Publications by authors named "Florian Kurth"

100 Publications

SARS-CoV-2 Proteome-Wide Analysis Revealed Significant Epitope Signatures in COVID-19 Patients.

Front Immunol 2021 23;12:629185. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Institute of Virology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

The WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The causative agent of this acute respiratory disease is a newly emerged coronavirus, named SARS-CoV-2, which originated in China in late 2019. Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 leads to multifaceted disease outcomes from asymptomatic infection to severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and potentially death. Understanding the host immune response is crucial for the development of interventional strategies. Humoral responses play an important role in defending viral infections and are therefore of particular interest. With the aim to resolve SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral immune responses at the epitope level, we screened clinically well-characterized sera from COVID-19 patients with mild and severe disease outcome using high-density peptide microarrays covering the entire proteome of SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, we determined the longevity of epitope-specific antibody responses in a longitudinal approach. Here we present IgG and IgA-specific epitope signatures from COVID-19 patients, which may serve as discriminating prognostic or predictive markers for disease outcome and/or could be relevant for intervention strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.629185DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8021850PMC
March 2021

CD169/SIGLEC1 is expressed on circulating monocytes in COVID-19 and expression levels are associated with disease severity.

Infection 2021 Apr 6. Epub 2021 Apr 6.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, 10117, Berlin, Germany.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Type I interferons are important in the defense of viral infections. Recently, neutralizing IgG auto-antibodies against type I interferons were found in patients with severe COVID-19 infection. Here, we analyzed expression of CD169/SIGLEC1, a well described downstream molecule in interferon signaling, and found increased monocytic CD169/SIGLEC1 expression levels in patients with mild, acute COVID-19, compared to patients with severe disease. We recommend further clinical studies to evaluate the value of CD169/SIGLEC1 expression in patients with COVID-19 with or without auto-antibodies against type I interferons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s15010-021-01606-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8023546PMC
April 2021

Ultra-fast proteomics with Scanning SWATH.

Nat Biotechnol 2021 Mar 25. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Molecular Biology of Metabolism Laboratory, The Francis Crick Institute, London, UK.

Accurate quantification of the proteome remains challenging for large sample series and longitudinal experiments. We report a data-independent acquisition method, Scanning SWATH, that accelerates mass spectrometric (MS) duty cycles, yielding quantitative proteomes in combination with short gradients and high-flow (800 µl min) chromatography. Exploiting a continuous movement of the precursor isolation window to assign precursor masses to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) fragment traces, Scanning SWATH increases precursor identifications by ~70% compared to conventional data-independent acquisition (DIA) methods on 0.5-5-min chromatographic gradients. We demonstrate the application of ultra-fast proteomics in drug mode-of-action screening and plasma proteomics. Scanning SWATH proteomes capture the mode of action of fungistatic azoles and statins. Moreover, we confirm 43 and identify 11 new plasma proteome biomarkers of COVID-19 severity, advancing patient classification and biomarker discovery. Thus, our results demonstrate a substantial acceleration and increased depth in fast proteomic experiments that facilitate proteomic drug screens and clinical studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41587-021-00860-4DOI Listing
March 2021

Breakdown in membrane asymmetry regulation leads to monocyte recognition of P. falciparum-infected red blood cells.

PLoS Pathog 2021 Feb 18;17(2):e1009259. Epub 2021 Feb 18.

Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

The human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum relies on lipids to survive; this makes its lipid metabolism an attractive drug target. The lipid phosphatidylserine (PS) is usually confined to the inner leaflet of the red blood cell membrane (RBC) bilayer; however, some studies suggest that infection with the intracellular parasite results in the presence of this lipid in the RBC membrane outer leaflet, where it could act as a recognition signal to phagocytes. Here, we used fluorescent lipid analogues and probes to investigate the enzymatic reactions responsible for maintaining asymmetry between membrane leaflets, and found that in parasitised RBCs the maintenance of membrane asymmetry was partly disrupted, and PS was increased in the outer leaflet. We examined the underlying causes for the differences between uninfected and infected RBCs using fluorescent dyes and probes, and found that calcium levels increased in the infected RBC cytoplasm, whereas membrane cholesterol was depleted from the erythrocyte plasma membrane. We explored the resulting effect of PS exposure on enhanced phagocytosis by monocytes, and show that infected RBCs must expend energy to limit phagocyte recognition, and provide experimental evidence that PS exposure contributes to phagocytic recognition of P. falciparum-infected RBCs. Together, these findings underscore the pivotal role for PS exposure on the surface of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes for in vivo interactions with the host immune system, and provide a rationale for targeted antimalarial drug design.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1009259DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7891792PMC
February 2021

Disease Severity, Fever, Age, and Sex Correlate With SARS-CoV-2 Neutralizing Antibody Responses.

