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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Deuteration and Temperature on Furan Ring Dynamics
by , and
Molecules 2021, 26(10), 2889; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/molecules26102889 (registering DOI) - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Despite significant progress in conformational analysis of cyclic molecules, the number of computational studies is still limited while most of that available in the literature data have been obtained long time ago with outdated methods. In present research, we have studied temperature driven [...] Read more.
Despite significant progress in conformational analysis of cyclic molecules, the number of computational studies is still limited while most of that available in the literature data have been obtained long time ago with outdated methods. In present research, we have studied temperature driven conformational changes of the furan ring at three different temperatures. Additionally, the effect of deuteration on the ring dynamics is discussed; in addition, the aromaticity indices following the Bird and HOMA schemes are computed along all trajectories. Our ab initio molecular dynamic simulations revealed that deuteration has changed the furan ring dynamics and the obvious consequences; in addition, the shape and size of molecule are expected to be different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Modeling: Advancements and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Construction of Recombinant Human GM-CSF and GM-CSF-ApoA-I Fusion Protein and Evaluation of Their Biological Activity
by , , , , and
Pharmaceuticals 2021, 14(5), 459; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ph14050459 (registering DOI) - 13 May 2021
Abstract
In this study, two strains of the yeast P. pastoris were constructed, one of which produced authentic recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (ryGM-CSF), and the other was a chimera consisting of ryGM-CSF genetically fused with mature human apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) (ryGM-CSF-ApoA-I). Both forms [...] Read more.
In this study, two strains of the yeast P. pastoris were constructed, one of which produced authentic recombinant human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (ryGM-CSF), and the other was a chimera consisting of ryGM-CSF genetically fused with mature human apolipoprotein A-I (ApoA-I) (ryGM-CSF-ApoA-I). Both forms of the cytokine were secreted into the culture medium. The proteins’ yield during cultivation in flasks was 100 and 60 mg/L for ryGM-CSF and ryGM-CSF-ApoA-I, respectively. Both forms of recombinant GM-CSF stimulated the proliferation of human TF-1 erythroleukemia cells; however, the amount of chimera required was 10-fold that of authentic GM-CSF to induce a similar proliferative effect. RyGM-CSF exhibited a 2-fold proliferative effect on BFU-E (burst-forming units—erythroid) at a concentration 1.7 fold less than non-glycosylated E. coli-derived GM-CSF. The chimera together with authentic ryGM-CSF increased the number of both erythroid precursors and BMC granulocytes after 48 h of incubation of human bone marrow cells (BMCs). In addition, the chimeric form of ryGM-CSF was more effective at increasing the viability of the total amount of BMCs, decreasing apoptosis compared to the authentic form. ryGM-CSF-ApoA-I normalized the proliferation, maturation, and segmentation of neutrophils within the physiological norm, preserving the pool of blast cells under conditions of impaired granulopoiesis. The chimera form of GM-CSF exhibited the properties of a multilinear growth factor, modulating the activity of GM-CSF and, perhaps, it may be more suitable for the normalization of granulopoiesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Biopharmaceuticals)
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Open AccessArticle
The Quinonoid Zwitterion Interlayer for the Improvement of Charge Carrier Mobility in Organic Field-Effect Transistors
by , , , , , and
Polymers 2021, 13(10), 1567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/polym13101567 (registering DOI) - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The interface between the semiconductor and the dielectric layer plays a crucial role in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) because it is at the interface that charge carriers are accumulated and transported. In this study, four zwitterionic benzoquinonemonoimine dyes featuring alkyl and aryl N [...] Read more.
The interface between the semiconductor and the dielectric layer plays a crucial role in organic field-effect transistors (OFETs) because it is at the interface that charge carriers are accumulated and transported. In this study, four zwitterionic benzoquinonemonoimine dyes featuring alkyl and aryl N-substituents were used to cover the dielectric layers in OFET structures. The best interlayer material, containing aliphatic side groups, increased charge carrier mobility in the measured systems. This improvement can be explained by the reduction in the number of the charge carrier trapping sites at the dielectric active layer interface from 1014 eV−1 cm−2 to 2 × 1013 eV−1 cm−2. The density of the traps was one order of magnitude lower compared to the unmodified transistors. This resulted in an increase in charge carrier mobility in the tested poly [2,5-(2-octyldodecyl)-3,6-diketopyrrolopyrrole-alt-5,5-(2,5-di(thien-2-yl)thieno [3,2-b]thiophene)] (DPPDTT)-based transistors to 5.4 × 10−1 cm2 V−1 s−1. Full article
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Open AccessReview
The Emerging Role of CT-Based Imaging in Adipose Tissue and Coronary Inflammation
by , , , , and
Cells 2021, 10(5), 1196; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/cells10051196 (registering DOI) - 13 May 2021
Abstract
A large body of evidence arising from recent randomized clinical trials demonstrate the association of vascular inflammatory mediators with coronary artery disease (CAD). Vascular inflammation localized in the coronary arteries leads to an increased risk of CAD-related events, and produces unique biological alterations [...] Read more.
