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  • Hermansson, Martin (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This thesis consists of five parts. In the first part, the first automated method for quantitative analysis of lipid compositions of cells and tissues by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry was developed. In the second part, this method was applied to investigate brain lipid compositions of patients with progressive epilepsy with mental retardation (EPMR), caused by mutations in the CLN8 gene. We were able to show major progressive alterations in brain lipid profiles of EPMR patients which may contribute to disease pathogenesis in those patients. In the third part, a novel approach to investigate the metabolism of single glycerophospholipid molecular species in living cells was developed. This approach was applied to study mechanisms of acyl chain remodeling, i.e. the exchange of fatty acyl residues, of aminophospholipids in BHK and HeLa cells. In the fourth part a novel mass-spectrometric approach was developed to investigate the substrate specificity of phospholipases and was utilized to elucidate the specificities of secretory A-type phospholipases in unprecedented detail. We showed that the specificity of those phospholipases depended mainly on the propensity of the substrates to efflux from the membrane and interactions between the substrate and the enzyme catalytic site are secondary. In the fifth part of this thesis, mechanisms of mammalian glycerophospholipid homeostasis were reviewed and novel theoretical considerations presented.
  • Parviainen, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    The field of biological sciences has expanded enormously within the last few decades. Developments in techniques and instrumentation have allowed biologist to explore biological mechanisms in an unprecedented detail. One of the most evolved disciplines is the field of proteomics. In general, proteins function in many different biological roles. They serve as structural molecules, in signaling routes mediating information in the cell, in intra- and extracellular transport and trafficking as well as in numerous other cellular functions. The area of protein research entails the study of all things relating to proteins and their functions. These include cellular protein composition, expression changes, protein structure, post-translational modifications and protein-protein interactions. Mass spectrometry (MS) has become one of the key technologies in proteomic research. The relative ease of sample handling and automated MS machinery has made proteomic analysis relatively straightforward. Mass spectrometers work by measuring the weight of intact proteins or protein-derived peptides. Proteomic MS identification is usually done by fragmenting the proteins or peptides in the mass spectrometer and using the resulting mass spectral information in identification of peptide sequence. There are two main strategies of peptide sequence identification: database dependent and de novo identification. Database dependent algorithms utilize known sequence information stored in databases to decipher the peptide amino acid sequence of the MS-observed spectra and use that information to predict the protein from which the peptide is derived from. On the other hand de novo methods try to construct the peptide sequence solely based on the fragmentation patterns of the peptide. The completeness of sequence databases of many species and the speed and efficiency of the search engines have made the database dependent search as the main method in peptide and protein identification. The modern high resolution mass spectrometers along with ultra-performance liquid chromatography have enabled the detection of thousands of protein in one single MS run. This, together with advances in MS-based protein quantification has extended the use of mass spectrometers in discovery type biomarker search. Mass spectrometers are able to produce a large amount of data on numerous proteins that can be used to detect and quantify differences in patient and control samples. This in turn can be used as starting point for more focused validation studies on the acquired data and ultimately lead to useful clinical biomarkers. The focus of this study was to utilize and learn mass spectrometric methodologies and to analyze different proteomic processes in sample types. We analyzed the protein-protein interactions in Baker´s yeast PSA1 protein in various points of batch cultivation using database dependent and de novo protein identification methods. We showed that the interactome of PSA1 is very dynamic depending on the phase of the cultivation. We also showed the limitations and benefits of de novo identification and the combined use of both search strategies in improving the confidence of the identifications. In another study using affinity purification and mass spectrometry we identified Fibrillin-2 as the binding partner of lung cancer associated Gremlin-1 protein. This finding elucidates functions and mechanisms of Gremlin-1 and Fibrillin-2 in malignant tissues. In two mass spectrometry-based protein quantification studies we characterized the protein concentration changes in human plasma during liver transplantation surgery as well as the effect of excess sialic acid production in HEK293 model cell line. In the liver transplantation plasma project we identified protein concentration changes in liver in response to the trauma caused by the surgery using label-based iTRAQ method. We showed consumption and secretion of several coagulation related proteins within the liver suggesting activation of coagulation cascade in the very early phases of the craft reperfusion. In the study of excess sialic acid production we first verified the amounts of sialic acid using mass spectrometry-based multiple reaction monitoring method. We were able to induce the production of sialic acid to almost 70-fold compared to control cells. We also monitored the protein abundance changes in sialic acid producing cells using label free proteins quantification method identifying 105 changed proteins. We analyzed those proteins with several functional enrichment tools revealing modifications in cellular protein transport, metabolic and signaling pathways and in remodeling of cellular adherens junctions. Such large scale MS-analyses using ontology-based tools can significantly aid in deciphering the effect of perturbations to complex systems but also reveal novel functional targets for biomarker discovery. The results obtained from targeted interaction experiments as well as large scale quantification studies can be used as basis for more rigorous investigations on the various subjects in search for potential biomarkers for clinical use. The techniques and methods used in the studies also demonstrate the many uses of mass spectrometric techniques in several fields of proteomic and biological research.
