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Interactions between smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and biomaterials must not result in phenotype changes as this may generate uncontrolled multiplication processes and occlusions in vascular grafts. The aim of this study was to relate the hydrolytic stability and biocompatibility of polyurethanes (PUs) on SMCs. A higher polycaprolactone (PCL) concentration was found to improve the hydrolytic stability of the material and the adhesion of SMCs. A material with 5% polyethylene glycol, 90% PCL, and 5% pentaerythritol presented high cell viability and adhesion, suggesting a contractile phenotype in SMCs depending on the morphology. Nevertheless, all PUs retained their elastic modulus over 120 days, similar to the collagen of native arteries (~10 MPa). Furthermore, aortic SMCs did not present toxicity (viability over 80%) and demonstrated adherence without any abnormal cell multiplication processes, which is ideal for the function to be fulfiled in situ in the vascular grafts.
The alien cynipid wasp Dryocosmus kuriphilus Yasumatsu, 1951 is a serious pest of chestnuts (Castanea spp.) in Japan, North America and Europe, causing fruit losses while inducing galls in buds. While D. kuriphilus galls have a recognizable and roughly invariable globular shape, their size varies, reaching up to 4 cm in diameter. Among other factors, such variation may depend on different climatic conditions in different attacked areas. Here, we sampled and measured 375 D. kuriphilus galls from 25 localities throughout the Iberian Peninsula, including both cold and rainy northern (Eurosiberian) areas and warm and dry central-southern (Mediterranean) areas, to test the effects of climate and geographical location on gall morphology. The analyses indicate that gall mass and volume follow a pattern that can be associated with a climatic cline. In particular, the Eurosiberian galls were smaller than the Mediterranean galls according to differences in climatic conditions. In the southern areas, the greater insolation regime does not allow the chestnut trees to be distributed at lower altitudes, but the high rainfall and humidity regime of the mountain enclaves allow their presence. These conditions of insolation and precipitation seem to influence the morphological characteristics of the galls of D. kuriphilus.
Polyurethane/cellulose composites were synthesized from castor-oil-derived polyols and isophorone diisocyanate using dibutyltin dilaurate (DBTDL) as the catalyst. Materials were obtained by adding 2% cellulose in the form of either microcrystals (20 μm) or nanocrystals obtained by acid hydrolysis. The aim was to assess the effects of filler particle size and the use of a catalyst on the physicochemical properties and biological response of these composites. The addition of the catalyst was found to be essential to prevent filler aggregations and to enhance the tensile strength and elongation at break. The cellulose particle size influenced the composite properties, as its nanocrystals heighten hydrogen bond interactions between the filler surface and polyurethane domains, improving resistance to hydrolytic degradation. All hybrids retained cell viability, and the addition of DBTDL did not impair their biocompatibility. The samples were prone to calcification, which suggests that they could find application in the development of bioactive materials.
Polyurethane-based bioadhesive was synthesized with polyols derived from castor oil (chemically modified and unmodified) and hexamethylene diisocyanate with chitosan addition as a bioactive filler. The objective was to evaluate the effect of type of polyols with the incorporation of low-concentrations of chitosan on the mechanical and biological properties of the polymer to obtain suitable materials in the design of biomaterials. The results showed that increasing physical crosslinking increased the mechanical and adhesive properties. An in vitro cytotoxic test of polyurethanes showed cellular viability. The biocompatibility of the polyurethanes favors the adhesion of L929 cells at 6, 24, and 48 h. The polyurethanes showed bacterial inhibition depending on the polyol and percentage of chitosan. The antibacterial effect of the polyurethanes for Escherichia coli decreased 60–90% after 24 h. The mechanical and adhesive properties together with biological response in this research suggested these polyurethanes as external application tissue bioadhesives.
Only five planetary nebulae (PNe) have been confirmed to emit water masers. They seem to be very young PNe. The water emission in these objects preferentially traces circumstellar toroids, although in K 3-35 and IRAS 15103-5754, it may also trace collimated jets. We present water maser observations of these two sources at different epochs. The water maser distribution changes on timescales of months to a few years. We speculate that these changes may be due to the variation of the underlying radio continuum emission, which is amplified by the maser process in the foreground material.
