Silvia Blacher

University of Liège, Luik, Walloon Region, Belgium

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Publications (164)512.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Estetrol (E4) is a natural estrogen produced exclusively by the human fetal liver during pregnancy. Its physiological activity remains unknown. In contrast to ethinyl estradiol (EE) and estradiol (E2), E4 has a minimal impact on liver cells activity and could provide a better safety profile in contraception or hormone therapy. The aim of this study was to delineate if E4 exhibits an activity profile distinct from that of E2 on mammary gland. Compared to E2, E4 acted as a low affinity estrogen in both, human in vitro and murine in vivo, models. E4 was 100 times less potent than E2 to stimulate the proliferation of human breast epithelial (HBE) cells and murine mammary gland in vitro and in vivo, respectively. This effect was prevented by fulvestrant and by tamoxifen supporting the notion that ERα is the main mediator of the estrogenic effect of E4 on the breast. Interestingly, when E4 was administered along with E2, it significantly antagonized the strong stimulatory effect of E2 on HBE cells proliferation and on the growth of mammary ducts. This study characterizes for the first time the impact of E4 on mammary gland. Our results highlight that E4 is less potent than E2 and exhibits antagonistic properties towards the proliferative effect of E2 on breast epithelial cells. These data support E4 as a potential new estrogen for clinical use with a reduced impact on breast proliferation.
    The Journal of endocrinology. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: MT4-MMP (MMP-17) is a GPI-anchored matrix metalloprotease expressed on the surface of cancer cells which promotes tumor growth and metastasis. In this report, we identify MT4-MMP as an important driver of cancer cell proliferation through CDK4 activation and retinoblastoma protein (Rb) inactivation. We also determine a functional link between MT4-MMP and the growth factor receptor EGFR. Mechanistic experiments revealed direct association of MT4-MMP and its positive effects on EGFR phosphorylation in response to TGF- and EGF in cancer cells. Notably, the effects of MT4-MMP on proliferation and EGFR activation did not rely on metalloprotease activity. Clinically, MT4-MMP and EGFR expression were correlated in human triple negative breast cancer specimens. Altogether our results identify MT4-MMP as a positive modifier of EGFR outside-in signaling that acts to cooperatively drive cancer cell proliferation.
    Cancer research. 10/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms responsible for the failure of antiangiogenic therapies and how tumors adapt to these therapies are unclear. Here, we applied transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic approaches to preclinical models and provide evidence for tumor adaptation to vascular endothelial growth factor blockade through a metabolic shift toward carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in tumors. During sunitinib or sorafenib treatment, tumor growth was inhibited and tumors were hypoxic and glycolytic. In sharp contrast, treatment withdrawal led to tumor regrowth, angiogenesis restoration, moderate lactate production, and enhanced lipid synthesis. This metabolic shift was associated with a drastic increase in metastatic dissemination. Interestingly, pharmacological lipogenesis inhibition with orlistat or fatty acid synthase downregulation with shRNA inhibited tumor regrowth and metastases after sunitinib treatment withdrawal. Our data shed light on metabolic alterations that result in cancer adaptation to antiangiogenic treatments and identify key molecules involved in lipid metabolism as putative therapeutic targets.
    Cell metabolism. 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to analyze the histomorphometric properties of the vaginal wall in women with pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
    International Urogynecology Journal 05/2014; · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DUSP3 phosphatase, also known as Vaccinia-H1 Related (VHR) phosphatase, encoded by DUSP3/Dusp3 gene, is a relatively small member of the dual-specificity protein phosphatases. In vitro studies showed that DUSP3 is a negative regulator of ERK and JNK pathways in several cell lines. On the other hand, DUSP3 is implicated in human cancer. It has been alternatively described as having tumor suppressive and oncogenic properties. Thus, the available data suggest that DUSP3 plays complex and contradictory roles in tumorigenesis that could be cell type-dependent. Since most of these studies were performed using recombinant proteins or in cell-transfection based assays, the physiological function of DUSP3 has remained elusive.
    Molecular cancer. 05/2014; 13(1):108.
