In recent years, food protein-derived hydrolysates have received considerable attention because of their numerous health benefits. Amongst the hydrolysates, those with anti-hypertensive and anti-oxidative activities are receiving special attention as both activities can play significant roles in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The present study investigated the angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory and anti-oxidative activities of Actinopyga lecanora (A. lecanora) hydrolysates, which had been prepared by alcalase, papain, bromelain, flavourzyme, pepsin, and trypsin under their optimum conditions. The alcalase hydrolysate showed the highest ACE inhibitory activity (69.8%) after 8 h of hydrolysis while the highest anti-oxidative activities measured by 2,2-diphenyl 1-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging (DPPH) (56.00%) and ferrous ion-chelating (FIC) (59.00%) methods were exhibited after 24 h and 8 h of hydrolysis, respectively. The ACE-inhibitory and anti-oxidative activities displayed dose-dependent trends, and increased with increasing protein hydrolysate concentrations. Moreover, strong positive correlations between angiotensin-I converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory and anti-oxidative activities were also observed. This study indicates that A. lecanora hydrolysate can be exploited as a source of functional food owing to its anti-oxidant as well as anti-hypertension functions.
Curcumenol and curcumenone are two major constituents of the plants of medicinally important genus of Curcuma, and often govern the pharmacological effect of these plant extracts. These two compounds, isolated from C. zedoaria rhizomes were studied for their binding to human serum albumin (HSA) using the fluorescence quench titration method. Molecular docking was also performed to get a more detailed insight into their interaction with HSA at the binding site. Additions of these sesquiterpenes to HSA produced significant fluorescence quenching and blue shifts in the emission spectra of HSA. Analysis of the fluorescence data pointed toward moderate binding affinity between the ligands and HSA, with curcumenone showing a relatively higher binding constant (2.46 × 105 M-1) in comparison to curcumenol (1.97 × 104 M-1). Cluster analyses revealed that site I is the preferred binding site for both molecules with a minimum binding energy of -6.77 kcal·mol-1. However, binding of these two molecules to site II cannot be ruled out as the binding energies were found to be -5.72 and -5.74 kcal·mol-1 for curcumenol and curcumenone, respectively. The interactions of both ligands with HSA involved hydrophobic interactions as well as hydrogen bonding.
Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) were prepared via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) using a series of different catalysts, derived from FeCoNiAl, CoNiAl and FeNiAl layered double hydroxides (LDHs). Catalyst-active particles were obtained by calcination of LDHs at 800 °C for 5 h. Nitrogen and hexane were used as the carrier gas and carbon source respectively, for preparation of MWCNTs using CVD methods at 800 °C. MWCNTs were allowed to grow for 30 min on the catalyst spread on an alumina boat in a quartz tube. The materials were subsequently characterized through X-ray diffraction, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, surface area analysis, field emission scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. It was determined that size and yield of MWCNTs varied depending on the type of LDH catalyst precursor that is used during synthesis. MWCNTs obtained using CoNiAl-LDH as the catalyst precursor showed smaller diameter and higher yield compared to FeCoNiAl and FeNiAl LDHs.
The molecularly imprinted polymer (MIP) based on methacrylic acid functionalized β-cyclodextrin (MAA-β-CD) monomer was synthesized for the purpose of selective recognition of benzylparaben (BzP). The MAA-β-CD monomer was produced by bridging a methacrylic acid (MAA) and β-cyclodextrin (β-CD) using toluene-2,4-diisocyanate (TDI) by reacting the -OH group of MAA and one of the primary -OH groups of β-CD. This monomer comprised of triple interactions that included an inclusion complex, π-π interaction, and hydrogen bonding. To demonstrate β-CD performance in MIPs, two MIPs were prepared; molecularly imprinted polymer-methacrylic acid functionalized β-cyclodextrin, MIP(MAA-β-CD), and molecularly imprinted polymer-methacrylic acid, MIP(MAA); both prepared by a reversible addition fragmentation chain transfer polymerization (RAFT) in the bulk polymerization process. Both MIPs were characterized using the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM), and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET). The presence of β-CD not only influenced the morphological structure, it also affected the specific surface area, average pore diameter, and total pore volume of the MIP. The rebinding of the imprinting effect was evaluated in binding experiments, which proved that the β-CD contributed significantly to the enhancement of the recognition affinity and selective adsorption of the MIP.
