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This study aims to develop an in vitro co-culture system of in situ goat preantral follicles with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSC), evaluating the influence of these cells on follicular growth, rate of activation and morphologically normal follicles. Fragments of ovarian cortex were cultured for 1 or 7 days in the presence of BM-MSC (BM-MSC+) and absence of BM-MSC (BM-MSC−). Histological sections of the fragments were analysed and data were obtained regarding morphological classification, survival rate of morphologically normal follicles and rate of follicular activation. Culture medium on days 1 and 7 was also sampled for nitrite concentration and reduced glutathione activity. There was a reduction (P < 0.05) in the percentage of morphologically normal follicles in the BM-MSC+ compared with the fresh control only on the seventh day of culture. When comparing treatments, on the seventh day of culture, a higher rate of morphologically normal preantral follicles was observed in BM-MSC+ (P < 0.05). In both treatments, primordial and developing follicle rates were similar to the fresh control (P > 0.05). When comparing treatments with each other, as well as with the fresh control, no differences were observed in follicular diameter (P > 0.05) or nitrite concentration (P > 0.05). The concentration of reduced glutathione was lower on the seventh day of co-culture in both treatments (P < 0.05). In conclusion, co-culture had no influence on follicular or oocyte development. However, it was critical to maintain the survival of preantral follicles during 7 days of culture.
The work described in this Research Communication concerns the production of Dulce de leche (DL), that is a traditional product from South America obtained by concentration. Maillard reaction (MR) products are mainly responsible for the formation of color and flavor in this product. Lactose-hydrolyzed products have been developed to supply consumer demand, but this hydrolysis may affect the flavor, color, taste, texture and even some nutritional aspects of the product. We studied the influence of different levels of lactose-hydrolysis, sucrose addition and initial pH on the development of MR, appraised by the determination of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). A process simulator with multi-monitoring system was used to produce 15 DL. Box-Behnken 33 experimental design was applied for the three factors: pH, lactose-hydrolysis level and sucrose concentration. Lipids, protein, ashes, carbohydrates, water activity, dissolved solids, colorimetric analysis and HMF (free and total) are among the physicochemical attributes and MR indicators analyzed in this work. The products showed significant differences in composition but all the values were in agreement with the literature. Moreover, higher levels of lactose hydrolysis and higher pH presented a direct relation with the development of MR, observed by an increase in coloration (lower luminosity) and more formation of HMF, both free and total. The present study expands the knowledge about DL spread made of lactose-hydrolyzed milk, allowing the food industries to produce a lactose free DL with nutritional and sensory characteristics closer to the traditional product.
The savannah enclaves (i.e. patches) in the southern Brazilian Amazonia are among the most threatened and poorly surveyed sites in Amazonia. As part of an extensive mammal survey, we set camera traps in three of these savannah enclaves. We obtained 23 independent records of pampas deer Ozotoceros bezoarticus, a medium sized Neotropical cervid that is strongly associated with open habitats and categorized as Vulnerable on the Brazilian Red List of threatened species. These savannah enclaves with confirmed populations of pampas deer lie outside the species’ previously presumed historical range and are at least 350 km from any known extant population. Together, these savannah enclaves add c. 4,000 km2 to the pampas deer's currently known range. The small pampas deer populations in these enclaves are probably isolated by a matrix of Amazon forest, raising questions about spatial genetic structure and meta-population dynamics, and making them vulnerable to local extinction. We highlight the need for further studies, particularly genetic, to assess the conservation status of these populations, the results of which could potentially inform management decisions in other areas of the heavily fragmented range of this species.
