Publications by authors named "Ping Liu"

2,969 Publications

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Surface characterization and methane activation on SnO/CuO/Cu(111) inverse oxide/metal catalysts.

Phys Chem Chem Phys 2021 Aug 4. Epub 2021 Aug 4.

Department of Chemistry, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA and Chemistry Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973, USA.

To activate methane at low or medium temperatures is a difficult task and a pre-requisite for the conversion of this light alkane into high value chemicals. Herein, we report the preparation and characterizations of novel SnOx/Cu2O/Cu(111) interfaces that enable low-temperature methane activation. Scanning tunneling microscopy identified small, well-dispersed SnOx nanoclusters on the Cu2O/Cu(111) substrate with an average size of 8 Å, and such morphology was sustained up to 450 K in UHV annealing. Ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy showed that hydrocarbon species (CHx groups), the product of methane activation, were formed on SnOx/Cu2O/Cu(111) at a temperature as low as 300 K. An essential role of the SnOx-Cu2O interface was evinced by the SnOx coverage dependence. Systems with a small amount of tin oxide, 0.1-0.2 ML coverage, produced the highest concentration of adsorbed CHx groups. Calculations based on density functional theory showed a drastic reduction in the activation barrier for C-H bond cleavage when going from Cu2O/Cu(111) to SnOx/Cu2O/Cu(111). On the supported SnOx, the dissociation of methane was highly exothermic (ΔE ∼ -35 kcal mol-1) and the calculated barrier for activation (∼20 kcal mol-1) could be overcome at 300-500 K, target temperatures for the conversion of methane to high value chemicals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1cp02829dDOI Listing
August 2021

Poly-L-arginine promotes asthma angiogenesis through induction of FGFBP1 in airway epithelial cells via activation of the mTORC1-STAT3 pathway.

Cell Death Dis 2021 Aug 2;12(8):761. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Department of Geriatric Respiratory and Critical Care, The First Affiliated Hospital of Anhui Medical University, Hefei, China.

Angiogenesis is a key characteristic of asthma airway remodeling. By releasing cationic granule proteins, such as major basic protein (MBP), activated eosinophils play a prominent role in asthma, but the underlying mechanisms are still not fully understood. In this study, we demonstrated that fibroblast growth factor-binding protein 1 (FGFBP1) was dramatically upregulated in airway epithelial cell lines treated by poly-L-arginine (PLA), a mimic of MBP. Elevated FGFBP1 expression was also detected in asthma clinical samples, as well as in ovalbumin (OVA)-induced chronic asthma mouse models. PLA enhanced FGFBP1 expression through activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (mTORC1-STAT3) signaling pathway. STAT3 transactivated FGFBP1 by directly binding to the promoter of the FGFBP1 gene. Furthermore, we identified that FGFBP1 secreted by PLA-treated airway epithelial cells served as a proangiogenesis factor. Lastly, we found the mTORC1-STAT3-FGFBP1 signaling pathway was activated in an OVA-induced chronic asthma model with airway remodeling features. Rapamycin treatment alleviated respiratory symptoms and reduced angiogenesis in asthmatic mice. Therefore, activation of the mTORC1-STAT3-FGFBP1 pathway in the airway epithelium contributes to the progress of angiogenesis and should be targeted for the treatment of asthma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-04055-2DOI Listing
August 2021

Long non-coding RNA Gm11974 aggravates oxygen-glucose deprivation-induced injury via miR-122-5p/SEMA3A axis in ischaemic stroke.

Metab Brain Dis 2021 Aug 2. Epub 2021 Aug 2.

Department of Neurology, Central Hospital of Zibo, Zibo City, 255200, Shandong, China.

Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important roles in ischaemic stroke. This study aimed to investigate the role and potential mechanism of lncRNA Gm11974 in ischaemic stroke. Mouse neuroblastoma N2a cells were treated with oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). The levels of Gm11974, microRNA-122-5p (miR-122-5p) and semaphorin 3A (SEMA3A) were detected by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) or western blot. Cell viability and apoptosis were determined by 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2-H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, Caspase-3 Assay Kit and flow Cytometry. The levels of oxidative stress indicators were measured by using commercial kits. The relationship between miR-122-5p and Gm11974 or SEMA3A was verified by dual-luciferase reporter, RNA immunoprecipitation and RNA pull-down assays. Middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) in mice was used to mimic ischaemic stroke. Gm11974 and SEMA3A were up-regulated, while miR-122-5p was down-regulated in OGD-treated N2a cells and MCAO mice. Down-regulation of Gm11974 ameliorated OGD-mediated N2a cell damage by increasing cell viability and reducing cell apoptosis and oxidative stress. Gm11974 promoted OGD-induced injury in N2a cells via negatively regulating miR-122-5p. Also, miR-122-5p alleviated OGD-resulted N2a cell injury by targeting SEMA3A. Moreover, silencing of Gm11974 decreased infarct volume and neurological score in MCAO mice. Knockdown of Gm11974 attenuated neuronal injury in ischaemic stroke by regulating miR-122-5p/SEMA3A signaling pathway.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11011-021-00792-7DOI Listing
August 2021

The historical and current research progress on jujube-a superfruit for the future.

Hortic Res 2020 Aug 1;7(1):119. Epub 2020 Aug 1.

Propaganda Department, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding, 071001, Hebei, China.

Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba Mill.), or Chinese date, is the most important species of Rhamnaceae, a large cosmopolitan family, and is one of the oldest cultivated fruit trees in the world. It originates from the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, the 'mother river' of the Chinese people. It is distributed in at least 48 countries on all continents except Antarctica and is becoming increasingly important, especially in arid and semiarid marginal lands. Based on a systematic analysis of the unique characteristics of jujube, we suggest that it deserves to be recognized as a superfruit. We summarized historical research achievements from the past 3000 years and reviewed recent research advances since 1949 in seven fields, including genome sequencing and application, germplasm resources and systematic taxonomy, breeding and genetics, cultivation theory and techniques, pest control, postharvest physiology and techniques, and nutrition and processing. Based on the challenges facing the jujube industry, we discuss eight research aspects to be focused on in the future.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41438-020-00346-5DOI Listing
August 2020

Illuminating the cells: transient transformation of citrus to study gene functions and organelle activities related to fruit quality.

Hortic Res 2021 Aug 1;8(1):175. Epub 2021 Aug 1.

Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant Biology (Ministry of Education), College of Horticulture and Forestry Science, Huazhong Agricultural University, 430070, Wuhan, China.

Although multiple microscopic techniques have been applied to horticultural research, few studies of individual organelles in living fruit cells have been reported to date. In this paper, we established an efficient system for the transient transformation of citrus fruits using an Agrobacterium-mediated method. Kumquat (Fortunella crassifolia Swingle) was used; it exhibits higher transformation efficiency than all citrus fruits that have been tested and a prolonged-expression window. Fruits were transformed with fluorescent reporters, and confocal microscopy and live-cell imaging were used to study their localization and dynamics. Moreover, various pH sensors targeting different subcellular compartments were expressed, and the local pH environments in cells from different plant tissues were compared. The results indicated that vacuoles are most likely the main organelles that contribute to the low pH of citrus fruits. In summary, our method is effective for studying various membrane trafficking events, protein localization, and cell physiology in fruit and can provide new insight into fruit biology research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41438-021-00611-1DOI Listing
August 2021

Three dimensionally printed nitrocellulose-based microfluidic platform for investigating the effect of oxygen gradient on cells.

Analyst 2021 Jul 29. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

CAS Key Laboratory of Coastal Environment Processes and Ecological Remediation, The Research Center for Coastal Environment Engineering and Technology, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yantai 264003, China. and Center for Ocean Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Qingdao 266071, China.

In this article, we present a novel nitrocellulose-based microfluidic chip with 3-dimensional (3D) printing technology to study the effect of oxygen gradient on cells. Compared with conventional polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chips of oxygen gradient for cell cultures that can only rely on fluorescence microscope analysis, this hybrid nitrocellulose-based microfluidic platform can provide a variety of analysis methods for cells, including flow cytometry, western blot and RT-PCR, because the nitrocellulose-based chips with cells can be taken out from the growth chambers of 3D printed microfluidic chip and then used for cell collection or lysis. These advantages allow researchers to acquire more information and data on the basic biochemical and physiological processes of cell life. The effect of oxygen gradient on the zebrafish cells (ZF4) was used as a model to show the performance and application of our platform. Hypoxia caused the increase of intercellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and accumulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). Hypoxia stimulated the transcription of hypoxia-responsive genes vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and induced cell cycle arrest of ZF4 cells. The established platform is able to obtain more information from cells in response to different oxygen concentration, which has potential for analyzing the cells under a variety of pathological conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1an00927cDOI Listing
July 2021

A New Strategy to Quantitatively Identify Hot-Spot Areas in Growth of New HIV Infections for Targeted Interventions.

Front Public Health 2021 12;9:680867. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

National Center for AIDS/STD Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing, China.

Previous geographic studies of HIV infection have usually used prevalence data, which cannot indicate the hot-spot areas of current transmission. To develop quantitative analytic measures for accurately identifying hot-spot areas in growth of new HIV infection, we investigated the geographic distribution features of recent HIV infection and long-term HIV infection using data from a whole-population physical examination in four key counties in Liangshan prefecture, which are most severely affected by HIV in China. Through a whole-population physical examination during November 2017- June 2018 in the four key counties, a total of 5,555 HIV cases were diagnosed and 246 cases were classified as recently infected by laboratory HIV recency tests. The geospatial patterns of recent and long-term HIV infected cases were compared using ordinary least squares regression and Geodetector. Further, geospatial-heterogeneity was quantified and indicated using a residual map to visualize hot-spot areas where new infection is increasing. The geographic location of HIV cases showed an uneven distribution along major roads and clustered at road intersections. The geographic mapping showed that several areas were clustered with more recently infected HIV cases than long-term infected cases. The quantitative analyses showed that the geospatial asymmetry between recent and long-term HIV infection was 0.30 and 0.31 in ordinary least squares regression and Geodetector analysis, respectively. The quantitative analyses found twenty-three townships showing an increase in the number of recent infections. Quantitative analysis of geospatial-heterogeneous areas by comparing between recent and long-term HIV infections allows accurate identification of hot-spot areas where new infections are expanding, which can be used as a potent methodological tool to guide targeted interventions and curb the spread of the epidemic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.680867DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8310914PMC
August 2021

Bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in microenvironment transform into cancer-associated fibroblasts to promote the progression of B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Biomed Pharmacother 2020 Oct 12;130:110610. Epub 2020 Aug 12.

