Cryopreservation represents an effective technique to maintain the functional properties of human adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) and allows pooling of cells via long-term storage for clinical applications, e.g., cell-based therapies. It is crucial to reduce freezing injury during the cryopreservation process by loading the ASCs with the optimum concentration of suitable cryoprotective agents (CPAs). In this study, human ASCs were preserved for 3 months in different combinations of CPAs, including 1) 0.25 M trehalose; 2) 5% dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO); 3) 10% DMSO; 4) 5% DMSO + 20% fetal bovine serum (FBS); 5) 10% DMSO + 20% FBS; 6) 10% DMSO + 90% FBS. Interestingly, even with a reduction of DMSO to 5% and without FBS, cryopreserved ASCs maintained high cell viability comparable with standard cryomedium (10% DMSO + 90% FBS), with normal cell phenotype and proliferation rate. Cryopreserved ASCs also maintained their differentiation capability (e.g., to adipocytes, osteocytes and chondrocytes) and showed an enhanced expression level of stemness markers (e.g., NANOG, OCT-4, SOX-2 and REX-1). Our findings suggest that 5% DMSO without FBS may be an ideal CPA for an efficient long-term cryopreservation of human ASCs. These results aid in establishing standardized xeno-free long-term cryopreservation of human ASCs for clinical applications.
Terahertz technologies recently emerged as outstanding candidates for a variety of applications in such sectors as security, biomedical, pharmaceutical, aero spatial, etc. Imaging the terahertz field, however, still remains a challenge, particularly when sub-wavelength resolutions are involved. Here we demonstrate an all-optical technique for the terahertz near-field imaging directly at the source plane. A thin layer (<100 nm-thickness) of photo carriers is induced on the surface of the terahertz generation crystal, which acts as an all-optical, virtual blade for terahertz near-field imaging via a knife-edge technique. Remarkably, and in spite of the fact that the proposed approach does not require any mechanical probe, such as tips or apertures, we are able to demonstrate the imaging of a terahertz source with deeply sub-wavelength features (<30 μm) directly in its emission plane.
Human adipose-derived stem cells (hADSCs) exhibit heterogeneous characteristics, indicating various genotypes and differentiation abilities. The isolated hADSCs can possess different purity levels and divergent properties depending on the purification methods used. We developed a hybrid-membrane migration method that purifies hADSCs from a fat tissue solution with extremely high purity and pluripotency. A primary fat-tissue solution was permeated through the porous membranes with a pore size from 8 to 25 μm, and the membranes were incubated in cell culture medium for 15-18 days. The hADSCs that migrated from the membranes contained an extremely high percentage (e.g., >98%) of cells positive for mesenchymal stem cell markers and showed almost one order of magnitude higher expression of some pluripotency genes (Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and Nanog) compared with cells isolated using the conventional culture method.
The development of metal-based agents has had a tremendous role in the present progress in cancer chemotherapy. One well-known example of metal-based agents is Schiff based metal complexes, which hold great promise for cancer therapy. Based on the potential of Schiff based complexes for the induction of apoptosis, this study aimed to examine the cytotoxic and apoptotic activity of a CdCl2(C14H21N3O2) complex on HT-29 cells. The complex exerted a potent suppressive effect on HT-29 cells with an IC50 value of 2.57 ± 0.39 after 72 h of treatment. The collapse of the mitochondrial membrane potential and the elevated release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol indicate the involvement of the intrinsic pathway in the induction of apoptosis. The role of the mitochondria-dependent apoptotic pathway was further proved by the significant activation of the initiator caspase-9 and the executioner caspases-3 and -7. In addition, the activation of caspase-8, which is associated with the suppression of NF-κB translocation to the nucleus, also revealed the involvement of the extrinsic pathway in the induced apoptosis. The results suggest that the CdCl2(C14H21N3O2) complex is able to induce the apoptosis of colon cancer cells and is a potential candidate for future cancer studies.
