Articles from MDPI


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  • Annila, Arto (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    About a century ago, in the spirit of ancient atomism, the quantum of light was renamed the photon to suggest that it is the fundamental element of everything. Since the photon carries energy in its period of time, a flux of photons inexorably embodies a flow of time. Thus, time comprises periods as a trek comprises legs. The flows of quanta naturally select optimal paths (i.e., geodesics) to level out energy differences in the least amount of time. The corresponding flow equations can be written, but they cannot be solved. Since the flows affect their driving forces, affecting the flows, and so on, the forces (i.e., causes) and changes in motions (i.e., consequences) are inseparable. Thus, the future remains unpredictable. However, it is not all arbitrary but rather bounded by free energy. Eventually, when the system has attained a stationary state where forces tally, there are no causes and no consequences. Since there are no energy differences between the system and its surroundings, the quanta only orbit on and on. Thus, time does not move forward either but circulates.
  • Södervik, Ilona; Nousiainen, Maija; Koponen, Ismo. T. (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The purpose of this study is to increase the understanding about undergraduate life science students’ conceptions concerning the role of photosynthesizing plants in the ecosystem, utilizing a network analysis method. Science learning requires the integration and linking of abstract and often counterintuitive concepts successfully into multifaceted networks. The quality of these networks, together with their abilities to communicate via the language of science, influences students’ success in academic, verbal problem-solving tasks. This study contributes to investigating students’ understanding, utilizing a modern network analysis method in exploring first-year university life science students’ written answers. In this study, a total of 150 first-year life science students answered two open-ended tasks related to the role of photosynthesizing plants in the ecosystem. A network analysis tool was used in exploring the occurrence of different-level science concepts and the interrelatedness between these concepts in students’ verbal outputs. The results showed that the richness of concept networks and students’ use of macro-concepts were remarkably varied between the tasks. Higher communicability measures were connected to the more abundant existence of macro-concepts in the task concerning the role of plants from the food-chain perspective. In the answers for the task concerning the role of plants regarding the atmosphere, the students operated mainly with single facts, and there were only minor interconnections made between the central concepts. On the basis of these results, the need for more all-encompassing biology teaching concerning complex environmental and socio-economic problems became evident. Thus, methodological and pedagogical contributions are discussed.
  • Järvinen, Tommi; Paajanen, Juuso; Ilonen, Ilkka; Räsänen, Jari (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive malignancy of the pleural lining with exceptionally poor survival. Hyperthermic intrathoracic chemoperfusion (HITHOC) is commonly used with surgery in limited disease. However, data on its effect on survival are limited. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, we analyzed a total of 11 observational articles. HITHOC was compared to control arm that did not receive HITHOC in three studies including 762 patients. The pooled analysis of these studies revealed an SMD of 0.24, with 95% CI of 0.06–0.41 favoring the HITHOC group, reaching statistical significance. The survival effect of HITHOC in epithelioid MPM vs. non-epithelioid MPM was analyzed in four studies. Pooled analysis showed an SMD of 0.79 (95% CI = 0.48–1.10) favoring epithelioid MPM. Based on available data, there seems to be a benefit with HITHOC in regards to overall survival in the treatment of all mesothelioma patients. Multicenter randomized controlled trials are needed to validate and standardize this treatment approach.
