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Porphyromonas gingivalis has been linked to the development and progression of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and is considered to be a high-risk factor for ESCC. Currently, the commonly used methods for P. gingivalis detection are culture or DNA extraction-based, which are either time and labour intensive especially for high-throughput applications. We aimed to establish and evaluate a rapid and sensitive direct quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol for the detection of P. gingivalis without DNA extraction which is suitable for large-scale epidemiological studies. Paired gingival swab samples from 192 subjects undergoing general medical examinations were analysed using two direct and one extraction-based qPCR assays for P. gingivalis. Tris-EDTA buffer-based direct qPCR (TE-direct qPCR), lysis-based direct qPCR (lysis-direct qPCR) and DNA extraction-based qPCR (kit-qPCR) were used, respectively, in 192, 132 and 60 of these samples for quantification of P. gingivalis. The sensitivity and specificity of TE-direct qPCR was 95.24% and 100% compared with lysis-direct qPCR, which was 100% and 97.30% when compared with kit-qPCR; TE-direct qPCR had an almost perfect agreement with lysis-direct qPCR (κ = 0.954) and kit-qPCR (κ = 0.965). Moreover, the assay time used for TE-direct qPCR was 1.5 h. In conclusion, the TE-direct qPCR assay is a simple and efficient method for the quantification of oral P. gingivalis and showed high sensitivity and specificity compared with routine qPCR.
As an epigenetic modification, DNA methylation may reflect the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the development of schizophrenia (SCZ). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is a promising candidate gene of SCZ. In the present study, we investigate the association of COMT methylation with the risk of SCZ using bisulfite pyrosequencing technology. Significant association between DNA methylation of COMT and the risk of SCZ is identified (P = 1.618e−007). A breakdown analysis by gender shows that the significance is driven by males (P = 3.310e−009), but not by females. DNA methylation of COMT is not significantly associated with SCZ clinical phenotypes, including p300 and cysteine level. No interaction is found between COMT genotypes and the percent methylation of this gene. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve shows that DNA methylation of COMT is able to predict the SCZ risk in males (area under curve [AUC] = 0.802, P = 1.91e−007). The current study indicates the clinical value of COMT methylation as a potential male-specific biomarker in SCZ diagnosis.
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.
Measurements in the infrared wavelength domain allow direct assessment of the physical state and energy balance of cool matter in space, enabling the detailed study of the processes that govern the formation and evolution of stars and planetary systems in galaxies over cosmic time. Previous infrared missions revealed a great deal about the obscured Universe, but were hampered by limited sensitivity.
SPICA takes the next step in infrared observational capability by combining a large 2.5-meter diameter telescope, cooled to below 8 K, with instruments employing ultra-sensitive detectors. A combination of passive cooling and mechanical coolers will be used to cool both the telescope and the instruments. With mechanical coolers the mission lifetime is not limited by the supply of cryogen. With the combination of low telescope background and instruments with state-of-the-art detectors SPICA provides a huge advance on the capabilities of previous missions.
SPICA instruments offer spectral resolving power ranging from R ~50 through 11 000 in the 17–230 μm domain and R ~28.000 spectroscopy between 12 and 18 μm. SPICA will provide efficient 30–37 μm broad band mapping, and small field spectroscopic and polarimetric imaging at 100, 200 and 350 μm. SPICA will provide infrared spectroscopy with an unprecedented sensitivity of ~5 × 10−20 W m−2 (5σ/1 h)—over two orders of magnitude improvement over what earlier missions. This exceptional performance leap, will open entirely new domains in infrared astronomy; galaxy evolution and metal production over cosmic time, dust formation and evolution from very early epochs onwards, the formation history of planetary systems.
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.