Front Immunol 2020 29;11:628971. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Institute of Medical Immunology, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

Clinical trials on the use of COVID-19 convalescent plasma remain inconclusive. While data on safety is increasingly available, evidence for efficacy is still sparse. Subgroup analyses hint to a dose-response relationship between convalescent plasma neutralizing antibody levels and mortality. In particular, patients with primary and secondary antibody deficiency might benefit from this approach. However, testing of neutralizing antibodies is limited to specialized biosafety level 3 laboratories and is a time- and labor-intense procedure. In this single center study of 206 COVID-19 convalescent patients, clinical data, results of commercially available ELISA testing of SARS-CoV-2 spike-IgG and -IgA, and levels of neutralizing antibodies, determined by plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT), were analyzed. At a medium time point of 58 days after symptom onset, only 12.6% of potential plasma donors showed high levels of neutralizing antibodies (PRNT50 ≥ 1:320). Multivariable proportional odds logistic regression analysis revealed need for hospitalization due to COVID-19 (odds ratio 6.87; -value 0.0004) and fever (odds ratio 3.00; -value 0.0001) as leading factors affecting levels of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody titers in convalescent plasma donors. Using penalized estimation, a predictive proportional odds logistic regression model including the most important variables hospitalization, fever, age, sex, and anosmia or dysgeusia was developed. The predictive discrimination for PRNT50 ≥ 1:320 was reasonably good with AUC: 0.86 (with 95% CI: 0.79-0.92). Combining clinical and ELISA-based pre-screening, assessment of neutralizing antibodies could be spared in 75% of potential donors with a maximal loss of 10% of true positives (PRNT50 ≥ 1:320).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2020.628971DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7878374PMC
February 2021

Hypertension delays viral clearance and exacerbates airway hyperinflammation in patients with COVID-19.

Nat Biotechnol 2020 Dec 24. Epub 2020 Dec 24.

Molecular Epidemiology Unit, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Berlin, Germany.

In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are major risk factors for critical disease progression. However, the underlying causes and the effects of the main anti-hypertensive therapies-angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)-remain unclear. Combining clinical data (n = 144) and single-cell sequencing data of airway samples (n = 48) with in vitro experiments, we observed a distinct inflammatory predisposition of immune cells in patients with hypertension that correlated with critical COVID-19 progression. ACEI treatment was associated with dampened COVID-19-related hyperinflammation and with increased cell intrinsic antiviral responses, whereas ARB treatment related to enhanced epithelial-immune cell interactions. Macrophages and neutrophils of patients with hypertension, in particular under ARB treatment, exhibited higher expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines CCL3 and CCL4 and the chemokine receptor CCR1. Although the limited size of our cohort does not allow us to establish clinical efficacy, our data suggest that the clinical benefits of ACEI treatment in patients with COVID-19 who have hypertension warrant further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41587-020-00796-1DOI Listing
December 2020

Paediatric formulations of artemisinin-based combination therapies for treating uncomplicated malaria in children.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2020 12 8;12:CD009568. Epub 2020 Dec 8.

Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine & I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Background: In endemic malarial areas, young children have high levels of malaria morbidity and mortality. The World Health Organization recommends oral artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) for treating uncomplicated malaria. Paediatric formulations of ACT have been developed to make it easier to treat children.

Objectives: To evaluate evidence from trials on the efficacy, safety, tolerability, and acceptability of paediatric ACT formulations compared to tablet ACT formulations for uncomplicated P falciparum malaria in children up to 14 years old.

Search Methods: We searched the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group Specialized Register; Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL); MEDLINE; Embase; the Latin American and Caribbean Health Science Information database (LILACS); ISI Web of Science; Google Scholar; Scopus; and the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) to 11 December 2019.

Selection Criteria: We included randomised controlled clinical trials (RCTs) of paediatric versus non-paediatric formulated ACT in children aged 14 years or younger with acute uncomplicated malaria.

Data Collection And Analysis: Two authors independently assessed eligibility and risk of bias, and carried out data extraction. We analyzed the primary outcomes of efficacy, safety and tolerability of paediatric versus non-paediatric ACT using risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Secondary outcomes were: treatment failure on the last day of observation (day 42), fever clearance time, parasite clearance time, pharmacokinetics, and acceptability.

Main Results: Three trials met the inclusion criteria. Two compared a paediatric dispersible tablet formulation against crushed tablets of artemether-lumefantrine (AL) and dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PQ), and one trial assessed artemether-lumefantrine formulated as powder for suspension compared with crushed tablets. The trials were carried out between 2006 and 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa (Benin, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, and The Gambia). In all three trials, the paediatric and control ACT achieved polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-adjusted treatment failure rates of < 10% on day 28 in the per-protocol (PP) population. For the comparison of dispersible versus crushed tablets, the two trials did not detect a difference for treatment failure by day 28 (PCR-adjusted PP population: RR 1.35, 95% CI 0.49 to 3.72; 1061 participants, 2 studies, low-certainty evidence). Similarly, for the comparison of suspension versus crushed tablet ACT, we did not detect any difference in treatment failure at day 28 (PCR-adjusted PP population: RR 1.64, 95% CI 0.55 to 4.87; 245 participants, 1 study). We did not detect any difference in serious adverse events for the comparison of dispersible versus crushed tablets (RR 1.05, 95% CI 0.38 to 2.88; 1197 participants, 2 studies, low-certainty evidence), or for the comparison of suspension versus crushed tablet ACT (RR 0.74, 95% CI 0.17 to 3.26; 267 participants, 1 study). In the dispersible ACT arms, drug-related adverse events occurred in 9% of children in the AL study and 34% of children in the DHA-PQ study. In the control arms, drug-related adverse events occurred in 12% of children in the AL study and in 42% of children in the DHA-PQ study. Drug-related adverse events were lower in the dispersible ACT arms (RR 0.78, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.99; 1197 participants, 2 studies, moderate-certainty evidence). There was no detected difference in the rate of drug-related adverse events for suspension ACT versus crushed tablet ACT (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.32; 267 participants, 1 study). Drug-related vomiting appeared to be less common in the dispersible ACT arms (RR 0.75, 95% CI 0.56 to 1.01; 1197 participants, 2 studies, low-certainty evidence) and in the suspension ACT arm (RR 0.66, 95% CI 0.33 to 1.32; 267 participants, 1 study), but both analyses were underpowered. No study assessed acceptability.

