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Bile acids (BA) have emerged as signaling molecules regulating intestinal physiology. The importance of intestinal microbiota in production of secondary BA, e.g. lithocholic acid (LCA) which impairs enterocyte proliferation and permeability, triggered us to determine the effects of oral probiotics on intestinal BA metabolism. Piglets were weaned at 28 days of age and allocated into control (CON, n=14) or probiotic (PRO, n=14) group fed 50 mg of Lactobacillusplantarum daily, and gut microbiota and BA profile were determined. To test the potential interaction of LCA with bacteria endotoxins in inducing damage of enterocytes, IPEC-J2 cells were treated with LCA, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and LCA+LPS, respectively, and expressions of genes related to inflammation, antioxidant capacity and nutrient transport were determined. Compared with the CON group, the PRO group showed lower total LCA level in ileum and higher relative abundance of Lactobacillus genera in feces. In contrast, the relative abundances of Bacteroides, Clostridium_sensu_stricto_1, Parabacteroides and Ruminococcus_1, important bacteria genera in BA biotransformation, were all lower in PRO than in CON group. Moreover, PRO piglets had lower postprandial glucagon like peptide (GLP)-1 level while higher glucose level than CON piglets. Co-administration of LPS and LCA led to down-regulated expression of glucose and peptide transporter genes in IPEC-J2 cells. Altogether, oral Lactobacillusplantarum altered BA profile probably by modulating relative abundances of gut microbial genera that play key roles in BA metabolism, and might consequently impact glucose homeostasis. The detrimental effect of LCA on nutrient transport in enterocytes might be aggravated under LPS challenge.
The South Altyn Orogenic Belt (SAOB) is one of the most important orogenic belts in NW China, consisting of the South Altyn Continental Block and the Apa–Mangya Ophiolitic Mélange Belt. However, its Palaeozoic tectonic evolution is still controversial. Here, we present petrological, geochemical, zircon U–Pb and Lu–Hf isotopic data for the Mangya plutons with the aim of establishing the Palaeozoic tectonic evolution. We divide the Early Palaeozoic magmatism in the Apa–Mangya Ophiolitic Mélange Belt into four episodes and propose a plate tectonic model for the formation of these rocks. During 511–494 Ma, the South Altyn Ocean (SAO) was in a spreading stage, and some shoshonite series, I-type granitic rocks were generated. From 484 to 458 Ma, the oceanic crust of the SAO subducted northward, accompanied by large-scale magmatic events resulting in the generation of vast high-K calc-alkaline series, I-type granitic rocks. During 450–433 Ma, the SAO closed, and break-off of the subducted oceanic slab occurred, with the generation of some high-K calc-alkaline series, I–S transitional type granites. The SAOB was in post-orogenic extensional environment from 419 to 404 Ma, and many A-type granites were generated.
Cognitive decline in advanced age is closely related to dementia. The trajectory of cognitive function in older Chinese is yet to be fully investigated. We aimed to investigate the trajectories of cognitive function in a nationally representative sample of older people living in China and to explore the potential determinants of these trajectories.
This study included 2,038 cognitively healthy persons aged 65–104 years at their first observation in the Chinese Longitudinal Healthy Longevity Survey from 2002 to 2014. Cognitive function was measured using the Chinese version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Group-based trajectory modeling was used to identify potential heterogeneity of longitudinal changes over the 12 years and to investigate associations between baseline predictors of group membership and these trajectories.
Three trajectories were identified according to the following types of changes in MMSE scores: slow decline (14.0%), rapid decline (4.5%), and stable function (81.5%). Older age, female gender, having no schooling, a low frequency of leisure activity, and a low baseline MMSE score were associated with the slow decline trajectory. Older age, body mass index (BMI) less than 18.5 kg/m2, and having more than one cardiovascular disease (CVD) were associated with the rapid decline trajectory.
Three trajectories of cognitive function were identified in the older Chinese population. The identified determinants of these trajectories could be targeted for developing prevention and intervention strategies for dementia.
