Vol 29, No 3 (2022)

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Nanoparticles and nanomaterials as inevitable modern toxic agents. Review. Part 2. Main areas of research on toxicity and techniques to measure a content of nanoparticles in tissues

Ivlieva A.L., Zinicovscaia I., Petriskaya E.N., Rogatkin D.A.


The second part of the review considers the following three main areas of research on the toxicity of nanoparticles (NPs): environmental toxicity, molecular mechanisms of toxicity, and reproductive toxicity. The studies carried out on aquatic and soil model organisms are described, with consideration of the effects of NPs in concentrations close to natural in water with different salinity, as well as in comparison with the effects of ions. The articles devoted to various aspects of NP-induced oxidative stress are listed, the estimations of genotoxicity and mutagenicity of NPs using different standard methods are described, and the currently known data on the formation of protein crowns around NPs are considered. Questions are stated about the dose-dependence of effects and the influence of the applied stabilizing coating. The influence of NPs on the prenatal and postnatal development of various model vertebrate species is considered, which includes morphological disturbances, changes in gene expression and in the behavior of grown animals, as well as the influence on the reproductive system in adult females and males. The main methods for the quantitative measurements of the content of NPs in biological samples are also considered as the necessary stage of research on the toxicity of NPs for humans and animals.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):147-162
pages 147-162 views

Impact of anti-tobacco legislation on hospitalization of patients with respiratory diseases in three regions of the Russian Federation

Agishina T.A., Kontsevaya A.V., Gambaryan M.G., Drapkina O.M.


AIM: To assess the impact of anti-tobacco measures under federal anti-tobacco law on the hospital admissions for pneumonia of various diagnoses, and other acute respiratory infections of the lower respiratory tract, bronchial asthma, and asthmatic status in the Samara, Arkhangelsk regions, and the Chuvash Republic.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis of monthly hospital admissions for pneumonia (ICD-10 J12–J18), and other acute respiratory infections of the lower respiratory airways (ICD-10 J20–J22), asthma (ICD-10 J45), and status asthmaticus (ICD-10 J46) was carried out in the three selected regions of the Russian Federation from the 1st of January, 2012, till the 31st of December, 2017, and in subgroups (0–14, 15–59, 60 years, and older). The analytical approach used was the interrupted time series method, which was performed using the STATA 15.0 software package.

RESULTS: From this study, it was revealed that there was a decrease in the hospital incidence of respiratory airways infections after each stage of enacting the anti-tobacco policy in all the three selected regions of the Russian Federation. In the Arkhangelsk region, this decrease amounted to 19% in 2013, and 22% in 2014. In the Samara region, 20% and 23% respectively, and the Chuvash Republic, 31% and 39% respectively. A significant decrease in hospital admissions for asthma and status asthmaticus was observed only in the Chuvash Republic (the decrease occurred by 11% in 2013, and by 12% in 2014). In other regions, the observed decrease was not significant.

CONCLUSION: From this study, the results obtained have shown that the anti-tobacco measures introduced in Russia in 2013 and 2014 were responsible for the decrease in the number of hospitalizations for lower respiratory airways infections within the same period.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):163-173
pages 163-173 views

Variations of human heart bioelectrical signals at hypoxic exposure

Bocharov M.I., Shilov A.S.


BACKGROUND: In the area of physiology and medicine, special emphasis is placed on the study of hypoxic conditions. Hypoxic responses of some major physiological systems, including blood circulation, are described. However, the cardiological component of these individual responses, and their variability at different levels of acute hypoxia (AH) remains a poorly-studied aspect.

AIM: To study the individual characteristics of the response types in conjugated ECG parameters, and their variations at different stages of mild and medium AH.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The experiments were performed on male subjects (18–26 years old) divided into two groups (n1=30 and n2=29), who were exposed to AH of 14.5% at 12.3% O2 for 20 min. Amplitude (P1II, RII, T1II, BAL, BAR) and temporal (R–R, Q–T) ECG parameters, and blood oxygenation (SpO2) were determined at AH periods (at 5, 10, and 20 min respectively). In subgroups (clusters), the features of types with “low” and “high” responses, and their stability in AH are described.

RESULTS: Clustering of ECG variations with AH of 14.5% and 12.3% O2 identified two subgroups (clusters), that differed at least in the magnitude of the decrease in the total BAL and R–R. With AH of 14.5% O2, the number of different ECG parameters between subgroups gradually increased: at 5 min — BAL (p <0.001), at 20 min — RII (p=0.047), T1II (p=0.016), BAL (p <0.001), R–R (p=0.035), Q–T (p=0.008), and with AH 12.3% O2 — only BAL (p <0.001). It was found that at all periods of AH of 14.5% O2, in 60% of individuals, the type of response remained. Regarding AH of 12.3% O2 — in 55.2% of the other cases, the type of response of ECG parameters changed. At the same time, no parallels were observed between the types of reactions and deviations in SрO2.

CONCLUSION: From this study, It can be assumed that there are two types of conjugated reactions of ECG parameters in response to mild and medium AH, and their variability is absent in 40% and 44.8% of cases, respectively, as well as the independence of differentiation of ECG responses types from hypoxemia.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):175-185
pages 175-185 views

Age-related changes in the glucose level, its metabolites, and aminotransferases activity in women and men of mature and elderly age

Bichkaeva F.A., Vlasova O.S., Shengof B.A., Bichkaev A.A., Nesterova E.V., Volkova N.I.


