Scientifica The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Anthropometry of Iranian Guidance School Students with Different Ethnicities: A Comparative Study Thu, 08 Oct 2015 17:16:59 +0000 Objective. We measured some anthropometric dimensions of Iranian guidance school students selected from different ethnicities. Background. Anthropometric dimensions are used for design of equipment, furniture, and clothing. Furniture with inappropriate design not fulfilling the users’ anthropometric dimensions may have a negative effect on health. Method. A total of 7400 Iranian guidance school students aged 12–14 years entered the study and their static anthropometric dimensions were measured. Descriptive statistics such as mean, standard deviation, and key percentiles were calculated. All dimensions were compared among different ethnicities and different genders. Results. This study showed significant differences in a set of 22 anthropometric dimensions regarding gender, age, and ethnicity. Conclusion. According to the results of this study, difference between genders and among different ethnicities should be taken into account by designers and manufacturers of guidance school furniture. Application. This study has prepared a data bank of anthropometric dimensions of 12–14-year-old students which can be used as basic information to find appropriate dimensions of school furniture. Amir Houshang Mehrparvar, Rahmatollah Hafezi, Seyyed Jalil Mirmohammadi, Mehrdad Mostaghaci, and Mohammad Hossein Davari Copyright © 2015 Amir Houshang Mehrparvar et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of Podoplanin in Oral Leukoplakia and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma Thu, 08 Oct 2015 10:58:13 +0000 Background. Recent studies have demonstrated that podoplanin was expressed in some dysplastic lesions adjacent to primary oral cancers suggesting that podoplanin expression may occur in early oral tumorigenesis and lymphangiogenesis and therefore is related to tumor growth. The purpose of this study is to determine the role of podoplanin as a biomarker for cancer risk assessment in oral leukoplakia and correlation of podoplanin expression with grades of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Materials and Methods. In the present retrospective study, podoplanin expression was investigated immunohistochemically in 40 patients each of oral leukoplakia and OSCC. The scores were analyzed statistically using one-way ANOVA test followed by Tukey HSD. Results. By applying one-way ANOVA test, there was a highly significant increase of the podoplanin expression from mild to severe dysplasia and from well to poorly differentiated OSCC (). Statistically highly significant difference was present between scores of mild to moderate dysplasia, moderate to severe dysplasia, well to poorly differentiated OSCC, and moderately to poorly differentiated OSCC (Tukey HSD test, ). Conclusion. Podoplanin can be used as a biomarker for early oral tumorigenesis and for malignant transformation risk assessment of premalignant lesions and as a tumor progression biomarker for advanced grades of OSCC. Ashok Patil, Kishor Patil, Suyog Tupsakhare, Mahesh Gabhane, Shrikant Sonune, and Shilpa Kandalgaonkar Copyright © 2015 Ashok Patil et al. All rights reserved. Heavy Metal Detoxification by Different Bacillus Species Isolated from Solar Salterns Wed, 07 Oct 2015 09:52:52 +0000 The biosorption mechanism is an alternative for chemical precipitation and ultrafiltration which have been employed to treat heavy metal contamination with a limited success. In the present study, three species of Bacillus which were isolated from solar salterns were screened for their detoxification potential of the heavy metals, lead, chromium, and copper, by biosorption. Biosorption potential of each isolate was determined by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS), Inductively Coupled Plasma-Optical Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-OES), and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS) as the amount of metal present in the medium after the treatment with the isolates. Bacterial isolates, Bacillus licheniformis NSPA5, Bacillus cereus NSPA8, and Bacillus subtilis NSPA13, showed significant level of lead biosorption with maximum of 87–90% by Bacillus cereus NSPA8. The biosorption of copper and chromium was relatively low in comparison with lead. With the obtained results, we have concluded that the bacterial isolates are potential agents to treat metal contamination in more efficient and ecofriendly manner. Shameer Syed and Paramageetham Chinthala Copyright © 2015 Shameer Syed and Paramageetham Chinthala. All rights reserved. Three-Dimensional Kinetic Adaptations of Gait throughout Pregnancy and Postpartum Wed, 30 Sep 2015 09:13:12 +0000 Biomechanical adaptations that occur during pregnancy can lead to changes on gait pattern. Nevertheless, these adaptations of gait are still not fully understood. The purpose was to determine the effect of pregnancy on the biomechanical pattern of walking, regarding the kinetic parameters. A three-dimensional analysis was performed in eleven participants. The kinetic parameters in the joints of the lower limb during gait were compared at the end of the first, second, and third trimesters of pregnancy and in the postpartum period, in healthy pregnant women. The main results showed a reduction in the normalized vertical reaction forces, throughout pregnancy, particularly the third peak. Pregnant women showed, during most of the stance phase, medial reaction forces as a motor response to promote the body stability. Bilateral changes were observed in hip