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  • Tarkkila, Laura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Hormone therapy (HT) is widely used to relieve climacteric symptoms in order to increase the well-being of the women. The benefits as well as side-effects of HT are well documented. The principal menopausal oral symptoms are dry mouth (DM) and sensation of painful mouth (PM) due to various causes. Profile studies have indicated that HT users are more health-conscious than non-users. The hypothesis of the present study was that there are differences in oral health between woman using HT and those not using HT. A questionnaire study of 3173 women of menopausal age (50-58 years old) was done to investigate the prevalence of self-assessed sensations of PM and DM. Of those women participating in the questionnaire study, a random sample of 400 (200 using, 200 not using HT) was examined clinically in a 2-year follow-up study. Oral status was recorded according to WHO methods using DMFT and CPITN indices. The saliva flows were measured, salivary total protein, albumin and immunoglobulin concentrations and selected periodontal micro-organisms were analysed, and panoramic tomography of the jaws was taken. The patients filled in a structured questionnaire on their systemic health, medication and health habits. According to our questionnaire study there was no significant difference in the occurrence of self- assessed PM or DM between the HT users and non-users. According to logistic regression analyses, climacteric complaints significantly correlated with the occurrence of PM (p=0.000) and DM (p=0.000) irrespective of the use of HT, indicating that PM and DM are associated with climacteric symptoms in general. There was no difference between the groups in DMFT index values at follow up. The number of filled teeth (FT) showed a significant (p<0.05) increase in the HT group at follow-up. Periodontitis was diagnosed in 79% of HT users at baseline and in 71% at the follow-up. The values for non-HT users were 80% vs. 76%, respectively (Ns.). The mean numbers of ≥ 6 mm deep periodontal pockets were 0.9 ± 1.7 at baseline vs. 1.1 ± 2.1 two years later in the HT group, and 1.0 ± 1.7 vs. 1.2 ± 1.9, respectively, in the non-HT group. In a large Finnish national health survey, the prevalence of peridontitis of women of this age group was lower, but the prevalence of severe periodontitis seemed to be higher than in our study. Salivary albumin, IgG and IgM concentrations decreased in the HT group during the 2-year follow up (p<0.05), possibly indicating an improvement in epithelial integrity. No difference was found in any other salivary parameters or in the prevalence of the periodontal bacteria between or within the groups. In conclusion, the present findings showed that 50 to 58 year old women living in Helsinki have fairly good oral and dental health. The occurrence of PM and DM seemed to be associated with climacteric symptoms in general, and the use of HT did not affect the oral symptoms studied.
  • Vysniauskaite, Sonata (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The present cross-sectional study aimed to assess oral health behaviour, dental and periodontal conditions, dental care, and their relationships among elderly dentate patients in Lithuania. The target population in the study were dentate patients aged 60 and older attending public dental services in Kedainiai, Lithuania. The data collection took place between the autumn of 1999 and the winter of 2001. Data were collected by means of a self-administered questionnaire for all (n=174) and a clinical examination targeting about half of the subjects (n=100). The questionnaire inquired about oral health behaviour, the life-first and also the most recent dental treatments, sources on and self-assessed knowledge of oral self-care, a self-reported number of teeth, and socio-demographic information. The clinical examination included basic dental and periodontal conditions. A total of 82 women and 92 men completed the questionnaire; their mean age was 69.2 and their average number of teeth was 16.2 (CI 95% 15.4-17.1). In all, 25% had 21 or more teeth and 32% indicated wearing removable dentures. The oral health behaviour, the participants reported, was poor: 30% reported twice daily toothbrushing, 57% responded that they always use fluoride toothpaste, 19% indicated daily interdental cleaning, nearly all said they take sugar in their coffee and tea, and 30% indicated going for check-ups. As the main source of information on oral self-care, the subjects indicated health professionals (82%), followed by social contacts (72%), broadcasted media (58%), and printed media (42%). A total of 34% assessed their knowledge of oral self-care as good, and their self-assessed knowledge correlated (r=0.52) with professional guidance they had received about oral self-care. In their most recent treatment, conservative (39%) and non-conservative (34%) treatments dominated, and preventive ones were the least reported (7%). Regarding guidance in oral self-care, 54% reported having received such about toothbrushing, 32% about interdental cleaning, and 33% had been given visual information. Clinical examinations revealed the presence of plaque, calculus, bleeding on probing and deepened pockets in all of the subjects; 70% of the subjects were diagnosed with pockets of 6mm and deeper, 94% with caries, and 73% with overhangs of restorations. Those subjects assessing their knowledge of oral self-care as good and reporting a higher intensity of guidance in oral self-care as received, indicated practicing the recommended oral self-care more frequently. Twice daily toothbrushing was associated with good self-assessed knowledge of oral self-care (OR 4.1, p<0.001) and a university education (OR 5.6, p<0.001). Those subjects with better oral health behaviour had a greater number of teeth. Having 21 or more teeth was associated with good self-assessed knowledge of oral self-care (OR 4.1, p=0.03). Better periodontal conditions were associated with