Helicobacter pylori, is an invariably commensal resident of the gut microbiome associated with gastric ulcer in adults. In addition, these patients also suffered from a low grade inflammation that activates the immune system and thus increased shunting of energy to host defense mechanisms. To assess whether a H. pylori infection could affect growth in early life, we determined the expression levels of selected metabolic gut hormones in germ free (GF) and specific pathogen-free (SPF) mice with and without the presence of H. pylori. Despite H. pylori-infected (SPFH) mice display alteration in host metabolism (elevated levels of leptin, insulin and peptide YY) compared to non-infected SPF mice, their growth curves remained the same. SPFH mice also displayed increased level of eotaxin-1. Interestingly, GF mice infected with H. pylori (GFH) also displayed increased levels of ghrelin and PYY. However, in contrast to SPFH mice, GFH showed reduced weight gain and malnutrition. These preliminary findings show that exposure to H. pylori alters host metabolism early in life; but the commensal microbiota in SPF mice can attenuate the growth retarding effect from H. pylori observed in GF mice. Further investigations of possible additional side effects of H. pylori are highly warranted.
Scaffold design from xenogeneic bone has the potential for tissue engineering (TE). However, major difficulties impede this potential, such as the wide range of properties in natural bone. In this study, sintered cortical bones from different parts of a bovine-femur impregnated with biodegradable poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) binder by liquid phase adsorption were investigated. Flexural mechanical properties of the PEG-treated scaffolds showed that the scaffold is stiffer and stronger at a sintering condition of 1000°C compared with 900°C. In vitro cytotoxicity of the scaffolds evaluated by Alamar Blue assay and microscopic tests on human fibroblast cells is better at 1000°C compared with that at 900°C. Furthermore, in vitro biocompatibility and flexural property of scaffolds derived from different parts of a femur depend on morphology and heat-treatment condition. Therefore, the fabricated scaffolds from the distal and proximal parts at 1000°C are potential candidates for hard and soft TE applications, respectively.
A caustic vector vortex optical field is experimentally generated and demonstrated by a caustic-based approach. The desired caustic with arbitrary acceleration trajectories, as well as the structured states of polarization (SoP) and vortex orders located in different positions in the field cross-section, is generated by imposing the corresponding spatial phase function in a vector vortex optical field. Our study reveals that different spin and orbital angular momentum flux distributions (including opposite directions) in different positions in the cross-section of a caustic vector vortex optical field can be dynamically managed during propagation by intentionally choosing the initial polarization and vortex topological charges, as a result of the modulation of the caustic phase. We find that the SoP in the field cross-section rotates during propagation due to the existence of the vortex. The unique structured feature of the caustic vector vortex optical field opens the possibility of multi-manipulation of optical angular momentum fluxes and SoP, leading to more complex manipulation of the optical field scenarios. Thus this approach further expands the functionality of an optical system.
