Advancing Open Science
for more than 25 years
MDPI is a pioneer in scholarly open access publishing
and has supported academic communities since 1996. arrow_forward Go to anniversary page
Article
Evaluation of Practical Applicability and Synergistic Effects of Bio-Based Food Packaging Materials Combined with Plant-Based Stabilisers
Processes 2021, 9(10), 1838; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr9101838 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Different analyses and feasibility studies have been conducted on the plant extracts of thyme (Thymus vulgaris), European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), and snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) to evaluate bio-based alternatives to common [...] Read more.
Different analyses and feasibility studies have been conducted on the plant extracts of thyme (Thymus vulgaris), European horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), Nordmann fir (Abies nordmanniana), and snowdrop (Galanthus elwesii) to evaluate bio-based alternatives to common petrol-based stabilisers. For this purpose, in this study, plant extracts were incorporated into poly-lactic acid films (PLA) at different concentrations. The films’ UV absorbance and migration into packed food was analysed via photometric assays (ABTS radical cation scavenging capacity assay, β-carotene assay) and GC–MS analysis. Furthermore, the synergistic antioxidant effects of various combinations of extracts and isolated active compounds were determined. This way, antioxidant effects can be increased, allowing for a highly effective use of resources. All extracts were successfully incorporated into PLA films and showed notable photoabsorbing effects, while no migration risk was observed. Depending on extract combinations, high synergistic effects of up to 726% can be utilised to improve the effectiveness of bio-based extracts. This applies particularly to tomato paste and Aesculus hippocastanum extracts, which overall show high synergistic and antioxidant effects in combination with each other and with isolated active compounds. The study shows that it is possible to create safe bio-based antioxidant films which show even improved properties when using highlighted target combinations. Full article
Review
Antibody-Antineoplastic Conjugates in Gynecological Malignancies: Current Status and Future Perspectives
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(10), 1705; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13101705 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
In the last decade, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), normally formed by a humanized antibody and a small drug via a chemical cleavable or non-cleavable linker, have emerged as a potential treatment strategy in cancer disease. They allow to get a selective delivery of the [...] Read more.
In the last decade, antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), normally formed by a humanized antibody and a small drug via a chemical cleavable or non-cleavable linker, have emerged as a potential treatment strategy in cancer disease. They allow to get a selective delivery of the chemotherapeutic agents at the tumor level, and, consequently, to improve the antitumor efficacy and, especially to decrease chemotherapy-related toxicity. Currently, nine antibody-drug conjugate-based formulations have been already approved and more than 80 are under clinical trials for the treatment of several tumors, especially breast cancer, lymphomas, and multiple myeloma. To date, no ADCs have been approved for the treatment of gynecological formulations, but many formulations have been developed and have reached the clinical stage, especially for the treatment of ovarian cancer, an aggressive disease with a low five-year survival rate. This manuscript analyzes the ADCs formulations that are under clinical research in the treatment of gynecological carcinomas, specifically ovarian, endometrial, and cervical tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Targeted Nanotherapy in Cancer Disease)
Brief Report
Single-Center Comparison of [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA and [18F]-PSMA PET–CT for Imaging Prostate Cancer
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(5), 4167-4173; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol28050353 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Introduction: the diagnostic performance of [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA PET–CT imaging was compared retrospectively to [18F]-PSMA PET–CT in prostate cancer patients with recurrent disease and in the primary staging of selected patients with advanced local and possible metastatic disease. Methods: We retrospectively [...] Read more.
Introduction: the diagnostic performance of [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA PET–CT imaging was compared retrospectively to [18F]-PSMA PET–CT in prostate cancer patients with recurrent disease and in the primary staging of selected patients with advanced local and possible metastatic disease. Methods: We retrospectively selected a total of 100 patients, who were consecutively examined in our department, with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy or who had progressive local and possible metastatic disease in the last 3 months prior to this investigation. All patients were examined with a dedicated PET–CT scanner (Biograph; Siemens Healthineers). A total of 250 MBq (3.5 MBq per kg bodyweight, range 230–290 MBq) of [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA or [18-F]-PSMA was applied intravenously. PET images were performed 1 h post-injection (skull base to mid-thigh). The maximum standardized uptake values (SUVmax) of PSMA-positive lesions and the mean standardized uptake value (SUVmean) of the right liver lobe were measured. Results: All but 9/50 of the patients (18%; PSA range: 0.01–0.7 µg/L) studied with [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA and 6/50 of the ones (12%; PSA range: 0.01–4.2) studied with [18F]-PSMA had at least one positive PSMA lesion shown by PET–CT. The total number of lesions was higher with [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA (209 vs. 191); however, the median number of lesions was one for [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA and two for [18F]-PSMA. Interestingly, the median SUVmean of the right liver lobe was slightly higher for [18F]-PSMA (11.8 vs. 8.9). Conclusions: [64Cu]-DOTAGA-PSMA and [18F]-PSMA have comparable detection rates for the assessment of residual disease in patients with recurrent or primary progressive prostate cancer. The uptake in the liver is moderately different, and therefore at least the SUVs of the lesions in both studies would not be comparable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Frontiers in Prostate Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment)
Article
Evaluation Model for Particulate Matter Emissions in Korean Construction Sites
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11428; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011428 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Particulate matter (PM) has caused serious environmental issues in Asia, and various policies for systematic management of PM based on evaluation of the characteristics of emissions are being discussed. In Korea, where the damage of PM from construction sites is severe, only regulatory [...] Read more.
