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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
Abnormal Ca homeostasis has been associated with impaired glucose metabolism. However, the epidemiological evidence is controversial. We aimed to assess the association between circulating Ca levels and the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) or abnormal glucose homeostasis through conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eligible studies were identified by searching electronic database (PubMed, Embase and Google Scholar) and related references with de novo results from primary studies up to December 2018. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed to estimate the weighted relative risks (RR) and 95 % CI for the associations. The search yielded twenty eligible publications with eight cohort studies identified for the meta-analysis, which included a total of 89 165 participants. Comparing the highest with the lowest category of albumin-adjusted serum Ca, the pooled RR was 1·14 (95 % CI 1·05, 1·24) for T2DM (n 51 489). Similarly, serum total Ca was associated with incident T2DM (RR 1·25; 95 % CI 1·10, 1·42) (n 64 502). Additionally, the adjusted RR for 1 mg/dl increments in albumin-adjusted serum Ca or serum total Ca levels was 1·16 (95 % CI 1·07, 1·27) and 1·19 (95 % CI 1·11, 1·28), respectively. The observed associations remained with the inclusion of a cohort study with ionised Ca as the exposure. However, data pooled from neither case–control (n 4) nor cross-sectional (n 8) studies manifested a significant correlation between circulating Ca and glucose homeostasis. In conclusion, accumulated data from the cohort studies suggest that higher circulating Ca levels are associated with an augmented risk of T2DM.
The seasonality of individual influenza subtypes/lineages and the association of influenza epidemics with meteorological factors in the tropics/subtropics have not been well understood. The impact of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic on the prevalence of seasonal influenza virus remains to be explored. Using wavelet analysis, the periodicities of A/H3N2, seasonal A/H1N1, A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata were identified, respectively, in Panzhihua during 2006–2015. As a subtropical city in southwestern China, Panzhihua is the first industrial city in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. The relationship between influenza epidemics and local climatic variables was examined based on regression models. The temporal distribution of influenza subtypes/lineages during the pre-pandemic (2006–2009), pandemic (2009) and post-pandemic (2010–2015) years was described and compared. A total of 6892 respiratory specimens were collected and 737 influenza viruses were isolated. A/H3N2 showed an annual cycle with a peak in summer–autumn, while A/H1N1pdm09, Victoria and Yamagata exhibited an annual cycle with a peak in winter–spring. Regression analyses demonstrated that relative humidity was positively associated with A/H3N2 activity while negatively associated with Victoria activity. Higher prevalence of A/H1N1pdm09 and Yamagata was driven by lower absolute humidity. The role of weather conditions in regulating influenza epidemics could be complicated since the diverse viral transmission modes and mechanism. Differences in seasonality and different associations with meteorological factors by influenza subtypes/lineages should be considered in epidemiological studies in the tropics/subtropics. The development of subtype- and lineage-specific prevention and control measures is of significant importance.
Analysis of the potato yield gap and the corresponding nutrient gap can help in devising strategies and measurements to increase productivity for closing the gaps through improved practices. On-farm experiments conducted in the main potato production areas of northwest China were used to determine attainable yield. Official statistical data were used to determine the actual on-farm yield. Yield gap was the difference between attainable yield and actual on-farm yield. Nutrient gap was calculated by dividing the size of yield gap by partial factor productivity. Results indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilization increased potato yield by an average of 1169–7625, 2937–5336 and 2331–7338 kg/ha, respectively. The maximum attainable yields (the 90th percentile yields) were 50 145, 37 855, 30 261 and 56 616 kg/ha and the average actual on-farm yield were 14 179, 16 732, 10 271 and 19 990 kg/ha in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region (IMAR), Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai provinces, respectively. In the above four regions, yield would need to increase by 165, 70, 112 and 121% from actual yield to reach 75% of attainable yield. Compared with recent 3-year average NPK rates by farmers, the total NPK rates need to increase by 90.1–134.3% for IMAR, 42.9–69.2% for Gansu, 68.1–111.2% for Ningxia and 48.1–83.8% for Qinghai to improve productivity to near the 75% attainable yield. In conclusion, the high yield responses to fertilizer application provide opportunities to close the large yield gaps through balanced nutrition.
We sought to assess the universal salt iodization (USI) strategy in Armenia by characterizing dietary iodine intake from naturally occurring iodine, salt-derived iodine in processed foods and salt-derived iodine in household-prepared foods.
Using a cross-sectional cluster survey model, we collected urine samples which were analysed for iodine and sodium concentrations (UIC and UNaC) and household salt samples which were analysed for iodine concentration (SI). SI and UNaC data were used as explanatory variables in multiple linear regression analyses with UIC as dependent variable, and the regression parameters were used to estimate the iodine intake sources attributable to native iodine and iodine from salt in processed foods and household salt.
