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Author: Stefan Bittner (82)


Dec
2017

Currently, no unequivocal predictors of disease evolution exist in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Cortical atrophy measurements are, however, closely associated with cumulative disability.
Here, we aim to forecast longitudinal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-driven cortical atrophy and clinical disability from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) markers.

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Dec
1969

Substance P (SP) is a neuropeptide, likely acting as a neurotransmitter in the pharyngeal mucosa enhancing the swallow and cough reflex. Pharyngeal Electrical Stimulation (PES) induces a temporary increase of salivary SP levels in healthy adults. Previous evidence suggests that post-stroke dysphagia is related to reduced SP levels.

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Dec
2017

Discontinuation of natalizumab can lead to severe rebound of disease activity in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS); nevertheless, the treatment regimen in this clinical situation remains controversial. We report the case of a 25-year-old male patient with RRMS who was clinically stable under 3 years of natalizumab before treatment was stopped due to progressive multifocal leucencephalopathy (PML) safety concerns. After initiation of daclizumab, the patient suffered from disease reactivation, which was ultimately controlled by intravenous methylprednisolone and alemtuzumab treatment.

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Sep
2017

Epigenetic regulators are increasingly recognized as relevant modulators in the immune and nervous system. The class of sirtuins consists of NAD-dependent histone deacetylases that regulate transcription. Sirtuin family member Sirt1 has already been shown to influence the disease course in an animal model of autoimmune neuroinflammation (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

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Sep
2017

Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling plays a crucial role in regulating immune cell function and has been implicated in autoimmune disorders. To date, all commercially available inhibitors of ERK target upstream components, such as mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase/ERK kinase (MEKs), but not ERK itself. Here, we directly inhibit nuclear ERK translocation by a novel pharmacological approach (Glu-Pro-Glu (EPE) peptide), leading to an increase in cytosolic ERK phosphorylation during T helper (Th)17 cell differentiation.

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Jan
2017

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease that is caused by an autoimmune response against central nervous system (CNS) structures. Traditionally considered a T-cell-mediated disorder, the contribution of B cells to the pathogenesis of MS has long been debated. Based on recent promising clinical results from CD20-depleting strategies by three therapeutic monoclonal antibodies in clinical phase II and III trials (rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab), targeting B cells in MS is currently attracting growing interest among basic researchers and clinicians.

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Dec
1969

T-cell migration across the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a crucial step in the pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Two-photon intravital microscopy (2P-IVM) has been established as a powerful tool to study cell-cell interactions in inflammatory EAE lesions in living animals. In EAE, central nervous system inflammation is strongly pronounced in the spinal cord, an organ in which 2P-IVM imaging is technically very challenging and has been limited to the lumbar spinal cord.

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Apr
2017

The effect of dimethyl fumarate (DMF) on circulating lymphocyte subsets and their contribution as predictors of clinical efficacy have not yet been investigated in multiple sclerosis (MS).
To evaluate lymphocytes and lymphocyte subsets (analyzed 6 months after DMF start) in MS patients with and without disease activity after 1 year of treatment in a retrospective study.
Peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry.

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Apr
2017

Recombinant TWIK2 channels produce weak basal background Kcurrents. Current amplitudes depend on the animal species the channels have been isolated from and on the heterologous system used for their re-expression. Here we show that this variability is due to a unique cellular trafficking.

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Nov
2016

In multiple sclerosis (MS), the immune cell attack leads to axonal injury as a major cause for neurological disability. Here, we report a novel role of the cell adhesion molecule L1 in the crosstalk between the immune and nervous systems. L1 was found to be expressed by CNS axons of MS patients and human T cells.

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Oct
2016

Beyond their indispensable role in hemostasis, platelets have shown to affect the development of inflammatory disorders, as they have been epidemiologically and mechanistically linked to diseases featuring an inflammatory reaction in inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disorders. The identification of novel molecular mechanisms linking inflammation and to platelets has highlighted them as new targets for therapeutic interventions. In particular, genetic and pharmacological studies have identified an important role for platelets in neuroinflammation.

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Dec
1969

K5.1 channels (also called TASK-2 or Kcnk5) have already been shown to be relevant in the pathophysiology of autoimmune disease because they are known to be upregulated on peripheral and central T lymphocytes of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Moreover, overexpression of K5.

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Jan
2017

Myelin loss is a severe pathological hallmark common to a number of neurodegenerative diseases, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Demyelination in the central nervous system appears in the form of lesions affecting both white and gray matter structures. The functional consequences of demyelination on neuronal network and brain function are not well understood.

