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  • 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.
  • Käkelä-Puumala, Tiina (2007)
    This dissertation analyzes the interrelationship between death, the conditions of (wo)man s social being, and the notion of value as it emerges in the fiction of the American novelist Thomas Pynchon (1937 ). Pynchon s present work includes six novels V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), Gravity s Rainbow (1973), Vineland (1990), Mason & Dixon (1997), Against the Day (2006) and several short stories. Death constitues a central thematic in Pynchon s work, and it emerges through recurrent questions of mortality, suicide, mass destruction, sacrifice, afterlife, entropy, the relationship between the animate and the inanimate, and the limits of representation. In Pynchon, death is never a mere biological given (or event); it is always determined within a certain historical, cultural, and ideological context. Throughout his work, Pynchon questions the strict ontological separation of life and death by showing the relationship between this separation and social power. Conceptual divisions also reflect the relationship between society and its others, and death becomes that through which lines of social demarcation are articulated. Determined as a conceptual and social "other side", death in Pynchon forms a challenge to modern culture, and makes an unexpected return: the dead return to haunt the living, the inanimate and the animate fuse, and technoscientific attempts at overcoming and controlling death result in its re-emergence in mass destruction and ecological damage. The questioning of the ontological line also affects the structuration of Pynchon's prose, where the recurrent narrated and narrative desire to reach the limits of representation is openly associated with death. Textualized, death appears in Pynchon's writing as a sudden rupture within the textual functioning, when the "other side", that is, the bare materiality of the signifier is foregrounded. In this study, Pynchon s cultural criticism and his poetics come together, and I analyze the subversive role of death in his fiction through Jean Baudrillard s genealogy of the modern notion of death from L échange symbolique et la mort (1976). Baudrillard sees an intrinsic bond between the social repression of death in modernity and the emergence of modern political economy, and in his analysis economy and language appear as parallel systems for generating value (exchange value/ sign-value). For Baudrillard, the modern notion of death as negativity in relation to the positivity of life, and the fact that death cannot be given a proper meaning, betray an antagonistic relation between death and the notion of value. As a mode of negativity (that is, non-value), death becomes a moment of rupture in relation to value-based thinking in short, rationalism. Through this rupture emerges a form of thinking Baudrillard labels the symbolic, characterized by ambivalence and the subversion of conceptual opposites.
  • Mikkonen, Pirjo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study provides a general picture of surnames adopted in Western Finland between 1850 and 1921, the types of names adopted and their backgrounds. They cannot be examined without also including military names, i.e. names given to soldiers in the army in the 18th and especially 19th century. The grounds for the adoption of surnames have not been previously examined, nor have parallels been drawn systematically between civil and military names. In Western Finland, the peasant population was identified by their Christian name and patronymic. House names were used as peasants additional names. In the official documents, such as church registers, the non-landowning peasantry did not have this possibility. Surnames for the Western Finnish peasantry were created starting in the mid-19th century, a process which continued until 1921, when the first Finnish act on names came into force. Western European nationalism reached Finland, too, and Finnish surnames were one way of demonstrating Finnishness. Names were often given by people in positions of authority, clergymen, teachers and foremen. The new phenomenon spread evenly throughout all Western and Southern Finnish parishes. The data for this study is oral data collected in 1986 through a national survey investigating what the Finnish people knew about the motivations and grounds for their own names. Settlement names were the most common grounds for adopting names of which respondents were aware: these accounted for nearly 40 per cent of the data. Even fashionable names were adopted based on place of residence in a notable number of cases: one-fourth of names formed with the suffix -nen and one-fifth of two-syllable names. Western Finnish names consist mainly of words pertaining to nature. Nature-related vocabulary dominates because surnames were often taken from settlement names or modeled after them, and traditional names of places of residence generally described the surrounding nature. The comparative method demonstrates a connection between military names and names adopted without particular grounds or based on models. Finnish military names became more common towards the end of the 19th century. They remained with the families of soldiers as their surnames, and finally many other civilians also adopted them. Both the oral data from 1986 and the archive data on military names provide an opportunity for the first time to delve into the socio-onomastic phenomena of Finnish surnames. The name adoption process of the common population involved a change to a new naming system. By contrast, the new Finnish names of the educated population belonged to the hereditary surname system both before and after they were Finnicized.
