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Int. J. Mol. Sci., Volume 23, Issue 6 (March-2 2022) – 511 articles

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Neurogenic inflammation is one of the factors implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurological diseases, such as migraine. The nociceptive innervation of the intracranial vascular system and meninges consists of unmyelinated (C fibers) and thinly myelinated (Ad fibers) axons containing vasoactive peptides, such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), substance P, and neurokinin A. Nociceptive transmission originates from the trigeminal ganglion to the brain stem and subsequently second-order sensitive neurons, including the trigeminal spinal nucleus. In turn, third-order neurons in the thalamus are activated, and nociception reaches the somatosensory cortex as well as other cortical areas. Almost all cranial tissues, including the intracranial and extracranial structures of the head and face, are innervated by trigeminal afferents. View this paper

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Communication
NKX2-5 Variant in Two Siblings with Thyroid Hemiagenesis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3414; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063414 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 778
Abstract
Thyroid hemiagenesis (THA) is an inborn absence of one thyroid lobe of largely unknown etiopathogenesis. The aim of the study was to reveal genetic factors responsible for thyroid maldevelopment in two siblings with THA. None of the family members presented with congenital heart [...] Read more.
Thyroid hemiagenesis (THA) is an inborn absence of one thyroid lobe of largely unknown etiopathogenesis. The aim of the study was to reveal genetic factors responsible for thyroid maldevelopment in two siblings with THA. None of the family members presented with congenital heart defect. The samples were subjected to whole-exome sequencing (WES) (Illumina, TruSeq Exome Enrichment Kit, San Diego, CA 92121, USA). An ultra-rare variant c.839C>T (p.Pro280Leu) in NKX2-5 gene (NM_004387.4) was identified in both affected children and an unaffected father. In the mother, the variant was not present. This variant is reported in population databases with 0.0000655 MAF (GnomAD v3, dbSNP rs761596254). The affected amino acid position is moderately conserved (positive scores in PhyloP: 1.364 and phastCons: 0.398). Functional prediction algorithms showed deleterious impact (dbNSFP v4.1, FATHMM, SIFT) or benign (CADD, PolyPhen-2, Mutation Assessor). According to ACMG criteria, variant is classified as having uncertain clinical significance. For the first time, NKX2-5 gene variants were found in two siblings with THA, providing evidence for its potential contribution to the pathogenesis of this type of thyroid dysgenesis. The presence of the variant in an unaffected parent, carrier of p.Pro280Leu variant, suggests potential contribution of yet unidentified additional factors determining the final penetrance and expression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanism of Hypothyroidism)
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Review
Endometrial Cancer Stem Cells: Where Do We Stand and Where Should We Go?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3412; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063412 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 747
Abstract
Endometrial cancer is one of the most common malignant diseases in women worldwide, with an incidence of 5.9%. Thus, it is the most frequent cancer of the female genital tract, with more than 34,000 women dying, in Europe and North America alone. Endometrial [...] Read more.
Endometrial cancer is one of the most common malignant diseases in women worldwide, with an incidence of 5.9%. Thus, it is the most frequent cancer of the female genital tract, with more than 34,000 women dying, in Europe and North America alone. Endometrial Cancer Stem Cells (CSC) might be drivers of carcinogenesis as well as metastatic and recurrent disease. Therefore, targeting CSCs is of high interest to improve prognosis of patients suffering of advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer. This review describes the current evidence of molecular mechanisms in endometrial CSCs with special emphasis on MYC and NF-κB signaling as well as mitochondrial metabolism. Furthermore, the current status of immunotherapy targeting PD-1 and PD-L1 in endometrial cancer cells and CSCs is elucidated. The outlined findings encourage novel therapies that target signaling pathways in endometrial CSCs as well as immunotherapy as a promising therapeutic approach in the treatment of endometrial cancer to impede cancer progression and prevent recurrence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Cancer Stem Cells)
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Article
Nucleobase-Derived Nitrones: Synthesis and Antioxidant and Neuroprotective Activities in an In Vitro Model of Ischemia–Reperfusion
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3411; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063411 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 612
Abstract
Herein, we report the synthesis, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties of some nucleobase-derived nitrones named 9ai. The neuroprotective properties of nitrones, 9ai, were measured against an oxygen-glucose-deprivation in vitro ischemia model using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Our results [...] Read more.
