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Biomedicines, Volume 12, Issue 2 (February 2024) – 219 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): A combined computational and experimental study of 3D-printed scaffolds fabricated from hybrid nanocomposite materials for applications in bone tissue engineering is presented. Polycaprolactone (PCL) and polylactic acid (PLA), enhanced with chitosan (CS) and multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), were investigated with respect to their mechanical characteristics and responses in fluidic environments. A novel scaffold geometry was designed, considering the requirements of cellular proliferation and mechanical properties. Specimens with the same dimensions and a porosity of 45% were studied to fully describe and understand the yielding behavior. View this paper
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12 pages, 898 KiB  
Article
Design and Synthesis of Immunoadjuvant QS-21 Analogs and Their Biological Evaluation
by Wei Yuan, Ziming Wang, Yening Zou and Guojun Zheng
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 469; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020469 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 567
Abstract
A series of novel immunoadjuvant QS-21 analogs were synthesized, and their effects on the in vitro hemolysis of red blood cells were evaluated using QS-21 as a control and hemolytic properties as an index. Our results show that all the QS-21 analogs had [...] Read more.
A series of novel immunoadjuvant QS-21 analogs were synthesized, and their effects on the in vitro hemolysis of red blood cells were evaluated using QS-21 as a control and hemolytic properties as an index. Our results show that all the QS-21 analogs had lower hemolytic effects than QS-21, and their concentrations exhibited a certain quantitative effect relationship with the hemolysis rate. Notably, saponin compounds L1L8 produced minimal hemolysis and showed lower hemolytic effects, warranting further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Drug Discovery, Development and Delivery)
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13 pages, 609 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Physical Exercise on microRNAs in Hemodialysis Patients: A Review and a Protocol for an Ancillary Study
by Rossella Elia, Giovanni Piva, Francesca Bulighin, Nicola Lamberti, Fabio Manfredini, Giovanni Gambaro, Alessio Di Maria, Gianluca Salvagno, Luca Giuseppe Dalle Carbonare, Alda Storari, Maria Teresa Valenti and Yuri Battaglia
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 468; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020468 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Physical inactivity is considered a significant risk factor for mortality and morbidity among chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients. Therefore, physical exercise is recommended in the treatment of HD patients. Although the beneficial effects of physical exercise in HD patients are well-described in the literature, [...] Read more.
Physical inactivity is considered a significant risk factor for mortality and morbidity among chronic hemodialysis (HD) patients. Therefore, physical exercise is recommended in the treatment of HD patients. Although the beneficial effects of physical exercise in HD patients are well-described in the literature, the underlying physiological mechanisms still need to be fully understood. Recently, microRNAs (miRNAs) have emerged as potential mediators of the therapeutic effects of physical exercise in healthy individuals. miRNAs are short, single-stranded, noncoding RNAs involved in gene expression regulation. Specifically, upon forming the RNA-induced silencing complex, miRNAs selectively bind to specific miRNAs within cells, reducing gene expression. miRNAs can be secreted by cells in an accessible form or enclosed within exosomes or extracellular vesicles. They can be detected in various body fluids, including serum (circulating miRNAs), facilitating the study of their diverse expression. Currently, there is no available data regarding the impact of physical exercise on the expression of miRNAs involved in osteogenic differentiation, a fundamental mechanism in the development of vascular calcification, for HD patients. Therefore, we have designed an observational and longitudinal case-control study to evaluate the expression of miR-9 and miR-30b in HD patients participating in a 3-month interdialytic physical exercise program. This paper aims to present the study protocol and review the expression of circulating miRNAs in HD patients and their modulation through physical exercise. Full article
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13 pages, 728 KiB  
Article
Long-Term Outcomes of COVID-19 in Hospitalized Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients
by Zemfira Khamidullina, Diana Avzaletdinova, Diana Gareeva, Tatyana Morugova, Irina Lakman, Kristen Kopp, Lukas Fiedler, Lukas J. Motloch and Naufal Zagidullin
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 467; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020467 - 19 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 667
Abstract
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it has become clear that patients with diabetes are at risk for more severe and fatal COVID-19. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is a major risk factor for adverse COVID-19 outcomes. The goal of study was [...] Read more.
With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, it has become clear that patients with diabetes are at risk for more severe and fatal COVID-19. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) is a major risk factor for adverse COVID-19 outcomes. The goal of study was to assess the characteristics and outcomes of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 with or without T2D in the hospital and at 10-month follow-up (FU). Methods: A total of 2486 hospitalized patients in the first wave of COVID-19 were analyzed according to the absence/presence of T2D, with 2082 (84.1%) patients in the control COVID-19 group and 381 (15.5%) in the T2D group. Twenty-three patients had other types of diabetes and were therefore excluded from the study. In-hospital mortality and cardiovascular endpoints (myocardial infarction, stroke, cardiovascular deaths and hospitalizations and composite endpoints) at the 10-month follow-up were analyzed. To remove bias in patients’ characteristics disproportion, Propensity Score Matching (PSM) was used for hospital and follow-up endpoints. Results. Hospital mortality was considerably greater in T2D than in the control COVID-19 group (13.89% vs. 4.89%, p < 0.0001), and the difference remained after PSM (p < 0.0001). Higher glucose-level T2D patients had a higher mortality rate (p = 0.018). The most significant predictors of hospital death in T2D patients were a high CRP, glucose, neutrophils count, and Charlson Comorbidity Index. The follow-up of patients over 10 months showed a non-significant increase for all endpoints in the T2D group (p > 0.05), and significant increase in stroke (p < 0.042). After the PSM, the difference decreased in stroke (p = 0.090), but became significant in cardiovascular hospitalizations (p = 0.023). Conclusion. In T2D patients with COVID-19, an increase in hospital mortality, stroke and cardiovascular hospitalizations rates in the follow-up was observed. Full article
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12 pages, 1272 KiB  
Article
High-Throughput Bacteriophage Testing with Potency Determination: Validation of an Automated Pipetting and Phage Drop-Off Method
by Nicolas Dufour, Raphaëlle Delattre and Laurent Debarbieux
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 466; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020466 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 646
Abstract
The development of bacteriophages (phages) as active pharmaceutical ingredients for the treatment of patients is on its way and regulatory agencies are calling for reliable methods to assess phage potency. As the number of phage banks is increasing, so is the number of [...] Read more.
The development of bacteriophages (phages) as active pharmaceutical ingredients for the treatment of patients is on its way and regulatory agencies are calling for reliable methods to assess phage potency. As the number of phage banks is increasing, so is the number of phages that need to be tested to identify therapeutic candidates. Currently, assessment of phage potency on a semi-solid medium to observe plaque-forming units is unavoidable and proves to be labor intensive when considering dozens of phage candidates. Here, we present a method based on automated pipetting and phage drop-off performed by a liquid-handling robot, allowing high-throughput testing and phage potency determination (based on phage titer and efficiency of plaquing). Ten phages were tested, individually and assembled into one cocktail, against 126 Escherichia coli strains. This automated method was compared to the reference one (manual assay) and validated in terms of reproducibility and concordance (ratio of results according to the Bland and Altman method: 0.99; Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient: 0.86). We found that coefficients of variation were lower with automated pipetting (mean CV: 13.3% vs. 24.5%). Beyond speeding up the process of phage screening, this method could be used to standardize phage potency evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Translational Medicine)
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18 pages, 1436 KiB  
Review
Mechanisms of Myocardial Edema Development in CVD Pathophysiology
by Diana G. Kiseleva, Tatiana V. Kirichenko, Yuliya V. Markina, Vadim R. Cherednichenko, Ekaterina A. Gugueva and Alexander M. Markin
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020465 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 759
Abstract
Myocardial edema is the excess accumulation of fluid in the myocardial interstitium or cardiac cells that develops due to changes in capillary permeability, loss of glycocalyx charge, imbalance in lymphatic drainage, or a combination of these factors. Today it is believed that this [...] Read more.
