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Open AccessReview
A Review of Research on Intersection Control Based on Connected Vehicles and Data-Driven Intelligent Approaches
Electronics 2020, 9(6), 885; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics9060885 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Benefiting from the application of vehicle communication networks and new technologies, such as connected vehicles, video monitoring, automated vehicles and vehicle–road collaboration, traffic network data can be observed in real-time. Applied in the field of traffic control, these technologies can provide high-quality input [...] Read more.
Benefiting from the application of vehicle communication networks and new technologies, such as connected vehicles, video monitoring, automated vehicles and vehicle–road collaboration, traffic network data can be observed in real-time. Applied in the field of traffic control, these technologies can provide high-quality input data and make a more comprehensive evaluation of the effectiveness of traffic control. However, most of the control theories and strategies adopted by adaptive control systems cannot effectively use these real-time, high-precision data. In order to adapt to the development of the times, intersection control theory needs to be further developed. This paper reviews the intersection control strategies from many perspectives, including intelligent data-driven control, conventional timing control, induction control and model-based traffic control. There are three main directions for intersection control based on the connected vehicle environment: (1) data-driven reinforcement learning control; (2) adaptive performance optimization control; (3) research on traffic control based on the environment of connected vehicles (CV); and (4) multiple intersection control based on the CV environment. The review gives a clear view of the data-driven intelligent control theory and its application for intelligent transportation systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Data Analysis in Intelligent Communication Systems)
Open AccessEditorial
The Interplay Between Antioxidants and the Immune System: A Promising Field, Still Looking for Answers
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1550; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061550 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Modulation of the immune response has long been proposed as a therapeutic target in several widespread diseases, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases[...] Full article
Open AccessReview
Metabolic Impacts of Confinement during the COVID-19 Pandemic Due to Modified Diet and Physical Activity Habits
Nutrients 2020, 12(6), 1549; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061549 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
While the detrimental effects of a chronic positive energy balance due to a sedentary lifestyle have been well established, the impacts of a short period of abruptly reduced physical activity and overeating arising from strict confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic will soon [...] Read more.
While the detrimental effects of a chronic positive energy balance due to a sedentary lifestyle have been well established, the impacts of a short period of abruptly reduced physical activity and overeating arising from strict confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic will soon start to emerge. To reasonably anticipate major consequences according to the available evidence, we hereby review the literature for studies that have explored the health impacts of several weeks of a reduction in physical activity and daily step-count combined with modified eating habits. These studies identify as main metabolic consequences increases in insulin resistance, total body fat, abdominal fat and inflammatory cytokines. All these factors have been strongly associated with the development of metabolic syndrome, which in turn increases the risk of multiple chronic diseases. A plausible mechanism involved in these impacts could be a positive energy balance promoted by maintaining usual dietary intake while reducing energy expenditure. This means that just as calorie intake restriction could help mitigate the deleterious impacts of a bout of physical inactivity, overeating under conditions of home confinement is very likely to exacerbate these consequences. Moreover, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease have been identified as potential risk factors for more severely ill patients with COVID-19. Thus, adequate control of metabolic disorders could be important to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomarkers and Nutrients in Musculoskeletal Disorders)
Open AccessArticle
Erdafitinib Resensitizes ABCB1-Overexpressing Multidrug-Resistant Cancer Cells to Cytotoxic Anticancer Drugs
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1366; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061366 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer patients, which is often associated with the overexpression of ABCB1 (MDR1, P-glycoprotein) in cancer cells, remains a significant problem in cancer chemotherapy. ABCB1 is one of the major adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that [...] Read more.
The development of multidrug resistance (MDR) in cancer patients, which is often associated with the overexpression of ABCB1 (MDR1, P-glycoprotein) in cancer cells, remains a significant problem in cancer chemotherapy. ABCB1 is one of the major adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that can actively efflux a range of anticancer drugs out of cancer cells, causing MDR. Given the lack of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatment for multidrug-resistant cancers, we explored the prospect of repurposing erdafitinib, the first fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) kinase inhibitor approved by the FDA, to reverse MDR mediated by ABCB1. We discovered that by reducing the function of ABCB1, erdafitinib significantly resensitized ABCB1-overexpressing multidrug-resistant cancer cells to therapeutic drugs at sub-toxic concentrations. Results of erdafitinib-stimulated ABCB1 ATPase activity and in silico docking analysis of erdafitinib binding to the substrate-binding pocket of ABCB1 further support the interaction between erdafitinib and ABCB1. Moreover, our data suggest that ABCB1 is not a major mechanism of resistance to erdafitinib in cancer cells. In conclusion, we revealed an additional action of erdafitinib as a potential treatment option for multidrug-resistant cancers, which should be evaluated in future drug combination trials. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Drug Resistance and Novel Therapies in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation on Masseter Muscle Thickness and Maximal Bite Force Among Healthy Community-Dwelling Persons Aged 65 Years and Older: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3783; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113783 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Aim: This study investigated the effect of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on masseter muscle thickness and maximal bite force among healthy community-dwelling elderly persons older than 65 years. Materials and methods: A total of 40 participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and [...] Read more.
