BioMed Research International The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. 18F-Labeled Silicon-Based Fluoride Acceptors: Potential Opportunities for Novel Positron Emitting Radiopharmaceuticals Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Background. Over the recent years, radiopharmaceutical chemistry has experienced a wide variety of innovative pushes towards finding both novel and unconventional radiochemical methods to introduce fluorine-18 into radiotracers for positron emission tomography (PET). These “nonclassical” labeling methodologies based on silicon-, boron-, and aluminium-18F chemistry deviate from commonplace bonding of an [18F]fluorine atom (18F) to either an aliphatic or aromatic carbon atom. One method in particular, the silicon-fluoride-acceptor isotopic exchange (SiFA-IE) approach, invalidates a dogma in radiochemistry that has been widely accepted for many years: the inability to obtain radiopharmaceuticals of high specific activity (SA) via simple IE. Methodology. The most advantageous feature of IE labeling in general is that labeling precursor and labeled radiotracer are chemically identical, eliminating the need to separate the radiotracer from its precursor. SiFA-IE chemistry proceeds in dipolar aprotic solvents at room temperature and below, entirely avoiding the formation of radioactive side products during the IE. Scope of Review. A great plethora of different SiFA species have been reported in the literature ranging from small prosthetic groups and other compounds of low molecular weight to labeled peptides and most recently affibody molecules. Conclusions. The literature over the last years (from 2006 to 2014) shows unambiguously that SiFA-IE and other silicon-based fluoride acceptor strategies relying on 18F− leaving group substitutions have the potential to become a valuable addition to radiochemistry. Vadim Bernard-Gauthier, Carmen Wängler, Esther Schirrmacher, Alexey Kostikov, Klaus Jurkschat, Bjoern Wängler, and Ralf Schirrmacher Copyright © 2014 Vadim Bernard-Gauthier et al. All rights reserved. Resveratrol, a Natural Antioxidant, Has a Protective Effect on Liver Injury Induced by Inorganic Arsenic Exposure Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Resveratrol (Rev) can ameliorate cytotoxic chemotherapy-induced toxicity and oxidative stress. Arsenic trioxide (As2O3) is a known cytotoxic environmental toxicant and a potent chemotherapeutic agent. However, the mechanisms by which resveratrol protects the liver against the cytotoxic effects of As2O3 are not known. Therefore, in the present study we investigated the mechanisms involved in the action of resveratrol using a cat model in which hepatotoxicity was induced by means of As2O3 treatment. We found that pretreatment with resveratrol, administered using a clinically comparable dose regimen, reversed changes in As2O3-induced morphological and liver parameters and resulted in a significant improvement in hepatic function. Resveratrol treatment also improved the activities of antioxidant enzymes and attenuated As2O3-induced increases in reactive oxygen species and malondialdehyde production. In addition, resveratrol attenuated the As2O3-induced reduction in the ratio of reduced glutathione to oxidized glutathione and the retention of arsenic in liver tissue. These findings provide a better understanding of the mechanisms whereby resveratrol modulates As2O3-induced changes in liver function and tissue morphology. They also provide a stronger rationale for the clinical utilization of resveratrol for the reduction of As2O3-induced hepatotoxicity. Zhigang Zhang, Li Gao, Yanyan Cheng, Jing Jiang, Yan Chen, Huijie Jiang, Hongxiang Yu, Anshan Shan, and Baojing Cheng Copyright © 2014 Zhigang Zhang et al. All rights reserved. Morphometric Analysis of Connective Tissue Sheaths of Sural Nerve in Diabetic and Nondiabetic Patients Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 One of the most common complications of diabetes mellitus is diabetic neuropathy. It may be provoked by metabolic and/or vascular factors, and depending on duration of disease, various layers of nerve may be affected. Our aim was to investigate influence of diabetes on the epineurial, perineurial, and endoneurial connective tissue sheaths. The study included 15 samples of sural nerve divided into three groups: diabetic group, peripheral vascular disease group, and control group. After morphological analysis, morphometric parameters were determined for each case using ImageJ software. Compared to the control group, the diabetic cases had significantly higher perineurial index () and endoneurial connective tissue percentage (). The diabetic group showed significantly higher epineurial area (), as well as percentage of endoneurial connective tissue (), in relation to the peripheral vascular disease group. It is obvious that hyperglycemia and ischemia present in diabetes lead to substantial changes in connective tissue sheaths of nerve, particularly in peri- and endoneurium. Perineurial thickening and significant endoneurial fibrosis may impair the balance of endoneurial homeostasis and regenerative ability of the nerve fibers. Future investigations should focus on studying the components of extracellular matrix of connective tissue sheaths in diabetic nerves. Braca Kundalić, Slađana Ugrenović, Ivan Jovanović, Natalija Stefanović, Vladimir Petrović, Jasen Kundalić, Vesna Stojanović, Vladimir Živković, and Vladimir Antić Copyright © 2014 Braca Kundalić et al. All rights reserved. New Perspectives on Antiacne Plant Drugs: Contribution to Modern Therapeutics Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Acne is a common but serious skin disease, which affects approximately 80% adolescents and young adults in 11–30 age group. 