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In the present work, an efficient route has been further explored to achieve the batch synthesis of inorganic fullerene (IF)-WS2 nanoparticles, and the self-lubricating film is conveniently prepared by coating these nanoparticles on the surface of metal substrates. The as-synthesized IF-WS2 nanoparticles have a closed hollow structure with an average particle size of about 50 nm and are evenly distributed in the self-lubricating film. Further friction tests show that the film has excellent friction properties, with its lowest friction coefficient of approximately 0.008, which can be mainly attributed to the unique hollow cage structure and a smaller particle size of the IF-WS2 nanoparticles.
We conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to examine the effects of strawberry interventions on cardiovascular risk factors. We searched multiple databases including PubMed, Web of Science, and Scopus to identify eligible studies published before May 19, 2019. The endpoints were blood pressure, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood glucose, endothelial function, and inflammatory factors. Pooled analyses were performed using random- or fixed-effects models according to a heterogeneity test. We also conducted subgroup analyses by baseline endpoint levels. We included 11 randomized controlled trials in this meta-analysis (6 for blood pressure, 7 for lipid profile, 7 for fasting blood glucose, and 6 for C-reactive protein). Overall, the strawberry interventions significantly reduced C-reactive protein levels by 0.63 mg/L (95% confidence interval [CI]: −1.04, −0.22) but did not affect blood pressure, lipid profile, or fasting blood glucose in the main analyses. Our analysis stratified by baseline endpoint levels showed the strawberry interventions significantly reduced total cholesterol among people with baseline levels >5 mmol/L (−0.52 mmol/L, 95% CI: −0.88, −0.15) and reduced LDL-cholesterol among people with baseline levels >3 mmol/L (−0.31 mmol/L, 95% CI: −0.60, −0.02). There was little evidence of heterogeneity in the analysis and no evidence of publication bias. In summary, strawberry interventions significantly reduced CRP levels and may improve total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in individuals with high baseline levels.
Evidence has suggested that honey intake has a beneficial impact on glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. Whether these findings apply to adults with prediabetes is yet unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine whether honey intake is associated with a lower prevalence of prediabetes. A cross-sectional study was performed in 18 281 participants (mean age 39·6 (sd 11·1) years; men, 51·5 %). Dietary intake was assessed through a validated 100-item FFQ. Prediabetes was defined according to the American Diabetes Association criteria: impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance or raised glycosylated Hb. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between honey consumption and prediabetes. As compared with those who almost never consumed honey, the multivariable OR of prediabetes were 0·94 (95 % CI 0·86, 1·02) for ≤3 times/week, 0·77 (95 % CI 0·63, 0·94) for 4–6 times/week and 0·85 (95 % CI 0·73, 0·99) for ≥1 time/d (Pfor trend < 0·01). These associations did not differ substantially in sensitivity analysis. Higher honey consumption was associated with a decreased prevalence of prediabetes. More large prospective cohort studies are needed to investigate this association.
Stem cells are an immortal cell population capable of self-renewal; they are essential for human development and ageing and are a major focus of research in regenerative medicine. Despite considerable progress in differentiation of stem cells in vitro, culture conditions require further optimization to maximize the potential for multicellular differentiation during expansion. The aim of this study was to develop a feeder-free, serum-free culture method for human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), to establish optimal conditions for hESC proliferation, and to determine the biological characteristics of the resulting hESCs. The H9 hESC line was cultured using a homemade serum-free, feeder-free culture system, and growth was observed. The expression of pluripotency proteins (OCT4, NANOG, SOX2, LIN28, SSEA-3, SSEA-4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81) in hESCs was determined by immunofluorescence and western blotting. The mRNA expression levels of genes encoding nestin, brachyury and α-fetoprotein in differentiated H9 cells were determined by RT-PCR. The newly developed culture system resulted in classical hESC colonies that were round or elliptical in shape, with clear and neat boundaries. The expression of pluripotency proteins was increased, and the genes encoding nestin, brachyury, and α-fetoprotein were expressed in H9 cells, suggesting that the cells maintained in vitro differentiation capacity. Our culture system containing a unique set of components, with animal-derived substances, maintained the self-renewal potential and pluripotency of H9 cells for eight passages. Further optimization of this system may expand the clinical application of hESCs.
