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The Straw-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus zeylanicus is one of South-East Asia’s most threatened songbirds due to relentless demand for the regional cage-bird trade. The species was recently uplisted from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Critically Endangered’ only two years after its previous uplisting. Intriguingly, populations in highly urbanised Singapore appear relatively secure. However, the last Singaporean density estimates, derived from traditional census methods, were obtained nearly two decades ago in 2001. A recent population estimate in 2016 was derived from the census work in 2001 coupled with relative abundance indices from population trends. We thus performed systematic field surveys using the distance sampling method, estimating 573 ± 185 individuals nation-wide, with a break-down of 217 ± 81 on the main island of Singapore and 356 ± 104 birds on the satellite of Pulau Ubin. Taken together, the total population estimate reported here comprises 22.9–57.3% of the global wild population, underscoring the importance of Singapore as a stronghold for the species. In spite of its apparently secure status in Singapore, the species remains susceptible to local and foreign trapping pressures. Based on our assessment, we propose a number of local and regional conservation measures to ensure the continued survival of populations in Singapore.
Stratospheric airships are promising aircraft, usually designed as a non-rigid airship. As an essential part of the non-rigid airship, the envelope plays a significant role in maintaining its shape and bearing the external force load. Generally, the envelope material of a flexible airship consists of plain-weave fabric, composed of warp and weft fibre yarn. At present, biaxial tensile experiments are the primary method used to study the stress–strain characteristics of such flexible airship materials. In this work, biaxial tensile testing of UN-5100 material was carried out. The strain on the material under unusual stress and the stress ratio were obtained using Digital Image Correlation (DIC) technology. Also, the stress–strain curve was corrected by polynomial fitting. The slope of the stress–strain curve at different points, the Membrane Structures Association of Japan (MSAJ) standard and the Radial Basis Function (RBF) model were compared to identify the stress–strain characteristics of the materials. Some conclusions on the mechanical properties of the flexible airship material can be drawn and will play a significant role in the design of such envelopes.
A disruption database characterizing the current quench of disruptions with ITER-like tungsten divertor has been developed on EAST. It provides a large number of plasma parameters describing the predisruptive plasma, current quench time, eddy current, and mitigation by massive impurity injection, which shows that the current quench time strongly depends on magnetic energy and post-disruption electron temperature. Further, the energy balance and magnetic energy dissipation during the current quench phase has been well analysed. Magnetic energy is also demonstrated to be dissipated mainly by ohmic reheating and inductive coupling, and both of the two channels have great effects on current quench time. Also, massive gas injection is an efficient method to speed up the current quench and increase the fraction of impurity radiation.
Leg weakness (LW) issues are a great concern for pig breeding industry. And it also has a serious impact on animal welfare. To dissect the genetic architecture of limb-and-hoof firmness in commercial pigs, a genome-wide association study was conducted on bone mineral density (BMD) in three sow populations, including Duroc, Landrace and Yorkshire. The BMD data were obtained by ultrasound technology from 812 pigs (including Duroc 115, Landrace 243 and Yorkshire 454). In addition, all pigs were genotyped using genome-by-sequencing and a total of 224 162 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were obtained. After quality control, 218 141 SNPs were used for subsequent genome-wide association analysis. Nine significant associations were identified on chromosomes 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 18 that passed Bonferroni correction threshold of 0.05/(total SNP numbers). The most significant locus that associated with BMD (P value = 1.92e−14) was detected at approximately 41.7 Mb on SSC6 (SSC stands for Sus scrofa chromosome). CUL7, PTK7, SRF, VEGFA, RHEB, PRKAR1A and TPO that are located near the lead SNP of significant loci were highlighted as functionally plausible candidate genes for sow limb-and-hoof firmness. Moreover, we also applied a new method to measure the BMD data of pigs by ultrasound technology. The results provide an insight into the genetic architecture of LW and can also help to improve animal welfare in pigs.
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.
Studies revealed that prenatal stress (PS) may increase the vulnerability to depression in their offspring, and ERK-CREB signal system might play a role in its mechanism.
