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Human embryos generated in vitro have a high incidence of chromosomal abnormalities that negatively affect pregnancy rate. Embryos generated in vitro secrete extracellular vesicles (EVs) into the culture medium that could be used potentially as indicators of embryo competence. This research aimed to evaluate the concentration and size of EVs and their gDNA content as an indicator of developmental competence in human embryos. Human embryos generated by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) were classified morphologically as of either TOP, FAIR or POOR quality. Culture medium and developmentally arrested embryos (which were not able to be used for embryo transfer) were collected. Microvesicles, exosomes (MV/Exo) and apoptotic bodies (ABs) were isolated from culture medium. Nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) analysis were performed to evaluate EVs and their gDNA content. From NTA, the diameter (mean) of MVs/Exo from TOP quality embryos was higher (112.17 nm) compared with that of FAIR (108.02) and POOR quality embryos (102.78 nm) (P < 0.05). aCGH analysis indicated that MVs/Exo and ABs carried gDNA with the presence of 23 chromosome pairs. However, when arrested embryos were compared with their respective MVs/Exo and ABs, the latter had an increased rate of chromosomal abnormalities (24.9%) compared with embryos (8.7%) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the size of EVs from culture medium might be an alternative for evaluating competence of human embryos, however more studies are needed to validate the use of gDNA from EVs as an indicator of embryo competence.
Protein supplementation may be beneficial for patients with chronic liver disease (CLD). This study compared the effects of whey protein isolate (WP) and casein (CA) supplementation on nutritional status and immune parameters of CLD patients who were randomly assigned to take 20 g of WP or CA twice per d as a supplement for 15 d. Body composition, muscle functionality and plasmatic immunomarkers were assessed before and after supplementation. Patients were also classified according to the model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) into less (MELD < 15) and more (MELD ≥ 15) severe disease groups. Malnutrition, determined by the Subjective Global Assessment at baseline, was observed in 57·4 % and 54·2 % of patients in the WP and CA groups, respectively (P = 0·649). Protein intake was lower at baseline in the WP group than in the CA group (P = 0·035), with no difference after supplementation (P = 0·410). Both the WP and CA MELD < 15 groups increased protein intake after supplementation according to the intragroup analysis. No differences were observed in body composition, muscle functionality, most plasma cytokines (TNF, IL-6, IL-1β and interferon-γ), immunomodulatory proteins (sTNFR1, sTNFR2, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor) or immunomodulatory hormones (adiponectin, insulin and leptin) after supplementation in the WP groups at the two assessed moments. WP supplementation increased the levels of interferon-γ-induced protein-10/CXCL10 (P = 0·022), eotaxin-1/CCL11 (P = 0·031) and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1/CCL2 (P = 0·018) and decreased IL-5 (P = 0·027), including among those in the MELD ≥ 15 group, for whom IL-10 was also increased (P = 0·008). Thus, WP consumption by patients with CLD impacted the immunomodulatory responses when compared with CA with no impact on nutritional status.
This study aimed to examine the effects of re-ensiling time and Lactobacillus buchneri on the fermentation profile, chemical composition and aerobic stability of sugarcane silages. The experiment was set up as a repeated measure design consisting of four air-exposure periods (EP)(0, 6, 12, and 24 h) microbial additive (A) (L. buchneri; or lack of there), with five replicates. Sugarcane was ground through a stationary forage chopper and ensiled in four plastic drums of 200-L capacity. After 210 days of storage, the drums were opened and half of the silage mass was treated with L. buchneri at the concentration of 105 cfu/g of forage. Subsequently, the silages were divided into stacks. The re-ensiling process was started immediately, at 0, 6, 12 and 24-hour intervals, by transferring the material to PVC mini-silos. Silos were opened after 120 days of re-ensiling. The use of L. buchneri reduced butyrate concentration but did not change ethanol or acetic acid concentrations and aerobic stability. An interaction effect between L. buchneri and re-ensiling time was observed for dry matter (DM) losses and composition. Lactobacillus buchneri is not effective in improving aerobic stability in re-ensiled sugarcane silages. However, less DM is lost in silages treated with L. buchneri and exposed to air for 24 h. Re-ensiling sugar cane in up to 24 h of exposure to air does not change final product quality.