A large body of evidence arising from recent randomized clinical trials demonstrate the association of vascular inflammatory mediators with coronary artery disease (CAD). Vascular inflammation localized in the coronary arteries leads to an increased risk of CAD-related events, and produces unique biological alterations to local cardiac adipose tissue depots. Coronary computed tomography angiography (CTA) provides a means of mapping inflammatory changes to both epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) and pericoronary adipose tissue (PCAT) as independent markers of coronary risk. Radiodensity or attenuation of PCAT on coronary CTA, notably, provides indirect quantification of coronary inflammation and is emerging as a promising non-invasive imaging implement. An increasing number of observational studies have shown robust associations between PCAT attenuation and major coronary events, including acute coronary syndrome, and ‘vulnerable’ atherosclerotic plaque phenotypes that are associated with an increased risk of the said events. This review outlines the biological characteristics of both EAT and PCAT and provides an overview of the current literature on PCAT attenuation as a surrogate marker of coronary inflammation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Study on the Spatial Classification of Construction Land Types in Chinese Cities: A Case Study in Zhejiang Province
by , , , , and
Land 2021, 10(5), 523; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/land10050523 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Identifying the land-use type and spatial distribution of urban construction land is the basis of studying the degree of exposure and the economic value of disaster-affected bodies, which are of great significance for disaster risk predictions, emergency disaster reductions, and asset allocations. Based [...] Read more.
Identifying the land-use type and spatial distribution of urban construction land is the basis of studying the degree of exposure and the economic value of disaster-affected bodies, which are of great significance for disaster risk predictions, emergency disaster reductions, and asset allocations. Based on point of interest (POI) data, this study adopts POI spatialization and the density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) algorithm to accomplish the spatial classification of construction land. Zhejiang province is selected as a study area, and its construction land is divided into 11 land types using an accurate spatial classification method based on measuring the area of ground items. In the research, the POI dataset, which includes information, such as spatial locations and usage types, was constructed by big data cleaning and visual interpretation and approximately 620,000 pieces in total. The overall accuracy of the confusion matrix is 76.86%, which is greatly improved compared with that constructed with EULUC data (61.2%). In addition, compared with the official statistical data of 11 cities in Zhejiang Province, the differences between the calculated spatial proportions and statistics are not substantial. Meanwhile, the spatial characteristics of the studied land-use types are consistent with the urban planning data but with higher accuracy. The research shows that the construction land in Zhejiang Province has a high degree of land intensity, concentrated assets, and high economic exposure. The approach proposed in this study can provide a reference for city management including urbanization process, risk assessment, emergency management and asset allocation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions)
Open AccessArticle
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of 12-Versus 4-Weekly Administration of Bone-Targeted Agents in Patients with Bone Metastases from Breast and Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
by , , , , , , , , , , , and
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(3), 1847-1856; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/curroncol28030171 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
A cost–utility analysis was performed based on the Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) bone-targeted agents (BTA) clinical trial that compared 12-weekly (once every 12 weeks) (n = 130) versus 4-weekly (once every 4 weeks) (n = 133) BTA dosing for metastatic breast [...] Read more.
A cost–utility analysis was performed based on the Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) bone-targeted agents (BTA) clinical trial that compared 12-weekly (once every 12 weeks) (n = 130) versus 4-weekly (once every 4 weeks) (n = 133) BTA dosing for metastatic breast and castration-resistant prostate (CRPC) cancer. Using a decision tree model, we calculated treatment and symptomatic skeletal event (SSE) costs as well as quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) for each treatment option. Deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the robustness of the study findings. The total cost of BTA treatment in Canadian dollars (C$) and estimated QALYs was C$8965.03 and 0.605 QALY in the 4-weekly group versus C$5669.95 and 0.612 QALY in the 12-weekly group, respectively. De-escalation from 4-weekly to 12-weekly BTA reduces cost (C$3293.75) and improves QALYs by 0.008 unit, suggesting that 12-weekly BTA dominates 4-weekly BTA in breast and CRPC patients with bone metastases. Sensitivity analysis suggests high levels of uncertainty in the cost-effectiveness findings. De-escalation of bone-targeted agents is cost-effective from the Canadian public payer’s perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Re-Irradiation for Locally Recurrent Lung Cancer: A Single Center Retrospective Analysis
by , , , , , , , , , and
Curr. Oncol. 2021, 28(3), 1835-1846; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/curroncol28030170 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The treatment of locally recurrent lung cancer is a major challenge for radiation-oncologists, especially with data on high-dose reirradiation being limited to small retrospective studies. The aim of the present study is to assess overall survival (OS) for patients with locally recurrent lung [...] Read more.
