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Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Raoni C Dos-Santos, Luís C Reis, Mario Perello, Alastair V Ferguson, André S Mecawi
Ghrelin is a peptide mainly produced and secreted by the stomach. Since its discovery, the impact of ghrelin on the regulation of food intake has been the most studied function of this hormone; however, ghrelin affects a wide range of physiological systems, many of which are controlled by the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). Several pathways may mediate the effects of ghrelin on PVN neurons, such as direct or indirect effects mediated by circumventricular organs and/or the arcuate nucleus. The ghrelin receptor is expressed in PVN neurons, and the peripheral or intracerebroventricular administration of ghrelin affects PVN neuronal activity...
April 22, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Vincent Geenen, Charlotte Trussart, Hélène Michaux, Aymen Halouani, Hela Jaïdane, Caroline Collée, Chantal Renard, Marc Daukandt, Philippe Ledent, Henri Martens
Confirming Burnet's early hypothesis, elimination of self-reactive T cells in the thymus was demonstrated in the late 1980s, and an important question immediately arose about the nature of the self-peptides expressed in the thymus. Many genes encoding neuroendocrine-related and tissue-restricted antigens (TRAs) are transcribed in thymic epithelial cells (TECs). They are then processed for presentation by proteins of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) expressed by TECs and thymic dendritic cells. MHC presentation of self-peptides in the thymus programs self-tolerance by two complementary mechanisms: (1) negative selection of self-reactive "forbidden" T cell clones starting already in fetal life, and (2) generation of self-specific thymic regulatory T lymphocytes (tTreg cells), mainly after birth...
April 22, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Camila M Chaparro, Parminder S Suchdev
Anemia affects a third of the world's population and contributes to increased morbidity and mortality, decreased work productivity, and impaired neurological development. Understanding anemia's varied and complex etiology is crucial for developing effective interventions that address the context-specific causes of anemia and for monitoring anemia control programs. We outline definitions and classifications of anemia, describe the biological mechanisms through which anemia develops, and review the variety of conditions that contribute to anemia development...
April 22, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Evert-Jan F M de Kruijf, Willem E Fibbe, Melissa van Pel
Peripheral blood hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs), mobilized by granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, are widely used as a source for both autologous and allogeneic stem cell transplantation. The use of mobilized HSPCs has several advantages over traditional bone marrow-derived HSPCs, including a less invasive harvesting process for the donor, higher HSPC yields, and faster hematopoietic reconstitution in the recipient. For years, the mechanisms by which cytokines and other agents mobilize HSPCs from the bone marrow were not fully understood...
April 21, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Maria Nieves Garcia-Casal, Sant-Rayn Pasricha, Andrea J Sharma, Juan Pablo Peña-Rosas
Anemia is an important public health problem that negatively affects health of individuals and economic potential of populations. An accurate case definition is critical for understanding burden and epidemiology of anemia, for planning public health interventions, and for clinical investigation and treatment of patients. The current threshold hemoglobin concentrations for diagnosis of anemia were proposed in 1968 and based on studies predominantly of Caucasian adult populations in Europe and North America. The World Health Organization is undertaking a project to review global guidelines for anemia...
April 21, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
José Vicente Gomes-Filho, Lennart Randau
Analyses of the RNA metabolism of hyperthermophilic archaea highlight the efficiency of regulatory RNAs and RNA-guided processes at extreme temperatures. These organisms must overcome the intrinsic thermolability of RNAs. Elevated levels of RNA modifications and structured GC-rich regions are observed for many universal noncoding RNA families. Guide RNAs are often protected from degradation by their presence within ribonucleoprotein complexes. Modification and ligation of RNA termini can be employed to impair exonucleolytic degradation...
April 17, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Melissa F Young, Brietta M Oaks, Sonia Tandon, Reynaldo Martorell, Kathryn G Dewey, Amanda S Wendt
Maternal anemia is a well-recognized global health problem; however, there remain questions on specific hemoglobin (Hb) thresholds that predict health risk or protection for mother and child. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the associations of maternal Hb concentrations with a range of maternal and infant health outcomes, accounting for the timing of measurement (preconception, and first, second, and third trimesters), etiology of anemia, and cutoff category. The systematic review included 272 studies and the meta-analysis included 95 studies...
