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Projects

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Cellular mechanisms mediating damage to immature cultivated brain cells

Principal Investigator: Dr. Monika Berns

Aimed at understanding mechanisms involved in perturbing the immature brain, the effects of clinically relevant noxious stimuli on primary neuronal cultures and astrocytes are being studied in vitro. This approach allows for establishing detailed dose-response curves and dissecting intracellular signal transduction pathways. The current focus is on hyperoxia, estrogen and progesterone in astrocytes (S. Römer, S. Huppmann, F. Weber), differentiation patterns of neuronal precursor cells in response to low or high oxygen (V. Boos, M. Berns) and toxicity of drugs used in neonatal intensive care units such as ibuprofen (M. Berns) or anesthetics (L. Seeberg, R. Zacharias, T. Kerner, M. Schmidt).

Neonatal Haematopoiesis

Principal Investigator: Dr. Malte Cremer

Almost every premature infant admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit is affected by anaemia and/or thrombocytopenia. Analysing innovative parameters of the full blood count by fully-automated analysers is helpful to evaluate neonatal thrombocytopenia. We could demonstrate that the immature platelet fraction (IPF) is useful parameter in predicting the course of neonatal thrombocytopenia. This parameter is now under investigation in a prospective trial in combination with other megakaryopoietic parameters in premature infants. On the other hand, regulation of haematopoiesis by cytokines and growth factor is complex. The therapy of the anaemia of prematurity with erythropoietin results in a marginal effect erythropoiesis and only the minority of premature infants profit from such therapy. We are investigating with other factors may contribute to anaemia of prematurity. Similar questions are answered in animal models of congenital thrombocytopenia.

Cooperation: PD Dr. rer. nat. Harald Schulze, Padiatric Molecular Biology, Charité, Dr. Med. Dipl. biochem. Andreas Weimann, Institute for Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiochemistry, Charité

Co-workers: Philipp Deindl, Sebastian Hartenstein, Oliver Winter, David Szekessy

Protection of the immature brain against high oxygen-mediated damage

Principal Investigator: Dr. Stefanie Endesfelder

The growing understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in the increased sensitivity of the developing brain towards various conditions such as high oxygen, anti-epileptic drugs or mediators of inflammation provides opportunities to specifically search for potentially protective medications. Experiments carried out in vivo (employing newborn rats) and in vitro (employing cultured fetal or neonatal brain cells) complement each other to elucidate signal transduction pathways and characterize the interaction of neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, microglia, and endothelial cells.

Study Investigators: Felix Brehmer, Ulrike Weichelt, Monika Berns, Ruth Herrmann, Rodica Altmann, Max Lehmann, Maria Breiler, Greta Freundt, Christoph Bührer

Cooperation: Prof U Felderhoff-Müser, Universitätskinderklinik Essen

Pain assessment and therapy in newborns

Principal Investigator: Lars Garten, MD

Aside from being exposed to stress resulting from their illnesses, newborns on the intensive care unit often experience pain. Despite a significant increase in our knowledge of neonatal pain in recent years, many questions remain unanswered. Our clinical research focuses on different fields of neonatal pain research, e.g. new methods for pain assessment in premature and full-term infants or differences in the use of opioids during palliative care in neonatal and paediatric intensive care units.

Collaborators: Annette Münch, Anke Wendt, Philipp Deindl, Steffen Dähmlow, Tobias Reindl

Cooperation: Klinik für Allgemeine Pädiatrie und Klinik für Pädiatrie mit Schwerpunkt Onkologie/Hämatologie der Charité (Clinic for General Paediatrics and Clinic for Paediatrics, Focus on Oncology/Haematology of the Charité)

Sponsorship: "Förderverein für frühgeborene Kinder an der Charité e.V."