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Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Multiple Attribute Decision Analysis (MADA), known to be simple and convenient, is one of the most commonly used methods for Effectiveness Evaluation of Fighter (EEF), in which the attribute weight assignment plays a key role. Generally, there are two parts in the index system of MADA, i.e. performance index and decision index (or label), which denote the specific performance and the category of the object, respectively. In some index systems of EEF, the labels can be easily obtained, which are presented as the generations of fighters. However, the existing methods of attribute weight determination usually ignore or do not take full advantage of the supervisory function of labels. To make up for this deficiency, this paper develops an objective method based on fuzzy Bayes risk. In this method, a loss function model based on Gaussian kernel function is proposed to cope with the drawback that the loss function in Bayes risk is usually determined by experts. In order to evaluate the credibility of assigned weights, a longitudinal deviation and transverse residual correlation coefficient model is designed. Finally, a number of experiments, including the comparison experiments on University of California Irvine (UCI) data and EEF, are carried out to illustrate the superiority and applicability of the proposed method.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
The growth of gut anaerobic fungi is usually determined in batch culture by gravimetric measurements of dry-matter (DM) loss, or by quantification of fermentation end-products (Lowe et al., 1987). These techniques involve destructive sampling of the cultures and require many replicate cultures in time-course experiments. Moreover, techniques using DM loss are only able to measure the end-point of degradation of substrate and cannot follow the growth over the entire fermentation period. Using a pressure transducer, Theodorou et al. (1994) developed a simple and sensitive gas production procedure to determine the fermentation kinetics of ruminant foods. This procedure can also be used to follow the growth of anaerobic fungi on soluble and particulate substrate in batch cultures Theodorou et al. (1995).
Protocols designed for the adipogenic differentiation of human and mouse cells are commonly used for inducing the adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells. However, likely due to metabolic differences between ruminant and non-ruminant animals, these methods result in only few cells undergoing complete adipogenesis with minimal lipid droplet accumulation. Here, we discuss the development of an adipogenic differentiation protocol for bovine primary cells through a three-dimensional spheroid culture. Stromal vascular cells derived from bovine intramuscular fat were isolated and stored in liquid nitrogen before culturing. Cells were cultured in hanging drops for 3 days to allow for the formation of spherical structures. The spheroids were then transferred to cell culture plates with endothelial basal medium-2 for 3 days and in Dulbecco’s Modified Eagle’s Medium (DMEM) supplemented with a standard adipogenic cocktail for 3 additional days, which were then allowed to fully differentiate for 3 days in DMEM supplemented with insulin. Compared with conventional two-dimensional culture, cells in a three-dimensional spheroid culture system had higher adipogenic gene expression and consequently contained more adipocytes with larger lipid droplets. In addition, endothelial induction of spheroids prior to adipogenic differentiation is essential for efficient induction of adipogenesis of bovine stromal vascular cells, mimicking in vivo adipose development. In summary, the newly developed three-dimensional spheroid culture method is an efficient way to induce adipogenic differentiation and study adipose development of cells derived from ruminant animals, which also can be used for studying the role of angiogenesis in adipose development.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Here a compact three orthogonal planes high-energy electron radiography system was proposed. One of the critical technologies, the ultra-fast beam bunches split from the bunch train are studied. The separated bunches could be transported to the three orthogonal planes of the target for dynamic radiography diagnostics. The key elements of the ultra-fast bunches split system are transverse deflecting cavity (TDC) and the twin septum magnet (TSM). The principle of TDC and TSM are briefly introduced. An example of the beam bunches split system for test experiment (40 MeV electron beam) with TDC and TSM is designed and studied by particle-tracking simulation and it confirms this method is valid and feasible. Especially with TSM, a compact three orthogonal planes radiography system can be realized. The evolution of the beam parameters along the beam line from simulation are investigated. The detailed design of the beam split system and beam dynamics simulation study are presented in this paper.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.
