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Biomedicines, Volume 12, Issue 1 (January 2024) – 250 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy represents a modern treatment in various medical specialties. Its potential regenerative effect and great benefit–risk ratio provide wonderful results in wound healing, alopecias, scars, pigmentary disorders, nail disorders, lichen sclerosus, and other inflammatory skin diseases. This work provides a complete update on pathways dealing with cellular and molecular mechanisms of action for PRP therapy. A big step forward, this autologous platelet transplant exerts an immediate effect in terms of the therapeutic approach, in light of regenerative dermatology. View this paper
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15 pages, 1055 KiB  
Article
Potential Interaction between WNT16 and Vitamin D on Bone Qualities in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis Patients and Healthy Controls
by Guangpu (Kenneth) Yang, Huanxiong Chen, Ka-Lo Cheng, Man-Fung Tang, Yujia Wang, Lik-Hang (Alec) Hung, Chun-Yiu (Jack) Cheng, King-Lun (Kingston) Mak and Yuk-Wai (Wayne) Lee
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 250; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010250 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1116
Abstract
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a three-dimensional spinal deformity that is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). Vitamin D (Vit-D) supplementation has been suggested to improve BMD in AIS, and its outcomes may be related to genetic factors. The present study aimed [...] Read more.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) is a three-dimensional spinal deformity that is associated with low bone mineral density (BMD). Vitamin D (Vit-D) supplementation has been suggested to improve BMD in AIS, and its outcomes may be related to genetic factors. The present study aimed to (a) investigate the synergistic effect between a low BMD-related gene (wingless-related integration site 16, WNT16) and two important Vit-D pathway genes (Vit-D receptor, VDR, and Vit-D binding protein, VDBP) on serum Vit-D and bone qualities in Chinese AIS patients and healthy adolescents, and (b) to further investigate the effect of ablating Wnt16 on the cortical bone quality and whether diets with different dosages of Vit-D would further influence bone quality during the rapid growth phase in mice in the absence of Wnt16. A total of 519 girls (318 AIS vs. 201 controls) were recruited, and three selected single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) (WNT16 rs3801387, VDBP rs2282679, and VDR rs2228570) were genotyped. The serum 25(OH)Vit-D level was significantly associated with VDBP rs2282679 alleles (OR = −4.844; 95% CI, −7.521 to −2.167, p < 0.001). Significant multi-locus models were identified by generalized multifactor dimensionality reduction (GMDR) analyses on the serum 25(OH)Vit-D level (p = 0.006) and trabecular area (p = 0.044). In the gene-edited animal study, Wnt16 global knockout (KO) and wildtype (WT) male mice were provided with different Vit-D diets (control chow (1000 IU/Kg) vs. Vit-D-deficient chow (Nil in Vit-D) vs. high-dose Vit-D chow (20,000 IU/Kg)) from 4 weeks to 10 weeks old. Wnt16 global KO mice had significantly lower serum 25(OH)Vit-D levels and higher liver Vdbp mRNA expression levels than WT mice. In addition, Wnt16 global KO mice showed a decrease in bone density, cortical thickness and cortical area compared with WT mice. Interestingly, high-dose Vit-D chow led to lower bone density, cortical thickness, and cortical area in WT mice, which were less obvious in Wnt16 global KO mice. In conclusion, WNT16 may regulate the serum 25(OH)Vit-D level and bone qualities, which might be associated with VDBP expression. Further investigations with a larger sample size and wider spectrum of scoliosis severity are required to validate our findings regarding the interaction between WNT16 and Vit-D status in patients with AIS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research on Muscle and Bone Diseases)
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14 pages, 1619 KiB  
Article
Association between Psoriasis and Renal Functions: An Integration Study of Observational Study and Mendelian Randomization
by Yuxuan Tan, Zhizhuo Huang, Haiying Li, Huojie Yao, Yingyin Fu, Xiaomei Wu, Chuhang Lin, Zhengtian Lai, Guang Yang and Chunxia Jing
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010249 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1775
Abstract
Psoriasis is an autoimmune-mediated disease with several comorbidities in addition to typical skin lesions. Increasing evidence shows the relationships between psoriasis and renal functions, but the relationship and causality remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the associations and causality between psoriasis and four [...] Read more.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune-mediated disease with several comorbidities in addition to typical skin lesions. Increasing evidence shows the relationships between psoriasis and renal functions, but the relationship and causality remain unclear. We aimed to investigate the associations and causality between psoriasis and four renal functions, including the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), urine albumin to creatinine ratio (UACR), and chronic kidney disease (CKD). For the population-based study, we analyzed the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data from five cycles (2003–2006 and 2009–2014) on psoriasis and renal functions. Subgroup analyses were conducted among different categories of participants. Meanwhile, a bidirectional two-sample Mendelian randomization (TSMR) study in European populations was also performed using summary-level genetic datasets. Causal effects were derived by conducting an inverse-variance weighted (MR-IVW) method. A series of pleiotropy-robust MR methods was employed to validate the robustness. Multivariable MR (MVMR) was conducted to complement the result when five competing risk factors were considered. A total of 20,244 participants were enrolled in the cross-sectional study, where 2.6% of them had psoriasis. In the fully adjusted model, participants with psoriasis had significantly lower eGFR (p = 0.025) compared with the healthy group. Individuals who are nonoverweight are more likely to be affected by psoriasis, leading to an elevation of BUN (Pint = 0.018). In the same line, TSMR showed a negative association between psoriasis and eGFR (p = 0.016), and sensitive analysis also consolidated the finding. No causality was identified between psoriasis and other renal functions, as well as the inverse causality (p > 0.05). The MVMR method further provided quite consistent results when adjusting five confounders (p = 0.042). We detected a significant negative effect of psoriasis on eGFR, with marginal association between BUN, UACR, and CKD. The adverse of psoriasis on the renal should merit further attention in clinical cares. Full article
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11 pages, 1967 KiB  
Article
CAR NK92 Cells Targeting BCMA Can Effectively Kill Multiple Myeloma Cells Both In Vitro and In Vivo
by Eunhee Park, Hui-jin Mun, Eunju Seo, Seojin Hwang, Jae Hee Lee, Sukgil Song, Hyeran Sung, Hoi-Yul Kim and Mi-Jin Kwon
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 248; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010248 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1165
Abstract
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological malignancy caused by malignant proliferation of plasma cells in bone marrow. Over the last decade, the survival outcome of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) has been substantially improved with the emergence of novel therapeutic agents. However, MM [...] Read more.
Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematological malignancy caused by malignant proliferation of plasma cells in bone marrow. Over the last decade, the survival outcome of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) has been substantially improved with the emergence of novel therapeutic agents. However, MM remains an incurable neoplastic plasma cell disorder. In addition, almost all MM patients inevitably relapse due to drug resistance. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified NK cells represent a promising immunotherapeutic modality for cancer treatment. In this study, NK92 cells were engineered to express the third generation of BCMA CAR. In vitro, BCMA CAR-engineered NK92 cells displayed higher cytotoxicity and produced more cytokines such as IFN-γ and granzyme B than NK92 cells when they were co-cultured with MM cell lines. Furthermore, BCMA CAR-engineered NK92 cells released significantly higher amounts of cytokines and showed higher cytotoxicity when they were exposed to primary cells isolated from MM patients. The cytotoxicity of BCMA CAR NK92 cells was enhanced after MM cells were treated with bortezomib. Additionally, BCMA CAR NK92 cells exhibited potent antitumor activities in subcutaneous tumor models of MM. These results demonstrate that regional administration of BCMA CAR NK92 cells is a potentially promising strategy for treating MM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Gene and Cell Therapy)
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13 pages, 3973 KiB  
Article
Hsa_circ_0092856 Promoted the Proliferation, Migration, and Invasion of NSCLC Cells by Up-Regulating the Expression of eIF3a
by Fuqiang Yuan, Masha Huang, Hanxue Huang, Xiaoyuan Mao, Pan Xie, Xi Li, Yang Gao, Feiyue Zeng and Zhaoqian Liu
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010247 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 977
Abstract
Circular RNA (circRNA) plays a very important regulatory role in a variety of human malignancies such as non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the current study, we explored the role of hsa_circ_0092856 in the progression of NSCLC. We screened CircRNA from the eIF3a gene [...] Read more.