  • Leskinen, Markus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Mäyränpää, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    More than 40% of all deaths in Finland are caused by atherosclerosis. The complications of atherosclerosis are due to either detachment of the luminal endothelium (erosion) or rupture of the fibrous cap of an atherosclerotic plaque (rupture). As a result, a thrombus is formed at the site of the intimal lesion. Indeed, erosions cause roughly 40% of sudden atherothrombotic deaths and 25% of all atherothrombotic deaths. Erosions are overrepresented in young subjects, diabetics, smokers and women. This dissertation focuses on endothelial erosion. Endothelial erosions were studied in the context of arterial grafting and vascular inflammation. Special attention was given to the role of intimal mast cells and the methodological viewpoints of reliable identification of endothelial erosions. Mast cells are inflammatory cells mostly known for their ability to cause allergic symptoms. In addition to occurring in skin and mucosal surfaces, mast cells are abundant in arterial intima and adventitia. In this study, mast cells were found to associate with endothelial erosions in non-lesional and atherosclerotic human coronary arteries. Thus, mast cells may participate in atherogenesis at the initial phases of the disease process already. We also showed that the mast cell proteases tryptase, chymase, and cathepsin G are all capable of cleaving molecules essential for endothelial cell-to-cell and cell-to-extracellular matrix interactions, such as VE-cadherin and fibronectin. Symptom-causing carotid plaques were found to contain more inflammatory cells, especially mast cells, than non-symptom-causing plaques. Furthermore, the atherogenic serum lipid profile and the degree of carotid stenosis turned out to correlate with the density of carotid plaque mast cells. Apoptotic and proliferating cells were more abundant in non-symptom causing plaques (active renewal of endothelial cells), but erosions were larger in symptom-causing plaques (capacity of endothelial regeneration exceeded). The process of identifying endothelial erosions with immunostainings has been ambiguous, since both endothelial cells and platelets express largely the same antigens. This may have caused inaccurate interpretations of the presence of endothelial erosion. In the last substudy of this thesis we developed a double immunostaining method for simultaneous identification of endothelial cells and platelets. This method enables more reliable identification of endothelial erosions.
