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  • Author: Michał Nowicki x
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One of the biggest challenges that organizations are facing today is finding the proper way to shape competitive advantages in the age of Industry 4.0. This digital revolution forces companies to face specific challenges. The main purpose of this paper is to identify key requirements for the creation of a competitive advantage in the age of Industry 4.0 [CA. 4.0] The second purpose is to evaluate the level of organizations' preparedness for Digital Transformation [DX]. Studies based on a literature review describe requirements for organizations functioning in the age of Industry 4.0, especially in the area of DX and exploitation of Virtualization [V&DX].


Openness is an expression of an enterprise’s ability to adapt to changing environment conditions and its ability to cooperate with different types of partners. A given company’s openness shows its readiness for the creation of dynamics of many business processes, including the creation of its competitive advantage. Due to the nature of today’s enterprises’ environment, mainly its “high velocity” & “complexity” attributes, openness of companies has to be multifaceted. Organization-customer relationships, called co-creation, are one of such facets. The capacity for effective co-creation gives a company the ability to gain a competitive advantage along with the chance for its permanent dynamization and sustainability. The main purpose of the paper is to present the framework and algorithm of co-creation as a method of reducing the complexity of the environment and dynamizing companies’ competitive advantages. A review of literature in the areas of open organization, open culture, partnership, co-creation, and competitive advantage provides a basis for understanding the process of co-creation. Collected data show that the activity of enterprises in this process is a key factor in the reduction of complexity of a company’s environment and an important stimulator of the dynamization of a company’s competitive advantage. The authors’ own CATI questionnaire survey research conducted in Poland showed the level of preparation Polish SMEs have to co-create.


Macrophages, detected as CD68+ cells, are considered to have marked contribution to aorto-coronary grafts disease. The purpose of this study was to find any ultrastructural differences in CD68+ cells between arterial and venous aorto-coronary grafts.

The surplus segments of radial artery (RA) and saphenous vein (SV) were obtained from 50 patients with the mean age of 63.4±9.2 years who undergo elective coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The vascular segments were analyzed by means of both light (to assess number and distribution of macrophages within their walls) and transmission electron microscopy (to evaluate ultrastructure of CD68+ cells in the vessel layers).

Histological analysis revealed that not only more macrophages (median (25th; 75th percentile)) were found on the transverse sections of veins (95 (67; 135)) than arteries (66 (43; 108)) (p<0.05) but also at least of 50% of them were found in the tunica intima and tunica media in SV while only 30% in RA. TEM studies showed that biological activity of macrophages depended on CD68+ location and was irrespective of the vessel type. Those found in the tunica intima and tunica media presented ultrastructure typical for active cells rich in numerous lysosomes, well developed rough endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus whereas adventitial macrophages for unreactive residual cells.

Ultrastructural characteristics of both forms of macrophages infiltrating wall of aorto-coronary grafts is similar irrespective of the vessel type. More active cells in the inner layers of the venous conduits may contribute to their inferior outcomes compared to the arteries.

Running title: Macrophages and aorto-coronary grafts

Kernel Principal Component Analysis (KPCA), an example of machine learning, can be considered a non-linear extension of the PCA method. While various applications of KPCA are known, this paper explores the possibility to use it for building a data-driven model of a non-linear system-the water distribution system of the Chojnice town (Poland). This model is utilised for fault detection with the emphasis on water leakage detection. A systematic description of the system’s framework is followed by evaluation of its performance. Simulations prove that the presented approach is both flexible and efficient.


