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Synaptotagmin 1 (Syt1) is an abundant and important presynaptic vesicle protein that binds Ca2+ for the regulation of synaptic vesicle exocytosis. Our previous study reported its localization and function on spindle assembly in mouse oocyte meiotic maturation. The present study was designed to investigate the function of Syt1 during mouse oocyte activation and subsequent cortical granule exocytosis (CGE) using confocal microscopy, morpholinol-based knockdown and time-lapse live cell imaging. By employing live cell imaging, we first studied the dynamic process of CGE and calculated the time interval between [Ca2+]i rise and CGE after oocyte activation. We further showed that Syt1 was co-localized to cortical granules (CGs) at the oocyte cortex. After oocyte activation with SrCl2, the Syt1 distribution pattern was altered significantly, similar to the changes seen for the CGs. Knockdown of Syt1 inhibited [Ca2+]i oscillations, disrupted the F-actin distribution pattern and delayed the time of cortical reaction. In summary, as a synaptic vesicle protein and calcium sensor for exocytosis, Syt1 acts as an essential regulator in mouse oocyte activation events including the generation of Ca2+ signals and CGE.
Maternal supraphysiological estradiol (E2) environment during pregnancy leads to adverse perinatal outcomes. However, the influence of oocyte exposure to high E2 levels on perinatal outcomes remains unknown. Thus, a retrospective cohort study was conducted to explore the effect of high E2 level induced by controlled ovarian stimulation (COH) on further outcomes after frozen embryo transfer (FET). The study included all FET cycles (n = 10,581) between 2014 and 2017. All cycles were categorized into three groups according to the E2 level on the day of the human Chorionic Gonadotropin trigger. Odds ratios (ORs) and their confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to evaluate the association between E2 level during COH and pregnancy outcomes and subsequent neonatal outcomes. From our findings, higher E2 level was associated with lower percentage of chemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth as well as increased frequency of early miscarriage. Preterm births were more common among singletons in women with higher E2 level during COH (aOR1 = 1.93, 95% CI: 1.22–3.06; aOR2 = 2.05, 95% CI: 1.33–3.06). Incidence of small for gestational age (SGA) was more common in both singletons (aOR1 = 2.01, 95% CI: 1.30–3.11; aOR2 = 2.51, 95% CI: 1.69–3.74) and multiples (aOR1 = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.03–2.45; aOR2 = 1.99, 95% CI: 1.05–3.84) among women with relatively higher E2 level. No association was found between high E2 level during COH and the percentage of macrosomia or large for gestational age. In summary, oocyte exposure to high E2 level during COH should be brought to our attention, since the pregnancy rate decreasing and the risk of preterm birth and SGA increasing following FET.
Previous studies have shown that the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet might contribute to managing risk factors of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), but evidence is limited. We examined the association of DASH diet score (DASH-DS) with NAFLD, as well as the intermediary effects of serum retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4), serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), serum TAG, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and BMI.
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. Dietary data and lifestyle factors were assessed by face-to-face interviews and the DASH-DS was then calculated. We assessed serum RBP4, hs-CRP and TAG and calculated HOMA-IR. The presence and degree of NAFLD were determined by abdominal sonography.
Guangzhou Nutrition and Health Study participants, aged 40–75 years at baseline (n 3051).
After adjusting for potential covariates, we found an inverse association between DASH-DS and the presence of NAFLD (Ptrend = 0·009). The OR (95 % CI) of NAFLD for quintiles 2–5 were 0·78 (0·62, 0·98), 0·74 (0·59, 0·94), 0·69 (0·55, 0·86) and 0·77 (0·61, 0·97), respectively. Path analyses indicated that a higher DASH-DS was associated with lower serum RBP4, hs-CRP, TAG, HOMA-IR and BMI, which were positively associated with the degree of NAFLD.
Adherence to the DASH diet was independently associated with a marked lower prevalence of NAFLD in Chinese adults, especially in women and those without abdominal obesity, and might be mediated by reducing RBP4, hs-CRP, TAG, HOMA-IR and BMI.