  • Kareinen, Ilona (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Atherosclerosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the accumulation of cholesterol in the arterial intima and consequently the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. Formation of these plaques is initiated by the appearance of macrophage foam cell in the arterial intima. Foam cells are formed as excessive cholesterol accumulates in the cytosol of macrophages and finally the net influx exceeds the efflux of cholesterol. Excessive accumulation of chemically modified cholesterol in foam cells finally leads to apoptosis and contributes to the formation of the lipid core in atherosclerotic plaques. The efflux of cholesterol from foam cells is essential for preventing the progression of atherosclerosis. The only unidirectional transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1, expressed on macrophages, transport intracellular cholesterol actively to distinct subpopulations of HDL. ApoA-I, the most important structural and functional component of nascent preβ-migrating HDL particles, receives cholesterol from ABCA1. Lipid-free HDL and apoA-I are sensitive to proteolytic modification leading to loss of function of these molecules. Functional apoA-I is essential for removal of cellular cholesterol and for cholesterol homeostasis. Cholesterol efflux initiates reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) which is the pathway for removal of cholesterol from the periphery for its final excretion into feces. The tiny fraction of total body-RCT that originates from the cholesterol-loaded macrophage foam cells located in the intima, is considered the only RCT component directly involved in atherosclerosis. Mast cells are bone marrow-derived inflammatory cells that are able to activate and secrete various mast cell mediators. Mast cells infiltrate the inflamed arterial intima where they can be activated through several stimuli present in the atherosclerotic intima. Mast cells release several inflammatory compounds of which histamine is probably the best known for its notorious effects in anaphylaxis. In addition to histamine and other vasoactive compounds, such as serotonin and bradykinin, mast cells release upon activation their unique serine proteases, tryptase and chymase. Chymase involvement in the progression of atherosclerosis has been suggested in a number of studies. Chymase is an enzyme capable of degrading LDL and HDL components leading to increased uptake of the modified LDL by macrophage foam cells or resulting in diminished cholesterol efflux, respectively. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether mast cell-dependent HDL and apoA-I proteolysis would occur in vivo and whether such modification would alter the cholesterol efflux capacities of these cholesterol acceptors and finally affect the macrophage-specific RCT (mRCT). In the present study it was demonstrated for the first time that mast cell activation in vivo resulted in HDL proteolysis. Systemic mast cell activation led to the degradation of lipoprotein particles present in HDL and the entire preβ-HDL and α-HDL subpopulations were reduced in mouse serum following systemic mast cell activation. Systemic activation of mast cells in mice blunted the ability of serum and intraperitoneal fluid to promote cholesterol efflux from macrophage foam cells in vitro. Rat cardiac mast cell activation ex vivo led to the production of truncated apoA-I. ApoA-I was cleaved at the carboxyl-terminal region at Phe229 and Tyr192 or only at Tyr192 depending on the mast cell stimulus. Local peritoneal mast cell activation led to decreased ability of intraperitoneally injected apoA-I to promote macrophage cholesterol efflux in vitro. Furthermore treatment with intact lipid-free apoA-I but not chymase-treated apoA-I increased the overall mRCT from the peritoneal cavity to the intestinal contents within 3 hours. Importantly such an increase was fully blocked by the mast cell-specific degranulating compound 48/80 in mast cell-competent mice but not in mast cell-deficient mice. Interestingly local mast cell activation in the skin was able to promote mRCT from skin to feces. This was due to increased vascular permeability and influx of plasma HDL particles to skin consequently leading to increased mRCT. This stimulatory effect could be reproduced by the sole administration of the mast cell mediators, histamine, serotonin, and bradykinin. Importantly histamine treatment in apoA-I deficient mice was unable to promote mRCT. In conclusion, mast cell chymase is able to proteolyze HDL and lipid-free apoA-I reducing their abilities to promote cellular cholesterol efflux. Proteolysis of lipid-free apoA-I by rat cardiac mast cell chymase can occur within minutes and results in the formation of carboxyl-terminally truncated apoA-I. ApoA-I proteolysis in vivo results in reduced mRCT. Local mast cell activation in the skin results in increased mRCT due to increased availability of cholesterol acceptors in the vicinity of macrophage foam cells. These two seemingly opposite results underline the pleiotropic role of mast cells in the development of atherosclerosis
  • Sandler, Charlotta (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Priklopil, Tadeas (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Speciation theory is undergoing a renaissance period, largely due to the new methods developed in molecular biology as well as advances in the mathematical theory of evolution. In this thesis, I explore mathematical techniques applicable to the evolution of traits relevant to speciation processes. Some of the theory is further developed and is part of a general framework in the research of evolution. In nature, sister species may coexist in close geographical proximity. However, the question as to whether a speciation event has been a local event driven by the interactions (perhaps complex ones) of individuals that affect their survival and reproduction, has not yet been satisfactorily answered. This is the key issue I address in my thesis. The emphasis is given to the role of non-random mating in an environment where individuals experience diversifying ecological selection. Firstly, I investigate the role of assortative mating, and find that assortative mating works against the speciation process in the initial stages of diversification. However, once the population has diversified, ecological and sexual selection drives the population to a state of reproductive isolation. Secondly, I explore a scheme where individuals choose mates according to the level of adaptation of the mate. I find, that when the level of adaptation to the environment depends on the structure of the population in a frequency-dependent manner, the dynamics of the population may be highly complex and even chaotic. Furthermore, this setting does not facilitate reproductive isolation when mating happens across the habitats. However, if mate choice takes into account the survival and reproduction of the progeny, reproductive isolation can be maintained. Finally, some advances are made in the theory of adaptive dynamics, which along with the theory of population genetics, has been a focal tool in this thesis. My contribution to adaptive dynamics is to resolve an open question on the coexistence of similar strategies near so-called singular points. Singular points play a central role in the theory of adaptive dynamics and their existence is essential to a continuous diversification process.
