Electroarthrography (EAG) is a novel technology recently proposed to detect cartilage degradation. EAG consists of recording electrical potentials on the knee surface while the joint is undergoing compressive loading. Previous results show that these signals originating from streaming potentials in the cartilage reflect joint cartilage health. The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the generation of the EAG signals and to the development of interpretation criteria using computer models of the human knee. The knee is modeled as a volume conductor composed of different regions characterized by specific electrical conductivities. The source of the EAG signal is the load-induced interstitial fluid flow that transports ions within the compressed cartilage. It is modeled as an impressed current density in different sections of the articular cartilage. The finite-element method is used to compute the potential distribution in two knee models with a realistic geometry. The simulated potential distributions correlate very well with previously measured potential values, which further supports the hypothesis that the EAG signals originate from compressed cartilage. Also, different localized cartilage defects simulated as a reduced impressed current density produce specific potential distributions that may be used to detect and localize cartilage degradation. In conclusion, given the structural and electrophysiological complexity of the knee, computer modeling constitutes an important tool to improve our understanding of the generation of EAG signals and of the various factors that affect the EAG signals so as to help develop the EAG technology as a useful clinical tool.
Trivalent inactivated flu vaccines (TIV) are currently the best means to prevent influenza infections. However, the protection provided by TIV is partial (about 50%) and it is needed to improve the efficacy of protection. Since the respiratory tract is the main site of influenza replications, a vaccine that triggers mucosal immunity in this region can potentially improve protection against this disease. Recently, PapMV nanoparticles used as an adjuvant in a formulation with TIV administered by the subcutaneous route have shown improving the immune response directed to the TIV and protection against an influenza challenge.
Remigial moult is one of the crucial events in the annual life cycle of waterfowl as it is energetically costly, lasts several weeks, and is a period of high vulnerability due to flightlessness. In waterfowl, remigial moult can be considered as an energy-predation trade-off, meaning that heavier individuals would minimise the flightless period by increasing feather growth rate and energy expenditure. Alternatively, they could reduce body mass at the end of this period, thereby reducing wing-loading to increase flight capability. We studied timing of remigial moult, primary growth rates, flightlessness duration, and the pattern of body mass variation in 5 species of captive seaducks (Melanitta fusca, M. perspicillata, Clangula hyemalis, Histrionicus histrionicus, and Somateria mollissima) ranging in size from 0.5 to 2.0 kg. Their feather growth rates weakly increased with body mass (M0.059) and no correlation was found at the intra-specific level. Consequently, heavier seaduck species and especially heavier individuals had a longer flightless period. Although birds had access to food ad libidum, body mass first increased then decreased, the latter coinciding with maximum feather growth rate. Level of body mass when birds regained flight ability was similar to level observed at the beginning of remigial moult, suggesting they were not using a strategic reduction of body mass to reduce the flightlessness duration. We suggest that the moulting strategy of seaducks may be the result of a compromise between using an intense moult strategy (simultaneous moult) and a low feather growth rate without prejudice to feather quality. Despite the controlled captive status of the studied seaducks, all five species as well as both sexes within each species showed timing of moult reflecting that of wild birds, suggesting there is a genetic component acting to shape moult timing within wild birds.
Developing new adjuvants and vaccination strategies is of paramount importance to successfully fight against many life-threatening infectious diseases and cancer. Very few adjuvants are currently authorized for human use, and these mainly stimulate a humoral response. However, specific Abs are not sufficient to confer protection against persisting infections or cancer. Therefore, development of adjuvants and immunomodulators able to enhance cell-mediated immune responses represents a major medical need. We recently showed that papaya mosaic virus nanoparticles (PapMV), self-assembled from the coat protein of a plant virus and a noncoding ssRNA molecule, are highly immunogenic in mice. PapMV can be used either as a vaccine delivery platform, through fusion of various epitopes to the coat protein or as adjuvant to enhance humoral immune responses against coadministered Ags or vaccines. However, the mechanisms that confer these immunomodulatory properties to PapMV and its ability to enhance T cell vaccines remain unknown. Using immunization studies in mice, we demonstrate in this paper that PapMV represents a novel TLR7 agonist with strong immunostimulatory properties. More importantly, pretreatment with PapMV significantly improves effector and memory CD8(+) T cell responses generated through dendritic cell vaccination increasing protection against a Listeria monocytogenes challenge.
The USA 2004 influenza virus outbreak H3N8 in dogs heralded the emergence of a new disease in this species. A new inactivated H3N8 vaccine was developed to control the spread of the disease but, as in humans and swine, it is anticipated that the virus will mutate shift and drift in the dog population. Therefore, there is a need for a vaccine that can trigger a broad protection to prevent the spread of the virus and the emergence of new strains.