Particulate matter (PM) has caused serious environmental issues in Asia, and various policies for systematic management of PM based on evaluation of the characteristics of emissions are being discussed. In Korea, where the damage of PM from construction sites is severe, only regulatory policies according to the concentration are being implemented; however, there is no policy for the quantitative management of PM. Therefore, this study aimed to derive and propose an emission evaluation model to be used for the establishment of management policies for construction site PM emissions in South Korea by assuming structures as manufactured products. Therefore, this study derived a method of calculating the PM10, PM2.5, NOx, SOx, and VOCs emission factors for each type of equipment in construction sites and then estimated annual total emissions. In addition, this paper put forth a method for offsetting emission permission standards as the criteria for evaluating the adequacy of the estimated emissions. Finally, a model algorithm was proposed for evaluating emissions in advance during the construction planning phase by comparing the PM10, PM2.5, NOx, SOx, and VOCs emissions in construction sites with established standards; the supplementary point of the algorithm is discussed for further studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
Article
“... Inconceivable, Unrealistic and Inhumane”. Internet Communication on the Flood Disaster in West Germany of July 2021 between Conspiracy Theories and Moralization— A Neopragmatic Explorative Study
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11427; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011427 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
The aim of this article is an explorative study of the debate on the flood in the western part of Germany in July 2021, based on the comments found below the coverage of a German public television channel (ZDF) published on YouTube. Based [...] Read more.
The aim of this article is an explorative study of the debate on the flood in the western part of Germany in July 2021, based on the comments found below the coverage of a German public television channel (ZDF) published on YouTube. Based on the neopragmatic framing of the analysis by connecting morality and mass media according to Luhmann, as well as Dahrendorf’s conflict theory, four patterns of interpretation were identified which illustrate a high moralization of the conflict: conclusions drawn from the storm (e.g., of a political nature, references to COVID-19, etc.), far-reaching, predominantly negative interpretations that place the storm and its consequences in the context of other negatively interpreted aspects, as well as rational and empathetic interpretations regarding expressions of sympathy and offers of help, and, ultimately, interpretations that range from climate change and planning failures to various conspiracy-theoretical claims of responsibility for the flooding. All in all, a transformation from conflicts of interest and facts to conflicts of identity and values is taking place, revealing two utopias: the utopia in which man and nature are in harmonic unity, as well as the utopia of the satisfaction of individual (material) needs in a stable material-spatial and legal framework. Science has an instrumental application in both utopias. Full article
Review
CD8 T Cell Vaccines and a Cytomegalovirus-Based Vector Approach
Life 2021, 11(10), 1097; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11101097 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
The twentieth century witnessed a huge expansion in the number of vaccines used with great success in combating diseases, especially the ones caused by viral and bacterial pathogens. Despite this, several major public health threats, such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and cancer, still [...] Read more.
The twentieth century witnessed a huge expansion in the number of vaccines used with great success in combating diseases, especially the ones caused by viral and bacterial pathogens. Despite this, several major public health threats, such as HIV, tuberculosis, malaria, and cancer, still pose an enormous humanitarian and economic burden. As vaccines based on the induction of protective, neutralizing antibodies have not managed to effectively combat these diseases, in recent decades, the focus has increasingly shifted towards the cellular immune response. There is substantial evidence demonstrating CD8 T cells as key players in the protection not only against many viral and bacterial pathogens, but also in the fight against neoplastic cells. Here, we present arguments for CD8 T cells to be considered as promising candidates for vaccine targeting. We discuss the heterogeneity of CD8 T cell populations and their contribution in the protection of the host. We also outline several strategies of using a common human pathogen, cytomegalovirus, as a vaccine vector since accumulated data strongly suggest it represents a promising approach to the development of novel vaccines against both pathogens and tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology of Cytomegalovirus Infection)
Article
Characterization of the Insect Assemblage and Associated Floral Volatiles of Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2195; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102195 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Black cherry is an ecologically important high-value wood. A decline of its regeneration has been reported in the USA, which could be associated with a lack of pollination. This study was conducted to identify insects visiting black cherry flowers, to determine whether insects [...] Read more.
