132 research outputs found

    Quasi-Brittle Fracture Modeling of Preflawed Bitumen Using a Diffuse Interface Model

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    Fundamental understandings on the bitumen fracture mechanism are vital to improve the mixture design of asphalt concrete. In this paper, a diffuse interface model, namely, phase-field method is used for modeling the quasi-brittle fracture in bitumen. This method describes the microstructure using a phase-field variable which assumes one in the intact solid and negative one in the crack region. Only the elastic energy will directly contribute to cracking. To account for the growth of cracks, a nonconserved Allen-Cahn equation is adopted to evolve the phase-field variable. Numerical simulations of fracture are performed in bituminous materials with the consideration of quasi-brittle properties. It is found that the simulation results agree well with classic fracture mechanics

    Cuff-Method Thigh Arterial Occlusion Counteracts Cerebral Hypoperfusion Against the Push–Pull Effect in Humans

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    Exposure to acute transition from negative (−Gz) to positive (+ Gz) gravity significantly impairs cerebral perfusion in pilots of high-performance aircraft during push—pull maneuver. This push—pull effect may raise the risk for loss of vision or consciousness. The aim of the present study was to explore effective countermeasures against cerebral hypoperfusion induced by the push—pull effect. Twenty healthy young volunteers (male, 21 ± 1 year old) were tested during the simulated push–pull maneuver by tilting. A thigh cuff (TC) pressure of 200 mmHg was applied before and during simulated push—pull maneuver (−0.87 to + 1.00 Gz). Beat-to-beat cerebral and systemic hemodynamics were measured continuously. During rapid −Gz to + Gz transition, mean cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) was decreased, but to a lesser extent, in the TC bout compared with the control bout (−3.1 ± 4.9 vs. −7.8 ± 4.4 cm/s, P < 0.001). Similarly, brain-level mean blood pressure showed smaller reduction in the TC bout than in the control bout (−46 ± 12 vs. −61 ± 13 mmHg, P < 0.001). The systolic CBFV was lower but diastolic CBFV was higher in the TC bout. The systemic blood pressure response was blunted in the TC bout, along with similar heart rate increase, smaller decrease, and earlier recovery of total peripheral resistance index than control during the gravitational transition. These data demonstrated that restricting thigh blood flow can effectively mitigate the transient cerebral hypoperfusion induced by rapid shift from −Gz to + Gz, characterized by remarkable improvement of cerebral diastolic flow

    An Ultrasonic-Based Radiomics Nomogram for Distinguishing Between Benign and Malignant Solid Renal Masses

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    ObjectivesThis study was conducted in order to develop and validate an ultrasonic-based radiomics nomogram for diagnosing solid renal masses.MethodsSix hundred renal solid masses with benign renal lesions (n = 204) and malignant renal tumors (n = 396) were divided into a training set (n = 480) and a validation set (n = 120). Radiomics features were extracted from ultrasound (US) images preoperatively and then a radiomics score (RadScore) was calculated. By integrating the RadScore and independent clinical factors, a radiomics nomogram was constructed. The diagnostic performance of junior physician, senior physician, RadScore, and radiomics nomogram in identifying benign from malignant solid renal masses was evaluated based on the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) in both the training and validation sets. The clinical usefulness of the nomogram was assessed using decision curve analysis (DCA).ResultsThe radiomics signature model showed satisfactory discrimination in the training set [area under the ROC (AUC), 0.887; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.860–0.915] and the validation set (AUC, 0.874; 95% CI, 0.816–0.932). The radiomics nomogram also demonstrated good calibration and discrimination in the training set (AUC, 0.911; 95% CI, 0.886–0.936) and the validation set (AUC, 0.861; 95% CI, 0.802–0.921). In addition, the radiomics nomogram model showed higher accuracy in discriminating benign and malignant renal masses compared with the evaluations by junior physician (DeLong p = 0.004), and the model also showed significantly higher specificity than the senior and junior physicians (0.93 vs. 0.57 vs. 0.46).ConclusionsThe ultrasonic-based radiomics nomogram shows favorable predictive efficacy in differentiating solid renal masses

    Influence of floodwater irrigation on vegetation composition and vegetation regeneration in a Taklimakan desert oasis

