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β-Glucan has been reported for its health benefits on blood lipids in hypercholesterolaemic individuals for years. However, people have paid little attention to the effects of β-glucan in populations with mild hypercholesterolaemia as well as the various delivering matrices. Our objective was to perform a meta-analysis to analyse the effects of β-glucan with different delivering matrices in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals. After conducting a comprehensive search in Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus and Cochrane Library, a total of twenty-one randomised controlled trials involving 1120 participants were identified to measure the pooled effect. The overall results indicated that consuming a dose of ≥3 g/d of β-glucan for at least 3 weeks could significantly reduce total cholesterol (TC) (−0·27 mmol/l, 95 % CI −0·33, −0·21, P < 0·001) and LDL-cholesterol (−0·26 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·32, −0·20, P < 0·001) compared with the control group in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals, while no significant difference was observed in TAG (−0·03 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·11, 0·06, P = 0·521) and HDL-cholesterol (0·01 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·03, 0·04, P = 0·777). There was evidence for modest unexplained heterogeneity in the meta-analysis. In conclusion, β-glucan can significantly reduce risk factors like TC and LDL-cholesterol for CVD in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals; furthermore, it appears that the effects of food matrices with both ‘solid products’ and ‘liquid products’ where β-glucan was incorporated into were ranked as the best way to exert its beneficial properties, while ‘liquid’ and ‘solid’ products were ranked as the second and third positions, respectively.
The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
Low urinary iodine concentration (UIC) is associated with dyslipidaemia in adults but is not well characterised in adolescents. Because dyslipidaemia is a cardiovascular risk factor, identifying such an association in adolescents would allow for the prescription of appropriate measures to maintain cardiovascular health. The present study addresses this question using data in the 2001–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1692 adolescents aged 12–19 years. Primary outcomes were UIC, cardiometabolic risk factors and dyslipidaemia. Data for subjects categorised by low and normal UIC and by sex were analysed by univariate and multivariate logistic regression. Treating UIC as the independent variable, physical activity level, apoB and lipid profiles differed significantly between subjects with low and normal UIC. Subjects with low UIC had a significantly greater risk of elevated total cholesterol (TC) (95 % CI 1·37, 2·81), elevated non-HDL (95 % CI 1·33, 2·76) and elevated LDL (95 % CI 1·83, 4·19) compared with those with normal UIC. Treating UIC as a dependent variable, the risk of low UIC was significantly greater in those with higher apoB (95 % CI 1·52, 19·08), elevated TC (≥4·4mmol/l) (95 % CI 1·37, 2·81) and elevated non-HDL (≥3·11mmol/l) (95 % CI 1·33, 2·76) than in those with normal UIC. These results show that male and female adolescents with low UIC tend to be at greater risk of dyslipidaemia and abnormal cardiometabolic biomarkers, though the specific abnormal parameters differed between sexes. These results may help to identify youth who would benefit from interventions to improve their cardiometabolic risk.
Suicidal behaviours in adolescents are prevalent and multifactorial. This study was conducted to examine the associations between exposure to suicide attempt (ESA) or suicide death (ESD) and suicidal behaviours in a large sample of Chinese adolescents.
Participants included for the analysis were 11 831 adolescent students who participated in the baseline survey of the Shandong Adolescent Behavior and Health Cohort (SABHC). Participants were sampled from five middle and three high schools in three counties of Shandong province, China. A self-administered structured questionnaire was used to collect data on demographics, behavioural and emotional problems, family environment, suicidal behaviours (suicidal thought, plan and attempt), and history of ESA or death of a family member, relative, friend or close acquaintance. Based on the sources of exposure, the participants were divided into four groups: non-exposure, exposure from relatives only, exposure from friends/close acquaintances only (EFO) and exposure from both relatives and friends (ERF). Logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between ESA or ESD and suicidal behaviours.
