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Although the population of Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus is significantly increasing in Europe, in Italy the species is still on the Red List as ‘Critically Endangered’, with the last natural population persisting on the island of Sardinia. Several episodes of poisoning hampered the success of conservation actions implemented in the years 1987–1995. In 2005 there were estimated to be only 31–32 territorial pairs, with the population occupying the territories of Alghero and Bosa. We used a long-term dataset of reproductive records from the Sardinian Griffon Vulture populations to run a population viability analysis (PVA) to evaluate the extinction risk using the Vortex simulation software. The model estimated the probability of extinction over the next five generations (estimated generation time: 11 years, simulation time used: 55 years) as 96.4% for the Alghero population, and near-zero for the Bosa population. We used sensitivity analyses to understand how uncertainty about parameter values affect model outcomes. Population projections were evaluated under different management scenarios tackling the main threats (poisoning and human disturbance) and implementing conservation actions (supplementary feeding and restocking). Our results showed that population size is a critical factor in affecting the projections of population dynamics of Griffon Vultures. Sensitivity analyses highlighted the importance of poisoning events to population persistence and showed that juvenile and adult mortality rates had a secondary impact on population viability. The only conservation measure effective in significantly increasing stochastic growth rates in the Alghero population, whose initial population was set at five individuals, was the complete removal of poisoning events. When targeting the Bosa population (initial population size 94 individuals), supplementary feeding, mitigation of the risk of poisoning episodes, restocking, and mitigation of human disturbance in the reproductive sites significantly increased stochastic growth rate. A cost-effectiveness analysis should be performed to prioritise interventions.
Both transposition of the great arteries (TGA) previously submitted to a Senning/Mustard procedure and congenitally corrected TGA (cc-TGA) have the systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle, thereby rendering these patients to heart failure events risk. The aim of this study was to evaluate cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters for stratifying the risk of heart failure events in TGA patients.
Retrospective evaluation of adult TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle submitted to cardiopulmonary exercise test in a tertiary centre. Patients were followed up for at least 1 year for the primary endpoint of cardiac death or heart failure hospitalisation. Several cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters were analysed as potential predictors of the combined endpoint and their predictive power were compared (area under the curve).
Cardiopulmonary exercise test was performed in 44 TGA patients (8 cc-TGA), with a mean age of 35.1 ± 8.4 years. The primary endpoint was reached by 10 (22.7%) patients, with a mean follow-up of 36.7 ± 26.8 months. Heart rate at anaerobic threshold had the highest area under the curve value (0.864), followed by peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) (0.838). Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm and pVO2 ≤20 ml/kg/min had a sensitivity of 87.5 and 80.0% and a specificity of 82.4 and 76.5%, respectively, for the primary outcome.
Heart rate at anaerobic threshold ≤95 bpm had the highest predictive power of all cardiopulmonary exercise test parameters analysed for heart failure events in TGA patients with systemic circulation supported by the morphological right ventricle.
Trichomonas vaginalis induces cellular damage to the host cells (cytotoxicity) through the proteolytic activity of multiple proteinases of the cysteine type (CPs). Some CPs are modulated by environmental factors such as iron, zinc, polyamines, etc. Thus, the goal of this study was to assess the effect of glucose on T. vaginalis cytotoxicity, proteolytic activity and the particular role of TvCP2 (TVAG_057000) during cellular damage. Cytotoxicity assays showed that glucose-restriction (GR) promotes the highest HeLa cell monolayers destruction (~95%) by trichomonads compared to those grown under high glucose (~44%) condition. Zymography and Western blot using different primary antibodies showed that GR increased the proteolytic activity, amount and secretion of certain CPs, including TvCP2. We further characterized the effect of glucose on TvCP2. TvCP2 increases in GR, localized in vesicles close to the plasma membrane and on the surface of T. vaginalis. Furthermore, pretreatment of GR-trichomonads with an anti-TvCP2r polyclonal antibody specifically reduced the levels of cytotoxicity and apoptosis induction to HeLa cells in a concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, our data show that GR, as a nutritional stress condition, promotes trichomonal cytotoxicity to the host cells, increases trichomonad proteolytic activity and amount of CPs, such as TvCP2 involved in cellular damage.
The implantation and controlled release of growth factors can enhance the proliferation and differentiation of cells that promote new bone formation at defect sites. Therefore, chitosan polymer microspheres were prepared by the water-in-oil emulsion (W/O) method and solvent freeze-drying, using glutaraldehyde as an ionic crosslinker, along with the lyophilization of solvents, to microencapsulate growth factors, preventing denaturation. The microspheres were loaded with recombinant bone morphogenetic protein 2 (Rh-BMP-2). They were spherical in shape, with a rough surface ranging in particle size from 0.4 to 1.6 μm. The yield percentage with respect to the polymer was 70% and the BMP-2 load was regulated by the initial protein dose. BMP-2 release experiments were performed for 7 days in PBS solutions at pH 4 and 7.4. The results showed that the protein release rate was only 2% lower at pH 7.4. BMP-2/chitosan microspheres were compatible with the MG-63 cell line (ATCC®CRL-1427™Homo sapiens bone osteosarcoma) and could be considered drug delivery vehicles in bone tissue engineering applications.