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This study investigated the effect of the flavonoid-based compound isorhamnetin (ISO) on maturation and developmental competence in oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes in vitro. Treatment with 2 μM ISO (2 ISO) increases the developmental rate of oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation (IVM). The glutathione level and mRNA expression of antioxidant-related genes (NFE2L2 and SOD2) were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group, whereas the reactive oxygen species level was decreased. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of a cumulus cell expansion-related gene (SHAS2) and improved chromosomal alignment. mRNA expression of maternal genes (CCNB1, MOS, BMP15 and GDF9) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group. The total cell number per blastocyst and percentage of apoptotic cells were increased and decreased in the 2 ISO-treated group, respectively. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of development-related genes (SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1) and anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2L1 and BIRC5) and decreased that of pro-apoptotic genes (CASP3 and FAS). These results demonstrate that 2 ISO improves the quality of porcine oocytes by protecting them against oxidative stress during IVM and enhances subsequent embryo development in vitro. Therefore, we propose that ISO is a useful supplement for IVM of porcine oocytes.
Our previous studies have already revealed that β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), hesperetin (HES), and icariin (ICA) antioxidants are effective for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes. In this study, we investigated which of BCX, HES, or ICA was more effective for IVM of porcine oocytes. The antioxidant properties were assessed with aged porcine oocytes and embryos by comparing 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and H2O2 scavenging activity assays. The chemical assay results demonstrated that BCX had a greater DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power than HES and ICA, compared with controls. However, the H2O2 scavenging activity of the antioxidants was similar when tested at the optimal concentrations of 1 μM BCX (BCX-1), 100 μM HES (HES-100), and 5 μM ICA (ICA-5). The biological assay results showed that BCX-1 treatment was more effective in inducing a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving glutathione levels, and increasing the expression of antioxidant genes. In addition, BCX-1 inhibited apoptosis by increasing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and decreasing pro-apoptotic genes in porcine parthenogenetic blastocysts. BCX-1 also significantly increased the blastocyst formation rate compared with the ageing control group, HES-100 and ICA-5. This study demonstrates that damage from ROS produced during oocyte ageing can be prevented by supplementing antioxidants into the IVM medium, and BCX may be a potential candidate to improve assisted reproductive technologies.
Mental illness among survivors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) during the post-illness period is an emerging and important health issue.
We aimed to investigate the prevalence of mental illness and the associated factors for its development among COVID-2019 survivors.
From 1 January to 4 June 2020, data were extracted from the National Health Insurance Service COVID-19 database in South Korea. Patients with COVID-19 were defined as those whose test results indicated that they had contracted the infection, regardless of disease severity. COVID-19 survivors were defined as those who recovered from the infection. The primary end-point was the development of mental illness, which was evaluated between 1 January and 1 December 2020.
A total 260 883 individuals were included in this study, and 2.36% (6148) were COVID-19 survivors. The COVID-19 survivors showed higher prevalence of mental illness than the control group (12.0% in the COVID-19 survivors v. 7.7% in the control group; odds ratio (OR) = 2.40, 95% CI 2.21–2.61, P < 0.001). Additionally, compared with the control group, the no specific treatment for COVID-19 group (OR = 2.23, 95% CI 2.03–2.45, P < 0.001) and specific treatment for COVID-19 group (OR = 3.27, 95% CI 2.77–3.87, P < 0.001) showed higher prevalence of mental illness among survivors.
In South Korea, COVID-19 survivors had a higher risk of developing mental illness compared with the rest of the populations. Moreover, this trend was more evident in COVID-19 survivors who experienced specific treatment in the hospital.
Refugees commonly experience difficulties with emotional processing, such as alexithymia, due to stressful or traumatic experiences. However, the functional connectivity of the amygdala, which is central to emotional processing, has yet to be assessed in refugees. Thus, the present study investigated the resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala and its association with emotional processing in North Korean (NK) refugees.