Myocardial edema is the excess accumulation of fluid in the myocardial interstitium or cardiac cells that develops due to changes in capillary permeability, loss of glycocalyx charge, imbalance in lymphatic drainage, or a combination of these factors. Today it is believed that this condition is not only a complication of cardiovascular diseases, but in itself causes aggravation of the disease and increases the risks of adverse outcomes. The study of molecular, genetic, and mechanical changes in the myocardium during edema may contribute to the development of new approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. This review was conducted to describe the main mechanisms of myocardial edema development at the molecular and cellular levels and to identify promising targets for the regulation of this condition based on articles cited in Pubmed up to January 2024. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Disease 2.0)
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0 pages, 1788 KiB  
Article
Treated and Untreated Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis: Walkthrough Immunological Changes of Monocytes and T Regulatory Cells
by Nina Ipavec, Maja Rogić Vidaković, Anita Markotić, Sanda Pavelin, Maja Buljubašić Šoda, Joško Šoda, Krešimir Dolić and Nikolina Režić Mužinić
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 464; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020464 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 861
Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate regulatory T cells (Tregs) and monocytes; specifically, the expression of CTLA-4 (CD152) and FOXP3+ in CD4+CD25+ Tregs and the expression of CD40+ and CD192+ monocyte subpopulations in subjects with primary progressive [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to investigate regulatory T cells (Tregs) and monocytes; specifically, the expression of CTLA-4 (CD152) and FOXP3+ in CD4+CD25+ Tregs and the expression of CD40+ and CD192+ monocyte subpopulations in subjects with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS). Immunological analysis was conducted on peripheral blood samples collected from the 28 PPMS subjects (15 treated with ocrelizumab and 13 untreated PPMS subjects) and 10 healthy control subjects (HCs). The blood samples were incubated with antihuman CD14, CD16, CD40, and CD192 antibodies for monocytes and antihuman CD4, CD25, FOXP3, and CTLA-4 antibodies for lymphocytes. The study results showed that in comparison to HCs both ocrelizumab treated (N = 15) and untreated (N = 13) PPMS subjects had significantly increased percentages of CTLA-4+ and FOXP3+ in CD4+CD25+ Tregs. Further, ocrelizumab treated PPMS subjects, compared to the untreated ones, had significantly decreased percentages of CD192+ and CD40+ nonclassical monocytes. Increased percentages of CTLA-4+ and FOXP3+ in CD4+CD25+ Tregs in both ocrelizumab treated and untreated PPMS subjects indicates the suppressive (inhibitory) role of Tregs in abnormal immune responses in PPMS subjects. Decreased percentages of CD40+ and CD192+ non-classical CD14+CD16++ monocytes for treated compared to untreated PPMS subjects suggest a possible role for ocrelizumab in dampening CNS inflammation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Mechanisms of Neurological Autoimmune Disorders Volume II)
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10 pages, 1659 KiB  
Article
Innovative Ultrasound Criteria for the Diagnosis of Adenomyosis and Correlation with Symptoms: A Retrospective Re-Evaluation
by Anna Biasioli, Matilde Degano, Stefano Restaino, Margherita Bagolin, Francesca Moro, Francesca Ciccarone, Antonia Carla Testa, Pantaleo Greco, Giovanni Scambia, Giuseppe Vizzielli, Lorenza Driul and The Udine Hospital Endometriosis Group
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020463 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 907
Abstract
The 2022 Delphi revision of the MUSA (Morphological Uterus Sonographic Assessment) criteria for the ultrasound diagnosis of adenomyosis divides the ultrasound signs for diagnosis into direct and indirect ones, considering the presence of at least one direct sign as a mandatory criterion. This [...] Read more.
The 2022 Delphi revision of the MUSA (Morphological Uterus Sonographic Assessment) criteria for the ultrasound diagnosis of adenomyosis divides the ultrasound signs for diagnosis into direct and indirect ones, considering the presence of at least one direct sign as a mandatory criterion. This study aimed to reclassify the patients referred to the Pelvic Pain specialist outpatient clinic of the Gynecological Clinic of Udine according to the new criteria, evaluating the number of overdiagnoses and the possible correlation between the direct and indirect signs and the patients’ symptoms. 62 patients affected by adenomyosis were retrospectively recruited. The patients were then re-evaluated by ultrasound and clinically. At least one direct sign of adenomyosis was found in 52 patients, while 16% of the population examined did not present any. There was no statistically significant difference between patients presenting direct signs and those presenting none for the symptoms considered. According to the new criteria, 16% of the patients examined were not affected by adenomyosis; applying the new consensus to symptomatic patients could increase false negatives. In a population of symptomatic patients, the diagnosis of adenomyosis is still highly probable even without direct ultrasound signs, given the clinical symptoms and having ruled out other causes of such symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research in Endometriosis 4.0)
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16 pages, 707 KiB  
Review
The Role of Autophagy in Human Uveal Melanoma and the Development of Potential Disease Biomarkers and Novel Therapeutic Paradigms
by Janney Z. Wang, Paus Paulus, Yihe Niu, Ling Zhu, Christophe Morisseau, Tristan Rawling, Michael Murray, Bruce D. Hammock and Fanfan Zhou
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020462 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 732
Abstract
Autophagy is a form of programmed cell degradation that enables the maintenance of homeostasis in response to extracellular stress stimuli. Autophagy is primarily activated by starvation and mediates the degradation, removal, or recycling of cell cytoplasm, organelles, and intracellular components in eukaryotic cells. [...] Read more.
