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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.
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.
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.
Convergent studies have highlighted the dysfunction of the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, only a few studies have investigated the functional connectivity between brain regions in PTSD patients during the resting state, which may improve our understanding of the neuropathophysiology of PTSD. The aim of this study was to investigate patterns of whole-brain functional connectivity in treatment-naive PTSD patients without co-morbid conditions who experienced the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in the Sichuan province of China.
A total of 72 PTSD patients and 86 trauma-exposed non-PTSD controls participated in the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study. All these subjects were recruited from the disaster zone of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Functional connectivities between 90 paired brain regions in PTSD patients were compared with those in trauma-exposed non-PTSD controls. Furthermore, Pearson correlation analysis was performed between significantly abnormal connectivities in PTSD patients and their clinician-administered PTSD scale (CAPS) scores.
Compared with non-PTSD controls, PTSD patients showed weaker positive connectivities between the middle prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and the amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus and rectus, as well as between the inferior orbitofrontal cortex and the hippocampus. In addition, PTSD patients showed stronger negative connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and the insula. The CAPS scores in PTSD patients correlated negatively with the connectivity between the amygdala and the mPFC.
PTSD patients showed abnormalities in whole-brain functional connectivity, primarily affecting the connectivities between the mPFC and limbic system, and connectivity between the PCC and insula.
Gattini and CSTAR have been installed at Dome A, Antarctica, which provide time-series photometric data for a large number of pulsating variable stars. We present the study for several variable stars with the data collected with the two facilities in 2009 to demonstrate the scientific potential of observations from Dome A for asteroseismology.
The current trends in stimulated Brillouin scattering and optical phase conjugation are overviewed. This report is formed by the selected papers presented in the “Fifth International Workshop on stimulated Brillouin scattering and phase conjugation 2010” in Japan. The nonlinear properties of phase conjugation based on stimulated Brillouin scattering and photo-refraction can compensate phase distortions in the high power laser systems, and they will also open up potentially novel laser technologies, e.g., phase stabilization, beam combination, pulse compression, ultrafast pulse shaping, and arbitrary waveform generation.
The Wenchuan earthquake was a catastrophic earthquake in China. The aim of this study is to explore longitudinally the rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in adolescents after the Wenchuan earthquake, and to identify independent predictors of PTSD.
PTSD and depression symptoms among adolescents at 6, 12 and 18 months after the Wenchuan earthquake were investigated using the PTSD Checklist Civilian Version and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Subjects in this study included 548 high school student survivors in a local boarding high school.
The rates of PTSD symptoms were 9.7%, 1.3% and 1.6% at the 6-, 12- and 18-month follow-ups, respectively. BDI scores were found to be the best predictor of severity of PTSD at 6, 12 and 18 months. Gender was another variable contributing significantly to PTSD at 6 and 12 months after the earthquake. In the 12-month follow-up, home damage was found to be a predictor of severity of PTSD symptoms. Being a child with siblings was found to be a predictor of severity of PTSD symptoms at 12 and 18 months after the earthquake.
PTSD symptoms changed gradually at various stages after the earthquake. Depression symptoms were predictive of PTSD symptoms in the 18-month follow-up study. Other predictors of PTSD symptoms included female gender and being a child with siblings. The results of this study may be helpful for further mental health interventions for adolescents after earthquakes.
A simple and effective method is presented to fabricate
surface-roughened InGaN/GaN-based light emitting diodes (LEDs) epistructure
using annealing-formed, random-distributed Au particle arrays as dry etching
mask. The shapes of GaN nanoislands, with horizontal diameters of 100–500 nm and vertical depths up to 140 nm, are determined by Au mask particles.
Importantly, this roughened surface exhibits strong photoluminescence (PL)
light-output enhancement by a factor of more than 1.6 orders of magnitude.
This method will put forward new promising applications in the
electroluminescent devices, especially in solid state lighting.
PLATO is a fully-robotic observatory designed for operation in
Antarctica. It generates its own electricity (about 1 kW), heat
(sufficient to keep two 10-foot shipping containers comfortably above
0°C when the outside temperature is at -70°C), and
connects to the internet using the Iridium satellite system (providing
~30 MB/day of data transfer). Following a successful first year of
operation at Dome A during 2008, PLATO was upgraded with
new instruments for 2009.
In January 2005, members of a Chinese expedition team were the first
humans to visit Dome A on the Antarctic plateau, a site
predicted to be one of the very best astronomical sites on earth. In 2006, the Chinese Center for Antarctic Astronomy (CCAA) was founded
to promote the development of astronomy in Antarctica, especially at
Dome A. CCAA has since taken part in two traverses to Dome A, organized
by the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIC), in the austral
summers of 2007/2008 and 2008/2009. These traverses resulted in the
installation of many site-testing and science instruments, supported
by the PLATO observatory. The Chinese Small Telescope ARray (CSTAR)
has produced excellent results from Dome A. Our future plans include further site-testing work, and the following
full-scale science instruments: three 0.5-m Antarctic Schmidt
Telescopes (AST3), and a proposed 4-m telescope for wide-field
infrared high spatial-resolution surveys. The first AST3 telescope is
under construction and is scheduled for installation in 2011.
The THz spectral region includes a number of important transitions which
allow us to trace the evolution of the interstellar medium. Because of the
opacity of the atmosphere in this spectral range, the best sites for
ground-based THz observations are on the Antarctic Plateau; of these sites,
Dome A is expected to be the best. THz survey science can be carried out
with small telescopes, easing logistical constraints. By deploying a
submillimetre-wave tipper/ telescope to Dome A, we have trialled several
technologies for such an instrument, and we are able to test whether the
site quality is sufficient for THz surveys.
PLATO is a 6 tonne completely self-contained robotic observatory that provides its own heat, electricity, and satellite communications. It was deployed to Dome A in Antarctica in January 2008 by the Chinese expedition team, and is now in its second year of operation. PLATO is operating four 14.5cm optical telescopes with 1k × 1k CCDs, a wide-field sky camera with a 2k × 2k CCD and Sloan g, r, i filters, a fibre-fed spectrograph to measure the UV to near-IR sky spectrum, a 0.2m terahertz telescope, two sonic radars giving 1m resolution data on the boundary layer to a height of 180m, a 15m tower, meteorological sensors, and 8 web cameras. Beginning in 2010/11 PLATO will be upgraded to support a Multi Aperture Scintillation Sensor and three AST3 0.5m schmidt telescopes, with 10k × 10 CCDs and 100TB/annum data requirements.