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Life, Volume 11, Issue 5 (May 2021) – 81 articles

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Open AccessReview
Antithrombotic Therapy for Secondary Prevention in Patients with Non-Cardioembolic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: A Systematic Review
by , , , and
Life 2021, 11(5), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050447 (registering DOI) - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 164
Abstract
Stroke embodies one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. We aimed to provide a comprehensive insight into the effectiveness and safety of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants in the secondary prevention of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. A systematic search [...] Read more.
Stroke embodies one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. We aimed to provide a comprehensive insight into the effectiveness and safety of antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants in the secondary prevention of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. A systematic search for randomized controlled trials, comparing antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapy versus aspirin or placebo among patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, was performed in order to summarize data regarding the different regimens. Keyword-based searches in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library databases were conducted until the 1st of January 2021. Our search explored 46 randomized controlled trials involving ten antiplatelet agents, six combinations with aspirin, and four anticoagulant therapies. The review of the literature reflects that antiplatelet therapy improves outcome in patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. Monotherapy proved to be an effective and safe choice, especially in patients with a high risk of bleeding. Intensified antiplatelet regimens further improve stroke recurrence; however, bleeding rate increases while mortality remains unaffected. Supplementing the clinical judgment of stroke treatment, assessment of bleeding risk is warranted to identify patients with the highest benefit of treatment intensification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Stroke Care)
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Open AccessArticle
The Eastern Nebraska Salt Marsh Microbiome Is Well Adapted to an Alkaline and Extreme Saline Environment
by , and
Life 2021, 11(5), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050446 (registering DOI) - 15 May 2021
Viewed by 167
Abstract
The Eastern Nebraska Salt Marshes contain a unique, alkaline, and saline wetland area that is a remnant of prehistoric oceans that once covered this area. The microbial composition of these salt marshes, identified by metagenomic sequencing, appears to be different from well-studied coastal [...] Read more.
The Eastern Nebraska Salt Marshes contain a unique, alkaline, and saline wetland area that is a remnant of prehistoric oceans that once covered this area. The microbial composition of these salt marshes, identified by metagenomic sequencing, appears to be different from well-studied coastal salt marshes as it contains bacterial genera that have only been found in cold-adapted, alkaline, saline environments. For example, Rubribacterium was only isolated before from an Eastern Siberian soda lake, but appears to be one of the most abundant bacteria present at the time of sampling of the Eastern Nebraska Salt Marshes. Further enrichment, followed by genome sequencing and metagenomic binning, revealed the presence of several halophilic, alkalophilic bacteria that play important roles in sulfur and carbon cycling, as well as in nitrogen fixation within this ecosystem. Photosynthetic sulfur bacteria, belonging to Prosthecochloris and Marichromatium, and chemotrophic sulfur bacteria of the genera Sulfurimonas, Arcobacter, and Thiomicrospira produce valuable oxidized sulfur compounds for algal and plant growth, while alkaliphilic, sulfur-reducing bacteria belonging to Sulfurospirillum help balance the sulfur cycle. This metagenome-based study provides a baseline to understand the complex, but balanced, syntrophic microbial interactions that occur in this unique inland salt marsh environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Environmental Microbiome and Its Interactions)
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Open AccessArticle
Kaempferol-3-O-Glucuronide Ameliorates Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis in High-Cholesterol-Diet-Induced Larval Zebrafish and HepG2 Cell Models via Regulating Oxidation Stress
Life 2021, 11(5), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050445 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 151
Abstract
NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is one of the most prominent liver diseases in the world. As a metabolic-related disease, the development of NAFLD is closely associated with various degrees of lipid accumulation, oxidation, inflammation, and fibrosis. Ilex chinensis Sims is a form [...] Read more.
NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is one of the most prominent liver diseases in the world. As a metabolic-related disease, the development of NAFLD is closely associated with various degrees of lipid accumulation, oxidation, inflammation, and fibrosis. Ilex chinensis Sims is a form of traditional Chinese medicine which is used to treat bronchitis, burns, pneumonia, ulceration, and chilblains. Kaempferol-3-O-glucuronide (K3O) is a natural chemical present in Ilex chinensis Sims. This study was designed to investigate the antioxidative, fat metabolism-regulating, and anti-inflammatory potential of K3O. A high-cholesterol diet (HCD) was used to establish steatosis in larval zebrafish, whereby 1mM free fatty acid (FFA) was used to induce lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells, while H2O2 was used to induce oxidative stress in HepG2. The results of this experiment showed that K3O reduced lipid accumulation and the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) both in vivo (K3O, 40μM) and in vitro (K3O, 20μM). Additionally, K3O (40μM) reduced neutrophil aggregation in vivo. K3O (20μM) also decreased the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) and significantly increased the level of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-px) in both the HCD-induced larval zebrafish model and H2O2-exposed HepG2 cells. In the mechanism study, keap1, nrf2, tnf-α, and il-6 mRNA were all significantly reversed by K3O (20μM) in zebrafish. Changes in Keap1 and Nrf2 mRNA expression were also detected in H2O2-exposed HepG2 cells after they were treated with K3O (20μM). In conclusion, K3O exhibited a reduction in oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, and this may be related to the Nrf2/Keap1 pathway in the NAFLD larval zebrafish model. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sugar Intake: Are All Children Made of Sugar?
Life 2021, 11(5), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050444 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 146
Abstract
Introduction: A healthy diet is characterized by a variety of food and a balanced energy intake, which should accompany every human being since early childhood. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of protein, fat, and lately sugar are very common in developed countries. Sugar intakes are [...] Read more.