The development of GaN-on-diamond devices offers bright prospects for the creation of high-power density electronics. This article presents a process of fabricating GaN-on-diamond structure by depositing diamond films on dual sides, including heat dissipation diamond film and sacrificial carrier diamond film. Prior to heat dissipation diamond film layer preparation, aluminum nitride (AlN) is chosen as a dielectric layer and pretreated by nanodiamond (ND) particles, to enhance the nucleation density. Zeta potential measurements and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy are used to analyze the AlN surface after each treatment. The results show that oxygen-terminated ND particles tend to adhere to an AlN surface because the oxygen-terminated NDs have –COOH and –OH groups, and hold a negative potential. On the contrary, fluorine-terminated AlN prefers to attract the hydrogen-terminated ND seeds, which resulted in higher diamond nucleation density. Based on this preliminary study, a dense high-quality GaN-on-diamond wafer is successfully produced by using AlN as the dielectric layer and a diamond film as the sacrificial carrier.
Chlamydia spp. are a group of obligate intracellular pathogens causing a number of diseases in animals and humans. Avian chlamydiosis (AC), caused by Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) as well as new emerging C. avium, C. gallinacea and C. ibidis, have been described in nearly 500 avian species worldwidely. The Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) is a world endangered avian species with limited population and vulnerable for various infections. To get a better understanding of the prevalence of Chlamydia spp. in the endangered Crested Ibis, faecal samples were collected and analysed. The results confirmed that 20.20% (20/99) of the faecal samples were positive for Chlamydiaceae and were identified as C. ibidis with co-existence of C. psittaci in one of the 20 positive samples. In addition, ompA sequence of C. psittaci obtained in this study was classified into the provisional genotype Matt116, while that of C. ibidis showed high genetic diversity, sharing only 77% identity with C. ibidis reference strain 10-1398/6. We report for the first time the presence of C. ibidis and C. psittaci in the Crested Ibis, which may indicate a potential threat to the endangered birds and should be aware of the future protection practice.
To solve the poor cyclability of faradic supercapacitors (SCs), the authors reported a unique porous carbon (PC) coating with “gap shell” structure on carbon fiber cloth (CFC)/NiS2 materials. This gap shell PC coating was fabricated by combining atomic layer deposition (ALD) Al2O3 and molecular layer deposition alucone, followed by carbonization and etching. The as-prepared CFC/NiS2/PC composites were directly used as binder-free electrodes for SCs. Benefited from its novel nanostructure, the CFC/NiS2/PC electrode shows a large specific capacitance of 1034.6 F/g at 1 A/g and considerable rate capability of 67% capacitance, retaining ratio within 1–20 A/g. The cyclability of the CFC/NiS2/PC electrode is enhanced by 50% relative to the mere CFC/NiS2 after 2000 cycles, which is attributed to the gap and electrically conductive PC coating. Hence, this work provides a promising approach to design gap shell layer for improved cyclability of faradic SCs and other practical applications in energy storage electronics.
Echinococcus granulosus sensu stricto is regarded to have the highest zoonotic potential of all Echinococcus taxa. Globally, human infection due to this species constitutes over 88.44% of the total cystic echinococcosis (CE) burden. Here, we report a CE infection in a Nigerian camel caused by E. granulosus G1 genotype. To the best of our knowledge, this report is the first encounter of the G1 genotype in the West Africa sub-region where the G6 genotype is reportedly prevalent, suggesting that the epidemiology of this highly zoonotic group could have a wider host range and distribution in the sub-region, and emphasizes the need for further investigation into the genetic diversity of Echinococcus spp. in Nigeria and across the sub-region.
