Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Application of Permeation Enhancers in Oral Delivery of Macromolecules: An Update
Pharmaceutics 2019, 11(1), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics11010041 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The application of permeation enhancers (PEs) to improve transport of poorly absorbed active pharmaceutical ingredients across the intestinal epithelium is a widely tested approach. Several hundred compounds have been shown to alter the epithelial barrier, and although the research emphasis has broadened to
[...] Read more.
The application of permeation enhancers (PEs) to improve transport of poorly absorbed active pharmaceutical ingredients across the intestinal epithelium is a widely tested approach. Several hundred compounds have been shown to alter the epithelial barrier, and although the research emphasis has broadened to encompass a role for nanoparticle approaches, PEs represent a key constituent of conventional oral formulations that have progressed to clinical testing. In this review, we highlight promising PEs in early development, summarize the current state of the art, and highlight challenges to the translation of PE-based delivery systems into safe and effective oral dosage forms for patients. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Internal Flow in an Enhanced Tube Having Square-cut Twisted Tape Insert
Energies 2019, 12(2), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12020306 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In this study, a numerical simulation has been conducted in order to evaluate the thermal hydraulic performance of a turbulent single-phase flow inside an enhanced tube equipped with a square-cut twisted tape (STT) insert. The classical twisted tape (CTT) insert was also investigated
[...] Read more.
In this study, a numerical simulation has been conducted in order to evaluate the thermal hydraulic performance of a turbulent single-phase flow inside an enhanced tube equipped with a square-cut twisted tape (STT) insert. The classical twisted tape (CTT) insert was also investigated for comparison. The k-ε renormalized group turbulence model has been utilized as the turbulent model. Various twist ratios (y/W) of 2.7, 4.5, and 6.5 were investigated for the Reynolds number range of 8000–18,000, with water as the working fluid. The numerical results indicated that, in comparison with the plain tube (PT), the tube equipped with the STT with the twist ratios of 2.7, 4.5, and 6.5 led to an increase in the values of the Nusselt number and friction factor in the inner tube by 45.4–80.7% and 2.0–3.3 times, respectively; in addition, the highest thermal performance of 1.23 has been obtained. The results further indicated that the tube equipped with the CTT of the same twist ratios improved the Nusselt number and friction factor in the inner tube by 40.3–74.4% and 1.7–3.0 times, respectively, in comparison with the PT; further, the maximum thermal performance of 1.18 was achieved. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Greenhouse Soil Biosolarization with Tomato Plant Debris as a Unique Fertilizer for Tomato Crops
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(2), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16020279 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Intensive greenhouse horticulture can cause various environmental problems. Among these, the management, storage, and processing of crop residues can provoke aquifer contamination, pest proliferation, bad odors, or the abuse of phytosanitary treatments. Biosolarization adds value to any fresh plant residue and is an
[...] Read more.
Intensive greenhouse horticulture can cause various environmental problems. Among these, the management, storage, and processing of crop residues can provoke aquifer contamination, pest proliferation, bad odors, or the abuse of phytosanitary treatments. Biosolarization adds value to any fresh plant residue and is an efficient technique for the control of soil-borne diseases. This study aims to examine an alternative means of managing greenhouse crop residues through biosolarization and to investigate the influence of organic matter on yield and quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, L.) fruit. With this purpose, the following nutritional systems were evaluated: inorganic fertilization with and without brassica pellets (Fert, Fert +, and Fert ++), fresh tomato plant debris with and without brassica pellets (Rest, Rest +, and Rest ++), and no fertilizer application (Control). The addition of organic matter was equal across all the treatments except for the control with regard to yield and quality of the tomato fruit. In light of these results, the application of tomato plant debris to the soil through biosolarization is postulated as an alternative for the management of crop residues, solving an environmental problem and having a favorable impact on the production and quality of tomatoes as a commercial crop. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Opportunities and Challenges of Green Finance in Italy: An Analysis of the Biomass Production Sector
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020517 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The present paper provides empirical evidence of the opportunities and challenges surrounding green finance (GF), looking at the financial issues that might prevent the investment decisions of green companies. To this end, we explore the case of Italian biomass producers by means of
[...] Read more.
The present paper provides empirical evidence of the opportunities and challenges surrounding green finance (GF), looking at the financial issues that might prevent the investment decisions of green companies. To this end, we explore the case of Italian biomass producers by means of a discourse analysis supported by a survey administered to a pool of experts. Although our findings suggest that GF provides an opportunity for achieving environmentally sustainable innovation pathways, experts recognize that it does not actually prevent biomass producers from facing institutional and financial criticalities in funding their investment projects. Such criticalities include: uncertainty about government policies, the minimal involvement of financial suppliers in the biomass sector, the short-term orientation of financial instruments and the limited knowledge of financing options and technical expertise within companies. The results indicate that effective policy interventions should ensure that objectives are orientated towards the long term with the aim of reducing the risks perceived by financial institutions in funding biomass producers. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of MAKE in 2018
