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Review
Regulation of Immune Functions by Non-Neuronal Acetylcholine (ACh) via Muscarinic and Nicotinic ACh Receptors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136818 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Acetylcholine (ACh) is the classical neurotransmitter in the cholinergic nervous system. However, ACh is now known to regulate various immune cell functions. In fact, T cells, B cells, and macrophages all express components of the cholinergic system, including ACh, muscarinic, and nicotinic ACh [...] Read more.
Acetylcholine (ACh) is the classical neurotransmitter in the cholinergic nervous system. However, ACh is now known to regulate various immune cell functions. In fact, T cells, B cells, and macrophages all express components of the cholinergic system, including ACh, muscarinic, and nicotinic ACh receptors (mAChRs and nAChRs), choline acetyltransferase, acetylcholinesterase, and choline transporters. In this review, we will discuss the actions of ACh in the immune system. We will first briefly describe the mechanisms by which ACh is stored in and released from immune cells. We will then address Ca2+ signaling pathways activated via mAChRs and nAChRs on T cells and B cells, highlighting the importance of ACh for the function of T cells, B cells, and macrophages, as well as its impact on innate and acquired (cellular and humoral) immunity. Lastly, we will discuss the effects of two peptide ligands, secreted lymphocyte antigen-6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor-related peptide-1 (SLURP-1) and hippocampal cholinergic neurostimulating peptide (HCNP), on cholinergic activity in T cells. Overall, we stress the fact that ACh does not function only as a neurotransmitter; it impacts immunity by exerting diverse effects on immune cells via mAChRs and nAChRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cholinergic Signaling in Human Health and Diseases)
Article
Unsupervised Foreign Object Detection Based on Dual-Energy Absorptiometry in the Food Industry
J. Imaging 2021, 7(7), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/jimaging7070104 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
X-ray imaging is a widely used technique for non-destructive inspection of agricultural food products. One application of X-ray imaging is the autonomous, in-line detection of foreign objects in food samples. Examples of such inclusions are bone fragments in meat products, plastic and metal [...] Read more.
X-ray imaging is a widely used technique for non-destructive inspection of agricultural food products. One application of X-ray imaging is the autonomous, in-line detection of foreign objects in food samples. Examples of such inclusions are bone fragments in meat products, plastic and metal debris in fish, and fruit infestations. This article presents a processing methodology for unsupervised foreign object detection based on dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). A novel thickness correction model is introduced as a pre-processing technique for DEXA data. The aim of the model is to homogenize regions in the image that belong to the food product and to enhance contrast where the foreign object is present. In this way, the segmentation of the foreign object is more robust to noise and lack of contrast. The proposed methodology was applied to a dataset of 488 samples of meat products acquired from a conveyor belt. Approximately 60% of the samples contain foreign objects of different types and sizes, while the rest of the samples are void of foreign objects. The results show that samples without foreign objects are correctly identified in 97% of cases and that the overall accuracy of foreign object detection reaches 95%. Full article
Article
The Premium of Public Perceived Greenery: A Framework Using Multiscale GWR and Deep Learning
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(13), 6809; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18136809 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Population agglomeration and real estate development encroach on public green spaces, threatening human settlement equity and perceptual experience. Perceived greenery is a vital interface for residents to interact with the urban eco-environment. Nevertheless, the economic premiums and spatial scale of such greenery have [...] Read more.
Population agglomeration and real estate development encroach on public green spaces, threatening human settlement equity and perceptual experience. Perceived greenery is a vital interface for residents to interact with the urban eco-environment. Nevertheless, the economic premiums and spatial scale of such greenery have not been fully studied because a comprehensive quantitative framework is difficult to obtain. Here, taking advantage of big geodata and deep learning to quantify public perceived greenery, we integrate a multiscale GWR (MGWR) and a hedonic price model (HPM) and propose an analytic framework to explore the premium of perceived greenery and its spatial pattern at the neighborhood scale. Our empirical study in Beijing demonstrated that (1) MGWR-based HPM can lead to good performance and increase understanding of the spatial premium effect of perceived greenery; (2) for every 1% increase in neighborhood-level perceived greenery, economic premiums increase by 4.1% (115,862 RMB) on average; and (3) the premium of perceived greenery is spatially imbalanced and linearly decreases with location, which is caused by Beijing’s monocentric development pattern. Our framework provides analytical tools for measuring and mapping the capitalization of perceived greenery. Furthermore, the empirical results can provide positive implications for establishing equitable housing policies and livable neighborhoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Source Sensing of Urban Ecosystem and Sustainability)
Review
The Chemical Ecology Approach to Reveal Fungal Metabolites for Arthropod Pest Management
Microorganisms 2021, 9(7), 1379; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms9071379 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Biorational insecticides (for instance, avermectins, spinosins, azadirachtin, and afidopyropen) of natural origin are increasingly being used in agriculture. The review considers the chemical ecology approach for the search for new compounds with insecticidal properties (entomotoxic, antifeedant, and hormonal) produced by fungi of various [...] Read more.
