University of Münster
  • Münster, NRW, Germany
Recent publications
Background/Objective Most studies investigating the neural correlates of threat learning were carried out using an explicit Pavlovian conditioning paradigm where declarative knowledge on contingencies between conditioned (CS) and unconditioned stimuli (US) is acquired. The current study aimed at understanding the neural correlates of threat conditioning when contingency awareness is limited or even absent. Method We conducted an fMRI report of threat learning in an implicit associative learning paradigm called multi-CS conditioning, in which a number of faces were associated with aversive screams (US) such that participants could not report contingencies between the faces and the screams. Results The univariate results showed support for the recruitment of threat-related regions including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and the cerebellum during acquisition. Further analyses by the multivariate representational similarity technique identified learning-dependent changes in the bilateral dlPFC. Conclusion Our findings support the involvement of the dlPFC and the cerebellum in threat conditioning that occurs with highly limited or even absent contingency awareness.
Self-diffusion of Ti in HCP HfTiZr and AlScHfTiZr multi-principal element alloys is measured using the radiotracer technique and applying the ⁴⁴Ti isotope. In the temperature interval from 973 K to 1373 K, no systematic deviations from linear Arrhenius temperature dependencies are observed. Alloying equiatomic HfTiZr with Al and Sc enhances Ti diffusion rates and the effect becomes more pronounced with increasing Al content. The Ti diffusivities in the present multi-principal element alloys are found to exceed the values predicted by a simple geometric mean of the Ti diffusion coefficients in the pure metals by orders of magnitude, a phenomenon which we refer to as ‘anti-sluggish’ diffusion. Lattice distortions are speculated to dominate the relative enhancement of Ti diffusion in these HCP high-entropy alloys, inducing the ‘anti-sluggish’ behavior. The experimental findings are supported by ab initio-derived mean squared atomic displacements and potential energy fluctuations in these alloys.
Background: People are constantly preoccupied with how they are doing compared to different standards. This preoccupation influences judgments of well-being, including depression. However, research on well-being comparisons is scarce, also due to a lack of a measure of multi-standard comparisons. Methods: Our research goals were twofold. First, we validated the Comparison Standards Scale for well-being (CSS-W). Second, by drawing on central propositions of the general comparative-processing model, we examined the association of habitual well-being comparisons, their perceived discrepancies with the standard, and engendered affect with depressive symptoms and psychological well-being in dysphoric participants (N = 500). The CSS-W assesses habitual social, temporal, counterfactual, and criteria-based upward and downward comparisons regarding their a) frequency, b) perceived discrepancy, and c) engendered affect. Results: The findings confirmed the theoretically expected two-factor solution representing aversive (mostly upward) and appetitive (mostly downward) comparisons. Comparison frequency, discrepancy, and engendered affect were associated with depression and well-being. Yet, aversive comparisons displayed higher associations with the outcomes than appetitive comparisons. In particular, frequency of appetitive comparisons was not significantly correlated to depression. In line with our central theory-driven hypothesis, the relationship between frequency of aversive comparisons with depression was partially mediated by serial effects of comparison discrepancy and affect, whereas the relationship with well-being was fully mediated by comparison discrepancy and affect. Limitations: The cross-sectional design of the study does not allow for conclusions of causal relations between the measured variables. Conclusions: The presented framework proves useful in examining significant comparison processes in well-being and depression.
Autoimmune diseases are complex, multifactorial diseases with a polygenic trait and diverse environmental factors that contribute to triggering and exacerbating each disorder. The human microbiome is increasingly implicated in the multistep pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. We summarize here the latest developments in the field of how the microbiota interacts with the host on a cellular and molecular level. We review how pathobionts evolve within the gut of autoimmune-prone hosts to translocate to secondary lymphoid tissues. On mucosal sites and in non-gut tissues, pathobionts trigger autoimmune pathways through various mechanisms, including cross-reactivity with autoantigens and secretion of metabolites that alter immune functions. A better understanding of these mechanisms will hasten the development of unconventional therapeutic approaches for autoimmune diseases.
We study the fire-retaining problem on groups, a quasi-isometry invariant¹ introduced by Martínez-Pedroza and Prytuła [8], related to the firefighter problem. We prove that any Cayley graph with degree-d polynomial growth does not satisfy {f(n)}-retainment, for any f(n)=o(nd−2), matching the upper bound given for the firefighter problem for these graphs. In the exponential growth regime we prove general lower bounds for direct products and wreath products. These bounds are tight, and show that for exponential-growth groups a wide variety of behaviors is possible. In particular, we construct, for any d≥1, groups that satisfy {nd}-retainment but not o(nd)-retainment, as well as groups that do not satisfy sub-exponential retainment.
