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The first demonstration of laser action in ruby was made in 1960 by T. H. Maiman of Hughes Research Laboratories, USA. Many laboratories worldwide began the search for lasers using different materials, operating at different wavelengths. In the UK, academia, industry and the central laboratories took up the challenge from the earliest days to develop these systems for a broad range of applications. This historical review looks at the contribution the UK has made to the advancement of the technology, the development of systems and components and their exploitation over the last 60 years.
To evaluate the impacts of guanidinoacetic acid (GAA) and coated folic acid (CFA) on growth performance, nutrient digestion and hepatic gene expression, fifty-two Angus bulls were assigned to four groups in a 2 × 2 factor experimental design. The CFA of 0 or 6 mg/kg dietary DM folic acid was supplemented in diets with GAA of 0 (GAA−) or 0·6 g/kg DM (GAA+), respectively. Average daily gain (ADG), feed efficiency and hepatic creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and the increased magnitude of these parameters was greater for addition of CFA in GAA− diets than in GAA+ diets. Blood creatine concentration increased with GAA or CFA addition, and greater increase was observed when CFA was supplemented in GAA+ diets than in GAA− diets. DM intake was unchanged, but rumen total SCFA concentration and digestibilities of DM, crude protein, neutral-detergent fibre and acid-detergent fibre increased with the addition of GAA or CFA. Acetate:propionate ratio was unaffected by GAA, but increased for CFA addition. Increase in blood concentrations of albumin, total protein and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) was observed for GAA or CFA addition. Blood folate concentration was decreased by GAA, but increased with CFA addition. Hepatic expressions of IGF-1, phosphoinositide 3-kinase, protein kinase B, mammalian target of rapamycin and ribosomal protein S6 kinase increased with GAA or CFA addition. Results indicated that the combined supplementation of GAA and CFA could not cause ADG increase more when compared with GAA or CFA addition alone.
We apply two methods to estimate the 21-cm bispectrum from data taken within the Epoch of Reionisation (EoR) project of the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA). Using data acquired with the Phase II compact array allows a direct bispectrum estimate to be undertaken on the multiple redundantly spaced triangles of antenna tiles, as well as an estimate based on data gridded to the uv-plane. The direct and gridded bispectrum estimators are applied to 21 h of high-band (167–197 MHz; z = 6.2–7.5) data from the 2016 and 2017 observing seasons. Analytic predictions for the bispectrum bias and variance for point-source foregrounds are derived. We compare the output of these approaches, the foreground contribution to the signal, and future prospects for measuring the bispectra with redundant and non-redundant arrays. We find that some triangle configurations yield bispectrum estimates that are consistent with the expected noise level after 10 h, while equilateral configurations are strongly foreground-dominated. Careful choice of triangle configurations may be made to reduce foreground bias that hinders power spectrum estimators, and the 21-cm bispectrum may be accessible in less time than the 21-cm power spectrum for some wave modes, with detections in hundreds of hours.
Laser interaction with an ultra-thin pre-structured target is investigated with the help of both two-dimensional and three-dimensional particle-in-cell simulations. With the existence of a periodic structure on the target surface, the laser seems to penetrate through the target at its fundamental frequency even if the plasma density of the target is much higher than the laser’s relativistically critical density. The particle-in-cell simulations show that the transmitted laser energy behind the pre-structured target is increased by about two orders of magnitude compared to that behind the flat target. Theoretical analyses show that the transmitted energy behind the pre-structured target is actually re-emitted by electron ‘islands’ formed by the surface plasma waves on the target surfaces. In other words, the radiation with the fundamental frequency is actually ‘surface emission’ on the target rear surface. Besides the intensity of the component with the fundamental frequency, the intensity of the high-order harmonics behind the pre-structured target is also much enhanced compared to that behind the flat target. The enhancement of the high-order harmonics is also related to the surface plasma waves generated on the target surfaces.
