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Article
A Novel Ferroptosis-Related Signature for Prediction of Prognosis, Immune Profiles and Drug Sensitivity in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients
by , and
Curr. Oncol. 2022, 29(10), 6992-7011; https://doi.org/10.3390/curroncol29100550 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignant disease with an increasing incidence and a high mortality rate. Ferroptosis, a novel type of cell death, has been reported to be closely associated with the progression of HCC. The aim of our study was to construct [...] Read more.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a malignant disease with an increasing incidence and a high mortality rate. Ferroptosis, a novel type of cell death, has been reported to be closely associated with the progression of HCC. The aim of our study was to construct a novel ferroptosis-related signature (nFRGs) for prediction of prognosis, immune features and drug sensitivity of HCC patients. Data were obtained from the TCGA, ICGC, GSE104580, CCLE and IMvigor210 datasets, and the least absolute shrinkage and selection operator (LASSO) was used to construct nFRGs. In addition, the analyses involved in prognoses, molecular function, stemness indices, somatic mutation, responses to immunologic therapy, efficacy of transcatheter arterial chemoembolization (TACE) therapy and drug sensitivity were performed using diverse packages of R 4.1.3 between the low- and high-risk groups. The nFRGs included seven ferroptosis-related genes. Our results showed that nFRGs was an independent risk factor for prognoses of HCC patients, and HCC patients in the high-risk group presented with worse prognosis. Compared with the results of other studies, nFRGs was superior to other promising signatures in predicting prognoses of patients with HCC. In addition, most of the enriched pathways of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between these subgroups were related to immune features. The molecular functions, genetic mutation and mRNAsi were varied between the high- and low-risk groups. Moreover, we observed significant immunosuppression state in the high-risk group. Patients in the high-risk group might benefit from immunotherapy, whereas patients in the low-risk group may be susceptible to TACE therapy. Finally, five sensitive drugs and four sensitive drugs were screened for patients in the high- and low-risk groups, respectively. nFRGs may served as a novel biomarker of prognosis and aid in personalized therapeutic strategies for patients with HCC. Full article
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Article
COVID-19 Vaccine in Inherited Metabolic Disorders Patients: A Cross-Sectional Study on Rate of Acceptance, Safety Profile and Effect on Disease
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12227; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912227 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Background: Vaccines for COVID-19 have had a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19 infection, reducing the incidence and mortality of the infection in several countries. However, hesitancy toward this vaccine is a global health issue for the general population The Vaccine acceptance [...] Read more.
Background: Vaccines for COVID-19 have had a significant impact on the spread of COVID-19 infection, reducing the incidence and mortality of the infection in several countries. However, hesitancy toward this vaccine is a global health issue for the general population The Vaccine acceptance rate among patients affected with inherited metabolic disorders (IMD), as well as safety profile, has not been described. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study, based on a telephone survey, investigating the COVID-19 vaccination rate, the incidence and type of adverse effects (AEs), the reasons for vaccine refusal and the effects on the underlying disease in a cohort of IMD patients followed at a single center and invited directly to vaccination by specialistic team. Results: Seventy-four patients were included in the study, the median age was 23.4 years (min 12.1–max 61.7), 47% (n = 85) were females and 61% (107) were affected from impaired metabolism of phenylalanine. By October 2021, 94% (n = 163) of them had received at least one dose of the vaccine, which was, in 98% of cases, mRNA-based vaccine, given at the referral hospital in 65% of cases. Overall, 72% of patients with IMD reported AE to the vaccine: 60% after the first dose, 81% after the second. The highest rate of adverse events at the first dose was reported in patients with amino acids related disorders other than impaired phenylalanine metabolism (PKU/HPA) (88%). For the second dose, the PKU/HPA group reported the highest rate of AEs (89% of cases). There was no effect on the underlying disease or acute decompensation after the vaccine. Eleven patients (6%) were not vaccinated because they considered it dangerous. Conclusion: Among individuals with IMD, the vaccination rate was high, the incidence and severity of AEs were comparable to those in the general population with no effects on the disease. Direct contact with the specialist medical team, has proven to reassure patients and effectively contrast hesitancy. Full article
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Article
Recent Emergence of Bovine Coronavirus Variants with Mutations in the Hemagglutinin-Esterase Receptor Binding Domain in U.S. Cattle
Viruses 2022, 14(10), 2125; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14102125 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) has spilled over to many species, including humans, where the host range variant coronavirus OC43 is endemic. The balance of the opposing activities of the surface spike (S) and hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) glycoproteins controls BCoV avidity, which is critical for interspecies [...] Read more.
