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by Keyword: Eph

Fontana-Escartín, A, Lanzalaco, S, Zhilev, G, Armelin, E, Bertran, O, Alemán, C, (2024). Oxygen plasma treated thermoplastics as integrated electroresponsive sensors Materials Today Communications 38, 107653

Polypropylene (PP), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG) and polylactic acid (PLA) 3D printed specimens, which are intrinsically non-electroresponsive materials, have been converted into electroresponsive electrodes applying a low-pressure oxygen plasma treatment. After complete chemical, morphological and electrochemical characterization, plasma treated samples have been applied as integrated electrochemical sensors for detecting dopamine and serotonin by cyclic voltammetry and chronoamperometry. Results show differences in the sensing behavior, which have been explained on the basis of the chemical structure of the pristine materials. While plasma treated PLA exhibits the highest performance as electrochemical sensor in terms of sensitivity (lowest limits of detection and quantification) and selectivity (against uric acid and ascorbic acid as interfering substances), plasma treated PP displays the poorest behavior due to its low polarity compared to PLA 3D-printed electrodes. Instead, plasma treated TPU and PETG shows a very good response, much closer to PLA, as sensitive electrodes towards neurotransmitter molecules (dopamine and serotonin). Overall, results open a new door for the fabrication of electrochemical conductive sensors using intrinsically insulating materials, without the need of chemical functionalization processes.

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, Amines, Ascorbic acid, Chemical characterization, Cyclic voltammetry, Dopamine, Electrochemical characterizations, Electrochemical sensor s, Electrochemical sensors, Electrode materials, Electroresponsive materials, Low-pressure oxygen-plasma treatments, Morphological characterization, Multiwalled carbon nanotubes (mwcn), Neurophysiology, Oxygen, Oxygen plasmas, Plastic bottles, Polyethylene terephthalate glycol, Polyethylene terephthalate glycols, Polyethylene terephthalates, Polylact i c acid, Polylactic acid, Polylactic acid pla, Polyols, Polypropylene, Polypropylene oxides, Polypropylenes, Polyurethanes, Reinforced plastics, Supercapacitors, Thermoplast i c polyurethane, Thermoplastic polyurethane, Thermoplastic polyurethanes


Farré, R, Rodríguez-Lázaro, MA, Otero, J, Gavara, N, Sunyer, R, Farré, N, Gozal, D, Almendros, I, (2024). Low-cost, open-source device for simultaneously subjecting rodents to different circadian cycles of light, food, and temperature Frontiers In Physiology 15, 1356787

Exposure of experimental rodents to controlled cycles of light, food, and temperature is important when investigating alterations in circadian cycles that profoundly influence health and disease. However, applying such stimuli simultaneously is difficult in practice. We aimed to design, build, test, and open-source describe a simple device that subjects a conventional mouse cage to independent cycles of physiologically relevant environmental variables. The device is based on a box enclosing the rodent cage to modify the light, feeding, and temperature environments. The device provides temperature-controlled air conditioning (heating or cooling) by a Peltier module and includes programmable feeding and illumination. All functions are set by a user-friendly front panel for independent cycle programming. Bench testing with a model simulating the CO2 production of mice in the cage showed: a) suitable air renewal (by measuring actual ambient CO2), b) controlled realistic illumination at the mouse enclosure (measured by a photometer), c) stable temperature control, and d) correct cycling of light, feeding, and temperature. The cost of all the supplies (retail purchased by e-commerce) was <300 US$. Detailed technical information is open-source provided, allowing for any user to reliably reproduce or modify the device. This approach can considerably facilitate circadian research since using one of the described low-cost devices for any mouse group with a given light-food-temperature paradigm allows for all the experiments to be performed simultaneously, thereby requiring no changes in the light/temperature of a general-use laboratory. 1 Introduction

JTD Keywords: Animal experiment, Animal model, Animal research, Article, Circadian alteration, Circadian rhythm, Commercial phenomena, Controlled study, Cycling, Energy consumption, Energy-expenditure, Experimental model, Feeding, Food, Food availability, Illumination, Intermittent fasting, Light, Light cycle, Light dark cycle, Mouse, Nonhuman, Open source technology, Open-source hardware, Performance, Photography, Research, Rhythms, Rodent, Temperature, Temperature cycle


Pahuja, A, Corredera, IG, Moya-Rull, D, Garreta, E, Montserrat, N, (2024). Engineering physiological environments to advance kidney organoid models from human pluripotent stem cells Current Opinion In Cell Biology 86, 102306

During embryogenesis, the mammalian kidney arises because of reciprocal interactions between the ureteric bud (UB) and the metanephric mesenchyme (MM), driving UB branching and nephron induction. These morphogenetic processes involve a series of cellular rearrangements that are tightly controlled by gene regulatory networks and signaling cascades. Here, we discuss how kidney developmental studies have informed the definition of procedures to obtain kidney organoids from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Moreover, bioengineering techniques have emerged as potential solutions to externally impose controlled microenvironments for organoid generation from hPSCs. Next, we summarize some of these advances with major focus On recent works merging hPSC-derived kidney organoids (hPSC-kidney organoids) with organ-on-chip to develop robust models for drug discovery and disease modeling applications. We foresee that, in the near future, coupling of different organoid models through bioengineering approaches will help advancing to recreate organ-to-organ crosstalk to increase our understanding on kidney disease progression in the human context and search for new therapeutics.Copyright © 2023 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: Animal, Animals, Bioengineering, Cell differentiation, Embryo development, Embryology, Embryonic structures, Gene regulatory network, Human, Humans, Kidney, Kidney development, Kidney mesenchyme cell, Kidney organoid, Mammal, Mammals, Mesenchyme, Metanephric mesenchyme, Microenvironment, Nephron, Nephrons, Organoid, Organoids, Physiology, Pluripotent stem cell, Pluripotent stem cells, Review, Signal transduction, Ureteric bud


Nauryzgaliyeva, Z, Corredera, IG, Garreta, E, Montserrat, N, (2023). Harnessing mechanobiology for kidney organoid research Frontiers In Cell And Developmental Biology 11, 1273923

Recently, organoids have emerged as revolutionizing tools with the unprecedented potential to recreate organ-specific microanatomy in vitro. Upon their derivation from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), organoids reveal the blueprints of human organogenesis, further allowing the faithful recapitulation of their physiology. Nevertheless, along with the evolution of this field, advanced research exposed the organoids' shortcomings, particularly regarding poor reproducibility rates and overall immatureness. To resolve these challenges, many studies have started to underscore the relevance of mechanical cues as a relevant source to induce and externally control hPSCs differentiation. Indeed, established organoid generation protocols from hPSCs have mainly relyed on the biochemical induction of fundamental signalling pathways present during kidney formation in mammals, whereas mechanical cues have largely been unexplored. This review aims to discuss the pertinence of (bio) physical cues within hPSCs-derived organoid cultures, while deciphering their effect on morphogenesis. Moreover, we will explore state-of-the-art mechanobiology techniques as revolutionizing means for understanding the underlying role of mechanical forces in biological processes in organoid model systems.

JTD Keywords: development, hpscs, mechanobiology, nephrogenesis, Activated ion-channel, Development, Extracellular-matrix viscoelasticity, Forces, Hpscs, Ips cells, Mechanical regulation, Mechanobiology, Nephrogenesis, Nephron progenitors, Organoids, Pluripotent stem-cells, Self-renewal, Substrate mechanics, Tissue


Quiroga, X, Walani, N, Disanza, A, Chavero, A, Mittens, A, Tebar, F, Trepat, X, Parton, RG, Geli, MI, Scita, G, Arroyo, M, Le Roux, AL, Roca-Cusachs, P, (2023). A mechanosensing mechanism controls plasma membrane shape homeostasis at the nanoscale Elife 12, e72316

As cells migrate and experience forces from their surroundings, they constantly undergo mechanical deformations which reshape their plasma membrane (PM). To maintain homeostasis, cells need to detect and restore such changes, not only in terms of overall PM area and tension as previously described, but also in terms of local, nanoscale topography. Here, we describe a novel phenomenon, by which cells sense and restore mechanically induced PM nanoscale deformations. We show that cell stretch and subsequent compression reshape the PM in a way that generates local membrane evaginations in the 100 nm scale. These evaginations are recognized by I-BAR proteins, which triggers a burst of actin polymerization mediated by Rac1 and Arp2/3. The actin polymerization burst subsequently re-flattens the evagination, completing the mechanochemical feedback loop. Our results demonstrate a new mechanosensing mechanism for PM shape homeostasis, with potential applicability in different physiological scenarios.© 2023, Quiroga et al.

JTD Keywords: arp2/3 complex, bar, bar proteins, cdc42, cells, domain, human, irsp53, membrane biophysics, mouse, proteins, rac, tension, Actin polymerization, Bar proteins, Cell biology, Human, Mechanobiology, Membrane biophysics, Mouse, Physics of living systems


Raptopoulos, M, Fischer, NG, Aparicio, C, (2023). Implant surface physicochemistry affects keratinocyte hemidesmosome formation Journal Of Biomedical Materials Research Part a 111, 1021-1030

Previous studies have shown hydrophilic/hydrophobic implant surfaces stimulate/hinder osseointegration. An analogous concept was applied here using common biological functional groups on a model surface to promote oral keratinocytes (OKs) proliferation and hemidesmosomes (HD) to extend implant lifespans through increased soft tissue attachment. However, it is unclear what physicochemistry stimulates HDs. Thus, common biological functional groups (NH2 , OH, and CH3 ) were functionalized on glass using silanization. Non-functionalized plasma-cleaned glass and H silanization were controls. Surface modifications were confirmed with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and water contact angle. The amount of bovine serum albumin (BSA) and fibrinogen, and BSA thickness, were assessed to understand how adsorbed protein properties were influenced by physicochemistry and may influence HDs. OKs proliferation was measured, and HDs were quantified with immunofluorescence for collagen XVII and integrin β4. Plasma-cleaned surfaces were the most hydrophilic group overall, while CH3 was the most hydrophobic and OH was the most hydrophilic among functionalized groups. Modification with the OH chemical group showed the highest OKs proliferation and HD expression. The OKs response on OH surfaces appeared to not correlate to the amount or thickness of adsorbed model proteins. These results reveal relevant surface physicochemical features to favor HDs and improve implant soft tissue attachment.© 2023 The Authors. Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

JTD Keywords: attachment, chemistry, collagen, differentiation, epithelial-cells, hemidesmosome, implant, in-vitro, integrin, keratinocyte, mechanism, organosilane, physicochemistry, protein adsorption, Attachment, Cell-adhesion, Physicochemistry


Moreno, D, Buxadera-Palomero, J, Ginebra, MP, Manero, JM, Martin-Gómez, H, Mas-Moruno, C, Rodríguez, D, (2023). Comparison of the Antibacterial Effect of Silver Nanoparticles and a Multifunctional Antimicrobial Peptide on Titanium Surface International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 24, 9739

Titanium implantation success may be compromised by Staphylococcus aureus surface colonization and posterior infection. To avoid this issue, different strategies have been investigated to promote an antibacterial character to titanium. In this work, two antibacterial agents (silver nanoparticles and a multifunctional antimicrobial peptide) were used to coat titanium surfaces. The modulation of the nanoparticle (≈32.1 ± 9.4 nm) density on titanium could be optimized, and a sequential functionalization with both agents was achieved through a two-step functionalization method by means of surface silanization. The antibacterial character of the coating agents was assessed individually as well as combined. The results have shown that a reduction in bacteria after 4 h of incubation can be achieved on all the coated surfaces. After 24 h of incubation, however, the individual antimicrobial peptide coating was more effective than the silver nanoparticles or their combination against Staphylococcus aureus. All tested coatings were non-cytotoxic for eukaryotic cells.

