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Life, Volume 14, Issue 4 (April 2024) – 116 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The neglected Chagas disease (CD) is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. Current treatment for CD relies on medications with strong side effects and reduced effectiveness. The unique characteristics and high adaptability of T. cruzi, its mechanisms of persistence, and evasion of the immune system seem to influence the course of the disease. Despite the efforts to uncover the pathology of CD, there are many gaps in understanding how it is established and reaches chronicity. We explain the background in which CD is established, from the peculiarities of T. cruzi molecular biology to the development of the host’s immune response leading to the pathophysiology of CD. We also discuss the state of the art of treatments for CD and current challenges in basic and applied science. View this paper
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22 pages, 378 KiB  
Review
DNA Methylation Machinery in Gastropod Mollusks
by Laura Haidar, Marius Georgescu, George Andrei Drăghici, Ioan Bănățean-Dunea, Dragoș Vasile Nica and Alina-Florina Șerb
Life 2024, 14(4), 537; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040537 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 705
Abstract
The role of DNA methylation in mollusks is just beginning to be understood. This review synthesizes current knowledge on this potent molecular hallmark of epigenetic control in gastropods—the largest class of mollusks and ubiquitous inhabitants of diverse habitats. Their DNA methylation machinery shows [...] Read more.
The role of DNA methylation in mollusks is just beginning to be understood. This review synthesizes current knowledge on this potent molecular hallmark of epigenetic control in gastropods—the largest class of mollusks and ubiquitous inhabitants of diverse habitats. Their DNA methylation machinery shows a high degree of conservation in CG maintenance methylation mechanisms, driven mainly by DNMT1 homologues, and the presence of MBD2 and MBD2/3 proteins as DNA methylation readers. The mosaic-like DNA methylation landscape occurs mainly in a CG context and is primarily confined to gene bodies and housekeeping genes. DNA methylation emerges as a critical regulator of reproduction, development, and adaptation, with tissue-specific patterns being observed in gonadal structures. Its dynamics also serve as an important regulatory mechanism underlying learning and memory processes. DNA methylation can be affected by various environmental stimuli, including as pathogens and abiotic stresses, potentially impacting phenotypic variation and population diversity. Overall, the features of DNA methylation in gastropods are complex, being an essential part of their epigenome. However, comprehensive studies integrating developmental stages, tissues, and environmental conditions, functional annotation of methylated regions, and integrated genomic-epigenomic analyses are lacking. Addressing these knowledge gaps will advance our understanding of gastropod biology, ecology, and evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Animal Science: 2nd Edition)
15 pages, 3274 KiB  
Article
The Anti-Cholinesterase Potential of Fifteen Different Species of Narcissus L. (Amaryllidaceae) Collected in Spain
by Luciana R. Tallini, Giulia Manfredini, María Lenny Rodríguez-Escobar, Segundo Ríos, Vanessa Martínez-Francés, Gabriela E. Feresin, Warley de Souza Borges, Jaume Bastida, Francesc Viladomat and Laura Torras-Claveria
Life 2024, 14(4), 536; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040536 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 613
Abstract
Narcissus L. is a renowned plant genus with a notable center of diversity and is primarily located in the Mediterranean region. These plants are widely recognized for their ornamental value, owing to the beauty of their flowers; nonetheless, they also hold pharmacological importance. [...] Read more.
Narcissus L. is a renowned plant genus with a notable center of diversity and is primarily located in the Mediterranean region. These plants are widely recognized for their ornamental value, owing to the beauty of their flowers; nonetheless, they also hold pharmacological importance. In Europe, pharmaceutical companies usually use the bulbs of Narcissus pseudonarcissus cv. Carlton to extract galanthamine, which is one of the few medications approved by the FDA for the palliative treatment of mild-to-moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential of these plants in Alzheimer’s disease. The alkaloid extract from the leaves of different species of Narcissus was obtained by an acid-base extraction work-up -procedure. The biological potential of the samples was carried out by evaluating their ability to inhibit the enzymes acetyl- and butyrylcholinesterase (AChE and BuChE, respectively). The species N. jacetanus exhibited the best inhibition values against AChE, with IC50 values of 0.75 ± 0.03 µg·mL−1, while N. jonquilla was the most active against BuChE, with IC50 values of 11.72 ± 1.15 µg·mL−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alkaloids: Extraction, Analysis and Function Research)
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14 pages, 4638 KiB  
Article
Aflatoxins in Wheat Grains: Detection and Detoxification through Chemical, Physical, and Biological Means
by Ahmed Mahmoud Ismail, Muhammad Hassan Raza, Naseem Zahra, Rafiq Ahmad, Yasar Sajjad and Sabaz Ali Khan
Life 2024, 14(4), 535; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040535 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 638
Abstract
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an essential food crop in terms of consumption as well as production. Aflatoxin exposure has a widespread public health impact in economically developing nations, so there is a need to establish preventive techniques for these high-risk populations. Pre-harvest [...] Read more.
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is an essential food crop in terms of consumption as well as production. Aflatoxin exposure has a widespread public health impact in economically developing nations, so there is a need to establish preventive techniques for these high-risk populations. Pre-harvest and post-harvest practices are the two strategies used to control aflatoxin contamination, which include the use of genetically modified crops that show resistance against Aspergillus infection, the use of pesticides, changing the planting and harvesting time of crops, and physical, chemical, and biological methods. In this research, aflatoxin detection and quantification were performed in different wheat varieties to determine quantitative differences in comparison to the European Commission’s limit of 4 ppb aflatoxins in wheat. TLC for qualitative and the ELISA kit method for quantitative analysis of aflatoxins were used. Out of 56 samples, 35 were found contaminated with aflatoxins, while the remaining 21 samples did not show any presence of aflatoxins. Out of the 35 contaminated samples, 20 samples showed aflatoxin contamination within the permissible limit, while the remaining 15 samples showed aflatoxin concentration beyond the permissible level, ranging from 0.49 to 20.56 ppb. After quantification, the nine highly contaminated wheat samples were detoxified using physical, chemical, and biological methods. The efficiency of these methods was assessed, and they showed a significant reduction in aflatoxins of 53–72%, 79–88%, and 80–88%, respectively. In conclusion, the difference in aflatoxin concentration in different wheat varieties could be due to genetic variations. Furthermore, biological treatment could be the method of choice for detoxification of aflatoxins in wheat as it greatly reduced the aflatoxin concentration with no harmful effect on the quality of the grains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Microbiological Contamination)
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10 pages, 1244 KiB  
Article
Complete Mitochondrial Genome and Its Phylogenetic Position in Red Algae Fushitsunagia catenata from South Korea
by Maheshkumar Prakash Patil, Nur Indradewi Oktavitri, Young-Ryun Kim, Seokjin Yoon, In-Cheol Lee, Jong-Oh Kim and Kyunghoi Kim
Life 2024, 14(4), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040534 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 691
Abstract
The mitogenome is an important tool in taxonomic and evolutionary studies. Only a few complete mitogenomes have been reported for red algae. Herein, we reported the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Fushitsunagia catenata (Harvey) Filloramo, G.V. and Saunders, G.W. 2016, a monospecific genus. [...] Read more.