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    ABSTRACT: The lymphatic system controls tissue homeostasis by draining protein-rich lymph to the vascular system. Lymphangiogenesis, the formation of lymphatic vessels, is a normal event in childhood but promotes tumor spread and metastasis during adulthood. Blocking lymphangiogenesis may therefore be of therapeutic interest. Production of adenosine is enhanced in the tumor environment and contributes to tumor progression through stimulation of angiogenesis. In this study, we determined whether adenosine affects lymphangiogenesis. Lymphatic endothelial cells (HMVEC-dLy) were cultured in presence of adenosine and their proliferation, migration and tube formation was assessed. Gelatin sponges embedded with the stable analogue of adenosine 2-chloro adenosine were implanted in mice ear and lymphangiogenesis was quantified. Mice were intravenously injected with adenoviruses containing expression vector for 5'-endonucleotidase, which plays a major role in the formation of adenosine. In vitro, we observed that adenosine decreased the proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells, their migration and tube formation. However, in vivo, gelatin sponges containing 2-chloro adenosine and implanted in mice ear displayed an elevated level of lymphangiogenesis (2.5-fold, p<0.001). Adenovirus-mediated over-expression of cytosolic 5'-nucleotidase IA stimulated lymphangiogenesis and the recruitment of macrophages in mouse liver. Proliferation of lymphatic endothelial cells was enhanced (2-fold, p<0.001) when incubated in the presence of conditioned medium from murine macrophages. We have shown that adenosine stimulates lymphangiogenesis in vivo, presumably through a macrophage-mediated mechanism. This observation suggests that blockade of adenosine receptors may help in anti-cancer therapies.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e92715. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The endothelial cell spheroid assay provides a suitable in vitro model to study (lymph) angiogenesis and test pro- and anti-(lymph) angiogenic factors or drugs. Usually, the extent of cell invasion, observed through optical microscopy, is measured. The present study proposes the spatial distribution of migrated cells as a new descriptor of the (lymph) angiogenic response. The utility of this novel method rests with its capacity to locally characterise spheroid structure, allowing not only the investigation of single and collective cell invasion but also the evolution of the spheroid core itself. Moreover, the proposed method can be applied to 2D-projected spheroid images obtained by optical microscopy, as well as to 3D images acquired by confocal microscopy. To validate the proposed methodology, endothelial cell invasion was evaluated under different experimental conditions. The results were compared with widely used global parameters. The comparison shows that our method prevents local spheroid modifications from being overlooked and leading to the possible misinterpretation of results.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(5):e97019. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is now well accepted that multipotent Bone-Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cells (BM-MSC) contribute to cancer progression through several mechanisms including angiogenesis. However, their involvement during the lymphangiogenic process is poorly described. Using BM-MSC isolated from mice of two different backgrounds, we demonstrate a paracrine lymphangiogenic action of BM-MSC both in vivo and in vitro. Co-injection of BM-MSC and tumor cells in mice increased the in vivo tumor growth and intratumoral lymphatic vessel density. In addition, BM-MSC or their conditioned medium stimulated the recruitment of lymphatic vessels in vivo in an ear sponge assay, and ex vivo in the lymphatic ring assay (LRA). In vitro, MSC conditioned medium also increased the proliferation rate and the migration of both primary lymphatic endothelial cells (LEC) and an immortalized lymphatic endothelial cell line. Mechanistically, these pro-lymphangiogenic effects relied on the secretion of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)-A by BM-MSC that activates VEGF Receptor (VEGFR)-2 pathway on LEC. Indeed, the trapping of VEGF-A in MSC conditioned medium by soluble VEGF Receptors (sVEGFR)-1, -2 or the inhibition of VEGFR-2 activity by a specific inhibitor (ZM 323881) both decreased LEC proliferation, migration and the phosphorylation of their main downstream target ERK1/2. This study provides direct unprecedented evidence for a paracrine lymphangiogenic action of BM-MSC via the production of VEGF-A which acts on LEC VEGFR-2.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(9):e106976. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lymphatic dissemination is a key event in cervical cancer progression and related tumor lymphatic markers are viewed as promising prognostic factor of nodal extension. However, validating such parameters requires an objective characterization of the lymphatic vasculature. Here, we performed a global analysis of the lymphatic network using a new computerized method applied on whole uterine cervical digital images. Sixty-eight cases of cervical neoplasia (12 CIN3, 10 FIGO stage 1A and 46 stage IB1) and 10 cases of normal cervical tissue were reacted with antibodies raised against D2-40, D2-40/p16 and D2-40/Ki67. Immunostained structures were automatically detected on whole slides. The lymphatic vessel density (D2-40), proliferating lymphatic vessel density (D2-40/ki67) and spatial lymphatic distribution in respect to the adjacent epithelium were assessed from normal cervix to early cervical cancer and correlated with lymphovascular space invasion and lymph node status. Prominent lymphatic vessel density and proliferating lymphatic vessel density are detected under the transformation zone of benign cervix and no further increase is noted during cancer progression. Notably, a shift of lymphatic vessel distribution toward the neoplastic edges is detected. In IB1 cervical cancer, although intra- and peritumoral lymphatic vessel density are neither correlated with lymphovascular space invasion nor with lymph node metastasis, a specific spatial distribution with more lymphatic vessels in the vicinity of tumor edges is predictive of lymphatic dissemination. Herein, we provide a new computerized method suitable for an innovative detailed analysis of the lymphatic network. We show that the transformation zone of the benign cervix acts as a baseline lymphangiogenic niche before the initiation of neoplastic process. During cancer progression, this specific microenvironment is maintained with lymphatic vessels even in closer vicinity to tumor cells.Modern Pathology advance online publication, 6 December 2013; doi:10.1038/modpathol.2013.195.
