Recent Submissions

  • Journal Article

    Interpretation bias modification to reduce body dissatisfaction – a randomized controlled pilot study in women with elevated weight and shape concerns 

    Bradatsch, Silvia; Vahl, Marlene D; Potterton, Rachel; Gordon, Gemma; Schmidt, Ulrike; Brockmeyer, Timo
    Journal of Eating Disorders. 2020 Jul 02;8(1):34
    Abstract Background Recent research has identified several cognitive biases in patients with eating disorders, such as a tendency to interpret ambiguous information about one’s own body in a negative way. The so-called “negative interpretation bias” is considered to be a key factor in maintaining maladaptive cognitions and behaviors in eating disorders. Studies on modification of the negative interpretation bias in eating disorders have yielded mixed results. This randomized controlled pilot study examined whether a specially adapted, computerized version of the Scrambled Sentences Task modifies negative interpretation bias in women with elevated body dissatisfaction. Methods The sample consisted of 40 normal-weight women with elevated body dissatisfaction, randomly assigned either to an intervention or a no-intervention control group (each n = 20). The intervention group received six sessions (within two weeks) of a newly-developed interpretation bias modification training that involved unscrambling positively valenced, body image-related sentences. The control group received no intervention. In both groups, body image-related negative interpretation bias (main outcome), trait body dissatisfaction and thin-ideal cue reactivity were assessed at baseline and two weeks later. Additionally, in the intervention condition, the trajectory of expected reductions in the thin-ideal internalization was measured during each training session. Results In both conditions, body image-related negative interpretation bias and trait body dissatisfaction decreased significantly from pre- to post-assessment; however, a specific effect imparted by the interpretation bias modification training was not found. Groups did not differ in thin-ideal cue reactivity. In the intervention group, thin-ideal internalization decreased significantly over the training sessions. Conclusions The findings do not support use of body image-related interpretation bias modification in its current form in the treatment of body dissatisfaction. Further research involving different versions of the training and clinical samples is warranted.
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  • Journal Article

    Absence of lymphatic vessels in term placenta 

    Becker, Jürgen; Tchagou Tchangou, Gilles E; Schmidt, Sonja; Zelent, Christina; Kahl, Fritz; Wilting, Jörg
    BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2020 Jun 29;20(1):380
    Abstract Background There has been debate about the existence of lymphatic vessels in placenta. Lymphatic endothelial cell (LEC) markers such as LYVE-1 and podoplanin/D2–40 have been found, although PROX1 has not been detected. The most reliable marker for LECs is the double staining for CD31 and PROX1, which has not been performed yet. Methods We studied three term placentas and dissected them into three areas: i.) basal plate area, ii.) intermediate area, and iii.) chorionic plate area. We used immunofluorescence single and double staining with antibodies against CD31, PROX1, LYVE-1, VEGFR-3, D2–40/PDPN, CD34, CCBE-1, and vimentin, as well as nested PCR, qPCR, Western blot and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Results At TEM level we observed structures that have previously mistakenly been interpreted as lymphatics, however, we did not find any CD31/PROX1 double-positive cells in placenta. Absence of PROX1 was also noted by nested PCR, qPCR and Western blot. Also, LEC marker VEGFR-3 was expressed only in a small number of scattered leukocytes but was absent from vessels. The LEC marker D2–40/PDPN was expressed in most stromal cells, and the LEC marker LYVE-1 was found in a considerable number of stromal cells, but not in endothelial cells, which were positive for CD31, CD34, CCBE-1 and vimentin. Additionally, vimentin was found in stromal cells. Conclusions Our studies clearly show absence of lymphatics in term placenta. We also show that the functional area of the mother’s endometrium is not penetrated by lymphatics in term pregnancy.
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  • Journal Article

    Angioplasty with the scepter C dual lumen balloon catheter and postprocedural result evaluation in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage related vasospasms 