The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
In the human population, influenza A viruses are associated with acute respiratory illness and are responsible for millions of deaths annually. Avian and human influenza viruses typically have a different α2-3- and α2-6-linked sialic acid (SA) binding preference. Only a few amino acid changes in the haemagglutinin on the surface of avian influenza viruses (AIV) can cause a switch from avian to human receptor specificity, and the individuals with pathognostic chronic diseases might be more susceptible to AIV due to the decreased expression level of terminal α2-3-linked SA in their saliva. Here, using lectin and virus histochemical staining, we observed the higher expression levels of α2-3/6-linked SA influenza virus receptors in the airway of HBV-transgenic mice compared with that of control mice due to the significant decrease in control mice during ageing, which imply that this is also a risk factor for individuals with pathognostic chronic diseases susceptible to influenza viruses. Our findings will help understand the impact on influenza virus pathogenesis and transmission.
The jungles of Linyun and Longlin Autonomous Prefecture, located in the heart of the southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of China, are home to the oldest tea trees (Camellia sinensis) in the world. In the absence of regular annual rings, radiocarbon (14C) dating is one of the most powerful tools that can assist in the determination of the ages and growth rates of these plants. In this work, cores were extracted from large ancient tea trees in a central Longlin rain forest; extraction of carbon was performed with an automated sample preparation system. The 14C levels in the tree cores were measured using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) at the University of Tsukuba. These measurements indicated that contrary to conventional views, the ages of trees in these forests range up to ~700 years, and the growth rate of this species is notably slow, exhibiting a long-term radial growth rate of 0.039±0.006 cm/yr. It was demonstrated that 14C analyses provide accurate determination of ages and growth rates for subtropical wild tea trees.
The experimental study on thermocapillary convection in liquid bridges of large Prandtl number has been carried out on Tiangong-2 in space. The purpose of these experiments is to study the oscillation instability of thermocapillary convection, and to discover and recognize the mechanism of destabilization of thermocapillary convection in the microgravity environment in space. In this paper, the geometry of a half-floating-zone liquid bridge is featured by the aspect ratio Ar and volume ratio Vr, and its influence on critical conditions of oscillatory thermocapillary convection is studied. More than 700 sets of space experiments have been finished. The critical conditions and oscillation characteristics of thermocapillary convection instability in the Ar–Vr parameter space have been fully obtained under microgravity conditions for the first time. It is found that the Ar–Vr parameter space can be divided into two regions of different critical conditions and oscillation characteristics: the region of low frequency oscillation, and the region of high frequency oscillation. More importantly, we obtain the complete configuration of these two stability neutral curves, and find that the low frequency mode is a ‘’ type curve. Based on this, we discuss the influence of heating rate on the oscillation mode. It is found that the heating rate affects the selection of critical mode, which results in a jump change of critical temperature difference. The findings of this study are helpful to better understand the critical modes and transition processes of thermocapillary convection in liquid bridges with different configurations.
Animal studies have suggested that mushroom intake can alleviate non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. However, the association between mushroom intake and NAFLD is unknown in humans. We aimed to investigate the association of mushroom intake with NAFLD among Chinese adults. This is a cross-sectional study of 24 236 adults (mean (standard deviation) age: 40·7 (sd 11·9) years; 11 394 men (47·0 %)). Mushroom intake was assessed via a validated FFQ. Newly diagnosed NAFLD was identified based on the results of annual health examinations, including ultrasound findings and a self-reported history of the disease. Multiple logistic models were used to examine the association between mushroom intake and NAFLD. The prevalence of newly diagnosed NAFLD was 19·0 %. Compared with those consuming mushrooms less frequently (≤1 time/week), the fully adjusted OR of newly diagnosed NAFLD were 0·95 (95 % CI 0·86, 1·05) for those consuming 2–3 times/week and 0·76 (95 % CI 0·63, 0·92) for those consuming ≥4 times/week (Pfor trend = 0·01). The inverse association was consistent in subgroups defined by age, sex and BMI. In conclusion, higher mushroom intake was significantly associated with lower prevalence of NAFLD among Chinese adults. Future research is required to understand the causal association between mushroom intake and NAFLD.
