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Diabetes mellitus is a global epidemic, characterised as a heterogeneous group of metabolic disorders associated with high risk of CVD. Green banana biomass, which is composed of resistant starches (RS) and cannot be hydrolysed by amylases, delays gastric emptying and modulates insulin sensitivity, thus contributing to improve metabolic disorders. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of consumption of RS from green banana biomass on body composition, fasting plasma glucose, glycated Hb (HbA1c) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance in subjects with pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes on top of treatment. Middle-aged subjects (n 113) of both sexes with pre-diabetes (HbA1c: 5·7–6·4 %) or diabetes (HbA1c ≥ 6·5 %) were randomised to receive nutritional support plus green banana biomass (40 g) (RS: approximately 4·5 g, G1, n 62) or diet alone (G2, n 51) for 24 weeks. Body composition, biochemical analyses and dietary intake were evaluated at the beginning and end of the study. In the experimental group (G1), consumption of RS was associated with reduction in HbA1c (P = 0·0001), fasting glucose (P = 0·021), diastolic blood pressure (P = 0·010), body weight (P = 0·002), BMI (P = 0·006), waist and hip circumferences (P < 0·01), fat mass percentage (P = 0·001) and increase in lean mass percentage (P = 0·011). In controls (G2), reductions were observed in waist and hip circumferences (P < 0·01), HbA1c (P = 0·002) and high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (P = 0·020). In pre-diabetes or diabetes, non-significant differences were observed in the percentage reduction in HbA1c and fasting glucose in exploratory analyses. Our results indicate that the consumption of bioactive starches is a good dietary strategy to improve metabolic control and body composition.
Hepatocytes constitute the majority of hepatic cells, and play a key role in controlling systemic innate immunity, via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and by synthesizing complement and acute phase proteins. Leishmania infantum, a protozoan parasite that causes human and canine leishmaniasis, infects liver by establishing inside the Kupffer cells. The current study proposes the elucidation of the immune response generated by dog hepatocytes when exposed to L. infantum. Additionally, the impact of adding leishmanicidal compound, meglumine antimoniate (MgA), to parasite-exposed hepatocytes was also addressed. L. infantum presents a high tropism to hepatocytes, establishing strong membrane interactions. The possibility of L. infantum internalization by hepatocytes was raised, but not confirmed. Hepatocytes were able to recognize parasite presence, inducing PRRs [nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)1, NOD2 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)2] gene expression and generating a mix pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine response. Reduction of cytochrome P 450s enzyme activity was also observed concomitant with the inflammatory response. Addition of MgA increased NOD2, TLR4 and interleukin 10 gene expression, indicating an immunomodulatory role for MgA. Hepatocytes seem to have a major role in coordinating liver's innate immune response against L. infantum infection, activating inflammatory mechanisms, but always balancing the inflammatory response in order to avoid cell damage.
In this paper, we determine the growth rate of the exponential radiation amplification in the ion-channel laser, where a relativistic electron beam wiggles in a focusing ion channel that can be created in a wakefield accelerator. For the first time the radiation diffraction, which can limit the amplification, is taken into account. The electron beam quality requirements to obtain this amplification are also presented. It is shown that both the beam energy and wiggler parameter spreads should be limited. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations of the self-consistent ion-channel laser confirm our theoretical predictions.
The current filamentation instability (CFI) is capable of generating strong magnetic fields relevant to the explanation of radiation processes in astrophysical objects and leads to the onset of particle acceleration in collisionless shocks. Probing such extreme scenarios in the laboratory is still an open challenge. In this work, we investigate the possibility of using neutral
beams to explore the CFI with realistic parameters, by performing two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. We show that CFI can occur unless the rate at which the beam expands due to finite beam emittance is larger than the CFI growth rate and as long as the role of the competing electrostatic two-stream instability (TSI) is negligible. We also show that the longitudinal energy spread, typical of plasma-based accelerated electron–positron fireball beams, plays a minor role in the growth of CFI in these scenarios.
