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Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Imprinted genes uniquely drive and support fetoplacental growth by controlling the allocation of maternal resources to the fetus and affecting the newborn’s growth. We previously showed that alterations of the placental imprinted gene expression are associated with suboptimal perinatal growth and respond to environmental stimuli including socio-economic determinants. At the same time, maternal psychosocial stress during pregnancy (MPSP) has been shown to affect fetal growth. Here, we set out to test the hypothesis that placental imprinted gene expression mediates the effects of MPSP on fetal growth in a well-characterized birth cohort, the Stress in Pregnancy (SIP) Study. We observed that mothers experiencing high MPSP deliver infants with lower birthweight (P=0.047). Among the 109 imprinted genes tested, we detected panels of placental imprinted gene expression of 23 imprinted genes associated with MPSP and 26 with birthweight. Among these genes, five imprinted genes (CPXM2, glucosidase alpha acid (GAA), GPR1, SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 2 (SHANK2) and THSD7A) were common to the two panels. In multivariate analyses, controlling for maternal age and education and gestational age at birth and infant gender, two genes, GAA and SHANK2, each showed a 22% mediation of MPSP on fetal growth. These data provide new insights into the role that imprinted genes play in translating the maternal stress message into a fetoplacental growth pattern.
The association between opportunistic infection (OI) and anaemia among HIV-infected patients remains to be studied. We investigated the prevalence and risk factors of anaemia in hospitalised HIV-infected patients to reveal the association between OI and anaemia. We conducted a retrospective study of HIV-positive hospitalised patients from June 2016 to December 2017 in Mengchao Hepatobiliary Hospital of Fujian Medical University. Patients’ information on socio-demographic and clinical characteristics were carefully collected. The comparison of anaemia prevalence between groups was conducted with χ2 test. A logistic regression model was carried out to analyse the predictors of anaemia. The total prevalence of anaemia in hospitalised HIV-infected patients was 55.15%. The prevalence of mild, moderate and severe anaemia was 41.42%, 11.08% and 2.64%, respectively. Predictors independently associated with anaemia were: CD4 counts <50 cells/μl (odds ratio (OR): 6.376, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.916–21.215, P = 0.003), CD4 counts 50–199 cells/μl (OR: 6.303, 95% CI = 1.874–21.203, P = 0.003), co-infection with tuberculosis (TB) (OR: 2.703, 95% CI = 1.349–5.414, P = 0.005) or Penicillium marneffei (PM) (OR: 7.162, 95% CI = 3.147–15.299, P < 0.001). In Fujian, China, more than half inpatients with HIV were anaemic, but severe anaemia is infrequent. Lower CD4 counts, co-infection with TB or PM were independent risk factors for anaemia. Chinese HIV patients especially with TB, PM infection and low CD4 level should be routinely detected for anaemia to improve therapy.
To characterise subjective symptoms in patients undergoing surgical repair of superior semicircular canal dehiscence.
Questionnaires assessing symptom severity and impact on function and quality of life were administered to patients before superior semicircular canal dehiscence surgery, between June 2011 and March 2016. Questionnaire sections included general quality of life, internal amplified sounds, dizziness and tinnitus, with scores of 0–100 points.
Twenty-three patients completed the questionnaire before surgery. Section scores (mean±standard deviation) were: 38.2 ± 25.2 for general quality of life, 52.5 ± 23.9 for internal amplified sounds, 35.1 ± 28.8 for dizziness, 33.3 ± 30.7 for tinnitus, and 39.8 ± 22.2 for the composite score. Cronbach's α statistic averaged 0.93 (range, 0.84–0.97) across section scores, and 0.83 for the composite score.
