Basilar-membrane responses to clicks were measured, using laser velocimetry, at a site of the chinchilla cochlea located about 3.5 mm from the oval window (characteristic frequency or CF: typically 8–10 kHz). They consisted of relatively undamped oscillations with instantaneous frequency that increased rapidly (time constant: 200 µs) from a few kHz to CF. Such frequency modulation was evident regardless of stimulus level and was also present post-mortem. Responses grew linearly at low stimulus levels, but exhibited a compressive nonlinearity at higher levels. Velocity-intensity functions were almost linear near response onset but became nonlinear within 100 µs. Slopes could be as low as 0.1–0.2 dB/dB at later times. Hence, the response envelopes became increasingly skewed at higher stimulus levels, with their center of gravity shifting to earlier times. The phases of near-CF response components changed by nearly 180 degrees as a function of time. At high stimulus levels, this generated cancellation notches and phase jumps in the frequency spectra. With increases in click level, sharpness of tuning deteriorated and the spectral maximum shifted to lower frequencies. Response phases also changed as a function of increasing stimulus intensity, exhibiting relative lags and leads at frequencies somewhat lower and higher than CF, respectively. In most respects, the magnitude and phase frequency spectra of responses to clicks closely resembled those of responses to tones. Post-mortem responses were similar to in vivo responses to very intense clicks.
The responses to sound of mammalian cochlear neurons exhibit many nonlinearities, some of which (such as two-tone rate suppression and intermodulation distortion) are highly frequency specific, being strongly tuned to the characteristic frequency (cf) of the neuron. With the goal of establishing the cochlear origin of these auditory-nerve nonlinearities, mechanical responses to clicks and to pairs of tones were studied in relatively healthy chinchilla cochleae at a basal site of the basilar membrane with cf of 8–10 kHz. Responses were also obtained in cochleae in which hair cell receptor potentials were reduced by systemic furosemide injection. Vibrations were recorded using either the Mössbauer technique or laser Doppler-shift velocimetry. Responses to tone pairs contained intermodulation distortion products whose magnitudes as a function of stimulus frequency and intensity were comparable to those of distortion products in cochlear afferent responses. Responses to cf tones could be selectively suppressed by tones with frequency either higher or lower than cf; in most respects, mechanical two-tone suppression resembled rate suppression in cochlear afferents. Responses to clicks displayed a cf-specific compressive nonlinearity, similar to that present in responses to single tones, which could be profoundly and selectively reduced by furosemide. The present findings firmly support the hypothesis that all cf-specific nonlinearities present in the auditory nerve originate in analogous phenomena of basilar membrane vibration. However, because of their lability, it is almost certain that the mechanical nonlinearities themselves originate in outer hair cells.
Basilar-membrane responses to single tones were measured, using laser velocimetry, at a site of the chinchilla cochlea located 3.5 mm from its basal end. Responses to low-level (<10–20 dB SPL) characteristic-frequency (CF) tones (9–10 kHz) grow linearly with stimulus intensity and exhibit gains of 66–76 dB relative to stapes motion. At higher levels, CF responses grow monotonically at compressive rates, with input–output slopes as low as 0.2 dB/dB in the intensity range 40–80 dB. Compressive growth, which is significantly correlated with response sensitivity, is evident even at stimulus levels higher than 100 dB. Responses become rapidly linear as stimulus frequency departs from CF. As a result, at stimulus levels >80 dB the largest responses are elicited by tones with frequency about 0.4–0.5 octave below CF. For stimulus frequencies well above CF, responses stop decreasing with increasing frequency: A plateau is reached. The compressive growth of responses to tones with frequency near CF is accompanied by intensity-dependent phase shifts. Death abolishes all nonlinearities, reduces sensitivity at CF by as much as 60–81 dB, and causes a relative phase lead at CF.
Responses to tones of a basilar membrane site and of auditory nerve fibers innervating neighboring inner hair cells were recorded in the same cochleae in chinchillas. At near-threshold stimulus levels, the frequency tuning of auditory nerve fibers closely paralleled that of basilar membrane displacement modified by high-pass filtering, indicating that only relatively minor signal transformations intervene between mechanical vibration and auditory nerve excitation. This finding establishes that cochlear frequency selectivity in chinchillas (and probably in mammals in general) is fully expressed in the vibrations of the basilar membrane and renders unnecessary additional (“second”) filters, such as those present in the hair cells of the cochleae of reptiles.