42.5% of men and 50.9% of women continue to suffer from this disease into their twenties. Bacterial resistance is now at the alarming stage due to the irrational use of antibiotics. Hence, search for new lead molecule/bioactive and rational delivery of the existing drug (for better therapeutic effect) to the site of action is the need of the hour. Plants and plant-derived products have been an integral part of health care system since time immemorial. Therefore, plants that are currently used for the treatment of acne and those with a high potential are summarized in the present review. Most active plant extracts, namely, P. granatum, M. alba, A. anomala, and M. aquifolium exhibit minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) in the range of 4–50 µg/mL against P. acnes, while aromatic oils of C. obovoides, C. natsudaidai, C. japonica, and C. nardus possess MICs 0.005–0.6 μL/mL and phytomolecules such as rhodomyrtone, pulsaquinone, hydropulsaquinone, honokiol, magnolol, xanthohumol lupulones, chebulagic acid and rhinacanthin-C show MIC in the range of 0.5–12.5 μg/mL. Novel drug delivery strategies of important plant leads in the treatment of acne have also been discussed. Priyam Sinha, Shruti Srivastava, Nidhi Mishra, and Narayan Prasad Yadav Copyright © 2014 Priyam Sinha et al. All rights reserved. Synthesis, Characterization and In Vitro Anticancer Activity of C-5 Curcumin Analogues with Potential to Inhibit TNF-α-Induced NF-κB Activation Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 In a search of new compounds active against cancer, synthesis of a series of C-5 curcumin analogues was carried out. The new compounds demonstrated good cytotoxicity against chronic myeloid leukemia (KBM5) and colon cancer (HCT116) cell lines. Further, these compounds were found to have better potential to inhibit TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation in comparison to curcumin, which show their potential to act as anti-inflammatory agents. Some compounds were found to show higher cytotoxicity against cancer cell lines in comparison to curcumin used as standard. Amit Anthwal, Bandana K. Thakur, M. S. M. Rawat, D. S. Rawat, Amit K. Tyagi, and Bharat B. Aggarwal Copyright © 2014 Amit Anthwal et al. All rights reserved. Studying the Complex Expression Dependences between Sets of Coexpressed Genes Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Organisms simplify the orchestration of gene expression by coregulating genes whose products function together in the cell. The use of clustering methods to obtain sets of coexpressed genes from expression arrays is very common; nevertheless there are no appropriate tools to study the expression networks among these sets of coexpressed genes. The aim of the developed tools is to allow studying the complex expression dependences that exist between sets of coexpressed genes. For this purpose, we start detecting the nonlinear expression relationships between pairs of genes, plus the coexpressed genes. Next, we form networks among sets of coexpressed genes that maintain nonlinear expression dependences between all of them. The expression relationship between the sets of coexpressed genes is defined by the expression relationship between the skeletons of these sets, where this skeleton represents the coexpressed genes with a well-defined nonlinear expression relationship with the skeleton of the other sets. As a result, we can study the nonlinear expression relationships between a target gene and other sets of coexpressed genes, or start the study from the skeleton of the sets, to study the complex relationships of activation and deactivation between the sets of coexpressed genes that carry out the different cellular processes present in the expression experiments. Mario Huerta, Oriol Casanova, Roberto Barchino, Jose Flores, Enrique Querol, and Juan Cedano Copyright © 2014 Mario Huerta et al. All rights reserved. Correlation between the Severity and Type of Acne Lesions with Serum Zinc Levels in Patients with Acne Vulgaris Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Acne vulgaris is the most common cutaneous disorder affecting adolescents and young adults. Some studies have reported an association between serum zinc levels and acne vulgaris. We aimed to evaluate the serum zinc level in patients with acne vulgaris and compare it with healthy controls. One hundred patients with acne vulgaris and 100 healthy controls were referred to our clinic. Acne severity was classified according to Global Acne Grading System (GAGS). Atomic absorption spectrophotometry was used to measure serum zinc levels. Mean serum level of zinc in acne patients and controls was 81.31 ± 17.63 μg/dl and 82.63 ± 17.49 μg/dl, respectively. Although the mean serum zinc level was lower in acne group, it was not statistically significant (). There was a correlation between serum zinc levels with severity and type of acne lesions. The results of our study suggest that zinc levels may be related to the severity and type of acne lesions in patients with acne vulgaris. Relative decrease of serum zinc level in acne patients suggests a role for zinc in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. Majid Rostami Mogaddam, Nastaran Safavi Ardabili, Nasrollah Maleki, and Maedeh Soflaee Copyright © 2014 Majid Rostami Mogaddam et al. All rights reserved. An Intelligent System for Identifying Acetylated Lysine on Histones and Nonhistone Proteins Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Lysine acetylation is an important and ubiquitous posttranslational modification conserved in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. This process, which is dynamically and temporally regulated by histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases, is crucial for numerous essential biological processes such as transcriptional regulation, cellular signaling, and stress response. Since the experimental identification of lysine acetylation sites within proteins is time-consuming and laboratory-intensive, several computational approaches have been developed to identify candidates for experimental validation. In this work, acetylated protein data collected from UniProtKB were categorized into histone or nonhistone proteins. Support