This study presents two years of characterization of a warm temperate rhodolith bed in order to analyse how certain environmental changes influence the community ecology. The biomass of rhodoliths and associated species were analysed during this period and in situ experiments were conducted to evaluate the primary production, calcification and respiration of the dominant species of rhodoliths and epiphytes. The highest total biomass of rhodoliths occurred during austral winter. Lithothamnion crispatum was the most abundant rhodolith species in austral summer. Epiphytic macroalgae occurred only in January 2015, with Padina gymnospora being the most abundant. Considering associated fauna, the biomass of Mollusca increased from February 2015 to February 2016. Population densities of key reef fish species inside and around the rhodolith beds showed significant variations in time. The densities of grouper (carnivores/piscivores) increased in time, especially from 2015 to 2016. On the other hand, grunts (macroinvertebrate feeders) had a modest decrease over time (from 2014 to 2016). Other parameters such as primary production and calcification of L. crispatum were higher under enhanced irradiance, yet decreased in the presence of P. gymnospora. Community structure and physiological responses can be explained by the interaction of abiotic and biotic factors, which are driven by environmental changes over time. Biomass changes can indicate that herbivores play a role in limiting the growth of epiphytes, and this is beneficial to the rhodoliths because it decreases competition for environmental resources with fleshy algae.
The co-infection between visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has increased in several countries in the world. The current serological tests are not suitable since they present low sensitivity to detect the most of VL/HIV cases, and a more precise diagnosis should be performed. In this context, in the present study, an immunoproteomics approach was performed using Leishmania infantum antigenic extracts and VL, HIV and VL/HIV patients sera, besides healthy subjects samples; aiming to identify antigenic markers for these clinical conditions. Results showed that 43 spots were recognized by antibodies in VL and VL/HIV sera, and 26 proteins were identified by mass spectrometry. Between them, β-tubulin was expressed, purified and tested in ELISA experiments as a proof of concept for validation of our immunoproteomics findings and results showed high sensitivity and specificity values to detect VL and VL/HIV patients. In conclusion, the identified proteins in the present work could be considered as candidates for future studies aiming to improvement of the diagnosis of VL and VL/HIV co-infection.
A 1D reactive transport model has been implemented in iCP (interface COMSOL Multiphysics and PhreeqC) to assess the corrosion of Spent Fuel (SF), considered as homogeneous UO2(am,hyd) doped with Pd. The model couples: i) generation of water radiolysis species by alpha and beta radiation considering the complete water radiolysis system with the kinetic reactions involving: H+, OH-, O2, H2O2, H2, HO2-, HO2·, O·, O-, O2-, H·, ·OH and e- ii) processes occurring in the spent fuel surface: oxidative dissolution reactions of UO2(am,hyd) and subsequent reduction of oxidized fuel, considering H2 activation by Pd, and iii) corrosion of Fe(s) in oxic and anoxic conditions. Process i) has been implemented in COMSOL and processes ii) and iii) have been implemented in PHREEQC with their kinetic constants being calibrated with different sets of experimental data published in the open literature. The model yields a UO2(am,hyd) dissolution rates similar to the values selected in safety assessments.