The mitogenome is an important tool in taxonomic and evolutionary studies. Only a few complete mitogenomes have been reported for red algae. Herein, we reported the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Fushitsunagia catenata (Harvey) Filloramo, G.V. and Saunders, G.W. 2016, a monospecific genus. The genome was 25,889 bp in circumference and had a strongly biased AT of 70.4%. It consisted of 2 rRNAs, 23 tRNAs, and 24 protein-coding genes (PCGs). nad5 (1986 bp) was the largest and atp9 (231 bp) was the smallest PCG. All PCGs used ATG as an initiation codon and TAA as a termination codon, except TAG, which was the termination codon used in the sdh3, rps3, and rps11 genes. The general structure and gene content of the present findings were almost identical to those of other red algae genomes, particularly those of the Rhodymeniales order. The maximum likelihood analysis showed that F. catenata was closely related to Rhodymenia pseudopalmata. The mitochondrial genome data presented in this study will enhance our understanding of evolution in Rhodophyta species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Genetics and Genomics)
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15 pages, 1229 KiB  
Article
Looking into the Eyes to See the Heart of Chronic Kidney Disease Patients
by Maria Kislikova, Jorge Javier Gaitán-Valdizán, José Antonio Parra Blanco, María Teresa García Unzueta, María Rodríguez Vidriales, Clara Escagedo Cagigas, Vicente Celestino Piñera Haces, María de la Oliva Valentín Muñoz, Adalberto Benito Hernández, Juan Carlos Ruiz San Millan and Emilio Rodrigo Calabia
Life 2024, 14(4), 533; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040533 - 22 Apr 2024
Viewed by 673
Abstract
In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the main cause of morbidity and mortality is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both coronary artery calcium scoring by computed tomography (CT) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) are used to identify patients at increased risk for ischemic heart [...] Read more.
In patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), the main cause of morbidity and mortality is cardiovascular disease (CVD). Both coronary artery calcium scoring by computed tomography (CT) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) are used to identify patients at increased risk for ischemic heart disease, thereby indicating a higher cardiovascular risk profile. Our study aimed to investigate the utility of these techniques in the CKD population. In patients with CKD, OCT was used to measure the choroidal thickness (CHT) and the thickness of the peripapillary retinal nerve fiber layer (pRNFL). A total of 127 patients were included, including 70 men (55%) with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) of 39 ± 30 mL/min/1.73 m2. Lower pRNFL thickness was found to be related to high-sensitivity troponin I (r = −0.362, p < 0.001) and total coronary calcification (r = −0.194, p = 0.032). In a multivariate analysis, pRNFL measurements remained associated with age (β = −0.189; −0.739–−0.027; p = 0.035) and high-sensitivity troponin I (β = −0.301; −0.259–−0.071; p < 0.001). Severe coronary calcification (Agatston score ≥ 400 HU) was related to a worse eGFR (p = 0.008), a higher grade of CKD (p = 0.036), and a thinner pRNFL (p = 0.011). The ROC curve confirmed that the pRNFL measurement could determine the patients with an Agatston score of ≥400 HU (AUC 0.638; 95% CI 0.525–0.750; p = 0.015). Our study concludes that measurement of pRNFL thickness using OCT is related to the markers associated with ischemic heart disease, such as coronary calcification and high-sensitivity troponin I, in the CKD population. Full article
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11 pages, 1125 KiB  
Article
Evaluating the Efficacy of Resect-and-Discard and Resect-and-Retrieve Strategies for Diminutive Colonic Polyps
by Andrei Lucian Groza, Bogdan Miutescu, Cristian Tefas, Alexandru Popa, Iulia Ratiu, Roxana Sirli, Alina Popescu, Alexandru Catalin Motofelea and Marcel Tantau
Life 2024, 14(4), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040532 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 584
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Diminutive polyps present a unique challenge in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention strategies. This study aims to assess the characteristics and variables of diminutive polyps in a Romanian cohort, intending to develop a combined resect-and-retrieve or resect-and-discard strategy that reduces the [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Diminutive polyps present a unique challenge in colorectal cancer (CRC) prevention strategies. This study aims to assess the characteristics and variables of diminutive polyps in a Romanian cohort, intending to develop a combined resect-and-retrieve or resect-and-discard strategy that reduces the need for an optical diagnosis. Materials and Methods: A prospective cohort study was conducted at two endoscopy centers in Romania from July to December 2021. Adult patients undergoing colonoscopies where polyps were identified and resected were included. Endoscopic procedures employed advanced diagnostic features, including blue-light imaging (BLI) and narrow-band imaging (NBI). Logistic regression analysis was utilized to determine factors impacting the probability of adenomatous polyps with high-grade dysplasia (HGD). Results: A total of 427 patients were included, with a mean age of 59.42 years (±11.19), predominantly male (60.2%). The most common indication for a colonoscopy was lower gastrointestinal symptoms (42.6%), followed by screening (28.8%). Adequate bowel preparation was achieved in 87.8% of cases. The logistic regression analysis revealed significant predictors of HGD in adenomatous polyps: age (OR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.01–1.08, p = 0.01) and polyp size (>5 mm vs. ≤5 mm, OR = 4.4, 95% CI: 1.94–10.06, p < 0.001). Polyps classified as Paris IIa, Ip, and Isp were significantly more likely to harbor HGD compared to the reference group (Is), with odds ratios of 6.05, 3.68, and 2.7, respectively. Conclusions: The study elucidates significant associations between the presence of HGD in adenomatous polyps and factors such as age, polyp size, and Paris classification. These findings support the feasibility of a tailored approach in the resect-and-discard and resect-and-retrieve strategies for diminutive polyps, potentially optimizing CRC prevention and intervention practices. Further research is warranted to validate these strategies in broader clinical settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disease)
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15 pages, 4348 KiB  
Article
Impact of Structural Compliance of a Six Degree of Freedom Joint Simulator on Virtual Ligament Force Calculation in Total Knee Endoprosthesis Testing
by Eric Kleist, Paul Henke, Leo Ruehrmund, Maeruan Kebbach, Rainer Bader and Christoph Woernle
Life 2024, 14(4), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040531 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 614
Abstract
The AMTI VIVO™ six degree of freedom joint simulator allows reproducible preclinical testing of joint endoprostheses under specific kinematic and loading conditions. When testing total knee endoprosthesis, the articulating femoral and tibial components are each mounted on an actuator with two and four [...] Read more.
The AMTI VIVO™ six degree of freedom joint simulator allows reproducible preclinical testing of joint endoprostheses under specific kinematic and loading conditions. When testing total knee endoprosthesis, the articulating femoral and tibial components are each mounted on an actuator with two and four degrees of freedom, respectively. To approximate realistic physiological conditions with respect to soft tissues, the joint simulator features an integrated virtual ligament model that calculates the restoring forces of the ligament apparatus to be applied by the actuators. During joint motion, the locations of the ligament insertion points are calculated depending on both actuators’ coordinates. In the present study, we demonstrate that unintended elastic deformations of the actuators due to the specifically high contact forces in the artificial knee joint have a considerable impact on the calculated ligament forces. This study aims to investigate the effect of this structural compliance on experimental results. While the built-in algorithm for calculating the ligament forces cannot be altered by the user, a reduction of the ligament force deviations due to the elastic deformations could be achieved by preloading the articulating implant components in the reference configuration. As a proof of concept, a knee flexion motion with varying ligament conditions was simulated on the VIVO simulator and compared to data derived from a musculoskeletal multibody model of a total knee endoprosthesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Knee Biomechanics)
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10 pages, 395 KiB  
Article
The Association between Ovarian Cancer and the Incidence of Newly Developed Dry Eye Disease: A Nationwide Population-Based Study
by Chia-Yi Lee, Shun-Fa Yang, Yu-Ling Chang, Jing-Yang Huang and Chao-Kai Chang
Life 2024, 14(4), 530; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040530 - 21 Apr 2024
Viewed by 710
Abstract
We aim to investigate the potential correlation between the presence of ovarian cancer and the development of dry eye disease (DED) via the usage of the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database (LHID) of Taiwan. A retrospective cohort study was executed, and patients with ovarian [...] Read more.
