News Article | April 18, 2017
All-round miracle material graphene has yet another transformative use case to add to the collection: Quickly and easily revealing when a man-made structure is in need of repairs. That’s thanks to researchers at Germany’s Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research, who have developed a smart graphene coating which shows breaks and fractures by changing color. “Extensive research efforts all over the world focus on single-layer graphene, and graphene enables a wide array of functional coatings and paints for many possible applications,” Shang-Lin Gao, a scientist in Leibniz Institute’s Department of Composite Materials, told Digital Trends. “However, our work only considers multilayer graphene nano-platelets with a widely distributed size and thickness. Variable structural coloration is achieved for the first time by overlapping these graphene nanoplatelets. The color changing is sensitive to nanoscale mechanical deformation. It provides the possibility for the early warning of microcracks prior to a material’s failure.” Inspired by the way that fish scales reflect light, the scientists involved in the project designed a coating which amplifies particular wavelengths of light, but dulls others. The graphene flakes are then placed at certain angles so that, if compromised in some way, they’ll bounce back red, yellow, and green light, while noncompromised areas do not. Cleverly, the color of light can change according to the severity of an area’s stress, so structures could conceivably be color-coded to show how severe a particular area of damage is. “The potential industrial applications for this graphene coating could be not only structural materials [on] vehicles, ships [etc.] for checking nanoscale deformation, but also smart house, textiles for fashion, [and more,]” Gao continued. At present, the work is still in its early stages. Gao noted that there is still much to be done in terms of research and investment in order to solve challenges related to scaling-up manufacturing, parameter control, and more in order to make this a reality. However, if these are solved effectively, color-changing graphene coatings could potentially be an invaluable tool in the arsenal of designers, structural engineers, and more.
News Article | April 27, 2017
Today, cancer is typically diagnosed by removing a bit of tissue with a biopsy and then sending that tissue to a specially trained pathologist who stains the tissue and uses a microscope to look for cancerous cells. The ability for doctors to skip the biopsy and use a multimodal imaging endoscope to diagnose cancer on the spot would save valuable time and could also allow surgeons to more easily differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue during surgery. With the new probe, imaging techniques that previously required bulky table-top instruments can be performed with a handheld device measuring only 8 millimeters in diameter, about the same diameter as a ballpoint pen. If miniaturized further, the probe could easily be integrated into an endoscope for nonlinear multimodal imaging inside the body. "We hope that, one day, multimodal endoscopic imaging techniques could help doctors make quick decisions during surgery, without the need for taking biopsies, using staining treatments or performing complex histopathological procedures," said Jürgen Popp, from Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology in Jena, Germany and the paper's lead author. The researchers detail their new handheld probe in Optica, The Optical Society's journal for high impact research. It is the first miniaturized probe for multimodal biological imaging to incorporate a multicore imaging fiber, a type of optical fiber consisting of several thousand light-guiding elements. This special imaging fiber allowed the researchers to keep all moving parts and electric power outside of the probe head, making the probe easy and safe to use in the body. The researchers have tested the probe with many types of tissue samples, but because it is currently designed for forward view mode, the primary applications of the probe would likely include skin, brain or head and neck surgery. They are working on implementing a side view mode that could be used to investigate hollow organs and arteries such as the colon, bladder or aorta. "The new probe serves as a miniaturized microscope that uses near-infrared lasers to investigate tissue," said Popp. "Different components of biological tissue react differently to the excitation lasers, and their unique response gives us information about the molecular composition and morphology within the tissue." The handheld multimodal imaging probe can simultaneously acquire several types of images: coherent anti-stokes Raman scattering, second harmonic generation and two-photon excited auto-fluorescence. These nonlinear imaging techniques have been shown to be useful for clinical diagnostics, including identifying cancerous cells, but it has been difficult to miniaturize the required instrumentation for use inside the body. The probe's reduced size comes from its use of gradient index, or GRIN, lenses to focus the laser light. Compared to traditional spherical lenses that use complicated shaped surfaces to focus light, GRIN lenses can be made very small because they focus light through continuous refractive index changes within the lens