Bovine coronavirus (BCoV) has spilled over to many species, including humans, where the host range variant coronavirus OC43 is endemic. The balance of the opposing activities of the surface spike (S) and hemagglutinin-esterase (HE) glycoproteins controls BCoV avidity, which is critical for interspecies transmission and host adaptation. Here, 78 genomes were sequenced directly from clinical samples collected between 2013 and 2022 from cattle in 12 states, primarily in the Midwestern U.S. Relatively little genetic diversity was observed, with genomes having >98% nucleotide identity. Eleven isolates collected between 2020 and 2022 from four states (Nebraska, Colorado, California, and Wisconsin) contained a 12 nucleotide insertion in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the HE gene similar to one recently reported in China, and a single genome from Nebraska collected in 2020 contained a novel 12 nucleotide deletion in the HE gene RBD. Isogenic HE proteins containing either the insertion or deletion in the HE RBD maintained esterase activity and could bind bovine submaxillary mucin, a substrate enriched in the receptor 9-O-acetylated-sialic acid, despite modeling that predicted structural changes in the HE R3 loop critical for receptor binding. The emergence of BCoV with structural variants in the RBD raises the possibility of further interspecies transmission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Review
Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How Blood Operators Can Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Viruses 2022, 14(10), 2126; https://doi.org/10.3390/v14102126 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Humans interact with virus-infected animal hosts, travel globally, and maintain social networks that allow for novel viruses to emerge and develop pandemic potential. There are key lessons-learned from the coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that blood operators can apply to the next pandemic. [...] Read more.
Humans interact with virus-infected animal hosts, travel globally, and maintain social networks that allow for novel viruses to emerge and develop pandemic potential. There are key lessons-learned from the coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that blood operators can apply to the next pandemic. Warning signals to the COVID-19 pandemic included outbreaks of Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the prior two decades. It will be critical to quickly determine whether there is a risk of blood-borne transmission of a new pandemic virus. Prior to the next pandemic blood operators should be prepared for changes in activities, policies, and procedures at all levels of the organization. Blood operators can utilize “Plan-Do-Study-Act” cycles spanning from: vigilance for emerging viruses, surveillance activities and studies, operational continuity, donor engagement and trust, and laboratory testing if required. Occupational health and donor safety issues will be key areas of focus even if the next pandemic virus is not transfusion transmitted. Blood operators may also be requested to engage in new activities such as the development of therapeutics or supporting public health surveillance activities. Activities such as scenario development, tabletop exercises, and drills will allow blood operators to prepare for the unknowns of the next pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transfusion Transmitted Viral Infections)
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Article
Phytochemicals from Red Onion, Grown with Eco-Sustainable Fertilizers, Protect Mammalian Cells from Oxidative Stress, Increasing Their Viability
Molecules 2022, 27(19), 6365; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules27196365 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Red onion, a species of great economic importance rich in phytochemicals (bioactive compounds) known for its medicinal properties, was fertilized with sulphur-bentonite enriched with orange residue or olive pomace, with the aim of producing onion enriched in health beneficial compounds. There is a [...] Read more.
Red onion, a species of great economic importance rich in phytochemicals (bioactive compounds) known for its medicinal properties, was fertilized with sulphur-bentonite enriched with orange residue or olive pomace, with the aim of producing onion enriched in health beneficial compounds. There is a worldwide great demand of minimally processed food or food ingredients with functional properties because of a new awareness of how important healthy functional nutrition is in life. Phytochemicals have the capacity to regulate most of the metabolic processes resulting in health benefits. Red onion bioactive compound quantity and quality can vary according to cultivation practices. The main aims of the current research were to determine the chemical characteristics of the crude extracts from red onion bulbs differently fertilized and to evaluate their biological activity in normal and oxidative stress conditions. The lyophilized onion bulbs have been tested in vitro on two cellular models, i.e., the H9c2 rat cardiomyoblast cell line and primary human dermal fibroblasts, in terms of viability and oxygen radical homeostasis. The results evidenced different phytochemical compositions and antioxidant activities of the extracts obtained from red onions differently fertilized. Sulphur-bentonite fertilizers containing orange waste and olive pomace positively affected the red onion quality with respect to the red onion control, evidencing that sulphur-bentonite-organic fertilization was able to stimulate plant a secondary metabolism inducing the production of phytochemicals with healthy functions. A positive effect of the extracts from red onions treated with fertilizers—in particular, with those containing orange waste, such as the reduction of oxidative stress and induction of cell viability of H9c2 and human fibroblasts—was observed, showing a concentration- and time-dependent profile. The results evidenced that the positive effects were related to the phenols and, in particular, to chlorogenic and p-coumaric acids and to the flavonol kaempferol, which were more present in red onion treated with low orange residue than in the other treated ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Natural Polyphenols in Human Health)
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Review
The Italian Research on the Molecular Characterization of Maize Kernel Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(19), 11383; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231911383 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
The study of the genetic control of maize seed development and seed-related pathways has been one of the most important themes approached by the Italian scientific community. Maize has always attracted the interest of the Italian community of agricultural genetics since its beginning, [...] Read more.
The study of the genetic control of maize seed development and seed-related pathways has been one of the most important themes approached by the Italian scientific community. Maize has always attracted the interest of the Italian community of agricultural genetics since its beginning, as some of its founders based their research projects on and developed their “schools” by adopting maize as a reference species. Some of them spent periods in the United States, where maize was already becoming a model system, to receive their training. In this manuscript we illustrate the research work carried out in Italy by different groups that studied maize kernels and underline their contributions in elucidating fundamental aspects of caryopsis development through the characterization of maize mutants. Since the 1980s, most of the research projects aimed at the comprehension of the genetic control of seed development and the regulation of storage products’ biosyntheses and accumulation, and have been based on forward genetics approaches. We also document that for some decades, Italian groups, mainly based in Northern Italy, have contributed to improve the knowledge of maize genomics, and were both fundamental for further international studies focused on the correct differentiation and patterning of maize kernel compartments and strongly contributed to recent advances in maize research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Molecular Plant Sciences in Italy)
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Article
Synthesised Conductive/Magnetic Composite Particles for Magnetic Ablations of Tumours
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101605 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Ablation is a clinical cancer treatment, but some demands are still unsatisfied, such as electromagnetic interferences amongst multiple ablation needles during large tumour treatments. This work proposes a physical synthesis for composite particles of biocompatible iron oxide particles and liquid metal gallium (Ga) [...] Read more.
