University of Alcalá
  • Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
Recent publications
Background Obesity is caused by the enlargement of the white adipose tissue (WAT) depots, characterized by the hypertrophic enlargement of malfunctioning adipocytes within WAT which increases the storage of triglycerides (TG) in the lipid droplets (LD). Adipogenesis pathways as well as the expression and activity of some extracellular matrix receptors integrins are upregulated. Integrinβ1 (INTB1) is the main isoform involved in WAT remodeling during obesity and insulin resistance-related diseases. We recently described Integrin Linked Kinase (ILK), a scaffold protein recruited by INTB1, as an important mediator of WAT remodeling and insulin resistance. As the few approved drugs to fight obesity have brought long-term cardiovascular side effects and given that the consideration of INTB1 and/or ILK modulation as anti-obesogenic strategies remains unexplored, we aimed to evaluate the anti-obesogenic capacity of the clinically approved anticoagulant Tirofiban (TF), stated in preclinical studies as a cardiovascular protector. Methods Fully differentiated adipocytes originating from C3H10T1/2 were exposed to TF and were co-treated with specific INTB1 blockers or with siRNA-based knockdown ILK expression. Lipid-specific dyes were used to determine the TG content in LD. The genetic expression pattern of ILK, pro-inflammatory cytokines (MCP1, IL6), adipogenesis (PPARγ, Leptin), thermogenesis (UCP1), proliferation (PCNA), lipid metabolism (FASN, HSL, ATGL), and metabolite transporters (FABP4, FAT, AQP7) were detected using quantitative PCR. Cytoskeletal actin polymerization was detected by confocal microscopy. Immunoblotting was performed to detect INTB1 phosphorylation at Thr788/9 and ILK activity as phosphorylation levels of protein kinase B (AKT) in Ser473 and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) at Ser9. TF was intraperitoneally administered once per day to wildtype and ILK knockdown mice (cKDILK) challenged with a high-fat diet (HFD) or control diet (STD) for 2 weeks. Body and WAT weight gains were compared. The expression of ILK and other markers was determined in the visceral epididymal (epi) and inguinal subcutaneous (sc) WAT. Results TF reduced TG content and the expression of adipogenesis markers and transporters in adipocytes, while UCP-1 expression was increased and the expression of lipases, cytokines or PCNA was not affected. Mechanistically, TF rapidly increased and faded the intracellular phosphorylation of INTB1 but not AKT or GSK3β. F-actin levels were rapidly decreased, and INTB1 blockade avoided the TF effect. After 24 h, ILK expression and phosphorylation rates of AKT and GSK3β were upregulated, while ILK silencing increased TG content. INTB1 blockade and ILK silencing avoided TF effects on the TG content and the transcriptional expression of PPARγ and UCP1. In HFD-challenged mice, the systemic administration of TF for several days reduced the weight gain on WAT depots. TF reduced adipogenesis and pro-inflammatory biomarkers and increased lipolysis markers HSL and FAT in epiWAT from HFD, while increased UCP1 in scWAT. In both WATs, TF upregulated ILK expression and activity, while no changes were observed in other tissues. In HFD-fed cKDILK, the blunted ILK in epiWAT worsened weight gain and avoided the anti-obesogenic effect of in vivo TF administration. Conclusions ILK downregulation in WAT can be considered a biomarker of obesity establishment. Via an INTB1-ILK axis, TF restores malfunctioning hypertrophied WAT by changing the expression of adipocyte-related genes, increasing ILK expression and activity, and reducing TG storage. TF prevents obesity, a property to be added to its anticoagulant and cardiovascular protective advantages.
Bioelectrohydrogenesis using a microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) is a promising technology for simultaneous hydrogen production and wastewater treatment which uses electrogenic microbes. Microbial activity at the anode and hydrogen evolution reaction at the cathode can be controlled by electrode–microbe interaction and electron transfer. The selection of anode electrode material is governed by electrochemical oxidation of substrates and subsequent electron transfer to the anode. Similarly, a good cathodic material should reduce the overpotential at the cathode and enhance the hydrogen evolution reaction and H2 recovery. This review mainly focused on modifications in electrode materials and cheaper novel alternatives to improve the performance for MEC and overcome its scale-up challenges for practical applications. Performance of various anode and cathode materials based on Ni alloys, stainless steel, polyaniline, palladium, and carbon has been discussed. The scalability of the material should consider its inexpensive fabrication procedure and efficiency.
