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Life, Volume 13, Issue 7 (July 2023) – 196 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Although immunotherapy has proved to be a very efficient therapeutic strategy for many types of tumors, the results for pancreatic cancer (PC) have been very poor. Indeed, chemotherapy remains the standard treatment for this tumor in the advanced stage. The main reasons for the poor efficacy of immunotherapy probably lie in the peculiar features of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment in comparison with other malignancies. In addition, the biomarkers usually evaluated to define immunotherapy efficacy in other cancers appear to be useless in PC. This review aims to describe the main features of the pancreatic tumor microenvironment from an immunological point of view and to summarize the current data on immunotherapy efficacy and immune biomarkers in PC. View this paper
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0 pages, 4859 KiB  
Article
Leaf Morphological and Epidermal Traits Variability along Environmental Gradients in Ten Natural Populations of Pistacia lentiscus
Life 2023, 13(7), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071617 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1490
Abstract
The species belonging to the genus Pistacia possess ecological, economic, and medicinal value. They show a very high ecological plasticity. This research is a contribution to the study of the intraspecific diversity and variability of 10 populations of Pistacia lentiscus in different bioclimates. [...] Read more.
The species belonging to the genus Pistacia possess ecological, economic, and medicinal value. They show a very high ecological plasticity. This research is a contribution to the study of the intraspecific diversity and variability of 10 populations of Pistacia lentiscus in different bioclimates. Nine locations in Algeria and one site in France have been selected in order to understand the strategies developed by this species under extreme conditions, including altitude and aridity, and to identify the adaptive processes that can be observed based on the morphological and ultrastructural features of the leaf. As a result of this research, we have collected a large quantity of important information on morphological and microphytodermal leaf variability for the ten studied populations. The statistical analyses showed a very important difference in the studied characteristics between these populations. It has been demonstrated that environmental factors also have a significant impact on the heterogeneity of most measured leaf features. Moreover, the observations with the scanning electron microscope (SEM) enabled us to highlight new characteristics of the studied species, such as the glandular trichomes on the leaflets and embedded stomata in the epidermis. These criteria could supplement the existing morphological characteristics used in the systematic classification of the Pistacia genus. Overall, the studied species have shown xeromorphy features, which give them the opportunity to be used in desertification mitigation programs, due to their ability to withstand conditions of extreme aridity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Environmental Factors on Challenges of Plant Breeding)
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12 pages, 1164 KiB  
Review
Intraoperative Monitoring of the Facial Nerve during Microvascular Decompression for Hemifacial Spasm
Life 2023, 13(7), 1616; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071616 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1558
Abstract
This review article discusses the clinical significance of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM), provides recommendations for monitoring protocols, and considers the interpretation of results in microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). The lateral spread response (LSR) is an important monitoring parameter during MVD. [...] Read more.
This review article discusses the clinical significance of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring (IONM), provides recommendations for monitoring protocols, and considers the interpretation of results in microvascular decompression (MVD) for hemifacial spasm (HFS). The lateral spread response (LSR) is an important monitoring parameter during MVD. It helps to identify the responsible blood vessel and confirms its thorough decompression from the facial nerve. The disappearance of the LSR during surgery is associated with favorable clinical outcomes. Standard and revised monitoring protocols and the confirmation of LSR persistence and disappearance are also discussed. The blink reflex and other facial nerve monitoring modalities, such as free-running electromyography, facial motor evoked potentials, F-waves, and the Z-L response, are further considered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hemifacial Spasm: An Update)
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10 pages, 782 KiB  
Article
Bacterial Contamination in Total Joint Replacement: Should We Change into a New Set of Clean Scrub Suits Whenever Entering the Operating Room?
Life 2023, 13(7), 1615; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071615 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1241
Abstract
Background: The aims of this study are as follows: (1) to investigate the level and probability of bacterial contamination on scrub suits over time for medical personnel working inside and/or outside the operating room (OR) area; (2) to discuss the protective role of [...] Read more.
Background: The aims of this study are as follows: (1) to investigate the level and probability of bacterial contamination on scrub suits over time for medical personnel working inside and/or outside the operating room (OR) area; (2) to discuss the protective role of cover gowns against bacterial contamination; and (3) to consider the necessity of changing into clean suits whenever entering the OR in terms of preventing periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) in total joint replacement (TJR). Methods: The bacterial colony count was examined on the chest area of the scrub suits worn during various daily clinical practices. The genus/species of the contaminants were identified by matrix-assisted laser deposition ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Results: The scrub suits worn outside the OR area showed a greater level of bacterial contamination than those worn inside the OR area, although the colony counts tended to increase over time both in and out of the area. The probability of contamination involving coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (known as the primary cause of PJI) did not increase significantly in the scrubs worn inside the OR area, but did increase significantly after a long-time departure from the OR area. Conclusions: Our results suggest that wearing scrub suits outside and/or the long duration of wearing the same suits can significantly increase the level and probability of any bacterial contamination (including CNS) on scrub suits. We also found that wearing a cover gown over scrub suits outside the OR area may have only a limited protective role against bacterial contamination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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13 pages, 1707 KiB  
Review
Cerebral Vasomotor Reactivity in COVID-19: A Narrative Review
Life 2023, 13(7), 1614; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071614 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1809
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily affects the respiratory system but can also lead to neurological complications. Among COVID-19 patients, the endothelium is considered the Achilles heel. A variety of endothelial dysfunctions may result from SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent endotheliitis, such [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) primarily affects the respiratory system but can also lead to neurological complications. Among COVID-19 patients, the endothelium is considered the Achilles heel. A variety of endothelial dysfunctions may result from SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent endotheliitis, such as altered vascular tone, oxidative stress, and cytokine storms. The cerebral hemodynamic impairment that is caused is associated with a higher probability of severe disease and poor outcomes in patients with COVID-19. This review summarizes the most relevant literature on the role of vasomotor reactivity (VMR) in COVID-19 patients. An overview of the research articles is presented. Most of the studies have supported the hypothesis that endothelial dysfunction and cerebral VMR impairment occur in COVID-19 patients. Researchers believe these alterations may be due to direct viral invasion of the brain or indirect effects, such as inflammation and cytokines. Recently, researchers have concluded that viruses such as the Human Herpes Virus 8 and the Hantavirus predominantly affect endothelial cells and, therefore, affect cerebral hemodynamics. Especially in COVID-19 patients, impaired VMR is associated with a higher risk of severe disease and poor outcomes. Using VMR, one can gain valuable insight into a patient’s disease progression and make more informed decisions regarding appropriate treatment options. A new pandemic may develop with the COVID-19 virus or other viruses, making it essential that healthcare providers and researchers remain focused on developing new strategies for improving survival in such patients, particularly those with cerebrovascular risk factors. Full article
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18 pages, 1443 KiB  
Review
Impact of Protein Nα-Modifications on Cellular Functions and Human Health
Life 2023, 13(7), 1613; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071613 - 24 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1227
Abstract
Most human proteins are modified by enzymes that act on the α-amino group of a newly synthesized polypeptide. Methionine aminopeptidases can remove the initiator methionine and expose the second amino acid for further modification by enzymes responsible for myristoylation, acetylation, methylation, or other [...] Read more.