    Tsogkas, Ioannis; Malinova, Vesna; Schregel, Katharina; Mielke, Dorothee; Behme, Daniel; Rohde, Veit; Knauth, Michael; Psychogios, Marios-Nikos
    BMC Neurology. 2020 Jun 29;20(1):260
    Abstract Background Delayed cerebral ischemia is one of the leading causes of death and disability in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Transluminal balloon angioplasty (TBA) is a therapeutic option for vasospasms affecting proximal intracranial arteries. Methods Aim of this study was to report our experience using the Scepter C balloon catheter in the treatment of cerebral vasospasms due to SAH and evaluate the postprocedural result with the iFlow tool. We reviewed cases of patients treated at our hospital from 2014 to 2018. Patients were screened with transcranial doppler sonography (TCD) and multimodal computed tomography. In case of significant vasospasms, patients were transferred to the angiography suite and treated. We used the iFlow tool to quantify and evaluate the angiographic results by measuring and comparing peak density values on angiograms before and after the mechanical dilation. Results The use of the Scepter C balloon catheter was feasible in all cases. Vasospasms of the anterior cerebral artery were treated in ten cases. We didn’t observe complications or vasospasm recurrences of the treated arteries. The temporal difference between distal vessels and the proximal reference vessel was significantly reduced from a mean of 53%, prior to dilatation, to 26% after the treatment. The difference between pre-dilatation and post-dilatation values was statistically significant for the anterior circulation at the proximal as well as at the distal vessels. Conclusions We successfully treated endovascularly patients suffering from cerebral vasospasms refractory to medical treatment using the Scepter C balloon catheter. We didn’t observe any complications. The therapeutic effect could be easily and reliably assessed with the iFlow tool.
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  • Journal Article

    Diverse and unique viruses discovered in the surface water of the East China Sea 

    Wu, Shuang; Zhou, Liang; Zhou, Yifan; Wang, Hongming; Xiao, Jinzhou; Yan, Shuling; Wang, Yongjie
    BMC Genomics. 2020 Jun 26;21(1):441
    Abstract Background Viruses are the most abundant biological entities on earth and play import roles in marine biogeochemical cycles. Here, viral communities in the surface water of the East China Sea (ECS) were collected from three representative regions of Yangshan Harbor (YSH), Gouqi Island (GQI), and the Yangtze River Estuary (YRE) and explored primarily through epifluorescence microscopy (EM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and metagenomics analysis. Results The virus-like particles (VLPs) in the surface water of the ECS were measured to be 106 to 107 VLPs/ml. Most of the isolated viral particles possessed a head-and-tail structure, but VLPs with unique morphotypes that had never before been observed in the realm of viruses were also found. The sequences related to known viruses in GenBank accounted for 21.1–22.8% of the viromic datasets from YSH, GQI, and YRE. In total, 1029 viral species were identified in the surface waters of the ECS. Among them, tailed phages turn out to make up the majority of viral communities, however a small number of Phycodnaviridae or Mimiviridae related sequences were also detected. The diversity of viruses did not appear to be a big difference among these three aquatic environments but their relative abundance was geographically variable. For example, the Pelagibacter phage HTVC010P accounted for 50.4% of the identified viral species in GQI, but only 9.1% in YSH and 11.7% in YRE. Sequences, almost identical to those of uncultured marine thaumarchaeal dsDNA viruses and magroviruses that infect Marine Group II Euryarchaeota, were confidently detected in the ECS viromes. The predominant classes of virome ORFs with functional annotations that were found were those involved in viral biogenesis. Virus-host connections, inferred from CRISPR spacer-protospacer mapping, implied newly discovered infection relationships in response to arms race between them. Conclusions Together, both identified viruses and unknown viral assemblages observed in this study were indicative of the complex viral community composition found in the ECS. This finding fills a major gap in the dark world of oceanic viruses of China and additionally contributes to the better understanding of global marine viral diversity, composition, and distribution.
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  • Journal Article

    Real-time cardiovascular magnetic resonance T1 and extracellular volume fraction mapping for tissue characterisation in aortic stenosis 

    Backhaus, Sören J; Lange, Torben; Beuthner, Bo E; Topci, Rodi; Wang, Xiaoqing; Kowallick, Johannes T; Lotz, Joachim; Seidler, Tim; Toischer, Karl; Zeisberg, Elisabeth M; et al.
    Puls, MiriamJacobshagen, ClaudiusUecker, MartinHasenfuß, GerdSchuster, Andreas
    Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. 2020 Jun 22;22(1):46
    Abstract Background Myocardial fibrosis is a major determinant of outcome in aortic stenosis (AS). Novel fast real-time (RT) cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) mapping techniques allow comprehensive quantification of fibrosis but have not yet been compared against standard techniques and histology. Methods Patients with severe AS underwent CMR before (n = 110) and left ventricular (LV) endomyocardial biopsy (n = 46) at transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Midventricular short axis (SAX) native, post-contrast T1 and extracellular volume fraction (ECV) maps were generated using commercially available modified Look-Locker Inversion recovery (MOLLI) (native: 5(3)3, post-contrast: 4(1)3(1)2) and RT single-shot inversion recovery Fast Low-Angle Shot (FLASH) with radial undersampling. Focal late gadolinium enhancement was excluded from T1 and ECV regions of interest. ECV and LV mass were used to calculate LV matrix volumes. Variability and agreements were assessed between RT, MOLLI and histology using intraclass correlation coefficients, coefficients of variation and Bland Altman analyses. Results RT and MOLLI derived ECV were similar for midventricular SAX slice coverage (26.2 vs. 26.5, p = 0.073) and septal region of interest (26.2 vs. 26.5, p = 0.216). MOLLI native T1 time was in median 20 ms longer compared to RT (p < 0.001). Agreement between RT and MOLLI was best for ECV (ICC > 0.91), excellent for post-contrast T1 times (ICC > 0.81) and good for native T1 times (ICC > 0.62). Diffuse collagen volume fraction by biopsies was in median 7.8%. ECV (RT r = 0.345, p = 0.039; MOLLI r = 0.40, p = 0.010) and LV matrix volumes (RT r = 0.45, p = 0.005; MOLLI r = 0.43, p = 0.007) were the only parameters associated with histology. Conclusions RT mapping offers fast and sufficient ECV and LV matrix volume calculation in AS patients. ECV and LV matrix volume represent robust and universally comparable parameters with associations to histologically assessed fibrosis and may emerge as potential targets for clinical decision making.
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  • Journal Article

