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The therapeutic effect of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been investigated in various clinical applications, in which their functional benefits are mainly attributed to the secretion of soluble factors. The enhancement of their therapeutic potential by physical and chemical properties of cell culture substrate is a safe and effective strategy, since they are highly sensitive to their microenvironment such as the elasticity and surface topography. In this study, we demonstrated that the geometry of polymeric substrate regulated the interleukin-6 (IL-6) secretion of human adipose derived MSCs. Polystyrene substrates comprising arrays of square-shaped (S50) or round-shaped (R50) microwells (side length or diameter of 50 μm and depth of 10 μm) were prepared by injection molding. Cellular apoptototic rate of MSCs was not affected by the microwell geometry, while the upregulated secretion of IL-6 and the enhancement of nuclear transcription factor STAT3 were detected in MSCs seeded on S50 substrate. The geometry-dependent modulatory effect was highly associated with ROCK signaling cascade. The inhibition of ROCK abolished the disparity in IL-6 secretion. These findings highlight the possibility to steer the secretion profile of stem cells via microwell geometry in combination with the manipulation of ROCK signaling pathway.
This article utilizes the 2011 Nielsen scanner data for the Honolulu fresh tomato market to explore the existence of price premium for local food. Hedonic analysis is conducted to delineate the price impact of the local attribute. Contrary to the widely perceived local price premium in the consumer preference literature, mixed results of price premiums and discounts are discovered for local tomato products. Additional investigation suggests that the prices of local tomatoes are likely influenced by seasonal output fluctuation. The limited market distribution capacity facing local producers may have contributed further to the retail discounting.
“Buying local״ has become one of the most important trends in food marketing. Despite widespread public attention, the influence of the “local״ attribute on food prices is not well understood. We aim to begin to fill this gap in research by exploring the presence of a price premium for “local״ in actual market transactions. Using scanner data on fresh packaged lettuce in the Honolulu market and hedonic modeling, we investigate consumers’ revealed preferences for the attribute. Contrary to the positive willingness to pay for local food widely reported in previous studies, we find no local premium for fresh lettuce in the Honolulu market.
Confocal Raman microspectroscopy (CRM) has emerged as a powerful approach to visualize the compositional distribution in lignocellulosic biomass of cell walls. In this work, the applicability of CRM for imaging the topochemical correlation between lignin and hydroxycinnamic acids (HCA) in the Miscanthus sinensis internode was explored. Model compound [p-coumaric acid (PCA) and ferulic acid (FA)] analysis indicated that the band region from 1,152 to 1,197 cm−1 can be used to characterize the distribution of HCA. Raman images calculated by integrating over the area intensity of characteristic spectral regions showed heterogeneous distribution of lignin and HCA at cellular and sub-cellular level. When overlaying the Raman image of lignin and HCA distribution, it was found that these two polymers were co-located in the middle lamella and secondary wall of corresponding cells. Raman images for the band intensity ratio (1,173 cm−1/1,603 cm−1) indicated a clear association between lignin and HCA distribution within morphologically distinct cell wall layers of sclerenchyma fibers and the parenchyma. This is the first time that the spatial correlation between lignin and HCA concentration has been illustrated by a microspectroscopy imaging approach. The results are of importance in extending the current understanding of lignin and aromatics topochemistry in herbaceous biomass.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of lutein and lycopene supplementation on carotid artery intima–media thickness (CAIMT) in subjects with subclinical atherosclerosis. A total of 144 subjects aged 45–68 years were recruited from local communities. All the subjects were randomly assigned to receive 20 mg lutein/d (n 48), 20 mg lutein/d+20 mg lycopene/d (n 48) or placebo (n 48) for 12 months. CAIMT was measured using Doppler ultrasonography at baseline and after 12 months, and serum lutein and lycopene concentrations were determined using HPLC. Serum lutein concentrations increased significantly from 0·34 to 1·96 μmol/l in the lutein group (P< 0·001) and from 0·35 to 1·66 μmol/l in the combination group (P< 0·001). Similarly, serum lycopene concentrations increased significantly from 0·18 to 0·71 μmol/l in the combination group at month 12 (P< 0·001), whereas no significant change was observed in the placebo group. The mean values of CAIMT decreased significantly by 0·035 mm (P= 0·042) and 0·073 mm (P< 0·001) in the lutein and combination groups at month 12, respectively. The change in CAIMT was inversely associated with the increase in serum lutein concentrations (P< 0·05) in both the active treatment groups and with that in serum lycopene concentrations (β = − 0·342, P= 0·031) in the combination group. Lutein and lycopene supplementation significantly increased the serum concentrations of lutein and lycopene with a decrease in CAIMT being associated with both concentrations. In addition, the combination of lutein and lycopene supplementation was more effective than lutein alone for protection against the development of CAIMT in Chinese subjects with subclinical atherosclerosis, and further studies are needed to confirm whether synergistic effects of lutein and lycopene exist.