  • Tuovinen, Soile (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Hypertensive pregnancy disorders complicate approximately 10% of all pregnancies. They may compromise placental functioning and, thus, affect the fetal developmental milieu. It is therefore highly plausible that they have consequences for the developmental outcomes of the offspring. However, their role in the developmental plasticity phenomenon dubbed programming remains relatively unexplored. This thesis examines whether adult offspring born to mothers with hypertensive pregnancy disorders differ from their counterparts born to normotensive mothers in mental health and cognitive functioning, and whether the potential group differences vary according to sex, length of gestation, parity, and childhood socio-economic status. This thesis capitalizes on the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study. The study cohort comprises 13 345 individuals born in Helsinki between 1934 and 1944. Maternal hypertension status was defined based upon blood pressure and urinary protein measurements during pregnancy and was available for 6410 individuals. Data on mental disorders come from validated national registers extending over four decades (n = 5970 eligible for this study; Study II). Depressive symptoms were measured with a standardized questionnaire (BDI) in conjunction with a clinical follow-up study at a mean age of 62 years (n = 788; Study I) and in conjunction with a further follow-up including a more detailed psychological survey at a mean age of 64 years (n = 661; Study I). Cognitive test scores were obtained from the Finnish defence forces basic ability test taken during military service at a mean age of 20 years (n = 1196; Study III) and in a re-test at a mean age of 69 years (n = 398; Study IV). Cognitive impairment was measured with psychological questionnaires (DFQ and DEX) in conjunction with a further follow-up at a mean age of 69 years (n = 876; Study V). In comparison to the offspring born to normotensive mothers, offspring born to pre-eclamptic mothers showed higher self-reported cognitive impairment (Study V). Offspring born to mothers with hypertension without proteinuria showed a higher risk of mental disorders (Study II), although they did not differ in the severity of selfreported depressive symptoms. Maternal hypertensive pregnancy disorders as a diagnostic entity were associated with lower cognitive functioning (Sudy III and IV) and higher cognitive decline (Study IV). Sex, parity and childhood socio-economic status modified some of associations. Maternal pre-eclampsia was associated with higher self-reported depressive symptom scores in primiparous, but not in multiparous, offspring (Study I), and with a lower risk of mental disorders in male, but not female, offspring (Study II). Maternal hypertension without proteinuria was associated with self-reported cognitive impairment in female, but not male, offspring (Study V). Finally, the associations between maternal hypertensive pregnancy disorders as a diagnostic entity and lower cognitive functioning (verbal reasoning) in young adulthood were most evident in primiparous offspring and in offspring with a high childhood socio-economic status (Study III). These study findings showed that maternal hypertensive pregnancy disorders were associated with all studied mental health and cognitive functioning outcomes. Overall, maternal hypertensive disorders during pregnancy carried an increased risk of a wide spectrum of problems in mental well-being and cognitive functioning among the offspring several decades later. However, protective effects were also observed, and, in future studies, it will be important to unravel the developmental pathways and underlying biological mechanisms. Being the longest follow-up on the transgenerational consequences of maternal hypertensive disorders reported thus far, the findings highlight the role of the prenatal environment in developmental programming.