Candida spp. are the most common causes of fungal infections worldwide. Among the Candida species, Candida albicans remains the predominant species that causes invasive candidiasis in most countries. In this study, we used two peptides, KABT-AMP and uperin 3.6 as templates to develop novel antifungal peptides. Their anticandidal activity was assessed using a combination of MIC, time-killing assay and biofilm reduction assay. Hybrid peptides, KU2 and KU3 containing a mixed backbone of KABT-AMP and Uperin 3.6 demonstrated the most potent anticandidal activity with MIC values ranging from 8-16 mg/L. The number of Trp residues and the amphipathic structure of peptides probably enhanced the anticandidal activity of peptides. Increasing the cationicity of the uperin 3.6 analogues resulted in reduced MIC from the range of 64-128 mg/L to 16-64 mg/L and this was also correlated with the antibiofilm activity and killing kinetics of the peptides. Peptides showed synergistic effects when used in combination with conventional antifungals. Peptides demonstrated low haemolytic activity but significant toxicity on two normal human epithelial cell lines. This study provides us with a better understanding on the structure-activity relationship and the balance between cationicity and hydrophobicity of the peptides although the therapeutic application of the peptides is limited.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) represent a promising class of novel antimicrobial agents owing to their potent antimicrobial activity. In this study, two lead peptides from unrelated classes of AMPs were systematically hybridized into a series of five hybrid peptides (DM1-DM5) with conserved N- and C-termini. This approach allows sequence bridging of two highly dissimilar AMPs and enables sequence-activity relationship be detailed down to single amino acid level. Presence of specific amino acids and physicochemical properties were used to describe the antipneumococcal activity of these hybrids. Results obtained suggested that cell wall and/or membrane targeting could be the principal mechanism exerted by the hybrids leading to microbial cell killing. Moreover, the pneumocidal rate was greater than penicillin (PEN). Combination treatment with both DMs and PEN produced synergism. The hybrids were also broad spectrum against multiple common clinical bacteria. Sequence analysis showed that presence of specific residues has a major role in affecting the antimicrobial and cell toxicity of the hybrids than physicochemical properties. Future studies should continue to investigate the mechanisms of actions, in vivo therapeutic potential, and improve rational peptide design based on the current strategy.
Emerging of drug resistant influenza A virus (IAV) has been a big challenge for anti-IAV therapy. In this study, we describe a relatively easy and safe cell-based screening system for anti-IAV replication inhibitors using a non-replicative strain of IAV. A nickel (II) complex of polyhydroxybenzaldehyde N4-thiosemicarbazone (NiPT5) was recently found to exhibit anti-inflammatory activity in vivo and in vitro. NiPT5 impedes the signaling cascades that lead to the activation of NF-κB in response to different stimuli, such as LPS and TNFα. Using our cell-based screening system, we report that pretreating cells with NiPT5 protects cells from influenza A virus (IAV) and vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) infection. Furthermore, NiPT5 inhibits replication of IAV by inhibiting transcription and translation of vRNAs of IAV. Additionally, NiPT5 reduces IAV-induced type I interferon response and cytokines production. Moreover, NiPT5 prevents activation of NF-κB, and IRF3 in response to IAV infection. These results demonstrate that NiPT5 is a potent antiviral agent that inhibits the early phase of IAV replication.
MicroRNAs regulate gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. Differential expression of miRNAs can potentially be used as biomarkers for early diagnosis and prediction for outcomes. Failure in validation of miRNA profiles is often caused by variations in experimental parameters. In this study, the performance of five extraction kits and three RT-qPCR systems were evaluated using BioMark high-throughput platform and the effects of different experimental parameters on circulating miRNA levels were determined. Differences in the performance of extraction kits as well as varying accuracy, sensitivity and reproducibility in qPCR systems were observed. Normalisation of RT-qPCR data to spike-in controls can reduce extraction bias. However, the extent of correlation for different qPCR systems varies in different assays. At different time points, there was no significant fold change in eight of the plasma miRNAs that we evaluated. Higher level of miRNAs was detected in plasma as compared to serum of the same cohort. In summary, we demonstrated that high-throughput RT-qPCR with pre-amplification step had increased sensitivity and can be achieved with accuracy and high reproducibility through stringent experimental controls. The information provided here is useful for planning biomarker validation studies involving circulating miRNAs.
Graphene oxide (GO) was deposited on the surface of a MnO2 air cathode by thermal evaporation at 50°C from a GO colloidal suspension. Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy confirmed the presence of GO on the MnO2 air cathode (GO-MnO2). Voltammetry and chrono-amperometry showed increased currents for the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) in 6 M KOH solution for GO-MnO2 compared to the MnO2 cathode. The GO-MnO2 was used as an air cathode in an alkaline tin-air cell and produced a maximum power density of 13 mW cm(-2), in contrast to MnO2, which produced a maximum power density of 9.2 mW cm(-2). The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results suggest that the chemical step for the ORR is the rate determining step, as proposed earlier by different researchers. It is suggested that the presence of GO and electrochemically reduced graphene oxide (ERGO) on the MnO2 surface are responsible for the increased rate of this step, whereby GO and ERGO accelerate the process of electron donation to the MnO2 and to adsorbed oxygen atoms.