material. Popp's research team collaborated with scientists from Grintech Gmbh who designed GRIN lenses only 1.8 millimeters in diameter and helped incorporate the robust lens assembly into a small aluminum housing. Endoscopes designed for nonlinear imaging commonly use moving mirrors and electromechanical devices for point by point laser scanning in the probe head. Using the multicore imaging fiber allowed the researchers to further reduce the device's size by moving the laser scanning out of the probe head and away from the sample site. Because the fiber's thousands of light guiding elements, or cores, preserve the spatial relationship of the light between the two ends of the fiber, the scanning can be performed at the opposite end of the fiber, making an endoscopic approach much easier. "Compared to other endoscopic nonlinear imaging approaches, our fiber probe stands out due to its simplicity," said Popp. "Since no moving parts are incorporated in the probe head, possible misalignments in the optics are limited and the probe's overall lifetime is increased." The researchers demonstrated the unique capabilities of the multicore imaging fiber by moving one end of the probe across a sample and transferring the acquired images to the other end. "This is not a trivial task since the cores of the imaging fiber differ in size and shape, hindering efficient and homogeneous coupling of the excitation lasers," said Popp. "Furthermore, we had to deal with unwanted effects like different wavelengths interacting inside the fiber and core-to-core light coupling." They also demonstrated that the probe could acquire separate coherent anti-stokes Raman scattering, second harmonic generation and two-photon excited autofluorescence images of healthy human skin tissue samples with a resolution of 2048 by 2048 pixels for a scanned area of 300 by 300 microns. This resolution and field of view is sufficient for identifying tumor borders, and the probe can be moved over the tissue surface to get an overview of the affected area. The researchers are working to use algorithms to improve the quality of the multimodal images, which appear pixelated because of the structure of the multicore imaging fiber. As a next step, they plan to test the probe in animal models and with patients in a clinical setting. Explore further: Potential new tool to aid breast cancer surgery (Update)
News Article | January 19, 2016
Using molecular genetic tools, scientists have demonstrated the existence of a grandchildren's generation of capercaillies in the south of Brandenburg in East Germany. A pilot conservation project reintroduced these endangered birds to the German nature reserves "Niederlausitzer Heidelandschaft" and "Niederlausitzer Landrücken" as recently as 2012. The founder population was wild caught in Sweden and then transferred to Brandenburg. "I am really happy about this success which exceeds the highest expectations even of the project initiators. This success is based on a longstanding collaboration between the Forest Administration of our state, the two nature reserves, the Federal Forest Management Lausitz, the Leibniz Institute of Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) and local private forest owners. The aim of this collaboration over the long-term is to significantly improve the habitat in the large forests of the Western Niederlausitz", says Jörg Vogelsänger, Brandenburg's Minister of Rural Development, Environment and Agriculture. Experts discovered the unexpected existence of a grandchildren's generation when examining feathers collected from sand baths of the capercaillies. Geneticists from the IZW in Berlin not only documented the 60 Swedish capercaillies introduced into Brandenburg during the original release in 2012 and 2013. They could also show that the population already contained descendants of the first and second generations. Therefore these young animals are the very first real "Brandenburg" carpercaillies. The original, native Brandenburg population had died out in 1990. Increased sightings of carpercaillies beyond the boundaries of the pilot conservation project area confirm that these impressive birds are established well and start spreading within Brandenburg. The carpercaillie pilot project ran from 2012 to 2014. It evaluated the chances of success for reintroducing carpercaillies in its former habitat in the Niederlausitz and was scientifically monitored. The high survival rates of the Swedish wild caught birds is substantially above those from other comparable projects which used animals bred and kept in aviaries or cages. Despite this first evidence of successful reproduction of carpercaillies in Germany, the question is whether the current number of animals is sufficient to establish a viable population in the long run. The current population of 30 to 40 animals and their descendants does send out an optimistic message to all involved experts and the local communities which assisted in the reintroduction. This founder population represents a first big step towards a successful reintroduction of a highly endangered bird species in Germany. For the experts, the establishment of a self-sustaining population of at least 100 animals is the medium-term goal. For that reason, the Swedish Ministry of Environment will provide more carpercaillies to Germanys' state of Brandenburg in the next few years. Explore further: The evolution of personality