Portuguese gypsum deposits utilized by the cement industry were characterized mineralogically, chemically and technologically for possible application in dermocosmetics. The deposits studied (Loulé, Óbidos and Soure) correspond to small outcrops in diapiric anticline areas. In principle, they represent gypsites which are white, and generally of higher quality for traditional applications (e.g. white cement), or greyish, and generally not adequate for cements and mortars. The analytical methods used to characterize the materials were wet sieving and X-ray sedimentation, X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and assessment of abrasiveness, plasticity, texturometrics (adhesivity and firmness), oil absorption and cooling rate. The Óbidos gypsum displayed greater mineralogical and chemical quality (almost pure calcium sulfate) and had a finer grain size (<63 μm), whereas Loulé and Soure gypsums contain mineralogical impurities (mainly quartz). The Óbidos gypsum shows good characteristics in general for application in dermocosmetics because of its absorption, plasticity, adhesivity, firmness and low abrasiveness.
Although accumulating evidence supports the hypothesis that immune/inflammatory mechanisms are associated with the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder (BD), data about the profile of chemokines (chemotactic cytokines) and chemokine receptors are still scarce. The current study was designed to evaluate the expression of chemokine receptors on lymphocytes of patients with BD in comparison with controls.
Thirty-three patients with type I BD (N = 21 in euthymia; N = 6 in mania/hypomania; N = 6 in depression) and 22 age- and sex-matched controls were subjected to clinical evaluation and peripheral blood draw. The expression of chemokine receptors CCR3, CCR5, CXCR4, and CXCR3 on CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes was assessed by flow cytometry.
Patients with BD had decreased percentage of CD4+CXCR3+ (p = 0.024), CD4+CCR3+ (p = 0.042), and CD4+CCR5+ (0.013) lymphocytes in comparison with controls. The percentage of both CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytes expressing the chemokine receptor CXCR4 was similar in patients with BD and controls. Likewise, the percentages of CD8+CXCR3+, CD8+CCR3+, and CD8+CCR5+ lymphocytes were similar in patients with BD and controls.
Our findings reinforce the hypothesis that immune pathways, especially involving CD4+ lymphocytes, are involved in the physiopathology of BD.
The aim of the study was to determine the main factors (sociodemographic, anthropometric, lifestyle and health status) associated with high Na excretion in a representative population of Chile.
Na excretion (g/d), a valid marker of Na intake, was determined by urine analysis and Tanaka’s formulas. Blood pressure was measured by trained staff and derived from the mean of three readings recorded after 15 min rest. The associations of Na excretion with blood pressure and the primary correlates of high Na excretion were determined using logistic regression.
Chileans aged ≥15 years.
Participants (n 2913) from the Chilean National Health Survey 2009–2010.
Individuals aged 25 years or over, those who were obese and those who had hypertension, diabetes or metabolic syndrome were more likely to have higher Na excretion. The odds for hypertension increased by 10·2 % per 0·4 g/d increment in Na excretion (OR=1·10; 95 % CI 1·06, 1·14; P < 0·0001). These findings were independent of major confounding factors.
Age, sex, adiposity, sitting behaviours and existing co-morbidities such as diabetes were associated with higher Na excretion levels in the Chilean population. These findings could help policy makers to implement public health strategies tailored towards individuals who are more likely to consume high levels of dietary salt.
We report here the discovery of a boulder pavement cropping out at the base of the Hobbs Glacier Formation (Miocene), on the northern sector of Seymour Island (Isla Marambio), West Antarctica, along the contact with the underlying La Meseta Formation (Eocene). The feature described has many points in common with boulder pavements developed in tidal-marine environments. The clasts of the pavement are mostly boulders and bear up to three sets of glacial striae on their bevelled truncated surfaces, but are not elongate parallel to them or bullet shaped. No diamictite body was identified associated with the boulder pavement. These features differ from those of boulder pavements described from terrestrially glaciated Cenozoic deposits and may indicate a shallow glaciomarine environment for the late Cenozoic of Seymour Island.
