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Open AccessArticle
Development of Asialoglycoprotein Receptor-Targeted Nanoparticles for Selective Delivery of Gemcitabine to Hepatocellular Carcinoma
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4566; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244566 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Selective targeting of anticancer drugs to the tumor site is beneficial in the pharmacotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study evaluated the prospective of galactosylated chitosan nanoparticles as a liver-specific carrier to improve the therapeutic efficacy of gemcitabine in HCC by targeting asialoglycoprotein [...] Read more.
Selective targeting of anticancer drugs to the tumor site is beneficial in the pharmacotherapy of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). This study evaluated the prospective of galactosylated chitosan nanoparticles as a liver-specific carrier to improve the therapeutic efficacy of gemcitabine in HCC by targeting asialoglycoprotein receptors expressed on hepatocytes. Nanoparticles were formulated (G1–G5) by an ionic gelation method and evaluated for various physicochemical characteristics. Targeting efficacy of formulation G4 was evaluated in rats. Physicochemical characteristics exhibited by nanoparticles were optimal for administering and targeting gemcitabine effectively to the liver. The biphasic release behavior observed with G4 can provide higher drug concentration and extend the pharmacotherapy in the liver target site. Rapid plasma clearance of gemcitabine (70% in 30 min) from G4 was noticed in rats with HCC as compared to pure drug (p < 0.05). Higher uptake of gemcitabine predominantly by HCC (64% of administered dose; p < 0.0001) demonstrated excellent liver targeting by G4, while mitigating systemic toxicity. Morphological, biochemical, and histopathological examination as well as blood levels of the tumor marker, alpha-fetoprotein, in rats confirmed the curative effect of G4. In conclusion, this study demonstrated site-specific delivery and enhanced in vivo anti-HCC efficacy of gemcitabine by G4, which could function as promising carrier in hepatoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Materials in Drug Delivery)
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Open AccessArticle
Collection of Anthropogenic Litter from the Shores of Lake Malawi: Characterization of Plastic Debris and the Implications of Public Involvement in the African Great Lakes
Toxics 2019, 7(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxics7040064 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Anthropogenic debris is an environmental problem that affects beaches and coastlines worldwide. The abundance of beach debris is often documented with the use of public volunteers. To date, such community participations have been largely confined to the marine environment, but the presence and [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic debris is an environmental problem that affects beaches and coastlines worldwide. The abundance of beach debris is often documented with the use of public volunteers. To date, such community participations have been largely confined to the marine environment, but the presence and impact of anthropogenic debris on freshwater shorelines has been increasingly recognized. Our study presents the first such information from the African Great Lakes, specifically Lake Malawi. A total of 490,064 items of anthropogenic litter were collected by over 2000 volunteers in a clean-up campaign that took place annually between 2015 and 2018. Approximately 80% of the anthropogenic debris was comprised of plastic litter, with plastic carrier bags being the most common item. The dominance of plastic litter, and in particular the presence of plastic bags, which have subjected to bans in some African countries, is discussed. The broader implications of citizen science in the African Great Lakes area is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prevalence, Fate and Effects of Plastic in Freshwater Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Online Parametric Estimation of Grid Impedance Under Unbalanced Grid Conditions
Energies 2019, 12(24), 4752; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12244752 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Whereas power-electronics-based power systems are expected to enable more integration of renewable energy sources, they could pose crucial challenges including stability issues due to the Thévenin impedance seen by inverters. Such problems could be mitigated by enabling the inverters to estimate the grid [...] Read more.
