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Publications (10)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Graft survival is the most important factor for morbidity and mortality in cardiac transplantation. Improved immunosuppression significantly reduced early graft rejection. However, acute rejection may predispose to chronic rejection. Targeting both phases of the recipient's immune-reactivity by means of long-acting recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors (AAVs) encoding anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective factors appears to be a promising therapeutic approach. We investigate thymosin ß4 (Tß4) possessing anti-inflammatory and prosurvival abilities, as a means for pretransplant gene therapy. Methods: Heterotopic, abdominal transplantation of cardiac allografts into landrace or into Munich mini pigs (n=5 per group) was performed. Transplants were transduced with AAV2.9 before transplantation by means of in situ perfusion of the donor organ. Vascuar endothelial growth factor and AAV2.9.Tß4 or AAV2.9.LacZ were added to the autologous blood used for perfusing the grafts for a period of 45 min. Immunosuppression was applied for 10 days after the operation. Transgene expression, capillary density, graft function, survival, and rejection were assessed. Results: The AAV2.9 transduction induced robust overexpression of the transgene. In addition, Tß4 ameliorated inflammation, necrosis, vascular reaction (acute rejection) and in parallel improved capillary density. In addition, graft survival was significantly prolonged (10±3 days AAV2.9.LacZ vs. 31±4 days AAV2.9.Tß4). In the mini pig model, regional myocardial function of the grafts was improved by Tß4 transduction compared to LacZ (9.1%±0.9% subendocardial segment shortening in AAV2.9.LacZ vs. 15.8%±2.3% in AAV2.9.Tß4). Conclusion: In situ AAV2.9-mediated gene transfer of thymosin β4 attenuated graft rejection in a heterotopic heart transplantation model. Perioperative cardioprotection by means of gene therapy might improve graft survival in cardiac allotransplantation.
    Article · Oct 2014 · Transplantation
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    Annegret Wuensch · Andrea Baehr · Anjan K Bongoni · [...] · Nikolai Klymiuk
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Among other mismatches between human and pig, incompatibilities in the blood coagulation systems hamper the xenotransplantation of vascularized organs. The provision of the porcine endothelium with human thrombomodulin (hTM) is hypothesized to overcome the impaired activation of protein C by a heterodimer consisting of human thrombin and porcine TM. We evaluated regulatory regions of the THBD gene, optimized vectors for transgene expression, and generated hTM expressing pigs by somatic cell nuclear transfer. Genetically modified pigs were characterized at the molecular, cellular, histological, and physiological levels. A 7.6-kb fragment containing the entire upstream region of the porcine THBD gene was found to drive a high expression in a porcine endothelial cell line and was therefore used to control hTM expression in transgenic pigs. The abundance of hTM was restricted to the endothelium, according to the predicted pattern, and the transgene expression of hTM was stably inherited to the offspring. When endothelial cells from pigs carrying the hTM transgene-either alone or in combination with an aGalTKO and a transgene encoding the human CD46-were tested in a coagulation assay with human whole blood, the clotting time was increased three- to four-fold (P<0.001) compared to wild-type and aGalTKO/CD46 transgenic endothelial cells. This, for the first time, demonstrated the anticoagulant properties of hTM on porcine endothelial cells in a human whole blood assay. The biological efficacy of hTM suggests that the (multi-)transgenic donor pigs described here have the potential to overcome coagulation incompatibilities in pig-to-primate xenotransplantation.
    Full-text Article · Oct 2013 · Transplantation
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    Annegret Wuensch · Andrea Baehr · Anjan K. Bongoni · [...] · Nikolai Klymiuk
    Full-text Conference Paper · Sep 2013
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:   Personalized cancer treatment strategies depend on comprehensive and detailed characterization of individual human malignancies. Clinical pathology, particularly immunohistochemical evaluation of biomarkers in tissues, is considered to be the approved standard for diagnostic and therapeutic decisions, having a direct influence on patient management and therapy. Although antibody-based approaches are established and integrated successfully into both clinical and research applications, for personalized treatment regimens new demands have been placed on the quality, reproducibility and accuracy of antibody-based assays. To ensure the accuracy of specific antigen detection in immunohistochemistry, we introduce a novel approach for antibody validation.   In a tandem approach we used the same archival tissue of interest for antibody validation by combining extraction of immunoreactive proteins from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue with Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. This procedure allows for specification of the antigen detected and for localization of the protein in the tissue. Of the 32 antibodies tested used in research and routine diagnostics, 19 showed reliable specificity in both assays.   This study emphasizes the advantage of combining suitable methods to ensure reproducibility and specific antigen detection. Based on our results, we propose a novel step-by-step strategy to validate antibody specificity and reduce variability of immunohistochemical results.
