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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.
Latrophilin (LPH) is known as an adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor which involved in multiple physiological processes in organisms. Previous studies showed that lph not only involved the susceptibility to anticholinesterase insecticides but also affected fecundity in Tribolium castaneum. However, its regulatory mechanisms in these biological processes are still not clear. Here, we identified two potential downstream carboxylesterase (cce) genes of Tclph, esterase4 and esterase6, and further characterized their interactions with Tclph. After treatment of T. castaneum larvae with carbofuran or dichlorvos insecticides, the transcript levels of Tcest4 and Tcest6 were significantly induced from 12 to 72 h. RNAi against Tcest4 or Tcest6 led to the higher mortality compared with the controls after the insecticides treatment, suggesting that these two genes play a vital role in detoxification of insecticides in T. castaneum. Furthermore, with insecticides exposure to Tclph knockdown beetles, the expression of Tcest4 was upregulated but Tcest6 was downregulated, indicating that beetles existed a compensatory response against the insecticides. Additionally, RNAi of Tcest6 resulted in 43% reductions in female egg laying and completely inhibited egg hatching, which showed the similar phenotype as that of Tclph knockdown. These results indicated that Tclph affected fecundity by positively regulating Tcest6 expression. Our findings will provide a new insight into the molecular mechanisms of Tclph involved in physiological functions in T. castaneum.
To investigate the morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique computed tomography images.
The computed tomography temporal bone scans of 112 patients were retrospectively evaluated. Midpoint and opercular measurements were performed using axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images. Morphometric analyses were also conducted. The vestibular aqueduct sizes on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images were compared.
At the midpoint, the mean (± standard deviation) vestibular aqueduct measured 0.61 ± 0.23 mm, 0.74 ± 0.27 mm and 0.82 ± 0.38 mm on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the vestibular aqueduct measured 0.91 ± 0.30 mm, 1.11 ± 0.45 mm and 1.66 ± 1.07 mm on the respective images. The co-efficients of variation of the vestibular aqueduct measured at the midpoint were 37.4 per cent, 36.5 per cent and 47.5 per cent on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the measurements were 33.0 per cent, 40.5 per cent and 64.5 per cent. Regarding morphology, the vestibular aqueduct was fissured (33.5 per cent), tubular (64.3 per cent) or invisible (2.2 per cent).
The morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct were highly variable among axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images.
The oxidative study has always been particularly topical in poultry science. However, little information about the occurrence of cellular apoptosis and autophagy through the reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation in nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) signal pathway was reported in the liver of broilers exposed to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). So we investigated the change of growth performance of broilers exposed to H2O2 and further explored the occurrence of apoptosis and autophagy, as well as the expression of NF-κB in these signaling pathways in the liver. A total of 320 1-day-old Arbor Acres male broiler chickens were raised on a basal diet and randomly divided into five treatments which were arranged as non-injected treatment (Control), physiological saline (0.75%) injected treatment (Saline) and H2O2 treatments (H2O2(0.74), H2O2(1.48) and H2O2(2.96)) received an intraperitoneal injection of H2O2 with 0.74, 1.48 and 2.96 mM/kg BW. The results showed that compared to those in the control and saline treatments, 2.96 mM/kg BW H2O2-treated broilers exhibited significantly higher feed/gain ratio at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days, ROS formation, the contents of oxidation products, the mRNA expressions of caspases (3, 6, 8), microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3)-II/LC3-I, autophagy-related gene 6, Bcl-2 associated X and protein expressions of total caspase-3 and total LC3-II, and significantly lower BW gain at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days, the activities of total superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, the expression of NF-κB in the liver. Meanwhile, significantly higher feed/gain ratio at 1 to 42 days, ROS formation, the contents of protein carbonyl and malondialdehyde, the mRNA expression of caspase-3 and the protein expressions of total caspase-3 and total LC3-II, as well as significantly lower BW gain at 22 to 42 days and 1 to 42 days were observed in broilers received 1.48 mM/kg BW H2O2 treatment than those in control and saline treatments. These results indicated that oxidative stress induced by H2O2 had a negative effect on histomorphology and redox status in the liver of broilers, which was associated with a decline in growth performance of broilers. This may attribute to apoptosis and autophagy processes triggered by excessive ROS that suppress the NF-κB signaling pathway.