Objective To evaluate the frequency of reported antiseizure medication (ASM) supply problems among patients with epilepsy (PWE) in Germany. Methods The Epi2020 study was a multicenter study focusing on different healthcare aspects of adult PWE in Germany. In addition to basic clinical and demographic characteristics, PWE were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding supply difficulties regarding their ASM, and if they had to discontinue ASM treatment due to supply problems. Generic switch of medication was recorded, and adverse effects were measured using the Liverpool Adverse Events Profile (LAEP) scale. Data were analyzed to detect predictors of supply problems. Results In total, 434 PWE with a mean age of 40 years (median 37 years, SD = 15.5, range: 18–83 years, 254 female) participated in this study. 53.7% of PWE (n = 233) reported that at least once in the past 12 months their ASM was not available at the pharmacy, and 24.9% (n = 108) reported having experienced ASM supply problems three times or more during the past 12 months. Patients with epilepsy treated with carbamazepine and zonisamide reported frequent problems with availability in 45.8% and 44.8% respectively, whereas those treated with lacosamide and valproate reported supply problems less frequently (17.0% and 16.4%, respectively). Nine patients (2.1%) were unable to take their ASM as prescribed at least once in the past 12 months due to supply problems. Forty-nine patients (11.3%) reported having to switch ASM due to supply difficulties with generic replacement occurring in 39.4% (n = 171) of patients. Those with supply problems were more likely to be treated with more ASMs and scored higher on the LAEP. Conclusion Supply problems with ASM are frequent among PWE in Germany and are reported for older and newer ASMs. Supply problems contribute to ASM nonadherence and are positively correlated with the number of ASM taken and adverse events.
Previous research demonstrates positive effects of motivational self-regulation on motivation and achievement in typically developing high school and university students. However, little is known about how well children in middle childhood or children with learning difficulties regulate their motivation in academic contexts. Therefore, we investigated how effectively N = 425 children with mild learning difficulties in middle childhood use two motivational regulation strategies across three time points (at the start and at the end of grade four; at the start of grade five). Motivational regulation strategies showed moderate positive correlations with effort expenditure. In cross-lagged path models, effort expenditure at the subsequent time point was significantly predicted by current effort expenditure and self-efficacy self-talk, but not by self-consequating after controlling for academic self-concept and interest. These findings indicate that children with mild learning difficulties in middle childhood can already effectively apply simple forms of motivational self-regulation.
Understanding an interrelation between the structure, chemical composition and hydrogenation properties of intermetallic hydrides is crucial for the improvement of their hydrogen storage performance. Ability to form the hydrides and to tune the thermodynamics and kinetics of their interaction with hydrogen is related to their chemical composition. Some features of the metal-hydrogen interactions remain however poorly studied, including chemistry of Sc-containing hydrides. ZrNiAl-type ScNiSn-based intermetallic hydride has been probed in the present work using a broad range of experimental techniques including Synchrotron and Neutron Powder Diffraction, 119 Sn Möessbauer Spectroscopy, hydrogenation at pressures reaching several kbar H2 and hydrogen Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy studies. Computational DFT calculations have been furthermore performed. This allowed to establish the mechanism of the phase-structural transformation and electronic structure changes causing a unique contraction of the metal lattice of intermetallic alloy and the formation of the ...H-Ni-H-Ni… chains in the structure with H atoms carrying a partial negative charge. Such hydrogen absorption accompanied by a formation of a covalent Ni-H bonding and causing an unusual behavior contracts to the conventionally observed bonding mechanism of hydrogen in metals as based on the metallic bonding frequently accompanied by a jumping diffusion movement of the inserted H atoms-in contrast to the directional Metal-Hydrogen bonding observed in the present work. At high applied pressures ScNiSnH0.83 orthorhombic TiNiSi type hydride is formed with H atoms filling Sc3Ni tetrahedra. Finally, this study shows that scandium closely resembles the behavior of the heavy rare earth metal holmium.