BACKGROUND: Adaptation to living conditions in the North in humans is determined by the person’s energy status — in particular glucose homeostasis, and the activity of several enzymes — aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT).

AIM: To conduct a comparative analysis of the levels of glucose, lactate, pyruvate, the activity of AST, ALT, and the ratio of different age groups in men and women residing in the subarctic region of the Arkhangelsk Region.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: This article is an observational cross-sectional uncontrolled study that accounts for the differences in the content of carbohydrate metabolism parameters and transferase activity between groups of women and men of different age periods. 437 women and 194 men aged 21–74 years, born and permanent residents of the Arkhangelsk region, were examined. The glucose content of the blood serum was determined by the enzymatic method, the lactate level was measured by the Trinder Reaction, the pyruvate level — by the Umbright Method, the activity of AST and ALT — by the unified kinetic method, and the values of the AST/ALT ratio (De Ritis ratio) were obtained. The study participants were divided into 4 age groups: women 21–35, 36–45, 46–55, 56–74 years, and men 22–35, 36–45, 46–60, and 61–74 years.

RESULTS: Non-parametric comparison showed an age-related increase in blood glucose in women aged 46–55 years accompanied by an increase in the activity of AST and ALT, while in men aged 61–74 years, there was a decrease in ALT. This indicates the presence of different mechanisms that accounts for its increase; an increase in the number of people with a critical glucose level (prediabetes — 5.6–6.1 mmol/l and above is normal) in older age groups can serve as a confirmation of the onset of hyperglycemia and could be the cause and/or consequence of the insulin resistance. An individual analysis of the De Ritis ratio showed individuals with different metabolic flows in glucose homeostasis in all gender and age groups. With age in 57.5; 66.7; 59.5 and 52.4% of women and in 72.6; 63.2; 74.1 and 28.6% of men, there were predominated anabolic processes, which, with an increase in glucose, increased the risk of insulin resistance.

CONCLUSIONS: The observed features of the state of carbohydrate metabolism and aminotransferases in men and women, taking into account their ages, can contribute to diagnostic and preventive measures aimed at preserving the health of the people living in the Arctic.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):187-197
pages 187-197 views

Evaluation of the initial manifestations of the toxic process in conditions of chronic action of low subtoxic doses of dioxins polluting the environment

Lavrenov A.R., Ordzhonikidze K.G., Roumak V.S., Kim A.I., Umnova N.V.


AIM: To study the state of the genome by indicators of retrotransposon activity — the gene encoding DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1); DNA damage in animals from the natural population of the bank vole (Clethrionomys glareolus) living in the vicinity of a preserved landfill contaminated with low concentrations of dioxins (landfill of production and consumption waste — "Salariyevo", Moscow).

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The activity of ERV-L, B1, and L1 retrotransposons and the transcription level of the DNMT1 gene were evaluated by real-time PCR. The stability of DNA in liver and bone marrow cells was characterized by the comet assay method. Afterward, the obtained characteristics of the state (stability, reactivity, and damage) of the genome in response to environmental stress factors were compared in groups of animals from the study and conditionally control samples.

RESULTS: The effects of a decrease in the activity of retrotransposons of classes B1 and L1, and an increase in DNMT1 gene expression level were revealed in voles from the natural population living under the long-term chronic exposure to low doses of dioxins decrease in the activity of retrotransposons of classes B1 and L1, and an increase in the expression level of the DNMT1 gene were revealed. An increased level of DNA damage (on average up to 56% of the DNA in the tail of the comet) was detected in hepatocytes, with the addition of winter environmental factors to the chronic effect of small subtoxic doses of dioxins.

CONCLUSION: Suppression of retrotransposon activity and increased expression of its epigenetic regulator (DNMT1) are regarded as adaptive responses to long-term chronic exposure to low doses of dioxins polluting the environment. The alteration in the reactivity and destabilization of the genome indicates the launch of the initial mechanisms of the toxic process formation. The created and tested methodological base for its study opens up prospects for establishing a threshold level, and as a result, substantiating indicators for screening assessment of local (territorial) risk to public health by biomonitoring.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):199-208
pages 199-208 views

Interpretation of and alternatives to p-values in biomedical sciences

Grjibovski A.M., Gvozdeckii A.N.


Existing difficulties in interpretation of the results of statistical analysis have been repeatedly mentioned as one of the factors behind poor reproducibility of research findings in biomedical sciences followed by a series of publications presenting alternatives to improve the situation including a abandonment of p-values and significance testing. In this paper we briefly present the scope of the problem as well as Fischer and Neyman–Pearson approaches to hypothesis testing. Moreover, we present confidence intervals and effect size calculation as alternatives to dichotomization of the results as significant or not significant using a certain cut-off level. In addition, we summarize the pros and cons of suggestion to change the cut-off value from traditional 0.05 to 0.005. We also present a list of the most common misunderstandings of p-values discussed in international statistical literature.

We conclude the paper with brief recommendations on careful interpretation of the results of statistical analysis to prevent misinterpretation and misuse of p-values in biomedical studies.

Ekologiya cheloveka (Human Ecology). 2022;29(3):209-218
pages 209-218 views

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