This article describes the design and evaluation of a new type of propulsion mechanism that uses modular umbrella-like wings oscillating symmetrically in counterphase to generate thrust. The principle of the propulsion and movement of the modular umbrella-like wings was first developed, and the mechanism used to implement the movement of the modular wings was subsequently designed. A structural model and the assembly relationship of the propulsion mechanism were developed for prototype fabrication. An experiment was established to measure the kinematic and mechanical performances of the propulsion mechanism for different reciprocating frequencies and travels. The results for the single umbrella-like wing indicate that either increasing the frequency or enlarging the travel can enhance the average aerodynamic force generated by the wing in one cycle. The results for the modular umbrella-like wings demonstrate that the inertial force generated by the mechanism can be balanced using a symmetrical structure. The average aerodynamic force would be markedly enhanced by increasing the percentage of the time that the outspread wing is moving downwards; e.g. the average aerodynamic force generated by the modular umbrella-like wings was increased by 85.84% compared to the value for a single umbrella-like wing for the same travel and frequency. This work provides practical guidance for optimising the structure design.
Piglets are characteristically cold intolerant and thus susceptible to high mortality. However, browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) can induce non-shivering thermogenesis as a potential strategy to facilitate the animal’s response to cold. Whether cold exposure can induce browning of subcutaneous WAT (sWAT) in piglets in a similar manner as it can in humans remains largely unknown. In this study, piglets were exposed to acute cold (4°C, 10 h) or chronic cold exposure (8°C, 15 days), and the genes and proteins of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1)-dependent and independent thermogenesis, mitochondrial biogenesis, lipogenic and lipolytic processes were analysed. Interestingly, acute cold exposure induced browning of porcine sWAT, smaller adipocytes and the upregulated expression of UCP1, PGC1α, PGC1β, C/EBPβ, Cidea, UCP3, CKMT1 and PM20D1. Conversely, chronic cold exposure impaired the browning process, reduced mitochondrial numbers and the expression of browning markers, including UCP1, PGC1α and PRDM16. The present study demonstrated that acute cold exposure (but not chronic cold exposure) induces porcine sWAT browning. Thus, browning of porcine sWAT could be a novel strategy to balance the body temperature of piglets, and thus could be protective against cold exposure.
Human cystic echinococcosis is a widespread, chronic, endemic, helminthic zoonosis caused by larval tapeworms of the species Echinococcus granulosus. At present, there is no rational and effective therapy for patients with echinococcosis. The present study evaluated whether the combination of alkaloids from Sophora moorcroftiana seeds (SMSa2) and Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) was effective in the treatment of experimental echinococcosis. After 20 weeks of secondary infection with protoscoleces, mice were randomly allocated to five groups and treated for 6 weeks by daily intragastric administration of albendazole (ABZ, 100 mg/kg), SMSa2 (100 mg/kg), BCG (abdominal subcutaneous injection at 5 × 106 CFU), SMSa2 + BCG (100 mg/kg SMSa2 and 5 × 106 CFU BCG) or normal saline (untreated group), respectively. The results indicated a significant reduction in the weight of hydatid cysts in the SMSa2 + BCG group compared with the untreated, SMSa2 and BCG groups. The rate of inhibition of hydatid cyst growth in the SMSa2 + BCG group (76.1%) was obviously increased compared with that in the SMSa2 (25.7%) and BCG (26.6%) groups, respectively. Compared with the untreated control, the SMSa2 + BCG group showed a non-significant increase in serum interleukin-4 (IL-4). Furthermore, the serum levels of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) between the untreated and SMSa2 + BCG groups were not statistically different. Therefore, the combination of alkaloids from S. moorcroftiana seeds and BCG can reduce cyst burden and is an effective therapeutic regimen against echinococcosis.
The objective of this study was to determine how much improvement red edge-based vegetation indices (VIs) obtained with the RapidSCAN sensor would achieve for estimating rice nitrogen (N) nutrition index (NNI) at stem elongation stage (SE) as compared with commonly used normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and ratio vegetation index (RVI) in Northeast China. Sixteen plot experiments and seven on-farm experiments were conducted from 2014 to 2016 in Sanjiang Plain, Northeast China. The results indicated that the performance of red edge-based VIs for estimation of rice NNI was better than NDVI and RVI. N sufficiency index calculated with RapidSCAN VIs (NSI_VIs) (R2=0.43–0.59) were more stable and more strongly related to NNI than the corresponding VIs (R2=0.12–0.38).