Background: A dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder (D-PTSD) was introduced into the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) but latent profiles and clinical correlates of D-PTSD remain controversial. Objective: The aims of our study were to identify subgroups of individuals with distinct patterns of PTSD symptoms, including dissociative symptoms, by means of latent class analyses (LCA), to compare these results with the categorization of D-PTSD vs. PTSD without dissociative features according to the CAPS-5 interview, and to explore whether D-PTSD is associated with higher PTSD severity, difficulties in emotion regulation, and depressive symptoms. Method: A German sample of treatment-seeking individuals was investigated (N = 352). We conducted an LCA on the basis of symptoms of PTSD and dissociation as assessed by the CAPS-5. Moreover, severity of PTSD (PCL-5), difficulties in emotion regulation (DERS), and depressive symptoms (BDI-II) were compared between patients with D-PTSD according to the CAPS-5 interview and patients without dissociative symptoms. Results: LCA results suggested a 5-class model with one subgroup showing the highest probability to fulfill criteria for the dissociative subtype and high scores on both BDI and DERS. Significantly higher scores on the DERS, BDI and PCL-5 were found in the D-PTSD group diagnosed with the CAPS-5 (n = 75; 35.7%). Sexual trauma was also reported more often by this subgroup. When comparing the dissociative subtype to the LCA results, only a partial overlap could be found. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that patients with D-PTSD have significantly more problems with emotion regulation, more depressive symptoms, and more severe PTSD-symptoms. Given the results of our LCA, we conclude that the dissociative subtype seems to be more complex than D-PTSD as diagnosed by means of the CAPS-5.
Hybrid-pathogenic Escherichia coli represent an important group of strains associated with intestinal and extraintestinal infections. Recently, we described strain UPEC-46, a uropathogenic/enteroaggregative E. coli (UPEC/EAEC) strain presenting the aggregative adherence (AA) pattern on bladder and colorectal epithelial cells mediated by aggregate-forming pili (AFP). However, the role of AFP and other uninvestigated putative fimbriae operons in UPEC-46 pathogenesis remains unclear. Thus, this study evaluated the involvement of AFP and other adhesins in uropathogenicity and intestinal colonization using different in vitro and in vivo models. The strain UPEC-46 was able to adhere and invade intestinal and urinary cell lines. A library of transposon mutants also identified the involvement of type I fimbriae (TIF) in the adherence to HeLa cells, in addition to colorectal and bladder cell lines. The streptomycin-treated mouse in vivo model also showed an increased number of bacterial counts in the colon in the presence of AFP and TIF. In the mouse model of ascending urinary tract infection (UTI), AFP was more associated with kidney colonization, while TIF appears to mediate bladder colonization. Results observed in in vivo experiments were also confirmed by electron microscopy (EM) analyses. In summary, the in vitro and in vivo analyses show a synergistic role of AFP and TIF in the adherence and colonization of intestinal and urinary epithelia. Therefore, we propose that hybrid E. coli strains carrying AFP and TIF could potentially cause intestinal and urinary tract infections in the same patient.
Background This study aimed to identify latent moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior (SB) trajectories in older adults participating in a randomized intervention trial and to explore associations with baseline social-cognitive predictors. Methods Data were assessed at baseline (T0, participants were inactive or had recently become active), after a ten-week physical activity intervention (T1), and a second 24-week intervention phase (T2). Latent class growth analysis was used on accelerometer-assessed weekly MVPA and daily SB, respectively ( n = 215 eligible participants). Activity changes within trajectory classes and baseline social-cognitive predictor differences between trajectory classes were analyzed. Results A “stable insufficient MVPA” ( n = 197, p for difference in MVPA level at T0 and T2 ( p T0-T2 ) = .789, effect size (Cohen’s d ) = .03) and a “stable high MVPA” trajectory ( n = 18, p T0-T2 = .137, d = .39), as well as a “slightly decreasing high SB” ( n = 63, p for difference in SB ( p T0-T2 ) = .022, d = .36) and a “slightly increasing moderate SB” trajectory ( n = 152, p T0-T2 = .019, d = .27) emerged. Belonging to the “stable high MVPA” trajectory was associated with higher action planning levels compared to the “stable insufficient MVPA” trajectory ( M = 5.46 versus 4.40, d = .50). Belonging to the “decreasing high SB” trajectory was associated with higher action self-efficacy levels compared to the “increasing moderate SB” trajectory ( M = 5.27 versus 4.72, d = .33). Conclusions Change occurred heterogeneously in latent (not directly observed) subgroups, with significant positive trajectories only observed in the highly sedentary. Trial registration German Registry of Clinical Trials, DRKS00016073 , Registered 10 January 2019.
