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  • Hirvonen, Meeli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Objectives: To evaluate the applicability of visual feedback posturography (VFP) for quantification of postural control, and to characterize the horizontal angular vestibulo-ocular reflex (AVOR) by use of a novel motorized head impulse test (MHIT). Methods: In VFP, subjects standing on a platform were instructed to move their center of gravity to symmetrically placed peripheral targets as fast and accurately as possible. The active postural control movements were measured in healthy subjects (n = 23), and in patients with vestibular schwannoma (VS) before surgery (n = 49), one month (n = 17), and three months (n = 36) after surgery. In MHIT we recorded head and eye position during motorized head impulses (mean velocity of 170º/s and acceleration of 1 550º/s²) in healthy subjects (n = 22), in patients with VS before surgery (n = 38) and about four months afterwards (n = 27). The gain, asymmetry and latency in MHIT were calculated. Results: The intraclass correlation coefficient for VFP parameters during repeated tests was significant (r = 0.78-0.96; p < 0.01), although two of four VFP parameters improved slightly during five test sessions in controls. At least one VFP parameter was abnormal pre- and postoperatively in almost half the patients, and these abnormal preoperative VFP results correlated significantly with abnormal postoperative results. The mean accuracy in postural control in patients was reduced pre- and postoperatively. A significant side difference with VFP was evident in 10% of patients. In the MHIT, the normal gain was close to unity, the asymmetry in gain was within 10%, and the latency was a mean ± standard deviation 3.4 ± 6.3 milliseconds. Ipsilateral gain or asymmetry in gain was preoperatively abnormal in 71% of patients, whereas it was abnormal in every patient after surgery. Preoperative gain (mean ± 95% confidence interval) was significantly lowered to 0.83 ± 0.08 on the ipsilateral side compared to 0.98 ± 0.06 on the contralateral side. The ipsilateral postoperative mean gain of 0.53 ± 0.05 was significantly different from preoperative gain. Conclusion: The VFP is a repeatable, quantitative method to assess active postural control within individual subjects. The mean postural control in patients with VS was disturbed before and after surgery, although not severely. Side difference in postural control in the VFP was rare. The horizontal AVOR results in healthy subjects and in patients with VS, measured with MHIT, were in agreement with published data achieved using other techniques with head impulse stimuli. The MHIT is a non-invasive method which allows reliable clinical assessment of the horizontal AVOR.
  • Anttila, Heidi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    This thesis utilises an evidence-based approach to critically evaluate and summarize effectiveness research on physiotherapy, physiotherapy-related motor-based interventions and orthotic devices in children and adolescents with cerebral palsy (CP). It aims to assess the methodological challenges of the systematic reviews and trials, to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions in current use, and to make suggestions for future trials Methods: Systematic reviews were searched from computerized bibliographic databases up to August 2007 for physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions, and up to May 2003 for orthotic devices. Two reviewers independently identified, selected, and assessed the quality of the reviews using the Overview Quality Assessment Questionnaire complemented with decision rules. From a sample of 14 randomized controlled trials (RCT) published between January 1990 and June 2003 we analysed the methods of sampling, recruitment, and comparability of groups; defined the components of a complex intervention; identified outcome measures based on the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF); analysed the clinical interpretation of score changes; and analysed trial reporting using a modified 33-item CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) checklist. The effectiveness of physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions in children with diagnosed CP was evaluated in a systematic review of randomised controlled trials that were searched from computerized databases from January 1990 up to February 2007. Two reviewers independently assessed the methodological quality, extracted the data, classified the outcomes using the ICF, and considered the level of evidence according to van Tulder et al. (2003). Results: We identified 21 reviews on physiotherapy and physiotherapy-related interventions and five on orthotic devices. These reviews summarized 23 or 5 randomised controlled trials and 104 or 27 observational studies, respectively. Only six reviews were of high quality. These found some evidence supporting strength training, constraint-induced