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The gut is composed of a single layer of intestinal epithelial cells and plays important roles in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, immune and barrier functions and amino acid metabolism. Weaning stress impairs piglet intestinal epithelium structural and functional integrities, which results in reduced feed intake, growth rates and increased morbidity and mortality. Several measures are needed to maintain swine gut development and growth performance after weaning stress. A large body of evidence indicates that, in weaning piglets, glutamine, a functional amino acid, may improve growth performance and intestinal morphology, reduce oxidative damage, stimulate enterocyte proliferation, modulate cell survival and death and enhance intestinal paracellular permeability. This review focuses on the effects of glutamine on intestinal health in piglets. The aim is to provide evidentiary support for using glutamine as a feed additive to alleviate weaning stress.
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.
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.
Treatment of liver fibrosis is very limited as there is currently no effective anti-fibrotic therapy. Spirulina platensis (SP) is a blue-green alga that is widely supplemented in healthy foods. The objective of this study was to determine whether SP supplementation can prevent obesity-induced liver fibrosis in vivo. Male C57BL/6J mice were randomly assigned to a low-fat or a high-fat (HF)/high-sucrose/high-cholesterol diet or an HF diet supplemented with 2·5 % SP (w/w) (HF/SP) for 16 or 20 weeks. There were no significant differences in body weight, activity, energy expenditure, serum lipids or glucose tolerance between mice on HF and HF/SP diets. However, plasma alanine aminotransferase level was significantly reduced by SP at 16 weeks. Expression of fibrotic markers and trichrome stains showed no differences between HF and HF/SP. Splenocytes isolated from HF/SP fed mice had lower inflammatory gene expression and cytokine secretion compared with splenocytes from HF-fed mice. SP supplementation did not attenuate HF-induced liver fibrosis. However, the expression and secretion of inflammatory genes in splenocytes were significantly reduced by SP supplementation, demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effects of SP in vivo. Although SP did not show appreciable effect on the prevention of liver fibrosis in this mouse model, it may be beneficial for other inflammatory conditions.
Although application of organic fertilizers has become a recommended way for developing sustainable agriculture, it is still unclear whether above-ground and below-ground crops have similar responses to chemical fertilizers (CF) and organic manure (OM) under the same farming conditions. The current study investigated soil quality and crop yield response to fertilization of a double-cropping system with rapeseed (above-ground) and sweet potato (below-ground) in an infertile red soil for 2 years (2014–16). Three fertilizer treatments were compared, including CF, OM and organic manure plus chemical fertilizer (MCF). Organic fertilizers (OM and MCF) increased the yield of both above- and below-ground crops and improved soil biochemical properties significantly. The current study also found that soil-chemical properties were the most important and direct factors in increasing crop yields. Also, crop yield was affected indirectly by soil-biological properties, because no significant effects of soil-biological activities on yield were detected after controlling the positive effects of soil-chemical properties. Since organic fertilizers could not only increase crop yield, but also improve soil nutrients and microbial activities efficiently and continuously, OM application is a reliable agricultural practice for both above- and below-ground crops in the red soils of China.
Vessel flexure can be triggered naturally by surgical operation, heart pulsation and body movement. It may affect the mechanical behavior of the stent and the existence of a stent may in turn cause vessel injury. In the present study, the finite element method is employed to study the interaction between stent and vessel during vessel flexure. Two- and four-link stents made of stainless steel 316L and magnesium alloy WE43 are considered. Results indicate that longitudinal deformation of the stent can be caused by vessel flexure, and the higher levels of stress exist in the link struts. The existence of the stent could induce significant stress concentration and straightened deformation on vessel wall in the course of vessel flexure. Stents with more links or made of harder materials show greater anti-deformation capability, thus inducing a more severe stress concentration and straightened deformation on the vessel wall. The bending direction also affects the mechanical performance of the vessel-stent system. The results obtained could provide useful information for better stent designs and clinical decisions.