    Modern Pathology 12/2013; · 5.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mouse model of laser-induced choroidal neovascularization (CNV) has been used extensively in studies of the exudative form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This experimental in vivo model relies on laser injury to perforate Bruch's membrane, resulting in subretinal blood vessel recruitment from the choroid. By recapitulating the main features of the exudative form of human AMD, this assay has served as the backbone for testing antiangiogenic therapies. This standardized protocol can be applied to transgenic mice and can include treatments with drugs, recombinant proteins, antibodies, adenoviruses and pre-microRNAs to aid in the search for new molecular regulators and the identification of novel targets for innovative treatments. This robust assay requires 7-14 d to complete, depending on the treatment applied and whether immunostaining is performed. This protocol includes details of how to induce CNV, including laser induction, lesion excision, processing and different approaches to quantify neoformed vasculature.
    Nature Protocol 11/2013; 8(11):2197-211. · 8.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) are targets for anticancer drug development. To date, only RTK inhibitors that block orthosteric binding of ligands and substrates have been developed. Here, we report the pharmacologic characterization of the chemical SSR128129E (SSR), which inhibits fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling by binding to the extracellular FGFR domain without affecting orthosteric FGF binding. SSR exhibits allosteric properties, including probe dependence, signaling bias, and ceiling effects. Inhibition by SSR is highly conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Oral delivery of SSR inhibits arthritis and tumors that are relatively refractory to anti-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 antibodies. Thus, orally-active extracellularly acting small-molecule modulators of RTKs with allosteric properties can be developed and may offer opportunities to improve anticancer treatment.
    Cancer cell 04/2013; 23(4):477-488. · 25.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose. To evaluate the anti-lymphangiogenic potential of multi-target tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib in corneal neovascularization (NV). Methods. Inflammatory corneal NV was induced by thermal cauterization applied in the central cornea of mice to which sunitinib malate was daily administered by gavage or not. At days 6, 11 or 17 post-cauterization, lymphatic and blood vessels, as well as inflammatory cells were immunostained and quantified in whole mounted corneas. RT-PCR were performed to evidence vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, VEGF-C, VEGF-D, PlGF and soluble VEGFR-1 and -2 (sVEGFR-1, sVEGFR-2) expressions. Macrophages were isolated from mice peritoneal cavity following thioglycollate injection to produce conditioned medium. The effects of sunitinib were evaluated in vitro in the aortic and lymphatic ring assays in the presence or not of macrophage conditioned medium. Results. Sunitinib treatment drastically reduced pathological corneal lymphangiogenesis and angiogenesis. Reduced F4/80+ cell infiltration was evidenced in sunitinib-treated mice and was associated to decreased VEGF-A (by 50%, P < 0.01) and VEGF-C (by 35%, P < 0.01) expressions, while VEGF-D and sVEGFR-2 expressions were not affected. In vitro, sunitinib dose-dependently inhibited aortic ring outgrowth but failed to affect lymphangiogenesis in the lymphatic ring assay. However, macrophage conditioned medium-enhanced angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis were both strongly counteracted by sunitinib treatment. Mechanistically, sunitinib blocked VEGFR-2 phosphorylation induced by VEGF-A released by macrophages. Conclusions. Sunitinib exerts anti-hemangiogenic and anti-lymphangiogenic effects in vivo by reducing F4/80+ cell recruitment and interacting with their released factors.
