Despite the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to ecosystem processes, few experimental tools are available to quantify AMF contributions to process rates. In this study we examine the efficacy of an experimental system consisting of wildtype (WT) and different non-mycorrhizal (Myc−) genotype pairs of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), specifically focusing on cv Micro-Tom. Two conditions necessary to make such a system useful were examined; (1) that the Myc− genotype(s) do not get colonized in a full soil AMF community background, while the WT does, and B) that there are no non-target effects of the Myc− phenotype on soil microbes. We assessed the second condition by growing Myc− genotypes and WT in non-mycorrhizal soil, monitoring plant growth (root, shoot biomass; root length; root diameter size distribution) and soil microbial community structure (PLFA analysis) as indicators of any changes in root tissue quality or rhizodeposition. All tested Myc− genotypes showed a drastically reduced colonization in mycorrhizal soil. However, in non-mycorrhizal soil, M161 had greater root biomass and M20 greater microbial biomass compared to WT. Only one of the Myc− mutants examined fully met the criteria. We conclude that the BC1/WT pair is a powerful experimental system and recommend caution when using Myc− mutants in mycorrhizal ecology.View less
The size and modular structure of versican and its gene suggest the existence of multiple splice variants. We have identified, cloned, and sequenced a previously unknown exon located within the noncoding gene sequence downstream of exon 8. This exon, which we have named exon 8β, specifies two stop-codons. mRNAs of the versican gene with exon 8β are predicted to be constitutively degraded by nonsense-mediated RNA decay. Here, we tested the hypothesis that these transcripts become expressed in a model of neuropathic pain.View less
The Remote Associates Test (RAT) is a classical creativity test developed by Mednick and Mednick in 1967. RAT problems and their norms so far exist only in a few languages, including English, Dutch, Japanese and Italian. In this paper, we describe our process of constructing a set of Remote Associates Test problem in Romanian. 63 native speaking Romanian participants have solved this set. The set of items shows high internal consistency. Normative data pertaining to each problem is provided, together with a description of RAT problems peculiarities in Romanian.View less
Microplastic pollution and increasing temperature have potential to influence soil quality; yet little is known about their effects on soil aggregation, a key determinant of soil quality. Given the importance of fungi for soil aggregation, we investigated the impacts of increasing temperature and microplastic fibers on aggregation by carrying out a soil incubation experiment in which we inoculated soil individually with 5 specific strains of soil saprobic fungi. Our treatments were temperature (ambient temperature of 25°C or temperature increased by 3°C, abruptly versus gradually) and microplastic fibers (control and 0.4% w/w). We evaluated the percentage of water stable aggregates (WSA) and hydrolysis of fluorescein diacetate (FDA) as an indicator of fungal biomass. Microplastic fiber addition was the main factor influencing the WSA, decreasing the percentage of WSA except in soil incubated with strain RLCS 01, and mitigated the effects of temperature or even caused more pronounced decrease in WSA under increasing temperature. We also observed clear differences between temperature change patterns. Our study shows that the interactive effects of warming and microplastic fibers are important to consider when evaluating effects of global change on soil aggregation and potentially other soil processes.View less
Despite the fact that economic concerns are the main driver of the EU integration process, integration does carry a substantial social dimension. Yet, it remains an open question whether this social dimension ‘only’ supports the market or whether goals such as social justice, solidarity and employment conditions are independent of or even work against goals of market efficiency. To address this question the paper presents an original dataset on all 346 binding EU social policy acts adopted since the Union’s founding. In a descriptive approach, I contrast instruments and dynamics in areas and subfields connected more closely to the common market with those more directly constituting a social dimension in its own right. On this basis, I argue that the shape of EU social policy has substantially changed, strengthening its market-supporting dimension while weakening policy focused on its social dimension. The paper opens up for discussion possible political dynamics driving these patterns.View less
