Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Biomarkers in Pediatric Community-Acquired Pneumonia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 447; doi:10.3390/ijms18020447 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or a combination of these infectious agents. The severity of the clinical manifestations of CAP varies significantly. Consequently, both the differentiation of viral from bacterial CAP cases and the accurate assessment and
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Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria, viruses, or a combination of these infectious agents. The severity of the clinical manifestations of CAP varies significantly. Consequently, both the differentiation of viral from bacterial CAP cases and the accurate assessment and prediction of disease severity are critical for effectively managing individuals with CAP. To solve questionable cases, several biomarkers indicating the etiology and severity of CAP have been studied. Unfortunately, only a few studies have examined the roles of these biomarkers in pediatric practice. The main aim of this paper is to detail current knowledge regarding the use of biomarkers to diagnose and treat CAP in children, analyzing the most recently published relevant studies. Despite several attempts, the etiologic diagnosis of pediatric CAP and the estimation of the potential outcome remain unsolved problems in most cases. Among traditional biomarkers, procalcitonin (PCT) appears to be the most effective for both selecting bacterial cases and evaluating the severity. However, a precise cut-off separating bacterial from viral and mild from severe cases has not been defined. The three-host protein assay based on C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), plasma interferon-γ protein-10 (IP-10), and micro-array-based whole genome expression arrays might offer more advantages in comparison with former biomarkers. However, further studies are needed before the routine use of those presently in development can be recommended. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Where There Is No History: How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance
Water 2017, 9(2), 130; doi:10.3390/w9020130 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Trust is often seen as an important element in settings of knowledge sharing and the co-creation of knowledge for dealing with transformations in water governance. However, seemingly similar conversations during a co-creation workshop in Uppsala resulted in both trust and distrust, and thereby
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Trust is often seen as an important element in settings of knowledge sharing and the co-creation of knowledge for dealing with transformations in water governance. However, seemingly similar conversations during a co-creation workshop in Uppsala resulted in both trust and distrust, and thereby influenced consequent possibilities for the co-creation of knowledge. Therefore, this article focuses on how trust influences knowledge sharing and how knowledge sharing influences trust. We use a case study approach to analyze the Uppsala co-creation workshop—part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (CADWAGO) project—by comparing 25 conversations, making use of theories on swift trust and trust dynamics. We found four different conversation patterns (1) sending; (2) defending; (3) misunderstanding; and (4) connecting. The first three patterns influenced trust negatively and did not lead to knowledge sharing, whereas pattern four showed trust development and co-creation of knowledge. From our comparative analyses, we conclude that trust starts to emerge when there is mutual openness and empathy visible in turn-taking patterns. More specifically, trust emerges when communication styles allow for recognition and exploring underlying needs and wishes, resulting in a more dynamic dialogue, further trust development, and connection between actors. Our list of conversation patterns is provisional but we argue that understanding how different kinds of interactions can lead to trust or distrust is crucial to understanding why and how learning takes place—insights that are essential for fostering learning and transformations in water governance. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Integrating Pharmacoproteomics into Early-Phase Clinical Development: State-of-the-Art, Challenges, and Recommendations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2017, 18(2), 448; doi:10.3390/ijms18020448 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Pharmacoproteomics is the study of disease-modifying and toxicity parameters associated with therapeutic drug administration, using analysis of quantitative and temporal changes to specific, predetermined, and select proteins, or to the proteome as a whole. Pharmacoproteomics is a rapidly evolving field, with progress in
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Pharmacoproteomics is the study of disease-modifying and toxicity parameters associated with therapeutic drug administration, using analysis of quantitative and temporal changes to specific, predetermined, and select proteins, or to the proteome as a whole. Pharmacoproteomics is a rapidly evolving field, with progress in analytic technologies enabling processing of complex interactions of large number of unique proteins and effective use in clinical trials. Nevertheless, our analysis of clinicaltrials.gov and PubMed shows that the application of proteomics in early-phase clinical development is minimal and limited to few therapeutic areas, with oncology predominating. We review the history, technologies, current usage, challenges, and potential for future use, and conclude with recommendations for integration of pharmacoproteomic in early-phase drug development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Hydrophilic Dogwood Extracts as Materials for Reducing the Skin Irritation Potential of Body Wash Cosmetics
