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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.
The antibacterial hydrogels can be widely used in the biomedical area owing to their excellent properties. The main limitation of antibacterial hydrogels is their poor mechanical strength. In this study, the novel hydrogels were fabricated with a mixture of silk fibroin (SF), chitosan (CH), agarose (AG), and silver nanoparticles (SNPs) via facile reaction condition without inorganic substances. The mechanical property of these fabricated hydrogels can be modulated by the concentration of SF or AG. The rheological studies demonstrated enhanced elasticity of CH-doped hydrogels. Because of the presence of CH and Ag in hydrogels, the antimicrobial property against gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria was exhibited. Cytocompatibility test proved the very low toxic nature of the hydrogels. In addition, these composite hydrogels have a smaller porosity, higher swelling ratio, and good compatibility, indicating their great potential for biomedical application.
Maternal one-carbon metabolism during pregnancy is crucial for fetal development and programming by DNA methylation. However, evidence on one-carbon biomarkers other than folate is lacking. We, therefore, investigated whether maternal plasma methyl donors, that is, choline, betaine and methionine, are associated with birth outcomes. Blood samples were obtained from 115 women during gestation (median 26·3 weeks, 90 % range 22·7–33·0 weeks). Plasma choline, betaine, methionine and dimethylglycine were measured using HPLC-tandem MS. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between plasma biomarkers and birth weight, birth length, the risk of small-for-gestational-age and large-for-gestational-age (LGA). Higher level of maternal betaine was associated with lower birth weight (–130·3 (95 % CI –244·8, –15·9) per 1 sd increment for log-transformed betaine). Higher maternal methionine was associated with lower risk of LGA, and adjusted OR, with 95 % CI for 1 sd increase in methionine concentration was 0·44 (95 % CI 0·21, 0·89). Stratified analyses according to infant sex or maternal plasma homocysteine status showed that reduction in birth weight in relation to maternal betaine was only limited to male infants or to who had higher maternal homocysteine status (≥5·1 µmol/l). Higher maternal betaine status was associated with reduced birth weight. Maternal methionine was inversely associated with LGA risk. These findings are needed to be replicated in future larger studies.
There is limited experience about transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder.
Between March, 2015 and July, 2017, a total of 22 patients with doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects received transcatheter closure using Amplatzer ductal occluder and underwent clinical follow-up for at least 6 months.
Device implantation was finally successful in 21 (95.4%) patients despite failed occlusion in one patient and intra-procedural replacement of unsuitable occluders in four (19.0%) patients. In mean 12.3 months of follow-up, there were no major complications (death, aortic valve or sinus rupture, device dislocation or embolisation, grade 2 new-onset aortic regurgitation, etc.), resulting in clinical occlusion success of 95.4%. Mechanical haemolysis occurred in one patient and resolved with medication. Residual shunt was observed in 11 (52.4%) patients (9 mild, 2 moderate-severe) post-procedurally, 14 (66.7%) patients (12 mild, 2 moderate-severe) in hospital stay, and 2 (9.5%) patients (2 mild, 0 moderate-severe) at the last follow-up. Device-induced new-onset aortic regurgitation was found in nine (42.8%) patients (9 mild, 0 moderate-severe) post-procedurally and in hospital stay, which was resolved in two (9.5%) patients and unchanged in seven (33.3%) patients at the last follow-up. Another four (19.0%) patients newly developed mild aortic regurgitation during follow-up.
Transcatheter closure of doubly committed subarterial ventricular septal defects with Amplatzer ductal occluder is technically feasible in the selected patients. However, further study is needed to confirm its long-term clinical outcomes.
Toxigenic Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) carriers represent an important source in the transmission of C. difficile infection (CDI) during hospitalisation, but its prevalence and mode in patients with hepatic cirrhosis are not well established. We investigated longitudinal changes in carriage rates and strain types of toxigenic C. difficile from admission to discharge among hepatic cirrhosis patients. Toxigenic C. difficile was detected in 104 (19.8%) of 526 hepatic cirrhosis patients on admission, and the carriage status changed in a portion of patients during hospitalisation. Approximately 56% (58/104) of patients lost the colonisation during their hospital stay. Among the remaining 48 patients who remained positive for toxigenic C. difficile, the numbers of patients who were positive at one, two, three and four isolations were 10 (55.6%), three (16.7%), two (11.1%) and three (16.7%), respectively. Twenty-eight patients retained a particular monophyletic strain at multiple isolations. The genotype most frequently identified was the same as that frequently identified in symptomatic CDI patients. A total of 25% (26/104) of patients were diagnosed with CDI during their hospital stay. Conclusions: Colonisation with toxigenic C. difficile strains occurs frequently in cirrhosis patients and is a risk factor for CDI.
