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Maternal one-carbon metabolism during pregnancy is crucial for fetal development and programming by DNA methylation. However, evidence on one-carbon biomarkers other than folate is lacking. We, therefore, investigated whether maternal plasma methyl donors, that is, choline, betaine and methionine, are associated with birth outcomes. Blood samples were obtained from 115 women during gestation (median 26·3 weeks, 90 % range 22·7–33·0 weeks). Plasma choline, betaine, methionine and dimethylglycine were measured using HPLC-tandem MS. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate the association between plasma biomarkers and birth weight, birth length, the risk of small-for-gestational-age and large-for-gestational-age (LGA). Higher level of maternal betaine was associated with lower birth weight (–130·3 (95 % CI –244·8, –15·9) per 1 sd increment for log-transformed betaine). Higher maternal methionine was associated with lower risk of LGA, and adjusted OR, with 95 % CI for 1 sd increase in methionine concentration was 0·44 (95 % CI 0·21, 0·89). Stratified analyses according to infant sex or maternal plasma homocysteine status showed that reduction in birth weight in relation to maternal betaine was only limited to male infants or to who had higher maternal homocysteine status (≥5·1 µmol/l). Higher maternal betaine status was associated with reduced birth weight. Maternal methionine was inversely associated with LGA risk. These findings are needed to be replicated in future larger studies.
Living Caprini are dominant bovids in the pan-Tibetan area that are strongly adapted to dry steppe and high-mountain meadow habitats. Some taxa with Holarctic distributions, e.g., Ovis Linnaeus, 1758, were thought to originate on the Tibetan Plateau and subsequently dispersed elsewhere, which was depicted as an ‘out of Tibet’ story. However, except for some information on a stem caprine assemblage from the Qaidam Basin, the early evolution of Caprini around the Tibetan Plateau is poorly known. Here, we report new material of Olonbulukia tsaidamensis Bohlin, 1937, which was a member of this stem caprine assemblage, from the Wuzhong region, northern China, confirming the similarity of the Wuzhong Fauna and ‘Qaidam Fauna.’ Based on a biometric study of horncores from the ‘Qaidam’ and Wuzhong faunas, we recognize six taxa from this stem caprine assemblage: O. tsaidamensis, O. sp., Qurliqnoria cheni Bohlin, 1937, Tossunnoria pseudibex Bohlin, 1937, ?Protoryx cf. P. enanus Köhler, 1987, and cf. Pachytragus sp. Among these taxa, Q. cheni and T. pseudibex are probably related to some extant Tibetan endemic species, e.g., the Tibetan antelope, Pantholops hodgsonii (Abel, 1826), and the Himalayan tahr, Hemitragus jemlahicus (Smith, 1826). Others might be ancestral to the Turolian caprine assemblages and even possibly gave rise to the extant Caprina. This work reveals an early radiation of stem caprines along the northern side of the rising Tibetan Plateau and indicates a mixed pattern of pan-Tibetan stem caprine evolution prior to their dispersal out of the Tibetan Plateau.
Two new species of egg parasitoids, Oobius saimaensis Yao and Mottern new species and Oobius fleischeri Yao and Duan new species (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), are described from eggs of Agrilus fleischeri Obenberger, 1925 (Coleoptera: Buprestidae). Agrilus fleischeri is a phloem-feeding woodborer of poplar (Populus Linnaeus; Salicaceae) in northeastern China. These two species can be distinguished morphologically as O. fleischeri has five tarsomeres and O. saimaensis has four tarsomeres. Although O. saimaensis is morphologically similar to its sympatric congener O. agrili Zhang and Hang, 2005, an important natural enemy of the invasive emerald ash borer, Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire, 1888, molecular phylogenetics and morphological data indicate that they are distinct species. Phylogenetic relationships among the new species and other closely related species are also inferred by using DNA sequence data from several ribosomal and mitochondrial genes. In addition, we expand the known distribution of Oobius primorskyensis Yao and Duan, 2016 to include South Korea.
Excavation of the Han Dynasty chambered tomb at Laoguanshan in Chengdu, south-west China, has provided the earliest known evidence of pattern loom technology. Four model looms, along with accompanying artefacts and figurines relating to the weaving process, give insight into the technique of jin silk production. The discovery is hugely significant as it provides the first direct evidence of pattern-weave textile production in ancient China. Jin silk, made using this method, was both valuable and widely distributed, and the design of the machine influenced the invention of later looms and the spread of technology throughout Eurasia and Europe, representing great technological accomplishment for the second century BC.