Whereas power-electronics-based power systems are expected to enable more integration of renewable energy sources, they could pose crucial challenges including stability issues due to the Thévenin impedance seen by inverters. Such problems could be mitigated by enabling the inverters to estimate the grid impedance by including a grid impedance estimation technique into their control loop. However, one aspect which has been overlooked thus far is that the accuracy of such grid impedance estimation techniques is significantly affected by various grid conditions. For instance, the unbalance in three-phase power systems causes unwanted oscillations at double the fundamental frequency in the inverters control loops. Therefore, this paper proposes a simple and reliable online estimation of the grid impedance under unbalanced conditions. The technique is based on wide-band impedance estimation incorporated into the control loop of the positive sequence of a three-phase grid-connected inverter equipped with a positive- and negative-sequence control (PNSC) strategy. Additionally, complex curve fitting is utilized to obtain parametric models of the grid impedance. To demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed grid impedance estimation technique, extensive case studies are performed. These include: (1) unbalanced operations of both resistive-inductive (RL) and resistive-inductive-capacitive (RLC) models of the grid, (2) background harmonics, and (3) asymmetrical impedances of the network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integration of PV in Distribution Networks)
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Open AccessArticle
SnO2/Diatomite Composite Prepared by Solvothermal Reaction for Low-Cost Photocatalysts
Catalysts 2019, 9(12), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9121060 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Abundant contaminants in wastewater have a negative effect on the natural environment and ecology. Developing highly efficient photocatalysts is a practical strategy to solve the pollution issue. In order to prevent the agglomeration of SnO2 nanoparticles and improve the photocatalytic efficiency, porous [...] Read more.
Abundant contaminants in wastewater have a negative effect on the natural environment and ecology. Developing highly efficient photocatalysts is a practical strategy to solve the pollution issue. In order to prevent the agglomeration of SnO2 nanoparticles and improve the photocatalytic efficiency, porous diatomite is adopted as a low-cost template to load monodispersed SnO2 nanoparticles by solvothermal reaction and sintering method. Through adjusting the mass of reactants, monodispersed SnO2 nanoparticles (~15 nm) generated on diatomite template achieved the maximum specific surface area of 23.53 m2·g−1. When served as a photocatalyst for degrading rhodamine B (Rh B) and methylene blue (MB), the composite presents an excellent photocatalytic activity close to pure SnO2, and achieves the fast degradation of Rh B and MB dye in 60 min. The degradation process is in well agreement with the first-order kinetic equation. The superior photocatalytic performance of SnO2/diatomite composite is attributed to the physical adsorption of dye molecules on the pores of diatomite, and the superior photocatalytic activity of monodispersed SnO2 nanoparticles. Due to the low-cost of diatomite and the easy preparation of SnO2 nanoparticles, the SnO2/diatomite composite has a promising application prospect, even better than pure SnO2 photocatalyst. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Catalysis)
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Open AccessCommunication
Foot Plantar Pressure Measurement System Using Highly Sensitive Crack-Based Sensor
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5504; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245504 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Measuring the foot plantar pressure has the potential to be an important tool in many areas such as enhancing sports performance, diagnosing diseases, and rehabilitation. In general, the plantar pressure sensor should have robustness, durability, and high repeatability, as it should measure the [...] Read more.
Measuring the foot plantar pressure has the potential to be an important tool in many areas such as enhancing sports performance, diagnosing diseases, and rehabilitation. In general, the plantar pressure sensor should have robustness, durability, and high repeatability, as it should measure the pressure due to body weight. Here, we present a novel insole foot plantar pressure sensor using a highly sensitive crack-based strain sensor. The sensor is made of elastomer, stainless steel, a crack-based sensor, and a 3D-printed frame. Insoles are made of elastomer with Shore A 40, which is used as part of the sensor, to distribute the load to the sensor. The 3D-printed frame and stainless steel prevent breakage of the crack-based sensor and enable elastic behavior. The sensor response is highly repeatable and shows excellent durability even after 20,000 cycles. We show that the insole pressure sensor can be used as a real-time monitoring system using the pressure visualization program. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomedical Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental and Simulation Study on Tool Life Models in Drilling of Forging Brass Using Uncoated-WC and AlCrN Coated-WC Tools
Coatings 2019, 9(12), 853; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9120853 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Burr is an undesirable phenomenon occurring in drilling operation which is one of the essential operations in the machining industry since it is directly influencing the operating costs. Exit burr height (EBH) values as the function of drilling time during drilling the specific [...] Read more.