JTD Keywords: antimicrobial peptide, biomaterials, bone, coatings, performance, ph, resistance, silanization, silver nanoparticles, staphylococcus aureus, Antimicrobial peptide, Reduces bacterial adhesion, Silanization, Silver nanoparticles, Staphylococcus aureus, Titanium functionalization


De Matteis, V, Griego, A, Scarpa, E, Cascione, M, Singh, J, Rizzello, L, (2023). Size Effect of Silver Nanoparticles Derived from Olive Mill Wastewater in THP-1 Cell Lines Applied Sciences-Basel 13, 6033

The constant demand of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) for different applications requires a new selection of solvents and reagents for their synthesis, to make them less toxic to living organisms and the environment. Among the alternative technologies that can be used to exclude the use of toxic products, green chemistry is based on the employment of biomolecules derived from plants or microorganisms to achieve NPs. Therefore, with the aim of applying the principles of circular economy, the waste deriving from the production of olive oil represents a useful source of polyphenols to be used as reduction agents to obtain AgNPs. In our work, we employed the Olive Mill Wastewater (OMWW), the so-called vegetation water typical of the Mediterranean geographical area, to achieve two sizes of AgNPs, i.e., 50 nm and 30 nm. These NPs were tested on the human monocytic cell line (THP-1) using two concentrations (3 µM and 5 µM) to understand their ability to trigger or not the inflammatory response. This was undertaken following IL-6, IL-8, IL-5 and TNF-α secretion and the NF-kB translocation. We concluded that the AgNPs did not induce strong activation of these pathways, especially when the cells were treated with higher dimensional NPs. Consequently, the application of these NPs in vivo for therapeutic purpose could be significant.

JTD Keywords: agricultural waste, immune response, physicochemical properties, Green synthesis, Silver nanoparticles


Roman-Alamo, L, Allaw, M, Avalos-Padilla, Y, Manca, ML, Manconi, M, Fulgheri, F, Fernandez-Lajo, J, Rivas, L, Vazquez, JA, Peris, JE, Roca-Gerones, X, Poonlaphdecha, S, Alcover, MM, Fisa, R, Riera, C, Fernandez-Busquets, X, (2023). In Vitro Evaluation of Aerosol Therapy with Pentamidine-Loaded Liposomes Coated with Chondroitin Sulfate or Heparin for the Treatment of Leishmaniasis Pharmaceutics 15, 1163

The second-line antileishmanial compound pentamidine is administered intramuscularly or, preferably, by intravenous infusion, with its use limited by severe adverse effects, including diabetes, severe hypoglycemia, myocarditis and renal toxicity. We sought to test the potential of phospholipid vesicles to improve the patient compliance and efficacy of this drug for the treatment of leishmaniasis by means of aerosol therapy. The targeting to macrophages of pentamidine-loaded liposomes coated with chondroitin sulfate or heparin increased about twofold (up to ca. 90%) relative to noncoated liposomes. The encapsulation of pentamidine in liposomes ameliorated its activity on the amastigote and promastigote forms of Leishmania infantum and Leishmania pifanoi, and it significantly reduced cytotoxicity on human umbilical endothelial cells, for which the concentration inhibiting 50% of cell viability was 144.2 ± 12.7 µM for pentamidine-containing heparin-coated liposomes vs. 59.3 ± 4.9 µM for free pentamidine. The deposition of liposome dispersions after nebulization was evaluated with the Next Generation Impactor, which mimics human airways. Approximately 53% of total initial pentamidine in solution reached the deeper stages of the impactor, with a median aerodynamic diameter of ~2.8 µm, supporting a partial deposition on the lung alveoli. Upon loading pentamidine in phospholipid vesicles, its deposition in the deeper stages significantly increased up to ~68%, and the median aerodynamic diameter decreased to a range between 1.4 and 1.8 µm, suggesting a better aptitude to reach the deeper lung airways in higher amounts. In all, nebulization of liposome-encapsulated pentamidine improved the bioavailability of this neglected drug by a patient-friendly delivery route amenable to self-administration, paving the way for the treatment of leishmaniasis and other infections where pentamidine is active.

JTD Keywords: aerosol therapy, delivery-systems, drug encapsulation, drugs, ex-vivo models, formulation, leishmania infantum, leishmania pifanoi, leishmaniasis, liposomes, macrophages, miltefosine, pentamidine, pharmacology, pulmonary absorption, visceral leishmaniasis, Amphotericin-b treatment, Leishmania infantum, Pentamidine


Andres-Benito, P, Flores, A, Busquet-Areny, S, Carmona, M, Ausin, K, Cartas-Cejudo, P, Lachen-Montes, M, Del Rio, JA, Fernandez-Irigoyen, J, Santamaria, E, Ferrer, I, (2023). Deregulated Transcription and Proteostasis in Adult mapt Knockout Mouse International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 24, 6559

Transcriptomics and phosphoproteomics were carried out in the cerebral cortex of B6.Cg-Mapttm1(EGFP)Klt (tau knockout: tau-KO) and wild-type (WT) 12 month-old mice to learn about the effects of tau ablation. Compared with WT mice, tau-KO mice displayed reduced anxiety-like behavior and lower fear expression induced by aversive conditioning, whereas recognition memory remained unaltered. Cortical transcriptomic analysis revealed 69 downregulated and 105 upregulated genes in tau-KO mice, corresponding to synaptic structures, neuron cytoskeleton and transport, and extracellular matrix components. RT-qPCR validated increased mRNA levels of col6a4, gabrq, gad1, grm5, grip2, map2, rab8a, tubb3, wnt16, and an absence of map1a in tau-KO mice compared with WT mice. A few proteins were assessed with Western blotting to compare mRNA expression with corresponding protein levels. Map1a mRNA and protein levels decreased. However, β-tubulin III and GAD1 protein levels were reduced in tau-KO mice. Cortical phosphoproteomics revealed 121 hypophosphorylated and 98 hyperphosphorylated proteins in tau-KO mice. Deregulated phosphoproteins were categorized into cytoskeletal (n = 45) and membrane proteins, including proteins of the synapses and vesicles, myelin proteins, and proteins linked to membrane transport and ion channels (n = 84), proteins related to DNA and RNA metabolism (n = 36), proteins connected to the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) (n = 7), proteins with kinase or phosphatase activity (n = 21), and 22 other proteins related to variegated pathways such as metabolic pathways, growth factors, or mitochondrial function or structure. The present observations reveal a complex altered brain transcriptome and phosphoproteome in tau-KO mice with only mild behavioral alterations.

JTD Keywords: computational platform, conformational-changes, cytoskeleton, disease, expression, isoforms, mechanisms, mice, phosphoproteomics, phosphorylation, synapse, tau-ko, tauopathies, transcriptomics, Tau-ko, Tau-protein, Transcriptomics


Martinez, A, Hériché, JK, Calvo, M, Tischer, C, Otxoa-de-Amezaga, A, Pedragosa, J, Bosch, A, Planas, AM, Petegnief, V, (2023). Characterization of microglia behaviour in healthy and pathological conditions with image analysis tools Open Biology 13, 220200

Microglia are very sensitive to changes in the environment and respond through morphological, functional and metabolic adaptations. To depict the modifications microglia undergo under healthy and pathological conditions, we developed free access image analysis scripts to quantify microglia morphologies and phagocytosis. Neuron-glia cultures, in which microglia express the reporter tdTomato, were exposed to excitotoxicity or excitotoxicity + inflammation and analysed 8 h later. Neuronal death was assessed by SYTOX staining of nucleus debris and phagocytosis was measured through the engulfment of SYTOX+ particles in microglia. We identified seven morphologies: round, hypertrophic, fried egg, bipolar and three 'inflamed' morphologies. We generated a classifier able to separate them and assign one of the seven classes to each microglia in sample images. In control cultures, round and hypertrophic morphologies were predominant. Excitotoxicity had a limited effect on the composition of the populations. By contrast, excitotoxicity + inflammation promoted an enrichment in inflamed morphologies and increased the percentage of phagocytosing microglia. Our data suggest that inflammation is critical to promote phenotypical changes in microglia. We also validated our tools for the segmentation of microglia in brain slices and performed morphometry with the obtained mask. Our method is versatile and useful to correlate microglia sub-populations and behaviour with environmental changes.

JTD Keywords: classification, identification, image analysis, injury, morphometry, neuroinflammation, neurotoxicity, phagocytosis, Classification, Image analysis, Microglia, Morphometry, Neuroinflammation, Nitric-oxide, Phagocytosis


Guallar-Garrido, S, Campo-Perez, V, Perez-Trujillo, M, Cabrera, C, Senserrich, J, Sanchez-Chardi, A, Rabanal, RM, Gomez-Mora, E, Noguera-Ortega, E, Luquin, M, Julian, E, (2022). Mycobacterial surface characters remodeled by growth conditions drive different tumor-infiltrating cells and systemic IFN-gamma/IL-17 release in bladder cancer treatment Oncoimmunology 11, 2051845

The mechanism of action of intravesical Mycobacterium bovis BCG immunotherapy treatment for bladder cancer is not completely known, leading to misinterpretation of BCG-unresponsive patients, who have scarce further therapeutic options. BCG is grown under diverse culture conditions worldwide, which can impact the antitumor effect of BCG strains and could be a key parameter of treatment success. Here, BCG and the nonpathogenic Mycobacterium brumae were grown in four culture media currently used by research laboratories and BCG manufacturers: Sauton-A60, -G15 and -G60 and Middlebrook 7H10, and used as therapies in the orthotopic murine BC model. Our data reveal that each mycobacterium requires specific culture conditions to induce an effective antitumor response. since higher survival rates of tumor-bearing mice were achieved using M. brumae-A60 and BCG-G15 than the rest of the treatments. M. brumae-A60 was the most efficacious among all tested treatments in terms of mouse survival, cytotoxic activity of splenocytes against tumor cells, higher systemic production of IL-17 and IFN-gamma, and bladder infiltration of selected immune cells such as ILCs and CD4(TEM). BCG-G15 triggered an antitumor activity based on a massive infiltration of immune cells, mainly CD3(+) (CD4(+) and CD8(+)) T cells, together with high systemic IFN-gamma release. Finally, a reduced variety of lipids was strikingly observed in the outermost layer of M. brumae-A60 and BCG-G15 compared to the rest of the cultures, suggesting an influence on the antitumor immune response triggered. These findings contribute to understand how mycobacteria create an adequate niche to help the host subvert immunosuppressive tumor actions.

