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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.
Item 9 of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) queries about thoughts of death and self-harm, but not suicidality. Although it is sometimes used to assess suicide risk, most positive responses are not associated with suicidality. The PHQ-8, which omits Item 9, is thus increasingly used in research. We assessed equivalency of total score correlations and the diagnostic accuracy to detect major depression of the PHQ-8 and PHQ-9.
We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis. We fit bivariate random-effects models to assess diagnostic accuracy.
16 742 participants (2097 major depression cases) from 54 studies were included. The correlation between PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 scores was 0.996 (95% confidence interval 0.996 to 0.996). The standard cutoff score of 10 for the PHQ-9 maximized sensitivity + specificity for the PHQ-8 among studies that used a semi-structured diagnostic interview reference standard (N = 27). At cutoff 10, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive by 0.02 (−0.06 to 0.00) and more specific by 0.01 (0.00 to 0.01) among those studies (N = 27), with similar results for studies that used other types of interviews (N = 27). For all 54 primary studies combined, across all cutoffs, the PHQ-8 was less sensitive than the PHQ-9 by 0.00 to 0.05 (0.03 at cutoff 10), and specificity was within 0.01 for all cutoffs (0.00 to 0.01).
PHQ-8 and PHQ-9 total scores were similar. Sensitivity may be minimally reduced with the PHQ-8, but specificity is similar.
The incidence of HIV infections in Canada has increased yearly since 2014. New cases of HIV have resulted almost exclusively from non-occupational exposures, including sexual contact and needle sharing. Appropriate HIV post-exposure prophylaxis is under-prescribed to patients who present to the emergency department after a high-risk exposure. In November of 2017, a Canadian guideline on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis (nPEP) was published. The guideline presents a standardized, evidence-based approach to assessing risk for HIV transmission and prescribing HIV prophylaxis. This summary highlights the key points from the guideline that are relevant to the practice of emergency medicine in Canada.
The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of animals is capable of sensing various kinds of nutrients via G-protein coupled receptor-mediated signaling transduction pathways, and the process is known as ‘gut nutrient chemosensing’. GPR40, GPR41, GPR43 and GPR119 are chemoreceptors for free fatty acids (FFAs) and lipid derivatives, but they are not well studied in small ruminants. The objective of this study is to determine the expression of GPR40, GPR41, GPR43 and GPR119 along the GIT of kid goats under supplemental feeding (S) v. grazing (G) during early development. In total, 44 kid goats (initial weight 1.35±0.12 kg) were slaughtered for sampling (rumen, abomasum, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, cecum, colon and rectum) between days 0 and 70. The expression of GPR41 and GPR43 were measured at both mRNA and protein levels, whereas GPR40 and GPR119 were assayed at protein level only. The effects of age and feeding system on their expression were variable depending upon GIT segments, chemoreceptors and expression level (mRNA or protein), and sometimes feeding system × age interactions (P<0.05) were observed. Supplemental feeding enhanced expression of GPR40, GPR41 and GPR43 in most segments of the GIT of goats, whereas G enhanced expression of GPR119. GPR41 and GPR43 were mainly expressed in rumen, abomasum and cecum, with different responses to age and feeding system. GPR41 and GPR43 expression in abomasum at mRNA level was greatly (P<0.01) affected by both age and feeding system; whereas their expression in rumen and abomasum at protein level were different, feeding system greatly (P<0.05) affected GPR41 expression, but had no effect (P>0.05) on GPR43 expression; and there were no feeding system×age interactions (P>0.05) on GPR41 and GPR43 protein expression. The expression of GPR41 and GPR43 in rumen and abomasum linearly (P<0.01) increased with increasing age (from days 0 to 70). Meanwhile, age was the main factor affecting GPR40 expression throughout the GIT. These outcomes indicate that age and feeding system are the two factors affecting chemoreceptors for FFAs and lipid derivatives expression in the GIT of kids goats, and S enhanced the expression of chemoreceptors for FFAs, whereas G gave rise to greater expression of chemoreceptors for lipid derivatives. Our results suggest that enhanced expression of chemoreceptors for FFAs might be one of the benefits of early supplemental feeding offered to young ruminants during early development.
