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Flax seed meal (FSM) is rich in various nutrients, especially CP and energy, and can be used as animal protein feed. In animal husbandry production, it is a long-term goal to replace soybean meal (SBM) in animal feed with other plant protein feed. However, studies on the effects of replacing SBM with FSM in fattening sheep are limited. The aim of this experiment was to study the effects of replacing a portion of SBM with FSM on nutrient digestibility, rumen microbial protein synthesis and growth performance in sheep. Thirty-six Dorper × Small Thin-Tailed crossbred rams (BW = 40.4 ± 1.73 kg, mean ± SD) were randomly assigned into four groups. The dietary treatments (forage/concentrate, 45 : 55) were isocaloric according to the nutrient requirements of rams. Soybean meal was replaced with FSM at different levels (DM basis): (1) 18% SBM (18SBM), (2) 12% SBM and 6% FSM (6FSM), (3) 6% SBM and 12% FSM (12FSM) and (4) 18% FSM (18FSM). The rams were fed in individual pens for 60 days, with the first 10 days for adaptation to diets, and then the digestibility of nutrients was determined. There was no significant difference in DM intake, but quadratic (P < 0.001) effects on the average daily gain and feed efficiency were detected, with the highest values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups. For DM and NDF digestibility, quadratic effects were observed with the higher values in the 6FSM and 12FSM groups, but the digestibility of CP linearly decreased with the increase in FSM in the diet (P = 0.043). There was a quadratic (P < 0.001) effect of FSM inclusion rate on the estimated microbial CP yield. However, the values of intestinally absorbable dietary protein decreased linearly (P < 0.001). For the supply of metabolisable protein, both the linear (P = 0.001) and quadratic (P = 0.044) effects were observed with the lowest value in the 18FSM group. Overall, the results indicated that SBM can be effectively replaced by FSM in the diets of fattening sheep and the optimal proportion was 12.0% under the conditions of this experiment.
In the livestock husbandry compensatory growth may be explored as a means to improve nutrient utilization, to reduce gut health problems due to excess protein intake, to simplify feeding strategies and thus to improve production efficiencies. This study investigated the effects of early protein restriction (EPR) and early antibiotic intervention (EAI) on growth performance, intestinal morphology, colonic bacteria, metabolites and mucosal gene expressions during the restriction phase and re-alimentation phase. A total of 64 piglets (10.04 ± 0.73 kg) were randomly divided into four treatment groups according to a 2 × 2 factorial arrangement with two levels of proteins (14% v. 20%) and two levels of antibiotics (0 v. 50 mg/kg kitasamycin and 20 mg/kg colistin sulphate). After a 30-day restriction phase with four kinds of diets, all groups were fed the same diets for another 74 days. The results showed that EPR decreased BW, average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake in the restriction phase (P < 0.01) and increased ADG on days 66 to 104 of the late re-alimentation phase. Early protein restriction could decrease the villus height in the jejunum (P < 0.05), while shifting to the same diets restored the villus height. Meanwhile, during the re-alimentation phase, pigs in the protein restriction groups had increased concentrations of total short chain fatty acids (P < 0.05), and modified the abundances of Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes in the colon. Furthermore, the lower microbial diversity caused by EPR was improved, and gene expression analysis indicated a better barrier function in the colon. During the whole trial, EAI had no interaction with EPR and played a dispensable role in compensatory growth. Collectively, the retardation of growth caused by EPR can be compensated for in the later stages of pig raising, and accompanied by altered intestinal morphology, microbial composition.
There is evidence indicating that using the current UK energy feeding system to ration the present sheep flocks may underestimate their nutrient requirements. The objective of the present study was to address this issue by developing updated maintenance energy requirements for the current sheep flocks and evaluating if these requirements were influenced by a range of dietary and animal factors. Data (n = 131) used were collated from five experiments with sheep (5 to 18 months old and 29.0 to 69.8 kg BW) undertaken at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute of the UK from 2013 to 2017. The trials were designed to evaluate the effects of dietary type, genotype, physiological stage and sex on nutrient utilization and energetic efficiencies. Energy intake and output data were measured in individual calorimeter chambers. Energy balance (Eg) was calculated as the difference between gross energy intake and a sum of fecal energy, urine energy, methane energy and heat production. Data were analysed using the restricted maximum likelihood analysis to develop the linear relationship between Eg or heat production and metabolizable energy (ME) intake, with the effects of a range of dietary and animal factors removed. The net energy (NEm) and ME (MEm) requirements for maintenance derived from the linear relationship between Eg and ME intake were 0.358 and 0.486 MJ/kg BW0.75, respectively, which are 40% to 53% higher than those recommended in energy feeding systems currently used to ration sheep in the USA and the UK. Further analysis of the current dataset revealed that concentrate supplement, sire type or physiological stage had no significant effect on the derived NEm values. However, female lambs had a significantly higher NEm (0.352 v. 0.306 or 0.288 MJ/kg BW0.75) or MEm (0.507 v. 0.441 or 0.415 MJ/kg BW0.75) than those for male or castrated lambs. The present results indicate that using present energy feeding systems in the UK developed over 40 years ago to ration the current sheep flocks could underestimate maintenance energy requirements. There is an urgent need to update these systems to reflect the higher metabolic rates of the current sheep flocks.
