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The dietary inclusion of feed additives to improve the carcass characteristics of the final product is of great importance for the pork production chain. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effects of the association of ractopamine (RAC) and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) on the performance traits of finishing pigs during the last 26 days prior to slaughter. In total, 810 commercial hybrid barrows were used. Animals were distributed among treatments according to a randomised block design in a 3 × 3 factorial arrangement, with three RAC levels (0, 5 or 10 ppm) and three CLA levels (0, 0.3 or 0.6%). Pigs fed the diet with 5 ppm RAC had higher average daily feed intake (ADFI) (2.83 kg; P < 0.05) when compared with those fed 10 ppm RAC and the control diet (2.75 and 2.74 kg, respectively). Lower ADFI values (P < 0.01) were observed with the diets containing CLA compared with the control diet with no CLA (2.73 and 2.75 v. 2.85 kg/day, respectively). The average daily weight gain of pigs fed 5 and 10 ppm RAC was +148 and +173 g/dayhigher (P < 0.001), respectively, than those fed the control diet. Dietary RAC levels influenced (P < 0.001) feed conversion ratio (FCR), which was reduced as RAC levels increased, with the pigs fed 10, 5 and 0 ppm RAC presenting FCR values of 2.57, 2.71 and 3.05, respectively. FCR also improved (P < 0.05) with the inclusion of 0.6% CLA relative to the control diet (2.70 v. 2.84, respectively). There was a significant interaction between CLA × RAC levels (P < 0.01) for final BW, loin eye area (LEA) (P < 0.05) and backfat thickness (BT) (P < 0.05). The treatments containing 10 ppm RAC + 0.6% or 0.3% CLA increased LEA and reduced BT. In conclusion, the level of 10 ppm inclusion of RAC increased the overall performance parameters of pigs and therefore improved production efficiency. The combined use of RAC and CLA promoted a lower feed conversion ratio as well as better quantitative carcass traits, as demonstrated by the higher LEA and lower BT. The dietary inclusion of CLA at 0.3% improved feed efficiency, however, without affecting LEA or BT yields.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
Phosphorus and calcium deficiency in horses represents an important factor responsible for the low equine production in Brazil. The basic mechanisms of P and Ca metabolism differ substantially among species. Regulation of P and Ca metabolism is less well understood in horses than in others species. With the use of the isotopic dilution technique is possible to evaluate the metabolism for this mineral. The aim of the present experiment was to study the effect of different Ca levels in the diet on P and Ca metabolism in horses.
Non-ruminant animals do not synthesize phytase enzyme, a substance capable to act on phytate molecule to liberate phosphorus. The non-available phosphorus pass through the digestive system of the non-ruminants practically without being digested and the inclusion of inorganic phosphorus sources in diets of those animals is necessary. The use of phytase enzyme in rations for pigs can contribute to the elimination or reduction of the use of inorganic phosphorus sources and reducing the environmental impact caused by the excretion of this mineral. The experiment was designed to evaluate the biological phosphorus flow in pigs fed with diet containing different phytase levels, using the isotope dilution technique.
Cooperia punctata is the most prevalent parasitic intestinal nematode in Brazil and its site of fixation is duodenum and jejunum that are also the sites of greatest dietary phosphorus (P) absorption. Studies of phosphorus metabolism often involves balance trials and use of isotopes. When combined with mathematical modeling, calculation of flows between several pools becomes a possibility. The objective of the study on calves employing isotope and balance techniques was to apply and compare two models of P metabolism for resolving data generated by these techniques.
In tropical countries, especially in Brazil, ruminants commonly are fed forage diets which are adequate in calcium but deficient in phosphorus, giving an inadequate Ca: P ratio. Thus, it is important to understand the effects of Ca level on phosphorus homeostasis control and to obtain more information on phosphorus utilization. The objective of this study is to provide information which may be useful to improve the understanding of the P homeostasis control in sheep fed various Ca levels, and to obtain more information on dietary Ca level effect on P utilization.
