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Evaluation of Cr, Mn, Fe, Zn and Se in humans is challenged by the potentially high within-individual variability of these elements in biological specimens, which are poorly characterised. This study aimed to evaluate their within-day, between-day and between-month variability in spot samples, first-morning voids and 24-h collections. A total of 529 spot urine samples (including eighty-eight first-morning voids and 24-h collections) were collected from eleven Chinese adult men on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 30, 60 and 90 and analysed for these five elements using inductively coupled plasma-MS. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were utilised to characterise the reproducibility, and their sensitivity and specificity were analysed to assess how well a single measurement classified individuals’ 3-month average exposures. Serial measurements of Zn in spot samples exhibited fair to good reproducibility (creatinine-adjusted ICC = 0·47) over five consecutive days, which became poor when the samples were gathered months apart (creatinine-adjusted ICC = 0·33). The reproducibility of Cr, Mn, Fe and Se in spot samples was poor over periods ranging from days to months (creatinine-adjusted ICC = 0·01–0·12). Two spot samples were sufficient for classifying 60 % of the men who truly had the highest (top 33 %) 3-month average Zn concentrations; for Cr, Mn, Fe and Se, however, at least three specimens were required to achieve similar sensitivities. In conclusion, urinary Cr, Mn, Fe, Zn and Se concentrations showed a strong within-individual variability, and a single measurement is not enough to efficiently characterise individuals’ long-term exposures.
Babesiosis is an emerging tick-transmitted zoonosis prevalent in large parts of the world. This study was designed to determine the rates of Babesia microti infection among small rodents in Yunnan province, where human cases of babesiosis have been reported. Currently, distribution of Babesia in its endemic regions is largely unknown. In this study, we cataloged 1672 small wild rodents, comprising 4 orders, from nine areas in western Yunnan province between 2009 and 2011. Babesia microti DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction in 4·3% (72/1672) of the rodents analyzed. The most frequently infected rodent species included Apodemus chevrieri and Niviventer fulvescens. Rodents from forests and shrublands had significantly higher Babesia infection rates. Genetic comparisons revealed that Babesia was most similar to the Kobe- and Otsu-type strains identified in Japan. A variety of rodent species might be involved in the enzootic maintenance and transmission of B. microti, supporting the need for further serological investigations in humans.
We examined the in vitro developmental competence of parthenogenetic activation (PA) oocytes activated by an electric pulse (EP) and treated with various concentrations of AZD5438 for 4 h. Treatment with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h significantly improved the blastocyst formation rate of PA oocytes in comparison with 0, 20, or 50 µM AZD5438 treatment (46.4% vs. 34.5%, 32.3%, and 24.0%, respectively; P < 0.05). The blastocyst formation rate was higher in the group treated with AZD5438 for 4 h than in the groups treated with AZD5438 for 2 or 6 h (42.8% vs. 38.6% and 37.2%, respectively; P > 0.05). Furthermore, 66.67% of blastocysts derived from these AZD5438-treated PA oocytes had a diploid karyotype. The blastocyst formation rate of PA and somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos was similar between oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 2 mM 6-dimethylaminopurine for 4 h and those activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h (11.11% vs. 13.40%, P > 0.05). In addition, the level of maturation-promoting factor (MPF) was significantly decreased in oocytes activated by an EP and treated with 10 µM AZD5438 for 4 h. Finally, the mRNA expression levels of apoptosis-related genes (Bax and Bcl-2) and pluripotency-related genes (Oct4, Nanog, and Sox2) were checked by RT-PCR; however, there were no differences between the AZD5438-treated and non-treated control groups. Our results demonstrate that porcine oocyte activation via an EP in combination with AZD5438 treatment can lead to a high blastocyst formation rate in PA and SCNT experiments.
Disclosing the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) to a patient is controversial. There is significant stigma associated with a diagnosis of AD or dementia in China, but the attitude of the society toward disclosure of such a diagnosis had not been formally evaluated prior to our study. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the attitude toward disclosing an AD diagnosis to patients in China with cognitive impairment from their caregivers, and the factors that may affect their attitude.
We designed a 17-item questionnaire and administered this questionnaire to caregivers, who accompanied patients with cognitive impairment or dementia in three major hospitals in Shanghai, China. The caregiver's attitude toward disclosing the diagnosis of AD as evaluated by the questionnaire was compared to that of disclosing the diagnosis of terminal cancer.