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.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy is an effective and safe treatment for allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. Different symptom scores are used to evaluate the efficacy of subcutaneous immunotherapy in clinical trials.
A total of 58 allergic rhinitis patients sensitised to house dust mites, with or without mild asthma, were included. Symptom score, medication score, visual analogue scale score and quality of life were assessed before and after 6, 12 and 24 months of subcutaneous immunotherapy.
After two years of subcutaneous immunotherapy, asthma symptom scores nearly reached zero, whereas the scores remained higher for nasal symptoms. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different (p < 0.05) and occurred faster than the changes in nasal symptom scores when compared between monosensitised and polysensitised groups. Significant reductions in visual analogue scale score and medication score were demonstrated after subcutaneous immunotherapy.
Two-year subcutaneous immunotherapy with house dust mite vaccine is an effective treatment for both monosensitised and polysensitised allergic patients. The changes in asthma symptom scores were markedly different and occurred quicker than the changes in nasal symptom scores in Chinese house dust mite allergic patients.
Propeller synchrophasing control is an active method to reduce the noise and vibration of turboprop aircraft without additional weight and power. Phase control accuracy has a great influence on the noise reduction effect of synchrophasing. An integrated power/speed/synchrophasing control strategy is proposed to improve the control precision. Speed/phase control transformation logic based on a multi-blade phase plane is adopted which can take both the rapidity of speed response and phase control precision into account, but there exists switching oscillation during the mode transform process. In order to suppress the phase fluctuation due to exterior disturbance, a slave-slave control scheme is provided to take place of a master-slave scheme. Simulation results based on an integrated turboprop engine/propeller real-time non-linear model show that speed/phase integration logic can improve the response rapidity of both the speed and phase. The precision of the control system is verified to be in acceptable range.
Monitoring milk quality traits and the classification of raw milk are important steps for generating high-quality dairy products. Given the important roles of the BRG1/BRM-associated factor 60c (BAF60c) gene in the regulation of physiological growth and production, the objective of the current study was to analyse the association between the BAF60c gene and milk quality and establish a gene-based method for pre-evaluating raw milk quality. For this purpose, DNA was isolated from 507 milk samples and genotyped using the polymerase chain reaction-restricted fragment length polymorphism method. Milk quality traits including milk protein percentage (MPP), milk fat percentage (MFP), lactose percentage (LP) and total solids content (TSC) were also evaluated from the same 507 milk samples. The newly found 6060 T > C mutation of the BAF60c gene was associated significantly with MPP and LP, but not with MFP and TSC. The results demonstrated that this mutation could be used for the pre-evaluation of MPP and LP; therefore, raw milk could be graded according to different genotypes.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
In ovo feeding (IOF) of l-arginine (Arg) can affect growth performance of broilers, but the response of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth is unclear, and the mechanism involved in protein deposition remains unknown. Hense, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of IOF of Arg on breast muscle growth and protein-deposited signalling in post-hatch broilers. A total of 720 fertile eggs were collected from 34-week-old Arbor Acres breeder hens and distributed to three treatments: (1) non-injected control group; (2) 7.5 g/l (w/v) NaCl diluent-injected control group; (3) 0.6 mg Arg/egg solution-injected group. At 17.5 days of incubation, fertile eggs were injected 0.6 ml solutions into the amnion of the injected groups. Upon hatching, 80 male chicks were randomly assigned to eight replicates of 10 birds each and fed ad libitum for 21 days. The results indicated that IOF of Arg increased relative breast muscle weight compared with those of control groups at hatch, 3-, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In the Arg-injected group, the plasma total protein and albumen concentrations were higher at 7- and 21-day post-hatch than those of control groups (P<0.05). The alanine aminotransferase activity in Arg group was higher at hatch than that of control groups (P<0.05). The levels of triiodothyronine at four time points and thyroxine hormones at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch in Arg group were higher than those of control groups (P<0.05). In addition, IOF of Arg increased the amino acid concentrations of breast muscle at hatch, 7- and 21-day post-hatch (P<0.05). In ovo feeding of Arg also enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin, ribosomal protein S6 kinase-1 and eIF4E-bindingprotein-1 messenger RNA expression levels at hatch compared with those of control groups (P<0.05). It was concluded that IOF of Arg treatment improved breast muscle growth, which might be associated with the enhancement of protein deposition.
