University of Gdansk
  • Gdańsk, Poland
Recent publications
Gut microbiota and its association with cancer development/treatment has been intensively studied during the past several years. Currently, there is a growing interest toward next-generation probiotics (NGPs) as therapeutic agents that alter gut microbiota and impact on cancer development. In the present review we focus on three emerging NGPs, namely Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Akkermansia muciniphila, and Bacteroides fragilis as their presence in the digestive tract can have an impact on cancer incidence. These NGPs enhance gastrointestinal immunity, maintain intestinal barrier integrity, produce beneficial metabolites, act against pathogens, improve immunotherapy efficacy, and reduce complications associated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Notably, the use of NGPs in cancer patients does not have a long history and, although their safety remains relatively undefined, recently published data has shown that they are non-toxigenic. Notwithstanding, A. muciniphila may promote colitis whereas enterotoxigenic B. fragilis stimulates chronic inflammation and participates in colorectal carcinogenesis. Nevertheless, the majority of B. fragilis strains provide a beneficial effect to the host, are non-toxigenic and considered as the best current NGP candidate. Overall, emerging studies indicate a beneficial role of these NGPs in the prevention of carcinogenesis and open new promising therapeutic options for cancer patients.
Background Calcitriol (an active metabolite of vitamin D) modulates the expression of hundreds of human genes by activation of the vitamin D nuclear receptor (VDR). However, VDR-mediated transcriptional modulation does not fully explain various phenotypic effects of calcitriol. Recently a fast non-genomic response to vitamin D has been described, and it seems that mitochondria are one of the targets of calcitriol. These non-classical calcitriol targets open up a new area of research with potential clinical applications. The goal of our study was to ascertain whether calcitriol can modulate mitochondrial function through regulation of the potassium channels present in the inner mitochondrial membrane. Methods The effects of calcitriol on the potassium ion current were measured using the patch-clamp method modified for the inner mitochondrial membrane. Molecular docking experiments were conducted in the Autodock4 program. Additionally, changes in gene expression were investigated by qPCR, and transcription factor binding sites were analyzed in the CiiiDER program. Results For the first time, our results indicate that calcitriol directly affects the activity of the mitochondrial large-conductance Ca ²⁺ -regulated potassium channel (mitoBK Ca ) from the human astrocytoma (U-87 MG) cell line but not the mitochondrial calcium-independent two-pore domain potassium channel (mitoTASK-3) from human keratinocytes (HaCaT). The open probability of the mitoBK Ca channel in high calcium conditions decreased after calcitriol treatment and the opposite effect was observed in low calcium conditions. Moreover, using the AutoDock4 program we predicted the binding poses of calcitriol to the calcium-bound BK Ca channel and identified amino acids interacting with the calcitriol molecule. Additionally, we found that calcitriol influences the expression of genes encoding potassium channels. Such a dual, genomic and non-genomic action explains the pleiotropic activity of calcitriol. Conclusions Calcitriol can regulate the mitochondrial large-conductance calcium-regulated potassium channel. Our data open a new chapter in the study of non-genomic responses to vitamin D with potential implications for mitochondrial bioenergetics and cytoprotective mechanisms.
Background Migrants in Norway bear a higher burden of COVID-19 infections and hospitalization as compared to non-migrants. The aim of our study was to understand how migrants perceive their own health risk, how they access information regarding the preventive measures, the degree of trust in this information, in the Norwegian authorities and the news media, and migrants’ adherence to authorities’ recommendations regarding the pandemic. Methods An online survey was performed between May and July 2020 among 529 Polish, Arabic, Somali, Tamil, and Spanish-speaking migrants in Norway. For each outcome presented in the aims, unweighted and weighted descriptive analyses were performed for all migrants together and for each language group. Results Sixty-one percent of migrants perceived their health as excellent or very good, with the lowest value (42%) in the Tamil group and the highest among Somalians (85%). The majority of respondents (82%) felt they had received sufficient information. Press conferences from the government, health authorities’ websites, and Norwegian news media were the preferred channels of information for all groups. Most migrants reported a high level of adherence to preventive measures (88%) and trust in Norwegian authorities (79%). However, there were variations among groups regarding the importance of sources of information and level of trust, which was lowest for the Polish group. Conclusion Migrants in Norway reported receiving sufficient information about COVID-19 and high adherence to preventive measures. However, the levels of trust in the information sources, the services and the authorities varied among the groups. Understanding how migrants are dealing with this pandemic is crucial to improve the dissemination of information and trust in the health authorities for the different groups.