Most human proteins are modified by enzymes that act on the α-amino group of a newly synthesized polypeptide. Methionine aminopeptidases can remove the initiator methionine and expose the second amino acid for further modification by enzymes responsible for myristoylation, acetylation, methylation, or other chemical reactions. Specific acetyltransferases can also modify the initiator methionine and sometimes the acetylated methionine can be removed, followed by further modifications. These modifications at the protein N-termini play critical roles in cellular protein localization, protein-protein interaction, protein-DNA interaction, and protein stability. Consequently, the dysregulation of these modifications could significantly change the development and progression status of certain human diseases. The focus of this review is to highlight recent progress in our understanding of the roles of these modifications in regulating protein functions and how these enzymes have been used as potential novel therapeutic targets for various human diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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11 pages, 2187 KiB  
Article
Hemostatic Effects of Raloxifene in Ovariectomized Rats
Life 2023, 13(7), 1612; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071612 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 890
Abstract
This study aimed to explore the effects of raloxifene (Rx) and estradiol (E2) on prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (APTT), coagulation factors (VII, X, XI), and fibrinogen concentrations in rats. Female rats were ovariectomized 11 days prior to starting the [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore the effects of raloxifene (Rx) and estradiol (E2) on prothrombin time (PT), partial thromboplastin time (APTT), coagulation factors (VII, X, XI), and fibrinogen concentrations in rats. Female rats were ovariectomized 11 days prior to starting the treatment. Afterward, they received Rx or E2 (1, 10, 100, and 1000 µg/kg) or propylene glycol (0.3 mL; vehicle, V) subcutaneously for 3 consecutive days. Plasma was collected to measure the hemostatic parameters. Rx significantly increased PT (8%, at 1000 µg/kg; p < 0.05) and APTT at all doses evaluated (32, 70, 67, 30%; p < 0.05, respectively). Rx (1, 10, 100, and 1000 µg/kg) decreased the activity of factor VII by −20, −40, −37, and −17% (p < 0.05), respectively, and E2 increased it by 9, 34, 52, and 29%. Rx reduced factor X activity at 10 and 100 µg/kg doses (−30, and −30% p < 0.05), and E2 showed an increment of 24% with 1000 µg/kg dose only. Additionally, Rx (1, 10, 100 µg/kg) diminished FXI activity (−71, −62, −66; p < 0.05), E2 (1 and 10 µg/kg) in −60 and −38, respectively (p < 0.05), and Rx (1000 µg/kg) produced an increment of 29% (p < 0.05) in fibrinogen concentration, but not E2. Our findings suggest that raloxifene has a protective effect on hemostasis in rats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pharmaceutical Science)
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14 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Antiviral Potential of Specially Selected Bulgarian Propolis Extracts: In Vitro Activity against Structurally Different Viruses
Life 2023, 13(7), 1611; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071611 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1486
Abstract
Propolis is a natural mixture of resins, wax, and pollen from plant buds and flowers, enriched with enzymes and bee saliva. It also contains various essential oils, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, hormones, and ferments. It has been found that propolis possesses antimicrobial, [...] Read more.
Propolis is a natural mixture of resins, wax, and pollen from plant buds and flowers, enriched with enzymes and bee saliva. It also contains various essential oils, vitamins, mineral salts, trace elements, hormones, and ferments. It has been found that propolis possesses antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. We have studied the antiviral activity of six extracts of Bulgarian propolis collected from six districts of Bulgaria. The study was conducted against structurally different viruses: human coronavirus strain OC-43 (HCoV OC-43) and human respiratory syncytial virus type 2 (HRSV-2) (enveloped RNA viruses), human herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) (enveloped DNA virus), human rhinovirus type 14 (HRV-14) (non-enveloped RNA virus) and human adenovirus type 5 (HadV-5) (non-enveloped DNA virus). The influence of the extracts on the internal replicative cycle of viruses was determined using the cytopathic effect (CPE) inhibition test. The virucidal activity, its impact on the stage of viral adsorption to the host cell, and its protective effect on healthy cells were evaluated using the final dilution method, making them the focal points of interest. The change in viral infectivity under the action of propolis extracts was compared with untreated controls, and Δlgs were determined. Most propolis samples administered during the viral replicative cycle demonstrated the strongest activity against HCoV OC-43 replication. The influence of propolis extracts on the viability of extracellular virions was expressed to a different degree in the various viruses studied, and the effect was significantly stronger in those with an envelope. Almost all extracts significantly inhibited the adsorption step of the herpes virus and, to a less extent, of the coronavirus to the host cell, and some of them applied before viral infection demonstrated a protective effect on healthy cells. Our results enlarge the knowledge about the action of propolis and could open new perspectives for its application in viral infection treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Effects of Natural Products on Human Diseases)
12 pages, 1634 KiB  
Article
Hypofractionated Post-Prostatectomy Radiotherapy in 16 Fractions: A Single-Institution Outcome
Life 2023, 13(7), 1610; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071610 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 969
Abstract
Background: The optimal hypofractionated schedule of post-prostatectomy radiotherapy remains to be established. We evaluated treatment outcomes and toxicity of moderately hypofractionated post-prostatectomy radiotherapy in 16 daily fractions delivered with intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The treatment schedule selection was motivated by limited technology resources and was [...] Read more.
