101 research outputs found


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    The selection and definition of indicators in public health monitoring for the 65+ age group in Germany

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    Selecting relevant indicators is an important step in the development of public health monitoring for older people. Indicators can be used to combine information comprehensively from various data sources and enable recurring, comparable findings to be made about the health of older people. Indicators were systematically compiled from existing international monitoring systems. An indicator set on health in old age was developed using a multistage, structured consensus-based process together with an interdisciplinary panel of experts. The resulting 18 indicators were assigned to three health areas: (1) environmental factors, (2) activities and participation, and (3) personal factors. Data sources that can be used for the indicators are the health surveys within the framework of the Robert Koch Institute’s (RKI) health monitoring system, as well as surveys from other research institutes and official statistics. In the future, the indicator set is to be developed further and integrated into an overall approach that is geared towards health reporting and the monitoring of chronic diseases in all phases of life

    The EMT transcription factor ZEB1 blocks osteoblastic differentiation in bone development and osteosarcoma

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    Osteosarcoma is an often-fatal mesenchyme-derived malignancy in children and young adults. Overexpression of EMT-transcription factors (EMT-TFs) has been associated with poor clinical outcome. Here, we demonstrated that the EMT-TF ZEB1 is able to block osteoblastic differentiation in normal bone development as well as in osteosarcoma cells. Consequently, overexpression of ZEB1 in osteosarcoma characterizes poorly differentiated, highly metastatic subgroups and its depletion induces differentiation of osteosarcoma cells. Overexpression of ZEB1 in osteosarcoma is frequently associated with silencing of the imprinted DLK-DIO3 locus, which encodes for microRNAs targeting ZEB1. Epigenetic reactivation of this locus in osteosarcoma cells reduces ZEB1 expression, induces differentiation, and sensitizes to standard treatment, thus indicating therapeutic options for ZEB1-driven osteosarcomas. (c) 2021 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. on behalf of The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland

    Targeting NETs using dual-active DNase1 variants

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    Background: Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) are key mediators of immunothrombotic mechanisms and defective clearance of NETs from the circulation underlies an array of thrombotic, inflammatory, infectious, and autoimmune diseases. Efficient NET degradation depends on the combined activity of two distinct DNases, DNase1 and DNase1-like 3 (DNase1L3) that preferentially digest double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) and chromatin, respectively. Methods: Here, we engineered a dual-active DNase with combined DNase1 and DNase1L3 activities and characterized the enzyme for its NET degrading potential in vitro. Furthermore, we produced a mouse model with transgenic expression of the dual-active DNase and analyzed body fluids of these animals for DNase1 and DNase 1L3 activities. We systematically substituted 20 amino acid stretches in DNase1 that were not conserved among DNase1 and DNase1L3 with homologous DNase1L3 sequences. Results: We found that the ability of DNase1L3 to degrade chromatin is embedded into three discrete areas of the enzyme's core body, not the C-terminal domain as suggested by the state-of-the-art. Further, combined transfer of the aforementioned areas of DNase1L3 to DNase1 generated a dual-active DNase1 enzyme with additional chromatin degrading activity. The dual-active DNase1 mutant was superior to native DNase1 and DNase1L3 in degrading dsDNA and chromatin, respectively. Transgenic expression of the dual-active DNase1 mutant in hepatocytes of mice lacking endogenous DNases revealed that the engineered enzyme was stable in the circulation, released into serum and filtered to the bile but not into the urine. Conclusion: Therefore, the dual-active DNase1 mutant is a promising tool for neutralization of DNA and NETs with potential therapeutic applications for interference with thromboinflammatory disease states

    Stakeholder engagement to ensure the sustainability of biobanks: a survey of potential users of biobank services

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    Biobanks are important infrastructures facilitating biomedical research. After a decade of rolling out such infrastructures, a shift in attention to the sustainability of biobanks could be observed in recent years. In this regard, an increase in the as yet relatively low utilisation rates of biobanks has been formulated as a goal. Higher utilisation rates can only be achieved if the perspectives of potential users of biobanks-particularly researchers not yet collaborating with biobanks-are adequately considered. To better understand their perspectives, a survey was conducted at ten different research institutions in Germany hosting a centralised biobank. The survey targeted potential users of biobank services, i.e. researchers working with biosamples. It addressed the general demand for biosamples, strategies for biosample acquisition/storage and reasons for/against collaborating with biobanks. In total, 354 researchers filled out the survey. Most interestingly, only a minority of researchers (12%) acquired their biosamples via biobanks. Of the respondents not collaborating with biobanks on sample acquisition, around half were not aware of the (services of the) respective local biobank. Those who actively decided against acquiring biosamples via a biobank provided different reasons. Most commonly, respondents stated that the biosamples required were not available, the costs were too high and information about the available biosamples was not readily accessible. Biobanks can draw many lessons from the results of the survey. Particularly, external communication and outreach should be improved. Additionally, biobanks might have to reassess whether their particular collection strategies are adequately aligned with local researchers' needs

    Within-host evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in an immunosuppressed COVID-19 patient as a source of immune escape variants.

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    The origin of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern remains unclear. Here, we test whether intra-host virus evolution during persistent infections could be a contributing factor by characterizing the long-term SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics in an immunosuppressed kidney transplant recipient. Applying RT-qPCR and next-generation sequencing (NGS) of sequential respiratory specimens, we identify several mutations in the viral genome late in infection. We demonstrate that a late viral isolate exhibiting genome mutations similar to those found in variants of concern first identified in UK, South Africa, and Brazil, can escape neutralization by COVID-19 antisera. Moreover, infection of susceptible mice with this patient's escape variant elicits protective immunity against re-infection with either the parental virus and the escape variant, as well as high neutralization titers against the alpha and beta SARS-CoV-2 variants, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, demonstrating a considerable immune control against such variants of concern. Upon lowering immunosuppressive treatment, the patient generated spike-specific neutralizing antibodies and resolved the infection. Our results suggest that immunocompromised patients could be a source for the emergence of potentially harmful SARS-CoV-2 variants
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