vector machines (SVMs) were applied to build predictive models by using amino acid pair composition (AAPC) as a feature in a histone model. We combined BLOSUM62 and AAPC features in a nonhistone model. Furthermore, using maximal dependence decomposition (MDD) clustering can enhance the performance of the model on a fivefold cross-validation evaluation to yield a sensitivity of 0.863, specificity of 0.885, accuracy of 0.880, and MCC of 0.706. Additionally, the proposed method is evaluated using independent test sets resulting in a predictive accuracy of 74%. This indicates that the performance of our method is comparable with that of other acetylation prediction methods. Cheng-Tsung Lu, Tzong-Yi Lee, Yu-Ju Chen, and Yi-Ju Chen Copyright © 2014 Cheng-Tsung Lu et al. All rights reserved. Progress in the Identification of Dengue Virus Entry/Fusion Inhibitors Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Dengue fever, a reemerging disease, is putting nearly 2.5 billion people at risk worldwide. The number of infections and the geographic extension of dengue fever infection have increased in the past decade. The disease is caused by the dengue virus, a flavivirus that uses mosquitos Aedes sp. as vectors. The disease has several clinical manifestations, from the mild cold-like illness to the more serious hemorrhagic dengue fever and dengue shock syndrome. Currently, there is no approved drug for the treatment of dengue disease or an effective vaccine to fight the virus. Therefore, the search for antivirals against dengue virus is an active field of research. As new possible receptors and biological pathways of the virus biology are discovered, new strategies are being undertaken to identify possible antiviral molecules. Several groups of researchers have targeted the initial step in the infection as a potential approach to interfere with the virus. The viral entry process is mediated by viral proteins and cellular receptor molecules that end up in the endocytosis of the virion, the fusion of both membranes, and the release of viral RNA in the cytoplasm. This review provides an overview of the targets and progress that has been made in the quest for dengue virus entry inhibitors. Carolina De La Guardia and Ricardo Lleonart Copyright © 2014 Carolina De La Guardia and Ricardo Lleonart. All rights reserved. Differences in Cytotoxic, Genotoxic, and Inflammatory Response of Bronchial and Alveolar Human Lung Epithelial Cells to Pristine and COOH-Functionalized Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Functionalized MWCNTs are used in many commercial and biomedical applications, but their potential health effects are not well defined. We investigated and compared cytotoxic, genotoxic/oxidative, and inflammatory effects of pristine and carboxyl MWCNTs exposing human respiratory (A549 and BEAS-2B) cells to 1–40 μg/mL of CNTs for 24 h. Both MWCNTs induced low viability reduction (by WST1 assay) in A549 cells and only MWCNTs-COOH caused high viability reduction in BEAS-2B cells reaching 28.5% viability at 40 μg/mL. Both CNTs induced membrane damage (by LDH assay) with higher effects in BEAS-2B cells at the highest concentrations reaching 20% cytotoxicity at 40 μg/mL. DNA damage (by Fpg-comet assay) was induced by pristine MWCNTs in A549 cells and by both MWCNTs in BEAS-2B cells reaching for MWCNTs-COOH a tail moment of 22.2 at 40 μg/mL versus 10.2 of unexposed cells. Increases of IL-6 and IL-8 release (by ELISA) were detected in A549 cells exposed to MWCNTs-COOH from 10 μg/mL while IL-8 increased in BEAS-2B cells exposed to pristine MWCNTs at 20 and 40 μg/mL. The results show higher cytogenotoxicity of MWCNTs-COOH in bronchial and of pristine MWCNTs in alveolar cells. Different inflammatory response was also found. The findings suggest the use of in vitro models with different end points and cells to study CNT toxicity. Cinzia Lucia Ursini, Delia Cavallo, Anna Maria Fresegna, Aureliano Ciervo, Raffaele Maiello, Giuliana Buresti, Stefano Casciardi, Stefano Bellucci, and Sergio Iavicoli Copyright © 2014 Cinzia Lucia Ursini et al. All rights reserved. Randomized Controlled Trial of Strain-Specific Probiotic Formulation (Renadyl) in Dialysis Patients Thu, 24 Jul 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Background. Primary goal of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover study of Renadyl in end-stage renal disease patients was to assess the safety and efficacy of Renadyl measured through improvement in quality of life or reduction in levels of known uremic toxins. Secondary goal was to investigate the effects on several biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress. Methods. Two 2-month treatment periods separated by 2-month washout and crossover, with physical examinations, venous blood testing, and quality of life questionnaires completed at each visit. Data were analyzed with SAS V9.2. Results. 22 subjects (79%) completed the study. Observed trends were as follows (none reaching statistical significance): decline in WBC count , and reductions in levels of C-reactive protein , and total indoxyl glucuronide , . No statistically significant changes were observed in other uremic toxin levels or measures of QOL. Conclusions. Renadyl appeared to be safe to administer to ESRD patients on hemodialysis. Stability in QOL assessment is an encouraging result for a patient cohort in such advanced stage of kidney disease. Efficacy could not be confirmed definitively, primarily due to small sample size and low statistical power—further studies are warranted. Ranganathan Natarajan, Bohdan Pechenyak, Usha Vyas, Pari Ranganathan, Alan Weinberg, Peter Liang, Mary C. Mallappallil, Allen J. Norin, Eli A. Friedman, and Subodh J. Saggi Copyright © 2014 Ranganathan Natarajan et al. All rights reserved. Applying the Maternal Near Miss Approach for the Evaluation of Quality of Obstetric Care: A Worked Example from a Multicenter Surveillance Study Wed, 23 Jul 2014 12:18:19 +0000 Objective. To assess quality of care of women with severe maternal morbidity and to identify associated factors. Method. This is a national multicenter cross-sectional study performing surveillance for severe maternal morbidity, using the World Health Organization criteria. The expected number of maternal deaths was calculated with the maternal severity index (MSI) based on the severity of complication, and the standardized mortality ratio (SMR) for each center was estimated. Analyses on the adequacy of care were performed. Results. 