This study included 45 NK refugees and 40 native South Koreans (SK). All participants were administered the Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinician-administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), and differences between NK refugees and native SK in terms of resting-state functional connectivity of the amygdala were assessed. Additionally, the association between the strength of amygdala connectivity and the TAS score was examined.
Resting-state connectivity values from the left amygdala to the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) were higher in NK refugees than in native SK. Additionally, the strength of connectivity between the left amygdala and right dlPFC was positively associated with TAS score after controlling for the number of traumatic experiences and BDI and CAPS scores.
The present study found that NK refugees exhibited heightened frontal–amygdala connectivity, and that this connectivity was correlated with alexithymia. The present results suggest that increased frontal–amygdala connectivity in refugees may represent frontal down-regulation of the amygdala, which in turn may produce alexithymia.
Given its diverse disease courses and symptom presentations, multiple phenotype dimensions with different biological underpinnings are expected with bipolar disorders (BPs). In this study, we aimed to identify lifetime BP psychopathology dimensions. We also explored the differing associations with bipolar I (BP-I) and bipolar II (BP-II) disorders.
We included a total of 307 subjects with BPs in the analysis. For the factor analysis, we chose six variables related to clinical courses, 29 indicators covering lifetime symptoms of mood episodes, and 6 specific comorbid conditions. To determine the relationships among the identified phenotypic dimensions and their effects on differentiating BP subtypes, we applied structural equation modeling.
We selected a six-factor solution through scree plot, Velicer's minimum average partial test, and face validity evaluations; the six factors were cyclicity, depression, atypical vegetative symptoms, elation, psychotic/irritable mania, and comorbidity. In the path analysis, five factors excluding atypical vegetative symptoms were associated with one another. Cyclicity, depression, and comorbidity had positive associations, and they correlated negatively with psychotic/irritable mania; elation showed positive correlations with cyclicity and psychotic/irritable mania. Depression, cyclicity, and comorbidity were stronger in BP-II than in BP-I, and they contributed significantly to the distinction between the two disorders.
We identified six phenotype dimensions; in addition to symptom features of manic and depressive episodes, various comorbidities and high cyclicity constructed separate dimensions. Except for atypical vegetative symptoms, all factors showed a complex interdependency and played roles in discriminating BP-II from BP-I.
To evaluate the appropriateness of the screening strategy for healthcare personnel (HCP) during a hospital-associated Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, we performed a serologic investigation in 189 rRT-PCR–negative HCP exposed and assigned to MERS patients. Although 20%–25% of HCP experienced MERS-like symptoms, none of them showed seroconversion by plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT).
Personality may predispose family caregivers to experience caregiving differently in similar situations and influence the outcomes of caregiving. A limited body of research has examined the role of some personality traits for health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among family caregivers of persons with dementia (PWD) in relation to burden and depression.
Data from a large clinic-based national study in South Korea, the Caregivers of Alzheimer's Disease Research (CARE), were analyzed (N = 476). Path analysis was performed to explore the association between family caregivers’ personality traits and HRQoL. With depression and burden as mediating factors, direct and indirect associations between five personality traits and HRQoL of family caregivers were examined.
Results demonstrated the mediating role of caregiver burden and depression in linking two personality traits (neuroticism and extraversion) and HRQoL. Neuroticism and extraversion directly and indirectly influenced the mental HRQoL of caregivers. Neuroticism and extraversion only indirectly influenced their physical HRQoL. Neuroticism increased the caregiver's depression, whereas extraversion decreased it. Neuroticism only was mediated by burden to influence depression and mental and physical HRQoL.
Personality traits can influence caregiving outcomes and be viewed as an individual resource of the caregiver. A family caregiver's personality characteristics need to be assessed for tailoring support programs to get the optimal benefits from caregiver interventions.
