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Human Body Segments
The knowledge of human body proportions and segmental properties of limbs, head and trunk is of fundamental importance in biomechanical research. Given that many methods are employed, it is important to know which ones are currently available, which data on human body masses, lengths, center of mass (COM) location, weights and moment of inertia (MOI) are available and which methods are most suitable for specific research purposes. Graphical, optical, x-ray and derived techniques, MRI, laser, thermography, has been employed for in-vivo measurement, while direct measurements involve cadaveric studies with dissection and various methods of acquiring shape and size of body segments.
20 Nov 2020
The large intestine consists of ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoidal colon and the rectum. The wall of the large intestine can be divided into four anatomically distinct layers (from inner to outer): mucosa, submucosa, muscularis propria (inner circular and outer longitudinal layers), and serosa. Its major physiological functions include absorbing water, moving waste residue down the GI tract, and temporary fecal storage, all of which involve mechanical movement and deformation of the tubular gastrointestinal structure. The biomechanics of the large intestinal tissue plays a key role in those aforementioned physiological functions in both health and disease. In addition, chronic visceral pain from the colon and rectum has a prominent mechanical component – it is mechanical distension, not heating, pinching, cutting, or inflammation that reliably evokes pain from hollow visceral organs. The structure and function of the large intestine is systematically summarized below with a particular focus on the heterogeneous biomechanical properties at different sub-layers of the intestinal wall.
09 Nov 2020
ECM decellularization methods
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex network with multiple functions, including specific functions during tissue regeneration. Precisely, the properties of the ECM have been thoroughly used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine research, aiming to restore the function of damaged or dysfunctional tissues. Tissue decellularization is gaining momentum as a technique to obtain potentially implantable decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) with well-preserved key components. Interestingly, the tissue-specific dECM is becoming a feasible option to carry out regenerative medicine research, with multiple advantages compared to other approaches. We recently published an overview of the most common methods used to obtain the dECM from specific tissues. Here we provide a summary from that report as a helpful guide for future research development.
25 Aug 2020
The Cat Mandible
The cat mandible is small and has some peculiarities relative to the dentition (only three incisors, a prominent canine, two premolars and one molar); a conical and horizontally oriented condyle, and a protudent angular process in its ventrocaudal part. Most of the body of the mandible is occupied by the mandibular dental roots and the mandibular canal that protects the neurovascular supply: the inferior alveolar artery and vein, and the inferior alveolar nerve that exits the mandible rostrally as the mental nerves. They irrigate and innervate all the teeth and associated structures such as the lips and gingiva. Tooth roots and the mandibular canal account for up to 70% of the volume of the mandibular body. Consequently, when fractured it is difficult to repair without invading the dental roots or vascular structures.
01 Mar 2021
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors
Vascular endothelial growth factors (VEGFs) are primary regulators of blood and lymphatic vessels. Hemangiogenic VEGFs (VEGF-A, PlGF, and VEGF-B) target mostly blood vessels, while the lymphangiogenic VEGFs (VEGF-C and VEGF-D) target mostly lymphatic vessels. Blocking VEGF-A is used today to treat several types of cancer (“antiangiogenic therapy”). However, in other diseases, it would be beneficial to do the opposite, namely to increase the activity of VEGFs. For example, VEGF-A could generate new blood vessels to protect from heart disease, and VEGF-C could generate new lymphatics to counteract lymphedema. Clinical trials that tried to stimulate blood vessel growth in ischemic diseases have been disappointing so far, and the first clinical trials targeting the lymphatic vasculature have progressed to phase II. Antiangiogenic drugs targeting VEGF-A such as bevacizumab or aflibercept neutralize the growth factor directly. However, since VEGF-C and VEGF-D are produced as inactive precursors, novel drugs against the lymphangiogenic VEGFs could also target the enzymatic activation of VEGF-C and VEGF-D. Because of the delicate balance between too much and too little vascular growth, a detailed understanding of the activation of the VEGF-C and VEGF-D is needed before such concepts can be converted into safe and efficacious therapies.
30 Mar 2021
Vertebrate Cutaneous Sensory Corpuscles
Vertebrate cutaneous sensory corpuscles are specialized sensory nerve formations located in the skin of all vertebrates and responsible for tactile sensation. Functionally, they are mechanoreceptors transducing external mechanical stimuli into electrical signals which will be later led to the Central Nervous System. The afferent innervation of vertebrate skin is supplied by nerve fibers (Aβ, Aδ, C) which are originated from peripheral neurons localized in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG). Aβ nerve fibers end at the dermis level forming several morphotypes of sensory corpuscles with capacity of detecting different stimuli: Merkel cell–neurite complexes, Ruffini corpuscles, Meissner’s corpuscles and Pacinian corpuscles are present in the glabrous skin; while pilo-neural complexes are found in hairy skin. The structure of sensory corpuscles is formed by an axon, non-myelinating Schwann-like cells, a capsule of endoneurial and/or perineurial origin and extracelullar matrix molecules. The vertebrate skin contains sensory corpuscles that are receptors for different qualities of mechanosensitivity like light brush, touch, pressure, stretch or vibration. These specialized sensory organs are linked anatomically and functionally to mechanosensory neurons, which function as low-threshold mechanoreceptors connected to peripheral skin through Aβ nerve fibers. Furthermore, low-threshold mechanoreceptors associated with Aδ and C nerve fibers have been identified in hairy skin. The process of mechanotransduction requires the conversion of a mechanical stimulus into electrical signals (action potentials) through the activation of mechanosensible ion channels present both in the axon and the periaxonal cells of sensory corpuscles (i.e., Schwann-, endoneurial- and perineurial-related cells). Most of those putative ion channels belong to the degenerin/epithelial sodium channel (especially the family of acid-sensing ion channels), the transient receptor potential channel superfamilies, and the Piezo family.