β-Casomorphin is an opioid-like bioactive peptide derived from β-casein of milk that plays a crucial role in modulating animal’s feed intake, growth, nutrient utilization and immunity. However, the effect of β-casomorphin on lipid metabolism in chickens and its mechanism remain unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of β-casomorphin on fat deposition in broiler chickens and explore its mechanism of action. A total of 120 21-day-old Arbor Acres male broilers (747.94±8.85 g) was chosen and randomly divided into four groups with six replicates of five birds per replicate. Three groups of broilers were injected with 0.1, 0.5 or 1.0 mg/kg BW of β-casomorphin in 1 ml saline for 7 days, whereas the control group received 1 ml saline only. The results showed that subcutaneous administration of β-casomorphin to broiler chickens increased average daily gain, average daily feed intake and fat deposition, and decreased feed : gain ratio (P<0.05). The activity of malate dehydrogenase in the pectoral muscle, liver and abdominal adipose tissue was also increased along with the concentrations of insulin, very-low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride in the plasma (P<0.05). The activity of hormone-sensitive lipase in the liver and abdominal adipose tissue and the concentration of glucagon in the plasma were decreased by injection with β-casomorphin (P<0.05). Affymetrix gene chip analysis revealed that administering 1.0 mg/kg BW β-casomorphin caused differential expression of 168 genes in the liver with a minimum of fourfold difference. Of those, 37 genes are directly involved in lipid metabolism with 18 up-regulated genes such as very low density lipoprotein receptor gene and fatty acid synthase gene, and 19 down-regulated genes such as lipoprotein lipase gene and low density lipoprotein receptor gene. In conclusion, β-casomorphin increased growth performance and fat deposition of broilers. Regulation of fat deposition by β-casomorphin appears to take place through changes in hormone secretion and enzyme activities by controlling the gene expression of lipid metabolism and feed intake, increasing fat synthesis and deposition.
Curcumin has been attributed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial activities, and has shown highly protective effects against enteropathogenic bacteria and mycotoxins. Ochratoxin A (OTA) is one of the major intestinal pathogenic mycotoxins. The possible effect of curcumin on the alleviation of enterotoxicity induced by OTA is unknown. The effects of dietary curcumin supplementation on OTA-induced oxidative stress, intestinal barrier and mitochondrial dysfunctions were examined in young ducks. A total of 540 mixed-sex 1-day-old White Pekin ducklings with initial BW (43.4±0.1 g) were randomly assigned into controls (fed only the basal diet), a group fed an OTA-contaminated diet (2 mg/kg feed), and a group fed the same OTA-contaminated feed plus 400 mg/kg of curcumin. Each treatment consisted of six replicates, each containing 30 ducklings and treatment lasted for 21 days. There was a significant decrease in average daily gain (ADG) and increased feed : gain caused by OTA (P<0.05); curcumin co-treatment prevented the decrease in BW and ADG compared with the OTA group (P<0.05). Histopathological and ultrastructural examination showed clear signs of enterotoxicity caused by OTA, but these changes were largely prevented by curcumin supplementation. Curcumin decreased the concentrations of interleukin-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α and malondialdehyde, and increased the activity of glutathione peroxidase induced by OTA in the jejunal mucosa of ducks (P<0.05). Additionally, curcumin increased jejunal mucosa occludin and tight junction protein 1 mRNA and protein levels, and decreased those of ρ-associated protein kinase 1 (P<0.05). Notably, curcumin inhibited the increased expression of apoptosis-related genes, and downregulated mitochondrial transcription factors A, B1 and B2 caused by OTA without any effects on RNA polymerase mitochondrial (P<0.05). These results indicated that curcumin could protect ducks from OTA-induced impairment of intestinal barrier function and mitochondrial integrity.
The bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi (L.) is one of the most important wheat pests with polyphagia and autumn migrants. And, chemosensory genes were thought to play a key role in insect searching their hosts, food and mate. However, a systematic identification of the chemosensory genes in this pest has not been reported. Thus, in this study, we identified 14 odorant-binding proteins, nine chemosensory proteins, one sensory neuron membrane protein, 15 odorant receptors, 19 gustatory receptors and 16 ionotropic receptors from R. padi transcriptomes with a significantly similarity (E-value < 10−5) to known chemosensory genes in Acyrthosiphon pisum and Aphis gossypii. In addition, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was employed to determine the expression profiles of obtained genes. Among these obtained genes, we selected 23 chemosensory genes to analyze their expression patterns in different tissues, wing morphs and host plants. We found that except RpOBP1, RpOBP3, RpOBP4 and RpOBP5, the rest of the selected genes were highly expressed in the head with antennae compared with body without head and antennae. Besides that, the stimulation and depression of chemosensory genes by plant switch indicated that chemosensory genes might be involved in the plant suitability assessment. These results not only provide insights for the potential roles of chemosensory genes in plant search and perception of R. padi but also provide initial background information for the further research on the molecular mechanism of the polyphagia and autumn migrants of it. Furthermore, these chemosensory genes are also the candidate targets for pest management control in future.