joint, with a decrease in the participation of the hip extensors and in the eccentric contraction of hip flexors. In ankle joint a decrease in the participation of ankle plantar flexors was found. In conclusion, the overall results point to biomechanical adjustments that showed a decrease of the mechanical load of women throughout pregnancy, with exception for few unilateral changes of hip joint moments. Marco Branco, Rita Santos-Rocha, Filomena Vieira, Liliana Aguiar, and António Prieto Veloso Copyright © 2015 Marco Branco et al. All rights reserved. Macrophage Heterogeneity and Plasticity: Impact of Macrophage Biomarkers on Atherosclerosis Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:16:54 +0000 Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a global epidemic, currently representing the worldwide leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Atherosclerosis is the fundamental pathophysiologic component of CVD, where the immune system plays an essential role. Monocytes and macrophages are key mediators in this aspect: due to their heterogeneity and plasticity, these cells may act as either pro- or anti-inflammatory mediators. Indeed, monocytes may develop heterogeneous functional phenotypes depending on the predominating pro- or anti-inflammatory microenvironment within the lesion, resulting in classic, intermediate, and non-classic monocytes, each with strikingly differing features. Similarly, macrophages may also adopt heterogeneous profiles being mainly M1 and M2, the former showing a proinflammatory profile while the latter demonstrates anti-inflammatory traits; they are further subdivided in several subtypes with more specialized functions. Furthermore, macrophages may display plasticity by dynamically shifting between phenotypes in response to specific signals. Each of these distinct cell profiles is associated with diverse biomarkers which may be exploited for therapeutic intervention, including IL-10, IL-13, PPAR-γ, LXR, NLRP3 inflammasomes, and microRNAs. Direct modulation of the molecular pathways concerning these potential macrophage-related targets represents a promising field for new therapeutic alternatives in atherosclerosis and CVD. Joselyn Rojas, Juan Salazar, María Sofía Martínez, Jim Palmar, Jordan Bautista, Mervin Chávez-Castillo, Alexis Gómez, and Valmore Bermúdez Copyright © 2015 Joselyn Rojas et al. All rights reserved. Will the Increasing of Anthropogenic Pressures Reduce the Biopotential Value of Sponges? Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:05:48 +0000 Production of bioactive compounds from marine benthic organisms is suggested to relate ecologically with environment. However, anthropogenic pressures cause a considerable damage to coral reefs environment. This research aimed to define the pattern sponges biopotential values at the increasing of anthropogenic pressures to coral reef environment. Three representative sponges were selected (Theonella sp., Hyrtios sp., and Niphates sp.) and study had been conducted in Hoga Island, Indonesia, to define the relationship between seawater variables (DO, pH, phosphate, and ammonia ions), sponges spatial competition, and their bioactivity level (Brine Shrimp Lethality Test). The study showed anthropogenic pressures affect the reef environment, as abiotic cover was increased and eutrophication was detected at the site closer to the run-off domesticated area. Statistical multivariate analyses revealed sponges spatial competition was significantly different () between groups of high, moderate, and low bioactivity level. Abiotic cover was detected as the major factor (36.19%) contributed to the differences and also the most discriminant factor distinguishing sponges spatial competition in the groups of bioactivity level (93.91%). These results showed the increasing anthropogenic pressures may result in a higher abiotic area and may directly be a consequence to the lower production of bioactive compounds in sponges. Hedi Indra Januar, Asri Pratitis, and Aditya Bramandito Copyright © 2015 Hedi Indra Januar et al. All rights reserved. The Relationship between Metabolic Control and Growth in Children with Type I Diabetes Mellitus in Southwest of Iran Sun, 20 Sep 2015 13:57:11 +0000 Background. Metabolic control is an important factor in growth of children with type I diabetes. This study assessed the relationship between growth and metabolic control in such children. Materials and Methods. 83 children with diabetes were studied. They were examined for weight and height gain and HbA1C was quantified every 3 months for one year. The growth process was studied in patients who were divided into 3 groups according to their HbA1C amounts, consisting of good, intermediate, and poor metabolic control. Results. Mean age of cases was 7.6 ± 2. The presenting sign at the onset of disease was diabetic ketoacidosis in 44.6%. The average HbA1C amount was 8.89%. The average weight SDS at diagnosis was −0.18 and at the end of the study was 0.45 (). The average height SDS at diagnosis was −0.04 and at the end of the study was −0.07 (). A significant difference in weight SDS changes was only seen between patients with good and poor metabolic control (). Conclusion. Poor metabolic control can decrease height growth but has minimal influence on weight. Metabolic control was not the only predictive factor of physical growth in children with diabetes. Shide Assar, Koroush Riahi, Shiva Bashirnezhad, Leila Yazdanpanah, and Seyed Mahmoud Latifi Copyright © 2015 Shide Assar et al. All rights reserved. Appraisal of Total Phenol, Flavonoid Contents, and Antioxidant Potential of Folkloric Lannea coromandelica Using In Vitro and