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Space Infrared Telescope for Cosmology and Astrophysics (SPICA), the cryogenic infrared space telescope recently pre-selected for a ‘Phase A’ concept study as one of the three remaining candidates for European Space Agency (ESA's) fifth medium class (M5) mission, is foreseen to include a far-infrared polarimetric imager [SPICA-POL, now called B-fields with BOlometers and Polarizers (B-BOP)], which would offer a unique opportunity to resolve major issues in our understanding of the nearby, cold magnetised Universe. This paper presents an overview of the main science drivers for B-BOP, including high dynamic range polarimetric imaging of the cold interstellar medium (ISM) in both our Milky Way and nearby galaxies. Thanks to a cooled telescope, B-BOP will deliver wide-field 100–350
m images of linearly polarised dust emission in Stokes Q and U with a resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and both intensity and spatial dynamic ranges comparable to those achieved by Herschel images of the cold ISM in total intensity (Stokes I). The B-BOP 200
m images will also have a factor
30 higher resolution than Planck polarisation data. This will make B-BOP a unique tool for characterising the statistical properties of the magnetised ISM and probing the role of magnetic fields in the formation and evolution of the interstellar web of dusty molecular filaments giving birth to most stars in our Galaxy. B-BOP will also be a powerful instrument for studying the magnetism of nearby galaxies and testing Galactic dynamo models, constraining the physics of dust grain alignment, informing the problem of the interaction of cosmic rays with molecular clouds, tracing magnetic fields in the inner layers of protoplanetary disks, and monitoring accretion bursts in embedded protostars.
Pathogenesis of pregnancy toxemia (PT) is believed to be associated with the disruption of lipid metabolism. The present study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms of lipid metabolism disorder in the livers of ewes with PT. In total, 10 pregnant ewes were fed normally (control group) whereas another 10 were subjected to 70% level feed restriction for 15 days to establish a pathological model of PT. Results showed that, as compared with the controls, the levels of blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and cholesterol were greater (P<0.05) and blood glucose level was lower (P<0.05) in PT ewes. The contents of NEFAs, BHBA, cholesterol and triglyceride were higher (P<0.05) and glycerol content was lower (P<0.05) in hepatic tissues of PT ewes than those of the controls. For ewes with PT, excessive fat vacuoles were observed in liver sections stained with hematoxylin–eosin; furthermore, inner structures of hepatocytes including nuclei, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum were damaged seriously according to the results of transmission electron microscope. Real-time PCR data showed that compared with the controls, the expression of hepatic genes involved in fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and triglyceride synthesis (TGS) was enhanced (P<0.05) whereas that related to acetyl-CoA metabolism (ACM) was repressed (P<0.05) in PT ewes. Generally, our results showed that negative energy balance altered the expression of genes involved in FAO, ACM and TGS, further caused lipid metabolism disorder in livers, resulting in PT of ewes. Our findings may provide the molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies against this systemic metabolic disease in sheep.
A diverse Permian crinoid fauna is reported from the Taiyuan Formation, Dajian Member (Asselian) at Anyang, northeastern Henan Province of the North China Craton. The specimens are well preserved, including articulated crowns and cups. The fauna contains representatives of each of the major Paleozoic crinoid clades: Cladida (including the Flexibilia), Disparida, and Camerata. Identified genera suggest a greater affinity with North American faunas than with Tethyan faunas. Four new species, Neoprotencrinus anyangensis, Ulocrinus qiaoi, Artichthyocrinus limani, and Synbathocrinus chenae, are proposed herein.