The search for life in the Universe is a fundamental problem of astrobiology and modern science. The current progress in the detection of terrestrial-type exoplanets has opened a new avenue in the characterization of exoplanetary atmospheres and in the search for biosignatures of life with the upcoming ground-based and space missions. To specify the conditions favourable for the origin, development and sustainment of life as we know it in other worlds, we need to understand the nature of global (astrospheric), and local (atmospheric and surface) environments of exoplanets in the habitable zones (HZs) around G-K-M dwarf stars including our young Sun. Global environment is formed by propagated disturbances from the planet-hosting stars in the form of stellar flares, coronal mass ejections, energetic particles and winds collectively known as astrospheric space weather. Its characterization will help in understanding how an exoplanetary ecosystem interacts with its host star, as well as in the specification of the physical, chemical and biochemical conditions that can create favourable and/or detrimental conditions for planetary climate and habitability along with evolution of planetary internal dynamics over geological timescales. A key linkage of (astro)physical, chemical and geological processes can only be understood in the framework of interdisciplinary studies with the incorporation of progress in heliophysics, astrophysics, planetary and Earth sciences. The assessment of the impacts of host stars on the climate and habitability of terrestrial (exo)planets will significantly expand the current definition of the HZ to the biogenic zone and provide new observational strategies for searching for signatures of life. The major goal of this paper is to describe and discuss the current status and recent progress in this interdisciplinary field in light of presentations and discussions during the NASA Nexus for Exoplanetary System Science funded workshop ‘Exoplanetary Space Weather, Climate and Habitability’ and to provide a new roadmap for the future development of the emerging field of exoplanetary science and astrobiology.
Kinematic indicators, including certain strain fringes, represent an important group of structures related to the progressive deformation in rocks. The evolution of these fibrous textures can be explained by the combination of multiple mechanisms of deformation and fluid flow, mainly controlled by the orientation of the strain field and the morphology of the grains. In general, the observations are done with an optical microscope and compared with computational models of growth. This work proposes a combination of crystallographic and cathodoluminescence data obtained in rocks from banded iron formations of the Iron Quadrangle in Brazil to represent an example of how complementary analytical techniques can be useful to understand geological problems. The chosen sample exhibits a strain fringe structure of quartz around a clast of magnetite partially transformed into goethite and hematite. Through the crystallographic data it was possible to identify the grain boundary morphology and domains of low deformation areas. On the other hand, the cathodoluminescence signal evidenced the occurrence of grains with a higher concentration of crystalline defects.
The objective of this study was to determine the serotype distribution and antibiotic resistance of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) strains in children from Lima, Peru, before and after the introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7), which was introduced in the national immunisation program on 2009. We conducted a prospective, multicentre, passive surveillance IPD study during 2006–2008 and 2009–2011, before and right after the introduction of PCV7 in Peru. The study was performed in 11 hospitals and five private laboratories in Lima, Peru, in patients <18 years old, with sterile site cultures yielding Streptococcus pneumoniae. In total 159 S. pneumoniae isolates were recovered. There was a decrease in the incidence of IPD in children <2 years old after the introduction of PCV7 (18.4/100 000 vs. 5.1/100 000, P = 0.004). Meningitis cases decreased significantly in the second period (P = 0.036) as well as the overall case fatality rate (P = 0.025), including a decreased case fatality rate of pneumonia (16.3% to 0%, P = 0.04). PCV7 serotypes showed a downward trend. Vaccine-preventable serotypes caused 78.9% of IPD cases, mainly 14, 6B, 5, 19F and 23F. A non-significant increase in erythromycin resistance was reported. Our findings suggest that the introduction of PCV7 led to a significant decrease of IPD in children under 2 years old and in the overall case fatality rate.
This paper describes a model of electron energization and cyclotron-maser emission applicable to astrophysical magnetized collisionless shocks. It is motivated by the work of Begelman, Ergun and Rees [Astrophys. J. 625, 51 (2005)] who argued that the cyclotron-maser instability occurs in localized magnetized collisionless shocks such as those expected in blazar jets. We report on recent research carried out to investigate electron acceleration at collisionless shocks and maser radiation associated with the accelerated electrons. We describe how electrons accelerated by lower-hybrid waves at collisionless shocks generate cyclotron-maser radiation when the accelerated electrons move into regions of stronger magnetic fields. The electrons are accelerated along the magnetic field and magnetically compressed leading to the formation of an electron velocity distribution having a horseshoe shape due to conservation of the electron magnetic moment. Under certain conditions the horseshoe electron velocity distribution function is unstable to the cyclotron-maser instability [Bingham and Cairns, Phys. Plasmas 7, 3089 (2000); Melrose, Rev. Mod. Plasma Phys. 1, 5 (2017)].