  • Schmidt, Marcus; Edlund, Karolina; Hengstler, Jan G.; Heimes, Anne-Sophie; Almstedt, Katrin; Lebrecht, Antje; Krajnak, Slavomir; Battista, Marco J.; Brenner, Walburgis; Hasenburg, Annette; Rahnenführer, Jörg; Gehrmann, Mathias; Kellokumpu-Lehtinen, Pirkko-Liisa; Wirtz, Ralph M.; Joensuu, Heikki (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    We studied the prognostic impact of tumor immunoglobulin kappa C (<i>IGKC</i>) mRNA expression as a marker of the humoral immune system in the FinHer trial patient population, where 1010 patients with early breast cancer were randomly allocated to either docetaxel-containing or vinorelbine-containing adjuvant chemotherapy. HER2-positive patients were additionally allocated to either trastuzumab or no trastuzumab. Hormone receptor-positive patients received tamoxifen. <i>IGKC</i> was evaluated in 909 tumors using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and the influence on distant disease-free survival (DDFS) was examined using univariable and multivariable Cox regression and Kaplan–Meier estimates. Interactions were analyzed using Cox regression. <i>IGKC</i> expression, included as continuous variable, was independently associated with DDFS in a multivariable analysis also including age, molecular subtype, grade, and pT and pN stage (HR 0.930, 95% CI 0.870–0.995, <i>p</i> = 0.034). An independent association with DDFS was also found in a subset analysis of triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) (HR 0.843, 95% CI 0.724–0.983, <i>p</i> = 0.029), but not in luminal (HR 0.957, 95% CI 0.867–1.056, <i>p</i> = 0.383) or HER2-positive (HR 0.933, 95% CI 0.826–1.055, <i>p</i> = 0.271) cancers. No significant interaction between <i>IGKC</i> and chemotherapy or trastuzumab administration was detected (P<sub>interaction</sub> = 0.855 and 0.684, respectively). These results show that humoral immunity beneficially influences the DDFS of patients with early TNBC.
  • Patel, Piyush A.; Bruun, Tanja; Ilina, Polina; Mäkkylä, Heidi; Lempinen, Antti; Yli-Kauhaluoma, Jari; Tammela, Päivi; Kiuru, Paula S. (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Marine-originated spirocyclic bromotyrosines are considered as promising scaffolds for new anticancer drugs. In a continuation of our research to develop potent and more selective anticancer compounds, we synthesized a library of 32 spirocyclic clavatadine analogs by replacing the agmatine, i.e., 4-(aminobutyl)guanidine, side chain with different substituents. These compounds were tested for cytotoxicity against skin cancer using the human melanoma cell line (A-375) and normal human skin fibroblast cell line (Hs27). The highest cytotoxicity against the A-375 cell line was observed for dichloro compound <b>18</b> (CC<sub>50</sub> 0.4 ± 0.3 µM, selectivity index (SI) 2). The variation of selectivity ranged from SI 0.4 to reach 2.4 for the pyridin-2-yl derivative <b>29</b> and hydrazide analog of 2-picoline <b>37</b>. The structure–activity relationships of the compounds in respect to cytotoxicity and selectivity toward cancer cell lines are discussed.
  • Kvarnström, Kirsi; Westerholm, Aleksi; Airaksinen, Marja; Liira, Helena (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Introduction: Medication adherence continues to be a significant challenge in healthcare, and there is a shortage of effective interventions in this area. This scoping review studied the patient-related factors of medication adherence. Methods: We searched Medline Ovid, Scopus, and Cochrane Library from January 2009 to June 2021 to find the most recent original qualitative studies or systematic reviews that addressed the patient-related factors of medication adherence in treating chronic conditions. We used the PRISMA-ScR checklist to ensure the quality of the study. Results: The initial search revealed 4404 studies, of which we included 89 qualitative studies in the scoping review. We inductively organized the patient-related factors causing barriers, as well as the facilitators to medication adherence. The studies more often dealt with barriers than facilitators. We classified the factors as patient-specific, illness-specific, medication-related, healthcare and system-related, sociocultural, as well as logistical and financial factors. Information and knowledge of diseases and their treatment, communication, trust in patient-provider relationships, support, and adequate resources appeared to be the critical facilitators in medication adherence from the patient perspective. Discussion and conclusions: Patients are willing to discuss their concerns about medications. Better communication and better information on medicines appear to be among the critical factors for patients. The findings of this scoping review may help those who plan further interventions to improve medication adherence.