Herein, we report the synthesis, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties of some nucleobase-derived nitrones named 9ai. The neuroprotective properties of nitrones, 9ai, were measured against an oxygen-glucose-deprivation in vitro ischemia model using human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells. Our results indicate that nitrones, 9ai, have better neuroprotective and antioxidant properties than α-phenyl-N-tert-butylnitrone (PBN) and are similar to N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), a well-known antioxidant and neuroprotective agent. The nitrones with the highest neuroprotective capacity were those containing purine nucleobases (nitrones 9f, g, B = adenine, theophylline), followed by nitrones with pyrimidine nucleobases with H or F substituents at the C5 position (nitrones 9a, c). All of these possess EC50 values in the range of 1–6 μM and maximal activities higher than 100%. However, the introduction of a methyl substituent (nitrone 9b, B = thymine) or hard halogen substituents such as Br and Cl (nitrones 9d, e, B = 5-Br and 5-Cl uracil, respectively) worsens the neuroprotective activity of the nitrone with uracil as the nucleobase (9a). The effects on overall metabolic cell capacity were confirmed by results on the high anti-necrotic (EC50′s ≈ 2–4 μM) and antioxidant (EC50′s ≈ 0.4–3.5 μM) activities of these compounds on superoxide radical production. In general, all tested nitrones were excellent inhibitors of superoxide radical production in cultured neuroblastoma cells, as well as potent hydroxyl radical scavengers that inhibit in vitro lipid peroxidation, particularly, 9c, f, g, presenting the highest lipoxygenase inhibitory activity among the tested nitrones. Finally, the introduction of two nitrone groups at 9a and 9d (bis-nitronas 9g, i) did not show better neuroprotective effects than their precursor mono-nitrones. These results led us to propose nitrones containing purine (9f, g) and pyrimidine (9a, c) nucleobases as potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of cerebral ischemia and/or neurodegenerative diseases, leading us to further investigate their effects using in vivo models of these pathologies. Full article
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Article
Biocompatible Probes Based on Rare-Earth Doped Strontium Aluminates with Long-Lasting Phosphorescent Properties for In Vitro Optical IMAGING
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3410; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063410 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 715
Abstract
In recent decades, the demand for biomedical imaging tools has grown very rapidly as a key feature for biomedical research and diagnostic applications. Particularly, fluorescence imaging has gained increased attention as a non-invasive, inexpensive technique that allows real-time imaging. However, tissue auto-fluorescence under [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the demand for biomedical imaging tools has grown very rapidly as a key feature for biomedical research and diagnostic applications. Particularly, fluorescence imaging has gained increased attention as a non-invasive, inexpensive technique that allows real-time imaging. However, tissue auto-fluorescence under external illumination, together with a weak tissue penetration of low wavelength excitation light, largely restricts the application of the technique. Accordingly, new types of fluorescent labels are currently being investigated and, in this search, phosphorescent nanoparticles promise great potential, as they combine the interesting size-dependent properties of nanoscale materials with a long-lasting phosphorescence-type emission that allows optical imaging well after excitation (so avoiding autofluorescence). In this work, core-shell structures consisting of SrAlO:Eu,Dy luminescent cores encapsulated within a biocompatible silica shell were prepared, showing a green persistent phosphorescence with an afterglow time of more than 1000 s. A high-energy ball milling procedure was used to reduce the size of the starting phosphors to a size suitable for cellular uptake, while the silica coating was produced by a reverse micelle methodology that eventually allows the excitation and emission light to pass efficiently through the shell. Confocal fluorescence microscopy using HeLa cancer cells confirmed the potential of the all-ceramic composites produced as feasible labels for in vitro optical imaging. Full article
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Article
Improved Binding Affinity of Omicron’s Spike Protein for the Human Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 Receptor Is the Key behind Its Increased Virulence
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3409; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063409 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
The new variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Omicron, has been quickly spreading in many countries worldwide. Compared to the original virus, Omicron is characterized by several mutations in its genomic region, including the spike protein’s receptor-binding domain (RBD). [...] Read more.
The new variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Omicron, has been quickly spreading in many countries worldwide. Compared to the original virus, Omicron is characterized by several mutations in its genomic region, including the spike protein’s receptor-binding domain (RBD). We have computationally investigated the interaction between the RBD of both the wild type and Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 with the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) receptor using molecular dynamics and molecular mechanics-generalized Born surface area (MM-GBSA)-based binding free energy calculations. The mode of the interaction between Omicron’s RBD with the hACE2 receptor is similar to the original SARS-CoV-2 RBD except for a few key differences. The binding free energy difference shows that the spike protein of Omicron has an increased affinity for the hACE2 receptor. The mutated residues in the RBD showed strong interactions with a few amino acid residues of hACE2. More specifically, strong electrostatic interactions (salt bridges) and hydrogen bonding were observed between R493 and R498 residues of the Omicron RBD with D30/E35 and D38 residues of the hACE2, respectively. Other mutated amino acids in the Omicron RBD, e.g., S496 and H505, also exhibited hydrogen bonding with the hACE2 receptor. A pi-stacking interaction was also observed between tyrosine residues (RBD-Tyr501: hACE2-Tyr41) in the complex, which contributes majorly to the binding free energies and suggests that this is one of the key interactions stabilizing the formation of the complex. The resulting structural insights into the RBD:hACE2 complex, the binding mode information within it, and residue-wise contributions to the free energy provide insight into the increased transmissibility of Omicron and pave the way to design and optimize novel antiviral agents. Full article
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Article
Brain Cholesterol Biosynthetic Pathway Is Altered in a Preclinical Model of Fragile X Syndrome
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063408 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 590
Abstract
Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most frequent form of inherited X-linked pathology, associated with an intellectual and developmental disability, and currently considered the first monogenic cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Low levels of total cholesterol reported in the serum of FXS [...] Read more.
Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) is the most frequent form of inherited X-linked pathology, associated with an intellectual and developmental disability, and currently considered the first monogenic cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Low levels of total cholesterol reported in the serum of FXS patients, and evidence that FMRP targets a subset of mRNAs encoding proteins of lipid synthesis and transport suggests that the cholesterol metabolism impairments could be involved in FXS. Thus, the aim of the presented work was to investigate the modulations of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway and its end-products in a recently developed Fmr1-Δexon 8 rat model of FXS. Here, we show that this experimental model mimics what is found in FXS patients, exhibiting a lower serum cholesterol content, accompanied by a reduction in food intake and body weight compared to WT animals. Moreover, alterations of proteins committed to cholesterol synthesis and uptake have been observed in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. Interestingly, the end-products show a brain region-dependent modulation in Fmr1-Δexon 8 rats. Overall, our results demonstrate that the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway is altered in some brain regions of this preclinical model of FXS. This finding has relevance for future studies to delve deeper into the involvement of this metabolic process in FXS, and thus its possible role as a therapeutic target. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Role of Lipids in Metabolism and Disease – 3rd Edition)
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Article
Syndecan-3 as a Novel Biomarker in Alzheimer’s Disease
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3407; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063407 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1287
Abstract
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is of paramount importance in preserving the patient’s mental and physical health in a fairly manageable condition for a longer period. Reliable AD detection requires novel biomarkers indicating central nervous system (CNS) degeneration in the periphery. Members [...] Read more.
Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is of paramount importance in preserving the patient’s mental and physical health in a fairly manageable condition for a longer period. Reliable AD detection requires novel biomarkers indicating central nervous system (CNS) degeneration in the periphery. Members of the syndecan family of transmembrane proteoglycans are emerging new targets in inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. Reviewing the growing scientific evidence on the involvement of syndecans in the pathomechanism of AD, we analyzed the expression of the neuronal syndecan, syndecan-3 (SDC3), in experimental models of neurodegeneration. Initial in vitro studies showed that prolonged treatment of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) increases SDC3 expression in model neuronal and brain microvascular endothelial cell lines. In vivo studies revealed elevated concentrations of TNF-α in the blood and brain of APPSWE-Tau transgenic mice, along with increased SDC3 concentration in the brain and the liver. Primary brain endothelial cells and peripheral blood monocytes isolated from APPSWE-Tau mice exhibited increased SDC3 expression than wild-type controls. SDC3 expression of blood-derived monocytes showed a positive correlation with amyloid plaque load in the brain, demonstrating that SDC3 on monocytes is a good indicator of amyloid pathology in the brain. Given the well-established role of blood tests, the SDC3 expression of monocytes could serve as a novel biomarker for early AD detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Blood-Brain Barrier in CNS Injury and Repair 2022)
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Article
Formate Dehydrogenase Improves the Resistance to Formic Acid and Acetic Acid Simultaneously in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3406; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063406 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
Bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is a promising and sustainable strategy to meet the energy demand and to be carbon neutral. Nevertheless, the damage of lignocellulose-derived inhibitors to microorganisms is still the main bottleneck. Developing robust strains is critical for lignocellulosic ethanol production. An [...] Read more.
Bioethanol from lignocellulosic biomass is a promising and sustainable strategy to meet the energy demand and to be carbon neutral. Nevertheless, the damage of lignocellulose-derived inhibitors to microorganisms is still the main bottleneck. Developing robust strains is critical for lignocellulosic ethanol production. An evolved strain with a stronger tolerance to formate and acetate was obtained after adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) in the formate. Transcriptional analysis was conducted to reveal the possible resistance mechanisms to weak acids, and fdh coding for formate dehydrogenase was selected as the target to verify whether it was related to resistance enhancement in Saccharomyces cerevisiae F3. Engineered S. cerevisiae FA with fdh overexpression exhibited boosted tolerance to both formate and acetate, but the resistance mechanism to formate and acetate was different. When formate exists, it breaks down by formate dehydrogenase into carbon dioxide (CO2) to relieve its inhibition. When there was acetate without formate, FDH1 converted CO2 from glucose fermentation to formate and ATP and enhanced cell viability. Together, fdh overexpression alone can improve the tolerance to both formate and acetate with a higher cell viability and ATP, which provides a novel strategy for robustness strain construction to produce lignocellulosic ethanol. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Review
Mechanisms and Applications of Bacterial Sporulation and Germination in the Intestine
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3405; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063405 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 818
Abstract
Recent studies have suggested a major role for endospore forming bacteria within the gut microbiota, not only as pathogens but also as commensal and beneficial members contributing to gut homeostasis. In this review the sporulation processes, spore properties, and germination processes will be [...] Read more.
Recent studies have suggested a major role for endospore forming bacteria within the gut microbiota, not only as pathogens but also as commensal and beneficial members contributing to gut homeostasis. In this review the sporulation processes, spore properties, and germination processes will be explained within the scope of the human gut. Within the gut, spore-forming bacteria are known to interact with the host’s immune system, both in vegetative cell and spore form. Together with the resistant nature of the spore, these characteristics offer potential for spores’ use as delivery vehicles for therapeutics. In the last part of the review, the therapeutic potential of spores as probiotics, vaccine vehicles, and drug delivery systems will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bacterial Endospores: Stress Resistance and Germination)
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Review
Renal Cell Cancer and Obesity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3404; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063404 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 827
Abstract
Cancers are a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality. There are many risk factors for tumours, including advanced age, personal or family history of cancer, some types of viral infections, exposure to radiation and some chemicals, smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as [...] Read more.
Cancers are a frequent cause of morbidity and mortality. There are many risk factors for tumours, including advanced age, personal or family history of cancer, some types of viral infections, exposure to radiation and some chemicals, smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as obesity. Increasing evidence suggest the role of obesity in the initiation and progression of various cancers, including renal cell carcinoma. Since tumours require energy for their uncontrollable growth, it appears plausible that their initiation and development is associated with the dysregulation of cells metabolism. Thus, any state characterised by an intake of excessive energy and nutrients may favour the development of various cancers. There are many factors that promote the development of renal cell carcinoma, including hypoxia, inflammation, insulin resistance, excessive adipose tissue and adipokines and others. There are also many obesity-related alterations in genes expression, including DNA methylation, single nucleotide polymorphisms, histone modification and miRNAs that can promote renal carcinogenesis. This review focuses on the impact of obesity on the risk of renal cancers development, their aggressiveness and patients’ survival. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obesity, Genes, and Obesity-Related Disorders)
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Article
Therapeutic Treatment of Superoxide Dismutase 1 (G93A) Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Model Mice with Medical Ozone Decelerates Trigeminal Motor Neuron Degeneration, Attenuates Microglial Proliferation, and Preserves Monocyte Levels in Mesenteric Lymph Nodes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063403 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 795
Abstract
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and lethal neurodegenerative disease in which progressive motor neuron loss and associated inflammation represent major pathology hallmarks. Both the prevention of neuronal loss and neuro-destructive inflammation are still unmet challenges. Medical ozone, an ozonized oxygen mixture [...] Read more.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable and lethal neurodegenerative disease in which progressive motor neuron loss and associated inflammation represent major pathology hallmarks. Both the prevention of neuronal loss and neuro-destructive inflammation are still unmet challenges. Medical ozone, an ozonized oxygen mixture (O3/O2), has been shown to elicit profound immunomodulatory effects in peripheral organs, and beneficial effects in the aging brain. We investigated, in a preclinical drug testing approach, the therapeutic potential of a five-day O3/O2i.p. treatment regime at the beginning of the symptomatic disease phase in the superoxide dismutase (SOD1G93A) ALS mouse model. Clinical assessment of SOD1G93A mice revealed no benefit of medical ozone treatment over sham with respect to gross body weight, motor performance, disease duration, or survival. In the brainstem of end stage SOD1G93A mice, however, neurodegeneration was found decelerated, and SOD1-related vacuolization was reduced in the motor trigeminal nucleus in the O3/O2 treatment group when compared to sham-treated mice. In addition, microglia proliferation was less pronounced in the brainstem, while the hypertrophy of astroglia remained largely unaffected. Finally, monocyte numbers were reduced in the blood, spleen, and mesenteric lymph nodes at postnatal day 60 in SOD1G93A mice. A further decrease in monocyte numbers seen in mesenteric lymph nodes from sham-treated SOD1G93A mice at an advanced disease stage, however, was prevented by medical ozone treatment. Collectively, our study revealed a select neuroprotective and possibly anti-inflammatory capacity for medical ozone when applied as a therapeutic agent in SOD1G93A ALS mice. Full article
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Brief Report
Dynamics of Plasma and Urinary Extracellular DNA in Acute Kidney Injury
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3402; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063402 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Early and reliable markers of acute kidney injury (AKI) are essential. One such candidate marker of tissue damage is extracellular DNA (ecDNA). The aim of our present study is to describe the unknown dynamics of ecDNA in an animal model of AKI. Glycerol-induced [...] Read more.
