ResearchPad - amorphous-solids https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[SULF1 suppresses Wnt3A-driven growth of bone metastatic prostate cancer in perlecan-modified 3D cancer-stroma-macrophage triculture models]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14741 Bone marrow stroma influences metastatic prostate cancer (PCa) progression, latency, and recurrence. At sites of PCa bone metastasis, cancer-associated fibroblasts and tumor-associated macrophages interact to establish a perlecan-rich desmoplastic stroma. As a heparan sulfate proteoglycan, perlecan (HSPG2) stores and stabilizes growth factors, including heparin-binding Wnt3A, a positive regulator of PCa cell growth. Because PCa cells alone do not induce CAF production of perlecan in the desmoplastic stroma, we sought to discover the sources of perlecan and its growth factor-releasing modifiers SULF1, SULF2, and heparanase in PCa cells and xenografts, bone marrow fibroblasts, and macrophages. SULF1, produced primarily by bone marrow fibroblasts, was the main glycosaminoglycanase present, a finding validated with primary tissue specimens of PCa metastases with desmoplastic bone stroma. Expression of both HSPG2 and SULF1 was concentrated in αSMA-rich stroma near PCa tumor nests, where infiltrating pro-tumor TAMs also were present. To decipher SULF1’s role in the reactive bone stroma, we created a bone marrow biomimetic hydrogel incorporating perlecan, PCa cells, macrophages, and fibroblastic bone marrow stromal cells. Finding that M2-like macrophages increased levels of SULF1 and HSPG2 produced by fibroblasts, we examined SULF1 function in Wnt3A-mediated PCa tumoroid growth in tricultures. Comparing control or SULF1 knockout fibroblastic cells, we showed that SULF1 reduces Wnt3A-driven growth, cellularity, and cluster number of PCa cells in our 3D model. We conclude that SULF1 can suppress Wnt3A-driven growth signals in the desmoplastic stroma of PCa bone metastases, and SULF1 loss favors PCa progression, even in the presence of pro-tumorigenic TAMs.

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<![CDATA[A Photonic crystal fiber with large effective refractive index separation and low dispersion]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14637 A photonic crystal fiber (PCF) structure with a ring-core and 5 well-ordered semiellipse air-holes has been creatively proposed. Through a comparison between the structures with a high refractive index (RI) ring-core and the structure without, it conclude that a PCF with a high RI ring-core can work better. Schott SF57 was elected as the substrate material of ring-core. This paper compares the effects of long-axis and short-axis changes on the PCF and selects the optimal solution. Especially TE0,1 mode’s dispersion is maintained between 0 and 3 ps / (nm · km) ranging from 1.45 μm to 1.65 μm. This property can be used to generate a supercontinuum with 200 μm long zero dispersion wavelength (ZDM). In addition, Δneff reaches up to 10−3, which enables the near -degeneracy of the eigenmodes to be almost neglected. The proposed PCF structure will have great application value in the field of optical communications.

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<![CDATA[Mechanical characterization of PVA hydrogels’ rate-dependent response using multi-axial loading]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13820 The time-dependent properties of rubber-like synthesized and biological materials are crucial for their applications. Currently, this behavior is mainly measured using axial tensile test, compression test, or indentation. Limited studies performed on using multi-axial loading measurements of time-dependent material behavior exist in the literature. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate the viscoelastic response of rubber-like materials under multi-axial loading using cavity expansion and relaxation tests. The tests were performed on PVA hydrogel specimens. Three hyperelasitc models and one term Prony series were used to characterize the viscoelastic response of the hydrogels. Finite element (FE) simulations were performed to verify the validity of the calibrated material coefficients by reproducing the experimental results. The excellent agreement between the experimental, analytical and numerical data proves the capability of the cavity expansion technique to measure the time-dependent behavior of viscoelastic materials.