The Gopen–Yang Superior Semicircular Canal Dehiscence Questionnaire provides a holistic, patient-centred characterisation of superior semicircular canal dehiscence symptoms. Internal consistency analysis validated the questionnaire and provided a quantitative framework for further optimisation in the clinical setting.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
To investigate the effects of soybean isoflavone (SI) on immunity in infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-infected broilers, chicks were fed the same basal diet supplemented with 0 (non-infected control), 0 (infected control), 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg SI for 44 days. At 21 days old, chickens were inoculated with bursal infectious dose causing 50% morbidity of the IBDV BC 6/85 strain by the eye-drop and nasal route (except for non-infected controls). Results showed that, over 1–23 days post-infection (dpi), there was a significant interaction between SI supplementation level and time: high-level SI supplementation increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio, serum concentrations of IgA, IgM and IgG, and IBDV antibody titres. Except for serum IgA and IgM, these variables increased over time with far higher values at 23 dpi than earlier. Compared with non-infected controls, IBDV inoculation decreased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and serum IgG, IgM concentration at 23 dpi, and increased IBDV antibody titres at 7, 15 and 23 dpi. Supplemental SI quadratically increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio and serum IgA concentration at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes at 3 and 23 dpi, and serum IgM concentration and IBDV antibody titres at 23 dpi. These results indicate that dietary SI improved cellular and humoral immunity of IBDV-infected birds and may enhance resistance of Yellow-feathered broilers to infectious diseases.
To investigate the control effect of the synthetic jet on the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors, a numerical simulation procedure for the rotor flowfield is established. First, a moving-embedded grid method and an unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier–Stokes (URANS) solver are established for predicting the complex flowfield of rotors. A velocity jet boundary condition over the jet actuator orifice is constructed, and a numerical method for simulating the active flow control on rotors is developed. Then, the effectiveness of the simulation method is validated by comparing the numerical results of jet control on NACA 0015 aerofoil with the experimental data. At last, the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors with synthetic jet actuators located on the suction surface of the blade in forward flight is calculated. The results indicate that the synthetic jet has the capability of improving the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors, especially in inhibiting the flow separation over the surface. In addition, the increase of the jet momentum coefficient and the jet angle can both enhance the lift coefficient in the retreating side. Compared with a single jet, jet arrays have better control effects on improving the aerodynamic characteristic of rotors in forward flight.
Phenoloxidase (PO) plays a key role in melanin biosynthesis during insect development. Here, we isolated the 2310-bp full-length cDNA of PPO1 from Zeugodacus tau, a destructive horticultural pest. qRT-polymerase chain reaction showed that the ZtPPO1 transcripts were highly expressed during larval–prepupal transition and in the haemolymph. When the larvae were fed a 1.66% kojic acid (KA)-containing diet, the levels of the ZtPPO1 transcripts significantly increased by 2.79- and 3.39-fold in the whole larvae and cuticles, respectively, while the corresponding PO activity was significantly reduced; in addition, the larval and pupal durations were significantly prolonged; pupal weights were lowered; and abnormal phenotypes were observed. An in vitro inhibition experiment indicated that KA was an effective competitive inhibitor of PO in Z. tau. Additionally, the functional analysis showed that 20E could significantly up-regulate the expression of ZtPPO1, induce lower pupal weight, and advance pupation. Knockdown of the ZtPPO1 gene by RNAi significantly decreased mRNA levels after 24 h and led to low pupation rates and incomplete pupae with abnormal phenotypes during the larval-pupal interim period. These results proved that PO is important for the normal growth of Z. tau and that KA can disrupt the development of this pest insect.
Four complete platysiagid fish specimens are described from the Luoping Biota, Anisian (Middle Triassic), Yunnan Province, southwest China. They are small fishes with bones and scales covered with ganoine. All characters observed, such as nasals meeting in the midline, a keystone-like dermosphenotic, absence of post-rostral bone, two infraorbitals between dermosphenotic and jugal, large antorbital, and two postcleithra, suggest that the new materials belong to a single, new Platysiagum species, P. sinensis sp. nov. Three genera are ascribed to Platysiagidae: Platysiagum, Helmolepis and Caelatichthys. However, most specimens of the first two genera are imprints or fragmentary. The new, well-preserved specimens from the Luoping Biota provide more detailed anatomical information than before, and thus help amend the concept of the Platysiagidae. The Family Platysiagidae was previously classed in the Perleidiformes. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that the Platysiagidae is a member of basal Neopterygii, and its origin seems to predate that of Perleidiformes. Moreover, platysiagid fishes are known from the Middle Triassic of the western Tethys region. The newly found specimens of platysiagids from Luoping provide additional evidence that both eastern and western sides of the Tethys Ocean were biogeographically more connected than previously thought.
