ResearchPad - integumentary-system https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Microbeam X-ray diffraction study of lipid structure in stratum corneum of human skin]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7631 Human skin, not previously frozen, was studied by small-angle X-ray diffraction. The samples were folded so that a 6μm X-ray beam passed through the top layer of skin, stratum corneum. Diffraction patterns recorded with this method consisted of peaks at about q = 0.5, 1.0 and 1.4 nm-1 in the direction perpendicular to the skin surface more clearly than in previous studies. These peaks are interpreted to arise from lipids between corneocytes. A simple unit of a linear electron density profile with three minima was used to account for the observed intensity profiles. Combinations of calculated diffraction from models with one, two and three units accounted for the major part of the observed diffraction pattern, showing the diversity in the structure of the intercellular lipids.

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<![CDATA[Association between hair cortisol concentration and dietary intake among normal weight preschool children predisposed to overweight and obesity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1946d5eed0c484b4d32e

Background

The association between chronically elevated cortisol, as measured by hair cortisol concentration (HCC), and dietary intake among children has generally not been explored. Moreover, it is unknown whether there is an association between parental HCC and dietary intake among their children.

Objective

To examine associations between HCC and dietary intake among children, and to explore the association between parental HCC and dietary intake among their children.

Methods

We conducted a cross-sectional study based on 296 children predisposed to overweight and obesity who participated in the Healthy Start study. Multiple Linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the association between HCC and total energy intake, macronutrients, fruit and vegetables, added sugar, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), and a diet quality index (DQI).

Results

Among the children, we found that higher HCC was associated with a lower consumption of dietary fat (β: -0.7 g/day [95% CI: -1.3, -0.0] per 100 pg/mg HCC). We found no statistically significant association between HCC and intake of total energy, protein, carbohydrate, fruit and vegetables, added sugar, SSB or DQI. We found no association between parental HCC and intake of total energy, added sugar, selected food groups or DQI among their children. However, stratified analyses showed that paternal HCC was associated with a borderline significant lower total energy intake and significantly lower protein intake, but only among daughters (adjusted β: -42 kcal/day [95% CI: -85, 0] and -2.6 g/day [95% CI: -4.4, -0.8] per 100 pg/mg HCC, respectively).

Conclusion

Among children, chronic stress as measured by HCC may be associated with a lower fat consumption, and paternal HCC may be associated with a lower intake of energy and protein among their daughters. However, the associations observed were weak, and any clinical relevance of these findings remains questionable.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Merkel cells associated with neurons in engineered skin substitutes after grafting to full thickness wounds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8823d9d5eed0c484639153

Engineered skin substitutes (ESS), prepared using primary human fibroblasts and keratinocytes with a biopolymer scaffold, were shown to provide stable closure of excised burns, but relatively little is known about innervation of ESS after grafting. This study investigated innervation of ESS and, specifically, whether Merkel cells are present in healed grafts. Merkel cells are specialized neuroendocrine cells required for fine touch sensation in skin. We discovered cells positive for keratin 20 (KRT20), a general marker for Merkel cells, in the basal epidermis of ESS after transplantation to mice, suggesting the presence of Merkel cells. Cells expressing KRT20 were not observed in ESS in vitro. However, widely separated KRT20-positive cells were observed in basal epidermis of ESS by 2 weeks after grafting. By 4 weeks, these cells increased in number and expressed keratins 18 and 19, additional Merkel cells markers. Putative Merkel cell numbers increased further between weeks 6 and 14; their densities varied widely and no specific pattern of organization was observed, similar to Merkel cell localization in human skin. KRT20-positive cells co-expressed epidermal markers E-cadherin and keratin 15, suggesting derivation from the epidermal lineage, and neuroendocrine markers synaptophysin and chromogranin A, consistent with their identification as Merkel cells. By 4 weeks after grafting, some Merkel cells in engineered skin were associated with immature afferents expressing neurofilament-medium. By 8 weeks, Merkel cells were complexed with more mature neurons expressing neurofilament-heavy. Positive staining for human leukocyte antigen demonstrated that the Merkel cells in ESS were derived from grafted human cells. The results identify, for the first time, Merkel cell-neurite complexes in engineered skin in vivo. This suggests that fine touch sensation may be restored in ESS after grafting, although this must be confirmed with future functional studies.