Burr is an undesirable phenomenon occurring in drilling operation which is one of the essential operations in the machining industry since it is directly influencing the operating costs. Exit burr height (EBH) values as the function of drilling time during drilling the specific holes of the forging brass workpieces used for producing the water-valve components with the uncoated- tungsten carbide (WC) and the AlCrN coated-WC drills were discussed. The data sets of drilling time, corresponding to EBH values at the appropriate criterion were used to develop the tool life models in terms of cutting speed and feed rate using Taylor’s equation. Monte Carlo simulation was adopted to study the uncertainty of cutting speed and feed rate on tool life predictions for sensitivity analysis. The results showed that drilling with a low feed rate decreased the averages of EBH. The predicted tool life values of the AlCrN coated-WC drills were higher than those of the uncoated-WC ones based on the results of tool life predictions. The appropriate operating condition of the cutting speed of 60 m/min and the feed rate of 0.2 mm/rev was recommended for manufacturers in the drilling of the forging brass workpieces using the AlCrN coated-WC drills. Moreover, the predicted tool life values for the uncoated-WC and the AlCrN coated-WC drills were about 600 and 800 min, respectively. This indicated that the AlCrN coated-WC drill increased tool life by 30%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
First Trimester Maternal Vitamin D Status and Risks of Preterm Birth and Small-For-Gestational Age
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 3042; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11123042 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm and small-for-gestational age (SGA) birth, but studies report conflicting results. We used a multicenter prospective cohort of 2813 pregnant women assessed for 25-OHD levels in the first trimester of pregnancy [...] Read more.
Maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) deficiency during pregnancy may increase the risk of preterm and small-for-gestational age (SGA) birth, but studies report conflicting results. We used a multicenter prospective cohort of 2813 pregnant women assessed for 25-OHD levels in the first trimester of pregnancy to investigate the association between maternal 25-OHD concentrations and risks of preterm birth (<37 weeks) and SGA (birthweight <10th percentile). Odds ratios were adjusted (aOR) for potential cofounders overall and among women with light and dark skin separately, based on the Fitzpatrick scale. 25-OHD concentrations were <20 ng/mL for 45.1% of the cohort. A total of 6.7% of women had a preterm birth. The aOR for preterm birth associated with the 1st quartile of 25-OHD concentrations compared to the 4th quartile was 1.53 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97–2.43). In stratified analyses, an association was observed for women with darker skin (aOR = 2.89 (95% CI: 1.02–8.18)), and no association with lighter skin. A total of 11.9% of births were SGA and there was no association overall or by skin color. Our results do not provide support for an association between maternal first trimester 25-OHD deficiency and risk of preterm or SGA birth overall; the association with preterm birth risk among women with darker skin requires further investigation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance of Dual-Band Short-Wave Infrared InGaAs Focal-Plane Arrays with Interference Narrow-Band Filter
Electronics 2019, 8(12), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics8121537 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
In this work, we fabricated dual-band 800 × 2 short-wave infrared (SWIR) indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) focal-plane arrays (FPAs) using N-InP/i-In0.53Ga0.47As/N-InP double-heterostructure materials, which are often applied in ocean-color remote sensing. Using narrow-band interference-filter integration, our detector-adopted planner structure [...] Read more.
