Thomas von Zglinicki

Newcastle University, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (170)852.71 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Telomere length is a putative biomarker of ageing, morbidity and mortality. Its application is hampered by lack of widely applicable reference ranges and uncertainty regarding the present limits of measurement reproducibility within and between laboratories.
    International journal of epidemiology. 09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular senescence, a state of irreversible cell cycle arrest, is thought to help protect an organism from cancer, yet also contributes to ageing. The changes which occur in senescence are controlled by networks of multiple signalling and feedback pathways at the cellular level, and the interplay between these is difficult to predict and understand. To unravel the intrinsic challenges of understanding such a highly networked system, we have taken a systems biology approach to cellular senescence. We report a detailed analysis of senescence signalling via DNA damage, insulin-TOR, FoxO3a transcription factors, oxidative stress response, mitochondrial regulation and mitophagy. We show in silico and in vitro that inhibition of reactive oxygen species can prevent loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, whilst inhibition of mTOR shows a partial rescue of mitochondrial mass changes during establishment of senescence. Dual inhibition of ROS and mTOR in vitro confirmed computational model predictions that it was possible to further reduce senescence-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and DNA double-strand breaks. However, these interventions were unable to abrogate the senescence-induced mitochondrial dysfunction completely, and we identified decreased mitochondrial fission as the potential driving force for increased mitochondrial mass via prevention of mitophagy. Dynamic sensitivity analysis of the model showed the network stabilised at a new late state of cellular senescence. This was characterised by poor network sensitivity, high signalling noise, low cellular energy, high inflammation and permanent cell cycle arrest suggesting an unsatisfactory outcome for treatments aiming to delay or reverse cellular senescence at late time points. Combinatorial targeted interventions are therefore possible for intervening in the cellular pathway to senescence, but in the cases identified here, are only capable of delaying senescence onset.
    PLoS Computational Biology 08/2014; 10(8):e1003728. · 4.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and purposeStudies investigating the association between 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and cognition in the very old (85+) are lacking.Methods Cross-sectional (baseline) and prospective data (up to 3 years follow-up) from 775 participants in the Newcastle 85+ Study were analysed for global (measured by the Standardized Mini-Mental State Examination) and attention-specific (measured by the attention battery of the Cognitive Drug Research test) cognitive performance in relation to season-specific 25(OH)D quartiles.ResultsThose in the lowest and highest season-specific 25(OH)D quartiles had an increased risk of impaired prevalent (1.66, 95% confidence interval 1.06–2.60, P = 0.03; 1.62, 95% confidence interval 1.02–2.59, P = 0.04, respectively) but not incident global cognitive functioning or decline in functioning compared with those in the middle quartiles adjusted for sociodemographic, health and lifestyle confounders. Random effects models showed that participants belonging to the lowest and highest 25(OH)D quartiles, compared with those in the middle quartiles, had overall slower (log-transformed) attention reaction times for Choice Reaction Time (lowest, β = 0.023, P = 0.01; highest, β = 0.021, P = 0.02), Digit Vigilance Task (lowest, β = 0.009, P = 0.05; highest, β = 0.01, P = 0.02) and Power of Attention (lowest, β = 0.017, P = 0.02; highest, β = 0.022, P = 0.002) and greater Reaction Time Variability (lowest, β = 0.021, P = 0.02; highest, β = 0.02, P = 0.03). The increased risk of worse global cognition and attention amongst those in the highest quartile was not observed in non-users of vitamin D supplements/medication.Conclusion Low and high season-specific 25(OH)D quartiles were associated with prevalent cognitive impairment and poorer overall performance in attention-specific tasks over 3 years in the very old, but not with global cognitive decline or incident impairment.