Piglets are characteristically cold intolerant and thus susceptible to high mortality. However, browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) can induce non-shivering thermogenesis as a potential strategy to facilitate the animal’s response to cold. Whether cold exposure can induce browning of subcutaneous WAT (sWAT) in piglets in a similar manner as it can in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, piglets were exposed to acute cold (4°C, 10 h) or chronic cold exposure (8°C, 15 days), and the genes and proteins of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent and independent thermogenesis, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipogenic and lipolytic processes were analysed. Interestingly, acute cold exposure induced browning of porcine sWAT, smaller adipocytes and the upregulated expression of UCP1, PGC1α, PGC1β, C/EBPβ, Cidea, UCP3, CKMT1 and PM20D1. Conversely, chronic cold exposure impaired the browning process, reduced mitochondrial numbers and the expression of browning markers, including UCP1, PGC1α and PRDM16. The present study demonstrated that acute cold exposure (but not chronic cold exposure) induces porcine sWAT browning. Thus, browning of porcine sWAT could be a novel strategy to balance the body temperature of piglets, and thus could be protective against cold exposure.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
Despite substantial research, uncertainty remains about the clinical and etiological heterogeneity of major depression (MD). Can meaningful and valid subtypes be identified and would they be stable cross-culturally?
Symptoms at their lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years, with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Latent class analysis (LCA) was performed in Mplus.
Using the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria, the 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria and all independently assessed depressive symptoms (n = 27), the best LCA model identified respectively three, four and six classes. A severe and non-suicidal class was seen in all solutions, as was a mild/moderate subtype. An atypical class emerged once bidirectional neurovegetative symptoms were included. The non-suicidal class demonstrated low levels of worthlessness/guilt and hopelessness. Patterns of co-morbidity, family history, personality, environmental precipitants, recurrence and body mass index (BMI) differed meaningfully across subtypes, with the atypical class standing out as particularly distinct.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several detectable subtypes with distinct clinical and demographic correlates. Three subtypes were most consistently identified in our analyses: severe, atypical and non-suicidal. Severe and atypical MD have been identified in multiple prior studies in samples of European ethnicity. Our non-suicidal subtype, with low levels of guilt and hopelessness, may represent a pathoplastic variant reflecting Chinese cultural influences.
The MIAMI* facility at the University of Huddersfield is one of a number of facilities worldwide that permit the ion irradiation of thin foils in-situ in a transmission electron microscope. MIAMI has been developed with a particular focus on enabling the in-situ implantation of helium and hydrogen into thin electron transparent foils, necessitating ion energies in the range 1 – 10 keV. In addition, however, ions of a variety of species can be provided at energies of up to 100 keV (for singly charged ions), enabling studies to focus on the build up of radiation damage in the absence or presence of implanted gas.
This paper reports on a number of ongoing studies being carried out at MIAMI, and also at JANNuS (Orsay, France) and the IVEM / Ion Accelerator Facility (Argonne National Lab, US). This includes recent work on He bubbles in SiC and Cu; the former work concerned with modification to bubble populations by ion and electron beams and the latter project concerned with the formation of bubble super-lattices in metals.
A study is also presented consisting of experiments aimed at shedding light on the origins of the dimensional changes known to occur in nuclear graphite under irradiation with either neutrons or ions. Single crystal graphite foils have been irradiated with 60 keV Xe ions in order to create a non-uniform damage profile throughout the foil thickness. This gives rise to varying basal-plane contraction throughout the foil resulting in almost macroscopic (micron scale) deformation of the graphite. These observations are presented and discussed with a view to reconciling them with current understanding of point defect behavior in graphite.
*Microscope and Ion Accelerator for Materials Investigations
The symptoms of major depression (MD) are clinically diverse. Do they form coherent factors that might clarify the underlying nature of this important psychiatric syndrome?
Symptoms at lifetime worst depressive episode were assessed at structured psychiatric interview in 6008 women of Han Chinese descent, age ⩾30 years with recurrent DSM-IV MD. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) and confirmatoryfactor analysis (CFA) were performed in Mplus in random split-half samples.
