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Article
Digital PCR-Based Characterization of a g10evo-epsps Gene-Specific Matrix Reference Material for Its Food and Feed Detection
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1888; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131888 (registering DOI) - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
g10evo-epsps is a novel glyphosate herbicide-resistant gene that has been transferred to various crops such as soybean, corn, cotton, and rice. Here, we developed a gene-specific digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (dPCR) detection method for absolute quantitative analysis of g10evo-epsps, and characterized g10evo-epsps [...] Read more.
g10evo-epsps is a novel glyphosate herbicide-resistant gene that has been transferred to various crops such as soybean, corn, cotton, and rice. Here, we developed a gene-specific digital Polymerase Chain Reaction (dPCR) detection method for absolute quantitative analysis of g10evo-epsps, and characterized g10evo-epsps certified reference materials (CRM) using ZUTS-33 soybean powder as the candidate material. Stability tests of matrix CRMs demonstrate that these CRMs can be stored stably for 6 months and transported for 10 days at room temperature and withstand summer high temperatures (below 60 °C). CRM characterization is based on the copy number ratio of g10evo-epsps to lectin. Eight qualified laboratories independently validated the CRM using dPCR method, with a measurement of 0.98 (copy/copy) and an extended uncertainty of 0.08 (copy/copy). The g10evo-epsps matrix CRM described here may be used for qualitative and quantitative testing, method evaluation, laboratory quality control, and other related fields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue PCR in Food Science: Current Technology and Applications)
Article
Triaxial Compression Fracture Characteristics and Constitutive Model of Frozen–Thawed Fissured Quasi-Sandstone
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6454; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136454 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The artificial frozen wall crossing the water-rich sand layer is prone to failure during thawing. To study the loading fracture characteristics and damage evolution of single-fissured sandstone after thawing, quasi-sandstones with prefabricated single fissure at different angles were prepared using the sandstone of [...] Read more.
The artificial frozen wall crossing the water-rich sand layer is prone to failure during thawing. To study the loading fracture characteristics and damage evolution of single-fissured sandstone after thawing, quasi-sandstones with prefabricated single fissure at different angles were prepared using the sandstone of the Luohe Formation as the original rock to conduct freeze–thaw tests with various temperature differences, and triaxial compression tests were performed on the samples. Based on the distribution theory of rock micro-element strength and static elastic modulus, a damage constitutive model of single-fissured quasi-sandstone under freezing–thawing and confining pressure was established. The results show that with the decrease in freezing temperature, the amount of flake spalling on the sample surface increases, and the frost-heaving cracks of quasi-sandstone become more numerous and longer, which makes the single-fissured quasi-sandstone tend to have a more complex tensile–shear hybrid failure than a shear failure. Moreover, with the increase in fissure angle, the absolute value of the freezing temperature required to produce frost-heaving cracks increases. An S-shaped damage evolution curve corresponds to each stage of triaxial compression of single-fissured quasi-sandstone. With the decrease in freezing temperature, the strength of rock after thawing decreases, and the brittleness characteristics strengthen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fracture and Failure of Jointed Rock Mass)
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Article
A Synthetic Landscape Metric to Evaluate Urban Vegetation Quality: A Case of Fuzhou City in China
Forests 2022, 13(7), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13071002 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Urban vegetation plays a very important role in regulating urban climate and improving the urban environment. There is an urgent need to construct an effective index to quickly detect urban vegetation quality changes. In this study, a synthetic vegetation quality index (VQI) was [...] Read more.
Urban vegetation plays a very important role in regulating urban climate and improving the urban environment. There is an urgent need to construct an effective index to quickly detect urban vegetation quality changes. In this study, a synthetic vegetation quality index (VQI) was proposed using a holistic approach based on the quality of vegetation itself and the spatial relationship with its surroundings, composed of four selected variables: normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), patch aggregation index (AI), patch density (PD), and percentage of landscape (PLAND). Principal component analysis (PCA) was employed to calculate weights for each variable due to its objectivity. Then, taking Fuzhou City, southeast China as the case study, the scale effects of the VQI under different moving window sizes (500 m, 1 km, 2 km, …, 5 km) and the spatiotemporal changes were explored. The results showed that a VQI with a window size of 3 km had the highest correlations with all the selected indicators. Meanwhile, the representativeness and the effectiveness of the VQI were validated by the percentage eigenvalues of PC1, as well as Pearson correlation analysis and bivariate spatial autocorrelation analysis. We also revealed that the proposed VQI had the greatest explanatory power for land surface temperature (LST) among all the factors in both studied years (2000 and 2016), with the VQI’s interpretation of LST being 0–44% better than any individual indicator except for AI in 2000. Additionally, our work revealed that the location of vegetation has a great impact on the urban thermal environment. The VQI can assess urban vegetation quality effectively and quickly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Forestry)
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Article
Model of Hybrid Electric Vehicle with Two Energy Sources
Electronics 2022, 11(13), 1993; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11131993 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The paper proposes a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) design based on the installation of a fuel cell (FC) module in the existing Daewoo Tico electric vehicle to increase its range in urban areas. Installing an FC module supplied by a 2 kg hydrogen [...] Read more.
