BioMed Research International The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Recent Developments in Minimally Invasive Cardiac Surgery: Evolution or Revolution? Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:23:28 +0000 Intraluminal aortic clamping has been achieved until now by means of a sophisticated device consisting of a three-lumen catheter named Endoclamp, which allows at the same time occlusion of the aorta, antegrade delivering of cardioplegia, and venting through the aortic root. This tool has shown important advantages allowing aortic occlusion and perfusate delivering without a direct contact with ascending aorta reducing meanwhile the risk of traumatic and/or iatrogenic injuries. Recently, a new device (Intraclude catheter) with the same characteristics and properties has been proposed and introduced in clinical practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate the differences between Endoclamp and Intraclude catheters and to analyze the advantages advocated by this new device for intraluminal aortic occlusion since it is noticeable as these new technological tools are gaining more and more attractiveness due to their appraised clinical efficacy. Antonino G. M. Marullo, Francesco G. Irace, Piergiusto Vitulli, Mariangela Peruzzi, David Rose, Riccardo D’Ascoli, Alessandra Iaccarino, Angelo Pisani, Carlotta De Carlo, Giuseppe Mazzesi, Antonio Barretta, and Ernesto Greco Copyright © 2015 Antonino G. M. Marullo et al. All rights reserved. Short Duration Combined Mild Hypothermia Improves Resuscitation Outcomes in a Porcine Model of Prolonged Cardiac Arrest Thu, 08 Oct 2015 14:00:45 +0000 Objective. In this study, our aim was to investigate the effects of combined hypothermia with short duration maintenance on the resuscitation outcomes in a porcine model of ventricular fibrillation (VF). Methods. Fourteen porcine models were electrically induced with VF and untreated for 11 mins. All animals were successfully resuscitated manually and then randomized into two groups: combined mild hypothermia (CH group) and normothermia group (NT group). A combined hypothermia of ice cold saline infusion and surface cooling was implemented in the animals of the CH group and maintained for 4 hours. The survival outcomes and neurological function were evaluated every 24 hours until a maximum of 96 hours. Neuron apoptosis in hippocampus was analyzed. Results. There were no significant differences in baseline physiologies and primary resuscitation outcomes between both groups. Obvious improvements of cardiac output were observed in the CH group at 120, 180, and 240 mins following resuscitation. The animals demonstrated better survival at 96 hours in the CH group when compared to the NT group. In comparison with the NT group, favorable neurological functions were observed in the CH group. Conclusion. Short duration combined cooling initiated after resuscitation improves survival and neurological outcomes in a porcine model of prolonged VF. Tao Yu, Zhengfei Yang, Heng Li, Youde Ding, Zitong Huang, and Yongqin Li Copyright © 2015 Tao Yu et al. All rights reserved. In Vitro Behavior of Human Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells on Poly(ε-caprolactone) Film for Bone Tissue Engineering Applications Thu, 08 Oct 2015 13:54:43 +0000 Bone tissue engineering is an emerging field, representing one of the most exciting challenges for scientists and clinicians. The possibility of combining mesenchymal stem cells and scaffolds to create engineered tissues has brought attention to a large variety of biomaterials in combination with osteoprogenitor cells able to promote and regenerate bone tissue. Human adipose tissue is officially recognized as an easily accessible source of mesenchymal stem cells (AMSCs), a significant factor for use in tissue regenerative medicine. In this study, we analyze the behavior of a clonal finite cell line derived from human adipose tissue seeded on poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL) film, prepared by solvent casting. PCL polymer is chosen for its good biocompatibility, biodegradability, and mechanical properties. We observe that AMSCs are able to adhere to the biomaterial and remain viable for the entire experimental period. Moreover, we show that the proliferation process and osteogenic activity of AMSCs are maintained on the biofilm, demonstrating that the selected biomaterial ensures cell colonization and the development of an extracellular mineralized matrix. The results of this study highlight that AMSCs and PCL film can be used as a suitable model to support regeneration of new bone for future tissue engineering strategies. Cecilia Romagnoli, Roberto Zonefrati, Gianna Galli, Dario Puppi, Alessandro Pirosa, Federica Chiellini, Francesco Saverio Martelli, Annalisa Tanini, and Maria Luisa Brandi Copyright © 2015 Cecilia Romagnoli et al. All rights reserved. Corrigendum to “Genetic Diagnosis of Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease in a Population by Next-Generation Sequencing” Thu, 08 Oct 2015 08:46:31 +0000 Helle Høyer, Geir J. Braathen, Øyvind L. Busk, Øystein L. Holla, Marit Svendsen, Hilde T. Hilmarsen, Linda Strand, Camilla F. Skjelbred, and