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The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is related to dopamine degradation and has been suggested to be involved in the pathogenesis of major depressive disorder (MDD). However, how this gene affects brain function properties in MDD is still unclear.
Fifty patients with MDD and 35 cognitively normal participants underwent a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. A voxelwise and data-drive global functional connectivity density (gFCD) analysis was used to investigate the main effects and the interactions of disease states and COMT rs4680 gene polymorphism on brain function.
We found significant group differences of the gFCD in bilateral fusiform area (FFA), post-central and pre-central cortex, left superior temporal gyrus (STG), rectal and superior temporal gyrus and right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC); abnormal gFCDs in left STG were positively correlated with severity of depression in MDD group. Significant disease × COMT interaction effects were found in the bilateral calcarine gyrus, right vlPFC, hippocampus and thalamus, and left SFG and FFA. Further post-hoc tests showed a nonlinear modulation effect of COMT on gFCD in the development of MDD. Interestingly, an inverted U-shaped modulation was found in the prefrontal cortex (control system) but U-shaped modulations were found in the hippocampus, thalamus and occipital cortex (processing system).
Our study demonstrated nonlinear modulation of the interaction between COMT and depression on brain function. These findings expand our understanding of the COMT effect underlying the pathophysiology of MDD.
Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic heavy metal that poses a threat to the health of humans and animals. It can cause serious damage to the small intestine, which is the main absorption site of Cd and the primary target organ after oral administration. Our previous study found that zinc chelate of hydroxy analogue of methionine (Zn-HMTB), a new type of feed additive, decreased Cd accumulation in the liver and kidneys. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Zn-HMTB on Cd absorption and Cd-induced toxicity in the small intestine of piglets. Twenty-four piglets (Landrace × Large White, 13.22 ± 0.58 kg BW) were randomly divided into four dietary treatment groups: basal diet, and diets containing 30 mg/kg Cd from CdCl2 and 0, 100 or 200 mg/kg Zn from Zn-HMTB. The experiment lasted 27 days. The feed intake and final BW of each piglet were recorded at the end of the experiment. Gastrointestinal (GI) tract tissue and samples of liver, kidney, spleen, heart, lung and longissimus muscle tissue and faeces were collected. The concentrations of Cd and metal trace elements in the GI tract and organs were analysed, as was the relative messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of inflammatory cytokines and metal element transporters in the small intestine, and epithelial apoptosis in the small intestine. The results showed that, compared with Cd-treated piglets, piglets in the Zn-HMTB and Cd cotreatment groups had less Cd deposition in the stomach, ileum, caecum, colon, liver, kidneys, spleen, lungs, heart and muscles (P < 0.05), and lower Cd concentrations in faeces (P < 0.05), suggesting that Zn-HMTB increased Cd absorption and the excretion of Cd in other forms (possibly urine). Zinc chelate of hydroxy analogue of methionine increased Zn deposition in the jejunum and the relative mRNA expression of divalent metal transporters 1 and zinc transporter 5 in the duodenum (P < 0.05), indicating that Zn-HMTB may promote the absorption and transportation of Cd and Zn together by upregulating metal element transporters. Competition between Zn and Cd may be responsible for accelerating Cd excretion. Furthermore, Zn-HMTB reduced Cd-induced apoptosis of enterocytes and inflammatory stimuli in the small intestine, suggesting that Zn-HMTB reduced Cd-induced toxicity to the small intestine. These results suggest that Zn-HMTB can be helpful in decreasing Cd accumulation in the GI tract and organs of piglets and relieving Cd-induced toxicity to the small intestine but cannot reduce the absorption of Cd.
