The therapeutic efficiency of bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) autologous transplantation for myocardial infarction (MI) remains low. Here we developed a novel strategy to improve cardiac repair by preconditioning BMMNCs via angiotensin II type 2 receptor (AT2R) stimulation.
Methods and Results
Acute MI in rats led to a significant increase of AT2R expression in BMMNCs. Preconditioning of BMMNCs via AT2R stimulation directly with an AT2R agonist CGP42112A or indirectly with angiotensin II plus AT1R antagonist valsartan led to ERK activation and increased eNOS expression as well as subsequent nitric oxide generation, ultimately improved cardiomyocyte protection in
vitro as measured by co-culture approach. Intramyocardial transplantation of BMMNCs preconditioned via AT2R stimulation improved survival of transplanted cells in ischemic region of heart tissue and reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis and inflammation at 3 days after MI. At 4 weeks after transplantation, compared to DMEM and non-preconditioned BMMNCs group, AT2R stimulated BMMNCs group showed enhanced vessel density in peri-infarct region and attenuated infarct size, leading to global heart function improvement.
Preconditioning of BMMNCs via AT2R stimulation exerts protective effect against MI. Stimulation of AT2R in BMMNCs may provide a new strategy to improving therapeutic efficiency of stem cells for post MI cardiac repair.
Precipitation and temperature are important drivers of soil respiration. The role of moisture and temperature are generally explored at seasonal or inter-annual timescales; however, significant variability also occurs on hourly to daily time-scales. We used small (1.54 m2), throughfall exclusion shelters to evaluate the role soil moisture and temperature as temporal controls on soil CO2 efflux from a humid tropical forest in Puerto Rico. We measured hourly soil CO2 efflux, temperature and moisture in control and exclusion plots (n = 6) for 6-months. The variance of each time series was analyzed using orthonormal wavelet transformation and Haar-wavelet coherence. We found strong negative coherence between soil moisture and soil respiration in control plots corresponding to a two-day periodicity. Across all plots, there was a significant parabolic relationship between soil moisture and soil CO2 efflux with peak soil respiration occurring at volumetric soil moisture of approximately 0.375 m3/m3. We additionally found a weak positive coherence between CO2 and temperature at longer time-scales and a significant positive relationship between soil temperature and CO2 efflux when the analysis was limited to the control plots. The coherence between CO2 and both temperature and soil moisture were reduced in exclusion plots. The reduced CO2 response to temperature in exclusion plots suggests that the positive effect of temperature on CO2 is constrained by soil moisture availability.
A major unknown in the context of current climate change is the extent to which populations of slowly migrating species, such as trees, will track shifting climates. Niche modelling generally predicts substantial northward shifts of suitable habitats. There is therefore an urgent need for field-based forest observations to corroborate these extensive model simulations. We used forest inventory data providing presence/absence information from just over a century (1880–2010) for a Mediterranean species (Quercus ilex) in forests located at the northern edge of its distribution. The main goals of the study were (i) to investigate whether this species has actually spread into new areas during the Anthropocene period and (ii) to provide a direct estimation of tree migration rate. We show that Q. ilex has colonised substantial new areas over the last century. However, the maximum rate of colonisation by this species (22 to 57 m/year) was much slower than predicted by the models and necessary to follow changes in habitat suitability since 1880. Our results suggest that the rates of tree dispersion and establishment may also be too low to track shifts in bioclimatic envelopes in the future. The inclusion of contemporary, rather than historical, migration rates into models should improve our understanding of the response of species to climate change.
The interactions between phonons and electrons induced by the dopants or the substrate of graphene in spectroscopic investigation reveal a rich source of interesting physics. Raman spectra and surface-enhanced Raman spectra of supported and suspended monolayer graphenes were measured and analyzed systemically with different approaches. The weak Raman signals are greatly enhanced by the ability of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy which has attracted considerable interests. The technique is regarded as wonderful and useful tool, but the dopants that are produced by depositing metallic nanoparticles may affect the electron scattering processes of graphene. Therefore, the doping and substrate influences on graphene are also important issues to be investigated. In this work, the peak positions of G peak and 2D peak, the I2D/IG ratios, and enhancements of G and 2D bands with suspended and supported graphene flakes were measured and analyzed. The peak shifts of G and 2D bands between the Raman and SERS signals demonstrate the doping effect induced by silver nanoparticles by n-doping. The I2D/IG ratio can provide a more sensitive method to carry out the doping effect on the graphene surface than the peak shifts of G and 2D bands. The enhancements of 2D band of suspended and supported graphenes reached 138, and those of G band reached at least 169. Their good enhancements are helpful to measure the optical properties of graphene. The different substrates that covered the graphene surface with doping effect are more sensitive to the enhancements of G band with respect to 2D band. It provides us a new method to distinguish the substrate and doping effect on graphene.