JTD Keywords: bcg, innate immune response, innate-lymphoid cells, lipid, non-muscle invasive, Bcg, Calmette-guerin bcg, Glycerol, Identification, Immune-response, Innate immune response, Innate-lymphoid cells, Lipid, Lipids, Mycolic acids, Neutral-red, Non-muscle invasive, Phenolic glycolipids, Tuberculosis, Tumor microenvironment, Virulence


Larrañaga, E, Fernández-Majada, V, Ojosnegros, S, Comelles, J, Martinez, E, (2022). Ephrin Micropatterns Exogenously Modulate Cell Organization in Organoid‐Derived Intestinal Epithelial Monolayers Advanced Materials Interfaces 9, 2201301

Admella, J, Torrents, E, (2022). A Straightforward Method for the Isolation and Cultivation of Galleria mellonella Hemocytes International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 13483

Galleria mellonella is an alternative animal model of infection. The use of this species presents a wide range of advantages, as its maintenance and rearing are both easy and inexpensive. Moreover, its use is considered to be more ethically acceptable than other models, it is conveniently sized for manipulation, and its immune system has multiple similarities with mammalian immune systems. Hemocytes are immune cells that help encapsulate and eliminate pathogens and foreign particles. All of these reasons make this insect a promising animal model. However, cultivating G. mellonella hemocytes in vitro is not straightforward and it has many difficult challenges. Here, we present a methodologically optimized protocol to establish and maintain a G. mellonella hemocyte primary culture. These improvements open the door to easily and quickly study the toxicity of nanoparticles and the interactions of particles and materials in an in vitro environment.

JTD Keywords: cell culture, galleria mellonella, infection, nanoparticle, Bacteria, Cell culture, Galleria mellonella, Hemolin, Infection, Insect hemocytes, Larvae, Lepidoptera, Nanoparticle, Phagocytosis, Prophenoloxidase, Suspension, Systems


Safi, W, Marco, A, Moya, D, Prado, P, Garreta, E, Montserrat, N, (2022). Assessing kidney development and disease using kidney organoids and CRISPR engineering Frontiers In Cell And Developmental Biology 10, 948395

The differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) towards organoids is one of the biggest scientific advances in regenerative medicine. Kidney organoids have not only laid the groundwork for various organ-like tissue systems but also provided insights into kidney embryonic development. Thus, several protocols for the differentiation of renal progenitors or mature cell types have been established. Insights into the interplay of developmental pathways in nephrogenesis and determination of different cell fates have enabled the in vitro recapitulation of nephrogenesis. Here we first provide an overview of kidney morphogenesis and patterning in the mouse model in order to dissect signalling pathways that are key to define culture conditions sustaining renal differentiation from hPSCs. Secondly, we also highlight how genome editing approaches have provided insights on the specific role of different genes and molecular pathways during renal differentiation from hPSCs. Based on this knowledge we further review how CRISPR/Cas9 technology has enabled the recapitulation and correction of cellular phenotypes associated with human renal disease. Last, we also revise how the field has positively benefited from emerging technologies as single cell RNA sequencing and discuss current limitations on kidney organoid technology that will take advantage from bioengineering solutions to help standardizing the use of this model systems to study kidney development and disease.Copyright © 2022 Safi, Marco, Moya, Prado, Garreta and Montserrat.

JTD Keywords: crispr, directed differentiation, epithelial-cells, expression, kidney engineering, kidney organoids, model, mouse, nephrogenesis, nephron number, podocytes, progenitor, Crispr, Kidney engineering, Kidney organoids, Nephrogenesis, Pluripotent stem cells, Pluripotent stem-cells


Azagra, M, Pose, E, De Chiara, F, Perez, M, Avitabile, E, Servitja, JM, Brugnara, L, Ramon-Azcón, J, Marco-Rius, I, (2022). Ammonium quantification in human plasma by proton nuclear magnetic resonance for staging of liver fibrosis in alcohol-related liver disease and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease Nmr In Biomedicine 35, e4745

Liver fibrosis staging is a key element driving the prognosis of patients with chronic liver disease. Currently, biopsy is the only technique capable of diagnosing liver fibrosis in patients with alcohol-related liver disease (ArLD) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) unequivocally. Non-invasive (e.g. plasma-based) biomarker assays are attractive tools to diagnose and stage disease, yet must prove that they are reliable and sensitive to be used clinically. Here we demonstrate 1 H nuclear magnetic resonance as a method to rapidly quantify the endogenous concentration of ammonium ions from human plasma extracts and show their ability to report upon early and advanced stages of ArLD and NAFLD. We show that, irrespective of the disease aetiology, ammonium concentration is a more robust and informative marker of fibrosis stage than current clinically assessed blood hepatic biomarkers. Subject to validation in larger cohorts, the study indicates that the method can provide accurate and rapid staging of ArLD and NAFLD without need for an invasive biopsy.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: ammonium quantification, blood biomarkers, chronic liver disease, disease biomarkers, hepatic dysfunction, nmr, pathogenesis, Ammonium quantification, Hepatic dysfunction, Hepatic-encephalopathy


Checa, M, Jin, X, Millan-Solsona, R, Neumayer, SM, Susner, MA, McGuire, MA, O'Hara, A, Gomila, G, Maksymovych, P, Pantelides, ST, Collins, L, (2022). Revealing Fast Cu-Ion Transport and Enhanced Conductivity at the CuInP2S6?In4/3P2S6 Heterointerface Acs Nano 16, 15347-15357

Van der Waals layered ferroelectrics, such as CuInP2S6 (CIPS), offer a versatile platform for miniaturization of ferroelectric device technologies. Control of the targeted composition and kinetics of CIPS synthesis enables the formation of stable self-assembled heterostructures of ferroelectric CIPS and nonferroelectric In4/3P2S6 (IPS). Here, we use quantitative scanning probe microscopy methods combined with density functional theory (DFT) to explore in detail the nanoscale variability in dynamic functional properties of the CIPS-IPS heterostructure. We report evidence of fast ionic transport which mediates an appreciable out-of-plane electromechanical response of the CIPS surface in the paraelectric phase. Further, we map the nanoscale dielectric and ionic conductivity properties as we thermally stimulate the ferroelectric-paraelectric phase transition, recovering the local dielectric behavior during this phase transition. Finally, aided by DFT, we reveal a substantial and tunable conductivity enhancement at the CIPS/IPS interface, indicating the possibility of engineering its interfacial properties for next generation device applications.

JTD Keywords: copper indium thiophosphate, diffusion, elastic band method, ferroelectrics, ionic conductor, migration, nanoscale, phase transition, piezoresponse force microscopy, scanning dielectric microscopy, transition, Copper indium thiophosphate, Initio molecular-dynamics, Scanning dielectric microscopy


Sole-Marti, X, Vilella, T, Labay, C, Tampieri, F, Ginebra, MP, Canal, C, (2022). Thermosensitive hydrogels to deliver reactive species generated by cold atmospheric plasma: a case study with methylcellulose Biomaterials Science 10, 3845-3855

Hydrogels have been recently proposed as suitable materials to generate reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) upon gas-plasma treatment, and postulated as promising alternatives to conventional cancer therapies. Acting as delivery vehicles that allow a controlled release of RONS to the diseased site, plasma-treated hydrogels can overcome some of the limitations presented by plasma-treated liquids in in vivo therapies. In this work, we optimized the composition of a methylcellulose (MC) hydrogel to confer it with the ability to form a gel at physiological temperatures while remaining in the liquid phase at room temperature to allow gas-plasma treatment with suitable formation of plasma-generated RONS. MC hydrogels demonstrated the capacity for generation, prolonged storage and release of RONS. This release induced cytotoxic effects on the osteosarcoma cancer cell line MG-63, reducing its cell viability in a dose-response manner. These promising results postulate plasma-treated thermosensitive hydrogels as good candidates to provide local anticancer therapies.

JTD Keywords: Cellulose, Phase-separation, Stability, Substituent, Thermoreversible gelation


Rubies, C, Batlle, M, Sanz-de la Garza, M, Dantas, AP, Jorba, I, Fernandez, G, Sanguesa, G, Abuli, M, Brugada, J, Sitges, M, Navajas, D, Mont, L, Guasch, E, (2022). Long-Term Strenuous Exercise Promotes Vascular Injury by Selectively Damaging the Tunica Media Experimental Evidence Jacc Basic Transl Sci 7, 681-693

Moderate exercise has well-founded benefits in cardiovascular health. However, increasing, yet controversial, evidence suggests that extremely trained athletes may not be protected from cardiovascular events as much as moderately trained individuals. In our rodent model, intensive but not moderate training promoted aorta and carotid stiffening and elastic lamina ruptures, tunica media thickening of intramyocardial arteries, and an imbalance between vasoconstrictor and relaxation agents. An up-regulation of angiotensin-converter enzyme, miR-212, miR-132, and miR-146b might account for this deleterious remodeling. Most changes remained after a 4-week detraining. In conclusion, our results suggest that intensive training blunts the benefits of moderate exercise. (C) 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier on behalf of the American College of Cardiology Foundation.

JTD Keywords: atherosclerosis, cacs, coronary artery calcium score, cad, coronary artery disease, coronary artery disease, cv, cardiovascular, endurance exercise, extreme sport, mmp9, matrix metalloproteinase 9, no, nitric oxide, phe, phenylephrine, vsmc, vascular smooth muscle cell, Age, Atherosclerosis, Cacs, coronary artery calcium score, Cad, coronary artery disease, Coronary artery disease, Coronary atherosclerosis, Cv, cardiovascular, Disease, Endurance exercise, Extreme sport, Metalloproteinases, Micrornas, Mmp9, matrix metalloproteinase 9, No, nitric oxide, Phe, phenylephrine, Physical-activity, Prevalence, Rats, Relevance, Risk, Vascular stiffening, Vsmc, vascular smooth muscle cell


Ferrer, I, Andres-Benito, P, Ausin, K, Cartas-Cejudo, P, Lachen-Montes, M, del Rio, JA, Fernandez-Irigoyen, J, Santamaria, E, (2022). Dysregulated Brain Protein Phosphorylation Linked to Increased Human Tau Expression in the hTau Transgenic Mouse Model International Journal Of Molecular Sciences 23, 6427

Altered protein phosphorylation is a major pathologic modification in tauopathies and Alzheimer's disease (AD) linked to abnormal tau fibrillar deposits in neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) and pre-tangles and beta-amyloid deposits in AD. hTau transgenic mice, which express 3R and less 4R human tau with no mutations in a murine knock-out background, show increased tau deposition in neurons but not NFTs and pre-tangles at the age of nine months. Label-free (phospho)proteomics and SWATH-MS identified 2065 proteins in hTau and wild-type (WT) mice. Only six proteins showed increased levels in hTau; no proteins were down-regulated. Increased tau phosphorylation in hTau was detected at Ser199, Ser202, Ser214, Ser396, Ser400, Thr403, Ser404, Ser413, Ser416, Ser422, Ser491, and Ser494, in addition to Thr181, Thr231, Ser396/Ser404, but not at Ser202/Thr205. In addition, 4578 phosphopeptides (corresponding to 1622 phosphoproteins) were identified in hTau and WT mice; 64 proteins were differentially phosphorylated in hTau. Sixty proteins were grouped into components of membranes, membrane signaling, synapses, vesicles, cytoskeleton, DNA/RNA/protein metabolism, ubiquitin/proteasome system, cholesterol and lipid metabolism, and cell signaling. These results showed that over-expression of human tau without pre-tangle and NFT formation preferentially triggers an imbalance in the phosphorylation profile of specific proteins involved in the cytoskeletal-membrane-signaling axis.

