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There is no agreement regarding which solvent is more suitable to obtain sol–gel–derived titania (TiO2) samples with an enhanced photocatalytic behavior. Furthermore, the solvent effect on the preparation of TiO2-RGO (reduced graphene oxide) nanocomposites has not been published yet and could be an attractive experimental strategy to modulate structure and properties. On the basis of these observations, TiO2-RGO nanocomposites were fabricated in this study. It was evaluated for the influence of using either isopropyl (IsoprOH) or ethyl (EtOH) alcohol on the textural and photocatalytic properties of the prepared materials. The use of IsoprOH led to samples with smaller crystallite size, narrower apparent band gap, smaller isoelectric point, larger adsorption capacity, and higher photocatalytic activity. In addition, the incorporation of RGO into TiO2 greatly improved the adsorption capacity and photocatalytic activity of the latter. However, the optimal loading of RGO to prepare composites with enhanced photocatalytic activities was 1 wt%. This finding can be related to the stacking of RGO sheets when concentrations above 1 wt% are used, which could prevent UV light to reach the TiO2 particles and also decrease the photocatalytic capacity of the composites. Moreover, materials with RGO concentration above 1 wt% could exhibit a highly negatively charged surface, which may decrease the separation of the generated electron–hole pairs and lead to faster recombination rates of charge carriers.
Considering a potential exercise-drug interaction, we investigated whether exercise training could improve the efficacy of specific antiparasitic chemotherapy in a rodent model of Chagas disease. Wistar rats were randomized into five groups: sedentary and uninfected (CT); sedentary and infected (SI); sedentary, infected and treated (SIT); trained and infected (TI); trained, infected and treated (TIT). After 9-weeks running training, the animals were infected with T. cruzi and followed up for 4 weeks, receiving 100 mg kg−1 day−1 benznidazole. No evidence of myocarditis was observed in CT animals. TI animals exhibited reduced parasitemia, myocarditis, and reactive tissue damage compared to SI animals, in addition to increased IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-10, heart non-protein antioxidant (NPA) levels and glutathione-s transferase activity (P < 0.05). The CT, SIT and TIT groups presented similar reductions in parasitemia, cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-4, IL-10, IL-17 and MCP-1), inflammatory infiltrate, oxidative heart damage and antioxidant enzymes activity compared to SI and TI animals, as well as reduced heart microstructural remodeling (P < 0.05). By modulating heart inflammation and redox metabolism, exercise training exerts a protective effect against T. cruzi infection in rats. However, the antiparasitic and cardioprotective effects of benznidazole chemotherapy are more pronounced, determining similar endpoints in sedentary and trained T. cruzi-infected rats.
A mother's nutritional choices while pregnant may have a great influence on her baby's development in the womb and during infancy. There is evidence that what a mother eats during pregnancy interacts with her genes to affect her child's susceptibility to poor health outcomes including childhood obesity, pre-diabetes, allergy and asthma. Furthermore, after what an infant eats can change his or her intestinal bacteria, which can further influence the development of these poor outcomes. In the present paper, we review the importance of birth cohorts, the formation and early findings from a multi-ethnic birth cohort alliance in Canada and summarise our future research directions for this birth cohort alliance. We summarise a method for harmonising collection and analysis of self-reported dietary data across multiple cohorts and provide examples of how this birth cohort alliance has contributed to our understanding of gestational diabetes risk; ethnic and diet-influences differences in the healthy infant microbiome; and the interplay between diet, ethnicity and birth weight. Ongoing work in this birth cohort alliance will focus on the use of metabolomic profiling to measure dietary intake, discovery of unique diet–gene and diet–epigenome interactions, and qualitative interviews with families of children at risk of metabolic syndrome. Our findings to-date and future areas of research will advance the evidence base that informs dietary guidelines in pregnancy, infancy and childhood, and will be relevant to diverse and high-risk populations of Canada and other high-income countries.