With the rapid development of telescopes, both temporal cadence and the spatial resolution of observations are increasing. This in turn generates vast amount of data, which can be efficiently searched only with automated detections in order to derive the features of interest in the observations. A number of automated detection methods and algorithms have been developed for solar activities, based on the image processing and machine learning techniques. In this paper, after briefly reviewing some automated detection methods, we describe our efficient and versatile automated detection method for solar filaments. It is able not only to recognize filaments, determine the features such as the position, area, spine, and other relevant parameters, but also to trace the daily evolution of the filaments. It is applied to process the full disk Hα data observed in nearly three solar cycles, and some statistic results are presented.
The study investigated whether different dietary energy and protein sources affect laying performance, antioxidant status, fresh yolk fatty acid profile and quality of salted yolks in laying ducks. In all, 360 19-week-old Longyan ducks were randomly assigned to four diets in a factorial arrangement (2×2). The four diets consisted of two energy sources, corn (CO) or sorghum (SO) and two protein sources, soybean meal (SM) and rapeseed meal with corn distillers dried grains with solubles (RMD), and each treatment contained six replicates of 15 birds each. The experimental diets were isocaloric (metabolizable energy, 10.84 MJ/kg) and isonitrogenous (CP, 17%). The results showed that egg production, average egg weight, egg mass and feed conversion ratio were not affected by diets (P>0.05). Plasma contents of reduced glutathione (GSH), GSH/oxidized glutathione and total antioxidant capacity were lower (P<0.05) in ducks fed the RMD diets compared with those fed SM diets with a substantial increase (P=0.006) in plasma content of malondialdehyde (MDA). Egg yolks from ducks fed SO diets had higher proportions of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and lower saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids compared with CO diets (P<0.001). Similarly, ducks fed RMD diets had a higher content of PUFA and n-6/n-3 ratio in fresh yolks (P<0.001), and increased salted yolk MDA, carbonylated proteins content and incidence of hard salted yolks (P<0.05) compared with SM diets. Scanning electron microscopy showed that salted yolks contained rougher polyhedral granules and fewer fat droplets, and were surrounded with a layer of bunchy fibers in ducks fed SO+RMD than those fed CO+SM diet. In conclusion, the current study showed that feeding laying ducks with diets containing SO or RMD reduced antioxidant capacity and increased egg yolk concentrations of PUFA. It appeared that egg yolks from ducks fed these diets were more sensitive to lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation during salting, and reduced the quality of salted yolks.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
The current generation of experiments aiming to detect the neutral hydrogen signal from the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) is likely to be limited by systematic effects associated with removing foreground sources from target fields. In this paper, we develop a model for the compact foreground sources in one of the target fields of the MWA’s EoR key science experiment: the ‘EoR1’ field. The model is based on both the MWA’s GLEAM survey and GMRT 150 MHz data from the TGSS survey, the latter providing higher angular resolution and better astrometric accuracy for compact sources than is available from the MWA alone. The model contains 5 049 sources, some of which have complicated morphology in MWA data, Fornax A being the most complex. The higher resolution data show that 13% of sources that appear point-like to the MWA have complicated morphology such as double and quad structure, with a typical separation of 33 arcsec. We derive an analytic expression for the error introduced into the EoR two-dimensional power spectrum due to peeling close double sources as single point sources and show that for the measured source properties, the error in the power spectrum is confined to high k⊥ modes that do not affect the overall result for the large-scale cosmological signal of interest. The brightest 10 mis-modelled sources in the field contribute 90% of the power bias in the data, suggesting that it is most critical to improve the models of the brightest sources. With this hybrid model, we reprocess data from the EoR1 field and show a maximum of 8% improved calibration accuracy and a factor of two reduction in residual power in k-space from peeling these sources. Implications for future EoR experiments including the SKA are discussed in relation to the improvements obtained.