Human needs and their production processes require energy services to be developed. In recent years, there has been a great interest in counteracting the use of fossil fuels to satisfy these needs. As part of the worldwide proposed initiatives, there is the use of renewable resources. In Latin America, renewable energy represents a large share of electric energy generation sources. In the case of the Ecuadorian energy regulation, it is necessary to generate at least 1 MW to be considered as a solar farm. Under this framework, Ecuador has a project for installing 91 photovoltaic power plants, fifteen of which will be solar farms and the rest solar power plants with relatively low generation capacity. Currently, in Ecuador, photovoltaic projects are randomly distributed in the territory which shows a lack of adequate criteria for their location. The first step to promote the use of solar sources is identifying the potential, which can be estimated with the use of spatial tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with Multiple-criteria decision-making (MCDM). This research aims to locate appropriate sites for installing photovoltaic solar farms based on the Ecuadorian energy regulation and combining GIS with MCDM techniques. Thus, nine factors and four restrictions were used for the analysis. Factors were weighted using the Analytic Hierarchy Process method. Once weighted, seven MCDMs were applied to select sites with solar potential. Subsequently, an analysis of seven results was performed using the Pearson correlation coefficient, followed by the absolute error analysis. By the coefficient of Pearson, it is demonstrated that there are methods with a high correlation between them. It is explained by the fact that they have many pixels with similar values, but these values are independent of geographical location. Regarding the results, Loja and part of the provinces in the center north of the country, Pichincha, Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, and Cotopaxi are the most adequate because of its great global solar radiation, wind speed, and temperature to cold the solar panels.
Resumen Los tumores benignos más comunes de la mama son los fibroadenomas simples. Son tumores sólidos con tejido glandular y fibroso. Aquellos que presentan un tamaño mayor de 5 cm se denominan fibroadenomas gigantes. Estos pueden presentar un rápido crecimiento, por lo que se debe realizar un diagnóstico diferencial con el tumor phyllodes u otras enfermedades mamarias. Presentamos el caso de una paciente de 15 años con un fibroadenoma que comenzó con asimetría mamaria y precisó tratamiento quirúrgico mediante abordaje inframamario y enucleación de la masa, con buen resultado estético posterior. Revisamos la bibliografía al respecto.
Riparian forests nestled in agricultural landscapes represent a small proportion in crop-intensive areas, while contributing remarkably to their biodiversity. This biodiversity supports several ecological processes crucially involved in the supply of ecosystem services (ES) complementary to that provided by agricultural lands and also relevant for designing biodiverse and multifunctional landscapes. Riparian forest is one of the most threatened ecosystems due to land-use intensification and associated water extraction, especially in Mediterranean semi-arid areas, and proper evaluation of the success of riparian restoration projects is usually lacking. Furthermore, there is little empirical evidence of the effects of riparian restoration on ES supply. In this study, we first investigated the effect of hydrological and soil features on survival and growth of saplings planted in degraded riparian areas in two Mediterranean watersheds. Then, we evaluated how riparian restoration affected the supply of ES, comparing nine regulating and supporting ES on these restored areas with other riparian areas spanning a gradient of conservation status, and with other natural and agricultural land-uses in the same watershed. We found that restoration success mainly depended on water table depth, soil salinity and soil nutrients (namely Mg⁺² and Olsen P). Moreover, we detected an antagonistic interaction between the latter two, and a synergetic interaction between water table depth and soil salinity. Forest patches provided meaningful regulating and supporting ES in agricultural landscapes. In particular, riparian restoration zones increased the supply of regulating and supporting ES (water purification, habitat provision, microclimate regulation and soil C storage) in comparison with degraded natural land-uses and crops. Nevertheless, they were still far from the magnitude and range of ES provided by mature riparian forests. These results highlight the importance of focusing management practices on conserving riparian forest patches and restoring the degraded ones to reconcile agricultural production with the maintenance or enhancement of ES in agricultural Mediterranean landscapes.
