364 research outputs found

    The potential role of podoplanin in tumour invasion

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    Podoplanin is a small mucin-like transmembrane protein, widely expressed in various specialised cell types throughout the body. Here, we revisit the mechanism of podoplanin-mediated tumour invasion. We compare molecular pathways leading to single and collective cell invasion and discuss novel distinct concepts of tumour cell invasion

    Immunogenic Profiling in Mice of a HIV/AIDS Vaccine Candidate (MVA-B) Expressing Four HIV-1 Antigens and Potentiation by Specific Gene Deletions

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    BACKGROUND: The immune parameters of HIV/AIDS vaccine candidates that might be relevant in protection against HIV-1 infection are still undefined. The highly attenuated poxvirus strain MVA is one of the most promising vectors to be use as HIV-1 vaccine. We have previously described a recombinant MVA expressing HIV-1 Env, Gag, Pol and Nef antigens from clade B (referred as MVA-B), that induced HIV-1-specific immune responses in different animal models and gene signatures in human dendritic cells (DCs) with immunoregulatory function. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In an effort to characterize in more detail the immunogenic profile of MVA-B and to improve its immunogenicity we have generated a new vector lacking two genes (A41L and B16R), known to counteract host immune responses by blocking the action of CC-chemokines and of interleukin 1beta, respectively (referred as MVA-B DeltaA41L/DeltaB16R). A DNA prime/MVA boost immunization protocol was used to compare the adaptive and memory HIV-1 specific immune responses induced in mice by the parental MVA-B and by the double deletion mutant MVA-B DeltaA41L/DeltaB16R. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that both vectors triggered HIV-1-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, with the CD8(+) T-cell compartment responsible for >91.9% of the total HIV-1 responses in both immunization groups. However, MVA-B DeltaA41L/DeltaB16R enhanced the magnitude and polyfunctionality of the HIV-1-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell immune responses. HIV-1-specific CD4(+) T-cell responses were polyfunctional and preferentially Env-specific in both immunization groups. Significantly, while MVA-B induced preferentially Env-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses, MVA-B DeltaA41L/DeltaB16R induced more GPN-specific CD8(+) T-cell responses, with an enhanced polyfunctional pattern. Both vectors were capable of producing similar levels of antibodies against Env. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings revealed that MVA-B and MVA-B DeltaA41L/DeltaB16R induced in mice robust, polyfunctional and durable T-cell responses to HIV-1 antigens, but the double deletion mutant showed enhanced magnitude and quality of HIV-1 adaptive and memory responses. Our observations are relevant in the immune evaluation of MVA-B and on improvements of MVA vectors as HIV-1 vaccines

    Ecosystem Resilience and Threshold Response in the GalĂĄpagos Coastal Zone

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    Background: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides a conservative estimate on rates of sea-level rise of 3.8 mm yr⁻Âč at the end of the 21st century, which may have a detrimental effect on ecologically important mangrove ecosystems. Understanding factors influencing the long-term resilience of these communities is critical but poorly understood. We investigate ecological resilience in a coastal mangrove community from the GalĂĄpagos Islands over the last 2700 years using three research questions: What are the 'fast and slow' processes operating in the coastal zone? Is there evidence for a threshold response? How can the past inform us about the resilience of the modern system?Methodology/Principal Findings: Palaeoecological methods (AMS radiocarbon dating, stable carbon isotopes (ÎŽ13C)) were used to reconstruct sedimentation rates and ecological change over the past 2,700 years at Diablas lagoon, Isabela, GalĂĄpagos. Bulk geochemical analysis was also used to determine local environmental changes, and salinity was reconstructed using a diatom transfer function. Changes in relative sea level (RSL) were estimated using a glacio-isostatic adjustment model. Non-linear behaviour was observed in the Diablas mangrove ecosystem as it responded to increased salinities following exposure to tidal inundations. A negative feedback was observed which enabled the mangrove canopy to accrete vertically, but disturbances may have opened up the canopy and contributed to an erosion of resilience over time. A combination of drier climatic conditions and a slight fall in RSL then resulted in a threshold response, from a mangrove community to a microbial mat.Conclusions/Significance: Palaeoecological records can provide important information on the nature of non-linear behaviour by identifying thresholds within ecological systems, and in outlining responses to 'fast and slow' environmental change between alternative stable states. This study highlights the need to incorporate a long-term ecological perspective when designing strategies for maximizing coastal resilience.</p

    Vascular disrupting action of electroporation and electrochemotherapy with bleomycin in murine sarcoma