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<![CDATA[Increasing atmospheric CO2 and canopy temperature induces anatomical and physiological changes in leaves of the C4 forage species Panicum maximum]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c75ac6cd5eed0c484d08750

Changes in leaf anatomy and ultrastructure are associated with physiological performance in the context of plant adaptations to climate change. In this study, we investigated the isolated and combined effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) up to 600 μmol mol-1 (eC) and elevated temperature (eT) to 2°C more than the ambient canopy temperature on the ultrastructure, leaf anatomy, and physiology of Panicum maximum Jacq. grown under field conditions using combined free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) and temperature free-air controlled enhancement (T-FACE) systems. Plants grown under eC showed reduced stomatal density, stomatal index, stomatal conductance (gs), and leaf transpiration rate (E), increased soil-water content (SWC) conservation and adaxial epidermis thickness were also observed. The net photosynthesis rate (A) and intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) were enhanced by 25% and 71%, respectively, with a concomitant increase in the size of starch grains in bundle sheath cells. Under air warming, we observed an increase in the thickness of the adaxial cuticle and a decrease in the leaf thickness, size of vascular bundles and bulliform cells, and starch content. Under eCeT, air warming offset the eC effects on SWC and E, and no interactions between [CO2] and temperature for leaf anatomy were observed. Elevated [CO2] exerted more effects on external characteristics, such as the epidermis anatomy and leaf gas exchange, while air warming affected mainly the leaf structure. We conclude that differential anatomical and physiological adjustments contributed to the acclimation of P. maximum growing under elevated [CO2] and air warming, improving the leaf biomass production under these conditions.

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<![CDATA[Sensitivity and specificity of computer vision classification of eyelid photographs for programmatic trachoma assessment]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6b2655d5eed0c48428986e

Background/aims

Trachoma programs base treatment decisions on the community prevalence of the clinical signs of trachoma, assessed by direct examination of the conjunctiva. Automated assessment could be more standardized and more cost-effective. We tested the hypothesis that an automated algorithm could classify eyelid photographs better than chance.

Methods

A total of 1,656 field-collected conjunctival images were obtained from clinical trial participants in Niger and Ethiopia. Images were scored for trachomatous inflammation—follicular (TF) and trachomatous inflammation—intense (TI) according to the simplified World Health Organization grading system by expert raters. We developed an automated procedure for image enhancement followed by application of a convolutional neural net classifier for TF and separately for TI. One hundred images were selected for testing TF and TI, and these images were not used for training.

Results

The agreement score for TF and TI tasks for the automated algorithm relative to expert graders was κ = 0.44 (95% CI: 0.26 to 0.62, P < 0.001) and κ = 0.69 (95% CI: 0.55 to 0.84, P < 0.001), respectively.

Discussion

For assessing the clinical signs of trachoma, a convolutional neural net performed well above chance when tested against expert consensus. Further improvements in specificity may render this method suitable for field use.

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<![CDATA[Heme peroxidase HPX-2 protects Caenorhabditis elegans from pathogens]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c59fefdd5eed0c484135895