The development of impedimetric, non-faradaic label-free sensors for the detection of α-amino acids constitutes a trailblazing technology for the fast and inexpensive quantification of such biomarkers. Since α-amino acids, such as glycine and sarcosine, are basic constituents in biological processes, a variation in their concentration may be an indicator of cardiovascular diseases and metabolic disorders or neurological conditions. The unique properties, including maze-like porosity along with excellent electron transfer behavior, make boron-doped carbon nanowalls (BCNW) an ideal transducer for electrochemical sensing. In order to realize a non-faradaic impedimetric sensor for the detection of α-amino acids, 1,8-diazafluoren-9-one (DFO), a fluorophore commonly used in forensic science, was dispersed into Ti-sol precursor and deposited over a BCNW substrate by spin-coating. Data mining tools have been applied to the raw impedimetric data to directly predict the glycine concentration and to support the underlying material-interface interaction. The developed sensor revealed high selectivity and reproducibility toward glycine and other α-amino acids (phenylamine, sarcosine and tryptophan) and no selectivity toward β-alanine, γ-aminobutyric acid or taurine. The application of density-functional theory (DFT) studies supported the higher affinity with the highest adsorption energy for the reaction product of DFO with glycine. A detection limit of 51 nM was found for glycine.
Despite varved sediments being widely used for paleolimnological studies, little information is available about how climate and meteorological signals are recorded in varves at sub-seasonal to annual scale. We investigate links between meteorological and limnological conditions and their influence on biochemical varve formation and preservation of sub-seasonal climate signals in the sediments. Our study site is postglacial Lake Żabińskie located in NE Poland, in which thick and complex varved sediments have been studied for the last decade. These sediments provide an excellent material for studying the influence of short-term weather conditions on geological records. For this, we use an almost decade-long (2012-2019) series of observational data (meteorological conditions, physicochemical water parameters, and modern sedimentation observations) to understand varve formation processes. Then we compare these results with a high-resolution biogeochemical proxy dataset based on μXRF and hyperspectral imaging (HSI) measurements of a varved sediment core spanning the same period. Here we show direct links between the meteorological and limnological conditions and varve formation processes This is particularly the case for air temperature which governs calcite laminae formation and primary production. We further show that calcite grain size is influenced by lake mixing intensity resulting from the wind activity, and that holomixis events lead to the formation of distinct manganese (Mn) peaks in the typically anoxic sediments. Our findings show that high-resolution non-destructive spectroscopy methods applied to complex biochemical varves, in combination with long observational limnological datasets, provide useful information for tracking meteorological and limnological processes in the past.
Christopher Alexander, a British-American scholar, famously differentiated an old (natural) city from a new (planned) one in structure. The former resembles a “semilattice”, or a complex system encompassing many interconnected sub-systems. The latter is shaped in a graph-theoretical “tree”, which lacks the structural complexity as its sub-systems are compartmentalized into a single hierarchy. This structural distinction can explain, or perhaps determine “the patina of life” in old urban districts and the lack of such in new ones. Alexander's idea, although widely influential, remains contested for its lack of empirical support. Subsequent literature failed to distinguish the structural differences between the old and new cities in systematic ways, nor is his asserted structure-life relationship verified with rigor. This study aims to test Alexander’s urban structural theory under a comprehensive research framework. We translated his constructs and premises into a mathematically testable form. The structural qualities of an urban street network, conceived as “semilattice”, “complex network” and “living structure”, were measured using graph-topological indicators. Urban life was captured using a combination of Twitter activities, Point-Of-Interests, and walking trips, aggregated at the district level. The structure-life relationship was tested statistically, after controlling for urban form and socio-demographic confounders, including land use, density, block size, parks, income, age, and demographics. This research design was implemented in London, New York, Hong Kong, and Gdansk. Our results support Alexander's early works that an old urban district contains more “semilattice” than new ones. This quality can be captured by Meshedness Coefficient, a graph-network indicator for a semilattice-shaped street network and a strong predictor for urban life. The same cannot be observed for “complex network” with consistency, and we found no independent associations between “living structure” and life, contrary to existing literature. The study shed light on the hidden relationships between urban spatial structure and behaviors, in both the virtual and physical world. We uncovered the British-American predilection of Alexander’s theory, which is well-supported by observations in London and New York yet less so in Hong Kong or Gdansk, suggesting the need for a locally-sensitive approach. The analytical tools developed can be of value for planning research and practice.
