208 MDPI Journals Awarded Impact Factor
 
 
Article
Antiviral Efficacy of RNase H-Dependent Gapmer Antisense Oligonucleotides against Japanese Encephalitis Virus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14846; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914846 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
RNase H-dependent gapmer antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are a promising therapeutic approach via sequence-specific binding to and degrading target RNAs. However, the efficacy and mechanism of antiviral gapmer ASOs have remained unclear. Here, we investigated the inhibitory effects of gapmer ASOs containing locked nucleic [...] Read more.
RNase H-dependent gapmer antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are a promising therapeutic approach via sequence-specific binding to and degrading target RNAs. However, the efficacy and mechanism of antiviral gapmer ASOs have remained unclear. Here, we investigated the inhibitory effects of gapmer ASOs containing locked nucleic acids (LNA gapmers) on proliferating a mosquito-borne flavivirus, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), with high mortality. We designed several LNA gapmers targeting the 3’ untranslated region of JEV genomic RNAs. In vitro screening by plaque assay using Vero cells revealed that LNA gapmers targeting a stem-loop region effectively inhibit JEV proliferation. Cell-based and RNA cleavage assays using mismatched LNA gapmers exhibited an underlying mechanism where the inhibition of viral production results from JEV RNA degradation by LNA gapmers in a sequence- and modification-dependent manner. Encouragingly, LNA gapmers potently inhibited the proliferation of five JEV strains of predominant genotypes I and III in human neuroblastoma cells without apparent cytotoxicity. Database searching showed a low possibility of off-target binding of our LNA gapmers to human RNAs. The target viral RNA sequence conservation observed here highlighted their broad-spectrum antiviral potential against different JEV genotypes/strains. This work will facilitate the development of an antiviral LNA gapmer therapy for JEV and other flavivirus infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral and Host Targets to Fight RNA Viruses)
Article
Quantifying Within-Flight Variation in Land Surface Temperature from a UAV-Based Thermal Infrared Camera
Drones 2023, 7(10), 617; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones7100617 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Land Surface Temperature (LST) is a key variable used across various applications, including irrigation monitoring, vegetation health assessment and urban heat island studies. While satellites offer moderate-resolution LST data, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide high-resolution thermal infrared measurements. However, the continuous and rapid [...] Read more.
Land Surface Temperature (LST) is a key variable used across various applications, including irrigation monitoring, vegetation health assessment and urban heat island studies. While satellites offer moderate-resolution LST data, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) provide high-resolution thermal infrared measurements. However, the continuous and rapid variation in LST makes the production of orthomosaics from UAV-based image collections challenging. Understanding the environmental and meteorological factors that amplify this variation is necessary to select the most suitable conditions for collecting UAV-based thermal data. Here, we capture variations in LST while hovering for 15–20 min over diverse surfaces, covering sand, water, grass, and an olive tree orchard. The impact of different flying heights and times of the day was examined, with all collected thermal data evaluated against calibrated field-based Apogee SI-111 sensors. The evaluation showed a significant error in UAV-based data associated with wind speed, which increased the bias from −1.02 to 3.86 °C for 0.8 to 8.5 m/s winds, respectively. Different surfaces, albeit under varying ambient conditions, showed temperature variations ranging from 1.4 to 6 °C during the flights. The temperature variations observed while hovering were linked to solar radiation, specifically radiation fluctuations occurring after sunrise and before sunset. Irrigation and atmospheric conditions (i.e., thin clouds) also contributed to observed temperature variations. This research offers valuable insights into LST variations during standard 15–20 min UAV flights under diverse environmental conditions. Understanding these factors is essential for developing correction procedures and considering data inconsistencies when processing and interpreting UAV-based thermal infrared data and derived orthomosaics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Advances in Earth Observation and Geosciences)
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Article
Prediction Model of Shrinkage Crack Propagation in Cross-Section of Timber Components
Buildings 2023, 13(10), 2505; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings13102505 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Shrinkage cracks severely affect the safety of wood structures. Therefore, the moisture stress distribution of shrinkage cracks should be analyzed, and the interface crack depth of wood components predicted. In this paper, the equilibrium conditions, physical conditions, geometric conditions, and coordination equations of [...] Read more.
