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Recent trends in multimedia technologies indicate the need for richer imaging modalities to increase user engagement with the content. Among other alternatives, point clouds denote a viable solution that offers an immersive content representation, as witnessed by current activities in JPEG and MPEG standardization committees. As a result of such efforts, MPEG is at the final stages of drafting an emerging standard for point cloud compression, which we consider as the state-of-the-art. In this study, the entire set of encoders that have been developed in the MPEG committee are assessed through an extensive and rigorous analysis of quality. We initially focus on the assessment of encoding configurations that have been defined by experts in MPEG for their core experiments. Then, two additional experiments are designed and carried to address some of the identified limitations of current approach. As part of the study, state-of-the-art objective quality metrics are benchmarked to assess their capability to predict visual quality of point clouds under a wide range of radically different compression artifacts. To carry the subjective evaluation experiments, a web-based renderer is developed and described. The subjective and objective quality scores along with the rendering software are made publicly available, to facilitate and promote research on the field.
To evaluate the association of ultra-processed food (UPF) consumption with gains in weight and waist circumference, and incident overweight/obesity, in the Brazilian Longitudinal Study of Adult Health (ELSA-Brasil) cohort.
We applied FFQ at baseline and categorized energy intake by degree of processing using the NOVA classification. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured at baseline and after a mean 3·8-year follow-up. We assessed associations, through Poisson regression with robust variance, of UPF consumption with large weight gain (1·68 kg/year) and large waist gain (2·42 cm/year), both being defined as ≥90th percentile in the cohort, and with incident overweight/obesity.
Civil servants of Brazilian public academic institutions in six cities (n 11 827), aged 35–74 years at baseline (2008–2010).
UPF provided a mean 24·6 (sd 9·6) % of ingested energy. After adjustment for smoking, physical activity, adiposity and other factors, fourth (>30·8 %) v. first (<17·8 %) quartile of UPF consumption was associated (relative risk (95 % CI)) with 27 and 33 % greater risk of large weight and waist gains (1·27 (1·07, 1·50) and 1·33 (1·12, 1·58)), respectively. Similarly, those in the fourth consumption quartile presented 20 % greater risk (1·20 (1·03, 1·40)) of incident overweight/obesity and 2 % greater risk (1·02; (0·85, 1·21)) of incident obesity. Approximately 15 % of cases of large weight and waist gains and of incident overweight/obesity could be attributed to consumption of >17·8 % of energy as UPF.
Greater UPF consumption predicts large gains in overall and central adiposity and may contribute to the inexorable rise in obesity seen worldwide.
This study aimed to evaluate the transcriptional changes occurring in isolated perfused mammary alveolar tissue in response to inoculation with S. agalactiae and to identify the most affected biological functions and pathways after 3 h. Four udders taken at slaughter from cows with healthy mammary gland were perfused ex situ with warmed and gassed Tyrode's solution. Mammary alveolar tissue samples were taken from the left fore and rear quarters (IQ-inoculated quarters) before inoculation (hour 0) and at 3 h post inoculation (hpi) and at the same times from control right fore and rear quarters (not inoculated: NIQ). A total of 1756 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified between IQ and NIQ at 3 hpi using edgeR package. Within this set of DEGs, 952 were up regulated and mainly involved with innate immune response and inflammatory response, e.g., CD14, CCL5, TLR2, IL-8, SAA3, as well as in transcriptional regulation such as FOS, STAT3 and NFKBIA. Genes down-regulated (804) included those involved with lipid synthesis e.g., APOC2, SCD, FABP3 and FABP4. The most affected pathways were chemokine signaling, Wnt signaling and complement and coagulation cascades, which likely reflects the early stage response of mammary tissue to S. agalactiae infection. No significant gene expression changes were detected by RNA-Seq in the others contrasts. Real time-PCR confirmed the increase in mRNA abundance of immune-related genes: TLR2, TLR4, IL-1β, and IL-10 at 3 hpi between IQ and NIQ. The expression profiles of Casp1 and Bax for any contrasts were unaffected whereas Bcl2 was increased in IQ, which suggests no induction of apoptosis during the first hours after infection. Results provided novel information regarding the early functional pathways and gene network that orchestrate innate immune responses to S. agalactiae infection. This knowledge could contribute to new strategies to enhance resistance to this disease, such as genomic selection.