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Oct
2016

Two-pore domain potassium (K) channels influence basic cellular parameters such as resting membrane potential, cellular excitability, or intracellular Ca-concentration [Ca]While the physiological importance of Kchannels in different organ systems (e.g., heart, central nervous system, or immune system) has become increasingly clear over the last decade, their expression profile and functional role in skeletal muscle cells (SkMC) remain largely unknown.

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Dec
1969

Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS)(2) is characterized by phases of acute neuroinflammation followed by spontaneous remission. Termination of inflammation is accompanied by an influx of regulatory T cells (Tregs).(3) The molecular mechanisms responsible for directing Tregs into the inflamed CNS tissue, however, are incompletely understood.

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Dec
1969

Although various types of ion channels are known to have an impact on human T cell effector functions, their exact mechanisms of influence are still poorly understood. The patch clamp technique is a well-established method for the investigation of ion channels in neurons and T cells. However, small cell sizes and limited selectivity of pharmacological blockers restrict the value of this experimental approach.

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May
2016

Aberrant immune responses represent the underlying cause of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity, including multiple sclerosis (MS). Recent evidence implicated the crosstalk between coagulation and immunity in CNS autoimmunity. Here we identify coagulation factor XII (FXII), the initiator of the intrinsic coagulation cascade and the kallikrein-kinin system, as a specific immune cell modulator.

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Mar
2016

Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada®) is a newly approved therapeutic agent for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). In previous phase II and III clinical trials, alemtuzumab has proven superior efficacy to subcutaneous interferon beta-1a concerning relapse rate and disability progression with unprecedented durability and long-lasting freedom of disease activity. The humanized monoclonal antibody targets CD52, leading to a rapid and long-lasting depletion, especially of B and T cells.

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Dec
2015

Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an early hallmark of multiple sclerosis (MS), a progressive inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Cell adhesion in the BBB is modulated by sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), a signaling protein, via S1P receptors (S1P₁). Fingolimod phosphate (FTY720-P) a functional S1P₁ antagonist has been shown to improve the relapse rate in relapsing-remitting MS by preventing the egress of lymphocytes from lymph nodes.

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Dec
2015

NKG2D is an activating receptor on T cells, which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. T cells are critically involved in idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) and have been proposed as specific therapeutic targets. However, the mechanisms underlying T cell-mediated progressive muscle destruction in IIM remain to be elucidated.

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Dec
1969

Rats of the Wistar Albino Glaxo/Rij (WAG/Rij) strain show symptoms resembling human absence epilepsy. Thalamocortical neurons of WAG/Rij rats are characterized by an increased HCN1 expression, a negative shift in I h activation curve, and an altered responsiveness of I h to cAMP. We cloned HCN1 channels from rat thalamic cDNA libraries of the WAG/Rij strain and found an N-terminal deletion of 37 amino acids.

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Jan
2016

Therapeutic options for multiple sclerosis (MS) have significantly increased over the last few years. T lymphocytes are considered to play a central role in initiating and perpetuating the pathological immune response. Currently approved therapies for MS target T lymphocytes, either in an unspecific manner or directly by interference with specific T-cell pathways.

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Sep
2015

Despite intense research, few treatments are available for most neurological disorders. Demyelinating diseases are no exception. This is perhaps not surprising considering the multifactorial nature of these diseases, which involve complex interactions between immune system cells, glia and neurons.

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Jul
2015

Lymphocytes express potassium channels that regulate physiological cell functions, such as activation, proliferation and migration. Expression levels of K2P5.1 (TASK2; KCNK5) channels belonging to the family of two-pore domain potassium channels have previously been correlated to the activity of autoreactive T lymphocytes in patients with multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Jul
2015

Alemtuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against CD52 (cluster of differentiation 52) and is approved for the therapy of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The application of alemtuzumab leads to a rapid, but long-lasting depletion predominantly of CD52-bearing B and T cells with reprogramming effects on immune cell composition resulting in the restoration of tolerogenic networks. Alemtuzumab has proven high efficacy in clinical phase II and III trials, where interferon β-1a was used as active comparator.

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Sep
2015

Natural killer (NK) cells are a subset of cytotoxic lymphocytes that recognize and kill tumor- and virus-infected cells without prior stimulation. Killing of target cells is a multistep process including adhesion to target cells, formation of an immunological synapse, and polarization and release of cytolytic granules. The role of distinct potassium channels in this orchestrated process is still poorly understood.

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Jan
2016

Common symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) such as gait ataxia, poor coordination of the hands, and intention tremor are usually the result of dysfunctionality in the cerebellum. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has frequently failed to detect cerebellar damage in the form of inflammatory lesions in patients presenting with symptoms of cerebellar dysfunction.
To detect microstructural cerebellar tissue alterations in early MS patients with a "normal appearing" cerebellum using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).