In this work, we fabricated dual-band 800 × 2 short-wave infrared (SWIR) indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) focal-plane arrays (FPAs) using N-InP/i-In0.53Ga0.47As/N-InP double-heterostructure materials, which are often applied in ocean-color remote sensing. Using narrow-band interference-filter integration, our detector-adopted planner structure produced two detection channels with center wavelengths of 1.24 and 1.64 μm, and a full-width half-maximum (FWHM) of 0.02 μm for both channels. The photoelectric characteristics of the spectral response, modulation transfer function (MTF), and detectability of the detector were further analyzed. Our FPAs showed good MTF uniformity with pixel operability as high as 100% for each 800 × 1 linear array. Peak detectivity reached 4.39 × 1012 and 5.82 × 1012 cm·Hz1/2/W at 278 K, respectively, and response nonuniformity was ideal at 2.48% and 2.61%, respectively. As a final step, dual-band infrared detection imaging was successfully carried out in push-broom mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optical Imaging Instrumentation)
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Open AccessArticle
Induction of Hair Keratins Expression by an Annurca Apple-Based Nutraceutical Formulation in Human Follicular Cells
Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 3041; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11123041 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Hair disorders may considerably impact the social and psychological well-being of an individual. Recent advances in the understanding the biology of hair have encouraged the research and development of novel and safer natural hair growth agents. In this context, we have previously demonstrated—at [...] Read more.
Hair disorders may considerably impact the social and psychological well-being of an individual. Recent advances in the understanding the biology of hair have encouraged the research and development of novel and safer natural hair growth agents. In this context, we have previously demonstrated—at both preclinical and clinical level—that an Annurca apple-based dietary supplement (AMS), acting as a nutraceutical, is endowed with an intense hair-inductive activity (trichogenicity), at once increasing hair tropism and keratin content. Herein, in the framework of preclinical investigations, new experiments in primary human models of follicular keratinocytes and dermal papilla cells have been performed to give an insight around AMS biological effects on specific hair keratins expression. As well as confirming the biocompatibility and the antioxidant proprieties of our nutraceutical formulation, we have proven an engagement of trichokeratins production underlying its biological effects on human follicular cells. Annurca apples are particularly rich in oligomeric procyanidins, natural polyphenols belonging to the broader class of bioflavonoids believed to exert many beneficial health effects. To our knowledge, none of the current available remedies for hair loss has hitherto shown to stimulate the production of hair keratins so clearly. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Global Burden of Alcohol Use Disorders and Alcohol Liver Disease
Biomedicines 2019, 7(4), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines7040099 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Alcohol use is a major risk factor for burden of mortality and morbidity. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are important disease outcomes caused by alcohol use. We will describe the global mortality and burden of disease in disability-adjusted life [...] Read more.
Alcohol use is a major risk factor for burden of mortality and morbidity. Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are important disease outcomes caused by alcohol use. We will describe the global mortality and burden of disease in disability-adjusted life years for ALD and AUDs, based on data from the comparative risk assessment of the World Health Organization for 2016. AUDs have a limited impact on mortality in this assessment, since alcohol poisonings are almost the only disease category directly attributable to AUDs; most other alcohol-related deaths are indirect, and the cause which directly led to the death, such as liver cirrhosis, is the one recorded on the death certificate. Burden of disease for AUDs is thus mainly due to disability resulting from alcohol use. In contrast to AUDs, ALD is one of the major lethal outcomes of alcohol use, and burden of disease is mainly due to (premature) years of life lost. Many of the negative outcomes attributable to both AUDs and ALD are due to their interactions with other factors, most notably economic wealth. To avoid alcohol-attributable morbidity and mortality, measures should be taken to reduce the AUDs and ALD burden globally, especially among the poor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcoholic Liver Disease: Diagnostics and Therapeutics)
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Open AccessArticle
Synergistic Inhibition of Acetylcholinesterase by Alkaloids Derived from Stephaniae Tetrandrae Radix, Coptidis Rhizoma and Phellodendri Chinensis Cortex
Molecules 2019, 24(24), 4567; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24244567 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Alkaloids having acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity are commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); for example, berberine from Coptis chinensis, galantamine from Lycoris radiata, and huperzine A from Huperzia serrata. In practice of TCM, Stephaniae Tetrandrae Radix (STR) is often [...] Read more.