Heme-containing peroxidases are important components of innate immunity. Many of them functionally associate with NADPH oxidase (NOX)/dual oxidase (DUOX) enzymes by using the hydrogen peroxide they generate in downstream reactions. Caenorhabditis elegans encodes for several heme peroxidases, and in a previous study we identified the ShkT-containing peroxidase, SKPO-1, as necessary for pathogen resistance. Here, we demonstrated that another peroxidase, HPX-2 (Heme-PeroXidase 2), is required for resistance against some, but not all pathogens. Tissue specific RNA interference (RNAi) revealed that HPX-2 functionally localizes to the hypodermis of the worm. In congruence with this observation, hpx-2 mutant animals possessed a weaker cuticle structure, indicated by higher permeability to a DNA dye, but exhibited no obvious morphological defects. In addition, fluorescent labeling of HPX-2 revealed its expression in the pharynx, an organ in which BLI-3 is also present. Interestingly, loss of HPX-2 increased intestinal colonization of E. faecalis, suggesting its role in the pharynx may limit intestinal colonization. Moreover, disruption of a catalytic residue in the peroxidase domain of HPX-2 resulted in decreased survival on E. faecalis, indicating its peroxidase activity is required for pathogen resistance. Finally, RNA-seq analysis of an hpx-2 mutant revealed changes in genes encoding for cuticle structural components under the non-pathogenic conditions. Under pathogenic conditions, genes involved in infection response were differentially regulated to a greater degree, likely due to increased microbial burden. In conclusion, the characterization of the heme-peroxidase, HPX-2, revealed that it contributes to C. elegans pathogen resistance through a role in generating cuticle material in the hypodermis and pharynx.

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<![CDATA[Quality and quantity of dromedary camel DNA sampled from whole-blood, saliva, and tail-hair]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca302d5eed0c48441efd7

Camels are livestock with unique adaptations to hot-arid regions. To effectively study camel traits, a biobank of camel DNA specimens with associated biological information is needed. We examined whole-blood, saliva (buccal swabs), and tail-hair follicle samples to determine which is the best source for establishing a DNA biobank. We inspected five amounts of each of whole-blood, buccal swabs, and tail-hair follicles in nine camels, both qualitatively via gel electrophoresis and quantitatively using a NanoDrop spectrophotometer. We also tested the effects of long term-storage on the quality and quantity of DNA, and measured the rate of degradation, by analyzing three buccal swab samples and 30 tail-hair follicles over a period of nine months. Good quality DNA, in the form of visible large size DNA bands, was extracted from all three sources, for all five amounts. The five volumes of whole-blood samples (20–100μl) provided ~0.4–3.6 μg, the five quantities of buccal swabs (1–5) produced ~0.1–12 μg, while the five amounts of tail-hair follicles (10–50) resulted in ~0.7–25 μg. No differences in the rate of degradation of buccal swab and tail-hair follicle DNA were detected, but there was clearly greater deterioration in the quality of DNA extracted from buccal swabs when compared to tail-hair follicles. We recommend using tail-hair samples for camel DNA biobanking, because it resulted in both an adequate quality and quantity of DNA, along with its ease of collection, transportation, and storage. Compared to its success in studies of other domesticated animals, we anticipate that using ~50 tail-hair follicles will provide sufficient DNA for sequencing or SNP genotyping.

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<![CDATA[3D images as a field grader training tool for trachomatous trichiasis: A diagnostic accuracy study in Ethiopia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536bc1d5eed0c484a49190

Background

Trachomatous trichiasis (TT) will continue to develop among those people who have had repeated infections after active trachoma is controlled. Detecting and treating affected individuals will remain necessary for years; a long “tail” of incident cases is anticipated. As the prevalence of TT declines, there will be fewer cases available for training trachoma graders (TG), necessitating alternative methods.

Methodology/Principal findings

Prospective, diagnostic accuracy study assessing sensitivity and specificity of 3D and 2D photography as a tool for training TG to detect TT. Individuals with TT in Ethiopia were examined, and 2D and 3D clinical images taken. Images were independently graded by four graders for presence or absence of trichiasis and compared to field grading. We recruited 153 participants. Clinical assessments and images were available for 306 eyes. Trichiasis was identified in 204 eyes by field grading. Image grading was performed on a selection of 262 eyes (131 with trichiasis). Most eyes with trichiasis had minor trichiasis (94/131). Pooled sensitivity was 88.3% (3D) and 98.0% (2D); pooled specificity was 59.8% (3D) and 26.8% (2D). 3D photo grading was 33.0% more specific than the 2D photo grading (p = 0.0002). The overall Kappa scores were 0.48 (3D) and 0.25 (2D). We trained 26 novice TG in Ethiopia using 3D images. They were tested on a 3D images set and had 71.4% agreement (kappa 0.46), relative to an expert. They were then tested examining 50 people, and had 86.8% agreement (kappa 0.75). We also tested 27 experienced TG on the same cases (86.4% agreement, kappa 0.75). There was no difference in performance between groups (p = 0.76). All participants preferred 3D over 2D images for training.