Black cherry is an ecologically important high-value wood. A decline of its regeneration has been reported in the USA, which could be associated with a lack of pollination. This study was conducted to identify insects visiting black cherry flowers, to determine whether insects captured on the flowers carry black cherry pollen and to identify the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by flowers of black cherry. A two-year insect survey was conducted before, during and after the black cherry bloom. A total of 9533 insects were captured in traps and Diptera was the most abundant (64.1%). Significantly more insects in Diptera, Lepidoptera and Thysanoptera were captured in the traps installed in the canopy than those on the ground, and Anthalia bulbosa (Diptera: Hybotidae) was the dominant species. Electron microscopy analyses demonstrated that insects captured in the canopy indeed carried black cherry pollen. Black cherry flowers emitted a VOC blend that is composed of 34 compounds and dominated by β-ocimene and several phenylpropanoids/benzenoids. This floral VOC profile is similar to that of other pollinator-dependent Prunus species. This study reports pollinator insects and associated VOCs, for the first time, that could play a significant role in the pollination and regeneration of black cherry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant-Insect Interactions)
Article
Matured Myofibers in Bioprinted Constructs with In Vivo Vascularization and Innervation
Gels 2021, 7(4), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels7040171 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
For decades, the study of tissue-engineered skeletal muscle has been driven by a clinical need to treat neuromuscular diseases and volumetric muscle loss. The in vitro fabrication of muscle offers the opportunity to test drug-and cell-based therapies, to study disease processes, and to [...] Read more.
For decades, the study of tissue-engineered skeletal muscle has been driven by a clinical need to treat neuromuscular diseases and volumetric muscle loss. The in vitro fabrication of muscle offers the opportunity to test drug-and cell-based therapies, to study disease processes, and to perhaps, one day, serve as a muscle graft for reconstructive surgery. This study developed a biofabrication technique to engineer muscle for research and clinical applications. A bioprinting protocol was established to deliver primary mouse myoblasts in a gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) bioink, which was implanted in an in vivo chamber in a nude rat model. For the first time, this work demonstrated the phenomenon of myoblast migration through the bioprinted GelMA scaffold with cells spontaneously forming fibers on the surface of the material. This enabled advanced maturation and facilitated the connection between incoming vessels and nerve axons in vivo without the hindrance of a scaffold material. Immunohistochemistry revealed the hallmarks of tissue maturity with sarcomeric striations and peripherally placed nuclei in the organized bundles of muscle fibers. Such engineered muscle autografts could, with further structural development, eventually be used for surgical reconstructive purposes while the methodology presented here specifically has wide applications for in vitro and in vivo neuromuscular function and disease modelling. Full article
Article
Recent Malignant Melanoma Epidemiology in Upper Silesia, Poland. A Decade-Long Study Focusing on the Agricultural Sector
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(20), 10863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182010863 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
The aim of the present study was to create spatial and spatio-temporal patterns of cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM) incidence in Upper Silesia, Poland, using the largest MM database (<4K cases) in Central Europe, focusing on the agricultural sector. The data comprised all the [...] Read more.
The aim of the present study was to create spatial and spatio-temporal patterns of cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM) incidence in Upper Silesia, Poland, using the largest MM database (<4K cases) in Central Europe, focusing on the agricultural sector. The data comprised all the registered cancer cases (C43, according to the International Classification of Diseases after the 10th Revision) between the years 2004–2013 by the Regional Cancer Registries (RCRs) in Opole and Gliwice. The standardized incidence ratios (SIRs), spatio-temporal growth rates (GRs), and disease cluster relative risks (RRs) were estimated. Based on the regression coefficients, we have indicated irregularities of spatial variance in cutaneous malignant melanoma, especially in older women (≥60), and a possible age-migrating effect of agricultural population density on the risk of malignant melanoma in Upper Silesia. All the estimates were illustrated in choropleth thematic maps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Skin Health)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Identification of Volatile Compounds in Blackcurrant Berries: Differences Among Cultivars
Molecules 2021, 26(20), 6254; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26206254 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Berries of blackcurrant are known to produce a strong flavor. Some previous studies have reported that a given cultivar of blackcurrant can produce berries with a specific profile of volatile compounds. For the Burgundy region in France, the Noir de Bourgogne cultivar is [...] Read more.