This is the fourth data paper publishing lightcurve survey work of 52 Near Earth Asteroids (NEAs) using 10 telescopes available to the EURONEAR network between 2017 and 2020. Forty six targets were not observed before our runs (88% of the sample) but some of these were targeted during the same oppositions mainly by Brian Warner. We propose new periods for 20 targets (38% of the sample), confirming published data for 20 targets, while our results for 8 targets do not match published data. We secured periods for 15 targets (29% of the sample), candidate periods for 23 objects (44%), tentative periods for 11 asteroids (21%), and have derived basic information about 3 targets (6% of the sample). We calculated the lower limit of the ellipsoid shape ratios a/b for 46 NEAs (including 13 PHAs). We confirmed or suggested 4 binary objects, recommending two of them for follow-up during future dedicated campaigns.
This review aims to assess different technologies for the on-site treatment of hospital wastewater (HWW) to remove pharmaceutical compounds (PhCs) as sustances of emerging concern at a bench, pilot, and full scales from 2014 to 2020. Moreover, a rough characterisation of hospital effluents is presented. The main detected PhCs are antibiotics and psychiatric drugs, with concentrations up to 1.1 mg/L. On the one hand, regarding the presented technologies, membrane bioreactors (MBRs) are a good alternative for treating HWW with PhCs removal values higher than 80% in removing analgesics, anti-inflammatories, cardiovascular drugs, and some antibiotics. Moreover, this system has been scaled up to the pilot plant scale. However, some target compounds are still present in the treated effluent, such as psychiatric and contrast media drugs and recalcitrant antibiotics (erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole). On the other hand, ozonation effectively removes antibiotics found in the HWW (>93%), and some studies are carried out at the pilot plant scale. Even though, some families, such as the X-ray contrast media, are recalcitrant to ozone. Other advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), such as Fenton-like or UV treatments, seem very effective for removing pharmaceuticals, Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria (ARBs) and Antibiotic Resistance Genes (ARGs). However, they are not implanted at pilot plant or full scale as they usually consider extra reactants such as ozone, iron, or UV-light, making the scale-up of the processes a challenging task to treat high-loading wastewater. Thus, several examples of biological wastewater treatment methods combined with AOPs have been proposed as the better strategy to treat HWW with high removal of PhCs (generally over 98%) and ARGs/ARBs (below the detection limit) and lower spending on reactants. However, it still requires further development and optimisation of the integrated processes.
In this chapter, recent advances on the use of functionalized nanoparticles‐based strategies for nanoadsorption, nanofiltration, photocatalytic degradation, and chemical degradation are described.
Pd-containing Al-SBA-15 materials were prepared and characterized in view of their utilization in the two-step valorization of trans-ferulic acid into stilbenes via tandem decarboxylation/Mizoroki-Heck coupling. Materials were found to be highly active and selective in the proposed chemistries, with quantitative conversion to target products under mild reaction conditions (typically 100 °C, 3–6 h reaction). Relevant insights on catalyst deactivation via sintering (Pd nanoparticles agglomeration) were also observed for the synthesized materials.
Governments increasingly tend to involve or rely on various societal actors to address social challenges and develop cost-effective and high-quality public services. This paper identifies the major themes of social innovation relating to this type of collaborative governance, by carrying out a conceptual analysis of the scientific and grey literature on social innovation in five European countries. Depending on the country, different emphases of social innovation are found. One theme that appears common to all countries is social entrepreneurship. This paper provides a mapping of these major themes on social innovation. It discusses the nexus of collaborative governance and social innovation by theme, and the impact that the history of the national welfare state has on social innovation initiatives and forms of collaborative governance.