JTD Keywords: cytoskeleton, htau, membrane, phosphorylation, synapsis, tau, Aggregation, Alzheimers-disease, Animal-models, Cytoskeleton, Htau, Membrane, Mice, Networks, Pathology, Phosphoproteome analysis, Phosphorylation, Synapsis, Tau, Tauopathies, Tauopathy


Sans, J, Arnau, M, Sanz, V, Turon, P, Alemán, C, (2022). Hydroxyapatite-based biphasic catalysts with plasticity properties and its potential in carbon dioxide fixation Chemical Engineering Journal 433, 133512

The design of catalysts with controlled selectivity at will, also known as catalytic plasticity, is a very attractive approach for the recycling of carbon dioxide (CO2). In this work, we study how catalytically active hydroxyapatite (HAp) and brushite (Bru) interact synergistically, allowing the production of formic acid or acetic acid depending on the HAp/Bru ratio in the catalyst. Raman, wide angle X-ray scattering, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy studies, combined with an exhaustive revision of the crystalline structure of the catalyst at the atomic level, allowed to discern how the Bru phase can be generated and stabilized at high temperatures. Results clearly indicate that the presence of OH– groups to maintain the crystalline structural integrity in conjunction with Ca2+ ions less bonded to the lattice fixate carbon into C1, C2 and C3 molecules from CO2 and allow the evolution from formic to acetic acid and acetone. In this way, the plasticity of the HAp-Bru system is demonstrated, representing a promising green alternative to the conventional metal-based electrocatalysts used for CO2 fixation. Thus, the fact that no electric voltage is necessary for the CO2 reduction has a very favorable impact in the final energetic net balance of the carbon fixation reaction. © 2021

JTD Keywords:

ethanol production & nbsp, brushite, co2 reduction, conversion, electrocatalytic reduction, electrode, formate, heterogeneous catalysis & nbsp, hydrogen evolution, insights, monetite, polarized hydroxyapatite,

, Acetic acid, Acetone, Biphasic catalyst, Brushite, Calcium phosphate, Carbon dioxide, Carbon dioxide fixation, Catalysis, Catalyst selectivity, Co 2 reduction, Co2 reduction, Electrocatalysts, Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, Electrochemical reduction, Electrochemical-impedance spectroscopies, Ethanol production, Formic acid, Heterogeneous catalysis, Hydroxyapatite, Ph, Polarized hydroxyapatite, Property, Reduction, Scanning electron microscopy, Temperature programmed desorption, Wide angle x-ray scattering, X ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X ray scattering, ]+ catalyst


Espinoso, A, Andrzejak, RG, (2022). Phase irregularity: A conceptually simple and efficient approach to characterize electroencephalographic recordings from epilepsy patients Physical Review e 105, 34212

The severe neurological disorder epilepsy affects almost 1% of the world population. For patients who suffer from pharmacoresistant focal-onset epilepsy, electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings are essential for the localization of the brain area where seizures start. Apart from the visual inspection of the recordings, quantitative EEG signal analysis techniques proved to be useful for this purpose. Among other features, regularity versus irregularity and phase coherence versus phase independence allowed characterizing brain dynamics from the measured EEG signals. Can phase irregularities also characterize brain dynamics? To address this question, we use the univariate coefficient of phase velocity variation, defined as the ratio of phase velocity standard deviation and the mean phase velocity. Beyond that, as a bivariate measure we use the classical mean phase coherence to quantify the degree of phase locking. All phase-based measures are combined with surrogates to test null hypotheses about the dynamics underlying the signals. In the first part of our analysis, we use the Rössler model system to study our approach under controlled conditions. In the second part, we use the Bern-Barcelona EEG database which consists of focal and nonfocal signals extracted from seizure-free recordings. Focal signals are recorded from brain areas where the first seizure EEG signal changes can be detected, and nonfocal signals are recorded from areas that are not involved in the seizure at its onset. Our results show that focal signals have less phase variability and more phase coherence than nonfocal signals. Once combined with surrogates, the mean phase velocity proved to have the highest discriminative power between focal and nonfocal signals. In conclusion, conceptually simple and easy to compute phase-based measures can help to detect features induced by epilepsy from EEG signals. This holds not only for the classical mean phase coherence but even more so for univariate measures of phase irregularity. © 2022 American Physical Society.

JTD Keywords: brain, entropy, epileptogenic networks, functional connectivity, hilbert transform, seizure onset, surrogate data, synchronization, time-series, Biomedical signal processing, Brain areas, Brain dynamics, Dynamics, Electroencephalographic signals, Electroencephalography, Electrophysiology, Intracranial eeg signals, Localisation, Neurological disorders, Neurology, Phase based, Phase coherence, Signal detection, Simple++, Univariate, Velocity, World population


Bonilla-Pons, SA, Nakagawa, S, Bahima, EG, Fernández-Blanco, A, Pesaresi, M, D'Antin, JC, Sebastian-Perez, R, Greco, D, Domínguez-Sala, E, Gómez-Riera, R, Compte, RIB, Dierssen, M, Pulido, NM, Cosma, MP, (2022). Müller glia fused with adult stem cells undergo neural differentiation in human retinal models Ebiomedicine 77, 103914

Visual impairments are a critical medical hurdle to be addressed in modern society. Müller glia (MG) have regenerative potential in the retina in lower vertebrates, but not in mammals. However, in mice, in vivo cell fusion between MG and adult stem cells forms hybrids that can partially regenerate ablated neurons.We used organotypic cultures of human retina and preparations of dissociated cells to test the hypothesis that cell fusion between human MG and adult stem cells can induce neuronal regeneration in human systems. Moreover, we established a microinjection system for transplanting human retinal organoids to demonstrate hybrid differentiation.We first found that cell fusion occurs between MG and adult stem cells, in organotypic cultures of human retina as well as in cell cultures. Next, we showed that the resulting hybrids can differentiate and acquire a proto-neural electrophysiology profile when the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway is activated in the adult stem cells prior fusion. Finally, we demonstrated the engraftment and differentiation of these hybrids into human retinal organoids.We show fusion between human MG and adult stem cells, and demonstrate that the resulting hybrid cells can differentiate towards neural fate in human model systems. Our results suggest that cell fusion-mediated therapy is a potential regenerative approach for treating human retinal dystrophies.This work was supported by La Caixa Health (HR17-00231), Velux Stiftung (976a) and the Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, (BFU2017-86760-P) (AEI/FEDER, UE), AGAUR (2017 SGR 689, 2017 SGR 926).Published by Elsevier B.V.

JTD Keywords: cell fusion, expression, fusion, ganglion-cells, in-vitro, mouse, müller glia, neural differentiation, organoids, regeneration, retina regeneration, stem cells, stromal cells, transplantation, 4',6 diamidino 2 phenylindole, 5' nucleotidase, Agarose, Alcohol, Arpe-19 cell line, Article, Beta catenin, Beta tubulin, Bone-marrow-cells, Bromophenol blue, Buffer, Calcium cell level, Calcium phosphate, Calretinin, Canonical wnt signaling, Cd34 antigen, Cell culture, Cell fusion, Cell viability, Coculture, Complementary dna, Confocal microscopy, Cornea transplantation, Cryopreservation, Cryoprotection, Crystal structure, Current clamp technique, Dimethyl sulfoxide, Dodecyl sulfate sodium, Edetic acid, Electrophysiology, Endoglin, Fetal bovine serum, Fibroblast growth factor 2, Flow cytometry, Fluorescence activated cell sorting, Fluorescence intensity, Glyceraldehyde 3 phosphate dehydrogenase, Glycerol, Glycine, Hoe 33342, Immunofluorescence, Immunohistochemistry, Incubation time, Interleukin 1beta, Lentivirus vector, Matrigel, Mercaptoethanol, Microinjection, Mueller cell, Müller glia, N methyl dextro aspartic acid, Nerve cell differentiation, Neural differentiation, Nitrogen, Nonhuman, Organoids, Paraffin, Paraffin embedding, Paraformaldehyde, Patch clamp technique, Penicillin derivative, Phenolsulfonphthalein, Phenotype, Phosphate buffered saline, Phosphoprotein phosphatase inhibitor, Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, Potassium chloride, Povidone iodine, Promoter region, Proteinase inhibitor, Real time polymerase chain reaction, Receptor type tyrosine protein phosphatase c, Restriction endonuclease, Retina, Retina dystrophy, Retina regeneration, Retinol, Rhodopsin, Rna extraction, Stem cell, Stem cells, Subcutaneous fat, Tunel assay, Visual impairment, Western blotting


Guallar-Garrido, S, Almiñana-Rapún, F, Campo-Pérez, V, Torrents, E, Luquin, M, Julián, E, (2022). BCG Substrains Change Their Outermost Surface as a Function of Growth Media Vaccines 10, 40

Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) efficacy as an immunotherapy tool can be influenced by the genetic background or immune status of the treated population and by the BCG substrain used. BCG comprises several substrains with genetic differences that elicit diverse phenotypic characteristics. Moreover, modifications of phenotypic characteristics can be influenced by culture conditions. However, several culture media formulations are used worldwide to produce BCG. To elucidate the influence of growth conditions on BCG characteristics, five different substrains were grown on two culture media, and the lipidic profile and physico-chemical properties were evaluated. Our results show that each BCG substrain displays a variety of lipidic profiles on the outermost surface depending on the growth conditions. These modifications lead to a breadth of hydrophobicity patterns and a different ability to reduce neutral red dye within the same BCG substrain, suggesting the influence of BCG growth conditions on the interaction between BCG cells and host cells.

JTD Keywords: cell wall, efficacy, glycerol, hydrophobicity, lipid, neutral red, pdim, pgl, protein, strains, viability, virulence, Acylglycerol, Albumin, Article, Asparagine, Bacterial cell wall, Bacterial gene, Bacterium culture, Bcg vaccine, Catalase, Cell wall, Chloroform, Controlled study, Escherichia coli, Gene expression, Genomic dna, Glycerol, Glycerol monomycolate, Hexadecane, Housekeeping gene, Hydrophobicity, Immune response, Immunogenicity, Immunotherapy, Lipid, Lipid fingerprinting, Magnesium sulfate, Mercaptoethanol, Methanol, Methylglyoxal, Molybdatophosphoric acid, Mycobacterium bovis bcg, Neutral red, Nonhuman, Pdim, Petroleum ether, Pgl, Phenotype, Physical chemistry, Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, Rna 16s, Rna extraction, Rv0577, Staining, Thin layer chromatography, Unclassified drug


Boloix, A, Feiner-Gracia, N, Kober, M, Repetto, J, Pascarella, R, Soriano, A, Masanas, M, Segovia, N, Vargas-Nadal, G, Merlo-Mas, J, Danino, D, Abutbul-Ionita, I, Foradada, L, Roma, J, Cordoba, A, Sala, S, Toledo, JS, Gallego, S, Veciana, J, Albertazzi, L, Segura, MF, Ventosa, N, (2022). Engineering pH-Sensitive Stable Nanovesicles for Delivery of MicroRNA Therapeutics Small 18, 2101959

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding endogenous RNAs, which are attracting a growing interest as therapeutic molecules due to their central role in major diseases. However, the transformation of these biomolecules into drugs is limited due to their unstability in the bloodstream, caused by nucleases abundantly present in the blood, and poor capacity to enter cells. The conjugation of miRNAs to nanoparticles (NPs) could be an effective strategy for their clinical delivery. Herein, the engineering of non-liposomal lipid nanovesicles, named quatsomes (QS), for the delivery of miRNAs and other small RNAs into the cytosol of tumor cells, triggering a tumor-suppressive response is reported. The engineered pH-sensitive nanovesicles have controlled structure (unilamellar), size (<150 nm) and composition. These nanovesicles are colloidal stable (>24 weeks), and are prepared by a green, GMP compliant, and scalable one-step procedure, which are all unavoidable requirements for the arrival to the clinical practice of NP based miRNA therapeutics. Furthermore, QS protect miRNAs from RNAses and when injected intravenously, deliver them into liver, lung, and neuroblastoma xenografts tumors. These stable nanovesicles with tunable pH sensitiveness constitute an attractive platform for the efficient delivery of miRNAs and other small RNAs with therapeutic activity and their exploitation in the clinics.