Autophagy is a form of programmed cell degradation that enables the maintenance of homeostasis in response to extracellular stress stimuli. Autophagy is primarily activated by starvation and mediates the degradation, removal, or recycling of cell cytoplasm, organelles, and intracellular components in eukaryotic cells. Autophagy is also involved in the pathogenesis of human diseases, including several cancers. Human uveal melanoma (UM) is the primary intraocular malignancy in adults and has an extremely poor prognosis; at present there are no effective therapies. Several studies have suggested that autophagy is important in UM. By understanding the mechanisms of activation of autophagy in UM it may be possible to develop biomarkers to provide more definitive disease prognoses and to identify potential drug targets for the development of new therapeutic strategies. This article reviews the current information regarding autophagy in UM that could facilitate biomarker and drug development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology and Oncology)
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18 pages, 3014 KiB  
Article
L-DOS47 Elevates Pancreatic Cancer Tumor pH and Enhances Response to Immunotherapy
by Bruna Victorasso Jardim-Perassi, Pietro Irrera, Oluwaseyi E. Oluwatola, Dominique Abrahams, Veronica C. Estrella, Bryce Ordway, Samantha R. Byrne, Andrew A. Ojeda, Christopher J. Whelan, Jongphil Kim, Matthew S. Beatty, Sultan Damgaci-Erturk, Dario Livio Longo, Kim J. Gaspar, Gabrielle M. Siegers, Barbara A. Centeno, Justin Y. C. Lau, Shari A. Pilon-Thomas, Arig Ibrahim-Hashim and Robert J. Gillies
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 461; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020461 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 927
Abstract
Acidosis is an important immunosuppressive mechanism that leads to tumor growth. Therefore, we investigated the neutralization of tumor acidity to improve immunotherapy response. L-DOS47, a new targeted urease immunoconjugate designed to neutralize tumor acidity, has been well tolerated in phase I/IIa trials. L-DOS47 [...] Read more.
Acidosis is an important immunosuppressive mechanism that leads to tumor growth. Therefore, we investigated the neutralization of tumor acidity to improve immunotherapy response. L-DOS47, a new targeted urease immunoconjugate designed to neutralize tumor acidity, has been well tolerated in phase I/IIa trials. L-DOS47 binds to CEACAM6, a cell-surface protein that is highly expressed in gastrointestinal cancers, allowing urease to cleave endogenous urea into two NH4+ and one CO2, thereby raising local pH. To test the synergetic effect of neutralizing tumor acidity with immunotherapy, we developed a pancreatic orthotopic murine tumor model (KPC961) expressing human CEACAM6. Using chemical exchange saturation transfer–magnetic resonance imaging (CEST-MRI) to measure the tumor extracellular pH (pHe), we confirmed that L-DOS47 raises the tumor pHe from 4 h to 96 h post injection in acidic tumors (average increase of 0.13 units). Additional studies showed that combining L-DOS47 with anti-PD1 significantly increases the efficacy of the anti-PD1 monotherapy, reducing tumor growth for up to 4 weeks. Full article
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12 pages, 1935 KiB  
Article
Muscle Dysfunction and Functional Status in COVID-19 Patients during Illness and after Hospital Discharge
by Otakar Psenicka, Tomas Brutvan, Jan Kratky and Jarmila Krizova
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020460 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 627
Abstract
Background: COVID-19 pneumonia is associated with SIRS and hypercatabolism. The aim of this study was to determine muscle loss during the acute phase of COVID-19 pneumonia and evaluate long-term sequelae in discharged patients. Methods: A total of 16 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and [...] Read more.
Background: COVID-19 pneumonia is associated with SIRS and hypercatabolism. The aim of this study was to determine muscle loss during the acute phase of COVID-19 pneumonia and evaluate long-term sequelae in discharged patients. Methods: A total of 16 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and respiratory insufficiency were included in the study. Selected parameters (weight, BMI, LBM = lean body mass, albumin, CRP, NLR = neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio, ultrasound measured thickness of rectus femoris muscle = US RF and rectus femoris + vastus intermedius = US RF + VI, handgrip strength, quality of life = EQ-5D questionnaire, and activities of daily living = Barthel’s ADLs) were recorded on admission, discharge, and 1, 3, and 6 months after discharge. Results: The most significant changes were between hospital admission and discharge: US RF and RF + VI (−1.28 ± 1.97 mm, p = 0.046; −1.76 ± 2.94 mm, p = 0.05), EQ-5D score (14.6 ± 19.2, p = 0.02), and ADLs (17.1 ± 22.6; p = 0.02). There was a significant positive correlation between US RF + VI and handgrip strength (p = 0.014) and a negative correlation between weight and Barthel index (p = 0.012). There was an association between muscle function with an EQ-5D score and ADLs during outpatient check-ups, most noticeably between handgrip strength, US RF+VI, and ADLs (p = 0.08; p = 0.1, respectively). Conclusions: In patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, there is a significant reduction of health-related quality of life, impaired even 6 months after hospital discharge, influenced mainly by muscle loss. During the hospital stay, there was a significant muscle mass reduction. Ultrasound measurement of thigh muscle thickness may be a useful method to monitor muscle loss. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Microbiology in Human Health and Disease)
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12 pages, 2133 KiB  
Review
The Hemorrhagic Side of Primary Angiitis of the Central Nervous System (PACNS)
by Marialuisa Zedde, Manuela Napoli, Claudio Moratti, Francesca Romana Pezzella, David Julian Seiffge, Georgios Tsivgoulis, Luigi Caputi, Carlo Salvarani, Danilo Toni, Franco Valzania and Rosario Pascarella
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 459; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020459 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 680
Abstract
Primary Angiitis of the Central Nervous System (PACNS) is a rare cerebrovascular disease involving the arteries of the leptomeninges, brain and spinal cord. Its diagnosis can be challenging, and the current diagnostic criteria show several limitations. Among the clinical and neuroimaging manifestations of [...] Read more.
Primary Angiitis of the Central Nervous System (PACNS) is a rare cerebrovascular disease involving the arteries of the leptomeninges, brain and spinal cord. Its diagnosis can be challenging, and the current diagnostic criteria show several limitations. Among the clinical and neuroimaging manifestations of PACNS, intracranial bleeding, particularly intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), is poorly described in the available literature, and it is considered infrequent. This review aims to summarize the available data addressing this issue with a dedicated focus on the clinical, neuroradiological and neuropathological perspectives. Moreover, the limitations of the actual data and the unanswered questions about hemorrhagic PACNS are addressed from a double point of view (PACNS subtyping and ICH etiology). Fewer than 20% of patients diagnosed as PACNS had an ICH during the course of the disease, and in cases where ICH was reported, it usually did not occur at presentation. As trigger factors, both sympathomimetic drugs and illicit drugs have been proposed, under the hypothesis of an inflammatory response due to vasoconstriction in the distal cerebral arteries. Most neuroradiological descriptions documented a lobar location, and both the large-vessel PACNS (LV-PACNS) and small-vessel PACNS (SV-PACNS) subtypes might be the underlying associated phenotypes. Surprisingly, amyloid beta deposition was not associated with ICH when histopathology was available. Moreover, PACNS is not explicitly included in the etiological classification of spontaneous ICH. This issue has received little attention in the past, and it could be addressed in future prospective studies. Full article
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15 pages, 7638 KiB  
Article
6-n-Butoxy-10-nitro-12,13-dioxa-11-azatricyclo[7.3.1.02,7]trideca-2,4,6,10-tetraene Improves the X-ray Sensitivity on Inhibiting Proliferation and Promoting Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis of Oral Cancer Cells
by Kun-Han Yang, Ching-Yu Yen, Sheng-Chieh Wang, Fang-Rong Chang, Meng-Yang Chang, Chieh-Kai Chan, Jiiang-Huei Jeng, Jen-Yang Tang and Hsueh-Wei Chang
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 458; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020458 - 19 Feb 2024
Viewed by 728
Abstract
This in vitro study examines the anti-oral cancer effects and mechanisms of a combined X-ray/SK2 treatment, i.e., X-ray and 6-n-butoxy-10-nitro-12,13-dioxa-11-azatricyclo[7.3.1.02,7]trideca-2,4,6,10-tetraene (SK2). ATP cell viability and flow cytometry-based cell cycle, apoptosis, oxidative stress, and DNA damage assessments were conducted. The [...] Read more.
