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The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is related to dopamine degradation and has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, how this gene affects brain function properties in MDD is still unclear.
Fifty patients with MDD and 35 cognitively normal participants underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. A voxelwise and data-drive global functional connectivity density (gFCD) analysis was used to investigate the main effects and the interactions of disease states and COMT rs4680 gene polymorphism on brain function.
We found significant group differences of the gFCD in bilateral fusiform area (FFA), post-central and pre-central cortex, left superior temporal gyrus (STG), rectal and superior temporal gyrus and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC); abnormal gFCDs in left STG were positively correlated with severity of depression in MDD group. Significant disease × COMT interaction effects were found in the bilateral calcarine gyrus, right vlPFC, hippocampus and thalamus, and left SFG and FFA. Further post-hoc tests showed a nonlinear modulation effect of COMT on gFCD in the development of MDD. Interestingly, an inverted U-shaped modulation was found in the prefrontal cortex (control system) but U-shaped modulations were found in the hippocampus, thalamus and occipital cortex (processing system).
Our study demonstrated nonlinear modulation of the interaction between COMT and depression on brain function. These findings expand our understanding of the COMT effect underlying the pathophysiology of MDD.
KRTAP8-1 was the initial high-glycine-tyrosine keratin-associated protein gene recognized in sheep, but little is known about the functional influence of this gene. The current study used polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism analysis to genotype KRTAP8-1 in 391 Southdown × Merino-cross sheep from six sire-lines. Five previously described variants (named A to E) of KRTAP8-1 were identified with frequencies of 67.0, 14.2, 7.0, 10.7 and 1.0%, respectively. Of the four variants (A, B, C and D) that occurred at a frequency greater than 5%, the presence of C was found to be associated with a reduction in mean fibre curvature (MFC) and the presence of D was associated with an increase in mean staple strength (MSS), whereas the presence of A had a trend of association with reduced MSS. Associations were not identified with other wool traits. These results suggest that variation in KRTAP8-1 affects MSS and MFC, and that KRTAP8-1 has the potential to be used as a genetic marker for improving these traits.
Two-dimensional particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations have been used to investigate the interaction between a laser pulse and a foil exposed to an external strong longitudinal magnetic field. Compared with that in the absence of the external magnetic field, the divergence of proton with the magnetic field in radiation pressure acceleration (RPA) regimes has improved remarkably due to the restriction of the electron transverse expansion. During the RPA process, the foil develops into a typical bubble-like shape resulting from the combined action of transversal ponderomotive force and instabilities. However, the foil prefers to be in a cone-like shape by using the magnetic field. The dependence of proton divergence on the strength of magnetic field has been studied, and an optimal magnetic field of nearly 60 kT is achieved in these simulations.
Keratins are the main structural proteins of wool fibres, and it is thought that variation in the keratins may affect wool fibre characteristics. Polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) analyses were used to investigate four regions of the ovine keratin gene KRT31 including a portion of the promoter, the exon 1, exon 3 and exon 7 regions. Initially, in a screening panel of 300 New Zealand Romney, Merino and White Dorper sheep obtained from 26 farms, three, two, two and two PCR-SSCP banding patterns were observed for these four regions, respectively. The promoter region, the exon 1 and exon 3 regions contained two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and the exon 7 region contained one SNP. The effect of the variation found in the promoter region on wool traits was subsequently investigated in 485 Southdown × Merino-cross lambs from seven sire-lines. The three variants identified in the original 300 sheep (named A, B and C) were observed with frequencies of 56, 29 and 15%, respectively. The presence of A and B had no significant effect on wool traits, but the presence of C was found to be associated with an increase in greasy fleece weight (GFW), clean fleece weight (CFW) and mean staple length (MSL). There was an effect of genotype on CFW and MSL, with BC sheep producing wool of higher CFW and MSL than AA, AB, AC and BB sheep. These results suggest that ovine KRT31 might be a useful candidate gene for improving wool traits.