    Article · Mar 2012 · Histopathology
  • Article · Jul 2011 · Cancer Research
  • C Faber · D Horst · F Hlubek · T Kirchner
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The RNASE III endonuclease Dicer is one of the key enzymes of microRNA biogenesis. The influence of Dicer-expression in tumour cells on the prognosis of patients with several cancers has been studied with controversial results among different cancer types. To date no one has examined the effect of this biomarker on survival in colorectal carcinoma. Thus, we aimed to study the influence of Dicer expression on survival in colorectal cancer. We performed immunohistochemical analyses on formalin-fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) cancer tissue with an antibody against the Dicer protein. Tumour material from 237 cases was available from patients with colorectal adeonocarcinomas with moderate differentiation (G2) and without evidence of lymph-node (N0) or distant metastasis (M0). Sixty-four cases were in T2 and 173 in T3 stages. A tissue microarray (TMA) was constructed with each tumour in triplicate. Each tumour was assigned to a scoring scale of 0-3, depending on the cytoplasmatic expression of Dicer. A Kaplan-Maier analysis was performed and the log-rank test was used for significance levels by using SPSS v.17 software. The expression of Dicer in colorectal carcinoma shows a strong association with poor survival (cancer specific survival=CSS, p<0,001) as well as with reduced progression free survival (PFS, p<0,001). In the group with no Dicer staining there was no recorded relapse (0/15) compared with 10/18 relapses in the group with the strongest staining of Dicer. Strong expression of the central microRNA biosynthesis enzyme Dicer predicts poor prognosis in patients with colorectal cancer. This is in line with investigations on prostate cancer. Contradictory, in breast, lung and ovary cancer Dicer has been shown to be a marker of good prognosis. Further studies on the cellular functions of Dicer need to address these issues.
    Article · Feb 2011 · European journal of cancer (Oxford, England: 1990)
  • Claudia Schuster · Jan Budczies · Claudius Faber · [...] · Falk Hlubek
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Global implementation of molecular diagnostics in modern pathology has been limited by the use of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues in current routine diagnostic procedures because of modification and degradation of nucleic acids and protein molecules. In particular, molecular analysis of a specific cell type potentially important for biomarker identification is largely prevented in highly complex, solid tissues routinely used in histopathology. Accumulating data report on the substantial contribution of microRNA molecules (miRNA) to tumor development and malignant progression of most human malignancies. Our objective was to establish a sensitive and robust procedure to quantify miRNA expression in specific cells from complex archival tumor tissues identified by immunohistochemistry. Here, we show reliable detection of miRNA expression profiles determined from limited amounts of colorectal cancer FFPE tissues after routine staining procedure. The combination of routinely used FFPE specimens stained by immunohistochemistry with the molecular analysis of laser microdissected complex tumor tissue resulted in robust miRNA expression patterns exclusively obtained from epithelial tumor cells. This approach allows for a detailed molecular analysis of cancer cells and distinct stromal cell types and their in situ interaction in solid tumors. Hence, the methodology can offer new perspectives for basic research and, by comprehensive use of present archival tissue collections linked to clinical databases, facilitate miRNA biomarker identification in defined tissue cells for future diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
    Article · Jan 2011 · Laboratory Investigation
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterotopic thoracic heart transplantation may be an alternative to the established heterotopic abdominal or orthotopic cardiac xenotransplantation model as it combines the safety of heterotopic transplantation with the benefit of a working heart model. In a first series of two animals, we tested the surgical feasibility of this procedure with non-transgenic pig hearts transplanted into pre-sensitized baboons (killed after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass). In a second group (n = 2), double-transgenic alpha(1,3)galactosyl-transferase knock out/hCD46 pig hearts were transplanted into naïve baboons after immunoadsorption. The immunosuppressive regimen consisted of anti-CD20-mAb, tacrolimus, sirolimus, MMF and steroids. The first baboon was successfully transplanted, but died of an air embolism, while in the second animal graft survival was 50 days with the recipient in good physical condition. One rejection reaction was successfully treated by immunoadsorption, ATG and the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Post-mortem histopathology showed no evidence for humoral or cellular rejection of the cardiac xenograft. This is the first description of a heterotopic thoracic pig-to-baboon heart transplantation. The procedure combines the advantages of a working heart model with the safety of heterotopic transplantation. In contrast to orthotopic transplantation, the recipient heart can assist the donor heart during episodes of rejection. We believe that the heterotopic thoracic model may accelerate the progress into the clinical application of cardiac xenotransplantation. However, successful combination of this heterotopic transplantation with an experimental model of cardiac failure may be needed before this technique can be promoted to clinical trials.
    Article · May 2010 · Xenotransplantation
  • Article · Jan 2010 · Reproduction Fertility and Development
  • Claudius Faber · Thomas Kirchner · Falk Hlubek
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MicroRNAs are small RNAs that regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. After their discovery 15 years ago, a new layer of gene regulation was introduced into every field of human biology and medicine. Considering the strong association between genetic alterations and neoplastic diseases, it is not surprising that there is a special focus on miRNAs and cancer. A multitude of experimental studies on colorectal cancer, the most common cancer site and furthermore the second most common cause of death due to cancer, deliver insight into miRNA-mediated, regulatory links to well-known oncogenic and tumour suppressor signalling pathways. Furthermore, several investigations have described the ability of microRNA expression patterns to predict prognosis in colon cancer and support diagnosis of poorly differentiated tumours. In this short review, we give a comprehensive overview focussed on miRNAs in colorectal cancer research.
    Article · May 2009 · Archiv für Pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für Klinische Medicin