Biorational insecticides (for instance, avermectins, spinosins, azadirachtin, and afidopyropen) of natural origin are increasingly being used in agriculture. The review considers the chemical ecology approach for the search for new compounds with insecticidal properties (entomotoxic, antifeedant, and hormonal) produced by fungi of various ecological groups (entomopathogens, soil saprotrophs, endophytes, phytopathogens, and mushrooms). The literature survey revealed that insecticidal metabolites of entomopathogenic fungi have not been sufficiently studied, and most of the well-characterized compounds show moderate insecticidal activity. The greatest number of substances with insecticidal properties was found to be produced by soil fungi, mainly from the genera Aspergillus and Penicillium. Metabolites with insecticidal and antifeedant properties were also found in endophytic and phytopathogenic fungi. It was noted that insect pests of stored products are mostly low sensitive to mycotoxins. Mushrooms were found to be promising producers of antifeedant compounds as well as insecticidal proteins. The expansion of the number of substances with insecticidal properties detected in prospective fungal species is possible by mining fungal genomes for secondary metabolite gene clusters and secreted proteins with their subsequent activation by various methods. The efficacy of these studies can be increased with high-throughput techniques of extraction of fungal metabolites and their analysis by various methods of chromatography and mass spectrometry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entomopathogenic Fungi: Ecology, Evolution, Adaptation)
Article
Expression Pattern of Leptin and Its Receptors in Endometrioid Endometrial Cancer
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(13), 2787; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132787 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
The identification of novel molecular markers and the development of cancer treatment strategies are very important as cancer incidence is still very high. Obesity can contribute to cancer progression, including endometrial cancer. Adipocytes secrete leptin, which, when at a high level, is associated [...] Read more.
The identification of novel molecular markers and the development of cancer treatment strategies are very important as cancer incidence is still very high. Obesity can contribute to cancer progression, including endometrial cancer. Adipocytes secrete leptin, which, when at a high level, is associated with an increased risk of cancer. The aim of this study was to determine the expression profile of leptin-related genes in the endometrial tissue samples and whole blood of patients. The study material included tissue samples and whole blood collected from 30 patients with endometrial cancer and 30 without cancer. Microarrays were used to assess the expression profile of leptin-related genes. Then, the expression of leptin (LEP), leptin receptor (LEPR), leptin receptor overlapping transcript (LEPROT), and leptin receptor overlapping transcript-like 1 (LEPROTL1) was determined by the Real-Time Quantitative Reverse Transcription Reaction (RT-qPCR). The serum leptin concentration was evaluated using Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Leptin and its receptors were overexpressed both at the mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, there were strong positive correlations between leptin levels and patient Body Mass Index (BMI). Elevated levels of leptin and its receptors may potentially contribute to the progression of endometrial cancer. These observations may be useful in designing endometrial cancer treatment strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Advances on Endometrial Cancer)
Article
Data-Driven Fault Diagnosis for Satellite Control Moment Gyro Assembly with Multiple In-Phase Faults
Electronics 2021, 10(13), 1537; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10131537 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
A satellite can only complete its mission successfully when all its subsystems, including the attitude control subsystem, are in healthy condition and work properly. Control moment gyroscope is a type of actuator used in the attitude control subsystems of satellites. Any fault in [...] Read more.
A satellite can only complete its mission successfully when all its subsystems, including the attitude control subsystem, are in healthy condition and work properly. Control moment gyroscope is a type of actuator used in the attitude control subsystems of satellites. Any fault in the control moment gyroscope can cause the satellite mission failure if it is not detected, isolated, and resolved in time. Fault diagnosis provides an opportunity to detect and isolate the occurring faults and, if accompanied by proactive remedial actions, it can avoid failure and improve the satellite reliability. In this paper, an enhanced data-driven fault diagnosis is introduced for fault isolation of multiple in-phase faults of satellite control moment gyroscopes that has not been addressed in the literature before with high accuracy. The proposed method is based on an optimized support vector machine, and the results yield fault predictions with up to 95.6% accuracy. In addition, a sensitivity analysis with regard to noise, missing values, and missing sensors is done. The results show that the proposed model is robust enough to be used in real applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Machine Condition Monitoring and Fault Diagnosis)
Article
Cross-Union Surgery for Congenital Pseudarthrosis of the Tibia
Children 2021, 8(7), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/children8070547 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Congenital Pseudoarthrosis of the Tibia (CPT) is a rare condition with a reputation for recurrent fractures and failure to achieve union. A large variety of surgical procedures have been attempted for the treatment of fractured cases of CPT with an average rate of [...] Read more.
Congenital Pseudoarthrosis of the Tibia (CPT) is a rare condition with a reputation for recurrent fractures and failure to achieve union. A large variety of surgical procedures have been attempted for the treatment of fractured cases of CPT with an average rate of union without refracture of only 50%. Intentional cross-union between the tibia and fibula has been reported to improve these results to 100% union with no refractures. This is a retrospective study of 39 cases of CPT in 36 patients treated by the Paley cross-union protocol with internal fixation, bone grafting, zoledronic acid infusion and bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2) insertion. All 39 cases of CPT united at the tibia and developed a cross-union to the fibula. Two patients had a persistent fibular pseudarthrosis, one that was later treated at the time of planned rod exchange and one that has remained asymptomatic. There were few postoperative complications. There were no refractures during the up to 7-year follow-up period. The most common problem was the Fassier-Duval (FD) rod pulling through the proximal or distal physis into the metaphysis (66.7%). This did not negatively affect the results and was remedied at the time of the planned rod exchange. The Paley Cross-Union Protocol is very technically demanding, but the results have radically changed the prognosis of this once sinister disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction in Children)
Case Report
Planning of Aegean Archipelago Interconnections to the Continental Power System of Greece
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3818; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133818 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
This paper presents the results of a thorough planning investigation carried out by the Transmission System Operator (TSO) and the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) in Greece in order to study the interconnections of the Aegean Islands with the mainland power system. The feasibility [...] Read more.
This paper presents the results of a thorough planning investigation carried out by the Transmission System Operator (TSO) and the Distribution Network Operator (DNO) in Greece in order to study the interconnections of the Aegean Islands with the mainland power system. The feasibility of interconnecting islands is based on the need for a reliable power supply to isolated and autonomous islands, reducing the operating costs of the power generation system through the withdrawal of high-cost oil-fired generating units, and the further ability to increase renewable energy source (RES) penetration in the country’s energy mix, according to directions imposed by the National Energy and Climate Plan. Among the alternative topologies and interconnection technologies considered, the final selection of the interconnection scheme selected for inclusion in the development plans of TSO and DNO was based on their detailed comparative evaluation, considering financial and other technical criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Electrical Power and Energy System)
Article
The Impact of Extreme Events and Climate Change on Agricultural and Fishery Enterprises in Central Vietnam
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137121 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Vietnam is located in the tropical monsoon region and it often faces many types of extreme weather events, especially storms and droughts. In addition to the effect of climate change, extreme weather events have been becoming more complicated and difficult to predict, causing [...] Read more.
Vietnam is located in the tropical monsoon region and it often faces many types of extreme weather events, especially storms and droughts. In addition to the effect of climate change, extreme weather events have been becoming more complicated and difficult to predict, causing heavy losses to many areas and economic sectors of the country. These problems impose a great threat to the country to achieve its socio-economic targets and sustainable development goals. This study uses a Riparian approach integrated with two-stage Hsiao method using a panel dataset from 2000–2018 to examine the impact of extreme weather events and climate change on the output of agriculture and fishery enterprises in the Central and Central Highlands regions of Vietnam. Findings from the study indicate that extreme weather events and climate change have a negative impact on agriculture and fishery enterprises in the regions. Specifically, the model results show that the value-added loss to agriculture and fishery enterprises as the impact of extreme weather events and climate change may escalate from billion VND 3597.72 to 18,891.2 under different climate change scenarios. The results also indicate the impact of various factors regarding extreme weather events and climate change on the efficiency of enterprises in the study area. Findings from this study provide insights on the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change on value-added of enterprises in the study regions and help to propose appropriate solutions to adapt and mitigate their impacts in the future. Full article
Article
Oxidation Behavior of Maraging 300 Alloy Exposed to Nitrogen/Water Vapor Atmosphere at 500 °C
Metals 2021, 11(7), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/met11071021 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Aging heat treatments in maraging steels are fundamental to achieve the excellent mechanical properties required in several industries, i.e., nuclear, automotive, etc. In this research, samples of maraging 300 alloy were aged using a novel procedure that combines different steps with two atmospheres [...] Read more.