Aim: This study investigated the effect of neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) on masseter muscle thickness and maximal bite force among healthy community-dwelling elderly persons older than 65 years. Materials and methods: A total of 40 participants were randomly assigned to the experimental and placebo groups. In the experimental group, NMES was applied to both masseter muscles, and electrical signals were gradually increased until the participants felt a grabbing sensation (range 6.0–7.5 mA) in the masseter muscle. The placebo group, in contrast, underwent NMES in the same manner and procedure as the experimental group with less electrical intensity (0.5 mA). All interventions were administered five times a week for six weeks, 20 min per day. The outcomes were masseter muscle thickness assessed using ultrasound and maximal bite force using a bite force meter. The level of significance was set as p < 0.05. Results: The experimental group showed a significant increase in both masseter muscle thickness and maximal bite force as compared with the placebo group (p = 0.002 and 0.019, respectively). Moreover, the degree of change in the masseter muscle thickness and maximal bite force significantly increased in the experimental and placebo groups (p < 0.001, both). Conclusions: This study demonstrated that NMES could be an effective modality for increasing masseter muscle thickness and maximal bite force in healthy older adults. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Oral Health)
Open AccessArticle
Tailoring Chemometric Models on Blood-Derived Cultures Secretome to Assess Personalized Cancer Risk Score
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1362; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061362 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
The molecular protonation profiles obtained by means of an organic electrochemical transistor, which is used for analysis of molecular products released by blood-derived cultures, contain a large amount of information The transistor is based on the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS comprising super hydrophobic SU8 [...] Read more.
The molecular protonation profiles obtained by means of an organic electrochemical transistor, which is used for analysis of molecular products released by blood-derived cultures, contain a large amount of information The transistor is based on the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS comprising super hydrophobic SU8 pillars positioned on the substrate to form a non-periodic square lattice to measure the state of protonation on secretomes derived from liquid biopsies. In the extracellular space of cultured cells, the number of glycation products increase, driven both by a glycolysis metabolism and by a compromised function of the glutathione redox system. Glycation products are a consequence of the interaction of the reactive aldehydes and side glycolytic products with other molecules. As a result, the amount of the glycation products reflects the anti-oxidative cellular reserves, counteracting the reactive aldehyde production of which both the secretome protonation profile and cancer risk are related. The protonation profiles can be profitably exploited through the use of mathematical techniques and multivariate statistics. This study provides a novel chemometric approach for molecular analysis of protonation and discusses the possibility of constructing a predictive cancer risk model based on the exploration of data collected by conventional analysis techniques and novel nanotechnological devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liquid Biopsy: Latest Advances and Future Challenges)
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Open AccessReview
The Effects of Cadmium Toxicity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 3782; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17113782 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic non-essential transition metal that poses a health risk for both humans and animals. It is naturally occurring in the environment as a pollutant that is derived from agricultural and industrial sources. Exposure to cadmium primarily occurs through the [...] Read more.
Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic non-essential transition metal that poses a health risk for both humans and animals. It is naturally occurring in the environment as a pollutant that is derived from agricultural and industrial sources. Exposure to cadmium primarily occurs through the ingestion of contaminated food and water and, to a significant extent, through inhalation and cigarette smoking. Cadmium accumulates in plants and animals with a long half-life of about 25–30 years. Epidemiological data suggest that occupational and environmental cadmium exposure may be related to various types of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate, nasopharynx, pancreas, and kidney cancers. It has been also demonstrated that environmental cadmium may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. The liver and kidneys are extremely sensitive to cadmium’s toxic effects. This may be due to the ability of these tissues to synthesize metallothioneins (MT), which are Cd-inducible proteins that protect the cell by tightly binding the toxic cadmium ions. The oxidative stress induced by this xenobiotic may be one of the mechanisms responsible for several liver and kidney diseases. Mitochondria damage is highly plausible given that these organelles play a crucial role in the formation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and are known to be among the key intracellular targets for cadmium. When mitochondria become dysfunctional after exposure to Cd, they produce less energy (ATP) and more ROS. Recent studies show that cadmium induces various epigenetic changes in mammalian cells, both in vivo and in vitro, causing pathogenic risks and the development of various types of cancers. The epigenetics present themselves as chemical modifications of DNA and histones that alter the chromatin without changing the sequence of the DNA nucleotide. DNA methyltransferase, histone acetyltransferase, histone deacetylase and histone methyltransferase, and micro RNA are involved in the epigenetic changes. Recently, investigations of the capability of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), and river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) to remove cadmium from polluted soil and water have been carried out. Moreover, nanoparticles of TiO2 and Al2O3 have been used to efficiently remove cadmium from wastewater and soil. Finally, microbial fermentation has been studied as a promising method for removing cadmium from food. This review provides an update on the effects of Cd exposure on human health, focusing on the cellular and molecular alterations involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Toxicology and Public Health)
Open AccessReview
Advances in Molecular Tools and In Vivo Models for the Study of Human Fungal Pathogenesis
Microorganisms 2020, 8(6), 803; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060803 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Pathogenic fungi represent an increasing infectious disease threat to humans, especially with an increasing challenge of antifungal drug resistance. Over the decades, numerous tools have been developed to expedite the study of pathogenicity, initiation of disease, drug resistance and host-pathogen interactions. In this [...] Read more.
Pathogenic fungi represent an increasing infectious disease threat to humans, especially with an increasing challenge of antifungal drug resistance. Over the decades, numerous tools have been developed to expedite the study of pathogenicity, initiation of disease, drug resistance and host-pathogen interactions. In this review, we highlight advances that have been made in the use of molecular tools using CRISPR technologies, RNA interference and transposon targeted mutagenesis. We also discuss the use of animal models in modelling disease of human fungal pathogens, focusing on zebrafish, the silkworm, Galleria mellonella and the murine model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Applied Microbiology)
Open AccessArticle
ESM-1 Overexpression is Involved in Increased Tumorigenesis of Radiotherapy-Resistant Breast Cancer Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1363; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061363 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
The key barrier to the effectiveness of radiotherapy remains the radioresistance of breast cancer cells, resulting in increased tumor recurrence and metastasis. Thus, in this study, we aimed to clarify the difference between radiotherapy-resistant (RT-R) breast cancer (BC) and BC, and accordingly, analyzed [...] Read more.
The key barrier to the effectiveness of radiotherapy remains the radioresistance of breast cancer cells, resulting in increased tumor recurrence and metastasis. Thus, in this study, we aimed to clarify the difference between radiotherapy-resistant (RT-R) breast cancer (BC) and BC, and accordingly, analyzed gene expression levels between radiotherapy-resistant (RT-R) MDA-MB-231 cells and MDA-MB-231 cells. Gene expression array showed that ESM-1 was the most upregulated in RT-R-MDA-MB-231 cells compared to MDA-MB-231 cells. Then, we aimed to investigate the role of ESM-1 in the increased tumorigenesis of RT-R-BC cells. RT-R-MDA-MB-231, which showed an increased expression level of ESM1, exhibited significantly enhanced proliferation, colony forming ability, migration, and invasion compared to MDA-MB-231 cells, and ESM-1 knockdown effectively reversed these effects. In addition, compared to MDA-MB-231 cells, RT-R-MDA-MB-231 cells displayed improved adhesion to endothelial cells (ECs) due to the induction of adhesion molecules and increased MMP-9 activity and VEGF-A production, which were decreased by ESM-1 knockdown. Moreover, the expression of HIF-1α and activation of NF-κB and STAT-3 were increased in RT-R-MDA-MB-231 cells compared to MDA-MB-231 cells, and these effects were abolished by the knockdown of ESM-1. Finally, we confirmed the role of ESM-1 in tumorigenesis in an in vivo mouse model. Tumor volume, lung metastasis, and tumorigenic molecules (VEGF-A, HIF-1α, MMP-9, ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and phospho-NF-κB and phospho-STAT-3) were significantly induced in mice injected with ESM-1-overexpressing 4T1 cells and greatly enhanced in those injected with ESM-1-overexpressing RT-R-4T1 cells. Taken together, these results suggest for the first time that ESM-1 plays a critical role in tumorigenesis of breast cancer cells, especially RT-R-breast cancer cells, through the induction of cell proliferation and invasion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Genomic Analysis of Historical Cases with Positive Newborn Screens for Short-Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency Shows That a Validated Second-Tier Biochemical Test Can Replace Future Sequencing
Int. J. Neonatal Screen. 2020, 6(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijns6020041 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of β-oxidation caused by pathogenic variants in the ACADS gene. Analyte testing for SCADD in blood and urine, including newborn screening (NBS) using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) on dried blood spots (DBSs), [...] Read more.
Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (SCADD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder of β-oxidation caused by pathogenic variants in the ACADS gene. Analyte testing for SCADD in blood and urine, including newborn screening (NBS) using tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) on dried blood spots (DBSs), is complicated by the presence of two relatively common ACADS variants (c.625G>A and c.511C>T). Individuals homozygous for these variants or compound heterozygous do not have clinical disease but do have reduced short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) activity, resulting in elevated blood and urine metabolites. As part of a larger study of the potential role of exome sequencing in NBS in California, we reviewed ACADS sequence and MS/MS data from DBSs from a cohort of 74 patients identified to have SCADD. Of this cohort, approximately 60% had one or more of the common variants and did not have the two rare variants, and thus would need no further testing. Retrospective analysis of ethylmalonic acid, glutaric acid, 2-hydroxyglutaric acid, 3-hydroxyglutaric acid, and methylsuccinic acid demonstrated that second-tier testing applied before the release of the newborn screening result could reduce referrals by over 50% and improve the positive predictive value for SCADD to above 75%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue CLIR Applications for Newborn Screening)
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: Molecular Insights for Improved Therapeutic Design
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2020, 7(2), 21; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcdd7020021 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an inherited disorder characterized by structural and electrical cardiac abnormalities, including myocardial fibro-fatty replacement. Its pathological ventricular substrate predisposes subjects to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). ACM is a notorious cause of SCD in young athletes, [...] Read more.
Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is an inherited disorder characterized by structural and electrical cardiac abnormalities, including myocardial fibro-fatty replacement. Its pathological ventricular substrate predisposes subjects to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). ACM is a notorious cause of SCD in young athletes, and exercise has been documented to accelerate its progression. Although the genetic culprits are not exclusively limited to the intercalated disc, the majority of ACM-linked variants reside within desmosomal genes and are transmitted via Mendelian inheritance patterns; however, penetrance is highly variable. Its natural history features an initial “concealed phase” that results in patients being vulnerable to malignant arrhythmias prior to the onset of structural changes. Lack of effective therapies that target its pathophysiology renders management of patients challenging due to its progressive nature, and has highlighted a critical need to improve our understanding of its underlying mechanistic basis. In vitro and in vivo studies have begun to unravel the molecular consequences associated with disease causing variants, including altered Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Characterization of ACM mouse models has facilitated the evaluation of new therapeutic approaches. Improved molecular insight into the condition promises to usher in novel forms of therapy that will lead to improved care at the clinical bedside. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiomyopathy at the Sub-Cellular Level)
Open AccessArticle
Comparative Study of the Antimicrobial Effects of Tungsten Nanoparticles and Tungsten Nanocomposite Fibres on Hospital Acquired Bacterial and Viral Pathogens
Nanomaterials 2020, 10(6), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano10061017 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
A significant proportion of patients acquire hospital associated infections as a result of care within the NHS each year. Numerous antimicrobial strategies, such as antibiotics and surface modifications to medical facilities and instruments, have been devised in an attempt to reduce the incidence [...] Read more.