78.67.Wj (optical properties of graphene); 74.25.nd (Raman and optical spectroscopy); 63.22.Rc (phonons in graphene)
Suspended graphene; Raman spectroscopy; SERS
The objective of this work was to compare and contrast the patterns of alien plant invasions in the world’s five mediterranean-climate regions (MCRs). We expected landscape age and disturbance history to have bearing on levels of invasion. We assembled a database on naturalized alien plant taxa occurring in natural and semi-natural terrestrial habitats of all five regions (specifically Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus from the Mediterranean Basin, California, central Chile, the Cape Region of South Africa and Southwestern - SW Australia). We used multivariate (hierarchical clustering and NMDS ordination) trait and habitat analysis to compare characteristics of regions, taxa and habitats across the mediterranean biome. Our database included 1627 naturalized species with an overall low taxonomic similarity among the five MCRs. Herbaceous perennials were the most frequent taxa, with SW Australia exhibiting both the highest numbers of naturalized species and the highest taxonomic similarity (homogenization) among habitats, and the Mediterranean Basin the lowest. Low stress and highly disturbed habitats had the highest frequency of invasion and homogenization in all regions, and high natural stress habitats the lowest, while taxonomic similarity was higher among different habitats in each region than among regions. Our analysis is the first to describe patterns of species characteristics and habitat vulnerability for a single biome. We have shown that a broad niche (i.e. more than one habitat) is typical of naturalized plant species, regardless of their geographical area of origin, leading to potential for high homogenization within each region. Habitats of the Mediterranean Basin are apparently the most resistant to plant invasion, possibly because their landscapes are generally of relatively recent origin, but with a more gradual exposure to human intervention over a longer period.
The objectives of our large observational study were to describe the prevalence of cardiac and noncardiac comorbidities in a community-based population of patients hospitalized with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) at all medical centers in central Massachusetts, and to examine whether multiple comorbidities were associated with in-hospital death rates and hospital length of stay.
The study sample consisted of 2,972 patients hospitalized with AMI at all eleven greater Worcester medical centers in central Massachusetts during the three study years of 2003, 2005, and 2007.
The average age of this hospitalized population was 71 years, 55% were men, 93% were Caucasian, and approximately one third had developed an ST segment elevation AMI during the years under study. Hypertension (75%) was the most common cardiac condition identified in patients hospitalized with AMI whereas renal disease (22%) was the most common noncardiac comorbidity diagnosed in this study population. Approximately one in every four hospitalized patients had any four or more of the seven cardiac conditions examined, while one in 13 had any three or more of the five noncardiac conditions studied. Patients with four or more cardiac comorbidities were more than twice as likely to have died during hospitalization and have a prolonged hospital length of stay, compared to those without any cardiac comorbidities. Patients with three or more noncardiac comorbidities had markedly increased odds of dying during hospitalization and having a prolonged hospital stay compared to those with no noncardiac comorbidities previously diagnosed.
Our findings highlight the need for additional contemporary data to improve the short-term outcomes of patients hospitalized with AMI and multiple concurrent medical illnesses.
population-based study; chronic conditions; acute coronary syndrome
Driver mutations are somatic mutations that provide growth advantage to tumor cells, while passenger mutations are those not functionally related to oncogenesis. Distinguishing drivers from passengers is challenging because drivers occur much less frequently than passengers, they tend to have low prevalence, their functions are multifactorial and not intuitively obvious. Missense mutations are excellent candidates as drivers, as they occur more frequently and are potentially easier to identify than other types of mutations. Although several methods have been developed for predicting the functional impact of missense mutations, only a few have been specifically designed for identifying driver mutations. As more mutations are being discovered, more accurate predictive models can be developed using machine learning approaches that systematically characterize the commonality and peculiarity of missense mutations under the background of specific cancer types. Here, we present a cancer driver annotation (CanDrA) tool that predicts missense driver mutations based on a set of 95 structural and evolutionary features computed by over 10 functional prediction algorithms such as CHASM, SIFT, and MutationAssessor. Through feature optimization and supervised training, CanDrA outperforms existing tools in analyzing the glioblastoma multiforme and ovarian carcinoma data sets in The Cancer Genome Atlas and the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia project.