Aging heat treatments in maraging steels are fundamental to achieve the excellent mechanical properties required in several industries, i.e., nuclear, automotive, etc. In this research, samples of maraging 300 alloy were aged using a novel procedure that combines different steps with two atmospheres (nitrogen and water vapor) for several hours. The oxidized surface layer was chemical, microstructural and micromechanically characterized. Due to the thermodynamic and kinetic conditions, these gases reacted and change the surface chemistry of this steel producing a thin iron-based oxide layer of a homogeneous thickness of around 500 nm. Within the aforementioned information, porosity and other microstructural defects showed a non-homogeneous oxide, mainly constituted by magnetite, nickel ferrite, cobalt ferrite, and a small amount of hematite in the more external parts of the oxide layer. In this sense, from a chemical point of view, the heat treatment under specific atmosphere allows to induce a thin magnetic layer in a mixture of iron, nickel, and cobalt spinel ferrites. On the other hand, the oxide layer presents an adhesive force 99 mN value that shows the capability for being used for tribological applications under sliding contact tests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hot Oxidation and Corrosion of High Performance Metallic Alloys)
Article
From Potential to Real Threat? The Impacts of Technology Attributes on Licensing Competition—Evidence from China during 2002–2013
Information 2021, 12(7), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/info12070260 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Prior studies have extensively discussed firms’ propensity of licensing under different levels of competition. This study clarifies the differences between potential technology competition (PTC) and actual licensing competition (ALC). We investigate the relationship between these two types of competition in the context of [...] Read more.
Prior studies have extensively discussed firms’ propensity of licensing under different levels of competition. This study clarifies the differences between potential technology competition (PTC) and actual licensing competition (ALC). We investigate the relationship between these two types of competition in the context of Chinese patent licensing landscape, using patent licensing data during 2002–2013. We find that the positive effect of PTC on ALC is contingent upon the nature of licensed patent, such as generality, complexity, and newness. Our findings help scholars and managers interested in licensing to understand and monitor the likelihood of licensing competition. Policy implications are presented at the end of this study. Full article
Article
Assessment of Streamflow from EURO-CORDEX Regional Climate Simulations in Semi-Arid Catchments Using the SWAT Model
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7120; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13137120 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
This research studies the effect of climate change on the hydrological behavior of two semi-arid basins. For this purpose, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was used with the simulation of two future climate change scenarios, one Representative Concentration Pathway moderate [...] Read more.
This research studies the effect of climate change on the hydrological behavior of two semi-arid basins. For this purpose, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model was used with the simulation of two future climate change scenarios, one Representative Concentration Pathway moderate (RCP 4.5) and the other extreme (RCP 8.5). Three future periods were considered: close (2019–2040), medium (2041–2070), and distant (2071–2100). In addition, several climatic projections of the EURO-CORDEX model were selected, to which different bias correction methods were applied before incorporation into the SWAT model. The statistical indices for the monthly flow simulations showed a very good fit in the calibration and validation phases in the Upper Mula stream (NS = 0.79–0.87; PBIAS = −4.00–0.70%; RSR = 0.44–0.46) and the ephemeral Algeciras stream (NS = 0.78–0.82; PBIAS = −8.10–−8.20%; RSR = 0.4–0.42). Subsequently, the impact of climate change in both basins was evaluated by comparing future flows with those of the historical period. In the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, by the end of the 2071–2100 period, the flows of the Upper Mula stream and the ephemeral Algeciras stream will have decreased by between 46.3% and 52.4% and between 46.6% and 55.8%, respectively. Full article
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Article
A Comparison of Rice Husks and Peanut Shells as Bedding Materials on Dairy Cows’ Preferences, Behaviour, and Health
Animals 2021, 11(7), 1887; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071887 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
The provision and quality of bedding materials affect the behaviour, welfare, and health of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to evaluate the preference, behaviour, cleanliness, and physiological status of cows on three bedding materials, peanut shells, rice husks, and a [...] Read more.