We aim to investigate the potential correlation between the presence of ovarian cancer and the development of dry eye disease (DED) via the usage of the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database (LHID) of Taiwan. A retrospective cohort study was executed, and patients with ovarian cancer were selected according to the diagnostic and procedure codes. One ovarian cancer patient was matched to four non-ovarian cancer participants which served as control group, and a total of 4992 and 19,968 patients constructed the ovarian cancer and control groups, respectively. The primary outcome in the current study is the development of DED according to the diagnostic and procedure codes. Cox proportional hazard regression was utilized to produce the adjusted hazard ratio (aHR) and related 95% confidence interval (CI) of DED between the two groups. There were 542 and 2502 DED events observed in the ovarian cancer group and the control group, respectively. The ovarian cancer group illustrated a significantly higher incidence of DED development than the control group after the adjustment of several confounders (aHR: 1.10, 95% CI: 1.01–1.21, p = 0.040). In the subgroup analysis stratified by age, ovarian cancer patients aged older than 60 years showed a higher incidence of DED compared to the non-ovarian cancer population (aHR: 1.19, 95% CI: 1.08–1.28, p = 0.011). In addition, ovarian cancer patients with a disease duration longer than five years also showed higher incidence of DED formation than the non-ovarian cancer population (aHR: 1.13, 95% CI: 1.04–1.22, p = 0.027). In conclusion, the presence of ovarian cancer is associated with higher incidence of subsequent DED, especially in those older than 60 years and with a disease interval of more than five years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eye Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment, 2nd Edition)
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12 pages, 910 KiB  
Article
Optimal Dietary Intake of Riboflavin Associated with Lower Risk of Cervical Cancer in Korea: Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010–2021
by Seon-Mi Lee, Aeran Seol, Hyun-Woong Cho, Kyung-Jin Min, Sanghoon Lee, Jin-Hwa Hong, Jae-Yun Song, Jae-Kwan Lee and Nak-Woo Lee
Life 2024, 14(4), 529; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040529 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 615
Abstract
Background: This study aimed to evaluate the association between the dietary intake of vitamin B complex (thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin) and cervical cancer in Korea. Methods: The data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2010 to 2021 were [...] Read more.
Background: This study aimed to evaluate the association between the dietary intake of vitamin B complex (thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin) and cervical cancer in Korea. Methods: The data from the Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES) from 2010 to 2021 were analyzed, which included 28,306 participants who were categorized into non-cervical cancer and cervical cancer groups. The following dietary intake threshold levels of thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin were identified based on the recommended daily allowances (RDAs): thiamine, 1.1 mg/day; riboflavin, 1.2 mg/day; and niacin, 14 mg/day. Results: Among 28,306 participants, 27,976 were in the non-cervical cancer group and 330 were in the cervical cancer group. Riboflavin intakes of more than 1.2 mg/day but less than 2.4 mg/day were associated with a significantly reduced risk of cervical cancer, whereas intakes of above 2.4 mg/day were not associated with cervical cancer. Thiamine and niacin intakes were not significantly related to the risk of cervical cancer. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that an intake of riboflavin of 1.2–2.4 mg/day may contribute to a lower risk of cervical cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diagnosis and Treatment of Obstetrics and Gynecology Diseases)
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13 pages, 789 KiB  
Review
Botulinum Toxin in Chronic Lateral Epicondylitis, from Tendon to Muscle Approach—A Review
by Daniela Poenaru, Miruna Ioana Sandulescu, Claudia-Gabriela Potcovaru and Delia Cinteza
Life 2024, 14(4), 528; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040528 - 20 Apr 2024
Viewed by 610
Abstract
Background: Chronic lateral epicondylitis challenges the therapeutical approach; underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood; neuropathic pain and central and peripheral sensitization may explain the fact that botulinum toxin has been found to play a role in pain and function management. Methods: We searched the [...] Read more.
Background: Chronic lateral epicondylitis challenges the therapeutical approach; underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood; neuropathic pain and central and peripheral sensitization may explain the fact that botulinum toxin has been found to play a role in pain and function management. Methods: We searched the literature for MeSH terms: lateral epicondylitis or synonyms and botulinum toxin. Results: We found 14 papers containing trials on botulinum toxin injection into the tendon or into the extensor muscles (specifically, extensor carpi radialis brevis and extensor communis digitorum). We followed the administration pathways, doses, timing, and side effects. Conclusions: With a chronic course, the focus of the therapy shifts from the afflicted tendon to the inserting muscles, as muscle contracture may create a vicious loop to perpetuate and aggravate the disease. Doses, timing, and side effects are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology and Therapy of Neuropathic Pain)
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14 pages, 654 KiB  
Review
Gut Microbiome and Its Role in Valvular Heart Disease: Not a “Gutted” Relationship
by Gyanaranjan Nayak, Kyriakos Dimitriadis, Nikolaos Pyrpyris, Magdalini Manti, Nikolaos Kamperidis, Vasileios Kamperidis, Antonios Ziakas and Konstantinos Tsioufis
Life 2024, 14(4), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040527 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 637
Abstract
The role of the gut microbiome (GM) and oral microbiome (OM) in cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been increasingly being understood in recent years. It is well known that GM is a risk factor for various CVD phenotypes, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure and [...] Read more.
The role of the gut microbiome (GM) and oral microbiome (OM) in cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been increasingly being understood in recent years. It is well known that GM is a risk factor for various CVD phenotypes, including hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure and atrial fibrillation. However, its role in valvular heart disease (VHD) is less well understood. Research shows that, direct, microbe-mediated and indirect, metabolite-mediated damage as a result of gut dysbiosis and environmental factors results in a subclinical, chronic, systemic inflammatory state, which promotes inflammatory cell infiltration in heart valves and subsequently, via pro-inflammatory molecules, initiates a cascade of reaction, resulting in valve calcification, fibrosis and dysfunction. This relationship between GM and VHD adds a pathophysiological link to the pathogenesis of VHD, which can be aimed therapeutically, in order to prevent or regress any risk for valvular pathologies. Therapeutic interventions include dietary modifications and lifestyle interventions, in order to influence environmental factors that can promote gut dysbiosis. Furthermore, the combination of probiotics and prebiotics, as well as fecal m transplantation and targeted treatment with inducers or inhibitors of microbial enzymes have showed promising results in animal and/or clinical studies, with the potential to reduce the inflammatory state and restore the normal gut flora in patients. This review, thus, is going to discuss the pathophysiological links behind the relationship of GM, CVD and VHD, as well as explore the recent data regarding the effect of GM-altering treatment in CVD, cardiac function and systemic inflammation. Full article
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16 pages, 1218 KiB  
Article
The Use of Pre-Endoscopic Metoclopramide Does Not Prevent the Need for Repeat Endoscopy: A U.S. Based Retrospective Cohort Study
by Mark Ayoub, Carol Faris, Julton Tomanguillo, Nadeem Anwar, Harleen Chela and Ebubekir Daglilar
Life 2024, 14(4), 526; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040526 - 19 Apr 2024
Viewed by 676
Abstract
Background: Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) can cause upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB), often needing esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). Second-look endoscopies verify resolution, but cost concerns prompt research on metoclopramide’s efficacy compared to erythromycin. Methods: We analyzed the Diamond Network of TriNetX Research database, dividing UGIB patients [...] Read more.