Shrinkage cracks severely affect the safety of wood structures. Therefore, the moisture stress distribution of shrinkage cracks should be analyzed, and the interface crack depth of wood components predicted. In this paper, the equilibrium conditions, physical conditions, geometric conditions, and coordination equations of the disk humidity stress under a moisture content gradient Δw are deduced by referring to the elastic analytical solution model of temperature stress. Moreover, the humidity stress distribution equation is established, which is verified via the finite element method. The critical water content and shrinkage crack depth prediction models are further deduced based on the humidity stress distribution. The usability of the model is further verified using the test data of actual engineered wood components. The results demonstrate that the moisture stress is not determined by the initial moisture content Wi, equilibrium moisture content We, or member size but by moisture content gradient Δw. The shrinkage crack prediction model of wood components in cross-section can be applied to actual engineering prediction to provide a theoretical basis for the reinforcement measures and safety evaluation of wood structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood and Composite Wood in Sustainable Construction)
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Editorial
Editorial to the Special Issue: “Recent Advances in the Management of Chronic Pain”
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(19), 6875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20196875 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Chronic pain is a complex biopsychosocial phenomenon with far-reaching implications, not only in terms of clinical care but also in the realms of social and economic impact [1,2]. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Management of Chronic Pain)
Article
Retrospective Analysis of the Detection of Pathogens Associated with the Porcine Respiratory Disease Complex in Routine Diagnostic Samples from Austrian Swine Stocks
Vet. Sci. 2023, 10(10), 601; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci10100601 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
The diagnostic workup of respiratory disease in pigs is complex due to coinfections and non-infectious causes. The detection of pathogens associated with respiratory disease is a pivotal part of the diagnostic workup for respiratory disease. We aimed to report how frequently certain viruses [...] Read more.
The diagnostic workup of respiratory disease in pigs is complex due to coinfections and non-infectious causes. The detection of pathogens associated with respiratory disease is a pivotal part of the diagnostic workup for respiratory disease. We aimed to report how frequently certain viruses and bacteria were detected in samples from pigs with respiratory symptoms in the course of routine diagnostic procedures. Altogether, 1975 routine diagnostic samples from pigs in Austrian swine stocks between 2016 and 2021 were analysed. PCR was performed to detect various pathogens, including porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) (n = 921), influenza A virus (n = 479), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) (n = 518), Mycoplasma (M.) hyopneumoniae (n = 713), Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (n = 198), Glaesserella (G.) parasuis (n = 165) and M. hyorhinis (n = 180). M. hyorhinis (55.1%) had the highest detection rate, followed by PCV2 (38.0%) and Streptococcus (S.) suis (30.6%). PRRSV was detected most frequently in a pool of lung, tonsil and tracheobronchial lymph node (36.2%). G. parasuis was isolated more frequently from samples taken after euthanasia compared to field samples. PRRSV-positive samples were more likely to be positive for PCV2 (p = 0.001), M. hyopneumoniae (p = 0.032) and Pasteurella multocida (p < 0.001). M. hyopneumoniae-positive samples were more likely to be positive for P. multocida (p < 0.001) and S. suis (p = 0.046), but less likely for M. hyorhinis (p = 0.004). In conclusion, our data provide evidence that lung samples that were positive for a primary pathogenic agent were more likely to be positive for a secondary pathogenic agent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging and Re-emerging Swine Viruses)
Article
Thymus Vulgaris Oil Nanoemulsion: Synthesis, Characterization, Antimicrobial and Anticancer Activities
Molecules 2023, 28(19), 6910; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28196910 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Essential oil nanoemulsions have received much attention due to their biological activities. Thus, a thyme essential oil nanoemulsion (Th-nanoemulsion) was prepared using a safe and eco-friendly method. DLS and TEM were used to characterize the prepared Th-nanoemulsion. Our findings showed that the nanoemulsion [...] Read more.
Essential oil nanoemulsions have received much attention due to their biological activities. Thus, a thyme essential oil nanoemulsion (Th-nanoemulsion) was prepared using a safe and eco-friendly method. DLS and TEM were used to characterize the prepared Th-nanoemulsion. Our findings showed that the nanoemulsion was spherical and ranged in size from 20 to 55.2 nm. The micro-broth dilution experiment was used to evaluate the in vitro antibacterial activity of a Th-emulsion and the Th-nanoemulsion. The MIC50 values of the thymol nanoemulsion were 62.5 mg/mL against Escherichia coli and Klebsiella oxytoca, 250 mg/mL against Bacillus cereus, and 125 mg/mL against Staphylococcus aureus. Meanwhile, it emerged that the MIC50 values of thymol against four strains were not detected. Moreover, the Th-nanoemulsion exhibited promising antifungal activity toward A. brasiliensis and A. fumigatus, where inhibition zones and MIC50 were 20.5 ± 1.32 and 26.4 ± 1.34 mm, and 12.5 and 6.25 mg/mL, respectively. On the other hand, the Th-nanoemulsion displayed weak antifungal activity toward C. albicans where the inhibition zone was 12.0 ± 0.90 and MIC was 50 mg/mL. Also, the Th-emulsion exhibited antifungal activity, but lower than that of the Th-nanoemulsion, toward all the tested fungal strains, where MIC was in the range of 12.5–50 mg/mL. The in vitro anticancer effects of Taxol, Th-emulsion, and Th-nanoemulsion were evaluated using the standard MTT method against breast cancer (MCF-7) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HepG2). Additionally, the concentration