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14 Biochemical and Antiviral Study of Peptides Isolated from Amaranthus hypochondriacus on Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Replication

Authors: José Silvestre Mendoza Figueroa, Anders Kvarnheden, Jesús Méndez Lozano, Edgar Antonio Rodríguez Negrete, Manuel Soriano García


Agroindustrial plants such as cereals and pseudo cereals offer a substantial source of biomacromolecules, as they contain large amounts per tissue-gram of proteins, polysaccharides and lipids in comparison with other plants. In particular, Amaranthus hypochondriacus seeds have high levels of proteins in comparison with other cereal and pseudo cereal species, which makes the plant a good source of bioactive molecules such as peptides. Geminiviruses are one principal class of pathogens that causes important economic losses in crops, affecting directly the development and production of the plant. One such virus is the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), which affects mainly Solanacea family plants such as tomato species. The symptoms of the disease are curling of leaves, chlorosis, dwarfing and floral abortion. The aim of this work was to get peptides derived from enzymatic hydrolysis of globulins and albumins from amaranth seeds with specific recognition of the replication origin in the TYLCV genome, and to test the antiviral activity on host plants with the idea to generate a direct control of this viral infection. Globulins and albumins from amaranth were extracted, the fraction was enzymatically digested with papain, and the aromatic peptides fraction was selected for further purification. Six peptides were tested against the replication origin (OR) using affinity assays, surface resonance plasmon and fluorescent titration, and two of these peptides showed high affinity values to the replication origin of the virus, dissociation constant values were calculated and showed specific interaction between the peptide Ampep1 and the OR. An in vitro replication test of the total TYLCV DNA was performed, in which the peptide AmPep1 was added in different concentrations to the system reaction, which resulted in a decrease of viral DNA synthesis when the peptide concentration increased. Also, we showed that the peptide can decrease the complementary DNA chain of the virus in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, confirming that the peptide binds to the OR and that its expected mechanism of action is to decrease the replication rate of the viral genome. In an infection assay, N. benthamiana plants were agroinfected with TYLCV-Israel and TYLCV-Guasave. After confirming systemic infection, the peptide was infiltrated in new infected leaves, and the plants treated with the peptide showed a decrease of virus symptoms and viral titer. In order to confirm the antiviral activity in a commercial crop, tomato plants were infected with TYLCV. After confirming systemic infection, plants were infiltrated with peptide solution as above, and the symptom development was monitored 21 days after treatment, showing that tomato plants treated with peptides had lower symptom rates and viral titer. The peptide was also tested against other begomovirus such as Pepper huasteco yellow vein virus (PHYVV-Guasave), showing a decrease of symptoms in N. benthamiana infected plants. The model of direct biochemical control of TYLCV infection shown in this work can be extrapolated to other begomovirus infections, and the methods reported here can be used for design of antiviral agrochemicals for other plant virus infections.

Keywords: agrochemical screening, antiviral, begomovirus, geminivirus, peptides, plasmon, TYLCV

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13 Production of Insulin Analogue SCI-57 by Transient Expression in Nicotiana benthamiana

Authors: Adriana Muñoz-Talavera, Ana Rosa Rincón-Sánchez, Abraham Escobedo-Moratilla, María Cristina Islas-Carbajal, Miguel Ángel Gómez-Lim


The highest rates of diabetes incidence and prevalence worldwide will increase the number of diabetic patients requiring insulin or insulin analogues. Then, current production systems would not be sufficient to meet the future market demands. Therefore, developing efficient expression systems for insulin and insulin analogues are needed. In addition, insulin analogues with better pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics properties and without mitogenic potential will be required. SCI-57 (single chain insulin-57) is an insulin analogue having 10 times greater affinity to the insulin receptor, higher resistance to thermal degradation than insulin, native mitogenicity and biological effect. Plants as expression platforms have been used to produce recombinant proteins because of their advantages such as cost-effectiveness, posttranslational modifications, absence of human pathogens and high quality. Immunoglobulin production with a yield of 50% has been achieved by transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana (Nb). The aim of this study is to produce SCI-57 by transient expression in Nb. Methodology: DNA sequence encoding SCI-57 was cloned in pICH31070. This construction was introduced into Agrobacterium tumefaciens by electroporation. The resulting strain was used to infiltrate leaves of Nb. In order to isolate SCI-57, leaves from transformed plants were incubated 3 hours with the extraction buffer therefore filtrated to remove solid material. The resultant protein solution was subjected to anion exchange chromatography on an FPLC system and ultrafiltration to purify SCI-57. Detection of SCI-57 was made by electrophoresis pattern (SDS-PAGE). Protein band was digested with trypsin and the peptides were analyzed by Liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). A purified protein sample (20µM) was analyzed by ESI-Q-TOF-MS to obtain the ionization pattern and the exact molecular weight determination. Chromatography pattern and impurities detection were performed using RP-HPLC using recombinant insulin as standard. The identity of the SCI-57 was confirmed by anti-insulin ELISA. The total soluble protein concentration was quantified by Bradford assay. Results: The expression cassette was verified by restriction mapping (5393 bp fragment). The SDS-PAGE of crude leaf extract (CLE) of transformed plants, revealed a protein of about 6.4 kDa, non-present in CLE of untransformed plants. The LC-MS/MS results displayed one peptide with a high score that matches SCI-57 amino acid sequence in the sample, confirming the identity of SCI-57. From the purified SCI-57 sample (PSCI-57) the most intense charge state was 1069 m/z (+6) on the displayed ionization pattern corresponding to the molecular weight of SCI-57 (6412.6554 Da). The RP-HPLC of the PSCI-57 shows the presence of a peak with similar retention time (rt) and UV spectroscopic profile to the insulin standard (SCI-57 rt=12.96 and insulin rt=12.70 min). The collected SCI-57 peak had ELISA signal. The total protein amount in CLE from transformed plants was higher compared to untransformed plants. Conclusions: Our results suggest the feasibility to produce insulin analogue SCI-57 by transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana. Further work is being undertaken to evaluate the biological activity by glucose uptake by insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant murine and human cultured adipocytes.