Background: Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) can cause upper gastrointestinal bleeding (UGIB), often needing esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD). Second-look endoscopies verify resolution, but cost concerns prompt research on metoclopramide’s efficacy compared to erythromycin. Methods: We analyzed the Diamond Network of TriNetX Research database, dividing UGIB patients with PUD undergoing EGD into three groups: metoclopramide, erythromycin, and no medication. Using 1:1 propensity score matching, we compared repeat EGD, post-EGD transfusion, and mortality within one month in two study arms. Results: Out of 97,040 patients, 11.5% received metoclopramide, 3.9% received erythromycin, and 84.6% received no medication. Comparing metoclopramide to no medication showed no significant difference in repeat EGD (10.1% vs. 9.7%, p = 0.34), transfusion (0.78% vs. 0.86%, p = 0.5), or mortality (1.08% vs. 1.08%, p = 0.95). However, metoclopramide had a higher repeat EGD rate compared to erythromycin (9.4% vs. 7.5%, p = 0.003), with no significant difference in transfusion or mortality. Conclusions: The need to repeat EGD was not decreased with pre-EGD use of metoclopramide. If a prokinetic agent is to be used prior to EGD, erythromycin shows superior reduction in the need of repeat EGD as compared to metoclopramide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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9 pages, 1187 KiB  
Brief Report
Are Gamers Prone to eThrombosis during Long Gaming Sessions?
by Kasper B. Krarup, Henrik B. Krarup, Morten Mørk, Søren Lundbye-Christensen, Aase Handberg, Hien T. T. Nguyen, Inge S. Pedersen and Søren R. Kristensen
Life 2024, 14(4), 525; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040525 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 622
Abstract
During the last two decades, several cases of venous thrombosis (VTE) after a prolonged period at a computer have been described, denominated as “eThrombosis”. Video gaming on a computer has become very popular and can be a social activity where several players gather [...] Read more.
During the last two decades, several cases of venous thrombosis (VTE) after a prolonged period at a computer have been described, denominated as “eThrombosis”. Video gaming on a computer has become very popular and can be a social activity where several players gather to play against each other or in a virtual environment for several days (“LAN (i.e., Local Area Network) parties”) where the participants are sedentary and consuming calorie-rich food items. The aim of this study was to investigate potential coagulation activation during a 42 h LAN party. Nine male gamers volunteered for the LAN party. Citrated blood was sampled before and every 6 h, and plasma was analyzed for thrombin generation, thrombin–antithrombin complexes (TAT), prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 (F1 + 2), and D-dimer. Thrombin generation increased slightly but not significantly during the LAN party, whereas the coagulation activation markers were unchanged. These results do not indicate that the coagulation system is activated significantly during 42 h of gaming with minimal physical activity. Although increased activity cannot be excluded, it does not directly indicate a risk of VTE in general. Full article
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17 pages, 919 KiB  
Review
Applied Cardio-Oncology in Hematological Malignancies: A Narrative Review
by Evdokia Mandala, Kyranna Lafara, Dimitrios Kokkinovasilis, Ioannis Kalafatis, Vasiliki Koukoulitsa, Eirini Katodritou and Christos Lafaras
Life 2024, 14(4), 524; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040524 - 18 Apr 2024
Viewed by 957
Abstract
Applied cardio-oncology in hematological malignancies refers to the integration of cardiovascular care and management for patients with blood cancer, particularly leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Hematological cancer therapy-related cardiotoxicity deals with the most common cardiovascular complications of conventional chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chimeric [...] Read more.
Applied cardio-oncology in hematological malignancies refers to the integration of cardiovascular care and management for patients with blood cancer, particularly leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Hematological cancer therapy-related cardiotoxicity deals with the most common cardiovascular complications of conventional chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR-T) cell and tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte therapies, bispecific antibodies, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This narrative review focuses on hematological cancer-therapy-related cardiotoxicity’s definition, risk stratification, multimodality imaging, and use of cardiac biomarkers to detect clinical and/or subclinical myocardial dysfunction and electrical instability. Moreover, the most common cardiotoxic profiles of the main drugs and/or therapeutic interventions in patients with hematological malignancies are described thoroughly. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development of Anticancer and Antiviral Drugs—2nd Edition)
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17 pages, 1394 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Absolute Neutrophil, Lymphocyte and Platelet Count and Their Ratios as Predictors of Thrombotic Risk in Patients with Prefibrotic and Overt Myelofibrosis
by Marko Lucijanic, Ivan Krecak, Ena Soric, Anica Sabljic, Davor Galusic, Hrvoje Holik, Vlatka Perisa, Martina Moric Peric, Ivan Zekanovic, Josipa Budimir and Rajko Kusec
Life 2024, 14(4), 523; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040523 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 781
Abstract
Aim: To investigate the prognostic contribution of absolute neutrophil (ANC), lymphocyte (ALC), platelet count and their ratios, neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet–lymphocyte ratio (PLR), to thrombotic risk in patients with prefibrotic and overt fibrotic myelofibrosis (MF). Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of [...] Read more.
Aim: To investigate the prognostic contribution of absolute neutrophil (ANC), lymphocyte (ALC), platelet count and their ratios, neutrophil–lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet–lymphocyte ratio (PLR), to thrombotic risk in patients with prefibrotic and overt fibrotic myelofibrosis (MF). Methods: We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 256 patients with prefibrotic (85 patients) and overt fibrotic MF (171 patients) treated in six Croatian hematological centers. Results: Prefibrotic compared to overt fibrotic MF patients presented with significantly higher ALC, platelet count and PLR, and experienced longer time to thrombosis (TTT). Among prefibrotic patients, ANC > 8.33 × 109/L (HR 13.08, p = 0.036), ALC > 2.58 × 109/L (HR 20.63, p = 0.049) and platelet count > 752 × 109/L (HR 10.5, p = 0.043) remained independently associated with shorter TTT. Among overt fibrotic patients, ANC > 8.8 × 109/L (HR 4.49, p = 0.004), ALC ≤ 1.43 × 109/L (HR 4.15, p = 0.003), platelet count ≤ 385 × 109/L (HR 4.68, p = 0.004) and chronic kidney disease (HR 9.07, p < 0.001) remained independently associated with shorter TTT. Conclusions: Prognostic properties of ANC, ALC and platelet count are mutually independent and exceed those of NLR and PLR regarding thrombotic risk stratification. ALC and platelet count associate in opposite directions with thrombotic risk in prefibrotic and overt fibrotic MF patients. Full article
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21 pages, 1145 KiB  
Review
Bone Disease in HIV: Need for Early Diagnosis and Prevention
by Georgios Schinas, Ioannis Schinas, Georgios Ntampanlis, Eleni Polyzou, Charalambos Gogos and Karolina Akinosoglou
Life 2024, 14(4), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040522 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 798
Abstract
The transformation of HIV into a manageable chronic condition has unveiled new clinical challenges associated with aging-related pathologies, including bone disease. This review explores the intricate relationship between HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and bone disease, highlighting the necessity of early diagnosis and preventative [...] Read more.