Different diagnostic interviews are used as reference standards for major depression classification in research. Semi-structured interviews involve clinical judgement, whereas fully structured interviews are completely scripted. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), a brief fully structured interview, is also sometimes used. It is not known whether interview method is associated with probability of major depression classification.
To evaluate the association between interview method and odds of major depression classification, controlling for depressive symptom scores and participant characteristics.
Data collected for an individual participant data meta-analysis of Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) diagnostic accuracy were analysed and binomial generalised linear mixed models were fit.
A total of 17 158 participants (2287 with major depression) from 57 primary studies were analysed. Among fully structured interviews, odds of major depression were higher for the MINI compared with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.10; 95% CI = 1.15–3.87). Compared with semi-structured interviews, fully structured interviews (MINI excluded) were non-significantly more likely to classify participants with low-level depressive symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≤6) as having major depression (OR = 3.13; 95% CI = 0.98–10.00), similarly likely for moderate-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores 7–15) (OR = 0.96; 95% CI = 0.56–1.66) and significantly less likely for high-level symptoms (PHQ-9 scores ≥16) (OR = 0.50; 95% CI = 0.26–0.97).
The MINI may identify more people as depressed than the CIDI, and semi-structured and fully structured interviews may not be interchangeable methods, but these results should be replicated.
Declaration of interest
Drs Jetté and Patten declare that they received a grant, outside the submitted work, from the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, which was jointly funded by the Institute and Pfizer. Pfizer was the original sponsor of the development of the PHQ-9, which is now in the public domain. Dr Chan is a steering committee member or consultant of Astra Zeneca, Bayer, Lilly, MSD and Pfizer. She has received sponsorships and honorarium for giving lectures and providing consultancy and her affiliated institution has received research grants from these companies. Dr Hegerl declares that within the past 3 years, he was an advisory board member for Lundbeck, Servier and Otsuka Pharma; a consultant for Bayer Pharma; and a speaker for Medice Arzneimittel, Novartis, and Roche Pharma, all outside the submitted work. Dr Inagaki declares that he has received grants from Novartis Pharma, lecture fees from Pfizer, Mochida, Shionogi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, Daiichi-Sankyo, Meiji Seika and Takeda, and royalties from Nippon Hyoron Sha, Nanzando, Seiwa Shoten, Igaku-shoin and Technomics, all outside of the submitted work. Dr Yamada reports personal fees from Meiji Seika Pharma Co., Ltd., MSD K.K., Asahi Kasei Pharma Corporation, Seishin Shobo, Seiwa Shoten Co., Ltd., Igaku-shoin Ltd., Chugai Igakusha and Sentan Igakusha, all outside the submitted work. All other authors declare no competing interests. No funder had any role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; preparation, review or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.
Little is known about the combined use of benzodiazepines and antidepressants in older psychiatric patients. This study examined the prescription pattern of concurrent benzodiazepines in older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia, and explored its demographic and clinical correlates.
The data of 955 older adults with any type of psychiatric disorders were extracted from the database of the Research on Asian Psychotropic Prescription Patterns for Antidepressants (REAP-AD) project. Demographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure. Both univariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed.
The proportion of benzodiazepine and antidepressant combination in this cohort was 44.3%. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that higher doses of antidepressants, younger age (<65 years), inpatients, public hospital, major comorbid medical conditions, antidepressant types, and country/territory were significantly associated with more frequent co-prescription of benzodiazepines and antidepressants.
Nearly, half of the older adults treated with antidepressants in Asia are prescribed concurrent benzodiazepines. Given the potentially adverse effects of benzodiazepines, the rationale of benzodiazepines and antidepressants co-prescription needs to be revisited.