Studies on pollination networks have provided valuable information on the number, frequency, distribution and identity of interactions between plants and pollinators. However, little is still known on the functional effect of these interactions on plant reproductive success. Information on the extent to which plants depend on such interactions will help to make more realistic predictions of the potential impacts of disturbances on plant-pollinator networks. Plant functional dependence on pollinators (all interactions pooled) can be estimated by comparing seed set with and without pollinators (i.e. bagging flowers to exclude them). Our main goal in this study was thus to determine whether plant dependence on current insect interactions is related to plant specialization in a pollination network. We studied two networks from different communities, one in a coastal dune and one in a mountain. For ca. 30% of plant species in each community, we obtained the following specialization measures: (i) linkage level (number of interactions), (ii) diversity of interactions, and (iii) closeness centrality (a measure of how much a species is connected to other plants via shared pollinators). Phylogenetically controlled regression analyses revealed that, for the largest and most diverse coastal community, plants highly dependent on pollinators were the most generalists showing the highest number and diversity of interactions as well as occupying central positions in the network. The mountain community, by contrast, did not show such functional relationship, what might be attributable to their lower flower-resource heterogeneity and diversity of interactions. We conclude that plants with a wide array of pollinator interactions tend to be those that are more strongly dependent upon them for seed production and thus might be those more functionally vulnerable to the loss of network interaction, although these outcomes might be context-dependent.
To investigate the contributions of adenoid and tonsil size to childhood obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the interactions between adenotonsillar hypertrophy, age, and obesity in children with OSA.
In total, 495 symptomatic patients were recruited. The patients were assigned to four groups according to age：toddler (age 1-3, n=42), preschool (age 3-6, n=164), school (age 6-12, n=200), and adolescence (age 12-18, n=89). All subjects had tonsil size graded by otolaryngologists, adenoid size determined on lateral radiographs (Fujioka method), and a full-night polysomnography. The apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), adenoid size, and tonsil size were compared in obese and non-obese children in the four age groups. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence interval (CI) of adenotonsillar hypertrophy and OSA risk were estimated by multi-logistic regression.
The AHI was positively related to tonsil grade (r=0.33, p <0.001) and adenoid size (r=0.24, p <0.01) in all patients. Tonsil grade was positively related to AHI in all four age groups. Adenoid size was positively related to AHI in the toddler, preschool, school groups, but not in the adolescent group (r=0.11, p=0.37). Tonsil grade and adenoid size were both positively related to AHI in obese and non-obese children. In the regression model, obesity (OR=2.89; 95% CI 1.47-5.68), tonsillar hypertrophy (OR=3.15; 95% CI 2.04-4.88), and adenoidal hypertrophy (OR=1.89; 95% CI 1.19-3.00) significantly increased OSA risk.
Adenotonsillar hypertrophy and obesity are the major determinants of OSA in children. However, the influence of adenoid size decreases in adolescence.
In forest ecosystems with phosphorus (P) deficiency, the impact of atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition on nutritional traits related to P uptake and P use potentially determines plant growth and vegetation productivity.
Two N deposition simulations were combined with three soil P conditions (homogeneous P deficiency with evenly low P; heterogeneous P deficiency with low subsoil P and high topsoil P; high P) using four full-sib families of Masson pine (Pinus massoniana). Under homogeneous P deficiency, N had a low effect on growth due to higher N:P ratios, whereas N-sensitive genotypes had lower N:P ratios and greater N sensitivity. The N effect increased under higher P conditions due to increased P concentration and balanced N:P ratios. An N:P threshold of 12.0–15.0 was detected, and growth was increased by N with an N:P ratio ≤ 12.0 and increased by P with an N:P ratio ≥ 15.0. Under homogeneous P deficiency, increased P use efficiency by N deposition improved growth. Under heterogeneous P deficiency, a greater P deficiency under N deposition due to increased N:P ratios induced greater adaptive responses to low P (root acid phosphatase secretion and topsoil root proliferation) and improved P acquisition and growth.
N deposition diversely affected seedling growth across different P conditions and genotypes via N:P ratio effects and the modulation of adaptive responses to low P. The positive impact of N on growth was genotype-specific and increased by soil P addition due to balanced N:P ratios. These results indicate the significance of breeding N-sensitive tree genotypes and improving forest soil P status to compensate for increasing N deposition.
