Electrochemical ammonia synthesis is being actively studied as a low temperature, low pressure alternative to the Haber-Bosch process. This work studied iridium as the electrochemical catalyst, following a previous study of adsorption characteristics on platinum. The characteristics studied include bond energies, bond lengths, spin densities, and free and adsorbed vibrational frequencies for the molecules N2, N, NH, NH2, and NH3. Overall, these descriptive characteristics explore the use of dispersion-corrected Density Functional Theory methods that can model N2 adsorption – the key reactant for electrochemical ammonia synthesis via transition metal catalysis. Specifically, three methods were tested: hybrid B3LYP, a dispersion-corrected form B3LYP-D3, and semi-empirical B97-D3. The latter semi-empirical method was explored to increase the accuracy obtained in vibrational analysis as well as reduce computational time. Two lattice surfaces, (111) and (100), were compared. The adsorption energies are stronger on (100) and follow the trend EB3LYP > EB3LYP-D3 > EB97-D3 on both surfaces.
Avian transgenesis has served as a suitable approach to generate bioreactors for the manufacturing of recombinant proteins. Production in chicken cells comes with significant advantages over other systems including providing the human-like glycosylation on target proteins. In this regard, the oviduct-specific ovalbumin promoter has been one of the ideal candidates to drive the expression of transgenes. Previous plasmid-based studies on the regulatory sequences of ovalbumin promoter have led researchers to exploit ovalbumin regulatory elements out of their native genomic context (ex situ) to direct transgene expression in the transgenic chicken bioreactors. Although the inherent limitations on the ex situ use of ovalbumin promoter have promoted the use of native ovalbumin promoter for the expression of a transgene, generation of transgenic chicken is relatively difficult, inefficient, and time-consuming. To overcome these obstacles, in this study we show that CRISPR-mediated deletion of some distal ovalbumin promoter sequences in a non-oviduct cell can lead to the significant expression of the ovalbumin gene, and also a knocked-in reporter, in an estrogen-independent manner. These findings overcome the limitation of cloned promoters, where the promoter regulatory sequences have to be taken out of their cis context and also their native spatial nuclear organization into a plasmid.
SARS-CoV-2 has claimed more than 300,000 lives while infecting 4 million individuals worldwide. There are no specific treatments for COVID-19. Symptoms vary from very mild/asymptomatic to severe, including admission to ICU. Strong sex-bias in COVID-19 have been noted with males showing more than double the odds of requiring ICU admission and higher mortality. Reproductive steroids, including estrogens, progesterone and its physiologically-active metabolite, allopregnanolone exert anti-inflammatory actions and influence the immune system. Intriguingly, pregnant women with COVID-19 appear to experience milder symptoms. In some pregnant women escalated symptoms severity is observed immediately postpartum in coincidence with the rapid hormonal drop associated with parturition. This finding suggests that reproductive steroids’ anti-inflammatory effects and their role in reshaping competence of immune cells may protect during pregnancy. The hypothesis that estradiol, progesterone may provide a treatment against COVID-19 in men and in postmenopausal women is discussed.
The synthesis of starch-based physical hydrogels in combination with chitosan and polyvinyl alcohol, and their potential co-application with chitosan nanoparticles was evaluated. The potential of starch-chitosan hydrogel obtained by physical/chemical method for tissue engineering uses was also studied in a mouse wound healing model. Although the microscopical structure of each synthesized hydrogel suggests a possible biological application, starch-polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel exhibited rigid behavior with minor channel diameters, a lower swelling rate (less than 300%), and negatively affected cell viability in a cytotoxicity assay. Starch-chitosan hydrogel obtained by chemical crosslinking with glutaraldehyde demonstrated the higher swelling rate (about 1100%), cell viability values over 80%, and a homogeneous tri-dimensional structure; along with an excellent interaction with chitosan nanoparticles. This type of hydrogel was selected for an in vivo experiment, showing significant differences in wound healing process against a non-treated control, in terms of inflammation, exudate production and tissue recovering.
The global pandemic from Sars-cov-2 has down caused thousands of deaths worldwide, triggering a health crisis in the various countries involved, with few precedents in history. To date there are no vaccines for prophylaxis, and there are no antivirals directed against the virus. Among the therapeutic options that have shown effectiveness is passive immunization with immune plasma from convalescent patients cured of the infection. Plasma collected from patients cured of Sars-cov-2 infection is rich in antibodies that neutralized the pathogen. Plasma therapy has already demonstrated its efficacy in other epidemics, such as Sars-Cov and MERS. To date, there are limited data for its use in sars-Cov-2 infection, both for prophylaxis and treatment, but the few existing data bode well for the scientific world. Many questions are still unresolved, when to administer it? At what dosage? When is it most appropriate to take the plasma from the cured patient? Are there different answers depending on gender and age? Certainly in view of the high number of patients infected and cured by Sars-Cov-2, there could be a high amount of plasma from donor patients. In this article we want to give an overview on a current and important topic in the perspective of the battle against the new Sars-Cov-2, analysing the therapeutic successes in past epidemics, the clinical data currently available, the future prospect and an expert opinion.