JTD Keywords: cancer therapy, mirnas delivery, nanocarriers, nanovesicles, neuroblastoma, pediatric cancer, quatsomes, Biodistribution, Cancer therapy, Cell engineering, Cells, Cholesterol, Controlled drug delivery, Diseases, Dna, Dysregulated ph, Lipoplex, Microrna delivery, Mirnas delivery, Nanocarriers, Nanoparticles, Nanovesicle, Nanovesicles, Neuroblastoma, Neuroblastomas, Pediatric cancer, Ph sensitive, Ph sensors, Quatsome, Quatsomes, Rna, Sirna, Sirna delivery, Sirnas delivery, Small interfering rna, Small rna, Targeted drug delivery, Tumors, Vesicles


RIZZELO, L, DE MATTEIS, V, (2022). Identification of SARS-CoV-2 by Gold Nanoparticles Biocell 46, 2369-2380

The SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks highlighted the need for effective, reliable, fast, easy-to-do and cheap diagnostics procedures. We pragmatically experienced that an early positive-case detection, inevitably coupled with a mass vaccination campaign, is a milestone to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) can indeed play a crucial role in this context, as their physicochemical, optics and electronics properties are being extensively used in photothermal therapy (PTT), radiation therapy (RT), drug delivery and diagnostic. AuNPs can be synthesized by several approaches to obtain different sizes and shapes that can be easily functionalized with many kinds of molecules such as antibodies, proteins, probes, and lipids. In addition, AuNPs showed high biocompatibility making them useful tool in medicine field. We thus reviewed here the most relevant evidence on AuNPs as effective way to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. We trust future diagnostic efforts must take this 'old-fashioned' nanotechnology tool into consideration for the development and commercialization of reliable and feasible detection kits.

JTD Keywords: Aggregation, Antibodies, Assay, Covid-19, Diagnosis, Enhanced raman-scattering, Gold nanoparticles, Immunoassay, Pandemic disease, Physicochemical properties, Rapid detection, Sars-cov-2, Sensors, Surface-plasmon resonance, Therapy


Song, S, Mason, AF, Post, RAJ, De Corato, M, Mestre, R, Yewdall, NA, Cao, S, van der Hofstad, RW, Sanchez, S, Abdelmohsen, LKEA, van Hest, JCM, (2021). Engineering transient dynamics of artificial cells by stochastic distribution of enzymes Nature Communications 12, 6897

Here the authors develop a coacervate micromotor that can display autonomous motion as a result of stochastic distribution of propelling units. This stochastic-induced mobility is validated and explained through experiments and theory. Random fluctuations are inherent to all complex molecular systems. Although nature has evolved mechanisms to control stochastic events to achieve the desired biological output, reproducing this in synthetic systems represents a significant challenge. Here we present an artificial platform that enables us to exploit stochasticity to direct motile behavior. We found that enzymes, when confined to the fluidic polymer membrane of a core-shell coacervate, were distributed stochastically in time and space. This resulted in a transient, asymmetric configuration of propulsive units, which imparted motility to such coacervates in presence of substrate. This mechanism was confirmed by stochastic modelling and simulations in silico. Furthermore, we showed that a deeper understanding of the mechanism of stochasticity could be utilized to modulate the motion output. Conceptually, this work represents a leap in design philosophy in the construction of synthetic systems with life-like behaviors.

JTD Keywords: Cell, Cell component, Enzyme, Enzyme activity, Membrane, Philosophy, Polymer, Stochasticity, Substrate


Lozano, H, Millan-Solsona, R, Blanco-Cabra, N, Fabregas, R, Torrents, E, Gomila, G, (2021). Electrical properties of outer membrane extensions from Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 Nanoscale 13, 18754-18762

Outer membrane extensions from the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 show an insulating behavior in dry air environment as measured by scanning dielectric microscopy.

JTD Keywords: constant, dielectric polarization, microbial nanowires, nanoscale, transport, Air environment, Bacteria, Bacterial cells, Bacterial nanowires, Dry air, Metal-reducing bacteria, Outer membrane, Phase-minerals, Proteins, Shewanella oneidensis mr-1, Solid phasis, Solid-phase, Space division multiple access, Tubulars


Torabi, N, Qiu, XK, López-Ortiz, M, Loznik, M, Herrmann, A, Kermanpur, A, Ashrafi, A, Chiechi, RC, (2021). Fullerenes Enhance Self-Assembly and Electron Injection of Photosystem i in Biophotovoltaic Devices Langmuir 37, 11465-11473

This paper describes the fabrication of microfluidic devices with a focus on controlling the orientation of photosystem I (PSI) complexes, which directly affects the performance of biophotovoltaic devices by maximizing the efficiency of the extraction of electron/hole pairs from the complexes. The surface chemistry of the electrode on which the complexes assemble plays a critical role in their orientation. We compared the degree of orientation on self-assembled monolayers of phenyl-C61-butyric acid and a custom peptide on nanostructured gold electrodes. Biophotovoltaic devices fabricated with the C61 fulleroid exhibit significantly improved performance and reproducibility compared to those utilizing the peptide, yielding a 1.6-fold increase in efficiency. In addition, the C61-based devices were more stable under continuous illumination. Our findings show that fulleroids, which are well-known acceptor materials in organic photovoltaic devices, facilitate the extraction of electrons from PSI complexes without sacrificing control over the orientation of the complexes, highlighting this combination of traditional organic semiconductors with biomolecules as a viable approach to coopting natural photosynthetic systems for use in solar cells.

JTD Keywords: architecture, arrays, construction, metal, nanotubes, performance, photosynthetic proteins, polymer-fullerene, solar-cells, Photocurrent generation


Konka, J, Espanol, M, Bosch, BM, de Oliveira, E, Ginebra, MP, (2021). Maturation of biomimetic hydroxyapatite in physiological fluids: a physicochemical and proteomic study Materials Today Bio 12, 100137

Biomimetic calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite (CDHA) as a bioactive material exhibits exceptional intrinsic osteoinductive and osteogenic properties because of its nanostructure and composition, which promote a favorable microenvironment. Its high reactivity has been hypothesized to play a relevant role in the in vivo performance, mediated by the interaction with the biological fluids, which is amplified by its high specific surface area. Paradoxically, this high reactivity is also behind the in vitro cytotoxicity of this material, especially pro-nounced in static conditions. The present work explores the structural and physicochemical changes that CDHA undergoes in contact with physiological fluids and to investigate its interaction with proteins. Calcium-deficient hydroxyapatite discs with different micro/nanostructures, coarse (C) and fine (F), were exposed to cell-free complete culture medium over extended periods of time: 1, 7, 14, 21, 28, and 50 days. Precipitate formation was not observed in any of the materials in contact with the physiological fluid, which would indicate that the ionic exchanges were linked to incorporation into the crystal structure of CDHA or in the hydrated layer. In fact, CDHA experienced a maturation process, with a progressive increase in crystallinity and the Ca/P ratio, accompanied by an uptake of Mg and a B-type carbonation process, with a gradual propagation into the core of the samples. However, the reactivity of biomimetic hydroxyapatite was highly dependent on the specific surface area and was amplified in nanosized needle-like crystal structures (F), whereas in coarse specimens the ionic exchanges were restricted to the surface, with low penetration in the material bulk. In addition to showing a higher protein adsorption on F substrates, the proteomics study revealed the existence of protein selectivity to-ward F or C microstructures, as well as the capability of CDHA, and more remarkably of F-CDHA, to concentrate specific proteins from the culture medium. Finally, a substantial improvement in the material's ability to support cell proliferation was observed after the CDHA maturation process.

JTD Keywords: calcium phosphates, ion exchange, nanostructure, protein adsorption, Biological-systems, Biomaterials, Biomimetic hydroxyapatites, Biomimetics, Bone-formation, Calcium deficient hydroxyapatite, Calcium phosphate, Calcium phosphates, Cell proliferation, Crystal structure, Crystallinity, Crystals structures, Culture medium, Growth, High reactivity, Hydroxyapatite, In-vitro, Ion exchange, Ionic exchange, Molecular biology, Nanocrystalline apatites, Nanostructure, Nanostructures, Octacalcium phosphate, Physicochemical studies, Physiological fluids, Physiology, Protein adsorption, Proteins, Proteomic studies, Raman spectroscopy, Serum-albumin, Specific surface area


Tornin, J, Labay, C, Tampieri, F, Ginebra, MP, Canal, C, (2021). Evaluation of the effects of cold atmospheric plasma and plasma-treated liquids in cancer cell cultures Nature Protocols 16, 2826-2850

Cold atmospheric plasma (CAP) is a potential anticancer therapy. CAP has cytotoxic effects when applied either directly to cancer cell cultures or indirectly through plasma-conditioned liquids. This protocol describes how to treat adherent cultures of human cancer cell lines with CAP or plasma-conditioned medium and determine cell viability following treatment. The protocol also includes details on how to quantify the reactive oxygen and nitrogen species present in medium following CAP treatment, using chemical probes using UV-visible or fluorescence spectroscopy. CAP treatment takes ~30 min, and 3 h are required to complete quantification of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species. By providing a standardized protocol for evaluation of the effects of CAP and plasma-conditioned medium, we hope to facilitate the comparison and interpretation of results seen across different laboratories. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

JTD Keywords: bacteria, decontamination, jet, skin, surface, Physical plasma


Dulay, Samuel, Rivas, Lourdes, Miserere, Sandrine, Pla, Laura, Berdun, Sergio, Parra, Johanna, Eixarch, Elisenda, Gratacos, Eduard, Illa, Miriam, Mir, Monica, Samitier, Josep, (2021). in vivo Monitoring with micro-implantable hypoxia sensor based on tissue acidosis Talanta 226, 122045

© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Hypoxia is a common medical problem, sometimes difficult to detect and caused by different situations. Control of hypoxia is of great medical importance and early detection is essential to prevent life threatening complications. However, the few current methods are invasive, expensive, and risky. Thus, the development of reliable and accurate sensors for the continuous monitoring of hypoxia is of vital importance for clinical monitoring. Herein, we report an implantable sensor to address these needs. The developed device is a low-cost, miniaturised implantable electrochemical sensor for monitoring hypoxia in tissue by means of pH detection. This technology is based on protonation/deprotonation of polypyrrole conductive polymer. The sensor was optimized in vitro and tested in vivo intramuscularly and ex vivo in blood in adult rabbits with respiration-induced hypoxia and correlated with the standard device ePOCTM. The sensor demonstrated excellent sensitivity and reproducibility; 46.4 ± 0.4 mV/pH in the pH range of 4–9 and the selectivity coefficient exhibited low interference activity in vitro. The device was linear (R2 = 0.925) with a low dispersion of the values (n = 11) with a cut-off of 7.1 for hypoxia in vivo and ex vivo. Statistics with one-way ANOVA (α = 0.05), shows statistical differences between hypoxia and normoxia states and the good performance of the pH sensor, which demonstrated good agreement with the standard device. The sensor was stable and functional after 18 months. The excellent results demonstrated the feasibility of the sensors in real-time monitoring of intramuscular tissue and blood for medical applications.