The exposure of oocytes to heat stress during the maturation process results in harmful effects to their internal organelles, low fertilization capability and higher embryonic losses. In the present experiment the effect of heat shock (HS) during the maturation process was assessed. In Assay 1, oocytes from winter (December–March; n = 100) and summer (June–September; n = 100) months were collected and matured to analyse their HS tolerance. Total RNA was extracted from matured oocytes and cDNA synthesis was performed, followed by qPCR for selected genes (Cx43, CDH1, DNMT1, HSPA14), compared with two reference genes (GAPDH and SDHA). In Assay 2, oocytes collected during the winter were subjected to kinetic HS by stressing them at 39.5°C for 6, 12, 18 or 24 h and were afterwards matured at control temperature (38.5°C), and subsequently subjected to the previously described gene analysis procedure. Results of Assay 1 show that summer-collected oocytes exhibited lower maturation rate than winter-collected oocytes, which may be due to the down-regulation of the HSPA 14 gene. Assay 2 showed that 6 h of HS had no effect on gene regulation. CDH1 and DNMT1 up-regulation was observed starting at 12 h, which may represent the effect of heat shock on oocyte development.
Pollen and seed dispersal are key ecological processes, directly impacting the spatial distribution, abundance and genetic structure of plant populations; yet, pollen- and seed-dispersal distances are poorly known. We used molecular markers to identify the parental origin (n = 152 adult trees) of 177 Spondias radlkoferi (Anacardiaceae) seeds deposited by the spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) in latrines located beneath 17 sleeping-trees in two continuous forest sites (CF) and two forest fragments (FF) in the Lacandona rain forest, Mexico. We estimated mean parent-offspring (PO) distances per latrine and, for those seeds (54% of seeds) with more than one candidate parent (i.e. the potential maternal and parental parents), we also estimated parent-parent (PP) distances per latrine, and tested if PO and PP distances differed between forest types. Global PO and PP distances per latrine averaged 682 m (range = 83–1741 m) and 610 m (range = 74–2339 m), respectively, and did not differ significantly between CF and FF. This suggests that pollen dispersal is extensive in both forest types and that long seed dispersal distances (>100 m) are common, thus supporting the hypothesis that the spider monkey is an effective seed disperser of S. radlkoferi in continuous and fragmented forests.
In 2015 Dhruv Raina published Needham's Indian Network: The Search for a Home for the History of Science in India (1950–1970), bringing to light the long-range networks that institutionalized the disciplinary history of science in post-colonial India, and demonstrating the intellectual and infrastructural contributions of Joseph Needham (1900–1995) in this endeavour. This paper takes a different approach and turns to the way that Needham perceived Indian vis-à-vis Chinese civilization, and the role India played in Needham's historiography of science. It turns out that Needham's most sustained engagement with India could be found in his histories of medicine, bodily practices and alchemical traditions. In the first section of the paper, I outline the key concepts of ‘Grand Titration’ and ‘oecumenical science’ that animated Needham's historiography, which clarifies why Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture, occupies a privileged status. The second section elaborates on Needham's scholarship and vision of acupuncture, involving the verification of acupuncture's reality and efficacy via Western biomedicine. He thought acupuncture would be China's unique contribution to a new ‘universal medicine’ in the modern age, but by contrast Needham saw little worth refurbishing in Indian medicine, arguing via an investigation in yoga that Indian practices were generally less ‘materialist’ and less ‘proto-scientific’. In the third section, I turn my attention to Needham's preoccupation with the history of alchemy around the world, and discuss his theorization on transmission and circulation of scientific knowledge. I comment on Needham's commitment to the thesis that European alchemy was a melting pot of Chinese, Indian, Persian, Arabic, Greek, Egyptian and Roman ideas and practices. While Needham reserved his ‘deepest love’ and ‘profoundest desire’ for Chinese civilization, India on the other hand often occupied a secondary status in his historical accounts, and in the conclusion I move from a critique of Needham's preconceptions to reflect on the writing of the history of non-Western science.
In this study, the genetic variability among 130 accessions of the Portuguese germplasm collection of Cucurbita pepo L. maintained at the Banco Português de Germoplasma Vegetal was assessed using AFLP (amplified fragment length polymorphism) and RAPD (random amplified polymorphic DNA) techniques for the identification of a genetically diverse core group of accessions for field phenotypic analysis. The surprisingly completely different molecular patterns exhibited by multiple accessions was later confirmed in the distribution of the putative C. pepo plants into two clusters drastically separated at a very low level of genetic similarity (DICE coefficient = 0.37). Additional analyses with RAPD and ISSR (inter single sequence repeat) markers and the introduction of standard genotypes of C. maxima L. and C. moschata L. into the analyses allowed the identification of multiple accessions of the last species wrongly included in the C. pepo collection. This study is a good example of the usefulness of DNA markers in the establishment and management of plant germplasm collections.
