Plants defend themselves against microbial pathogens through a range of highly sophisticated and integrated molecular systems. Recognition of pathogen-secreted effector proteins often triggers the hypersensitive response (HR), a complex multicellular defense reaction where programmed cell death (PCD) of cells surrounding the primary site of infection is a prominent feature. Even though the HR was described almost a century ago, cell to cell factors acting at the local level generating the full defense reaction has remained obscure. In this study, we sought to identify diffusible molecules produced during the HR that could induce cell death in naïve tissue. We found that 4-methylsulfinylbutyl isothiocyanate (sulforaphane) is released by Arabidopsis thaliana leaf tissue undergoing HR, and that this compound induces cell death as well as prime defense in naïve tissue. Two different mutants impaired in the pathogen-induced accumulation of sulforaphane displayed attenuated PCD upon bacterial and oomycete effector recognition as well as decreased resistance to several isolates of the plant pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Treatment with sulforaphane provided protection against a virulent H. arabidopsidis isolate. Glucosinolate breakdown products are recognized as antifeeding compounds towards insects and recently also as intracellular signaling and bacteriostatic molecules in Arabidopsis. The data presented herein indicate that these compounds also trigger local defense responses in Arabidopsis tissue.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a chronic autoimmune disorder where autoantibodies target the nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChR+) in about 85% of cases, in which the thymus is considered to play a pathogenic role. As there are no reliable biomarkers to monitor disease status in MG, we analyzed circulating miRNAs in sera of MG patients to find disease-specific miRNAs.
A series of nine donor-acceptor polymers, including three new and six polymers from previous work, have been investigated experimentally and theoretically. The investigation focuses on narrow band gaps and strong absorptions of the polymers, where experimentally determined first peak absorption energies range from 1.8 to 2.3 eV, and peak absorption coefficients vary between 19-67 L g(-1) cm(-1). An overall assessment of each polymer's light-harvesting capability is made, and related to the chemical structure. Oligomer calculations using density functional theory are extrapolated to obtain size-converged polymer properties, and found to reproduce the experimental absorption trends well. Accurate theoretical predictions of absorption energies to within 0.06 eV of experiments, and absorption strength to within 12%, are obtained through the introduction of an empirical correction scheme. The computational and experimental results provide insight for the design of polymers with efficient absorption, concerning the intrinsic properties of the constituent units and the use of bulky side-groups.
A new tetracyclic lactam building block for polymer semiconductors is reported that was designed to combine the many favorable properties that larger fused and/or amide-containing building blocks can induce, including improved solid-state packing, high charge carrier mobility, and improved charge separation. Copolymerization with thiophene resulted in a semicrystalline conjugated polymer, PTNT, with a broad bandgap of 2.2 eV. Grazing incidence wide-angle X-ray scattering of PTNT thin films revealed a strong tendency for face-on ?-stacking of the polymer backbone, which was retained in PTNT:fullerene blends. Corresponding solar cells featured a high open-circuit voltage of 0.9 V, a fill factor around 0.6, and a power conversion efficiency as high as 5% for >200 nm thick active layers, regardless of variations in blend stoichiometry and nanostructure. Moreover, efficiencies of >4% could be retained when thick active layers of ?400 nm were employed. Overall, these values are the highest reported for a conjugated polymer with such a broad bandgap and are unprecedented in materials for tandem and particularly ternary blend photovoltaics. Hence, the newly developed tetracyclic lactam unit has significant potential as a conjugated building block in future organic electronic materials.
The aim of this study was to investigate the deep brain stimulation (DBS) electric field distribution in proton-density MRI scans visualizing the globus pallidus internus (GPi) of patients with Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (GTS), along with its relation to the anatomy.
Plants are highly capable of recognizing and defending themselves against invading microbes. Adapted plant pathogens secrete effector molecules to suppress the host's immune system. These molecules may be recognized by host-encoded resistance proteins, which then trigger defense in the form of the hypersensitive response (HR) leading to programmed cell death of the host tissue at the infection site. The three proteins PEN1, PEN2 and PEN3 have been found to act as central components in cell wall-based defense against the non-adapted powdery mildew Blumeria graminis fsp. hordei (Bgh). We found that loss of function mutations in any of the three PEN genes cause decreased hypersensitive cell death triggered by recognition of effectors from oomycete and bacterial pathogens in Arabidopsis. There were considerable additive effects of the mutations. The HR induced by recognition of AvrRpm1 was almost completely abolished in the pen2 pen3 and pen1 pen3 double mutants and the loss of cell death could be linked to indole glucosinolate breakdown products. However, the loss of the HR in pen double mutants did not affect the plants' ability to restrict bacterial growth, whereas resistance to avirulent isolates of the oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis was strongly compromised. In contrast, the double and triple mutants demonstrated varying degrees of run-away cell death in response to Bgh. Taken together, our results indicate that the three genes PEN1, PEN2 and PEN3 extend in functionality beyond their previously recognized functions in cell wall-based defense against non-host pathogens.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) provide protection from infection by pathogenic microorganisms and restrict bacterial growth at epithelial surfaces to maintain mucosal homeostasis. In addition, they exert a significant anti-inflammatory activity. Here we analysed the anatomical distribution and biological activity of an orally administered AMP in the context of bacterial infection and host-microbial homeostasis.
Paneth cell-derived enteric antimicrobial peptides significantly contribute to antibacterial host defense and host-microbial homeostasis. Regulation occurs by enzymatic processing and release into the small intestinal lumen, but the stimuli involved are incompletely understood. Here, the capacity of various microbial and immune stimuli to induce antimicrobial peptide release from small intestinal tissue was systematically evaluated using antibacterial activity testing, immunostaining for Paneth cell granules and mass spectrometry. We confirmed the stimulatory activity of the muscarinic receptor agonist carbachol and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain ligand muramyl dipeptide. In contrast, no release of antibacterial activity was noted after treatment with the Toll-like receptor ligands poly(I:C), lipopolysaccharide or CpG, and the cytokines interleukin (IL)-15, IL-22, IL-28 and interferon-?. Rapid Paneth cell degranulation and antimicrobial activity release, however, was observed after stimulation with the endogenous mediators IL-4 and IL-13. This process required phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and was associated with protein kinase B phosphorylation in Paneth cells. Flow cytometric analysis confirmed expression of the IL-13 receptor ?1 on isolated Paneth cells. Our findings identify a novel role of IL-13 as inducer of Paneth cell degranulation and enteric antimicrobial peptide release. IL-13 may thus contribute to mucosal antimicrobial host defense and host microbial homeostasis.