Conclusions/Significance

The slightly higher sensitivity of 2D photos comes at considerable cost in specificity. Training with 3D images enabled novice TG to identify cases as well as experienced TG. 3D were preferred to conventional 2D photos for training. Standardized 3D images of TT could be a useful tool for training TG, in settings where there are now few TT cases.

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<![CDATA[Orf virus (ORFV) infection in a three-dimensional human skin model: Characteristic cellular alterations and interference with keratinocyte differentiation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b523fd5eed0c4842bc547

ORF virus (ORFV) is the causative agent of contagious ecthyma, a pustular dermatitis of small ruminants and humans. Even though the development of lesions caused by ORFV was extensively studied in animals, only limited knowledge exists about the lesion development in human skin. The aim of the present study was to evaluate a three-dimensional (3D) organotypic culture (OTC) as a human skin model for ORFV infection considering lesion development, replication of the virus, viral gene transcription and modulation of differentiation of human keratinocytes by ORFV. ORFV infection of OTC was performed using the ORFV isolate B029 derived from a human patient. The OTC sections showed a similar structure of stratified epidermal keratinocytes as human foreskin and a similar expression profile of the differentiation markers keratin 1 (K1), K10, and loricrin. Upon ORFV infection, OTCs exhibited histological cytopathic changes including hyperkeratosis and ballooning degeneration of the keratinocytes. ORFV persisted for 10 days and was located in keratinocytes of the outer epidermal layers. ORFV-specific early, intermediate and late genes were transcribed, but limited viral spread and restricted cell infection were noticed. ORFV infection resulted in downregulation of K1, K10, and loricrin at the transcriptional level without affecting proliferation as shown by PCNA or Ki-67 expression. In conclusion, OTC provides a suitable model to study the interaction of virus with human keratinocytes in a similar structural setting as human skin and reveals that ORFV infection downregulates several differentiation markers in the epidermis of the human skin, a hitherto unknown feature of dermal ORFV infection in man.

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<![CDATA[Resolving the apparent transmission paradox of African sleeping sickness]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c424380d5eed0c4845e03e1

Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), or African sleeping sickness, is a fatal disease found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is close to elimination in many areas, although it was similarly close to elimination once before and subsequently reemerged, despite seemingly low rates of transmission. Determining how these foci persisted and overcame an apparent transmission paradox is key to finally eliminating HAT. By assessing clinical, laboratory, and mathematical data, we propose that asymptomatic infections contribute to transmission through the presence of an overlooked reservoir of skin-dwelling parasites. Our assessment suggests that a combination of asymptomatic and parasitaemic cases is sufficient to maintain transmission at foci without animal reservoirs, and we argue that the current policy not to treat asymptomatic HAT should be reconsidered.

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<![CDATA[A cation diffusion facilitator, GmCDF1, negatively regulates salt tolerance in soybean]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3d00f4d5eed0c48403708b