The X chromosome is known to play an important role in many sex-specific diseases. However, only a few single-nucleotide polymorphisms on the X chromosome have been found to be associated with diseases. Compared to the autosomes, conducting association tests on the X chromosome is more intractable due to the difference in the number of X chromosomes between females and males. On the other hand, X-chromosome inactivation takes place in female mammals, which is a phenomenon in which the expression of one copy of two X chromosomes in females is silenced in order to achieve the same gene expression level as that in males. In addition, imprinting effects may be related to certain diseases. Currently, there are some existing approaches taking X-chromosome inactivation into account when testing for associations on the X chromosome. However, none of them allows for imprinting effects. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a robust test, ZXCII, which accounts for both X-chromosome inactivation and imprinting effects without requiring specifying the genetic models in advance. Simulation studies are conducted in order to investigate the validity and performance of ZXCII under various scenarios of different parameter values. The simulation results show that ZXCII controls the type I error rate well when there is no association. Furthermore, with regards to power, ZXCII is robust in all of the situations considered and generally outperforms most of the existing methods in the presence of imprinting effects, especially under complete imprinting effects.
Human infections with avian influenza A (H7N9) virus are associated with exposure to poultry and live poultry markets, but the evidence of person-to-person transmission remains limited. This study reports a suspected person-to-person transmission of H7N9 virus, and explores what factors influenced this transmission.
We interviewed 2 patients with H7N9 infection and their family members as well as health-care workers. Samples from the patients and environments were tested by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
The index patient became ill 5 to 6 days after his last exposure to the poultry bought in the market of Weimiao town. The second patient, the sister of the index patient, who had sustained intensive and unprotected close contact with the index patient, had no exposure to poultry. This study documents that the H7N9 virus was transmitted directly from the index patient to his sister.
Our findings suggest that person-to-person transmission may be associated with sustained close contact with the patient during his onset of early stage, when the H7N9 viral shedding increases sharply.
Evidence on the relationship between maternal Hb concentration and spontaneous abortion (SA) risk is limited and conflicting. The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether maternal preconception anaemia or high Hb concentration is associated with risk of SA.
A population-based cohort study established between 2013 and 2017.
Local maternal and child care service centres in each county.
In total, 3 971 428 women aged 20–49 years, who participated in National Free Pre-Pregnancy Checkups Project from 2013 to 2016 and successfully got pregnant before 2017 in rural China.
A total of 101 700 (2·56 %) women were recorded having SA, with highest SA rate in women with severe anaemia (4·58 %). Compared with women with Hb of 110–149 g/l, the multivariable-adjusted OR for SA was 1·52 (95 % CI: 1·25, 1·86) for women with Hb < 70 g/l, 0·92 (0·84, 1·01) for 70–99 g/l, 0·80 (0·77, 0·83) for 100–109 g/l, 1·11 (1·08, 1·15) for 150–159 g/l, 1·12 (1·04, 1·20) for 160–169 g/l and 1·02 (0·93, 1·12) for ≥ 170 g/l, respectively. An approximate U-shaped curve for the risk of SA with Hb concentrations was observed when Hb concentrations less than 145 g/l, above which the association plateaued (Pnon-linear < 0·001).
Severe anaemia and high Hb concentration before pregnancy were associated with an increased risk of SA. Women with mild anaemia prior to pregnancy had lower risk of SA. Underlying mechanisms need to be further studied.
This study aimed to examine the efficacy of combining paroxetine and mirtazapine v. switching to mirtazapine, for patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) who have had an insufficient response to SSRI monotherapy (paroxetine) after the first 2 weeks of treatment.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, three-arm study recruited participants from five hospitals in China. Eligible participants were aged 18–60 years with MDD of at least moderate severity. Participants received paroxetine during a 2-week open-label phase and patients who had not achieved early improvement were randomized to paroxetine, mirtazapine or paroxetine combined with mirtazapine for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was improvement on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression 17-item (HAMD-17) scores 6 weeks after randomization.
A total of 204 patients who showed early non-response to paroxetine monotherapy were randomly assigned to receive either mirtazapine and placebo (n = 68), paroxetine and placebo (n = 68) or mirtazapine and paroxetine (n = 68), with 164 patients completing the outcome assessment. At week 8, the least squares (LS) mean change of HAMD-17 scores did not significantly differ among the three groups, (12.98 points) in the mirtazapine group, (12.50 points) in the paroxetine group and (13.27 points) in the mirtazapine plus paroxetine combination group. Participants in the paroxetine monotherapy group were least likely to experience adverse effects.
