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Concept: Sodium


Human acute and inflammatory pain requires the expression of voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.7 but its significance for neuropathic pain is unknown. Here we show that Nav1.7 expression in different sets of mouse sensory and sympathetic neurons underlies distinct types of pain sensation. Ablating Nav1.7 gene (SCN9A) expression in all sensory neurons using Advillin-Cre abolishes mechanical pain, inflammatory pain and reflex withdrawal responses to heat. In contrast, heat-evoked pain is retained when SCN9A is deleted only in Nav1.8-positive nociceptors. Surprisingly, responses to the hotplate test, as well as neuropathic pain, are unaffected when SCN9A is deleted in all sensory neurons. However, deleting SCN9A in both sensory and sympathetic neurons abolishes these pain sensations and recapitulates the pain-free phenotype seen in humans with SCN9A loss-of-function mutations. These observations demonstrate an important role for Nav1.7 in sympathetic neurons in neuropathic pain, and provide possible insights into the mechanisms that underlie gain-of-function Nav1.7-dependent pain conditions.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Mutation, Evolution, Action potential, Pain, Sodium, Erythromelalgia


Besides the kidneys, the gastrointestinal tract is the principal organ responsible for sodium homeostasis. For sodium transport across the cell membranes the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) is of pivotal relevance. The ENaC is mainly regulated by mineralocorticoid receptor mediated actions. The MR activation by endogenous 11β-hydroxy-glucocorticoids is modulated by the 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11β-HSD2). Here we present evidence for intestinal segment specific 11β-HSD2 expression and hypothesize that a high salt intake and/or uninephrectomy (UNX) affects colonic 11β-HSD2, MR and ENaC expression. The 11β-HSD2 activity was measured by means of 3H-corticosterone conversion into 3H-11-dehydrocorticosterone in Sprague Dawley rats on a normal and high salt diet. The activity increased steadily from the ileum to the distal colon by a factor of about 3, an observation in line with the relevance of the distal colon for sodium handling. High salt intake diminished mRNA and protein of 11β-HSD2 by about 50% (p<0.001) and reduced the expression of the MR (p<0.01). The functionally relevant ENaC-β and ENaC-γ expression, a measure of mineralocorticoid action, diminished by more than 50% by high salt intake (p<0.001). The observed changes were present in rats with and without UNX. Thus, colonic epithelial cells appear to contribute to the protective armamentarium of the mammalian body against salt overload, a mechanism not modulated by UNX.

Concepts: Protein, Digestive system, Epithelium, Aldosterone, Stomach, Sodium, Laboratory rat, Epithelial sodium channel


In the quest for producing an effective clinically relevant therapeutic agent, scalability, repeatability, and stability are paramount. In this paper, gold nanoparticles (GNPs) with precisely controlled near infrared (NIR) absorption are synthesized by a single step reaction of HAuCl4 and Na2S2O3, without assistance of additional templates, capping reagents or seeds. The anisotropy in the shape of gold nanoparticles offers high NIR absorption making it therapeutically relevant. The synthesized products consist of GNPs with different shape and size, including small spherical colloid gold particles and non-spherical gold crystals. The NIR absorption wavelengths and particle size increase with increasing molar ratio of HAuCl4/Na2S2O3. Non-spherical gold particles can be further purified and separated by centrifugation to improve the NIR absorbing fraction of particles. In-depth studies reveal that GNPs with good structural and optical stability only form in a certain range of the HAuCl4/Na2S2O3 molar ratio, whereas higher molar ratios result in unstable GNPs, which lose their NIR absorption peak due to decomposition and reassembly via Ostwald ripening. Tuning the optical absorption of the gold nanoparticles in the NIR regime via a robust and repeatable method will improve many applications requiring large quantities of desired NIR absorbing nanoparticles.

Concepts: Nanoparticle, Photon, Electromagnetic radiation, Gold, Sodium, Colloidal gold, Chloroauric acid, Sodium thiosulfate


Natriuretic regulation of extracellular fluid volume homeostasis includes suppression of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, pressure natriuresis, and reduced renal nerve activity, actions that concomitantly increase urinary Na+ excretion and lead to increased urine volume. The resulting natriuresis-driven diuretic water loss is assumed to control the extracellular volume. Here, we have demonstrated that urine concentration, and therefore regulation of water conservation, is an important control system for urine formation and extracellular volume homeostasis in mice and humans across various levels of salt intake. We observed that the renal concentration mechanism couples natriuresis with correspondent renal water reabsorption, limits natriuretic osmotic diuresis, and results in concurrent extracellular volume conservation and concentration of salt excreted into urine. This water-conserving mechanism of dietary salt excretion relies on urea transporter-driven urea recycling by the kidneys and on urea production by liver and skeletal muscle. The energy-intense nature of hepatic and extrahepatic urea osmolyte production for renal water conservation requires reprioritization of energy and substrate metabolism in liver and skeletal muscle, resulting in hepatic ketogenesis and glucocorticoid-driven muscle catabolism, which are prevented by increasing food intake. This natriuretic-ureotelic, water-conserving principle relies on metabolism-driven extracellular volume control and is regulated by concerted liver, muscle, and renal actions.

Concepts: Kidney, Ammonia, Metabolism, Glucose, Urine, Glycogen, Sodium, Urea


To investigate 4 loci of 3 HSP70 genes in caustic soda production plant former workers, who have been exposed to metallic mercury vapors for a long time, and including numerous cases of chronic mercury intoxication (CMI).

