Accumulating evidence indicates that obesity is closely associated with an increased risk of metabolic diseases such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Obesity results from an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure, which leads to an excessive accumulation of adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is now recognized not only as a main site of storage of excess energy derived from food intake but also as an endocrine organ. The expansion of adipose tissue produces a number of bioactive substances, known as adipocytokines or adipokines, which trigger chronic low-grade inflammation and interact with a range of processes in many different organs. Although the precise mechanisms are still unclear, dysregulated production or secretion of these adipokines caused by excess adipose tissue and adipose tissue dysfunction can contribute to the development of obesity-related metabolic diseases. In this review, we focus on the role of several adipokines associated with obesity and the potential impact on obesity-related metabolic diseases. Multiple lines evidence provides valuable insights into the roles of adipokines in the development of obesity and its metabolic complications. Further research is still required to fully understand the mechanisms underlying the metabolic actions of a few newly identified adipokines.
Validation is a crucial aspect of quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) modeling. The present paper shows that traditionally used validation parameters (leave-one-out Q(2) for internal validation and predictive R-2 for external validation) may be supplemented with two novel parameters r(m)(2) and R-p(2) for a stricter test of validation. The parameter r(m)(2) (overall) penalizes a model for large differences between observed and predicted values of the compounds of the whole set (considering both training and test sets) while the parameter R-p(2) penalizes model R-2 for large differences between determination coefficient of nonrandom model and square of mean correlation coefficient of random models in case of a randomization test. Two other variants of r(m)(2) parameter, r(m) (2)((LOO)) and r(m (test))(2), penalize a model more strictly than Q(2) and R-pred(2) respectively. Three different data sets of moderate to large size have been used to develop multiple models in order to indicate the suitability of the novel parameters in QSAR studies. The results show that in many cases the developed models could satisfy the requirements of conventional parameters (Q(2) and R-pred(2)) but fail to achieve the required values for the novel parameters r(m)(2) and R-p(2). Moreover, these parameters also help in identifying the best models from among a set of comparable models. Thus, a test for these two parameters is suggested to be a more stringent requirement than the traditional validation parameters to decide acceptability of a predictive QSAR model, especially when a regulatory decision is involved.
The biosynthesis of nanoparticles has received increasing attention due to the growing need to develop safe, cost-effective and environmentally friendly technologies for nano-materials synthesis. In this report, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were synthesized using a reduction of aqueous Ag+ ion with the culture supernatants of Aspergillus terreus. The reaction occurred at ambient temperature and in a few hours. The bioreduction of AgNPs was monitored by ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and the AgNPs obtained were characterized by transmission electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The synthesized AgNPs were polydispersed spherical particles ranging in size from 1 to 20 nm and stabilized in the solution. Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) was found to be an important reducing agent for the biosynthesis, and the formation of AgNPs might be an enzyme-mediated extracellular reaction process. Furthermore, the antimicrobial potential of AgNPs was systematically evaluated. The synthesized AgNPs could efficiently inhibit various pathogenic organisms, including bacteria and fungi. The current research opens a new avenue for the green synthesis of nano-materials.
The synthetic thermoplastic polymer polyetheretherketone (PEEK) is becoming a popular component of clinical orthopedic and spinal applications, but its practical use suffers from several limitations. Although PEEK is biocompatible, chemically stable, radiolucent and has an elastic modulus similar to that of normal human bone, it is biologically inert, preventing good integration with adjacent bone tissues upon implantation. Recent efforts have focused on increasing the bioactivity of PEEK to improve the bone-implant interface. Two main strategies have been used to overcome the inert character of PEEK. One approach is surface modification to activate PEEK through surface treatment alone or in combination with a surface coating. Another strategy is to prepare bioactive PEEK composites by impregnating bioactive materials into PEEK substrate. Researchers believe that modified bioactive PEEK will have a wide range of orthopedic applications.
Pentacyclic triterpenes are secondary plant metabolites widespread in fruit peel, leaves and stem bark. In particular the lupane-, oleanane-, and ursane triterpenes display various pharmacological effects while being devoid of prominent toxicity. Therefore, these triterpenes are promising leading compounds for the development of new multi-targeting bioactive agents. Screening of 39 plant materials identified triterpene rich (>0.1% dry matter) plant parts. Plant materials with high triterpene concentrations were then used to obtain dry extracts by accelerated solvent extraction resulting in a triterpene content of 50 - 90%. Depending on the plant material, betulin (birch bark), betulinic acid (plane bark), oleanolic acid (olive leaves, olive pomace, mistletoe sprouts, clove flowers), ursolic acid (apple pomace) or an equal mixture of the three triterpene acids (rosemary leaves) are the main components of these dry extracts. They are quantitatively characterised plant extracts supplying a high concentration of actives and therefore can be used for development of phytopharmaceutical formulations.