Mean age of the participants was 14.97 ± 1.46 years and 50.9% were boys. Of the participants, 9.4% reported having ESA, and 6.6% reported having ESD. The prevalence rates of suicidal behaviours were significantly higher in adolescents who had been exposed to suicide attempt or death than those who had not. Multivariate logistic regressions showed that ESA and ESD were both significantly associated with increased risks of suicidal thought (ESA: OR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.66–2.31; ESD: OR = 1.59, 95% CI = 1.31–1.94), plan (ESA: OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.84–3.05; ESD: OR = 1.62, 95% CI = 1.18–2.23) and attempt (ESA: OR = 2.73, 95% CI = 1.92–3.89; ESD: OR = 1.82, 95% CI = 1.18–2.82), respectively. When participants were exposed to suicide attempt, ERF and EFO groups had significantly higher risks of suicidal thought (ERF: OR = 2.61, 95% CI = 1.28–1.64; EFO: OR = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.64–2.36), plan (ERF: OR = 3.72, 95% CI = 2.04–6.78; EFO: OR = 2.31, 95% CI = 1.74–3.01) and attempt (ERF: OR = 4.83, 95% CI = 2.30–10.17; EFO: OR = 2.57, 95% CI = 1.73–3.81), respectively.
ESA or ESD was associated with increased risks of suicidal behaviours in adolescents. Exposure to suicidal behaviours of relatives and friends/close acquaintances appeared to have different influence on adolescent suicidal behaviours. Further research is warranted to examine the biological and psychosocial mechanisms between suicidal exposure and subsequent suicidal behaviours in adolescents.
Owing to lack of a definitive correlation between carbon supports and catalytic activity of single-atom Fe-active sites, rational design and preparation of single-atom Fe catalysts have so far been elusive. Herein we designed and prepared one-dimensional core–shell nanostructured single-atom Fe catalysts, in which carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes with different crystallinities and electrical conductivities were used as supports to host single-atom Fe-active sites. It was found that the carbon supports with higher electrical conductivity accelerate charge transfer and enhance the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity of single-atom Fe-active sites as well as the ORR durability of the final catalyst.
An Al–3% B master alloy has been subjected to equal channel angular pressing (ECAP). The grain refining performance and fading resistance of an Al–3% B master alloy on a commercial purity Al (CPA) have been evaluated. The effect of the number of ECAP passes on the size and the distribution of the AlB2 particles, the grain size of CPA ingots with and without adding the Al–3% B master alloy subjected to ECAP have been investigated. The mean size of AlB2 particles was significantly reduced from ∼34 to ∼12 μm after four ECAP passes. Fine blocky AlB2 particles were uniformly distributed in the Al matrix. It has been revealed that when it was inoculated by the Al–B master alloy subjected to ECAP, the grain size of α-Al was decreased from ∼1200 to ∼180 μm after four ECAP passes, beyond that, the grain size tends to be saturated. It has been proved that grain refinement efficiency and fading resistance of the Al–3% B master alloy subjected to ECAP in CPA ingots was enhanced.
The prevalence of CHD has been well described worldwide except in Tibet. This study aimed to illustrate the prevalence and composition of CHD in Tibetan children according to altitude.
Methods and results
In the first part, we prospectively recruited 7088 unselected Tibetan children (4–17 years) from south-west Tibet. The total prevalence of CHD increased from 4.6/1000 below 4200 m to 13.4/1000 above 4700 m, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.3:3.1. The total prevalence and female prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus increased more than 10-fold. Females living above 4700 m had exceptionally high prevalence of patent ductus arteriosus (14.9/1000). The prevalence of atrial septal defect was comparable among different altitudes (3.3–3.8/1000). The prevalence of ventricular septal defect was 1.3/1000 below 4700 m, and no cases were found above this altitude. In the second part, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical data of 383 CHD children in Tibet and 73 children at lower altitudes. The percentage of isolated ventricular septal defect decreased from 54.8 to 3.1%, and the percentage of isolated patent ductus arteriosus increased from 8.2 to 68.4% with elevation. Children living below 4200 m (10.4–13.7%) had a larger proportion of complex CHD than those above this altitude (2.0–3.1%). Of the 20 Tibetan children with complex CHD, 14 (70.0%) lived below 4200 m.
A wide variation in CHD prevalence and composition existed in Tibetan children among different altitudes.