News Article | December 21, 2016
DFG to fund 12 projects for the development of new technologies through new call/ New major research instrument for X-raying reinforced concrete components approved The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is funding new instrumentation for various fields of knowledge-driven research through two calls. The Joint Committee of the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing organisation of the research community in Germany took the relevant funding decisions at its December session in Bonn. The first decision relates to the call for "New Instrumentation for Research", issued for the first time, which is designed to enable the development of new instrumentation technologies for research questions which cannot be answered with currently available equipment. The newly developed instrumentation should be made available to as many researchers as possible for the purposes of basic research. After the very strong response to the call issued in January 2016 - which attracted a total of 79 proposals - the DFG Joint Committee has now decided to fund twelve projects for an initial three years with a total funding volume of €8 million. The projects relate to natural sciences (including geosciences), life sciences, medical technology, and engineering sciences and are based at the following universities and non-university research institutions: Aalen University; Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (university hospital); University of Bonn; Technical University of Darmstadt; Erlangen University Hospital, University Medical Center Freiburg and Radiological Institute, German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg; Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics, Hanover, and Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Jena; Heidelberg University; University of Jena; University of Cologne, Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics, Potsdam, and Landessternwarte Königstuhl (state observatory), Heidelberg; Technical University of Munich, University of Greifswald and Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Greifswald; University Hospital Münster; University of Würzburg and University of Mainz. The second decision relates to a major instrumentation initiative. Through this initiative, the DFG will make €8 million available for the construction and commissioning of a new type of system at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern that will be able to X-ray components made of reinforced concrete and other materials using computed tomography (CT). The system will use X-rays of 9 mega-electronvolts, much more powerful than medical X-ray systems, allowing it to probe reinforced concrete components up to 30 centimetres in diameter and 6 metres in length. It will even be possible to X-ray components while they are experiencing stress or destruction; the three-dimensional images of these processes will provide researchers with valuable information. The research carried out with the new equipment is intended to provide information about the durability and properties of established construction materials and also facilitate the development of improved materials and composites. For 20 percent of its usage time, the new X-ray system will also be available to other scientific working groups in Germany. For "New Instrumentation for Research": Dr Achim Tieftrunk, Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology Division, tel. +49 228 885-2816, Achim.Tieftrunk@dfg.de For the major instrumentation initiative: Dr Michael Royeck, Scientific Instrumentation and Information Technology Division, tel. +49 228 885-2976, Michael.Royeck@dfg.de
News Article | December 19, 2016
COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M AgriLife Research wheat breeders will continue to build on their development of hybrid wheat varieties through a joint grant with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the International Wheat Yield Partnership are jointly funding a three-year grant for $975,000. The grant, titled "Developing the Tools and Germplasm for Hybrid Wheat" will involve Texas A&M's Dr. Amir Ibrahim, a wheat breeder in College Station, and Dr. Jackie Rudd, a wheat breeder in Amarillo. The first year of funding has been released with the last two years subject to release based upon continued progress in the grant research. The project will be led by Dr. Stephen Baenziger, University of Nebraska-Lincoln small grains breeder; and also include Dr. Bhoja Basnet, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known as CIMMYT, hybrid wheat breeder, El Batan, Mexico; Dr. Friedrich Longin, University of Hohenheim wheat breeder, Stuttgart, Germany; Dr. Jesse Poland, Kansas State University geneticist, Manhattan, Kansas; and Dr. Jochen Reif, Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Science department head, Gatersleben, Germany. Individually, the project team has made great strides in the U.S. and abroad toward developing the tools to foster hybrid wheat development to maximize wheat yield potential, Ibrahim said. Using an integrated approach involving in-house germplasm, chemical hybridizing agents, breeding, phenotyping, genomic selection and quantitative trait loci mapping, the researchers expect this project to help create scientific and germplasm foundations for successfully launching the hybrid