Berries of blackcurrant are known to produce a strong flavor. Some previous studies have reported that a given cultivar of blackcurrant can produce berries with a specific profile of volatile compounds. For the Burgundy region in France, the Noir de Bourgogne cultivar is especially important because it is the main ingredient of a liquor with a designation of origin. The aim of the present study was to characterize the volatile fractions of berries from 15 cultivars in order to explore the possibility of using different cultivars for liquor production. The plants were cultivated under the same conditions and harvested in the same year. The volatile fractions of the harvested berries were analyzed using HS-SPME-GC-MS. Thorough univariate statistical analysis and multivariate analysis were applied to the dataset, which made it possible to identify groups within cultivars. The Rosenthal cultivar exhibited a quite flat profile; the Lositkia, Ben Tiran, and Barchatnaia cultivars shared common features; the Noir de Bourgogne cultivar showed the highest amounts of molecules such as 3-carene, limonene, β-phellandrene, ocimene, α-terpinolene, and bicyclogermacrene. None of the studied varieties were close to the Noir de Bourgogne on the basis of VOC analysis. Full article
Article
Mechanically Strong, Low Thermal Conductivity and Improved Thermal Stability Polyvinyl Alcohol–Graphene–Nanocellulose Aerogel
Gels 2021, 7(4), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels7040170 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Porous aerogel materials have advantages of a low density, low thermal conductivity and high porosity, and they have broad application prospects in heat insulation and building energy conservation. However, aerogel materials usually exhibit poor mechanical properties. Single-component aerogels are less likely to possess [...] Read more.
Porous aerogel materials have advantages of a low density, low thermal conductivity and high porosity, and they have broad application prospects in heat insulation and building energy conservation. However, aerogel materials usually exhibit poor mechanical properties. Single-component aerogels are less likely to possess a good thermal stability and mechanical properties. It is necessary to prepare multiple-composite aerogels by reinforcement to meet practical application needs. In this experiment, a simple preparation method for polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)–graphene (GA)–nanocellulose (CNF) ternary composite aerogels was proposed. This is also the first time to prepare ternary composite aerogels by mixing graphene, nanocellulose and polyvinyl alcohol. A GA–CNF hydrogel was prepared by a one-step hydrothermal method, and soaked in PVA solution for 48 h to obtain a PVA–GA–CNF hydrogel. PVA–GA–CNF aerogels were prepared by freeze drying. The ternary composite aerogel has advantages of excellent mechanical properties, a low thermal conductivity and an improved thermal stability, because strong hydrogen bonds form between the PVA, GA and CNF. The composite aerogels were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry, Brunauer–Emmett–Teller analysis, dynamic thermal analysis, thermogravimetry and thermal constant analysis to characterize the properties of the ternary composite aerogels. The lightweight, low-density and porous PVA–GA–CNF composite aerogels withstood 628 times their mass. The thermal conductivity of the composite aerogels was 0.044 ± 0.005 W/mK at room temperature and 0.045 ± 0.005 W/mK at 70 °C. This solid, low thermal conductivity and good thermal stability PVA–GA–CNF ternary composite aerogel has potential application in thermal insulation. Full article
Article
The Effect of Daily Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) Consumption on High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol in Healthy Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Nutrients 2021, 13(10), 3620; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13103620 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Interventions to decrease inflammation and improve metabolic function hold promise for the prevention of obesity-related diseases. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring compound that demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Improvements in measures of metabolic health have been observed in mouse models of obesity [...] Read more.
Interventions to decrease inflammation and improve metabolic function hold promise for the prevention of obesity-related diseases. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is a naturally occurring compound that demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Improvements in measures of metabolic health have been observed in mouse models of obesity and diabetes following MSM treatment. However, the effects of MSM on obesity-related diseases in humans have not been investigated. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to determine whether MSM supplementation improves cardiometabolic health, and markers of inflammation and oxidative status. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled design was utilized with a total of 22 overweight or obese adults completing the study. Participants received either a placebo (white rice flour) or 3 g MSM daily for 16 weeks. Measurements occurred at baseline and after 4, 8, and 16 weeks. Outcome measures included fasting glucose, insulin, blood lipids, blood pressure, body composition, metabolic rate, and markers of inflammation and oxidative status. The primary finding of this work shows that high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was elevated at 8 and 16 weeks of daily MSM consumption compared to baseline, (p = 0.008, p = 0.013). Our findings indicate that MSM supplementation may improve the cholesterol profile by resulting in higher levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Full article
Article
Investigation of the 0.4C-35Cr-45Ni-Nb Alloy after Service in High-Temperature Steam and Hydrocarbons Environment
Materials 2021, 14(20), 6139; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma14206139 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
The paper presents the results of investigation of the 0.4C-35Cr-45Ni-Nb alloy, which operated in the cracked hydrocarbon feeds and dilution steam at 1125 °C. The material originated from the pyrolytic furnace coil tubes, of which internal walls were in contact with the aforementioned [...] Read more.