Modified rice straw/Fe3O4/polycaprolactone nanocomposites (ORS/Fe3O4/ PCL-NCs) have been prepared for the first time using a solution casting method. The RS/Fe3O4-NCs were modified with octadecylamine (ODA) as an organic modifier. The prepared NCs were characterized by using X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Transmission electron microscopy (TEM), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). The XRD results showed that as the intensity of the peaks decreased with the increase of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs content in comparison with PCL peaks, the Fe3O4-NPs peaks increased from 1.0 to 60.0 wt. %. The TEM and SEM results showed a good dispersion of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs in the PCL matrix and the spherical shape of the NPs. The TGA analysis indicated thermal stability of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs increased after incorporation with PCL but the thermal stability of ORS/Fe3O4/PCL-NCs decreased with the increase of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs content. Tensile strength was improved with the addition of 5.0 wt. % of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs. The antibacterial activities of the ORS/Fe3O4/PCL-NC films were examined against Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli) and Gram-positive bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus) by diffusion method using nutrient agar. The results indicated that ORS/Fe3O4/PCL-NC films possessed a strong antibacterial activity with the increase in the percentage of ORS/Fe3O4-NCs in the PCL.
Malaria is caused by parasitic protozoans of the genus Plasmodium and is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases in tropical and subtropical regions. For this reason, effective and practical diagnostic methods are urgently needed to control the spread of malaria. The aim of the current study was to identify a panel of new malarial markers, which could be used to diagnose patients infected with various Plasmodium species, including P. knowlesi, P. vivax and P. falciparum. Sera from malaria-infected patients were pooled and compared to control sera obtained from healthy individuals using the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) technique. Mass spectrometry was used to identify serum proteins and quantify their relative abundance. We found that the levels of several proteins were increased in pooled serum from infected patients, including cell adhesion molecule-4 and C-reactive protein. In contrast, the serum concentration of haptoglobin was reduced in malaria-infected individuals, which we verified by western blot assay. Therefore, these proteins might represent infectious markers of malaria, which could be used to develop novel diagnostic tools for detecting P. knowlesi, P. vivax and P. falciparum. However, these potential malarial markers will need to be validated in a larger population of infected individuals.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Several signaling pathways have been implicated as causative and progression agents. The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α protein plays a dual role in promoting and inhibiting cancer depending largely on the pathway initiated by the binding of the protein to its receptor. Zerumbone, an active constituent of Zingiber zerumbet, Smith, is known to act on the tumor necrosis factor pathway upregulating tumour necrosis factor related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) death receptors and inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. Zerumbone is a sesquiterpene that is able to penetrate into the hydrophobic pockets of proteins to exert its inhibiting activity with several proteins. We found a good binding with the tumor necrosis factor, kinase κB (IKKβ) and the Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) component proteins along the TNF pathway. Our results suggest that zerumbone can exert its apoptotic activities by inhibiting the cytoplasmic proteins. It inhibits the IKKβ kinase that activates the NF-κB and also binds to the NF-κB complex in the TNF pathway. Blocking both proteins can lead to inhibition of cell proliferating proteins to be downregulated and possibly ultimate induction of apoptosis.
Human pluripotent stem cells, including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), hold promise as novel therapeutic tools for diabetes treatment because of their self-renewal capacity and ability to differentiate into beta (β)-cells. Small and large molecules play important roles in each stage of β-cell differentiation from both hESCs and hiPSCs. The small and large molecules that are described in this review have significantly advanced efforts to cure diabetic disease. Lately, effective protocols have been implemented to induce hESCs and human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) to differentiate into functional β-cells. Several small molecules, proteins, and growth factors promote pancreatic differentiation from hESCs and hMSCs. These small molecules (e.g., cyclopamine, wortmannin, retinoic acid, and sodium butyrate) and large molecules (e.g. activin A, betacellulin, bone morphogentic protein (BMP4), epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), noggin, transforming growth factor (TGF-α), and WNT3A) are thought to contribute from the initial stages of definitive endoderm formation to the final stages of maturation of functional endocrine cells. We discuss the importance of such small and large molecules in uniquely optimized protocols of β-cell differentiation from stem cells. A global understanding of various small and large molecules and their functions will help to establish an efficient protocol for β-cell differentiation.