a higher frequency of toothbrushing. The presence of periodontal pockets of 6mm and deeper was associated with the level of self-assessed knowledge of oral self-care being below good (OR=3.0, p=0.04) and the level of dental cleanliness being poor (OR=2.7, p=0.02). To conclude, oral health behaviour and conditions call for improvement in elderly subjects in Lithuania. To improve the oral health of their elderly dentate patients, dentists should apply all the available tools of chair-side prevention and active guidance. The latter would be an effective means of updating the knowledge of oral self-care and supporting recommended oral health behaviour. A preventive approach should be strongly emphasized in countries with limited resources for oral health care, such as Lithuania. Author’s address: Sonata Vyšniauskaite, Department of Oral Public Health, Institute of Dentistry, University of Helsinki, P.O.Box 41, FI-00014 Helsinki, Finland. E-mail:
  • Venkata, Shyama Sundari Maddi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Helenius-Hietala, Jaana (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Liver transplantation (LT) is the treatment of choice for patients with severe liver disease. Quality of life of patients after LT may be comparable to that of the general population, but permanent immunosuppression poses a high risk for infections. Highly prevalent dental diseases not promptly treated may compromise LT outcome. All possible infectious foci, including dental infections, should thus be treated prior to LT. This thesis aimed to investigate how liver diseases and long-term immunosuppression after LT affect oral health and whether dental infections are associated with liver disease progression or with LT outcome. The study design was retrospective, cross-sectional, and observational. The study comprised 263 adult recipients of a LT between 2000 and 2006 at the Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland. Of these patients, 212 (81%) had chronic liver disease, and all underwent dental examinations and treatment prior to LT. The study investigated the effect of differing liver disease etiology and severity on oral health status; the effect of dental infections on the progression of liver cirrhosis was further studied in a subgroup of 116 cirrhotic patients awaiting LT. Of the study patients, 51 (19%) had acute or subacute liver failure; these were further stratified by whether or not they received pretransplant dental treatment. Post-transplant systemic infectious complications were evaluated from the Finnish Liver Transplant Registry. After a minimum 2-year follow-up (median follow-up 6 years, range 2-11), all 84 eligible LT recipients were recruited for a new oral health examination according to a fixed protocol. A structured questionnaire was used to assess dry-mouth-related symptoms, with oral Candida cultivated, and salivary flow rates measured. The results were compared with those of 252 matched controls from a national health survey. Subjects were grouped according to liver disease etiology and type of immunosuppression. Dental health status of LT candidates varied depending on the etiology and severity of their liver disease. Alcohol cirrhosis patients (n=37) had significantly more tooth extractions before LT than did primary sclerosing cholangitis patients (n=54) (6 vs. 3, P less than 0.005). Poor liver function, as observed in higher Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) scores, associated with fewer teeth (21 vs. 25, 95%CI: -6.7-(-)1.4, P less than 0.005) and more tooth extractions (5 vs. 2, 95%CI: 1.6-4.2, P less than 0.001). Tooth extractions were often associated with severe complications such as bleeding. Several dental infections in cirrhotic patients associated with worsening of the liver disease as seen in the shorter time between diagnosis and LT operation. Post-transplant infection risk, especially sepsis, was higher in those acute liver disease patients who received no dental treatment before LT due to their more urgent need for LT compared with that of patients who had received dental treatment (OR=8.54, 95%CI: 1.82 40.1, P less than 0.05). This risk was independent of age, gender, etiology of acute liver failure, waiting-list time, MELD score, or level of immunosuppression. Compared with controls, chronic LT recipients had significantly more caries (1.2 vs. 0.5, P less than 0.005) and a higher prevalence of dysphagia (23% vs. 12%, P less than 0.05). They also had lower unstimulated salivary flow rates than did the acute LT recipients (0.3 ml/min vs. 0.6 ml/min, P less than 0.05). Oral mucosal lesions were significantly more frequent in LT recipients than in controls (43% vs. 15%, P less than 0.001). Drug-induced gingival overgrowth was the most common type of oral lesion, and its prevalence was significantly higher in chronic LT recipients than in their controls (16% vs. 1%, P less than 0.001). Simultaneous use of cyclosporine-A and calcium- channel blockers increased the overgrowth prevalence even further compared with the tacrolimus group (47% vs. 8%, P less than 0.05). Precancerous oral mucosal lesions occurred twice as often in chronic LT recipients as in controls (13% vs. 6%, Ns). Oral Candida count was positive in more than half the LT patients; use of steroids raised its prevalence to 70%. The need for dental treatment hence was high before the LT operation with differences in oral health between groups differing in liver disease etiology and severity. Among cirrhotic patients, several dental infections were reflected in the liver disease progression. Those patients who lacked dental treatment before LT showed an 8-fold risk for systemic infections after transplantation. Compared to controls, immunosuppressive and other xerogenic medications predisposed especially the chronic LT recipients to more dry-mouth-related symptoms and caries, and led to a higher risk for oral mucosal lesions, of which some were precancerous. Thus, both pre- and post-transplant dental treatments are highly important for these patients.
