Solar energy is potentially the largest source of renewable energy at our disposal, but significant advances are required to make photovoltaic technologies economically viable and, from a life-cycle perspective, environmentally friendly, and consequently scalable. Cellulose nanomaterials are emerging high-value nanoparticles extracted from plants that are abundant, renewable, and sustainable. Here, we report on the first demonstration of efficient polymer solar cells fabricated on optically transparent cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates. The solar cells fabricated on the CNC substrates display good rectification in the dark and reach a power conversion efficiency of 2.7%. In addition, we demonstrate that these solar cells can be easily separated and recycled into their major components using low-energy processes at room temperature, opening the door for a truly recyclable solar cell technology. Efficient and easily recyclable organic solar cells on CNC substrates are expected to be an attractive technology for sustainable, scalable, and environmentally-friendly energy production.
Viral infection is the most common aggravating factor for childhood asthma. Asthma may be a risk factor for severe respiratory symptoms in children with lower respiratory tract infections of viral etiology. Influenza A infection enhances Th2-polarization to house dust mites during the acute phase and leads to lung dysfunction in a mouse model. However, there are no data on the relationship between atopic sensitization and H1N1 (Influenza A) infection in humans. To investigate whether atopic sensitization is associated with the severity of H1N1 pneumonia, we compared clinical features and the atopic sensitization rate between children with and without H1N1 infection.
Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions, we investigated H1N1 virus infection in 214 children who were hospitalized with high fever and respiratory symptoms from September 2009 to February 2010. We also performed immunoassays for total and specific IgEs to six common aeroallergens. Atopy was defined as positivity for more than one specific IgE. The clinical severity of pneumonia was evaluated based on intensive care unit admission, oxygen therapy, steroid therapy, and atelectasis.
There were 70 H1N1-positive children, 42.9% of whom had pneumonia. Children with H1N1 infection were older and had a higher prevalence of atopic sensitization and pneumonia compared with H1N1-negative children. The rate of atelectasis was higher in children with H1N1 pneumonia than in children with non-H1N1 pneumonia. Among children with H1N1 viral infection, those with atopic sensitization had a higher prevalence of intensive care unit admission and oxygen therapy, and a longer duration of hospitalization than non-atopic children. There were no differences between atopic and non-atopic children without H1N1 viral infection.
The prevalence of H1N1-induced severe lower respiratory tract diseases is higher in children with atopic sensitization.
H1N1 virus; atopy; pneumonia; severity; children
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) are a promising source of cells for applications in regenerative medicine. Directed differentiation of hPSCs into specialized cells such as spinal motoneurons1 or midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons2 has been achieved. However, the effective use of hPSCs for cell therapy has lagged behind. While mouse PSC-derived DA neurons have shown efficacy in models of Parkinson’s disease (PD)3, 4, DA neurons from human PSCs generally display poor in vivo performance5. There are also considerable safety concerns for hPSCs related to their potential for teratoma formation or neural overgrowth6, 7
Here we present a novel floor plate-based strategy for the derivation of human DA neurons that efficiently engraft in vivo, suggesting that past failures were due to incomplete specification rather than a specific vulnerability of the cells. Midbrain floor plate precursors are derived from hPSCs in 11 days following exposure to small molecule activators of sonic hedgehog (SHH) and canonical WNT signaling. Engraftable midbrain DA neurons are obtained by day 25 and can be maintained in vitro for several months. Extensive molecular profiling, biochemical and electrophysiological data define developmental progression and confirm identity of hPSC-derived midbrain DA neurons. In vivo survival and function is demonstrated in PD models using three host species. Long-term engraftment in 6-OHDA-lesioned mice and rats demonstrates robust survival of midbrain DA neurons, complete restoration of amphetamine-induced rotation behavior and improvements in tests of forelimb use and akinesia. Finally, scalability is demonstrated by transplantation into Parkinsonian monkeys. Excellent DA neuron survival, function and lack of neural overgrowth in the three animal models indicate promise for the development of cell based therapies in PD.