Parasites of the genus Trypanosoma are microorganisms that display wide morphological, biological and genetic variability. Here we present the first description of an isolate of the genus Trypanosoma naturally infecting the tick Amblyomma brasiliense. The ticks were collected from a specimen of Tayassu pecari (Queixada, white-lipped peccary) from the Itatiaia National Park, Itatiaia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The isolate was characterized by molecular, morphometric and biological analyses. A Trypanosoma culture was isolated from crushed nymphal and adult ticks, propagated in the tick cell line IDE8 and maintained in L15B culture medium, incubated at 32 °C. The isolate grew well in L15B medium at 30, 32 and 34 °C but not at lower or higher temperatures. The culture remained stable in axenic L15B medium at 30 °C. Cryopreserved cultures retained viability after cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. Growth in axenic medium and developmental forms of the trypanosomes were analysed. Analysis of the 18S rDNA region confirmed the authenticity of this new species and the nucleotide sequence was deposited in Genbank. The species was named Trypanosoma amblyommi sp. nov. strain C1RJ. Characteristics related to pathogenicity, involvement with vertebrate hosts, epidemiology, developmental cycle and transmission mechanisms are still unknown. Therefore, further studies are necessary to understand the aspects of the biological cycle of T. amblyommi sp. nov.
High concentrations of indium (In) and selenium (Se) have been reported in the Neves-Corvo volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Portugal. The distribution of these ore metals in the deposit is complex as a result of the combined effects of early ore-forming processes and late tectonometamorphic remobilization. The In and Se contents are higher in Cu-rich ore types, and lower in Zn-rich ore types. At the deposit scale, both In and Se correlate positively with Cu, whereas their correlations with Zn are close to zero. This argues for a genetic connection between Cu, In and Se in terms of metal sourcing and precipitation. However, re-distribution and re-concentration of In and Se associated with tectonometamorphic deformation are also processes of major importance for the actual distribution of these metals throughout the whole deposit. Although minor roquesite and other In-bearing phases were recognized, it is clear that most In within the deposit is found incorporated within sphalerite and chalcopyrite. When chalcopyrite and sphalerite coexist, the In content in sphalerite (avg. 1400 ppm) is, on average, 2–3 times higher than in chalcopyrite (avg. 660 ppm). The In content in stannite (avg. 1.3 wt.%) is even higher than in sphalerite, but the overall abundance of stannite is subordinate to either sphalerite or chalcopyrite. Selenium is dispersed widely between many different ore minerals, but galena is the main Se-carrier. On average, the Se content in galena is ~50 times greater than in either chalcopyrite (avg. 610 ppm) or sphalerite (avg. 590 ppm). The copper concentrate produced at Neves-Corvo contains very significant In (+Se) content, well above economic values if the copper smelters recovered it. Moreover, the high In content of sphalerite from some Cu-Zn ores, or associated with shear structures, could possibly justify, in the future, a selective exploitation strategy for the production of an In-rich zinc concentrate.
Physical and chemical properties of graphene-metal interfaces have been largely examined with the objective of producing nanostructured carbon-based electronic devices. Although electronic properties are key to such devices, appropriate structural, thermal and mechanical properties are important for device performance as well. One of the most studied is the graphene-titanium (G-Ti) interface. Titanium is a low density, high strength versatile metal that can form alloys with desirable properties for applications ranging from aerospace to medicine. Small clusters and thin films of titanium deposited on graphene have also been examined. However, while some experiments show that thin films of titanium on graphene can be removed without damaging graphene hexagonal structure, others reported the formation of titanium-carbide (TiC) at G-Ti interfaces. In a previous work [ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, 2017, 9 (38), pp 33288-33297], we have shown that pristine G-Ti interfaces are resilient to large thermal fluctuations even when G-Ti structures lie on curved or kinked substrates. Here, using classical molecular dynamics with the third-generation Charge Optimized Many Body (COMB3) potential, we show that di-interstitial defective G-Ti structures on a copper substrate with a relatively large curvature kink, present signs of TiC formation. This result might help explain the different experimental results mentioned above.