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    Electrochemotherapy has a direct cytotoxic effect on tumour cells, and presumably, a vascular disrupting effect. In this study, on the basis of the prediction of the mathematical model, histological evaluation and physiological measurements of the tumours were carried out to confirm that electroporation and electrochemotherapy of tumours have a vascular disrupting action. In the study, SA-1 solid subcutaneous sarcoma tumours in A/J mice were treated by bleomycin (BLM) given intravenously (1 mg kg−1), application of electric pulses (8 pulses, 1040 V, 100 Όs, 1 Hz) or a combination of both – electrochemotherapy. The vascular effect was determined by laser Doppler flowmetry, power Doppler ultrasonographic imaging and Patent blue staining. The extent of tumour hypoxia was determined immunohistochemically by hypoxia marker pimonidazole and partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) in tumours by electron paramagnetic resonance oximetry. Electrochemotherapy with BLM induced good antitumour effect with 22 days, tumour growth delay and 38% tumour cures. The application of electric pulses to the tumours induced instant but transient tumour blood flow reduction (for 70%) that was recovered in 24 h. During this tumour blood flow reduction, we determined an increase in hypoxic tumour area for up to 30%, which was also reflected in reduced tumour oxygenation (for 70%). According to the described mathematical model, endothelial cells lining in tumour blood vessels are exposed to a ∌40% higher electric field than the surrounding tumour cells, and therefore easily electroporated, allowing access of high BLM concentration to the cytosol. Consequently, electrochemotherapy has, besides the immediate vascular disrupting action, also a delayed one (after 24 h), as a consequence of endothelial cell swelling and apoptosis demonstrated by extensive tumour necrosis, tumour hypoxia, prolonged reduction of tumour blood flow and significant tumour growth delay, and tumour cures. Our results demonstrate that in addition to the well-established direct cytotoxic effect on tumour cells, electrochemotherapy also has an indirect vascular disrupting action resulting altogether in extensive tumour cell necrosis leading to complete regression of tumours

    Ibero-American Consensus on Low- and No-Calorie Sweeteners: Safety, Nutritional Aspects and Benefits in Food and Beverages

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    International scientific experts in food, nutrition, dietetics, endocrinology, physical activity, paediatrics, nursing, toxicology and public health met in Lisbon on 2-4 July 2017 to develop a Consensus on the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners (LNCS) as substitutes for sugars and other caloric sweeteners. LNCS are food additives that are broadly used as sugar substitutes to sweeten foods and beverages with the addition of fewer or no calories. They are also used in medicines, health-care products, such as toothpaste, and food supplements. The goal of this Consensus was to provide a useful, evidence-based, point of reference to assist in efforts to reduce free sugars consumption in line with current international public health recommendations. Participating experts in the Lisbon Consensus analysed and evaluated the evidence in relation to the role of LNCS in food safety, their regulation and the nutritional and dietary aspects of their use in foods and beverages. The conclusions of this Consensus were: (1) LNCS are some of the most extensively evaluated dietary constituents, and their safety has been reviewed and confirmed by regulatory bodies globally including the World Health Organisation, the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Food Safety Authority; (2) Consumer education, which is based on the most robust scientific evidence and regulatory processes, on the use of products containing LNCS should be strengthened in a comprehensive and objective way; (3) The use of LNCS in weight reduction programmes that involve replacing caloric sweeteners with LNCS in the context of structured diet plans may favour sustainable weight reduction. Furthermore, their use in diabetes management programmes may contribute to a better glycaemic control in patients, albeit with modest results. LNCS also provide dental health benefits when used in place of free sugars; (4) It is proposed that foods and beverages with LNCS could be included in dietary guidelines as alternative options to products sweetened with free sugars; (5) Continued education of health professionals is required, since they are a key source of information on issues related to food and health for both the general population and patients. With this in mind, the publication of position statements and consensus documents in the academic literature are extremely desirable

    Do hypoxia/normoxia culturing conditions change the neuroregulatory profile of Wharton Jelly mesenchymal stem cells secretome?

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    Introduction: The use of human umbilical cord Wharton Jelly-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hWJ-MSCs) has been considered a new potential source for future safe applications in regenerative medicine. Indeed, the application of hWJ-MSCs into different animal models of disease, including those from the central nervous system, has shown remarkable therapeutic benefits mostly associated with their secretome. Conventionally, hWJ-MSCs are cultured and characterized under normoxic conditions (21 % oxygen tension), although the oxygen levels within tissues are typically much lower (hypoxic) than these standard culture conditions. Therefore, oxygen tension represents an important environmental factor that may affect the performance of mesenchymal stem cells in vivo. However, the impact of hypoxic conditions on distinct mesenchymal stem cell characteristics, such as the secretome, still remains unclear. Methods: In the present study, we have examined the effects of normoxic (21 % O2) and hypoxic (5 % O2) conditions on the hWJ-MSC secretome. Subsequently, we address the impact of the distinct secretome in the neuronal cell survival and differentiation of human neural progenitor cells. Results: The present data indicate that the hWJ-MSC secretome collected from normoxic and hypoxic conditions displayed similar effects in supporting neuronal differentiation of human neural progenitor cells in vitro. However, proteomic analysis revealed that the use of hypoxic preconditioning led to the upregulation of several proteins within the hWJ-MSC secretome. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the optimization of parameters such as hypoxia may lead to the development of strategies that enhance the therapeutic effects of the secretome for future regenerative medicine studies and applications. © 2015 Teixeira et al.Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) (CiĂȘncia 2007 program and IF Development Grant (AJS); and pre-doctoral fellowships to FGT (SFRH/69637/ 2010) and SIA (SFRH/BD/81495/2011); Canada Research Chairs (LAB) and a SSE Postdoctoral Fellowship (KMP); The National Mass Spectrometry Network (RNEM) (REDE/1506/REM/2005); co-funded by Programa Operacional Regional do Norte (ON.2 – O Novo Norte), ao abrigo do Quadro de ReferĂȘncia EstratĂ©gico Nacional (QREN), atravĂ©s do Fundo Europeu de Desenvolvimento Regional (FEDER).info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersio