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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ylinen, Elisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Qvist, Erik (Helsingin yliopisto, 2002)
  • Poikkeus, Piia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    Singleton pregnancies achieved by means of assisted reproductive treatment (ART) are associated with increased obstetric and neonatal risks in comparison with spontaneously conceived singleton pregnancies. The impact of infertility- and treatment-related factors on these risks is not properly understood. In addition, the psychological effects of infertility and its treatment on the experience of pregnancy have scarcely been studied. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the importance of infertility- and treatment-related factors on prediction of pregnancy outcome, obstetric and neonatal risks, fear-of-childbirth and pregnancy-related anxiety. The subjects consisted of infertile women who achieved a singleton pregnancy by means of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The control groups comprised spontaneously conceiving women with singleton gestations. Early pregnancy outcome was assessed by means of assay of serum human chorionic gonadoptrophin (hCG) in single samples. Other outcome data were collected from patient records, national Health Registers and via prospective questionnaire surveys. Viable pregnancies were associated with significantly higher serum hCG levels 12 days after embryo transfer than non-viable pregnancies. Among singleton pregnancies, aetiological subgroup, treatment type or the number of transferred embryos did not impair the predictive value of single hCG assessment. According to the register-based data, age-, parity- and socioeconomic status- adjusted risks of gestational hypertension, preterm contractions and placenta praevia were more frequent in the ART pregnancies than in the control pregnancies. Significantly higher rates of induction of delivery and Caesarean section occurred in the ART group than in the control group. The risks of preterm birth and low birth weight (LBW) were increased after ART pregnancy. Duration or aetiology of infertility, treatment type (fresh or frozen IVF or ICSI) or rank of treatment did not contribute to the risks of preterm birth or LBW. In addition, the risks of preterm birth and LBW remained elevated in spite of of the number of transferred embryos. Although mean duration of pregnancy was shorter and mean birth weight lower in the ART pregnancies than in the control pregnancies, these differences were hardly of clinical significance. Fear-of-childbirth and pregnancy-related anxiety were equally common to women conceiving by means of ART, or spontaneously. Partnership of five to ten years appeared to be protective as regards severe fear-of-childbirth, whereas long preceding infertility (≥ seven years) had the opposite effect. In conclusion, an early hCG assessment maintained its good predictive value regardless of infertility- or patient-related factors. Further, we did not recognise any infertility- or patient-related factors that would expose infertile women to increased obstetric or neonatal risks. However, a long period of infertility was associated with severe fear-of-childbirth.
  • Halonen, Kimmo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Laukontaus, Sani (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (RAAA) is a life-threatening event, and without operative treatment the patient will die. The overall mortality can be as high as 80-90%; thus repair of RAAA should be attempted whenever feasible. The quality of life (QoL) has become an increasingly important outcome measure in vascular surgery. Aim of the study was to evaluate outcomes of RAAA and to find out predictors of mortality. In Helsinki and Uusimaa district 626 patients were identified to have RAAA in 1996-2004. Altogether 352 of them were admitted to Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH). Based on Finnvasc Registry, 836 RAAA patients underwent repair of RAAA in 1991-1999. The 30-day operative mortality, hospital and population-based mortality were assessed, and the effect of regional centralisation and improving in-hospital quality on the outcome of RAAA. QoL was evaluated by a RAND-36 questionnaire of survivors of RAAA. Quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), which measure length and QoL, were calculated using the EQ-5D index and estimation of life expectancy. The predictors of outcome after RAAA were assessed at admission and 48 hours after repair of RAAA. The 30-day operative mortality rate was 38% in HUCH and 44% nationwide, whereas the hospital mortality was 45% in HUCH. Population-based mortality was 69% in 1996-2004 and 56% in 2003-2004. After organisational changes were undertaken, the mortality decreased significantly at all levels. Among the survivors, the QoL was almost equal when compared with norms of age- and sex-matched controls; only physical functioning was slightly impaired. Successful repair of RAAA gave a mean of 4.1 (0-30.9) QALYs for all RAAA patients, although non-survivors were included. The preoperative Glasgow Aneurysm Score was an independent predictor of 30-day operative mortality after RAAA, and it also predicted the outcome at 48- hours for initial survivors of repair of RAAA. A high Glasgow Aneurysm Score and high age were associated with low numbers of QALYs to be achieved. Organ dysfunction measured by the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score at 48 hours after repair of RAAA was the strongest predictor of death. In conclusion surgery of RAAA is a life-saving and cost-effective procedure. The centralisation of vascular emergencies improved the outcome of RAAA patients. The survivors had a good QoL after RAAA. Predictive models can be used on individual level only to provide supplementary information for clinical decision-making due to their moderate discriminatory value. These results support an active operation policy, as there is no reliable measure to predict the outcome after RAAA.