  • Wallén, Essi; Auvinen, Pauliina; Kaminen-Ahola, Nina (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Prenatal alcohol exposure is one of the most significant causes of developmental disability in the Western world. Maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy leads to an increased risk of neurological deficits and developmental abnormalities in the fetus. Over the past decade, several human and animal studies have demonstrated that alcohol causes alterations in epigenetic marks, including DNA methylation, histone modifications, and non-coding RNAs. There is an increasing amount of evidence that early pregnancy is a sensitive period for environmental-induced epigenetic changes. It is a dynamic period of epigenetic reprogramming, cell divisions, and DNA replication and, therefore, a particularly interesting period to study the molecular changes caused by alcohol exposure as well as the etiology of alcohol-induced developmental disorders. This article will review the current knowledge about the in vivo and in vitro effects of alcohol exposure on the epigenome, gene regulation, and the phenotype during the first weeks of pregnancy.
  • Wu, Ying-Chieh; Sonninen, Tuuli-Maria; Peltonen, Sanni; Koistinaho, Jari; Lehtonen, Šárka (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The blood–brain barrier (BBB) regulates the delivery of oxygen and important nutrients to the brain through active and passive transport and prevents neurotoxins from entering the brain. It also has a clearance function and removes carbon dioxide and toxic metabolites from the central nervous system (CNS). Several drugs are unable to cross the BBB and enter the CNS, adding complexity to drug screens targeting brain disorders. A well-functioning BBB is essential for maintaining healthy brain tissue, and a malfunction of the BBB, linked to its permeability, results in toxins and immune cells entering the CNS. This impairment is associated with a variety of neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Here, we summarize current knowledge about the BBB in neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, we focus on recent progress of using human-induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived models to study the BBB. We review the potential of novel stem cell-based platforms in modeling the BBB and address advances and key challenges of using stem cell technology in modeling the human BBB. Finally, we highlight future directions in this area.
  • Genetu, Getenesh; Yli-Halla, Markku; Asrat, Mekonnen; Alemayehu, Mihiret (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The productivity of the faba bean has declined in Ethiopia, owing to poor management practices, such as blanket fertilisation. In 2018, a field experiment was conducted in a Nitisol soil during the main cropping season in Northwestern Ethiopia, to determine the amount of chemical fertiliser and Rhizobium inoculant to be used for the optimum yield within economic feasibility. The experiment consisted of a factorial combination of five rates of blended NPSZnB fertiliser (0, 60, 121, 180 and 240 kg ha<sup>−1</sup>) and three rates of inoculant (0, 500 and 750 g ha<sup>−1</sup>). Sole chemical fertilisation, as well as inoculation, individually produced a seed yield of 2.3–2.5 t ha<sup>−1</sup>, about 1.0–1.2 t ha<sup>−1</sup> more than the control. However, the maximum seed yield (3.3 t ha<sup>−1</sup>) was recorded from the combined application of both the chemical fertiliser and the inoculant. The seed yield correlated closely with the number of active nodules (R<sup>2</sup> = 0.78 **), suggesting a substantial contribution of symbiotic N<sub>2</sub> fixation. Inoculation increased the N content of the seed yield by at least 30 kg ha<sup>−1</sup>. Chemical fertilisation, containing at least 44 kg ha<sup>−1</sup> of mineral N does not appear to have an adverse effect on N<sub>2</sub> fixation. The combined use of 180 kg ha<sup>−1</sup> blended fertiliser with 750 g ha<sup>−1</sup> inoculant, producing a maximum net profit of 72,918 birr ha<sup>−1</sup> (EUR 2232), is recommended for the study area. This study emphasises that (1) inoculation alone can produce as much seed as the maximum rate of chemical fertilisation, but (2) the maximum yield was produced with a combined use of inoculant and chemical fertiliser, by promoting the vigour of the nodules and N<sub>2</sub> fixation.