  • Heimonen, Aura (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Preterm birth (PTB) causes 75% of perinatal morbidity and mortality and is an important social and health problem. Infections have been shown to associate with PTB and other pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage (MC), pre-eclampsia, and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). Periodontal disease has been linked to PTB, as well as with MC and pre-eclampsia. However, the results have been inconclusive, and the majority of previous studies on oral health and adverse pregnancy outcomes have been carried out among women with a low socioeconomic status and a multi-ethnic background. Thus, we set up to investigate the association between oral health and pregnancy complications in a group of Finnish women with homogeneous ethnicity and high socioeconomic status. The study hypothesis was that pregnancy complications are reflected in the women s oral health and that markers of oral health differ between risk and non-risk parturient women. We examined 328 Finnish women with singleton births in this cross-sectional study. Within 2 days postpartum, the women were examined clinically and by taking microbiological and saliva samples for biochemical analyses. The women completed a questionnaire about their health- and lifestyle-related behaviour and oral symptoms. Information about demographic factors, prenatal care, and medical and obstetrical history was obtained from medical records. Chronic diseases, medications, and the number of previous pregnancies, including adverse pregnancy outcomes, were recorded. In our cohort, dental health was uniformly good, and no association was found between any specific periodontal parameter and adverse pregnancy outcome. However, oral inflammatory burden index (OIBI), a combination of multiple oral infections, was significantly associated with PTB. Oral healthcare patterns also seemed to affect birth outcomes in this cohort. Urgency-based dental treatment was associated with history of miscarriage, while preventive dental care patterns were associated with a lower probability of history of miscarriage. Self-reported poor oral health showed a significant association with MC. Salivary immunglobulin A (sIgA) was associated with GDM and type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) independent of C-reactive protein, but when T1DM women were excluded, sIgA level lost its significance. In conclusion, the combined effects of multiple oral infections may exceed the threshold for an effect on birth outcome, even in women without evident oral health problems. Based on the findings of this study, all women planning a pregnancy and who already are pregnant should be referred to oral examination and treatment and counselled for preventive oral self-care.
  • Heikkinen, Anna Maria Kaarina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The present cross-sectional study examined the effect of smoking on oral health in a birth cohort of 15 to 16-year-old Finnish adolescents. The hypothesis was that oral health parameters were poorer among smoking than non-smoking subjects and that a tobacco intervention program could be effective among the adolescents. The study was conducted in the Kotka Health Center, Kotka, Finland. Altogether 501 out of 545 subjects (15- to 16-year-old boys [n = 258] and girls [n = 243]) were clinically examined in 2004 and 2005. The sample frame was a birth cohort of all subjects in 1989 and 1990, living in Kotka. A structured questionnaire was also filled in by the participants to record their general health and health habits, such as smoking, tooth brushing, and medication used. The participants were classified into nonsmokers, current smokers, and former smokers. Subgingival pooled plaque samples were taken and stimulated salivary samples were also collected. The subjects were asked from which of seven professional groups (doctors, school nurses, dental nurses, general nurses, dentists, teachers and media professionals) they would prefer to receive information about tobacco. The two most popular groups they picked up were dentists and school nurses. Current smokers (n=127) were then randomly assigned into three groups: the dentist group (n =44), the school-nurse group (n =42), and the control group (n =39). The intervention was based on a national recommendation of evidence based guidelines by The Finnish Medical Society Duodecim ( 5A counseling system). Two months after the intervention, a second questionnaire was sent to the smokers in the intervention groups. Smoking cessation, smoking quantity per week, and self-rated addiction for smoking (SRA) were recorded. The results were analyzed using the R-statistical program. The results showed that 15% of the subjects had periodontitis. Smokers (25%) had more periodontitis than non-smokers (66%) (p < 0.001). Smoking boys (24%) also had more caries lesions than non-smokers (69%) (p < 0.001), and they brushed their teeth less frequently than non-smokers. Smoking significantly impaired periodontal health of the subjects, even when the confounding effects of plaque and tooth brushing were adjusted. Smoking pack-years, intensified the effects of smoking. Periodontal bacteria Prevotella nigrescens, Prevotella intermedia, Tannerella forsythia and Treponema denticola were more frequently detected among the smokers than non-smokers, especially among smoking girls. Smoking significantly decreased the values of both the salivary periodontal biomarkers MMP-8 (p=0.04) and PMN elastase (p=0.02) in boys. The effect was strengthened by pack years of smoking (MMP-8 p=0.04; elastase p0.01). Of those who participated in the intervention, 19 % quit smoking. The key factors associated with smoking cessation were best friend`s influence, nicotine dependence and diurnal type. When the best friend was not a smoker, the risk ratio (RR) of quit smoking after the intervention was 7.0 (Cl 95% 4.6 10.7). Of the diurnal types, the morning people seemed to be more likely to quit (RR 2.2 [Cl 95% 1.4 3.6]). Nicotine dependence also elicited an opposite effect: those who scored between 3 and 5 dependence scores were less likely to quit. In conclusion, smoking appears to be a major etiological risk factor for oral health. However, the early signs of periodontal disease were mild in the subjects studied. Based on the opinions of the adolescent s, dental professionals may have a key position in their smoking cessation. The harmful effects of smoking on oral health could be used in counselling. Best friend`s influence, nicotine dependence and diurnal type, all factors associated with smoking cessation, should be taken more carefully into account in the prevention programs for adolescents.