Salt stress is one of the major abiotic factors that affect the metabolism, growth and development of plants, and soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] germination is sensitive to salt stress. Thus, to ensure the successful establishment and productivity of soybeans in saline soil, the genetic mechanisms of salt tolerance at the soybean germination stage need to be explored. In this study, a population of 184 recombinant inbred lines (RILs) was utilized to map quantitative trait loci (QTLs) related to salt tolerance. A major QTL related to salt tolerance at the soybean germination stage named qST-8 was closely linked with the marker Sat_162 and detected on chromosome 8. Interestingly, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) significantly associated with salt tolerance in the same genetic region on chromosome 8. Resequencing, bioinformatics and gene expression analyses were implemented to identify the candidate gene Glyma.08g102000, which belongs to the cation diffusion facilitator (CDF) family and was named GmCDF1. Overexpression and RNA interference of GmCDF1 in soybean hairy roots resulted in increased sensitivity and tolerance to salt stress, respectively. This report provides the first demonstration that GmCDF1 negatively regulates salt tolerance by maintaining K+-Na+ homeostasis in soybean. In addition, GmCDF1 affected the expression of two ion homeostasis-associated genes, salt overly sensitive 1 (GmSOS1) and Na+/H+ exchanger 1 (GmNHX1), in transgenic hairy roots. Moreover, a haplotype analysis detected ten haplotypes of GmCDF1 in 31 soybean genotypes. A candidate-gene association analysis showed that two SNPs in GmCDF1 were significantly associated with salt tolerance and that Hap1 was more sensitive to salt stress than Hap2. The results demonstrated that the expression level of GmCDF1 was negatively correlated with salt tolerance in the 31 soybean accessions (r = -0.56, P < 0.01). Taken together, these results not only indicate that GmCDF1 plays a negative role in soybean salt tolerance but also help elucidate the molecular mechanisms of salt tolerance and accelerate the breeding of salt-tolerant soybean.

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<![CDATA[<i>PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases</i> Issue Image | Vol. 13(1) January 2019]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5ca27cd5eed0c48441e4bc

Assessing the Active Trachoma in Anhui Province, China, May 2014

Trained ophthalmologists conducted trachoma rapid assessment among children aged 6 to 7 in suspected trachoma endemic areas of China. Primary school students at first grade in Dingyuan county of Anhui province were examined. Ophthalmologists were equipped with loupes (×2.5 magnification) and torches to examine the everted upper eyelid whether active trachoma is present. Zhao, et al. (2019)

Image Credit: National Institute of Hospital Administration, China

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<![CDATA[A multicenter survey of temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c3fa558d5eed0c484ca346c

Purpose

Many breast cancer patients suffer from chemotherapy-induced hair loss. Accurate information about temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss is important for supporting patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy, because it helps them to prepare. However, accurate information, on issues such as the frequency of hair loss after chemotherapy, when regrowth starts, the condition of regrown hair, and the frequency of incomplete hair regrowth, is lacking. This study aimed to clarify the long-term temporal changes in chemotherapy-induced hair loss using patient-reported outcomes for chemotherapy-induced hair loss.

Methods

We conducted a multicenter, cross-sectional questionnaire survey. Disease-free patients who had completed adjuvant chemotherapy consisting of anthracycline and/or taxanes for breast cancer within the prior 5 years were enrolled from 47 hospitals and clinics in Japan. Descriptive statistics were obtained in this study. The study is reported according to the STROBE criteria.

Results

The response rate was 81.5% (1511/1853), yielding 1478 questionnaires. Hair loss occurred in 99.9% of patients. The mean time from chemotherapy until hair loss was 18.0 days. Regrowth of scalp hair occurred in 98% of patients. The mean time from the completion of chemotherapy to the beginning of regrowth was 3.3 months. Two years after chemotherapy completion, the scalp-hair recovery rate was <30% in approximately 4% of patients, and this rate showed no improvement 5 years after chemotherapy. Eighty-four percent of the patients initially used wigs, decreasing to 47% by 1 year after chemotherapy and 15.2% after 2 years. The mean period of wig use was 12.5 months. However, a few patients were still using wigs 5 years after completing chemotherapy.

Conclusions

Our survey focused on chemotherapy-induced hair loss in breast cancer patients. We believe these results to be useful for patients scheduled to receive chemotherapy.

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<![CDATA[Trynity controls epidermal barrier function and respiratory tube maturation in Drosophila by modulating apical extracellular matrix nano-patterning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c269730d5eed0c48470edff

The outer surface of insects is covered by the cuticle, which is derived from the apical extracellular matrix (aECM). The aECM is secreted by epidermal cells during embryogenesis. The aECM exhibits large variations in structure, function, and constituent molecules, reflecting the enormous diversity in insect appearances. To investigate the molecular principles of aECM organization and function, here we studied the role of a conserved aECM protein, the ZP domain protein Trynity, in Drosophila melanogaster. We first identified trynity as an essential gene for epidermal barrier function. trynity mutation caused disintegration of the outermost envelope layer of the cuticle, resulting in small-molecule leakage and in growth and molting defects. In addition, the tracheal tubules of trynity mutants showed defects in pore-like structures of the cuticle, and the mutant tracheal cells failed to absorb luminal proteins and liquid. Our findings indicated that trynity plays essential roles in organizing nano-level structures in the envelope layer of the cuticle that both restrict molecular trafficking through the epidermis and promote the massive absorption pulse in the trachea.

