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Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) Allelic Variants Relate to Shifts in Faecal Microbiota of Cystic Fibrosis Patients
Serena Schippa, Valerio Iebba, Floriana Santangelo, Antonella Gagliardi, Riccardo Valerio De Biase, Antonella Stamato, Serenella Bertasi, Marco Lucarelli, Maria Pia Conte, Serena Quattrucci
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061176
Abstract: Introduction In this study we investigated the effects of the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) gene variants on the composition of faecal microbiota, in patients affected by Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CFTR mutations (F508del is the most common) lead to a decreased secretion of chloride/water, and to mucus sticky secretions, in pancreas, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Intestinal manifestations are underestimated in CF, leading to ileum meconium at birth, or small bowel bacterial overgrowth in adult age. Methods Thirty-six CF patients, fasting and under no-antibiotic treatment, were CFTR genotyped on both alleles. Faecal samples were subjected to molecular microbial profiling through Temporal Temperature Gradient Electrophoresis and species-specific PCR. Ecological parameters and multivariate algorithms were employed to find out if CFTR variants could be related to the microbiota structure. Results Patients were classified by two different criteria: 1) presence/absence of F508del mutation; 2) disease severity in heterozygous and homozygous F508del patients. We found that homozygous-F508del and severe CF patients exhibited an enhanced dysbiotic faecal microbiota composition, even within the CF cohort itself, with higher biodiversity and evenness. We also found, by species-specific PCR, that potentially harmful species (Escherichia coli and Eubacterium biforme) were abundant in homozygous-F508del and severe CF patients, while beneficial species (Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Bifidobacterium spp., and Eubacterium limosum) were reduced. Conclusions This is the first report that establishes a link among CFTR variants and shifts in faecal microbiota, opening the way to studies that perceive CF as a ‘systemic disease’, linking the lung and the gut in a joined axis.
Material Ecocriticism: Materiality, Agency, and Models of Narrativity
Serenella Iovino,Serpil Oppermann
Ecozon@ : European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment , 2012,
Abstract: The proliferation of studies bearing on the intellectual movement known as the "new materialisms" evinces that a material turn is becoming an important paradigm in environmental humanities. Ranging from social and science studies, feminism, to anthropology, geography, environmental philosophies and animal studies, this approach is bringing innovative ways of considering matter and material relations that, coupled with reflections on agency, text, and narrativity, are going to impact ecocriticism in an unprecedented way.In consideration of the relevance of this debate, we would like to draw for Ecozon@'s readers an introductory map of the new paradigm and introduce what can be called "material ecocriticism." We will illustrate what we consider to be its main features, situating them in the conceptual horizons of the new materialisms. From this genealogical sketch, we will examine the re-definitions of concepts like matter, agency, discursivity, and intentionality, with regard to their effects on ecocriticism and in terms of their ethical perspectives.
Histochemical and immunohistological approach to comparative neuromuscular diseases.
Orlando Paciello,Serenella Papparella
Folia Histochemica et Cytobiologica , 2009, DOI: 10.5603/4352
Abstract: The broad category of neuromuscular diseases covers conditions that involve the weakness or wasting of the body muscles. These problems may occur in the spinal cord, the peripheral nerves or the muscle fibers. Some may be hereditary, while others are acquired. Commonly recognized conditions fall into the categories of myopathies, which are diseases of the muscle like muscular dystrophy, disorders of the junction where the nerve impulses are transmitted to the muscle like myasthenia gravis, and neuropathies, which are diseases of the peripheral nervous system. The diagnosis of most neuromuscular diseases rest on careful clinical evaluation of the patient, electromyography, the muscle biopsy, and in some instances, molecular genetic studies. Muscle biopsy, associated to histochemical and immunohistological techniques, plays a key role in diagnosis of many neuromuscular disorders. A number of morphological abnormalities of muscle can be recognized on histological stains such as haematoxylin and eosin and Engel