Honeybee foraging can transfer exogenous genes from genetically modified (GM) oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) to closely related plants, which not only induces potential ecological risks but also contaminates non-GM seeds or honey products with GM ingredients. These events may lead to international trade disputes. Chinese honeybees (Apis cerana cerana Fabricius) and a herbicide (glufosinate)-resistant GM strain of B. napus (Z7B10) were studied to examine the effects of honeybee short-range foraging on oilseed rape gene flow and honey ingredients. Results showed variable frequencies of gene flow between GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars, with the highest frequency under nylon net isolation with artificially stocked honeybees, the lowest frequency under nylon net isolation alone, and an intermediate frequency under natural pollination, suggesting the important role of honeybee foraging in gene flow frequency. Additionally, GM pollen grains were found in honey collected from honeybees foraging on both GM and non-GM oilseed rape cultivars. The phosphinothricin acetyltransferase protein was also detected in both unbroken pollen-containing and pollen-free honey by protein testing strips, suggesting that honeybee foraging on GM oilseed rape could lead to contamination with GM ingredients. Overall, the results provide a direct scientific basis for the ecological risk assessment and safety management of GM oilseed rape.
The origins and phylogeny of different sheep breeds has been widely studied using polymorphisms within the mitochondrial hypervariable region. However, little is known about the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content and phylogeny based on mtDNA protein-coding genes. In this study, we assessed the phylogeny and copy number of the mtDNA in eight indigenous (population size, n=184) and three introduced (n=66) sheep breeds in China based on five mitochondrial coding genes (COX1, COX2, ATP8, ATP6 and COX3). The mean haplotype and nucleotide diversities were 0.944 and 0.00322, respectively. We identified a correlation between the lineages distribution and the genetic distance, whereby Valley-type Tibetan sheep had a closer genetic relationship with introduced breeds (Dorper, Poll Dorset and Suffolk) than with other indigenous breeds. Similarly, the Median-joining profile of haplotypes revealed the distribution of clusters according to genetic differences. Moreover, copy number analysis based on the five mitochondrial coding genes was affected by the genetic distance combining with genetic phylogeny; we also identified obvious non-synonymous mutations in ATP6 between the different levels of copy number expressions. These results imply that differences in mitogenomic compositions resulting from geographical separation lead to differences in mitochondrial function.
The fruit of Ligustrum lucidum (FLL, Nuzhenzi in Chinese) is an important traditional medicine, and have attracted significant research attention because of their various biological activities. However, there are few research reports available on the use of FLL as a feed additive in livestock nutrition, particularly in layers. This study was conducted to determine the effects of supplementation of the diet of laying hens with FLL on laying performance, egg quality and blood metabolites. A total of 360 72-week-old hens were allocated to three dietary treatments (eight replications of 15 hens/treatment group) and were fed either a control diet or a diet supplemented with an inclusion level of 0.25% or 0.50% of FLL powder in the final feed, until 78 weeks of age. Hens were housed in a three-tier cage system. Feed and water were provided ad libitum. Blood samples and eggs were collected at the end of the experiment. The results showed that dietary supplementation with FLL did not affect egg weight, feed conversion ratio, eggshell thickness, albumen height, egg yolk color, eggshell breaking strength or egg shape index. However, FLL supplementation significantly decreased (P<0.001) mortality, cracked-egg rate and blood serum levels of cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and alanine aminotransferase, and increased (P<0.001) blood serum levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. No differences in serum levels of total protein, albumin, glucose, calcium, aspartate aminotransferase or alkaline phosphatase were observed in hens fed FLL compared with the control group. It can be concluded that FLL, at a supplementation level of 0.25% final feed, can be used as an effective feed additive to improve the performance of laying hens during the late laying period.