Starter feeding is usually used in lamb production to improve rumen development and to facilitate the weaning process, but molecular mechanism of which is not well understood. Therefore, the objective of this study is to investigate the effect of starter feeding on the expression of ruminal epithelial genes involved in cell proliferation, apoptosis and metabolism in pre-weaned lambs. We selected eight pairs of 10-day-old lamb twins. One twin was fed ewe milk (M, n=8), while the other was fed ewe milk plus starter (M+S, n=8). The lambs were sacrificed at 56 days age. Results showed that the lambs fed M+S had lower pH in the rumen and a higher concentration of acetate, propionate, butyrate and total volatile fatty acid (VFA). Compared with the M group, the concentration of β-hydroxybutyric acid in plasma had an increased trend, and the concentration of IGF-1 in plasma had an decreased trend in the M+S group. The length, width and surface of rumen papillae increased in the M+S group compared with the M group; this was associated with increased cell layers in the stratum corneum, stratum granulosum and total epithelia. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of proliferative genes of cyclin A, cyclin D1 and cyclin-dependent kinase 2 in the ruminal epithelia of M+S lambs was increased compared with M only lambs. The mRNA expression of apoptosis genes of caspase-3, caspase-8, B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) in the M+S group was decreased compared with M group, but the ratio of Bcl-2 to Bax were not changed between the two groups. Expression of IGF-1 mRNA was decreased, but the mRNA expression of IGF-1 receptor was higher in ruminal epithelia in the M+S group. Furthermore, the mRNA expression of VFA absorption and metabolism genes of β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase isoforms 1 and 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA lyase had an increased trend in the M+S group than in the M group, but the mRNA expression of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase isoform 1, monocarboxylate transporter isoform 1 and putative anion transporter isoform 1 had a decreased trend in the M+S group than in the M group. These results suggest that starter feeding increased proliferation and inhibited apoptosis of ruminal epithelial cells, and may promote the VFA metabolism in ruminal epithelium in pre-weaned lambs. These findings provide new insights into improving rumen development by nutritional intervention strategies in pre-weaned lambs.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
A taxonomic investigation of the Rhododendron formosum complex in Northeast India was carried out. Both Rhododendron iteophyllum Hutch. and Rhododendron inaequale Hutch. are reinstated as distinct species using taxonomic characters based on comparing living plants. Detailed taxonomic accounts of Rhododendron formosum, R. iteophyllum and R. inaequale are provided, along with photographic illustrations.
Mitochondria plays an important role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Moreover, mitochondrial biogenesis accompanies skeletal myogenesis, and we previously reported that maternal high-energy diet repressed skeletal myogenesis in pig fetuses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of moderately increased maternal energy intake on skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and function of the pig fetuses. Primiparous purebred Large White sows were allocated to a normal energy intake group (NE) as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) and a high energy intake group (HE, 110% of NRC recommendations). On day 90 of gestation, fetal umbilical vein blood and longissimus (LM) muscle were collected. Results showed that the weight gain of sows fed HE diet was higher than NE sows on day 90 of gestation (P<0.05). Maternal HE diet increased fetal umbilical vein serum triglyceride and insulin concentrations (P<0.05), and tended to increase the homeostasis model assessment index (P=0.08). Furthermore, HE fetuses exhibited increased malondialdehyde concentration (P<0.05), and decreased activities of antioxidative enzymes (P<0.05) and intracellular NAD+ level (P<0.05) in LM muscle. These alterations in metabolic traits of HE fetuses were accompanied by reduced mitochondrial DNA amount (P<0.05) and down-regulated messenger RNA expression levels of genes responsible for mitochondrial biogenesis and function (P<0.05). Our results suggest that moderately increased energy supply during gestation decreases mitochondrial biogenesis, function and antioxidative capacity in skeletal muscle of pig fetuses.
Controversy exists over antidepressant use in bipolar II depression.
To compare the safety and effectiveness of antidepressant v. mood stabiliser monotherapy for bipolar type II major depressive episodes.
Randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, 12-week comparison of venlafaxine (n = 65) v. lithium (n = 64) monotherapy in adult out-patients (trial registration number NCT00602537).
Primary outcome – venlafaxine produced a greater response rate (67.7%) v. lithium (34.4%, P<0.001). Secondary outcomes – venlafaxine produced a greater remission rate (58.5% v. 28.1%, P<0.001); greater decline in depression symptom scores over time (β=–5.32, s.e. = 1.16, χ2 = 21.19, P<0.001); greater reduction in global severity scores over time (β=–1.05, s.e. = 0.22, χ2 = 22.33, P<0.001); and greater improvement in global change scores (β=–1.31, s.e. = 0.32, χ2 = 16.95, P<0.001) relative to lithium. No statistically significant or clinically meaningful differences in hypomanic symptoms were observed between treatments.