  • Hannula, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Pakkanen, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Frictions are factors that hinder trading of securities in financial markets. Typical frictions include limited market depth, transaction costs, lack of infinite divisibility of securities, and taxes. Conventional models used in mathematical finance often gloss over these issues, which affect almost all financial markets, by arguing that the impact of frictions is negligible and, consequently, the frictionless models are valid approximations. This dissertation consists of three research papers, which are related to the study of the validity of such approximations in two distinct modeling problems. Models of price dynamics that are based on diffusion processes, i.e., continuous strong Markov processes, are widely used in the frictionless scenario. The first paper establishes that diffusion models can indeed be understood as approximations of price dynamics in markets with frictions. This is achieved by introducing an agent-based model of a financial market where finitely many agents trade a financial security, the price of which evolves according to price impacts generated by trades. It is shown that, if the number of agents is large, then under certain assumptions the price process of security, which is a pure-jump process, can be approximated by a one-dimensional diffusion process. In a slightly extended model, in which agents may exhibit herd behavior, the approximating diffusion model turns out to be a stochastic volatility model. Finally, it is shown that when agents' tendency to herd is strong, logarithmic returns in the approximating stochastic volatility model are heavy-tailed. The remaining papers are related to no-arbitrage criteria and superhedging in continuous-time option pricing models under small-transaction-cost asymptotics. Guasoni, Rásonyi, and Schachermayer have recently shown that, in such a setting, any financial security admits no arbitrage opportunities and there exist no feasible superhedging strategies for European call and put options written on it, as long as its price process is continuous and has the so-called conditional full support (CFS) property. Motivated by this result, CFS is established for certain stochastic integrals and a subclass of Brownian semistationary processes in the two papers. As a consequence, a wide range of possibly non-Markovian local and stochastic volatility models have the CFS property.
  • Tanskanen, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    In cardiac myocytes (heart muscle cells), coupling of electric signal known as the action potential to contraction of the heart depends crucially on calcium-induced calcium release (CICR) in a microdomain known as the dyad. During CICR, the peak number of free calcium ions (Ca) present in the dyad is small, typically estimated to be within range 1-100. Since the free Ca ions mediate CICR, noise in Ca signaling due to the small number of free calcium ions influences Excitation-Contraction (EC) coupling gain. Noise in Ca signaling is only one noise type influencing cardiac myocytes, e.g., ion channels playing a central role in action potential propagation are stochastic machines, each of which gates more or less randomly, which produces gating noise present in membrane currents. How various noise sources influence macroscopic properties of a myocyte, how noise is attenuated and taken advantage of are largely open questions. In this thesis, the impact of noise on CICR, EC coupling and, more generally, macroscopic properties of a cardiac myocyte is investigated at multiple levels of detail using mathematical models. Complementarily to the investigation of the impact of noise on CICR, computationally-efficient yet spatially-detailed models of CICR are developed. The results of this thesis show that (1) gating noise due to the high-activity mode of L-type calcium channels playing a major role in CICR may induce early after-depolarizations associated with polymorphic tachycardia, which is a frequent precursor to sudden cardiac death in heart failure patients; (2) an increased level of voltage noise typically increases action potential duration and it skews distribution of action potential durations toward long durations in cardiac myocytes; and that (3) while a small number of Ca ions mediate CICR, Excitation-Contraction coupling is robust against this noise source, partly due to the shape of ryanodine receptor protein structures present in the cardiac dyad.
