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Specific transcription factors distinguish umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells from fibroblasts

Park et al. | Aug 16, 2019

Specific transcription factors distinguish umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells from fibroblasts

Stem cells are at the forefront of research in regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Two essential properties of stem cells are self-renewal and potency, having the ability to specialize into different types of cells. Here, Park and Jeong took advantage of previously identified stem cell transcription factors associated with potency to differentiate umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (US-MSCs) from morphologically similar fibroblasts. Western blot analysis of the transcription factors Klf4, Nanog, and Sox2 revealed their expression was unique to US-MSCs providing insight for future methods of differentiating between these cell lines.

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Modulation of planaria regeneration by Resolvin D1 and the omega-3 fatty acid precursor 17-hydroxy docosahexaenoic acid

Chan et al. | Aug 13, 2019

Modulation of planaria regeneration by Resolvin D1 and the omega-3 fatty acid precursor 17-hydroxy docosahexaenoic acid

Omega-3 fatty acids ingested in the diet are essential for regulating many functions in the body including controlling inflammation in chronic conditions such as arthritis as asthma. Omega-3 fatty acid derived lipid mediators have been implicated in resolving inflammation, tissue homeostasis and wound healing. To further explore this effect, Chan and Chatterjee measured the impact of supplementation with lipid mediator Resolvin D1 and its precursor 17-HDHA on planaria regeneration. For the first time planaria have been shown to synthesize RvD1 from 17-DHA. Further, both RvD1 and 17-DHA enhanced regeneration showing potential for enhanced regenerative responses in tissues.

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The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Gohari et al. | Aug 12, 2019

The Effects of Altered Microbiome on Caenorhabditis elegans Egg Laying Behavior

Since the discovery that thousands of different bacteria colonize our gut, many of which are important for human well-being, understanding the significance of balancing the different species on the human body has been intensely researched. Untangling the complexity of the gut microbiome and establishing the effect of the various strains on human health is a challenge in many circumstances, and the need for simpler systems to improve our basic understanding of microbe-host interactions seems necessary. C. elegans are a well-established laboratory animal that feed on bacteria and can thus serve as a less complex system for studying microbe-host interactions. Here the authors investigate how the choice of bacterial diet affects worm fertility. The same approach could be applied to many different outcomes, and facilitate our understanding of how the microbes colonizing our guts affect various bodily functions.

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Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Mathew et al. | Aug 11, 2019

Evaluating Biomarkers and Treatments for Acute Kidney Injury in a Zebrafish Model

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death in the United States, and 81% of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI) patients in the renal fibrosis stage later develop CAD. In this study, Mathew and Joykutty aimed to create a cost-effective strategy to treat AKI and thus prevent CAD using a model of the zebrafish, Danio rerio. They first tested whether AKI is induced in Danio rerio upon exposure to environmental toxins, then evaluated nitrotyrosine as an early biomarker for toxin-induced AKI. Finally, they evaluated 4 treatments of renal fibrosis, the last stage of AKI, and found that the compound SB431542 was the most effective treatment (reduced fibrosis by 99.97%). Their approach to treating AKI patients, and potentially prevent CAD, is economically feasible for translation into the clinic in both developing and developed countries.

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Improving wound healing by breaking down biofilm formation and reducing nosocomial infections

DiStefano et al. | Jul 09, 2019

Improving wound healing by breaking down biofilm formation and reducing nosocomial infections

In a 10-year period in the early 2000’s, hospital-based (nosocomial) infections increased by 123%, and this number is increasing as time goes on. The purpose of this experiment was to use hyaluronic acid, silver nanoparticles, and a bacteriophage cocktail to create a hydrogel that promotes wound healing by increasing cell proliferation while simultaneously disrupting biofilm formation and breaking down Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which are two strains of bacteria that attribute to nosocomial infections and are increasing in antibiotic resistance.