movement therapy or hippotherapy, and insufficient evidence on comprehensive interventions. Based on the original studies included in the reviews on orthotic devices we found some short-term effects of lower limb casting on passive range of movement, and of ankle-foot orthoses on equinus walk. Long term effects of lower limb orthoses have not been studied. Evidence of upper limb casting or orthoses is conflicting. In the sample of 14 RCTs, most trials used simple randomisation, complemented with matching or stratification, but only three specified the concealed allocation. Numerous studies provided sufficient details on the components of a complex intervention, but the overlap of outcome measures across studies was poor and the clinical interpretation of observed score changes was mostly missing. Almost half (48%) of the applicable CONSORT-based items (range 28 32) were reported adequately. Most reporting inadequacies were in outcome measures, sample size determination, details of the sequence generation, allocation concealment and implementation of the randomization, success of assessor blinding, recruitment and follow-up dates, intention-to-treat analysis, precision of the effect size, co-interventions, and adverse events. The systematic review identified 22 trials on eight intervention categories. Four trials were of high quality. Moderate evidence of effectiveness was established for upper extremity treatments on attained goals, active supination and developmental status, and of constraint-induced therapy on the amount and quality of hand use and new emerging behaviours. Moderate evidence of ineffectiveness was found for strength training's effect on walking speed and stride length. Conflicting evidence was found for strength training's effect on gross motor function. For the other intervention categories the evidence was limited due to the low methodological quality and the statistically insignificant results of the studies. Conclusions: The high-quality reviews provide both supportive and insufficient evidence on some physiotherapy interventions. The poor quality of most reviews calls for caution, although most reviews drew no conclusions on effectiveness due to the poor quality of the primary studies. A considerable number of RCTs of good to fair methodological and reporting quality indicate that informative and well-reported RCTs on complex interventions in children and adolescents with CP are feasible. Nevertheless, methodological improvement is needed in certain areas of the trial design and performance, and the trial authors are encouraged to follow the CONSORT criteria. Based on RCTs we established moderate evidence for some effectiveness of upper extremity training. Due to limitations in methodological quality and variations in population, interventions and outcomes, mostly limited evidence on the effectiveness of most physiotherapy interventions is available to guide clinical practice. Well-designed trials are needed, especially for focused physiotherapy interventions.
  • Kettunen, Johannes (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Obesity increases the risk for several conditions, including type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoarthirits and certain types of cancer. Twin- and family studies have shown that there is a major genetic component in the determination of body mass. In recent years several technological and scientific advance have been made in obesity research. For instance, novel replicated loci have been revealed by a number of genome wide association studies. This thesis aimed to investigate the association of genetic factors and obesity-related quantitative traits. The first study investigated the role of the lactase gene in anthropometric traits. We genetically defined lactose persistence by genotyping 31 720 individuals of European descent. We found that lactase persistence was significantly correlated with weight and body mass index but not with height. In the second study we performed the largest whole genome linkage scan for body mass index to date. The sample consisted of 4401 twin families and 10 535 individuals from six European countries. We found supporting evidence for two loci (3q29 and 7q36). We observed that the heritability estimate increased substantially when additional family members were removed from the analyses, which suggests reduced environmental variance in the twin sample. In the third study we assessed metabonomic, transcriptomic and genomic variation in a Finnish population cohort of 518 individuals. We formed gene expression networks to portray pathways and showed that a set of highly correlated genes of an inflammatory pathway associated with 80 serum metabolites (of 134 quantified measures). Strong association was found, for example, with several lipoprotein subclasses. We inferred causality by using genetic variation as anchors. The expression of the network genes was found to be dependent on the circulatory metabolite concentrations.
