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Se can enhance lactation performance by improving nutrient utilization and antioxidant status. However, sodium selenite (SS) can be reduced to non-absorbable elemental Se in the rumen, thereby reducing the intestinal availability of Se. The study investigated the impacts of SS and coated SS (CSS) supplementation on lactation performance, nutrient digestibility, ruminal fermentation and microbiota in dairy cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein dairy cows were blocked by parity, daily milk yield and days in milk and randomly assigned to five treatments: control, SS addition (0.3 mg Se/kg DM as SS addition) or CSS addition (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 mg Se/kg DM as CSS addition for low CSS (LCSS), medium CSS (MCSS) and high CSS (HCSS), respectively). Experiment period was 110 days with 20 days of adaptation and 90 days of sample collection. Dry matter intake was higher for MCSS and HCSS compared with control. Yields of milk, milk fat and milk protein and feed efficiency were higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Digestibility of DM and organic matter was highest for CSS addition, followed by SS addition and then control. Digestibility of CP was higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Higher digestibility of ether extract, NDF and ADF was observed for SS or CSS addition. Ruminal pH decreased with dietary Se addition. Acetate to propionate ratio and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was greater for SS, MCSS and HCSS than control. Ruminal H ion concentration was highest for MCSS and HCSS and lowest for control. Activities of cellobiase, carboxymethyl-cellulase, xylanase and protease and copies of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus amylophilus increased with SS or CSS addition. Activity of α-amylase, copies of protozoa, Ruminococcus albus and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and serum glucose, total protein, albumin and glutathione peroxidase were higher for SS, MCSS and HCSS than for control and LCSS. Dietary SS or CSS supplementation elevated blood Se concentration and total antioxidant capacity activity. The data implied that milk yield was elevated due to the increase in total tract nutrient digestibility, total VFA concentration and microorganism population with 0.2 or 0.3 mg Se/kg DM from CSS supplementation in dairy cows. Compared with SS, HCSS addition was more efficient in promoting lactation performance of dairy cows.
Tuberculosis (TB) is generally considered a disease that principally afflicts the low-income segments of a population. In the Nanshan District of Shenzhen, China, with the economic transformation and a new Headquarters Economy (HE) emerging, there are now more cases in office workers than in manufacturing workers. To illustrate this trend, we describe a small TB outbreak in an office building located in the centre of the rapidly growing HE district. Two active pulmonary tuberculosis cases were found in workers who shared an office, and whole genome sequencing showed that the genetic distance between the strains of the two cases was just one single nucleotide polymorphism, consistent with intra-office transmission. Investigation of 30 other workers in the same or adjacent offices with interviews, interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) and chest X-rays, identified one new TB case and latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in 40.0% (12/30) of the contacts. The offices were under-ventilated. None of the IGRA positive, asymptomatic contacts agreed to receive treatment for LTBI, presumably due to TB stigma, and over the next 2 years 69.0% (20/29) of the contacts were lost to follow-up. Treatment for LTBI and stigma of TB remain challenges here. Office workers in the HE of rapidly economic developing areas should be targeted with increased vigilance by TB control programmes.
Both vitamin K and probiotics can promote the bone health of poultry and mammals. The present study was conducted to investigate the interactive effects between vitamin K3 (VK3) and Bacillus subtilis PB6 on the growth performance and tibia quality of broiler chickens with sex separate rearing. In a 3 × 2 × 2 factorial arrangement, 720 one-day-old broiler chicks (Arbor Acres) were assigned to 12 groups with three levels of dietary VK3 (0, 0.5 and 4.0 mg/kg), with or without probiotic supplementation (500 g/t) and with sex separation (male and female). Each group included 3 replicates with 20 birds per replicate. During day 1 to 21, 0.5 and 4.0 mg/kg of VK3 increased average daily gain (ADG) of all birds and average daily feed intake of male birds (P < 0.05). During day 22 to 42, probiotic supplementation increased the ADG of birds (P < 0.05). Probiotic addition increased the weight, length, diameter and strength of tibia in all birds, and 0.5 and 4.0 mg/kg of VK3 increased the tibial breaking strength of male birds at day 21 (P < 0.05). Vitamin K3 and probiotic synergistically increased tibial breaking strength at day 42 and ash content at day 21 (P < 0.05). Three factors exhibited interactive effects on the chemical composition of tibia at day 42, and female birds fed 4 mg/kg of VK3 and probiotic had the highest contents of ash, calcium and phosphorus (P < 0.05). Bacillus subtilis PB6 increased the serum phosphorus level of male birds at day 21 and serum calcium level of female ones at day 42 (P < 0.05). At day 21, in the probiotic-supplemented birds, serum osteocalcin (OCN) and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BALP) were increased by 0 and 4.0 mg/kg of VK3, respectively (P < 0.05). Probiotic increased serum OCN and cooperated with VK3 to increase the serum BALP at day 42 (P < 0.05). Vitamin K3 and probiotic synergistically down-regulated the mRNA expression of Runt-related transcription factor 2 and OCN at day 21 (P < 0.05). Vitamin K3 down-regulated the alkaline phosphatase (liver/bone/kidney) expression in male birds at day 21 and 42, but probiotic up-regulated the expression of these genes at day 42 (P < 0.05). In conclusion, VK3 and B. subtilis PB6 promoted the growth performance of broilers during starter and grower phases, respectively. They synergistically improved the physical and chemical traits of tibias, especially in grower phase, by modulating calcium and phosphorus metabolism as well as osteogenic gene expression.
