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Guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) can improve the growth performance of bulls. This study investigated the influences of GAA addition on growth, nutrient digestion, ruminal fermentation and serum metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were randomly allocated to experimental treatments, that is, control, low-GAA (LGAA), medium-GAA (MGAA) and high-GAA (HGAA), with GAA supplementation at 0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 g/kg DM, respectively. Bulls were fed a basal diet containing 500 g/kg DM concentrate and 500 g/kg DM roughage. The experimental period was 104 days, with 14 days for adaptation and 90 days for data collection. Bulls in the MGAA and HGAA groups had higher DM intake and average daily gain than bulls in the LGAA and control groups. The feed conversion ratio was lowest in MGAA and highest in the control. Bulls receiving 0.9 g/kg DM GAA addition had higher digestibility of DM, organic matter, NDF and ADF than bulls in other groups. The digestibility of CP was higher for HGAA than for LGAA and control. The ruminal pH was lower for MGAA, and the total volatile fatty acid concentration was greater for MGAA and HGAA than for the control. The acetate proportion and acetate-to-propionate ratio were lower for MGAA than for LGAA and control. The propionate proportion was higher for MGAA than for control. Bulls receiving GAA addition showed decreased ruminal ammonia N. Bulls in MGAA and HGAA had higher cellobiase, pectinase and protease activities and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola and Ruminobacter amylophilus populations than bulls in LGAA and control. However, the total protozoan population was lower for MGAA and HGAA than for LGAA and control. The total bacterial and Ruminococcus flavefaciens populations increased with GAA addition. The blood level of creatine was higher for HGAA, and the activity of l-arginine glycine amidine transferase was lower for MGAA and HGAA, than for control. The blood activity of guanidine acetate N-methyltransferase and the level of folate decreased in the GAA addition groups. The results indicated that dietary addition of 0.6 or 0.9 g/kg DM GAA improved growth performance, nutrient digestion and ruminal fermentation in bulls.
Reducing dietary CP content is an effective approach to reduce animal nitrogen excretion and save protein feed resources. However, it is not clear how reducing dietary CP content affects the nutrient digestion and absorption in the gut of ruminants, therefore it is difficult to accurately determine how much reduction in dietary CP content is appropriate. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of reduced dietary CP content on N balance, intestinal nutrient digestion and absorption, and rumen microbiota in growing goats. To determine N balance, 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were randomly assigned to one of three diets: 13.0% (control), 11.5% and 10.0% CP. Another 18 growing wether goats (25.0 ± 0.5 kg) were surgically fitted with ruminal, proximate duodenal, and terminal ileal fistulae and were randomly assigned to one of the three diets to investigate intestinal amino acid (AA) absorption and rumen microbiota. The results showed that fecal and urinary N excretion of goats fed diets containing 11.5% and 10.0% CP were lower than those of goats fed the control diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, N retention was decreased and apparent N digestibility in the entire gastrointestinal tract was increased in goats fed the 10% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the duodenal flow of lysine, tryptophan and phenylalanine was decreased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of lysine, methionine, tryptophan, phenylalanine, leucine, glutamic acid, tyrosine, essential AAs (EAAs) and total AAs (TAAs) was decreased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the apparent absorption of TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 11.5% CP diet (P < 0.05) and that of isoleucine, serine, cysteine, EAAs, non-essential AAs, and TAAs in the small intestine was increased in goats fed the 10.0% CP diet (P < 0.05). When compared with goats fed the control diet, the relative richness of Bacteroidetes and Fibrobacteres was increased and that of Proteobacteria and Synergistetes was decreased in the rumen of goats fed a diet with 10.0% CP. In conclusion, reducing dietary CP content reduced N excretion and increased nutrient utilization by improving rumen fermentation, enhancing nutrient digestion and absorption, and altering rumen microbiota in growing goats.
