Latest Articles

Open AccessReview
Targeting the CD40-CD154 Signaling Pathway for Treatment of Autoimmune Arthritis
Cells 2019, 8(8), 927; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells8080927 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Full activation of T lymphocytes requires signals from both T cell receptors and costimulatory molecules. In addition to CD28, several T cell molecules could deliver costimulatory signals, including CD154, which primarily interacts with CD40 on B-cells. CD40 is a critical molecule regulating several [...] Read more.
Full activation of T lymphocytes requires signals from both T cell receptors and costimulatory molecules. In addition to CD28, several T cell molecules could deliver costimulatory signals, including CD154, which primarily interacts with CD40 on B-cells. CD40 is a critical molecule regulating several B-cell functions, such as antibody production, germinal center formation and cellular proliferation. Upregulated expression of CD40 and CD154 occurs in immune effector cells and non-immune cells in different autoimmune diseases. In addition, therapeutic benefits have been observed by blocking the CD40-CD154 interaction in animals with collagen-induced arthritis. Given the therapeutic success of the biologics abatacept, which blocks CD28 costimulation, and rituximab, which deletes B cells in the treatment of autoimmune arthritis, the inhibition of the CD40-CD154 axis has two advantages, namely, attenuating CD154-mediated T cell costimulation and suppressing CD40-mediated B-cell stimulation. Furthermore, blockade of the CD40-CD154 interaction drives the conversion of CD4+ T cells to regulatory T cells that mediate immunosuppression. Currently, several biological products targeting the CD40-CD154 axis have been developed and are undergoing early phase clinical trials with encouraging success in several autoimmune disorders, including autoimmune arthritis. This review addresses the roles of the CD40-CD154 axis in the pathogenesis of autoimmune arthritis and its potential as a therapeutic target. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Possession and Precedence: Juxtaposing Customary and Legal Events to Establish Land Authority
Land 2019, 8(8), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080126 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Land restitution carries implicit recognition of some previous claim to ownership, but when are first claims recognized? The concepts of first possession and original acquisition have long been used as entry points to Western concepts of property. For Austronesia, the concept of precedence [...] Read more.
Land restitution carries implicit recognition of some previous claim to ownership, but when are first claims recognized? The concepts of first possession and original acquisition have long been used as entry points to Western concepts of property. For Austronesia, the concept of precedence is used in customary systems to justify and describe land claims and Indigenous authority. Conflict and political change in Timor-Leste have highlighted the co-existence of multiple understandings of land claims and their legitimacy. Considering customary principles of precedence brings into relief important elements of first possession important in land restitution processes. This paper juxtaposes the concept of original acquisition in property theory to two different examples of original claims from Timor-Leste: a two-part customary origin narrative from Oecusse and the development of a national land law for the new state. In these three narratives, we identify three different establishment events from which land authority develops. The article then uses this idea of the establishment event to explore five points of customary-statutory intersection evident from the land restitution process: (1) legitimate sources of land authority; (2) arbitrary establishment dates; (3) privileging of social order; (4) recognition of spiritual ties to land; and (5) the possibility for reversal. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Diagnosis of Progressive Disseminated Histoplasmosis in Advanced HIV: A Meta-Analysis of Assay Analytical Performance
J. Fungi 2019, 5(3), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof5030076 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Histoplasmosis is an important cause of mortality in people with advanced HIV, especially in countries with limited access to diagnostic assays. Histoplasmosis can be diagnosed using culture, histopathology, and antibody, antigen, and molecular assays. Several factors may affect the analytical performance of these [...] Read more.