  • Musrati, Ahmed S Ali (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Candida yeast species are widespread opportunistic microbes, which are usually innocent opportunists unless the systemic or local defense system of the host becomes compromised. When they adhere on a fertile substrate such as moist and warm, protein-rich human mucosal membrane or biomaterial surface, they become activated and start to grow pseudo and real hyphae. Their growth is intricately guided by their ability to detect surface defects (providing secure hiding , thigmotropism) and nutrients (source of energy, chemotropism). The hypothesis of this work was that body mobilizes both non-specific and specific host defense against invading candidal cells and that these interactions involve resident epithelial cells, rapidly responding non-specific protector neutrophils and mast cells as well as the antigen presenting and responding den-dritic cell lymphocyte plasma cell system. It is supposed that Candida albicans, as a result of dar-winistic pressure, has developed or is utilizing strategies to evade these host defense reactions by e.g. adhering to biomaterial surfaces and biofilms. The aim of the study was to assess the host defense by taking such key molecules of the anti-candidal defense into focus, which are also more or less characteristic for the main cellular players in candida-host cell interactions. As a model for candidal-host interaction, sections of chronic hyperplastic candidosis were used and compared with sections of non-infected leukoplakia and healthy tissue. In this thesis work, neutrophil-derived anti-candidal α-defensin was found in the epithelium, not only diffusely all over in the epithelium, but as a strong α-defensin-rich superficial front probably able to slow down or prevent penetration of candida into the epithelium. Neutrophil represents the main host defence cell in the epithelium, to which it can rapidly transmigrate from the circulation and where it forms organized multicellular units known as microabscesses (study I). Neutrophil chemotactic inter-leukin-8 (IL-8) and its receptor (IL-8R) were studied and were surprisingly also found in the candidal cells, probably helping the candida to keep away from IL-8- and neutrophil-rich danger zones (study IV). Both leukocytes and resident epithelial cells contained TLR2, TLR4 and TLR6 receptors able to recognize candidal structures via utilization of receptors similar to the Toll of the banana fly. It seems that candida can avoid host defence via stimulation of the candida permissive TLR2 instead of the can-dida injurious TLR4 (study V). TLR also provides the danger signal to the immune system without which it will not be activated to specifically respond against candidal antigens. Indeed, diseased sites contained receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL; II study), which is important for the antigen capturing, processing and presenting dendritic cells and for the T lymphocyte activation (study III). Chronic hyperplastic candidosis provides a disease model that is very useful to study local and sys-temic host factors, which under normal circumstances restrain C. albicans to a harmless commensal state, but failure of which in e.g. HIV infection, cancer and aging may lead to chronic infection.
  • Putkonen, Noora (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    Neuronal cell death caused by excitotoxicity accompanies neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer s disease (AD) and Huntington s disease (HD), epilepsy and ischaemia. Glutamate is the major excitotoxin in the CNS and causes activation of glutamate receptors. Ionotropic glutamate receptors can directly cause calcium influx that further enables activation of cell death pathways. Kainic acid (KA) is a specific agonist for ionotropic non-NMDA glutamate receptors, namely KA and AMPA receptors. KA induces epiletic activity in rodents and causes hippocampal sclerosis, similar to human temporal epilepsy. HD, a neurodegenerative disease characterized by accumulation of mutant huntingtin protein, and causing cell death in the striatum of affected individuals, has also been shown to involve excitotoxic cell death. Intracellular organelles have been implicated in stress sensing and contribute to cell death signaling. Mitochondria have been closely linked to apoptotic pathways and recent research has also implicated other organelles, such as the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), lysosomes and Golgi apparatus in cell death. In this thesis, the involvement of ER stress was shown to accompany hippocampal cell death caused by KA in vivo and in vitro as well as in a cell model of HD. KA induced activation of ER stress sensors that aim to restore homeostasis via activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). In prolonged stressful conditions, the UPR activates apoptotic pathways. Treatment with an ER stress inhibitor, Salubrinal (Sal), significantly attenuated cell death in hippocampal neurons in vivo and in vitro. ER stress was also activated in a cell model of HD and treatment with Sal reduced cell death and mutant hungtingtin aggregation. These data indicated for the first time the involvement of the ER in cell death pathways caused by excitotoxicity, and that inhibition of ER stress could be a potential treatment against neuronal cell death in HD and other disorders involving excitotoxicity. In search of other cell death mediators we focused on Cdk5 that has been implicated deregulated in excitotoxicity. Involved in multiple signaling pathways, Cdk5, has been implicated, for instance, in regulation of synaptic proteins, ER stress and cell death. In this thesis, a KA receptor important for mediating cell death in the hippocampus, GluR6, was shown to be regulated by Cdk5. Inhibition of Cdk5 reduced GluR6 downregulation by KA as well as cell death caused by KA in vitro. These data indicated Cdk5 involvement in KA excitotoxicity and could also present a potential drug target in neurological disorders. Moreover, this was the first time that Cdk5 was shown to contribute to KA receptor regulation.