Early and reliable markers of acute kidney injury (AKI) are essential. One such candidate marker of tissue damage is extracellular DNA (ecDNA). The aim of our present study is to describe the unknown dynamics of ecDNA in an animal model of AKI. Glycerol-induced nephropathy was used to model AKI in adult male Wistar rats (n = 93). Blood and urine samples were collected 1, 3, and 24 h after model induction. Total ecDNA and its sub-cellular origin was assessed. In the plasma, total ecDNA and nuclear ecDNA were significantly increased in the AKI group already after 1 h (160% and 270%, respectively, p = 0.02 and p = 0.04). Both nuclear and mitochondrial ecDNA were higher after 3 h (180% and 170%, respectively, p = 0.002 and p = 0.005). Urinary ecDNA concentrations in the AKI group were significantly increased only 24 h after model induction (130% for total ecDNA, p = 0.009; 210% for nuclear ecDNA, p = 0.02; and 200% for mitochondrial ecDNA, p = 0.0009). Our results indicate that plasma ecDNA has the potential to serve as an early and sensitive, albeit non-specific marker of AKI. Further studies should elucidate the source of ecDNA and the dynamics of ecDNA in other animal models of AKI and patients with AKI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Kidney Injury)
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Review
Molecular Processes in Stress Urinary Incontinence: A Systematic Review of Human and Animal Studies
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3401; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063401 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common and burdensome condition. Because of the large knowledge gap around the molecular processes involved in its pathophysiology, the aim of this review was to provide a systematic overview of genetic variants, gene and protein expression changes [...] Read more.
Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is a common and burdensome condition. Because of the large knowledge gap around the molecular processes involved in its pathophysiology, the aim of this review was to provide a systematic overview of genetic variants, gene and protein expression changes related to SUI in human and animal studies. On 5 January 2021, a systematic search was performed in Pubmed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane library. The screening process and quality assessment were performed in duplicate, using predefined inclusion criteria and different quality assessment tools for human and animal studies respectively. The extracted data were grouped in themes per outcome measure, according to their functions in cellular processes, and synthesized in a narrative review. Finally, 107 studies were included, of which 35 used animal models (rats and mice). Resulting from the most examined processes, the evidence suggests that SUI is associated with altered extracellular matrix metabolism, estrogen receptors, oxidative stress, apoptosis, inflammation, neurodegenerative processes, and muscle cell differentiation and contractility. Due to heterogeneity in the studies (e.g., in examined tissues), the precise contribution of the associated genes and proteins in relation to SUI pathophysiology remained unclear. Future research should focus on possible contributors to these alterations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Article
Treatment of Critical Size Femoral Bone Defects with Biomimetic Hybrid Scaffolds of 3D Plotted Calcium Phosphate Cement and Mineralized Collagen Matrix
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3400; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063400 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 789
Abstract
To treat critical-size bone defects, composite materials and tissue-engineered bone grafts play important roles in bone repair materials. The purpose of this study was to investigate the bone regenerative potential of hybrid scaffolds consisting of macroporous calcium phosphate cement (CPC) and microporous mineralized [...] Read more.
To treat critical-size bone defects, composite materials and tissue-engineered bone grafts play important roles in bone repair materials. The purpose of this study was to investigate the bone regenerative potential of hybrid scaffolds consisting of macroporous calcium phosphate cement (CPC) and microporous mineralized collagen matrix (MCM). Hybrid scaffolds were synthetized by 3D plotting CPC and then filling with MCM (MCM-CPC group) and implanted into a 5 mm critical size femoral defect in rats. Defects left empty (control group) as well as defects treated with scaffolds made of CPC only (CPC group) and MCM only (MCM group) served as controls. Eight weeks after surgery, micro-computed tomography scans and histological analysis were performed to analyze the newly formed bone, the degree of defect healing and the activity of osteoclasts. Mechanical stability was tested by 3-point-bending of the explanted femora. Compared with the other groups, more newly formed bone was found within MCM-CPC scaffolds. The new bone tissue had a clamp-like structure which was fully connected to the hybrid scaffolds and thereby enhanced the biomechanical strength. Together, the biomimetic hybrid MCM-CPC scaffolds enhanced bone defect healing by improved osseointegration and their differentiated degradation provides spatial effects in the process of critical-bone defect healing. Full article
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Article
Susceptibility of Female Mice to the Dietary Omega-3/Omega-6 Fatty-Acid Ratio: Effects on Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Glia
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3399; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063399 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 837
Abstract
Maternal intake of omega-3 (n-3 PUFAs) and omega-6 (n-6 PUFAs) polyunsaturated fatty acids impacts hippocampal neurogenesis during development, an effect that may extend to adulthood by altering adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN). The n-3 PUFAs and n-6 PUFAs are precursors of inflammatory regulators that [...] Read more.