Background: The optimal hypofractionated schedule of post-prostatectomy radiotherapy remains to be established. We evaluated treatment outcomes and toxicity of moderately hypofractionated post-prostatectomy radiotherapy in 16 daily fractions delivered with intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The treatment schedule selection was motivated by limited technology resources and was radiobiologically dose-escalated. Methods: One hundred consecutive M0 patients with post-prostatectomy radiotherapy were evaluated. Radiotherapy indication was adjuvant (ART) in 19%, early-salvage (eSRT) in 46% and salvage (SRT) in 35%. The dose prescription for prostate bed planning target volume was 52.8 Gy in 16 fractions of 3.3 Gy. The Common Terminology Criteria v. 4 for Adverse Events scale was used for toxicity grading. Results: The median follow-up was 61 months. Five-year biochemical recurrence-free survival (bRFS) was 78.6%, distant metastases-free survival (DMFS) was 95.7% and overall survival was 98.8%. Treatment indication (ART or eSRT vs. SRT) was the only significant factor for bRFS (HR 0.15, 95% CI 0.05–0.47, p = 0.001) and DMFS (HR 0.16, 95% CI 0.03–0.90; p = 0.038). Acute gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity grade 2 was recorded in 24%, grade 3 in 2%, acute genitourinary (GU) toxicity grade 2 in 10% of patients, and no grade 3. A cumulative rate of late GI toxicity grade ≥ 2 was observed in 9% and late GU toxicity grade ≥ 2 in 16% of patients. Conclusions: The observed results confirmed efficacy and showed a higher than anticipated rate of early GI, late GI, and GU toxicity of post-prostatectomy radiobiologically dose-escalated hypofractionated radiotherapy in 16 daily fractions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prostate Cancer: 2nd Edition)
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17 pages, 11121 KiB  
Article
Histopathological Pulmonary Lesions in 1st-Day Newborn Piglets Derived from PRRSV-1 MLV Vaccinated Sows at the Last Stage of Gestation
Life 2023, 13(7), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071609 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1299
Abstract
Modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for the control of porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSV) have been associated with the vertical and horizontal transmission of vaccine viruses. The present study aimed to describe pathological lung lesions in piglets born by gilts vaccinated [...] Read more.
Modified live virus (MLV) vaccines for the control of porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus (PRRSV) have been associated with the vertical and horizontal transmission of vaccine viruses. The present study aimed to describe pathological lung lesions in piglets born by gilts vaccinated with PRRSV-1 MLV. In total, 25 gilts were vaccinated at late gestation (100th day) and were divided into five groups according to the different vaccines (Vac) used: no vaccine—control group, Vac-1—strain DV, Vac-2—strain VP-046 BIS, Vac-3—strain 94881, Vac-4—strain 96V198. Within the first 0–9 h of the farrowing, blood samples were collected from all newborn piglets and lung samples were exanimated grossly, histopathologically and with scanning electron microscopy. PRRSV (RT-PCR-positive) and antibodies were detected in the serum of piglets from gilts vaccinated with Vac-2. In these piglets, moderate to severe interstitial pneumonia with thickened alveolar septa was noticed. Type II pneumocyte hyperplasia was also observed. The rest of the trial piglets showed unremarkable lung lesions. Phylogenetic analysis revealed the 98.7% similarity of the PRRSV field strain (GR 2019-1) to the PRRS MLV vaccine strain VP-046 BIS. In conclusion, the Vac-2 PRRSV vaccine strain can act as an infectious strain when vaccination is administrated at late gestation, causing lung lesions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV))
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12 pages, 942 KiB  
Review
A New Perspective on Metabolic Syndrome with Osteopontin: A Comprehensive Review
Life 2023, 13(7), 1608; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071608 - 22 Jul 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1162
Abstract
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) imposes a substantial burden on the healthcare systems and economies of countries and is a major public health concern worldwide. MetS is mainly caused by an imbalance between calorie intake and energy expenditure; however, it is recognized that additional variables, [...] Read more.
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) imposes a substantial burden on the healthcare systems and economies of countries and is a major public health concern worldwide. MetS is mainly caused by an imbalance between calorie intake and energy expenditure; however, it is recognized that additional variables, such as chronic inflammation, may have the same predictive potential as insulin resistance or MetS components in the genesis of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular events. More importantly, the early diagnosis or treatment of MetS may significantly reduce the burden on the health systems of the disease with any prevention or biomarker and should not be underestimated. Osteopontin (OPN), also called secreted phosphoprotein 1, is a soluble protein found mostly in body fluids. Studies suggest that serum OPN levels may be an early and new biomarker to predict metabolic and cardiovascular complications significantly associated with some diseases. This review aims to provide specific insight into the new biomarker OPN in MetS. With this purpose, it is examined the link between the MetS cornerstones and OPN. In addition, the interaction between the microbiota and MetS is predicted to be bidirectional, and the microbiota may act as a bridge in this interaction process. Increased OPN levels may have unfavourable consequences for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, all of which are components of MetS. Further studies are required to evaluate the use of OPN levels as a clinical biomarker risk of MetS. Full article
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12 pages, 12490 KiB  
Article
Suppression of Metastatic Ovarian Cancer Cells by Bepridil, a Calcium Channel Blocker
Life 2023, 13(7), 1607; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071607 - 22 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
Although surgery followed by platinum-based therapy is effective as a standard treatment in the early stages of ovarian cancer, the majority of cases are diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to poor prognosis. Thus, the identification of novel therapeutic drugs is needed. In this [...] Read more.
Although surgery followed by platinum-based therapy is effective as a standard treatment in the early stages of ovarian cancer, the majority of cases are diagnosed at advanced stages, leading to poor prognosis. Thus, the identification of novel therapeutic drugs is needed. In this study, we assessed the effectiveness of bepridil—a calcium channel blocker—in ovarian cancer cells using two cell lines: SKOV-3, and SKOV-3-13 (a highly metastatic clone of SKOV-3). Treatment of these cell lines with bepridil significantly reduced cell viability, migration, and invasion. Notably, SKOV-3-13 was more sensitive to bepridil than SKOV-3. The TGF-β1-induced epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like phenotype was reversed by treatment with bepridil in both cell lines. Consistently, expression levels of EMT-related markers, including vimentin, β-catenin, and Snail, were also substantially decreased by the treatment with bepridil. An in vivo mouse xenograft model was used to confirm these findings. Tumor growth was significantly reduced by bepridil treatment in SKOV-3-13-inoculated mice, and immunohistochemistry showed consistently decreased expression of EMT-related markers. Our findings are the first to report anticancer effects of bepridil in ovarian cancer, and they suggest that bepridil holds significant promise as an effective therapeutic agent for targeting metastatic ovarian cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology and Pathology)
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11 pages, 967 KiB  
Article
Differences in Hemodynamic Response to Passive Leg Raising Tests during the Day in Healthy Individuals: The Question of Normovolemia
Life 2023, 13(7), 1606; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071606 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1674
Abstract
Background: The passive leg-raising (PLR) test was developed to predict fluid responsiveness and reduce fluid overload. However, the hemodynamic response of healthy individuals to the PLR test and how it changes during the day, between the morning and evening, after individuals have consumed [...] Read more.