The outbreaks of varicella occurring in kindergartens and schools are increasingly notified in Shanghai despite the implementation of one-dose varicella vaccination. We analyzed surveillance data on the notified outbreaks of varicella in Minhang District of Shanghai during 2008–2014. A total of 13 511 varicella cases and 154 outbreaks involving 1558 (11·5%) cases were reported. Annual attack rates of outbreak-associated varicella in outbreak classes were 5·5%–12%. The mean age of the outbreak-associated cases was 8·6 ± 3·1 years. Among 1558 outbreak cases, 660 (42·4%) received one-dose varicella vaccine previously. The proportions of breakthrough varicella infection during outbreaks ranged from 21·5% in 2008 to 86·1% in 2014. Annual breakthrough infection rates in outbreak classes ranged from 5·4% to 7·4%. Breakthrough cases as index cases results in 9·7% of outbreaks, and the average duration of outbreaks was significantly longer in vaccinated cases as index cases than in unvaccinated cases as index cases (11·3 ± 5·8 days vs. 8·6 ± 6·1 days, P < 0·05). The mean time of breakthrough infection since vaccination was 6·2 ± 2·3 years (range 0·6–13·4 years). One-dose varicella vaccination cannot prevent the varicella outbreaks in kindergartens and schools. A second dose of varicella vaccine should be recommended for children.
Serpins are a broadly distributed family of proteases found in various organisms that play an important role in regulating the immune response. Here, we identified a serpin-1 gene from Antheraea pernyi that encodes a 279 amino acid protein with a molecular weight of 30.8 kDa. We expressed the recombinant Ap-serpin-1 protein in Escherichia coli and used the purified protein to prepare rabbit anti-Ap-serpin-1 polyclonal antibodies. We calculated the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay titer of the antibody as 1:128000. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that Ap-serpin-1 was expressed in all examined tissues, including hemolymph, malpighian tubules, midgut, silk gland, integument and the fat body; the highest Ap-serpin-1 expression levels was detected in the fat body. We next investigated the expression patterns of Ap-serpin-1 in both fat body and hemolymph samples, following treatment with E. coli, Beauveria bassiana, Micrococcus luteus and nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV). We reported that NPV and M. luteus significantly enhanced Ap-serpin-1 expression in the fat body. While, in the hemolymph samples, treatment with B. bassiana and M. luteus was shown to upregulate Ap-serpin-1 expression at 24 h induction. Altogether, our results suggest that Ap-serpin-1 is involved in the innate immunity of A. pernyi.
Omics research has indicated that heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is a potential biomarker of meat quality. However, the specific changes and the potential role of HSP70 in postmortem meat quality development need to be further defined. In this study, Arbor Acres broiler chickens (n=126) were randomly categorized into three treatment groups of unstressed control (C), 0.5-h transport (T) and subsequent water shower spray following transport (T/W). Each treatment consisted of six replicates with seven birds each. The birds were transported according to a designed protocol. The pectoralis major (PM) muscles of the transport-stressed broilers were categorized as normal and pale, soft and exudative (PSE)-like muscle samples according to L* and pH24 h values to test the expression and location of HSP70. Results revealed that the activities of plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase increased significantly (P<0.05) in normal and PSE-like muscle samples after transportation. The mRNA expression of HSP70 in normal muscle samples increased significantly (P<0.05) compared with that in the controls after stress. The protein expression of HSP70 increased significantly in normal muscle samples and decreased significantly (P<0.05) in PSE-like muscles. Immuno-fluorescence showed that HSP70 was present in the cytoplasm and on surface membranes of PM muscle cells in the normal samples following stress. Meanwhile, HSP70 was present on the surface membranes and extracellular matrix but was barely visible in the cytoplasm of the PSE-like samples. Principal component analysis showed high correlations between HSP70 and meat quality and stress indicators. In conclusion, this research suggests that the variation in HSP70 expression may provide a novel insight into the pathways underlying meat quality development.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
In tritrophic ‘plants–herbivores–natural enemies’ systems, there are relatively few reports concerning the role(s) of kairomones in pupal parasitism. Chouioia cunea Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an endoparasitic chalcid wasp, parasitizes pupae of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea Drury). The role of host-related kairomones was investigated using electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral techniques. Chemicals from some host stages (pupae) and host by-products (frass), induced arrestment behavior of female parasitoids, while chemicals from prepupae, were inactive. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles collected from pupae, frass and prepupae using solid-phase microextration revealed seven compounds with carbon chain lengths ranging from C4 to C20. All of the chemicals elicited significant EAG responses in C. cunea. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays demonstrated a significant positive response of mated female C. cunea to 1-dodecene. These data provide a better understanding of the host location mechanisms of pupal parasitoid.