Previous studies showed that spermine could protect the organism from oxidative damage in vivo. However, in vivo information on the antioxidant-related underlying molecular mechanism of spermine is limited. In this experiment, we further evaluated the effects of spermine supplementation and extended spermine administration on the antioxidant status and antioxidant-related signaling molecules gene expression in the liver and longissimus dorsi of piglets. A total of 80 piglets were randomly distributed to two groups, that is, those with adequate nutrient intake administrated with spermine (0.4 mmol/kg BW) or those with restricted nutrient intake supplemented by saline. The piglets were fed in pairs for 7 h or 3, 6, or 9 days. The results are as follows: (1) spermine can promote the antioxidant capacity by increasing enzymatic antioxidant capacity, glutathione content and clearance of oxygen radicals; (2) spermine significantly increased the mRNA levels of enzymatic antioxidant substances, NF-E2-related nuclear factor 2, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1, and the mammalian target of rapamycin but decreased the mRNA levels of ribosomal p70 S6 kinase in the liver and longissimus dorsi of the piglets.
This cross-sectional study aimed to examine and compare prevalence and correlates of whole blood Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men who have sex with men (MSM). Five hundred and four HIV-positive MSM and 504 age-matched HIV-negative MSM were recruited from an HIV counseling and testing clinic in Shanghai, China from November 2014 to November 2015 and were administered with a face-to-face questionnaire interview. Whole blood EBV DNA was tested by nested polymerase chain reaction assays on EBNA-1, EBNA-2, and LMP-1 genes. The prevalence of whole blood EBV DNA was 56·0% (95% CI 51·7–60·3%) among HIV-positive MSM and 26·0% (95% CI 22·4–30·0%) among HIV-negative MSM. Whole blood EBV DNA positivity was significantly associated with HIV infection (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 3·43, 95% CI 2·58–4·57) and frequent intake of pickled, smoked, or salty food (aOR 1·71, 95% CI 1·02–2·86) in the whole sample, and with <200 cells/μl CD4 cell counts (aOR 1·79, 95% CI 1·05–3·05) and pickled, smoked, or salty food intake (aOR 3·14, 95% CI 1·39–7·08) in HIV-positive group. HIV-infected MSM are at higher risk of active EBV replication than HIV-uninfected MSM, underscoring needs of surveillance and research on EBV-related carcinogenesis in this population.
Dysfunction of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) is involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) was conducted to examine the efficacy and safety of memantine, a non-competitive NMDAR antagonist, in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Standardized/weighted mean differences (SMDs/WMDs), risk ratio (RR), and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated and analyzed.
Included in the meta-analysis were eight RCTs (n = 452) of 11.5 ± 2.6 weeks duration, with 229 patients on memantine (20 mg/day) and 223 patients on placebo. Adjunctive memantine outperformed placebo in the measures of Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale negative symptoms [SMD: −0.63 (95% CI −1.10 to −0.16), p = 0.009, I2 = 77%], but not in the total, positive and general symptoms [SMD: −0.46 to −0.08 (95% CI −0.93 to 0.22), p = 0.06–0.60, I2 = 0–74%] or the Clinical Global Impression Severity Scale [WMD: 0.04 (95% CI −0.24 to 0.32), p = 0.78]. The negative symptoms remained significant after excluding one outlying RCT [SMD: −0.41 (95% CI −0.72 to −0.11), p = 0.008, I2 = 47%]. Compared with the placebo group, adjunctive memantine was associated with significant improvement in neurocognitive function using the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) [WMD: 3.09, (95% CI 1.77–4.42), p < 0.00001, I2 = 22%]. There was no significant difference in the discontinuation rate [RR: 1.34 (95% CI 0.76–2.37), p = 0.31, I2 = 0%] and adverse drug reactions between the two groups.
This meta-analysis showed that adjunctive memantine appears to be an efficacious and safe treatment for improving negative symptoms and neurocognitive performance in schizophrenia. Higher quality RCTs with larger samples are warranted to confirm these findings.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small non-coding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression of target messenger RNAs (mRNAs) and miRNAs have been proven to play vital roles in skeletal muscle development. The miRNA-499-5p has been reported to be negatively related with the expression of Sox6, a critical transcription factor for the maintenance of fast-twitch skeletal muscle. In this study, we amplified a length of 2012-bp mRNA that contains a 1512-bp porcine Sox6 (pSox6) 3'UTR from skeletal muscle of a Duroc×Landrace×Yorkshire pig. By luciferase reporter assay we verified that pSox6 is a target of miR-499-5p. In extensor digitorum longus and Soleus muscles of pigs, the expression levels of miR-499-5p and pSox6 mRNA were also inversely correlated. Besides, overexpression of miR-499-5p in porcine satellite cells promoted the expression of MyHC I and MyHC IIa mRNA, along with a reduction of pSox6 mRNA. Taken together, these results indicate that miR-499-5p may facilitate the oxidative myofibers formation by downregulating pSox6 expression.