Hepatocytes constitute the majority of hepatic cells, and play a key role in controlling systemic innate immunity, via pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) and by synthesizing complement and acute phase proteins. Leishmania infantum, a protozoan parasite that causes human and canine leishmaniasis, infects liver by establishing inside the Kupffer cells. The current study proposes the elucidation of the immune response generated by dog hepatocytes when exposed to L. infantum. Additionally, the impact of adding leishmanicidal compound, meglumine antimoniate (MgA), to parasite-exposed hepatocytes was also addressed. L. infantum presents a high tropism to hepatocytes, establishing strong membrane interactions. The possibility of L. infantum internalization by hepatocytes was raised, but not confirmed. Hepatocytes were able to recognize parasite presence, inducing PRRs [nucleotide oligomerization domain (NOD)1, NOD2 and Toll-like receptor (TLR)2] gene expression and generating a mix pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine response. Reduction of cytochrome P 450s enzyme activity was also observed concomitant with the inflammatory response. Addition of MgA increased NOD2, TLR4 and interleukin 10 gene expression, indicating an immunomodulatory role for MgA. Hepatocytes seem to have a major role in coordinating liver's innate immune response against L. infantum infection, activating inflammatory mechanisms, but always balancing the inflammatory response in order to avoid cell damage.
Human–bear conflicts resulting from livestock depredation and crop use are a common threat to the brown bear Ursus arctos throughout its range. Understanding these conflicts requires the recording and categorization of incidents, assessment of their geographical distribution and frequency, and documentation of the financial costs and the presence of any preventative measures. Damage compensation schemes can help mitigate conflicts and, in some cases, improve acceptance of bears. This study aims to elucidate the major factors determining the patterns of damage caused by bears, examine the effectiveness of preventative measures in reducing such damage, and identify bear damage hotspots in Croatia. Our analysis is based on damage reports provided by hunting organizations to the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture during 2004–2014. The highest number of claims were made for damage to field crops and orchards. Damage to livestock, agricultural crops and beehives resulted in the highest total cost to farmers. Damage to beehives and to automatic corn feeders for game species incurred the highest cost per damage event. We identified a hotspot for bear damage claims in Croatia, located near Risnjak National Park and the border with Slovenia. Damage appears higher in areas that have more villages closer to protected areas and a greater per cent of forest cover, indicating a synergistic effect of protected environments that facilitate bear movements and the presence of human activities that provide easily accessible food for bears.
High concentrations of indium (In) and selenium (Se) have been reported in the Neves-Corvo volcanic-hosted massive sulfide deposit, Portugal. The distribution of these ore metals in the deposit is complex as a result of the combined effects of early ore-forming processes and late tectonometamorphic remobilization. The In and Se contents are higher in Cu-rich ore types, and lower in Zn-rich ore types. At the deposit scale, both In and Se correlate positively with Cu, whereas their correlations with Zn are close to zero. This argues for a genetic connection between Cu, In and Se in terms of metal sourcing and precipitation. However, re-distribution and re-concentration of In and Se associated with tectonometamorphic deformation are also processes of major importance for the actual distribution of these metals throughout the whole deposit. Although minor roquesite and other In-bearing phases were recognized, it is clear that most In within the deposit is found incorporated within sphalerite and chalcopyrite. When chalcopyrite and sphalerite coexist, the In content in sphalerite (avg. 1400 ppm) is, on average, 2–3 times higher than in chalcopyrite (avg. 660 ppm). The In content in stannite (avg. 1.3 wt.%) is even higher than in sphalerite, but the overall abundance of stannite is subordinate to either sphalerite or chalcopyrite. Selenium is dispersed widely between many different ore minerals, but galena is the main Se-carrier. On average, the Se content in galena is ~50 times greater than in either chalcopyrite (avg. 610 ppm) or sphalerite (avg. 590 ppm). The copper concentrate produced at Neves-Corvo contains very significant In (+Se) content, well above economic values if the copper smelters recovered it. Moreover, the high In content of sphalerite from some Cu-Zn ores, or associated with shear structures, could possibly justify, in the future, a selective exploitation strategy for the production of an In-rich zinc concentrate.