After 8 weeks follow-up, paroxetine monotherapy, mirtazapine monotherapy and paroxetine/mirtazapine combination therapy were equally effective in non-improvers at 2 weeks. The results of this trial do not support a recommendation to routinely offer additional treatment or a switch in treatment strategies for MDD patients who do not show early improvement after 2 weeks of antidepressant treatment.
Chlamydia spp. are a group of obligate intracellular pathogens causing a number of diseases in animals and humans. Avian chlamydiosis (AC), caused by Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) as well as new emerging C. avium, C. gallinacea and C. ibidis, have been described in nearly 500 avian species worldwidely. The Crested Ibis (Nipponia nippon) is a world endangered avian species with limited population and vulnerable for various infections. To get a better understanding of the prevalence of Chlamydia spp. in the endangered Crested Ibis, faecal samples were collected and analysed. The results confirmed that 20.20% (20/99) of the faecal samples were positive for Chlamydiaceae and were identified as C. ibidis with co-existence of C. psittaci in one of the 20 positive samples. In addition, ompA sequence of C. psittaci obtained in this study was classified into the provisional genotype Matt116, while that of C. ibidis showed high genetic diversity, sharing only 77% identity with C. ibidis reference strain 10-1398/6. We report for the first time the presence of C. ibidis and C. psittaci in the Crested Ibis, which may indicate a potential threat to the endangered birds and should be aware of the future protection practice.
Iron carbide (Fe1−xCx) thin films were successfully grown by plasma-enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD) using bis(N,N′-di-tert-butylacetamidinato)iron(II) as a precursor and H2 plasma as a reactant. Smooth and pure Fe1−xCx thin films were obtained by the PEALD process in a layer-by-layer film growth fashion, and the x in the nominal formula of Fe1−xCx is approximately 0.26. For the wide PEALD temperature window from 80 to 210 °C, a saturated film growth rate of 0.04 nm/cycle was achieved. X-ray diffraction and transition electron microscope measurements show that the films grown at deposition temperature 80–170 °C are amorphous; however, at 210 °C, the crystal structure of Fe7C3 is formed. The conformality and resistivity of the deposited films have also been studied. At last, the PEALD Fe1−xCx on carbon cloth shows excellent electrocatalytic performance for hydrogen evolution.
The microbiota–gut–brain axis, especially the microbial tryptophan (Trp) biosynthesis and metabolism pathway (MiTBamp), may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, studies on the MiTBamp in MDD are lacking. The aim of the present study was to analyze the gut microbiota composition and the MiTBamp in MDD patients.
We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing of stool samples from 26 MDD patients and 29 healthy controls (HCs). In addition to the microbiota community and the MiTBamp analyses, we also built a classification based on the Random Forests (RF) and Boruta algorithm to identify the gut microbiota as biomarkers for MDD.
The Bacteroidetes abundance was strongly reduced whereas that of Actinobacteria was significantly increased in the MDD patients compared with the abundance in the HCs. Most noteworthy, the MDD patients had increased levels of Bifidobacterium, which is commonly used as a probiotic. Four Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) orthologies (KOs) (K01817, K11358, K01626, K01667) abundances in the MiTBamp were significantly lower in the MDD group. Furthermore, we found a negative correlation between the K01626 abundance and the HAMD scores in the MDD group. Finally, RF classification at the genus level can achieve an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.890.
The present findings enabled a better understanding of the changes in gut microbiota and the related Trp pathway in MDD. Alterations of the gut microbiota may have the potential as biomarkers for distinguishing MDD patients form HCs.
The pathophysiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) remains unclear despite extensive neuroimaging work on the disorder. Exposure to medication and comorbid mental disorders can confound the results of OCD studies. The goal of this study was to explore differences in brain functional connectivity (FC) within the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) loop of drug-naïve and drug-free OCD patients and healthy controls (HCs).
A total of 29 drug-naïve OCD patients, 22 drug-free OCD patients, and 25 HCs matched on age, gender and education level underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning at resting state. Seed-based connectivity analyses were conducted among the three groups. The Yale Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale and clinical inventories were used to assess the clinical symptoms.