Parasites of the genus Trypanosoma are unicellular flagellated microorganisms of the Trypanosomatidae. This study describes an isolate of the genus Trypanosoma naturally infecting Rhipicephalus microplus ticks, characterized through molecular, morphological and biological analysis. Trypanosome cultures, designated strain P1RJ, were obtained by isolation from R. microplus haemolymph in cultures of the tick cell line IDE8. After isolation, strain P1RJ grew well axenically in L15B medium at temperatures of 30, 32 and 34 °C. The new trypanosome remained stable in axenic culture over 14 passages in L15B at 30 °C and was successfully cryopreserved and resuscitated. Morphometric analysis was performed on randomly selected developmental forms. 18S rRNA and 24Sα rDNA sequence analyses confirmed that strain P1RJ is a new species of the genus Trypanosoma. The nucleotide sequences described were submitted to Genbank. Pathogenicity, involvement in vertebrate hosts, epidemiology, developmental cycle and transmission mechanisms of strain P1RJ are still unknown. Therefore, more studies will be necessary to determine life cycle aspects of this trypanosome, for which we propose the name Trypanosoma rhipicephalis sp. nov.
Animal proteins are naturally 15N enriched relative to the diet and the extent of this difference (Δ15Nanimal-diet or N isotopic fractionation) has been correlated to N use efficiency (NUE; N gain or milk N yield/N intake) in some recent ruminant studies. The present study used meta-analysis to investigate whether Δ15Nanimal-diet can be used as a predictor of NUE across a range of dietary conditions, particularly at the level of between-animal variation. An additional objective was to identify variables related to N partitioning explaining the link between NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. Individual values from eight publications reporting both NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet for domestic ruminants were used to create a database comprising 11 experimental studies, 41 treatments and individual animal values for NUE (n=226) and Δ15Nanimal-diet (n=291). Data were analyzed by mixed-effect regression analysis taking into account experimental factors as random effects on both the intercept and slope of the model. Diets were characterized according to the INRA feeding system in terms of N utilization at the rumen, digestive and metabolic levels. These variables were used in a partial least squares regression analysis to predict separately NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet variation, with the objective of identifying common variables linking NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. For individuals reared under similar conditions (within-study) and at the same time (within-period), the variance of NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet not explained by dietary treatments (i.e. between-animal variation plus experimental error) was 35% and 55%, respectively. Mixed-effect regression analysis conducted with treatment means showed that Δ15Nanimal-diet was significantly and negatively correlated to NUE variation across diets (NUE=0.415 −0.055×Δ15Nanimal-diet). When using individual values and taking into account the random effects of study, period and diet, the relationship was also significant (NUE=0.358 −0.035×Δ15Nanimal-diet). However, there may be a biased prediction for animals close to zero, or in negative, N balance. When using a novel statistical approach, attempting to regress between-animal variation in NUE on between-animal variation in Δ15Nanimal-diet (without the influence of experimental factors), the negative relationship was still significant, highlighting the ability of Δ15Nanimal-diet to capture individual variability. Among the studied variables related to N utilization, those concerning N efficiency use at the metabolic level contributed most to predict both Δ15Nanimal-diet and NUE variation, with rumen fermentation and digestion contributing to a lesser extent. This study confirmed that on average Δ15Nanimal-diet can predict NUE variation across diets and across individuals reared under similar conditions.
The use of forage legumes has been proposed as a means of generating sustainable grazing environments. Their limited use, particularly in tropical pastures, is partially due to the limited knowledge regarding the efficiency of utilization by animals. The present study characterized the sward structure, nutritive value and ingestive behaviour of dairy heifers in pastures of peanut cv. Belmonte under continuous stocking management. Treatments corresponded to sward heights of 5, 10, 15 and 20 cm, according to a randomized complete block design, with four replications. The following response variables were evaluated: vertical distribution of the morphological components within the sward, forage mass, nutritive value (simulated grazing), bite rate (BR), bite mass (BM) and short-term herbage intake rate (STIR). The top half of the sward height was mainly composed of leaves and the bottom half mainly of stolon and dead material regardless of management height. Greater values of neutral detergent fibre and acid detergent fibre were recorded during autumn, while higher values of in-vitro dry matter (DM) digestibility (0·85) occurred during spring regardless of management height for the grazed stratum. In relation to treatments, greater values of crude protein were recorded on swards managed at 5 cm (0·27) and 10 cm (0·26). Bite rate, BM and STIR varied with sward height, but not with a season of the year. The STIR followed a broken line response to sward height, with increasing values up to 13·1 cm (106 g DM/kg body weight). Sward structure played an important role in determining the STIR. To maximize the STIR of dairy heifers under continuous stocking management, swards should be managed at heights of not <13·1 cm.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
To describe the results obtained with endolymphatic sac drainage in patients with Ménière's disease.