The provision and quality of bedding materials affect the behaviour, welfare, and health of dairy cows. The objective of this study was to evaluate the preference, behaviour, cleanliness, and physiological status of cows on three bedding materials, peanut shells, rice husks, and a combination of two-thirds peanut shells, one-third rice husk. In an initial experiment, 15 nonlactating, pregnant Holstein cows had free access to all 3 bedding treatments for 39 d. Cows spent more time lying down on rice husk (337 min/d) than on peanut–rice combination (212 min/d) and peanut shell (196 min/d) (p < 0.05), and lay down most often on rice husk (4.35 bouts/d) than on peanut shell (2.55 bouts/d) (p < 0.05) but did not differ between peanut shells and peanut–rice combinations in terms of lying time and lying bouts. In Experiment 2, 12 nonlactating cows were used to assess the effects of the 3 bedding materials on dairy cow behaviour, cleanliness, serum indicators, and productivity. The total duration of lying down (PS: 699.1 min/d, PRC: 645.6 min/d, RH: 852.5 min/d), the frequency of bouts of lying down (PS: 8.7 bouts/d, PRC: 7.6 bouts/d, RH: 11.1 bouts/d), and the mean duration of lying bouts (PS: 83.5 min/bouts, PRC: 91.8 min/bouts, RH: 81.4 min/bouts) did not differ between treatments. Similarly, no differences in eating or drinking behaviour of dairy cows were observed. In terms of hygiene, cleanliness scores did not differ between the three bedding materials, but udder and flank cleanliness decreased and improved, respectively. In addition, treatments did not affect serum metabolites or productivity of the cows. In summary, daily behaviour, serum metabolites, and productivity of dairy cows were all within the normal range, and no statistical differences occurred between the three bedding materials, although cows showed a preference for rice husk when given access to all three bedding materials at the same time. Finally, the results suggest that bedding comprised of peanut shells and peanut–rice combinations are all suitable for maintaining the health and comfort of dairy cows. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
Review
Mimicking Pathogens to Augment the Potency of Liposomal Cancer Vaccines
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(7), 954; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13070954 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Liposomes have emerged as interesting vehicles in cancer vaccination strategies as their composition enables the inclusion of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic antigens and adjuvants. In addition, liposomes can be decorated with targeting moieties to further resemble pathogenic particles that allow for better engagement [...] Read more.
Liposomes have emerged as interesting vehicles in cancer vaccination strategies as their composition enables the inclusion of both hydrophilic and hydrophobic antigens and adjuvants. In addition, liposomes can be decorated with targeting moieties to further resemble pathogenic particles that allow for better engagement with the immune system. However, so far liposomal cancer vaccines have not yet reached their full potential in the clinic. In this review, we summarize recent preclinical studies on liposomal cancer vaccines. We describe the basic ingredients for liposomal cancer vaccines, tumor antigens, and adjuvants, and how their combined inclusion together with targeting moieties potentially derived from pathogens can enhance vaccine immunogenicity. We discuss newly identified antigen-presenting cells in humans and mice that pose as promising targets for cancer vaccines. The lessons learned from these preclinical studies can be applied to enhance the efficacy of liposomal cancer vaccination in the clinic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Liposomes for Vaccine Delivery)
Article
Seasonal Effect on Developmental Competence, Oxidative Status and Tubulin Assessment of Prepubertal Ovine Oocyte
Animals 2021, 11(7), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11071886 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
The reproductive seasonality of domestic animals is often manipulated in order to have more reproductive periods for commercial purposes related to the production of milk and meat. It is scientifically proven that such an alteration of the reproductive activity in sheep entails a [...] Read more.
The reproductive seasonality of domestic animals is often manipulated in order to have more reproductive periods for commercial purposes related to the production of milk and meat. It is scientifically proven that such an alteration of the reproductive activity in sheep entails a deterioration in oocyte quality, leading to an inability to generate embryos. Since oocytes obtained from prepubertal ewes can be incorporated into an in vitro embryo production system and considering that their quality is crucial to the success of in vitro procedures, the aim of this work was to investigate the effect of seasons on the quality of prepubertal ovine oocytes collected in autumn and spring. Ovaries were collected from a local slaughterhouse from 30–40-day-old suckling lambs during both seasons. Following 24 h of in vitro maturation, oocytes developmental competence, reactive oxygen species (ROS) intracellular levels, and mitochondrial activity were evaluated, and a tubulin assessment was performed. The results on embryo production, as a percentage of first divisions and number of blastocysts obtained, were significantly higher in oocytes collected in the spring. Mitochondrial activity in oocytes was higher, and ROS production significantly lower, in spring than in autumn. Tubulin PTMs (tyrosinated and acetylated α-tubulin) showed a higher immunoreactivity in oocytes collected in spring compared with autumn sampling. Our data showed that seasons may affect the developmental competence, energetic status, and tubulin assessment of oocytes recovered from prepubertal ewes. Therefore, special care should be taken when choosing the period of the year for prepuberal ovine oocytes collection aimed at in vitro embryo reproduction programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reproductive Management)
Review
A Review of the Performance of Infilled RC Structures in Recent Earthquakes
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(13), 5889; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11135889 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
The primary objective is to present the most representative types of damage observed in reinforced concrete (RC) structures due to earthquakes. Those damages are divided according to the ten most representative types. Examples and the main reasons that could trigger each failure mechanism [...] Read more.