    Unexpected high frequency of neurofibroma in the celiac ganglion of German cattle 

    Dammann, Insa; Wemheuer, Wiebke M; Wrede, Arne; Wemheuer, Wilhelm E; Campe, Amely; Petschenka, Jutta; Schulze-Sturm, Ulf; Hahmann, Uwe; Czerny, Claus P; Münster, Pia; et al.
    Brening, BertramKreienbrock, LotharHerden, ChristianeSchulz-Schaeffer, Walter J
    Veterinary Research. 2020 Jun 17;51(1):82
    Abstract In a study originally designed to find potential risk factors for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) we examined tissues from 403 Holstein Frisian cattle in total. These included 20 BSE cattle and their 236 birth- and feeding cohort animals plus 32 offspring, 103 age, breed and district-matched control cattle and further twelve cattle with neurological signs. In addition to the obex, we examined the celiac ganglion, cervical cranial ganglion, trigeminal ganglion and proximal ganglion of the vagus nerve using histological techniques. Unexpectedly, we found a high number of neurofibroma, a benign peripheral nerve sheath tumor consisting of Schwann cells, fibroblasts and perineural cells. The neurofibroma were present only in the celiac ganglion and found during histologic examination. With a frequency of 9.91% in BSE cattle and their cohorts (case animals) and 9.09% in the age, breed and district matched control animals there seems to be no correlation between the occurrence of BSE and neurofibroma. Benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors have been described more often in cattle than in other domestic animals. Usually, they are incidental macroscopic findings in the thoracic ganglia during meat inspection. To our knowledge, there are no previous systematic histologic studies including bovine celiac ganglia at all. The high incidence of celiac ganglia neurofibroma may play a role in the frequently occurring abomasal displacements in Holstein Frisian cattle as the tumors might cause a gastrointestinal motility disorder. At present a genetic predisposition for these neoplasms cannot be ruled out.
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  • Journal Article

    Novel modified endoscopic mucosal resection of large GI lesions (> 20 mm) using an external additional working channel (AWC) may improve R0 resection rate: initial clinical experience 

    Sportes, A.; CFM, Jung; Gromski, M. A; Koehler, P.; Seif Amir Hosseini, A.; Kauffmann, P.; Ellenrieder, V.; Wedi, E.
    BMC Gastroenterology. 2020 Jun 19;20(1):195
    Abstract Background En-bloc resection of large, flat dysplastic mucosal lesions of the luminal GI tract can be challenging. In order to improve the efficacy of resection for lesions ≥2 cm and to optimize R0 resection rates of lesions suspected of harboring high-grade dysplasia or early adenocarcinoma, a novel grasp and snare EMR technique utilizing a novel over the scope additional accessory channel, termed EMR Plus (EMR+), was developed. The aim of this pilot study is to describe the early safety and efficacy data from the first in human clinical cases. Methods A novel external over-the-scope additional working channel (AWC) (Ovesco, Tuebingen, Germany) was utilized for the EMR+ procedure, allowing a second endoscopic device to be used through the AWC while using otherwise standard endoscopic equipment. The EMR+ technique allows tissue retraction and a degree of triangulation during endoscopic resection. We performed EMR+ procedure in 6 patients between 02/2018–12/2018 for lesions in the upper and lower GI tract. Results The EMR+ technique utilizing the AWC was performed successfully in 6 resection procedures of the upper and/or lower GI tract in 6 patients in 2 endoscopy centers. All resections were performed successfully with the EMR+ technique, all achieving an R0 resection. No severe adverse events occurred in any of the procedures. Conclusions The EMR+ technique, utilizing an additional working channel, had an acceptable safety and efficacy profile in this preliminary study demonstrating it’s first use in humans. This technique may allow an additional option to providers to remove complex, large mucosal-based lesions in the GI tract using standard endoscopic equipment and a novel AWC device.
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  • Journal Article