Maternal intake of omega-3 (n-3 PUFAs) and omega-6 (n-6 PUFAs) polyunsaturated fatty acids impacts hippocampal neurogenesis during development, an effect that may extend to adulthood by altering adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN). The n-3 PUFAs and n-6 PUFAs are precursors of inflammatory regulators that potentially affect AHN and glia. Additionally, n-3 PUFA dietary supplementation may present a sexually dimorphic action in the brain. Therefore, we postulated that dietary n-6/n-3 PUFA balance shapes the adult DG in a sex-dependent manner influencing AHN and glia. We test our hypothesis by feeding adult female and male mice with n-3 PUFA balanced or deficient diets. To analyze the immunomodulatory potential of the diets, we injected mice with the bacterial endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS). LPS reduced neuroblast number, and its effect was exacerbated by the n-3 PUFA-deficient diet. The n-3 PUFA-deficient diet reduced the DG volume, AHN, microglia number, and surveilled volume. The diet effect on most mature neuroblasts was exclusively significant in female mice. Colocalization and multivariate analysis revealed an association between microglia and AHN, as well as the sexual dimorphic effect of diet. Our study reveals that female mice are more susceptible than males to the effect of dietary n-6/n-3 PUFA ratio on AHN and microglia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neurogenesis and Neural Plasticity 2.0)
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Article
Acid Sphingomyelinase Is a Modulator of Contextual Fear
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3398; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063398 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 473
Abstract
Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) regulates a variety of physiological processes and plays an important role in emotional behavior. The role of ASM in fear-related behavior has not been investigated so far. Using transgenic mice overexpressing ASM (ASMtg) and ASM deficient mice, we studied whether [...] Read more.
Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) regulates a variety of physiological processes and plays an important role in emotional behavior. The role of ASM in fear-related behavior has not been investigated so far. Using transgenic mice overexpressing ASM (ASMtg) and ASM deficient mice, we studied whether ASM regulates fear learning and expression of cued and contextual fear in a classical fear conditioning paradigm, a model used to investigate specific attributes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We show that ASM does not affect fear learning as both ASMtg and ASM deficient mice display unaltered fear conditioning when compared to wild-type littermates. However, ASM regulates the expression of contextual fear in a sex-specific manner. While ASM overexpression enhances the expression of contextual fear in both male and female mice, ASM deficiency reduces the expression of contextual fear specifically in male mice. The expression of cued fear, however, is not regulated by ASM as ASMtg and ASM deficient mice display similar tone-elicited freezing levels. This study shows that ASM modulates the expression of contextual fear but not of cued fear in a sex-specific manner and adds a novel piece of information regarding the involvement of ASM in hippocampal-dependent aversive memory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lipid Mediated Mechanisms in Neurologic and Neuropsychiatric Disease)
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Article
The Molecular Bases of the Interaction between a Saponin from the Roots of Gypsophila paniculata L. and Model Lipid Membranes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3397; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063397 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 555
Abstract
In view of the possible medical applications of saponins, the molecular structure of a GOTCAB saponin from the roots of Gypsophila paniculata L. was determined by NMR. The biological activity of saponins may depend on the interaction with cell membranes. To obtain more [...] Read more.
In view of the possible medical applications of saponins, the molecular structure of a GOTCAB saponin from the roots of Gypsophila paniculata L. was determined by NMR. The biological activity of saponins may depend on the interaction with cell membranes. To obtain more insight in the mechanism of membrane-related saponin function, an experimental and theoretical study was conducted. Ternary lipid systems composed of sphingomyelin, 1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, and cholesterol were used as models of mammalian cell membranes. The membrane–saponin interaction was studied experimentally by monitoring surface pressure in the monomolecular films formed at the air–aqueous subphase interface. The behavior of GOTCAB saponin in a water box and model monolayer systems was characterized by molecular dynamics simulations. The results obtained showed that, in the systems used, cholesterol had a decisive effect on the interaction between GOTCAB and phosphocholine or sphingomyelin as well as on its location within the lipid film. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Surface Active Molecules in Bio-Medical Applications)
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Article
Shikonin Derivatives Inhibit Inflammation Processes and Modulate MAPK Signaling in Human Healthy and Osteoarthritis Chondrocytes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3396; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063396 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 580
Abstract
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder and is characterized by the degeneration of articular cartilage. To develop new therapeutic approaches, we investigated the effect of shikonin derivatives on inflammation, MMP expression, and the regulation of MAPK signaling in human healthy (HC) [...] Read more.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder and is characterized by the degeneration of articular cartilage. To develop new therapeutic approaches, we investigated the effect of shikonin derivatives on inflammation, MMP expression, and the regulation of MAPK signaling in human healthy (HC) and OA chondrocytes (pCH-OA). Viability was analyzed using the CellTiter-Glo® Assay. Inflammatory processes were investigated using a proteome profiler™ assay. Furthermore, we analyzed the effects of the shikonin derivatives by protein expression analysis of the phosphorylation pattern and the corresponding downstream gene regulation using RT-qPCR. Both HC and pCH-OA showed a dose-dependent decrease in viability after treatment. The strongest effects were found for shikonin with IC50 values of 1.2 ± 0.1 µM. Shikonin counteracts the inflammatory response by massively reducing the expression of the pro-inflammatory mediators. The phosphorylation level of ERK changed slightly. pJNK and pp38 showed a significant increase, and the downstream targets c/EBPs and MEF2c may play a role in the cartilage homeostasis. STAT3 phosphorylation decreased significantly and has a chondroprotective function through the regulation of cyclin D1 and Sox9. Our results demonstrate for the first time that shikonin derivatives have extensive effects on the inflammatory processes, MAPKs, and IL6/STAT3 downstream regulation in healthy and OA chondrocytes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Osteoarthritis 2.0: From Molecular Pathways to Therapeutic Advances)
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Review
Improvements, Variations and Biomedical Applications of the Michaelis–Arbuzov Reaction
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3395; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063395 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 549
Abstract
Compounds bearing the phosphorus–carbon (P–C) bond have important pharmacological, biochemical, and toxicological properties. Historically, the most notable reaction for the formation of the P–C bond is the Michaelis–Arbuzov reaction, first described in 1898. The classical Michaelis–Arbuzov reaction entails a reaction between an alkyl [...] Read more.