The species Phytomonas serpens is known to express some molecules displaying similarity to those described in trypanosomatids pathogenic to humans, such as peptidases from Trypanosoma cruzi (cruzipain) and Leishmania spp. (gp63). In this work, a population of P. serpens resistant to the calpain inhibitor MDL28170 at 70 µm (MDLR population) was selected by culturing promastigotes in increasing concentrations of the drug. The only relevant ultrastructural difference between wild-type (WT) and MDLR promastigotes was the presence of microvesicles within the flagellar pocket of the latter. MDLR population also showed an increased reactivity to anti-cruzipain antibody as well as a higher papain-like proteolytic activity, while the expression of calpain-like molecules cross-reactive to anti-Dm-calpain (from Drosophila melanogaster) antibody and calcium-dependent cysteine peptidase activity were decreased. Gp63-like molecules also presented a diminished expression in MDLR population, which is probably correlated to the reduction in the parasite adhesion to the salivary glands of the insect vector Oncopeltus fasciatus. A lower accumulation of Rhodamine 123 was detected in MDLR cells when compared with the WT population, a phenotype that was reversed when MDLR cells were treated with cyclosporin A and verapamil. Collectively, our results may help in the understanding of the roles of calpain inhibitors in trypanosomatids.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
We describe morphological and morphometrical characteristics of preantral ovarian follicles from three recently recognized Saimiri species: S. macrodon, S. cassiquiarensis and S. vanzolinii; the last one a threatened species. Ovaries from four adult monkeys were evaluated: one pair from a pregnant S. macrodon, two ovarian pairs from S. cassiquiarensis females (one of them pregnant), and one left ovary from a senile S. vanzolinii, applying classical histology. Follicular preantral population was quantified and morphology and morphometry of primordial, primary and secondary follicles were evaluated. Follicular preantral population varied among species, being 347,153 in the ovaries of the S. macrodon, 270,342 and 278,376 in the ovaries of both adult non-pregnant and pregnant S. cassiquiarensis females, and 28,149 in the ovary from a senile S. vanzolinii. Most follicles were at primordial or transition stages, except for the senile S. vanzolinii female, which presented the lowest percentages of primordial and transition follicles when compared with primary and secondary ones. Most preantral follicles (>70%) were morphologically normal in the ovaries from all studied S. macrodon and S. cassiquiarensis females, but the ovary of the senile S. vanzolinii female presented a significant decrease in the percentage of normal follicles (primordial: 61%, transition: 52%, primary: 54%, and secondary: 48%). In general, follicular diameter increased significantly from primordial to transition, and subsequently from primary to secondary follicles.
Cognitive assessment with virtual reality (VR) may have superior ecological validity for older adults compared to traditional pencil-and-paper cognitive assessment. However, few studies have reported the development of VR tasks. The aim of this study was to present the development, feasibility, content validity, and preliminary evidence of construct validity of an ecological task of cognitive assessment for older adults in VR (ECO-VR). The tasks were prepared based on theoretical and clinical backgrounds. We had 29 non-expert judges identify virtual visual stimuli and three-dimensional scenarios, and five expert judges assisted with content analysis and developing instructions. Finally, six older persons participated in three pilot studies and thirty older persons participated in the preliminary study to identify construct validity evidence. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and partial correlation. Target stimuli and three-dimensional scenarios were judged adequate and the content analysis demonstrated that ECO-VR evaluates temporo-spatial orientation, memory, language and executive functioning. We made significant changes to the instructions after the pilot studies to increase comprehensibility and reduce the completion time. The total score of ECO-VR was positively correlated mainly with performance in executive function (r = .172, p < .05) and memory tests (r = .488, p ≤ .01). The ECO-VR demonstrated feasibility for cognitive assessment in older adults, as well as content and construct validity evidences.
This study aimed to evaluate the systemic and renal renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) at birth in male and female offspring and in mothers fed a high sodium diet (HSD) before and during gestation. Female Wistar rats were fed a HSD (8.0% NaCl) or a normal sodium diet (1.3% NaCl) from 8 weeks of age until delivery of their first litter. Maternal body weight, tail blood pressure, and food and water intake were evaluated. The litter sizes were assessed, and the body and kidney weights of the offspring were measured. Both mothers and offspring were euthanized immediately following the birth of the pups to evaluate plasma renin activity (PRA), renal renin content (RRC), renal angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) activity, renal angiotensin (Ang) II content, serum aldosterone (ALDO) levels, and renal cortical and medullary renin messenger RNA expression. In mothers in the HSD group, water intake and kidney mass were higher, whereas renal ACE activity, Ang II, PRA, ALDO and RRC were decreased. In the offspring of HSD-fed dams, the body and kidney mass were lower in both genders, renal ACE activity was lower in females and renal Ang II was lower in males. PRA, RRC, renin gene expression and ALDO levels did not differ between the groups of offspring. The data presented herein showed that a maternal HSD during pregnancy induces low birth weight and a sex-specific response in the RAAS in offspring.