In the current study, phage-exposed mimotopes as targets against tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) were selected by means of bio-panning cycles employing sera of TL patients and healthy subjects, besides the immune stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from untreated and treated TL patients and healthy subjects. The clones were evaluated regarding their specific interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and interleukin-4 (IL-4) production in the in vitro cultures, and selectivity and specificity values were calculated, and those presenting the best results were selected for the in vivo experiments. Two clones, namely A4 and A8, were identified and used in immunization protocols from BALB/c mice to protect against Leishmania amazonensis infection. Results showed a polarized Th1 response generated after vaccination, being based on significantly higher levels of IFN-γ, IL-2, IL-12, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF); which were associated with lower production of specific IL-4, IL-10 and immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibodies. Vaccinated mice presented significant reductions in the parasite load in the infected tissue and distinct organs, when compared with controls. In conclusion, we presented a strategy to identify new mimotopes able to induce Th1 response in PBMCs from TL patients and healthy subjects, and that were successfully used to protect against L. amazonensis infection.
Reducing the risk of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) transmission is still a public health priority. The development of effective control strategies relies on the quantification of the effects of prophylactic and therapeutic measures in disease incidence. Although several assays can be used to estimate HIV incidence, these estimates are limited by the poor performance of these assays in distinguishing recent from long-standing infections. To address such limitation, we have developed an assay to titrate p24-specific IgG3 antibodies as a marker of recent infection. The assay is based on a recombinant p24 protein capable to detect total IgG antibodies in sera using a liquid micro array and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Subsequently, the assay was optimised to detect and titrate anti-p24 IgG3 responses in a panel of sequential specimens from seroconverters over 24 months. The kinetics of p24-specific IgG3 titres revealed a transient peak in the 4 to 5-month period after seroconversion. It was followed by a sharp decline, allowing infections with less than 6 months to be distinguished from older ones. The developed assay exhibited a mean duration of recent infection of 144 days and a false-recent rate of ca. 14%. Our findings show that HIV-1 p24-specific IgG3 titres can be used as a tool to evaluate HIV incidence in serosurveys and to monitor the efficacy of vaccines and other transmission control strategies.
We evaluated the effects of heat stress (HS) and methionine supplementation on biological markers of stress and expression of the genes for superoxide dismutase (SOD), thioredoxin (TRx), thioredoxin reductase 1 (TRxR1) and methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA) in broilers aged 1 to 21 or 22 to 42 days. The broilers were divided into two treatments, one with the recommended level of methionine supplementation (MS, supplementation of dl-2-hydroxy-4-methylthiobutanoic acid (dl-HMTBA)) and one without methionine supplementation (MD). The animals were maintained at a temperature of thermal comfort or one of HS (38°C for 24 h). Mortality was only observed in 42-day-old broilers exposed to HS and fed the MD diet, and the rate was 5%. Starter period: we observed an interaction effect between diet and temperature on the gene expression of TRxR1 and MsrA, and expression of these genes was higher in the HS animals that received the MS diet than that in birds with the MD diet. Grower period: the expression of SOD, TRxR1 and MsrA genes, activities of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and creatine kinase (CK) and content of creatinine were influenced by both study variables. In the HS animals, the expression of these genes, AST activity and creatinine content increased and CK activity decreased. In the animals on the MD diet, the expression of these genes and AST and creatinine values were higher and the CK activity was lower than those for the birds on the MS diet. Our results indicated that under HS conditions, the supplementation with dl-HMTBA could mitigate major damage caused by stress through the action on some genes related to TRx complex activity.