    Various effects of the expression of the xyloglucanase gene from Penicillium canescens in transgenic aspen under semi-natural conditions 

    Vidyagina, Elena O; Subbotina, Natalia M; Belyi, Vladimir A; Lebedev, Vadim G; Krutovsky, Konstantin V; Shestibratov, Konstantin A
    BMC Plant Biology. 2020 Jun 03;20(1):251
    Abstract Background Recombinant carbohydrases genes are used to produce transgenic woody plants with improved phenotypic traits. However, cultivation of such plants in open field is challenging due to a number of problems. Therefore, additional research is needed to alleviate them. Results Results of successful cultivation of the transgenic aspens (Populus tremula) carrying the recombinant xyloglucanase gene (sp-Xeg) from Penicillium canescens in semi-natural conditions are reported in this paper for the first time. Change of carbohydrate composition of wood was observed in transgenic aspens carrying the sp-Xeg gene. The transformed transgenic line Xeg-2-1b demonstrated accelerated growth and increased content of cellulose in wood of trees growing in both greenhouse and outside in comparison with the control untransformed line Pt. The accelerated growth was observed also in the transgenic line Xeg-1-1c. Thicker cell-wall and longer xylem fiber were also observed in both these transgenic lines. Undescribed earlier considerable reduction in the wood decomposition rate of the transgenic aspen stems was also revealed for the transformed transgenic lines. The decomposition rate was approximately twice as lower for the transgenic line Xeg-2-3b in comparison with the control untransformed line Pt. Conclusion A direct dependence of the phenotypic and biochemical traits on the expression of the recombinant gene sp-Xeg was demonstrated. The higher was the level of the sp-Xeg gene expression, the more pronounced were changes in the phenotypic and biochemical traits. All lines showed phenotypic changes in the leave traits. Our results showed that the plants carrying the recombinant sp-Xeg gene do not demonstrate a decrease in growth parameters in semi-natural conditions. In some transgenic lines, a change in the carbohydrate composition of the wood, an increase in the cell wall thickness, and a decrease in the rate of decomposition of wood were observed.
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  • Journal Article

    Correction to: Genome-wide SNP data unveils the globalization of domesticated pigs 

    Yang, Bin; Cui, Leilei; Perez-Enciso, Miguel; Traspov, Aleksei; Crooijmans, Richard P M A; Zinovieva, Natalia; Schook, Lawrence B; Archibald, Alan; Gatphayak, Kesinee; Knorr, Christophe; et al.
    Triantafyllidis, AlexAlexandri, PanoraiaSemiadi, GonoHanotte, OlivierDias, DeodáliaDovč, PeterUimari, PekkaIacolina, LauraScandura, MassimoGroenen, Martien A MHuang, LushengMegens, Hendrik-Jan
    Genetics Selection Evolution. 2020 Jun 04;52(1):30
    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
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  • Journal Article

    Serosurvey of Treponema pallidum infection among children with skin ulcers in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, northern Tanzania 

    Lubinza, Clara K C; Lueert, Simone; Hallmaier-Wacker, Luisa K; Ngadaya, Esther; Chuma, Idrissa S; Kazwala, Rudovick R; Mfinanga, Sayoki G M; Failing, Klaus; Roos, Christian; Knauf, Sascha
    BMC Infectious Diseases. 2020 Jun 03;20(1):392
    Abstract Background The first yaws eradication campaign reduced the prevalence of yaws by 95%. In recent years, however, yaws has reemerged and is currently subject to a second, ongoing eradication campaign. Yet, the epidemiological status of Tanzania and 75 other countries with a known history of human yaws is currently unknown. Contrary to the situation in humans in Tanzania, recent infection of nonhuman primates (NHPs) with the yaws bacterium Treponema pallidum subsp. pertenue (TPE) have been reported. In this study, we consider a One Health approach to investigate yaws and describe skin ulcers and corresponding T. pallidum serology results among children living in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem, an area with increasing wildlife-human interaction in northern Tanzania. Methods To investigate human yaws in Tanzania, we conducted a cross-sectional study to screen and interview skin-ulcerated children aged 6 to 15 years, who live in close proximity to two national parks with high numbers of naturally TPE-infected monkeys. Serum samples from children with skin ulcers were tested for antibodies against the bacterium using a treponemal (Treponema pallidum Particle Agglutination assay) and a non-treponemal (Rapid Plasma Reagin) test. Results A total of 186 children aged between 6 and 15 years (boys: 10.7 ± 2.1 (mean ± SD), N = 132; girls: 10.9 ± 2.0 (mean ± SD), N = 54) were enrolled. Seven children were sampled at health care facilities and 179 at primary schools. 38 children (20.4%) reported active participation in bushmeat hunting and consumption and 26 (13.9%) reported at least one physical contact with a NHP. None of the lesions seen were pathognomonic for yaws. Two children tested positive for treponemal antibodies (1.2%) in the treponemal test, but remained negative in the non-treponemal test. Conclusions We found no serological evidence of yaws among children in the Tarangire-Manyara ecosystem. Nevertheless, the close genetic relationship of human and NHPs infecting TPE strains should lead to contact prevention with infected NHPs. Further research investigations are warranted to study the causes and possible prevention measures of spontaneous chronic ulcers among children in rural Tanzania and to certify that the country is free from human yaws.
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  • Journal Article