The analysis of complex oligosaccharides is traditionally based on multidimensional workflows where liquid chromatography is coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Due to the presence of multiple isomers, which cannot be distinguished easily using tandem MS, a detailed structural elucidation is still challenging in many cases. Recently, ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) showed great potential as an additional structural parameter in glycan analysis. While the time-scale of the IMS separation is fully compatible to that of LC-MS-based workflows, there are very few reports in which both techniques have been directly coupled for glycan analysis. As a result, there is little knowledge on how the derivatization with fluorescent labels as common in glycan LC-MS affects the mobility and, as a result, the selectivity of IMS separations. Here, we address this problem by systematically analyzing six isomeric glycans derivatized with the most common fluorescent tags using ion mobility spectrometry. We report >150 collision cross-sections (CCS) acquired in positive and negative ion mode and compare the quality of the separation for each derivatization strategy. Our results show that isomer separation strongly depends on the chosen label, as well as on the type of adduct ion. In some cases, fluorescent labels significantly enhance peak-to-peak resolution which can help to distinguish isomeric species.View less
Maternal immune activation (MIA) during fetal development leads to behavioral and psychological disorders in the offspring. Concomitantly, insufficient supply of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) is suspected to contribute to early neuronal maldevelopment due to the immune modulatory capabilities of PUFAs. However, human data are missing considering both of these aspects and their impact on children's behavioral outcomes. In line, this study aimed to elucidate the influence of gestational cytokines and PUFA-containing lipids during late pregnancy on behavioral sequelae in childhood, particularly focusing on an immune activation shaped by a history of maternal atopic diseases instead of a pathogen-mediated immune response. Based on the prospective mother-child cohort LINA we assessed the unstimulated blood cytokine profiles and concentrations of PUFA-containing lipids of 293 mothers at the 34th week of pregnancy. Maternal history of atopic diseases was obtained from questionnaires and behavior in eight-year-old children was assessed by the standardized Strength and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) generating scores for hyperactivity/inattention, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, and peer relationship problems. Elevated IL-13 increased the risk for the child to show behavioral difficulties, in particular, hyperactive/inattentive behavior [adj. OR (95% CI): 2.47 (1.51-4.02), n = 255 vs. 38] at the age of eight years. Although the presence of maternal atopic dermatitis (AD) was associated with increased gestational IL-13 concentrations [adj. MR (95% CI): 1.17 (1.04-1.32)], no effect on children's behavioral difficulties was observed. However, a decrease in the PUFA containing lipid species PC aa C38:6 was not only associated with an increased gestational IL-13 concentration but also mediated the indirect effect of low PC aa C38:6 concentrations on children's abnormal behavior independent of maternal AD. We additionally assessed whether maternal IL-13 and PC aa C38:6 concentrations translate their effect by altering children's cord blood PC aa C38:6 and IL-13. While also the children's cord blood IL-13 was related to children's behavior, no effect of children's PC aa C38:6 was observed. This is the first study demonstrating that elevated gestational IL-13 increases the risk for children to develop behavioral difficulties. Analyses suggest that a reduced supply of gestational PC aa C38:6 contributes to elevated gestational IL-13 leading to behavioral sequelae in the offspring.View less
Background: While there is substantial evidence on the relationship between life satisfaction and present physical activity (PA), less is known about which specific PA biographies are associated with a high quality of life and aging satisfaction. Our objective was to identify classes of PA biographies that may be associated with life and aging satisfaction. Methods: In this longitudinal study, PA biographies were assessed retrospectively as a baseline, followed by assessments of life and aging satisfaction at six and twelve months in 418 adults aged 60–95. Subgroups with different PA biographies were identified using latent class analysis. Results: Four distinct PA biographies emerged: increasingly active (35%; n = 147); consistently active (25%; n = 103); consistently inactive (18%; n = 75); and decreasingly active (22%; n = 94). Being consistently active was related to life satisfaction (β = .17) and consistent inactivity was associated with aging dissatisfaction (β = −.20) when accounting for current PA levels. Conclusions: In addition to current PA, our findings emphasize the value of PA biographies for life and aging satisfaction, which could inform lifespan theories of PA and health promotion.View less
Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorders (NMOSD) are mostly relapsing autoimmune inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) with optic neuritis, myelitis, and brainstem syndromes as clinical hallmarks. With a reported prevalence of up to 70%, cognitive impairment is frequent, but often unrecognized and an insufficiently treated burden of the disease. The most common cognitive dysfunctions are decline in attention andmemory performance.Magnetic resonance imaging can be used to access structural correlates of neuropsychological disorders. Cognitive impairment is not only a highly underestimated symptom in patients with NMOSD, but potentially also a clinical correlate of attack-independent changes in NMOSD, which are currently under debate. This article reviews cognitive impairment in NMOSD and discusses associations between structural changes of the CNS and cognitive deficits.View less