To evaluate the effects of different anthropogenic activities on zooplankton and the pelagic ecosystem, we conducted seasonal cruises in 2010 to assess spatial heterogeneity among the mesozooplankton communities of Xiangshan Bay, a subtropical semi-enclosed bay in China. The evaluation included five different areas: a kelp farm, an oyster farm, a fish farm, the thermal discharge area of a power plant, and an artificial reef, and we aimed to identify whether anthropogenic activities dominated spatial variation in the mesozooplankton communities. The results demonstrated clear spatial heterogeneity among the mesozooplankton communities of the studied areas, dominantly driven by natural hydrographic properties, except in the area near the thermal discharge outlet of the power station. In the outlet area, thermal shock caused by the discharge influenced the mesozooplankton community by decreasing abundance and biomass throughout the four seasons, even causing a shift in the dominant species near the outlet during summer from Acartia pacifica to eurythermal and warm water taxa. Unique features of the mesozooplankton community in the oyster farm may be due to the combined effects of oyster culture and the natural environment in the branch harbour. However, kelp and fish culture, and the construction of an artificial reef did not exert any obvious influence on the mesozooplankton communities up to 2010, probably because of the small scale of the aquaculture and a time lag in the rehabilitation effects of the artificial reef. Thus, our results suggested that the dominant factors influencing spatial variations of mesozooplankton communities in Xiangshan Bay were still the natural hydrographic properties, but the thermal discharge was an anthropogenic activity that changed the pelagic ecosystem, and should be supervised.
We aimed to examine the contribution of blood lipids to the association between BMI and blood pressure (BP) in children with overweight and obesity. Data were collected in elementary and high schools of Chaoyang District, Beijing, China in 2012. Participants’ weight, height, BP and fasting plasma lipid profile were measured by standard protocols. Mediation analysis was used to examine the mediation role of blood lipids on the relation between BMI and BP, with age included as a covariate. We found that in boys 8·29 % (mediation effect=0·106, P=0·012) of the association between BMI and systolic BP was mediated through TAG. TAG mediated 12·53 % (mediation effect=0·093, P=0·018) and LDL-cholesterol mediated 7·75 % (mediation effect=0·57, P=0·046) of the association between BMI and diastolic BP was mediated by TAG and LDL-cholesterol, respectively. However, blood lipids did not show the mediation effect in girls. Our findings suggested that there was a sex difference in the contribution of blood lipids to the association between BMI and BP. Controlling TAG or LDL-cholesterol may be beneficial for reducing the risk of the BMI-related high BP in overweight boys; however, this outcome is not the case when controlling TAG or LDL-cholesterol in girls. This study may provide clues to explore the underlying mechanism of the association between obesity and hypertension.
To investigate natural enemies of emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), in northeastern China, we conducted field surveys of ash (Fraxinus Linnaeus (Oleaceae)) trees in semi-natural forests and plantations at variable EAB densities from 2008 to 2013. Our surveys revealed a complex of natural enemies including eight hymenopteran parasitoids and two apparently parasitic Coleoptera, woodpeckers, and several undetermined mortality factors. Parasitoid complex abundance and its contribution to EAB mortality varied with the time of year, type of ash stands, and geographic regions. The egg parasitoid Oobius agrili Zhang and Huang (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and the larval parasitoid Tetrastichus planipennisi Yang (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) were frequently observed in Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang provinces and in Beijing, but not in Tianjin. Spathius agrili Yang (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), however, was more prevalent near Beijing and further south in Tianjin. Larvae of two species of apparently parasitic beetle, Tenerus Laporte (Coleoptera: Cleridae) species and Xenoglena quadrisignata Mannerheim (Coleoptera: Trogossitidae), were also recovered attacking overwintering EAB in Liaoning Province, with Tenerus species being a dominant mortality agent (~13%). Our findings support the need to consider the geographic origin of insect natural enemies for EAB biocontrol, as well as an expanded foreign exploration for EAB natural enemies throughout its native range in Asia.