A majority (95.7%) of the 175 interviewed participants (mean 14.2 years of education received) wished to know their own diagnosis if they were diagnosed with AD, and 97.6% preferred the doctor to tell their family members if they were diagnosed with AD. If a family member of the participants suffered from AD, 82.9% preferred to have the diagnosis disclosed to the patient. “Cognitive impairment” was the most accepted term by caregivers to disclose AD diagnosis in Chinese.
This study suggests most of the well-educated individuals in a Chinese urban area favored disclosing the diagnosis when they or their family members were diagnosed with AD.
Previous studies have suggested that vitamin E (VE) may affect bone health, but the findings have been inconclusive. We examined the relationship between VE status (in both diet and serum) and bone mineral density (BMD) among Chinese adults. This community-based study included 3203 adults (2178 women and 1025 men) aged 40–75 years from Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. General and dietary intake information were collected using structured questionnaire interviews. The serum α-tocopherol (TF) level was quantified by reversed-phase HPLC. The BMD of the whole body, the lumbar spine and left hip sites (total, neck, trochanter, intertrochanter and Ward’s triangle) were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. In women, the dietary intake of VE was significantly and positively associated with BMD at the lumbar spine, total hip, intertrochanter and femur neck sites after adjusting for covariates (Ptrend: 0·001–0·017). Women in quartile 3 of VE intake typically had the highest BMD; the covariate-adjusted mean BMD were 2·5, 3·06, 3·41 and 3·54 % higher, respectively, in quartile 3 (v. 1) at the four above-mentioned sites. Similar positive associations were observed between cholesterol-adjusted serum α-TF levels and BMD at each of the studied bone sites (Ptrend: 0·001–0·022). The covariate-adjusted mean BMD were 1·24–4·83 % greater in quartile 4 (v. 1) in women. However, no significant associations were seen between the VE levels (dietary or serum) and the BMD at any site in men. In conclusion, greater consumption and higher serum levels of VE are associated with greater BMD in Chinese women but not in Chinese men.
Introduction: The mortality of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its associated risk factors among clinically definite PD patients in China has been rarely investigated. Our study aimed to identify the mortality rates and predictors of death in PD patients in China. Methods: 157 consecutive, clinically definite PD patients from the urban area of Shanghai were recruited from a central hospital based movement disorder clinic in 2006. All patients were regularly followed up at the clinic until December 31, 2011, or death. Mortality and associations with baseline demographics, health and medical factors were then determined within the cohort. Results: After 5 years, 11(7%) patients had died. The standardised mortality ratio was 0.62 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.07, P=0.104). The main causes of death were pneumonia (54.5%, 6/11) and digestive disorders (18.2%, 2/11), respectively. Age at onset, independent living, the mini mental state examination score, the Parkinson’s disease sleep scale score and the Epworth sleepiness scale score at baseline were statistically significantly different between the survival group and the deceased group (P<0.05). Across all participants, risk factors for death included low mini mental state examination score, and high Epworth sleepiness scale score according to a binary variable logistic regression analysis. Conclusions: This study confirms the similar survival of patients with PD to the control population up to a follow-up of 5 years. Interventions tailored to potential risk factors associated with death may offer further benefits.
We investigated the effect of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPS) medium on porcine somatic cell nuclear transfer and bovine in vitro fertilized early blastocysts, in comparison with North Carolina State University (NCSU)-37 medium and in vitro culture (IVC)-II medium. After 2 days of culture, the diameter of the portion of the blastocyst that was extruded from the zona pellucid dramatically differed between porcine blastocysts cultured in hiPS medium and those cultured in NCSU-37 medium (221.47 ± 38.94 μm versus 481.87 ± 40.61 μm, P < 0.01). Moreover, the diameter of the portion of the blastocyst significantly differed between bovine blastocysts cultured in hiPS medium and those cultured in IVC-II medium (150.30 ± 29.49 μm versus 195.58 ± 41.59 μm, P < 0.01). Furthermore, the total number of cells per porcine and bovine blastocyst was more than two-fold higher in blastocysts cultured in hiPS medium than in those cultured in NCSU-37 medium (44.33 ± 5.28 and 143.33 ± 16.05, P < 0.01) or IVC-II medium (172.12 ± 45.08 and 604.83 ± 242.64, P < 0.01), respectively. These results indicate that hiPS medium markedly improves the quality of porcine and bovine blastocysts.