Circular RNA (circRNA) plays a very important regulatory role in a variety of human malignancies such as non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In the current study, we explored the role of hsa_circ_0092856 in the progression of NSCLC. We screened CircRNA from the eIF3a gene in the Circbase database. The biological functions of hsa_circ_0092856 in NSCLC were analyzed via qRT-PCR, a CCK-8 assay, a plate cloning experiment, scratch testing, a transwell chamber experiment, an RNA nuclear mass separation experiment, an RIP experiment, and a Western blot test. The results showed that hsa_circ_0092856 was highly expressed in NSCLC cells, and the knockdown of hsa_circ_0092856 could inhibit the proliferation, migration, and invasion of NSCLC cells. The overexpression of hsa_circ_0092856 has the opposite effect. The expression of eIF3a also changed with the change in hsa_circ_0092856. These results suggest that hsa_circ_0092856 may play a key role in the progression of NSCLC by regulating the expression of eIF3a. Full article
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17 pages, 3692 KiB  
Article
Involvement of Protease-Activated Receptor2 Pleckstrin Homology Binding Domain in Ovarian Cancer: Expression in Fallopian Tubes and Drug Design
by Jeetendra Kumar Nag, Sorina Grisaru-Granovsky, Shunit Armon, Tatyana Rudina, Priyanga Appasamy and Rachel Bar-Shavit
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010246 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 985
Abstract
Studying primordial events in cancer is pivotal for identifying predictive molecular indicators and for targeted intervention. While the involvement of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in cancer is growing, GPCR-based therapies are yet rare. Here, we demonstrate the overexpression of protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2), a [...] Read more.
Studying primordial events in cancer is pivotal for identifying predictive molecular indicators and for targeted intervention. While the involvement of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in cancer is growing, GPCR-based therapies are yet rare. Here, we demonstrate the overexpression of protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2), a GPCR member in the fallopian tubes (FTs) of high-risk BRCA carriers as compared to null in healthy tissues of FT. FTs, the origin of ovarian cancer, are known to express genes of serous tubal intraepithelial carcinoma (STICs), a precursor lesion of high-grade serous carcinoma (HGSC). PAR2 expression in FTs may serve as an early prediction sensor for ovarian cancer. We show now that knocking down Par2 inhibits ovarian cancer peritoneal dissemination in vivo, pointing to the central role of PAR2. Previously we identified pleckstrin homology (PH) binding domains within PAR1,2&4 as critical sites for cancer-growth. These motifs associate with PH-signal proteins via launching a discrete signaling network in cancer. Subsequently, we selected a compound from a library of backbone cyclic peptides generated toward the PAR PH binding motif, namely the lead compound, Pc(4-4). Pc(4-4) binds to the PAR PH binding domain and blocks the association of PH-signal proteins, such as Akt or Etk/Bmx with PAR2. It attenuates PAR2 oncogenic activity. The potent inhibitory function of Pc(4-4) is demonstrated via inhibition of ovarian cancer peritoneal spread in mice. While the detection of PAR2 may serve as a predictor for ovarian cancer, the novel Pc(4-4) compound may serve as a powerful medicament in STICs and ovarian cancer. This is the first demonstration of the involvement of PAR PH binding motif signaling in ovarian cancer and Pc(4-4) as a potential therapy treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment)
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5 pages, 179 KiB  
Editorial
Porcine Models of Neurotrauma and Neurological Disorders
by John C. O’Donnell and Dmitriy Petrov
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010245 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 718
Abstract
The translation of therapeutics from lab to clinic has a dismal record in the fields of neurotrauma and neurological disorders [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Porcine Models of Neurotrauma and Neurological Disorders)
22 pages, 7443 KiB  
Article
Identification of a Novel Germline PPP4R3A Missense Mutation Asp409Asn on Familial Non-Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma
by Yixuan Hu, Zhuojun Han, Honghao Guo, Ning Zhang, Na Shen, Yujia Jiang and Tao Huang
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010244 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1113
Abstract
Familial non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (FNMTC) accounts for 3% to 9% of all thyroid cancer cases, yet its genetic mechanisms remain unknown. Our study aimed to screen and identify novel susceptibility genes for FNMTC. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) was conducted on a confirmed FNMTC pedigree, [...] Read more.
Familial non-medullary thyroid carcinoma (FNMTC) accounts for 3% to 9% of all thyroid cancer cases, yet its genetic mechanisms remain unknown. Our study aimed to screen and identify novel susceptibility genes for FNMTC. Whole-exome sequencing (WES) was conducted on a confirmed FNMTC pedigree, comprising four affected individuals across two generations. Variants were filtered and analyzed using ExAC and 1000 Genomes Project, with candidate gene pathogenicity predicted using SIFT, PolyPhen, and MutationTaster. Validation was performed through Sanger sequencing in affected pedigree members and sporadic patients (TCGA database) as well as general population data (gnomAD database). Ultimately, we identified the mutant PPP4R3A (NC_000014.8:g.91942196C>T, or NM_001366432.2(NP_001353361.1):p.(Asp409Asn), based on GRCH37) as an FNMTC susceptibility gene. Subsequently, a series of functional experiments were conducted to investigate the impact of PPP4R3A and its Asp409Asn missense variant in thyroid cancer. Our findings demonstrated that wild-type PPP4R3A exerted tumor-suppressive effects via the Akt-mTOR-P70 S6K/4E-BP1 axis. However, overexpression of the PPP4R3A Asp409Asn mutant resulted in loss of tumor-suppressive function, ineffective inhibition of cell invasion, and even promotion of cell proliferation and migration by activating the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. These results indicated that the missense variant PPP4R3A Asp409Asn is a candidate susceptibility gene for FNMTC, providing new insights into the diagnosis and intervention of FNMTC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Thyroid Nodule: Updates on the Molecular Mechanism and Diagnosis)
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14 pages, 3281 KiB  
Article
Properties of Nanohybrid Dental Composites—A Comparative In Vitro Study
by Mihaela Păstrav, Ovidiu Păstrav, Andrea Maria Chisnoiu, Radu Marcel Chisnoiu, Stanca Cuc, Ioan Petean, Codruța Saroși and Dana Feștilă
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 243; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010243 - 22 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1196
Abstract
(1) Background: the current study investigated three nanohybrid composites: two commercial products ClearfilMajestyTM (CM) and HarmonizeTM (HU), compared with an experimental product PS2. (2) Methods: Two sample types were molded using Teflon dies. The first sample type was represented by standard [...] Read more.
