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Open AccessArticle
Potential Use of Environmental Biological Samples for Retrospective Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Dosimetry of Radiation Accidents
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6867; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196867 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Retrospective dosimetry is one of the most important tools of accident dosimetry for environmental dose estimation when large-scale radiological incidents and nuclear mass-casualty events occur. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) dosimetry is a physical method for the retrospective assessment of absorbed dose based on [...] Read more.
Retrospective dosimetry is one of the most important tools of accident dosimetry for environmental dose estimation when large-scale radiological incidents and nuclear mass-casualty events occur. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) dosimetry is a physical method for the retrospective assessment of absorbed dose based on the measurement of stable radiation-induced radicals in materials. Different from the fast disappearance of radials in aqueous systems, the radials can persist indefinitely in some organized matrices. Therefore, environmental materials contained in creatures from sea or land can be potentially used as environmental dosimeters for a retrospective dose analysis. This study aims to assess the EPR signals of free radicals from environmental biological samples, potentially for the retrospective dose estimation. The evaluated samples involve ox bone, cyclina shell, clam shell, chitin from squid, and human tissue (enamel and fingernail). First, we dehydrate and grind these materials to the powder with different sizes. Subsequently, all materials were irradiated with different doses ranging from 5 Gy to 50 Gy using 6 MV linear accelerator, and EPR spectra of these materials were obtained from the calculation of peak-to-peak amplitudes. The dose-response curve of EPR signals versus irradiated dose for the six materials shows good linearity (R2~0.99). For the grain-size experiment, the ox bone and tooth with 0.5 mm, the chitin with 0.1 mm, and the others with 1 mm have the strongest signal. For the storage temperature experiment, the optimal temperature of storage is at −20 °C for tooth, fingernail, ox bone, and chitin, at 45 °C for clam shell and cyclina shell where the signal fading is minimal. In conclusion, the developed dose-response curves of the six materials may potentially help a fast, rough retrospective dose reconstruction under the environment when radiation accidents occur. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Single Nucleotide ADA Genetic Variant Is Associated to Central Inflammation and Clinical Presentation in MS: Implications for Cladribine Treatment
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101152 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
In multiple sclerosis (MS), activated T and B lymphocytes and microglial cells release various proinflammatory cytokines, promoting neuroinflammation and negatively affecting the course of the disease. The immune response homeostasis is crucially regulated by the activity of the enzyme adenosine deaminase (ADA), as [...] Read more.
In multiple sclerosis (MS), activated T and B lymphocytes and microglial cells release various proinflammatory cytokines, promoting neuroinflammation and negatively affecting the course of the disease. The immune response homeostasis is crucially regulated by the activity of the enzyme adenosine deaminase (ADA), as evidenced in patients with genetic ADA deficiency and in those treated with cladribine tablets. We investigated in a group of patients with MS the associations of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of ADA gene with disease characteristics and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) inflammation. The SNP rs244072 of the ADA gene was determined in 561 patients with MS. Disease characteristics were assessed at the time of diagnosis; furthermore, in 258 patients, proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory molecules were measured in the CSF. We found a significant association between rs244072 and both clinical characteristics and central inflammation. In C-carriers, significantly enhanced disability and increased CSF levels of TNF, IL-5 and RANTES was observed. In addition, lower CSF levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 were found. Finally, the presence of the C allele was associated with a tendency of increased lymphocyte count. In MS patients, ADA SNP rs244072 is associated with CSF inflammation and disability. The selective targeting of the ADA pathway through cladribine tablet therapy could be effective in MS by acting on a pathogenically relevant biological mechanism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Genomics and Genetic Diseases)
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Open AccessArticle
Impacts of River Engineering on Multi-Decadal Water Discharge of the Mega-Changjiang River
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8060; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12198060 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Knowledge of river engineering impacts on water discharge is significant to flow guidelines and sustainable water resource managements for balancing human consumption and the natural environment. In this study, based on the collected multi-decadal discharge data at Yichang, Hankou, and Datong stations, we [...] Read more.