The effects of soluble fiber inclusion in gestation diets with varying fermentation characteristics (fermentation kinetics and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA)-profile) on lactational feed intake of sows and their piglet growth over two parities were investigated using an in vitro–in vivo methodology. After breeding, 90 multiparous Landrace sows were randomized to one of three experimental diets: the control (CON) diet, konjac flour (KF) diet or sugar beet pulp (SBP) diet. All diets had similar levels of net energy, CP, insoluble fiber and NDF, but KF and SBP diets had higher soluble fiber levels than the CON diet. During gestation, the sows were restrictively fed with three different diets, but during lactation, all the sows were similarly fed ad libitum. The three gestation diets were enzymatically hydrolyzed using pepsin and pancreatin, and enzymolyzed residues were used in in vitro fermentation. Gas and SCFA production were monitored during fermentation. After fermentation, enzymolyzed residues of KF or SBP diets resulted in higher final asymptotic gas volume than those of the CON diet. The enzymolyzed residues of KF diet were mainly part of rapidly fermented fractions, whereas those of SBP diet were mainly part of slowly fermented fractions. In addition, the acetic acid, butyric acid and total SCFA concentrations of enzymolyzed residues of KF diet were higher (P<0.01) than the control and SBP diets. In the in vivo studies, on day 90 of gestation, the KF diet sows had higher plasma SCFA concentration (P<0.05) at 4 h after feeding than the CON diet sows. Furthermore, the KF diet sows had lower plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration (P<0.01) at 4 h after feeding, and a lower value of homeostasis model assessment (HOMA)-insulin resistance (P<0.05), but a higher value of HOMA-insulin sensitivity (P<0.01). The KF diet sows also consumed more feed during lactation (P<0.01) and weaned significantly heavier pigs (P<0.01) than the CON diet sows. The overall results showed that the high fermentation capacity KF diet contributed to an increased lactational feed intake and improved performance of piglets in the second reproductive cycle.
Whether monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins differ from each other in a variety of phenotypes is important for genetic twin modeling and for inferences made from twin studies in general. We analyzed whether there were differences in individual, maternal and paternal education between MZ and DZ twins in a large pooled dataset. Information was gathered on individual education for 218,362 adult twins from 27 twin cohorts (53% females; 39% MZ twins), and on maternal and paternal education for 147,315 and 143,056 twins respectively, from 28 twin cohorts (52% females; 38% MZ twins). Together, we had information on individual or parental education from 42 twin cohorts representing 19 countries. The original education classifications were transformed to education years and analyzed using linear regression models. Overall, MZ males had 0.26 (95% CI [0.21, 0.31]) years and MZ females 0.17 (95% CI [0.12, 0.21]) years longer education than DZ twins. The zygosity difference became smaller in more recent birth cohorts for both males and females. Parental education was somewhat longer for fathers of DZ twins in cohorts born in 1990–1999 (0.16 years, 95% CI [0.08, 0.25]) and 2000 or later (0.11 years, 95% CI [0.00, 0.22]), compared with fathers of MZ twins. The results show that the years of both individual and parental education are largely similar in MZ and DZ twins. We suggest that the socio-economic differences between MZ and DZ twins are so small that inferences based upon genetic modeling of twin data are not affected.
Code-switching is a common phenomenon that bilinguals engage in, including bilingual children. While many researchers have analyzed code-switching behaviors to better understand more about the language processes in bilingual children, few have examined how code-switching behavior affects a child's linguistic competence. This study thus sought to examine the relationship between code-switching and linguistic competency in bilingual children. Fifty-five English–Mandarin bilingual children aged 5 to 6 years were observed during classroom activities over five days (three hours each day). A number of different word roots and mean length of utterance for both languages, and a number of code-switched utterances for each child, were computed. English receptive vocabulary scores were also obtained. Additionally, teachers rated children's English and Mandarin language competencies approximately six months later. Correlational and hierarchical regression analyses support the argument that code-switching does not indicate linguistic incompetence. Instead, bilingual children's code-switching strongly suggests that it is a marker of linguistic competence.