Multiple lines of evidence suggest the presence of altered neuroimmune processes in patients with schizophrenia (Sz) and severe mood disorders. Recent studies using a novel free water diffusion tensor imaging (FW DTI) approach, proposed as a putative biomarker of neuroinflammation, atrophy, or edema, have shown significantly increased FW in patients with Sz. However no studies to date have investigated the longitudinal stability of FW alterations during the early course of psychosis, nor have studies focused separately on FE psychosis patients with Sz or bipolar disorder (BD) with psychotic features.
The current study included 188 participants who underwent diffusion magnetic resonance imaging scanning at baseline. Sixty-four participants underwent follow-up rescanning after 12 months. DTI-based alterations in patients were calculated using voxelwise tract-based spatial statistics and region of interest analyses.
Patients with FE psychosis, both Sz and BD, exhibited increased FW at illness onset which remained unchanged over the 12-month follow-up period. Preliminary analyses suggested that antipsychotic medication exposure was associated with higher FW in gray matter that reached significance in the BD group. Higher FW in white matter correlated with negative symptom severity.
Our results support the presence of elevated FW at the onset of psychosis in both Sz and BD, which remains stable during the early course of the illness, with no evidence of either progression or remission.
The combined addition of branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFAs) and folic acid (FA) could improve growth performance and nutrient utilization by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA and FA addition on growth performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility, microbial enzyme activity, microflora and excretion of urinary purine derivatives (PDs) in calves. Thirty-six Chinese Holstein weaned calves (60 ± 5.4 days of age and 107 ± 4.7 kg of BW) were assigned to one of four groups in a randomized block design. Treatments were control (without additives), FA (with 10 mg FA/kg dietary DM), BCVFA (with 5 g BCVFA/kg dietary DM) and the combined addition of FA and BCVFA (10 mg/kg DM of FA and 5 g/kg DM of BCVFA). Supplements were hand-mixed into the top one-third of total mixed ration. Dietary concentrate to maize silage ratio was 50 : 50 on a DM basis. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect dry matter intake but increased average daily gain (ADG) and feed conversion efficiency. Ruminal pH and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition did not affect acetate proportion but decreased propionate proportion and increased acetate to propionate ratio. Total tract digestibility of DM, organic matter, CP and NDF was higher for BCVFA or FA addition than for control. Dietary BCVFA or FA addition increased activity of carboxymethyl cellulase and cellobiase, population of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Prevotella ruminicola as well as total PD excretion. Ruminal xylanase, pectinase and protease activity and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens population were increased by BCVFA addition, whereas population of protozoa and methanogens was increased by FA addition. The BCVFA × FA interaction was significant for acetate to propionate ratio, cellobiase activity and total PD excretion, and these variables increased more with FA addition in diet without BCVFA than in diet with BCVFA. The data indicated that supplementation with BCVFA or FA increased ADG, nutrient digestibility, ruminal total VFA concentration and microbial protein synthesis by stimulating ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity in calves.
A smooth adaptive sliding-mode-based controller is developed for BTT missiles considering nonlinear couplings and aerodynamic uncertainties, wherein fixed-time stability theory is synthesised into sliding-mode control algorithm, such that control variables follow the desired command within fixed-bounded convergence time. Unlike other terminal sliding-mode-related works, the bound of settling time is independent of initial states, indicating that performance metrics, for instance the convergence rate, can be evaluated in advance. The control input is designed to be intrinsically smooth, based on adaptive estimations, and therefore the problem of singularity and chattering is effectively eliminated. Simulation results demonstrate the satisfactory performance and validate the effectiveness of the designed approach.