The preliminary EFA results were consistently supported by the findings from CFA. Analyses of the nine DSM-IV MD symptomatic A criteria revealed two factors loading on: (i) general depressive symptoms; and (ii) guilt/suicidal ideation. Examining 14 disaggregated DSM-IV criteria revealed three factors reflecting: (i) weight/appetite disturbance; (ii) general depressive symptoms; and (iii) sleep disturbance. Using all symptoms (n = 27), we identified five factors that reflected: (i) weight/appetite symptoms; (ii) general retarded depressive symptoms; (iii) atypical vegetative symptoms; (iv) suicidality/hopelessness; and (v) symptoms of agitation and anxiety.
MD is a clinically complex syndrome with several underlying correlated symptom dimensions. In addition to a general depressive symptom factor, a complete picture must include factors reflecting typical/atypical vegetative symptoms, cognitive symptoms (hopelessness/suicidal ideation), and an agitated symptom factor characterized by anxiety, guilt, helplessness and irritability. Prior cross-cultural studies, factor analyses of MD in Western populations and empirical findings in this sample showing risk factor profiles similar to those seen in Western populations suggest that our results are likely to be broadly representative of the human depressive syndrome.
Previous studies support Beck's cognitive model of vulnerability to depression. However, the relationship between his cognitive triad and other clinical features and risk factors among those with major depression (MD) has rarely been systematically studied.
The three key cognitive symptoms of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness were assessed during their lifetime worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent MD. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression.
Compared to patients who did not endorse the cognitive trio, those who did had a greater number of DSM-IV A criteria, more individual depressive symptoms, an earlier age at onset, a greater number of episodes, and were more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for melancholia, postnatal depression, dysthymia and anxiety disorders. Hopelessness was highly related to all the suicidal symptomatology, with ORs ranging from 5.92 to 6.51. Neuroticism, stressful life events (SLEs) and a protective parental rearing style were associated with these cognitive symptoms.
During the worst episode of MD in Han Chinese women, the endorsement of the cognitive trio was associated with a worse course of depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, many SLEs and high parental protectiveness were at increased risk for these cognitive depressive symptoms. As in Western populations, symptoms of the cognitive trio appear to play a central role in the psychopathology of MD in Chinese women.
Fatty acid translocase (FAT/CD36) is a membrane receptor that facilitates long-chain fatty acid uptake. To investigate its role in the regulation of long-chain fatty acid composition in muscle tissue, we studied and compared FAT/CD36 gene expression in muscle tissues of commercial broiler chickens and Chinese local Silky fowls. The results from gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of muscle samples demonstrated that Chinese local Silky fowls had significantly higher (P < 0.05) proportions of linoleic acid (LA) and palmitic acid, lower proportions (P < 0.05) of arachidonic acid (AA) and oleic acid than the commercial broiler chickens. The mRNA expression levels of fatty acid (FA) transporters (FA transport protein-1, membrane FA-binding protein, FAT/CD36 and caveolin-1) in the m. ipsilateral pectoralis and biceps femoris were analyzed by Q-PCR, and FAT/CD36 expression levels showed significant differences between these types of chickens (P < 0.01). Interestingly, the levels of FAT/CD36 expression are positively correlated with LA content (r = 0.567, P < 0.01) but negatively correlated with palmitic acid content (r = −0.568, P < 0.01). Further experiments in the stably transfected Chinese hamster oocytes cells with chicken FAT/CD36 cDNA demonstrated that overexpression of FAT/CD36 improves total FA uptake with a significant increase in the proportion of LA and AA, and a decreased proportion of palmitic acid. These results suggest that chicken FAT/CD36 may selectively transport LA and AA, which may lead to the higher LA deposition in muscle tissue.
The relationship between recurrent major depression (MD) in women and suicidality is complex. We investigated the extent to which patients who suffered with various forms of suicidal symptomatology can be distinguished from those subjects without such symptoms.
We examined the clinical features of the worst episode in 1970 Han Chinese women with recurrent DSM-IV MD between the ages of 30 and 60 years from across China. Student's t tests, and logistic and multiple logistic regression models were used to determine the association between suicidality and other clinical features of MD.
