96,022 research outputs found

    What is the importance of sperm subpopulations?

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    .The study of sperm subpopulations spans three decades. The origin, meaning, and practical significance, however, are less clear. Current technology for assessing sperm morphology (CASA-Morph) and motility (CASA-Mot) has enabled the accurate evaluation of these features, and there are many options for data classification. Subpopulations could occur as a result of the stage of development of each spermatozoon in the subpopulation. Spermatogenesis might contribute to the production of these subpopulations. Insights from evolutionary biology and recent molecular research are indicative of the diversity among male gametes that could occur from unequal sharing of transcripts and other elements through cytoplasmic bridges between spermatids. Sperm cohorts exiting the gonads would contain different RNA and protein contents, affecting the spermatozoon physiology and associations with the surrounding environmental milieu. Subsequently, these differences could affect how spermatozoa interact with the environmental milieu (maturation, mixing with seminal plasma, and interacting with the environmental milieu, or female genital tract and female gamete). The emergence of sperm subpopulations as an outcome of evolution, related to the reproductive strategies of the species, genital tract structures, and copulatory and fertilization processes. This kind of approach in determining the importance of sperm subpopulations in fertilization capacity should have a practical impact for conducting reproductive technologies, inspiring and enabling new ways for the more efficient use of spermatozoa in the medical, animal breeding, and conservation fields. This manuscript is a contribution to the Special Issue in memory of Dr. Duane GarnerS

    Identification of Hindbrain Neural Substrates for Motor Initiation in the hatchling Xenopus laevis Tadpole

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    Animal survival profoundly depends on the ability to detect stimuli in the environment, process them and respond accordingly. In this respect, motor responses to a sensory stimulation evolved into a variety of coordinated movements, which involve the control of brain centres over spinal locomotor circuits. The hatchling Xenopus tadpole, even in its embryonic stage, is able to detect external sensory information and to swim away if the stimulus is considered noxious. To do so, the tadpole relies on well-known ascending sensory pathway, which carries the sensory information to the brain. When the stimulus is strong enough, descending interneurons are activated, leading to the excitation of spinal CPG neurons, which causes the undulatory movement of swimming. However, the activation of descending interneurons that marks the initiation of motor response appears after a long delay from the sensory stimulation. Furthermore, the long-latency response is variable in time, as observed in the slow-summating excitation measured in descending interneurons. These two features, i.e. long-latency and variability, cannot be explained by the firing time and pattern of the ascending sensory pathway of the Xenopus tadpole. Therefore, a novel neuronal population has been proposed to lie in the hindbrain of the tadpole, and being able to 'hold' the sensory information, thus accounting for the long and variable delay of swim initiation. In this work, the role of the hindbrain in the maintenance of the long and variable response to trunk skin stimulation is investigated in the Xenopustadpole at developmental stage 37/38. A multifaceted approach has been used to unravel the neuronal mechanisms underlying the delayed motor response, including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology analysis of fictive swimming, hindbrain extracellular recordings and imaging experiments. Two novel neuronal populations have been identified in the tadpole's hindbrain, which exhibit activation patterns compatible with the role of delaying the excitation of the spinal locomotor circuit. Future work on cellular properties and synaptic connections of these newly discovered populations might shed light on the mechanism of descending control active at embryonic stage. Identifying supraspinal neuronal populations in an embryonic organism could aid in understanding mechanisms of descending motor control in more complex vertebrates

    South Yorkshire low carbon energy supply chains: insulation sector summary

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    South Yorkshire low carbon energy supply chains: hydrogen sector summary

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    Uso de las histonas circulantes y sus modificaciones post-traduccionales como biomarcadores en sepsis y shock séptico