    Investigative ophthalmology & visual science 04/2013; · 3.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Cryopreservation of cortex ovarian tissue before anticancer therapy is a promising technique for fertility preservation mainly in children and young women. Ischemia in the early stage after ovarian graft causes massive follicle loss by apoptosis. VEGF111 is a recently described vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) isoform that does not bind to the extracellular matrix, diffuses extensively, and is resistant to proteolysis. These properties confer a significantly higher angiogenic potential to VEGF111 in comparison with the other VEGF isoforms. METHODS: We evaluated the morphology of cryopreserved sheep ovarian cortex grafted in the presence or absence of VEGF111. Ovarian cortex biopsies were embedded in type I collagen with or without VEGF111 addition before transplantation to severe combined immunodeficient mice ovaries. Transplants were retrieved 3 days or 3 weeks later. Follicular density, vasculature network, hemoglobin content, and cell proliferation were analyzed. RESULTS: Addition of VEGF111 increased density of functional capillaries (P=0.01) 3 days after grafting. By double immunostaining of Ki-67 and von Willebrand factor, we demonstrated that proliferating endothelial cells were found in 83% of the VEGF111 group compared with 33% in the control group (P=0.001). This angiostimulation was associated with a significant enhancement of hemoglobin content (P=0.03). Three weeks after transplantation, the number of primary follicles was significantly higher in VEGF111 grafts (P=0.02). CONCLUSION: VEGF111 accelerates blood vessel recruitment and functional angiogenesis and improves the viability of ovarian cortex by limiting ischemia and ovarian cortex damage.
    Transplantation 02/2013; 95(3):426-433. · 3.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies have evidenced the main role of lipids in physiological and also pathological processes such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases. The identification and the in situ localization of specific low-abundant lipid species involved in cancer biology are still challenging for both fundamental studies and lipid marker discovery. In this paper, we report the identification and the localization of specific isobaric minor phospholipids in human breast cancer xenografts by FTICR MALDI imaging supported by histochemistry. These potential candidates can be further confirmed by liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS) after extraction from the region of interest defined by MALDI imaging. Finally, this study highlights the importance of characterizing the heterogeneous distribution of low-abundant lipid species, relevant in complex histological samples for biological purposes.
    International Journal of Molecular Sciences 01/2013; 14(12):24560-80. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal cord injury triggers irreversible loss of motor and sensory functions. Numerous strategies aiming at repairing the injured spinal cord have been studied. Among them, the use of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BMSCs) is promising. Indeed, these cells possess interesting properties to modulate CNS environment and allow axon regeneration and functional recovery. Unfortunately, BMSC survival and differentiation within the host spinal cord remain poor, and these cells have been found to have various adverse effects when grafted in other pathological contexts. Moreover, paracrine-mediated actions have been proposed to explain the beneficial effects of BMSC transplantation after spinal cord injury. We thus decided to deliver BMSC-released factors to spinal cord injured rats and to study, in parallel, their properties in vitro. We show that, in vitro, BMSC-conditioned medium (BMSC-CM) protects neurons from apoptosis, activates macrophages and is pro-angiogenic. In vivo, BMSC-CM administered after spinal cord contusion improves motor recovery. Histological analysis confirms the pro-angiogenic action of BMSC-CM, as well as a tissue protection effect. Finally, the characterization of BMSC-CM by cytokine array and ELISA identified trophic factors as well as cytokines likely involved in the beneficial observed effects. In conclusion, our results support the paracrine-mediated mode of action of BMSCs and raise the possibility to develop a cell-free therapeutic approach.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(8):e69515. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mithramycin (MTM), a cytotoxic compound, is currently being investigated for its anti-angiogenic activity that seems to be mediated through an inhibition of the transcription factor SP1. In this study we evaluated its anti-myeloma effects in the syngenic 5TGM1 model in vitro as well as in vivo. In vitro, MTM inhibited DNA synthesis of 5TGM1 cells with an IC50 of 400 nM and induced an arrest in cell cycle progression at the G1/S transition point. Western-blot revealed an up-regulation of p53, p21 and p27 and an inhibition of c-Myc, while SP1 remained unaffected. In rat aortic ring assays, a strong anti-angiogenic effect was seen, which could be explained by a decrease of VEGF production and an up-regulation of anti-angiogenic proteins such as IP10 after MTM treatment. The administration of MTM to mice injected with 5TGM1 decreased 5TGM1 cell invasion into bone marrow and myeloma neovascularisation. These data suggest that MTM displays anti-myeloma and anti-angiogenic effects that are not mediated by an inhibition of SP1 but rather through c-Myc inhibition and p53 activation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e62818. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Embryo implantation requires extensive angiogenesis at the maternal-fetal interface. Hyperglycosylated human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG-H), a trophoblast invasive signal produced by extravillous cytotrophoblasts and by choriocarcinoma, was evaluated for its angiogenic role. hCG-H was purified by HPLC from choriocarcinoma supernatant, and the glycosylation pattern was determined by 2D gel analysis. Angiogenesis models used were aortic ring assay with wild-type and LHCGR-knockout mice, endothelial and mural cell proliferation, and migration assays. The TGF-β signaling pathway was studied by coimmunoprecipitation, competitive binding, TGF-β reporter gene assays, and Smad immunoblotting. hCG-H displayed a potent angiogenic effect [3.2-fold increase of number of vessel intersections in wild-type aortic rings (11.406 to 36.964)]. hCG-H-induced angiostimulation was independent of the classic hCG signaling pathway since it persisted in LHCGR-knockout mice [4.73-fold increase of number of vessel intersections (10.826 to 51.288)]. Using TGF-β signaling inhibitors, Tβ-RII was identified as the hCG-H receptor responsible for its angiogenic switch. hCG-H exposure enhanced phosphorylation of Smad 2 in endothelial and mural cells and genomic activation of Smad-responsive elements. Interaction between hCG-H and Tβ-RII was demonstrated by coimmunoprecipitation and binding competition with (125)I-TGF-β. This new paracrine interaction between trophoblast and endothelial cells through the hCG-H and the TGF-β receptor complex plays a key role in angiogenesis associated with placental development and tumorigenesis.
    The FASEB Journal 12/2012; · 5.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Export Date: 8 January 2013, Source: Scopus
    Adsorption 11/2012; 18(3-4):199-211. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts are key contributors of the tumor microenvironment that regulates carcinoma progression. They consist of a heterogeneous cell population with diverse origins, phenotypes, and functions. In the present report, we have explored the contribution of bone marrow (BM)-derived cells to generate different fibroblast subsets that putatively produce the matrix metalloproteinase 13 (MMP13) and affect cancer cell invasion. A murine model of skin carcinoma was applied to mice, irradiated, and engrafted with BM isolated from green fluorescent protein (GFP) transgenic mice. We provide evidence that one third of BM-derived GFP(+) cells infiltrating the tumor expressed the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan NG2 (pericytic marker) or α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA, myofibroblast marker), whereas almost 90% of Thy1(+) fibroblasts were originating from resident GFP-negative cells. MMP13producing cells were exclusively α-SMA(+) cells and derived from GFP(+) BM cells. To investigate their impact on tumor invasion, we isolated mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from the BM of wild-type and MMP13-deficient mice. Wild-type MSC promoted cancer cell invasion in a spheroid assay, whereas MSCs obtained from MMP13-deficient mice failed to. Our data support the concept of fibroblast subset specialization with BM-derived α-SMA(+) cells being the main source of MMP13, a stromal mediator of cancer cell invasion.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 10/2012; 14(10):943-51. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of the study was to characterize the vascular architecture at the placental-maternal interface in pregnancies complicated by placenta increta and normal pregnancies. Vessel numbers and cross-section area density and spatial and area distributions in 13 placenta-increta placental beds were compared with 9 normal placental beds using computer-assisted image analysis of whole-slide CD31 immunolabeled sections. The total areas occupied by vessels in normal and placenta-increta placental beds were comparable, but vessels were significantly sparser and larger in the latter. Moreover, placenta-increta-vessel distributions (area and distance from the placental-myometrial junction) were more heterogeneous. Size and spatial organization of the placenta-increta vascular architecture at the placental-maternal interface differed from normal and might partially explain the severe hemorrhage observed during placenta-increta deliveries.
    American journal of obstetrics and gynecology 09/2012; 207(3):188.e1-9. · 3.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
512.24 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1991–2014
    • University of Liège
      • • Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology
      • • Laboratory of Tumor and Development Biology
      • • Center for Education and Research on Macromolecules (CERM)
      • • Laboratory of Chemical Engineering (LCG)
      • • Laboratory of Connective Tissues Biology
      • • Laboratoire de Biochimie
      • • Department of Physics
      • • Group of Theoretical materials physics
      Luik, Walloon Region, Belgium
  • 2012
    • Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège
      Luik, Walloon Region, Belgium
    • French Institute of Health and Medical Research
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2002
    • Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium