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Effect of Lifestyle on Asthma Control in Japanese Patients: Importance of Periodical Exercise and Raw Vegetable Diet
Motoyasu Iikura, Siyan Yi, Yasunori Ichimura, Ai Hori, Shinyu Izumi, Haruhito Sugiyama, Koichiro Kudo, Tetsuya Mizoue, Nobuyuki Kobayashi
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068290
Abstract: Background The avoidance of inhaled allergens or tobacco smoke has been known to have favorable effects on asthma control. However, it remains unclear whether other lifestyle-related factors are also related to asthma control. Therefore, a comprehensive study to examine the associations between various lifestyle factors and asthma control was conducted in Japanese asthmatic patients. Methods The study subjects included 437 stable asthmatic patients recruited from our outpatient clinic over a one-year period. A written, informed consent was obtained from each participant. Asthma control was assessed using the asthma control test (ACT), and a structured questionnaire was administered to obtain information regarding lifestyle factors, including tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, physical exercise, and diet. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted. Results The proportions of total control (ACT = 25), well controlled (ACT = 20-24), and poorly controlled (ACT < 20) were 27.5%, 48.1%, and 24.5%, respectively. The proportions of patients in the asthma treatment steps as measured by Global Initiative for Asthma 2007 in step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, and step 5 were 5.5%, 17.4%, 7.6%, 60.2%, and 9.4%, respectively. Body mass index, direct tobacco smoking status and alcohol drinking were not associated with asthma control. On the other hand, younger age (< 65 years old), passive smoking, periodical exercise (> 3 metabolic equivalents-h/week), and raw vegetable intake (> 5 units/week) were significantly associated with good asthma control by bivariate analysis. Younger age, periodical exercise, and raw vegetable intake were significantly associated with good asthma control by multiple linear regression analysis. Conclusions Periodical exercise and raw vegetable intake are associated with good asthma control in Japanese patients.
Room Temperature Storage of Methane by Bamboo-Like Carbon Nanotubes  [PDF]
Mitsunori Furuya, Kenji Ichimura
Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science (ACES) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/aces.2013.33A3002

Single carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have the sorption states at around 200 K, and show the poor desorption characteristics at around 300 K. The bamboo-like CNTs, HP1050 and the ground HP1050 (HP-1050G), show the desorption peaks at around 100 K and 140 K, respectively. Furthermore, HP1050G has the sorption states at around 300 - 400 K. On the basis of the sorption process, the ground bamboo-like CNT has a possibility for application to the room temperature storage of methane, which has utility for energy technologies such as fuel cells.

Heterostructure Solar Cells Based on Sol-Gel Deposited SnO2 and Electrochemically Deposited Cu2O  [PDF]
Akito Fukuda, Masaya Ichimura
Materials Sciences and Applications (MSA) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/msa.2013.46A001

To fabricate a heterostructure solar cell using environmentally friendly materials and low cost techniques, tin oxide (SnO2) and cuprous oxide (Cu2O) were deposited by the sol-gel method and the electrochemical deposition, respectively. The SnO2 films were deposited from a SnCl2 solution containing ethanol and acetic acid. The Cu2O films were deposited using a galvanostatic method from an aqueous bath containing CuSO4 and lactic acid at a temperature of 40°C. The Cu2O/SnO2 heterostructure solar cells showed rectification and photovoltaic properties, and the best cell showed a conversion efficiency of 6.6 × 10-2 % with an open-circuit voltage of 0.29 V, a short-circuit current of 0.58 mA/cm2, and a fill factor of 0.39.