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    La sepsis es una afecci√≥n potencialmente mortal causada por una respuesta anormal del hu√©sped a una infecci√≥n, produciendo respuestas fisiol√≥gicas alteradas que da√Īan los propios tejidos del paciente y pueden provocar disfunci√≥n org√°nica e incluso la muerte. Asimismo, algunos pacientes s√©pticos progresan a shock s√©ptico, caracterizado por alteraciones circulatorias, celulares y metab√≥licas sustanciales que aumentan el riesgo de mortalidad. A pesar de que la sepsis se caracteriza por un mal funcionamiento del sistema inmunol√≥gico, lo que a su vez conduce a una respuesta inmune alterada e inmunosupresi√≥n, la alta complejidad de la fisiopatolog√≠a de la sepsis requiere una mayor investigaci√≥n para comprender las respuestas inmunes que ocurren durante la sepsis. Asimismo, las histonas extracelulares circulantes han ganado relevancia como mediadores citot√≥xicos en la sepsis, ya que act√ļan como patrones moleculares asociados a da√Īo, que inducen estr√©s oxidativo y activan el inflamasoma NLRP3. Estos mecanismos median la activaci√≥n de la piroptosis, un mecanismo de muerte celular programada que produce inflamaci√≥n mediante la expresi√≥n de IL-18, IL-1ő≤ and IL-1őĪ. Sin embargo, a pesar de la evidencia de activaci√≥n del inflamasoma en las c√©lulas inmunes durante la sepsis, se desconoce si las histonas extracelulares son capaces de activar los inflamasomas endoteliales y sus consecuencias. En este trabajo destacamos el papel previamente desconocido de las histonas extracelulares, mediando la activaci√≥n del inflamasoma NLRP3 y la piroptosis en las c√©lulas endoteliales, contribuyendo a la disfunci√≥n endotelial y la desregulaci√≥n de la respuesta inmune mediada por el endotelio. Asimismo, tambi√©n demostramos c√≥mo la acetilaci√≥n de histonas disminuye la activaci√≥n de la piroptosis. Adem√°s, demostramos que la piroptosis se produce en pacientes con shock s√©ptico y los niveles de histonas circulantes se correlacionan con la expresi√≥n de citoquinas proinflamatorias y citoquinas piropt√≥ticas, la liberaci√≥n de factores de adhesi√≥n endotelial y la gravedad de la enfermedad. Proponemos la piroptosis mediada por histonas como un nuevo objetivo para desarrollar intervenciones cl√≠nicas. De manera similar, hemos analizado las respuestas inmunorelacionadas que ocurren durante las primeras etapas de la sepsis con el objetivo de proporcionar nuevos datos comparando las cantidades de citoquinas, inmunomoduladores y otros mediadores endoteliales en pacientes cr√≠ticamente enfermos no s√©pticos, s√©pticos y de shock s√©ptico. Nuestro enfoque ayudar√° a caracterizar r√°pidamente las respuestas inmunes alteradas en pacientes s√©pticos y de shock s√©ptico ingresados en la Unidad de Cuidados Intensivos. Finalmente analizamos el papel de la metilaci√≥n del ADN en el control del sistema inmune s√©ptico. Nuestros resultados demostraron el papel central de la metilaci√≥n del ADN modulando la respuesta molecular en los pacientes de shock s√©ptico y contribuyendo a la inmunosupresi√≥n, a trav√©s de la alteraci√≥n de los patrones de metilaci√≥n de los promotores de IL-10 y TREM-2.Sepsis is a life-threatening condition caused by an abnormal host response to an infection that produce altered physiological responses which damages own tissues of the patient and can result in organ dysfunction and in some cases death. Likewise, a subset of septic patients progresses to septic shock, characterized by substantial circulatory, cellular and metabolic abnormalities, which substantially increase the risk of mortality. Sepsis is characterized by a malfunction of the immune system and it can lead to an altered immune response and immunosuppression. Moreover, the high complexity of the pathophysiology of sepsis requires of further investigation to characterize the immune responses in sepsis and septic shock. Likewise, circulating extracellular histones have gained relevance as cytotoxic mediators in sepsis pathophysiology, since they act as damage-associated molecular patterns, which induce oxidative stress and activate NLRP3 inflammasome. Subsequently, inflammasome mediates pyroptosis activation, a programmed cell death mechanism that produces inflammation through the release of IL-18, IL-1ő≤ and IL-1őĪ. However, despite inflammasome activation may occur in immune cells during sepsis, it is unknown if this process also takes place in endothelial cells and particularly whether extracellular histones are capable of activating endothelial inflammasomes and their consequences. In this work we highlight a previously unknown role for extracellular histones, that mediates the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome and pyroptosis in endothelial cells by contributing to endothelial dysfunction and the dysregulation of the immune response mediated by endothelium. Likewise, we demonstrated how histone acetylation decreases pyroptosis activation. Furthermore, we show how pyroptosis occurs in septic shock patients and how circulating histone levels correlate with the expression of pro-inflammatory and pyroptotic cytokines, the release of endothelial adhesion factors and septic shock severity. We propose histone-mediated pyroptosis as a new target to develop clinical interventions. Similarly, we have analyzed the immune-related responses occurring during the early stages of sepsis with the aim of providing new data by comparing the amounts of cytokines, immune modulators and other endothelial mediators in critically-ill non-septic patients, septic and septic shock patients. Our approach will help to rapidly characterize the altered immune responses in septic and septic shock patients admitted in the Intensive Care Unit. Finally, we also analyzed the role of DNA methylation in the control of septic immune system. Our results demonstrated the central role of DNA methylation modulating the molecular response in septic shock patients and contributing to immunosuppression, through the alteration of DNA methylation patterns of IL-10 and TREM2 promoters