During the past decade, carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) has emerged and spread across the world.1 The major carbapenemase enzymes currently being reported are KPC, NDM-1, VIM, IMP, and OXA.2 Because carbapenemase can be effectively transmitted via mobile genetic elements, and current therapeutic options for CPE infections are extremely limited, CPE may be one of the most serious contemporary threats to public health. However, very little is known about the characteristics of CPE carriage during hospitalization. The aims of this study were to investigate the clearance rate of CPE carriage and determine the number of consecutive negative cultures required to confirm CPE clearance. We also examined CPE transmission among hospitalized patients.
Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(11):1361–1362
The study's aim was to examine the association of alcohol consumption with verbal and visuospatial memory impairment in older people.
Participants were 1,572, aged ≥60 years, in the hospital-based registry of the Clinical Research Center for Dementia of South Korea (CREDOS). Moderate drinking was defined as no more than seven drinks per week and three drinks per day. Memory impairment was defined as performance with more than 1 standard deviation below the mean value on the Seoul Verbal Learning Test and Rey Complex Figure Test.
Those who consumed alcohol moderately, compared with abstainers, had a lower odds of verbal memory impairment (Odds Ratio [OR] = 0.64; 95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 0.46–0.87), adjusting for covariates. Visuospatial memory, however, was not significantly associated with alcohol consumption.
Moderate alcohol drinking is associated with a reduced likelihood of verbal memory impairment among older people attending memory clinics.
Background: Highly educated participants with normal cognition show lower incidence of Alzheimer's disease (AD) than poorly educated participants, whereas longitudinal studies involving AD have reported that higher education is associated with more rapid cognitive decline. We aimed to evaluate whether highly educated amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI) participants show more rapid cognitive decline than those with lower levels of education.
Methods: A total of 249 aMCI patients enrolled from 31 memory clinics using the standard assessment and diagnostic processes were followed with neuropsychological evaluation (duration 17.2 ± 8.8 months). According to baseline performances on memory tests, participants were divided into early-stage aMCI (−1.5 to −1.0 standard deviation (SD)) and late-stage aMCI (below −1.5 SD) groups. Risk of AD conversion and changes in neuropsychological performances according to the level of education were evaluated.
Results: Sixty-two patients converted to AD over a mean follow-up of 1.43 years. The risk of AD conversion was higher in late-stage aMCI than early-stage aMCI. Cox proportional hazard models showed that aMCI participants, and late-stage aMCI participants in particular, with higher levels of education had a higher risk of AD conversion than those with lower levels of education. Late-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed faster cognitive decline in language, memory, and Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes (CDR-SOB) scores. On the contrary, early-stage aMCI participants with higher education showed slower cognitive decline in MMSE and CDR-SOB scores.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the protective effects of education against cognitive decline remain in early-stage aMCI and disappear in late-stage aMCI.
Maslinic acid is found in various natural sources, most notably in pomace olive oil, and exerts pro-apoptotic activities in various cancer cells in vitro. In the present study, DU145 human prostate cancer cells were cultured with 0–25 μm-maslinic acid to examine the effects of maslinic acid on the metastatic capacity of prostate cancer cells. Maslinic acid significantly (P <0·05) inhibited the basal and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced migration (27–64 %), invasion (23–60 %) and adhesion (8–40 %) of DU145 cells. Maslinic acid significantly (P <0·05) down-regulated both basal and EGF-stimulated secretion of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 (25–67 %), MMP-2 (50–86 %), urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA, about 100 %), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF, 98–100 %) and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinases (TIMP)-1, as well as expression of uPA receptor (uPAR), intercellular adhesion molecules (22–33 %), vascular cell adhesion molecules (23–46 %) and E-cadherin, whereas it increased TIMP-2 secretion. Maslinic acid dramatically reduced the levels of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) protein and mRNA; the reduction was accompanied by reduced stability, nuclear levels and transcriptional activity of HIF-1α. The levels of phospho-Akt and phospho-extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) were reduced in cells treated with maslinic acid, and the phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor LY294002 and the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibitor PD98059 reduced HIF-1α levels and VEGF secretion. The results show that maslinic acid markedly inhibited the migration, invasion and adhesion of DU145 prostate cancer cells. Suppressing HIF-1α activation by inhibiting Akt and ERK activation may be part of the mechanism by which maslinic acid inhibited uPAR, E-cadherin, VEGF and MMP expression in DU145 cells.