Lychnophora ericoides Mart. (Asteraceae), popularly known as arnica, is a plant species subjected to non-timber forest products extraction. Evidence is mounting that some local populations are on the brink of extinction. However, demographic studies of Lychnophora ericoides are rare. Therefore, as a step towards conservation, a remnant population of Lychnophora ericoides located in an area of the Cerrado (Brazilian Savanna) in Central Brazil was evaluated from 2010 through 2014. Disturbances such as wildfires and harvesting of Lychnophora ericoides were randomly distributed throughout the study period in this area. Four annual transition matrices (A1, A2, A3 and A4) were constructed, based on life stages. The main results of studies of population dynamics for this species are as follows: 1) population growth rates (λ) with 95% confidence intervals indicated a declining population in all periods from 2010 to 2014; 2) stochastic population growth rate considering the four matrices was < 1 with value λ = 0.358 and CI95% = (0.354–0.362); 3) survival with permanence at the same stage of reproductive adult individuals (46–80%) contributed most to population growth rate, based on elasticity analysis; 4) the population is much less likely to have increases in density, compared with reduction, for all intervals from 2010 to 2014, based on transient indices; 5) the low value of λ in the high-mortality year was caused by lower stasis of individuals in the seedling or sapling and juvenile life stages, as well as fecundity in the 2011–2012 and 2012–2013 intervals, as shown by a life table response experiment; and 6) 100% of the population will probably be extinct within 15 years. There is evidence that the main cause for local extinction of Lychnophora ericoides could be the effects of frequent wildfires. Based on these results, it is suggested that the time has come for significant conservation efforts to rescue this population, including monitoring, protection and education as the first steps towards protection of this vulnerable plant species.
Recent studies with Nile tilapia have shown divergent results regarding the possibility of selecting on morphometric measurements to promote indirect genetic gains in fillet yield (FY). The use of indirect selection for fillet traits is important as these traits are only measurable after harvesting. Random regression models are a powerful tool in association studies to identify the best time point to measure and select animals. Random regression models can also be applied in a multiple trait approach to analyze indirect response to selection, which would avoid the need to sacrifice candidate fish. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the genetic relationships between several body measurements, weight and fillet traits throughout the growth period and to evaluate the possibility of indirect selection for fillet traits in Nile tilapia. Data were collected from 2042 fish and was divided into two subsets. The first subset was used to estimate genetic parameters, including the permanent environmental effect for BW and body measurements (8758 records for each body measurement, as each fish was individually weighed and measured a maximum of six times). The second subset (2042 records for each trait) was used to estimate genetic correlations and heritabilities, which enabled the calculation of correlated response efficiencies between body measurements and the fillet traits. Heritability estimates across ages ranged from 0.05 to 0.5 for height, 0.02 to 0.48 for corrected length (CL), 0.05 to 0.68 for width, 0.08 to 0.57 for fillet weight (FW) and 0.12 to 0.42 for FY. All genetic correlation estimates between body measurements and FW were positive and strong (0.64 to 0.98). The estimates of genetic correlation between body measurements and FY were positive (except for CL at some ages), but weak to moderate (−0.08 to 0.68). These estimates resulted in strong and favorable correlated response efficiencies for FW and positive, but moderate for FY. These results indicate the possibility of achieving indirect genetic gains for FW and by selecting for morphometric traits, but low efficiency for FY when compared with direct selection.
American tegumentary leishmaniasis is caused by different species of Leishmania. This protozoan employs several mechanisms to subvert the microbicidal activity of macrophages and, given the limited efficacy of current therapies, the development of alternative treatments is essential. Animal venoms are known to exhibit a variety of pharmacological activities, including antiparasitic effects. Crotoxin (CTX) is the main component of Crotalus durissus terrificus venom, and it has several biological effects. Nevertheless, there is no report of CTX activity during macrophage – Leishmania interactions. Thus, the main objective of this study was to evaluate whether CTX has a role in macrophage M1 polarization during Leishmania infection murine macrophages, Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes and L. amazonensis-infected macrophages were challenged with CTX. MTT [3-(4,5dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrasodium bromide] toxicity assays were performed on murine macrophages, and no damage was observed in these cells. Promastigotes, however, were affected by treatment with CTX (IC50 = 22·86 µg mL−1) as were intracellular amastigotes. Macrophages treated with CTX also demonstrated increased reactive oxygen species production. After they were infected with Leishmania, macrophages exhibited an increase in nitric oxide production that converged into an M1 activation profile, as suggested by their elevated production of the cytokines interleukin-6 and tumour necrosis factor-α and changes in their morphology. CTX was able to reverse the L. amazonensis-mediated inhibition of macrophage immune responses and is capable of polarizing macrophages to the M1 profile, which is associated with a better prognosis for cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment.