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Feb
2015

Death of oligodendrocytes accompanied by destruction of neurons and axons are typical histopathological findings in cortical and subcortical grey matter lesions in inflammatory demyelinating disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS). In these disorders, mainly CD8+ T-cells of putative specificity for myelin- and oligodendrocyte-related antigens are found, so that neuronal apoptosis in grey matter lesions may be a collateral effect of these cells. Different types of animal models are established to study the underlying mechanisms of the mentioned pathophysiological processes.

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Mar
2015


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Nov
2014

The blood-brain-barrier is ultrastructurally assembled by a monolayer of brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMEC) interconnected by a junctional complex of tight and adherens junctions. Together with other cell-types such as astrocytes or pericytes, they form the neurovascular unit (NVU), which specifically regulates the interchange of fluids, molecules and cells between the peripheral blood and the CNS. Through this complex and dynamic system BMECs are involved in various processes maintaining the homeostasis of the CNS.

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May
2015

Members of the two-pore domain K(+) channel (K2P) family are increasingly recognized as being potential targets for therapeutic drugs and could play a role in the diagnosis and treatment of neurologic disorders. Their broad and diverse expression pattern in pleiotropic cell types, importance in cellular function, unique biophysical properties, and sensitivity toward pathophysiologic parameters represent the basis for their involvement in disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). This review will focus on multiple sclerosis (MS) and stroke, as there is growing evidence for the involvement of K2P channels in these two major CNS disorders.

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Jul
2015

Inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) and disruption of its immune privilege are major contributors to the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and of its rodent counterpart, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). We have previously identified developmental endothelial locus-1 (Del-1) as an endogenous anti-inflammatory factor, which inhibits integrin-dependent leukocyte adhesion. Here we show that Del-1 contributes to the immune privilege status of the CNS.

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May
2015

Potassium channels can fulfill both beneficial and detrimental roles in neuronal damage during ischemic stroke. Earlier studies have characterized a neuroprotective role of the two-pore domain potassium channels KCNK2 (TREK1) and KCNK3 (TASK1). Protective neuronal hyperpolarization and prevention of intracellular Ca(2+) overload and glutamate excitotoxicity were suggested to be the underlying mechanisms.

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Nov
2014

Brain injury during stroke results in oxidative stress and the release of factors that include extracellular Ca(2+), hydrogen peroxide, adenosine diphosphate ribose, and nicotinic acid adenine dinucleotide phosphate. These alterations of the extracellular milieu change the activity of transient receptor potential melastatin subfamily member 2 (TRPM2), a nonselective cation channel expressed in the central nervous system and the immune system. Our goal was to evaluate the contribution of TRPM2 to the tissue damage after stroke.

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May
2014

Cuboid-shaped organic microcavities containing a pyrromethene laser dye and supported upon a photonic crystal have been investigated as an approach to reducing the lasing threshold of the cavities. Multiphoton lithography facilitated fabrication of the cuboid cavities directly on the substrate or on the decoupling structure, while similar structures were fabricated on the substrate by UV lithography for comparison. Significant reduction of the lasing threshold by a factor of ~30 has been observed for cavities supported by the photonic crystal relative to those fabricated on the substrate.

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Jul
2014

Glatiramer acetate (GA) (Copaxone), a well-established drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, is believed to modulate numerous pathways including antigen-presenting cells or cytokine responses. A new generation of spontaneous experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis mouse models has been developed that mimic certain aspects of multiple sclerosis spectrum disorders. We assessed the effects of GA in the opticospinal encephalomyelitis model, which involves MOG35-55 peptide-specific T cells and B cells.

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Aug
2014

Lymphocyte adhesion and subsequent trafficking across endothelial barriers are essential steps in various immune-mediated disorders of the CNS, including MS. The molecular mechanisms underlying these processes, however, are still unknown. Phospholipase D1 (PLD1), an enzyme that generates phosphatidic acid through hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine and additionally yields choline as a product, has been described as regulator of the cell mobility.

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Apr
2014

Multiple sclerosis is a chronic neuroinflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system with a strong neurodegenerative component. While the exact etiology of the disease is yet unclear, autoreactive T lymphocytes are thought to play a central role in its pathophysiology. MS therapy is only partially effective so far and research efforts continue to expand our knowledge on the pathophysiology of the disease and to develop novel treatment strategies.