These findings suggest that short-term venlafaxine monotherapy may provide effective antidepressant treatment for bipolar II depression without a statistically significant increase in hypomanic symptoms relative to lithium.
Today’s conversion of solar energy into electricity is based on silicon, which is pure, eventually crystalline, and its most efficient transitions are away from solar radiation maximum. The continuous search of efficient photovoltaic materials has recently focused on lead-halide organic-inorganic perovskite materials due to the very flexible, sustainable, and forgiving procedure of their fabrication, which is successful even if the concentrations of precursors, and temperature regimes deviate from optimal values. In addition to simple fabrication, this class of materials provides impressively high efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) cells. Attention to these materials helps to understand the mechanisms of their high efficiencies and to identify other materials with same type of properties. This work presents computational analysis of photo-induced processes in perovskite materials at ambient temperatures.
The local dark matter density plays the key role in the distribution of the dark matter halo near the Galactic disk. It will also answer whether a dark matter disk exists in the Milky Way. We measure the local dark matter density with LAMOST observed stars located at around the north Galactic pole. The selection effects of the observations are well considered and corrected. We find that the derived DM density, which is around 0.0159+0.0047−0.0057M⊙ pc−3 providing a flat local rotation curve.
Titanium oxide photoelectrodes have been used for water splitting for a few decades, but have low solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies. Perovskite halides (e.g., CH3NH3PbI3) have recently emerged as an efficient light absorber system. We try to combine the two materials to create new photoelectrodes to achieve a higher efficiency for hydrogen production. The photoelectrodes are investigated for water-splitting hydrogen production under Xe light irradiation by photoelectrochemical (PEC) reaction. Since perovskite halides are favorable light harvesters under UV and visible light irradiation, the composite films of titania and perovskite halide would achieve efficient water splitting. The hydrogen production rate using the composite films is higher than that using anatase TiO2 electrode. However, the composite films are not stable in water under light irradiation and the perovskite halide gradually decomposes into lead halide.
Our investigations with silane-modified TiO2 have revealed a beneficial effect of functionalization on the photoelectrochemical performance on spin-coated electrodes. However, in order to produce large area photoelectrodes, a more scalable manufacturing technology is required. Inkjet printing can fulfil this role and furthermore allow a finer control over coating morphologies. In this work, inkjet-printed photoelectrodes were prepared with silane-functionalized TiO2 nanoparticles, and investigated as electrodes for photoactivated water splitting. The catalyst layers, having thickness around 700 nm, were printed on FTO-coated glass supports, from cellulose stabilized dispersions. For comparison, electrodes of similar thicknesses were also prepared by spin-coating. After removing the stabilizer at 300 °C under air atmosphere, the electrodes were characterized in photoelectrochemical cells containing 0.5 M H2SO4 as electrolyte and a platinum ring as counter electrode. Under simulated sunlight, the best photocurrent densities for the oxygen evolution reaction were obtained for the inkjet-printed electrodes prepared with functionalized particles (up to 0.26 mA cm-2 at 1.2 V against the standard hydrogen electrode (SHE), compared to 0.18 mA cm-2 for spin coated). Microscopy of the printed electrodes shows structurally homogenous coatings with evenly distributed roughness. Under continuous illumination at 0.7 V (SHE), the electrodes showed no significant drop in photocurrent within five hours.
In this work we have synthesized the colloidal particles of transition metal-hydroxide (M= Ni, Co, Mn, Fe) by a simple chemical precipitation method. The surface of spray deposited CdS thin films were modified using nano-colloids to utlize them as water oxidation catalysts (WOC) for the photoelectrochemical cell (PEC). A systematic comparison of the PEC performance of modified and unmodified film is carried out to understand the role of co-catalyst. Ni(OH)2 modification yields 3.4 times higher photocurrent density than bare CdS photoanode, and exhibits hydrogen-evolution rate of 600 μmol/hr. Fe(OH)2 modified film shows best stability of 8 hours as compared to the others.
