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Manure is a primary source of methane (CH4) emissions into the atmosphere. A large proportion of CH4 from manure is emitted during storage, but this varies with storage methods. In this research, we tested whether covering a manure heap with plastic reduces CH4 emission during a short-term composting process. A static chamber method was used to detect the CH4 emission rate and the change of the physicochemical properties of cattle manure which was stored either uncovered (treatment UNCOVERED) or covered with plastic (treatment COVERED) for 30-day periods during the four seasons? The dry matter content of the COVERED treatment was significantly less than the UNCOVERED treatment (P < 0.01), and the C/N ratio of the COVERED treatment significantly greater than the UNCOVERED treatment (P > 0.05) under high temperature. In the UNCOVERED treatment, average daily methane (CH4) emissions were in the order summer > spring > autumn > winter. CH4 emissions were positively correlated with the temperature (R2 = 0.52, P < 0.01). Compared to the UNCOVERED treatment, the daily average CH4 emission rates from COVERED treatment manure were less in the first 19 days of spring, 13 days of summer, 10 days of autumn and 30 days of winter. In summary, covering the manure pile with plastic reduces the evaporation of water during storage; and in winter, long-term covering with plastic film reduces the CH4 emissions during the storage of manure.
An acute gastroenteritis (AGE) outbreak caused by a norovirus occurred at a hospital in Shanghai, China, was studied for molecular epidemiology, host susceptibility and serological roles. Rectal and environmental swabs, paired serum samples and saliva specimens were collected. Pathogens were detected by real-time polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing. Histo-blood group antigens (HBGA) phenotypes of saliva samples and their binding to norovirus protruding proteins were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The HBGA-binding interfaces and the surrounding region were analysed by the MegAlign program of DNAstar 7.1. Twenty-seven individuals in two care units were attacked with AGE at attack rates of 9.02 and 11.68%. Eighteen (78.2%) symptomatic and five (38.4%) asymptomatic individuals were GII.6/b norovirus positive. Saliva-based HBGA phenotyping showed that all symptomatic and asymptomatic cases belonged to A, B, AB or O secretors. Only four (16.7%) out of the 24 tested serum samples showed low blockade activity against HBGA-norovirus binding at the acute phase, whereas 11 (45.8%) samples at the convalescence stage showed seroconversion of such blockade. Specific blockade antibody in the population played an essential role in this norovirus epidemic. A wide HBGA-binding spectrum of GII.6 supports a need for continuous health attention and surveillance in different settings.
Gravitational waves from coalescing neutron stars encode information about nuclear matter at extreme densities, inaccessible by laboratory experiments. The late inspiral is influenced by the presence of tides, which depend on the neutron star equation of state. Neutron star mergers are expected to often produce rapidly rotating remnant neutron stars that emit gravitational waves. These will provide clues to the extremely hot post-merger environment. This signature of nuclear matter in gravitational waves contains most information in the 2–4 kHz frequency band, which is outside of the most sensitive band of current detectors. We present the design concept and science case for a Neutron Star Extreme Matter Observatory (NEMO): a gravitational-wave interferometer optimised to study nuclear physics with merging neutron stars. The concept uses high-circulating laser power, quantum squeezing, and a detector topology specifically designed to achieve the high-frequency sensitivity necessary to probe nuclear matter using gravitational waves. Above 1 kHz, the proposed strain sensitivity is comparable to full third-generation detectors at a fraction of the cost. Such sensitivity changes expected event rates for detection of post-merger remnants from approximately one per few decades with two A+ detectors to a few per year and potentially allow for the first gravitational-wave observations of supernovae, isolated neutron stars, and other exotica.
Decontamination of N95 respirators is being used by clinicians in the face of a global shortage of these devices. Some treatments for decontamination, such as some vaporized hydrogen peroxide methods or ultraviolet methods, had no impact on respiratory performance, while other treatments resulted in substantial damage to masks.