Authors' Conclusions: Trials did not demonstrate a difference in efficacy between paediatric dispersible or suspension ACT when compared with the respective crushed tablet ACT for treating uncomplicated P falciparum malaria in children. However, the evidence is of low to moderate certainty due to limited power. There appeared to be fewer drug-related adverse events with dispersible ACT compared to crushed tablet ACT. None of the included studies assessed acceptability of paediatric ACT formulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD009568.pub2DOI Listing
December 2020

Hookworm infection in returning travellers and migrants: a 10-year case series at a German center for tropical medicine.

J Travel Med 2021 01;28(1)

Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine & I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, 20359 Hamburg, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taaa183DOI Listing
January 2021

Evaluation of PEEP and prone positioning in early COVID-19 ARDS.

EClinicalMedicine 2020 Nov 11;28:100579. Epub 2020 Oct 11.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

Background: In face of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19 pandemic, best practice for mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is intensely debated. Specifically, the rationale for high positive end-expiratory pressure (PEEP) and prone positioning in early COVID-19 ARDS has been questioned.

Methods: The first 23 consecutive patients with COVID-19 associated respiratory failure transferred to a single ICU were assessed. Eight were excluded: five were not invasively ventilated and three received veno-venous ECMO support. The remaining 15 were assessed over the first 15 days of mechanical ventilation. Best PEEP was defined by maximal oxygenation and was determined by structured decremental PEEP trials comprising the monitoring of oxygenation, airway pressures and trans-pulmonary pressures. In nine patients the impact of prone positioning on oxygenation was investigated. Additionally, the effects of high PEEP and prone positioning on pulmonary opacities in serial chest x-rays were determined by applying a semiquantitative scoring-system. This investigation is part of the prospective observational PA-COVID-19 study.

Findings: Patients responded to initiation of invasive high PEEP ventilation with markedly improved oxygenation, which was accompanied by reduced pulmonary opacities within 6 h of mechanical ventilation. Decremental PEEP trials confirmed the need for high PEEP (17.9 (SD ± 3.9) mbar) for optimal oxygenation, while driving pressures remained low. Prone positioning substantially increased oxygenation (<0.01).

Interpretation: In early COVID-19 ARDS, substantial PEEP values were required for optimizing oxygenation. Pulmonary opacities resolved during mechanical ventilation with high PEEP suggesting recruitment of lung volume.

Funding: German Research Foundation, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100579DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547915PMC
November 2020

A Therapeutic Non-self-reactive SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Protects from Lung Pathology in a COVID-19 Hamster Model.

Cell 2020 11 23;183(4):1058-1069.e19. Epub 2020 Sep 23.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Berlin, 10117 Berlin, Germany; Helmholtz Innovation Lab BaoBab (Brain Antibody-omics and B-cell Lab), 10117 Berlin, Germany; Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 led to pandemic spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), manifesting with respiratory symptoms and multi-organ dysfunction. Detailed characterization of virus-neutralizing antibodies and target epitopes is needed to understand COVID-19 pathophysiology and guide immunization strategies. Among 598 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from 10 COVID-19 patients, we identified 40 strongly neutralizing mAbs. The most potent mAb, CV07-209, neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 with an IC value of 3.1 ng/mL. Crystal structures of two mAbs in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain at 2.55 and 2.70 Å revealed a direct block of ACE2 attachment. Interestingly, some of the near-germline SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing mAbs reacted with mammalian self-antigens. Prophylactic and therapeutic application of CV07-209 protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection, weight loss, and lung pathology. Our results show that non-self-reactive virus-neutralizing mAbs elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection are a promising therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.09.049DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7510528PMC
November 2020

A Dual-Antigen Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Allows the Assessment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Antibody Seroprevalence in a Low-Transmission Setting.

J Infect Dis 2021 01;223(1):10-14

Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Estimates of seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies have been hampered by inadequate assay sensitivity and specificity. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based approach that combines data about immunoglobulin G responses to both the nucleocapsid and spike receptor binding domain antigens, we show that excellent sensitivity and specificity can be achieved. We used this assay to assess the frequency of virus-specific antibodies in a cohort of elective surgery patients in Australia and estimated seroprevalence in Australia to be 0.28% (95% Confidence Interval, 0-1.15%). These data confirm the low level of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australia before July 2020 and validate the specificity of our assay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665523PMC
January 2021

Structural differences between male and female brains.