In recent decades, in silico absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion (ADME), and toxicity (T) modelling as a tool for rational drug design has received considerable attention from pharmaceutical scientists, and various ADME/T-related prediction models have been reported. The high-throughput and low-cost nature of these models permits a more streamlined drug development process in which the identification of hits or their structural optimization can be guided based on a parallel investigation of bioavailability and safety, along with activity. However, the effectiveness of these tools is highly dependent on their capacity to cope with needs at different stages, e.g. their use in candidate selection has been limited due to their lack of the required predictability. For some events or endpoints involving more complex mechanisms, the current in silico approaches still need further improvement. In this review, we will briefly introduce the development of in silico models for some physicochemical parameters, ADME properties and toxicity evaluation, with an emphasis on the modelling approaches thereof, their application in drug discovery, and the potential merits or deficiencies of these models. Finally, the outlook for future ADME/T modelling based on big data analysis and systems sciences will be discussed.
Tributyltin, an organotin, is ubiquitous in estuaries and freshwater systems. Previous reports suggest that tributyltin is an endocrine disruptor in many wildlife species and it inhibits aromatase in mammalian placental and granulosa-like tumor cell lines. However, no evidence showing the effects of tributyltin on oocytes or preimplantation embryonic developmental competence exists. Therefore, we investigated the role of tributyltin chloride (TBTCl) in the development of female oocytes and preimplantation embryos. Briefly, female ICR mice were gavaged with 0 (vehicle), 4, and 8 mg/kg of TBTCl each day for 18 days. The fluorescence intensity analysis showed that the 5-methylcytosine level decreased after TBTCl treatment, indicating that the general DNA methylation level decreased in the treated oocytes. Our results demonstrate that TBTCl treatment results in decreased mRNA levels of imprinted genes H19, Igf2r, and Peg3 during oocyte growth. The TBTCl-treated oocytes showed a significant increase in reactive oxygen species levels in germinal vesicle oocytes. In TBTCl-treated oocytes, there was no difference in GPx and Sod1 expression, but a decreased mRNA level of Cat occurred when compared with control. Moreover, the blastocysts with TBTCl exposure displayed higher apoptotic signals. These results suggest that TBTCl induces developmental defects in oocytes and preimplantation embryos.
The developing world is witness to a major urban transformation. How to facilitate intergroup relations between new migrants and long-time urban residents is a critical issue in developing societies globally. The current research explored the effect of group boundary permeability on intergroup prejudice by the case of rural-to-urban migration in China. As the boundary between rural-to-urban migrants and permanent urban residents in China can be ascribed to China's unique hukou system, we conducted three interrelated studies to approach the topic from the perspective of the hukou system and its reforms. Study 1 used a correlational investigation and found a negative correlation between group boundary permeability and prejudice against rural-to-urban migrants. In Study 2, we manipulated the group boundary permeability using the points accumulation system scheme of the hukou system reform, and found a causal effect of the group boundary permeability on the social distance of urban dwellers to migrants. In Study 3, using a more general hukou reform scheme, that of gradually abolishing the hukou system, we replicated the findings from Study 2 and further found that a permeable group boundary could reduce prejudice. These three studies suggest that the group boundary based on the Chinese hukou system is an institutional cause of prejudice against rural-to-urban migrants. Our experimental manipulations can be interpreted as analogues to potential policy arena actions.
Recent observations have revealed various structures within the gravitational influence of Sgr A* – the massive black hole in the Galactic center. These structures apparently defy the fundamental principles of star formation and stellar dynamics. On one hand, the red giants display a flat density profile, contrary to the cuspy one predicted by conventional stellar relaxation. On the other, Wolf-Rayet and OB stars are observed where in-situ star formation should have been prohibited by the strong tidal force from Sgr A*, and their spatial and phase-space distributions also contradict our understanding of stellar dynamics. To explain each of these inconsistencies, many scenarios have been proposed, which render the model increasingly complicated. Here, we suggest that the sub-parsec stellar disk surrounding Sgr A*, which was recently discovered, can reconcile all the above inconsistencies. We show that during the fragmenting past of this disk, the star-forming clumps could efficiently deplete red giants by repeatedly colliding with them. We also show that because of the torque exerted by the disk, stars within the central arcsec from Sgr A* would quickly mix in the angular-momentum space, which naturally explains the observed distributions of Wolf-Rayet and OB stars. Our results imply that Sgr A* was fueled by gas and stars several millions years ago and could have been an energetic AGN. We discuss future observations that can further testify our model.