A retrospective case review study was conducted of 95 Ménière's disease patients who underwent endolymphatic sac drainage in a tertiary care referral centre, after failing a long course of medical management. The main outcome measures were vertigo control and hearing preservation.
In patients with unilateral disease, vertigo control was obtained in 94.3 per cent of patients. A significant improvement in cochlear function was seen in 14 per cent of patients, and hearing was preserved or improved in 88 per cent. For the bilateral group, vertigo control was obtained in 85.7 per cent of patients and cochlear function improved in 28 per cent. Hearing preservation was attained in 71 per cent of these patients.
Endolymphatic sac drainage is a good surgical option for patients with incapacitating endolymphatic hydrops, providing a high percentage of vertigo control and hearing preservation.
The Serra Negra belongs to the Mantiqueira mountain complex, Minas Gerais, Brazil. It has a vegetation mosaic dominated by ombrophilous and seasonal forest and grassland formations. Woody physiognomies occur on patches of quartzite soils. The aim of the present study was to investigate the patterns of structure and diversity of woody vegetation on quartzite soils in Serra Negra. Ten plots (20 × 50 m) were randomly placed in patches of woody vegetation on quartzite soils along the landscape. The diameter and height of all woody plants with a diameter of ≥ 3 cm at 30 cm from the soil were measured. The 1899 individuals sampled represented 30 plant families and 68 species. A strong ecological dominance was found, with about 30% of individuals belonging to a single species, Eremanthus incanus (Asteraceae). The Shannon diversity index (H′) was 2.74 nats/individual and evenness (J) 0.65. The two most abundant and ecologically important species in this vegetation type, Eremanthus incanus and Eremanthus erythropappus, called ‘candeias’, are exploited in the region, mainly for firewood. This exploitation, combined with other factors (e.g. increased tourism), can pose risks to the conservation of the whole flora of the region.
Rhodnius prolixus is a blood-feeding insect that transmits Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli to vertebrate hosts. Rhodnius prolixus is also a classical model in insect physiology, and the recent availability of R. prolixus genome has opened new avenues on triatomine research. Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is classically described as a key enzyme involved in glycogen metabolism, also acting as a downstream component of the Wnt pathway during embryogenesis. GSK-3 has been shown to be highly conserved among several organisms, mainly in the catalytic domain region. Meanwhile, the role of GSK-3 during R. prolixus embryogenesis or glycogen metabolism has not been investigated. Here we show that chemical inhibition of GSK-3 by alsterpaullone, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of GSK3, does not affect adult survival rate, though it alters oviposition and egg hatching. Specific GSK-3 gene silencing by dsRNA injection in adult females showed a similar phenotype. Furthermore, bright field and 4’−6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining analysis revealed that ovaries and eggs from dsGSK-3 injected females exhibited specific morphological defects. We also demonstrate that glycogen content was inversely related to activity and transcription levels of GSK-3 during embryogenesis. Lastly, after GSK-3 knockdown, we observed changes in the expression of the Wingless (Wnt) downstream target β-catenin as well as in members of other pathways such as the receptor Notch. Taken together, our results show that GSK-3 regulation is essential for R. prolixus oogenesis and embryogenesis.