Basilar-membrane responses to white Gaussian noise were recorded using laser velocimetry at basal sites of the chinchilla cochlea with characteristic frequencies near 10 kHz and first-order Wiener kernels were computed by cross correlation of the stimuli and the responses. The presence or absence of minimum-phase behavior was explored by fitting the kernels with discrete linear filters with rational transfer functions. Excellent fits to the kernels were obtained with filters with transfer functions including zeroes located outside the unit circle, implying nonminimum-phase behavior. These filters accurately predicted basilar-membrane responses to other noise stimuli presented at the same level as the stimulus for the kernel computation. Fits with all-pole and other minimum-phase discrete filters were inferior to fits with nonminimum-phase filters. Minimum-phase functions predicted from the amplitude functions of the Wiener kernels by Hilbert transforms were different from the measured phase curves. These results, which suggest that basilar-membrane responses do not have the minimum-phase property, challenge the validity of models of cochlear processing, which incorporate minimum-phase behavior.
Autoregressive moving-average (ARMA) modeling; basilar membrane (BM); cochlea; Hilbert transform; minimum phase; Wiener kernels
Spatial magnitude and phase profiles for inner hair cell depolarization throughout the chinchilla cochlea were inferred from responses of auditory-nerve fibers to threshold- and moderate-level tones and tone complexes. Firing-rate profiles for frequencies ≤ 2 kHz are bimodal, with the major peak at the characteristic place and a secondary peak at 3–5 mm from the extreme base. Response-phase trajectories are synchronous with peak outward stapes displacement at the extreme cochlear base and accumulate 1.5-period lags at the characteristic places. High-frequency phase trajectories are very similar to the trajectories of basilar-membrane peak velocity toward scala tympani. Low-frequency phase trajectories undergo a polarity flip in a region, 6.5–9 mm from the cochlear base, where traveling-wave phase velocity attains a local minimum and a local maximum and where the onset latencies of near-threshold impulse responses computed from responses to near-threshold white noise exhibit a local minimum. That region is the same where frequency-threshold tuning curves of auditory-nerve fibers undergo a shape transition. Since depolarization of inner hair cells presumably indicates the mechanical stimulus to their stereocilia, the present results suggest that distinct low-frequency forward waves of organ of Corti vibration are launched simultaneously at the extreme base of the cochlea and at the 6.5–9 mm transition region, from where antiphasic reflections arise.
The T cell antigen receptors (TCR) of αβ and γδ T lymphocytes are believed to assemble in a similar fashion in humans. Firstly, αβ or γδ TCR chains incorporate a CD3δε dimer, then a CD3γε dimer and finally a ζζ homodimer, resulting in TCR complexes with the same CD3 dimer stoichiometry. Partial reduction in the expression of the highly homologous CD3γ and CD3δ proteins would thus be expected to have a similar impact in the assembly and surface expression of both TCR isotypes. To test this hypothesis, we compared the surface TCR expression of primary αβ and γδ T cells from healthy donors carrying a single null or leaky mutation in CD3G (γ+/−) or CD3D (δ+/−, δ+/leaky) with that of normal controls.
Although the partial reduction in the intracellular availability of CD3γ or CD3δ proteins was comparable as a consequence of the mutations, surface TCR expression measured with anti-CD3ε antibodies was significantly more decreased in γδ than in αβ T lymphocytes in CD3γ+/− individuals, whereas CD3δ+/− and CD3δ+/leaky donors showed a similar decrease of surface TCR in both T cell lineages. Therefore, surface γδ TCR expression was more dependent on available CD3γ than surface αβ TCR expression.
The results support the existence of differential structural constraints in the two human TCR isotypes regarding the incorporation of CD3γε and CD3δε dimers, as revealed by their discordant surface expression behaviour when confronted with reduced amounts of CD3γ, but not of the homologous CD3δ chain. A modified version of the prevailing TCR assembly model is proposed to accommodate these new data.
