We present a modular nuclear magnetic resonance-digital microfluidics (NMR-DMF) system as a portable diagnostic platform for miniaturized biological assays. With increasing number of combinations between designed probes and a specific target, NMR has become an accurate and rapid assay tool, which is capable of detecting particular kinds of proteins, DNAs, bacteria and cells with a customized probe quantitatively. Traditional sample operation (e.g., manipulation and mixing) relied heavily on human efforts. We herein propose a modular NMR-DMF system to allow the electronic automation of multi-step reaction-screening protocols. A figure-8 shaped coil is proposed to enlarge the usable inner space of a portable magnet by 4.16 times, generating a radio frequency (RF) excitation field in the planar direction. By electronically managing the electro-wetting-on-dielectric (EWOD) effects over an electrode array, preloaded droplets with the inclusion of biological constituents and targets can be programmed to mix and be guided to the detection site (3.5 × 3.5 mm(2)) for high-sensitivity NMR screening (static B field: 0.46 T, RF field: 1.43 mT per ampere), with the result (voltage signal) displayed in real-time. To show the system's utility, automated real-time identification of 100 pM of avidin in a 14 ?L droplet was achieved. The system shows promise as a robust and portable diagnostic device for a wide variety of biological analyses and screening applications.
The presence of surfactants in wastewater composition tends to jeopardize the efficiency of the traditional aerobic treatment processes. In this regard, the application of Fenton's reaction and nanofiltration as single processes and integrated (nanofiltration followed by Fenton's process) was investigated on the abatement of a solution containing two surfactants usually found in effluents coming from detergent industry (dodecylbenzene--DDB and sodium lauryl ether sulphate--SLES). The potential of a solid waste (iron shavings) as catalyst in the Fenton's process was evaluated and the reaction system was optimized regarding the key operating parameters (iron and hydrogen peroxide concentration and pH). The highest chemical oxygen demand (COD) degradation (66%) was attained for pH 3, [H2O2] = 32 mM and 50 g/L of iron shavings. Besides, it was concluded that oxidation was due to hydroxyl radicals adsorbed on the metal surface even if bulk interaction between hydrogen peroxide and dissolved iron cannot be neglected. The main variables ruling nanofiltration were evaluated (pH, temperature and cross-flow rate). Eighty-four percent of COD rejection was determined at pH 7.5, cross-flow 14.4 cm3 s(-1), 20 degrees C and 15 bar of pressure drop. Finally, nanofiltration followed by Fenton's process under the best conditions was integrated; however, no significant improvement was attained with 85% of COD being globally removed.
Phagocytosis and inflammation within the lungs is crucial for host defense during bacterial pneumonia. Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells (TREM)-2 was proposed to negatively regulate TLR-mediated responses and enhance phagocytosis by macrophages, but the role of TREM-2 in respiratory tract infections is unknown. Here, we established the presence of TREM-2 on alveolar macrophages (AM) and explored the function of TREM-2 in the innate immune response to pneumococcal infection in vivo. Unexpectedly, we found Trem-2-/- AM to display augmented bacterial phagocytosis in vitro and in vivo compared to WT AM. Mechanistically, we detected that in the absence of TREM-2, pulmonary macrophages selectively produced elevated complement component 1q (C1q) levels. We found that these increased C1q levels depended on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-? (PPAR-?) activity and were responsible for the enhanced phagocytosis of bacteria. Upon infection with S. pneumoniae, Trem-2-/- mice exhibited an augmented bacterial clearance from lungs, decreased bacteremia and improved survival compared to their WT counterparts. This work is the first to disclose a role for TREM-2 in clinically relevant respiratory tract infections and demonstrates a previously unknown link between TREM-2 and opsonin production within the lungs.