This in vitro study examines the anti-oral cancer effects and mechanisms of a combined X-ray/SK2 treatment, i.e., X-ray and 6-n-butoxy-10-nitro-12,13-dioxa-11-azatricyclo[7.3.1.02,7]trideca-2,4,6,10-tetraene (SK2). ATP cell viability and flow cytometry-based cell cycle, apoptosis, oxidative stress, and DNA damage assessments were conducted. The X-ray/SK2 treatment exhibited lower viability in oral cancer (Ca9-22 and CAL 27) cells than in normal (Smulow–Glickman, S-G) cells, i.e., 32.0%, 46.1% vs. 59.0%, which showed more antiproliferative changes than with X-ray or SK2 treatment. Oral cancer cells under X-ray/SK2 treatment showed slight subG1 and G2/M increments and induced high annexin V-monitored apoptosis compared to X-ray or SK2 treatment. The X-ray/SK2 treatment showed higher caspase 3 and 8 levels for oral cancer cells than other treatments. X-ray/SK2 showed a higher caspase 9 level in CAL 27 cells than other treatments, while Ca9-22 cells showed similar levels under X-ray and/or SK2. The X-ray/SK2 treatment showed higher reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) depletion than other treatments. Meanwhile, the mitochondrial superoxide (MitoSOX) and glutathione levels in X-ray/SK2 treatment did not exhibit the highest rank compared to others. Moreover, oral cancer cells had higher γH2AX and/or 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine levels from X-ray/SK2 treatment than others. All these measurements for X-ray/SK2 in oral cancer cells were higher than in normal cells and attenuated by N-acetylcysteine. In conclusion, X-ray/SK2 treatment showed ROS-dependent enhanced antiproliferative, apoptotic, and DNA damage effects in oral cancer cells with a lower cytotoxic influence on normal cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation-Induced Carcinogenesis and Radiotherapy)
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18 pages, 1078 KiB  
Review
Potential for New Therapeutic Approaches by Targeting Lactate and pH Mediated Epigenetic Dysregulation in Major Mental Diseases
by Shabnam Nohesara, Hamid Mostafavi Abdolmaleky and Sam Thiagalingam
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020457 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1172
Abstract
Multiple lines of evidence have shown that lactate-mediated pH alterations in the brains of patients with neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and autism may be attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction and changes in energy metabolism. While neuronal activity is associated [...] Read more.
Multiple lines of evidence have shown that lactate-mediated pH alterations in the brains of patients with neuropsychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ), Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and autism may be attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction and changes in energy metabolism. While neuronal activity is associated with reduction in brain pH, astrocytes are responsible for rebalancing the pH to maintain the equilibrium. As lactate level is the main determinant of brain pH, neuronal activities are impacted by pH changes due to the binding of protons (H+) to various types of proteins, altering their structure and function in the neuronal and non-neuronal cells of the brain. Lactate and pH could affect diverse types of epigenetic modifications, including histone lactylation, which is linked to histone acetylation and DNA methylation. In this review, we discuss the importance of pH homeostasis in normal brain function, the role of lactate as an essential epigenetic regulatory molecule and its contributions to brain pH abnormalities in neuropsychiatric diseases, and shed light on lactate-based and pH-modulating therapies in neuropsychiatric diseases by targeting epigenetic modifications. In conclusion, we attempt to highlight the potentials and challenges of translating lactate-pH-modulating therapies to clinics for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular and Translational Medicine)
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12 pages, 4309 KiB  
Article
Characterization of Novel RHD Allele Variants and Their Implications for Routine Blood Group Diagnostics
by Eva M. Matzhold, Maria Bemelmans, Helene Polin, Günther F. Körmöczi, Marlies Schönbacher and Thomas Wagner
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020456 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 825
Abstract
The Rh system, including the highly immunogenic D antigen, is one of the clinically most important blood group systems in transfusion medicine. Numerous alleles of the RHD gene are associated with variant RhD phenotypes. In case of Rh incompatibility, some of them can [...] Read more.
The Rh system, including the highly immunogenic D antigen, is one of the clinically most important blood group systems in transfusion medicine. Numerous alleles of the RHD gene are associated with variant RhD phenotypes. In case of Rh incompatibility, some of them can induce hemolytic transfusion reactions and hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn. Thus, accurate blood group diagnostics are critical for safe transfusion therapy. We characterized phenotypes of four individuals revealing weakened D expression during routine pre-transfusion testing. Standard gel card matrix techniques with monoclonal and polyclonal anti-D antibodies were used for serological typing, complemented using D epitope and antigen density analysis. Genotyping employing PCR with sequence-specific primers, genomic and allele-specific Sanger sequencing and in silico protein analysis were performed. Four novel RHD alleles associated with weak D or partial D phenotypes were identified. One of the mutations is predicted to disrupt the terminal stop codon and result in an elongated translation of the mutant D protein that phenotypically exhibits a loss of D epitopes. Furthermore, a hybrid gene formed with the homologue RHCE gene is described. The presented data enhances the understanding of the Rh system and may contribute to continued advances in blood group diagnostics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Diagnostics of Transfusion Medicine)
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16 pages, 618 KiB  
Review
Complement Activation in Nephrotic Glomerular Diseases
by Dominik Nell, Robert Wolf, Przemyslaw Marek Podgorny, Tobias Kuschnereit, Rieke Kuschnereit, Thomas Dabers, Sylvia Stracke and Tilman Schmidt
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 455; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020455 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 994
Abstract
The nephrotic syndrome holds significant clinical importance and is characterized by a substantial protein loss in the urine. Damage to the glomerular basement membrane or podocytes frequently underlies renal protein loss. There is an increasing belief in the involvement of the complement system, [...] Read more.
The nephrotic syndrome holds significant clinical importance and is characterized by a substantial protein loss in the urine. Damage to the glomerular basement membrane or podocytes frequently underlies renal protein loss. There is an increasing belief in the involvement of the complement system, a part of the innate immune system, in these conditions. Understanding the interactions between the complement system and glomerular structures continually evolves, challenging the traditional view of the blood–urine barrier as a passive filter. Clinical studies suggest that a precise inhibition of the complement system at various points may soon become feasible. However, a thorough understanding of current knowledge is imperative for planning future therapies in nephrotic glomerular diseases such as membranous glomerulopathy, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, lupus nephritis, focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, and minimal change disease. This review provides an overview of the complement system, its interactions with glomerular structures, and insights into specific glomerular diseases exhibiting a nephrotic course. Additionally, we explore new diagnostic tools and future therapeutic approaches. Full article
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15 pages, 2675 KiB  
Article
The Sobering Sting: Oleoyl Serotonin Is a Novel Stephanoconus Snail Venom-Derived Antagonist of Cannabinoid Receptors That Counteracts Learning and Memory Deficits
by Dongchen An, Guilherme Salgado Carrazoni, Ben-Hur Souto das Neves, Rudi D’Hooge, Steve Peigneur and Jan Tytgat
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 454; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020454 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 654
Abstract
Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are promising targets for a better understanding of neurological diseases. Nevertheless, only a few ligands of CB have reached clinical application so far. Venoms are considered as interesting sources of novel biologically active compounds. Here, we describe an [...] Read more.
Cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are promising targets for a better understanding of neurological diseases. Nevertheless, only a few ligands of CB have reached clinical application so far. Venoms are considered as interesting sources of novel biologically active compounds. Here, we describe an endocannabinoid-like molecule, oleoyl serotonin (OS), present in the venom of Stephanoconus snails. Using electrophysiological assays, it was shown that OS inhibits CB1 and CB2. Structure–activity relationship studies using a chimeric CB1/2 revealed that the domain encompassing the transmembrane helix V (TMHV)– intracellular loop 3 (ICL3)–TMHVI of the CB2 is critical for the binding and function of OS. We concluded that OS binds to sites of the CB2 that are different from the binding sites of the non-selective CB agonist WIN55,212-2. Behavioral assays in mice showed that OS counteracted learning and memory deficits caused by WIN55,212-2. Furthermore, a selectivity screening of OS showed high selectivity for CB over various ion channels and receptors. Overall, OS may represent a new approach to the prevention and treatment of learning and memory cognition impairment in neurological diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Potential for Cannabis and Cannabinoids 2.0)
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6 pages, 210 KiB  
Editorial
The Tissue Engineering Revolution: From Bench Research to Clinical Reality
by Francesco De Chiara, Ainhoa Ferret-Miñana, Juan M. Fernández-Costa and Javier Ramón-Azcón
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 453; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020453 - 18 Feb 2024
Viewed by 674
Abstract
At its core, tissue engineering involves the use of a scaffold for the formation of new viable tissue for medical purposes [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Application for Tissue Engineering)
15 pages, 1072 KiB  
Review
The Anterior Inferior Cerebral Artery Variability in the Context of Neurovascular Compression Syndromes: A Narrative Review
by Dawid Kościołek, Mateusz Kobierecki, Mikołaj Tokarski, Konrad Szalbot, Aleksandra Kościołek, Mikołaj Malicki, Sora Wanibuchi, Karol Wiśniewski, Michał Piotrowski, Ernest J. Bobeff, Bartosz M. Szmyd and Dariusz J. Jaskólski
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020452 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 767
Abstract
The anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) is situated within the posterior cranial fossa and typically arises from the basilar artery, usually at the pontomedullary junction. AICA is implicated in various clinical conditions, encompassing the development of aneurysms, thrombus formation, and the manifestation of [...] Read more.
The anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) is situated within the posterior cranial fossa and typically arises from the basilar artery, usually at the pontomedullary junction. AICA is implicated in various clinical conditions, encompassing the development of aneurysms, thrombus formation, and the manifestation of lateral pontine syndrome. Furthermore, owing to its close proximity to cranial nerves within the middle cerebellopontine angle, AICA’s pulsatile compression at the root entry/exit zone of cranial nerves may give rise to specific neurovascular compression syndromes (NVCs), including hemifacial spasm (HFS) and geniculate neuralgia concurrent with HFS. In this narrative review, we undertake an examination of the influence of anatomical variations in AICA on the occurrence of NVCs. Significant methodological disparities between cadaveric and radiological studies (CTA, MRA, and DSA) were found, particularly in diagnosing AICA’s absence, which was more common in radiological studies (up to 36.1%) compared to cadaver studies (less than 5%). Other observed variations included atypical origins from the vertebral artery and basilar-vertebral junction, as well as the AICA-and-PICA common trunk. Single cases of arterial triplication or fenestration have also been documented. Specifically, in relation to HFS, AICA variants that compress the facial nerve at its root entry/exit zone include parabola-shaped loops, dominant segments proximal to the REZ, and anchor-shaped bifurcations impacting the nerve’s cisternal portion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Neurobiology and Clinical Neuroscience)
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11 pages, 720 KiB  
Article
Influence of NUCB/Nesfatin-1 Polymorphism on Treatment Response to Naltrexone/Bupropion SR in Binge Eating Disorder and Obesity
by Elvira Anna Carbone, Mariarita Caroleo, Marianna Rania, Renato de Filippis, Francesca Condoleo, Federica Catalano, Matteo Aloi, Pasquale De Fazio, Franco Arturi, Marta Letizia Hribal, Teresa Vanessa Fiorentino and Cristina Segura-Garcia
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 451; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020451 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 561
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The NUCB2 gene and its polymorphisms were identified as novel players in the regulation of food intake, potentially leading to obesity (OBE) and altered eating behaviors. Naltrexone/bupropion SR (NB) showed good efficacy and tolerability for treating OBE and altered [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The NUCB2 gene and its polymorphisms were identified as novel players in the regulation of food intake, potentially leading to obesity (OBE) and altered eating behaviors. Naltrexone/bupropion SR (NB) showed good efficacy and tolerability for treating OBE and altered eating behaviors associated with binge eating disorder (BED). This prospective study investigates the influence of NUCB2 gene polymorphism on NB treatment response in OBE and BED. Materials and Methods: Body mass index (BMI), eating (EDE-Q, BES, NEQ, GQ, Y-FAS 2.0) and general psychopathology (BDI, STAI-S) were evaluated at baseline (t0) and after 16 weeks (t1) of NB treatment in patients with OBE and BED (Group 1; N = 22) vs. patients with OBE without BED (Group 2; N = 20). Differences were evaluated according to the rs757081 NUCB2 gene polymorphism. Results: NUCB2 polymorphism was equally distributed between groups. Although weight at t0 was higher in Group 1, weight loss was similar at t1 in both groups. BMI was not influenced by NUCB2 polymorphism. In Group 1, the CG-genotype reported significant improvement in eating psychopathology while the GG-genotype reported improvement only for FA. No differences were observed in Group 2. Conclusions: Patients diagnosed with BED and treated with NB exhibited a more favorable treatment response within the CG-genotype of the NUCB2 polymorphism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research of Psychiatric Diseases)
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15 pages, 691 KiB  
Review
A Scoping Review on the Use of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation Techniques for Persistent Post-Concussive Symptoms
by Mohammad Hossein Khosravi, Mélanie Louras, Géraldine Martens, Jean-François Kaux, Aurore Thibaut and Nicolas Lejeune
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020450 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 753
Abstract
Background: In the context of managing persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS), existing treatments like pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical rehabilitation show only moderate effectiveness. The emergence of neuromodulation techniques in PPCS management has led to debates regarding optimal stimulation parameters and their overall [...] Read more.