  • Aito, Henrikka (Helsingin yliopisto, 2004)
  • Zhou, You (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Lipids, as the major components of cell membranes, are multi-functional molecules that also critically contribute to signal transduction, transcriptional regulation and membrane trafficking. The voice from single lipid molecule mixes together to create a balancing symphony or chorus called lipid homeostasis. Disturbances in the molecular song by lipids trigger profound physiological responses, which are reflected as metabolic disorders, such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerosis. Hence, it is important to understand the semiotics of this molecular language. Lipid homeostasis is context-dependent and regulated coordinately by a variety of lipids per se andproteins. Oxysterol binding protein (OSBP) and its homologues (ORPs) are implicated to regulate lipid homeostasis, sterol transfer and cell signaling. In this thesis, two ORPs, ORP11 and ORP7 have been extensively studied. ORP11 is abundant in human ovary, testis, kidney, liver, stomach, brain and adipose tissue and resides at the Golgi-Late endosome interface. ORP11 forms a dimer with its close homologue, ORP9, the interaction occuring in the region of aa154-292 in ORP11 and 98-372 in ORP9, which maintains the subcellular distribution of ORP11. ORP7 interacts with GATE-16 and might be involved in autophagosome biogenesis. Excess ORP7 induces recruitment of GATE-16 from Golgi to autophagosomes. ORP7 thereby regulates the proteosome-dependent degradation of Golgi v-SNARE protein, GS28, another binding partner of GATE-16. 25-hydroxycholesterol, a ligand of ORP7, modifies GS28 protein stability, an effect which is influenced by ORP7. Being the largest endocrine organ in human body, adipose tissue is the primary place to store fat. However, there is no study to compare expression patterns of ORPs in white adipose depots and adipose cells. In this thesis, we showed that human subcutaneous and visceral adipose depots as well as Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipocytes sharesimilar ORP expression patterns, indicating that the mRNA signals of ORPs in adipose tissues predominantly originate from adipocytes. During adipogenesis, ORP2, ORP3, ORP4, ORP7 and ORP8 mRNA levels were downregulated, whereas ORP11 was upregulated. Silencing of ORP11 resulted in a decreased expression of adiponectin and aP2, while overexpression of ORP8 down-regulated the aP2 mRNA. Interestingly, silencing of ORP11 and overexpression of ORP8 significantly impaired triglyceride storage in the adipocytes. Taken together, the work in this thesis identifies protein binding partners of ORPs and indicates their potential roles in protein distribution and stability, intracellular trafficking, sterol sensing, and the adipocyte phenotype.