17 hospitals were classified as providing adequate and 10 as nonadequate care. Besides almost twofold increase in maternal mortality ratio, the main factors associated with nonadequate performance were geographic difficulty in accessing health services (), delays related to quality of medical care (), absence of blood derivatives (), difficulties of communication between health services (), and any delay during the whole process (). Conclusions. This is an example of how evaluation of the performance of health services is possible, using a benchmarking tool specific to Obstetrics. In this study the MSI was a useful tool for identifying differences in maternal mortality ratios and factors associated with nonadequate performance of care. Samira Maerrawi Haddad, Jose Guilherme Cecatti, Joao Paulo Souza, Maria Helena Sousa, Mary Angela Parpinelli, Maria Laura Costa, Rodolfo C. Pacagnella, Ione R. Brum, Olímpio B. Moraes Filho, Francisco E. Feitosa, Carlos A. Menezes, Everardo M. Guanabara, Joaquim L. Moreira, Frederico A. Peret, Luiza E. Schmaltz, Leila Katz, Antonio C. Barbosa Lima, Melania M. Amorim, Marilia G. Martins, Denis J. Nascimento, Cláudio S. Paiva, Roger D. Rohloff, Sergio M. Costa, Adriana G. Luz, Gustavo Lobato, Eduardo Cordioli, Jose C. Peraçoli, Nelson L. Maia Filho, Silvana M. Quintana, Fátima A. Lotufo, Carla B. Andreucci, Márcia M. Aquino, and Rosiane Mattar Copyright © 2014 Samira Maerrawi Haddad et al. All rights reserved. Upregulation of Pluripotency Markers in Adipose Tissue-Derived Stem Cells by miR-302 and Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:40:48 +0000 The expression pattern of pluripotency markers in adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ADSCs) is a subject of controversy. Moreover, there is no data about the signaling molecules that regulate these markers in ADSCs. In the present study, we studied the roles of leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and miR-302 in this regard. Freshly isolated mouse ADSCs expressed hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and pluripotency markers. One day after plating, ADSCs expressed OCT4 and Sox2 proteins. After three passages, the expression of hematopoietic and pluripotency markers decreased, while the expression of mesenchymal stem cell markers exhibited a striking rise. Both supplementation of culture media with LIF and transfection of the ADSCs with miR-302 family upregulated the expression levels of OCT4, Nanog, and Sox2 mRNAs. These findings showed that mouse adipose tissue contains a population of cells with molecular resemblance to embryonic stem cells, and LIF and miR-302 family positively affect the expression of pluripotency markers. Masoumeh Fakhr Taha, Arash Javeri, Sara Rohban, and Seyed Javad Mowla Copyright © 2014 Masoumeh Fakhr Taha et al. All rights reserved. Middle-Ear Microsurgery Simulation to Improve New Robotic Procedures Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:39:50 +0000 Otological microsurgery is delicate and requires high dexterity in bad ergonomic conditions. To assist surgeons in these indications, a teleoperated system, called RobOtol, is developed. This robot enhances gesture accuracy and handiness and allows exploration of new procedures for middle ear surgery. To plan new procedures that exploit the capacities given by the robot, a surgical simulator is developed. The simulation reproduces with high fidelity the behavior of the anatomical structures and can also be used as a training tool for an easier control of the robot for surgeons. In the paper, we introduce the middle ear surgical simulation and then we perform virtually two challenging procedures with the robot. We show how interactive simulation can assist in analyzing the benefits of robotics in the case of complex manipulations or ergonomics studies and allow the development of innovative surgical procedures. New robot-based microsurgical procedures are investigated. The improvement offered by RobOtol is also evaluated and discussed. Guillaume Kazmitcheff, Yann Nguyen, Mathieu Miroir, Fabien Péan, Evelyne Ferrary, Stéphane Cotin, Olivier Sterkers, and Christian Duriez Copyright © 2014 Guillaume Kazmitcheff et al. All rights reserved. Cardiovascular Disease Risk amongst African Black Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Need for Population Specific Stratification Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:34:56 +0000 Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) enhances the risk of cardiovascular disease to a similar extent as diabetes. Whereas atherogenesis remains poorly elucidated in RA, traditional and nontraditional risk factors associate similarly and additively with CVD in RA. Current recommendations on CVD risk stratification reportedly have important limitations. Further, reported data on CVD and its risk factors derive mostly from data obtained in the developed world. An earlier epidemiological health transition is intrinsic to persons living in rural areas and those undergoing urbanization. It is therefore conceivable that optimal CVD risk stratification differs amongst patients with RA from developing populations compared to those from developed populations. Herein, we briefly describe current CVD and its risk factor profiles in the African black population at large. Against this background, we review reported data on CVD risk and its potential stratification amongst African black compared to white patients with RA. Routinely assessed traditional and nontraditional CVD risk factors