Molecules 2017, 22(2), 320; doi:10.3390/molecules22020320 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A significant problem related to the use of surfactants in body wash cosmetics is their propensity to trigger skin irritations. Only scarce literature exists on the effect of plant extracts on the skin irritation potential. The present study is an attempt to determine
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A significant problem related to the use of surfactants in body wash cosmetics is their propensity to trigger skin irritations. Only scarce literature exists on the effect of plant extracts on the skin irritation potential. The present study is an attempt to determine the effect of hydrophilic dogwood extracts on the irritant potential of body wash gels. Extractants used in the study were water and mixtures of water with glycerine, water with trimethylglycine (betaine), and water with plant-derived glycol (propanediol). The basic biochemical properties, i.e., the ability to neutralize free radicals, and the content of polyphenols, anthocyanins and flavonoids, were determined. An attempt was undertaken to analyze the impact of the extract added to natural body wash gel formulations on product properties. The skin irritation potential was assessed by determining the zein number and the increase in the pH level of the bovine serum albumin (BSA) solution. The viscosity and foaming ability of the resulting products were evaluated. The studies revealed that an addition of dogwood extract contributes to an improvement in the properties of body wash gels and significantly increases the safety of product use through reducing the skin irritation effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Single-Use, In Vitro Biosensor for the Detection of T-Tau Protein, A Biomarker of Neuro-Degenerative Disorders, in PBS and Human Serum Using Differential Pulse Voltammetry (DPV)
Biosensors 2017, 7(1), 10; doi:10.3390/bios7010010 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A single-use, in vitro biosensor for the detection of T-Tau protein in phosphate-buffer saline (PBS) and undiluted human serum was designed, manufactured, and tested. Differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) served as the transduction mechanism. This biosensor consisted of three electrodes: working, counter, and reference
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A single-use, in vitro biosensor for the detection of T-Tau protein in phosphate-buffer saline (PBS) and undiluted human serum was designed, manufactured, and tested. Differential pulse voltammetry (DPV) served as the transduction mechanism. This biosensor consisted of three electrodes: working, counter, and reference electrodes fabricated on a PET sheet. Both working and counter electrodes were thin gold film, 10 nm in thickness. Laser ablation technique was used to define the size and structure of the biosensor. The biosensor was produced using cost-effective roll-to-roll process. Self-assembled monolayers (SAM) of 3-mercaptopropionic acid (MPA) were employed to covalently immobilize the anti-T-Tau (T-Tau antibody) on the gold working electrode. A carbodiimide conjugation approach using N-(3-dimethylaminopropyl)-N’-ethylcarbodiimide hydrochloride (EDC) and N–hydroxysuccinimide (NHS) cross-linked anti-T-Tau to the carboxylic groups on one end of the MPA. A T-Tau protein ladder with six isoforms was used in this study. The anti-T-Tau concentration used was 500,000 pg/mL. The T-Tau protein concentration ranged from 1000 pg/mL to 100,000 pg/mL. DPV measurements showed excellent responses, with a good calibration curve. Thus, a practical tool for simple detection of T-Tau protein, a biomarker of neuro-degenerative disorders, has been successfully developed. This tool could also be extended to detect other biomarkers for neuro-degenerative disorders, such as P-Tau protein and β-amyloid 42. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Hydrocarbon Trade Options for the Maghreb Region and Europe—Renewable Energy Based Synthetic Fuels for a Net Zero Emissions World
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 306; doi:10.3390/su9020306 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Concerns about climate change and increasing emission costs are drivers for new sources of fuels for Europe. Sustainable hydrocarbons can be produced synthetically by power-to-gas (PtG) and power-to-liquids (PtL) facilities, for sectors with low direct electrification such as aviation, heavy transportation and chemical
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Concerns about climate change and increasing emission costs are drivers for new sources of fuels for Europe. Sustainable hydrocarbons can be produced synthetically by power-to-gas (PtG) and power-to-liquids (PtL) facilities, for sectors with low direct electrification such as aviation, heavy transportation and chemical industry. Hybrid PV–Wind power plants can harvest high solar and wind potentials of the Maghreb region to power these systems. This paper calculates the cost of these fuels for Europe, and presents a respective business case for the Maghreb region. Calculations are hourly resolved to find the least cost combination of technologies in a 0.45° × 0.45° spatial resolution. Results show that, for 7% weighted average cost of capital (WACC), renewable energy based synthetic natural gas (RE-SNG) and RE-diesel can be produced in 2030 for a minimum cost of 76 €/MWhHHV (0.78 €/m3SNG) and 88 €/MWhHHV (0.85 €/L), respectively. While in 2040, these production costs can drop to 66 €/MWhHHV (0.68 €/m3SNG) and 83 €/MWhHHV (0.80 €/L), respectively. Considering access to a WACC of 5% in a de-risking project, oxygen sales and CO2 emissions costs, RE-diesel can reach fuel-parity at crude oil prices of 101 and 83 USD/bbl in 2030 and 2040, respectively. Thus, RE-synthetic fuels could be produced to answer fuel demand and remove environmental concerns in Europe at an affordable cost. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Suitability of Different Nighttime Light Data for GDP Estimation at Different Spatial Scales and Regional Levels