Increasing dietary Ca intake may prevent the excessive mobilisation of bone mineral in nursing mothers. We aimed to investigate whether higher Ca intake could positively modulate the bone mineral changes in Chinese postpartum lactating women. The study was a 12-month randomised, double-blinded, parallel group trial conducted over 12 months. A total of 150 postpartum women were randomly selected to receive either 40 g of milk powder containing 300 mg of Ca and 5 μg of vitamin D (Low-Ca group) or same milk powder additionally fortified with 300 mg of Ca (Mid-Ca group) or 600 mg of Ca (High-Ca group). Bone mineral density (BMD) for the whole body, the lumbar spine, the total left hip and its sub-regions was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. A total of 102 subjects completed the whole trial. The duration of total lactating time was 7·9 (sd 2·8) months on average. The intention-to-treat analysis yielded the following mean percentage changes in BMD for the whole body, the lumbar spine and the total left hip, respectively: −0·93 (sd 1·97), 2·11 (sd 4·90) and −1·60 (sd 2·65) % for the Low-Ca group; −0·56 (sd 1·89), 2·21 (sd 3·77) and −1·43 (sd 2·30) % for the Mid-Ca group; and −0·44 (sd 1·67), 2·32 (sd 4·66) and −0·95 (sd 4·08) % for the High-Ca group. The differences between the groups were not statistically significant (P: 0·5–0·9). The results of the complete case analysis were similar. In sum, we found no significant differences in the bone mineral changes from baseline to 12 months in postpartum lactating women consuming milk powder fortified with different levels of Ca.
Introduction: The mortality of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its associated risk factors among clinically definite PD patients in China has been rarely investigated. Our study aimed to identify the mortality rates and predictors of death in PD patients in China. Methods: 157 consecutive, clinically definite PD patients from the urban area of Shanghai were recruited from a central hospital based movement disorder clinic in 2006. All patients were regularly followed up at the clinic until December 31, 2011, or death. Mortality and associations with baseline demographics, health and medical factors were then determined within the cohort. Results: After 5 years, 11(7%) patients had died. The standardised mortality ratio was 0.62 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.07, P=0.104). The main causes of death were pneumonia (54.5%, 6/11) and digestive disorders (18.2%, 2/11), respectively. Age at onset, independent living, the mini mental state examination score, the Parkinson’s disease sleep scale score and the Epworth sleepiness scale score at baseline were statistically significantly different between the survival group and the deceased group (P<0.05). Across all participants, risk factors for death included low mini mental state examination score, and high Epworth sleepiness scale score according to a binary variable logistic regression analysis. Conclusions: This study confirms the similar survival of patients with PD to the control population up to a follow-up of 5 years. Interventions tailored to potential risk factors associated with death may offer further benefits.
Neurosyphilis (NS) may present with neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by cognitive impairment, personality disorders, and confusion, among others. Very few studies have focused on neuropsychiatric disorders secondary to NS in elderly people.
A retrospective chart review was performed to characterize the psychiatric findings, clinical signs and symptoms, laboratory findings, and brain magnetic resonance imaging results of ten elderly inpatients with NS.
In these ten patients, the most common presenting symptoms included a wide variety of psychiatric manifestations. The serum rapid plasma regain (RPR) and Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay (TPPA) of the ten patients were positive, with positive CSF TPPA and RPR rates of 100% and 60%, respectively. In addition, 90% of the patients demonstrated abnormal imaging, including cerebral atrophy, infarct ischemic stroke, and hydrocephalus.
Our findings support the importance of serological tests for syphilis as a routine component of the evaluation of patients with clinically evident neurological or psychiatric symptoms. If the serology is positive, all of the patients should be examined with a lumbar puncture. Moreover, psychiatric illnesses secondary to NS in the elderly also deserve medical attention.
Coproantigen test kits for Echinococcus spp. worms in dogs, designed for commercial use, were obtained from three different Chinese producers, and were compared with a laboratory kit using reagents from New Zealand. None of the three producers would provide details of their test validation. From a known set of dog faeces obtained at necropsy from infected and uninfected dogs, and from faeces collected from dogs necropsied in the field, results differed between the kits. For field material, the Tiankang kit showed the best specificity but lacked sensitivity. The Combined kit showed best sensitivity but lacked specificity. Results for the Haitai kit were intermediate. With samples from experimentally infected dogs, both the Haitai and Combined kits lacked sensitivity. Kits will need to be validated by the user before they can be relied on to predict progress in Echinococcus spp. control in China or in other countries.
The goal of this study was to determine the relationship between age and risk for depression among the old and the oldest old.
MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library database were used to identify potential studies. The studies were divided into cross-sectional and longitudinal subsets. For each study, the numbers of the total participants, cases (for cross-sectional study), or incident cases (for longitudinal study) of depression in each age group were extracted and entered into Review Manager 4.2 software. Qualitative meta-analyses of cross-sectional studies and of longitudinal studies were performed. For prevalence and incidence rates of depression, odds risk (OR) and relative risk (RR) were calculated, respectively.