The paper proposes a Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) design based on the installation of a fuel cell (FC) module in the existing Daewoo Tico electric vehicle to increase its range in urban areas. Installing an FC module supplied by a 2 kg hydrogen tank would not significantly increase the mass of the electric vehicle, and the charging time of the hydrogen tank is lower than the battery charging time. For design analysis, a model was created in the MATLAB/Simulink software package. The model simulates vehicle range at different HEV speeds for Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) and Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) power sources. The greatest anticipated benefit derived from the model analysis relates to velocities ranging from 20 km/h to 30 km/h, although the optimal HEV velocity in an urban area is in the range of 30 km/h to 40 km/h. The results indicate that this conversion of Electric Vehicle (EV) to HEV would bring a benefit of 87.4% in terms of vehicle range in urban areas. Therefore, the result of the conversion in this case is a vehicle with sub-optimal characteristics, which are nevertheless very close to optimal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hybrid Vehicles and Automotive System Design)
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Article
Biological Durability of Acetylated Hornbeam Wood with Soil Contact in Hungary
Forests 2022, 13(7), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13071003 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
This test aimed to discover if industrially acetylated hornbeam can tolerate real-field conditions in Hungary, where various microorganisms can attack the wood separately or cooperatively. Untreated samples accompanied the modified wood to assess the degradation capacity of the soil. The test also focused [...] Read more.
This test aimed to discover if industrially acetylated hornbeam can tolerate real-field conditions in Hungary, where various microorganisms can attack the wood separately or cooperatively. Untreated samples accompanied the modified wood to assess the degradation capacity of the soil. The test also focused on weather parameters, the Scheffer index, and soil properties. The untreated stakes showed insect damage, soft rot decay, white rot decay, wasp stripping, moss, and cracks. All of the beech and hornbeam stakes broke after 3.5 years, and the last Scots pine sapwood stakes broke after 6 years. To date, acetylated hornbeam exhibits stronger resistance than untreated hornbeam, beech, and Scots pine sapwood. The acetylated hornbeam stakes showed no decay after 6 years of exposure, and they became dry shortly after being taken from the soil. Acetylated hornbeam stake number 7 had superficial brown rot decay after 18 months, which gradually worsened over the years. The Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis revealed that this stake had lower acetyl content. It was associated with hornbeam wood; it had a wet pocket or a part that was not as permeable and achieved a lower grade of acetylation. Full article
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Article
Mechanical Properties of Prefabricated Cold-Formed Steel Stud Wall Panels Sheathed with Fireproof Phenolic Boards under Out-of-Plane Loading
Buildings 2022, 12(7), 897; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12070897 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
In this paper, new prefabricated cold-formed light-gauge steel stud wall panels sheathed with fireproof phenolic boards, which are fabricated by connecting the steel studs and the boards by using structural silicone sealant, was proposed. The proposed prefabricated wall has a good fireproof performance [...] Read more.
In this paper, new prefabricated cold-formed light-gauge steel stud wall panels sheathed with fireproof phenolic boards, which are fabricated by connecting the steel studs and the boards by using structural silicone sealant, was proposed. The proposed prefabricated wall has a good fireproof performance and can be manufactured rapidly in a factory. Full-scale tests on the mechanical properties of the prefabricated wall system, consisting of the prefabricated wall and the connection between the wall and the surrounding steel structure under out-of-plane loading, were performed. A total of six specimens were tested considering the effects of the arrangement of the cold-formed light-gauge steel studs, the shape and thickness of the steel connector for jointing the prefabricated wall panel and the surrounding steel structure, and the number of self-tapping screws connecting the surrounding structure. The results show that the out-of-plane stiffness of the prefabricated wall system in the elastic stress state under out-of-plane loading can be increased by increasing the number of self-tapping screws, increasing the thickness of the steel connector, or adopting the symmetrical arrangement of the light-gauge steel studs. The out-of-plane stiffness of the prefabricated wall system and the stiffness contribution of a single special-shaped steel connector can both be increased by increasing the number of special-shaped steel connectors. Furthermore, the special-shaped steel connector is more beneficial to a greater out-of-plane stiffness than the L-shaped steel connector. In addition, the theoretical calculation methods for deflection of the proposed prefabricated wall and flexural stress of the CFS C-channel stud considering the fireproof phenolic board sheathing effect under elastic state were proposed. The predicted results using the proposed method are compared with test results and the predicted results by using other methods. It was found that the predicted results by using the proposed method agreed better with the test results compared with the predicted results using the transformed-section method or the reduced stiffness method, which demonstrates the acceptability and accuracy of the proposed mothed for calculating deflection of the proposed prefabricated wall and flexural stress of the CFS C-channel stud. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cold-Formed Steel Structures)
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Article
Reduced DNA Repair Capacity in Prostate Cancer Patients: A Phenotypic Approach Using the CometChip
Cancers 2022, 14(13), 3117; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133117 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Prostate cancer (PCa) accounts for 22% of the new cases diagnosed in Hispanic men in the US. Among Hispanics, Puerto Rican (PR) men show the highest PCa-specific mortality. Epidemiological studies using functional assays in lymphocytes have demonstrated that having low DRC is a [...] Read more.