Ablation is a clinical cancer treatment, but some demands are still unsatisfied, such as electromagnetic interferences amongst multiple ablation needles during large tumour treatments. This work proposes a physical synthesis for composite particles of biocompatible iron oxide particles and liquid metal gallium (Ga) with different alternative-current (AC)-magnetic-field-induced heat mechanisms of magnetic particle hyperthermia and superior resistance heat. By some imaging, X-ray diffraction, and vibrating sample magnetometer, utilised composite particles were clearly identified as the cluster of few iron oxides using the small weight ratio of high-viscosity liquid metal Ga as conjugation materials without surfactants for physical targeting of limited fluidity. Hence, well penetration inside the tissue and the promotion rate of heat generation to fit the ablation requirement of at least 60 °C in a few seconds are achieved. For the injection and the post-injection magnetic ablations, the volume variation ratios of mice dorsal tumours on Day 12 were expressed at around one without tumour growth. Its future powerful potentiality is expected through a percutaneous injection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanoparticles in Biomedical Sciences)
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Editorial
Special Issue “Cognitive Robotics”
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(19), 9684; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12199684 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Within the realm of new robotics, researchers have placed a great amount of effort into learning, understanding, and representing knowledge for task execution by robots [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cognitive Robotics)
Article
Controlling CNT-Based Nanorotors via Hydroxyl Groups
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(19), 3363; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12193363 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Nanomotor systems have attracted extensive attention due to their applications in nanorobots and nanodevices. The control of their response is crucial but presents a great challenge. In this work, the rotating and braking processes of a carbon nanotube (CNT)-based rotor system have been [...] Read more.
Nanomotor systems have attracted extensive attention due to their applications in nanorobots and nanodevices. The control of their response is crucial but presents a great challenge. In this work, the rotating and braking processes of a carbon nanotube (CNT)-based rotor system have been studied using molecular dynamics simulation. The speed of response can be tuned by controlling the ratio of hydroxyl groups on the edges. The ratio of hydroxyl groups is positively correlated with the speed of response. The mechanism involved is that the strong hydrogen bonds formed between interfaces increase the interface interaction. Incremental increase in the hydroxyl group concentration causes more hydrogen bonds and thus strengthens the interconnection, resulting in the enhancement of the speed of response. The phonon density of states analysis reveals that the vibration of hydroxyl groups plays the key role in energy dissipation. Our results suggest a novel routine to remotely control the nanomotors by modulating the chemical environment, including tuning the hydroxyl groups concentration and pH chemistry. Full article
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Article
Feasibility of Implant Strain Measurement for Assessing Mandible Bone Regeneration
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101602 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Nonunion is one of the most dreaded complications after operative treatment of mandible fractures or after mandible reconstruction using vascularized and non-vascularized bone grafts. Often diagnosis is made at advanced stage of disease when pain or complications occur. Devices that monitor fracture healing [...] Read more.
Nonunion is one of the most dreaded complications after operative treatment of mandible fractures or after mandible reconstruction using vascularized and non-vascularized bone grafts. Often diagnosis is made at advanced stage of disease when pain or complications occur. Devices that monitor fracture healing and bone regeneration continuously are therefore urgently needed in the craniomaxillofacial area. One promising approach is the strain measurement of plates. An advanced prototype of an implantable strain measurement device was tested after fixation to a locking mandible reconstruction plate in multiple compression experiments to investigate the potential functionality of strain measurement in the mandibular region. Compression experiments show that strain measurement devices work well under experimental conditions in the mandibular angle and detect plate deformation in a reliable way. For monitoring in the mandibular body, the device used in its current configuration was not suitable. Implant strain measurement of reconstruction plates is a promising methodical approach for permanent monitoring of bone regeneration and fracture healing in the mandible. The method helps to avoid or detect complications at an early point in time after operative treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nano/Microsystems for Health Monitoring)
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Editorial
The Concluding Editorial Regarding the Special Issue “Latest Advances in Prosthodontics: Improving Patient-Centered Outcomes”
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(19), 5700; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11195700 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
According to the current holistic concept of health, all patients require a thorough assessment of their physical, psychological, and emotional well-being, not merely a confirmation or classification of disease [...] Full article
Article
Correction of Substrate Spectral Distortion in Hyper-Spectral Imaging by Neural Network for Blood Stain Characterization
Sensors 2022, 22(19), 7311; https://doi.org/10.3390/s22197311 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
In the recent past, hyper-spectral imaging has found widespread application in forensic science, performing both geometric characterization of biological traces and trace classification by exploiting their spectral emission. Methods proposed in the literature for blood stain analysis have been shown to be effectively [...] Read more.