The effect of Y dopant incorporated into ZTO with different Y ratios in Y-ZTO system on the performances of ZTO-based TFTs is investigated by using sol-gel process. The proper Y doped ZTO present both high film crystallization temperature and superior electrical properties as an active channel layer of TFTs. The fabricated YZTO-based TFTs with 11% Y show the excellent devices performance such as the channel field effect mobility of 1.756 cm2/Vs, SS of 2.13 V/dec, threshold voltage of 0.8V and on/off ratio of 3.12×106.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of lutein and lycopene supplementation on carotid artery intima–media thickness (CAIMT) in subjects with subclinical atherosclerosis. A total of 144 subjects aged 45–68 years were recruited from local communities. All the subjects were randomly assigned to receive 20 mg lutein/d (n 48), 20 mg lutein/d+20 mg lycopene/d (n 48) or placebo (n 48) for 12 months. CAIMT was measured using Doppler ultrasonography at baseline and after 12 months, and serum lutein and lycopene concentrations were determined using HPLC. Serum lutein concentrations increased significantly from 0·34 to 1·96 μmol/l in the lutein group (P< 0·001) and from 0·35 to 1·66 μmol/l in the combination group (P< 0·001). Similarly, serum lycopene concentrations increased significantly from 0·18 to 0·71 μmol/l in the combination group at month 12 (P< 0·001), whereas no significant change was observed in the placebo group. The mean values of CAIMT decreased significantly by 0·035 mm (P= 0·042) and 0·073 mm (P< 0·001) in the lutein and combination groups at month 12, respectively. The change in CAIMT was inversely associated with the increase in serum lutein concentrations (P< 0·05) in both the active treatment groups and with that in serum lycopene concentrations (β = − 0·342, P= 0·031) in the combination group. Lutein and lycopene supplementation significantly increased the serum concentrations of lutein and lycopene with a decrease in CAIMT being associated with both concentrations. In addition, the combination of lutein and lycopene supplementation was more effective than lutein alone for protection against the development of CAIMT in Chinese subjects with subclinical atherosclerosis, and further studies are needed to confirm whether synergistic effects of lutein and lycopene exist.
Our aim is to screen miRNAs and genes related to tetralogy of Fallot and construct a co-expression network based on integrating miRNA and gene microarrays. We downloaded the gene expression profile GSE35490 (miRNA) and GSE35776 (mRNA) of tetralogy of Fallot from the Gene Expression Omnibus database, which includes eight normal and 15 disease samples from infants, and screened differentially expressed miRNAs and genes between normal and disease samples (cut-off: p < 0.05; FDR < 0.05; and log FC > 2 or log FC < −2); in addition, we downloaded human miRNA and their targets, which were collected in the miRNA targets prediction database TargetScan, and selected ones that also appeared in our differentially expressed miRNAs and their predicted targets (score >0.9) and then made a relationship of diff_miRNAs and diff_genes of our results. Finally, we uploaded all the diff_target genes into String, constructed a co-expression network regulated by diff_miRNAs, and performed functional analysis with the software DAVID. Comparing normal and disease lesion tissue, we got 32 and 875 differentially expressed miRNAs and genes, respectively, and found hsa-miR-124 with 34 diff_target genes and hsa-miR-138 with two diff_target genes. Then we constructed a co-expression network that contains 231 pairs of genes. Genes in the network were enriched into 14 function clusters, and the most significant one is protein localisation. We screened the tetralogy of Fallot-related hsa-miR-124 and hsa-miR-138 with their direct and indirect differentially expressed target genes, and found that protein localisation is the significant cause affecting tetralogy of Fallot. Our approach may provide the groundwork for a new therapy approach to treating tetralogy of Fallot.