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<![CDATA[Prevention of tooth extraction-triggered bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaws with basic fibroblast growth factor: An experimental study in rats]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c67306cd5eed0c484f37ad3

Osteonecrosis of the jaw induced by administration of bisphosphonates (BPs), BP-related osteonecrosis (BRONJ), typically develops after tooth extraction and is medically challenging. As BPs inhibit oral mucosal cell growth, we hypothesized that suppression of the wound healing-inhibiting effects could prevent BRONJ onset after tooth extraction. Since basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) promotes wound healing, but has a short half-life, we examined whether the initiation of BRONJ could be prevented by applying a bFGF-containing gelatin hydrogel over the extraction sockets of BRONJ model rats. Forty-three rats, received two intravenous injections of zoledronic acid 60 μg/kg, once per week for a period of 2 weeks, underwent extraction of a unilateral lower first molar. The rats here were randomly assigned to the bFGF group (n = 15 rats, gelatin hydrogel sheets with incorporated bFGF applied over the sockets); the phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) group (n = 14 rats, gelatin hydrogel sheets without bFGF applied over the sockets); or the control group (n = 14 rats, nothing applied over the sockets). One rat in the bFGF group was sacrificed immediately after tooth extraction. Twenty-one rats were sacrificed at 3 weeks, and the remaining 21 rats were sacrificed at 8 weeks after tooth extractions. The harvested mandibles were analyzed using micro-computed tomography and sections were evaluated qualitatively for mucosal disruption and osteonecrosis. The incidence of osteonecrosis at 8 weeks after tooth extraction was 0% in the bFGF group, 100% in the PBS group, and 85.7% in the control group. The frequency of complete coverage of the extraction socket by mucosal tissue was significantly greater in the bFGF group than in the other groups. These results suggest that application of bFGF in the extraction socket promoted socket healing, which prevented BRONJ development. The growth-stimulating effects of bFGF may have offset the inhibition of wound healing by BP.

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<![CDATA[Individual differences in cognitive processing for roughness rating of fine and coarse textures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5262d5eed0c4842bc728

Previous studies have demonstrated that skin vibration is an important factor affecting the roughness perception of fine textures. For coarse textures, the determining physical factor is much less clear and there are indications that this might be participant-dependent. In this paper, we focused on roughness perception of both coarse and fine textures of different materials (glass particle surfaces and sandpapers). We investigated the relationship between subjective roughness ratings and three physical parameters (skin vibration, friction coefficient, and particle size) within a group of 30 participants. Results of the glass particle surfaces showed both spatial information (particle size) and temporal information (skin vibration) had a high correlation with subjective roughness ratings. The former correlation was slightly but significantly higher than the latter. The results also indicated different weights of temporal information and spatial information for roughness ratings among participants. Roughness ratings of a different material (sandpaper versus glass particles) could be either larger, similar or smaller, indicating differences among individuals. The best way to describe our results is that in their perceptual evaluation of roughness, different individuals weight temporal information, spatial information, and other mechanical properties differently.

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<![CDATA[Preparation and characterization of size-controlled glioma spheroids using agarose hydrogel microwells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536990d5eed0c484a45f62

Treatment of glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive type of primary brain tumors, is a major medical challenge and the development of new alternatives requires simple yet realistic models for these tumors. In vitro spheroid models offer attractive platforms to mimic the tumor behavior in vivo and have thus, been increasingly applied for assessment of drug efficacy in various tumors. The aim of this study was to produce and characterize size-controlled U251 glioma spheroids towards application in glioma drug evaluation studies. To this end, we fabricated agarose hydrogel microwells with cylindrical shape and diameters of 70–700 μm and applied these wells without any surface modification for glioma spheroid formation. The resultant spheroids were homogeneous in size and shape, exhibited high cell viability (> 90%), and had a similar growth rate to that of natural brain tumors. The final size of spheroids depended on cell seeding density and microwell size. The spheroids’ volume increased linearly with the cell seeding density and the rate of this change increased with the well size. Lastly, we tested the therapeutic effect of an anti-cancer drug, Di-2-pyridylketone-4,4-dimethyl-3-thiosemicarbazone (Dp44mT) on the resultant glioma spheroids and demonstrated the applicability of this spheroid model for drug efficacy studies.

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<![CDATA[High-pitch, 120 kVp/30 mAs, low-dose dual-source chest CT with iterative reconstruction: Prospective evaluation of radiation dose reduction and image quality compared with those of standard-pitch low-dose chest CT in healthy adult volunteers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5369d9d5eed0c484a46906

Purpose

Objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the iterative reconstruction of high-pitch dual-source chest CT (IR-HP-CT) scanned with low radiation exposure compared with low dose chest CT (LDCT).