Hepatitis E is an important zoonosis that is prevalent in China. Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a pathogen that affects humans and animals and endangers public health in China. In this study, the detection of HEV epidemics in swine in Sichuan Province, China, was carried out by nested real-time PCR. A total of 174 stool samples and 160 bile samples from swine in Sichuan Province were examined. In addition, software was used to analyse the biological evolution of HEV. The results showed that within 2 years of swine HEV (SHEV) infection in China, SHEV was first detected in Sichuan Province. HEV was endemic in Sichuan; the positive rate for pig farms was 11.1%, and the total positive sample rate was 10.5%. The age of swine with the highest positive rate (17.9%) was 5–9 weeks. The examined swine species in order of highest to lowest HEV infection rates were Chenghua pig, Large White, Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Hampshire. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence analysis showed that the HEV epidemic in swine in Sichuan Province was related to genotype IV, which had the highest homology to HEV in Beijing. Sichuan strains have greater variation than Chinese representative strains, which may indicate the presence of new HEV strains.
To investigate the morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique computed tomography images.
The computed tomography temporal bone scans of 112 patients were retrospectively evaluated. Midpoint and opercular measurements were performed using axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images. Morphometric analyses were also conducted. The vestibular aqueduct sizes on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images were compared.
At the midpoint, the mean (± standard deviation) vestibular aqueduct measured 0.61 ± 0.23 mm, 0.74 ± 0.27 mm and 0.82 ± 0.38 mm on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the vestibular aqueduct measured 0.91 ± 0.30 mm, 1.11 ± 0.45 mm and 1.66 ± 1.07 mm on the respective images. The co-efficients of variation of the vestibular aqueduct measured at the midpoint were 37.4 per cent, 36.5 per cent and 47.5 per cent on axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images, respectively; at the operculum, the measurements were 33.0 per cent, 40.5 per cent and 64.5 per cent. Regarding morphology, the vestibular aqueduct was fissured (33.5 per cent), tubular (64.3 per cent) or invisible (2.2 per cent).
The morphology and dimensions of the vestibular aqueduct were highly variable among axial, single-oblique and double-oblique images.
Keratin-associated proteins (KAPs) are constituents of wool and hair fibres and are believed to play an important role in determining the characteristics of the fibres. In the current study, a polymerase chain reaction-single stranded conformational polymorphism (PCR-SSCP) approach was used to screen for variation in the ovine KAP15-1 gene (KRTAP15-1). Four PCR-SSCP banding patterns, representing four different variants (named A to D), were detected. Four single nucleotide polymorphisms were found within the coding region and three of these were non-synonymous. The effect of this genetic variation on wool traits was investigated in 396 Merino × Southdown-cross sheep. Of the three variants found in these sheep (A, B and C), the presence of B was found to be associated with decreased wool yield, while C was associated with increased wool yield and decreased fibre diameter standard deviation. Sheep of genotype AC had a higher wool yield than those of genotype AA or AB.
Hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) is an acute infectious disease caused by serotypes of the enterovirus (EV) family. HFMD reinfection occurs commonly in lack of cross-protection between different EV serotypes. In this study, we investigated the hazards of HFMD reinfection using Cox-proportional hazard model. Retrospective data of 95 209 HFMD cases in Wuhan during 2008–2015 was used. Kaplan–Meier survival methods and Cox-proportional hazard model were used to estimate the hazard probabilities. Of the all HFMD cases, about 2% experienced reinfection (1842/95 209). Kaplan–Meier curves revealed the reinfection risk sharply increased before 40 months from first infection. Higher hazards of reinfection were detected among those who were males, aged 3 years and below, scattered children, belonging to urban areas and first infected with coxsackievirus (CV)-A16 compared with their respective counterparts. Cox-proportional hazard model suggested that gender, age, group, living area and serotypes of first infection had significant effect on reinfection even after adjusting for potential confounding effects of other selected factors considered in the study. These results indicate that boys aged 3 years and below, especially those living in urban areas and first infected with CV-A16 are more prone to reinfection. Interventions should be imposed on these high-risk populations.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) participate in diverse physiological processes in insects, and HSP70 is one of the most highly conserved proteins in the HSP family. In this study, full-length cDNAs of three HSP70 genes (Lthsc70, Lthsp701, and Lthsp702) were cloned and characterized from Liriomyza trifolii, an important invasive pest of vegetable crops and horticultural crops worldwide. These three HSP70s exhibited signature sequences and motifs that are typical of the HSP70 family. The expression patterns of the three Lthsp70s during temperature stress and in different insect development stages were studied by real-time quantitative PCR. Lthsp701 was strongly induced by high- and low-temperature stress, but Lthsc70 and Lthsp702 were not very sensitive to temperature changes. All three Lthsp70s were expressed during insect development stages, but the expression patterns were quite different. The expression of Lthsc70 and Lthsp702 showed significant differences in expression during leafminer development; Lthsc70 was most highly expressed in female adults, whereas Lthsp702 was abundantly expressed in larvae and prepupae. Lthsp701 expression was not significantly different among leafminer stages. These results suggest that functional differentiation within the LtHSP70 subfamily has occurred in response to thermal stress and insect development.