Handb Clin Neurol 2020 ;175:3-11

School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

Research based on structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has revealed a number of sex differences in the anatomy of the human brain. The first part of this chapter presents an excerpt of these findings discriminating among effects on a global, regional, and local level. While findings are far from consistent and conclusive, there is general consensus with respect to sex-specific brain size, with male brains being bigger on average than female brains. So, the question arises as to whether any of the observed sex differences are merely driven by brain size. The second part of this chapter thus sheds light on a unique scientific attempt to discriminate between brain size effects and sex effects. The overarching goal of this chapter is to exemplify the variety of findings and to demonstrate that the presence, magnitude, and direction of significant sex differences strongly depend on the measurement applied. The assumption that sex differences are simply a by-product of brain size, rather than pure (size independent) sex effects has proven to be true for some but certainly not all findings. Therefore, when examining the possible sexual dimorphism of the brain, it is imperative to avoid oversimplification and generalization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-444-64123-6.00001-1DOI Listing
January 2020

RNAemia Corresponds to Disease Severity and Antibody Response in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients.

Viruses 2020 09 18;12(9). Epub 2020 Sep 18.

Institute of Virology, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital of Cologne, University of Cologne, 50935 Cologne, Germany.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) represents a global health emergency. To improve the understanding of the systemic component of SARS-CoV-2, we investigated if viral load dynamics in plasma and respiratory samples are associated with antibody response and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). SARS-CoV-2 RNA was found in plasma samples from 14 (44%) out of 32 patients. RNAemia was detected in 5 out of 6 fatal cases. Peak IgG values were significantly lower in mild/moderate than in severe (0.6 (interquartile range, IQR, 0.4-3.2) vs. 11.8 (IQR, 9.9-13.0), adjusted = 0.003) or critical cases (11.29 (IQR, 8.3-12.0), adjusted = 0.042). IgG titers were significantly associated with virus Ct (Cycle threshold) value in plasma and respiratory specimens ((ß = 0.4, 95% CI (confidence interval, 0.2; 0.5), < 0.001 and ß = 0.5, 95% CI (0.2; 0.6), = 0.002). A classification as severe or a critical case was additionally inversely associated with Ct values in plasma in comparison to mild/moderate cases (ß = -3.3, 95% CI (-5.8; 0.8), = 0.024 and ß = -4.4, 95% CI (-7.2; 1.6), = 0.007, respectively). Based on the present data, our hypothesis is that the early stage of SARS-CoV-2 infection is characterized by a primary RNAemia, as a potential manifestation of a systemic infection. Additionally, the viral load in plasma seems to be associated with a worse disease outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/v12091045DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7551174PMC
September 2020

Development of sex differences in the human brain.

Cogn Neurosci 2020 Sep 9:1-8. Epub 2020 Sep 9.

School of Psychology, University of Auckland , Auckland, New Zealand.

Sex differences in brain anatomy have been described from early childhood through late adulthood, but without any clear consensus among studies. Here, we applied a machine learning approach to estimate 'Brain Sex' using a continuous (rather than binary) classifier in 162 boys and 185 girls aged between 5 and 18 years. Changes in the estimated sex differences over time at different age groups were subsequently calculated using a sliding window approach. We hypothesized that males and females would differ in brain structure already during childhood, but that these differences will become even more pronounced with increasing age, particularly during adolescence. Overall, the classifier achieved a good performance, with an accuracy of 80.4% and an AUC of 0.897 across all age groups. Assessing changes in the estimated sex with age revealed a growing difference between the sexes with increasing age. That is, the very large effect size of d = 1.2 which was already evident during childhood increased even further from age 11 onward, and eventually reached an effect size of d = 1.6 at age 17. Altogether these findings suggest a systematic sex difference in brain structure already during childhood, and a subsequent increase of this difference during adolescence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17588928.2020.1800617DOI Listing
September 2020

A SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody protects from lung pathology in a COVID-19 hamster model.

bioRxiv 2020 Aug 16. Epub 2020 Aug 16.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 led to pandemic spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), manifesting with respiratory symptoms and multi-organ dysfunction. Detailed characterization of virus-neutralizing antibodies and target epitopes is needed to understand COVID-19 pathophysiology and guide immunization strategies. Among 598 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from ten COVID-19 patients, we identified 40 strongly neutralizing mAbs. The most potent mAb CV07-209 neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 with IC50 of 3.1 ng/ml. Crystal structures of two mAbs in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain at 2.55 and 2.70 A revealed a direct block of ACE2 attachment. Interestingly, some of the near-germline SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing mAbs reacted with mammalian self-antigens. Prophylactic and therapeutic application of CV07-209 protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection, weight loss and lung pathology. Our results show that non-self-reactive virus-neutralizing mAbs elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection are a promising therapeutic strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.15.252320DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430590PMC
August 2020

Severe COVID-19 Is Marked by a Dysregulated Myeloid Cell Compartment.

Cell 2020 09 5;182(6):1419-1440.e23. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany; German Center for Lung Research (DZL).