Alkaloids having acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitory activity are commonly found in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM); for example, berberine from Coptis chinensis, galantamine from Lycoris radiata, and huperzine A from Huperzia serrata. In practice of TCM, Stephaniae Tetrandrae Radix (STR) is often combined with Coptidis Rhizoma (CR) or Phellodendri Chinensis Cortex (PCC) as paired herbs during clinical application. Fangchinoline from STR and coptisine and/or berberine from CR and/or PCC are active alkaloids in inhibiting AChE. The traditional usage of paired herbs suggests the synergistic effect of fangchinoline–coptisine or fangchinoline–berberine pairing in AChE inhibition. HPLC was applied to identify the main components in herbal extracts of STR, CR, and PCC, and the AChE inhibition of their main components was determined by Ellman assay. The synergism of herb combination and active component combination was calculated by median-effect principle. Molecular docking was applied to investigate the underlying binding mechanisms of the active components with the AChE protein. It was found that fangchinoline showed AChE inhibitory potency; furthermore, fangchinoline–coptisine/berberine pairs (at ratios of 1:5, 1:2, 1:1, and 2:1) synergistically inhibited AChE; the combination index (CI) at different ratios was less than one when Fa = 0.5, suggesting synergistic inhibition of AChE. Furthermore, the molecular docking simulation supported this enzymatic inhibition. Therefore, fangchinoline–coptisine/berberine pairs, or their parental herbal mixtures, may potentially be developed as a possible therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Products in Alzheimer’s Disease Drug Discovery)
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Open AccessArticle
Health Needs of Trans and Gender Diverse Adults in Australia: A Qualitative Analysis of a National Community Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(24), 5088; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16245088 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
There is an increasing demand for trans and gender diverse (TGD) health services worldwide. Given the unique and diverse healthcare needs of the TGD community, best practice TGD health services should be community-led. We aimed to understand the healthcare needs of a broad [...] Read more.
There is an increasing demand for trans and gender diverse (TGD) health services worldwide. Given the unique and diverse healthcare needs of the TGD community, best practice TGD health services should be community-led. We aimed to understand the healthcare needs of a broad group of TGD Australians, how health professionals could better support TGD people, and gain an understanding of TGD-related research priorities. An anonymous online survey received 928 eligible responses from TGD Australian adults. This paper focuses on three questions out of that survey that allowed for free-text responses. The data were qualitatively coded, and overarching themes were identified for each question. Better training for healthcare professionals and more accessible transgender healthcare were the most commonly reported healthcare needs of participants. Findings highlight a pressing need for better training for healthcare professionals in transgender healthcare. In order to meet the demand for TGD health services, more gender services are needed, and in time, mainstreaming health services in primary care will likely improve accessibility. Evaluation of training strategies and further research into optimal models of TGD care are needed; however, until further data is available, views of the TGD community should guide research priorities and the TGD health service delivery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Mental Health)
Open AccessAbstract
The Effect of Zespri® Sungold Kiwifruit and Skin on Immune Function and Gastrointestinal Health
Proceedings 2019, 37(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/proceedings2019037003 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
This study investigated whether daily consumption of three gold-fleshed kiwifruit with and
without the skin could alleviate constipation [...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Peptides, Antibodies, Peptide Antibodies and More
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(24), 6289; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20246289 (registering DOI) - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
The applications of peptides and antibodies to multiple targets have emerged as powerful tools in research, diagnostics, vaccine development, and therapeutics. Antibodies are unique since they, in theory, can be directed to any desired target, which illustrates their versatile nature and broad spectrum [...] Read more.
The applications of peptides and antibodies to multiple targets have emerged as powerful tools in research, diagnostics, vaccine development, and therapeutics. Antibodies are unique since they, in theory, can be directed to any desired target, which illustrates their versatile nature and broad spectrum of use as illustrated by numerous applications of peptide antibodies. In recent years, due to the inherent limitations such as size and physical properties of antibodies, it has been attempted to generate new molecular compounds with equally high specificity and affinity, albeit with relatively low success. Based on this, peptides, antibodies, and peptide antibodies have established their importance and remain crucial reagents in molecular biology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Antibody Design and Antigenic Peptide Targeting)
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