Michael B. Russell Copyright © 2015 Helle Høyer et al. All rights reserved. Role and Function of MicroRNAs in Extracellular Vesicles in Cardiovascular Biology Thu, 08 Oct 2015 07:05:59 +0000 Intercellular communication mediated by extracellular vesicles is crucial for preserving vascular integrity and in the development of cardiovascular disease. Extracellular vesicles consist of apoptotic bodies, microvesicles, and exosomes that can be found in almost every fluid compartment of the body like blood, saliva, and urine. In the recent years, a lot of reports came up suggesting that major cardiovascular and metabolic pathologies like atherogenesis, heart failure, or diabetes are highly influenced by transfer of microRNAs via extracellular vesicles leading to altered protein expression and phenotypes of recipient cells. The following review will summarize the fast developing field of intercellular signaling in cardiovascular biology by microRNA-containing extracellular vesicles. Philipp Pfeifer, Nikos Werner, and Felix Jansen Copyright © 2015 Philipp Pfeifer et al. All rights reserved. Corrigendum to “Williams-Beuren Syndrome: A Clinical Study of 55 Brazilian Patients and the Diagnostic Use of MLPA” Thu, 08 Oct 2015 06:43:06 +0000 Rachel Sayuri Honjo, Roberta Lelis Dutra, Erika Arai Furusawa, Evelin Aline Zanardo, Larissa Sampaio de Athayde Costa, Leslie Domenici Kulikowski, Debora Romeo Bertola, and Chong Ae Kim Copyright © 2015 Rachel Sayuri Honjo et al. All rights reserved. Trying to Put the Puzzle Together: Age and Performance Level Modulate the Neural Response to Increasing Task Load within Left Rostral Prefrontal Cortex Thu, 08 Oct 2015 06:02:40 +0000 Age-related working memory decline is associated with functional cerebral changes within prefrontal cortex (PFC). Kind and meaning of these changes are heavily discussed since they depend on performance level and task load. Hence, we investigated the effects of age, performance level, and load on spatial working memory retrieval-related brain activation in different subregions of the PFC. 19 younger (Y) and 21 older (O) adults who were further subdivided into high performers (HP) and low performers (LP) performed a modified version of the Corsi Block-Tapping test during fMRI. Brain data was analyzed by a 4 (groups: YHP, OHP, YLP, and OLP) × 3 (load levels: loads 4, 5, and 6) ANOVA. Results revealed significant group × load interaction effects within rostral dorsolateral and ventrolateral PFC. YHP showed a flexible neural upregulation with increasing load, whereas YLP reached a resource ceiling at a moderate load level. OHP showed a similar (though less intense) pattern as YHP and may have compensated age-effects at high task load. OLP showed neural inefficiency at low and no upregulation at higher load. Our findings highlight the relevance of age and performance level for load-dependent activation within rostral PFC. Results are discussed in the context of the compensation-related utilization of neural circuits hypothesis (CRUNCH) and functional PFC organization. Eva Bauer, Gebhard Sammer, and Max Toepper Copyright © 2015 Eva Bauer et al. All rights reserved. Neuroprotective Effects of Clostridium butyricum against Vascular Dementia in Mice via Metabolic Butyrate Wed, 07 Oct 2015 14:00:10 +0000 Probiotics actively participate in neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the role of gut microbiota in brain disorders and vascular dementia (VaD) remains unclear. We used a mouse model of VaD induced by a permanent right unilateral common carotid arteries occlusion (rUCCAO) to investigate the neuroprotective effects and possible underlying mechanisms of Clostridium butyricum. Following rUCCAO, C. butyricum was intragastrically administered for 6 successive weeks. Cognitive function was estimated. Morphological examination was performed by electron microscopy and hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining. The BDNF-PI3K/Akt pathway-related proteins were assessed by western blot and immunohistochemistry. The diversity of gut microbiota and the levels of butyrate in the feces and the brains were determined. The results showed that C. butyricum significantly attenuated the cognitive dysfunction and histopathological changes in VaD mice. C. butyricum not only increased the levels of BDNF and Bcl-2 and decreased level of Bax but also induced Akt phosphorylation (p-Akt) and ultimately reduced neuronal apoptosis. Moreover, C. butyricum could regulate the gut microbiota and restore the butyrate content in the feces and the brains. These results suggest that C. butyricum might be effective in the treatment of VaD by regulating the gut-brain axis and that it can be considered a new therapeutic strategy against VaD. Jiaming Liu, Jing Sun, Fangyan Wang, Xichong Yu, Zongxin Ling, Haixiao Li, Huiqing Zhang, Jiangtao Jin, Wenqian Chen, Mengqi Pang, Junjie Yu, Yiwen He, and Jiru Xu Copyright © 2015 Jiaming Liu et al. All rights reserved. Colorectal Cancer: Advances in Prevention and Early Detection Wed, 07 Oct 2015 12:15:53 +0000 Anne Miles, Fränzel van Duijnhoven, Amy McQueen, and Raymond Oliphant Copyright © 2015 Anne Miles et al. All rights reserved. Molecular Identification and