The role of CD4+ Treg in immune responses has been well established. More recently a role of CD8+ Treg in the regulation of immune responses in health and autoimmune diseases has been investigated. Furthermore, different investigators have used different markers to define CD8 Treg. Finally, regulatory effects of CD8 Treg have been studied against T cell responses; however, their role in regulating B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production has not been evaluated. Therefore, in this study we examined the effect of two types of CD8 Treg on B cell proliferation and immunoglobulin production. Methods: Purified CD8+ T cells were activated with anti-CD3/CD28 for 48 hours and then sorted into two different types of CD8 Treg as defined by two different sets of markers, CD8+CD183+CCR7+CD45RA-, and CD8+CD183+CD25highCD278+. Purified B cells were co-cultured with sorted CD8 Treg at 1:1, 1:1/2, 1:1/4 ratios, and activated with anti-CD40 and CpG. B cell proliferation was assessed by CFSE dye dilution assay and immunoglobulin production by ELISA assay. Results: Our data show CD183+CCR7+CD45RA- CD8 T reg significantly inhibited B cell proliferation and inhibited IgM and IgG production but not of IgA production at 1:1 ratio only. However, CD183+CD25highCD278+ CD8 Treg inhibited significantly B cell proliferation at 1:1 and 1:1/2 ratio and IgM, IgG, and IgA production at all ratios. In Conclusion, CD8 Treg regulate B cell responses, and CD183+CD25highCD278+ CD8 Treg are more powerful regulators of B cell proliferation and Immunoglobulin production than CD183+CCR7+CD45RA- CD8 Treg.
The current study investigates the correlation between biological activity and physicochemical properties of a few specific estradiol isomers. Theoretical studies on the physicochemical properties of estradiol isomers were performed using different quantum mechanical methods. The computational methods used in this study include the Density Functional Theory (DFT) method, the Hartree-Fock (HF) method and Semi-empirical (AM1) method. Some physicochemical properties such as dipole moment, molecular weight, the energy of the highest occupied molecular orbital (E HOMO), the energy of the lowest unoccupied molecular orbital (E LUMO), polarizability, the octanol-water partition coefficient (Log P), polar surface area (PSA) the number of hydrogen bond donors (HBDs) and the number of hydrogen bond acceptors (HBAs), the surface area, volume of the molecule, and ovality are calculated for the isomers. However, only dipole moment values are suitable to identify a correlation of experimental biological activity of estradiol isomers. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the relationships between dipole moment and biological activities of estradiol isomers. It is observed that the active compound has a significantly higher dipole moment value compared to the inactive compound. We have also analyzed the geometrical and graphical models of these isomers and related compounds to evaluate the differences in the molecular charge distributions.
The spatiotemporal dynamics for general reaction-diffusion systems of Brusselator type under the homogeneous Neumann boundary condition is considered. It is shown that the reaction-diffusion system has a unique steady state solution. For some suitable ranges of the parameters, we prove that the steady state solution can be a codimension-2 Turing-Hopf point. To understand the spatiotemporal dynamics in the vicinity of the Turing-Hopf bifurcation point, we calculate and analyze the normal form on the center manifold by analytical methods. A wealth of complex spatiotemporal dynamics near the degenerate point are obtained. It is proved that the system undergoes a codimension-2 Turing-Hopf bifurcation. Moreover, several numerical simulations are carried out to illustrate the validity of our theoretical results.
Rationale, aims, and objectives: Post-hospitalization follow-up within 30 days following discharge has been shown to positively impact time to readmission, healthcare costs, and patient self-reported adherence and satisfaction. We aimed to improve resident satisfaction with the process of establishing post-hospitalization, primary care provider (PCP) follow-up. Methods: In this quality improvement study we surveyed all internal medicine residents at our institution regarding their satisfaction with the process of establishing PCP follow-up at the time of hospital discharge. A streamlined process was developed and two subsequent interventions were enacted; a dedicated teaching session and distribution of pocket cards outlining the process. Residents were then surveyed following each intervention to assess for impact on overall satisfaction and burden of work. Results: Initially, 77.3% of residents were not satisfied with the process of establishing post-hospitalization PCP follow-up. Following the first intervention there was a trend towards increasing satisfaction rates by 16.7% (p= 0.20), and after the second intervention there was a statistically significant increase in satisfaction rates from baseline by 44% (p= 0.007). There was also a reduction in the feeling of workload burden associated with establishing PCP follow-up from 32% to 25%, and over 67% of participants either agreed or strongly agreed that the workload was not too burdensome. Conclusion: This quality improvement initiative established that resident physicians at our institution previously found the process of establishing PCP follow-up at the time of patient discharge both confusing and burdensome. Through the implementation of our interventions we were able to achieve our aims of improving resident satisfaction.
