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1.  Total collected dialysate lithium concentration after successful dialysis treatment in case of intoxication 
Lithium intoxication has potentially fatal neurologic and cardiac side effects. Extracorporeal removal can therefore be lifesaving. The dialysance of lithium is high as it is a small molecule. Comparable to its neighbor in the periodic table, sodium, its intracellular accumulation hampers its removal by renal replacement therapy, despite its favorable size. For this reason the combination of short intermittent and prolonged dialysis may be a beneficial approach in acute lithium intoxication, yet only a report of such a combination has been published and actual removed lithium has not been quantified.
Case presentation
We describe the first measurement of lithium in the spent total dialysate treating an acute lithium overdose of a 44 year old Caucasian patient on chronic lithium therapy, undergoing extended dialysis. Extracorporeal therapy was initiated at a lithium serum concentration of 3.24 mmol/l. With blood/dialysate flow of 350 ml/min the 1.3 m2 polysulfone dialyzer exhibited a maximum lithium clearance of 177 ml/min. After 4.1 hours of treatment the lithium level was lowered to 1.25 mmol/l. In the total spent dialysate 250 mg lithium, i.e. ~ 40% of the ingested amount were found. The subsequent extended dialysis over 9.5 hours further decreased serum levels to 0.79 mmol/l. Neurological symptoms improved within the first 60 min of treatment. The patient could be transferred to a psychiatric hospital on the morning after admission.
Standard intermittent hemodialysis with subsequent extended dialysis can efficiently be employed in severe lithium intoxication by combining prompt a fast decrease of lithium blood levels and preventing rebound/assuring removal of redistributed lithium.
PMCID: PMC4172392  PMID: 25193402
Lithium; Intoxication; Intensive care unit; Drug monitoring; Extended dialysis
2.  Cotrimoxazole plasma levels, dialyzer clearance and total removal by extended dialysis in a patient with acute kidney injury: risk of under-dosing using current dosing recommendations 
Dosing of antibiotics in critically ill patients is challenging. It becomes even more difficult if renal or hepatic impairment ensue. Modern means of renal replacement therapy are capable of removing antibiotics to a higher rate than decades ago, leaving clinicians with a high degree of uncertainty concerning the dose of antibiotics in this patient population. Cotrimoxazole, a combination of trimethoprim (TMP) and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) is frequently used in the treatment of several infections including Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia (PCP).
Case presentation
Here we describe a patient with acute kidney injury in which we investigated the TMP and SMX levels during the course of an ICU stay. Cotrimoxazole was administered every six hours i.v. in a dose of TMP/SMX 15/75 mg/kg/day. Extended dialysis was performed with a high-flux dialyzer. Blood samples, as well as pre- and postdialyzer samples and aliquots of the collected spent dialysate were collected.
Observed peak concentrations (Cmax) were 7.51 mg/l for TMP and 80.80 mg/l for SMX. Decline of blood levels during extended dialysis (TMP 64%; SMX 84%) was mainly due to removal by the dialysis procedure, illustrated by the high dialyzer clearances (median of 4 extended dialysis sessions: TMP 94.0 / SMX 51.0 ml/min), as well as by the absolute amount of both substances in the collected spent dialysate (median of 6 extended dialysis sessions: TMP 556 mg / SMX 130 mg). Within the limitation of a case report our data from 4 consecutive extended dialysis sessions suggest that this procedure substantially removes both TMP and SMX.
Dose reduction, which is usually advocated in patients with acute kidney injury under renal replacement therapy, might lead to significant under-dosing. Pharmacokinetic studies for TMP/SMX dosing in this patient population are necessary to allow adequate dosing.
PMCID: PMC3626772  PMID: 23551893
Antibiotics; Pharmacokinetics; Intensive care unit; Drug monitoring
3.  Fetuin, Matrix-Gla Protein and Osteopontin in Calcification of Renal Allografts 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e52039.
Calcification of renal allografts is common in the first year after transplantation and is related to hyperparathyroidism. It is associated with an impaired long-term function of the graft (Am J Transplant 5∶1934-41, 2005). Aim of this study is to examine the role of the anti-calcifying/calcifying factors in the pathophysiology of renal allograft calcification.