Department of Haematology, Affiliated Hospital of Guizhou Medical University, Guizhou, China; Hematological Institute of Guizhou Province, Guizhou, China; Guizhou Province Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation Centre and Key Laboratory of Hematological Disease Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, Guizhou, China. Electronic address:

Bone marrow microenvironment is essential for leukemia cells to survive and escape the killing effect of chemotherapeutics. Cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) are the dominant stromal cells in tumor microenvironment (TME), but their role in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) remains unclear. Here, RT-PCR and Western blotting in bone marrow mononuclear cells revealed higher proportions of CAFs markers α-SMA and FAP in the newly diagnosed and relapsed B-ALL patients. In vitro experiments, bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) acquired a CAFs phenotype after co-culture with leukemia cells, which produced high level of tumor-promoting growth factors and reduced the daunorubicin (DNR)-induced damage to B-ALL cells. As for its mechanism, CAFs activation was mediated by TGF-β up-regulation in the co-culture system, and TGF-β triggered MSCs conversion into CAFs relying on the SDF-1/CXCR4 pathway. Further LY2109761 and AMD3100 effectively decreased the activation of CAFs through inhibiting TGF-β receptor and CXCR4. Comparative experiments with MSCs and transformed CAFs prompted that CAFs had more obvious effect than MSCs on stimulating leukemia progression through accelerating leukemia cell migration and invasion. These results clarified the important role of CAFs in B-ALL progression and the possible mechanisms of CAFs activation in leukemia microenvironment, which might provide a theoretical basis for B-ALL patients to find more effective targeted therapies targeting the bone marrow microenvironment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2020.110610DOI Listing
October 2020

Ferroptosis: a cell death connecting oxidative stress, inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.

Cell Death Discov 2021 Jul 26;7(1):193. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Key Laboratory of Resource Biology and Biotechnology in Western China, Ministry of Education, School of Medicine, Northwest University, Xi'an, 710069, Shaanxi, China.

Ferroptosis, a recently identified and iron-dependent cell death, differs from other cell death such as apoptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis, and autophagy-dependent cell death. This form of cell death does not exhibit typical morphological and biochemical characteristics, including cell shrinkage, mitochondrial fragmentation, nuclear condensation. The dysfunction of lipid peroxide clearance, the presence of redox-active iron as well as oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-containing phospholipids are three essential features of ferroptosis. Iron metabolism and lipid peroxidation signaling are increasingly recognized as central mediators of ferroptosis. Ferroptosis plays an important role in the regulation of oxidative stress and inflammatory responses. Accumulating evidence suggests that ferroptosis is implicated in a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke, ischemia-reperfusion injury, and heart failure, indicating that targeting ferroptosis will present a novel therapeutic approach against cardiovascular diseases. Here, we provide an overview of the features, process, function, and mechanisms of ferroptosis, and its increasingly connected relevance to oxidative stress, inflammation, and cardiovascular diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41420-021-00579-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8313570PMC
July 2021

[Determination of furan in canned foods and packaged beverages by headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry].

Wei Sheng Yan Jiu 2021 Jul;50(4):641-645

Beijing Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Beijing Center for Prevention Medicine Research, Beijing 100013, China.

Objective: A headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry(HS-GC-MS) method for the analysis of furan in canned foods and packaged beverages was established.

Methods: The furan was extracted from the samples by headspace method. D_4-furan was used as internal standard and separated on a HP-Plot Q(30 m×0.32 mm, 20 μm) column. The results were qualitative and quantitative by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Results: The linear range of this method was 2.0-200.0 ng, and the regression equation of the working curve was y=1.14x +0.116(r~2=0.999). The recoveries were 86.3%-96.2% with the relative standard deviations(RSDs) less than 10%(n=6). The limit of quantification of furan was 1.0 ng. Through the detection of 59 samples, it was found that the common canned food and hard packaged drinks were commonly contaminated with furan, and the concentration of furan in coffee, milk tea, canned fish and other products were relatively high, with a maximum value of 153.99 ng.

Conclusion: The method is simple, rapid, accurate and reliable, and could be used for the detection of furan in the two kinds of food.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19813/j.cnki.weishengyanjiu.2021.04.017DOI Listing
July 2021

[Detect 15 pesticides fungicide in edible fungi by multiplug filtration clean-up pretreatment technology with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry].

Wei Sheng Yan Jiu 2021 Jul;50(4):633-640

Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Beijing 100013, China.

Objective: To establish a method for determination of 15 pesticides residue in edible fungi by multiplug filtration clean-up(m-PFC) pretreatment technique with ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem triple quadruple mass spectrometry(UPLC-MS/MS).

Methods: The interferences of edible fungus samples were removed by extracting with acetonitrile and filtration type extraction column, which were fat, carbohydrates, water-soluble vitamins. Samples were separated with column of Waters ACQUITY UPLC®HSS T3(2.1 mm×100 mm, 1.8 μm), and were scanned by multiple reaction monitoring mode(MRM). Samples were quantified with matrix matching standard curve external standard method.

Results: The recoveries of 15 target compounds at the spiked levels of 10, 20, 50 μg/kg were 82.5%-118.5%, and the relative standard deviations were between 6.1% and 23.1%(n=6). The detection limit of 15 target compounds was 1-3 μg/kg, and the limit of quantification was 3-10 μg/kg.

Conclusion: This method improves the efficiency of pretreatment, has good stability and high sensitivity, and could be used for the detection of 15 pesticides in edible fungi.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.19813/j.cnki.weishengyanjiu.2021.04.016DOI Listing
July 2021

The Perioperative Deep Vein Thrombosis in Lower Extremities in Patients With Pelvic Fracture: A Case-Control Study.

Clin Appl Thromb Hemost 2021 Jan-Dec;27:10760296211033024

Department of Orthopedic Trauma, Honghui Hospital, 12480Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, People's Republic of China.