JTD Keywords: biocompatibility, blood-flow, clinical monitoring, electrochemical biosensor, electrodes, hypoxia, implantable sensor, in vivo tissue monitoring, ischemia, lactate, ph, ph sensor, rabbits, responses, vitro, Clinical monitoring, Dual signal outputs, Hypoxia, Implantable sensor, In vivo tissue monitoring, Ischemia, Ph sensor


Trebicka, J, Bork, P, Krag, A, Arumugam, M, (2021). Utilizing the gut microbiome in decompensated cirrhosis and acute-on-chronic liver failure Nature Reviews Gastroenterology & Hepatology 18, 167-180

© 2020, Springer Nature Limited. The human gut microbiome has emerged as a major player in human health and disease. The liver, as the first organ to encounter microbial products that cross the gut epithelial barrier, is affected by the gut microbiome in many ways. Thus, the gut microbiome might play a major part in the development of liver diseases. The common end stage of liver disease is decompensated cirrhosis and the further development towards acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). These conditions have high short-term mortality. There is evidence that translocation of components of the gut microbiota, facilitated by different pathogenic mechanisms such as increased gut epithelial permeability and portal hypertension, is an important driver of decompensation by induction of systemic inflammation, and thereby also ACLF. Elucidating the role of the gut microbiome in the aetiology of decompensated cirrhosis and ACLF deserves further investigation and improvement; and might be the basis for development of diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. In this Review, we focus on the possible pathogenic, diagnostic and therapeutic role of the gut microbiome in decompensation of cirrhosis and progression to ACLF.

JTD Keywords: albumin, decreases intestinal permeability, hepatic-encephalopathy, portal-vein thrombosis, rifaximin improves, secondary bile-acids, systemic inflammation, translocation, venous-pressure gradient, Spontaneous bacterial peritonitis


Selfa, IL, Gallo, M, Montserrat, N, Garreta, E, (2021). Directed Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells for the Generation of High-Order Kidney Organoids Methods In Molecular Biology 2258, 171-192

© 2021, The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Our understanding in the inherent properties of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have made possible the development of differentiation procedures to generate three-dimensional tissue-like cultures, so-called organoids. Here we detail a stepwise methodology to generate kidney organoids from hPSCs. This is achieved through direct differentiation of hPSCs in two-dimensional monolayer culture toward the posterior primitive streak fate, followed by induction of intermediate mesoderm-committed cells, which are further aggregated and cultured in three-dimensions to generate kidney organoids containing segmented nephron-like structures in a process that lasts 20 days. We also provide a concise description on how to assess renal commitment during the time course of kidney organoid generation. This includes the use of flow cytometry and immunocytochemistry analyses for the detection of specific renal differentiation markers.

JTD Keywords: 2d monolayer, 3d organotypic culture, differentiation, flow cytometry, human pluripotent stem cells, immunocytochemistry, intermediate mesoderm, kidney organoid, nephron progenitor cells, nephrons, primitive streak, 2d monolayer, 3d organotypic culture, Differentiation, Flow cytometry, Human pluripotent stem cells, Immunocytochemistry, Intermediate mesoderm, Kidney organoid, Nephron progenitor cells, Nephrons, Primitive streak, Tissue


Minguela, J., Slawik, S., Mücklich, F., Ginebra, M. P., Llanes, L., Mas-Moruno, C., Roa, J. J., (2020). Evolution of microstructure and residual stresses in gradually ground/polished 3Y-TZP Journal of the European Ceramic Society 40, (4), 1582-1591

A comprehensive study of progressively ground/polished 3Y-TZP was performed with the aim of better understanding the mechanisms driving the microstructural modifications observed after such procedures, and identifying the processing parameters leading to optimal microstructures (i.e. ageing-protective and damage-free). Gradually ground/polished surfaces were produced, yielding four different topographies of increasing roughness (grades 1–4) and two different textures (unidirectionally, U, and multidirectionally, M). Phase transformation, microstructure and residual stresses were investigated by means of advanced characterization techniques. It was found that low-roughness mildly ground/polished specimens (i.e. 2-M/U) presented a nanometric layer with the ageing-related protective features generally associated with coarsely ground specimens. A lower limit for grain refinement in terms of surface abrasion was also found, in which partial recrystallization took place (i.e. 1-M/U). A mathematical relation was established between average surface roughness (Sa), monoclinic volume fraction (Vm) and surface compressive residual stresses, demonstrating that if the processing parameters are controlled, both Vm and residual stresses can be predicted by the measurement of Sa.

JTD Keywords: Grinding, Microstructure, Phase transformation, Residual stresses, Zirconia


Eixarch, Herena, Calvo-Barreiro, Laura, Costa, Carme, Reverter-Vives, Gemma, Castillo, Mireia, Gil, Vanessa, Del Río, José Antonio, Montalban, Xavier, Espejo, Carmen, (2020). Inhibition of the BMP signaling pathway ameliorated established clinical symptoms of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis Neurotherapeutics 17, 1988–2003

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are secreted growth factors that belong to the transforming growth factor beta superfamily. BMPs have been implicated in physiological processes, but they are also involved in many pathological conditions. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system (CNS); however, its etiology remains elusive. Some evidence points to BMPs as important players in the pathogenesis of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. In the present work, we studied the expression of BMP2, BMP4, BMP5, BMP6, BMP7, BMP type II receptor, and noggin in the immune system during different phases of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Major changes in the expression of BMPs took place in the initial phases of EAE. Indeed, those changes mainly affected BMP6 (whose expression was abrogated), BMP2, and BMP7 (whose expression was increased). In addition, we showed that in vivo inhibition of the BMP signaling pathway with small molecules ameliorated the already established clinical symptoms of EAE, as well as the CNS histopathological features. At the immune level, we observed an expansion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) in mice treated with small molecules that inhibit the BMP signaling pathway. pDCs could play an important role in promoting the expansion of antigen-specific regulatory T cells. Altogether, our data suggest a role for BMPs in early immune events that take place in myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG)-induced EAE. In addition, the clinical outcome of the disease was improved when the BMP signaling pathway was inhibited in mice that presented established EAE symptoms.

JTD Keywords: Bone morphogenetic protein, DMH1, Dorsomorphin, Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Immune response, Multiple sclerosis.


Praktiknjo, M., Simón-Talero, M., Römer, J., Roccarina, D., Martínez, J., Lampichler, K., Baiges, A., Low, G., Llop, E., Maurer, M. H., Zipprich, A., Triolo, M., Maleux, G., Fialla, A. D., Dam, C., Vidal-González, J., Majumdar, A., Picón, C., Toth, D., Darnell, A., Abraldes, J. G., López, M., Jansen, C., Chang, J., Schierwagen, R., Uschner, F., Kukuk, G., Meyer, C., Thomas, D., Wolter, K., Strassburg, C. P., Laleman, W., La Mura, V., Ripoll, C., Berzigotti, A., Calleja, J. L., Tandon, P., Hernandez-Gea, V., Reiberger, T., Albillos, A., Tsochatzis, E. A., Krag, A., Genescà , J., Trebicka, J., (2020). Total area of spontaneous portosystemic shunts independently predicts hepatic encephalopathy and mortality in liver cirrhosis Journal of Hepatology 72, (6), 1140-1150

Background & Aims: Spontaneous portosystemic shunts (SPSS) frequently develop in liver cirrhosis. Recent data suggested that the presence of a single large SPSS is associated with complications, especially overt hepatic encephalopathy (oHE). However, the presence of >1 SPSS is common. This study evaluates the impact of total cross-sectional SPSS area (TSA) on outcomes in patients with liver cirrhosis. Methods: In this retrospective international multicentric study, CT scans of 908 cirrhotic patients with SPSS were evaluated for TSA. Clinical and laboratory data were recorded. Each detected SPSS radius was measured and TSA calculated. One-year survival was the primary endpoint and acute decompensation (oHE, variceal bleeding, ascites) was the secondary endpoint. Results: A total of 301 patients (169 male) were included in the training cohort. Thirty percent of all patients presented with >1 SPSS. A TSA cut-off of 83 mm2 was used to classify patients with small or large TSA (S-/L-TSA). Patients with L-TSA presented with higher model for end-stage liver disease score (11 vs. 14) and more commonly had a history of oHE (12% vs. 21%, p <0.05). During follow-up, patients with L-TSA experienced more oHE episodes (33% vs. 47%, p <0.05) and had lower 1-year survival than those with S-TSA (84% vs. 69%, p <0.001). Multivariate analysis identified L-TSA (hazard ratio 1.66; 95% CI 1.02–2.70, p <0.05) as an independent predictor of mortality. An independent multicentric validation cohort of 607 patients confirmed that patients with L-TSA had lower 1-year survival (77% vs. 64%, p <0.001) and more oHE development (35% vs. 49%, p <0.001) than those with S-TSA. Conclusion: This study suggests that TSA >83 mm2 increases the risk for oHE and mortality in patients with cirrhosis. Our results support the clinical use of TSA/SPSS for risk stratification and decision-making in the management of patients with cirrhosis. Lay summary: The prevalence of spontaneous portosystemic shunts (SPSS) is higher in patients with more advanced chronic liver disease. The presence of more than 1 SPSS is common in advanced chronic liver disease and is associated with the development of hepatic encephalopathy. This study shows that total cross-sectional SPSS area (rather than diameter of the single largest SPSS) predicts survival in patients with advanced chronic liver disease. Our results support the clinical use of total cross-sectional SPSS area for risk stratification and decision-making in the management of SPSS.