  • Attorps, Iiris (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
  • Aineslahti, Mervi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    A Journey in the Landscape of Sustainable School Development “A Journey in the Landscape of Sustainable School Development” is a story of the Sorrila School development process. This research deals with a school development project as a process, and as a part of international projects on Education for Sustainable Development, with ENSI (Environment and School Initiatives) being the most important. The main purpose of the study was to analyze the change process as a general phenomenon as well as the learning connected to it. The research describes the development period 2001–2008 at the Sorrila Primary school. The research questions are as follows: 1. What did pupils learn during the research and development period? 2. How did the coordinating teacher develop personally? 3. How were the ENSI targets and other closely linked projects reached? 4. What was the feedback from the pupils, their parents and other teachers at the school? 5. How did the developing process proceed in 2001–2008? The method used was integrating action research, which also had ethnographical elements. Narrative was the form of the data as well as the manner of reporting. The method as a whole was integrating, ethnographical action research as a story. The research data consisted mostly of Knowledge Forum notes written by the teacher-researcher. Knowledge Forum is an Internetbased collaborative knowledge-building programme. Pupils’, parents’ and other teachers’ feedback, newspaper articles and students’ writings complied the data, which consists of material from seven years. Sustainable development was the basis of the school improvement. The targets of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014) were part of the development projects. According to the research results the school was seen as part of complex systems where manifold and interactive learning took place. The learning of pupils, teachers and the school as a community can be characterised socioculturally. The school was able to reach a level of collaborative transformative learning. As well as several concrete projects, such as Comenius school project, school development consisted of networking at many levels. Along with the projects and networking, the school was able to apply the pedagogy of connection, by carrying out integrative and cross-disciplinary themes and using various learning and teaching methods. International cooperation was a natural part of the work. A figure of Aunt Green, the role model of the teacher researcher, was an innovation which resembled a change agent. The other role of the teacherresearcher as a coordinator, was important for her own professional development. According to the results the change process, which relied on sustainable school development, led the school along a road of positive renewals. It was not a series of projects but an ongoing process. The objectives of the international projects were accomplished to a great extent during the research period. According to the principles of action research, the main results were put forward in order to help others to develop their schools. Frictions and problems as well as positive experiences and rejecting dualities were seen as change forces. Keywords: education for sustainable development (ESD), sustainable school development, teacher professional development, integrating, pedagogy of connection, transformative learning
  • Antikainen, Maire (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The research examines the process by which a sense of belonging to Finnish society is constructed among women of Russian and Estonian background who are multiply marginalised in Finnish society. It does so by analysing the encounters between their nationality and 'being Finnis'. Attention is focused on the question of what kind of "journey" they take after moving to Finland, how a sense of belonging is constructed especially along the paths followed in education and at work, and what kind of agency is available to them. The thesis is connected with post-colonial research and also draws from studies on citizenship and nationality as well as the social structures of interaction, when analysing careers. As the educational system forms the most central context of the research, the work is also focused on educational sociology. The research methodology includes life history and a narrative approach. The raw data is from thematic interviews concerning the life experiences of women of immigrant backgrounds. They were studying in Finland to be practical nurses or to complete Bachelor of Social Service degree. According to the study, the women had been encountered as alien, strange, and carrying a shade of "otherness". The experience of inclusion in Finnish communities and society turned out to be conditional, an inclusion based on the notion of a citizen worker, which is defined by national needs. The person from abroad is placed in the position of someone who fills gaps in the services of the welfare state. The choice of education in the care sector and the overall necessity of obtaining Finnish education turned out to be socially directed. Gendered structures of education and working life were found to act as a frame in which the decisions of the immigrant women were made. Although national education policy emphasis as an orientation to global labour markets, the immigrant student is placed above all in the position of an object to be made suitable for the Finnish labour market. Citizenship, a goal of education, requires consent to being "socialised" into Finnish society as well as learning to be Finnish. One s only option to negotiate appearing suitable as a member is to construct oneself into someone who adopts Finnish and Western cultural values, values which favour individuality. However, Finnish education is a resource to Finnishness. Finnish education enables a sense of being Finnish, and empowers the job applicant for example, and in addition to providing cultural, human and social capital strengthen inclusion as well. The study confirms the view that the encounter of an immigrant is still characterised by its colonial nature. It shows that encounters with Finns and Finnish society place the person of immigrant background, even one receiving a Finnish education, in the position of "the other". The journey as an immigrant continues. The immigrant has access only to certain predefined subject positions, which limits agency. When categorised as an immigrant, one becomes a per-son who is different and "other", while the sense of belonging as a member of Finnish society without conditions appears to be somewhat unreachable. Yet, new arrivals are capable of acting change. An immigrant woman can challenge the positions offered to her and present herself as strong. Her life story has often included struggle, and she has the fortitude strength to change her circumstances. Key words: life story, post-colonial encounter, nationality, citizenship, the career of immi-grant, position, agency
  • Miettinen, Pauli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Matrix decompositions, where a given matrix is represented as a product of two other matrices, are regularly used in data mining. Most matrix decompositions have their roots in linear algebra, but the needs of data mining are not always those of linear algebra. In data mining one needs to have results that are interpretable -- and what is considered interpretable in data mining can be very different to what is considered interpretable in linear algebra. --- The purpose of this thesis is to study matrix decompositions that directly address the issue of interpretability. An example is a decomposition of binary matrices where the factor matrices are assumed to be binary and the matrix multiplication is Boolean. The restriction to binary factor matrices increases interpretability -- factor matrices are of the same type as the original matrix -- and allows the use of Boolean matrix multiplication, which is often more intuitive than normal matrix multiplication with binary matrices. Also several other decomposition methods are described, and the computational complexity of computing them is studied together with the hardness of approximating the related optimization problems. Based on these studies, algorithms for constructing the decompositions are proposed. Constructing the decompositions turns out to be computationally hard, and the proposed algorithms are mostly based on various heuristics. Nevertheless, the algorithms are shown to be capable of finding good results in empirical experiments conducted with both synthetic and real-world data.