Fine root production is the largest component of belowground production and plays substantial roles in the biogeochemical cycles of terrestrial ecosystems. The increasing availability of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) due to human activities is expected to increase aboveground net primary production (ANNP), but the response of fine root production to N and P remains unclear. If roots respond to nutrients as ANNP, fine root production is anticipated to increase with increasing soil N and P. Here, by synthesizing data along the nutrient gradient from 410 natural habitats and from 469 N and/or P addition experiments, we showed that fine root production increased in terrestrial ecosystems with an average increase along the natural N gradient of up to 0.5 per cent with increasing soil N. Fine root production also increased with soil P in natural conditions, particularly at P < 300 mg kg−1. With N, P and combined N + P addition, fine root production increased by a global average of 27, 21 and 40 per cent, respectively. However, its responses differed among ecosystems and soil types. The global average increases in fine root production are lower than those of ANNP, indicating that above- and belowground counterparts are coupled, but production allocation shifts more to aboveground with higher soil nutrients. Our results suggest that the increasing fertilizer use and combined N deposition at present and in the future will stimulate fine root production, together with ANPP, probably providing a significant influence on atmospheric CO2 emissions.
carbon cycle; fine roots; net primary production; nitrogen deposition; nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization
Understanding the drivers of large-scale vegetation change is critical to managing landscapes and key to predicting how projected climate and land use changes will affect regional vegetation patterns. This study aimed to improve our understanding of the role, magnitude and spatial distribution of the key environmental factors driving vegetation change in southern African savanna, and how they vary across physiographic gradients.
We applied Dynamic Factor Analysis (DFA), a multivariate times series dimension reduction technique to ten years of monthly remote sensing data (MODIS-derived normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI) and a suite of environmental covariates: precipitation, mean and maximum temperature, soil moisture, relative humidity, fire and potential evapotranspiration. Monthly NDVI was described by cyclic seasonal variation with distinct spatiotemporal patterns in different physiographic regions. Results support existing work emphasizing the importance of precipitation, soil moisture and fire on NDVI, but also reveal overlooked effects of temperature and evapotranspiration, particularly in regions with higher mean annual precipitation. Critically, spatial distributions of the weights of environmental covariates point to a transition in the importance of precipitation and soil moisture (strongest in grass-dominated regions with precipitation<750 mm) to fire, potential evapotranspiration, and temperature (strongest in tree-dominated regions with precipitation>950 mm).
We quantified the combined spatiotemporal effects of an available suite of environmental drivers on NDVI across a large and diverse savanna region. The analysis supports known drivers of savanna vegetation but also uncovers important roles of temperature and evapotranspiration. Results highlight the utility of applying the DFA approach to remote sensing products for regional analyses of landscape change in the context of global environmental change. With the dramatic increase in global change research, this methodology augurs well for further development and application of spatially explicit time series modeling to studies at the intersection of ecology and remote sensing.
Previous studies have shown that serum p-cresyl sulfate (PCS) and indoxyl sulfate (IS) were significantly related to clinical outcomes in patients on hemodialysis (HD). However, evidence for the relationship in elderly HD patients remains scarce. We explore whether the two toxins can predict clinical outcomes in elderly HD patients.
Material and methods
Fifty stable HD patients more than 65 years old were enrolled from a single medical center. Serum total and free PCS, IS levels and biochemistry were measured concurrently. The clinical outcomes including cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality were analyzed after 38-month follow-up.
Univariate Cox proportional hazard ratio analysis revealed that cardiovascular events were associated with gender (p = 0.02), diabetes (p < 0.01), calcium (p = 0.01), total PCS (p < 0.01), free PCS (p < 0.01) and total IS (p = 0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that diabetes (p = 0.01), total PCS (p = 0.01) and free PCS (p = 0.04) were related to cardiovascular events. For all-cause mortality, only total PCS (p = 0.01) reached significance after adjusting other confounding factors. However, Kaplan-Meier analysis indicated that free PCS (p = 0.02) and total PCS (p < 0.01) were significantly associated with cardiovascular events and total PCS (p = 0.048) was related to all-cause mortality during 38-month follow-up.