Objectives and aims
The present study investigated the effect of MK-801 on depressive-like behavior and its impacts on ERK2, CREB, Bcl-2 mRNA expression in PS female rat offspring.
The pregnant rats were randomly divided into three groups, the control group (Con) was left undisturbed, the PS-saline group (PS-saline) and the PS-MK-801 group (PS-MK-801) were subjected to restraint stress on days 14–20 of pregnancy three times daily for 45 min, and received an i.p. administration of saline or MK-801(sigma, 0.2 mg/kg) 30 min before the first stress respectively. Forced swimming test was undertaken to assess depressive-like behavior in one month female offspring. ERK2, CREB, Bcl-2 mRNA in the hippocampus, frontal cortex, and striatum were detected by RT-PCR.
PS-saline spent significantly more immobile time compared to Con and PS-MK-801 (P < 0.05). ERK2 and CREB mRNA expression in hippocampus and frontal cortex was significantly decreased in PS-saline compared to Con and PS-MK-801 (P < 0.05), while in striatum CREB mRNA expression in PS-saline was lower than Con (P < 0.05). Bcl-2 mRNA expression in hippocampus and striatum was significantly decreased in PS-saline (P < 0.05), and in frontal cortex, its expression was significantly lower in PS-saline and PS-MK-801 (P < 0.05).
PS may suppress ERK-CREB signal pathway in female offspring rats, which could be partly prevented by MK- 801. (Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No: 30970952).
Studies have convinced that the rodents' exposure to prenatal stress (PNS) may induce depression and anxiety to their offspring. We focused on the glutamatergic system to explore the mechanisms.
Objectives and aims:
By examining EAAT2,EAAT3 (Excitatory Amino Acid Transporter 2,3), which are the only substances to inactivate glutamate in nervous system, we explored the effect of PNS on glutamatergic system.
Pregnant rats were assigned to Control group (CON), Middle period of PNS group (MPS) and Late period of PNS group (LPS). MPS and LPS rats were exposed to restraint stress on days 7–13, 14–20 of pregnancy three times daily for 45 min. EAAT2 and EAAT3 mRNA expression in the hippocampus, frontal cortex, and striatum of one month rat offspring were checked by RT-PCR.
For the female offspring, EAAT2 mRNA expression of hippocampus in LPS and MPS was significantly lower compared to CON(P = 0.008,p = 0.003); EAAT2 and EAAT3 mRNA expression of frontal cortex in LPS were significantly lower than CON (p = 0.003,p = 0.013). for the male offspring, EAAT2 and EAAT3 mRNA expression of hippocampus in LPS and MPS were significantly lower (p = 0.005, p = 0.05); EAAT2 mRNA expression of frontal cortex was significantly lower in LPS (p = 0.022); EAAT2 mRNA in LPS group and MPS were significantly lower (p = 0.009, p = 0.014), and EAAT3 mRNA expression of striatum in MPS was significantly lower (p = 0.049).
Decreased EAAT2 and EAAT3 of PNS may explain the increase of glutamate in synaptic cleft and its downstream excitotoxicity. (Supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No: 30970952)
Epidemiological studies have convinced that prenatal stress (PS) might cause offspring depression.
Objectives and aims:
Our pervious research work certified that PS can increases the glutamate level of hippocampus of rat offspring, which inspired us to explore the pathogenesis of depression by focusing on glutamatergic system.
Pregnant rats were randomly assigned to control group (CON), mid prenatal stress group (MPS) and late prenatal stress group (LPS). The pregnant rats of MPS and LPS were exposed to restraint stress on days 7–13, 14–20 of pregnancy three times for 45 min respectively. Tail suspension test (TST) was performed to examine the depression like behavior and Western-blot were used to test phosphorylated GluR1(pGluR1) of AMPAR expression in the hippocampus, striatum and frontal cortex of one month rat offspring.