Driven by the potential advantages and promising applications of organic solar cells, donor-acceptor (D-A) polymers have been intensively investigated in the past years. One of the strong electron-withdrawing groups that were widely used as acceptors for the construction of D-A polymers for applications in polymer solar cells and FETs is isoindigo. The isoindigo-based polymer solar cells have reached efficiencies up to ?7% and hole mobilities as high as 3.62 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1) have been realized by FETs based on isoindigo polymers. Over one hundred isoindigo-based small molecules and polymers have been developed in only three years. This review is an attempt to summarize the structures and properties of the isoindigo-based polymers and small molecules that have been reported in the literature since their inception in 2010. Focus has been given only to the syntheses and device performances of those polymers and small molecules that were designed for use in solar cells and FETs. Attempt has been made to deduce structure-property relationships that would guide the design of isoindigo-based materials. It is expected that this review will present useful guidelines for the design of efficient isoindigo-based materials for applications in solar cells and FETs.
ViscoGel, a chitosan-based hydrogel, has earlier been shown to improve humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in mice. In this study, a Phase I/IIa clinical trial was conducted to primarily evaluate safety and secondarily to study the effects of ViscoGel in combination with a model vaccine, Act-HIB to Haemophilus influenzae type b, administered as a single intramuscular injection. Healthy volunteers of both sexes, ages 22-50 and not previously vaccinated to HIB, were recruited. The trial had two phases. In Phase A, three ascending dose levels of ViscoGel (25, 50 and 75mg) were evaluated for safety in 3×10 subjects. Phase B had a single-blind, randomised, parallel-group design evaluating safety and efficacy in five groups, 20 subjects/group, comparing vaccination with 0.2?g or 2?g Act-HIB alone or combined with ViscoGel (50mg) and one group receiving the standard Act-HIB dose (10?g). No safety or tolerability concerns were identified. Local, transient reactions at the injection site were the most common adverse events. These were more frequent in groups receiving Act-HIB+ViscoGel, while other AEs were recorded at similar frequency in Act-HIB and Act-HIB+ViscoGel groups. Efficacy was evaluated by measuring serum anti-HIB antibodies and cellular responses in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). There was a large variation in baseline anti-HIB antibody titres and no adjuvant effect was observed on the anti-HIB antibody production in groups vaccinated with Act-HIB+ViscoGel. ELISpot analyses revealed increased interferon-? (IFN-?) responses to Act-HIB in PBMCs from subjects vaccinated with Act-HIB in combination with ViscoGel, compared to groups receiving Act-HIB alone. Moreover, ViscoGel counteracted an inhibitory effect of Act-HIB vaccination on the IFN-? response to both the vaccine itself and an irrelevant influenza antigen. In summary, ViscoGel was found to be safe and well-tolerated, supporting further examination of ViscoGel as a new innovative vehicle for vaccine development.
Light is one of the most important environmental cues regulating multiple aspects of plant growth and development, and abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that plays important roles during many phases of the plant life cycle and in plants' responses to various environmental stresses. How plants integrate the external light signal with endogenous ABA pathway for better adaptation and survival remains poorly understood. Here, we show that BBX21 (also known as SALT TOLERANCE HOMOLOG 2), a B-box (BBX) protein previously shown to positively regulate seedling photomorphogenesis, is also involved in ABA signaling. Our genetic data show that BBX21 may act upstream of several ABA INSENSITIVE (ABI) genes and ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5) in ABA control of seed germination. Previous studies showed that HY5 acts as a direct activator of ABI5 expression, and that BBX21 interacts with HY5. We further demonstrate that BBX21 negatively regulates ABI5 expression by interfering with HY5 binding to the ABI5 promoter. In addition, ABI5 was shown to directly activate its own expression, whereas BBX21 negatively regulates this activity by directly interacting with ABI5. Together, our study indicates that BBX21 coordinates with HY5 and ABI5 on the ABI5 promoter and that these transcriptional regulators work in concert to integrate light and ABA signaling in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Plant membranes are composed of a wide array of polar lipids. The functionality of these extends far beyond a pure structural role. Membrane lipids function as enzyme co-factors, establish organelle identity and as substrates for enzymes such as lipases and lipoxygenases. Enzymatic degradation or oxidation (enzymatic or non-enzymatic) of membrane lipids leads to the formation of a diverse group of bioactive compounds. Plant defense reactions provoked by pathogenic microorganisms are often associated with substantial modifications of the lipidome. In this study, we profiled changes in phospholipids during the hypersensitive response triggered by recognition of the bacterial effector protein AvrRpm1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. A simple and robust LC-MS based method for profiling plant lipids was designed to separate all the major species of glycerolipids extracted from Arabidopsis leaf tissue. The method efficiently separated several isobaric and near isobaric lipid species, which otherwise are difficult to quantify in direct infusion based profiling. In addition to the previously reported OPDA-containing galactolipids found to be induced during hypersensitive response in Arabidopsis, three OPDA-containing sulfoquinovosyl diacylglycerol species, one phosphatidylinositol species as well as two acylated OPDA-containing phosphatidylglycerol species were found to accumulate during the hypersensitive response in Arabidopsis. Our study confirms and extends on the notion that the hypersensitive response in Arabidopsis triggers a unique profile of Allene Oxide Synthase dependent oxidation of membrane lipids. Primary targets of this oxidation seem to be uncharged and anionic lipid species.
Here we report on the synthesis of two novel very low band gap (VLG) donor-acceptor polymers (Eg ? 1 eV) and an oligomer based on the thiadiazoloquinoxaline acceptor. Both polymers demonstrate decent ambipolar mobilities, with P1 showing the best performance of ?10(-2) cm(2) V(-1) s(-1) for p- and n-type operation. These polymers are among the lowest band gap polymers (?0.7 eV) reported, with a neutral ?max = 1476 nm (P2), which is the farthest red-shifted ?max reported to date for a soluble processable polymer. Very little has been done to characterize the electrochromic aspects of VLG polymers; interestingly, these polymers actually show a bleaching of their neutral absorptions in the near-infrared region and have an electrochromic contrast up to 30% at a switching speed of 3 s.
In this work we propose the adoption of a statistical framework used in the evaluation of forensic evidence as a tool for evaluating and presenting circumstantial "evidence" of a disease outbreak from syndromic surveillance. The basic idea is to exploit the predicted distributions of reported cases to calculate the ratio of the likelihood of observing n cases given an ongoing outbreak over the likelihood of observing n cases given no outbreak. The likelihood ratio defines the Value of Evidence (V). Using Bayes' rule, the prior odds for an ongoing outbreak are multiplied by V to obtain the posterior odds. This approach was applied to time series on the number of horses showing clinical respiratory symptoms or neurological symptoms. The separation between prior beliefs about the probability of an outbreak and the strength of evidence from syndromic surveillance offers a transparent reasoning process suitable for supporting decision makers. The value of evidence can be translated into a verbal statement, as often done in forensics or used for the production of risk maps. Furthermore, a Bayesian approach offers seamless integration of data from syndromic surveillance with results from predictive modeling and with information from other sources such as disease introduction risk assessments.