  • Pikkarainen, Anna-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    The Baltic Sea was studied with respect to selected organic contaminants and their ecotoxicology. The research consisted of analyses of total hydrocarbons, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, bile metabolites, hepatic ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). The contaminants were measured from various matrices, such as seawater, sediment and biota. The methods of analysis were evaluated and refined to comparability of the results. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons, originating from petroleum, are known to be among the most harmful substances to the marine environment. In Baltic subsurface water, seasonal dependence of the total hydrocarbon concentrations (THCs) was seen. Although concentrations of parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediment surface varied between 64 and 5161 ug kg-1 (dw), concentrations above 860 ug kg-1 (dw) were found in all the studied sub-basins of the Baltic Sea. Concentrations commonly considered to substantially increase the risk of liver disease and reproductive impairment in fish, as well as potential effects on growth (above 1000 ug kg-1 dw), were found in all the studied sub-basins of the Baltic Sea except Kattegat. Thus, considerable pollution in sediments was indicated. In bivalves, the sums of 12 PAHs varied on a wet weight basis between 44 and 298 ug kg-1 (ww). The predominant PAHs were high molecular weight and the PAH profiles of M. balthica differed from those found in sediment from the same area. The PAHs were both pyrolytic and petrogenic in origin, and a contribution from diesel engines was found, which indicates pollution of the Baltic Sea, most likely caused by the steadily increasing shipping in the area. The HPLC methods developed for hepatic EROD activity and bile metabolite measurements proved to be fast and suitable for the study of biological effects. A mixed function oxygenase enzyme system in Baltic Sea perch collected from the Gulf of Finland was induced slightly: EROD activity in perch varied from 0.30 14 pmol min-1 mg-1 protein. This range can be considered to be comparable to background values. Recent PAH exposure was also indicated by enhanced levels (213 and 1149 ug kg-1) of the bile metabolite 1-hydroxypyrene. No correlation was indicated between hepatic EROD activity and concentration of 1-hydroxypyrene in bile. PCBs and OCPs were observed in Baltic Sea sediment, bivalves and herring. Sums of seven CBs in surface sediment (0 5 cm) ranged from 0.04 to 6.2 ug kg-1 (dw) and sums of three DDTs from 0.13 to 5.0 ug kg-1 (dw). The highest levels of contaminants were found in the most eastern area of the Gulf of Finland where the highest total carbon and nitrogen content was found and where the lowest percentage proportion of p,p -DDT was found. The highest concentrations of CBs and the lowest concentration of DDTs were found in M. balthica from the Gulf of Finland. The highest levels of DDTs were found in M. balthica from the Hanö Bight, which is the outer part of the Bornholm Basin close to the Swedish mainland. In bivalves, the sums of seven CBs were 72 108 ug kg-1 (lw) and the sums of three DDTs were 66 139 ug kg-1 (lw). Results from temporal trend monitoring showed, that during the period 1985 2002, the concentrations of seven CBs in two-year-old female Baltic herring were clearly decreased, from 9 16 to 2 6 ug kg-1 (ww) in the northern Baltic Sea. At the same time, concentrations of three DDTs declined from 8 15 to 1 5 ug kg-1 (ww). The total concentration of the fat-soluble CBs and DDTs in Baltic herring muscle was shown to be age-dependent; the average concentrations in ten-year-old Baltic herring were three to five-fold higher than in two-year-old herring. In Baltic herring and bivalves, as well as in surface sediments, CB 138 and CB153 were predominant among CBs, whereas among DDTs p,p'-DDD predominated in sediment and p,p'-DDE in bivalves and Baltic herring muscle. Baltic Sea sediments are potential sources of contaminants that may become available for bioaccumulation. Based on ecotoxicological assessment criteria, cause for concern regarding CBs in sediments was indicated for the Gulf of Finland and the northern Baltic Proper, and for the northern Baltic Sea regarding CBs in Baltic herring more than two years old. Statistical classification of selected organic contaminants indicated high-level contamination for p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDD, p,p'-DDE, total DDTs, HCB, CB118 and CB153 in muscle of Baltic herring in age groups two to ten years; in contrast, concentrations of a-HCH and g-HCH were found to be moderate. The concentrations of DDTs and CBs in bivalves is sufficient to cause biological effects, and demonstrates that long-term biological effects are still possible in the case of DDTs in the Hanö Bight.
  • Siira, Kalle (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Organizational conflict research has centered on a few dominant models that have directed the development of the field in theory and in practice. Although these models have undoubtedly benefited the field by providing a common focus, the focused concentration has had costs. Specifically, there has been a lack of approaches that depart from the positivistic, linear, and reductionist views of communication and conflict. This study answers this call by exploring the possibilities and implications that a social complexity approach has to offer organizational conflict management with a special focus on organizational communication. The study consists of four sub-studies. Study 1 (conducted as a questionnaire comparing the conflict and face maintenance styles of Finns and U.S. Americans) functions as an entry to the study of organizational conflict management. Studies 2 and 3 (conducted as theoretical accounts) introduce social complexity principles for individual- and organizational-level conflict management, respectively. Finally, Study 4 develops a framework of managerial conflict influence based on a qualitative analysis of 30 semi-structured interviews. In sum, the dominant individual- and organizational-level models are insufficient to account for conflict behavior and interaction as well as to address conflicts in organizations. A social complexity perspective on organizational conflict implies a constitutive role of communication processes in organizing. The communicative view of organizational conflict is illustrated by using the metaphors of performance, contradiction, and voice. Conflict management in turn is represented via three main variables (the dual function of communication, circumstances, and directness) resulting in six ideal types of influence at the individual level and four strategies at the organizational level. This study contributes to the existing organizational conflict research by providing an alternative view of social complexity to understand the communicative aspects of the phenomenon. This approach helps to illuminate the limitations of and to find areas for development of the dominant models at the individual and organizational levels. This perspective also draws attention to the discursive aspects of organizational conflict, places conflict purely within a communicative context, caters to the relational and systemic aspects of conflict management, and takes a broader view of conflicts. In addition, this study contributes to the interpretivist strand of social complexity and provides a fresh metaphor of organizing for the organizational communication literature.
