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The performance of immune system is vital for defending the body from pathogens, and it plays a crucial role in health homoeostasis. In a previous study, we have shown that LFP-20, a twenty-amino acid antimicrobial peptide in the N terminus of porcine lactoferrin, modulated inflammatory response in colitis. Here, we further investigated the effects of LFP-20 on immune homoeostasis to elucidate the mechanism of its anti-inflammation action. A lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-triggered systemic inflammatory response mice model was established. On the basis of observed mucosal lesions and apoptosis in small intestine, we found increased macrophage and neutrophil infiltration in ileum after LPS stimulation. Expectedly, LFP-20 pre-treatment attenuated the LPS-mediated immune disorders in ileum. Moreover, the flow cytometry results indicated pre-treatment with LFP-20 sustained the balance of CD3+CD8+ T cells, B cells and natural killer cells in LPS-triggered immune disturbance. Simultaneously, we demonstrated LFP-20 modulated the secretion of both activated Th1-related IL-12p70, interferon-γ, TNF-α and Th2-related IL-4, IL-5 and IL-6. Furthermore, we found LFP-20 facilitated a balanced Th1 and Th2 response, which triggered cellular defence mechanisms and induced B cells to produce opsonising antibodies belonging to certain IgG subclasses to defend against LPS stimulation. Collectively, our study indicated pre-treatment with LFP-20 could defend against LPS-triggered systemic inflammatory response in mice via modulating immune homoeostasis.
The collimated electron jets ejected from cylindrical plasma are produced in particle-in-cell simulation under the applied longitudinal magnetostatic field and radial electrostatic field, which is a process that can be conveniently performed in a laboratory. We find that the applied magnetostatic field contributes significantly to the jet collimation, whereas the applied electrostatic field plays a vital role in the jet formation. The generation mechanism of collimated jets can be well understood through energy gain of the tagged electrons, and we conclude that the longitudinal momentum of the electrons is converted from the transverse momentum via the transverse-induced magnetic field. It has been found that the ejecting velocity of the jets is close to the speed of light when the applied electrostatic field reaches 3 × 1010 V/m. The present scheme may also give us an insight into the formation of astrophysical jets in celestial bodies.
The animal gut effectively prevents the entry of hazardous substances and microbes while permitting the transfer of nutrients, such as water, electrolytes, vitamins, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals and microbial metabolites, which are intimately associated with intestinal homoeostasis. The gut maintains biological functions through its nutrient-sensing receptors, including the Ca-sensing receptor (CaSR), which activates a variety of signalling pathways, depending on cellular context. CaSR coordinates food digestion and nutrient absorption, promotes cell proliferation and differentiation, regulates energy metabolism and immune response, stimulates hormone secretion, mitigates secretory diarrhoea and enhances intestinal barrier function. Thus, CaSR is crucial to the maintenance of gut homoeostasis and protection of intestinal health. In this review, we focused on the emerging roles of CaSR in the modulation of intestinal homoeostasis including related underlying mechanisms. By elucidating the relationship between CaSR and animal gut homoeostasis, effective and inexpensive methods for treating intestinal health imbalance through nutritional manipulation can be developed. This article is expected to provide experimental data of the effects of CaSR on animal or human health.
For straw incorporation, three crucial factors affect the soil microbial community and various enzyme activities: straw length, amount and burial depth. To analyse the individual and interactive effects of these three factors on the soil microbial community and various enzyme activities, 23 treatments with five levels of the three variables (straw length, amount and burial depth) were applied in a quadratic orthogonal rotation combination design. A comprehensive indicator was constructed that could represent soil microbial functional diversity and enzyme activity by determining the weights of measured indicators and using Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS). The results indicated that the soil microbiological indicators have a higher criteria weight than soil enzyme activity indicators. The final weight orders of indicators were as follows: Shannon–Weaver > invertase > Shannon evenness > urease > catalase > McIntosh index > Simpson diversity > phosphatase. The soil comprehensive values constructed by the TOPSIS method are reliable. The optimal combination for the improvement of soil microbial functional diversity and enzyme activity was a straw length of 13–24 cm, burial depth of 10–17 cm and straw amount of 370–650 g/m2.