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Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

Zheng et al. | Jun 10, 2019

Cathodal galvanotaxis: the effect of voltage on the distribution of Tetrahymena pyriformis

The surface of the unicellular eukaryote, Tetrahymena pyriformis, is covered with thousands of hair-like cilia. These cilia are very similar to cilia of the human olfactory and respiratory tracts making them model organisms for studying cilia function and pathology. The authors of this study investigated the effect of voltage on T. pyriformis galvanotaxis, the movement towards an electrical stimulus. They observed galvanotaxis towards the cathode at voltages over 4V which plateau, indicating opening of voltage gated-ion channels to trigger movement.

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Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Ortega et al. | Jun 07, 2019

Pichia kudriavzevii yeast exposure increases the asthmatic behavior of alveolar epithelial cells in vitro

Asthma affects over 334 million people worldwide and is triggered by inhalation of environmental stimuli. The authors of this study characterized the effect of exposure to common spoilage yeast, Pichia kidriavzevii, on alveolar epithelial cells. A direct correlation between infection duration and asthmatic status of these cells was found, indicating the potential for this yeast to be an environmental stimulus of asthma and warranting further study.

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The effect of ultraviolet radiation and the antioxidant curcumin on the longevity, fertility, and physical structure of Drosophila melanogaster: Can we defend our DNA?

Lateef et al. | May 18, 2019

The effect of ultraviolet radiation and the antioxidant curcumin on the longevity, fertility, and physical structure of Drosophila melanogaster: Can we defend our DNA?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to alter DNA structure and impair cellular function in all living organisms. In this study, Lateef et al examine the effects of UV radiation to determine whether antioxidant-enriched nutrition can combat the potential deleterious effects of UV radiation on Drosophila melanogaster. They found that UVB (320nm) radiation caused a 59% decrease in the Drosophila lifespan and mutagenic effects on flies' physical appearance, but did not significantly affect fertility. Curcumin significantly prolonged lifespan and enhanced fertility for both UV- and non-UV-exposed flies. The research demonstrates the positive potential of natural antioxidants as weapons against radiation-induced diseases including cancer.

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The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

Lazorik et al. | May 10, 2019

The effect of caffeine on the regeneration of Brown Planaria (Dugesia tigrina)

The degeneration of nerve cells in the brain can lead to pathologies such as Parkinson’s disease. It has been suggested that neurons in humans may regenerate. In this study, the effect of different doses of caffeine on regeneration was explored in the planeria model. Caffeine has been shown to enhance dopamine production, and dopamine is found in high concentrations in regenerating planeria tissues. Higher doses of caffeine accelerated planeria regeneration following decapitation, indicating a potential role for caffeine as a treatment to stimulate regeneration.

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Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

Kasner et al. | Apr 26, 2019

Cytokine treatment for myocarditis may directly impact cardiomyocytes negatively

The purpose of our study was to determine if direct administration of CXCL1/KC to cardiomyocytes causes negative changes to cell density or proliferation. This molecule has been shown to reduce inflammation in certain instances. Homocysteine models the direct effect of an inflammatory agent on cardiomyocytes. Our question was whether these molecules directly impact cell density through an interaction with the cell proliferation process. We hypothesized that cells treated with CXCL1/KC would maintain the same cell density as untreated cells. In contrast, cells treated with Homocysteine or both Homocysteine and CXCL1/KC, were expected to have a higher cell density that than that of untreated cells.

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3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Jayatissa et al. | Apr 26, 2019

3D Printed Polymer Scaffolds for Bone Tissue Regeneration

Scientists are always on the quest to improve the body's healing abilities and broken bones are no exception. In this article, the authors investigate properties of 3D-printed biocompatible polymers used to improve bone healing. With such efforts, we can hope to, one day, improve bone scaffolding materials in ways that make the natural healing processes more efficient, reducing the time needed for recovery from bone fractures.

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Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

Jayram et al. | Apr 08, 2019

Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

A primary cause of diabetes is insulin resistance, which is caused by disruption of insulin signal transduction. The objective of this study was to maximize insulin sensitivity by creating a more effective, early intervention-based treatment to avert severe T2D. This treatment combined metformin, “the insulin sensitizer”, and medicinal plants, curcumin, fenugreek, and nettle.