To enhance the lifetime of large-sized active matrix organic light emitting
diodes (AMOLEDs), we developed a liquid desiccant for encapsulation. The
liquid desiccant was prepared by mixing nano-sized calcium oxide (CaO)
powders and silicone binder including polyalkylalkenylsiloxane,
polyalkylhydrogensiloxane and platinum compound. It was confirmed that
liquid desiccant had an effect on absorption of penetrated moisture and
oxygen through calcium tests. Also, the test cells encapsulated with only
epoxy sealant dispensed at the edge of the cell developed dark spots within
100 hrs, which grew larger with time at 85 oC and 85 % R.H. On the other hand, the test cell sealed with epoxy
sealant and liquid desiccant showed no dark spots and retained 97% of its
initial luminance even after being stored for 800 hrs at 85 oC and 85 % R.H. Furthermore, the accelerating storage lifetimes of
31-inch bottom-emitting AMOLEDs with epoxy sealant and liquid desiccant
showed about 1000 hrs. These results suggest that the liquid desiccant can
be applied to encapsulation of large-sized AMOLEDs.
Licorice extracts are known to exhibit anti-carcinogenic activities. However, chronic licorice consumption can lead to serious side effects due to the presence of considerable quantities of glycyrrhizin, which causes severe hypokalaemia and hypertension. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of a hexane–ethanol extract of Glycyrrhiza uralensis (HEGU), which lacks glycyrrhizin, on the metastatic characteristics of DU145 prostate cancer cells. HEGU inhibited basal and epidermal growth factor-induced cell migration, invasion and adhesion in a dose-dependent fashion. HEGU significantly suppressed the secretion and activation of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and MMP-9. The secretion of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP)-1 was reduced, but that of TIMP-2 was increased in HEGU-treated cells. HEGU reduced the protein levels of integrin-α2, the intercellular adhesion molecule, and the vascular cell adhesion molecule. An active fraction of HEGU was separated via column chromatography, and the structure of the active component, licoricidin, was identified via 1H NMR and 13C NMR. The treatment of DU145 cells with licoricidin induced a reduction in cell migration and the secretion of MMP-9, TIMP-1, urokinase-type plasminogen activator and vascular endothelial growth factor, as well as in the expression of adhesion molecules. These results indicate that HEGU, which contains licoricidin, is a potent anti-metastatic agent, which can markedly inhibit the metastatic and invasive capacity of malignant prostate cancer cells. The observed reductions in the activation of proteases and the levels of adhesion molecules may constitute a component of the mechanisms by which HEGU inhibits the migration and adhesion of prostate cancer cells.
Single-crystalline rock-salt PbS nanowires (NWs) were synthesized using three different routes; the solvothermal, chemical vapor transport, and gas-phase substitution reaction of pre-grown CdS NWs. They were uniformly grown with the  or ,  direction in a controlled manner. In the solvothermal growth, the oriented attachment of the octylamine (OA) ligands enables the NWs to be produced with a controlled morphology and growth direction. As the concentration of OA increases, the growth direction evolves from the  to the higher surface-energy  and  directions. In the synthesis involving chemical vapor transport and the substitution reaction, the use of a lower growth temperature causes the higher surface-energy growth direction to change from  to . We fabricated field effect transistors using single PbS NW, which showed intrinsic p-type semiconductor characteristics for all three routes. For the PbS NW with a thinner oxide layer, the carrier mobility was measured to be as high as 10 cm2V−1s−1.
The prevalence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains causing bloodstream infection (BSI) has not been studied in Korea.
We sought to determine the prevalence of CA-MRSA strains among isolates recovered from patients with MRSA BSIs and to explore epidemiological changes in Korea. We also sought to evaluate clinical characteristics relevant to the development of healthcare-associated BSIs.
