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Clin Exp Med ; 2022 Jul 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1935822


COVID-19 can cause detrimental effects on health. Vaccines have helped in reducing disease severity and transmission but their long-term effects on health and effectiveness against future viral variants remain unknown. COVID-19 pathogenesis involves alteration in iron homeostasis. Thus, a contextual understanding of iron-related parameters would be very valuable for disease prognosis and therapeutics.Accordingly, we reviewed the status of iron and iron-related proteins in COVID-19. Iron-associated alterations in COVID-19 reported hitherto include anemia of inflammation, low levels of serum iron (hypoferremia), transferrin and transferrin saturation, and high levels of serum ferritin (hyperferritinemia), hepcidin, lipocalin-2, catalytic iron, and soluble transferrin receptor (in ICU patients). Hemoglobin levels can be low or normal, and compromised hemoglobin function has been proposed. Membrane-bound transferrin receptor may facilitate viral entry, so it acts as a potential target for antiviral therapy. Lactoferrin can provide natural defense by preventing viral entry and/or inhibiting viral replication. Serum iron and ferritin levels can predict COVID-19-related hospitalization, severity, and mortality. Serum hepcidin and ferritin/transferrin ratio can predict COVID-19 severity. Here, serum levels of these iron-related parameters are provided, caveats of iron chelation for therapy are discussed and the interplay of these iron-related parameters in COVID-19 is explained.This synopsis is crucial as it clearly presents the iron picture of COVID-19. The information may assist in disease prognosis and/or in formulating iron-related adjunctive strategies that can help reduce infection/inflammation and better manage COVID-19 caused by future variants. Indeed, the current picture will augment as more is revealed about these iron-related parameters in COVID-19.

Education Sciences ; 11(11):702, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1502387


COVID-19 has impacted Higher Education worldwide. While several studies have examined the effects of the pandemic on students, few have addressed its impact on academic staff. Here, we present both survey (n = 89) and interview (n = 12) data highlighting the pandemic-induced effects on academics from various disciplines and career stages. Data was collected between May and September 2020, aiming to capture and understand the immediate effects of the U.K. lockdown on the academics examining demographic and employment factors, digital abilities and confidence, and mental wellbeing. Analyses revealed that most academics were satisfied with the support they received from the university and colleagues, and they had adequate equipment and space at home to work. However, half incurred additional financial costs to maintain access to technology and many felt an altered relationship with the university. There were discrepancies in digital abilities and confidence according to employment status, age, faculty, and social identity as an academic. Teaching workload did not increase across the board, rather seniority predicted increases. Levels of wellbeing were low but were not significantly predicted by workload increase or abilities and confidence in working digitally as might have been expected. Stronger social identity as an academic may predict higher mental wellbeing with qualitative data suggesting teamwork and collegiate activities helped. Furthermore, interviewees identified several positive aspects to working remotely. These findings suggest universities should consider carefully how to support all staff to work digitally and consider flexible working post-pandemic.

J Cell Physiol ; 236(10): 7266-7289, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1168883


Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are located in various tissues where these cells show niche-dependent multilineage differentiation and secrete immunomodulatory molecules to support numerous physiological processes. Due to their regenerative and reparative properties, MSCs are extremely valuable for cell-based therapy in tackling several pathological conditions including COVID-19. Iron is essential for MSC processes but iron-loading, which is common in several chronic conditions, hinders normal MSC functionality. This not only aggravates disease pathology but can also affect allogeneic and autologous MSC therapy. Thus, understanding MSCs from an iron perspective is of clinical significance. Accordingly, this review highlights the roles of iron and iron-related proteins in MSC physiology. It describes the contribution of iron and endogenous iron-related effectors like hepcidin, ferroportin, transferrin receptor, lactoferrin, lipocalin-2, bone morphogenetic proteins and hypoxia inducible factors in MSC biology. It summarises the excess-iron-induced alterations in MSC components, processes and discusses signalling pathways involving ROS, PI3K/AKT, MAPK, p53, AMPK/MFF/DRP1 and Wnt. Additionally, it evaluates the endogenous and exogenous saviours of MSCs against iron-toxicity. Lastly, it elaborates on the involvement of MSCs in the pathology of clinical conditions of iron-excess, namely, hereditary hemochromatosis, diabetes, ß-thalassaemia and myelodysplastic syndromes. This unique review integrates the distinct fields of iron regulation and MSC physiology. Through an iron-perspective, it describes both mechanistic and clinical aspects of MSCs and proposes an iron-linked MSC-contribution to physiology, pathology and therapeutics. It advances the understanding of MSC biology and may aid in identifying signalling pathways, molecular targets and compounds for formulating adjunctive iron-based therapies for excess-iron conditions, and thereby inform regenerative medicine.

Iron/metabolism , Mesenchymal Stem Cells/metabolism , Animals , Cell Differentiation/physiology , Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy/methods , Humans , Immunomodulation/physiology , Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation/methods , Regenerative Medicine/methods , Signal Transduction/physiology
Research in Learning Technology ; 29, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1082877


Collaborative learning offers benefits but there is insufficient information on how students perceive specific digital tools supporting collaborative learning and whether there are content-related differences in students’ perceptions. Here, we utilised Padlet to mediate collaborative learning amongst undergraduate students from two distinct disciplines, Dentistry and Bioscience to examine students’ perceptions of Padlet-mediated learning and identify any content-specific differences. Data distribution was assessed via Shapiro–Wilk test, Mann–Whitney U test was used to assess distribution of responses and correlations were studied via Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient (ρ). Data revealed that majority of students across both cohorts perceived Padlet as easy to use and beneficial to learning. Dentistry students perceived Padlet to be more beneficial to learning and easier to use than Bioscience students (p < 0.01). Most Bioscience students liked to undertake collaborative learning via Padlet, whereas most Dentistry students felt more confident to ask questions and better understood content via Padlet. In the Bioscience cohort, perceived benefit-to-learning strongly correlated (ρ = 0.75;p < 0.01) with fondness to use Padlet, whereas in the Dentistry cohort, it moderately correlated (ρ = 0.5;p < 0.01) with better understanding of subject content. Thematic analysis of students’ textual responses revealed anonymity, peer-learning and engagement as key benefits. Thus, this study strengthened the evidence for using Padlet for collaborative learning in a wider context. Moreover, it uncovered significant disparities in students’ perceptions of the tool, when used to foster learning of different subject contents.