In the recent past, hyper-spectral imaging has found widespread application in forensic science, performing both geometric characterization of biological traces and trace classification by exploiting their spectral emission. Methods proposed in the literature for blood stain analysis have been shown to be effectively limited to collaborative surfaces. This proves to be restrictive in real-case scenarios. The problem of the substrate material and color is then still an open issue for blood stain analysis. This paper presents a novel method for blood spectra correction when contaminated by the influence of the substrate, exploiting a neural network-based approach. Blood stains hyper-spectral images deposited on 12 different substrates for 12 days at regular intervals were acquired via a hyper-spectral camera. The data collected were used to train and test the developed neural network model. Starting from the spectra of a blood stain deposited in a generic substrate, the algorithm at first recognizes whether it is blood or not, then allows to obtain the spectra that the same blood stain, at the same time, would have on a reference white substrate with a mean absolute percentage error of 1.11%. Uncertainty analysis has also been performed by comparing the ground truth reflectance spectra with the predicted ones by the neural model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sensing and Imaging)
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Article
How Did Zero-Markup Medicines Policy Change Prescriptions in the Eyes of Patients?—A Retrospective Quasi-Experimental Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(19), 12226; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph191912226 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Background: China implemented the zero-markup medicines policy to reverse the overuse of medicine in public health institutions, by changing the distorted financing mechanism, which heavily relies on revenue generated from medicines. The zero-markup medicines policy was progressively implemented in city public hospitals from [...] Read more.
Background: China implemented the zero-markup medicines policy to reverse the overuse of medicine in public health institutions, by changing the distorted financing mechanism, which heavily relies on revenue generated from medicines. The zero-markup medicines policy was progressively implemented in city public hospitals from 2015 to 2017. Objective: This study is expected to generate convincing evidence with subjective measurements and contribute to a more comprehensive evaluation of the policy from both objective and subjective perspectives. Methods: This study was based on a large patient-level dataset with a quasi-experimental design. We employed the difference-in-difference (DID) method, combined with propensity score matching methods, to estimate the causal effect of the policy in reducing overprescriptions from the patient perspective. Results: The study estimated a statistically significant increased probability that the responded outpatients denied overprescription in their visiting hospitals. The mean interacted policy effect, in percentage points, of all observations were positive (logit DID model: 0.15, z = 10.27, SE = 0.01; PSM logit DID model: 0.15, z = 10.26, SE = 0.01; PSM logit DID hospital fixed-effect model: 0.12, z = 3.00, SE = 0.04). Discussion: The policy might reduce overprescription in public hospitals from the patient’s perspective. The patient’s attitude is one aspect of a comprehensive policy evaluation. The final concrete conclusion of the policy evaluation can only be made through a systematic review of the studies with rigorous design and with both objective and subjective measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Article
Serum Metabolomics Profiling Reveals Metabolic Alterations Prior to a Diagnosis with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer among Chinese Community Residents: A Prospective Nested Case-Control Study
Metabolites 2022, 12(10), 906; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo12100906 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
The present high mortality of lung cancer in China stems mainly from the lack of feasible, non-invasive and early disease detection biomarkers. Serum metabolomics profiling to reveal metabolic alterations could expedite the disease detection process and suggest those patients who are harboring disease. [...] Read more.
The present high mortality of lung cancer in China stems mainly from the lack of feasible, non-invasive and early disease detection biomarkers. Serum metabolomics profiling to reveal metabolic alterations could expedite the disease detection process and suggest those patients who are harboring disease. Using a nested case-control design, we applied ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC-MS)-based serum metabolomics to reveal the metabolomic alterations and to indicate the presence of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) using serum samples collected prior to disease diagnoses. The studied serum samples were collected from 41 patients before a NSCLC diagnosis (within 3.0 y) and 38 matched the cancer-free controls from the prospective Shanghai Suburban Adult Cohort. The NSCLC patients markedly presented cellular metabolism alterations in serum samples collected prior to their disease diagnoses compared with the cancer-free controls. In total, we identified 18 significantly expressed metabolites whose relative abundance showed either an upward or a downward trend, with most of them being lipid and lipid-like molecules, organic acids, and nitrogen compounds. Choline metabolism in cancer, sphingolipid, and glycerophospholipid metabolism emerged as the significant metabolic disturbance of NSCLC. The metabolites involved in these biological processes may be the distinctive features associated with NSCLC prior to a diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Metabolism and Health)
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Review
Epigenetic and Epitranscriptomic Gene Regulation in Plasmodium falciparum and How We Can Use It against Malaria
Genes 2022, 13(10), 1734; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes13101734 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Malaria, caused by Plasmodium parasites, is still one of the biggest global health challenges. P. falciparum is the deadliest species to humans. In this review, we discuss how this parasite develops and adapts to the complex and heterogenous environments of its two hosts [...] Read more.