Breast cancer has become a global health issue requiring huge expenditures for care and treatment of patients. There is a need to discover newer cost-effective alternatives for current therapeutic regimes. Mango kernel is a waste product with potential as a source of anti-cancer phytochemicals, especially since it is non-toxic towards normal breast cell lines at concentrations for which it induces cell death in breast cancer cells. In this study, the anti-cancer effect of mango kernel extract was determined on estrogen receptor-positive human breast carcinoma (MCF-7) cells. The MCF-7 cells were cultured and treated with 5, 10 and 50 μg/mL of mango kernel extract for 12 and 24 h. In response to treatment, there were time- and dose-dependent increases in oxidative stress markers and pro-apoptotic factors; Bcl-2-like protein 4 (BAX), p53, cytochrome c and caspases (7, 8 and 9) in the MCF-7 cells treated with the extract. At the same time, there were decreases in pro-survival markers (Bcl-2 and glutathione) as the result of the treatments. The changes induced in the MCF-7 cells by mango kernel extract treatment suggest that the extract can induce cancer cell apoptosis, likely via the activation of oxidative stress. These findings need to be evaluated further to determine whether mango kernel extract can be developed as an anti-breast cancer agent.
In this paper, superheated steam (SHS) was used as cost effective and green processing technique to modify oil palm mesocarp fiber (OPMF) for biocomposite applications. The purpose of this modification was to promote the adhesion between fiber and thermoplastic. The modification was carried out in a SHS oven at various temperature (200-230 °C) and time (30-120 min) under normal atmospheric pressure. The biocomposites from SHS-treated OPMFs and poly(butylene succinate) (PBS) at a weight ratio of 70:30 were prepared by melt blending technique. The mechanical properties and dimensional stability of the biocomposites were evaluated. This study showed that the SHS treatment increased the roughness of the fiber surface due to the removal of surface impurities and hemicellulose. The tensile, flexural and impact properties, as well as dimensional stability of the biocomposites were markedly enhanced by the presence of SHS-treated OPMF. Scanning electron microscopy analysis showed improvement of interfacial adhesion between PBS and SHS-treated OPMF. This work demonstrated that SHS could be used as an eco-friendly and sustainable processing method for modification of OPMF in biocomposite fabrication.
Fe3O4/talc nanocomposite was used for removal of Cu(II), Ni(II), and Pb(II) ions from aqueous solutions. Experiments were designed by response surface methodology (RSM) and a quadratic model was used to predict the variables. The adsorption parameters such as adsorbent dosage, removal time, and initial ion concentration were used as the independent variables and their effects on heavy metal ion removal were investigated. Analysis of variance was incorporated to judge the adequacy of the models. Optimal conditions with initial heavy metal ion concentration of 100, 92 and 270 mg/L, 120 s of removal time and 0.12 g of adsorbent amount resulted in 72.15%, 50.23%, and 91.35% removal efficiency for Cu(II), Ni(II), and Pb(II), respectively. The predictions of the model were in good agreement with experimental results and the Fe3O4/talc nanocomposite was successfully used to remove heavy metals from aqueous solutions.