The aim of this study was to investigate the variations in meat quality, lipid metabolism-related genes, myosin heavy chain (MyHC) isoform genes and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) gene mRNA expressions in longissimus dorsi muscle (LM) of two different pig breeds. Six Rongchang and six Landrace barrows were slaughtered at 161 days of age. Subsequently, meat quality traits and gene expression levels in LM were observed. Results showed that Rongchang pigs not only exhibited greater pH, CIE a*24 h and intramuscular fat content but also exhibited lower body weight, carcass weight, dressing percentage, LM area and CIE b*24 h compared with Landrace pigs (P<0.05). Meanwhile, the mRNA expression levels of the lipogenesis (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, acetyl-CoA carboxylase and fatty acid synthase) and fatty acid uptake (lipoprotein lipase)-related genes were greater in the Rongchang (P<0.05), whereas the lipolysis (adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone sensitive lipase) and fatty acid oxidation (carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1B)-related genes were better expressed in the Landrace. Moreover, compared with the Landrace, the mRNA expression levels of MyHCI, MyHCIIa and MyHCIIx were greater, whereas the mRNA expression levels of MyHCIIb were lower in the Rongchang pigs (P<0.05). In addition, the mRNA expression levels of PGC-1α were greater in Rongchang pigs than in the Landrace (P<0.05), which can partly explain the differences in MyHC isoform gene expressions between Rongchang and Landrace pigs. Although the small number of samples does not allow to obtain a definitive conclusion, we can suggest that Rongchang pigs possess better meat quality, and the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for the better meat quality in fatty pigs may be partly due to the higher mRNA expression levels of lipogenesis and fatty acid uptake-related genes, as well as the oxidative and intermediate muscle fibers, and due to the lower mRNA expression levels of lipolysis and fatty acid oxidation-related genes, as well as the glycolytic muscle fibers.
Muscle development in domesticated animals is important for meat production. Furthermore, intramuscular fat content is an important trait of meat intended for consumption. Here, we examined differences in the expression of factors related to myogenesis, adipogenesis and skeletal muscle growth during fetal muscle development of lean (Yorkshire) and obese (Chenghua) pig breeds. At prenatal days 50 (d50) and 90 (d90), muscles and sera were collected from pig fetuses. Histology revealed larger diameters and numbers of myofibers in Chenghua pig fetuses than those in Yorkshire pig fetuses at d50 and d90. Yorkshire fetuses had higher serum concentrations of myostatin (d90), a negative regulator for muscle development, and higher mRNA expression of the growth hormone receptor Ghr (d90), myogenic MyoG (d90) and adipogenic LPL (d50). By contrast, Chenghua fetuses exhibited higher serum concentration of growth hormone (d90), and higher mRNA expression of myogenic MyoD (d90) as well as adipogenic PPARG and FABP4 (d50). Our results revealed distinct expression patterns in the two pig breeds at each developmental stage before birth. Compared with Chenghua pigs, development and maturation of fetal skeletal muscles may occur earlier in Yorkshire pigs, but the negative regulatory effects of myostatin may suppress muscle development at the later stage.
MicroRNAs are endogenous ~22nt RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression at the posttranscriptional level via binding to the 3′-untranslated region (3′UTR) of target mRNAs. The microRNA miR-27a was reported to depress the expression of myostatin, a critical inhibitor of skeletal myogenesis, by binding to its 3′UTR in mouse. In this study, we cloned the full-length 3′UTR of porcine myostatin by rapid amplification of 3′-cDNA ends (3′-RACE) and demonstrated that the 3′UTR of porcine myostatin is targeted by miR-27a. The phenomenon that the level of myostatin inversely correlated with miR-27a was observed in fat and heart of pigs and also in proliferating porcine myoblasts. Besides, overexpression of miR-27a in porcine myoblasts promoted cell proliferation by reducing the expression of myostatin. Our data suggest that miR-27a positive regulates porcine myoblast proliferation via targeting myostatin.