Background: In the context of managing persistent post-concussive symptoms (PPCS), existing treatments like pharmacotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical rehabilitation show only moderate effectiveness. The emergence of neuromodulation techniques in PPCS management has led to debates regarding optimal stimulation parameters and their overall efficacy. Methods: this scoping review involved a comprehensive search of PubMed and ScienceDirect databases, focusing on controlled studies examining the therapeutic potential of non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) techniques in adults with PPCS. Results: Among the 940 abstracts screened, only five studies, encompassing 103 patients (12 to 29 per study), met the inclusion criteria. These studies assessed the efficacy of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), applied to specific brain regions (i.e., the left dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex (DLPFC) or left motor cortex (M1)) for addressing cognitive and psychological symptoms, headaches, and general PPCSs. The results indicated improvements in cognitive functions with tDCS. In contrast, reductions in headache intensity and depression scores were observed with rTMS, while no significant findings were noted for general symptoms with rTMS. Conclusion: although these pilot studies suggest promise for rTMS and tDCS in PPCS management, further research with larger-scale investigations and standardized protocols is imperative to enhance treatment outcomes for PPCS patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neuromodulation from Theory to Therapy Volume II)
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22 pages, 7667 KiB  
Article
Can Combining Hyaluronic Acid and Physiotherapy in Knee Osteoarthritis Improve the Physicochemical Properties of Synovial Fluid?
by Ilie Onu, Robert Gherghel, Isabella Nacu, Florina-Daniela Cojocaru, Liliana Verestiuc, Daniela-Viorelia Matei, Dan Cascaval, Ionela Lacramioara Serban, Daniel Andrei Iordan, Alexandra Tucaliuc and Anca-Irina Galaction
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020449 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1251
Abstract
Known as the degenerative disease of the knee with the highest prevalence, knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is characterized by a gradual destructive mechanism that, in severe cases, can provoke the need for total knee substitution. As the disease progresses, various enzymatic, immunological, and inflammatory [...] Read more.
Known as the degenerative disease of the knee with the highest prevalence, knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is characterized by a gradual destructive mechanism that, in severe cases, can provoke the need for total knee substitution. As the disease progresses, various enzymatic, immunological, and inflammatory processes abnormally degrade hyaluronic acid (HA), SF’s main component, and affect the concentrations of specific proteins, with the final results seriously endangering synovial fluid (SF)’s rheological and tribological features and characteristics. No effective treatments have been found to stop the progression of KOA, but the injection of HA-based viscoelastic gels has been considered (alone or combined with physiotherapy (PT)) as an alternative to symptomatic therapies. In order to evaluate the effect of viscosupplementation and PT on the characteristics of SF, SF aspirated from groups treated for KOA (HA Kombihylan® and groups that received Kombihylan® and complex PT) was analyzed and compared from analytical, spectrophotometrical, and rheological perspectives. In the patients treated with PT, the SF extracted 6 weeks after viscosupplementation had a superior elastic modulus (G′) and viscous moduli (G″), as well as a homogeneous distribution of proteins and polysaccharides. The viscosupplementation fluid improved the bioadhesive properties of the SF, and the use of the viscosupplementation fluid in conjunction with PT was found to be favorable for the distribution of macromolecules and phospholipids, contributing to the lubrication process and the treatment of OA-affected joints. Full article
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25 pages, 1046 KiB  
Review
The Orexin/Hypocretin System, the Peptidergic Regulator of Vigilance, Orchestrates Adaptation to Stress
by Miklós Jászberényi, Balázs Thurzó, Zsolt Bagosi, László Vécsei and Masaru Tanaka
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 448; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020448 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2101
Abstract
The orexin/hypocretin neuropeptide family has emerged as a focal point of neuroscientific research following the discovery that this family plays a crucial role in a variety of physiological and behavioral processes. These neuropeptides serve as powerful neuromodulators, intricately shaping autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral [...] Read more.
The orexin/hypocretin neuropeptide family has emerged as a focal point of neuroscientific research following the discovery that this family plays a crucial role in a variety of physiological and behavioral processes. These neuropeptides serve as powerful neuromodulators, intricately shaping autonomic, endocrine, and behavioral responses across species. Notably, they serve as master regulators of vigilance and stress responses; however, their roles in food intake, metabolism, and thermoregulation appear complementary and warrant further investigation. This narrative review provides a journey through the evolution of our understanding of the orexin system, from its initial discovery to the promising progress made in developing orexin derivatives. It goes beyond conventional boundaries, striving to synthesize the multifaceted activities of orexins. Special emphasis is placed on domains such as stress response, fear, anxiety, and learning, in which the authors have contributed to the literature with original publications. This paper also overviews the advancement of orexin pharmacology, which has already yielded some promising successes, particularly in the treatment of sleep disorders. Full article
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31 pages, 4174 KiB  
Systematic Review
Hierarchical Capability in Distinguishing Severities of Sepsis via Serum Lactate: A Network Meta-Analysis
by Binlu Zhu, Ruixi Zhou, Jiangwei Qin and Yifei Li
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020447 - 17 Feb 2024
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Background: Blood lactate is a potentially useful biomarker to predict the mortality and severity of sepsis. The purpose of this study is to systematically review the ability of lactate to predict hierarchical sepsis clinical outcomes and distinguish sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock. [...] Read more.
Background: Blood lactate is a potentially useful biomarker to predict the mortality and severity of sepsis. The purpose of this study is to systematically review the ability of lactate to predict hierarchical sepsis clinical outcomes and distinguish sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock. Methods: We conducted an exhaustive search of the PubMed, Embase and Cochrane Library databases for studies published before 1 October 2022. Inclusion criteria mandated the presence of case–control, cohort studies and randomized controlled trials that established the association between before-treatment blood lactate levels and the mortality of individuals with sepsis, severe sepsis or septic shock. Data was analyzed using STATA Version 16.0. Results: A total of 127 studies, encompassing 107,445 patients, were ultimately incorporated into our analysis. Meta-analysis of blood lactate levels at varying thresholds revealed a statistically significant elevation in blood lactate levels predicting mortality (OR = 1.57, 95% CI 1.48–1.65, I2 = 92.8%, p < 0.00001). Blood lactate levels were significantly higher in non-survivors compared to survivors in sepsis patients (SMD = 0.77, 95% CI 0.74–0.79, I2 = 83.7%, p = 0.000). The prognostic utility of blood lactate in sepsis mortality was validated through hierarchical summary receiver operating characteristic curve (HSROC) analysis, yielding an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.72 (95% CI 0.68–0.76), accompanied by a summary sensitivity of 0.65 (95% CI 0.59–0.7) and a summary specificity of 0.7 (95% CI 0.64–0.75). Unfortunately, the network meta-analysis could not identify any significant differences in average blood lactate values’ assessments among sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock patients. Conclusions: This meta-analysis demonstrated that high-level blood lactate was associated with a higher risk of sepsis mortality. Lactate has a relatively accurate predictive ability for the mortality risk of sepsis. However, the network analysis found that the levels of blood lactate were not effective in distinguishing between patients with sepsis, severe sepsis and septic shock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Molecular Genetics and Genetic Diseases)
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16 pages, 558 KiB  
Review
Using Liver Organoids as Models to Study the Pathobiology of Rare Liver Diseases
by Dalia A. Obeid, Tanveer Ahmad Mir, Alaa Alzhrani, Abdullah Altuhami, Talal Shamma, Sana Ahmed, Shadab Kazmi, Iriya Fujitsuka, Mohd Ikhlaq, Mohammad Shabab, Abdullah M. Assiri and Dieter C. Broering
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 446; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020446 - 17 Feb 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 930
Abstract
Liver organoids take advantage of several important features of pluripotent stem cells that self-assemble in a three-dimensional culture matrix and reproduce many aspects of the complex organization found within their native tissue or organ counterparts. Compared to other 2D or 3D in vitro [...] Read more.