The study of the mechanical properties of nanostructured systems has gained importance in theoretical and experimental research in recent years. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of the strongest nanomaterials found in nature, with Young’s Modulus (EY) in the order 1.25 TPa. One interesting question is about the possibility of generating new nanostructures with 1D symmetry and with similar and/or superior CNT properties. In this work, we present a study on the dynamical, structural, mechanical properties, fracture patterns and EY values for one class of these structures, the so-called pentagraphene nanotubes (PGNTs). These tubes are formed rolling up pentagraphene membranes (which are quasi-bidimensional structures formed by densely compacted pentagons of carbon atoms in sp3 and sp2 hybridized states) in the same form that CNTs are formed from rolling up graphene membranes. We carried out fully atomistic molecular dynamics simulations using the ReaxFF force field. We have considered zigzag-like and armchair-like PGNTs of different diameters. Our results show that PGNTs present EY ∼ 800 GPa with distinct elastic behavior in relation to CNTs, mainly associated with mechanical failure, chirality dependent fracture patterns and extensive structural reconstructions.
Recently, a new 2D carbon allotrope structure, named phagraphene (PG), was proposed. PG has a densely array of penta-hexa-hepta-graphene carbon rings. PG was shown to present low and anisotropic thermal conductivity and it is believed that this anisotropy should be also reflected in its mechanical properties. Although PG mechanical properties have been investigated, a detailed and comprehensive study is still lacking. In the present work we have carried out fully atomistic reactive molecular dynamics simulations using the ReaxFF force field, to investigate the mechanical properties and fracture patterns of PG membranes. The Young’s modulus values of the PG membranes were estimated from the stress-strain curves. Our results show that these curves present three distinct regimes: one regime where ripples dominate the structure and mechanical properties of the PG membranes; an elastic regime where the membranes exhibit fully planar configurations; and finally am inelastic regime where permanent deformations happened to the PG membrane up to the mechanical failure or fracture.
Parasites of the genus Trypanosoma are unicellular flagellated microorganisms of the Trypanosomatidae. This study describes an isolate of the genus Trypanosoma naturally infecting Rhipicephalus microplus ticks, characterized through molecular, morphological and biological analysis. Trypanosome cultures, designated strain P1RJ, were obtained by isolation from R. microplus haemolymph in cultures of the tick cell line IDE8. After isolation, strain P1RJ grew well axenically in L15B medium at temperatures of 30, 32 and 34 °C. The new trypanosome remained stable in axenic culture over 14 passages in L15B at 30 °C and was successfully cryopreserved and resuscitated. Morphometric analysis was performed on randomly selected developmental forms. 18S rRNA and 24Sα rDNA sequence analyses confirmed that strain P1RJ is a new species of the genus Trypanosoma. The nucleotide sequences described were submitted to Genbank. Pathogenicity, involvement in vertebrate hosts, epidemiology, developmental cycle and transmission mechanisms of strain P1RJ are still unknown. Therefore, more studies will be necessary to determine life cycle aspects of this trypanosome, for which we propose the name Trypanosoma rhipicephalis sp. nov.