The primary objective is to present the most representative types of damage observed in reinforced concrete (RC) structures due to earthquakes. Those damages are divided according to the ten most representative types. Examples and the main reasons that could trigger each failure mechanism are presented. The definition of these damage types is supported by post-earthquake damage reconnaissance missions in Sichuan (China) in 2008, L’Aquila (Italy) in 2009, Lorca (Spain) in 2011, Emilia-Romagna (Italy) in 2012, Gorkha (Nepal) in 2015, Muisne (Ecuador) in 2016 and Chiapas (Mexico) in 2017. An extensive discussion is presented concerning the infill walls’ seismic behaviour and their interaction with the RC structural elements. The presentation of the significant learnings and findings concerning the typical damage herein presented and discussed are compared with the common Southern European construction practice. The impact of the infill walls on the rehabilitation costs of damaged RC buildings is also studied. These costs are compared to those related to the structural damage and rehabilitation of the entire building structure to understand the impact of the infill walls. Finally, a case study is presented to study the effect of implementing simplified retrofitting strategies to prevent the soft-storey mechanism, one of the most common problems observed in past earthquake events. Full article
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Review
Clinical Practice of Photodynamic Therapy Using Talaporfin Sodium for Esophageal Cancer
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(13), 2785; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132785 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using a conventional photosensitizer was approved for esophageal cancer in the early 1990s; however, it was replaced by other conventional treatment modalities in clinical practice because of the high frequency of cutaneous phototoxicity and esophageal stricture after the procedure. The [...] Read more.
Photodynamic therapy (PDT) using a conventional photosensitizer was approved for esophageal cancer in the early 1990s; however, it was replaced by other conventional treatment modalities in clinical practice because of the high frequency of cutaneous phototoxicity and esophageal stricture after the procedure. The second-generation photosensitizer, talaporfin sodium, which features more rapid clearance from the body, was developed to reduce skin phototoxicity, and talaporfin sodium can be excited at longer-wavelength lights comparing with a conventional photosensitizer. Endoscopic PDT using talaporfin sodium was initially developed for the curative treatment of central-type early lung cancer in Japan, and was approved in the early 2000s. After preclinical experiments, PDT using talaporfin sodium was investigated for patients with local failure after chemoradiotherapy, which was the most serious unmet need in the practice of esophageal cancer. According to the favorable results of a multi-institutional clinical trial, PDT using talaporfin sodium was approved as an endoscopic salvage treatment for patients with local failure after chemoradiotherapy for esophageal cancer. While PDT using talaporfin sodium is gradually spreading in clinical practice, further evaluation at the point of clinical benefit is necessary to determine the importance of PDT in the treatment of esophageal cancer. Full article
Article
Thermal Analysis and Creep Lifetime Prediction Based on the Effectiveness of Thermal Barrier Coating on a Gas Turbine Combustor Liner using Coupled CFD and FEM Simulation
Energies 2021, 14(13), 3817; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14133817 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Thermal barrier coating (TBC) plays a vital role in the gas turbine combustor liner (CL) to mitigate the internal heat transfer from combustion gas to the CL and enhance the parent material lifetime of the CL. This present study examined the thermal analysis [...] Read more.
