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Early life adversity (ELA) has been associated with inflammation and immunosenescence, as well as hyporeactivity of the HPA axis. Because the immune system and the HPA axis are tightly intertwined around the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), we examined peripheral GR functionality in the EpiPath cohort among participants who either had been exposed to ELA (separation from parents and/or institutionalization followed by adoption; n = 40) or had been reared by their biological parents (n = 72).
Expression of the strict GR target genes FKBP5 and GILZ as well as total and 1F and 1H GR transcripts were similar between groups. Furthermore, there were no differences in GR sensitivity, examined by the effects of dexamethasone on IL6 production in LPS-stimulated whole blood. Although we did not find differences in methylation at the GR 1F exon or promoter region, we identified a region of the GR 1H promoter (CpG 1-9) that showed lower methylation levels in ELA.
Our results suggest that peripheral GR signaling was unperturbed in our cohort and the observed immune phenotype does not appear to be secondary to an altered GR response to the perturbed HPA axis and glucocorticoid (GC) profile, although we are limited in our measures of GR activity and time points.
This is a copy of the slides presented at the meeting but not formally written up for the volume.
Complex oxides show a broad spectrum of intrinsic functionalities, such as ferroelectricity, magnetism, superconductivity or multiferroic behavior, which can be utilized and combined in electronic devices by the growth and design of heterostructures. Physical properties may arise in such multilayers that are not found in either of their constituents. A spectacular example for such a phenomenon, a conducting and highly mobile electron gas, is formed at the interface between the two insulating, dielectric perovskites LaAlO3 and SrTiO3  which can be easily tuned by transverse electric fields . In our contribution we will present recent studies of the microstructure of the multilayer and we will correlate them with the transport properties of the electron gas.  A. Ohtomo, H. Y. Hwang, Nature 427, 423-426 (2004).  S. Thiel, G. Hammerl, A. Schmehl, C. W. Schneider, J. Mannhart, Science 313, 1942-1945 (2006).
In an effort to optimize patient outcomes, considerable attention is being devoted to identifying patient characteristics associated with major depressive disorder (MDD) and its responsiveness to treatment. In the current study, we extend this work by evaluating whether early change in these sensitivities is associated with response to antidepressant treatment for MDD.
Participants included 210 patients with MDD who were treated with 8 weeks of escitalopram and 112 healthy comparison participants. Of the original 210 patients, 90 non-responders received adjunctive aripiprazole for an additional 8 weeks. Symptoms of depression and anhedonia were assessed at the beginning of treatment and 8 weeks later in both samples. Reward and punishment sensitivity were assessed using the BIS/BAS scales measured at the initiation of treatment and 2 weeks later.
Individuals with MDD exhibited higher punishment sensitivity and lower reward sensitivity compared with healthy comparison participants. Change in reward sensitivity during the first 2 weeks of treatment was associated with improved depressive symptoms and anhedonia following 8 weeks of treatment with escitalopram. Similarly, improvement in reward responsiveness during the first 2 weeks of adjunctive therapy with aripiprazole was associated with fewer symptoms of depression at post-treatment.
Findings highlight the predictive utility of early change in reward sensitivity during antidepressant treatment for major depression. In a clinical setting, a lack of change in early reward processing may signal a need to modify a patient's treatment plan with alternative or augmented treatment approaches.
Many molluscs may be infected with angiostrongylid larvae. Following the histopathological diagnosis of abdominal angiostrongyliasis in a grape farmer from southern Brazil, molluscs in the area were investigated. During a nocturnal search, 245 specimens of slugs were collected and identified as the invasive Chinese slug Meghimatium pictum. Angiostrongylus costaricensis worms were recovered from mice that were experimentally infected with larvae obtained from 11 (4.5%) of the molluscs. This study presents the first report of M. pictum being identified as an intermediate host for A. costaricensis. Most of the slugs were collected from grape plants, which suggests that transmission may be associated with grape consumption.
Compulsory admission can be experienced as devaluing and stigmatising by people with mental illness. Emotional reactions to involuntary hospitalisation and stigma-related stress may affect recovery, but longitudinal data are lacking. We, therefore, examined the impact of stigma-related emotional reactions and stigma stress on recovery over a 2-year period.
Shame and self-contempt as emotional reactions to involuntary hospitalisation, stigma stress, self-stigma and empowerment, as well as recovery were assessed among 186 individuals with serious mental illness and a history of recent involuntary hospitalisation.
More shame, self-contempt and stigma stress at baseline were correlated with increased self-stigma and reduced empowerment after 1 year. More stigma stress at baseline was associated with poor recovery after 2 years. In a longitudinal path analysis more stigma stress at baseline predicted poorer recovery after 2 years, mediated by decreased empowerment after 1 year, controlling for age, gender, symptoms and recovery at baseline.
Stigma stress may have a lasting detrimental effect on recovery among people with mental illness and a history of involuntary hospitalisation. Anti-stigma interventions that reduce stigma stress and programs that enhance empowerment could improve recovery. Future research should test the effect of such interventions on recovery.