Optimal nitrogen (N) management for maize in the film-mulched production systems that are widely used in dryland agriculture is difficult because top-dressing N is impractical. The current research determined how matching N supply and demand was achieved before and after silking stages, when single applications of controlled release urea (CRU) were combined with conventional urea in film-mulched maize production. The CRU: urea mixture was applied in a 1 : 2 or 2 : 1 ratio and all three fertilizer regimes (urea alone and CRU: urea at 1 : 2 or 2 : 1) were applied at N rates of 180 and 240 kg/ha over 2 years. The 1 : 2 CRU: urea mixture, applied once at 180 kg N/ha, was found to synchronize N supply with demand, thereby reducing N losses. The highest grain yields (11·8–12·0 t/ha), N uptake (232–239 kg/ha), N recovery (65·8–67·7%) and high net economic return were achieved with this regime. These results indicate that a single application of a mixture of CRU and urea can synchronize N supply with demand and provide higher yields and profits than conventional N fertilization in film-mulched maize systems.
As lack of forage resource, alternative roughage sources have been developed for ruminant production and their inclusion would exert a great effect on the dietary nutrition, consequently affecting animal performance. Four silages (corn silage (CS), corn stalk silage (SS), inoculated CS and inoculated SS) were separately offered to 60 Bohai Black cattle (15 cattle/group) during a 24-week finishing period, in which the growth performance, carcass trait, beef quality and oxidative stability of steers were determined. Neither silage material nor silage inoculant exerted a significant effect on the growth performance, carcass trait and oxidative stability of beef cattle (P>0.05). As to beef quality, cattle offered CS had higher (P<0.05) contents of intramuscular fat than those offered SS along with a lower moisture content (P<0.05). The contents (mg/g muscle) of C10 : 0, C12 : 0, C14 : 1, C16 : 0, C16 : 1, C18 : 1n9c, C18 : 2n6c, C18 : 3n3, C20 : 1n9, C20 : 2, C20 : 3n6, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and n-6 fatty acids were higher (P<0.05) in the beef muscle of animals offered CS than those offered SS, whereas inoculated treatment made no difference (P>0.05) on the proximate components and fatty acids profile of beef muscle. There was neither an interaction (P>0.05) between inoculated treatment and silage material. There were no differences (P>0.05) in cholesterol content and meat quality traits in animals fed alternative silages. The collective findings suggest that it is not economical to substitute high-quality forage for relative low-quality forage in a high-concentrate finishing ration of beef cattle and silage inoculant inclusion would not exert a direct effect on animal performance.
Biomimetic motions are helpful to underwater vehicles and new conception airplanes design. The lattice Boltzmann method with an immersed boundary method technique is used to reveal the propulsion and lift enhancement mechanism of biomimetic motions. The flow past a sphere and an ellipsoidal flapping wing were validated respectively by comparing with other numerical methods. Then a single flapping wing and three flapping wings in a tandem arrangement are accomplished respectively. It founds that the mean thrust coefficient of three plate wings is bigger than the one of the single plate wing. Three ellipsoidal wings and single ellipsoidal wing are compared. It shows that the single ellipsoidal wing has larger thrust coefficients than the three ellipsoidal wings. Ellipsoidal flapping wing and plate wing were further compared to investigate the influence of wing shape. It indicates the mean thrust coefficient of the ellipsoidal wing is bigger than the plate wing.
We numerically verify better fluid mixing efficiency can be achieved by alternating injection scheme in a heterogeneous porous medium, whose permeability heterogeneity is characterized by two statistical parameters, i.e., the variance s and the correlation length l. Nevertheless, the fingering pattern is strongly affected by permeability distribution to result in similar fingering interface on each of injected layer of less viscous fluids. Instead of randomly chaotic fingering interaction in a homogeneous condition, more orderly channeling interaction occurs in a heterogeneous medium. As a result, higher Peclet number Pe (relative measure of advection and diffusion effects) generally leads to worse mixing efficiency in a heterogeneous medium, which might contradict the result found in a homogeneous case. By the same token, in the cases which strong chaotic fingering interaction already exists in homogeneous conditions, e.g., sufficiently short alternating injection interval Δt, large viscosity contrast A and high Pe, the presence of permeability heterogeneity would constrain the randomly chaotic fingering interaction and favors the more orderly channeling interaction, so that mixing efficiency is deteriorated compared with the corresponding homogeneous case.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.