Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Non-Culture Diagnostics for Invasive Candidiasis: Promise and Unintended Consequences
J. Fungi 2018, 4(1), 27; doi:10.3390/jof4010027 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase
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Blood cultures are positive for Candida species in < 50% and < 20% of hematogenously disseminated and intra-abdominal candidiasis, respectively. Non-culture tests such as mannan, anti-mannan antibody, Candida albicans germ tube antibody (CAGTA), 1,3-β-d-glucan (BDG), the T2Candida nanodiagnostic panel, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) are available for clinical use, but their roles in patient care are uncertain. Sensitivity/specificity of combined mannan/anti-mannan, BDG, T2Candida and PCR for candidemia are ~80%/80%, ~80%/80%, ~90%/98%, and ~90%/90%, respectively. Limited data for intra-abdominal candidiasis suggest CAGTA, BDG sensitivity/specificity of ~65%/75% and PCR sensitivity of ~85–90%. PCR specificity has varied widely for intra-abdominal candidiasis (33–97%), and T2Candida data are lacking. Tests will be useful if restricted to cases in which positive and negative predictive values (PPVs, NPVs) differ in a clinically meaningful way from the pre-test likelihood of invasive candidiasis. In some patients, PPVs are sufficient to justify antifungal treatment, even if blood cultures are negative. In most patients, NPVs of each test are excellent, which may support decisions to withhold antifungal therapy. If test results are not interpreted judiciously, non-culture diagnostics may have unintended consequences for stewardship and infection prevention programs. In particular, discrepant non-culture test-positive/culture-negative results may promote inappropriate antifungal treatment of patients who are unlikely to have candidiasis, and lead to spurious reporting of hospital-acquired infections. In conclusion, non-culture Candida diagnostics have potential to advance patient care, but this promise will be realized only if users understand tests’ strengths and limitations, and plan proactively for how best to employ them at their hospitals. Full article
Open AccessReview
The Role of the Estrogen Pathway in the Tumor Microenvironment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(2), 611; doi:10.3390/ijms19020611 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Estrogen receptors are broadly expressed in many cell types involved in the innate and adaptive immune responses, and differentially regulate the production of cytokines. While both genomic and non-genomic tumor cell promoting mechanisms of estrogen signaling are well characterized in multiple carcinomas including
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Estrogen receptors are broadly expressed in many cell types involved in the innate and adaptive immune responses, and differentially regulate the production of cytokines. While both genomic and non-genomic tumor cell promoting mechanisms of estrogen signaling are well characterized in multiple carcinomas including breast, ovarian, and lung, recent investigations have identified a potential immune regulatory role of estrogens in the tumor microenvironment. Tumor immune tolerance is a well-established mediator of oncogenesis, with increasing evidence indicating the importance of the immune response in tumor progression. Immune-based therapies such as antibodies that block checkpoint signals have emerged as exciting therapeutic approaches for cancer treatment, offering durable remissions and prolonged survival. However, only a subset of patients demonstrate clinical response to these agents, prompting efforts to elucidate additional immunosuppressive mechanisms within the tumor microenvironment. Evidence drawn from multiple cancer types, including carcinomas traditionally classified as non-immunogenic, implicate estrogen as a potential mediator of immunosuppression through modulation of protumor responses independent of direct activity on tumor cells. Herein, we review the interplay between estrogen and the tumor microenvironment and the clinical implications of endocrine therapy as a novel treatment strategy within immuno-oncology. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Performance Assessment of Balloon-Borne Trace Gas Sounding with the Terahertz Channel of TELIS
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 315; doi:10.3390/rs10020315 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Short-term variations in the atmospheric environment over polar regions are attracting increasing attention with respect to the reliable analysis of ozone loss. Balloon-borne remote sensing instruments with good vertical resolution and flexible sampling density can act as a prototype to overcome the potential
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Short-term variations in the atmospheric environment over polar regions are attracting increasing attention with respect to the reliable analysis of ozone loss. Balloon-borne remote sensing instruments with good vertical resolution and flexible sampling density can act as a prototype to overcome the potential technical challenges in the design of new spaceborne atmospheric sensors and represent a valuable tool for validating spaceborne observations. A multi-channel cryogenic heterodyne spectrometer known as the TErahertz and submillimeter LImb Sounder (TELIS) has been developed. It allows limb sounding of the upper troposphere and stratosphere (10–40 km) within the far infrared (FIR) and submillimeter spectral regimes. This paper describes and assesses the performance of the profile retrieval scheme for TELIS with a focus on the ozone (O3), hydrogen chloride (HCl), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydroxyl radical (OH) measured during three northern polar campaigns in 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively. The corresponding inversion diagnostics reveal that some forward/instrument model parameters play important roles in the total retrieval error. The accuracy of the radiometric calibration and the spectroscopic knowledge has a significant impact on retrieval at higher altitudes, whereas the pointing accuracy dominates the total error at lower altitudes. The TELIS retrievals achieve a vertical resolution of ∼ 2–3 km through most of the stratosphere below the balloon height. Dominant water vapor (H2O) contamination and low abundances of the target species reduce the retrieval sensitivity at the lowermost altitudes measured by TELIS. An extensive comparison shows that the TELIS profiles are consistent with profiles obtained by other limb sounders. The comparison appears to be very promising, except for discrepancies in the upper troposphere due to numerical regularization. This study not only consolidates the validity of balloon-borne TELIS FIR measurements, but also demonstrates the scientific relevance and technical feasibility of terahertz limb sounding of the stratosphere. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Trifluoromethyl Boron Dipyrromethene Derivatives as Potential Photosensitizers for Photodynamic Therapy
