245 research outputs found


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    Seagrass communities are considered one of the most productive and complex marine ecosystems. Seagrasses belong to a small group of 66 species that can form extensive meadows in all coastal areas of our planet. Posidonia oceanica beds are the most characteristic ecosystem of the Mediterranean Sea, and should be constantly monitored, preserved and maintained, as specified by EU Habitats Directive for priority habitats. Underwater 3D imaging by means of still or video cameras can allow a detailed analysis of the temporal evolution of these meadows, but also of the seafloor morphology and integrity. Video-photographic devices and open source software for acquiring and managing 3D optical data rapidly became more and more effective and economically viable, making underwater 3D mapping an easier task to carry out. 3D reconstruction of the underwater scene can be obtained with photogrammetric techniques that require just one or more digital cameras, also in stereo configuration. In this work we present the preliminary results of a pilot 3D mapping project applied to the P. oceanica meadow in the Marine Protected Area of Capo Rizzuto (KR, Calabria Region &ndash; Italy)

    A comparison of lysosomal enzymes expression levels in peripheral blood of mild- and severe-Alzheimer’s disease and MCI patients: implications for regenerative medicine approaches

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    The association of lysosomal dysfunction and neurodegeneration has been documented in several neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Herein, we investigate the association of lysosomal enzymes with AD at different stages of progression of the disease (mild and severe) or with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). We conducted a screening of two classes of lysosomal enzymes: glycohydrolases (β-Hexosaminidase, β-Galctosidase, β-Galactosylcerebrosidase, β-Glucuronidase) and proteases (Cathepsins S, D, B, L) in peripheral blood samples (blood plasma and PBMCs) from mild AD, severe AD, MCI and healthy control subjects. We confirmed the lysosomal dysfunction in severe AD patients and added new findings enhancing the association of abnormal levels of specific lysosomal enzymes with the mild AD or severe AD, and highlighting the difference of AD from MCI. Herein, we showed for the first time the specific alteration of β-Galctosidase (Gal), β-Galactosylcerebrosidase (GALC) in MCI patients. It is notable that in above peripheral biological samples the lysosomes are more sensitive to AD cellular metabolic alteration when compared to levels of Aβ-peptide or Tau proteins, similar in both AD groups analyzed. Collectively, our findings support the role of lysosomal enzymes as potential peripheral molecules that vary with the progression of AD, and make them useful for monitoring regenerative medicine approaches for AD

    Sibling Resemblance For Psychiatric Disorders In Offspring At High And Low Risk For Depression

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    This study examined sibling resemblance for major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, and conduct disorder, in offspring at high and low risk for depression by virtue of parental diagnosis. The sample, which ranged in age from 6 to 23 years, included 164 sibling pairs at high risk, and 68 sibling pairs at low risk. Each cohort was assessed at two waves separated by a 2-year period. Sibling resemblance in the high risk cohort was substantially greater than resemblance in the low risk cohort for anxiety disorder (and comorbid conditions including anxiety disorder), but not depression. Discussion focused on the possibility that anxiety disorder may reflect the most pronounced familial influences common to siblings at high risk for depression

    Antitumor activity and expression profiles of genes induced by sulforaphane in human melanoma cells

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    Purpose Human melanoma is a highly aggressive incurable cancer due to intrinsic cellular resistance to apoptosis, reprogramming, proliferation and survival during tumour progression. Sulforaphane (SFN), an isothiocyanate found in cruciferous vegetables, plays a role in carcinogenesis in many cancer types. However, the cytotoxic molecular mechanisms and gene expression profiles promoted by SFN in human melanoma remain unknown. Methods Three different cell lines were used: two human melanoma A375 and 501MEL and human epidermal melanocytes (HEMa). Cell viability and proliferation, cell cycle analysis, cell migration and invasion and protein expression and phosphorylation status of Akt and p53 upon SFN treatment were determined. RNA-seq of A375 was performed at different time points after SFN treatment. Results We demonstrated that SFN strongly decreased cell viability and proliferation, induced G2/M cell cycle arrest, promoted apoptosis through the activation of caspases 3, 8, 9 and hampered migration and invasion abilities in the melanoma cell lines. Remarkably, HEMa cells were not affected by SFN treatment. Transcriptomic analysis revealed regulation of genes involved in response to stress, apoptosis/cell death and metabolic processes. SFN upregulated the expression of pro-apoptotic genes, such as p53, BAX, PUMA, FAS and MDM2; promoted cell cycle inhibition and growth arrest by upregulating EGR1, GADD45B, ATF3 and CDKN1A; and simultaneously acted as a potent inhibitor of genotoxicity by launching the stress-inducible protein network (HMOX1, HSPA1A, HSPA6, SOD1). Conclusion Overall, the data show that SFN cytotoxicity in melanoma derives from complex and concurrent mechanisms during carcinogenesis, which makes it a promising cancer prevention agent