Detailed analysis of spinal deformity is important within orthopaedic healthcare, in particular for assessment of idiopathic scoliosis. This paper addresses this challenge by proposing an image analysis method, capable of providing a full three-dimensional spine characterization. The proposed method is based on the registration of a highly detailed spine model to image data from computed tomography. The registration process provides an accurate segmentation of each individual vertebra and the ability to derive various measures describing the spinal deformity. The derived measures are estimated from landmarks attached to the spine model and transferred to the patient data according to the registration result. Evaluation of the method provides an average point-to-surface error of 0.9?mm?±?0.9 (comparing segmentations), and an average target registration error of 2.3?mm?±?1.7 (comparing landmarks). Comparing automatic and manual measurements of axial vertebral rotation provides a mean absolute difference of 2.5°?±?1.8, which is on a par with other computerized methods for assessing axial vertebral rotation. A significant advantage of our method, compared to other computerized methods for rotational measurements, is that it does not rely on vertebral symmetry for computing the rotational measures. The proposed method is fully automatic and computationally efficient, only requiring three to four minutes to process an entire image volume covering vertebrae L5 to T1. Given the use of landmarks, the method can be readily adapted to estimate other measures describing a spinal deformity by changing the set of employed landmarks. In addition, the method has the potential to be utilized for accurate segmentations of the vertebrae in routine computed tomography examinations, given the relatively low point-to-surface error.
Abstract Objective: NASHA hyaluronic acid is administered as a single intra-articular injection to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA). In a previous trial, post-hoc analysis indicated that NASHA provides significantly greater pain relief than saline in patients with OA confined to the study knee. We aimed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of NASHA in patients with unilateral knee OA. Research design and methods: This was a randomized, double-blind, saline-controlled trial. All patients had knee OA confirmed by American College of Rheumatology criteria and a WOMAC pain score of 7-17 in the study knee, but no pain in the previous 3 months in the non-study knee. Treatment comprised a single intra-articular injection of NASHA or saline control. The follow-up period was 6 weeks. Clinical trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01806207. Main outcome measures: The primary efficacy endpoint was the responder rate, defined as the percentage of patients with ?40% improvement from baseline in WOMAC pain score and an absolute improvement of ?5 points. Results: A total of 218 patients received study treatment (NASHA: 108, saline: 110). In the main intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis, no statistically significant difference in responder rate was found between the two groups at 6 weeks (NASHA: 30.6%; saline: 26.4%). A post-hoc subgroup analysis of patients without clinical effusion in the study knee at baseline showed a significantly higher 6 week responder rate with NASHA than with saline: 40.6% versus 19.7% (p?=?0.0084). A total of 68 adverse events were reported among 44 patients in the NASHA group, compared with 69 adverse events among 44 patients in the saline group. The main weakness of the study was the short, 6 week follow-up duration. In addition, image guidance was not used to ensure injection as intended into the intra-articular space. Conclusions: Single-injection NASHA was well tolerated and, although there was no significant benefit versus saline control in the primary analysis, post-hoc analysis showed a statistically significant improvement in pain relief at 6 weeks among patients without clinical effusion at baseline.
Plants have evolved a complex array of defensive responses against pathogenic microorganisms. Recognition of microbes initiates signaling cascades that activate plant defenses. The membrane lipid phosphatidic acid, produced by phospholipase D (PLD), has been shown to take part in both abiotic and biotic stress signaling. In this study, the involvement of PLD in the interaction between Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and the barley powdery mildew fungus Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) was investigated. This nonadapted pathogen is normally resisted by a cell wall-based defense, which stops the fungal hyphae from penetrating the epidermal cell wall. Chemical inhibition of phosphatidic acid production by PLD increased the penetration rate of Bgh spores on wild-type leaves. The analysis of transfer DNA knockout lines for all Arabidopsis PLD genes revealed that PLD? is involved in penetration resistance against Bgh, and chemical inhibition of PLDs in plants mutated in PLD? indicated that this isoform alone is involved in Bgh resistance. In addition, we confirmed the involvement of PLD? in penetration resistance against another nonadapted pea powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe pisi. A green fluorescent protein fusion of PLD? localized to the plasma membrane at the Bgh attack site, where it surrounded the cell wall reinforcement. Furthermore, in the pld? mutant, transcriptional up-regulation of early microbe-associated molecular pattern response genes was delayed after chitin stimulation. In conclusion, we propose that PLD is involved in defense signaling in nonhost resistance against powdery mildew fungi and put PLD? forward as the main isoform participating in this process.
The jasmonate family of phytohormones plays central roles in plant development and stress acclimation. However, the architecture of their signaling circuits remains largely unknown. Here we describe a jasmonate family binding protein, cyclophilin 20-3 (CYP20-3), which regulates stress-responsive cellular redox homeostasis. (+)-12-Oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) binding promotes CYP20-3 to form a complex with serine acetyltransferase 1, which triggers the formation of a hetero-oligomeric cysteine synthase complex with O-acetylserine(thiol)lyase B in chloroplasts. The cysteine synthase complex formation then activates sulfur assimilation that leads to increased levels of thiol metabolites and the buildup of cellular reduction potential. The enhanced redox capacity in turn coordinates the expression of a subset of OPDA-responsive genes. Thus, we conclude that CYP20-3 is a key effector protein that links OPDA signaling to amino acid biosynthesis and cellular redox homeostasis in stress responses.
Microdialysis of the basal ganglia was recently used to study neurotransmitter levels in relation to deep brain stimulation. In order to estimate the anatomical origin of the obtained data, the maximum tissue volume of influence (TVImax) for a microdialysis catheter was simulated using the finite element method. This study investigates the impact of brain heterogeneity and anisotropy on the TVImax using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to create a second-order tensor model of the basal ganglia. Descriptive statistics showed that the maximum migration distance for neurotransmitters varied by up to 55% (n = 98,444) for DTI-based simulations compared with an isotropic reference model, and the anisotropy differed between different targets in accordance with theory. The size of the TVImax was relevant in relation to the size of the anatomical structures of interest, and local tissue properties should be accounted for when relating microdialysis data to their anatomical targets.
Salmonella control in animal feed is important in order to protect animal and public health. Organic acids is one of the control measures used for treatment of Salmonella contaminated feed or feed ingredients. In the present study, the efficacy of formic acid (FA) and different blends of FA, propionic acid (PA) and sodium formate (SF) was investigated. Four Salmonella strains isolated from feed were assayed for their acid tolerance. Also, the effect of lower temperatures (5°C and 15°C) compared to room temperature was investigated in rape seed and soybean meal.