We use the results of a supernova light-curve population synthesis to predict the range of possible supernova light curves arising from a population of single-star progenitors that lead to type IIP supernovae. We calculate multiple models varying the initial mass, explosion energy, nickel mass and nickel mixing and then compare these to type IIP supernovae with detailed light curve data and pre-explosion imaging progenitor constraints. Where a good fit is obtained to observations, we are able to achieve initial progenitor and nickel mass estimates from the supernova lightcurve that are comparable in precision to those obtained from progenitor imaging. For 2 of the 11 IIP supernovae considered our fits are poor, indicating that more progenitor models should be included in our synthesis or that our assumptions, regarding factors such as stellar mass loss rates or the rapid final stages of stellar evolution, may need to be revisited in certain cases. Using the results of our analysis we are able to show that most of the type IIP supernovae have an explosion energy of the order of log(Eexp/ergs) = 50.52 ± 0.10 and that both the amount of nickel in the supernovae and the amount of mixing may have a dependence on initial progenitor mass.
Muscle fiber characteristics comprise a set of complex traits that influence the meat quality and lean meat production of livestock. However, the genetic and biological mechanisms regulating muscle fiber characteristics are largely unknown in pigs. Based on a genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed on 421 Large White × Min pig F2 individuals presenting well-characterized phenotypes, this work aimed to detect genome variations and candidate genes for five muscle fiber characteristics: percentage of type I fibers (FIB1P), percentage of type IIA fibers (FIB2AP), percentage of type IIB fibers (FIB2BP), diameter of muscle fibers (DIAMF) and number of muscle fibers per unit area (NUMMF). The GWAS used the Illumina Porcine SNP60K genotypic data, which were analyzed by a mixed model. Seven and 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were significantly associated with DIAMF and NUMMF, respectively (P < 1.10E-06); no SNP was significantly associated with FIB1P, FIB2AP or FIB2B. For DIAMF, the significant SNPs on chromosome 4 were located in the previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) interval. Because the significant SNPs on chromosome 6 were not mapped in the previously reported QTL interval, a putative novel QTL was suggested for this locus. None of the previously reported QTL intervals on chromosomes 6 and 14 harbored significant SNPs for NUMMF; thus, new potential QTLs on these two chromosomes are suggested in the present work. The most significant SNPs associated with DIAMF (ALGA0025682) and NUMMF (MARC0046984) explained 12.02% and 11.59% of the phenotypic variation of these traits, respectively. In addition, both SNPs were validated as associated with DIAMF and NUMMF in Beijing Black pigs (P < 0.01). Some candidate genes or non-coding RNAs, such as solute carrier family 44 member 5 and miR-124a-1 for DIAMF, and coiled-coil serine rich protein 2 for NUMMF, were identified based on their close location to the significant SNPs. This study revealed some genome-wide association variants for muscle fiber characteristics, and it provides valuable information to discover the genetic mechanisms controlling these traits in pigs.
Identifying risk factors of individuals in a clinical-high-risk state for psychosis are vital to prevention and early intervention efforts. Among prodromal abnormalities, cognitive functioning has shown intermediate levels of impairment in CHR relative to first-episode psychosis and healthy controls, highlighting a potential role as a risk factor for transition to psychosis and other negative clinical outcomes. The current study used the AX-CPT, a brief 15-min computerized task, to determine whether cognitive control impairments in CHR at baseline could predict clinical status at 12-month follow-up.
Baseline AX-CPT data were obtained from 117 CHR individuals participating in two studies, the Early Detection, Intervention, and Prevention of Psychosis Program (EDIPPP) and the Understanding Early Psychosis Programs (EP) and used to predict clinical status at 12-month follow-up. At 12 months, 19 individuals converted to a first episode of psychosis (CHR-C), 52 remitted (CHR-R), and 46 had persistent sub-threshold symptoms (CHR-P). Binary logistic regression and multinomial logistic regression were used to test prediction models.
Baseline AX-CPT performance (d-prime context) was less impaired in CHR-R compared to CHR-P and CHR-C patient groups. AX-CPT predictive validity was robust (0.723) for discriminating converters v. non-converters, and even greater (0.771) when predicting CHR three subgroups.
