Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Toxicity


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined by standardized criteria of qualitative impairments in social interaction, qualitative impairments in communication, and restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests, and activities. A significant number of children diagnosed with ASD suffer a loss of previously-acquired skills, which is suggestive of neurodegeneration or a type of progressive encephalopathy with an etiological pathogenic basis occurring after birth. To date, the etiology of ASD remains under debate, however, many studies suggest toxicity, especially from mercury (Hg), in individuals diagnosed with an ASD. The present study evaluated concerns about the toxic effects of organic-Hg exposure from Thimerosal (49.55% Hg by weight) in childhood vaccines by conducting a two-phased (hypothesis generating/hypothesis testing) study with documented exposure to varying levels of Thimerosal from vaccinations.

Concepts: Toxicity, Mercury, Immune system, Greek loanwords, Autism spectrum, Autism, Vaccination, Vaccine


Aluminium adjuvants remain the most widely used and effective adjuvants in vaccination and immunotherapy. Herein, the particle size distribution (PSD) of aluminium oxyhydroxide and aluminium hydroxyphosphate adjuvants was elucidated in attempt to correlate these properties with the biological responses observed post vaccination. Heightened solubility and potentially the generation of Al(3+) in the lysosomal environment were positively correlated with an increase in cell mortality in vitro, potentially generating a greater inflammatory response at the site of simulated injection. The cellular uptake of aluminium based adjuvants (ABAs) used in clinically approved vaccinations are compared to a commonly used experimental ABA, in an in vitro THP-1 cell model. Using lumogallion as a direct-fluorescent molecular probe for aluminium, complemented with transmission electron microscopy provides further insight into the morphology of internalised particulates, driven by the physicochemical variations of the ABAs investigated. We demonstrate that not all aluminium adjuvants are equal neither in terms of their physical properties nor their biological reactivity and potential toxicities both at the injection site and beyond. High loading of aluminium oxyhydroxide in the cytoplasm of THP-1 cells without immediate cytotoxicity might predispose this form of aluminium adjuvant to its subsequent transport throughout the body including access to the brain.

Concepts: Particulates, Immunology, Microscope, Immune system, Toxicity, Particle size distribution, Electron, Cell


Extracellular plaques of amyloid-β and intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles made from tau are the histopathological signatures of Alzheimer’s disease. Plaques comprise amyloid-β fibrils that assemble from monomeric and oligomeric intermediates, and are prognostic indicators of Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the importance of plaques to Alzheimer’s disease, oligomers are considered to be the principal toxic forms of amyloid-β. Interestingly, many adverse responses to amyloid-β, such as cytotoxicity, microtubule loss, impaired memory and learning, and neuritic degeneration, are greatly amplified by tau expression. Amino-terminally truncated, pyroglutamylated (pE) forms of amyloid-β are strongly associated with Alzheimer’s disease, are more toxic than amyloid-β, residues 1-42 (Aβ(1-42)) and Aβ(1-40), and have been proposed as initiators of Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis. Here we report a mechanism by which pE-Aβ may trigger Alzheimer’s disease. Aβ(3(pE)-42) co-oligomerizes with excess Aβ(1-42) to form metastable low-n oligomers (LNOs) that are structurally distinct and far more cytotoxic to cultured neurons than comparable LNOs made from Aβ(1-42) alone. Tau is required for cytotoxicity, and LNOs comprising 5% Aβ(3(pE)-42) plus 95% Aβ(1-42) (5% pE-Aβ) seed new cytotoxic LNOs through multiple serial dilutions into Aβ(1-42) monomers in the absence of additional Aβ(3(pE)-42). LNOs isolated from human Alzheimer’s disease brain contained Aβ(3(pE)-42), and enhanced Aβ(3(pE)-42) formation in mice triggered neuron loss and gliosis at 3 months, but not in a tau-null background. We conclude that Aβ(3(pE)-42) confers tau-dependent neuronal death and causes template-induced misfolding of Aβ(1-42) into structurally distinct LNOs that propagate by a prion-like mechanism. Our results raise the possibility that Aβ(3(pE)-42) acts similarly at a primary step in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis.