Susceptibility of Clinically Relevant Scedosporium spp. in China Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:28:34 +0000 As various new sibling species within the Scedosporium spp. have been described recently, this study was conducted to investigate distribution and antifungal susceptibility profiles of the different species of Scedosporium spp. in China. Twenty-one clinical strains of Scedosporium from China and two strains from Japan were reidentified by MLSA. The analysis included BT2, CAL, RPB, SOD, and ACT and the combination of the five loci. Pseudallescheria boydii complex (17 strains) and S. apiospermum (6 strains) were identified. P. boydii complex included four closely related subgroups: P. boydii (9 strains), P. ellipsoidea (6 strains), P. fusoidea (1 strain), and P. angusta (1 strain). There were no significant differences in MICs for neither VOR, POS, nor AMB over all the five species in study. For itraconazole, intraspecific diversity was evident. Hong Wang, Zhe Wan, Ruoyu Li, Qiaoyun Lu, and Jin Yu Copyright © 2015 Hong Wang et al. All rights reserved. Testosterone Depletion Induces Demethylation of Murine Reelin Promoter CpG Dinucleotides: A Preliminary Study Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:27:13 +0000 Schizophrenia (SZ) is a debilitating mental disorder characterized by psychotic events, abnormal social behavior, false beliefs, and auditory hallucinations. Hypermethylation of the promoter region of reelin (RELN), a gene involved in regulation of neuronal positioning during telencephalic development, is strongly associated with low protein expression in several cortical structures and promoter hypermethylation in brain from postmortem SZ subjects. Recent experimental data suggests that testosterone is able to promote RELN demethylation, although no direct evidence of hormonal influence on reelin promoter methylation was obtained. We investigated if reduced levels of plasma testosterone in adult male mice lead to Reln promoter demethylation. Animals were administered with flutamide, an antiandrogenic compound, and reelin promoter methylation was assessed using methylationspecific PCR using bisulfite DNA from cerebellum. We found that flutamide was able to significantly lower plasma testosterone when compared to control mice, and treatment did not influence animal survival and body weight. We also show that low plasma testosterone was associated with demethylation of a cytosine residue located at −860 in reelin promoter region. These preliminary data suggest that androgenic hormones can influence cerebral reelin demethylation. To our knowledge, this is the first experimental approach directly linking testosterone depletion and RELN promoter methylation. Victor Augusto Moraes da Silva, Marília de Souza Dantas, Leonardo Agostinho de Castro Silva, Juliana Garcia Carneiro, and Bruno Luiz Fonseca Schamber-Reis Copyright © 2015 Victor Augusto Moraes da Silva et al. All rights reserved. The Construct and Measurement of Perceived Risk of Nonremunerated Blood Donation: Evidence from the Chinese Public Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:27:03 +0000 The perceived risk of nonremunerated blood donation (NRBD) is one of the most important factors which hinder the Chinese public from donating blood. To understand deeply and measure scientifically the public’s perceived risk of NRBD, in this paper the qualitative and quantitative methods were used to explore the construct of perceived risk of NRBD in Chinese context. Firstly, the preliminary construct of perceived risk of NRBD was developed based on the grounded theory. Then, a measurement scale of perceived risk of NRBD was designed. Finally, the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were adopted for testing and verifying the construct. The results show that the construct of perceived risk of NRBD has three core dimensions, namely, trust risk, psychological risk, and health risk, which provides a clear construct and concise scale to better capture the Chinese public’s perceived risk of NRBD. Blood collection agencies can strategically make polices about perceived risk reduction to maximize the public’s NRBD behavior. Liangyong Chen and Zujun Ma Copyright © 2015 Liangyong Chen and Zujun Ma. All rights reserved. Biotechnology in Environmental Monitoring and Pollution Abatement 2015 Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:21:19 +0000 Kannan Pakshirajan, Eldon R. Rene, and Aiyagari Ramesh Copyright © 2015 Kannan Pakshirajan et al. All rights reserved. Piloting the Impact of Three Interventions on Guaiac Faecal Occult Blood Test Uptake within the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:16:12 +0000 This study evaluated the impact of three interventions on uptake of the guaiac faecal occult blood test (gFOBT) in Greater London. The interventions were designed to improve awareness and understanding of the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP) and assist stool sampling. Logistic regression analysis of BCSP London data ( invitees aged 60–74) compared uptake at 12 weeks between intervention groups and a control group, sent kits as usual between January-April 2013 and January-April 2014. An endorsement