trichrome. Histochemical techniques are essential for the study of muscle biopsies for four main reasons. First, they demonstrate the non-uniform nature of the muscle highlighting the different biochemical properties of specific fibre type and their selective involvement in certain disease processes. Second, they may show an absences of a particular enzyme. Third, an excess of a particular substrate can be demonstrated. Fourth, they may show structural changes in the muscle which would not be apparent with routine histological stains, such as the enzyme-deficient cores in central core disease "mouth-eaten" fibers, and abnormalities in the distribution of mitochondria. In some neuromuscular disorders there could be only non-specific myopathological features. However, a number of proteins, including sarcolemmal, sarcomeric, and nuclear proteins as well as enzymes with defects responsible for neuromuscular disorders, have been identified during the past two decades, allowing a more specific and firm diagnosis of muscle diseases. Identification of protein defects relies predominantly on immunohistochemical preparations and on Western blot analysis. While immunohistochemistry is very useful in identifying abnormal expression of primary protein abnormalities in recessive conditions, it is less helpful in detecting primary defects in dominantly inherited disorders. Abnormal immunohistochemical expression patterns can be confirmed by Western blot analysis which may also be informative in dominant disorders. Besides identification of specific protein defects,
Sustainability Indicators Integrating Consumption Patterns in Strategic Environmental Assessment for Urban Planning
Valentina Castellani,Serenella Sala
Sustainability , 2013, DOI: 10.3390/su5083426
Abstract: Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) practices in Europe have been traditionally applied to assess potential environmental impacts due to socio-economic drivers implying specific land use ( viz. infrastructure, building and industrial development). However, other socioeconomic drivers related to citizen behavior, such as household consumption, may significantly contribute to the overall local impacts, but are usually neglected in SEA. Aiming at enlarging the traditional approaches adopted in SEA, the present study integrates two environmental sustainability indicators capturing different aspects of consumption patterns: ecological footprint and carbon balance. The two indicators are calculated in addition to a more traditional set of environmental indicators in order to: (i) understand if the level of consumption of the local community exceeds the limits of natural resources of the area (in a perspective of self-sustainment at the local scale); and (ii) identify the role of spatial planning choices in determining the environmental sustainability of the entire system. The two indicators are calculated and discussed in the context of the SEA of the urban master plans of four municipalities in northern Italy. The two indicators may represent a good proxy for lifestyle impacts, even if some strengths and weaknesses arose from the application to the case study.
The Brain’s Dorsal Route for Speech Represents Word Meaning: Evidence from Gesture
Goulven Josse, Sabine Joseph, Eric Bertasi, Anne-Lise Giraud
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0046108
Abstract: The dual-route model of speech processing includes a dorsal stream that maps auditory to motor features at the sublexical level rather than at the lexico-semantic level. However, the literature on gesture is an invitation to revise this model because it suggests that the premotor cortex of the dorsal route is a major site of lexico-semantic interaction. Here we investigated lexico-semantic mapping using word-gesture pairs that were either congruent or incongruent. Using fMRI-adaptation in 28 subjects, we found that temporo-parietal and premotor activity during auditory processing of single action words was modulated by the prior audiovisual context in which the words had been repeated. The BOLD signal was suppressed following repetition of the auditory word alone, and further suppressed following repetition of the word accompanied by a congruent gesture (e.g. [“grasp” + grasping gesture]). Conversely, repetition suppression was not observed when the same action word was accompanied by an incongruent gesture (e.g. [“grasp” + sprinkle]). We propose a simple model to explain these results: auditory and visual information converge onto premotor cortex where it is represented in a comparable format to determine (in)congruence between speech and gesture. This ability of the dorsal route to detect audiovisual semantic (in)congruence suggests that its function is not restricted to the sublexical level.