Perinatal maternal high-fat diet (HFD) increases susceptibility to obesity and fatty liver diseases in adult offspring, which can be attenuated by the potent hypolipidaemic action of fish oil (FO), an n-3 PUFA source, during adult life. Previously, we described that adolescent HFD offspring showed resistance to FO hypolipidaemic effects, although FO promoted hepatic molecular changes suggestive of reduced lipid accumulation. Here, we investigated whether this FO intervention only during the adolescence period could affect offspring metabolism in adulthood. Then, female Wistar rats received isoenergetic, standard (STD: 9 % fat) or high-fat (HFD: 28·6 % fat) diet before mating, and throughout pregnancy and lactation. After weaning, male offspring received the standard diet; and from 25 to 45 d old they received oral administration of soyabean oil or FO. At 150 d old, serum and hepatic metabolic parameters were evaluated. Maternal HFD adult offspring showed increased body weight, visceral adiposity, hyperleptinaemia and decreased hepatic pSTAT3/STAT3 ratio, suggestive of hepatic leptin resistance. FO intake only during the adolescence period reduced visceral adiposity and serum leptin, regardless of maternal diet. Maternal HFD promoted dyslipidaemia and hepatic TAG accumulation, which was correlated with reduced hepatic carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1a content, suggesting lipid oxidation impairment. FO intake did not change serum lipids; however, it restored hepatic TAG content and hepatic markers of lipid oxidation to STD offspring levels. Therefore, we concluded that FO intake exclusively during adolescence programmed STD offspring and reprogrammed HFD offspring male rats to a healthier metabolic phenotype in adult life, reducing visceral adiposity, serum leptin and hepatic TAG content in offspring adulthood.
Although leucocytes are targets of renin-angiotensin system (RAS) effector molecules and RAS-modulating drugs exert immunomodulatory effects, their impact on Trypanosoma cruzi infection remains poorly understood. By using the framework of a systematic review, we integrated the preclinical and clinical evidence to investigate the relevance of angiotensin-inhibiting drugs on T. cruzi infections. From a comprehensive and structured search in biomedical databases, only original studies were analysed. In preclinical and clinical studies, captopril, enalapril and losartan were RAS-modulating drugs used. The main in vitro findings indicated that these drugs increased parasite uptake per host cells, IL-12 expression by infected dendritic cells and IFN-γ by T lymphocytes, in addition to attenuating IL-10 and IL-17 production by CD8 + T cells. In animal models, reduced parasitaemia, tissue parasitism, leucocytes infiltration and mortality were often observed in T. cruzi-infected animals receiving RAS-modulating drugs. In patients with Chagas’ disease, these drugs exerted a controversial impact on cytokine and hormone levels, and a limited effect on cardiovascular function. Considering a detailed evaluation of reporting and methodological quality, the current preclinical and clinical evidence is at high risk of bias, and we hope that our critical analysis will be useful in mitigating the risk of bias in further studies.
Integrated crop-livestock systems (ICLS) are currently promoted agricultural production systems that aim to use better resources through production integration and intensification. While this system reduces some risks, it adds complexity and new risks to businesses due to interdependence between the agricultural modules. To deal with these issues, integrated risk management is required to reduce the effects of risks and to take advantage of the opportunities of an ICLS. Generically, enterprise risk management (ERM) meets this need by proposing comprehensive and coherent risk management, instead of managing agricultural module risks individually. However, there is a need to customize the ERM approach to ICLS. Therefore, the current study aims to develop a method to manage risks for ICLS based on ERM, integrating the management of risks and aligning risk management with the strategic objectives. A literature review, a pilot study, interviews with experts, four case studies and 20 practitioners supported the method development and evaluation through three versions. As a result, the method identifies and relates risks through process mapping with a qualitative and quantitative analysis of their impacts, determines risk responses based on willingness to take risks, and helps identify processes to control, communicate and monitor the risks. The method also stimulates the implementation of ICLS in market-oriented farms, providing an approach to increase the chances of ICLS success. The main difference from previous research lies in the integrative management of multiple risks, the alignment of risks with strategy and the consideration that a risk might be considered an opportunity.