flyer, included with gFOBT kits, had no impact on uptake (). In 60–69-year-olds, there was a small but significant increase in modelled uptake amongst invitees sent both the flyer and a kit enhancement pack compared with controls (45.1% versus 43.4%, , ). In North East London, the flyer together with outdoor advertising was associated with a small but significant increase (45.6% versus 43.4%, , ). The largest increases were seen when all three interventions (flyer, pack, and advertising) were combined (49.5% versus 43.4%, , ). The increased uptake in the intervention groups was largest in “first-timers” and smaller amongst previous nonresponders and previously screened invitees. Becky White, Emily Power, Monika Ciurej, Siu Hing Lo, Katherine Nash, and Nick Ormiston-Smith Copyright © 2015 Becky White et al. All rights reserved. miR-193b Modulates Resistance to Doxorubicin in Human Breast Cancer Cells by Downregulating MCL-1 Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:05:17 +0000 MicroRNAs (miRNAs) family, which is involved in cancer development, proliferation, apoptosis, and drug resistance, is a group of noncoding RNAs that modulate the expression of oncogenes and antioncogenes. Doxorubicin is an active cytotoxic agent for breast cancer treatment, but the acquisition of doxorubicin resistance is a common and critical limitation to cancer therapy. The aim of this study was to investigate whether miR-193b mediated the resistance of breast cancer cells to doxorubicin by targeting myeloid cell leukemia-1 (MCL-1). In this study, we found that miR-193b levels were significantly lower in doxorubicin-resistant MCF-7 (MCF-7/DOXR) cells than in the parental MCF-7 cells. We observed that exogenous miR-193b significantly suppressed the ability of MCF-7/DOXR cells to resist doxorubicin. It demonstrated that miR-193b directly targeted MCL-1 3′-UTR (3′-Untranslated Regions). Further studies indicated that miR-193b sensitized MCF-7/DOXR cells to doxorubicin through a mechanism involving the downregulation of MCL-1. Together, our findings provide evidence that the modulation of miR-193b may represent a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of breast cancer. Jingpei Long, Zhiwei Ji, Kai Jiang, Zhaoyang Wang, and Guanmin Meng Copyright © 2015 Jingpei Long et al. All rights reserved. Breakdown of Epithelial Barrier Integrity and Overdrive Activation of Alveolar Epithelial Cells in the Pathogenesis of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome and Lung Fibrosis Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:04:52 +0000 Individual alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) collaboratively form a tight barrier between atmosphere and fluid-filled tissue to enable normal gas exchange. The tight junctions of AECs provide intercellular sealing and are integral to the maintenance of the AEC barrier integrity. Disruption and failure of reconstitution of AEC barrier result in catastrophic consequences, leading to alveolar flooding and subsequent devastating fibrotic scarring. Recent evidences reveal that many of the fibrotic lung diseases involve AECs both as a frequent target of injury and as a driver of ongoing pathological processes. Aberrantly activated AECs express most of the growth factors and chemokines responsible for the proliferation, migration, and activation of fibroblasts. Current evidences suggest that AECs may acquire overdrive activation in the initial step of fibrosis by several mechanisms, including abnormal recapitulation of the developmental pathway, defects of the molecules essential for epithelial integrity, and acceleration of aging-related properties. Among these initial triggering events, epithelial Pten, a multiple phosphatase that negatively regulates the PI3K/Akt pathway and is crucial for lung development, is essential for the prevention of alveolar flooding and lung fibrosis through the regulation of AEC barrier integrity after injury. Reestablishment of AEC barrier integrity also involves the deployment of specialized stem/progenitor cells. Shigehisa Yanagi, Hironobu Tsubouchi, Ayako Miura, Nobuhiro Matsumoto, and Masamitsu Nakazato Copyright © 2015 Shigehisa Yanagi et al. All rights reserved. Enhancing Ecoefficiency in Shrimp Farming through Interconnected Ponds Wed, 07 Oct 2015 07:29:51 +0000 The future development of shrimp farming needs to improve its ecoefficiency. The purpose of this study was to evaluate water quality, flows, and nitrogen balance and production parameters on a farm with interconnected pond design to improve the efficiency of the semi-intensive culture of Litopenaeus vannamei ponds. The study was conducted in 21 commercial culture ponds during 180 days at densities of 30–35 ind m−2 and daily water exchange <2%. Our study provides evidence that by interconnecting ponds nutrient recycling is favored by promoting the growth of primary producers of the pond as chlorophyll a. Based on the mass balance and flow of nutrients this culture system reduces the flow of solid, particulate organic matter, and nitrogen compounds to the environment and significantly increases the efficiency of water (5 to 6.5 m3 kg−1 cycle−1), when compared with traditional culture