Materials and methods

This study was approved by the institutional review board. Thirty healthy adult volunteers (mean age 44 years) were enrolled in this study. All volunteers underwent both IR-HP-CT and LDCT. IR-HP-CT was scanned with 120 kVp tube voltage, 30 mAs tube current and pitch 3.2 and reconstructed with sinogram affirmed iterative reconstruction. LDCT was scanned with 120 kVp tube voltage, 40 mAs tube current and pitch 0.8 and reconstructed with B50 filtered back projection. Image noise, and signal to noise ratio (SNR) of the infraspinatus muscle, subcutaneous fat and lung parenchyma were calculated. Cardiac motion artifact, overall image quality and artifacts was rated by two blinded readers using 4-point scale. The dose-length product (DLP) (mGy∙cm) were obtained from each CT dosimetry table. Scan length was calculated from the DLP results. The DLP parameter was a metric of radiation output, not of patient dose. Size-specific dose estimation (SSDE, mGy) was calculated using the sum of the anteroposterior and lateral dimensions and effective radiation dose (ED, mSv) were calculated using CT dosimetry index.

Results

Approximately, mean 40% of SSDE (2.1 ± 0.2 mGy vs. 3.5 ± 0.3 mGy) and 34% of ED (1.0 ± 0.1 mSv vs. 1.5 ± 0.1 mSv) was reduced in IR-HP-CT compared to LDCT (P < 0.0001). Image noise was reduced in the IR-HP-CT (16.8 ± 2.8 vs. 19.8 ± 3.4, P = 0.0001). SNR of lung and aorta of IR-HP-CT showed better results compared with that of LDCT (22.2 ± 5.9 vs. 33.0 ± 7.8, 1.9 ± 0.4 vs 1.1 ± 0.3, P < 0.0001). The score of cardiac pulsation artifacts were significantly reduced on IR-HP-CT (3.8 ± 0.4, 95% confidence interval, 3.7‒4.0) compared with LDCT (1.6 ± 0.6, 95% confidence interval, 1.3‒1.8) (P < 0.0001). SNR of muscle and fat, beam hardening artifact and overall subjective image quality of the mediastinum, lung and chest wall were comparable on both scans (P ≥ 0.05).

Conclusion

IR-HP-CT with 120 kVp and 30 mAs tube setting in addition to an iterative reconstruction reduced cardiac motion artifact and radiation exposure while representing similar image quality compared with LDCT.

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<![CDATA[Injectable polypeptide hydrogel/inorganic nanoparticle composites for bone tissue engineering]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7a7d5eed0c48438653b

The general concept of tissue engineering is to restore biological function by replacing defective tissues with implantable, biocompatible, and easily handleable cell-laden scaffolds. In this study, osteoinductive and osteoconductive super paramagnetic Fe3O4 nanoparticles (MNP) and hydroxyapatite (HAP) nanoparticles were incorporated into a di-block copolymer based thermo-responsive hydrogel, methoxy(polyethylene glycol)-polyalanine (mPA), at various concentrations to afford composite, injectable hydrogels. Incorporating nanoparticles into the thermo-responsive hydrogel increased the complex viscosity and decreased the gelation temperature of the starting hydrogel. Functionally, the integration of inorganic nanoparticles modulated bio-markers of bone differentiation and enhanced bone mineralization. Moreover, this study adopted the emerging method of using either a supplementary static magnetic field (SMF) or a moving magnetic field to elicit biological response. These results demonstrate that combining external (magnet) and internal (scaffold) magnetisms is a promising approach for bone regeneration.

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<![CDATA[Deep convolutional networks do not classify based on global object shape]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c141e6cd5eed0c484d26895

Deep convolutional networks (DCNNs) are achieving previously unseen performance in object classification, raising questions about whether DCNNs operate similarly to human vision. In biological vision, shape is arguably the most important cue for recognition. We tested the role of shape information in DCNNs trained to recognize objects. In Experiment 1, we presented a trained DCNN with object silhouettes that preserved overall shape but were filled with surface texture taken from other objects. Shape cues appeared to play some role in the classification of artifacts, but little or none for animals. In Experiments 2–4, DCNNs showed no ability to classify glass figurines or outlines but correctly classified some silhouettes. Aspects of these results led us to hypothesize that DCNNs do not distinguish object’s bounding contours from other edges, and that DCNNs access some local shape features, but not global shape. In Experiment 5, we tested this hypothesis with displays that preserved local features but disrupted global shape, and vice versa. With disrupted global shape, which reduced human accuracy to 28%, DCNNs gave the same classification labels as with ordinary shapes. Conversely, local contour changes eliminated accurate DCNN classification but caused no difficulty for human observers. These results provide evidence that DCNNs have access to some local shape information in the form of local edge relations, but they have no access to global object shapes.