The solubility of allopurinol was measured at several temperatures (15–35 ºC) in ethanol–water, ethanol–ethyl acetate, and ethyl acetate–hexane mixtures. The mole fraction solubility shows two solubility maxima against the co-solvent (ethanol) ratio (70 % ethanol–water and 100 % ethyl acetate) at each of the five temperatures studied. The authors correlated the solubility data in binary solvent mixtures at various temperatures using a modified version of the Jouyban–Acree model. The respective apparent thermodynamic functions Gibbs energy, enthalpy, and entropy of solution were obtained from the solubility data through the van’t Hoff equations. The apparent enthalpies of solution are endothermic and display a maximum at 20 % ethanol in water, as ethanol is added to water, the entropy of the system increases. In the non-aqueous mixture (ethanol–ethyl acetate), enthalpy is the driving force throughout the whole solvent composition. An enthalpy–entropy compensation analysis confirms a non-linear enthalpy–entropy relationship in plots of enthalpy vs. Gibbs energy of solution, i.e., two different mechanisms involved in the solubility enhancement. An inverse Kirkwood–Buff integral analysis of the preferential solvation indicated that in ethanol-rich mixtures, the drug is preferentially solvated by water, and it is acting mainly as a Lewis base in front to water.
This study presents an overview of the status of publications related to creativity, communication, and leadership linked to entrepreneurship. A total of 9308 documents extracted from Web of Science (WoS) and Scopus have been evaluated from a global perspective. However, 3409 research articles, extracted from the WoS core collection, were reviewed in depth additionally using graph theory and text-to-network techniques. It considers the importance of the link between entrepreneurship and those elements considered skills by databases such as World Economic Forum (WEF), Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI), and European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations (ESCO). The real relevance of scientific papers was identified through analysis based on several tools—Google's Page Rank algorithm, VosWiever, Bibliometrix, and Biblioshiny—in various scientometric reviews. The main themes linked to the investigated concepts were identified in relation to the research objectives, allowing us to generate future research guidelines and proposals. The median year for publication is 2016; more than half of the publications by top authors between 2004 and 2022 were published after 2016. These insights allow us to highlight the growing interest in skills linked to entrepreneurship.
The availability of high-resolution reference datasets representing in space and time and with high accuracy areas affected by fires is strategic for the validation of remotely-sensed Burned Area (BA) products. This paper proposes a methodology designed to build a burned area reference dataset from Sentinel-2 (S2) images at continental scale by implementing a stratified random sampling scheme. Representative sample units are selected across biomes and regions with high/low fire activity; each unit covers the extent of a S2 tile (∼10 000 km²) where image time series are classified with a supervised Random Forest algorithm to extract fire perimeters by exploiting visible to near and short-wave infrared S2 wavebands at 10 to 20 m spatial resolution. Time series have to satisfy requirements on maximum cloud cover, maximum time interval between consecutive images and minimum length to be suitable for being selected and processed. The proposed methodology was applied to Sub-Saharan Africa for the year 2019 to select 50 S2 sample units where time series were processed to deliver fire reference perimeters for accuracy assessment of regional BA products. Average series length is 140 days with the longest series in the savanna biome (maximum length is 355 days, 29 consecutive S2 images) and a total of 695 S2 images were processed to build the 2019 reference dataset. This dataset was compared to burned areas derived from very-high resolution Planetscope images over five S2 tiles obtaining 15.5% omission and 11.6% commission errors. To exemplify the use of this reference dataset, S2 perimeters were used to validate the NASA MCD64A1 Collection 6 and the ESA FireCCI51 BA products. The reference dataset has been added to the Burned Area Reference Database (BARD) (Franquesa et al., 2020) and is publicly available at https://doi.org/10.21950/VKFLCH.
Background Digital interventions have become an accessible format in clinical practice to provide better support for patients with mental disorders. However, the clinical efficacy in patients with depressive disorders is not well known. We aimed to determine the efficacy of smartphone applications (apps) in patients diagnosed with a depressive disorder.Method An electronic database search was performed of PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science, to identify relevant articles up to June 12, 2021. Peer-reviewed articles were screened and selected based on predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria.ResultsSeven articles met the inclusion criteria and therefore were selected for the systematic review, which included a total of 651 patients. The results were heterogeneous, essentially due to the different methodologies used in the selected studies.Conclusions Digital smartphone-delivered interventions do not appear to reduce depressive symptomatology nor improve the quality of life in patients diagnosed with depressive disorders when compared to an active control group. Taking into account the inherent methodological difficulties and the variability among such studies, it is apparent that further research—with more methodologically refined clinical trials, including larger sample sizes—is needed.