Background: The passive leg-raising (PLR) test was developed to predict fluid responsiveness and reduce fluid overload. However, the hemodynamic response of healthy individuals to the PLR test and how it changes during the day, between the morning and evening, after individuals have consumed food and fluids, has not been profoundly explored. This study aimed to compare the systemic hemodynamic changes in healthy individuals between morning and evening PLR tests. Methods: In this study, the PLR test was performed twice a day. The first PLR test was performed between 08h00 and 09h00 in the morning, while the second PLR test was performed between 20h00 and 21h00 in the evening. Hemodynamic parameters were measured using an impedance cardiography monitor, and a cutoff value of a 10% increase in stroke volume (SV) during the PLR test was used to differentiate between preload responders and non-responders. Results: We included 50 healthy volunteers in this study. When comparing the morning and evening PLR test results, we found no PLR-induced differences in heart rate (−3 [−8–2] vs. −2 [−8–4] beats/min, p = 0.870), SV (11 [5–22] vs. 12 [4–20] mL, p = 0.853) or cardiac output (0.7 [0.2–1.3] vs. 0.8 [0.1–1.4] L/min, p = 0.639). We also observed no differences in the proportion of preload responders during the PLR test between the morning and evening (64% vs. 66%, p = 0.99). However, there was a moderate agreement between the two PLR tests (morning and evening) (kappa = 0.429, p = 0.012). There was a moderate correlation between the changes in SV between the two PLR tests (rs = 0.50, p < 0.001). Conclusion: In young, healthy individuals, we observed no change in the systemic hemodynamic responsiveness to the PLR test between the morning and evening, without restriction of fluid and food intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Insights into Heart–Lung Interaction and Hemodynamics)
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13 pages, 884 KiB  
Review
TAVR Interventions and Coronary Access: How to Prevent Coronary Occlusion
Life 2023, 13(7), 1605; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071605 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 948
Abstract
Due to technological advancements during the past 20 years, transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVRs) have significantly improved the treatment of symptomatic and severe aortic stenosis, significantly improving patient outcomes. The continuous evolution of transcatheter valve models, refined imaging planning for enhanced accuracy, and [...] Read more.
Due to technological advancements during the past 20 years, transcatheter aortic valve replacements (TAVRs) have significantly improved the treatment of symptomatic and severe aortic stenosis, significantly improving patient outcomes. The continuous evolution of transcatheter valve models, refined imaging planning for enhanced accuracy, and the growing expertise of technicians have collectively contributed to increased safety and procedural success over time. These notable advancements have expanded the scope of TAVR to include patients with lower risk profiles as it has consistently demonstrated more favorable outcomes than surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR). As the field progresses, coronary angiography is anticipated to become increasingly prevalent among patients who have previously undergone TAVR, particularly in younger cohorts. It is worth noting that aortic stenosis is often associated with coronary artery disease. While the task of re-accessing coronary artery access following TAVR is challenging, it is generally feasible. In the context of valve-in-valve procedures, several crucial factors must be carefully considered to optimize coronary re-access. To obtain successful coronary re-access, it is essential to align the prosthesis with the native coronary ostia. As part of preventive measures, strategies have been developed to safeguard against coronary obstruction during TAVR. One such approach involves placing wires and non-deployed coronary balloons or scaffolds inside an at-risk coronary artery, a procedure known as chimney stenting. Additionally, the bioprosthetic or native aortic scallops intentional laceration to prevent iatrogenic coronary artery obstruction (BASILICA) procedure offers an effective and safer alternative to prevent coronary artery obstructions. The key objective of our study was to evaluate the techniques and procedures employed to achieve commissural alignment in TAVR, as well as to assess the efficacy and measure the impact on coronary re-access in valve-in-valve procedures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Diseases: From Basic Research to Clinical Application)
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20 pages, 7157 KiB  
Article
Coastal Wetland Species Rumex hydrolapathum: Tolerance against Flooding, Salinity, and Heavy Metals for Its Potential Use in Phytoremediation and Environmental Restoration Technologies
Life 2023, 13(7), 1604; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071604 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Plants with high biomass adapted to conditions of increased moisture and with significant salt tolerance appear to be particularly attractive candidates for phytoremediation studies. The aim of the present study was to examine the tolerance of Rumex hydrolapathum plants to freshwater, saltwater inundation, [...] Read more.