Introduction: A healthy diet is characterized by a variety of food and a balanced energy intake, which should accompany every human being since early childhood. Unfortunately, excessive consumption of protein, fat, and lately sugar are very common in developed countries. Sugar intakes are not easily quantifiable and comparable among subjects. Therefore, we decide to analyze dietary patterns in children of different ages and diets (with and without gluten) using a food and nutrient database and a new application called the “Zuccherometro”. Patients and methods: This is a descriptive observational study conducted among children that are recruited consecutively either during a pediatric evaluation or through a school survey. Sociodemographic, nutritional and anthropometric data, degree of physical activity, and presence of medical conditions are collected. Dietary intake data are obtained by a 24 h recall diet. Results: The study analyzes 400 children: 213 girls and 187 boys. The majority of children (70.7%) are in normal weight range with similar extreme values (6.5% obese and 6.7% underweight). Celiac disease is diagnosed in 186 children. Caloric intakes are in line with the recommendations in all age-distributed groups with the exception of adolescents (11–17 years old), whose caloric intake is lower than recommendations. Protein intakes, on the contrary, are always exceeding recommendations and are significantly elevated in preschool children, (more than three times the population reference intakes). As for sugar intakes, all the children except the 11–17 years adolescents exceed the recommended cut off of 15% of daily calories. The same trend is obtained using the “Zuccherometro” that shows different percentages of age-stratified children exceeding the reference values: 1–3 years, 59% of children; 4–6 years, 68%; 7–10 years, 39.8%; 11–14 years, 25.5%; 15–17 years, 24.5%. The sugar load consists of both natural or added sugars (fructose and lactose) in food or beverages. Sugar intakes are more generously consumed by all age-stratified controls than by celiac children with the exception of the youngest ones (1–3 years old) and male adolescents. Conclusion: Since high sugar intakes are constantly accompanying children during their growth, important dietary education and coordination between families and institutions are mandatory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Nutrition for a Healthy Life)
Open AccessHypothesis
Does Compression Sensory Axonopathy in the Proximal Tibia Contribute to Noncontact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury in a Causative Way?—A New Theory for the Injury Mechanism
Life 2021, 11(5), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050443 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 210
Abstract
Anterior cruciate ligament injury occurs when the ligament fibers are stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. The authors propose a new injury mechanism for non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury of the knee. Accordingly, non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury could not happen without the [...] Read more.
Anterior cruciate ligament injury occurs when the ligament fibers are stretched, partially torn, or completely torn. The authors propose a new injury mechanism for non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury of the knee. Accordingly, non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury could not happen without the acute compression microinjury of the entrapped peripheral proprioceptive sensory axons of the proximal tibia. This would occur under an acute stress response when concomitant microcracks-fractures in the proximal tibia evolve due to the same excessive and repetitive compression forces. The primary damage may occur during eccentric contractions of the acceleration and deceleration moments of strenuous or unaccustomed fatiguing exercise bouts. This primary damage is suggested to be an acute compression/crush axonopathy of the proprioceptive sensory neurons in the proximal tibia. As a result, impaired proprioception could lead to injury of the anterior cruciate ligament as a secondary damage, which is suggested to occur during the deceleration phase. Elevated prostaglandin E2, nitric oxide and glutamate may have a critical neuro-modulatory role in the damage signaling in this dichotomous neuronal injury hypothesis that could lead to mechano-energetic failure, lesion and a cascade of inflammatory events. The presynaptic modulation of the primary sensory axons by the fatigued and microdamaged proprioceptive sensory fibers in the proximal tibia induces the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord, through a process that could have long term relevance due to its contribution to synaptic plasticity. Luteinizing hormone, through interleukin-1β, stimulates the nerve growth factor-tropomyosin receptor kinase A axis in the ovarian cells and promotes tropomyosin receptor kinase A and nerve growth factor gene expression and prostaglandin E2 release. This luteinizing hormone induced mechanism could further elevate prostaglandin E2 in excess of the levels generated by osteocytes, due to mechanical stress during strenuous athletic moments in the pre-ovulatory phase. This may explain why non-contact anterior cruciate ligament injury is at least three-times more prevalent among female athletes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impact of Physical Exercises on Bone Activities)
Open AccessCommunication
An Unsupervised Algorithm for Host Identification in Flaviviruses
Life 2021, 11(5), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050442 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 161
Abstract
Early characterization of emerging viruses is essential to control their spread, such as the Zika Virus outbreak in 2014. Among other non-viral factors, host information is essential for the surveillance and control of virus spread. Flaviviruses (genus Flavivirus), akin to other viruses, [...] Read more.
Early characterization of emerging viruses is essential to control their spread, such as the Zika Virus outbreak in 2014. Among other non-viral factors, host information is essential for the surveillance and control of virus spread. Flaviviruses (genus Flavivirus), akin to other viruses, are modulated by high mutation rates and selective forces to adapt their codon usage to that of their hosts. However, a major challenge is the identification of potential hosts for novel viruses. Usually, potential hosts of emerging zoonotic viruses are identified after several confirmed cases. This is inefficient for deterring future outbreaks. In this paper, we introduce an algorithm to identify the host range of a virus from its raw genome sequences. The proposed strategy relies on comparing codon usage frequencies across viruses and hosts, by means of a normalized Codon Adaptation Index (CAI). We have tested our algorithm on 94 flaviviruses and 16 potential hosts. This novel method is able to distinguish between arthropod and vertebrate hosts for several flaviviruses with high values of accuracy (virus group 91.9% and host type 86.1%) and specificity (virus group 94.9% and host type 79.6%), in comparison to empirical observations. Overall, this algorithm may be useful as a complementary tool to current phylogenetic methods in monitoring current and future viral outbreaks by understanding host–virus relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral-Host Metabolic Interactions)
Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Blood Coagulation Parameters and ADMA, NO, IL-6, and IL-18 Serum Levels in Patients with Neovascular AMD before, during, and after the Initial Loading Phase of Intravitreal Aflibercept
Life 2021, 11(5), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050441 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 138
Abstract
We evaluated the effect of intravitreal injections of aflibercept (IVA) on blood coagulation parameters including prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), and thrombin time (TT), as well as asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), nitric oxide (NO), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interleukin 18 (IL-18) [...] Read more.