Knowledge of river engineering impacts on water discharge is significant to flow guidelines and sustainable water resource managements for balancing human consumption and the natural environment. In this study, based on the collected multi-decadal discharge data at Yichang, Hankou, and Datong stations, we determined that in October, Three Gorges Dam contributed 34.4%, 24.5%, and 18.7% to the discharge decrease in the upper, middle, and lower reach, respectively, while Gezhouba Dam contributed 14.5%, 10.7%, and 10%. Danjiangkou Reservoir caused the discharge ratio of Hanjiang to Changjiang to decline from 7.2% during 1954–1973 to 6.3% during 1973–2014. Owing to growing water withdrawal and consumption, we suggest that the distribution of water diversion and consumption should be regulated to prevent the probable occurrence of the severe issue of salt water intrusion in the Changjiang Estuary in 2028. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Music for Monkeys: Building Methods to Design with White-Faced Sakis for Animal-Driven Audio Enrichment Devices
Animals 2020, 10(10), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101768 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Computer systems for primates to listen to audio have been researched for a long time. However, there is a lack of investigations into what kind of sounds primates would prefer to listen to, how to quantify their preference, and how audio systems and [...] Read more.
Computer systems for primates to listen to audio have been researched for a long time. However, there is a lack of investigations into what kind of sounds primates would prefer to listen to, how to quantify their preference, and how audio systems and methods can be designed in an animal-focused manner. One pressing question is, if given the choice to control an audio system, would or could primates use such a system. In this study, we design an audio enrichment prototype and method for white-faced sakis that allows them to listen to different sounds in their regular zoo habitat while automatically logging their interactions. Focusing on animal-centred design, this prototype was built from low fidelity testing of different forms within the sakis’ enclosure and gathering requirements from those who care for and view the animal. This process of designing in a participatory manner with the sakis resulted in an interactive system that was shown to be viable, non-invasive, highly interactive, and easy to use in a zoo habitat. Recordings of the sakis’ interactions demonstrated that the sakis triggered traffic audio more than silence, rain sounds, zen, and electronic music. The data and method also highlight the benefit of a longitudinal study within the animals’ own environment to mitigate against the novelty effect and the day-to-day varying rhythm of the animals and the zoo environment. This study builds on animal-centred methods and design paradigms to allow the monitoring of the animals’ behaviours in zoo environments, demonstrating that useful data can be yielded from primate-controlled devices. For the Animal-Computer Interaction community, this is the first audio enrichment system used in zoo contexts within the animals own environment over a long period of time that gives the primate control over their interactions and records this automatically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal-Centered Computing)
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Open AccessArticle
Zinc Oxide Nanocomposites—Extracellular Synthesis, Physicochemical Characterization and Antibacterial Potential
Materials 2020, 13(19), 4347; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13194347 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
This research presents, for the first time, the potential of the Lactobacillus paracasei LC20 isolated from sweet whey as a novel, effective and accessible source for post-cultured ZnO nanocomposites synthesis. The obtained nanocomposites were subjected to comprehensive characterization by a broad spectrum of [...] Read more.
This research presents, for the first time, the potential of the Lactobacillus paracasei LC20 isolated from sweet whey as a novel, effective and accessible source for post-cultured ZnO nanocomposites synthesis. The obtained nanocomposites were subjected to comprehensive characterization by a broad spectrum of instrumental techniques. Results of spectroscopic and microscopic analysis confirmed the hexagonal crystalline structure of ZnO in the nanometer size. The dispersion stability of the obtained nanocomposites was determined based on the zeta potential (ZP) measurements—the average ZP value was found to be −29.15 ± 1.05 mV in the 7–9 pH range. The ZnO nanocomposites (NCs) demonstrated thermal stability up to 130 °C based on the results of thermogravimetric TGA/DTG) analysis. The organic deposit on the nanoparticle surface was recorded by spectroscopic analysis in the infrared range (FT-IR). Results of the spectrometric study exhibited nanostructure-assisted laser desorption/ionization effects and also pointed out the presence of organic deposits and, what is more, allowed us to identify the specific amino acids and peptides present on the ZnO NCs surfaces. In this context, mass spectrometry (MS) data confirmed the nano-ZnO formation mechanism. Moreover, fluorescence data showed an increase in fluorescence signal in the presence of nanocomposites designed for potential use as, e.g., biosensors. Despite ZnO NCs’ luminescent properties, they can also act as promising antiseptic agents against clinically relevant pathogens. Therefore, a pilot study on the antibacterial activity of biologically synthesized ZnO NCs was carried out against four strains (Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) by using MIC (minimal inhibitory concentration). Additionally, the colony forming units (CFU) assay was performed and quantified for all bacterial cells as the percentage of viable cells in comparison to a control sample (untreated culture) The nanocomposites were effective among three pathogens with MIC values in the range of 86.25–172.5 μg/mL and showed potential as a new type of, e.g., medical path or ointment formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Functional Materials for Biomedicinal Applications)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Comprehensive Study on Deep Learning-Based 3D Hand Pose Estimation Methods
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6850; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196850 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
The field of 3D hand pose estimation has been gaining a lot of attention recently, due to its significance in several applications that require human-computer interaction (HCI). The utilization of technological advances, such as cost-efficient depth cameras coupled with the explosive progress of [...] Read more.