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<![CDATA[Multivariate multiple regression models of poly(ethylene-terephthalate) film degradation under outdoor and multi-stressor accelerated weathering exposures]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c254560d5eed0c48442c622

Developing materials for use in photovoltaic (PV) systems requires knowledge of their performance over the warranted lifetime of the PV system. Poly(ethylene-terephthalate) (PET) is a critical component of PV module backsheets due to its dielectric properties and low cost. However, PET is susceptible to environmental stressors and degrades over time. Changes in the physical properties of nine PET grades were modeled after outdoor and accelerated weathering exposures to characterize the degradation process of PET and assess the influence of stabilizing additives and weathering factors. Multivariate multiple regression (MMR) models were developed to quantify changes in color, gloss, and haze of the materials. Natural splines were used to capture the non-linear relationship between predictors and responses. Model performance was evaluated via adjusted-R2 and root mean squared error values from leave-one-out cross validation analysis. All models described over 85% of the variation in the data with low relative error. Model coefficients were used to assess the influence of weathering stressors and material additives on the property changes of films. Photodose was found to be the primary degradation stressor and moisture was found to increase the degradation rate of PET. Direct moisture contact was found to impose more stress on the material than airbone moisture (humidity). Increasing the concentration of TiO2 was found to generally decrease the degradation rate of PET and mitigate hydrolytic degradation. MMR models were compared to physics-based models and agreement was found between the two modeling approaches. Cross-correlation of accelerated exposures to outdoor exposures was achieved via determination of cross-correlation scale factors. Cross-correlation revealed that direct moisture contact is a key factor for reliable accelerated weathering testing and provided a quantitative method to determine when accelerated exposure results can be made more aggressive to better approximate outdoor exposure conditions.

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<![CDATA[Live nanoscopic to mesoscopic topography reconstruction with an optical microscope for chemical and biological samples]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1ab853d5eed0c48402794b

Macroscopic properties of physical and biological processes like friction, wetting, and adhesion or cell migration are controlled by interfacial properties at the nanoscopic scale. In an attempt to bridge simultaneously investigations at different scales, we demonstrate here how optical microscopy in Wet-Surface Ellipsometric Enhanced Contrast (Wet-SEEC) mode offers imaging and measurement of thin films at solid/liquid interfaces in the range 1–500 nm with lateral optical resolution. A live, label-free and noninvasive methodology integrated with microfluidic devices allowed here characterization of polymers and proteins patterns together with corresponding phenotypes of living cells.

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<![CDATA[Microleakage of conventional light-cure resin-based fissure sealant and resin-modified glass ionomer sealant after application of a fluoride varnish on demineralized enamel]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1966d3d5eed0c484b53005

Background

International guidelines on the prevention of caries recommend sealing of the pits and fissures of the permanent molars. There is no evidence on which type of material is most effective on demineralized enamel.

Aim

To evaluate the microleakage of a conventional light-cured, resin-based fissure sealant (LCRBS), GrandiO Seal, and a resin-modified glass ionomer sealant (RMGIS), Vitremer, after application of a fluoride varnish, Bifluorid 12, on demineralized enamel.

Design

80 human third molars were divided into eight groups. The groups combined the three study factors (1) type of enamel (intact or demineralized); (2) enamel non-varnished or varnished with Biflourid12; and (3) type of sealant (GrandiO Seal or Vitremer). The percentage of microleakage after thermocycling was measured using imaging analysis software. The Kruskal-Wallis plus Dunn tests were used to compare differences in microleakage in the different groups.