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<![CDATA[The neuroanatomy of the siboglinid Riftia pachyptila highlights sedentarian annelid nervous system evolution]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c1c0ab1d5eed0c4844268d5

Tracing the evolution of the siboglinid group, peculiar group of marine gutless annelids, requires the detailed study of the fragmentarily explored central nervous system of vestimentiferans and other siboglinids. 3D reconstructions of the neuroanatomy of Riftia revealed that the “brain” of adult vestimentiferans is a fusion product of the supraesophageal and subesophageal ganglia. The supraesophageal ganglion-like area contains the following neural structures that are homologous to the annelid elements: the peripheral perikarya of the brain lobes, two main transverse commissures, mushroom-like structures, commissural cell cluster, and the circumesophageal connectives with two roots which give rise to the palp neurites. Three pairs of giant perikarya are located in the supraesophageal ganglion, giving rise to the paired giant axons. The circumesophageal connectives run to the VNC. The subesophageal ganglion-like area contains a tripartite ventral aggregation of perikarya (= the postoral ganglion of the VNC) interconnected by the subenteral commissure. The paired VNC is intraepidermal, not ganglionated over most of its length, associated with the ciliary field, and comprises the giant axons. The pairs of VNC and the giant axons fuse posteriorly. Within siboglinids, the vestimentiferans are distinguished by a large and considerably differentiated brain. This reflects the derived development of the tentacle crown. The tentacles of vestimentiferans are homologous to the annelid palps based on their innervation from the dorsal and ventral roots of the circumesophageal connectives. Neuroanatomy of the vestimentiferan brains is close to the brains of Cirratuliiformia and Spionida/Sabellida, which have several transverse commissures, specific position of the giant somata (if any), and palp nerve roots (if any). The palps and palp neurite roots originally developed in all main annelid clades (basally branching, errantian and sedentarian annelids), show the greatest diversity in their number in sedentarian species. Over the course of evolution of Sedentaria, the number of palps and their nerve roots either dramatically increased (as in vestimentiferan siboglinids) or were lost.

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<![CDATA[Plant epithelia: What is the role of the mortar in the wall?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c117ba0d5eed0c484699e99

In a growing plant root, the inner vascular system is sealed off by an epithelium, the endodermis. The space between all of the cells in the endodermal layer is filled with an impermeable mass called the Casparian strip, which closes the spaces between cells in the endodermal layer. The role of the Casparian strip has been proposed to prevent backflow of water and nutrients into the soil, but as mutant plants lacking the Casparian strip only have weak phenotypes, the view that it serves an essential function in plants has been challenged. In an accompanying paper, it is shown that loss of the Casparian strip impacts the ability of the plant to take up ammonium and allocate it to the shoots.

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<![CDATA[Serum biomarkers of collagen turnover as potential diagnostic tools in diffuse systemic sclerosis: A cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed760d5eed0c484f1400f

Background

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is characterized by excessive fibrosis throughout the body. This leads to the release of extracellular matrix (ECM) fragments into circulation, where they may be quantified as biomarkers. The objectives were to investigate levels of ECM turnover biomarkers and the diagnostic power of these.

Methods

Diffuse SSc patients (n = 40) fulfilling the ACR/EULAR 2013 classification criteria and asymptomatic controls were included. Patients were divided into early (<2 years of symptoms; n = 20) and late (>10 years of symptoms; n = 20) diffuse SSc. Biomarkers of type I (C1M), III (C3A, C3M), IV (C4M), V (C5M) and VI (C6M) collagen degradation and type I (PRO-C1), II (PRO-C2), III (PRO-C3), IV (PRO-C4), V (PRO-C5) and VI (PRO-C6) collagen formation were measured in serum.

