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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.
Bordetella bronchiseptica is a potential zoonotic pathogen, which mainly causes respiratory diseases in humans and a variety of animal species. B. bronchiseptica is one of the important pathogens isolated from rabbits in Fujian Province. However, the knowledge of the epidemiology and characteristics of the B. bronchiseptica in rabbits in Fujian Province is largely unknown. In this study, 219 B. bronchiseptica isolates recovered from lung samples of dead rabbits with respiratory diseases in Fujian Province were characterised by multi-locus sequencing typing, screening virulence genes and testing antimicrobial susceptibility. The results showed that the 219 isolates were typed into 11 sequence types (STs) including five known STs (ST6, ST10, ST12, ST14 and ST33) and six new STs (ST88, ST89, ST90, ST91, ST92 and ST93) and the ST33 (30.14%, 66/219), ST14 (26.94%, 59/219) and ST12 (16.44%, 36/219) were the three most prevalent STs. Surprisingly, all the 219 isolates carried the five virulence genes (fhaB, prn, cyaA, dnt and bteA) in the polymerase chain reaction screening. Moreover, the isolates were resistant to cefixime, ceftizoxime, cefatriaxone and ampicillin at rates of 33.33%, 31.05%, 11.87% and 3.20%, respectively. This study showed the genetic diversity of B. bronchiseptica in rabbits in Fujian Province, and the colonisation of the human-associated ST12 strain in rabbits in Fujian Province. The results might be useful for monitoring the epidemic strains, developing preventive methods and preventing the transmission of epidemic strains from rabbits to humans.
Coated copper sulphate (CCS) could be used as a Cu supplement in cows. To investigate the influences of copper sulphate (CS) and CCS on milk performance, nutrient digestion and rumen fermentation, fifty Holstein dairy cows were arranged in a randomised block design to five groups: control, CS addition (7·5 mg Cu/kg DM from CS) or CCS addition (5, 7·5 and 10 mg Cu/kg DM from CCS, respectively). When comparing Cu source at equal inclusion rates (7·5 mg/kg DM), cows receiving CCS addition had higher yields of fat-corrected milk, milk fat and protein; digestibility of DM, organic matter (OM) and neutral-detergent fibre (NDF); ruminal total volatile fatty acid (VFA) concentration; activities of carboxymethyl cellulase, cellobiase, pectinase and α-amylase; populations of Ruminococcus albus, Ruminococcus flavefaciens and Fibrobacter succinogenes; and liver Cu content than cows receiving CS addition. Increasing CCS addition, DM intake was unchanged, yields of milk, milk fat and protein; feed efficiency; digestibility of DM, OM, NDF and acid-detergent fibre; ruminal total VFA concentration; acetate:propionate ratio; activity of cellulolytic enzyme; populations of total bacteria, protozoa and dominant cellulolytic bacteria; and concentrations of Cu in serum and liver increased linearly, but ruminal propionate percentage, ammonia-N concentration, α-amylase activity and populations of Prevotella ruminicola and Ruminobacter amylophilus decreased linearly. The results indicated that supplement of CS could be substituted with CCS and addition of CCS improved milk performance and nutrient digestion in dairy cows.
The pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has posed serious challenges. It is vitally important to further clarify the epidemiological characteristics of the COVID-19 outbreak for future study and prevention and control measures. Epidemiological characteristics and spatial−temporal analysis were performed based on COVID-19 cases from 21 January 2020 to 1 March 2020 in Shandong Province, and close contacts were traced to construct transmission chains. A total of 758 laboratory-confirmed cases were reported in Shandong. The sex ratio was 1.27: 1 (M: F) and the median age was 42 (interquartile range: 32–55). The high-risk clusters were identified in the central, eastern and southern regions of Shandong from 25 January 2020 to 10 February 2020. We rebuilt 54 transmission chains involving 209 cases, of which 52.2% were family clusters, and three widespread infection chains were elaborated, occurring in Jining, Zaozhuang and Liaocheng, respectively. The geographical and temporal disparity may alert public health agencies to implement specific measures in regions with different risk, and should attach importance on how to avoid household and community transmission.
Guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) can improve the growth performance of bulls. This study investigated the influences of GAA addition on growth, nutrient digestion, ruminal fermentation and serum metabolites in bulls. Forty-eight Angus bulls were randomly allocated to experimental treatments, that is, control, low-GAA (LGAA), medium-GAA (MGAA) and high-GAA (HGAA), with GAA supplementation at 0, 0.3, 0.6 and 0.9 g/kg DM, respectively. Bulls were fed a basal diet containing 500 g/kg DM concentrate and 500 g/kg DM roughage. The experimental period was 104 days, with 14 days for adaptation and 90 days for data collection. Bulls in the MGAA and HGAA groups had higher DM intake and average daily gain than bulls in the LGAA and control groups. The feed conversion ratio was lowest in MGAA and highest in the control. Bulls receiving 0.9 g/kg DM GAA addition had higher digestibility of DM, organic matter, NDF and ADF than bulls in other groups. The digestibility of CP was higher for HGAA than for LGAA and control. The ruminal pH was lower for MGAA, and the total volatile fatty acid concentration was greater for MGAA and HGAA than for the control. The acetate proportion and acetate-to-propionate ratio were lower for MGAA than for LGAA and control. The propionate proportion was higher for MGAA than for control. Bulls receiving GAA addition showed decreased ruminal ammonia N. Bulls in MGAA and HGAA had higher cellobiase, pectinase and protease activities and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens, Prevotella ruminicola and Ruminobacter amylophilus populations than bulls in LGAA and control. However, the total protozoan population was lower for MGAA and HGAA than for LGAA and control. The total bacterial and Ruminococcus flavefaciens populations increased with GAA addition. The blood level of creatine was higher for HGAA, and the activity of l-arginine glycine amidine transferase was lower for MGAA and HGAA, than for control. The blood activity of guanidine acetate N-methyltransferase and the level of folate decreased in the GAA addition groups. The results indicated that dietary addition of 0.6 or 0.9 g/kg DM GAA improved growth performance, nutrient digestion and ruminal fermentation in bulls.
The meat quality of chicken is an important factor affecting the consumer’s health. It was hypothesized that n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (n-3 PUFA) could be effectively deposited in chicken, by incorporating antioxidation of soybean isoflavone (SI), which led to improved quality of chicken meat for good health of human beings. Effects of partial or complete dietary substitution of lard (LA) with linseed oil (LO), with or without SI on growth performance, biochemical indicators, meat quality, fatty acid profiles, lipid-related health indicators and gene expression of breast muscle were examined in chickens. A total of 900 males were fed a corn–soybean meal diet supplemented with 4% LA, 2% LA + 2% LO and 4% LO and the latter two including 30 mg SI/kg (2% LA + 2% LO + SI and 4% LO + SI) from 29 to 66 days of age; each of the five dietary treatments included six replicates of 30 birds. Compared with the 4% LA diet, dietary 4% LO significantly increased the feed efficiency and had no negative effect on objective indices related to meat quality; LO significantly decreased plasma triglycerides and total cholesterol (TCH); abdominal fat percentage was significantly decreased in birds fed the 4% LO and 4% LO + SI diets. Chickens with LO diets resulted in higher contents of α-linolenic acid (C18:3n-3), EPA (C20:5n-3) and total n-3 PUFA, together with a lower content of palmitic acid (C16:0), lignoceric acid (C24:0), saturated fatty acids and n-6:n-3 ratio in breast muscle compared to 4% LA diet (P < 0.05); they also significantly decreased atherogenic index, thrombogenic index and increased the hypocholesterolemic to hypercholesterolemic ratio. Adding SI to the LO diets enhanced the contents of EPA and DHA (C22:6n-3), plasma total superoxide dismutase, reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione and muscle GSH content, while decreased plasma total triglyceride and TCH and malondialdehyde content in plasma and breast muscle compared to its absence (P < 0.05). Expression in breast muscle of fatty acid desaturase 1 (FADS1), FADS2, elongase 2 (ELOVL2) and ELOVL5 genes were significantly higher with the LO diets including SI than with the 4% LA diet. Significant interactions existed between LO level and inclusion of SI on EPA and TCH contents. These findings indicate that diet supplemented with LO combined with SI is an effective alternative when optimizing the nutritional value of chicken meat for human consumers.