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Aug
2014

CD4(+) T cells expressing the immunotolerizing molecule HLA-G have been described as a unique human thymus-derived regulatory T (tTreg) cell subset involved in immunoregulation and parenchymal homeostasis during infectious and autoimmune inflammation. We compared properties and molecular characteristics of human CD4(+)HLA-G(+) with those of CD4(+)CD25(+)FoxP3-expressing tTreg cells using in vitro studies of T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling, single-cell electrophysiology, and functional in vivo studies. Both tTreg populations are characterized by alterations in proximal-signaling pathways on TCR stimulation and a hyperpolarization of the plasma membrane when compared to conventional CD4(+) T cells.

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Jun
2014

T lymphocytes have recently been identified as key mediators of tissue damage in ischemic stroke. The interaction between very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) and vascular adhesion molecule-1 is crucial for the transvascular egress of T lymphocytes, and inhibition of this interaction by specific antibodies is a powerful strategy to combat autoimmune neuroinflammation. However, whether pharmacological blocking of T-lymphocyte trafficking is also protective during brain ischemia is still unclear.

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Jun
2014

TREK-king the blood-brain-barrier.

J Neuroimmune Pharmacol 2014 Jun 21;9(3):293-301. Epub 2014 Feb 21.
Stefan Bittner, Tobias Ruck, Juncal Fernández-Orth, Sven G Meuth
TWIK-related potassium channel-1 (TREK1, KCNK2) is the most extensively studied member of the two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channel family. Recent studies have already demonstrated a key role in the pathophysiology of depression, pain and neurodegenerative damage pointing towards an important role in a broad spectrum of CNS disorders. The mammalian blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a highly specialized structure and an integral part of the neurovascular unit, which controls the transition of cells and molecules into the CNS.

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Dec
2013

Brain ischemia is known to include neuronal cell death and persisting neurological deficits. A lack of oxygen and glucose are considered to be key mediators of ischemic neurodegeneration while the exact mechanisms are yet unclear. In former studies the expression of two different two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channels (TASK1, TREK1) were shown to ameliorate neuronal damage due to cerebral ischemia.

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Dec
2013

Evans syndrome is a rare hematological disease commonly defined as Coombs-positive hemolytic anemia and immune thrombocytopenia. Pathophysiology of this disease involves decreased cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ T-helper cell counts, increased CD8+ T-suppressor cell counts, a decreased CD4/CD8 ratio, and reduced serum immunoglobulin G, M and A levels - indicating a complex immune dysregulation. Association with other autoimmune diseases has been described although involvement of the central nervous system has not been reported so far.

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Dec
1969

Migration of encephalitogenic CD4(+) T lymphocytes across the blood-brain barrier is an essential step in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). We here demonstrate that expression of the co-stimulatory receptor NKG2D defines a subpopulation of CD4(+) T cells with elevated levels of markers for migration, activation, and cytolytic capacity especially when derived from MS patients. Furthermore, CD4(+)NKG2D(+) cells produce high levels of proinflammatory IFN-γ and IL-17 upon stimulation.

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Aug
2014

We have identified a novel splice variant of the human and rat two-pore domain potassium (K2P) channel TREK-1. The splice variant TREK-1e results from skipping of exon 5, which causes a frame shift in exon 6. The frame shift produces a novel C-terminal amino acid sequence and a premature termination of translation, which leads to a loss of transmembrane domains M3 and M4 and of the second pore domain.

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Oct
2013

Neural-antigen reactive cytotoxic CD8+ T cells contribute to neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in a variety of inflammatory CNS disorders. Facing excess numbers of target cells, CNS-invading CD8+ T cells cause neuronal cell death either via confined release of cytotoxic effector molecules towards neurons, or via spillover of cytotoxic effector molecules from 'leaky' immunological synapses and non-confined release by CD8+ T cells themselves during serial and simultaneous killing of oligodendrocytes or astrocytes.
Wild-type and T cell receptor transgenic CD8+ T cells were stimulated in vitro, their activation status was assessed by flow cytometry, and supernatant glutamate levels were determined using an enzymatic assay.

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Sep
2013

Pharmacological targeting of ion channels has long been recognized as an attractive strategy for the treatment of various diseases. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system with a prominent neurodegenerative component. A multitude of different cell types are involved in the complex pathophysiology of this disorder, including cells of the immune system (e.

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Sep
2013

Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a hallmark of acute inflammatory lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. This disruption may precede and facilitate the infiltration of encephalitogenic T cells. The signaling events that lead to this BBB disruption are incompletely understood but appear to involve dysregulation of tight-junction proteins such as claudins.

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Sep
2013

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is an integral part of the neurovascular unit (NVU). The NVU is comprised of endothelial cells that are interconnected by tight junctions resting on a parenchymal basement membrane ensheathed by pericytes, smooth muscle cells and a layer of astrocyte end feet. Circulating blood cells, such as leukocytes, complete the NVU.

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