[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acute mountain sickness (AMS) is characterized by headache often accompanied by gastrointestinal complaints that vary from anorexia through nausea to vomiting. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of high altitude on plasma levels of gastroenteropancreatic (GEP) peptides and their association to AMS symptoms. Plasma levels of 6 GEP peptides were measured by radioimmunoassay in 11 subjects at 490 m (Munich, Germany) and, after rapid passive ascent to 3454 m (Jungfraujoch, Switzerland), over the course of three days. In a second study (n = 5), the same peptides and ghrelin were measured in subjects who consumed standardized liquid meals at these two elevations. AMS symptoms and oxygen saturation were monitored. In the first study, both fasting (morning 8 a.m.) and stimulated (evening 8 p.m.) plasma levels of pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and cholecystokinin (CCK) were significantly lower at high altitude as compared to baseline, whereas gastrin and motilin concentrations were significantly increased. Fasting plasma neurotensin was significantly enhanced whereas stimulated levels were reduced. Both fasting and stimulated plasma motilin levels correlated with gastrointestinal symptom severity (r = 0.294, p = 0.05, and r = 0.41, p = 0.006, respectively). Mean O(2)-saturation dropped from 96% to 88% at high altitude. In the second study, meal-stimulated integrated ( = area under curve) plasma CCK, PP, and neurotensin values were significantly suppressed at high altitude, whereas integrated levels of gastrin were increased and integrated VIP and ghrelin levels were unchanged. In summary, our data show that acute exposure to a hypobaric hypoxic environment causes significant changes in fasting and stimulated plasma levels of GEP peptides over consecutive days and after a standardized meal. The changes of peptide levels were not uniform. Based on the inhibition of PP and neurotensin release a reduction of the cholinergic tone can be postulated.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e44445. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A 29-year-old man had finger clubbing since the age of 15 years, and for the last 10 years his hands and feet had grown disproportionately. In addition he suffered from marked whole-body sweating, especially of the hands and feet, as well as persistent pain in the limbs and joints.
Biochemical and endocrinological tests were normal. Radiology of the hands and lower legs revealed marked periosteal thickening, while the substantia trabeculosa was unremarkable. Secondary causes having been excluded primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy was diagnosed.
While there is no causal treatment, physio- and balneotherapy improved the symptoms.
Early and accurate diagnosis of primary hypertrophic osteoarthropathy is essential, if only because of its favourable long-term prognosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Peripheral polyneuropathies associated with monoclonal IgM gammopathy of undetermined significance often have a progressive course and optimal treatment has not been established. We report on a patient diagnosed with polyneuropathy associated with benign IgM gammopathy, who was successfully treated with antibody-based immunoadsorption only. The neurological symptoms of the patient improved continuously over six months of treatment. Controlled trials should be performed to define this indication for antibody-based immunoadsorption therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction is associated with but may not be sufficient for the development of high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPO). Hypoxia is known to induce an inflammatory response in immune cells and endothelial cells. It has been speculated that hypoxia-induced inflammatory cytokines at high altitude may contribute to the development of HAPO by causing capillary leakage in the lung. We were interested if such an inflammatory response, possibly involved in a later development of HAPO, is detectable at high altitude in individuals without HAPO. We examined the plasma levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in two independent studies: study A, Jungfraujoch, Switzerland, three overnight stays at 3458 m, n=12; study B: Capanna Regina Margherita, Italy, 3 overnight stays at 3647 m and one overnight stay at 4559 m, n=10. In both studies, probands showed symptoms of acute mountain sickness but no signs of HAPO. At the Jungfraujoch, IL-6 increased from 0.1+/-0.03 pg/ml to 2. 