The treatment of locally recurrent lung cancer is a major challenge for radiation-oncologists, especially with data on high-dose reirradiation being limited to small retrospective studies. The aim of the present study is to assess overall survival (OS) for patients with locally recurrent lung cancer after high-dose thoracic reirradiation. Thirty-nine patients who were re-irradiated for lung cancer relapse between October 2013 and February 2019 were eligible for the current retrospective analysis. All patients were re-irradiated with curative intent for in-field tumor recurrence. The diagnostic work-up included a mandatory 18F-FDG-PET-CT scan and—if possible—histological verification. The ECOG was ≤2, and the interval between initial and second radiation was at least nine months. Thirty patients (77%) had non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), eight (20%) had small cell lung cancer (SCLC), and in one patient (3%) histological confirmation could not be obtained. More than half of the patients (20/39, 51%) received re-treatment with dose differentiated accelerated re-irradiation (DART) at a median interval of 20.5 months (range: 6–145.3 months) after the initial radiation course. A cumulative EQD2 of 131 Gy (range: 77–211 Gy) in a median PTV of 46 mL (range: 4–541 mL) was delivered. Patients with SCLC had a 3 mL larger median re-irradiation volume (48 mL, range: 9–541) compared to NSCLC patients (45 mL, range: 4–239). The median cumulative EQD2 delivered in SCLC patients was 84 Gy (range: 77–193 Gy), while NSCLC patients received a median cumulative EQD2 of 135 Gy (range: 98–211 Gy). The median OS was 18.4 months (range: 0.6–64 months), with tumor volume being the only predictor (p < 0.000; HR 1.007; 95%-CI: 1.003–1.012). In terms of toxicity, 17.9% acute and 2.6% late side effects were observed, with a toxicity grade >3 occurring in only one patient. Thoracic high dose reirradiation plays a significant role in prolonging survival, especially in patients with small tumor volume at recurrence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Thoracic Oncology)
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Open AccessArticle
Online User Review Analysis for Product Evaluation and Improvement
by , , , , , and
J. Theor. Appl. Electron. Commer. Res. 2021, 16(5), 1598-1611; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jtaer16050090 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Traditional user research methods are challenged for the decision-making in product design and improvement with the updating speed becoming faster, considering limited survey scopes, insufficient samples, and time-consuming processes. This paper proposes a novel approach to acquire useful online reviews from E-commerce platforms, [...] Read more.
Traditional user research methods are challenged for the decision-making in product design and improvement with the updating speed becoming faster, considering limited survey scopes, insufficient samples, and time-consuming processes. This paper proposes a novel approach to acquire useful online reviews from E-commerce platforms, build a product evaluation indicator system, and put forward improvement strategies for the product with opinion mining and sentiment analysis with online reviews. The effectiveness of the method is validated by a large number of user reviews for smartphones wherein, with the evaluation indicator system, we can accurately predict the bad review rate for the product with only 9.9% error. And improvement strategies are proposed after processing the whole approach in the case study. The approach can be applied for product evaluation and improvement, especially for the products with needs for iterative design and sailed online with plenty of user reviews. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section e-Commerce Analytics)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impacts of Self-Construal and Perceived Risk on Technology Readiness
by and
J. Theor. Appl. Electron. Commer. Res. 2021, 16(5), 1584-1597; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jtaer16050089 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
This paper explores how different self-construals interact with perceived risk and influence tourism consumers’ technology readiness toward tourism mobile apps. The study used 284 tourist participants to show that tourism consumers, regardless of self-construal type, have a negative perception of technology readiness when [...] Read more.
This paper explores how different self-construals interact with perceived risk and influence tourism consumers’ technology readiness toward tourism mobile apps. The study used 284 tourist participants to show that tourism consumers, regardless of self-construal type, have a negative perception of technology readiness when they perceive a high level of risk. Furthermore, those with independent self-construal have a more positive perception of technology readiness than those with an interdependent self-construal when they perceive a low level of risk. The results also show that technology readiness mediates the relationship between self-construal and use intention toward mobile apps. Based on these results, we proposed the following practical implications. First, companies need to find and lower potential risks that can be perceived in tourism mobile apps. They must also deliver different messages according to consumers’ self-construal. Companies should provide independents with information related to the positive benefits obtained through the mobile app, and interdependents should be provided with information that reduces perceived losses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Digital Marketing and the Connected Consumer)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Normative Values for Femoral Length, Tibial Length, and the Femorotibial Ratio in Adults Using Standing Full-Length Radiography
by
Osteology 2021, 1(2), 86-91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/osteology1020009 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Knowledge of the normal length and skeletal proportions of the lower limb is required as part of the evaluation of limb length discrepancy. When measuring limb length, modern standing full-length digital radiographs confer a level of clinical accuracy interchangeable with that of CT [...] Read more.
