnover in Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) during Hibernation and the Active State 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e21483.
Background
Extended physical inactivity causes disuse osteoporosis in humans. In contrast, brown bears (Ursus arctos) are highly immobilised for half of the year during hibernation without signs of bone loss and therefore may serve as a model for prevention of osteoporosis.
Aim
To study 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25OHD) levels and bone turnover markers in brown bears during the hibernating state in winter and during the active state in summer. We measured vitamin D subtypes (D2 and D3), calcitropic hormones (parathyroid hormone [PTH], 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D [1,25(OH)2D]) and bone turnover parameters (osteocalcin, ICTP, CTX-I), PTH, serum calcium and PIIINP.
Material and Methods
We drew blood from seven immobilised wild brown bears during hibernation in February and in the same bears while active in June.
Results
Serum 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol (25OHD3) was significantly higher in the summer than in the winter (22.8±4.6 vs. 8.8±2.1 nmol/l, two tailed p - 2p = 0.02), whereas 25-hydroxy-ergocalciferol (25OHD2) was higher in winter (54.2±8.3 vs. 18.7±1.7 nmol/l, 2p<0.01). Total serum calcium and PTH levels did not differ between winter and summer. Activated 1,25(OH)2D demonstrated a statistically insignificant trend towards higher summer levels. Osteocalcin levels were higher in summer than winter, whereas other markers of bone turnover (ICTP and CTX-I) were unchanged. Serum PIIINP, which is a marker of connective tissue and to some degree muscle turnover, was significantly higher during summer than during winter.
Conclusions
Dramatic changes were documented in the vitamin D3/D2 ratio and in markers of bone and connective tissue turnover in brown bears between hibernation and the active state. Because hibernating brown bears do not develop disuse osteoporosis, despite extensive physical inactivity we suggest that they may serve as a model for the prevention of this disease.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021483
PMCID: PMC3121767  PMID: 21731765
7.  Non-endothelial endothelin counteracts hypoxic vasodilation in porcine large coronary arteries 
BMC Physiology  2011;11:8.
Background
The systemic vascular response to hypoxia is vasodilation. However, reports suggest that the potent vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 (ET-1) is released from the vasculature during hypoxia. ET-1 is reported to augment superoxide anion generation and may counteract nitric oxide (NO) vasodilation. Moreover, ET-1 was proposed to contribute to increased vascular resistance in heart failure by increasing the production of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). We investigated the role of ET-1, the NO pathway, the potassium channels and radical oxygen species in hypoxia-induced vasodilation of large coronary arteries.
Results
In prostaglandin F2α (PGF2α, 10 μM)-contracted segments with endothelium, gradual lowering of oxygen tension from 95 to 1% O2 resulted in vasodilation. The vasodilation to O2 lowering was rightward shifted in segments without endothelium at all O2 concentrations except at 1% O2. The endothelin receptor antagonist SB217242 (10 μM) markedly increased hypoxic dilation despite the free tissue ET-1 concentration in the arterial wall was unchanged in 1% O2 versus 95% O2. Exogenous ET-1 reversed hypoxic dilation in segments with and without endothelium, and the hypoxic arteries showed an increased sensitivity towards ET-1 compared to the normoxic controls. Without affecting basal NO, hypoxia increased NO concentration in PGF2α-contracted arteries, and an NO synthase inhibitor, L-NOARG,(300 μM, NG-nitro-L-Arginine) reduced hypoxic vasodilation. NO-induced vasodilation was reduced in endothelin-contracted preparations. Arterial wall ADMA concentrations were unchanged by hypoxia. Blocking of potassium channels with TEA (tetraethylammounium chloride)(10 μM) inhibited vasodilation to O2 lowering as well as to NO. The superoxide scavenger tiron (10 μM) and the putative NADPH oxidase inhibitor apocynin (10 μM) leftward shifted concentration-response curves for O2 lowering without changing vasodilation to 1% O2. PEG (polyethylene glycol) catalase (300 u/ml) inhibited H2O2 vasodilation, but failed to affect vasodilation to O2 lowering. Neither did PEG-SOD (polyethylene glycol superoxide dismutase)(70 u/ml) affect vasodilation to O2 lowering. The mitochondrial inhibitors rotenone (1 μM) and antimycin A (1 μM) both inhibited hypoxic vasodilatation.
