Latest Articles

Open AccessArticle
Argon Plasma Surface Modified Porcine Bone Substitute Improved Osteoblast-Like Cell Behavior
Coatings 2019, 9(2), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9020134 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Low-temperature plasma-treated porcine grafts (PGPT) may be an effective means for treating demanding osseous defects and enhance our understanding of plasma-tissue engineering. We chemically characterized porcine grafts under low-temperature Argon plasma treatment (CAP) and evaluated their biocompatibility in-vitro. Our results showed that PGPT [...] Read more.
Low-temperature plasma-treated porcine grafts (PGPT) may be an effective means for treating demanding osseous defects and enhance our understanding of plasma-tissue engineering. We chemically characterized porcine grafts under low-temperature Argon plasma treatment (CAP) and evaluated their biocompatibility in-vitro. Our results showed that PGPT did not differ in roughness, dominant crystalline phases, absorption peaks corresponding to phosphate band peaks, or micro-meso pore size, compared to non-treated porcine grafts. The PGPT Ca/P ratio was 2.16; whereas the porcine control ratio was 2.04 (p < 0.05). PGPT’s [C 1s], [P 2p] and [Ca 2p] values were 24.3%, 5.6% and 11.0%, respectively, indicating that PGPT was an apatite without another crystalline phase. Cell viability and alkaline phosphatase assays revealed enhanced proliferation and osteoblastic differentiation for the cells cultivated in the PGPT media after 5 days (p < 0.05). The cells cultured in PGPT medium had higher bone sialoprotein and osteocalcin relative mRNA expression compared to cells cultured in non-treated porcine grafts (p < 0.05). CAP treatment of porcine particles did not modify the biomaterial’s surface and improved the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblast-like cells. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Transformation Products of Organic Contaminants and Residues—Overview of Current Simulation Methods
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040753 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The formation of transformation products (TPs) from contaminants and residues is becoming an increasing focus of scientific community. All organic compounds can form different TPs, thus demonstrating the complexity and interdisciplinarity of this topic. The properties of TPs could stand in relation to [...] Read more.
The formation of transformation products (TPs) from contaminants and residues is becoming an increasing focus of scientific community. All organic compounds can form different TPs, thus demonstrating the complexity and interdisciplinarity of this topic. The properties of TPs could stand in relation to the unchanged substance or be more harmful and persistent. To get important information about the generated TPs, methods are needed to simulate natural and manmade transformation processes. Current tools are based on metabolism studies, photochemical methods, electrochemical methods, and Fenton's reagent. Finally, most transformation processes are based on redox reactions. This review aims to compare these methods for structurally different compounds. The groups of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, brominated flame retardants, and mycotoxins were selected as important residues/contaminants relating to their worldwide occurrence and impact to health, food, and environmental safety issues. Thus, there is an increasing need for investigation of transformation processes and identification of TPs by fast and reliable methods. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Enhanced Anti-Allergic Activity of Milk Casein Phosphopeptide by Additional Phosphorylation in Ovalbumin-Sensitized Mice
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040738 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The proteolytic digest of milk casein, known as casein phosphopeptide (CPP-III), exhibits diverse biological activities, including calcium absorption and antioxidant activities. We hypothesized that the additional phosphorylation of this peptide can enhance its immunomodulatory activity such as suppression of allergy-associated cytokine and antigen-specific [...] Read more.
The proteolytic digest of milk casein, known as casein phosphopeptide (CPP-III), exhibits diverse biological activities, including calcium absorption and antioxidant activities. We hypothesized that the additional phosphorylation of this peptide can enhance its immunomodulatory activity such as suppression of allergy-associated cytokine and antigen-specific immune response. This study was conducted to assess whether oral intake of additionally phosphorylated CPP-III (P-CPP) attenuates ovalbumin (OVA)-induced IgE-mediated allergic reactions because of the additional phosphate groups. Female BALB/c mice were intraperitoneally sensitized with OVA twice at intervals of 14 days and then orally fed native CPP-III (N-CPP), P-CPP, and dephosphorylated CPP-III (D-CPP) for 6 weeks. Next, the mice were orally challenged with 50 mg of OVA. Oral administration of P-CPP suppressed total and specific IgE levels in the serum. Mice fed P-CPP exhibited low levels of OVA-specific IgG1 and increased OVA-specific IgG2a. P-CPP also suppressed IL-4 production, while D-CPP showed similar a level compared to that of the control. Further, P-CPP increased the population of the T follicular helper (Tfh) cell in the spleen. These results suggest that additional phosphorylation of CPP can enhance the attenuation of allergen-specific IgE-modulated allergic reactions in a murine food allergy model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
DNA Methylation in Inflammatory Pathways Modifies the Association between BMI and Adult-Onset Non-Atopic Asthma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 600; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040600 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A high body mass (BMI) index has repeatedly been associated with non-atopic asthma, but the biological mechanism linking obesity to asthma is still poorly understood. We aimed to test the hypothesis that inflammation and/or innate immunity plays a role in the obesity-asthma link. [...] Read more.