Compared with HCs, the drug-naïve OCD patients had reduced FC within the limbic CSTC loop. In the drug-naïve OCD participants, we also found hyperconnectivity between the supplementary motor area and ventral and dorsal putamen (p < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons).
Exposure to antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may affect the function of some brain regions. Future longitudinal studies could help to reveal the pharmacotherapeutic mechanisms in these loops.
In the three-phase (pure donor, pure acceptor, and mixed phases) morphologies of organic solar cells, the mixed phases produce an energy cascade that promotes the generation of free carriers. However, how to optimize the content of the mixed phases is a challenging problem. The authors proposed to control different content of mixed phases in DRTB-T and IDIC blends by additive and solvent vapor annealing (SVA). The authors first formed the largest extent amount of mixed phases by the additive cinene (2%) to inhibit the crystallization of DRTB-T and IDIC. And then, different amounts of mixed phases were achieved by further SVA for different times (from 0 to 50 s) to increase the content of pure DRTB-T and IDIC phases. The energetic offsets (ΔE) of pure and mixed phases gradually decrease from 0.529 to 0.477 eV for different content of mixed phases. When ΔE was 0.498 eV, the highest photocurrent density (Jsc) was obtained. The power conversion efficiency was increased from 3.23% (without any treatment) to 8.54%. Therefore, the authors demonstrated that the optimized content of the mixed phases is critical to device performance.
We recently reported Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao in Tang et al., 2019, from the early Cambrian Hetang Formation in South China and interpreted it as a problematic animal fossil, possibly related to either sponges or bivalved arthropods (Tang et al., 2019). Slater and Budd (2019) contested our taxonomic identification and phylogenetic interpretation; instead, they claimed that Cambrowania ovata is a large acritarch referable to morphotaxon Leiosphaeridia Eisenack, 1958, and thus is not an animal. Here we refute their criticisms, clarify the differences between Cambrowania and Leiosphaeridia and other acritarchs, and reiterate why an animal affinity for Cambrowania cannot be ruled out.
Higher fibre intake reduced all-cause and cardiovascular mortality among healthy population, but such data in dialysis patients are limited. We aimed to examine these associations in patients on peritoneal dialysis (PD). This single-centre prospective cohort study enrolled 881 incident PD patients between October 2002 and August 2014. All patients were followed until death, transfer to haemodialysis, renal transplantation or until being censored in June 2018. Demographic data were collected at baseline. Biochemical, dietary and nutrition data were examined at baseline and thereafter at regular intervals to calculate the average values throughout the study. The outcomes were defined as all-cause and cardiovascular death. Cox proportional regression models were applied to explore the relationship between fibre intake and outcomes. Participants with higher fibre intake were more likely to be younger, male and have better residual renal function and serum lipids at baseline. They were prone to maintain better nutrient status, higher blood pressure and lower inflammatory status at baseline and afterwards. Neither baseline nor time-averaged fibre intake did show protective effects on all-cause mortality after multivariate adjustment in the whole cohort. Among non-diabetic PD patients, an independent association between fibre intake and all-cause mortality was found, in which each 1 g/d increase in time-averaged fibre intake correlated to 13 % of reduction in all-cause mortality. We did not observe any benefits of fibre intake in the CVD mortality for both whole cohort and subgroups. The present study revealed that higher dietary fibre intake appeared to have a protective effect on all-cause mortality in non-diabetic PD patients, which suggest that PD patients should be encouraged to eat a diet rich in fibres.
Repetitive motion planning and control (RMPC) is a significant issue in the research of redundant robot manipulators. Moreover, noise from rounding error, truncation error, and robot uncertainty is an important factor that greatly affects RMPC schemes. In this study, the RMPC of redundant robot manipulators in a noisy environment is investigated. By incorporating the proportional and integral information of the desired path, a new RMPC scheme with pseudoinverse-type (P-type) formulation is proposed. Such a P-type RMPC scheme possesses the suppression of constant and bounded time-varying noises. Comparative simulation results based on a five-link robot manipulator and a PUMA560 robot manipulator are presented to further validate the effectiveness and superiority of the proposed P-type RMPC scheme over the previous one.