In individuals with latent tuberculosis (TB) infection, those living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) had a 20–37 times higher risk of developing active TB compared to those without HIV infection. Systematic testing and treatment of latent TB infection are priorities in HIV-infected persons. In China, the prevalence of HIV infection in men who have sex with men (MSM) has gradually increased in the past decade. However, the prevalence of TB infection has been studied sparsely in HIV-infected MSM. Hence, we conducted a pilot study in MSM living with HIV infection in Xi'an city to evaluate TB infection status by means of interferon-γ release assay (IGRA). A total of 182 HIV-infected MSM were included in this study, the prevalence of IGRA positivity was observed to be 8·79% (16/182). IGRA quantitative results were not statistically influenced by the CD4 cell counts of the study participants. However, IGRA positivity was found to be lower than our previously reported data from the general population. This suggests that immunological deficiency might decrease the sensitivity of IGRA and thus increase the number of false negatives. Our primary results, suggesting systematic testing and treatment of latent TB infection together with active case-finding, were equally important for TB control in persons living with HIV infection.
Foxtail millet (Setaria italica (L.) P. Beauv.) is a naturally stress-tolerant plant, a major reserve crop and a model for panicoid grasses. The recent completion of the S. italica genome facilitates identification and characterization of WRKY transcription factor family proteins that are important regulators of major plant processes, including growth, development and stress response. The present study identified 103 WRKY transcription factor-encoding genes in the S. italica genome. The genes were named SiWRKY1–SiWRKY103 according to their order on the chromosomes. A comprehensive expression analysis of SiWRKY genes among four different tissues was performed using publicly available RNA sequencing data. Eighty-four SiWRKY genes were more highly expressed in root tissue than in other tissues and nine genes were only expressed in roots. Additionally, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was performed to comprehensively analyse the expression of all SiWRKY genes in response to dehydration. Results indicated that most SiWRKY genes (over 0.8) were up-regulated by drought stress. In conclusion, genome-wide identification and expression profiling of SiWRKY genes provided a set of candidates for cloning and functional analyses in plants’ response to drought stress.
Studies of schizophrenia at drug-naive state and on antipsychotic medication have reported a number of regions of gray-matter (GM) abnormalities but the reports have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to conduct multimodal meta-analysis to compare the cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies of brain GM in antipsychotic-naive first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) and those with antipsychotic treatment within 1 year (AT-FES) to determine the similarities and differences in these groups. We conducted two separate meta-analyses containing 24 studies with a sample size of 801 patients and 957 healthy controls. A multimodal meta-analysis method was used to compare the findings between AN-FES and AT-FES. Meta-regression analyses were done to determine the influence of different variables including age, duration of illness, and positive and negative symptom scores. Finally, jack-knife analyses were done to test the robustness of the results. AN-FES and AT-FES showed common patterns of GM abnormalities in frontal (gyrus rectus), superior temporal, left hippocampal and insular cortex. GM in the left supramarginal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus were found to be increased in AN-FES but decreased in AT-FES, whereas left median cingulate/paracingulate gyri and right hippocampus GM was decreased in AN-FES but increased in AT-FES. Findings suggest that both AN-FES and AT-FES share frontal, temporal and insular regions as common anatomical regions to be affected indicating these to be the primary regions of GM abnormalities in both groups.
GJB2 gene mutations are highly prevalent in pre-lingual hearing loss patients from China. Pre-lingual deafness is a sensorineural disorder that can only be treated with cochlear implantation.
The prevalence of GJB2 gene mutations was examined in 330 randomly selected patients treated with cochlear implantation.
Overall, 276 patients (83.64 per cent) carried variations in the GJB2 gene. Seventeen different genotypes were identified, including 10 confirmed pathogenic mutations (c.235delC, c.299delAT, c.176del16, p.E47X, p.T123N, p.V167M, p.C218Y, p.T86R, p.V63L and p.R184Q), 3 polymorphisms (p.V27I, p.E114 G and p.I203 T) and 2 unidentified mutations (p.V37I and c.571 T > C).
A total of 103 patients (31.2 per cent) carried 2 confirmed pathogenic mutations. The frequency of c.235delC was higher than that reported previously in the Jiangsu province. The two novel mutations identified, 69C > G and 501G > A, are likely to be polymorphisms.
Insect defensins, are cationic peptides that play an important role in immunity against microbial infection. In the present study, an anionic defensin from Plutella xylostella, (designated as PxDef) was first cloned and characterized. Amino acid sequence analysis showed that the mature peptide owned characteristic six-cysteine motifs with predicted isoelectric point of 5.57, indicating an anionic defensin. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that PxDef was significantly induced in epidermis, fat body, midgut and hemocytes after injection of heat-inactivated Bacillus thuringiensis, while such an induction was delayed by the injection of live B. thuringiensis in the 4th instar larvae of P. xylostella. Knocking down the expression of nuclear transcription factor Dorsal in P. xylostella by RNA interference significantly decreased the mRNA level of PxDef, and increased the sensitivity of P. xylostella larvae to the infection by live B. thuringiensis. The purified recombinant mature peptide (PxDef) showed higher activity against Gram-positive bacteria, with the minimum inhibition concentrations of 1.6 and 2.6 µM against B. thuringiensis and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first report about an anionic PxDef, which may play an important role in the immune system of P. xylostella against B. thuringiensis.