We prospectively collected consecutive MRSA isolates from patients with BSI at 4 hospitals from July 1 through November 30, 2007, and we also included MRSA isolates recovered from culture of blood samples collected during a previous year (October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005) at a different hospital. Molecular typing studies were performed, including pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), multilocus sequence typing, Staphylococcus protein A (spa) typing, and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing. We compared the clinical characteristics and outcomes of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to CA-MRSA strains with those of patients with healthcare-associated BSI due to healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA) strains.
There were 76 cases of MRSA BSI, of which 4 (5.3%) were community-associated and 72 (94.7%) were healthcare-associated. Among the 72 HA-MRSA BSIs, 18 (25%) were community onset, and 54 (75%) were hospital onset. PFGE type D-ST72–spa B-SCCmec type IVA MRSA, the predominant genotype of CA-MRSA in Korea, accounted for 19 (25%) of all 76 MRSA BSIs, including 17 (23.6%) of 72 HA-MRSA BSIs and 11 (20.8%) of 53 hospital-onset HA-MRSA BSIs. Patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to CA-MRSA strains carrying SCCmec type IVA tended to have fewer healthcare-associated risk factors, compared with patients with healthcare-associated BSIs due to HA-MRSA strains carrying other SCCmec types. The presence of a central venous catheter or other invasive device was the only independent factor differentiating patients infected with hospital-associated genotype strains from patients infected with other strains. Clinical outcomes were similar between both groups.
CA-MRSA strains are emerging as a major cause of BSI in healthcare settings in Korea. This changing epidemiology of MRSA poses a challenge to public health and infection control in hospital settings.
In this investigation, 22 cloned male piglets were obtained by male fetal fibroblast-cell-derived nuclear transfer. Eighteen of the cloned animals died. The two cell lines did not differ significantly with regard to efficiency of live piglet production. The gross anatomy of the testes of male piglets that died was normal. However, one piglet displayed Leydig cell hypoplasia (LCH). No anatomical defects were detected in the testes of other cloned male piglets. TUNEL analysis of the testis with LCH revealed significant apoptosis in the Leydig cells, while apoptosis was rarely detected in Sertoli cells and spermatogonia. In contrast, testes from the remaining 17 piglets that died appeared normal in size, and their Sertoli and Leydig cell numbers were comparable to those in control piglet testes. Although cloned piglets were derived from fibroblasts obtained from the same fetus, phenotypic instability between cells used for the production of somatic cell cloned piglets suggests that abnormalities in male cloned piglets are caused not by technical problems and/or reprogramming effects, but rather by epigenetically and/or genetically damaged cell-specific effects.
A mucin coat is deposited on rabbit embryos during passage through the oviduct; rabbit blastocysts cultured from the 1-cell stage in vitro have no mucin coat. When cultured blastocysts are transferred to recipients, the lack of mucin coat might account in part for subsequent failure of pregnancy. We have investigated the possibility that mucin coat deposition is induced following transfer of in vitro 72 h-cultured blastocysts to oviducts of asynchronous or synchronous recipients. One-cell embryos were collected by flushing oviducts 19–20 h post-coitus and were cultured in vitro for 72 h until they reached the blastocyst stage. The blastocysts were transferred to the oviducts of recipients that were synchronized either with the donors (synchronous) or 1 day later than the donors (asynchronous). They were recovered after 24–48 h and the mucin coat thickness and embryo degeneration rate were measured. The degeneration rate of blastocysts recovered from uteri of synchronous recipients was higher than that from asynchronous recipients (72.2% vs 40.0%). The mucin coats around embryos recovered from oviducts of asynchronous recipients after 48 h were thicker than those from synchronous recipients. More asynchronous recipients were pregnant and gave birth to more pups than synchronous recipients. These results indicate that the oviducts of asynchronous recipients secreted more mucin around the transferred embryos, causing higher rates of implantation of the in vitro-cultured blastocysts.
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