Concepts: Water, Sodium, Mercury, Sodium hydroxide, Chlorine, Vapor, Mercury-vapor lamp, Lye


Nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2) is a key neuronal maintenance factor and provides potent neuroprotection in numerous preclinical models of neurological disorders. NMNAT2 is significantly reduced in Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s diseases. Here we developed a Meso Scale Discovery (MSD)-based screening platform to quantify endogenous NMNAT2 in cortical neurons. The high sensitivity and large dynamic range of this NMNAT2-MSD platform allowed us to screen the Sigma LOPAC library consisting of 1280 compounds. This library had a 2.89% hit rate, with 24 NMNAT2 positive and 13 negative modulators identified. Western analysis was conducted to validate and determine the dose-dependency of identified modulators. Caffeine, one identified NMNAT2 positive-modulator, when systemically administered restored NMNAT2 expression in rTg4510 tauopathy mice to normal levels. We confirmed in a cell culture model that four selected positive-modulators exerted NMNAT2-specific neuroprotection against vincristine-induced cell death while four selected NMNAT2 negative modulators reduced neuronal viability in an NMNAT2-dependent manner. Many of the identified NMNAT2 positive modulators are predicted to increase cAMP concentration, suggesting that neuronal NMNAT2 levels are tightly regulated by cAMP signaling. Taken together, our findings indicate that the NMNAT2-MSD platform provides a sensitive phenotypic screen to detect NMNAT2 in neurons.

Concepts: Alzheimer's disease, Neuron, Gene, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Cerebral cortex, Neurology, Sodium


Advancements in the detection of environmental DNA (eDNA) for detecting species of interest will likely allow for expanded use of these techniques in the field. One obstacle that continues to hinder applications in the field is the requirement of a cold chain of storage for water samples containing eDNA. While eDNA has been successfully preserved using Longmire’s lysis buffer applied to filters, it has yet to be tried with freshwater samples collected for eDNA detection of an invasive species. We tested the utility of Longmire’s solution (100 mM Tris, 100 mM EDTA, 10 mM NaCl, 0.5 % SDS, 0.2 % sodium azide) as an additive to freshwater samples for preservation of eDNA.

Concepts: DNA, Water, Sodium, Seawater, Salt, Preservation, Field Island, Sodium compounds


Decreasing dietary sodium intake, which can be achieved by reducing salt content in food, is recommended. Salt contributes to the taste of foods and makes them more enjoyable. Whether a food is liked or disliked is an important determinant of food intake, especially among children. However, the role of salt in children’s food acceptance has received little attention. The impact of salt content on children’s hedonic rating and intake of two foods was investigated in children. Using a within-subject crossover design, we recruited 75 children (8-11 years) to participate in five lunches in their school cafeteria. The target foods were green beans and pasta. The added salt content was 0, 0.6 or 1.2 g/100 g. The children’s intake (g) of all lunch items was measured. The children provided their hedonic rating of the food, a preference ranking and a saltiness ranking in the laboratory. Children could rank the foods according to salt content, and they preferred the two saltier options. A food-specific effect of salt content on intake was observed. Compared to the intermediate level (0.6 g salt/100 g), not adding salt decreased green bean intake (-21%; p = 0.002), and increasing the salt content increased pasta intake (+24%; p<0.0001). Structural Equation Modeling was used to model the relative weights of the determinants of intake. It showed that the primary driver of food intake was the child's hunger; the second most important factor was the child's hedonic rating of the food, regardless of its salt content, and the last factor was the child's preference for the particular salt content of the food. In conclusion, salt content has a positive and food-specific effect on intake; it impacted food preferences and intake differently in children. Taking into account children's preferences for salt instead of their intake may lead to excessive added salt.

Concepts: Nutrition, Allergy, Food, Sodium chloride, Taste, Sodium, Preference, Restaurant


Iron, potassium, zinc, and other minerals might impact the development of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) through multiple mechanisms, but few studies have evaluated these relations. We conducted a case-control study nested within the prospective Nurses' Health Study II (1991-2001). Participants were free from PMS at baseline. After 10 years, 1,057 women were confirmed as PMS cases and 1,968 as controls. Mineral intake was assessed using food frequency questionnaires completed in 1991, 1995, and 1999. After adjustment for calcium intake and other factors, women in the highest quintile of nonheme iron intake had a relative risk of PMS of 0.64 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.44, 0.92; P for trend = 0.04) compared with women in the lowest quintile. Women in the highest quintile of potassium intake had a relative risk of 1.46 (95% CI: 0.99, 2.15; P for trend = 0.04) compared with women in the lowest quintile. High intake of zinc from supplements was marginally associated with PMS (for intake of ≥25 mg/day vs. none, relative risk = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.46, 1.02; P for trend = 0.05). Intakes of sodium, magnesium, and manganese were unrelated to PMS risk. These findings suggest that dietary minerals may be useful in preventing PMS. Additional studies are needed to confirm these relations.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Magnesium, Calcium, Dietary mineral, Mineral, Sodium, Potassium, Dietary minerals


Reaction prediction remains one of the major challenges for organic chemistry and is a prerequisite for efficient synthetic planning. It is desirable to develop algorithms that, like humans, “learn” from being exposed to examples of the application of the rules of organic chemistry. We explore the use of neural networks for predicting reaction types, using a new reaction fingerprinting method. We combine this predictor with SMARTS transformations to build a system which, given a set of reagents and reactants, predicts the likely products. We test this method on problems from a popular organic chemistry textbook.

Concepts: Product, Chemical reaction, Chemistry, Organic reaction, Biochemistry, Sodium, Organic chemistry, Forecasting