Prostate cancer (PCa) accounts for 22% of the new cases diagnosed in Hispanic men in the US. Among Hispanics, Puerto Rican (PR) men show the highest PCa-specific mortality. Epidemiological studies using functional assays in lymphocytes have demonstrated that having low DRC is a significant risk factor for cancer development. The aim of this study was to evaluate variations in DRC in PR men with PCa. Lymphocytes were isolated from blood samples from PCa cases (n = 41) and controls (n = 14) recruited at a hospital setting. DRC levels through the nucleotide excision repair (NER) pathway were measured with the CometChip using UVC as a NER inductor. The mean DRC for controls and PCa cases were 20.66% (±7.96) and 8.41 (±4.88), respectively (p < 0.001). The relationship between DRC and tumor aggressiveness was also evaluated. Additional comparisons were performed to evaluate the contributions of age, anthropometric measurements, and prostate-specific antigen levels to the DRC. This is the first study to apply the CometChip in a clinical cancer study. Our results represent an innovative step in the development of a blood-based screening test for PCa based on DRC levels. Our data also suggest that DRC levels may have the potential to discriminate between aggressive and indolent cases. Full article
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Article
Paneth Cells Regulate Lymphangiogenesis under Control of Microbial Signals during Experimental Portal Hypertension
Biomedicines 2022, 10(7), 1503; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10071503 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Intestinal microbiota can modulate portal hypertension through the regulation of the intestinal vasculature. We have recently demonstrated that bacterial antigens activate Paneth cells (PCs) to secrete products that regulate angiogenesis and portal hypertension. In the present work we hypothesized that Paneth cells regulate [...] Read more.
Intestinal microbiota can modulate portal hypertension through the regulation of the intestinal vasculature. We have recently demonstrated that bacterial antigens activate Paneth cells (PCs) to secrete products that regulate angiogenesis and portal hypertension. In the present work we hypothesized that Paneth cells regulate the development of lymphatic vessels under the control of intestinal microbiota during experimental portal hypertension. We used a mouse model of inducible PCs depletion (Math1Lox/LoxVilCreERT2) and performed partial portal vein ligation (PPVL) to induce portal hypertension. After 14 days, we performed mRNA sequencing and evaluated the expression of specific lymphangiogenic genes in small intestinal tissue. Intestinal and mesenteric lymphatic vessels proliferation was assessed by immunohistochemistry. Intestinal organoids with or without PCs were exposed to pathogen-associated molecular patterns, and conditioned media (CM) was used to stimulate human lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs). The lymphangiogenic activity of stimulated LECs was assessed by tube formation and wound healing assays. Secretome analysis of CM was performed using label-free proteomics quantification methods. Intestinal immune cell infiltration was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. We observed that the intestinal gene expression pattern was altered by the absence of PCs only in portal hypertensive mice. We found a decreased expression of specific lymphangiogenic genes in the absence of PCs during portal hypertension, resulting in a reduced proliferation of intestinal and mesenteric lymphatic vessels as compared to controls. In vitro analyses demonstrated that lymphatic tube formation and endothelial wound healing responses were reduced significantly in LECs treated with CM from organoids without PCs. Secretome analyses of CM revealed that PCs secrete proteins that are involved in lipid metabolism, cell growth and proliferation. Additionally, intestinal macrophages infiltrated the ileal mucosa and submucosa of mice with and without Paneth cells in response to portal hypertension. Our results suggest that intestinal microbiota signals stimulate Paneth cells to secrete factors that modulate the intestinal and mesenteric lymphatic vessels network during experimental portal hypertension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lymphatic Function and Dysfunction: From Physiopathology to Therapy)
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Article
Effect of Cold Rolling on the Microstructural Evolution and Mechanical Properties of Fe-25Mn-3Si-3Al-0.3Nb TWIP Steel
Coatings 2022, 12(7), 900; https://doi.org/10.3390/coatings12070900 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The microstructural evolution, deformation mechanism and mechanical properties of Fe-25Mn-3Si-3Al-0.3Nb steel in the process of cold rolling were studied by optical microscopy, scanning microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, tensile testing and microhardness tests. A high-density dislocation structure and a small number of [...] Read more.
The microstructural evolution, deformation mechanism and mechanical properties of Fe-25Mn-3Si-3Al-0.3Nb steel in the process of cold rolling were studied by optical microscopy, scanning microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffractometry, tensile testing and microhardness tests. A high-density dislocation structure and a small number of strain-induced twins appeared in the microstructure of the steel at 30% strain. At 50% strain, the strain-induced twins in austenite increased conspicuously, and the lamella thickness of the twins decreased. At 70% strain, the original grains were clearly refined by the micro-shear bands and twinning intersections to form a large number of sub-grains, and some sub-grains were at the nanoscale. The steel still remained a single-phase austenite during cold rolling even if the strain was as high as 70%. The plastic deformation mechanism of the steel was not changed through the addition of 0.3 wt.% Nb, and both dislocation slipping and twinning were still the fundamental plastic deformation mechanisms for the steel. Furthermore, cold rolling led to a drastic rise in the strength and hardness of the steel, but a remarkable decrease in the elongation. The characteristics of micropore aggregation fractures could always be observed on the fracture surface of static tensile specimens with various strains. Full article
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Article
The Use of Quercetin to Improve the Antioxidant and Regenerative Properties of Frozen or Cryopreserved Human Amniotic Membrane
Antioxidants 2022, 11(7), 1250; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11071250 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The biological properties of the human amniotic membrane (HAM) and its characteristic ability to be a reservoir of growth factors promoting wound healing make it an ideal biological dressing for the treatment of different clinical conditions, such as burns and non-healing wounds. However, [...] Read more.