Animal proteins are naturally 15N enriched relative to the diet and the extent of this difference (Δ15Nanimal-diet or N isotopic fractionation) has been correlated to N use efficiency (NUE; N gain or milk N yield/N intake) in some recent ruminant studies. The present study used meta-analysis to investigate whether Δ15Nanimal-diet can be used as a predictor of NUE across a range of dietary conditions, particularly at the level of between-animal variation. An additional objective was to identify variables related to N partitioning explaining the link between NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. Individual values from eight publications reporting both NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet for domestic ruminants were used to create a database comprising 11 experimental studies, 41 treatments and individual animal values for NUE (n=226) and Δ15Nanimal-diet (n=291). Data were analyzed by mixed-effect regression analysis taking into account experimental factors as random effects on both the intercept and slope of the model. Diets were characterized according to the INRA feeding system in terms of N utilization at the rumen, digestive and metabolic levels. These variables were used in a partial least squares regression analysis to predict separately NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet variation, with the objective of identifying common variables linking NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet. For individuals reared under similar conditions (within-study) and at the same time (within-period), the variance of NUE and Δ15Nanimal-diet not explained by dietary treatments (i.e. between-animal variation plus experimental error) was 35% and 55%, respectively. Mixed-effect regression analysis conducted with treatment means showed that Δ15Nanimal-diet was significantly and negatively correlated to NUE variation across diets (NUE=0.415 −0.055×Δ15Nanimal-diet). When using individual values and taking into account the random effects of study, period and diet, the relationship was also significant (NUE=0.358 −0.035×Δ15Nanimal-diet). However, there may be a biased prediction for animals close to zero, or in negative, N balance. When using a novel statistical approach, attempting to regress between-animal variation in NUE on between-animal variation in Δ15Nanimal-diet (without the influence of experimental factors), the negative relationship was still significant, highlighting the ability of Δ15Nanimal-diet to capture individual variability. Among the studied variables related to N utilization, those concerning N efficiency use at the metabolic level contributed most to predict both Δ15Nanimal-diet and NUE variation, with rumen fermentation and digestion contributing to a lesser extent. This study confirmed that on average Δ15Nanimal-diet can predict NUE variation across diets and across individuals reared under similar conditions.
Antigenic variation in malaria was discovered in Plasmodium knowlesi studies involving longitudinal infections of rhesus macaques (M. mulatta). The variant proteins, known as the P. knowlesi Schizont Infected Cell Agglutination (SICA) antigens and the P. falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein 1 (PfEMP1) antigens, expressed by the SICAvar and var multigene families, respectively, have been studied for over 30 years. Expression of the SICA antigens in P. knowlesi requires a splenic component, and specific antibodies are necessary for variant antigen switch events in vivo. Outstanding questions revolve around the role of the spleen and the mechanisms by which the expression of these variant antigen families are regulated. Importantly, the longitudinal dynamics and molecular mechanisms that govern variant antigen expression can be studied with P. knowlesi infection of its mammalian and vector hosts. Synchronous infections can be initiated with established clones and studied at multi-omic levels, with the benefit of computational tools from systems biology that permit the integration of datasets and the design of explanatory, predictive mathematical models. Here we provide an historical account of this topic, while highlighting the potential for maximizing the use of P. knowlesi – macaque model systems and summarizing exciting new progress in this area of research.
Schizotypal traits are considered a phenotypic-indicator of schizotypy, a latent personality organization reflecting a putative liability for psychosis. To date, no previous study has examined the comparability of factorial structures across samples originating from different countries and cultures. The main goal was to evaluate the factorial structure and reliability of the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) scores by amalgamating data from studies conducted in 12 countries and across 21 sites.
The overall sample consisted of 27 001 participants (37.5% males, n = 4251 drawn from the general population). The mean age was 22.12 years (s.d. = 6.28, range 16–55 years). The SPQ was used. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) and Multilevel CFA (ML-CFA) were used to evaluate the factor structure underlying the SPQ scores.