Ovarian follicle selection is a natural biological process in the pre-ovulatory hierarchy in birds that drives growing follicles to be selected within the ovulatory cycle. Follicle selection in birds is strictly regulated, involving signaling pathways mediated by dietary nutrients, gonadotrophic hormones and paracrine factors. This study aimed to test the hypothesis that dietary Ca may participate in regulating follicle selection in laying ducks through activating the signaling pathway of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), possibly mediated by gonadotrophic hormones. Female ducks at 22 weeks of age were initially fed one of two Ca-deficient diets (containing 1.8% or 0.38% Ca) or a Ca-adequate control diet (containing 3.6% Ca) for 67 days (depletion period), then all birds were fed the Ca-adequate diet for an additional 67 days (repletion period). Compared with the Ca-adequate control, ducks fed 0.38% Ca during the depletion period had significantly decreased (P < 0.05) numbers of hierarchical follicles and total ovarian weight, which were accompanied by reduced egg production. Plasma concentration of FSH was decreased by the diet containing 1.8% Ca but not by that containing 0.38%. The ovarian content of cAMP was increased with the two Ca-deficient diets, and phosphorylation of PKA and ERK1/2 was increased with 0.38% dietary Ca. Transcripts of ovarian estradiol receptor 2 and luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) were reduced in the ducks fed the two Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05), while those of the ovarian follicle stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) were decreased in the ducks fed 0.38% Ca. The transcript abundance of ovary gap junction proteins, A1 and A4, was reduced with the Ca-deficient diets (P < 0.05). The down-regulation of gene expression of gap junction proteins and hormone receptors, the increased cAMP content and the suppressed hierarchical follicle numbers were reversed by repletion of dietary Ca. These results indicate that dietary Ca deficiency negatively affects follicle selection of laying ducks, independent of FSH, but probably by activating cAMP/PKA/ERK1/2 signaling pathway.
White matter abnormalities have been repeatedly reported in both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder (BD) diseases from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies respectively, while the empirical evidences about the diagnostic specificity of white matter abnormalities in these disorders are still limited.
25 patients with paranoid schizophrenia and 18 patients with bipolar mania were recruited from the in-patient unit of the Mental Health Centre, West China Hospital, China.
Patients were diagnosed according to the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Version IV (DSM- IV). 30 healthy controls were recruited from the community by means of leaflets distributed throughout Chengdu city.
This study sought to investigate the alterations in fractional anisotropy (FA) in white matter throughout the entire brain of patients from Chengdu, China with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar mania.
Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) was used to assess white matter integrity in patients with paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar mania, as well as in normal controls. The differences in FA were measured by use of voxel-based analysis.
Reduced FA was found in the left posterior corona radiate (PCR) in patients with bipolar mania and paranoid schizophrenia compared to the controls. Patients with bipolar mania also showed a significant reduction in FA in right posterior corona radiate and in right anterior thalamic radiation (ATR).
Common abnormalities in the left PCR might imply an overlap in white matter pathology of both diseases and might be related to the shared risk factors for both disorders.
Although the deviations of brain volume deficits in sporadic and familial first-episode schizophrenia patients (FEP) had been presented, the difference of brain asymmetries remained unidentified.
To assess the potential differences of volumetric asymmetries of gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) between groups.
To find out the different injury alteration of sporadic FEP and familial FEP.
42 sporadic and 30 familiar drug-naïve FEP with and 72 matched normal controls (NC) were recruited. Participants were assessed with neuropsychological tests and scanned by a 3.0T MRI to obtain T1-weighted and DTI images. Lateralization distribution maps of GM and WM volume were generated by employing optimized voxel-based morphometry. The asymmetries were analyzed by comparing calculating Laterality Index (LI) voxel by voxel.
All three groups showed similar overall brain torque. Familiar FEP have more regional extensive GM asymmetry brain lesions compared to sporadic FEP. There was no shared regional lesion between two groups. LIGM and LIWM in right superior temporal were negatively correlated. Significant negative correlations were also found between LIGM of left superior parietal lobule and LIWM of right superior parietal lobule, and between LIGM of right inferior parietal lobule and LIWM of left inferior parietal lobule. The asymmetry in distinct brain regions were related to cognitive deficits especially in the domains of language and memory.
The two patient groups had different alteration in injuries of brain asymmetry. Familiar FEP has more GM extensive asymmetry brain region, which may correlate with their high genetic burdens.
Previously the GABA(A) receptor beta-2 subunit gene GABRB2 was found to be associated with schizophrenia (SCZ). for SNPs and haplotypes in GRBRB2, the associations with bipolar disorder (BPD), the functional consequences on GABRB2 expression and their relationship to demographic and clinical characteristics in BPD and SCZ remain to be elucidated.
Case-control analysis was performed for association study of GABRB2 with BPD, and its mRNA expression in postmortem BPD brains was examined using quantitative real-time PCR. Quantitative trait analysis was subsequently employed to assess the covariate effects of demographic and clinical characteristics on genotypic correlation of GABRB2 expression in SCZ and BPD.
Significant association of GABRB2 with BPD and reduction in GABRB2 mRNA expression in BPD brains were observed in the present study. Duration of illness (DOI) was found to be a significant covariate for the correlation of the disease-associated SNPs rs1816071, rs1816072 and rs187269 with GABRB2 expression in both SCZ and BPD. for individuals with homozygous major genotypes of these SNPs, while GABRB2 expression increased with age in the controls, it decreased with DOI and age in SCZ, and with DOI in BPD. with age of onset as covariate, these three SNPs were significantly correlated with antipsychotic dosage in SCZ.
These results have thus revealed correlations of GABRB2 SNPs and expression not only with the occurrence of SCZ and BPD, but also with the clinical characteristics of patients, therefore providing support for a shared etiological role played by the gene in both diseases.
Depression is a common mental disorder that substantially impairs a client's functioning. the aim of this study is to examine the predictive factors of quality of life (QOL) for depression from longitudinal perspectives. 237 outpatients with depression were recruited in the study. They were from a psychiatric outpatient clinic in northern Taiwan. All subjects were tested on the baseline and followed up twice during 3-year period. the average age of subjects was 47.1 years. Most subjects were female, married and lived with their spouses.Seventy subjects participated in both follow ups (T2 and T3). there were no significant differences on the demographic characteristics at T1 between the respondents (N = 70) and non-respondents (N = 167) except for gender. the subjects were tested on the WHOQOL-BREF-Taiwan version, occupational self assessment, mastery, social support and Center of Epidemiology Study-Depression Scale (CESD). the data were analyzed by mixed effect model using SAS computer program.The severity of depression could predict overall QOL, overall health and 13 items of QOL. the type of antidepressants had significant impact on the subjects’ QOL in 10 items. the occupational competence and sense of mastery predicted 13 items (50%) and 14 items (53.8%), respectively.In order to advance the treatment outcomes, the professionals should pay more attention on the enhancement of the sense of competence and mastery. We suggested that treatments should target at improving adaptive skills, lifestyle, and occupational competence.
Metabolic abnormality is common among schizophrenia patients. Some metabolic traits were found associated with subgroups of schizophrenia patients.
We examined a possible relationship between metabolic abnormality and psychosis profile in schizophrenia patients.
Three hundred and seventy-two chronic schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotics for more than 2 years were assessed with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. A set of metabolic traits was measured at scheduled checkpoints between October 2004 and September 2006.
Multiple regressions adjusted for sex showed negative correlations between body mass index (BMI) and total score and all subscales; triglycerides (TG) was negatively correlated with total score and negative syndrome, while HDLC was positively correlated with negative syndrome. When sex interaction was concerned, total score was negatively correlated with BMI but not with others; negative syndrome was negatively correlated with BMI and positively with HDLC. No metabolic traits were correlated with positive syndrome or general psychopathology.
Loss of body weight is a serious health problem in schizophrenia patients with severe psychosis syndrome, especially the negative syndrome. Schizophrenia patients with severe negative syndrome may have a distinct lipid pathophysiology in comparison with those who were less severe in the domain.
Previous studies showed that persons with mental illness had poorer quality of life than persons with the other medical conditions. We developed a manualized treatment - Quality of Life Enhancement Program (QOLEP) based on literature review and clinical experiences. the contents of the program include 4 sessions of ‘occupational life scheduling’ and 4 sessions of ‘coping skills’ provided by an occupational therapist during a 4-week period (2 times/week) which each session lasts for one to two hours.
Twenty-one subjects were recruited from community mental health rehabilitation centers in northern Taiwan. They were randomly assigned to either treatment group (N=11) or control group (N=10). the subjects in the control group received general supportive therapy over the phone twice a week for 4 weeks. Both groups were evaluated at baseline and posttreatment. the mixed-effects linear model was applied to analyze the efficacy of the treatment.