The biological properties of the human amniotic membrane (HAM) and its characteristic ability to be a reservoir of growth factors promoting wound healing make it an ideal biological dressing for the treatment of different clinical conditions, such as burns and non-healing wounds. However, the application of a preservation method on the HAM is required during banking to maintain biological tissue properties and to ensure the release overtime of protein content for its final clinical effectiveness after application on the wound bed. Although cryopreservation and freezing are methods widely used to maintain tissue properties, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are produced within tissue cellular components during their switching from frozen to thawed state. Consequently, these methods can lead to oxidative stress-induced cell injury, affecting tissue regenerative properties and its final clinical effectiveness. Taking advantage of the antioxidant activity of the natural compound quercetin, we used it to improve the antioxidant and regenerative properties of frozen or cryopreserved HAM tissues. In particular, we evaluated the oxidative damage (lipid peroxidation, malondialdehyde) as well as the regenerative/biological properties (bFGF growth factor release, wound healing closure, structure, and viability) of HAM tissue after its application. We identified the effectiveness of quercetin on both preservation methods to reduce oxidative damage, as well as its ability to enhance regenerative properties, while maintaining the unaltered structure and viability of HAM tissue. The use of quercetin described in this study appears able to counteract the side effects of cryopreservation and freezing methods related to oxidative stress, enhancing the regenerative properties of HAM. However, further investigations will need to be performed, starting from these promising results, to identify its beneficial effect when applied on burns or non-healing wounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The 10th Anniversary of Antioxidants: Past, Present and Future)
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Article
The Prognostic Value of the Circulating Tumor Cell-Based Four mRNA Scoring System: A New Non-Invasive Setting for the Management of Bladder Cancer
Cancers 2022, 14(13), 3118; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14133118 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Bladder cancer (BC) is one of the most expensive lifetime cancers to treat because of the high recurrence rate, repeated surgeries, and long-term cystoscopy monitoring and treatment. The lack of an accurate classification system predicting the risk of recurrence or progression leads to [...] Read more.
Bladder cancer (BC) is one of the most expensive lifetime cancers to treat because of the high recurrence rate, repeated surgeries, and long-term cystoscopy monitoring and treatment. The lack of an accurate classification system predicting the risk of recurrence or progression leads to the search for new biomarkers and strategies. Our pilot study aimed to identify a prognostic gene signature in circulating tumor cells (CTCs) isolated by ScreenCell devices from muscle invasive and non-muscle invasive BC patients. Through the PubMed database and Cancer Genome Atlas dataset, a panel of 15 genes modulated in BC with respect to normal tissues was selected. Their expression was evaluated in CTCs and thanks to the univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis, EGFR, TRPM4, TWIST1, and ZEB1 were recognized as prognostic biomarkers. Thereafter, by using the risk score model, we demonstrated that this 4-gene signature significantly grouped patients into high- and low-risk in terms of recurrence free survival (HR = 2.704, 95% CI = 1.010–7.313, Log-rank p < 0.050). Overall, we identified a new prognostic signature that directly impacted the prediction of recurrence, improving the choice of the best treatment for BC patients. Full article
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Article
Does the Moderating Role of Financial Development on Energy Utilization Contributes to Environmental Sustainability in GCC Economies?
Energies 2022, 15(13), 4663; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15134663 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
This present research examined the association among carbon emissions, financial development, economic growth, natural resources, and energy usage in GCC nations within the environmental Kuznets curve framework by applying the datasets between 1995 and 2019. It used some empirical approaches, including second-generation unit [...] Read more.
This present research examined the association among carbon emissions, financial development, economic growth, natural resources, and energy usage in GCC nations within the environmental Kuznets curve framework by applying the datasets between 1995 and 2019. It used some empirical approaches, including second-generation unit roots and cointegration methods and method of moments quantile regression (MMQR). We detected a cointegrating interconnection between carbon emissions and financial development, energy usage, economic growth, natural resources, and squared of economic growth in the long term. Furthermore, the findings of the MMQR reveal that economic growth, financial development, energy usage, and natural resources degrade the environment, as well as proving the presence of the EKC hypothesis. Moreover, the results also demonstrated that financial development greatly moderates energy usage in order to attain environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the fixed-effect ordinary least squares, fully modified ordinary least squares, and dynamic ordinary least squares were also used in the study as a soundness check of the MMQR approach. The path of causality moves from financial development, economic growth, and squared of economic growth to CO2 emissions. Lastly, the causality direction runs from carbon emissions to energy usage. Based on these findings, the energy mix of the region must be revised by ensuring the promotion of sustainable energy sources and other energy-efficient technology in order to attain the quality of the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Behavioral Models for Energy with Applications)
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Concept Paper
Reconsidering the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Biomedicines 2022, 10(7), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10071505 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Though likely the most common clinical diagnosis in reproductive medicine, the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is still only poorly understood. Based on previously published research, and here newly presented supportive evidence, we propose to replace the four current phenotypes of PCOS with only [...] Read more.