In Vivo Assays Thu, 17 Sep 2015 12:05:26 +0000 The aim of this study was to determine the impending antioxidant properties of different extracts of crude methanolic extract (CME) of leaves of Lannea coromandelica (L. coromandelica) and its two ethyl acetate (EAF) and aqueous (AqF) subfractions by employing various established in vitro systems and estimation of total phenolic and flavonoid content. The results showed that extract and fractions possessed strong antioxidant activity in vitro and among them, EAF had the strongest antioxidant activity. EAF was confirmed for its highest phenolic content, total flavonoid contents, and total antioxidant capacity. The EAF was found to show remarkable scavenging activity on 2,2-diphenylpicrylhydrazyl (DPPH) (EC50 63.9 ± 0.64 µg/mL), superoxide radical (EC50 8.2 ± 0.12 mg/mL), and Fe2+ chelating activity (EC50 6.2 ± 0.09 mg/mL). Based on our in vitro results, EAF was investigated for in vivo antioxidant assay. Intragastric administration of the EAF can significantly increase levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione (GSH), and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) levels, and decrease malondialdehyde (MDA) content in the liver and kidney of CCl4-intoxicated rats. These new evidences show that L. coromandelica bared antioxidant activity. Tekeshwar Kumar and Vishal Jain Copyright © 2015 Tekeshwar Kumar and Vishal Jain. All rights reserved. Greek Physicians’ Perceptions on Generic Drugs in the Era of Austerity Thu, 17 Sep 2015 11:18:55 +0000 Purpose. To assess the beliefs and preferences of Greek physicians, regarding generic drugs, in the years of financial crisis. Setting. Multicentered, nationwide survey. Material and Methods. A custom questionnaire based on former similar studies was developed and administered to Greek physicians. The variable “perception on generics” was constructed after an exploratory study and the instrument was validated by conventional and Rasch analysis methods. 22 items formed 5 subscales that constructed the variable in question. Results. 908 physicians successfully participated in the study (response rate: 80%). Mean total scores to the instrument were 60.63 ± 12.12 for men and significantly less (58.24 ± 11.73) for women (p = 0.04). Greek physicians were not persuaded on the potential economic gain (45.79 ± 10.53); moreover they identified that Greek authorities cannot address the increased pharmacovigilance mandates. Physicians working in Athens and those working in surgical units demonstrated significantly worse scores than their colleagues from the rest of Greece and those working in Internal Medicine wards (p = 0.03).  Conclusion. Our results suggest an overall poor acceptance of the national initiative on generic drugs by Greek physicians. This trial is registered with identifier: NCT01855802. Georgios Labiris, Michael Fanariotis, Catherine Kastanioti, Georgios Alexias, Adonis Protopapas, Theodoros Karampitsakos, and Dimitris Niakas Copyright © 2015 Georgios Labiris et al. All rights reserved. Tuberculosis of the Penis: A Review of the Literature Tue, 08 Sep 2015 06:38:56 +0000 Background. Tuberculosis of the penis (TBP) is rare. Aim. To review the literature. Method. Various internet data bases were searched. Literature Review. TBP could be primary or secondary, may develop following circumcision performed by a person who had pulmonary Tb, and may be transmitted to the penis from ejaculation, contamination from clothing, or from contact with endometrial secretions, following an earlier pulmonary Tb or Tb elsewhere. TBP presents with a painless/painful small nodule, ulcer, mass on penis which gradually enlarges, and induration/swelling of penis, with or without erectile dysfunction. Inguinal lymph nodes may or may not be palpable. The patient’s voiding is normal. There may or may not be history of circumcision, pulmonary Tb, and BCG immunization. TBP mimics penile carcinoma, granulomatous syphilis penile ulcer, genital herpes simplex, granuloma inguinale, and HIV infection. Diagnosis is established by microscopic examination finding of granulomas +/−AFB in penile discharge or biopsy of lesion or culture of Tb organism from discharge or biopsy specimens or positive Elisa serology/PCR for Tb. PTBs respond to first- or 2nd-line anti-Tb 6-month treatment. Close contacts should be screened. Extrapulmonary Tb should be excluded. Conclusions. Clinicians should consider possibility of PTB in cases of penile lesions and erectile failure. Anthony Kodzo-Grey Venyo Copyright © 2015 Anthony Kodzo-Grey Venyo. All rights reserved. Pediatric Patient and Parental Anxiety and Impressions Related to Initial Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: A Japanese Multicenter Questionnaire Study Mon, 31 Aug 2015 07:13:45 +0000 Objective. To assess anxiety among pediatric patients and their parents related to initial gastrointestinal endoscopy. Methods. Patients aged <19 years undergoing initial gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and their parents were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire related to endoscopy in 13 institutions in Japan. Results. The subjects were 128 children, aged 1 month to 17 years. Forty-eight patients (37.5%) underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD), 32 (25%) underwent colonoscopy (CS), 39 (30.5%) underwent both EGD and CS, 3 (2.3%) underwent balloon enteroscopy (BE), 3 (2.3%) underwent capsule endoscopy (CE), and 3 (2.3%) underwent CE and other endoscopic procedures. In the preendoscopy questionnaire, the most common concerns of the patients and parents before undergoing the procedure were “Pain” (45% of the patients