Obesity and diabetes affect more than half a billion individuals worldwide. Interestingly, the two conditions do not always coincide and the molecular determinants of "healthy" versus "unhealthy" obesity remain ill-defined. Chronic metabolic inflammation (metaflammation) is believed to be pivotal. Here, we tested a hypothesized anti-inflammatory role for heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in the development of metabolic disease. Surprisingly, in matched biopsies from "healthy" versus insulin-resistant obese subjects we find HO-1 to be among the strongest positive predictors of metabolic disease in humans. We find that hepatocyte and macrophage conditional HO-1 deletion in mice evokes resistance to diet-induced insulin resistance and inflammation, dramatically reducing secondary disease such as steatosis and liver toxicity. Intriguingly, cellular assays show that HO-1 defines prestimulation thresholds for inflammatory skewing and NF-?B amplification in macrophages and for insulin signaling in hepatocytes. These findings identify HO-1 inhibition as a potential therapeutic strategy for metabolic disease.
Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS), which is characterized by the presence of pathogenic serum autoantibodies against aquaporin 4 (AQP4) in the vast majority of patients. The contribution of T cells to the formation of astrocyte destructive lesions is currently unclear. However, active human NMO lesions contain CD4+ T-lymphocytes expressing the activation marker Ox40, and that the expression was more profound compared to that seen in MS lesions of comparable activity. Therefore, we analyzed the role of T-cell activation within the CNS in the initiation of NMO lesions in an experimental model of co-transfer of different encephalitogenic T-cells and human AQP4 antibody containing NMO immunoglobulin (NMO IgG). We further studied the expression of the T-cell activation marker Ox40 in NMO and multiple sclerosis lesions in different stages of activity.
Most biopotential readout front-ends rely on the g m- C lowpass filter (LPF) for forefront signal conditioning. A small g m realizes a large time constant ( ? = C / g m) suitable for ultra-low-cutoff filtering, saving both power and area. Yet, the noise and linearity can be compromised, given that each g m cell can involve one or several noisy and nonlinear V- I conversions originated from the active devices. This paper proposes the subthreshold-source-follower (SSF) Biquad as a prospective alternative. It features: 1) a very small number of active devices reducing the noise and nonlinearity footsteps; 2) No explicit feedback in differential implementation, and 3) extension of filter order by cascading. This paper presents an in-depth treatment of SSF Biquad in the nW-power regime, analyzing its power and area tradeoffs with gain, linearity and noise. A gain-compensation (GC) scheme addressing the gain-loss problem of NMOS-based SSF Biquad due to the body effect is also proposed. Two 100-Hz 4th-order Butterworth LPFs using the SSF Biquads with and without GC were fabricated in 0.35- ?m CMOS. Measurement results show that the non-GC (GC) LPF can achieve a DC gain of -3.7 dB (0 dB), an input-referred noise of 36 ?V rms (29 ?V rms ), a HD3@60 Hz of -55.2 dB ( - 60.7 dB) and a die size of 0.11 mm² (0.08 mm²). Both LPFs draw 15 nW at 3 V. The achieved figure-of-merits (FoMs) are favorably comparable with the state-of-the-art.
LATE-PCR is an advanced form of non-symmetric PCR that efficiently generates single-stranded DNA which can readily be characterized at the end of amplification by hybridization to low-temperature fluorescent probes. We demonstrate here for the first time that monoplex and duplex LATE-PCR amplification and probe target hybridization can be carried out in double layered PDMS microfluidics chips containing dried reagents. Addition of a set of reagents during dry down overcomes the common problem of single-stranded oligonucleotide binding to PDMS. These proof-of-principle results open the way to construction of inexpensive point-of-care devices that take full advantage of the analytical power of assays built using LATE-PCR and low-temperature probes.
Portable/Implantable biomedical applications usually exhibit stringent power budgets for prolonging battery life time, but loose operating frequency requirements due to small bio-signal bandwidths, typically below a few kHz. The use of sub-threshold digital circuits is ideal in such scenario to achieve optimized power/speed tradeoffs. This paper discusses the design of a sub-threshold standard cell library using a standard 0.18-µm CMOS technology. A complete library of 56 standard cells is designed and the methodology is ensured through schematic design, transistor width scaling and layout design, as well as timing, power and functionality characterization. Performance comparison between our sub-threshold standard cell library and a commercial standard cell library using a 5-stage ring oscillator and an ECG designated FIR filter is performed. Simulation results show that our library achieves a total power saving of 95.62% and a leakage power reduction of 97.54% when compared with the same design implemented by the commercial standard cell library (SCL).