The paper presents the results of investigation of the 0.4C-35Cr-45Ni-Nb alloy, which operated in the cracked hydrocarbon feeds and dilution steam at 1125 °C. The material originated from the pyrolytic furnace coil tubes, of which internal walls were in contact with the aforementioned medium, whereas the external walls were in contact with the flue gases. The examination included metallographic and mechanical tests on the material after service exposure, the results of which were compared with the ones obtained for the as-received non-exposed specimens. The metallographic tests revealed changes in the alloy’s structure manifested by formation of significant amount of the carbides due to carburization of the alloy from the steam and cracked hydrocarbon feeds side. The central and external parts of the alloy samples (having no contact with the process medium) underwent substantial degradation but within a relatively narrow zone of the material. The investigations of hydrogen and methane content in the alloy showed a high amount of these gases, resulting from high-temperature corrosion in steam environment. The mechanical tests demonstrated clear shortening of the plastic deformation range of the alloy due to penetration of the gases and formation of the carbides inside the material’s structure. A low level of corrosion and no creep mechanism were detected. Full article
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Article
Short-Term Meteorological and Environmental Signals Recorded in a Firn Core from a High-Accumulation Site on Plateau Laclavere, Antarctic Peninsula
Geosciences 2021, 11(10), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences11100428 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
High-accumulation sites are crucial for understanding the patterns and mechanisms of climate and environmental change in Antarctica since they allow gaining high-resolution proxy records from firn and ice. Here, we present new glacio- and isotope-geochemical data at sub-annual resolution from a firn core [...] Read more.
High-accumulation sites are crucial for understanding the patterns and mechanisms of climate and environmental change in Antarctica since they allow gaining high-resolution proxy records from firn and ice. Here, we present new glacio- and isotope-geochemical data at sub-annual resolution from a firn core retrieved from an ice cap on Plateau Laclavere (LCL), northern Antarctic Peninsula, covering the period 2012–2015. The signals of two volcanic eruptions and two forest fire events in South America could be identified in the non-sea-salt sulphur and black carbon records, respectively. Mean annual snow accumulation on LCL amounts to 2500 kg m−2 a−1 and exhibits low inter-annual variability. Time series of δ18O, δD and d excess show no seasonal cyclicity, which may result from (1) a reduced annual temperature amplitude due to the maritime climate and (2) post-depositional processes. The firn core stratigraphy indicates strong surface melt on LCL during austral summers 2013 and 2015, likely related to large-scale warm-air advection from lower latitudes and temporal variations in sea ice extent in the Bellingshausen-Amundsen Sea. The LCL ice cap is a highly valuable natural archive since it captures regional meteorological and environmental signals as well as their connection to the South American continent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Stable Isotope Signatures in the Ice of Antarctica)
Article
Solving a Higher-Dimensional Time-Fractional Diffusion Equation via the Fractional Reduced Differential Transform Method
Fractal Fract. 2021, 5(4), 168; https://doi.org/10.3390/fractalfract5040168 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
In this study, exact and approximate solutions of higher-dimensional time-fractional diffusion equations were obtained using a relatively new method, the fractional reduced differential transform method (FRDTM). The exact solutions can be found with the benefit of a special function, and we applied Caputo [...] Read more.
In this study, exact and approximate solutions of higher-dimensional time-fractional diffusion equations were obtained using a relatively new method, the fractional reduced differential transform method (FRDTM). The exact solutions can be found with the benefit of a special function, and we applied Caputo fractional derivatives in this method. The numerical results and graphical representations specified that the proposed method is very effective for solving fractional diffusion equations in higher dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Computational Physics with Fractional Application)
Case Report
Social Enterprise in Small Hydropower (SHP) Owned by a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) between a Food Cooperative and a Social Venture Company; a Case Study of the 20 kW Shiraito (Step3) SHP in Itoshima City, Fukuoka (Japan)
Energies 2021, 14(20), 6727; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14206727 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
There was an unprecedented growth of SHP (small hydropower) in Japan during recent years because the government has provided a high FIT (USD 0.32/kWh) for SHP development projects of less than 200 kW. The public and private sectors are committed to harnessing this [...] Read more.
There was an unprecedented growth of SHP (small hydropower) in Japan during recent years because the government has provided a high FIT (USD 0.32/kWh) for SHP development projects of less than 200 kW. The public and private sectors are committed to harnessing this natural energy to achieve the renewable energy goal as well as to improve local communities social and economic conditions. This paper will discuss about renewable energy initiatives by a food corporation enterprise (FCOOP) based in Fukuoka prefecture of Japan to reduce their net carbon emissions. A detailed approach for social enterprises-based SHP development has been discussed which will be a role model concept for other social enterprises in Japan and in the world that are willing to reduce CO2 emissions. Also, this kind of project connects urban stake holders with local community where resources are available and it leads to development of the local community living standards. As a demonstrated example, a case study of a 20 kW SHP installed in Japan by a FCOOP has been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Conversion System – Small Hydropower Plants)
Article
Viral Glycoproteins Induce NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation and Pyroptosis in Macrophages
Viruses 2021, 13(10), 2076; https://doi.org/10.3390/v13102076 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Infections with viral pathogens are widespread and can cause a variety of different diseases. In-depth knowledge about viral triggers initiating an immune response is necessary to decipher viral pathogenesis. Inflammasomes, as part of the innate immune system, can be activated by viral pathogens. [...] Read more.