We evaluated the effect of intravitreal injections of aflibercept (IVA) on blood coagulation parameters including prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), and thrombin time (TT), as well as asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), nitric oxide (NO), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and interleukin 18 (IL-18) serum levels in patients with neovascular AMD (nAMD). Twenty-two eyes of 22 patients with nAMD were included. Parameters were evaluated before and 2–3 days after the first IVA injection, and then immediately before and 2–3 days after the third IVA injection. We revealed prolongation of the TT after the initial loading phase of IVA (p = 0.041) and a significant increase in IL-18 serum concentration immediately before the third IVA administration compared to baseline (p = 0.037). There were no statistically significant differences of other parameters and PT, APTT, ADMA, NO, and IL-6 values remained within the normal range at each of the time points of the study. Our results suggest that repeated IVA administration may affect the common blood coagulation pathway, which manifests as a prolongation of the TT value. Furthermore, we showed a significant increase in serum concentration of the pro-inflammatory cytokineIL-18during the initial loading phase of IVA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retinal Disease and Metabolism)
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Open AccessReview
Molecular Mechanisms of Action of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS). A New Threat for Young Drug Users with Forensic-Toxicological Implications
Life 2021, 11(5), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050440 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 170
Abstract
Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) represent a severe health risk for drug users. Even though the phenomenon has been growing since the early 2000s, the mechanisms of action of NPS at the receptors and beyond them are still scarcely understood. The aim of the [...] Read more.
Novel psychoactive substances (NPS) represent a severe health risk for drug users. Even though the phenomenon has been growing since the early 2000s, the mechanisms of action of NPS at the receptors and beyond them are still scarcely understood. The aim of the present study was to provide a systematic review of the updated knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms underlying the toxicity of synthetic opioids, cannabinoids, cathinones, and stimulants. The study was conducted on the PubMed database. Study eligibility criteria included relevance to the topic, English language, and time of publication (2010–2020). A combined Mesh and free-text protocols search was performed. Study selection was performed on the title/abstract and, in doubtful cases, on the full texts of papers. Of the 580 records identified through PubMed searching and reference checking, 307 were excluded by title/abstract and 78 additional papers were excluded after full-text reading, leaving a total of 155 included papers. Molecular mechanisms of synthetic opioids, synthetic cannabinoids, stimulants, psychedelics, and hallucinogens were reviewed and mostly involved both a receptor-mediated and non-receptor mediated cellular modulation with multiple neurotransmitters interactions. The molecular mechanisms underlying the action of NPS are more complex than expected, with a wide range of overlap among activated receptors and neurotransmitter systems. The peculiar action profile of single compounds does not necessarily reflect that of the structural class to which they belong, accounting for possible unexpected toxic reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Review Papers for Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Nutritional Characteristics, Sites of Origin, and Cost of Foods Consumed during School Hours and Their Relationship to Nutritional Status of Schoolchildren in Mexico City
Life 2021, 11(5), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050439 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 220
Abstract
Access, nutritional characteristics, preferences, and cost can affect food intake at school. A cross-sectional study was performed to determine the nutritional characteristics, sites of origin, and cost of foods consumed during school hours. Three hundred and sixty-nine children from five public elementary schools [...] Read more.
Access, nutritional characteristics, preferences, and cost can affect food intake at school. A cross-sectional study was performed to determine the nutritional characteristics, sites of origin, and cost of foods consumed during school hours. Three hundred and sixty-nine children from five public elementary schools in Mexico City participated. The children gave information about the foods that they consumed five days out of the week during school hours, including the place of acquisition, cost of the food, and portion size. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight of the children were taken. Caloric consumption and percentage of recommended daily energy intake from food during school hours was determined. Children were 10.9 ± 0.9 years old; 55.6% were girls, 26% were overweight, 23% were obese, and 3.3% were of low height for age. The average calorie intake was 515 kilocalories (kcal) (boys, 535 kcal; girls, 476 kcal, p = 0.051); calorie intake was higher when school meal intakes included foods from home, school, and outside of school. No significant differences were found in calorie intake by children’s nutritional status. The cost in Mexican pesos per 100 kcal consumed showed differences according to the nutritional status of the children; it was 4.0 Mexican pesos for children with normal weight and 4.2 and 3.8 pesos in children who were overweight or obese, respectively. The information obtained in this study should be used to provide nutritional guidance. The food portion size intake during school hours should be reduced, and the food should come from one or at most two sites, because each extra food represents an increase in the total kilocalorie intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Nutrition for a Healthy Life)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel, Easy Assay Method for Human Cysteine Sulfinic Acid Decarboxylase
Life 2021, 11(5), 438; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050438 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 184
Abstract
Cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase catalyzes the last step of taurine biosynthesis in mammals, and belongs to the fold type I superfamily of pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes. Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is the most abundant free amino acid in animal tissues; it is highly present in [...] Read more.
Cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase catalyzes the last step of taurine biosynthesis in mammals, and belongs to the fold type I superfamily of pyridoxal-5′-phosphate (PLP)-dependent enzymes. Taurine (2-aminoethanesulfonic acid) is the most abundant free amino acid in animal tissues; it is highly present in liver, kidney, muscle, and brain, and plays numerous biological and physiological roles. Despite the importance of taurine in human health, human cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase has been poorly characterized at the biochemical level, although its three-dimensional structure has been solved. In the present work, we have recombinantly expressed and purified human cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase, and applied a simple spectroscopic direct method based on circular dichroism to measure its enzymatic activity. This method gives a significant advantage in terms of simplicity and reduction of execution time with respect to previously used assays, and will facilitate future studies on the catalytic mechanism of the enzyme. We determined the kinetic constants using L-cysteine sulfinic acid as substrate, and also showed that human cysteine sulfinic acid decarboxylase is capable to catalyze the decarboxylation—besides its natural substrates L-cysteine sulfinic acid and L-cysteic acid—of L-aspartate and L-glutamate, although with much lower efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel and Innovative Methods for Measuring Enzyme Activity)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploratory Study of the Association between the Severity of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension and Electroretinogram Photopic Negative Response Amplitude Obtained Using a Handheld Device
Life 2021, 11(5), 437; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050437 - 13 May 2021
Viewed by 177
Abstract
The photopic negative response (PhNR) is a negative component of the photopic flash electroretinogram that follows the b-wave and is thought to arise from the retinal ganglion cells. Reduction in its amplitude in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) has been previously documented using formal [...] Read more.
