Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 8

Search results for: Leixuri Aguirre

8 Effects of Pterostilbene in Brown Adipose Tissue from Obese Rats

Authors: Leixuri Aguirre, Iñaki Milton-Laskibar, Elizabeth Hijona, Luis Bujanda, Agnes M. Rimando, Maria P. Portillo


Introduction: In recent years great attention has been paid by scientific community to phenolic compounds as active biomolecules naturally present in foodstuffs due to their beneficial effects on health. Pterostilbene is a resveratrol dimethylether derivative which shows higher biodisponibility. Objective. To analyze the effects of two doses of pterostilbene on several markers of thermogenic capacity in a model of genetic obesity, which shows reduced thermogenesis. Methods: The experiment was conducted with thirty Zucker (fa/fa) rats that were distributed in 3 experimental groups, the control group and two groups orally administered with pterostilbene at 15 and 30 mg/kg body weight/day for 6 weeks. Gene expression of Ucp1, Pgc-1α, Cpt1b, Pparα, Nfr1, Tfam and Cox-2 were assessed by RT-PCR, protein expression of UCP1 and GLUT4 by western blot and enzyme activity of carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1b and citrate synthase by spectrophotometry in interscapular brown adipose tissue (iBAT). Statistical analysis was performed by using one way ANOVA and Newman-Keuls as post-hoc test. Results: Pterostilbene did not change gene expression of Pgc-1α. However, significant increases were found in the expression of Ucp1, Pparα, Nfr-1 and Cox-2. Protein expression of UCP1 and GLUT4 was increased in animals treated with pterostilbene, as well as the activities of CPT-1b and CS. These effects were observed with both doses of pterostilbene, without differences between them. Conclusions: These results show that pterostilbene increases thermogenic and oxidative capacity of brown adipose tissue in obese rats. Whether these effects effectively contribute to the anti-obesity properties of these compound needs further research. Acknowledgments: MINECO-FEDER (AGL2015-65719-R), Basque Government (IT-572-13), University of the Basque Country (ELDUNANOTEK UFI11/32), Institut of Health Carlos III (CIBERobn). Iñaki Milton is a fellowship from the Basque Government.

Keywords: brown adipose tissue, pterostilbene, thermogenesis, uncoupling protein 1

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7 Comparative Effects of Resveratrol and Energy Restriction on Liver Fat Accumulation and Hepatic Fatty Acid Oxidation

Authors: Iñaki Milton-Laskibar, Leixuri Aguirre, Maria P. Portillo


Introduction: Energy restriction is an effective approach in preventing liver steatosis. However, due to social and economic reasons among others, compliance with this treatment protocol is often very poor, especially in the long term. Resveratrol, a natural polyphenolic compound that belongs to stilbene group, has been widely reported to imitate the effects of energy restriction. Objective: To analyze the effects of resveratrol under normoenergetic feeding conditions and under a mild energy restriction on liver fat accumulation and hepatic fatty acid oxidation. Methods: 36 male six-week-old rats were fed a high-fat high-sucrose diet for 6 weeks in order to induce steatosis. Then, rats were divided into four groups and fed a standard diet for 6 additional weeks: control group (C), resveratrol group (RSV, resveratrol 30 mg/kg/d), restricted group (R, 15 % energy restriction) and combined group (RR, 15 % energy restriction and resveratrol 30 mg/kg/d). Liver triacylglycerols (TG) and total cholesterol contents were measured by using commercial kits. Carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1a (CPT 1a) and citrate synthase (CS) activities were measured spectrophotometrically. TFAM (mitochondrial transcription factor A) and peroxisome proliferator-activator receptor alpha (PPARα) protein contents, as well as the ratio acetylated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC1α)/Total PGC1α were analyzed by Western blot. Statistical analysis was performed by using one way ANOVA and Newman-Keuls as post-hoc test. Results: No differences were observed among the four groups regarding liver weight and cholesterol content, but the three treated groups showed reduced TG when compared to the control group, being the restricted groups the ones showing the lowest values (with no differences between them). Higher CPT 1a and CS activities were observed in the groups supplemented with resveratrol (RSV and RR), with no difference between them. The acetylated PGC1α /total PGC1α ratio was lower in the treated groups (RSV, R and RR) than in the control group, with no differences among them. As far as TFAM protein expression is concerned, only the RR group reached a higher value. Finally, no changes were observed in PPARα protein expression. Conclusions: Resveratrol administration is an effective intervention for liver triacylglycerol content reduction, but a mild energy restriction is even more effective. The mechanisms of action of these two strategies are different. Thus resveratrol, but not energy restriction, seems to act by increasing fatty acid oxidation, although mitochondriogenesis seems not to be induced. When both treatments (resveratrol administration and a mild energy restriction) were combined, no additive or synergic effects were appreciated. Acknowledgements: MINECO-FEDER (AGL2015-65719-R), Basque Government (IT-572-13), University of the Basque Country (ELDUNANOTEK UFI11/32), Institut of Health Carlos III (CIBERobn). Iñaki Milton is a fellowship from the Basque Government.

