173 results found
Tomson M, Kumar P, Kalaiarasan G, et al., 2023, Pollutant concentrations and exposure variability in four urban microenvironments of London, Atmospheric Environment, Vol: 298, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1352-2310
We compared various pollutant concentrations (PM1, PM2.5, PM10, PNC, BC) at four different urban microenvironments (MEs) in London (Indoor, IN; Traffic Intersection, TI; Park, PK; and Street Canyon, SC). The physico-chemical characteristics of particles were analysed, and the respiratory deposition doses (RDD) were estimated. Field measurements were conducted over a period of 121 days. The mean PM2.5 (PNC) concentrations were found to be 9.47 ± 7.05 (16366 ± 11815), 8.09 ± 4.57 (10951 ± 6445), 5.11 ± 2.96 (7717 ± 4576), 3.88 ± 3.06 (5672 ± 2934) μg m−3 (# cm−3) at TI, SC, PK and IN, respectively. PM2.5, PM10 and PNC exhibited a trend of TI > SC > PK > IN; higher concentrations for PM1 and BC were observed at IN than PK due to the emissions from printers, producing a trend of TI > SC > IN > PK. We observed 12%–30% higher fine PM concentrations at TI and SC sites during morning peak (07:00–09:30) than the evening peak hours (16:00–19:00); while IN showed a smaller variation in fine PM concentrations compared with outdoor TI, PK and SC sites owing to their prevalence in the IN for a longer time. Fine and ultrafine PM containing potentially toxic trace transition metals including Fe, Ti, Cr, Mn, Al and Mg were detected by high resolution electron microscopy at all sites. There was a similar relative abundance of different elements at the TI, IN and PK sites, which suggests a transport of PM between MEs. RDD for PM1 was highest (2.45 ± 2.27 μg h−1) at TI for females during running; PM2.5 and PM10 were highest at SC (11.23 ± 6.34 and 37.17 ± 20.82 μg h−1, respectively). The results show that the RDD variation between MEs does not follow the PM concentration trend. RDD at PK was found to be 39%–53% lower than TI and SC during running for all the PM fractions. Overall, the study findings show the air quality variation at dif
Morfill C, Pankratova S, Machado P, et al., 2023, Addition to "Nanostars Carrying Multifunctional Neurotrophic Dendrimers Protect Neurons in Preclinical In Vitro Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders"., ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, Vol: 15
Tan Z, Berry A, Charalambides M, et al., 2023, Tyre wear particles are toxic for us and the environment
This briefing paper discusses the current knowledge on the effects of tyre wear particles on our health and environment, highlights the need for an ambitious research agenda to build further understanding of the impacts on people and nature and develop solutions, and includes recommendations for policymakers.
Kumar P, Zavala-Reyes JC, Kalaiarasan G, et al., 2023, Characteristics of fine and ultrafine aerosols in the London underground., Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 858, ISSN: 0048-9697
Underground railway systems are recognised spaces of increased personal pollution exposure. We studied the number-size distribution and physico-chemical characteristics of ultrafine (PM0.1), fine (PM0.1-2.5) and coarse (PM2.5-10) particles collected on a London underground platform. Particle number concentrations gradually increased throughout the day, with a maximum concentration between 18:00 h and 21:00 h (local time). There was a maximum decrease in mass for the PM2.5, PM2.5-10 and black carbon of 3.9, 4.5 and ~ 21-times, respectively, between operable (OpHrs) and non-operable (N-OpHrs) hours. Average PM10 (52 μg m-3) and PM2.5 (34 μg m-3) concentrations over the full data showed levels above the World Health Organization Air Quality Guidelines. Respiratory deposition doses of particle number and mass concentrations were calculated and found to be two- and four-times higher during OpHrs compared with N-OpHrs, reflecting events such as train arrival/departure during OpHrs. Organic compounds were composed of aromatic hydrocarbons and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are known to be harmful to health. Specific ratios of PAHs were identified for underground transport that may reflect an interaction between PAHs and fine particles. Scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) chemical maps of fine and ultrafine fractions show they are composed of Fe and O in the form of magnetite and nanosized mixtures of metals including Cr, Al, Ni and Mn. These findings, and the low air change rate (0.17 to 0.46 h-1), highlight the need to improve the ventilation conditions.