wheat industry in the U.S. To feed a larger global population with increasing dietary needs, Ibrahim said wheat yields need to increase by 1.7 percent per year. Currently, yields are only increasing 0.9 percent annually. Ibrahim said hybrid crops have increased vigor over the two parents in yield and other traits. In hybrids, the female parent does not produce viable pollen, but is used as a seed plant. The male parent has the role of pollinator. Together they have the capacity to combine and express hybrid vigor. For wheat, past conventional breeding efforts increased hybrid vigor about 10 percent, but Ibrahim said they want to get that figure in the range of 15-20 percent to make it attractive to producers. "We believe hybrid wheat, which is more climate resilient than pure-line wheat, can contribute to achieving this goal," he said. Ibrahim said there are two systems for producing seed: chemical hybridization agents, which kill the anthers on the female; and the male sterility system, which includes breeding females and males separately and making selections based on the best combination. The effort now is aimed at developing cytoplasmic male-sterile females and male parents by breeding fertility restoration genes into them, he said. A minimum of three fertility restoration genes is needed in the males. This genetic system is very slow. Ibrahim and Baenziger have been working jointly toward the development of hybrid wheat since 2013, testing more than 600 lines of hybrid wheat varieties in Nebraska and Texas. In this new project, the objectives will include continued screening of these two large wheat breeding programs for the floral and plant traits needed for efficient hybrid seed production and hybrid performance. The researchers are also tasked with creating and testing hybrids to establish and confirm heterotic pools in wheat, and to genotype the lines going into the heterotic pools to improve algorithms to separate lines into maximum likelihood pools for future testing and validation. Additionally, they will map restorer genes and create a series of cytoplasmic male sterility, or CMS, tester lines - the maintainer lines - and a series of elite restorer lines, or R-lines, to begin to determine the efficacy of CMS-based hybrid systems. Ibrahim said it will take several more years to successfully maximize hybrid vigor, but through this collaboration the first commercially available and affordable hybrid wheat seed should be available to producers sooner.
News Article | March 4, 2016
When psychologist Courtenay Norbury came across a paper this week that had similar conclusions to research she published 12 years ago, she turned to social media with a question. Norbury, who studies children with autism spectrum disorders at University College London, tweeted: Dorothy Bishop, a developmental neuropsychologist at the University of Oxford, UK, who helped to write a report on how to improve the reliability of biomedical research, tweeted in response that some fields can get stuck on the same research questions: The problem of irreproducibility in science has gained widespread attention, but one aspect that is discussed less often is how to find the right balance between replicating findings and moving a field forward from well-established ones. Norbury has for years reported that people who have autism and poor language skills can find it difficult to make inferences, decipher ambiguous phrases and understand metaphors or jokes. She has also shown that this is not necessarily the case for people with autism who are more linguistically capable1, 2. The latest study, published in Research in Developmental Disabilities on 18 February3, mirrored the work by suggesting that people with autism who have good language skills do well on such tasks. Psychologists Melanie Eberhardt at the University of Cologne in Germany and Aparna Nadig at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, authors of the latest study, acknowledge that this evidence is clear and convincing for researchers in this area, but say: “We find that unfortunately there are many lay, professional and academic circles where this result is still not understood.” They add, “Therefore we found it important to add to the convergent evidence on this question.” “Replication is important but it would be nice sometimes to take a bigger leap forward,” says Norbury. She adds that the next “obvious” step in this research involves intervention, which is challenging to do. “But I’d love to start thinking of how to overcome these obstacles, rather than just repeatedly demonstrating that language impairment has negative impacts for children with autism,” she says. Brett Buttliere, a research assistant at the Leibniz Institute for Knowledge Media in Tübingen, Germany, tweeted: “It is obvious that not publishing when something doesn’t work is bad, but so is doing the same thing over and over again without learning something new,” Buttliere said in an interview. Virginia Barbour, executive officer of the Australasian Open Access Support Group in Brisbane, Australia, posted her observations: In response, Bishop later tweeted a link to a paper published in The Lancet that looked at reducing waste in biomedical research4. The 2014 article said that many studies are done without referencing systematic reviews of the literature, which leads to waste. Paul Glasziou, a clinician and researcher at