Publications by authors named "Nisreen Kweider"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effects of Strontium-Doped β-Tricalcium Scaffold on Longitudinal Nuclear Factor-Kappa Beta and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 Promoter Activities during Healing in a Murine Critical-Size Bone Defect Model.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 May 1;21(9). Epub 2020 May 1.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, RWTH Aachen University Hospital, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

It was hypothesized that strontium (Sr)-doped β-tricalcium phosphate (TCP)-based scaffolds have a positive effect on the regeneration of large bone defects (LBD). Readouts in our mice models were nuclear factor-kappa beta (NF-κB) activity and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) promoter activity during the healing process. A 2-mm critical-size femoral fracture was performed in transgenic NF-κB- and VEGFR-2-luciferase reporter mice. The fracture was filled with a 3D-printed β-TCP scaffold with or without Sr. A bioluminescence in-vivo imaging system was used to sequentially investigate NF-κB and VEGFR-2 expression for two months. After sacrifice, soft and osseous tissue formation in the fracture sites was histologically examined. NF-κB activity increased in the β-TCP + Sr group in the latter stage (day 40-60). VEGFR-2 activity increased in the + Sr group from days 0-15 but decreased and showed significantly less activity than the β-TCP and non-scaffold groups from days 40-60. The new bone formation and soft tissue formation in the + Sr group were significantly higher than in the β-TCP group, whereas the percentage of osseous tissue formation in the β-TCP group was significantly higher than in the β-TCP + Sr group. We analyzed longitudinal VEGFR-2 promoter activity and NF-κB activity profiles, as respective agents of angiogenesis and inflammation, during LBD healing. The extended inflammation phase and eventually more rapid resorption of scaffold caused by the addition of strontium accelerates temporary bridging of the fracture gaps. This finding has the potential to inform an improved treatment strategy for patients who suffer from osteoporosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7246816PMC
May 2020

Impact of Uniaxial Stretching on Both Gliding and Traction Areas of Tendon Explants in a Novel Bioreactor.

Int J Mol Sci 2020 Apr 22;21(8). Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Anatomy and Cell Biology, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

The effects of mechanical stress on cells and their extracellular matrix, especially in gliding sections of tendon, are still poorly understood. This study sought to compare the effects of uniaxial stretching on both gliding and traction areas in the same tendon. Flexor digitorum longus muscle tendons explanted from rats were subjected to stretching in a bioreactor for 6, 24, or 48 h, respectively, at 1 Hz and an amplitude of 2.5%. After stimulation, marker expression was quantified by histological and immunohistochemical staining in both gliding and traction areas. We observed a heightened intensity of scleraxis after 6 and 24 h of stimulation in both tendon types, though it had declined again 48 h after stimulation. We observed induced matrix metalloproteinase-1 and -13 protein expression in both tendon types. The bioreactor produced an increase in the mechanical structural strength of the tendon during the first half of the loading time and a decrease during the latter half. Uniaxial stretching of flexor tendon in our set-up can serve as an overloading model. A combination of mechanical and histological data allows us to improve the conditions for cultivating tendon tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082925DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7215532PMC
April 2020

Platelet-Released Growth Factors Modulate the Secretion of Cytokines in Synoviocytes under Inflammatory Joint Disease.

Mediators Inflamm 2017 19;2017:1046438. Epub 2017 Nov 19.

Department of Traumatology, University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.

The etiology and pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are marked by a complex interplay of various cell populations and is mediated by different signaling pathways. Traditionally, therapies have primarily focused on pain relief, reducing inflammation and the recovery of joint function. More recently, however, researchers have discussed the therapeutic efficacy of autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP). The main objective of this work is to examine the influences of platelet-released growth factor (PRGF) on human synoviocytes under inflammatory conditions. Additionally, it is checked to which extend treatment with platelet concentrate influences the release of cytokines form synoviocytes. For this purpose, an in vitro RA model was created by stimulating the cells with the TNF-. The release of cytokines was measured by ELISA. The cytokine gene expression was analyzed by real-time PCR. It has been observed that the stimulation concentration of 10 ng/ml TNF- resulted in a significantly increased endogenous secretion and gene expression of IL-6 and TNF-. The anti-inflammatory effect of PRGF could be confirmed through significant reduction of TNF- and IL-1. An induced inflammatory condition seems to cause PRGF to inhibit the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Further study is required to understand the exact effect mechanism of PRGF on synoviocytes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2017/1046438DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5733972PMC
August 2018

The protective effect of platelet released growth factors and bone augmentation (Bio-Oss) on ethanol impaired osteoblasts.