Small intestinal epithelium homeostasis involves four principal cell types: enterocytes, goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cells. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) has been shown to affect enterocyte differentiation. This study determined the effect of dietary EGF on goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglet small intestine and potential mechanisms. Forty-two weaned piglets were used in a 2 × 3 factorial design; the major factors were time post-weaning (days 7 and 14) and dietary treatment (0, 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF supplementation). The numbers of goblet and enteroendocrine cells were generally greater with the increase in time post-weaning. Moreover, the supplementation of 200 µg/kg EGF increased (P < 0.01) the number of goblet and enteroendocrine cells in villus and crypt of the piglet small intestine as compared with the control. Dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of differentiation-related genes atonal homologue 1, mucin 2 and intestinal trefoil factor 3 messenger RNA (mRNA) as compared with the control. Piglets fed 200 or 400 µg/kg EGF diet had increased (P < 0.05) abundances of growth factor-independent 1, SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor and pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 mRNA, but decreased the abundance (P < 0.01) of E74 like ETS transcription factor 3 mRNA as compared with the control. Animals receiving 400 µg/kg EGF diets had enhanced (P < 0.05) abundances of neurogenin3 and SRY-box containing gene 9 mRNA as compared with the control. The mRNA abundance and protein expression of lysozyme, a marker of Paneth cell, were also increased (P < 0.05) in those animals. As compared with the control, dietary supplementation with 200 µg/kg EGF increased the abundance of EGF receptor mRNA and the ratio of non-phospho(p)-β-catenin/β-catenin (P < 0.05) in villus epithelial cells at days 7 and 14. This ratio in crypt epithelial cells was higher (P < 0.05) on the both 200 and 400 µg/kg EGF groups during the same period. Our results demonstrated that dietary EGF stimulated goblet, enteroendocrine and Paneth cell differentiation in piglets during the post-weaning period, partly through EGFR and Wnt/β-catenin signalling.
Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) by infants and young children are less explored in Asian populations. The Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes cohort study examined associations between SSB intake at 18 months and 5 years of age, with adiposity measures at 6 years of age. We studied Singaporean infants/children with SSB intake assessed by FFQ at 18 months of age (n 555) and 5 years of age (n 767). The median for SSB intakes is 28 (interquartile range 5·5–98) ml at 18 months of age and 111 (interquartile range 57–198) ml at 5 years of age. Association between SSB intake (100 ml/d increments and tertile categories) and adiposity measures (BMI standard deviation scores (sd units), sum of skinfolds (SSF)) and overweight/obesity status were examined using multivariable linear and Poisson regression models, respectively. After adjusting for confounders and additionally for energy intake, SSB intake at age 18 months were not significantly associated with later adiposity measures and overweight/obesity outcomes. In contrast, at age 5 years, SSB intake when modelled as 100 ml/d increments were associated with higher BMI by 0·09 (95 % CI 0·02, 0·16) sd units, higher SSF thickness by 0·68 (95 % CI 0·06, 1·44) mm and increased risk of overweight/obesity by 1·2 (95 % CI 1·07, 1·23) times at age 6 years. Trends were consistent with SSB intake modelled as categorical tertiles. In summary, SSB intake in young childhood is associated with higher risks of adiposity and overweight/obesity. Public health policies working to reduce SSB consumption need to focus on prevention programmes targeted at young children.
The gut is composed of a single layer of intestinal epithelial cells and plays important roles in the digestion and absorption of nutrients, immune and barrier functions and amino acid metabolism. Weaning stress impairs piglet intestinal epithelium structural and functional integrities, which results in reduced feed intake, growth rates and increased morbidity and mortality. Several measures are needed to maintain swine gut development and growth performance after weaning stress. A large body of evidence indicates that, in weaning piglets, glutamine, a functional amino acid, may improve growth performance and intestinal morphology, reduce oxidative damage, stimulate enterocyte proliferation, modulate cell survival and death and enhance intestinal paracellular permeability. This review focuses on the effects of glutamine on intestinal health in piglets. The aim is to provide evidentiary support for using glutamine as a feed additive to alleviate weaning stress.