Histoplasmosis is an important cause of mortality in people with advanced HIV, especially in countries with limited access to diagnostic assays. Histoplasmosis can be diagnosed using culture, histopathology, and antibody, antigen, and molecular assays. Several factors may affect the analytical performance of these laboratory assays, including sample type, clinical stage of the disease, and previous use of antifungal treatment, among others. Here we describe the results of a systematic literature review, followed by a meta-analysis of the analytical performances of the diagnostic laboratory assays employed. Our initial search identified 1631 references, of which 1559 references were excluded after title and abstract screening, leaving 72 references identified as studies relevant to the validation of histoplasmosis diagnostic assays. After evaluating the full text, 30 studies were selected for final review, including one paper not identified in the initial search. The meta-analysis for assay analytical performance shows the following results for the overall sensitivity (Sen) and specificity (Spe) of the various methods evaluated: Culture, Sen 77% (no data for specificity calculation); antibody detection assays, Sen 58%/Spe 100%; antigen detection assays, Sen 95%/Spe 97%; and DNA detection assays (molecular), Sen 95%/Spe 99%. Of the 30 studies reviewed, nearly half (n = 13) evaluated Histoplasma antigen assays, which were determined to be the most accurate methodology for diagnosis of progressive disseminated histoplasmosis in advanced HIV (inverse of the negative likelihood ratio was 13.2). Molecular assays appear promising for accurate diagnosis of histoplasmosis, but consensus on exact techniques is needed. Cultures showed variable sensitivity related to sample type and laboratory handling. Finally, antibody assays presented high specificity but low sensitivity. This poor sensitivity is most likely due the highly immunosuppressed state of this patient population. Diagnostic assays are crucial for accurate diagnosis of progressive disseminated histoplasmosis (PDH) with advanced HIV disease. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Development of Failure Cause–Impact–Duration (CID) Plots for Water Supply and Distribution System Management
Water 2019, 11(8), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081719 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Understanding the impact and duration (consequences) of different component failures (cause) in a water supply and distribution system (WSDS) is a critical task for water utilities to develop effective preparation and response plans. During the last three decades, few efforts have been devoted [...] Read more.
Understanding the impact and duration (consequences) of different component failures (cause) in a water supply and distribution system (WSDS) is a critical task for water utilities to develop effective preparation and response plans. During the last three decades, few efforts have been devoted to developing a visualization tool to display the relationship between the failure cause and its consequences. This study proposes two visualization methods to effectively show the relationship between the two failure entities: A failure cause–impact–duration (CID) plot, and a bubble plot. The former is drawn for an effective snapshot on the range (extent) of failure duration and the impact of different failures, whereas the latter provides failure frequency information. A simple and practical failure classification system is also introduced for producing the two proposed plots effectively. To verify the visualization schemes, we collected records of 331 WSDS component failures that occurred in South Korea between 1980 and 2018. Results showed that (1) the proposed CID plot can serve as a useful tool for identifying most minor and major WSDS failures, and (2) the proposed bubble plot is useful for determining significant component failures with respect to their failure consequences and occurrence likelihoods. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Study on the Material Basis of Neuroprotection of Myrica rubra Bark
Molecules 2019, 24(16), 2993; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24162993 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Increasing attention has been given to the search for neuroprotective ingredients from natural plants. Myrica rubra bark (MRB) has been used in traditional oriental medicine for over thousand years and has potential neuroprotection. Methods and Results: Ultra-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole [...] Read more.
Background: Increasing attention has been given to the search for neuroprotective ingredients from natural plants. Myrica rubra bark (MRB) has been used in traditional oriental medicine for over thousand years and has potential neuroprotection. Methods and Results: Ultra-performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF-MS) was used to identify the compounds in MRB extract, and the MTT assay was performed to evaluate the neuroprotection of six major compounds from MRB against glutamate-induced damage in PC12 cells. The result displayed nineteen compounds were identified, and myricitrin and myricanol 11-sulfate were shown to have neuroprotection, which prevented cell apoptosis through alleviating oxidative stress by reducing the levels of reactive oxygen species and methane dicarboxylic aldehyde, as well as by enhancing the activities of superoxide dismutase. Conclusions: Several active compounds from MRB may offer neuroprotection and have the potential for the development of new drugs against central nervous system diseases. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
The Blood and Muscle Expression Pattern of the Equine TCAP Gene during the Race Track Training of Arabian Horses
Animals 2019, 9(8), 574; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080574 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Horse musculature has been shaped through evolution by environmental and human factors, which has resulted in several extraordinary adaptations to physical effort. Skeletal muscle plasticity results from the response to mechanical stimulation causing hypertrophy, where sarcomeres increase the muscle’s cross-sectional area under the [...] Read more.