  • Neira Zalentein, Waldir (Helsingin yliopisto, 2011)
    Although the first procedure in a seeing human eye using excimer laser was reported in 1988 (McDonald et al. 1989, O'Connor et al. 2006) just three studies (Kymionis et al. 2007, O'Connor et al. 2006, Rajan et al. 2004) with a follow-up over ten years had been published when this thesis was started. The present thesis aims to investigate 1) the long-term outcomes of excimer laser refractive surgery performed for myopia and/or astigmatism by photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser-in situ- keratomileusis (LASIK), 2) the possible differences in postoperative outcomes and complications when moderate-to-high astigmatism is treated with PRK or LASIK, 3) the presence of irregular astigmatism that depend exclusively on the corneal epithelium, and 4) the role of corneal nerve recovery in corneal wound healing in PRK enhancement. Our results revealed that in long-term the number of eyes that achieved uncorrected visual acuity (UCVA)≤0.0 and ≤0.5 (logMAR) was higher after PRK than after LASIK. Postoperative stability was slightly better after PRK than after LASIK. In LASIK treated eyes the incidence of myopic regression was more pronounced when the intended correction was over >6.0 D and in patients aged <30 years.Yet the intended corrections in our study were higher for LASIK than for PRK eyes. No differences were found in percentages of eyes with best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) or loss of two or more lines of visual acuity between PRK and LASIK in the long-term. The postoperative long-term outcomes of PRK with two different delivery systems broad beam and scanning laser were compared and revealed no differences. Postoperative outcomes of moderate-to-high astigmatism yielded better results in terms of UCVA and less compromise or loss of two more lines of BCVA after LASIK that after PRK.Similar stability for both procedures was revealed. Vector analysis showed that LASIK outcomes tended to be more accurate than PRK outcomes, yet no statistically differences were found. Irregular astigmatism secondary to recurrent corneal erosion due to map-dot-fingerprint was successfully treated with phototherapeutic keratectomy (PTK). Preoperative videokeratographies (VK) showed irregular astigmatism. However, postoperatively, all eyes showed a regular pattern. No correlation was found between pre- and postoperative VK patterns. Postoperative outcomes of late PRK in eyes originally subjected to LASIK showed that all (7/7) eyes achieved UCVA ≤0.5 at last follow-up (range 3 — 11 months), and no eye lost lines of BCVA. Postoperatively all eyes developed and initial mild haze (0.5 — 1) into the first month. Yet, at last follow-up 5/7 eyes showed a haze of 0.5 and this was no longer evident in 2/7 eyes. Based on these results, we demonstrated that the long-term outcomes after PRK and LASIK were safe and efficient, with similar stability for both procedures. The PRK outcomes were similar when treated by broad-beam or scanning slit laser. LASIK was better than PRK to correct moderate-to-high astigmatism, yet both procedures showed a tendency of undercorrection. Irregular astigmatism was proven to be able to depend exclusively from the corneal epithelium. If this kind of astigmatism is present in the cornea and a customized PRK/LASIK correction is done based on wavefront measurements an irregular astigmatism may be produced rather than treated. Corneal sensory nerve recovery should have an important role in the modulation of the corneal wound healing and post-operative anterior stromal scarring. PRK enhancement may be an option in eyes with previous LASIK after a sufficient time interval that in at least 2 years.
