Several research groups established functional tests to obtain performance data for mobility-related activities in patients with low back pain (LBP). In our study we aimed to assess the construct validity and associations with other measures of a battery of functional tests in relationship to physical performance on the one hand and physical capacity and variables of pain, disability and psychological variables on the other.
Treatment of primary or immortalized human airway epithelial cells (16HBE14o-, S9) or alveolar cancer cells (A549) with recombinant hemolysin A (rHla), a major virulence-associated factor of Staphylococcus aureus, induces alterations in cell shape and formation of paracellular gaps in the cell layer. Semi-quantitative Western blotting using extracts of freshly isolated airway tissue (nasal epithelium) or 16HBE14o- model cells revealed that phosphorylation levels of focal adhesion kinase (Fak) and paxillin were altered upon treatment of tissue or cells with rHla. Immune fluorescence analyses showed that rHla-treatment of 16HBE14o- cells results in losses of vinculin and paxillin from focal contacts and a net reduction in the number of focal contacts. The actin cytoskeleton was strongly remodelled. We conclude that treatment of cells with rHla activates Fak-signalling which accelerates focal contact turnover and prevents newly formed focal contacts (focal complexes) from maturation to focal adhesions. The inability of rHla-treated cells to form stable focal adhesions may be one factor that contributes to gap formation in the cell layer. In vivo, such changes may disturb the defensive barrier function of the airway epithelium and may facilitate lung infections by S. aureus.
Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin (Hla) is a potent pore-forming cytotoxin that plays an important role in the pathogenesis of S. aureus infections, including pneumonia. The impact of Hla on the dynamics of the metabolome in eukaryotic host cells has not been investigated comprehensively. Using 1H-NMR, GC-MS and HPLC-MS, we quantified the concentrations of 51 intracellular metabolites and assessed alterations in the amount of 25 extracellular metabolites in the two human bronchial epithelial cell lines S9 and 16HBE14o- under standard culture conditions and after treatment with sub-lethal amounts (2 µg/ml) of recombinant Hla (rHla) in a time-dependent manner. Treatment of cells with rHla caused substantial decreases in the concentrations of intracellular metabolites from different metabolic pathways in both cell lines, including ATP and amino acids. Concomitant increases in the extracellular concentrations were detected for various intracellular compounds, including nucleotides, glutathione disulfide and NAD+. Our results indicate that rHla has a major impact on the metabolome of eukaryotic cells as a consequence of direct rHla-mediated alterations in plasma membrane permeability or indirect effects mediated by cellular signalling. However, cell-specific changes also were observed. Glucose consumption and lactate production rates suggest that the glycolytic activity of S9 cells, but not of 16HBE14o- cells, is increased in response to rHla. This could contribute to the observed higher level of resistance of S9 cells against rHla-induced membrane damage.
Soluble virulence-associated factors of Staphylococcus aureus like haemolysin A (Hla) induce secretion of chemo/cytokines from airway epithelial cells. To elucidate the potential roles of specific signalling pathways in this response, we treated 16HBE14o-, S9 or A549 cells with recombinant Hla (rHla). In a dose-dependent manner, rHla induced secretion of IL-8 in all three cell types, but IL-6 release only in 16HBE14o- and S9 cells. rHla-mediated secretion of IL-8 and IL-6 was suppressed by pre-incubation of cells with inhibitors of Erk type or p38 MAP kinases, indicating that activation of these signalling pathways is essential for IL-8 release in all three cell types and for IL-6 release in 16HBE14o- and S9 cells. The rHla-mediated phosphorylation and activation of p38 MAP kinase seem to depend on elevations in [Ca(2+)]i, an early response in rHla-treated cells. Inhibitors of calmodulin or calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II attenuated rHla-mediated release of IL-8 in 16HBE14o- and A549 cells and of IL-6 in 16HBE14o- cells. This indicates that rHla may mediate simultaneous activation of calmodulin-dependent processes as additional prerequisites for chemo/cytokine secretion.However, the inhibitors of calmodulin-dependent signalling did not affect rHla-induced p38 MAP kinase phosphorylation, indicating that this pathway works in parallel with p38 MAP kinase.