Our results indicate that total PCS is a valuable marker in predicting cardiovascular event and all-cause mortality in elderly HD patients.
hemodialysis; p-cresyl sulfate; indoxyl sulfate; cardiovascular disease; mortality
Soils are the largest terrestrial carbon store and soil respiration is the second-largest flux in ecosystem carbon cycling. Across China's temperate region, climatic changes and human activities have frequently caused the transformation of grasslands to woodlands. However, the effect of this transition on soil respiration and soil organic carbon (SOC) dynamics remains uncertain in this area. In this study, we measured in situ soil respiration and SOC storage over a two-year period (Jan. 2007–Dec. 2008) from five characteristic vegetation types in a forest-steppe ecotone of temperate China, including grassland (GR), shrubland (SH), as well as in evergreen coniferous (EC), deciduous coniferous (DC) and deciduous broadleaved forest (DB), to evaluate the changes of soil respiration and SOC storage with grassland conversions to diverse types of woodlands. Annual soil respiration increased by 3%, 6%, 14%, and 22% after the conversion from GR to EC, SH, DC, and DB, respectively. The variation in soil respiration among different vegetation types could be well explained by SOC and soil total nitrogen content. Despite higher soil respiration in woodlands, SOC storage and residence time increased in the upper 20 cm of soil. Our results suggest that the differences in soil environmental conditions, especially soil substrate availability, influenced the level of annual soil respiration produced by different vegetation types. Moreover, shifts from grassland to woody plant dominance resulted in increased SOC storage. Given the widespread increase in woody plant abundance caused by climate change and large-scale afforestation programs, the soils are expected to accumulate and store increased amounts of organic carbon in temperate areas of China.
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent tumors worldwide. Interferon-α (IFN-α) has been widely used in the treatment of HCC, but patients eventually develop resistance. ISG15 ubiquitin-like modifier (ISG15) is a ubiquitin-like protein transcriptionally regulated by IFN-α which shows antivirus and antitumor activities. However, the exact role of ISG15 is unknown. In the present study, we showed that IFN-α significantly induced ISG15 expression but failed to induce HepG2 cell apoptosis, whereas transient overexpression of ISG15 dramatically increased HepG2 cell apoptosis. ISG15 overexpression increased overall protein ubiquitination, which was not observed in cells with IFN-α-induced ISG15 expression, suggesting that IFN-α treatment not only induced the expression of ISG15 but also inhibited ISG15-mediated ubiquitination. The tumor suppressor p53 and p21 proteins are the key regulators of cell survival and death in response to stress signals such as DNA damage. We showed that p53 or p21 is only up regulated in HepG2 cells ectopically expressing ISG15, but not in the presence of IFN-α-induced ISG15. Our results suggest that ISG15 overexpression could be developed into a powerful gene-therapeutic tool for treating IFN-α-resistant HCC.
Residential wood combustion is one of the important sources of air pollution in developing countries. Among the pollutants emitted, parent polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (pPAHs) and their derivatives, including nitrated and oxygenated PAHs (nPAHs and oPAHs), are of concern because of their mutagenic and carcinogenic effects. In order to evaluate their impacts on regional air quality and human health, emission inventories, based on realistic emission factors (EFs), are needed. In this study, the EFs of 28 pPAHs (EFPAH28), 9 nPAHs (EFPAHn9) and 4 oPAHs (EFPAHo4) were measured for residential combustion of 27 wood fuels in rural China. The measured EFPAH28, EFPAHn9, and EFPAHo4 for brushwood were 86.7±67.6, 3.22±1.95×10−2, and 5.56±4.32 mg/kg, which were significantly higher than 12.7±7.0, 8.27±5.51×10−3, and 1.19±1.87 mg/kg for fuel wood combustion (p < 0.05). Sixteen U.S. EPA priority pPAHs contributed approximately 95% of the total of the 28 pPAHs measured. EFs of pPAHs, nPAHs, and oPAHs were positively correlated with one another. Measured EFs varied obviously depending on fuel properties and combustion conditions. The EFs of pPAHs, nPAHs, and oPAHs were significantly correlated with modified combustion efficiency and fuel moisture. Nitro-naphthalene and 9-fluorenone were the most abundant nPAHs and oPAHs identified. Both nPAHs and oPAHs showed relatively high tendencies to be present in the particulate phase than pPAHs due to their lower vapor pressures. The gas-particle partitioning of freshly emitted pPAHs, nPAHs and oPAHs was primarily controlled by organic carbon absorption.