These longitudinal outcome data indicate that cognitive control deficits as measured by AX-CPT d-prime context are a strong predictor of clinical outcome in CHR individuals. The AX-CPT is brief, easily implemented and cost-effective measure that may be valuable for large-scale prediction efforts.
The effects of pantothenic acid (PA) and folic acid (FA) addition on digestibility coefficient, ruminal fermentation and urinary purine derivative (PD) excretion in dairy bulls were evaluated. Eight rumen-cannulated Holstein dairy bulls were allocated to a replicated 4 × 4 Latin square design according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement. Diets were supplemented with two levels of FA (0 or 8.0 mg/kg dietary dry matter [DM]) and two of PA (0 or 60 mg/kg DM). The PA × FA interaction was not significant for all variables. Both supplements increased DM intake and average daily gain, but decreased a feed conversion ratio. Digestibility of DM, organic matter, crude protein and neutral detergent fibre increased, but ether extract digestibility was unchanged for both supplements. Digestibility of acid detergent fibre only increased with FA supplementation. For both supplements, ruminal pH and ammonia nitrogen (N) decreased, but total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration increased. Acetate proportion only increased with FA supplementation. Propionate proportion decreased for both supplements. Consequently, the acetate to propionate ratio increased. For both supplements, activity of xylanase and pectinase, population of Ruminococcus albus, R. flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus and total PD excretion increased. Additionally, activity of carboxymethylcellulase, cellobiase, α-amylase and protease, and population of total bacteria, fungi, protozoa, methanogens, Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and Prevotella ruminicola increased with FA addition. The results suggested that PA and FA supplementation stimulated ruminal microbial growth and enzyme activity, resulting in an increased digestibility coefficient and ruminal total VFA concentration in dairy bulls.
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.
In this paper, a novel single-cavity triangular substrate-integrated waveguide (TSIW) dual-band filter loading a complementary triangular split ring resonator (CTSRR) is proposed, which has three transmission zeros (TZs) in the stopband in total. The dual-band response is achieved by the CTSRR and the degenerate modes of the TSIW cavity. In order to control the TZs, we propose two adjustment techniques, shift feeding technique and adding via perturbation. In addition, the CTSRR etched on the surface can produce a new TZ in the upper first-passband. Finally, a dual-band filter with three TZs is simulated, fabricated, and measured. There is a good agreement between the simulated results and measured ones.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.
The aim of the study was to investigate any association between extrauterine growth restriction (EUGR) and intestinal flora of <30-week-old preterm infants. A total of 59 preterm infants were assigned to EUGR (n=23) and non-EUGR (n=36) groups. Intestinal bacteria were compared by using high-throughput sequencing of bacterial rRNA. The total abundance of bacteria in 344 genera (7568 v. 13,760; P<0.0001) and 456 species (10,032 v. 18,240; P<0.0001) was significantly decreased in the EUGR group compared with the non-EUGR group. After application of a multivariate logistic model and adjusting for potential confounding factors, as well as false-discovery rate corrections, we found four bacterial genera with higher and one bacterial genus with lower abundance in the EUGR group compared with the control group. In addition, the EUGR group showed significantly increased abundances of six species (Streptococcus parasanguinis, Bacterium RB5FF6, two Klebsiella species and Microbacterium), but decreased frequencies of three species (one Acinetobacter species, Endosymbiont_of_Sphenophorus_lev and one Enterobacter_species) compared with the non-EUGR group. Taken together, there were significant changes in the intestinal microflora of preterm infants with EUGR compared to preterm infants without EUGR.
Starch digestion in the small intestines of the dairy cow is low, to a large extent, due to a shortage of syntheses of α-amylase. One strategy to improve the situation is to enhance the synthesis of α-amylase. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signalling pathway, which acts as a central regulator of protein synthesis, can be activated by leucine. Our objectives were to investigate the effects of leucine on the mTOR signalling pathway and to define the associations between these signalling activities and the synthesis of pancreatic enzymes using an in vitro model of cultured Holstein dairy calf pancreatic tissue. The pancreatic tissue was incubated in culture medium containing l-leucine for 3 h, and samples were collected hourly, with the control being included but not containing l-leucine. The leucine supplementation increased α-amylase and trypsin activities and the messenger RNA expression of their coding genes (P <0.05), and it enhanced the mTOR synthesis and the phosphorylation of mTOR, ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1 (P <0.05). In addition, rapamycin inhibited the mTOR signal pathway factors during leucine treatment. In sum, the leucine regulates α-amylase and trypsin synthesis in dairy calves through the regulation of the mTOR signal pathways.