    Why companies prefer applicants from non-immigrant families: investigating access to vocational training among low-qualified adolescents with an interlinked firm-applicant survey 

    Söhn, Janina
    Empirical Research in Vocational Education and Training. 2020 May 30;12(1):4
    Abstract In the German system of dual vocational training, in which companies recruit apprentices, graduates from low-level secondary schools (Hauptschule), and particularly those from immigrant families, are at a significant disadvantage regarding access to such apprenticeships. Previous qualitative studies have already pointed to the role of companies’ recruiting criteria for mechanisms of indirect discrimination, e.g., their desire for smooth social interaction within the firm. This article builds on a standardized survey among companies to which low-skilled adolescents successfully or unsuccessfully applied for dual vocational training. The company data are matched with secondary longitudinal survey data on the same girls and boys. Which recruiting criteria put ethnic minorities at a disadvantage and hence indirectly facilitate ethnic discrimination? The theoretical approach considers (knowledge of) the immigration country’s official language as both a functional requirement and a tool of hierarchical ethnic boundary making. In addition, concepts of social interaction within firms and respective norms as well as of homophily are subjected to an empirical test. Statistical results show that the below-average recruitment chances of applicants with a migration background are somewhat lower if companies stress a social fit criterion in their selection procedures. Furthermore, contrary to the initial hypothesis, ethnic minority youths are only substantially disadvantaged when applying to firms which consider the ability of verbal expression less crucial. Firms which consider this criterion very important may give applicants from immigrant families the chance to present themselves in a job interview and thus dispel ethnic stereotypes like the one that second-generation immigrant youths display serious language deficiencies.
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  • Journal Article

    Intravenous fluid therapy in the perioperative and critical care setting: Executive summary of the International Fluid Academy (IFA) 

    Malbrain, Manu L N G; Langer, Thomas; Annane, Djillali; Gattinoni, Luciano; Elbers, Paul; Hahn, Robert G; De laet, Inneke; Minini, Andrea; Wong, Adrian; Ince, Can; et al.
    Muckart, DavidMythen, MontyCaironi, PietroVan Regenmortel, Niels
    Annals of Intensive Care. 2020 May 24;10(1):64
    Abstract Intravenous fluid administration should be considered as any other pharmacological prescription. There are three main indications: resuscitation, replacement, and maintenance. Moreover, the impact of fluid administration as drug diluent or to preserve catheter patency, i.e., fluid creep, should also be considered. As for antibiotics, intravenous fluid administration should follow the four Ds: drug, dosing, duration, de-escalation. Among crystalloids, balanced solutions limit acid–base alterations and chloride load and should be preferred, as this likely prevents renal dysfunction. Among colloids, albumin, the only available natural colloid, may have beneficial effects. The last decade has seen growing interest in the potential harms related to fluid overloading. In the perioperative setting, appropriate fluid management that maintains adequate organ perfusion while limiting fluid administration should represent the standard of care. Protocols including a restrictive continuous fluid administration alongside bolus administration to achieve hemodynamic targets have been proposed. A similar approach should be considered also for critically ill patients, in whom increased endothelial permeability makes this strategy more relevant. Active de-escalation protocols may be necessary in a later phase. The R.O.S.E. conceptual model (Resuscitation, Optimization, Stabilization, Evacuation) summarizes accurately a dynamic approach to fluid therapy, maximizing benefits and minimizing harms. Even in specific categories of critically ill patients, i.e., with trauma or burns, fluid therapy should be carefully applied, considering the importance of their specific aims; maintaining peripheral oxygen delivery, while avoiding the consequences of fluid overload.
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  • Journal Article