Ann Anat 2017 Nov 31;214:36-42. Epub 2017 Jul 31.

Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, 52074 Aachen, Germany. Electronic address:

Background: Chronic alcohol consumption is a known limiting factor for bone healing. One promising strategy to improve bone augmentation techniques with Bio-Oss in oral and maxillofacial surgery might be the supportive application of platelet-concentrated biomaterials as platelet-released growth factor (PRGF). To address this matter, we performed an in vitro study investigating the protective effects of PRGF and Bio-Oss in ethanol (EtOH) treated osteoblasts.

Methods: The SAOS-2 osteosarcoma cell line, with and without EtOH pretreatment was used. The cell viability, proliferation and alkali phosphatase activity (ALP) after application of 0%, 5% and 10% PRGF and Bio-Oss were assessed.

Results: The application of PRGF and Bio-Oss in EtOH impaired osteoblasts showed a significant beneficial influence increasing the viability of the osteoblasts in cell culture. The synergistic effect of Bio-Oss and 5% PRGF on the proliferation of osteoblasts was also demonstrated. Bio-Oss only in combination with PRGF increases the alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in EtOH pretreated cells.

Conclusions: These results indicate that the simultaneous application of PRGF and Bio-Oss inhibits EtOH induced bone healing impairment. Furthermore, in the cells, PRGF induced a protective mechanism which might promote bone regeneration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aanat.2017.07.002DOI Listing
November 2017

The effects of Nrf2 deletion on placental morphology and exchange capacity in the mouse.

J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2017 Sep 3;30(17):2068-2073. Epub 2016 Oct 3.

a Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology , RWTH Aachen University Hospital , Aachen , Germany.

Objectives: Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is defined as a pathological decreased fetal growth. Oxidative stress has been connected to the restriction in the fetal growth. The transcription factor nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a potent activator of the cellular antioxidant response. The effect Nrf2 on fetal-placental development has not yet been sufficiently investigated. Here, we evaluated the placental and fetal growth in Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2-KO) and Nrf2-wild type mice (Nrf2-WT) throughout pregnancy.

Methods: Heterozygote Nrf2 (Nrf2) mice were paired to get Nrf2-KO and Nrf2-WT in the litters. Placentae and embryos from both genotypes were collected and weighed on days 13.5, 15.5 and 18.5 post coitum. The absolute volumes of the labyrinth zone and the total volume of the placenta were determined using the Cavalieri principle.

Results: On E 18.5 the fetal weight in Nrf2-KO was significantly reduced versus Nrf2-WT indicating a decrease in placental efficiency. A significant reduction in both total and labyrinth-volume in the placenta of Nrf2-KO mice was observed.

Conclusion: This data points out the necessity of functional Nrf2 for fetal and placental growth. A deficiency in Nrf2 signaling may negatively affect nutrient transfer capacity which is then no longer able to meet fetal growth demands.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14767058.2016.1236251DOI Listing
September 2017

Abrasion arthroplasty increases mesenchymal stem cell content of postoperative joint effusions.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2015 Sep 12;16:250. Epub 2015 Sep 12.

Department of Trauma, University Hospital of Kiel, Kiel, Germany.

Background: Abrasion arthroplasty (AAP) is a procedure by which intrinsic cartilage healing is believed to be stimulated. Although clinically accepted for degenerative and traumatic cartilage lesions scientific evidence at a molecular level that proves the effect of AAP is scarce.

Method: Mononuclear cells were extracted from postoperative joint effusions 21.5 h post AAP and simple debridement of cartilage lesions. Luminex, ELISA and FACS experiments were performed. Immunohistochemical stainings of cell cultures for cartilage markers were used to confirm the findings.