We analyzed protocol allograft biopsies, blood and urine samples of 31 patients with and 27 patients without allograft calcification taken at 6 weeks, 3 and 6 months after transplantation. Patient demographical data, cold ischemia time, initial graft function and donor characteristics were comparable between the two groups. Biopsies were stained for osteopontin, fetuin, and matrix-gla-protein. Serum and urine electrolytes, matrix-gla-protein, fetuin, Vitamin D and intact parathyroid hormone in serum and osteopontin (OPN) in urine were examined.
Serum levels of fetuin and matrix-Gla protein as well as urinary levels of OPN showed specific time dependent changes (6 weeks vs. 3 months vs. 6 months; all p<0.0001). In patients with calcifications, urinary levels of OPN were decreased by 55% at 6 weeks and increased thereafter, showing 54% higher levels at 6 months compared to patients without calcification (6 weeks: p<0.01, 6 months: p<0.05). Local protein expression of fetuin-A, matrix-Gla protein and OPN in the graft was specifically increased around calcified plaques, without differences in the mRNA tissue expression.
Anticalcifying factors show significant changes in the early phase after renal transplantation, which may be important for the prevention of allograft calcification. The differences in OPN indicate an involvement of this factor in the regulation of calcification.
PMCID: PMC3524113  PMID: 23284864
4.  Circulating microRNAs in Patients with Shiga-Toxin-Producing E. coli O104:H4 Induced Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e47215.
In early May 2011, an outbreak of hemorrhagic colitis associated with hemolytic–uremic syndrome (HUS) first developed in Northern Germany and spread to 15 other countries in Europe. The outbreak-strain O104:H4, which combined virulence factors of typical enteroaggregative and Shiga-Toxin–producing E. coli was associated with an unusual high rate of hemolytic uremic syndrome. Also an unexpected high rate of coma and seizures leading to mechanical ventilation and ICU treatment was observed. MicroRNAs are small ribonucleotides orchestrating gene expression. We tested whether circulating microRNAs in serum of HUS patients during the 2011 epidemics are altered in this patient cohort and related to clinical manifestations.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We profiled microRNAs using RNA isolated from serum of patients and healthy age-matched controls. The results were validated in 38 patients at baseline, 29 patients during follow-up and 21 age-matched healthy controls by miRNA-specific quantitative RT-PCR. Circulating levels of miR-24, miR-126 were increased in HUS patients versus controls. There was no association between these microRNAs and renal function or the need for renal replacement therapy. In contrast, levels of miR-126 were associated with neurological symptoms at baseline and during follow-up. In addition, miR-126 (on admission) and miR-24 (on admission and during follow-up) were associated with platelet count.
Circulating microRNAs are strongly altered in this patient cohort and associated with neurological symptoms as well as platelet count.
PMCID: PMC3469502  PMID: 23071762
5.  Aromatase Inhibition Attenuates Desflurane-Induced Preconditioning against Acute Myocardial Infarction in Male Mouse Heart In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e42032.
The volatile anesthetic desflurane (DES) effectively reduces cardiac infarct size following experimental ischemia/reperfusion injury in the mouse heart. We hypothesized that endogenous estrogens play a role as mediators of desflurane-induced preconditioning against myocardial infarction. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that desflurane effects local estrogen synthesis by modulating enzyme aromatase expression and activity in the mouse heart. Aromatase metabolizes testosterone to 17β- estradiol (E2) and thereby significantly contributes to local estrogen synthesis. We tested aromatase effects in acute myocardial infarction model in male mice. The animals were randomized and subjected to four groups which were pre-treated with the selective aromatase inhibitor anastrozole (A group) and DES alone (DES group) or in combination (A+DES group) for 15 minutes prior to surgical intervention whereas the control group received 0.9% NaCl (CON group). All animals were subjected to 45 minutes ischemia following 180 minutes reperfusion. Anastrozole blocked DES induced preconditioning and increased infarct size compared to DES alone (37.94±15.5% vs. 17.1±3.62%) without affecting area at risk and systemic hemodynamic parameters following ischemia/reperfusion. Protein localization studies revealed that aromatase was abundant in the murine cardiovascular system with the highest expression levels in endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Desflurane application at pharmacological concentrations efficiently upregulated aromatase expression in vivo and in vitro. We conclude that desflurane efficiently regulates aromatase expression and activity which might lead to increased local estrogen synthesis and thus preserve cellular integrity and reduce cardiac damage in an acute myocardial infarction model.