Social networks facilitate the transmission of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in people who inject drugs (PWID). The aim of this study was to assess how certain network structural characteristics are related to HCV infections in PWID and to determine the most susceptible individuals for HCV transmission in a network of PWID. PWID (N = 80) from central China were recruited from a previous follow-up case-control study. Demographic and behavioural information was obtained from a computerized database for each group. HCV RNA was extracted from blood specimens. Sequences were used to construct a phylogenetic tree and to determine genetic distances. Socio-metric social links were established between participants. Network measures were calculated using UCINET. Three HCV genotypes were identified, covering five subtypes. The density of the social networks for the whole sample (N = 80), case group (n = 31) and control group (n = 49) was 0.038, 0.054 and 0.008, respectively. PWID infected with HCV were in frequent contact with others within their group. There were four pairs of nodes with genotypic distances of 0.000 that were identified and clustered in subtypes 6a and 1b; each subject pair was linked and found in one clique. Three of the five most active nodes were infected with HCV. These three nodes served as a bridge, contributing to the connection of other nodes. These findings identify susceptible individuals for HCV transmission in PWID based on their frequent contact with others in the network. These results provide data that could be used for modelling HCV transmission patterns and in public health policies.
Vibrio cholerae O139 emerged as a causative agent of epidemic cholera in 1992 in India and Bangladesh, and was subsequently reported in China in 1993. The genetic relatedness and molecular characteristics of V. cholerae O139 in Guangdong Province, located in the southern coastal area of China, remains undetermined. In this study, we investigated 136 clinical V. cholerae O139 isolates from 1993 to 2013 in Guangdong. By conventional PCR, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for ctxB, ace and zot. Sequencing of the positive amplicons indicated 113 (91·7%) isolates possessed the El Tor allele of ctxB (genotype 3); seven carried the classical ctxB type (genotype 1) and three harboured a novel ctxB type (genotype 5). With respect to tcpA, 123 (90·4%) isolates were positive for the El Tor allele. In addition, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (with NotI digestion) differentiated the isolates into clusters A and B. Cluster A contained seven of the non-toxigenic isolates from 1998 to 2000; another six non-toxigenic isolates (from 1998 and 2007) and all of the toxigenic isolates formed cluster B. Our results suggest that over a 20-year period, the predominant O139 clinical isolates have maintained a relatively tight clonal structure, although some genetic variance and shift has occurred. Our data highlight the persistence of toxigenic V. cholerae O139 in clinical settings in the southern coastal area of China.
A trend toward greater body size in dizygotic (DZ) than in monozygotic (MZ) twins has been suggested by some but not all studies, and this difference may also vary by age. We analyzed zygosity differences in mean values and variances of height and body mass index (BMI) among male and female twins from infancy to old age. Data were derived from an international database of 54 twin cohorts participating in the COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins), and included 842,951 height and BMI measurements from twins aged 1 to 102 years. The results showed that DZ twins were consistently taller than MZ twins, with differences of up to 2.0 cm in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.9 cm in adulthood. Similarly, a greater mean BMI of up to 0.3 kg/m2 in childhood and adolescence and up to 0.2 kg/m2 in adulthood was observed in DZ twins, although the pattern was less consistent. DZ twins presented up to 1.7% greater height and 1.9% greater BMI than MZ twins; these percentage differences were largest in middle and late childhood and decreased with age in both sexes. The variance of height was similar in MZ and DZ twins at most ages. In contrast, the variance of BMI was significantly higher in DZ than in MZ twins, particularly in childhood. In conclusion, DZ twins were generally taller and had greater BMI than MZ twins, but the differences decreased with age in both sexes.
The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal protein or energy restriction on hormonal and metabolic status of pregnant goats during late gestation and their postnatal male kids. Forty-five pregnant goats were fed a control (CON), 40% protein-restricted (PR) or 40% energy-restricted (ER) diet from 90 days of gestation until parturition. Plasma of mothers (90, 125 and 145 days of gestation) and kids (6 weeks of age) were sampled to determine metabolites and hormones. Glucose concentration for pregnant goats subjected to PR or ER was less (P<0.001) than that of CON goats at 125 and 145 days of gestation. However, plasma nonesterified fatty acids concentration was greater (P<0.01) at 125 and 145 days for PR and ER than CON. Protein restriction increased (P<0.01) maternal cortisol concentration by 145 days of gestation, and ER decreased (P<0.01) maternal insulin concentration at 125 days of gestation. Moreover, maternal amino acid (AA) concentrations were affected by nutritional restriction, with greater (P<0.05) total AA (TAA) and nonessential AA (NEAA) for PR goats but less (P<0.05) TAA and NEAA for ER goats at 125 days of gestation. After 6 weeks of nutritional recovery, plasma concentrations of most metabolic and hormonal parameters in restricted kids were similar to CON kids, except for reduced (P<0.05) insulin concentration in ER, and reduced (P<0.05) Asp concentration in PR and ER kids. These results provide information on potential metabolic mechanisms responsible for fetal programming.