This study was aimed to investigate associations between birth weight and multiple adiposity indicators in youth, and to examine potential mediating effects by biological maturation. This was a school-based study involving 981 Brazilian adolescents aged between 10 and 17 years. Birth weight was reported retrospectively by mothers. Maturation was estimated by age of peak height velocity. Adiposity indicators included body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and percent body fat estimated from triceps and subscapular skinfolds. Multilevel mediation analyses were performed using the Sobel test, adjusted for chronological age, gestational age, cardiorespiratory fitness and socio-economic status. Except for body fat in girls, biological maturation partly or fully mediated (P<0.05) positive relationships between birth weight with all other obesity indicators in both sexes with their respective values of indirect effects with 95% confidence intervals: BMI [boys: 0.44 (0.06–0.82); girls: 0.38 (0.13–0.64)], waist circumference [boys: 1.14 (0.22–2.05); girls: 0.87 (0.26–1.48)] and body fat [boys: 0.60 (0.13–1.07)]. To conclude, birth weight is associated with elevated obesity risk in adolescence and biological maturation seems to at least partly mediate this relationship.
The Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), which is the total radiation arriving at Earth's atmosphere from the Sun, is one of the most important forcing of the Earths climate. Measurements of the TSI have been made employing instruments on board several space-based platforms during the last four solar cycles. However, combining these measurements is still challenging due to the degradation of the sensor elements and the long-term stability of the electronics. Here we describe the preliminary efforts to design an absolute radiometer based on the principle of electrical substitution that is under development at Brazilian's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Patients with a deletion at chromosome 22q11.2 (22q11DS) have 30% lifetime risk of developing a psychosis. People fulfilling clinical criteria for ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis have 30% risk of developing a psychosis within 2 years. Both high-risk groups show white-matter (WM) abnormalities in microstructure and volume compared to healthy controls (HC), which have been related to psychotic symptoms. Comparisons of WM pathology between these two groups may specify WM markers related to genetic and clinical risk factors.
Fractional anisotropy (FA), axial diffusivity (AD), radial diffusivity (RD) and mean diffusivity (MD) were assessed using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and WM volume with structural MRI, in 23 UHR patients, 21 22q11DS patients, and 33 HC.
Compared to UHR patients 22q11DS patients had (1) lower AD and RD in corpus callosum (CC), cortical fasciculi, and anterior thalamic radiation (ATR), (2) higher FA in CC and ATR, and (3) lower occipital and superior temporal gyrus WM volume. Compared to HC, 22q11DS patients had (1) lower AD and RD throughout cortical fasciculi and (2) higher FA in ATR, CC and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. Compared to HC, UHR patients had (1) higher mean MD, RD, and AD in CC, ATR and cortical fasciculi, (2) no differences in FA.
UHR and 22q11DS patients share a susceptibility for developing psychosis yet were characterized by distinct patterns of WM alterations relative to HC. While UHR patients were typified by signs suggestive of aberrant myelination, 22q11DS subjects showed signs suggestive of lower axonal integrity.
Collisionless shocks are shocks in which the mean-free path is much larger than the shock front. They are ubiquitous in astrophysics and the object of much current attention as they are known to be excellent particle accelerators that could be the key to the cosmic rays enigma. While the scenario leading to the formation of a fluid shock is well known, less is known about the formation of a collisionless shock. We present theoretical and numerical results on the formation of such shocks when two relativistic and symmetric plasma shells (pair or electron/proton) collide. As the two shells start to interpenetrate, the overlapping region turns Weibel unstable. A key concept is the one of trapping time τp, which is the time when the turbulence in the central region has grown enough to trap the incoming flow. For the pair case, this time is simply the saturation time of the Weibel instability. For the electron/proton case, the filaments resulting from the growth of the electronic and protonic Weibel instabilities, need to grow further for the trapping time to be reached. In either case, the shock formation time is 2τp in two-dimensional (2D), and 3τp in 3D. Our results are successfully checked by particle-in-cell simulations and may help designing experiments aiming at producing such shocks in the laboratory.