of VEGFR-2 was measured, and the activities of caspase-8 (casp-8) and caspase-9 (casp-9) were evaluated. The cytotoxic effect was the most potent against the MCF-7 breast cancer cell line after the Th-nanoemulsion treatment (20.1 ± 0.85 µg/mL), and was 125.1 ± 5.29 µg/mL after the Th-emulsion treatment. The lowest half-maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) value, 20.1 ± 0.85 µg/mL, was achieved when the MCF-7 cell line was treated with the Th-nanoemulsion. In addition, Th-nanoemulsion treatments on MCF-7 cells led to the highest elevations in casp-8 and casp-9 activities (0.66 ± 0.042 ng/mL and 17.8 ± 0.39 pg/mL, respectively) compared to those with Th-emulsion treatments. In comparison to that with the Th-emulsion (0.982 0.017 ng/mL), the VEGFR-2 concentration was lower with the Th-nanoemulsion treatment (0.672 ± 0.019ng/mL). In conclusion, the Th-nanoemulsion was successfully prepared and appeared in nanoform with a spherical shape according to DLS and TEM, and also exhibited antibacterial, antifungal, as well as anticancer activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds from Plants with Pharmaceutical Interest II)
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Article
MC-Injection Molding with Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) for Medical Technology
Polymers 2023, 15(19), 3972; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym15193972 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
The multicomponent injection molding of liquid silicone rubbers (LSR) with thermoplastics, such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) or polyamide (PA), is a state-of-the-art technique and is used in the manufacturing process for many components in the automotive industry and in the field of sanitary [...] Read more.
The multicomponent injection molding of liquid silicone rubbers (LSR) with thermoplastics, such as polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) or polyamide (PA), is a state-of-the-art technique and is used in the manufacturing process for many components in the automotive industry and in the field of sanitary engineering. Standard thermoplastics, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), cannot be bonded with silicone rubbers in injection molding because of their low heat deflection temperature. In this study, we investigated ABS grades approved for medical applications to show how dynamic mold heating and various pretreatment methods for thermoplastic surfaces can be used to produce ABS-LSR test specimens. In addition, such components’ sterilization effect on the adhesive bond will be shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Injection Molding Process in Polymer Processing)
Article
Fast Radius Outlier Filter Variant for Large Point Clouds
Data 2023, 8(10), 149; https://doi.org/10.3390/data8100149 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Currently, several devices (such as laser scanners, Kinect, time of flight cameras, medical imaging equipment (CT, MRI, intraoral scanners)), and technologies (e.g., photogrammetry) are capable of generating 3D point clouds. Each point cloud type has its unique structure or characteristics, but they have [...] Read more.
Currently, several devices (such as laser scanners, Kinect, time of flight cameras, medical imaging equipment (CT, MRI, intraoral scanners)), and technologies (e.g., photogrammetry) are capable of generating 3D point clouds. Each point cloud type has its unique structure or characteristics, but they have a common point: they may be loaded with errors. Before further data processing, these unwanted portions of the data must be removed with filtering and outlier detection. There are several algorithms for detecting outliers, but their performances decrease when the size of the point cloud increases. The industry has a high demand for efficient algorithms to deal with large point clouds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Information Systems and Data Management)
Article
Information Sources for Investment Decisions: Evidence from Japanese Investors
Int. J. Financial Stud. 2023, 11(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijfs11040117 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Although the traditional sources of financial knowledge in Japan are financial advisors and investment groups, the digital era and artificial intelligence have made other sources of information, such as social media and mass media, more influential. As such, it has become important to [...] Read more.
Although the traditional sources of financial knowledge in Japan are financial advisors and investment groups, the digital era and artificial intelligence have made other sources of information, such as social media and mass media, more influential. As such, it has become important to examine the socioeconomic, demographic, and psychological factors influencing the use of these information sources in the context of investment decisions. However, little research has been carried out to examine such associations using a large-scale nationwide dataset. We fill this gap by utilizing a dataset comprising almost 65,000 active investors from one of the largest online security companies in Japan, ensuring the representativeness and generalizability of our results. We show that active investors are more inclined to use social media and mass media than financial advisors and investment groups. The probit regression model shows that the use of each of the four sources of information is strongly shaped by an individual’s characteristics, which, to some extent, are not mutually exclusive for each source type. The study results imply that the government should regulate and monitor the quality and accuracy of the information disseminated by mass media and social media and educate investors on how to critically evaluate and verify the information that they receive. Full article
Article
Research on Learning Resource Recommendation Based on Knowledge Graph and Collaborative Filtering
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(19), 10933; https://doi.org/10.3390/app131910933 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
This study aims to solve the problem of limited learning efficiency caused by information overload and resource diversity in online course learning. We adopt a recommendation algorithm that combines knowledge graph and collaborative filtering, aiming to provide an application that can meet users’ [...] Read more.