Concepts: Polymer chemistry, Acetylcholine, Toxicity, Neurofibrillary tangle, Monomer, Oligomer, Neuron, Alzheimer's disease


Our previous studies have confirmed that the crude tentacle-only extract (cTOE) from the jellyfish Cyanea capillata (Cyaneidae) exhibits hemolytic and cardiovascular toxicities simultaneously. So, it is quite difficult to discern the underlying active component responsible for heart injury caused by cTOE. The inactivation of the hemolytic toxicity from cTOE accompanied with a removal of plenty of precipitates would facilitate the separation of cardiovascular component and the investigation of its cardiovascular injury mechanism. In our research, after the treatment of one-step alkaline denaturation followed by twice dialysis, the protein concentration of the treated tentacle-only extract (tTOE) was about 1/3 of cTOE, and SDS-PAGE showed smaller numbers and lower density of protein bands in tTOE. The hemolytic toxicity of tTOE was completely lost while its cardiovascular toxicity was well retained. The observations of cardiac function, histopathology and ultrastructural pathology all support tTOE with significant cardiovascular toxicity. Blood gas indexes and electrolytes changed far less by tTOE than those by cTOE, though still with significant difference from normal. In summary, the cardiovascular toxicity of cTOE can exist independently of the hemolytic toxicity and tTOE can be employed as a better venom sample for further purification and mechanism research on the jellyfish cardiovascular toxic proteins.

Concepts: Semaeostomeae, Jellyfish, Cyaneidae, Toxicity, Protein, Heart, Lion's mane jellyfish, Blood


Carbendazim (MBC) (methyl-2-benzimidazole carbamate) and tebuconazole (TBZ) ((RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-3-(1H-1,2,4-triazol-1-ylmethyl)pentan-3-ol) are widely used in agriculture for the prevention and control of fungal diseases. Solid lipid nanoparticles and polymeric nanocapsules are carrier systems that offer advantages including changes in the release profiles of bioactive compounds and their transfer to the site of action, reduced losses due to leaching or degradation, and decreased toxicity in the environment and humans. The objective of this study was to prepare these two types of nanoparticle as carrier systems for a combination of TBZ and MBC, and then investigate the release profiles of the fungicides as well as the stabilities and cytotoxicities of the formulations. Both nanoparticle systems presented high association efficiency (>99%), indicating good interaction between the fungicides and the nanoparticles. The release profiles of MBC and TBZ were modified when the compounds were loaded in the nanoparticles, and cytotoxicity assays showed that encapsulation of the fungicides decreased their toxicity. These fungicide systems offer new options for the treatment and prevention of fungal diseases in plants.

Concepts: Sulfur, Cytotoxicity, Toxicity, Nanotechnology, Mycology, Sol-gel, Agriculture, Fungicides


Concentration addition (CA) was proposed as a reasonable default approach for the ecological risk assessment of chemical mixtures. However, CA cannot predict the toxicity of mixture at some effect zones if not all components have definite effective concentrations at the given effect, such as some compounds induce hormesis. In this paper, we developed a new method for the toxicity prediction of various types of binary mixtures, an interpolation method based on the Delaunay triangulation (DT) and Voronoi tessellation (VT) as well as the training set of direct equipartition ray design (EquRay) mixtures, simply IDVequ. At first, the EquRay was employed to design the basic concentration compositions of five binary mixture rays. The toxic effects of single components and mixture rays at different times and various concentrations were determined by the time-dependent microplate toxicity analysis. Secondly, the concentration-toxicity data of the pure components and various mixture rays were acted as a training set. The DT triangles and VT polygons were constructed by various vertices of concentrations in the training set. The toxicities of unknown mixtures were predicted by the linear interpolation and natural neighbor interpolation of vertices. The IDVequ successfully predicted the toxicities of various types of binary mixtures.

Concepts: CGAL, Chemical substance, Computational geometry, Voronoi diagram, Mixture, Toxicity, Chemical compound, Delaunay triangulation


Background Sunitinib, a vascular endothelial growth factor pathway inhibitor, is an effective treatment for metastatic renal-cell carcinoma. We sought to determine the efficacy and safety of sunitinib in patients with locoregional renal-cell carcinoma at high risk for tumor recurrence after nephrectomy. Methods In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 trial, we assigned 615 patients with locoregional, high-risk clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma to receive either sunitinib (50 mg per day) or placebo on a 4-weeks-on, 2-weeks-off schedule for 1 year or until disease recurrence, unacceptable toxicity, or consent withdrawal. The primary end point was disease-free survival, according to blinded independent central review. Secondary end points included investigator-assessed disease-free survival, overall survival, and safety. Results The median duration of disease-free survival was 6.8 years (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.8 to not reached) in the sunitinib group and 5.6 years (95% CI, 3.8 to 6.6) in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.59 to 0.98; P=0.03). Overall survival data were not mature at the time of data cutoff. Dose reductions because of adverse events were more frequent in the sunitinib group than in the placebo group (34.3% vs. 2%), as were dose interruptions (46.4% vs. 13.2%) and discontinuations (28.1% vs. 5.6%). Grade 3 or 4 adverse events were more frequent in the sunitinib group (48.4% for grade 3 events and 12.1% for grade 4 events) than in the placebo group (15.8% and 3.6%, respectively). There was a similar incidence of serious adverse events in the two groups (21.9% for sunitinib vs. 17.1% for placebo); no deaths were attributed to toxic effects. Conclusions Among patients with locoregional clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma at high risk for tumor recurrence after nephrectomy, the median duration of disease-free survival was significantly longer in the sunitinib group than in the placebo group, at a cost of a higher rate of toxic events. (Funded by Pfizer; S-TRAC number, NCT00375674 .).