Keywords: insulin analogue, mass spectrometry, Nicotiana benthamiana, transient expression

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12 Production, Characterisation, and in vitro Degradation and Biocompatibility of a Solvent-Free Polylactic-Acid/Hydroxyapatite Composite for 3D-Printed Maxillofacial Bone-Regeneration Implants

Authors: Carlos Amnael Orozco-Diaz, Robert David Moorehead, Gwendolen Reilly, Fiona Gilchrist, Cheryl Ann Miller


The current gold-standard for maxillofacial reconstruction surgery (MRS) utilizes auto-grafted cancellous bone as a filler. This study was aimed towards developing a polylactic-acid/hydroxyapatite (PLA-HA) composite suitable for fused-deposition 3D printing. Functionalization of the polymer through the addition of HA was directed to promoting bone-regeneration properties so that the material can rival the performance of cancellous bone grafts in terms of bone-lesion repair. This kind of composite enables the production of MRS implants based off 3D-reconstructions from image studies – namely computed tomography – for anatomically-correct fitting. The present study encompassed in-vitro degradation and in-vitro biocompatibility profiling for 3D-printed PLA and PLA-HA composites. PLA filament (Verbatim Co.) and Captal S hydroxyapatite micro-scale HA powder (Plasma Biotal Ltd) were used to produce PLA-HA composites at 5, 10, and 20%-by-weight HA concentration. These were extruded into 3D-printing filament, and processed in a BFB-3000 3D-Printer (3D Systems Co.) into tensile specimens, and were mechanically challenged as per ASTM D638-03. Furthermore, tensile specimens were subjected to accelerated degradation in phosphate-buffered saline solution at 70°C for 23 days, as per ISO-10993-13-2010. This included monitoring of mass loss (through dry-weighing), crystallinity (through thermogravimetric analysis/differential thermal analysis), molecular weight (through gel-permeation chromatography), and tensile strength. In-vitro biocompatibility analysis included cell-viability and extracellular matrix deposition, which were performed both on flat surfaces and on 3D-constructs – both produced through 3D-printing. Discs of 1 cm in diameter and cubic 3D-meshes of 1 cm3 were 3D printed in PLA and PLA-HA composites (n = 6). The samples were seeded with 5000 MG-63 osteosarcoma-like cells, with cell viability extrapolated throughout 21 days via resazurin reduction assays. As evidence of osteogenicity, collagen and calcium deposition were indirectly estimated through Sirius Red staining and Alizarin Red staining respectively. Results have shown that 3D printed PLA loses structural integrity as early as the first day of accelerated degradation, which was significantly faster than the literature suggests. This was reflected in the loss of tensile strength down to untestable brittleness. During degradation, mass loss, molecular weight, and crystallinity behaved similarly to results found in similar studies for PLA. All composite versions and pure PLA were found to perform equivalent to tissue-culture plastic (TCP) in supporting the seeded-cell population. Significant differences (p = 0.05) were found on collagen deposition for higher HA concentrations, with composite samples performing better than pure PLA and TCP. Additionally, per-cell-calcium deposition on the 3D-meshes was significantly lower when comparing 3D-meshes to discs of the same material (p = 0.05). These results support the idea that 3D-printable PLA-HA composites are a viable resorbable material for artificial grafts for bone-regeneration. Degradation data suggests that 3D-printing of these materials – as opposed to other manufacturing methods – might result in faster resorption than currently-used PLA implants.

Keywords: bone regeneration implants, 3D-printing, in vitro testing, biocompatibility, polymer degradation, polymer-ceramic composites

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11 A Case Study of Brownfield Revitalization in Taiwan

Authors: Jen Wang, Wei-Chia Hsu, Zih-Sin Wang, Ching-Ping Chu, Bo-Shiou Guo


In the late 19th century, the Jinguashi ore deposit in northern Taiwan was discovered, and accompanied with flourishing mining activities. However, tons of contaminants including heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) were released to surroundings and caused environmental problems. Site T was one of copper smelter located on the coastal hill near Jinguashi ore deposit. In over ten years of operation, variety contaminants were emitted that it polluted the surrounding soil and groundwater quality. In order to exhaust fumes produced from smelting process, three stacks were built along the hill behind the factory. The sediment inside the stacks contains high concentration of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, copper, etc. Moreover, soil around the discarded stacks suffered a serious contamination when deposition leached from the ruptures of stacks. Consequently, Site T (including the factory and its surroundings) was declared as a pollution remediation site that visiting the site and land-use activities on it are forbidden. However, the natural landscape and cultural attractions of Site T are spectacular that it attracts a lot of visitors annually. Moreover, land resources are extremely precious in Taiwan. In addition, Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) is actively promoting the contaminated land revitalization policy. Therefore, this study took Site T as case study for brownfield revitalization planning to the limits of activate and remediate the natural resources. Land-use suitability analysis and risk mapping were applied in this study to make appropriate risk management measures and redevelopment plan for the site. In land-use suitability analysis, surrounding factors into consideration such as environmentally sensitive areas, biological resources, land use, contamination, culture, and landscapes were collected to assess the development of each area; health risk mapping was introduced to show the image of risk assessments results based on the site contamination investigation. According to land-use suitability analysis, the site was divided into four zones: priority area (for high-efficiency development), secondary area (for co-development with priority area), conditional area (for reusing existing building) and limited area (for Eco-tourism and education). According to the investigation, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), heavy metals and TPH were considered as target contaminants while oral, inhalation and dermal would be the major exposure pathways in health risk assessment. In accordance with health risk map, the highest risk was found in the southwest and eastern side. Based on the results, the development plan focused on zoning and land use. Site T was recommended be divides to public facility zone, public architectonic art zone, viewing zone, existing building preservation zone, historic building zone, and cultural landscape zone for various purpose. In addition, risk management measures including sustained remediation, extinguish exposure and administration management are applied to ensure particular places are suitable for visiting and protect the visitors’ health. The consolidated results are corroborated available by analyzing aspects of law, land acquired method, maintenance and management and public participation. Therefore, this study has a certain reference value to promote the contaminated land revitalization policy in Taiwan.