JTD Keywords: ACLF, Acute decompensation, Acute-on-chronic liver failure, Ascites, Cirrhosis, Computed tomography, Hepatic encephalopathy, Liver, Portal hypertension, Spontaneous portosystemic shunt, SPSS, TIPS


Matera, C., Gomila, A. M. J., Camarero, N., Libergoli, M., Soler, C., Gorostiza, P., (2019). Photochromic antifolate for light-activated chemotherapy Proceedings of SPIE 17th International Photodynamic Association World Congress , SPIE (Cambridge, USA) 11070, 110709H

Although cytotoxic chemotherapy is one of the primary pharmacological treatments for chronic hyperproliferative diseases such as cancer and psoriasis, its efficacy and tolerability are in many cases dramatically limited by off-target toxicity. A promising approach to improve these therapies is to activate the drugs exclusively at their desired place of action. In fact, in those diseases that would benefit from a highly localized treatment, a precise spatiotemporal control over the activity of a chemotherapeutic agent would allow reducing the concentration of active compound outside the targeted region, improving the tolerability of the treatment. Light is a powerful tool in this respect: it offers unparalleled opportunities as a non-invasive regulatory signal for pharmacological applications because it can be delivered with high precision regarding space, time, intensity and wavelength. Photopharmacology represents a new and emerging approach in this regard since the energy of light is used to change the structure of the drug and hence to switch its pharmacological activity on and off on demand. We describe here phototrexate, the first light-regulated inhibitor of the human DHFR. Enzyme and cell viability assays demonstrated that phototrexate behaves as a potent antifolate in its cis configuration, obtained under UVA illumination, and that it is nearly inactive in its dark-relaxed trans form. Experiments in zebrafish confirmed that phototrexate can disrupt folate metabolism in a light-dependent fashion also in vivo. Overall, phototrexate represents a potential candidate towards the development of an innovative photoactivated antifolate chemotherapy.

JTD Keywords: Cancer, Dermatology, Methotrexate, Photoactivated chemotherapy, Photodynamic therapy, Phototherapy, Psoriasis, Rheumatoid arthritis


Silva, N., Riveros, A., Yutronic, N., Lang, E., Chornik, B., Guerrero, S., Samitier, J., Jara, P., Kogan, M. J., (2018). Photothermally controlled methotrexate release system using β-cyclodextrin and gold nanoparticles Nanomaterials 8, (12), 985

The inclusion compound (IC) of cyclodextrin (CD) containing the antitumor drug Methotrexate (MTX) as a guest molecule was obtained to increase the solubility of MTX and decrease its inherent toxic effects in nonspecific cells. The IC was conjugated with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs), obtained by a chemical method, creating a ternary intelligent delivery system for MTX molecules, based on the plasmonic properties of the AuNPs. Irradiation of the ternary system, with a laser wavelength tunable with the corresponding surface plasmon of AuNPs, causes local energy dissipation, producing the controlled release of the guest from CD cavities. Finally, cell viability was evaluated using MTS assays for β-CD/MTX and AuNPs + β-CD/MTX samples, with and without irradiation, against HeLa tumor cells. The irradiated sample of the ternary system AuNPs + β-CD/MTX produced a diminution in cell viability attributed to the photothermal release of MTX.

JTD Keywords: Cyclodextrin, Delivery system, Gold nanoparticles, Inclusion compound, Irradiation, Laser, Methotrexate, Photothermal release


Verschure, P., Prescott, T. J., (2018). A living machines approach to the sciences of mind and brain Living Machines: A Handbook of Research in Biomimetic and Biohybrid Systems (ed. Prescott, T. J., Lepora, Nathan, Verschure, P.), Oxford Scholarship (Oxford, UK) , 15-25

How do the sciences of mind and brain—neuroscience, psychology, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence (AI)—stand in relation to each other in the 21st century? This chapter proposes that despite our knowledge expanding at ever-accelerating rates, our understanding of the relationship between mind and brain is, in some important sense, becoming less and less. An increasing explanatory gap can only be bridged by a multi-tiered and integrated theoretical framework that recognizes the value of developing explanations at different levels, combining these into cross-level integrated theories, and directly contributing to new technologies that improve the human condition. Development of technologies that instantiate principles gleaned from the study of the mind and brain, or biomimetic technologies, is a key part of the validation process for scientific theories of mind and brain. We call this strategy for the integration of science and engineering a Living Machines approach. Following this path can lead not only to better science, and useful engineering, but also a richer view of human experience and of relationships between science, engineering, and art.

JTD Keywords: Convergent validation, Multi-tiered theories, Paradigms in cognitive science, Philosophy of science, Physical models, Reductionism


Ojosnegros', Samuel, Cutrale, Francesco, Rodríguez, Daniel, Otterstrom, Jason J., Chiu, Chi Li, Hortigüela, Verónica, Tarantino, Carolina, Seriola', Anna, Mieruszynski, Stephen, Martínez, Elena, Lakadamyali, Melike, Raya, Angel, Fraser, Scott E., (2017). Eph-ephrin signaling modulated by polymerization and condensation of receptors Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, (50), 13188-13193

Eph receptor signaling plays key roles in vertebrate tissue boundary formation, axonal pathfinding, and stem cell regeneration by steering cells to positions defined by its ligand ephrin. Some of the key events in Eph-ephrin signaling are understood: ephrin binding triggers the clustering of the Eph receptor, fostering transphosphorylation and signal transduction into the cell. However, a quantitative and mechanistic understanding of how the signal is processed by the recipient cell into precise and proportional responses is largely lacking. Studying Eph activation kinetics requires spatiotemporal data on the number and distribution of receptor oligomers, which is beyond the quantitative power offered by prevalent imaging methods. Here we describe an enhanced fluorescence fluctuation imaging analysis, which employs statistical resampling to measure the Eph receptor aggregation distribution within each pixel of an image. By performing this analysis over time courses extending tens of minutes, the information-rich 4D space (x, y, oligomerization, time) results were coupled to straightforward biophysical models of protein aggregation. This analysis reveals that Eph clustering can be explained by the combined contribution of polymerization of receptors into clusters, followed by their condensation into far larger aggregates. The modeling reveals that these two competing oligomerization mechanisms play distinct roles: polymerization mediates the activation of the receptor by assembling monomers into 6- to 8-mer oligomers; condensation of the preassembled oligomers into large clusters containing hundreds of monomers dampens the signaling. We propose that the polymerization–condensation dynamics creates mechanistic explanation for how cells properly respond to variable ligand concentrations and gradients.

JTD Keywords: Eph, Ephrin, Receptor tyrosine kinase, Gradients, Cell communication


Caddeo, C., Manca, M. L., Matos, M., Gutierrez, G., Díez-Sales, O., Peris, J. E., Usach, I., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., Fadda, A. M., Manconi, M., (2017). Functional response of novel bioprotective poloxamer-structured vesicles on inflamed skin Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine 13, (3), 1127-1136

Resveratrol and gallic acid, a lipophilic and a hydrophilic phenol, were co-loaded in innovative, biocompatible nanovesicles conceived for ensuring the protection of the skin from oxidative- and inflammatory-related affections. The basic vesicles, liposomes and glycerosomes, were produced by a simple, one-step method involving the dispersion of phospholipid and phenols in water or water/glycerol blend, respectively. Liposomes and glycerosomes were modified by the addition of poloxamer, a stabilizer and viscosity enhancer, thus obtaining viscous or semisolid dispersions of structured vesicles. The vesicles were spherical, unilamellar and small in size (~70 nm in diameter). The superior ability of the poloxamer-structured vesicles to promote the accumulation of both phenols in the skin was demonstrated, as well as their low toxicity and great ability to protect fibroblasts from chemically-induced oxidative damage. The in vivo administration of the vesicular phenols on TPA (phorbol ester)-exposed skin led to a significant reduction of oedema and leukocyte infiltration.

JTD Keywords: Fibroblasts, Mice, Phenol, Phospholipid vesicle, Poloxamer, Skin inflammation


Mohammadi, M. H., Obregón, R., Ahadian, S., Ramón-Azcón, J., Radisic, M., (2017). Engineered muscle tissues for disease modeling and drug screening applications Current Pharmaceutical Design , 23, (20), 2991-3004

Animal models have been the main resources for drug discovery and prediction of drugs’ pharmacokinetic responses in the body. However, noticeable drawbacks associated with animal models include high cost, low reproducibility, low physiological similarity to humans, and ethical problems. Engineered tissue models have recently emerged as an alternative or substitute for animal models in drug discovery and testing and disease modeling. In this review, we focus on skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle tissues by first describing their characterization and physiology. Major fabrication technologies (i.e., electrospinning, bioprinting, dielectrophoresis, textile technology, and microfluidics) to make functional muscle tissues are then described. Finally, currently used muscle tissue models in drug screening are reviewed and discussed.

JTD Keywords: Cardiac muscle, Drug screening, Engineering muscle, Human pharmacological response, Physiological similarity, Skeletal muscle


Schulz, S., Legorburu Cladera, B., Giraldo, B., Bolz, M., Bar, K. J., Voss, A., (2017). Neuronal desynchronization as marker of an impaired brain network Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 39th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (Seogwipo, South Korea) , 2251-2254

Synchronization is a central key feature of neural information processing and communication between different brain areas. Disturbance of oscillatory brain rhythms and decreased synchronization have been associated with different disorders including schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to investigate whether synchronization (in relaxed conditions with no stimuli) between different brain areas within the delta, theta, alpha (alpha1, alpha2), beta (beta1, beta2), and gamma bands is altered in patients with a neurological disorder in order to generate significant cortical enhancements. To achieve this, we investigated schizophrenic patients (SZO; N=17, 37.5±10.4 years, 15 males) and compared them to healthy subjects (CON; N=21, 36.7±13.4 years, 15 males) applying the phase locking value (PLV). We found significant differences between SZO and CON in different brain areas of the theta, alpha1, beta2 and gamma bands. These areas are related to the central and parietal lobes for the theta band, the parietal lobe for the alpha1, the parietal and frontal for the beta2 and the frontal-central for the gamma band. The gamma band revealed the most significant differences between CON and SZO. PLV were 61.7% higher on average in SZO in most of the clusters when compared to CON. The related brain areas are directly related to cognition skills which are proved to be impaired in SZO. The results of this study suggest that synchronization in SZO is also altered when the patients were not asked to perform a task that requires their cognitive skills (i.e., no stimuli are applied - in contrast to other findings).

JTD Keywords: Synchronization, Electroencephalography, Electrodes, Brain, Time series analysis, Oscillators, Frequency synchronization


Bosch, M., Castro, J., Sur, M., Hayashi, Y., (2017). Photomarking relocalization technique for correlated two-photon and electron microcopy imaging of single stimulated synapses Synapse Development - Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology) (ed. Poulopoulos , A.), Humana Press (New York, USA) 1538, 185-214

Synapses learn and remember by persistent modifications of their internal structures and composition but, due to their small size, it is difficult to observe these changes at the ultrastructural level in real time. Two-photon fluorescence microscopy (2PM) allows time-course live imaging of individual synapses but lacks ultrastructural resolution. Electron microscopy (EM) allows the ultrastructural imaging of subcellular components but cannot detect fluorescence and lacks temporal resolution. Here, we describe a combination of procedures designed to achieve the correlated imaging of the same individual synapse under both 2PM and EM. This technique permits the selective stimulation and live imaging of a single dendritic spine and the subsequent localization of the same spine in EM ultrathin serial sections. Landmarks created through a photomarking method based on the 2-photon-induced precipitation of an electrodense compound are used to unequivocally localize the stimulated synapse. This technique was developed to image, for the first time, the ultrastructure of the postsynaptic density in which long-term potentiation was selectively induced just seconds or minutes before, but it can be applied for the study of any biological process that requires the precise relocalization of micron-wide structures for their correlated imaging with 2PM and EM.