Population-based colorectal cancer (CRC) screening programs that use a fecal immunochemical test (FIT) are often faced with a noncompliance issue and its subsequent waiting time (WT) for those FIT positives complying with confirmatory diagnosis. We aimed to identify factors associated with both of the correlated problems in the same model.
A total of 294,469 subjects, either with positive FIT test results or having a family history, collected from 2004 to 2013 were enrolled for analysis. We applied a hurdle Poisson regression model to accommodate the hurdle of compliance and also its related WT for undergoing colonoscopy while assessing factors responsible for the mixture of the two outcomes.
The effect on compliance and WT varied with contextual factors, such as geographic areas, type of screening units, and level of urbanization. The hurdle score, representing the risk score in association with noncompliance, and the WT score, reflecting the rate of taking colonoscopy, were used to classify subjects into each of three groups representing the degree of compliance and the level of health awareness.
Our model was not only successfully applied to evaluating factors associated with the compliance and the WT distribution, but also developed into a useful assessment model for stratifying the risk and predicting whether and when screenees comply with the procedure of receiving confirmatory diagnosis given contextual factors and individual characteristics.
Few studies have examined the association of various types of Fe with colorectal cancer risk. The aim of this study was to investigate different forms and sources of Fe in relation to colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population. A total of 2138 patients with colorectal cancer and 2144 sex- and age-matched (5-year interval) controls were recruited from July 2010 to November 2017. Dietary information was assessed by face-to-face interviews using a validated FFQ. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the OR and 95 % CI on models. Intake of Fe from plants and Fe from white meat were inversely associated with the risk of colorectal cancer, while haem Fe and Fe from red meat were positively associated with colorectal cancer risk. The multivariable OR for the highest quartile v. the lowest quartile were 0·72 (95 % CI 0·59, 0·87, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from plants, 0·54 (95 % CI 0·45, 0·66, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from white meat, 1·26 (95 % CI 1·04, 1·53, Ptrend=0·005) for haem Fe and 1·83 (95 % CI 1·49, 2·24, Ptrend<0·001) for Fe from red meat intake, respectively. However, no significant association was found between the consumption of total dietary Fe, non-haem Fe, Fe from meat and colorectal cancer risk. This study showed that lower intake of Fe from plants and white meat, as well as higher intake of haem Fe and Fe from red meat, were associated with colorectal cancer risk in a Chinese population.
In this study, we investigate a new simple scheme using a planar undulator (PU) together with a properly dispersed electron beam (
beam) with a large energy spread (
) to enhance the free-electron laser (FEL) gain. For a dispersed
beam in a PU, the resonant condition is satisfied for the center electrons, while the frequency detuning increases for the off-center electrons, inhibiting the growth of the radiation. The PU can act as a filter for selecting the electrons near the beam center to achieve the radiation. Although only the center electrons contribute, the radiation can be enhanced significantly owing to the high-peak current of the beam. Theoretical analysis and simulation results indicate that this method can be used for the improvement of the radiation performance, which has great significance for short-wavelength FEL applications.
To revise an abbreviated version of the Silhouettes subtest of the Visual Object and Space Perception (VOSP) battery in order to recognize mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and determine the optimal cutoffs to differentiate among cognitively normal controls (NC), MCI, and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) in the Chinese elderly.
A cross-sectional validation study.
Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China.
A total of 591 participants: Individuals with MCI (n = 211), AD (n = 139) and NC (n = 241) were recruited from the Memory Clinic, Huashan Hospital, Shanghai, China.
Baseline neuropsychological battery (including VOSP) scores were collected from firsthand data. An abbreviated version of silhouettes test (Silhouettes-A) was revised from the original English version more suitable for the elderly, including eight silhouettes of animals and seven silhouettes of inanimate objects, with a score ranging from 0 to 15.
Silhouettes-A was an effective test to screen MCI in the Chinese elderly with good sensitivity and specificity, similar to the Montreal cognitive assessment and superior to other single tests reflecting language, spatial, or executive function. However, it had no advantage in distinguishing MCI from AD. The corresponding optimal cutoff scores of Silhouettes-A were 10 for screening MCI and 8 for AD.