07 Sep 2020
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a multifactorial disease and the most common neurodegenerative disorder affecting the elderly population world-wide.The used medications treat the symptoms of AD, but without any delay on the progression of the disease. Curcumin presented favorable effects on AD. In the last decade curcumin analogues and derivatives have been synthesized in an attempt to optimize the beneficial properties of curcumin and improve its absorbance and distribution per os as a therapeutic agent. Reviewing the bibliographical data of the last decade, information on the structures and / or chemical groups that are associated with specific action against AD, was gathered, derived from docking studies, (Q)SAR from vitro and in vivo tests. Phenolic hydroxyl groups might contribute to the anti-amyloidogenic activity. Phenyl methoxy groups seems to contribute to the suppression of Aβ42 and to the suppression of APP. Hydrophobic interactions revealed to be important. The presence of flexible moieties at the linker are crucial for the inhibition of Aβ aggregation. The inhibitory activity of derivatives is increased with the expansion of the aromatic rings. The keto-enol tautomer form offers as a new modification for the design of amyloid-binding agents. Taking the above under consideration innovative design and synthesis will lead to more potent and specific curcumin analogues and derivatives against AD.
30 Oct 2020
Combined Scientific and Artistic Approach
The main objective of this study was to propose a novel methodology to approach challenges in molecular biology. Akirin/Subolesin (AKR/SUB) are vaccine protective antigens and a model for the study of the interactome due to its conserved function in the regulation of different biological processes such as immunity and development throughout the metazoan. Herein, three visual artists and a music professor collaborated with scientists for the functional characterization of the AKR2 interactome in the regulation of the NF-kB pathway in human placenta cells. The results served as a methodological proof-of-concept to advance this research area. The results showed new perspectives on unexplored characteristics of AKR2 with functional implications. These results included protein dimerization, the physical interactions with different proteins simultaneously to regulate various biological processes defined by cell type-specific AKR-protein interactions and how these interactions positively or negatively regulate the Nuclear Factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-kB) signaling pathway in a biological context-dependent manner. These results suggested that AKR2 interacting proteins might constitute suitable secondary transcription factors for cell and stimulus-specific regulation of NF-kB. Musical perspective supported AKR/SUB evolutionary conservation in different species and provided new mechanistic insights into the AKR2 interactome. The combined scientific and artistic perspectives resulted in a multidisciplinary approach advancing our knowledge on AKR/SUB interactome and provided new insights into the function of AKR2-protein interactions in the regulation of the NF-kB pathway. Additionally, herein we proposed an algorithm for quantum vaccinomics by focusing on the model proteins AKR/SUB. This study was recently accepted for publication in Vaccines (Artigas-Jerónimo, S., Pastor Comín, J.J., Villar, M., Contreras, M., Alberdi, P., León Viera, I., Soto, L., Cordero, R., Valdés, J.J., Cabezas-Cruz, A., Estrada-Peña, A., de la Fuente, J. 2020. A novel combined scientific and artistic approach for advanced characterization of interactomes: the Akiri/Subolesinn model. Vaccines 8, 77)
29 Oct 2020
Mitochondrial Protein ATAD3A and Cancer
The ATPase family AAA-domain containing protein 3A (ATAD3A), a nuclear-encoded mitochondrial enzyme, contributes to mitochondrial dynamics, nucleoid organization, protein translation, cell growth, and cholesterol metabolism. The ATAD3A protein contains two coiled-coil domains (CC1 and CC2), Walker A (WA) and Walker B (WB) motifs and among them, the WA motif is responsible for ATP binding in the AAA module of ATAD3A. ATAD3A is an understudied protein in cancer, although we have demonstrated it functions as a metastasis promoter in breast cancer. At this stage of our understanding, ATAD3A dysfunction is also required and sufficient to drive oncogenic process in many types of cancer. Thus, there is a need to understand the mechanism by which ATAD3A interacts with other mitochondria-localized oncoproteins, and the targeting strategy in which ATAD3A is abrogated.
12 Nov 2020
Congenital Malformations in Sea Turtles
Congenital malformations can lead to embryonic mortality in many species, and sea turtles are no exception. Genetic and/or environmental alterations occur during early development in the embryo, and may produce aberrant phenotypes, many of which are incompatible with life. Causes of malformations are multifactorial; genetic factors may include mutations, chromosomal aberrations, and inbreeding effects, whereas non-genetic factors may include nutrition, hyperthermia, low moisture, radiation, and contamination. It is possible to monitor and control some of these factors (such as temperature and humidity) in nesting beaches, and toxic compounds in feeding areas, which can be transferred to the embryo through their lipophilic properties.
22 Feb 2021
Featured Entry Collections
Encyclopedia of Social Sciences
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Encyclopedia of Piezoelectrics
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