Using an age-structured process-based simulation model for diamondback moth (DBM), we model the population dynamics of this major Brassica pest using the cropping practices and climate of Guangdong, China. The model simulates two interacting sub-populations (demes), each representing a short season crop. The simulated DBM abundance, and hence pest problems, depend on planting regime, crop hygiene and biological control. A continuous supply of hosts, a low proportion of crop harvested and long residue times between harvest and replanting each exacerbate pest levels. Biological control provided by a larval parasitoid can reduce pest problems, but not eliminate them when climate is suitable for DBM and under certain planting practices. The classic Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method of insecticide application, when pest threshold is reached, proved effective and halved the number of insecticide sprays when compared with the typical practice of weekly insecticide application.
The historical trends of reduction in fuel consumption and emissions from aero engines have been mainly due to the improvement in the thermal efficiency, propulsive efficiency and combustion technology. The engine Overall Pressure Ratio (OPR) and Turbine Inlet Temperature (TIT) are being increased in the pursuit of increasing the engine thermal efficiency. However, this has an adverse effect on engine NOx emission. The current paper investigates a possible solution to overcome this problem for future generation Very High Bypass Ratio (VHBR)/Ultra High Bypass Ratio (UHBR) aero-engines in the form of an Inter-stage Turbine Burner (ITB). The ITB concept is investigated on a next generation baseline VHBR aero engine to evaluate its effect on the engine performance and emission characteristics for different ITB energy fractions. It is found that the ITB can reduce the bleed air required for cooling the HPT substantially (around 80%) and also reduce the NOx emission significantly (>30%) without penalising the engine specific fuel consumption.
An experiment was carried out to evaluate the short-term effect of supplementing a nucleotide-rich yeast extract (NRYE) on growth performance, gut structure, immunity and microflora of piglets raised under sanitary and unsanitary conditions. A total of 84, 21-day old piglets were used in this study; 42 piglets were raised in a room designated as the clean room that was washed once per week, whereas the other 42 piglets were raised in a room designated as the unclean room in which 7 kg of manure from the sow herd was spread on each pen floor on day 1 and 7 and the room was not washed throughout the experiment. The pigs were fed a corn–soybean meal-based diet without or with 0.1% NRYE. Each treatment had 7 replicate pens in each room, and each pen housed 3 pigs. Feed disappearance and BW were recorded on day 1 and 14. On day 14, one pig per pen was euthanized to collect ileum, mesenteric lymph nodes and spleen tissues, and cecum and colon digesta. Overall, NRYE supplementation did not affect growth performance in both clean and unclean conditions, improved kidney weight in both clean (P=0.0002) and unclean room (P<0.0001) and tended to improve the villus height/crypt depth ratio in the clean room (P=0.073). Supplementing NRYE was associated with upregulation of Ileal programmed cell death gene-1 (P=0.0003), interleukin (IL)-1β (P<0.0001), IL-6 (P=0.0003), IL-10 (P<0.0001) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) (P<0.0001) in pigs raised in the unclean room. Supplementing the NRYE in pigs raised in the clean room suppressed growth of cecal Enterobacteriacea (P<0.0001) members and colonic Enterococcus spp. (P<0.019), improved proliferation of cecal Lactobacillus spp. (P<0.002) and colonic Clostridium cluster IV (P<0.011) and XVIa members (P<0.0002). Supplementing the NRYE in the unclean room improved proliferation of cecal Clostridium cluster IV (P<0.026) and suppressed proliferation of colonic Enterococcus spp. (P<0.037). In conclusion, supplementing the NRYE to piglets under unsanitary conditions improved ileal immune response by upregulating inflammatory cytokines, and positively modulated proliferation of beneficial gut bacteria and suppression of harmful ones in both clean and unclean rooms.
Schizophrenia patients have a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) than normals. We examined the relationship between IGT and clinical phenotypes or cognitive deficits in first-episode, drug-naïve (FEDN) Han Chinese patients with schizophrenia.
A total of 175 in-patients were compared with 31 healthy controls on anthropometric measures and fasting plasma levels of glucose, insulin and lipids. They were also compared using a 75 g oral glucose tolerance test and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Neurocognitive functioning was assessed using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB). Patient psychopathology was assessed using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS).
