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The takeoff-mass of a two-stage-to-orbit Rocket-Based Combined Cycle Engine-Rocket (RBCC-RKT) launch vehicle is a crucial factor in its comprehensive performance. This paper optimizes the takeoff-mass together with the trajectory by reformulating it to a nonlinear optimal control problem. The range of the second stage rocket mass is considered as a process constraint. When the scopes of initial and terminal states are specified, the problem can be solved by using the Gauss pseudo-spectral method (GPM). In order to reduce the convergent difficulty caused by using table data, the data in different stages are utilized by employing an integrated interpolation strategy through the optimization. Simulation results show that the mass can be effectively optimized to meet the inertia mass ratio constraint of the first-stage, and the separation of Mach number and altitude can be optimized at the same time.
The major component of aphid alarm pheromone is (E)-β-farnesene (EβF), but the molecular mechanisms of EβF synthesis are poorly understood. Here we established a biological model to study the modulation of EβF synthesis in the bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi by using quantitative polymerase chain reaction, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and RNA interference. Our results showed that the rearing conditions significantly affected the weight of adult and modulated EβF synthesis in a transgenerational manner. Specifically, the quantity of EβF per milligram of aphid was significantly reduced in the individually reared adult or 1st-instar nymphs derived from 1-day-old adult reared individually, but EβF in the nymph derived from 2-day-old adult that experienced collective conditions returned to normal. Further study revealed that the production of EβF started in embryo and was extended to early nymphal stage, which was modulated by farnesyl diphosphate synthase genes (RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2) and rearing conditions. Knockdown of RpFPPS1 and RpFPPS2 confirmed the role played by FPPS in the biosynthesis of aphid alarm pheromone. Our results suggested that the production of EβF starts at the embryo stage and is modulated by FPPS and rearing conditions in R. padi, which sheds lights on the modulatory mechanisms of EβF in the aphid.
Periodontitis, or conventionally “Gum Disease,” is the infection and inflammation of gingival tissue, and is currently the leading cause of tooth loss in the United States. One of the most effective treatments of periodontitis is guided bone regeneration (GBR); however, current GBR barrier membranes lack high biocompatibility and cell impermeability. The authors of this study evaluated the in vitro viability of previously synthesized Gelatin-Pluronic® F127 hybrid hydrogels as potential GBR barrier membranes through a novel three-partition test involving migration of fluorescent-dyed human dermal fibroblasts. Results showed that cells were unable to migrate across the Gelatin-Pluronic® F127 hybrid hydrogel barrier, whereas control setups with gelatin hydrogel barriers showed cell permeability. In addition, cytotoxicity tests were conducted with fibroblasts plated in both cell mediums that had been incubated while in contact hybrid gels and cell mediums suspended on the surface of hybrid gels during swelling procedures. Fluorescence cell plate readings showed similar cell viability across data from both tests, indicating that Gelatin-Pluronic® F127 hybrid hydrogels are not toxic to cells, and thus biocompatible.
Hypoimmunity and numerous stresses are two major challenges in broiler industry. Nutrient intervention at the specific time of embryonic stage is a feasible way to improve animal performance. This study was conducted to investigate the possible effects of in ovo feeding (IOF) of vitamin C at embryonic age 15th day (E15) on growth performance, antioxidation and immune function of broilers. A total of 240 broiler fertile eggs were randomly divided into two groups (0 and 3 mg injected dose of vitamin C at E15), and new-hatched chicks from each treatment were randomly allocated into six replicates with 10 chicks per replicate after incubation. The results indicated that in ovo vitamin C injection improved the hatchability (P < 0.05) and increased immunoglobulin M (IgM) (at the broiler’s age 1st day, D1), IgG and IgM concentrations (D21), as well as lysozyme activity (D21, P < 0.05) and total antioxidant capacity (D42, P < 0.01) in plasma of broilers. On D21, the splenic expression level of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) was up-regulated in vitamin C (VC) group, whereas interleukin (IL)-6, interferon-γ, ten-eleven translocation protein 1 and thymine-DNA glycosylase were down-regulated (P < 0.05). On D42, in ovo vitamin C injection up-regulated splenic expression levels of DNMT1, DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) and growth arrest and DNA-damage-inducible protein beta (P < 0.05), whereas down-regulated splenic expression levels of IL-6, tumour necrosis factor-α and methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 4 (P < 0.05). Our findings suggested that IOF of 3 mg vitamin C at E15 could improve, to some extent, the antioxidant activity and immune function in plasma, corresponding with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen. However, IOF of vitamin C leading to the changes in the expression of DNA methyltransferases and demethylases may suggest an increased trend of DNA methylation level in spleen and whether DNA methylation variation is associated with the lower expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines in spleen warrants future study.