At the SPQ item level, the nine factor and second-order factor models showed adequate goodness-of-fit. At the SPQ subscale level, three- and four-factor models displayed better goodness-of-fit indices than other CFA models. ML-CFA showed that the intraclass correlation coefficients values were lower than 0.106. The three-factor model showed adequate goodness of fit indices in multilevel analysis. The ordinal α coefficients were high, ranging from 0.73 to 0.94 across individual samples, and from 0.84 to 0.91 for the combined sample.
The results are consistent with the conceptual notion that schizotypal personality is a multifaceted construct and support the validity and utility of SPQ in cross-cultural research. We discuss theoretical and clinical implications of our results for diagnostic systems, psychosis models and cross-national mental health strategies.
The environmental conditions and test duration in rainfall simulators have been major constraints to find reliable differences in preharvest sprouting (PHS) among wheat cultivars. This study aimed to elucidate the temperature conditions and degree-days (DD) that enable higher discrimination of genotypes in a PHS test. Thirteen genotypes with different degrees of PHS (BR 18, BRS 220, CD 104, CD 105, CD 108, CD 114, CD 116, Frontana, IPR 085, IPR 128, IPR 136, OR1 and Safira) were evaluated in a rainfall simulator, during four years, conducting two trials per year. The tests were carried on 20 spikes per cultivar, kept in a vertical position on Styrofoam plates, spaced 10 cm between rows and 5 cm within the row. The air temperature data were recorded on a thermograph and the DD were calculated from the mean daily air temperature assuming a base temperature of 4 °C. The Falling Number (FN) parameter and germination percentage (GP) data were averaged for each test. The temperatures (minimum, mean and maximum) and the DD were regressed and correlated with FN and GP. Any increase in the minimum and mean air temperature and accumulated DD decreased FN values and increased GP. Higher genotypic discrimination was achieved at an average air temperature of 21.5 °C and 35 DD. These values can be used as reference to set simulated rain testing condition for screening genotype for PHS based on FN or pericarp rupture of grains.
São Tomé holds 20 endemic bird species, including the little known and ‘Critically Endangered’ Dwarf Olive Ibis Bostrychia bocagei, São Tomé Fiscal Lanius newtoni and São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor. We conducted a systematic survey of the core forest area, performing 1,680 point counts and compiling occasional observations, which enabled the identification of new areas of occurrence for the target species. MaxEnt distribution modelling suggested that the ibis and fiscal have roughly half of the potential area of occurrence that had been assumed (127 and 117 km2, respectively), while it more than doubled that of the grosbeak (187 km2). The south-west central region of the island, most of which is included in the São Tomé Obô Natural Park, has the highest potential for the Critically Endangered birds. We confirmed the association of all target species with native forest. The ibis preferred high tree density, while the fiscal selected low tree density and intermediate altitudes. Despite very restricted ranges, population sizes seem to be larger than previously assumed. These results suggest that the fiscal and grosbeak might be better classified as ‘Endangered’, while the ibis should maintain its status under different criteria, due to a very restricted range during the breeding season. This work provides vital ecological knowledge to support conservation action focusing on these species and their habitats, highlighting the need to improve the effectiveness of the São Tomé Obô Natural Park in protecting its unique biodiversity.
Cysticercosis, a leading cause of acquired epilepsy in developing countries, has been controlled or eradicated in industrialized countries. This paradigm has recently been challenged, with human neurocysticercosis (NCC) being increasingly diagnosed in these countries. In order to assess the NCC burden in Portugal, a retrospective study on NCC hospitalizations (2006–2013) was conducted based on the national database on hospital morbidity: 357 hospitalized cases were detected. NCC was most frequent in the following age groups: 20–64 years (n = 197, 55·2%) >64 years (n = 111, 31·1%), and <20 years (n = 49, 13·7%). In the Norte and Centro regions cases tended to be older than in the Lisboa and Vale do Tejo Region. The results raise concerns for imported and autochthonous disease, suggesting the Lisboa and Vale do Tejo Region, due to its higher frequency of cases at younger ages, as a priority for research and intervention, and further suggest that NCC should be under surveillance (notifiable). The National Observatory of Cysticercosis and Taeniasis has been established and will define NCC cases as well as monitoring and surveillance.
Rhodnius prolixus is a blood-feeding insect that transmits Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli to vertebrate hosts. Rhodnius prolixus is also a classical model in insect physiology, and the recent availability of R. prolixus genome has opened new avenues on triatomine research. Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) is classically described as a key enzyme involved in glycogen metabolism, also acting as a downstream component of the Wnt pathway during embryogenesis. GSK-3 has been shown to be highly conserved among several organisms, mainly in the catalytic domain region. Meanwhile, the role of GSK-3 during R. prolixus embryogenesis or glycogen metabolism has not been investigated. Here we show that chemical inhibition of GSK-3 by alsterpaullone, an ATP-competitive inhibitor of GSK3, does not affect adult survival rate, though it alters oviposition and egg hatching. Specific GSK-3 gene silencing by dsRNA injection in adult females showed a similar phenotype. Furthermore, bright field and 4’−6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI) staining analysis revealed that ovaries and eggs from dsGSK-3 injected females exhibited specific morphological defects. We also demonstrate that glycogen content was inversely related to activity and transcription levels of GSK-3 during embryogenesis. Lastly, after GSK-3 knockdown, we observed changes in the expression of the Wingless (Wnt) downstream target β-catenin as well as in members of other pathways such as the receptor Notch. Taken together, our results show that GSK-3 regulation is essential for R. prolixus oogenesis and embryogenesis.
The CuInSe2 and CuSbSe2 ternary compounds and alloys of the (CuSbSe2)1-x·(CuInSe2)x system with the mole fraction of CuInSe2 (x) equal to 0.05, 0.15, 0.25, 0.375, 0.50, 0.625, 0.75, 0.85, and 0.95 were prepared and the phase relations in this system were investigated by X-ray powder diffraction, optical microscopy, and scanning electron microscopy. It was shown that the alloys of the CuSbSe2-CuInSe2 system are biphasic at room temperature in the whole range of compositions, and the limits of solubility for CuSbSe2 in CuInSe2 and for CuInSe2 in CuSbSe2 do not exceed 0.001 mole fraction.
Very little is known about the phenotypic expression of schizotypal traits in individuals with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS). The main purpose was to analyse the factorial structure, internal consistency and temporal stability of schizotypal traits, as well as their associations with prodromal states and clinical psychotic symptoms in adolescents with 22q11DS.
The sample comprised 61 adolescents with 22q11DS (mean = 14.95 years, s.d. = 2.13; n = 24 at follow-up). An age-matched comparison group (n = 61, mean = 15.44 years, s.d. = 1.76) was also included. The Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ), the Structured Interview for Prodromal Syndromes, the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, and the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale were used.
Adolescents with 22q11DS scored higher than the control group on the interpersonal dimension and suspiciousness subscale of the SPQ. The analysis of the internal structure of the SPQ in the sample of 22q11DS participants yielded a three-component solution (cognitive–perceptual, interpersonal, and disorganized). In addition, internal consistency coefficients ranged between 0.63 and 0.91. The schizotypal traits were highly stable across a 3.6-year interval, and ranged from 0.50 to 0.63. Self-reported schizotypal traits correlated with interview-based ratings of prodromal states and psychotic symptoms.
These results indicate that the SPQ may be a valid tool to assess schizotypal traits in adolescents with 22q11DS. The identification of a reliable self-report instrument for use in individuals with learning disabilities and at genetic high risk for psychosis could be useful in clinical and research settings. Assessment of schizotypal traits may be used as a distal risk marker and in a close-in strategy in high-risk genetic samples to enhance the possibility of early detection of psychosis.