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A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
Hypoimmunity and numerous stresses are two major challenges in broiler industry. Nutrient intervention at the specific time of embryonic stage is a feasible way to improve animal performance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of vitamin C at embryonic age 15th day (E15) on growth performance, antioxidation and immune function of broilers. A total of 240 broiler fertile eggs were randomly divided into two groups (0 and 3 mg injected dose of vitamin C at E15), and new-hatched chicks from each treatment were randomly allocated into six replicates with 10 chicks per replicate after incubation. The results indicated that in ovo vitamin C injection improved the hatchability (P < 0.05) and increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) (at the broiler’s age 1st day, D1), IgG and IgM concentrations (D21), as well as lysozyme activity (D21, P < 0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (D42, P < 0.01) in plasma of broilers. On D21, the splenic expression level of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was up-regulated in vitamin C (VC) group, whereas interleukin (IL)-6, interferon-γ, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and thymine-DNA glycosylase were down-regulated (P < 0.05). On D42, in ovo vitamin C injection up-regulated splenic expression levels of DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein beta (P < 0.05), whereas down-regulated splenic expression levels of IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 4 (P < 0.05). Our findings suggested that IOF of 3 mg vitamin C at E15 could improve, to some extent, the antioxidant activity and immune function in plasma, corresponding with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen. However, IOF of vitamin C leading to the changes in the expression of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases may suggest an increased trend of DNA methylation level in spleen and whether DNA methylation variation is associated with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen warrants future study.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
Sufficient amino acid (AA) transport is essential to ensure the normal physiological function and growth of growing animals. The processes of AA sensing and transport in humans and murine animals, but rarely in goats, have been arousing great interest recently. This study was conducted to investigate the messenger RNA expression patterns of lysophosphatidic acid receptor 5 (LPAR5), guanine nucleotide-binding protein α-transducing 3 (GNAT3) and important partial AA transporters in digestive tracts, metabolic organs and muscles of growing goats. The results showed that these genes were widely expressed in goats, and had different expression patterns. LPAR5, GNAT3, solute carrier (SLC38A2), SLC7A7, SLC7A1 and SLC3A1 were rarely expressed in the rumen, but were highly expressed in the abomasum and intestine which are the main sites of AA absorption. GNAT3, SLC38A1, SLC38A2, SLC6A19, SLC7A7 and SLC7A1 showed comparatively high expression in the pancreas and the vital digestive glands, and the relatively high expression of these nine genes were noted in the tibialis posterior, the active muscle in energy metabolism. The correlation analysis showed that there were certain positive correlation among most genes. The current results indicate that the AA sensing and transport occur extensively in the abomasum and small intestine, metabolic organs and muscle tissues of ruminants, and that related genes have tissue specificity.
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.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.
Previous studies showed that butyrate played benefit roles in the health and metabolism of animals. However, little information on the effects of butyrate on the metabolism of piglets at the extraintestinal level is available. The present study investigated transcriptomic and metabolomic responses in the livers of pigs to evaluate the effects of intravenous sodium butyrate (SB) on the body’s metabolism at the extraintestinal level. A total of 12 Duroc×Landrace×Large White growing barrows (60 days of age) fitted with jugular vein cannula were randomly allocated to either the SB group or the control (CO) group. Pigs in the SB group were intravenously infused with 10 ml SB (200 mmol/l) for 7 days, whereas pigs in the CO group were treated with the same amount of saline. The livers of pigs were collected for gene expression and metabolome analyses. The RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis showed that the mRNA expression of Acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 1 (ACSL1), carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), acetyl-CoA acyltransferase 2 (ACAA2) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase 1 (PCK1) were downregulated (Q<0.05), whereas fatty acid binding protein 1 (FABP1) and cytochrome P450 family 7 subfamily A member 1 (CYP7A1) were upregulated (P<0.05) by SB treatment, indicating a decrease in fatty acid oxidation and gluconeogenesis and an increase in fatty acid transportation and cholesterol metabolism. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that raffinose was enriched in the SB group compared with the CO group, indicating a decrease in metabolism of galactose. Moreover, SB treatment significantly decreased the concentration of blood cholesterol. The results suggest that a short-term intravenous infusion of SB could modulate hepatic lipid metabolism by decreasing fatty acid oxidation and increasing fatty acid transportation and cholesterol metabolism.