Insufficient nutrition during the perinatal period causes structural alterations in humans and experimental animals, leading to increased vulnerability to diseases in later life. Japanese quail, Coturnix japonica, in which partial (8–10%) egg white was withdrawn (EwW) from eggs before incubation had lower birth weights than controls (CTs). EwW birds also had reduced hatching rates, smaller glomeruli and lower embryo weight. In EwW embryos, the surface condensate area containing mesenchymal cells was larger, suggesting that delayed but active nephrogenesis takes place. In mature EwW quail, the number of glomeruli in the cortical region (mm2) was significantly lower (CT 34.7±1.4, EwW 21.0±1.2); capillary loops showed focal ballooning, and mesangial areas were distinctly expanded. Immunoreactive cell junction proteins, N-cadherin and podocin, and slit diaphragms were clearly seen. With aging, the mesangial area and glomerular size continued to increase and were significantly larger in EwW quail, suggesting compensatory hypertrophy. Furthermore, apoptosis measured by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling analysis was higher in EwWs than in CTs on embryonic day 15 and postnatal day 4 (D4). Similarly, plasma glucocorticoid (corticosterone) was higher (P<0.01) on D4 in EwW quail. These results suggest that although nephrogenic activity is high in low-nutrition quail during the perinatal period, delayed development and increased apoptosis may result in a lower number of mature nephrons. Damaged or incompletely mature mesangium may trigger glomerular injury, leading in later life to nephrosclerosis. The present study shows that birds serve as a model for ‘fetal programming,’ which appears to have evolved phylogenetically early.
The loss of a close relative is one of the most stressful life events. In pregnancy, this experience has been associated with a higher risk of fetal death and under-five mortality, but little is known about potential effects on long-term mortality in offspring. We examined the association between prenatal maternal bereavement and mortality in a cohort of 5.3 million children followed until up to 37 years of age.
The population-based cohort study included 5 253 508 live singleton births in Denmark (1973–2004) and Sweden (1973–2006). Children born to mothers who lost a child, spouse, sibling, or parent during or 1 year before pregnancy were categorized as exposed.
Prenatal maternal bereavement was associated with a 10% increased all-cause mortality risk in offspring [mortality rate ratio (MRR) 1.10, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.18]. The association was the most pronounced for children of mothers who lost a child/spouse (MRR 1.28, 95% CI 1.14–1.44) and was stronger during the first 10 years of life. Prenatal maternal bereavement may have stronger effects on natural causes of death in offspring, including infectious/parasitic disease (MRR 1.86, 95% CI 1.07–3.23), endocrine/nutritional/metabolic diseases (MRR 3.23, 95% CI 2.02–5.17), diseases of nervous system (MRR 3.36, 95% CI 2.47–4.58), and congenital malformations (MRR 1.39, 95% CI 1.08–1.80). No excess mortality risk in offspring was observed for unnatural causes of death.
Prenatal maternal bereavement was associated with an increased long-term mortality risk in offspring, particularly for selected natural causes of diseases and medical conditions. Our results support the fetal programming hypothesis that prenatal stress may contribute to ill health from physical diseases later in life.
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.
Toxocariasis is a very prevalent zoonotic disease worldwide. Recently, investigators have focused more on Toxocara spp. seroprevalence in humans. Information regarding Toxocara seroprevalence in people from different ethnic backgrounds in China is limited. For this study, blood samples were collected from a total of 802 Han, 520 Korean, 303 Manchu, and 217 Mongol subjects from Jilin and Shandong provinces. The overall Toxocara seroprevalence was 16·07% (14·21% Han, 20·58% Korean, 11·22% Manchu, 18·89% Mongol). Living in suburban or rural areas, having dogs at home, exposure to soil, and consumption of raw/undercooked meat were risk factors for Toxocara infection. Exposure to soil was identified as the major risk factor for Toxocara seropositivity in all of the tested ethnicities. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report concerning Toxocara infection in Manchus and Mongols in China. The present study provided baseline data for effective prevention strategies of toxocariasis in northeast China and recommends improvements in personal hygiene standards to achieve this goal.
We present recent observation results of Sgr A* at millimeter obtained with VLBI arrays in Korea and Japan.
7 mm monitoring of Sgr A* is part of our AGN large project. The results at 7 epochs during 2013-2014, including high resolution maps, flux density and two-dimensional size measurements are presented. The source shows no significant variation in flux and structure related to the G2 encounter in 2014. According to recent MHD simulations by kawashima et al., flux and magnetic field energy can be expected to increase several years after the encounter; We will keep our monitoring in order to test this prediction.