Horse musculature has been shaped through evolution by environmental and human factors, which has resulted in several extraordinary adaptations to physical effort. Skeletal muscle plasticity results from the response to mechanical stimulation causing hypertrophy, where sarcomeres increase the muscle’s cross-sectional area under the influence of contractile forces. The aim of the present study was the evaluation of transcript abundance of the telethonin (TCAP) gene, which is a part of the sarcomere macromolecular mechanosensory complex in the gluteus medius muscle, and the whole blood of Arabian horses during flat race training. The analysis, performed by quantitative PCR, showed an increase of TCAP transcripts in skeletal muscle. However, in whole blood, the transcript abundance decreased after the first stage of training and further increased after the second phase. The obtained results indicate a lack of similarity of TCAP gene expression in both tissues. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Regional Flood Frequency Analysis for a Poorly Gauged Basin Using the Simulated Flood Data and L-Moment Method
Water 2019, 11(8), 1717; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081717 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The design of hydraulic structures and the assessment of flood control measures require the estimation of flood quantiles. Since observed flood data are rarely available at the specific location, flood estimation in un-gauged or poorly gauged basins is a common problem in engineering [...] Read more.
The design of hydraulic structures and the assessment of flood control measures require the estimation of flood quantiles. Since observed flood data are rarely available at the specific location, flood estimation in un-gauged or poorly gauged basins is a common problem in engineering hydrology. We investigated the flood estimation method in a poorly gauged basin. The flood estimation method applied the combination of rainfall-runoff model simulation and regional flood frequency analysis (RFFA). The L-moment based index flood method was performed using the annual maximum flood (AMF) data simulated by the rainfall-runoff model. The regional flood frequency distribution with 90% error bounds was derived in the Chungju dam basin of Korea, which has a drainage area of 6648 km2. The flood quantile estimates based on the simulated AMF data were consistent with the flood quantile estimates based on the observed AMF data. The widths of error bounds of regional flood frequency distribution increased sharply as the return period increased. The results suggest that the flood estimation approach applied in this study has the potential to estimate flood quantiles when the hourly rainfall measurements during major storms are widely available and the observed flood data are limited. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Systemic Approach to City Image Building. The Case of Katowice City
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4470; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164470 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Making long-term decisions and developing successful policy is always a challenge for a governing body. Within the framework of causal mapping, we evolved a model for the problem of creating and reinforcing a city’s image. Then, the model was enhanced into a quantitative [...] Read more.
Making long-term decisions and developing successful policy is always a challenge for a governing body. Within the framework of causal mapping, we evolved a model for the problem of creating and reinforcing a city’s image. Then, the model was enhanced into a quantitative form and processed with a novel approach: the extended form of the Weighted Influence Non-linear Gauge System (WINGS). A real-life case study of the city of Katowice showed that the presented approach can be helpful for city authorities. It reinforces the understanding of the problem, facilitates choosing policy options, and supports sustainable city development. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Baseline Genomic Features in BRAFV600-Mutated Metastatic Melanoma Patients Treated with BRAF Inhibitor + MEK Inhibitor in Routine Care
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081203 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In BRAFV600mut metastatic melanoma, the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors (BRAFi, MEKi) has undergone multiple resistance mechanisms, limiting its clinical benefit and resulting in the need for response predicting biomarkers. Based on phase III clinical trial data, several studies have previously [...] Read more.
