124 research outputs found

    Fabrication of carbon nano-tubes decorated with ultra fine superparamagnetic nano-particles under continuous flow conditions

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    Ultra fine (2–3 nm) magnetite (Fe3O4) nano-particles are uniformly deposited on single-walled carbon nano-tubes (SWCNTs) pre-functionalised with carboxylic acid groups using microwave radiation. The deposition process involves chemical precipitation associated with continuous flow spinning disc processing (SDP), as a rapid, environmentally friendly approach which is readily scalable for large scale synthesis. The resulting decorated SWCNTs are superparamagnetic with specific saturated magnetization of 30 emu g−1

    Encapsulation and Sustained Release of Curcumin using Superparamagnetic Silica Reservoirs

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    For controlled release and targeted delivery of curcumin in an aqueous medium a method of encapsulating curcumin and magnetic nanoparticles inside porous silica matrix has been developed. Curcumin and superparamagnetic nanoparticles are loaded inside porous silica in a single process. The graphic shows the TEM image of microtomed sample of Fe3O4 particles surrounded by a silica matrix

    High resolution crystal structure of a KRAS promoter G-quadruplex reveals a dimer with extensive poly-A pi-stacking interactions for small-molecule recognition

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    Aberrant KRAS signaling is a driver of many cancers and yet remains an elusive target for drug therapy. The nuclease hypersensitive element of the KRAS promoter has been reported to form secondary DNA structures called G-quadruplexes (G4s) which may play important roles in regulating KRAS expression, and has spurred interest in structural elucidation studies of the KRAS G-quadruplexes. Here, we report the first high-resolution crystal structure (1.6 A) of a KRAS G-quadruplex as a 5'-head-to-head dimer with extensive poly-A π-stacking interactions observed across the dimer. Molecular dynamics simulations confirmed that the poly-A π-stacking interactions are also maintained in the G4 monomers. Docking and molecular dynamics simulations with two G4 ligands that display high stabilization of the KRAS G4 indicated the poly-A loop was a binding site for these ligands in addition to the 5'-G-tetrad. Given sequence and structural variability in the loop regions provide the opportunity for small-molecule targeting of specific G4s, we envisage this high-resolution crystal structure for the KRAS G-quadruplex will aid in the rational design of ligands to selectively target KRAS.National Health and Medical Research Council; Australian Research Council; National Breast Cancer Foundation; A.O. would like to thank the Australian Government and UWA for scholarships and financial support. Funding for open access charge: University of Western Australia

    Topical Application of an Irreversible Small Molecule Inhibitor of Lysyl Oxidases Ameliorates Skin Scarring and Fibrosis

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    Scarring is a lifelong consequence of skin injury, with scar stiffness and poor appearance presenting physical and psychological barriers to a return to normal life. Lysyl oxidases are a family of enzymes that play a critical role in scar formation and maintenance. Lysyl oxidases stabilize the main component of scar tissue, collagen, and drive scar stiffness and appearance. Here we describe the development and characterisation of an irreversible lysyl oxidase inhibitor, PXS-6302. PXS-6302 is ideally suited for skin treatment, readily penetrating the skin when applied as a cream and abolishing lysyl oxidase activity. In murine models of injury and fibrosis, topical application reduces collagen deposition and cross-linking. Topical application of PXS-6302 after injury also significantly improves scar appearance without reducing tissue strength in porcine injury models. PXS-6302 therefore represents a promising therapeutic to ameliorate scar formation, with potentially broader applications in other fibrotic diseases

