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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
BRCA Mutations and Breast Cancer Prevention
Cancers 2018, 10(12), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers10120524 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Women who inherit a deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation face substantially increased risks of developing breast cancer, which is estimated at 70%. Although annual screening with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mammography promotes the earlier detection of the disease, the gold standard for
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Women who inherit a deleterious BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation face substantially increased risks of developing breast cancer, which is estimated at 70%. Although annual screening with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and mammography promotes the earlier detection of the disease, the gold standard for the primary prevention of breast cancer remains bilateral mastectomy. In the current paper, I review the evidence regarding the management of healthy BRCA mutation carriers, including key risk factors and protective factors, and also discuss potential chemoprevention options. I also provide an overview of the key findings from the literature published to date, with a focus on data from studies that are well-powered, and preferably prospective in nature. Full article
Open AccessReview
Pavement Distress Detection Methods: A Review
Infrastructures 2018, 3(4), 58; https://doi.org/10.3390/infrastructures3040058 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The road pavement conditions affect safety and comfort, traffic and travel times, vehicles operating cost, and emission levels. In order to optimize the road pavement management and guarantee satisfactory mobility conditions for all road users, the Pavement Management System (PMS) is an effective
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The road pavement conditions affect safety and comfort, traffic and travel times, vehicles operating cost, and emission levels. In order to optimize the road pavement management and guarantee satisfactory mobility conditions for all road users, the Pavement Management System (PMS) is an effective tool for the road manager. An effective PMS requires the availability of pavement distress data, the possibility of data maintenance and updating, in order to evaluate the best maintenance program. In the last decade, many researches have been focused on pavement distress detection, using a huge variety of technological solutions for both data collection and information extraction and qualification. This paper presents a literature review of data collection systems and processing approach aimed at the pavement condition evaluation. Both commercial solutions and research approaches have been included. The main goal is to draw a framework of the actual existing solutions, considering them from a different point of view in order to identify the most suitable for further research and technical improvement, while also considering the automated and semi-automated emerging technologies. An important attempt is to evaluate the aptness of the data collection and extraction to the type of distress, considering the distress detection, classification, and quantification phases of the procedure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis and Evaluation of 3-Substituted-4-(quinoxalin-6-yl) Pyrazoles as TGF-β Type I Receptor Kinase Inhibitors
Molecules 2018, 23(12), 3369; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23123369 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), in which overexpression has been associated with various diseases, has become an attractive molecular target for the treatment of cancers. Thirty-two quinoxaline-derivatives of 3-substituted-4-(quinoxalin-6-yl) pyrazoles 14ad, 15ad, 16ad, 17a
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The transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β), in which overexpression has been associated with various diseases, has become an attractive molecular target for the treatment of cancers. Thirty-two quinoxaline-derivatives of 3-substituted-4-(quinoxalin-6-yl) pyrazoles 14ad, 15ad, 16ad, 17ad, 18ad, 19ad, 25a, 25b, 25d, 26a, 26b, 26d, 27b, and 27d were synthesized and evaluated for their activin TGF-β type I receptor kinase and p38α mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibitory activity in enzymatic assays. Among these compounds, the most active compound 19b inhibited TGF-β type I receptor kinase phosphorylation with an IC50 value of 0.28 µM, with 98% inhibition at 10 µM. Compound 19b also had good selectivity index of >35 against p38α MAP kinase, with 9.0-fold more selective than clinical candidate, compound 3 (LY-2157299). A molecular docking study was performed to identify the mechanism of action of the synthesized compounds and their good binding interactions were observed. ADMET prediction of good active compounds showed that these ones possess good pharmacokinetics and drug-likeness behavior. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Probing the Structural Determinants of Amino Acid Recognition: X-Ray Studies of Crystalline Ditopic Host-Guest Complexes of the Positively Charged Amino Acids, Arg, Lys, and His with a Cavitand Molecule
Molecules 2018, 23(12), 3368; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23123368 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Crystallization of tetraphosphonate cavitand Tiiii[H, CH3, CH3] in the presence of positively charged amino acids, namely arginine, lysine, or histidine, afforded host-guest complex structures. The X-ray structure determination revealed that in all three structures, the fully protonated form of