The contribution of this paper is to propose a novel rat-race hybrid coupler of arbitrary coupling coefficient. Traditionally, the rat-race hybrid couplers are built by various loop-alike transmission-lines of multiple quarter-wavelength, and in this paper, we approach the coupler design by using a circular substrate integrated waveguide (SIW) cavity (SIWC). The employed SIWC supports two mutually orthogonal degenerate modes, and cavity field is formed by the two modes in an arbitrary weighting ratio which defines the proposed rat-race coupler's coupling coefficient. The cavity is excited by a microstrip combined coupling slot with the microstrip along a specifically chosen direction. The energy of each degenerate mode can be solely extracted by an associated subminiature version A (SMA) whose position is carefully determined. The isolation between the coupling slots is assured by their perpendicular layout, and the isolation between the SMA probes is obtained by the orthogonality of the two degenerate modes. Experiments are conducted on the 3- and 10-dB coupling coefficient samples to verify this novel rat-race coupler design. The measurements agree well with the simulations, and circuit's good performance is observed in terms of coupling precision, isolations, and small phase imbalances.
Nitrogen is an essential element for biological activity, and nitrogen isotopic compositions of geological samples record information about both marine biological processes and environmental evolution. However, only a few studies of N isotopes in the early Cambrian have been published. In this study, we analysed nitrogen isotopic compositions, as well as trace elements and sulphur isotopic compositions of cherts, black shales, carbonaceous shales and argillaceous carbonates from the Daotuo drill core in Songtao County, NE Guizhou Province, China, to reconstruct the marine redox environment of both deep and surface seawater in the study area of the Yangtze shelf margin in the early Cambrian. The Mo–U covariation pattern of the studied samples indicates that the Yangtze shelf margin area was weakly restricted and connected to the open ocean through shallow water flows. Mo and U concentrations, δ15Nbulk and δ34Spy values of the studied samples from the Yangtze shelf margin area suggest ferruginous but not sulphidic seawater and low marine sulphate concentration (relatively deep chemocline) in the Cambrian Fortunian and early Stage 2; sulphidic conditions (shallow chemocline and anoxic photic zone) in the upper Cambrian Stage 2 and lower Stage 3; and the depression of sulphidic seawater in the middle and upper Cambrian Stage 3. Furthermore, the decreasing δ15N values indicate shrinking of the marine nitrate reservoir during the middle and upper Stage 3, which reflects a falling oxygenation level in this period. The environmental evolution was probably controlled by the changing biological activity through its feedback on the local marine environment.
The present study was performed to identify the genotype of a hypertrophic cardiomyopathy family and investigate the clinicopathogenic characteristics and prognostic features of relevant genetic abnormalities. Target sequence capture sequencing was performed to screen for pathogenic alleles in a 32-year-old female patient (proband). Sanger sequencing was carried out to verify the results. Sanger sequencing was also performed on other family members to identify allele carriers. A survival analysis was carried out using published literature and our findings. We found that the proband and her son harboured a Gly716Arg sequence variant of the β-myosin heavy chain. Neither the proband’s father nor the mother were carriers of this sequence variant; thus, the mutation was classified as “de novo”. Further survival analysis revealed that female patients appear to have a longer life expectancy compared with males. Our study may provide an effective approach for the genetic diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
In this study, the effects of HA combined with NPK fertilizer (HANPK) on root growth and leaf quality of tobacco plants were investigated in tobacco fields. Results indicated that the application of HA alone did not enhance the growth of tobacco obviously, while HANPK increased tobacco biomass by 36.9% and stimulated the growth of lateral roots significantly. The number of the second-order lateral roots was increased by 89.3% compared with the control. Furthermore, HANPK raised the ratio of root biomass in 0–20 cm soil layer over the whole soil layer and increased the proportion of fine roots over the total roots. Tobacco leaf yield, output value, and benefit of HANPK were 12.2%, 29.4% and 35.5% higher than those of the control, respectively. The above results suggest that the combined application of HA and NPK chemical fertilizer is an economical pattern for improving tobacco growth.
