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  • Author: Mohammad Naseri x
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Serum sdLDL-C and Cellular SREBP2-Dependent Cholesterol Levels; Is there a Challenge on Targeting PCSK9?

Summary

Background: Serum small dense LDL-cholesterol (sdLDL-C) value is suggested to be an important risk factor for atherosclerosis. Since sdLDL-C changes may be related to PCSK9 and SREBP-2 functions, the aim of this study was to investigate correlations between sdLDL-C, circulating PCSK9, SREBP-2 expression and some lipid parameters in serum and buffy coat fraction of healthy subjects.

Methods: One hundred and twenty-four subjects were randomly included in the study. The lipid profile was measured using routine laboratory methods. The serum sdLDL-C level was calculated by a heparin-related precipitation technique. The cellular LDL-C/protein and cholesterol/protein values were measured after lysing of cells with methanol/chloroform binary solvent. The circulating PCSK9 level was measured using ELISA technique. The SREBP-2 expression level was estimated using the RT-qPCR technique.

Results: Data showed significant correlations between LDL-C, TG and sdLDL-C levels (r=0.34, p=0.001; r=0.2, p=0.04). The circulating PCSK9 level was correlated to LDL-C (r=0.29, p=0.04), but not to sdLDL-C (r=−0.08, p=0.57). Also, cellular LDL-C value was not related to serum LDL-C level (r=−0.12, p=0.39). Furthermore, there was an inverse correlation between cellular LDL-C/protein value and estimated de novo cholesterol/protein value (r=−0.5, p=0.001). Similar results were observed for cellular LDL-C/protein value and SREBP-2 expression level (r=−0.52, p=0.004).

Conclusions: We concluded that the serum sdLDL-C value is not related to circulating PCSK9. Furthermore, SREBP-2 regulatory system was able to elevate the cellular cholesterol level after reducing LDL influx. We suggest to investigate the cellular sdLDL fate and lipid synthesis pathways in PCSK9-targeting studies.

Open access
Comparison of the Effects of Artemisia Vaginal Cream and Clotrimazole on Vaginal Candidiasis Infection

Abstract

Candida vaginitis is the second most common vaginal infection which is treatable by azole. Overconsumption of azole is associated with resistance to drug and treatment failure. Studies conducted in laboratory conditions confirm the anti-fungal effects of Artemisia plant. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of vaginal Artemisia cream and clotrimazole on vaginal candidiasis infection. This is a clinical triple-blind trial that was performed on 72 non-pregnant women referred to Mashhad health centers in 2012-2017. After confirmation of Candida infection, the research units were randomly allocated into two groups: Artemisia and clotrimazole vaginal cream recipients treated for 7 nights. After the treatment, the data were analyzed by SPSS software (version 24). The results of the study showed that the mean reduction in the score of signs and symptoms of vaginal Candida infection was 7.4 ± 4. 1 and 7.6 ± 3.8 in the Artemisia and clotrimazole group, respectively. Wilcoxon test showed that improvement in both groups treated by Artemisia and clotrimazole was significantly higher than before treatment (p < 0.001). There was no significant difference between the two groups regarding the improvement of symptoms (p > 0.05). Acta facultatis medicae Naissensis 2018; 35(4):299-310 The present study showed that Artemisia vaginal cream and clotrimazole cream both improved the symptoms related to vaginal Candida infection. In addition, the therapeutic effect of the two drugs was not statistically significant in comparison with each other. Therefore, it can be used as an alternative treatment for vaginal candidiasis.

Open access
AccessiLeaks: Investigating Privacy Leaks Exposed by the Android Accessibility Service

Abstract

To support users with disabilities, Android provides the accessibility services, which implement means of navigating through an app. According to the Android developer’s guide: “Accessibility services should only be used to assist users with disabilities in using Android devices and apps”. However, developers are free to use this service without any restrictions, giving them critical privileges such as monitoring user input or screen content to capture sensitive information. In this paper, we show that simply enabling the accessibility service leaves 72 % of the top finance a nd 80 % of the top social media apps vulnerable to eavesdropping attacks, leaking sensitive information such as logins and passwords. A combination of several tools and recommendations could mitigate the privacy risks: We introduce an analysis technique that detects most of these issues automatically, e.g. in an app store. We also found that these issues can be automatically fixed in almost all cases; our fixes have b een accepted by 70 % of the surveyed developers. Finally, we designed a notification mechanism which would warn users against possible misuses of the accessibility services; 50 % of users would follow these notifications.

Open access