Repeated measures ANOVA was used to test for differences in biomarker levels and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was used to investigate the ability of the biomarkers to separate groups.

Results

In early diffuse SSc, formation biomarkers of type III, IV, V and VI collagen were significantly increased compared to asymptomatic controls (p<0.0001). Moreover, in early diffuse SSc formation biomarkers of type III, V and VI collagen were significantly increased compared to late diffuse SSc (p = 0.0006, 0.003 and 0.004, respectively). Type I (p<0.0001), III (C3M: p = 0.001, and C3A: p = 0.02), IV (p<0.0001) and VI (p<0.0001) collagen degradation biomarkers significantly increased in early diffuse SSc compared to controls. C4M, C6M, PRO-C4, PRO-C5 and PRO-C6 had an AUC of >0.85 when assessing asymptomatic controls vs. diffuse SSc. Biomarkers of type VI collagen (PRO-C6 and C6M) turnover had the best separation with an AUC’s of >0.90.

Conclusion

Formation biomarkers of ECM turnover were shown to be significantly different between asymptomatic controls and diffuse SSc. This pilot study suggest that serological biomarkers of the ECM turnover is potentially applicable in SSc.

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<![CDATA[A view to a kill? – Ambient bacterial load of frames and lenses of spectacles and evaluation of different cleaning methods]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c23ffc6d5eed0c4840939b7

Surfaces with regular contact with the human body are typically contaminated with microorganisms and might be considered as fomites. Despite spectacles being widespread across populations, little is known about their microbial contamination. Therefore, we swab-sampled 11 worn spectacles within a university setting as well as 10 worn spectacles in a nursing home setting. The microbial load was determined by aerobic cultivation. All spectacles were found to be contaminated with bacteria, with nose pads and ear clips having the highest density, i.e. at sites with direct skin contact. Summed over all sites, the median microbial load of the university spectacles (1.4 ± 10.7 x 103 CFU cm-2) did not differ significantly from the spectacles tested in the nursing home (20.8 ± 39.9 x 103 CFU cm-2). 215 dominant bacterial morphotypes were analyzed by MALDI biotyping. 182 isolates could be assigned to 10 genera, with Staphylococcus being the most common. On genus-level, bacterial diversity was greater on nursing home spectacles (10 genera) compared to the university environment (2 genera). Four cleaning methods were investigated using lenses artificially contaminated with Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus, a 1:2 mixture of E. coli and M. luteus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis (the dominant isolate in our study), respectively. Best cleaning results (99% -100% median germ reduction) were obtained using impregnated wipes; dry cleaning was less effective (85% -90% median germ reduction). Finally, 10 additional worn university spectacles were cleaned with wipes impregnated with an alcohol-free cleaning solution before sampling. The average bacterial load was significantly lower (0.09 ± 0.49 x 103 CFU cm-2) compared to the uncleaned university spectacles previously investigated. Spectacles are significantly contaminated with bacteria of mostly human skin origin—including significant amounts of potentially pathogenic ones and may contribute to eye infections as well as fomites in clinical environments.

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<![CDATA[Assessing subcutaneous adipose tissue by simple and portable field instruments: Skinfolds versus A-mode ultrasound measurements]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c2400c5d5eed0c484099065

Purpose

This study compared subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) measurements using a skinfold caliper and Renco Lean-Meater Series 12 A-mode portable ultrasound scanner (A-US). It aimed to assess their inter- and intra-rater reliability and measure the agreement between both methods.