This study aims to solve the problem of limited learning efficiency caused by information overload and resource diversity in online course learning. We adopt a recommendation algorithm that combines knowledge graph and collaborative filtering, aiming to provide an application that can meet users’ personalized learning needs and consider the semantic information of learning resources. In addition, this article collects and models implicit data in online courses and compares the impact of video and text learning resources on user learning needs under different weights in order to deeply understand the different contributions of video and text learning resources to meeting learning needs. The experimental results show that the video high-weight experimental group performs better than the text high-weight experimental group; students tend to prefer video resources. This experiment can help students cope with the challenges brought by numerous types of learning resources and provide personalized and high-quality learning experiences for learners. At the same time, adjusting and innovating teaching models for teachers has great reference value. Full article
Article
Molecular Dynamics Simulation Study of the Selective Inhibition of Coagulation Factor IXa over Factor Xa
Molecules 2023, 28(19), 6909; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules28196909 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Thromboembolic disorders, arising from abnormal coagulation, pose a significant risk to human life in the modern world. The FDA has recently approved several anticoagulant drugs targeting factor Xa (FXa) to manage these disorders. However, these drugs have potential side effects, leading to bleeding [...] Read more.
Thromboembolic disorders, arising from abnormal coagulation, pose a significant risk to human life in the modern world. The FDA has recently approved several anticoagulant drugs targeting factor Xa (FXa) to manage these disorders. However, these drugs have potential side effects, leading to bleeding complications in patients. To mitigate these risks, coagulation factor IXa (FIXa) has emerged as a promising target due to its selective regulation of the intrinsic pathway. Due to the high structural and functional similarities of these coagulation factors and their inhibitor binding modes, designing a selective inhibitor specifically targeting FIXa remains a challenging task. The dynamic behavior of protein–ligand interactions and their impact on selectivity were analyzed using molecular dynamics simulation, considering the availability of potent and selective compounds for both coagulation factors and the co-crystal structures of protein–ligand complexes. Throughout the simulations, we examined ligand movements in the binding site, as well as the contact frequencies and interaction fingerprints, to gain insights into selectivity. Interaction fingerprint (IFP) analysis clearly highlights the crucial role of strong H-bond formation between the ligand and D189 and A190 in the S1 subsite for FIXa selectivity, consistent with our previous study. This dynamic analysis also reveals additional FIXa-specific interactions. Additionally, the absence of polar interactions contributes to the selectivity for FXa, as observed from the dynamic profile of interactions. A contact frequency analysis of the protein–ligand complexes provides further confirmation of the selectivity criteria for FIXa and FXa, as well as criteria for binding and activity. Moreover, a ligand movement analysis reveals key interaction dynamics that highlight the tighter binding of selective ligands to the proteins compared to non-selective and inactive ligands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computational and Theoretical Chemistry)
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Article
Activity Recognition Using Different Sensor Modalities and Deep Learning
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(19), 10931; https://doi.org/10.3390/app131910931 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
In recent years, human activity monitoring and recognition have gained importance in providing valuable information to improve the quality of life. A lack of activity can cause health problems including falling, depression, and decreased mobility. Continuous activity monitoring can be useful to prevent [...] Read more.
In recent years, human activity monitoring and recognition have gained importance in providing valuable information to improve the quality of life. A lack of activity can cause health problems including falling, depression, and decreased mobility. Continuous activity monitoring can be useful to prevent progressive health problems. With this purpose, this study presents a wireless smart insole with four force-sensitive resistors (FSRs) that monitor foot contact states during activities for both indoor and outdoor use. The designed insole is a compact solution and provides walking comfort with a slim and flexible structure. Moreover, the inertial measurement unit (IMU) sensors designed in our previous study were used to collect 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis gyroscope outputs. Smart insoles were located in the shoe sole for both right and left feet, and two IMU sensors were attached to the thigh area of each leg. The sensor outputs were collected and recorded from forty healthy volunteers for eight different gait-based activities including walking uphill and descending stairs. The obtained datasets were separated into three categories; foot contact states, the combination of acceleration and gyroscope outputs, and a set of all sensor outputs. The dataset for each category was separately fed into deep learning algorithms, namely, convolutional long–short-term memory neural networks. The performance of each neural network for each category type was examined. The results show that the neural network using only foot contact states presents 90.1% accuracy and provides better performance than the combination of acceleration and gyroscope datasets for activity recognition. Moreover, the neural network presents the best results with 93.4% accuracy using a combination of all the data compared with the other two categories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computing and Artificial Intelligence)
Review
Advances in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Enthesitis-Related Arthritis
Children 2023, 10(10), 1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/children10101647 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) represents 5–30% of all cases of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and belongs to the spectrum of the disorders included in the group of juvenile spondyloarthritis. In the last decade, there have been considerable advances in the classification, diagnosis, monitoring, and [...] Read more.
