New and Notable This Week

This week’s selection of recently published papers from MDPI journals.


A Novel High-Sensitivity, Low-Power, Liquid Crystal Temperature Sensor

Abstract: A novel temperature sensor based on nematic liquid crystal permittivity as a sensing magnitude, is presented. This sensor consists of a specific micrometric structure that gives considerable advantages from other previous related liquid crystal (LC) sensors. The analytical study reveals that permittivity change with temperature is introduced in a hyperbolic cosine function, increasing the sensitivity term considerably. The experimental data has been obtained for ranges from −6 °C to 100 °C. Despite this, following the LC datasheet, theoretical ranges from −40 °C to 109 °C could be achieved. These results have revealed maximum sensitivities of 33 mVrms/°C for certain temperature ranges; three times more than of most silicon temperature sensors. As it was predicted by the analytical study, the micrometric size of the proposed structure produces a high output voltage. Moreover the voltage’s sensitivity to temperature response can be controlled by the applied voltage. This response allows temperature measurements to be carried out without any amplification or conditioning circuitry, with very low power consumption.


For Open Access Article, see: Algorri, J.F.; Urruchi, V.; Bennis, N.; Sánchez-Pena, J.M. A Novel High-Sensitivity, Low-Power, Liquid Crystal Temperature SensorSensors 201414, 6571-6583.



Sensory TRP Channel Interactions with Endogenous Lipids and Their Biological Outcomes

AbstractLipids have long been studied as constituents of the cellular architecture and energy stores in the body. Evidence is now rapidly growing that particular lipid species are also important for molecular and cellular signaling. Here we review the current information on interactions between lipids and transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels in nociceptive sensory afferents that mediate pain signaling. Sensory neuronal TRP channels play a crucial role in the detection of a variety of external and internal changes, particularly with damaging or pain-eliciting potentials that include noxiously high or low temperatures, stretching, and harmful substances. In addition, recent findings suggest that TRPs also contribute to altering synaptic plasticity that deteriorates chronic pain states. In both of these processes, specific lipids are often generated and have been found to strongly modulate TRP activities, resulting primarily in pain exacerbation. This review summarizes three standpoints viewing those lipid functions for TRP modulations as second messengers, intercellular transmitters, or bilayer building blocks. Based on these hypotheses, we discuss perspectives that account for how the TRP-lipid interaction contributes to the peripheral pain mechanism. Still a number of blurred aspects remain to be examined, which will be answered by future efforts and may help to better control pain states.



For Open Access Article, see: Yoo, S.; Lim, J.Y.; Hwang, S.W. Sensory TRP Channel Interactions with Endogenous Lipids and Their Biological OutcomesMolecules 201419, 4708-4744.



Inhibition of Autophagy Potentiates Atorvastatin-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Human Bladder Cancer Cells in Vitro

Abstract: Statins are cholesterol reduction agents that exhibit anti-cancer activity in several human cancers. Because autophagy is a crucial survival mechanism for cancer cells under stress conditions, cooperative inhibition of autophagy acts synergistically with other anti-cancer drugs. Thus, this study investigates whether combined treatment of atorvastatin and autophagy inhibitors results in enhancing the cytotoxic effects of atorvastatin, upon human bladder cancer cells, T24 and J82, in vitro. To measure cell viability, we performed the EZ-Cytox cell viability assay. We examined apoptosis by flow cytometry using annexin-V/propidium iodide (PI and western blot using procaspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) antibodies. To examine autophagy activation, we evaluated the co-localization of LC3 and LysoTracker by immunocytochemistry, as well as the expression of LC3 and p62/sequestosome-1 (SQSTM1) by western blot. In addition, we assessed the survival and proliferation of T24 and J82 cells by a clonogenic assay. We found that atorvastatin reduced the cell viability of T24 and J82 cells via apoptotic cell death and induced autophagy activation, shown by the co-localization of LC3 and LysoTracker. Moreover, pharmacologic inhibition of autophagy significantly enhanced atorvastatin-induced apoptosis in T24 and J82 cells. In sum, inhibition of autophagy potentiates atorvastatin-induced apoptotic cell death in human bladder cancer cells in vitro, providing a potential therapeutic approach to treat bladder cancers.


For Open Access Article, see: Kang, M.; Jeong, C.W.; Ku, J.H.; Kwak, C.; Kim, H.H. Inhibition of Autophagy Potentiates Atorvastatin-Induced Apoptotic Cell Death in Human Bladder Cancer Cells iVitroInt. J. Mol. Sci. 201415, 8106-812 .



Overview on Techniques to Construct Tissue Arrays with Special Emphasis on Tissue Microarrays

Abstract: With the advent of new histopathological staining techniques (histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization) and the discovery of thousands of new genes, mRNA, and proteins by molecular biology, the need grew for a technique to compare many different cells or tissues on one slide in a cost effective manner and with the possibility to easily track the identity of each specimen: the tissue array (TA). Basically, a TA consists of at least two different specimens per slide. TAs differ in the kind of specimens, the number of specimens installed, the dimension of the specimens, the arrangement of the specimens, the embedding medium, the technique to prepare the specimens to be installed, and the technique to construct the TA itself. A TA can be constructed by arranging the tissue specimens in a mold and subsequently pouring the mold with the embedding medium of choice. In contrast, preformed so-called recipient blocks consisting of the embedding medium of choice have punched, drilled, or poured holes of different diameters and distances in which the cells or tissue biopsies will be deployed manually, semi-automatically, or automatically. The costs of constructing a TA differ from a few to thousands of Euros depending on the technique/equipment used. Remarkably high quality TAs can be also achieved by low cost techniques.


For Open Access Article, see: Vogel, U. Overview on Techniques to Construct Tissue Arrays with Special Emphasis on Tissue Microarrays. Microarrays 2014, 3, 103-136.