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has posed serious challenges. It is vitally important to further clarify the epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 outbreak for future study and prevention and control measures. Epidemiological characteristics and spatial−temporal analysis were performed based on COVID-19 cases from 21 January 2020 to 1 March 2020 in Shandong Province, and close contacts were traced to construct transmission chains. A total of 758 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Shandong. The sex ratio was 1.27: 1 (M: F) and the median age was 42 (interquartile range: 32–55). The high-risk clusters were identified in the central, eastern and southern regions of Shandong from 25 January 2020 to 10 February 2020. We rebuilt 54 transmission chains involving 209 cases, of which 52.2% were family clusters, and three widespread infection chains were elaborated, occurring in Jining, Zaozhuang and Liaocheng, respectively. The geographical and temporal disparity may alert public health agencies to implement specific measures in regions with different risk, and should attach importance on how to avoid household and community transmission.
Previous work led to the proposal that the precision feeding of a high-concentrate diet may represent a potential method with which to enhance feed efficiency (FE) when rearing dairy heifers. However, the physiological and metabolic mechanisms underlying this approach remain unclear. This study used metabolomics analysis to investigate the changes in plasma metabolites of heifers precision-fed diets containing a wide range of forage to concentrate ratios. Twenty-four half-sib Holstein heifers, with a similar body condition, were randomly assigned into four groups and precision fed with diets containing different proportions of concentrate (20%, 40%, 60% and 80% based on DM). After 28 days of feeding, blood samples were collected 6 h after morning feeding and gas chromatography time-of-ﬂight/MS was used to analyze the plasma samples. Parameters of oxidative status were also determined in the plasma. The FE (after being corrected for gut fill) increased linearly (P < 0.01) with increasing level of dietary concentrate. Significant changes were identified for 38 different metabolites in the plasma of heifers fed different dietary forage to concentrate ratios. The main pathways showing alterations were clustered into those relating to carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism; all of which have been previously associated with FE changes in ruminants. Heifers fed with a high-concentrate diet had higher (P < 0.01) plasma total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase but lower (P ≤ 0.02) hydroxyl radical and hydrogen peroxide than heifers fed with a low-concentrate diet, which might indicate a lower plasma oxidative status in the heifers fed a high-concentrate diet. Thus, heifers fed with a high-concentrate diet had higher FE and antioxidant capacity but a lower plasma oxidative status as well as changed carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism. Our findings provide a better understanding of how forage to concentrate ratios affect FE and metabolism in the precision-fed growing heifers.
OBJECTIVES/GOALS: Early age at menopause has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease; however, there is limited evidence for a relationship between early menopause and heart failure (HF). We examined whether early menopause is associated with incident HF among women in the southeastern United States. METHODS/STUDY POPULATION: The Southern Community Cohort Study enrolled ~86,000 low-income black and white adults from 2002 to 2009. Participants for this analysis were 11,948 women who were postmenopausal at enrollment, had no history of HF, and were on Medicaid or Medicare. HF events were ascertained using ICD-9 codes 428.x via linkage of the cohort with CMS Research Identifiable Files through December 31, 2010. Early menopause was defined as self-reported age at menopause less than 45 years. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were computed from multivariable Cox regression models, overall and by race, adjusting for demographic, lifestyle, and reproductive factors, including reason for menopause. RESULTS/ANTICIPATED RESULTS: At baseline, mean age was 58±9 years, and 65% of participants were black. Among women with early menopause, 76% (n = 4,836) had menopause due to hysterectomy or oophorectomy. In women with later menopause, 74% (n = 4,102) reported natural menopause. During a median follow-up of 5.0 years (range 3.1-6.7), 2,157 incident HF events occurred. Compared with women with later onset of menopause, those with early menopause had increased HF risk (HR: 1.27, 95% CI: 1.10–1.47). Risk of HF associated with early menopause was similar in white and black women (p-value for interaction: 0.13). DISCUSSION/SIGNIFICANCE OF IMPACT: In this largely low-income population, early menopause was associated with an increased risk of developing HF. Women with early menopause represent a potential target population for future interventions to decrease risk of HF and cardiovascular risk factors.