Infections with viral pathogens are widespread and can cause a variety of different diseases. In-depth knowledge about viral triggers initiating an immune response is necessary to decipher viral pathogenesis. Inflammasomes, as part of the innate immune system, can be activated by viral pathogens. However, viral structural components responsible for inflammasome activation remain largely unknown. Here we analyzed glycoproteins derived from SARS-CoV-1/2, HCMV and HCV, required for viral entry and fusion, as potential triggers of NLRP3 inflammasome activation and pyroptosis in THP-1 macrophages. All tested glycoproteins were able to potently induce NLRP3 inflammasome activation, indicated by ASC-SPECK formation and secretion of cleaved IL-1β. Lytic cell death via gasdermin D (GSDMD), pore formation, and pyroptosis are required for IL-1β release. As a hallmark of pyroptosis, we were able to detect cleavage of GSDMD and, correspondingly, cell death in THP-1 macrophages. CRISPR-Cas9 knockout of NLRP3 and GSDMD in THP-1 macrophages confirmed and strongly support the evidence that viral glycoproteins can act as innate immunity triggers. With our study, we decipher key mechanisms of viral pathogenesis by showing that viral glycoproteins potently induce innate immune responses. These insights could be beneficial in vaccine development and provide new impulses for the investigation of vaccine-induced innate immunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Cell-Virus Interaction)
Article
Bioactive Compounds, Sugars, and Sensory Attributes of Organic and Conventionally Produced Courgette (Cucurbita pepo)
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2475; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102475 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Organic agriculture is considered one of the elements of sustainable food production and consumption, mainly due to its limited impact on the natural environment. At the same time, the quality features of organically produced foods, especially sensory attributes and health promoting values, are [...] Read more.
Organic agriculture is considered one of the elements of sustainable food production and consumption, mainly due to its limited impact on the natural environment. At the same time, the quality features of organically produced foods, especially sensory attributes and health promoting values, are important factors determining consumers’ interest, and therefore play a key role in the organic sector’s development. The aim of this study was to investigate the sensory characteristics and concentrations of sugars and selected health-promoting bioactive compounds of organic courgette compared to conventionally grown courgette. In addition, untargeted metabolomic analysis of the courgette fruits was performed. The results of this study did not show a significant effect of the horticultural system (organic vs. conventional) on the concentrations of vitamin C, carotenoids, and chlorophylls in the courgette fruits. However, the fruits from the organic systems were significantly richer in sugars when compared to the conventionally cultivated ones (p = 0.038). Moreover, the organic fruits fertilized with manure contained significantly higher amounts of polyphenols, including gallic acid (p = 0.016), chlorogenic acid (p = 0.012), ferulic acid (p = 0.019), and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside (p = 0.020) compared to the conventional fruits. The untargeted analysis detected features significantly differentiating courgette fruits depending on the cultivar and horticultural system. Some significant differences in sensory values were also identified between fruits representing the two cultivars and coming from the horticultural systems compared in the study. Conventional courgettes were characterized by the most intensive peel color and aquosity, but at the same time were the least hard and firm compared to the fruits from the two organic systems. There was also a trend towards higher overall quality of the organically grown fruits. The presented study shows that the organic and conventional courgette fruits differ in a number of quality features which can influence consumers’ health and purchasing choices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Foods)
Article
Liposomal Resiquimod for Enhanced Immunotherapy of Peritoneal Metastases of Colorectal Cancer
Pharmaceutics 2021, 13(10), 1696; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics13101696 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Colorectal cancer with peritoneal metastases is currently treated by cytoreductive surgery and locoregional chemotherapeutics. This standard treatment is associated with high morbidity, mortality, and recurrence rate. To augment the existing therapy, we developed a liposome-based delivery system containing 1,2-stearoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane chloride (DSTAP), a cationic [...] Read more.