Poly(lactic acid) (PLA)/graphene oxide (GO) nanocomposites were prepared by solution mixing. Differential scanning calorimetry results indicated that GO was an effective nucleating agent. The size of spherulites decreased, the density of spherulites increased with increasing GO and the crystallinity of PLA increased from 4.34 to 49.01%. For isothermal crystallization, the crystallization rates of PLA/GO nanocomposites were significantly higher than that of neat PLA, in which t0.5 reduced from 9.0 to 2.8. Spindle-like nanopores (about 100–200 nm) that arranged like spherulites were prepared by low temperature foaming. It was found that the crystallization rate increase and spherulite morphology change were insignificant when the content of GO exceeded 0.5 wt%, because the excessive GO increased the number of nucleation sites while restricting the PLA crystal growth. Thus, the arrangement of nanopores did not mimick the spherulites because of imperfect crystal morphology.
In this paper, we deal with the relation between the characteristic functions of meromorphic functions that share three values CM. As applications of our main results, we shall affirmatively settle two conjectures proposed by Mues and Osgood-Yang.
The current meta-analysis evaluated the association between vitamin B12 intake and blood vitamin B12 level and colorectal cancer (CRC) risk.
The PubMed and EMBASE databases were searched. A dose–response analysis was performed with generalized least squares regression, with the relative risk (RR) and 95 % CI as effect values.
The meta-analysis included seventeen studies.
A total of 10 601 patients.
The non-linear dose–response relationship between total vitamin B12 intake and CRC risk was insignificant (P=0·690), but the relationship between dietary vitamin B12 intake and CRC risk was significant (P<0·001). Every 4·5 μg/d increment in total and dietary vitamin B12 intake was inversely associated with CRC risk (total intake: RR=0·963; 95 % CI 0·928, 0·999; dietary intake: RR=0·914; 95 % CI 0·856, 0·977). The inverse association between vitamin B12 intake and CRC risk was also significant when vitamin B12 intake was over a dosage threshold, enhancing the non-linear relationship. The non-linear dose–response relationship between blood vitamin B12 level and CRC risk was insignificant (P=0·219). There was an insignificant association between every 150 pmol/l increment in blood vitamin B12 level and CRC risk (RR=1·023; 95 % CI 0·881, 1·187).
Our meta-analysis indicates that evidence supports the use of vitamin B12 for cancer prevention, especially among populations with high-dose vitamin B12 intake, and that the association between CRC risk and total vitamin B12 intake is stronger than between CRC risk and dietary vitamin B12 intake only.
A defect in the intestinal barrier is one of the characteristics of Crohn's disease (CD). The tight junction (TJ) changes and death of epithelial cells caused by intestinal inflammation play an important role in the development of CD. DHA, a long-chain PUFA, has been shown to be helpful in treating inflammatory bowel disease in experimental models by inhibiting the NF-κB pathway. The present study aimed at investigating the specific effect of DHA on the intestinal barrier function in IL-10-deficient mice. IL-10-deficient mice (IL-10− / −) at 16 weeks of age with established colitis were treated with DHA (i.g. 35·5 mg/kg per d) for 2 weeks. The severity of their colitis, levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, epithelial gene expression, the distributions of TJ proteins (occludin and zona occludens (ZO)-1), and epithelial apoptosis in the proximal colon were measured at the end of the experiment. DHA treatment attenuated the established colitis and was associated with reduced infiltration of inflammatory cells in the colonic mucosa, lower mean histological scores and decreased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-17, TNF-α and interferon-γ). Moreover, enhanced barrier function was observed in the DHA-treated mice that resulted from attenuated colonic permeability, rescued expression and corrected distributions of occludin and ZO-1. The results of the present study indicate that DHA therapy may ameliorate experimental colitis in IL-10− / − mice by improving the intestinal epithelial barrier function.
It is common for patients to experience positive and negative psychological changes (e.g., posttraumatic growth or demoralization) after being diagnosed with cancer. Although demoralization and posttraumatic growth are both related to meaning-making, little attention has been paid to the associations among these concepts. The current study investigated the relationship between demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making (focusing on sense-making and benefit-finding during the experience of illness) in cancer patients.
Some 200 cancer patients (with lung cancer, lymphoma, or leukemia) at the MacKay Memorial Hospital in New Taipei completed the Demoralization Scale–Mandarin Version (DS–MV), the Chinese Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (CPTGI), and a self-designed questionnaire for assessing sense-making and benefit-finding.