Transanal Resection of Rectal Lipoma Mimicking Rectal Prolapse: Description of a Case and Review of the Literature
Jacopo Martellucci,Serenella Civitelli,Gabriello Tanzini
ISRN Surgery , 2011, DOI: 10.5402/2011/170285
Morphologic changes due to human chorionic gonadotropin in the rat testis: Role of vascular endothelial growth factor  [PDF]
Alfonso Papparella, Fabiano Nino, Carmine Noviello, Mercedes Romano, Serenella Papparella, Orlando Paciello, Antonio Agostino Sinisi
Open Journal of Pediatrics (OJPed) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/ojped.2013.32016

Introduction: Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) has an important role in the regulation of reproductive system and a high capacity to stimulate angiogenesis by secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It could be also used for medical treatment of cryptorchidism, as it stimulates Leydig cells to produce testosterone, but its use has been discussed. Aim of the study was to evaluate the testicular morphological changes due to cyclic administration of hCG possibly related to VEGF effect. Methods: 80 pre-puberal male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided in two groups hCG (50 U/I/ Kg) (n = 55/S) and placebo (n = 25/C) treated. The animals were sacrificed respectively after one (S1 n = 10; C1 n = 5), two (S2 n = 10; C2 n = 5) and three weeks of hCG or placebo treatment (S3 n = 35; C3 n = 15); a blood serum was obtained for evaluation of plasmatic testosterone. The testis, prostates, epididymides and seminal vesicles were drawn and weighted. Specimens were fixed in formalin and coloured by hematoxylin-eosin. Morphometric analysis of Leydig cell number, nuclear area and perimeter was carried out. Immunoistochemistry for VEGF has been performed with the avidin-biotin peroxidase technique. Statistical differences between groups, each of different age, were calculating using Student’s T-test. Results: After the first week of hCG treatment it has been observed an increased testicular weight and volume (+/6%) in experimental respect to control group. This result was not observed after the second and third week of treatment. Significant variations were also observed in the mean prostate weight, whereas mean seminal vesicles weight was significant in the S2 and S3 groups respect to control. In the hCG treated rats it has been observed a poor differentiation of the seminiferous epithelium, with high Leydig cell evidence and increased intertubular eosinophilic material. An interstitial edema was demonstrated without inflammatory cell changes. Morphometric analysis confirmed an increased number of Leydig cells that were always strongly immunostained

Optimal Tableaux Method for Constructive Satisfiability Testing and Model Synthesis in the Alternating-time Temporal Logic ATL+
Serenella Cerrito,Amélie David,Valentin Goranko
Computer Science , 2014, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-08587-6_21
Abstract: We develop a sound, complete and practically implementable tableaux-based decision method for constructive satisfiability testing and model synthesis in the fragment ATL+ of the full Alternating time temporal logic ATL*. The method extends in an essential way a previously developed tableaux-based decision method for ATL and works in 2EXPTIME, which is the optimal worst case complexity of the satisfiability problem for ATL+ . We also discuss how suitable parametrizations and syntactic restrictions on the class of input ATL+ formulae can reduce the complexity of the satisfiability problem.
Effect of Insulin Glargine on Cardiovascular Risk Analysed by Mean HRV  [PDF]
Marchitto Nicola, Marcinnò Mariaconcetta, Petrucci Alessia, Apicella Giovanni, Dal Maso Serenella Gioia, Raimondi Gianfranco
Health (Health) , 2019, DOI: 10.4236/health.2019.111003
Abstract: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is an insidious disease that is increasingly present in geriatric population [1]. The greatest difficulty is represented by glycaemic control in geriatric patients often not very compliant with diet therapy and drug therapy. A new insulin glargine 300 units/ml formulation seems improve patient compliance due to the lower volume of insulin to be injected and improved glycaemic control over 24 hours. The HRV signal, derived from digital electrocardiographic recording, is the simplest and most immediate analysis that consists in calculating some temporal parameters [2]. HRV is a simple statistics derived from beat-beat intervals of sinus origin expressed as units of time in milliseconds. Data in the literature indicate that a decrease in HRV, measured with time domain analysis, denotes a worse prognosis and/or an increased risk of mortality in patients with heart disease, especially in the elderly ones.
Research Needs and Challenges from Science to Decision Support. Lesson Learnt from the Development of the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Recommendations for Life Cycle Impact Assessment
Serenella Sala,Rana Pant,Michael Hauschild,David Pennington
Sustainability , 2012, DOI: 10.3390/su4071412
Abstract: Environmental implications of the whole supply-chain of products, both goods and services, their use, and waste management, i.e., their entire life cycle from “cradle to grave” have to be considered to achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns. Progress toward environmental sustainability requires enhancing the methodologies for quantitative, integrated environmental assessment and promoting the use of these methodologies in different domains. In the context of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of products, in recent years, several methodologies have been developed for Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA). The Joint Research Center of the European Commission (EC-JRC) led a “science to decision support” process which resulted in the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) Handbook, providing guidelines to the decision and application of methods for LCIA. The Handbook is the result of a comprehensive process of evaluation and selection of existing methods based on a set of scientific and stakeholder acceptance criteria and involving review and consultation by experts, advisory groups and the public. In this study, we report the main features of the ILCD LCIA recommendation development highlighting relevant issues emerged from this “from science to decision support” process in terms of research needs and challenges for LCIA. Comprehensiveness of the assessment, as well as acceptability and applicability of the scientific developments by the stakeholders, are key elements for the design of new methods and to guarantee the mainstreaming of the sustainability concept.
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