April 17, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Hei Wan Mak, Daisy Fancourt
Self-esteem is regarded as vital to children's social and cognitive development and emotional well-being. To date, a few studies have suggested that arts activities can improve self-esteem in young people. However, such studies mainly focused on small, nonrepresentative samples. In this study, data from 6209 children included in the United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study were analyzed using propensity score matching to investigate the association between children's arts engagement ((1) listening to or playing music; (2) drawing, painting, or making things; and (3) reading for enjoyment) and self-esteem at age 11...
April 15, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Alicia J Angelbello, Jonathan L Chen, Matthew D Disney
Aberrant RNA structure and function operate in neurological disease progression and severity. As RNA contributes to disease pathology in a complex fashion, that is, via various mechanisms, it has become an attractive therapeutic target for small molecules and oligonucleotides. In this review, we discuss the identification of RNA structures that cause or contribute to neurological diseases as well as recent progress toward the development of small molecules that target them, including small molecule modulators of pre-mRNA splicing and RNA repeat expansions that cause microsatellite disorders such as Huntington's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis...
April 9, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Norikazu Ichihashi
Replication is a central function of living organisms. Several types of replication systems have been constructed in vitro from various molecules, including peptides, DNA, RNA, and proteins. In this review, I summarize the progress in the construction of replication systems over the past few decades and discuss what we can learn from their construction. I introduce various types of replication systems, supporting the feasibility of the spontaneous appearance of replication early in Earth's history. In the latter part of the review, I focus on parasitic replicators, one of the largest obstacles for sustainable replication...
April 8, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Soheil Kazemi Roodsari, Erfan Bahramnejad, Nastaran Rahimi, Iraj Aghaei, Ahmad Reza Dehpour
Methadone is a synthetic opioid used to treat opiate withdrawal and addiction. Studies have demonstrated the impact of methadone on seizure susceptibility. This study investigated the modulatory impacts of acute and subchronic (three times daily for 5 days) intraperitoneal methadone treatment on pentylenetetrazole-induced clonic seizure threshold (CST) in mice, as well as the involvement of the nitric oxide, N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), and μ-opioid pathways. Acute administration of different doses of methadone (0...
April 7, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Zhongqiang Li, Waleed Zaid, Thomas Hartzler, Alexandra Ramos, Michelle L Osborn, Yanping Li, Shaomian Yao, Jian Xu
Indocyanine green (ICG) has been widely used in medical imaging, such as in retinal angiography. Here, we describe a pilot ex vivo study of ICG-assisted near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) dental imaging in the first (700-950 nm for ICG-NIRF-I) and second (1000-1700 nm for ICG-NIRF-II) NIR windows using human extracted teeth; our study is compared with the traditional prevalent X-ray imaging and NIR II illumination (NIRi-II, 1310 nm) without ICG enhancement. The results show that ICG fluorescence has much better imaging contrast in both windows compared with NIRi-II (by quantitatively comparing NIR intensity of the critical neighboring structures, such as enamel and dentin)...
April 5, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Neeha Zaidi, Sergio A Quezada, Janelle M Y Kuroiwa, Li Zhang, Elizabeth M Jaffee, Ralph M Steinman, Bei Wang
One successful class of cancer immunotherapies, immune checkpoint inhibitory antibodies, disrupts key pathways that regulate immune checkpoints, such as cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4). These agents unleash the potency of antigen-experienced T cells that have already been induced as a consequence of the existing tumor. But only 20% of cancers naturally induce T cells. For most cancers, vaccines are require to induce and mobilize T effector cells (Teffs ) to traffick into tumors. We evaluated the effects of anti-CTLA-4 given in combination with an antigen-specific dendritic cell vaccine on intratumoral Teffs in a murine pancreatic cancer model...
April 4, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Olufolakemi Anjorin, Oluchi Okpala, Olutayo Adeyemi
Nigeria has an alarming prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies that has persisted over decades. National Micronutrient Deficiency Control (MNDC) guidelines describe several interventions to address the issue. This study identified and described currently implemented interventions, assessed coverage and coordination of the interventions, and considered the risk of overdosage and gaps. Methods included reviews of policy and program documents, key informant interviews, market, and pharmacy visits. The study found that an array of MNDC interventions were being implemented, including public health supplementation, mandatory fortification, point-of-use fortification, biofortification, promotion of dietary diversity, voluntary fortification, and ad hoc individual supplement use...