The world is in front of a risky epidemic due to novel coronavirus (2019-CoV or COVID-19). This virus is not only affected human health but it affected the economy and caused completely paralysis in many countries of the world. Various therapeutic, medicinal, scientific, and technological communities are demanding to find out specifically and to approve successful strategies for discovering the effective vaccine which can lead to stop the virus expansion, recognize medication, reduce humanity health hazards, serious infections, death rates. The importance of natural effective nutritious food and diet having peculiar immunity is highlighted which pointed out the unconfirmed dietary option risks which would lead to decline effective precautionary procedures. This report is aimed to focus on the most effective food and nutrients which trigger the body immunity system and prevent the coronavirus type infections.
1. Data on reproductive features of temperate terrestrial isopods species is well-known, for some species this knowledge is still incipient. Armadillidium tunisiense is a newly discovered and endemic Tunisian with an only recent study concerning its breeding patterns. 2. Seen the interspecific and intraspecific variations due to local variations in environmental conditions. We decided to describe the main characteristics of A. tunisiense’s life cycle from the Chambi mountain, the highest point in Tunisia, by determining the population structure; the reproduction dynamics, the sex ratio and fertility. 3. The breeding patterns and the reproductive cycle of A. tunisiense were studied on 2908 individuals collected on regular bias from July 2009 to July 2011 from the Chambi mountain. Our specimens were divided into six categories. Where females were followed from the day of collection until their death. An in-depth study of a well-defined number (35 specimens) of reproductive females were desiccated to define the fertility by counting the eggs contained in the marsupium. 4. We found that A. tunisiense from the Chambi mountain is a semelparous species with a seasonal reproductive pattern, characterized by a reproduction period followed by a sexual rest. Also, we could’ve confirmed the positive relationship between the sizes of ovigerous females and fertility. With 5 eggs recuperated in a 5.2 mm female while 33 eggs were encountered in an 8 mm female. As well as for the sex ratio which characterized by fluctuation (0.49-1.12), but mainly in favor of females over that of males. 5. The combined results of the previous study and ours maintain on the role of environmental conditions that interfere to explain the interspecific variations were observed for the launch and the duration of the reproduction period. Thus, altitude might confirm the intraspecific variations between both studied populations of A. tunisiense.
The black soil region of northeast China is one of the most productive regions of the world. The depth of A horizon is rapidly decreasing due to excessive erosion. A strategy for erosion hazard evaluation and soil conservation planning has been proposed and tested on the region. Climate, geomorphology, DEM, soil, landuse, runoff plot and corn yield data were compiled. Soil erosion rate, A horizon thickness and corn yield under six conservation scenarios during 2020~2200 was predicted. The six scenarios include Present (continue present practices), Contour (contour tillage), Straw (straw incorporated in tillage layer), Combo 1 (contour tillage and terracing etc.), No-till (no-till farming) and Combo 2 (partially Combo 1 and partially No-till). Current soil life expectancy of A horizon (SLEA), which is the time until a critical horizon thickness needed for sustaining crop production is reached, was calculated for each scenario. Erosion hazard degrees were determined with SLEA. Croplands with SLEA of <0 a, 0 a~20 a, 20 a~100 a, 100 a~1000 a and ≥1000 a, were classified as “Damaged”, “High hazard”, “Moderate hazard”, “Low hazard” and “No hazard”, respectively. Current area ratio of “Damaged” and “High hazard” and “Moderate hazard” was found to be 8%, 5%, and 22%, respectively. The optimum conservation practice was found to be No-till for “Damaged”, “Combo 2” for “High hazard”, “Moderate hazard” and “Low hazard” and Present for “No hazard”. An optimum conservation schedule was also suggested for each township to maintain all soils to have an A horizon above 20 cm.
Seed predators have the potential to act as agents of natural selection that influence seed traits. Accordingly, plants deploy a variety of mechanisms (e.g. resistance and tolerance strategy) to lessen the impact of predation on seed crop or on an individual seed. In this study, we found a novel mechanism (i.e. cloning strategy) in a tropical plant species in countering animal predation. We found both rodent damaged and human artificially damaged seed fragments of a large-seeded tree Garcinia xanthochymus in the Xishuangbanna tropical forest of China could develop into seedlings in both field and laboratory conditions. G. xanthochymus seed has no endosperm in seeds, and its seed tissue own strong capacity of differentiation and cloning. Seed damage would negatively affect seedling growth and germination, but the seed germination rate was remarkably high. Our study suggests that, as a novel strategy countering animal predation, seed cloning would play a significant role in stabilizing the mutualism between plant and animals.