The field of 3D hand pose estimation has been gaining a lot of attention recently, due to its significance in several applications that require human-computer interaction (HCI). The utilization of technological advances, such as cost-efficient depth cameras coupled with the explosive progress of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), has led to a significant boost in the development of robust markerless 3D hand pose estimation methods. Nonetheless, finger occlusions and rapid motions still pose significant challenges to the accuracy of such methods. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive study of the most representative deep learning-based methods in literature and propose a new taxonomy heavily based on the input data modality, being RGB, depth, or multimodal information. Finally, we demonstrate results on the most popular RGB and depth-based datasets and discuss potential research directions in this rapidly growing field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computer Graphics and Virtual Reality)
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Open AccessArticle
In Vitro Shear Bond Strength of Orthodontic Brackets after Enamel Conditioning with Acid Etching and Hydroabrasion
Dent. J. 2020, 8(4), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/dj8040108 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the shear bond strength and adhesive remnant index ARI) of orthodontic brackets following enamel conditioning with acid etching, hydroabrasion, and with both procedures. Thirty extracted human premolars were divided into three groups and received either [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the shear bond strength and adhesive remnant index ARI) of orthodontic brackets following enamel conditioning with acid etching, hydroabrasion, and with both procedures. Thirty extracted human premolars were divided into three groups and received either acid etching, hydroabrasion or both procedures. Orthodontic brackets were bonded with composite resin. Shear bond strength was tested with a tensile machine, then the teeth were observed under a stereomicroscope to evaluate ARI scores. The enamel morphology after each conditioning method was evaluated with scanning electron microscope imaging. A one-way ANOVA and a Kruskal−Wallis H test were used to compare the bond strength and the ARI scores among the three groups. Hydroabrasion alone produced shear bond strength values below clinical acceptability, while the combination of acid etching and hydroabrasion produced the highest values. The ARI scores in the hydroabrasion group were significantly different from the other groups. Hydroabrasion followed by acid etching was effective in increasing the shear bond strength of orthodontic brackets. Further in vivo studies are needed to confirm the cost and benefits of this technique. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oral Hygiene and Biofilms in Orthodontics)
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Open AccessReview
Therapeutic Applications of Solid Dispersions for Drugs and New Molecules: In Vitro and In Vivo Activities
Pharmaceutics 2020, 12(10), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/pharmaceutics12100933 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
This review aims to provide an overview of studies that address the use, in therapeutic applications, of solid dispersions (SDs) with biological activities in vitro and/or in vivo mainly made up of polymeric matrices, as well as to evaluate the bioactive activity of [...] Read more.