For both male and female offspring, the time of immobility of TST in LPS (156±11, 155±12) and MPS (173±15, 155±12) was significantly longer (P< 0.05) than CON(118±8,113±12), the latency in MPS (18±3, 24±3) was significantly shorter (P< 0.05) than CON (30±5, 58±11). The pGluR1 expression in hippocampus and frontal cortex in LPS (1.77±0.45, 1.00±0.09) and MPS (1.65±0.51, 1.05±0.18) were significantly lower (P< 0.05) than CON (3.72±0.86, 2.05±0.34) in male rat offspring.
It is suggested that the PS may induce depression like behavior in rat offspring, and glutamate receptors subunit pGluR1 might be involved in the etiology of depression.
(The research is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, No: 30970952, 18110059).
Many schizophrenia patients experience residual symptoms even after treatment. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is often used in medication-resistant schizophrenia patients when pharmacologic interventions have failed; however, the mechanism of action is unclear. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels are reduced in drug-naive, first-episode schizophrenia and are increased by antipsychotic treatment. We tested the hypothesis that ECT increases serum BDNF levels by measuring BDNF concentrations in schizophrenia patients before and after they received ECT.
A total of 160 patients with schizophrenia were examined. The ECT group (n = 80) was treated with antipsychotics and ECT (eight to 10 sessions administered every other day). The drug therapy group (n = 80) received only antipsychotic treatment. A control group (n = 77) was recruited that served as the baseline for comparison.
Baseline serum BDNF level in ECT group was lower than in controls (9.7 ± 2.1 vs. 12.4 ± 3.2 ng/ml; P < 0.001), but increased after ECT, such that there was no difference between the two groups (11.9 ± 3.3 vs. 12.4 ± 3.2 ng/ml; P = 0.362). There was no correlation between patients’ Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) score and serum BDNF level before ECT; however, a negative correlation was observed after ECT (total: r = −0.692; P < 0.01). From baseline to remission after ECT, serum BDNF level increased (P < 0.001) and their PANSS score decreased (P < 0.001). Changes in BDNF level (2.21 ± 4.10 ng/ml) and PANSS score (28.69 ± 14.96) were positively correlated in the ECT group (r = 0.630; P < 0.01).
BDNF level was lower in schizophrenia patients relative to healthy controls before ECT and medication. BDNF level increased after ECT and medication, and its longitudinal change was associated with changes in patients’ psychotic symptoms. These results indicate that BDNF mediates the antipsychotic effects of ECT.
Incurred but not reported (IBNR) loss reserving is of great importance for Property & Casualty (P&C) insurers. However, the temporal dependence exhibited in the claim arrival process is not reflected in many current loss reserving models, which might affect the accuracy of the IBNR reserve predictions. To overcome this shortcoming, we proposed a marked Cox process and showed its many desirable properties in Badescu et al. (2016).
In this paper, we consider the model estimation and applications. We first present an expectation–maximization (EM) algorithm which guarantees the efficiency of the estimators unlike the moment estimation methods widely used in estimating Cox processes. In addition, the proposed fitting algorithm can be implemented at a reasonable computational cost. We examine the performance of the proposed algorithm through simulation studies. The applicability of the proposed model is tested by fitting it to a real insurance claim data set. Through out-of-sample tests, we find that the proposed model can provide realistic predictive distributions.
A viscous damping model is proposed based on a simplified equation of fluid motion in a moonpool or the narrow gap formed by two fixed boxes. The model takes into account the damping induced by both flow separation and wall friction through two damping coefficients, namely, the local and friction loss coefficients. The local loss coefficient is determined through specifically designed physical model tests in this work, and the friction loss coefficient is estimated through an empirical formula found in the literature. The viscous damping model is implemented in the dynamic free-surface boundary condition in the gap of a modified potential flow model. The modified potential flow model is then applied to simulate the wave-induced fluid responses in a narrow gap formed by two fixed boxes and in a moonpool for which experimental data are available. The modified potential flow model with the proposed viscous damping model works well in capturing both the resonant amplitude and frequency under a wide range of damping conditions.