Results: Postoperative joint effusions after AAP showed increased contents of Mononuclear cells compared to Arthroscopic Chondroplasty (ACP). BMP-4 and IGF were increased in AAP as complared to ACP. Mononuclear cells isolated after AAP express the MSC markers CD 73, CD 105, CD 90, CD 44 and are CD34 negative. Chondrogenic differentiation was demonstrated by positive staining for Sox9, collagen II, proteoglycan, chondroitin-4-sulfate.

Conclusion: Our results support the clinical application of AAP as a procedure that enhances cartilage repair as an alternative to far more complex procedures that have gained popularity. Furthermore the data presented supports clinical investigations that recommend not to use suction drainage as by this procedure a considerable amount of the regeneratory potential of postoperative joint effusions might be extracted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12891-015-0705-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4567829PMC
September 2015

Corrigendum to "Enoxaparin Prevents Steroid-Related Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head".

ScientificWorldJournal 2015 26;2015:264241. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany ; Department of Orthopaedic and Spine Surgery, AGAPLESION EV. BATHILDISKRANKENHAUS gemeinnützige GmbH, Maulbeerallee 4, 31812 Bad Pyrmont, Germany.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/264241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4550074PMC
January 2016

Mechanical forces induce changes in VEGF and VEGFR-1/sFlt-1 expression in human chondrocytes.

Int J Mol Sci 2014 Sep 1;15(9):15456-74. Epub 2014 Sep 1.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

Expression of the pro-angiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) stimulates angiogenesis and correlates with the progression of osteoarthritis. Mechanical joint loading seems to contribute to this cartilage pathology. Cyclic equibiaxial strains of 1% to 16% for 12 h, respectively, induced expression of VEGF in human chondrocytes dose- and frequency-dependently. Stretch-mediated VEGF induction was more prominent in the human chondrocyte cell line C-28/I2 than in primary articular chondrocytes. Twelve hours of 8% stretch induced VEGF expression to 175% of unstrained controls for at least 24 h post stretching, in promoter reporter and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) studies. High affinity soluble VEGF-receptor, sVEGFR-1/sFlt-1 was less stretch-inducible than its ligand, VEGF-A, in these cells. ELISA assays demonstrated, for the first time, a stretch-mediated suppression of sVEGFR-1 secretion 24 h after stretching. Overall, strained chondrocytes activate their VEGF expression, but in contrast, strain appears to suppress the secretion of the major VEGF decoy receptor (sVEGFR-1/sFlt-1). The latter may deplete a biologically relevant feedback regulation to inhibit destructive angiogenesis in articular cartilage. Our data suggest that mechanical stretch can induce morphological changes in human chondrocytes in vitro. More importantly, it induces disturbed VEGF signaling, providing a molecular mechanism for a stress-induced increase in angiogenesis in cartilage pathologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijms150915456DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4200847PMC
September 2014

Enoxaparin prevents steroid-related avascular necrosis of the femoral head.

ScientificWorldJournal 2014 2;2014:347813. Epub 2014 Jul 2.

Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstraße 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany ; Department of Orthopaedic and Spine Surgery, AGAPLESION EV. BATHILDISKRANKENHAUS gemeinnützige GmbH, Maulbeerallee 4, 31812 Bad Pyrmont, Germany.

Nontraumatic osteonecrosis of the femoral head is still a challenging problem in orthopedic surgery. It is responsible for 10% of the 500,000 hip replacement surgeries in the USA and affects relatively young, active patients in particular. Main reasons for nontraumatic osteonecrosis are glucocorticoid use, alcoholism, thrombophilia, and hypofibrinolysis (Glueck et al., 1997; Orth and Anagnostakos, 2013). One pathomechanism of steroid-induced osteonecrosis is thought to be impaired blood flow to the femoral head caused by increased thrombus formation and vasoconstriction. To investigate the preventive effect of enoxaparin on steroid-related osteonecrosis, we used male New Zealand white rabbits. Osteonecrosis was induced by methylprednisolone-injection (1 × 20 mg/kg body weight). Control animals were treated with phosphate-buffered saline. Treatment consisted of an injection of 11.7 mg/kg body weight of enoxaparin per day (Clexane) in addition to methylprednisolone. Four weeks after methylprednisolone-injection the animals were sacrificed. Histology (hematoxylin-eosin and Ladewig staining) was performed, and empty lacunae and histological signs of osteonecrosis were quantified. Histomorphometry revealed a significant increase in empty lacunae and necrotic changed osteocytes in glucocorticoid-treated animals as compared with the glucocorticoid- and Clexane-treated animals and with the control group. No significant difference was detected between the glucocorticoid and Clexane group and the control group. This finding suggests that cotreatment with enoxaparin has the potential to prevent steroid-associated osteonecrosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/347813DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4106066PMC
April 2015