Enthesitis-related arthritis (ERA) represents 5–30% of all cases of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and belongs to the spectrum of the disorders included in the group of juvenile spondyloarthritis. In the last decade, there have been considerable advances in the classification, diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of ERA. New provisional criteria for ERA have been recently proposed by the Paediatric Rheumatology INternational Trials Organisation, as part of a wider revision of the International League of Associations for Rheumatology criteria for JIA. The increased use of magnetic resonance imaging has shown that a high proportion of patients with ERA present a subclinical axial disease. Diverse instruments can be used to assess the disease activity of ERA. The therapeutic recommendations for ERA are comparable to those applied to other non-systemic JIA categories, unless axial disease and/or enthesitis are present. In such cases, the early use of a TNF-alpha inhibitor is recommended. Novel treatment agents are promising, including IL-17/IL-23 or JAK/STAT pathways blockers. Full article
Review
Enhancing Antibody Exposure in the Central Nervous System: Mechanisms of Uptake, Clearance, and Strategies for Improved Brain Delivery
J. Nanotheranostics 2023, 4(4), 463-479; https://doi.org/10.3390/jnt4040020 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Antibodies (mAbs) are attractive molecules for their application as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). mAbs can be generated to have high affinity and specificity to target molecules in the CNS. Unfortunately, only a very small [...] Read more.
Antibodies (mAbs) are attractive molecules for their application as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). mAbs can be generated to have high affinity and specificity to target molecules in the CNS. Unfortunately, only a very small number of mAbs have been specifically developed and approved for neurological indications. This is primarily attributed to their low exposure within the CNS, hindering their ability to reach and effectively engage their potential targets in the brain. This review discusses aspects of various barriers such as the blood–brain barrier (BBB) and blood–cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier (BCSFB) that regulate the entry and clearance of mAbs into and from the brain. The roles of the glymphatic system on brain exposure and clearance are being described. We also discuss the proposed mechanisms of the uptake of mAbs into the brain and for clearance. Finally, several methods of enhancing the exposure of mAbs in the CNS were discussed, including receptor-mediated transcytosis, osmotic BBB opening, focused ultrasound (FUS), BBB-modulating peptides, and enhancement of mAb brain retention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exclusive Papers of the Editorial Board Members)
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Review
The Link between Trace Metal Elements and Glucose Metabolism: Evidence from Zinc, Copper, Iron, and Manganese-Mediated Metabolic Regulation
Metabolites 2023, 13(10), 1048; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo13101048 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Trace metal elements are of vital importance for fundamental biological processes. They function in various metabolic pathways after the long evolution of living organisms. Glucose is considered to be one of the main sources of biological energy that supports biological activities, and its [...] Read more.
Trace metal elements are of vital importance for fundamental biological processes. They function in various metabolic pathways after the long evolution of living organisms. Glucose is considered to be one of the main sources of biological energy that supports biological activities, and its metabolism is tightly regulated by trace metal elements such as iron, zinc, copper, and manganese. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the regulation of glucose metabolism by trace metal elements. In particular, the underlying mechanism of action remains to be elucidated. In this review, we summarize the current concepts and progress linking trace metal elements and glucose metabolism, particularly for the trace metal elements zinc, copper, manganese, and iron. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Metal Element Metabolism in Biological Systems)
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Article
Heat-Flow Coupling Law for Freezing a Pipe Reinforcement with Varying Curvatures
Appl. Sci. 2023, 13(19), 10932; https://doi.org/10.3390/app131910932 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Using the temperature and seepage field-coupling module within COMSOL Multiphysics software, we examined freezing behavior and its evolving patterns in curved underground freezing pipes. This study employed transient states, with the Darcy’s law and porous-media heat-transfer options activated in the Physical Field Interface [...] Read more.