The results showed that the subjects who participated in the QOLEP had significantly better physical QOL than that of control group (-9.66+4.24, p< .05). the suicidal ideation of the subjects for both groups decreased over time (2.64+3.16, p< .05). Most of the participants indicated that the activities were easily understood, helpful to them, and are willing to participate in the program again.
With the program developed based on concept of occupational engagement, we were able to demonstrate the efficacy of specific treatment on quality of life and used it as evidence to support future development in mental health area.
Persistent gaming, despite acknowledgment of its negative consequences, is a major criterion for individuals with Internet gaming disorder (IGD). This study evaluated the adaptive decision-making, risky decision, and decision-making style of individuals with IGD.
We recruited 87 individuals with IGD and 87 without IGD (matched controls). All participants underwent an interview based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition) diagnostic criteria for IGD and completed an adaptive decision-making task; the Preference for Intuition and Deliberation Scale, Chen Internet Addiction Scale, and Barratt Impulsivity Scale were also assessed on the basis of the information from the diagnostic interviews.
The results demonstrated that the participants in both groups tend to make more risky choices in advantage trials where their expected value (EV) was more favorable than those of the riskless choice. The tendency to make a risky choice in advantage trials was stronger among IGD group than that among controls. Participants of both groups made more risky choices in the loss domain, a risky option to loss more versus sure loss option, than they did in the gain domain, a risky option to gain more versus sure gain. Furthermore, the participants with IGD made more risky choices in the gain domain than did the controls. Participants with IGD showed higher and lower preferences for intuitive and deliberative decision-making styles, respectively, than controls and their preferences for intuition and deliberation were positively and negatively associated with IGD severity, respectively.
These results suggested that individuals with IGD have elevated EV sensitivity for decision-making. However, they demonstrated risky preferences in the gain domain and preferred an intuitive rather than deliberative decision-making style. This might explain why they continue Internet gaming despite negative consequences. Thus, therapists should focus more on decision-making styles and promote deliberative thinking processes to mitigate the long-term negative consequences of IGD.
While a body of research has evidenced the role of pain coping in chronic pain adjustment, the role of coping flexibility in chronic pain adjustment has received little research attention. Coping flexibility can be conceptualized with two dimensions, cognitive and behavioral. The cognitive dimension of coping flexibility (or coping appraisal flexibility) refers to one's appraisal of pain experience when changing coping strategies whereas the behavioral dimension of coping flexibility denotes the variety of coping responses individuals use in dealing with stressful demands.
The aim of this paper is to present preliminary findings on the role of coping flexibility in chronic pain adjustment by assessing 3 competing models of pain coping flexibility (see Figs. 1–3).
Patients with chronic pain (n = 300) completed a battery of questionnaire assessing pain disability, discriminative facility, need for closure, pain coping behavior, coping flexibility, and pain catastrophizing. The 3 hypothesized models were tested using structural equation modeling (SEM). In all models tested, need for closure and discriminative facility were fitted as the dispositional cognitive and motivational factors respectively underlying the coping mechanism, whereas pain catastrophizing and pain intensity were included as covariates.
Results of SEM showed that the hierarchical model obtained the best data-model fit (CFI = 0.96) whereas the other two models did not attain an accept fit (CFI ranging from 0.70–0.72).
Our results lend tentative support for the hierarchical model of pain coping flexibility that coping variability mediated the effects of coping appraisal flexibility on disability.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
Research evidenced the association of pain coping strategies with short-term and long-term adjustments to chronic pain. Yet, previous studies mainly assessed the frequency of coping strategies when pain occurs whilst no data is available on one's flexibility/rigidity in using different pain coping strategies, i.e., pain coping variability, in dealing with different situations.
This study aimed to examine the multivariate association between pain coping variability and committed action in predicting concurrent pain-related disability. Specifically, we examined the independent effects of pain coping variability and committed action in predicting concurrent pain-related disability in a sample of Chinese patients with chronic pain.
Chronic pain patients (n = 287) completed a test battery assessing pain intensity/disability, pain coping strategies and variability, committed action, and pain catastrophizing. Multiple regression modeling compared the association of individual pain coping strategies and pain coping variability with disability (Models 1–2), and examined the independent effects of committed action and pain coping variability on disability (Model 3).