Keywords: brownfield revitalization, land-use suitability analysis, health risk map, risk management

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10 Assessment of Airborne PM0.5 Mutagenic and Genotoxic Effects in Five Different Italian Cities: The MAPEC_LIFE Project

Authors: T. Schilirò, S. Bonetta, S. Bonetta, E. Ceretti, D. Feretti, I. Zerbini, V. Romanazzi, S. Levorato, T. Salvatori, S. Vannini, M. Verani, C. Pignata, F. Bagordo, G. Gilli, S. Bonizzoni, A. Bonetti, E. Carraro, U. Gelatti


Air pollution is one of the most important worldwide health concern. In the last years, in both the US and Europe, new directives and regulations supporting more restrictive pollution limits were published. However, the early effects of air pollution occur, especially for the urban population. Several epidemiological and toxicological studies have documented the remarkable effect of particulate matter (PM) in increasing morbidity and mortality for cardiovascular disease, lung cancer and natural cause mortality. The finest fractions of PM (PM with aerodynamic diameter <2.5 µm and less) play a major role in causing chronic diseases. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has recently classified air pollution and fine PM as carcinogenic to human (1 Group). The structure and composition of PM influence the biological properties of particles. The chemical composition varies with season and region of sampling, photochemical-meteorological conditions and sources of emissions. The aim of the MAPEC (Monitoring Air Pollution Effects on Children for supporting public health policy) study is to evaluate the associations between air pollution and biomarkers of early biological effects in oral mucosa cells of 6-8 year old children recruited from first grade schools. The study was performed in five Italian towns (Brescia, Torino, Lecce, Perugia and Pisa) characterized by different levels of airborne PM (PM10 annual average from 44 µg/m3 measured in Torino to 20 µg/m3 measured in Lecce). Two to five schools for each town were chosen to evaluate the variability of pollution within the same town. Child exposure to urban air pollution was evaluated by collecting ultrafine PM (PM0.5) in the school area, on the same day of biological sampling. PM samples were collected for 72h using a high-volume gravimetric air sampler and glass fiber filters in two different seasons (winter and spring). Gravimetric analysis of the collected filters was performed; PM0.5 organic extracts were chemically analyzed (PAH, Nitro-PAH) and tested on A549 by the Comet assay and Micronucleus test and on Salmonella strains (TA100, TA98, TA98NR and YG1021) by Ames test. Results showed that PM0.5 represents a high variable PM10 percentage (range 19.6-63%). PM10 concentration were generally lower than 50µg/m3 (EU daily limit). All PM0.5 extracts showed a mutagenic effect with TA98 strain (net revertant/m3 range 0.3-1.5) and suggested the presence of indirect mutagens, while lower effect was observed with TA100 strain. The results with the TA98NR and YG1021 strains showed the presence of nitroaromatic compounds as confirmed by the chemical analysis. No genotoxic or oxidative effect of PM0.5 extracts was observed using the comet assay (with/without Fpg enzyme) and micronucleus test except for some sporadic samples. The low biological effect observed could be related to the low level of air pollution observed in this winter sampling associated to a high atmospheric instability. For a greater understanding of the relationship between PM size, composition and biological effects the results obtained in this study suggest to investigate the biological effect of the other PM fractions and in particular of the PM0.5-1 fraction.

Keywords: airborne PM, ames test, comet assay, micronucleus test

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9 Environmental Fate and Toxicity of Aged Titanium Dioxide Nano-Composites Used in Sunscreen

Authors: Danielle Slomberg, Jerome Labille, Riccardo Catalano, Jean-Claude Hubaud, Alexandra Lopes, Alice Tagliati, Teresa Fernandes