Of the patients, 24.5% had IGT compared with none of the controls, and they also had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose and 2-h glucose after an oral glucose load, and were more insulin resistant. Compared with those patients with normal glucose tolerance, the IGT patients were older, had a later age of onset, higher waist or hip circumference and body mass index, higher levels of low-density lipoprotein and triglycerides and higher insulin resistance. Furthermore, IGT patients had higher PANSS total and negative symptom subscale scores, but no greater cognitive impairment except on the emotional intelligence index of the MCCB.
IGT occurs with greater frequency in FEDN schizophrenia, and shows association with demographic and anthropometric parameters, as well as with clinical symptoms but minimally with cognitive impairment during the early course of the disorder.
Drought risk is considered to be among the main limiting factors for maize (Zea mays L.) production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR). Maize yield data from 44 stations over the period 1961–2010 were combined with data from weather stations to evaluate the effects of climatic factors, drought risk and irrigation requirement on rain-fed maize yield in specific maize growth phases. The maize growing season was divided into four growth phases comprising seeding, vegetative, flowering and maturity based on observations of phenological data from 1981 to 2010. The dual crop coefficient was used to calculate crop evapotranspiration and soil water balance during the maize growing season. The effects of mean temperature, solar radiation, effective rainfall, water deficit, drought stress days, actual crop evapotranspiration and irrigation requirement in different growth phases were included in the statistical model to predict maize yield. During the period 1961–2010, mean temperature increased significantly in all growth phases in NFR, while solar radiation decreased significantly in southern NFR in the seeding, vegetative and flowering phases. Effective rainfall increased in the seeding and vegetative phases, reducing water deficit over the period, whereas decreasing effective rainfall over time in the flowering and maturity phases enhanced water deficit. An increase in days with drought stress was concentrated in western NFR, with larger volumes of irrigation needed to compensate for increased dryness. The present results indicate that higher mean temperature in the seeding and maturity phases was beneficial for maize yield, whereas excessive rainfall would damage maize yield, in particular in the seeding and flowering phases. Drought stress in any growth stage was found to reduce maize yield and water deficit was slightly better than other indicators of drought stress for explaining yield variability. The effect of drought stress was particularly strong in the seeding and flowering phases, indicating that these periods should be given priority for irrigation. The yield-reducing effects of both drought and intense rainfall illustrate the importance of further development of irrigation and drainage systems for ensuring the stability of maize production in NFR.
Crop production in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR) is affected considerably by variation in climatic conditions. Data on crop yield and weather conditions from a number of agro-meteorological stations in NFR were used in a mixed linear model to evaluate the impacts of climatic variables on the yield of maize (Zea mays L.), rice (Oryza sativa L.), soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) and spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in different crop growth phases. The crop growing season was divided into three growth phases based on the average crop phenological dates from records covering 1981 and 2010 at each station, comprising pre-flowering (from sowing to just prior to flowering), flowering (20 days around flowering) and post-flowering (10 days after flowering to maturity). The climatic variables were mean minimum temperature, thermal time (which is used to indicate changes in the length of growth cycles), average daily solar radiation, accumulated precipitation, aridity index (which is used to assess drought stress) and heat degree-days index (HDD) (which is used to indicate heat stress) were calculated for each growth phase and year. Over the 1961–2010 period, the minimum temperature increased significantly in each crop growth phase, the thermal time increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of each crop and in the post-flowering phases of maize, rice and soybean, and HDD increased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Average solar radiation decreased significantly in the pre-flowering phase of all four crops and in the flowering phase of soybean and wheat. Precipitation increased during the pre-flowering phase leading to less aridity, whereas reduced precipitation in the flowering and post-flowering phases enhanced aridity. Statistical analyses indicated that higher minimum temperature was beneficial for maize, rice and soybean yields, whereas increased temperature reduced wheat yield. Higher solar radiation in the pre-flowering phase was beneficial for maize yield, in the post-flowering phase for wheat yield, whereas higher solar radiation in the flowering phase reduced rice yield. Increased aridity in the pre-flowering and flowering phases severely reduced maize yield, higher aridity in the flowering and post-flowering phases reduced rice yield, and aridity in all growth phases reduced soybean and wheat yields. Higher HDD in all growth phases reduced maize and soybean yield and HDD in the pre-flowering phase reduced rice yield. Such effects suggest that projected future climate change may have marked effects on crop yield through effects of several climatic variables, calling for adaptation measures such as breeding and changes in crop, soil and agricultural water management.