l-Arginine is a nutritionally essential amino acid for spermatogenesis and plays versatile roles in animal health and can be utilized as a potential agent to improve reproductive performance of boars under high ambient temperature. The present study aimed to determine whether dietary l-arginine could alleviate heat stress-induced infertility in boars. In all, 20 boars (PIC 1040; 248.59±3.84 kg BW and 407.65±6.40 days of age) were selected and randomly assigned to four groups (group 0.0%, basal diet; group 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0%, basal diet added with 0.6%, 0.8% or 1.0% l-arginine (wt:wt), respectively.) The four diets were made isonitrogenous by addition of appropriate amounts of l-alanine. Boars were pre-fed the corresponding experimental diet for 42 days. Then, the semen characteristics and libido were accessed for 6 weeks during the hot summer period (25.5° to 33.0°C). Results show that dietary l-arginine remarkably improved sperm motility, normality, total sperm number and effective total sperm number. Also, dietary l-arginine improved semen antioxidant capacity, such as decrease of malondialdehyde and 8-Hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine content in sperm (P<0.05), increase of the ratio of glutathione and oxidized glutathione, total antioxidant capacity, glutathione peroxidase and catalase activities in seminal plasma (P<0.05). Most of mitochondria contained intact ultrastructure in l-arginine-supplemented group which also accompany with higher ATP content than the 0.0% group. The boars fed 0.8% l-arginine show increased levels of estradiol-17β and testosterone and exhibit improved libido performance than boars in the 0.0% group. Adding dietary l-arginine linearly increased (P=0.002) nitric oxide content (as l-arginine increased). The scrotal surface temperature in the 0.6%, 0.8% and 1.0% group were decreased by 0.9°C, 0.9°C and 0.4°C, respectively, compared with the 0.0% group. l-Arginine levels caused linear effect on semen quality and antioxidant capacity, also caused quadratic effect on libido performance. During the hot summer months, the predicted optimal l-arginine levels for best semen quality and antioxidant capacity was 0.8% to 1.0% and for best libido performance was 0.8%. It can be concluded that l-arginine can be used as an effective agent to alleviate heat stress-induced infertility of boar, and that 0.8% to 1.0% can be considered as the optimum dosage.
Mechanisms responsible for excellent marbling in Japanese black cattle, Wagyu, remain to be established. Because both muscle cells and intramuscular adipocytes are developed from mesenchymal progenitor cells during early muscle development, we hypothesized that intramuscular progenitor cells in Wagyu cattle have attenuated myogenic capacity in favor of adipogenesis, leading to high marbling but reduced muscle growth. Biceps femoris muscle biopsy samples were obtained from both Angus (n=3) and Wagyu (n=3) cattle at 12 months of age. Compared with Angus, the density of satellite cells was much lower in Wagyu muscle (by 45.8±10%, P<0.05). Consistently, the formation of myotubes from muscle-derived progenitor cells was also lower (by 64.2±12.9%, P<0.05), but adipogenic capacity was greater in Wagyu. The average muscle fiber diameter was larger in Wagyu (by 23.9±6.8%, P=0.089) despite less muscle mass, suggesting less muscle fiber formation in Wagyu compared with Angus cattle. Because satellite cells are derived from fetal myogenic cells, the reduction in satellite cell density together with lower muscle fiber formation suggests that myogenesis was attenuated during early muscle development in Wagyu cattle. Given the shared pool of mesenchymal progenitor cells, the attenuated myogenesis likely shifts progenitor cells to adipogenesis during early development, which may contribute to high intramuscular adipocyte formation in Wagyu cattle.
A numerical comparison of the Monte Carlo (MC) simulation and the finite-difference method for pricing European options under a regime-switching framework is presented in this paper. We consider pricing options on stocks having two to four volatility regimes. Numerical results show that the MC simulation outperforms the Crank–Nicolson (CN) finite-difference method in both the low-frequency case and the high-frequency case. Even though both methods have linear growth, as the number of regimes increases, the computational time of CN grows much faster than that of MC. In addition, for the two-state case, we propose a much faster simulation algorithm whose computational time is almost independent of the switching frequency. We also investigate the performances of two variance-reduction techniques: antithetic variates and control variates, to further improve the efficiency of the simulation.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
The new definition of UT1 adopted by the IAU is useful but for many reasons not quite satisfactory. It depends e. g., 1) on the approximate values of some astronomical constants, and is therefore subject to revision in the future. 2) Since it is used for the FK5-based astronomical reference system, its eventual usefulness for space techniques is questioned. 3) Although the new and old UT1 merge continuously at a chosen epoch, they do not form a homogeneous series of data, in other words, the old and the new UT1 are systematically different from each other. 4) Neither the new definition, nor the way to convert the old to the new one is based on simple concepts and these are thus likely to be misunderstood by the nonspecialist user. A conceptual definition of UT1 is suggested, in order to correct this situation and a formula to realize this conceptual definition is presented, which can be used unchanged for every technique and is easily understood by the nonspecialist community.