(1) Background: the current study investigated three nanohybrid composites: two commercial products ClearfilMajestyTM (CM) and HarmonizeTM (HU), compared with an experimental product PS2. (2) Methods: Two sample types were molded using Teflon dies. The first sample type was represented by standard discs (20 mm diameter and 2 mm thickness) (n = 60, 20/each material), used for surface conditioning investigation, specifically roughness monitoring and color stability analysis using AFM and the CIELab test, respectively. The second sample type was a standard cylindrical specimen (4 mm diameter and 6 mm height) for compression testing (n = 60, 20/each material). After complete polymerization, the samples were ground with sandpaper and further polished. The filler size and distribution in the polymer matrix were investigated with SEM. Data were statistically analyzed using the Anova Test followed by Tukey’s post hoc test on the Origin Lab 2019 software produced by OriginLab Corporation, Northampton, MA, USA. (3) Results: A mono-disperse system was identified in HU samples, while CM and PS2 revealed both nano- and microfiller particles. The samples’ observation after immersion in coffee and tea indicated that a lower roughness combined with optimal filler lamination within the polymer matrix assured the best color preservation. The compression strength was lower for the HU sample, while higher values were obtained for the complex filler systems within CM and PS2. (4) Conclusions: the behavior of the investigated nanohybrid composites strongly depends on the microstructural features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights in Dental Biomaterials)
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15 pages, 275 KiB  
Article
The Influence of Metabolic Syndrome on Potential Aging Biomarkers in Participants with Metabolic Syndrome Compared to Healthy Controls
by Drahomira Holmannova, Pavel Borsky, Ctirad Andrys, Jan Kremlacek, Zdenek Fiala, Helena Parova, Vit Rehacek, Monika Esterkova, Gabriela Poctova, Tereza Maresova and Lenka Borska
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 242; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010242 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Background: Biological aging is a physiological process that can be altered by various factors. The presence of a chronic metabolic disease can accelerate aging and increase the risk of further chronic diseases. The aim of the study was to determine whether the presence [...] Read more.
Background: Biological aging is a physiological process that can be altered by various factors. The presence of a chronic metabolic disease can accelerate aging and increase the risk of further chronic diseases. The aim of the study was to determine whether the presence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) affects levels of markers that are associated with, among other things, aging. Material and Methods: A total of 169 subjects (58 with MetS, and 111 without metabolic syndrome, i.e., non-MetS) participated in the study. Levels of telomerase, GDF11/15, sirtuin 1, follistatin, NLRP3, AGEs, klotho, DNA/RNA damage, NAD+, vitamin D, and blood lipids were assessed from blood samples using specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) kits. Results: Telomerase (p < 0.01), DNA/RNA damage (p < 0.006) and GDF15 (p < 0.02) were higher in MetS group compared to non-MetS group. Only vitamin D levels were higher in the non-MetS group (p < 0.0002). Differences between MetS and non-MetS persons were also detected in groups divided according to age: in under 35-year-olds and those aged 35–50 years. Conclusions: Our results show that people with MetS compared to those without MetS have higher levels of some of the measured markers of biological aging. Thus, the presence of MetS may accelerate biological aging, which may be associated with an increased risk of chronic comorbidities that accompany MetS (cardiovascular, inflammatory, autoimmune, neurodegenerative, metabolic, or cancer diseases) and risk of premature death from all causes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metabolic Syndrome: From Target Molecules to Therapeutic Approaches)
12 pages, 3714 KiB  
Article
Sulfated CXCR3 Peptide Trap Use as a Promising Therapeutic Approach for Age-Related Macular Degeneration
by Gukheui Jo, Jae-Byoung Chae, Sun-Ah Jung, Jungmook Lyu, Hyewon Chung and Joon H. Lee
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 241; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010241 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1032
Abstract
Background and Objectives: Chemokines have various biological functions and potential roles in the development or progression of neuroinflammatory diseases. However, the specific pathogenic roles of chemokines in the major cause for vision loss among the elderly, the leading cause of blindness in older [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: Chemokines have various biological functions and potential roles in the development or progression of neuroinflammatory diseases. However, the specific pathogenic roles of chemokines in the major cause for vision loss among the elderly, the leading cause of blindness in older individuals, remain elusive. Chemokines interact with their receptors expressed in the endothelium and on leukocytes. The sulfation of tyrosine residues in chemokine receptors increases the strength of ligand–receptor interaction and modulates signaling. Therefore, in the present study, we aimed to construct a human recombinant sulfated CXCR3 peptide trap (hCXCR3-S2) and mouse recombinant sulfated CXCR3 peptide trap (mCXCR3-S2) to demonstrate in vivo effects in preventing choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and chemotaxis. Materials and Methods: We generated expression vectors for mCXCR3-S2 and hCXCR3-S2 with GST domains and their respective cDNA sequences. Following overexpression in E. coli BL21 (DE3), we purified the fusion proteins from cell lysates using affinity chromatography. First, the impact of hCXCR3-S2 was validated in vitro. Subsequently, the in vivo efficacy of mCXCR3-S2 was investigated using a laser-induced CNV mouse model, a mouse model of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Results: hCXCR3-S2 inhibited the migration and invasion of two human cancer cell lines. Intravitreal injection of mCXCR3-S2 attenuated CNV and macrophage recruitment in neovascular lesions of mouse models. These in vitro and in vivo effects were significantly stronger with CXCR3-S2 than with wild-type CXCR3 peptides. Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that the sulfated form of the CXCR3 peptide trap is a valuable tool that could be supplemented with antivascular endothelial growth factors in AMD treatment. Full article
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14 pages, 4976 KiB  
Article
The Role of Chorein Deficiency in Late Spermatogenesis
by Kaoru Arai, Yoshiaki Nishizawa, Omi Nagata, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Natsuki Sasaki, Akira Sano and Masayuki Nakamura
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 240; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010240 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1104
Abstract
VPS13A, also known as chorein, whose loss of function causes chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc), is characterized by Huntington’s-disease-like neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatric symptoms in addition to acanthocytosis in red blood cells. We previously reported that ChAc-model mice with a loss of chorein function exhibited male infertility, [...] Read more.
VPS13A, also known as chorein, whose loss of function causes chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc), is characterized by Huntington’s-disease-like neurodegeneration and neuropsychiatric symptoms in addition to acanthocytosis in red blood cells. We previously reported that ChAc-model mice with a loss of chorein function exhibited male infertility, with asthenozoospermia and mitochondrial dysmorphology in the spermatozoa. Here, we report a novel aspect of chorein dysfunction in male fertility, particularly its role in spermatogenesis and mitochondrial integrity. An increase in anti-malondialdehyde antibody immunoreaction within the testes, predominantly observed at the advanced stages of sperm formation in chorein-deficient mice, suggests oxidative stress as a contributing factor to mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired sperm maturation. The chorein immunoreactivity in spermatids of wild-type mice accentuates its significance in sperm development. ChAc-model mice exhibit mitochondrial ultrastructural abnormalities, specifically during the late stages of sperm maturation, suggesting a critical timeframe for chorein’s action in spermiogenesis. We observed an increase in TOM20 protein levels, indicative of disrupted mitochondrial import mechanisms. The concurrent decrease in metabolic enzymes such as IDH3A, LDHC, PGK2, and ACAT1 suggests a complex chorein-mediated metabolic network that is essential for sperm vitality. Additionally, heightened separation of cytoplasmic droplets from sperm highlights the potential membrane instability in chorein-deficient spermatozoa. Metabolomic profiling further suggests a compensatory metabolic shift, with elevated glycolytic and TCA-cycle substrates. Our findings suggest that chorein is involved in anti-ferroptosis and the maturation of mitochondrial morphology in the late stages of spermatogenesis, and its deficiency leads to asthenozoospermia characterized by membrane instability, abnormal cytosolic glycolysis, abnormal mitochondrial function, and a disrupted TCA cycle. Further analyses are required to unravel the molecular mechanisms that directly link these findings and to elucidate the role of chorein in spermatogenesis as well as its broader implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Regulation of Spermatozoa)
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10 pages, 1542 KiB  
Article
Inflammatory Profile Assessment in a Highly Selected Athyreotic Population Undergoing Controlled and Standardized Hypothyroidism
by Tommaso Piticchio, Francesco Savarino, Salvatore Volpe, Antonio Prinzi, Gabriele Costanzo, Elena Gamarra, Francesco Frasca and Pierpaolo Trimboli
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 239; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010239 - 22 Jan 2024
Viewed by 949
Abstract
Background: Hypothyroidism (hT) presents heterogeneous symptoms and findings. Evidence on this topic comes mainly from heterogeneous populations in terms of disease duration, residual thyroid function, and comorbidities. Therefore, it would be useful to assess systemic inflammation in a homogeneous hT population. The aim [...] Read more.