The photopic negative response (PhNR) is a negative component of the photopic flash electroretinogram that follows the b-wave and is thought to arise from the retinal ganglion cells. Reduction in its amplitude in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) has been previously documented using formal electroretinography. This study explored the use of a handheld device (RETeval, LKC technologies, Gaithersburg, MD, USA) in 72 IIH patients of varying stages and severity (and seven controls) and investigated associations between PhNR parameters and disease severity. PhNR amplitudes at 72 ms (P72) and p-ratio (ratio to b-wave peak value) differed significantly across groups, with a trend towards smaller amplitudes in those with severe IIH, defined as papilloedema with Modified Frisén Scale (MFS) ≥ 3, retinal nerve fibre layer (RNFL) ≥ 150 m or atrophic papilloedema (p = 0.0048 and p = 0.018 for P72 and p-ratio, respectively). PhNR parameters did not correlate with MFS, RNFL thickness, standard automated perimetry mean deviation or macular ganglion cell layer volume. This study suggests that PhNR measurement using a handheld device is feasible and could potentially augment the assessment of disease severity in IIH. The clinical utility of PhNR monitoring in IIH patients requires further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)
Open AccessReview
Mitochondrial Bioenergetics and Dynamism in the Failing Heart
Life 2021, 11(5), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050436 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 175
Abstract
The heart is responsible for pumping blood, nutrients, and oxygen from its cavities to the whole body through rhythmic and vigorous contractions. Heart function relies on a delicate balance between continuous energy consumption and generation that changes from birth to adulthood and depends [...] Read more.
The heart is responsible for pumping blood, nutrients, and oxygen from its cavities to the whole body through rhythmic and vigorous contractions. Heart function relies on a delicate balance between continuous energy consumption and generation that changes from birth to adulthood and depends on a very efficient oxidative metabolism and the ability to adapt to different conditions. In recent years, mitochondrial dysfunctions were recognized as the hallmark of the onset and development of manifold heart diseases (HDs), including heart failure (HF). HF is a severe condition for which there is currently no cure. In this condition, the failing heart is characterized by a disequilibrium in mitochondrial bioenergetics, which compromises the basal functions and includes the loss of oxygen and substrate availability, an altered metabolism, and inefficient energy production and utilization. This review concisely summarizes the bioenergetics and some other mitochondrial features in the heart with a focus on the features that become impaired in the failing heart. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impaired Mitochondrial Bioenergetics under Pathological Conditions)
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Open AccessHypothesis
Ticks, Hair Loss, and Non-Clinging Babies: A Novel Tick-Based Hypothesis for the Evolutionary Divergence of Humans and Chimpanzees
Life 2021, 11(5), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050435 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 312
Abstract
Human straight-legged bipedalism represents one of the earliest events in the evolutionary split between humans (Homo spp.) and chimpanzees (Pan spp.), although its selective basis is a mystery. A carrying-related hypothesis has recently been proposed in which hair loss within the [...] Read more.
Human straight-legged bipedalism represents one of the earliest events in the evolutionary split between humans (Homo spp.) and chimpanzees (Pan spp.), although its selective basis is a mystery. A carrying-related hypothesis has recently been proposed in which hair loss within the hominin lineage resulted in the inability of babies to cling to their mothers, requiring mothers to walk upright to carry their babies. However, a question remains for this model: what drove the hair loss that resulted in upright walking? Observers since Darwin have suggested that hair loss in humans may represent an evolutionary strategy for defence against ticks. The aim of this review is to propose and evaluate a novel tick-based evolutionary hypothesis wherein forest fragmentation in hominin paleoenvironments created conditions that were favourable for tick proliferation, selecting for hair loss in hominins and grooming behaviour in chimpanzees as divergent anti-tick strategies. It is argued that these divergent anti-tick strategies resulted in different methods for carrying babies, driving the locomotor divergence of humans and chimpanzees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Evolutionary Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
Are Juglans neotropica Plantations Useful as a Refuge of Bryophytes Diversity in Tropical Areas?
Life 2021, 11(5), 434; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050434 - 12 May 2021
Viewed by 164
Abstract
Neotropical montane forests are considered biodiversity hotspots, where epiphytic bryophytes are an important component of the diversity, biomass and functioning of these ecosystems. We evaluated the richness and composition of bryophytes in secondary successional forests and mixed plantations of Juglans neotropica. In [...] Read more.
Neotropical montane forests are considered biodiversity hotspots, where epiphytic bryophytes are an important component of the diversity, biomass and functioning of these ecosystems. We evaluated the richness and composition of bryophytes in secondary successional forests and mixed plantations of Juglans neotropica. In each forest type, the presence and cover of epiphytic bryophytes was registered in 400 quadrats of 20 cm × 30 cm. We analyzed the effects of canopy openness, diameter at breast height (DBH) and forest type on bryophyte richness, using a generalized linear model (GLM), as well as the changes in species composition using multivariate analysis. Fifty-five bryophyte species were recorded, of which 42 species were in secondary forests and 40 were in mixed plantations. Bryophyte richness did not change at forest level; however, at tree level, richness was higher in the mixed plantation of J. neotropica compared to the secondary forests, due to the presence of species adapted to high light conditions. On the other hand, bryophyte communities were negatively affected by the more open canopy in the mixed plantation of J. neotropica, species adapted to more humid conditions being less abundant. We conclude that species with narrow microclimatic niches are threatened by deforestation, and J. neotropica plantations do not act as refuge for drought-sensitive forest species present in secondary forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bryophyte Responses to Climate Changes)
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Open AccessSystematic Review
Perfusion Parameters in Near-Infrared Fluorescence Imaging with Indocyanine Green: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Life 2021, 11(5), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050433 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 263
Abstract
(1) Background: Near-infrared fluorescence imaging is a technique capable of assessing tissue perfusion and has been adopted in various fields including plastic surgery, vascular surgery, coronary arterial disease, and gastrointestinal surgery. While the usefulness of this technique has been broadly explored, there is [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Near-infrared fluorescence imaging is a technique capable of assessing tissue perfusion and has been adopted in various fields including plastic surgery, vascular surgery, coronary arterial disease, and gastrointestinal surgery. While the usefulness of this technique has been broadly explored, there is a large variety in the calculation of perfusion parameters. In this systematic review, we aim to provide a detailed overview of current perfusion parameters, and determine the perfusion parameters with the most potential for application in near-infrared fluorescence imaging. (2) Methods: A comprehensive search of the literature was performed in Pubmed, Embase, Medline, and Cochrane Review. We included all clinical studies referencing near-infrared perfusion parameters. (3) Results: A total of 1511 articles were found, of which, 113 were suitable for review, with a final selection of 59 articles. Near-infrared fluorescence imaging parameters are heterogeneous in their correlation to perfusion. Time-related parameters appear superior to absolute intensity parameters in a clinical setting. (4) Conclusions: This literature review demonstrates the variety of parameters selected for the quantification of perfusion in near-infrared fluorescence imaging. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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Open AccessReview
Interplay between Mitochondrial Protein Import and Respiratory Complexes Assembly in Neuronal Health and Degeneration
Life 2021, 11(5), 432; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050432 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 379
Abstract
The fact that >99% of mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome and synthesised in the cytosol renders the process of mitochondrial protein import fundamental for normal organelle physiology. In addition to this, the nuclear genome comprises most of the proteins required [...] Read more.
