News Archive

  • Ammunitation as the main cause of lead poisonings in birds of prey

    Fragments from lead ammunition pose a health risk for predators that scavenge on non-retrieved carcasses or offal left behind by hunters. Jacqueline Kupper contributed to an interdisciplinary research project aimed at identifying the main source of lead exposure in the golden eagle population in the Swiss Alps. The authors of this study analysed the lead body burden in golden eagles in comparison with eagle owls, a non-scavanging predator. In addition, the authors examined lead isotope ratios in different bird species, their prey, soil and ammunition. This study unequivocally demonstrates that the use of lead bullets in upland hunting represents a serious poisoning threat to vulnerable raptors living in the Alpine environment.

    More …

  • PhD thesis of Sandro Imhasly: "Blood plasma biomarkers correlating with hepatic lipidosis in dairy cows"

    Sandro Imhasly successfully defended his PhD thesis concerned with the discovery of blood plasma biomarkers for the disease of hepatic lipidosis. Hepatic lipidosis (also known as "fatty liver disease" or "fat cow syndrome") is a common production disorder of dairy cows occurring frequently during the critical transition from late pregnancy to early lactation. Dairy cows have undergone an intense genetic selection to increase milk yields, thus reaching an enhanced peak of performance where the excessive demand for nutrients causes a severe energetic deficit. A major adjustment to counteract this energy imbalance is the massive mobilization of fat depots, thereby providing non-esterified fatty acids as an energy source.

    More …

  • Publication in Nature Communications

    Our genetic material is constantly exposed to DNA-damaging agents and the resulting DNA lesions must be repaired to preserve genetic stability and prevent cancer. Marjo-Riitta Puumalainen, Peter Rüthemann and Hanspeter Naegeli from the Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology discovered that the beneficial DNA repair response triggered by the DNA damage recognition subunits DDB2 and XPC critically depends on a dynamic spatiotemporal regulation of their homeostasis.

    More …

  • PICHROS (protein-induced chromatin stress) and genome stability

    The ubiquitin-dependent molecular chaperone p97 is an ATPase involved in protein turnover and degradation. It converts its own ATP hydrolysis into remodeling activity on a myriad of ubiquitinated protein substrates. In this way, p97 mediates extraction of targeted protein from cellular compartments and thereby maintains protein homeostasis.

    More …

  • Pharmacovigilance report (2012)

    Cedric Muentener and colleagues published a summary of pharmacovigilance findings reported during 2012. In comparison to the previous year, they observed a further increase in the number of declarations for veterinary medicinal products in Switzerland. During 2012, a total of 197 adverse reactions concerning Swissmedic-authorized veterinary medicinal products were reported (167 declarations in 2011). The spectrum of affected species and drug classes remained unchanged over the years.

    More …

  • How many pigs are under antiobiotic treatment?

    Oral treatments for groups of pigs via medicated feed must be prescribed on specific forms submitted to veterinary authorities. Cedric Müntener in collaboration with Rosa Stebler and Beat Gassner (Swissmedic) and Ursula Horisberger (Veterinärdienst Luzern) analyzed 869 such prescription forms for the year 2009 representing the treatment of 69'863 piglets and 31'506 fattening pigs.

    More …

  • Chemical risk perception and communication at the 49th congress of EUROTOX

    The 49th congress of EUROTOX, the federation of European Societies of Toxicology, took place in Interlaken, Switzerland, 1-4th September 2013. Hanspeter Naegeli together with Mojmir Mach (Slovakia) chaired a workshop on “Risk perception and communication”. Invited speakers were Michael Arand and Heinz Gutscher from the University of Zürich, Jan G. Hengstler from the Technical University of Dortmund and Andrea Hartwig from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

    More …

  • Pharmacogenetic information system for veterinarians

    The veterinary patient’s response to drug therapy is influenced by a number of factors including disease status, age, concurrent medication, species and breed. An observed variability in drug response in healthy animals of identical breed and age may be caused by genetically determined variations.

    More …

  • Food N'Immunity

    The project "Food N'Immunity" from the Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology has been recently portrayed by International Innovation (www.researchmedia.eu). In this interdisciplinary project, Hans Winkler and Hanspeter Naegeli cooperate with Mark Suter (Immunology Divison of the Vetsuisse Faculty) and Peter Wick (EMPA Sankt Gallen) to study the effects of nanoparticles on dendritic cells.

    More …

  • Fast track to prediction of cell death

    A variety of strategic endpoints have been defined to predict cell death upon toxic insults. Philippe Wyrsch, Christian Blenn and Theresa Pesch (group Althaus) in collaboration with Sascha Beneke evaluated changes of the free cytosolic Ca2+ homeostasis using the Fluo-4 dye in comparison with the metabolic cell viability assay Alamar Blue.

    More …

  • Trends and patterns of antibiotic sales

    Monitoring the use of veterinary antimicrobial agents is an important first step in devising and implementing strategies to avoid the spread of antibiotic resistance. Recently, Cedric Müntener participated in an international survey performed in nine European countries, including Switzerland, documenting antibiotic sales during the years 2005 to 2009.