Port wine is a flagship fortified wine of Portugal, which undergoes a particularly long aging period, developing a dynamic sensory profile over time, responsible for several wine categories, which is dependent upon the type of aging (bottle or barrel). Therefore, the quality of the product is dependent upon the chemical mechanisms occurring during the aging process, such as oxidation or Maillard reactions. To attain the desired quality management, it is necessary to understand how technological parameters, such as temperature or oxygen exposure, affect the kinetics of the formation of key odorants, such as sotolon. There is a lack of information about the impact of the storage conditions (oxygen and temperature) on Port wine quality. In this study, the effect of these two parameters were investigated to increase the knowledge database concerning aging management of Port wines. It was found that sotolon formation is highly dependent upon oxygen and temperature. There is however a synergistic effect between these two parameters that could significantly increase the concentration. The kinetic parameters of oxygen, sotolon, and other compounds related to Port aging (cis- and trans-5-hydroxy-2-methyl-1,3-dioxan, 2-furfural, 5-hydroxy-methyl-furfural, and 5-methyl-furfural) are also reported. Kinetic models with Monte Carlo simulations, where the oxygen permeability dispersion and temperature are the parameters under evaluation, were applied. On the basis of the modeling predictions, it would seem that the temperature of a cellar would have a more significant impact on the Port wines stored in containers where the oxygen intake is higher (barrels) when compared to containers with low oxygen permeability (bottles using cork stoppers).
Clearance of invading pathogens is essential to preventing overwhelming inflammation and sepsis that are symptomatic of bacterial peritonitis. Macrophages participate in this innate immune response by engulfing and digesting pathogens, a process called phagocytosis. Oxidized phospholipids (OxPL) are danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) generated in response to infection that can prevent the phagocytic clearance of bacteria. We investigated the mechanism underlying OxPL action in macrophages. Exposure to OxPL induced alterations in actin polymerization, resulting in spreading of peritoneal macrophages and diminished uptake of E. coli. Pharmacological and cell-based studies showed that an anchored pool of PKA mediates the effects of OxPL. Gene silencing approaches identified the A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) WAVE1 as an effector of OxPL action in vitro. Chimeric Wave1(-/-) mice survived significantly longer after infection with E. coli and OxPL treatment in vivo. Moreover, we found that endogenously generated OxPL in human peritoneal dialysis fluid from end-stage renal failure patients inhibited phagocytosis via WAVE1. Collectively, these data uncover an unanticipated role for WAVE1 as a critical modulator of the innate immune response to severe bacterial infections.
The non-avian saurischians that have associated eggshells and embryos are represented only by the sauropodomorph Massospondylus and Coelurosauria (derived theropods), thus missing the basal theropod representatives. We report a dinosaur clutch containing several crushed eggs and embryonic material ascribed to the megalosaurid theropod Torvosaurus. It represents the first associated eggshells and embryos of megalosauroids, thus filling an important phylogenetic gap between two distantly related groups of saurischians. These fossils represent the only unequivocal basal theropod embryos found to date. The assemblage was found in early Tithonian fluvial overbank deposits of the Lourinhã Formation in West Portugal. The morphological, microstructural and chemical characterization results of the eggshell fragments indicate very mild diagenesis. Furthermore, these fossils allow unambiguous association of basal theropod osteology with a specific and unique new eggshell morphology.
The complexity of droplet hydrodynamics on a digital microfluidic (DMF) system eventually weakens its potential for application in large-scale chemical/biological micro-reactors. We describe here an intelligent DMF technology to address that intricacy. A wide variety of control-engaged droplet manageability is proposed and demonstrated through the operation of our modular DMF prototype, which comprises: (i) rigid profiling ability of different droplets hydrodynamics under a real-time trajectory track of droplet-derived capacitance, permitting accurate and autonomous multi-droplet positioning without visual setup and heavy image signal processing; (ii) fuzzy-enhanced controllability saving up to 21% charging time when compared with the classical approach, enhancing the throughput, fidelity and lifetime of the DMF chip, while identifying and renouncing those weakened electrodes deteriorated over time, and (iii) expert manipulability of multi-droplet routings under countermeasure decisions in real time, preventing droplet-to-droplet or task-to-task interference. Altogether, this work exhibits the first modular DMF system with built-in electronic-control software-defined intelligence to enhance the fidelity and reliability of each droplet operation, allowing future manufacturability of a wide range of life science analyses and combinatorial chemical screening applications.