Concepts: Normal distribution, Disease, Vascular endothelial growth factor, Toxicity, Chemotherapy, Cancer, Clinical trial, Renal cell carcinoma


The quality of diets in rodent feeding trials is crucial. We describe the contamination with environmental pollutants of 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents. Measurements were performed using accredited methodologies. All diets were contaminated with pesticides (1-6 out of 262 measured), heavy metals (2-3 out of 4, mostly lead and cadmium), PCDD/Fs (1-13 out of 17) and PCBs (5-15 out of 18). Out of 22 GMOs tested for, Roundup-tolerant GMOs were the most frequently detected, constituting up to 48% of the diet. The main pesticide detected was Roundup, with residues of glyphosate and AMPA in 9 of the 13 diets, up to 370 ppb. The levels correlated with the amount of Roundup-tolerant GMOs. Toxic effects of these pollutants on liver, neurodevelopment, and reproduction are documented. The sum of the hazard quotients of the pollutants in the diets (an estimator of risk with a threshold of 1) varied from 15.8 to 40.5. Thus the chronic consumption of these diets can be considered at risk. Efforts toward safer diets will improve the reliability of toxicity tests in biomedical research and regulatory toxicology.

Concepts: Neurotoxicity, Environment, Heavy metal music, Pollution, Toxicity, Poison, Soil contamination, Toxicology


Amyloid β1-42 (Aβ1-42) plays a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. The link between structure, assembly and neuronal toxicity of this peptide is of major current interest but still poorly defined. Here, we explored this relationship by rationally designing a variant form of Aβ1-42 (vAβ1-42) differing in only two amino acids. Unlike Aβ1-42, we found that the variant does not self-assemble, nor is it toxic to neuronal cells. Moreover, while Aβ1-42 oligomers impact on synaptic function, vAβ1-42 does not. In a living animal model system we demonstrate that only Aβ1-42 leads to memory deficits. Our findings underline a key role for peptide sequence in the ability to assemble and form toxic structures. Furthermore, our non-toxic variant satisfies an unmet demand for a closely related control peptide for Aβ1-42 cellular studies of disease pathology, offering a new opportunity to decipher the mechanisms that accompany Aβ1-42-induced toxicity leading to neurodegeneration.

Concepts: Model organism, Typography, Toxicity, Neuron, Peptide, Amino acid, Alzheimer's disease, Protein


Ice-free cryopreservation, known as vitrification, is an appealing approach for banking of adherent cells and tissues because it prevents dissociation and morphological damage that may result from ice crystal formation. However, current vitrification methods are often limited by the cytotoxicity of the concentrated cryoprotective agent (CPA) solutions that are required to suppress ice formation. Recently, we described a mathematical strategy for identifying minimally toxic CPA equilibration procedures based on the minimization of a toxicity cost function. Here we provide direct experimental support for the feasibility of these methods when applied to adherent endothelial cells. We first developed a concentration- and temperature-dependent toxicity cost function by exposing the cells to a range of glycerol concentrations at 21°C and 37°C, and fitting the resulting viability data to a first order cell death model. This cost function was then numerically minimized in our state constrained optimization routine to determine addition and removal procedures for 17 molal (mol/kg water) glycerol solutions. Using these predicted optimal procedures, we obtained 81% recovery after exposure to vitrification solutions, as well as successful vitrification with the relatively slow cooling and warming rates of 50°C/min and 130°C/min. In comparison, conventional multistep CPA equilibration procedures resulted in much lower cell yields of about 10%. Our results demonstrate the potential for rational design of minimally toxic vitrification procedures and pave the way for extension of our optimization approach to other adherent cell types as well as more complex systems such as tissues and organs.

Concepts: Constraint satisfaction, Toxicity, Operations research, Cell, Mathematics, Cytotoxicity, Concentration, Ice