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.
This study aimed to comprehensively evaluate factors that influence the likelihood of syphilis infection from risk-taking behaviours and medical conditions. A retrospective case-control study was conducted by enrolling 664 syphilis inpatients (excluding 11 congenital syphilis patients) and 800 sex- and age-matched controls. Medical histories, clinical data and patient interview data were collected and subjected to logistic regression analyses. The prevalence of syphilis in the study population was 3·9% (675/17 304). By univariate analysis, syphilis infection was associated with migration between cities, marital status, smoking, reproductive history, hypertension, elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) (P < 0·05). A high rate of syphilis-HBV co-infection was observed in HIV-negative patients and further research revealed an association between syphilis and specific HBV serological reactivity. Syphilis was also associated with the frequency, duration and status of tobacco use. Multivariate analysis indicated that syphilis infection was independently associated with migration between cities [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1·368, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·048–1·785], current smoking (aOR 1·607, 95% CI 1·177–2·195), elevated BUN (aOR 1·782, 95% CI 1·188–2·673) and some serological patterns of HBV infection. To prevent the spread of infectious diseases, inpatients and blood donors should be tested for HIV, syphilis, HBV and HCV simultaneously.
Converging evidence has revealed both functional and structural abnormalities in adolescents with early-onset conduct disorder (EO-CD). The neurological abnormalities underlying EO-CD may be different from that of adolescent-onset conduct disorder (AO-CD) patients. However, the cortical structure in AO-CD patients remains largely unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the cortical alterations in AO-CD patients.
We investigated T1-weighted brain images from AO-CD patients and age-, gender- and intelligence quotient-matched controls. Cortical structures including thickness, folding and surface area were measured using the surface-based morphometric method. Furthermore, we assessed impulsivity and antisocial symptoms using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale (BIS) and the Antisocial Process Screening Device (APSD).
Compared with the controls, we found significant cortical thinning in the paralimbic system in AO-CD patients. For the first time, we observed cortical thinning in the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) in AO-CD patients which has not been reported in EO-CD patients. Prominent folding abnormalities were found in the paralimbic structures and frontal cortex while diminished surface areas were shown in the precentral and inferior temporal cortex. Furthermore, cortical thickness of the paralimbic structures was found to be negatively correlated with impulsivity and antisocial behaviors measured by the BIS and APSD, respectively.
The present study indicates that AO-CD is characterized by cortical structural abnormalities in the paralimbic system, and, in particular, we highlight the potential role of deficient structures including the precuneus and PCC in the etiology of AO-CD.
Angiopoietin-like protein 3 (ANGPTL3) is a secreted protein that regulates lipid, glucose and energy metabolism. This study was conducted to better understand the effect of ANGPTL3 on important economic traits in cattle. First, transcript profiles for ANGPTL3 were measured in nine different Jiaxian cattle tissues. Second, polymorphisms were identified in the complete coding region and promoter region of the bovine ANGPTL3 gene in 707 cattle samples. Finally, an association study was carried out utilizing these single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to determine the effect of these SNPs on the growth and meat quality traits. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis showed that ANGPTL3 was mainly expressed in the liver. The promoter of the bovine ANGPTL3 contained several putative transcription factor binding sites (SF1, HNF-1, LXRα, NFκβ, HNF-3 and C/EBP). In total, four SNPs of the bovine ANGPTL3 gene were identified by direct sequencing. SNP1 (rs469906272: g.−38T>C) was identified in the promoter, SNP2 (rs451104723:g.104A>T) and SNP3 (rs482516226: g.509A>G) were identified in exon 1, and SNP4 (rs477165942: g.8661T>C) was identified in exon 6. Changes in predicted protein structures due to non-synonymous SNPs were analyzed. Haplotype frequencies and linkage disequilibrium were also investigated. Analysis of four SNPs in cattle from different native Chinese breeds (Nanyang (NY) and Jiaxian (JX)) and commercial breeds (Angus (AG), Hereford (HF), Limousin (LM), Luxi (LX), Simmental (ST) and Jinnan (JN)) revealed a significant association with growth traits (including: BW and hipbone width) and meat quality traits (including: Warner–Bratzler shear force and ribeye area). Therefore, implementation of these four mutations in selection indices in the beef industry may be beneficial in selecting individuals with superior growth and meat quality traits.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.