In BRAFV600mut metastatic melanoma, the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors (BRAFi, MEKi) has undergone multiple resistance mechanisms, limiting its clinical benefit and resulting in the need for response predicting biomarkers. Based on phase III clinical trial data, several studies have previously explored baseline genomic features associated with response to BRAFi + MEKi. Using a targeted approach that combines the examination of mRNA expression and DNA alterations in a subset of genes, we performed an analysis of baseline genomic alterations involved in MAPK inhibitors’ resistance in a real-life cohort of BRAFV600mut metastatic melanoma patients. Twenty-seven patients were included in this retrospective study, and tumor samples were analyzed when the BRAFi + MEKi therapy was initiated. The clinical characteristics of our cohort were consistent with previously published studies. The BRAFi + MEKi treatment was initiated in seven patients as a following-line treatment, and had a specific transcriptomic profile exhibiting 14 genes with lower mRNA expression. However, DNA alterations in CCND1, RB1, and MET were only observed in patients who received BRAFi + MEKi as the first-line treatment. Furthermore, KIT mRNA expression was significantly higher in patients showing clinical benefit from the combined therapy, emphasizing the tumor-suppressor role of KIT already described within the context of BRAF-mutant melanoma. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Chemical Constituents of Salix babylonica L. and Their Antibacterial Activity Against Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative Animal Bacteria
Molecules 2019, 24(16), 2992; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24162992 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The principle of animal wellbeing, which states that animals should be free from pain, injury, and disease, is difficult to maintain, because microorganisms are most frequently found to be resistant or multi-resistant to drugs. The secondary metabolites of plants are an alternative for [...] Read more.
The principle of animal wellbeing, which states that animals should be free from pain, injury, and disease, is difficult to maintain, because microorganisms are most frequently found to be resistant or multi-resistant to drugs. The secondary metabolites of plants are an alternative for the treatment of these microorganisms. The aim of this work was to determine the antibacterial effect of Salix babylonica L. hydroalcoholic extract (SBHE) against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, and identify the compounds associated with the activity. The SBHE showed activity against the three strains, and was subjected to a bipartition, obtaining aqueous fraction (ASB) with moderate activity and organic fraction (ACSB) with good activity against the three strains. The chromatographic separation of ACSB, allowed us to obtain ten fractions (F1AC to F10AC), and only three showed activity (F7AC, F8AC and F10AC). In F7AC, five compounds were identified preliminary by GC-MS, in F8AC and F10AC were identified luteolin (1) and luteolin 7-O-glucoside (2) by HPLC, respectively. The best antibacterial activity was obtained with F7AC (Listeria monocytogenes; MIC: 0.78 mg/mL, MBC: 0.78 mg/mL) and F8AC (Staphylococcus aureus; MIC: 0.39 mg/mL; MBC: 0.78 mg/mL). The results indicated that the compounds obtained from SBHE can be used as an alternative treatment against these microorganisms and, by this mechanism, contribute to animal and human health. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Soluble HLA in the Aqueous Humour of Uveal Melanoma Is Associated with Unfavourable Tumour Characteristics
Cancers 2019, 11(8), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers11081202 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
A high HLA expression in uveal melanoma (UM) is part of the prognostically unfavorable inflammatory phenotype. We wondered whether the presence of soluble HLA (sHLA) in the aqueous humour is associated with clinical, histopathological or genetic tumour characteristics, and represents tumour HLA expression [...] Read more.