Mach. Learn. Knowl. Extr. 2019, 1(1), 414-415; https://doi.org/10.3390/make1010024 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Marine Polysaccharide-Collagen Coatings on Ti6Al4V Alloy Formed by Self-Assembly
Micromachines 2019, 10(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10010068 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Polysaccharides of marine origin are gaining interest as biomaterial components. Bacteria derived from deep-sea hydrothermal vents can produce sulfated exopolysaccharides (EPS), which can influence cell behavior. The use of such polysaccharides as components of organic, collagen fibril-based coatings on biomaterial surfaces remains unexplored.
[...] Read more.
Polysaccharides of marine origin are gaining interest as biomaterial components. Bacteria derived from deep-sea hydrothermal vents can produce sulfated exopolysaccharides (EPS), which can influence cell behavior. The use of such polysaccharides as components of organic, collagen fibril-based coatings on biomaterial surfaces remains unexplored. In this study, collagen fibril coatings enriched with HE800 and GY785 EPS derivatives were deposited on titanium alloy (Ti6Al4V) scaffolds produced by rapid prototyping and subjected to physicochemical and cell biological characterization. Coatings were formed by a self-assembly process whereby polysaccharides were added to acidic collagen molecule solution, followed by neutralization to induced self-assembly of collagen fibrils. Fibril formation resulted in collagen hydrogel formation. Hydrogels formed directly on Ti6Al4V surfaces, and fibrils adsorbed onto the surface. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis of collagen fibril coatings revealed association of polysaccharides with fibrils. Cell biological characterization revealed good cell adhesion and growth on bare Ti6Al4V surfaces, as well as coatings of collagen fibrils only and collagen fibrils enhanced with HE800 and GY785 EPS derivatives. Hence, the use of both EPS derivatives as coating components is feasible. Further work should focus on cell differentiation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Activation of Human Dendritic Cells by Ascophyllan Purified from Ascophyllum nodosum
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(1), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17010066 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In our previous study, we showed that ascophyllan purified from Ascophyllum nodosum treatment promotes mouse dendritic cell (DC) activation in vivo, further induces an antigen-specific immune response and has anticancer effects in mice. However, the effect of ascophyllan has not been studied in
[...] Read more.
In our previous study, we showed that ascophyllan purified from Ascophyllum nodosum treatment promotes mouse dendritic cell (DC) activation in vivo, further induces an antigen-specific immune response and has anticancer effects in mice. However, the effect of ascophyllan has not been studied in human immune cells, specifically in terms of activation of human monocyte-derived DCs (MDDCs) and human peripheral blood DCs (PBDCs). We found that the treatment with ascophyllan induced morphological changes in MDDCs and upregulated co-stimulatory molecules and major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC I) and MHC II expression. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in culture medium was also dramatically increased following ascophyllan treatment of MDDCs. Moreover, ascophyllan promoted phosphorylation of ERK, p38 and JNK signaling pathways, and inhibition of p38 almost completely suppressed the ascophyllan-induced activation of MDDCs. Finally, treatment with ascophyllan induced activation of BDCA1 and BDCA3 PBDCs. Thus, these data suggest that ascophyllan could be used as an immune stimulator in humans. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Mathematical Modeling of Tissue Folding and Asymmetric Tissue Flow during Epithelial Morphogenesis
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010113 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Recent studies have revealed that intrinsic, individual cell behavior can provide the driving force for deforming a two-dimensional cell sheet to a three-dimensional tissue without the need for external regulatory elements. However, whether intrinsic, individual cell behavior could actually generate the force to
[...] Read more.
Recent studies have revealed that intrinsic, individual cell behavior can provide the driving force for deforming a two-dimensional cell sheet to a three-dimensional tissue without the need for external regulatory elements. However, whether intrinsic, individual cell behavior could actually generate the force to induce tissue deformation was unclear, because there was no experimental method with which to verify it in vivo. In such cases, mathematical modeling can be effective for verifying whether a locally generated force can propagate through an entire tissue and induce deformation. Moreover, the mathematical model sometimes provides potential mechanistic insight beyond the information obtained from biological experimental results. Here, we present two examples of modeling tissue morphogenesis driven by cell deformation or cell interaction. In the first example, a mathematical study on tissue-autonomous folding based on a two-dimensional vertex model revealed that active modulations of cell mechanics along the basal–lateral surface, in addition to the apical side, can induce tissue-fold formation. In the second example, by applying a two-dimensional vertex model in an apical plane, a novel mechanism of tissue flow caused by asymmetric cell interactions was discovered, which explained the mechanics behind the collective cellular movement observed during epithelial morphogenesis. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Variable Acceptance Sampling Plan under Neutrosophic Statistical Interval Method
Symmetry 2019, 11(1), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11010114 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The acceptance sampling plan plays an important role in maintaining the high quality of a product. The variable control chart, using classical statistics, helps in making acceptance or rejection decisions about the submitted lot of the product. Furthermore, the sampling plan, using classical