Results

The lowest microleakage was in the unvarnished groups, and was the same for GrandiO Seal and Vitremer. When varnish was applied, microleakage was greater in demineralized enamel than in intact enamel for both LCRBS and RMGIS.

Conclusion

The application of fluoride varnish on demineralized enamel increases the microleakage of both GrandiO Seal and Vitremer.

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<![CDATA[Feasibility of the annulus fibrosus repair with in situ gelating hydrogels – A biomechanical study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf9ad5eed0c484914a3a

The surgical standard of care for lumbar discectomy leaves the annulus fibrosus (AF) defect unrepaired, despite considerable risk for a recurrent herniation. Identification of a viable defect repair strategy has until now been elusive. The scope of this ex vivo biomechanical study was to evaluate crosslinking hydrogels as potentially promising AF defect sealants, and provide a baseline for their use in combination with collagen scaffolds that restore disc volume. This study directly compared genipin crosslinked fibrin hydrogel (FibGen) as a promising preclinical candidate against a clinically available adhesive composed of glutaraldehyde and albumin (BioGlue). Forty-two bovine coccygeal functional spine units (FSU) were randomly allocated into four groups, namely untreated (control, n = 12), repaired with either one of the tested hydrogels (BioGlue, n = 12; FibGen, n = 12), or FibGen used in combination with a collagen hydrogel scaffold (FibGen+Scaffold, n = 6). All specimens underwent a moderate mechanical testing protocol in intact, injured and repaired states. After completion of the moderate testing protocol, the samples underwent a ramp-to-failure test. Lumbar discectomy destabilized the FSU as quantified by increased torsional range of motion (28.0° (19.1, 45.1) vs. 41.39° (27.3, 84.9), p<0.001), torsional neutral zone (3.1° (1.2, 7.7) vs. 4.8° (2.1, 12.1), Z = -3.49, p < 0.001), hysteresis(24.4 J (12.8, 76.0) vs. 27.6 J (16.4, 54.4), Z = -2.61, p = 0.009), with loss of both disc height (7.0 mm (5.0, 10.5) vs 6.1 mm (4.0, 9.3), Z = -5.16, p < 0.001) and torsional stiffness (0.76 Nmdeg-1 (0.38, 1.07) vs. 0.66 Nmdeg-1 (0.38, 0.97), Z = -3.98, p < 0.001). Most FibGen repaired AF endured the entire testing procedure whereas only a minority of BioGlue repaired AF and all FibGen+Scaffold repaired AF failed (6/10 vs. 3/12 vs. 0/6 respectively, p = 0.041). Both BioGlue and FibGen+Scaffold repaired AF partially restored disc height (0.47 mm (0.07, 2.41), p = 0.048 and 1.52 mm (0.41, 2.57), p = 0.021 respectively) compared to sham treatment (0.08 mm (-0.63, 0.88)) whereas FibGen-only repaired AF had no such effect (0.04 mm (-0.73, 1.13), U = 48.0, p = 1). The AF injury model demonstrated considerable change of FSU mechanics that could be partially restored by use of an AF sealant. While inclusion of a volumetric collagen scaffold led to repair failure, use of FibGen alone demonstrated clinically relevant promise for prevention of mechanical reherniation, outperforming an FDA approved sealant in this ex vivo test series.

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<![CDATA[Experimental studies addressing the longevity of Bacillus subtilis spores – The first data from a 500-year experiment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1028ebd5eed0c4842487a5

The ability to form endospores allows certain Gram-positive bacteria (e.g. Bacillus subtilis) to challenge the limits of microbial resistance and survival. Thus, B. subtilis is able to tolerate many environmental extremes by transitioning into a dormant state as spores, allowing survival under otherwise unfavorable conditions. Despite thorough study of spore resistance to external stresses, precisely how long B. subtilis spores can lie dormant while remaining viable, a period that potentially far exceeds the human lifespan; is not known although convincing examples of long term spore survival have been recorded. In this study, we report the first data from a 500-year microbial experiment, which started in 2014 and will finish in 2514. A set of vials containing a defined concentration of desiccated B. subtilis spores is opened and tested for viability every two years for the first 24 years and then every 25 years until experiment completion. Desiccated baseline spore samples were also exposed to environmental stresses, including X-rays, 254 nm UV-C, 10% H2O2, dry heat (120°C) and wet heat (100°C) to investigate how desiccated spores respond to harsh environmental conditions after long periods of storage. Data from the first 2 years of storage show no significant decrease in spore viability. Additionally, spores of B. subtilis were subjected to various short-term storage experiments, revealing that space-like vacuum and high NaCl concentration negatively affected spore viability.