Of the 8 coping strategies assessed, only guarding (std β = 0.17) was emerged as significant independent predictor of disability (Model 1). Pain coping variability (std β = −0.10) was associated with disability after controlling for guarding and other covariates (Model 2) and was emerged as independent predictor of disability (Model 3: std β = −0.11) (all P < 0.05) (Tables 1 and 2).
Our data offers preliminary support for the multivariate association between pain coping variability and committed action in predicting concurrent pain-related disability, which supplements the existing pain coping data that are largely based on assessing frequency of coping.
Disclosure of interest
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.
This study evaluated the effects of rumen-protected folic acid (RPFA) and betaine (BT) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and blood metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were blocked by body weight and randomly assigned to four treatments in a 2 × 2 factorial design. BT of 0 or 0·6 g/kg DM was supplemented to diet without or with the addition of 6 mg/kg DM of folic acid from RPFA, respectively. Average daily gain increased by 25·2 and 6·29 % for addition of BT without RPFA and with RPFA, respectively. Digestibility and ruminal total volatile fatty acids of neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased, feed conversion ratio and blood folate decreased with the addition of BT without RPFA, but these parameters were unchanged with BT addition in diet with RPFA. Digestibility of DM, organic matter and crude protein as well as acetate:propionate ratio increased with RPFA or BT addition. Ruminal ammonia-N decreased with RPFA addition. Activity of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, xylanase, pectinase and protease as well as population of total bacteria, protozoa, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminobacter amylophilus increased with RPFA or BT addition. Laccase activity and total fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Prevotella ruminicola population increased with RPFA addition, whereas Ruminococcus albus population increased with BT addition. Blood glucose, total protein, albumin, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 increased with RPFA addition. Addition of RPFA or BT decreased blood homocysteine. The results indicated that addition of BT stimulated growth and nutrient digestion in bulls only when RPFA was not supplemented.
Abnormal effort-based decision-making represents a potential mechanism underlying motivational deficits (amotivation) in psychotic disorders. Previous research identified effort allocation impairment in chronic schizophrenia and focused mostly on physical effort modality. No study has investigated cognitive effort allocation in first-episode psychosis (FEP).
Cognitive effort allocation was examined in 40 FEP patients and 44 demographically-matched healthy controls, using Cognitive Effort-Discounting (COGED) paradigm which quantified participants’ willingness to expend cognitive effort in terms of explicit, continuous discounting of monetary rewards based on parametrically-varied cognitive demands (levels N of N-back task). Relationship between reward-discounting and amotivation was investigated. Group differences in reward-magnitude and effort-cost sensitivity, and differential associations of these sensitivity indices with amotivation were explored.
Patients displayed significantly greater reward-discounting than controls. In particular, such discounting was most pronounced in patients with high levels of amotivation even when N-back performance and reward base amount were taken into consideration. Moreover, patients exhibited reduced reward-benefit sensitivity and effort-cost sensitivity relative to controls, and that decreased sensitivity to reward-benefit but not effort-cost was correlated with diminished motivation. Reward-discounting and sensitivity indices were generally unrelated to other symptom dimensions, antipsychotic dose and cognitive deficits.
This study provides the first evidence of cognitive effort-based decision-making impairment in FEP, and indicates that decreased effort expenditure is associated with amotivation. Our findings further suggest that abnormal effort allocation and amotivation might primarily be related to blunted reward valuation. Prospective research is required to clarify the utility of effort-based measures in predicting amotivation and functional outcome in FEP.
Better understanding of interplay among symptoms, cognition and functioning in first-episode psychosis (FEP) is crucial to promoting functional recovery. Network analysis is a promising data-driven approach to elucidating complex interactions among psychopathological variables in psychosis, but has not been applied in FEP.
This study employed network analysis to examine inter-relationships among a wide array of variables encompassing psychopathology, premorbid and onset characteristics, cognition, subjective quality-of-life and psychosocial functioning in 323 adult FEP patients in Hong Kong. Graphical Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO) combined with extended Bayesian information criterion (BIC) model selection was used for network construction. Importance of individual nodes in a generated network was quantified by centrality analyses.
Our results showed that amotivation played the most central role and had the strongest associations with other variables in the network, as indexed by node strength. Amotivation and diminished expression displayed differential relationships with other nodes, supporting the validity of two-factor negative symptom structure. Psychosocial functioning was most strongly connected with amotivation and was weakly linked to several other variables. Within cognitive domain, digit span demonstrated the highest centrality and was connected with most of the other cognitive variables. Exploratory analysis revealed no significant gender differences in network structure and global strength.