The dipeptide dl-methionyl-dl-methionine (Met-Met) has extremely low water solubility and better absorption than other methionine sources (such as dl-methionine and l-methionine) available in the market. Therefore, six diets (D1, D2, D3, D4, D5 and D6) containing 0, 0·07, 0·15, 0·21, 0·28 and 0·38 % Met-Met were formulated to investigate the effects of Met-Met in juvenile Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (17 g initial body weight). The results indicated that percentage weight gain and specific growth rate of fish fed with D2 and D3 diets were higher than those fed with D1, D4–D6 diets. The levels of total essential amino acid in whole body of fish fed with D3 and D4 diets were significantly higher than those fed the D1 diet. Superoxide dismutase activity and malondialdehyde content have no significant difference in fish fed the diet with or without Met-Met supplementation. Majority of reads derived from the fish intestine belonged to members of Fusobacteria, followed by Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria. Diversity of intestinal microbiota and total antioxidant capacity in fish fed with D3 diet was significantly higher than that of other groups. Based on the growth results, the authors conclude that the optimal level of Met is 0·61 % Met with the addition of 0·15 % Met-Met for grower-phase O. niloticus.
l-Carnitine is essential for mitochondrial β-oxidation and has been used as a lipid-lowering feed additive in humans and farmed animals. d-Carnitine is an optical isomer of l-carnitine and dl-carnitine has been widely used in animal feeds. However, the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine are difficult to study because of the endogenous l-carnitine background. In the present study, we developed a low-carnitine Nile tilapia model by treating fish with a carnitine synthesis inhibitor, and used this model to investigate the functional differences between l- and d-carnitine in nutrient metabolism in fish. l- or d-carnitine (0·4 g/kg diet) was fed to the low-carnitine tilapia for 6 weeks. l-Carnitine feeding increased the acyl-carnitine concentration from 3522 to 10 822 ng/g and alleviated the lipid deposition from 15·89 to 11·97 % in the liver of low-carnitine tilapia. However, as compared with l-carnitine group, d-carnitine feeding reduced the acyl-carnitine concentration from 10 822 to 5482 ng/g, and increased lipid deposition from 11·97 to 20·21 % and the mRNA expression of the genes involved in β-oxidation and detoxification in the liver. d-Carnitine feeding also induced hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress and apoptosis. A metabolomic investigation further showed that d-carnitine feeding increased glycolysis, protein metabolism and activity of the tricarboxylic acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation. Thus, l-carnitine can be physiologically utilised in fish, whereas d-carnitine is metabolised as a xenobiotic and induces lipotoxicity. d-Carnitine-fed fish demonstrates increases in peroxisomal β-oxidation, glycolysis and amino acid degradation to maintain energy homeostasis. Therefore, d-carnitine is not recommended for use in farmed animals.
Quantifying reasonable crop yield gaps and determining potential regions for yield improvement can facilitate regional plant structure adjustment and promote crop production. The current study attempted to evaluate the yield gap in a region at multi-scales through model simulation and farmer investigation. Taking the winter wheat yield gap in the Huang-Huai-Hai farming region (HFR) for the case study, 241 farmers’ fields in four typical high-yield demonstration areas were surveyed to determine the yield limitation index and attainable yield. In addition, the theoretical and realizable yield gap of winter wheat in 386 counties of the HFR was assessed. Results showed that the average field yield of the demonstration plots was 8282 kg/ha, accounting for 0.72 of the potential yield, which represented the highest production in the region. The HFR consists of seven sub-regions designated 2.1–2.7: the largest attainable yield gap existed in the 2.6 sub-region, in the southwest of the HFR, while the smallest was in the 2.2 sub-region, in the northwest of the HFR. With a high irrigated area rate, the yield gap in the 2.2 sub-region could hardly be reduced by increasing irrigation, while a lack of irrigation remained an important limiting factor for narrowing the yield gap in 2.3 sub-region, in the middle of the HFR. Therefore, a multi-scale yield gap evaluation framework integrated with typical field survey and crop model analysis could provide valuable information for narrowing the yield gap.