Retreatment of tuberculosis (TB) often fails in China, yet the risk factors associated with the failure remain unclear. To identify risk factors for the treatment failure of retreated pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) patients, we analyzed the data of 395 retreated PTB patients who received retreatment between July 2009 and July 2011 in China. PTB patients were categorized into ‘success’ and ‘failure’ groups by their treatment outcome. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression were used to evaluate the association between treatment outcome and socio-demographic as well as clinical factors. We also created an optimized risk score model to evaluate the predictive values of these risk factors on treatment failure. Of 395 patients, 99 (25·1%) were diagnosed as retreatment failure. Our results showed that risk factors associated with treatment failure included drug resistance, low education level, low body mass index (<18·5), long duration of previous treatment (>6 months), standard treatment regimen, retreatment type, positive culture result after 2 months of treatment, and the place where the first medicine was taken. An Optimized Framingham risk model was then used to calculate the risk scores of these factors. Place where first medicine was taken (temporary living places) received a score of 6, which was highest among all the factors. The predicted probability of treatment failure increases as risk score increases. Ten out of 359 patients had a risk score >9, which corresponded to an estimated probability of treatment failure >70%. In conclusion, we have identified multiple clinical and socio-demographic factors that are associated with treatment failure of retreated PTB patients. We also created an optimized risk score model that was effective in predicting the retreatment failure. These results provide novel insights for the prognosis and improvement of treatment for retreated PTB patients.
The aphid species Sitobion avenae and Rhopalosiphum padi are the most important pests in wheat growing regions of many countries. In this study, we investigated the sublethal effects of imidacloprid on fecundity, longevity, and enzyme activity in both aphid species by comparing 3-h exposure for one or three generations. Our results indicated that 3-h exposure to sublethal doses of imidacloprid for one generation had no discernible effect on the survival, fecundity, longevity, or enzyme activity levels of aphids. However, when pulse exposures to imidacloprid were sustained over three generations, both fecundity and longevity were significantly decreased in both S. avenae and R. padi. Interestingly, the fecundity of R. padi had almost recovered by the F5 generation, but its longevity was still deleteriously affected. These results indicated that R. padi laid eggs in shorter time lags and has a more fast resilience. The change in reproduction behavior may be a phenomenon of R. padi to compensate its early death. If this is stable for the next generation, it means that the next generation is more competitive than unexposed populations, which could be the reason underlying population outbreaks that occur after longer-term exposure to an insecticide. This laboratory-based study highlights the sublethal effects of imidacloprid on the longevity and fecundity of descendants and provides an empirical basis from which to consider management decisions for chemical control in the field.
Floral organ development influences plant reproduction and crop yield. The mechanism of floral organ specification is generally conserved in angiosperms as demonstrated by the ‘ABC’ model. However, mechanisms underlying the development of floral organs in specific groups of species such as grasses remain unclear. In the genus Oryza (rice), a spikelet consists of a fertile floret sub-tended by a lemma, a palea, two sterile lemmas and rudimentary glumes. To understand how the lemma is formed, a curve-shaped lemma-distortion1 (ld1) mutant was identified. Genetic analysis confirmed that the ld1 mutant phenotype was due to a single recessive gene mutation. Using a large F2 population, the LD1 gene was mapped between markers Indel-7-15 and Indel-7-18, which encompassed a region of 15·6 kilo base pairs (kbp). According to rice genome annotations, two putative genes, LOC_Os07g32510 and LOC_Os07g32520, were located in this candidate region. However, DNA sequencing results indicated only 1 base pair (bp) substitution (T⇨C) was found in LOC_Os07g32510 between the wild-type and the ld1 mutant. Thus LOC_Os07g32510, encoding a DNA binding with one zinc finger (DoF) containing protein, was the candidate gene for LD1. Further analysis showed that mutation of the amino acid cysteine (C) to arginine (R) was likely to lead to zinc finger protein deactivation. Phylogenetic and conservation analysis of the gene from different species revealed that cysteine was critical to LD1 function. As a new gene controlling lemma development, the study of LD1 could provide insights into rice floral organ formation mechanisms.
