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The large supplies of eggs within each ovary are immature, or primordial, and must undergo growth and maturation each month. The eggs are stored within follicles in the ovary. Within a woman's lifespan, large numbers of follicles and oocytes will be recruited to begin the growth and maturation process. The large majority, however, will not reach full maturity. Most will die off in a process called atresia. Thus, only about 300-500 of these eggs will mature over a women's life span.
The maturation of eggs typically takes about 14 days and can be divided into 2 distinct periods. During the initial period, many eggs, as many as 1000, begin to develop and mature. The second phase of development requires gonadal hormone stimulation to stimulate further development. However, even though hundreds of eggs have begun to mature, most often only one egg will become dominant during each menstrual cycle, and reach its' fully mature state, capable of ovulation and fertilization. The remaining eggs/follicles will wither and die. Pre-pubertal girls do not produce the gonadal hormones that are necessary for the second phase of development, so the many eggs that started to mature will simply wither away. The large number of eggs that are used each month account for the steady decline in the female's total egg pool that occurs from birth to menopause.
In post-pubertal females, the dominant egg continues to develop, relying on hormones for growth and stimulation. When the egg becomes fully mature, the follicle surrounding the egg bursts, and releases a mature egg which travels through the fallopian tube toward the uterus. The egg is capable of being fertilized for a short period, about 48 hours. If the egg is not fertilized during this time, it will die, and in another week or so, a new cycle of egg maturation will begin.
This cyclic process of development continues through out a female's life until most or all of the eggs are depleted. This is the period of life known as menopause. This occurs sometime in the 4th or 5th decade of life, with the average age in the US being 51. Depletion of the egg pool anytime prior to age 40 is referred to as premature ovarian failure. Any female who receives treatment with drugs that damage the ovarian follicles is at risk to develop premature ovarian failure--even many years after the treatment has ended. The majority of young girls treated with chemotherapy will retain fertility initially, but may be at risk to develop premature ovarian failure. This knowledge may be important to consider for family planning.
Figure 1. Representative phenotype of fully differentiated DCs matured with Poly-IC. All the DCs were gated on the forward- and side-scatter plot. DCs were identified as CD11c+ and CD14-. Maturation of DCs in response to Poly-ICLC (bold line) was evaluated based on the expression of CD83, CD40, and CCR7 and compared to unstimulated DCs (gray shade). Click here to view larger figure.
Figure 2. DCs matured with Poly-IC produce high levels of cytokines. Supernatants from DCs differentiated from 3 healthy donors were collected after overnight maturation of DCs with Poly-IC. Cytokines produced were measured by Cytokine Bead Array (CBA) Human Inflammatory Cytokines Kit (BD Biosciences) which measures IL-12p70, TNF, IL-10, IL-6, IL-1β, and IL-8.
Figure 3. DCs matured with Poly-ICLC induce the proliferation of allogeneic T cells. Poly-ICLC-matured DCs from healthy donors were incubated 1:10 with Carboxyfluorescein Diacetate Succinimidyl Ester (CFSE)-labeled allogeneic T cells. After 6 days, proliferation (A) was evaluated by flow cytometry by gating on the CD3+ T cell population. X-axis shows the dilution of CFSE, as a measurement of proliferation, in the various co-culture conditions: T cells alone, unstimulated DC, Poly-ICLC stimulated DC, and phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated T cells. Cytokine secretion (B) during the proliferation was evaluated from the supernatants in the cultures using the BD CBA Human Th1/Th2 Cytokine Kit II (BD Biosciences) which measures IFNγ, TNF, IL-10, IL-6, IL-4, and IL-2. Only IFNγ is shown as the other cytokines were not detected to measureable levels in the assay. Click here to view larger figure.
Recent in vitro studies have shown that the DCs matured with a cocktail of proinflammatory cytokines 10 which has been used in the majority of clinical trials, in particular the presence of PGE2, may induce the differentiation of regulatory T cells and Th2 responses 17, express IDO 18, and are deficient in IL-12p70 production 19. These effects significantly undermine the vaccine's ability to induce immune responses and therefore support the need to evaluate alternative methods of maturing DCs in order to optimize their effects in vivo.