Though likely the most common clinical diagnosis in reproductive medicine, the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is still only poorly understood. Based on previously published research, and here newly presented supportive evidence, we propose to replace the four current phenotypes of PCOS with only two entities—a hyperandrogenic phenotype (H-PCOS) including current phenotypes A, B, and C, and a hyper-/hypoandrogenic phenotype (HH-PCOS), representing the current phenotype D under the Rotterdam criteria. Reclassifying PCOS in this way likely establishes two distinct genomic entities, H-PCOS, primarily characterized by metabolic abnormalities (i.e., metabolic syndrome) and a hyperandrogenic with advancing age becoming a hypoandrogenic phenotype (HH-PCOS), in approximately 85% characterized by a hyperactive immune system mostly due to autoimmunity and inflammation. We furthermore suggest that because of hypoandrogenism usually developing after age 35, HH-PCOS at that age becomes relatively treatment resistant to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and offer in a case-controlled study evidence that androgen supplementation overcomes this resistance. In view of highly distinct clinical presentations of H-PCOS and HH-PCOS, polygenic risk scores should be able to differentiate between these 2 PCOS phenotypes. At least one clustering analysis in the literature is supportive of this concept. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Research on Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS))
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Article
Cysteine Oxidation Promotes Dimerization/Oligomerization of Circadian Protein Period 2
Biomolecules 2022, 12(7), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12070892 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The molecular circadian clock is based on a transcriptional/translational feedback loop in which the stability and half-life of circadian proteins is of importance. Cysteine residues of proteins are subject to several redox reactions leading to S-thiolation and disulfide bond formation, altering protein stability [...] Read more.
The molecular circadian clock is based on a transcriptional/translational feedback loop in which the stability and half-life of circadian proteins is of importance. Cysteine residues of proteins are subject to several redox reactions leading to S-thiolation and disulfide bond formation, altering protein stability and function. In this work, the ability of the circadian protein period 2 (PER2) to undergo oxidation of cysteine thiols was investigated in HEK-293T cells. PER2 includes accessible cysteines susceptible to oxidation by nitroso cysteine (CysNO), altering its stability by decreasing its monomer form and subsequently increasing PER2 homodimers and multimers. These changes were reversed by treatment with 2-mercaptoethanol and partially mimicked by hydrogen peroxide. These results suggest that cysteine oxidation can prompt PER2 homodimer and multimer formation in vitro, likely by S-nitrosation and disulphide bond formation. These kinds of post-translational modifications of PER2 could be part of the redox regulation of the molecular circadian clock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Redox Regulation of Protein Functioning)
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Article
CCL22-Polarized TAMs to M2a Macrophages in Cervical Cancer In Vitro Model
Cells 2022, 11(13), 2027; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11132027 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Macrophages are dynamic cells susceptible to the local microenvironment which includes tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in cancers. TAMs are a collection of heterogeneous macrophages, including M1 and M2 subtypes, shaped by various activation modes and labeled with various markers in different tumors. CCL22+-infiltrating cells [...] Read more.
Macrophages are dynamic cells susceptible to the local microenvironment which includes tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) in cancers. TAMs are a collection of heterogeneous macrophages, including M1 and M2 subtypes, shaped by various activation modes and labeled with various markers in different tumors. CCL22+-infiltrating cells are thought to be significantly associated with the prognosis of cervical cancer patients. Moreover, CCL22 is an established marker of M2a macrophages. Although the phenotypic identification of M1 and M2 macrophages is well established in mice and human macrophages cultured in a medium with fetal calf serum (FCS), fewer studies have focused on M2 subtypes. In addition, the question of whether CCL22 affects polarization of M2a macrophages remains unanswered. This study constructed a co-culture system to shape TAMs in vitro. We found that CCL22 was mainly secreted by TAMs but not cervical cancer cell lines. Human peripheral blood monocytes were differentiated into uncommitted macrophages (M0) and then polarized to M1, M2a, M2b, and M2c macrophages using LPS plus IFNr, IL-4, LPS plus IL1β, and IL-10, respectively. Using flowcytometry, we found CD80++ was the marker of M1 and M2b, CD206++ was the marker of M2a, and CD163++ was the marker of M2c, compared with M0 macrophages. By regulating CCL22, we found that the mean fluorescence intensity (MFI) of CD206 in TAMs was significantly affected compared to the control group. Therefore, CCL22 could polarize TAMs of cervical cancer toward M2a macrophages. In conclusion, our study revealed that CCL22 could be a therapeutic target for cervical cancer, which might be because of its role in regulating macrophage polarization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tumor Immune Microenvironment for Effective Therapy)
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Article
A Method of Pruning and Random Replacing of Known Values for Comparing Missing Data Imputation Models for Incomplete Air Quality Time Series
Appl. Sci. 2022, 12(13), 6465; https://doi.org/10.3390/app12136465 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
The data obtained from air quality monitoring stations, which are used to carry out studies using data mining techniques, present the problem of missing values. This paper describes a research work on missing data imputation. Among the most common methods, the method that [...] Read more.