Lead halide perovskites have proven their great power conversion efficiency (PCE) in the last few years and attracted more and more attentions. Evaporation is an important method to get high quality perovskite films, especially for surface and interface investigation, which is important for the solar cell performance. In this paper, we present our investigations on growing PbI2 and CH3NH3I films by evaporation, and then CH3NH3PbI3 films by co-evaporation. X-ray photoemisson spectroscopy (XPS) was used to characterize the films. The results showed that CH3NH3I film was not stable in vacuum. Both N and I decreased in vacuum with time elapsing. PbI2 and CH3NH3PbI3 films are quite stable. The atomic ratio of CH3NH3PbI3 films (C: N: Pb: I =1.29:1.07:1.00:2.94) is very close to the ideal CH3NH3PbI3, which indicates that evaporation is a good method to get high quality perovskite films with accurate atomic ratio.
The CuInSe2 and CuSbSe2 ternary compounds and alloys of the (CuSbSe2)1-x·(CuInSe2)x system with the mole fraction of CuInSe2 (x) equal to 0.05, 0.15, 0.25, 0.375, 0.50, 0.625, 0.75, 0.85, and 0.95 were prepared and the phase relations in this system were investigated by X-ray powder diffraction, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. It was shown that the alloys of the CuSbSe2-CuInSe2 system are biphasic at room temperature in the whole range of compositions, and the limits of solubility for CuSbSe2 in CuInSe2 and for CuInSe2 in CuSbSe2 do not exceed 0.001 mole fraction.
We present results of modeling and experimental characterization of thermoelectric (TE) materials built on new fabrication principles, involving the coating of three-dimensionally structured quantum well super-lattice substrates with PbTe/PbSe. A new system for wafer-scale electrochemical deposition of such structures was specifically developed and will be described in this paper. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to measure film thickness and electron diffraction spectroscopy (EDS) was used to determine film material concentration. By adjusting deposition parameters, we were able to build stoichiometric PbSe, PbTe and stacked PbSe/PbTe super-lattice films on planar and pre-structured surfaces. The films were thermoelectrically modelled using COMSOL and then characterized using an infrared Seebeck effect measurement system which measured surface heating of the film while measuring the voltage associated with the temperature gradient. We report advances in the design and fabrication of TE materials which improve cost-effectiveness and TE efficiency.
Thermoelectric CuIn1-xAlxTe2 compounds (x=0, 0.05, 0.1, 0.15, 0.50) have been synthesized by solid state reaction followed by spark plasma sintering. The influence of Al substitution on electrical and thermal transport properties has been investigated in the CuInTe2 compounds. It was found that the Seebeck coefficient and electrical conductivity is reduced by isovalent replacement of In with Al. Our first principle calculation indicates Al substitution leads to the widen band gap, the reduction in the number of degeneracy of valence band and the effective mass. Furthermore, a large reduction in thermal conductivity is achieved through the enhanced phonon scattering via point defect as well as the nano-sized particles observed between grain boundaries and on the grain surface. In spite of the reduced charge transport properties, an improved figure-of- merit ZT is achieved, reaching 0.8 at 800 K, 33% higher in comparison to the pure CuInTe2 compound.
Depending on their application temperature thermoelectric (TE) materials are classified in three main categories; as low (up to 250°C), intermediate (up to 550°C) and high (above 600°C) temperature. Currently, Skutterudites (CoSb3) based materials have shown promising results in the intermediate temperature range (300-500°C). This family of material is highly suitable for automotive, marine transportation and industrial power generation applications to recover the waste heat from the exhaust and generate electricity. Conventional TE modules need p- and n-type semiconductor materials and for the skutterudite family, iron (Fe) has proven to be among the best candidates for the substitution of cobalt sites. Additionally, rare earths are introduced as rattlers in the crystal cages of the skutterudite to decrease the thermal conductivity, thus improving the figure of merit ZT of the TE material. For practical application for device fabrication, stability of these materials is of great importance. Compositional stability is being addressed as the material decomposes above certain temperature. Temperature dependent x-ray diffraction study was performed on Fe substituted, Yb-filled skutterudites, using Beam Line I711 at MAX LAB, to observe the crystal structure as a function of temperature. Diffraction patterns were collected from room temperature up to 500°C by utilizing Huber furnace. The results show success in filling process showing almost 80% reduction of the thermal conductivity from bulk. Additionally the thermal expansion coefficient value was within the average value for skutterudites which proves practical application of this powder for industrial applications.