Programmed cell death protein (PD-1) and its ligands play a fundamental role in the evasion of tumor cells from antitumor immunity. Less well appreciated is the fact that the PD-1/PD-L1 axis also regulates antiviral immune responses and is therefore modulated by a number of viruses. Upregulation of PD-1 and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 is observed during acute virus infection and after infection with persistent viruses including important human pathogens such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV). Experimental evidence suggests that insufficient signaling through the PD-1 pathway promotes immunopathology during acute infection by exaggerating primary T cell responses. If chronic infection is established, however, high levels of PD-1 expression can have unfavorable immunological consequences. Exhaustion and suppression of antiviral immune responses can result in viral immune evasion. The role of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis during viral infections is further complicated by evidence that PD-L1 also mediates inflammatory effects in the acute phase of an immune response. In this review, we discuss the intricate interplay between viruses and the PD-1/PD-L1 axis.View less
Computed tomography (CT) protocols for the detection of bleeding sources often include unenhanced CT series to distinguish contrast agent extravasation from calcification. This study evaluates whether virtual non-contrast images (VNC) can safely replace real non-contrast images (RNC) in the search for acute thoracoabdominal bleeding and whether monoenergetic imaging can improve the detection of the bleeding source. The 32 patients with active bleeding in spectral CT angiography (SCT) were retrospectively analyzed. RNC and SCT series were acquired including VNC and monoenergetic images at 40, 70, and 140 keV. CT numbers were measured in regions of interest (ROIs) in different organs and in the bleeding jet for quantitative image analysis (contrast-to-noise ratios [CNR] and signal-to-noise ratio [SNR]). Additionally, 2 radiologists rated detectability of the bleeding source in the different CT series. Wilcoxon rank test for related samples was used. VNC series suppressed iodine sufficiently but not completely (CT number of aorta: RNC: 33.3±12.3, VNC: 44.8±9.5, P=.01; bleeding jet: RNC: 43.1±16.9, VNC: 56.3±16.7, P=.02). VNC showed significantly higher signal-to-noise ratios than RNC for all regions investigated. Contrast-to-noise ratios in the bleeding jet were significantly higher in 40 keV images than in standard 140 keV images. The 40 keV images were also assigned the best subjective ratings for bleeding source detection. VNC can safely replace RNC in a CT protocol used to search for bleeding sources, thereby reducing radiation exposure by 30%. Low-keV series may enhance diagnostic confidence in the detection of bleeding sources.View less
Background: Treatment of spasticity poses a major challenge in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient management. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC):cannabidiol (CBD) oromucosal spray (THC:CBD), approved for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis, serves as a complementary off-label treatment option in ALS-related spasticity. However, few structured data are available on THC:CBD in the treatment of spasticity in ALS.
Method: A retrospective mono-centric cohort study was realised in 32 patients that meet the following criteria: 1) diagnosis of ALS, 2) ALS-related spasticity; 3) treatment with THC:CBD. Spasticity was rated using the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS). Patient’s experience with THC:CBD was assessed using the net promoter score (NPS) and treatment satisfaction questionnaire for medication (TSMQ-9) as captured through telephone survey or online assessment.
Results: The mean dose THC:CBD were 5.5 daily actuations (range<1 to 20). Three subgroups of patients were identified: 1) high-dose daily use (≥ 7 daily actuations, 34%, n = 11), 2) low-dose daily use (< 7 daily actuations, 50%, n = 16), 3) infrequent use (< 1 daily actuation, 16%, n=5). Overall NPS was + 4.9 (values above 0 express a positive recommendation to fellow patients). Remarkably, patients with moderate to severe spasticity (NRS ≥ 4) reported a high recommendation rate (NPS: +29) in contrast to patients with mild spasticity (NRS<4; NPS: − 44). For the three main domains of TSQM-9 high mean satisfaction levels were found (maximum value 100): effectiveness 70.5 (±22.3), convenience 76.6 (±23.3) and global satisfaction 75.0 (±24.7).
Conclusion: THC:CBD is used in a wide dose range suggesting that the drug was applied on the basis of individual patients’ needs and preferences. Contributing to this notion, moderate to severe spasticity was associated with an elevated number of daily THC:CBD actuations and stronger recommendation rate (NPS) as compared to patients with mild spasticity. Overall, treatment satisfaction (TSQM-9) was high. The results suggest that THC:CBD may serve as a valuable addition in the spectrum of symptomatic therapy in ALS. However, prospective studies and head-to-head comparisons to other spasticity medications are of interest to further explore the effectiveness of THC:CBD in the management of spasticity, and other ALS-related symptoms.View less
Observations on cannibalism in outdoor insectaries are presented. The behavioural interactions are described. Cannibalism (in both sexes) occurred only during periods of cold weather. It is hypothesised that intraspecific predation is a switch in food selection due to bad weather conditions.