Demoralization was negatively correlated with posttraumatic growth, sense-making, benefit-finding, and time-since-diagnosis. Multiple regression analysis showed that meaning-making had different effects on demoralization and posttraumatic growth. The interactions of sense-making with either benefit-finding or time-since-diagnosis significantly predicted demoralization. Individuals with relatively higher sense-making and benefit-finding or shorter time-since-diagnosis experienced less demoralization.
Significance of Results:
The suffering of cancer may turn on the psychological process of demoralization, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making in patients. Cancer patients who evidenced higher posttraumatic growth experienced less demoralization. Trying to identify positive changes in the experience of cancer may be a powerful way to increase posttraumatic growth. As time goes by, patients experienced less demoralization. Facilitating sense-making can have similar effects. Cancer patients with less benefit-finding experience higher demoralization, but sense-making buffers this effect.
The bioavailability of dietary ionised calcium is affected by intestinal basic environment. Calcium-binding peptides can form complexes with calcium to improve its absorption and bioavailability. The aim of this study was focused on isolation and characterisation of a calcium-binding peptide from whey protein hydrolysates. Whey protein was hydrolysed using Flavourzyme and Protamex with substrate to enzyme ratio of 25 : 1 (w/w) at 49 °C for 7 h. The calcium-binding peptide was isolated by DEAE anion-exchange chromatography, Sephadex G-25 gel filtration and reversed phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC). A purified peptide of molecular mass 204 Da with strong calcium binding ability was identified on chromatography/electrospray ionisation (LC/ESI) tandem mass spectrum to be Glu-Gly (EG) after analysis and alignment in database. The calcium binding capacity of EG reached 67·81 μg/mg, and the amount increased by 95% compared with whey protein hydrolysate complex. The UV and infrared spectrometer analysis demonstrated that the principal sites of calcium-binding corresponded to the carboxyl groups and carbonyl groups of glutamic acid. In addition, the amino group and peptide amino are also the related groups in the interaction between EG and calcium ion. Meanwhile, the sequestered calcium percentage experiment has proved that EG-Ca is significantly more stable than CaCl2 in human gastrointestinal tract in vitro. The findings suggest that the purified dipeptide has the potential to be used as ion-binding ingredient in dietary supplements.
Low-temperature stress is an important limiting factor to tobacco growth in early spring of south China. In this study, a low-temperature-resistant agent (LTRA) was employed to examine its ameliorating effect on the inhibition of tobacco growth triggered by low-temperature stress. Results indicated that low-temperature stress of 12 °C for 6 days reduced root number and biomass of tobacco seedling by 27.4% and 24.1%, while treatment with LTRA could recover the inhibitory effect of low-temperature stress on tobacco growth significantly. The content of ascorbic acid and the activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase at low-temperature stress were 65.2%, 53.5% and 32.1% of those at normal temperature condition (26 °C), while the corresponding values with LTRA treatment were 89.2%, 88.9% and 74.2%, suggesting that LTRA treatment could enhance the activity of antioxidant enzyme and the synthesis of antioxidant compounds. Low-temperature stress increased the membrane permeability by 84.8%, while LTRA treatment recovered it by 77.4%. Furthermore, LTRA treatment contributed to increase chlorophyll synthesis and maintain the integrity of tobacco leaf structure. Effective component analysis indicated that the complex of ammonium calcium nitrate and glycine betaine was the main effective component of LTRA in maintaining membrane integrity. Its effective concentration was 1.0 g L−1. The above results suggested that LTRA could enhance the synthesis of chlorophyll, activate the activity of antioxidant enzyme, maintain the integrity of cell membrane, and thus elevate the tolerance of tobacco seedlings to low-temperature stress.
We use Zalcman’s lemma to study a uniqueness question for meromorphic functions where certain associated nonlinear differential polynomials share a nonzero value. The results in this paper extend Theorem 1 in Yang and Hua [‘Uniqueness and value-sharing of meromorphic functions’, Ann. Acad. Sci. Fenn. Math. 22 (1997), 395–406] and Theorem 1 in Fang [‘Uniqueness and value sharing of entire functions’, Comput. Math. Appl. 44 (2002), 823–831]. Our reasoning in this paper also corrects a defect in the reasoning in the proof of Theorem 4 in Bhoosnurmath and Dyavanal [‘Uniqueness and value sharing of meromorphic functions’, Comput. Math. Appl. 53 (2007), 1191–1205].