Correia JS, Miron Barroso S, Hutchings C, et al., 2023, How does the polymer architecture and position of cationic charges affect cell viability?, Polymer Chemistry, Vol: 14, Pages: 303-317, ISSN: 1759-9954
Polymer chemistry, composition and molar mass are factors that are known to affect cytotoxicity however the influence of polymer architecture has not been investigated systematically. In this study the influence of the position of the cationic charges along the polymer chain on cytotoxicity was investigated while keeping constant the other polymer characteristics. Specifically, copolymers of various architectures, based on a cationic pH responsive monomer, 2-(dimethylamino)ethyl methacrylate (DMAEMA) and a non-ionic hydrophilic monomer, oligo(ethylene glycol)methyl ether methacrylate (OEGMA) were engineered and their toxicity towards a panel of cell lines investigated. Of the seven different polymer architectures examined, the block-like structures were less cytotoxic than statistical or gradient/tapered architectures. These findings will assist in developing future vectors for nucleic acid delivery.
Kumar P, Kalaiarasan G, Bhagat RK, et al., 2022, Active air monitoring for understanding the ventilation and infection risks of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in public indoor spaces, Atmosphere, Vol: 13, Pages: 1-24, ISSN: 2073-4433
Indoor, airborne, transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is a key infection route. We monitored fourteen different indoor spaces in order to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. PM2.5 and CO2 concentrations were simultaneously monitored in order to understand aerosol exposure and ventilation conditions. Average PM2.5 concentrations were highest in the underground station (261 ± 62.8 μgm−3), followed by outpatient and emergency rooms in hospitals located near major arterial roads (38.6 ± 20.4 μgm−3), the respiratory wards, medical day units and intensive care units recorded concentrations in the range of 5.9 to 1.1 μgm−3. Mean CO2 levels across all sites did not exceed 1000 ppm, the respiratory ward (788 ± 61 ppm) and the pub (bar) (744 ± 136 ppm) due to high occupancy. The estimated air change rates implied that there is sufficient ventilation in these spaces to manage increased levels of occupancy. The infection probability in the medical day unit of hospital 3, was 1.6-times and 2.2-times higher than the emergency and outpatient waiting rooms in hospitals 4 and 5, respectively. The temperature and relative humidity recorded at most sites was below 27 °C, and 40% and, in sites with high footfall and limited air exchange, such as the hospital medical day unit, indicate a high risk of airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
Saebe A, Wiwatpanit T, Varatthan T, et al., 2022, Comparative study between the 3D‐liver spheroid models developed from HepG2 and immortalized hepatocyte‐like cells with primary hepatic stellate coculture for drug metabolism analysis and anticancer drug screening, Advanced Therapeutics, Vol: 6, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 2366-3987
Liver spheroids may be the best alternative models for evaluating efficacy and toxicity of the new anticancer candidates and diagnostics for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Here, novel 3D-liver spheroid models are constructed from human hepatoma cells (HepG2)/ immortalized human hepatocyte-like cells (imHCs) with primary hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) coculture using the ultralow attachment technique. Spheroid morphology, HSC distribution, metabolic activity, protein expressions, and drug penetration are evaluated. All developed 3D spheroid models exhibit in spherical shape with narrow size distribution, diameter between 639–743 (HepG2-10%HSC) and 519–631 (imHC-10%HSC) µm. Both imHC mono and coculture models significantly express normal liver biomarkers at the higher level than HepG2 models. While 3D-HepG2 models significantly exhibit HCC biomarkers at the higher level than imHC models. HepG2 and imHC spheroids express basal cytochrom P450 (CYP450) enzymes at different levels depending on cell types, culture period, and ratio of coculture. Their metabolic activities for dextromethorphan (CYP2D6) tolbutamide (CYP2C9) and midazolam (CYP3A4) are routinely evaluated. For midazolam metabolism, imHC models allow the detection of phase II metabolic enzymes (UGT2B4 and UGT2B7). The presence of HSC in HepG2-HSC model increases biological barrier for doxorubicin (DOX) penetration, and escalates IC50 of DOX from 61.4 to 127.2 µg mL−1.