  • Nuopponen, Markus (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Controlled radical polymerization techniques, such as RAFT polymerization, are modern alternatives for preparing pre-designed polymers. In RAFT polymerization, chain length, molar mass distribution, microstructure (tacticity and sequencing), composition and functionality can be controlled. This allows the synthesis of a variety of novel polymer architectures, such as block and graft copolymers, stars, hybride materials and bioconjugates. The self-organization of synthetic preformed polymers into controllable nanostuctures is one of the most promising topics in the material science. However, the field of block copolymer self-assembly is still relatively young and current polymeric materials are structurally rather simple compared to biological materials. Thus, novel generations of polymer-based materials offer huge opportunities in material science. In this work, amphiphilic di- and triblock copolymers were synthesized by RAFT polymerization, and their organization into specific structures at nanoscale was studied. In all the block copolymer, one of the blocks was thermoresponsive poly(N-isopropylacrylamide). Thus, polymers and studied materials were temperature sensitive. In addition, control over tacticity in N-isopropylacrylamide polymerization was studied. The self-organization in aqueous solutions was strongly affected by the tacticity and the block sequence. Amphiphilic polymers formed various micellar structures in aqueous solutions. These micellar microcontainers have applications in controlled drug delivery. Amphiphiles have also applications as dispersants in coatings and cosmetics. In bulk, all the stable block copolymer morphologies were observed for triblock copolymers. Hydrogels of triblock copolymers can be used as thermoresponsive membrane materials. Polymers synthesized through the RAFT polymerization can be directly used in the synthesis of polymer grafted nanoparticles. Gold nanoparticles have attracted great interest due to the fact that gold is the most stable and inert noble metal possessing unique surface properties and good conductivity. It was shown that the association and optical properties of the gold nanoparticles grafted with smart polymers can be widely varied by pH and temperature. This type of gold nanoparticles have applications in diagnostics, sensors and cell imaging.
  • Vuoksimaa, Eero (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    In humans, well-replicated and robust sex differences in cognitive functions exist for handedness and mental rotation ability. A common characteristic in human cognitive functions is the lateralization of language functions. Handedness is a common measure of laterality and is related to language lateralization. The prevalence of left-handedness is higher in males than in females, the male to female ratio being about 1.2. Among cognitive abilities, the largest sex difference is evident in the Vandenberg and Kuse Mental Rotation Test (MRT), which requires the ability to rotate objects in mental space. On average, males achieve scores one standard deviation higher than females in the MRT. The present thesis investigated the origins of the sex differences in laterality and spatial ability as represented by handedness and mental rotation ability, respectively. Two population-based Finnish twin cohorts were utilized in this study. Handedness was studied in 25 810 twins and 4068 singletons born before 1958 from the Older Finnish Twin Cohort, and in 4736 twins born in 1983-87 from the FinnTwin12. MRT was studied in a sub-sample of 804 young adult participants from the FinnTwin12 sample. The main findings of this study were: 1) the prevalence of left-handedness was higher among males than among females in both singletons and in twins; 2) males had significantly higher scores than females in MRT; 3) about one quarter of the variance in handedness and about half of the variance in MRT was explained by genetic effects, whereas the remainder of the variance in these traits was explained by environmental effects unique to each individual. The magnitude of the genetic effects was similar in both sexes; 4) left-handedness was significantly less common in female co-twins of a male than in female co-twins of a female, and female co-twins of a male scored significantly higher than did female co-twins of a female in the Mental Rotation Test. This dissertation discusses whether these differences between females from opposite- and same-sex twin pairs are due to the prenatal transfer of testosterone from the male fetus in females with male co-twins or whether they arise from postnatal socialization effects.
  • Lammi, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Nurr1, NGFI-B and Nor1 (NR4A2, NR4A1 and NR4A3, respectively) belong to the NR4A subfamily of nuclear receptors. The NR4A receptors are orphan nuclear receptors which means that activating or repressing ligands for these receptors have not been found. NR4A expression is rapidly induced in response to various stimuli including growth factors and the parathyroid hormone (PTH). The studies concerning the NR4A receptors in the central nervous system have demonstrated that they have a major role in the development and function of the dopaminergic neurons of the midbrain and in regulating hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal-axis. However, the peripheral functions of the NR4A family are largely unknown. Cultured mouse primary osteoblasts, a preosteoblastic cell line and several osteoblastic cell lines were used to investigate the role of NR4A receptors in osteoblasts. NR4A receptors were shown to directly bind to and activate the promoter of the osteopontin gene (OPN) in osteoblastic cells, thus regulating its expression. OPN is a major bone matrix protein expressed throughout the differentiation of preosteoblastic cells into osteoblasts. The activation of the OPN promoter was shown to be dependent on the activation function-1 located in the N-terminal part of Nurr1 and to occur in both monomeric and RXR heterodimeric forms of NR4A receptors. Furthermore, PTH was shown to upregulate OPN expression through the NR4A family. It was also demonstrated that the fibroblast growth factor-8b (FGF-8b) induces the expression of NR4A receptors in osteoblasts as immediate early genes. This induction involved phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase, protein