Silhouettes-A is a quick, simple, sensitive, and dependable cognitive test to distinguish among NC, MCI, and AD patients.
In inertial confinement fusion experiments that involve short-laser pulses such as fast ignition (FI), diagnosis of neutrons is usually very challenging because high-intensity γ rays generated by short-laser pulses would mask the much weaker neutron signal. In this paper, fast-response scintillators with low afterglow and gated microchannel plate photomultiplier tubes are combined to build neutron time-of-flight (nTOF) spectrometers for such experiments. Direct-drive implosion experiments of deuterium-gas-filled capsules were performed at the Shenguang-II Upgrade (SG-II-UP) laser facility to study the compressed fuel areal density (〈ρR〉) and evaluate the performance of such nTOF diagnostics. Two newly developed quenched liquid scintillator detectors and a gated ultrafast plastic scintillator detector were used to measure the secondary DT neutrons and primary DD neutrons, respectively. The secondary neutron signals were clearly discriminated from the γ rays from (n, γ) reactions, and the compressed fuel areal density obtained with the yield-ratio method agrees well with the simulations. Additionally, a small scintillator decay tail and a clear DD neutron signal were observed in an integrated FI experiment as a result of the low afterglow of the oxygen-quenched liquid scintillator.
Astrophysical collisionless shocks are amazing phenomena in space and astrophysical plasmas, where supersonic flows generate electromagnetic fields through instabilities and particles can be accelerated to high energy cosmic rays. Until now, understanding these micro-processes is still a challenge despite rich astrophysical observation data have been obtained. Laboratory astrophysics, a new route to study the astrophysics, allows us to investigate them at similar extreme physical conditions in laboratory. Here we will review the recent progress of the collisionless shock experiments performed at SG-II laser facility in China. The evolution of the electrostatic shocks and Weibel-type/filamentation instabilities are observed. Inspired by the configurations of the counter-streaming plasma flows, we also carry out a novel plasma collider to generate energetic neutrons relevant to the astrophysical nuclear reactions.
(1 − x)Ba(Mg1/3Ta2/3)O3–xBa(Co1/3Nb2/3)O3 (BMT–BCN, x = 0.0, 0.20, 0.25, 0.30, 0.40) ceramics were prepared using the traditional solid-state reaction method. X-ray diffraction patterns have shown that the intensities of (001) and (100) super-lattices decrease with the increase in the BCN content. Seven main Raman vibrational modes are observed, assigned, and illustrated, in particular. Raman shifts of Eg(O) modes and the FWHM values of F2g(O)/A1g(O) modes have close relationship with the dielectric properties. The calculated values by the four-parameter semiquantum model based on IR reflectivity match well with the measured data (@3.8 GHz), which means that most of dielectric contribution to the system may be ascribed to the absorption of structural phononic oscillations at the infrared region, and the contribution from the scattering of the defective phonons is small. The contributions of each vibrational mode on the dielectric responses were investigated in detail, indicating that the low-frequency modes (A2u(1) and Eu(1)) have a decisive role to the dielectric properties.
As a promising new way to generate a controllable strong magnetic field, laser-driven magnetic coils have attracted interest in many research fields. In 2013, a kilotesla level magnetic field was achieved at the Gekko XII laser facility with a capacitor–coil target. A similar approach has been adopted in a number of laboratories, with a variety of targets of different shapes. The peak strength of the magnetic field varies from a few tesla to kilotesla, with different spatio-temporal ranges. The differences are determined by the target geometry and the parameters of the incident laser. Here we present a review of the results of recent experimental studies of laser-driven magnetic field generation, as well as a discussion of the diagnostic techniques required for such rapidly changing magnetic fields. As an extension of the magnetic field generation, some applications are discussed.
We present laboratory measurement and theoretical analysis of silicon K-shell lines in plasmas produced by Shenguang II laser facility, and discuss the application of line ratios to diagnose the electron density and temperature of laser plasmas. Two types of shots were carried out to interpret silicon plasma spectra under two conditions, and the spectra from 6.6 Å to 6.85 Å were measured. The radiative-collisional code based on the flexible atomic code (RCF) is used to identify the lines, and it also well simulates the experimental spectra. Satellite lines, which are populated by dielectron capture and large radiative decay rate, influence the spectrum profile significantly. Because of the blending of lines, the traditional
value are not applicable in diagnosing electron temperature and density of plasma. We take the contribution of satellite lines into the calculation of line ratios of He-
lines, and discuss their relations with the electron temperature and density.