Ancylostoma ceylanicum is a common zoonotic nematode. Cats act as natural reservoirs of the hookworm and are involved in transmitting infection to humans, thus posing a potential risk to public health. The prevalence of feline A. ceylanicum in Guangzhou (South China) was surveyed by polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP). In total, 112 faecal samples were examined; 34.8% (39/112) and 43.8% (49/112) samples were positive with hookworms by microscopy and PCR method, respectively. Among them, 40.8% of samples harboured A. ceylanicum. Twelve positive A. ceylanicum samples were selected randomly and used for cox 1 sequence analysis. Sequencing results revealed that they had 97–99% similarity with A. ceylanicumcox 1 gene sequences deposited in GenBank. A phylogenetic tree showed that A. ceylanicum isolates were divided into two groups: one comprising four isolates from Guangzhou (South China), and the other comprising those from Malaysia, Cambodia and Guangzhou. In the latter group, all A. ceylanicum isolates from Guangzhou were clustered into a minor group again. The results indicate that the high prevalence of A. ceylanicum in stray cats in South China poses a potential risk of hookworm transmission from pet cats to humans, and that A. ceylanicum may be a species complex worldwide.
For over 100 years, the genetics of human anthropometric traits has attracted scientific interest. In particular, height and body mass index (BMI, calculated as kg/m2) have been under intensive genetic research. However, it is still largely unknown whether and how heritability estimates vary between human populations. Opportunities to address this question have increased recently because of the establishment of many new twin cohorts and the increasing accumulation of data in established twin cohorts. We started a new research project to analyze systematically (1) the variation of heritability estimates of height, BMI and their trajectories over the life course between birth cohorts, ethnicities and countries, and (2) to study the effects of birth-related factors, education and smoking on these anthropometric traits and whether these effects vary between twin cohorts. We identified 67 twin projects, including both monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins, using various sources. We asked for individual level data on height and weight including repeated measurements, birth related traits, background variables, education and smoking. By the end of 2014, 48 projects participated. Together, we have 893,458 height and weight measures (52% females) from 434,723 twin individuals, including 201,192 complete twin pairs (40% monozygotic, 40% same-sex dizygotic and 20% opposite-sex dizygotic) representing 22 countries. This project demonstrates that large-scale international twin studies are feasible and can promote the use of existing data for novel research purposes.
Chitotriosidase, secreted by activated macrophages, is a biomarker of activated macrophages. In this study, we explored whether chitotriosidase could be adopted as a biomarker to evaluate the curative effect on tuberculosis (TB). Five counties were randomly selected out of 122 counties/cities/districts in Hunan Province, China. Our cases were all TB patients who were newly diagnosed or had been receiving treatment at the Centers for Disease Control (CDCs) of these five counties between April and August in 2009. Healthy controls were selected from a community health facility in the Kaifu district of Changsha City after frequency-matching of gender and age with the cases. Chitotriosidase activity was evaluated by a fluorometric assay. Categorical variables were analysed with the χ2 test. Measurement data in multiple groups were tested with analysis of variance and least significant difference (LSD). Correlation between chitotriosidase activity and the degree of radiological extent (DRE) was examined by Spearman's rank correlation test. The average chitotriosidase activity levels of new TB cases, TB cases with different periods of treatment (<3, 3–6, >6 months) and the control group were 54·47, 34·77, 21·54, 12·73 and 10·53 nmol/h.ml, respectively. Chitotriosidase activity in TB patients declined along with the continuity of treatment. The chitotriosidase activity of both smear-positive and the smear-negative pulmonary TB patients decreased after 6 months' treatment to normal levels (P < 0·05). Moreover, chitotriosidase activity was positively correlated with DRE (r = 0·607, P < 0·001). Our results indicate that chitotriosidase might be a marker of TB treatment effects. However, further follow-up study of TB patients is needed in the future.
