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KRTAP8-1 was the initial high-glycine-tyrosine keratin-associated protein gene recognized in sheep, but little is known about the functional influence of this gene. The current study used polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism analysis to genotype KRTAP8-1 in 391 Southdown × Merino-cross sheep from six sire-lines. Five previously described variants (named A to E) of KRTAP8-1 were identified with frequencies of 67.0, 14.2, 7.0, 10.7 and 1.0%, respectively. Of the four variants (A, B, C and D) that occurred at a frequency greater than 5%, the presence of C was found to be associated with a reduction in mean fibre curvature (MFC) and the presence of D was associated with an increase in mean staple strength (MSS), whereas the presence of A had a trend of association with reduced MSS. Associations were not identified with other wool traits. These results suggest that variation in KRTAP8-1 affects MSS and MFC, and that KRTAP8-1 has the potential to be used as a genetic marker for improving these traits.
Previous studies in schizophrenia revealed abnormalities in the cortico-cerebellar-thalamo-cortical circuit (CCTCC) pathway, suggesting the necessity for defining thalamic subdivisions in understanding alterations of brain connectivity.
To parcellate the thalamus into several subdivisions using a data-driven method, and to evaluate the role of each subdivision in the alterations of CCTCC functional connectivity in patients with schizophrenia.
There were 54 patients with schizophrenia and 42 healthy controls included in this study. First, the thalamic structural and functional connections computed, based on diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, white matter tractography) and resting-state functional MRI, were clustered to parcellate thalamus. Next, functional connectivity of each thalamus subdivision was investigated, and the alterations in thalamic functional connectivity for patients with schizophrenia were inspected.
Based on the data-driven parcellation method, six thalamic subdivisions were defined. Loss of connectivity was observed between several thalamic subdivisions (superior-anterior, ventromedial and dorsolateral part of the thalamus) and the sensorimotor system, anterior cingulate cortex and cerebellum in patients with schizophrenia. A gradual pattern of dysconnectivity was observed across the thalamic subdivisions. Additionally, the altered connectivity negatively correlated with symptom scores and duration of illness in individuals with schizophrenia.
The findings of the study revealed a wide range of thalamic functional dysconnectivity in the CCTCC pathway, increasing our understanding of the relationship between the CCTCC pathway and symptoms associated with schizophrenia, and further indicating a potential alteration pattern in the thalamic nuclei in people with schizophrenia.
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.
To evaluate the therapeutic effect that the titanium partial ossicular reconstruction prosthesis and autologous ossicles have on hearing loss after reconstruction of a damaged ossicular chain.
Forty-two medical records of treatments carried out from 2013 to 2015 for ossicular chain damage with facial nerve paralysis due to temporal bone fractures were reviewed. The study assessed: causes of damage, pre-operative pure tone audiometry findings, types of intra-operative ossicular chain damage, intra-operative ossicular chain repair methods (titanium partial ossicular reconstruction prosthesis or autologous ossicles) and post-operative pure tone audiometry results.
The titanium partial ossicular reconstruction prosthesis was used in 26 cases; the average air–bone gap was 32.3 ± 5.3 dB pre-operatively and 12.8 ± 5.3 dB post-operatively. Autologous ossicles were used in 16 cases; the average air–bone gap was 33.4 ± 4.5 dB pre-operatively and 17.8 ± 7.8 dB post-operatively.
Ossicular chain reconstruction is an effective way of improving hearing in patients with ossicular chain damage. The results suggest that repair with either the titanium partial ossicular reconstruction prosthesis or autologous ossicles can improve hearing following ossicular chain injury with facial nerve paralysis caused by a temporal bone fracture.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are constituents of wool and hair fibres and are believed to play an important role in determining the characteristics of the fibres. In the current study, a polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) approach was used to screen for variation in the ovine KAP15-1 gene (KRTAP15-1). Four PCR-SSCP banding patterns, representing four different variants (named A to D), were detected. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were found within the coding region and three of these were non-synonymous. The effect of this genetic variation on wool traits was investigated in 396 Merino × Southdown-cross sheep. Of the three variants found in these sheep (A, B and C), the presence of B was found to be associated with decreased wool yield, while C was associated with increased wool yield and decreased fibre diameter standard deviation. Sheep of genotype AC had a higher wool yield than those of genotype AA or AB.
We identified human paleodietary changes from inhabitants of the Guanzhong basin since 8000 BP, based on published carbon and nitrogen isotopic measurements on bones, fauna and plant remains. We also directly measured 14C ages, δ13C and δ15N values from bones unearthed at the Zhouyuan site, west of Guanzhong, in order to reconstruct paleodietary changes of the ancient inhabitants. We found that during the Laoguantai period, animal foods were the main source of nourishment with supplementary plant-derived foods. After this period, plant-derived foods became the main food source, with supplementary animal sources. The development of dry farming led to increased consumption of foxtail millet and broomcorn millet. This trend persisted and marked a fundamental shift from hunting, gathering, and fishing to farming and animal domestication. The dietary trends of the ancient inhabitants also show pronounced regional differences through time. The use of domestic animals was proportionally higher in the eastern part of the Guanzhong region, while wild animals were more common in the west.