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 305; doi:10.3390/su9020305 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Nighttime light data offer a unique view of the Earth’s surface and can be used to estimate the spatial distribution of gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, using a simple regression function, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) has been used
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Nighttime light data offer a unique view of the Earth’s surface and can be used to estimate the spatial distribution of gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, using a simple regression function, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) has been used to correlate regional and global GDP values. In early 2013, the first global Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS) nighttime light data were released. Compared with DMSP/OLS, they have a higher spatial resolution and a wider radiometric detection range. This paper aims to study the suitability of the two nighttime light data sources for estimating the GDP relationship between the provincial and city levels in Mainland China, as well as of different regression functions. First, NPP/VIIRS nighttime light data for 2014 are corrected with DMSP/OLS data for 2013 to reduce the background noise in the original data. Subsequently, three regression functions are used to estimate the relationship between nighttime light data and GDP statistical data at the provincial and city levels in Mainland China. Then, through the comparison of the relative residual error (RE) and the relative root mean square error (RRMSE) parameters, a systematical assessment of the suitability of the GDP estimation is provided. The results show that the NPP/VIIRS nighttime light data are better than the DMSP/OLS data for GDP estimation, whether at the provincial or city level, and that the power function and polynomial models are better for GDP estimation than the linear regression model. This study reveals that the accuracy of GDP estimation based on nighttime light data is affected by the resolution of the data and the spatial scale of the study area, as well as by the land cover types and industrial structures of the study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity and Its Protocol: What Can Some Numbers Tell Us about the Effectiveness of the Regulatory Regime?
Resources 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/resources6010011 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992 and entered into force at the end of 1993, established a global regime on access to genetic resources (GR) and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime). Its
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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted in 1992 and entered into force at the end of 1993, established a global regime on access to genetic resources (GR) and sharing of benefits arising from their utilization (Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) regime). Its protocol—the Nagoya Protocol (NP)—which entered into force 21 years later in 2014, clears up some terminological ambiguities of the Convention, clarifies and develops several procedural and instrumental elements of the regime, and obliges States Parties to implement some of its provisions, including the core instrument of the regime: the bilateral ABS agreement between users and providers of GR, that became a condition for obtaining access to the resource. However, scholars who analyzed the ABS regime as well as its official bodies find, and sometimes deplore, the small number of ABS agreements concluded so far, under the CBD as under the NP. This paper has two objectives: First, to assess the effectiveness of the ABS regime implemented by the CBD and the NP on the basis of its central instrument: the ABS agreements concluded between users and providers of GR. The aim is to accurately document the number of ABS agreements concluded since the entry into force of the regime. To our knowledge, such a counting that is neither piecemeal nor has an estimate yet been produced. To do so, I combine several sources, including first hand data collected from the official information agencies—the National Focal Points (NFP)—of each of the States Parties to the NP. Second, I provide a critical summary of the existing explanations of the low number of ABS agreements concluded and I evaluate the corresponding causal mechanisms, relying on the results I obtained regarding the number of permits and agreements. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Neoflavonoids as Inhibitors of HIV-1 Replication by Targeting the Tat and NF-κB Pathways
Molecules 2017, 22(2), 321; doi:10.3390/molecules22020321 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Twenty-eightneoflavonoids have been prepared and evaluated in vitro against HIV-1. Antiviral activity was assessed on MT-2 cells infected with viral clones carrying the luciferase reporter gene. Inhibition of HIV transcription and Tat function were tested on cells stably transfected with the HIV-LTR
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Twenty-eightneoflavonoids have been prepared and evaluated in vitro against HIV-1. Antiviral activity was assessed on MT-2 cells infected with viral clones carrying the luciferase reporter gene. Inhibition of HIV transcription and Tat function were tested on cells stably transfected with the HIV-LTR and Tat protein. Seven 4-phenylchromen-2-one derivatives showed HIV transcriptional inhibitory activity but only the phenylchrome-2-one 10 inhibited NF-κB and displayed anti-Tat activity simultaneously. Compounds 10, 14, and 25, inhibited HIV replication in both targets at concentrations <25 μM. The assays of these synthetic 4-phenylchromen-2-ones may aid in the investigation of some aspects of the anti-HIV activity of such compounds and could serve as a scaffold for designing better anti-HIV compounds, which may lead to a potential anti-HIV therapeutic drug. Full article

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