Keywords: energy restriction, fat, liver, oxidation, resveratrol

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6 Physical, Iconographic and Symbolic Features of the Plectrum Some Reflections on Sound Production in Ancient Greek String Instruments

Authors: Felipe Aguirre


In this paper some of the relevant features of the πλῆκτρον within GrecoLatin tradition will be analyzed. Starting from the formal aspects (shape, materials, technical properties) and the archaeological evidence, some of its symbolic implications that emerge in the light of literary and iconographic analysis will be discussed. I shall expose that, in addition to fulfilling a purely physical function within the process of sound production, the πλῆκτρον was the object of a rich imaginery that provided it with an allegorical, metaphorical-poetic and even metaphysical dimension.

Keywords: musicology, ethnomusicology, ancient greek music, plectrum, stringed instruments

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5 Understanding and Improving Neural Network Weight Initialization

Authors: Diego Aguirre, Olac Fuentes


In this paper, we present a taxonomy of weight initialization schemes used in deep learning. We survey the most representative techniques in each class and compare them in terms of overhead cost, convergence rate, and applicability. We also introduce a new weight initialization scheme. In this technique, we perform an initial feedforward pass through the network using an initialization mini-batch. Using statistics obtained from this pass, we initialize the weights of the network, so the following properties are met: 1) weight matrices are orthogonal; 2) ReLU layers produce a predetermined number of non-zero activations; 3) the output produced by each internal layer has a unit variance; 4) weights in the last layer are chosen to minimize the error in the initial mini-batch. We evaluate our method on three popular architectures, and a faster converge rates are achieved on the MNIST, CIFAR-10/100, and ImageNet datasets when compared to state-of-the-art initialization techniques.

Keywords: deep learning, image classification, supervised learning, weight initialization

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4 A Community-Engaged Approach to Examining Health Outcomes Potentially Related to Exposure to Environmental Contaminants in Yuma, Arizona

Authors: Julie A. Baldwin, Robert T. Trotter, Mark Remiker, C. Loren Buck, Amanda Aguirre, Trudie Milner, Emma Torres, Frank A. von Hippel


Introduction: In the past, there have been concerns about contaminants in the water sources in Yuma, Arizona, including the Colorado River. Prolonged exposure to contaminants, such as perchlorate and heavy metals, can lead to deleterious health effects in humans. This project examined the association between the concentration of environmental contaminants and patient health outcomes in Yuma residents, using a community-engaged approach to data collection. Methods: A community-engaged design allowed community partners and researchers to establish joint research goals, recruit participants, collect data, and formulate strategies for dissemination of findings. Key informant interviews were conducted to evaluate adherence to models of community-based research. Results: The training needs, roles, and expectations of community partners varied based on available resources, prior research experience, and perceived research challenges and ways to address them. Conclusions: Leveraging community-engaged approaches for studies of environmental contamination in marginalized communities can expedite recruitment efforts and stimulate action that can lead to improved community health.

Keywords: community engaged research, environmental contaminants, underserved populations, health equity

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3 How to Improve the Environmental Performance in a HEI in Mexico, an EEA Adaptation

Authors: Stephanie Aguirre Moreno, Jesús Everardo Olguín Tiznado, Claudia Camargo Wilson, Juan Andrés López Barreras


This research work presents a proposal to evaluate the environmental performance of a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Mexico in order to minimize their environmental impact. Given that public education has limited financial resources, it is necessary to conduct studies that support priorities in decision-making situations and thus obtain the best cost-benefit ratio of continuous improvement programs as part of the environmental management system implemented. The methodology employed, adapted from the Environmental Effect Analysis (EEA), weighs the environmental aspects identified in the environmental diagnosis by two characteristics. Number one, environmental priority through the perception of the stakeholders, compliance of legal requirements, and environmental impact of operations. Number two, the possibility of improvement, which depends of factors such as the exchange rate that will be made, the level of investment and the return time of it. The highest environmental priorities, or hot spots, identified in this evaluation were: electricity consumption, water consumption and recycling, and disposal of municipal solid waste. However, the possibility of improvement for the disposal of municipal solid waste is higher, followed by water consumption and recycling, in spite of having an equal possibility of improvement to the energy consumption, time of return and cost-benefit is much greater.