underwent EGD or BE via the oral approach, and 52% of the patients underwent CS or BE via the anal approach) and “Procedural accidents related to the endoscopy” (63% of parents). In the postendoscopy questionnaire, the most common difficulty that patients and parents actually experienced before and after undergoing the procedure was “Hunger.” Conclusion. A preparatory intervention including an explanation regarding specific concerns before initial GI endoscopy, which this study revealed, could reduce anxiety experienced by both pediatric patients and parents. Shin-ichiro Hagiwara, Yoshiko Nakayama, Manabu Tagawa, Katsuhiro Arai, Takashi Ishige, Takatsugu Murakoshi, Hiroko Sekine, Daiki Abukawa, Hiroyuki Yamada, Mikihiro Inoue, Takeshi Saito, Takahiro Kudo, and Yoshitaka Seki Copyright © 2015 Shin-ichiro Hagiwara et al. All rights reserved. Chloroplast DNA Variations in Wild Brassicas and Their Implication in Breeding and Population Genetics Studies Mon, 10 Aug 2015 11:52:41 +0000 Evaluation of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) diversity in wild relatives of crop brassicas is important for characterization of cytoplasm and also for population genetics/phylogeographic analyses. The former is useful for breeding programs involving wide hybridization and synthesis of alloplasmic lines, while the latter is important for formulating conservation strategies. Therefore, PCR-RFLP (Polymerase Chain Reaction-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) technique was applied to study cpDNA diversity in 14 wild brassicas (including 31 accessions) which revealed a total of 219 polymorphic fragments. The combination of polymorphisms obtained by using only two primer pair-restriction enzyme combinations was sufficient to distinguish all 14 wild brassicas. Moreover, 11 primer pairs-restriction enzyme combinations revealed intraspecific polymorphisms in eight wild brassicas (including endemic and endangered species, B. cretica and B. insularis, resp.). Thus, even within a small number of accessions that were screened, intraspecific polymorphisms were observed, which is important for population genetics analyses in wild brassicas and consequently for conservation studies. Bharti Sarin, Juan Pedro Martín, Babeeta Chrungu Kaula, and Aparajita Mohanty Copyright © 2015 Bharti Sarin et al. All rights reserved. Evaluation of Physicochemical Properties of South African Cashew Apple Juice as a Biofuel Feedstock Tue, 04 Aug 2015 11:58:42 +0000 Cashew apple juice (CAJ) is one of the feedstocks used for biofuel production and ethanol yield depends on the physical and chemical properties of the extracted juice. As far as can be ascertained, information on physical and chemical properties of South African cashew apple juice is limited in open literature. Therefore, this study provides information on the physical and chemical properties of the South African cashew apple juice. Physicochemical characteristics of the juice, such as specific gravity, pH, sugars, condensed tannins, Vitamin C, minerals, and total protein, were measured from a mixed variety of cashew apples. Analytical results showed the CAJ possesses specific gravity and pH of 1.050 and 4.52, respectively. The highest sugars were glucose (40.56 gL−1) and fructose (57.06 gL−1). Other chemical compositions of the juice were condensed tannin (55.34 mgL−1), Vitamin C (112 mg/100 mL), and total protein (1.78 gL−1). The minerals content was as follows: zinc (1.39 ppm), copper (2.18 ppm), magnesium (4.32 ppm), iron (1.32 ppm), sodium (5.44 ppm), and manganese (1.24 ppm). With these findings, South African CAJ is a suitable biomass feedstock for ethanol production. Evanie Devi Deenanath, Karl Rumbold, Michael Daramola, Rosemary Falcon, and Sunny Iyuke Copyright © 2015 Evanie Devi Deenanath et al. All rights reserved. Prevalence of Plasmid-Mediated Quinolone Resistance Determinants and OqxAB Efflux Pumps among Extended-Spectrum -Lactamase Producing Klebsiella pneumoniae Isolated from Patients with Nosocomial Urinary Tract Infection in Tehran, Iran Sun, 02 Aug 2015 13:39:01 +0000 Objective. Plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance (PMQR) plays an important role in the development of clinical resistance to quinolone. The aim of this study was to investigate PMQR determinants among extended-spectrum β-lactamases- (ESBL-) producing Klebsiella pneumoniae recovered from patients with nosocomial urinary tract infection (UTI). Methods. A total of 247 ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae isolates were collected from 750 patients with UTI. ESBL production was confirmed by double disc synergy test and combined disc diffusion test. The prevalence of PMQR determinants among ESBL-producing K. pneumoniae was assessed using PCR method. Results. The rates of resistance to antimicrobial agents in present study varied from 14.2% to 98.8%. In comparison with other PMQR genotypes, the frequency of aac(6′)-Ib (68.8%) was strikingly high. Of the 247 isolates tested, qnrA, qnrB, qnrS, and qepA genes were present in 3.6%, 1.6%, 1.2, and 2%, respectively. oqxA and oqxB were detected in 56.7% and 54.6% of isolates. The predominant coexisting ESBL and PMQR profile among our isolates included and aac(6′)-Ib, oqxA, oqxB (28.3%) and , and aac(6′)-Ib, oqxA, and oqxB (19.4%) profile.  