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Zhou Q.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences
Nanoscale | Year: 2011

Polymeric nanocapsules with nanometre-thin walls offer a promising platform for controlled cellular delivery of therapeutic or diagnostic agents. Therefore, their biocompatibility is crucial for future applications in the human body. However, there is little knowledge about their interaction with biological systems. In this study, polymeric nanocapsules containing different amounts of lipids and representing different scenarios for handling and storing nanocapsules are investigated. We find that all nanocapsules in our study can enter human cells and the presence of an outer lipid shell facilitates the process. These nanocapsules do not inhibit cell proliferation at concentrations up to 200 μg mL(-1) of nanocapsules. No cellular ROS, apoptosis or cell cycle perturbation is detected at this dose. These comprehensive examinations demonstrate that polymeric nanocapsules are promising nano-carriers for cellular delivery. Source

Xie H.Q.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences
Environmental health perspectives | Year: 2013

Deficits in cognitive functioning have been reported in humans exposed to dioxins and dioxin-like compounds. Evidence suggests that dioxins induce cholinergic dysfunction mediated by hypothyroidism. However, little is known about direct effects of dioxins on the cholinergic system. We investigated the action of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a key enzyme in cholinergic neurotransmission. We used SK-N-SH human-derived neuronal cells to evaluate the effect of dioxin exposure on AChE. We consistently found a significant decrease in enzymatic activity of AChE in cultured neurons treated with TCDD. We also found that, unlike organophosphate pesticides that directly act on the catalytic center of AChE, the suppressive effect of dioxin was through transcriptional regulation. The addition of CH223191, an inhibitor of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-dependent pathway, counteracted the TCDD-induced suppression of AChE, suggesting involvement of the AhR-dependent pathway. The existence of putative dioxin-responsive element (DRE) consensus sequences in the human ACHE promoter region further supported this hypothesis. Consistent with the absence of DRE elements in mouse or rat ACHE promoter regions, suppression of AChE by TCDD did not occur in rat neuronal cells, indicating a potential species-specific effect. In SK-N-SH cells, dioxin suppressed the activity of neuronal AChE via AhR-mediated transcriptional down-regulation. This is the first study to report direct interference by dioxin with the cholinergic neurotransmission system. Source

Zhang S.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences
PloS one | Year: 2012

Ant-aphid mutualism is known to play a key role in the structure of the arthropod community in the tree canopy, but its possible ecological effects for the forest floor are unknown. We hypothesized that aphids in the canopy can increase the abundance of ants on the forest floor, thus intensifying the impacts of ants on other arthropods on the forest floor. We tested this hypothesis in a deciduous temperate forest in Beijing, China. We excluded the aphid-tending ants Lasius fuliginosus from the canopy using plots of varying sizes, and monitored the change in the abundance of ants and other arthropods on the forest floor in the treated and control plots. We also surveyed the abundance of ants and other arthropods on the forest floor to explore the relationships between ants and other arthropods in the field. Through a three-year experimental study, we found that the exclusion of ants from the canopy significantly decreased the abundance of ants on the forest floor, but increased the abundance of beetles, although the effect was only significant in the large ant-exclusion plot (80*60 m). The field survey showed that the abundance of both beetles and spiders was negatively related to the abundance of ants. These results suggest that aphids located in the tree canopy have indirect negative effects on beetles by enhancing the ant abundance on the forest floor. Considering that most of the beetles in our study are important predators, the ant-aphid mutualism can have further trophic cascading effects on the forest floor food web. Source

Zhou W.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences
IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters | Year: 2013

Digital surface models (DSMs) derived from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data have been increasingly integrated with high-resolution multispectral satellite/aerial imagery for urban land cover classification. Fewer studies, however, have investigated the usefulness of LiDAR intensity in aid of urban land cover classification, particularly in highly developed urban settings. In this letter, we use an object-based classification approach to investigate whether a combination of LiDAR height and intensity data can accurately map urban land cover. We further compare the approach to a method that uses multispectral imagery as the primary data source, but LiDAR DSM as ancillary data to aid in classification. The study site is a suburban area in Baltimore County, MD. The LiDAR data were acquired in March 2005, from which DSM and two intensity layers (first and last returns), with 1-m spatial resolution were generated, respectively. Four classes were included: 1) buildings; 2) pavement; 3) trees and shrubs; and 4) grass. Our results indicated that the object-based approach provided flexible and effective means to integrate LiDAR height and intensity data for urban land cover classification. A combination of the LiDAR height and intensity data proved to be effective for urban land cover classification. The overall accuracy of the classification was 90.7%, and the overall Kappa statistics equaled 0.872, with the user's and producer's accuracies ranging from 86.8% to 93.6%. The accuracy of the results were far better than those using multispectral imagery alone, and comparable to using DSM data in combination with high-resolution multispectral satellite/aerial imagery. © 2004-2012 IEEE. Source

Du J.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences | Jing C.,CAS Research Center for Eco Environmental Sciences
Journal of Physical Chemistry C | Year: 2011

In situ detection and identification of PAHs, a group of well-known persistent organic pollutants, presents a great challenge to environmental researchers. This work developed a novel substrate based on thiol-functionalized Fe 3O 4@Ag core-shell magnetic nanoparticles for surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) sensing of PAHs. The surface morphology, structure, and magnetic properties of the substrate were characterized using multiple complementary techniques including transmission electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, vibrating sample magnetometry analysis, and extended X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy. The high saturation magnetization at 48.35 emu g -1 enabled the complete and rapid separation of the substrate from the PAH solution. Benzene, naphthalene, anthracene, phenanthrene, fluorene, pyrene, perylene, and BaP were chosen as probe molecules. Qualitative and quantitative determination of PAHs was achieved using a portable Raman spectrometer. The SERS sensitivity was positively correlated with the hydrophobic nature of PAHs. The SERS response exhibited a linear dependence on the PAHs concentration between 1 to 50 mg/L, and the detection limit in the order 10 -5 to 10 -7 M was obtained. The SERS platform with magnetic substrate provides a new way for in situ PAH monitoring. © 2011 American Chemical Society. Source

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