[...] Read more.
The acceptance sampling plan plays an important role in maintaining the high quality of a product. The variable control chart, using classical statistics, helps in making acceptance or rejection decisions about the submitted lot of the product. Furthermore, the sampling plan, using classical statistics, assumes the complete or determinate information available about a lot of product. However, in some situations, data may be ambiguous, vague, imprecise, and incomplete or indeterminate. In this case, the use of neutrosophic statistics can be applied to guide the experimenters. In this paper, we originally proposed a new variable sampling plan using the neutrosophic interval statistical method. The neutrosophic operating characteristic (NOC) is derived using the neutrosophic normal distribution. The optimization solution is also presented for the proposed plan under the neutrosophic interval method. The effectiveness of the proposed plan is compared with the plan under classical statistics. The tables are presented for practical use and a real example is given to explain the neutrosophic fuzzy variable sampling plan in the industry. Full article
Open AccessReview
Mechanistic Computational Models of MicroRNA-Mediated Signaling Networks in Human Diseases
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(2), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20020421 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
MicroRNAs (miRs) are endogenous non-coding RNA molecules that play important roles in human health and disease by regulating gene expression and cellular processes. In recent years, with the increasing scientific knowledge and new discovery of miRs and their gene targets, as well as
[...] Read more.
MicroRNAs (miRs) are endogenous non-coding RNA molecules that play important roles in human health and disease by regulating gene expression and cellular processes. In recent years, with the increasing scientific knowledge and new discovery of miRs and their gene targets, as well as the plentiful experimental evidence that shows dysregulation of miRs in a wide variety of human diseases, the computational modeling approach has emerged as an effective tool to help researchers identify novel functional associations between differential miR expression and diseases, dissect the phenotypic expression patterns of miRs in gene regulatory networks, and elucidate the critical roles of miRs in the modulation of disease pathways from mechanistic and quantitative perspectives. Here we will review the recent systems biology studies that employed different kinetic modeling techniques to provide mechanistic insights relating to the regulatory function and therapeutic potential of miRs in human diseases. Some of the key computational aspects to be discussed in detail in this review include (i) models of miR-mediated network motifs in the regulation of gene expression, (ii) models of miR biogenesis and miR–target interactions, and (iii) the incorporation of such models into complex disease pathways in order to generate mechanistic, molecular- and systems-level understanding of pathophysiology. Other related bioinformatics tools such as computational platforms that predict miR-disease associations will also be discussed, and we will provide perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in the future development and translational application of data-driven systems biology models that involve miRs and their regulatory pathways in human diseases. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessBrief Report
Dietary Intake Reporting Accuracy of the Bridge2U Mobile Application Food Log Compared to Control Meal and Dietary Recall Methods
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010199 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Mobile technology introduces opportunity for new methods of dietary assessment. The purpose of this study was to compare the reporting accuracy of a mobile food log application and 24 h recall method to a controlled meal among a convenience sample of adults (18
[...] Read more.
Mobile technology introduces opportunity for new methods of dietary assessment. The purpose of this study was to compare the reporting accuracy of a mobile food log application and 24 h recall method to a controlled meal among a convenience sample of adults (18 years of age or older). Participants were recruited from a community/university convenience sample. Participants consumed a pre-portioned control meal, completed mobile food log entry (mfood log), and participated in a dietary recall administered by a registered dietitian (24R). Height, weight, and application use survey data were collected. Sign test, Pearson’s correlation, and descriptive analyses were conducted to examine differences in total and macronutrient energy intake and describe survey responses. Bland Altman plots were examined for agreement between energy intake from control and 24R and mfood log. The 14 included in the analyses were 78.6% female, 85.7% overweight/obese, and 64.3% African American. Mean total energy, protein, and fat intakes reported via the mfood log were significantly (p < 0.05) lower compared to the control, by 268.31kcals, 20.37 g, and 19.51 g, respectively. Only 24R mean fat intake was significantly (p < 0.01) lower than the control, by 6.43 g. Significant associations (r = 0.57–0.60, p < 0.05) were observed between control and mfood log mean energy, carbohydrate, and protein intakes, as well as between control and 24R mean energy (r = 0.64, p = 0.01) and carbohydrate (r = 0.81, p < 0.001) intakes. Bland Altman plots showed wide limits of agreement, which were not statistically significant but may have practical limitations for individual dietary assessment. Responses indicated the ease of and likelihood of daily mfood log use. This study demonstrates that the Bridge2U mfood log is valid for the assessment of group level data, but data may vary too widely for individual assessment. Further investigation is warranted for nutrition intervention research. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

IOAP participants benefit from discounts and convenient payment options.

Feedback

We are keen to hear what you think about MDPI. To leave us your feedback, suggestions or questions please click here.

See what our authors and guest editors say about us.

About MDPI

MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI, based in Basel, Switzerland. Additional offices are located in Beijing and Wuhan (China) as well as in Barcelona (Spain).

Back to Top