  • Mäkitalo, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) represent a family of 23 metalloendopeptidases, collectively capable of degrading all components of the extracellular matrix. MMPs have been implicated in several inflammatory processes such as arthritis, atherosclerosis, and even carcinomas. They are also involved in several beneficial activities such as epithelial repair. MMPs are inhibited by endogenous tissue inhibitors of matrix metalloproteinases (TIMP). In this study, MMPs were investigated in intestinal mucosa of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), chronic intestinal disorders. The main focus was to characterize mucosal inflammation in the intestine, but also cutaneous pyoderma gangrenosum (PG), to assess similarites with IBD inflammation. MMPs and TIMPs were mainly examined in colonic mucosa, in adult Crohn s disease (CD), and paediatric CD, ulcerative colitis (UC), and indeterminate colitis (IC). Ileal pouch mucosa of proctocolectomized paediatric onset IBD patients was also investigated to characterize pouch mucosa. The focus was on finding specific MMPs that could act as markers to differentiate between different IBD disorders, and MMPs that could be implied as markers for tissue injury, potentially serving as targets for MMP-inhibitors. All examinations were performed using immunohistochemistry. The results show that immunosuppressive agents decrease stromal expression of MMP-9 and -26 that could serve as specific targets for MMP-inhibitors in treating CD. In paediatric colonic inflammation, MMP-10 and TIMP-3 present as molecular markers for IBD inflammation, and MMP-7 for CD. MMP expression in the the pouch mucosa could not be classified as strictly IBD- or non-IBD-like. For the first time, this study describes the expression of MMP-3, -7, -9, -12, and TIMP-2 and -3 in pouch mucosa. The MMP profile in PG bears resemblance to both intestinal IBD inflammation and cutaneous inflammation. Based on the results, MMPs and their inhibitors emerge as promising tools in the differential diagnosis of IBD and characterization of the disease subtype, although further research is necessary. Furthermore, the expression of several MMPs in pouch has been described for the first time. While further research is warranted, the findings contribute to a better understanding of events occurring in IBD mucosa, as well as pyoderma gangrenosum.
  • Kuivanen, Tiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The incidence of non-melanoma skin cancer is increasing worldwide. Basal cell carcinoma followed by squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma are the most frequent skin tumors. Immunosuppressed patients have an increased risk of neoplasia, of which non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are proteolytic enzymes that collectively are capable of degrading virtually all components of the extracellular matrix. MMPs can also process substrates distinct from extracellular matrix proteins and influence cell proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis, and apoptosis. MMP activity is regulated by their natural inhibitors, tissue inhibitors of metallopro-teinases (TIMPs). In this study, the expression patterns of MMPs, TIMPs, and certain cancer-related molecules were investigated in premalignant and malignant lesions of the human skin. As methods were used immunohistochemisty, in situ hybridization, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from the cell cultures. Our aim was to evaluate the expression pattern of MMPs in extramammary Paget's disease in order to find markers for more advanced tumors, as well as to shed light on the origin of this rare neoplasm. Novel MMPs -21, -26, and -28 were studied in melanoma cell culture, in primary cutaneous melanomas, and their sentinel nodes. The MMP expression profile in keratoacanthomas and well-differentiated squamous cell carcinomas was analyzed to find markers to differentiate benign keratinocyte hyperproliferation from malignantly transformed cells. Squamous cell carcinomas of immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients were compared to squamous cell carcinomas of matched immunocompetent controls to investigate the factors explaining their more aggressive nature. We found that MMP-7 and -19 proteins are abundant in extramammary Paget's