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to moderate respiratory tract infection, however, a subset of patients progress to severe disease and respiratory failure. The mechanism of protective immunity in mild forms and the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 associated with increased neutrophil counts and dysregulated immune responses remain unclear. In a dual-center, two-cohort study, we combined single-cell RNA-sequencing and single-cell proteomics of whole-blood and peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to determine changes in immune cell composition and activation in mild versus severe COVID-19 (242 samples from 109 individuals) over time. HLA-DRCD11c inflammatory monocytes with an interferon-stimulated gene signature were elevated in mild COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 was marked by occurrence of neutrophil precursors, as evidence of emergency myelopoiesis, dysfunctional mature neutrophils, and HLA-DR monocytes. Our study provides detailed insights into the systemic immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and reveals profound alterations in the myeloid cell compartment associated with severe COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.08.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7405822PMC
September 2020

SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19.

Nature 2020 11 29;587(7833):270-274. Epub 2020 Jul 29.

Si-M/'Der Simulierte Mensch', Technische Universität Berlin and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the rapidly unfolding coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Clinical manifestations of COVID-19 vary, ranging from asymptomatic infection to respiratory failure. The mechanisms that determine such variable outcomes remain unresolved. Here we investigated CD4 T cells that are reactive against the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 in the peripheral blood of patients with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2-unexposed healthy donors. We detected spike-reactive CD4 T cells not only in 83% of patients with COVID-19 but also in 35% of healthy donors. Spike-reactive CD4 T cells in healthy donors were primarily active against C-terminal epitopes in the spike protein, which show a higher homology to spike glycoproteins of human endemic coronaviruses, compared with N-terminal epitopes. Spike-protein-reactive T cell lines generated from SARS-CoV-2-naive healthy donors responded similarly to the C-terminal region of the spike proteins of the human endemic coronaviruses 229E and OC43, as well as that of SARS-CoV-2. This results indicate that spike-protein cross-reactive T cells are present, which were probably generated during previous encounters with endemic coronaviruses. The effect of pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 cross-reactive T cells on clinical outcomes remains to be determined in larger cohorts. However, the presence of spike-protein cross-reactive T cells in a considerable fraction of the general population may affect the dynamics of the current pandemic, and has important implications for the design and analysis of upcoming trials investigating COVID-19 vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2598-9DOI Listing
November 2020

Ultra-High-Throughput Clinical Proteomics Reveals Classifiers of COVID-19 Infection.

Cell Syst 2020 07 2;11(1):11-24.e4. Epub 2020 Jun 2.

The Francis Crick Institute, Molecular Biology of Metabolism Laboratory, London NW11AT, UK; Charité Universitätsmedizin, Department of Biochemistry, 10117 Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge, and point-of-care diagnostic classifiers are urgently required. Here, we present a platform for ultra-high-throughput serum and plasma proteomics that builds on ISO13485 standardization to facilitate simple implementation in regulated clinical laboratories. Our low-cost workflow handles up to 180 samples per day, enables high precision quantification, and reduces batch effects for large-scale and longitudinal studies. We use our platform on samples collected from a cohort of early hospitalized cases of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and identify 27 potential biomarkers that are differentially expressed depending on the WHO severity grade of COVID-19. They include complement factors, the coagulation system, inflammation modulators, and pro-inflammatory factors upstream and downstream of interleukin 6. All protocols and software for implementing our approach are freely available. In total, this work supports the development of routine proteomic assays to aid clinical decision making and generate hypotheses about potential COVID-19 therapeutic targets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cels.2020.05.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7264033PMC
July 2020

COVID-19 severity correlates with airway epithelium-immune cell interactions identified by single-cell analysis.

Nat Biotechnol 2020 08 26;38(8):970-979. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Center for Digital Health, Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, corporate member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany.

To investigate the immune response and mechanisms associated with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we performed single-cell RNA sequencing on nasopharyngeal and bronchial samples from 19 clinically well-characterized patients with moderate or critical disease and from five healthy controls. We identified airway epithelial cell types and states vulnerable to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. In patients with COVID-19, epithelial cells showed an average three-fold increase in expression of the SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor ACE2, which correlated with interferon signals by immune cells. Compared to moderate cases, critical cases exhibited stronger interactions between epithelial and immune cells, as indicated by ligand-receptor expression profiles, and activated immune cells, including inflammatory macrophages expressing CCL2, CCL3, CCL20, CXCL1, CXCL3, CXCL10, IL8, IL1B and TNF. The transcriptional differences in critical cases compared to moderate cases likely contribute to clinical observations of heightened inflammatory tissue damage, lung injury and respiratory failure. Our data suggest that pharmacologic inhibition of the CCR1 and/or CCR5 pathways might suppress immune hyperactivation in critical COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41587-020-0602-4DOI Listing
August 2020

Studying the pathophysiology of coronavirus disease 2019: a protocol for the Berlin prospective COVID-19 patient cohort (Pa-COVID-19).

Infection 2020 Aug 13;48(4):619-626. Epub 2020 Jun 13.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Campus Virchow Klinikum, Augustenburgerplatz 1, 13353, Berlin, Germany.