systems. With this culture system it is possible to recover up to 34% of the total nitrogen entering the system, with production in excess of 4,000 kg ha−1 shrimp. We believe that the production system with interconnected ponds is a technically feasible model to improve ecoefficiency production of shrimp farming. Ramón Héctor Barraza-Guardado, José Alfredo Arreola-Lizárraga, Anselmo Miranda-Baeza, Manuel Juárez-García, Antonio Juvera-Hoyos, and Ramón Casillas-Hernández Copyright © 2015 Ramón Héctor Barraza-Guardado et al. All rights reserved. New Biomaterials in Drug Delivery and Wound Care Wed, 07 Oct 2015 07:26:21 +0000 Šeila Selimović, Francesco Piraino, Robert Gauvin, and Hojae Bae Copyright © 2015 Šeila Selimović et al. All rights reserved. The Quantified Level of Circulating Prostate Stem Cell Antigen mRNA relative to GAPDH Level Is a Clinically Significant Indictor for Predicting Biochemical Recurrence in Prostate Cancer Patients after Radical Prostatectomy Wed, 07 Oct 2015 07:15:54 +0000 The study quantified the relative absolute PSCA level in relation to the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) level in the peripheral blood of 478 hormone-naive prostate cancer (PC) patients who underwent radical prostatectomy from 2005 to 2012 and evaluated its prognostic significance as a risk factor for predicting biochemical recurrence (BCR), compared to known parameters. Nested real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and gel electrophoresis detected PSCA levels and measured the PSCA/GAPDH ratio. Clinicopathological data from the institutional database were examined to determine the adequate cut-off level to predict postoperative BCR. A total of 110 patients had a positive PSCA result (23.0%) via RT-PCR (mean blood ratio 1.1 ± 0.4). The BCR was significantly higher in the PSCA-positive detection group (). A multivariate model was created to show that a PSCA/GAPDH ratio between 1.0 and 1.5 (HR 12.722), clinical T2c stage (HR 0.104), preoperative PSA (HR 1.225), extraprostatic capsule extension (HR 0.006), lymph node dissection (HR 16.437), and positive resection margin (HR 27.453) were significant predictive factors for BCR (). The study showed successful quantification of PSCA with its significance for BCR-related risk factor; however, further studies are needed to confirm its clinical predictive value. Sung Han Kim, Weon Seo Park, Sang Jin Lee, Moon Kyung Choi, Seung Min Yeon, Jeong Nam Joo, Ara Ko, Eun Sik Lee, Jae Young Joung, Ho Kyung Seo, Jinsoo Chung, and Kang Hyun Lee Copyright © 2015 Sung Han Kim et al. All rights reserved. The Expression and Correlation of iNOS and p53 in Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Wed, 07 Oct 2015 06:59:40 +0000 Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is the most prevalent form of oral cancer. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and p53 are associated with a variety of human cancers, but their expression and interaction in OSCC have not been fully explored. In this study, we investigated the expression of iNOS and p53 in OSCC and their correlation with tumor development and prognosis. In addition, we explored the interaction of iNOS and p53 in OSCC. The expression of iNOS and p53 in OSCC was investigated using immunohistochemical method and their interaction was studied using RNAi technique. Our results showed that the expression of both iNOS and p53 was significantly correlated with tumor stages and pathological grade of OSCC (). In contrast, there was no correlation between iNOS and p53 expression and lymph node metastasis (). The OSCC survival rate was negatively associated with iNOS expression, but not with p53. A significant increase in the expression of the p53 was observed when iNOS expression was knocked down. The immunoexpression of iNOS is correlated with tumorigenesis and prognosis of OSCC and may serve as a prognostic marker. Lan Yang, Youyuan Wang, Lvhua Guo, Liping Wang, Weiliang Chen, and Bin Shi Copyright © 2015 Lan Yang et al. All rights reserved. Material Science in Cervical Total Disc Replacement Wed, 07 Oct 2015 06:14:46 +0000 Current cervical total disc replacement (TDR) designs incorporate a variety of different biomaterials including polyethylene, stainless steel, titanium (Ti), and cobalt-chrome (CoCr). These materials are most important in their utilization as bearing surfaces which allow for articular motion at the disc space. Long-term biological effects of implanted materials include wear debris, host inflammatory immune reactions, and osteolysis resulting in implant failure. We review here the most common materials used in cervical TDR prosthetic devices, examine their bearing surfaces, describe the construction of the seven current cervical TDR devices that are approved for use in the United States, and discuss known adverse biological effects associated with long-term implantation of these materials. It is important to appreciate and understand the variety of biomaterials available in the design and construction of these prosthetics and the considerations which guide their implementation. Martin H. Pham, Vivek A. Mehta, Alexander Tuchman, and Patrick C. Hsieh Copyright © 2015 Martin H. Pham et al. All