Most research on the development of personality traits like the Dark Triad (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy) focuses on local effects like parenting style or attachment, but people live in a larger society that may set the stage for any local effects. Here we paired nation-level data on the traits from 49 nations with several milieu indicators (e.g., life expectancy, homicide rates) from three timepoints (and change among them) where the average participant (≈ 22yo) would have been a child (≈ 6yo), a pre-teen (≈ 11yo), and a teenager (≈ 16yo). Congruent with previous research, variance in narcissism was far more sensitive to variance in milieu conditions in general and across all three time points than variance in Machiavellianism or psychopathy. The milieu conditions differentiated the traits somewhat with income and education revealing negative correlations with narcissism, positive correlations with Machiavellianism, and null correlations with psychopathy. Sex differences in Machiavellianism and narcissism were correlated with homicide rates across the three timepoints. The evidence that changes in milieu conditions in ones' past predicts the traits was erratic, but larger sex differences in the traits were associated with decreased life expectancies and homicide rates between childhood and pre-teens.
Graphitic carbon nitride was investigated as an efficient and cheap catalyst for the degradation of a mixture of parabens through photo-aided processes. The ozone and g-C3N4 system was explored to obtain lacking necessary information regarding this combination for the proposed contaminants. The influence of key parameters was investigated to better understand the behavior of system and optimize it. Ultraviolet-A radiation promoted a more efficient activation of g-C3N4 compared to visible light. The photocatalytic ozonation process achieved higher parabens degradation rates and lower ozone consumption than the single technologies, reducing its overall cost. Basic and neutral conditions (pH = 7–11) promoted a better interaction between catalysts and contaminants, and radicals' formation. A catalyst concentration of 500 mg L⁻¹ and parabens concentration of 1 mg L⁻¹ resulted in >95 % removal of the three parabens within 15 min and with a lower transferred ozone dose required. Toxicity towards Allivibrio fischeri bacteria demonstrated a significant decrease in its luminescence inhibition after photocatalytic ozonation treatment, resulting in a non-toxic solution.
Up until now, marine spatial planning (MSP) has been developed primarily in sea areas that are under national sovereignty, i.e., territorial waters and economic exclusive zones. There are proposals for extending MSP to areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). However, the lack of a clear legal framework to support such attempts limits their viability This paper draws on existing MSP and wider spatial planning experience, and proposes three different scenarios for the creation of planning systems covering the entire world ocean based on the characteristics of different areas. The most promising seems to be the flexible grassroots spatiality approach that would be based on an international agreement to plan ABNJ along with the grass-root efforts of various organisations and planning professionals. The paper identifies key preconditions for the successful introduction of MSP in ABNJ with a focus on resilience and regulatory and supportive ecosystem services. The use of various types of spatial planning is also proposed, prioritizing information and indicative planning, stock-taking and vision-building, making use of non-binding plans, aligning plans for ABNJ and areas under national jurisdiction (AUNJ) and continuous monitoring and evaluation of the results of MSP processes.
The article gives an overview of instruments aimed to promote sustainable aquaculture which is used in European Union legislation and policy. Pursuant to FAO’s definition aquaculture involves the reproduction, breeding, cultivation and marketing of aquatic plants and animals, in controlled or semi-controlled environments. Today, a one fifth of the fish and seafood produced in the EU already comes from fish farms and other forms of aquaculture. The EUs’ regulation of Common Fisheries Policy comprises: protection, management, and exploitation of living aquatic resources, aquaculture, processing and trade in fishery and aquaculture products. A large number of regulations, guidance documents and policy papers have been produced in the past decade in the EU which address many implementation issues which are relevant for aquaculture. Attention is drawn not only to the Common Fisheries Policy but also to the uneven development and current importance of aquaculture globally.
This study investigated the prevalence of parentification in a nationwide cross-sectional study. There were N = 47,984 Polish adolescents aged 12–21 (M = 15.60; SD = 1.98; female 52.7%, male 47.3%). The results indicated that more adolescents experienced emotional parentification (toward parents 35.9%; toward siblings 25.2%) as compared to instrumental parentification (toward parents 7.2%; toward siblings 15.5%), which is noteworthy, since emotional parentification is the most detrimental form of parentification in USA samples. Overall, 15.5% of the participants reported a sense of injustice related to their family caregiving roles and 61.2% reported satisfaction related to their family caregiving roles. The results are important given the dearth of prevalence studies.