The qualitative meta-analyses showed that, compared with younger participants (above vs. below 65 years, above vs. below 70 years, above vs. below 75 years, and above vs. below 80 years), older age groups had a significantly higher risk for depression. (All of the ORs and RRs were significant.) Compared with participants aged 55–89, those aged above 90 years had no higher risk for depression. (Neither the OR nor the RR was significant.)
Despite the methodological limitations of this meta-analysis, older age appears to be an important risk factor for depression in the general elderly population (aged below 80 years), but not in the oldest population (aged above 85 years).
Previous studies showed an inconsistent association of fruit and vegetable consumption with bone health. We assessed the associations in Chinese adolescents, young and postmenopausal women.
A cross-sectional study conducted in China during July 2009 to May 2010.
Bone mineral density (BMD) and content (BMC) at the whole body, lumbar spine and left hip were measured with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Dietary intakes were assessed using an FFQ. All these values were separately standardized into Z-scores in each population subgroup.
One hundred and ten boys and 112 girls (11–14 years), 371 young women (20–34 years, postpartum within 2 weeks) and 333 postmenopausal women (50–70 years).
After adjustment for potential covariates, analysis of covariance showed a significantly positive association between fruit intake and BMD and BMC in all participants combined (P-trend: < 0·001 to 0·002). BMD Z-score increased by 0·25 (or 2·1 % of the mean), 0·22 (3·5 %), 0·23 (3·0 %) and 0·25 (3·5 %), and BMC Z-score increased by 0·33 (5·7 %), 0·25 (5·8 %), 0·34 (5·9 %) and 0·29 (4·7 %), at the total body, lumbar spine, total hip and femoral neck in participants belonging to the top tertile compared with the bottom tertile of fruit intake (all P < 0·05), respectively. There was no significant association between vegetable intake and bone mass at all bone sites studied except for total body BMD (P = 0·030). Relatively more pronounced effects were observed in boys and postmenopausal women.
Our findings add to the existing evidence that fruits and vegetables may have a bone sparing effect.
Cytosol Ca2+ overload plays a vital role in ischemic neuronal damage, which is largely contributed by the Ca2+ influx through L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (L-VGCCs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) type glutamate receptors. In this article, L-VGCCs were activated by depolarization to investigate the cross-talk between NMDA receptors and L-VGCCs.
Depolarization was induced by 20 minutes incubation of 75 mM KCl in cultured rat cortical neuron. Apoptosis-like neuronal death was detected by DAPI staining. Tyrosine phosphorylation of NMDA receptor subunit 2A (NR2A), interactions of Src and NR2A were detected by immunoblot and immunoprecipitation.
Depolarization induced cortical neuron apoptosis-like cell death after 24 hours of restoration. The apoptosis was partially inhibited by 5 mM EGTA, 100 μM Cd2+, 10 μM nimodipine, 100 μM genistein, 20 μM MK-801, 2 μM PP2 and combined treatment of nimodipine and MK-801. NR2A tyrosine phosphorylation increased after depolarization, and the increase was inhibited by the drugs listed above. Moreover, non-receptor tyrosine kinase Src bound with NR2A after depolarization and restoration. The binding was also inhibited by the drugs listed above.
The results indicated that depolarization-induced neuronal death might be due to extracellular Ca2+ influx through L-VGCCs and subsequently Src activationmediated NR2A tyrosine phosphorylation.
The dimensionless thermoelectric figure-of-merit (ZT) in bulk materials has remained about 1 for many years. Here we show that a significant ZT improvement can be achieved in nanocrystalline bulk materials. These nanocrystalline bulk materials were made by hot-pressing nanopowders that are ball-milled from either crystalline ingots or elements. Electrical transport measurements, coupled with microstructure studies and modeling, show that the ZT improvement is the result of low thermal conductivity caused by the increased phonon scattering by grain boundaries and defects. More importantly, the nanostructure approach has been demonstrated in a few thermoelectric material systems, proving its generosity. The approach can be easily scaled up to multiple tons. Thermal stability studies have shown that the nanostructures are stable at the application temperature for an extended period of time. It is expected that such enhanced materials will make the existing cooling and power generation systems more efficient.