Heading date (HD) and flowering date (FD) are critical for yield potential and stability, so understanding their genetic foundation is of great significance in wheat breeding. Three related recombinant inbred line populations with a common female parent were developed to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) for HD and FD in four environments. In total, 25 putative additive QTL and 20 pairwise epistatic effect QTL were detected in four environments. The additive QTL were distributed across 17 wheat chromosomes. Of these, QHd-1A, QHd-1D, QHd-2B, QHd-3B, QHd-4A, QHd-4B and QHd-6D were major and stable QTL for HD. QFd-1A, QFd-2B, QFd-4A and QFd-4B were major and stable QTL for FD. In addition, an epistatic interaction test showed that epistasis played important roles in controlling wheat HD and FD. Genetic relationships between HD/FD and five yield-related traits (YRTs) were characterized and ten QTL clusters (C1–C10) simultaneously controlling YRTs and HD/FD were identified. The present work laid a genetic foundation for improving yield potential in wheat molecular breeding programmes.
A multi-scale strategy is employed in the paper to investigate the thermo-mechanical properties of 2.5D angle-interlock woven shape memory polymer composites (SMPCs). In the study, the mesoscopic model of 2.5D woven SMPCs and microscopic model of yarns are firstly developed. After that, the themo-viscoelastic constitutive relationship of the yarn is described in the form of hereditary integral and the parameters of relaxation moduli are obtained from nonlinear fitting of Prony series based on the results of finite element method (FEM). Based on the multi-scale models and the constitutive relationship, the effects of warp and weft arranged densities on viscoelastic properties of 2.5D woven SMPCs are studied in detail. Finally, the shape memory behavior along the warp direction in small strain region is also analyzed. The research in the paper lays a foundation for design and application of woven SMPCs in engineering.
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 viscoelastic properties of magnetorheological elastomers (MREs) are tunable with an external magnetic field, which provides them with greater functionality than conventional reinforced polymers. Despite the abundant amount of literature studying the complex micromechanics of MREs, the effect of filler morphology (including particle size, shape and superficial texture) is an aspect that has been recurrently overlooked. This paper presents a multiscale experimental investigation of the microscopic mechanisms governing the macroscopic viscoelastic behavior of PDMS-silicone-based MREs, with an emphasis on the effect of filler morphology on both the microstructure and the overall dynamic shear response of MREs. Sixteen different MREs were produced using four different iron powders of varying average particle size, shape and texture. The morphology of iron particles and the microstructure of the fabricated materials were analyzed via X-ray computed nanotomography and scanning electron microscopy. In addition, the shear moduli of the specimens were monitored under coupled magneto-mechanical loading via dynamic mechanical analysis. This study shows that the particle size affects the strength of the magnetic interparticle interactions, which produce a confining effect on the rubber matrix, while the particle shape and texture have a great influence on the rubber-filler mechanical adhesion.