A possible protective role of Nrf2 in preeclampsia.

Ann Anat 2014 Sep 27;196(5):268-77. Epub 2014 May 27.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, 52074 Aachen, Germany. Electronic address:

Excess release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a major cause of oxidative stress. This disturbance has been implicated as a cause of preeclampsia, a pregnancy-related disorder characterized by hypertension and proteinuria. Increased oxidative stress leads to trophoblast apoptosis/necrosis and alters the balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic factors, resulting in generalized maternal endothelial dysfunction. Trials using antioxidants have significantly failed to improve the condition of, or in any way protect, the mother from the life-threatening complications of this syndrome. Nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a potent transcription activator that regulates the expression of a multitude of genes that encode detoxification enzymes and anti-oxidative proteins. Recent discussion on evidence of a link between Nrf2 and vascular angiogenic balance has focussed on the downstream target protein, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). HO-1 metabolizes heme to biliverdin, iron and carbon monoxide (CO). HO-1/CO protects against hypertensive cardiovascular disease and contributes to the sustained health of the vascular system. In one animal model, sFlt-1 (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1) has induced blood pressure elevation, but the induction of HO-1 attenuated the hypertensive response in the pregnant animals. The special conditions under which Nrf2 participates in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia are still unclear, as is whether Nrf2 attenuates or stimulates the processes involved in this syndrome. In this review, we summarize recent theories about how Nrf2 is involved in the pathogenesis of preeclampsia and present the reasons for considering Nrf2 as a therapeutic target for the treatment of preeclampsia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.aanat.2014.04.002DOI Listing
September 2014

Role of platelet-released growth factors in detoxification of reactive oxygen species in osteoblasts.

Bone 2014 Aug 4;65:9-17. Epub 2014 May 4.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, D-52074 Aachen, Germany. Electronic address:

Introduction: Oxidative stress can impair fracture healing. To protect against oxidative damage, a system of detoxifying and antioxidative enzymes works to reduce the cellular stress. The transcription of these enzymes is regulated by antioxidant response element (ARE). The nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like2 (Nrf2) plays a major role in transcriptional activation of ARE-driven genes. Recently it has been shown that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) prevents oxidative damage via activation of the Nrf2 pathway in vitro. Platelet-released growth factor (PRGF) is a mixture of autologous proteins and growth factors, prepared from a determined volume of platelet-rich plasma (PRP). It has already used to enhance fracture healing in vitro. The aim of the present study was to elucidate if platelets can lead to upregulation of VEGF and if platelets can regulate the activity of Nrf2-ARE system in primary human osteoblast (hOB) and in osteoblast-like cell line (SAOS-2).

Methods: Platelets and PRGF were obtained from healthy human donors. HOB and SAOS-2 osteosarcoma cell line were used. The ARE activity was analysed using a dual luciferase reporter assay system. We used Western blot to detect the nuclear accumulation of Nrf2 and the amount of cytosolic antioxidant Thioredoxin Reductase-1 (TXNRD-1), Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NAD(P)H quinine oxidoreductase-1 (NQO1). Gene expression analysis was performed by real-time RT PCR. ELISA was used for the quantification of growth factors.

Results: The activity of ARE was increased in the presence of PRGF up to 50%. Western blotting demonstrated enhanced nuclear accumulation of Nrf2. This was followed by an increase in the protein expression of the aforementioned downstream targets of Nrf2. Real-time RT PCR data showed an upregulation in the gene expression of the VEGF after PRGF treatment. This was confirmed by ELISA, where the treatment with PRGF induced the protein level of VEGF in both cells.