  • Taipale, Anni (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Background:Otorhinolaryngological (ORL) diseases and hearing loss frequently occur among the children of developing countries, but they remain poorly characterized. A need therefore exists for more comprehensive understanding of the background and clinical features of these diseases in resource-poor settings. Patients and methods: Voluntary paediatric outpatients of various specialties were examined at Hospital Pediátrico in Luanda, Angola. Study participants underwent medical history-taking, a thorough physical and ORL examination, hearing screening by brainstem auditory-evoked potential (BAEP), and, at age 5 or older, pure-tone audiometry. Nasopharyngeal smears (NPS) were obtained from 102 children with respiratory symptoms and screened by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for human rhino- (HRV) and enterovirus (HEV). We took 18 bacterial culture smears from children with chronic suppurative otitis media (CSOM). Clinical data collected were compared between 23 children with CSOM vs. 23 age- and gender-matched controls, between 61 children with sickle-cell disease (SCD) vs. 61 controls, and between 78 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) -positive children vs. 78 controls. Results: In virus screening of 102 NPS specimens, 37 (36%) were positive: 27 (26%) for HRV alone, 3 (3%) for HEV alone, and 7 (7%) for HRV+HEV. HRV prevalence was highest during the coolest month, July, 47% (26/53), compared to 22% (8/49) (p=0.021) in April-to-June. In the CSOM study, HIV positivity occurred in 14/22 (64%) of the CSOM children vs. none of the controls (p<0.001) and tuberculosis in 8/22 (36%) vs. none (p=0.002). The most frequent CSOM pathogens were Proteus (8/18, 44%) and Pseudomonas (4/18, 22%) species. CSOM resulted in hearing loss of >25 dB HL in pure-tone averages or BAEP in 17/33 (52%) of the affected ears. In the SCD study of 61 SCD children vs. 61 controls, bilateral hearing loss of >25 dB HL at any frequency occurred in 9 (36%) SCD children vs. 3 (11%) controls (p=0.047), whereas the prevalence of other ORL findings showed no significant difference. Of 78 HIV-positive children vs. 78 controls, ORL pathology was present in 72 (92%) HIV-positive vs. 61 (72%) control children (p=0.022). Dental caries occurred in 44 (56%) of the HIV-positive children vs. 25 controls (32%) (p<0.001), cervical lymphadenopathy >1cm in 35 (45%) vs. 8 (10%) (p<0.001), facial skin lesions in 25 (32%) vs. 4 (5%) (p<0.001), CSOM in 21 (26%) vs. 3 (4%) (p<0.001), and bilateral hearing loss of >25 dB HL in PTA or BAEP in 10 (13%) vs. one (1%) (p=0.009). Conclusions: In children of tropical Luanda, HRV and HEV emerged during respiratory symptoms. CSOM was associated with co-morbidity and hearing loss. Hearing loss occurred in SCD. ORL manifestations of HIV infection were common and various. In resource-poor settings, ORL and hearing services deserve a higher priority.
  • Perttunen, Kristiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Saastamoinen, Peppiina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The overall objective of this study was to gain epidemiological knowledge about pain among employee populations. More specifically, the aims were to assess the prevalence of pain, to identify socio-economic risk groups and work-related psychosocial risk factors, and to assess the consequences in terms of health-related functioning and sickness absence. The study was carried out among the municipal employees of the City of Helsinki. Data comprised questionnaire survey conducted in years 2000-2002 and register data on sickness absence. Altogether 8960 40-60 year old employees participated to the survey (response rate 67%). Pain is common among ageing employees. Approximately 29 per cent of employees reported chronic pain and 15 per cent acute pain, and about seven per cent reported moderately or severely limiting disabling chronic pain. Pain was more common among those with lower level of education or in a low occupational class. -- Psychosocial work environment was associated with pain reports. Job strain, bullying at workplace, and problems in combining work and home duties were associated with pain among women. Among men combining work and home duties was not associated with pain, whereas organizational injustice showed associations. Pain affects functional capacity and predicts sickness absence. Those with pain reported lower level of both mental and physical functioning than those with no pain, physical functioning being more strongly affected than mental. Bodily location of pain or whether pain was acute or chronic had only minor impact on the variation in functioning, whereas the simple count of painful locations was associated with widest variation. Pain accounted for eight per cent of short term (1-3 day) sickness absence spells among men and 13 per cent among women. Of absence spells lasting between four and 14 days pain accounted for 23 per cent among women and 25 per cent among men, corresponding figures for over 14 day absence spells being 37 and 30 per cent. The association between pain and sickness absence was relatively independent of physical and psychosocial work factors, especially among women. The results of this study provide a picture of the epidemiology of pain among employees. Pain is a significant problem that seriously affects work ability. Information on risk groups can be utilized to make prevention measures more effective among those at high risk, and to decrease pain rates and thereby narrow the differences between socio-economic groups. Furthermore, the work-related psychosocial risk factors identified in this study are potentially modifiable, and it should be possible to target interventions on decreasing pain rates among employees.