Compounds bearing the phosphorus–carbon (P–C) bond have important pharmacological, biochemical, and toxicological properties. Historically, the most notable reaction for the formation of the P–C bond is the Michaelis–Arbuzov reaction, first described in 1898. The classical Michaelis–Arbuzov reaction entails a reaction between an alkyl halide and a trialkyl phosphite to yield a dialkylalkylphosphonate. Nonetheless, deviations from the classical mechanisms and new modifications have appeared that allowed the expansion of the library of reactants and consequently the chemical space of the yielded products. These involve the use of Lewis acid catalysts, green methods, ultrasound, microwave, photochemically-assisted reactions, aryne-based reactions, etc. Here, a detailed presentation of the Michaelis–Arbuzov reaction and its developments and applications in the synthesis of biomedically important agents is provided. Certain examples of such applications include the development of alkylphosphonofluoridates as serine hydrolase inhibitors and activity-based probes, and the P–C containing antiviral and anticancer agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Materials Science)
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Proteins Interact with Alpha Synuclein and Induce Lewy Body-like Pathology In Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3394; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063394 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Growing cases of patients reported have shown a potential relationship between (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) SARS-CoV-2 infection and Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it is unclear whether there is a molecular link between these two diseases. Alpha-synuclein (α-Syn), an aggregation-prone protein, is [...] Read more.
Growing cases of patients reported have shown a potential relationship between (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) SARS-CoV-2 infection and Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, it is unclear whether there is a molecular link between these two diseases. Alpha-synuclein (α-Syn), an aggregation-prone protein, is considered a crucial factor in PD pathology. In this study, bioinformatics analysis confirmed favorable binding affinity between α-Syn and SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and nucleocapsid (N) protein, and direct interactions were further verified in HEK293 cells. The expression of α-Syn was upregulated and its aggregation was accelerated by S protein and N protein. It was noticed that SARS-CoV-2 proteins caused Lewy-like pathology in the presence of α-Syn overexpression. By confirming that SARS-CoV-2 proteins directly interact with α-Syn, our study offered new insights into the mechanism underlying the development of PD on the background of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Synucleins in Neurodegeneration)
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Article
Proteomic Analysis Reveals Enzymes for β-D-Glucan Formation and Degradation in Levilactobacillus brevis TMW 1.2112
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063393 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 518
Abstract
Bacterial exopolysaccharide (EPS) formation is crucial for biofilm formation, for protection against environmental factors, or as storage compounds. EPSs produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are appropriate for applications in food fermentation or the pharmaceutical industry, yet the dynamics of formation and degradation [...] Read more.
Bacterial exopolysaccharide (EPS) formation is crucial for biofilm formation, for protection against environmental factors, or as storage compounds. EPSs produced by lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are appropriate for applications in food fermentation or the pharmaceutical industry, yet the dynamics of formation and degradation thereof are poorly described. This study focuses on carbohydrate active enzymes, including glycosyl transferases (GT) and glycoside hydrolases (GH), and their roles in the formation and potential degradation of O2-substituted (1,3)-β-D-glucan of Levilactobacillus (L.) brevis TMW 1.2112. The fermentation broth of L. brevis TMW 1.2112 was analyzed for changes in viscosity, β-glucan, and D-glucose concentrations during the exponential, stationary, and early death phases. While the viscosity reached its maximum during the stationary phase and subsequently decreased, the β-glucan concentration only increased to a plateau. Results were correlated with secretome and proteome data to identify involved enzymes and pathways. The suggested pathway for β-glucan biosynthesis involved a β-1,3 glucan synthase (GT2) and enzymes from maltose phosphorylase (MP) operons. The decreased viscosity appeared to be associated with cell lysis as the β-glucan concentration did not decrease, most likely due to missing extracellular carbohydrate active enzymes. In addition, an operon was discovered containing known moonlighting genes, all of which were detected in both proteome and secretome samples. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue MS-Based Protein Specific Analysis)
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Article
Effects of Cryopreservation on Sperm with Cryodiluent in Viviparous Black Rockfish (Sebastes schlegelii)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3392; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063392 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 509
Abstract
Black rockfish is an economically important fish in East Asia. Little mention has been paid to the sperm cryopreservation in black rockfish. In this study, the optimal cryodiluent was selected from 48 combinations by detecting various sperm parameters. Transcriptome and methylome analysis were [...] Read more.
Black rockfish is an economically important fish in East Asia. Little mention has been paid to the sperm cryopreservation in black rockfish. In this study, the optimal cryodiluent was selected from 48 combinations by detecting various sperm parameters. Transcriptome and methylome analysis were further performed to explore the molecular mechanism of inevitable cryoinjuries. The results showed that cryopreservation had negative effects on the viability, DNA integrity, mitochondrial activity, total ATPase and LDH of sperm even with optimal cryodiluent (FBS + 15% Gly). Transcriptome and methylome analysis revealed that the expression of 179 genes and methylation of 1266 genes were affected by cryopreservation. These genes were enriched in GO terms of death, G-protein coupled receptor signaling pathway, response to external stimulus and KEGG pathways of phospholipase D signaling pathway and xenobiotic and carbohydrate metabolism pathways. The role of PIK3CA and CCNA2 were highlighted in the protein-protein interaction network, and the sperm quality-related imprinted gene mest was identified among the 7 overlapping genes between transcriptome and methylome. Overall, the cryodiluent for black rockfish sperm was optimized, providing a feasible method for cryopreservation. The transcriptome and methylome data further demonstrated the underlying molecular mechanisms of cryoinjuries, proving clues for improvement of cryopreservation method of black rockfish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Biology)
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Article
Comparative Analysis of Bacterial Cellulose Membranes Synthesized by Chosen Komagataeibacter Strains and Their Application Potential
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3391; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063391 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 553
Abstract
This article presents a comparative analysis of bacterial cellulose membranes synthesized by several strains of the Komagataeibacter genus in terms of their specific physical, physico-chemical, and mechanical properties. Herein, the aim was to choose the most suitable microorganisms producing cellulosic materials with the [...] Read more.