Cardioembolism is one of the most common causes of ischemic stroke, with an estimated prevalence of 20-30%, and correct diagnosis is essential given the therapeutic implications. Although stroke risk scores (CHADS2 and more recently CHA2DS2-VASc) have been validated in heterogeneous populations of patients with atrial fibrillation, their accuracy has not been ascertained for secondary stroke prevention. We set out to assess the sensitivity and specificity of the CHADS2 and CHA2DS2-VASc stroke risk scores as predictors of cardioembolic sources, documented by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in a population with ischemic stroke.
Non-catalytic and catalytic ozonation over Pt/Al2O3 were considered in the treatment of a synthetic effluent composed of six phenolic acids usually present in olive mill wastewaters. In both processes the medium pH affected the rate of ozone decomposition and the formation of hydroxyl radicals. The optimum values were achieved for the catalytic system under pH 7 with 93.0 and 47.7%, respectively, of total phenol content and chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal, after 120 minutes of reaction. For pH 3, the catalytic ozonation followed a free radical pathway perceived by the presence of radical scavengers. No significant structural differences were observed between the fresh and used solid catalyst in X-ray diffraction analysis. Aluminium leaching behaviour was also evaluated at the end of each experiment. Moreover, a sequence of feed-batch trials involving the catalyst reutilization exhibited almost constant activity during the operation time. Eco-toxicological tests were performed for both processes, revealing that the treated effluent still presents some ecological impact, although it is lower than that for the raw wastewater.
Changes in extracellular osmolality have been shown to alter gene expression patterns and metabolic activity of various cell types, including chondrocytes. However, mechanisms by which physiological or pathological changes in osmolality impact chondrocyte function remain unclear. Here we use quantitative image analysis, electron microscopy, and a DNase I assay to show that hyperosmotic conditions (>400 mOsm/kg) induce chromatin condensation, while hypoosmotic conditions (100 mOsm/kg) cause decondensation. Large density changes (p < 0.001) occur over a very narrow range of physiological osmolalities, which suggests that chondrocytes likely experience chromatin condensation and decondensation during a daily loading cycle. The effect of changes in osmolality on nuclear morphology (p < 0.01) and chromatin condensation (p < 0.001) also differed between chondrocytes in monolayer culture and three-dimensional agarose, suggesting a role for cell adhesion. The relationship between condensation and osmolality was accurately modeled by a polymer gel model which, along with the rapid nature of the chromatin condensation (<20 s), reveals the basic physicochemical nature of the process. Alterations in chromatin structure are expected to influence gene expression and thereby regulate chondrocyte activity in response to osmotic changes.
Dicynodontia represent the most diverse tetrapod group during the Late Permian. They survived the Permo-Triassic extinction and are central to understanding Permo-Triassic terrestrial ecosystems. Although extensively studied, several aspects of dicynodont paleobiology such as, neuroanatomy, inner ear morphology and internal cranial anatomy remain obscure. Here we describe a new dicynodont (Therapsida, Anomodontia) from northern Mozambique: Niassodon mfumukasi gen. et sp. nov. The holotype ML1620 was collected from the Late Permian K5 formation, Metangula Graben, Niassa Province northern Mozambique, an almost completely unexplored basin and country for vertebrate paleontology. Synchrotron radiation based micro-computed tomography (SRµCT), combined with a phylogenetic analysis, demonstrates a set of characters shared with Emydopoidea. All individual bones were digitally segmented allowing a 3D visualization of each element. In addition, we reconstructed the osseous labyrinth, endocast, cranial nerves and vasculature. The brain is narrow and the cerebellum is broader than the forebrain, resembling the conservative, "reptilian-grade" morphology of other non-mammalian therapsids, but the enlarged paraflocculi occupy the same relative volume as in birds. The orientation of the horizontal semicircular canals indicates a slightly more dorsally tilted head posture than previously assumed in other dicynodonts. In addition, synchrotron data shows a secondary center of ossification in the femur. Thus ML1620 represents, to our knowledge, the oldest fossil evidence of a secondary center of ossification, pushing back the evolutionary origins of this feature. The fact that the specimen represents a new species indicates that the Late Permian tetrapod fauna of east Africa is still incompletely known.