Knowledge of the normal length and skeletal proportions of the lower limb is required as part of the evaluation of limb length discrepancy. When measuring limb length, modern standing full-length digital radiographs confer a level of clinical accuracy interchangeable with that of CT imaging. This study reports a set of normative values for lower limb length using the standing full-length radiographs of 753 patients (61% male). Lower limb length, femoral length, tibial length, and the femorotibial ratio were measured in 1077 limbs. The reliability of the measurement method was tested using the intra-class correlation (ICC) of agreement between three observers. The mean length of 1077 lower limbs was 89.0 cm (range 70.2 to 103.9 cm). Mean femoral length was 50.0 cm (39.3 to 58.4 cm) and tibial length was 39.0 cm (30.8 to 46.5 cm). The median side-to-side difference was 0.4 cm (0.2 to 0.7, max 1.8 cm) between 324 paired limbs. The mean ratio of femoral length to tibial length for the study population was 1.28:1 (range 1.16 to 1.39). A moderately strong inverse linear relationship (r = −0.35, p < 0.001, Pearson’s) was identified between tibial length and the corresponding femorotibial ratio. The PACS-based length measurement method used in this study displayed excellent inter-observer reliability (ICC of 0.99). This study presents a normal range of values for lower limb length in adults and is the first to identify a linear relationship between tibial length and the femorotibial ratio. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Liquid Biopsy: A New Tool for Overcoming CDKi Resistance Mechanisms in Luminal Metastatic Breast Cancer
by , , and
J. Pers. Med. 2021, 11(5), 407; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jpm11050407 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer diagnosed in women worldwide. Approximately 70% of BC patients have the luminal subtype, which expresses hormone receptors (HR+). Adjuvant endocrine treatments are the standard of care for HR+/HER2− BC patients. Over time, approximately 30% of [...] Read more.
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer diagnosed in women worldwide. Approximately 70% of BC patients have the luminal subtype, which expresses hormone receptors (HR+). Adjuvant endocrine treatments are the standard of care for HR+/HER2− BC patients. Over time, approximately 30% of those patients develop endocrine resistance and metastatic disease. Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors (CDKi), in combination with an aromatase inhibitor or fulvestrant, have demonstrated superior efficacies in increasing progression-free survival, with a safe toxicity profile, in HR+/HER2− metastatic BC patients. CDKi blocks kinases 4/6, preventing G1/S cell cycle transition. However, not all of the patients respond to CDKi, and those who do respond ultimately develop resistance to the combined therapy. Studies in tumour tissues and cell lines have tried to elucidate the mechanisms that underlie this progression, but there are still no conclusive data. Over the last few years, liquid biopsy has contributed relevant information. Circulating tumour materials are potential prognostic markers for determining patient prognosis in metastatic luminal BC, for monitoring disease, and for treatment selection. This review outlines the different studies performed using liquid biopsy in patients with HR+ metastatic BC treated with CDKi plus endocrine therapy. We mainly focus on those studies that describe the possible resistance mechanisms in circulating tumour-derived material. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Personalized Medicine in Women's Cancer)
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Open AccessArticle
Cooperative Spectrum Sensing Based on Convolutional Neural Networks
by and
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(10), 4440; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11104440 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Cooperative spectrum sensing (CSS) is an important topic due to its capacity to solve the issue of the hidden terminal. However, the sensing performance of CSS is still poor, especially in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) situations. In this paper, convolutional neural networks (CNN) [...] Read more.
Cooperative spectrum sensing (CSS) is an important topic due to its capacity to solve the issue of the hidden terminal. However, the sensing performance of CSS is still poor, especially in low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) situations. In this paper, convolutional neural networks (CNN) are considered to extract the features of the observed signal and, as a consequence, improve the sensing performance. More specifically, a novel two-dimensional dataset of the received signal is established and three classical CNN (LeNet, AlexNet and VGG-16)-based CSS schemes are trained and analyzed on the proposed dataset. In addition, sensing performance comparisons are made between the proposed CNN-based CSS schemes and the AND, OR, majority voting-based CSS schemes. The simulation results state that the sensing accuracy of the proposed schemes is greatly improved and the network depth helps with this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Computing and Artificial Intelligence)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of RBP4 on microRNA Expression Profiles in Porcine Granulosa Cells
by , , , and
Animals 2021, 11(5), 1391; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ani11051391 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) is a transporter of vitamin A that is secreted mainly by hepatocytes and adipocytes. It affects diverse pathophysiological processes, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported to play indispensable roles in regulating [...] Read more.
Retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) is a transporter of vitamin A that is secreted mainly by hepatocytes and adipocytes. It affects diverse pathophysiological processes, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have been reported to play indispensable roles in regulating various developmental processes via the post-transcriptional repression of target genes in mammals. However, the functional link between RBP4 and changes in miRNA expression in porcine granulosa cells (GCs) remains to be investigated. To examine how increased expression of RBP4 affects miRNA expression, porcine GCs were infected with RBP4-targeted lentivirus for 72 h, and whole-genome miRNA profiling (miRNA sequencing) was performed. The sequencing data were validated using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) analysis. As a result, we obtained 2783 known and 776 novel miRNAs. In the experimental group, 10 and seven miRNAs were significantly downregulated and upregulated, respectively, compared with the control group. Ontology analysis of the biological processes of these miRNAs indicated their involvement in a variety of biological functions. Gene Ontology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes enrichment analyses indicated that these miRNAs were involved mainly in the chemokine signaling pathway, peroxisome proliferators-activated receptors (PPAR) signaling pathway, insulin resistance pathway, nuclear factor-kappa B(NF-kappa B) signaling pathway, and steroid hormone biosynthesis. Our results indicate that RBP4 can regulate the expression of miRNAs in porcine GCs, with consequent physiological effects. In summary, this study profiling miRNA expression in RBP4-overexpressing porcine GCs provides an important reference point for future studies on the regulatory roles of miRNAs in the porcine reproductive system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Pigs)
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Open AccessReview
MTOR Signaling and Metabolism in Early T Cell Development
by , and
Genes 2021, 12(5), 728; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/genes12050728 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) controls cell fate and responses via its functions in regulating metabolism. Its role in controlling immunity was unraveled by early studies on the immunosuppressive properties of rapamycin. Recent studies have provided insights on how metabolic reprogramming and [...] Read more.
The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) controls cell fate and responses via its functions in regulating metabolism. Its role in controlling immunity was unraveled by early studies on the immunosuppressive properties of rapamycin. Recent studies have provided insights on how metabolic reprogramming and mTOR signaling impact peripheral T cell activation and fate. The contribution of mTOR and metabolism during early T-cell development in the thymus is also emerging and is the subject of this review. Two major T lineages with distinct immune functions and peripheral homing organs diverge during early thymic development; the αβ- and γδ-T cells, which are defined by their respective TCR subunits. Thymic T-regulatory cells, which have immunosuppressive functions, also develop in the thymus from positively selected αβ-T cells. Here, we review recent findings on how the two mTOR protein complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, and the signaling molecules involved in the mTOR pathway are involved in thymocyte differentiation. We discuss emerging views on how metabolic remodeling impacts early T cell development and how this can be mediated via mTOR signaling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cellular Growth Control by TOR Signaling)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Ionizing Radiation on the Bacterial and Fungal Endophytes of the Halophytic Plant Kalidium schrenkianum
by , , , , , , , and
Microorganisms 2021, 9(5), 1050; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/microorganisms9051050 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Endophytic bacteria and fungi colonize plants that grow in various types of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Our study investigates the communities of endophytic bacteria and fungi of halophyte Kalidium schrenkianum growing in stressed habitats with ionizing radiation. The geochemical factors and radiation (at [...] Read more.