rights reserved. Overexpression of NTRK1 Promotes Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells into Cholinergic Neurons Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:23:05 +0000 Neurotrophic tyrosine kinase type 1 (NTRK1) plays critical roles in proliferation, differentiation, and survival of cholinergic neurons; however, it remains unknown whether enhanced expression of NTRK1 in neural stem cells (NSCs) can promote their differentiation into mature neurons. In this study, a plasmid encoding the rat NTRK1 gene was constructed and transfected into C17.2 mouse neural stem cells (NSCs). NTRK1 overexpression in C17.2 cells was confirmed by western blot. The NSCs overexpressing NTRK1 and the C17.2 NSCs transfected by an empty plasmid vector were treated with or without 100 ng/mL nerve growth factor (NGF) for 7 days. Expression of the cholinergic cell marker, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT), was detected by florescent immunocytochemistry (ICC). In the presence of NGF induction, the NSCs overexpressing NTRK1 differentiated into ChAT-immunopositive cells at 3-fold higher than the NSCs transfected by the plasmid vector (26% versus 9%, ). The data suggest that elevated NTRK1 expression increases differentiation of NSCs into cholinergic neurons under stimulation of NGF. The approach also represents an efficient strategy for generation of cholinergic neurons. Limin Wang, Feng He, Zhuoyuan Zhong, Ruiyan Lv, Songhua Xiao, and Zhonglin Liu Copyright © 2015 Limin Wang et al. All rights reserved. Anti-Inflammatory and Anticancer Activities of Taiwanese Purple-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) Extracts Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:11:02 +0000 Purple-fleshed sweet potato (PFSP) (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) has been known to possess high amount of anthocyanins which contribute to its antioxidant activity. However, a few reports are available concerning its anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties. In this study, PFSP “Tainung 73,” which is locally grown in Taiwan, was steamed and extracted using acidified ethanol pH 3.5 under 80°C. Two kinds of crude anthocyanins extracts were obtained, namely, SP (Steamed, Peeled) and SNP (Steamed, No Peeled). Then, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of these extracts were investigated. Cell viability assay (MTT) showed that SP and SNP extracts were not toxic to RAW 264.7 cells. They even exhibited anti-inflammatory activities by suppressing the production of NO and proinflammatory cytokines, such as NF-κβ, TNF-α, and IL-6, in LPS-induced macrophage cells. Anticancer activities of these extracts were displayed through their ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cell lines, such as MCF-7 (breast cancer), SNU-1 (gastric cancer), and WiDr (colon adenocarcinoma), in concentration- and time-dependent manner. Further studies also revealed that SP extracts could induce apoptosis in MCF-7 and SNU-1 cancer cells through extrinsic and intrinsic pathway. In the future, PSFP extracts may have potential to be applied in nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and food industries. Marcelia Sugata, Chien-Yih Lin, and Yang-Chia Shih Copyright © 2015 Marcelia Sugata et al. All rights reserved. The Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of Ulcerative Colitis in a Northeast Brazilian Population Mon, 05 Oct 2015 13:14:20 +0000 Introduction. The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical and demographic characteristics of UC in Bahia, a Brazilian state, and to identify the variables associated with extensive colitis, steroid therapy, immunosuppression, and colectomy. Methods. In this cross-sectional study UC patients were interviewed, and additional information was collected from the medical records. Descriptive statistics and multivariate Poisson regression analysis were used. Results. This study included 267 individuals, the mean age of whom was 39.4 years at diagnosis. There was a predominance of females and left-side colitis. Extensive colitis was positively associated with male gender, diarrhea, weight loss, and a younger age at diagnosis. In contrast, active smoking and a family history of IBD were negatively associated with extensive colitis. Positive associations were observed between steroid therapy and diarrhea, weight loss, urban patients, extraintestinal manifestations (EIMs), and hospitalization. Younger age and weight loss at diagnosis, a family history of IBD, extensive colitis, EIMs, hospitalization, and steroid therapy were all positively associated with immunosuppression. In contrast, Caucasian individuals, smokers, patients with rectal bleeding, and rural patients areas were all observed to have a decreased likelihood of immunosuppression. Conclusions. Our results corroborate the association between higher prevalence of extensive colitis and younger age at diagnosis. An association between steroid therapy and clinical presentation at diagnosis was observed. The observation that white individuals and rural patients use less immunosuppressive drugs highlights the need to study the influence of environmental and genetic factors