This article presents a comparative analysis of bacterial cellulose membranes synthesized by several strains of the Komagataeibacter genus in terms of their specific physical, physico-chemical, and mechanical properties. Herein, the aim was to choose the most suitable microorganisms producing cellulosic materials with the greatest potential for the fabrication of bio-inspired nanocomposites. The selection was based on three main steps, starting from the evaluation of BNC biosynthetic efficiency with and without the addition of ethanol, followed by the assessment of mechanical breaking strength, and the physical parameters (compactness, structural integrity, appearance, and thickness) of the obtained biological materials. Ultimately, based on the performed screening procedure, three efficiently growing strains (K. hansenii H3 (6Et), K. rhaeticus K4 (8Et), and Komagataeibacter sp. isolated from balsamic vinegar (12Et)) were chosen for further modifications, enabling additional cellulose functionalization. Here, supplementation of the growth medium with five representative polymeric compounds (citrus/apple pectin, wheat starch, polyvinyl alcohol, polyethylene glycol) led to significant changes in BNC properties, especially dye loading abilities, mechanical strength, and water adsorption/retention capacities. The resulting nanocomposites can be potentially useful in various fields of medicine and industry, and in the future, they may become a practical and cost-effective competitor against commercial biomaterials currently available on the market. Full article
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Article
The Memory of Rice Response to Spaceflight Stress: From the Perspective of Metabolomics and Proteomics
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3390; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063390 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 548
Abstract
The stress response of plants to spaceflight has been confirmed in contemporary plants, and plants retained the memory of spaceflight through methylation reaction. However, how the progeny plants adapt to this cross-generational stress memory was rarely reported. Here, we used the ShiJian-10 retractable [...] Read more.
The stress response of plants to spaceflight has been confirmed in contemporary plants, and plants retained the memory of spaceflight through methylation reaction. However, how the progeny plants adapt to this cross-generational stress memory was rarely reported. Here, we used the ShiJian-10 retractable satellite carrying Dongnong416 rice seeds for a 12.5-day on-orbit flight and planted the F2 generation after returning to the ground. We evaluated the agronomic traits of the F2 generation plants and found that the F2 generation plants had no significant differences in plant height and number of tillers. Next, the redox state in F2 plants was evaluated, and it was found that the spaceflight broke the redox state of the F2 generation rice. In order to further illustrate the stress response caused by this redox state imbalance, we conducted proteomics and metabolomics analysis. Proteomics results showed that the redox process in F2 rice interacts with signal transduction, stress response, and other pathways, causing genome instability in the plant, leading to transcription, post-transcriptional modification, protein synthesis, protein modification, and degradation processes were suppressed. The metabolomics results showed that the metabolism of the F2 generation plants was reshaped. These metabolic pathways mainly included amino acid metabolism, sugar metabolism, cofactor and vitamin metabolism, purine metabolism, phenylpropane biosynthesis, and flavonoid metabolism. These metabolic pathways constituted a new metabolic network. This study confirmed that spaceflight affected the metabolic changes in offspring rice, which would help better understand the adaptation mechanism of plants to the space environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ROS and Abiotic Stress in Plants 2.0)
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Review
Extracellular Vesicles: Interplay with the Extracellular Matrix and Modulated Cell Responses
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3389; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063389 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 939
Abstract
The discovery that cells secrete extracellular vesicles (EVs), which carry a variety of regulatory proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids, has shed light on the sophisticated manner by which cells can communicate and accordingly function. The bioactivity of EVs is not only defined by [...] Read more.
The discovery that cells secrete extracellular vesicles (EVs), which carry a variety of regulatory proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids, has shed light on the sophisticated manner by which cells can communicate and accordingly function. The bioactivity of EVs is not only defined by their internal content, but also through their surface associated molecules, and the linked downstream signaling effects they elicit in target cells. The extracellular matrix (ECM) contains signaling and structural molecules that are central to tissue maintenance and repair. Recently, a subset of EVs residing within the extracellular matrix has been identified. Although some roles have been proposed for matrix-bound vesicles, their role as signaling molecules within the ECM is yet to be explored. Given the close association of EVs and the ECM, it is not surprising that EVs partly mediate repair and regeneration by modulating matrix deposition and degradation through their cellular targets. This review addresses unique EV features that allow them to interact with and navigate through the ECM, describes how their release and content is influenced by the ECM, and emphasizes the emerging role of stem-cell derived EVs in tissue repair and regeneration through their matrix-modulating properties. Full article
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Article
Swelling, Protein Adsorption, and Biocompatibility In Vitro of Gel Beads Prepared from Pectin of Hogweed Heracleum sosnówskyi Manden in Comparison with Gel Beads from Apple Pectin
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3388; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063388 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 447
Abstract
The study aims to develop gel beads with improved functional properties and biocompatibility from hogweed (HS) pectin. HS4 and AP4 gel beads were prepared from the HS pectin and apple pectin (AP) using gelling with calcium ions. HS4 and AP4 gel beads swelled [...] Read more.