Porphyromonas gingivalis has been linked to the development and progression of oesophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), and is considered to be a high-risk factor for ESCC. Currently, the commonly used methods for P. gingivalis detection are culture or DNA extraction-based, which are either time and labour intensive especially for high-throughput applications. We aimed to establish and evaluate a rapid and sensitive direct quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) protocol for the detection of P. gingivalis without DNA extraction which is suitable for large-scale epidemiological studies. Paired gingival swab samples from 192 subjects undergoing general medical examinations were analysed using two direct and one extraction-based qPCR assays for P. gingivalis. Tris-EDTA buffer-based direct qPCR (TE-direct qPCR), lysis-based direct qPCR (lysis-direct qPCR) and DNA extraction-based qPCR (kit-qPCR) were used, respectively, in 192, 132 and 60 of these samples for quantification of P. gingivalis. The sensitivity and specificity of TE-direct qPCR was 95.24% and 100% compared with lysis-direct qPCR, which was 100% and 97.30% when compared with kit-qPCR; TE-direct qPCR had an almost perfect agreement with lysis-direct qPCR (κ = 0.954) and kit-qPCR (κ = 0.965). Moreover, the assay time used for TE-direct qPCR was 1.5 h. In conclusion, the TE-direct qPCR assay is a simple and efficient method for the quantification of oral P. gingivalis and showed high sensitivity and specificity compared with routine qPCR.
Se can enhance lactation performance by improving nutrient utilization and antioxidant status. However, sodium selenite (SS) can be reduced to non-absorbable elemental Se in the rumen, thereby reducing the intestinal availability of Se. The study investigated the impacts of SS and coated SS (CSS) supplementation on lactation performance, nutrient digestibility, ruminal fermentation and microbiota in dairy cows. Sixty multiparous Holstein dairy cows were blocked by parity, daily milk yield and days in milk and randomly assigned to five treatments: control, SS addition (0.3 mg Se/kg DM as SS addition) or CSS addition (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 mg Se/kg DM as CSS addition for low CSS (LCSS), medium CSS (MCSS) and high CSS (HCSS), respectively). Experiment period was 110 days with 20 days of adaptation and 90 days of sample collection. Dry matter intake was higher for MCSS and HCSS compared with control. Yields of milk, milk fat and milk protein and feed efficiency were higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Digestibility of DM and organic matter was highest for CSS addition, followed by SS addition and then control. Digestibility of CP was higher for MCSS and HCSS than for control, SS and LCSS. Higher digestibility of ether extract, NDF and ADF was observed for SS or CSS addition. Ruminal pH decreased with dietary Se addition. Acetate to propionate ratio and ammonia N were lower, and total volatile fatty acids (VFAs) concentration was greater for SS, MCSS and HCSS than control. Ruminal H ion concentration was highest for MCSS and HCSS and lowest for control. Activities of cellobiase, carboxymethyl-cellulase, xylanase and protease and copies of total bacteria, fungi, Ruminococcus flavefaciens, Fibrobacter succinogenes and Ruminococcus amylophilus increased with SS or CSS addition. Activity of α-amylase, copies of protozoa, Ruminococcus albus and Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens and serum glucose, total protein, albumin and glutathione peroxidase were higher for SS, MCSS and HCSS than for control and LCSS. Dietary SS or CSS supplementation elevated blood Se concentration and total antioxidant capacity activity. The data implied that milk yield was elevated due to the increase in total tract nutrient digestibility, total VFA concentration and microorganism population with 0.2 or 0.3 mg Se/kg DM from CSS supplementation in dairy cows. Compared with SS, HCSS addition was more efficient in promoting lactation performance of dairy cows.
Earlier studies examining structural brain abnormalities associated with cognitively derived subgroups were mainly cross-sectional in design and had mixed findings. Thus, we obtained cross-sectional and longitudinal data to characterize the extent and trajectory of brain structure abnormalities underlying distinct cognitive subtypes (“preserved,” “deteriorated,” and “compromised”) seen in psychotic spectrum disorders.
Data from 364 subjects (225 patients with psychotic conditions and 139 healthy controls) were first used to determine the relationship of cognitive subtypes with cross-sectional measures of subcortical volume and cortical thickness. To probe neurodevelopmental abnormalities, brain structure laterality was examined. To examine whether neuroprogressive abnormalities persist, longitudinal brain structural changes over 5 years were examined within a subset of 101 subjects. Subsequent discriminant analysis using the identified brain measures was performed on an independent subject group.