T cells; CD3; Haploinsufficiency
This report describes the baseline characteristics of patients in the Reduction of Events with Darbepoetin alfa in Heart Failure trial (RED-HF) which is testing the hypothesis that anaemia correction with darbepoetin alfa will reduce the composite endpoint of death from any cause or hospital admission for worsening heart failure, and improve other outcomes.
Methods and results
Key demographic, clinical, and laboratory findings, along with baseline treatment, are reported and compared with those of patients in other recent clinical trials in heart failure. Compared with other recent trials, RED-HF enrolled more elderly [mean age 70 (SD 11.4) years], female (41%), and black (9%) patients. RED-HF patients more often had diabetes (46%) and renal impairment (72% had an estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2). Patients in RED-HF had heart failure of longer duration [5.3 (5.4) years], worse NYHA class (35% II, 63% III, and 2% IV), and more signs of congestion. Mean EF was 30% (6.8%). RED-HF patients were well treated at randomization, and pharmacological therapy at baseline was broadly similar to that of other recent trials, taking account of study-specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. Median (interquartile range) haemoglobin at baseline was 112 (106–117) g/L.
The anaemic patients enrolled in RED-HF were older, moderately to markedly symptomatic, and had extensive co-morbidity.
Heart failure; Anaemia
Patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) have many factors that are associated with pressure ulcer formation, including paralysis, loss of sensation, poor nutrition, anemia, and skin maceration related to incontinence. Treatment of these ulcers involves relieving pressure, improving nutrition and skin hygiene, treating infections, removing necrotic tissues, and applying the appropriate dressings. However, some cases are not responsive to the above treatment. Electrical stimulation (ES) is thought to enhance soft tissue healing through promotion of protein synthesis, inhibition of bacterial growth, facilitation of epithelial tissue migration, improvement of blood flow, and tensile strength. This data is mainly based on evidence from animal studies and very few rigorously controlled studies conducted in humans.
To demonstrate the effectiveness of ES in the treatment of recalcitrant pressure ulcers.
Retrospective case series describing the care of adults with SCI and recalcitrant pressure ulcers. ES was applied directly into the wound bed: 60 minutes per session, 3–5 times per week; with an intensity of 100 milliamperes and a frequency of 100 pulses per second. Polarity was negative initially and was switched weekly. The amplitude and wave form were maintained throughout.
The long-standing (11–14 months) pressure ulcers were completely healed after 7 to 22 weeks of treatment with high-voltage ES.
This case series demonstrates the effectiveness of ES for enhanced healing of Stage III–IV ulcers otherwise unresponsive to standard wound care. Further study is needed to identify the most effective protocol for ES therapy in the treatment of recalcitrant pressure ulcers.
Electrical stimulation; Spinal cord injuries; Pressure ulcer; Wound healing
The naphthoquinone shikonin, a major component of the root of Lithospermum erythrorhizon, now is studied as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of ulcerative colitis (UC). Acute UC was induced in Balb/C mice by oral administration of 5% dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). The disease activity index was evaluated, and a histologic study was carried out. Orally administered shikonin reduces induced UC in a dose-dependent manner, preventing the shortening of the colorectum and decreasing weight loss by 5% while improving the appearance of feces and preventing bloody stools. The disease activity index score was much lower in shikonin-treated mice than in the colitic group, as well as the myeloperoxidase activity. The expression of cyclooxygenase-2 was reduced by 75%, activation of NF-κB was reduced by 44%, and that of pSTAT-3 by 47%, as well as TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 production. Similar results were obtained in primary macrophages culture. This is the first report of shikonin's ability to attenuate acute UC induced by DSS. Shikonin acts by blocking the activation of two major targets: NF-κB and STAT-3, and thus constitutes a promising potential therapeutic agent for the management of the inflammatory bowel disease.