Plants with high biomass adapted to conditions of increased moisture and with significant salt tolerance appear to be particularly attractive candidates for phytoremediation studies. The aim of the present study was to examine the tolerance of Rumex hydrolapathum plants to freshwater, saltwater inundation, and soil contaminated with heavy metals, as well as its metal accumulation potential in controlled conditions. Six separate vegetation container experiments in controlled conditions were performed with R. hydrolapathum plants to study the effects of soil moisture, waterlogging with NaCl, soil Cd, soil Cr, soil Ni, and soil Pb in the form of a nitrate or acetate. Optimum plant growth occurred in waterlogged soil conditions. As the concentration of NaCl used for waterlogging increased, the mass of living leaves decreased, but that of dry leaves increased. As a result, the total biomass of leaves did not significantly change. R. hydrolapathum plants were extremely tolerant to Cd and Pb, moderately tolerant to Ni, and relatively sensitive to Cr. The plants had high capacity for metal accumulation in older and senescent leaves, especially for Na+, K+, Cd, and Ni. R. hydrolapathum plants can tolerate soil waterlogging with seawater-level salinity, which, together with the metal tolerance and potential for metal accumulation in leaves, make them excellently suited for use in a variety of wastewater treatment systems, including constructed wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Stress Signaling and Responses in Plants)
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8 pages, 213 KiB  
Editorial
A Critical Assessment of the Peer Review Process in Life: From Submission to Final Decision
Life 2023, 13(7), 1603; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071603 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1571
Abstract
In the world of academic research and scientific publishing, the process of peer review plays a pivotal role [...] Full article
13 pages, 964 KiB  
Article
Decreased HDL-C Levels as a Predictor of Organ Failure in Acute Pancreatitis in the Emergency Department
Life 2023, 13(7), 1602; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071602 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is reported as a biomarker of systemic inflammation and multi-organ failure (MOF), which has been rarely investigated in acute pancreatitis (AP), a frequent condition in the emergency department (ED). The objective was to study the predictive capacity of the [...] Read more.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) is reported as a biomarker of systemic inflammation and multi-organ failure (MOF), which has been rarely investigated in acute pancreatitis (AP), a frequent condition in the emergency department (ED). The objective was to study the predictive capacity of the decrease in HDL-C to the progression of MOF in AP in the ED; analyzing 114 patients with AP for one year in a longitudinal and prospective study, AP severity was obtained by the Atlanta classification, in relation to modified Marshall and Bedside Index for Severity in Acute Pancreatitis (BISAP) scores, and clinical and laboratory parameters in a 48 h hospital stay. The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to estimate the validity of the predictor and define optimal cut-off points. It was found that AP was classified as severe in 24.5%, mainly for biliary etiology (78.9%) and female sex (73.6%). As a biomarker, HDL-C decreased from 31.6 to 29.5 mg/dL in a 48 h stay (p < 0.001), correlating negatively with the increase in severity index > 2 and the modified Marshall (p < 0.032) and BISAP (p < 0.009) scores, finding an area under the ROC curve with a predictive capacity of 0.756 (95% CI, 0.614–0.898; p < 0.004) and a cut-off point of 28.5 mg/dL (sensitivity: 79%, specificity: 78%), demonstrating that the decrease in HDL-C levels serves as a useful indicator with a predictive capacity for MOF in mild to severe AP, during a 48 h hospital stay in the ED. Full article
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11 pages, 1231 KiB  
Review
Golimumab for Polyarticular Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis: Pharmacologic and Clinical Considerations
Life 2023, 13(7), 1601; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071601 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1358
Abstract
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic debilitating autoimmune condition, and when diagnosed in patients before the age of eighteen, it is considered pediatric polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Monoarticular or polyarticular psoriatic arthritis can be distinguished from other arthropathies by its unique cutaneous manifestations. With [...] Read more.
Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic debilitating autoimmune condition, and when diagnosed in patients before the age of eighteen, it is considered pediatric polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Monoarticular or polyarticular psoriatic arthritis can be distinguished from other arthropathies by its unique cutaneous manifestations. With numerous treatments already in clinical practice, there are numerous options for treatment. The current literature indicates an elevated level of tumor necrosis factor is present in the epidermis of patients with psoriatic arthritis when compared with the general population. For this reason, anti-tumor necrosis factor therapies have become a hallmark option for psoriatic arthritis patients. Golimumab, a human monoclonal antibody tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-a) receptor antagonist, was chosen as the focus therapy for this investigation. The mechanism of action behind anti-tumor necrosis factor-alpha blockers involves the binding of human TNF-a soluble and transmembrane proteins to competitively inhibit TNF-a from binding to its cellular receptors. The present investigation evaluated current treatment options available for both juvenile- and adult-onset psoriatic arthritis and compared them with the efficacy seen with golimumab use. Pediatric patients included children ages 2–17, while adult populations included adults 18–83 years old. The Food and Drug Administration has approved golimumab for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, and polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The results of four different studies reporting on the therapeutic effects and adverse events of golimumab use in psoriatic arthritis, juvenile psoriatic arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and juvenile polyarticular arthritis were used for comparison. The meta-analysis referenced studies including children ages 2–17 with no reference mentioning children less than age 2. Based on the results of each study, it can be concluded that golimumab, a human monoclonal antibody that prevents the activation of cellular inflammatory reactions when it binds to the TNF-a receptor, is an effective option for patients with active psoriatic arthritis and psoriatic juvenile idiopathic arthritis and for patients who are no longer responding to their current treatment with adalimumab. Each study also reported minimal adverse events associated with golimumab use, and the drug can be safely used in the pediatric population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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18 pages, 507 KiB  
Review
Lung Transplantation in a New Era in the Field of Cystic Fibrosis
Life 2023, 13(7), 1600; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071600 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1422
Abstract
Lung transplantation for people with cystic fibrosis (PwCF) is a critical therapeutic option, in a disease without a cure to this day, and its overall success in this population is evident. The medical advancements in knowledge, treatment, and clinical care in the field [...] Read more.
Lung transplantation for people with cystic fibrosis (PwCF) is a critical therapeutic option, in a disease without a cure to this day, and its overall success in this population is evident. The medical advancements in knowledge, treatment, and clinical care in the field of cystic fibrosis (CF) rapidly expanded and improved over the last several decades, starting from early pathology reports of CF organ involvement in 1938, to the identification of the CF gene in 1989. Lung transplantation for CF has been performed since 1983, and CF now accounts for about 17% of pre-transplantation diagnoses in lung transplantation recipients. Cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulators have been the latest new therapeutic modality addressing the underlying CF protein defect with the first modulator, ivacaftor, approved in 2012. Fast forward to today, and we now have a growing CF population. More than half of PwCF are now adults, and younger patients face a better life expectancy than they ever did before. Unfortunately, CFTR modulator therapy is not effective in all patients, and efficacy varies among patients; it is not a cure, and CF remains a progressive disease that leads predominantly to respiratory failure. Lung transplantation remains a lifesaving treatment for this disease. Here, we reviewed the current knowledge of lung transplantation in PwCF, the challenges associated with its implementation, and the ongoing changes to the field as we enter a new era in the care of PwCF. Improved life expectancy in PwCF will surely influence the role of transplantation in patient care and may even lead to a change in the demographics of which people benefit most from transplantation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cystic Fibrosis: A Disease with a New Face)
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24 pages, 33326 KiB  
Article
Bridging Pyroptosis and Immunity: A Comprehensive Study of the Pyroptosis-Related Long Non-Coding RNA Signature in Breast Cancer
Life 2023, 13(7), 1599; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071599 - 21 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Breast cancer continuously poses serious clinical challenges to human health due to its intrinsic heterogenicity and evolving drug resistance. Recently, increasing evidence has shown that pyroptosis, known as a programmed and inflammatory form of cell death, participates in tumorigenesis, progression, and remodeling of [...] Read more.