  • Zakham, Fathiah; Albalawi, Aishah E.; Alanazi, Abdullah D.; Truong Nguyen, Phuoc; Alouffi, Abdulaziz S.; Alaoui, Altaf; Sironen, Tarja; Smura, Teemu; Vapalahti, Olli (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Arthropod-borne infections are a medical and economic threat to humans and livestock. Over the last three decades, several unprecedented viral outbreaks have been recorded in the Western part of the Arabian Peninsula. However, little is known about the circulation and diversity of arthropod-borne viruses in this region. To prepare for new outbreaks of vector-borne diseases, it is important to detect which viruses circulate in each vector population. In this study, we used a metagenomics approach to characterize the RNA virome of ticks infesting dromedary camels (<i>Camelus dromedaries</i>) in Makkah province, Saudi Arabia. Two hundred ticks of species <i>Hyalomma dromedarii</i> (<i>n</i> = 196) and <i>Hyalomma impeltatum</i> (<i>n</i> = 4) were collected from the Alkhurma district in Jeddah and Al-Taif city. Virome analysis showed the presence of several tick-specific viruses and tick-borne viruses associated with severe illness in humans. Some were identified for the first time in the Arabian Peninsula. The human disease-associated viruses detected included Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic fever virus and Tamdy virus (family Nairoviridae), Guertu virus (family Phenuiviridae), and a novel coltivirus that shares similarities with Tarumizu virus, Tai forest reovirus and Kundal virus (family Reoviridae). Furthermore, Alkhurma hemorrhagic virus (Flaviviridae) was detected in two tick pools by specific qPCR. In addition, tick-specific viruses in families Phenuiviridae (phleboviruses), Iflaviridae, Chuviridae, Totiviridae and Flaviviridae (Pestivirus) were detected. The presence of human pathogenetic viruses warrants further efforts in tick surveillance, xenosurveillence, vector control, and sero-epidemiological investigations in human and animal populations to predict, contain and mitigate future outbreaks in the region.
  • Foti, Caterina; Anttila, Daria; Maniscalco, Sabrina; Chiofalo, Marilù (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Teaching quantum physics to K12 students and the general public represents an inevitable must, while quantum technologies revolutionize our lives. Quantum literacy is a formidable challenge and an extraordinary opportunity for a massive cultural uplift, where citizens learn how to engender creativity and practice a new way of thinking, essential for smart community building. Scientific thinking hinges on analyzing facts and creating understanding, then formulating these with dense mathematical language for later fact checking. Within classical physics, learners’ intuition can be educated via classroom demonstrations of everyday life phenomena. Their understanding can even be framed with the mathematics suited to their instruction degree. For quantum physics instead, we have no experience of quantum phenomena, and the required mathematics is beyond non-expert reach. Therefore, educating intuition needs imagination. Without resorting to experiments and some degree of formal framing, educators face the risk of providing only evanescent tales, often misled, while resorting to familiar analogies. Here, we report on the realization of QPlayLearn, an online platform conceived to explicitly address challenges and opportunities of massive quantum literacy. QPlayLearn’s mission is to provide multilevel education on quantum science and technologies to anyone, regardless of age and background. To this aim, innovative interactive tools enhance the learning process effectiveness, fun, and accessibility, while remaining grounded in scientific correctness. Examples are games for basic quantum physics teaching, on-purpose designed animations, and easy-to-understand explanations on terminology and concepts by global experts. As a strategy for massive cultural change, QPlayLearn offers diversified content for different target groups, from primary school all the way to university physics students. It is also addressed to companies wishing to understand the potential of the emergent quantum industry, journalists, and policy makers who need to quickly to understand what quantum technologies are about, and all quantum science enthusiasts.