April 3, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Robert Hieronymus, Sabine Müller
The hairpin ribozyme is a small, naturally occurring RNA that catalyzes the reversible cleavage of RNA substrates. Among the small endonucleolytic ribozymes, the hairpin ribozyme possesses the unique feature of the internal equilibrium between cleavage and ligation being shifted toward ligation. This allows control of the reaction outcome by structural design: fragments that are strongly bound to the ribozyme are preferentially ligated, whereas substrates that easily dissociate upon cleavage, such that they are not available for religation, are preferentially cleaved...
April 2, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Weisong Shen, Hongqing Xi, Chenyang Li, Shibo Bian, Haidong Cheng, Jianxin Cui, Ning Wang, Bo Wei, Xiaohui Huang, Lin Chen
Endothelin-A receptor (ETAR) is overexpressed in cancers and can function through transactivation of the epidermal growth factor receptor. We explored ETAR in gastric cancer and investigated the antitumor effect of trastuzumab in combination with the ETAR antagonist ZD4054. The expression of ETAR was significantly correlated with the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor. Univariate and multivariate analyses further showed that ETAR expression correlated with reduced survival in gastric cancer patients...
April 2, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Yumi Imai, Ryan S Cousins, Siming Liu, Brian M Phelps, Joseph A Promes
Obesity is the major contributing factor for the increased prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in recent years. Sustained positive influx of lipids is considered to be a precipitating factor for beta cell dysfunction and serves as a connection between obesity and T2D. Importantly, fatty acids (FA), a key building block of lipids, are a double-edged sword for beta cells. FA acutely increase glucose-stimulated insulin secretion through cell-surface receptor and intracellular pathways. However, chronic exposure to FA, combined with elevated glucose, impair the viability and function of beta cells in vitro and in animal models of obesity (glucolipotoxicity), providing an experimental basis for the propensity of beta cell demise under obesity in humans...
April 2, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Winifred F Frick, Tigga Kingston, Jon Flanders
Bats are an ecologically and taxonomically diverse group accounting for roughly a fifth of mammalian diversity worldwide. Many of the threats bats face (e.g., habitat loss, bushmeat hunting, and climate change) reflect the conservation challenges of our era. However, compared to other mammals and birds, we know significantly less about the population status of most bat species, which makes prioritizing and planning conservation actions challenging. Over a third of bat species assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are considered threatened or data deficient, and well over half of the species have unknown or decreasing population trends...
April 2, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Sahar I Da'as, Angelos Thanassoulas, Brian L Calver, Konrad Beck, Rola Salem, Alaaeldin Saleh, Iris Kontogianni, Ali Al-Maraghi, Gheyath K Nasrallah, Bared Safieh-Garabedian, Egon Toft, George Nounesis, F Anthony Lai, Michail Nomikos
Calmodulin (CaM) is a universal calcium (Ca2+ )-binding messenger that regulates many vital cellular events. In cardiac muscle, CaM associates with ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2) and regulates excitation-contraction coupling. Mutations in human genes CALM1, CALM2, and CALM3 have been associated with life-threatening heart disorders, such as long QT syndrome (LQTS) and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. A novel de novo LQTS-associated missense CaM mutation (E105A) was recently identified in a 6-year-old boy, who experienced an aborted first episode of cardiac arrest...
April 2, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Hervé Seligmann
Phyloproteomics indicate common viral origin from ancient cells before archaea, bacteria, and eukaryota split and subsequent size and complexity reductions occurred. Further independent evidence for the cellular origin of viruses is reviewed for the virus order Megavirales, focusing on the family Poxviridae. Megavirales comprises giant viruses, double-stranded DNA viruses whose genomes exceed some bacterial ones and large enough to parasitize large-celled protists (amoeba). Giant viruses, virophages, and mitochondria have homologous DNA and RNA polymerases and share RNA splicing punctuation by stem-loop hairpins...
March 28, 2019: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
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