Based on unstructured hybrid grid and dynamic overlapping grid technique, numerical simulations of Unsteady Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations were performed and investigation on isolated propeller aerodynamic characteristics and effects of propeller slipstream on turboprops were undertaken. The computational grid consisted of rotational subzone of propeller and stationary major-zone of aircraft, and walls criterion was used in the automatic hole-cutting procedure. Distance weight interpolation and tri-linear interpolation were developed to transfer information between the rotational and stationary subzones. The boundaries of overlapping grids were optimized for fixed axis rotation. The governing equations were solved by dual-time method and Lower Upper-Symmetric Gauss-Seidel method. The method and grid technique were verified by isolated propeller configuration and the computational results were in well agreement with the experimental data. The grid independence was studied to establish the numerical results. Finally, the flow around a turboprop case was simulated and the influence of propeller slipstream was presented by analyzing the surface pressure contours, profile pressure distribution, vorticity contours and profile streamline. It's indicated that the slipstream accelerates and rotates the free stream flow, changing the local angle of attack, enhancing the downwash effects, affecting the pressure distribution on wing and horizontal tail, as well as increasing the drag coefficient, pitching moment coefficient and the slope of lift coefficient.
A new trajectory tracking control approach for an under-actuated stratospheric airship is proposed. There is a two-level structure of the proposed controller. A low-level controller based on non-linear vectorial backstepping method, with the rigid-body dynamics expressed on vector form, stabilises the attitude and velocity of the airship, while a high-level controller performs guidance and trajectory tracking task in the three-dimensional (3D) space. Furthermore, a control allocation module based on the active set algorithm is incorporated into the low-level controller to optimise the practical control inputs under constraints of actuator saturation. The closed-loop trajectory tracking control plant is proved to be globally exponentially stable through the Lyapunov theory. Finally, simulations show that the vectorial backstepping trajectory tracking controller can achieve desired tracking performances even if the airship is affected by parametric uncertainties and exogenous disturbances.
The multiple colliding laser pulse concept formulated by Bulanov et al. (Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 104, 2010b, 220404) is beneficial for achieving an extremely high amplitude of coherent electromagnetic field. Since the topology of electric and magnetic fields of multiple colliding laser pulses oscillating in time is far from trivial and the radiation friction effects are significant in the high field limit, the dynamics of charged particles interacting with the multiple colliding laser pulses demonstrates remarkable features corresponding to random walk trajectories, limit circles, attractors, regular patterns and Lévy flights. Under extremely high intensity conditions the nonlinear dissipation mechanism stabilizes the particle motion resulting in the charged particle trajectory being located within narrow regions and in the occurrence of a new class of regular patterns made by the particle ensembles.
Studies of schizophrenia at drug-naive state and on antipsychotic medication have reported a number of regions of gray-matter (GM) abnormalities but the reports have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to conduct multimodal meta-analysis to compare the cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies of brain GM in antipsychotic-naive first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) and those with antipsychotic treatment within 1 year (AT-FES) to determine the similarities and differences in these groups. We conducted two separate meta-analyses containing 24 studies with a sample size of 801 patients and 957 healthy controls. A multimodal meta-analysis method was used to compare the findings between AN-FES and AT-FES. Meta-regression analyses were done to determine the influence of different variables including age, duration of illness, and positive and negative symptom scores. Finally, jack-knife analyses were done to test the robustness of the results. AN-FES and AT-FES showed common patterns of GM abnormalities in frontal (gyrus rectus), superior temporal, left hippocampal and insular cortex. GM in the left supramarginal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus were found to be increased in AN-FES but decreased in AT-FES, whereas left median cingulate/paracingulate gyri and right hippocampus GM was decreased in AN-FES but increased in AT-FES. Findings suggest that both AN-FES and AT-FES share frontal, temporal and insular regions as common anatomical regions to be affected indicating these to be the primary regions of GM abnormalities in both groups.
Vector-borne diseases are one of the world's major public health threats and annually responsible for 30–50% of deaths reported to the national notifiable disease system in China. To control vector-borne diseases, a unified, effective and economic surveillance system is urgently needed; all of the current surveillance systems in China waste resources and/or information. Here, we review some current surveillance systems and present a concept for an integrated surveillance system combining existing vector and vector-borne disease monitoring systems. The integrated surveillance system has been tested in pilot programmes in China and led to a 21·6% cost saving in rodent-borne disease surveillance. We share some experiences gained from these programmes.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become a global public health problem. Many studies have been conducted to identify risk factors for HCV infection. However, some of these studies reported inconsistent results. Using data collected from 11 methadone clinics, we fit both a non-spatial logistical regression and a geographically weighted logistic regression to analyse the association between HCV infection and some factors at the individual level. This study enrolled 5401 patients with 30·0% HCV infection prevalence. The non-spatial logistical regression found that injection history, drug rehabilitation history and senior high-school education or above were related to HCV infection; and being married was negatively associated with HCV infection. Using the spatial model, we found that Yi ethnicity was negatively related to HCV infection in 62·0% of townships, and being married was negatively associated with HCV infection in 81·0% of townships. Senior high-school education or above was positively associated with HCV infection in 55·2% of townships of the Yi Autonomous Prefecture. The spatial model offers better understanding of the geographical variations of the risk factors associated with HCV infection. The geographical variations may be useful for customizing intervention strategies for local regions for more efficient allocation of limited resources to control transmission of HCV.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) has been prevalent for some time in China and it was first identified in 2010. However, the seroprevalence of SFTSV in the general population in southeastern China and risk factors associated with the infection are currently unclear. Blood samples were collected from seven counties across Zhejiang province and tested for the presence of SFTSV-specific IgG antibodies by ELISA. A total of 1380 blood samples were collected of which 5·51% were seropositive for SFTSV with seroprevalence varying significantly between sites. Seroprevalence of SFTSV in people who were family members of the patient, lived in the same village as the patient, or lived in a different village than the patient varied significantly. There was significant difference in seroprevalence between participants who bred domestic animals and participants who did not. Domestic animals are probably potential reservoir hosts and contact with domestic animals may be a transmission route of SFTSV.