Conclusion. Given the linkage observed between resistance to quinolones and beta lactam antibiotics, therapeutic protocol with fluoroquinolones and beta lactam antibiotics should be seriously revised in Tehran hospitals. Mehdi Goudarzi, Mehdi Azad, and Sima Sadat Seyedjavadi Copyright © 2015 Mehdi Goudarzi et al. All rights reserved. An Improved Micropropagation Protocol by Ex Vitro Rooting of Passiflora edulis Sims. f. flavicarpa Deg. through Nodal Segment Culture Sun, 26 Jul 2015 07:16:18 +0000 A procedure for rapid clonal propagation of Passiflora edulis Sims. f. flavicarpa Deg. (Passifloraceae) has been developed in this study. Nodal explants were sterilized with 0.1% HgCl2 and inoculated on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium. The addition of 2.0 mgL−1 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) to MS medium caused an extensive proliferation of multiple shoots () primordial from the nodal meristems. Subculturing of these multiple shoots on the MS medium augmented with 1.0 mgL−1 of each BAP and Kinetin (Kin) was successful for the multiplication of the shoots in vitro with maximum numbers of shoots () within four weeks of incubation. Shoots were rooted best ( roots/shoots) on half strength MS medium supplemented with 2.0 mgL−1 indole-3 butyric acid (IBA). All in vitro regenerated shoots were rooted by ex vitro method, and this has achieved 6-7 roots per shoot by pulsing of cut ends of the shoots using 200 as well as 300 mgL−1 IBA. The plantlets were hardened in the greenhouse for 4-5 weeks. The hardened plantlets were shifted to manure containing nursery polybags after five weeks and then transferred to a sand bed for another four weeks for acclimatization before field planting with 88% survival rate. Mahipal S. Shekhawat, M. Manokari, and C. P. Ravindran Copyright © 2015 Mahipal S. Shekhawat et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Salvadora persica Extract on the Hematological and Biochemical Alterations against Immobilization-Induced Rats Sun, 28 Jun 2015 11:44:01 +0000 A total of 24 rats were divided into 4 groups: control, stress, extract alone, and stress + extract ( each), for total 21 days of treatment. The immobilization stress was induced in rats by putting them in 20 cm × 7 cm plastic tubes for 2 h/day for 21 days. Rats were postorally treated with Salvadora persica at a dose of 900 mg/kg body weight via intragastric intubations. At the end of the test period, hematological and biochemical parameters were determined in blood and serum samples with determination of vital organs weights. The vital organ weights were not significantly affected in stressed rats as compared to control rats. Compared to the control group, the stress treated group showed significances in several hematological parameters, including decreases in WBC, RBC, and PLT counts. Furthermore, in comparison to the control group, the stress group showed significantly increased blood glucose, serum total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triacylglycerols levels and decreased HDL-cholesterol level. The hematological and biochemical parameters in the stress + extract treated group were approximately similar to control group. The SP extract restored the changes observed following stress treatment. Kholoud S. Ramadan and Salha A. Alshamrani Copyright © 2015 Kholoud S. Ramadan and Salha A. Alshamrani. All rights reserved. Effect of Sowing Methods and NPK Levels on Growth and Yield of Rainfed Maize (Zea mays L.) Mon, 18 May 2015 08:46:45 +0000 To investigate the response of rainfed maize to sowing methods and NPK levels, an experiment was undertaken during kharif of 2011 and 2012 at Dryland (Kerawa) Agriculture Research Station, Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology of Kashmir, Budgam. The experiment was laid out in a randomized block design with combination of 2 sowing methods (flat sowing, 75 cm apart rows, and ridge sowing, 75 cm apart ridges) and 3 fertility levels (60 : 40 : 20, 75 : 50 : 30, and 90 : 60 : 40 N : P2O5 : K2O kg ha−1) with three replications. Various growth characters, namely, plant height, leaf area index, dry matter accumulation, number of days to different phenological stages, and yield, and yield contributing characters namely, cob length, number of grains cob−1, cob diameter (cm), and 100-seed weight (g), were significantly higher with S2 over S1 during both the years of experimentation. Fertilizer levels F3 (90 : 60 : 40) and F2 (75 : 50 : 30) at par with one another produced significant increase in growth and yield characters, namely, plant height, leaf area index, dry matter production at different growth stages, cob length, number of cobs plant−1, number of grains cob−1, and 100-seed weight over F1 (60 : 40 : 20). Significantly higher grain yield was recorded with fertilizer level F3 (90 : 60 : 40) being at par with F2 (75 : 50 : 30) and showed significant increase over F1 (60 : 40 : 20) with superiority of 5.4 and 5.7 per cent during 2011 and 2012, respectively. The findings of the study concluded that ridge method of sowing of maize with NPK levels of 75 : 50 : 30 kg ha−1 showed better performance of crop in terms of growth, yield, and yield attributes. Shamim Gul, M. H. Khan, B. A. Khanday, and Sabeena Nabi Copyright © 2015 Shamim Gul et al. All rights reserved. CYP2A6 Polymorphisms May Strengthen Individualized Treatment for Nicotine Dependence Tue, 28 Apr 2015 06:39:07 +0000 Each CYP2A6 gene variant metabolizes nicotine differently depending on its enzymatic activities. The normal nicotine metabolizer CYP2A6*1A is associated with high scores of nicotine dependence (5–10) on the Fagerström Test for Nicotine Dependence (FTND) scale because it encodes for enzymes that catalyze nicotine 100%. Slow nicotine metabolizers (i.e., CYP2A6*1H, CYP2A6*4A, CYP2A6*9, and CYP2A6*12A) are associated with underrated nicotine metabolizing activity (50%–75%), linking them to low scores for nicotine dependence (0–4) on the FTND scale. In a clinical trial involving the use of