In the assessment and management of cosmetics and personal care products, sunscreens are of emerging concern regarding both human and environmental health. Organic UV blockers in many sunscreens have been evidenced to undergo rapid photodegradation, induce dermal allergic reactions due to skin penetration, and to cause adverse effects on marine systems. While mineral UV-blockers may offer a safer alternative, their fate and impact and resulting regulation are still under consideration, largely related to the potential influence of nanotechnology-based products on both consumers and the environment. Nanometric titanium dioxide (TiO₂) UV-blockers have many advantages in terms of sun protection and asthetics (i.e., transparency). These UV-blockers typically consist of rutile nanoparticles coated with a primary mineral layer (silica or alumina) aimed at blocking the nanomaterial photoactivity and can include a secondary organic coating (e.g., stearic acid, methicone) aimed at favouring dispersion of the nanomaterial in the sunscreen formulation. The nanomaterials contained in the sunscreen can leave the skin either through a bathing of everyday usage, with subsequent release into rivers, lakes, seashores, and/or sewage treatment plants. The nanomaterial behaviour, fate and impact in these different systems is largely determined by its surface properties, (e.g. the nanomaterial coating type) and lifetime. The present work aims to develop the eco-design of sunscreens through the minimisation of risks associated with nanomaterials incorporated into the formulation. All stages of the sunscreen’s life cycle must be considered in this aspect, from its manufacture to its end-of-life, through its use by the consumer to its impact on the exposed environment. Reducing the potential release and/or toxicity of the nanomaterial from the sunscreen is a decisive criterion for its eco-design. TiO₂ UV-blockers of varied size and surface coating (e.g., stearic acid and silica) have been selected for this study. Hydrophobic TiO₂ UV-blockers (i.e., stearic acid-coated) were incorporated into a typical water-in-oil (w/o) formulation while hydrophilic, silica-coated TiO₂ UV-blockers were dispersed into an oil-in-water (o/w) formulation. The resulting sunscreens were characterised in terms of nanomaterial localisation, sun protection factor, and photo-passivation. The risk to the direct aquatic environment was assessed by evaluating the release of nanomaterials from the sunscreen through a simulated laboratory aging procedure. The size distribution, surface charge, and degradation state of the nano-composite by-products, as well as their nanomaterial concentration and colloidal behaviour were determined in a variety of aqueous environments (e.g., seawater and freshwater). Release of the hydrophobic nanocomposites into the aqueous environment was driven by oil droplet formation while hydrophilic nano-composites were readily dispersed. Ecotoxicity of the sunscreen by-products (from both w/o and o/w formulations) and their risk to marine organisms were assessed using coral symbiotes and tropical corals, evaluating both lethal and sublethal toxicities. The data dissemination and provided risk knowledge from the present work will help guide regulation related to nanomaterials in sunscreen, provide better information for consumers, and allow for easier decision-making for manufacturers.

Keywords: alteration, environmental fate, sunscreens, titanium dioxide nanoparticles

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8 Surface Sunctionalization Strategies for the Design of Thermoplastic Microfluidic Devices for New Analytical Diagnostics

Authors: Camille Perréard, Yoann Ladner, Fanny D'Orlyé, Stéphanie Descroix, Vélan Taniga, Anne Varenne, Cédric Guyon, Michael. Tatoulian, Frédéric Kanoufi, Cyrine Slim, Sophie Griveau, Fethi Bedioui


The development of micro total analysis systems is of major interest for contaminant and biomarker analysis. As a lab-on-chip integrates all steps of an analysis procedure in a single device, analysis can be performed in an automated format with reduced time and cost, while maintaining performances comparable to those of conventional chromatographic systems. Moreover, these miniaturized systems are either compatible with field work or glovebox manipulations. This work is aimed at developing an analytical microsystem for trace and ultra trace quantitation in complex matrices. The strategy consists in the integration of a sample pretreatment step within the lab-on-chip by a confinement zone where selective ligands are immobilized for target extraction and preconcentration. Aptamers were chosen as selective ligands, because of their high affinity for all types of targets (from small ions to viruses and cells) and their ease of synthesis and functionalization. This integrated target extraction and concentration step will be followed in the microdevice by an electrokinetic separation step and an on-line detection. Polymers consisting of cyclic olefin copolymer (COC) or fluoropolymer (Dyneon THV) were selected as they are easy to mold, transparent in UV-visible and have high resistance towards solvents and extreme pH conditions. However, because of their low chemical reactivity, surface treatments are necessary. For the design of this miniaturized diagnostics, we aimed at modifying the microfluidic system at two scales : (1) on the entire surface of the microsystem to control the surface hydrophobicity (so as to avoid any sample wall adsorption) and the fluid flows during electrokinetic separation, or (2) locally so as to immobilize selective ligands (aptamers) on restricted areas for target extraction and preconcentration. We developed different novel strategies for the surface functionalization of COC and Dyneon, based on plasma, chemical and /or electrochemical approaches. In a first approach, a plasma-induced immobilization of brominated derivatives was performed on the entire surface. Further substitution of the bromine by an azide functional group led to covalent immobilization of ligands through “click” chemistry reaction between azides and terminal alkynes. COC and Dyneon materials were characterized at each step of the surface functionalization procedure by various complementary techniques to evaluate the quality and homogeneity of the functionalization (contact angle, XPS, ATR). With the objective of local (micrometric scale) aptamer immobilization, we developed an original electrochemical strategy on engraved Dyneon THV microchannel. Through local electrochemical carbonization followed by adsorption of azide-bearing diazonium moieties and covalent linkage of alkyne-bearing aptamers through click chemistry reaction, typical dimensions of immobilization zones reached the 50 µm range. Other functionalization strategies, such as sol-gel encapsulation of aptamers, are currently investigated and may also be suitable for the development of the analytical microdevice. The development of these functionalization strategies is the first crucial step in the design of the entire microdevice. These strategies allow the grafting of a large number of molecules for the development of new analytical tools in various domains like environment or healthcare.