Suicidal symptomatology is significantly associated with a more severe form of MD, as indexed by both the number of episodes and number of MD symptoms. Patients reporting suicidal thoughts, plans or attempts experienced a significantly greater number of stressful life events. The depressive symptom most strongly associated with lifetime suicide attempt was feelings of worthlessness (odds ratio 4.25, 95% confidence interval 2.9–6.3). Excessive guilt, diminished concentration and impaired decision-making were also significantly associated with a suicide attempt.
This study contributes to the existing literature on risk factors for suicidal symptomatology in depressed women. Identifying specific depressive symptoms and co-morbid psychiatric disorders may help improve the clinical assessment of suicide risk in depressed patients. These findings could be helpful in identifying those who need more intense treatment strategies in order to prevent suicide.
Studies conducted in Europe and the USA have shown that co-morbidity between major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders is associated with various MDD-related features, including clinical symptoms, degree of familial aggregation and socio-economic status. However, few studies have investigated whether these patterns of association vary across different co-morbid anxiety disorders. Here, using a large cohort of Chinese women with recurrent MDD, we examine the prevalence and associated clinical features of co-morbid anxiety disorders.
A total of 1970 female Chinese MDD patients with or without seven co-morbid anxiety disorders [including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and five phobia subtypes] were ascertained in the CONVERGE study. Generalized linear models were used to model association between co-morbid anxiety disorders and various MDD features.
The lifetime prevalence rate for any type of co-morbid anxiety disorder is 60.2%. Panic and social phobia significantly predict an increased family history of MDD. GAD and animal phobia predict an earlier onset of MDD and a higher number of MDD episodes, respectively. Panic and GAD predict a higher number of DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. GAD and blood-injury phobia are both significantly associated with suicidal attempt with opposite effects. All seven co-morbid anxiety disorders predict higher neuroticism.
Patterns of co-morbidity between MDD and anxiety are consistent with findings from the US and European studies; the seven co-morbid anxiety disorders are heterogeneous when tested for association with various MDD features.
Studies in Western countries have repeatedly shown that women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) are at increased risk for developing major depression (MD). Would this relationship be found in China?
Three levels of CSA (non-genital, genital, and intercourse) were assessed by self-report in two groups of Han Chinese women: 1970 clinically ascertained with recurrent MD and 2597 matched controls. Diagnostic and other risk factor information was assessed at personal interview. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression and regression coefficients by linear or Poisson regression.
Any form of CSA was significantly associated with recurrent MD [OR 3.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.95–5.45]. This association strengthened with increasing CSA severity: non-genital (OR 2.47, 95% CI 1.17–5.23), genital (OR 2.77, 95% CI 1.32–5.83) and intercourse (OR 13.35, 95% CI 1.83–97.42). The association between any form of CSA and MD remained significant after accounting for parental history of depression, childhood emotional neglect (CEN), childhood physical abuse (CPA) and parent–child relationship. Among the depressed women, those with CSA had an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and an increased risk for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.39–2.66) and dysthymia (OR 2.16, 95% CI 1.52–3.09).
In Chinese women CSA is strongly associated with MD and this association increases with greater severity of CSA. Depressed women with CSA have an earlier age of onset, longer depressive episodes and increased co-morbidity with GAD and dysthymia. Although reporting biases cannot be ruled out, our results are consistent with the hypothesis that, as in Western countries, CSA substantially increases the risk for MD in China.
In this paper, we study the transition from regular to Mach reflection (RR → MR) in the dual solution domain due to the influence of an upstream disturbance, by considering the transition as an evolutionary rather than an abrupt process. From numerical simulation, we observe for the early stage of transition a multiple interaction structure, composed of a triple-shock structure, a type VI shock interaction and a shock/slipline interaction. In the end, we observe a pure unsteady MR structure. Under self-similar assumption of the triple point for the first stage and including additional Mach waves over the slipline for the last stage, we develop an idealized unsteady model to obtain the evolution of the Mach stem height and the time taken for the Mach stem to stabilize. The triple point is found to move at a nearly constant speed in the multiple interaction stage which occupies about one quarter of the transition time. In the pure unsteady MR stage, which occupies the rest of transition, the speed of the triple point drops nonlinearly until the Mach stem stabilizes.