Astrometric observations of Sgr A* were performed in 2015 at 7 and 3.5 millimeter simultaneously. Source-frequency phase referencing was applied and a combined ”core-shift” of Sgr A* and a nearby calibrator was measured. Future observations and analysis are necessary to determine the core-shift in each source.
The analysis method is developed to obtain dynamic characteristics of the rotating cantilever plate with thermal shock and tip-rub. Based on the variational principle, equations of motion are derived considering the differences between rubbing forces in the width direction of the plate. The transverse deformation is decomposed into quasi-static deformation of the cantilever plate with thermal shock and dynamic deformation of the rubbing plate under thermal shock. Then deformations are obtained through the calculation of modal characteristics of rotating cantilever plate and temperature distribution function. Special attention is paid to the influence of tip-rub and thermal shock on the plate. The results show that tip-rub has the characteristics of multiple frequency vibrations, and high frequency vibrations are significant. On the contrary, thermal shock shows the low frequency vibrations. The thermal shock makes the rubbing plate gradually change into low frequency vibrations. Because rub-induced vibrations are more complicated than those caused by thermal shock, tip-rub is easier to result in the destruction of the blade. The increasing friction coefficient intensifies vibrations of the rubbing plate. Minimizing friction coefficients can be an effective way to reduce rub-induced damage through reducing the surface roughness between the blade tip and the inner surface of the casing.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is moderately heritable, however genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for MDD, as well as for related continuous outcomes, have not shown consistent results. Attempts to elucidate the genetic basis of MDD may be hindered by heterogeneity in diagnosis. The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression (CES-D) scale provides a widely used tool for measuring depressive symptoms clustered in four different domains which can be combined together into a total score but also can be analysed as separate symptom domains.
We performed a meta-analysis of GWAS of the CES-D symptom clusters. We recruited 12 cohorts with the 20- or 10-item CES-D scale (32 528 persons).
One single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs713224, located near the brain-expressed melatonin receptor (MTNR1A) gene, was associated with the somatic complaints domain of depression symptoms, with borderline genome-wide significance (pdiscovery = 3.82 × 10−8). The SNP was analysed in an additional five cohorts comprising the replication sample (6813 persons). However, the association was not consistent among the replication sample (pdiscovery+replication = 1.10 × 10−6) with evidence of heterogeneity.
Despite the effort to harmonize the phenotypes across cohorts and participants, our study is still underpowered to detect consistent association for depression, even by means of symptom classification. On the contrary, the SNP-based heritability and co-heritability estimation results suggest that a very minor part of the variation could be captured by GWAS, explaining the reason of sparse findings.
The genetic influences in human brain structure and function and impaired functional connectivities are the hallmarks of the schizophrenic brain. To explore how common genetic variants affect the connectivities in schizophrenia, we applied genome-wide association studies assaying the abnormal neural connectivities in schizophrenia as quantitative traits.
We recruited 161 first-onset and treatment-naive patients with schizophrenia and 150 healthy controls. All the participants underwent scanning with a 3 T-magnetic resonance imaging scanner to acquire structural and functional imaging data and genotyping using the HumanOmniZhongHua-8 BeadChip. The brain-wide association study approach was employed to account for the inherent modular nature of brain connectivities.
We found differences in four abnormal functional connectivities [left rectus to left thalamus (REC.L–THA.L), left rectus to right thalamus (REC.L–THA.R), left superior orbital cortex to left thalamus (ORBsup.L–THA.L) and left superior orbital cortex to right thalamus (ORBsup.L–THA.R)] between the two groups. Univariate single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based association revealed that the SNP rs6800381, located nearest to the CHRM3 (cholinergic receptor, muscarinic 3) gene, reached genomic significance (p = 1.768 × 10−8) using REC.L–THA.R as the phenotype. Multivariate gene-based association revealed that the FAM12A (family with sequence similarity 12, member A) gene nearly reached genomic significance (nominal p = 2.22 × 10–6, corrected p = 0.05).
Overall, we identified the first evidence that the CHRM3 gene plays a role in abnormal thalamo-orbital frontal cortex functional connectivity in first-episode treatment-naive patients with schizophrenia. Identification of these genetic variants using neuroimaging genetics provides insights into the causes of variability in human brain development, and may help us determine the mechanisms of dysfunction in schizophrenia.