To examine the vitamin D status, SNP of the vitamin D receptor gene (VDR) and the effects of vitamin D supplementation on parathyroid hormone and insulin secretion in adult males with obesity or normal weight in a subtropical Chinese city.
An intervention trial.
Shenzhen City, Guangdong Province, China.
From a cross-sectional survey conducted from June to July, eighty-two normal-weight and ninety-nine obese males (18–69 years) were screened to analyse their vitamin D status and for five SNP of VDR. From these individuals, in the same season of a different year, obese and normal-weight male volunteers (twenty-one per group) were included for an intervention trial with oral vitamin D supplementation at 1250 µg/week for 8 weeks.
For the survey, there was no significant difference (P>0·05) in baseline circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations or in the percentages of participants in different categories of vitamin D status between the two groups. The VDR SNP, rs3782905, was significantly associated with obesity (P=0·043), but none of the examined SNP were correlated with serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D when adjusted for age, BMI and study group. After vitamin D supplementation, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentration, hypersecretions of parathyroid hormone and insulin, and insulin resistance in the obese were changed beneficially (P<0·05); however, the increase in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D was less than that of the normal-weight men.
For obese and normal-weight men of subtropical China, the summer baseline vitamin D status was similar. However, oral vitamin D supplementation revealed a decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obese men and ameliorated their hypersecretion of parathyroid hormone and insulin resistance.
This work presents the preparation and characterization of N-doped TiO2 nanocrystals obtained by a solid-state reaction in vacuum with urea as the nitrogen source. The particle sizes of the products are smaller than 20 nm from the x-ray powder diffraction patterns and the transmission electron microscopy images. Different from the reported samples obtained in air or under dry N2 or NH3 gas flow, the doped nitrogen exists mainly as absorbed NOx groups but as smaller incorporated species in the nanocrystals, which is supported by the results from x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. Dependent on the nitrogen amount, the surface photovoltage (SPV) response reaches the maximum at the mediate molar ratio of 5:4 (urea to TiO2), which can be explained that proper nitrogen concentration can enhance the separation of the photogenerated carriers to improve the SPV intensity, but excess nitrogen can spread the impurity energy levels to narrow energy gaps, which reinforces the combination of the photogenerated electrons and holes and then decreases the SPV signal. The corresponding detailed discussion is also reported.
The present study investigated the effects of xanthophylls (containing 40 % of lutein and 60 % of zeaxanthin) on proinflammatory cytokine (IL-1β, IL-6, interferon (IFN)-γ and lipopolysaccharide-induced TNF-α factor (LITAF)) and anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-4 and IL-10) expression of breeding hens and chicks. In Expt 1, a total of 432 hens were fed diets supplemented with 0 (as the control group), 20 or 40 mg/kg xanthophylls (six replicates per treatment). The liver, duodenum, jejunum and ileum were sampled at 35 d of the trial. The results showed that both levels of xanthophyll addition decreased IL-1β mRNA in the liver and jejunum, IL-6 mRNA in the liver, IFN-γ mRNA in the jejunum and LITAF mRNA in the liver compared to the control group. Expt 2 was a 2 × 2 factorial design. Male chicks hatched from 0 or 40 mg/kg xanthophyll diet of hens were fed a diet containing either 0 or 40 mg/kg xanthophylls. The liver, duodenum, jejunum and ileum were collected at 0, 7, 14 and 21 d after hatching. The results showed that in ovo xanthophylls decreased proinflammatory cytokine expression (IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ and LITAF) in the liver, duodenum, jejunum and ileum and increased anti-inflammatory cytokine expression (IL-4 and IL-10) in the liver, jejunum and ileum mainly at 0–7 d after hatching. In ovo effects gradually vanished and dietary effects began to work during 1–2 weeks after hatching. Dietary xanthophylls modulated proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6 and IFN-γ) in the liver, duodenum, jejunum and ileum and anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) in the liver and jejunum mainly from 2 weeks onwards. In conclusion, xanthophylls could regulate proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine expression in different tissues of hens and chicks.