Using the temperature and seepage field-coupling module within COMSOL Multiphysics software, we examined freezing behavior and its evolving patterns in curved underground freezing pipes. This study employed transient states, with the Darcy’s law and porous-media heat-transfer options activated in the Physical Field Interface of the Physical Field and Variable Selection column. The models were created to establish numerical models of freezing reinforcement for both single and multiple pipes with various curvatures. These models were designed to simulate the evolving temperature and seepage fields of soil under diverse freezing conditions. Subsequently, this research utilized the models to simulate the freezing and consolidation conditions of a shallowly buried tunnel within the context of shallow tunnel conditions. The study reveals that after freezing a single pipe using water flow, the change in thickness of the frozen wall in curved pipes is notably smaller than that in straight pipes. This difference is particularly pronounced in the upstream section. Specifically, at a distance of −2000 mm from the main surface, the change in thickness of the frozen wall in straight pipes exceeds that in s = 7 curved pipes by approximately 350 mm. The smaller the long arc ratio s, the greater the arc of the freezing tube and the better the water-blocking effect. In the multi-pipe freezing model, the s = 7 curved pipes exhibit a frozen-wall thickness approximately 120 mm greater than that of straight pipes at a distance of −2000 mm from the main surface. Under the condition of a shallow buried concealed excavation with surging water, a pipe with a long arc ratio s = 7 arc freezing at 46 d attains a permafrost curtain thickness that is equivalent to that achieved by the straight pipe freezing at 58 d. This reduction in thickness shortens the working period by 12 days, resulting in a more efficient process. The successful application of the freezing method in the water-rich aquifer is expected to be a valuable reference for similar projects in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Earth Sciences and Geography in China)
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Review
Myocardial Fibrosis in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: A Perspective from Fibroblasts
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(19), 14845; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241914845 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common inherited heart disease and the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. Mutations in genes that encode structural proteins of the cardiac sarcomere are the more frequent genetic cause of HCM. The disease is [...] Read more.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common inherited heart disease and the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young people. Mutations in genes that encode structural proteins of the cardiac sarcomere are the more frequent genetic cause of HCM. The disease is characterized by cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and myocardial fibrosis, which is defined as the excessive deposition of extracellular matrix proteins, mainly collagen I and III, in the myocardium. The development of fibrotic tissue in the heart adversely affects cardiac function. In this review, we discuss the latest evidence on how cardiac fibrosis is promoted, the role of cardiac fibroblasts, their interaction with cardiomyocytes, and their activation via the TGF-β pathway, the primary intracellular signalling pathway regulating extracellular matrix turnover. Finally, we summarize new findings on profibrotic genes as well as genetic and non-genetic factors involved in the pathophysiology of HCM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Diseases: Molecular Mechanisms and Potential Therapy)
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Study Protocol
Diet and Depression during Peri- and Post-Menopause: A Scoping Review Protocol
Methods Protoc. 2023, 6(5), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/mps6050091 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
The aim of the proposed scoping review is to describe and summarize studies assessing the associations between diet-related variables and depression in peri- and post-menopausal women. Studies examining the associations between diet-related variables and mental health indicators in women undergoing menopausal transition or [...] Read more.
The aim of the proposed scoping review is to describe and summarize studies assessing the associations between diet-related variables and depression in peri- and post-menopausal women. Studies examining the associations between diet-related variables and mental health indicators in women undergoing menopausal transition or in the post-menopausal period will be systematically retrieved via Medline, EMBASE, PsycINFO, Web of Science, and Scopus databases. All articles identified through the database searches will be imported into Covidence. Following the removal of duplicates, two authors will independently perform title and abstract screening, as well as full-text assessment against eligibility criteria. Data will be extracted using tables developed for observational and experimental studies. The methodological quality of randomized trials, cohort and cross-sectional studies, and case–control studies, will be assessed using the Cochrane risk-of-bias (RoB-2) tool, the NHLBI Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies, and the NHLBI Quality Assessment Tool for Case–Control studies, respectively. Data extraction tables will be used to produce two tables summarizing the main characteristics and findings of the studies included in the review. In the proposed review, we will systematically identify and summarize the currently available evidence on the association between diet-related variables and depression in peri- and post-menopausal women. To our knowledge, this is the first review focusing on this subgroup of the population. Protocol registration: osf.io/b89r6. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Public Health Research)
Article
Experimental Study on Cutting Force and Surface Integrity of TC4 Titanium Alloy with Longitudinal Ultrasonic-Assisted Milling
Coatings 2023, 13(10), 1725; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings13101725 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
The ultrasonic vibration-assisted milling process was used to study the difficult-to-machine aerospace material titanium alloy TC4 and explore the milling parameters that fit the processing. Based on the orthogonal experimental method, the changes in cutting force, roughness, and surface morphology under conventional and [...] Read more.
The ultrasonic vibration-assisted milling process was used to study the difficult-to-machine aerospace material titanium alloy TC4 and explore the milling parameters that fit the processing. Based on the orthogonal experimental method, the changes in cutting force, roughness, and surface morphology under conventional and ultrasonic-assisted milling conditions were studied, and the relationship between various processing parameters and their effects was obtained. The results showed that the cutting force was most affected by the feed per tooth and cutting depth. Adding ultrasonic vibration could change the surface texture and significantly impact roughness. By adding an appropriate amplitude of ultrasonic-assisted milling, the maximum average cutting force can be reduced by more than 20.66%, and the maximum surface roughness can be reduced by 44.23%, making the workpiece surface produce regular “sine/cosine” patterns and improving the surface quality of the workpiece. Compared with conventional milling, the deformation layer of the workpiece slightly increased under ultrasonic-assisted milling. The cutting force and surface roughness of titanium alloy TC4 under ultrasonic-assisted milling were reduced. A reasonable selection of processing parameters can further improve cutting force and other parameters, providing a reference basis for the processing of aerospace materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Machining of Metals and Composites)
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Article
ECG-Based Driving Fatigue Detection using Heart Rate Variability Analysis with Mutual Information
Information 2023, 14(10), 539; https://doi.org/10.3390/info14100539 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
One of the WHO’s strategies to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities is to enhance vehicle safety. Driving fatigue detection can be used to increase vehicle safety. Our previous study developed an ECG-based driving fatigue detection framework with AdaBoost, producing a high cross-validated [...] Read more.