    The company she keeps : The social and interpersonal construction of girls same sex friendships

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    This thesis begins a critical analysis of girls' 'private' interpersonal and social relations as they are enacted within two school settings. It is the study of these marginal subordinated worlds productivity of forms of femininity which provides the main narrative of this project. I seek to understand these processes of (best) friendship construction through a feminist multi-disciplinary frame, drawing upon cultural studies, psychoanalysis and accounts of gender politics. I argue that the investments girls bring to their homosocial alliances and boundary drawing narry a psychological compulsion which is complexly connected to their own experiences within the mother/daughter bond as well as reflecting positively an immense social debt to the permissions girls have to be nurturant and ; negatively their own reproduction of oppressive exclusionary practices. Best friendship in particular gives girls therefore, the experience of 'monogamy' continuous of maternal/daughter identification, reminiscent of their positioning inside monopolistic forms of heterosexuality. But these subcultures also represent a subversive discontinuity to the public dominance of boys/teachers/adults in schools and to the ideologies and practices of heterosociality and heterosexuality. By taking seriously their transmission of the values of friendship in their chosen form of notes and diaries for example, I was able to access the means whereby they were able to resist their surveillance and control by those in power over them. I conclude by arguing that it is through a recognition of the valency of these indivisiblly positive and negative aspects to girls cultures that Equal Opportunities practitioners must begin if they are serious about their ambitions. Methods have to be made which enable girls to transfer their 'private' solidarities into the 'public' realm, which unquestionably demands contesting with them the causes and consequences of their implication in the divisions which also contaminate their lives and weaken them

    Reforming the United Nations

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    The thesis deals with the financial crisis that the United Nations faced starting in 1985 when the US Congress decided to withhold a significant part of the US contribution to the UN regular budget in order to force a greater say for the major contributors on budgetary issues, budgetary restraint and greater efficiency. The UN responded by the adoption of resolution 41/213 of 19 December 1986 that was based on the recommendations of a Group of High-level Intergovernmental Experts ("G-18") set up a year earlier. A new system was introduced regarding the formulation of the regular budget of the United Nations Organisation and a broader process of reform was initiated including a restructuring of the Secretariat and of the intergovernmental machinery in the economic and social fields. After an introductory chapter (Chapter I), the thesis examines the UN problems at the budgetary/financial and administrative/structural levels, the solutions proposed from within and without the United Nations established framework and the actual attempts at reform (Chapters II and ifi). The realisation that the implementation of reforms is rather disjointed and often unsuccessful (e.g. the failure to restructure the intergovernmental machi.neiy) prompts a search for the deeper causes of the UN problems at the political level and the attitudes of the main actors, namely the USA, the USSR, some up-and-coming states, notably Japan, the Third World states and, finally, of the UN Secretary-General and the Secretariat (Chapter 1V). Although the financial crisis may have subsided since 1988 and the USA seem committed to paying up their dues, the deeper UN crisis of identity has not been resolved and is expected to resurface if no bold steps are taken. In that direction, some possible alternative courses for the UN in the future are discussed drawing upon theory and practice (Chapte

    Metabolic phenotyping of opioid and psychostimulant addiction: A novel approach for biomarker discovery and biochemical understanding of the disorder.