Endothelial cells of the blood and lymphatic vasculature are polarized cells with luminal surfaces specialized to interact with inflammatory cells upon the appropriate stimulation; they contain specialized transcellular transport systems, and their basal surfaces are attached to an extracellular basement membrane. In adult tissues the basement membrane forms a continuous sleeve around the endothelial tubes, and the interaction of endothelial cells with basement membrane components plays an important role in the maintenance of vessel wall integrity. During development, the basement membrane of endothelium provides distinct spatial and molecular information that influences endothelial cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation/maturation. Microvascular endothelium matures into phenotypically distinct types: continuous, fenestrated, and discontinuous, which also differ in their permeability properties. Development of these morphological and physiological differences is thought to be controlled by both soluble factors in the organ or tissue environment and by cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions. Basement membranes of endothelium, like those of other tissues, are composed of laminins, type IV collagens, heparan sulfate proteoglycans, and nidogens. However, isoforms of all four classes of molecules exist, which combine to form structurally and functionally distinct basement membranes. The endothelial cell basement membranes have been shown to be unique with respect to their laminin isoform composition. Laminins are a family of glycoprotein heterotrimers composed of an alpha, beta, and gamma chain. To date, 5alpha, 4beta, and 3gamma laminin chains have been identified that can combine to form 15 different isoforms. The laminin alpha-chains are considered to be the functionally important portion of the heterotrimers, as they exhibit tissue-specific distribution patterns and contain the major cell interaction sites. Vascular endothelium expresses only two laminin isoforms, and their expression varies depending on the developmental stage, vessel type, and the activation state of the endothelium. Laminin 8 (composed of laminin alpha4, beta1, and gamma1 chains) is expressed by all endothelial cells regardless of their stage of development, and its expression is strongly upregulated by cytokines and growth factors that play a role in inflammatory events. Laminin 10 (composed of laminin alpha5, beta1, and gamma1 chains) is detectable primarily in endothelial cell basement membranes of capillaries and venules commencing 3-4 wk after birth. In contrast to laminin 8, endothelial cell expression of laminin 10 is upregulated only by strong proinflammatory signals and, in addition, angiostatic agents such as progesterone. Other extracellular matrix molecules, such as BM40 (also known as SPARC/osteonectin), thrombospondins 1 and 2, fibronectin, nidogens 1 and 2, and collagen types VIII, XV, and XVIII, are also differentially expressed by endothelium, varying with the endothelium type and/or pathophysiological state. The data argue for a dynamic endothelial cell extracellular matrix that presents different molecular information depending on the type of endothelium and/or physiological situation. This review outlines the unique structural and functional features of vascular basement membranes, with focus on the endothelium and the laminin family of glycoproteins.
Natural gas reforming is an advanced and mature production process that builds upon the existing natural gas pipeline delivery infrastructure. Today, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the United States is made by natural gas reforming in large central plants. This is an important technology pathway for near-term hydrogen production.
As noted earlier, tubal ligation is considered a permanent form of birth control. However, a reversal procedure can be used to reconnect the fallopian tubes. Success rates of reversal surgeries range from 25 to 80%. It is also important to be aware that tubal ligation reversal increases the chances of an ectopic pregnancy.
Corn has both male (tassel) and female (ear) flowers on the same plant. Male flowers on the tassel mature when anthers emerge from spikelet flowers, and pollen is dispersed through holes at the tips of the anthers. The tassel is usually fully emerged before any pollen is shed. Pollen shed begins at the middle of the central spike of the tassel and spreads out later over the whole tassel with the lower branches last to shed pollen. Pollen shed usually begins two to three days prior to silk emergence and continues for five to eight days with peak shed on the third day. All of the pollen from a single anther may be released in as little as three minutes. On a typical midsummer day, the shedding of pollen is in the morning between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Cool, cloudy, humid conditions will delay the onset of daily pollen shed. Because of natural field variability in plant development, a whole field may take as long as 14 days to complete pollen shed.
Under favorable conditions, a pollen grain upon landing on a receptive silk will develop a pollen tube containing the male genetic material, develop and grow inside the silk, and fertilize the