Background: Hypothyroidism (hT) presents heterogeneous symptoms and findings. Evidence on this topic comes mainly from heterogeneous populations in terms of disease duration, residual thyroid function, and comorbidities. Therefore, it would be useful to assess systemic inflammation in a homogeneous hT population. The aim of this study was to investigate inflammation in a population that underwent standardized controlled hT. Methods: We recruited thyroidectomized patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer who were otherwise fit and healthy, showing hypothyroidism before I131 treatment using a standard protocol of LT4 withdrawal. The blood inflammatory indexes (BIIXs) (i.e., NLR, PLR, MLR, SII, SIRI, and AISI) were calculated using the blood tests collected just before I131 administration. Patients were divided according to sex, BMI, and thyroglobulin. The relationships between the BIIXs, age, and thyroid hormones were also investigated. Results: We included 143 patients. The median age of the sample was 43 years. The BIIX median values showed significant differences based on sex, BMI, and thyroglobulin levels (p < 0.05). No significant correlations were found between the BIIXs and age, TSH, FT4, and FT3. Conclusions: This study shows the BIIX median values of a population which underwent standardized hT. It suggests a role for some BIIXs in the evaluation of hypothyroidism in obese people and as hypothetical prognostic markers for thyroid cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms and Novel Therapeutic Approaches for Thyroid Diseases)
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25 pages, 1803 KiB  
Review
CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated Gene Therapy for Glioblastoma: A Scoping Review
by Emir Begagić, Hakija Bečulić, Nermin Đuzić, Amina Džidić-Krivić, Ragib Pugonja, Asja Muharemović, Belma Jaganjac, Naida Salković, Haso Sefo and Mirza Pojskić
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010238 - 21 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2187
Abstract
This scoping review examines the use of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in glioblastoma (GBM), a predominant and aggressive brain tumor. Categorizing gene targets into distinct groups, this review explores their roles in cell cycle regulation, microenvironmental dynamics, interphase processes, and therapy resistance reduction. The [...] Read more.
This scoping review examines the use of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in glioblastoma (GBM), a predominant and aggressive brain tumor. Categorizing gene targets into distinct groups, this review explores their roles in cell cycle regulation, microenvironmental dynamics, interphase processes, and therapy resistance reduction. The complexity of CRISPR-Cas9 applications in GBM research is highlighted, providing unique insights into apoptosis, cell proliferation, and immune responses within the tumor microenvironment. The studies challenge conventional perspectives on specific genes, emphasizing the potential therapeutic implications of manipulating key molecular players in cell cycle dynamics. Exploring CRISPR/Cas9 gene therapy in GBMs yields significant insights into the regulation of cellular processes, spanning cell interphase, renewal, and migration. Researchers, by precisely targeting specific genes, uncover the molecular orchestration governing cell proliferation, growth, and differentiation during critical phases of the cell cycle. The findings underscore the potential of CRISPR/Cas9 technology in unraveling the complex dynamics of the GBM microenvironment, offering promising avenues for targeted therapies to curb GBM growth. This review also outlines studies addressing therapy resistance in GBM, employing CRISPR/Cas9 to target genes associated with chemotherapy resistance, showcasing its transformative potential in effective GBM treatments. Full article
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12 pages, 1593 KiB  
Article
Genetic and Epigenetic Profiles of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and In Vitro Bisphenol Exposure in a Human Granulosa Cell Model
by Reem Sabry, Jenna F. Gallo, Charlie Rooney, Olivia L. M. Scandlan, Ola S. Davis, Shilpa Amin, Mehrnoosh Faghih, Megan Karnis, Michael S. Neal and Laura A. Favetta
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 237; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010237 - 21 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1230
Abstract
Higher levels of bisphenols are found in granulosa cells of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), posing the question: Is bisphenol exposure linked to PCOS pathophysiology? Human granulosa cells were obtained from women with and without PCOS, and genes and microRNAs associated with [...] Read more.
Higher levels of bisphenols are found in granulosa cells of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), posing the question: Is bisphenol exposure linked to PCOS pathophysiology? Human granulosa cells were obtained from women with and without PCOS, and genes and microRNAs associated with PCOS were investigated. The first phase compared healthy women and those with PCOS, revealing distinct patterns: PCOS subjects had lower 11β-HSD1 (p = 0.0217) and CYP11A1 (p = 0.0114) levels and elevated miR-21 expression (p = 0.02535), elucidating the molecular landscape of PCOS, and emphasizing key players in its pathogenesis. The second phase focused on healthy women, examining the impact of bisphenols (BPA, BPS, BPF) on the same genes. Results revealed alterations in gene expression profiles, with BPS exposure increasing 11β-HSD1 (p = 0.02821) and miR-21 (p = 0.01515) expression, with the latest mirroring patterns in women with PCOS. BPA exposure led to elevated androgen receptor (AR) expression (p = 0.0298), while BPF exposure was associated with higher levels of miR-155. Of particular interest was the parallel epigenetic expression profile between BPS and PCOS, suggesting a potential link. These results contribute valuable insights into the nuanced impact of bisphenol exposure on granulosa cell genes, allowing the study to speculate potential shared mechanisms with the pathophysiology of PCOS. Full article
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14 pages, 1622 KiB  
Review
In Utero Origins of Acute Leukemia in Children
by Adam J. de Smith and Logan G. Spector
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010236 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1887
Abstract
Acute leukemias, mainly consisting of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), comprise a major diagnostic group among hematologic cancers. Due to the early age at onset of ALL, particularly, it has long been suspected that acute leukemias of childhood may [...] Read more.
Acute leukemias, mainly consisting of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML), comprise a major diagnostic group among hematologic cancers. Due to the early age at onset of ALL, particularly, it has long been suspected that acute leukemias of childhood may have an in utero origin. This supposition has motivated many investigations seeking direct proof of prenatal leukemogenesis, in particular, twin and “backtracking studies”. The suspected in utero origin has also focused on gestation as a critical window of risk, resulting in a rich literature on prenatal risk factors for pediatric acute leukemias. In this narrative review, we recount the circumstantial and direct evidence for an in utero origin of childhood acute leukemias. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis and Novel Therapies of Acute Leukemias)
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16 pages, 1304 KiB  
Article
Cannabinoid and Serotonergic Systems: Unraveling the Pathogenetic Mechanisms of Stress-Induced Analgesia
by Hristina Nocheva, Nikolay Stoynev, Vlayko Vodenicharov, Dimo Krastev, Nikolay Krastev and Milka Mileva
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 235; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010235 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1277
Abstract
The perception of „stress” triggers many physiological and behavioral responses, collectively called the stress response. Such a complex process allows for coping with stress and also triggers severe pathology. Because of the multidirectional effect of stress on the body, multiple systems participate in [...] Read more.