Early identification of patients with bipolar disorder during their first depressive episode is beneficial to the outcome of the disorder and treatment, but traditionally this has been a great challenge to clinicians. Recently, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been suggested to be involved in the pathophysiology of bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD), but it is not clear whether BDNF levels can be used to predict bipolar disorder among patients in their first major depressive episode.
To explore whether BDNF levels can differentiate between MDD and bipolar disorder in the first depressive episode.
A total of 203 patients with a first major depressive episode as well as 167 healthy controls were recruited. After 3 years of bi-annual follow-up, 164 patients with a major depressive episode completed the study, and of these, 21 were identified as having bipolar disorder and 143 patients were diagnosed as having MDD. BDNF gene expression and plasma levels at baseline were compared among the bipolar disorder, MDD and healthy control groups. Logistic regression and decision tree methods were applied to determine the best model for predicting bipolar disorder at the first depressive episode.
At baseline, patients in the bipolar disorder and MDD groups showed lower BDNF mRNA levels (P<0.001 and P = 0.02 respectively) and plasma levels (P = 0.002 and P = 0.01 respectively) compared with healthy controls. Similarly, BDNF levels in the bipolar disorder group were lower than those in the MDD group. These results showed that the best model for predicting bipolar disorder during a first depressive episode was a combination of BDNF mRNA levels with plasma BDNF levels (receiver operating characteristics (ROC) = 0.80, logistic regression; ROC = 0.84, decision tree).
Our findings suggest that BDNF levels may serve as a potential differential diagnostic biomarker for bipolar disorder in a patient's first depressive episode.
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.
Spermatogenesis is a process in adult male mammals supported by spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). The cultivation of SSCs has potential value, for example for the treatment of male infertility or spermatogonial transplantation. Testicular interstitial fluid was added to culture medium to a final concentration of 5, 10, 20, 30 or 40%, in order to investigate its effects on proliferation of mouse SSCs in vitro, Alkaline phosphatase (AKP) assay, reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis and indirect immunofluorescence of cells were performed to identify SSCs, and the proliferation rate and diameters of the SSCs colonies were measured. The results showed that the optimal addition of testicular interstitial fluid to culture medium was 30%. When medium supplemented with 30% testicular interstitial fluid was used to culture mouse SSCs, the optimum proliferation rate and diameter of the cell colonies were 72.53% and 249 μm, respectively, after 8 days in culture, values that were significant higher than those found for other groups (P < 0.05). In conclusion, proliferation of mouse SSCs could be promoted significantly by supplementation of the culture medium with 30% testicular interstitial fluid. More research is needed to evaluate and understand the precise physiological role of testicular interstitial fluid during cultivation of SSCs.
Background: Although knowledge of established risk factors for Alzheimer's disease (AD) can logically contribute to the search for predictors of the progression of cognitive impairment, it has not yet been firmly established where in the cognitive impairment process these risk factors exert their effects and how to predict quantitatively for the progression of mild cognitive impairments (MCI) to AD. This study aimed to determine whether known risk factors increased the risk of progression from MCI to AD and to make prediction based on transition probabilities.
Methods: Based on ten examinations of 600 community-dwelling MCI residents and cognitive assessments to classify individuals into MCI, global impairment, and AD, a multi-state Markov Cox's regression model was used and the hazard ratios with their confidence intervals and transition probabilities were estimated.
Results: Multivariate analysis showed that gender, age, and hypertension were statistically significant predictors of transition from MCI to global impairment; age, education, and reading statistically influenced transition from global impairment to MCI; gender, age, hypertension, diabetes, and apolipoprotein E geneε4 status were statistically associated with transition from global impairment to AD. Subjects at MCI were more likely (67%) to remain in that cognitive state at the next cognitive assessment than to transition to cognitive deterioration. For global impairment, probability of remaining in the same state was only 18% and that of forward transition was three times more likely than that of backward transition.
Conclusions: Known risk factors influenced differently for different transitions. Transition from global impairment was more likely to worsen to severe cognitive deterioration than transition from MCI.