This study was to investigate the incidences of DVT in lower extremities after pelvic fracture before and after operation, and explore the risk factors. The records of patients with pelvic fractures receiving operation were collected. The patients were examined by preoperative and postoperative ultrasonography, and divided into thrombosis group and non-thrombosis group according to the preoperative and postoperative ultrasonographic results. Totally, 128 patients with pelvic fractures were included in this study. The incidence of DVT was 21.09% preoperatively, and increased to 35.16% postoperatively. Peripheral DVT constituted 92.60% and 86.67% of preoperative and postoperative DVTs, respectively. The results showed that age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.01-1.12; = 0.013), fracture classification (OR = 3.80; 95% CI: 1.31-11.00; = 0.014) and D-dimer at admission (OR = 1.04; 95% CI: 1.00-1.08; = 0.029) were independent risk factors of preoperative DVT, and female (OR = 0.21; 95% CI: 0.06-0.81; = 0.023) was independent protective factor. In addition, age (OR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.00-1.11; = 0.026), operative blood transfusion (OR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.05-1.72; = 0.020) were independent risk factors of postoperative DVT. In conclusion, the DVT prevention strategy has not changed the high incidence of DVT in pelvic fractures, and orthopedic surgeons should pay more attention to perioperative DVT. When a male or patient with Tile-C type pelvic fracture is at admission, it is should be reminded that the screening the DVT in lower extremities. In addition, the surgeon should stanch bleeding completely, to reduce the blood transfusion and formation of DVT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/10760296211033024DOI Listing
July 2021

Migration and transformation of heavy metals in hyperaccumulators during the thermal treatment: a review.

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int 2021 Jul 23. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

School of Energy and Environmental Engineering, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing, 100083, China.

The pollution of heavy metals (HMs) in the soil has become one of the important factors affecting the national environment and human health. Phytoremediation, as a technology to deal with HM pollution in soil, has been extensively studied and applied due to its sustainability and environmental friendliness. However, hyperaccumulators polluted by HMs need to be properly treated to avoid secondary pollution to the environment. This paper reviews the migration and transformation of HMs during the incineration, pyrolysis, gasification, and hydrothermal treatment of hyperaccumulators; comprehensively evaluates the advantages and disadvantages of each technology in the treatment of HM-enriched hyperaccumulators; and analyzes the current development status and unsolved problems in detail for each technology. Generally speaking, thermal treatment technology can fix most of the HMs of exchangeable fraction in biochar, reducing its bioavailability and biotoxicity. In addition, the application direction and research focus of the target product are discussed, and it is clarified that in the future, it is necessary to further optimize the reaction conditions and explore the mechanism of HM immobilization to maximize the immobilization of HMs and improve the quality and output of the target product.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-15346-8DOI Listing
July 2021

Cesium-Induced Active Sites for C-C Coupling and Ethanol Synthesis from CO Hydrogenation on Cu/ZnO(0001̅) Surfaces.

J Am Chem Soc 2021 Jul 23. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Chemistry Division, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, New York 11973, United States.

The efficient conversion of carbon dioxide, a major air pollutant, into ethanol or higher alcohols is a big challenge in heterogeneous catalysis, generating great interest in both basic scientific research and commercial applications. Here, we report the facilitated methanol synthesis and the enabled ethanol synthesis from carbon dioxide hydrogenation on a catalyst generated by codepositing Cs and Cu on a ZnO(0001̅) substrate. A combination of catalytic testing, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements, and calculations based on density functional theory (DFT) and kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulation was used. The results of XPS showed a clear change in the reaction mechanism when going from Cs/Cu(111) to a Cs/Cu/ZnO(0001̅) catalyst. The Cs-promoting effect on C-C coupling is a result of a synergy among Cs, Cu, and ZnO components that leads to the presence of CH and CHO species on the surface. According to the DFT-based KMC simulations, the deposition of Cs introduces multifunctional sites with a unique structure at the Cu-Cs-ZnO interface, particularly being able to promote the interaction with CO and thus the methanol synthesis predominantly via the formate pathway. More importantly, it tunes the CHO binding strongly enough to facilitate the HCOOH decomposition to CHO via the formate pathway, but weakly enough to allow further hydrogenation to methanol. The fine-tuning of CHO binding also enables a close alignment of a CHO pair to facilitate the C-C coupling and eventually ethanol synthesis. Our study opens new possibilities to allow the highly active and selective conversion of carbon dioxide to higher alcohols on widely used and low-cost Cu-based catalysts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.1c03940DOI Listing
July 2021

[Progress on the effect of mesenchymal stem cell derived exosomes on multiple organ dysfunction in sepsis].

Zhonghua Wei Zhong Bing Ji Jiu Yi Xue 2021 Jun;33(6):757-760

Department of the Intensive Care Unit, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital of Kunming Medical University (The Second People's Hospital of Yunnan Province), Kunming 650021, Yunnan, China. Corresponding author: Ling Bin, Email:

Mesenchymal stem cell derived (MSC) exosomes are extracellular vesicles with a diameter of about 50-200 nm. Exosomes contain a large number of biologically active substances including mRNAs, miRNAs, cytokines, chemokines, proteins, lipids, etc. MSC exosomes exert biological effects through paracrine and endocrine pathways in vivo. Uncontrolled inflammation and multiple organ dysfunction are the key roles in the progression of sepsis, moreover, heart, lungs, kidneys and brain are the general target organs to be damaged. MSC exosomes regulate the expression of cytokines, the production of inflammatory cell, the levels of inflammatory response and the recovery of damaged tissues or organ function. Therefore, studying the application of MSC exosomes is significant for the clinical treatment of sepsis. This article reviews the systemic inflammation regulation by MSC exosomes and its protective function on targeted organs such as heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, liver, etc. to provide evidences for the treatment of sepsis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3760/cma.j.cn121430-20200908-00620DOI Listing
June 2021

SARS-CoV-2 Initiates Programmed Cell Death in Platelets.