We briefly introduce the VLBI maser astrometric analysis of IRAS 18043–2116 and IRAS 18113–2503, two remarkable and unusual water fountains with spectacular bipolar bow shocks in their high-speed collimated jet-driven outflows. The 22 GHz H2O maser structures and velocities clearly show that the jets are formed in very short-lived, episodic outbursts, which may indicate episodic accretion in an underlying binary system.
Despite ongoing efforts to motivate politicians and publics in Europe regarding nature conservation, biodiversity continues to decline. Monetary valuation of ecosystem services appears to be insufficient to motivate people, suggesting that non-monetary values have a crucial role to play. There is insufficient information about the motivations of actors who have been instrumental in successful conservation projects. We investigated the motivations underlying these biodiversity actors using the ranking of cards and compared the results with the rankings of motivations of a second group of actors with more socially related interests. For both groups of actors, their action relating to biodiversity was supported in general by two groups of motivations related to living a meaningful life and moral values. The non-biodiversity actors also noted that their action relating to biodiversity rested more on beauty, place attachment and intrinsic values in comparison with their main non-biodiversity interests. Our results have implications for environmental policy and biodiversity conservation in that the current tendency of focusing on the economic valuation of biodiversity fails to address the motivations of successful actors, thereby failing to motivate nature conservation on an individual level.
The phenotypic activity of two 5-nitroindazolinones, i.e. 2-benzyl-1-propyl (22) and 2-benzyl-1-butyl (24) derivatives, previously proposed as anti-Trypanosoma cruzi prototypes, was presently assayed on bloodstream trypomastigotes (BT) of the moderately drug-resistant Y strain. Further exploration of putative targets and cellular mechanisms involved in their activity was also carried out. Therefore, transmission electron microscopy, high-resolution respirometry and flow cytometry procedures were performed on BT treated for up to 24 h with the respective EC50 value of each derivative. Results demonstrated that although 22 and 24 were not as active as benznidazole in this in vitro assay on BT, both compounds triggered important damages in T. cruzi that lead to the parasite death. Ultrastructural alterations included shedding events, detachment of plasma membrane and nuclear envelope, loss of mitochondrial integrity, besides the occurrence of a large number of intracellular vesicles and profiles of endoplasmic reticulum surrounding cytoplasmic organelles such as mitochondrion. Moreover, both derivatives affected mitochondrion leading to this organelle dysfunction, as reflected by the inhibition in oxygen consumption and the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. Altogether, the findings exposed in the present study propose autophagic processes and mitochondrial machinery as part of the mode of action of both 5-nitroindazolinones 22 and 24 on T. cruzi trypomastigotes.
We present an analysis of the parsec-scale jet structure of the quasar 4C+21.35 with a resolution of 0.1 milliarcseconds based on 63 epochs of Very Long Baseline Array observations at 43 GHz from 2007 June to 2014 May along with the Fermi LAT γ-ray light curve and multi-frequency optical photometric and polarimetric data. We find that the innermost jet of the quasar consists of a very compact core of size ~0.03 mas, as well as feature A1 located 0.16 ± 0.03 mas from the core. The distance of A1 remains fairly stable, but its position angle with respect to the core changes from -10 to +10 deg. We detect 4 superluminal knots in the inner jet with apparent speeds ranging from 10c to 20c. The first two components appeared in the jet during the high γ-ray state of the quasar from mid-2010 to early 2011, while the fourth knot appears to be connected with the γ-ray active state in late 2013 - early 2014. The first knot can be associated with the dramatic VHE flare in 2010 June and possesses an extreme Doppler factor ~60. We find that maxima in the γ-ray light curve coincide with epochs of interaction between the moving knots and the core and feature A1. This suggests that the core and A1 are recollimation shocks where γ-ray flares occur. The Chandra 0.5-6 keV image reveals the existence of X-ray emission in the kiloparsec scale jet of the quasar that can be explained via inverse Compton scattering off the cosmic microwave background by relativistic electrons if no deceleration occurs between the parsec- and kiloparsec-scale jets.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
We study the space of commuting elements in the central product Gm,p of m copies of the special unitary group SU(p), where p is a prime number. In particular, a computation for the number of path-connected components of these spaces is given and the geometry of the moduli space Rep(ℤn, Gm,p) of isomorphism classes of flat connections on principal Gm,p-bundles over the n-torus is completely described for all values of n, m and p.