The objectives of this study were to determine the effect and mode of action of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (YST2) on enteric methane (CH4) mitigation in pigs. A total of 12 Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire male finisher pigs (60±1 kg), housed individually in open-circuit respiration chambers, were randomly assigned to two dietary groups: a basal diet (control); and a basal diet supplemented with 3 g/YST2 (1.8×1010 live cells/g) per kg diet. At the end of 32-day experiment, pigs were sacrificed and redox potential (Eh), pH, volatile fatty acid concentration, densities of methanogens and acetogens, and expression of methyl coenzyme-M reductase subunit A gene were determined in digesta contents from the cecum, colon and rectum. Results showed that S. cerevisiae YST2 decreased (P<0.05) the average daily enteric CH4 production by 25.3%, lowered the pH value from 6.99 to 6.69 in the rectum, and increased the Eh value in cecum and colon by up to −55 mV (P<0.05). Fermentation patterns were also altered by supplementation of YST2 as reflected by the lower acetate, and higher propionate molar proportion in the cecum and colon (P<0.05), resulting in lower acetate : propionate ratio (P<0.05). Moreover, there was a 61% decrease in Methanobrevibacter species in the upper colon (P<0.05) and a 19% increase in the acetogen community in the cecum (P<0.05) of treated pigs. Results of our study concluded that supplementation of S. cerevisiae YST2 at 3 g/kg substantially decreased enteric CH4 production in pigs.
A new trajectory tracking control approach for an under-actuated stratospheric airship is proposed. There is a two-level structure of the proposed controller. A low-level controller based on non-linear vectorial backstepping method, with the rigid-body dynamics expressed on vector form, stabilises the attitude and velocity of the airship, while a high-level controller performs guidance and trajectory tracking task in the three-dimensional (3D) space. Furthermore, a control allocation module based on the active set algorithm is incorporated into the low-level controller to optimise the practical control inputs under constraints of actuator saturation. The closed-loop trajectory tracking control plant is proved to be globally exponentially stable through the Lyapunov theory. Finally, simulations show that the vectorial backstepping trajectory tracking controller can achieve desired tracking performances even if the airship is affected by parametric uncertainties and exogenous disturbances.
Studies of schizophrenia at drug-naive state and on antipsychotic medication have reported a number of regions of gray-matter (GM) abnormalities but the reports have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to conduct multimodal meta-analysis to compare the cross-sectional voxel-based morphometry studies of brain GM in antipsychotic-naive first-episode schizophrenia (AN-FES) and those with antipsychotic treatment within 1 year (AT-FES) to determine the similarities and differences in these groups. We conducted two separate meta-analyses containing 24 studies with a sample size of 801 patients and 957 healthy controls. A multimodal meta-analysis method was used to compare the findings between AN-FES and AT-FES. Meta-regression analyses were done to determine the influence of different variables including age, duration of illness, and positive and negative symptom scores. Finally, jack-knife analyses were done to test the robustness of the results. AN-FES and AT-FES showed common patterns of GM abnormalities in frontal (gyrus rectus), superior temporal, left hippocampal and insular cortex. GM in the left supramarginal gyrus and left middle temporal gyrus were found to be increased in AN-FES but decreased in AT-FES, whereas left median cingulate/paracingulate gyri and right hippocampus GM was decreased in AN-FES but increased in AT-FES. Findings suggest that both AN-FES and AT-FES share frontal, temporal and insular regions as common anatomical regions to be affected indicating these to be the primary regions of GM abnormalities in both groups.