Dramatic improvement of hemangioma to propranolol has been recently reported; however, details on dose and duration of treatment, potential risks, and monitoring have not been determined. The objective of this study is to describe and analyze the use of propranolol as a first-line treatment or as a single therapy in management of complicated hemangioma.
A retrospective chart review of eight patients diagnosed with hemangioma and treated with propranolol in Kangbuk Samsung Hospital from February 2010 to April 2011 was performed.
Eight patients with hemangioma with functional impairment, cosmetic disfigurement, or rapid growth were treated with propranolol. Five patients had solitary facial hemangioma. The mean age of symptoms at onset was 5 weeks. The median age for starting propranolol treatment was 5.5 months. Propranolol at 2 mg/kg/day was finally administered in divided doses with a gradual increase. Significant regression was observed in seven patients, and shrinkage in size, softening in consistency, and decrease in redness were evident within 4 weeks. Among them, six patients were still taking propranolol, and one patient had stopped after 12 months. Other one patient did not show significant improvement with satisfactory result after 3 months of propranolol use. Treatment with propranolol was well tolerated and had few side effects. No rebound growth was observed in any of the patients.
We observed that use of propranolol was very effective in treatment of hemangioma without obvious adverse effects or relapse.
Hemangioma; Propranolol; Treatment
Parkinson disease (PD) involves the selective loss of midbrain dopamine (mDA) neurons and is a possible target disease for stem cell–based therapy. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are a potentially unlimited source of patient-specific cells for transplantation. However, it is critical to evaluate the safety of hiPSCs generated by different reprogramming methods. Here, we compared multiple hiPSC lines derived by virus- and protein-based reprogramming to human ES cells (hESCs). Neuronal precursor cells (NPCs) and dopamine (DA) neurons delivered from lentivirus-based hiPSCs exhibited residual expression of exogenous reprogramming genes, but those cells derived from retrovirus- and protein-based hiPSCs did not. Furthermore, NPCs derived from virus-based hiPSCs exhibited early senescence and apoptotic cell death during passaging, which was preceded by abrupt induction of p53. In contrast, NPCs derived from hESCs and protein-based hiPSCs were highly expandable without senescence. DA neurons derived from protein-based hiPSCs exhibited gene expression, physiological, and electrophysiological properties similar to those of mDA neurons. Transplantation of these cells into rats with striatal lesions, a model of PD, significantly rescued motor deficits. These data support the clinical potential of protein-based hiPSCs for personalized cell therapy of PD.
Obesity is a risk factor for asthma and type II diabetes. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ has been suggested to regulate inflammatory responses in diabetes and asthma. We investigated whether PPAR-α, PPAR-γ, adiponectin receptors (AdipoR1, AdipoR2), leptin, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α are expressed in rat lung tissues and whether the expression differs between obese Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) and lean Long Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO) rats.
Materials and Methods
Obese and lean rats were given with a high fat diet or a 30% restricted diet for 32 weeks, and their blood glucose levels and weights were monitored. After 32 weeks, mRNA levels of PPAR-α, PPAR-γ, AdipoR1, AdipoR2, leptin, and TNF-α in lung tissues were measured using real time PCR.
PPAR-α, PPAR-γ, AdipoR1, AdipoR2, leptin, and TNF-α were expressed in both obese and lean rat lung tissues. Increased serum glucose levels on intraperitoneal glucose tolerance testing and a higher weight gain at 32 weeks were observed in OLETF control rats compared to OLETF diet restricted rats. PPAR-γ expression was markedly elevated in obese control and diet restricted rats compared to lean rats, although PPAR-γ expression in obese rats was not affected by diet restriction. Leptin was highly expressed in OLETF rats compared to LETO rats. TNF-α expression was enhanced in OLETF control rats compared LETO diet restricted rats, and decreased by diet restriction. PPAR-α, AdipoR1, and AdipoR2 expression were not significantly different between obese and lean rats.
PPAR-γ was highly expressed in the lung tissues of obese rats and may be a novel treatment target for regulating lung inflammation associated with obesity.
