Scientifica http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2015 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/797564/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/952395/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/764196/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/518167/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/578676/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/253195/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/198575/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/491514/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/235184/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/435878/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/876531/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2015/387342/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/235215/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/821969/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/532816/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/748750/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/125450/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/874065/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/598728/ 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 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/328592/ 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. Walking along the Fibroblast Growth Factor 10 Route: A Key Pathway to Understand the Control and Regulation of Epithelial and Mesenchymal Cell-Lineage Formation during Lung Development and Repair after Injury Thu, 11 Sep 2014 07:45:33 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/538379/ Basic research on embryonic lung development offers unique opportunities to make important discoveries that will impact human health. Developmental biologists interested in the molecular control of branching morphogenesis have intensively studied the developing lung, with its complex and seemingly stereotyped ramified structure. However, it is also an organ that is linked to a vast array of clinical problems in humans such as bronchopulmonary dysplasia in premature babies and emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fibrosis, and cancer in adults. Epithelial stem/progenitor cells reside in niches where they interact with specific extracellular matrices as well as with mesenchymal cells; the latter are still poorly characterized. Interactions of epithelial stem/progenitor cells with their microenvironments are usually instructive, controlling quiescence versus activation, proliferation, differentiation, and migration. During the past 18 years, Fgf10 has emerged not only as a marker for the distal lung mesenchyme during early lung development, but also as a key player in branching morphogenesis and a critical component of the niche for epithelial stem cells. In this paper, we will present the current knowledge regarding the lineage tree in the lung, with special emphasis on cell-lineage decisions in the lung mesenchyme and the role of Fgf10 in this context. Elie El Agha and Saverio Bellusci Copyright © 2014 Elie El Agha and Saverio Bellusci. All rights reserved. A New Approach in Risk Stratification by Coronary CT Angiography Mon, 01 Sep 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/278039/ For a decade, coronary computed tomographic angiography (CCTA) has been used as a promising noninvasive modality for the assessment of coronary artery disease (CAD) as well as cardiovascular risks. CCTA can provide more information incorporating the presence, extent, and severity of CAD; coronary plaque burden; and characteristics that highly correlate with those on invasive coronary angiography. Moreover, recent techniques of CCTA allow assessing hemodynamic significance of CAD. CCTA may be potentially used as a substitute for other invasive or noninvasive modalities. This review summarizes risk stratification by anatomical and hemodynamic information of CAD, coronary plaque characteristics, and burden observed on CCTA. Rine Nakanishi and Matthew J. Budoff Copyright © 2014 Rine Nakanishi and Matthew J. Budoff. All rights reserved. Using the Neurofibromatosis Tumor Predisposition Syndromes to Understand Normal Nervous System Development Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/915725/ Development is a tightly regulated process that involves stem cell self-renewal, differentiation, cell-to-cell communication, apoptosis, and blood vessel formation. These coordinated processes ensure that tissues maintain a size and architecture that is appropriate for normal tissue function. As such, tumors arise when cells acquire genetic mutations that allow them to escape the normal growth constraints. In this regard, the study of tumor predisposition syndromes affords a unique platform to better understand normal development and the process by which normal cells transform into cancers. Herein, we review the processes governing normal brain development, discuss how brain cancer represents a disruption of these normal processes, and highlight insights into both normal development and cancer made possible by the study of tumor predisposition syndromes. Cynthia Garcia and David H. Gutmann Copyright © 2014 Cynthia Garcia and David H. Gutmann. All rights reserved. Speech Evoked Auditory