Recent advances in microRNAome have made microRNAs (miRNAs) a compelling novel class of biomarker in cancer biology. In the present study, the role of miR-23a in the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC) was investigated. Cell viability, apoptosis, and caspase 3/7 activation analyses were conducted to determine the potentiality of apoptosis resistance function of miR-23a in CRC. Luciferase assay was performed to verify a putative target site of miR-23a in the 3'-UTR of apoptosis protease activating factor 1 (APAF1) mRNA. The expression levels of miR-23a and APAF1 in CRC cell lines (SW480 and SW620) and clinical samples were assessed using reverse transcription-quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) and Western blot. We found that the inhibition of miR-23a in SW480 and SW620 cell lines resulted in significant reduction of cell viability and promotion of cell apoptosis. Moreover, miR-23a up-regulation was coupled with APAF1 down-regulation in CRC tissue samples. Taken together, miR-23a was identified to regulate apoptosis in CRC. Our study highlights the potential application of miR-23a/APAF1 regulation axis in miRNA-based therapy and prognostication.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) hold tremendous potential for therapeutic use in stem cell-based gene therapy. Ex vivo genetic modification of MSCs with beneficial genes of interest is a prerequisite for successful use of stem cell-based therapeutic applications. However, genetic manipulation of MSCs is challenging because they are resistant to commonly used methods to introduce exogenous DNA or RNA. Herein we compared the effectiveness of several techniques (classic calcium phosphate precipitation, cationic polymer, and standard electroporation) with that of microporation technology to introduce the plasmid encoding for angiopoietin-1 (ANGPT-1) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) into human adipose-derived MSCs (hAD-MSCs). The microporation technique had a higher transfection efficiency, with up to 50% of the viable hAD-MSCs being transfected, compared to the other transfection techniques, for which less than 1% of cells were positive for eGFP expression following transfection. The capability of cells to proliferate and differentiate into three major lineages (chondrocytes, adipocytes, and osteocytes) was found to be independent of the technique used for transfection. These results show that the microporation technique is superior to the others in terms of its ability to transfect hAD-MSCs without affecting their proliferation and differentiation capabilities. Therefore, this study provides a foundation for the selection of techniques when using ex vivo gene manipulation for cell-based gene therapy with MSCs as the vehicle for gene delivery.
The present study was conducted in order to assess the effect of various doses of acute gamma irradiation (0, 10, 15, and 20 Gy) on the improvement of bioactive compounds and their antioxidant properties of Curcuma alismatifolia var. Sweet pink. The high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography (GC) analysis uncovered that various types of phenolic, flavonoid compounds, and fatty acids gradually altered in response to radiation doses. On the other hand, antioxidant activities determined by 1,1-Diphenyl-2-picryl-hydrazyl (DPPH), ferric reduction, antioxidant power (FRAP), and 2,2-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) radical scavenging assay showed a higher irradiation level significantly increased the antioxidant properties. This study revealed an efficient effect of varying levels of gamma radiation, based on the pharmaceutical demand to enhance the accumulation and distribution of bioactive compounds such as phenolic and flavonoid compounds, fatty acids, as well as their antioxidant activities in the leaves of C. alismatifolia var. Sweet pink.
Different murine species differ in their susceptibility to systemic infection with Candida albicans, giving rise to varied host immune responses, and this is compounded by variations in virulence of the different yeast strains used. Hence, this study was aimed at elucidating the pathogenesis of a clinical C. albicans isolate (HVS6360) in a murine intravenous challenge model by examining the different parameters which included the counts of red blood cells and associated components as well as the organ-specific expression profiles of cytokines and chemokines. Kidneys and brains of infected mice have higher fungal recovery rates as compared to other organs and there were extensive yeast infiltration with moderate to severe inflammation seen in kidney and brain tissues. Red blood cells (RBCs) and haemoglobin (Hb) counts were reduced throughout the infection period. Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), chemokines and cytokine transcription profiles were varied among the different organs (kidney, spleen and brain) over 72 h post infections. Transcription of most of the PRRs, cytokines and chemokines were suppressed at 72 h post infection in spleen while continuous expression of PRRs, cytokines and chemokines genes were seen in brain and kidney. Reduction in red blood cells and haemoglobin counts might be associated with the action of extracellular haemolysin enzyme and haeme oxygenase of C. albicans in conjunction with iron scavenging for the fungal growth. Renal cells responsible for erythropoietin production may be injured by the infection and hence the combined effect of haemolysis plus lack of erythropoietin-induced RBC replenishment leads to aggravated reduction in RBC numbers. The varied local host immune profiles among target organs during systemic C. albicans infection could be of importance for future work in designing targeted immunotherapy through immunomodulatory approaches.
In this work, biodegradable composites from poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) fiber were prepared by melt blending method. Prior to mixing, the fiber was modified through bleaching treatment using hydrogen peroxide. Bleached fiber composite showed an improvement in mechanical properties as compared to untreated fiber composite due to the enhanced fiber/matrix interfacial adhesion. Interestingly, fiber bleaching treatment also improved the physical appearance of the composite. The study was extended by blending the composites with commercially available masterbatch colorant.