Vector-borne diseases are one of the world's major public health threats and annually responsible for 30–50% of deaths reported to the national notifiable disease system in China. To control vector-borne diseases, a unified, effective and economic surveillance system is urgently needed; all of the current surveillance systems in China waste resources and/or information. Here, we review some current surveillance systems and present a concept for an integrated surveillance system combining existing vector and vector-borne disease monitoring systems. The integrated surveillance system has been tested in pilot programmes in China and led to a 21·6% cost saving in rodent-borne disease surveillance. We share some experiences gained from these programmes.
While Liriomyza sativae (Diptera: Agromyzidae), an important invasive pest of ornamentals and vegetables has been found in China for the past two decades, few studies have focused on its genetics or route of invasive. In this study, we collected 288 L. sativae individuals across 12 provinces to explore its population genetic structure and migration patterns in China using seven microsatellites. We found relatively low levels of genetic diversity but moderate population genetic structure (0.05 < FST < 0.15) in L. sativae from China. All populations deviated significantly from the Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium due to heterozygote deficiency. Molecular variance analysis revealed that more than 89% of variation was among samples within populations. A UPGMA dendrogram revealed that SH and GXNN populations formed one cluster separate from the other populations, which is in accordance with STRUCTURE and GENELAND analyses. A Mantel test indicated that genetic distance was not correlated to geographic distance (r = −0.0814, P = 0.7610), coupled with high levels of gene flow (M = 40.1–817.7), suggesting a possible anthropogenic influence on the spread of L. sativae in China and on the effect of hosts. The trend of asymmetrical gene flow was from southern to northern populations in general and did not exhibit a Bridgehead effect during the course of invasion, as can be seen by the low genetic diversity of southern populations.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has become a global public health problem. Many studies have been conducted to identify risk factors for HCV infection. However, some of these studies reported inconsistent results. Using data collected from 11 methadone clinics, we fit both a non-spatial logistical regression and a geographically weighted logistic regression to analyse the association between HCV infection and some factors at the individual level. This study enrolled 5401 patients with 30·0% HCV infection prevalence. The non-spatial logistical regression found that injection history, drug rehabilitation history and senior high-school education or above were related to HCV infection; and being married was negatively associated with HCV infection. Using the spatial model, we found that Yi ethnicity was negatively related to HCV infection in 62·0% of townships, and being married was negatively associated with HCV infection in 81·0% of townships. Senior high-school education or above was positively associated with HCV infection in 55·2% of townships of the Yi Autonomous Prefecture. The spatial model offers better understanding of the geographical variations of the risk factors associated with HCV infection. The geographical variations may be useful for customizing intervention strategies for local regions for more efficient allocation of limited resources to control transmission of HCV.
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) has been prevalent for some time in China and it was first identified in 2010. However, the seroprevalence of SFTSV in the general population in southeastern China and risk factors associated with the infection are currently unclear. Blood samples were collected from seven counties across Zhejiang province and tested for the presence of SFTSV-specific IgG antibodies by ELISA. A total of 1380 blood samples were collected of which 5·51% were seropositive for SFTSV with seroprevalence varying significantly between sites. Seroprevalence of SFTSV in people who were family members of the patient, lived in the same village as the patient, or lived in a different village than the patient varied significantly. There was significant difference in seroprevalence between participants who bred domestic animals and participants who did not. Domestic animals are probably potential reservoir hosts and contact with domestic animals may be a transmission route of SFTSV.
Schizophrenia (SCZ) and psychotic bipolar disorder (PBD) share considerable overlap in clinical features, genetic risk factors and co-occurrence among relatives. The common and unique functional cerebral deficits in these disorders, and in unaffected relatives, remain to be identified.