The perception of „stress” triggers many physiological and behavioral responses, collectively called the stress response. Such a complex process allows for coping with stress and also triggers severe pathology. Because of the multidirectional effect of stress on the body, multiple systems participate in its pathogenesis, with the endogenous cannabinoid and the serotoninergic ones among them. These two systems also take part in the pain perception decrease, known as stress-induced analgesia (SIA), which can then be taken as an indirect indicator of the stress response. The aim of our study was to study the changes in cold SIA (c-SIA) resulting from the exogenous activation of cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) receptor type 1A (5-HT1A). Various combinations of agonists and/or antagonists of CB1 and 5-HT1A, before or after 1 h of cold exposure, were applied, since we presumed that the exogenous activation of the receptors before the cold exposure would influence the pathogenesis of the stress response, while their activation after the stressful trigger would influence the later development. Our results show that the serotonergic system “maintained” c-SIA in the pre-stress treatment, while the cannabinoids’ modulative effect was more prominent in the post-stress treatment. Here, we show the interactions of the two systems in the stress response. The interpretation and understanding of the mechanisms of interaction between CB1 and 5-HT1A may provide information for the prevention and control of adverse stress effects, as well as suggest interesting directions for the development of targeted interventions for the control of specific body responses. Full article
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16 pages, 1549 KiB  
Article
Maternal Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals: Analysis of Their Impact on Infant Gut Microbiota Composition
by Mirco Vacca, Francesco Maria Calabrese, Federica Loperfido, Beatrice Maccarini, Rosa Maria Cerbo, Eduardo Sommella, Emanuela Salviati, Luana Voto, Maria De Angelis, Gabriele Ceccarelli, Ilaria Di Napoli, Benedetta Raspini, Debora Porri, Elisa Civardi, Francesca Garofoli, Pietro Campiglia, Hellas Cena and Rachele De Giuseppe
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 234; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010234 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1183
Abstract
Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system. EDC exposure may contribute to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases by impacting the composition of an infant’s gut microbiota during the first 1000 days of life. To [...] Read more.
Endocrine disruptors (EDCs) are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine system. EDC exposure may contribute to the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases by impacting the composition of an infant’s gut microbiota during the first 1000 days of life. To explore the relationship between maternal urinary levels of Bisphenol-A and phthalates (UHPLC-MS/MS), and the composition of the infant gut microbiota (16S rDNA) at age 12 months (T3) and, retrospectively, at birth (T0), 1 month (T1), and 6 months (T2), stool samples from 20 infants breastfed at least once a day were analyzed. Metataxonomic bacteria relative abundances were correlated with EDC values. Based on median Bisphenol-A levels, infants were assigned to the over-exposed group (O, n = 8) and the low-exposed group (B, n = 12). The B-group exhibited higher gut colonization of the Ruminococcus torques group genus and the O-group showed higher abundances of Erysipelatoclostridium and Bifidobacterium breve. Additionally, infants were stratified as high-risk (HR, n = 12) or low-risk (LR, n = 8) exposure to phthalates, based on the presence of at least three phthalates with concentrations exceeding the cohort median values; no differences were observed in gut microbiota composition. A retrospective analysis of gut microbiota (T0–T2) revealed a disparity in β-diversity between the O-group and the B-group. Considering T0–T3, the Linear Discriminant Effect Size indicated differences in certain microbes between the O-group vs. the B-group and the HR-group vs. the LR-group. Our findings support the potential role of microbial communities as biomarkers for high EDC exposure levels. Nevertheless, further investigations are required to deeply investigate this issue. Full article
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10 pages, 724 KiB  
Article
Surgical Treatment of Active Endocarditis Pre- and Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Onset
by Elisa Mikus, Mariafrancesca Fiorentino, Diego Sangiorgi, Costanza Fiaschini, Elena Tenti, Elena Tremoli, Simone Calvi, Antonino Costantino, Alberto Tripodi, Fabio Zucchetta and Carlo Savini
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 233; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010233 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 861
Abstract
Background: Despite advanced diagnosis and treatment, infective endocarditis (IE) is a potentially life-threatening condition. The impact of COVID-19 on the diagnosis and outcome of the surgical treatment of IE is uncertain. The aim of this study was to analyze the incidence, characteristics, and [...] Read more.
Background: Despite advanced diagnosis and treatment, infective endocarditis (IE) is a potentially life-threatening condition. The impact of COVID-19 on the diagnosis and outcome of the surgical treatment of IE is uncertain. The aim of this study was to analyze the incidence, characteristics, and outcomes of surgically treated IE before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: This study retrospectively analyzed the data of 535 patients who underwent valve surgical procedures for IE between January 2010 and December 2022 in a single cardiac surgery center. Patients were divided into two groups depending on the date of their operation: before (n = 393) and after (n = 142) COVID-19 onset. In order to balance the groups, inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) calculated from the propensity score (PS) was applied. Weighted univariate logistic regressions were reported for outcomes; weights were derived from IPTW. Interrupted time series analysis (ITSA) according to Linden’s method was used to evaluate the changes in the manifestation of IE after 11 March 2020. Results: Patients from the post-COVID-19 cohort (after 11 March 2020) had a greater number of comorbidities such as diabetes (29.6% vs. 16.3% p = 0.001), hypertension (71.1% vs. 59.5% p = 0.015), and preoperative kidney injury requiring dialysis (9.2% vs. 2.5% p = 0.002), but the median additive and logistic EuroSCORE were not statistically different. In the post-COVID-19 group, we observed a greater prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus-related endocarditis (24.5% vs. 15.4% p = 0.026), a consequent reduction in Staphylococcus non aureus-related endocarditis (12.2% vs. 20.1% p = 0.048), and a decrease in aortic valve replacements (43.0% vs. 53.9%), while the number of mitral valve replacements and repair was greater (21.1% vs. 15.0% and 6.3% vs. 4.3%, respectively). No differences were found in the two groups concerning early death, death, or relapse at 1 year after surgery. Data obtained by multivariable analysis identified preoperative renal dysfunction requiring dialysis as the only common risk factor for early mortality via stratifying by time periods in analysis. Conclusions: The incidence of surgically treated IE significantly increases after the COVID-19 pandemic with a higher incidence of mitral valve involvement with respect to the aortic valve. Although a delay in surgical timing occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, data in terms of mortality and outcomes were largely unaffected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biomedical Research on COVID-19)
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18 pages, 3208 KiB  
Article
Novel Serum Biomarkers for Patients with Allergic Asthma Phenotype
by Jolita Palacionyte, Andrius Januskevicius, Egle Vasyle, Airidas Rimkunas, Ieva Bajoriuniene, Astra Vitkauskiene, Skaidrius Miliauskas and Kestutis Malakauskas
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010232 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 984
Abstract
In distinguishing the allergic asthma (AA) phenotype, it has been identified that specific biomarkers could assist; however, none of them are considered ideal. This study aimed to analyze three groups of biologically active substances in the serum. Twenty steroid-free AA patients, sensitized to [...] Read more.