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<![CDATA[Highly porous regenerated cellulose hydrogel and aerogel prepared from hydrothermal synthesized cellulose carbamate]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db52ab0ee8fa60bdc7e2

Here, a stable derivative of cellulose, called cellulose carbamate (CC), was produced from Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus) core pulp (KCP) and urea with the aid of a hydrothermal method. Further investigation was carried out for the amount of nitrogen yielded in CC as different urea concentrations were applied to react with cellulose. The effect of nitrogen concentration of CC on its solubility in a urea-alkaline system was also studied. Regenerated cellulose products (hydrogels and aerogels) were fabricated through the rapid dissolution of CC in a urea-alkaline system. The morphology of the regenerated cellulose products was viewed under Field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM). The transformation of allomorphs in regenerated cellulose products was examined by X-ray diffraction (XRD). The transparency of regenerated cellulose products was determined by Ultraviolet–visible (UV–Vis) spectrophotometer. The degree of swelling (DS) of regenerated cellulose products was also evaluated. This investigation provides a simple and efficient procedure of CC determination which is useful in producing regenerated CC products.

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<![CDATA[Individual Objective and Subjective Fixation Disparity in Near Vision]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb94a

Binocular vision refers to the integration of images in the two eyes for improved visual performance and depth perception. One aspect of binocular vision is the fixation disparity, which is a suboptimal condition in individuals with respect to binocular eye movement control and subsequent neural processing. The objective fixation disparity refers to the vergence angle between the visual axes, which is measured with eye trackers. Subjective fixation disparity is tested with two monocular nonius lines which indicate the physical nonius separation required for perceived alignment. Subjective and objective fixation disparity represent the different physiological mechanisms of motor and sensory fusion, but the precise relation between these two is still unclear. This study measures both types of fixation disparity at viewing distances of 40, 30, and 24 cm while observers fixated a central stationary fusion target. 20 young adult subjects with normal binocular vision were tested repeatedly to investigate individual differences. For heterophoria and subjective fixation disparity, this study replicated that the binocular system does not properly adjust to near targets: outward (exo) deviations typically increase as the viewing distance is shortened. This exo proximity effect—however—was not found for objective fixation disparity, which–on the average–was zero. But individuals can have reliable outward (exo) or inward (eso) vergence errors. Cases with eso objective fixation disparity tend to have less exo states of subjective fixation disparity and heterophoria. In summary, the two types of fixation disparity seem to respond in a different way when the viewing distance is shortened. Motor and sensory fusion–as reflected by objective and subjective fixation disparity–exhibit complex interactions that may differ between individuals (eso versus exo) and vary with viewing distance (far versus near vision).

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<![CDATA[Whitefly attraction to rosemary (Rosmarinus officinialis L.) is associated with volatile composition and quantity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf799

Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) is an important insect pest, causing severe damage to agricultural crops. The pest was recorded in a commercial rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, Lamiaceae) field, colonizing rosemary variety (var.) '2', but not '11'. A series of field and controlled laboratory choice bioassays confirmed the observed phenomenon. Mature potted plants of the two varieties were randomly organized in a lemon verbena (Lippia citrodora) and lemon grass (Cymbopogon spp.) fields. Seven days later var. '2' was significantly more colonized by whiteflies than var. '11'. Under lab conditions, whiteflies were significantly more attracted to var. '2' plantlets than to var. '11' following choice bioassays. Furthermore, cotton plants dipped in an essential oil emulsion of var. '2' had significantly greater colonization than cotton plants dipped in the essential oil emulsion of var. '11'. Similar results were obtained in 'plant-plant', 'plant-no plant' as well as, 'essential oil—essential oil' choice bioassay designs. Analyses of the essential oils of the two varieties identified a set of common and unique volatiles in each variety. Among these volatiles were β-caryophyllene and limonene, two compounds known to be associated with plant-insect interactions. The attraction of B. tabaci to pure (>95%) β-caryophyllene and limonene using a range of concentrations was examined in vitro by choice bioassays. The compounds were attractive to the insect at moderate concentration, but not at the lowest or highest concentrations used, where the insect was not attracted or repelled, respectively. Limonene attracted the insects at rates that were 10-fold lower than β-caryophyllene. The results emphasized the role of host plant volatiles in shaping the structure of B. tabaci populations in nature and in agricultural systems, and provided insights into the factors that contribute to the development of insect populations with unique characteristics. The results could also serve for future development of bio-pesticides and in breeding programs.