Cross-sectional comparisons showed that cortical thinning and limbic volume reductions were most widespread in “deteriorated” cognitive subtype. Laterality comparisons showed more rightward amygdala lateralization in “compromised” than “preserved” subtype. Longitudinal comparisons revealed progressive hippocampal shrinkage in “deteriorated” compared with healthy controls and “preserved” subtype, which correlated with worse negative symptoms, cognitive and psychosocial functioning. Post-hoc discrimination analysis on an independent group of 52 subjects using the identified brain structures found an overall accuracy of 71% for classification of cognitive subtypes.
These findings point toward distinct extent and trajectory of corticolimbic abnormalities associated with cognitive subtypes in psychosis, which can allow further understanding of the biological course of cognitive functioning over illness course and with treatment.
Accretionary orogens contain key evidence for the conversion of oceanic to continental crust. The late tectonic history and closure time of the Palaeo-Asian Ocean are recorded in the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex in the southern Beishan margin of the Central Asian Orogenic Belt. We present new data on the structure, petrology, geochemistry and zircon U–Pb isotope ages of the Mazongshan subduction–accretion complex, which is a tectonic mélange with a block-in-matrix structure. The blocks are of serpentinized peridotite, basalt, gabbro, basaltic andesite, chert and seamount sediments within a matrix that is mainly composed of fore-arc-trench turbidites. U–Pb zircon ages of two gabbros are 454.6 ± 2.5 Ma and 434.1 ± 3.6 Ma, an andesite has a U–Pb zircon age of 451.3 ± 3.5 Ma and a tuffaceous slate has the youngest U–Pb zircon age of 353.6 ± 5.1 Ma. These new isotopic ages, combined with published data on ophiolitic mélanges from central Beishan, indicate that the subduction–accretion of Beishan in the southernmost Central Asian Orogenic Belt lasted until Late Ordovician – Early Carboniferous time. Structure and age data demonstrate that the younging direction of accretion was southwards and that the subduction zone dipped continuously to the north. Accordingly, these results record the conversion of oceanic to continental crust in the southern Beishan accretionary collage.
An increasing number of studies have described the relationship between celiac disease and schizophrenia. Based on the reported correlations and the overlapping linkage regions on 19p13, the myosin IXB gene (MYO9B) can be considered a highly relevant positional and functional candidate gene for schizophrenia. The present work was undertaken to investigate the association of the MYO9B gene with schizophrenia in a Chinese population.
A total of 329 patients with schizophrenia and 350 healthy control subjects in a Chinese population were recruited. A PCR-based RFLP protocol was applied to genotype 7 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), including rs7249490, rs7256689, rs2279007, rs8113494, rs2305767, rs1545620 and rs2305764, in the MYO9B gene to investigate their association with schizophrenia.
The X2 goodness-of-fit test showed that the genotypic distributions of all 7 SNPs were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in both the patient group and the control group. Disease association was shown for rs8113494 (X2=12.77, P=0.0003, OR=1.89, 95% CI 1.33-2.68) and rs1545620 (X2=15.44, P=8.379e-5, OR=1.65, 95% CI 1.29-2.12), while rs2279007 was associated with schizophrenia in the female subjects (X2=4.637, P=0.031, OR=0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.97) but not in the male subjects (X2=1.082, P=0.299, OR=0.85, 95% CI 0.63-1.15).
The present work shows that the polymorphisms of the MYO9B gene are likely to confer susceptibility to schizophrenia. Because the MYO9B gene has been found to be highly expressed in the tight junction gate, it could be considered as a meeting point for the interaction between environmental and genetic factors in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
The relative effect of the atypical antipsychotic drugs and conventional agents on neurocognition in patients with early-stage schizophrenia has not been comprehensively determined.
The present study aimed to assess the cognitive effects of atypical and conventional antipsychotic drugs on neurocognition under naturalistic treatment conditions.
In a 12 months open-label, multicenter study, 698 patients with early-stage schizophrenia (< 5 years) were monotherapy with chlorpromazine, sulpiride, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine or aripiprazole. Wechsler Memory Scale--Revised Visual Reproduction Test, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Revised Digit Symbol Test and Digit-span Task Test, Trail Making Tests Part A and Part B, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test were administered at baseline and 12 months follow-up evaluation. The primary outcome was change in a cognitive composite score after 12 months of treatment.