Many components in diet have regulated oxidative stress, inflammatory reaction and even balance oestrogen levels. Because these factors are closely associated with depressive symptoms in postmenopausal women, it is considered that dietary factors are able to prevent and control depressive symptoms. On the other hand, a dietary pattern that considers the correlations and synergies between foods and nutrients is expected to have a greater impact on disease risk. The aim of the present study is to evaluate whether dietary patterns are associated with depressive symptoms in Chinese postmenopausal women. A cross-sectional study of 2051 postmenopausal women (mean age: 58·8 (sd 7·4) years) was conducted in Tianjin, China. Dietary consumption was assessed by a valid self-administered FFQ. Principal component analysis was used to derive three major dietary patterns: ‘healthy’, ‘sweets’ and ‘traditional Tianjin’ from eighty-eight food items. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale, and cut-off point of 48 indicating serious depressive symptoms. The association between quartile of dietary patterns and depressive symptoms was assessed using multiple logistic regression analysis. The multivariable-adjusted OR of having depressive symptoms for increasing quartile of dietary patterns were as follows: healthy, 1·00, 0·79 (95 % CI 0·49, 1·28), 0·62 (95 % CI 0·37, 1·04) and 0·57 (95 % CI 0·33, 0·97); sweets, 1·00, 0·75 (95 % CI 0·42, 1·3), 1·08 (95 % CI 0·64, 1·81) and 1·66 (95 % CI 1·03, 2·71); and traditional Tianjin, 1·00, 1·02 (95 % CI 0·58, 1·79), 0·96 (95 % CI 0·54, 1·71) and 2·53 (95 % CI 1·58, 4·16), respectively. The present study demonstrated that a healthy dietary pattern was inversely associated with depressive symptoms. On the contrary, greater adherence to sweets and traditional Tianjin dietary patterns was associated with a higher prevalence of depressive symptoms.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is highly heterogeneous and can be classified as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or antidepressant-responsive depression (non-TRD) based on patients' responses to antidepressant treatment. Methods for distinguishing between TRD and non-TRD are critical clinical concerns. Deficits of cortical inhibition (CI) have been reported to play an influential role in the pathophysiology of MDD. Whether TRD patients' CI is more impaired than that of non-TRD patients remains unclear.
Paired-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation (ppTMS) was used to measure cortical inhibitory function including GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-related CI and cortical excitatory function including glutamate-receptor-related intracortical facilitation (ICF). We recruited 36 healthy controls (HC) and 36 patients with MDD (non-TRD, n = 16; TRD, n = 20). All participants received evaluations for depression severity and ppTMS examinations. Non-TRD patients received an additional ppTMS examination after 3 months of treatment with the SSRI escitalopram.
Patients with TRD exhibited reduced short-interval intracortical inhibition (SICI) and long-interval intracortical inhibition (LICI), as shown by abnormally higher estimates, than those with non-TRD or HC (F = 11.030, p < 0.001; F = 10.309, p < 0.001, respectively). After an adequate trial of escitalopram treatment, the LICI of non-TRD reduced significantly (t = − 3.628, p < 0.001), whereas the ICF remained lower than that of HC and showed no difference from pretreatment non-TRD.
TRD was characterized by relatively reduced CI, including both GABAA- and GABAB-receptor-mediated neurons while non-TRD preserved partial CI. In non-TRD, SSRIs may mainly modulate GABAB-receptor-related LICI. Our findings revealed distinguishable features of CI in antidepressant-resistant and responsive major depression.