The fact that >99% of mitochondrial proteins are encoded by the nuclear genome and synthesised in the cytosol renders the process of mitochondrial protein import fundamental for normal organelle physiology. In addition to this, the nuclear genome comprises most of the proteins required for respiratory complex assembly and function. This means that without fully functional protein import, mitochondrial respiration will be defective, and the major cellular ATP source depleted. When mitochondrial protein import is impaired, a number of stress response pathways are activated in order to overcome the dysfunction and restore mitochondrial and cellular proteostasis. However, prolonged impaired mitochondrial protein import and subsequent defective respiratory chain function contributes to a number of diseases including primary mitochondrial diseases and neurodegeneration. This review focuses on how the processes of mitochondrial protein translocation and respiratory complex assembly and function are interlinked, how they are regulated, and their importance in health and disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impaired Mitochondrial Bioenergetics under Pathological Conditions)
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Open AccessArticle
Exploring the Release of Toxic Oligomers from α-Synuclein Fibrils with Antibodies and STED Microscopy
Life 2021, 11(5), 431; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050431 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 302
Abstract
α-Synuclein (αS) is an intrinsically disordered and highly dynamic protein involved in dopamine release at presynaptic terminals. The abnormal aggregation of αS as mature fibrils into intraneuronal inclusion bodies is directly linked to Parkinson’s disease. Increasing experimental evidence suggests that soluble oligomers formed [...] Read more.
α-Synuclein (αS) is an intrinsically disordered and highly dynamic protein involved in dopamine release at presynaptic terminals. The abnormal aggregation of αS as mature fibrils into intraneuronal inclusion bodies is directly linked to Parkinson’s disease. Increasing experimental evidence suggests that soluble oligomers formed early during the aggregation process are the most cytotoxic forms of αS. This study investigated the uptake by neuronal cells of pathologically relevant αS oligomers and fibrils exploiting a range of conformation-sensitive antibodies, and the super-resolution stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy. We found that prefibrillar oligomers promptly penetrate neuronal membranes, thus resulting in cell dysfunction. By contrast, fibril docking to the phospholipid bilayer is accompanied by αS conformational changes with a progressive release of A11-reactive oligomers, which can enter into the neurons and trigger cell impairment. Our data provide important evidence on the role of αS fibrils as a source of harmful oligomers, which resemble the intermediate conformers formed de novo during aggregation, underling the dynamic and reversible nature of protein aggregates responsible for α-synucleinopathies. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Airway Epithelial Nucleotide Release Contributes to Mucociliary Clearance
Life 2021, 11(5), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050430 - 11 May 2021
Viewed by 235
Abstract
Mucociliary clearance (MCC) is a dominant component of pulmonary host defense. In health, the periciliary layer (PCL) is optimally hydrated, thus acting as an efficient lubricant layer over which the mucus layer moves by ciliary force. Airway surface dehydration and production of hyperconcentrated [...] Read more.
Mucociliary clearance (MCC) is a dominant component of pulmonary host defense. In health, the periciliary layer (PCL) is optimally hydrated, thus acting as an efficient lubricant layer over which the mucus layer moves by ciliary force. Airway surface dehydration and production of hyperconcentrated mucus is a common feature of chronic obstructive lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and chronic bronchitis (CB). Mucus hydration is driven by electrolyte transport activities, which in turn are regulated by airway epithelial purinergic receptors. The activity of these receptors is controlled by the extracellular concentrations of ATP and its metabolite adenosine. Vesicular and conducted pathways contribute to ATP release from airway epithelial cells. In this study, we review the evidence leading to the identification of major components of these pathways: (a) the vesicular nucleotide transporter VNUT (the product of the SLC17A9 gene), the ATP transporter mediating ATP storage in (and release from) mucin granules and secretory vesicles; and (b) the ATP conduit pannexin 1 expressed in non-mucous airway epithelial cells. We further illustrate that ablation of pannexin 1 reduces, at least in part, airway surface liquid (ASL) volume production, ciliary beating, and MCC rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue ATP Release in Health and Disease)
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Open AccessReview
The “Water Problem”(sic), the Illusory Pond and Life’s Submarine Emergence—A Review
Life 2021, 11(5), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050429 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 239
Abstract
The assumption that there was a “water problem” at the emergence of life—that the Hadean Ocean was simply too wet and salty for life to have emerged in it—is here subjected to geological and experimental reality checks. The “warm little pond” that would [...] Read more.
The assumption that there was a “water problem” at the emergence of life—that the Hadean Ocean was simply too wet and salty for life to have emerged in it—is here subjected to geological and experimental reality checks. The “warm little pond” that would take the place of the submarine alkaline vent theory (AVT), as recently extolled in the journal Nature, flies in the face of decades of geological, microbiological and evolutionary research and reasoning. To the present author, the evidence refuting the warm little pond scheme is overwhelming given the facts that (i) the early Earth was a water world, (ii) its all-enveloping ocean was never less than 4 km deep, (iii) there were no figurative “Icelands” or “Hawaiis”, nor even an “Ontong Java” then because (iv) the solidifying magma ocean beneath was still too mushy to support such salient loadings on the oceanic crust. In place of the supposed warm little pond, we offer a well-protected mineral mound precipitated at a submarine alkaline vent as life’s womb: in place of lipid membranes, we suggest peptides; we replace poisonous cyanide with ammonium and hydrazine; instead of deleterious radiation we have the appropriate life-giving redox and pH disequilibria; and in place of messy chemistry we offer the potential for life’s emergence from the simplest of geochemically available molecules and ions focused at a submarine alkaline vent in the Hadean—specifically within the nano-confined flexible and redox active interlayer walls of the mixed-valent double layer oxyhydroxide mineral, fougerite/green rust comprising much of that mound. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Review Papers for Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Clinical Markers of Chronic Hypoxemia in Respiratory Patients Residing at Moderate Altitude
Life 2021, 11(5), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050428 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 154
Abstract
Supplemental oxygen (SO) increases survival in hypoxemic patients. In hypoxia, mammals respond by modulating O2-sensitive transducers that stabilize the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1-alpha (HIF-1α), which transactivates the genes that govern angiogenesis and metabolic pathways. Residing at high altitudes exposes millions of [...] Read more.