Objective To disseminate the portable sequencer MinION in developing countries for the main purpose of battling infectious diseases, we found a consortium called Global Research Alliance in Infectious Diseases (GRAID). By holding and inviting researchers both from developed and developing countries, we aim to train the participants with MinION’s operations and foster a collaboration in infectious diseases researches. As a real-life example in which resources are limited, we describe here a result from a training course, a metagenomics analysis from two blood samples collected from a routine cattle surveillance in Kulan Progo District, Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia in 2019. Results One of the samples was successfully sequenced with enough sequencing yield for further analysis. After depleting the reads mapped to host DNA, the remaining reads were shown to map to Theileria orientalis using BLAST and OneCodex. Although the reads were also mapped to Clostridium botulinum, those were found to be artifacts derived from the cow genome. An effort to construct a consensus sequence was successful using a reference-based approach with Pomoxis. Hence, we concluded that the asymptomatic cow might be infected with T. orientalis and showed the usefulness of sequencing technology, specifically the MinION platform, in a developing country.
Objective Patterns of cryopreservation of explanted skull bone flaps have long been a matter of debate, in particular the appropriate temperature of storage. To the best of our knowledge no study to date has compared the microbiological profile and the infection potential of skull bone flaps cryostored at the same institution at disparate degrees for neurosurgical purposes. In the context of our clinical trial DRKS00023283, we performed a bacterial culture of explanted skull bone flaps, which were cryopreserved lege artis at a temperature of either − 23 °C or − 80 °C after a decompressive hemicraniectomy. In a further step, we contaminated the bone fragments in a s uspension with specific pathogens ( S. aureus, S. epidermidis and C. acnes , Colony forming unit CFU 10 ³ /ml) over 24 h and conducted a second culture. Results A total of 17 cryopreserved skull flaps (8: − 23 °C; 9: − 80 °C) explanted during decompressive hemicraniectomies performed between 2019 and 2020 as well as 2 computer-aided-designed skulls (1 vancomycin-soaked) were analyzed. Median duration of cryopreservation was 10.5 months (2–17 months). No microorganisms were detected at the normal bacterial culture. After active contamination of our skull flaps, all samples showed similar bacterial growth of above-mentioned pathogens; thus, our study did not reveal an influence of the storage temperature upon infectious dynamic of the skulls.
We show that the existence of a universal structure implies the existence of a generic structure for any approximable class C of countable structures. We also show that the converse is not true. As a consequence, we provide several new examples of weak Fraïssé classes of finite graphs. Finally, we show that the class of all countable C4-free graphs does not contain a generic structure, strengthening a result of A. Hajnal and J. Pach.
Germany and the United States pursued different economic strategies to minimise the impact of the Coronavirus Crisis on the labour market. Germany focused on safeguarding existing jobs through the use of internal flexibility measures, especially short-time work (STW). The United States relied on a mix of external flexibility and income protection. On this basis, we use macroeconomic time series to examine the German strategy of securing employment through internal flexibility by contrasting it with the chosen strategy in the United States. In Germany, temporary cyclical reductions in working hours are mainly driven via STW. US unemployment rose at an unprecedented rate, but unlike in previous recessions, it was mostly driven by temporary layoffs. However, a closer look at the blind spots of the chosen strategies in both countries showed that despite the different approaches, people in weaker labour market positions were less well protected by the chosen strategies.
Dithiolate-amine binary ligand systems based two novel supramolecular structures of Ni(II) coordination compounds [Ni(2-ap)2(i-mnt)] (1) and [Ni2(i-mnt)2(tn)2]n (2) [where i-mnt⁻²: 1,1-dicyanoethylene-2,2-dithiolate, 2-ap: 2-amino pyridine, tn: 1,3-diaminopropane] have been designed, synthesized and characterized by spectroscopic techniques and X-ray crystallography. In complex 1, the N2S2 coordination kernel around Ni⁺² attains distorted square planar geometry (Okuniewski parameter τ/4 = 0.17) and its supramolecular array has a dominant influence of N H···N type hydrogen bonds forming significant ring geometry of graph-set-motifR428. The i-mnt⁻² adopts a diverse coordination mode in 2 contrary to 1 resulting in a binuclear one-dimensional infinite polymeric chain structure of consecutive NiS4 [square planar, S4 donor set τ/4 = 0] and NiN6 (octahedral) coordination kernels linked by i-mnt⁻² that runs along [1 0 0] axis wherein N H···S, N H···N, C H···S type hydrogen bonds are believed to be crystal structure stabilizers. The Hirshfeld surface analyses (HS) at the molecular and atomic levels have been extensively studied to quantify all non-covalent interactions/contacts and the nature of ligand - metal interactions. The prominent N···H/H···N [28.1 % (1), 27.3 % (2A, NiS4), 20 % (2B, NiN6)] and S···H/H···S contacts [10.4 % (1), 32.8 % (2A), 29 % (2B)] presumably play vital role in crystal packing. The non-covalent interactions were further investigated by Molecular Electrostatic Potential (MEP) surface at PBE0-D3/def2-TZVP level and QTAIM optimizations (for 1). The MTT assay study using SW620 metastatic colon cancer cells shows a significant dose-dependent decline in cell proliferation with increasing concentration for 1 but for 2, the reverse trend is followed. A molecular docking study with the APC protein has further investigated the antiproliferative activity of 1 (MTT assay).