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    Naturally occurring floods in the summer months are the main source of surface water application in the foreland of Qira oasis, which is characterized by a hyperarid climate and is located at the southern fringe of the Taklimakan Desert. We investigated the impact of repeated artificial flood irrigation on seedling recruitment and growth of Alhagi sparsifolia and Karelinia caspica plant communities which are part of the dominant vegetation in Qira oasis. Flood irrigation was applied three times during the growing season and we studied the effect of irrigation on species recruitment, vegetation growth, species composition, and changes in soil water and nutrient concentrations in the soil profile. Results show that (1) repeated flood irrigation had a positive effect on seedling recruitment of the two species, with vegetative recruitment via root tillers being more important than seed recruitment for both species. (2) Irrigation promoted the germination and establishment of herbaceous weed species, which increased species diversity as well as ground coverage. (3) Irrigation also increased soil water and soil nutrient concentrations in the upper soil layer and changed the soil nutrients in the vertical profile. Available N, P, K and the total P and K increased in the soil profile. Our study demonstrates that naturally occurring flood irrigation has significant ecological benefits and plays an important role in promoting the renewal of desert vegetation and a short-term increase of soil nutrients. Our study also highlights the potential negative consequences for vegetation composition and rejuvenation if naturally occurring floods in the study area are diminished by either the effects of climate change or human management

    Growth, physiological characteristics and ion distribution of NaCl stressed Alhagi sparsifolia seedlings

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    Alhagi sparsifolia is a leguminous perennial desert species that is plays an important role in dune stabilization and revegetation of degraded desert ecosystems. We investigated the effects of three different levels of salinity (50, 150, 250 mmol/L NaCl) on the growth, shoot photosynthetic parameters and salt distribution amongst different plant organs in one-year-old A. sparsifolia seedlings in a pot experiment over a 50 d period. The minimum (predawn) and maximum (midday) water potentials of A. sparsifolia seedlings decreased with the increase of external NaCl concentrations as a consequence of the osmotic or water deficit effect of saline solutions outside the roots. Salinity also reduced gas exchange parameters in A. sparsifolia, with seedlings subjected to salinity having lower photosynthesis rates and reduced stomatal conductances compared to the control. The reductions in photosynthetic rates in high salinity treatments of the A. sparsifolia seedlings were mainly caused by stomatal limitation. Consequently plants growing at greater external NaCl concentrations had significantly lower biomass accumulation compared to the control grown at 50 mmol/L. However, plants exposed to higher salinity were able to maintain growth throughout the experiment but allocated a greater proportion of biomass belowground. Plants exposed to higher external salinity levels had increased concentrations of Na+ and Cl- ions in shoots and roots, suggesting that A. sparsifolia seedlings were utilizing Na+ and Cl- as osmolytes to increase the cellular osmolality and decrease their water potential. We observed the greatest NaCl concentrations in the plants treated with 150 mmol/L NaCl indicating that there may be a threshold level of NaCl that can be tolerated by the plants. In conclusion our results indicate that A. sparsifolia seedlings are moderately salt tolerant. Photosynthetic gas exchange parameters were reduced by greater external salinity but the seedlings maintained substantial photosynthetic rates even under high salinity stress, were able to maintain growth over the 50 d experimental period and showed no signs of salinity toxicity or damage

    Association between platelet distribution width and serum uric acid in Chinese population

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    © 2019 International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Platelet distribution width (PDW) is a simple and inexpensive parameter, which could predict activation of coagulation efficiently. And it has been confirmed to have a significant role in many diseases. We aimed to explore the association between PDW and hyperuricemia in a large Chinese cohort. This cross-sectional study recruited 61,091 ostensible healthy participants (29,259 males and 31,832 females) after implementing exclusion criteria. Clinical data of the enrolled population included anthropometric measurements and serum parameters. Database was sorted by gender, and the association between PDW and hyperuricemia was analyzed after dividing PDW into quartiles. Crude and adjusted odds ratios of PDW for hyperuricemia with 95% confidence intervals were analyzed using binary logistic regression models. We found no significant difference in PDW values between the genders. Males showed significantly higher incidence of hyperuricemia than females. From binary logistic regression models, significant hyperuricemia risks only were demonstrated in PDW quartiles 2 and 3 in males (P < 0.05). This study displayed close association between PDW and hyperuricemia as a risk factor. It is meaningful to use PDW as a clinical risk predictor for hyperuricemia in males. © 2019 BioFactors, 45(3):326–334, 2019

    Nrf2 Deficiency Exaggerates Doxorubicin-Induced Cardiotoxicity and Cardiac Dysfunction