    European Journal of Neurology 08/2014; · 4.16 Impact Factor
  • Ioakim Spyridopoulos, Thomas von Zglinicki
    BMJ Clinical Research 07/2014; 349:g4373. · 14.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Telomere attrition has been associated with age-related diseases, although causality is unclear and controversial; low-grade systemic inflammation (inflammaging) has also been implicated in age-related pathogenesis. Unpicking the relationship between aging, telomere length (TL), and inflammaging is hence essential to the understanding of aging and management of age-related diseases. This longitudinal study explored whether telomere attrition is a cause or consequence of aging and whether inflammaging explains some of the associations between TL and one marker of aging, grip strength. We studied 253 Hertfordshire Ageing Study participants at baseline and 10-year follow-up (mean age at baseline 67.1 years). Participants completed a health questionnaire and had blood samples collected for immune–endocrine and telomere analysis at both time points. Physical aging was characterized at follow-up using grip strength. Faster telomere attrition was associated with lower grip strength at follow-up (β = 0.98, p = 0.035). This association was completely attenuated when adjusted for inflammaging burden (p = 0.86) over the same period. Similarly, greater inflammaging burden was associated with lower grip strength at follow-up (e.g., interleukin [IL]-1β: β = −2.18, p = 0.001). However, these associations were maintained when adjusted for telomere attrition (IL-1β, p = 0.006). We present evidence that inflammaging may be driving telomere attrition and in part explains the associations that have previously been reported between TL and grip strength. Thus, biomarkers of physical aging, such as inflammaging, may require greater exploration. Further work is now indicated.
    Calcified Tissue International 07/2014; 95(1). · 2.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supplementary information available for this article at http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2014/140624/ncomms5172/suppinfo/ncomms5172_S1.html
    Nat Commun. 06/2014; 2.
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    ABSTRACT: Chronic inflammation is associated with normal and pathological ageing. Here we show that chronic, progressive low-grade inflammation induced by knockout of the nfkb1 subunit of the transcription factor NF-κB induces premature ageing in mice. We also show that these mice have reduced regeneration in liver and gut. nfkb1(-/-) fibroblasts exhibit aggravated cell senescence because of an enhanced autocrine and paracrine feedback through NF-κB, COX-2 and ROS, which stabilizes DNA damage. Preferential accumulation of telomere-dysfunctional senescent cells in nfkb1(-/-) tissues is blocked by anti-inflammatory or antioxidant treatment of mice, and this rescues tissue regenerative potential. Frequencies of senescent cells in liver and intestinal crypts quantitatively predict mean and maximum lifespan in both short- and long-lived mice cohorts. These data indicate that systemic chronic inflammation can accelerate ageing via ROS-mediated exacerbation of telomere dysfunction and cell senescence in the absence of any other genetic or environmental factor.
    Nature Communications 06/2014; 2:4172. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cross-sectional studies reported associations between short leucocyte telomere length (LTL) and measures of vascular and cardiac damage. However, the contribution of LTL dynamics to the age-related process of cardiovascular (CV) remodelling remains unknown. In this study, we explored whether the rate of LTL shortening can predict CV phenotypes over 10-year follow-up and the influence of established CV risk factors on this relationship.
    European heart journal. 06/2014;
  • Carmen Martin-Ruiz, Thomas von Zglinicki
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    ABSTRACT: The challenge of devising a set of biomarkers capable of measuring the ageing rate in human subjects was articulated long ago. In recent years, progress in the basic biology of ageing suggests the realistic possibility of preventive or restaurative interventions that may extend healthy lifespan in mammals including human subjects. Specifically, frailty is being increasingly recognised as a clinically relevant syndrome that may be therapeutically addressed. This greatly enhances the need for sensitive and specific biomarkers of healthy ageing that are validated in both experimental animals and, importantly, in human subjects over the whole age range. Here, we will discuss the present challenges and requirements for biomarker validation in human subjects. We propose the central requirements for a validated biomarker of healthy ageing as: (i) better predictive power than chronological age for multiple dimensions of ageing; (ii) identification of the age range in which the marker is informative; (iii) establishment of sensitivity/specificity as indicators of its predictive power at the level of the individual; (iv) minimisation of methodological variation between laboratories.
    Proceedings of The Nutrition Society 05/2014; · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To investigate the associations between low and high concentrations of baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and all-cause mortality in very old (≥85 years) men and women over 6 years.Design, setting and subjectsProspective mortality data from 775 participants in the Newcastle 85+ Study were analysed for survival in relation to 25(OH)D (season-specific quartiles and predefined cut-off values) and sex using Cox proportional hazards models. The models were fitted to the entire and restricted (non-users of vitamin D-containing supplements and medication) cohorts.ResultsFor the entire cohort, mortality was higher in both the lowest and highest 25(OH)D season-specific quartiles [SQ1: hazard ratio (HR) 1.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.69, P = 0.04; SQ4: HR 1.44, 95% CI 1.12–1.85, P = 0.004] compared with the combined middle quartiles (SQ2+SQ3), after adjustment for sociodemographic factors. The increased risk for the highest quartile remained significant after further adjustment for lifestyle variables (SQ4: HR 1.37, 95% CI 1.06–1.77, P = 0.02), and was seen only in women in sex-specific analyses. Similarly, in sensitivity analyses with predefined 25(OH)D cut-off values, the highest 25(OH)D concentration (≥75 nmol/L) was associated with a 2.4-fold increased risk of mortality in women (restricted cohort) after adjusting for all covariates.Conclusion Low and high season-specific 25(OH)D quartiles were associated with increased risks of mortality over 6 years in the very old; this effect was particularly noticeable in women, including those who reported taking vitamin D-containing supplements/medication.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Internal Medicine 05/2014; · 6.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Frailty is a major health problem in older people and, as the population ages, identification of its underlying biological mechanisms will be increasingly important. DNA methylation patterns within genomic DNA change during ageing and alterations in DNA methylation, particularly at gene promoter regions, can lead to altered gene expression. However the importance of altered DNA methylation in frailty is largely unknown. Using cross-sectional data from the Newcastle 85+ Study (all participants aged 85 years) frailty was operationalized by the Fried model. DNA methylation levels were assessed by highly quantitative pyrosequencing at the gene promoter associated CpG islands from a panel of five age-related methylation marker loci and at LINE-1 repetitive elements (as a surrogate for genome-wide methylation). While genome-wide methylation (as assessed at LINE-1 elements) showed no association with frailty status, there was a clear association between CpG island methylation and frailty. When compared to participants with CpG island methylation levels in the combined middle two (referent) quartiles, those in the lowest quartile had significantly decreased odds of frailty [odds ratio 0.47 (95 % CI 0.26-0.85); n = 321, p = 0.013]. Overall this study suggests a potential role for age-related changes in CpG island methylation in the development of frailty.
    Biogerontology 04/2014; · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It is widely believed that females have longer telomeres than males, although results from studies have been contradictory. We carried out a systematic review and meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that in humans, females have longer telomeres than males and that this association becomes stronger with increasing age. Searches were conducted in EMBASE and MEDLINE (by November 2009) and additional datasets were obtained from study investigators. Eligible observational studies measured telomeres for both females and males of any age, had a minimum sample size of 100 and included participants not part of a diseased group. We calculated summary estimates using random-effects meta-analyses. Heterogeneity between studies was investigated using sub-group analysis and meta-regression. Meta-analyses from 36 cohorts (36,230 participants) showed that on average females had longer telomeres than males (standardised difference in telomere length between females and males 0.090, 95% CI 0.015, 0.166; age-adjusted). There was little evidence that these associations varied by age group (p=1.00) or cell type (p=0.29). However, the size of this difference did vary by measurement methods, with only Southern blot but neither real-time PCR nor Flow-FISH showing a significant difference. This difference was not associated with random measurement error. Telomere length is longer in females than males, although this difference was not universally found in studies that did not use Southern blot methods. Further research on explanations for the methodological differences is required.