This review aims to provide an overview of studies that address the use, in therapeutic applications, of solid dispersions (SDs) with biological activities in vitro and/or in vivo mainly made up of polymeric matrices, as well as to evaluate the bioactive activity of their constituents. This bibliographic survey shows that the development of solid dispersions provides benefits in the physicochemical properties of bioactive compounds, which lead to an increase in their biological potential. However, despite the reports found on solid dispersions, there is still a need for biological assay-based studies, mainly in vivo, to assist in the investigation and to devise new applications. Therefore, studies based on such an approach are of great importance to enhance and extend the use of solid dispersions in the most diverse therapeutic applications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Citrus hystrix Extracts Protect Human Neuronal Cells against High Glucose-Induced Senescence
Pharmaceuticals 2020, 13(10), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/ph13100283 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Citrus hystrix (CH) is a beneficial plant utilized in traditional folk medicine to relieve various health ailments. The antisenescent mechanisms of CH extracts were investigated using human neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y). Phytochemical contents and antioxidant activities of CH extracts were analyzed using a gas [...] Read more.
Citrus hystrix (CH) is a beneficial plant utilized in traditional folk medicine to relieve various health ailments. The antisenescent mechanisms of CH extracts were investigated using human neuroblastoma cells (SH-SY5Y). Phytochemical contents and antioxidant activities of CH extracts were analyzed using a gas chromatograph–mass spectrometer (GC-MS), 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryl-hydrazyl-hydrate (DPPH) assay and 2,2′-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) assay. Effects of CH extracts on high glucose-induced cytotoxicity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, cell cycle arrest and cell cycle-associated proteins were assessed using a 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide tetrazolium (MTT) assay, non-fluorescent 2′, 7′-dichloro-dihydrofluorescein diacetate (H2DCFDA) assay, flow cytometer and Western blot. The extracts protected neuronal senescence by inhibiting ROS generation. CH extracts induced cell cycle progression by releasing senescent cells from the G1 phase arrest. As the Western blot confirmed, the mechanism involved in cell cycle progression was associated with the downregulation of cyclin D1, phospho-cell division cycle 2 (pcdc2) and phospho-Retinoblastoma (pRb) proteins. Furthermore, the Western blot showed that extracts increased Surtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression by increasing the phosphorylation of Glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Collectively, CH extracts could protect high glucose-induced human neuronal senescence by inducing cell cycle progression and up-regulation of SIRT1, thus leading to the improvement of the neuronal cell functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of COVID−19 on Female Sexual Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197152 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Introduction: Coronavirus disease (COVID−19), announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, recently has dominated people’s lifestyle. The impact of COVID−19 seems to be relevant to the sexual health as well. Methods: This prospective study was conducted on two occasions involving 764 [...] Read more.
Introduction: Coronavirus disease (COVID−19), announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, recently has dominated people’s lifestyle. The impact of COVID−19 seems to be relevant to the sexual health as well. Methods: This prospective study was conducted on two occasions involving 764 female patients between March and April 2020—before and during the time of social quarantine. The sexual function was assessed using the Polish version of the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Every patient filled out the survey concerning socio-demographic characteristics as well as the influence of SARS-CoV−2 pandemic on their lives. Results: The overall FSFI score before the pandemic was 30.1 ± 4.4 and changed to 25.8 ± 9.7 during it. Scores of every domain: desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain decreased as well (p < 0.001). There was statistically significant association between the workplace and the change of FSFI scores before and during COVID−19 pandemic (p < 0.01). We noticed the biggest decrease in FSFI score in the group of women who did not work at all (5.2 ± 9.9). Religion had a statistically important impact on level of anxiety (p < 0.01). Conclusion: The main finding of our study was the influence of COVID−19 pandemic on the quality of sexual lifestyle and frequency of intercourse among Polish women. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Obstetrics-Gynecology and Women's Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Barriers towards Sun Exposure and Strategies to Overcome These Barriers in Female Indoor Workers with Insufficient Vitamin D: A Qualitative Approach
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 2994; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102994 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is significant even in tropical countries such as Malaysia. Sun exposure is the primary source of vitamin D for most people due to limited intakes of food containing vitamin D and supplements. This study explored the perception [...] Read more.
The prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is significant even in tropical countries such as Malaysia. Sun exposure is the primary source of vitamin D for most people due to limited intakes of food containing vitamin D and supplements. This study explored the perception of barriers towards sun exposure and strategies to overcome these barriers among vitamin D insufficient women workers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Twenty-five female indoor workers with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D < 50 nmol/L participated in seven focus group discussions (FGDs). Barriers towards sun exposure were lack of accurate knowledge of vitamin D, health concern towards sun exposure, time constraints, desire to have fair and beautiful skin, sedentary lifestyle, indoor workplace, weather, lack of social support, living arrangement, safety concerns, and religious or cultural practices. The improvement strategies were classified into lifestyle changes and workplace opportunity for sun exposure. Public education on safe sun exposure to produce an optimal level of vitamin D is necessary. Future studies should evaluate the effectiveness of sunlight exposure program at workplace for the high-risk vitamin D deficiency group. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vitamin D in 2020: Stop or Not Yet?)
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Open AccessArticle
Significant Decreased Expressions of CaN, VEGF, SLC39A6 and SFRP1 in MDA-MB-231 Xenograft Breast Tumor Mice Treated with Moringa oleifera Leaves and Seed Residue (MOLSr) Extracts
Nutrients 2020, 12(10), 2993; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12102993 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Moringa oleifera is a miracle plant with many nutritional and medicinal properties. Chemopreventive values of the combined mixture of moringa leaves and seed residue (MOLSr) at different ratios (M1S9, M1S1 and M9S1) were investigated. MOLSr extracts were subjected to phytochemical screening, antioxidant assays, [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera is a miracle plant with many nutritional and medicinal properties. Chemopreventive values of the combined mixture of moringa leaves and seed residue (MOLSr) at different ratios (M1S9, M1S1 and M9S1) were investigated. MOLSr extracts were subjected to phytochemical screening, antioxidant assays, metabolite profiling and cytotoxic activity on the primary mammary epithelial cells (PMECs), non-malignant Chang’s liver cells and various human cancer cell lines (including breast, cervical, colon and liver cancer cell lines). The MOLSr ratio with the most potent cytotoxic activity was used in xenograft mice injected with MDA-MB-231 cells for in vivo tumorigenicity study as well as further protein and gene expression studies. M1S9, specifically composed of saponin and amino acid, retained the lowest antioxidant activity but the highest glucosinolate content as compared to other ratios. Cell viability decreased significantly in MCF-7 breast cancer cells and PMECs after treatment with M1S9. Solid tumor from MDA-MB-231 xenograft mice was inhibited by up to 64.5% at third week after treatment with high-dose M1S9. High-dose M1S9 significantly decreased the expression of calcineurin (CaN) and vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF) proteins as well as the secreted frizzled-related protein 1 (SFRP1) and solute carrier family 39 member 6 (SLC39A6) genes. This study provides new scientific evidence for the chemoprevention potential of MOLSr extracts in a breast cancer model; however, the precise mechanism warrants further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Phytochemicals and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Characteristics of the IVF Cycle that Contribute to the Incidence of Mosaicism
Genes 2020, 11(10), 1151; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes11101151 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Highly sensitive next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms applied to preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) allow the classification of mosaicism in trophectoderm biopsies. However, the incidence of mosaicism reported by these tests can be affected by a wide number of analytical, biological, and clinical [...] Read more.