  • Ekroos, Heikki (Helsingin yliopisto, 2008)
    Airway inflammation is a key feature of bronchial asthma. In asthma management, according to international guidelines, the gold standard is anti-inflammatory treatment. Currently, only conventional procedures (i.e., symptoms, use of rescue medication, PEF-variability, and lung function tests) were used to both diagnose and evaluate the results of treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs. New methods for evaluation of degree of airway inflammation are required. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas which is produced in the airways of healthy subjects and especially produced in asthmatic airways. Measurement of NO from the airways is possible, and NO can be measured from exhaled air. Fractional exhaled NO (FENO) is increased in asthma, and the highest concentrations are measured in asthmatic patients not treated with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Steroid-treated patients with asthma had levels of FENO similar to those of healthy controls. Atopic asthmatics had higher levels of FENO than did nonatopic asthmatics, indicating that level of atopy affected FENO level. Associations between FENO and bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) occur in asthma. The present study demonstrated that measurement of FENO had good reproducibility, and the FENO variability was reasonable both short- and long-term in both healthy subjects and patients with respiratory symptoms or asthma. We demonstrated the upper normal limit for healthy subjects, which was 12 ppb calculated from two different healthy study populations. We showed that patients with respiratory symptoms who did not fulfil the diagnostic criteria of asthma had FENO values significantly higher than in healthy subjects, but significantly lower than in asthma patients. These findings suggest that BHR to histamine is a sensitive indicator of the effect of ICS and a valuable tool for adjustment of corticosteroid treatment in mild asthma. The findings further suggest that intermittent treatment periods of a few weeks’ duration are insufficient to provide long-term control of BHR in patients with mild persistent asthma. Moreover, during the treatment with ICS changes in BHR and changes in FENO were associated. FENO level was associated with BHR measured by a direct (histamine challenge) or indirect method (exercise challenge) in steroid-naïve symptomatic, non-smoking asthmatics. Although these associations could be found only in atopics, FENO level in nonatopic asthma was also increased. It can thus be concluded that assessment of airway inflammation by measuring FENO can be useful for clinical purposes. The methodology of FENO measurements is now validated. Especially in those patients with respiratory symptoms who did not fulfil the diagnostic criteria of asthma, FENO measurement can aid in treatment decisions. Serial measurement of FENO during treatment with ICS can be a complementary or an alternative method for evaluation in patients with asthma.
  • Aho, Pekka-Sakari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Nokisalmi, Petri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    The treatment results of many cancers have improved, but there are still challenges, such as metastatic cancers that mostly lack curative treatments. Oncolytic adenoviruses provide a new therapeutic option. Adenoviruses can be modified to replicate specifically in cancer cells and thereby causing the death of cancer cells (oncolysis). Adenovirus treatments are well tolerated and they can be combined with conventional treatments. In the pre-clinical section of this thesis we evaluated the combination of adenoviruses and radiotherapy. We studied the mechanism of radiation-mediated upregulation of adenoviral transgenes. Three cancer cell lines were used: M4A4-LM3 (breast cancer), PC-3MM2 (prostate cancer) and LNM35/eGFP (lung cancer). Cancer cells were exposed to radiation and infected with various replication-deficient adenoviruses. The transgene expression with or without radiation was evaluated. The radiation response was also modulated by DNA protein kinase-, heat shock protein 90- and topoisomerase-I inhibitor. Radiation increased adenovirus transgene expression (luciferase or GFP) regardless of the transgene, promoter, cancer cell line or radiation dose. We showed that enhancement of transgene expression is mediated through genotoxic stress regulation and repair. This synergy can be used for therapeutic benefit. In the clinical section 157 cancer patients with advanced solid tumors were treated with different oncolytic adenoviruses. The safety, efficacy and immunological responses of treatments were evaluated. The safety was monitored by clinical chemistry, cytokine measurements and CTCAE analysis for adverse events. Immunological responses were quantified by neutralizing antibodies, viral genomes in the blood and measuring responses in tumor- and adenovirus-specific T-cells. RECIST analysis and tumor markers were applied to treatment efficacy analysis. We also compared the safety and efficacy of a serial treatment scheme, three rounds of virus, to a single treatment. Adenovirus treatments were well tolerated and commonly detected clinical adverse events were of grade 2 or less including injection or tumor site pain, nausea, fever and fatigue. Six out of 157 treated patients (3.8 %) experienced a grade 4 adverse event. Serious adverse events were seen in 11 patients (7.0 %). No treatment related deaths occurred. According to RECIST analysis disease control (= stable disease or better) was seen in 40.0 - 74.0 % of patients and a stabilization or a decrease in tumor markers for 23.1 - 70.6 % of patients. Serial treatment was as well tolerated as single treatment, but results suggested a better median survival even though statistical significance was not reached. These findings represent a good justification for forthcoming clinical trials.