Ozonation, catalytic ozonation, Fentons and heterogeneous Fenton-like processes were investigated as possible pretreatments of a low biodegradable and highly toxic wastewater produced by a detergent industry. The presence of a Mn-Ce-O catalyst in ozonation enhances the biodegradability and improves the degradation at low pH values. However, a high content of carbonyl compounds adsorbed on the recovered solid indicates some limitations for real-scale application. A commercial Fe2O3-MnOx catalyst shows higher activity as well as higher stability concerning carbon adsorption, but the leaching of metals is larger than for Mn-Ce-O. Regarding the heterogeneous Fenton-like route with an Fe-Ce-O catalyst, even though a high activity and stability are attained, the intermediates are less biodegradable than the original compounds, indicating that the resulting effluent cannot be conducted to an activated sludge post-treatment. The highest enhancement of effluent biodegradability is obtained with the classic homogeneous Fentons process, with the BOD5/COD ratio increasing from 0.32 to 0.80. This process was scaled up and the treated effluent is now safely directed to a municipal wastewater treatment plant.
Tumor markers are genes or their products expressed exclusively or preferentially in tumor cells and cancer-testis antigens (CTAs) form a group of genes with a typical expression pattern expressed in a variety of malignant neoplasms. CTAs are considered potential targets for cancer vaccines. It is possible that the CTA MAGE-A4 (melanoma antigen) and MAGE-C1 are expressed in carcinoma of the oral cavity and are related with survival.
We discuss here the estimation of age at death from two indicators (pubic symphysis and the sacro-pelvic surface of the ilium) based on four different osteological series from Portugal, Great-Britain, South Africa or USA (European origin). These samples and the scoring system of the two indicators were used by Schmitt et al. (2002), applying the methodology proposed by Lucy et al. (1996). In the present work, the same data was processed using a modification of the empirical method proposed by Lucy et al. (2002). The various probability distributions are estimated from training data by using kernel density procedures and Jackknife methodology. Bayess theorem is then used to produce the posterior distribution from which point and interval estimates may be made. This statistical approach reduces the bias of the estimates to less than 70% of what was obtained by the initial method. This reduction going up to 52% if knowledge of sex of the individual is available, and produces an age for all the individuals that improves age at death assessment.
A subset of thyroid tumors characterized by a follicular growth pattern can represent a serious diagnosis. Immunohistochemistry and molecular pathology for genetic profiling have been used in an attempt to resolve some of these issues.
To assess the vestibular fold muscle after cordectomy and laryngeal reconstruction, the pattern of motor unit recruitment during sound emission, and the morphologic characteristics of motor unit action potentials.
A mixture of six phenolic acids, corresponding to an initial TOC of 370 mgC/L, was studied by Fentons peroxidation aiming to improve the biodegradability of agro-industrial wastewaters. Input operating variables including the concentration of pollutants, iron and hydrogen peroxide as well as the reaction time were used to assess the mineralization degree through a factorial experimental methodology. A TOC removal in the range of 15.0-58.8% was attained within the operational conditions used. A reduced model was achieved using the statistically important independent factors and interactions to predict TOC degradation. On the hydrogen peroxide injection methodology, the results showed that the continuous introduction of small volumes is advantageous when compared with one single addition of the overall volume at the zero reaction time with a mineralization improvement of 11%. The use of FeSO(4).7H(2)O correspondent to a Fe(2+) load of 271 mg; [H(2)O(2)]=488.0 mM, injected in twelve aliquots each 30 min during 6h of reaction reached optimal efficiencies with the parent compounds (quantified by HPLC and the Folin-Ciocalteau method) quickly totally removed and TOC, COD and BOD(5) final values of 123 mgC/L, 180 mgO(2)/L and 146 mgO(2)/L, respectively. Toxicity assessment by Vibrio fischeri light inhibition revealed that Fentons process reduces the effluent ecological impact related with the decomposition of the toxic phenolic acids. Indeed, EC(50) changed from 32.2% dilution to no-dilution needed. The analysis of BOD(5)/COD ratio pointed out a high improvement of the treated wastewater biodegradability from 0.30 to 0.80 meaning that the application of Fentons oxidation as a pre-treatment enables a further application of an efficient post-biological technology which was also confirmed by respirometry.