Bernardini A, Trovatelli M, Klosowski M, et al., 2022, Reconstruction of ovine axonal cytoarchitecture enables more accurate models of brain biomechanics, Communications Biology, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2399-3642
There is an increased need and focus to understand how local brain microstructure affects the transport of drug molecules directly administered to the brain tissue, for example in convection-enhanced delivery procedures. This study reports a systematic attempt to characterize the cytoarchitecture of commissural, long association and projection fibres, namely the corpus callosum, the fornix and the corona radiata, with the specific aim to map different regions of the tissue and provide essential information for the development of accurate models of brain biomechanics. Ovine samples are imaged using scanning electron microscopy combined with focused ion beam milling to generate 3D volume reconstructions of the tissue at subcellular spatial resolution. Focus is placed on the characteristic cytological feature of the white matter: the axons and their alignment in the tissue. For each tract, a 3D reconstruction of relatively large volumes, including a significant number of axons, is performed and outer axonal ellipticity, outer axonal cross-sectional area and their relative perimeter are measured. The study of well-resolved microstructural features provides useful insight into the fibrous organization of the tissue, whose micromechanical behaviour is that of a composite material presenting elliptical tortuous tubular axonal structures embedded in the extra-cellular matrix. Drug flow can be captured through microstructurally-based models using 3D volumes, either reconstructed directly from images or generated in silico using parameters extracted from the database of images, leading to a workflow to enable physically-accurate simulations of drug delivery to the targeted tissue.
Morfill C, Pankratova S, Machado P, et al., 2022, Nanostars Carrying Multifunctional Neurotrophic Dendrimers Protect Neurons in Preclinical In Vitro Models of Neurodegenerative Disorders, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES, Vol: 14, Pages: 47445-47460, ISSN: 1944-8244
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 1
Phillips T, Heaney CE, Benmoufok E, et al., 2022, Multi-Output Regression with Generative Adversarial Networks (MOR-GANs), Applied Sciences, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-24, ISSN: 2076-3417
Regression modelling has always been a key process in unlocking the relationships betweenindependent and dependent variables that are held within data. In recent years, machine learninghas uncovered new insights in many fields, providing predictions to previously unsolved problems.Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have been widely applied to image processing producinggood results, however, these methods have not often been applied to non-image data. Seeing thepowerful generative capabilities of the GANs, we explore their use, here, as a regression method. Inparticular, we explore the use of the Wasserstein GAN (WGAN) as a multi-output regression method.The resulting method we call Multi-Output Regression GANs (MOR-GANs) and its performanceis compared to a Gaussian Process Regression method (GPR) - a commonly used non-parametricregression method that has been well tested on small datasets with noisy responses. The WGANregression model performs well for all types of datasets and exhibits substantial improvements overthe performance of the GPR for certain types of datasets, demonstrating the flexibility of the GAN asa model for regression.
Mirón-Barroso S, Correia JS, Frampton AE, et al., 2022, Polymeric carriers for delivery of RNA cancer therapeutics, Non-Coding RNA, Vol: 8, Pages: 58-58, ISSN: 2311-553X
As research uncovers the underpinnings of cancer biology, new targeted therapies have been developed. Many of these therapies are small molecules, such as kinase inhibitors, that target specific proteins; however, only 1% of the genome encodes for proteins and only a subset of these proteins has ‘druggable’ active binding sites. In recent decades, RNA therapeutics have gained popularity due to their ability to affect targets that small molecules cannot. Additionally, they can be manufactured more rapidly and cost-effectively than small molecules or recombinant proteins. RNA therapeutics can be synthesised chemically and altered quickly, which can enable a more personalised approach to cancer treatment. Even though a wide range of RNA therapeutics are being developed for various indications in the oncology setting, none has reached the clinic to date. One of the main reasons for this is attributed to the lack of safe and effective delivery systems for this type of therapeutic. This review focuses on current strategies to overcome these challenges and enable the clinical utility of these novel therapeutic agents in the cancer clinic.
