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Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs) lead to elevation of reactive oxygen species, which can activate the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) family members containing the pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3)-inf lammasome. In this study, we elucidated whether NLRP3 -inf lammasome is activated by DEPs and whether antioxidants (N-acetylcysteine [NAC]) could inhibit such activation.

Concepts: Protein, Oxygen, Lung, Mitochondrion, Gasoline, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Glutathione


Highly caffeinated energy drinks (EDs) are popular with adolescents and young adults, but longitudinal consumption patterns are poorly understood especially in relation to other substance use.

Concepts: Coffee, Caffeine, Soft drink, Energy drink, Red Bull, Coca-Cola, Guarana, Jolt Cola


Proper treatment of waste-activated sludge (WAS) involves three pivotal processes, dewatering, anaerobic digestion, and pollutants removal, which need to be re-assessed urgently. Although many traditional sludge treatments have been developed, it is prudent to enhance the efficiency of sludge treatment using multifunctional, flexible, and environmentally friendly surfactants. With regard to sludge dewatering, surfactants can weaken the binding interaction between sludge flocs and promote the dissolution of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs), resulting in the release of bound water. Using surfactants in anaerobic digestion promotes the release of enzymes trapped in sludge and improves the activity of enzymes during hydrolysis. Owing to their characteristic encapsulation of hydrophobes into self-assembled aggregates (micelles), surfactants can form host-guest complexes with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Additionally, surfactants can enhance the desorption of heavy metals and prevent the emergence of heavy metal residue. This review summarizes the current surfactant-based sludge treatment technologies according to their roles in sludge disposal solutions. Then, possible mechanisms of surfactants in sludge dewatering, anaerobic digestion, and the removal of organic pollutants and heavy metals are analysed systemically. Finally, changes to sludge treatment via the aid of surfactants are highlighted. This review presents the comprehensive advances in the use of surfactants in WAS reduction, recycling, and risk relief, underscoring their roles in increasing economic efficiency and ensuring environmental quality.

Concepts: Protein, Environment, Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, Anaerobic digestion, Aromaticity, Heavy metal music, Heavy metal, Tungsten


A 54-year-old African-American man presented with 2 years of progressively worsening dyspnea and anasarca. Over the past 6 months he gained 30 lbs with worsening lower extremity, abdominal wall, and scrotal edema. A recent workup for cardiac, renal, and liver disease, including two-dimensional echocardiogram, liver and renal function tests, and abdominal ultrasound, was unremarkable. He reported a 15-pack year history of smoking and quit 3 years ago. Chest radiograph at that time revealed bilateral pleural effusions that were both reportedly milky in appearance when drained by thoracenteses.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Organ, Liver function tests, Pleural effusion, Peritoneum, Thorax, Abdominal cavity


Given its proximity to northern Africa, southern Spain is regularly affected by high-altitude African intrusions. This determines a well-defined wind dynamics at surface levels. Although this weather event-mainly recorded in spring and summer-coincides with the flowering season of many wind pollinated species, its potential influence on long term airborne pollen transport has been not investigated in detail. We analyse their influence on olive pollen transport at surface level in south Spain. Daily and bi-hourly olive pollen data from 2010 to 2015, recorded at two sites 150km apart, Málaga (coast) and Córdoba (inland), were analysed together with 1) air masses at 300m above ground level (m.a.g.l.), 2) surface wind direction and 3) surface wind speed over the same period. Air masses at 3000m.a.g.l. were used to identify the periods under the influence of African intrusions. The combined analysis has enabled the identification of different pollen patterns and source contributions. In Málaga, hourly pollen peaks were recorded during the early morning coinciding with the arrival of north-westerly winds (developing sea-land breezes), with a minimal impact of local pollen sources; in Córdoba, by contrast, pollen concentrations reflected the joint contribution of local and long term sources, being the maximum concentrations associated with the arrival of southerly air masses in the afternoon. These results help to understand the potential distant sources and back-trajectories of olive pollen detected. In our case pollen from sources located at the west-northwest areas in the case of Malaga, and from the south in Cordoba. These results reinforce the idea that combined studies between synoptic meteorological and aerobiological data together with different atmospheric height air masses data, offer us a better explanation and understanding of the behaviour and the potential sources of recorded airborne data in a given place.

Concepts: Weather, Transport, Spain, Meteorology, Southern United States, Wind, Wind power, Wind speed


A detailed investigation was conducted to study heavy metal contamination in road dust from four regions of Xi'an, Northwest China. The concentrations of eight heavy metals Co, Cr, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn and V were determined by X-Ray Fluorescence. The mean concentrations of these elements were: 30.9mgkg(-1) Co, 145.0mgkg(-1) Cr, 54.7mgkg(-1) Cu, 510.5mgkg(-1) Mn, 30.8mgkg(-1) Ni, 124.5mgkg(-1) Pb, 69.6mgkg(-1) V and 268.6mgkg(-1) Zn. There was significant enrichment of Pb, Zn, Co, Cu and Cr based on geo-accumulation index value. Multivariate statistical analysis showed that levels of Cu, Pb, Zn, Co and Cr were controlled by anthropogenic activities, while levels of Mn, Ni and V were associated with natural sources. Principle component analysis and multiple linear regression were applied to determine the source apportionment. The results showed that traffic was the main source with a percent contribution of 53.4%. Natural sources contributed 26.5%, and other anthropogenic pollution sources contributed 20.1%. Clear heavy metal pollution hotspots were identified by GIS mapping. The location of point pollution sources and prevailing wind direction were found to be important factors in the spatial distribution of heavy metals.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Statistics, Multivariate statistics, Lead, Heavy metal music, Wind, Heavy metal, Tungsten


