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    Combining Biocompatible and Biodegradable Scaffolds and Cold Atmospheric Plasma for Chronic Wound Regeneration
    (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2021) Emmert, Steffen; Pantermehl, Sven; Foth, Aenne; Waletzko-Hellwig, Janine; Hellwig, Georg; Bader, Rainer; Illner, Sabine; Grabow, Niels; Bekeschus, Sander; Weltmann, Klaus-Dieter; Jung, Ole; Boeckmann, Lars
    Skin regeneration is a quite complex process. Epidermal differentiation alone takes about 30 days and is highly regulated. Wounds, especially chronic wounds, affect 2% to 3% of the elderly population and comprise a heterogeneous group of diseases. The prevailing reasons to develop skin wounds include venous and/or arterial circulatory disorders, diabetes, or constant pressure to the skin (decubitus). The hallmarks of modern wound treatment include debridement of dead tissue, disinfection, wound dressings that keep the wound moist but still allow air exchange, and compression bandages. Despite all these efforts there is still a huge treatment resistance and wounds will not heal. This calls for new and more efficient treatment options in combination with novel biocompatible skin scaffolds. Cold atmospheric pressure plasma (CAP) is such an innovative addition to the treatment armamentarium. In one CAP application, antimicrobial effects, wound acidification, enhanced microcirculations and cell stimulation can be achieved. It is evident that CAP treatment, in combination with novel bioengineered, biocompatible and biodegradable electrospun scaffolds, has the potential of fostering wound healing by promoting remodeling and epithelialization along such temporarily applied skin replacement scaffolds.
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    Endothelial Differentiation of CCM1 Knockout iPSCs Triggers the Establishment of a Specific Gene Expression Signature
    (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International, 2023) Pilz, Robin A.; Skowronek, Dariush; Mellinger, Lara; Bekeschus, Sander; Felbor, Ute; Rath, Matthias
    Cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) is a neurovascular disease that can lead to seizures and stroke-like symptoms. The familial form is caused by a heterozygous germline mutation in either the CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3 gene. While the importance of a second-hit mechanism in CCM development is well established, it is still unclear whether it immediately triggers CCM development or whether additional external factors are required. We here used RNA sequencing to study differential gene expression in CCM1 knockout induced pluripotent stem cells (CCM1−/− iPSCs), early mesoderm progenitor cells (eMPCs), and endothelial-like cells (ECs). Notably, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated inactivation of CCM1 led to hardly any gene expression differences in iPSCs and eMPCs. However, after differentiation into ECs, we found the significant deregulation of signaling pathways well known to be involved in CCM pathogenesis. These data suggest that a microenvironment of proangiogenic cytokines and growth factors can trigger the establishment of a characteristic gene expression signature upon CCM1 inactivation. Consequently, CCM1−/− precursor cells may exist that remain silent until entering the endothelial lineage. Collectively, not only downstream consequences of CCM1 ablation but also supporting factors must be addressed in CCM therapy development.
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    Contact-dependent signaling triggers tumor-like proliferation of CCM3 knockout endothelial cells in co-culture with wild-type cells
    (Cham (ZG) : Springer International Publishing AG, 2022) Rath, Matthias; Schwefel, Konrad; Malinverno, Matteo; Skowronek, Dariush; Leopoldi, Alexandra; Pilz, Robin A.; Biedenweg, Doreen; Bekeschus, Sander; Penninger, Josef M.; Dejana, Elisabetta; Felbor, Ute
    Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are low-flow vascular lesions prone to cause severe hemorrhage-associated neurological complications. Pathogenic germline variants in CCM1, CCM2, or CCM3 can be identified in nearly 100% of CCM patients with a positive family history. In line with the concept that tumor-like mechanisms are involved in CCM formation and growth, we here demonstrate an abnormally increased proliferation rate of CCM3-deficient endothelial cells in co-culture with wild-type cells and in mosaic human iPSC-derived vascular organoids. The observation that NSC59984, an anticancer drug, blocked the abnormal proliferation of mutant endothelial cells further supports this intriguing concept. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting and RNA sequencing revealed that co-culture induces upregulation of proangiogenic chemokine genes in wild-type endothelial cells. Furthermore, genes known to be significantly downregulated in CCM3−/− endothelial cell mono-cultures were upregulated back to normal levels in co-culture with wild-type cells. These results support the hypothesis that wild-type ECs facilitate the formation of a niche that promotes abnormal proliferation of mutant ECs. Thus, targeting the cancer-like features of CCMs is a promising new direction for drug development.