Porphyromonas gingivalis has been linked to the development and progression of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and is considered to be a high-risk factor for ESCC. Currently, the commonly used methods for P. gingivalis detection are culture or DNA extraction-based, which are either time and labour intensive especially for high-throughput applications. We aimed to establish and evaluate a rapid and sensitive direct quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol for the detection of P. gingivalis without DNA extraction which is suitable for large-scale epidemiological studies. Paired gingival swab samples from 192 subjects undergoing general medical examinations were analysed using two direct and one extraction-based qPCR assays for P. gingivalis. Tris-EDTA buffer-based direct qPCR (TE-direct qPCR), lysis-based direct qPCR (lysis-direct qPCR) and DNA extraction-based qPCR (kit-qPCR) were used, respectively, in 192, 132 and 60 of these samples for quantification of P. gingivalis. The sensitivity and specificity of TE-direct qPCR was 95.24% and 100% compared with lysis-direct qPCR, which was 100% and 97.30% when compared with kit-qPCR; TE-direct qPCR had an almost perfect agreement with lysis-direct qPCR (κ = 0.954) and kit-qPCR (κ = 0.965). Moreover, the assay time used for TE-direct qPCR was 1.5 h. In conclusion, the TE-direct qPCR assay is a simple and efficient method for the quantification of oral P. gingivalis and showed high sensitivity and specificity compared with routine qPCR.
Introduction: Rapid diagnostic algorithms using high-sensitivity cardiac troponin can rapidly diagnose or exclude acute myocardial infarction (MI). However, multiple algorithms have been proposed and it is unclear if some outperform others. The objective of this study was to prospectively compare the diagnostic performance of 1- and 2-hour algorithms in clinical practice in a Canadian population. Methods: Emergency department patients with chest pain had high-sensitivity cardiac troponin-T (hs-cTnT) collected on presentation and 1- and 2-hours later at a single academic tertiary hospital and regional percutaneous coronary intervention site over a 2-year period. The primary outcome was index MI, the secondary outcome was 30-day major adverse cardiac events (MACE). All outcomes were 2 physician adjudicated. Results: We enrolled 1,167 patients with hs-cTnT collected on ED presentation. Of these, 350 had a valid 1-hour and 550 had a 2-hour hs-cTnT sample. Index MI prevalence was ~11%. Sensitivity of the 1- and 2-hour algorithms for index MI was 97.3% (95% CI 85.8-99.9%) and 100% (95% CI 91.6-100%) and for 30-day MACE was 80.9% (95% CI 66.7-90.9%) and 83.3% (95% CI 73.2-90.8%), respectively. The 1-hour algorithm was 96.3% specific for index MI (95% CI 93.8-98.2%) whereas specificity for the 2-hour algorithm was 97.9% (95% CI 96.3-100%). Both algorithms classified about one-quarter of patients in an indeterminate observational zone with an ~11% MI prevalence. Conclusion: Both the 1- and 2-hour algorithms were highly sensitive and specific for MI, but were less sensitive for 30-day MACE. However, the 2-hour algorithm trended toward better performance, likely because its larger delta cutoffs reduce the risk of misclassification owing to analytic variability. These findings suggest algorithms using larger delta cutoffs may provide a greater margin of safety. Further comparative evaluation of rapid diagnostic algorithms using different cutoffs and characterization of patients in the observational zone is warranted.
Introduction: Very low high-sensitivity troponin-T (hs-cTnT) concentrations on presentation can rule out acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but the ability to identify patients at low risk of 30-day major adverse cardiac events (MACE) is less clear. This study examines the sensitivity of low concentrations of hs-cTnT on presentation to rule out 30-day MACE. Methods: This prospective cohort study enrolled emergency department chest pain patients with non-ischemic ECGs who underwent AMI rule-out with an hs-cTnT assay. The primary outcome was 30-day MACE; secondary outcomes were individual MACE components. Because guidelines recommend using a single hs-cTnT strategy only for patients with more than 3-hours since symptom onset, a subgroup analysis was performed for this population. Outcomes were adjudicated based on review of medical records and telephone follow-up. Results: Of 1,167 patients enrolled, 125 (10.7%) experienced 30-day MACE and 97 (8.3%) suffered AMI on the index visit. More than one-third (35.6%) had presenting hs-cTnT concentrations below the limit of detection (5ng/L), which was 94.4% (95%CI 88.8-97.7%) sensitive for 30-day MACE and 99.0% (95%CI 94.5-100%) sensitive for index AMI. Of 292 (25.0%) patients with hs-cTnT < 5ng/L and at least 3-hours since symptom onset, only 3 experienced 30-day MACE (sensitivity 97.6%, 95%CI 93.2-100%) and none suffered AMI within 30-days (sensitivity 100%, 95%CI 96.3-100%). Conclusion: Among patients with non-ischemic ECGs and >3-hours since symptom onset, low hs-cTnT concentrations on presentation confer a very low risk of 30-day MACE. In the absence of a high risk clinical presentation, further risk stratification is likely to be low yield.