bupropion, people who were carriers of slow nicotine metabolizers were found to have a tendency to maintain abstinence 1.7 times longer than people with normal nicotine metabolizers. An overview of CYP2A6 polymorphism enzymatic activities in nicotine dependence etiology and treatment revealed that slow nicotine metabolizers may strengthen the individualized treatment of nicotine dependence. Yawo Mawuli Akrodou Copyright © 2015 Yawo Mawuli Akrodou. All rights reserved. Effects of the Probiotic Enterococcus faecium and Pathogenic Escherichia coli Strains in a Pig and Human Epithelial Intestinal Cell Model Thu, 26 Mar 2015 09:18:41 +0000 The aim of this study has been to elucidate the effect of the probiotic Enterococcus faecium NCIMB 10415 on epithelial integrity in intestinal epithelial cells and whether pre- and coincubation with this strain can reproducibly prevent damage induced by enterotoxigenic (ETEC) and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC). Porcine (IPEC-J2) and human (Caco-2) intestinal epithelial cells were incubated with bacterial strains and epithelial integrity was assessed by measuring transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and mannitol flux rates. E. faecium alone increased TEER of Caco-2 cells without affecting mannitol fluxes whereas the E. coli strains decreased TEER and concomitantly increased mannitol flux rates in both cell lines. Preincubation with E. faecium had no effect on the TEER decrease induced by E. coli in preliminary experiments. However, in a second set of experiments using a slightly different protocol, E. faecium ameliorated the TEER decrease induced by ETEC at 4 h in IPEC-J2 and at 2, 4, and 6 h in Caco-2 cells. We conclude that E. faecium positively affected epithelial integrity in monoinfected Caco-2 cells and could ameliorate the damage on TEER induced by an ETEC strain. Reproducibility of the results is, however, limited when experiments are performed with living bacteria over longer periods. Ulrike Lodemann, Julia Strahlendorf, Peter Schierack, Shanti Klingspor, Jörg R. Aschenbach, and Holger Martens Copyright © 2015 Ulrike Lodemann et al. All rights reserved. Unprotected Left Main Percutaneous Coronary Intervention in Acute Coronary Syndromes with Extracorporeal Life Support Backup Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:41:40 +0000 Background. Left main PCI is superior to coronary bypass surgery in selected patients. Registry data, however, suggest significant early adverse event rates associated with unprotected left main PCI. We aimed to evaluate safety of an extracorporeal life support (ECLS) as backup system during PCI. Methods. We report a registry study of 16 high-risk patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes undergoing unprotected left main PCI with an ECLS backup. Results. Seven patients (43.8%) presented with an acute myocardial infarction while 9 patients (56.3%) had unstable angina. Unprotected left main PCI could be successfully performed in all 16 patients. Mortality or thromboembolic event rates were zero within the index hospital stay. General anesthesia was necessary only in 5 patients (31.3%). Access site bleeding requiring transfusion was encountered in 4 patients (25.0%). Three patients (18.8%) developed access site complications requiring surgical intervention. All patients were ECLS-free after 96 hours. Conclusions. Unprotected left main PCI could be safely and effectively performed after ECLS implantation as backup in acute coronary syndromes in our patient collectively. Vascular access site complications however need to be considered when applying ECLS as backup system. Dawid L. Staudacher, Oliver Langner, Paul Biever, Christoph Benk, Manfred Zehender, Christoph Bode, and Tobias Wengenmayer Copyright © 2015 Dawid L. Staudacher et al. All rights reserved. Instant Transport Media for Biopsied Soft Tissue Specimens: A Comparative Study Sun, 22 Feb 2015 09:22:31 +0000 Background. Formalin, a traditionally preferred fixative in the field of pathology, has restricted usage in private settings. Since its toxicity violates the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, an eco-friendly alternative would be the need of the hour. Hence an instant media which is economical and nontoxic and enables easy transport of biopsied soft tissue specimens in its original state is of vital importance. Materials and Methods. Commercially available fresh goat buccal mucosa specimens were sliced into smaller bits of equal dimensions and placed in six different containers containing 20% honey, 30% jaggery, milk, and ice for 1 hr, 6 hours, 12 hours, and 24 hours each with formalin as a positive control. After the set time interval, the specimens were fixed in 10% buffered formalin for 24 hours followed by routine processing and staining. The histologic interpretations were a blinded procedure and evaluated by two experts. Results were statistically analysed. Results. 30% jaggery proved to be an ideal transport media showing high quality preservation after 24 hours. 20% honey and ice showed optimal tissue preservation up to 6 hours following which quality deteriorated. Tissues transported in milk showed poor preservation. Conclusion. 