  • Abdullah,; Faraji, Sahar; Mehmood, Furrukh; Malik, Hafiz Muhammad Talha; Ahmed, Ibrar; Heidari, Parviz; Poczai, Peter (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The gibberellic acid-stimulated <i>Arabidopsis</i> (<i>GASA/GAST</i>) gene family is widely distributed in plants and involved in various physiological and biological processes. These genes also provide resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses, including antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal. We are interested in characterizing the <i>GASA</i> gene family and determining its role in various physiological and biological process in <i>Theobroma cacao</i>. Here, we report 17 <i>tcGASA</i> genes distributed on six chromosomes in <i>T. cacao</i>. The gene structure, promoter region, protein structure and biochemical properties, expression, and phylogenetics of all <i>tcGASA</i>s were analyzed. Phylogenetic analyses divided tcGASA proteins into five groups. Among 17 <i>tcGASA</i> genes, nine segmentally duplicating genes were identified which formed four pairs and cluster together in phylogenetic tree. Differential expression analyses revealed that most of the <i>tcGASA</i> genes showed elevated expression in the seeds (cacao food), implying their role in seed development. The differential expression of <i>tcGASAs</i> was recorded between the tolerant and susceptible cultivars of cacao, which indicating their possible role as fungal resistant. Our findings provide new insight into the function, evolution, and regulatory system of the <i>GASA</i> family genes in <i>T.</i><i>cacao</i> and may suggest new target genes for development of fungi-resistant cacao varieties in breeding programs.
  • Skurnik, Mikael; Jaakkola, Salla; Mattinen, Laura; von Ossowski, Lotta; Nawaz, Ayesha; Pajunen, Maria I.; Happonen, Lotta J. (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Bacteriophages vB_YpeM_fEV-1 (fEV-1) and vB_YpeM_fD1 (fD1) were isolated from incoming sewage water samples in Turku, Finland, using <i>Yersinia pestis</i> strains EV76 and KIM D27 as enrichment hosts, respectively. Genomic analysis and transmission electron microscopy established that fEV-1 is a novel type of dwarf myovirus, while fD1 is a T4-like myovirus. The genome sizes are 38 and 167 kb, respectively. To date, the morphology and genome sequences of some dwarf myoviruses have been described; however, a proteome characterization such as the one presented here, has currently been lacking for this group of viruses. Notably, fEV-1 is the first dwarf myovirus described for <i>Y. pestis</i>. The host range of fEV-1 was restricted strictly to <i>Y. pestis</i> strains, while that of fD1 also included other members of Enterobacterales such as <i>Escherichia coli</i> and <i>Yersinia pseudotuberculosis</i>. In this study, we present the life cycles, genomes, and proteomes of two <i>Yersinia</i> myoviruses, fEV-1 and fD1.
  • Mahamat Ahmat, Yacoub; Madadi, Sara; Charbonneau, Luc; Kaliaguine, Serge (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Terpene epoxides are considered as potential primary intermediates in the synthesis of numerous green polymers including epoxy resins, polycarbonates, nonisocyanate polyurethanes and even some polyamides. In this chapter we describe recent efforts from our group to develop catalytic and noncatalytic processes for terpene epoxidation using a variety of oxidizing agents and process intensification methods. Most experimental tests deal with limonene epoxidation with applicability to some other terpenes also demonstrated.
  • van Belkum, Alex; Almeida, Carina; Bardiaux, Benjamin; Barrass, Sarah V.; Butcher, Sarah J.; Çaykara, Tuğçe; Chowdhury, Sounak; Datar, Rucha; Eastwood, Ian; Goldman, Adrian; Goyal, Manisha; Happonen, Lotta; Izadi-Pruneyre, Nadia; Jacobsen, Theis; Johnson, Pirjo H.; Kempf, Volkhard A. J.; Kiessling, Andreas; Bueno, Juan Leva; Malik, Anchal; Malmström, Johan; Meuskens, Ina; Milner, Paul A.; Nilges, Michael; Pamme, Nicole; Peyman, Sally A.; Rodrigues, Ligia R.; Rodriguez-Mateos, Pablo; Sande, Maria G.; Silva, Carla Joana; Stasiak, Aleksandra Cecylia; Stehle, Thilo; Thibau, Arno; Vaca, Diana J.; Linke, Dirk (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Infectious diseases are an existential health threat, potentiated by emerging and re-emerging viruses and increasing bacterial antibiotic resistance. Targeted treatment of infectious diseases requires precision diagnostics, especially in cases where broad-range therapeutics such as antibiotics fail. There is thus an increasing need for new approaches to develop sensitive and specific in vitro diagnostic (IVD) tests. Basic science and translational research are needed to identify key microbial molecules as diagnostic targets, to identify relevant host counterparts, and to use this knowledge in developing or improving IVD. In this regard, an overlooked feature is the capacity of pathogens to adhere specifically to host cells and tissues. The molecular entities relevant for pathogen–surface interaction are the so-called adhesins. Adhesins vary from protein compounds to (poly-)saccharides or lipid structures that interact with eukaryotic host cell matrix molecules and receptors. Such interactions co-define the specificity and sensitivity of a diagnostic test. Currently, adhesin-receptor binding is typically used in the pre-analytical phase of IVD tests, focusing on pathogen enrichment. Further exploration of adhesin–ligand interaction, supported by present high-throughput “omics” technologies, might stimulate a new generation of broadly applicable pathogen detection and characterization tools. This review describes recent results of novel structure-defining technologies allowing for detailed molecular analysis of adhesins, their receptors and complexes. Since the host ligands evolve slowly, the corresponding adhesin interaction is under selective pressure to maintain a constant receptor binding domain. IVD should exploit such conserved binding sites and, in particular, use the human ligand to enrich the pathogen. We provide an inventory of methods based on adhesion factors and pathogen attachment mechanisms, which can also be of relevance to currently emerging pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19.
  • Gonçalves, Fátima; Carlos, Cristina; Crespo, Luís; Zina, Vera; Oliveira, Amália; Salvação, Juliana; Pereira, José Alberto; Torres, Laura (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Viticulture is one of the oldest and most profitable forms of agriculture; it is also one of the most intensive farming systems. As intensive cultivation threatens the environment, there is increasing interest in the concept of sustainability within the wine industry, as well as new business opportunities, as customers begin to pay more attention to environmental and sustainability issues. Recognizing the key role of soil quality in environmentally and economically sustainable viticulture makes it essential to understand better soil arthropod communities, given their crucial functions in maintaining soil quality and health. The ‘Douro Demarcated Region’ (DDR) in northern Portugal offers good potential, in regards to biodiversity, due to its significant areas of non-crop habitats. This work aims to compile information on soil arthropod communities (both soil surface and soil-living) collected in the DDR vineyard agroecosystems. A description of the ecosystem services provided by them, as a basis for the development and implementation of sustainable viticulture systems, is also an objective of this work. An important set of soil arthropods necessary for the delivery of vital ecosystem services for viticulture, with particular reference to supporting and regulating services, occurred in this ecosystem. Eight classes were chiefly represented in a sample of about 167,000 arthropod specimens: Arachnida, Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Entognatha, Insecta, Malacostraca, Pauropoda, and Symphyla. The most representative were Entognatha and Insecta in soil-surface arthropods, and Arachnida and Entognatha in soil-living arthropods. The presence of recognized groups as bioindicators in agroecosystems, such as soil quality indicators, is also revealed. This knowledge is expected to contribute to a more efficient and sustainable management of the viticultural ecosystem.
  • Correia, Cristiana; Ferreira, Abigail; Santos, Joana; Lapa, Rui; Yliperttula, Marjo; Urtti, Arto; Vale, Nuno (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Pharmacokinetic (PK) studies improve the design of dosing regimens in preclinical and clinical settings. In complex diseases like cancer, single-agent approaches are often insufficient for an effective treatment, and drug combination therapies can be implemented. In this work, in silico PK models were developed based on in vitro assays results, with the goal of predicting the in vivo performance of drug combinations in the context of cancer therapy. Combinations of reference drugs for cancer treatment, gemcitabine and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and repurposed drugs itraconazole, verapamil or tacrine, were evaluated in vitro. Then, two-compartment PK models were developed based on the previous in vitro studies and on the PK profile reported in the literature for human patients. Considering the quantification parameter area under the dose-response-time curve (AUC<sub>effect</sub>) for the combinations effect, itraconazole was the most effective in combination with either reference anticancer drugs. In addition, cell growth inhibition was itraconazole-dose dependent and an increase in effect was predicted if itraconazole administration was continued (24-h dosing interval). This work demonstrates that in silico methods and AUC<sub>effect</sub> are powerful tools to study relationships between tissue drug concentration and the percentage of cell growth inhibition over time.