Saliva of hematophagous leeches (Hirudo sp.) contains bioactive proteins which allow the leech proper feeding and storage of ingested blood, but may also exert effects in the host. Leech therapy is used to treat many different ailments in humans, although only a small fraction of salivary proteins are characterized yet. Moreover, we do not know whether complete transfer of salivary proteins stored in the unicellular salivary glands in a leech to the host during feeding may generate concentrations that are sufficiently high to affect physiological processes in the host. Our 3D reconstruction of a portion of internal leech tissue from histological sections revealed that one leech contains approx. 37,000 salivary gland cells. Using tissue slices from pig liver and mouse skeletal muscle for reference, we obtained data for protein densities in leech salivary gland cells. As individual salivary cells are voluminous (67,000 µm(3)) and the stored proteins are densely packed (approx. 500 µg/mm(3)), we extrapolated that a single leech may contain up to 1.2 mg of salivary proteins. Analyzing protein extracts of unfed or fed leeches by 2D electrophoresis, we calculated the relative molar amounts of individual salivary proteins in the mass range of 17-60 kDa which may be released from a single leech during feeding. Distribution of these salivary proteins in the host (assumed plasma volume of 5 l) may result in concentrations of individual compounds between 3 and 236 pmol/l. Such concentrations seem sufficiently high to exert biochemical interactions with target molecules in the host.
Purpose: The cyclin-dependent kinase (Cdk) inhibitor p27Kip1 may be involved in regulating re-entry of residual hepatocytes into the cell cycle upon loss of liver tissue by partial hepatectomy (PH). As yet, changes in Kip1 expression during the initial period following PH are not well-characterized. We investigated immediate changes in Kip1 mRNA and protein levels as well as changes in Kip1 phosphorylation in liver tissue within the relevant time window between surgery and the onset of DNA synthesis at 10-12 h. Methods: We used real-time PCR, quantitative Western blotting, and immune histochemistry on tissue samples of adult rats obtained during or between 2 and 10 h after surgical removal of two thirds of the liver to analyze Kip1 mRNA or protein levels, respectively, or to quantify nuclear expression of Kip1. Results: Kip1 mRNA was down-regulated within 4 h after PH by 60% and remained unchanged thereafter up to 10 h. With a lag phase of 2-3 h, Kip1-protein was down-regulated to a level of 40% of the control. The level of Thr187-phosphorylated Kip1 started to increase at 4 h and reached a maximum level at 8-10 h after PH. Kip1 immunoreactivity was observed in 30% of the hepatocytes before PH. Within 6-8 h after PH, more than half of the hepatocytes lost nuclear Kip1 signals. Kip1-specific micro-RNAs (miRNA221, miRNA222) were not changed upon PH. Conclusions: A portion of hepatocytes in adult rats constitutively express Kip1 and down-regulate Kip1 immediately upon PH. This response involves transcriptional processes (loss of Kip1 mRNA) as well as accelerated degradation of existing protein (increase in pThr187-phosphorylation mediating polyubiquitinylation and proteasomal degradation of Kip1). Kip1 down-regulation occurs precisely within the intervall between surgery and onset of DNA synthesis which supports the hypothesis that it mediates activation of G0/0S-phase Cdk/cyclin-complexes and re-entry of hepatocytes into the cell cycle.
Blood-sucking leeches have been used for medical purposes in humans for hundreds of years. Accordingly, one of the most prominent species has been named Hirudo medicinalis by Carl Linne in 1758. Feeding on vertebrate blood poses some serious problems to blood-sucking ectoparasites, as they have to penetrate the body surface of the host and to suppress the normal reactions of the host to such injuries (swelling, pain, inflammation) to remain undetected during the feeding period. Furthermore, the parasites have to take measures to inhibit the normal reactions in host tissues to blood vessel damage, namely hemostasis and blood coagulation (platelet aggregation and activation, activation of thrombin and formation of fibrin clots). During evolution, leeches have acquired the ability to control these processes in their hosts by transferring various bioactive substances to the host. These substances are supposedly produced in unicellular salivary gland cells and injected into the wound at the feeding site through tiny salivary ductule openings in the jaws that the leech uses to slice open the host body surface and to cut blood vessels in the depth of the wound. This review summarizes current knowledge about the salivary gland cells and the biological effects of individual saliva components as well as hints to the potential usefulness of some of these compounds for medical purposes.