Keywords: alkyne-azide click chemistry (CuAAC), electrochemical modification, microsystem, plasma bromination, surface functionalization, thermoplastic polymers

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7 Biomedical Application of Green Biosynthesis Magnetic Iron Oxide (Fe3O4) Nanoparticles Using Seaweed (Sargassum muticum) Aqueous Extract

Authors: Farideh Namvar, Rosfarizan Mohamed


In the field of nanotechnology, the use of various biological units instead of toxic chemicals for the reduction and stabilization of nanoparticles, has received extensive attention. This use of biological entities to create nanoparticles has designated as “Green” synthesis and it is considered to be far more beneficial due to being economical, eco-friendly and applicable for large-scale synthesis as it operates on low pressure, less input of energy and low temperatures. The lack of toxic byproducts and consequent decrease in degradation of the product renders this technique more preferable over physical and classical chemical methods. The variety of biomass having reduction properties to produce nanoparticles makes them an ideal candidate for fabrication. Metal oxide nanoparticles have been said to represent a "fundamental cornerstone of nanoscience and nanotechnology" due to their variety of properties and potential applications. However, this also provides evidence of the fact that metal oxides include many diverse types of nanoparticles with large differences in chemical composition and behaviour. In this study, iron oxide nanoparticles (Fe3O4-NPs) were synthesized using a rapid, single step and completely green biosynthetic method by reduction of ferric chloride solution with brown seaweed (Sargassum muticum) water extract containing polysaccharides as a main factor which acts as reducing agent and efficient stabilizer. Antimicrobial activity against six microorganisms was tested using well diffusion method. The resulting S-IONPs are crystalline in nature, with a cubic shape. The average particle diameter, as determined by TEM, was found to be 18.01 nm. The S-IONPs were efficiently inhibited the growth of Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli and Candida species. Our favorable results suggest that S-IONPs could be a promising candidate for development of future antimicrobial therapies. The nature of biosynthesis and the therapeutic potential by S-IONPs could pave the way for further research on design of green synthesis therapeutic agents, particularly nanomedicine, to deal with treatment of infections. Further studies are needed to fully characterize the toxicity and the mechanisms involved with the antimicrobial activity of these particles. Antioxidant activity of S-IONPs synthesized by green method was measured by ABTS (2, 2'-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (IC50= 1000µg) radical scavenging activity. Also, with the increasing concentration of S-IONPs, catalase gene expression compared to control gene GAPDH increased. For anti-angiogenesis study the Ross fertilized eggs were divided into four groups; the control and three experimental groups. The gelatin sponges containing albumin were placed on the chorioalantoic membrane and soaked with different concentrations of S-IONPs. All the cases were photographed using a photo stereomicroscope. The number and the lengths of the vessels were measured using Image J software. The crown rump (CR) and weight of the embryo were also recorded. According to the data analysis, the number and length of the blood vessels, as well as the CR and weight of the embryos reduced significantly compared to the control (p < 0.05), dose dependently. The total hemoglobin was quantified as an indicator of the blood vessel formation, and in the treated samples decreased, which showed its inhibitory effect on angiogenesis.

Keywords: anti-angiogenesis, antimicrobial, antioxidant, biosynthesis, iron oxide (fe3o4) nanoparticles, sargassum muticum, seaweed

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6 Capsaicin Derivatives Enhanced Activity of α1β2γ2S-Aminobutyric Acid Type a Receptor Expressed in Xenopus laevis Oocytes

Authors: Jia H. Wong, Jingli Zhang, Habsah Mohamad, Iswatun H. Abdullah Ripain, Muhammad Bilal, Amelia J. Lloyd, Abdul A. Mohamed Yusoff, Jafri M. Abdullah


Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases affecting more than 50 million of people worldwide. Epilepsy is a state of recurrent, spontaneous seizures with multiple syndromes and symptoms of different causes of brain dysfunction, prognosis, and treatments; characterized by transient, occasional and stereotyped interruptions of behavior whereby the excitatory-inhibitory activities within the central nervous system (CNS) are thrown out of balance due to various kinds of interferences. The goal of antiepileptic treatment is to enable patients to be free from seizures or to achieve control of seizures through surgical treatment and/or pharmacotherapy. Pharmacotherapy through AED plays an important role especially in countries with epilepsy treatment gap due to costs and availability of health facilities, skills and resources, yet there are about one-third of the people with epilepsy have drug-resistant seizures. Hence, this poses considerable challenges to the healthcare system and the effort in providing cost-effective treatment as well as the search for alternatives to treatment and management of epilepsy. Enhancement of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated inhibitory neurotransmission is one of the key mechanisms of actions of antiepileptic drugs. GABA type > a receptors (GABAAR) are ligand-gated ion channels that mediate rapid inhibitory neurotransmission upon the binding of GABA with a heteropentameric structure forming a central pore that is permeable to the influx of chloride ions in its activated state. The major isoform of GABAA receptors consists of two α1, two β2, and one γ2 subunit. It is the most abundantly expressed combinations in the brain and the most commonly researched through Xenopus laevis oocytes. With the advancing studies on ethnomedicine and traditional treatments using medicinal plants, increasing evidence reveal that spice and herb plants with medicinal properties play an important role in the treatment of ailments within communities across different cultures. Capsaicin is the primary natural capsaicinoid in hot peppers of plant genus Capsicum, consist of an aromatic ring, an amide linkage and a hydrophobic side chain. The study showed that capsaicins conferred neuroprotection in status epilepticus mouse models through anti-ictogenic, hypothermic, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-apoptotic actions in a dose-dependent manner. In this study, five capsaicin derivatives were tested for their ability to increase the GABA-induced chloride current on α1β2γ2S of GABAAR expressed on Xenopus laevis oocytes using the method of two-microelectrode voltage clamp. Two of the capsaicin derivatives, IS5 (N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)-3-methylbutyramide) and IS10 (N-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxybenzyl)-decanamide) at a concentration of 30µM were able to significantly increase the GABA-induced chloride current with p=0.002 and p=0.026 respectively. This study were able to show the enhancement effect of two capsaicin derivatives with moderate length of hydrocarbon chain on this receptor subtype, revealing the promising inhibitory activity of capsaicin derivatives through enhancement of GABA-induced chloride current and further investigations should be carried out to verify its antiepileptic effects in animal models.