PMCID: PMC3410886  PMID: 22876297
6.  Circulating MicroRNAs Are Not Eliminated by Hemodialysis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38269.
Circulating microRNAs are stably detectable in serum/plasma and other body fluids. In patients with acute kidney injury on dialysis therapy changes of miRNA patterns had been detected. It remains unclear if and how the dialysis procedure itself affects circulating microRNA level.
We quantified miR-21 and miR-210 by quantitative RT-PCR in plasma of patients with acute kidney injury requiring dialysis and measured pre- and post-dialyser miRNA levels as well as their amount in the collected spent dialysate. Single treatments using the following filters were studied: F60 S (1.3 m2, Molecular Weight Cut Off (MWCO): 30 kDa, n = 8), AV 1000 S (1.8 m2, MWCO: 30 kDa, n = 6) and EMiC 2 (1.8 m2, MWCO: 40 kDa, n = 6).
Circulating levels of miR-21 or -210 do not differ between pre- and post-dialyzer blood samples independently of the used filter surface and pore size: miR-21: F60S: p = 0.35, AV 1000 S p = 1.0, EMiC2 p = 1.0; miR-210: F60S: p = 0.91, AV 1000 S p = 0.09, EMiC2 p = 0.31. Correspondingly, only traces of both miRNAs could be found in the collected spent dialysate and ultrafiltrate.
In patients with acute kidney injury circulating microRNAs are not removed by dialysis. As only traces of miR-21 and -210 are detected in dialysate and ultrafiltrate, microRNAs in the circulation are likely to be transported by larger structures such as proteins and/or microvesicles. As miRNAs are not affected by dialysis they might be more robust biomarkers of acute kidney injury.
PMCID: PMC3371001  PMID: 22715378
7.  Epigenetic modifications in cardiovascular disease 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2012;107(2):245.
Epigenetics represents a phenomenon of altered heritable phenotypic expression of genetic information occurring without changes in DNA sequence. Epigenetic modifications control embryonic development, differentiation and stem cell (re)programming. These modifications can be affected by exogenous stimuli (e.g., diabetic milieu, smoking) and oftentimes culminate in disease initiation. DNA methylation has been studied extensively and represents a well-understood epigenetic mechanism. During this process cytosine residues preceding a guanosine in the DNA sequence are methylated. CpG-islands are short-interspersed DNA sequences with clusters of CG sequences. The abnormal methylation of CpG islands in the promoter region of genes leads to a silencing of genetic information and finally to alteration of biological function. Emerging data suggest that these epigenetic modifications also impact on the development of cardiovascular disease. Histone modifications lead to the modulation of the expression of genetic information through modification of DNA accessibility. In addition, RNA-based mechanisms (e.g., microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs) influence the development of disease. We here outline the recent work pertaining to epigenetic changes in a cardiovascular disease setting.
PMCID: PMC3329881  PMID: 22234702
DNA methylation; CpG islands; microRNAs; Long non-coding RNAs; Cardiovascular disease
8.  Acute effects of remote ischemic preconditioning on cutaneous microcirculation - a controlled prospective cohort study 
BMC Surgery  2011;11:32.
Therapeutic strategies aiming to reduce ischemia/reperfusion injury by conditioning tissue tolerance against ischemia appear attractive not only from a scientific perspective, but also in clinics. Although previous studies indicate that remote ischemic intermittent preconditioning (RIPC) is a systemic phenomenon, only a few studies have focused on the elucidation of its mechanisms of action especially in the clinical setting. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the acute microcirculatory effects of remote ischemic preconditioning on a distinct cutaneous location at the lower extremity which is typically used as a harvesting site for free flap reconstructive surgery in a human in-vivo setting.
Microcirculatory data of 27 healthy subjects (25 males, age 24 ± 4 years, BMI 23.3) were evaluated continuously at the anterolateral aspect of the left thigh during RIPC using combined Laser-Doppler and photospectrometry (Oxygen-to-see, Lea Medizintechnik, Germany). After baseline microcirculatory measurement, remote ischemia was induced using a tourniquet on the contralateral upper arm for three cycles of 5 min.