The role of the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in the pathogenesis of liver disease has recently gained much interest. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors associated with T. gondii infection in patients with liver disease from three cities in Shandong and Henan provinces, China. A case–control study was conducted from December 2014 to November 2015 and included 1142 patients with liver disease and 1142 healthy controls. Serum samples were collected from all individuals and were examined with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for the presence of anti-T. gondii IgG and IgM antibodies. Information on the demographics, clinical, and lifestyle characteristics of the participants was collected from the medical records and by the use of a questionnaire. The prevalence of anti-T. gondii IgG was 19·7% in patients with liver disease compared with 12·17% in the controls. Only 13 patients had anti-T. gondii IgM antibodies compared with 12 control individuals (1·14% vs. 1·05%, respectively). The highest seroprevalence was detected in patients with liver cancer (22·13%), followed by hepatitis patients (20·86%), liver cirrhosis patients (20·42%), and steatosis patients (20%). Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that consumption of raw meat (odds ratio (OR) = 1·32; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1·01–1·71; P = 0·03) and source of drinking water from wells (OR = 1·56; 95% CI 1·08–2·27; P = 0·01) were independent risk factors for T. gondii infection in liver disease patients. These findings indicate that T. gondii infection is more likely to be present in patients with liver disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed toward health education of populations at high risk of T. gondii infection and measures should be taken to protect vulnerable patients with liver disease.
The E2F transcription factor family is distributed widely in eukaryotes and has been well studied among mammals. In the present study, the E2F transcription factor 4 (E2F4) gene was isolated from fat bodies of Antheraea pernyi and sequenced. E2F4 comprised a 795 bp open reading frame encoding a deduced amino acid sequence of 264 amino acid residues. The recombinant protein was expressed in Escherichia coli (Transetta DE3), and anti-E2F4 antibodies were prepared. The deduced amino acid sequence displayed significant homology to an E2F4-like protein from Bombyx mori L. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed that E2F4 expression was highest in the integument, followed by the fat body, silk glands, and haemocytes. The expression of E2F4 was upregulated in larvae challenged by bacterial (Escherichia coli, Micrococcus luteus), viral (nuclear polyhedrosis virus), and fungal (Beauveria bassiana) pathogens. These observations indicated that E2F4 is an inducible protein in the immune response of A. pernyi and probably in other insects.
Omics research has indicated that heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is a potential biomarker of meat quality. However, the specific changes and the potential role of HSP70 in postmortem meat quality development need to be further defined. In this study, Arbor Acres broiler chickens (n=126) were randomly categorized into three treatment groups of unstressed control (C), 0.5-h transport (T) and subsequent water shower spray following transport (T/W). Each treatment consisted of six replicates with seven birds each. The birds were transported according to a designed protocol. The pectoralis major (PM) muscles of the transport-stressed broilers were categorized as normal and pale, soft and exudative (PSE)-like muscle samples according to L* and pH24 h values to test the expression and location of HSP70. Results revealed that the activities of plasma creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase increased significantly (P<0.05) in normal and PSE-like muscle samples after transportation. The mRNA expression of HSP70 in normal muscle samples increased significantly (P<0.05) compared with that in the controls after stress. The protein expression of HSP70 increased significantly in normal muscle samples and decreased significantly (P<0.05) in PSE-like muscles. Immuno-fluorescence showed that HSP70 was present in the cytoplasm and on surface membranes of PM muscle cells in the normal samples following stress. Meanwhile, HSP70 was present on the surface membranes and extracellular matrix but was barely visible in the cytoplasm of the PSE-like samples. Principal component analysis showed high correlations between HSP70 and meat quality and stress indicators. In conclusion, this research suggests that the variation in HSP70 expression may provide a novel insight into the pathways underlying meat quality development.
A new approach is proposed to analyze Bremsstrahlung X-rays that are emitted from laser-produced plasmas (LPP) and are measured by a stack type spectrometer. This new method is based on a spectral tomographic reconstruction concept with the variational principle for optimization, without referring to the electron energy distribution of a plasma. This approach is applied to the analysis of some experimental data obtained at a few major laser facilities to demonstrate the applicability of the method. Slope temperatures of X-rays from LPP are determined with a two-temperature model, showing different spectral characteristics of X-rays depending on laser properties used in the experiments.
In tritrophic ‘plants–herbivores–natural enemies’ systems, there are relatively few reports concerning the role(s) of kairomones in pupal parasitism. Chouioia cunea Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), an endoparasitic chalcid wasp, parasitizes pupae of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea Drury). The role of host-related kairomones was investigated using electroantennogram (EAG) and behavioral techniques. Chemicals from some host stages (pupae) and host by-products (frass), induced arrestment behavior of female parasitoids, while chemicals from prepupae, were inactive. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of volatiles collected from pupae, frass and prepupae using solid-phase microextration revealed seven compounds with carbon chain lengths ranging from C4 to C20. All of the chemicals elicited significant EAG responses in C. cunea. Y-tube olfactometer bioassays demonstrated a significant positive response of mated female C. cunea to 1-dodecene. These data provide a better understanding of the host location mechanisms of pupal parasitoid.
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.