The relative effect of the atypical antipsychotic drugs and conventional agents on neurocognition in patients with early-stage schizophrenia has not been comprehensively determined.
The present study aimed to assess the cognitive effects of atypical and conventional antipsychotic drugs on neurocognition under naturalistic treatment conditions.
In a 12 months open-label, multicenter study, 698 patients with early-stage schizophrenia (< 5 years) were monotherapy with chlorpromazine, sulpiride, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine or aripiprazole. Wechsler Memory Scale--Revised Visual Reproduction Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised Digit Symbol Test and Digit-span Task Test, Trail Making Tests Part A and Part B, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test were administered at baseline and 12 months follow-up evaluation. The primary outcome was change in a cognitive composite score after 12 months of treatment.
Compared with scores at baseline, the composite cognitive test scores and individual test scores had significant improvement for all seven treatment groups at 12-month follow-up evaluation (all p-values ≤ 0.013). However, olanzapine and quetiapine provided greater improvement than that provided by chlorpromazine and sulpiride in the composite score, processing speed and executive function (all p-values ≤ 0.045).
Both conventional and atypical antipsychotic medication long-term maintenance treatment can benefit congitive function in patients with early-stage schizophrenia, but olanzapine and quetiapine may be superior to chlorpromazine and sulpiride in improving some areas of neurocognitive function.
Post-stroke depression (PSD) is the most common psychiatric complication facing stroke survivors and has been associated with increased distress, physical disability, poor rehabilitation, and suicidal ideation. However, the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying PSD remain unknown, and no objective laboratory-based test is available to aid PSD diagnosis or monitor progression.
Here, an isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-based quantitative proteomic approach was performed to identify differentially expressed proteins in plasma samples obtained from PSD, stroke, and healthy control subjects.
The significantly differentiated proteins were primarily involved in lipid metabolism and immunoregulation. Six proteins associated with these processes – apolipoprotein A-IV (ApoA-IV), apolipoprotein C-II (ApoC-II), C-reactive protein (CRP), gelsolin, haptoglobin, and leucine-rich alpha-2-glycoprotein (LRG) – were selected for Western blotting validation. ApoA-IV expression was significantly upregulated in PSD as compared to stroke subjects. ApoC-II, LRG, and CRP expression were significantly downregulated in both PSD and HC subjects relative to stroke subjects. Gelsolin and haptoglobin expression were significantly dysregulated across all three groups with the following expression profiles: gelsolin, healthy control > PSD > stroke subjects; haptoglobin, stroke > PSD > healthy control.
Early perturbation of lipid metabolism and immunoregulation may be involved in the pathophysiology of PSD. The combination of increased gelsolin levels accompanied by decreased haptoglobin levels shows promise as a plasma-based diagnostic biomarker panel for detecting increased PSD risk in post-stroke patients.
There are strong links between circadian disturbance and some of the most characteristic symptoms of clinical major depressive disorder (MDD). However there are no published studies of changes in expression of clock genes or of other neuropeptides related to circadian-rhythm regulation, which may influence recurrent susceptibility after treatment with antidepressant in MDD.
Blood samples were collected from twelve healthy controls and twelve male major depressive patients pre- and post- treated with escitalopram for eight weeks at 4-hour intervals for 24 hours. Outcome measures were the relative expression of mRNA of clock genes (hPERIOD1, hPERIOD2, hPERIOD3, hCRY1, hBMAL1, hNPAS2 and hGSK-3beta) and the levels of serum melatonin, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP), cortisol, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1(IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH) in twelve healthy controls and twelve pre- and post- treated MDD patients.
Compared with healthy controls, MDD patients showed disruptions in diurnal rhythms of expression of hPERIOD1, hPERIOD2, hCRY1, hBMAL1, hNPAS2 and hGSK-3beta, along with disruptions in diurnal rhythms of release of melatonin, VIP, cortisol, ACTH, IGF-1, and GH. Several of these disruptions (hPER1, hCRY1, melatonin, VIP, cortisol, ACTH, and IGF-1) persisted after eight weeks escitalopram treatment, as did elevation of 24-hour levels of VIP and decreases in 24-hour levels of cortisol and ACTH.