The potent nitric oxide dioxygenase (NOD) activity (trHbN-Fe²?-O? + (•)NO ? trHbN-Fe³?-OH? + NO??) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis truncated hemoglobin N (trHbN) protects aerobic respiration from inhibition by (•)NO. The high activity of trHbN has been attributed in part to the presence of numerous short-lived hydrophobic cavities that allow partition and diffusion of the gaseous substrates (•)NO and O? to the active site. We investigated the relation between these cavities and the dynamics of the protein using solution NMR spectroscopy and molecular dynamics (MD). Results from both approaches indicate that the protein is mainly rigid with very limited motions of the backbone N-H bond vectors on the picoseconds-nanoseconds time scale, indicating that substrate diffusion and partition within trHbN may be controlled by side-chains movements. Model-free analysis also revealed the presence of slow motions (microseconds-milliseconds), not observed in MD simulations, for many residues located in helices B and G including the distal heme pocket Tyr33(B10). All currently known crystal structures and molecular dynamics data of truncated hemoglobins with the so-called pre-A N-terminal extension suggest a stable ?-helical conformation that extends in solution. Moreover, a recent study attributed a crucial role to the pre-A helix for NOD activity. However, solution NMR data clearly show that in near-physiological conditions these residues do not adopt an ?-helical conformation and are significantly disordered and that the helical conformation seen in crystal structures is likely induced by crystal contacts. Although this lack of order for the pre-A does not disagree with an important functional role for these residues, our data show that one should not assume an helical conformation for these residues in any functional interpretation. Moreover, future molecular dynamics simulations should not use an initial ?-helical conformation for these residues in order to avoid a bias based on an erroneous initial structure for the N-termini residues. This work constitutes the first study of a truncated hemoglobin dynamics performed by solution heteronuclear relaxation NMR spectroscopy.
Dynamic properties of class A beta-lactamase TEM-1 are investigated from molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. Comparison of MD-derived order parameters with those obtained from model-free analysis of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) relaxation data shows high agreement for N-H moieties within alpha- and beta-secondary structures, but significant deviation for those in loops. This was expected, because motions slower than the protein global tumbling often take place in loop regions. As previously shown using NMR, TEM-1 is a highly ordered protein. Motions are observed within the Omega loop that could, upon substrate binding, stabilize E166 in a catalytically efficient position as the cavity between the protein core and the Omega loop is partially filled. The rigidity of active site residues is consistent with the enzyme high turnover number. MD data are also shown to be useful during the model selection step of model-free analysis: local N-H motions observed over the course of the trajectories help assess whether a peptide plan undergoes low or high amplitude motions on one or more timescales. This joint use of MD and NMR provides a better description of protein dynamics than would be possible using either technique alone.
This randomized clinical trial compared cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), applied relaxation (AR), and wait-list control (WL) in a sample of 65 adults with a primary diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The CBT condition was based on the intolerance of uncertainty model of GAD, whereas the AR condition was based on general theories of anxiety. Both manualized treatments were administered over 12 weekly 1-hour sessions. Standardized clinician ratings and self-report questionnaires were used to assess GAD and related symptoms at pretest, posttest, and at 6-, 12-, and 24-month follow-ups. At posttest, CBT was clearly superior to WL, AR was marginally superior to WL, and CBT was marginally superior to AR. Over follow-up, CBT and AR were equivalent, but only CBT led to continued improvement. Thus, direct comparisons of CBT and AR indicated that the treatments were comparable; however, comparisons of each treatment with another point of reference (either waiting list or no change over follow-up) provided greater support for the efficacy of CBT than AR.
Interpretations of negative, positive, and ambiguous situations were examined in individuals with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), other anxiety disorders (ANX), and no psychiatric condition (CTRL). Additionally, relationships between specific beliefs about uncertainty (Uncertainty Has Negative Behavioral and Self-Referent Implications [IUS-NI], and Uncertainty Is Unfair and Spoils Everything [IUS-US]) and interpretations were explored. The first hypothesis (that the clinical groups would report more concern for negative, positive, and ambiguous situations than would the CTRL group) was supported. The second hypothesis (that the GAD group would report more concern for ambiguous situations than would the ANX group) was not supported; both groups reported similar levels of concern for ambiguous situations. Exploratory analyses revealed no differences between the GAD and ANX groups in their interpretations of positive and negative situations. Finally, the IUS-US predicted interpretations of negative and ambiguous situations in the full sample, whereas the IUS-NI did not. Clinical implications are discussed.
The non-invasive localization of the primary sensory hand area can be achieved by solving the inverse problem of electroencephalography (EEG) for N(20)-P(20) somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs). This study compares two different mathematical approaches for the computation of transfer matrices used to solve the EEG inverse problem. Forward transfer matrices relating dipole sources to scalp potentials are determined via conventional and reciprocal approaches using individual, realistically shaped head models. The reciprocal approach entails calculating the electric field at the dipole position when scalp electrodes are reciprocally energized with unit current-scalp potentials are obtained from the scalar product of this electric field and the dipole moment. Median nerve stimulation is performed on three healthy subjects and single-dipole inverse solutions for the N(20)-P(20) SEPs are then obtained by simplex minimization and validated against the primary sensory hand area identified on magnetic resonance images. Solutions are presented for different time points, filtering strategies, boundary-element method discretizations, and skull conductivity values. Both approaches produce similarly small position errors for the N(20)-P(20) SEP. Position error for single-dipole inverse solutions is inherently robust to inaccuracies in forward transfer matrices but dependent on the overlapping activity of other neural sources. Significantly smaller time and storage requirements are the principal advantages of the reciprocal approach. Reduced computational requirements and similar dipole position accuracy support the use of reciprocal approaches over conventional approaches for N(20)-P(20) SEP source localization.
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