were consistently and independently related to atherosclerosis in African white but not black patients with RA. Circulating concentrations of novel CVD risk biomarkers including interleukin-6 and interleukin-5 adipokines were mostly similarly associated with both endothelial activation and atherosclerosis amongst African black and white RA patients. Ahmed Solomon, Linda Tsang, Angela J. Woodiwiss, Aletta M. E. Millen, Gavin R. Norton, and Patrick H. Dessein Copyright © 2014 Ahmed Solomon et al. All rights reserved. Human Umbilical Cord Perivascular Cells Exhibited Enhanced Migration Capacity towards Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Comparison with Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: A Role for Autocrine Motility Factor Receptor Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:11:00 +0000 Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Unfortunately, the incidence and mortality associated with HCC are increasing. Therefore, new therapeutic strategies are urgently needed and the use of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) as carrier of therapeutic genes is emerging as a promising option. Different sources of MSCs are being studied for cell therapy and bone marrow-derived cells are the most extensively explored; however, birth associated-tissues represent a very promising source. The aim of this work was to compare the in vitro and in vivo migration capacity between bone marrow MSCs (BM-MSCs) and human umbilical cord perivascular cells (HUCPVCs) towards HCC. We observed that HUCPVCs presented higher in vitro and in vivo migration towards factors released by HCC. The expression of autocrine motility factor (AMF) receptor, genes related with the availability of the receptor on the cell surface (caveolin-1 and -2) and metalloproteinase 3, induced by the receptor activation and important for cell migration, was increased in HUCPVCs. The chemotactic response towards recombinant AMF was increased in HUCPVCs compared to BM-MSCs, and its inhibition in the conditioned medium from HCC induced higher decrease in HUCPVC migration than in BM-MSC. Our results indicate that HUCPVCs could be a useful cellular source to deliver therapeutic genes to HCC. Juan Bayo, Esteban Fiore, Jorge B. Aquino, Mariana Malvicini, Manglio Rizzo, Estanislao Peixoto, Laura Alaniz, Flavia Piccioni, Marcela Bolontrade, Osvaldo Podhajcer, Mariana G. Garcia, and Guillermo Mazzolini Copyright © 2014 Juan Bayo et al. All rights reserved. Immobilization of Murine Anti-BMP-2 Monoclonal Antibody on Various Biomaterials for Bone Tissue Engineering Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:09:49 +0000 Biomaterials are widely used as scaffolds for tissue engineering. We have developed a strategy for bone tissue engineering that entails application of immobilized anti-BMP-2 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) to capture endogenous BMPs in vivo and promote antibody-mediated osseous regeneration (AMOR). The purpose of the current study was to compare the efficacy of immobilization of a specific murine anti-BMP-2 mAb on three different types of biomaterials and to evaluate their suitability as scaffolds for AMOR. Anti-BMP-2 mAb or isotype control mAb was immobilized on titanium (Ti) microbeads, alginate hydrogel, and ACS. The treated biomaterials were surgically implanted in rat critical-sized calvarial defects. After 8 weeks, de novo bone formation was assessed using micro-CT and histomorphometric analyses. Results showed de novo bone regeneration with all three scaffolds with immobilized anti-BMP-2 mAb, but not isotype control mAb. Ti microbeads showed the highest volume of bone regeneration, followed by ACS. Alginate showed the lowest volume of bone. Localization of BMP-2, -4, and -7 antigens was detected on all 3 scaffolds with immobilized anti-BMP-2 mAb implanted in calvarial defects. Altogether, these data suggested a potential mechanism for bone regeneration through entrapment of endogenous BMP-2, -4, and -7 proteins leading to bone formation using different types of scaffolds via AMOR. Sahar Ansari, Marcelo O. Freire, Eun-Kyoung Pang, Alaa I. Abdelhamid, Mohammad Almohaimeed, and Homayoun H. Zadeh Copyright © 2014 Sahar Ansari et al. All rights reserved. Biotechnological Applications Derived from Microorganisms of the Atacama Desert Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:07:20 +0000 The Atacama Desert in Chile is well known for being the driest and oldest desert on Earth. For these same reasons, it is also considered a good analog model of the planet Mars. Only a few decades ago, it was thought that this was a sterile place, but in the past years fascinating adaptations have been reported in the members of the three domains of life: low water availability, high UV radiation, high salinity, and other environmental stresses. However, the biotechnological applications derived from the basic understanding and characterization of these species, with the notable exception of copper bioleaching, are still in its infancy, thus offering an immense potential for future development. Armando Azua-Bustos and Carlos González-Silva Copyright © 2014 Armando Azua-Bustos and Carlos González-Silva. All rights reserved. Patients with Poor Response to Antipsychotics Have a More Severe Pattern of Frontal Atrophy: A Voxel-Based Morphometry Study of Treatment Resistance in Schizophrenia Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:05:22 +0000 Approximately 30% of schizophrenia patients do not respond adequately to the therapy. Previous MRI studies have suggested that drug treatment resistance is associated with brain morphological abnormalities, although region-of-interest analysis of MR studies from nonresponder and responder patients failed to demonstrate a statistically significant difference between these two schizophrenia subgroups. We have used a voxel-based analysis of segmented MR studies to assess structural cerebral differences in 20 nonresponder and 15 responder patients and 16 