These persisted neurobiological changes may play a role in MDD symptoms that are thought to contribute to recurrence vulnerability and in maintenance therapy for a long term.
Persistent gaming, despite acknowledgment of its negative consequences, is a major criterion for individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated the adaptive decision-making, risky decision, and decision-making style of individuals with IGD.
We recruited 87 individuals with IGD and 87 without IGD (matched controls). All participants underwent an interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) diagnostic criteria for IGD and completed an adaptive decision-making task; the Preference for Intuition and Deliberation Scale, Chen Internet Addiction Scale, and Barratt Impulsivity Scale were also assessed on the basis of the information from the diagnostic interviews.
The results demonstrated that the participants in both groups tend to make more risky choices in advantage trials where their expected value (EV) was more favorable than those of the riskless choice. The tendency to make a risky choice in advantage trials was stronger among IGD group than that among controls. Participants of both groups made more risky choices in the loss domain, a risky option to loss more versus sure loss option, than they did in the gain domain, a risky option to gain more versus sure gain. Furthermore, the participants with IGD made more risky choices in the gain domain than did the controls. Participants with IGD showed higher and lower preferences for intuitive and deliberative decision-making styles, respectively, than controls and their preferences for intuition and deliberation were positively and negatively associated with IGD severity, respectively.
These results suggested that individuals with IGD have elevated EV sensitivity for decision-making. However, they demonstrated risky preferences in the gain domain and preferred an intuitive rather than deliberative decision-making style. This might explain why they continue Internet gaming despite negative consequences. Thus, therapists should focus more on decision-making styles and promote deliberative thinking processes to mitigate the long-term negative consequences of IGD.
As an epigenetic modification, DNA methylation may reflect the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the development of schizophrenia (SCZ). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is a promising candidate gene of SCZ. In the present study, we investigate the association of COMT methylation with the risk of SCZ using bisulfite pyrosequencing technology. Significant association between DNA methylation of COMT and the risk of SCZ is identified (P = 1.618e−007). A breakdown analysis by gender shows that the significance is driven by males (P = 3.310e−009), but not by females. DNA methylation of COMT is not significantly associated with SCZ clinical phenotypes, including p300 and cysteine level. No interaction is found between COMT genotypes and the percent methylation of this gene. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve shows that DNA methylation of COMT is able to predict the SCZ risk in males (area under curve [AUC] = 0.802, P = 1.91e−007). The current study indicates the clinical value of COMT methylation as a potential male-specific biomarker in SCZ diagnosis.
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is a planned large radio interferometer designed to operate over a wide range of frequencies, and with an order of magnitude greater sensitivity and survey speed than any current radio telescope. The SKA will address many important topics in astronomy, ranging from planet formation to distant galaxies. However, in this work, we consider the perspective of the SKA as a facility for studying physics. We review four areas in which the SKA is expected to make major contributions to our understanding of fundamental physics: cosmic dawn and reionisation; gravity and gravitational radiation; cosmology and dark energy; and dark matter and astroparticle physics. These discussions demonstrate that the SKA will be a spectacular physics machine, which will provide many new breakthroughs and novel insights on matter, energy, and spacetime.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a major public health concern all over the world. Little is known about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population. This study aimed to assess the mental health problems and associated factors among a large sample of college students during the COVID-19 outbreak in China.
This cross-sectional and nation-wide survey of college students was conducted in China from 3 to 10 February 2020. A self-administered questionnaire was used to assess psychosocial factors, COVID-19 epidemic related factors and mental health problems. Acute stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms were measured by the Chinese versions of the impact of event scale-6, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7, respectively. Univariate and hierarchical logistic regression analyses were performed to examine factors associated with mental health problems.
Among 821 218 students who participated in the survey, 746 217 (90.9%) were included for the analysis. In total, 414 604 (55.6%) of the students were female. About 45% of the participants had mental health problems. The prevalence rates of probable acute stress, depressive and anxiety symptoms were 34.9%, 21.1% and 11.0%, respectively. COVID-19 epidemic factors that were associated with increased risk of mental health problems were having relatives or friends being infected (adjusted odds ratio = 1.72–2.33). Students with exposure to media coverage of the COVID-19 ≥3 h/day were 2.13 times more likely than students with media exposure <1 h/day to have acute stress symptoms. Individuals with low perceived social support were 4.84–5.98 times more likely than individuals with high perceived social support to have anxiety and depressive symptoms. In addition, senior year and prior mental health problems were also significantly associated with anxiety or/and depressive symptoms.