    Correction to: Towards the restoration of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor for large mammals in Panama: comparing multi-species occupancy to movement models 

    Meyer, Ninon F V; Moreno, Ricardo; Reyna-Hurtado, Rafael; Signer, Johannes; Balkenhol, Niko
    Movement Ecology. 2020 May 26;8(1):20
    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
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  • Journal Article

    Tax4Fun2: prediction of habitat-specific functional profiles and functional redundancy based on 16S rRNA gene sequences 

    Wemheuer, Franziska; Taylor, Jessica A; Daniel, Rolf; Johnston, Emma; Meinicke, Peter; Thomas, Torsten; Wemheuer, Bernd
    Environmental Microbiome. 2020 May 18;15(1):11
    Abstract Background Sequencing of 16S rRNA genes has become a powerful technique to study microbial communities and their responses towards changing environmental conditions in various ecosystems. Several tools have been developed for the prediction of functional profiles from 16S rRNA gene sequencing data, because numerous questions in ecosystem ecology require knowledge of community functions in addition to taxonomic composition. However, the accuracy of these tools relies on functional information derived from genomes available in public databases, which are often not representative of the microorganisms present in the studied ecosystem. In addition, there is also a lack of tools to predict functional gene redundancy in microbial communities. Results To address these challenges, we developed Tax4Fun2, an R package for the prediction of functional profiles and functional gene redundancies of prokaryotic communities from 16S rRNA gene sequences. We demonstrate that functional profiles predicted by Tax4Fun2 are highly correlated to functional profiles derived from metagenomes of the same samples. We further show that Tax4Fun2 has higher accuracies than PICRUSt and Tax4Fun. By incorporating user-defined, habitat-specific genomic information, the accuracy and robustness of predicted functional profiles is substantially enhanced. In addition, functional gene redundancies predicted with Tax4Fun2 are highly correlated to functional gene redundancies determined for simulated microbial communities. Conclusions Tax4Fun2 provides researchers with a unique tool to predict and investigate functional profiles of prokaryotic communities based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing data. It is easy-to-use, platform-independent and highly memory-efficient, thus enabling researchers without extensive bioinformatics knowledge or access to high-performance clusters to predict functional profiles. Another unique feature of Tax4Fun2 is that it allows researchers to calculate the redundancy of specific functions, which is a potentially important measure of how resilient a community will be to environmental perturbation. Tax4Fun2 is implemented in R and freely available at https://github.com/bwemheu/Tax4Fun2.
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  • Journal Article

    Gastrointestinal dysfunction in the critically ill: a systematic scoping review and research agenda proposed by the Section of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition of the European Society of Intensive Care Medicine 

    Reintam Blaser, Annika; Preiser, Jean-Charles; Fruhwald, Sonja; Wilmer, Alexander; Wernerman, Jan; Benstoem, Carina; Casaer, Michael P; Starkopf, Joel; van Zanten, Arthur; Rooyackers, Olav; et al.
    Jakob, Stephan MLoudet, Cecilia IBear, Danielle EElke, GunnarKott, MatthiasLautenschläger, IngmarSchäper, JörnGunst, JanStoppe, ChristianNobile, LedaFuhrmann, ValentinBerger, Mette MOudemans-van Straaten, Heleen MArabi, Yaseen MDeane, Adam M
    Critical Care. 2020 May 15;24(1):224
    Abstract Background Gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction is frequent in the critically ill but can be overlooked as a result of the lack of standardization of the diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. We aimed to develop a research agenda for GI dysfunction for future research. We systematically reviewed the current knowledge on a broad range of subtopics from a specific viewpoint of GI dysfunction, highlighting the remaining areas of uncertainty and suggesting future studies. Methods This systematic scoping review and research agenda was conducted following successive steps: (1) identify clinically important subtopics within the field of GI function which warrant further research; (2) systematically review the literature for each subtopic using PubMed, CENTRAL and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; (3) summarize evidence for each subtopic; (4) identify areas of uncertainty; (5) formulate and refine study proposals that address these subtopics; and (6) prioritize study proposals via sequential voting rounds. Results Five major themes were identified: (1) monitoring, (2) associations between GI function and outcome, (3) GI function and nutrition, (4) management of GI dysfunction and (5) pathophysiological mechanisms. Searches on 17 subtopics were performed and evidence summarized. Several areas of uncertainty were identified, six of them needing consensus process. Study proposals ranked among the first ten included: prevention and management of diarrhoea; management of upper and lower feeding intolerance, including indications for post-pyloric feeding and opioid antagonists; acute gastrointestinal injury grading as a bedside tool; the role of intra-abdominal hypertension in the development and monitoring of GI dysfunction and in the development of non-occlusive mesenteric ischaemia; and the effect of proton pump inhibitors on the microbiome in critical illness. Conclusions Current evidence on GI dysfunction is scarce, partially due to the lack of precise definitions. The use of core sets of monitoring and outcomes are required to improve the consistency of future studies. We propose several areas for consensus process and outline future study projects.
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  • Journal Article