One of the WHO’s strategies to reduce road traffic injuries and fatalities is to enhance vehicle safety. Driving fatigue detection can be used to increase vehicle safety. Our previous study developed an ECG-based driving fatigue detection framework with AdaBoost, producing a high cross-validated accuracy of 98.82% and a testing accuracy of 81.82%; however, the study did not consider the driver’s cognitive state related to fatigue and redundant features in the classification model. In this paper, we propose developments in the feature extraction and feature selection phases in the driving fatigue detection framework. For feature extraction, we employ heart rate fragmentation to extract non-linear features to analyze the driver’s cognitive status. These features are combined with features obtained from heart rate variability analysis in the time, frequency, and non-linear domains. In feature selection, we employ mutual information to filter redundant features. To find the number of selected features with the best model performance, we carried out 28 combination experiments consisting of 7 possible selected features out of 58 features and 4 ensemble learnings. The results of the experiments show that the random forest algorithm with 44 selected features produced the best model performance testing accuracy of 95.45%, with cross-validated accuracy of 98.65%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomedical Information and Health)
Article
Ensuring Sustainable Academic Development of L2 Postgraduate Students and MA Programs: Challenges and Support in Thesis Writing for L2 Chinese Postgraduate Students
by and
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914435 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
This study, based on Activity Theory, investigated the challenges and support for L2 Chinese postgraduate students in their master’s degree (MA) thesis writing. The five participants, currently PhD candidates in applied linguistics, shared their experiences of MA thesis writing. The data include multiple [...] Read more.
This study, based on Activity Theory, investigated the challenges and support for L2 Chinese postgraduate students in their master’s degree (MA) thesis writing. The five participants, currently PhD candidates in applied linguistics, shared their experiences of MA thesis writing. The data include multiple drafts of theses and semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis reveals that these participants went through four kinds of challenges: (1) selecting the research topic and theoretical basis; (2) meeting the high requirements of MA theses, using new research tools, and overcoming linguistic barriers; (3) writing the literature review; and (4) writing the discussion. The findings reveal the challenges were caused by four levels of inner contradictions in activity systems. The main support was provided by their supervisors, whose tailored help was more effective than the related courses they took. More sources of support came from their fellow students, the assessment panels of the research proposal, and the thesis defense. The analysis illustrated how these participants managed to receive support by interacting with the academic community. This study is expected to shed light on postgraduate education in general and the sustainable development of individual students and MA programs. Its implications may not only benefit Chinese L2 postgraduate students and their supervisors but also those in similar EFL contexts. Full article
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Article
The Prediction of Transmission Towers’ Foundation Ground Subsidence in the Salt Lake Area Based on Multi-Temporal Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar and Deep Learning
Remote Sens. 2023, 15(19), 4805; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs15194805 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Displacement prediction of transmission towers is essential for the early warning of transmission network deformation. However, there is still a lack of prediction on the ground subsidence of the tower foundation. In this study, we first used the multi-temporal interferometric synthetic aperture radar [...] Read more.
Displacement prediction of transmission towers is essential for the early warning of transmission network deformation. However, there is still a lack of prediction on the ground subsidence of the tower foundation. In this study, we first used the multi-temporal interferometric synthetic aperture radar (MT-InSAR) approach to acquire time series deformation for the transmission lines in the Salt Lake area. Based on the K-shape clustering method and field investigation results, towers #95 and #151 with representative foundation deformation characteristics were selected for displacement prediction. Combined with field investigations and the characteristics of saline soil in the Salt Lake area, the trigger factors of transmission tower deformation were analyzed. Then, the displacement and trigger factors of the transmission tower were decomposed by variational mode decomposition (VMD), which could closely connect the characteristics of the foundation saline soil with the influence of the trigger factors. To analyze the contribution of each trigger factor, the maximum information coefficient (MIC) was quantified, and the best choice was made. Finally, the hyperparameters of the long short-term memory (LSTM) neural networks were optimized using a convolutional neural network (CNN) and the grey wolf optimizer (GWO). The findings reveal that the refined deep learning models outperform the initial model in generalization potential and prediction precision, with the CNN–LSTM model demonstrating the highest accuracy in predicting the total displacement of tower #151 (RMSE and R2 for the validation set are 0.485 and 0.972, respectively). Given the scant research on the multifactorial influence on the ground subsidence displacement of transmission towers, this study’s methodology offers a novel perspective for monitoring and early warning of ground subsidence disasters in transmission networks. Full article
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Article
Use of Visible Spectral Index and Soybean Plant Variables to Study Hidden Nematicide Phytotoxicity
AgriEngineering 2023, 5(4), 1737-1753; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering5040107 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Significant crop losses are due to plant-parasitic nematodes. Nematicides are expensive and potentially toxic to men, the environment, and plants. This study evaluated the hidden phytotoxicity effects of nematicides in soybeans. Two soybean cultivars (8473RSF and M7198IPRO) were evaluated with five nematicide treatments [...] Read more.