Supplemental oxygen (SO) increases survival in hypoxemic patients. In hypoxia, mammals respond by modulating O2-sensitive transducers that stabilize the transcription factor hypoxia-inducible factor-1-alpha (HIF-1α), which transactivates the genes that govern angiogenesis and metabolic pathways. Residing at high altitudes exposes millions of people to hypoxemia with potential adverse consequences on their health. We aimed to identify markers of hypoxemia that can be used in the evaluation of patients in addition to pulse oximetry and arterial blood gases, especially those that could respond after 1 month of oxygen use. We performed a prospective pilot study at 2240 m above sea level, with repeated measurements before and after (b/a) 1-month home oxygen therapy in 70 patients with lung diseases, of which 24/20 have COPD, 41/39 obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and 5/2 with interstitial lung diseases (ILD), all of them having chronic hypoxemia, as well as 70 healthy subjects as controls. Proteins evaluated included HIF-1α, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and erythropoietin (EPO). Among the main results, we found that hypoxemic patients had normal levels of HIF-1α but increased EPO compared with healthy controls. VEGF levels were heterogeneous in the sample studied, similar to the control group in COPD, slightly increased in OSA, and decreased in fibrosis. With oxygen treatment, the HIF-1α and EPO decreased in COPD and OSA but not in fibrosis, and VEGF remained constant over time. In conclusion, erythropoietin and HIF-1α identified hypoxemia initially and responded to oxygen. In pulmonary fibrosis, HIF-1α, EPO, and VEGF increased with oxygen therapy, which is likely linked to the disease’s pathogenesis and clinical course rather than hypoxemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular and Functional Response to Hypoxia)
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Sulfurs Inhibit LPS-Induced Inflammatory Responses through NF-κB Signaling in CCD-986Sk Skin Fibroblasts
Life 2021, 11(5), 427; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050427 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 205
Abstract
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory response leads to serious damage, up to and including tumorigenesis. Natural mineral sulfur, non-toxic sulfur (NTS), and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) have anti-inflammatory activity that may inhibit LPS-induced inflammation. We hypothesized that sulfur compounds could inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory responses in CCD-986Sk skin [...] Read more.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory response leads to serious damage, up to and including tumorigenesis. Natural mineral sulfur, non-toxic sulfur (NTS), and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) have anti-inflammatory activity that may inhibit LPS-induced inflammation. We hypothesized that sulfur compounds could inhibit LPS-induced inflammatory responses in CCD-986Sk skin fibroblasts. We used Western blotting and real-time PCR to analyze molecular signaling in treated and untreated cultures. We also used flow cytometry for cell surface receptor analysis, comet assays to evaluate DNA damage, and ELISA-based cytokine detection. LPS induced TLR4 activation and NF-κB signaling via canonical and protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent pathways, while NTS and MSM downregulated that response. NTS and MSM also inhibited LPS-induced nuclear accumulation and binding of NF-κB to proinflammatory cytokines COX-2, IL-1β, and IL-6. Finally, the sulfur compounds suppressed LPS-induced ROS accumulation and DNA damage in CCD-986Sk cells. These results suggest that natural sulfur compounds could be used to treat inflammation and may be useful in the development of cosmetics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms Underlying Skin Pathologies)
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Open AccessReview
Chronothyroidology: Chronobiological Aspects in Thyroid Function and Diseases
Life 2021, 11(5), 426; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050426 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 198
Abstract
Chronobiology is the scientific discipline which considers biological phenomena in relation to time, which assumes itself biological identity. Many physiological processes are cyclically regulated by intrinsic clocks and many pathological events show a circadian time-related occurrence. Even the pituitary–thyroid axis is under the [...] Read more.
Chronobiology is the scientific discipline which considers biological phenomena in relation to time, which assumes itself biological identity. Many physiological processes are cyclically regulated by intrinsic clocks and many pathological events show a circadian time-related occurrence. Even the pituitary–thyroid axis is under the control of a central clock, and the hormones of the pituitary–thyroid axis exhibit circadian, ultradian and circannual rhythmicity. This review, after describing briefly the essential principles of chronobiology, will be focused on the results of personal experiences and of other studies on this issue, paying particular attention to those regarding the thyroid implications, appearing in the literature as reviews, metanalyses, original and observational studies until 28 February 2021 and acquired from two databases (Scopus and PubMed). The first input to biological rhythms is given by a central clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which dictates the timing from its hypothalamic site to satellite clocks that contribute in a hierarchical way to regulate the physiological rhythmicity. Disruption of the rhythmic organization can favor the onset of important disorders, including thyroid diseases. Several studies on the interrelationship between thyroid function and circadian rhythmicity demonstrated that thyroid dysfunctions may affect negatively circadian organization, disrupting TSH rhythm. Conversely, alterations of clock machinery may cause important perturbations at the cellular level, which may favor thyroid dysfunctions and also cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Review Papers for Life)
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Open AccessArticle
Creatine Levels in Patients with Phenylketonuria and Mild Hyperphenylalaninemia: A Pilot Study
Life 2021, 11(5), 425; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050425 - 06 May 2021
Viewed by 240
Abstract
Background: Creatine (Cr) levels are strongly dependent on diets, including animal-derived proteins. Cr is an important metabolite as it represents a source of stored energy to support physical performance and potentially sustain positive effects such as improving memory or intelligence. This study was [...] Read more.