Methods

Eighty-four volunteers of different fitness levels were divided into three groups by Ʃ6 skinfolds: G1 ≤ 55 mm (n = 33 males); G2 > 55 mm (n = 32 males); G3 = 98.0 ± 52.3 mm (n = 19 females). Triceps, subscapular, biceps, iliac crest, supraspinal, abdominal, front thigh and medial calf were assessed by ultrasound and skinfolds. Two technicians for both tools performed triplicate measures. Intraclass correlation (ICC), technical error of measurement (TEM) and coefficients of variation (CVs) were applied for test-retest and inter-rater reliability. Non-Parametric statistics were used in order to establish possible statistical differences and correlation between skinfolds thickness and uncompressed subcutaneous adipose tissue thickness from ultrasound. The amount of agreement between both methods was assessed with Lin’s coefficient and a scatterplot of all site locations. A Bland-Altman plot was constructed to establish limits of agreement between groups and regression analysis was employed to assess the ability of skinfolds to explain the variance of ultrasound.

Results

Test-retest ICC for skinfolds and ultrasound were higher than 0.989 and 0.793, respectively. Inter-rater ICC for skinfolds was 0.999 with a 95% CI of 0.995 to 0.999 and for ultrasound was 0.755 with a much larger 95% CI of 0.622 to 0.841. TEMs (> 8.50%) and CVs (> 6.72%) compromised ultrasound reliability. Statistical differences were found in most of the analysed anatomical sites (p < 0.001) except in biceps G2 (Z = -1.150, p = 0.25) and G3 (Z = -1.309, p = 0.19). Good correlations (r > 0.7, p ≤ 0.05) were reported at almost all anatomical sites and groups except for biceps (G1: Rho = 0.26, p = 0.140) and abdominal (G2: Rho = -0.16, p = 0.38; G3: Rho = 0.43, p = 0.068). Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient registered low values of agreement between skinfolds and A-mode ultrasound (ranged from—0.009–0.646). The scatterplot and the estimated regression line drawn through the midst of all anatomical sites of the whole sample had a slope of 0.51 and R2 adjusted = 0.62 was obtained. The combined analysis between the Bland-Altman plot and the linear regression showed that specifically in the G2 and G3 groups, as the SAT increases the differences between skinfolds and ultrasounds measurements also increases.

Conclusions

The Renco Lean-Meater ultrasound is not interchangeable with skinfold measures. Its utility is questionable, particularly for assessing SAT in active adult populations. Its poor test-retest and inter-rater reliability as well as the lack of agreement when compared to the skinfolds would exclude the free use of the A-mode ultrasound scanner in its hypothetical replacing of the classical calipers.

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<![CDATA[The small molecule rhodomyrtone suppresses TNF-α and IL-17A-induced keratinocyte inflammatory responses: A potential new therapeutic for psoriasis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bce3d3840307c69b197f508

Psoriasis is a common skin disease pathogenically driven by TNF and IL-17A-induced epidermal hyperproliferation and inflammatory responses. The ongoing need for new therapeutic agents for psoriasis has highlighted medicinal plants as sources of phytochemicals useful for treating psoriatic disease. Rhodomyrtone, a bioactive phytochemical from Rhodomyrtus tomentosa, has well-established anti-proliferative activities. This study assessed the potential of rhodomyrtone for curtailing TNF/IL-17A-driven inflammation. Stimulating human skin organ cultures with TNF+IL-17A to model the skin inflammation in psoriasis, we found that rhodomyrtone significantly decreased inflammatory gene expression and the expression and secretion of inflammatory proteins, assessed by qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and ELISA assays respectively. RNA-seq analysis of monolayer primary keratinocytes treated with IL-17A/TNF showed that rhodomyrtone inhibited 724/1587 transcripts >2-fold altered by IL-17A/TNF (p<0.01), a number of which were confirmed at the mRNA and protein level. Suggesting that rhodomyrtone acts by modulating MAP kinase and NF-κB signaling pathways, rhodomyrtone inhibited TNF-induced ERK, JNK, p38, and NF-κBp65 phosphorylation. Finally, assessing the in vivo anti-inflammatory potential of rhodomyrtone, we examined its effects on imiquimod-induced skin inflammation in mice, finding rhodomyrtone reversed imiquimod-induced skin hyperplasia and epidermal thickening (p< 0.001). Taken together, these results suggest that rhodomyrtone may be useful in preventing or slowing the progression of inflammatory skin disease.

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