Endophytic bacteria and fungi colonize plants that grow in various types of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Our study investigates the communities of endophytic bacteria and fungi of halophyte Kalidium schrenkianum growing in stressed habitats with ionizing radiation. The geochemical factors and radiation (at low, medium, high level and control) both affected the structure of endophytic communities. The bacterial class Actinobacteria and the fungal class Dothideomycetes predominated the endophytic communities of K. schrenkianum. Aerial tissues of K. schrenkianum had higher fungal diversity, while roots had higher bacterial diversity. Radiation had no significant effect on the abundance of bacterial classes. Soil pH, total nitrogen, and organic matter showed significant effects on the diversity of root endophytes. Radiation affected bacterial and fungal community structure in roots but not in aerial tissues, and had a strong effect on fungal co-occurrence networks. Overall, the genetic diversity of both endophytic bacteria and fungi was higher in radioactive environments, however negative correlations were found between endophytic bacteria and fungi in the plant. The genetic diversity of both endophytic bacteria and fungi was higher in radioactive environments. Our findings suggest that radiation affects root endophytes, and that the endophytes associated with aerial tissues and roots of K. schrenkianum follow different mechanisms for community assembly and different paradigms in stress response. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radiation Resistant Microorganisms)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of 1-Hydroxyethylidene-1,1-Diphosphonic Acid on the Soft Tissue-Dissolving and Gelatinolytic Effect of Ultrasonically Activated Sodium Hypochlorite in Simulated Endodontic Environments
by , , , , and
Materials 2021, 14(10), 2531; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ma14102531 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The addition of Dual Rinse HEDP, an etidronate powder, to a sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution can create a combined single endodontic irrigant with a soft tissue-dissolving and a decalcifying effect, which can replace traditional alternating irrigation with chemically non-compatible solutions. While the short-term [...] Read more.
The addition of Dual Rinse HEDP, an etidronate powder, to a sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) solution can create a combined single endodontic irrigant with a soft tissue-dissolving and a decalcifying effect, which can replace traditional alternating irrigation with chemically non-compatible solutions. While the short-term compatibility between NaOCl and 1-hydroxyethylidene-1,1-diphosphonic acid (HEDP) has been shown, it remains unclear whether ultrasonic activation of a combined NaOCl & HEDP solution immediately reduces the available chlorine and/or renders the NaOCl ineffective in dissolving organic tissue remnants. This was tested in three experiments: (1) direct activation in test tubes in an ultrasonic bath and then the activation by an ultrasonically oscillating tip (IrriSafe) in (2) an epoxy resin model containing a simulated isthmus filled with gelatin, and (3) extracted teeth with simulated resorption cavities filled with soft tissue. The control solutions were physiological saline and 2.5% NaOCl without HEDP. In (1), available chlorine after 30 s of ultrasonic activation (37 kHz) of test and control solution was assessed, as well as shrimp tissue weight loss in direct exposure. In (2) and (3), the ultrasonic tip was driven at 1/3 of full power using the respective unit, and areas of removed gelatin from the isthmus and tissue weight loss were used as the outcomes, respectively. Experiment (1) revealed no negative impact by HEDP on available chlorine (1), while all three experiments showed a highly significant (p > 0.001) synergistic effect, which was not hampered by HEDP, between NaOCl and ultrasonic activation regarding tissue weight loss (1, 3) and dissolution of gelatin (2). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endodontics)
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Open AccessArticle
Anti-Phosphatidylserine/Prothrombin Antibodies in Healthy Women with Unexplained Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
by , , , , , , , , , , and
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(10), 2094; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/jcm10102094 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) affects up to 6% of couples. Although chromosomal aberrations of the embryos are considered the leading cause, 50% of cases remain unexplained. Antiphospholipid Syndrome is a known cause in a few cases. Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) anticardiolipin, anti-Beta-2-Glycoprotein-I and Lupus [...] Read more.
Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) affects up to 6% of couples. Although chromosomal aberrations of the embryos are considered the leading cause, 50% of cases remain unexplained. Antiphospholipid Syndrome is a known cause in a few cases. Antiphospholipid antibodies (aPL) anticardiolipin, anti-Beta-2-Glycoprotein-I and Lupus Anticoagulant (criteria aPL) are recommended studies in RPL workup. We tested healthy women with unexplained RPL for criteria aPL and anti-Phosphatidylserine/Prothrombin antibodies (aPS/PT). Patients were classified into three groups according to the number and pregnancy week of RPL: Extra-Criteria (EC), with 2 miscarriages, Early Miscarriage (EM), with ≥3 before pregnancy at week 10 and Fetal Loss (FL), with ≥1 fetal death from pregnancy at week 10. Circulating criteria aPL were absent in 98.1% of EM, 90.9% of FL and 96.6% of EC groups. In contrast, aPS/PT were positive in 15.4% of EM, 15.1% of FL, 16.6% of EC patients and 2.9% in controls. aPS/PT posed a risk for RPL, with an odds ratio of 5.96 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.85–19.13. p = 0.002) for EM, 7.28 (95% CI: 2.07–25.56. p = 0.002) for FL and 6.56. (95% CI: 1.77–24.29. p = 0.004) for EC. A successful live birth was achieved in all pregnant patients positive for aPS/PT who received treatment with heparin, aspirin and/or hydroxychloroquine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Therapy)
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Open AccessArticle
Dynamic Softening Mechanisms and Microstructure Evolution of TB18 Titanium Alloy during Uniaxial Hot Deformation
by , and
Metals 2021, 11(5), 789; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/met11050789 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
In this study, isothermal compression tests of TB18 titanium alloy were conducted using a Gleeble 3800 thermomechanical simulator for temperatures ranging from 650 to 880 °C and strain rates ranging from 0.001 to 10 s−1, with a constant height reduction of [...] Read more.