Malaria, caused by Plasmodium parasites, is still one of the biggest global health challenges. P. falciparum is the deadliest species to humans. In this review, we discuss how this parasite develops and adapts to the complex and heterogenous environments of its two hosts thanks to varied chromatin-associated and epigenetic mechanisms. First, one small family of transcription factors, the ApiAP2 proteins, functions as master regulators of spatio-temporal patterns of gene expression through the parasite life cycle. In addition, chromatin plasticity determines variable parasite cell phenotypes that link to parasite growth, virulence and transmission, enabling parasite adaptation within host conditions. In recent years, epitranscriptomics is emerging as a new regulatory layer of gene expression. We present evidence of the variety of tRNA and mRNA modifications that are being characterized in Plasmodium spp., and the dynamic changes in their abundance during parasite development and cell fate. We end up outlining that new biological systems, like the mosquito model, to decipher the unknowns about epigenetic mechanisms in vivo; and novel methodologies, to study the function of RNA modifications; are needed to discover the Achilles heel of the parasite. With this new knowledge, future strategies manipulating the epigenetics and epitranscriptomic machinery of the parasite have the potential of providing new weapons against malaria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epigenomics and Epitranscriptomics Crosstalk)
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Article
Deep-Eutectic-Solvent-Assisted Synthesis of a Z-Scheme BiVO4/BiOCl/S,N-GQDS Heterojunction with Enhanced Photocatalytic Degradation Activity under Visible-Light Irradiation
Micromachines 2022, 13(10), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi13101604 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Z-scheme heterojunction photocatalytic nanomaterial designs have attracted attention due to their high catalytic performance. Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) have been used as green, sustainable media, acting as solvents and structure inducers in the synthesis of nanomaterials. In this work, a novel visible-light-absorption-enhanced bismuth [...] Read more.
Z-scheme heterojunction photocatalytic nanomaterial designs have attracted attention due to their high catalytic performance. Deep eutectic solvents (DESs) have been used as green, sustainable media, acting as solvents and structure inducers in the synthesis of nanomaterials. In this work, a novel visible-light-absorption-enhanced bismuth vanadate/bismuth oxychloride/sulfur, nitrogen co-doped graphene quantum dot (BiVO4/BiOCl/S,N-GQDS) heterojunction photocatalyst was prepared in a deep eutectic solvent. The photosynthetic activity of the BiVO4/BiOCl/S,N-GQDS composite was determined by the photocatalytic degradation of rhodamine B (RhB) under visible-light irradiation. The results showed that the highest photocatalytic activity of BiVO4/BiOCl/S,N-GQDS was achieved when the doping amount of S,N-GQDS was 3%, and the degradation rate of RhB reached 70% within 5 h. The kinetic and photocatalytic cycles showed that the degradation of Rhb was in accordance with the quasi-primary degradation kinetic model, and the photocatalytic performance remained stable after four photocatalytic cycles. Ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflectance (UV-DRS) and photoluminescence (PL) experiments confirmed that BiVO4/BiOCl/S,N-GQDS ternary heterojunctions have a narrow band gap energy (2.35 eV), which can effectively improve the separation efficiency of the photogenerated electron–hole pairs and suppress their complexation. This is due to the construction of a Z-scheme charge process between the BiVO4/BiOCl binary heterojunction and S,N-GQDS, which achieves effective carrier separation and thus a strong photocatalytic capability. This work not only provides new insights into the design of catalysts using a green solvent approach but also provides a reference for the study of heterojunction photocatalytic materials based on bismuth vanadate, as well as new ideas for other photocatalytic materials. Full article
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Article
Calibration and Evaluation of Empirical Methods to Estimate Reference Crop Evapotranspiration in West Texas
Water 2022, 14(19), 3032; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193032 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Evapotranspiration is an essential component of the hydrologic cycle, and its accurate quantification is crucial for managing crop water requirements and the operation of irrigation systems. Evapotranspiration data is key to hydrological and water management research investigations, including studying the impact of various [...] Read more.
Evapotranspiration is an essential component of the hydrologic cycle, and its accurate quantification is crucial for managing crop water requirements and the operation of irrigation systems. Evapotranspiration data is key to hydrological and water management research investigations, including studying the impact of various climatic factors on crop water requirements. It has been estimated as the product of the reference crop evapotranspiration and crop coefficient. Daily reference crop evapotranspiration (ETo) can be determined by several methods and equations. The Food and Agriculture Organization Penman-Monteith equation requires complete weather data, whereas empirical equations such as Hargreaves and Samani, Valiantzas, Priestley-Taylor, Makkink, and Stephens-Stewart require limited weather data. This work evaluated different empirical equations for West Texas using the standard FAO Penman-Monteith method and calibrated their parameters to improve ETo estimation. Detailed meteorological data from West Texas Mesonet and high resolution (800 m) Parameter-elevation Regressions on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) datasets from 2007 to 2016 were used. Daily ETo calculated using the standard FAO Penman-Monteith equation was compared to ETo estimated based on different empirical methods. The results show that all original empirical equations underestimated ETo. Calibration improved the performance of tested equations; however, there seems to be underestimation of ETo in the 8–16 mm range. Overall, the monthly Hargreaves and Samani equation with either original or calibrated values of its parameters outperformed all tested models. This equation seems to be a reasonable estimator, especially under limited weather data conditions. Full article
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Article
Promoting Sexuality Education for Children and Adolescents on a Large Scale: Program Design, Organizational Cooperation Network and Administrative Mobilization
Children 2022, 9(10), 1474; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9101474 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
In China, the promotion of sexuality education for children and adolescents is hindered by a relatively conservative culture and insufficient drive from the government. With the government and the market failing to deliver in this area, social organizations, such as the third sector, [...] Read more.