The transformation of HIV into a manageable chronic condition has unveiled new clinical challenges associated with aging-related pathologies, including bone disease. This review explores the intricate relationship between HIV, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and bone disease, highlighting the necessity of early diagnosis and preventative strategies to mitigate the increased risk of osteopenia, osteoporosis, and fractures in people living with HIV (PLWHIV). It synthesizes the current literature to elucidate the multifactorial etiology of bone pathology in this population, that includes direct viral effects, chronic immune activation, ART-associated risks, and the impact of traditional risk factors for bone loss. Through a critical examination of modern diagnostic methods, lifestyle modifications, evidence-based preventive actions, and pharmacological treatments, the necessity for comprehensive management is highlighted, along with recommendations for integrated healthcare approaches vital for achieving optimal patient outcomes. By advocating for a proactive, patient-centered, and multidisciplinary strategy, this review proposes a plan to integrate bone health into standard HIV care through active risk identification, vigilant screening, effective preventive measures, tailored treatments, and informed decision-making, in an effort to ultimately enhance the quality of life for PLWHIV. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comorbidities and HIV Infection: Barriers in ART-Switch Strategies)
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12 pages, 6539 KiB  
Case Report
Madelung’s Disease Evolving to Liposarcoma: An Uncommon Encounter
by Mihaiela Lungu, Violeta Diana Oprea, Gabriela Stoleriu, Ana-Maria Ionescu, Andrei Lucian Zaharia, Ana Croitoru, Bianca Stan and Elena Niculet
Life 2024, 14(4), 521; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040521 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 626
Abstract
(1) Background: Madelung’s disease—known also as Benign Symmetric Adenolipomatosis (BSA) or Multiple Symmetric Lipomatosis (MSL), is a rare subcutaneous tissue disease characterized by the proliferation of non-encapsulated fat tissue with mature adipocytes. Patients develop symmetrical fatty deposits of varying sizes, (located particularly around [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Madelung’s disease—known also as Benign Symmetric Adenolipomatosis (BSA) or Multiple Symmetric Lipomatosis (MSL), is a rare subcutaneous tissue disease characterized by the proliferation of non-encapsulated fat tissue with mature adipocytes. Patients develop symmetrical fatty deposits of varying sizes, (located particularly around the neck, shoulders, upper and middle back, arms, abdomen, and thighs), having clinical, esthetic, and psychiatric repercussions. (2) Methods: We report a case diagnosed with BSA upon admission to the Neurological and Internal Medicine Departments of the Emergency Clinical Hospital of Galati. (3) Results: This patient developed compressive phenomena and liposarcoma with liver metastasis, followed by death shortly after hospital presentation. The histopathology examination confirmed right latero-cervical liposarcoma and round cell hepatic metastasis. The specific metabolic ethiopathogenic mechanism has not been elucidated, but the adipocytes of BSA are different from normal cells in proliferation, hormonal regulation, and mitochondrial activity; a rare mitochondrial gene mutation, together with other interacting genetic or non-genetic factors, have been considered in recent studies. A thorough literature search identified only three cases reporting malignant tumors in BSA patients. (4) Conclusions: The goal of our paper is to present this rare case in the oncogenic synergism of two tumors. In the management of this BSA disorder, possible malignant transformation should be considered, although only scarce evidence was found supporting this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer: From Molecular Basis to Therapy)
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12 pages, 6069 KiB  
Article
Development of Allosteric Ribozymes for ATP and l-Histidine Based on the R3C Ligase Ribozyme
by Yuna Akatsu, Hiromi Mutsuro-Aoki and Koji Tamura
Life 2024, 14(4), 520; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040520 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 2064
Abstract
During the evolution of the RNA, short RNAs are thought to have joined together to form long RNAs, enhancing their function as ribozymes. Previously, the artificial R3C ligase ribozyme (73 nucleotides) was successfully reduced to 46 nucleotides; however, its activity decreased significantly. Therefore, [...] Read more.
During the evolution of the RNA, short RNAs are thought to have joined together to form long RNAs, enhancing their function as ribozymes. Previously, the artificial R3C ligase ribozyme (73 nucleotides) was successfully reduced to 46 nucleotides; however, its activity decreased significantly. Therefore, we aimed to develop allosteric ribozymes, whose activities could be regulated by effector compounds, based on the reduced R3C ligase ribozyme (R3C-A). Among the variants prepared by fusing an ATP-binding aptamer RNA with R3C-A, one mutant showed increased ligation activity in an ATP-dependent manner. Melting temperature measurements of the two RNA mutants suggested that the region around the aptamer site was stabilized by the addition of ATP. This resulted in a suitable conformation for the reaction at the ligation site. Another ribozyme was prepared by fusing R3C-A with a l-histidine-binding aptamer RNA, and the ligase activity increased with increasing l-histidine concentrations. Both ATP and l-histidine play prominent roles in current molecular biology and the interaction of RNAs and these molecules could be a key step in the evolution of the world of RNAs. Our results suggest promise in the development of general allosteric ribozymes that are independent of the type of effector molecule and provide important clues to the evolution of the RNA world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Origin of Life)
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12 pages, 1011 KiB  
Article
Deficit of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Acne Patients—A Cross-Sectional Pilot Study in a German Cohort
by Anne Guertler, Tobias Fiedler, Diana Lill, Anne-Charlotte Kuna, Arina Volsky, Jens Wallmichrath, Till Kämmerer, Lars E. French and Markus Reinholz
Life 2024, 14(4), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040519 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 869
Abstract
Omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 FAs) exert anti-inflammatory effects, including the downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, eicosanoids, and insulin-like growth factor-1. Therefore, they may improve acne severity as an adjunct treatment. However, there is a paucity of data regarding patients’ existing deficits. The aim of [...] Read more.
Omega-3 fatty acids (ω-3 FAs) exert anti-inflammatory effects, including the downregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, eicosanoids, and insulin-like growth factor-1. Therefore, they may improve acne severity as an adjunct treatment. However, there is a paucity of data regarding patients’ existing deficits. The aim of this study was to determine ω-3 FA levels in acne patients in correlation with self-reported dietary preferences and clinical severity. A single-center, cross-sectional study of 100 acne patients was conducted. Patients’ blood parameters, including ω-3 FAs levels, were assessed using the HS-omega-3 Index® in erythrocytes (Omegametrix® GmbH, Martinsried, Germany). Dietary preferences were assessed using a standardized food frequency questionnaire. Clinical dermatologic evaluation was performed using the Investigator Global Assessment (IGA) of acne. The values of the HS-omega-3 Index® were outside the recommended range of 8–11% in 96 patients (mean 5.15%), independent of the clinical severity or affected anatomic sites. A severe deficit (HS-omega-3 Index® < 4%) was seen more commonly in men than in women (p = 0.021). The regular consumption of legumes was significantly associated with higher ω-3 FA levels (p = 0.003), as was oral ω-3 FA supplementation (p = 0.006) and the lack of sunflower oil intake (p = 0.008). This pilot study demonstrated a deficit of ω-3 FAs in a German acne cohort. Higher ω-3 FAs levels were observed in patients with regular legume intake and oral ω-3 FAs supplementation. Further prospective studies are needed to investigate whether the clinical severity of acne improves in patients with normal HS-omega-3 Index®. Full article
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9 pages, 2060 KiB  
Article
Clinical Outcomes in Elderly Patients with Chronic Subdural Hematoma: Validation of Irrigation Assignment Based on Hematoma Characteristics
by Takuma Maeda, Yuichiro Kikkawa, Takuro Ehara, Ryosuke Tsuchiya, Shinya Tabata, Koki Onodera, Tatsuki Kimura, Yushiro Take, Kaima Suzuki and Hiroki Kurita
Life 2024, 14(4), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040518 - 17 Apr 2024
Viewed by 618
Abstract
The number of elderly patients with chronic subdural hematomas (CSDH) is increasing worldwide; however, there is limited data regarding the clinical outcomes in this population. Our therapeutic method using burr hole evacuation for CSDH is based on the hematoma characteristics, using simple drainage [...] Read more.
