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  • Tuovinen, Heli (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    The role of the immune system is to protect an organism against pathogens while maintaining tolerance against self. T cells are an essential component of the immune system and they develop in the thymus. The AIRE (autoimmune regulator) gene product plays an important role in T cell development, as it promotes expression of peripheral tissue antigens in the thymus. Developing T cells, thymocytes, which recognize self-antigens with high affinity are deleted. However, this deletion process is not perfect and not all autoreactive T cells are destroyed. When the distinction between self and non-self fails, tolerance breaks and the immune system attacks the host s own tissues. This results in autoimmunity. Regulatory T cells contribute to the maintenance of self-tolerance. They can actively suppress the function of autoreactive cells. Several populations of cells with regulatory properties have been described, but the best characterized population is the natural regulatory T cells (Treg cells), which develop in the thymus and express the transcription factor FOXP3. The thymic development of Treg cells in humans is the subject of this thesis. Thymocytes at different developmental stages were analyzed using flow cytometry. The CD4-CD8- double-negative (DN) thymocytes are the earliest T cell precursors in the T cell lineage. My results show that the Treg cell marker FOXP3 is up-regulated already in a subset of these DN thymocytes. FOXP3+ cells were also found among the more mature CD4+CD8+ double-positive (DP) cells and among the CD4+ and CD8+ single-positive (SP) thymocytes. The different developmental stages of the FOXP3+ thymocytes were isolated and their gene expression examined by quantitative PCR. T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire analysis was used to compare these different thymocyte populations. My data show that in humans commitment to the Treg cell lineage is an early event and suggest that the development of Treg cells follows a linear developmental pathway, FOXP3+ DN precursors evolving through the DP stage to become mature CD4+ Treg cells. Most T cells have only one kind of TCR on their cell surface, but a small fraction of cells expresses two different TCRs. My results show that the expression of two different TCRs is enriched among Treg cells. Furthermore, both receptors were capable of transmitting signals when bound by a ligand. By extrapolating flow cytometric data, it was estimated that the majority of peripheral blood Treg cells are indeed dual-specific. The high frequency of dual-specific cells among human Treg cells suggests that dual-specificity has a role in directing these cells to the Treg cell lineage. It is known that both genetic predisposition and environmental factors influence the development of autoimmunity. It is also known that the dysfunction or absence of Treg cells leads to the development of autoimmune manifestations. APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy) is a rare monogenic autoimmune disease, caused by mutations in the AIRE gene. In the absence of AIRE gene product, deletion of self-specific T cells is presumably disturbed and autoreactive T cells escape to the periphery. I examined whether Treg cells are also affected in APECED. I found that the frequency of FOXP3+ Treg cells and the level of FOXP3 expression were significantly lower in APECED patients than in controls. Additionally, when studied in cell cultures, the suppressive capacity of the patients' Treg cells was impaired. Additionally, repertoire analysis showed that the TCR repertoire of Treg cells was altered. These results suggest that AIRE contributes to the development of Treg cells in humans and the selection of Treg cells is impaired in APECED patients. In conclusion, my thesis elucidates the developmental pathway of Treg cells in humans. The differentiation of Tregs begins early during thymic development and both the cells dual-specificity and AIRE probably affect the final commitment of Treg cells.
  • Kivilompolo, Maarit (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    In this study, novel methodologies for the determination of antioxidative compounds in herbs and beverages were developed. Antioxidants are compounds that can reduce, delay or inhibit oxidative events. They are a part of the human defense system and are obtained through the diet. Antioxidants are naturally present in several types of foods, e.g. in fruits, beverages, vegetables and herbs. Antioxidants can also be added to foods during manufacturing to suppress lipid oxidation and formation of free radicals under conditions of cooking or storage and to reduce the concentration of free radicals in vivo after food ingestion. There is growing interest in natural antioxidants, and effective compounds have already been identified from antioxidant classes such as carotenoids, essential oils, flavonoids and phenolic acids. The wide variety of sample matrices and analytes presents quite a challenge for the development of analytical techniques. Growing demands have been placed on sample pretreatment. In this study, three novel extraction techniques, namely supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), pressurised hot water extraction (PHWE) and dynamic sonication-assisted extraction (DSAE) were studied. SFE was used for the extraction of lycopene from tomato skins and PHWE was used in the extraction of phenolic compounds from sage. DSAE was applied to the extraction of phenolic acids from Lamiaceae herbs. In the development of extraction methodologies, the main parameters of the extraction were studied and the recoveries were compared to those achieved by conventional extraction techniques. In addition, the stability of lycopene was also followed under different storage conditions. For the separation of the antioxidative compounds in the extracts, liquid chromatographic methods (LC) were utilised. Two novel LC techniques, namely ultra performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) and comprehensive two-dimensional liquid chromatography (LCxLC) were studied and compared with conventional high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) for the separation of antioxidants in beverages and Lamiaceae herbs. In LCxLC, the selection of LC mode, column dimensions and flow rates were studied and optimised to obtain efficient separation of the target compounds. In addition, the separation powers of HPLC, UPLC, HPLCxHPLC and HPLCxUPLC were compared. To exploit the benefits of an integrated system, in which sample preparation and final separation are performed in a closed unit, dynamic sonication-assisted extraction was coupled on-line to a liquid chromatograph via a solid-phase trap. The increased sensitivity was utilised in the extraction of phenolic acids from Lamiaceae herbs. The results were compared to those of achieved by the LCxLC system.