kinase C, and mitogen activated protein kinase, which are all major pathways of FGF signalling. Nurr1 and NGFI-B were shown to induce the proliferation of preosteoblastic cells and to reduce their apoptosis. FGF-8b was shown to stimulate the proliferation of osteoblastic cells through the NR4A receptors. These results suggest that NR4A receptors have a role both in the differentiation of osteoblasts and in the proliferation and apoptosis of preosteoblast. The NR4A receptors were found to bind to the same response element on OPN as the members of the NR3B family of orphan receptors do. Mutual repression was observed between the NR4A receptors and the NR3B receptors. This repression was shown to be dependent on the DNA-binding domains of both receptor families, but to result neither from the competition of DNA binding nor from the competition for coactivators. As the repression was dependent on the relative expression levels of the NR4As and NR3Bs, it seems likely that the ratio of the receptors mediates their activity on their response elements. Rapid induction of the NR4As in response to various stimuli and differential expression of the NR3Bs can effectively control the gene activation by the NR4A receptors. NR4A receptors can bind DNA as monomers, and Nurr1 and NGFI-B can form permissive heterodimers with the retinoid X receptor (RXR). Permissive heterodimers can be activated with RXR agonists, unlike non-permissive heterodimers, which are formed by RXR and retinoic acid receptor or thyroid hormone receptor (RAR and TR, respectively). Non-permissive heterodimers can only be activated by the agonists of the heterodimerizing partner. The mechanisms behind differential response to RXR agonists have remained unresolved. As there are no activating or repressing ligands for the NR4A receptors, it would be important to find out, how they are regulated. Permissiviness of Nurr1/RXR heterodimers was linked to the N-terminal part of Nurr1 ligand-binding domain. This region has previously been shown to mediate the interaction between NRs and corepressors. Non-permissive RAR and TR, permissive Nurr1 and NGFI-B, and RXR were overexpressed with corepressors silencing mediator for retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptors (SMRT), and with nuclear receptor corepressor in several cell lines. Nurr1 and NGFI-B were found to be repressed by SMRT. The interaction of RXR heterodimers with corepressors was weak in permissive heterodimers and much stronger in non-permissive heterodimers. Non-permissive heterodimers also released corepressors only in response to the agonist of the heterodimeric partner of RXR. In the permissive Nurr1/RXR heterodimer, however, SMRT was released following the treatment with RXR agonists. Corepressor release in response to ligands was found to differentiate permissive heterodimers from non-permissive ones. Corepressors were thus connected to the regulation of NR4A functions. In summary, the studies presented here linked the NR4A family of orphan nuclear receptors to the regulation of osteoblasts. Nurr1 and NGFI-B were found to control the proliferation and apoptosis of preosteoblasts. The studies also demonstrated that cross-talk with the NR3B receptors controls the activity of these orphan receptors. The results clarified the mechanism of permissiviness of RXR-heterodimers. New information was obtained on the regulation and functions of NR4A receptors, for which the ligands are unknown.
  • Johansson, Marie (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Oxysterol binding protein (OSBP) homologues have been found in eukaryotic organisms ranging from yeast to humans. These evolutionary conserved proteins have in common the presence of an OSBP-related domain (ORD) which contains the fully conserved EQVSHHPP sequence motif. The ORD forms a barrel structure that binds sterols in its interior. Other domains and sequence elements found in OSBP-homologues include pleckstrin homology domains, ankyrin repeats and two phenylalanines in an acidic tract (FFAT) motifs, which target the proteins to distinct subcellular compartments. OSBP homologues have been implicated in a wide range of intracellular processes, including vesicle trafficking, lipid metabolism and cell signaling, but little is known about the functional mechanisms of these proteins. The human family of OSBP homologues consists of twelve OSBP-related proteins (ORP). This thesis work is focused on one of the family members, ORP1, of which two variants were found to be expressed tissue-specifically in humans. The shorter variant, ORP1S contains an ORD only. The N-terminally extended variant, ORP1L, comprises a pleckstrin homology domain and three ankyrin repeats in addition to the ORD. The two ORP1 variants differ in intracellular localization. ORP1S is cytosolic, while the ankyrin repeat region of ORP1L targets the protein to late endosomes/lysosomes. This part of ORP1L also has profound effects on late endosomal morphology, inducing perinuclear clustering of late endosomes. A central aim of this study was to identify molecular interactions of ORP1L on late endosomes. The morphological changes of late endosomes induced by overexpressed ORP1L implies involvement of small Rab GTPases, regulators of organelle motility, tethering, docking and/or fusion, in generation of the phenotype. A direct interaction was demonstrated between ORP1L and active Rab7. ORP1L prolongs the active state of Rab7 by stabilizing its GTP-bound form. The clustering of late endosomes/lysosomes was also shown to be linked to the minus end-directed microtubule-based dynein-dynactin motor complex through the ankyrin repeat region of ORP1L. ORP1L, Rab7 and the Rab7-interacting lysosomal protein (RILP) were found to be part of the same effector complex recruiting the dynein-dynactin complex to late endosomes, thereby promoting minus end-directed movement. The proteins were found to be physically close to each other on late endosomes and RILP was found to stabilize the ORP1L-Rab7 interaction. It is possible that ORP1L and RILP bind to each other through their C-terminal and N-terminal regions, respectively, when they are bridged by Rab7. With the results of this study we have been able to place a member of the uncharacterized OSBP-family, ORP1L, in the endocytic pathway, where it regulates motility and possibly fusion of late endosomes through interaction with the small GTPase Rab7.