Obesity; peroxisome proliferator activated receptor; adiponectin receptor; lung; leptin; TNF-alpha
This study was undertaken to determine the neuroprotective effect of granulocyte stimulating factor (G-CSF) on neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain injury.
Materials and Methods
Seven-day-old male newborn rat pups were subjected to 110 minutes of 8% oxygen following a unilateral carotid artery ligation. Apoptosis was identified by performing terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) staining and flow cytometry with a combination of fluorescinated annexin V and propidium iodide (PI) and JC-1 (5,5',6,6'-tetrachloro-1,1',3,3'-tetraethylbenzimidazolyl-carbocyanine iodide). The extent of cerebral infarction was evaluated at 2 weeks after recovery.
With a single dose (50 µg/ kg) of G-CSF treatment immediately after hypoxic-ischemic insult, hypoxia-ischemia induced increase in TUNEL-positive cells, annexinV+/PI-and JC-1 positive apoptotic cells in the ipsilateral cerebral cortex was significantly reduced at 24 hours, measured by flow cytometry, and the extent of cerebral infarction at 2 weeks after recovery was also significantly attenuated compared to the hypoxia-ischemia control group.
Our data suggest that G-CSF is neuroprotective by inhibiting apoptosis, thereby reducing the ensuing cerebral infarction in a newborn rat pup model of cerebral hypoxia-ischemia (HI).
Granulocyte stimulating factor; neuroprotective agents; hypoxia-ischemia; newborn; apoptosis
Airway smooth muscle (ASM) hyperplasia and angiogenesis are important features associated with airway remodeling. We investigated the effect of IL-4 and amphiregulin, an epidermal growth factor family member, on the proliferation of human ASM cells and on the release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and monocyte chemotactic protein (MCP)-1 from human ASM cells. Human ASM cells were growth-arrested for 48 hr and incubated with platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB, interleukin (IL)-4, amphiregulin, and VEGF to evaluate cell proliferation. The cells were treated with PDGF, IL-4 and amphiregulin to evaluate the release of VEGF, MCP-1. IL-4 suppressed unstimulated and PDGF-stimulated ASM cell proliferation. Amphiregulin stimulated ASM cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. VEGF did not have any influence on ASM cell proliferation. IL-4 stimulated VEGF secretion by the ASM cells in a dose-dependent manner and showed added stimulatory effects when co-incubated with PDGF. Amphiregulin did not promote VEGF secretion. IL-4 and amphiregulin showed no stimulatory effects on MCP-1 secretion. The results of this study showed that IL-4 had bifunctional effects on airway remodeling, one was the suppression of the proliferation of the ASM cells and the other was the promotion of VEGF release by the ASM cells, and amphiregulin can promote human ASM cell proliferation.
Interleukin-4; Remodeling; Humans, Bronchi; Myocytes, Smooth Muscle; Cell Proliferation; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor; Amphiregulin
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of erythropoietin (EPO) on histological brain injury, subventricular zone (SVZ) expansion, and sensorimotor function deficits induced by hypoxia-ischemia (HI) in newborn rat pups. Seven-day-old male rat pups were divided into six groups: normoxia control, normoxia EPO, hypoxia control, hypoxia EPO, HI control, and HI EPO group. Sham surgery or HI was performed in all animals. HI was induced by ligation of the right common carotid artery followed by 90 min of hypoxia with 8% oxygen. Recombinant human EPO 3 U/g or saline was administered intraperitoneally, immediately, at 24- and 48-hr after insult. At two weeks after insult, animals were challenged with cylinder-rearing test for evaluating forelimb asymmetry to determine sensorimotor function. All animals were then sacrificed for volumetric analysis of the cerebral hemispheres and the SVZ. The saline-treated HI rats showed marked asymmetry by preferential use of the non-impaired, ipsilateral paw in the cylinder-rearing test. Volumetric analysis of brains revealed significantly decreased preserved ipsilateral hemispheric volume and increased ipsilateral SVZ volume compared with the sham-operated animals. Treatment of EPO significantly improved forelimb asymmetry and preserved ipsilateral hemispheric volume along with decreased expansion of ipsilateral SVZ following HI compared to the saline-treated HI rats. These results support the use of EPO as a candidate drug for treatment of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic brain damage.
Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain; Animals, Newborn; Subventricular Zone; Function
The aims of this study were to determine the factors affecting the outcome of patent ductus arteriosus ligation in very low birth weight infants (VLBWI) and demonstrate the safety of PDA ligation in VLBWI performed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Materials and Methods
From October 1994 to July 2006, medical records of 94 VLBWI weighing < 1,500 g who underwent PDA ligation in the NICU of Samsung Medical Center were reviewed retrospectively. Factors affecting the final outcome of PDA ligation were evaluated by dividing the infants into 3 groups according to mortality and major morbidities as follows: mortality group (Mo), major morbidity group (Mb), and no major morbidity group (NM).
In the Mo group, birth weight was significantly lower and the preoperative mean FiO2 and mean dopamine dose were significantly higher than those in the other 2 groups. There was no significant difference in gestational age, incidence of RDS, number of courses of indomethacin, surgery-related factors, including weight and age at surgery, perioperative vital signs, and complications after surgery between the 3 groups. During surgery in the NICU, there were no significant hemodynamic instability or serious acute complications.
The factors affecting the outcome of surgery in VLBWI are not the factors related to surgery but the preoperative conditions related to the underlying prematurity. PDA ligation of VLBWI performed in the NICU is safe without serious complications.
Patent ductus arteriosus; ligation; neonatal intensive care unit; very low birth weight infants
This study was undertaken to determine the effects of intratracheal administration of endotoxin on hyperoxia-induced lung injury in neonatal rats.
Materials and Methods
Newborn Sprague Dawley rat pups were divided into four experimental groups: normoxia control (NC), normoxia with endotoxin treatment (NE), hyperoxia control (HC), and hyperoxia with endotoxin treatment (HE) groups. In HC and HE, rat pups were subjected to 14 days of hyperoxia (> 95% oxygen) within 12 hours after birth. In endotoxin treated group (NE and HE), Escherichia coli endotoxin (0.5µg in 0.03mL of saline) was given intratracheally at the 1st, 3rd and 5th postnatal day. Radial alveolar count (RAC), mean linear intercept (MLI), RAC/MLI ratios, and degree of fibrosis were measured to assess the changes in lung morphology.
During the research period, survival rates in both HC and HE were notably reduced 7 days after endotoxin was administered, but body weight gain was considerably reduced only in HC. On day 14, significant arrest in alveolarization, as evidenced by the decrease of RAC and RAC/MLI ratio and increase of MLI as well as increased fibrosis, were noted in HC. Although slight but significant arrest in alveolarization and increased fibrosis score were observed in NE compared to NC, the hyperoxia-induced lung damage observed in HC was significantly improved in HE.
This study suggests that intratracheal administration of endotoxin significantly attenuated hyperoxia-induced lung injury in neonatal rats.
Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; endotoxin; hyperoxia
In the developing mouse brain, the highest Bcl-XL expression is seen at the peak of neurogenesis, whereas the peak of Bax expression coincides with the astrogenic period. While such observations suggest an active role of the Bcl-2 family proteins in the generation of neurons and astrocytes, no definitive demonstration has been provided to date. Using combinations of gain- and loss-of-function assays in vivo and in vitro, we provide evidence for instructive roles of these proteins in neuronal and astrocytic fate specification. Specifically, in Bax knockout mice, astrocyte formation was decreased in the developing cortices. Overexpression of Bcl-XL and Bax in embryonic cortical precursors induced neural and astrocytic differentiation, respectively, while inhibitory RNAs led to the opposite results. Importantly, inhibition of caspase activity, dimerization, or mitochondrial localization of Bcl-XL/Bax proteins indicated that the differentiation effects of Bcl-XL/Bax are separable from their roles in cell survival and apoptosis. Lastly, we describe activation of intracellular signaling pathways and expression of basic helix-loop-helix transcriptional factors specific for the Bcl-2 protein-mediated differentiation.