  • Kuivalainen, Anna-Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015)
    Background: Bone marrow aspiration and/or biopsy (BMAB) is a procedure used to diagnose and follow up various haematological diseases. It is usually performed at either the sternum or the iliac crest. The procedure often causes pain despite local infiltration anaesthesia. The objective of this study was to evaluate different means of pain relief during BMAB in adult patients. Special attention was paid to pre-procedural anxiety and its effect on pain. The commonly used local anaesthetic lidocaine was compared with articaine, an anaesthetic known for its ability to penetrate bone tissue. The effect of warming and buffering the lidocaine solution, measures expected to improve the anaesthetic action, was examined. Also investigated were sublingual fentanyl and inhaled 50% nitrous oxide (N2O) in oxygen (O2) as means of analgesia and sedation during BMAB. Patients: The patient population comprised 646 adult outpatients from the Department of Haematology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland. Patients were randomized to treatment groups in trials comparing one intervention with another or with placebo. The studies were all patient-blinded. One study was observational and investigated the association between pain and pre-procedural anxiety. Patient recruitment was performed between 2007 and 2014. Main results: Pre-procedural anxiety intensified pain during BMAB in all trials. Median NRS (Numeral Rating Scale, 0 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable) during infiltration was 3.0 (range 0 10, interquartile range (IQR) 3.0), puncture 2.0 (range 0 10, IQR 3.0), aspiration 4.0 (range 0 10, IQR 4.0), biopsy 4.0 (range 0 10, IQR 4.0) and immediately after BMAB 0 (range 0 9.0, IQR 1.0). Scores of 8 10 comprised 8.1%, 4.7%, 13.9%, and 12.4% of the scores for infiltration, puncture, aspiration and biopsy, respectively. Possible supplemental analgesia or sedation given on patient request in addition to local anaesthesia and study intervention did not lower pain scores during BMAB. Articaine was not found to be superior to lidocaine as a local anaesthetic. Warming and buffering the lidocaine solution diminished pain during infiltration, but did not lower the pain scores during other phases of BMAB. Sublingual fentanyl (200 µg or 100 µg) did not provide significant pain relief relative to placebo when administered 6 64 minutes before BMAB. Dizziness was a frequent side-effect. Inhalation of 50% N2O in O2 was no more effective than inhalation of 50% O2. No significant differences in adverse effects emerged between patients receiving N2O/O2 and those receiving 50% O2. Interestingly, 86% of N2O patients and 83% of placebo patients would choose the same analgesia method during their next BMAB. Conclusions: Many patients undergoing BMAB suffer intense pain during the procedure. Pre-procedural anxiety was strongly associated with pain during the various phases of BMAB. The pain from local anaesthetic infiltration with articaine and lidocaine was similar. Buffering and warming the local anaesthetic solution clearly reduced the infiltration pain. However, neither these measures nor the use of sublingual fentanyl or inhalation of N2O had an impact on the pain caused by aspiration and biopsy.
  • Pesonen, Anne (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    The proportion of patients over 75 years of age, receiving all different types of healthcare, is constantly increasing. The elderly undergo surgery and anaesthetic procedures more often than middle-aged patients. Poor pain management in the elderly is still an issue. Although the elderly consumes the greatest proportion of prescribed medicines in Western Europe, most clinical pharmacological studies have been performed in healthy volunteers or middle-aged patients. The aim of this study was to investigate pain measurement and management in cognitively impaired patients in long term hospital care and in cognitively normal elderly patients after cardiac surgery. This thesis incorporated 366 patients, including 86 home-dwelling or hospitalized elderly with chronic pain and 280 patients undergoing cardiac surgery with acute pain. The mean age of patients was 77 (SD ± 8) years and approximately 8400 pain measurements were performed with four pain scales: Verbal Rating Scale (VRS), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), the Red Wedge Scale (RWS), and the Facial Pain Scale (FPS). Cognitive function, depression, functional ability in daily life, postoperative sedation and postoperative confusion were assessed with MMSE, GDS, Barthel Index, RASS, and CAM-ICU, respectively. The effects and plasma concentrations of fentanyl and oxycodone were measured in elderly (≥ 75 years) and middle-aged patients (≤ 60 years) and the opioid-sparing effect of pregabalin was studied after cardiac surgery. The VRS pain scores after movement correlated with the Barthel Index. The VRS was most successful in the groups of demented patients (MMSE 17-23, 11-16 and ≤ 10) and in elderly patients on the first day after cardiac surgery. The elderly had a higher plasma concentration of fentanyl at the end of surgery than younger patients. The plasma concentrations of oxycodone were comparable between