Hydrogen is an important intermediate that is produced during carbohydrate fermentation to volatile fatty acid and utilized by methanogens to produce methane in the rumen. Ruminal volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane concentrations are more than 500 times greater than dissolved hydrogen concentration. Therefore, we hypothesized that dissolved hydrogen might have a higher sensitivity in response to dietary changes compared with volatile fatty acid and dissolved methane. Using goats, we investigated the effects of increasing dietary starch content (maize replaced with wheat bran) and supplementing with rhubarb rhizomes and roots on the relationships among dissolved hydrogen, dissolved methane and other fermentation end products. The study was conducted in a replicated 4×4 Latin square with a 2×2 factorial arrangement of four treatments: two starch levels (220 v. 320 g/kg dry matter (DM)), without and with rhubarb supplement (0% v. 2.8% of total mixed ration). Increased dietary starch and rhubarb supplementation did not alter volatile fatty acid concentrations or methane emissions in terms of g/day, g/g DM intake and g/g organic matter digested. However, goats fed the high-starch diet had greater dissolved hydrogen (P=0.005) and relative abundance of Selenomonas ruminantium (P<0.01), and lower (P=0.02) copy number of protozoa than those fed the low-starch diet. Rhubarb increased ruminal dissolved H2 (P=0.03) and total volatile fatty acid concentration (P<0.001), but decreased copies of bacteria (P=0.002). In conclusion, dissolved hydrogen appears to be more sensitive to dietary changes with starch content and rhubarb supplementation, when compared with volatile fatty acid concentrations and methane production.
Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate alterations in functional connectivity, white matter integrity, and cognitive abilities due to sports-related concussion (SRC) in adolescents using a prospective longitudinal design. Methods: We assessed male high school football players (ages 14–18) with (n=16) and without (n=12) SRC using complementary resting state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) along with cognitive performance using the Immediate Post-Concussive Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT). We assessed both changes at the acute phase (<7 days post-SRC) and at 21 days later, as well as, differences between athletes with SRC and age- and team-matched control athletes. Results: The results revealed rs-fMRI hyperconnectivity within posterior brain regions (e.g., precuneus and cerebellum), and hypoconnectivity in more anterior areas (e.g., inferior and middle frontal gyri) when comparing SRC group to control group acutely. Performance on the ImPACT (visual/verbal memory composites) was correlated with resting state network connectivity at both time points. DTI results revealed altered diffusion in the SRC group along a segment of the corticospinal tract and the superior longitudinal fasciculus in the acute phase of SRC. No differences between the SRC group and control group were seen at follow-up imaging. Conclusions: Acute effects of SRC are associated with both hyperconnectivity and hypoconnectivity, with disruption of white matter integrity. In addition, acute memory performance was most sensitive to these changes. After 21 days, adolescents with SRC returned to baseline performance, although chronic hyperconnectivity of these regions could place these adolescents at greater risk for secondary neuropathological changes, necessitating future follow-up. (JINS, 2018, 24, 781–792)
Pathogenesis of pregnancy toxemia (PT) is believed to be associated with the disruption of lipid metabolism. The present study aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms of lipid metabolism disorder in the livers of ewes with PT. In total, 10 pregnant ewes were fed normally (control group) whereas another 10 were subjected to 70% level feed restriction for 15 days to establish a pathological model of PT. Results showed that, as compared with the controls, the levels of blood β-hydroxybutyrate (BHBA), non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) and cholesterol were greater (P<0.05) and blood glucose level was lower (P<0.05) in PT ewes. The contents of NEFAs, BHBA, cholesterol and triglyceride were higher (P<0.05) and glycerol content was lower (P<0.05) in hepatic tissues of PT ewes than those of the controls. For ewes with PT, excessive fat vacuoles were observed in liver sections stained with hematoxylin–eosin; furthermore, inner structures of hepatocytes including nuclei, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum were damaged seriously according to the results of transmission electron microscope. Real-time PCR data showed that compared with the controls, the expression of hepatic genes involved in fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and triglyceride synthesis (TGS) was enhanced (P<0.05) whereas that related to acetyl-CoA metabolism (ACM) was repressed (P<0.05) in PT ewes. Generally, our results showed that negative energy balance altered the expression of genes involved in FAO, ACM and TGS, further caused lipid metabolism disorder in livers, resulting in PT of ewes. Our findings may provide the molecular basis for novel therapeutic strategies against this systemic metabolic disease in sheep.