Tai'an, a famous cultural tourist district, is a new endemic foci of scrub typhus in northern China. Frequent reports of travel-acquired cases and absence of effective vaccine indicated a significant health problem of scrub typhus in Tai'an. Thus, descriptive epidemiological methods and spatial-temporal scan statistics were used to describe the epidemic characteristics and detect the significant clusters of the high incidence of scrub typhus at the town level in Tai'an. Results of descriptive epidemiological analysis showed a total of 490 cases were reported in Tai'an with the annual average incidence ranging from 0·48 to 2·27/100 000 during 2006–2013. Females, the elderly and farmers are the high-risk groups. Monthly changes of scrub typhus cases indicated an obvious epidemic period in autumn. Spatial-temporal distribution analysis, showed significant clusters of high incidence mainly located in eastern and northern Tai'an. Our study suggests that more effective, targeted measures for local residents should be implemented in the eastern and northern areas of Tai'an in autumn. Meanwhile, it may prove beneficial for health policy makers to advise travellers to take preventive measures in order to minimize the risk of infection of scrub typhus in Tai'an.
The first human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus was reported in Shanghai, China in March 2013. An additional 32 cases of human H7N9 infection were identified in the following months from March to April 2013 in Shanghai. Here we conducted a case-control study of the patients with H7N9 infection (n = 25) using controls matched by age, sex, and residence to determine risk factors for H7N9 infection. Our findings suggest that chronic disease and frequency of visiting a live poultry market (>10 times, or 1–9 times during the 2 weeks before illness onset) were likely to be significantly associated with H7N9 infection, with the odds ratios being 4·07 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1·32–12·56], 10·61 (95% CI 1·85–60·74), and 3·76 (95% CI 1·31–10·79), respectively. Effective strategies for live poultry market control should be reinforced and ongoing education of the public is warranted to promote behavioural changes that can help to eliminate direct or indirect contact with influenza A(H7N9) virus.
To understand the clinical epidemiology and molecular characteristics of human bocavirus (HBoV) infection in children with diarrhoea in Guangzhou, South China, we collected 1128 faecal specimens from children with diarrhoea from July 2010 to December 2012. HBoV and five other major enteric viruses were examined using real-time polymerase chain reaction. Human rotavirus (HRV) was the most prevalent pathogen, detected in 250 (22·2%) cases, followed by enteric adenovirus (EADV) in 76 (6·7%) cases, human astrovirus (HAstV) in 38 (3·4%) cases, HBoV in 17 (1·5%) cases, sapovirus (SaV) in 14 (1·2%) cases, and norovirus (NoV) in 9 (0·8%) cases. Co-infections were identified in 3·7% of the study population and 23·5% of HBoV-positive specimens. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 14 HBoV strains to be clustered into species HBoV1 with only minor variations among them. Overall, the detection of HBoV appears to partially contribute to the overall detection gap for enteric infections, single HBoV infection rarely results in severe clinical outcomes, and HBoV sequencing data appears to support conserved genomes across strains identified in this study.
This study was conducted to investigate the effects of konjac flour (KF) inclusion in gestation diets of sows on nutrients digestibility, lactation feed intake, reproductive performance of sows and preweaning performance of piglets. Two isoenergetic and isonitrogenous gestation diets were formulated: a control diet and a 2.1% KF-supplemented diet (KF diet). Both diets had the same NDF and insoluble fiber (ISF) levels, but the KF diet had higher soluble fiber (SF) level. The day after breeding, 96 multiparous sows were assigned to the two dietary treatments. Restrict-fed during gestation, in contrast, all sows were offered the same lactation diet ad libitum. Response criteria included sow BW, backfat depth, lactation feed intake, weaning-to-estrus interval, litter size and piglet’s weight at parturition and day 21 of lactation. On day 60 of gestation, 20 sows were used to measure nutrient digestibility. Results showed that the digestibility of dry matter, gross energy, crude fiber and ADF were not affected by the dietary treatments. The inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased NDF digestibility (P<0.05) and tended to increase the digestibility of CP (P=0.05) compared with the control diet group. In addition, dietary treatment during gestation did not affect litter size, BW and backfat gain during gestation, lactation weight, backfat loss or weaning-to-estrus interval of sows. However, sows fed the KF diet consumed more (P<0.05) lactation diet per day than sows in the control group. Accordingly, sows fed the KF diet showed greater average piglet weights on day 21 of lactation (P=0.09), and the litter weight of sows fed the KF diet on day 21 of lactation increased by 3.95 kg compared with sows fed the control diet (not significant). In conclusion, the inclusion of KF in gestation diets increased lactation feed intake of sows and tended to improve litter performance.