  • Lähdesmäki, Katariina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Atherosclerosis is a disease of the arteries; its characteristic features include chronic inflammation, extra- and intracellular lipid accumulation, extracellular matrix remodeling, and an increase in extracellular matrix volume. The underlying mechanisms in the pathogenesis of advanced atherosclerotic plaques, that involve local acidity of the extracellular fluid, are still incompletely understood. In this thesis project, my co-workers and I studied the different mechanisms by which local extracellular acidity could promote accumulation of the atherogenic apolipoprotein B-100 (apoB-100)-containing plasma lipoprotein particles in the inner layer of the arterial wall, the intima. We found that lipolysis of atherogenic apoB-100-containing plasma lipoprotein particles (LDL, IDL, and sVLDL) by the secretory phospholipase A2 group V (sPLA2-V) enzyme, was increased at acidic pH. Also, the binding of apoB-100-containing plasma lipoprotein particles to human aortic proteoglycans was dramatically enhanced at acidic pH. Additionally, lipolysis by sPLA2-V enzyme further increased this binding. Using proteoglycan-affinity chromatography, we found that sVLDL lipoprotein particles consist of populations, differing in their affinities toward proteoglycans. These populations also contained different amounts of apolipoprotein E (apoE) and apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III); the amounts of apoC-III and apoE per particle were highest in the population with the lowest affinity toward proteoglycans. Since PLA2-modification of LDL particles has been shown to change their aggregation behavior, we also studied the effect of acidic pH on the monolayer structure covering lipoprotein particles after PLA2-induced hydrolysis. Using molecular dynamics simulations, we found that, in acidity, the monolayer is more tightly packed laterally; moreover, its spontaneous curvature is negative, suggesting that acidity may promote lipoprotein particles fusion. In addition to extracellular lipid accumulation, the apoB-100-containing plasma lipoprotein particles can be taken up by inflammatory cells, namely macrophages. Using radiolabeled lipoprotein particles and cell cultures, we showed that sPLA2-V-modification of LDL, IDL, and sVLDL lipoproteins particles, at neutral or acidic pH, increased their uptake by human monocyte-derived macrophages.
  • Hyvönen, Mervi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Diabetic nephropathy is the renal complication of diabetes. It is associated with high mortality, especially for cardiovascular disease. Many of the risk factors and metabolic features, such as insulin resistant and inflammatory state, are shared between the renal and cardiovascular complications. Diabetic nephropathy is known to cluster in families, but its genetic background has not been revealed. Podocyte injury has a central role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, but the mechanisms are far from completely understood. The studies in this thesis aimed to increase the knowledge of the pathophysiological processes of diabetic nephropathy by studying two molecules expressed in podocytes, CD2AP and SHIP2, and by characterising the development of the renal injury in a mouse model with early-onset diabetes. Lipid phosphatase SHIP2 was identified as a new interaction partner of CD2AP, an adaptor protein essential for podocyte function. SHIP2 was shown to be expressed in the glomerular podocytes, and to be translocated to the plasma membrane in response to insulin. The interaction of CD2AP and SHIP2 was not dependent on insulin stimulation, in contrast, CD2AP was found to bind only to the non-tyrosine-phosphorylated form of SHIP2. Overexpression of SHIP2 in cultured podocytes was found to reduce the activation of protein kinase Akt in response to insulin, and to promote apoptosis. Elevated expression of SHIP2 was detected in the glomeruli of diabetic mice and rats. A candidate gene approach was used to investigate if polymorphisms in CD2AP or INPPL1 (encoding for SHIP2 protein) genes are associated with diabetic nephropathy. The study subjects were from the Finnish Diabetic Nephropathy Study, and they all had type 1 diabetes. CD2AP and INPPL1 genes were not associated with diabetic nephropathy per se, but INPPL1 was associated with the metabolic syndrome in male patients with diabetes, and CD2AP with end stage renal disease in patients with diabetes. The associations between polymorphisms in the CD2AP gene and end stage renal disease were confirmed in meta-analysis of the original and additional European cohorts. The transgenic E1-DN mice are diabetic due to impaired postnatal growth of β-cell mass. The renal injury is secondary to persistent hyperglycaemia. The homozygous E1-DN mice were found to develop albuminuria, and histological and structural changes including mesangial expansion, thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and podocyte foot process widening. Reduced expression of nephrin, increased glomerular apoptosis and tubular proliferation were identified as potential mechanisms of renal injury. The upregulation of SHIP2 demonstrates a possible mechanism for insulin resistance in podocytes, and may be involved in increased podocyte apoptosis in diabetes. The results of the genetic analyses suggest that variants in INPPL1 gene may contribute to susceptibility to the metabolic syndrome, and variants in the CD2AP gene to susceptibility to end stage renal disease, in patients with type 1 diabetes. Diabetic E1-DN mice develop substantial albuminuria and glomerular injury resembling human diabetic nephropathy and can serve as a new model to study the mechanisms of diabetic nephropathy.