A high body mass (BMI) index has repeatedly been associated with non-atopic asthma, but the biological mechanism linking obesity to asthma is still poorly understood. We aimed to test the hypothesis that inflammation and/or innate immunity plays a role in the obesity-asthma link. DNA methylome was measured in blood samples of 61 non-atopic participants with asthma and 146 non-atopic participants without asthma (non-smokers for at least 10 years) taking part in the Swiss Cohort Study on Air Pollution and Lung and Heart Diseases in Adults (SAPALDIA) study. Modification by DNA methylation of the association of BMI or BMI change over 10 years with adult-onset asthma was examined at each CpG site and differentially methylated region. Pathway enrichment tests were conducted for genes in a priori curated inflammatory pathways and the NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis. The latter was chosen on the basis of previous work in mice. Inflammatory pathways including glucocorticoid/PPAR signaling (p = 0.0023), MAPK signaling (p = 0.013), NF-κB signaling (p = 0.031), and PI3K/AKT signaling (p = 0.031) were enriched for the effect modification of BMI, while NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis was enriched for the effect modification of BMI change over 10 years (p = 0.046). DNA methylation measured in peripheral blood is consistent with inflammation as a link between BMI and adult-onset asthma and with the NLRP3-IL1B-IL17 axis as a link between BMI change over 10 years and adult-onset asthma in non-atopic participants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Green Bonds Premium Puzzle: The Role of Issuer Characteristics and Third-Party Verification
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1098; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041098 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
An implication of our findings is that the issuer’s reputation or green third-party verifications are essential to reduce informational asymmetries, avoid suspicion of green (bond)-washing, and produce relatively more convenient financing conditions. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Wound Healing Fluid Reflects the Inflammatory Nature and Aggressiveness of Breast Tumors
Cells 2019, 8(2), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8020181 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Wound healing fluid that originates from breast surgery increases the aggressiveness of cancer cells that remain after the surgery. We determined the effects of the extent of surgery and tumor-driven remodeling of the surrounding microenvironment on the ability of wound-healing to promote breast [...] Read more.
Wound healing fluid that originates from breast surgery increases the aggressiveness of cancer cells that remain after the surgery. We determined the effects of the extent of surgery and tumor-driven remodeling of the surrounding microenvironment on the ability of wound-healing to promote breast cancer progression. In our analysis of a panel of 34 cytokines, chemokines, and growth factors in wound healing fluid, obtained from 27 breast carcinoma patients after surgery, the levels of several small molecules were associated with the extent of cellular damage that was induced by surgery. In addition, the composition of the resulting wound healing fluid was associated with molecular features of the removed tumor. Specifically, IP-10, IL-6, G-CSF, osteopontin, MIP-1a, MIP-1b, and MCP1-MCAF were higher in more aggressive tumors. Altogether, our findings indicate that the release of factors that are induced by removal of the primary tumor and subsequent wound healing is influenced by the extent of damage due to surgery and the reactive stroma that is derived from the continuously evolving network of interactions between neoplastic cells and the microenvironment, based on the molecular characteristics of breast carcinoma cells. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Distinct Activities of Gli1 and Gli2 in the Absence of Ift88 and the Primary Cilia
J. Dev. Biol. 2019, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/jdb7010005 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The primary cilia play essential roles in Hh-dependent Gli2 activation and Gli3 proteolytic processing in mammals. However, the roles of the cilia in Gli1 activation remain unresolved due to the loss of Gli1 transcription in cilia mutant embryos, and the inability to address [...] Read more.