Compared with scores at baseline, the composite cognitive test scores and individual test scores had significant improvement for all seven treatment groups at 12-month follow-up evaluation (all p-values ≤ 0.013). However, olanzapine and quetiapine provided greater improvement than that provided by chlorpromazine and sulpiride in the composite score, processing speed and executive function (all p-values ≤ 0.045).
Both conventional and atypical antipsychotic medication long-term maintenance treatment can benefit congitive function in patients with early-stage schizophrenia, but olanzapine and quetiapine may be superior to chlorpromazine and sulpiride in improving some areas of neurocognitive function.
An increasing number of studies have described the relationship between velo-cardio-facial syndrome (VCFS) and schizophrenia. in a family-based study, we found that rs10314, a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) present in the 3’-flanking region of the CLDN5 gene, was associated with schizophrenia among a Chinese population. High false positive rate is a common problem with the association study of human diseases. It is very important to replicate an initial finding with different samples and experimental designs.
A total of 749 patients with schizophrenia and 383 age and sex matched healthy control subjects in Chinese population were recruited. PCR-based RFLP protocol was applied to genotype rs10314 to see its disease association.
The χ2 goodness-of-fit test showed that the genotypic distributions of rs10314 were in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium in both the patient group (χ2=1.12, P=0.289) and the control group (χ2=0.22, P=0.639). rs10314 was associated with schizophrenia with an odds ratio (OR) of 1.32 in the male subjects (χ2=5.45, P=0.02, 95% CI 1.05-1.67) but not in the female subjects (χ2=0.64, P=0.425, OR=1.14, 95% CI 0.83-1.57). the χ2 test showed a genotypic association only for combined samples (χ2=7.80, df=2, P=0.02). SNP rs10314 is a G to C base change. Frequency of the genotypes containing the C allele was significantly higher in the patient group than in the control group.
The present work shows that the CLDN5 gene polymorphism is more likely to be involved in schizophrenic men than women, suggesting that this gene may contribute to the gender differences in schizophrenia.
There are strong links between circadian disturbance and some of the most characteristic symptoms of clinical major depressive disorder (MDD). However there are no published studies of changes in expression of clock genes or of other neuropeptides related to circadian-rhythm regulation, which may influence recurrent susceptibility after treatment with antidepressant in MDD.
Blood samples were collected from twelve healthy controls and twelve male major depressive patients pre- and post- treated with escitalopram for eight weeks at 4-hour intervals for 24 hours. Outcome measures were the relative expression of mRNA of clock genes (hPERIOD1, hPERIOD2, hPERIOD3, hCRY1, hBMAL1, hNPAS2 and hGSK-3beta) and the levels of serum melatonin, Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP), cortisol, Adrenocorticotropic Hormone (ACTH), Insulin-like Growth Factor-1(IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH) in twelve healthy controls and twelve pre- and post- treated MDD patients.
Compared with healthy controls, MDD patients showed disruptions in diurnal rhythms of expression of hPERIOD1, hPERIOD2, hCRY1, hBMAL1, hNPAS2 and hGSK-3beta, along with disruptions in diurnal rhythms of release of melatonin, VIP, cortisol, ACTH, IGF-1, and GH. Several of these disruptions (hPER1, hCRY1, melatonin, VIP, cortisol, ACTH, and IGF-1) persisted after eight weeks escitalopram treatment, as did elevation of 24-hour levels of VIP and decreases in 24-hour levels of cortisol and ACTH.
These persisted neurobiological changes may play a role in MDD symptoms that are thought to contribute to recurrence vulnerability and in maintenance therapy for a long term.