Circ Res 2021 Jul 23. Epub 2021 Jul 23.

Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, UNITED STATES.

COVID-19 is characterized by increased incidence of microthrombosis with hyperactive platelets sporadically containing viral RNA. It is unclear if SARS-CoV-2 directly alters platelet activation or if these changes are a reaction to infection-mediated global inflammatory alterations. Importantly, the direct effect of SARS-CoV-2 on platelets has yet to be studied. To characterize the direct SARS-CoV-2-platelet interactions using in vitro studies with purified infectious virions and samples from infected patients. Platelet RNA analyzed by ARTIC v3 sequencing for SARS-CoV-2 showed presence of fragmented viral genome in all COVID-19 patients. Immunofluorescent imaging of platelets from COVID-19 patients confirmed presence of SARS-CoV-2 proteins, while there was no detection of viral RNA by RT-qPCR. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of platelets incubated with purified SARS-CoV-2 virions demonstrated rapid internalization and digestion leading to distinct morphological changes, and resulted in a release of extracellular vesicles. Interactions between SARS-CoV-2 and platelets occurred with or without ACE2 presence as measured by immunofluorescence. TEM showed that SARS-CoV-2 virions became internalized when they were attached to microparticles, bypassing the need for ACE2. Enrichment analysis of platelet-transcriptome from patients with acute COVID-19, compared to those with clinical thrombosis, suggested upregulation of pathways related to virally mediated cell death, specifically necroptosis and apoptosis. Platelets incubated with infectious virus appeared to undergo cell death in 30 min post-incubation as assessed by TEM and platelets from COVID-19 patients showed evidence of increased markers of apoptosis and necroptosis by WB. Immunofluorescence confirmed colocalization of SARS-CoV-2 with phospho-MLKL and Caspase-3 on non-permeabilized platelets in vitro and in COVID-19 platelets. Platelets internalize SARS-CoV-2 virions, directly or attached to microparticles, and viral internalization leads to rapid digestion, programmed cell death and extracellular vesicle release. During COVID-19, platelets mediate a rapid response to SARS-CoV-2 and this response can contribute to dysregulated immunity and thrombosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.121.319117DOI Listing
July 2021

Visible-Light-Induced C-H Bond Aminoalkylation of Heterocycles by the Decarboxylation Coupling of Amino Acids.

Org Lett 2021 Jul 22. Epub 2021 Jul 22.

School of Chemistry and Materials Science, Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Material Cycle Processes and Pollution Control, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center of Biomedical Functional Materials, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, P. R. China.

An efficient visible-light-induced decarboxylative coupling reaction of -protecting α-amino acids with heterocycles for the generation of aminoalkylated heterocycles is presented. A series of aminoalkylated heterocycles were obtained in moderate to good yields. Attractive features of this process include the generation of aminomethyl radical by an inexpensive organic photocatalyst under transition-metal-free conditions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.orglett.1c02014DOI Listing
July 2021

Hypermetabolism associated with worse prognosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

J Neurol 2021 Jul 18. Epub 2021 Jul 18.

Department of Neurology, Peking University Third Hospital, 49 North Garden Road, Beijing, 100191, Haidian District, China.

Background And Objective: Exploration of hypermetabolism in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) with different ethnicities is needed to understand its metabolic implications for clinical management. We aimed to evaluate the features of hypermetabolism and investigate its association with clinical characteristics and prognosis of ALS in a prospective Chinese cohort.

Methods: This prospective study was conducted at Peking University Third Hospital, China from 2017 to 2020. 343 participants were enrolled initially. After strict screening, 147 matched health controls and 93 patients with ALS were eligible and underwent detailed clinical assessments. Disease severity and progression were evaluated using recognized scales. Metabolic assessments included body composition and metabolic index (MI) [hypermetabolism if MI ≥ 120.0%]. Patients were followed up every 6 months for survival analysis.

Results: Compared with controls, hypermetabolism was significantly more prevalent in ALS (p = 0.009). MI was consistently higher in ALS than controls (p = 0.009). Further correlation analysis showed that MI significantly decreased with disease progression, as graded by King's College staging system (p < 0.001). MI was significantly correlated with fat-free mass and fat mass (p = 0.005 and 0.007). Survival analysis showed that hypermetabolism independently indicated a worse prognosis for ALS (HR = 1.020, CI = 1.004-1.036, p = 0.013).

Conclusion: A significant increase in the prevalence and degree of hypermetabolism was identified in ALS compared with strictly matched controls. Metabolic index, which is significantly associated with disease progression and body composition, is an independent prognostic indicator for a worse survival of ALS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00415-021-10716-1DOI Listing
July 2021

A multi-responsive healable supercapacitor.

Nat Commun 2021 Jul 14;12(1):4297. Epub 2021 Jul 14.

Division of Nanomaterials and Chemistry, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, Institute of Energy, Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center, Department of Chemistry, Institute of Biomimetic Materials & Chemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, P. R. China.