Conclusions: These results provide a new insight into PRGF's mode of action in osteoblasts. PRGF not only leads to increase the endogenous VEGF, but also it may be involved in preventing oxidative damage through the Nrf2-ARE signalling. Nrf2 activation via PRGF may have great potential as an effective therapeutic drug target in fracture healing.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2014.04.029DOI Listing
August 2014

PP019. A new player in preeclampsia: The NF-E2-related factor 2 (NRF2).

Pregnancy Hypertens 2013 Apr 6;3(2):74. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Introduction: Preeclampsia PE is characterized by diminished antioxidant capacity. These enzymes are mainly regulated via the transcription factor Nrf2.

Objectives: PE is associated with an increase in Nrf2 activity. Nrf2 involves also in the vascular homeostasis during PE. Respective hemodisturbances have been associated with impaired invasion of the extravillous trophoblast EVT in early onset IUGR associated with PE. To test this link, we studied in vitro the interaction between Nrf2 and VEGF, then their expression was determined in third trimester placental beds in cases of severe early onset IUGR/PE.

Methods: BeWo cells were used in the in vitro study.Western blot; ELISA and Dual Luciferase assay were applied. Full-thickness uterine tissues from 6 healthy and 6 women with severe early onset IUGR/PE were used to study the expression of VEGF, Nrf2 and 4-HNE in the EVT.

Results: Nrf2-activation and its downstream target protein HO-1 augmented CO production, which in turn up-regulated the expression of VEGF. EVT in cases with IUGR/PE showed increased expression of Nrf2 and decreased VEGF intensity.

Conclusion: In early onset IUGR/PE the EVT experience oxidative stress and try to counteract this by increased expression of Nrf2. However, since these cells fail to up-regulate VEGF, Nrf2-activation does not occur, leading to further trophoblast damage. At the same time, in vitro data show a protective role of the Nrf2/HO-1 pathway, which may have a therapeutic potential in PE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preghy.2013.04.047DOI Listing
April 2013

PP021. The role of the transcription factor Nrf2 in the murine placental development.

Pregnancy Hypertens 2013 Apr 6;3(2):74-5. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Introduction: The placenta is the key organ for successful pregnancy and fetal growth. Oxidative stress during early human placental development is associated with pregnancy-related disorders. The transcription of many antioxidative-genes is mediated mainly through the transcription factor Nrf2. Furthermore, a link between Nrf2, vascular homeostasis and extravillous trophoblast invasion has been discussed.

Objectives: Here, we investigated the placental phenotype, placental and fetal weight of the Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2(-/-)) and wild type (Nrf2(+/+)) mice and the vascular function of these placentas around embryonic day 18.5.

Methods: We performed H&E, Periodic Acid Schiff (PAS) and immunohistochemistry of paraffin-embedded mouse placenta samples.

Results: There is no significant difference in both placental and fetal weight of both geno types (Nrf2(-/-) and Nrf2(+/+)). Phenotypic analysis of ED 18.5 placentas showed presence of trophoblast clusters in the labyrinth and frequent enlarged maternal blood lacunae. Furthermore, Nr2(-/-) showed increased levels in the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxinonoeal (4-HNE), which is a sensitive marker of oxidative damage and lipid peroxidation.

Conclusion: This data point out the necessity of a functional Nrf2 for placental development, as it may interact with the differentiation of the trophoblast lineage from one side and to diminish the oxidative damage during pregnancy from the other side.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preghy.2013.04.049DOI Listing
April 2013

PP020. Evidence of a preventive role of Nrf2 in preeclampsia.

Pregnancy Hypertens 2013 Apr 6;3(2):74. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Introduction: Smoking during pregnancy is associated with lower preeclampsia risk. This has been mainly explained through the effect of carbon monoxide CO.