An improved variational optimization approach is established to optimize and analyse the propulsion efficiency of the high-altitude contra-rotating propellers for high-altitude airships based on the Vortex Lattice Lifting Line Method. The optimum radial circulation distribution, chord and pitch distribution are optimized under the maximum lift-to-drag ratio of aerofoils. To consider the effects of the actual Reynolds number and the Mach number of each aerofoil section, aerodynamics such as lift coefficient, drag coefficient and lift-to-ratio are obtained by interpolating a CFD database, which is established by numerical simulations under different Reynolds number, Mach number and angles-of-attack. The improved method is verified by validation cases on a high-altitude CRP using the three-dimensional steady Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes solver and moving reference frames technique. The optimization results of thrust, torque and efficiency for both the individual front/rear propeller and CRP are shown to agree reasonably well with the CFD results. Using the improved approach, the influence of blade numbers, diameter, rotation speeds, axial distance and torque ratio on the optimum efficiency of CRPs is illustrated in detail by conducting parametric studies.
where Ω is a bounded smooth domain in ℝN (N ≥ 1), α ≥ 2 and θ is a parameter. Under the assumption that g(x, u) is sublinear near the origin with respect to u, we study the effect of the perturbation term h(x, u), which may break the symmetry of the associated energy functional. With the aid of critical point theory and the truncation method, we show that this system possesses multiple small negative energy solutions.
In several lately published studies, the association between single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs12252) of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza is inconsistent. To further understand the association between the SNP of IFITM3 and the risk of influenza, we searched related studies in five databases including PubMed published earlier than 9 November 2017. Ten sets of data from nine studies were included and data were analysed by Revman 5.0 and Stata 12.0 in our updated meta-analysis, which represented 1365 patients and 5425 no-influenza controls from four different ethnicities. Here strong association between rs12252 and influenza was found in all four genetic models. The significant differences in the allelic model (C vs. T: odds ratio (OR) = 1.35, 95% confidence interval (CI) (1.03–1.79), P = 0.03) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 10.63, 95% CI (3.39–33.33), P < 0.00001) in the Caucasian subgroup were discovered, which is very novel and striking. Also novel discoveries were found in the allelic model (C vs. T: OR = 1.37, 95% CI (1.08–1.73), P = 0.009), dominant model (CC + CT vs. TT: OR = 1.48, 95% CI (1.08–2.02), P = 0.01) and homozygote model (CC vs. TT: OR = 2.84, 95% CI (1.36–5.92), P = 0.005) when we compared patients with mild influenza with healthy individuals. Our meta-analysis suggests that single-nucleotide T to C polymorphism of IFITM3 associated with increasingly risk of severe and mild influenza in both Asian and Caucasian populations.
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.
Hydrogen is an important intermediate that is produced during carbohydrate fermentation to volatile fatty acid and utilized by methanogens to produce methane in the rumen. Ruminal volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane concentrations are more than 500 times greater than dissolved hydrogen concentration. Therefore, we hypothesized that dissolved hydrogen might have a higher sensitivity in response to dietary changes compared with volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane. Using goats, we investigated the effects of increasing dietary starch content (maize replaced with wheat bran) and supplementing with rhubarb rhizomes and roots on the relationships among dissolved hydrogen, dissolved methane and other fermentation end products. The study was conducted in a replicated 4×4 Latin square with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of four treatments: two starch levels (220 v. 320 g/kg dry matter (DM)), without and with rhubarb supplement (0% v. 2.8% of total mixed ration). Increased dietary starch and rhubarb supplementation did not alter volatile fatty acid concentrations or methane emissions in terms of g/day, g/g DM intake and g/g organic matter digested. However, goats fed the high-starch diet had greater dissolved hydrogen (P=0.005) and relative abundance of Selenomonas ruminantium (P<0.01), and lower (P=0.02) copy number of protozoa than those fed the low-starch diet. Rhubarb increased ruminal dissolved H2 (P=0.03) and total volatile fatty acid concentration (P<0.001), but decreased copies of bacteria (P=0.002). In conclusion, dissolved hydrogen appears to be more sensitive to dietary changes with starch content and rhubarb supplementation, when compared with volatile fatty acid concentrations and methane production.