Self-healability is essential for supercapacitors to improve their reliability and lifespan when powering the electronics. However, the lack of a universal healing mechanism leads to low capacitive performance and unsatisfactory intelligence. Here, we demonstrate a multi-responsive healable supercapacitor with integrated configuration assembled from magnetic [email protected]/polyacrylamide (MFP) hydrogel-based electrodes and electrolyte and Ag nanowire films as current collectors. Beside a high mechanical strength, MFP hydrogel exhibits fast optical and magnetic healing properties arising from distinct photothermal and magneto-thermal triggered interfacial reconstructions. By growing electroactive polypyrrole nanoparticles into MFP framework as electrodes, the assembled supercapacitor exhibits triply-responsive healing performance under optical, electrical and magnetic stimuli. Notably, the device delivers a highest areal capacitance of 1264 mF cm among the reported healable supercapacitors and restores ~ 90% of initial capacitances over ten healing cycles. These prominent performance advantages along with the facile device-assembly method make this emerging supercapacitor highly potential in the next-generation electronics.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24568-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8280176PMC
July 2021

Prediction of treatment response to intravenous glucocorticoid in patients with thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy using T2 mapping and T2 IDEAL.

Eur J Radiol 2021 Jul 3;142:109839. Epub 2021 Jul 3.

Department of Radiology, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430030, Hubei, China. Electronic address:

Purpose: To investigate the performance of combined T2 mapping and T2 iterative decomposition of water and fat with echo asymmetry and least-squares estimation (IDEAL) in orbital tissues to predict the therapeutic efficacy of intravenous glucocorticoids (IVGCs) for active and moderate-to-severe thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy (TAO).

Method: Sixty-three active and moderate-to-severe TAO patients (responsive group, n = 35; unresponsive group, n = 28) who underwent orbital MRI before receiving IVGCs were retrospectively enrolled. Baseline clinical characteristics and imaging parameters were analyzed and compared between the two groups of different therapeutic efficacy. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to determine the independent predictors, the predictive performance of which was evaluated using receiver operating characteristic curve analysis.

Results: The mean T2 relaxation time of extraocular muscle (EOM-T2RT) (P = 0.001), maximum T2RT of EOM (EOM-T2RT) (P = 0.001), mean water fraction of EOM (EOM-WF) (P < 0.001), maximum WF of EOM (EOM-WF) (P < 0.001) and exophthalmos (P = 0.007) were significantly higher in the responsive group than in the unresponsive group. EOM-T2RT (P < 0.001) and EOM-WF (P < 0.001) were determined as independent predictors for responsive patients with TAO in the multivariable analysis. Combining EOM-T2RT ≥ 77.1 and EOM-WF ≥ 91.52 demonstrated optimal efficiency for prediction (area under the curve = 0.844) and optimal predictive sensitivity (77.1%). Setting EOM-WF ≥ 91.52 achieved the optimal predictive specificity (89.3%).

Conclusions: Pretherapeutic quantitative measurements, based on combining T2 mapping and T2 IDEAL in orbital tissues, are valuable for predicting IVGC treatment response in active and moderate-to-severe TAO. EOM-T2RT and EOM-WF may become promising IVGC treatment response predictors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejrad.2021.109839DOI Listing
July 2021

Untargeted lipidomics reveals specific lipid abnormalities in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2021 Jun 26. Epub 2021 Jun 26.

Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

Objectives: To identify potential lipid biomarkers by studying changes in the blood lipid profile of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using lipidomics.

Methods: Serum samples were collected from 115 SLE patients and 115 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HCs). Lipid profiles were assessed using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography coupled with Q Exactive spectrometry, and possible lipid biomarkers were screened and evaluated by univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: Metabolic phenotypes related to SLE disease activity index (SLEDAI) scores were detected in the serum of SLE patients, and these phenotypes indicated the activity of the disease. Alterations in energy metabolism, fatty acid metabolism and other pathways were observed in patients with SLE. Phosphatidylethanolamine (16:0/18:2), lysophosphatidylethanolamine (18:0), and acylcarnitine (11:0) can be used as biomarkers for the clinical diagnosis of SLE, and receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis indicated their effectiveness in diagnosing this disease.

Conclusions: Our study identified serum biomarkers related to disease activity in patients with SLE, providing a basis for its clinical diagnosis.
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June 2021

Untargeted serum metabolomics and potential biomarkers for Sjögren's syndrome.

Clin Exp Rheumatol 2021 Jun 29. Epub 2021 Jun 29.

Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, Nanjing, Jiangsu, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Nanjing National Laboratory of Microstructures, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Artificial Functional Materials, Nanjing University, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.

Objectives: At present, the pathogenesis of Sjögren's syndrome (SS) remains unclear. This research aimed to identify differential metabolites that contribute to SS diagnosis and discover the disturbed metabolic pathways.

Methods: Recent advances in mass spectrometry have allowed the identification of hundreds of unique metabolic signatures and the exploration of altered metabolite profiles in disease. In this study, 505 candidates including healthy controls (HCs) and SS patients were recruited and the serum samples were collected. A non-targeted gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) serum metabolomics method was used to explore the changes in serum metabolites.

Results: We found SS patients and HCs can be distinguished by 21 significant metabolites. The levels of alanine, tryptophan, glycolic acid, pelargonic acid, cis-1-2-dihydro-1-2-naphthalenediol, diglycerol, capric acid, turanose, behenic acid, dehydroabietic acid, stearic acid, linoleic acid, heptadecanoic acid, valine, and lactic acid were increased in serum samples from SS patients, whereas levels of catechol, anabasine, 3-6-anhydro-D-galactose, beta-gentiobiose, 2-ketoisocaproic acid and ethanolamine were decreased. The significantly changed pathways included the following: Linoleic acid metabolism; unsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis; aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis; valine, leucine, and isoleucine biosynthesis; glycerolipid metabolism; selenocompound metabolism; galactose metabolism; alanine, aspartate and glutamate metabolism; glyoxylate and dicarboxylate metabolism; glycerophospholipid metabolism; and valine, leucine and isoleucine degradation.