  • Beletskaya/Santamala, Maria (Helsingfors universitet, 2014)
    This study investigates the nature and economic effects of the contractual remedies and their role and specifics of application in the contemporary international trade, demonstrated on the example of standard construction contracts. Various remedies are examined within several legal orders across Civil and Common law traditions from the position of their convergence and utilization in the international contracting. Main focus of the research is on the economic efficiency of the contractual remedies as elements of integrated system, flexible and adjustable due to changes (internal and external to the parties’) in the circumstances after conclusion of the contract. Purpose of the study is to analyze possibilities for further harmonization of the contractual remedies’ regulation and adoption of their more efficient forms, developed within different jurisdictions and soft law codifications. These improved forms, as discussed in the work, are capable of enhancing economic efficiency of individual remedies and their productive incorporation in a cohesive remedial system, enabling contractual parties to divide various interests inside one contract and vary levels of their respective protection, exploiting suitable function of each remedy. First part is dedicated to studying definition of remedy, its functions and approach to it, developed within various contractual theories; it also briefly examines general differences between Common and Civil law systems, explaining dissimilarities in formation of remedies in various legal orders. In the second part I analyze specifics of each remedy in respective jurisdictions, including analysis of local statutory and case law, considering laws of France, Germany, UK, USA, and Finland and international codifications, underlying economic effects and drawbacks of every remedy. Remedies in question are: specific performance; damages’ compensation; termination of contract; liquidated damages and penalty; price reduction and performance withholding. Third chapter is devoted to history of development of the construction contract, combining elements of sale and service; application of each remedy in the standard construction contracts in their dynamic system and methods of improving economic efficiency. The research concludes that each remedy may simultaneously have various functions (preventive, restorative and corrective) regardless of compensatory or non-compensatory criterion, which currently becomes irrelevant. Remedial system adopted in the contract should be flexible and easy adjustable to the changes in the post-contractual circumstances. Following the ongoing process of normative convergence various legal orders should be harmonized; they should recognize autonomy of the parties to create own enforceable hierarchy of remedies within the contract and should ensure judicial intervention solely from the angle of safeguarding just and fair outcome. Study further determines that measures of enhancing economic efficiency of each remedy have been already developed in the practice and only need recognition and change of attitude in the respective national systems, widening perspectives of interpretation and qualification.
  • Liu, Yanbo (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Calendula officinalis is grown widely as an ornamental plant across Europe. It belongs to the large. Asteraceae family. In this study, the aim was to explore the possibilities to use Calendula officinalis as a new model organism for flower development and secondary mechanism studies in Asteraceae. Tissue culture of Calendula officinalis was established using nine different cultivars. Murashige & Skoog (MS) medium with four different combinations of plant growth regulators were tested. Of all these combinations, the medium containing 1mg/l BAP, 0.1 mg/l IAA, and 1mg/l Zeatin achieved highest frequency of adventitious shoot regeneration from hypocotyl and cotyledon explants. Virus-induced gene silencing is a recent developed genetic tool for charactering the gene functions in plants, and extends the range of host plants that are not accessible for Agrobacterium transformation. Here, tobacco rattle virus (TRV)-based VIGS technique was tested in calendula (cv. Single Orange). We used TRV carrying Gerbera hybrid phytoene desaturase (PDS) gene fragment to induce PDS silencing in calendula. Vacuum infiltration and syringe infiltration methods both resulted in photo-bleaching phenotypes in leaves, bracts and petals. Loss-of-function phenotypes occurred on calendula 13 days post-infiltration. In conclusion, the data indicates that calendula explants can be regenerated through tissue culture which is a prerequisite for development of stable transformation methods. However, further optimization is still needed to improve the frequency. In addition, VIGS was applied to silence PDS marker gene expression indicating that this method has potential for gene functional studies in future.
  • Paupitz, Johanna (2008)
    This is a qualitative research. The purpose of this study is to assess the influence of international development policies in the Third World using Brazilian water resources management policies as an example. The focus of the study is the Guarapiranga water basin and reservoir located in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, Brazil. The research demonstrates how international development agencies and ideologies influence the development of Brazilian water resources management. The objective is to see how local experts view development policies in water resources management and their impact in the region. The research reflects the criticism given in the general literature on contemporary development policies. The results demonstrate the problems associated with the Third World city and the interrelationships between environmental, social and economic development. The outcome also questions the government decentralisation and the redemocratisation processes brought by the 1988 Constitution in Brazil. The research also points out the need for further and more elaborate research on the topic. References: Finger, M. and Allrouche, J. 2002 Water Privatisation: Trans-National Corporations and the Re-regulation of the Water Industry. Spon Press, New York. Oman, C. P. and Wignaraja, G. 1991 The Postwar Evolution of Development Thinking. Macmillan in association with the OECD Development Centre, London Alasuutari, P. 1994 Laadullinen Tutkimus, 2nd edition. Vastapaino, Tampere.