Schizophrenia (SCZ) and psychotic bipolar disorder (PBD) share considerable overlap in clinical features, genetic risk factors and co-occurrence among relatives. The common and unique functional cerebral deficits in these disorders, and in unaffected relatives, remain to be identified.
A total of 59 healthy controls, 37 SCZ and 57 PBD probands and their unaffected first-degree relatives (38 and 28, respectively) were studied using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rfMRI). Regional cerebral function was evaluated by measuring the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF). Areas with ALFF alterations were used as seeds in whole-brain functional connectivity analysis. We then tested whether abnormalities identified in probands were present in unaffected relatives.
SCZ and PBD probands both demonstrated regional hypoactivity in the orbital frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus, as well as abnormal connectivity within striatal-thalamo-cortical networks. SCZ probands showed greater and more widely distributed ALFF alterations including the thalamus and bilateral parahippocampal gyri. Increased parahippocampal ALFF was related to positive symptoms and cognitive deficit. PBD patients showed uniquely increased functional connectivity between the thalamus and bilateral insula. Only PBD relatives showed abnormal connectivity within striatal-thalamo-cortical networks seen in both proband groups.
The present findings reveal a common pattern of deficits in frontostriatal circuitry across SCZ and PBD, and unique regional and functional connectivity abnormalities that distinguish them. The abnormal network connectivity in PBD relatives that was present in both proband groups may reflect genetic susceptibility associated with risk for psychosis, but within-family associations of this measure were not high.
Because cerebral morphological abnormalities in major depressive disorder (MDD) may be modulated by antidepressant treatment, inclusion of medicated patients may have biased previous meta-analyses of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies. A meta-analysis of VBM studies on medication-free MDD patients should be able to distinguish the morphological features of the disease itself from those of treatment.
A systematic search was conducted for the relevant studies. Effect-size signed differential mapping was applied to analyse the grey matter differences between all medication-free MDD patients and healthy controls. Meta-regression was used to explore the effects of demographics and clinical characteristics.
A total of 14 datasets comprising 400 medication-free MDD patients and 424 healthy controls met the inclusion criteria. The pooled meta-analysis and subgroup meta-analyses showed robustly reduced grey matter in prefrontal and limbic regions in MDD. Increased right thalamus volume was only seen in first-episode medication-naive patients, and increased grey matter in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex only in medication wash-out patients. In meta-regression analyses the percentage of female patients in each study was negatively correlated with reduced grey matter in the right hippocampus.
By excluding interference from medication effects, the present study identified grey matter reduction in the prefrontal–limbic network in MDD. The subgroup meta-analysis results suggest that an increased right thalamus volume might be a trait directly related to MDD, while an increased anterior cingulate cortex volume might be an effect of medication. The meta-regression results perhaps reveal the structural underpinning of the sex differences in epidemiological and clinical aspects of MDD.
Alterations in gray matter (GM) are commonly observed in schizophrenia. Accumulating studies suggest that the brain changes associated with schizophrenia are distributed rather than focal, involving interconnected networks of areas as opposed to single regions. In the current study we aimed to explore GM volume (GMV) changes in a relatively large sample of treatment-naive first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and covariation analysis.
High-resolution T1-weighted images were obtained using 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from 86 first-episode drug-naive patients with schizophrenia and 86 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Symptom severity was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). GMV was assessed using optimized VBM and in 16 regions of interest (ROIs), selected on the basis of a previous meta-analysis. The relationships between GMVs in the ROIs were examined using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The VBM analysis revealed that first-episode patients showed reduced GMV in the hippocampus bilaterally. The ROI analysis identified reductions in GMV in the left inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral hippocampus and right thalamus. The ANCOVA revealed different patterns of regional GMV correlations in patients and controls, including of inter- and intra-insula, inter-amygdala and insula–postcentral gyrus connections.
Schizophrenia involves regional reductions in GMV and changes in GMV covariance in the insula, amygdala and postcentral gyrus. These findings were evident at the onset of the disorder, before treatment, and therefore cannot be attributable to the effects of chronic illness progression or medication.