Massively parallel sequencing (MPS) technology has become increasingly available
and has been widely used to screen for trisomies 21, 18, and 13 in singleton
pregnancies. This study assessed the performance of MPS testing of cell-free
fetal DNA (cffDNA) from maternal plasma for trisomies 21, 18, and 13 in twin
pregnancies. Ninety-two women with twin pregnancies were recruited. The results
were identified through karyotypes of amniocentesis or clinical examination and
follow-up of the neonates. Fluorescent in-situ hybridization was used to examine
the placentas postnatally in cases of false-positive results. The fetuses with
autosomal trisomy 21 (n = 2) and trisomy 15 (n
= 1) were successfully detected via MPS testing of cffDNA. There was one
false-positive for trisomy 13 (n = 1), and fluorescence in-situ
hybridization (FISH) identified confined placental mosaicism in this case. For
twin pregnancies undergoing second-trimester screening for trisomy, MPS testing
of cffDNA is feasible and can enhance the diagnostic spectrum of non-invasive
prenatal testing, which could effectively reduce invasive prenatal diagnostic
methods. In addition to screening for trisomy 21, 18, and 13 by cffDNA, MPS can
detect fetal additional autosomal trisomy. False-positive results cannot
completely exclude confined placental mosaicism.
In this paper, we compare three ranking methods in wine tasting in terms of their respective accuracy levels. The first two are the original-score average and rank average, which are conventional methods in practice. The third is a relatively new ranking method called Shapley ranking. It is a game-theory-based ranking method, whereby judges are required not to rank order or score all the wines but only to choose a subset that they find meritorious. A simulation study is designed, wherein the data-generating scheme mimics how the real wine-tasting data are produced. We also consider two criteria in the comparison: the squared-error loss, which is a suitable measure when accurate ranking of all wines is of interest; and the percentile loss, which only considers whether the wines are correctly put in a certain subset. The main conclusion from our study is that the ranking based on score average is generally more accurate than that based on rank average. Shapley ranking, with the consideration that it puts less burden on judges in wine tasting, may outperform the other methods in certain conditions. (JEL Classifications: C11, C15, D72, D81)
We studied the evolution, genotypes, and the molecular clock of dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV-1), between 2001 and 2014 in Guangzhou, China. The analysis of the envelope (E) gene sequences of 67 DENV-1 strains isolated in Guangzhou, together with 58 representative sequences downloaded from NCBI, have shown shifts in viral genotypes. The genotype changed several times, from genotype I to IV in 2002, from IV to I in 2005, and from I to V in 2014. These genotype shifts may be the cause of DENV outbreaks. The diversity of genotypes and clades demonstrates a high risk of future outbreaks in Guangzhou. The mean rate of virus nucleotide substitution in Guangzhou was determined to be 7·77 × 10−4 per site per year, which represents a medium substitution rate compared to two other countries. Our research can point to different ancestors of the isolated strains, which may further reveal the different origins and transmission of DENV-1 strains in Guangzhou.
The purpose of this paper is to provide a tutorial of data analysis methods for answering questions that arise in analyzing data from wine-tasting events: (i) measuring agreement of two judges and its extension to m judges; (ii) making comparisons of judges across years; (iii) comparing two wines; (iv) designing tasting procedures to reduce burden of multiple tastings; (v) ranking of judges; and (vi) assessing causes of disagreement. In each case we describe one or more analyses and make recommendations on the conditions of use for each. (JEL Classifications: C10, C12, C13, C59, C90)
Numerical and experimental investigations of a broadband vibration energy harvester with triple-well are presented. The nonlinear restoring force of the tristable oscillator is experimentally identified as a high order polynomial that depends on the relative spacing and locations of the magnets in the magnetically coupled piezoelectric cantilever. Simulations and experiments are performed at different harmonic excitation levels ranging from 10 to 35 Hz. The tristable energy harvester possesses the unique jump characteristics of oscillation center stemming from excitation level and initial displacements. Its broad frequency range of 15.1–32.5 Hz is obtained from the transition among three wells. It is also demonstrated that the tristable nonlinear oscillator will be more helpful to improve the broadband performance for harvesting vibration energy under low frequency excitations.