The primary cilia play essential roles in Hh-dependent Gli2 activation and Gli3 proteolytic processing in mammals. However, the roles of the cilia in Gli1 activation remain unresolved due to the loss of Gli1 transcription in cilia mutant embryos, and the inability to address this question by overexpression in cultured cells. Here, we address the roles of the cilia in Gli1 activation by expressing Gli1 from the Gli2 locus in mouse embryos. We find that the maximal activation of Gli1 depends on the cilia, but partial activation of Gli1 by Smo-mediated Hh signaling exists in the absence of the cilia. Combined with reduced Gli3 repressors, this partial activation of Gli1 leads to dorsal expansion of V3 interneuron and motor neuron domains in the absence of the cilia. Moreover, expressing Gli1 from the Gli2 locus in the presence of reduced Sufu has no recognizable impact on neural tube patterning, suggesting an imbalance between the dosages of Gli and Sufu does not explain the extra Gli1 activity. Finally, a non-ciliary Gli2 variant present at a higher level than Gli1 when expressed from the Gli2 locus fails to activate Hh pathway ectopically in the absence of the cilia, suggesting that increased protein level is unlikely the major factor underlying the ectopic activation of Hh signaling by Gli1 in the absence of the cilia. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Research Status and Prospect of Friction Stir Processing Technology
Coatings 2019, 9(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings9020129 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Friction stir processing (FSP) is a novel solid-phase processing technique that is derived from friction stir welding (FSW). The microstructure of the base metal can be modified with the friction heat and stir function during processing. It can be used to fabricate surface [...] Read more.
Friction stir processing (FSP) is a novel solid-phase processing technique that is derived from friction stir welding (FSW). The microstructure of the base metal can be modified with the friction heat and stir function during processing. It can be used to fabricate surface composites and in situ composites by adding reinforced particles into the metal matrix via FSP. Friction stir processing can significantly improve the hardness, wear resistance, ductility, etc., while preventing defects caused by material melting. It is an ideal material processing technology and has good prospects in the field of superplastic materials and for the preparation of metal matrix composites. This paper reviews research developments into the principle, process, and applications of FSP technology as well as its future research directions and development prospects. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Predictive Capacity of the MADYMO Multibody Human Body Model Applied to Head Kinematics During Rugby Union Tackles
Appl. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 726; https://doi.org/10.3390/app9040726 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Multibody models have not yet been evaluated for reconstructing head kinematics during sports impacts. Accordingly, the goal of this study was to utilise whole-body motion data from twenty upper and mid/lower trunk rugby shoulder tackles recorded in a marker-based 3D motion analysis laboratory [...] Read more.
Multibody models have not yet been evaluated for reconstructing head kinematics during sports impacts. Accordingly, the goal of this study was to utilise whole-body motion data from twenty upper and mid/lower trunk rugby shoulder tackles recorded in a marker-based 3D motion analysis laboratory to assess the MADYMO human body passive ellipsoid model for head kinematic reconstruction. Head linear and angular velocity during the tackle for the multibody model predictions and 3D motion laboratory measures were recorded for the ball carrier. Examined were the linear and angular velocity, as well as the absolute and percentage differences. For upper trunk tackles, the median percentage error (with quartiles) for the MADYMO predictions were 10% (6% to 45%) and 23% (16% to 39%) for change in head linear and angular velocity, respectively. For mid/lower trunk tackles, the median percentage error (with quartiles) for the MADYMO predictions were 46% (33% to 63%) and 60% (53% to 123%) for change in head linear and angular velocity, respectively. In conclusion, the model is currently unsuitable for reconstruction of head kinematics during individual rugby union tackle cases. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Fentanyl Family at the Mu-Opioid Receptor: Uniform Assessment of Binding and Computational Analysis
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 740; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040740 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Interactions of 21 fentanyl derivatives with μ-opioid receptor (μOR) were studied using experimental and theoretical methods. Their binding to μOR was assessed with radioligand competitive binding assay. A uniform set of binding affinity data contains values for two novel and one previously uncharacterized [...] Read more.