In China, the promotion of sexuality education for children and adolescents is hindered by a relatively conservative culture and insufficient drive from the government. With the government and the market failing to deliver in this area, social organizations, such as the third sector, are playing an important role. This paper mainly discusses how Chinese social organizations promote sexuality education for children and adolescents on a large scale. This paper studied NW, the largest sexuality education support platform in China at present, and 16 frontline implementing organizations in its cooperation network. This research collects empirical data through participatory observation and semi-structured interviews, involving a total of 37 interviewees, plus relevant text data. The study follows the analytical method of process tracking, trying to extract the key mechanisms of how social organizations promote sexuality education from the processes demonstrated by the specific cases. This paper focuses on the key phases of a standardized sexuality education program, from its design to promotion and then to implementation. It is found that, based on the large-scale operation strategy, the operation process of the sexuality education program exhibited three core mechanisms: standardized program design, organizational cooperation network and administrative mobilization. These three mechanisms have become the key force to break through many of the cultural and institutional obstacles and achieve large-scale implementation of sexuality education. Finally, this paper discusses the challenges of operationalizing the sexuality education program, with compromised teaching quality as a major one, and points to the direction for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Sex Education in China)
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Article
Influence of the Heterogeneity of the Core Material on the Local Instability of a Sandwich Panel
Materials 2022, 15(19), 6687; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma15196687 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
The problem of local instability in the compressed facing of a sandwich panel is considered in the paper. The case of a facing resting on an infinite core is examined, but the validity of such a simplification has been discussed in detail. An [...] Read more.
The problem of local instability in the compressed facing of a sandwich panel is considered in the paper. The case of a facing resting on an infinite core is examined, but the validity of such a simplification has been discussed in detail. An energy approach is used to solve the problem. The general procedure for considering the influence of the core parameter variability on the value of stress causing the facing instability is presented. Expressions allowing us to calculate the wrinkling stress were derived, which was the main aim of the research. The heterogeneity of the core material is taken into account by using continuous functions describing the variability of the core material parameters. In the examples illustrating the theory, the exponential and polynomial functions were used. The examples are based on the actually measured elastic modules of the core. The presented considerations were extended to the analysis of strain energies, which confirmed that the properties of the layer adjacent to the facing (up to 2 cm thick) determine the value of the wrinkling stress. The paper presents an example of the optimization of core material parameters in which a change in the distribution of the core parameters led to an approximately threefold increase in the wrinkling strength of the sandwich panel. Full article
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Article
Trimester-Specific Serum Fructosamine in Association with Abdominal Adiposity, Insulin Resistance, and Inflammation in Healthy Pregnant Individuals
Nutrients 2022, 14(19), 3999; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14193999 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
This study aimed to (1) characterize the variations in serum fructosamine across trimesters and according to pre-pregnancy BMI (ppBMI), and (2) examine associations between fructosamine and adiposity/metabolic markers (ppBMI, first-trimester adiposity, leptin, glucose homeostasis, and inflammation measurements) during pregnancy. Serum fructosamine, albumin, fasting [...] Read more.
This study aimed to (1) characterize the variations in serum fructosamine across trimesters and according to pre-pregnancy BMI (ppBMI), and (2) examine associations between fructosamine and adiposity/metabolic markers (ppBMI, first-trimester adiposity, leptin, glucose homeostasis, and inflammation measurements) during pregnancy. Serum fructosamine, albumin, fasting glucose and insulin, leptin, adiponectin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), and C-reactive protein (CRP) concentrations were measured at each trimester. In the first trimester, subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue thicknesses were estimated by ultrasound. In the 101 healthy pregnant individuals included (age: 32.2 ± 3.5 y.o.; ppBMI: 25.5 ± 5.5 kg/m2), fructosamine concentrations decreased during pregnancy whereas albumin-corrected fructosamine concentrations increased (p < 0.0001 for both). Notably, fructosamine concentrations were inversely associated with ppBMI, first-trimester SAT, VAT, and leptin (r = −0.55, r = −0.61, r = −0.48, r = −0.47, respectively; p < 0.0001 for all), first-trimester fasting insulin and HOMA-IR (r = −0.46, r = −0.46; p < 0.0001 for both), and first-trimester IL-6 (r = −0.38, p < 0.01). However, once corrected for albumin, most of the correlations lost strength. Once adjusted for ppBMI, fructosamine concentrations were positively associated with third-trimester fasting glucose and CRP (r = 0.24, r = 0.27; p < 0.05 for both). In conclusion, serum fructosamine is inversely associated with adiposity before and during pregnancy, with markers of glucose homeostasis and inflammation, but the latter associations are partially influenced by albumin concentrations and ppBMI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Nutrition in Women)
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Review
Treatment Effect of Platelet Gel on Reconstructing Bone Defects and Nonunions: A Review of In Vivo Human Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(19), 11377; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231911377 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
In ideal circumstances, a fractured bone can heal properly by itself or with the aid of clinical interventions. However, around 5% to 10% of bone fractures fail to heal properly within the expected time even with the aid of clinical interventions, resulting in [...] Read more.