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Crystallization of tetraphosphonate cavitand Tiiii[H, CH3, CH3] in the presence of positively charged amino acids, namely arginine, lysine, or histidine, afforded host-guest complex structures. The X-ray structure determination revealed that in all three structures, the fully protonated form of the amino acid is ditopically complexed by two tetraphosphonate cavitand molecules. Guanidinium, ammonium, and imidazolium cationic groups of the amino acid side chain are hosted in the cavity of a phosphonate receptor, and are held in place by specific hydrogen bonding interactions with the P=O groups of the cavitand molecule. In all three structures, the positively charged α-ammonium groups form H-bonds with the P=O groups, and with a water molecule hosted in the cavity of a second tetraphosphonate molecule. Furthermore, water-assisted dimerization was observed for the cavitand/histidine ditopic complex. In this 4:2 supramolecular complex, a bridged water molecule is held by two carboxylic acid groups of the dimerized amino acid. The structural information obtained on the geometrical constrains necessary for the possible encapsulation of the amino acids are important for the rational design of devices for analytical and medical applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Native Quercetin as a Chloride Receptor in an Organic Solvent
Molecules 2018, 23(12), 3366; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23123366 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The binding properties of quercetin toward chloride anions were investigated by means of 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) measurements, as well as computational calculations. The results indicate that quercetin behaves primarily as a ditopic receptor with the binding
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The binding properties of quercetin toward chloride anions were investigated by means of 1H-NMR, 13C-NMR, and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) measurements, as well as computational calculations. The results indicate that quercetin behaves primarily as a ditopic receptor with the binding site of the B ring that exhibits stronger chloride affinity compared to the A ring. However, these sites are stronger receptors than those of catechol and resorcinol because of their conjugation with the carbonyl group located on the C ring. The 1:1 and 1:2 complexation of this flavonoid with Cl was also supported by ESI mass spectrometry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Management of Waste Streams from Dairy Manufacturing Operations Using Membrane Filtration and Dissolved Air Flotation
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2694; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8122694 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Membrane filtration can provide a significant role in the management of waste streams from food manufacturing operations. The objective of this research was to evaluate the reductions in the organic content of waste streams accomplished when using membrane filtration. Reductions in Chemical Oxygen
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Membrane filtration can provide a significant role in the management of waste streams from food manufacturing operations. The objective of this research was to evaluate the reductions in the organic content of waste streams accomplished when using membrane filtration. Reductions in Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) by membrane filtration were compared to a Dissolved Air Floatation (DAF) system. Membranes with six different pore sizes (200, 20, 8, 4, 0.083, and 0.058 kDa) were evaluated. In addition, the various membrane treatments were applied after the DAF as an additional level of comparison. The DAF treatment provided 75.15 ± 3.95% reduction in COD, and the reduction in COD improved from 85% to 99% as the membrane pore size decreased. When all membranes were used after a DAF pre-treatment, a reduction in COD to less than 1200 ppm in the permeate stream was achieved. These reductions were independent of the COD in the feed stream. The membrane fouling rates were evaluated for the membranes with the four largest pore-sizes membranes. The membranes with 20 kDa pore-size had the lowest fouling rates during extended fouling-rate studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impregnation of Wood with Microencapsulated Bio-Based Phase Change Materials for High Thermal Mass Engineered Wood Flooring
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2696; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8122696 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Wood is a porous material that can be impregnated and have enhanced properties. Two species of hardwood, red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), were impregnated in a reactor with a microencapsulated phase change material. The objective
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Wood is a porous material that can be impregnated and have enhanced properties. Two species of hardwood, red oak (Quercus rubra L.) and sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), were impregnated in a reactor with a microencapsulated phase change material. The objective was to enhance the thermal mass of wood boards used as surface layers for engineered wood flooring manufacturing. Preliminary experiments were conducted on small samples in order to define suitable impregnation parameters, based on the Bethell cycle. Thin wood boards were impregnated with a microencapsulated phase change material dispersed into distilled water. Several cycles of pressure were applied. Heating storage of the impregnated wood boards was determined using a dynamic heat flow meter apparatus method. A latent heat storage of 7.6 J/g over 3 °C was measured for impregnated red oak samples. This corresponds to a heat storage enhancement of 77.0%. Sugar maple was found to be harder to impregnate and thus his thermal enhancement was lower. Impregnated samples were observed by reflective optical microscopy. Microcapsules were found mainly in the large vessels of red oak, forming aggregates. Pull-off tests were conducted on varnished samples to assess the influence of an impregnation on varnish adhesion and no significant influence was revealed. Engineered wood flooring manufactured with impregnated boards such as characterized in this study could store solar energy and thus improve buildings energy efficiency. Although wood is a material with a low-conductivity, the thermal exchange between the PCM and the building air could be good enough as the microcapsules are positioned in the surface layer. Furthermore, flooring is an area with frequent sunrays exposure. Such high thermal mass EWF could lead to energy savings and to an enhancement of occupant’s thermal comfort. This study aimed to characterize the potential of impregnation with MPCM of two wood species in order to make high thermal mass EWF. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identification of Pinocembrin as an Anti-Glycation Agent and α-Glucosidase Inhibitor from Fingerroot (Boesenbergia rotunda): The Tentative Structure–Activity Relationship towards MG-Trapping Activity