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    Plasma-Treated Water Affects Listeria monocytogenes Vitality and Biofilm Structure
    (Lausanne : Frontiers Media, 2021) Handorf, Oliver; Pauker, Viktoria Isabella; Weihe, Thomas; Schäfer, Jan; Freund, Eric; Schnabel, Uta; Bekeschus, Sander; Riedel, Katharina; Ehlbeck, Jörg
    Background: Plasma-generated compounds (PGCs) such as plasma-processed air (PPA) or plasma-treated water (PTW) offer an increasingly important alternative for the control of microorganisms in hard-to-reach areas found in several industrial applications including the food industry. To this end, we studied the antimicrobial capacity of PTW on the vitality and biofilm formation of Listeria monocytogenes, a common foodborne pathogen. Results: Using a microwave plasma (MidiPLexc), 10 ml of deionized water was treated for 100, 300, and 900 s (pre-treatment time), after which the bacterial biofilm was exposed to the PTW for 1, 3, and 5 min (post-treatment time) for each pre-treatment time, separately. Colony-forming units (CFU) were significantly reduced by 4.7 log10 ± 0.29 log10, as well as the metabolic activity decreased by 47.9 ± 9.47% and the cell vitality by 69.5 ± 2.1%, compared to the control biofilms. LIVE/DEAD staining and fluorescence microscopy showed a positive correlation between treatment and incubation times, as well as reduction in vitality. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) indicated changes in the structure quality of the bacterial biofilm. Conclusion: These results indicate a promising antimicrobial impact of plasma-treated water on Listeria monocytogenes, which may lead to more targeted applications of plasma decontamination in the food industry in the future.
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    Cold Atmospheric Plasma Treatment of Chondrosarcoma Cells Affects Proliferation and Cell Membrane Permeability
    (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International, 2020) Haralambiev, Lyubomir; Nitsch, Andreas; Jacoby, Josephine M.; Strakeljahn, Silas; Bekeschus, Sander; Mustea, Alexander; Ekkernkamp, Axel; Stope, Matthias B.
    Chondrosarcoma is the second most common malign bone tumor in adults. Surgical resection of the tumor is recommended because of its resistance to clinical treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Thus, the prognosis for patients mainly depends on sufficient surgical resection. Due to this, research on alternative therapies is needed. Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is an ionized gas that contains various reactive species. Previous studies have shown an anti-oncogenic potential of CAP on different cancer cell types. The current study examined the effects of treatment with CAP on two chondrosarcoma cell lines (CAL-78, SW1353). Through proliferation assay, the cell growth after CAP-treatment was determined. A strong antiproliferative effect for both cell lines was detected. By fluorescein diacetate (FDA) assay and ATP release assay, alterations in the cell membrane and associated translocation of low molecular weight particles through the cytoplasmic membrane were observed. In supernatant, the non-membrane-permeable FDA and endogenously synthesized ATP detected suggest an increased membrane permeability after CAP treatment. Similar results were shown by the dextran-uptake assay. Furthermore, fluorescence microscopic G-/F-actin assay was performed. G-and F-actin were selectively dyed, and the ratio was measured. The presented results indicate CAP-induced changes in cell membrane function and possible alterations in actin-cytoskeleton, which may contribute to the antiproliferative effects of CAP. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
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    Periodic Exposure of Plasma-Activated Medium Alters Fibroblast Cellular Homoeostasis
    (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI), 2022) Bhartiya, Pradeep; Kaushik, Neha; Nguyen, Linh N.; Bekeschus, Sander; Masur, Kai; Weltmann, Klaus-Dieter; Kaushik, Nagendra Kumar; Choi, Eun Ha
    Excess amounts of redox stress and failure to regulate homeostatic levels of reactive species are associated with several skin pathophysiologic conditions. Nonmalignant cells are assumed to cope better with higher reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) levels. However, the effect of periodic stress on this balance has not been investigated in fibroblasts in the field of plasma medicine. In this study, we aimed to investigate intrinsic changes with respect to cellular proliferation, cell cycle, and ability to neutralize the redox stress inside fibroblast cells following periodic redox stress in vitro. Soft jet plasma with air as feeding gas was used to generate plasma-activated medium (PAM) for inducing redox stress conditions. We assessed cellular viability, energetics, and cell cycle machinery under oxidative stress conditions at weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12. Fibroblasts retained their usual physiological properties until 6 weeks. Fibroblasts failed to overcome the redox stress induced by periodic PAM exposure after 6 weeks, indicating its threshold potential. Periodic stress above the threshold level led to alterations in fibroblast cellular processes. These include consistent increases in apoptosis, while RONS accumulation and cell cycle arrest were observed at the final stages. Currently, the use of NTP in clinical settings is limited due to a lack of knowledge about fibroblasts’ behavior in wound healing, scar formation, and other fibrotic disorders. Understanding fibroblasts’ physiology could help to utilize nonthermal plasma in redox-related skin diseases. Furthermore, these results provide new information about the threshold capacity of fibroblasts and an insight into the adaptation mechanism against periodic oxidative stress conditions in fibroblasts.