  • Kantojärvi, Katri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
  • Vanhanen, Markku (Helsingin yliopisto, 2001)
  • Vaajanen, Anu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Glaucoma is a multifactorial long-term ocular neuropathy associated with progressive loss of the visual field, retinal nerve fiber structural abnormalities and optic disc changes. Like arterial hypertension it is usually a symptomless disease, but if left untreated leads to visual disability and eventual blindness. All therapies currently used aim to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in order to minimize cell death. Drugs with new mechanisms of action could protect glaucomatous eyes against blindness. Renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is known to regulate systemic blood pressure and compounds acting on it are in wide clinical use in the treatment of hypertension and heart failure but not yet in ophthalmological use. There are only few previous studies concerning intraocular RAS, though evidence is accumulating that drugs antagonizing RAS can also lower IOP, the only treatable risk factor in glaucoma. The main aim of this experimental study was to clarify the expression of the renin-angiotensin system in the eye tissues and to test its potential oculohypotensive effects and mechanisms. In addition, the possible relationship between the development of hypertension and IOP was evaluated in animal models. In conclusion, a novel angiotensin receptor type (Mas), as well as ACE2 enzyme- producing agonists for Mas, were described for the first time in the eye structures participating in the regulation of IOP. In addition, a Mas receptor agonist significantly reduced even normal IOP. The effect was abolished by a specific receptor antagonist. Intraocular, local RAS would thus to be involved in the regulation of IOP, probably even more in pathological conditions such as glaucoma though there was no unambiguous relationship between arterial and ocular hypertension. The findings suggest the potential as antiglaucomatous drugs of agents which increase ACE2 activity and the formation of angiotensin (1-7), or activate Mas receptors.
  • Louhimo, Johanna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Linder, Nina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2005)
  • Kalliomäki, Maija-Liisa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2003)
  • Volotinen, Marjo (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Glaucoma is a group of progressive optic neuropathies causing irreversible blindness if not diagnosed and treated in the early state of progression. Disease is often, but not always, associated with increased intraocular pressure (IOP), which is also the most important risk factor for glaucoma. Ophthlamic timolol preparations have been used for decades to lower increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Timolol is locally well tolerated but may cause e.g. cardiovascular and pulmonary adverse effects due to systemic absorption. It has been reported that approximately 80% of a topically administered eye drop is systemically absorbed. However, only limited information is available on timolol metabolism in the liver or especially in the human eye. The aim of this work was to investigate metabolism of timolol in human liver and human ocular tissues. The expression of drug metabolizing cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes in the human ciliary epithelial cells was studied. The metabolism of timolol and the interaction potential of timolol with other commercially available medicines were investigated in vitro using different liver preparations. The absorption of timolol to the aqueous humor from two commercially available products: 0.1% eye gel and 0.5% eye drops and the presence of timolol metabolites in the aqueous humor were investigated in a clinical trial. Timolol was confirmed to be metabolized mainly by CYP2D6 as previously suggested. Potent CYP2D6 inhibitors especially fluoxetine, paroxetine and quinidine inhibited the metabolism of timolol. The inhibition may be of clinical significance in patients using ophthalmic timolol products. CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 mRNAs were expressed in the human ciliary epithelial cells. CYP1B1 was also expressed at protein level and the expression was strongly induced by a known potent CYP1B1 inducer 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). The CYP1B1 induction is suggested to be mediated by aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Low levels of CYP2D6 mRNA splice variants were expressed in the human ciliary epithelial cells and very low levels of timolol metabolites were detected in the human aqueous humor. It seems that negligible amount of CYP2D6 protein is expressed in the human ocular tissues. Timolol 0.1% eye gel leads to aqueous humor concentration high enough to achieve therapeutic effect. Inter-individual variation in concentrations is low and intraocular as well as systemic safety can be increased when using this product with lower timolol concentration instead of timolol 0.5% eye drops.