    UK Anti-Slavery at the Border: Humanitarian Opportunism and the Challenge of Victim Consent to Assistance

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    The UK’s Modern Slavery Strategy, launched in 2014, gives Border Force Officers a key role as anti-slavery first responders, identifying and supporting victims at the border. Yet, while an estimated 94% of victims of human trafficking cross UK borders, in 2016 less than 3% of victim referrals were made at the border. This article draws on a series of in-depth interviews with a specialised Safeguarding and Anti-Trafficking team within the UK Border Force to shed light on this discrepancy and, in doing so, to take forward critical debates about the coherence of humanitarian anti-slavery policy and the consistency of its ambitions with a continued prioritization by governments of security policy and immigration control. The paper furthers two key arguments. First, that current policy around anti-slavery first response at the border is grounded in a rationale of ‘humanitarian opportunism’, which states that borders are sites of unique opportunity to identify and assist victims of trafficking, and that Border Force Officers therefore have a humanitarian duty to identify and assist victims. Second, that the humanitarian opportunity is in reality far more restricted in practice than the policy rhetoric suggests, a fact which goes some way to explaining the very small numbers of those identified as trafficked and assisted at UK borders. Two key challenges to successful identification and support are identified. The first is EU freedom of movement, which effectively exempts European citizens from vulnerability screening by Border Force Officers. The second is the requirement that Border Force Officers obtain written consent from those identified as trafficked to being labelled a victim of crime before they can be offered support. The paper puts forward some suggestions for how these challenges could be addressed for the benefit of those trafficked

    Using twins to better understand sibling relationships

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    We compared the nature of the sibling relationship in dyads of varying genetic relatedness, employing a behavioural genetic design to estimate the contribution that genes and the environment have on this familial bond. Two samples were used—the Sisters and Brothers Study consisted of 173 families with two target non-twin children (mean ages = 7.42 and 5.22 years respectively); and the Twins, Family and Behaviour study included 234 families with two target twin children (mean age = 4.70 years). Mothers and fathers reported on their children’s relationship with each other, via a postal questionnaire (the Sisters and Brothers Study) or a telephone interview (the Twins, Family and Behaviour study). Contrary to expectations, no mean level differences emerged when monozygotic twin pairs, dizygotic twin pairs, and non-twin pairs were compared on their sibling relationship quality. Behavioural genetic analyses also revealed that the sibling bond was modestly to moderately influenced by the genetic propensities of the children within the dyad, and moderately to substantially influenced by the shared environment common to both siblings. In addition, for sibling negativity, we found evidence of twin-specific environmental influence—dizygotic twins showed more reciprocity than did non-twins. Our findings have repercussions for the broader application of results from future twin-based investigations

    Recovering or Persisting: The Immunopathological Features of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Children

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    Background. The profile of cellular immunological responses of children across the spectrum of COVID-19, ranging from acute SARS-CoV-2 infection to full recovery or Long COVID, has not yet been fully investigated. Methods. We examined and compared cytokines in sera and cell subsets in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (B and regulatory T lymphocytes) collected from four distinct groups of children, distributed as follows: younger than 18 years of age with either acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 49); fully recovered from COVID-19 (n = 32); with persistent symptoms (Long COVID, n = 51); and healthy controls (n = 9). Results. In the later stages after SARS-CoV-2 infection, the cohorts of children, both with recovered and persistent symptoms, showed skewed T and B subsets, with remarkable differences when compared with children at the onset of the infection and with controls. The frequencies of IgD+CD27− naïve B cells, IgD+IgM+ and CD27−IgM+CD38dim B cells were higher in children with recent infection than in those with an older history of disease (p &lt; 0.0001 for all); similarly, the total and natural Tregs compartments were more represented in children at onset when compared with Long COVID (p &lt; 0.0001 and p = 0.0005, respectively). Despite the heterogeneity, partially due to age, sex and infection incidence, the susceptibility of certain children to develop persistent symptoms after infection appeared to be associated with the imbalance of the adaptive immune response. Following up and comparing recovered versus Long COVID patients, we analyzed the role of circulating naïve and switched B and regulatory T lymphocytes in counteracting the evolution of the symptomatology emerged, finding an interesting correlation between the amount and ability to reconstitute the natural Tregs component with the persistence of symptoms (linear regression, p = 0.0026). Conclusions. In this study, we suggest that children affected by Long COVID may have a compromised ability to switch from the innate to the adaptive immune response, as supported by our data showing a contraction of naïve and switched B cell compartment and an unstable balance of regulatory T lymphocytes occurring in these children. However, further prospective immunological studies are needed to better clarify which factors (epigenetic, diet, environment, etc.) are involved in the impairment of the immunological mechanisms in the Long COVID patients
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