Epigenetic regulation in mammals begins in the first stages of embryogenesis. This prenatal programming determines, in part, phenotype expression in adult life. Some species, particularly dairy cattle, are conceived during the maternal lactation, which is a period of large energy and nutrient needs. Under these circumstances, embryo and fetal development compete for nutrients with the mammary gland, which may affect prenatal programming and predetermine phenotype at adulthood. Data from a specialized dairy breed were used to determine the transgenerational effect when embryo development coincides with maternal lactation. Longitudinal phenotypic data for milk yield (kg), ratio of fat-protein content in milk during first lactation, and lifespan (d) from 40,065 cows were adjusted for environmental and genetic effects using a Bayesian framework. Then, the effect of different maternal circumstances was determined on the residuals. The maternal-related circumstances were 1) presence of lactation, 2) maternal milk yield level, and 3) occurrence of mastitis during embryogenesis. Females born to mothers that were lactating while pregnant produced 52 kg (MonteCarlo standard error; MCs.e. = 0.009) less milk, lived 16 d (MCs.e. = 0.002) shorter and were metabolically less efficient (+0.42% milk fat/protein ratio; MCs.e.<0.001) than females whose fetal life developed in the absence of maternal lactation. The greater the maternal milk yield during embryogenesis, the larger the negative effects of prenatal programming, precluding the offspring born to the most productive cows to fully express their potential additive genetic merit during their adult life. Our data provide substantial evidence of transgenerational effect when pregnancy and lactation coincide. Although this effect is relatively low, it should not be ignored when formulating rations for lactating and pregnant cows. Furthermore, breeding, replacement, and management strategies should also take into account whether the individuals were conceived during maternal lactation because, otherwise, their performance may deviate from what it could be expected.
New therapeutic strategies are needed for malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). We conducted a single-center, open-label, nonrandomized, pilot and feasibility trial using two intrapleural doses of an adenoviral vector encoding human IFN-α (Ad.IFN-α2b). Nine subjects were enrolled at two dose levels. The first three subjects had very high pleural and systemic IFN-α concentrations resulting in severe “flu-like” symptoms necessitating dose de-escalation. The next six patients had reduced (but still significant) pleural and serum IFN-α levels, but with tolerable symptoms. Repeated vector administration appeared to prolong IFN-α expression levels. Anti-tumor humoral immune responses against mesothelioma cell lines were seen in seven of the eight subjects evaluated. No clinical responses were seen in the four subjects with advanced disease. However, evidence of disease stability or tumor regression was seen in the remaining five patients, including one dramatic example of partial tumor regression at sites not in contiguity with vector infusion. These data show that Ad.IFN-α2b has potential therapeutic benefit in MPM and that it generates anti-tumor immune responses that may induce anatomic and/or metabolic reductions in distant tumor.
Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT 01212367).
clinical trials; immunotherapy; gene therapy
Styrene–acrylonitrile Trimer (SAN Trimer), a by-product in production of acrylonitrile styrene plastics, was identified at a Superfund site in Dover Township, NJ, where childhood cancer incidence rates were elevated for a period of several years. SAN Trimer was therefore tested by the National Toxicology Program in a 2-year perinatal carcinogenicity study in F344/N rats and a bacterial mutagenicity assay; both studies gave negative results. To further characterize its genotoxicity, SAN Trimer was subsequently evaluated in a combined micronucleus (MN)/Comet assay in juvenile male and female F344 rats. SAN Trimer (37.5, 75, 150, or 300 mg/kg/day) was administered by gavage once daily for 4 days. Micronucleated reticulocyte (MN-RET) frequencies in blood were determined by flow cytometry, and DNA damage in blood, liver, and brain cells was assessed using the Comet assay. Highly significant dose-related increases (P < 0.0001) in MN-RET were measured in both male and female rats administered SAN Trimer. The RET population was reduced in high dose male rats, suggesting chemical-related bone marrow toxicity. Results of the Comet assay showed significant, dose-related increases in DNA damage in brain cells of male (P < 0.0074) and female (P < 0.0001) rats; increased levels of DNA damage were also measured in liver cells and leukocytes of treated rats. Chemical-related cytotoxicity was not indicated in any of the tissues examined for DNA damage. The results of this subacute MN/Comet assay indicate induction of significant genetic damage in multiple tissues of weanling F344 male and female rats after oral exposure to SAN Trimer.