The data obtained from air quality monitoring stations, which are used to carry out studies using data mining techniques, present the problem of missing values. This paper describes a research work on missing data imputation. Among the most common methods, the method that best imputes values to the available data set is analysed. It uses an algorithm that randomly replaces all known values in a dataset once with imputed values and compares them with the actual known values, forming several subsets. Data from seven stations in the Silesian region (Poland) were analyzed for hourly concentrations of four pollutants: nitrogen dioxide (NO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particles of 10 μm or less (PM10) and sulphur dioxide (SO2) for five years. Imputations were performed using linear imputation (LI), predictive mean matching (PMM), random forest (RF), k-nearest neighbours (k-NN) and imputation by Kalman smoothing on structural time series (Kalman) methods and performance evaluations were performed. Once the comparison method was validated, it was determine that, in general, Kalman structural smoothing and the linear imputation methods best fitted the imputed values to the data pattern. It was observed that each imputation method behaves in an analogous way for the different stations The variables with the best results are NO2 and SO2. The UMI method is the worst imputer for missing values in the data sets. Full article
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Article
Lafora Disease and Alpha-Synucleinopathy in Two Adult Free-Ranging Moose (Alces alces) Presenting with Signs of Blindness and Circling
Animals 2022, 12(13), 1633; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12131633 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Lafora disease is an autosomal recessive glycogen-storage disorder resulting from an accumulation of toxic polyglucosan bodies (PGBs) in the central nervous system, which causes behavioral and neurologic symptoms in humans and other animals. In this case study, brains collected from two young adult [...] Read more.
Lafora disease is an autosomal recessive glycogen-storage disorder resulting from an accumulation of toxic polyglucosan bodies (PGBs) in the central nervous system, which causes behavioral and neurologic symptoms in humans and other animals. In this case study, brains collected from two young adult free-ranging moose (Alces alces) cows that were seemingly blind and found walking in circles were examined by light and electron microscopy. Microscopic analysis of the hippocampus of the brain revealed inclusion bodies resembling PGBs in the neuronal perikaryon, neuronal processes, and neuropil. These round inclusions measuring up to 30 microns in diameter were predominantly confined to the hippocampus region of the brain in both animals. The inclusions tested α-synuclein-negative by immunohistochemistry, α-synuclein-positive with PAS, GMS, and Bielschowsky’s staining; and diastase-resistant with central basophilic cores and faintly radiating peripheral lines. Ultrastructural examination of the affected areas of the hippocampus showed non-membrane-bound aggregates of asymmetrically branching filaments that bifurcated regularly, consistent with PGBs in both animals. Additionally, α-synuclein immunopositivity was noted in the different regions of the hippocampus with accumulations of small granules ultrastructurally distinct from PGBs and morphologically compatible with alpha-synucleinopathy (Lewy body). The apparent blindness found in these moose could be related to an injury associated with secondary bacterial invasion; however, an accumulation of neurotoxicants (PGBs and α-synuclein) in retinal ganglions cells could also be the cause. This is the first report demonstrating Lafora disease with concurrent alpha-synucleinopathy (Lewy body neuropathy) in a non-domesticated animal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Diseases)
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Review
You Eat How You Think: A Review on the Impact of Cognitive Styles on Food Perception and Behavior
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131886 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Sensory perception is understood to be a complex area of research that requires investigations from a variety of different perspectives. Although researchers have tried to better understand consumers’ perception of food, one area that has been minimally explored is how psychological cognitive theories [...] Read more.
Sensory perception is understood to be a complex area of research that requires investigations from a variety of different perspectives. Although researchers have tried to better understand consumers’ perception of food, one area that has been minimally explored is how psychological cognitive theories can help them explain consumer perceptions, behaviors, and decisions in food-related experiences. The concept of cognitive styles has existed for nearly a century, with the majority of cognitive style theories existing along a continuum with two bookends. Some of the more common theories such as individualist-collectivist, left-brain-right-brain, and convergent-divergent theories each offered their own unique insight into better understanding consumer behavior. However, these theories often focused only on niche applications or on specific aspects of cognition. More recently, the analytic-holistic cognitive style theory was developed to encompass many of these prior theoretical components and apply them to more general cognitive tendencies of individuals. Through applying the analytic-holistic theory and focusing on modern cultural psychology work, this review may allow researchers to be able to answer one of the paramount questions of sensory and consumer sciences: how and why do consumers perceive and respond to food stimuli the way that they do? Full article
Review
Ambivalent Roles of Oxidative Stress in Triangular Relationships among Arthropod Vectors, Pathogens and Hosts
Antioxidants 2022, 11(7), 1254; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11071254 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Blood-feeding arthropods, particularly ticks and mosquitoes are considered the most important vectors of arthropod-borne diseases affecting humans and animals. While feeding on blood meals, arthropods are exposed to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) since heme and other blood components can induce [...] Read more.
Blood-feeding arthropods, particularly ticks and mosquitoes are considered the most important vectors of arthropod-borne diseases affecting humans and animals. While feeding on blood meals, arthropods are exposed to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) since heme and other blood components can induce oxidative stress. Different ROS have important roles in interactions among the pathogens, vectors, and hosts. ROS influence various metabolic processes of the arthropods and some have detrimental effects. In this review, we investigate the various roles of ROS in these arthropods, including their innate immunity and the homeostasis of their microbiomes, that is, how ROS are utilized to maintain the balance between the natural microbiota and potential pathogens. We elucidate the mechanism of how ROS are utilized to fight off invading pathogens and how the arthropod-borne pathogens use the arthropods’ antioxidant mechanism to defend against these ROS attacks and their possible impact on their vector potentials or their ability to acquire and transmit pathogens. In addition, we describe the possible roles of ROS in chemical insecticide/acaricide activity and/or in the development of resistance. Overall, this underscores the importance of the antioxidant system as a potential target for the control of arthropod and arthropod-borne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxidative Stress in Parasites)
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Article
In Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease Advanced Glycation End-Products Receptors Isoforms (sRAGE and esRAGE) Are Associated with Malnutrition
Antioxidants 2022, 11(7), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11071253 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Background: in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the inflammatory and pro-oxidant milieu may contribute to malnutrition development. In this study, we investigated the relationship between inflammation, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and their receptors (RAGEs) with malnutrition in CKD patients. Methods: we evaluated [...] Read more.