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    The anticancer therapy of doxorubicin (Dox) has been limited by its acute and chronic cardiotoxicity. In addition to a causative role of oxidative stress, autophagy appears to play an important role in the regulation of Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Accordingly, we explored a role of nuclear factor erythroid-2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) in Dox-induced cardiomyopathy with a focus on myocardial oxidative stress and autophagic activity. In wild type (WT) mice, a single intraperitoneal injection of 25 mg/kg Dox rapidly induced cardiomyocyte necrosis and cardiac dysfunction, which were associated with oxidative stress, impaired autophagy, and accumulated polyubiquitinated protein aggregates. However, these Dox-induced adverse effects were exaggerated in Nrf2 knockout (Nrf2−/−) mice. In cultured cardiomyocytes, overexpression of Nrf2 increased the steady levels of LC3-II, ameliorated Dox-induced impairment of autophagic flux and accumulation of ubiquitinated protein aggregates, and suppressed Dox-induced cytotoxicity, whereas knockdown of Nrf2 exerted opposite effects. Moreover, the exaggerated adverse effects in Dox-intoxicated Nrf2 depleted cardiomyocytes were dramatically attenuated by forced activation of autophagy via overexpression of autophagy related gene 5 (Atg5). Thus, these results suggest that Nrf2 is likely an endogenous suppressor of Dox-induced cardiotoxicity by controlling both oxidative stress and autophagy in the heart

    Antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes in global lakes:A review and meta-analysis

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    Lakes are an important source of freshwater, containing nearly 90% of the liquid surface fresh water worldwide. Long retention times in lakes mean pollutants from discharges slowly circulate around the lakes and may lead to high ecological risk for ecosystem and human health. In recent decades, antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) have been regarded as emerging pollutants. The occurrence and distribution of antibiotics and ARGs in global freshwater lakes are summarized to show the pollution level of antibiotics and ARGs and to identify some of the potential risks to ecosystem and human health. Fifty-seven antibiotics were reported at least once in the studied lakes. Our meta-analysis shows that sulfamethoxazole, sulfamerazine, sulfameter, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, erythromycin, and roxithromycin were found at high concentrations in both lake water and lake sediment. There is no significant difference in the concentration of sulfonamides in lake water from China and that from other countries worldwide; however, there was a significant difference in quinolones. Erythromycin had the lowest predicted hazardous concentration for 5% of the species (HC5) and the highest ecological risk in lakes. There was no significant difference in the concentration of sulfonamide resistance genes (sul1 and sul2) in lake water and river water. There is surprisingly limited research on the role of aquatic biota in propagation of ARGs in freshwater lakes. As an environment that is susceptible to cumulative build-up of pollutants, lakes provide an important environment to study the fate of antibiotics and transport of ARGs with a broad range of niches including bacterial community, aquatic plants and animals

    The pervasive effects of recombinant Fasciola gigantica Ras-related protein Rab10 on the functions of goat peripheral blood mononuclear cells

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    Background: Fasciola gigantica-induced immunomodulation is a major hurdle faced by the host for controlling infection. Here, we elucidated the role of F. gigantica Ras-related protein Rab10 (FgRab10) in the modulation of key functions of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of goats.Methods: We cloned and expressed recombinant FgRab10 (rFgRab10) protein and examined its effects on several functions of goat PBMCs. Protein interactors of rFgRab10 were predicted in silico by querying the databases Intact, String, BioPlex and BioGrid. In addition, a total energy analysis of each of the identified interactions was also conducted. Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment analysis was carried out using FuncAssociate 3.0.Results: The FgRab10 gene (618 bp), encodes 205-amino-acid residues with a molecular mass of ~23 kDa, had complete nucleotide sequence homology with F. hepatica Ras family protein gene (PIS87503.1). The rFgRab10 protein specifically cross-reacted with anti-Fasciola antibodies as shown by Western blot and immunofluorescence analysis. This protein exhibited multiple effects on goat PBMCs, including increased production of cytokines [interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-4, IL-10, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) and interferon gamma (IFN-γ)] and total nitric oxide (NO), enhancing apoptosis and migration of PBMCs, and promoting the phagocytic ability of monocytes. However, it significantly inhibited cell proliferation. Homology modelling revealed 63% identity between rFgRab10 and human Rab10 protein (Uniprot ID: P61026). Protein interaction network analysis revealed more stabilizing interactions between Rab proteins geranylgeranyltransferase component A 1 (CHM) and Rab proteins geranylgeranyltransferase component A 2 (CHML) and rFgRab10 protein. Gene Ontology analysis identified RabGTPase mediated signaling as the most represented pathway.Conclusions: rFgRab10 protein exerts profound influences on various functions of goat PBMCs. This finding may help explain why F. gigantica is capable of provoking recognition by host immune cells, less capable of destroying this successful parasite
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