  • Mosselhy, Dina A.; Kareinen, Lauri; Kivistö, Ilkka; Aaltonen, Kirsi; Virtanen, Jenni; Ge, Yanling; Sironen, Tarja (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains a severe health threat. The COVID-19 infections occurring in humans and animals render human-animal interfaces hot spots for spreading the pandemic. Lessons from the past point towards the antiviral properties of copper formulations; however, data showing the “contact-time limit” surface inhibitory efficacy of copper formulations to contain SARS-CoV-2 are limited. Here, we show the rapid inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 after only 1 and 5 min on two different surfaces containing copper-silver (Cu-Ag) nanohybrids. We characterized the nanohybrids’ powder and surfaces using a series of sophisticated microscopy tools, including transmission and scanning electron microscopes (TEM and SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). We used culturing methods to demonstrate that Cu-Ag nanohybrids with high amounts of Cu (~65 and 78 wt%) and lower amounts of Ag (~7 and 9 wt%) inhibited SARS-CoV-2 efficiently. Collectively, the present work reveals the rapid SARS-CoV-2 surface inhibition and the promising application of such surfaces to break the SARS-CoV-2 transmission chain. For example, such applications could be invaluable within a hospital or live-stock settings, or any public place with surfaces that people frequently touch (i.e., public transportation, shopping malls, elevators, and door handles) after the precise control of different parameters and toxicity evaluations.
  • Penttinen, Markus A.; Virtanen, Jenni; Laaksonen, Marika; Erkkola, Maijaliisa; Vepsäläinen, Henna; Kautiainen, Hannu; Korhonen, Päivi (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Background: Burnout is an undesirable mental condition, which may have a negative impact on individuals’ health and work ability. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between diet and burnout symptoms among female public sector employees. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2015 among 630 female employees from 10 municipal work units of the city of Pori, Finland. Burnout symptoms were assessed with the Bergen Burnout Indicator (BBI). The consumption of food items was determined using the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The main food groups were categorized into healthy and unhealthy foods based on the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations for a healthy and balanced diet. Results: In multivariate linear regression analysis, consumption of healthy food items had an inverse relationship with the severity of burnout symptoms independently of age, education years, physical activity, and depressive symptoms. De-tailed analysis revealed that subjects with lower BBI score consumed more often low-fat dairy produce, vegetables, fruit and berries, vegetable food, and white meat. Conclusions: Frequent consumption of healthy food items is associated with low level of burnout symptoms. Our results emphasize the importance of diverse and balanced healthy diet to promote work well-being.
  • Kärki, Tytti; Tojkander, Sari (Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2021)
    Biophysical cues from the cellular microenvironment are detected by mechanosensitive machineries that translate physical signals into biochemical signaling cascades. At the crossroads of extracellular space and cell interior are located several ion channel families, including TRP family proteins, that are triggered by mechanical stimuli and drive intracellular signaling pathways through spatio-temporally controlled Ca<sup>2+</sup>-influx. Mechanosensitive Ca<sup>2+</sup>-channels, therefore, act as critical components in the rapid transmission of physical signals into biologically compatible information to impact crucial processes during development, morphogenesis and regeneration. Given the mechanosensitive nature of many of the TRP family channels, they must also respond to the biophysical changes along the development of several pathophysiological conditions and have also been linked to cancer progression. In this review, we will focus on the TRPV, vanilloid family of TRP proteins, and their connection to cancer progression through their mechanosensitive nature.

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