There has been ongoing interest in studying wine judges' performance in evaluating wines. Most of the studies have reached a similar conclusion: a significant lack of consensus exists in wine quality ratings. However, a few studies, to the author's knowledge, have provided direct quantification of how much consensus (as opposed to randomness) exists in wine ratings. In this paper, a permutation-based mixed model is proposed to quantify randomness versus consensus in wine ratings. Specifically, wine ratings under the condition of randomness are generated with a permutation method, and wine ratings under the condition of consensus can be produced by sorting the ratings for each judge. Then the observed wine ratings are modeled as a mixture of ratings under randomness and ratings under consensus. This study shows that the model can provide excellent model fit, which indicates that wine ratings, indeed, consist of a mixture of randomness and consensus. A direct measure is easily computed to quantify randomness versus consensus in wine ratings. The method is demonstrated with data analysis from a major wine competition and a simulation study. (JEL Classifications: C10, C13, C15)
Human milk provides infants with various immune molecules. The objective of the present study was to measure human β-defensin-1 (hBD-1) and human β-defensin-2 (hBD-2) levels in the colostrum and mature milk of healthy Han Chinese, to identify factors regulating milk hBD-1 and hBD-2 expression and to explore the potential protective effect of milk hBD-1 and hBD-2 on infants. A total of 100 mothers and their babies were recruited into the study. Sociodemographic characteristics and other factors were obtained by a questionnaire. Babies were followed up for a period of 6 months. Colostrum samples (n 100) and mature milk samples (n 82) were collected by hand expression. The hBD-1 and hBD-2 concentrations were measured by ELISA. The hBD-1 and hBD-2 levels differed in the colostrum and mature milk. In the colostrum, the concentration ranges of hBD-1 and hBD-2 were 1·04–12·81 μg/ml and 0·31–19·12 ng/ml, respectively. In mature milk, the hBD-1 and hBD-2 levels were 1·03–31·76 ng/ml and 52·65–182·29 pg/ml, respectively. Several independent factors influence their production. The multivariable analysis showed a strong association between pre-pregnancy BMI and hBD-1 levels in the colostrum (P= 0·001), mode of delivery was significantly associated with hBD-2 levels in the colostrum (P= 0·006) and gestational age was significantly associated with hBD-1 levels in mature milk (P= 0·010). During the first 6 months of life, the incidence rate of upper respiratory infection was found to be less in the high-colostrum hBD-1 group than in the low-colostrum hBD-1 group (χ2= 4·995, P= 0·025). The present study suggested that the abundance of hBD-1 in the colostrum may have a protective function against upper respiratory infection for infants younger than 6 months.
A test for evaluating wine judge performance is developed. The test is based on the premise that an expert wine judge will award similar scores to an identical wine. The definition of “similar” is parameterized to include varying numbers of adjacent awards on an ordinal scale, from No Award to Gold. For each index of similarity, a probability distribution is developed to determine the likelihood that a judge might pass the test by chance alone. When the test is applied to the results from a major wine competition, few judges pass the test. Of greater interest is that many judges who fail the test have vast professional experience in the wine industry. This leads to us to question the basic premise that experts are able to provide consistent evaluations in wine competitions and, hence, that wine competitions do not provide reliable recommendations of wine quality. (JEL Classifications: C02, C12, D81)