Breast cancer continuously poses serious clinical challenges to human health due to its intrinsic heterogenicity and evolving drug resistance. Recently, increasing evidence has shown that pyroptosis, known as a programmed and inflammatory form of cell death, participates in tumorigenesis, progression, and remodeling of the tumor immune microenvironment (TIME). However, a comprehensive insight into pyroptosis-related signatures for breast cancer remains elusive. The current study established a pyroptosis-related lncRNA signature using transcriptome data and corresponding clinical information from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Pyroptosis-related gene clusters, the associated differential expression in breast cancer patients’ subtypes, and the potential mechanisms were all discussed. This integrative analysis revealed a unique signature underpinning the dichotomy of breast cancer progression and survival outcomes. Interestingly, the pyroptosis-related lncRNA signature was revealed as closely intertwined with the TIME. A correlation was established between the pyroptosis-related LncRNA signature and the TIME, underlying the mutual effect between pyroptosis and the immune responses implicated in breast cancer. The findings in this work underline the critical role exerted by pyroptosis in breast cancer, providing new insights into disease progression, prognosis, and therapeutic potential. This work has been poised to provide new avenues for personalized, immune-based cancer therapeutics by enhancing our understanding of pyroptosis in breast cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Immunity in Viral or Bacterial Infections)
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16 pages, 814 KiB  
Review
The Role of Renin–Angiotensin System in Diabetic Cardiomyopathy: A Narrative Review
Life 2023, 13(7), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071598 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1428
Abstract
Diabetic cardiomyopathy refers to myocardial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, but without the traditional cardiovascular risk factors or overt clinical atherosclerosis and valvular disease. The activation of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), oxidative stress, lipotoxicity, maladaptive immune responses, imbalanced mitochondrial dynamics, impaired myocyte autophagy, [...] Read more.
Diabetic cardiomyopathy refers to myocardial dysfunction in type 2 diabetes, but without the traditional cardiovascular risk factors or overt clinical atherosclerosis and valvular disease. The activation of the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), oxidative stress, lipotoxicity, maladaptive immune responses, imbalanced mitochondrial dynamics, impaired myocyte autophagy, increased myocyte apoptosis, and fibrosis contribute to diabetic cardiomyopathy. This review summarizes the studies that address the link between cardiomyopathy and the RAS in humans and presents proposed pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this association. The RAS plays an important role in the development and progression of diabetic cardiomyopathy. The over-activation of the classical RAS axis in diabetes leads to the increased production of angiotensin (Ang) II, angiotensin type 1 receptor activation, and aldosterone release, contributing to increased oxidative stress, fibrosis, and cardiac remodeling. In contrast, Ang-(1-7) suppresses oxidative stress, inhibits tissue fibrosis, and prevents extensive cardiac remodeling. Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers improve heart functioning and reduce the occurrence of diabetic cardiomyopathy. Experimental studies also show beneficial effects for Ang-(1-7) and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 infusion in improving heart functioning and tissue injury. Further research is necessary to fully understand the pathophysiology of diabetic cardiomyopathy and to translate experimental findings into clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Diabetic Cardiomyopathies)
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12 pages, 649 KiB  
Article
Cerebral Perfusion Pressure-Guided Therapy in Patients with Subarachnoid Haemorrhage—A Retrospective Analysis
Life 2023, 13(7), 1597; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071597 - 21 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Background: Prevention and treatment of haemodynamic instability and increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is vital. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of protocolised cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP)-guided treatment on morbidity and functional outcome in patients admitted to [...] Read more.
Background: Prevention and treatment of haemodynamic instability and increased intracranial pressure (ICP) in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is vital. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of protocolised cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP)-guided treatment on morbidity and functional outcome in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with SAH. Methods: We performed a retrospective study comparing 37 patients who received standard haemodynamic treatment (control group) with 17 individuals (CPP-guided group) who were on the CPP-guided treatment aimed at maintaining CPP > 70 mmHg using both optimisations of ICP and mean arterial pressure (MAP). Results: MAP, cumulative crystalloid doses and fluid balance were similar in both groups. However, the incidence of delayed cerebral ischaemia was significantly lower in the CPP-guided group (14% vs. 64%, p < 0.01), and functional outcome as assessed by the Glasgow Outcome Scale at 30 days after SAH was improved (29.0% vs. 5.5%, p = 0.03). Conclusions: This preliminary analysis showed that implementing a CPP-guided treatment approach aimed at maintaining a CPP > 70 mmHg may reduce the occurrence of delayed cerebral ischaemia and improve functional outcomes in patients with SAH. This observation merits further prospective investigation of the use of CPP-guided treatment in patients with SAH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Insights into Heart–Lung Interaction and Hemodynamics)
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11 pages, 481 KiB  
Review
What Makes a Good Plant Invader?
Life 2023, 13(7), 1596; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071596 - 20 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1037
Abstract
We explored traits that promote plant invasions. External factors affecting invasion success consist of various abiotic and biotic constraints. How well plants perform under those depends on multiple characteristics, such as life history traits, genetic variation patterns, competitive and dispersal abilities, phenotypic plasticity, [...] Read more.
We explored traits that promote plant invasions. External factors affecting invasion success consist of various abiotic and biotic constraints. How well plants perform under those depends on multiple characteristics, such as life history traits, genetic variation patterns, competitive and dispersal abilities, phenotypic plasticity, resistance, tolerance, and possibly allelopathic interactions. Since the introduction of invasive species is often connected with humans, their geographical distribution and differentiation may not reflect adaptation. However, a lack of adaptation may be compensated for by repeated introductions via mixing genotypes from multiple populations or through novel mutations. As a case study, we used data from the Global Invasive Species Database of IUCN and attempted to reveal factors contributing to invasiveness. The most prevalent features are that the dispersal is strongly human assisted, many species are used as ornamentals, disturbed habitats are favored, and most species are perennial. Distribution features show that the worst invasive species typically have a narrower native distribution, but both groups, i.e., most serious invasive and other listed invasive species, have commonly developed a multicontinental distribution. The change in the multicontinental distribution from 6% to 63% in most serious invasive species reflects their effectiveness in global dispersal and establishment. High proportions of invasive species in both groups have mixed reproduction systems, i.e., they have the ability to propagate both sexually and asexually (57% and 50%, respectively). This provides flexibility for spreading and establishment. A lower proportion of the worst invasive species was mainly/only sexual (23%, often hermaphrodites) when compared to other invasive plants (40%). In the case of sexual reproduction, hermaphroditism combined with self-compatibility may enhance invasiveness, since selfing allows fertilization and recombination even under low population densities. Overall, the ability for asexual propagation and, in the case of sexuality, hermaphroditism, is an asset in the invasion process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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10 pages, 696 KiB  
Article
Genetic Structure and Biodiversity in Wild Centropomus parallelus and in Wild and Recently Domesticated Centropomus undecimallis Populations
Life 2023, 13(7), 1595; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071595 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 614
Abstract
Centropomus undecimalis (common snook) and Centropomus parallelus (fat snook) have a wide distribution from southern Florida to southern Brazil. Due to their value as a food source, these species have been heavily exploited through predatory fishing, posing a conservation challenge. To assess their [...] Read more.