Thermal barrier coating (TBC) plays a vital role in the gas turbine combustor liner (CL) to mitigate the internal heat transfer from combustion gas to the CL and enhance the parent material lifetime of the CL. This present study examined the thermal analysis and creep lifetime prediction based on three different TBC thicknesses, 400, 800, and 1200 μm, coated on the inner CL using the coupled computational fluid dynamics/finite element method. The simulation method was divided into three models to minimize the amount of computational work involved. The Eddy Dissipation Model was used in the first model to simulate premixed methane-air combustion, and the wall temperature of the inner CL was obtained. The conjugate heat transfer simulation on the external cooling flows from the rib turbulator, impingement jet, and cross flow, and the wall temperature of the outer CL was obtained in the second model. The thermal analysis was carried out in the third model using three different TBC thicknesses and incorporating the wall data from the first and second model. The effect of increasing TBC thickness shows that the TBC surface temperature was increased. Thereby, the inner CL metal temperature was decreased due to the TBC thickness as well as the material properties of Yttria Stabilized Zirconia, which has low thermal conductivity and a high thermal expansion coefficient. With the increase in TBC thickness, the average temperature difference between the TBC surface and the inner metal surface increased. In contrast, the average temperature difference between the inner and outer metal surfaces remained nearly constant. The von Mises equivalent stress, based on the material property and thermal expansion coefficient, was determined and used to find the creep lifetime of the CL using the Larson–Miller rupture curve for all TBC thickness cases in order to analyze the thermo-structure. Except in the C-channel, the increasing TBC thickness was found to effectively increase the CL lifespan. Furthermore, the case without TBC was compared with the damaged CL with cracks due to thermal stress, which was prevented by increasing TBC thickness shown in this present study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Gas Turbine Performance, Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics)
Review
The Roles of the IGF Axis in the Regulation of the Metabolism: Interaction and Difference between Insulin Receptor Signaling and IGF-I Receptor Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6817; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136817 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
It has been well established that insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) mainly mediate long-term actions in cell fates, whereas insulin predominantly exerts its role on metabolic activity. Indeed, insulin mediates multiple anabolic biological activities in glucose and amino acid transport, lipid and protein synthesis, [...] Read more.
It has been well established that insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) mainly mediate long-term actions in cell fates, whereas insulin predominantly exerts its role on metabolic activity. Indeed, insulin mediates multiple anabolic biological activities in glucose and amino acid transport, lipid and protein synthesis, the induction of glycogen, the inhibition of gluconeogenesis, lipolysis, and protein degradation. The interactions and differences between insulin receptor signaling and IGF-I receptor signaling in the metabolism and the cell fates are quite complicated. Because of the overlapping actions of IGF-I singling with insulin signaling, it has been difficult to distinguish the role of both signaling mechanisms on the metabolism. Furthermore, comprehensive information on the IGF-I function in respective tissues remains insufficient. Therefore, we need to clarify the precise roles of IGF-I signaling on the metabolism separate from those of insulin signaling. This review focuses on the metabolic roles of IGFs in the respective tissues, especially in terms of comparison with those of insulin, by overviewing the metabolic phenotypes of tissue-specific IGF-I and insulin receptor knockout mice, as well as those in mice treated with the dual insulin receptor/IGF-I receptor inhibitor OSI-906. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of the IGF Axis in Disease 2.0)
Article
Prevalence and Determinants of Mental Health among COPD Patients in a Population-Based Sample in Spain
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(13), 2786; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10132786 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
(1) Background: To assess the prevalence of mental disorders (depression and anxiety), psychological distress, and psychiatric medications consumption among persons suffering from COPD; to compare this prevalence with non-COPD controls and to identify which variables are associated with worse mental health. (2) Methods: [...] Read more.
(1) Background: To assess the prevalence of mental disorders (depression and anxiety), psychological distress, and psychiatric medications consumption among persons suffering from COPD; to compare this prevalence with non-COPD controls and to identify which variables are associated with worse mental health. (2) Methods: This is an epidemiological case-control study. The data were obtained from the Spanish National Health Survey 2017. Subjects were classified as COPD if they reported suffering from COPD and the diagnosis of this condition had been confirmed by a physician. For each case, we selected a non-COPD control matched by sex, age, and province of residence. Conditional logistic regression was used for multivariable analysis. (3) Results: The prevalence of mental disorders (33.9% vs. 17.1%; p < 0.001), psychological distress (35.4% vs. 18.2%; p < 0.001), and psychiatric medications consumption (34.1% vs. 21.9%; p <0.001) was higher among COPD cases compared with non-COPD controls. After controlling for possible confounding variables, such as comorbid conditions and lifestyles, using multivariable regression, the probability of reporting mental disorders (OR 1.41; 95%CI 1.10–1.82).), psychological distress (OR 1.48; 95% CI 1.12–1.91), and psychiatric medications consumption (OR 1.38 95% CI 1.11–1.71) remained associated with COPD. Among COPD cases, being a woman, poor self-perceived health, more use of health services, and active smoking increased the probability of suffering from mental disorders, psychological distress, and psychiatric medication use. Stroke and chronic pain were the comorbidities more strongly associated with these mental health variables. (4) Conclusions: COPD patients have worse mental health and higher psychological distress and consume more psychiatric medications than non-COPD matched controls. Variables associated with poorer mental health included being a woman, poor self-perceived health, use of health services, and active smoking. Full article
Review
Selected In Situ Hybridization Methods: Principles and Application
Molecules 2021, 26(13), 3874; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26133874 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
We are experiencing rapid progress in all types of imaging techniques used in the detection of various numbers and types of mutation. In situ hybridization (ISH) is the primary technique for the discovery of mutation agents, which are presented in a variety of [...] Read more.