Lakhdar R, Mumby S, Abubakar-Waziri H, et al., 2022, Lung toxicity of particulates and gaseous pollutants using ex-vivo airway epithelial cell culture systems, ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION, Vol: 305, ISSN: 0269-7491
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 3
Yallop M, Wang Y, Masuda S, et al., 2022, Quantifying impacts of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on natural assemblages of riverine phytobenthos and phytoplankton in an outdoor setting, SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, Vol: 831, ISSN: 0048-9697
Gomez-Gonzalez MA, Rehkamper M, Han Z, et al., 2022, ZnO Nanomaterials and Ionic Zn Partition within Wastewater Sludge Investigated by Isotopic Labeling, Global Challenges, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2056-6646
The increasing commercial use of engineered zinc oxide nanomaterials necessitates a thorough understanding of their behavior following their release into wastewater. Herein, the fates of zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO NPs) and ionic Zn in a real primary sludge collected from a municipal wastewater system are studied via stable isotope tracing at an environmentally relevant spiking concentration of 15.2 µg g−1. Due to rapid dissolution, nanoparticulate ZnO does not impart particle-specific effects, and the Zn ions from NP dissolution and ionic Zn display indistinguishable behavior as they partition equally between the solid, liquid, and ultrafiltrate phases of the sludge over a 4-h incubation period. This work provides important constraints on the behavior of engineered ZnO nanomaterials in primary sludge—the first barrier in a wastewater treatment plant—at low, realistic concentrations. As the calculated solid–liquid partition coefficients are significantly lower than those reported in prior studies that employ unreasonably high spiking concentrations, this work highlights the importance of using low, environmentally relevant doses of engineered nanomaterials in experiments to obtain accurate risk assessments.
Naruphontjirakul P, Li S, Pinna A, et al., 2022, Interaction of monodispersed strontium containing bioactive glass nanoparticles with macrophages, Biomaterials Advances, Vol: 133, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 2772-9508
The cellular response of murine primary macrophages to monodisperse strontium containing bioactive glass nanoparticles (SrBGNPs), with diameters of 90 ± 10 nm and a composition (mol%) of 88.8 SiO2–1.8CaO-9.4SrO (9.4% Sr-BGNPs) was investigated for the first time. Macrophage response is critical as applications of bioactive nanoparticles will involve the nanoparticles circulating in the blood stream and macrophages will be the first cells to encounter the particles, as part of inflammatory response mechanisms. Macrophage viability and total DNA measurements were not decreased by particle concentrations of up to 250 μg/mL. The Sr-BGNPs were actively internalised by the macrophages via formation of endosome/lysosome-like vesicles bordered by a membrane inside the cells. The Sr-BGNPs degraded inside the cells, with the Ca and Sr maintained inside the silica network. When RAW264.7 cells were incubated with Sr-BGNPs, the cells were polarised towards the pro-regenerative M2 population rather than the pro-inflammatory M1 population. Sr-BGNPs are potential biocompatible vehicles for therapeutic cation delivery for applications in bone regeneration.
Garcia-Giner V, Han Z, Giuliani F, et al., 2021, Nanoscale imaging and analysis of bone pathologies, Applied Sciences-Basel, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-32, ISSN: 2076-3417
Understanding the properties of bone is of both fundamental and clinical relevance. The basis of bone’s quality and mechanical resilience lies in its nanoscale building blocks (i.e., mineral, collagen, non-collagenous proteins, and water) and their complex interactions across length scales. Although the structure–mechanical property relationship in healthy bone tissue is relatively well characterized, not much is known about the molecular-level origin of impaired mechanics and higher fracture risks in skeletal disorders such as osteoporosis or Paget’s disease. Alterations in the ultrastructure, chemistry, and nano-/micromechanics of bone tissue in such a diverse group of diseased states have only been briefly explored. Recent research is uncovering the effects of several non-collagenous bone matrix proteins, whose deficiencies or mutations are, to some extent, implicated in bone diseases, on bone matrix quality and mechanics. Herein, we review existing studies on ultrastructural imaging—with a focus on electron microscopy—and chemical, mechanical analysis of pathological bone tissues. The nanometric details offered by these reports, from studying knockout mice models to characterizing exact disease phenotypes, can provide key insights into various bone pathologies and facilitate the development of new treatments.