Background: Creatine (Cr) levels are strongly dependent on diets, including animal-derived proteins. Cr is an important metabolite as it represents a source of stored energy to support physical performance and potentially sustain positive effects such as improving memory or intelligence. This study was planned to assess Cr levels in PKU children adhering to a diet low in phenylalanine (Phe) content and compared with those of children with mild hyperphenylalaninemia (MHP) on a free diet. Methods: This retrospective pilot study analyzed Cr levels from Guthrie cards in 25 PKU and 35 MHP subjects. Anthropomorphic and nutritional data of the study populations were assessed, compared and correlated. Results: Cr levels of PKU subjects were significantly lower than those of MHP subjects and correlated to the low intake of animal proteins. Although no deficiencies in PKU subjects were identified, PKU subjects were found to have a 26-fold higher risk of displaying Cr levels <25° percentile than MHP counterparts. Conclusions: This pilot study suggests that Cr levels might be concerningly low in PKU children adhering to a low-Phe diet. Confirmatory studies are needed in PKU patients of different age groups to assess Cr levels and the potential benefits on physical and intellectual performance of Cr supplementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pediatric Nutrition for a Healthy Life)
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Open AccessReview
Many Distinct Ways Lead to Drug Resistance in BRAF- and NRAS-Mutated Melanomas
Life 2021, 11(5), 424; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050424 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 244
Abstract
Advanced melanoma is a relentless tumor with a high metastatic potential. The combat of melanoma by using the targeted therapy is impeded because several major driver mutations fuel its growth (predominantly BRAF and NRAS). Both these mutated oncogenes strongly activate the MAPK [...] Read more.
Advanced melanoma is a relentless tumor with a high metastatic potential. The combat of melanoma by using the targeted therapy is impeded because several major driver mutations fuel its growth (predominantly BRAF and NRAS). Both these mutated oncogenes strongly activate the MAPK (MEK/ERK) pathway. Therefore, specific inhibitors of these oncoproteins or MAPK pathway components or their combination have been used for tumor eradication. After a good initial response, resistant cells develop almost universally and need the drug for further expansion. Multiple mechanisms, sometimes very distant from the MAPK pathway, are responsible for the development of resistance. Here, we review many of the mechanisms causing resistance and leading to the dismal final outcome of mutated BRAF and NRAS therapy. Very heterogeneous events lead to drug resistance. Due to this, each individual mechanism would be in fact needed to be determined for a personalized therapy to treat patients more efficiently and causally according to molecular findings. This procedure is practically impossible in the clinic. Other approaches are therefore needed, such as combined treatment with more drugs simultaneously from the beginning of the therapy. This could eradicate tumor cells more rapidly and greatly diminish the possibility of emerging mechanisms that allow the evolution of drug resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Melanoma: Dark Tumor with Little Light for Metastasis Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle
Interleukin-6 and Interleukin-8 Regulate STAT3 Activation Migration/Invasion and EMT in Chrysophanol-Treated Oral Cancer Cell Lines
Life 2021, 11(5), 423; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050423 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 290
Abstract
The tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in the control of metastasis. The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is strongly associated with tumor metastasis, and consists of several protein markers, including E-cadherin and vimentin. We discovered that chrysophanol causes oral cancer cell apoptosis and the [...] Read more.
The tumor microenvironment plays a critical role in the control of metastasis. The epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is strongly associated with tumor metastasis, and consists of several protein markers, including E-cadherin and vimentin. We discovered that chrysophanol causes oral cancer cell apoptosis and the inhibition of migration/invasion and EMT. However, the detailed mechanisms of chrysophanol and its role in oral cancer with respect to the tumor microenvironment remain unknown. In the clinic, proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 and IL-8, exhibit a higher expression in patients with oral cancer. However, the effect of chrysophanol on the production of IL-6 and IL-8 is unknown. We evaluated the expression of IL-6 and IL-8 in human SAS and FaDu oral cancer cell lines in the presence or absence of chrysophanol. The migration and invasion abilities were also determined using a Boyden chamber assay. Our results showed that treatment with chrysophanol significantly decreased the expression of IL-6 and IL-8, as well as the invasion ability of oral cancer cells. Moreover, chrysophanol also attenuated the EMT by increasing the expression of E-cadherin and reducing the expression of vimentin. Mechanistically, chrysophanol inhibited IL-6- and IL-8-induced invasion and STAT3 phosphorylation. IL-6 and IL-8 promote EMT and cell invasion, which is potentially related to the STAT3 signaling pathway in oral cancer. These findings provide insight into new aspects of chrysophanol activity and may contribute to the development of new therapeutic strategies for oral cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regulation of Natural Products to Immunity)
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Open AccessArticle
Herbal Extract from Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. Enhances Cardiogenic Differentiation and Improves the Function of Infarcted Rat Hearts
Life 2021, 11(5), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050422 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 280
Abstract
Background: The roots of Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating cardiovascular disease. In the current study, we aimed to discover herbal extracts from C. pilosula that are capable of improving cardiac function of infarcted hearts to [...] Read more.
Background: The roots of Codonopsis pilosula (Franch.) Nannf. have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating cardiovascular disease. In the current study, we aimed to discover herbal extracts from C. pilosula that are capable of improving cardiac function of infarcted hearts to develop a potential therapeutic approach. Methods: A mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell-based model with an enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) reporter driven by a cardiomyocyte-specific promoter, the α-myosin heavy chain, was constructed to evaluate the cardiogenic activity of herbal extracts. Then, herbal extracts from C. pilosula with cardiogenic activity based on an increase in eGFP expression during ES cell differentiation were further tested in a rat myocardial infarction model with left anterior descending artery (LAD) ligation. Cardiac function assessments were performed using echocardiography, 1, 3, and 6 weeks post LAD ligation. Results: The herbal extract 417W from C. pilosula was capable of enhancing cardiogenic differentiation in mouse ES cells in vitro. Echocardiography results in the LAD-ligated rat model revealed significant improvements in the infarcted hearts at least 6 weeks after 417W treatment that were determined based on left ventricle fractional shortening (FS), fractional area contraction (FAC), and ejection fraction (EF). Conclusions: The herbal extract 417W can enhance the cardiogenic differentiation of ES cells and improve the cardiac function of infarcted hearts. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Current Status of Brain Tumor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Application of Nanobiotechnology for Its Treatment: A Comprehensive Review
Life 2021, 11(5), 421; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050421 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 298
Abstract
Objective: Brain tumors are the most challenging of all tumors and accounts for about 3% of all cancer allied deaths. The aim of the present review is to examine the brain tumor prevalence and treatment modalities available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. [...] Read more.