Taihu pig breeds are the most prolific breeds of swine in the world, and they also have superior economic traits, including high resistance to disease, superior meat quality, high resistance to crude feed and a docile temperament. The formation of these phenotypic characteristics is largely a result of long-term artificial or natural selection. Therefore, exploring selection signatures in the genomes of the Taihu pigs will help us to identify porcine genes related to productivity traits, disease and behaviour. In this study, we used both intra-population (Relative Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (REHH)) and inter-population (the Cross-Population Extend Haplotype Homozygosity Test (XPEHH); F-STATISTICS, FST) methods to detect genomic regions that might be under selection process in Taihu pig breeds. As a result, we found 282 (REHH) and 112 (XPEHH) selection signature candidate regions corresponding to 159.78 Mb (6.15%) and 62.29 Mb (2.40%) genomic regions, respectively. Further investigations of the selection candidate regions revealed that many genes under these genomic regions were related to reproductive traits (such as the TLR9 gene), coat colour (such as the KIT gene) and fat metabolism (such as the CPT1A and MAML3 genes). Furthermore, gene enrichment analyses showed that genes under the selection candidate regions were significantly over-represented in pathways related to diseases, such as autoimmune thyroid and asthma diseases. In conclusion, several candidate genes potentially under positive selection were involved in characteristics of Taihu pig. These results will further allow us to better understand the mechanisms of selection in pig breeding.
Superior and inferior rice grains have different weights and are located on the upper primary branch and lower secondary branches of the panicle, respectively. To study differences in germination vigour of these two types of grain, a number of factors were investigated from 0 to 48 h of germination. The present study demonstrated that in inferior grains the starch granule structure was looser at 0 h, with full water absorption at 48 h, while in superior grains the structure was tight and dense. Relative water content increased, and dry matter decreased, more rapidly in inferior grains than in superior ones. Abscisic acid and gibberellin levels, as well as α-amylase activity, also changed more rapidly in inferior grains, while soluble sugar content and amylase coding gene expression increased more rapidly in inferior than superior grains during early germination. The expression of OsGAMYB was higher in inferior grains at 24 h but higher in superior grains at 48 h. The phenotypic index of seedlings was higher in seedlings from superior grains at the two-leaf stage. However, the thousand-grain weight and yield per plant in superior and inferior plants showed no significant difference at harvest. The present study indicates that inferior grains germinate faster than superior ones in the early germination stage. Although inferior grains produced weaker seedlings, it is worthwhile using them in rice production due to their comparative yield potential over that of superior grains.
Previously, the concept of Ply Drop Sequence (PDS) is introduced by the authors for the designing of composite laminated structures with multiple regions. Compared to deleting a contiguous innermost/outermost plies in the classical guide-based blending, using PDS is more flexible than dropping plies between adjacent regions. In this article, a new blending model called the Permutation for Panel Sequence (PPS) blending model is proposed to correct the problem of repeated searching of discrete points in the design space for the previous PDS blending model. The proposed method is also applied to an 18-panel horseshoe benchmark problem. The results demonstrate that the useful searching points in the PPS method are less than those in the PDS method when the number of the panels is less than the number of plies in the guide laminate, and the PPS method obtains a faster convergence speed compared with the PDS method.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) has been shown to be involved in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced immune responses in many mammal cells. Here, we suggest that the mTOR pathway is involved in the intestinal inflammatory responses evoked by LPS treatment in chicken embryos. The intestinal tissue from Specific pathogen free chick embryos was cultured in the presence of LPS for 2 h. Secretory immunoglobulin A (sIgA) concentrations, messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of cytokines, and protein levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), mTOR and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) were determined. The results showed that LPS treatment increased sIgA concentrations in a dose-dependent manner. The mRNA levels of interleukine (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor-α and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 were upregulated by LPS treatment (P<0.05). Lipopolysaccharide increased the phosphorylation of Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), p38 MAPK and NF-κB (P<0.05) while decreasing the phosphorylation level of mTOR (P<0.05). Supplementation of leucine at doses of 10, 20 and 40 mM dose-dependently decreased sIgA production. Leucine supplementation at 40 mM restored the phosphorylation level of mTOR and p70S6K while suppressing the phosphorylation levels of NF-κB (P<0.05) and partially down-regulating the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK and JNK. The transcription of IL-6 was significantly decreased by leucine supplementation. These results suggested that leucine could alleviate LPS-induced inflammatory responses by down-regulating NF-κB signaling pathway and evoking mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway, which may involve in the regulation of the intestinal immune system in chicken embryos.