Plant height and lodging resistance can affect rice yield significantly, but these traits have always conflicted in crop cultivation and breeding. The current study aimed to establish a rapid and accurate plant type evaluation mechanism to provide a basis for breeding tall but lodging-resistant super rice varieties. A comprehensive approach integrating plant anatomy and histochemistry was used to investigate variations in flexural strength (a material property, defined as the stress in a material just before it yields in a flexure test) of the rice stem and the lodging index of 15 rice accessions at different growth stages to understand trends in these parameters and the potential factors influencing them. Rice stem anatomical structure was observed and the lignin content the cell wall was determined at different developmental stages. Three rice lodging evaluation models were established using correlation analysis, multivariate regression and artificial radial basis function (RBF) neural network analysis, and the results were compared to identify the most suitable model for predicting optimal rice plant types. Among the three evaluation methods, the mean residual and relative prediction errors were lowest using the RBF network, indicating that it was highly accurate and robust and could be used to establish a mathematical model of the morphological characteristics and lodging resistance of rice to identify optimal varieties.
The strain gradient elasticity theory including only three independent material length scale parameters has been proposed by Zhou et al. to explain the size effect phenomena in micro scales. In this paper, the general formulations of strain gradient elasticity theory in orthogonal curvilinear coordinates are derived, and then are specified for the cylindrical and spherical coordinates for the convenience of applications in cases where orthogonal curvilinear coordinates are suitable. Two basic problems, one is the twist of a cylindrical bar and the other is the radial deformation of a solid sphere, are analyzed under the cylindrical and spherical coordinates, respectively. The results reveal that only the material length scale parameter l2 enters the torsion problem, while completely disappears in the problem of radial deformation of a sphere. The size effect of radial deformation of a solid sphere is controlled by the material length scale parameters l1 and l2. In addition, for the incompressible solid sphere especially, only the material length scale parameter l1 enters this radial deformation problem by neglecting the strain gradient terms associated with hydrostatic strains. Predictably, the present paper offers an alternative avenue for measuring the three independent material length scale parameters from bar twisting and sphere expansion tests.
Flexoelectricity, the coupling of strain gradient to polarization, enhances the properties of piezoelectric response desirable for advanced MEMS dramatically even in centrosymmetric dielectrics. In this paper, the general formulations of the flexoelectric couple stress theory presented by Hadjesfandiari in orthogonal curvilinear coordinate system are derived, and are then specified for the case of cylindrical coordinates. A size-dependent flexoelectric model of circular plate is established based on the current formulations in cylindrical coordinates. The governing equations, boundary conditions and initial conditions are derived by applying Hamilton's principle. The static bending and free vibration problems of a simply supported axisymmetric circular plate are carried out to illustrate the applicability of the present model. Numerical results reveal that a homogeneous electric field between the up and down surfaces of the circular plate is induced indeed. The generated deflection, induced voltage and natural frequency show obvious size effect, but the size effect is almost diminishing as the thickness of the plate is far greater than the material length scale parameter. As the increase of the flexoelectric coefficient, the induced voltage increases evidently and the generated deflection and the natural frequency increase weakly.
It has been demonstrated that microRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the control of melanogenesis and hair color in mammals. By comparing miRNA expression profiles between brown and white alpaca skin, we previously identified miR508-3p as a differentially expressed miRNA suggesting its potential role in melanogenesis and hair color formation. The present study was conducted to determine the role of miR508-3p in melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes. In situ hybridization showed that miR508-3p is abundantly present in the cytoplasma of alpaca melanocytes. miR508-3p was predicted to target the gene encoding microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF) and a luciferase reporter assay indicated that miR508-3p regulates MITF expression by directly targeting its 3′UTR. Overexpression of miR508-3p in alpaca melanocytes down-regulated MITF expression both at the messenger RNA and protein level and resulted in decreased expression of key melanogenic genes including tyrosinase and tyrosinase-related protein 2. Overexpression of miR508-3p in melanocytes also resulted in decreased melanin production including total alkali-soluble melanogenesis, eumelanogenesis and pheomelanogenesis. Results support a functional role of miR508-3p in regulating melanogenesis in alpaca melanocytes by directly targeting MITF.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a type of pathogenic bacteria that cause diarrhea in piglets through colonizing pig small intestine epithelial cells by their surface fimbriae. Different fimbriae type of ETEC including F4, F18, K99 and F41 have been isolated from diarrheal pigs. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study to map the loci associated with the susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 using 39454 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 667 F2 pigs from a White Duroc×Erhualian F2 cross. The most significant SNP (ALGA0022658, P=5.59×10−13) located at 6.95 Mb on chromosome 4. ALGA0022658 was in high linkage disequilibrium (r2>0.5) with surrounding SNPs that span a 1.21 Mb interval. Within this 1.21 Mb region, we investigated ZFAT as a positional candidate gene. We re-sequenced cDNA of ZFAT in four pigs with different susceptibility phenotypes, and identified seven coding variants. We genotyped these seven variants in 287 unrelated pigs from 15 diverse breeds that were measured with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype. Five variants showed nominal significant association (P<0.05) with ETEC F41 susceptibility phenotype in International commercial pigs. This study provided refined region associated with susceptibility of pigs to ETEC F41 than that reported previously. Further works are needed to uncover the underlying causal mutation(s).