Although the benefits of regular physical activity on cardiovascular health are well established, the effects of strenuous endurance exercise (SEE) have been a matter of debate since ancient times. In this article, we aim to provide a balanced overview of what is known about SEE and the heart—from epidemiological evidence to recent cardiac imaging findings. Lifelong SEE is overall cardioprotective, with endurance master athletes showing in fact a youthful heart. Yet, some lines of research remain open, such as the need to elucidate the time‐course and potential relevance of transient declines in heart function (or increases in biomarkers of cardiac injury) with SEE. The underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance of SEE‐associated atrial fibrillation, myocardial fibrosis, or high coronary artery calcium scores also remain to be elucidated. © 2022 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 12:1‐19, 2022. Although the benefits of regular physical activity on cardiovascular health are well established, controversy exists on the potentially detrimental effects of regular strenuous endurance exercise. Strenuous endurance exercise is overall cardioprotective. Indeed, young endurance athletes and even endurance master athletes (individuals >40‐years‐old who have performed high levels of endurance exercise for ≥1–2 decades and still participate in sports competitions) show a healthier cardiovascular system than their nonathlete peers. A transient decline in heart function (along with increases in biomarkers of cardiac injury) is often observed after acute strenuous endurance exercise, although the time course and potential relevance of these findings remain unclear. Regular strenuous endurance exercise has also been associated with an increased incidence of atrial fibrillation, myocardial fibrosis, or high coronary artery calcium scores, although the underlying mechanisms and clinical relevance of these findings also remain to be elucidated.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by persistent inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Moreover, ADHD is commonly associated with other comorbid diseases (depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc.). The ADHD symptomatology interferes with subject function and development. The treatment of ADHD requires a multidisciplinary approach based on a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments with the aim of ameliorating the symptomatology; among first-line pharmacological treatments are stimulants [such as methylphenidate (MPH) and lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX)]. In this review we explored recent ADHD- and stimulants-related literature, with the aim of compiling available descriptions of molecular pathways altered in ADHD, and molecular mechanisms of current first-line stimulants MPH and LDX. While conducting the narrative review, we applied structured search strategies covering PubMed/MEDLINE database and performed handsearching of reference lists on the results of those searches. The aetiology and pathophysiology of ADHD are incompletely understood; both genetic and environmental factors have been associated with the disorder and its grade of burden, and also the relationship between the molecular mechanisms of pharmacological treatments and their clinical implications. The lack of comprehensive understanding of the underlying molecular pathology makes both the diagnosis and treatment difficult. Few published studies evaluating molecular data on the mechanism of action (MoA) of MPH and LDX on ADHD are available and most of them are based on animal models. Further studies are necessary to improve the knowledge of ADHD pathophysiology and how the MoAs of MPH and LDX differentially modulate ADHD pathophysiology and control ADHD symptomatology.
Interaction between people and virtual characters through digital and electronic devices is a reality. In this context, the design of virtual characters must incorporate emotional expression at a nonverbal level looking for effective communication with the user. This exploratory study investigates the design features of an avatar functioning as a virtual assistant in educational contexts. From a multidisciplinary approach, the user's research was elaborated by a semi-open questionnaire of self-perception of emotional characteristics: likeability, attractiveness, and applicability of a set of six 2D and 3D characters. The results extracted from a sample of 69 university students provide a relevant information on design features and open new lines for future research. Aspects such as Ekman's basic emotion discrimination and the design of facial expression are analyzed. The incorporation of other body parts, their spatial orientation and contextual elements, seems to contribute to effective emotional communication. The results also highlight how the design of a virtual character should take into consideration the complexity involved in facial gestures and changes in relation to the vertical axis and planes of movement. Finally, this article discusses the complexity involved in expressing a given emotion in a virtual character.
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Juan Muro
  • Department of Economics
Juan Junoy
  • Department of Life Sciences
Gabriel Moreno
  • Department of Life Sciences
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José Vicente Saz Pérez
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