Recent studies along the southern Baltic Sea coast have revealed sedimentary records of catastrophic storm surges that significantly exceed the magnitude of storms documented by instrumental measurements. The present study aimed to apply heavy mineral analysis for storm surge deposits along coasts of Gulf of Gdańsk (southern Baltic), as well as for contemporary marine, beach, dune and coastal plain sediments, to test the applicability of the method and to provide new insights into the depositional processes and sediment sources of the storm deposits. The transparent, 0.12 5-0.25 mm heavy mineral fraction (>2.85 g/cm3) in 118 sediment samples was investigated, and the results were subjected to multivariate statistical analyses (cluster, PCA, LDA). Storm deposits showed higher concentrations of heavy minerals comprising enrichment in garnet, zircon, and rutile. General heavy mineral assemblage depended on regional provenance and primary sediment sources. However, flooding regime (overwash or inundation) played a key role in selective hydrodynamic sorting of grains and mineralogical composition of storm deposits. Interpretation of deposits formed in inundation regime was more certain than deposits formed in overwash regime. In the latter case, deposits showed more similarities to adjacent mineral provinces. Statistical analyses proofed that heavy minerals together with other sedimentological descriptors may be a promising proxy for recognition of deposits related to defined sedimentary environment or identification of particular sedimentological process, e.g. event layers resulted from storm surges. paper available from:
In European and many African, Middle Eastern and southern Asian populations, lactase persistence (LP) is the most strongly selected monogenic trait to have evolved over the past 10,000 years1. Although the selection of LP and the consumption of prehistoric milk must be linked, considerable uncertainty remains concerning their spatiotemporal configuration and specific interactions2,3. Here we provide detailed distributions of milk exploitation across Europe over the past 9,000 years using around 7,000 pottery fat residues from more than 550 archaeological sites. European milk use was widespread from the Neolithic period onwards but varied spatially and temporally in intensity. Notably, LP selection varying with levels of prehistoric milk exploitation is no better at explaining LP allele frequency trajectories than uniform selection since the Neolithic period. In the UK Biobank4,5 cohort of 500,000 contemporary Europeans, LP genotype was only weakly associated with milk consumption and did not show consistent associations with improved fitness or health indicators. This suggests that other reasons for the beneficial effects of LP should be considered for its rapid frequency increase. We propose that lactase non-persistent individuals consumed milk when it became available but, under conditions of famine and/or increased pathogen exposure, this was disadvantageous, driving LP selection in prehistoric Europe. Comparison of model likelihoods indicates that population fluctuations, settlement density and wild animal exploitation—proxies for these drivers—provide better explanations of LP selection than the extent of milk exploitation. These findings offer new perspectives on prehistoric milk exploitation and LP evolution. Examination of archaeological pottery residues and modern genes suggest that environmental conditions, subsistence economics and pathogen exposure may explain selection for lactase persistence better than prehistoric consumption of milk.
Tove Jansson (1914–2001) was an outstandingly talented Finnish-Swedish artist, recognized worldwide mostly as the creator of the Moomins. Although the last of the nine-volume series (1945–1970) about the internationally popular Finnish trolls, Moominvalley in November , was published over fifty years ago, the Moomins’ and Jansson’s popularity is still rising, which testifies to the universality and timelessness of the books as well as the thoughtful marketing strategies of Moomin Characters Ltd, the company responsible for copyright supervision. In this article I discuss the Moomin characters’ representation in three events set in contemporary (2017–2021), extratextual societal contexts, both strategically planned and co-organized by Moomin Characters Ltd and spontaneously organized by ordinary people. The motifs and figures from Moominvalley which have been applied in (1) the Invisible Child campaign, (2) the #OURSEA campaign, and/ (3) the women’s strike protests in Poland are exemplified and juxtaposed with their literary images in the nine Moomin books by Jansson. My conclusion is that the references are based on a selective reading and focus on beneficial—in specific contexts—facets. On the one hand, it proves the Moomin books’ versatility and topicality, while on the other, it is not inclusive and disregards the holistic message of the saga, which is an evolving continuum. Furthermore, this way of reading reinforces a single address of the unequivocally double-addressed series.