Swelling deformation tests of Kunigel bentonite and its sand mixtures were performed in distilled water and NaCl solution. The salinity of NaCl solution has a significant impact on the swelling properties of bentonite, but not on its surface structure. The surface structure was characterized using the fractal dimension Ds. Based on the fractal dimension, a unique curve of the em–pe relationship (em is the void ratio of montmorillonite and pe is the effective stress) at full saturation was introduced to express the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures. In mixtures with a large bentonite content, the swelling deformation always followed the em–pe relationship. In mixtures with a small bentonite content, when the effective stress reached a threshold, the void ratio of montmorillonite em deviated from the unique em–pe curve due to the appearance of a sand skeleton. The threshold of vertical pressure for mixtures in different solutions and the maximum swelling strains were estimated using the em–pe relationship. The good agreement between estimates and experimental data suggest that the em–pe relationship might be an alternative method for predicting the swelling deformation of bentonite–sand mixtures in salt solution.
Giardia duodenalis is a common intestinal parasite in humans and other mammals, and it causes major public and veterinary health problems worldwide. China is a major pig-raising country, and studies on Giardia in pigs have important public health significance. The present study was conducted to investigate the prevalence of Giardia and assess its genetic characterization. A total of 93 samples were collected from two farms in Shanghai. The presence of Giardia was determined using PCR and sequence analysis of glutamate dehydrogenase, beta-giardin and triose phosphate isomerase genes. The average prevalence of G. duodenalis infection was 26.88% (25/93) in the pigs, with 28.13% (18/64) in farm 1 vs 24.14% (7/29) in farm 2. All the PCR-positive products were successfully sequenced, and assemblage E was more prevalent. Zoonotic assemblages A and B and canine-specific assemblage C were identified in farm 1, whereas, only assemblage E was detected in farm 2. Interestingly, two pig isolates showed 100% homology with human-derived isolates from Australia and China at the bg and tpi loci respectively. Pigs infected with Giardia infect humans by polluting the environment; whether pigs are a potential environmental source of the human pathogen in China requires more epidemiological data.
Sn–Sb alloy is an ideal candidate for lead-free solder; however, its performance has been inferior to that of Sn–Pb alloy. Here, the authors used ab initio molecular dynamics simulation to investigate the interatomic interaction in Sn–Sb-based lead-free solders. By calculating the electron density distribution, bond population, and partial density of states, the authors found that the Sn–Sb bonds are a mixture of nonlocalized metal and localized covalent bonds. The covalent bond between Sn and Sb is easy to break at higher temperatures, so Sn–Sb (6.4 wt%) had better fluidity than other studied Sn–Sb alloys. Furthermore, adding Cu or Ag into Sn–Sb alloys can decrease the strength of covalent bonds and stabilize the metal bonds, which improves the metallicity and wettability of the Sn–Sb–Cu and Sn–Sb–Cu–Ag systems when the temperature increases. These results are all in good agreement with experimental findings and have significant value for the development of new solder alloys.
The lower-middle Hetang Formation (Cambrian Stage 2–3) deposited in slope-basinal facies in South China is well known for its preservation of the earliest articulated sponge fossils, providing an important taphonomic window into the Cambrian Explosion. However, the Hetang Formation also hosts a number of problematic animal fossils that have not been systematically described. This omission results in an incomplete picture of the Hetang biota and limits its contribution to the understanding of the early evolution of animals. Here we describe a new animal taxon, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, new genus new species, from the middle Hetang Formation in the Lantian area of southern Anhui Province, South China. Specimens are preserved as carbonaceous compressions, although some are secondarily mineralized. A comprehensive analysis using reflected light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and micro-CT reveals that the new species is characterized by a spheroidal to fusoidal truss-like structure consisting of rafter-like crossbars, some of which are secondarily baritized and may have been internally hollow. Some specimens have aperture-like structures that are broadly similar to oscula of sponges, whereas others show evidence of a medial split reminiscent of gaping carapaces. While the phylogenetic affinity of Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. remains problematic, we propose that it may represent carapaces of bivalved arthropods or more likely sponges in early life stages. Along with other problematic metazoan fossils such as hyolithids and sphenothallids, Cambrowania ovata Tang and Xiao, n. gen. n. sp. adds to the diversity of the sponge-dominated Hetang biota in an early Cambrian deepwater slope-basinal environment.