  • Moring, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Strange Families targets Finnish rainbow families (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender families) in 21st century legislation, media and guidebooks. The research combines theories of gender studies, critical family studies, legal studies, queer studies, and cultural studies. It employs methods of political reading in order to highlight the norms and ideals that are prevalent in public discussions of rainbow families. Through the methodological concept of queerfeminist political reading it focuses on the question of what defines a family when the family is formed in a way that resists the hegemonic norms, ideals, and assumptions of a heteronormative society. The research examines public discussions of rainbow families through three central themes: fatherhood, motherhood and the concept of family. Each theme is analyzed with the specific issues that arise in its relation to rainbow families, and how these issues are discussed. The results show that the recognition of rainbow families raise important issues in relation to norms and ideals of family in 21st century Finland. Legally, recognition of these families requires changes in legislation that ultimately show how law always already falls short in its definitions of family and its attempts to control kinship ties. The attempts to recognize rainbow families expose intrinsic flaws and problems to the law as a system, and by questioning the premises of family legislation, these new structures of recognition also open up possibilities to question the hegemonic status of for example heterosexual marriage as the primary guarantee of legal fatherhood also in the context of heterosexual families. In public discussions of rainbow families, legal recognition and legitimation is lacking. In its absence, parenthood is legitimized through performative acts of parenting. Parenthood is represented as doing, a move which also has some gendered, consequences: Within a system of shared rainbow family parenthood, fatherhood becomes precarious, being mainly conceived of in biogenetic terms - fatherhood as being. Simultaneously motherhood, especially the motherhood of the non-birth-mother, is strengthened and enforced, and perceived as a form of ideal equal parenthood a parenthood that already does what fathers in heterosexual contexts are urged to do. Public discourses related to rainbow families often address the question of male or female role models for children being raised in families with parents of only the other gender. The study finds that this rhetoric hides a form of internalized homophobia. The assumed necessity of a male or a female role model is based on an ideal of normal development, through which the child should be prevented from growing up gay. The research also critically analyses conceptions of the best interest of the child , and finds that it is employed mainly to hide conflicts, heteronormativities or homophobias - both in the families own representations and in other public discourses.
  • Miettunen, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    This study concentrates on three concepts: memory, identity and change. I study the concept of memory in the formation of a communal identity. Individual experiences and emotions are given interpretation and meaning from the basis of the individual's own sphere of knowledge, taught and transmitted by his own culture and society. This memory then becomes the shared idea and ideal of the community, and when transmitted to the next generations it overcomes the boundaries of time. In this process, the memory, therefore, is essentially the factor which at the same time defines and is defined by the community itself. What people call change can be considered to be a constant process of remembering and forgetting. The state of Jordan has created a national identity where the Bedouin past and culture are seen as the promoted symbols of the state. At the same time, the government has worked on the modernization of the Bedouins: the nomads are being sedentarized, secular and religious education, as well as modern technology and health care, are available even in the areas that used to be the most dangerous peripheries in the past. These processes have also influenced the identity of the inhabitants of south Jordan in the last few decades, yet despite all the changes, the most prominent factors in their identity continue to be the tribal heritage and being a Bedouin. I am approaching these concepts from the case of the local saints (Awliyā). In the everyday religion, these holy men and women have gained an important role: people have addressed the saints in order to gain health, wealth, rain, fertility and protection among other things. I have conducted fieldwork in south Jordan and located several holy sites, many of them uncharted until now. Recording folklore and old memories of the sacred places, while also observing the religious practices and everyday life of the local people has been the goal of this work. When studying the local tradition of holy places in South Jordan, it is evident that the old traditions are being forgotten, but what is replacing the old traditions, and how does this change affect the identity of the local people? When such places lose their significance, what effect does it have or perhaps, is it a result of a change that has already taken place in the identity of the people? One topic of special interest is the role of women, as they played a very active part in many of the old traditions and rituals. Another central issue is the tribal integrity and identity, as many of the sacred places were strongly connected to the past of the tribes, with various saints being their ancestors and earlier leaders. Comparing the change in Southern Jordan to the processes that are taking place in other parts of the world has provided a framework for this research. This work is a case study of the change in action, showing on a local level how a community reacts to the new ideas in numerous ways, for example, by returning to its own roots on one hand and embracing the new global scene on the other even to the level of reinventing its own past.