Keywords: environmental performance, environmental priority, possibility of improvement, continuous improvement programs

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2 A Photoredox (C)sp³-(C)sp² Coupling Method Comparison Study

Authors: Shasline Gedeon, Tiffany W. Ardley, Ying Wang, Nathan J. Gesmundo, Katarina A. Sarris, Ana L. Aguirre


Drug discovery and delivery involve drug targeting, an approach that helps find a drug against a chosen target through high throughput screening and other methods by way of identifying the physical properties of the potential lead compound. Physical properties of potential drug candidates have been an imperative focus since the unveiling of Lipinski's Rule of 5 for oral drugs. Throughout a compound's journey from discovery, clinical phase trials, then becoming a classified drug on the market, the desirable properties are optimized while minimizing/eliminating toxicity and undesirable properties. In the pharmaceutical industry, the ability to generate molecules in parallel with maximum efficiency is a substantial factor achieved through sp²-sp² carbon coupling reactions, e.g., Suzuki Coupling reactions. These reaction types allow for the increase of aromatic fragments onto a compound. More recent literature has found benefits to decreasing aromaticity, calling for more sp³-sp² carbon coupling reactions instead. The objective of this project is to provide a comparison between various sp³-sp² carbon coupling methods and reaction conditions, collecting data on production of the desired product. There were four different coupling methods being tested amongst three cores and 4-5 installation groups per method; each method ran under three distinct reaction conditions. The tested methods include the Photoredox Decarboxylative Coupling, the Photoredox Potassium Alkyl Trifluoroborate (BF3K) Coupling, the Photoredox Cross-Electrophile (PCE) Coupling, and the Weix Cross-Electrophile (WCE) Coupling. The results concluded that the Decarboxylative method was very difficult in yielding product despite the several literature conditions chosen. The BF3K and PCE methods produced competitive results. Amongst the two Cross-Electrophile coupling methods, the Photoredox method surpassed the Weix method on numerous accounts. The results will be used to build future libraries.

Keywords: drug discovery, high throughput chemistry, photoredox chemistry, sp³-sp² carbon coupling methods

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1 Roads and Agriculture: Impacts of Connectivity in Peru

Authors: Julio Aguirre, Yohnny Campana, Elmer Guerrero, Daniel De La Torre Ugarte


A well-developed transportation network is a necessary condition for a country to derive full benefits from good trade and macroeconomic policies. Road infrastructure plays a key role in the economic development of rural areas of developing countries; where agriculture is the main economic activity. The ability to move agricultural production from the place of production to the market, and then to the place of consumption, greatly influence the economic value of farming activities, and of the resources involved in the production process, i.e., labor and land. Consequently, investment in transportation networks contributes to enhance or overcome the natural advantages or disadvantages that topography and location have imposed over the agricultural sector. This is of particular importance when dealing with countries, like Peru, with a great topographic diversity. The objective of this research is to estimate the impacts of road infrastructure on the performance of the agricultural sector. Specific variables of interest are changes in travel time, shifts of production for self-consumption to production for the market, changes in farmers income, and impacts on the diversification of the agricultural sector. In the study, a cross-section model with instrumental variables is the central methodological instrument. The data is obtained from agricultural and transport geo-referenced databases, and the instrumental variable specification utilized is based on the Kruskal algorithm. The results show that the expansion of road connectivity reduced farmers' travel time by an average of 3.1 hours and the proportion of output sold in the market increases by up to 40 percentage points. The increase in connectivity has an unexpected increase in the districts index of diversification of agricultural production. The results are robust to the inclusion of year and region fixed-effects, and to control for geography (i.e., slope and altitude), population variables, and mining activity. Other results are also very eloquent. For example, a clear positive impact can be seen in access to local markets, but this does not necessarily correlate with an increase in the production of the sector. This can be explained by the fact that agricultural development not only requires provision of roads but additional complementary infrastructure and investments intended to provide the necessary conditions so that producers can offer quality products (improved management practices, timely maintenance of irrigation infrastructure, transparent management of water rights, among other factors). Therefore, complementary public goods are needed to enhance the effects of roads on the welfare of the population, beyond enabling them to increase their access to markets.

Keywords: agriculture devolepment, market access, road connectivity, regional development

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