age-matched normal volunteers. Differences between the three groups emerged bilaterally mainly at the level of the superior and middle frontal gyri, primarily due to reduced grey matter volumes in nonresponders, as compared to both normal volunteers and responder patients. Post hoc direct comparison between the two schizophrenia subgroups demonstrated significantly reduced grey matter volumes in middle frontal gyrus bilaterally, in the dorsolateral aspects of left superior frontal gyrus extending into postcentral gyrus and in the right medial temporal cortex. Our results extend and integrate previous findings suggesting a more severe atrophy in nonresponder schizophrenia patients, compared to responder patients, mainly at the level of the superior and middle frontal gyri. Longitudinal studies in drug-naïve patients are needed to assess the role of these associations. Mario Quarantelli, Olga Palladino, Anna Prinster, Vittorio Schiavone, Barbara Carotenuto, Arturo Brunetti, Angela Marsili, Margherita Casiello, Giovanni Muscettola, Marco Salvatore, and Andrea de Bartolomeis Copyright © 2014 Mario Quarantelli et al. All rights reserved. Impact of Statins on Cognitive Deficits in Adult Male Rodents after Traumatic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:03:25 +0000 The efficacy of statin treatment on cognitive decline is controversial, and the effect of statins on cognitive deficits in individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) has yet to be investigated. Therefore, we systematically reviewed the effect of statins on cognitive deficits in adult male rodents after TBI. After identifying eligible studies by searching four electronic databases on February 28, 2014, we assessed study quality, evaluated the efficacy of statin treatment, and performed stratified metaregression and metaregression to assess the influence of study design on statin efficacy. Eleven studies fulfilled our inclusion criteria from a total of 183 publications. The overall methodological quality of these studies was poor. Meta-analysis showed that statins exert statistically significant positive effects on cognitive performance after TBI. Stratified analysis showed that atorvastatin has the greatest effect on acquisition memory, simvastatin has the greatest effect on retention memory, and statin effects on acquisition memory are higher in closed head injury models. Metaregression analysis further showed that that animal species, study quality, and anesthetic agent impact statin effects on retention memory. We conclude that statins might reduce cognitive deficits after TBI. However, additional well-designed and well-reported animal studies are needed to inform further clinical study. Weijun Peng, Jingjing Yang, Bo Yang, Lexing Wang, Xin-gui Xiong, and Qinghua Liang Copyright © 2014 Weijun Peng et al. All rights reserved. Frequency of TGF-β and IFN-γ Genotype as Risk Factors for Acute Kidney Injury and Death in Intensive Care Unit Patients Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:57:21 +0000 Genetic variations in TGF-β and IFN-γ may interfere with proinflammatory cytokine production and, consequently, may be involved with inflammatory diseases, as acute kidney injury (AKI). We considered that genetic polymorphisms of these cytokines may have a crucial role in the outcome of critically ill patients. To investigate whether the genetic polymorphisms of rs1800470 (codon 10 T/C), rs1800471 (codon 25 C/G) from the TGF-β, and rs2430561 (+874 T/A) from IFN-γ may be a risk factor for ICU patients to the development of AKI and/or death. In a prospective nested case-control study, were included 139 ICU patients who developed AKI, 164 ICU patients without AKI, and 244 healthy individuals. We observed a higher frequency to T/A genotype for IFN-γ (intermediate producer phenotype) and higher frequency of TT GG and TC GG genotype (high producer) for TGF-β polymorphism in overall population. However, these polymorphisms have not been shown as a predictor of risk for AKI and death. We found an increased prevalence of high and intermediate producer phenotypes from TGF-β and IFN-γ, respectively, in patients in ICU setting. However, the studied genetic polymorphism of the TGF-β and IFN-γ was not associated as a risk factor for AKI or death in our population. Caren Cristina Grabulosa, Marcelo Costa Batista, Miguel Cendoroglo, Beata Marie Redublo Quinto, Roberto Narciso, Julio Cesar Monte, Marcelino Durão, Luiz Vicente Rizzo, Oscar Fernando Pavão Santos, and Maria Aparecida Dalboni Copyright © 2014 Caren Cristina Grabulosa et al. All rights reserved. Tattoo-Associated Skin Reaction: The Importance of an Early Diagnosis and Proper Treatment Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:56:38 +0000 Tattoo is going to be a very common practice especially among young people and we are witnessing a gradual increase of numerous potential complications to tattoo placement which are often seen by physicians, but generally unknown to the public. The most common skin reactions to tattoo include a transient acute inflammatory reaction due to trauma of the skin with needles and medical complications such as superficial and deep local infections, systemic infections, allergic contact dermatitis, photodermatitis, granulomatous and lichenoid reactions, and skin diseases localized on tattooed area (eczema, psoriasis, lichen, and morphea). Next to these inflammatory skin reactions we have to consider also the possibility of the development of cutaneous conditions such as pseudolymphomatous reactions and pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia. The aim of this study is to underline the importance of an early diagnosis by performing a histological examination especially when we are in front of suspected papulonodular lesions arising from a tattoo, followed by a proper treatment, since cutaneous neoplastic evolution is known to be a rare but possible complication. Andrea Bassi, Piero Campolmi, Giovanni Cannarozzo, Rossana Conti, Nicola Bruscino, Massimo