30% jaggery can be endorsed in routine histopathological analysis as a transport media. Shankargouda Patil, Roopa S. Rao, Anveeta Agarwal, and A. Thirumal Raj Copyright © 2015 Shankargouda Patil et al. All rights reserved. Bacterial Stigmergy: An Organising Principle of Multicellular Collective Behaviours of Bacteria Thu, 08 Jan 2015 13:36:51 +0000 The self-organisation of collective behaviours often manifests as dramatic patterns of emergent large-scale order. This is true for relatively “simple” entities such as microbial communities and robot “swarms,” through to more complex self-organised systems such as those displayed by social insects, migrating herds, and many human activities. The principle of stigmergy describes those self-organised phenomena that emerge as a consequence of indirect communication between individuals of the group through the generation of persistent cues in the environment. Interestingly, despite numerous examples of multicellular behaviours of bacteria, the principle of stigmergy has yet to become an accepted theoretical framework that describes how bacterial collectives self-organise. Here we review some examples of multicellular bacterial behaviours in the context of stigmergy with the aim of bringing this powerful and elegant self-organisation principle to the attention of the microbial research community. Erin S. Gloag, Lynne Turnbull, and Cynthia B. Whitchurch Copyright © 2015 Erin S. Gloag et al. All rights reserved. Primary Injuries and Secondary Organ Failures in Trauma Patients with Acute Kidney Injury Treated with Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Tue, 23 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Background. Acute kidney injury (AKI) treated with continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) is a severe complication in trauma patients. The aim of the study was to assess primary traumatic injuries and secondary organ failures in severe posttraumatic AKI. Methods. Retrospective review of adult trauma patients admitted to the trauma centre at Oslo University Hospital Ullevål. Injury severity score (ISS) was used to assess the severity of primary injuries, and sequential organ failure assessment (SOFA) score was utilized to measure secondary organ failures. Results. Forty-two (8%) of 506 trauma patients admitted to intensive care unit developed AKI treated with CRRT, whereof 40 (95%) suffered blunt trauma mechanisms. Patients had extensive primary organ injuries with median (interquartile range) ISS 36 (27–49). The majority of the patients had respiratory (93% intubated) and cardiovascular (67% with inotropic and/or vasoactive medication) failure within 24 hours after admission. AKI was often part of multiple organ failure, most frequently respiratory and cardiovascular failure, affecting 33 (75%) and 30 (71%) of the patients, respectively. Conclusion. Trauma patients with AKI undergoing CRRT often had severe primary injuries due to blunt trauma. Most of them suffered from secondary multiple organ failure concomitant to AKI. Sigrid Beitland, Ingrid Os, and Kjetil Sunde Copyright © 2014 Sigrid Beitland et al. All rights reserved. Invasive Mold Infections in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients Sun, 23 Nov 2014 12:35:43 +0000 Invasive mold infections represent an increasing source of morbidity and mortality in solid organ transplant recipients. Whereas there is a large literature regarding invasive molds infections in hematopoietic stem cell transplants, data in solid organ transplants are scarcer. In this comprehensive review, we focused on invasive mold infection in the specific population of solid organ transplant. We highlighted epidemiology and specific risk factors for these infections and we assessed the main clinical and imaging findings by fungi and by type of solid organ transplant. Finally, we attempted to summarize the diagnostic strategy for detection of these fungi and tried to give an overview of the current prophylaxis treatments and outcomes of these infections in solid organ transplant recipients. Yoann Crabol and Olivier Lortholary Copyright © 2014 Yoann Crabol and Olivier Lortholary. All rights reserved. The Role of RaxST, a Prokaryotic Sulfotransferase, and RaxABC, a Putative Type I Secretion System, in Activation of the Rice XA21-Mediated Immune Response Sun, 19 Oct 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Tyrosine sulfation is an important posttranslational modification that determines the outcome of serious diseases in plants and animals. We have recently demonstrated that the plant pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) carries a functional sulfotransferase (RaxST). raxST is required for activation of rice Xa21-mediated immunity indicating the critical, but unknown, function of raxST in mediating the Xoo/rice interaction. The raxST gene resides in the same operon (raxSTAB) as components of a predicted type I secretion and processing system (RaxA and RaxB). These observations suggest a model where RaxST sulfates a molecule that contains a leader peptide, which is cleaved by the peptidase domain of the RaxB protein and secreted outside the bacterial cell by the RaxABC T1SS. Pamela C. Ronald Copyright © 2014 Pamela C. Ronald. All rights reserved. The Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl and Its Use to Estimate the Health Impact of Public Health Policy Scenarios Thu, 25 Sep 2014 11:05:18 +0000 Noncommunicable disease (NCD) scenario models are an essential part of the public health toolkit, allowing for an estimate of the health impact of population-level interventions that are not amenable to assessment by standard epidemiological study designs (e.g., health-related food taxes and physical infrastructure projects) and extrapolating results from small samples to the whole population. The PRIME (Preventable Risk Integrated ModEl) is an openly available NCD scenario model that estimates the effect of population-level changes in diet, physical activity, and alcohol and tobacco consumption on NCD mortality. The structure and methods employed in the PRIME are described here in