In this large-scale survey of college students in China, acute stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms are prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple epidemic and psychosocial factors, such as family members being infected, massive media exposure, low social support, senior year and prior mental health problems were associated with increased risk of mental health problems. Psychosocial support and mental health services should be provided to those students at risk.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis were conducted to assess the relative efficacy of internal or external teat sealants given at dry-off in dairy cattle. Controlled trials were eligible if they assessed the use of internal or external teat sealants, with or without concurrent antimicrobial therapy, compared to no treatment or an alternative treatment, and measured one or more of the following outcomes: incidence of intramammary infection (IMI) at calving, IMI during the first 30 days in milk (DIM), or clinical mastitis during the first 30 DIM. Risk of bias was based on the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2.0 tool with modified signaling questions. From 2280 initially identified records, 32 trials had data extracted for one or more outcomes. Network meta-analysis was conducted for IMI at calving. Use of an internal teat sealant (bismuth subnitrate) significantly reduced the risk of new IMI at calving compared to non-treated controls (RR = 0.36, 95% CI 0.25–0.72). For comparisons between antimicrobial and teat sealant groups, concerns regarding precision were seen. Synthesis of the primary research identified important challenges related to the comparability of outcomes, replication and connection of interventions, and quality of reporting of study conduct.
A systematic review and network meta-analysis were conducted to assess the relative efficacy of antimicrobial therapy given to dairy cows at dry-off. Eligible studies were controlled trials assessing the use of antimicrobials compared to no treatment or an alternative treatment, and assessed one or more of the following outcomes: incidence of intramammary infection (IMI) at calving, incidence of IMI during the first 30 days in milk (DIM), or incidence of clinical mastitis during the first 30 DIM. Databases and conference proceedings were searched for relevant articles. The potential for bias was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias 2.0 algorithm. From 3480 initially identified records, 45 trials had data extracted for one or more outcomes. Network meta-analysis was conducted for IMI at calving. The use of cephalosporins, cloxacillin, or penicillin with aminoglycoside significantly reduced the risk of new IMI at calving compared to non-treated controls (cephalosporins, RR = 0.37, 95% CI 0.23–0.65; cloxacillin, RR = 0.55, 95% CI 0.38–0.79; penicillin with aminoglycoside, RR = 0.42, 95% CI 0.26–0.72). Synthesis revealed challenges with a comparability of outcomes, replication of interventions, definitions of outcomes, and quality of reporting. The use of reporting guidelines, replication among interventions, and standardization of outcome definitions would increase the utility of primary research in this area.
Enhancing the supply of arginine (Arg), a semi-essential amino acid, has positive effects on immune function in dairy cattle experiencing metabolic stress during early lactation. Our objective was to determine the effects of Arg supplementation on biomarkers of liver damage and inflammation in cows during early lactation. Six Chinese Holstein lactating cows with similar BW (508 ± 14 kg), body condition score (3.0), parity (4.0 ± 0), milk yield (30.6 ± 1.8 kg) and days in milk (20 ± days) were randomly assigned to three treatments in a replicated 3 × 3 Latin square design balanced for carryover effects. Each period was 21 days with 7 days for infusion and 14 days for washout. Treatments were (1) Control: saline; (2) Arg group: saline + 0.216 mol/day l-Arg; and (3) Alanine (Ala) group: saline + 0.868 mol/day l-Ala (iso-nitrogenous to the Arg group). Blood and milk samples from the experimental cows were collected on the last day of each infusion period and analyzed for indices of liver damage and inflammation, and the count and composition of somatic cells in milk. Compared with the Control, the infusion of Arg led to greater concentrations of total protein, immunoglobulin M and high density lipoprotein cholesterol coupled with lower concentrations of haptoglobin and tumor necrosis factor-α, and activity of aspartate aminotransferase in serum. Infusion of Ala had no effect on those biomarkers compared with the Control. Although milk somatic cell count was not affected, the concentration of granulocytes was lower in response to Arg infusion compared with the Control or Ala group. Overall, the biomarker analyses indicated that the supplementation of Arg via the jugular vein during early lactation alleviated inflammation and metabolic stress.