Colorectal cancer with peritoneal metastases is currently treated by cytoreductive surgery and locoregional chemotherapeutics. This standard treatment is associated with high morbidity, mortality, and recurrence rate. To augment the existing therapy, we developed a liposome-based delivery system containing 1,2-stearoyl-3-trimethylammonium-propane chloride (DSTAP), a cationic lipid, to localize a toll-like receptor agonist, resiquimod (R848), in the peritoneal cavity (PerC) for enhancing the immune response against cancer that had spread to the PerC. The liposomes delivered by intraperitoneal injection increased peritoneal retention of R848 by 14-fold while retarding its systemic absorption, leading to a 5-fold decreased peak plasma concentration compared to free R848 in mice. Within the PerC, the DSTAP-liposomes were found in ~40% of the dendritic cells by flow cytometry. DSTAP-R848 significantly upregulated interferon α (IFN-α) in the peritoneal fluid by 2-fold compared to free R848, without increasing the systemic level. Combined with oxaliplatin, a cytotoxic agent inducing immunogenic cell death, DSTAP-R848 effectively inhibited the progression of CT26 murine colorectal tumor in the PerC, while the combination with free R848 only showed a mild effect. Moreover, the combination of oxaliplatin and DSTAP-R848 significantly increased infiltration of CD8+ T cells in the PerC compared to oxaliplatin combined with free R848, indicating enhanced immune response against the tumor. The results suggest that DSTAP-R848 exhibits potential in augmenting existing therapies for treating colorectal cancer with peritoneal metastases via immune activation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Combined Locoregional-Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
The Clinical and Theranostic Values of Activated Leukocyte Cell Adhesion Molecule (ALCAM)/CD166 in Human Solid Cancers
Cancers 2021, 13(20), 5187; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13205187 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM), also known as CD166, is a cell adhesion protein that is found in multiple cell types. ALCAM has multiple and diverse roles in various physiological and pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer. There has been compelling evidence [...] Read more.
Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM), also known as CD166, is a cell adhesion protein that is found in multiple cell types. ALCAM has multiple and diverse roles in various physiological and pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer. There has been compelling evidence of ALCAM’s prognostic value in solid cancers, indicating that it is a potential therapeutic target. The present article overviews the recent findings and progress in ALCAM and its involvement in cancer, with a primary focus on its clinical connections in cancer and therapeutic values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cell Adhesion Molecules in Metastasis)
Article
Granulocyte Colony-Stimulating Factor Restored Impaired Spermatogenesis and Fertility in an AML-Chemotherapy Mice Model
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(20), 11157; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222011157 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Leukemia and treatment of male patients with anticancer therapy (aggressive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) may lead to infertility or even permanent male sterility. Their mechanisms of spermatogenesis impairment and the decrease in male fertility are not yet clear. We showed that under acute myeloid [...] Read more.
Leukemia and treatment of male patients with anticancer therapy (aggressive chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy) may lead to infertility or even permanent male sterility. Their mechanisms of spermatogenesis impairment and the decrease in male fertility are not yet clear. We showed that under acute myeloid leukemia (AML) conditions, alone and in combination with cytarabine (CYT), there was significant damage in the histology of seminiferous tubules, a significant increase in apoptotic cells of the seminiferous tubules, and a reduction in spermatogonial cells (SALL and PLZF) and in meiotic (CREM) and post-meiotic (ACROSIN) cells. In addition, we showed a significant impairment in sperm parameters and fertilization rates and offspring compared to control. Our results showed a significant decrease in the expression of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), macrophage colony-stimulating factor (MCSF) and stem cell factor (SCF) under AML conditions, but not under cytarabine treatment compared to control. In addition, our results showed a significant increase in the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 (IL-1) alpha in whole testis homogenates in all treatment groups compared to the control. Increase in IL-1 beta level was shown under AML conditions. We identified for the first time the expression of GCSF receptor (GCSFR) in sperm cells. We showed that GCSF injection in combination with AML and cytarabine (AML + CYT + GCSF) extended the survival of mice for a week (from 6.5 weeks to 7.5 weeks) compared to (AML + CYT). Injection of GCSF to all treated groups (post hoc), showed a significant impact on mice testis weight, improved testis histology, decreased apoptosis and increased expression of pre-meiotic, meiotic and post- meiotic markers, improved sperm parameters, fertility capacity and number of offspring compared to the controls (without GCSF). GCSF significantly improved the spermatogonial niche expressed by increased the expression levels of testicular GDNF, SCF and MCSF growth factors in AML-treated mice and (AML + CYT)-treated mice compared to those groups without GCSF. Furthermore, GCSF decreased the expression levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-12, but increased the expression of IL-10 in the interstitial compartment compared to the relevant groups without GCSF. Our results show for the first time the capacity of post injection of GCSF into AML- and CYT-treated mice to improve the cellular and biomolecular mechanisms that lead to improve/restore spermatogenesis and male fertility. Thus, post injection of GCSF may assist in the development of future therapeutic strategies to preserve/restore male fertility in cancer patients, specifically in AML patients under chemotherapy treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Basis of Fertility Preservation and Restoration 3.0)
Article
Anatomical Model of Rat Ventricles to Study Cardiac Arrhythmias under Infarction Injury
Mathematics 2021, 9(20), 2604; https://doi.org/10.3390/math9202604 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Species-specific computer models of the heart are a novel powerful tool in studies of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Here, we develop such a model aimed at studying infarction injury in a rat heart, the most common experimental system to investigate the effects of myocardial [...] Read more.