Objectives: Recent studies showed that the activation of heme oxygenase-1 HO-1 and consequently its metabolite CO in cultured cells mediated an inhibition of sFlt-1 and sEng release, and an up-regulation of the endogenous VEGF. The transcriptional regulation of the HO-1 gene is majorly regulated through the transcription factor Nrf2. The aim of this study was to investigate in vitro the effect of HO-1-activation via Nrf2 on the pro- and anti-angiogenic factors.

Methods: BeWo cells and HUVECs endothelial cells were used to study the angiogenic effect of Nrf2-activation. ELISA, scratch and tube formation assay were mainly applied.

Results: The activation of HO-1 via Nrf2 lead to an increase in the protein levels of VEGF (control 64.75pg/ml±4.3; Sulforaphane-treated cells 128.2pg/ml±6.5 p<0.005) and decrease in the augmented sFlt-1 in the supernatant of the treated cells (control 186.3pg/ml±28.7; H2O2-treatment 2026pg/ml±64, co-treatment with H2O2 and Sulforaphane 1200pg/ml±19.7 p<0.01). Up-regulation of HO-1/CO enhanced tube formation and migration of the endothelial cells.

Conclusion: The activation of HO-1/CO via Nrf2 inducer such as sulforaphane inhibited in vitro the release of sFlt-1, thus the activation of Nrf2 during the first trimester may improve the balance of the pro- and anti-angiogenic factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.preghy.2013.04.048DOI Listing
April 2013

The effect of platelet rich plasma on angiogenesis in ischemic flaps in VEGFR2-luc mice.

Biomaterials 2013 Apr 23;34(11):2674-82. Epub 2013 Jan 23.

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstr. 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

To improve skin flap healing, one promising strategy in reconstructive surgery might be to optimize platelet rich plasma (PRP) bioactivity and the ischemia-altered expression of genes. We studied both the effect of PRP on ischemic flaps, and whether in vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a suitable method for the longitudinal monitoring of angiogenesis in surgical wounds. Axial murine skin flaps were created in four experimental groups. In vivo measurements of VEGFR2 expression levels were made every other day until the 14th day. The local VEGF level and microvessel density were quantified on the 14th day via ELISA and immunohistochemistry, and flap survival rates were measured. We demonstrated that PRP and induced ischemia have a beneficial influence on angiogenesis and flap healing. Combining the two resulted in a significantly robust increase in angiogenesis and flap survival rate that was corroborated by bioluminescence imaging of VEGFR2 activity. This study shows that angiogenic effects of PRP may be potentialized by the stimulus of induced ischemia during free flap harvesting, and thus the two procedures appear to have a synergistic effect on flap healing. This study further demonstrates that BLI of modulated genes in reconstructive surgery is a valuable model for longitudinal in vivo evaluation of angiogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.01.016DOI Listing
April 2013

A role for Nrf2 in redox signalling of the invasive extravillous trophoblast in severe early onset IUGR associated with preeclampsia.

PLoS One 2012 9;7(10):e47055. Epub 2012 Oct 9.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Medical Faculty, RWTH Aachen University, Germany.

Background: Preeclampsia (PE) is characterized by increased lipid oxidation and diminished antioxidant capacity, while intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is characterized by impaired invasion of the extravillous trophoblast. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has been reported to be altered in preeclampsia. A relationship between VEGF and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) has been shown in vitro, where VEGF prevents oxidative damage via activation of the Nrf2 pathway. In this study the expression of Nrf2, VEGF and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), was determined in interstitial and endovascular/intramural extravillous trophoblast (EVT) in normal pregnancies and those complicated by severe early onset IUGR associated with preeclampsia IUGR/PE.

Materials And Methods: Full-thickness uterine tissues derived from caesarean hysterectomies performed in 5 healthy normotensive women delivering term infants and 6 women with severe early onset IUGR with preeclampsia (29-34 weeks gestation) were analyzed. Interstitial and endovascular extravillous trophoblast were quantified after immunohistochemical staining of paraffin sections using antibodies against Nrf2, 4-HNE, VEGF, and cytokeratin 7.