Near-infrared (NIR) polymer light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) based on a fluorene-dioctyloxyphenylene wide-gap host material copolymerized with a low-gap emitter are presented. Various loadings (1, 2.5, 10, 20 mol%) of the low-gap emitter are studied, with higher loadings leading to decreased efficiencies likely due to aggregation effects. While the 10 mol% loading resulted in almost pure NIR emission (>99.6%), the 1 mol% loading yielded optimum device performance, which is among the best reported to date for a unblended single-layer pure polymer emitter, with an external quantum efficiencies of 0.04% emitting at 909 nm. The high spectral purity of the PLEDs combined with their performance support the methodology of copolymerization as an effective strategy for developing NIR PLEDs.
Reliable measurements of spinal deformities in idiopathic scoliosis are vital, since they are used for assessing the degree of scoliosis, deciding upon treatment and monitoring the progression of the disease. However, commonly used two dimensional methods (e.g. the Cobb angle) do not fully capture the three dimensional deformity at hand in scoliosis, of which axial vertebral rotation (AVR) is considered to be of great importance. There are manual methods for measuring the AVR, but they are often time-consuming and related with a high intra- and inter-observer variability. In this paper, we present a fully automatic method for estimating the AVR in images from computed tomography. The proposed method is evaluated on four scoliotic patients with 17 vertebrae each and compared with manual measurements performed by three observers using the standard method by Aaro-Dahlborn. The comparison shows that the difference in measured AVR between automatic and manual measurements are on the same level as the inter-observer difference. This is further supported by a high intraclass correlation coefficient (0.971-0.979), obtained when comparing the automatic measurements with the manual measurements of each observer. Hence, the provided results and the computational performance, only requiring approximately 10 to 15 s for processing an entire volume, demonstrate the potential clinical value of the proposed method.
Acyl lipids in Arabidopsis and all other plants have a myriad of diverse functions. These include providing the core diffusion barrier of the membranes that separates cells and subcellular organelles. This function alone involves more than 10 membrane lipid classes, including the phospholipids, galactolipids, and sphingolipids, and within each class the variations in acyl chain composition expand the number of structures to several hundred possible molecular species. Acyl lipids in the form of triacylglycerol account for 35% of the weight of Arabidopsis seeds and represent their major form of carbon and energy storage. A layer of cutin and cuticular waxes that restricts the loss of water and provides protection from invasions by pathogens and other stresses covers the entire aerial surface of Arabidopsis. Similar functions are provided by suberin and its associated waxes that are localized in roots, seed coats, and abscission zones and are produced in response to wounding. This chapter focuses on the metabolic pathways that are associated with the biosynthesis and degradation of the acyl lipids mentioned above. These pathways, enzymes, and genes are also presented in detail in an associated website (ARALIP: http://aralip.plantbiology.msu.edu/). Protocols and methods used for analysis of Arabidopsis lipids are provided. Finally, a detailed summary of the composition of Arabidopsis lipids is provided in three figures and 15 tables.
A new, low-band-gap alternating copolymer consisting of terthiophene and isoindigo has been designed and synthesized. Solar cells based on this polymer and PC(71)BM show a power conversion efficiency of 6.3%, which is a record for polymer solar cells based on a polymer with an optical band gap below 1.5 eV. This work demonstrates the great potential of isoindigo moieties as electron-deficient units for building donor-acceptor-type polymers for high-performance polymer solar cells.
The aim of this paper is to identify initial barriers influencing implementation of supported employment (SE). SE, according to the individual placement and support (IPS) approach, has been recognised as an evidence-based method to help people with severe mental illness to find regular employment.
The duplicate method for estimating uncertainty from measurement including sampling is presented in the Eurachem/CITAC guide. The applicability of this method as a tool for verifying sampling plans for mycotoxins was assessed in three case studies with aflatoxin B(1) in animal feedingstuffs. Aspects considered included strategies for obtaining samples from contaminated lots, assumptions about distributions, approaches for statistical analysis, log(10)-transformation of test data and applicability of uncertainty estimates. The results showed that when duplicate aggregate samples are formed by interpenetrating sampling, repeated measurements from a lot can be assumed to approximately follow a normal or lognormal distribution. Due to the large variation in toxin concentration between sampling targets and sometimes very large uncertainty arising from sampling and sample preparation (U(rel) ? 50%), estimation of uncertainty from log(10)-transformed data was found to be a more generally applicable approach than application of robust ANOVA.
An immune response to an antigen is more efficiently induced in combination with an adjuvant. Chitosan has due to documented immunostimulatory characteristics been proposed as an adjuvant candidate. However, a disadvantage with chitosan is its poor solubility at physiological pH. We have circumvented this obstacle by using a soluble type of chitosan (Viscosan), with a degree of deacetylation (DD) of 50% and a random distribution of acetyl groups. A hydrogel, ViscoGel, was made from Viscosan which was further mechanically processed into gel particles of predefined size. The first cells to infiltrate ViscoGel in mice, were identified mainly as neutrophils, detected already after 4 h. ViscoGels impact on the immune response in mice together with a commercial vaccine against Haemophilus influenzae type b (Act-HIB) was then studied. Mixing Act-HIB with ViscoGel, induced significantly enhanced IgG1 and IgG2a titers in serum (p<0.05). We could reduce the antigen dose ten-fold in combination with ViscoGel and still obtain antibody titers similar to 2 ?g Act-HIB administered alone. In addition, the Act-HIB specific cellular response was stronger in mice vaccinated together with ViscoGel (p<0.05). The cytokine response after vaccination with Act-Hib together with ViscoGel was of a mixed type. We found elevated levels of the Th1 associated cytokine INF-?, the Th2-cytokine IL-4, the proinflammatory IL-6 and IL-17A, and the regulatory cytokine IL-10. Similar effects were seen when the adjuvant was administered either subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Taken together, using vaccination against H. influenzae type b as a model, we here show proof of concept for the novel vaccine adjuvant candidate, ViscoGel.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) makes it possible to non-invasively measure brain activity with high spatial resolution. There are however a number of issues that have to be addressed. One is the large amount of spatio-temporal data that needs to be processed. In addition to the statistical analysis itself, several preprocessing steps, such as slice timing correction and motion compensation, are normally applied. The high computational power of modern graphic cards has already successfully been used for MRI and fMRI. Going beyond the first published demonstration of GPU-based analysis of fMRI data, all the preprocessing steps and two statistical approaches, the general linear model (GLM) and canonical correlation analysis (CCA), have been implemented on a GPU. For an fMRI dataset of typical size (80 volumes with 64×64×22voxels), all the preprocessing takes about 0.5s on the GPU, compared to 5s with an optimized CPU implementation and 120s with the commonly used statistical parametric mapping (SPM) software. A random permutation test with 10,000 permutations, with smoothing in each permutation, takes about 50s if three GPUs are used, compared to 0.5-2.5h with an optimized CPU implementation. The presented work will save time for researchers and clinicians in their daily work and enables the use of more advanced analysis, such as non-parametric statistics, both for conventional fMRI and for real-time fMRI.