JTD Keywords: Correlated imaging, DAB, Dendritic spine, Photobranding, Photoetching, Photomarking, Postsynaptic density, Serial-section transmission electron microscopy, Synapse, Time-lapse live two-photon fluorescence microscopy


Paoli, R., Samitier, J., (2016). Mimicking the kidney: A key role in organ-on-chip development Micromachines , 7, (7), 126

Pharmaceutical drug screening and research into diseases call for significant improvement in the effectiveness of current in vitro models. Better models would reduce the likelihood of costly failures at later drug development stages, while limiting or possibly even avoiding the use of animal models. In this regard, promising advances have recently been made by the so-called "organ-on-chip" (OOC) technology. By combining cell culture with microfluidics, biomedical researchers have started to develop microengineered models of the functional units of human organs. With the capacity to mimic physiological microenvironments and vascular perfusion, OOC devices allow the reproduction of tissue- and organ-level functions. When considering drug testing, nephrotoxicity is a major cause of attrition during pre-clinical, clinical, and post-approval stages. Renal toxicity accounts for 19% of total dropouts during phase III drug evaluation-more than half the drugs abandoned because of safety concerns. Mimicking the functional unit of the kidney, namely the nephron, is therefore a crucial objective. Here we provide an extensive review of the studies focused on the development of a nephron-on-chip device.

JTD Keywords: Disease model, Drug discovery, Kidney, Nephron-on-chip, Organ-on-chip


Antelis, J.M., Montesano, L., Giralt, X., Casals, A., Minguez, J., (2012). Detection of movements with attention or distraction to the motor task during robot-assisted passive movements of the upper limb Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 34th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (San Diego, USA) , 6410-6413

Robot-assisted rehabilitation therapies usually focus on physical aspects rather than on cognitive factors. However, cognitive aspects such as attention, motivation, and engagement play a critical role in motor learning and thus influence the long-term success of rehabilitation programs. This paper studies motor-related EEG activity during the execution of robot-assisted passive movements of the upper limb, while participants either: i) focused attention exclusively on the task; or ii) simultaneously performed another task. Six healthy subjects participated in the study and results showed lower desynchronization during passive movements with another task simultaneously being carried out (compared to passive movements with exclusive attention on the task). In addition, it was proved the feasibility to distinguish between the two conditions.

JTD Keywords: Electrodes, Electroencephalography, Induction motors, Medical treatment, Robot sensing systems, Time frequency analysis, Biomechanics, Cognition, Electroencephalography, Medical robotics, Medical signal detection, Medical signal processing, Patient rehabilitation, Attention, Cognitive aspects, Desynchronization, Engagement, Motivation, Motor learning, Motor task, Motor-related EEG activity, Physical aspects, Robot-assisted passive movement detection, Robot-assisted rehabilitation therapies, Upper limb


Mesquita, J., Poree, F., Carrault, G., Fiz, J. A., Abad, J., Jané, R., (2012). Respiratory and spontaneous arousals in patients with Sleep Apnea Hypopnea Syndrome Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) 34th Annual International Conference of the IEEE , IEEE (San Diego, USA) , 6337-6340

Sleep in patients with Sleep Apnea-Hypopnea Syndrome (SAHS) is frequently interrupted with arousals. Increased amounts of arousals result in shortening total sleep time and repeated sleep-arousal change can result in sleep fragmentation. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association (ASDA) an arousal is a marker of sleep disruption representing a detrimental and harmful feature for sleep. The nature of arousals and its role on the regulation of the sleep process raises controversy and has sparked the debate in the last years. In this work, we analyzed and compared the EEG spectral content of respiratory and spontaneous arousals on a database of 45 SAHS subjects. A total of 3980 arousals (1996 respiratory and 1984 spontaneous) were analyzed. The results showed no differences between the spectral content of the two kinds of arousals. Our findings raise doubt as to whether these two kinds of arousals are truly triggered by different organic mechanisms. Furthermore, they may also challenge the current beliefs regarding the underestimation of the importance of spontaneous arousals and their contribution to sleep fragmentation in patients suffering from SAHS.

JTD Keywords: Adaptive filters, Correlation, Databases, Electroencephalography, Hospitals, Sleep apnea, Electroencephalography, Medical signal processing, Pneumodynamics, Sleep, EEG spectral content, Organic mechanism, Respiratory, Sleep apnea hypopnea syndrome, Sleep fragmentation, Spectral content, Spontaneous arousal


Estrada, L., Santamaria, J., Isetta, V., Iranzo, A., Navajas, D., Farre, R., (2010). Validation of an EEG-based algorithm for automatic detection of sleep onset in the multiple sleep latency test Proceedings of the World Congress on Engineering 2010 World Congress on Engineering 2010 , IAENG (International Association of Engineers) (London, UK) 1, 1-3

The Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT) is a standard test to objectively evaluate patients with excessive daytime sleepiness. Sleep onset latencies are determined by visual analysis, which is costly and time-consuming. The aim of this study was to implement and test a single automatic algorithm to detect the sleep onset in the MSLT on the basis of electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. The designed algorithm computed the relative EEG spectral powers in the occipital area and detected the sleep onset corresponding to the intersection point between the lower and alpha frequencies. The algorithm performance was evaluated by comparing the sleep latencies computed automatically by the algorithm and by a sleep specialist using MSLT recordings from a total of 19 patients (95 naps). The mean difference in sleep latency between the two methods was 0.025 min and the limits of agreement were ± 2.46 min (Bland-Altman analysis). Moreover, the intra-class correlation coefficient showed a considerable inter-rater reliability (0.90). The algorithm accurately detected the sleep onset in the MSLT. The devised algorithm can be a useful tool to support and speed up the sleep specialist’s work in routine clinical MSLT assessment.

JTD Keywords: Automatic Algorithm, Drowsiness, Electroencephalography, Multiple Sleep Latency Test, Polysomnography, Sleep onset


Guix, F. X., Ill-Raga, G., Bravo, R., Nakaya, T., de Fabritiis, G., Coma, M., Miscione, G. P., Villa-Freixa, J., Suzuki, T., Fernàndez-Busquets, X., Valverde, M. A., de Strooper, B., Munoz, F. J., (2009). Amyloid-dependent triosephosphate isomerase nitrotyrosination induces glycation and tau fibrillation Brain , 132, (5), 1335-1345

Alzheimer's disease neuropathology is characterized by neuronal death, amyloid beta-peptide deposits and neurofibrillary tangles composed of paired helical filaments of tau protein. Although crucial for our understanding of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease, the molecular mechanisms linking amyloid beta-peptide and paired helical filaments remain unknown. Here, we show that amyloid beta-peptide-induced nitro-oxidative damage promotes the nitrotyrosination of the glycolytic enzyme triosephosphate isomerase in human neuroblastoma cells. Consequently, nitro-triosephosphate isomerase was found to be present in brain slides from double transgenic mice overexpressing human amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1, and in Alzheimer's disease patients. Higher levels of nitro-triosephosphate isomerase (P < 0.05) were detected, by Western blot, in immunoprecipitates from hippocampus (9 individuals) and frontal cortex (13 individuals) of Alzheimer's disease patients, compared with healthy subjects (4 and 9 individuals, respectively). Triosephosphate isomerase nitrotyrosination decreases the glycolytic flow. Moreover, during its isomerase activity, it triggers the production of the highly neurotoxic methylglyoxal (n = 4; P < 0.05). The bioinformatics simulation of the nitration of tyrosines 164 and 208, close to the catalytic centre, fits with a reduced isomerase activity. Human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells overexpressing double mutant triosephosphate isomerase (Tyr164 and 208 by Phe164 and 208) showed high methylglyoxal production. This finding correlates with the widespread glycation immunostaining in Alzheimer's disease cortex and hippocampus from double transgenic mice overexpressing amyloid precursor protein and presenilin 1. Furthermore, nitro-triosephosphate isomerase formed large beta-sheet aggregates in vitro and in vivo, as demonstrated by turbidometric analysis and electron microscopy. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and atomic force microscopy studies have demonstrated that nitro-triosephosphate isomerase binds tau monomers and induces tau aggregation to form paired helical filaments, the characteristic intracellular hallmark of Alzheimer's disease brains. Our results link oxidative stress, the main etiopathogenic mechanism in sporadic Alzheimer's disease, via the production of peroxynitrite and nitrotyrosination of triosephosphate isomerase, to amyloid beta-peptide-induced toxicity and tau pathology.

JTD Keywords: Alzheimer's disease, Amyloid β-peptide, Tau protein, Triosephosphate isomerase, Peroxynitrite


Engel, E., Del Valle, S., Aparicio, C., Altankov, G., Asin, L., Planell, J. A., Ginebra, M. P., (2008). Discerning the role of topography and ion exchange in cell response of bioactive tissue engineering scaffolds Tissue Engineering Part A , 14, (8), 1341-1351

Surface topography is known to have an influence on osteoblast activity. However, in the case of bioactive materials, topographical changes can affect also ion exchange properties. This makes the problem more complex, since it is often difficult to separate the strictly topographical effects from the effects of ionic fluctuations in the medium. The scope of this paper is to analyze the simultaneous effect of topography and topography-mediated ion exchange on the initial cellular behavior of osteoblastic-like cells cultured on bioactive tissue engineering substrates. Two apatitic substrates with identical chemical composition but different micro/nanostructural features were obtained by low-temperature setting of a calcium phosphate cement. MG63 osteoblastic-like cells were cultured either in direct contact with the substrates or with their extracts. A strong and permanent decrease of calcium concentration in the culture medium, dependent on substrate topography, was detected. A major effect of the substrate microstructure on cell proliferation was observed, explained in part by the topography-mediated ion exchange, but not specifically by the ionic Ca(2+) fluctuations. Cell differentiation was strongly enhanced when cells were cultured on the finer substrate. This effect was not explained by the chemical modification of the medium, but rather suggested a strictly topographical effect.

JTD Keywords: Alkaline Phosphatase/metabolism, Bone Cements/pharmacology, Calcium/metabolism, Calcium Phosphates/pharmacology, Cell Adhesion/drug effects, Cell Differentiation/drug effects, Cell Proliferation/drug effects, Cell Shape/drug effects, Cells, Cultured, Culture Media, Durapatite/pharmacology, Humans, Interferometry, Ion Exchange, Materials Testing, Osteoblasts/ cytology/drug effects/enzymology/ultrastructure, Phosphorus/metabolism, Powders, Tissue Engineering, Tissue Scaffolds


Diez, Pablo F., Laciar, Eric, Mut, Vicente, Avila, Enrique, Torres, Abel, (2008). A comparative study of the performance of different spectral estimation methods for classification of mental tasks IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference Proceedings 30th Annual International Conference of the Ieee Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (ed. IEEE), IEEE (Vancouver, Canada) 1-8, 1155-1158

In this paper we compare three different spectral estimation techniques for the classification of mental tasks. These techniques are the standard periodogram, the Welch periodogram and the Burg method, applied to electroencephalographic (EEG) signals. For each one of these methods we compute two parameters: the mean power and the root mean square (RMS), in various frequency bands. The classification of the mental tasks was conducted with a linear discriminate analysis. The Welch periodogram and the Burg method performed better than the standard periodogram. The use of the RMS allows better classification accuracy than the obtained with the power of EEG signals.

JTD Keywords: Adult, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Cognition, Electroencephalography, Female, Humans, Male, Pattern Recognition, Automated, Reproducibility of Results, Sensitivity and Specificity, Task Performance and Analysis, User-Computer Interface