In ideal circumstances, a fractured bone can heal properly by itself or with the aid of clinical interventions. However, around 5% to 10% of bone fractures fail to heal properly within the expected time even with the aid of clinical interventions, resulting in nonunions. Platelet gel is a blood-derived biomaterial used in regenerative medicine aiming to promote wound healing and regeneration of damaged tissues. The purpose of this paper is to review relevant articles in an attempt to explore the current consensus on the treatment effect of platelet gel on reconstructing bone defects and nonunions, hoping to provide a valuable reference for clinicians to make treatment decisions in clinical practice. Based on the present review, most of the studies applied the combination of platelet gel and bone graft to reconstruct bone defects and nonunions, and most of the results were positive, suggesting that this treatment strategy could promote successful reconstruction of bone defects and nonunions. Only two studies tried to apply platelet gel alone to reconstruct bone defects and nonunions, therefore a convincing conclusion could not be made yet regarding the treatment effect of platelet gel alone on reconstructing bone defects and nonunions. Only one study applied platelet gel combined with extracorporeal shock wave therapy to reconstruct nonunions, and the results were positive; the hypothetical mechanism of this treatment strategy is reasonable and sound, and more future clinical studies are encouraged to further justify the effectiveness of this promising treatment strategy. In conclusion, the application of platelet gel could be a promising and useful treatment method for reconstructing bone defects and nonunions, and more future clinical studies are encouraged to further investigate the effectiveness of this promising treatment method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research on Bone Healing Materials)
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Article
Classification of Biophilic Buildings as Sustainable Environments
Buildings 2022, 12(10), 1542; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12101542 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Biophilic design approach aims at creating favorable conditions for humans in various types of anthropogenic environments, while at the same time restoring broken human–nature connection. The biophilic design guidelines and principles are general and flexible and allow wide array of architectural expressions. In [...] Read more.
Biophilic design approach aims at creating favorable conditions for humans in various types of anthropogenic environments, while at the same time restoring broken human–nature connection. The biophilic design guidelines and principles are general and flexible and allow wide array of architectural expressions. In order to better understand the architectural expression possibilities provided by biophilic design approach, the existing classifications of biophilic architecture and biophilic design examples were analyzed with the aim to develop the classification that would reflect the links between a building’s architectural expression and biophilic qualities. Three categories of biophilic architecture were distinguished in the developed classification: mimetic, applied, and organic. The distinguished categories were illustrated with the characteristic building examples and the evaluation of biophilic qualities and human-nature collaboration potential of these example buildings was carried out using comprehensive system of criteria. The analysis has demonstrated that all three distinguished categories—mimetic, applied, organic—allow for the creation of biophilic environments and hold the potential for human–nature collaboration, although organic biophilic design would be currently considered as the least developed, although most promising category. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy, Digital and Sustainable Buildings and Cities)
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Article
Investigation on the Impact of Different Absorber Materials in Solar Still Using CFD Simulation—Economic and Environmental Analysis
Water 2022, 14(19), 3031; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193031 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Solar stills are one of the low water production desalination systems, but its low yield makes it necessary to investigate different design and performance parameters to improve its productivity. This paper aims to perform a parametric analysis of a solar still desalination system [...] Read more.
Solar stills are one of the low water production desalination systems, but its low yield makes it necessary to investigate different design and performance parameters to improve its productivity. This paper aims to perform a parametric analysis of a solar still desalination system and study the effect of different absorber materials on the performance of a single-slope solar desalination unit employing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) numerical simulation via COMSOL® Multiphysics software. To consider the absorptivity of water with different absorbing materials, simulation was conducted with the application of effective emissivity for the solar still walls. In addition, the economic, exergoeconomic, and CO2 mitigation of solar stills were studied. The results revealed that the hourly water output of the solar desalination unit, with different absorbing materials (black ink, black dye, and black toner), reached the maximum values at 1:00 PM. On comparing the simulation results of solar stills with and without absorbing materials, it has been observed that the solar still painted with black toner shows the highest improvement in hourly productivity, the exergy of evaporation, and evaporative heat transfer coefficient with a maximum increase in respective values by 10.52%, 13.68% and 5.37%. The CO2 mitigation and enviroeconomic parameter of the solar still using black toner were equal to 31.4 tons and 455.3 USD, respectively. Moreover, the lowest cost per liter (CPL) of the solar still was obtained using black toner, which was about 0.0066 USD/L. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy Systems Flexibility for Water Desalination)
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Article
Combined Effects of Temperature and Salinity on Antioxidants in the Immune System of the Pearl Oyster Pinctada fucata
Fishes 2022, 7(5), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes7050260 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
A water environment can impact many physiological processes of aquatic animals. The antioxidant response of immune system of the pearl oyster to temperature and salinity is of great significance to health. This study analyzed the physiological changes and immune responses under different temperature [...] Read more.