The tension between the traditional scenario, in which women fulfil themselves mainly as mothers, as well as the emancipatory approach to women’s roles reverberates more and more in Polish society. This conflict between various social expectations has a significant impact on women’s experience of picking up the role of a mother, as well as the intensification of identity ambivalence accompanying their departure from said role. This paper describes the stage in mothers’ lives when adult children move out of their family homes. As part of the [blinded for the review] project, the authors have analysed the stories told by 40 Polish women, whose adult children had moved out of the house, leaving behind a void. The moment of entering a new stage of motherhood and womanhood has been told in the context of a private place – their homes. To further highlight the experience of this moment by the women who participated in the study, the authors have conducted an analysis of their stories within the framework of Victor Turner’s liminality theory. In the case of the women, who participated in the study, the experience of liminality does not lead to a new status that would be socially recognisable. Only nine of them – according to the analysis carried out by the authors – experienced, among other things due to owning or changing their own space, the phase of aggregation, which is typical of becoming a woman in a new role – a mother of an adult child who left home. In contrast, their approach towards space and the practices of everyday life became a pointer showing them the way out of the role of mothers and let them change their status, which the sociologists lack a name for, as the authors argue.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a group of chronic inflammatory disorders of the gastrointestinal tract with worldwide increasing incidence. Recent studies indicate that certain species of intestinal bacteria are strongly associated with IBD. Helper T lymphocytes are not only the key players in mediating host defense against a wide variety of pathogens but also contribute to pathogenesis of many immune-related diseases. Here, using the T cell transfer model of colitis, we observed that the mice maintained in a specific-pathogen free (SPF) unit after receiving naïve CD4 ⁺ T cells developed mild disease. The same mice developed different degrees of disease when they were maintained in a conventional animal facility (non-SPF), where some pathogens were detected during routine health monitoring. Consistently, increased circulating inflammatory cytokines as well as Th1 and Th17 cells were detected in mice housed in non-SPF units. 16S rRNA sequencing of feces samples enabled us to identify changes in the microbiota composition of mice kept in different facilities. Our data indicate that environmental factors influence gut microbiota composition of mice, leading to development of colitis in a T-cell-dependent manner. In conclusion, changes in environmental conditions and microbial status of experimental animals appear to contribute to progression of colitis.
Mycoses are a global problem that affects humans and animals. In the present study, the entomopathogenic soil fungus Conidiobolus coronatus (Entomophthorales), infecting in tropics also humans, sheep and horses, was cultivated with the addition of insect cuticular compounds (CCs) previously detected in the cuticle of C. coronatus —resistant fly species (C10–C30 fatty alcohols, butyl oleate, butyl stearate, glycerol oleate, squalene, tocopherol acetate). Our findings indicate that CCs have diversified and complex effects on the growth and sporulation of C. coronatus and its ability to infect the larvae of Galleria mellonella (Lepidoptera). The CCs affected protein content and cuticle-degrading enzymes (CDEs) activity in the conidia. Some CCs inhibited fungal growth (0.1% C10), decreased sporulation (C12, C16, C24, C28, C30, butyl stearate, squalene), virulence (C12, C14, butyl oleate, butyl stearate) and protein content (C18). They also reduced conidial CDE activity: elastase (C24, butyl oleate, butyl stearate, squalene, tocopherol acetate), chitobiosidase (C12, C14, C20) and lipase (C12, C18, C26, squalene, tocopherol acetate). Several CCs enhanced sporulation (C14, C18, C22, C26, C30), virulence (C18, C26, squalene), conidial protein content (C16, C24, C30, squalene) and CDE activity: elastase (C10, C16, C18), NAGase (C16, C20), chitobiosidase (C16) and lipase (C10, C14, C16, C20, butyl oleate). Our findings indicate that C. coronatus colonies grown on media supplemented with CCs employ various compensation strategies: colonies grown with C16 alcohol demonstrated reduced sporulation but greater conidial protein accumulation and increased elastase, NAGase, chitobiosidase and lipase activity, thus preserving high virulence. Also, colonies supplemented with C18 alcohol demonstrated high virulence and enhanced sporulation and elastase activity but slightly decreased conidial protein content. CCs that inhibit the activity of lipases and proteases show promise in the fight against conidiobolomycosis.
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4,214 members
Magda Caban
  • Faculty of Chemistry
Marcin Wolek
  • Department of Transport Market
Katarzyna Wojczulanis-Jakubas
  • Department of Vertebrate Zoology
J. N. Izdebska
  • Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology
Kazimierz Musial
  • Institute of Scandinavian and Finnish Studies
Bażyńskiego 8, 80-309, Gdańsk, Poland
Head of institution
Piotr Stepnowski