detail, including the development of open source code that will support a PRIME web application to be launched in 2015. This paper reviews scenario results from eleven papers that have used the PRIME, including estimates of the impact of achieving government recommendations for healthy diets, health-related food taxes and subsidies, and low-carbon diets. Future challenges for NCD scenario modelling, including the need for more comparisons between models and the improvement of future prediction of NCD rates, are also discussed. Peter Scarborough, Richard A. Harrington, Anja Mizdrak, Lijuan Marissa Zhou, and Aiden Doherty Copyright © 2014 Peter Scarborough et al. All rights reserved. Immune Response in Thyroid Cancer: Widening the Boundaries Thu, 25 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000 The association between thyroid cancer and thyroid inflammation has been repeatedly reported and highly debated in the literature. In fact, both molecular and epidemiological data suggest that these diseases are closely related and this association reinforces that the immune system is important for thyroid cancer progression. Innate immunity is the first line of defensive response. Unlike innate immune responses, adaptive responses are highly specific to the particular antigen that induced them. Both branches of the immune system may interact in antitumor immune response. Major effector cells of the immune system that directly target thyroid cancer cells include dendritic cells, macrophages, polymorphonuclear leukocytes, mast cells, and lymphocytes. A mixture of immune cells may infiltrate thyroid cancer microenvironment and the balance of protumor and antitumor activity of these cells may be associated with prognosis. Herein, we describe some evidences that immune response may be important for thyroid cancer progression and may help us identify more aggressive tumors, sparing the vast majority of patients from costly unnecessary invasive procedures. The future trend in thyroid cancer is an individualized therapy. Laura Sterian Ward Copyright © 2014 Laura Sterian Ward. All rights reserved. Regulation of TGF-β Signal Transduction Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling regulates diverse cellular processes, including cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, cell plasticity, and migration. TGF-β signaling can be mediated by Smad proteins or other signaling proteins such as MAP kinases and Akt. TGF-β signaling is tightly regulated at different levels along the pathways to ensure its proper physiological functions in different cells and tissues. Deregulation of TGF-β signaling has been associated with various kinds of diseases, such as cancer and tissue fibrosis. This paper focuses on our recent work on regulation of TGF-β signaling. Bing Zhao and Ye-Guang Chen Copyright © 2014 Bing Zhao and Ye-Guang Chen. All rights reserved. Computational Insights into Substrate and Site Specificities, Catalytic Mechanism, and Protonation States of the Catalytic Asp Dyad of β-Secretase Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:14:00 +0000 In this review, information regarding substrate and site specificities, catalytic mechanism, and protonation states of the catalytic Asp dyad of β-secretase (BACE1) derived from computational studies has been discussed. BACE1 catalyzes the rate-limiting step in the generation of Alzheimer amyloid beta peptide through the proteolytic cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein. Due to its biological functioning, this enzyme has been considered as one of the most important targets for finding the cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations suggested that structural differences in the key regions (inserts A, D, and F and the 10s loop) of the enzyme are responsible for the observed difference in its activities towards the WT- and SW-substrates. The modifications in the flap, third strand, and insert F regions were found to be involved in the alteration in the site specificity of the glycosylphosphatidylinositol bound form of BACE1. Our QM and QM/MM calculations suggested that BACE1 hydrolyzed the SW-substrate more efficiently than the WT-substrate and that cleavage of the peptide bond occurred in the rate-determining step. The results from molecular docking studies showed that the information concerning a single protonation state of the Asp dyad is not enough to run an in silico screening campaign. Arghya Barman and Rajeev Prabhakar Copyright © 2014 Arghya Barman and Rajeev Prabhakar. All rights reserved. Adipose Tissue and Adipokines: The Association with and Application of Adipokines in Obesity Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:28:43 +0000 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of adipokines. Through the identification of leptin, our perceived understanding of adipose tissue was changed instantaneously. From a simple dormant site of energy storage, adipose tissue is now recognized as an integral hub of various hormones known as adipokines. Although great strides have been made in characterizing these hormones in health, research also shows they are significantly implicated in a series of pathologies. One such condition is obesity. Defined as an excess of adipose tissue, obesity remains one of the greatest healthcare epidemics of the 21st century. With no definitive treatment, attention has shifted to understanding the role of adipokines in obesity. This review provides an introduction to the salient obesity-related adipokines and their possible application as a treatment for obesity. Muhammad Khan and Frank Joseph Copyright © 2014 Muhammad Khan and Frank Joseph. All rights reserved.