Being the principal component of biological membranes lipids are essential building blocks of life. Given their huge biological importance, the investigation of lipids, their properties, interactions and metabolic pathways is of prime importance for the fundamental understanding of living cells and organisms as well as the emergence of diseases. Different strategies have been applied to investigate lipid-mediated biological processes, one of them being the use of lipid mimetics. They structurally resemble their natural counterparts but are equipped with functionality that can be used to probe or manipulate lipid-mediated biological processes and biomembranes. Lipid mimetics therefore constitute an indispensable toolbox for lipid biology and membrane research but also beyond for potential applications in medicine or synthetic biology. Herein, we highlight recent advances in the development and application of lipid-mimicking compounds.
Electrode processing and performance strongly depend on the active material. Maximizing the active material content of positive composite electrodes enables low cost and high energy density. However, this maximization cannot reach 100%, as composite electrodes additionally consist of binder to provide mechanical integrity and conductive additive to enhance electronic conductivity, which in combination create a flexible porous microstructure for appropriate electron and lithium transport. In this study, the influence of three positive active material classes, layered oxide LiNi0.6Mn0.2Co0.2O2, spinel-type LiMn2O4 and olivine-type carbon-coated LiFePO4, were investigated regarding the optimum amount of polyvinylidene difluoride as binder and carbon black as conductive additive to achieve high mechanical stability as well as high electronic and ionic conductivity within composite electrodes. Formulation optimization was conducted and compared to a reference electrode formulation with regard to physical, mechanical, electronic and electrochemical properties. In a first step, the binder amount was optimized for each active material class by varying the ratio of binder content to surface area of the solid electrode components. In a second step, the critical conductive additive content was determined. Overall, this strategy allows to decipher material class dependent optimized electrode formulations for high energy density composite electrodes with maximized active material content.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, where some of the earliest known urban cities are located, relatively little is known about urban soils in archaeological contexts. Red Mediterranean Soil (RMS) is a hallmark of the Mediterranean region while the impact of long-term urbanization on RMS material is understudied. In this article we present evidence of RMS from the longue durée cityscape of Jerash, Jordan, to determine how humans have used, modified and impacted RMS material in an urban context. Thin-sections were made of twelve RMS samples, and micromorphological studies on several in-situ but disturbed soils adjacent to bedrock were conducted, spanning the initial surface soil disturbances in the Hellenistic and Roman period occupation, as well as transported RMS material spanning the Roman through Umayyad periods (until the earthquake of 749 CE). We compared the on-site inner-urban red soils to natural RMS in the area and found that some characteristics reflect their origin in the Pleistocene soils, while other traits reflect human impact related to urban activities. The majority of the on-site samples contained evidence comparable to modern centers, including changes of structure, texture, inclusions, as well as high levels of contamination of heavy metals and phosphorus (P), which combined are strong signs of urban activity. Evidence including textural pedofeatures, fragmented peds, mixed fabrics, sorting of silt-sized material likely reflect the use of RMS in urban gardens and cultivation. Black carbon inclusions within the fabric contain evidence for burning of organic matter in connection with various anthropogenic activities, likely re-dispersed via aeolian and water erosion processes. Heavy metal enrichments, which are associated with production and artisanal activities, may also have been disseminated by both aeolian and surface water processes, possibly in conjunction with irrigation undertaken with polluted water. Contrasting soil fabrics and inclusion features observed in thin section together with elemental analayses characterizes the nature of urban cultivation in its environmental context at Jerash, where city life was maintained for over 800 years. With cultivated soils in urban areas increasingly evidenced in archaeological stratigraphies from different regions of the world, our approach offers new insight into the vital contributions that these soils and their management has made to the food security, resilience and longevity of early city life.
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Stefan Weinl
  • Institute for Plant Biology and Biotechnology (IBBP)
Christian Mück-Lichtenfeld
  • Institute of Organic Chemistry
Dimosthenis Andreou
  • Department of General Orthopedics and Tumororthopedics
Sebastian Herwig
  • Division for Research Information Management
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Schlossplatz 2, 48149, Münster, NRW, Germany
Head of institution
Prof. Dr. Johannes Wessels
Website
http://www.uni-muenster.de/en
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