Molecules 2018, 23(12), 3365; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules23123365 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease that is caused by a malfunction of carbohydrate metabolism, which plays an important role in the development of long-term diabetic complications. The excess glucose can be transformed to methylglyoxal (MG), a potential precursor of glycation. Glycation is
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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a disease that is caused by a malfunction of carbohydrate metabolism, which plays an important role in the development of long-term diabetic complications. The excess glucose can be transformed to methylglyoxal (MG), a potential precursor of glycation. Glycation is a spontaneous non-enzymatic reaction that initially yields advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), which ultimately triggers several severe complications. Therefore, the inhibition of AGEs formation is the imperative approach for alleviating diabetic complications. The aim of this research was to investigate the glycation and α-glucosidase inhibitory abilities of compounds isolated from fingerroot. The dichloromethane extract afforded three flavanones, two chalcones, two dihydrochalcones, and one kavalactone. Most of the isolated compounds showed higher inhibition effect against AGEs formation than aminoguanidine (AG). Subsequent evaluation in MG-trapping assay indicated that their trapping potency was relatively comparable to AG. Their structure-activity relationships (SAR) of MG-trapping activity were investigated using the comparison of the structures of flavonoids. In addition, pinocembrin displayed moderate α-glucosidase inhibition against both maltase and sucrose, with IC50 values of 0.35 ± 0.021 and 0.39 ± 0.020 mM, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Comparative Analysis of Current Control Techniques to Support Virtual Inertia Applications
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(12), 2695; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8122695 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The rapid transition towards an inverter-dominated power system has reduced the inertial response capability of modern power systems. As a solution, inverters are equipped with control strategies, which can emulate inertia by exchanging power with the grid based on frequency changes. This paper
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The rapid transition towards an inverter-dominated power system has reduced the inertial response capability of modern power systems. As a solution, inverters are equipped with control strategies, which can emulate inertia by exchanging power with the grid based on frequency changes. This paper discusses the various current control techniques for application in these systems, known as virtual inertia systems. Some classic control techniques like the proportional-integral, the proportional-resonant, and the hysteresis control are presented first, followed by the design and discussion of two more advanced control techniques based on model prediction and machine learning, respectively. MATLAB/Simulink-based simulations are performed, and results are presented to compare these control techniques in terms of harmonic performance, switching frequency, and transient response. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Artemether and Praziquantel: Origin, Mode of Action, Impact, and Suggested Application for Effective Control of Human Schistosomiasis
Trop. Med. Infect. Dis. 2018, 3(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/tropicalmed3040125 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The stumbling block for the continued, single-drug use of praziquantel (PZQ) against schistosomiasis is less justified by the risk of drug resistance than by the fact that this drug is inactive against juvenal parasites, which will mature and start egg production after chemotherapy.
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The stumbling block for the continued, single-drug use of praziquantel (PZQ) against schistosomiasis is less justified by the risk of drug resistance than by the fact that this drug is inactive against juvenal parasites, which will mature and start egg production after chemotherapy. Artemisinin derivatives, currently used against malaria in the form of artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), provide an opportunity as these drugs are not only active against malaria plasmodia, but surprisingly also against juvenile schistosomes. An artemisinin/PZQ combination would be complimentary, and potentially additive, as it would kill two schistosome life cycle stages and thus confer a transmission-blocking modality to current chemotherapy. We focus here on single versus combined regimens in endemic settings. Although the risk of artemisinin resistance, already emerging with respect to malaria therapy in Southeast Asia, prevents use in countries where ACT is needed for malaria care, an artemisinin-enforced praziquantel treatment (APT) should be acceptable in North Africa (including Egypt), the Middle East, China, and Brazil, as these countries are not endemic for malaria. Thanks to recent progress with respect to high-resolution diagnostics, based on circulating schistosome antigens in humans and molecular approaches for snail surveys, it should be possible to keep areas scheduled for schistosomiasis elimination under surveillance, bringing rapid response to bear on problems arising. The next steps would be to investigate where and for how long APT should be applied to make a lasting impact. A large-scale field trial in an area with modest transmission should tell how apt this approach is. Full article
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