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the fatty acid profile and qualitative characteristics of meat from feedlot young bulls fed ground soybean or ground cottonseed, with or without supplementation of vitamin E. A total of 40 Red Norte young bulls, with an initial average age of 20 months, and an initial average BW of 339±15 kg, were allotted in a completely randomized design using a 2×2 factorial arrangement, with two oilseeds, and daily supplementation or not of 2500 IU of vitamin E. The experimental period was for 84 days, which was preceded by an adaptation period of 28 days. The treatments were ground soybean (SB), ground soybean plus vitamin E (SBE), ground cottonseed (CS) and ground cottonseed plus vitamin E (CSE). The percentage of cottonseed and soybean in the diets (dry matter basis) was 24% and 20%, respectively. Diets were isonitrogenous (13% CP) and presented similar amount of ether extract (6.5%). The animals were slaughtered at average live weight of 464±15 kg, and samples were taken from the longissimus dorsi muscle for the measurement of fatty acid concentration and the evaluation of lipid oxidation and color of the beef. Before fatty acid extraction, muscle tissue and subcutaneous fat of the longissimus dorsi were separated to analyze fatty acid profile in both tissues. Supplementation of vitamin E did not affect fatty acid concentration, lipid oxidation and color (P>0.05). Subcutaneous fat from animals fed CS diet had greater C12:0, C16:0 and C18:0 contents (P<0.03). In addition, CS diets reduced the C18:1 and C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 contents in subcutaneous fat (P<0.05). The muscle from animals fed CS tended to higher C16:0 and C18:0 contents (P<0.11), and decreased C18:1, C18:2 cis-9, trans-11 and C18:3 contents (P<0.05) compared with SB. The Δ9-desaturase index was greater in muscle from animals fed SB (P<0.01). At 42 days of age, meat from cattle fed SB had a greater lipid oxidation rate (P<0.05). Meat from animals fed SB diets had less lightness and redness indices than meat from animals fed CS diets after 14 days of age. In conclusion, the addition of ground cottonseed in the finishing diets did increase the saturated fatty acid content of the longissimus dorsi. However, animals fed cottonseed exhibited greater lightness and redness of beef. In this study, the addition of vitamin E did not affect qualitative characteristics of meat.
Copper activation was used to characterize high-energy proton beam acceleration from near-critical density plasma targets. An enhancement was observed when decreasing the target density, which is indicative for an increased laser-accelerated hot electron density at the rear target-vacuum boundary. This is due to channel formation and collimation of the hot electrons inside the target. Particle-in-cell simulations support the experimental observations and show the correlation between channel depth and longitudinal electric field strength is directly correlated with the proton acceleration.
The aim of this study was to assess the effect of sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (ST) supplemented with diphenyl diselenide and sodium selenite in experimental toxoplasmosis, on oxidant/antioxidant biomarkers and cytokine levels. Eighty-four BALB/c mice were divided in seven groups: group A (negative control), and groups B to G (infected). Blood and liver samples were collected on days 4 and 20 post infection (p.i.). Levels of thiobarbituric acid (TBA) reactive substances and advanced oxidation protein products (AOPP) were assessed in liver samples. Both biomarkers were significantly increased in infected groups on day 4 p.i., while they were reduced on day 20 p.i., compared with group A. Glutathione reductase (GR) activity significantly (P<0·01) increased on day 4 p.i., in group G, compared with group A. INF-γ was significantly increased (P<0·001) in both periods, day 4 (groups B, C, F and G) and 20 p.i. (groups C, F and G). IL-10 significantly reduced (P<0·001) on day 4 p.i. in group B; however, in the same period, it was increased (P<0·001) in groups C and G, compared with group A. On day 20 p.i., IL-10 increased (P<0·001) in groups F and G. Therefore, our results highlighted that these forms of selenium, associated with the chemotherapy, were able to reduce lipid peroxidation and protein oxidation, providing a beneficial immunological balance between the production of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the purine levels of lambs experimentally infected with Haemonchus contortus. A total of 12 healthy lambs were divided into two groups, composed of 6 animals each: Group A represented the healthy animals (uninfected), while in Group B the animals were infected with 15 000 larvae of H. contortus. Blood was drawn on days 15, 45 and 75 post-infection (PI) in order to perform the purine analysis (ATP, ADP, AMP, adenosine, inosine, hypoxanthine, xanthine and uric acid) by high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) in serum. On day 15 PI a significant (P<0·05) increase in the levels of ATP and inosine was observed in the infected animals, unlike the levels of ADP, adenosine, xanthine and uric acid which were reduced. On day 45 PI a significant (P<0·05) increase in the ATP and xanthine levels in infected animals was observed, contrasting with reduced levels of ADP and uric acid. Finally, on day 75 PI an increase occurred in the levels of ATP, adenosine and hypoxanthine in infected lambs, concomitant with a reduction in the levels of ADP and uric acid (P<0·05). These changes in purine levels may influence the inflammatory process and the pathological events.