Experiments on the National Ignition Facility show that multi-dimensional effects currently dominate the implosion performance. Low mode implosion symmetry and hydrodynamic instabilities seeded by capsule mounting features appear to be two key limiting factors for implosion performance. One reason these factors have a large impact on the performance of inertial confinement fusion implosions is the high convergence required to achieve high fusion gains. To tackle these problems, a predictable implosion platform is needed meaning experiments must trade-off high gain for performance. LANL has adopted three main approaches to develop a one-dimensional (1D) implosion platform where 1D means measured yield over the 1D clean calculation. A high adiabat, low convergence platform is being developed using beryllium capsules enabling larger case-to-capsule ratios to improve symmetry. The second approach is liquid fuel layers using wetted foam targets. With liquid fuel layers, the implosion convergence can be controlled via the initial vapor pressure set by the target fielding temperature. The last method is double shell targets. For double shells, the smaller inner shell houses the DT fuel and the convergence of this cavity is relatively small compared to hot spot ignition. However, double shell targets have a different set of trade-off versus advantages. Details for each of these approaches are described.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is an infectious disease caused by enteroviruses, which usually occurs in children aged <5 years. In China, the HFMD situation is worsening, with increasing number of cases nationwide. Therefore, monitoring and predicting HFMD incidence are urgently needed to make control measures more effective. In this study, we applied an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model to forecast HFMD incidence in Sichuan province, China. HFMD infection data from January 2010 to June 2014 were used to fit the ARIMA model. The coefficient of determination (R2), normalized Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) and mean absolute percentage of error (MAPE) were used to evaluate the goodness-of-fit of the constructed models. The fitted ARIMA model was applied to forecast the incidence of HMFD from April to June 2014. The goodness-of-fit test generated the optimum general multiplicative seasonal ARIMA (1,0,1) × (0,1,0)12 model (R2 = 0·692, MAPE = 15·982, BIC = 5·265), which also showed non-significant autocorrelations in the residuals of the model (P = 0·893). The forecast incidence values of the ARIMA (1,0,1) × (0,1,0)12 model from July to December 2014 were 4103–9987, which were proximate forecasts. The ARIMA model could be applied to forecast HMFD incidence trend and provide support for HMFD prevention and control. Further observations should be carried out continually into the time sequence, and the parameters of the models could be adjusted because HMFD incidence will not be absolutely stationary in the future.
Insect cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (P450s) play an important role in catalysis of many reactions leading to insecticides resistance. Our previous studies on transcriptome analysis of chlorantraniliprole-resistant development in the diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella revealed that up-regulation of cytochrome P450s are one of the main factors leading to the development of chlorantraniliprole resistance. Here, we report for the first time a novel cytochrome P450 gene CYP321E1, which belongs to the cytochrome P450 gene family CYP321. Real-time quantitative PCR (RT–qPCR) analyses indicated that CYP321E1 was expressed at all developmental stages of P. xylostella but was highest in the fourth-instar larvae; furthermore, the relatively high expression was observed in the midgut of the fourth-instar larvae, followed by fat bodies and epidermis. The expression of CYP321E1 in P. xylostella was differentially affected by three representative insecticides, including alphamethrin, abamectin and chlorantraniliprole. Among them, the exposure to chlorantraniliprole resulted in the largest transcript level of this cytochrome P450 gene. The findings suggested potential involvement of CYP321E1 in chlorantraniliprole resistance of P. xylostella. To assess the functional link of CYP321E1 to chlorantraniliprole resistance, RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated gene silencing by double stranded RNA (dsRNA) injecting was used. Results revealed that injection delivery of dsRNA can greatly reduce gene expression after 24 h. As a consequence of RNAi, a significant increment in mortality of larvae injected CYP321E1 dsRNA was observed after 24 h of exposure to chlorantraniliprole. These results strongly support our notion that this novel cytochrome P450 gene plays an important role in chlorantraniliprole detoxification in the diamondback moth and is partly responsible for its resistance.