In distinguishing the allergic asthma (AA) phenotype, it has been identified that specific biomarkers could assist; however, none of them are considered ideal. This study aimed to analyze three groups of biologically active substances in the serum. Twenty steroid-free AA patients, sensitized to Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, and sixteen healthy subjects (HSs) were enrolled in this study. Blood samples were collected from all patients. Additionally, all AA patients underwent a bronchial allergen challenge (BAC) with Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, all of which were positive, and blood samples were collected again 24 h later. The concentrations of ten biologically active substances were measured in the serum samples, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the Luminex® 100/200™ System technology for bead-based multiplex and singleplex immunoassays. Descriptive and analytical statistical methods were used. A p-value of 0.05 or lower was considered statistically significant. The soluble interleukin 5 receptor subunit alpha (sIL-5Rα) and thioredoxin 1 (TRX1) concentrations were significantly increased, whereas those of tyrosine-protein kinase Met (MET), pentraxin 3 (PTX3), and I C-telopeptide of type I collagen (ICTP) were decreased in the AA group compared with the HS group. A significant positive correlation was noted for sIL-5Rα with fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), blood eosinophil (EOS) count, and total immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels, and a negative correlation was noted with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1). Moreover, PTX3 showed negative correlations with blood EOS count and total IgE levels, whereas ICTP exhibited a negative correlation with the blood EOS count. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that the serum concentrations of MET, PTX3, TRX1, ICTP, and particularly sIL-5Rα could potentially serve as biomarkers of the AA phenotype. Full article
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13 pages, 1273 KiB  
Article
Familial Hypercholesterolemia in the Elderly: An Analysis of Clinical Profile and Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Burden from the Hellas-FH Registry
by Christina Antza, Christos V. Rizos, Vasileios Kotsis, George Liamis, Ioannis Skoumas, Loukianos Rallidis, Anastasia Garoufi, Genovefa Kolovou, Konstantinos Tziomalos, Emmanouil Skalidis, George Sfikas, Michalis Doumas, Vaia Lambadiari, Panagiotis Anagnostis, Kimon Stamatelopoulos, Georgia Anastasiou, Iosif Koutagiar, Estela Kiouri, Vana Kolovou, Georgios Polychronopoulos, Evangelos Zacharis, Charalambos Koumaras, Chrysoula Boutari, Haralampos Milionis and Evangelos Liberopoulosadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 231; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010231 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 975
Abstract
Background: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) carries a high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). As the population ages, the age-related influence on clinical characteristics and outcomes becomes increasingly pertinent. This cross-sectional analysis from the HELLAS-FH registry aims to explore potential differences in clinical characteristics, [...] Read more.
Background: Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) carries a high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). As the population ages, the age-related influence on clinical characteristics and outcomes becomes increasingly pertinent. This cross-sectional analysis from the HELLAS-FH registry aims to explore potential differences in clinical characteristics, treatment, ASCVD, and goal achievement between those younger and older than 65 years with FH. Results: A total of 2273 adults with heterozygous FH (51.4% males) were studied. Elderly FH patients (n = 349) had a higher prevalence of ASCVD risk factors, such as hypertension (52.1% vs. 20.9%, p < 0.05) and type 2 diabetes (16.9% vs. 6.0%, p < 0.05), compared to younger patients (n = 1924). They also had a higher prevalence of established ASCVD (38.4% vs. 23.1%, p < 0.001), particularly CAD (33.0% vs. 20.2%, p < 0.001), even after adjusting for major ASCVD risk factors. Elderly patients were more frequently and intensively receiving lipid-lowering treatment than younger ones. Although post-treatment LDL-C levels were lower in elderly than younger patients (125 vs. 146 mg/dL, p < 0.05), both groups had similar attainment of the LDL-C target (3.7% vs. 3.0%). Conclusions: Elderly FH patients have a higher prevalence of ASCVD, particularly CAD. Despite more aggressive treatment, the achievement of LDL-C targets remains very poor. These results emphasize the importance of early FH diagnosis and treatment in reducing ASCVD. Full article
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19 pages, 3454 KiB  
Article
Modulating TRPV4 Channel Activity in Pro-Inflammatory Macrophages within the 3D Tissue Analog
by Parto Babaniamansour, Diego Jacho, Skyler Niedzielski, Agustin Rabino, Rafael Garcia-Mata and Eda Yildirim-Ayan
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 230; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010230 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1140
Abstract
Investigating macrophage plasticity emerges as a promising strategy for promoting tissue regeneration and can be exploited by regulating the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel. The TRPV4 channel responds to various stimuli including mechanical, chemical, and selective pharmacological compounds. It is well [...] Read more.
Investigating macrophage plasticity emerges as a promising strategy for promoting tissue regeneration and can be exploited by regulating the transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) channel. The TRPV4 channel responds to various stimuli including mechanical, chemical, and selective pharmacological compounds. It is well documented that treating cells such as epithelial cells and fibroblasts with a TRPV4 agonist enhances the Ca2+ influx to the cells, which leads to secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, while a TRPV4 antagonist reduces both Ca2+ influx and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. In this work, we investigated the effect of selective TRPV4 modulator compounds on U937-differentiated macrophages encapsulated within three-dimensional (3D) matrices. Despite offering a more physiologically relevant model than 2D cultures, pharmacological treatment of macrophages within 3D collagen matrices is largely overlooked in the literature. In this study, pro-inflammatory macrophages were treated with an agonist, 500 nM of GSK1016790A (TRPV4(+)), and an antagonist, 10 mM of RN-1734 (TRPV4(−)), to elucidate the modulation of the TRPV4 channel at both cellular and extracellular levels. To evaluate macrophage phenotypic alterations within 3D collagen matrices following TRPV4 modulator treatment, we employed structural techniques (SEM, Masson’s trichrome, and collagen hybridizing peptide (CHP) staining), quantitative morphological measures for phenotypic assessment, and genotypic methods such as quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Our data reveal that pharmacological modulation of the macrophage TRPV4 channel alters the cytoskeletal structure of macrophages and influences the 3D structure encapsulating them. Moreover, we proved that treating macrophages with a TRPV4 agonist and antagonist enhances the expression of pro- and anti-inflammatory genes, respectively, leading to the upregulation of surface markers CD80 and CD206. In the TRPV4(−) group, the CD206 gene and CD206 surface marker were significantly upregulated by 9- and 2.5-fold, respectively, compared to the control group. These findings demonstrate that TRPV4 modulation can be utilized to shift macrophage phenotype within the 3D matrix toward a desired state. This is an innovative approach to addressing inflammation in musculoskeletal tissues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Immunology and Immunotherapy)
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43 pages, 861 KiB  
Review
High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer—A Risk Factor Puzzle and Screening Fugitive
by Jacek Wilczyński, Edyta Paradowska and Miłosz Wilczyński
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010229 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2031
Abstract
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most lethal tumor of the female genital tract. Despite extensive studies and the identification of some precursor lesions like serous tubal intraepithelial cancer (STIC) or the deviated mutational status of the patients (BRCA germinal mutation), [...] Read more.
High-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) is the most lethal tumor of the female genital tract. Despite extensive studies and the identification of some precursor lesions like serous tubal intraepithelial cancer (STIC) or the deviated mutational status of the patients (BRCA germinal mutation), the pathophysiology of HGSOC and the existence of particular risk factors is still a puzzle. Moreover, a lack of screening programs results in delayed diagnosis, which is accompanied by a secondary chemo-resistance of the tumor and usually results in a high recurrence rate after the primary therapy. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify the substantial risk factors for both predisposed and low-risk populations of women, as well as to create an economically and clinically justified screening program. This paper reviews the classic and novel risk factors for HGSOC and methods of diagnosis and prediction, including serum biomarkers, the liquid biopsy of circulating tumor cells or circulating tumor DNA, epigenetic markers, exosomes, and genomic and proteomic biomarkers. The novel future complex approach to ovarian cancer diagnosis should be devised based on these findings, and the general outcome of such an approach is proposed and discussed in the paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer Biology and Oncology)
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15 pages, 37422 KiB  
Article
A Bioactive Gelatin-Methacrylate Incorporating Magnesium Phosphate Cement for Bone Regeneration
by Xiping Zhang, Changtian Gong, Xingyu Wang, Zhun Wei and Weichun Guo
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010228 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 902
Abstract
Maintaining proper mechanical strength and tissue volume is important for bone growth at the site of a bone defect. In this study, potassium magnesium phosphate hexahydrate (KMgPO4·6H2O, MPC) was applied to gelma-methacrylate hydrogel (GelMA) to prepare GelMA/MPC composites (GMPCs). [...] Read more.