The problem of position and orientation estimation for an active vision sensor that moves with respect to the full six degrees of freedom is considered. The proposed approach is based on point features extracted from RGB-D data. This work focuses on efficient point feature extraction algorithms and on methods for the management of a set of features in a single RGB-D data frame. While the fast, RGB-D-based visual odometry system described in this paper builds upon our previous results as to the general architecture, the important novel elements introduced here are aimed at improving the precision and robustness of the motion estimate computed from the matching point features of two RGB-D frames. Moreover, we demonstrate that the visual odometry system can serve as the front-end for a pose-based simultaneous localization and mapping solution. The proposed solutions are tested on publicly available data sets to ensure that the results are scientifically verifiable. The experimental results demonstrate gains due to the improved feature extraction and management mechanisms, whereas the performance of the whole navigation system compares favorably to results known from the literature.


The process of reproduction requires several factors, leading to successful fertilization of an oocyte by a single spermatozoon. One of them is the complete maturity of an oocyte, which is acquired during long stages of folliculogenesis and oogenesis. Additionally, the oviduct, composed of oviductal epithelial cells (OECs), has a prominent influence on this event through sperm modification and supporting oocyte’s movement towards uterus. OECs were isolated from porcine oviducts. Cells were kept in primary in vitro culture for 30 days. After 24h and on days 7, 15 and 30 cells were harvested, and RNA was isolated. Transcript changes were analyzed using microarrays. Fatty acids biosynthetic process and fatty acids transport ontology groups were selected for analysis and described. Results of this study indicated that majority of genes in both ontology groups were up-regulated on day 7, 15 and 30 of primary in vitro culture. We analyzed genes involved in fatty acids biosynthetic process, including: GGT1, PTGES, INSIG1, SCD, ACSL3, FADS2, FADS1, ACSS2, ALOX5AP, ACADL, SYK, ACACA, HSD17B8, FADS3, OXSM, and transport, including: ABCC2, ACSL4, FABP3, PLA2G3, PPARA, SYK, PPARD, ACACA and P2RX7. Elevated levels of fatty acids in bovine and human oviducts are known to reduce proliferation capacity of OECs and promote inflammatory responses in their microenvironment. Most of measured genes could not be connected to reproductive events. However, the alterations in cellular proliferation, differentiation and genes expression during in vitro long-term culture were significant. Thus, we can treat them as putative markers of changes in OECs physiology.


Mammalian oocytes undergo compound processes of nuclear and cytoplasmic maturation that allow them to reach MII stage. Only fully mature, oocyte can be successfully fertilized by a single spermatozoon. Fatty acids, apart from their role in cellular metabolism, inflammation and tissue development, have positive and detrimental effects on oocyte maturation, fertilization, blastocyst cleavage rate and embryo development in mammals. Using microarrays, we have analyzed the expression changes in fatty acids- -related genes during in vitro maturation of porcine oocytes. The oocytes were recovered from ovaries of 45 pubertal crossbred Landrace gilts and subsequently subjected to BCB test. For further analyses, only granulosa cell-free BCB+ oocytes were used and divided into two groups. The first one, described as “before IVM”, was directly exposed to molecular assays, the second one, described as “after IVM”, was first in vitro matured and then subjected to a second BCB test. Oocytes, if classified as BCB+, were then passed to corresponding molecular analyses. We found significant down-regulation of genes involved in fatty acid metabolic process, such as: ACSL6, EPHX2, FADS2, PTGES, TPI1, TBXAS1, NDUFAB1, MIF, ACADSB and DECR1 in porcine oocytes analyzed after IVM, in comparison to those analyzed before IVM. In conclusion, apart from poor data available concerning analyzed genes in relation to reproductive events, significant changes in their expression point to their potential role as an oocyte developmental competence markers in pigs. Introducing molecular diagnostics of oocytes could be the prospective tool for selection of best gametes, leading to improved outcomes of in vitro fertilization.


The formation of mammalian oocytes begins in the ovary during fetal development. The proper development of oocytes requires close communication with surrounding somatic cells, the substances they emit allow proper maturation of oocytes. Somatic cumulus (CC) cells and oocytes form cumulus-oocyte (COC) complexes.