This section welcomes submissions addressing literature as a means to explore ethical issues arising in healthcare. “Literature” will be understood broadly, including fiction and creative nonfiction, illness narratives, drama, and poetry; film studies might be considered if the films are adaptations from a literary work. Topics include in-depth analysis of literary works as well as theoretical contributions, discussions, and commentary about narrative approaches to disease and medicine, the way literature shapes the relationship between patients and healthcare professionals, the role of speculative fiction as a testing ground for future scenarios in healthcare, and so on. Articles discussing the uses of literature for bioethics education and outreach will be particularly appreciated. Research on literature not originally written in English will be considered as long as it has also been published in translation. Submissions should include an abstract and should conform to the CQ Guidelines for Contributors. To submit an article or discuss a suitable topic, write to Antonio Casado da Rocha at email@example.com.
Shell bed levels in the Low Head Member of the early Oligocene Polonez Cove Formation at King George Island, West Antarctica, are re-interpreted based on sedimentological and taphonomic data. The highly fossiliferous Polonez Cove Formation is characterized by basal coastal marine sandstones, overlain by conglomerates and breccias deposited in fan-delta systems. The shell beds are mainly composed of pectinid bivalve shells of Leoclunipecten gazdzickii and occur in the basal portion of the Low Head Member. Three main episodes of bioclastic deposition are recorded. Although these shell beds were previously interpreted as shelly tempestites, we present an alternative explanation: the low fragmentation rates and low size sorting of the bioclasts resulted from winnowing due to tidal currents (background or diurnal condition) in the original bivalve habitat. The final deposition (episodic condition) was associated with subaqueous gravity driven flows. This new interpretation fits with the scenario of a prograding fan-delta front, which transported shell accumulations for short distances near the depositional site, possibly between fair-weather and storm wave bases. This work raises the notion that not every shell bed with similar sedimentological and taphonomic features (such as geometry, basal contact, degree of packing and shell orientation in the matrix) is made in the same way.
Congenital heart diseases are common in foetuses, with an incidence greater than six times that of chromosomal abnormalities; however, experts in cardiac anatomy have evaluated only the foetuses of pregnant women with increased risk for congenital heart disease. Over the years, it has become clear that congenital heart disease occur in foetuses of low-risk women. In the mid-1980s, a proposal to expand the assessment of cardiac anatomy was presented to obstetricians in order to improve prenatal screening. With the aim to systematise and improve the diagnosis of congenital heart disease in foetuses, the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology established an ultrasound heart examination guideline. In this review, we have described the important features of this guideline and discussed the applications of this tool in clinical practice.
We performed a literature search of the National Library of Medicine for publications released between 2000 and 2012; we used search terms pertinent to congenital heart disease, such as foetal echocardiography, foetal heart and cardiac screening examination.
The guidelines serve as a standard and help to systematise the screening for congenital heart diseases, but we think that some topics may be added to design the most appropriate screening method. However, we cannot expand the topics to be evaluated in this examination without good training of sonographers who undergo this screening.
Although the screening standardisation is a good tool to be used in day-to-day practice, the increment of aortic and ductal archs and colour Doppler to heart screening could be useful to detect further cardiac defects.