Batch cultures of mixed rumen micro-organisms were used to evaluate varying enzyme products with high xylanase activity (EPX), four of which were recombinant single xylanase activity developmental enzyme products (EPX1–EPX4, products of xylanase genes derived from Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma reesei, Orpinomyces and Aspergillus oryzae, respectively), for their potential to improve in vitro ruminal fermentation of three forages [maize (Zea mays) stover (MS), rice (Oryza sativa) straw (RS) and Guimu No. 1 grass (Pennisetum americanum×Pennisetum purpureum, GM)]. The enzyme product EPX5, derived from Trichoderma longibrachiatum, was used as a positive control that could improve in vitro fermentation of forages. Enzymes were supplied at dose rates of 0 (control), 20 (low), 50 (medium) and 80 (high) enzymic units of xylanase/g of dry matter (DM). There were no interactions between EPX and dose for the fermentation characteristics evaluated. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased gas production (GP) kinetic characters [i.e. asymptotic GP (VF), half time when GP is half of the theoretical maximum GP (t0·5), and initial fractional rate of degradation (FRD0)] and methane (CH4) production from RS and GM at 24 h, and increased degradability of DM at 24 h for MS and RS. A linear increase in degradability of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) of the three forages at 24 h was observed with increasing dose of EPX, but at 48 h only NDF degradability of RS was increased. There were differences in the effects of EPX on degradability of DM and NDF from RS at 24 h, with EPX4 having the highest and EPX1 having the lowest. In addition, increasing EPX dose linearly increased acetate proportion at 24 h and total volatile fatty acids (TVFA) at 48 h in MS. Increasing EPX dose linearly increased TVFA at 24 h, and ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N) concentration at 48 h in RS. For GM, linear or quadratic effects of dose on acetate and butyrate concentration were observed at 24 and 48 h. The present study indicates that applying EPX to low-quality forages has the potential to improve rumen degradability and utilization. Furthermore, EPX from different sources differed in their effects when applied at the same dose rate, with the responses being forage-specific. For RS, the EPX derived from A. oryzae showed the greatest positive effects on forage degradation; whereas for MS and GM, the source of micro-organism where EPX gene was derived did not affect the degradation, with little difference among the EPX evaluated.
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of konjac flour (KF) inclusion in gestation diets of sows on nutrients digestibility, lactation feed intake, reproductive performance of sows and preweaning performance of piglets. Two isoenergetic and isonitrogenous gestation diets were formulated: a control diet and a 2.1% KF-supplemented diet (KF diet). Both diets had the same NDF and insoluble fiber (ISF) levels, but the KF diet had higher soluble fiber (SF) level. The day after breeding, 96 multiparous sows were assigned to the two dietary treatments. Restrict-fed during gestation, in contrast, all sows were offered the same lactation diet ad libitum. Response criteria included sow BW, backfat depth, lactation feed intake, weaning-to-estrus interval, litter size and piglet’s weight at parturition and day 21 of lactation. On day 60 of gestation, 20 sows were used to measure nutrient digestibility. Results showed that the digestibility of dry matter, gross energy, crude fiber and ADF were not affected by the dietary treatments. The inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased NDF digestibility (P<0.05) and tended to increase the digestibility of CP (P=0.05) compared with the control diet group. In addition, dietary treatment during gestation did not affect litter size, BW and backfat gain during gestation, lactation weight, backfat loss or weaning-to-estrus interval of sows. However, sows fed the KF diet consumed more (P<0.05) lactation diet per day than sows in the control group. Accordingly, sows fed the KF diet showed greater average piglet weights on day 21 of lactation (P=0.09), and the litter weight of sows fed the KF diet on day 21 of lactation increased by 3.95 kg compared with sows fed the control diet (not significant). In conclusion, the inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased lactation feed intake of sows and tended to improve litter performance.