disease and that their presence may predict an underlying adenocarcinoma in these patients. In melanomas, MMP-21 was upregulated in early phases of melanoma progression, but disappeared from the more aggressive tumors with lymph node metastases. The presence of MMP-13 in primary melanomas and lymph node metastases may relate to more aggressive disease. In keratoacanthomas, the expression of MMP-7 and -9 is rare and therefore should raise a suspicion of well-differentiated squamous cell carcinomas. Furthermore, MMP-19 and p16 were observed in benign keratinocyte hyperproliferation of keratoacanthomas, whereas they were generally lost from malignant keratinocytes of SCCs. MMP-26 staining was significantly stronger in squamous cell carcinomas and Bowen s disease samples of organ transplant recipients and it may contribute to the more aggressive nature of squamous cell carcinomas in immunosuppressed patients. In addition, the staining for MMP-9 was significantly stronger in macrophages surrounding the tumors of the immunocompetent group and in neutrophils of those patients on cyclosporin medication. In conclusion, based on our studies, MMP-7 and -19 might serve as biomarkers for more aggressive extramammary Paget's disease and MMP-21 for malignant transformation of melanocytes. MMP -7, -9, and -26, however, could play an important role in the pathobiology of keratinocyte derived malignancies.
  • Hästbacka, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The systemic levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) -7, -8 and -9 and the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1) were investigated in 877 critically ill patients. In Study I, 15 intensive care unit-(ICU) treated adult patients with secondary peritonitis were prospectively included. Peritoneal fluid, blood and urine samples were collected at the ICU after surgery. The serum and urine levels of MMP-8 were compared with those obtained from ten healthy volunteers, and were found to be significantly higher in patients. In peritoneal fluid, MMP-8 levels were significantly higher than in serum and urine. This study was the first to identify MMP-8 in the peritoneal fluid of peritonitis patients. Study II was a sub-study of the FINNSEPSIS study where patients with severe sepsis or septic shock were prospectively included in 24 Finnish ICUs. Serum samples of 248 patients were analysed for MMP-8, MMP-9 and TIMP-1 levels, that were found to be higher than those of healthy controls. MMP-8, -9 and TIMP-1 levels were compared between ICU survivors and non-survivors. Median MMP-8 (p<0.01) and TIMP-1 (p<0.001) were higher and median MMP-9 levels lower (p=0.047) in ICU non-survivors than in ICU survivors. Study III investigated MMP-7, MMP-8, MMP-9, and TIMP-1 levels on 51 patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest (CA). The patients were a subgroup of the Hypothermia After Cardiac Arrest study. Thirty patients had received mild therapeutic hypothermia treatment (MTH) and 21 non-hypothermia treatment (non-MTH). Serum samples taken at 24 and 48 hours from restoration of spontaneous circulation were analysed and compared between patients and healthy volunteers. Serum MMP and TIMP-1 levels of MTH-treated patients were compared during and after MTH with the levels of non-MTH-treated patients. MMP-8 and MMP-9 were higher in CA patients than controls. Patients receiving MTH treatment had lower median MMP-9 levels during MTH than non-MTH-treated patients (p<0.001). This is one novel potential mechanism of how MTH treatment improves outcome of CA patients. Study IV was a 563-patient sub-study of the FINNALI study that included acute respiratory failure patients at 25 Finnish ICUs. MMP-8 and TIMP-1 were analysed from blood samples taken on study admission and 48 hours thereafter. Association of MMP-8 and TIMP-1 with 90-day mortality was examined. Serum MMP-8 predicted 90-day mortality of acute respiratory failure patients poorly. Admission TIMP-1 levels were higher in non-survivors than in survivors (p<0.001).TIMP-1 was an independent predictor of 90-day mortality, with a moderate discriminative power (AUC 0.633, 95% CI 0.580- 0.686). TIMP-1 was also associated with the severity of oxygenation disturbance. Thus, TIMP-1 is a potentially useful biomarker for predicting outcome in acute respiratory failure patients.