Purpose: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has spread worldwide causing a global health emergency. Pa-COVID-19 aims to provide comprehensive data on clinical course, pathophysiology, immunology and outcome of COVID-19, to identify prognostic biomarkers, clinical scores, and therapeutic targets for improved clinical management and preventive interventions.

Methods: Pa-COVID-19 is a prospective observational cohort study of patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection treated at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. We collect data on epidemiology, demography, medical history, symptoms, clinical course, and pathogen testing and treatment. Systematic, serial blood sampling will allow deep molecular and immunological phenotyping, transcriptomic profiling, and comprehensive biobanking. Longitudinal data and sample collection during hospitalization will be supplemented by long-term follow-up.

Results: Outcome measures include the WHO clinical ordinal scale on day 15 and clinical, functional, and health-related quality-of-life assessments at discharge and during follow-up. We developed a scalable dataset to (i) suit national standards of care, (ii) facilitate comprehensive data collection in medical care facilities with varying resources, and (iii) allow for rapid implementation of interventional trials based on the standardized study design and data collection. We propose this scalable protocol as blueprint for harmonized data collection and deep phenotyping in COVID-19 in Germany.

Conclusion: We established a basic platform for harmonized, scalable data collection, pathophysiological analysis, and deep phenotyping of COVID-19, which enables rapid generation of evidence for improved medical care and identification of candidate therapeutic and preventive strategies. The electronic database accredited for interventional trials allows fast trial implementation for candidate therapeutic agents.

Trial Registration: Registered at the German registry for clinical studies (DRKS00021688).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s15010-020-01464-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7293426PMC
August 2020

Speaking of aging: Changes in gray matter asymmetry in Broca's area in later adulthood.

Cortex 2020 08 24;129:133-140. Epub 2020 Apr 24.

School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand; Centre for Research on Ageing Health and Wellbeing, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Several theories suggest a change in the brain's asymmetry as we get older. However, it is currently unresolved whether Broca's area, consisting of left Brodmann Areas (BA) 45 and 44, undergoes age-related changes. To address this question, we mapped associations between chronological age and gray matter asymmetry of BA45 and BA44 in a large sample (n = 485) of adults ranging between 42 and 97 years of age. Hemisphere-specific gray matter volumes and asymmetry indices were obtained by integrating cytoarchitectonic probabilities with MRI-based signal intensities. For BA44, we did not observe any significant correlation between age and gray matter asymmetry. In contrast, for BA45, the analysis revealed a significant correlation, which indicates a decreasing asymmetry from rightward to less rightward with increasing age. A subsequent characterization of hemisphere-specific volume loss revealed significant negative associations between age and gray matter volume for left and right BA45, but with weaker effects in the left hemisphere compared to the right. These findings seem to support the assumption of reduced structural asymmetries later in life, at least for BA45, which seem to be driven by a stronger tissue loss in the right hemisphere than the left hemisphere.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2020.03.028DOI Listing
August 2020

Outpatient treatment of imported uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: results from a survey among TropNet and GeoSentinel experts for tropical medicine.

J Travel Med 2020 Jul;27(4)

Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Plasmodium falciparum malaria (P.f. malaria) is frequently imported to non-endemic countries. Recommendations on outpatient treatment differ largely due to differences in country-level guidelines and even between tropical medicine referral centres within the same country.

Methods: This survey among experts from TropNet or GeoSentinel referral centres for tropical medicine outside malaria endemic areas investigated common practices in P.f. malaria management, selection criteria for outpatient management and diagnostic procedures as a first step for developing a future common and evidence-based approach.

Results: A total of 44 referral centres participated. Most of the centres are located in Europe (n = 37). Overall, 27 centres (61%) treat uncomplicated P.f. malaria patients as outpatients, of which eight centres (18%) reported treating ≥75% of patients on an outpatient basis. Seventeen centres (39%) reported treating patients only as inpatients. No single criterion stands out for the decision regarding outpatient treatment, but three groups of factors were identified: (i) clinical criteria including laboratory parameters, clinical condition and tolerance of oral medication; (ii) factors such as patient compliance, reachability by phone and support at home and (iii) patient origin and place of residence as a proxy for possible underlying semi-immunity. The threshold parasitaemia for outpatient treatment varied from 0.1 to 5% with a median of 2%. A median of 0.5% of outpatients were admitted during follow-up. During the last 10 years, 33 complications were reported by nine of the 27 centres and three deaths by one centre.

Conclusion: This study gives insight into the heterogeneous management of P.f. malaria patients outside endemic regions. Although there is no consensus among experts, the majority of centres includes outpatient treatment in their clinical routine. However, the lack of evidence-based criteria and established safety for this approach shows the need for prospective studies to define and evaluate criteria and practices for safe outpatient management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jtm/taaa082DOI Listing
July 2020

Prospective observational study on the pharmacokinetic properties of the Irrua ribavirin regimen used in routine clinical practice in patients with Lassa fever in Nigeria.