Maintaining proper mechanical strength and tissue volume is important for bone growth at the site of a bone defect. In this study, potassium magnesium phosphate hexahydrate (KMgPO4·6H2O, MPC) was applied to gelma-methacrylate hydrogel (GelMA) to prepare GelMA/MPC composites (GMPCs). Among these, 5 GMPC showed the best performance in vivo and in vitro. These combinations significantly enhanced the mechanical strength of GelMA and regulated the degradation and absorption rate of MPC. Considerably better mechanical properties were noted in 5 GMPC compared with other concentrations. Better bioactivity and osteogenic ability were also found in 5 GMPC. Magnesium ions (Mg2+) are bioactive and proven to promote bone tissue regeneration, in which the enhancement efficiency is closely related to Mg2+ concentrations. These findings indicated that GMPCs that can release Mg2+ are effective in the treatment of bone defects and hold promise for future in vivo applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomaterials for Bone Regeneration)
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23 pages, 1208 KiB  
Review
Overcoming Microbiome-Acquired Gemcitabine Resistance in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma
by Inês Mendes and Nuno Vale
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010227 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1369
Abstract
Gastrointestinal cancers (GICs) are one of the most recurrent diseases in the world. Among all GICs, pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest and continues to disrupt people’s lives worldwide. The most frequent pancreatic cancer type is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), representing [...] Read more.
Gastrointestinal cancers (GICs) are one of the most recurrent diseases in the world. Among all GICs, pancreatic cancer (PC) is one of the deadliest and continues to disrupt people’s lives worldwide. The most frequent pancreatic cancer type is pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), representing 90 to 95% of all pancreatic malignancies. PC is one of the cancers with the worst prognoses due to its non-specific symptoms that lead to a late diagnosis, but also due to the high resistance it develops to anticancer drugs. Gemcitabine is a standard treatment option for PDAC, however, resistance to this anticancer drug develops very fast. The microbiome was recently classified as a cancer hallmark and has emerged in several studies detailing how it promotes drug resistance. However, this area of study still has seen very little development, and more answers will help in developing personalized medicine. PC is one of the cancers with the highest mortality rates; therefore, it is crucial to explore how the microbiome may mold the response to reference drugs used in PDAC, such as gemcitabine. In this article, we provide a review of what has already been investigated regarding the impact that the microbiome has on the development of PDAC in terms of its effect on the gemcitabine pathway, which may influence the response to gemcitabine. Therapeutic advances in this type of GIC could bring innovative solutions and more effective therapeutic strategies for other types of GIC, such as colorectal cancer (CRC), due to its close relation with the microbiome. Full article
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17 pages, 2936 KiB  
Article
A Brain-Protective Sterol from Soft Coral Inhibits Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Matrix Metalloproteinase-9-Mediated Astrocytic Migration
by Tsong-Hai Lee, Jiun-Liang Chen, Chuan-Hsin Chang, Ming-Ming Tsai, Hui-Ching Tseng, Yu-Chia Chang, Velayuthaprabhu Shanmugam and Hsi-Lung Hsieh
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010226 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are proteolytic enzymes, promote blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption, leading to neuronal damage and neuroinflammation. Among them, MMP-9 upregulation serves as an inflammatory biomarker in the central nervous system (CNS). Currently, the development of marine organism-derived bioactive compounds or metabolites [...] Read more.
Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are proteolytic enzymes, promote blood–brain barrier (BBB) disruption, leading to neuronal damage and neuroinflammation. Among them, MMP-9 upregulation serves as an inflammatory biomarker in the central nervous system (CNS). Currently, the development of marine organism-derived bioactive compounds or metabolites as anti-inflammatory drugs has received considerable attention. The 9,11-secosteroid, 3β,11-dihydroxy-9,11-secogorgost-5-en-9-one (4p3f), is a novel sterol compound extracted from the soft coral Sinularia leptoclado with potential anti-inflammatory activity. However, the effect of and potential for brain protection of 4p3f on brain astrocytes remain unclear. Herein, we used rat brain astrocytes (RBAs) to investigate the effects and signaling mechanisms of 4p3f on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced MMP-9 expression via zymographic, quantitative reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), Western blot, immunofluorescence staining, promoter–reporter, and cell migration analyses. We first found that 4p3f blocked LPS-induced MMP-9 expression in RBAs. Next, we demonstrated that LPS induced MMP-9 expression via the activation of ERK1/2, p38 MAPK, and JNK1/2, which is linked to the STAT3-mediated NF-κB signaling pathway. Finally, 4p3f effectively inhibited LPS-induced upregulation of MMP-9-triggered RBA cell migration. These data suggest that a novel sterol from soft coral, 4p3f, may have anti-inflammatory and brain-protective effects by attenuating these signaling pathways of MMP-9-mediated events in brain astrocytes. Accordingly, the soft coral-derived sterol 4p3f may emerge as a potential candidate for drug development or as a natural compound with neuroprotective properties. Full article
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12 pages, 1875 KiB  
Article
Resolving Genotype–Phenotype Discrepancies of the Kidd Blood Group System Using Long-Read Nanopore Sequencing
by Morgan Gueuning, Gian Andri Thun, Nadine Trost, Linda Schneider, Sonja Sigurdardottir, Charlotte Engström, Naemi Larbes, Yvonne Merki, Beat M. Frey, Christoph Gassner, Stefan Meyer and Maja P. Mattle-Greminger
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 225; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010225 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1036
Abstract
Due to substantial improvements in read accuracy, third-generation long-read sequencing holds great potential in blood group diagnostics, particularly in cases where traditional genotyping or sequencing techniques, primarily targeting exons, fail to explain serological phenotypes. In this study, we employed Oxford Nanopore sequencing to [...] Read more.
Due to substantial improvements in read accuracy, third-generation long-read sequencing holds great potential in blood group diagnostics, particularly in cases where traditional genotyping or sequencing techniques, primarily targeting exons, fail to explain serological phenotypes. In this study, we employed Oxford Nanopore sequencing to resolve all genotype–phenotype discrepancies in the Kidd blood group system (JK, encoded by SLC14A1) observed over seven years of routine high-throughput donor genotyping using a mass spectrometry-based platform at the Blood Transfusion Service, Zurich. Discrepant results from standard serological typing and donor genotyping were confirmed using commercial PCR-SSP kits. To resolve discrepancies, we amplified the entire coding region of SLC14A1 (~24 kb, exons 3 to 10) in two overlapping long-range PCRs in all samples. Amplicons were barcoded and sequenced on a MinION flow cell. Sanger sequencing and bridge-PCRs were used to confirm findings. Among 11,972 donors with both serological and genotype data available for the Kidd system, we identified 10 cases with unexplained conflicting results. Five were linked to known weak and null alleles caused by variants not included in the routine donor genotyping. In two cases, we identified novel null alleles on the JK*01 (Gly40Asp; c.119G>A) and JK*02 (Gly242Glu; c.725G>A) haplotypes, respectively. Remarkably, the remaining three cases were associated with a yet unknown deletion of ~5 kb spanning exons 9–10 of the JK*01 allele, which other molecular methods had failed to detect. Overall, nanopore sequencing demonstrated reliable and accurate performance for detecting both single-nucleotide and structural variants. It possesses the potential to become a robust tool in the molecular diagnostic portfolio, particularly for addressing challenging structural variants such as hybrid genes, deletions and duplications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Molecular Diagnostics of Transfusion Medicine)
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14 pages, 5975 KiB  
Article
A Platform for Testing the Biocompatibility of Implants: Silicone Induces a Proinflammatory Response in a 3D Skin Equivalent
by Rima Nuwayhid, Torsten Schulz, Frank Siemers, Jeannine Schreiter, Philipp Kobbe, Gunther Hofmann, Stefan Langer and Olga Kurow
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 224; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010224 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
Biocompatibility testing of materials is carried out in 2D cell cultures or animal models despite serious limitations. 3D skin equivalents are advanced in vitro models for human skin. Silicone has been shown to be noncytotoxic but capable of eliciting an immune response. Our [...] Read more.