  • Norocel, Cristian (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Contemporary globalisation processes witness the articulation of an allegedly homogeneous totality that has coalesced in direct opposition to the very globalisation processes that have enabled it. This totality is commonly labelled our people and reunites the citizens inhabiting the political social cultural space of a specific polity. Radical right populist parties - claiming to defend the political interests of the people - have gained increasing visibility and acceptance across Europe. Particularly salient among the symbols these parties have employed to portray their ideological stances is the depiction of the people as the tightly knit family, under the guardianship of a man/father/leader, sheltered together under their home s protective roof. However, there is a lack of gender sensitive research on radical right populist ideology. The present study consequently aims to uncover the means through which both concepts - that of family, and respectively people - are discursively gendered, in the sense that they reify gender based distinctions, thereby naturalising the traditional hierarchal gender binary. The dissertation focuses on two case studies: the Greater Romania Party (Partidul România Mare, PRM) and the Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna, SD). It examines how the leaders of radical right populist parties in Romania and in Sweden explain discursively with the aid of conceptual structures particularly, the conceptual metaphor of THE NATION IS A FAMILY and adjoining metaphorical clusters - their ideological conception of the hierarchical gender binary. The present study represents in other words an interdisciplinary dialogue between political science - particularly the study of radical right populism; communication studies - mainly the relationship between the radical right populist leader and contemporary media logic; conceptual metaphor theory - especially the critical analysis of conceptual metaphors, enriched with a genealogical perspective; from a decidedly feminist vantage point.
  • Karppinen, Atte (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Pituitary adenomas are the most common tumors of the sella turcica. Our objectives here were to describe the transitional phase from microscopic to endoscopic surgery for nonfunctional pituitary adenomas (NFPAs), and to outline the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and its determinants after treatment of different pituitary adenomas in a recent cohort from a single pituitary center. We retrospectively collected the relevant data for a total of 320 patients who had undergone primary surgery for a newly diagnosed pituitary adenoma during 2000-2010 at Helsinki University Hospital. The first part of our study included 185 consecutive patients who had transsphenoidal surgery for NFPA. These patients were divided into two groups based on the surgical approach: microscopic and endoscopic. Surgical and endocrinological outcomes were assessed at the 3-month follow-up. The second part of our study used a cross-sectional design and comprised all pituitary adenoma types. Each patient alive was sent a questionnaire (the 15D) assessing the HRQoL a mean of 7.4 years after the primary transsphenoidal surgery. One hundred functional pituitary adenoma (FPA) and 137 NFPA patients responded. We then compared HRQoL (15D scores) between patients and a large sample of an age- and gender-standardized Finnish general population. Independent factors influencing the overall HRQoL (mean 15D score) were estimated using multivariate analysis. A good short-term surgical outcome could be achieved during the initial phase of transition from microscopic to endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for NFPA patients. Our first endoscopic single-center consecutive case series showed a trend towards improved tumor control but the operative time was longer than with the microscopic technique.The effect of NFPA surgery on pituitary function (hypopituitarism) in both surgical groups was neutral. Current multimodal treatment protocols with optimized hormonal replacement therapies enabled normal or at least near-normal overall HRQoL to be achieved in the majority of patients with all types of pituitary adenomas. Hormonal remission rate of FPAs was 91%. However, patients with Cushing s disease and NFPA had clinically and statistically significant impairments of some single dimensions compared with the general population. Comorbidities were strong determinants of compromised overall HRQoL in patients treated for pituitary adenomas.