The pneumococcal surface protein C (PspC) is a major adhesin of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci) that interacts in a human-specific manner with the ectodomain of the human polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) produced by respiratory epithelial cells. This interaction promotes bacterial colonization and bacterial internalization by initiating host signal transduction cascades. Here, we examined alterations of intracellular calcium ([Ca(2+)](i)) levels in epithelial cells during host cell infections with pneumococci via the PspC-hpIgR mechanism. The release of [Ca(2+)](i) from intracellular stores in host cells was significantly increased by wild-type pneumococci but not by PspC-deficient pneumococci. The increase in [Ca(2+)](i) was dependent on phospholipase C as pretreatment of cells with a phospholipase C-specific inhibitor U73122 abolished the increase in [Ca(2+)](i). In addition, we demonstrated the effect of [Ca(2+)](i) on pneumococcal internalization by epithelial cells. Uptake of pneumococci was significantly increased after pretreatment of epithelial cells with the cell-permeable calcium chelator 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N,N-tetraacetic acid-tetraacetoxymethyl ester or use of EGTA as an extracellular Ca(2+)-chelating agent. In contrast, thapsigargin, an inhibitor of endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)ATPase, which increases [Ca(2+)](i) in a sustained fashion, significantly reduced pIgR-mediated pneumococcal invasion. Importantly, pneumococcal adherence to pIgR-expressing cells was not altered in the presence of inhibitors as demonstrated by immunofluorescence microscopy. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that pneumococcal infections induce mobilization of [Ca(2+)](i) from intracellular stores. This may constitute a defense response of host cells as the experimental reduction of intracellular calcium levels facilitates pneumococcal internalization by pIgR-expressing cells, whereas elevated calcium levels diminished bacterial internalization by host epithelial cells.
The euryhaline gastropod Theodoxus fluviatilis is found in northern Germany in freshwater or in brackish water habitats in the Baltic Sea. Previous studies have revealed that individuals from both habitats are not distinguishable by morphological characters or by sequence comparison of DNA encoding 16S RNA or cytochrome C. As reported in this study, animals collected in the two habitats differ substantially in their physiological ability to adapt to different salinities. Comparison of accumulation rates of ninhydrin-positive substances (NPS) in foot muscle upon transfer of animals to higher medium salinities revealed that brackish water animals were perfectly able to mobilize NPS, while freshwater animals had only limited ability to do so. In an attempt to explore whether this difference in physiology may be caused by genetic differentiation, we compared protein expression patterns of soluble foot muscle proteins using 2D gel electrophoresis and silver staining. Of the 40 consistently detected protein spots, 27 showed similar levels in protein expression in animals collected from freshwater or brackish water habitats, respectively. In 12 spots, however, protein concentration was higher in brackish water than in freshwater animals. In four of these spots, expression levels followed increases or decreases in medium salinities. In a different set of 4 of these 12 spots, protein levels were always higher in brackish water as compared to freshwater animals, regardless of their physiological situation (14 days in artificial pond water or in medium with a salinity of 16 per thousand). The remaining 4 of the 12 spots had complex expression patterns. Protein levels of the remaining single spot were generally higher in freshwater animals than in brackish water animals. These expression patterns may indicate that freshwater and brackish water animals of T. fluviatilis belong to different locally adapted populations with subtle genetic differentiation.
Objective: The assumption that low back pain (LBP) patients suffer from "disuse" as a consequence of high fear-avoidance beliefs is currently under debate. A secondary analysis served to investigate whether fear-avoidance beliefs are associated cross-sectionally and longitudinally with the physical activity level (PAL) in LBP patients. Methods: A total of 787 individuals (57% acute and 43% chronic LBP) were followed up over a period of one year with measurements of fear-avoidance beliefs and physical activity level. Fear-avoidance beliefs concerning physical activity were measured by the physical-activity subscale of the FABQ (Fear-Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire), the physical activity level was assessed in weighted metabolic equivalents (MET) hours/week with a German self-report questionnaire. Data were investigated by structural equation modelling in a cross-lagged panel design for the whole sample and separately for acute and chronic LBP.Results: The acute and chronic sub sample increased their total physical activity level significantly after one year. The structural equation modelling results did not support the disuse-aspect inherent in the fear-avoidance belief model. Cross-lagged path coefficients were low (.04 and .05 respectively) and, therefore, did not allow to predict final physical activity by initial fear-avoidance beliefs or vice versa. Discussion: Consequently, due to missing links between fear-avoidance beliefs and physical activity in a longitudinal design, the assumptions of the fear-avoidance belief model have to be questioned. These findings are in line with other investigations published recently. Most probably, "fear-avoidance belief" represents a cognitive scheme that does not limit activity per se, but only is directed to the avoidance of specific movements.
