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1.  Induction of Overt Menstruation in Intact Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e32922.
The complex tissue remodeling process of menstruation is experienced by humans and some primates, whereas most placental mammals, including mice, go through an estrous cycle. How menstruation and the underlying mechanisms evolved is still unknown. Here we demonstrate that the process of menstruation is not just species-specific but also depends on factors which can be induced experimentally. In intact female mice endogenous progesterone levels were raised by the induction of pseudopregnancy. Following an intrauterine oil injection, the decidualization of the endometrium was reliably induced as a prerequisite for menstruation. The natural drop of endogenous progesterone led to spontaneous breakdown of endometrial tissue within an average of 3 days post induction of decidualization. Interestingly, morphological changes such as breakdown and repair of the endometrial layer occurred in parallel in the same uterine horn. Most importantly, endometrial breakdown was accompanied by vaginally visible (overt) bleeding and flushing out of shed tissue comparable to human menstruation. Real-time PCR data clearly showed temporal changes in the expression of multiple factors participating in inflammation, angiogenesis, tissue modulation, proliferation, and apoptosis, as has been described for human menstruating endometrium. In conclusion, human menstruation can be mimicked in terms of extravaginally visible bleeding, tissue remodeling, and gene regulation in naturally non-menstruating species such as intact female mice without the need for an exogenous hormone supply.
PMCID: PMC3296749  PMID: 22412950
2.  Willingness to Donate Human Samples for Establishing a Dermatology Research Biobank: Results of a Survey 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2011;9(3):265-271.
There is a rising need for biomaterial in dermatological research with regard to both quality and quantity. Research biobanks as organized collections of biological material with associated personal and clinical data are of increasing importance. Besides technological/methodological and legal aspects, the willingness to donate samples by patients and healthy volunteers is a key success factor. To analyze the theoretical willingness to donate blood and skin samples, we developed and distributed a questionnaire. Six hundred nineteen questionnaires were returned and analyzed. The willingness to donate samples of blood (82.5%) and skin (58.7%) is high among the population analyzed and seems to be largely independent of any expense allowance. People working in the healthcare system, dermatological patients, and higher qualified individuals seem to be in particular willing to donate material. An adequate patient insurance as well as an extensive education about risks and benefits is requested. In summary, there is a high willingness to donate biological samples for dermatological research. This theoretical awareness fits well with our own experiences in establishing such a biobank.
PMCID: PMC3178419  PMID: 21977242
3.  Catecholamine-induced interleukin-10 release: a key mechanism in systemic immunodepression after brain injury 
Critical Care  1999;3(6):R107-R111.
Infections after severe brain injury or polytrauma are still a problem, and may be the result of a brain-mediated disturbed systemic immunoreactivity. The mechanism that connects initial brain affection and systemic immunodepression, however, is still poorly understood.
In order to analyze the influence of the sympathetic nervous system in the context of brain injury on systemic immune functions, we performed various in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies. We were able to demonstrate that catecholamines trigger the release of the strong anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10 from peripheral blood mononuclear cells and monocytes. In animal models we were able to show that increased intracranial pressure as well as intracerebral proinflammatory cytokines (eg IL-1β) produce a rapid systemic IL-10 release through sympathetic activation. Thus, in both models, the predominant role of catecholamines for this effect was confirmed by the complete prevention of IL-10 increase after β-adrenoreceptor blockade. Moreover, in clinical studies we clearly demonstrated that neurosurgical procedures involving brain-stem manipulation invoke sympathetic activation and a rapid systemic IL-10 release. Remarkably, this was associated with monocytic deactivation – a sign of systemic immunodepression and a high risk of infectious complications.Finally, these data were validated in patients with accidental brain injury, in whom we demonstrated a correlation between the severity of injury, sympathetic activation, IL-10 plasma levels and the incidence of infectious complications.
In summary, we suppose that activation of inhibitory neuroimmune pathways like the sympathetic nervous system, but also the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, may trigger a systemic anti-inflammatory response syndrome that leads to systemic immunodepression. In this process the catecholamine-mediated systemic IL-10 release that causes monocytic deactivation may be a key mechanism.
PMCID: PMC137244
brain injury; critical illness; immunodepression; infection; inflammation; prognosis

Results 1-3 (3)