Background: in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the inflammatory and pro-oxidant milieu may contribute to malnutrition development. In this study, we investigated the relationship between inflammation, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), and their receptors (RAGEs) with malnutrition in CKD patients. Methods: we evaluated 117 patients. AGEs were quantified by fluorescence intensity using a fluorescence spectrophotometer, soluble RAGEs isoforms, and inflammatory interleukins by ELISA. Malnutrition was assessed by a malnutrition inflammation score. Results: mean age was 80 ± +11 years, eGFR was 25 ± +11 mL/min/1.73 m2 and BMI was 28 ± 5 Kg/m2. Malnourished individuals were older, had lower estimated protein intake (nPCR 0.65 ± 0.2 vs. 0.8 ± 0.2 vs. 0.8 ± 0.3, p = 0.01), higher C reactive protein (CRP 0.6 ± 1 vs. 0.6 ± 0.7 vs. 0.17 ± 0.13, p = 0.02) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNF α 14.7 ± 8.7 vs. 15.6 ± 8 vs. 11.8 ± 5.8, p = 0.029). Malnourished patients had higher sRAGE (2813 ± 1477 vs. 2158 ± 1236 vs. 2314 ± 1115, p = 0.035) and esRAGE (648 [408–1049] vs. 476 [355–680] vs. 545 [380–730] p = 0.033). In the multivariate analysis, only sRAGE maintained its association with malnutrition (p = 0.02) independently of aging and inflammation. Conclusions: in CKD patients, RAGEs isoforms, but not AGEs, are associated with malnutrition, irrespective of systemic inflammation, aging, and renal function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Role of Redox Signaling in Kidney Physiology and Kidney Disease)
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Article
Complex Network Model Reveals the Impact of Inspiratory Muscle Pre-Activation on Interactions among Physiological Responses and Muscle Oxygenation during Running and Passive Recovery
Biology 2022, 11(7), 963; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology11070963 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Although several studies have focused on the adaptations provided by inspiratory muscle (IM) training on physical demands, the warm-up or pre-activation (PA) of these muscles alone appears to generate positive effects on physiological responses and performance. This study aimed to understand the effects [...] Read more.
Although several studies have focused on the adaptations provided by inspiratory muscle (IM) training on physical demands, the warm-up or pre-activation (PA) of these muscles alone appears to generate positive effects on physiological responses and performance. This study aimed to understand the effects of inspiratory muscle pre-activation (IMPA) on high-intensity running and passive recovery, as applied to active subjects. In an original and innovative investigation of the impacts of IMPA on high-intensity running, we proposed the identification of the interactions among physical characteristics, physiological responses and muscle oxygenation in more and less active muscle to a running exercise using a complex network model. For this, fifteen male subjects were submitted to all-out 30 s tethered running efforts preceded or not preceded by IMPA, composed of 2 × 15 repetitions (1 min interval between them) at 40% of the maximum individual inspiratory pressure using a respiratory exercise device. During running and recovery, we monitored the physiological responses (heart rate, blood lactate, oxygen saturation) and muscle oxygenation (in vastus lateralis and biceps brachii) by wearable near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Thus, we investigated four scenarios: two in the tethered running exercise (with or without IMPA) and two built into the recovery process (after the all-out 30 s), under the same conditions. Undirected weighted graphs were constructed, and four centrality metrics were analyzed (Degree, Betweenness, Eigenvector, and Pagerank). The IMPA (40% of the maximum inspiratory pressure) was effective in increasing the peak and mean relative running power, and the analysis of the complex networks advanced the interpretation of the effects of physiological adjustments related to the IMPA on exercise and recovery. Centrality metrics highlighted the nodes related to muscle oxygenation responses (in more and less active muscles) as significant to all scenarios, and systemic physiological responses mediated this impact, especially after IMPA application. Our results suggest that this respiratory strategy enhances exercise, recovery and the multidimensional approach to understanding the effects of physiological adjustments on these conditions. Full article
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Review
Social Humanoid Robots for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Review of Modalities, Indications, and Pitfalls
Children 2022, 9(7), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/children9070953 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Robot-assisted therapy (RAT) is a promising area of translational neuroscience for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It has been widely demonstrated that this kind of advanced technological tool provides a reliable and efficient intervention for promoting social skills and communication in children [...] Read more.