    More …

  • Recycle & Reduce: How old sample sets may decrease the need for animal experiments

    To evaluate the impact of environmental substances on genomic integrity, in vivo models are the last step in testing. For example, rats are often used in inhalation studies. At several time points after exposure, parameters like inflammation or tumor formation are determined, mostly using paraffin-embedded tissues.

    More …

  • Publication in Current Biology

    Our genetic material is constantly exposed to damage that is normally repaired. Nadine Mathieu, Nina Kaczmarek, Peter Rüthemann and Hanspeter Naegeli from the Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology demonstrate that the DNA repair enzyme XPD works like a scanner, continually scoring the genetic material for signs of damage.

    More …

  • PhD thesis on the recognition of bulky DNA lesions in chromatin

    Nina Kaczmarek had her successful thesis defense on December 20, 2012 (supervisor Prof. Dr. Hanspeter Naegeli). Her work is focused on the question of how DNA lesions are detected in the physiologic chromatin context of human cells.

    More …

  • Pharmacovigilance report (2010)

    Cedric Muentener and colleagues published a summary of major pharmacovigilance findings from 2010. They observed an increase in the number of declarations for veterinary medicinal products in Switzerland.

    More …

  • Poster prize from the DNA Repair Conference in Munich

    At the 12th Biennial DGDR Meeting (Munich, 17-20 September 2012), Marjo Puumalainen was awarded with a prize for the best poster describing her PhD project. Congratulations!

    More …

  • Publication In "Frontiers in Genetics"

    DNA, the molecule of heredity, is tightly packed by association with histones and other proteins in the nuclei of mammalian cells, giving rise to complex chromatin structures. This interaction of DNA with proteins in the context of chromatin needs to be highly dynamic and has to be permanently regulated to achieve different tasks such as transcription, replication and repair.

    More …

  • Publication in Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Philippe Wyrsch and Christian Blenn – members of the Althaus group - have recently published a study about the roles of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases PARP1 and PARP2 in Ca2+ mediated cell death and autophagy. Autophagy is a “self-eating” process that is essential for tissue and cell homeostasis.

    More …

  • PhD thesis on the modulation of inflammatory signals by adenosine

    Li Zhang had her successful thesis defence on July 6, 2012 (supervisor: PD Dr. Ramiro Dip). Her work is focused on the question of how adenosine acts as a paradoxical inflammatory modulator that contributes both to inflammatory shutdown and to the persistence of inflammation.

    More …

  • Residue Toxicology: Dioxins

    On the occasion of the Annual Assembly of Swiss Veterinarians in Interlaken, Prof. Hanspeter Naegeli gave a lecture on the relevance of dioxin residues in the food chain.

    More …

  • PhD thesis on the role of poly (ADP-ribose) in survival and cell death

    Philippe Wyrsch, member of the Althaus group, had his successful thesis defense on May 9, 2012. His work is focused on the role of poly (ADP-ribose) metabolizing enzymes in mobilizing Ca2+ fluxes after oxidative stress.

    More …

  • Axolotl App: an application for iPhone, iPad and iPod

    Daniel Demuth contributed with the project CliniPharm to the newly released Axolotl App providing comprehensive information on the biology, husbandry and disease management of the Axolotl.

    More …

  • Publication in PLoS One

    The composition of chromatin, i.e. DNA and associated proteins, is subjected to constant changes. Many processes in cells like transcription, replication, or formation of specific chromatin structures induce alterations in DNA-bound protein complexes, either exchanging factors, whole complexes, or moving them to a different position on the DNA.

    More …

  • Vigilance for veterinary medicinal products: Declaration of adverse reactions in the year 2010

    Cedric Müntener and colleagues published a summary of the adverse drug reactions reported during 2010. Pharmacovigilance is a system concerned with the acquisition, evaluation and classification of information on suspected adverse drug reactions.

    More …

  • Risk assessment of PAHs in food

    Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed by incomplete combustion or pyrolysis of organic matter and occur in complex mixtures that may consist of hundreds of related compounds.

    More …

  • Publication in PLoS Biology

    Like all molecules in living organisms, DNA undergoes spontaneous decay and is constantly under attack by endogenous and environmental agents. Unlike other molecules, however, DNA—the blueprint of heredity—cannot be re-created de novo; it can only be copied.

    More …

  • Publication in Nature Cell Biology

    Mayura Meerang, Zuzana Garajova, Matthias Bosshard and Kristijan Ramadan from the Institute of Veterinary Pharmacology and Toxicology have demonstrated that the ubiquitin-selective segregase VCP/p97 is involved in the response to DNA double-strand breaks!

    More …

  • Effective lipid infusion therapy for the treatment of ivermectin poisoning

    An 11-month-old Minishetland pony colt, accidentally exposed to a massive (> 25-fold) oral ivermectin overdose, was successfully treated with an intravenous lipid emulsion containing 20% soybean oil in water.

    More …

  • Non-targeted Metabolomics for the Analysis of Boar Taint

    In many countries, male piglets are castrated shortly after birth because a proportion of un-castrated male pigs produce meat with an unpleasant odor and flavor.