    Experimental gerontology 03/2014; 51:15-27. · 3.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reliable and valid biomarkers of ageing (BoA) are needed to understand mechanisms, test interventions and predict the timing of adverse health events associated with ageing. Since increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and mitochondrial dysfunction are consequences of cellular senescence and may contribute causally to the ageing of organisms, we focused on these parameters as candidate BoA. Superoxide levels, mitochondrial mass and mitochondrial membrane potential in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and subpopulations (lymphocytes and monocytes) were measured in participants from the Newcastle 85+ study, a population-based study of the very old (aged 85 years and older). The intra- and inter-assay precision expressed as coefficient of variation (CV) for all parameters was acceptable (3% to 12% and 5 to 22% respectively). All parameters were stable in the short-term (1 week interval) in a sample of control individuals in the PBMCs and lymphocyte subpopulation, however they were unstable in the monocyte subpopulation; this rendered monocytes unreliable for further analysis. There was a significant association between superoxide levels and mitochondrial mass (positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.01) and between superoxide levels and mitochondrial membrane potential (negative in PBMCs, p = 0.01; positive in lymphocytes, p = 0.05). There were also significant associations between superoxide levels and mitochondrial parameters with other markers of oxidative stress-induced cellular senescence (p≤0.04), however some were in the opposite direction to expected. No associations were found between the measured parameters and age-related outcomes, including cognitive impairment, disability, co-morbidity and survival - questioning the validity of these parameters as candidate BoA in the very old.
    PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(3):e91005. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial function is an important determinant of the ageing process; however, the mitochondrial properties that enable longevity are not well understood. Here we show that optimal assembly of mitochondrial complex I predicts longevity in mice. Using an unbiased high-coverage high-confidence approach, we demonstrate that electron transport chain proteins, especially the matrix arm subunits of complex I, are decreased in young long-living mice, which is associated with improved complex I assembly, higher complex I-linked state 3 oxygen consumption rates and decreased superoxide production, whereas the opposite is seen in old mice. Disruption of complex I assembly reduces oxidative metabolism with concomitant increase in mitochondrial superoxide production. This is rescued by knockdown of the mitochondrial chaperone, prohibitin. Disrupted complex I assembly causes premature senescence in primary cells. We propose that lower abundance of free catalytic complex I components supports complex I assembly, efficacy of substrate utilization and minimal ROS production, enabling enhanced longevity.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:3837. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Statins are one of the most potent drugs in delaying age-related inflammatory changes in the arterial vessel wall, slowing down the progression of atherosclerosis. Statins have also been shown to abrogate telomere-attributed cardiovascular risk. The goal of our study was to explore a potential effect of atorvastatin on telomerase activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and T-lymphocytes (T cells). Methods and Results Treatment with pharmacologically relevant concentrations (0.1-0.3 μM) of atorvastatin resulted in a 6-fold increase of telomerase activity (TA) (p<0.0001) in human and mouse PBMCs and CD4 T cells, translating into moderate proliferation of T lymphocytes. In contrast, high doses of atorvastatin (2 - 5 μM) or the addition of LDL cholesterol completely inhibited proliferation, thereby abrogating telomerase activity. The proliferative effect of atorvastatin was ablated by the absense of the catalytic subunit of telomerase, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). Using transgenic GFP-mTert reporter mice, we observed a decrease in telomerase-positive lymphocytes from 30% to 15% during the first 5 months of age (p<0.01). This suggests that the decrease in immune cell turnover during normal development and maturation is mirrored by a reduction in telomerase activity in lymphocytes in-vivo. Conclusion Atorvastatin and cholesterol have opposing effects on telomerase in mononuclear cells and T-lymphocytes. Our study suggests a link between cholesterol metabolism and telomere-related cardiovascular risk.
