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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bouwer L.M.,VU University Amsterdam
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society | Year: 2011

A number of studies were conducted to demonstrate the best way to assess the potential influence of climate change on disaster losses was to analyze future projections in place of historical data. These studies showed that increases in exposure and wealth were the most important drivers for growing disaster losses. Most of these studies also showed that disaster losses remained constant after normalization, including losses from earthquakes They found that increases after normalization did not fully correct for wealth and population increases, or they identified other sources of exposure increases or vulnerability changes or changing environmental conditions. The analysis of these disaster loss studies showed that economic losses from various weather-related natural hazards, such as storms, tropical cyclones, floods, and small-scale weather events had increased around the globe. Source

The pattern of structural brain alterations associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) remains unresolved. This is in part due to small sample sizes of neuroimaging studies resulting in limited statistical power, disease heterogeneity and the complex interactions between clinical characteristics and brain morphology. To address this, we meta-analyzed three-dimensional brain magnetic resonance imaging data from 1728 MDD patients and 7199 controls from 15 research samples worldwide, to identify subcortical brain volumes that robustly discriminate MDD patients from healthy controls. Relative to controls, patients had significantly lower hippocampal volumes (Cohen’s d=−0.14, % difference=−1.24). This effect was driven by patients with recurrent MDD (Cohen’s d=−0.17, % difference=−1.44), and we detected no differences between first episode patients and controls. Age of onset ⩽21 was associated with a smaller hippocampus (Cohen’s d=−0.20, % difference=−1.85) and a trend toward smaller amygdala (Cohen’s d=−0.11, % difference=−1.23) and larger lateral ventricles (Cohen’s d=0.12, % difference=5.11). Symptom severity at study inclusion was not associated with any regional brain volumes. Sample characteristics such as mean age, proportion of antidepressant users and proportion of remitted patients, and methodological characteristics did not significantly moderate alterations in brain volumes in MDD. Samples with a higher proportion of antipsychotic medication users showed larger caudate volumes in MDD patients compared with controls. This currently largest worldwide effort to identify subcortical brain alterations showed robust smaller hippocampal volumes in MDD patients, moderated by age of onset and first episode versus recurrent episode status.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 30 June 2015; doi:10.1038/mp.2015.69. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited Source

The positron emitter zirconium-89 ((89)Zr) has very attractive properties for positron emission tomography (PET) imaging of intact monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) using immuno-PET. This protocol describes the step-by-step procedure for the facile radiolabeling of mAbs or other proteins with (89)Zr using p-isothiocyanatobenzyl-desferrioxamine (Df-Bz-NCS). First, Df-Bz-NCS is coupled to the lysine-NH(2) groups of a mAb at pH 9.0 (pre-modification), followed by purification using gel filtration. Next, the pre-modified mAb is labeled at room temperature by the addition of [(89)Zr]Zr-oxalic acid solution followed by purification using gel filtration. The entire process of pre-modification, radiolabeling and purification steps will take about 2.5 h. Source

Wurdinger T.,VU University Amsterdam
Journal of the National Cancer Institute | Year: 2013

Background Glioblastomas exhibit a high level of chemotherapeutic resistance, including to the antimitotic agents vincristine and taxol. During the mitotic agent-induced arrest, glioblastoma cells are able to perform damage-control and self-repair to continue proliferation. Monopolar spindle 1 (MPS1/TTK) is a checkpoint kinase and a gatekeeper of the mitotic arrest. Methods We used glioblastoma cells to determine the expression of MPS1 and to determine the effects of MPS1 inhibition on mitotic errors and cell viability in combination with vincristine and taxol. The effect of MPS1 inhibition was assessed in different orthotopic glioblastoma mouse models (n = 3-7 mice/group). MPS1 expression levels were examined in relation to patient survival. Results Using publicly available gene expression data, we determined that MPS1 overexpression corresponds positively with tumor grade and negatively with patient survival (two-sided t test, P < .001). Patients with high MPS1 expression (n = 203) had a median and mean survival of 487 and 913 days (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 751 to 1075), respectively, and a 2-year survival rate of 35%, whereas patients with intermediate MPS1 expression (n = 140) had a median and mean survival of 858 and 1183 days (95% CI = 1177 to 1189), respectively, and a 2-year survival rate of 56%. We demonstrate that MPS1 inhibition by RNAi results in sensitization to antimitotic agents. We developed a selective small-molecule inhibitor of MPS1, MPS1-IN-3, which caused mitotic aberrancies in glioblastoma cells and, in combination with vincristine, induced mitotic checkpoint override, increased aneuploidy, and augmented cell death. MPS1-IN-3 sensitizes glioblastoma cells to vincristine in orthotopic mouse models (two-sided log-rank test, P < .01), resulting in prolonged survival without toxicity. Conclusions Our results collectively demonstrate that MPS1, a putative therapeutic target in glioblastoma, can be selectively inhibited by MPS1-IN-3 sensitizing glioblastoma cells to antimitotic drugs. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. Source

Romero E.,VU University Amsterdam
Nature Physics | Year: 2014

The crucial step in the conversion of solar to chemical energy in photosynthesis takes place in the reaction centre, where the absorbed excitation energy is converted into a stable charge-separated state by ultrafast electron transfer events. However, the fundamental mechanism responsible for the near-unity quantum efficiency of this process is unknown. Here we elucidate the role of coherence in determining the efficiency of charge separation in the plant photosystem II reaction centre by comprehensively combining experiment (two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy) and theory (Redfield theory). We reveal the presence of electronic coherence between excitons as well as between exciton and charge-transfer states that we argue to be maintained by vibrational modes. Furthermore, we present evidence for the strong correlation between the degree of electronic coherence and efficient and ultrafast charge separation. We propose that this coherent mechanism will inspire the development of new energy technologies. Source

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