Inclusion of legume in grass pastures optimizes protein values of the forage and promotes improved digestibility. Therefore, we hypothesized that finishing steers on a novel combination of legumes and grass pasture would produce carcasses with acceptable traits when compared to carcasses from steers finished in feedlot systems. In this study, we evaluated the effects of finishing steers on three systems including: grazing legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover (PAST), grazing PAST plus supplementation with whole corn grain (14 g/kg BW (SUPP)), and on a feedlot-confined system with concentrate only (28 g/kg BW, consisting of 850 g/kg of whole corn grain and 150 g/kg of protein–mineral–vitamin supplement (GRAIN)) on growth performance of steers, carcass traits and digestive disorders. Eighteen steers were randomly assigned to one of three dietary treatments and finished for 91 days. Data regarding pasture and growth performance were collected during three different periods (0 to 28, 29 to 56 and 57 to 91 days). Subsequently, steers were harvested to evaluate carcass traits, presence of rumenitis, abomasitis and liver abscesses. The legume–grass pasture provided more than 19% dry matter of protein. In addition, pasture of paddocks where steers were assigned to SUPP and PAST treatments showed similar nutritional quality. When compared to PAST, finishing on SUPP increased total weight gain per hectare, stocking rate, daily and total weight gains. The increase of weight gain was high to GRAIN than SUPP and PAST. Steers finished on GRAIN had high hot carcass weight, fat thickness and marbling score when compared to PAST. However, these attributes did not differ between GRAIN and SUPP. Abomasum lesions were more prevalent in steers finished on GRAIN when compared to PAST. Results of this research showed that it is possible to produce carcasses with desirable market weight and fat thickness by finishing steers on legume–grass pasture containing oats, ryegrass, white and red clover. Moreover, supplementing steers with corn when grazing on legume–grass pasture produced similar carcass traits when compared to beef fed corn only.
The aim of this study was to establish a functional freezing–thawing protocol for epididymal sperm of collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu L., 1758) by comparing different extenders. The epididymal sperm from 12 sexually mature males was recovered by retrograde flushing using Tris-based or coconut water-based (ACP®-116c) extenders. After initial evaluation, samples were diluted and frozen with the same extenders to which 20% egg yolk and 6% glycerol were added. After 2 weeks, thawing was performed at 37°C/60 s and sperm motility, vigour, morphology, functional membrane integrity, sperm viability, sperm plasma membrane integrity, and a computer-assisted semen analysis (CASA) were assessed. In addition, to evaluate the survival of frozen–thawed sperm, a thermal resistance test (TRT) was executed. Samples preserved using Tris were in better condition compared with those preserved using ACP®, showing higher values for most assessments performed, including CASA and the TRT (P<0.05). After determining Tris to be the better of the two extenders, additional samples were thawed using different thawing rates (37°C/60 s, 55°C/7 s, 70°C/8 s). Sperm thawed at 37°C/60 s had the greatest preservation (P<0.05) of viability (54.1 ± 5.9%) and functional membrane integrity (43.2 ± 5.4%), and had higher values for various CASA parameters. In conclusion, we suggest the use of a Tris-based extender added to egg yolk and glycerol for the cryopreservation of epididymal sperm obtained from collared peccaries. In order to achieve better post-thawing sperm quality, we suggest that samples should be thawed at 37°C/60 s.
The study of the mechanical properties of nanostructured systems has gained importance in theoretical and experimental research in recent years. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of the strongest nanomaterials found in nature, with Young’s Modulus (EY) in the order 1.25 TPa. One interesting question is about the possibility of generating new nanostructures with 1D symmetry and with similar and/or superior CNT properties. In this work, we present a study on the dynamical, structural, mechanical properties, fracture patterns and EY values for one class of these structures, the so-called pentagraphene nanotubes (PGNTs). These tubes are formed rolling up pentagraphene membranes (which are quasi-bidimensional structures formed by densely compacted pentagons of carbon atoms in sp3 and sp2 hybridized states) in the same form that CNTs are formed from rolling up graphene membranes. We carried out fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations using the ReaxFF force field. We have considered zigzag-like and armchair-like PGNTs of different diameters. Our results show that PGNTs present EY ∼ 800 GPa with distinct elastic behavior in relation to CNTs, mainly associated with mechanical failure, chirality dependent fracture patterns and extensive structural reconstructions.
Urban slums provide suitable conditions for infestation by rats, which harbour and shed a wide diversity of zoonotic pathogens including helminths. We aimed to identify risk factors associated with the probability and intensity of infection of helminths of the digestive tract in an urban slum population of Rattus norvegicus. Among 299 rats, eleven species/groups of helminths were identified, of which Strongyloides sp., Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and, the human pathogen, Angiostrongylus cantonensis were the most frequent (97, 41 and 39%, respectively). Sex interactions highlighted behavioural differences between males and females, as eg males were more likely to be infected with N. brasiliensis where rat signs were present, and males presented more intense infections of Strongyloides sp. Moreover, rats in poor body condition had higher intensities of N. brasiliensis. We describe a high global richness of parasites in R. norvegicus, including five species known to cause disease in humans. Among these, A. cantonensis was found in high prevalence and it was ubiquitous in the study area – knowledge which is of public health importance. A variety of environmental, demographic and body condition variables were associated with helminth species infection of rats, suggesting a comparable variety of risk factors for humans.