Centropomus undecimalis (common snook) and Centropomus parallelus (fat snook) have a wide distribution from southern Florida to southern Brazil. Due to their value as a food source, these species have been heavily exploited through predatory fishing, posing a conservation challenge. To assess their genetic diversity and population structure, we used microsatellite markers. Our findings revealed genetic differences among populations of the same species, highlighting the need for targeted conservation efforts. The microsatellite markers proved effective in assessing genetic variability, providing valuable insights for management and conservation. The parameters Ho (observed heterozygosity) and He (expected heterozygosity) were reliable indicators of genetic diversity, and specific loci showed varying allele numbers across populations. Our study contributes to understanding population genetics in these snook species and supports their conservation. Despite not being classified as endangered, genetic differences among populations emphasize the importance of considering population-level characteristics in conservation strategies. This research lays the foundation for future studies and actions aimed at preserving these valuable fish species. In summary, our study demonstrates the significance of microsatellite markers in assessing genetic variability and population structure in common snook and fat snook, informing conservation efforts for these species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovative Aquaculture and Fish Reproduction)
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5 pages, 515 KiB  
Editorial
Membranous and Membraneless Interfaces—Origins of Artificial Cellular Complexity
Life 2023, 13(7), 1594; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071594 - 20 Jul 2023
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Living cell architecture is based on the concept of micro-compartmentation at different hierarchical levels [...] Full article
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12 pages, 803 KiB  
Article
Symptomatic Intracranial Hemorrhage after Ischemic Stroke Treated with Bridging Revascularization Therapy
Life 2023, 13(7), 1593; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071593 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1033
Abstract
(1) Background: bridging revascularization therapy is now the standard of care in patients with ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion. This study aimed to determine the frequency of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) related to this treatment, and to assess contributing factors and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: bridging revascularization therapy is now the standard of care in patients with ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion. This study aimed to determine the frequency of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (sICH) related to this treatment, and to assess contributing factors and patients’ outcomes. (2) Methods: consecutive ischemic stroke patients treated with bridging therapy were prospectively enrolled. sICH (intracranial hemorrhage with an increase in NIHSS score of ≥4 points) was assessed on imaging at 24 h. The functional status of patients was measured at 6 months using the mRS score; (3) Results: 176 patients were included (mean age 68.7 ± 1.2 years, 52.3% women), among whom 15 (8.5%) had sICH. Patients with sICH had more frequent alcohol abuse (30.1% versus 9.7%, p = 0.023), prestroke use of dual antiplatelet therapy (14.3% versus 1.3%, p = 0.002), higher NIHSS scores at admission (median score 20.5 versus 15, p = 0.01), greater systolic blood pressure upon admission, more frequent vascular intracranial calcifications (p = 0.004), leukoaraiosis (p = 0.001), and intracranial atheroma (p = 0.02), and higher neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratios (p = 0.02) and neutrophil-to-platelet ratios (p = 0.04). At 6-month follow-up, 9 (60%) patients with sICH died, versus 18% of patients without sICH (p < 0.001). Only 1 (7%) patient with sICH had a good functional outcome, defined as an mRS score of 0 to 2, versus 51% of patients without sICH. (4) Conclusions: one in twelve ischemic stroke patients treated with bridging therapy suffered sICH. Given the observed poor outcomes after sICH, further studies are required to better identify patients at risk to help clinicians in guiding therapeutic strategies. Full article
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15 pages, 891 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Health of Soils Contaminated with Ag, Bi, Tl, and Te by the Intensity of Microbiological Activity
Life 2023, 13(7), 1592; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071592 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 825
Abstract
Soil health is the basis of ecological and food security for humanity. Among the informative indicators of soil health are microbiological indicators based on the intensity of the carbon dioxide release from the soil. The reaction of the microbial community of Haplic Chernozem [...] Read more.
Soil health is the basis of ecological and food security for humanity. Among the informative indicators of soil health are microbiological indicators based on the intensity of the carbon dioxide release from the soil. The reaction of the microbial community of Haplic Chernozem Loamic, Haplic Arenosols Eutric, and Haplic Cambisols Eutric to contamination with oxides and nitrates of Ag, Bi, Tl, and Te at doses of 0.5, 1, 3, 10, and 30 derived specific permissible concentrations (SPC) was analyzed in the conditions of a vegetation experiment (the exposure period was 10 days). One derived concentration is assumed to be equal to three background concentrations of the element in the soil. The carbon content of microbial biomass in Haplic Chernozem varied between the experimental options from 6 to 218 mg/kg of soil; in Haplic Arenosols, from 3 to 349 mg/kg of soil; and in Haplic Cambisols, from 7 to 294 mg/kg of soil. Microbial biomass was a more sensitive indicator of contamination by the studied pollutants than basal soil respiration. A decrease in specific microbial respiration was found when Haplic Cambisols were contaminated with Ag, Bi, Te, and Tl oxides. Te and Tl nitrates had a significant toxic effect on each type of soil. At the maximum dose of Tl and Te nitrate, a decrease in basal soil respiration of 56–96% relative to the control and an increase in the metabolic coefficient by 4–6 times was found. The toxicity series of heavy metals averaged for all types of soils in terms of microbiological activity was established: Bi > Ag > Te > Tl (oxides) and Te > Tl > Ag > Bi (nitrates). Nitrates of the elements were more toxic than oxides. Soil toxicity due to Ag, Bi, Tl, and Te contamination was dependent on soil particle size distribution, organic matter content, and soil structure. A series of soil sensitivity to changes in microbial biomass and basal soil respiration when contaminated with the studied pollutants: Haplic Arenosols > Haplic Chernozems > Haplic Cambisols. When diagnosing and assessing the health of soils contaminated with Ag, Bi, Tl, and Te, it is advisable to use indicators of soil microbiological activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology)
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18 pages, 655 KiB  
Review
Pediatric Obesity: Complications and Current Day Management
Life 2023, 13(7), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071591 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 3270
Abstract
Obesity affects approximately 1 in 5 youth globally and increases the risk of complications during adolescence and young adulthood, including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Children and adolescents with obesity frequently experience [...] Read more.