Our results suggest the pivotal role of amotivation in psychopathology network of FEP and indicate its critical association with psychosocial functioning. Further research is required to verify the clinical significance of diminished motivation on functional outcome in the early course of psychotic illness.
The fenofibrate functions in mammals could be affected by many factors such as dietary nutrient levels and physiological status. However, this phenomenon has not been well studied in fish. The goal of our study was to investigate the effect of dietary protein contents on metabolic regulation of fenofibrate in Nile tilapia. An 8-week experiment was conducted to feed fish with four diets at two protein levels (28 and 38 %) with or without the supplementation of fenofibrate (200 mg/kg body weight per d). After the trial, the body morphometric parameters, plasma biochemical parameters and quantitative PCR data were examined. These results showed that fenofibrate significantly reduced the feeding intake and weight gain rate, increased the oxidative stress (increased plasma methane dicarboxylic aldehyde) and liver : body ratio (increased hepatosomatic index) in the low protein (LP)-fed fish. In contrast, fenofibrate exhibited a lipid-lowering (reduced hepatic lipid) effect and up-regulated the expressions of the genes related to lipid catabolism, transport and anabolic metabolism in the high protein (HP)-fed fish. The present study suggested that lipid-lowering effect of fenofibrate would be strengthened in the fish fed with the HP diet containing high energy, but in the fish fed with the LP diet containing low energy, the fenofibrate treatment would cause adverse effects for metabolism. Taking together, our study showed that the metabolic regulation of fenofibrate in Nile tilapia was dependent not only on feed energy content but also on dietary nutrient composition, such as dietary protein and/or lipid levels.
Estimating the feed intake of grazing herbivores is critical for determining their nutrition, overall productivity and utilization of grassland resources. A 17-day indoor feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential use of Medicago sativa as a natural supplement for estimating the total feed intake of sheep. A total of 16 sheep were randomly assigned to four diets (four sheep per diet) containing a known amount of M. sativa together with up to seven forages common to typical steppes. The diets were: diet 1, M. sativa + Leymus chinensis + Puccinellia distans; diet 2, species in diet 1 + Phragmites australis; diet 3, species in diet 2 + Chenopodium album + Elymus sibiricus; and diet 4, species in diet 3 + Artemisia scoparia + Artemisia tanacetifolia. After faecal marker concentrations were corrected by individual sheep recovery, treatment mean recovery or overall recovery, the proportions of M. sativa and other dietary forages were estimated from a combination of alkanes and long-chain alcohols using a least-square procedure. Total intake was the ratio of the known intake of M. sativa to its estimated dietary proportion. Each dietary component intake was obtained using total intake and the corresponding dietary proportions. The estimated values were compared with actual values to assess the estimation accuracy. The results showed that M. sativa exhibited a distinguishable marker pattern in comparison to the other dietary forage species. The accuracy of the dietary composition estimates was significantly (P < 0.001) affected by both diet diversity and the faecal recovery method. The proportion of M. sativa and total intake across all diets could be accurately estimated using the individual sheep or the treatment mean recovery methods. The largest differences between the estimated and observed total intake were 2.6 g and 19.2 g, respectively, representing only 0.4% and 2.6% of the total intake. However, they were significantly (P < 0.05) biased for most diets when using the overall recovery method. Due to the difficulty in obtaining individual sheep recovery under field conditions, treatment mean recovery is recommended. This study suggests that M. sativa, a natural roughage instead of a labelled concentrate, can be utilized as a dietary supplement to accurately estimate the total feed intake of sheep indoors and further indicates that it has potential to be used in steppe grassland of northern China, where the marker patterns of M. sativa differ markedly from commonly occurring plant species.