We are experiencing rapid progress in all types of imaging techniques used in the detection of various numbers and types of mutation. In situ hybridization (ISH) is the primary technique for the discovery of mutation agents, which are presented in a variety of cells. The ability of DNA to complementary bind is one of the main principles in every method used in ISH. From the first use of in situ techniques, scientists paid attention to the improvement of the probe design and detection, to enhance the fluorescent signal intensity and inhibition of cross-hybrid presence. This article discusses the individual types and modifications, and is focused on explaining the principles and limitations of ISH division on different types of probes. The article describes a design of probes for individual types of in situ hybridization (ISH), as well as the gradual combination of several laboratory procedures to achieve the highest possible sensitivity and to prevent undesirable events accompanying hybridization. The article also informs about applications of the methodology, in practice and in research, to detect cell to cell communication and principles of gene silencing, process of oncogenesis, and many other unknown processes taking place in organisms at the DNA/RNA level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in DNA and RNA Sensing)
Article
Variational Message Passing and Local Constraint Manipulation in Factor Graphs
Entropy 2021, 23(7), 807; https://doi.org/10.3390/e23070807 (registering DOI) - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
Accurate evaluation of Bayesian model evidence for a given data set is a fundamental problem in model development. Since evidence evaluations are usually intractable, in practice variational free energy (VFE) minimization provides an attractive alternative, as the VFE is an upper bound on [...] Read more.
Accurate evaluation of Bayesian model evidence for a given data set is a fundamental problem in model development. Since evidence evaluations are usually intractable, in practice variational free energy (VFE) minimization provides an attractive alternative, as the VFE is an upper bound on negative model log-evidence (NLE). In order to improve tractability of the VFE, it is common to manipulate the constraints in the search space for the posterior distribution of the latent variables. Unfortunately, constraint manipulation may also lead to a less accurate estimate of the NLE. Thus, constraint manipulation implies an engineering trade-off between tractability and accuracy of model evidence estimation. In this paper, we develop a unifying account of constraint manipulation for variational inference in models that can be represented by a (Forney-style) factor graph, for which we identify the Bethe Free Energy as an approximation to the VFE. We derive well-known message passing algorithms from first principles, as the result of minimizing the constrained Bethe Free Energy (BFE). The proposed method supports evaluation of the BFE in factor graphs for model scoring and development of new message passing-based inference algorithms that potentially improve evidence estimation accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Approximate Bayesian Inference)
Article
Energy Minimization Scheme for Split Potential Systems Using Exponential Variational Integrators
Appl. Mech. 2021, 2(3), 431-441; https://doi.org/10.3390/applmech2030024 - 24 Jun 2021
Abstract
In previous works we developed a methodology of deriving variational integrators to provide numerical solutions of systems having oscillatory behavior. These schemes use exponential functions to approximate the intermediate configurations and velocities, which are then placed into the discrete Lagrangian function characterizing the [...] Read more.
In previous works we developed a methodology of deriving variational integrators to provide numerical solutions of systems having oscillatory behavior. These schemes use exponential functions to approximate the intermediate configurations and velocities, which are then placed into the discrete Lagrangian function characterizing the physical system. We afterwards proved that, higher order schemes can be obtained through the corresponding discrete Euler–Lagrange equations and the definition of a weighted sum of “continuous intermediate Lagrangians” each of them evaluated at an intermediate time node. In the present article, we extend these methods so as to include Lagrangians of split potential systems, namely, to address cases when the potential function can be decomposed into several components. Rather than using many intermediate points for the complete Lagrangian, in this work we introduce different numbers of intermediate points, resulting within the context of various reliable quadrature rules, for the various potentials. Finally, we assess the accuracy, convergence and computational time of the proposed technique by testing and comparing them with well known standards. Full article
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