A significant proportion of patients acquire hospital associated infections as a result of care within the NHS each year. Numerous antimicrobial strategies, such as antibiotics and surface modifications to medical facilities and instruments, have been devised in an attempt to reduce the incidence of nosocomial infections, but most have been proven unsuccessful and unsustainable due to antibiotic resistance. Therefore, the need to discover novel materials that can combat pathogenic microorganisms is ongoing. Novel technologies, such as the potential use of nanomaterials and nanocomposites, hold promise for reducing these infections in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. In this study, the antimicrobial activity of tungsten, tungsten carbide and tungsten oxide nanoparticles were tested against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and bacteriophage T4 (DNA virus). The most potent nanoparticles, tungsten oxide, were incorporated into polymeric fibres using pressurised gyration and characterised using scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. The antimicrobial activity of tungsten oxide/polymer nanocomposite fibres was also studied. The results suggest the materials in this study promote mediation of the inhibition of microbial growth in suspension. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Immune-modulatory Properties of the Octapeptide NAP in Campylobacter jejuni Infected Mice Suffering from Acute Enterocolitis
Microorganisms 2020, 8(6), 802; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8060802 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Human infections with the food-borne zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni are progressively rising and constitute serious global public health and socioeconomic burdens. Hence, application of compounds with disease-alleviating properties are required to combat campylobacteriosis and post-infectious sequelae. In our preclinical intervention study applying an [...] Read more.
Human infections with the food-borne zoonotic pathogen Campylobacter jejuni are progressively rising and constitute serious global public health and socioeconomic burdens. Hence, application of compounds with disease-alleviating properties are required to combat campylobacteriosis and post-infectious sequelae. In our preclinical intervention study applying an acute C. jejuni induced enterocolitis model, we surveyed the anti-pathogenic and immune-modulatory effects of the octapeptide NAP which is well-known for its neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, secondary abiotic IL-10−/− mice were perorally infected with C. jejuni and intraperitoneally treated with synthetic NAP from day 2 until day 5 post-infection. NAP-treatment did not affect gastrointestinal C. jejuni colonization but could alleviate clinical signs of infection that was accompanied by less pronounced apoptosis of colonic epithelial cells and enhancement of cell regenerative measures on day 6 post-infection. Moreover, NAP-treatment resulted in less distinct innate and adaptive pro-inflammatory immune responses that were not restricted to the intestinal tract but could also be observed in extra-intestinal and even systemic compartments. NAP-treatment further resulted in less frequent translocation of viable pathogens from the intestinal tract to extra-intestinal including systemic tissue sites. For the first time, we here provide evidence that NAP application constitutes a promising option to combat acute campylobacteriosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Foodborne Pathogen Campylobacter)
Open AccessArticle
Paclitaxel and Sorafenib: The Effective Combination of Suppressing the Self-Renewal of Cancer Stem Cells
Cancers 2020, 12(6), 1360; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12061360 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
“Combination therapy”, which is a treatment modality combining two or more therapeutic agents, is considered a cornerstone of cancer therapy. The combination of anticancer drugs, of which functions are different from the other, enhances the efficiency compared to the monotherapy because it targets [...] Read more.
“Combination therapy”, which is a treatment modality combining two or more therapeutic agents, is considered a cornerstone of cancer therapy. The combination of anticancer drugs, of which functions are different from the other, enhances the efficiency compared to the monotherapy because it targets cancer cells in a synergistic or an additive manner. In this study, the combination of paclitaxel and sorafenib in low concentration was evaluated to target cancer stem cells, miPS-BT549cmP and miPS-Huh7cmP cells, developed from mouse induced pluripotent stem cells. The synergistic effect of paclitaxel and sorafenib on cancer stem cells was assessed by the inhibition of proliferation, self-renewal, colony formation, and differentiation. While the IC50 values of paclitaxel and sorafenib were approximately ranging between 250 and 300 nM and between 6.5 and 8 µM, respectively, IC50 of paclitaxel reduced to 20 and 25 nM, which was not toxic in a single dose, in the presence of 1 µM sorafenib, which was not toxic to the cells. Then, the synergistic effect was further assessed for the potential of self-renewal of cancer stem cells by sphere formation ability. As a result, 1 µM of sorafenib significantly enhanced the effect of paclitaxel to suppress the number of spheres. Simultaneously, paclitaxel ranging in 1 to 4 nM significantly suppressed not only the colony formation but also the tube formation of the cancer stem cells in the presence of 1 µM sorafenib. These results suggest the combination therapy of paclitaxel and sorafenib in low doses should be an attractive approach to target cancer stem cells with fewer side effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Combination Therapies in Cancers)
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Open AccessArticle
Accelerated Carbonation of Recycled Aggregates Using the Pressurized Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Sparging Process
Minerals 2020, 10(6), 486; https://doi.org/10.3390/min10060486 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
The carbonation of recycled aggregate was accelerated by sparging with supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) to reduce the amount of time needed for carbonation, which is necessary for the pH neutralization of recycled aggregate. To accelerate the carbonation process, pressurized scCO2 [...] Read more.