Valente P, Kiryushko D, Sacchetti S, et al., 2021, Reply to Comment on Conopeptide-Functionalized Nanoparticles Selectively Antagonize Extrasynaptic N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptors and Protect Hippocampal Neurons from Excitotoxicity In Vitro, ACS NANO, Vol: 15, Pages: 15409-15417, ISSN: 1936-0851
Gomez-Gonzalez MA, Koronfel MA, Pullin H, et al., 2021, Nanoscale chemical imaging of nanoparticles under real-world wastewater treatment conditions, Advanced Sustainable Systems, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2366-7486
Understanding nanomaterial transformations within wastewater treatment plants is an important step to better predict their potential impact on the environment. Here, spatially resolved, in situ nano-X-ray fluorescence microscopy is applied to directly observe nanometer-scale dissolution, morphological, and chemical evolution of individual and aggregated ZnO nanorods in complex “real-world” conditions: influent water and primary sludge collected from a municipal wastewater system. A complete transformation of isolated ZnO nanorods into ZnS occurs after only 1 hour in influent water, but larger aggregates of the ZnO nanorods transform only partially, with small contributions of ZnS and Zn-phosphate (Zn3(PO4)2) species, after 3 hours. Transformation of aggregates of the ZnO nanorods toward mixed ZnS, Zn adsorbed to Fe-oxyhydroxides, and a large contribution of Zn3(PO4)2 phases are observed during their incubation in primary sludge for 3 hours. Discrete, isolated ZnO regions are imaged with unprecedented spatial resolution, revealing their incipient transformation toward Zn3(PO4)2. Passivation by transformation(s) into mixtures of less soluble phases may influence the subsequent bioreactivity of these nanomaterials. This work emphasizes the importance of imaging the nanoscale chemistry of mixtures of nanoparticles in highly complex, heterogeneous semi-solid matrices for improved prediction of their impacts on treatment processes, and potential environmental toxicity following release.
Porter A, Youngstein T, Babar S, et al., 2021, A rare life-threatening presentation of Takayasu arteritis, RHEUMATOLOGY, Vol: 60, Pages: 6-8, ISSN: 1462-0324
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 3
Kumar P, Kalaiarasan G, Porter AE, et al., 2021, An overview of methods of fine and ultrafine particle collection for physicochemical characterisation and toxicity assessments., Science of the Total Environment, Vol: 756, Pages: 1-22, ISSN: 0048-9697
Particulate matter (PM) is a crucial health risk factor for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The smaller size fractions, ≤2.5 μm (PM2.5; fine particles) and ≤0.1 μm (PM0.1; ultrafine particles), show the highest bioactivity but acquiring sufficient mass for in vitro and in vivo toxicological studies is challenging. We review the suitability of available instrumentation to collect the PM mass required for these assessments. Five different microenvironments representing the diverse exposure conditions in urban environments are considered in order to establish the typical PM concentrations present. The highest concentrations of PM2.5 and PM0.1 were found near traffic (i.e. roadsides and traffic intersections), followed by indoor environments, parks and behind roadside vegetation. We identify key factors to consider when selecting sampling instrumentation. These include PM concentration on-site (low concentrations increase sampling time), nature of sampling sites (e.g. indoors; noise and space will be an issue), equipment handling and power supply. Physicochemical characterisation requires micro- to milli-gram quantities of PM and it may increase according to the processing methods (e.g. digestion or sonication). Toxicological assessments of PM involve numerous mechanisms (e.g. inflammatory processes and oxidative stress) requiring significant amounts of PM to obtain accurate results. Optimising air sampling techniques are therefore important for the appropriate collection medium/filter which have innate physical properties and the potential to interact with samples. An evaluation of methods and instrumentation used for airborne virus collection concludes that samplers operating cyclone sampling techniques (using centrifugal forces) are effective in collecting airborne viruses. We highlight that predictive modelling can help to identify pollution hotspots in an urban environment for the efficient collection of PM mass. This review provides
Pinna A, Baghbaderani MT, Hernandez VV, et al., 2021, Nanoceria provides antioxidant and osteogenic properties to mesoporous silica nanoparticles for osteoporosis treatment, Acta Biomaterialia, Vol: 122, Pages: 365-376, ISSN: 1742-7061
Osteoporosis, a chronic metabolic bone disease, is the most common cause of fractures. Drugs for treating osteoporosis generally inhibit osteoclast (OC) activity, but are rarely aimed at encouraging new bone growth and often cause severe systemic side effects. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are one of the key triggers of osteoporosis, by inducing osteoblast (OB) and osteocyte apoptosis and promoting osteoclastogenesis. Here we tested the capability of the ROS-scavenger nanoceria encapsulated within mesoporous silica nanoparticles (Ce@MSNs) to treat osteoporosis using a pre-osteoblast MC3T3-E1 cell monoculture in stressed and normal conditions. Ce@MSNs (diameter of 80 ± 10 nm) were synthesised following a scalable two-step process involving sol-gel and wet impregnation methods. The Ce@MSNs at concentration of 100 μg mL−1 induced a significant reduction in oxidative stress produced by t-butyl hydroperoxide and did not alter cell viability significantly. Confocal microscopy showed that MSNs and Ce@MsNs were internalised into the cytoplasm of the pre-osteoblasts after 24 h but were not in the nucleus, avoiding any DNA and RNA modifications. Ce@MSNs provoked mineralisation of the pre-osteoablasts without osteogenic supplements, which did not occur when the cells were exposed to MSN without nanoceria. In a co-culture system of MC3T3-E1 and RAW264.7 macrophages, the Ce@MSNs exhibited antioxidant capability and stimulated cell proliferation and osteogenic responses without adding osteogenic supplements to the culture. The work brings forward an effective platform based for facile synthesis of Ce@MSNs to interact with both OBs and OCs for treatment of osteoporosis.