Parametric statistical methods, such as Z-, t-, and F-values, are traditionally employed in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) for identifying areas in the brain that are active with a certain degree of statistical significance. These parametric methods, however, have two major drawbacks. First, it is assumed that the observed data are Gaussian distributed and independent; assumptions that generally are not valid for fMRI data. Second, the statistical test distribution can be derived theoretically only for very simple linear detection statistics. With nonparametric statistical methods, the two limitations described above can be overcome. The major drawback of non-parametric methods is the computational burden with processing times ranging from hours to days, which so far have made them impractical for routine use in single-subject fMRI analysis. In this work, it is shown how the computational power of cost-efficient graphics processing units (GPUs) can be used to speed up random permutation tests. A test with 10000 permutations takes less than a minute, making statistical analysis of advanced detection methods in fMRI practically feasible. To exemplify the permutation-based approach, brain activity maps generated by the general linear model (GLM) and canonical correlation analysis (CCA) are compared at the same significance level.
The use of image denoising techniques is an important part of many medical imaging applications. One common application is to improve the image quality of low-dose (noisy) computed tomography (CT) data. While 3D image denoising previously has been applied to several volumes independently, there has not been much work done on true 4D image denoising, where the algorithm considers several volumes at the same time. The problem with 4D image denoising, compared to 2D and 3D denoising, is that the computational complexity increases exponentially. In this paper we describe a novel algorithm for true 4D image denoising, based on local adaptive filtering, and how to implement it on the graphics processing unit (GPU). The algorithm was applied to a 4D CT heart dataset of the resolution 512??× 512??× 445??× 20. The result is that the GPU can complete the denoising in about 25 minutes if spatial filtering is used and in about 8 minutes if FFT-based filtering is used. The CPU implementation requires several days of processing time for spatial filtering and about 50 minutes for FFT-based filtering. The short processing time increases the clinical value of true 4D image denoising significantly.
Luminescent conjugated polyelectrolytes (LCPs) have emerged as novel stains to detect and distinguish between various amyloidogenic species, including prefibrillar aggregates and mature fibril deposits, both in vitro and in histological tissue samples, offering advantages over traditional amyloid stains. We here use linear dichroism (LD) spectroscopy under shear alignment to characterize interactions between the LCP poly(3-thiophene acetic acid) (PTAA) and amyloid fibrils. The positive signature in the LD spectrum of amyloid-bound PTAA suggests that it binds in the grooves between adjacent protein side-chains in the amyloid fibril core, parallel to the fibril axis, similar to thioflavin-T and congo red. Moreover, using LD we record the absorption spectrum of amyloid-bound PTAA in isolation from free dye showing a red-shift by ca 30 nm compared to in solution. This has important implications for the use of PTAA as an amyloid probe in situ and in vitro and we demonstrate how to obtain optimal amyloid-specific fluorescence read-outs using PTAA. We use the shift in maximum absorption to estimate the fraction of bound PTAA at a given concentration. PTAA binding reaches saturation when added in 36 times excess and at this concentration the PTAA density is 4-5 monomer units per insulin monomer in the fibril. Finally, we demonstrate that changes in LD intensity can be related to alterations in persistence length of amyloid fibrils resulting from changes in solution conditions, showing that this technique is useful to assess macroscopic properties of these biopolymers.
A new low band gap polymer (E(g) = 1.6 eV) with alternating thiophene and isoindigo units was synthesized and characterized. A PCE of 3.0% and high open-circuit voltage of 0.89 V were realized in polymer solar cells, which demonstrated the promise of isoindigo as an electron deficient unit in the design of donor-acceptor conjugated polymers for polymer solar cells.
Allergen-specific immunotherapy (SIT) is currently the only curative treatment for allergy but the treatment needs to be improved. We hypothesize that covalent coupling of immunomodulating vitamin D3 to the major cat allergen Fel d 1 can enhance the beneficial effects of SIT to cat allergy.
Well controlled gas phase experiments of the size and dopant dependent reactivity of gold clusters can shed light on the surprising discovery that nanometer sized gold particles are catalytically active. Most studies that investigate the reactivity of gold clusters in the gas phase focused on charged, small sized clusters. Here, reactivity measurements in a low-pressure reaction cell were performed to investigate carbon monoxide adsorption on neutral bare and silver doped gold clusters (Au(n)Ag(m); n = 10-45; m = 0, 1, 2) at 140 K. The size dependence of the reaction probabilities reflects the role of the electronic shells for the carbon monoxide adsorption, with closed electronic shell systems being the most reactive. In addition, the clusters reaction probability is reduced upon substitution of gold atoms for silver. Inclusion of a single silver atom causes significant changes in the reactivity only for a few cluster sizes, whereas there is a more general reduction in the reactivity with two silver atoms in the cluster. The experimental observations are qualitatively explained on the basis of a Blyholder model, which includes dopant induced features such as electron transfer from silver to gold, reduced s-d hybrization, and changes in the cluster geometry.
Patients with severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) often develop periodontitis despite standard medical and dental care. In light of previous findings that mutations in the neutrophil elastase gene, ELANE, are associated with more severe neutropenic phenotypes, we hypothesized an association between the genotype of SCN and development of periodontitis.
The nitration of 4,7-dibromo-2,1,3-benzothiadiazole was modified by using CF(3)SO(3)H and HNO(3) as the nitrating agent, and the related yield was improved greatly. On the basis of this improvement, two new small band gap polymers, P1TPQ and P3TPQ, were developed. Bulk heterojunction solar cells based on P3TPQ and [6,6]-phenyl-C(71)-butyric acid methyl ester exhibit interesting results with a power conversion efficiency of 2.1% and photoresponse up to 1.1 ?m.
Treatment of small renal masses with percutaneous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is under development. Data are limited regarding the oncologic efficacy and complication rates of ultrasound (US)-guided RFA.