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<![CDATA[Comprehensive measurement of UVB-induced non-melanoma skin cancer burden in mice using photographic images as a substitute for the caliper method]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4fab0ee8fa60bdb966

The vernier caliper has been used as a gold standard to measure the length, width and height of skin tumors to calculate their total area and volume. It is a simple method for collecting data on a few tumors at a time, but becomes tedious, time-consuming and stressful for the animals and the operator when used for measuring multiple tumors in a large number of animals in protocols such as UVB-induced non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in SKH-1 mice. Here, we show that photographic images of these mice taken within a few minutes under optimized conditions can be subjected to computerized analyses to determine tumor volume and area as accurately and precisely as the caliper method. Unlike the caliper method, the photographic method also records the incidence and multiplicity of tumors, thus permitting comprehensive measurement of tumor burden in the animal. The simplicity and ease of this method will permit more frequent monitoring of tumor burden in long protocols, resulting in the creation of additional data about dynamic changes in progression of cancer or the efficacy of therapeutic intervention. The photographic method can broadly substitute the caliper method for quantifying other skin pathologies.

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<![CDATA[Emphysema in active farmer’s lung disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5fab0ee8fa60be1076

Background

Farmer’s lung (FL) is a common type of hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It is often considered that fibrosis is the most frequent finding in chronic FL. Nevertheless, three cohort studies have suggested that some patients with chronic FL may develop emphysema. We aimed to evaluate the current prevalence of emphysema in active FL, to describe the radiological and functional features of emphysema in active FL, and to identify risk factors associated with emphysema in this population.

Methods

Patients aged over 18 years with active FL were prospectively recruited through the SOPHIA study (CPP Est; P-2009-521), between 2007 and 2015. Each patient had complete medical history screening, clinical examination, high resolution computed tomodensitometry, bronchoalveolar lavage, pulmonary function tests and serum precipitins.

Results

Among 33 patients with active FL, the prevalence of emphysema in this series of incident active FL cases was higher (48.5%) than that of fibrosis (12%) and was not dependent on smoking habits. Most patients with emphysema did not have lung hyperinflation. The possible risk factors for emphysema in active FL were a longer duration of exposure to organic dusts, and at a higher level.

Conclusion

Emphysema is found in half of patients with active FL and may be influenced by exposure patterns.

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<![CDATA[Fibrous Hydrogels for Cell Encapsulation: A Modular and Supramolecular Approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da26ab0ee8fa60b80dcb

Artificial 3-dimensional (3D) cell culture systems, which mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM), hold great potential as models to study cellular processes under controlled conditions. The natural ECM is a 3D structure composed of a fibrous hydrogel that provides both mechanical and biochemical cues to instruct cell behavior. Here we present an ECM-mimicking genetically engineered protein-based hydrogel as a 3D cell culture system that combines several key features: (1) Mild and straightforward encapsulation meters (1) ease of ut I am not so sure.encapsulation of the cells, without the need of an external crosslinker. (2) Supramolecular assembly resulting in a fibrous architecture that recapitulates some of the unique mechanical characteristics of the ECM, i.e. strain-stiffening and self-healing behavior. (3) A modular approach allowing controlled incorporation of the biochemical cue density (integrin binding RGD domains). We tested the gels by encapsulating MG-63 osteoblastic cells and found that encapsulated cells not only respond to higher RGD density, but also to overall gel concentration. Cells in 1% and 2% (weight fraction) protein gels showed spreading and proliferation, provided a relative RGD density of at least 50%. In contrast, in 4% gels very little spreading and proliferation occurred, even for a relative RGD density of 100%. The independent control over both mechanical and biochemical cues obtained in this modular approach renders our hydrogels suitable to study cellular responses under highly defined conditions.

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