Large-scale, high-density, and patterned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) on both pure Si and quartz (SiO2) substrates have been produced using different approaches. The CNTs were synthesized by pyrolysis of the ball-milled iron phthalocyanine (FePc) in a tube furnace under a Ar-5% H2 gas flow. Because patterned CNTs are difficult to grow directly on smooth and perfect single-crystalline Si wafer surface, mechanical scratches were created to help the selective deposition and growth of CNTs on the scratched areas. This simple process does not require pre-deposition of any metal catalysts. For SiO2 substrates, which can be readily covered by a CNT film, patterned CNTs are produced using a TEM grid as mask to cover the areas where CNTs are not needed. The growth temperature and vapor density have strong influence on the patterned CNT formation. The scratch areas with a special structure and a higher surface energy help the selective nucleation of CNTs.
In this paper, the impurity influences of BNNTs on photoluminescence (PL) analysis have been investigated systematically. Similar PL spectra were obtained from bulk disk of the cold-pressed BNNTs and dispersed individual BNNTs deposited on CaF2 substrate. Metal impurities such as Fe and Au do not affect PL emissions of the BNNTs strongly possibly because Au doping creates sever structural damages but do not change the electronic structure.
In exploring an effective and reliable karyotyping method in Brassica crop plants, Brassica oleracea was successfully karyotyped using genomic in situ hybridization (GISH). B. oleracea genomic DNA was labelled as probe using DIG-high prime mix kit, with B. rapa genomic DNA acting as blocking agent. Specific fluorescent signals were detected on each pair of homologous chromosomes, and nine pairs of chromosomes of B. oleracea were clearly identified according to the signal characteristics. A practical and accurate method for conducting karyotyping of small chromosomes has been demonstrated.
The strategies of repair of tetralogy of Fallot change with the age of patients. In children older than 4 years and adults, the optimal strategy may be to use different method of reconstruction of the right ventricular outflow tract from those followed in younger children, so as to avoid, or reduce, the pulmonary insufficiency that is increasingly known to compromise right ventricular function.
From April, 2001, through May, 2008, we undertook complete repair in 312 patients, 180 male and 132 female, with a mean age of 11.3 years ±0.4 years, and a range from 4 to 48 years, with typical clinical and morphological features of tetralogy of Fallot, including 42 patients with the ventriculo-arterial connection of double outlet right ventricle. The operation was performed under moderate hypothermia using blood cardioplegia. The ventricular septal defect was closed with a Dacron patch. When it was considered necessary to resect the musculature within the right ventricular outflow tract, or perform pulmonary valvotomy, we sought to preserve the function of the pulmonary valve by protecting as far as possible the native leaflets, or creating a folded monocusp of autologous pericardium.
The repair was achieved completely through right atrium in 192, through the right ventricular outflow tract in 83, and through the right atrium, the outflow tract, and the pulmonary trunk in 36 patients. A transjunctional patch was inserted in 169 patients, non-valved in all but 9. There were no differences regarding the periods of aortic cross-clamping or cardiopulmonary bypass. Of the patients, 5 died (1.6%), with no influence noted for the transjunctional patch. Of those having a non-valved patch inserted, three-tenths had pulmonary regurgitation of various degree, while those having a valved patch had minimal pulmonary insufficiency and good right ventricular function postoperatively, this being maintained after follow-up of 8 to 24-months.
Based on our experience, we suggest that the current strategy of repair of tetralogy of Fallot in older children and adults should be based on minimizing the insertion of transjunctional patches, this being indicated only in those with very small ventriculo-pulmonary junctions. If such a patch is necessary, then steps should be taken to preserve the function of the pulmonary valve.
Using hypocotyls as explants, the adventitious shoots of Euonymus fortunei var. radicans were differentiated directly from basal Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with different plant growth regulators. The highest regeneration frequency was obtained with MS medium containing 0.5 mg/l 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) and 0.01 mg/l α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA). A regeneration frequency of 92% and 4.2 shoots per explant were obtained after 30 days of culture. The binary vector pBCGm, containing Galanthus nivalis agglutinin (GNA) gene, was introduced into Agrobacterium tumefaciens LBA4404. Hypocotyl segments of E. fortunei var. radicans were infected through A. tumefaciens-mediated transformation. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and PCR–Southern blot analysis results confirmed that the GNA gene was integrated into the genome of transgenic plants. The highest transformation frequency was obtained with un-precultured explants infected for 30 min with OD600=0.6 Agrobacterium tumefaciens, and co-cultivated for 3 days.