Armenia is naturally iodine deficient; in 2004, the government mandated a USI strategy.
We recruited school-age children (SAC), pregnant women (PW) and non-pregnant women of reproductive age (WRA).
From thirteen sites covering all provinces, sufficient urine and table salt samples were obtained from 312 SAC, 311 PW and 332 WRA. Findings revealed significant differences between groups: contribution of native iodine ranged from 81% in PW to 46% in SAC, while household salt-derived iodine contributed from 19% in SAC to 1% in PW.
Differences between groups may reflect differences in diet. In all groups, household and processed food salt constituted a significant part of total iodine intake, highlighting the success and importance of USI in ensuring iodine sufficiency. There appears to be leeway to reduce salt intake without adversely affecting the iodine status of the population in Armenia.
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.
In the past few years, we have performed a 22 GHz H2O maser survey towards hundreds of BGPS sources using the 25-meter Nanshan Radio Telescope (NSRT) of the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, and detected more than one hundred masers. Our aim is to study star formation activities associated with these sources, as well as search for any correlations that may exist between 22 GHz H2O masers and the evolutionary stage of high-mass star formation regions. The NSRT has been upgraded and have now an effective diameter of 26 meter. Besides, cryogenically cooled dual-beam receiver systems covering seven millimeter-wave observing bands have been installed on the NSRT. For the next step of maser observation, we will continue to do H2O and SiO masers survey of massive dust clumps and monitor some maser sources.
A ground-based hyperspectral imaging system covering the spectral range of 384–1034 nm was used for Sclerotinia Stem Rot (SSR) detection. Two sample sets of oilseed leaves were collected. Four vegetation indices were extracted and evaluated by analysis of variance (ANOVA) combined with linear discriminant analysis (LDA) for the two sample sets. Discriminant models were built using the 4 vegetation indices. The discriminant results of the two sample sets were good with classification accuracies of the calibration set and the prediction set over 85%. The overall results indicated that vegetation indices calculated from ground-based hyperspectral imaging could be used as reliable and accurate indices for SSR detection.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
We investigate the approximate controllability of a size- and space-structured population model, for which the control function acts on a subdomain and corresponds to the migration of individuals. We establish the main result via the unique continuation property of the adjoint system. The desired controller is the minimizer of an infinite-dimensional optimization problem.
HBsAg reappearance may constitute not only a risk for liver disease but also an infectious source. We aimed to determine whether HBsAg may reappear after spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance. A cohort of 2999 HBsAg-positive subjects aged 30–55 years was recruited in Guangxi, China in 2004. HBsAg was tested every 6 months from July 2004 to June 2007, then, one more time in December 2013. The results showed that spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance occurred in 41 subjects in the first 3 years, giving a 0·54% annual seroclearance rate. Thirteen of the 41 subjects were randomly tested for HBsAg in 2013. Four subjects became HBsAg positive. S gene sequences of HBV were analysed from serum collected before seroclearance and after reappearance, respectively, for subject QS840 (11 and 12 clones), subject TN98 (13 and 13 clones) and subject WX227 (10 and 8 clones). Serotype, subgenotype and amino-acid substitution pattern in each sample collected after reappearance was observed in the sample collected before HBsAg seroclearance. Nucleotide similarity between the two sequences from each subject was >99% and five sequences from subject TN98 were the same. In conclusion, following reactivation, HBsAg may reappear in individuals with spontaneous HBsAg seroclearance many years previously.
Inhomogeneity may lead to premature failure and operationally determines the lifetime estimation of thick weld joints. Considerable novelty of this paper was the achievement of the microstructural and mechanical inhomogeneity, especially along the thickness direction, in the narrow-gap weld seam of thick gas metal arc (GMA) welded Al–Zn–Mg alloy plates. The microstructure of the weld seam was investigated by means of optical metallography, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and energy dispersive spectrum (EDS), after which the phase composition was ascertained according to the x-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis and selected area diffraction analysis by TEM (TEM-SAD). The generation of intergranular short rod-shaped MgZn2 particles changed the distribution of precipitates on the grain boundary with intragranular ellipsoidal MgZn2 particles simultaneously formed as the strengthening phase, which rendered preferable mechanical performances to the bottom layer of the weld seam. The above conclusion was farther affirmed by micro fractography and EDS test results on the fractured surface of the tensile samples. In addition, the effect of following weld passes on the microstructure and micro hardness profile of the finished weld pass was investigated.
Schizophrenia patients have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) than normals. We examined the relationship between IGT and clinical phenotypes or cognitive deficits in first-episode, drug-naïve (FEDN) Han Chinese patients with schizophrenia.
