1,873 research outputs found

    Dark matter annihilation and decay in dwarf spheroidal galaxies: The classical and ultrafaint dSphs

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    Dwarf spheroidal (dSph) galaxies are prime targets for present and future gamma-ray telescopes hunting for indirect signals of particle dark matter. The interpretation of the data requires careful assessment of their dark matter content in order to derive robust constraints on candidate relic particles. Here, we use an optimised spherical Jeans analysis to reconstruct the `astrophysical factor' for both annihilating and decaying dark matter in 21 known dSphs. Improvements with respect to previous works are: (i) the use of more flexible luminosity and anisotropy profiles to minimise biases, (ii) the use of weak priors tailored on extensive sets of contamination-free mock data to improve the confidence intervals, (iii) systematic cross-checks of binned and unbinned analyses on mock and real data, and (iv) the use of mock data including stellar contamination to test the impact on reconstructed signals. Our analysis provides updated values for the dark matter content of 8 `classical' and 13 `ultrafaint' dSphs, with the quoted uncertainties directly linked to the sample size; the more flexible parametrisation we use results in changes compared to previous calculations. This translates into our ranking of potentially-brightest and most robust targets---viz., Ursa Minor, Draco, Sculptor---, and of the more promising, but uncertain targets---viz., Ursa Major 2, Coma---for annihilating dark matter. Our analysis of Segue 1 is extremely sensitive to whether we include or exclude a few marginal member stars, making this target one of the most uncertain. Our analysis illustrates challenges that will need to be addressed when inferring the dark matter content of new `ultrafaint' satellites that are beginning to be discovered in southern sky surveys.Comment: 19 pages, 14 figures, submitted to MNRAS. Supplementary material available on reques

    Subretinal pigment epithelial deposition of Drusen components including hydroxyapatite in a primary cell culture model

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    Purpose: Extracellular deposits containing hydroxyapatite, lipids, proteins, and trace metals that form between the basal lamina of the RPE and the inner collagenous layer of Bruch's membrane are hallmarks of early AMD. We examined whether cultured RPE cells could produce extracellular deposits containing all of these molecular components. Methods: Retinal pigment epithelium cells isolated from freshly enucleated porcine eyes were cultured on Transwell membranes for up to 6 months. Deposit composition and structure were characterized using light, fluorescence, and electron microscopy; synchrotron x-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence; secondary ion mass spectroscopy; and immunohistochemistry. Results: Apparently functional primary RPE cells, when cultured on 10-μm-thick inserts with 0.4-μm-diameter pores, can produce sub-RPE deposits that contain hydroxyapatite, lipids, proteins, and trace elements, without outer segment supplementation, by 12 weeks. Conclusions: The data suggest that sub-RPE deposit formation is initiated, and probably regulated, by the RPE, as well as the loss of permeability of the Bruch's membrane and choriocapillaris complex associated with age and early AMD. This cell culture model of early AMD lesions provides a novel system for testing new therapeutic interventions against sub-RPE deposit formation, an event occurring well in advance of the onset of vision loss

    Heterokaryon Incompatibility Is Suppressed Following Conidial Anastomosis Tube Fusion in a Fungal Plant Pathogen

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    It has been hypothesized that horizontal gene/chromosome transfer and parasexual recombination following hyphal fusion between different strains may contribute to the emergence of wide genetic variability in plant pathogenic and other fungi. However, the significance of vegetative (heterokaryon) incompatibility responses, which commonly result in cell death, in preventing these processes is not known. In this study, we have assessed this issue following different types of hyphal fusion during colony initiation and in the mature colony. We used vegetatively compatible and incompatible strains of the common bean pathogen Colletotrichum lindemuthianum in which nuclei were labelled with either a green or red fluorescent protein in order to microscopically monitor the fates of nuclei and heterokaryotic cells following hyphal fusion. As opposed to fusion of hyphae in mature colonies that resulted in cell death within 3 h, fusions by conidial anastomosis tubes (CAT) between two incompatible strains during colony initiation did not induce the vegetative incompatibility response. Instead, fused conidia and germlings survived and formed heterokaryotic colonies that in turn produced uninucleate conidia that germinated to form colonies with phenotypic features different to those of either parental strain. Our results demonstrate that the vegetative incompatibility response is suppressed during colony initiation in C. lindemuthianum. Thus, CAT fusion may allow asexual fungi to increase their genetic diversity, and to acquire new pathogenic traits

    Reduction of circulating cholesterol and apolipoprotein levels during sepsis

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    Sepsis with multiple organ failure is frequently associated with a substantial decrease of cholesterol levels. This decrease of cholesterol is strongly associated with mortality suggesting a direct relation between inflammatory conditions and altered cholesterol homeostasis. The host response during sepsis is mediated by cytokines and growth factors, which are capable of influencing lipid metabolism. Conversely lipoproteins are also capable of modulating cytokine production during the inflammatory response. Therefore the decrease in circulating cholesterol levels seems to play a crucial role in the pathophysiology of sepsis. In this review the interaction between cytokines and lipid metabolism and its clinical consequences will be discussed

    Risk factors for hospitalisation and poor outcome with pandemic A/H1N1 influenza: United Kingdom first wave (May–September 2009)