The carbonation of recycled aggregate was accelerated by sparging with supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) to reduce the amount of time needed for carbonation, which is necessary for the pH neutralization of recycled aggregate. To accelerate the carbonation process, pressurized scCO2 was sparged into two different types of recycled aggregates immersed in water for 1 h, followed by standstill for 2 h (in total, a 3 h treatment process). The reduction of the pH of the treated aggregates due to carbonation was investigated using batch extraction experiments. A continuous column extraction experiment for the scCO2-sparged recycled aggregate was also performed to identify the effect of pH reduction under the condition of non-equilibrium reaction. From XRD, SEM/EDS, and TG/DTA analyses, much of the portlandite in the recycled aggregates was consumed. In its place, calcite was created as a secondary mineral during only 3 h of treatment (1 h scCO2 sparging and 2 h stationing), indicating satisfactory carbonation of the aggregate. The results of the batch extraction experiments for both of the two recycled aggregate types also showed that the average pH of scCO2-sparged aggregate decreased from 12.0 to <9.8 (the tolerance limit for recycling). The pH of the eluent from the column packed with the scCO2-sparged aggregate also remained as <9.8, suggesting that a 1 h scCO2 sparging process is sufficient to carbonate waste concrete aggregate and to create an alternative construction material resource. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applied Petrography of Construction Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Evidence of Intraday Multifractality in European Stock Markets during the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
Int. J. Financial Stud. 2020, 8(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijfs8020031 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
This study assesses how the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) affects the intraday multifractal properties of eight European stock markets by using five-minute index data ranging from 1 January 2020 to 23 March 2020. The Hurst exponents are calculated by applying multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis [...] Read more.
This study assesses how the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) affects the intraday multifractal properties of eight European stock markets by using five-minute index data ranging from 1 January 2020 to 23 March 2020. The Hurst exponents are calculated by applying multifractal detrended fluctuation analysis (MFDFA). Overall, the results confirm the existence of multifractality in European stock markets during the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, based on multifractal properties, efficiency varies among these markets. The Spanish stock market remains most efficient while the least efficient is that of Austria. Belgium, Italy and Germany remain somewhere in the middle. This far-reaching outbreak demands a comprehensive response from policy makers to improve market efficiency during such epidemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Econophysics Applications to Financial Markets)
Open AccessArticle
Acute and Chronic Mental Stress Both Influence Levels of Neurotransmitter Precursor Amino Acids and Derived Biogenic Amines
Brain Sci. 2020, 10(6), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10060322 (registering DOI) - 26 May 2020
Abstract
Acute and chronic mental stress are both linked to somatic and psychiatric morbidity, however, the neurobiological pathways of these associations are still not fully elucidated. Mental stress is known to be immunomodulatory, which is one of the basic concepts of psychoneuroimmunology. In the [...] Read more.
Acute and chronic mental stress are both linked to somatic and psychiatric morbidity, however, the neurobiological pathways of these associations are still not fully elucidated. Mental stress is known to be immunomodulatory, which is one of the basic concepts of psychoneuroimmunology. In the present study, neurotransmitter precursor amino acid levels and derived biogenic amines were analyzed prior to and at 0, 30 and 60 minutes following an acute mental stress test (with/without chronic mental stress) in 53 healthy subjects. Psychometric measurements of mental stress, depression and anxiety were collected. Kynurenine/tryptophan was influenced by the factor acute mental stress (KYN/TRP increase), no influence of the factor chronic mental stress or any interaction was found. Phenylalanine/tyrosine was influenced by the factor acute mental stress (PHE/TYR increase) as well as by chronic mental stress (PHE/TYR decrease). Interactions were not significant. KYN/TRP correlated with state anxiety values, while PHE/TYR correlated negatively with chronic stress parameters. Kynurenic acid was significantly reduced in the acute and quinolinic acid in the chronic mental stress condition. In conclusion, neurotransmitter precursor amino acid levels and derived biogenic amines are influenced by acute and chronic mental stress. Mechanisms beyond direct immunological responses may be relevant for the modulation of neurotransmitter metabolism such as effects on enzyme function through cofactor availability or stress hormones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuroimmunology of Major Psychiatric Disorders)
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