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QuitPuff: A Simple Method Using Saliva to Assess the Risk of Oral Pre-cancerous Lesions and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Chronic Smokers

Shamsher et al. | Mar 27, 2019

QuitPuff: A Simple Method Using Saliva to Assess the Risk of Oral Pre-cancerous Lesions and Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma in Chronic Smokers

Smoking generates free radicals and reactive oxygen species which induce cell damage and lipid peroxidation. This is linked to the development of oral cancer in chronic smokers. The authors of this study developed Quitpuff, simple colorimetric test to measure the extent of lipid peroxidation in saliva samples. This test detected salivary lipid peroxidation with 96% accuracy in test subjects and could serve as an inexpensive, non-invasive test for smokers to measure degree of salivary lipid peroxidation and potential risk of oral cancer.

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Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Lee et al. | Mar 25, 2019

Glyphosate Levels in American Food Products Meet Government Safety Levels Yet Exceed Concentrations Associated with Negative Effects

Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, frequently used in the agricultural industry worldwide. Current literature reveals contradictory findings regarding the effects of glyphosate on vertebrates, leading to concerns about human consumption and differing views on safety levels. Here, authors sought to measure glyphosate levels in common commercially available food products. While some product levels exceed the thresholds at which negative effects have been observed, none exceed government limits.

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Phages Can Be More Effective and Specific Than Antibiotics in Combating Bacteria

Wu et al. | Feb 17, 2019

Phages Can Be More Effective and Specific Than Antibiotics in Combating Bacteria

Phage therapy has been suggested as an alternative to antibiotics because bacteria resistant to antibiotics may still be susceptible to phages. However, phages may have limited effectiveness in combating bacteria since bacteria possess several antiviral defense mechanisms and can quickly develop resistance to phages. In this study, Wu and Pinta compare the effectiveness and specificity of antibiotics and phages in combating bacteria. They found that T4 phages are more specific and effective in fighting or inhibiting both antibiotic-resistant and sensitive bacteria than antibiotics, suggesting that phage therapy can be developed as an efficient tool to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

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Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

Kisling et al. | Feb 12, 2019

Determining the Effects of Fibroblast Growth Factor 2 on the Regenerative Abilities of Echinometra lucunter Sea Urchins

As humans, not all our body organs can adequately regenerate after injury, an ability that declines with age. In some species, however, regeneration is a hallmark response that can occur limitless numbers of time throughout the life of an organism. Understanding how such species can regenerate so efficiently is of central importance to regenerative medicine. Sea urchins, unlike humans, can regenerate their spinal tissue after injury. Here the authors study the effect of a growth factor, FGF2, on sea urchin regeneration but find no conclusive evidence for a pro-regenerative effect after spinal tissue injury.

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Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Gardner et al. | Feb 02, 2019

Impact of daf-25 and daf-11 Mutations on Olfactory Function in C. elegans

Cilia are little hair-like protrusions on many cells in the human body, including those lining the trachea where they play a role in clearing our respiratory tract of mucous and other irritants. Genetic mutations that impair ciliary function have serious consequences on our well-being making it important to understand how ciliary function is regulated. By using a simple organism, such as the worm C. elegans that use cilia to move, the authors explore the effect of certain genetic mutations on the cilia of the worms by measuring their ability to move towards or away from certain odorants.

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The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Lee et al. | Jan 26, 2019

The Inhibitory Effect of Probiotics on the Growth and Biofilm Formation of Salmonella Sp.

Salmonella is a genus of bacteria responsible for over 90 million cases of intestinal illnesses yearly. Like many bacteria, Salmonella can create a biofilm matrix, which confers stronger resistance against antibiotics. However, there has been relatively little research on the inhibition of Salmonella biofilm formation, which is a crucial factor in its widespread growth. In this study, Lee and Kim quantitatively measure the effectiveness of several common probiotics in inhibiting Salmonella bacterial growth. They found concentration-dependent antibacterial effects varied among the probiotics tested, indicating the possibility of probiotic species-specific mechanisms of Salmonella growth inhibition.

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