Conclusions: These findings enhance the informative capacity of biochemical analyses through the identification of serum biomarkers and the analysis of metabolic pathways and contribute to an improved understanding of the pathogenesis of SS.
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June 2021

Honokiol induces ferroptosis in colon cancer cells by regulating GPX4 activity.

Am J Cancer Res 2021 15;11(6):3039-3054. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Oncology, Xiangya Hospital, Central South University Changsha 410008, Hunan, China.

Colon cancer (CC) is a prevalent malignancy worldwide. Approaches to specifically induce tumor cell death have historically been a popular research topic. Honokiol (HNK), which exhibits highly efficient and specific anticancer effects, is a biphenolic compound found in . In the present study, we aim to study the effect of HNK on CC cells and elucidate the potential underlying mechanisms. Seven CC cell lines (RKO, HCT116, SW48, HT29, LS174T, HCT8, and SW480) were used. Cells were exposed to HNK and subjected to a series of assays to evaluate characteristics such as cellular activity, reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and ferroptosis-related protein expression levels. Lentiviral transduction was also used to verify molecular mechanisms in vivo and in vitro. We here observed that HNK reduced the viability of CC cell lines by increasing ROS and Fe levels. Transmission electron microscopy revealed HNK-induced changes in mitochondrial morphology. HNK decreased the activity of Glutathione Peroxidase 4 (GPX4) but did not affect system Xc-. Thus, our datas indicated that HNK can induce ferroptosis in CC cells by reducing the activity of GPX4. As a potential therapeutic drug, HNK showed good anticancer effects through diverse signal transduction mechanisms and multiple pathways.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8263670PMC
June 2021

Teacher Online Informal Learning as a Means to Innovative Teaching During Home Quarantine in the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Front Psychol 2021 24;12:596582. Epub 2021 Jun 24.

School of Education, Huazhong University of Science & Technology, Wuhan, China.

The home quarantine in the COVID-19 pandemic has created challenges for teaching across the world and called for innovative teaching, as well as teachers' learning. Given the rapid development of teachers' online learning and teaching, identifying effective ways to facilitate innovative teaching under such challenging conditions is a critical issue. Although researchers have realized that workplace informal learning (IL) increasingly reveals its potential value to individual development, the relationship between IL and innovation has been under-explored. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of IL on innovative teaching, through the mediating roles of three types of teaching-related efficacy, with a particular focus on college teachers and online context. A sample of 479 Chinese college teachers was randomly selected to participate in the survey. The results showed that teachers' online IL in pandemic improved their personal teaching efficacy and ICT efficacy (information and communication technology efficacy), and then facilitated their innovative teaching without differences of gender and teaching-age effect. Whereas, general teaching efficacy was not a mediator between online IL and innovative teaching. Hence, we proposed a can-do motivating model of teacher efficacy in fostering innovative teaching through informal learning. It implies three properties of teachers' online IL: social interaction, autonomous learning and novelty-seeking. It also revealed that innovative teaching can be driven in COVID-19 pandemic, mainly by learning domain-specific knowledge and skills, thus enhancing personal teaching efficacy and ICT efficacy in online teaching context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.596582DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8264353PMC
June 2021

Effects of sex and estrous cycle on the brain and plasma arginine metabolic profile in rats.

Amino Acids 2021 Jul 10. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Department of Anatomy, School of Biomedical Sciences, Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

L-arginine is a versatile amino acid with a number of bioactive metabolites. Increasing evidence implicates altered arginine metabolism in the aging and neurodegenerative processes. The present study, for the first time, determined the effects of sex and estrous cycle on the brain and blood (plasma) arginine metabolic profile in naïve rats. Female rats displayed significantly lower levels of L-arginine in the frontal cortex and three sub-regions of the hippocampus when compared to male rats. Moreover, female rats had significantly higher levels of L-arginine and γ-aminobutyric acid, but lower levels of L-ornithine, agmatine and putrescine, in plasma relative to male rats. The observed sex difference in brain L-arginine appeared to be independent of the enzymes involved in its metabolism, de novo synthesis and blood-to-brain transport (cationic acid transporter 1 protein expression at least), as well as circulating L-arginine. While the estrous cycle did not affect L-arginine and its metabolites in the brain, there were estrous cycle phase-dependent changes in plasma L-arginine. These findings demonstrate the sex difference in brain L-arginine in the estrous cycle-independent manner. Since peripheral blood has been increasingly used to identify biomarkers of brain pathology, the influences of sex and estrous cycle on blood arginine metabolic profile need attention when experimental research involves female rodents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00726-021-03040-5DOI Listing
July 2021

Improved genome assembly of Chinese shrimp (Fenneropenaeus chinensis) suggests adaptation to the environment during evolution and domestication.

Mol Ecol Resour 2021 Jul 9. Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Key Laboratory for Sustainable Utilization of Marine Fisheries Resources, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Qingdao, China.

A high-quality reference genome is necessary to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying important biological phenomena; therefore, in the present study, a chromosome-level genome assembly of the Chinese shrimp Fenneropenaeus chinensis was performed. Muscle of a male shrimp was sequenced using PacBio platform, and assembled by Hi-C technology. The assembled F. chinensis genome was 1.47 Gb with contig N50 of 472.84 Kb, including 57.73% repetitive sequences, and was anchored to 43 pseudochromosomes, with scaffold N50 of 36.87 Mb. In total, 25,026 protein-coding genes were predicted. The genome size of F. chinensis showed significant contraction in comparison with that of other penaeid species, which is likely related to migration observed in this species. However, the F. chinensis genome included several expanded gene families related to cellular processes and metabolic processes, and the contracted gene families were associated with virus infection process. The findings signify the adaptation of F. chinensis to the selection pressure of migration and cold environment. Furthermore, the selection signature analysis identified genes associated with metabolism, phototransduction, and nervous system in cultured shrimps when compared with wild population, indicating targeted, artificial selection of growth, vision, and behavior during domestication. The construction of the genome of F. chinensis provided valuable information for the further genetic mechanism analysis of important biological processes, and will facilitate the research of genetic changes during evolution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1755-0998.13463DOI Listing
July 2021

LncRNA UCA1 promotes development of gastric cancer via the miR-145/MYO6 axis.