Gola, Stefano Ermini, Daniela Massi, and Silvia Moretti Copyright © 2014 Andrea Bassi et al. All rights reserved. Fibrinogen Alpha Chain Precursor and Apolipoprotein A-I in Urine as Biomarkers for Noninvasive Diagnosis of Calcium Oxalate Nephrolithiasis: A Proteomics Study Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:45:14 +0000 Calcium oxalate nephrolithiasis is the most common urological disease, but noninvasive and convenient methods of diagnosis are rarely available. Objective. The present study aimed to identify potential urine biomarkers for noninvasive diagnosis of CaOx nephrolithiasis. Methodology. Urine samples from 72 patients with CaOx nephrolithiasis and 30 healthy controls were collected and proteomics analysis was performed using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight-mass spectrometer (MALDI-TOF-MS). Results. Thirteen proteins/peptides displayed statistically significant differences. The peptides of m/z 1207.23 and 2773.86 were selected by the genetic algorithm (GA) to build a possible diagnostic model. The area under the curve of m/z 1207.23 and 2773.86 was 0.936 and 0.987, respectively. The diagnostic model in distinguishing patients and healthy subjects showed 100% sensitivity and specificity. The peak at m/z 2773.86 was identified as fibrinogen alpha chain (FGA) with the sequence G.EGDFLAEGGGVR.G, and the peak at m/z 2773.86 was identified as apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) with the sequence L.PVLESFKVSFLSALEEYTKKLNTQ. Conclusion. The study results strongly suggested that urinary FGA and apoA-I are highly sensitive and specific biomarkers for noninvasive diagnosis of CaOx nephrolithiasis. Wei Zhu, Min Liu, Guang-Chun Wang, Bo Peng, Yang Yan, Jian-Ping Che, Qing-Wei Ma, Xu-Dong Yao, and Jun-Hua Zheng Copyright © 2014 Wei Zhu et al. All rights reserved. Functional MRI in Prostate Cancer Detection Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:41:11 +0000 Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MP-MRI) has emerged as a promising method for the detection of prostate cancer. The functional MRI components of the MP-MRI consist of the diffusion weighted MRI, dynamic contrast enhanced MRI, and magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging. The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature about the use of functional MRI in prostate cancer detection. Sandeep Sankineni, Murat Osman, and Peter L. Choyke Copyright © 2014 Sandeep Sankineni et al. All rights reserved. A Hadoop-Based Method to Predict Potential Effective Drug Combination Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:01:51 +0000 Combination drugs that impact multiple targets simultaneously are promising candidates for combating complex diseases due to their improved efficacy and reduced side effects. However, exhaustive screening of all possible drug combinations is extremely time-consuming and impractical. Here, we present a novel Hadoop-based approach to predict drug combinations by taking advantage of the MapReduce programming model, which leads to an improvement of scalability of the prediction algorithm. By integrating the gene expression data of multiple drugs, we constructed data preprocessing and the support vector machines and naïve Bayesian classifiers on Hadoop for prediction of drug combinations. The experimental results suggest that our Hadoop-based model achieves much higher efficiency in the big data processing steps with satisfactory performance. We believed that our proposed approach can help accelerate the prediction of potential effective drugs with the increasing of the combination number at an exponential rate in future. The source code and datasets are available upon request. Yifan Sun, Yi Xiong, Qian Xu, and Dongqing Wei Copyright © 2014 Yifan Sun et al. All rights reserved. Newborn Screening for Sickle Cell Disease: Technical and Legal Aspects of a German Pilot Study with 38,220 Participants Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:50:11 +0000 Sickle cell disease (SCD) does not occur in the indigenous German population, but with the increasing number of immigrants from countries at high risk for hemoglobinopathies, the question emerges whether or not a newborn screening program (NBS) for SCD disease should be initiated in Germany anyhow. We have recently shown that in Berlin, a city with a very large immigrant population, the incidence of SCD is considerable, but our findings are insufficient to make a decision for the country as a whole. In this paper we will show that a large body of epidemiological data can be generated in a relatively short period of time, with a very high degree of precision and at relatively little expense—a result that might motivate other working groups to start such a pilot project locally. We examined previously collected dried blood cards that were up to six months old, using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) as first method and capillary electrophoresis (CE) as second method. A single, part-time laboratory technician processed 38,220 samples in a period of 162 working days. The total costs per sample including all incidentals (as well as labor costs) were EUR 1.44. Claudia Frömmel, Annemarie Brose, Jeannette Klein, Oliver Blankenstein, and Stephan Lobitz Copyright © 2014 Claudia Frömmel et al. All rights reserved. Biological Effects of Spirulina (Arthrospira) Biopolymers and Biomass in the Development of Nanostructured Scaffolds Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:34:32 +0000 Spirulina is produced from pure cultures of the photosynthetic prokaryotic cyanobacteria Arthrospira. For many years research centers throughout the world have studied its application in various scientific fields, especially in foods and medicine. The biomass produced from Spirulina cultivation contains a variety of biocompounds, including biopeptides, biopolymers, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, minerals, oligoelements, and sterols. Some of these compounds are bioactive