The number of elderly patients with chronic subdural hematomas (CSDH) is increasing worldwide; however, there is limited data regarding the clinical outcomes in this population. Our therapeutic method using burr hole evacuation for CSDH is based on the hematoma characteristics, using simple drainage for single-layer lesions and drainage with irrigation for multiple-layer lesions. This study aimed to compare the postoperative outcomes of elderly and younger patients, identify the predictors of outcomes in elderly patients, and verify the validity of our therapeutic methods. In total, we included 214 patients who underwent burr hole evacuation between April 2018 and March 2022. Baseline characteristics, hematoma characteristics, recurrence, and clinical outcomes were compared between the elderly and younger patients. Overall, 96 elderly patients (44.9%) were included in the study, and more elderly patients underwent antithrombotic therapy than younger patients (33.3% vs. 19.5%, p = 0.027). Moreover, elderly patients had significantly fewer favorable outcomes than younger patients (70.8% vs. 91.5%; p < 0.001); however, this was not significant after adjusting for the baseline modified Rankin Scale (mRS). Similarly, elderly patients had higher recurrence rates than younger patients (10.4% vs. 2.5%; p = 0.021). However, the baseline mRS score was the only predictor of unfavorable outcomes. In conclusion, although the clinical outcomes of elderly patients were comparable to those of younger patients, the higher rate of preoperative antithrombotic therapy in elderly patients may result in a higher rate of recurrence requiring a long-term follow-up. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Medical Research)
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8 pages, 702 KiB  
Communication
The Quest for Reliable Drought Stress Screening in Tetraploid Wheat (Triticum turgidum spp.) Seedlings: Why MDA Quantification after Treatment with 10% PEG-6000 Falls Short
by Giovanni Maria Poggi, Simona Corneti and Iris Aloisi
Life 2024, 14(4), 517; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040517 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 540
Abstract
Drought stress poses significant productivity challenges to wheat. Several studies suggest that lower malondialdehyde (MDA) content may be a promising trait to identify drought-tolerant wheat genotypes. However, the optimal polyethylene glycol (PEG-6000) concentration for screening seedlings for drought tolerance based on MDA quantification [...] Read more.
Drought stress poses significant productivity challenges to wheat. Several studies suggest that lower malondialdehyde (MDA) content may be a promising trait to identify drought-tolerant wheat genotypes. However, the optimal polyethylene glycol (PEG-6000) concentration for screening seedlings for drought tolerance based on MDA quantification is not clear. The aim of this study was to verify whether a 10% (w/v) PEG-6000 concentration-induced water stress was reliable for discriminating between twenty-two drought-susceptible and drought-tolerant tetraploid wheat (Triticum turgidum spp. durum, turanicum, and carthlicum) accessions based on MDA quantification. To do so, its correlation with morpho-physiological traits, notoriously related to seedling drought tolerance, i.e., Seedling Vigour Index and Seedling Water Content, was evaluated. Results showed that MDA content was not a reliable biomarker for drought tolerance, as it did not correlate significantly with the aforementioned morpho-physiological traits, which showed, on the contrary, high positive correlation with each other. Combining our study with the cited literature, it clearly emerges that different wheat genotypes have different “water stress thresholds”, highlighting that using a 10% PEG-6000 concentration for screening wheat seedlings for drought tolerance based on MDA quantification is not reliable. Given the conflicting results in the literature, this study provides important insights for selecting appropriate methods for evaluating wheat seedling drought tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Plant Science)
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18 pages, 1109 KiB  
Review
Artificial Intelligence: A Snapshot of Its Application in Chronic Inflammatory and Autoimmune Skin Diseases
by Federica Li Pomi, Vincenzo Papa, Francesco Borgia, Mario Vaccaro, Giovanni Pioggia and Sebastiano Gangemi
Life 2024, 14(4), 516; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040516 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 927
Abstract
Immuno-correlated dermatological pathologies refer to skin disorders that are closely associated with immune system dysfunction or abnormal immune responses. Advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have shown promise in enhancing the diagnosis, management, and assessment of immuno-correlated dermatological pathologies. This intersection [...] Read more.
Immuno-correlated dermatological pathologies refer to skin disorders that are closely associated with immune system dysfunction or abnormal immune responses. Advancements in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have shown promise in enhancing the diagnosis, management, and assessment of immuno-correlated dermatological pathologies. This intersection of dermatology and immunology plays a pivotal role in comprehending and addressing complex skin disorders with immune system involvement. The paper explores the knowledge known so far and the evolution and achievements of AI in diagnosis; discusses segmentation and the classification of medical images; and reviews existing challenges, in immunological-related skin diseases. From our review, the role of AI has emerged, especially in the analysis of images for both diagnostic and severity assessment purposes. Furthermore, the possibility of predicting patients’ response to therapies is emerging, in order to create tailored therapies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathophysiology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Immune Disease)
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38 pages, 5326 KiB  
Article
Do They Know What They Are Doing? Cognitive Aspects of Rescue Behaviour Directed by Workers of the Red Wood Ant Formica polyctena to Nestmate Victims Entrapped in Artificial Snares
by Anna Szczuka, Alicja Sochacka-Marlowe, Julita Korczyńska, Paweł Jarosław Mazurkiewicz, Beata Symonowicz, Olga Kukina and Ewa Joanna Godzińska
Life 2024, 14(4), 515; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040515 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 734
Abstract
Ant rescue behaviour belongs to the most interesting subcategories of prosocial and altruistic behaviour encountered in the animal world. Several studies suggested that ants are able to identify what exactly restrains the movements of another individual and to direct their rescue behaviour precisely [...] Read more.
Ant rescue behaviour belongs to the most interesting subcategories of prosocial and altruistic behaviour encountered in the animal world. Several studies suggested that ants are able to identify what exactly restrains the movements of another individual and to direct their rescue behaviour precisely to that object. To shed more light on the question of how precise the identification of the source of restraint of another ant is, we investigated rescue behaviour of red wood ant Formica polyctena workers, using a new version of an artificial snare bioassay in which a nestmate victim bore two wire loops on its body, one (acting as a snare) placed on its petiole and an additional one on its leg. The tested ants did not preferentially direct their rescue behaviour towards the snare. Moreover, the overall strategy adopted by the most active rescuers was not limited to precisely targeted rescue attempts directed towards the snare, but consisted of frequent switching between various subcategories of rescue behaviour. These findings highlight the importance of precise identification of cognitive processes and overall behavioural strategies for better understanding of causal factors underlying animal helping behaviour in light of new facts discovered by testing of various successive research hypotheses. Full article
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10 pages, 3866 KiB  
Case Report
Importance of Multimodality Cardiac Imaging in the Diagnosis of Lipomatous Hypertrophy of the Interatrial Septum—A View beyond Standard Situations
by Raluca Șoșdean, Mihai-Andrei Lazăr, Silvius Alexandru Pescariu, Monica-Nicoleta Mircea, Radu Ioan Lala, Cristian Mornoș, Constantin Tudor Luca and Adina Ionac
Life 2024, 14(4), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040514 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 603
Abstract
Lipomatous hypertrophy of the interatrial septum (LHIAS) represents a benign proliferation of lipoid cells at the level of the interatrial septum (IAS) inducing an important thickening of this structure. It respects the fossa ovalis (FO) region, having a typical “hourglass” echocardiographic appearance. There [...] Read more.