  • Alakuijala, Anniina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2007)
    γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory transmitter in the nervous system and acts via three distinct receptor classes: A, B, and C. GABAC receptors are ionotropic receptors comprising ρ subunits. In this work, we aimed to elucidate the expression of ρ subunits in the postnatal brain, the characteristics of ρ2 homo-oligomeric receptors, and the function of GABAC receptors in the hippocampus. In situ hybridization on rat brain slices showed ρ2 mRNA expression from the newborn in the superficial grey layer of the superior colliculus, from the first postnatal week in the hippocampal CA1 region and the pretectal nucleus of the optic tract, and in the adult dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. Quantitative RT-PCR revealed expression of all three ρ subunits in the hippocampus and superior colliculus from the first postnatal day. In the hippocampus, ρ2 mRNA expression clearly dominated over ρ1 and ρ3. GABAC receptor protein expression was confirmed in the adult hippocampus, superior colliculus, and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus by immunohistochemistry. From the selective distribution of ρ subunits, GABAC receptors may be hypothesized to be specifically involved in aspects of visual image motion processing in the rat brain. Although previous data had indicated a much higher expression level for ρ2 subunit transcripts than for ρ1 or ρ3 in the brain, previous work done on Xenopus oocytes had suggested that rat ρ2 subunits do not form functional homo-oligomeric GABAC receptors but need ρ1 or ρ3 subunits to form hetero-oligomers. Our results demonstrated, for the first time, that HEK 293 cells transfected with ρ2 cDNA displayed currents in whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. Homomeric rat ρ2 receptors had a decreased sensitivity to, but a high affinity for picrotoxin and a marked sensitivity to the GABAC receptor agonist CACA. Our results suggest that ρ2 subunits may contribute to brain function, also in areas not expressing other ρ subunits. Using extracellular electrophysiological recordings, we aimed to study the effects of the GABAC receptor agonists and antagonists on responses of the hippocampal neurons to electrical stimulation. Activation of GABAC receptors with CACA suppressed postsynaptic excitability and the GABAC receptor antagonist TPMPA inhibited the effects of CACA. Next, we aimed to display the activation of the GABAC receptors by synaptically released GABA using intracellular recordings. GABA-mediated long-lasting depolarizing responses evoked by high-frequency stimulation were prolonged by TPMPA. For weaker stimulation, the effect of TPMPA was enhanced after GABA uptake was inhibited. Our data demonstrate that GABAC receptors can be activated by endogenous synaptic transmitter release following strong stimulation or under conditions of reduced GABA uptake. The lack of GABAC receptor activation by less intensive stimulation under control conditions suggests that these receptors are extrasynaptic and activated via spillover of synaptically released GABA. Taken together with the restricted expression pattern of GABAC receptors in the brain and their distinctive pharmacological and biophysical properties, our findings supporting extrasynaptic localization of these receptors raise interesting possibilities for novel pharmacological therapies in the treatment of, for example, epilepsy and sleep disorders.