Brainstem Response in Stuttering Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:17:15 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/328646/ Auditory processing deficits have been hypothesized as an underlying mechanism for stuttering. Previous studies have demonstrated abnormal responses in subjects with persistent developmental stuttering (PDS) at the higher level of the central auditory system using speech stimuli. Recently, the potential usefulness of speech evoked auditory brainstem responses in central auditory processing disorders has been emphasized. The current study used the speech evoked ABR to investigate the hypothesis that subjects with PDS have specific auditory perceptual dysfunction. Objectives. To determine whether brainstem responses to speech stimuli differ between PDS subjects and normal fluent speakers. Methods. Twenty-five subjects with PDS participated in this study. The speech-ABRs were elicited by the 5-formant synthesized syllable/da/, with duration of 40 ms. Results. There were significant group differences for the onset and offset transient peaks. Subjects with PDS had longer latencies for the onset and offset peaks relative to the control group. Conclusions. Subjects with PDS showed a deficient neural timing in the early stages of the auditory pathway consistent with temporal processing deficits and their abnormal timing may underlie to their disfluency. Ali Akbar Tahaei, Hassan Ashayeri, Akram Pourbakht, and Mohammad Kamali Copyright © 2014 Ali Akbar Tahaei et al. All rights reserved. Atrial Fibrillation: A Review of Recent Studies with a Focus on Those from the Duke Clinical Research Institute Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:59:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/901586/ Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia and accounts for one-third of hospitalizations for rhythm disorders in the United States. The prevalence of atrial fibrillation averages 1% and increases with age. With the aging of the population, the number of patients with atrial fibrillation is expected to increase 150% by 2050, with more than 50% of atrial fibrillation patients being over the age of 80. This increasing burden of atrial fibrillation will lead to a higher incidence of stroke, as patients with atrial fibrillation have a five- to sevenfold greater risk of stroke than the general population. Strokes secondary to atrial fibrillation have a worse prognosis than in patients without atrial fibrillation. Vitamin K antagonists (e.g., warfarin), direct thrombin inhibitors (dabigatran), and factor Xa inhibitors (rivaroxaban and apixaban) are all oral anticoagulants that have been FDA approved for the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation. This review will summarize the experience of anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation with a focus on the experience at the Duke Clinic Research Institute. Meena P. Rao, Sean D. Pokorney, and Christopher B. Granger Copyright © 2014 Meena P. Rao et al. All rights reserved. Absorbed Radiation Dose in Radiosensitive Organs Using 64- and 320-Row Multidetector Computed Tomography: A Comparative Study Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:16:30 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/305942/ Aim. To determine absorbed radiation dose (ARD) in radiosensitive organs during prospective and full phase dose modulation using ECG-gated MDCTA scanner under 64- and 320-row detector modes. Methods. Female phantom was used to measure organ radiation dose. Five DP-3 radiation detectors were used to measure ARD to lungs, breast, and thyroid using the Aquilion ONE scanner in 64- and 320-row modes using both prospective and dose modulation in full phase acquisition. Five measurements were made using three tube voltages: 100, 120, and 135 kVp at 400 mA at heart rate (HR) of 60 and 75 bpm for each protocol. Mean acquisition was recorded in milligrays (mGy). Results. Mean ARD was less for 320-row versus 64-row mode for each imaging protocol. Prospective EKG-gated imaging protocol resulted in a statistically lower ARD using 320-row versus 64-row modes for midbreast (6.728 versus 19.687 mGy, ), lung (6.102 versus 21.841 mGy, ), and thyroid gland (0.208 versus 0.913 mGy; ). Retrospective imaging using 320- versus 64-row modes showed lower ARD for midbreast (10.839 versus 43.169 mGy, ), lung (8.848 versus 47.877 mGy, ), and thyroid gland (0.057 versus 2.091 mGy; ). ARD reduction was observed at lower kVp and heart rate. Conclusions. Dose reduction to radiosensitive organs is achieved using 320-row compared to 64-row modes for both prospective and retrospective gating, whereas 64-row mode is equivalent to the same model 64-row MDCT scanner. Atif N. Khan, Waqas Shuaib, Boris Nikolic, Mohammad K. Khan, Jian Kang, and Faisal Khosa Copyright © 2014 Atif N. Khan et al. All rights reserved. Detection of β-Lactamases and Outer Membrane Porins among Klebsiella pneumoniae Strains Isolated in Iran Sun, 03 Aug 2014 11:39:59 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/726179/ This descriptive study was accomplished on 83 K. pneumoniae strains isolated from two hospitals in Tehran, Iran. Antibiotic susceptibility tests were performed by disc diffusion and broth microdilution methods. ESBLs, MBL, Amp-C, and KPC producing strains