We have studied the influence of three different fullerene derivatives on the charge generation and recombination dynamics of polymer/fullerene bulk heterojunction (BHJ) solar cell blends. Charge generation in APFO3/PCBM and APFO3/PCBM is very similar and somewhat slower than charge generation in APFO3/BTPF. This difference qualitatively matches the trend in free energy change of electron transfer estimated from the LUMO energies of the polymer and fullerene derivatives. The first order (geminate) charge recombination rate is significantly different for the three fullerene derivatives studied and increases in the order APFO3/PCBM < APFO3/PCBM < APFO3/BTPF. The variation in electron transfer rate cannot be explained from the LUMO energies of the fullerene derivatives and single-step electron transfer in the Marcus inverted region and simple considerations of expected trends for the reorganization energy and free energy change. Instead we suggest that geminate charge recombination occurs from a state where electrons and holes have separated to different distances in the various materials because of an initially high charge mobility, different for different materials. In a BHJ thin film this charge separation distance is not sufficient to overcome the electrostatic attraction between electrons and holes and geminate recombination occurs on the nanosecond to hundreds of nanoseconds time scale. In a BHJ solar cell, we suggest that the internal electric field in combination with polarization effects and the dynamic nature of polarons are key features to overcome electron-hole interactions to form free extractable charges.
The adsorption of oxygen and hydrogen (deuterium) on small neutral palladium clusters was investigated in a cluster beam experiment. The beam passes through two low-pressure reaction cells, and the clusters, with and without adsorbed molecules, are detected using laser ionization and mass spectrometry. Both H(2) and O(2) adsorb efficiently on the palladium clusters with only moderate variations with cluster size in the investigated range, i.e. between 8 and 28 atoms. The co-adsorption of H(2) and O(2) results in the formation of H(2)O, detected as a decrease in the number of adsorbed oxygen atoms with an increasing number of collisions with H(2) molecules. A comparison is done with an earlier similar study of clusters of Pt. Furthermore a comparison is done with what is known for sticking and reactivity of surfaces.
The effects of wood ash application on soil microbial processes were investigated in three drained forested peatlands, which differed in nutrient status and time since application. Measured variables included the concentrations of soil elements and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), net nitrogen (N) mineralization, nitrification and denitrification enzyme activity, potential methane (CH(4)) oxidation, CH(4) production and microbial respiration kinetics. Wood ash application had a considerable influence on soil element concentrations. This mirrored a decrease in the majority of the microbial biomarkers by more than one-third in the two oligotrophic peatlands, although the microbial community composition was not altered. The decreases in PLFAs coincided with reduced net ammonification and net N mineralization. Other measured variables did not change systematically as a result of wood ash application. No significant changes in microbial biomass or processes were found in the mesotrophic peatland, possibly because too little time (1 year) had elapsed since the wood ash application. This study suggests that oligotrophic peatlands can be substantially affected by wood ash for a period of at least 4 years after application. However, within 25 years of the wood ash application, the microbial biomass seemed to have recovered or adapted to enhanced element concentrations in the soil.
Red and yellow phosphorescent insulin amyloid fibrils are used as guest-emitting species within a blue-emitting polyfluorene matrix in light-emitting diodes. The integration of the phosphorescent Ir-complex into the amyloid structures strongly improves the triplet exciton confinement and allows the fabrication of white-emitting device with a very low loading of phosphorescent complex. The overall performances of the devices are improved in comparison with the corresponding bare Ir-complexes. This approach opens a way to explore novel device architectures and to understand the exciton/charge transfer dynamics in phosphorescent light emitting diodes.
The synthesis of novel conjugated polymers, designed for the purpose of photovoltaic energy conversion, and their properties in polymer/fullerene materials and photovoltaic devices are reviewed. Two families of main-chain polymer donors, based on fluorene or phenylene and donor-acceptor-donor comonomers in alternating copolymers, are used to absorb the high-energy parts of the solar spectrum and to give high photovoltages in combinations with fullerene acceptors in devices. These materials are used in alternative photovoltaic device geometries with enhanced light incoupling to collect larger photocurrents or to enable tandem devices and enhance photovoltage.
Infected breeder pigs and contaminated feed represent potential sources of Salmonella introduction to fattening pig herds and may thereby cause human infections acquired via consumption of contaminated pork. Modelling approaches such as quantitative microbial risk assessment could improve the design of strategies for control and tracing of Salmonella in the feed chain. However, the construction of such models requires a thorough understanding of the dynamics of the feed chain, including production processes, microbial processes and transport logistics. The present article illustrates a conceptual model of Salmonella in the pig feed chain and explores the possibilities for quantitative modelling including identifying major gaps in data. Information was collected from peer-reviewed scientific journals, official documents and reports and by means of interviews with experts from authorities and the feed industry. Data on prevalence of Salmonella in different parts of the feed chain are difficult to compare as observed prevalence may be biased by variations in sampling procedures as well as limitations of the detection methods. There are almost no data on numbers of Salmonella in commodities of the feed chain, which often makes it difficult to evaluate risks, intervention strategies and sampling plans in a quantitative manner. Tracing the source of Salmonella contamination is hampered by the risk of cross-contamination as well as various mixing and partitioning events along the supply chain, which sometimes makes it impossible to trace the origin of a lot back to a batch or producer. Available information points to contaminated feed materials, animal vectors and persistent contamination of production environments as important sources of Salmonella in feed production. Technological procedures such as hydrothermal or acid treatment can be used to control Salmonella in feed production. However, a large fraction of pig feed is produced without decontamination procedures. Prevention of recontamination and control of moisture throughout the chain are thus critical factors for controlling Salmonella in feed production. To verify successful control it is necessary to have monitoring strategies able to detect low levels of Salmonella heterogeneously distributed in large volumes of feed and feed material in bulk. Experience from monitoring programs and research investigations indicates that sampling of dust and sweepings from control points along the production line is an efficient strategy to gain an indication of Salmonella contamination.
The present work describes the development of a novel direct screening method, assayed in 96-well format, for evaluation of enzymatic alkyl glycoside production in a hexanol-water two-phase system. Alkyl glycosides are surfactants with a range of applications and with good biodegradability and low toxicity. Enzymatic synthesis makes it possible to prepare beta-d-glucopyranosides with high purity. In the developed screening assay, hexyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside was chosen as a model product to be synthesised by reversed hydrolysis in a water-hexanol two-phase system. In a first step the model product is produced by glucosidases expressed in E. coli cells in 96-deep-well plates. After phase separation, the hexyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside in the organic phase is degraded enzymatically and the released glucose detected spectrophotometrically at 405nm utilizing peroxidase/glucose oxidase, and the reagent 2,2-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS). The aqueous phase is used to monitor hydrolysis of p-NPG at 405nm, allowing use of a ratio of the two assays to compensate for expression differences. The complete method was used for comparison of two different beta-glucosidases, classified under glycoside hydrolase family 1 and 3, respectively, showing a significant difference in their ability to synthesise hexyl-beta-d-glucopyranoside by reversed hydrolysis.
The effort to improve the energy conversion efficiency of polymer solar cells has led to the design of novel donor polymers. To improve open circuit photovoltages (OCVs) and the spectral coverage of the solar spectrum, researchers have looked for materials with high HOMO values, an easily modified electronic structure, and sufficient electronic transport within the polymers. One advance in design from our laboratories has been the development of a class of alternating polyfluorene copolymers (APFOs), which can be combined with fullerenes to make bulk heterojunction materials for photovoltaic conversion. This Account describes copolymers of fluorene that we designed to expand the range the optical absorption of solar cells to include wavelengths out to 1000 nm. In most cases, we combine these polymers with acceptors from the fullerene family, typically the phenyl C(61) butyric acid methyl ester (PCBM) molecule, to generate solar cell materials. The synthesis of alternating copolymers of fluorene with various donor-acceptor-donor elements provides the opportunity to shift both HOMO and LUMO, which we have followed by electrochemical spectroscopy. Moving the LUMO of the APFOs farther from the vacuum level eventually leads to a situation where the driving force for photo-induced charge transfer from polymer donor to fullerene acceptor goes to zero, resulting in inefficient charge generation. Moving the HOMO level closer to the vacuum level reduces the OCV of devices made from bulk heterojunction blends. As we move the bandgap toward lower energies and increase the overlap of optical absorption with the solar spectrum, both these events eventually occur. In devices based on these APFO/fullerene blends, the performance depends on the OCV, the photocurrent under solar illumination, and the fill factor. The fill factor is influenced by electrical transport and charge generation. Optimizing these parameters requires new solutions to the perennial conflict between optically thin devices, where electrical extraction of charge is not a limitation, and the optically thick devices, where extraction of charge is hampered by trapping and recombination. As a result, we have developed methods to trap light in optically thin devices. When the thin film flexible solar cells are folded, multiple reflection between adjacent solar cells leads to a longer path length for the photon through the devices and considerable improvement of the optical dissipation in the active material. These optical tricks also enable an alternative route to tandem devices, where two different bandgap materials are located on adjacent folds. Thus light not absorbed in one cell is reflected onto the next cell to produce an effective optical series arrangement. Using experiments and simulations of the light trapping effects, we demonstrate power conversion efficiency enhancements of up to a factor of 1.8.
Antimicrobial peptides are small molecular weight proteins with a large antibacterial spectrum. They can reach high local concentrations in tissues with active inflammation, being largely produced by immunocompetent cells. However, their effect on eukaryotic cells is still unclear. We have, therefore, studied three structurally different antimicrobial peptides (cecropin P1, PR-39 and NK-lysin) for their cytotoxic effects on blood mononuclear cells. None of the antimicrobial peptides tested exhibited significant cytotoxic effect on resting lymphocytes isolated either from peripheral blood or from the spleen with the exception of high concentrations (ten times higher than IC100 for Escherichia coli) of NK-lysin. Activated lymphocytes were, however, more sensitive to the cytotoxic effect of the antimicrobial peptides. Both activated T-cells and B-cells were dose dependent sensitive to NK-lysin while only activated B-cells but not activated T-cells were sensitive to PR-39. Cecropin did not exhibit any cytotoxic effect on activated lymphocytes either. By using several cell lines (3B6, K562, U932 and EL-4) we were able to show that NK-lysin has a broad necrotic effect while PR-39 has a cell specific apoptotic effect dependent on the specifically cellular uptake. In conclusion we show here that antimicrobial peptides are not cytotoxic for the resting eukaryotic cells but can be cytotoxic on activated immune cells through distinct mechanisms of cell death.
Conjugated polymers as electron donors in solar cells based on donor/acceptor combinations are of great interest, partly due to the possibility of converting solar light with a low materials budget. Six small bandgap polymers with optical bandgap ranging from 1.0-1.9 eV are presented in this paper. All polymers utilize an electron donor-acceptor-donor (DAD) segment in the polymer backbone, creating a partial charge-transfer, to decrease the bandgap. The design, synthesis and the optical characteristics as well as the solar cell characteristics of the polymers are discussed. The positions of the energy levels of the conjugated polymer relative to the electron acceptor are of significant importance and determine not only the driving force for exciton dissociation but also the maximum open-circuit voltage. This work also focuses on investigating the redox behavior of the described conjugated polymers and electron acceptors using square wave voltammetry. Comparing the electrochemical data gives important information of the structure-property relationships of the polymers.
In situ attenuated total reflection Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroelectrochemistry during oxidation (p-doping) and reduction (n-doping) of three phenyl-substituted polythiophenes, namely POPT, PEOPT and POMeOPT is presented. All the three phenyl substituted polythiophenes show both n- and p-doping. The infrared active vibration (IRAV) patterns obtained during electrochemical oxidation (p-doping) and reduction (n-doping) are compared. HOMO and LUMO energy levels are estimated from cyclic voltammetric experiments and from IRAV patterns during oxidation and reduction. A comparison shows that the standard graphical procedure to determine the onset of oxidation and reduction peaks in the cyclic voltammogram can be improved using in situ spectroscopy.
The physiological response to small molecules (secondary messengers) is the outcome of a delicate equilibrium between biosynthesis and degradation of the signal. Cyclic diguanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP) is a novel secondary messenger present in many bacteria. It has a complex cellular metabolism whereby usually more than one enzyme synthesizing and degrading c-di-GMP is encoded by a bacterial genome. To assess the in vivo conditions of c-di-GMP signaling, we developed a high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-mass spectrometry-based method to detect c-di-GMP with high sensitivity and to quantify the c-di-GMP concentration in the bacterial cell as described here in detail. We successfully used the methodology to determine and compare the c-di-GMP concentrations in bacterial species such as Salmonella typhimurium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Vibrio cholerae. We describe the use of the methodology to assess the change in c-di-GMP concentration during the growth phase and the contribution of a point mutation in S. typhimurium to the overall cellular c-di-GMP concentration.