Despite significant advances in therapies against Trypanosoma evansi, its effective elimination from the central nervous system (CNS) remains a difficult task. The incapacity of trypanocidal drugs to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) after systemic administrations makes the brain the main refuge area for T. evansi. Nanotechnology is showing great potential to improve drug efficacy, such as nerolidol-loaded nanospheres (N-NS). Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate whether the treatment with N-NS was able to cross the BBB and to eliminate T. evansi from the CNS. High-performance liquid chromatography revealed that N-NS can cross the BBB of T. evansi-infected mice, while free nerolidol (F-N) neither the trypanocidal drug diminazene aceturate (D.A.) were not detected in the brain tissue. Polymerase chain reaction revealed that 100% of the animals treated with N-NS were negatives for T. evansi in the brain tissue, while all infected animals treated with F-N or D.A. were positives. Thus, we concluded that nanotechnology improves the therapeutic efficacy of nerolidol, and enables the transport of its active principle through the BBB. In summary, N-NS treatment can eliminate the parasite from the CNS, and possesses potential to treat infected animals.
Ureaplasma urealyticum and U. parvum have been associated with genital infections. The purpose of this study was to detect the presence of ureaplasmas and other sexually transmitted infections in sexually active women from Brazil and relate these data to demographic and sexual health, and cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β. Samples of cervical swab of 302 women were examined at the Family Health Units in Vitória da Conquista. The frequency of detection by conventional PCR was 76·2% for Mollicutes. In qPCR, the frequency found was 16·6% for U. urealyticum and 60·6% U. parvum and the bacterial load of these microorganisms was not significantly associated with signs and symptoms of genital infection. The frequency found for Trichomonas vaginalis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Gardnerella vaginalis and Chlamydia trachomatis was 3·0%, 21·5%, 42·4% and 1·7%, respectively. Higher levels of IL-1β were associated with control women colonized by U. urealyticum and U. parvum. Increased levels of IL-6 were associated with women who exhibited U. parvum. Sexually active women, with more than one sexual partner in the last 3 months, living in a rural area were associated with increased odds of certain U. parvum serovar infection.
Urban slum environments in the tropics are conducive to the proliferation and the spread of rodent-borne zoonotic pathogens to humans. Calodium hepaticum (Brancroft, 1893) is a zoonotic nematode known to infect a variety of mammalian hosts, including humans. Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) are considered the most important mammalian host of C. hepaticum and are therefore a potentially useful species to inform estimates of the risk to humans living in urban slum environments. There is a lack of studies systematically evaluating the role of demographic and environmental factors that influence both carriage and intensity of infection of C. hepaticum in rodents from urban slum areas within tropical regions. Carriage and the intensity of infection of C. hepaticum were studied in 402 Norway rats over a 2-year period in an urban slum in Salvador, Brazil. Overall, prevalence in Norway rats was 83% (337/402). Independent risk factors for C. hepaticum carriage in R. norvegicus were age and valley of capture. Of those infected the proportion with gross liver involvement (i.e. >75% of the liver affected, a proxy for a high level intensity of infection), was low (8%, 26/337). Sixty soil samples were collected from ten locations to estimate levels of environmental contamination and provide information on the potential risk to humans of contracting C. hepaticum from the environment. Sixty percent (6/10) of the sites were contaminated with C. hepaticum. High carriage levels of C. hepaticum within Norway rats and sub-standard living conditions within slum areas may increase the risk to humans of exposure to the infective eggs of C. hepaticum. This study supports the need for further studies to assess whether humans are becoming infected within this community and whether C. hepaticum is posing a significant risk to human health.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of nerolidol free (N-F) and nerolidol-loaded in nanospheres (N-NS) on the hepatic antioxidant/oxidant status of mice experimentally infected by Trypanosoma evansi. In the liver it was measured: reactive oxygen species (ROS), thiobarbituric reactive acid substances (TBARS) and non-protein thiols (NPSH), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) and performed histopathological examination. In addition, seric levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were measured. Liver samples from mice infected by T. evansi showed increased (P < 0·05) ROS, TBARS, AST and ALT levels and SOD activity, and decreased NPSH levels and CAT activity (P < 0·05) compared with uninfected animals. N-NS treatment prevented (P < 0·05) ROS and TBARS increase, and increased NPSH levels, and ameliorate CAT and SOD activities on liver of infected mice. Moreover, N-NS treatment reduced (P < 0·05) AST and ALT levels, and prevented histopathological changes caused by the parasite. N-NS protected the liver from the oxidative stress caused by T. evansi, which might be due to its antioxidant properties. Nerolidol might be considered a promising therapeutic agent against oxidative stress, and nanotechnology is an encouraging approach to be explored.
