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Balhara J.,University of Manitoba | Koussih L.,University of Manitoba | Koussih L.,University of Saint-Boniface | Zhang J.,University of Manitoba | And 2 more authors.
Frontiers in Immunology | Year: 2013

Pentraxin 3 (PTX3) is a soluble pattern recognition receptor that is a humoral component of the innate immune system. It interacts with pathogenic moieties, infected and dying host cells and facilitates their removal through activation of appropriate innate and adaptive mechanisms. PTX3 is secreted by a diverse variety of cells, ranging from immune cells to structural cells, in response to Toll like receptor (TLR) engagement, inflammatory stimuli, and physical and chemical stress. Further, PTX3 plays an essential role in female fertility as it facilitates the organization of extracellular matrix in the cumulus oophorus. Such activity is also implicated in post-inflammation tissue repair. PTX3 is a multifunctional protein and plays a non-redundant role in providing immunity against potential immunological dangers. Thus, we assessed its role in lung immunity, as lungs are at a constant risk of infections and tissue damage that is attributable to perpetual exposure to foreign agents. © 2013 Balhara, Koussih, Zhang and Gounni. Source

Hawke L.D.,University of Western Ontario | Hawke L.D.,University of Saint-Boniface | Parikh S.V.,University of Western Ontario | Parikh S.V.,Kings College | Michalak E.E.,University of British Columbia
Journal of Affective Disorders | Year: 2013

Background Psychiatric stigma is pervasive injustice that complicates the course of illness and reduces quality of life for people with mental illnesses. This article reviews the research examining stigma towards bipolar disorder (BD) with a view to guiding the development of stigma reduction initiatives and ongoing research. Methods PsychInfo, Medline, and Embase databases were searched for peer-reviewed studies addressing stigma in BD. Results Stigma is a serious concern for individuals with BD and their families. Stigma occurs within affected individuals, families, social environments, work and school environments, and the healthcare industry. With stigma often come a loss of social support and occupational success, reduced functioning, higher symptom levels and lower quality of life. BD stigma is comparable to that of other severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. Few interventions are available to specifically target stigma against BD. Limitations Most studies have used explicit, attitude-based measures of stigma without controlling for social desirability, which may not translate into real-world stigmatizing behaviors. Furthermore, many studies have not clearly delineated results in a manner consistent with the conceptual framework of stigmatization. Conclusions Stigma toward BD is ubiquitous and has insidious consequences for affected individuals and their families. Stigma reduction initiatives should target individuals living with BD, their families, workplaces, and the healthcare industry, taking into account the experiences and impacts of BD stigma to improve social support, course of illness, and quality of life. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source

Sims L.,University of Saint-Boniface
Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal | Year: 2012

This paper describes an innovative approach to environmental assessment that built local capacity enabling a more sustainable management of natural resources. It presents learning outcomes from a community-based strategic environmental assessment (CBSEA) involving communities from two Costa Rican watersheds who assessed the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad's (ICE) proposed agro-conservation programme. Participants were engaged throughout the CBSEA process, from planning to the implementation of four highly interactive workshops representing steps in a strategic environmental assessment. Instrumental learning results included: learning about CBSEA and its role in programme planning; developing problem-solving skills related to assessing impacts and creating mitigation strategies; effective group-working strategies; and technical information. Communicative learning outcomes included becoming more self-aware, and appreciating environmental conservation and collaboration. ICE learnt a participatory methodology and reconsidered communities' role in programme planning. Findings contribute to understanding the process of adult learning in cross-cultural contexts and the link between individual learning and social action. © 2012 Copyright IAIA. Source

Issack B.B.,Concordia University at Montreal | Issack B.B.,University of Saint-Boniface | Peslherbe G.H.,Concordia University at Montreal
Journal of Physical Chemistry B | Year: 2015

While it has long been known that cholesterol reduces the permeability of biological membranes to water, the exact mechanism by which cholesterol influences transmembrane permeation is still unclear. The thermodynamic and kinetic contributions to the transport of water across mixed DPPC/cholesterol bilayers of different composition are thus examined by molecular dynamics simulations. Our analyses show that cholesterol decreases transmembrane permeability to water mainly by altering the thermodynamics of water transport. In particular, the free-energy barrier to permeation is magnified in the dense bilayer interior and the partitioning of water is significantly lowered. The changes are observed to correlate quantitatively well with the cholesterol-dependent density and thickness of the bilayers. In contrast, diffusion coefficients are relatively insensitive to cholesterol concentration, except in the sparsely populated center of the bilayer. Diffusion of water in cholesterol-containing bilayers appears to be related to changes in the free area in the middle of the bilayer and to the solute cross-sectional area in the denser hydrophobic regions. Overall, cholesterol is found to have an inhibitory effect on the permeation of water at all concentrations investigated, although bilayers containing cholesterol concentrations up to 20 mol % display a more dramatic dependence on cholesterol content than at higher concentrations. Our results show that it is possible to quantitatively reproduce the relative effects of cholesterol on lipid bilayer permeability from molecular dynamics simulations. (Graph Presented). © 2015 American Chemical Society. Source

Gee J.H.,University of Manitoba | Rondeau S.L.,University of Saint-Boniface
Herpetologica | Year: 2012

We measured gaseous lift and specific gravity of larval anurans at regular intervals during development to assess their importance in determining buoyancy in eight species. Specifically, we examined the hatchling, larval, and metamorphic stages of tadpoles from still waters (Limnodynastes dumerili, Limn. peronii, Lithobates septentrionalis, and Rhinella marina), intermittent streams (Litoria genimaculata and Lito. lesueuri), and torrent sections of rivers (Lito. nannotis and Nyctimystes dayi). Buoyancy levels and the strategies used to attain buoyancy varied at different phases of development and with the environment occupied. Buoyancy increased rapidly during development in hatchlings of Limn. peronii, Lith. septentrionalis, and R. marina due to a reduction in specific gravity. Lungs were inflated in early larval stages of all species except for Lito. nannotis, N. dayi, and R. marina, which inflated their lungs following metamorphosis. Limnodynastes dumerili and Limn. peronii used gaseous lift to maintain near-neutral buoyancy throughout larval and metamorphic stages. Lithobates septentrionalis, Stages 25-29 (first summer), possessed a high level of gaseous lift, but buoyancy declined as lung gas volume decreased in Stages 31-43 (second summer). Rhinella marina did not inflate lungs prior to transformation but achieved an intermediate buoyancy level due to a very low specific gravity. The intermittent-stream species Lito. genimaculata and Lito. lesueuri used gaseous lift to achieve buoyancy levels similar to those of Lith. septentrionalis (Stages 31-43) and R. marina. The torrent-dwelling species Lito. nannotis and N. dayi were the least buoyant; their lungs were not inflated prior to transformation and their specific gravity was elevated. Both gaseous lift and specific gravity are important factors in determining buoyancy in larval anurans. © 2012 by The Herpetologists' League, Inc. Source

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