0+/-0.5 pg/ml (day 2, P=0.03), IL-1ra from 101+/-21 to 284+/-73 pg/ml (day 2, P=0.01), and CRP from 1.0+/-0.4 to 5.8+/-1.5 micrograms/ml (day 4, P=0.01). At the Capanna Margherita, IL-6 increased from 0. 5+/-0.2 pg/ml to 2.0+/-0.8 pg/ml (P=0.02), IL-1ra from 118+/-25 to 213+/-28 pg/ml (P=0.02), and CRP from 0.4+/-0.03 to 3.5+/-1.1 micrograms/ml (P=0.03). IL-8 was below the detection limit of the ELISA (<25 pg/ml) in both studies. The increase of IL-6 and IL-1ra in response to high altitude was delayed and preceded the increase of CRP. We conclude that: (1) circulating IL-6, IL-1ra and CRP are upregulated in response to hypobaric hypoxic conditions at high altitude, and (2) the moderate systemic increase of these inflammatory markers may reflect considerable local inflammation. The existence and the kinetics of high altitude-induced cytokines found in this study support the hypothesis that inflammation is involved in the development of HAPO.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recently, the first apheresis technique for direct adsorption of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] from whole blood (DALI) was developed that does not require a prior plasma separation. That markedly simplifies the extracorporeal circuit. The aim of the present study was to test the acute biocompatibility, efficacy, and selectivity of DALI apheresis. In a prospective clinical study, 6 hypercholesterolemic patients suffering from angiographically proven atherosclerosis were treated 4 times each by DALI. 1.3 patient blood volumes were treated per session at blood flow rates of 60-80 ml/min using 750 or 1,000 ml of polyacrylate/polyacrylamide adsorber gel. The anticoagulation consisted of an initial heparin bolus followed by a citrate infusion. The sessions were clinically essentially uneventful. Mean corrected reductions of lipoproteins amounted to 65% for LDL-cholesterol, 54% for Lp(a), 28% for triglycerides, 1% for HDL-cholesterol, and 8% for fibrinogen. The selectivity of lipoprotein removal was high. Cell counts remained virtually unchanged and no signs of hemolysis or clotting were detected. Cell activation parameters elastase, beta-thromboglobulin, interleukin-1beta, and IL-6 showed no significant increase. Complement activation was negligible. There was significant, but clinically asymptomatic, bradykinin activation in the adsorber with mean maxima of 12,000 pg/ml in the efferent line at 1,000 ml of treated blood volume. In conclusion, DALI proved to be safe, selective, and efficient for the adsorption of LDL-C and Lp(a), which simplifies substantially the extracorporeal therapy in hypercholesterolemic patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sporadic inclusion body myositis (s-IBM) is an acquired inflammatory muscle disease of unknown cause. In general, s-IBM presents with slowly progressive, asymmetric weakness, and atrophy of skeletal muscle. There is a mild transitory or nil responsiveness to standard immunosuppressive treatment. A controlled cross-over study of 22 s-IBM patients over 3 months showed a partial improvement in those treated with high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) versus placebo. The present study included 22 patients aged 32-75 years and with a mean duration of disease of 5.2+/-3.6 years. They were randomized by a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over design to monthly infusions of 2 g/kg bodyweight IVIG or to placebo for 6 months each, followed by the alternative treatment. After 6 and 12 months the response to treatment was evaluated, using a modified Medical Research Council scale, Neuromuscular Symptom Score (NSS), the patient's own assessment of improvement, arm outstretched time, and electromyography. No serious side effects were seen, in particular no viral infection and no major cardiac or neurological complications. Overall there was no progression of the disease in 90% of patients, unlike that which might have been expected in untreated patients. A mild and significant improvement (11%) in clinical symptoms was found using NSS, but not with other test procedures. There was a trend to mild improvement in treated patients when using other tests. Individual responses to treatment was heterogeneous. The validity of this study may be reduced by mismatch of groups with regard to age at onset and variability in disease expression. The findings of this study largely confirm those of a previous IVIG trial. Treatment with IVIG may be mildly effective in s-IBM by preventing disease progression or inducing mild improvement. Long-term studies are needed to evaluate further the benefit of IVIG therapy in s-IBM.