An outbreak of acute hepatitis recently occurred in a nursing home in Zhejiang Province, China. The objectives of this study were to confirm the outbreak and identify the aetiology, source and transmission patterns. All residents and staff in or near the nursing home during the period from 1 October 2014 to 21 May 2015 were investigated regarding hygiene and for epidemiological information including water and food (eating meat especially pork products). Serum and stool specimens were collected for detection of hepatitis E virus (HEV) antibodies using ELISA and RNA using RT–PCR. Samples that were RNA positive were genotyped. Of 185 senior residents and 24 staff in the nursing home, there were 37 laboratory-confirmed cases during the outbreak. Of these cases, 12 patients (three deaths) were symptomatic with jaundice, a common clinical symptom for hepatitis E infection. HEV strains were isolated from three cases and they formed a single cluster within genotype 4d. A case-control study was conducted to investigate potential risk factors for the outbreak and the results revealed that cases more often washed their dishes and rinsed their mouths using tap water than the controls (P < 0·05). Based on hygiene investigation and meteorological information, it is likely that HEV-infected sewage and faeces contaminated the water network on rainy days. Collectively, these results suggest that the outbreak of HEV genotype 4 infection was most likely caused by contaminated tap water rather than food.
Laser-driven relativistic electrons can be focused onto a high-Z convertor for generating high-brightness γ-rays, which in turn can be used to induce photonuclear reactions. In this work, photo-transmutation of long-lived radionuclide 135Cs induced by laser–plasma–interaction-driven electron source is demonstrated using Geant4 simulation (Agostinelli et al., 2003 Nucl. Instrum. Meth. A506, 250). High-energy electron generation, bremsstrahlung, as well as photonuclear reaction are observed at four different laser intensities: 1020, 5 × 1020, 1021, and 5 × 1021 W/cm2. The transmutation efficiency depends on the laser intensity and target size. An optimum laser intensity, namely 1021 W/cm2, was found, with the corresponding photonuclear reaction yield reaching 108 J−1 of the laser energy. Laser-generated electrons can therefore be a promising tool for transmutation reactions. Potential application in nuclear waste management is suggested.
Soluble starch synthase II (SSII) plays an important role in the biosynthesis of starch and in rice it consists of three isoforms encoded by SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3. However, the genetic effects of various SSII alleles on grain quality have not been systematically characterized. In the present study, the japonica alleles on SSII-1, SSII-2 and SSII-3 (SSIIa) loci from a japonica cultivar, Suyunuo, were respectively introgressed by molecular marker-assisted selection into a typical indica cultivar, Guichao2, through successive backcrossing, generating three sets of near-isogenic lines (NILs). Grain quality and starch property analysis showed that NIL-SSII-3j exhibited significant decreases in the following parameters: amylose content, average granule size, and setback viscosity and consistency; but increases in peak viscosity, hot paste viscosity, gelatinization temperature and relative crystallinity. Moreover, the proportion of short amylopectin chains and branching degree also increased when compared with those of NIL-SSII-3i (Guochao2). Similar effects were observed in NIL-SSII-1j, and certain alterations in the fine structure of starch (granule size) were revealed. However, NIL-SSII-2j did not exert significant effect on grain quality and starch properties. In brief, among the SSII gene family, the functional diversity occurred on SSII-1 and SSII-3, and not on SSII-2. Therefore, it appears that more attention should be directed to SSII-1 and SSII-3 loci for improving the eating and cooking quality of rice.