Guangxi, a province in southwestern China, has the second highest reported number of HIV/AIDS cases in China. This study aimed to develop an accurate and effective model to describe the tendency of HIV and to predict its incidence in Guangxi. HIV incidence data of Guangxi from 2005 to 2016 were obtained from the database of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Long short-term memory (LSTM) neural network models, autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) models, generalised regression neural network (GRNN) models and exponential smoothing (ES) were used to fit the incidence data. Data from 2015 and 2016 were used to validate the most suitable models. The model performances were evaluated by evaluating metrics, including mean square error (MSE), root mean square error, mean absolute error and mean absolute percentage error. The LSTM model had the lowest MSE when the N value (time step) was 12. The most appropriate ARIMA models for incidence in 2015 and 2016 were ARIMA (1, 1, 2) (0, 1, 2)12 and ARIMA (2, 1, 0) (1, 1, 2)12, respectively. The accuracy of GRNN and ES models in forecasting HIV incidence in Guangxi was relatively poor. Four performance metrics of the LSTM model were all lower than the ARIMA, GRNN and ES models. The LSTM model was more effective than other time-series models and is important for the monitoring and control of local HIV epidemics.
Optimizing the dietary calcium (Ca) level is essential to maximize the eggshell quality, egg production and bone formation in poultry. This study aimed to establish the Ca requirements of egg-type duck breeders from 23 to 57 weeks of age on egg production, eggshell, incubation, tibial, plasma and ovary-related indices, as well as the expression of matrix protein-related genes. Totally, 450 Longyan duck breeders aged 21 weeks of age were allotted randomly into five treatments, each with six replicates of 15 individually caged birds. The data collection started from 23 weeks of age and continued over the following 35 weeks. The five groups corresponded to five dietary treatments containing either 2.8%, 3.2%, 3.6%, 4.0% or 4.4% Ca. The tested dietary Ca levels increased (linear, P <0.01) egg production and egg mass, and linearly improved (P <0.01) the feed conversion ratio (FCR). Increasing the dietary Ca levels from 2.8% to 4.4% increased (P <0.01) the eggshell thickness and eggshell content. The tested Ca levels showed a quadratic effect on eggshell thickness and ovarian weight (P <0.01); the highest values were obtained with the Ca levels 4.0% and 3.6%, respectively. Dietary Ca levels affected the small yellow follicles (SYF) number and SYF weight/ovarian weight, and the linear response (P <0.01) was significant vis-à-vis SYF number. In addition, dietary Ca levels increased (P <0.05) the tibial dry weight, breaking strength, mineral density and ash content. Plasma and tibial phosphorus concentration exhibited a quadratic (P <0.01) response to dietary Ca levels. Plasma calcitonin concentration linearly (P <0.01) increased as dietary Ca levels increased. The relative expression of carbonic anhydrase 2 in the uterus rose (P <0.01) with the increment of dietary Ca levels, and the highest value was obtained with 3.2% Ca. In conclusion, Longyan duck breeders fed a diet with 4.0% Ca had superior eggshell and tibial quality, while those fed a diet with 3.6% Ca had the heaviest ovarian weights. The regression model indicated that the dietary Ca levels 3.86%, 3.48% and 4.00% are optimal levels to obtain maximum eggshell thickness, ovarian weight and tibial mineral density, respectively.
Co-receptor tropism has been identified to correlate with HIV-1 transmission and the disease progression in patients. A molecular epidemiology investigation of co-receptor tropism is important for clinical practice and effective control of HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the co-receptor tropism on HIV-1 variants of 85 antiretroviral-naive patients with Geno2pheno algorithm at a false-positive rate of 10%. Our data showed that a majority of the subjects harboured the CCR5-tropic virus (81.2%, 69/85). No significant differences in gender, age, baseline CD4+ T-cell counts and transmission routes were observed between subjects infected with CXCR4-tropic or CCR5-tropic virus. The co-receptor tropism appeared to be associated with the virus genotype; a significantly more CXCR4-use was predicted in CRF01_AE infections whereas all CRF07_BC and CRF08_BC were predicted to use CCR5 co-receptor. Sequences analysis of V3 revealed a higher median net charge in the CXCR4 viruses over CCR5 viruses (4.0 vs. 3.0, P < 0.05). The predicted N-linked glycosylation site between amino acids 6 and 8 in the V3 region was conserved in CCR5 viruses, but not in CXCR4 viruses. Besides, variable crown motifs were observed in both CCR5 and CXCR4 viruses, of which the most prevalent motif GPGQ existed in both viral tropism and almost all genotypes identified in this study except subtype B. These findings may offer important implications for clinical practice and enhance our understanding of HIV-1 biology.