    More …

  • Targeting the ubiquitin-proteasome system in anti-cancer therapy

    Defects in the proteasome function have been mainly associated with human diseases like cardiac dysfunction, neurodegenerative disorders and rheumatoid diseases.

    More …

  • Modulation of cell death decisions: molecular mechanism of action of tannins?

    Tannins are phenolic secondary metabolites found all over the world in many different families of higher plants. Nearly every part of the plant – beginning with the seed and ending in the fruits – can contain tannins.

    More …

  • eTAK: the Swiss Veterinary Drug Compendium as eBook

    The Swiss Veterinary Drug Compendium (Tierarznemittelkompnedium; TAK: http://www.tierarzneimittel.ch) is a very well established Internet based information source for veterinary practitioners.

    More …

  • Poster Presentation

    Three members of our Institute (Nina Kaczmarek, Nadine Mathieu and Kristijan Ramadan) presented their recent work at the Conference on „Responses to DNA damage: from molecular mechanism to human disease“

    More …

  • The last ten steps before cells die

    Cell death induced by oxidative stress is the result of complex signaling. Oxidative stress activates the DNA nick sensor poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase-1 (PARP-1).

    More …

  • Estrogen receptor modulators for the treatment of schizophrenia-relevant behavioral dysfunctions

    The sex steroid hormone 17-β estradiol (E2) has long been speculated to play a protective role in schizophrenia. A new study led by Urs Meyer suggests that pharmacological manipulations targeting the estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha isoform directly influences behavioral functions implicated in this psychotic disorder. The authors of this study revealed that administration of selective ER-alpha antagonists in mice disrupt sensorimotor gating, a form of central information processing known to be impaired in schizophrenia. On the other hand, treatment with selective ER-alpha agonists enhanced sensorimotor gating under basal conditions as well as under conditions of acute hyperdopaminergia. The latter findings indicate that activation of ER-alpha exerts beneficial effects against behavioral abnormalities typically seen in patients with schizophrenia. more

    More …

  • Estrogen receptor modulators for the treatment of schizophrenia-relevant behavioral dysfunctions

    The sex steroid hormone 17-β estradiol (E2) has long been speculated to play a protective role in schizophrenia. A new study led by Urs Meyer suggests that pharmacological manipulations targeting the estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha isoform directly influences behavioral functions implicated in this psychotic disorder. The authors of this study revealed that administration of selective ER-alpha antagonists in mice disrupt sensorimotor gating, a form of central information processing known to be impaired in schizophrenia. On the other hand, treatment with selective ER-alpha agonists enhanced sensorimotor gating under basal conditions as well as under conditions of acute hyperdopaminergia. The latter findings indicate that activation of ER-alpha exerts beneficial effects against behavioral abnormalities typically seen in patients with schizophrenia. more

    More …

  • Estrogen receptor modulators for the treatment of schizophrenia-relevant behavioral dysfunctions

    The sex steroid hormone 17-β estradiol (E2) has long been speculated to play a protective role in schizophrenia. A new study led by Urs Meyer suggests that pharmacological manipulations targeting the estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha isoform directly influences behavioral functions implicated in this psychotic disorder. The authors of this study revealed that administration of selective ER-alpha antagonists in mice disrupt sensorimotor gating, a form of central information processing known to be impaired in schizophrenia. On the other hand, treatment with selective ER-alpha agonists enhanced sensorimotor gating under basal conditions as well as under conditions of acute hyperdopaminergia. The latter findings indicate that activation of ER-alpha exerts beneficial effects against behavioral abnormalities typically seen in patients with schizophrenia.

    More …

  • Prenatal infection has a broad negative impact on offspring development

    Maternal exposure to infection has been repeatedly shown to increase the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders in the offspring. A recent review article with Urs Meyer as senior author emphasizes that this early-life insult can induce a much broader negative impact on development and postnatal health that previously assumed. The integration of epidemiological and experimental findings indeed suggests that prenatal infection can affect various physiological and metabolic functions beyond those typically associated with primary defects in brain development. Prevention of maternal infection may therefore help to reduce the emergence of widespread neurodevelopmental, physiological and metabolic abnormalities in the offspring.

    More …

  • Publication in Cancer Cell: Inhibiting WEE1 Selectively Kills Histone H3K36me3-Deficient Cancers by dNTP Starvation

    Synthetic lethality is a promising pharmacologic strategy against cancer. Enni Markkanen contributed to a recent study published in Cancer Cell showing an application of this concept of synthetic lethality to neoplastic cells deficient in the trimethylated histone H3K36me3. This form of histone methylation is frequently lost in human cancer, thus providing a potential therapeutic target. Enni Markkannen and colleagues now demonstrate that H3K36me3-deficient cancer cells are exquisitely sensitive to inhibition of the WEE1 tyrosine kinase. A proof of principle for the application of this synthetic lethal interaction in cancer treatment has been provided by demonstrating that a WEE1 inhibitor regresses H3K36me3-deficient tumor xenografts in mice.

    More …