Current available antidepressants exhibit low remission rate with a long response lag time. Growing evidence has demonstrated acute sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine exerts rapid, robust, and lasting antidepressant effects. However, a long term use of ketamine tends to elicit its adverse reactions. The present study aimed to investigate the antidepressant-like effects of intermittent and consecutive administrations of ketamine on chronic unpredictable mild stress (CUMS) rats, and to determine whether ketamine can redeem the time lag for treatment response of classic antidepressants. The behavioral responses were assessed by the sucrose preference test, forced swimming test, and open field test. In the first stage of experiments, all the four treatment regimens of ketamine (10 mg/kg ip, once daily for 3 or 7 consecutive days, or once every 7 or 3 days, in a total 21 days) showed robust antidepressant-like effects, with no significant influence on locomotor activity and stereotype behavior in the CUMS rats. The intermittent administration regimens produced longer antidepressant-like effects than the consecutive administration regimens and the administration every 7 days presented similar antidepressant-like effects with less administration times compared with the administration every 3 days. In the second stage of experiments, the combination of ketamine (10 mg/kg ip, once every 7 days) and citalopram (20 mg/kg po, once daily) for 21 days caused more rapid and sustained antidepressant-like effects than citalopram administered alone. In summary, repeated sub-anesthestic doses of ketamine can redeem the time lag for the antidepressant-like effects of citalopram, suggesting the combination of ketamine and classic antidepressants is a promising regimen for depression with quick onset time and stable and lasting effects.
Ketamine exerts fast acting, robust, and lasting antidepressant effects in a sub-anesthetic dose, however, the underlying mechanisms are still not fully elucidated. Recent studies have suggested that ketamine's antidepressant effects are probably attributed to the activation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors. The present study aimed to observe the effects of AMPA receptor modulators on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression during the procedure of ketamine exerting antidepressant effects. Therefore, we pretreated rats with NBQX, an AMPA receptor antagonist, or CX546, an AMPA receptor agonist, and subsequently observed the immobility time during the forced swimming test (FST) and the hippocampal and prefrontal cortical levels of mTOR and BDNF. The results showed ketamine decreased the immobility time of rats during the FST and increased the hippocampal and prefrontal cortical mTOR and BDNF. NBQX pretreatment significantly increased the immobility time and decreased the levels of mTOR and BDNF when compared with vehicle 1 (DMSO) pretreatment. CX546 pretreatment significantly decreased the immobility time and increased the levels of mTOR and BDNF when compared with vehicle 2 (DMSO + ethanol) pretreatment. Our results suggest ketamine-induced antidepressant effects are associated with AMPA receptors-mediated upregulation of mTOR and BDNF in rat hippocampus and prefrontal cortex.
Recently, a triple-network model suggested the abnormal interactions between the executive-control network (ECN), default-mode network (DMN) and salience network (SN) are important characteristics of addiction, in which the SN plays a critical role in allocating attentional resources toward the ECN and DMN. Although increasing studies have reported dysfunctions in these brain networks in Internet gaming disorder (IGD), interactions between these networks, particularly in the context of the triple-network model, have not been investigated in IGD. Thus, we aimed to assess alterations in the inter-network interactions of these large-scale networks in IGD, and to associate the alterations with IGD-related behaviors.
DMN, ECN and SN were identified using group-level independent component analysis (gICA) in 39 individuals with IGD and 34 age and gender matched healthy controls (HCs). Then alterations in the SN-ECN and SN-DMN connectivity, as well as in the modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN, using a resource allocation index (RAI) developed and validated previously in nicotine addiction, were assessed. Further, associations between these altered network coupling and clinical assessments were also examined.
Compared with HCs, IGD had significantly increased SN-DMN connectivity and decreased RAI in right hemisphere (rRAI), and the rRAI in IGD was negatively associated with their scores of craving.
These findings suggest that the deficient modulation of ECN versus DMN by SN might provide a mechanistic framework to better understand the neural basis of IGD and might provide novel evidence for the triple-network model in IGD.
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.
As an epigenetic modification, DNA methylation may reflect the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in the development of schizophrenia (SCZ). Catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is a promising candidate gene of SCZ. In the present study, we investigate the association of COMT methylation with the risk of SCZ using bisulfite pyrosequencing technology. Significant association between DNA methylation of COMT and the risk of SCZ is identified (P = 1.618e−007). A breakdown analysis by gender shows that the significance is driven by males (P = 3.310e−009), but not by females. DNA methylation of COMT is not significantly associated with SCZ clinical phenotypes, including p300 and cysteine level. No interaction is found between COMT genotypes and the percent methylation of this gene. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve shows that DNA methylation of COMT is able to predict the SCZ risk in males (area under curve [AUC] = 0.802, P = 1.91e−007). The current study indicates the clinical value of COMT methylation as a potential male-specific biomarker in SCZ diagnosis.