A total of 175 in-patients were compared with 31 healthy controls on anthropometric measures and fasting plasma levels of glucose, insulin and lipids. They were also compared using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB). Patient psychopathology was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Of the patients, 24.5% had IGT compared with none of the controls, and they also had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose and 2-h glucose after an oral glucose load, and were more insulin resistant. Compared with those patients with normal glucose tolerance, the IGT patients were older, had a later age of onset, higher waist or hip circumference and body mass index, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides and higher insulin resistance. Furthermore, IGT patients had higher PANSS total and negative symptom subscale scores, but no greater cognitive impairment except on the emotional intelligence index of the MCCB.
IGT occurs with greater frequency in FEDN schizophrenia, and shows association with demographic and anthropometric parameters, as well as with clinical symptoms but minimally with cognitive impairment during the early course of the disorder.
Mitochondria plays an important role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Moreover, mitochondrial biogenesis accompanies skeletal myogenesis, and we previously reported that maternal high-energy diet repressed skeletal myogenesis in pig fetuses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of moderately increased maternal energy intake on skeletal muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and function of the pig fetuses. Primiparous purebred Large White sows were allocated to a normal energy intake group (NE) as recommended by the National Research Council (NRC) and a high energy intake group (HE, 110% of NRC recommendations). On day 90 of gestation, fetal umbilical vein blood and longissimus (LM) muscle were collected. Results showed that the weight gain of sows fed HE diet was higher than NE sows on day 90 of gestation (P<0.05). Maternal HE diet increased fetal umbilical vein serum triglyceride and insulin concentrations (P<0.05), and tended to increase the homeostasis model assessment index (P=0.08). Furthermore, HE fetuses exhibited increased malondialdehyde concentration (P<0.05), and decreased activities of antioxidative enzymes (P<0.05) and intracellular NAD+ level (P<0.05) in LM muscle. These alterations in metabolic traits of HE fetuses were accompanied by reduced mitochondrial DNA amount (P<0.05) and down-regulated messenger RNA expression levels of genes responsible for mitochondrial biogenesis and function (P<0.05). Our results suggest that moderately increased energy supply during gestation decreases mitochondrial biogenesis, function and antioxidative capacity in skeletal muscle of pig fetuses.
It remains unclear whether the topological deficits of the white matter network documented in cross-sectional studies of chronic schizophrenia patients are due to chronic illness or to other factors such as antipsychotic treatment effects. To answer this question, we evaluated the white matter network in medication-naive first-episode schizophrenia patients (FESP) before and after a course of treatment.
We performed a longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging study in 42 drug-naive FESP at baseline and then after 8 weeks of risperidone monotherapy, and compared them with 38 healthy volunteers. Graph theory was utilized to calculate the topological characteristics of brain anatomical network. Patients’ clinical state was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) before and after treatment.
Pretreatment, patients had relatively intact overall topological organizations, and deficient nodal topological properties primarily in prefrontal gyrus and limbic system components such as the bilateral anterior and posterior cingulate. Treatment with risperidone normalized topological parameters in the limbic system, and the enhancement positively correlated with the reduction in PANSS-positive symptoms. Prefrontal topological impairments persisted following treatment and negative symptoms did not improve.
During the early phase of antipsychotic medication treatment there are region-specific alterations in white matter topological measures. Limbic white matter topological dysfunction improves with positive symptom reduction. Prefrontal deficits and negative symptoms are unresponsive to medication intervention, and prefrontal deficits are potential trait biomarkers and targets for negative symptom treatment development.
Hippocampal volume reductions in major depression have been frequently reported. However, evidence for functional abnormalities in the same region in depression has been less clear. We investigated hippocampal function in depression using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neuropsychological tasks tapping spatial memory function, with complementing measures of hippocampal volume and resting blood flow to aid interpretation.
A total of 20 patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and a matched group of 20 healthy individuals participated. Participants underwent multimodal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): fMRI during a spatial memory task, and structural MRI and resting blood flow measurements of the hippocampal region using arterial spin labelling. An offline battery of neuropsychological tests, including several measures of spatial memory, was also completed.
The fMRI analysis showed significant group differences in bilateral anterior regions of the hippocampus. While control participants showed task-dependent differences in blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal, depressed patients did not. No group differences were detected with regard to hippocampal volume or resting blood flow. Patients showed reduced performance in several offline neuropsychological measures. All group differences were independent of differences in hippocampal volume and hippocampal blood flow.
Functional abnormalities of the hippocampus can be observed in patients with MDD even when the volume and resting perfusion in the same region appear normal. This suggests that changes in hippocampal function can be observed independently of structural abnormalities of the hippocampus in depression.