Understanding how plant functional traits shape nutrient limitation and cycling on land is a major challenge in ecology. This is especially true for lowland forest ecosystems of the tropics which can be taxonomically and functionally diverse and rich in bioavailable nitrogen (N). In many tropical regions, however, diverse forests occur side-by-side with monodominant forest (one species >60% of canopy); the long-term biogeochemical consequences of tree monodominance are unclear. Particularly uncertain is whether the monodominant plant-soil system modifies nutrient balance at the ecosystem level. Here, we use chemical and stable isotope techniques to examine N cycling in old-growth Mora excelsa and diverse watershed rainforests on the island of Trinidad. Across 26 small watershed forests and 4 years, we show that Mora monodominance reduces bioavailable nitrate in the plant-soil system to exceedingly low levels which, in turn, results in small hydrologic and gaseous N losses at the watershed-level relative to adjacent N-rich diverse forests. Bioavailable N in soils and streams remained low and remarkably stable through time in Mora forests; N levels in diverse forests, on the other hand, showed high sensitivity to seasonal and inter-annual rainfall variation. Total mineral N losses from diverse forests exceeded inputs from atmospheric deposition, consistent with N saturation, while losses from Mora forests did not, suggesting N limitation. Our measures suggest that this difference cannot be explained by environmental factors but instead by low internal production and efficient retention of bioavailable N in the Mora plant-soil system. These results demonstrate ecosystem-level consequences of a tree species on the N cycle opposite to cases where trees enhance ecosystem N supply via N2 fixation and suggest that, over time, Mora monodominance may generate progressive N draw-down in the plant-soil system.
Understanding and predicting ecosystem functioning such as biomass accumulation requires an accurate assessment of large-scale patterns of biomass distribution and partitioning in relation to climatic and soil environments.
We sampled above- and belowground biomass from 26 sites spanning 1500 km in Inner Mongolian grasslands, compared the difference in aboveground, belowground biomass and below-aboveground biomass ratio (AGB, BGB, and B/A, respectively) among meadow steppe, typical steppe, and desert steppe types. The relationships between AGB, BGB, B/A and climatic and soil environments were then examined.
We found that AGB and BGB differed significantly among three types of grasslands while B/A did not differ. Structural equation model analyses indicated that mean annual precipitation was the strongest positive driver for AGB and BGB. AGB was also positively associated with soil organic carbon, whereas B/A was positively associated with total soil nitrogen.
These results indicated that precipitation positively influence plant production in Inner Mongolian grasslands. Contrary to the prediction from the optimal partitioning hypothesis, biomass allocation to belowground increased with soil total nitrogen, suggesting that more productive sites may increase belowground allocation as an adaptive strategy to potentially high fire frequencies.
XinJiErKang (XJEK), a Chinese herbal formula, is identified as an effective preparation to treat coronary heart disease and myocarditis. The aim of the study is to investigate the anti-hypertensive effects of XJEK by oral administration and also to find out whether the drug has any role in oxidative stress and vascular endothelial function.
Clipping of the renal artery resulted in gradual elevation of the systolic blood pressure (SBP) which reached a plateau after 4 weeks of surgery. Treatment of hypertensive rats (20 mmHg higher than basic systolic blood pressure) with XJEK (6, 12, 24 g/kg/day) and fosinopril (15 mg/kg/day) respectively by intragastric administration started 4 weeks after surgery and continued for 4 weeks. The sham-operated (Sh-Op) controls received drinking water. BP was monitored weekly using tail-cuff apparatus. At the end of 8 wk, left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP), left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), rate of rise of left ventricular pressure (±dp/dtmax) were examined (PowerLab 8/30, AD Instruments, Australia). The myocardial hypertrophy index was expressed as heart weight/body weight (HW/BW), the histological changes were investigated by hematoxylin and eosin (HE) and Van Gieson (VG) stain. Endothelium-dependent relaxations due to acetylcholine were observed in isolated rat thoracic aortic ring preparation. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) content in serum, contents of hydroxyproline (Hyp) in the ventricular tissue were assayed by xanthin oxidase method, thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method, Griess method and alkaline hydrolysis method, respectively. Angiotensin II (Ang II) content in serum was detected by radioimmunoasssay method.
XJEK therapy potently improved cardiac function, inhibited myocardial hypertrophy, improved cardiac pathology change, decreased the myocardial cross-section area (CSA), collagen volume fraction (CVF) and perivascular circumferential collagen area (PVCA), reduced the content of Hyp in the left ventricular tissue, inhibited the decrease of SOD activity and increase of MDA, Ang II content in serum. Moreover, treatment with XJEK improved endothelial dysfunction (ED) manifested by promoting endothelial-dependent vasodilation of thoracic aortic rings and enhancing the NO activity in serum.
These findings suggest that administration of XJEK possess protective effects against 2K1C induced hypertension and cardiac remodeling in rats, preserve NO activity and endothelial function.