The emergence patterns were followed closely at a pond E of Braunschweig. The emergence period lasted 24 days and the EM50 was reached after 11 days. Due to its emergence phenology. C. hastulatum is classified as a summer species. The date of emergence was negatively correlated with head width in 9 2 but not in <J cj. In tJ <? , a negative correlation occurred between the date of emergence and the body mass at emergence. These findings are contrasting previous studies and are discussed with respect to sexual differences. The results are compared with the emergence patterns of other odonates.View less
The course of microbial infection in insects is shaped by a two-stage process of immune defense. Constitutive defenses, such as engulfment and melanization, act immediately and are followed by inducible defenses, archetypically the production of antimicrobial peptides, which eliminate or suppress the remaining microbes. By applying RNAseq across a 7-day time course, we sought to characterize the long-lasting immune response to bacterial challenge in the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor, a model for the biochemistry of insect immunity and persistent bacterial infection. By annotating a hybrid de novo assembly of RNAseq data, we were able to identify putative orthologs for the majority of components of the conserved insect immune system. Compared with Tribolium castaneum, the most closely related species with a reference genome sequence and a manually curated immune system annotation, the T. molitor immune gene count was lower, with lineage-specific expansions of genes encoding serine proteases and their countervailing inhibitors accounting for the majority of the deficit. Quantitative mapping of RNAseq reads to the reference assembly showed that expression of genes with predicted functions in cellular immunity, wound healing, melanization, and the production of reactive oxygen species was transiently induced immediately after immune challenge. In contrast, expression of genes encoding antimicrobial peptides or components of the Toll signaling pathway and iron sequestration response remained elevated for at least 7 days. Numerous genes involved in metabolism and nutrient storage were repressed, indicating a possible cost of immune induction. Strikingly, the expression of almost all antibacterial peptides followed the same pattern of long-lasting induction, regardless of their spectra of activity, signaling possible interactive roles in vivo.View less
Background: Stroke patients are often affected by long-term disabilities with needs concerning social issues. There is relatively little consideration of social recovery of patients and the support required to return to work, receive social benefits, participate in daily life activities, maintain contact with family and friends and to organize financial affairs. In our study we aimed to investigate if existing tools record social needs adequately. We analyzed the current provision of social support provided in long-term care after stroke and whether unmet social needs were associated with quality of life, caregiver burden, overall function and degree of disability. Methods: Our analysis is part of the Managing Aftercare of Stroke study (MAS-I), a cross-sectional exploratory study of patient needs 2–3 years after initial stroke. Assessment tools included the Nikolaus-score (social situation), the EuroQoL (quality of life), the German Burden Scale for Family Caregivers (caregiver burden), the modified Rankin Scale (disability / dependence), Stroke Impact Scale (function and degree of disability) and the Stroke Survivor Needs Questionnaire (unmet needs). Results: Overall 57 patients were included in MAS-I, with ten patients classified in urgent need of socio-economic support according to the Nikolaus-score. Patients with lower than normal Nikolaus-score had a higher degree of disability. Thirty percent of all patients had never received professional social support. Social worker contact happened mostly during the stay in acute hospital or rehabilitation institution. Only four patients (11%) reported long-term support after discharge. Apart from social worker contact during acute care, 43% of patients had unmet needs in the long-term aftercare. Forty percent of all patients included in MAS-I were recommended for social work intervention after an in-depth analysis of their situation. Finally, we saw that unmet social needs were associated with lower quality of life and higher caregiver burden. Conclusions: Our data suggest significant unmet needs in social care in long-term stroke patients. Screening tools for unmet social needs such as the Nikolaus-score do not holistically report patients’ needs.View less
In 2016, an extraordinary burial of a young adult individual was discovered at the Late Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (LPPNB, 7,500–6,900 BCE) settlement of Baʻja in southern Jordan. This burial has exceptional grave goods and an elaborate grave construction. It suggests discussing anew reconstructions of early Neolithic social structures. In this article, we will summarize former theories on the emergence of leadership and hierarchies and present a multivariate model according to which anthropological and archaeological data of the burial will be analyzed. In conclusion, we surmise that early Neolithic hierarchization in southern Jordan was based on corporate pathways to power rather than self-interested aggrandizers. However, some aspects of the burial point to regional exchange networks of prestige goods, a trait considered characteristic of network based leadership. In line with anthropological and sociological research, we argue that pathways to power should be considered as relational processes that can be understood only when comparing traits of the outstanding person to her/his social environment.View less