Plant nitrogen (N) links with many physiological progresses of crop growth and yield formation. Accurate simulation is key to predict crop growth and yield correctly. The aim of the current study was to improve the estimation of N uptake and translocation processes in the whole rice plant as well as within plant organs in the RiceGrow model by using plant and organ maximum, critical and minimum N dilution curves. The maximum and critical N (Nc) demand (obtained from the maximum and critical curves) of shoot and root and Nc demand of organs (leaf, stem and panicle) are calculated by N concentration and biomass. Nitrogen distribution among organs is computed differently pre- and post-anthesis. Pre-anthesis distribution is determined by maximum N demand with no priority among organs. In post-anthesis distribution, panicle demands are met first and then the remaining N is allocated to other organs without priority. The amount of plant N uptake depends on plant N demand and N supplied by the soil. Calibration and validation of the established model were performed on field experiments conducted in China and the Philippines with varied N rates and N split applications; results showed that this improved model can simulate the processes of N uptake and translocation well.
The response of soil microbial communities to soil quality changes is a sensitive indicator of soil ecosystem health. The current work investigated soil microbial communities under different fertilization treatments in a 31-year experiment using the phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profile method. The experiment consisted of five fertilization treatments: without fertilizer input (CK), chemical fertilizer alone (MF), rice (Oryza sativa L.) straw residue and chemical fertilizer (RF), low manure rate and chemical fertilizer (LOM), and high manure rate and chemical fertilizer (HOM). Soil samples were collected from the plough layer and results indicated that the content of PLFAs were increased in all fertilization treatments compared with the control. The iC15:0 fatty acids increased significantly in MF treatment but decreased in RF, LOM and HOM, while aC15:0 fatty acids increased in these three treatments. Principal component (PC) analysis was conducted to determine factors defining soil microbial community structure using the 21 PLFAs detected in all treatments: the first and second PCs explained 89.8% of the total variance. All unsaturated and cyclopropyl PLFAs except C12:0 and C15:0 were highly weighted on the first PC. The first and second PC also explained 87.1% of the total variance among all fertilization treatments. There was no difference in the first and second PC between RF and HOM treatments. The results indicated that long-term combined application of straw residue or organic manure with chemical fertilizer practices improved soil microbial community structure more than the mineral fertilizer treatment in double-cropped paddy fields in Southern China.
Previous studies have demonstrated that type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) could be triggered by an early childhood infection. Whether maternal infection during pregnancy is associated with T1DM in offspring is unknown. Therefore, we aimed to study the association using a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eighteen studies including 4304 cases and 25 846 participants were enrolled in this meta-analysis. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were synthesised using random-effects models. Subgroup analyses and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of associations. Overall, the pooled analysis yielded a statistically significant association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM (OR 1.31, 95% CI 1.07–1.62). Furthermore, six studies that tested maternal enterovirus infection showed a pooled OR of 1.54 (95% CI 1.05–2.27). Heterogeneity from different studies was evident (I2 = 70.1%, P < 0.001) and was mainly attributable to the different study designs, ascertaining methods and sample size among different studies. This study provides evidence for an association between maternal infection during pregnancy and childhood T1DM.
To investigate the surgical and audiological outcomes of the Bonebridge transcutaneous bone conduction hearing implant among children with congenital aural atresia.
Six children were recruited and underwent Bonebridge transcutaneous bone conduction implant surgery. The patients’ audiometric thresholds for air conduction, bone conduction and sound-field tests were assessed pre-operatively and at six months post-operatively. Patients’ satisfaction was assessed at six months post-operatively with the Hearing Device Satisfaction Scale.
No major complications were reported. Mean aided sound-field thresholds improved post-operatively by more than 30 dB for 0.5–4 kHz (p < 0.05). Mean unaided air conduction and bone conduction thresholds differed by less than 5 dB post-operatively (compared to pre-operatively) for 0.5–4 kHz; these findings were not significant (p > 0.05). All patients were satisfied (scores were over 90 per cent) with the implant in terms of functional outcome and cosmetic appearance.
Bonebridge transcutaneous bone conduction implant surgery is safe and effective among children with congenital aural atresia with conductive hearing loss.