A water environment can impact many physiological processes of aquatic animals. The antioxidant response of immune system of the pearl oyster to temperature and salinity is of great significance to health. This study analyzed the physiological changes and immune responses under different temperature and salinity levels (temperature: 20, 25, and 30 °C; salinity: 23, 28, and 33‰) in the short term (7 d) in the hepatopancreas and other tissues of 405 pearl oysters. The combined effects of temperature and salinity on antioxidants in the immune system of the pearl oyster were evaluated via response surface methodology and Box–Benhnken design (BBD) under laboratory conditions. The secondary effects of salinity on the activities of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-PX), catalase (CAT), and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were significant, and CAT and SOD showed an inverted U-shaped trend with the increase in salinity. Temperature significantly impacted GSH-PX, CAT, glutathione (GSH), and SOD in primary and secondary effects, and the maximum values of CAT, GSH, and SOD were observed. The phenoloxidase (POX) and alkaline phosphatase (AKP) activities increased with the increasing temperatures. The interaction of temperature and salinity was significant on CAT and SOD, but was not significant on GSH-PX. The interaction between salinity and temperature on AKP was significant, which was contrary to the results of AKP in the hemolymph. The expression levels of antioxidant genes varied between tissues, and the expression levels of different genes in the same tissue were different. Appropriate immunity and antioxidant index models were established under the combined temperature and salinity conditions. The optimal combination of temperature and salinity was 24.95 °C and 28.11‰, respectively, and the desirability was 0.803. This study provides theoretical reference points for the pearl oyster to respond to temperature and salinity changes and can be used to establish an index model for shellfish aquaculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mollusk Genetic Diversity and Breeding Technology)
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Article
Electrification of a Class 8 Heavy-Duty Truck Considering Battery Pack Sizing and Cargo Capacity
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(19), 9683; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12199683 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
The design and performance optimization of fully electric trucks constitute an integral goal of the transport sector to meet climate emergency measures and local air quality requirements. Most studies in the literature have determined the optimum pack size based on economic factors, without [...] Read more.
The design and performance optimization of fully electric trucks constitute an integral goal of the transport sector to meet climate emergency measures and local air quality requirements. Most studies in the literature have determined the optimum pack size based on economic factors, without accounting for the details of pack behavior when varying the size. In this paper, the effect of battery pack sizing and cargo capacity of a class 8, 41-ton truck on its overall energy performance and technical parameters of its powertrain is investigated. For this purpose, the proposed electric truck is designed and mathematically modelled using AVL CRUISE M software. The second-order equivalent circuit model is developed to predict the battery packs’ parameters. The proposed battery pack model is extracted from experimental analysis on SONY VTC6 lithium-ion batteries performed in the lab. The weight changes due to adding the battery packs to the truck are also estimated and have been taken into account. The mathematical model of the powertrain is simulated in the long-haul driving cycle considering different cargo capacities and battery pack sizes. The results of this study revealed that the battery pack voltage reached its minimum value when the maximum cargo capacity was applied for the 399 kWh battery pack. In addition, increasing the occupied cargo capacity from 10% to 100% resulted in an increase in the regenerative brake energy of up to 9.87 kWh, while changing the battery size imposed minimal impacts on regenerative brake energy recovery as well as energy consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Hybrid Intelligence Techniques in Engineering)
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Article
Comparative Physiological and Transcriptomic Analyses of Improved Heat Stress Tolerance in Celery (Apium Graveolens L.) Caused by Exogenous Melatonin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(19), 11382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms231911382 (registering DOI) - 27 Sep 2022
Abstract
Melatonin (MT) is crucial in plant growth, development, and response to stress. Celery is a vegetable that grows in a cool climate, and a hot climate can deteriorate its growth, yield, and quality. This study investigates the effect of exogenous melatonin on celery [...] Read more.
Melatonin (MT) is crucial in plant growth, development, and response to stress. Celery is a vegetable that grows in a cool climate, and a hot climate can deteriorate its growth, yield, and quality. This study investigates the effect of exogenous melatonin on celery physiology. Transcriptional levels were analyzed by spraying celery with exogenous MT before exposing it to high temperatures. The regulatory mechanism of exogenous MT-mediated heat tolerance was examined. The results show that the exogenous MT reduced the thermal damage state of celery seedlings, as well as the malondialdehyde (MDA) content and relative conductivity (REC), increasing the oxidase activity, the osmotic regulatory substances, and chlorophyll, enhancing the leaf transpiration and the light energy utilization efficiency. We examined the mechanism of exogenous MT in mitigating high-temperature damage using the transcriptome sequencing method. A total of 134 genes were expressed differently at high temperature in the celery treated with MT compared with the untreated celery. Functional annotation analysis revealed that the differentially expressed genes were abundant in the “pyruvate metabolism” pathway and the “peroxidase activity” pathway. According to the pathway-based gene expression analysis, exogenous MT can inhibit the upregulation of pyruvate synthesis genes and the downregulation of pyruvate consumption genes, preventing the accumulated pyruvate from rapidly upregulating the expression of peroxidase genes, and thereby enhancing peroxidase activity. RT-qPCR verification showed a rising encoding peroxidase gene expression under MT treatment. The gene expression pattern involved in pyruvate anabolism and metabolism agreed with the abundant transcriptome expression, validating the physiological index results. These results indicate that the application of exogenous MT to celery significantly enhances the ability of plant to remove reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to heat stress, thereby improving the ability of plant to resist heat stress. The results of this study provide a theoretical basis for the use of MT to alleviate the damage caused by heat stress in plant growth and development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Genomics and Genome Editing 2.0)
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