In this study, isothermal compression tests of TB18 titanium alloy were conducted using a Gleeble 3800 thermomechanical simulator for temperatures ranging from 650 to 880 °C and strain rates ranging from 0.001 to 10 s−1, with a constant height reduction of 60%, to investigate the dynamic softening mechanisms and hot workability of TB18 alloy. The results showed that the flow stress significantly decreased with an increasing deformation temperature and decreasing strain rate, which was affected by the competition between work hardening and dynamic softening. The hyperbolic sine Arrhenius-type constitutive equation was established, and the deformation activation energy was calculated to be 303.91 kJ·mol−1 in the (α + β) phase zone and 212.813 kJ·mol−1 in the β phase zone. The processing map constructed at a true strain of 0.9 exhibited stability and instability regions under the tested deformation conditions. The microstructure characteristics demonstrated that in the stability region, the dominant restoration and flow-softening mechanisms were the dynamic recovery of β phase and dynamic globularization of α grains below transus temperature, as well as the dynamic recovery and continuous dynamic recrystallization of β grains above transus temperature. In the instability region, the dynamic softening mechanism was flow localization in the form of a shear band and a deformation band caused by adiabatic heating. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Iron-Bearing Intermetallics on the Fitness-for-Service Performance of a Rare-Earth-Modified A356 Alloy for Next Generation Automotive Powertrains
by , and
Metals 2021, 11(5), 788; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/met11050788 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Aimed at improving the tensile strength and creep resistance of a rare earth-modified A356 alloy, this study adjusted the Mg and Mn concentration in the alloy, specifically aiming to transform the harmful Al5FeSi and Al9FeSi3Mg5 phase [...] Read more.
Aimed at improving the tensile strength and creep resistance of a rare earth-modified A356 alloy, this study adjusted the Mg and Mn concentration in the alloy, specifically aiming to transform the harmful Al5FeSi and Al9FeSi3Mg5 phase into Al15(Fe,Mn)3Si2. It was found that lowering the Mg concentration from 0.49 to 0.25 wt.% and raising the Mn concentration from 0.10 to 0.41 wt.% resulted in a near complete transformation of the Fe-bearing phases. This transformation led to a greater total volume fraction of Fe-intermetallics (2.9 to 4.1%), without affecting the volume fraction of the desirable, temperature-resistant, AlSiRE phase. Moreover, the chemistry modification led to a shift in the morphology of the AlSiRE phase while reducing its size. Combined with the decreased volume fraction of the harmful Fe precipitates, the chemistry modification improved the yield strength (YS), ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and modulus of elasticity by ~14%, 9%, and 10%, respectively. In addition, the steady-state creep rates of the high Mn alloy were lower at all stresses as compared to the low Mn alloy and the fracture stress was ~15 MPa higher, reaching 100% of the alloy’s original 250 °C YS. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Monitoring of Laser Cleaning for Hot-Rolled Stainless Steel by Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy
by and
Metals 2021, 11(5), 790; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/met11050790 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
Laser cleaning is a competitive alternative to ablate and remove the hard oxide layer on hot-rolled stainless steel. To meet the practical demand, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was applied for real-time monitoring of the cleaning process in this study. Furthermore, the as-received and [...] Read more.
Laser cleaning is a competitive alternative to ablate and remove the hard oxide layer on hot-rolled stainless steel. To meet the practical demand, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) was applied for real-time monitoring of the cleaning process in this study. Furthermore, the as-received and laser cleaned surfaces were characterized by an optical micrograph, an X-ray diffractometer, and a laser scanning confocal microscope. The results showed the relative intensity ratio (RIR) of the FeI emission line at 520.9 nm and the CrI emission line at 589.2 could be a quantitative index to monitor the cleaning process. When the oxide layer was not fully cleaned, the LIBS signals of the substrate were not excited, and the ratio was almost invariant as the power of the laser increased. However, it sharply increased once the oxide layer was effectively cleaned, the cleaned surface was bright, and the surface roughness was smaller in this case. Subsequently, as the surface was over-cleaned with the further increase of laser power, the RIR value remained large. The optimal laser cleaning parameters obtained by the monitoring were determined to avoid re-oxidation and reduce the roughness of the cleaned surface. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Laser Treatment of Metallic Materials)
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Factors for TB/HIV Coinfection and Consequences for Patient Outcomes: Evidence from 241 Clinics in the Democratic Republic of Congo
by , , , , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5165; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105165 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
(1) Background: In resource-limited countries, patients with tuberculosis (TB)/HIV coinfection commonly face economic, sociocultural, and behavioral barriers to effective treatment. These barriers manifest from low treatment literacy, poverty, gender inequality, malnutrition, societal stigmas regarding HIV, and an absence of available care. It is [...] Read more.