The study aims to develop gel beads with improved functional properties and biocompatibility from hogweed (HS) pectin. HS4 and AP4 gel beads were prepared from the HS pectin and apple pectin (AP) using gelling with calcium ions. HS4 and AP4 gel beads swelled in PBS in dependence on pH. The swelling degree of HS4 and AP4 gel beads was 191 and 136%, respectively, in PBS at pH 7.4. The hardness of HS4 and AP4 gel beads reduced 8.2 and 60 times, respectively, compared with the initial value after 24 h incubation. Both pectin gel beads swelled less in Hanks’ solution than in PBS and swelled less in Hanks’ solution containing peritoneal macrophages than in cell-free Hanks’ solution. Serum protein adsorption by HS4 and AP4 gel beads was 118 ± 44 and 196 ± 68 μg/cm2 after 24 h of incubation. Both pectin gel beads demonstrated low rates of hemolysis and complement activation. However, HS4 gel beads inhibited the LPS-stimulated secretion of TNF-α and the expression of TLR4 and NF-κB by macrophages, whereas AP4 gel beads stimulated the inflammatory response of macrophages. HS4 gel beads adsorbed 1.3 times more LPS and adhered to 1.6 times more macrophages than AP4 gel beads. Thus, HS pectin gel has advantages over AP gel concerning swelling behavior, protein adsorption, and biocompatibility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Gels and Their Applications)
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Article
Identification of Novel Circulating miRNAs in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3387; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063387 - 21 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 743
Abstract
Ischemic strokes are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but currently there are no reliable prognostic or diagnostic blood biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate various molecular pathways and may be used as biomarkers. Using RNA-Seq, we conducted comprehensive circulating miRNA profiling in patients with [...] Read more.
Ischemic strokes are associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but currently there are no reliable prognostic or diagnostic blood biomarkers. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate various molecular pathways and may be used as biomarkers. Using RNA-Seq, we conducted comprehensive circulating miRNA profiling in patients with ischemic stroke compared with healthy controls. Samples were collected within 24 h of clinical diagnosis. Stringent analysis criteria of discovery (46 cases and 95 controls) and validation (47 cases and 96 controls) cohorts led to the identification of 10 differentially regulated miRNAs, including 5 novel miRNAs, with potential diagnostic significance. Hsa-miR-451a was the most significantly upregulated miRNA (FC; 4.8, FDR; 3.78 × 10−85), while downregulated miRNAs included hsa-miR-574-5p and hsa-miR-142-3p, among others. Importantly, we computed a multivariate classifier based on the identified miRNA panel to differentiate between ischemic stroke patients and healthy controls, which showed remarkably high sensitivity (0.94) and specificity (0.99). The area under the ROC curve was 0.97 and it is superior to other current available biomarkers. Moreover, in samples collected one month following stroke, we found sustained upregulation of hsa-miR-451a and downregulation of another 5 miRNAs. Lastly, we report 3 miRNAs that were significantly associated with poor clinical outcomes of stroke, as defined by the modified Rankin scores. The clinical translation of the identified miRNA panel may be explored further. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of microRNA in Human Diseases)
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Article
Effect of Copper on Expression of Functional Genes and Proteins Associated with Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens Denitrification
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3386; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063386 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 494
Abstract
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Denitrification is one of the largest sources of N2O in soils. The soybean endosymbiont Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens is a model for rhizobial denitrification studies since, in addition [...] Read more.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Denitrification is one of the largest sources of N2O in soils. The soybean endosymbiont Bradyrhizobium diazoefficiens is a model for rhizobial denitrification studies since, in addition to fixing N2, it has the ability to grow anaerobically under free-living conditions by reducing nitrate from the medium through the complete denitrification pathway. This bacterium contains a periplasmic nitrate reductase (Nap), a copper (Cu)-containing nitrite reductase (NirK), a c-type nitric oxide reductase (cNor), and a Cu-dependent nitrous oxide reductase (Nos) encoded by the napEDABC, nirK, norCBQD and nosRZDFYLX genes, respectively. In this work, an integrated study of the role of Cu in B. diazoefficiens denitrification has been performed. A notable reduction in nirK, nor, and nos gene expression observed under Cu limitation was correlated with a significant decrease in NirK, NorC and NosZ protein levels and activities. Meanwhile, nap expression was not affected by Cu, but a remarkable depletion in Nap activity was found, presumably due to an inhibitory effect of nitrite accumulated under Cu-limiting conditions. Interestingly, a post-transcriptional regulation by increasing Nap and NirK activities, as well as NorC and NosZ protein levels, was observed in response to high Cu. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, the role of Cu in transcriptional and post-transcriptional control of B. diazoefficiens denitrification. Thus, this study will contribute by proposing useful strategies for reducing N2O emissions from agricultural soils. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nitric and Nitrous Oxides: Biological and Environmental Significance)
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Editorial
Pathophysiology of Chronic Liver Disease Development
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063385 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 456
Abstract
Chronic liver disease is a major public threat and the second leading cause of loss of working life years in Europe [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology of Chronic Liver Disease Development)
Article
Pial Vessel-Associated Microglia/Macrophages Increase in Female Dahl-SS/Jr Rats Independent of Pregnancy History
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3384; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063384 - 21 Mar 2022
Viewed by 511
Abstract
As the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, microglia have a wide range of functions such as surveillance, phagocytosis, and signaling through production of chemokines and cytokines. Recent studies have identified and characterized macrophages residing at the meninges, a series of [...] Read more.
As the resident immune cells of the central nervous system, microglia have a wide range of functions such as surveillance, phagocytosis, and signaling through production of chemokines and cytokines. Recent studies have identified and characterized macrophages residing at the meninges, a series of layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord. While perivascular microglia within the brain parenchyma increase following chronic hypertension, there are no reports of changes at the meninges, and specifically, associated with the pial vasculature. Thus, we used female Sprague Dawley and Dahl salt-sensitive (SS/Jr) rat brains, stained for ionized calcium-binding adapter molecule (Iba1), and characterized microglia/macrophages associated with pial vessels in the posterior brain. Results indicate that Iba1+ pial vessel-associated microglia (PVAM) completely surrounded the vessels in brains from the Dahl-SS/Jr rats. PVAM density was significantly higher and distance between PVAMs lower in Dahl-SS/Jr compared to the Sprague Dawley rat brains. Pregnancy history did not affect these findings. While the functional role of these cells are not known, we contextualize our novel findings with that of other studies assessing or characterizing myeloid cells at the borders of the CNS (meninges and choroid plexus) and perivascular macrophages and propose their possible origin in the Dahl-SS/Jr model of chronic hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advance in Neuroinflammation)
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