In this article of El·lipse you can read some of this week’s research highlights from the centres at the Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona (PRBB). You can read the whole stories on the links provided, and if you want to dig even deeper, you can find the original research papers below.
Towards an artificial intelligence that follows social values and norms
Humane AI, one of the six initiatives chosen by the European Commission to “tackle great scientific and technological challenges to change the future”. Its objective is to develop artificial intelligence systems for transparent decision-making processes, that adapt to dynamic environments of the real world and that can understand people and complex social contexts. The consortium is made up of 35 universities, research centers and European industries. Among these institutions are the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) and the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE: CSIC-UPF).
A new way to control inflammation
Scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) have discovered how cells produce a crucial molecule involved in inflammation, pointing towards a new pathway for the development of anti-inflammatory drugs. Researchers focus on IL-1β, a protein released by immune cells in response to “danger” signals, such as bacterial infection or tissue damage, causing an inflammation that helps fight the infection and aids the healing.
The importance of maternal diet during pregnancy in the development of ADHD
The results of a study led by a team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) suggest that the risk of developing symptoms of attention and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) during childhood could be modulated by the mother’s diet during pregnancy. The results of the research show that for each 1 point increment in the ratio of omega-6: omega-3 found in the umbilical cord samples, the number of ADHD symptoms at age seven increased by 13 %.
Coordinated better than isolated
A study led by the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (DCEXS-UPF) has found a new safety system in our cells that makes them more robust against possible alterations of the gene expression. Gene expression is performed in three main stages: transcription, translation and mRNA degradation. The new study indicates that these three stages, classically considered to be isolated due to their different spatial and temporal incidence, are interconnected through a common regulator. Scientists reveal a so far unknown paper for Xrn1, which is a highly conserved protein in eukaryotes.
The antiretroviral treatment in patients with HIV, not the only explanation for bone fractures
Doctors and researchers from the Hospital del Mar and the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM) have shown for the first time that the cause of the osteoporosis problems and bone fractures in patients with HIV is the body’s response to the presence of the virus, in the form of inflammatory processes, and not only the antiretroviral treatment, as it was believed to be. The researchers point to a possible therapeutic target, the signaling pathway Wtn (β-catenin), to avoid the bone problems of these patients, without the need to change their antiretroviral treatment.
Marioara Chiritoiu, Nathalie Brouwers, Gabriele Turacchio, Marinella Pirozzi and Vivek Malhotra. GRASP55 and UPR Control Interleukin-1β Aggregation and Secretion. Developmental Cell. Published: March 14, 2019 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2019.02.011
Mónica López-Vicente, Núria Ribas Fitó, Natalia Vilor-Tejedor, Raquel Garcia-Esteban, Sílvia Fernández-Barrés, Payam Dadvand, Mario Murcia, Marisa Rebagliato, Jesús Ibarluzea, Aitana Lertxundi, Ana Fernández-Somoano, Adonina Tardón, M. Carmen López-Sabater, Dora Romaguera, Martine Vrijheid, Jordi Sunyer, Jordi Julvez. Prenatal omega-6:omega-3 ratio and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder symptoms, The Journal of Pediatrics, 2019.
Blasco-Moreno B, de Campos-Mata L, Böttcher R, García-Martínez J, Jungfleisch J, Nedialkova D, Chattopadhyay S, Gas M, Oliva B, Pérez-Ortín J, Leidel S, Choder M & Díez J. The exonuclease Xrn1 activates transcription and translation of mRNAs encoding membrane proteins. Nature Communications, March, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-09199-6.
Inflammation status in HIV-positive individuals correlates with changes in bone tissue quality after initiation of ART. E Lerma-Chippirraz Marta Pineda-Moncusí A González-Mena Jade Soldado-Folgado H Knobel M Trenchs-Rodríguez A Díez-Pérez Todd T Brown N García-Giralt R Güerri-Fernández Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, dkz014, https://doi.org/10.1093/jac/dkz014