In this study we investigated the importance of two species of fruit bat (Rousettus leschenaulti and Cynopterus sphinx) as seed dispersers for a species of fruit tree (Syzygium oblatum) found in the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden in South-West China. We found that although R. leschenaulti and C. sphinx were the two primary seed dispersers of S. oblatum over half of the fruit produced by the tree (65%) fell to the ground. Out of the fruit collected, R. leschenaulti and C. sphinx were able to disperse seeds up to 73 m from the parent tree with the highest density of feeding roosts occurring at 21.3 m (SE = 5.2 m). We found no signs that either species of bat used the parent tree as a feeding roost, instead choosing specific trees that were at lower densities compared with other trees in the forest that were not used. When comparing the viability of seeds in three different habitats (under parent tree, in forest gap, under feeding roost) survival analysis revealed that seedling survival was significantly higher in the forest gap (91.7% ± 4.41%) than under the parent tree (78.3% ± 1.67%), but was not significantly different to seedling survival underneath feeding roosts (86.7 ± 1.67%). Further work also showed that the seeds did not have to be removed from the fruit or ingested by the bat in order to germinate. We conclude that although S. oblatum is not dependent on R. leschenaulti and C. sphinx for successful germination of its seeds, these two species of bat are important seed dispersers and can move seeds to areas where there is a greater chance of germination success and survival.
Interspecies intracytoplasmic sperm injection has been carried out to understand species-specific differences in oocyte environments and sperm components during fertilization. While sperm aster organization during cat fertilization requires a paternally derived centriole, mouse and hamster fertilization occur within the maternal centrosomal components. To address the questions of where sperm aster assembly occurs and whether complete fertilization is achieved in cat oocytes by interspecies sperm, we studied the fertilization processes of cat oocytes following the injection of cat, mouse, or hamster sperm. Male and female pronuclear formations were not different in the cat oocytes at 6 h following cat, mouse or hamster sperm injection. Microtubule asters were seen in all oocytes following intracytoplasmic injection of cat, mouse or hamster sperm. Immunocytochemical staining with a histone H3-m2K9 antibody revealed that mouse sperm chromatin is incorporated normally with cat egg chromatin, and that the cat eggs fertilized with mouse sperm enter metaphase and become normal 2-cell stage embryos. These results suggest that sperm aster formation is maternally dependent, and that fertilization processes and cleavage occur in a non-species specific manner in cat oocytes.
The effects of rapid thermal annealing (RTA) on the electrical properties and the strain relaxation of the heavily boron doped silicon layers grown by molecular beam epitaxy have been studied by Hall effect measurements and double crystal x-ray diffraction. After the RTA treatment at temperatures above 1000°C, the increases of both carrier concentration and Hall mobility as well as the improvement of crystalline quality of epitaxial layers are acheived. It is verified that the lattice mismatch between the epitaxial layer and the Si substrate is proportional to the concentration of the substitutional boron rather than the total boron concentration. The lattice contraction coefficient ² is determined to be 5.3 (in units 10-24cm3) in the carrier concentration range of 0.75∼ 3×1020cnr-3.
Single crystal Mn thin films have been successfully grown on GaAs(001) substrates for the first time by molecular beam epitaxy. The bulk atomic structure of the manganese films is determined to be the face-centered-cubic metastable phase with the lattice parameter of 0.362 nm, by in situ reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and ex situ x-ray diffraction (XRD).
Hydrogenated amorphous carbon (a-C:H) films were fabricated using mixed acetylene and argon plasma with various flow rate ratios of acetylene to argon. Raman scattering and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy show that changing the flow rate ratios (FC2H2 to FAr) has a large impact on the structure of the films. Enhanced film hardness and reduced surface roughness were achieved at higher ratios attributable to the high ion flux and efficient etching by hydrogen. However, the film surface exposed to atomic hydrogen at a higher C2H2 flow rate becomes rougher. The sp3 content and film hardness also reach saturation combined with a fissile surface due to the high stress.
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