R.B.V. Schmuck received Charité Robert-Koch-Prize 2012
Today, Rosa Schmuck received the 2012 Charité Robert-Koch-Prize for her doctoral thesis entitled „Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of side population of gastric cancer cell lines“ (group of Prof. C. Röcken).

The Side Population (SP) of tumor cell lines shares characteristics with tumor stem cells. In this study we phenotypically and genotypically characterized the SP of gastric cancer cell lines. SPs were obtained from MKN45- and AGS-gastric cancer cells using Hoechst 33342 staining and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). SP cells were subsequently studied morphologically (cytology, immunocytochemistry), on the transcriptional level (gene array) and in cell culture (recultivation assays). Genes differentially expressed in the SP cells were evaluated by immunohistochemistry in tissue from gastric cancer patients. SP cells were smaller and rounder then Non-SP cells. SP cells self-renewed in re-cultivation experiments and differentiated into SP- and Non-SP cells. Re-cultivated SP- and Non-SP cells showed distinct phenotypes in culture regarding cell shape and colony-formation. SP cells had increased levels of the stem cell markers CD133 and Musashi1. Transcriptional analyses demonstrated that SP cells express genes that encode for stem cell properties like FZD7, HEY1, SMO and ADAM17. Finally she found ADAM17 and FZD7 to be differentially expressed in human gastric cancer, with FZD7- positive intestinal type cancers showing a significant shorter patient survival. In conclusion human gastric cancer cell lines enclose a phenotypically and genotypically distinct cell population with tumor stem cell features. Phenotypical characteristics of this distinct cell population are also present in gastric cancer tissue and seem to correlate with patient survival.
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Our manuscript "Depletion of donor dendritic cells ameliorates immunogenicity of both skin and hind limb transplants" has been accepted for publication in Frontiers in Immunology, section Alloimmunity and Transplantation. Authors are Muhammad Imtiaz Ashraf, Joerg Mengwasser, Anja Reutzel-Selke, Dietrich Polenz, Kirsten Führer, Steffen Lippert, Peter Tang, Edward Michaelis, Rusan Catar, Johann Pratschke, Christian Witzel, Igor M. Sauer, Stefan G. Tullius, and Barbara Kern.

Acute cellular rejection remains a significant obstacle affecting successful outcomes of organ transplantation including vascularized composite tissue allografts (VCA). Donor antigen presenting cells (APC), particularly dendritic cells (DC), orchestrate early alloimmune responses by activating recipient effector T cells. Employing a targeted approach, we investigated the impact of donor-derived conventional DC (cDC) and APC on the immunogenicity of skin and skin-containing VCA grafts, using mouse models of skin and hind limb transplantation.
By post-transplantation day 6, skin grafts demonstrated severe rejections, characterized by predominance of recipient CD4 T cells. In contrast, hind limb grafts showed moderate rejection, primarily infiltrated by CD8 T cells. While donor depletion of cDC and APC reduced frequencies, maturation, and activation of DC in all analysed tissues of skin transplant recipients, reduction in DC activities was only observed in the spleen of hind limb recipients. Donor cDC and APC depletion did not impact all lymphocyte compartments but significantly affected CD8 T cells and activated CD4 T in lymph nodes of skin recipients. Moreover, both donor APC and cDC depletion attenuated the Th17 immune response, evident by significantly reduced Th17 (CD4+IL-17+) cells in the spleen of skin recipients and reduced levels of IL-17E and lymphotoxin-α in the serum samples of both skin and hind limb recipients. In conclusion, our findings underscore the highly immunogenic nature of skin component in VCA. The depletion of donor APC and cDC mitigates the immunogenicity of skin grafts while exerting minimal impact on VCA.




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