The spontaneous whisker growth phenomenon was investigated by exposing Sn3Nd intermetallic compound (IMC) to different environments. In a humid environment, tin whiskers grew rapidly; the incubation time for whisker formation was only 0.75 h. However, no whiskers were formed when Sn3Nd IMC was exposed to dry argon for 33 days or dry oxygen (DO) for 7 days. In situ observation of whisker growth during room ambient (RA) exposure gave an average whisker growth rate of the Sn3Nd IMC of about 11 Å/s, which are 2–3 orders of magnitude faster than that previously reported for tin plating. Following whisker growth, a new hydroxide compound, Nd(OH)3, was found to have formed on the Sn3Nd. The results show that the presence of humidity in the exposure environment is necessary for whisker growth from Sn3Nd. Finally, the driving force for whisker growth is also discussed.
On the basis of ab initio molecular dynamics modeling, we show that Ge-Sb-Te alloy under excitation can realize amorphization without going through a liquid phase. The electronic structure analysis further reveals that the excitation mainly involves the Ge s-like states near the valence band maximum. After the phase transition, the coordination number of Ge is reduced from six to four, while the change in the coordination number for Sb is noticeably less.
In this paper, the ion jet generation from the interaction of an ultraintense laser pulse and a rear-side concave target is investigated analytically using a simple fluid model. We find that the ion expanding surface at the rear-side is distorted due to a strong charge-separation field, and that this distortion becomes dramatic with a singular cusp shown on the central axis at a critical time. The variation of the transverse ion velocity and the relative ion density diverge on the cusp, signaling the emergence of an on-axis ion jet. We have obtained analytical expressions for the critical time and the maximum velocity of the ion jet, and suggested an optimum shape for generating a collimated energetic ion jet. The above theoretical analysis has been verified by particle-in-cell (PIC) numerical simulations.
Efforts to extract weak geomagnetic excursion signals from Chinese loess-paleosol 10Be have generally been unsuccessful due to the complexities of its accumulation, because the geomagnetic and climate (precipitation and dust) signals contained in loess-paleosol sequence are tightly overprinted. Here, we present a reconstruction of geomagnetic relative paleointensities for the past 130 kyr from 10Be records in 2 Chinese loess-paleosol sections using a correction based on the correlation of 10Be with magnetic susceptibility (SUS) to remove the climatic contamination. Both these records reveal the Laschamp and Blake events, which lie in the loess and paleosol (L1SS1 and S1SS3) horizons corresponding to mid-MIS 3 and 5e, respectively. The good agreement between our results and other geomagnetic intensities reconstructions from Atlantic and Pacific sediments indicates that our method is robust. Our study suggests the potential application of loess-paleosol 10Be for reconstructing geomagnetic intensity variations spanning the whole Quaternary.
Simple sequence repeat (SSR) analysis was performed on five Secale species, four Triticum species and a Triticale line Fenzhi-1 using 102 pairs of microsatellite primers. A 387-bp specific DNA fragment FZ387 (GenBank accession no. EF179137) was obtained from the Triticale Fenzhi-1 with primer Xgwm614, without amplification in Secale. NCBI BLAST revealed that this FZ387 sequence had 94% and 95% similarity to part of the Gypsy Ty3-LTR retrotransposon Fatima in Triticum monoccocum (AY485644) and Triticum turgidum (AY494981), respectively. A pair of specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers, FaF and FaR, was designed based on the conserved region of this FZ387 sequence. The amplification of primer pair Xgwm614F and FaR revealed that a specific 350-bp band (designation as A350) was obtained from the species containing A chromosomes. Furthermore, PCR on Langdon Chinese Spring substitution lines was performed, and the results found that this segment was located on both long and short arms of all A chromosomes. However, the amplification of primer pair FaF and Xgwm614R gave rise to a specific DNA band of about 350 bp (designated AB350) from materials containing A and/or B chromosomes. The wild species of wheat and the relatives were amplified using the two pairs of primers, and revealed that only A350 and AB350 were found in Chinese Spring (CS). Sequence comparison and variation of SSR primers binding regions of FZ387 indicated that significant diversity might exist in the internal sequence of this Fatima-like element among triticeae genomes. Meanwhile, both A350 and AB350 can be used as molecular markers for the detection of A and AB genomes.