  • Hynynen, Riikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    ORP2 is a member of mammalian oxysterol binding protein (OSBP)-related protein/gene family (ORPs), which is found in almost every eukaryotic organism. ORPs have been suggested to participate in the regulation of cellular lipid metabolism, vesicle trafficking and cellular signaling. ORP2 is a cytosolic protein that is ubiquitously expressed and most abundant in the brain. In previous studies employing stable cell lines with constitutive ORP2 overexpression ORP2 was shown to affect cellular cholesterol metabolism. The aim of this study was to characterize the properties and function of ORP2 further. ORP2 ligands were searched for among sterols and phosphoinositides using purified ORP2 and in vitro binding assays. As expected, ORP2 bound several oxysterols and cholesterol, the highest affinity ligand being 22(R)hydroxycholesterol. In addition, affinity for anionic membrane phospholipids, phosphoinositides was observed, which may assist in the membrane targeting of ORP2. Intracellular localization of ORP2 was also investigated. ORP2 was observed on the surface of cytoplasmic lipid droplets, which are storage organelles for neutral lipids. Lipid droplet targeting of ORP2 was inhibited when 22(R)hydroxycholesterol was added to the cells or when the N-terminal FFAT-motif of ORP2 was mutated, suggesting that oxysterols and the N-terminus of ORP2 regulate the localization and the function of ORP2. The role of ORP2 in cellular lipid metabolism was studied using HeLa cell lines that can be induced to overexpress ORP2. Overexpression of ORP2 was shown to enhance cholesterol efflux from the cells resulting in a decreased amount of cellular free cholesterol. ORP2 overexpressing cells responded to the loss of cholesterol by upregulating cholesterol synthesis and uptake. Intriguingly, also cholesterol esterification was increased in ORP2 overexpressing cells. These results may be explained by the ability of ORP2 to bind and thus transport cholesterol, which most likely leads to changes in cholesterol metabolism when ORP2 is overexpressed. ORP2 function was further investigated by silencing the endogenous ORP2 expression with short interfering RNAs (siRNA) in A431 cells. Silencing of ORP2 led to a delayed break-down of triglycerides under lipolytic conditions and an increased amount of cholesteryl esters in the presence of excess triglycerides. Together these results suggest that ORP2 is a sterol-regulated protein that functions on the surface of cytoplasmic lipid droplets to regulate the metabolism of triglycerides and cholesteryl esters. Although the exact mode of ORP2 action still remains unclear, this study serves as a good basis to investigate the molecular mechanisms and possible cell type specific functions of ORP2.
  • Osipova, Daria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Neuronal oscillations are thought to underlie interactions between distinct brain regions required for normal memory functioning. This study aimed at elucidating the neuronal basis of memory abnormalities in neurodegenerative disorders. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) was used to measure oscillatory brain signals in patients with Alzheimer s disease (AD), a neurodegenerative disease causing progressive cognitive decline, and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a disorder characterized by mild but clinically significant complaints of memory loss without apparent impairment in other cognitive domains. Furthermore, to help interpret our AD/MCI results and to develop more powerful oscillatory MEG paradigms for clinical memory studies, oscillatory neuronal activity underlying declarative memory, the function which is afflicted first in both AD and MCI, was investigated in a group of healthy subjects. An increased temporal-lobe contribution coinciding with parieto-occipital deficits in oscillatory activity was observed in AD patients: sources in the 6 12.5 Hz range were significantly stronger in the parieto-occipital and significantly weaker in the right temporal region in AD patients, as compared to MCI patients and healthy elderly subjects. Further, the auditory steady-state response, thought to represent both evoked and induced activity, was enhanced in AD patients, as compared to controls, possibly reflecting decreased inhibition in auditory processing and deficits in adaptation to repetitive stimulation with low relevance. Finally, the methodological study revealed that successful declarative encoding and retrieval is associated with increases in occipital gamma and right hemisphere theta power in healthy unmedicated subjects. This result suggests that investigation of neuronal oscillations during cognitive performance could potentially be used to investigate declarative memory deficits in AD patients. Taken together, the present results provide an insight on the role of brain oscillatory activity in memory function and memory disorders.
  • Waris, Ville (Helsingin yliopisto, 2014)
    Total hip replacement (THR) is an efficacious, reliable, and cost effective procedure for reconstruction of hip joints. Aseptic loosening is one of the most significant long-term complications of THR. The aetiology is multifactorial. Both biological and mechanical factors seem to play important roles in aseptic loosening. The formation of a synovial-like membrane between prosthesis or cement and bone is a common pathologic finding in aseptic loosening. The hypothesis in this study was that cytokines, which stimulate bone formation, are decreased in interface tissue (IT) in patients with loose THR compared to control synovial membranes. In this study, the histopathological features of IT were found to be very similar to synovial tissue from OA. However, particulate debris and macrophages/ foreign body giant cells were found in most ITs. Immunohistochemical staining showed up-regulated expression of bFGF, PDGF, TGF-ß1 and TGF-ß2 in interface and pseudocapsular tissues but down-regulated expression of IGF-I in the same areas. IGF-II was down-regulated in pseudocapsular tissues. Expression of BMP-2, -4, -6 and 7 as well as VEGF and its receptors 1 and 2 was similar in ITs when compared to control samples in general, but expression of BMP-4 and VEGF receptor 1 was up-regulated in IT macrophage-like cells and VEGF receptor 1 and 2 also in IT fibroblast-like cells. The cells of origin of these cytokines were macrophages, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells. This study clarified the cytokine spectrum found in interface and pseudocapsular tissue around loose THR. The results do not support the hypothesis that bone formation enhancing cytokines would be consistently decreased in these tissues. All of the studied cytokines can induce scar tissue development and many of them also blood vessel formation, tissue inflammation and some even enhance osteoclastic bone resorption. They most probably have mixed positive and negative effects on implant-bone fixation in the course of aseptic loosening of THR, depending on multiple factors like local concentration of different cytokines, cell-cell contact modulation, periprosthetic tissue (PT) hypoxia and pH, implant micromotion, and systemic factors such as hormones. Despite improving implant technology, it is unlikely that particulate debris and loosening can be completely eliminated. Therefore, additional studies are necessary to elucidate the complex cytokine network in the context of aseptic loosening. Through further understanding of these aseptic loosening processes, it may be possible in the future to modulate or prevent cytokine expression or their effects immunologically or pharmacologically.