Bond University in Queensland, Australia, who is a co-author of the Lancet paper, says that the bar for reproducibility can be set at different heights. For example, he says, the US Food and Drug Administration requires a minimum of two positive randomized control trials to show effectiveness of a new drug — a rule that Glasziou says is “reasonable” as long as the trials are “well done and adequately powered”. He adds, however, that clinical studies are usually repeated more than once, pointing to one analysis of systematic reviews that found that a review cited on average 16 similar papers5. One issue could be that researchers are unaware of similar studies. For example, a study of 1,523 clinical-trial reports published between 1963 and 2004 found that, on average, each report cited less than 25% of the previous similar trials that were relevant6. Barbour added in an interview that one way of deciding whether a claim has been reproduced enough could be to analyse reviews and meta-analyses of studies from the same field. Using novelty as a criterion for publication in journals may solve the problem, notes Norbury, who is an editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. By contrast, many researchers have called for journals to de-emphasize new findings and instead publish numerous replications; Norbury says that she agrees “to a certain extent”. But, she adds, “my heart sometimes sinks when I see yet another paper exploring what I consider to be well-trodden ground. I’m not looking for ‘sexy’ findings, but I am looking for something that has the potential to change practice or move the field forward.”
News Article | May 14, 2016
Under the watchful eyes of a group of heavily armed guards, three rhinos graze on the grassland of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Most of the world knows that the rhinoceros is threatened, but the status of these animals is in another league. They are the planet’s last three northern white rhinos. None is capable of breeding. The northern white, which once roamed Africa in its thousands, is in effect extinct. The three – named Sudan, Najin and Fatu – are the last of their kind. In a few months, however, a group of scientists from the US, Germany, Italy and Japan will attempt the seemingly impossible: to rescue the northern white rhino – smaller and hairier than its southern cousin – from the jaws of extinction. In October, they plan to remove the last eggs from the two female northern whites and by using advanced reproductive techniques, including stem cell technology and IVF, create embryos that could be carried to term by surrogate rhino mothers. The northern white could then be restored to its former glory. The procedure would be a world first. It is an audacious plan – and a controversial one. Many conservation experts believe the resources being used to create northern white embryos would be better spent on saving other rhino species by providing them with protection in the wild. Why try to restore the species if the cause of its extinction has still not been tackled, they ask. Others say that taking a hi-tech approach to species preservation could lull the conservation movement into thinking it would always be able to fall back on science to help reproduce a species once it gets into trouble. These points are rejected by project scientists. “Unless we act now, the northern white rhino will go extinct. And don’t forget that, once we have developed IVF and stem cell technologies to save it, we will then be able to use them to rescue other threatened species,” said one of the project’s leading scientists, Professor Thomas Hildebrandt, of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. “For example, there are only three or four rhinoceros from Borneo left in captivity and none known in the wild,” said Hildebrandt. “We could use this technology to rescue them.” Other creatures that might benefit from this technology include the kouprey, an ox-like creature from Cambodia, and the buffalo-like anoa, from Sulawesi. Both are also critically endangered, he said. The northern white rhino once ranged over areas of Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Around 2,000 survived in the wild in 1960. But the growing use of rhino horn as a traditional medicine in China, and more recently as a luxury cure for hangovers and other ailments in Vietnam, triggered a widespread growth in poaching, bringing about a sharp decline in numbers of all rhinos. (There are five rhino species: Indian, Javan, Sumatran, the black rhino and the white rhino, of which there are two subspecies, northern and southern.) By the 1980s the northern white had reached critically endangered status, and despite conservationists’ best efforts numbers continued to decline. “We put millions of dollars into protecting the northern white rhino in Garamba national park in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Susie Ellis of the International Rhino Foundation. “However, the species was lost there when the park became a conflict zone and we had to pull out to ensure the safety of our staff. If there is no political will, there is only so much that organisations like ours can do.” By 2010 no northern whites were known to exist in the wild, while fewer than a dozen survived in zoos. By 2015 that number had shrunk to four and then, in November, with the death of San Diego zoo’s Nola, there was only