Interactions of 21 fentanyl derivatives with μ-opioid receptor (μOR) were studied using experimental and theoretical methods. Their binding to μOR was assessed with radioligand competitive binding assay. A uniform set of binding affinity data contains values for two novel and one previously uncharacterized derivative. The data confirms trends known so far and thanks to their uniformity, they facilitate further comparisons. In order to provide structural hypotheses explaining the experimental affinities, the complexes of the studied derivatives with μOR were modeled and subject to molecular dynamics simulations. Five common General Features (GFs) of fentanyls’ binding modes stemmed from these simulations. They include: GF1) the ionic interaction between D147 and the ligands’ piperidine NH+ moiety; GF2) the N-chain orientation towards the μOR interior; GF3) the other pole of ligands is directed towards the receptor outlet; GF4) the aromatic anilide ring penetrates the subpocket formed by TM3, TM4, ECL1 and ECL2; GF5) the 4-axial substituent (if present) is directed towards W318. Except for the ionic interaction with D147, the majority of fentanyl-μOR contacts is hydrophobic. Interestingly, it was possible to find nonlinear relationships between the binding affinity and the volume of the N-chain and/or anilide’s aromatic ring. This kind of relationships is consistent with the apolar character of interactions involved in ligand–receptor binding. The affinity reaches the optimum for medium size while it decreases for both large and small substituents. Additionally, a linear correlation between the volumes and the average dihedral angles of W293 and W133 was revealed by the molecular dynamics study. This seems particularly important, as the W293 residue is involved in the activation processes. Further, the Y326 (OH) and D147 (Cγ) distance found in the simulations also depends on the ligands’ size. In contrast, neither RMSF measures nor D114/Y336 hydrations show significant structure-based correlations. They also do not differentiate studied fentanyl derivatives. Eventually, none of 14 popular scoring functions yielded a significant correlation between the predicted and observed affinity data (R < 0.30, n = 28). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Bunias erucago L.: Glucosinolate Profile and In Vitro Biological Potential
Molecules 2019, 24(4), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24040741 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Bunias erucago belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which represents a forgotten crop of the Euro-Mediterranean area. The aim of the present study was to determine the glucosinolate profile in different plant parts and biological properties (antioxidant, anticholinesterase, and cytotoxic activities) of the isolates [...] Read more.
Bunias erucago belongs to the Brassicaceae family, which represents a forgotten crop of the Euro-Mediterranean area. The aim of the present study was to determine the glucosinolate profile in different plant parts and biological properties (antioxidant, anticholinesterase, and cytotoxic activities) of the isolates containing glucosinolate breakdown products. The chemical profiles were determined by using HPLC-PDA-MS/MS of desulfoglucosinolates and GC-MS of glucosinolate degradation products. The analysis of B. erucago showed the presence of seven glucosinolates: gluconapin (1), glucoraphasatin (2), glucoraphenin (3), glucoerucin (4), glucoraphanin (5), glucotropaeolin (6), and glucosinalbin (7). The total glucosinolate content ranged from 7.0 to 14.6 µmol/g of dry weight, with the major glucosinolate glucosinalbin in all parts. The antioxidant activity of all volatile isolates was not notable. At a tested concentration of 227 μg/mL, flower hydro-distillate (FH) showed good AChE inhibition, i.e., 40.9%, while root hydro-distillate (RH) had good activity against BChE, i.e., 54.3%. FH showed the best activity against both tested human bladder cancer cell lines, i.e., against T24 after 72 h, which have IC50 of 16.0 μg/mL, and against TCCSUP after 48 h with IC50 of 7.8 μg/mL, and can be considered as highly active. On the other hand, RH showed weak activity against tested cancer cells. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Integrated Approaches for the Use of Large Datasets to Identify Rational Therapies for the Treatment of Lung Cancers
Cancers 2019, 11(2), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11020239 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The benefit and burden of contemporary techniques for the molecular characterization of samples is the vast amount of data generated. In the era of “big data”, it has become imperative that we develop multi-disciplinary teams combining scientists, clinicians, and data analysts. In this [...] Read more.
The benefit and burden of contemporary techniques for the molecular characterization of samples is the vast amount of data generated. In the era of “big data”, it has become imperative that we develop multi-disciplinary teams combining scientists, clinicians, and data analysts. In this review, we discuss a number of approaches developed by our University of Texas MD Anderson Lung Cancer Multidisciplinary Program to process and utilize such large datasets with the goal of identifying rational therapeutic options for biomarker-driven patient subsets. Large integrated datasets such as the The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) for patient samples and the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) for tumor derived cell lines include genomic, transcriptomic, methylation, miRNA, and proteomic profiling alongside clinical data. To best use these datasets to address urgent questions such as whether we can define molecular subtypes of disease with specific therapeutic vulnerabilities, to quantify states such as epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition that are associated with resistance to treatment, or to identify potential therapeutic agents in models of cancer that are resistant to standard treatments required the development of tools for systematic, unbiased high-throughput analysis. Together, such tools, used in a multi-disciplinary environment, can be leveraged to identify novel treatments for molecularly defined subsets of cancer patients, which can be easily and rapidly translated from benchtop to bedside. Full article
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