on the behavior of UC in this population. Bruno César da Silva, Andre Castro Lyra, Carlos Maurício Cardeal Mendes, Camila Paula Oliveira Ribeiro, Sonyara Rauedys Oliveira Lisboa, Mariana Tinoco Lordello de Souza, Renata Cavalcanti Portela, and Genoile Oliveira Santana Copyright © 2015 Bruno César da Silva et al. All rights reserved. Evidential Value That Exercise Improves BMI -Score in Overweight and Obese Children and Adolescents Mon, 05 Oct 2015 11:54:12 +0000 Background. Given the cardiovascular disease (CVD) related importance of understanding the true effects of exercise on adiposity in overweight and obese children and adolescents, this study examined whether there is evidential value to rule out excessive and inappropriate reporting of statistically significant results, a major problem in the published literature, with respect to exercise-induced improvements in BMI -score among overweight and obese children and adolescents. Methods. Using data from a previous meta-analysis of 10 published studies that included 835 overweight and obese children and adolescents, a novel, recently developed approach (-curve) was used to test for evidential value and rule out selective reporting of findings. Chi-squared tests () were used to test for statistical significance with alpha () values <0.05 considered statistically significant. Results. Six of 10 findings (60%) were statistically significant. Statistically significant right-skew to rule out selective reporting was found ( = 38.8, = 0.0001). Conversely, studies neither lacked evidential value ( = 6.8, = 0.87) nor lacked evidential value and were intensely -hacked ( = 4.3, = 0.98). Conclusion. Evidential value results confirm that exercise reduces BMI -score in overweight and obese children and adolescents, an important therapeutic strategy for treating and preventing CVD. George A. Kelley and Kristi S. Kelley Copyright © 2015 George A. Kelley and Kristi S. Kelley. All rights reserved. Fabrication of an Amperometric Flow-Injection Microfluidic Biosensor Based on Laccase for In Situ Determination of Phenolic Compounds Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:54:11 +0000 We aim to develop an in situ microfluidic biosensor based on laccase from Trametes pubescens with flow-injection and amperometry as the transducer method. The enzyme was directly immobilized by potential step chronoamperometry, and the immobilization was studied using cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy. The electrode response by amperometry was probed using ABTS and syringaldazine. A shift of interfacial electron transfer resistance and the electron transfer rate constant from 18.1 kΩ to 3.9 MΩ and 4.6 × 10−2 cm s−1 to 2.1 × 10−4 cm s−1, respectively, evidenced that laccase was immobilized on the electrode by the proposed method. We established the optimum operating conditions of temperature (55°C), pH (4.5), injection flow rate (200 µL min−1), and applied potential (0.4 V). Finally, the microfluidic biosensor showed better lower limit of detection (0.149 µM) and sensitivity (0.2341 nA µM−1) for ABTS than previous laccase-based biosensors and the in situ operation capacity. Juan C. Gonzalez-Rivera and Johann F. Osma Copyright © 2015 Juan C. Gonzalez-Rivera and Johann F. Osma. All rights reserved. Are Endothelial Progenitor Cells the Real Solution for Cardiovascular Diseases? Focus on Controversies and Perspectives Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:42:42 +0000 Advanced knowledge in the field of stem cell biology and their ability to provide a cue for counteracting several diseases are leading numerous researchers to focus their attention on “regenerative medicine” as possible solutions for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). However, the lack of consistent evidence in this arena has hampered the clinical application. The same condition affects the research on endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs), creating more confusion than comprehension. In this review, this aspect is discussed with particular emphasis. In particular, we describe biology and physiology of EPCs, outline their clinical relevance as both new predictive, diagnostic, and prognostic CVD biomarkers and therapeutic agents, discuss advantages, disadvantages, and conflicting data about their use as possible solutions for vascular impairment and clinical applications, and finally underline a very crucial aspect of EPCs “characterization and definition,” which seems to be the real cause of large heterogeneity existing in literature data on this topic. Carmela R. Balistreri, Silvio Buffa, Calogera Pisano, Domenico Lio, Giovanni Ruvolo, and Giuseppe Mazzesi Copyright © 2015 Carmela R. Balistreri et al. All rights reserved. Comparison of Different Strategies for Selection/Adaptation of Mixed Microbial Cultures Able to Ferment Crude Glycerol Derived from Second-Generation Biodiesel Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:38:56 +0000 Objective of this study was the selection and adaptation of mixed microbial cultures (MMCs), able to ferment crude glycerol generated from animal fat-based biodiesel and produce building-blocks and green chemicals. Various adaptation strategies