A recent report on the “room temperature superplasticity” in the Zr64.13Cu15.75Ni10.12Al10 bulk metallic glass [Y.H. Liu et al., Science315, 1385 (2007)] was ascribed to the distinctive micrometer-sized structural heterogeneity. To verify the microstructure in this alloy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and anomalous small-angle x-ray scattering experiments were conducted. The results show that no micrometer-sized or nanometer-sized structural heterogeneities can be found. The micrometer-sized dark and bright regions that were previously reported as the reason for the plasticity are artifacts caused by TEM specimen preparation, rather than the intrinsic structure feature of this alloy. This finding is important for further studying the unique properties of this alloy.
Twins could play a crucial role in our understanding of genetic contributions to numerous etiologically complex disorders. In China, although adult twins are relatively rare, twins will become increasingly available due to increasing twin birth rates. Thus, child twin data will be a valuable resource to contribute to the field of child and adolescent psychopathology. The first twin database of children aged from 6 to 16 was established in Chongqing, R.P., China. In this article, we will discuss our experiences in establishing the twin database, completed in three steps — the first step being to search and identify twins, the second being to keep contact with the twins and the final being to seek cooperation with the twin families, and its future prospects. Our twin database has proven to be an efficient method for the investigation and data collection of twin children in China. The results of our present study suggest that the inclusion of twin information in the residence registration of the public security bureaus in the future may ensure a smooth run of research based on the demographic resources. We propose that school networks may be adopted as the preferred method of collection of twin records for future studies.
The yellow-throated marten, Martes flavigula, is the only living species of the genus Martes found in subtropical and tropical forests (Harrison et al. 2004). It is distributed throughout central and southern Asia in a wide variety of habitats. Despite its extensive geographical range, the ecology and behaviour of this species has so far received little attention, aside from a study of habitat use (Grassman et al. 2005). Studies on other martens have shown that fruits are an important food resource (e.g. M. martes, Bermejo & Guitian 2000; M. foina, Pandolfi et al. 1996). Thus, they are considered to be important potential seed dispersers (Corlett 1998, Herrera 1989, Willson 1993), as confirmed by recent studies (M. melampus, Otani 2002; M. americana, Hickey et al. 1999; M. foina and M. martes, Schaumann & Heinken 2002). Although no systematic study of the diet of M. flavigula has been conducted (Harrison et al. 2004), it is known to be omnivorous and to consume fruit (Gao & Wang 1987). To date, however, there has been no comprehensive study of frugivory and seed dispersal by M. flavigula (but see Corlett 1998).
Genomic RNA was extracted from the subcutaneous adipose tissue of piglets (Duroc×Landrace×Tai-hu) at 1, 14, 28, 42 and 56 days of age, and obese gene (ob) mRNA was amplified using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). A DNA fragment of about 504 bp was obtained and the PCR product was cloned into a pGEM-T vector. The ob gene was isolated and sequenced from the positive clones screened. Sequence analysis suggested that this fragment was a partial sequence of ob cDNA, coding 167 amino acid residues, which constituted the major part of leptin mature protein. The gene homology of the fragment obtained in this study compared to the reported ob cDNA sequence in adipocytes of pig was 99.405%, and amino acid homology was 98.94%. Based on the ob gene clone, we successfully constructed an optimal semi-quantitative RT-PCR method. Using β-actin as the internal control, we investigated the difference of ob gene expression at different ages of piglets. Results showed that ob mRNA levels increased steadily at postnatal days 1–28 (preweaning), peaked at postnatal day 28, when piglets were weaned, and decreased from day 28 to 56.
The plant expression vector pCAMBIA1300-AtNHX1-als was constructed by inserting the herbicide resistance gene als of Arabidopsis thaliana into the plasmid pCAMBIA1300-AtNHX1, which contains the AtNHX1 gene encoding the Na+/H+ antiport from the vacuolar membrane of A. thaliana. Transgenic tobacco plants were obtained via Agrobacterium-mediated transformation. PCR and Southern blot assay indicated that genes als and AtNHX1 had been integrated into the genome of the transgenic plants. The herbicide resistance and salt tolerance of transgenic plants increased by about 1000-fold and by 1.5% NaCl concentration, respectively, compared with controls. Herbicide resistance of the T1 progeny was evaluated by spraying transgenic plants with different concentrations of Luhuanglong at the four-leaf stage. Controls gradually died under 100 mg/l Luhuanglong whereas 73% of the T1 plants still survived at 500 mg/l Luhuanglong. Thus the plant expression vector pCAMBIA1300-AtNHX1-als could be used to improve the herbicide resistance and salt tolerance of crops.