(1) Background: In resource-limited countries, patients with tuberculosis (TB)/HIV coinfection commonly face economic, sociocultural, and behavioral barriers to effective treatment. These barriers manifest from low treatment literacy, poverty, gender inequality, malnutrition, societal stigmas regarding HIV, and an absence of available care. It is critical for intervention programs to understand and assist in overcoming these barriers and any additional risks encountered by patients with TB/HIV coinfection. This study analyzes variation in TB/HIV coinfection and risks of negative outcomes among patients with TB/HIV coinfection compared to those without coinfection. (2) Methods: This quantitative study used data from 49,460 patients receiving ART from 241 HIV/AIDS clinics in Haut-Katanga and Kinshasa, two provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chi-square and logistic regression analysis were performed. (3) Results: Significantly higher proportions of patients with TB/HIV coinfection were men (4.5%; women, 3.3%), were new patients (3.7%; transferred-in, 1.6%), resided in the Kinshasa province (4.0%; Haut-Katanga, 2.7%), and were in an urban health zone (3.9%) or semi-rural health zone (3.1%; rural, 1.2%). Logistic regression analysis showed that after controlling for demographic and clinical variables, TB/HIV coinfection increased the risk of death (adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 2.26 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.94–2.64)) and LTFU (AOR, 2.06 (95% CI: 1.82–2.34)). TB/HIV coinfection decreased the odds of viral load suppression (AOR, 0.58 (95% CI: 0.46–0.74)). (4) Conclusions: TB/HIV coinfection raises the risk of negative outcomes such as death, LTFU, and lack of viral load suppression. Our findings can help HIV clinics in Democratic Republic of Congo and other African countries to customize their interventions to improve HIV care and reduce care disparities among patients. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Exploring Combined Influences of Seasonal East Atlantic (EA) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) on the Temperature-Precipitation Relationship in the Iberian Peninsula
by
Geosciences 2021, 11(5), 211; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geosciences11050211 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The combined influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the East Atlantic (EA) patterns on the covariability of temperatures and precipitation in 35 stations of the Iberian Peninsula during the period 1950–2019 is analysed in this work. Four EA-NAO composites were defined [...] Read more.
The combined influence of the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) and the East Atlantic (EA) patterns on the covariability of temperatures and precipitation in 35 stations of the Iberian Peninsula during the period 1950–2019 is analysed in this work. Four EA-NAO composites were defined from teleconnection patterns’ positive and negative phases: EA+NAO+, EA+NAO-, EA-NAO+ and EA-NAO-. Daily data of maximum and minimum temperature were used to obtain seasonal means (TX and TN, respectively), and the covariability of these variables with accumulated seasonal rainfall (R) was studied comparing results obtained for different NAO and EA composites. Main results indicate slight differences in the spatial coverage of correlation coefficients between R and temperature variables, except in spring when the generalised negative relationship between R and TX under EA+NAO+ and EA-NAO- disappears under EA-NAO+ and EA+NAO- composites. This result may be useful to interpret and discuss historical reconstructions of the Iberian climate. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Rapid Review on COVID-19, Work-Related Aspects, and Age Differences
by , , and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5166; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105166 - 13 May 2021
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the labor market and multiple aspects of work and workers’ life. The present rapid review analyzes this impact considering the effects that COVID-19 pandemic had on employment and work-related aspects across different age groups. A comprehensive literature search [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the labor market and multiple aspects of work and workers’ life. The present rapid review analyzes this impact considering the effects that COVID-19 pandemic had on employment and work-related aspects across different age groups. A comprehensive literature search was performed on scientific contributions published between 2019 and March 2021, resulting in 36 papers pertinent to the scope of this review. Findings were grouped according to different topics, all linked to age: occupational risk, implications on the labor market (i.e., job loss and reemployment, job insecurity, turnover intentions and retirement, and healthcare workers’ return-to-work phase), remote work, and key individual and organizational resources and strategies. Overall, the review revealed variability across age groups in the impact this pandemic had on employment and several work-related aspects (i.e., occupational risk, remote work). Findings supported an age-differential effect of normative history-graded events such as the current pandemic, highlighting different responses and consequences depending on workers’ age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Age at Work, Well-Being, and COVID Related Challenges)
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