BMJ Open 2020 04 16;10(4):e036936. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Department of Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine & I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany

Introduction: Lassa fever (LF) is a severe and often fatal systemic disease in humans and affects a large number of countries in West Africa. Treatment options are limited to supportive care and the broad-spectrum antiviral agent ribavirin. However, evidence for ribavirin efficacy in patients with LF is poor and pharmacokinetic (PK) data are not available.Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) developed an intravenous ribavirin regimen different to the WHO recommendation. Apart from a lower total daily dose the drug is usually administered once per day which reduces the exposure of personnel to patients with LF. The aim of this study is to characterise the PK of the Irrua ribavirin regimen.

Methods And Analysis: This prospective, observational clinical study will assess PK properties of the Irrua ribavirin regimen on routinely ribavirin-treated patients with LF at ISTH, a referral hospital serving 19 local governmental areas in a LF endemic zone in Nigeria. Participants will be adults with PCR-confirmed LF. The primary objective is to describe classical PK parameters for ribavirin (maximum plasma drug concentration, time to maximum plasma drug concentration, area under the plasma drug concentration vs time curve, half-life time T1/2, volume of distribution). Blood samples will be collected at 0.5, 1, 3, 5, 8, 12 and 24 hours after doses on day 1, day 4 and day 10 of ribavirin treatment. Ribavirin plasma concentrations will be determined using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry.

Ethics And Dissemination: The study will be conducted in compliance with the protocol, the Declaration of Helsinki, Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and the Nigerian National Code for Health Research Ethics. The protocol has received approval by the Health Research Ethics Committee of ISTH. Results will be made available to LF survivors, their caregivers, the funders, LF research society and other researchers.

Registration Details: ISRCTN11104750.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-036936DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7200043PMC
April 2020

The impact of aging on the subregions of the fusiform gyrus in healthy older adults.

J Neurosci Res 2021 01 8;99(1):263-270. Epub 2020 Mar 8.

School of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.

The fusiform gyrus is known to decrease in size with increasing age. However, reported findings are inconsistent and existing studies differ in terms of the cohorts examined and/or the methods applied. Here, we analyzed age-related links in four distinct subregions of the fusiform gyrus through integrating imaging-based intensity information with microscopically defined cytoarchitectonic probabilities. In addition to age effects we investigated sex effects as well as age-by-sex interactions in a relatively large sample of 468 healthy subjects (272 females/196 males) covering a broad age range (42-97 years). We observed significant negative correlations between age and all four subregions of the fusiform gyrus indicating volume decreases over time, albeit with subregion-specific trajectories. Additionally, we observed significant negative quadratic associations with age for some subregions, suggesting an accelerating volume loss over time. These findings may serve as a frame of reference for future cross-sectional as well as longitudinal studies, not only for normative samples but also potentially for clinical conditions that present with abnormal atrophy of the fusiform gyrus. We did not detect any significant sex differences or sex-by-age interactions, suggesting that the size of the fusiform gyrus is similar in male and female brains and that age-related atrophy follows a similar trajectory in both men and women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jnr.24586DOI Listing
January 2021

From baby brain to mommy brain: Widespread gray matter gain after giving birth.

Cortex 2020 05 28;126:334-342. Epub 2020 Jan 28.

Departments of Psychiatry and Neurology, Jena University Hospital, Jena, Germany.

Pregnancy results in obvious physiological changes to the female body, but data as to what happens to the maternal brain after giving birth are sparse as well as inconsistent. The overall goal of this study is to determine the nature of cerebral change in the postpartum period. For this purpose, we analyzed T1-weighted brain images of 14 healthy women (age range: 25-38 years) at two time points, specifically within 1-2 days of childbirth (immediate postpartum) and at 4-6 weeks after childbirth (late postpartum). When comparing voxel-wise gray matter between these two time points, there was no evidence of any significant decrease. Instead, we detected a pronounced gray matter increase involving both cortical and subcortical regions, such as the pre- and postcentral gyrus, the frontal and central operculum, the inferior frontal gyrus, the precuneus, and the middle occipital gyrus, as well as the thalamus and caudate. These structural changes occurring within only 4-6 weeks after delivery are reflective of a high degree of neuroplasticity and massive adaptations in the maternal brain. They may suggest a restoration of brain tissue following pregnancy and/or a substantial brain reorganization, possibly to accommodate a multi-faceted repertoire of complex behaviors associated with being a mother.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2019.12.029DOI Listing
May 2020

Determinants of post-malarial anemia in African children treated with parenteral artesunate.

Sci Rep 2019 12 2;9(1):18134. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

Division of Infectious Diseases, I. Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

The pathophysiology of malarial anemia is multifactorial and incompletely understood. We assessed mechanistic and risk factors for post-malarial anemia in Ghanaian and Gabonese children with severe P. falciparum malaria treated with parenteral artesunate followed by an oral artemisinin-combination therapy. We analyzed data from two independent studies in which children were followed on Days 7,14, and 28 after treatment with artesunate. Specific hematological parameters included the presence of hemoglobinopathies and erythropoietin. Presence of once-infected erythrocytes was assessed by flow cytometry in a sub-population. Of 143 children with a geometric mean parasitemia of 116,294/µL (95% CI: 95,574-141,505), 91 (88%) had anemia (Hb < 10 g/dL) at presentation. Hemoglobin increased after Day 7 correlating with increased erythropoiesis through adequate erythropoietin stimulation. 22 children (24%) remained anemic until Day 28. Post-artesunate delayed hemolysis was detected in 7 children (5%) with only minor differences in the dynamics of once-infected erythrocytes. Hyperparasitemia and hemoglobin at presentation were associated with anemia on Day 14. On Day 28 only lower hemoglobin at presentation was associated with anemia. Most children showed an adequate erythropoiesis and recovered from anemia within one month. Post-artesunate delayed hemolysis (PADH) and hyperparasitemia are associated with early malarial anemia and pre-existing anemia is the main determinant for prolonged anemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54639-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6888809PMC
December 2019

Intravenous Artesunate for Imported Severe Malaria in Children Treated in Four Tertiary Care Centers in Germany: A Retrospective Study.