    The corona of a surface bubble promotes electrochemical reactions

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    The evolution of gaseous products is a feature common to several electrochemical processes, often resulting in bubbles adhering to the electrode’s surface. Adherent bubbles reduce the electrode active area, and are therefore generally treated as electrochemically inert entities. Here, we show that this general assumption does not hold for gas bubbles masking anodes operating in water. By means of imaging electrochemiluminescent systems, and by studying the anisotropy of polymer growth around bubbles, we demonstrate that gas cavities adhering to an electrode surface initiate the oxidation of water-soluble species more effectively than electrode areas free of bubbles. The corona of a bubble accumulates hydroxide anions, unbalanced by cations, a phenomenon which causes the oxidation of hydroxide ions to hydroxyl radicals to occur at potentials at least 0.7 V below redox tabled values. The downhill shift of the hydroxide oxidation at the corona of the bubble is likely to be a general mechanism involved in the initiation of heterogeneous electrochemical reactions in water, and could be harnessed in chemical synthesis.S.C., N.D., and M.L.C. were supported by the Australian Research Council (grant nos. DP190100735, FT190100148, FL170100041, and CE140100012). M.L.C. acknowledges generous supercomputing time from the National Computational Infrastructure. C.W.E. and K.S.I. acknowledge the facilities and technical assistance of Microscopy Australia at the Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation & Analysis, The University of Western Australia, a facility funded by the University, State and Commonwealth Government

    DNA G-quadruplex and i-motif structure formation is interdependent in human cells

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    Guanine- and cytosine-rich nucleic acid sequences have the potential to form secondary structures such as G-quadruplexes and i-motifs, respectively. We show that stabilization of G-quadruplexes using small molecules destabilizes the i-motifs, and vice versa, indicating these gene regulatory controllers are interdependent in human cells. This has important implications as these structures are predominately considered as isolated structural targets for therapy, but their interdependency highlights the interplay of both structures as an important gene regulatory switch

    Inflammation and blood-brain barrier breach remote from the primary injury following neurotrauma

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    Background: Following injury to the central nervous system, increased microglia, secretion of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, and altered blood-brain barrier permeability, a hallmark of degeneration, are observed at and immediately adjacent to the injury site. However, few studies investigate how regions remote from the primary injury could also suffer from inflammation and secondary degeneration. Methods: Adult female Piebald-Viral-Glaxo (PVG) rats underwent partial transection of the right optic nerve, with normal, age-matched, unoperated animals as controls. Perfusion-fixed brains and right optic nerves were harvested for immunohistochemical assessment of inflammatory markers and blood-brain barrier integrity; fresh-frozen brains were used for multiplex cytokine analysis. Results: Immediately ventral to the optic nerve injury, immunointensity of both the pro-inflammatory biomarker inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and the anti-inflammatory biomarker arginase-1 (Arg1) increased at 7 days post-injury, with colocalization of iNOS and Arg1 immunoreactivity within individual cells. CD11b+ and CD45+ cells were increased 7 days post-injury, with altered BBB permeability still evident at this time. In the lower and middle optic tract and superior colliculus, IBA1+ resident microglia were first increased at 3 days; ED1+ and CD11b+ cells were first increased in the middle and upper tract and superior colliculus 7 days post-injury. Increased fibrinogen immunoreactivity indicative of altered BBB permeability was first observed in the contralateral upper tract at 3 days and middle tract at 7 days post-injury. Multiplex cytokine analysis of brain homogenates indicated significant increases in the pro-inflammatory cytokines, IL-2 and TNFa, and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 1 day post-injury, decreasing to control levels at 3 days for TNFa and 7 days for IL-2. IL-10 was significantly elevated at 1 and 7 days post-injury with a dip at 3 days post-injury. Conclusions: Partial injury to the optic nerve induces a complex remote inflammatory response, characterized by rapidly increased pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in brain homogenates, increased numbers of IBA1+ cells throughout the visual pathways, and increased CD11b+ and ED1+ inflammatory cells, particularly towards the synaptic terminals. BBB permeability can increase prior to inflammatory cell infiltration, dependent on the brain region

    Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

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    Background Non-fatal outcomes of disease and injury increasingly detract from the ability of the world's population to live in full health, a trend largely attributable to an epidemiological transition in many countries from causes affecting children, to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) more common in adults. For the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2015 (GBD 2015), we estimated the incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for diseases and injuries at the global, regional, and national scale over the period of 1990 to 2015. Methods We estimated incidence and prevalence by age, sex, cause, year, and geography with a wide range of updated and standardised analytical procedures. Improvements from GBD 2013 included the addition of new data sources, updates to literature reviews for 85 causes, and the identification and inclusion of additional studies published up to November, 2015, to expand the database used for estimation of non-fatal outcomes to 60 900 unique data sources. Prevalence and incidence by cause and sequelae were determined with DisMod-MR 2.1, an improved version of the DisMod-MR Bayesian meta-regression tool first developed for GBD 2010 and GBD 2013. For some causes, we used alternative modelling strategies where the complexity of the disease was not suited to DisMod-MR 2.1 or where incidence and prevalence needed to be determined from other data. For GBD 2015 we created a summary indicator that combines measures of income per capita, educational attainment, and fertility (the Socio-demographic Index [SDI]) and used it to compare observed patterns of health loss to the expected pattern for countries or locations with similar SDI scores. Findings We generated 9·3 billion estimates from the various combinations of prevalence, incidence, and YLDs for causes, sequelae, and impairments by age, sex, geography, and year. In 2015, two causes had acute incidences in excess of 1 billion: upper respiratory infections (17·2 billion, 95% uncertainty interval [UI] 15·4–19·2 billion) and diarrhoeal diseases (2·39 billion, 2·30–2·50 billion). Eight causes of chronic disease and injury each affected more than 10% of the world's population in 2015: permanent caries, tension-type headache, iron-deficiency anaemia, age-related and other hearing loss, migraine, genital herpes, refraction and accommodation disorders, and ascariasis. The impairment that affected the greatest number of people in 2015 was anaemia, with 2·36 billion (2·35–2·37 billion) individuals affected. The second and third leading impairments by number of individuals affected were hearing loss and vision loss, respectively. Between 2005 and 2015, there was little change in the leading causes of years lived with disability (YLDs) on a global basis. NCDs accounted for 18 of the leading 20 causes of age-standardised YLDs on a global scale. Where rates were decreasing, the rate of decrease for YLDs was slower than that of years of life lost (YLLs) for nearly every cause included in our analysis. For low SDI geographies, Group 1 causes typically accounted for 20–30% of total disability, largely attributable to nutritional deficiencies, malaria, neglected tropical diseases, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Lower back and neck pain was the leading global cause of disability in 2015 in most countries. The leading cause was sense organ disorders in 22 countries in Asia and Africa and one in central Latin America; diabetes in four countries in Oceania; HIV/AIDS in three southern sub-Saharan African countries; collective violence and legal intervention in two north African and Middle Eastern countries; iron-deficiency anaemia in Somalia and Venezuela; depression in Uganda; onchoceriasis in Liberia; and other neglected tropical diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Interpretation Ageing of the world's population is increasing the number of people living with sequelae of diseases and injuries. Shifts in the epidemiological profile driven by socioeconomic change also contribute to the continued increase in years lived with disability (YLDs) as well as the rate of increase in YLDs. Despite limitations imposed by gaps in data availability and the variable quality of the data available, the standardised and comprehensive approach of the GBD study provides opportunities to examine broad trends, compare those trends between countries or subnational geographies, benchmark against locations at similar stages of development, and gauge the strength or weakness of the estimates available. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    Global, regional, and national life expectancy, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes of death, 1980–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015