Sudan, Najin and Fatu. All three are thought to be incapable of breeding. Nevertheless the consortium’s scientists still hope to be able to create viable northern white rhino embryos. First Najin and Fatu, the two surviving females, will be treated with hormones and then their eggs will be extracted. These will be fertilised using sperm from northern white rhino males currently kept in frozen stores. The embryos will be implanted in surrogate mothers selected from southern white rhinos. There are more than 20,000 southern whites in Africa, mostly in South Africa. The embryos will then be allowed to gestate in their southern surrogate mothers. In this way it should be possible to bring the northern white rhino back from extinction, scientists argue. It will not be easy. Ellis said: “No one has ever successfully used IVF on any rhino species. IVF requires specific conditions to mimic the uterine environment, and it will take a lot of time and enormous funding to perfect the methodology.” In addition, one of the two females at Ol Pejeta is quite elderly and the other is known to have uterine problems. These issues could affect the project’s progress, as another of its leading scientists, Professor Cesare Galli, of Bologna University, acknowledged. “It is not an easy task getting eggs from female rhinos, and we may find we simply do not have enough viable eggs to create embryos in the numbers we want. If that turns out to be the case, we will have to take a different approach.” In this scenario, scientists would take cells from frozen rhino tissue and then reprogramme these into stem cells that could then be turned into sperm and eggs. Northern white rhino embryos could then be created from these. Effectively the species would be resurrected by taking skin cells from dead animals in order to create fully viable embryos. It will be an incredibly tricky procedure. Scientists have created stem cells – known as induced pluripotent stem cells – from rhino skin cells. However, they have not taken the final step and turned them into sperm and eggs, and no one knows how difficult that might be. Nevertheless the group is confident. “I am sure we will learn how to do this in the end,” said Hildebrandt. It will be a considerable effort and, as the critics are pointing out, mightily expensive. It is estimated that San Diego zoo has already had to raise around $2m to fund its involvement in the project. For his part, Hildebrandt told the Observer that the budget for his Leibniz Institute group’s involvement was only €100,000. Such investment makes many rhino conservation workers uneasy. Richard Emslie, a rhinoceros expert with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, said funding for other projects, including those that involve fieldwork, could be hit. “The idea that hi-tech saves species may detract from support for basics such as law enforcement, biological management and monitoring on the ground,” he said. “Field conservation efforts by people in green and khaki, and not just boffins in white coats, need our support.” However, funding advanced reproductive research as opposed to field conservation is not necessarily an either/or choice, said Hildebrandt. “Financial backing for these two very different approaches to rhino conservation tends to come from very different sources. So our work shouldn’t affect backing for field or conservation work in any way. More to the point, it will open up the technology of using stem cell science so we can save and protect other endangered species.” Other conservationists fear the spectacular nature of the work proposed by the international group could lull them into thinking science will always be able to save the day. “This says that we can let species go to the very brink of extinction and modern technology can bring them back,” Stuart Pimm, a conservation biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told the journal Nature. “There is a very substantial moral hazard in that.” However, Ellis – although acknowledging the difficulties facing the project’s scientists – accepted that perfecting the methods for saving the northern white could help other species, in particular the Sumatran and Javan rhinos, which are also suffering precipitous declines in numbers. “We need to take a multifaceted approach to this challenge, and hi-tech science is certainly one of them,” she said. “In fact, there is no easy answer regarding the northern white rhino. It is now functionally extinct. The best lesson we can learn from that is to never let that happen again with any other species.” The world’s last three northern white rhinos (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) used to live at Dvůr Králové zoo in the Czech Republic, but in 2009 were moved to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, where they are kept under constant armed guard. The three rhinos are: ■ Sudan, who is thought to be 42 years old. He was caught in South Sudan and is the planet’s last male. He suffers from low sperm count. ■ Najin, the 26-year-old daughter of Sudan. She has leg injuries, which means that she can no longer bear the weight of pregnancy or that of a mounting male. ■ Fatu, the daughter of Najin and grand-daughter of Sudan. She has a uterine disorder that prevents an embryo from being successfully implanted. Cells and sperm from a further 11 northern white rhinos are also being kept in frozen storage.