Increasing human occupation of the Brazilian Amazon has led to the intensification of deforestation over the last 50 years. The present study is aimed at analysing the impacts of the first year of slash-and-burn cultivation on soil physicochemical properties. Sampling was done in 26 small-scale farms of the Tapajós River basin. In August 2004, soil samples were collected from primary forest plots planned for slash-and-burn cultivation. In September 2005, 1 year after the initial burning and the beginning of cultivation, the same sites were re-sampled. The results indicated that soil fertility after burning was relatively moderate, as the increase of base cations was not particularly marked. Moreover, although an increase of some nutrients (such as exchangeable phosphorus) was observed at soil surface, total carbon and nitrogen (N) pools did not change significantly. Nutrient leaching was also detected through the accumulation of both forms of available nitrogen (NO3 and NH4) as well as potassium in subsoil horizons. In addition, signs of erosion were seen, as a significant increase surface density occurred, coupled with up to 25% fine particle loss at the surface. The present study draws attention to the early impacts of slash-and-burn agriculture on soil properties within a year of cultivation. Furthermore, its regional dimension highlights undisturbed soils natural variability as well as differentiated responses to deforestation according to soil texture.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of temperature and different levels of available phosphorus (aP) on the expression of nine genes encoding electron transport chain proteins in the Longissimus dorsi (LD) muscle of pigs. Two trials were carried out using 48 high-lean growth pigs from two different growth phases: from 15 to 30 kg (phase 1) and from 30 to 60 kg (phase 2). Pigs from growth phase 1 were fed with three different levels of dietary aP (0.107%, 0.321% or 0.535%) and submitted either to a thermoneutral (24°C and RH at 76%) or to a heat stress (34°C and RH at 70%) environment. Pigs from growth phase 2 were fed with three different levels of dietary aP (0.116%, 0.306% or 0.496%) and submitted either to a thermoneutral (22ºC and RH at 77%) or to a heat stress (32ºC and RH at 73%) environment. Heat stress decreased (P<0.001) average daily feed intake at both growth phases. At 24°C, pigs in phase 1 fed the 0.321% aP diet had greater average daily gain and feed conversion (P<0.05) than those fed the 0.107% or 0.535% while, at 34°C pigs fed the 0.535% aP had the best performance (P<0.05). Pigs from phase 2 fed the 0.306% aP had best performance in both thermal environments. Gene expression profile was analyzed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Irrespective of growing phase, the expression of six genes was lower (P<0.05) at high temperature than at thermoneutrality. The lower expression of these genes under high temperatures evidences the effects of heat stress by decreasing oxidative metabolism, through adaptive physiological mechanisms in order to reduce heat production. In pigs from phase 1, six genes were differentially expressed across aP levels (P<0.05) in the thermoneutral and one gene in the heat stress. In pigs from phase 2, two genes were differentially expressed across aP levels (P<0.05) in both thermal environments. These data revealed strong evidence that phosphorus and thermal environments are key factors to regulate oxidative phosphorylation with direct implications on animal performance.
The Vista Variables in the Vía Láctea (VVV) ESO Public Survey is an ongoing time-series, near-infrared (IR) survey of the Galactic bulge and an adjacent portion of the inner disk, covering 562 square degrees of the sky, using ESO's VISTA telescope. The survey has provided superb multi-color photometry in 5 broadband filters (Z, Y, J, H, and Ks), leading to the best map of the inner Milky Way ever obtained, particularly in the near-IR. The main part of the survey, which is focused on the variability in the Ks-band, is currently underway, with bulge fields observed between 34 and 73 times, and disk fields between 34 and 36 times. When the survey is complete, bulge (disk) fields will have been observed up to a total of 100 (60) times, providing unprecedented depth and time coverage in the near-IR. Here we provide a first overview of stellar variability in the VVV data.
This paper reports the effects of BnSP-7 toxin, a catalytically inactive phospholipase A2 from Bothrops pauloensis snake venom, on Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis. BnSP-7 presented activity against promastigote parasite forms both in the MTT assay, with IC50 of 58·7 μg mL−1 of toxin, and a growth curve, inhibiting parasite proliferation 60–70% at concentrations of 50–200 μg mL−1 of toxin 96 h after treatment. Also, the toxin presented effects on amastigotes, reducing parasite viability by 50% at 28·1 μg mL−1 and delaying the amastigote–promastigote differentiation process. Ultrastructural studies showed that BnSP-7 caused severe morphological changes in promastigotes such as mitochondrial swelling, nuclear alteration, vacuolization, acidocalcisomes, multiflagellar aspects and a blebbing effect in the plasma membrane. Finally, BnSP-7 interfered with the infective capacity of promastigotes in murine peritoneal macrophages, causing statistically significant infectivity-index reductions (P < 0·05) of 20–35%. These data suggest that the BnSP-7 toxin is an important tool for the discovery of new parasite targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for treating leishmaniasis.