The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
Lead is one of the environmental pollutants with cardiovascular toxicity. The embryos are particularly sensitive to lead exposure, because it can move through the blood-placental barrier and the blood-brain barrier easily during embryonic development. Cerebral cavernous malformations 3 (CCM3) gene plays an important role in cardiovascular development, mainly affecting cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. In this study, we established a blood vessel development model of mouse embryos in order to imitate human people with CCM3 genes defects and exposing to environment toxin Pb in utero. We would like to determine the interaction of Pb and CCM3 gene on vascular development, and to explore the mechanisms. We found that the yolk sac of CCM3 heterozygous mice embryo showed abnormal morphology at E11.5 after lead treatment comparing with wild type (WT) mice without lead exposure, meanwhile it showed more angiogenesis and vascular remodeling in the hematoxylin and eosin stained sections of the CCM3+/− yolk sac with lead exposure. We also found that the similar effect of Pb and CCM3 gene on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number in vivo and in vitro. Mitochondrial morphology and function also changed in primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells after lead exposure. Besides, it was found that the HIF-1α and TFAM which have close relationship with mtDNA biogenesis showed similarly increasing messenger RNA expression in both human and mouse-derived primary cells with lead treated and CCM3 gene knockout. All of the above results indicated that lead and CCM3 might damage endothelial cells through mitochondria pathway and eventually both affected angiogenesis.
Diarrhea is a common cause of morbidity and mortality and the incidence of diarrhea in the world has changed little over the past four decades. To assess the prevalence of and healthcare practices for diarrhea, a cross-sectional study was conducted in Pudong, Shanghai, China. In October 2014, a total of 5324 community residents were interviewed. Respondents were asked if they had experienced diarrhea (defined as ⩾3 passages of watery, loose, bloody, or mucoid stools within a 24-h period) in the previous month prior to the interview. The monthly prevalence of diarrhea was 4·1% (95% CI: 3·3–4·8), corresponding to an incidence rate of 0·54 episodes per person-year. The proportion of individuals with diarrhea who sought healthcare was 21·2% (95% CI: 13·4–29·0). Diarrhea continues to impose a considerable burden on the community and healthcare system in Pudong. Young age and travel were identified as predictors of increased diarrhea occurrence.
To investigate the effect of microRNA let-7a on OPN expression in a mouse model of allergic rhinitis.
Thirty-two mature female C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into four groups, with eight mice in each group: microRNA let-7a, microRNA control, OVA and phosphate-buffered saline groups. The microRNA let-7a, microRNA control and OVA groups were sensitised with OVA to establish a mouse model of allergic rhinitis. Nose-scratching events were counted. Nasal mucosa was used to evaluate histological changes of goblet cell hyperplasia. Interleukins 5 and 13 were detected. Interferon-γ levels in the nasal lavage fluid were assayed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. OPN expression was estimated with polymerase chain reaction.
Compared with microRNA control mice, microRNA let-7a treated mice had a significantly increased number of nose-scratching events, nasal mucosal eosinophilia and goblet cell hyperplasia (p < 0.05), and significantly higher interleukins 5 and 13 in nasal mucosa (p < 0.05), but there was no significant difference in interferon-γ (p > 0.05). In addition, microRNA let-7a treated mice had significantly enhanced OPN expression in nasal mucosa (p < 0.05).
MicroRNA let-7a can promote allergic rhinitis development partly by regulating OPN expression.