  • Raheem, Bamidele (Helsingin yliopisto, 2006)
    African indigenous foods have received limited research. Most of these indigenous foods are fermented and they form part of the rich nutritional culture of many groups in African countries. The industrialization and commercialisation of these indigenous African fermented foods should be preceded by a thorough scientific knowledge of their processing which can be vital in the elimination of hunger and poverty. This study highlighted emerging developments and the microbiology of cereal-based and cassava-based food products that constitute a major part of the human diet in most African countries. In addition, investigations were also carried out on the coagulant of the Calotropis procera plant used in traditional production of Nigerian Wara cheese and on the effects of adding a nisin producing Lactococcus lactis strain originating from human milk to Nigerian Wara cheese. Fermented cereal-based food such as ogi utilize popular African and readily available grains maize, millet or sorghum as substrates and is popular as a weaning diet in infants. In this study, the bulkiness caused by starch gelatinization was solved by amylase treatments in the investigation on cooked and fermented oat bran porridge. A similar treatment could reduce the viscosity of any cereal porridge. The properties of the Sodom apple leaves (Calotropis procera) extract in cheesemaking were studied. C. procera was affected by monovalent (K+ and Na+) and divalent (Mg2+ and Ca2+) cations during coagulation. The rennet strength of this coagulant was found to be 7 % compared to animal rennet at 35 °C. Increasing the incubation temperature to 70 °C increased the rennet strength 28-fold. The molecular weight of the partially purified protease was determined by SDS-PAGE and was confirmed by Zymography to be approximately 60 kilodaltons. The high proteolytic activity at 70 °C supported the suitability of the protease enzyme as a coagulant in future commercial production of Nigerian Wara cheese. It was also possible to extend the shelf life of Wara cheese by a nisin producing lactic acid bacteria Lactococcus lactis LAC309. The levels of nisin in both whey and curd fractions of Wara were investigated, results showed a 3 log reduction of toxicogenic Bacillus licheniformis spiked on Wara after 3 days. These studies are the first in Finland to promote the advancement of scientific knowledge in African foods. Recognizing these indigenous food products and an efficient transfer of technology from the developed countries to industrialize them are necessary towards a successful realization of the United Nations Millenium Development Program.
  • Honkonen, Ilja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2013)
    Currently the majority of space-based assets are located inside the Earth's magnetosphere where they must endure the effects of the near-Earth space environment, i.e. space weather, which is driven by the supersonic flow of plasma from the Sun. Space weather refers to the day-to-day changes in the temperature, magnetic field and other parameters of the near-Earth space, similarly to ordinary weather which refers to changes in the atmosphere above ground level. Space weather can also cause adverse effects on the ground, for example, by inducing large direct currents in power transmission systems. The performance of computers has been growing exponentially for many decades and as a result the importance of numerical modeling in science has also increased rapidly. Numerical modeling is especially important in space plasma physics because there are no in-situ observations of space plasmas outside of the heliosphere and it is not feasible to study all aspects of space plasmas in a terrestrial laboratory. With the increasing number of computational cores in supercomputers, the parallel performance of numerical models on distributed memory hardware is also becoming crucial. This thesis consists of an introduction, four peer reviewed articles and describes the process of developing numerical space environment/weather models and the use of such models to study the near-Earth space. A complete model development chain is presented starting from initial planning and design to distributed memory parallelization and optimization, and finally testing, verification and validation of numerical models. A grid library that provides good parallel scalability on distributed memory hardware and several novel features, the distributed cartesian cell-refinable grid (DCCRG), is designed and developed. DCCRG is presently used in two numerical space weather models being developed at the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The first global magnetospheric test particle simulation based on the Vlasov description of plasma is carried out using the Vlasiator model. The test shows that the Vlasov equation for plasma in six-dimensionsional phase space is solved correctly by Vlasiator, that results are obtained beyond those of the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) description of plasma and that global magnetospheric simulations using a hybrid-Vlasov model are feasible on current hardware. For the first time four global magnetospheric models using the MHD description of plasma (BATS-R-US, GUMICS, OpenGGCM, LFM) are run with identical solar wind input and the results compared to observations in the ionosphere and outer magnetosphere. Based on the results of the global magnetospheric MHD model GUMICS a hypothesis is formulated for a new mechanism of plasmoid formation in the Earth's magnetotail.
  • Länsimäki, Maija-Liisa (1982)
  • Kuukasjärvi, Pirkko (1960)