In this experimental work the ozone action on the depuration of olive oil mill wastewater is studied for different operational conditions based on an actual industrial treatment plant. It was verified that the application of a Mn-Ce-O catalyst prepared at the laboratory, with a Mn/Ce molar proportion of 70/30, enhances the depuration efficiency and the effluent biodegradability. Ozonation operation at the natural pH of the effluent is recommended. Moreover, the integration of the Fenton process as a pretreatment improves the final chemical oxygen demand removal and enables a totally biodegradable effluent to be obtained, as confirmed by respirometric techniques.
The definition of response to cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) remains controversial, with different criteria being used to define a positive response. The PROSPECT trial recently demonstrated that echocardiography is not sufficiently accurate to identify responders to CRT. However, it is possible that the definition used in this study was not the most appropriate.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a common complication in uremic patients. Total parathyroidectomy combined with partial autotransplantation into brachioradialis muscle has been the preference among the options for surgical treatment. This study was designed to evaluate the reserve and ability of suppression of autotransplanted parathyroid tissue using dynamics tests.
Healthcare electronics count on the effectiveness of the on-patient signal preprocessing unit to moderate the wireless data transfer for better power efficiency. In order to reduce the system power in long-time ECG acquisition, this work describes an on-patient QRS detection processor for arrhythmia monitoring. It extracts the concerned ECG part, i.e., the RR-interval between the QRS complex for evaluating the heart rate variability. The processor is structured by a scale-3 quadratic spline wavelet transform followed by a maxima modulus recognition stage. The former is implemented via a symmetric FIR filter, whereas the latter includes a number of feature extraction steps: zero-crossing detection, peak (zero-derivative) detection, threshold adjustment and two finite state machines for executing the decision rules. Fabricated in 0.35-?m CMOS the 300-Hz processor draws only 0.83 ?W, which is favorably comparable with the prior arts. In the system tests, the input data is placed via an on-chip 10-bit SAR analog-to-digital converter, while the output data is emitted via an off-the-shelf wireless transmitter (TI CC2500) that is configurable by the processor for different data transmission modes: 1) QRS detection result, 2) raw ECG data or 3) both. Validated with all recordings from the MIT-BIH arrhythmia database, 99.31% sensitivity and 99.70% predictivity are achieved. Mode 1 with solely the result of QRS detection exhibits 6× reduction of system power over modes 2 and 3.
The etiology of exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension (exPH) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) remains a complex task, as both left ventricle (LV) diastolic dysfunction and pulmonary vascular disease can contribute to its development. We determined the incidence of exPH in SSc and examined the association between pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and tissue Doppler-derived indexes of pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP).
Two-dimensional speckle tracking (2D-ST) echocardiography for the measurement of circumferential ascending thoracic aortic strain (CAAS) in the context of aortic stenosis (AS) is not elucidated. Purpose This study assesses the thoracic ascending aortic deformation using 2D-ST echocardiography in AS patients. Population and methods Forty-five consecutive patients with an aortic valvular area (AVA) ?0.85 cm(2)/m(2) were included. Regarding aortic deformation, the global peak CAAS was the parameter used, and an average of six segments of arterial wall deformation was calculated. The corrected CAAS was calculated as the global CAAS/pulse pressure (PP). Aortic stiffness (?2) index was assessed according to ln(Ps/Pd)/CAAS. The sample was stratified according to the stroke volume index (SVI) as: Group A (low flow, SVI ?35 mL/m(2); n = 19) and Group B (normal flow, SVI >35 mL/m(2); n = 26).