Cell Mol Biol Lett 2021 Jul 8;26(1):33. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Handan Central Hospital, Handan, 056001, Hebei Province, China.

Background: Long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), urothelial carcinoma-associated 1 (UCA1) is aberrantly expressed in multiple cancers and has been verified as an oncogene. However, the underlying mechanism of UCA1 in the development of gastric cancer is not fully understood. In the present study, we aimed to identify how UCA1 promotes gastric cancer development.

Methods: The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx) data were used to analyze UCA1 and myosin VI (MYO6) expression in gastric cancer. Western blot and quantitative real-time PCR (QPCR) were performed to test the expression level of the UCA1/miR-145/MYO6 axis in gastric cancer cell lines and tissues. The roles of the UCA1/miR-145/MYO6 axis in gastric cancer in vitro and in vivo were investigated by CCK-8 assay, flow cytometry, siRNAs, immunohistochemistry, and a mouse xenograft model. The targeted relationship among UCA1, miR-145, and MYO6 was predicted using LncBase Predicted v.2 and TargetScan online software, and then verified by luciferase activity assay and RNA immunoprecipitation.

Results: UCA1 expression was higher but miR-145 expression was lower in gastric cancer cell lines or tissues, compared to the adjacent normal cell line or normal tissues. Function analysis verified that UCA1 promoted cell proliferation and inhibited cell apoptosis in the gastric cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, UCA1 could bind directly to miR-145, and MYO6 was found to be a downstream target gene of miR-145. miR-145 mimics or MYO6 siRNAs could partly reverse the effect of UCA1 on gastric cancer cells.

Conclusions: UCA1 accelerated cell proliferation and inhibited cell apoptosis through sponging miR-145 to upregulate MYO6 expression in gastric cancer, indicating that the UCA1/miR-145/MYO6 axis may serve as a potential therapeutic target for gastric cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s11658-021-00275-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8268585PMC
July 2021

Local and Bulk Probe of Vanadium-Substituted α-Manganese Oxide (α-KVMnO) Lithium Electrochemistry.

Inorg Chem 2021 Jul 8;60(14):10398-10414. Epub 2021 Jul 8.

Department of Chemistry, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York 11794, United States.

A series of V-substituted α-MnO (KMnVO·HO, = 0, 0.2, 0.34, 0.75) samples were successfully synthesized without crystalline or amorphous impurities, as evidenced by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed a morphological evolution from nanorods to nanoplatelets as V-substitution increased, while electron-energy loss spectroscopy (EELS) confirmed uniform distribution of vanadium within the materials. Rietveld refinement of synchrotron XRD showed an increase in bond lengths and a larger range of bond angles with increasing V-substitution. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) of the as-prepared materials revealed the V valence to be >4+ and the Mn valence to decrease with increasing V content. Upon electrochemical lithiation, increasing amounts of V were found to preserve the Mn-Mn relationship at higher depths of discharge, indicating enhanced structural stability. Electrochemical testing showed the = 0.75 V-substituted sample to deliver the highest capacity and capacity retention after 50 cycles. The experimental findings were consistent with the predictions of density functional theory (DFT), where the V centers impart structural stability to the manganese oxide framework upon lithiation. The enhanced electrochemistry of the = 0.75 V-substituted sample is also attributed to its smaller crystallite size in the form of a nanoplatelet morphology, which promotes facile ion access via reduced Li-ion diffusion path lengths.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.1c00954DOI Listing
July 2021

Job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students in China: a discrete choice experiment.

Hum Resour Health 2021 Jul 6;19(1):79. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Centre for Health Management and Policy Research, School of Public Health, Cheeloo College of Medicine, Shandong University, Jinan, 250012, China.

Background: Pharmacists are a crucial part of the health workforce and play an important role in achieving universal health coverage. In China, pharmaceutical human resources are in short supply, and the distribution is unequal. This study aimed to identify the key job characteristics that influence the job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students and to elicit the relative importance of different job characteristics to shed light on future policy interventions.

Methods: A discrete choice experiment was conducted to assess the job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students from 6 provinces in mainland China. A face-to-face interview was used to collect data. Conditional logit and mixed logit models were used to analyse data, and the final model was chosen according to the model fit statistics. A series of policy simulations was also conducted.

Results: In total, 581 respondents completed the questionnaire, and 500 respondents who passed the internal consistency test were analysed. All attributes were statistically significant except for open management. Monthly income and work location were most important to respondents, followed by work unit (which refers to the nature of the workplace) and years to promotion. There was preference heterogeneity among respondents, e.g., male students preferred open management, and female students preferred jobs in public institutions. Furthermore, students with an urban background or from a single-child family placed higher value on a job in the city compared to their counterparts.

Conclusion: The heterogeneity of attributes showed the complexity of job preferences. Both monetary and nonmonetary job characteristics significantly influenced the job preferences of pharmacy students in China. A more effective policy intervention to attract graduates to work in rural areas should consider both incentives on the job itself and the background of pharmacy school graduates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12960-021-00626-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8259344PMC
July 2021
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