The primary physiological function of mitochondria is to generate adenosine triphosphate through oxidative phosphorylation via the electron transport chain. Overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) as byproducts generated from mitochondria have been implicated in acute brain injuries such as stroke from cerebral ischemia. It was well-documented that mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway involves pro- and anti-apoptotic protein binding, release of cytochrome c, leading ultimately to neuronal death. On the other hand, mitochondria also play a role to counteract the detrimental effects elicited by excessive oxidative stress. Recent studies have revealed that oxidative stress and the redox state of ischemic neurons are also implicated in the signaling pathway that involves peroxisome proliferative activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) co-activator 1α (PGC1-α). PGC1-α is a master regulator of ROS scavenging enzymes including manganese superoxide dismutase 2 and the uncoupling protein 2, both are mitochondrial proteins, and may contribute to neuronal survival. PGC1-α is also involved in mitochondrial biogenesis that is vital for cell survival. Experimental evidence supports the roles of mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress as determinants of neuronal death as well as endogenous protective mechanisms after stroke. This review aims to summarize the current knowledge focusing on the molecular mechanisms underlying cerebral ischemia involving ROS, mitochondrial dysfunction, apoptosis, mitochondrial proteins capable of ROS scavenging, and mitochondrial biogenesis.
The catalytic performance of various metal chlorides in the conversion of cellulose to levulinic acid in liquid water at high temperatures was investigated. The effects of reaction parameters on the yield of levulinic acid were also explored. The results showed that alkali and alkaline earth metal chlorides were not effective in conversion of cellulose, while transition metal chlorides, especially CrCl3, FeCl3 and CuCl2 and a group IIIA metal chloride (AlCl3), exhibited high catalytic activity. The catalytic performance was correlated with the acidity of the reaction system due to the addition of the metal chlorides, but more dependent on the type of metal chloride. Among those metal chlorides, chromium chloride was found to be exceptionally effective for the conversion of cellulose to levulinic acid, affording an optimum yield of 67 mol % after a reaction time of 180 min, at 200 degrees C, with a catalyst dosage of 0.02 M and substrate concentration of 50 wt %. Chromium metal, most of which was present in its oxide form in the solid sample and only a small part in solution as Cr3+ ion, can be easily separated from the resulting product mixture and recycled. Finally, a plausible reaction scheme for the chromium chloride catalyzed conversion of cellulose in water was proposed.
Meiosis and recombination are the two opposite aspects that coexist in a DNA system. As a driving force for evolution by generating natural genetic variations, meiotic recombination plays a very important role in the formation of eggs and sperm. Interestingly, the recombination does not occur randomly across a genome, but with higher probability in some genomic regions called "hotspots", while with lower probability in so-called "coldspots". With the ever-increasing amount of genome sequence data in the postgenomic era, computational methods for effectively identifying the hotspots and coldspots have become urgent as they can timely provide us with useful insights into the mechanism of meiotic recombination and the process of genome evolution as well. To meet the need, we developed a new predictor called "iRSpot-TNCPseAAC", in which a DNA sample was formulated by combining its trinucleotide composition (TNC) and the pseudo amino acid components (PseAAC) of the protein translated from the DNA sample according to its genetic codes. The former was used to incorporate its local or short-rage sequence order information; while the latter, its global and long-range one. Compared with the best existing predictor in this area, iRSpot-TNCPseAAC achieved higher rates in accuracy, Mathew's correlation coefficient, and sensitivity, indicating that the new predictor may become a useful tool for identifying the recombination hotspots and coldspots, or, at least, become a complementary tool to the existing methods. It has not escaped our notice that the aforementioned novel approach to incorporate the DNA sequence order information into a discrete model may also be used for many other genome analysis problems. The web-server for iRSpot-TNCPseAAC is available at http://www.jci-bioinfo.cn/iRSpot-TNCPseAAC. Furthermore, for the convenience of the vast majority of experimental scientists, a step-by-step guide is provided on how to use the current web server to obtain their desired result without the need to follow the complicated mathematical equations.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) induces secondary biochemical changes that contribute to delayed neuroinflammation, neuronal cell death, and neurological dysfunction. Attenuating such secondary injury has provided the conceptual basis for neuroprotective treatments. Despite strong experimental data, more than 30 clinical trials of neuroprotection in TBI patients have failed. In part, these failures likely reflect methodological differences between the clinical and animal studies, as well as inadequate pre-clinical evaluation and/or trial design problems. However, recent changes in experimental approach and advances in clinical trial methodology have raised the potential for successful clinical translation. Here we critically analyze the current limitations and translational opportunities for developing successful neuroprotective therapies for TBI.
The functional mechanisms of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have become a research focus in recent years. Accumulating evidence supports the notion that MSCs act in a paracrine manner. Therefore, the biological factors in conditioned medium, including exosomes and soluble factors, derived from MSC cultures are being explored extensively. The results from most investigations show that MSC-conditioned medium or its components mediate some biological functions of MSCs. Several studies have reported that MSC-derived exosomes have functions similar to those of MSCs, such as repairing tissue damage, suppressing inflammatory responses, and modulating the immune system. However, the mechanisms are still not fully understood and the results remain controversial. Compared with cells, exosomes are more stable and reservable, have no risk of aneuploidy, a lower possibility of immune rejection following in vivo allogeneic administration, and may provide an alternative therapy for various diseases. In this review, we summarize the properties and biological functions of MSC-derived exosomes and discuss the related mechanisms.