Lipomatous hypertrophy of the interatrial septum (LHIAS) represents a benign proliferation of lipoid cells at the level of the interatrial septum (IAS) inducing an important thickening of this structure. It respects the fossa ovalis (FO) region, having a typical “hourglass” echocardiographic appearance. There are certain cases though, with unusual appearances and/or with associated pathologies that may induce similar lesions in the heart, in which the differential diagnosis cannot be guaranteed using only the standard methods. The final diagnosis has important implications in these patients’ treatment plan. In this paper, we present an unusual case of a female patient undergoing chemotherapy for lung carcinoma, suspected of right atrial thrombosis/metastasis. As the diagnosis was unclear after transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), inducing the suspicion of an IAS mass with atrial wall infiltration, bi- and tridimensional transesophageal echocardiography (TOE) was performed, revealing a severely and homogenously hypertrophied IAS respecting the FO, but lacking a clear visualization of the atrial wall. The diagnosis of LHIAS was established by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) that certified the adipose nature of the structure, excluding the need for invasive investigations and/or treatment options. Multimodality imaging is very important for the clinician in adopting the best management plan for each individual patient. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Advances in Cardiac Imaging)
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27 pages, 775 KiB  
Article
Insights into the Novel Cardiac Biomarker in Acute Heart Failure: Mybp-C
by Adriana Chetran, Minerva Codruţa Bădescu, Ionela Lăcrămioara Şerban, Ştefania Teodora Duca, Irina Afrăsânie, Maria-Ruxandra Cepoi, Bianca Ana Dmour, Iulian Theodor Matei, Mihai Ştefan Cristian Haba, Alexandru Dan Costache, Ovidiu Mitu, Corina Maria Cianga, Cristina Tuchiluş, Daniela Constantinescu and Irina Iuliana Costache-Enache
Life 2024, 14(4), 513; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040513 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 607
Abstract
(1) Background: Given its high cardiac specificity and its capacity to directly assess the cardiac function, cardiac myosin-binding protein (MyBP-C) is a promising biomarker in patients with acute heart failure (AHF). The aim of our study was to investigate the clinical utility of [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Given its high cardiac specificity and its capacity to directly assess the cardiac function, cardiac myosin-binding protein (MyBP-C) is a promising biomarker in patients with acute heart failure (AHF). The aim of our study was to investigate the clinical utility of this novel marker for diagnosis and short-term prognosis in subjects with AHF. (2) Methods: We measured plasma levels of MyBP-C at admission in 49 subjects (27 patients admitted with AHF and 22 controls). (3) Results: The plasma concentration of MyBP-C was significantly higher in patients with AHF compared to controls (54.88 vs. 0.01 ng/L, p < 0.001). For 30-day prognosis, MyBP-C showed significantly greater AUC (0.972, p < 0.001) than NT-proBNP (0.849, p = 0.001) and hs-TnI (0.714, p = 0.047). In a multivariate logistic regression analysis, an elevated level of MyBP-C was the best independent predictor of 30-day mortality (OR = 1.08, p = 0.039) or combined death/recurrent 30-days rehospitalization (OR = 1.12, p = 0.014). (4) Conclusions: Our data show that circulating MyBP-C is a sensitive and cardiac-specific biomarker with potential utility for the accurate diagnosis and prognosis of AHF. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Physiology and Pathology)
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12 pages, 970 KiB  
Article
Detection of Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) in Pork Sold in Saint-Louis, the North of Senegal
by Sophie Deli Tene, Abou Abdallah Malick Diouara, Alé Kane, Sarbanding Sané, Seynabou Coundoul, Fatou Thiam, Cheikh Momar Nguer, Mamadou Diop, Mame Ndew Mbaye, Malick Mbengue, Seynabou Lo, Halimatou Diop Ndiaye, Coumba Toure Kane and Ahidjo Ayouba
Life 2024, 14(4), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040512 - 16 Apr 2024
Viewed by 2804
Abstract
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic pathogen with various hosts, including pigs, which act as reservoirs. In industrialized countries, sporadic cases caused by genotype 3, contracted by ingesting contaminated uncooked or undercooked meat, have been reported. However, in developing countries, HEV [...] Read more.
The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a zoonotic pathogen with various hosts, including pigs, which act as reservoirs. In industrialized countries, sporadic cases caused by genotype 3, contracted by ingesting contaminated uncooked or undercooked meat, have been reported. However, in developing countries, HEV infection is mainly dominated by genotype 2 and often associated with poor hygiene conditions and drinking water supplies. HEV infection and its circulation in domestic fauna in West Africa are poorly documented. This study aimed to assess the presence of HEV in pork sold in Saint-Louis, Senegal. Meat products (250 g samples, n = 74) were purchased in August 2022 from three locations. Then, 2 g/sample was minced to extract total nucleic acids using the Purelink™ Viral DNA/RNA kit. RT-PCR reactions were performed using the One-Taq™ One-Step RT-PCR kit targeting the HEV ORF2 genomic region. The products obtained were visualized on a 1% agarose gel. Of a total of 74 samples, divided into pork meat (n = 65) and pork liver (n = 9), 5.4% (n = 4) tested positive for HEV. In both cases, two samples were positive, representing a rate of 3.1% and 22.2% for meat and pork liver, respectively. All new viral sequences were obtained from a monophyletic group within HEV genotype 3. This study is the first to report the presence of HEV in pork sold in Senegal and the results reveal a potential circulation of HEV in the pig population. The high proportion of contamination in the pork liver samples highlights a major risk associated with their consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology and Control of Hepatitis Viruses)
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18 pages, 1513 KiB  
Review
Approaches to Characterize and Quantify Extracellular Vesicle Surface Conjugation Efficiency
by Leora Goldbloom-Helzner, Harjn Bains and Aijun Wang
Life 2024, 14(4), 511; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040511 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 980
Abstract
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-secreted nanovesicles that play an important role in long-range cell–cell communication. Although EVs pose a promising alternative to cell-based therapy, targeted in vivo delivery still falls short. Many studies have explored the surface modification of EVs to enhance their [...] Read more.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are cell-secreted nanovesicles that play an important role in long-range cell–cell communication. Although EVs pose a promising alternative to cell-based therapy, targeted in vivo delivery still falls short. Many studies have explored the surface modification of EVs to enhance their targeting capabilities. However, to our knowledge, there are no standardized practices to confirm the successful surface modification of EVs or calculate the degree of conjugation on EV surfaces (conjugation efficiency). These pieces of information are essential in the reproducibility of targeted EV therapeutics and the determination of optimized conjugation conditions for EVs to see significant therapeutic effects in vitro and in vivo. This review will discuss the vast array of techniques adopted, technologies developed, and efficiency definitions made by studies that have calculated EV/nanoparticle surface conjugation efficiency and how differences between studies may contribute to differently reported conjugation efficiencies. Full article
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24 pages, 745 KiB  
Review
Vitamin D in Melanoma: Potential Role of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes
by Mohamed Ben-Eltriki, Erysa J. Gayle, Jhoanne M. Paras, Louisa Nyame-Addo, Manik Chhabra and Subrata Deb
Life 2024, 14(4), 510; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040510 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 813
Abstract
Vitamin D is a promising anticancer agent for the prevention and treatment of several cancers, including melanoma. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, a routinely used marker for vitamin D, have been suggested as one of the factors in the development and progression of melanoma. [...] Read more.