    Atherosclerosis 01/2014; · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: to examine the association between subjective and objective measures of sleep and wake and other health parameters in a cohort of the very old. a population-based cohort study. primary care, North East England.Participants: four hundred and twenty-one men and women, aged 87-89, recruited to the Newcastle 85+ Study cohort. sleep questionnaires were administered and sleep-wake patterns were assessed over 5-7 days with a novel wrist triaxial accelerometer. Associations between sleep measures and various health parameters, including mortality at 24 months, were examined. only 16% of participants perceived their sleep as severely disturbed as assessed with questionnaire responses. Wrist accelerometry showed marked variation between normal and abnormal sleep-wake cycles that did not correlate with the participants' perception of sleep. Impaired sleep-wake cycles were significantly associated with cognitive impairment, disability, depression, increased falls, body mass index and arthritis but not with any other specific disease markers and with decreased survival. commonly used sleep questionnaires do not differentiate well between those with objectively determined disturbance of sleep-wake cycles and those with normal cycles. Abnormal sleep-wake patterns are associated with institutionalisation, cognitive impairment, disability, depression and arthritis but not with other diseases; there is also an association with reduced survival.
    Age and Ageing 10/2013; · 3.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: DNA repair mechanisms are important for genome stability and to prevent accumulation of DNA damage, which contributes to cellular ageing and cancer development. Study of these physiological processes requires robust and practical assays to quantify DNA repair capacity. The in vitro comet-based assay is a simple, yet reliable, assay for measurement of DNA repair and has been modified recently to quantify DNA incision activity in mouse brain and liver. In this study, we applied this assay to assess DNA incision activity in other mouse tissues, i.e. lung and colon, and found that high, non-specific nuclease activity was a problem when measuring DNA incision activity, especially in the colon. We tested the utility of multiple optimisation steps including addition of aphidicolin, ATP and polyAT and used multiple wash steps, which resulted in modest improvements in performance of the assay. Washing the tissues before protein extraction and decreasing the protein concentration in the assay were the most effective steps in reducing non-specific nuclease activity. Using the comet-based assay with these further modifications, we found that base excision repair incision activity changed with age differently in each tissue. This study shows that non-specific nuclease activity in the comet-based assay for DNA repair is more pronounced in some tissues than others so care should be taken to optimise the protocol when applying the assay to a new tissue. Our data suggest the importance of using control cells (noRo cells incubated with extract) in the assay to assess for non-specific nuclease activity. In conclusion, the comet-based DNA repair assay can be easily adapted to study a range of mammalian tissues.
    Mutagenesis 10/2013; · 3.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to manage the rise in life expectancy and the concomitant increased occurrence of age-related diseases, research into ageing has become a strategic priority. Mouse models are commonly utilised as they share high homology with humans and show many similar signs and diseases of ageing. However, the time and cost needed to rear aged cohorts can limit research opportunities. Sharing of resources can provide an ethically and economically superior framework to overcome some of these issues but requires dedicated infrastructure. Shared Ageing Research Models (ShARM) ( www.ShARMUK.org ) is a new, not-for-profit organisation funded by Wellcome Trust, open to all investigators. It collects, stores and distributes flash frozen tissues from aged murine models through its biorepository and provides a database of live ageing mouse colonies available in the UK and abroad. It also has an online environment (MICEspace) for collation and analysis of data from communal models and discussion boards on subjects such as the welfare of ageing animals and common endpoints for intervention studies. Since launching in July 2012, thanks to the generosity of researchers in UK and Europe, ShARM has collected more than 2,500 tissues and has in excess of 2,000 mice registered in live ageing colonies. By providing the appropriate support, ShARM has been able to bring together the knowledge and experience of investigators in the UK and Europe to maximise research outputs with little additional cost and minimising animal use in order to facilitate progress in ageing research.