A high HLA expression in uveal melanoma (UM) is part of the prognostically unfavorable inflammatory phenotype. We wondered whether the presence of soluble HLA (sHLA) in the aqueous humour is associated with clinical, histopathological or genetic tumour characteristics, and represents tumour HLA expression and intratumoural inflammation. Aqueous humour from 108 UM patients was analysed for the presence of sHLA, using a Luminex assay specific for HLA Class I. Clinical and genetic parameters were compared between sHLA-positive and negative eyes. A qPCR analysis was performed on tumour tissue using a Fluidigm assay. In 19/108 UM-containing eyes, the sHLA level in the aqueous was above the detection limit. Tumours in sHLA-positive eyes were significantly larger, more frequently involved the ciliary body, and more often showed monosomy 3, gain of chromosome 8q and loss of BAP1 staining. Melanoma-related survival was worse in patients with sHLA-positive aqueous humour. sHLA in the aqueous did not represent the tumour’s HLA expression and did not relate to immune cell infiltration in the tumour. We conclude that UM-containing eyes may contain sHLA in the aqueous humour, where it is a prognostically-unfavourable sign and may influence local immune responses. Full article
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle
Impact of Naturally Contaminated Substrates on Alphitobius diaperinus and Hermetia illucens: Uptake and Excretion of Mycotoxins
Toxins 2019, 11(8), 476; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11080476 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Insects are considered a suitable alternative feed for livestock production and their use is nowadays regulated in the European Union by the European Commission Regulation No. 893/2017. Insects have the ability to grow on a different spectrum of substrates, which could be naturally [...] Read more.
Insects are considered a suitable alternative feed for livestock production and their use is nowadays regulated in the European Union by the European Commission Regulation No. 893/2017. Insects have the ability to grow on a different spectrum of substrates, which could be naturally contaminated by mycotoxins. In the present work, the mycotoxin uptake and/or excretion in two different insect species, Alphitobius diaperinus (Lesser Mealworm, LM) and Hermetia illucens (Black Soldier Fly, BSF), grown on naturally contaminated substrates, was evaluated. Among all the substrates of growth tested, the Fusarium toxins deoxynivalenol (DON), fumonisin 1 and 2 (FB1 and FB2) and zearalenone (ZEN) were found in those based on wheat and/or corn. No mycotoxins were detected in BSF larvae, while quantifiable amount of DON and FB1 were found in LM larvae, although in lower concentration than those detected in the growing substrates and in the residual fractions. Mass balance calculations indicated that BSF and LM metabolized mycotoxins in forms not yet known, accumulating them in their body or excreting in the faeces. Further studies are required in this direction due to the future employment of insects as feedstuff. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Diet-Induced Metabolic Syndrome Reduced Heart Rate Variability and Increased Irregularity and Complexity of Short-Term RR Time Series in Rabbits
Animals 2019, 9(8), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080572 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been linked to a higher prevalence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), but the mechanisms are not well understood. One possible underlying mechanism may be an abnormal modulation of autonomic activity, which can be quantified by analyzing heart rate variability [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) has been linked to a higher prevalence of sudden cardiac death (SCD), but the mechanisms are not well understood. One possible underlying mechanism may be an abnormal modulation of autonomic activity, which can be quantified by analyzing heart rate variability (HRV). Our aim was to investigate the modifications of short-term HRV in an experimental rabbit model during the time-course of MetS development. NZW rabbits were randomly assigned to a control (n = 10) or a MetS group (n = 13), fed 28 weeks with control or high-fat, high-sucrose diets. After anesthesia, a 15-min ECG recording was acquired before diet administration and at weeks 14 and 28. We analyzed short RR time series using time-domain, frequency-domain and nonlinear analyses. A mixed-model factorial ANOVA was used for statistical analysis. Time-domain analysis showed a 52.4% decrease in the standard deviation of heart rate in animals from the MetS group at week 28, but no changes in the rest of parameters. In the frequency domain, we found a 9.7% decrease in the very low frequency and a 380.0% increase of the low frequency bands in MetS animals at week 28, whereas high frequency remained unchanged. Nonlinear analyses showed increased complexity and irregularity of the RR time series in MetS animals. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP)

IOAP participants benefit from discounts and convenient payment options.

Feedback

We are keen to hear what you think about MDPI. To leave us your feedback, suggestions or questions please click here.

See what our authors and guest editors say about us.

About MDPI

MDPI.com is a platform for peer-reviewed, scientific open-access journals operated by MDPI, based in Basel, Switzerland. Additional offices are located in Beijing and Wuhan (China) as well as in Barcelona (Spain).

Back to Top