chromosomal damage; DNA damage; Comet assay; micronuclei; superfund; childhood cancer
The in vivo micronucleus (MN) assay has proven to be an effective measure of genotoxicity potential. However, sampling a single tissue (bone marrow) for a single indicator of genetic damage using the MN assay provides a limited genotoxicity profile. The in vivo alkaline (pH>13) Comet assay, which detects a broad spectrum of DNA damage, can be applied to a variety of rodent tissues following administration of test agents. To determine if the Comet assay is a useful supplement to the in vivo MN assay, a combined test protocol (MN/Comet assay) was conducted in male B6C3F1 mice and F344/N rats using four model genotoxicants: ethyl methanesulfonate (EMS), acrylamide (ACM), cyclophosphamide (CP), and vincristine sulfate (VS). Test compounds were administered on 4 consecutive days at 24-hour intervals (VS was administered to rats for 3 days); animals were euthanized 4 hours after the last administration. All compounds induced significant increases in micronucleated reticulocytes (MN-RET) in the peripheral blood of mice, and all but ACM induced MN-RET in rats. EMS and ACM induced significant increases in DNA damage, measured by the Comet assay, in multiple tissues of mice and rats. CP-induced DNA damage was detected in leukocytes and duodenum cells. VS, a spindle fiber disrupting agent, was negative in the Comet assay. Based on these results, the MN/Comet assay holds promise for providing more comprehensive assessments of potential genotoxicants, and the National Toxicology Program is presently using this combined protocol in its overall evaluation of the genotoxicity of substances of public health concern.
DNA damage; Comet assay; acrylamide; ethyl methanesulfonate; cyclophosphamide; vincristine sulfate
Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and 13q deletion as their only FISH abnormality could have a different outcome depending on the number of cells displaying this aberration. Thus, cases with a high number of 13q- cells (13q-H) had both shorter overall survival and time to first therapy. The goal of the study was to analyze the genetic profile of 13q-H patients.
Design and Methods:
A total of 102 samples were studied, 32 of which served as a validation cohort and five were healthy donors.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with higher percentages of 13q- cells (>80%) showed a different level of gene expression as compared to patients with lower percentages (<80%, 13q-L). This deregulation affected genes involved in apoptosis and proliferation (BCR and NFkB signaling), leading to increased proliferation and decreased apoptosis in 13q-H patients. Deregulation of several microRNAs, such as miR-15a, miR-155, miR-29a and miR-223, was also observed in these patients. In addition, our study also suggests that the gene expression pattern of 13q-H cases could be similar to the patients with 11q- or 17p-.
This study provides new evidence regarding the heterogeneity of 13q deletion in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients, showing that apoptosis, proliferation as well as miRNA regulation are involved in cases with higher percentages of 13q- cells.
This paper compiles the beneficial effects of cocoa polyphenols on human health, especially with regard to cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, metabolic disorders, and cancer prevention. Their antioxidant properties may be responsible for many of their pharmacological effects, including the inhibition of lipid peroxidation and the protection of LDL-cholesterol against oxidation, and increase resistance to oxidative stress. The phenolics from cocoa also modify the glycemic response and the lipid profile, decreasing platelet function and inflammation along with diastolic and systolic arterial pressures, which, taken together, may reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality. Cocoa polyphenols can also modulate intestinal inflammation through the reduction of neutrophil infiltration and expression of different transcription factors, which leads to decreases in the production of proinflammatory enzymes and cytokines. The phenolics from cocoa may thus protect against diseases in which oxidative stress is implicated as a causal or contributing factor, such as cancer. They also have antiproliferative, antimutagenic, and chemoprotective effects, in addition to their anticariogenic effects.
A subset of neurons in the cochlear nucleus (CN) of the auditory brainstem has the ability to enhance the auditory nerve's temporal representation of stimulating sounds. These neurons reside in the ventral region of the CN (VCN) and are usually known as highly synchronized, or high-sync, neurons. Most published reports about the existence and properties of high-sync neurons are based on recordings performed on a VCN output tract—not the VCN itself—of cats. In other species, comprehensive studies detailing the properties of high-sync neurons, or even acknowledging their existence, are missing.