Pediatr Infect Dis J 2019 11;38(11):e295-e300

Department of Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.

Background: Intravenous artesunate (ivA) is the standard treatment for severe malaria. Data systematically evaluating the use of ivA in pediatric patients outside malaria-endemic regions are limited. The aim of this case series was to summarize efficacy and safety of ivA for imported severe malaria in children in Germany.

Methods: Our retrospective case series included pediatric patients with imported severe malaria treated with at least 1 dose of ivA (Artesun, Guilin Pharmaceutical; Shanghai, China) at 4 German tertiary care centers. Severe malaria was defined according to World Health Organization criteria.

Results: Between 2010 and 2018, 14 children with a median [interquartile range (IQR)] age of 6 (1;9.5) years were included. All children were of African descent. All but 2 patients had Plasmodium falciparum malaria; 1 child had P. vivax malaria and 1 child had P. falciparum and P. vivax co-infection. Median (IQR) parasitemia at admission in patients with P. falciparum was 9.5% (3;16.5). Patients were treated with 1-10 [median (IQR) 3 (3;4)] doses ivA. All but one patient received a full course of oral antimalarial treatment. Parasite clearance was achieved within 2-4 days, with the exception of 1 patient with prolonged clearance of peripheral parasitemia. Three patients experienced posttreatment hemolysis but none needed blood transfusion. Otherwise ivA was safe and well tolerated.

Conclusions: ivA was highly efficacious in this pediatric cohort. We observed episodes of mild to moderate posttreatment hemolysis in approximately one-third of patients. The legal status and usage of potentially lifesaving ivA should be evaluated in Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/INF.0000000000002417DOI Listing
November 2019

Brain magnetic resonance imaging in imported malaria.

Malar J 2019 Mar 12;18(1):74. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, I. Department of Internal Medicine, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Background: Previous studies have documented a spectrum of brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) abnormalities in patients with cerebral malaria, but little is known about the prevalence of such abnormalities in patients with non-cerebral malaria. The aim of this study was to assess the frequency of brain MRI findings in returning travellers with non-cerebral malaria.

Methods: A total of 17 inpatients with microscopically confirmed Plasmodium falciparum non-cerebral malaria underwent structural brain MRI at 3.0 Tesla, including susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI). Presence of imaging findings was recorded and correlated with clinical findings and parasitaemia.

Results: Structural brain abnormalities included a hyperintense lesion of the splenium on T2-weighted imaging (n = 3) accompanied by visible diffusion restriction (n = 2). Isolated brain microhaemorrhage was detected in 3 patients. T2-hyperintense signal abnormalities of the white matter ranged from absent to diffuse (n = 10 had 0-5 lesions, n = 5 had 5-20 lesions and 2 patients had more than 50 lesions). Imaging findings were not associated with parasitaemia or HRP2 levels.

Conclusion: Brain MRI reveals a considerable frequency of T2-hyperintense splenial lesions in returning travellers with non-cerebral malaria, which appears to be independent of parasitaemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12936-019-2713-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6419340PMC
March 2019

Axonal damage in spinal cord is associated with gray matter atrophy in sensorimotor cortex in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

Mult Scler 2020 03 7;26(3):294-303. Epub 2019 Mar 7.

Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA/ UCLA Multiple Sclerosis Program, Department of Neurology, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Background: Gray matter (GM) atrophy in brain is one of the best predictors of long-term disability in multiple sclerosis (MS), and recent findings have revealed that localized GM atrophy is associated with clinical disabilities. GM atrophy associated with each disability mapped to a distinct brain region, revealing a disability-specific atlas (DSA) of GM loss.

Objective: To uncover the mechanisms underlying the development of localized GM atrophy.

Methods: We used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to evaluate localized GM atrophy and Clear Lipid-exchanged Acrylamide-hybridized Rigid Imaging-compatible Tissue-hYdrogel (CLARITY) to evaluate specific pathologies in mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

Results: We observed extensive GM atrophy throughout the cerebral cortex, with additional foci in the thalamus and caudoputamen, in mice with EAE compared to normal controls. Next, we generated pathology-specific atlases (PSAs), voxelwise mappings of the correlation between specific pathologies and localized GM atrophy. Interestingly, axonal damage (end-bulbs and ovoids) in the spinal cord strongly correlated with GM atrophy in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain.

Conclusion: The combination of VBM with CLARITY in EAE can localize GM atrophy in brain that is associated with a specific pathology in spinal cord, revealing a PSA of GM loss.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458519830614DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6957766PMC
March 2020