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can differentiate into bone cells when provided the correct environment, potentially generating cells to repair non-union fractures. Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biocompatible polymer for 3-D printing of scaffolds, but DPSCs do not proliferate well on PLA. With the goal of making PLA more conducive for DPSC growth, Graphene Oxide (GO); partially reduced Graphene Oxide (pRGO); GO with iron nanoparticles (FeGO) or Fe-pRGO were incorporated into PLA and spun cast as thin films onto silicon wafers for DPSC plating. DPSCs on Fe-pRGO displayed the fastest doubling time and the highest cell modulus; Fe-pRGO with exterior magnets produced high cell density. SEM demonstrated DPSC mineralization, whereas PLA-only DPSC cultures showed none. Results suggest that PLA/Fe-pRGO and PLA/pRGO enhance DPSC proliferation and possibly differentiation with the potential for use as a 3-D printed scaffold for tissue engineering.
Agricultural water use accounts for more than 95% of the total water consumption in the extreme arid region of the Tarim River Basin. Understanding the variation of agricultural water demand (AWD) and its attributions is therefore vital for irrigation management and water resource allocation affecting the economy and natural ecosystems in this high water-deficit region. Here spatial–temporal variations of AWD based on weighted crop water requirement (ETc) were estimated using the Penman–Monteith equation and the crop coefficient approach. Then the contributions of meteorological factors and planting structure (i.e. proportions of crop acreages) to AWD variations were quantified based on traditional methods and numerical experiment (i.e. a series calculation of AWD based on different input data). Results indicated that AWD decreased during 1960–1988 at a rate of 2.76 mm/year and then started to increase at a high rate of 9.47 mm/year during 1989–2015. For the first period (1960–1988), wind speed (uz), maximum humidity (RHmax) and sunshine duration (n) were the most important factors leading to decreased AWD, while for the second period the evolution of planting structure was the most significant factor resulting in the rapid increase of AWD, followed by the minimum temperature (Tmin), uz and RHmax. The evolution of planting structure alone would lead to an increase rate for AWD of 7.1 mm/year while the climatic factor would result in an increase rate of 1.9 mm/year during 1989–2015.
Actinocerid nautiloids from the Lhasai Formation in the Xainza region are studied systematically for the first time. The nautiloids are identified as Middle Ordovician in age based on stratigraphic correlations with those from North China, Sibumasu, North Australia (northern Gondwana), and North America (Laurentia). A cluster analysis shows strong affinities between the actinocerid nautiloids of the Lhasa Terrane and those of the Himalaya, North China, and Sibumasu terranes. Our results support Middle Ordovician paleogeographic reconstructions that place North China rather than South China much closer to Australia. Nine species assigned to six genera of Meitanoceratidae, Wutinoceratidae, Armenoceratidae, Ormoceratidae, and Discoactinoceratidae are described in detail: Pomphoceras nyalamense (Chen, 1975), Pomphoceras yaliense (Chen, 1975), Wutinoceras cf. W. foerstei (Endo, 1930), Mesowutinoceras giganteum Chen in Chen and Zou, 1984, Armenoceras tani (Grabau, 1922), Armenoceras teicherti Endo, 1932, Armenoceras xizangense new species, Deiroceras globosom Zou and Shen in Chen and Zou, 1984, and Discoactinoceras cf. D. multiplexum Kobayashi, 1927.
Babesiosis is an emerging tick-transmitted zoonosis prevalent in large parts of the world. This study was designed to determine the rates of Babesia microti infection among small rodents in Yunnan province, where human cases of babesiosis have been reported. Currently, distribution of Babesia in its endemic regions is largely unknown. In this study, we cataloged 1672 small wild rodents, comprising 4 orders, from nine areas in western Yunnan province between 2009 and 2011. Babesia microti DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in 4·3% (72/1672) of the rodents analyzed. The most frequently infected rodent species included Apodemus chevrieri and Niviventer fulvescens. Rodents from forests and shrublands had significantly higher Babesia infection rates. Genetic comparisons revealed that Babesia was most similar to the Kobe- and Otsu-type strains identified in Japan. A variety of rodent species might be involved in the enzootic maintenance and transmission of B. microti, supporting the need for further serological investigations in humans.