Examination of the responses of a population of VCN neurons in chinchillas revealed that a subset of those neurons have temporal properties similar to high-sync neurons in the cat. Phase locking and entrainment—the ability of a neuron to fire action potentials at a certain stimulus phase and at almost every stimulus period, respectively—have similar maximum values in cats and chinchillas. Ranges of characteristic frequencies for high-sync neurons in chinchillas and cats extend up to 600 and 1000 Hz, respectively. Enhancement of temporal processing relative to auditory nerve fibers (ANFs), which has been shown previously in cats using tonal and white-noise stimuli, is also demonstrated here in the responses of VCN neurons to synthetic and spoken vowel sounds.
Along with the large amount of phase locking displayed by some VCN neurons there occurs a deterioration in the spectral representation of the stimuli (tones or vowels). High-sync neurons exhibit a greater distortion in their responses to tones or vowels than do other types of VCN neurons and auditory nerve fibers.
Standard deviations of first-spike latency measured in responses of high-sync neurons are lower than similar values measured in ANFs' responses. This might indicate a role of high-sync neurons in other tasks beyond sound localization.
A novel fabrication method of Si photonic slabs based on the selective formation of porous silicon is reported. Free-standing square lattices of cylindrical air holes embedded in a Si matrix can be achieved by proton beam irradiation followed by electrochemical etching of Si wafers. The photonic band structures of these slabs show several gaps for the two symmetry directions for reflection through the z-plane. The flexibility of the fabrication method for tuning the frequency range of the gaps over the near- and mid-infrared ranges is demonstrated. This tunability can be achieved by simply adjusting the main parameters in the fabrication process such as the proton beam line spacing, proton fluence, or anodization current density. Thus, the reported method opens a promising route towards the fabrication of Si-based photonic slabs, with high flexibility and compatible with the current microelectronics industry.
Photonic slabs; NanoPSi; Photonic band structure; Proton beam writing
A method for fabrication of three-dimensional (3D) silicon nanostructures based on selective formation of porous silicon using ion beam irradiation of bulk p-type silicon followed by electrochemical etching is shown. It opens a route towards the fabrication of two-dimensional (2D) and 3D silicon-based photonic crystals with high flexibility and industrial compatibility. In this work, we present the fabrication of 2D photonic lattice and photonic slab structures and propose a process for the fabrication of 3D woodpile photonic crystals based on this approach. Simulated results of photonic band structures for the fabricated 2D photonic crystals show the presence of TE or TM gap in mid-infrared range.
Proton beam writing; Defect density; Photonic band structure
During nervous system development, neuronal cell bodies and their axodendritic projections are precisely positioned through transiently expressed patterning cues. We show here that two neuronally expressed, secreted immunoglobulin (Ig) domain-containing proteins, ZIG-5 and ZIG-8, have no detectable role during embryonic nervous system development of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans but are jointly required for neuronal soma and ventral cord axons to maintain their correct position throughout postembryonic life of the animal. The maintenance defects observed upon removal of zig-5 and zig-8 are similar to those observed upon complete loss of the SAX-7 protein, the C. elegans ortholog of the L1CAM family of adhesion proteins, which have been implicated in several neurological diseases. SAX-7 exists in two isoforms: a canonical, long isoform (SAX-7L) and a more adhesive shorter isoform lacking the first two Ig domains (SAX-7S). Unexpectedly, the normally essential function of ZIG-5 and ZIG-8 in maintaining neuronal soma and axon position is completely suppressed by genetic removal of the long SAX-7L isoform. Overexpression of the short isoform SAX-7S also abrogates the need for ZIG-5 and ZIG-8. Conversely, overexpression of the long isoform disrupts adhesion, irrespective of the presence of the ZIG proteins. These findings suggest an unexpected interdependency of distinct Ig domain proteins, with one isoform of SAX-7, SAX-7L, inhibiting the function of the most adhesive isoform, SAX-7S, and this inhibition being relieved by ZIG-5 and ZIG-8. Apart from extending our understanding of dedicated neuronal maintenance mechanisms, these findings provide novel insights into adhesive and anti-adhesive functions of IgCAM proteins.