Maternally-preset program of apoptosis and caspases involved in execution of the apoptosis at midblastula transition (MBT) but not before in Xenopus laevis embryogenesis  [PDF]
Koichiro Shiokawa
Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology (ABB) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/abb.2012.326096
Abstract: To study gene control mechanisms in Xenopus embryos, we analyzed polyamines, cloned SAMDC (S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase), a key enzyme of polyamine metabolism, and microinjected its mRNA into Xenopus fertilized eggs. The microinjection induced a large increase in SAMDC activity, exhaustion of the substrate SAM (S-adenosylmethionine), and execution of apoptosis at the stage called midblastula transition (MBT). By tracing GFP (green fluorescence protein)-marked apoptotic cells, we reached a conclusion that the apoptosis provides pre-blastula embryos with a fail-safe mechanism of early development. We analyzed caspase mRNAs and found that caspase-9 and -3 mRNAs are maternal mRNA and activation of caspase-9 is one of the key steps for the execution of the apoptosis. We also found that over- expression of caspase-8, and in addition p53, a tumor suppressor protein, also induces apoptosis at MBT, just like the overexpression of SAMDC and caspase-9 does. The apoptosis induced by p53 was suppressed by Xdm-2, a negative regulator of p53, and by a peptide inhibitor and a dominant-negative type mutant of caspase-9, but not by those of caspase-8. By contrast, apoptosis induced by SAMDC was suppressed by peptide inhibitors and dominant-negative mutants of both caspase-9 and caspase-8, but not by Xdm-2. Unlike caspase-9 mRNA, caspase-8 mRNA was not a maternal mRNA, but newly expressed during cleavage stage (pre-MBT stage) only in embryos overexpressed with SAMDC. In SAMDC-induced apoptotic embryos activities to process procaspase-8 and procaspase-9 appeared, whereas in p53-induced apoptotic embryos only activity to process procaspase-9 appeared. Thus, Xenopus embryos have at least two pathways to execute the maternal program of apoptosis: One induced by SAMDC overexpression through activation of caspase-9 and do novo expression of caspase-8 gene, and the other induced by p53 overexpression through activation of caspase-9 but not caspase-8. In Xenopus embryos, it has long been believed that zygotic genes are silent until MBT, but results obtained with caspase-8 may provide a novel example of gene expression before MBT.
RNA species whose transcription is totally silent in pre-MBT stage are not mRNA but rRNA and possible involvement of weak bases (ammonium salts and/or amines) in the transcriptional silence of rRNA genes during the pre-MBT stage in Xenopus early embryos  [PDF]
Koichiro Shiokawa
Advances in Bioscience and Biotechnology (ABB) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/abb.2013.410A3004

In Xenopus laevis embryogenesis, fertilized eggs undergo 12 cycles of synchronous divisions and reach the stage called midblastula transition (MBT). It has long been believed that during the first 12 cycles of cleavage (pre-MBT stage), transcriptional activity of the zygotic nuclei is totally absent. However, heterogeneous mRNA-like RNA is synthesized in pre-MBT stage embryos, and exogenously-injected bacterial CAT genes with SV40 promoter are expressed from the cleavage stage. Nevertheless, the synthesis of rRNA as detected by rRNA-specific2’-O-methylation does not take place in pre-MBT embryos and starts only from the latter half of the MBT stage, corroborating the fact that formation of definitive nucleoli as well as the transcription of microinjected rRNA genes starts only at and after MBT stage. Thus, while mRNA-like RNA synthesis occurs from pre-MBT stage, synthesis of rRNA is controlled in the way that transcription of rRNA genes is totally silent during pre-MBT stage and is initiated only at the latter half of MBT stage. Once initiated, the rate of the synthesis of rRNA is constant throughout later stages on a per-cell basis. We searched substances which are responsible for the transcriptional silence of rRNA genes during the pre-MBT stage. Weak bases such as ammonium ion and amines selectively inhibited rRNA synthesis at the transcriptional level in post-MBT stage embryo cells. Since we found that the level of ammonia extracted from embryos is much higher in pre-MBT embryos than in post-MBT embryos, we suggest that weak bases like ammonium ion could be responsible for the transcriptional silence of rRNA genes by slightly increasing intracellular pH during the pre-MBT.