Recent studies reported the detection of DNA from tick‐borne pathogens (TBPs) of veterinary relevance such as Anaplasma marginale, Babesia bigemina, Babesia bovis and Theileria orientalis in bovine blood samples from Mongolia. These findings were unexpected, as the known tick vectors of these pathogens are not known to occur in Mongolia. We therefore conducted a study in May and June 2013 in six districts of Khentii province where DNA of the said TBPs was previously found. Ticks collected from the vegetation and rodents, as well as blood samples from cattle, were screened for the presence of TBPs by reverse line blot (RLB) hybridization. Tick larvae collected from rodents were pooled. A total of 310 adult ticks were collected from the vegetation, and 249 tick larvae were collected from 24 rodents. Adult ticks (n = 2,318) and blood samples were collected from 481 heads of cattle. All adult ticks were identified as Dermacentor nuttalli. DNA from Rickettsia raoultii (252/310; 81.3%), an uncharacterized Anaplasma species preliminary named Anaplasma sp. Mongolia (26/310; 8.4%), Candidatus Midichloria sp. (18/310; 5.8%), Theileria equi (16/310; 5.2%), Babesia caballi (5/310; 1.6%), T. orientalis (1/310; 0.3%), Borrelia afzelii (1/310; 0.3%) and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis (1/310; 0.3%) was detected in ticks collected from the vegetation. DNA of R. raoultii (27/28; 96.4%) and Midichloria sp. (2/28; 7.1%) was detected in the pooled tick larvae. Anaplasma sp. Mongolia, a species related to Anaplasma ovis based on a multi‐locus analysis, was also detected in 153/481 (31.8%) of the bovine blood samples. DNA of B. bovis, B. bigemina and A. marginale was not detected in the ticks or bovine blood samples from Khentii district.View less
Personal control relies on the expectation that events are contingent upon one’s own behavior. A common ‘inconsistency compensation approach’ posits that a violation of expectancies in social interaction triggers aversive arousal and compensatory effort. Following this approach, we tested the hypothesis that interventions affecting participants' decisions violate the expected personal control. In a modified version of the established cyberball paradigm, participants were not excluded, but consistently included. However, their decisions regarding the recipient of a ball throw in the virtual game were occasionally overruled (expectancy violation). We hypothesized that this intervention will trigger a P3 response in event-related brain potentials (ERP). Since this component is related to subjective expectancies, its amplitude was assumed to depend on the frequency of interventions (independent factor: loss of control). Further, we manipulated the vertical position of the participants’ avatar on the computer screen (independent factor: verticality). Building on research showing that verticality is related to the self-assigned power and influences the expected level of control, we hypothesized that the ERP effects of intervention should be more pronounced for participants with avatars in superior position. As predicted, both experimental factors interactively affected the expression of the ERP response: In case of low intervention frequency, P3 amplitudes were significantly pronounced if the participants’ avatar was positioned above as compared to below co-players (high > low self-assigned power). The effect of verticality could be traced back to a lack of adaptation of P3 amplitudes to recurring aversive events. By demonstrating that loss of control triggers ERP effects corresponding to those triggered by social exclusion, this study provides further evidence for a common cognitive mechanism in reactions to aversive events based on an inconsistency in expectancy states.View less
The recent advances in microscopy and scanning techniques enabled the image analysis of archaeological objects in a high resolution. From the direct measurements in images, shapes and related parameters of the structural elements of interest can be derived. In this study, image analysis in 2D/3D is applied to archaeological ceramics, in order to obtain clues about the ceramic pastes, firing and shaping techniques. Images were acquired by the polarized light microscope, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and 3D micro X-ray computed tomography (µ-CT) and segmented using Matlab. 70 ceramic sherds excavated at Ransyrt 1 (Middle-Late Bronze Age) and Kabardinka 2 (late Bronze–early Iron Age), located in in the North Caucasian mountains, Russia, were investigated. The size distribution, circularity and sphericity of sand grains in the ceramics show site specific difference as well as variations within a site. The sphericity, surface area, volume and Euler characteristic of pores show the existence of various pyrometamorphic states between the ceramics and within a ceramic. Using alignments of pores and grains, similar pottery shaping techniques are identified for both sites. These results show that the image analysis of archaeological ceramics can provide detailed information about the prehistoric ceramic production technologies with fast data availability.View less