Oxidative stress; Endothelial dysfunction; Antioxidant; Renovascular; Hypertension; Cardiac remodeling
Surgical brain injury (SBI) is damage to functional brain tissue resulting from neurosurgical manipulations such as sharp dissection, electrocautery, retraction, and direct applied pressure. Brain edema is the major contributor to morbidity with inflammation, necrosis, oxidative stress and apoptosis likely playing smaller roles. Effective therapies for SBI may improve neurological outcomes and postoperative morbidities associated with brain surgery. Previous studies show an adrenergic correlation to blood-brain barrier control. The alpha-2 receptor agonist dexmedetomidine (DEX) has been shown to improve neurological outcomes in stroke models. We hypothesized that DEX may reduce brain edema and improve neurological outcomes in a rat model of SBI.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats (n=63) weighing 280–350g were randomly assigned to one of four intraperitoneal (IP) treatment groups: sham IP, vehicle IP, DEX 10 mg/kg, and DEX 30 mg/kg. Treatments were given 30 minutes before SBI. These treatment groups were repeated to observe the physiologic impact of DEX on mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), heart rate (HR), and blood glucose on SBI naïve animals. Rats were also assigned to four postinjury IV treatment groups: sham IV, vehicle IV, DEX 10/5, and DEX 30/15 (DEX group doses were 10 and 30 mg/kg/hr, with 5 and 15 mg/kg initial loading doses respectively). Initial loading doses began 20 minutes after SBI, followed by 2 hours of infusion. SBI animals were subjected to neurological testing 24 hours after brain injury by a blinded observer, promptly killed, and brain water content measured via the dry/wet weight method.
All treatment groups showed a significant difference in ipsilateral frontal brain water content and neurological scores when compared with sham animals. However, there was no difference between DEX-treated and vehicle animals. Physiologic monitoring showed treatment with low or high doses of DEX significantly decreased MAP and HR, and briefly increased blood glucose compared with naïve or vehicle-treated animals.
DEX administration did not reduce brain edema or improve neurological function after SBI in this study. The statistical difference in brain water content and neurological scores when comparing sham treatment to vehicle and DEX treatments shows consistent reproduction of this model. Significant changes in MAP, HR, and blood glucose after DEX as compared to vehicle and sham treatments suggest appropriate delivery of drug.
Dryland ecosystems are highly vulnerable to climatic and land-use changes, while the mechanisms underlying patterns of dryland species richness are still elusive. With distributions of 3637 native vascular plants, 154 mammals, and 425 birds in Xinjiang, China, we tested the water-energy dynamics hypothesis for species richness patterns in Central Asian drylands. Our results supported the water-energy dynamics hypothesis. We found that species richness of all three groups was a hump-shaped function of energy availability, but a linear function of water availability. We further found that water availability had stronger effects on plant richness, but weaker effects on vertebrate richness than energy availability. We conducted piecewise linear regressions to detect the breakpoints in the relationship between species richness and potential evapotranspiration which divided Xinjiang into low and high energy regions. The concordance between mammal and plant richness was stronger in high than in low energy regions, which was opposite to that between birds and plants. Plant richness had stronger effects than climate on mammal richness regardless of energy levels, but on bird richness only in high energy regions. The changes in the concordance between vertebrate and plant richness along the climatic gradient suggest that cautions are needed when using concordance between taxa in conservation planning.
Soil organic carbon is a key soil property related to soil fertility, aggregate stability and the exchange of CO2 with the atmosphere. Existing soil maps and inventories can rarely be used to monitor the state and evolution in soil organic carbon content due to their poor spatial resolution, lack of consistency and high updating costs. Visible and Near Infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy is an alternative method to provide cheap and high-density soil data. However, there are still some uncertainties on its capacity to produce reliable predictions for areas characterized by large soil diversity. Using a large-scale EU soil survey of about 20,000 samples and covering 23 countries, we assessed the performance of reflectance spectroscopy for the prediction of soil organic carbon content. The best calibrations achieved a root mean square error ranging from 4 to 15 g C kg−1 for mineral soils and a root mean square error of 50 g C kg−1 for organic soil materials. Model errors are shown to be related to the levels of soil organic carbon and variations in other soil properties such as sand and clay content. Although errors are ∼5 times larger than the reproducibility error of the laboratory method, reflectance spectroscopy provides unbiased predictions of the soil organic carbon content. Such estimates could be used for assessing the mean soil organic carbon content of large geographical entities or countries. This study is a first step towards providing uniform continental-scale spectroscopic estimations of soil organic carbon, meeting an increasing demand for information on the state of the soil that can be used in biogeochemical models and the monitoring of soil degradation.