Keywords: α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors, α1β2γ2S, antiepileptic, capsaicin derivatives, two-microelectrode voltage clamp, Xenopus laevis oocytes

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5 Effect of Degree of Phosphorylation on Electrospinning and In vitro Cell Behavior of Phosphorylated Polymers as Biomimetic Materials for Tissue Engineering Applications

Authors: Pallab Datta, Jyotirmoy Chatterjee, Santanu Dhara


Over the past few years, phosphorous containing polymers have received widespread attention for applications such as high performance optical fibers, flame retardant materials, drug delivery and tissue engineering. Being pentavalent, phosphorous can exist in different chemical environments in these polymers which increase their versatility. In human biochemistry, phosphorous based compounds exert their functions both in soluble and insoluble form occurring as inorganic or as organophosphorous compounds. Specifically in case of biomacromolecules, phosphates are critical for functions of DNA, ATP, phosphoproteins, phospholipids, phosphoglycans and several coenzymes. Inspired by the role of phosphorous in functional biomacromolecules, design and synthesis of biomimetic materials are thus carried out by several authors to study macromolecular function or as substitutes in clinical tissue regeneration conditions. In addition, many regulatory signals of the body are controlled by phoshphorylation of key proteins present either in form of growth factors or matrix-bound scaffold proteins. This inspires works on synthesis of phospho-peptidomimetic amino acids for understanding key signaling pathways and this is extended to obtain molecules with potentially useful biological properties. Apart from above applications, phosphate groups bound to polymer backbones have also been demonstrated to improve function of osteoblast cells and augment performance of bone grafts. Despite the advantages of phosphate grafting, however, there is limited understanding on effect of degree of phosphorylation on macromolecular physicochemical and/or biological properties. Such investigations are necessary to effectively translate knowledge of macromolecular biochemistry into relevant clinical products since they directly influence processability of these polymers into suitable scaffold structures and control subsequent biological response. Amongst various techniques for fabrication of biomimetic scaffolds, nanofibrous scaffolds fabricated by electrospinning technique offer some special advantages in resembling the attributes of natural extracellular matrix. Understanding changes in physico-chemical properties of polymers as function of phosphorylation is therefore going to be crucial in development of nanofiber scaffolds based on phosphorylated polymers. The aim of the present work is to investigate the effect of phosphorous grafting on the electrospinning behavior of polymers with aim to obtain biomaterials for bone regeneration applications. For this purpose, phosphorylated derivatives of two polymers of widely different electrospinning behaviors were selected as starting materials. Poly(vinyl alcohol) is a conveniently electrospinnable polymer at different conditions and concentrations. On the other hand, electrospinning of chitosan backbone based polymers have been viewed as a critical challenge. The phosphorylated derivatives of these polymers were synthesized, characterized and electrospinning behavior of various solutions containing these derivatives was compared with electrospinning of pure poly (vinyl alcohol). In PVA, phosphorylation adversely impacted electrospinnability while in NMPC, higher phosphate content widened concentration range for nanofiber formation. Culture of MG-63 cells on electrospun nanofibers, revealed that degree of phosphate modification of a polymer significantly improves cell adhesion or osteoblast function of cultured cells. It is concluded that improvement of cell response parameters of nanofiber scaffolds can be attained as a function of controlled degree of phosphate grafting in polymeric biomaterials with implications for bone tissue engineering applications.

Keywords: bone regeneration, chitosan, electrospinning, phosphorylation

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4 Case Study Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Idiopathic Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Authors: Magdy I. A. Alshourbagi


Background: The National Institute for Deafness and Communication Disorders defines idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as the idiopathic loss of hearing of at least 30 dB across 3 contiguous frequencies occurring within 3 days.The most common clinical presentation involves an individual experiencing a sudden unilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, a sensation of aural fullness and vertigo. The etiologies and pathologies of ISSNHL remain unclear. Several pathophysiological mechanisms have been described including: vascular occlusion, viral infections, labyrinthine membrane breaks, immune associated disease, abnormal cochlear stress response, trauma, abnormal tissue growth, toxins, ototoxic drugs and cochlear membrane damage. The rationale for the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat ISSHL is supported by an understanding of the high metabolism and paucity of vascularity to the cochlea. The cochlea and the structures within it require a high oxygen supply. The direct vascular supply, particularly to the organ of Corti, is minimal. Tissue oxygenation to the structures within the cochlea occurs via oxygen diffusion from cochlear capillary networks into the perilymph and the cortilymph. . The perilymph is the primary oxygen source for these intracochlear structures. Unfortunately, perilymph oxygen tension is decreased significantly in patients with ISSHL. To achieve a consistent rise of perilymph oxygen content, the arterial-perilymphatic oxygen concentration difference must be extremely high. This can be restored with hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Subject and Methods: A 37 year old man was presented at the clinic with a five days history of muffled hearing and tinnitus of the right ear. Symptoms were sudden onset, with no associated pain, dizziness or otorrhea and no past history of hearing problems or medical illness. Family history was negative. Physical examination was normal. Otologic examination revealed normal tympanic membranes bilaterally, with no evidence of cerumen or middle ear effusion. Tuning fork examination showed positive Rinne test bilaterally but with lateralization of Weber test to the left side, indicating right ear sensorineural hearing loss. Audiometric analysis confirmed sensorineural hearing loss across all frequencies of about 70- dB in the right ear. Routine lab work were all within normal limits. Clinical diagnosis of idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss of the right ear was made and the patient began a medical treatment (corticosteroid, vasodilator and HBO therapy). The recommended treatment profile consists of 100% O2 at 2.5 atmospheres absolute for 60 minutes daily (six days per week) for 40 treatments .The optimal number of HBOT treatments will vary, depending on the severity and duration of symptomatology and the response to treatment. Results: As HBOT is not yet a standard for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss, it was introduced to this patient as an adjuvant therapy. The HBOT program was scheduled for 40 sessions, we used a 12-seat multi place chamber for the HBOT, which was started at day seven after the hearing loss onset. After the tenth session of HBOT, improvement of both hearing (by audiogram) and tinnitus was obtained in the affected ear (right). Conclusions: In conclusion, HBOT may be used for idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss as an adjuvant therapy. It may promote oxygenation to the inner ear apparatus and revive hearing ability. Patients who fail to respond to oral and intratympanic steroids may benefit from this treatment. Further investigation is warranted, including animal studies to understand the molecular and histopathological aspects of HBOT and randomized control clinical studies.