This study investigated the serum vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels in children with community-acquired pneumonia. Serum VEGF levels were measured in patients with pneumonia (n=29) and in control subjects (n=27) by a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The pneumonia group was classified into bronchopneumonia with pleural effusion (n=1), bronchopneumonia without pleural effusion (n=15), lobar pneumonia with pleural effusion (n=4), and lobar pneumonia without pleural effusion (n=9) groups based on the findings of chest radiographs. We also measured serum IL-6 levels and the other acute inflammatory parameters. Serum levels of VEGF in children with pneumonia were significantly higher than those in control subjects (p<0.01). Children with lobar pneumonia with or without effusion showed significantly higher levels of serum VEGF than children with bronchopneumonia. For lobar pneumonia, children with pleural effusion showed higher levels of VEGF than those without pleural effusion. Children with a positive urinary S. pneumonia antigen test also showed higher levels of VEGF than those with a negative result. Serum IL-6 levels did not show significant differences between children with pneumonia and control subjects. Serum levels of VEGF showed a positive correlation with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate in the children with pneumonia. In conclusion, VEGF may be one of the key mediators that lead to lobar pneumonia and parapneumonic effusion.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A; Interleukin-6; Pleural Effusion; Community-Acquired Infections; Pneumonia
Newfactan® is a domestically developed, bovine lung-derived, semi-synthetic surfactant. The aim of this study was to compare the clinical efficacy of Newfactan® with that of Surfacten® in the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). Newfactan® or Surfacten® was randomly allocated to 492 newborn infants who were diagnosed as RDS and required surfactant instillation in four participating hospitals. The comparisons were made individually in two subsets of infants by birth weight (<1,500 g group [n=253] and ≥1,500 g group [n=239]). Short-term responses to surfactant and acute complications, such as the total doses of surfactant instilled, response type, extubation rate, ventilator settings, changes in respiratory parameters, air leak, patent ductus arteriosus, pulmonary hemorrhage, and intraventricular hemorrhage, and mortality during the 96 hr after surfactant instillation were measured. Long-term outcome and complications, such as total duration of intubation, bronchopulmonary dysplasia and periventricular leukomalacia, and ultimate mortality were measured. There were no significant differences in demographic and perinatal variables, short-term responses to surfactant and acute complications, and long-term outcome and complications between Newfactan® and Surfacten® in both birth weight groups. We concluded that Newfactan® was comparable to Surfacten® in the clinical efficacy in the treatment of RDS in both birth weight groups.
Newfactan®; Surfacten®; Pulmonary Surfactants; Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Newborn
Dexamethasone has been widely used in very low birth weight infants (VLBWI) weighing less than 1,500 g at birth for the prevention or treatment of chronic lung disease (CLD). Recently, however the use of dexamethasone is being reduced, as its association with abnormal neurodevelopmental outcome is known. On the other hand, there have been persistent concerns about the increased risk of CLD according to the reduction of postnatal dexamethasone use. Hence, we did a retrospective cohort study to delineate the change in the incidence of CLD according to the reduction of dexamethasone use in VLBWI. The medical records of 559 VLBWI admitted to neonatal intensive care unit at Samsung Medical Center between November 1994 and December 2002 were reviewed with a focus on the use of postnatal dexamethasone and the incidence of CLD. The use of postnatal dexamethasone has significantly decreased over the study period. Especially, the use of high-dose regimen has markedly decreased. The day when postnatal dexamethasone therapy was begun has also been significantly delayed. The incidence of CLD has significantly decreased over the same period. In conclusion, the incidence of CLD has not increased despite the decreased use of postnatal dexamethasone.