Biomass pellets are emerging as a cleaner alternative to traditional biomass fuels. The potential benefits of using biomass pellets include improving energy utilization efficiency and reducing emissions of air pollutants. To assess the environmental, climate, and health significance of replacing traditional fuels with biomass pellets, it is critical to measure the emission factors (EFs) of various pollutants from pellet burning. However, only a few field measurements have been conducted on the emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the combustion of pellets. In this study, pine wood and corn straw pellets were burned in a pellet burner (2.6 kW) and the EFs of CO, organic carbon, elemental carbon, PM, and PAHs (EFCO, EFOC, EFEC, EFPM, and EFPAH) were determined. The average EFCO, EFOC, EFEC, and EFPM were 1520±1170, 8.68±11.4, 11.2±8.7, and 188±87 mg/MJ for corn straw pellets, and 266±137, 5.74±7.17, 2.02±1.57, and 71.0±54.0 mg/MJ for pine wood pellets, respectively. Total carbonaceous carbon constituted 8 to 14% of the PM mass emitted. The measured values of EFPAH for the two pellets were 1.02±0.64 and 0.506±0.360 mg/MJ, respectively. The secondary side air supply in the pellet burner did not change the EFs of most pollutants significantly (p > 0.05). The only exceptions were EFOC and EFPM for pine wood pellets because of reduced combustion temperatures with the increased air supply. In comparison with EFs for the raw pine wood and corn straw, EFCO, EFOC, EFEC, and EFPM for pellets were significantly lower than those for raw fuels (p < 0.05). However, the differences in EFPAH were not significant (p > 0.05). Based on the measured EFs and thermal efficiencies, it was estimated that 95, 98, 98, 88, and 71% reductions in the total emissions of CO, OC, EC, PM, and PAHs could be achieved by replacing the raw biomass fuels combusted in traditional cooking stoves with pellets burned in modern pellet burners.
A hospital information system (HIS) that integrates screening data and interpretation of the data is routinely requested by hospitals and parents. However, the accuracy of disease classification may be low because of the disease characteristics and the analytes used for classification.
The objective of this study is to describe a system that enhanced the neonatal screening system of the Newborn Screening Center at the National Taiwan University Hospital. The system was designed and deployed according to a service-oriented architecture (SOA) framework under the Web services .NET environment. The system consists of sample collection, testing, diagnosis, evaluation, treatment, and follow-up services among collaborating hospitals. To improve the accuracy of newborn screening, machine learning and optimal feature selection mechanisms were investigated for screening newborns for inborn errors of metabolism.
The framework of the Newborn Screening Hospital Information System (NSHIS) used the embedded Health Level Seven (HL7) standards for data exchanges among heterogeneous platforms integrated by Web services in the C# language. In this study, machine learning classification was used to predict phenylketonuria (PKU), hypermethioninemia, and 3-methylcrotonyl-CoA-carboxylase (3-MCC) deficiency. The classification methods used 347,312 newborn dried blood samples collected at the Center between 2006 and 2011. Of these, 220 newborns had values over the diagnostic cutoffs (positive cases) and 1557 had values that were over the screening cutoffs but did not meet the diagnostic cutoffs (suspected cases). The original 35 analytes and the manifested features were ranked based on F score, then combinations of the top 20 ranked features were selected as input features to support vector machine (SVM) classifiers to obtain optimal feature sets. These feature sets were tested using 5-fold cross-validation and optimal models were generated. The datasets collected in year 2011 were used as predicting cases.
The feature selection strategies were implemented and the optimal markers for PKU, hypermethioninemia, and 3-MCC deficiency were obtained. The results of the machine learning approach were compared with the cutoff scheme. The number of the false positive cases were reduced from 21 to 2 for PKU, from 30 to 10 for hypermethioninemia, and 209 to 46 for 3-MCC deficiency.
This SOA Web service–based newborn screening system can accelerate screening procedures effectively and efficiently. An SVM learning methodology for PKU, hypermethioninemia, and 3-MCC deficiency metabolic diseases classification, including optimal feature selection strategies, is presented. By adopting the results of this study, the number of suspected cases could be reduced dramatically.
Web-based services; neonatal screening; tandem mass spectrometry; information systems; metabolism; inborn errors