Many studies have reported increased expression of S100 A7 (psoriasin) in neoplastic lesions. Among them are studies on breast carcinoma, bladder squamous cell carcinoma, skin tumors and oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. The expression of S100 A7 has not been described for laryngeal cancer.
This study is focused on the evaluation of the impact of Saccharomyces cerevisiae metabolism in the profile of compounds with antioxidant capacity in a synthetic wine during fermentation. A bioanalytical pipeline, which allows for biological systems fingerprinting and sample classification by combining electrochemical features with biochemical background, is proposed. To achieve this objective, alcoholic fermentations of a minimal medium supplemented with phenolic acids were evaluated daily during 11 days, for electrochemical profile, phenolic acids, and the volatile fermentation fraction, using cyclic voltametry, high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection, and headspace/solid-phase microextraction/gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (target and nontarget approaches), respectively. It was found that acetic acid, 2-phenylethanol, and isoamyl acetate are compounds with a significative contribution for samples metabolic variability, and the electrochemical features demonstrated redox-potential changes throughout the alcoholic fermentations, showing at the end a similar pattern to normal wines. Moreover, S. cerevisiae had the capacity of producing chlorogenic acid in the supplemented medium fermentation from simple precursors present in the minimal medium.
Congenital heart diseases are present in eight of every 1000 newborns. The diagnosis of those pathologies usually depends on the available imaging methods. A correct diagnosis requires a detailed observation of the heart chambers, wall motions, valves function, and quantitative evaluation of the cavity volumes. For that goal numerous automatic algorithms have been proposed to segment the echocardiographic images. In this paper, the authors evaluate the performance of a level set algorithm based on the phase symmetry approach and on a new logarithmic-based stopping function to extract the heart cavity contours simultaneously, and in a fully automatic way. The extracted cardiac borders are then statistically compared with the ones manually sketched by four physicians on a set of 240 cavities. Nonparametric statistical tests are conducted on the data using several figures of merit, in order to study the inter- and intraobserver variabilities among the four physicians and the level set algorithm, concerning to the extracted contours. The results show there is a great concordance about all the used similarity indexes. A higher interobserver variability was found among the physicians than the variability obtained when the algorithm versus physician performance is compared. The statistical analysis suggests the proposed algorithm produces results similar to the ones provided by the physicians.
Mechanical loading induces both nuclear distortion and alterations in gene expression in a variety of cell types. Mechanotransduction is the process by which extracellular mechanical forces can activate a number of well-studied cytoplasmic signaling cascades. Inevitably, such signals are transduced to the nucleus and induce transcription factor-mediated changes in gene expression. However, gene expression also can be regulated through alterations in nuclear architecture, providing direct control of genome function. One putative transduction mechanism for this phenomenon involves alterations in nuclear architecture that result from the mechanical perturbation of the cell. This perturbation is associated with direct mechanical strain or osmotic stress, which is transferred to the nucleus. This review describes the current state of knowledge relating the nuclear architecture and the transfer of mechanical forces to the nucleus mediated by the cytoskeleton, the nucleoskeleton, and the LINC (linker of the nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton) complex. Moreover, remodeling of the nucleus induces alterations in nuclear stiffness, which may be associated with cell differentiation. These phenomena are discussed in relation to the potential influence of nuclear architecture-mediated mechanoregulation of transcription and cell fate.
Composting is one of the technologies recommended for pre-treating industrial eggshells (ES) before its application in soils, for calcium recycling. However, due to the high inorganic content of ES, a mixture of biodegradable materials is required to assure a successful procedure. In this study, an adequate organic blend composition containing potato peel (PP), grass clippings (GC) and wheat straw (WS) was determined by applying the simplex-centroid mixture design method to achieve a desired moisture content, carbon: nitrogen ratio and free air space for effective composting of ES. A blend of 56% PP, 37% GC and 7% WS was selected and tested in a self heating reactor, where 10% (w/w) of ES was incorporated. After 29 days of reactor operation, a dry matter reduction of 46% was achieved and thermophilic temperatures were maintained during 15 days, indicating that the blend selected by statistical approach was adequate for composting of ES.
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