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    Despite the progress in characterising the pharmacological profile of drugs of abuse, their precise biochemical impact remains unclear. The metabolome reflects the multifaceted biochemical processes occurring within a biological system. This includes those encoded in the genome but also those arising from environmental/exogenous exposures and interactions between the two. Using metabolomics, the biochemical derangements associated with substance abuse can be determined as the individual transitions from recreational drug to chronic use (dependence). By understanding the biomolecular perturbations along this time course and how they vary across individuals, metabolomics can elucidate biochemical mechanisms of the addiction cycle (dependence/withdrawal/relapse) and predict prognosis (recovery/relapse). In this review, we summarise human and animal metabolomic studies in the field of opioid and psychostimulant addiction. We highlight the importance of metabolomics as a powerful approach for biomarker discovery and its potential to guide personalised pharmacotherapeutic strategies for addiction targeted towards the individual's metabolome

    Recent Hong Kong cinema and the generic role of film noir in relation to the politics of identity and difference

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    This thesis identifies a connection in Hong Kong cinema with classical Hollywood film noir and examines what it will call a 'reinvestment' in film noir in recent films. It will show that this reinvestment is a discursive strategy that both engages the spectator-subject in the cinematic practice and disengages him or her from the hegemony of the discourse by decentring the narrative. The thesis argues that a cinematic practice has occurred in the recent reinvestment of film noir in Hong Kong, which restages the intertextual relay of the historical genre that gives rise to an expectation of ideas about social instability. The noir vision that is seen as related to the fixed categories of film narratives, characterizations and visual styles is reassessed in the course of the thesis using Derridian theory. The focus of analysis is the way in which the constitution of meanings is dependent on generic characteristics that are different. Key to the phenomenon is a film strategy that destabilizes, differs and defers the interpretation of crises-personal, social, political and/or cultural-by soliciting self-conscious re-reading of suffering, evil, fate, chance and fortune. It will be argued that such a strategy evokes the genre expectation as the film invokes a network of ideas regarding a world perceived by the audience in association with the noirish moods of claustrophobia, paranoia, despair and nihilism. The noir vision is thus mutated and transformed when the film device differs and defers the conception of the crises as tragic in nature by exposing the workings of the genre amalgamation and the ideological function of the cinematic discourse. Thus, noirishness becomes both an affect and an agent that contrives a self-reflexive re-reading of the tragic vision and of the conventional comprehension of reality within the discursive practice. The film strategy, as an agent that problematizes the film form and narrative, gives rise to what I call a politics of difference, which may also be understood as the Lyotardian 'language game' or a practice of 'pastiche' in Jameson's terminology. Under the influence of the film strategy, the spectator is enabled to negotiate his or her understanding of recent Hong Kong cinema diegetically and extra-diegetically by traversing different positions of cinematic identification. When the practice of genre amalgamation adopts the visual impact of the noirish film form, the film turns itself into a playing field of 'fatal' misrecognition or a site of question. Through cinematic identification and alienation from the identification, the spectator-subject is enabled to experience the misrecognition as the film slowly foregrounds the way in which the viewer's presence is implicated in the narrative. This thesis demonstrates that certain contemporary Hong Kong films introduce this selfconscious mode of explication and interpretation, which solicits the spectator to negotiate his or her subject-position in the course of viewing. The notions of identity and subjectivity under scrutiny will thus be reread. With reference to The Private Eye Blue, Swordsman II, City a/Glass and Happy Together, the thesis shall explore the ways in which the Hong Kong films enable and facilitate a negotiation of cultural identity
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