Dexamethasone; Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia; Infant, Premature
In the present study, we tested whether maintenance of adequate cerebral perfusion pressure (CPP) by pharmacologically preventing systemic hypotension with dopamine infusion would prevent cerebral ischemia and attenuate energy depletion and neuronal injury even though intracranial pressure remains elevated in a newborn piglet meningitis model. Cerebral blood flow, measured at the end of the experiment using fluorescent microspheres, was significantly increased by dopamine infusion. The decreased cerebral cortical cell membrane Na+, K+ -ATPase activity and increased lipid peroxidation products, indicative of meningitis-induced brain damage, were significantly attenuated by dopamine infusion. Dopamine also significantly attenuated the meningitis-induced reduction in both brain ATP and phosphocreatine levels and the increase in brain lactate level. In summary, maintenance of adequate CPP with dopamine prevented cerebral ischemia, reduced cerebral energy depletion, and attenuated brain injury in neonatal bacterial meningitis.
Multiple births in Korea have been increased recently as a consequence of increased infertility due to advancing maternal age at first birth, and increased use of assisted reproductive technology. Multiples suffer higher mortality and morbidity than singletons. However, it is not clear whether preterm multiple very low birth weight infants (VLBWI) suffer higher mortality and morbidity than comparable singletons. We evaluated 266 singleton and 113 multiple VLBWI to determine whether mortality and morbidity in multiple VLBWI were higher than those in comparable singletons. The rate of in vitro fertilization and cesarean section were significantly higher in multiples than singletons. The total and the adjusted mortality with gestational age and birth weight were not significantly different between the two groups. Maternal age and the incidence of respiratory distress syndrome, patent ductus arteriosus, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, intracranial hemorrhage (grade> or =3), cystic periventricular leukomalacia, and retinopathy of prematurity (stage> or =3) were not significantly different between the two groups, and the incidence of abnormal brainstem auditory evoked potential was higher among the singletons. These results suggest that multiple VLBWI do not suffer higher mortality or morbidity than comparable singletons.
The role of nitric oxide during neonatal sepsis is complex. We tested the hypothesis that nonselective inhibition of nitric oxide synthase with N(omega) -nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) is detrimental during the early phase of experimental sepsis in the newborn piglet. Newborn piglets were divided into four groups: 6 in the control group, 6 in the L-NAME control group, 12 in the sepsis group (SG), and 11 in the sepsis with L-NAME group (NS). Sepsis was induced by intravenous injection of 10(8) colony forming units of Escherichia coli. L-NAME 10 mg/kg was given intravenously 60 min before the induction of sepsis. The survival rate of piglets after 4 hr was 27% in NS, while it was 100% in other groups. Systemic hypotension, observed in both SG and NS, were more profound in NS. Leukopenia was observed in both SG and NS. Thrombocytopenia, prolongation of prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time, and increase in thrombin-antithrombin complexes were observed only in NS. Decreased PaO2 /FiO2 ratio, arterial pH and base excess, and increased blood lactate levels observed in both SG and NS, but were more profound in NS. These findings suggest that nonselective inhibition of nitric oxide synthase with L-NAME is detrimental during the early phase of experimental neonatal sepsis.
We evaluated the efficacy of non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801 (dizocilpine) as an adjuvant therapy in experimental neonal bacterial meningitis. Meningitis was induced by injecting 10(6) colony forming units of Escherichia coli into the cisterna magna. MK-801 3 mg/kg was given as a bolus intravenous injection, 30 min before the induction of meningitis. MK-801 did not down-modulate the inflammatory parameters, such as increased intracranial pressure, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leukocytosis, increased lactate and TNF-alpha levels in the CSF, and hypoglycorrhachia observed in the meningitis group. MK-801 did not significantly attenuate the elevated glutamate concentration in the CSF. However, MK-801 showed some neuroprotective effects as evidenced by significant attenuation of cerebral lipid peroxidation products (conjugated dienes) and increase of brain high-energy phosphate compounds (ATP and PCr). Improvement in cerebral cortical cell membrane Na+, K+ -ATPase activity did not reach a statistical significance. These results suggest that MK-801 was effective in ameliorating brain injury in neonatal bacterial meningitis, although it failed to attenuate the inflammatory responses.