were detected by phenotypic confirmatory test, combination disk diffusion test (CDDT), Amp-C detection kit, and modified Hodge test, respectively. OXA-48, NDM-1, and CTX-M-15 genes were detected by PCR and sequencing methods. The outer membrane porins such as OmpK35 and OmpK36 were analysed by SDS-PAGE, PCR, and sequencing methods. From 83 K. pneumoniae isolates, 48 (57.5%), 3 (3.5%), 23 (28%), and 5 (6%) were ESBL, MBL, Amp-C, and KPC positive, respectively. The CTX-M-15 gene was detected in 30 (62.5%) and OXA-48 gene was found in 2 (4.1%) of the 48 ESBL-producing isolates. Two isolates harboured both OXA-48 and CTX-M-15; NDM-1 gene was not detected in this study. Outer membrane porin, OmpK35, was detected in 30 (62.5%) of 48 ESBL-producing isolates while OmpK36 was found in 35 (72.91%) of 48 ESBL-producing isolates. In this study, fosfomycin and tigecycline were more effective than other antibiotics. The high prevalence of β-lactamase-producing K. pneumoniae detected in this study is of great concern, which requires infection control measures including antibacterial management and identification of β-lactamases-producing isolates. Ali Hashemi, Fatemeh Fallah, Soroor Erfanimanesh, Parastu Hamedani, Shadi Alimehr, and Hossein Goudarzi Copyright © 2014 Ali Hashemi et al. All rights reserved. Relationship between Nutrition Knowledge and Physical Fitness in Semiprofessional Soccer Players Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:41:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/180353/ Whereas nutrition has a crucial role on sport performance, it is not clear to what extent nutrition knowledge is associated with physical fitness. The aim of this study was to examine the current level of nutrition knowledge of soccer players and whether this level is associated with physical fitness. Soccer players (, aged  yr, weight  kg, and height  cm) performed a battery of physical fitness tests (sit-and-reach test, SAR; physical working capacity in heart rate 170, PWC170; and Wingate anaerobic test, WAnT) and completed an 11-item nutrition knowledge questionnaire (NKQ). Low to moderate Pearson correlations (, ) of NKQ with age, weight, height, fat free mass (FFM), SAR, peak power, and mean power of WAnT were observed. Soccer players with high score in NKQ were older (4.4 yr (2.2; 6.6), mean difference (95% confidence intervals)) and heavier (4.5 kg (0.6; 8.3)) with higher FFM (4.0 kg (1.1; 6.8)) and peak power (59 W (2; 116)) than their counterparts with low score. The moderate score in the NKQ suggests that soccer players should be targeted for nutrition education. Although the association between NKQ and physical fitness was low to moderate, there were indications that better nutrition knowledge might result in higher physical fitness and, consequently, soccer performance. P. T. Nikolaidis and E. Theodoropoulou Copyright © 2014 P. T. Nikolaidis and E. Theodoropoulou. All rights reserved. Understanding Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Sun, 20 Jul 2014 11:54:49 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/248163/ The diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome was once debated in the world of vascular surgery. Today, it is more understood and surprisingly less infrequent than once thought. Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is composed of three types: neurogenic, venous, and arterial. Each type is in distinction to the others when considering patient presentation and diagnosis. Remarkable advances have been made in surgical approach, physical therapy, and rehabilitation of these patients. Dedicated centers of excellence with multidisciplinary teams have been developed and continue to lead the way in future research. Julie Freischlag and Kristine Orion Copyright © 2014 Julie Freischlag and Kristine Orion. All rights reserved. Ionotropic GABA Receptors and Distal Retinal ON and OFF Responses Sun, 20 Jul 2014 06:55:01 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/scientifica/2014/149187/ In the vertebrate retina, visual signals are segregated into parallel ON and OFF pathways, which provide information for light increments and decrements. The segregation is first evident at the level of the ON and OFF bipolar cells in distal retina. The activity of large populations of ON and OFF bipolar cells is reflected in the b- and d-waves of the diffuse electroretinogram (ERG). The role of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), acting through ionotropic GABA receptors in shaping the ON and OFF responses in distal retina, is a matter of debate. This review summarized current knowledge about the types of the GABAergic neurons and ionotropic GABA receptors in the retina as well as the effects of GABA and specific GABAA and GABAC receptor antagonists on the activity of the ON and OFF bipolar cells in both nonmammalian and mammalian retina. Special emphasis is put on the effects on b- and d-waves of the ERG as a useful tool for assessment of the overall function of distal retinal ON and OFF channels. The role of GABAergic system in establishing the ON-OFF asymmetry concerning the time course and absolute and relative sensitivity of the ERG responses under different conditions of light adaptation in amphibian retina is also discussed. E. Popova Copyright © 2014 E. Popova. All rights reserved.