Biocompatibility testing of materials is carried out in 2D cell cultures or animal models despite serious limitations. 3D skin equivalents are advanced in vitro models for human skin. Silicone has been shown to be noncytotoxic but capable of eliciting an immune response. Our aim was to (1) establish a 3D skin equivalent to (2) assess the proinflammatory properties of silicone. We developed a coculture of keratinocytes and fibroblasts resulting in a 3D skin equivalent with an implant using samples from a breast implant. Samples with and without the silicone implant were studied histologically and immunohistochemically in comparison to native human skin samples. Cytotoxicity was assessed via LDH-assay, and cytokine response was assessed via ELISA. Histologically, our 3D skin equivalents had a four-layered epidermal and a dermal component. The presence of tight junctions was demonstrated in immunofluorescence. The only difference in 3D skin equivalents with implants was an epidermal thinning. Implanting the silicone samples did not cause more cell death, however, an inflammatory cytokine response was triggered. We were able to establish an organotypical 3D skin equivalent with an implant, which can be utilised for studies on biocompatibility of materials. This first integration of silicone into a 3D skin equivalent confirmed previous findings on silicone being non-cell-toxic but capable of exerting a proinflammatory effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of 3D Cell Culture in Biomedicines)
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18 pages, 2667 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Variations in Stroke and a Comparison of the Predictors of Unfavorable Outcomes among Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke and Cardioembolic Stroke
by Pei-Ya Chen, Wan-Ling Chang, Cheng-Lun Hsiao and Shinn-Kuang Lin
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010223 - 19 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 977
Abstract
We investigated the seasonal variations in stroke in 4040 retrospectively enrolled patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) admitted between January 2011 and December 2022, particularly those with cardioembolic (CE) stroke, and compared predictors of unfavorable outcomes between AIS patients and CE stroke patients. [...] Read more.
We investigated the seasonal variations in stroke in 4040 retrospectively enrolled patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) admitted between January 2011 and December 2022, particularly those with cardioembolic (CE) stroke, and compared predictors of unfavorable outcomes between AIS patients and CE stroke patients. The classification of stroke subtypes was based on the Trial of ORG 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment. Stroke occurrence was stratified by seasons and weekdays or holidays. Of all AIS cases, 18% were of CE stroke. Of all five ischemic stroke subtypes, CE stroke patients were the oldest; received the most thrombolysis and thrombectomy; had the highest initial National Institutes of Stroke Scale (NIHSS) and discharge modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores; and had the highest rate of in-hospital complications, unfavorable outcomes (mRS > 2), and mortality. The highest CE stroke prevalence was noted in patients aged ≥ 85 years (30.9%); moreover, CE stroke prevalence increased from 14.9% in summer to 23.0% in winter. The main predictors of death in patients with CE stroke were age > 86 years, heart rate > 79 beats/min, initial NIHSS score > 16, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) > 6.4, glucose > 159 mg/dL, cancer history, in-hospital complications, and neurological deterioration (ND). The three most dominant factors influencing death, noted in not only patients with AIS but also those with CE stroke, are high initial NIHSS score, ND, and high NLR. We selected the most significant factors to establish nomograms for predicting fatal outcomes. Effective heart rhythm monitoring, particularly in older patients and during winter, may help develop stroke prevention strategies and facilitate early AF detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research in Stroke)
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11 pages, 1230 KiB  
Article
Meteorin-like Protein and Zonulin in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Exploring Associations with Obesity, Metabolic Parameters, and Inflammation
by Plamena Kabakchieva, Antoaneta Gateva, Tsvetelina Velikova, Tsvetoslav Georgiev, Kyosuke Yamanishi, Haruki Okamura and Zdravko Kamenov
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 222; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010222 - 19 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1142
Abstract
Objective: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent hormonal and metabolic disorder, wherein the adipose tissue and gut microbiome have been demonstrated to contribute to its pathogenesis. This study aims to assess the concentrations of the adipokine, meteorin-like protein (Metrnl) and the protein, [...] Read more.
Objective: Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a prevalent hormonal and metabolic disorder, wherein the adipose tissue and gut microbiome have been demonstrated to contribute to its pathogenesis. This study aims to assess the concentrations of the adipokine, meteorin-like protein (Metrnl) and the protein, zonulin, related to intestine permeability, in individuals with PCOS with a particular emphasis on their relationship with obesity, clinical manifestations, hormonal profiles, and metabolic parameters. Methods: A cohort comprising 58 women with PCOS, classified according to the Rotterdam criteria, was enrolled. The study also considered age, body mass index (BMI), and ethnicity-matched controls (n = 30). Comprehensive anthropometric and clinical evaluations, hormonal assays, and biochemical analyses were conducted during the follicular phase. Subsequent subgroup analyses were executed within the PCOS cohort based on waist-to-height ratio (WHtR), insulin resistance (IR), and free androgen index (FAI). Serum concentrations of Metrnl and zonulin were quantified via the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technique. Results: The Metrnl and zonulin levels exhibited no significant disparity between PCOS patients and controls. Nevertheless, within the entire participant cohort and the PCOS group exclusively, overweight/obese participants demonstrated higher Metrnl concentrations relative to their normal-weight counterparts (p < 0.001, p = 0.001, respectively). Furthermore, higher Metrnl concentrations were identified in subgroups characterized by high WHtR and IR in comparison to those with low WHtR (p = 0.001) and without IR (p = 0.001), respectively. A correlation emerged between Metrnl levels and various anthropometric and metabolic parameters, as well as sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and interleukin-18 (IL-18) within the PCOS group. Multiple linear regression analysis identified HOMA-IR as the sole independent predictor of Metrnl levels. Conclusion: While Metrnl and zonulin levels do not serve as diagnostic indicators of PCOS, elevated Metrnl concentrations exhibited robust associations with proinflammatory and metabolic irregularities within the PCOS population. Full article
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42 pages, 1151 KiB  
Review
Microbiota Implications in Endocrine-Related Diseases: From Development to Novel Therapeutic Approaches
by Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez, Laura Redondo-Flórez, Alejandro Rubio-Zarapuz, Alexandra Martín-Rodríguez and José Francisco Tornero-Aguilera
Biomedicines 2024, 12(1), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomedicines12010221 - 18 Jan 2024
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1796
Abstract
This comprehensive review article delves into the critical role of the human microbiota in the development and management of endocrine-related diseases. We explore the complex interactions between the microbiota and the endocrine system, emphasizing the implications of microbiota dysbiosis for the onset and [...] Read more.
This comprehensive review article delves into the critical role of the human microbiota in the development and management of endocrine-related diseases. We explore the complex interactions between the microbiota and the endocrine system, emphasizing the implications of microbiota dysbiosis for the onset and progression of various endocrine disorders. The review aims to synthesize current knowledge, highlighting recent advancements and the potential of novel therapeutic approaches targeting microbiota-endocrine interactions. Key topics include the impact of microbiota on hormone regulation, its role in endocrine pathologies, and the promising avenues of microbiota modulation through diet, probiotics, prebiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation. We underscore the importance of this research in advancing personalized medicine, offering insights for more tailored and effective treatments for endocrine-related diseases. Full article
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