Significant crop losses are due to plant-parasitic nematodes. Nematicides are expensive and potentially toxic to men, the environment, and plants. This study evaluated the hidden phytotoxicity effects of nematicides in soybeans. Two soybean cultivars (8473RSF and M7198IPRO) were evaluated with five nematicide treatments (biological, cadusaphos, abamectin, fluensulfone, and an untreated control) for changes in chlorophylls, biometrics, and spectral (TGI visible spectral index captured with a smartphone camera) variables to determine and anticipate the identification of plant stresses. Evaluations occurred 33, 47, and 66 days after sowing (DAS). The a/b chlorophyll proportion was greatest for M7198IPRO and cadusaphos. The chlorophyll variables did not present significant interactions or differences at 47 DAS, indicating that possible nematicide effects were transient and should be evaluated earlier than 33 DAS. Leaf area, leaf mass, and shoot mass were smaller for 8473RSF and outstanding for abamectin and fluensulfone. The response of the spectral index did not present significant interaction among the factors; however, at 33 and 47 DAS, the index was low for 8473RSF and lowest for cadusaphos only at 33 DAS. The correlations between the spectral index and other variables were significant and moderate for soybean total leaf area. Although no apparent phytotoxicity symptoms caused by nematicides were observed, the visible vegetation index generated using a smartphone camera can still improve crop management solutions. Full article
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Review
Monitoring and Surveillance of Patients with Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors Undergoing Radioligand Therapy
Cancers 2023, 15(19), 4836; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15194836 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Radioligand therapy (RLT) with [177Lu]Lu-DOTA-TATE is a standard of care for adult patients with somatostatin-receptor (SSTR)-positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). Taking advantage of this precision nuclear medicine approach requires diligent monitoring and surveillance, from the use of diagnostic SSTR-targeted radioligand imaging [...] Read more.
Radioligand therapy (RLT) with [177Lu]Lu-DOTA-TATE is a standard of care for adult patients with somatostatin-receptor (SSTR)-positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs). Taking advantage of this precision nuclear medicine approach requires diligent monitoring and surveillance, from the use of diagnostic SSTR-targeted radioligand imaging for the selection of patients through treatment and assessments of response. Published evidence-based guidelines assist the multidisciplinary healthcare team by providing acceptable approaches to care; however, the sheer heterogeneity of GEP-NETs can make these frameworks difficult to apply in individual clinical circumstances. There are also contradictions in the literature regarding the utility of novel approaches in monitoring and surveilling patients with GEP-NETs receiving RLT. This article discusses the emerging evidence on imaging, clinical biochemistry, and tumor assessment criteria in the management of patients receiving RLT for GEP-NETs; additionally, it documents our own best practices. This allows us to offer practical guidance on how to effectively implement monitoring and surveillance measures to aid patient-tailored clinical decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Therapy)
Review
Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Allergic Properties of Colostrum from Mothers of Full-Term and Preterm Babies: The Importance of Maternal Lactation in the First Days
Nutrients 2023, 15(19), 4249; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15194249 (registering DOI) - 02 Oct 2023
Abstract
Our narrative review focuses on colostrum components, particularly those that influence the neonatal immune system of newborns. Colostrum is secreted in small volumes by the alveolar cells of the breast during the first two to five days after birth. Colostrum is poor in [...] Read more.
Our narrative review focuses on colostrum components, particularly those that influence the neonatal immune system of newborns. Colostrum is secreted in small volumes by the alveolar cells of the breast during the first two to five days after birth. Colostrum is poor in fat and carbohydrates, with larger protein and bioactive compounds than mature milk. It plays a crucial role in driving neonates’ immunity, transferring those immunological factors which help the correct development of the neonatal immune system and support establishing a healthy gut microbiome. The newborn has an innate and adaptive immune system deficiency, with a consequent increase in infection susceptibility. In particular, neonates born prematurely have reduced immunological competencies due to an earlier break in the maternal trans-placenta transfer of bioactive components, such as maternal IgG antibodies. Moreover, during pregnancy, starting from the second trimester, maternal immune cells are conveyed to the fetus and persist in small quantities post-natal, whereby this transfer is known as microchimerism (MMc). Thus, preterm newborns are deficient in this maternal heritage, and have their own immune system under-developed, but colostrum can compensate for the lack. Early breastfeeding, which should be strongly encouraged in mothers of preterm and full-term babies, provides those immunomodulant compounds that can act as a support, allowing the newborn to face immune needs, including fronting infections and establishing tolerance. Moreover, making mothers aware that administering colostrum helps their infants in building a healthy immune system is beneficial to sustain them in the difficult post-partum period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dietary Interventions for Immune Diseases)
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