Local heterogeneity in lipid self-assembly is important for executing the cellular membrane functions. In this work, we chemically modified 2-(2'-hydroxyphenyl)benzoxazole (HBO) and attached a C8 alkyl chain in two different locations to probe the microscopic environment of four lipidic phases of dodecyl β-maltoside. The fluorescence change in HBO and the new probes (HBO-1 and HBO-2) shows that in all phases (micellar, hexagonal, cubic and lamellar) three HBO tautomeric species (solvated syn-enol, anionic, and closed syn-keto) are stable. The formation of multi tautomers reflects the heterogeneity of the lipidic phases. The results indicate that HBO and HBO-1 reside in a similar location within the head group region, whereas HBO-2 is slightly pushed away from the sugar-dominated area. The stability of the solvated syn-enol tautomer is due to the formation of a hydrogen bond between the OH group of the HBO moiety and an adjacent oxygen atom of a sugar unit. The detected HBO anions was proposed to be a consequence of this solvation effect where a hydrogen ion abstraction by the sugar units is enhanced. Our results point to a degree of local heterogeneity and ionization ability in the head group region as a consequence of the sugar amphoterism.
This research presents the results of the GIS-based statistical models for generation of landslide susceptibility mapping using geographic information system (GIS) and remote-sensing data for Cameron Highlands area in Malaysia. Ten factors including slope, aspect, soil, lithology, NDVI, land cover, distance to drainage, precipitation, distance to fault, and distance to road were extracted from SAR data, SPOT 5 and WorldView-1 images. The relationships between the detected landslide locations and these ten related factors were identified by using GIS-based statistical models including analytical hierarchy process (AHP), weighted linear combination (WLC) and spatial multi-criteria evaluation (SMCE) models. The landslide inventory map which has a total of 92 landslide locations was created based on numerous resources such as digital aerial photographs, AIRSAR data, WorldView-1 images, and field surveys. Then, 80% of the landslide inventory was used for training the statistical models and the remaining 20% was used for validation purpose. The validation results using the Relative landslide density index (R-index) and Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) demonstrated that the SMCE model (accuracy is 96%) is better in prediction than AHP (accuracy is 91%) and WLC (accuracy is 89%) models. These landslide susceptibility maps would be useful for hazard mitigation purpose and regional planning.
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3) plays a vital role in the enhancement of human health, particularly for cognitive, neurological, and visual functions. Marine microalgae, such as members of the genus Aurantiochytrium, are rich in DHA and represent a promising source of omega-3 fatty acids. In this study, levels of glucose, yeast extract, sodium glutamate and sea salt were optimized for enhanced lipid and DHA production by a Malaysian isolate of thraustochytrid, Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1, using response surface methodology (RSM). The optimized medium contained 60 g/L glucose, 2 g/L yeast extract, 24 g/L sodium glutamate and 6 g/L sea salt. This combination produced 17.8 g/L biomass containing 53.9% lipid (9.6 g/L) which contained 44.07% DHA (4.23 g/L). The optimized medium was used in a scale-up run, where a 5 L bench-top bioreactor was employed to verify the applicability of the medium at larger scale. This produced 24.46 g/L biomass containing 38.43% lipid (9.4 g/L), of which 47.87% was DHA (4.5 g/L). The total amount of DHA produced was 25% higher than that produced in the original medium prior to optimization. This result suggests that Aurantiochytrium sp. SW1 could be developed for industrial application as a commercial DHA-producing microorganism.