Species-specific computer models of the heart are a novel powerful tool in studies of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Here, we develop such a model aimed at studying infarction injury in a rat heart, the most common experimental system to investigate the effects of myocardial damage. We updated the Gattoni2016 cellular ionic model by fitting its parameters to experimental data using a population modeling approach. Using four selected cellular models, we studied 2D spiral wave dynamics and found that they include meandering and break-up. Then, using an anatomically realistic ventricular geometry and fiber orientation in the rat heart, we built a model with a post-infarction scar to study the electrophysiological effects of myocardial damage. A post-infarction scar was simulated as an inexcitable obstacle surrounded by a border zone with modified cardiomyocyte properties. For cellular models, we studied the rotation of scroll waves and found that, depending on the model, we can observe different types of dynamics: anchoring, self-termination or stable rotation of the scroll wave. The observed arrhythmia characteristics coincide with those measured in the experiment. The developed model can be used to study arrhythmia in rat hearts with myocardial damage from ischemia reperfusion and to examine the possible arrhythmogenic effects of various experimental interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mathematical Modelling in Biomedicine II)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Potential of Essential Oils from Anise, Dill and Fennel Seeds for the Gypsy Moth Control
Plants 2021, 10(10), 2194; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10102194 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)) is a serious pest of hardwood forests. In the search for an environmentally safe means of its control, we assessed the impact of different concentrations of essential oils (EOs) from the seeds of three [...] Read more.
The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera: Erebidae)) is a serious pest of hardwood forests. In the search for an environmentally safe means of its control, we assessed the impact of different concentrations of essential oils (EOs) from the seeds of three Apiaceae plants (anise Pimpinella anisum, dill Anethum graveolens, and fennel Foeniculum vulgare) on behavior, mortality, molting and nutritional physiology of gypsy moth larvae (GML). EOs efficacy was compared with commercial insecticide NeemAzal®-T/S (neem). The main compounds in the Eos were trans-anethole in anise; carvone, limonene, and α-phellandrene in dill; and trans-anethole and fenchone in fennel seed. At 1% EOs concentration, anise and fennel were better antifeedants and all three EOs were more toxic than neem. Neem was superior in delaying 2nd to 3rd larval molting. In the 4th instar, 0.5%, anise and fennel EOs decreased relative consumption rate more than neem, whereas all three EOs were more effective in reducing growth rate, approximate digestibility and efficiency of conversion of food into body mass leading to higher metabolic costs to GML. Decrease in consumption and metabolic parameters compared to control GML confirmed that adverse effects of the EOs stem from both pre- and post-ingestive mechanisms. The results indicate the potential of three EOs to be used for gypsy moth control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insecticidal Activity of Plant Secondary Metabolites)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

Review
Anti-Oxidative, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Apoptotic Effects of Flavonols: Targeting Nrf2, NF-ҡB and p53 Pathways in Neurodegeneration
Antioxidants 2021, 10(10), 1628; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox10101628 (registering DOI) - 15 Oct 2021
Abstract
Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide. Intracellular transduction pathways that end in the activation of specific transcription factors are highly implicated in the onset and progression of pathological changes related to neurodegeneration, of which those related [...] Read more.
Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the leading causes of disability and death worldwide. Intracellular transduction pathways that end in the activation of specific transcription factors are highly implicated in the onset and progression of pathological changes related to neurodegeneration, of which those related to oxidative stress (OS) and neuroinflammation are particularly important. Here, we provide a brief overview of the key concepts related to OS- and neuroinflammation-mediated neuropathological changes in neurodegeneration, together with the role of transcription factors nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). This review is focused on the transcription factor p53 that coordinates the cellular response to diverse genotoxic stimuli, determining neuronal death or survival. As current pharmacological options in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease are only symptomatic, many research efforts are aimed at uncovering efficient disease-modifying agents. Natural polyphenolic compounds demonstrate powerful anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, partially acting as modulators of signaling pathways. Herein, we review the current understanding of the therapeutic potential and limitations of flavonols in neuroprotection, with emphasis on their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects along the Nrf2, NF-κB and p53 pathways. A better understanding of cellular and molecular mechanisms of their action may pave the way toward new treatments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative Stress, Neuroinflammation and Neurodegeneration)

Open Access Journals

Browse by Indexing Browse by Subject Selected Journals
Back to TopTop