    Evaluation of a communication skills training to facilitate addressing palliative care related topics in advanced cancer patients: study protocol of a multicenter randomized controlled trial (PALLI-KOM) 

    Harnischfeger, Nele; Rath, Hilke M; Ullrich, Anneke; Alt-Epping, Bernd; Letsch, Anne; Thuss-Patience, Peter; Bokemeyer, Carsten; Oechsle, Karin; Bergelt, Corinna
    BMC Palliative Care. 2020 May 12;19(1):67
    Abstract Background Early integration of palliative care concurrently to standard cancer care is associated with several benefits for patients and their caregivers. However, communication barriers on part of the caring physicians often impede a timely referral to palliative care. This study describes the protocol of the evaluation of a communication skills training aiming to strengthen the ability of physicians to address palliative care related topics adequately and early during disease trajectory. Methods We will implement a communication skills training and evaluate it within a prospective, multi-centered, two-armed randomized controlled trial (RCT), which will be conducted at four sites in Germany. Eligible subjects are all physicians treating patients with advanced cancer in their daily routine. An intervention group (IG) receiving a group training will be compared to a wait-list control group (CG) receiving the training after completion of data collection. At pre- and post-measurement points, participants will conduct videotaped conversations with standardized simulated patients (SP). Primary outcome will be the external rating of communication skills and consulting competencies addressing palliative care related topics. Secondary outcomes on core concepts of palliative care, basic knowledge, attitudes, confidence and self-efficacy will be assessed by standardized questionnaires and self-developed items. A further external assessment of the quality of physician-patient-interaction will be conducted by the SP. Longitudinal quantitative data will be analyzed using covariate-adjusted linear mixed-models. Discussion If the communication skills training proves to be effective, it will provide a feasible intervention to promote an earlier communication of palliative care related topics in the care of advanced cancer patients. This would help to further establish early integration of palliative care as it is recommended by national and international guidelines. Trial registration German Clinical Trials Register DRKS00017025 (date of registration: 4 June 2019).
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  • Journal Article

    Genetic variants in FBLIM1 gene do not contribute to SAPHO syndrome and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis in typical patient groups 

    Assmann, Gunter; Köhm, Michaela; Schuster, Volker; Behrens, Frank; Mössner, Rotraut; Magnolo, Nina; Oji, Vinzenz; Burkhardt, Harald; Hüffmeier, Ulrike
    BMC Medical Genetics. 2020 May 12;21(1):102
    Abstract Background Syndrome of synovitis acne pustulosis hyperostosis osteitis (SAPHO) and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO) present two diseases of a dermatologic and rheumatologic spectrum that are variable in manifestation und therapeutic response. Genetic risk factors have long been assumed in both diseases, but no single reliable factor has been identified yet. Therefore, we aimed to clinically characterize a patient group with syndrome of synovitis acne pustulosis hyperostosis osteitis (SAPHO) (n = 47) and chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO)/ chronic non-bacterial osteomyelitis (CNO) (n = 9) and analyze a CRMO candidate gene. Methods Clinical data of all patients were collected and assessed for different combinations of clinical symptoms. SAPHO patients were grouped into categories according to the acronym; disease-contribution by pathogens was evaluated. We sequenced coding exons of FBLIM1. Results Palmoplantar pustular psoriasis (PPP) was the most common skin manifestation in CRMO/CNO and SAPHO patients; most SAPHO patients had sterno-costo-clavicular hyperostosis. The most common clinical category of the acronym was S_PHO (n = 26). Lack of pathogen detection from bone biopsies was more common than microbial isolation. We did not identify autosomal-recessive FBLIM1 variants. Conclusions S_PHO is the most common combination of symptoms of its acronym. Genetic analyses of FBLIM1 did not provide evidence that this gene is relevant in our patient group. Our study indicates the need to elucidate SAPHO’s and CRMO/CNO’s pathogenesis.
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  • Journal Article

    Correction to: SMART coils for intracranial aneurysm repair - a single center experience 