In this study, the Affymetrix microarray analysis was used to investigate changes in gene expression occurring in oocytes before and after in vitro maturation (IVM). The aim of the study was to examine oocyte genes involved in two ontological groups, “regulation of cell migration” and “regulation of cell proliferation” discovered by the microarray method.

We found a reduced expression of all 28 genes tested in the ontological groups: ID2, VEGFA, BTG2, CCND2, EDNRA, TGFBR3, GJA, LAMA2, RTN4, CDK6, IHH, MAGED1, INSR, CD9, PTGES, TXNIP, ITGB1, SMAD4, MAP3K1, NOTCH2 , IGFBP7, KLF10, KIT, TPM1, PLD1, BTG3, CD47 and MITF. We chose the most regulated genes down the IVM culture, and pointed out those belonging to two ontological groups.

Increased expression of the described genes before IVM maturation may indicate the important role of these genes in the process of ovum maturation. After the maturation process, the proteins produced by them did not play such an important role. In summary, the study provides us with many genes that can serve as molecular markers of oocyte processes associated with in vitro maturation. This knowledge can be used for detailed studies on the regulation of oocyte maturation processes.

Running title: Genes regulating cellular migration and proliferation in porcine oocytes


The pig is a polyestrous animal in which the ovarian cycle lasts about 21 days and results in ovulation of 10-25 oocytes. Ovum reaches 120-150 μm in diameter, with the surrounding corona radiata providing communication with the environment. The zona pellucida is composed of glycoproteins: ZP1, ZP2, ZP3. In the course of oogenesis, RNA and protein accumulation for embryonic development occurs. Maternal mRNA is the template for protein production. Nuclear, cytoplasmic and genomic maturity condition the ability of the ovum to undergo fertilization. There are several differences in protein expression profiles observed between in vitro and in vivo conditions. Oogenesis is the process of differentiating female primary sex cells into gametes. During development gonocytes migrate from the yolk sac into the primary gonads with TGF-1, fibronectin, and laminin regulating this process. Cell cycle is blocked in dictyotene. Primary oocyte maturation is resumed before each ovulation and lasts until the next block in metaphase II. At the moment of penetration of the sperm into the ovum, the metaphase block is broken. The oocytes, surrounded by a single layer of granular cells, form the ovarian follicle. The exchange of signals between the oocyte and the cumulus cells done by gap-junctions, as well as various endo and paracrine signals. The contact between the corona radiata cells provides substances necessary for growth, through the same gap junctions. Studies on follicular cells can be used to amplify the knowledge of gene expression in these cells, in order to open way for potential clinical applications.


Folliculogenesis is the process of ovarian follicle formation,, taking presence during foetal period. During the follicular development, oogoniums undergo meiosis and oocytes are formed. In the ovaries of new born sows, primary and secondary follicles are present and, 90 days after birth, tertiary follicles appear. During development in the ovarian follicles growth of granulosa cells and differentiation of the thecal cells can be observed. A cavity filled with follicular fluid appears. Granulosa cells are divided into: mural cells and corona radiata, which together with the oocyte form the cumulus oophorus. Corona radiata cells, mural layers and oolemma contact each other by a network of gap junctions. Secreted from the pituitary gland, FSH and LH gonadotropin hormones act on receptors located in granular and follicular cells. In the postnatal life tertiary follicles and Graafian follicles are formed. When the follicle reaches a diameter of 1 mm, further growth depends on the secretion of gonadotropins. Mature ovarian follicles produce: progestins, androgens and oestrogens. The growth, differentiation and steroidogenic activity of ovarian follicles, in addition to FSH and LH, is also affected by prolactin, oxytocin, steroid and protein hormones, numerous proteins from the cytokine and interleukin family, metabolic hormones like insulin, glucocorticoids, leptin, thyroid hormones and growth hormones. Despite numerous studies, many processes related to folliculogenesis have not been discovered Learning the mechanisms regulating reproductive processes would allow to easily distinguish pathological processes and discover more and more genes and mechanisms of their expression in cells that build ovarian follicles.