Aldegaither N, Sernicola G, Mesgarnejad A, et al., 2021, Fracture toughness of bone at the microscale, Acta Biomaterialia, Vol: 121, Pages: 475-483, ISSN: 1742-7061
Bone's hierarchical arrangement of collagen and mineral generates a confluence of toughening mechanisms acting at every length scale from the molecular to the macroscopic level. Molecular defects, disease, and age alter bone structure at different levels and diminish its fracture resistance. However, the inability to isolate and quantify the influence of specific features hampers our understanding and the development of new therapies. Here, we combine in situ micromechanical testing, transmission electron microscopy and phase-field modelling to quantify intrinsic deformation and toughening at the fibrillar level and unveil the critical role of fibril orientation on crack deflection. At this level dry bone is highly anisotropic, with fracture energies ranging between 5 and 30 J/m2 depending on the direction of crack propagation. These values are lower than previously calculated for dehydrated samples from large-scale tests. However, they still suggest a significant amount of energy dissipation. This approach provides a new tool to uncouple and quantify, from the bottom up, the roles played by the structural features and constituents of bone on fracture and how can they be affected by different pathologies. The methodology can be extended to support the rational development of new structural composites.
Depalle B, McGilvery CM, Nobakhti S, et al., 2021, Osteopontin regulates type I collagen fibril formation in bone tissue, Acta Biomaterialia, Vol: 120, Pages: 194-202, ISSN: 1742-7061
Osteopontin (OPN) is a non-collagenous protein involved in biomineralization of bone tissue. Beyond its role in biomineralization, we show that osteopontin is essential to the quality of collagen fibrils in bone. Transmission electron microscopy revealed that, in Opn−/− tissue, the organization of the collagen fibrils was highly heterogeneous, more disorganized than WT bone and comprised of regions of both organized and disorganized matrix with a reduced density. The Opn−/− bone tissue also exhibited regions in which the collagen had lost its characteristic fibrillar structure, and the crystals were disorganized. Using nanobeam electron diffraction, we show that damage to structural integrity of collagen fibrils in Opn−/- bone tissue and their organization causes mineral disorganization, which could ultimately affect its mechanical integrity.
Han Z, Porter AE, 2020, In situ electron microscopy of complex biological and nanoscale systems: challenges and opportunities, Frontiers in Nanotechnology, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2673-3013
In situ imaging for direct visualization is important for physical and biological sciences. Research endeavors into elucidating dynamic biological and nanoscale phenomena frequently necessitate in situ and time-resolved imaging. In situ liquid cell electron microscopy (LC-EM) can overcome certain limitations of conventional electron microscopies and offer great promise. This review aims to examine the status-quo and practical challenges of in situ LC-EM and its applications, and to offer insights into a novel correlative technique termed microfluidic liquid cell electron microscopy. We conclude by suggesting a few research ideas adopting microfluidic LC-EM for in situ imaging of biological and nanoscale systems.