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    Pandemic H1N1 infection causes disease requiring hospitalisation of previously fit individuals as well as those with underlying conditions. An abnormal chest x-ray or a raised CRP level, especially in patients who are recorded as obese or who have pulmonary conditions other than asthma or COPD, indicate a potentially serious outcome. These findings support the use of pandemic vaccine in pregnant women, children <5 years of age and those with chronic lung diseas

    The materiality of digital media: The hard disk drive, phonograph, magnetic tape and optical media in technical close-up

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    Popular discourses surrounding contemporary digital media often misrepresent it as immaterial and ephemeral, overlooking the material devices that store and generate our media objects. This article materially ‘descends’ into a selection of prior media forms that make up the genealogy of the hard disk drive (HDD) to challenge our reliance on conceptual misrepresentations. This material analysis is used to situate digital media in a genealogy of prior media forms, to enrich our understanding of how media’s affordances arise from the interplay of both formal and forensic materiality and to demonstrate the value of reintegrating materiality back into the study of media

    Breaking beta: A comparison of mass modelling methods for spherical systems

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    We apply four different mass modelling methods to a suite of publicly available mock data for spherical stellar systems. We focus on the recovery of the density and velocity anisotropy as a function of radius, using either line-of-sight velocity data only, or adding proper motion data. All methods perform well on isotropic and tangentially anisotropic mock data, recovering the density and velocity anisotropy within their 95% confidence intervals over the radial range 0.25 < R/Rhalf < 4, where Rhalf is the half light radius. However, radially-anisotropic mocks are more challenging. For line-of-sight data alone, only methods that use information about the shape of the velocity distribution function are able to break the degeneracy between the density profile and the velocity anisotropy to obtain an unbiased estimate of both. This shape information can be obtained through directly fitting a global phase space distribution function, by using higher order 'Virial Shape Parameters', or by assuming a Gaussian velocity distribution function locally, but projecting it self-consistently along the line of sight. Including proper motion data yields further improvements, and in this case, all methods give a good recovery of both the radial density and velocity anisotropy profiles

    Evidence for distinct coastal and offshore communities of bottlenose dolphins in the north east Atlantic.

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    Bottlenose dolphin stock structure in the northeast Atlantic remains poorly understood. However, fine scale photo-id data have shown that populations can comprise multiple overlapping social communities. These social communities form structural elements of bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) [corrected] populations, reflecting specific ecological and behavioural adaptations to local habitats. We investigated the social structure of bottlenose dolphins in the waters of northwest Ireland and present evidence for distinct inshore and offshore social communities. Individuals of the inshore community had a coastal distribution restricted to waters within 3 km from shore. These animals exhibited a cohesive, fission-fusion social organisation, with repeated resightings within the research area, within a larger coastal home range. The offshore community comprised one or more distinct groups, found significantly further offshore (>4 km) than the inshore animals. In addition, dorsal fin scarring patterns differed significantly between inshore and offshore communities with individuals of the offshore community having more distinctly marked dorsal fins. Specifically, almost half of the individuals in the offshore community (48%) had characteristic stereotyped damage to the tip of the dorsal fin, rarely recorded in the inshore community (7%). We propose that this characteristic is likely due to interactions with pelagic fisheries. Social segregation and scarring differences found here indicate that the distinct communities are likely to be spatially and behaviourally segregated. Together with recent genetic evidence of distinct offshore and coastal population structures, this provides evidence for bottlenose dolphin inshore/offshore community differentiation in the northeast Atlantic. We recommend that social communities should be considered as fundamental units for the management and conservation of bottlenose dolphins and their habitat specialisations

    Autoimmune and autoinflammatory mechanisms in uveitis

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    The eye, as currently viewed, is neither immunologically ignorant nor sequestered from the systemic environment. The eye utilises distinct immunoregulatory mechanisms to preserve tissue and cellular function in the face of immune-mediated insult; clinically, inflammation following such an insult is termed uveitis. The intra-ocular inflammation in uveitis may be clinically obvious as a result of infection (e.g. toxoplasma, herpes), but in the main infection, if any, remains covert. We now recognise that healthy tissues including the retina have regulatory mechanisms imparted by control of myeloid cells through receptors (e.g. CD200R) and soluble inhibitory factors (e.g. alpha-MSH), regulation of the blood retinal barrier, and active immune surveillance. Once homoeostasis has been disrupted and inflammation ensues, the mechanisms to regulate inflammation, including T cell apoptosis, generation of Treg cells, and myeloid cell suppression in situ, are less successful. Why inflammation becomes persistent remains unknown, but extrapolating from animal models, possibilities include differential trafficking of T cells from the retina, residency of CD8(+) T cells, and alterations of myeloid cell phenotype and function. Translating lessons learned from animal models to humans has been helped by system biology approaches and informatics, which suggest that diseased animals and people share similar changes in T cell phenotypes and monocyte function to date. Together the data infer a possible cryptic infectious drive in uveitis that unlocks and drives persistent autoimmune responses, or promotes further innate immune responses. Thus there may be many mechanisms in common with those observed in autoinflammatory disorders