Synchronous brain tumors are rare in children. We present 2 unique cases of synchronous brain tumors and we elaborate on their presentation, diagnosis, approach to management, and outcome. The first case describes a unique and previously unreported combination of a supratentorial anaplastic ependymoma and a cerebellar low-grade glioma.
Stem cell (SC) differentiation towards somatic cells has proven to be an effective technique in the understanding and progression of regenerative medicine. Despite improvements, concerns regarding the efficiency of differentiation and the differences between SC products and their in vivo counterparts must be addressed. Biomaterials that mimic endogenous growth conditions represent one recent method used to improve the quality and efficiency of SC differentiation. Here, we aim to use bioinformatics approaches to accomplish two aims: 1) determine the effect of different biomaterials on SC growth and differentiation, and 2) understand the effect of cell of origin on the differentiation potential of multipotent SCs. First, we demonstrate that the dimensionality (2D versus 3D) and the degradability of biomaterials affects the way that the cells are able to grow and differentiate at the transcriptional level. Additionally, the particular cell of origin is an important factor in determining the response of SCs to same biomaterial transcriptionally. Our data demonstrates the ability of bioinformatics to understand novel molecular mechanisms and context by which SCs are most efficiently able to differentiate. These results and strategies may suggest proper combinations of biomaterials and SCs to achieve high differentiation efficiency and functionality of desired cell types.
Atomically precise metallic clusters behaving as superatoms, are relevant building blocks towards new materials under the bottom-up approach. Here we discussed the plausible formation of the Cu10Ru cluster as a superatomic specie accounted its 1S2 1P6 1D10 shell order, with the aim of identification of particular clusters with enhanced stability. By stochastic structure search on Cu10Ru clusters, we found six low-lying cluster isomers with ΔE values from 0.0 to 4.7 kcal∙mol above the ground state denoting an endohedral motif with the Ru dopant inside the Cu10 cage, as the favored structures. By using molecular dynamics simulations we found a clear trend of encapsulation of the Ru atom at low temperatures, quantified by the Cu-Ru bonding distances during the annealing procedure. The 17-ve counterpart, Cu9Ru shows a large electron affinity, owing to the trend to achieve a electronic shell closing as a new superhalogen species. These results are useful for further rationalization and design of novel superatoms expanding the libraries of endohedral clusters.
Background. Differential diagnosis of Low-back pain (LBP) is complex and a prominent health care issue at all Health-care levels; guidance may come from patients’ history cues and clinical examination signs. Human and animal studies report that lumbar radicular pain (LRP) may be diagnosed, at all care settings, by the evaluation of subjective responses of injured lumbar nerves to a strain applied at the buttock. The Buttock Applied Strain (BUAS-test) may guide the differential diagnosis of LBP. Following an ex-adiuvantibus criterion, clinical improvement of LRP, diagnosed with the BUAS-test and congruently treated, may support this test diagnostic ability. Methods. Among 258 LRP patients, positive at V1, to the BUAS-test (with/without positive Straight-Leg-Raising-Test, SLRT), the effect of gabapentin on painDETECT (PD) questionnaire and BPI outcomes was quantified in the follow-up visit (V2). We hypothesized that, at V2, >50% of the sample would present negative PD-outcome, significant (t-Test), and 2 points V2-V1 differences for each the BPI-item’s score. Multinomial-Logistic-Regression (MLR) and χ2 analyses were used to evaluate the PD-V2-outcomes’ dependence upon independent variables. Results. Of the sample, 77% reported Negative PD-V2-outcome. V2-V1 differences of all BPI-items were significant and >2 points. PD-V2-outcomes showed significant associations with SLRT-V1 and PD-V1, respectively, but not with gender, age group, or pain-site. MLR showed a significant relationship between SLRT-V1 and PD-V2 outcomes. Conclusions. Among LRP patients, diagnosed by the BUAS-test and treated with gabapentin, all prespecified endpoints were reached. These results may be considered a piece of ex-adiuvantibus evidence for the BUAS-test ability to diagnose LRP. While positive BUAS-test implies potential LRP, the co-presence with positive SLRT may imply a severer LRP condition. Further prospective research, in different settings and direct clinical measures, is needed.
Twenty-nine Candida isolates were assessed with green-coloured colonies using CHROMagar Candida medium with a positive germ-tube test. Based on morphological and biochemical tests, 29 strains were isolated from the oral cavity of children with leukaemia who were undergoing chemotherapy in Basrah, Iraq. Three (10.3%) of them were identified as Candida africana. Identification of the isolated yeasts was further confirmed at the molecular level by amplifying the internal transcribed spacer sequencing (ITS) region of rDNA comprising the ITS1-5.85-ITS2 regions of fungal rRNA genes. This study represented the first recovery of C. africana from the oral cavity for immunocompromised patients with leukaemia and considered the first record of species in Iraq.