Conclusion
The present results in porcine coronary arteries suggest NO contributes to hypoxic vasodilation, probably through K channel opening, which is reversed by addition of ET-1 and enhanced by endothelin receptor antagonism. These latter findings suggest that endothelin receptor activation counteracts hypoxic vasodilation.
doi:10.1186/1472-6793-11-8
PMCID: PMC3118136  PMID: 21575165
8.  Multidisciplinary assessment of tako tsubo cardiomyopathy: a prospective case study 
Background
The cause of tako tsubo cardiomyopathy remains unclear. We used a multidisciplinary approach to investigate if a common pathophysiological denominator could be outlined.
Methods
Within 3 days following symptom presentation and again after 3 months we investigated all patients coming to our institution and diagnosed with tako-tsubo cardiomyopathy. Patients underwent extensive biochemical screening. Left ventricular function was evaluated by echocardiography and contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Cardiac autonomic function was studied by heart rate variability and signal-averaged electrocardiogram and posttraumatic stress and depression were investigated by questionnaires (the Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome 10-Questions Inventory, PTSS-10 and the Montgomery-Åsberg depression rating scale, self rated version, MADRS-S).
Results
During 2 years, 13 consecutive patients were included. Markers of myocardial damage and heart failure were slightly to moderately elevated and ejection fraction (echocardiography and MRi) was moderately reduced at hospitalization and improved to normal values in all patients. Signal averaged ECG demonstrated a statistically significant shorter duration of the filtered QRS complex in the acute phase as compared to follow-up. In heart rate variability analysis, SDNN and SDANN were shorter acutely compared to follow-up. Two patients fulfilled criteria for posttraumatic stress syndrome while 7 patients were in the borderline zone. There was a statistically significant inverse correlation between PTSS-10 score and QRS duration in the signal-averaged ECG (r = -0.66, P = 0.01).
Conclusions
Patients with tako tsubo cardiomyopathy have altered cardiac autonomic function and a high incidence rate of borderline or definite posttraumatic stress syndrome acutely. This is in line with findings in patients with myocardial infarction and does not allow conclusions on cause and effect.
doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-14
PMCID: PMC3087689  PMID: 21477336
9.  Platelet function in brown bear (Ursus arctos) compared to man 
Thrombosis Journal  2010;8:11.
Background
Information on hemostasis and platelet function in brown bear (Ursus arctos) is of importance for understanding the physiological, protective changes during hibernation.
Objective
The study objective was to document platelet activity values in brown bears shortly after leaving the den and compare them to platelet function in healthy humans.
Methods
Blood was drawn from immobilized wild brown bears 7-10 days after leaving the den in mid April. Blood samples from healthy human adults before and after clopidogrel and acetylsalicylic acid administration served as control. We analyzed blood samples by standard blood testing and platelet aggregation was quantified after stimulation with various agonists using multiple electrode aggregometry within 3 hours of sampling.
Results
Blood samples were collected from 6 bears (3 females) between 1 and 16 years old and from 10 healthy humans. Results of adenosine diphosphate, aspirin, and thrombin receptor activating peptide tests in bears were all half or less of those in humans. Platelet and white blood cell counts did not differ between species but brown bears had more and smaller red blood cells compared with humans.
Conclusion
Using three different tests, we conclude that platelet function is lower in brown bears compared to humans. Our findings represent the first descriptive study on platelet function in brown bears and may contribute to explain how bears can endure denning without obvious thrombus building. However, the possibility that our findings reflect test-dependent and not true biological variations in platelet reactivity needs further studies.
doi:10.1186/1477-9560-8-11
PMCID: PMC2893130  PMID: 20525167

Results 1-9 (9)