Fillatreau S.,Leibniz Institute
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases | Year: 2013
B lymphocytes play a unique role in immunity through the production of antibodies. In addition, they can secrete various arrays of cytokines classically associated with innate or adaptive immune cells. During the last 10 years, it has become apparent that secretion of cytokines by B cells can play decisive roles in immunity. For instance, B cells can act both as regulators and drivers of autoimmune pathogenesis through production of cytokines, such as interleukin-10 or interleukin-6, respectively. Similarly, B cells can either inhibit or stimulate antimicrobial immunity through secretion of interleukin-10 or interleukin-2, respectively. Despite the fact that other cell types can produce the same factors, B cells are often a non-redundant source of these cytokines, a feature possibly attributable to the fact that B cells generally reside in microenvironments different from T cells in secondary lymphoid organs and inflamed tissues. This review discusses examples that illustrate the diversity of functions B cells can perform through the production of cytokines, highlighting the importance of this aspect of B cell biology in health and disease.
Shen P.,Leibniz Institute |
Fillatreau S.,Leibniz Institute
Nature Reviews Immunology | Year: 2015
Cytokine production by B cells is important for multiple aspects of immunity. B cell-derived cytokines, including lymphotoxin, are essential for the ontogenesis, homeostasis and activation of secondary lymphoid organs, as well as for the development of tertiary lymphoid tissues at ectopic sites. Other B cell-derived cytokines, such as interleukin-6 (IL-6), interferon-β and tumour necrosis factor, influence the development of effector and memory CD4 + T cell responses. Finally, B cells can regulate inflammatory immune responses, primarily through their provision of IL-10 and IL-35. This Review summarizes these various roles of cytokine-producing B cells in immunity and discusses the rational for targeting these cells in the clinic. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.
News Article | March 15, 2016
Textechno, a German manufacturer of testing equipment for textiles, and the Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research Dresden, have won the JEC World Innovation Award 2016 for a new testing system which can access the properties of a fiber to matrix interface. The quality of a composite laminate, especially the stiffness, can be dependent on a good adhesion strength between the reinforcing fiber and the polymer matrix. To accurately and reliably measure the bonding between fibers and resins, Textechno developed Fimatest, the first system that is commercially available consisting of two devices Fimabond, a partially automated embedding station suitable for all fibers and resins systems, and the pullout tester Favimat+, which can also be used for single filament linear density and tensile testing. ‘The FIMATEST system is a new building block for testing the quality of composite laminates with glass or carbon fiber reinforcement,’ said Dr Ulrich Mörschel, CEO of Textechno. ‘This development was possible through an excellent collaboration with the well known expert Professor Edith Mäder from the Dresden Leibniz Institute for Polymer Research who contributed the knowledge of the micromechanical behaviour.’ ‘The composite market is continuously growing and requires world-class testing systems measuring the quality of the products,’ said Dr Michael Effing, CEO of AMAC GmbH and advisor for Composite Materials to Textechno. ‘The fiber matrix interface is a key feature for mechanical performance. I am very pleased that Textechno has developed this system in a very short time frame and can already present it at the JEC.’ The first system has been delivered to the new Fraunhofer ICT Institute in Augsburg, Germany and another unit has been sold to a glass fiber producer in the USA, the company says. This story uses material from Textechno, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.