Part of the innate defense of bronchial epithelia against bacterial colonization is regulated secretion of salt, water, and mucus as well as defensins and cytokines involving MAP kinase activation and alterations in early gene expression. We tested two different types of immortalized human airway epithelial cells (S9, 16HBE14o-) for activation of Erk-type MAP kinases and for expression of c-Fos on treatment with Staphylococcus aureus culture supernatants from the stationary growth phase [optical density (OD)(540 nm) = 10] or with recombinant S. aureus hemolysins A and B (Hla, Hlb). OD10 supernatants activated Erk-type MAP kinases and c-Fos expression in a concentration-dependent manner. Hla induced Erk-type kinase phosphorylation in S9 but not in 16HBE14o- cells. Hlb induced Erk activation in either cell type. Basal and stimulated levels of Erk-type MAP kinase phosphorylation were sensitive to the Mek1 inhibitor PD-98059, indicating that the bacterial products activated the entire signaling cascade that coregulates IL-8 induction and secretion. While c-Fos expression was enhanced by OD10 supernatants, Hla, and Hlb in S9 cells, 16HBE14o- cells responded to OD10 supernatant and Hlb but not to Hla. In S9 cells, PD-98059 suppressed c-Fos upregulation by OD10 supernatant, Hla, or Hlb, indicating that c-Fos expression requires activation of Erk-type MAP kinases. In 16HBE14o- cells, however, c-Fos expression by OD10 supernatant was sensitive to PD-98059, while that induced by Hlb was not. This indicates that ingredients of OD10 supernatants other than Hla or Hlb are activating Erk-type MAP kinases in 16HBE14o- cells and that other intracellular signaling systems apart from Erk-type MAP kinases contribute to Hlb-mediated regulation of c-Fos. Thus interaction of bacterial factors with airway epithelial cells may be highly cell type specific.
Part of the innate defence of bronchial epithelia against bacterial colonization is secretion of salt and water which generally depends on coordinated actions of receptor-mediated cAMP- and calcium signalling. The hypothesis that Staphylococcus aureus-virulence factors interfere with endogenous signals in host cells was tested by measuring agonist-mediated changes in [Ca(2+)](i) in S9 cells upon pre-incubation with bacterial secretory products. S9 cells responded to mAChR-activation with calcium release from intracellular stores and capacitative calcium influx. Treatment of cells with culture supernatants of S. aureus (COL) or with recombinant alpha-hemolysin (Hla) resulted in time- and concentration-dependent changes in [Ca(2+)](i). High concentrations of Hla (2000 ng/ml) resulted in elevations in [Ca(2+)](i) elicited by accelerated calcium influx. A general Hla-mediated permeabilization of S9 cell membranes to small molecules, however, did not occur. Lower concentrations of Hla (200 ng/ml) induced a reduction in [Ca(2+)](i)-levels during the sustained plateau phase of receptor-mediated calcium signalling which was abolished by pre-incubation of cells with carboxyeosin, an inhibitor of the plasma membrane calcium-ATPase. This indicates that low concentrations of Hla change calcium signalling by accelerating pump-driven extrusion of Ca(2+) ions. In vivo, such a mechanism may result in attenuation of calcium-mediated cellular defence functions and facilitation of bacterial adherence to the bronchial epithelium.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a fatal neurodegenerative prion disease that mainly affects cattle. Transmission of BSE to humans caused a variant form of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Following infection, the protease-resistant, disease-associated isoform of prion protein (PrP(Sc)) accumulates in the central nervous system and in other tissues. Many countries have defined bovine tissues that may contain prions as specified risk materials, which must not enter the human or animal food chains and therefore must be discarded. Ultrasensitive techniques such as protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) have been developed to detect PrP(Sc) when present in minuscule amounts that are not readily detected by other diagnostic methods such as immunohistochemistry or Western blotting. This study was conducted to determine when and where PrP(Sc) can be found by PMCA in cattle orally challenged with BSE. A total of 48 different tissue samples from four cattle infected orally with BSE at various clinical stages of disease were examined using a standardized PMCA protocol. The protocol used brain homogenate from bovine PrP transgenic mice (Tgbov XV) as substrate and three consecutive rounds of PMCA. Using this protocol, PrP(Sc) was found in the brain, spinal cord, nerve ganglia, optic nerve and Peyers patches. The presence of PrP(Sc) was confirmed in adrenal glands, as well as in mesenteric lymph nodes - a finding that was reported recently by another group. Interestingly, additional positive results were obtained for the first time in the oesophagus, abomasum, rumen and rectum of clinically affected cattle.
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