Objectives To estimate small for gestational age birth prevalence and attributable neonatal mortality in low and middle income countries with the INTERGROWTH-21(st) birth weight standard.Design Secondary analysis of data from the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG), including 14 birth cohorts with gestational age, birth weight, and neonatal follow-up. Small for gestational age was defined as infants weighing less than the 10th centile birth weight for gestational age and sex with the multiethnic, INTERGROWTH-21(st) birth weight standard. Prevalence of small for gestational age and neonatal mortality risk ratios were calculated and pooled among these datasets at the regional level. With available national level data, prevalence of small for gestational age and population attributable fractions of neonatal mortality attributable to small for gestational age were estimated.Setting CHERG birth cohorts from 14 population based sites in low and middle income countries.Main outcome measures In low and middle income countries in the year 2012, the number and proportion of infants born small for gestational age; number and proportion of neonatal deaths attributable to small for gestational age; the number and proportion of neonatal deaths that could be prevented by reducing the prevalence of small for gestational age to 10%.Results In 2012, an estimated 23.3 million infants (uncertainty range 17.6 to 31.9; 19.3% of live births) were born small for gestational age in low and middle income countries. Among these, 11.2 million (0.8 to 15.8) were term and not low birth weight (≥2500 g), 10.7 million (7.6 to 15.0) were term and low birth weight (<2500 g) and 1.5 million (0.9 to 2.6) were preterm. In low and middle income countries, an estimated 606 500 (495 000 to 773 000) neonatal deaths were attributable to infants born small for gestational age, 21.9% of all neonatal deaths. The largest burden was in South Asia, where the prevalence was the highest (34%); about 26% of neonatal deaths were attributable to infants born small for gestational age. Reduction of the prevalence of small for gestational age from 19.3% to 10.0% in these countries could reduce neonatal deaths by 9.2% (254 600 neonatal deaths; 164 800 to 449 700).Conclusions In low and middle income countries, about one in five infants are born small for gestational age, and one in four neonatal deaths are among such infants. Increased efforts are required to improve the quality of care for and survival of these high risk infants in low and middle income countries.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Death, Fetus, Demography, Obstetrics, Pediatrics, Live birth


Metabolic deregulation is a hallmark of human cancers, and the glycolytic and glutamine metabolism pathways were shown to be deregulated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). To identify new metabolic regulators of PDAC tumor growth and metastasis, we systematically knocked down metabolic genes that were overexpressed in human PDAC tumor samples using short hairpin RNAs. We found that p53 transcriptionally represses paraoxonase 2 (PON2), which regulates GLUT1-mediated glucose transport via stomatin. The loss of PON2 initiates the cellular starvation response and activates AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). In turn, AMPK activates FOXO3A and its transcriptional target, PUMA, which induces anoikis to suppress PDAC tumor growth and metastasis. Pharmacological or genetic activation of AMPK, similar to PON2 inhibition, blocks PDAC tumor growth. Collectively, our results identify PON2 as a new modulator of glucose transport that regulates a pharmacologically tractable pathway necessary for PDAC tumor growth and metastasis.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Cancer, Amino acid, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Enzyme inhibitor


50 years ago, Vincent Allfrey and colleagues discovered that lymphocyte activation triggers massive acetylation of chromatin. However, the molecular mechanisms driving epigenetic accessibility are still unknown. We here show that stimulated lymphocytes decondense chromatin by three differentially regulated steps. First, chromatin is repositioned away from the nuclear periphery in response to global acetylation. Second, histone nanodomain clusters decompact into mononucleosome fibers through a mechanism that requires Myc and continual energy input. Single-molecule imaging shows that this step lowers transcription factor residence time and non-specific collisions during sampling for DNA targets. Third, chromatin interactions shift from long range to predominantly short range, and CTCF-mediated loops and contact domains double in numbers. This architectural change facilitates cognate promoter-enhancer contacts and also requires Myc and continual ATP production. Our results thus define the nature and transcriptional impact of chromatin decondensation and reveal an unexpected role for Myc in the establishment of nuclear topology in mammalian cells.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, DNA, Gene, Gene expression, Adenosine triphosphate, Histone, B cell, Transcription factor


Photooxidative sunburn is the consequence of photosystem overexcitations. It results in tissue color changes due to chlorophyll degradation and accumulation of oxidized polymeric phenolics (OPPs) resulting from scavenging of reactive oxygen species (ROS). From a productive point of view, OPPs should be considered as damages, decreasing the economical and esthetical values of plants and crops. However, from a physiological perspective, OPPs could be also play a screening role against excessive photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), as they follow the criteria proposed for the identification of photoprotectors, as follows: i) Due to the complex conjugated double bond systems, OPPs absorb and, thus, screen the visible photosynthetically active radiation; ii) The accumulation of brown OPPs is well-known to be stimulated by light exposure resulting in sunburn symptoms; iii) OPPs induce PAR resistance: for example, the sunburned brown skin allows the fruit ripening to proceed without further interferences; iv) the screen provided by the accumulated OPPs in death cells protect underlying tissues, demonstrating an increased resistance to radiation when other physiological processes are not functioning.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Oxygen, Ultraviolet, Reactive oxygen species, Fruit, Photosynthetically active radiation, Ethylene, Sunburn