The search for renewable energy sources has become challenging in the current era, as conventional fuel sources are of finite origins. Recent research interest has focused on various biophotovoltaic (BPV) platforms utilizing algae, which are then used to harvest solar energy and generate electrical power. The majority of BPV platforms incorporate indium tin oxide (ITO) anodes for the purpose of charge transfer due to its inherent optical and electrical properties. However, other materials such as reduced graphene oxide (RGO) could provide higher efficiency due to their intrinsic electrical properties and biological compatibility. In this work, the performance of algae biofilms grown on RGO and ITO anodes were measured and discussed. Results indicate improved peak power of 0.1481 mWm(-2) using the RGO electrode and an increase in efficiency of 119%, illustrating the potential of RGO as an anode material for applications in biofilm derived devices and systems.
This study was carried out to investigate the prevalence and risk factors of Giardia infection among indigenous people in rural Malaysia. Faecal samples were collected from 1,330 participants from seven states of Malaysia and examined by wet mount and formalin-ether sedimentation methods while demographic, socioeconomic and environmental information was collected using a pre-tested questionnaire. The overall prevalence of Giardia infection was 11.6% and was significantly higher among those aged ≤ 12 years compared to their older counterparts. Multivariate logistic regression identified age of ≤ 12 years, lacking of toilet at household, not washing hands before eating, not washing hands after playing with animals, not boiling water before consumption, bathing in the river, and not wearing shoes when outside as the significant risk factors of Giardia infection among these communities. Based on a multilocus genotyping approach (including tpi, gdh and bg gene sequences), 69 isolates were identified as assemblage A, and 69 as assemblage B. No association between the assemblages and presence of symptoms was found. Providing proper sanitation, as well as provision of clean drinking water and proper health education regarding good personal hygiene practices will help significantly in reducing the prevalence and burden of Giardia infection in these communities.
Mycobacterium iranicum is a newly reported mycobacterial species. We present the first comparative study of M. iranicum UM_TJL and other mycobacteria. We found M. iranicum to have a close genetic association with environmental mycobacteria infrequently associated with human infections. Nonetheless, UM_TJL is also equipped with many virulence genes (some of which appear to be the consequence of transduction-related gene transfer) that have been identified in established human pathogens. Taken all together, our data suggest that M. iranicum is an environmental bacterium adapted for pathogenicity in the human host. This comparative study provides important clues and forms the basis for future functional studies on this mycobacterium.
Control synthesis of high quality large-area graphene on transition metals (TMs) by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is the most fascinating approach for practical device applications. Interaction of carbon atoms and TMs is quite critical to obtain graphene with precise layer number, crystal size and structure. Here, we reveal a solid phase reaction process to achieve Cu assisted graphene growth in nanoscale by in-situ transmission electron microscope (TEM). Significant structural transformation of amorphous carbon nanofiber (CNF) coated with Cu is observed with an applied potential in a two probe system. The coated Cu particle recrystallize and agglomerate toward the cathode with applied potential due to joule heating and large thermal gradient. Consequently, the amorphous carbon start crystallizing and forming sp(2) hybridized carbon to form graphene sheet from the tip of Cu surface. We observed structural deformation and breaking of the graphene nanoribbon with a higher applied potential, attributing to saturated current flow and induced Joule heating. The observed graphene formation in nanoscale by the in-situ TEM process can be significant to understand carbon atoms and Cu interaction.
Helicobacter pylori infection results in diverse clinical conditions ranging from chronic gastritis and ulceration to gastric adenocarcinoma. Among the multiethnic population of Malaysia, Indians consistently have a higher H. pylori prevalence as compared with Chinese and Malays. Despite the high prevalence of H. pylori, Indians have a relatively low incidence of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. In contrast, gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease incidence is high in Chinese. H. pylori strains from Chinese strains predominantly belong to the hspEAsia subpopulation while Indian/Malay strains mainly belong to the hspIndia subpopulation. By comparing the genome of 27 Asian strains from different subpopulations, we identified six genes associated with risk of H. pylori-induced peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. This study serves as an important foundation for future studies aiming to understand the role of bacterial factors in H. pylori-induced gastro-duodenal diseases.