Journal of Neurology 02/2000; 247(1):22-8. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A randomized two-part study was conducted in order to determine the efficacy of theophylline in the treatment of acute mountain sickness during fast ascent to altitudes >2,500 m. Fourteen healthy male subjects participated in a randomized single-blind placebo-controlled crossover study carried out in a decompression chamber (simulated altitude 4,500 m). A second randomized single-blind, placebo-controlled study was conducted at a high-altitude research laboratory (3,454 m) and included 21 healthy male subjects. The study medication was either 375 mg oral slow-release theophylline (250 mg if <70 kg) or a matched placebo tablet taken twice daily. The acute mountain sickness score (AMSS) was assessed three times a day, beginning 18 h prior to altitude exposure and continuing for 18 h after altitude exposure. In addition, measurements of respiratory frequency, pulse rate, oxygen saturation and arterial blood gas levels were performed. Acute mountain sickness was significantly reduced by theophylline during the decompression chamber study (mean+/-SD 1.2+/-0.9) with placebo versus 3.6+/-0.8 with theophylline; p=0.03). During the high-altitude study, subjects with theophylline showed a significantly lower AMSS on arrival and after 18 h at altitude (0.6 versus 2.3, p=0.03). Oxygenation was improved in both parts of the study. In conclusion, oral slow-release theophylline improves acute mountain sickness.
European Respiratory Journal 02/2000; 15(1):123-7. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disorder, characterized by progressive loss of motor neurons. However, ALS has been recognized to involve several non-motor systems. Subclinical involvement of the autonomic system (i.e. of cardial or sudomotor regulation) has been described in ALS. Gastrointestinal motor dysfunction can occur in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, even if patients do not complain of gastrointestinal symptoms. New techniques in non-invasive evaluation of gastrointestinal function showed delayed gastric emptying and delayed colonic transit times in patients with ALS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rippling muscle disease is a rare autosomal dominant disorder that may occur sporadically. In this report two patients presenting with rippling muscles followed by myasthenia gravis are described. Our first patient developed rippling muscles about 1 month after infection with Yersinia enterocolitica. Two years later myasthenia gravis appeared. Our second patient had a 2-year history of asthma prior to the onset of rippling muscles which preceded the myasthenic symptoms by 4-8 weeks. Acetylcholine receptor and anti-skeletal muscle antibody titers were positive in both patients. In both patients the rippling phenomena worsened with pyridostigmine treatment but markedly improved after immunosuppression with azathioprine.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upon clindamycin treatment a patient with Parkinson's disease showed marked tremor improvement which may be explained by clindamycin's ability to inhibit in-vitro nicotinergic, but not muscarinic signal transmission.
The Lancet 12/1999; 354(9192):1792-3. · 39.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A middle-aged patient presented with subacute muscular stiffness, myocloni of both extremity and facial muscles, gait ataxia and symmetrical distal painful paraesthesias. Electrophysiologically, neuromyotonia was confirmed. High titer anti-Hu antibodies were detected, but no other paraneoplastic antibodies were found. Small-cell lung cancer was diagnosed. Under chemotherapy tumor remission was achieved and, except for minor sensory deficits, neurological symptoms disappeared. This report shows that paraneoplastic syndromes associated with antibodies to neuronal nucleoproteins (anti-Hu antibodies) may be associated with a syndrome including neuromyotonia, sensory neuropathy, cerebellar symptoms and myocloni.
Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 10/1999; 101(3):207-9. · 1.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Extracorporeal procedures for the elimination of autoantibodies are an important therapeutic option in various neuroimmunological diseases, especially those with neuromuscular involvement. Recent advances with the development of selective apheresis methods have given extracorporeal therapeutic procedures a new perspective. In this article, we review the therapeutic use of plasma exchange and immunoadsorption therapy in different neuroimmunological diseases.
Therapeutic Apheresis and Dialysis 09/1999; 3(3):268-70.