China has recently experienced a marked increase in the incidence of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Effective spatio-temporal monitoring of HFMD incidence is important for successful implementation of control and prevention measures. This study monitored county-level HFMD reported incidence rates for Sichuan province, China by examining spatio-temporal patterns. County-level data on HFMD daily cases between January 2008 and December 2013 were obtained from the China Information System for Disease Control and Prevention. We first conducted purely temporal and purely spatial descriptive analyses to characterize the distribution patterns of HFMD. Then, the global Moran's I statistic and space–time scan statistic were used to detect the spatial autocorrelation and identify the high-risk clusters in each year, respectively. A total of 212267 HFMD cases were reported in Sichuan province during the study period (annual average incidence 43·65/100000), and the incidence seasonal peak was between April and July. Relatively high incidence rates appeared in the northeastern–southwestern belt. HFMD had positive spatial autocorrelation at the county level with global Moran's I increasing from 0·27 to 0·52 (P < 0·001). Spatio-temporal cluster analysis detected six most-likely clusters and several secondary clusters from 2008 to 2013. The centres of the six most-likely clusters were all located in the provincial capital city Chengdu. Chengdu and its neighbouring cities had always been spatio-temporal clusters, which indicated the need for further intensive space–time surveillance. Allocating more resources to these areas at suitable times might help to reduce HFMD incidence more effectively.
In this study, epidemiological factors of sparganosis cases reported in mainland China from 1959 to December 2012 were analysed. A total of 1061 valid cases were distributed throughout most of the provinces of mainland China, with most cases occurring in Southern and Eastern China. The average age of patients was 29 years (range 0–80 years). Modes of transmission to humans were via contact (54·6%), mainly by application of frog meat as a poultice, foodborne (33·8%), mainly through ingesting frogs or snakes, and waterborne (11·5%) through drinking raw water. The tissue/organs involved were subcutaneous/muscle (43·1%), eyes (31·0%), central nervous system (CNS) (17·9%), urogenital system (3·9%) and visceral organs (3·2%). Obvious differences existed in main risk factors for different areas. Close correlation was found between tissue/organs and risk factors. Main modes of transmission changed during the past decades, from contact (83·8% pre-1979) to foodborne (63·9% post-2000). The tissue/organs involved also changed at the same time. Cases involving eyes fell from 50·0% pre-1979 to 8·3% post-2000, and cases involving CNS increased from 0% pre-1979 to 47·8% post-2000. These results illustrate that China is one of the main epidemic countries of sparganosis in the world. Consumption of frog/snake meat was the main risk factor, although application of frog flesh as a poultice was the main risk factor before 2000. Sparganosis has become one of the neglected but important foodborne/waterborne parasitic diseases in mainland China.
An electrical and analytical study was carried out to investigate TiW/ZnO Schottky contacts with 30 nm ZnO thin film layers deposited by pulsed laser deposition (PLD), plasma enhanced atomic layer deposition (PEALD), and thermal atomic layer deposition (TALD). Devices with ZnO layer deposited by TALD exhibit approximately linear behavior in their I-V measurements. However, both devices with ZnO layers deposited by PEALD and PLD behaved like Schottky rectifiers with barrier heights between TiW and ZnO of 0.51 eV and 0.45 eV respectively and ideality factors of 2.0 and 2.3 respectively. The PEALD deposited ZnO Schotty diodes demonstrated an on/off rectifying ratio of about 25 at ±1 V. The leakage current values of the PLD deposited ZnO Schottky diodes are significantly larger than those of PEALD, leading to a poor on/off rectifying ratio of ∼4. Due to the small thickness, a critical breakdown strength of 1.3 MV/cm was estimated for PEALD-ZnO thin films.