    Biogerontology 10/2013; · 3.19 Impact Factor
  • Graeme Hewitt, Thomas von Zglinicki, João F. Passos
    Biological Aging edited by Trygve O. Tollefsbol, 08/2013; Humana Press., ISBN: 978-1-62703-555-2
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    ABSTRACT: Can the basal epithelial compartment of the human endometrium be defined by specific markers? Human endometrial epithelial cells from the basalis express nuclear SOX9 and the cell-surface marker SSEA-1, with some cells expressing nuclear β-catenin. In vitro, primary endometrial epithelial cells enriched for SSEA-1+ show some features expected of the basalis epithelium. The endometrial glands of the functionalis regenerate from the basalis gland stumps following menstruation. Endometriosis is thought to originate from abnormal dislocation of the basalis endometrium. In the highly regenerative intestinal epithelium, SOX9 and nuclear β-catenin are more highly expressed in the intestinal crypt, the stem/progenitor cell region. A large prospective observational study analysing full-thickness human endometrial hysterectomy samples from 115 premenopausal women, 15 post-menopausal women and ectopic endometriotic lesions from 20 women with endometriosis. Full-thickness endometrium from hysterectomy tissues was analysed by immunohistochemistry for SSEA-1, SOX9 and β-catenin. Primary human endometrial epithelial cells from short-term cultures were sorted into SSEA1+/- fractions with a cell sorter or magnetic beads and analysed for markers of differentiation and pluripotency and telomere lengths (TLs) using qPCR, telomerase activity [telomere repeat amplification protocol (TRAP)] and growth in 3D culture. Similar to the intestinal crypt epithelium, human endometrial basal glandular epithelial cells expressed nuclear SOX9 and contained a rare subpopulation of cells with nuclear β-catenin suggestive of an activated Wnt pathway. The embryonic stem cell-surface marker, SSEA-1, also marked the human endometrial basal glandular epithelial cells, and isolated SSEA-1(+) epithelial cells grown in monolayer showed significantly higher expression of telomerase activity, longer mean TLs, lower expression of genes for steroid receptors and produced a significantly higher number of endometrial gland-like spheroids in 3D culture compared with SSEA-1(-) epithelial cells (P = 0.009). Cells in ectopic endometriosis lesions also expressed SSEA-1 and nuclear SOX9, suggesting that the basalis contributes to ectopic lesion formation in endometriosis following retrograde menstruation. This is a descriptive study with only short-term culture of the primary human epithelial cells in vitro. The surface marker SSEA1 enriches for an endometrial epithelial cell subpopulation from the basalis. Since the functional endometrium originates from these cells, it is now possible to study basalis epithelium for stem/progenitor cell activity to extend our current understanding of endometrial biology in health and diseases. The work included in this manuscript was funded by Wellbeing of Women project grant RG1073 (D.K.H. and C.G.). We also acknowledge the support by National Health and Medical Research Council, RD Wright Career Development Award 465121 and Senior Research Fellowship 1042298, and the Victorian Government's Operation Infrastructure Support Program to C.G. and MRC G0601333 to T.V.Z. All authors have no conflict of interest to declare. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: N/A.
    Human Reproduction 07/2013; · 4.67 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

8k Citations
852.71 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2014
    • Newcastle University
      • Institute for Ageing and Health
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
    • University of Namur
      • Department of Biology
      Namur, WAL, Belgium
    • Evangelische Lungenklinik Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 2008
    • University of Liverpool
      • Department of Women's and Children's Health
      Liverpool, England, United Kingdom
  • 2007–2008
    • Poznan University of Medical Sciences
      • Department of Pathophysiology
      Posen, Greater Poland Voivodeship, Poland
  • 2006
    • The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
      Newcastle-on-Tyne, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005
    • University of Newcastle
      Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1989–2003
    • Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
      • Institute of Pathology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1995–2002
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      • • Department of Chemistry
      • • Department of Psychology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1989–1993
    • Uppsala University
      Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden