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Developing alternatives to antibiotics is an urgent need in livestock production. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are regarded as powerful antibiotic substitutes (ASs) because AMPs have broad-spectrum antimicrobial activities and growth-promoting ability. Here, we aimed to comprehensively assess the effects of AMPs on the growth performance, diarrhea rate, intestinal morphology and immunity of healthy or challenged piglets, compared with an antibiotics group or negative control group. We performed a set of meta-analyses of feeding trials from database inception to 27 May 2019. Among the 1379 identified studies, 20 were included in our meta-analyses (56 arms and 4067 piglets). The meta-analyses revealed that (1) compared with the negative control group, AMPs significantly improved the healthy piglets’ average daily gain (ADG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), gain : feed ratio (G/F), levels of immune globulin (Ig) IgM and IgG, and intestinal villus height : crypt depth ratio (V/C) (P < 0.05). Meanwhile, AMPs significantly increased the challenged piglets’ ADG, ADFI, G/F and V/C of the jejunum and ileum, and notably deceased the diarrhea rate (P < 0.05); (2) compared with antibiotics group, the effects of AMPs were slightly weaker than those of antibiotics in the healthy piglets, but AMPs have similar effects to those of antibiotics in challenged piglets. In a higher purity, the optimal dose of AMPs may be approximately 0.01%. Our findings indicate that AMPs can improve piglet growth performance, enhance immunity, benefit intestinal morphology and decrease the diarrheal rate. AMPs could be great ASs especially under infection conditions.
Antibiotics are designed to affect gut microbiota and subsequently gut homeostasis. However, limited information exists about short- and long-term effects of early antibiotic intervention (EAI) on gut homeostasis (especially for the small intestine) of pigs following antibiotic withdrawal. We investigated the impact of EAI on specific bacterial communities, microbial metabolites and mucosal immune parameters in the small intestine of later-growth-stage pigs fed with diets differing in CP levels. Eighteen litters of piglets were fed creep feed with or without antibiotics from day 7 to day 42. At day 42, pigs within each group were offered a normal- or low-CP diet. Five pigs per group were slaughtered at days 77 and 120. At day 77, EAI increased Enterobacteriaceae counts in the jejunum and ileum and decreased Bifidobacterium counts in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). Moreover, tryptamine, putrescine, secretory immunoglobulin (Ig) A and IgG concentrations in the ileum and interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA and protein levels in the jejunum and ileum were decreased in pigs with EAI (P < 0.05). At day 120, EAI only suppressed Clostridium cluster XIVa counts in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). These results suggest that EAI has a short-term effect on specific bacterial communities, amino acid decarboxylation and mucosal immune parameters in the small intestine (particularly in the ileum). At days 77 and 120, feeding a low-CP diet affected Bifidobacterium, Clostridium cluster IV, Clostridium cluster XIVa and Enterobacteriaceae counts in the jejunum or ileum (P < 0.05). Moreover, feeding a low-CP diet increased the concentrations of Igs in the jejunum and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines levels in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). At day 120, feeding a low-CP diet increased short-chain fatty acid concentrations, reduced ammonia and spermidine concentrations and up-regulated genes related to barrier function in the jejunum and ileum (P < 0.05). These results suggest that feeding a low-CP diet changes specific bacterial communities and intestinal metabolite concentrations and modifies mucosal immune parameters. These findings contribute to our understanding on the duration of the impact of EAI on gut homeostasis and may provide basis data for nutritional modification in young pigs after antibiotic treatment.
Although numerous studies have investigated the individual effects of salinity, irrigation and fertilization on soil microbial communities, relatively less attention has been paid to their combined influences, especially using molecular techniques. Based on the field of orthogonal designed test and deoxyribonucleic acid sequencing technology, the effects of saline water irrigation amount, salinity level of irrigation water and nitrogen (N) fertilizer rate on soil bacterial community structure were investigated. The results showed that the irrigation amount was the most dominant factor in determining the bacterial richness and diversity, followed by the irrigation water salinity and N fertilizer rate. The values of Chao1 estimator, abundance-based coverage estimator and Shannon indices decreased with an increase in irrigation amount while increased and then decreased with an increase in irrigation water salinity and N fertilizer rate. The highest soil bacterial richness and diversity were obtained under the least irrigation amount (25 mm), medium irrigation water salinity (4.75 dS/m) and medium N fertilizer rate (350 kg/ha). However, different bacterial phyla were found to respond distinctively to these three factors: irrigation amount significantly affected the relative abundances of Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi; irrigation water salinity mostly affected the members of Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes and Acidobacteria; and N fertilizer rate mainly influenced the Bacteroidetes' abundance. The results presented here revealed that the assessment of soil microbial processes under combined irrigation and fertilization treatments needed to be more careful as more variable consequences would be established by comparing with the influences based on an individual factor, such as irrigation amount or N fertilizer rate.
Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
Some studies have shown that the excessive metabolic heat production is the primary cause for dead chicken embryos during late embryonic development. Increasing heat shock protein (HSP) expression and adjusting metabolism are important ways to maintain body homeostasis under heat stress. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of in ovo injection (IOI) of vitamin C (VC) at embryonic age 11th day (E11) on HSP and metabolic genes expression. A total of 320 breeder eggs were randomly divided into normal saline and VC injection groups. We detected plasma VC content and rectal temperature at chick’s age 1st day, and the mRNA levels of HSP and metabolic genes in embryonic livers at E14, 16 and 18, analysed the promoter methylation levels of differentially expressed genes and predicted transcription factors at the promoter regions. The results showed that IOI of VC significantly increased plasma VC content and decreased rectal temperature (P < 0.05). In ovo injection of VC significantly increased heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4) genes expression at E16 and PDK4 and secreted frizzled related protein 1 (SFRP1) at E18 (P < 0.05). At E16, IOI of VC significantly decreased the methylation levels of total CpG sites and −336 CpG site in HSP60 promoter and −1137 CpG site in PDK4 promoter (P < 0.05). Potential binding sites for nuclear factor-1 were found around −389 and −336 CpG sites in HSP60 promoter and potential binding site for specificity protein 1 was found around −1137 CpG site in PDK4 promoter. Our results suggested that IOI of VC increased HSP60, PDK4 and SFRP1 genes expression at E16 and 18, which may be associated with the demethylation in gene promoters. Whether IOI of VC could improve hatchability needs to be further verified by setting uninjection group.
Force-feeding was considered as a traditional high-efficiency approach to improve growth performance and accelerate fat deposition of Pekin ducks. However, force-feeding is a serious violation of international advocacy on animal welfare, because it can induce serious injuries to animals, such as damages to the digestive tract, effects on immunity and even severe oxidative stress. Therefore, it is urgent to stop force-feeding. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of force feeding on immune function, digestive function and oxidative stress in the mucosa of duodenum and jejunum of Pekin ducks. A total of 500 ducks were randomly divided into two groups. The control group was allowed to feed freely on a basal diet. The experimental group was force-fed by inserting a plastic feeding tube 8 to 10 inches long down the esophagus for 6 days. Compared with the control group, there was a significant (P<0.05) increase in serum diamine oxidase, d-lactic acid, endotoxin and corticosterone levels in the force-feeding group. The crypt depth in duodenum and jejunum showed significant differences (P<0.05) between the two groups and the intestinal villus epithelium cell was severely damaged in force-feeding group. Similarly, the activities of digestive enzymes as well as the levels of immune function in the duodenal and jejunal mucosa in the force-feeding group were significantly higher than the control group (P<0.05). However, there was a significant decrease in the superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and catalase levels with a marked increase in malondialdehyde level in duodenal and jejunal mucosa (P<0.05). In summary, at the end of the fattening period with force-feeding for 6 days, Pekin ducks experienced an adverse effect on the integrity of their duodenal and jejunal mucosa epithelium cell as well as their immune function and antioxidant capacity of Pekin ducks but also had improvement in digestive enzyme activities.
A new generation of high power laser facilities will provide laser pulses with extremely high powers of 10 petawatt (PW) and even 100 PW, capable of reaching intensities of
in the laser focus. These ultra-high intensities are nevertheless lower than the Schwinger intensity
at which the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) predicts that a large part of the energy of the laser photons will be transformed to hard Gamma-ray photons and even to matter, via electron–positron pair production. To enable the investigation of this physics at the intensities achievable with the next generation of high power laser facilities, an approach involving the interaction of two colliding PW laser pulses is being adopted. Theoretical simulations predict strong QED effects with colliding laser pulses of
focused to intensities
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.
The distribution of human papillomaviruses (HPVs) must be understood for the control and prevention of cervical cancer. Community-based Papanicolaou and HPV DNA tests were performed on 41 578 women. The prevalences of HPV genotypes 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 66 and 68 were assessed. In total, 10% women were infected/co-infected by these HPVs. The infection rate increased from 7.1% in women aged ⩽30 years to 10.4% in those aged 50–60 years, and then decreased slightly to 9.9% in those aged >60 years. The HPV 16 and 58 positivity rates were significantly higher among women with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs) than among those with cervicitis/negativity for intraepithelial lesion or malignancy (NILM) or low-grade SILs (LSILs). The HPV 18, 52 and 68 infection rates were significantly lower in women with HSILs than in those with NILM or LSILs. The proportion of women infected by multiple HPV strains was higher among those with HSILs. The proportions of the five most common genotypes, HPV 16, 18, 33, 52 and 58, increased with the number of co-infecting strains. HPV 16 and 58 were the high-risk HPVs in the Shanghai community and should be the focus in HPV screening and vaccination.
Plant nitrogen (N) links with many physiological progresses of crop growth and yield formation. Accurate simulation is key to predict crop growth and yield correctly. The aim of the current study was to improve the estimation of N uptake and translocation processes in the whole rice plant as well as within plant organs in the RiceGrow model by using plant and organ maximum, critical and minimum N dilution curves. The maximum and critical N (Nc) demand (obtained from the maximum and critical curves) of shoot and root and Nc demand of organs (leaf, stem and panicle) are calculated by N concentration and biomass. Nitrogen distribution among organs is computed differently pre- and post-anthesis. Pre-anthesis distribution is determined by maximum N demand with no priority among organs. In post-anthesis distribution, panicle demands are met first and then the remaining N is allocated to other organs without priority. The amount of plant N uptake depends on plant N demand and N supplied by the soil. Calibration and validation of the established model were performed on field experiments conducted in China and the Philippines with varied N rates and N split applications; results showed that this improved model can simulate the processes of N uptake and translocation well.
Vessel flexure can be triggered naturally by surgical operation, heart pulsation and body movement. It may affect the mechanical behavior of the stent and the existence of a stent may in turn cause vessel injury. In the present study, the finite element method is employed to study the interaction between stent and vessel during vessel flexure. Two- and four-link stents made of stainless steel 316L and magnesium alloy WE43 are considered. Results indicate that longitudinal deformation of the stent can be caused by vessel flexure, and the higher levels of stress exist in the link struts. The existence of the stent could induce significant stress concentration and straightened deformation on vessel wall in the course of vessel flexure. Stents with more links or made of harder materials show greater anti-deformation capability, thus inducing a more severe stress concentration and straightened deformation on the vessel wall. The bending direction also affects the mechanical performance of the vessel-stent system. The results obtained could provide useful information for better stent designs and clinical decisions.
To investigate the effects of soybean isoflavone (SI) on immunity in infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV)-infected broilers, chicks were fed the same basal diet supplemented with 0 (non-infected control), 0 (infected control), 10, 20 or 40 mg/kg SI for 44 days. At 21 days old, chickens were inoculated with bursal infectious dose causing 50% morbidity of the IBDV BC 6/85 strain by the eye-drop and nasal route (except for non-infected controls). Results showed that, over 1–23 days post-infection (dpi), there was a significant interaction between SI supplementation level and time: high-level SI supplementation increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio, serum concentrations of IgA, IgM and IgG, and IBDV antibody titres. Except for serum IgA and IgM, these variables increased over time with far higher values at 23 dpi than earlier. Compared with non-infected controls, IBDV inoculation decreased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes, and serum IgG, IgM concentration at 23 dpi, and increased IBDV antibody titres at 7, 15 and 23 dpi. Supplemental SI quadratically increased peripheral T lymphocyte proliferation, CD4+ to CD8+ ratio and serum IgA concentration at 3 dpi, percentages of CD3+, CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes at 3 and 23 dpi, and serum IgM concentration and IBDV antibody titres at 23 dpi. These results indicate that dietary SI improved cellular and humoral immunity of IBDV-infected birds and may enhance resistance of Yellow-feathered broilers to infectious diseases.
Extensive insecticide use has led to the resistance of mosquitoes to these insecticides, posing a major barrier to mosquito control. Previous Solexa high-throughput sequencing of Culex pipiens pallens in the laboratory has revealed that the abundance of a novel microRNA (miRNA), miR-13664, was higher in a deltamethrin-sensitive (DS) strain than a deltamethrin-resistant (DR) strain. Real-time quantitative PCR revealed that the miR-13664 transcript level was lower in the DR strain than in the DS strain. MiR-13664 oversupply in the DR strain increased the susceptibility of these mosquitoes to deltamethrin, whereas inhibition of miR-13664 made the DS strain more resistant to deltamethrin. Results of bioinformatic analysis, quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, luciferase assay and miR mimic/inhibitor microinjection revealed CpCYP314A1 to be a target of miR-13664. In addition, downregulation of CpCYP314A1 expression in the DR strain reduced the resistance of mosquitoes to deltamethrin. Taken together, our results indicate that miR-13664 could regulate deltamethrin resistance by interacting with CpCYP314A1, providing new insights into mosquito resistance mechanisms.
Gut microbes, especially those in the large intestine, are actively involved in nutrient metabolism; however, their impact on host nitrogen (N) metabolism remains largely unknown. This study was designed to investigate the effects of feeding a cocktail of antibiotics (AGM) (ampicillin, gentamycin and metronidazole) on intestinal microbiota, N utilization efficiency, and amino acid (AA) digestibility in cannulated pigs, with the aim of exploring the impact of gut microbiota on host N metabolism. In total, 16 piglets were surgically fitted with a simple distal ileal T-cannula and a jugular venous catheter. The pigs were fed a basal diet without antibiotics (control; CON) or with antibiotics (antibiotic; ANTI), for 2 weeks. The results showed that feeding AGM did not affect weight gain or digestive enzyme activity. The antibiotics increased the concentration of urea N (P<0.05). However, they reduced N utilization, and the total tract apparent digestibility of isoleucine, methionine, valine, tyrosine and total AA (P<0.05). Furthermore, the antibiotics increased the terminal ileum apparent digestibility of CP, phenylalanine, valine, alanine, tyrosine and total AA (P<0.05). AGM markedly altered the composition of the microbiota in the ileum and feces, with a reduction in populations of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus and Ruminococcus, and an increase in the abundance of Escherichia coli (P<0.05). The antibiotics also significantly increased the concentration of cadaverine and ammonia, both in ileal digesta and feces (P<0.05), suggesting a marked impact on N metabolism in the intestine. The analyses indicated that the alteration of gut microbiota was correlated with the apparent digestibility of CP and AA in the intestine. These findings suggest that the AGM-induced alteration of gut microbiota may contribute to the change in intestinal N metabolism, and consequently, N excretion from the body. These results also suggest that antibiotics could have a significant effect on host N metabolism. The present study contributes to our understanding of the effects of antibiotics and provides a rational scientific basis for diet formulation during AGM use.
This study was designed to explore the association between undernutrition in the growth period and cardiovascular risk factors in a middle-aged Chinese population. A total of 1756 subjects, aged 45–60 years, were invited to participate in the Hefei Nutrition and Health Study and divided into three groups according to their self-reported animal food intake in the growth period. Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 were defined as undernutrition, nutritional improvement and the good nutrition group, respectively. In the three groups, the subjects in Groups 1 and 2 had more oil and salt intake (P<0.001), and less eggs and milk intake (P<0.001), when compared with the subjects in Group 3. After adjusting for age, education, smoking status and other confounding factors, it was found that male participants who experienced nutritional improvement before age 18 had higher risk of hypertension [odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence intervals (CI): 1.05, 2.69] than those with good nutrition, and female participants with undernutrition (OR=1.52; 95% CI: 1.01, 2.29) and nutritional improvement (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.69) before age 18 had a higher risk of hypertension than those with good nutrition. For diabetes, obesity, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia, our results did not found difference among the three groups both in male and female. Our findings indicated that nutritional deficiency in childhood was associated with bad dietary behaviors and a significantly increased risk of hypertension in middle age. Therefore, early adequate nutrition is very important for the prevention of non-communicable diseases later.
Litter size has a great impact on the profit of swine producers. Uterine development is an important determinant of reproduction efficiency and could hence affect litter size. Chinese Erhualian pig is one of the most prolific breeds in the world, even though large phenotypic variation in litter size was observed within Erhualian sows. To dissect the genetic basis of the phenotypic variation, we herein conducted genome-wide association studies for total number born and number born alive (NBA) of Erhualian sows. In total, one significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (P<1.78e−06) and 11 suggestive SNPs (P<3.57e−05) were identified on 10 chromosomes, confirming seven previously reported quantitative trait loci (QTL) and uncovering six QTL for litter size or uterus length. One locus on Sus scrofa chromosome (SSC) 13 (79.28 to 90.43 Mb) harbored a cluster of suggestive SNPs associated with multiparous NBA. The SNP (rs81447100) within this region was confirmed to be significantly (P<0.05) associated with litter size in Erhualian (n=313), Sutai (n=173) and Yorkshire (n=488) populations. Retinol binding protein 2 and retinol binding protein 1 functionally related to the development of uterus were located in a region of 2 Mb around rs81447100. Moreover, four genes related to embryo implantation and development were also detected around other significant SNPs. Taken together, our findings provide a potential marker (rs81447100) for the genetic improvement of litter size not only in Chinese Erhualian pigs but also in European commercial pig breeds like Yorkshire, and would facilitate the final identification of causative variant(s) underlying the effect of SSC13 QTL on litter size.