    Behme, Daniel; Sack, Henrik; Tsogkas, Ioannis; Rohde, Veit; Psychogios, Marios-Nikos
    BMC Neurology. 2020 May 14;20(1):188
    An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.
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  • Journal Article

    Genomic variation among closely related Vibrio alginolyticus strains is located on mobile genetic elements 

    Chibani, Cynthia M; Roth, Olivia; Liesegang, Heiko; Wendling, Carolin C
    BMC Genomics. 2020 May 11;21(1):354
    Abstract Background Species of the genus Vibrio, one of the most diverse bacteria genera, have undergone niche adaptation followed by clonal expansion. Niche adaptation and ultimately the formation of ecotypes and speciation in this genus has been suggested to be mainly driven by horizontal gene transfer (HGT) through mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Our knowledge about the diversity and distribution of Vibrio MGEs is heavily biased towards human pathogens and our understanding of the distribution of core genomic signatures and accessory genes encoded on MGEs within specific Vibrio clades is still incomplete. We used nine different strains of the marine bacterium Vibrio alginolyticus isolated from pipefish in the Kiel-Fjord to perform a multiscale-comparative genomic approach that allowed us to investigate [1] those genomic signatures that characterize a habitat-specific ecotype and [2] the source of genomic variation within this ecotype. Results We found that the nine isolates from the Kiel-Fjord have a closed-pangenome and did not differ based on core-genomic signatures. Unique genomic regions and a unique repertoire of MGEs within the Kiel-Fjord isolates suggest that the acquisition of gene-blocks by HGT played an important role in the evolution of this ecotype. Additionally, we found that ~ 90% of the genomic variation among the nine isolates is encoded on MGEs, which supports ongoing theory that accessory genes are predominately located on MGEs and shared by HGT. Lastly, we could show that these nine isolates share a unique virulence and resistance profile which clearly separates them from all other investigated V. alginolyticus strains and suggests that these are habitat-specific genes, required for a successful colonization of the pipefish, the niche of this ecotype. Conclusion We conclude that all nine V. alginolyticus strains from the Kiel-Fjord belong to a unique ecotype, which we named the Kiel-alginolyticus ecotype. The low sequence variation of the core-genome in combination with the presence of MGE encoded relevant traits, as well as the presence of a suitable niche (here the pipefish), suggest, that this ecotype might have evolved from a clonal expansion following HGT driven niche-adaptation.
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  • Journal Article

    Soil-plant co-stimulation during forest vegetation restoration in a subtropical area of southern China 

    Chen, Chan; Fang, Xi; Xiang, Wenhua; Lei, Pifeng; Ouyang, Shuai; Kuzyakov, Yakov
    Forest Ecosystems. 2020 May 08;7(1):32
    Abstract Background Soil and vegetation have a direct impact on the process and direction of plant community succession, and determine the structure, function, and productivity of ecosystems. However, little is known about the synergistic influence of soil physicochemical properties and vegetation features on vegetation restoration. The aim of this study was to investigate the co-evolution of soil physicochemical properties and vegetation features in the process of vegetation restoration, and to distinguish the primary and secondary relationships between soil and vegetation in their collaborative effects on promoting vegetation restoration in a subtropical area of China. Methods Soil samples were collected to 40 cm in four distinct plant communities along a restoration gradient from herb (4–5 years), to shrub (11–12 years), to Pinus massoniana coniferous and broadleaved mixed forest (45–46 years), and to evergreen broadleaved forest (old growth forest). Measurements were taken of the soil physicochemical properties and Shannon–Wiener index (SD), diameter at breast height (DBH), height (H), and biomass. Principal component analysis, linear function analysis, and variation partitioning analysis were then performed to prioritize the relative importance of the leading factors affecting vegetation restoration. Results Soil physicochemical properties and vegetation features showed a significant trend of improvement across the vegetation restoration gradient, reflected mainly in the high response rates of soil organic carbon (SOC) (140.76%), total nitrogen (TN) (222.48%), total phosphorus (TP) (59.54%), alkaline hydrolysis nitrogen (AN) (544.65%), available phosphorus (AP) (53.28%), species diversity (86.3%), biomass (2906.52%), DBH (128.11%), and H (596.97%). The soil properties (pH, SOC, TN, AN, and TP) and vegetation features (biomass, DBH, and H) had a clear co-evolutionary relationship over the course of restoration. The synergistic interaction between soil properties and vegetation features had the greatest effect on biomass (55.55%–72.37%), and the soil properties contributed secondarily (3.30%–31.44%). The main impact factors of biomass varied with the restoration periods. Conclusions In the process of vegetation restoration, soil and vegetation promoted each other. Vegetation restoration was the cumulative result of changes in soil fertility and vegetation features.
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