A total of 59 healthy controls, 37 SCZ and 57 PBD probands and their unaffected first-degree relatives (38 and 28, respectively) were studied using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rfMRI). Regional cerebral function was evaluated by measuring the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF). Areas with ALFF alterations were used as seeds in whole-brain functional connectivity analysis. We then tested whether abnormalities identified in probands were present in unaffected relatives.
SCZ and PBD probands both demonstrated regional hypoactivity in the orbital frontal cortex and cingulate gyrus, as well as abnormal connectivity within striatal-thalamo-cortical networks. SCZ probands showed greater and more widely distributed ALFF alterations including the thalamus and bilateral parahippocampal gyri. Increased parahippocampal ALFF was related to positive symptoms and cognitive deficit. PBD patients showed uniquely increased functional connectivity between the thalamus and bilateral insula. Only PBD relatives showed abnormal connectivity within striatal-thalamo-cortical networks seen in both proband groups.
The present findings reveal a common pattern of deficits in frontostriatal circuitry across SCZ and PBD, and unique regional and functional connectivity abnormalities that distinguish them. The abnormal network connectivity in PBD relatives that was present in both proband groups may reflect genetic susceptibility associated with risk for psychosis, but within-family associations of this measure were not high.
Because cerebral morphological abnormalities in major depressive disorder (MDD) may be modulated by antidepressant treatment, inclusion of medicated patients may have biased previous meta-analyses of voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies. A meta-analysis of VBM studies on medication-free MDD patients should be able to distinguish the morphological features of the disease itself from those of treatment.
A systematic search was conducted for the relevant studies. Effect-size signed differential mapping was applied to analyse the grey matter differences between all medication-free MDD patients and healthy controls. Meta-regression was used to explore the effects of demographics and clinical characteristics.
A total of 14 datasets comprising 400 medication-free MDD patients and 424 healthy controls met the inclusion criteria. The pooled meta-analysis and subgroup meta-analyses showed robustly reduced grey matter in prefrontal and limbic regions in MDD. Increased right thalamus volume was only seen in first-episode medication-naive patients, and increased grey matter in the bilateral anterior cingulate cortex only in medication wash-out patients. In meta-regression analyses the percentage of female patients in each study was negatively correlated with reduced grey matter in the right hippocampus.
By excluding interference from medication effects, the present study identified grey matter reduction in the prefrontal–limbic network in MDD. The subgroup meta-analysis results suggest that an increased right thalamus volume might be a trait directly related to MDD, while an increased anterior cingulate cortex volume might be an effect of medication. The meta-regression results perhaps reveal the structural underpinning of the sex differences in epidemiological and clinical aspects of MDD.
Alterations in gray matter (GM) are commonly observed in schizophrenia. Accumulating studies suggest that the brain changes associated with schizophrenia are distributed rather than focal, involving interconnected networks of areas as opposed to single regions. In the current study we aimed to explore GM volume (GMV) changes in a relatively large sample of treatment-naive first-episode schizophrenia (FES) patients using optimized voxel-based morphometry (VBM) and covariation analysis.
High-resolution T1-weighted images were obtained using 3.0-T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) from 86 first-episode drug-naive patients with schizophrenia and 86 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers. Symptom severity was evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). GMV was assessed using optimized VBM and in 16 regions of interest (ROIs), selected on the basis of a previous meta-analysis. The relationships between GMVs in the ROIs were examined using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The VBM analysis revealed that first-episode patients showed reduced GMV in the hippocampus bilaterally. The ROI analysis identified reductions in GMV in the left inferior frontal gyrus, bilateral hippocampus and right thalamus. The ANCOVA revealed different patterns of regional GMV correlations in patients and controls, including of inter- and intra-insula, inter-amygdala and insula–postcentral gyrus connections.
Schizophrenia involves regional reductions in GMV and changes in GMV covariance in the insula, amygdala and postcentral gyrus. These findings were evident at the onset of the disorder, before treatment, and therefore cannot be attributable to the effects of chronic illness progression or medication.