Spindle movement, including spindle migration during first meiosis and spindle rotation during second meiosis, is essential for asymmetric divisions in mouse oocytes. Previous studies by others and us have shown that microfilaments are required for both spindle migration and rotation. In the present study, we aimed to further investigate the mechanism controlling spindle movement during mouse oocyte meiosis. By employing drug treatment and immunofluorescence microscopy, we showed that dynamic microtubule assembly was involved in both spindle migration and rotation. Furthermore, we found that the calcium/CaM/CaMKII pathway was important for regulating spindle rotation.
Early studies have shown that some mouse cumulus–oocyte complexes (COCs) stored at room temperature for 24 h still retained full developmental potential. In this study, we stored denuded mouse oocytes (DOs) at room temperature (25 °C) for 24 h and activated these oocytes with 10 mM SrCl2 or fertilized the oocytes by IVF. We found that nearly half of the DOs stored at room temperature for 1 day can be fertilized normally by IVF and that two foster mothers gave birth to seven pups. Embryos from stored oocytes were cultured in CZB medium with or without 1 μg/ml 17β-estradiol (E2). The numbers of embryo that developed to morula/blastocyst stage after parthenogenetic activation and IVF were significantly increased when E2 was added to the culture (p < 0.05). These results suggest that E2 might improve mouse embryo development in vitro. The birth of seven agouti pups and their healthy growth indicated that the storage of DOs at room temperature for 1 day may be a practical procedure for mammalian reproduction.
The Lower Cambrian brachiopod Heliomedusa orienta Sun and Hou, 1987a, first identified as a jellyfish, was later described as a craniopsoid brachiopod. A new sample of 1,150 individuals of this brachiopod, measuring 3.1–22.0 mm long, from two new sites of the Lower Cambrian Yuanshan Formation was examined. the sample includes several with exceptional preservation of nonmineralized skeletons that reveal previously unknown features and fill a gap in our knowledge of the detailed anatomy of fossil discinids. It is here reinterpreted as a discinid brachiopod on the basis of its many distinctive, discinid anatomical features, such as a longitudinally oval pedicle foramen in the anterior region of the posterior sector of the ventral valve; inferred, short, but large pedicle descending ventrally from the ventral valve; inferred, paired rectus muscles in the large pedicle canal; elongate scars of paired anterior adductors; and a median septum connected to a U-shaped ridge on the ventral interior. the two growing zones of its exceptionally preserved, unique lophophore extend posteriorly instead of anteriorly as in all Recent inarticulate brachiopods. Its recognition as the first and earliest discinoidean extends its stratigraphic range from the Ordovician to the Lower Cambrian. This reassignment implies that the organophosphatic, pediculate lingulids and discinids evolved before the carbonate, nonpediculate craniopsids and craniids. Its occurrence at chronological proximity to the Cambrian explosion of small metazoans sheds light on the early morphological diversification and the adaptive radiation of the Lower Cambrian brachiopods into the available niches.
This study reports on the determination of zygosity in Chinese adult twins by simple questionnaire and physical features comparison. The subjects were 511 twin pairs from two cities and their town areas, consisting of 371 monozygotic (MZ) and 140 same-sex dizygotic (DZ) pairs, identified by ABO blood group and multiplex polymerase chain reaction of several polymorphic short tandem repeat markers. The twins themselves responded to 8 questionnaire items, 4 items on twin similarity, and 4 items on the frequency of mistaking one twin for another by parents, relatives, teachers and strangers when they were 6 to 13 years old. Research assistants responded to 20 items regarding twins' physical features at the moment of interview. A parsimonious model established using stepwise logistic regression analysis of the 28 items showed that the total accuracy of zygosity diagnosis was 90.1%. The accuracy was 89.2% when using only the items dealing with the confusion of twins and 85.4% using only similarity. In the questionnaire, ‘facial appearance’, ‘mistaken by teachers’ and ‘mistaken by strangers’ had stronger discriminating power between MZ and DZ twins. Two physical features — ‘eyelid’ and ‘middigital hair’ — were informative to some extent. There was no statistically significant sex and area difference in the validity of such questionnaire and physical features comparison-based classification. In conclusion, questionnaire-based zygosity assessment in this Chinese adult twin sample could still be regarded as a valid and valuable classification method. Physical features comparison, however, could only provide limited information for zygosity determination.