Robot-assisted therapy (RAT) is a promising area of translational neuroscience for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It has been widely demonstrated that this kind of advanced technological tool provides a reliable and efficient intervention for promoting social skills and communication in children with ASD. This type of treatment consists of a human-assisted social robot acting as an intervention mediator to increase competence and skills in children with ASD. Several social robots have been validated in the literature; however, an explicit technical comparison among devices has never been performed. For this reason, in this article, we provide an overview of the main commercial humanoid robots employed for ASD children with an emphasis on indications for use, pitfalls to be avoided, and recent advances. We conclude that, in the near future, a new generation of devices with high levels of mobility, availability, safety, and acceptability should be designed for improving the complex triadic interaction among teachers, children, and robots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Autism and Children)
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Article
Evaluation of Adipose Tissue Zinc-Alpha 2-Glycoprotein Gene Expression and Its Relationship with Metabolic Status and Bariatric Surgery Outcomes in Patients with Class III Obesity
Biomedicines 2022, 10(7), 1502; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines10071502 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Zinc-α2 glycoprotein (ZAG) is an adipokine involved in adipocyte metabolism with potential implications in the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) ZAG expression and metabolic parameters in patients with class [...] Read more.
Zinc-α2 glycoprotein (ZAG) is an adipokine involved in adipocyte metabolism with potential implications in the pathogenesis of metabolic disorders. Our aim was to evaluate the relationship between visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) ZAG expression and metabolic parameters in patients with class III obesity, along with the impact of basal ZAG expression on short- and medium-term outcomes related to bariatric surgery. 41 patients with class III obesity who underwent bariatric surgery were included in this study. ZAG gene expression was quantified in SAT and VAT. Patients were classified into two groups according to SAT and VAT ZAG percentile. Anthropometric and biochemical variables were obtained before and 15 days, 45 days, and 1 year after surgery. The lower basal SAT ZAG expression percentile was associated with higher weight and waist circumference, while the lower basal VAT ZAG expression percentile was associated with higher weight, waist circumference, insulin, insulin resistance, and the presence of metabolic syndrome. Basal SAT ZAG expression was inversely related to weight loss at 45 days after surgery, whereas no associations were found between basal VAT ZAG expression and weight loss after surgery. Additionally, a negative association was observed between basal SAT and VAT ZAG expression and the decrease of gamma-glutamyl transferase after bariatric surgery. Therefore, lower SAT and VAT ZAG expression levels were associated with an adverse metabolic profile. However, this fact did not seem to confer worse bariatric surgery-related outcomes. Further research is needed to assess the clinical significance of the role of ZAG expression levels in the dynamics of hepatic enzymes after bariatric surgery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Adipogenesis and Adipose Tissue Metabolism)
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Article
Stone Fruit Seed: A Source of Renewable Fuel for Transport
Energies 2022, 15(13), 4667; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15134667 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
This study investigated the suitability of stone fruit seed as a source of biodiesel for transport. Stone fruit oil (SFO) was extracted from the seed and converted into biodiesel. The biodiesel yield of 95.75% was produced using the alkaline catalysed transesterification process with [...] Read more.
This study investigated the suitability of stone fruit seed as a source of biodiesel for transport. Stone fruit oil (SFO) was extracted from the seed and converted into biodiesel. The biodiesel yield of 95.75% was produced using the alkaline catalysed transesterification process with a methanol-to-oil molar ratio of 6:1, KOH catalyst concentration of 0.5 wt% (weight %), and a reaction temperature of 55 °C for 60 min. The physicochemical properties of the produced biodiesel were determined and found to be the closest match of standard diesel. The engine performance, emissions and combustion behaviour of a four-cylinder diesel engine fuelled with SFO biodiesel blends of 5%, 10% and 20% with diesel, v/v basis, were tested. The testing was performed at 100% engine load with speed ranging from 200 to 2400 rpm. The average brake specific fuel consumption and brake thermal efficiency of SFO blends were found to be 4.7% to 15.4% higher and 3.9% to 11.4% lower than those of diesel, respectively. The results also revealed that SFO biodiesel blends have marginally lower in-cylinder pressure and a higher heat release rate compared to diesel. The mass fraction burned results of SFO biodiesel blends were found to be slightly faster than those of diesel. The SFO biodiesel 5% blend produced about 1.9% higher NOx emissions and 17.4% lower unburnt HC with 23.4% lower particulate matter (PM) compared to diesel fuel. To summarise, SFO biodiesel blends are recommended as a suitable transport fuel for addressing engine emissions problems and improving combustion performance with a marginal sacrifice of engine efficiency. Full article
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Review
Biotechnological Approaches to Optimize the Production of Amaryllidaceae Alkaloids
Biomolecules 2022, 12(7), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/biom12070893 - 25 Jun 2022
Abstract
Amaryllidaceae alkaloids (AAs) are plant specialized metabolites with therapeutic properties exclusively produced by the Amaryllidaceae plant family. The two most studied representatives of the family are galanthamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor used as a treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and lycorine, displaying potent in vitro [...] Read more.
Amaryllidaceae alkaloids (AAs) are plant specialized metabolites with therapeutic properties exclusively produced by the Amaryllidaceae plant family. The two most studied representatives of the family are galanthamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor used as a treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and lycorine, displaying potent in vitro and in vivo cytotoxic and antiviral properties. Unfortunately, the variable level of AAs’ production in planta restricts most of the pharmaceutical applications. Several biotechnological alternatives, such as in vitro culture or synthetic biology, are being developed to enhance the production and fulfil the increasing demand for these AAs plant-derived drugs. In this review, current biotechnological approaches to produce different types of bioactive AAs are discussed. Full article
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