We present results of a supernova lightcurve population synthesis, predicting the range of possible supernova lightcurves arising from a population of progenitor stars that include interacting binary systems. We show that the known diversity of supernova lightcurves can be interpreted as arising from binary interactions. Given detailed models of the progenitor stars, we are able to the determine what parameters within these stars determine the shape of their supernova lightcurve. The primary factors are the mass of supernova ejecta and the mass of hydrogen in the final progenitor. We find that there is a continuum of lightcurve behaviour from type IIP, IIL, to IIb supernovae related to the range of hydrogen and ejecta masses. Most type IIb supernovae arise from a relatively narrow range of initial masses from 10 to 15 M⊙. We also find a few distinct lightcurves that are the result of stellar mergers.
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.
The present study evaluated the effects of isovalerate supplementation on the development of the small intestinal mucosa in dairy calves. Forty-eight Chinese Holstein bull calves at 15 days of age and 45.1 ± 0.36 kg of body weight were assigned randomly to four groups. The treatments were control, low-isovalerate, moderate-isovalerate and high-isovalerate with 0, 3, 6 and 9 g isovalerate per calf per day, respectively. The study comprised 75 days with a 15-day adaptation period followed by a 60-day sampling period. Calves were weaned at 60 days of age. Six calves were chosen from each treatment at random and slaughtered at 30 and 90 days of age. The small intestine morphology and activities of amylase and trypsin improved significantly with increasing age. No interaction between treatments and age was observed. The small intestine length, mucosa layer thickness, villus height and crypt depth increased linearly with increasing isovalerate supplementation. However, the ratio of villus height to crypt depth was not affected by treatment. Activities of amylase and trypsin increased linearly. The lactase activity increased linearly during the 75-day period and for pre-weaned calves but was unaltered for post-weaned calves. The relative mRNA expressions of growth hormone receptor, insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor and sodium-glucose co-transporter-1 in the small intestine mucosa increased linearly, and a similar pattern was observed for the expression of peptide transporter-1 in the duodenum and proximal jejunum. The results suggested that small intestine development was promoted by isovalerate in a dose-dependent manner.
Branched-chain volatile fatty acids (BCVFA) supplements could promote lactation performance and milk quality by improving ruminal fermentation and milk fatty acid synthesis. This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of BCVFA supplementation on milk performance, ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expression of genes related to fatty acid synthesis in mammary gland of dairy cows. A total of 36 multiparous Chinese Holstein cows averaging 606±4.7 kg of BW, 65±5.2 day in milk (DIM) with daily milk production of 30.6±0.72 kg were assigned to one of four groups blocked by lactation number, milk yield and DIM. The treatments were control, low-BCVFA (LBCVFA), medium-BCVFA (MBCVFA) and high-BCVFA (HBCVFA) with 0, 30, 60 and 90 g BCVFA per cow per day, respectively. Experimental periods were 105 days with 15 days of adaptation and 90 days of data collection. Dry matter (DM) intake tended to increase, but BW changes were similar among treatments. Yields of actual milk, 4% fat corrected milk, milk fat and true protein linearly increased, but feed conversion ratio (FCR) linearly decreased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Milk fat content linearly increased, but true protein content tended to increase. Contents of C4:0, C6:0, C8:0, C10:0, C12:0, C14:0 and C15:0 fatty acids in milk fat linearly increased, whereas other fatty acids were not affected with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Ruminal pH, ammonia N concentration and propionate molar proportion linearly decreased, but total VFA production and molar proportions of acetate and butyrate linearly increased with increasing BCVFA supplementation. Consequently, acetate to propionate ratios linearly increased. Digestibilities of DM, organic matter, CP, NDF and ADF also linearly increased. In addition, mRNA expressions of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ, sterol regulatory element-binding factor 1 and fatty acid-binding protein 3 linearly increased, mRNA expressions of acetyl-coenzyme A carboxylase-α, fatty acid synthase and stearoyl-CoA desaturase quadratically increased. However, lipoprotein lipase mRNA expression was not affected by treatments. The results indicated that lactation performance and milk fat synthesis increased with BCVFA supplementation by improving ruminal fermentation, nutrient digestibility and mRNA expressions of genes related to milk fat synthesis.