Microbial-catalyzed biotransformations have considerable potential for the generation of an enormous variety of structurally diversified organic compounds, especially natural products with complex structures like triterpenoids. They offer efficient and economical ways to produce semi-synthetic analogues and novel lead molecules. Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi could catalyze chemo-, regio- and stereospecific hydroxylations of diverse triterpenoid substrates that are extremely difficult to produce by chemical routes. During recent years, considerable research has been performed on the microbial transformation of bioactive triterpenoids, in order to obtain biologically active molecules with diverse structures features. This article reviews the microbial modifications of tetranortriterpenoids, tetracyclic triterpenoids and pentacyclic triterpenoids.
Brugia malayi is a filarial nematode, which causes lymphatic filariasis in humans. In 1995, the disease has been identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as one of the second leading causes of permanent and long-term disability and thus it is targeted for elimination by year 2020. Therefore, accurate filariasis diagnosis is important for management and elimination programs. A recombinant antigen (BmR1) from the Bm17DIII gene product was used for antibody-based filariasis diagnosis in "Brugia Rapid". However, the structure and dynamics of BmR1 protein is yet to be elucidated. Here we study the three dimensional structure and dynamics of BmR1 protein using comparative modeling, threading and ab initio protein structure prediction. The best predicted structure obtained via an ab initio method (Rosetta) was further refined and minimized. A total of 5 ns molecular dynamics simulation were performed to investigate the packing of the protein. Here we also identified three epitopes as potential antibody binding sites from the molecular dynamics average structure. The structure and epitopes obtained from this study can be used to design a binder specific against BmR1, thus aiding future development of antigen-based filariasis diagnostics to complement the current diagnostics.
In this study, cellulose nanocrystals/zinc oxide (CNCs/ZnO) nanocomposites were dispersed as bifunctional nano-sized fillers into poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and chitosan (Cs) blend by a solvent casting method to prepare PVA/Cs/CNCs/ZnO bio-nanocomposites films. The morphology, thermal, mechanical and UV-vis absorption properties, as well antimicrobial effects of the bio-nanocomposite films were investigated. It demonstrated that CNCs/ZnO were compatible with PVA/Cs and dispersed homogeneously in the polymer blend matrix. CNCs/ZnO improved tensile strength and modulus of PVA/Cs significantly. Tensile strength and modulus of bio-nanocomposite films increased from 55.0 to 153.2 MPa and from 395 to 932 MPa, respectively with increasing nano-sized filler amount from 0 to 5.0 wt %. The thermal stability of PVA/Cs was also enhanced at 1.0 wt % CNCs/ZnO loading. UV light can be efficiently absorbed by incorporating ZnO nanoparticles into a PVA/Cs matrix, signifying that these bio-nanocomposite films show good UV-shielding effects. Moreover, the biocomposites films showed antibacterial activity toward the bacterial species Salmonella choleraesuis and Staphylococcus aureus. The improved physical properties obtained by incorporating CNCs/ZnO can be useful in variety uses.
Ovarian steroids such as estrogen and progesterone have been reported to influence knee laxity. The effect of testosterone, however, remains unknown. This study investigated the effect of testosterone on the knee range of motion (ROM) and the molecular mechanisms that might involve changes in the expression of relaxin receptor isoforms, Rxfp1 and Rxfp2 in the patella tendon and lateral collateral ligament of the female rat knee. Ovariectomized adult female Wistar rats received three days treatment with peanut oil (control), testosterone (125 and 250 μg/kg) and testosterone (125 and 250 μg/kg) plus flutamide, an androgen receptor blocker or finasteride, a 5α-reductase inhibitor. Duplicate groups received similar treatment however in the presence of relaxin (25 ng/kg). A day after the last drug injection, knee passive ROM was measured by using a digital miniature goniometer. Both tendon and ligament were harvested and then analysed for protein and mRNA expression for Rxfp1 and Rxfp2 respectively. Knee passive ROM, Rxfp1 and Rxfp2 expression were significantly reduced following treatment with testosterone. Flutamide or finasteride administration antagonized the testosterone effect. Concomitant administration of testosterone and relaxin did not result in a significant change in knee ROM as compared to testosterone only treatment; however this was significantly increased following flutamide or finasteride addition. Testosterone effect on knee passive ROM is likely mediated via dihydro-testosterone (DHT), and involves downregulation of Rxfp1 and Rxfp2 expression, which may provide the mechanism underlying testosterone-induced decrease in female knee laxity.