Alzahabi KH, Usmani O, Georgiou TK, et al., 2020, Approaches to treating tuberculosis by encapsulating metal ions and anti-mycobacterial drugs utilizing nano- and microparticle technologies, Emerging Topics in Life Sciences, Vol: 4, Pages: 581-600, ISSN: 2397-8554
Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacterial infection that affects a number of human organs, primarily the lungs, but also the liver, spleen, and spine, causing key symptoms of fever, fatigue, and persistent cough, and if not treated properly, can be fatal. Every year, 10 million individuals become ill with active TB resulting with a mortality approximating 1.5 million. Current treatment guidelines recommend oral administration of a combination of first-line anti-TB drugs for at least 6 months. While efficacious under optimum conditions, ‘Directly Observed Therapy Short-course’ (DOTS) is not without problems. The long treatment time and poor pharmacokinetics, alongside drug side effects lead to poor patient compliance and has accelerated the emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) organisms. All this, combined with the limited number of newly discovered TB drugs to treat MDR-TB and shorten standard therapy time, has highlighted the need for new targeted drug delivery systems. In this respect, there has been recent focus on micro- and nano-particle technologies to prepare organic or/and metal particles loaded with TB drugs to enhance their efficacy by targeted delivery via the inhaled route. In this review, we provide a brief overview of the current epidemiology of TB, and risk factors for progression of latent stage tuberculosis (LTBI) to the active TB. We identify current TB treatment regimens, newly discovered TB drugs, and identify studies that have used micro- or nano-particles technologies to design a reliable inhalation drug delivery system to treat TB more effectively.
Ruggero F, Porter AE, Voulvoulis N, et al., 2020, A highly efficient multi-step methodology for the quantification of micro-(bio)plastics in sludge., Waste Management and Research, Vol: 39, Pages: 956-965, ISSN: 0734-242X
The present study develops a multi-step methodology for identification and quantification of microplastics and micro-bioplastics (together called in the current work micro-(bio)plastics) in sludge. In previous studies, different methods for the extraction of microplastics were devised for traditional plastics, while the current research tested the methodology on starch-based micro-bioplastics of 0.1-2 mm size. Compostable bioplastics are expected to enter the anaerobic or aerobic biological treatments that lead to end-products applicable in agriculture; some critical conditions of treatments (e.g. low temperature and moisture) can slow down the degradation process and be responsible for the presence of microplastics in the end-product. The methodology consists of an initial oxidation step, with hydrogen peroxide 35% concentrated to clear the sludge and remove the organic fraction, followed by a combination of flotation with sodium chloride and observation of the residues under a fluorescence microscope using a green filter. The workflow revealed an efficacy of removal from 94% to 100% and from 92% to 96% for plastic fragments, 0.5-2 mm and 0.1-0.5 mm size, respectively. The methodology was then applied to samples of food waste pulp harvested after a shredding pre-treatment in an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Italy, where polyethylene, starch-based Mater-Bi® and cellophane microplastics were recovered in amounts of 9 ± 1.3/10 g <2 mm and 4.8 ± 1.2/10 g ⩾2 mm. The study highlights the need to lower the threshold size for the quantification of plastics in organic fertilizers, which is currently set by legislations at 2 mm, by improving the background knowledge about the fate of the micro-(bio)plastics in biological treatments for the organic waste.
Michaeloudes C, Seiffert J, Chen S, et al., 2020, Effect of silver nanospheres and nanowires on human airway smooth muscle cells: role of sulfidation, Nanoscale Advances, Vol: 2, Pages: 5635-5647, ISSN: 2516-0230
Background: The toxicity of inhaled silver nanoparticles on contractile and pro-inflammatory airway smooth muscle cells (ASMCs) that control airway calibre is unknown. We explored the oxidative activities and sulfidation processes of the toxic-inflammatory response. Method: Silver nanospheres (AgNSs) of 20 nm and 50 nm diameter and silver nanowires (AgNWs), short S-AgNWs, 1.5 μm and long L-AgNWs, 10 μm, both 72 nm in diameter were manufactured. We measured their effects on cell proliferation, mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) release and membrane potential, and also performed electron microscopic studies. Main results and findings: The greatest effects were observed for the smallest particles with the highest specific surface area and greatest solubility that were avidly internalised. ASMCs exposed to 20 nm AgNSs (25 μg mL−1) for 72 hours exhibited a significant