The structure of nervous systems is determined during embryonic development. After this developmental patterning phase, active maintenance mechanisms are required to uphold the structural integrity of the nervous system. This concept was revealed through the genetic elimination of factors in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, which left the initial establishment of the nervous system during embryogenesis unperturbed, but subsequently resulted in postembryonic defects in its structural integrity. The extent to which such maintenance mechanisms exist, the nature of the players involved, and the mechanisms through which they operate are subjects of active investigation. In this study, we reveal two novel, previously uncharacterized maintenance factors encoded by the zig-5 and zig-8 genes. Both genes are predicted to encode small secreted immunoglobulin domains. We show that the two proteins operate by counteracting the anti-adhesive effects of a specific isoform of the SAX-7 Ig domain protein, the C. elegans homolog of L1CAM, a human protein involved in various neurological diseases. This study therefore provides novel mechanistic insights into nervous system patterning and may help to better understand the function of an important human disease gene.
Fluorescence spectra of anti-tumoral drug emodin loaded on nanostructured porous silicon have been recorded. The use of colloidal nanoparticles allowed embedding of the drug without previous porous silicon functionalization and leads to the observation of an enhancement of fluorescence of the drug. Mean pore size of porous silicon matrices was 60 nm, while silver nanoparticles mean diameter was 50 nm. Atmospheric and vacuum conditions at room temperature were used to infiltrate emodin-silver nanoparticles complexes into porous silicon matrices. The drug was loaded after adsorption on metal surface, alone, and bound to bovine serum albumin. Methanol and water were used as solvents. Spectra with 1 μm spatial resolution of cross-section of porous silicon layers were recorded to observe the penetration of the drug. A maximum fluorescence enhancement factor of 24 was obtained when protein was loaded bound to albumin, and atmospheric conditions of inclusion were used. A better penetration was obtained using methanol as solvent when comparing with water. Complexes of emodin remain loaded for 30 days after preparation without an apparent degradation of the drug, although a decrease in the enhancement factor is observed. The study reported here constitutes the basis for designing a new drug delivery system with future applications in medicine and pharmacy.
Surface-enhanced fluorescence; Porous Silicon; Emodin; Drug delivery
Secondary resistance to azoles in Aspergillus fumigatus isolates from patients taking long-term itraconazole therapy has been described. We studied the acquisition of secondary azole resistance in 20 A. fumigatus isolates with no mutations at codon 54, 98, 138, 220, 432, or 448 in the cyp51A gene. Adjusted conidium inocula (3 × 107 CFU/ml) of each isolate were prepared and progressively or directly exposed to increasing itraconazole concentrations, ranging from 0.5 μg/ml to 16 μg/ml. Itraconazole, voriconazole, and posaconazole MICs were determined using the CLSI M38-A2 procedure before (MICinitial) and after (MICfinal) exposure to itraconazole. In both procedures, the MICfinal was significantly higher than the MICinitial. However, after progressive exposure to itraconazole, the MICs of the three azoles were higher than after direct exposure. No mutations were found at codon 54, 98, 138, 220, 432, or 448 in the cyp51A gene of isolates growing at the highest concentration of itraconazole. More concentrated conidium inocula (2 × 109 CFU/ml) plated in itraconazole at 4 μg/ml revealed the presence of heteroresistant populations in two initially wild-type isolates. These isolates became resistant to itraconazole and posaconazole only after use of the concentrated inoculum. These heteroresistant isolates harbored a mutation at codon G54, and the MICs of itraconazole and posaconazole were >16 μg/ml. In all procedures, A. fumigatus short tandem repeat (STRAf) typing was used to demonstrate that the genotype did not change before or after exposure to itraconazole.
The present study was designed to evaluate the relationship between high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and arterial stiffness according to sex in patients with arterial hypertension.
A case-series study was carried out in 258 hypertensive patients without antecedents of cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus. Nephelometry was used to determine hs-CRP. Office or clinical and home blood pressures were measured with a validated OMRON model M10 sphygmomanometer. Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was performed with the SpaceLabs 90207 system. Pulse wave velocity (PWV) and central and peripheral augmentation index (AIx) were measured with the SphygmoCor system, and a Sonosite Micromax ultrasound unit was used for automatic measurements of carotid intima-media thickness (IMT). Ambulatory arterial stiffness index and home arterial stiffness index were calculated as “1-slope” from the within-person regression analysis of diastolic-on-systolic ambulatory blood pressure.