Obesity affects approximately 1 in 5 youth globally and increases the risk of complications during adolescence and young adulthood, including type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Children and adolescents with obesity frequently experience weight stigma and have an impaired quality of life, which may exacerbate weight gain. Pediatric obesity is typically defined using sex-, age-, and population-specific body mass index percentiles. Once identified, pediatric obesity should always be managed with lifestyle modification. However, adolescents with obesity may also benefit from anti-obesity medications (AOM), several of which have been approved for use in adolescents by the US Food and Drug Administration, including liraglutide, phentermine/topiramate, and semaglutide. For children with specific, rare monogenic obesity disorders, setmelanotide is available and may lead to significant weight loss. Metabolic and bariatric surgery may be used for the management of severe obesity in youth; though highly effective, it is limited to specialized centers and has had relatively low pediatric uptake. In this narrative review using pediatric-focused data from original research, reviews, clinical practice guidelines, governmental agencies, and pharmaceutical companies, we review obesity-related metabolic complications in youth and management strategies, including AOM and bariatric surgery. Full article
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11 pages, 594 KiB  
Article
Homoarginine Associates with Carotid Intima-Media Thickness and Atrial Fibrillation and Predicts Adverse Events after Stroke
Life 2023, 13(7), 1590; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071590 - 20 Jul 2023
Viewed by 776
Abstract
Homoarginine is associated with cardio- and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the underlying pathomechanisms remain elusive. Here, we evaluated the association of homoarginine with adverse events (i.e., death, stroke, and myocardial infarction) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in stroke patients. In the prospective [...] Read more.
Homoarginine is associated with cardio- and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality. However, the underlying pathomechanisms remain elusive. Here, we evaluated the association of homoarginine with adverse events (i.e., death, stroke, and myocardial infarction) and carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) in stroke patients. In the prospective bioMARKers in STROKE (MARK-STROKE) cohort, patients with acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) were enrolled. Plasma homoarginine concentrations were analyzed and associated with clinical phenotypes in cross-sectional (374 patients) and prospective (273 patients) analyses. Adjustments for possible confounders were evaluated. A two-fold increase in homoarginine was inversely associated with the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at admission, cIMT, and prevalent atrial fibrillation (mean factor −0.68 [95% confidence interval (CI): −1.30, −0.07], −0.14 [95% CI: −0.22, −0.05]; and odds ratio 0.57 [95% CI: 0.33, 0.96], respectively). During the follow-up (median 284 [25th, 75th percentile: 198, 431] days), individuals with homoarginine levels in the highest tertile had fewer incident events compared with patients in the lowest homoarginine tertile independent of traditional risk factors (hazard ratio 0.22 [95% CI: 0.08, 0.63]). A lower prevalence of atrial fibrillation and a reduced cIMT pinpointed potential underlying pathomechanisms. Full article
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68 pages, 2735 KiB  
Review
A Review of the Potential Benefits of Herbal Medicines, Small Molecules of Natural Sources, and Supplements for Health Promotion in Lupus Conditions
Life 2023, 13(7), 1589; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071589 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3592
Abstract
The Latin word lupus, meaning wolf, was in the medical literature prior to the 1200s to describe skin lesions that devour flesh, and the resources available to physicians to help people were limited. The present text reviews the ethnobotanical and pharmacological aspects of [...] Read more.
The Latin word lupus, meaning wolf, was in the medical literature prior to the 1200s to describe skin lesions that devour flesh, and the resources available to physicians to help people were limited. The present text reviews the ethnobotanical and pharmacological aspects of medicinal plants and purified molecules from natural sources with efficacy against lupus conditions. Among these molecules are artemisinin and its derivatives, antroquinonol, baicalin, curcumin, emodin, mangiferin, salvianolic acid A, triptolide, the total glycosides of paeony (TGP), and other supplements such as fatty acids and vitamins. In addition, medicinal plants, herbal remedies, mushrooms, and fungi that have been investigated for their effects on different lupus conditions through clinical trials, in vivo, in vitro, or in silico studies are reviewed. A special emphasis was placed on clinical trials, active phytochemicals, and their mechanisms of action. This review can be helpful for researchers in designing new goal-oriented studies. It can also help practitioners gain insight into recent updates on supplements that might help patients suffering from lupus conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Inflammation and Natural Products)
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22 pages, 2230 KiB  
Article
Progression of Carotid Intima-Media Thickness Partly Indicates the Prevention of Hypertension among Older Individuals in the General Population
Life 2023, 13(7), 1588; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13071588 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
Structural atherosclerosis, as evaluated by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), is reported to be positively associated with hypertension. However, angiogenesis, which plays an important role in the progression of structural atherosclerosis, prevents hypertension by reducing peripheral vascular resistance. These associations evoke a contradiction: characteristics [...] Read more.
Structural atherosclerosis, as evaluated by carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT), is reported to be positively associated with hypertension. However, angiogenesis, which plays an important role in the progression of structural atherosclerosis, prevents hypertension by reducing peripheral vascular resistance. These associations evoke a contradiction: characteristics associated with the progression of structural atherosclerosis, which is related to hypertension, might prevent hypertension. To clarify novel mechanisms underlying the association between structural atherosclerosis and hypertension, multifaceted analyses are necessary. We performed several epidemiological studies based on this concept. This study summarizes those epidemiological studies and adds some discussion. Studies focusing on circulating CD34-positive cells, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), SNPs in BRACA1-associated protein (BRAP), platelets, human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1), and SNPs in aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) have shown that active endothelial repair, which leads to the progression of structural atherosclerosis, helps prevent hypertension. These associations indicate that the progression of structural atherosclerosis could act as a marker of angiogenesis, which reduces peripheral vascular resistance. In general, a positive association between structural atherosclerosis and hypertension has been reported. However, the progression of structural atherosclerosis could act as a marker of activity that prevents hypertension via reductions in peripheral vascular resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Aspects of Vascular Diseases)
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