A Comparative Analysis of Glomerulus Development in the Pronephros of Medaka and Zebrafish
Koichiro Ichimura, Ekaterina Bubenshchikova, Rebecca Powell, Yayoi Fukuyo, Tomomi Nakamura, Uyen Tran, Shoji Oda, Minoru Tanaka, Oliver Wessely, Hidetake Kurihara, Tatsuo Sakai, Tomoko Obara
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045286
Abstract: The glomerulus of the vertebrate kidney links the vasculature to the excretory system and produces the primary urine. It is a component of every single nephron in the complex mammalian metanephros and also in the primitive pronephros of fish and amphibian larvae. This systematic work highlights the benefits of using teleost models to understand the pronephric glomerulus development. The morphological processes forming the pronephric glomerulus are astoundingly different between medaka and zebrafish. (1) The glomerular primordium of medaka - unlike the one of zebrafish - exhibits a C-shaped epithelial layer. (2) The C-shaped primordium contains a characteristic balloon-like capillary, which is subsequently divided into several smaller capillaries. (3) In zebrafish, the bilateral pair of pronephric glomeruli is fused at the midline to form a glomerulus, while in medaka the two parts remain unmerged due to the interposition of the interglomerular mesangium. (4) Throughout pronephric development the interglomerular mesangial cells exhibit numerous cytoplasmic granules, which are reminiscent of renin-producing (juxtaglomerular) cells in the mammalian afferent arterioles. Our systematic analysis of medaka and zebrafish demonstrates that in fish, the morphogenesis of the pronephric glomerulus is not stereotypical. These differences need be taken into account in future analyses of medaka mutants with glomerulus defects.
Noble Interactions between Ar and Carbons  [PDF]
Mitsunori Furuya, Ayaka Yanagitsuru, Kenji Ichimura
Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science (ACES) , 2013, DOI: 10.4236/aces.2013.33A3003

Noble interactions between Ar and carbons are observed for carbons, such as carbon nanotubes and carbon blacks by means of mass-analyzed thermal desorption. The absorption states exist at around 300 K as well as at around 100 K. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy reveals that Ar2p shows the chemical shifts. These results suggest that Ar is in charge and it is in valence state, or gives the evidence of the chemical interaction.

Fabrication of Cu–Zn–Sn–S–O Thin Films by the Electrochemical Deposition Method and Application to Heterojunction Cells
Kai Yang,Masaya Ichimura
International Journal of Photoenergy , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/154704
Abstract: A new multinary semiconductor Cu2ZnSnS4?O (CZTSO), which does not contain toxic elements and expensive rare metals, was fabricated by the electrochemical deposition (ECD) method. CZTSO thin films were deposited onto indium tin oxide (ITO-) coated glass substrates by DC and two-step pulsed ECD from aqueous solutions containing CuSO4, ZnSO4, SnSO4, and Na2S2O3. The films deposited by pulsed ECD contained smaller amount of oxygen than those deposited by DC ECD. The films had band gap energies in a range from 1.5 eV and 2.1 eV. By a photoelectrochemical measurement, it was confirmed that CZTSO films showed p-type conduction and photosensitivity. CZTSO/ZnO heterojunctions exhibited rectification properties in a current-voltage measurement.
Electrochemical Deposition of CuxSnySzO Thin Films and Their Application for Heterojunction Solar Cells
Yuki Nakashima,Masaya Ichimura
International Journal of Photoenergy , 2012, DOI: 10.1155/2012/171432
Abstract: CuxSnySzO (CTSO) thin films were deposited from an aqueous solution containing CuSO4, SnSO4, and Na2S2O3 by electrochemical techniques. The deposited films were characterized by Auger electron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and optical transmission spectroscopy. The photoelectrochemical measurement showed that the films have p-type conduction and photosensitivity. ZnO/CTSO heterojunction solar cells were fabricated. Rectification properties were observed, and the cell showed an efficiency of 4.9×10?3% under AM1.5 illumination.
Kidney injury molecule-1 in acute kidney injury and renal repair: a review
Takaharu ICHIMURA,Shan MOU
Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao , 2008,
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