A physics-based model of residual stress in minimum quantity lubrication (MQL) machining is presented. The stresses resulting from thermal and mechanical loading in the MQL machining process are coupled into an incremental thermal-elastic-plastic model for predicting the final resultant residual stress in the machined workpiece. Comparative analysis is made between the stresses produced by the thermal load and mechanical load in the machining process. Results manifest that for the surface of the machined workpiece, the stress produced by thermal load is on par with the contact stress produced by mechanical load in the magnitude. With the increase of depth into the workpiece, the stress produced by mechanical load is dominant of the total stresses. The rationale demonstrates that thermal load is prone to generate the tensile residual stress at the surface of the machined workpiece, while the mechanical load is prone to generate the compressive residual stress at the surface of the machined workpiece. Finally, the residual stress prediction model is verified by orthogonal cutting of AISI 4130 alloy steel.
While Liriomyza sativae (Diptera: Agromyzidae), an important invasive pest of ornamentals and vegetables has been found in China for the past two decades, few studies have focused on its genetics or route of invasive. In this study, we collected 288 L. sativae individuals across 12 provinces to explore its population genetic structure and migration patterns in China using seven microsatellites. We found relatively low levels of genetic diversity but moderate population genetic structure (0.05 < FST < 0.15) in L. sativae from China. All populations deviated significantly from the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium due to heterozygote deficiency. Molecular variance analysis revealed that more than 89% of variation was among samples within populations. A UPGMA dendrogram revealed that SH and GXNN populations formed one cluster separate from the other populations, which is in accordance with STRUCTURE and GENELAND analyses. A Mantel test indicated that genetic distance was not correlated to geographic distance (r = −0.0814, P = 0.7610), coupled with high levels of gene flow (M = 40.1–817.7), suggesting a possible anthropogenic influence on the spread of L. sativae in China and on the effect of hosts. The trend of asymmetrical gene flow was from southern to northern populations in general and did not exhibit a Bridgehead effect during the course of invasion, as can be seen by the low genetic diversity of southern populations.
Since the electromagnetic energy gained by the laser wave in a free-electron laser (FEL) is transferred from the kinetic energy loss of a relativistic electron beam, the stability of electron motion is one of the key factors that affect FEL performance. In this paper the stability of electron motion is compared for different focusing regimes. It is demonstrated that the natural focusing regime of a three-dimensional wiggler is easily broken by the self-field of the electron beam. The magnetic focusing regime of an axial guide magnetic field is based on the superposition of a strong Larmor rotation on the transverse quiver motion of the electrons, while the electric focusing regime of an ion-channel guiding field generates an electric force to counteract the divergent effect of the beam self-field. In comparison with the magnetic focusing regime of an external magnetic system, the electric focusing regime of an ion-channel guiding field may yield smaller instantaneous Larmor radius and slighter Larmor-centre deviation from the axis and provide better motion stability.
