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  • Author: M. A. Leonard x
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Between January 1999 and December 2001, the European Community project COMPREHEND was performed. The overall aim of COMPREHEND was to assess endocrine disruption in the aquatic environment in Europe, consequent to effluent discharge, with emphasis on estrogenic activity. COMPREHEND demonstrated the widespread occurrence of estrogenic effluents across Europe and presented evidence of impacts on a range of wild fish species. Using a variety of bioassays in combination with chemical analytical methods, estrogenic steroids of human origin from domestic wastewater effluents were identified as the most pervasive problem, although alkylphenols may be important estrogenic components of some industrial effluents. New tools have been developed for the identification of estrogenic effluents, and recommendations are made for the improvement of existing techniques. We have shown that individual fish within natural populations may be feminized to varying degrees, but it has not been possible to show, using traditional fish population parameters, that the survival of fish populations is threatened. However, laboratory-based fish life-cycle studies demonstrate the sensitivity of fish to estrogen (and androgen) exposure and how this might lead to complex (and potentially damaging) genetic changes at the population level. New approaches to this problem, utilizing recent advances made in the field of molecular and population genetics, are recommended. Finally, a study of estrogenic and androgenic activity of waste waters during the treatment process has shown that some of the existing wastewater treatment technologies have the potential to eliminate or minimize the hormonal activity of the final effluent.


Rule-based modeling is an approach that permits constructing reaction networks based on the specification of rules for molecular interactions and transformations. These rules can encompass details such as the interacting sub-molecular domains and the states and binding status of the involved components. Conceptually, fine-grained spatial information such as locations can also be provided. Through “wildcards” representing component states, entire families of molecule complexes sharing certain properties can be specified as patterns. This can significantly simplify the definition of models involving species with multiple components, multiple states, and multiple compartments. The systems biology markup language (SBML) Level 3 Multi Package Version 1 extends the SBML Level 3 Version 1 core with the “type” concept in the Species and Compartment classes. Therefore, reaction rules may contain species that can be patterns and exist in multiple locations. Multiple software tools such as Simmune and BioNetGen support this standard that thus also becomes a medium for exchanging rule-based models. This document provides the specification for Release 2 of Version 1 of the SBML Level 3 Multi package. No design changes have been made to the description of models between Release 1 and Release 2; changes are restricted to the correction of errata and the addition of clarifications.

Synthesis, Concepts, Function
Resources for a New Geopolitics of Interdependence


The concept that disease rooted principally in chronic aberrant constitutive and reactive activation of mast cells (MCs), without the gross MC neoplasia in mastocytosis, first emerged in the 1980s, but only in the last decade has recognition of “mast cell activation syndrome” (MCAS) grown significantly. Two principal proposals for diagnostic criteria have emerged. One, originally published in 2012, is labeled by its authors as a “consensus” (re-termed here as “consensus-1”). Another sizable contingent of investigators and practitioners favor a different approach (originally published in 2011, newly termed here as “consensus-2”), resembling “consensus-1” in some respects but differing in others, leading to substantial differences between these proposals in the numbers of patients qualifying for diagnosis (and thus treatment). Overdiagnosis by “consensus-2” criteria has potential to be problematic, but underdiagnosis by “consensus-1” criteria seems the far larger problem given (1) increasing appreciation that MCAS is prevalent (up to 17% of the general population), and (2) most MCAS patients, regardless of illness duration prior to diagnosis, can eventually identify treatment yielding sustained improvement. We analyze these proposals (and others) and suggest that, until careful research provides more definitive answers, diagnosis by either proposal is valid, reasonable, and helpful.