Objective: Brain tumors are the most challenging of all tumors and accounts for about 3% of all cancer allied deaths. The aim of the present review is to examine the brain tumor prevalence and treatment modalities available in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It also provides a comprehensive analysis of the application of various nanotechnology-based products for brain cancer treatments along with their prospective future advancements. Methods: A literature review was performed to identify and summarize the current status of brain cancer in Saudi Arabia and the scope of nanobiotechnology in its treatment. Results: Depending upon the study population data analysis, gliomas, astrocytoma, meningioma, and metastatic cancer have a higher incidence rate in Saudi Arabia than in other countries, and are mostly treated in accordance with conventional treatment modalities for brain cancer. Due to the poor prognosis of cancer, it has an average survival rate of 2 years. Conventional therapy includes surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and a combination thereof, but these do not control the disease’s recurrence. Among the various nanomaterials discussed, liposomes and polymeric nanoformulations have demonstrated encouraging outcomes for facilitated brain cancer treatment. Conclusions: Nanomaterials possess the capacity to overcome the shortcomings of conventional therapies. Polymer-based nanomaterials have shown encouraging outcomes against brain cancer when amalgamated with other nano-based therapies. Nonetheless, nanomaterials could be devised that possess minimal toxicity towards normal cells or that specifically target tumor cells. In addition, rigorous clinical investigations are warranted to prepare them as an efficient and safe modality for brain cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biologically-Relevant Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Loose Ends in the Cortinarius Phylogeny: Five New Myxotelamonoid Species Indicate a High Diversity of These Ectomycorrhizal Fungi with South American Nothofagaceae
Life 2021, 11(5), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050420 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 281
Abstract
This paper is a contribution to the current knowledge of taxonomy, ecology and distribution of South American Cortinarius (Pers.) Gray. Cortinarius is among the most widely distributed and species-rich basidiomycete genera occurring with South American Nothofagaceae and species are found in many distinct [...] Read more.
This paper is a contribution to the current knowledge of taxonomy, ecology and distribution of South American Cortinarius (Pers.) Gray. Cortinarius is among the most widely distributed and species-rich basidiomycete genera occurring with South American Nothofagaceae and species are found in many distinct habitats, including shrublands and forests. Due to their ectomycorrhizal role, Cortinarius species are critical for nutrient cycling in forests, especially at higher latitudes. Some species have also been reported as edible fungi with high nutritional quality. Our aim is to unravel the taxonomy of selected Cortinarius belonging to phlegmacioid and myxotelamonioid species based on morphological and molecular data. After widely sampling Cortinarius specimens in Patagonian Nothofagaceae forests and comparing them to reference collections (including holotypes), we propose five new species of Cortinarius in this work. Phylogenetic analyses of concatenated rDNA ITS-LSU and RPB1 sequences failed to place these new species into known Cortinarius sections or lineages. These findings highlight our knowledge gaps regarding the fungal diversity of South American Nothofagaceae forests. Due to the high diversity of endemic Patagonian taxa, it is clear that the South American Cortinarius diversity needs to be discovered and described in order to understand the evolutionary history of Cortinarius on a global scale. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Chronic Kidney Disease as a Systemic Inflammatory Syndrome: Update on Mechanisms Involved and Potential Treatment
Life 2021, 11(5), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050419 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 223
Abstract
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by manifestations and symptoms involving systemic organs and apparatus, associated with elevated cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, bone disease, and other tissue involvement. Arterial hypertension (AH), diabetes mellitus (DM), and dyslipidemia, with glomerular or congenital diseases, are the [...] Read more.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by manifestations and symptoms involving systemic organs and apparatus, associated with elevated cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, bone disease, and other tissue involvement. Arterial hypertension (AH), diabetes mellitus (DM), and dyslipidemia, with glomerular or congenital diseases, are the traditional risk factors recognized as the main causes of progressive kidney dysfunction evolving into uremia. Acute kidney injury (AKI) has recently been considered an additional risk factor for the worsening of CKD or the development of CKD de novo. Evidence underlies the role of systemic inflammation as a linking factor between AKI and CKD, recognizing the role of inflammation in AKI evolution to CKD. Moreover, abnormal increases in oxidative stress (OS) and inflammatory status in CKD seem to exert an important pathogenetic role, with significant involvement in the clinical management of this condition. With our revision, we want to focus on and update the inflammatory mechanisms responsible for the pathologic conditions associated with CKD, with particular attention on the development of AKI and AKI-CKD de novo, the alteration of calcium-phosphorus metabolism with bone disease and CKD-MBD syndrome, the status of malnutrition and malnutrition–inflammation complex syndrome (MICS) and protein-energy wasting (PEW), uremic sarcopenia, the status of OS, and the different inflammatory pathways, highlighting a new approach to CKD. The depth comprehension of the mechanisms underlying the development of inflammation in CKD may present new possible therapeutic approaches in CKD and hopefully improve the management of correlated morbidities and provide a reduction in associated mortality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Updates in Chronic Kidney Disease)
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Open AccessArticle
Protein Extractions from Amphistegina lobifera: Protocol Development and Optimization
Life 2021, 11(5), 418; https://doi.org/10.3390/life11050418 - 05 May 2021
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Proteins are essential to life, and the evaluation of their content, identification, and modification represents a fundamental assay in biochemistry research. Different analytical techniques and protocols have been specifically designed but have rarely been compared. Here, we test and compare a variety of [...] Read more.
Proteins are essential to life, and the evaluation of their content, identification, and modification represents a fundamental assay in biochemistry research. Different analytical techniques and protocols have been specifically designed but have rarely been compared. Here, we test and compare a variety of methodologies and treatments for the quantification of proteins in Amphistegina lessonii, a larger symbiont-bearing benthic foraminiferal species. These analyses specifically include (a) lysis buffer (homemade vs. RIPA), (b) protein assays (Lowry, BCA, and Bradford), (c) ultrasonic bath treatment, and (d) protein staining (silver staining vs. Coomassie blue). On the basis of the comparative outcome, we suggest using the homemade lysis buffer, Lowry or BCA assays, ultrasonic bath treatment, and silver stain to maximize the extraction and characterization of protein for A. lessonii. This protocol might be suitable and extended to other benthic foraminiferal species, including the smaller ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Life Sciences)
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