It has been suggested that the presence of disks or tori around the central stars of pre Planetary Nebulae and Planetary Nebulae is related to the collimation of the jet that are frequently observed in these sources. These disks or tori can be traced by the maser emission of some molecules such as water. In this work we present Very Large Array (VLA) observations of the water maser emission at 22 GHz toward the PN IRAS 18061–2505, for which the masers appear located on one side of the central star. For comparison with the observations, we present a simple kinematical model of a disk rotating and expanding around the central star. The model matches qualitatively the observations. However, since the masers appear only on one side of the disk, these results are not conclusive.
Water fountains are evolved stars showing water masers with velocity spanning more than ~100 km/s. They usually appear at the end of the Asymptotic Giant Branch (AGB) phase or at the beginning of the post-AGB phase, and their masers trace the first manifestation of axisymmetric collimated mass-loss. For the first time, masers with water fountain characteristics have been detected towards a PN (IRAS 15103–5754), which might require a revision of the current theories about jet formation and survival times. IRAS 15103-5754 was observed using the ATCA interferometer at 22 GHz (both continuum and water maser). The main results of these observations are summarized here. The evolutionary classification of this object is also discussed.
VLBI multi-epoch water maser observations are a powerful tool to study the gas very close to the central engine responsible for the phenomena associated with the early evolution of massive protostars. In this paper we present a summary of the main observational results obtained toward the massive star-forming regions of Cepheus A and W75N. These observations revealed unexpected phenomena in the earliest stages of evolution of massive objects (e.g., non-collimated “short-lived” pulsed ejections in different massive protostars), and provided new insights in the study of the dynamic scenario of the formation of high-mass stars (e.g., simultaneous presence of a jet and wide-angle outflow in the massive object Cep A HW2, similar to what is observed in low-mass protostars). In addition, with these observations it has been possible to identify new, previously unseen centers of high-mass star formation through outflow activity.
“Water fountains” (WF) are post-AGB stars characterized by very fast and often bipolar jets in the water maser line at 22 GHz. We conducted a survey of the CO and 13CO line emission using the IRAM 30m radio telescope of all the sources visible from the observatory. Over a total of 10 WFs observed, we identified CO and 13CO associated to IRAS 18460-0151 and IRAS 18596+0315. As the CO line emission is ubiquitous in the Galactic plane, the confirmed detections have met strict criteria to consider these cases as confirmed detections. The velocity components associated to the WFs are ~ 40 km s−1 wide, centered at the star velocity, present only at the star position, and detected in the four observed transitions, the CO and 13CO J=1→0 and 2→1 lines. A preliminary study, based on line ratios, indicates that this molecular component has a high opacity, and a very low 12C/13C isotopic ratio.
The Galactic Australian SKA Pathfinder (GASKAP) survey is one of several key science projects with ASKAP, a new radio telescope being built in Australia as a technology demonstrator for the Square Kilometer Array (SKA). GASKAP aims to survey about 12,779 square degrees of the Galaxy and the Magellanic System, at high spectral resolution (0.2 km s−1) and using several wavelengths: the λ21-cm HI line, the λ18-cm OH lines, and the comb of recombination lines around λ18-cm. The area covered by GASKAP includes all of the Galactic plane south of declination +40° with |b| < 10°, selected areas at higher latitudes covering important interstellar clouds in the disk and halo, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and the Magellanic Bridge and Stream. Compared with previous surveys, GASKAP will achieve an order of magnitude or greater improvement in brightness sensitivity and resolution in various combinations of beam size and mapping speed matched to the astrophysical objectives.
The conditions of the bentonite in an engineered barrier for HLW disposal have been simulated in a laboratory test. Six cylindrical blocks of bentonite compacted at a dry density of 1.64 g/cm3 were piled up in a hermetic Teflon cell. The total length of clay inside the cell was 60 cm. The bottom surface of the bentonite was heated at 100°C while the top surface was injected with granitic water. The duration of the test was 7.6 years. The water intake was measured during the test and, at the end, the cell was dismounted and the dry density, water content, specific surface area, mineralogy, geochemistry and swelling capacity of the clay were measured in different sections along the blocks. The material used in this test is the FEBEX bentonite.