Liver organoids take advantage of several important features of pluripotent stem cells that self-assemble in a three-dimensional culture matrix and reproduce many aspects of the complex organization found within their native tissue or organ counterparts. Compared to other 2D or 3D in vitro models, organoids are widely believed to be genetically stable or docile structures that can be programmed to virtually recapitulate certain biological, physiological, or pathophysiological features of original tissues or organs in vitro. Therefore, organoids can be exploited as effective substitutes or miniaturized models for the study of the developmental mechanisms of rare liver diseases, drug discovery, the accurate evaluation of personalized drug responses, and regenerative medicine applications. However, the bioengineering of organoids currently faces many groundbreaking challenges, including a need for a reasonable tissue size, structured organization, vascularization, functional maturity, and reproducibility. In this review, we outlined basic methodologies and supplements to establish organoids and summarized recent technological advances for experimental liver biology. Finally, we discussed the therapeutic applications and current limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biomedical Engineering and Materials)
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12 pages, 1843 KiB  
Systematic Review
Does Sperm SNRPN Methylation Change with Fertility Status and Age? A Systematic Review and Meta-Regression Analysis
by Claudia Leanza, Rossella Cannarella, Federica Barbagallo, Carmelo Gusmano and Aldo E. Calogero
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 445; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020445 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 964
Abstract
Background: The Small Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Polypeptide N (SNRPN) gene is a paternally expressed imprinted gene, whose abnormal methylation appears to be associated with syndromes associated with the use of assisted reproductive techniques (ART), such as Angelman and Prader–Willi. Data present in [...] Read more.
Background: The Small Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Polypeptide N (SNRPN) gene is a paternally expressed imprinted gene, whose abnormal methylation appears to be associated with syndromes associated with the use of assisted reproductive techniques (ART), such as Angelman and Prader–Willi. Data present in the literature suggest the association between aberrant sperm SNRPN gene methylation and abnormal sperm parameters. The latest meta-analysis on the methylation pattern of this gene in spermatozoa of infertile patients published in 2017 reported a higher degree of methylation in the spermatozoa of infertile patients compared to fertile controls. Objectives: Here we provide an updated and comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis of the sperm methylation pattern of the SNRPN gene in patients with abnormal sperm parameters/infertility compared to men with normal sperm parameters/fertile. For the first time in the literature, we performed a meta-regression analysis to evaluate whether age or sperm concentration could influence the methylation status of this gene at the sperm level. Methods: This meta-analysis was registered in PROSPERO (n. CRD42023397056). The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P) and the MOOSE guidelines for meta-analyses and systematic reviews of observational studies were strictly followed in our meta-analysis. According to our Population Exposure Comparison Outcome (PECO) question, we included data from original articles assessing the levels of SNRPN gene methylation at the sperm level in infertile patients or patients with abnormalities in one or more sperm parameters compared to fertile or normozoospermic men. Results: Only six of 354 screened studies were included in the quantitative synthesis. Our analysis showed significantly higher levels of SNRPN gene methylation in patients compared to controls. However, significant heterogeneity was found between studies. In sensitivity analysis, no studies were sensitive enough to skew the results. The Egger test showed no publication bias. In the meta-regression analysis, the results were independent of age and sperm concentration in the overall population. The same results were found in the control group. However, when analyzing the patient group, a direct correlation was found between SNRPN methylation and age, indicating that the degree of methylation of the SNRPN gene increases with advancing age. Conclusions: Fertility status or abnormality of sperm parameters is associated with a change in the methylation pattern of the SNRPN gene, with higher levels found in infertile patients or those with abnormal sperm parameters compared to fertile men or men with normal sperm parameters. In the group of infertile patients/patients with abnormal sperm parameters, age was directly correlated to the degree of SNRPN methylation, highlighting the presence of a mechanism that explains the age-related altered sperm quality and the risk of ART. Despite some limitations present in the analyzed studies, our results support the inclusion of SNRPN methylation in the genetic panel of prospective studies aimed at identifying the most representative and cost-effective genes to analyze in couples who want to undergo ART. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Regulation of Spermatozoa)
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21 pages, 901 KiB  
Review
Unlocking the Potential: Quercetin and Its Natural Derivatives as Promising Therapeutics for Sepsis
by Tian Wang, Linxi Lv, Hui Feng and Wei Gu
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020444 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 767
Abstract
Sepsis is a syndrome of organ dysfunction caused by an uncontrolled inflammatory response, which can seriously endanger life. Currently, there is still a shortage of specific therapeutic drugs. Quercetin and its natural derivatives have received a lot of attention recently for their potential [...] Read more.
Sepsis is a syndrome of organ dysfunction caused by an uncontrolled inflammatory response, which can seriously endanger life. Currently, there is still a shortage of specific therapeutic drugs. Quercetin and its natural derivatives have received a lot of attention recently for their potential in treating sepsis. Here, we provide a comprehensive summary of the recent research progress on quercetin and its derivatives, with a focus on their specific mechanisms of antioxidation and anti-inflammation. To obtain the necessary information, we conducted a search in the PubMed, Web of Science, EBSCO, and Cochrane library databases using the keywords sepsis, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-infection, quercetin, and its natural derivatives to identify relevant research from 6315 articles published in the last five years. At present, quercetin and its 11 derivatives have been intensively studied. They primarily exert their antioxidation and anti-inflammation effects through the PI3K/AKT/NF-κB, Nrf2/ARE, and MAPK pathways. The feasibility of these compounds in experimental models and clinical application were also discussed. In conclusion, quercetin and its natural derivatives have good application potential in the treatment of sepsis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Immunotherapy)
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21 pages, 3976 KiB  
Article
Time-Delayed Anticancer Effect of an Extremely Low Frequency Alternating Magnetic Field and Multimodal Protein–Tannin–Mitoxantrone Carriers with Brillouin Microspectroscopy Visualization In Vitro
by Anatolii A. Abalymov, Roman A. Anisimov, Polina A. Demina, Veronika A. Kildisheva, Alexandra E. Kalinova, Alexey A. Serdobintsev, Nadezhda G. Novikova, Dmitry B. Petrenko, Alexandr V. Sadovnikov, Denis V. Voronin and Maria V. Lomova
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 443; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020443 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 762
Abstract
The effect of an extremely low frequency alternating magnetic field (ELF AMF) at frequencies of 17, 48, and 95 Hz at 100 mT on free and internalized 4T1 breast cancer cell submicron magnetic mineral carriers with an anticancer drug, mitoxantrone, was shown. The [...] Read more.