Central and peripheral AIx were greater in women than in men: 35.31 ± 9.95 vs 26.59 ± 11.45 and 102.06 ± 20.47 vs 85.97 ± 19.13, respectively. IMT was greater in men (0.73 ± 0.13 vs 0.69 ± 0.10). hs-CRP was positively correlated to IMT (r = 0.261), maximum (r = 0.290) and to peripheral AIx (r = 0.166) in men, and to PWV in both men (r = 0.280) and women (r = 0.250). In women, hs-CRP was negatively correlated to central AIx (r = −0.222). For each unit increase in hs-CRP, carotid IMT would increase 0.05 mm in men, and PWV would increase 0.07 m/sec in men and 0.08 m/sec in women, while central AIx would decrease 2.5 units in women. In the multiple linear regression analysis, hs-CRP explained 10.2% and 6.7% of PWV variability in women and men, respectively, 8.4% of carotid IMT variability in men, and 4.9% of central AIx variability in women.
After adjusting for age, other cardiovascular risk factors and the use of antihypertensive and lipid-lowering drugs, hs-CRP was seen to be positively correlated to carotid IMT in men, and negatively correlated to central AIx in women. The association of hs-CRP to arterial stiffness parameters differs between men and women.
Hypertension; High-sensitive C-reactive protein; Arterial stiffness
Purpose: The present study investigates sinus membrane rupture in direct maxillary sinus lift with the rotary technique and with ultrasound, examining the survival of implants placed after sinus augmentation, and analyzing the bone gain obtained after the operation and 12 months after placement of the prosthetic restoration.
Material and Methods: A retrospective study was made of 45 patients requiring maxillary sinus lift or augmentation for implant-prosthetic rehabilitation. Use was made of the hand piece and ostectomy drills for the rotary technique, and of specific tips for ultrasound. The implant success criteria were based on those developed by Buser. The bone gain obtained as a result of sinus lift was calculated from the postoperative panoramic X-rays.
Results: A total of 57 direct elevations of the maxillary sinus were carried out: 32 with the rotary technique and 25 with ultrasound. Perforations of Schneider’s membrane with the rotary technique and ultrasound occurred in 7% and 1.7% of the cases, respectively, with membrane integrity being preserved in 91.2%. Of the 100 implants placed, 5 failed after one year of follow-up in the rotary technique group, while one implant failed in the ultrasound group. The rotary technique in turn afforded a bone gain of 5.9 mm, versus 6.7 mm with ultrasound.
Conclusions: Perforations of the membrane sinusal in direct lift were more frequent with the rotary technique (7%) than with ultrasound (1.7%). Implant survival and bone gain were both greater when ultrasound was used.
Key words:Bone sectioning, maxillary sinus augmentation, piezosurgery.
Epidemiological studies have indicated a positive association between the intake of foods rich in anthocyanins and the protection against cardiovascular diseases. Some authors have shown that anthocyanins are degraded by the gut microflora giving rise to the formation of other breakdown metabolites, which could also contribute to anthocyanin health effects. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of anthocyanins and their breakdown metabolites, protocatechuic, syringic, gallic, and vanillic acids, on different parameters involved in atherosclerosis, including inflammation, cell adhesion, chemotaxis, endothelial function, estrogenic/anti-estrogenic activity, and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity. From the assayed metabolites, only protocatechuic acid exhibited a slight inhibitory effect on NO production and TNF-α secretion in LPS-INF-γ-induced macrophages. Gallic acid caused a decrease in the secretion of MCP-1, ICAM-1, and VCAM-1 in endothelial cells. All anthocyanins showed an ACE-inhibitory activity. Delphinidin-3-glucoside, pelargonidin-3-glucoside, and gallic acid showed affinity for ERβ and pelargonidin and peonidin-3-glucosides for ERα. The current data suggest that anthocyanins and their breakdown metabolites may partly provide a protective effect against atherosclerosis that is multi-causal and involves different biochemical pathways. However, the concentrations of anthocyanins and their metabolites, as used in the present cell culture and in vitro assays mediating anti-inflammatory, anti-adhesive, anti-estrogenic, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitory activities, were often manifold higher than those physiologically achievable.
Anthocyanins; Atherosclerosis; Metabolites; Phenolic acids; Estrogen receptor