have been investigated for the enrichment of suitable and stable MMC, trying to overcome inhibition problems and enhance substrate degradation efficiency, as well as generation of soluble fermentation products. Repeated transfers in small batches and fed-batch conditions have been applied, comparing the use of different inoculum, growth media, and Kinetic Control. The adaptation of activated sludge inoculum was performed successfully and continued unhindered for several months. The best results showed a substrate degradation efficiency of almost 100% (about 10 g/L glycerol in 21 h) and different dominant metabolic products were obtained, depending on the selection strategy (mainly 1,3-propanediol, ethanol, or butyrate). On the other hand, anaerobic sludge exhibited inactivation after a few transfers. To circumvent this problem, fed-batch mode was used as an alternative adaptation strategy, which led to effective substrate degradation and high 1,3-propanediol and butyrate production. Changes in microbial composition were monitored by means of Next Generation Sequencing, revealing a dominance of glycerol consuming species, such as Clostridium, Klebsiella, and Escherichia. C. Varrone, T. M. B. Heggeset, S. B. Le, T. Haugen, S. Markussen, I. V. Skiadas, and H. N. Gavala Copyright © 2015 C. Varrone et al. All rights reserved. High 15-F2t-Isoprostane Levels in Patients with a Previous History of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer: The Effects of Supplementary Antioxidant Therapy Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:38:17 +0000 Background. Phase I of this study was aimed at comparing the profiles of oxidative stress biomarkers in patients with history of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), previously treated with surgery, to the healthy subjects. Phase II aimed to evaluate the effects of supplementary antioxidant therapy on the levels of biomarkers in the case group. Materials and Methods. In Phase I, oxidative stress biomarkers were measured in blood samples obtained from 24 healthy subjects and 60 patients with history of NMSC previously treated with surgery. In Phase II, the 60 patients with history of NMSC were randomized into two subgroups, one receiving placebo () and the other () receiving vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc supplementation for 8 weeks, followed by reevaluation of biomarkers. Results. In Phase I, patients with history of NMSC showed increased plasma concentrations of all biomarkers, but only 15--isoprostane was significantly higher than in the healthy subjects. Risk of NMSC increased by 4% for each additional 1 pg/mL increase in 15--isoprostane. In Phase II, supplementation did not significantly reduce levels of oxidative stress biomarkers. Conclusion. Patients with history of NMSC had significantly high 15--isoprostane plasma levels; supplementation did not result in significant reduction of oxidative stress biomarkers. This trial was registered with (ID NCT02248584). Betânia de Jesus e Silva de Almendra Freitas, Gustavo Rafaini Lloret, Marília Berlofa Visacri, Bruna Taliani Tuan, Lais Sampaio Amaral, Daniele Baldini, Vanessa Marcílio de Sousa, Laís Lima de Castro, Jordana Rayane Sousa Aguiar, Eder de Carvalho Pincinato, Priscila Gava Mazzola, and Patricia Moriel Copyright © 2015 Betânia de Jesus e Silva de Almendra Freitas et al. All rights reserved. A Media and Clinic Intervention to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening in Ohio Appalachia Mon, 05 Oct 2015 09:36:41 +0000 Objective. To test the effectiveness of a colorectal cancer (CRC) screening intervention among adults living in Ohio Appalachia. Methods. We conducted a group-randomized trial of a county-level intervention among adults living in 12 Ohio Appalachian counties who received a media campaign and clinic intervention focused on either CRC screening or fruits and vegetables. Participants’ percentage within CRC screening guidelines was assessed with cross-sectional surveys conducted annually for four years, and validated with medical record review of screening. Results. On average, screening data were obtained on 564 intervention and 559 comparison participants per year. There was no difference in the Wave 4 CRC screening rates of intervention and comparison counties (35.2% versus 31.4%). Multivariate analyses found that high perceived risk of CRC, willingness to have a CRC test if recommended by a doctor, doctor recommendation of a CRC screening test, and patient-physician communication about changes in bowel habits, family history of CRC, and eating fruits and vegetables were significant () predictors of being within CRC screening guidelines. Conclusions. The intervention was not effective in increasing CRC rates among Ohio Appalachian adults. Future research should determine how media and clinic-based interventions can be modified to improve CRC screening rates among this underserved population. Jessica L. Krok-Schoen, Mira L. Katz, Jill M. Oliveri, Gregory S. Young, Michael L. Pennell, Paul L. Reiter, Jesse J. Plascak, Michael D. Slater, Janice L. Krieger, Cathy M. Tatum, and Electra D. Paskett Copyright © 2015 Jessica L. Krok-Schoen et al. All rights reserved.