Columbia-0 (Col-0), Wassilewskija-4 (Ws-4), and Landsberg erecta-0 (Ler-0) are used as background lines for many public Arabidopsis mutant collections, and for investigation in laboratory conditions of plant processes, including photosynthesis and response to high-intensity light (HL). The photosystem II (PSII) complex is sensitive to HL and requires repair to sustain its function. PSII repair is a multistep process controlled by numerous factors, including protein phosphorylation and thylakoid membrane stacking. Here we have characterized the function and dynamics of PSII complex under growth-light and HL conditions. Ws-4 displayed 30% more thylakoid lipids per chlorophyll and 40% less chlorophyll per carotenoid than Col-0 and Ler-0. There were no large differences in thylakoid stacking, photoprotection and relative levels of photosynthetic complexes among the three accessions. An increased efficiency of PSII closure was found in Ws-4 following illumination with saturation flashes or continuous light. Phosphorylation of the PSII D1/D2 proteins was reduced by 50% in Ws-4 as compared to Col-0 and Ler-0. An increase in abundance of the responsible STN8 kinase in response to HL treatment was found in all three accessions, but Ws-4 displayed 50% lower levels than Col-0 and Ler-0. Despite this, the HL treatment caused in Ws-4 the lagest extent of PSII inactivation, disassembly, D1 protein degradation, and the largest decrease in the size of stacked thylakoids. The dilution of chlorophyll-protein complexes with additional lipids and carotenoids in Ws-4 may represent a mechanism to facilitate lateral protein traffic in the membrane, thus compensating for the lack of a full complement of STN8 kinase. Nevertheless, additional PSII damage occurs in Ws-4, which exceeds the D1 protein synthesis capacity, thus leading to enhanced photoinhibition. Our findings are valuable for selection of appropriate background line for PSII characterization in Arabidopsis mutants, and also provide the first insights into natural variation of PSII protein phosphorylation.
The few-picosecond (ps) decay of terahertz (THz) photoconductivity typically observed for conjugated polymer:fullerene blends (at excitation fluencies ~10(15) photons/cm(2) per pulse) is shown to be a result of charge pair annihilation for two polymer:PCBM blends. At a factor of 100 lower excitation density, the THz decay is in the hundreds of ps time scale, implying that very high carrier mobility (~0.1 cm(2) V(-1) s(-1)) prevails for long time after charge formation, of importance for free charge formation in organic solar cells.
Biotic and abiotic stress induces the formation of galactolipids esterified with the phytohormones 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) and dinor-oxo-phytodienoic acid (dnOPDA) in Arabidopsis thaliana. The biosynthetic pathways of free (dn)OPDA is well described, but it is unclear how they are incorporated into galactolipids. We herein show that (dn)OPDA containing lipids are formed rapidly after disruption of cellular integrity in leaf tissue. Five minutes after freeze-thawing, 60-70% of the trienoic acids esterified to chloroplast galactolipids are converted to (dn)OPDA. Stable isotope labeling with (18)O-water provides strong evidence for that the fatty acids remain attached to galactolipids during the enzymatic conversion to (dn)OPDA.
The efficiency of conversion of light to electrical energy with the help of conjugated polymers and molecules is rapidly improving. The optical absorption properties of these materials can be designed, and implemented via molecular engineering. Full coverage of the solar spectrum is thus feasible. Narrow absorption spectra allow construction of tandem solar cells. The poor transport properties of these materials require thin devices, which limits optical absorption. Alternative device geometries for these flexible materials compensate for the optical absorption by light trapping, and allow tandem cells.
The objective of the present study was to evaluate a Monte Carlo feature selection (MCFS) and rough set Rosetta pipeline for generating rule-based models as a tool for comprehensive risk estimates for future Alzheimers disease (AD) in individual patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Risk estimates were generated on the basis of age, gender, Mini-Mental State Examination scores, apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype and the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers total tau (T-tau), phospho-tau(181) (P-tau) and the 42 amino acid form of amyloid ? (A?42) in two sets of longitudinally followed MCI patients (n = 217 in total). The predictive model was created in Rosetta, evaluated with the standard tenfold cross-validation approach and tested on an external set. Features were ranked and selected by the MCFS algorithm. Using the combined pipeline of MCFS and Rosetta, it was possible to predict AD among patients with MCI with an area under the receiver operating characteristics curve of 0.92. Risk estimates were produced for the individual patients and showed good correlation with actual diagnosis in cross validation, and on an external dataset from a new study. Analysis of the importance of attributes showed that the biochemical CSF markers contributed the most to the predictions, and that added value was gained by combining several biochemical markers. Despite a correlation with the biochemical markers, the genetic marker APOE ?4 did not contribute to the predictive power of the model.
The validity of parametric functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis has only been reported for simulated data. Recent advances in computer science and data sharing make it possible to analyze large amounts of real fMRI data. In this study, 1484 rest datasets have been analyzed in SPM8, to estimate true familywise error rates. For a familywise significance threshold of 5%, significant activity was found in 1%-70% of the 1484 rest datasets, depending on repetition time, paradigm and parameter settings. This means that parametric significance thresholds in SPM both can be conservative or very liberal. The main reason for the high familywise error rates seems to be that the global AR(1) auto correlation correction in SPM fails to model the spectra of the residuals, especially for short repetition times. The findings that are reported in this study cannot be generalized to parametric fMRI analysis in general, other software packages may give different results. By using the computational power of the graphics processing unit (GPU), the 1484 rest datasets were also analyzed with a random permutation test. Significant activity was then found in 1%-19% of the datasets. These findings speak to the need for a better model of temporal correlations in fMRI timeseries.
Inverted polymer solar cells with a bottom metal cathode modified by a conjugated polymer interlayer show considerable improvement of photocurrent and fill factor, which is due to hole blocking at the interlayer, and a modified surface energy which affects the nanostructure in the TQ1/PCBM blend.
Despite the extensive use of botulinum toxin type A (BoNT-A) in cosmetic treatments for glabellar frown lines; the europhysiological dose-response effect in the glabellar muscles remains unknown. The aim of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective study was to characterize the neurophysiological parameters that correlate with the effect of BoNT-A in the glabellar muscles and its diffusion to surrounding ocular muscles. Sixteen healthy women were recruited and randomized to 3 different dose-groups of onabotulinumtoxin A (Vistabel) or placebo and followed 24 weeks by neuro-physiological examinations. Efficacy of treatment on corrugator supercilii muscles was measured by compound motor action potential (CMAP) and electromyography (EMG). Photographs were used to score glabellar frown lines according to a previously described scoring scale. Diffusion of the drug to surrounding muscles was assessed by CMAP of the nasalis muscle, EMG and concentric needle electrode jitter analysis (CNE) of the orbicularis oculi muscle. CMAP reduction correlated well with intramuscular BoNT-A dose. Muscle paralysis, measured by EMG, began from 2 weeks and was not entirely reversed at 24 weeks in individuals who received high dose of onabotulinumtoxin. All subjects receiving BoNT-A were satisfied with the aesthetic results. Limited diffusion of orbicularis oculi was detected with CNE. In conclusion, we developed a novel neurophysiological strategy for effect evaluation of BoNT-A in glabellar muscles. CMAP and EMG correlated with given BoNT-A dose and are more defined effect measures than clinical glabellar photo scales. This study provides better understanding of the glabellar dose-response and safety effect of BoNT-A.
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