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    Background Improving survival and extending the longevity of life for all populations requires timely, robust evidence on local mortality levels and trends. The Global Burden of Disease 2015 Study (GBD 2015) provides a comprehensive assessment of all-cause and cause-specific mortality for 249 causes in 195 countries and territories from 1980 to 2015. These results informed an in-depth investigation of observed and expected mortality patterns based on sociodemographic measures. Methods We estimated all-cause mortality by age, sex, geography, and year using an improved analytical approach originally developed for GBD 2013 and GBD 2010. Improvements included refinements to the estimation of child and adult mortality and corresponding uncertainty, parameter selection for under-5 mortality synthesis by spatiotemporal Gaussian process regression, and sibling history data processing. We also expanded the database of vital registration, survey, and census data to 14 294 geography–year datapoints. For GBD 2015, eight causes, including Ebola virus disease, were added to the previous GBD cause list for mortality. We used six modelling approaches to assess cause-specific mortality, with the Cause of Death Ensemble Model (CODEm) generating estimates for most causes. We used a series of novel analyses to systematically quantify the drivers of trends in mortality across geographies. First, we assessed observed and expected levels and trends of cause-specific mortality as they relate to the Socio-demographic Index (SDI), a summary indicator derived from measures of income per capita, educational attainment, and fertility. Second, we examined factors affecting total mortality patterns through a series of counterfactual scenarios, testing the magnitude by which population growth, population age structures, and epidemiological changes contributed to shifts in mortality. Finally, we attributed changes in life expectancy to changes in cause of death. We documented each step of the GBD 2015 estimation processes, as well as data sources, in accordance with Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting (GATHER). Findings Globally, life expectancy from birth increased from 61·7 years (95% uncertainty interval 61·4–61·9) in 1980 to 71·8 years (71·5–72·2) in 2015. Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa had very large gains in life expectancy from 2005 to 2015, rebounding from an era of exceedingly high loss of life due to HIV/AIDS. At the same time, many geographies saw life expectancy stagnate or decline, particularly for men and in countries with rising mortality from war or interpersonal violence. From 2005 to 2015, male life expectancy in Syria dropped by 11·3 years (3·7–17·4), to 62·6 years (56·5–70·2). Total deaths increased by 4·1% (2·6–5·6) from 2005 to 2015, rising to 55·8 million (54·9 million to 56·6 million) in 2015, but age-standardised death rates fell by 17·0% (15·8–18·1) during this time, underscoring changes in population growth and shifts in global age structures. The result was similar for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with total deaths from these causes increasing by 14·1% (12·6–16·0) to 39·8 million (39·2 million to 40·5 million) in 2015, whereas age-standardised rates decreased by 13·1% (11·9–14·3). Globally, this mortality pattern emerged for several NCDs, including several types of cancer, ischaemic heart disease, cirrhosis, and Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. By contrast, both total deaths and age-standardised death rates due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional conditions significantly declined from 2005 to 2015, gains largely attributable to decreases in mortality rates due to HIV/AIDS (42·1%, 39·1–44·6), malaria (43·1%, 34·7–51·8), neonatal preterm birth complications (29·8%, 24·8–34·9), and maternal disorders (29·1%, 19·3–37·1). Progress was slower for several causes, such as lower respiratory infections and nutritional deficiencies, whereas deaths increased for others, including dengue and drug use disorders. Age-standardised death rates due to injuries significantly declined from 2005 to 2015, yet interpersonal violence and war claimed increasingly more lives in some regions, particularly in the Middle East. In 2015, rotaviral enteritis (rotavirus) was the leading cause of under-5 deaths due to diarrhoea (146 000 deaths, 118 000–183 000) and pneumococcal pneumonia was the leading cause of under-5 deaths due to lower respiratory infections (393 000 deaths, 228 000–532 000), although pathogen-specific mortality varied by region. Globally, the effects of population growth, ageing, and changes in age-standardised death rates substantially differed by cause. Our analyses on the expected associations between cause-specific mortality and SDI show the regular shifts in cause of death composition and population age structure with rising SDI. Country patterns of premature mortality (measured as years of life lost [YLLs]) and how they differ from the level expected on the basis of SDI alone revealed distinct but highly heterogeneous patterns by region and country or territory. Ischaemic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes were among the leading causes of YLLs in most regions, but in many cases, intraregional results sharply diverged for ratios of observed and expected YLLs based on SDI. Communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases caused the most YLLs throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with observed YLLs far exceeding expected YLLs for countries in which malaria or HIV/AIDS remained the leading causes of early death. Interpretation At the global scale, age-specific mortality has steadily improved over the past 35 years; this pattern of general progress continued in the past decade. Progress has been faster in most countries than expected on the basis of development measured by the SDI. Against this background of progress, some countries have seen falls in life expectancy, and age-standardised death rates for some causes are increasing. Despite progress in reducing age-standardised death rates, population growth and ageing mean that the number of deaths from most non-communicable causes are increasing in most countries, putting increased demands on health systems. Funding Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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