and have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and antifungal properties. These compounds can be used in tissue engineering, the interdisciplinary field that combines techniques from cell science, engineering, and materials science and which has grown in importance over the past few decades. Spirulina biomass can be used to produce polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), biopolymers that can substitute synthetic polymers in the construction of engineered extracellular matrices (scaffolds) for use in tissue cultures or bioactive molecule construction. This review describes the development of nanostructured scaffolds based on biopolymers extracted from microalgae and biomass from Spirulina production. These scaffolds have the potential to encourage cell growth while reducing the risk of organ or tissue rejection. Michele Greque de Morais, Bruna da Silva Vaz, Etiele Greque de Morais, and Jorge Alberto Vieira Costa Copyright © 2014 Michele Greque de Morais et al. All rights reserved. The Emerging Use of In Vivo Optical Imaging in the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:01:59 +0000 The detection and subsequent quantification of photons emitted from living tissues, using highly sensitive charged-couple device (CCD) cameras, have enabled investigators to noninvasively examine the intricate dynamics of molecular reactions in wide assortment of experimental animals under basal and pathophysiological conditions. Nevertheless, extrapolation of this in vivo optical imaging technology to the study of the mammalian brain and related neurodegenerative conditions is still in its infancy. In this review, we introduce the reader to the emerging use of in vivo optical imaging in the study of neurodegenerative diseases. We highlight the current instrumentation that is available and reporter molecules (fluorescent and bioluminescent) that are commonly used. Moreover, we examine how in vivo optical imaging using transgenic reporter mice has provided new insights into Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Prion disease, and neuronal damage arising from excitotoxicity and inflammation. Furthermore, we also touch upon studies that have utilized these technologies for the development of therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative conditions that afflict humans. Aileen P. Patterson, Stephanie A. Booth, and Reuben Saba Copyright © 2014 Aileen P. Patterson et al. All rights reserved. Pinocembrin Protects Human Brain Microvascular Endothelial Cells against Fibrillar Amyloid- β1−40 Injury by Suppressing the MAPK/NF- κ B Inflammatory Pathways Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:23:06 +0000 Cerebrovascular accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) peptides in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) may contribute to disease progression through Aβ-induced microvascular endothelial pathogenesis. Pinocembrin has been shown to have therapeutic effects in AD models. These effects correlate with preservation of microvascular function, but the effect on endothelial cells under Aβ-damaged conditions is unclear. The present study focuses on the in vitro protective effect of pinocembrin on fibrillar Aβ1−40 (fAβ1−40) injured human brain microvascular endothelial cells (hBMECs) and explores potential mechanisms. The results demonstrate that fAβ1−40-induced cytotoxicity in hBMECs can be rescued by pinocembrin treatment. Pinocembrin increases cell viability, reduces the release of LDH, and relieves nuclear condensation. The mechanisms of this reversal from Aβ may be associated with the inhibition of inflammatory response, involving inhibition of MAPK activation, downregulation of phosphor-IKK level, relief of IκBα degradation, blockage of NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation, and reduction of the release of proinflammatory cytokines. Pinocembrin does not show obvious effects on regulating the redox imbalance after exposure to fAβ1−40. Together, the suppression of MAPK and the NF-κB signaling pathways play a significant role in the anti-inflammation of pinocembrin in hBMECs subjected to fAβ1−40. This may serve as a therapeutic agent for BMEC protection in Alzheimer’s-related deficits. Rui Liu, Jin-ze Li, Jun-ke Song, Jia-lin Sun, Yong-jie Li, Si-bai Zhou, Tian-tai Zhang, and Guan-hua Du Copyright © 2014 Rui Liu et al. All rights reserved. Decreased Gastric Motility in Type II Diabetic Patients Wed, 23 Jul 2014 07:15:01 +0000 Background. To differentiate gastric motility and sensation between type II diabetic patients and controls and explore different expressions of gastric motility peptides. Methods. Eleven type II diabetic patients and health volunteers of similar age and body mass index were invited. All underwent transabdominal ultrasound for gastric motility and visual analogue scales. Blood samples were taken for glucose and plasma peptides (ghrelin, motilin, and glucacon-like peptides-1) by ELISA method. Results. Gastric emptying was significantly slower in diabetic patients than controls (T50: 46.3 (28.0–52.3) min versus 20.8 (9.6–22.8) min, ) and less antral contractions in type II diabetic patients were observed . Fundus dimensions did not differ. There were a trend for less changes in gastrointestinal sensations in type II diabetic patients especially abdomen fullness, hunger, and abdominal discomfort. Although the serum peptides between the two groups were similar a trend for less serum GLP-1in type II diabetic patients was observed . Conclusion. Type II diabetic patients have delayed gastric emptying and less antral contractions than controls. The observation that there were lower serum GLP-1 in type II diabetic patients could offer a clue to suggest that delayed gastric emptying in diabetic patients is not mainly influenced by GLP-1. Yi-Chun Chiu, Ming-Chun Kuo, Christopher K. Rayner, Jung-Fu Chen, Keng-Liang Wu, Yeh-Pin Chou, Wei-Chen Tai, and Ming-Luen Hu Copyright © 2014 Yi-Chun Chiu et al. All rights reserved.