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of metabolic abnormalities, such as hyperlipidaemia and hyperglycaemia. We investigated whether polyphenol-rich blackcurrant extract (BCE) can prevent high fat/high cholesterol (HF/HC) diet-induced metabolic disturbances in mice. Male C57BL/6J mice were fed a modified AIN-93M diet containing HF/HC (16 % fat, 0·25 % cholesterol, w/w) or the same diet supplemented with 0·1 % BCE (w/w) for 12 weeks. There were no differences in total body weight and liver weight between groups. Plasma total cholesterol (TC) and glucose levels were significantly lower in BCE group than in controls, while plasma TAG levels were not significantly different. There was a decreasing trend in hepatic TAG levels, and histological evaluation of steatosis grade was markedly lower in the livers of mice fed BCE. Although the mRNA levels of major regulators of hepatic cholesterol metabolism, i.e. 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGR) and LDL receptor (LDLR), were not significantly altered by BCE supplementation, protein expression of mature sterol-regulatory element-binding protein and LDLR was significantly increased with no change in HMGR protein. The expression of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 that facilitates LDLR protein degradation, as well as one of its transcriptional regulators, i.e. hepatocyte nuclear factor 4α, was significantly decreased in the livers of mice fed BCE. Taken together, BCE supplementation decreased plasma TC and glucose, and inhibited liver steatosis, suggesting that this berry may be consumed to prevent metabolic dysfunctions induced by diets high in fat and cholesterol.
Saturation-power enhancement of a free-electron laser (FEL) amplifier by using tapered wiggler amplitude is based on the postponement of the saturation length of the uniform wiggler. In this paper, we qualitatively and quantitatively demonstrate that the saturation-power enhancement can be approached by means of the parameters adjustment, which is comparable to that by using a tapered wiggler. Compared to the method by tapering the wiggler amplitude, the method of parameters adjustment substantially shortens the saturation length, which is favorable to cutting down the manufacture and operation costs of the device.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is significantly associated with hyperlipidaemia and oxidative stress. We have previously reported that astaxanthin (ASTX), a xanthophyll carotenoid, lowers plasma total cholesterol and TAG concentrations in apoE knockout mice. To investigate whether ASTX supplementation can prevent the development of NAFLD in obesity, male C57BL/6J mice (n 8 per group) were fed a high-fat diet (35 %, w/w) supplemented with 0, 0·003, 0·01 or 0·03 % of ASTX (w/w) for 12 weeks. The 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group, but not the other groups, exhibited a significant decrease in plasma TAG concentrations, suggesting that ASTX at a 0·03 % supplementation dosage exerts a hypotriacylglycerolaemic effect. Although there was an increase in the mRNA expression of fatty acid synthase and diglyceride acyltransferase 2, the mRNA levels of acyl-CoA oxidase 1, a critical enzyme in peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation, exhibited an increase in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. There was a decrease in plasma alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) concentrations in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. There was a significant increase in the hepatic mRNA expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 and its downstream genes, which are critical for endogenous antioxidant mechanism, in the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group. Furthermore, there was a significant decrease in the mRNA abundance of IL-6 in the primary splenocytes isolated from the 0·03 % ASTX-supplemented group upon lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation when compared with that in the splenocytes isolated from the control group. In conclusion, ASTX supplementation lowered the plasma concentrations of TAG, ALT and AST, increased the hepatic expression of endogenous antioxidant genes, and rendered splenocytes less sensitive to LPS stimulation. Therefore, ASTX may prevent obesity-associated metabolic disturbances and inflammation.
This paper summarizes some recent advances for electrochromic and thermochromic fenestration. For the former application, we consider a polymer-laminated construction and show that the addition of nanoparticles to the electrolyte can enhance its ionic conductivity (with fumed silica) and quench the near-infrared transmittance which transmits solar energy but is not important for visible light (with ITO nanoparticles). Regarding thermochromics, we discuss recent experimental and theoretical work on Mg-doped VO2, where the doping lowers the luminous absorptance, and on measurements applied to Al2O3-coated VO2 with good stability with regard to high-temperature treatment.
In this work, we investigated the correlation between the γ-ray luminosity, logLγ and the core-dominance parameter, log (1+R), for a sample of 124 Fermi blazars with available core and extended radio emissions. Our analysis shows that there is no correlation between the γ-ray luminosity, log Lγ and the core-dominance parameter, log (1+R). However, there is a closely linear correlation between log Lγ − log LExt and log (1+R), log Lγ−log LExt = (0.95 ± 0.08) log (1+R) + (2.72 ± 0.11), for the whole sample. The result suggests that the γ-ray emissions are composed of two components, one is beamed, the other is unbeamed.