Highly sensitive next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms applied to preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) allow the classification of mosaicism in trophectoderm biopsies. However, the incidence of mosaicism reported by these tests can be affected by a wide number of analytical, biological, and clinical factors. With the use of a proprietary algorithm for automated diagnosis of aneuploidy and mosaicism, we retrospectively analyzed a large series of 115,368 trophectoderm biopsies from 27,436 PGT-A cycles to determine whether certain biological factors and in vitro fertilization (IVF) practices influence the incidence of overall aneuploidy, whole uniform aneuploidy, mosaicism, and TE biopsies with only segmental aneuploidy. Older female and male patients showed higher rates of high-mosaic degree and whole uniform aneuploidies and severe oligozoospermic patients had higher rates of mosaicism and only segmental aneuploidies. Logistic regression analysis identified a positive effect of female age but a negative effect of embryo vitrification on the incidence of overall aneuploid embryos. Female age increased whole uniform aneuploidy rates but decreased only segmental aneuploidy and mosaicism, mainly low-mosaics. Conversely, higher ovarian response decreased whole uniform aneuploidy rates but increased only segmental aneuploidies. Finally, embryo vitrification decreased whole uniform aneuploidy rates but increased mosaicism, mainly low-mosaics, compared to PGT-A cycles with fresh oocytes. These results could be useful for clinician’s management of the IVF cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue EmbryoGenetics)
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Open AccessReview
Reanalysis of Gene Expression Profiles of CD4+ T Cells Treated with HIV-1 Latency Reversal Agents
Microorganisms 2020, 8(10), 1505; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8101505 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) causes a progressive depletion of CD4+ T cells, hampering immune function. Current experimental strategies to fight the virus focus on the reactivation of latent HIV-1 in the viral reservoir to make the virus detectable by the immune system, [...] Read more.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) causes a progressive depletion of CD4+ T cells, hampering immune function. Current experimental strategies to fight the virus focus on the reactivation of latent HIV-1 in the viral reservoir to make the virus detectable by the immune system, by searching for latency reversal agents (LRAs). We hypothesize that if common molecular pathways elicited by the presence of LRAs are known, perhaps new, more efficient, “shock-and-kill” strategies can be found. Thus, the objective of the present study is to re-evaluate RNA-Seq assays to find differentially expressed genes (DEGs) during latency reversal via transcriptome analysis. We selected six studies (45 samples altogether: 16 negative controls and 29 LRA-treated CD4+ T cells) and 11 LRA strategies through a systematic search in Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and PubMed databases. The raw reads were trimmed, counted, and normalized. Next, we detected consistent DEGs in these independent experiments. AZD5582, romidepsin, and suberanilohydroxamic acid (SAHA) were the LRAs that modulated most genes. We detected 948 DEGs shared by those three LRAs. Gene ontology analysis and cross-referencing with other sources of the literature showed enrichment of cell activation, differentiation and signaling, especially mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Rho-GTPases pathways. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Deep Learning Models Compression for Agricultural Plants
Appl. Sci. 2020, 10(19), 6866; https://doi.org/10.3390/app10196866 - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Deep learning has been successfully showing promising results in plant disease detection, fruit counting, yield estimation, and gaining an increasing interest in agriculture. Deep learning models are generally based on several millions of parameters that generate exceptionally large weight matrices. The latter requires [...] Read more.
Deep learning has been successfully showing promising results in plant disease detection, fruit counting, yield estimation, and gaining an increasing interest in agriculture. Deep learning models are generally based on several millions of parameters that generate exceptionally large weight matrices. The latter requires large memory and computational power for training, testing, and deploying. Unfortunately, these requirements make it difficult to deploy on low-cost devices with limited resources that are present at the fieldwork. In addition, the lack or the bad quality of connectivity in farms does not allow remote computation. An approach that has been used to save memory and speed up the processing is to compress the models. In this work, we tackle the challenges related to the resource limitation by compressing some state-of-the-art models very often used in image classification. For this we apply model pruning and quantization to LeNet5, VGG16, and AlexNet. Original and compressed models were applied to the benchmark of plant seedling classification (V2 Plant Seedlings Dataset) and Flavia database. Results reveal that it is possible to compress the size of these models by a factor of 38 and to reduce the FLOPs of VGG16 by a factor of 99 without considerable loss of accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deep Learning for Signal Processing Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Environmentally Friendly Oil on Ni-Ti Stent Wire Using Ultraprecision Magnetic Abrasive Finishing
Metals 2020, 10(10), 1309; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10101309 (registering DOI) - 30 Sep 2020
Abstract
Nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti) has been widely used to make shape-memory actuator wire for numerous medical industrial applications, with the result that it frequently comes into contact with the human body. High-quality and nontoxic surfaces of this material are therefore in high demand. We used [...] Read more.
Nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti) has been widely used to make shape-memory actuator wire for numerous medical industrial applications, with the result that it frequently comes into contact with the human body. High-quality and nontoxic surfaces of this material are therefore in high demand. We used a rotating magnetic field for an ultraprecision finishing of Ni-Ti stent wire biomaterials and evaluated the finishing technique’s efficacy with different processing oils. To create nontoxic Ni-Ti stent wire, the industrial processing oils that are generally used in the surface improvement process were exchanged for oils with low environmental impacts, and processed under rotating magnetic fields at different speeds and processing times. The processing performance of the different oils was compared and verified. The results show that ultraprecision magnetic abrasive finishing that uses olive and castor oil improves surface roughness by 66.67%, and 45.83%, respectively. SEM and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) analyses of the finished components (before and after processing) showed that the material composition of the Ni-Ti stent wire was not changed. Additionally, the magnetic abrasive tool composition was not found on the surface of the finished Ni-Ti stent wire. In conclusion, the environmentally friendly oil effectively improved the diameter of the Ni-Ti stent wire, demonstrating the utility of olive and castor oil in ultraprecision finishing of Ni-Ti stent wire biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Titanium and Its Alloys for Biomedical Applications)
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Open AccessReview
Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Total Knee Replacement in Patients <65 Years of Age—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3150; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103150 (registering DOI) - 29 Sep 2020
Abstract
An increasing number of total knee replacements (TKRs) are being performed in response to the growing burden of osteoarthritis. Patients <65 years of age represent the fastest growing group of TKR recipients and are expected to account for an increasing number of primary [...] Read more.
An increasing number of total knee replacements (TKRs) are being performed in response to the growing burden of osteoarthritis. Patients <65 years of age represent the fastest growing group of TKR recipients and are expected to account for an increasing number of primary and revision procedures. Concerns have been raised about the outcomes that can be expected by this age demographic who are more active, physically demanding, and have longer life expectancies compared to older TKR recipients. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the effectiveness of TKR for osteoarthritis in patients <65 years of age, compared to older individuals. A systematic search of Embase and Medline was conducted to identify studies which examined patient-reported outcomes measured using disease-specific and generic health-related quality of life instruments. Ten studies met our inclusion criteria and were included in this review. These studies comprised 1747 TKRs performed between 1977 and 2014. In the meta-analysis of two prospective studies (288 TKRs), patients <65 years of age were able to attain large and clinically meaningful improvements in pain, function, and quality of life. One of these studies (61 TKRs) suggested that patients <55 years of age attained a larger degree of improvement compared to older individuals. Results into the second postoperative decade were less certain, with some data suggesting a high prevalence of pain and patterns of functional decline. Further research is required to investigate longer-term outcomes following TKR for osteoarthritis in younger patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Research on Hip and Knee Arthroplasty)
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Open AccessArticle
Precipitates in Compact Strip Production (CSP) Process Non-Oriented Electrical Steel
Metals 2020, 10(10), 1301; https://doi.org/10.3390/met10101301 - 29 Sep 2020
Abstract
Nitrogen and Sulfur in non-oriented electrical steel would form precipitates, which would severely affect its magnetic properties. Precipitates in compact strip production (CSP) process non-oriented electrical steel were investigated using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The precipitation mechanism [...] Read more.
Nitrogen and Sulfur in non-oriented electrical steel would form precipitates, which would severely affect its magnetic properties. Precipitates in compact strip production (CSP) process non-oriented electrical steel were investigated using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The precipitation mechanism and influence on grain growth were analyzed experimentally and theoretically. The results showed that the main particles in steel were AlN, TiN, MnS, Cu2S, and fine oxide inclusions. The spherical or quasi-spherical of MnS and Cu2S were more liable to precipitate along grain boundaries. During the soaking process, the amount of MnS precipitated on the grain boundary was much larger than that of Cu2S. AlN and TiN in cubic shape precipitated inside grains or grain boundaries. Precipitates preferentially nucleated at grain boundaries, and TiN, MnS mainly precipitated during soaking. In the subsequent processes after soaking, AlN and Cu2S would precipitate unceasingly with the decrease in the average size. The distribution density, the volume fraction, and the average size of the precipitates in the annealed sheets were 9.08 × 1013/cm3, 0.06%, and 54.3 nm, respectively. Precipitates with the grain size of 30–500 nm hindered the grain growth, the grains with 100–300 nm played a major role in inhibiting the grain growth, and the grains with the grain size of 70–100 nm took the second place. Full article
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