Stewart, K M
For the last 35 years, the African cherry (Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalm.) has been used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and other disorders. The bark, from which the treatment is derived, is entirely wild-collected. The major exporters of bark include Cameroon, Madagascar, Equatorial Guinea, and Kenya. Groupe Fournier of France and Indena of Italy produce 86% of the world's bark extract, both for their own products and for the free market. Worldwide exports of dried bark in 2000 have been estimated at 1350-1525 metric tons per year, down from its peak of 3225 tons in 1997. Bark extracts (6370-7225 kg per year) are worth an estimated $4.36 million US dollars per year. In 2000, Plantecam, the largest bark exporter in Africa, closed its extraction factory in Cameroon, due to complex ecological, social, and economic factors. Wild-collection is no longer sustainable (and probably never was) where harvest seriously affects morbidity and mortality rates of harvested populations. Since 1995, it has been included in CITES Appendix II as an endangered species. In this paper, alternatives to wild-collection to meet future market demand are investigated, including conservation practices, enrichment plantings, small- and large-scale production, and protection of genetic resources. The species is at the beginning of a transition from an exclusively wild-collected species to that of a cultivated medicinal tree.
New, L; Li, Y; Ge, B; Zhong, H; Mansbridge, J; Liu, K; Han, J
MAP kinases have important role in PC12 cell differentiation, since the activities of both extracellular regulated protein kinase (ERK) and p38 have been indicated as necessary signal for PC12 cell differentiation. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and NGF both activate ERK and p38 in PC12 cells, but only NGF trigger differentiation. It has been proposed that the duration of ERK activation determines the switch from proliferation to differentiation, since EGF causes more transient activation of ERK than NGF in PC12 cells. Here we report that treatment of PC12 cells with EGF in the presence of SB203580, a widely used p38 inhibitor, caused differentiation. The pro-differentiation effect of SB203580 in EGF-treated PC12 cells was found to be independent of its function of p38 inhibition but was through an effect on the ERK pathway that has been recently reported (Kalmes et al.  FEBS Lett. 444: 71-74; Hall-Jackson et al.  Onc. 18: 2047-2054). We found that SB203580 by itself did not affect the activity of ERK1/2 but significantly extended EGF-induced ERK activation in PC12 cells, which resulted in early morphological differentiation. Our data indicated that although both ERK and p38 are required for PC12 cell differentiation, activation of p38 is not required when ERK is superactivated. Our data provided further evidence for the threshold theory that differentiation is determined by the duration of ERK activation.
Speziale, S.; Bruschini, E.; Andreozzi, G. B.; Bosi, F.; Hålenius, U.
Spinels are a subject of intense research in solid state physics, materials science and geosciences. Their general formula is T(A1-i)M(AiB2-i)X4 (A and B are cations, X are anions, T and M indicate tetrahedrally- and octahedrally-coordinated sites and i is the inversion degree). They are ideal materials to study the interplay between chemical substitutions, structure and the physical properties of solids. As spinel-structured ringwoodite (Mg,Fe)2SiO4 is the most abundant mineral in the lower transition zone, understanding the effect of chemical substitution on the elastic properties of spinels is of crucial for geophysics. We have experimentally studied the variation of the elastic properties along the join MgAl2O4 - MnAl2O4. Crystals of 4 compositions along the join were synthesized at the very same experimental conditions and their crystal chemistry was fully characterized. Single-crystal elastic constants Cij of all the samples were measured by Brillouin spectroscopy at ambient conditions. For compositions with Mn/Mg < 0.5 C11 remains constant, then it decreases of ~4% for higher Mn contents. From MgAl2O4 to MnAl2O4 C12 lineraly increases ~ 5% and C44 decreases ~ 20% . The bulk modulus KS is almost constant, whereas the shear modulus G decreases ~ 18% across the join. The elastic constants of MnAl2O4 are C11 = 271.3 (± 1.3) GPa, C12 = 164.8 (± 1.3) GPa and C44 = 124.9 (5) GPa. Using the empirical polyhedral approach  we have inferred the effectve polyhedral bulk moduli of Mg, Mn and Al in T and M sites. We observe that KMnM < KMgM < KMgT ≈ KMnT < KAlM << KAlT. The relationship between polyhedral moduli and ionic potential IP  can be expressed as Ki j (GPa) = 20 ( ± 2) × IP + 108 (± 10), where i is the cation, j is the site and IP is in units of (e/Å). Using our correlation and atomic radii from  we successfully reproduced the bulk modulus of different oxide spinels with bi- and tri-valent cations. Our preliminary results confirm that empirical
Kalvans, Andis; Hang, Tiit
solely by the basin depth and duration of the ice cover period. A normal grading is observed in most of the studied winter layers of individual varves. Relatively large errors in the estimated terminal grain size permits only to conclude that it is in line with previously reconstructed water depth constrained by the maximum possible duration of the lake ice cover. The research is supported by the European Union through the ESF Mobilitas grant No MJD309. References Hang, T., Kohv, M. 2013. Glacial varves at Pärnu, south-western Estonia: a local varve chronology and proglacial sedimentary environment. GFF, June, 37-41. doi:10.1080/11035897.2013.775598 Rosentau, A., Vassiljev, J., Hang, T., Saarse, L., Kalm, V. 2009. Development of the Baltic Ice Lake in the eastern Baltic. Quaternary International, 206(1-2), 16-23. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2008.10.005