Vitamin D is a promising anticancer agent for the prevention and treatment of several cancers, including melanoma. Low 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, a routinely used marker for vitamin D, have been suggested as one of the factors in the development and progression of melanoma. The parent vitamin D needs activation by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes to exert its actions via the vitamin D receptor (VDR). This review discusses the role of vitamin D in melanoma and how CYP-mediated metabolism can potentially affect the actions of vitamin D. Through interacting with the retinoid X receptor, VDR signaling leads to anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and anticancer actions. Calcitriol, the dihydroxylated form of vitamin D3, is the most active and potent ligand of VDR. CYP27A1, CYP27B1, and CYP2R1 are involved in the activation of vitamin D, whereas CYP24A1 and CYP3A4 are responsible for the degradation of the active vitamin D. CYP24A1, the primary catabolic enzyme of calcitriol, is overexpressed in melanoma tissues and cells. Several drug classes and natural health products can modulate vitamin D-related CYP enzymes and eventually cause lower levels of vitamin D and its active metabolites in tissues. Although the role of vitamin D in the development of melanoma is yet to be fully elucidated, it has been proposed that melanoma prevention may be significantly aided by increased vitamin D signaling. Furthermore, selective targeting of the catabolic enzymes responsible for vitamin D degradation could be a plausible strategy in melanoma therapy. Vitamin D signaling can be improved by utilizing dietary supplements or by modulating CYP metabolism. A positive association exists between the intake of vitamin D supplements and improved prognosis for melanoma patients. Further investigation is required to determine the function of vitamin D supplementation and specific enzyme targeting in the prevention of melanoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Prevention and Early Detection of Melanoma)
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23 pages, 4517 KiB  
Article
Aroplectrus dimerus (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), Ectoparasitoid of the Nettle Caterpillar, Oxyplax pallivitta (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae): Evaluation in the Hawaiian Islands
by Juliana A. Yalemar, Walter T. Nagamine, Renato C. Bautista, Dexter Y. Cho, Larry M. Nakahara and Mohsen M. Ramadan
Life 2024, 14(4), 509; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040509 - 15 Apr 2024
Viewed by 721
Abstract
The stinging nettle caterpillar, Oxyplax (syn. Darna) pallivitta (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae), is a serious invasive pest of agricultural products and a health hazard on the Hawaiian Islands first discovered in 2001. Nursery workers and homeowners have been stung by the caterpillars while handling [...] Read more.
The stinging nettle caterpillar, Oxyplax (syn. Darna) pallivitta (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae), is a serious invasive pest of agricultural products and a health hazard on the Hawaiian Islands first discovered in 2001. Nursery workers and homeowners have been stung by the caterpillars while handling their plants, especially rhapis palms (Rhapis sp.). Throughout its invaded range, it causes widespread damage, including the many cultivated and native palm species that have grown in Hawaii. Larvae contain urticating hairs that secrete a toxin, causing painful skin swelling and irritation on contact. Horticulture and nursery products impacted by the limacodid pest are estimated at $84.3 million (2018 value). Suppression efforts with pesticides and lure traps were ineffective, and the moth population continued to spread to major Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, Oahu). The introduction of specific biological control agents from the native region was thought to be the long-term solution for this invasive pest. Initial exploration in Indonesia and Thailand resulted in the introduction of a pupal ectoparasitoid, Nesolynx sp. (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae), that was not specific. The oriental wasp, Aroplectrus dimerus Lin (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Eulophinae), idiobiont gregarious ectoparasitoid of the stinging nettle caterpillar, was introduced from Taiwan in 2004 for host specificity studies and biocontrol in Hawaii. Host range testing showed the parasitoid attacked only limacodid species, and it was approved for field release in 2010. The parasitoid identity, host specificity under containment facility conditions, reproductive performance, and colonization on the major infested sites were assessed. A total of 13,379 parasitoids were colonized on 162 release sites on four Hawaiian Islands. Evaluations were conducted using field surveys of larvae, pupal counts, and male lure traps. Field parasitism was thoroughly investigated on Oahu Island, averaging 18.9 ± 5.6% of 3923 collected larvae during 2010–2023. The numbers of male moths caught/trap/month were significantly reduced on Oahu Island (p < 0.05). Recently, the hyperparasitoid, Pediobius imbreus Walker (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae: Entedoninae), was detected, reducing the efficiency of A. dimerus in the field. The mean hyperparasitism of A. dimerus pupae was 27.3 ± 7.6% on Oahu Island. There was no detailed biological assessment for A. dimerus or its field evaluation available in scientific literature. Results were discussed regarding the potential use of A. dimerus in biocontrol elsewhere if the stinging nettle caterpillar was invaded in the future. Full article
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24 pages, 851 KiB  
Review
Multimodal Approach to Neurocognitive Function in People Living with HIV in the cART Era: A Comprehensive Review
by Charalampos D. Moschopoulos, Evangelia Stanitsa, Konstantinos Protopapas, Dimitra Kavatha, Sokratis G. Papageorgiou, Anastasia Antoniadou and Antonios Papadopoulos
Life 2024, 14(4), 508; https://doi.org/10.3390/life14040508 - 15 Apr 2024
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Abstract
Combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) has revolutionized the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and has markedly improved the disease burden and life expectancy of people living with HIV. HIV enters the central nervous system (CNS) early in the course of infection, establishes latency, [...] Read more.
Combination antiretroviral treatment (cART) has revolutionized the management of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and has markedly improved the disease burden and life expectancy of people living with HIV. HIV enters the central nervous system (CNS) early in the course of infection, establishes latency, and produces a pro-inflammatory milieu that may affect cognitive functions, even in the cART era. Whereas severe forms of neurocognitive impairment (NCI) such as HIV-associated dementia have declined over the last decades, milder forms have become more prevalent, are commonly multifactorial, and are associated with comorbidity burdens, mental health, cART neurotoxicity, and ageing. Since 2007, the Frascati criteria have been used to characterize and classify HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) into three stages, namely asymptomatic neurocognitive impairment (ANI), mild neurocognitive disorder (MND), and HIV-associated dementia (HAD). These criteria are based on a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment that presupposes the availability of validated, demographically adjusted, and normative population data. Novel neuroimaging modalities and biomarkers have been proposed in order to complement NCI assessments, elucidate neuropathogenic mechanisms, and support HIV-associated NCI diagnosis, monitoring, and prognosis. By integrating neuropsychological assessments with biomarkers and neuroimaging into a holistic care approach, clinicians can enhance diagnostic accuracy, prognosis, and patient outcomes. This review interrogates the value of these modes of assessment and proposes a unified approach to NCI diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Comorbidities and HIV Infection: Barriers in ART-Switch Strategies)
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