the groups. Pain intensity on the VRS was lower and the sedation scores were higher in the elderly. Total oxycodone consumption during five postoperative days was reduced by 48% and the CAM-ICU scores were higher on the first postoperative day in the pregabalin group. The incidence of postoperative pain during movement was lower in the pregabalin group three months after surgery. This investigation demonstrates that chronic pain did not seem to impair daily activities in home-dwelling Finnish elderly. The VRS appeared to be applicable for elderly patients with clear cognitive dysfunction (MMSE ≤17) and it was the most feasible pain scale for the early postoperative period after cardiac surgery. After cardiac surgery, plasma concentrations of fentanyl in elderly were elevated, although oxycodone concentrations were at similar level compared to middle-aged patients. The elderly had less pain and were more sedated after doses of oxycodone. Therefore, particular attention must be given to individual dosing of the opioids in elderly surgical patients, who often need a smaller amount for adequate analgesia than middle-aged patients. The administration of pregabalin reduced postoperative oxycodone consumption after cardiac surgery. Pregabalin-treated patients had less confusion, and additionally to less postoperative pain on the first postoperative day and during movement at three months post-surgery. Pregabalin might be a new alternative as analgesic for acute postoperative and chronic pain management in the elderly. Its clinical role and safety remains to be verified in large-scale randomized and controlled studies. In the future, many clinical trials in the older category of patients will be needed to facilitate improvements in health care methods.
  • Rönty, Mikko (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Palladin is a novel actin microfilament associated protein, which together with myotilin and myopalladin forms a novel cytoskeletal IgC2 domain protein family. Whereas the expression of myotilin and myopalladin is limited mainly to striated muscle, palladin is widely expressed in both epithelial and mesenchymal tissues, including heart and the nervous system. Palladin has a complex genetic structure and it is expressed as several different sized and structured splice variants, which also display differences in their expression pattern and interactions. In muscle cells, all the family members localize to the sarcomeric Z-disc, and in non-muscle cells palladin also localizes to the stress-fiber-dense regions, lamellipodia, podosomes and focal adhesions. A common feature of this protein family is the binding to α-actinin, but other interactions are mostly unique to each member. Palladin has been shown to interact with several proteins, including VASP, profilin, Eps8, LASP-1 and LPP. Its domain structure, lack of enzymatic activity and multiple interactions define it as a molecular scaffolding protein, which links together proteins with different functional modalities into large complexes. Palladin has an important role in cytoskeletal regulation, particularly in stress fiber formation and stabilization. This assumption is supported by several experimental results. First, over-expression of palladin in non-muscle cells results in rapid reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton and formation of thick actin bundles. Second, the knock-down of palladin with anti-sense and siRNA techniques or knock-out by genetic methods leads to defective stress fiber formation. Furthermore, palladin is usually up-regulated in situations requiring a highly organized cytoskeleton, such as differentiation of dendritic cells, trophoblasts and myofibroblasts, and activation of astrocytes during glial scar formation. The protein family members have also direct disease linkages; myotilin missense mutations are the cause of LGMD1A and myofibrillar myopathy. Palladin mutations and polymorphisms, on the other hand, have been linked to hereditary pancreatic cancer and myocardial infarction, respectively. In this study we set out to characterize human palladin. We identified several palladin isoforms, studied their tissue distribution and sub-cellular localization. Four novel interaction partners were identified; ezrin, ArgBP2, SPIN90 and Src-kinase.The previously identified interaction between palladin and α-actinin was also characterized in detail. All the identified new binding partners are actin cytoskeleton associated proteins; ezrin links the plasma membrane to the cytoskeleton, ArgBP2 and SPIN90 localize, among other structures, to the lamellipodia and in cardiomyocytes to the Z-disc. Src is a transforming tyrosine kinase, which besides its role in oncogenesis has also important cytoskeletal associations. We also studied palladin in myofibroblasts, which are specialized cells involved in diverse physiological and pathological processes, such as wound healing and tissue fibrosis. We demonstrated that palladin is up-regulated during the differentiation of myofibroblasts in an isoform specific manner, and that this up-regulation is induced by TGF-β via activation of both the SMAD and MAPK signalling cascades. In summary, the results presented here describe the initial characterization of human palladin and offer a basis for further studies.