We report on a new type of polymer electrolyte fuel cell based on a hydroxide ion conductive polymer combined with a non-noble chromium–nickel (Cr–Ni) catalyst for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR). We study variable fractions of Cr in Ni by density functional theory simulating the thermodynamic potentials characterizing the ORR. We found increased ORR catalytic activity employing the rotating disk electrode technique. The polarization curve and power densities measured for the constructed fuel cell indicate considerable performance improvement with the Cr–Ni catalyst. Thus we expect that this kind of fuel cell may open up alternative routes in fuel cell research using non-noble catalysts.
The Lippmann equation is considered as universal relationship between interfacial tension, double layer charge, and cell potential. Based on the framework of continuum thermo-electrodynamics, we provide some crucial new insights to this relation. For general interfaces such that the local curvature radius is large compared to the Debye length, we apply asymptotic analysis methods to obtain the Lippmann equation. We give precise definitions of the involved quantities and show that the interfacial tension of the Lippmann equation is composed of the surface tension of our general model, and contributions arising from the adjacent space charge layers that can only lower the interfacial tension. Moreover, it turns out that surface reactions can be consistently incorporated into the Lippmann equation, provided that there is no charge transfer from one side of the interface to the other. We apply the model to curved liquid metal electrodes and compare our model to experimental data of several mercury–electrolyte interfaces. We obtain qualitative and quantitative agreement in the 2 V potential range for various salt concentrations.
Electron tomography has become a valuable and widely used tool for studying the three-dimensional nanostructure of materials and biological specimens. However, the incomplete tilt range provided by conventional sample holders limits the fidelity and quantitative interpretability of tomographic images by leaving a “missing wedge” of unknown information in Fourier space. Imaging over a complete range of angles eliminates missing wedge artifacts and dramatically improves tomogram quality. Full-range tomography is usually accomplished using needle-shaped samples milled from bulk material with focused ion beams, but versatile specimen preparation methods for nanoparticles and other fine powders are lacking. In this work, we present a new preparation technique in which powder specimens are supported on carbon nanofibers that extend beyond the end of a tungsten needle. Using this approach, we produced tomograms of platinum fuel cell catalysts and gold-decorated strontium titanate photocatalyst specimens. Without the missing wedge, these tomograms are free from elongation artifacts, supporting straightforward automatic segmentation and quantitative analysis of key materials properties such as void size and connectivity, and surface area and curvature. This approach may be generalized to other samples that can be dispersed in liquids, such as biological structures, creating new opportunities for high-quality electron tomography across disciplines.
Roundup is a glyphosate-based herbicide (GBH) widely used in agriculture and may cause toxic effects in non-target organisms. Model organisms, as zebrafish, and analysis of gene expression by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) could be used to better understand the Roundup toxicity. A prerequisite for RT-qPCR is the availability of appropriate reference genes; however, they have not been described for Roundup-exposed fish. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression stability of six reference genes (rpl8, β-act, gapdh, b2m, ef1α, hprt1) and one expressed repetitive element (hatn10) in organs of males (brain, gill, testis) and females (ovary) of zebrafish exposed to Roundup WG at three concentrations (0.065, 0.65 and 6.5 mg N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine/l) for 7 days. Genes were ranked by geNorm, NormFinder, BestKeeper, Delta Ct and RefFinder, and their best combinations were determined by geNorm and NormFinder programs. The two most stable ranked genes were specific to each organ: gill (β-act; rpl8); brain (rpl8; β-act); testis (ef1α; gapdh); and ovary (rpl8; hprt1). The cat transcript level was used to evaluate the effect of normalization with these reference genes. These are the first suitable reference genes described for the analysis of gene expression in organs of Roundup-exposed zebrafish, and will allow investigations of the molecular mechanisms of Roundup toxicity.
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been described in humans and various animal species in different regions of the world. However, the knowledge on natural HEV infection in non-human primates and the corresponding risk of zoonotic transmission is scarce. To determine whether primates in captivity are affected by HEV infection, we investigated 259 individual sera of clinically healthy non-human primates of 14 species from nine German zoos. Using a commercial double-antigen-sandwich ELISA and a commercial IgG ELISA, 10 animals (3·9%) reacted positive in at least one assay. Three ape species and one Old World monkey species were among the seropositive animals: bonobo (Pan paniscus), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla), lar gibbon (Hylobates lar) and drill (Mandrillus leucophaeus). Testing for anti-HEV-IgM antibodies by commercial ELISA and for viral RNA by reverse-transcription real-time polymerase chain reaction resulted in negative results for all animals indicating the absence of acute HEV infections. In the past, no clinical signs of hepatitis were recorded for the seropositive animals. The results suggest that non-human primates in zoos can get naturally and subclinically infected with HEV or related hepeviruses. Future studies should evaluate potential sources and transmission routes of these infections and their impact on human health.