Results: Uterine tissues from women suffering from severe early onset IUGR/PE were characterized by reduced invasion of extravillous trophoblast into the endometrial and myometrial segments of spiral arteries in the placental bed. Extravillous trophoblast showed an increased cytoplasmic expression of Nrf2 and 4-HNE in IUGR/PE cases. The increased expression of Nrf2 in cases of IUGR/PE was associated with decreased expression of VEGF in these cells compared to controls.

Conclusion: Our data suggests that besides villous cytotrophoblast, also the extravillous trophoblast is a source of Nrf2-dependent genes. VEGF deficiency may cause higher oxidative stress in extravillous trophoblast in cases with IUGR/PE. The resulting reduced basal defence against oxidative stress and the higher vulnerability to oxidative damage may play a role in the limited trophoblast invasion into spiral arteries in cases suffering from severe early onset IUGR/PE.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0047055PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3467234PMC
May 2013

Interplay between vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf2): implications for preeclampsia.

J Biol Chem 2011 Dec 27;286(50):42863-72. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany.

Several recently published studies have suggested that decreasing VEGF levels result in placental oxidative stress in preeclampsia, although the question as to how decreased VEGF concentrations increase oxidative stress still remains unanswered. Here, we show that VEGF activated Nrf2, the main regulating factor of the intracellular redox balance, in the cytotrophic cell line BeWo. In turn, this activated the production of antioxidative enzymes thioredoxin, thioredoxin reductase, and heme oxygenase-1, which showed a decrease in their expression in the placentas of preeclamptic women. Nevertheless, this activation occurred without oxidative stress stimulus. As a consequence, the activation of Nrf2 protected BeWo cells against H(2)O(2)/Fe(2+)-induced oxidative damage. We further show that VEGF up-regulated the expression of itself. A positive feedback loop was described in which VEGF activated Nrf2 in an ERK1/2-dependent manner; the up-regulation of HO-1 expression by Nrf2 augmented the production of carbon monoxide, which in turn up-regulated VEGF expression. In conclusion, VEGF induces the Nrf2 pathway to protect against oxidative stress and, via a positive feedback loop, to elevate VEGF expression. Therefore, decreased VEGF bioavailability during preeclampsia may result in higher vulnerability to placental oxidative cell damage and a further reduction of VEGF bioavailability, a vicious circle that may end up in preeclampsia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M111.286880DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3234879PMC
December 2011

Nitrate patch prevents steroid-related bone necrosis.

J Orthop Res 2011 Oct 5;29(10):1517-20. Epub 2011 Apr 5.

Department of Orthopedic and Trauma Surgery, RWTH Aachen University, Pauwelsstrasse 30, D-52074 Aachen, Germany.

Avascular necrosis of the femoral head is a common complication with disabling effect for young patients after high-dose corticosteroid treatment. We could show that steroids have a vasoconstrictive effect on lateral epiphyseal arteries of the femoral head which could lead to ischemia and subsequent necrosis. In this study we investigated the preventive effect of a nitrate patch on steroid-related bone necrosis in a rabbit model. New Zealand White rabbits (male; 3-4.5 kg bodyweight) were injected with 20 mg/kg bodyweight methylprednisolone (GC group; n = 6). Control animals (n = 6) were treated with phosphate-buffered saline. A third group (GC + N; n = 6) additionally received a nitrate patch (0.675 mg/day). Four weeks after i.m. methylprednisolone injection the animals were sacrificed. For histology and immunohistochemistry, tissue samples were fixed in 3% paraformaldehyde, embedded in paraffin, sectioned, dewaxed, and stained with Ladewig. For quantification of empty lacunae, a histologic sign of FHN, histomorphometry was performed. Histomorphometry revealed a significant increase of empty lacunae in glucocorticoid-treated animals compared to controls and GC + N-treated animals. No significant difference in empty lacunae count was detected between the GC + N group and controls. HE staining revealed the different osteocyte amount in the GC versus GC and nitrate patch-treated groups. This study demonstrates an increased number of empty osteocyte lacunae representing a pathologic feature of osteonecrosis, in the GC group. Less empty lacunae were counted in the GC animals after additional treatment with a nitrate patch. This finding suggests that nitrate co-treatment has the potential to prevent steroid-associated FHN.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jor.21420DOI Listing
October 2011
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