Keywords: idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (issnhl), hyperbaric oxygen therapy (hbot), the decibel (db), oxygen (o2)

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3 Synthesis of Chitosan/Silver Nanocomposites: Antibacterial Properties and Tissue Regeneration for Thermal Burn Injury

Authors: B.L. España-Sánchez, E. Luna-Hernández, R.A. Mauricio-Sánchez, M.E. Cruz-Soto, F. Padilla-Vaca, R. Muñoz, L. Granados-López, L.R. Ovalle-Flores, J.L. Menchaca-Arredondo, G. Luna-Bárcenas


Treatment of burn injured has been considered an important clinical problem due to the fluid control and the presence of microorganisms during the healing process. Conventional treatment includes antiseptic techniques, topical medication and surgical removal of damaged skin, to avoid bacterial growth. In order to accelerate this process, different alternatives for tissue regeneration have been explored, including artificial skin, polymers, hydrogels and hybrid materials. Some requirements consider a nonreactive organic polymer with high biocompatibility and skin adherence, avoiding bacterial infections. Chitin-derivative biopolymer such as chitosan (CS) has been used in skin regeneration following third-degree burns. The biological interest of CS is associated with the improvement of tissue cell stimulation, biocompatibility and antibacterial properties. In particular, antimicrobial properties of CS can be significantly increased when is blended with nanostructured materials. Silver-based nanocomposites have gained attention in medicine due to their high antibacterial properties against pathogens, related to their high surface area/volume ratio at nanomolar concentrations. Silver nanocomposites can be blended or synthesized with chitin-derivative biopolymers in order to obtain a biodegradable/antimicrobial hybrid with improved physic-mechanical properties. In this study, nanocomposites based on chitosan/silver nanoparticles (CS/nAg) were synthesized by the in situ chemical reduction method, improving their antibacterial properties against pathogenic bacteria and enhancing the healing process in thermal burn injuries produced in an animal model. CS/nAg was prepared in solution by the chemical reduction method, using AgNO₃ as precursor. CS was dissolved in acetic acid and mixed with different molar concentrations of AgNO₃: 0.01, 0.025, 0.05 and 0.1 M. Solutions were stirred at 95°C during 20 hours, in order to promote the nAg formation. CS/nAg solutions were placed in Petri dishes and dried, to obtain films. Structural analyses confirm the synthesis of silver nanoparticles (nAg) by means of UV-Vis and TEM, with an average size of 7.5 nm and spherical morphology. FTIR analyses showed the complex formation by the interaction of hydroxyl and amine groups with metallic nanoparticles, and surface chemical analysis (XPS) shows low concentration of Ag⁰/Ag⁺ species. Topography surface analyses by means of AFM shown that hydrated CS form a mesh with an average diameter of 10 µm. Antibacterial activity against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa was improved in all evaluated conditions, such as nAg loading and interaction time. CS/nAg nanocomposites films did not show Ag⁰/Ag⁺ release in saline buffer and rat serum after exposition during 7 days. Healing process was significantly enhanced by the presence of CS/nAg nanocomposites, inducing the production of myofibloblasts, collagen remodelation, blood vessels neoformation and epidermis regeneration after 7 days of injury treatment, by means of histological and immunohistochemistry assays. The present work suggests that hydrated CS/nAg nanocomposites can be formed a mesh, improving the bacterial penetration and the contact with embedded nAg, producing complete growth inhibition after 1.5 hours. Furthermore, CS/nAg nanocomposites improve the cell tissue regeneration in thermal burn injuries induced in rats. Synthesis of antibacterial, non-toxic, and biocompatible nanocomposites can be an important issue in tissue engineering and health care applications.

Keywords: antibacterial, chitosan, healing process, nanocomposites, silver

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2 Analyzing Spatio-Structural Impediments in the Urban Trafficscape of Kolkata, India