decrease in DNA incorporation (−72.4%; p < 0.05), whereas neither the 50 nm AgNSs nor the s-AgNWs altered DNA synthesis or viability. There was a small reduction in ASMC proliferation for the smaller AgNS, although Ag+ at 25 μL mL−1 reduced DNA synthesis by 93.3% (p < 0.001). Mitochondrial potential was reduced by both Ag+ (25 μg mL−1) by 47.1% and 20 nm Ag NSs (25 μg mL−1) by 40.1% (*both at p < 0.05), but was not affected by 50 nm AgNSs and the AgNWs. None of the samples showed a change in ROS toxicity. However, malondialdehyde release, associated with greater total ROS, was observed for all AgNPs, to an extent following the geometric size (20 nm AgNS: 213%, p < 0.01; 50 nm AgNS: 179.5%, p < 0.01 and L-AgNWs by 156.2%, p < 0.05). The antioxidant, N-acetylcysteine, prevented the reduction in mitochondrial potential caused by 20 nm AgNSs. The smaller nanostructures were internalised and dissolved within the ASMCs with the formation of non-reactive silver sulphide (Ag2S) on their surface, but with very little uptake of L-AgNWs. When A
Valente P, Kiryushko D, Sacchetti S, et al., 2020, Conopeptide-Functionalized Nanoparticles Selectively Antagonize Extrasynaptic N-Methyl-D-aspartate Receptors and Protect Hippocampal Neurons from Excitotoxicity In Vitro, ACS NANO, Vol: 14, Pages: 6866-6877, ISSN: 1936-0851
- Author Web Link
- Citations: 7
Chen S, Greasley SL, Ong ZY, et al., 2020, Biodegradable zinc-containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles for cancer therapy, Materials Today, Vol: 6, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1369-7021
Triple-negative breast cancers are extremely aggressive with limited treatment options because of the reduced response of the cancerous cells to hormonal therapy. Here, monodispersed zinc-containing mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSNPs-Zn) were produced as a tuneable biodegradable platform for delivery of therapeutic zinc ions into cells. We demonstrate that the nanoparticles were internalized by cells, and a therapeutic dose window was identified in which the MSNPs-Zn were toxic to breast cancer cells but not to healthy epithelial (MCF-10a) cells or to murine macrophages. A significant reduction in the viability of triple negative MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 (ER+) breast cancer cells was seen following 24 h exposure to MSNPs-Zn. The more aggressive MDA-MB-231 cells, with higher metastatic potential, were more sensitive to MSNPs-Zn than the MCF-7 cells. MSNPs-Zn underwent biodegradation inside the cells, becoming hollow structures, as imaged by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The mesoporous silica nanoparticles provide a biodegradable vehicle for therapeutic ion release inside cells.
McGilvery CM, Abellan P, Klosowski MM, et al., 2020, Nanoscale chemical heterogeneity in aromatic polyamide membranes for reverse osmosis applications, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Vol: 12, Pages: 19890-19902, ISSN: 1944-8244
Reverse osmosis membranes are used within the oil and gas industry for seawater desalination on off-shore oilrigs. The membranes consist of three layers of material: a polyester backing layer, a polysulfone support and a polyamide (PA) thin film separating layer. It is generally thought that the PA layer controls ion selectivity within the membrane but little is understood about its structure or chemistry at the molecular scale. This active polyamide layer is synthesized by interfacial polymerization at an organic/aqueous interface between m-phenylenediamine and trimesoyl chloride, producing a highly cross-linked PA polymer. It has been speculated that the distribution of functional chemistry within this layer could play a role in solute filtration. The only technique potentially capable of probing the distribution of functional chemistry within the active PA layer with sufficient spatial and energy resolution is scanning transmission electron microscopy combined with electron energy-loss spectroscopy (STEM-EELS). Its use is a challenge because organic materials suffer beam-induced damage at relatively modest electron doses. Here we show that it is possible to use the N K-edge to map the active layer of a PA film using monochromated EELS spectrum imaging. The active PA layer is 12 nm thick, which supports previous neutron reflectivity data. Clear changes in the fine structure of the C K-edge across the PA films are measured and we use machine learning to assign fine structure at this edge. Using this method, we map highly heterogeneous intensity variations in functional chemistry attributed to N—C═C bonds within the PA. Similarities are found with previous molecular dynamics simulations of PA showing regions with a higher density of amide bonding as a result of the aggregation process at similar length scales. The chemical pathways that can be deduced may offer a clearer understanding of the transport mechanisms through the membrane.
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