Molecules 2018, 23(2), 458; doi:10.3390/molecules23020458 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this study, two novel boron dipyrromethene-based photosensitizers (BDP3and BDP6) substituted with three or six trifluoromethyl groups have been synthesized and characterized with various spectroscopic methods, and their photo-physical, photo-chemical, and photo-biological properties have also been explored. The two photosensitizers
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In this study, two novel boron dipyrromethene-based photosensitizers (BDP3and BDP6) substituted with three or six trifluoromethyl groups have been synthesized and characterized with various spectroscopic methods, and their photo-physical, photo-chemical, and photo-biological properties have also been explored. The two photosensitizers are highly soluble and remain nonaggregated in N,N-dimethylformamide as shown by the intense and sharp Q-band absorption. Under red light irradiation (λ = 660 nm, 1.5 J/cm2), both photosensitizers show high and comparable cytotoxicity towards HepG2 human hepatocarcinoma and HeLa human cervical carcinoma cells with IC50 values of 0.42–0.49 μM. The high photocytotoxicity of BDP3and BDP6 can be due to their high cellular uptake and low aggregation tendency in biological media, which result in a high efficiency to generate reactive oxygen species inside the cells. Confocal laser fluorescence microscopic studies indicate that they have superior selective affinities to the mitochondria and lysosomes of HepG2 and HeLa cells. The results show that these two trifluoromethyl boron dipyrromethene derivatives are potential anticancer agents for photodynamic therapy. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assimilation of MODIS Snow Cover Fraction Observations into the NASA Catchment Land Surface Model
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 316; doi:10.3390/rs10020316 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The NASA Catchment land surface model (CLSM) is the land model component used for the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA). Here, the CLSM versions of MERRA and MERRA-Land are evaluated using snow cover fraction (SCF) observations from the Moderate Resolution
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The NASA Catchment land surface model (CLSM) is the land model component used for the Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA). Here, the CLSM versions of MERRA and MERRA-Land are evaluated using snow cover fraction (SCF) observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). Moreover, a computationally-efficient empirical scheme is designed to improve CLSM estimates of SCF, snow depth, and snow water equivalent (SWE) through the assimilation of MODIS SCF observations. Results show that data assimilation (DA) improved SCF estimates compared to the open-loop model without assimilation (OL), especially in areas with ephemeral snow cover and mountainous regions. A comparison of the SCF estimates from DA against snow cover estimates from the NOAA Interactive Multisensor Snow and Ice Mapping System showed an improvement in the probability of detection of up to 28% and a reduction in false alarms by up to 6% (relative to OL). A comparison of the model snow depth estimates against Canadian Meteorological Centre analyses showed that DA successfully improved the model seasonal bias from −0.017 m for OL to −0.007 m for DA, although there was no significant change in root-mean-square differences (RMSD) (0.095 m for OL, 0.093 m for DA). The time-average of the spatial correlation coefficient also improved from 0.61 for OL to 0.63 for DA. A comparison against in situ SWE measurements also showed improvements from assimilation. The correlation increased from 0.44 for OL to 0.49 for DA, the bias improved from −0.111 m for OL to −0.100 m for DA, and the RMSD decreased from 0.186 m for OL to 0.180 m for DA. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Neodymium Recovery by Chitosan/Iron(III) Hydroxide [ChiFer(III)] Sorbent Material: Batch and Column Systems
Polymers 2018, 10(2), 204; doi:10.3390/polym10020204 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A low cost composite material was synthesized for neodymium recovery from dilute aqueous solutions. The in-situ production of the composite containing chitosan and iron(III) hydroxide (ChiFer(III)) was improved and the results were compared with raw chitosan particles. The sorbent was characterized using Fourier
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A low cost composite material was synthesized for neodymium recovery from dilute aqueous solutions. The in-situ production of the composite containing chitosan and iron(III) hydroxide (ChiFer(III)) was improved and the results were compared with raw chitosan particles. The sorbent was characterized using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray analyses (SEM-EDX). The equilibrium studies were performed using firstly a batch system, and secondly a continuous system. The sorption isotherms were fitted with the Langmuir, Freundlich, and Sips models; experimental data was better described with the Langmuir equation and the maximum sorption capacity was 13.8 mg g-1 at pH 4. The introduction of iron into the biopolymer matrix increases by four times the sorption uptake of the chitosan; the individual sorption capacity of iron (into the composite) was calculated as 30.9 mg Nd/g Fe. The experimental results of the columns were fitted adequately using the Thomas model. As an approach to Nd-Fe-B permanent magnets effluents, a synthetic dilute effluent was simulated at pH 4, in order to evaluate the selectivity of the sorbent material; the overshooting of boron in the column system confirmed the higher selectivity toward neodymium ions. The elution step was carried out using MilliQ-water with the pH set to 3.5 (dilute HCl solution). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
QCD Equations of State in Hadron–Qutark Continuity
Universe 2018, 4(2), 42; doi:10.3390/universe4020042 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The properties of dense matter in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) are delineated through equations of state constrained by the neutron star observations. The two solar mass constraint, the radius constraint of ≃11–13 km, and the causality constraint on the speed of sound, are used
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The properties of dense matter in quantum chromodynamics (QCD) are delineated through equations of state constrained by the neutron star observations. The two solar mass constraint, the radius constraint of ≃11–13 km, and the causality constraint on the speed of sound, are used to develop the picture of hadron–quark continuity in which hadronic matter continuously transforms into quark matter. A unified equation of state at zero temperature and β-equilibrium is constructed by a phenomenological interpolation between nuclear and quark matter equations of state. Full article

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