After RIPC, tissue oxygen saturation and capillary blood flow increased up to 29% and 35% during the third reperfusion phase versus baseline measurement, respectively (both p = 0.001). Postcapillary venous filling pressure decreased statistically significant by 16% during second reperfusion phase (p = 0.028).
Remote intermittent ischemic preconditioning affects cutaneous tissue oxygen saturation, arterial capillary blood flow and postcapillary venous filling pressure at a remote cutaneous location of the lower extremity. To what extent remote preconditioning might ameliorate reperfusion injury in soft tissue trauma or free flap transplantation further clinical trials have to evaluate.
Trial registration NCT01235286
PMCID: PMC3231986  PMID: 22111972
Remote ischemic preconditioning; cutaneous microcirculation; free flap; soft tissue
9.  Endothelial Progenitor Cells and Cardiovascular Events in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease – a Prospective Follow-Up Study 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11477.
Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) mediate vascular repair and regeneration. Their number in peripheral blood is related to cardiovascular events in individuals with normal renal function.
We evaluated the association between functionally active EPCs (cell culture) and traditional cardiovascular risk factors in 265 patients with chronic kidney disease stage V receiving hemodialysis therapy. Thereafter, we prospectively assessed cardiovascular events, e.g. myocardial infarction, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (including stenting), aorto-coronary bypass, stroke and angiographically verified stenosis of peripheral arteries, and cardiovascular death in this cohort.
In our patients EPCs were related only to age (r = 0.154; p = 0.01). During a median follow-up period of 36 months 109 (41%) patients experienced a cardiovascular event. In a multiple Cox regression analysis, we identified EPCs (p = 0.03) and patient age (p = 0.01) as the only independent variables associated with incident cardiovascular events. Moreover, a total of 70 patients died during follow-up, 45 of those due to cardiovascular causes. Log rank test confirmed statistical significance for EPCs concerning incident cardiovascular events (p = 0.02).
We found a significant association between the number of functionally active EPCs and cardiovascular events in patients with chronic kidney disease. Thus, defective vascular repair and regeneration may be responsible, at least in part, for the enormous cardiovascular morbidity in this population.
PMCID: PMC2900210  PMID: 20628606
10.  Achilles tendon suture deteriorates tendon capillary blood flow with sustained tissue oxygen saturation – an animal study 
Treatment of ruptured Achilles tendons currently constitutes of conservative early functional treatment or surgical treatment either by open or minimal invasive techniques. We hypothesize that an experimental Achilles tendon suture in an animal model significantly deteriorates Achilles tendon microcirculation immediately following suturing.
Fifteen Achilles tendons of eight male Wistar rats (275–325 g) were included. After preparation of the Achilles tendon with a medial paratendinous approach, Achilles tendon microcirculation was assessed using combined Laser-Doppler and spectrophotometry (Oxygen-to-see) regarding:
- tendinous capillary blood flow [arbitrary units AU]
- tendinous tissue oxygen saturation [%]
- tendinous venous filling pressure [rAU]
The main body of the Achilles tendon was measured in the center of the suture with 50 Hz. 10 minutes after Achilles tendon suture (6-0 Prolene), a second assessment of microcirculatory parameters was performed.
Achilles tendon capillary blood flow decreased by 57% following the suture (70 ± 30 AU vs. 31 ± 16 AU; p < 0.001). Tendinous tissue oxygen saturation remained at the same level before and after suture (78 ± 17% vs. 77 ± 22%; p = 0.904). Tendinous venous filling pressure increased by 33% (54 ± 16 AU vs. 72 ± 20 AU; p = 0.019) after suture.
Achilles tendon suture in anaesthetised rats causes an acute loss of capillary perfusion and increases postcapillary venous filling pressures indicating venous stasis. The primary hypothesis of this study was confirmed. In contrast, tendinous tissue oxygen saturation remains unchanged excluding acute intratendinous hypoxia within the first 10 minutes after suture. Further changes of oxygen saturation remain unclear. Furthermore, it remains to be determined to what extent reduced capillary blood flow as well as increased postcapillary stasis might influence tendon healing from a microcirculatory point of view in this animal setting.
PMCID: PMC2731078  PMID: 19674439

Results 1-10 (10)