The effect of an extremely low frequency alternating magnetic field (ELF AMF) at frequencies of 17, 48, and 95 Hz at 100 mT on free and internalized 4T1 breast cancer cell submicron magnetic mineral carriers with an anticancer drug, mitoxantrone, was shown. The alternating magnetic field (100 mT; 17, 48, 95 Hz; time of treatment—10.5 min with a 30 s delay) does not lead to the significant destruction of carrier shells and release of mitoxantrone or bovine serum albumin from them according to the data of spectrophotometry, or the heating of carriers in the process of exposure to magnetic fields. The most optimal set of factors that would lead to the suppression of proliferation and survival of cells with anticancer drug carriers on the third day (in comparison with the control and first day) is exposure to an alternating magnetic field of 100 mT in a pulsed mode with a frequency of 95 Hz. The presence of magnetic nanocarriers in cell lines was carried out by a direct label-free method, space-resolved Brillouin light scattering (BLS) spectrometry, which was realized for the first time. The analysis of the series of integrated BLS spectra showed an increase in the magnetic phase in cells with a growth in the number of particles per cell (from 10 to 100) after their internalization. The safety of magnetic carriers in the release of their constituent ions has been evaluated using atomic absorption spectrometry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nanomaterials for Drug Delivery 2.0)
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19 pages, 4111 KiB  
Article
MARCKS Inhibition Alters Bovine Neutrophil Responses to Salmonella Typhimurium
by Haleigh E. Conley, Chalise F. Brown, Trina L. Westerman, Johanna R. Elfenbein and M. Katie Sheats
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 442; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020442 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 715
Abstract
Neutrophils are innate immune cells that respond quickly to sites of bacterial infection and play an essential role in host defense. Interestingly, some bacterial pathogens benefit from exuberant neutrophil inflammation. Salmonella is one such pathogen that can utilize the toxic mediators released by [...] Read more.
Neutrophils are innate immune cells that respond quickly to sites of bacterial infection and play an essential role in host defense. Interestingly, some bacterial pathogens benefit from exuberant neutrophil inflammation. Salmonella is one such pathogen that can utilize the toxic mediators released by neutrophils to colonize the intestine and cause enterocolitis. Because neutrophils can aid gut colonization during Salmonella infection, neutrophils represent a potential host-directed therapeutic target. Myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrate (MARCKS) is an actin-binding protein that plays an essential role in many neutrophil effector responses. We hypothesized that inhibition of MARCKS protein would alter bovine neutrophil responses to Salmonella Typhimurium (STm) ex vivo. We used a MARCKS inhibitor peptide to investigate the role of MARCKS in neutrophil responses to STm. This study demonstrates that MARCKS inhibition attenuated STm-induced neutrophil adhesion and chemotaxis. Interestingly, MARCKS inhibition also enhanced neutrophil phagocytosis and respiratory burst in response to STm. This is the first report describing the role of MARCKS protein in neutrophil antibacterial responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Neutrophilic Inflammation: Molecular Mechanisms and Drug Discovery)
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25 pages, 6841 KiB  
Article
Multifunctional Exosomes Derived from M2 Macrophages with Enhanced Odontogenesis, Neurogenesis and Angiogenesis for Regenerative Endodontic Therapy: An In Vitro and In Vivo Investigation
by Yujie Wang, Jing Mao, Yifan Wang, Nan Jiang and Xin Shi
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020441 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 937
Abstract
Introduction: Exosomes derived from M2 macrophages (M2-Exos) exhibit tremendous potential for inducing tissue repair and regeneration. Herein, this study was designed to elucidate the biological roles of M2-Exos in regenerative endodontic therapy (RET) compared with exosomes from M1 macrophages (M1-Exos). Methods: The internalization [...] Read more.
Introduction: Exosomes derived from M2 macrophages (M2-Exos) exhibit tremendous potential for inducing tissue repair and regeneration. Herein, this study was designed to elucidate the biological roles of M2-Exos in regenerative endodontic therapy (RET) compared with exosomes from M1 macrophages (M1-Exos). Methods: The internalization of M1-Exos and M2-Exos by dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) was detected by uptake assay. The effects of M1-Exos and M2-Exos on DPSC and HUVEC behaviors, including migration, proliferation, odonto/osteogenesis, neurogenesis, and angiogenesis were determined in vitro. Then, Matrigel plugs incorporating M2-Exos were transplanted subcutaneously into nude mice. Immunostaining for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and CD31 was performed to validate capillary-like networks. Results: M1-Exos and M2-Exos were effectively absorbed by DPSCs and HUVECs. Compared with M1-Exos, M2-Exos considerably facilitated the proliferation and migration of DPSCs and HUVECs. Furthermore, M2-Exos robustly promoted ALP activity, mineral nodule deposition, and the odonto/osteogenic marker expression of DPSCs, indicating the powerful odonto/osteogenic potential of M2-Exos. In sharp contrast with M1-Exos, which inhibited the neurogenic capacity of DPSCs, M2-Exos contributed to a significantly augmented expression of neurogenic genes and the stronger immunostaining of Nestin. Consistent with remarkably enhanced angiogenic markers and tubular structure formation in DPSCs and HUVECs in vitro, the employment of M2-Exos gave rise to more abundant vascular networks, dramatically higher VEGF expression, and widely spread CD31+ tubular lumens in vivo, supporting the enormous pro-angiogenic capability of M2-Exos. Conclusions: The multifaceted roles of M2-Exos in ameliorating DPSC and HUVEC functions potentially contribute to complete functional pulp–dentin complex regeneration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunology and Immunotherapy)
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12 pages, 1412 KiB  
Article
Quantitative Evaluation by Digital Pathology of Immunohistochemical Expression of CK7, CK19, and EpCAM in Advanced Stages of NASH
by Daniela Cabibi, Antonino Giulio Giannone, Alberto Quattrocchi, Vincenza Calvaruso, Rossana Porcasi, Domenico Di Grusa, Anna Maria Pavone, Albert Comelli and Salvatore Petta
Biomedicines 2024, 12(2), 440; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12020440 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 541
Abstract
(1) Background: Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis/Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NASH/NAFLD) is the most recurrent chronic liver disease. NASH could present with a cholestatic (C) or hepatic (H) pattern of damage. Recently, we observed that increased Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) expression was the main immunohistochemical [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis/Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NASH/NAFLD) is the most recurrent chronic liver disease. NASH could present with a cholestatic (C) or hepatic (H) pattern of damage. Recently, we observed that increased Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) expression was the main immunohistochemical feature to distinguish C from H pattern in NASH. (2) Methods: In the present study, we used digital pathology to compare the quantitative results of digital image analysis by QuPath software (Q-results), with the semi-quantitative results of observer assessment (S-results) for cytokeratin 7 and 19, (CK7, CK19) as well as EpCAM expression. Patients were classified into H or C group on the basis of the ratio between alanine transaminase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) values, using the “R-ratio formula”. (3) Results: Q- and S-results showed a significant correlation for all markers (p < 0.05). Q-EpCAM expression was significantly higher in the C group than in the H group (p < 0.05). Importantly ALP, an indicator of hepatobiliary disorder, was the only biochemical parameter significantly correlated with Q-EpCAM. Instead, Q-CK7, but not Q-CK19, correlated only with γGlutamyl-Transferase (γGT). Of note, Stage 4 fibrosis correlated with Q-EpCAM, Q-CK19, and ALP but not with γGT or ALT. Conclusions: Image analysis confirms the relation between cholestatic-like pattern, associated with a worse prognosis, with increased ALP values, EpCAM positive biliary metaplasia, and advanced fibrosis. These preliminary data could be useful for the implementation of AI algorithms for the assessment of cholestatic NASH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cell Biology and Pathology)
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