Two dimensional (2D) carbon nanomaterials such as few graphite layers or graphene are extensively studied due to their unique properties suitable to be exploiting in a wide range of technological applications. Recently, the growth of high quality graphene monolayers using insects and waste as carbon precursors was reported in the literature. This methodology opened a new way to convert the waste carbon into a high-value-added product. In the present work coconut coir dust, an agroindustrial biomass, was used as biotemplate for preparing carbonaceous materials. Carbon structures were synthesized through pyrolysis under nitrogen atmosphere (100mL/min) at 500, 1000, and 1500°C during 2 hours. Starting materials were coconut coir dust in natura and coconut coir dust hydrothermally treated. The samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, Raman Spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM). Raman spectra showed the D band for all samples, related to the presence of defects in sp2 carbon structure and G band, indicative of graphite crystallites. It was also observed that the sample carbonized at 1500°C from coconut coir dust treated by hydrothermal method showed G’ band at 2685cm-1 associated with the stacking order along the c-axis. X-ray diffraction analysis showed a broad peak around 2θ= 22° related to the presence of amorphous carbon. By increasing the pyrolysis temperature changes in XRD diffractograms were observed and the sample which was pyrolysed at 1500°C from coconut coir dust hydrothermally treated showed peaks at 2θ= 26.5°, 43° e 45° assigned to (002), (100) (101) graphite plans, respectively. Scanning electron microscopy images showed the presence of overlapping sheets and plates. Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) images of coconut coir dust in natura unveiled the formation of amorphous sheet. Coconut coir dust in natura and treated by the hydrothermal method pyrolysed at 1500°C, lead to the formation of some graphitic domains and few graphene layers.
The notion of autonomy has been crucial in the development of bioethics and, particularly, the ethics of health care. Generally speaking, autonomy refers to the capacity of individuals to act in the world in a self-regulated way, “the having or making of one's own laws” (Oxford English Dictionary). In this sense, agents are autonomous if their actions are truly their own. In ancient Greece the term was applied to the polis, referring to the self-government of city-states; later, modern philosophy extended this to the ethical and political self-determination of human beings (Schneewind 1998). The idea of autonomy as moral freedom already appears in the writings of Rousseau and is central to Kant's philosophy, for which the autonomy of the will is a necessary condition for moral action, and the moral principles or laws that dictate how we must act originate in reason. In this sense, autonomy is understood as the capacity to act in accordance with internal norms, not controlled by others, but also as the obligation established by one's duty to consider others as autonomous beings; that is, their right to be respected as such and therefore, not to be externally manipulated (Etxeberria & Casado 2008). In the field of bioethics, most scholarship has focused on this second meaning of autonomy. In this chapter, however, we argue that the first sense of the term, that is, the capacity to be autonomous, needs to be re-examined within a naturalist approach so as to explain what it means for an agent to be autonomous.
Phytosterols (PS) are recommended to reduce LDL-cholesterol. However, the influence of cholesterol and fat intake on the lipid-lowering effect of PS in mildly hypercholesterolaemia is unclear. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the efficacy of PS is related to the composition of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol intake. Additionally, serum carotenoid content was analysed to evaluate to what extent it was undermined by PS. This was a 3-month randomised, parallel trial with a three-arm design. Patients were divided into three groups: healthy diet (n 24), healthy diet+PS (n 31) and free diet+PS (n 29), receiving 2 g/d of PS. Healthy and free diets were characterised by a daily ingestion of 6·8 % of saturated fat and 194·4 mg of cholesterol and 12·7 % of saturated fat and 268·1 mg of cholesterol, respectively. After PS therapy, patients receiving the healthy diet+PS or a free diet+PS exhibited a similar reduction in total cholesterol (6·7 and 5·5 %), LDL-cholesterol (9·6 and 7·0 %), non-HDL-cholesterol (12·2 and 8·9 %) and apo B-100/apo A-I ratio (11·5 and 11·6 %), respectively. In patients following the healthy diet, (β-carotene concentration rose by 26·9 %, whereas the β-carotene and lycopene levels dropped by 21·0 and 22·8 % in the group receiving the free diet+PS, respectively. No change was observed in carotenoid levels in healthy diet+PS group. In conclusion, the efficacy of PS in relation to lipoprotein profile is not influenced by saturated fat or dietary cholesterol intake, which confirms the positive effect of healthy diet therapy in improving the negative effects that PS exert on carotenoid levels.