The existence of multiple subclasses of type Ia supernovae (SNeIa) has been the subject of great debate in the last decade. In this work, we show how machine learning tools facilitate identification of subtypes of SNe Ia. Using Deep Learning for dimensionality reduction, we were capable of performing such identification in a parameter space of significantly lower dimension than its principal component analysis counterpart. This is evidence that the progenitor system and the explosion mechanism can be described with a small number of initial physical parameters. All tools used here are publicly available in the Python package DRACULA (Dimensionality Reduction And Clustering for Unsupervised Learning in Astronomy) and can be found within COINtoolbox (https://github.com/COINtoolbox/DRACULA).
Fabrication of graphene nanostructures it is important for both investigating their intrinsic physical properties and applying them into various functional devices. In this work we present a study on atomic layer deposition (ALD) of Al2O3 to produce patterned graphene through area-selective chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth. A systematic parametric study was conducted to determine how the number of cycles and the purging time affect the morphology and the electrical properties of both graphene and Al2O3 layers.
A retrospective space–time permutation model with non-Euclidean distance criteria was applied within a high-complexity hospital setting to quantitatively explore cluster patterns of 273 patients infected with or colonized by carbapenemase-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae during 4 years. Results were compared to standard nosocomial active-surveillance methods. Two clusters were identified in the period, suggesting that space–time strategies for cluster quantification within confined environments may be useful.
Recent studies of single-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in aqueous media have showed that water can significantly affect the tube mechanical properties. CNTs under hydrostatic compression can preserve their elastic properties up to large pressure values, while exhibiting exceptional resistance to mechanical loadings. It was experimentally observed that CNTs with encapsulated linear carbon chains (LCCs), when subjected to high hydrostatic pressure values, present irreversible red shifts in some of their vibrational frequencies. In order to address the cause of this phenomenon, we have carried out fully atomistic reactive (ReaxFF) molecular dynamics (MD) simulations for model structures mimicking the experimental conditions. We have considered the cases of finite and infinite (cyclic boundary conditions) CNTs filled with LCCs (LCC@CNTs) of different lengths (from 9 up to 40 atoms). Our results show that increasing the hydrostatic pressure causes the CNT to be deformed in an inhomogeneous way due to the LCC presence. The LCC/CNT interface regions exhibit convex curvatures, which results in more reactive sites, thus favoring the formation of covalent chemical bonds between the chain and the nanotube. This process is irreversible with the newly formed bonds continuing to exist even after releasing the external pressure and causing an irreversibly red shift in the chain vibrational modes from 1850 to 1500 cm−1.
The present study investigated the effects of crotamine, a cell-penetrating peptide from rattlesnake venom, at different exposure times and concentrations, on both developmental competence and gene expression (ATP1A1, AQP3, GLUT1 and GLUT3) of in vitro fertilized (IVF) bovine embryos. In Experiment 1, presumptive zygotes were exposed to 0.1 μM crotamine for 6, 12 or 24 h and control groups (vehicle and IVF) were included. In Experiment 2, presumptive zygotes were exposed to 0 (vehicle), 0.1, 1 and 10 μM crotamine for 24 h. Additionally, to visualize crotamine uptake, embryos were exposed to rhodamine B-labelled crotamine and subjected to confocal microscopy. In Experiment 1, no difference (P > 0.05) was observed among different exposure times and control groups for cleavage and blastocyst rates and total cells number per blastocyst. Within each exposure time, mRNA levels were similar (P > 0.05) in embryos cultured with or without crotamine. In Experiment 2, concentrations as high as 10 μM crotamine did not affect (P > 0.05) the blastocyst rate. Crotamine at 0.1 and 10 μM did not alter mRNA levels when compared with the control (P > 0.05). Remarkably, only 1 μM crotamine decreased both ATP1A1 and AQP3 expression levels relative to the control group (P < 0.05). Also, it was possible to visualize the intracellular localization of crotamine. These results indicate that crotamine can translocate intact IVF bovine embryos and its application in the culture medium is possible at concentrations from 0.1–10 μM for 6–24 h.