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    Medical gas plasma-stimulated wound healing: Evidence and mechanisms
    (Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier, 2021) Bekeschus, Sander; von Woedtke, Thomas; Emmert, Steffen; Schmidt, Anke
    Defective wound healing poses a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. In recent years, a novel reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (ROS/RNS) based therapy has received considerable attention among dermatologists for targeting chronic wounds. The multifaceted ROS/RNS are generated using gas plasma technology, a partially ionized gas operated at body temperature. This review integrates preclinical and clinical evidence into a set of working hypotheses mainly based on redox processes aiding in elucidating the mechanisms of action and optimizing gas plasmas for therapeutic purposes. These hypotheses include increased wound tissue oxygenation and vascularization, amplified apoptosis of senescent cells, redox signaling, and augmented microbial inactivation. Instead of a dominant role of a single effector, it is proposed that all mechanisms act in concert in gas plasma-stimulated healing, rationalizing the use of this technology in therapy-resistant wounds. Finally, addressable current challenges and future concepts are outlined, which may further promote the clinical utilization, efficacy, and safety of gas plasma technology in wound care in the future.
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    Cold atmospheric plasma is a potent tool to improve chemotherapy in melanoma in vitro and in vivo
    (Basel : MDPI, 2020) Alimohammadi, Mina; Golpour, Monireh; Sohbatzadeh, Farshad; Hadavi, Seyedehniaz; Bekeschus, Sander; Niaki, Haleh Akhavan; Valadan, Reza; Rafiei, Alireza
    Malignant melanoma is a devastating disease. Because of its aggressiveness, it also serves as a model tumor for investigating novel therapeutic avenues. In recent years, scientific evidence has shown that cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) might be a promising modality in cancer therapy. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effect of CAP generated by an argon plasma jet alone or in combination with dacarbazine (DAC) on melanoma cells in vitro and in vivo. The effects of the CAP on inducing lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide production were higher in B16 melanoma cells in comparison to non-malignant L929 cells. Assays on cell growth, apoptosis, and expression of genes related to, e.g., autophagic processes, showed CAP to have a substantial impact in melanoma cells while there were only minoreffects in L929 cells. In vivo, both CAP monotherapy and combination with DAC significantly decreased tumor growth. These results suggest that CAP not only selectively induces cell death in melanoma but also holds promises in combination with chemotherapy that might lead to improved tumor control. © 2020 by the authors.
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    Medical gas plasma promotes blood coagulation via platelet activation
    (Amsterdam [u.a.] : Elsevier, 2021) Bekeschus, Sander; Poschkamp, Broder; van der Linde, Julia
    Major blood loss still is a risk factor during surgery. Electrocauterization often is used for necrotizing the tissue and thereby halts bleeding (hemostasis). However, the carbonized tissue is prone to falling off, putting patients at risk of severe side effects, such as dangerous internal bleeding many hours after surgery. We have developed a medical gas plasma jet technology as an alternative to electrocauterization and investigated its hemostatic (blood clotting) effects and mechanisms of action using whole human blood. The gas plasma efficiently coagulated anticoagulated donor blood, which resulted from the local lysis of red blood cells (hemolysis). Image cytometry further showed enhanced platelet aggregation. Gas plasmas release reactive oxygen species (ROS), but neither scavenging of long-lived ROS nor addition of chemically-generated ROS were able to abrogate or recapitulate the gas plasma effect, respectively. However, platelet activation was markedly impaired in platelet-rich plasma when compared to gas plasma-treated whole blood that moreover contained significant amounts of hemoglobin indicative of red blood cell lysis (hemolysis). Finally, incubation of whole blood with concentration-matched hemolysates phenocopied the gas plasmas-mediated platelet activation. These results will spur the translation of plasma systems for hemolysis into clinical practice.
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    Combination of Gas Plasma and Radiotherapy Has Immunostimulatory Potential and Additive Toxicity in Murine Melanoma Cells In Vitro
    (Basel : Molecular Diversity Preservation International, 2020) Pasqual-Melo, Gabriella; Sagwal, Sanjeev Kumar; Freund, Eric; Gandhirajan, Rajesh Kumar; Frey, Benjamin; von Woedtke, Thomas; Gaipl, Udo; Bekeschus, Sander
    Despite continuous advances in therapy, malignant melanoma is still among the deadliest types of cancer. At the same time, owing to its high plasticity and immunogenicity, melanoma is regarded as a model tumor entity when testing new treatment approaches. Cold physical plasma is a novel anticancer tool that utilizes a plethora of reactive oxygen species (ROS) being deposited on the target cells and tissues. To test whether plasma treatment would enhance the toxicity of an established antitumor therapy, ionizing radiation, we combined both physical treatment modalities targeting B16F10 murine melanoma cell in vitro. Repeated rather than single radiotherapy, in combination with gas plasma-introduced ROS, induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in an additive fashion. In tendency, gas plasma treatment sensitized the cells to subsequent radiotherapy rather than the other way around. This was concomitant with increased levels of TNFa, IL6, and GM-CSF in supernatants. Murine JAWS dendritic cells cultured in these supernatants showed an increased expression of cell surface activation markers, such as MHCII and CD83. For PD-L1 and PD-L2, increased expression was observed. Our results are the first to suggest an additive therapeutic effect of gas plasma and radiotherapy, and translational tumor models are needed to develop this concept further. © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.