Authors: Teesta Dey


Integrated Transport development with proper traffic management leads to sustainable growth of any urban sphere. Appropriate mass transport planning is essential for the populous cities in third world countries like India. The exponential growth of motor vehicles with unplanned road network is now the common feature of major urban centres in India. Kolkata, the third largest mega city in India, is not an exception of it. The imbalance between demand and supply of unplanned transport services in this city is manifested in the high economic and environmental costs borne by the associated society. With the passage of time, the growth and extent of passenger demand for rapid urban transport has outstripped proper infrastructural planning and causes severe transport problems in the overall urban realm. Hence Kolkata stands out in the world as one of the most crisis-ridden metropolises. The urban transport crisis of this city involves severe traffic congestion, the disparity in mass transport services on changing peripheral land uses, route overlapping, lowering of travel speed and faulty implementation of governmental plans as mostly induced by rapid growth of private vehicles on limited road space with huge carbon footprint. Therefore the paper will critically analyze the extant road network pattern for improving regional connectivity and accessibility, assess the degree of congestion, identify the deviation from demand and supply balance and finally evaluate the emerging alternate transport options as promoted by the government. For this purpose, linear, nodal and spatial transport network have been assessed based on certain selected indices viz. Road Degree, Traffic Volume, Shimbel Index, Direct Bus Connectivity, Average Travel and Waiting Tine Indices, Route Variety, Service Frequency, Bus Intensity, Concentration Analysis, Delay Rate, Quality of Traffic Transmission, Lane Length Duration Index and Modal Mix. Total 20 Traffic Intersection Points (TIPs) have been selected for the measurement of nodal accessibility. Critical Congestion Zones (CCZs) are delineated based on one km buffer zones of each TIP for congestion pattern analysis. A total of 480 bus routes are assessed for identifying the deficiency in network planning. Apart from bus services, the combined effects of other mass and para transit modes, containing metro rail, auto, cab and ferry services, are also analyzed. Based on systematic random sampling method, a total of 1500 daily urban passengers’ perceptions were studied for checking the ground realities. The outcome of this research identifies the spatial disparity among the 15 boroughs of the city with severe route overlapping and congestion problem. North and Central Kolkata-based mass transport services exceed the transport strength of south and peripheral Kolkata. Faulty infrastructural condition, service inadequacy, economic loss and workers’ inefficiency are the most dominant reasons behind the defective mass transport network plan. Hence there is an urgent need to revive the extant road based mass transport system of this city by implementing a holistic management approach by upgrading traffic infrastructure, designing new roads, better cooperation among different mass transport agencies, better coordination of transport and changing land use policies, large increase in funding and finally general passengers’ awareness.

Keywords: carbon footprint, critical congestion zones, direct bus connectivity, integrated transport development

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1 Targeting Tumour Survival and Angiogenic Migration after Radiosensitization with an Estrone Analogue in an in vitro Bone Metastasis Model

Authors: Jolene M. Helena, Annie M. Joubert, Peace Mabeta, Magdalena Coetzee, Roy Lakier, Anne E. Mercier


Targeting the distant tumour and its microenvironment whilst preserving bone density is important in improving the outcomes of patients with bone metastases. 2-Ethyl-3-O-sulphamoyl-estra1,3,5(10)16-tetraene (ESE-16) is an in-silico-designed 2- methoxyestradiol analogue which aimed at enhancing the parent compound’s cytotoxicity and providing a more favourable pharmacokinetic profile. In this study, the potential radiosensitization effects of ESE-16 were investigated in an in vitro bone metastasis model consisting of murine pre-osteoblastic (MC3T3-E1) and pre-osteoclastic (RAW 264.7) bone cells, metastatic prostate (DU 145) and breast (MDA-MB-231) cancer cells, as well as human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Cytotoxicity studies were conducted on all cell lines via spectrophotometric quantification of 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide. The experimental set-up consisted of flow cytometric analysis of cell cycle progression and apoptosis detection (Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate) to determine the lowest ESE-16 and radiation doses to induce apoptosis and significantly reduce cell viability. Subsequent experiments entailed a 24-hour low-dose ESE-16-exposure followed by a single dose of radiation. Termination proceeded 2, 24 or 48 hours thereafter. The effect of the combination treatment was investigated on osteoclasts via tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) activity- and actin ring formation assays. Tumour cell experiments included investigation of mitotic indices via haematoxylin and eosin staining; pro-apoptotic signalling via spectrophotometric quantification of caspase 3; deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage via micronuclei analysis and histone H2A.X phosphorylation (γ-H2A.X); and Western blot analyses of bone morphogenetic protein-7 and matrix metalloproteinase-9. HUVEC experiments included flow cytometric quantification of cell cycle progression and free radical production; fluorescent examination of cytoskeletal morphology; invasion and migration studies on an xCELLigence platform; and Western blot analyses of hypoxia-inducible factor 1-alpha and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 and 2. Tumour cells yielded half-maximal growth inhibitory concentration (GI50) values in the nanomolar range. ESE-16 concentrations of 235 nM (DU 145) and 176 nM (MDA-MB-231) and a radiation dose of 4 Gy were found to be significant in cell cycle and apoptosis experiments. Bone and endothelial cells were exposed to the same doses as DU 145 cells. Cytotoxicity studies on bone cells reported that RAW 264.7 cells were more sensitive to the combination treatment than MC3T3-E1 cells. Mature osteoclasts were more sensitive than pre-osteoclasts with respect to TRAP activity. However, actin ring morphology was retained. The mitotic arrest was evident in tumour and endothelial cells in the mitotic index and cell cycle experiments. Increased caspase 3 activity and superoxide production indicated pro-apoptotic signalling in tumour and endothelial cells. Increased micronuclei numbers and γ-H2A.X foci indicated increased DNA damage in tumour cells. Compromised actin and tubulin morphologies and decreased invasion and migration were observed in endothelial cells. Western blot analyses revealed reduced metastatic and angiogenic signalling. ESE-16-induced radiosensitization inhibits metastatic signalling and tumour cell survival whilst preferentially preserving bone cells. This low-dose combination treatment strategy may promote the quality of life of patients with metastatic bone disease. Future studies will include 3-dimensional in-vitro and murine in-vivo models.

Keywords: angiogenesis, apoptosis, bone metastasis, cancer, cell migration, cytoskeleton, DNA damage, ESE-16, radiosensitization.

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