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This study investigated the effect of the flavonoid-based compound isorhamnetin (ISO) on maturation and developmental competence in oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes in vitro. Treatment with 2 μM ISO (2 ISO) increases the developmental rate of oxidative stress-exposed porcine oocytes during in vitro maturation (IVM). The glutathione level and mRNA expression of antioxidant-related genes (NFE2L2 and SOD2) were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group, whereas the reactive oxygen species level was decreased. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of a cumulus cell expansion-related gene (SHAS2) and improved chromosomal alignment. mRNA expression of maternal genes (CCNB1, MOS, BMP15 and GDF9) and mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) activity were increased in the 2 ISO-treated group. The total cell number per blastocyst and percentage of apoptotic cells were increased and decreased in the 2 ISO-treated group, respectively. Treatment with 2 ISO increased mRNA expression of development-related genes (SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1) and anti-apoptotic genes (BCL2L1 and BIRC5) and decreased that of pro-apoptotic genes (CASP3 and FAS). These results demonstrate that 2 ISO improves the quality of porcine oocytes by protecting them against oxidative stress during IVM and enhances subsequent embryo development in vitro. Therefore, we propose that ISO is a useful supplement for IVM of porcine oocytes.
Radiocarbon (14C) in natural samples undergoes changes due to variations in atmospheric CO2 resulting from anthropogenic activities. To analyze the variation of the 14C ratio in atmospheric CO2, deciduous tree leaves were collected in Gyeongju, a popular tourist city in South Korea. Leaf samples were collected from Prunus subg. Cerasus trees at five different sampling points throughout the city over 3 years (2018, 2020, and 2021). The 14C data of the samples were categorized into three groups (downtown, rural, and tourist sites) and analyzed for variations among the different years. The 14C ratio at downtown sites was stable after 2018, the rural site ratio increased between 2018 and 2020 and then decreased between 2020 and 2021, and the tourist site ratio increased after 2018. We theorize that the increased 14C ratio at the tourist site was caused by a decrease in tourism after 2018.
Our previous studies have already revealed that β-cryptoxanthin (BCX), hesperetin (HES), and icariin (ICA) antioxidants are effective for in vitro maturation (IVM) of porcine oocytes. In this study, we investigated which of BCX, HES, or ICA was more effective for IVM of porcine oocytes. The antioxidant properties were assessed with aged porcine oocytes and embryos by comparing 2,2-diphenyl-1-(2,4,6-trinitrophenyl)hydrazyl (DPPH), reducing power, and H2O2 scavenging activity assays. The chemical assay results demonstrated that BCX had a greater DPPH scavenging activity and reducing power than HES and ICA, compared with controls. However, the H2O2 scavenging activity of the antioxidants was similar when tested at the optimal concentrations of 1 μM BCX (BCX-1), 100 μM HES (HES-100), and 5 μM ICA (ICA-5). The biological assay results showed that BCX-1 treatment was more effective in inducing a significant reduction in reactive oxygen species (ROS), improving glutathione levels, and increasing the expression of antioxidant genes. In addition, BCX-1 inhibited apoptosis by increasing the expression of anti-apoptotic genes and decreasing pro-apoptotic genes in porcine parthenogenetic blastocysts. BCX-1 also significantly increased the blastocyst formation rate compared with the ageing control group, HES-100 and ICA-5. This study demonstrates that damage from ROS produced during oocyte ageing can be prevented by supplementing antioxidants into the IVM medium, and BCX may be a potential candidate to improve assisted reproductive technologies.
Nosocomial transmission of COVID-19 among immunocompromised hosts can have a serious impact on COVID-19 severity, underlying disease progression and SARS-CoV-2 transmission to other patients and healthcare workers within hospitals. We experienced a nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19 in the setting of a daycare unit for paediatric and young adult cancer patients. Between 9 and 18 November 2020, 473 individuals (181 patients, 247 caregivers/siblings and 45 staff members) were exposed to the index case, who was a nursing staff. Among them, three patients and four caregivers were infected. Two 5-year-old cancer patients with COVID-19 were not severely ill, but a 25-year-old cancer patient showed prolonged shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA for at least 12 weeks, which probably infected his mother at home approximately 7–8 weeks after the initial diagnosis. Except for this case, no secondary transmission was observed from the confirmed cases in either the hospital or the community. To conclude, in the day care setting of immunocompromised children and young adults, the rate of in-hospital transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was 1.6% when applying the stringent policy of infection prevention and control, including universal mask application and rapid and extensive contact investigation. Severely immunocompromised children/young adults with COVID-19 would have to be carefully managed after the mandatory isolation period while keeping the possibility of prolonged shedding of live virus in mind.
Large herbivores can disperse seeds over long distances through endozoochory. The Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis argyropus), an internationally vulnerable species but locally considered a vermin, is a potential endozoochorous seed dispersal vector. In this study, feeding experiments were conducted to test the efficiency of seed dispersal through gut ingestion by the Korean water deer, its temporal pattern and the effect of gut passage on seed recovery and germination rate. Eight plant species, including species that formerly germinated from its faeces, were used to feed three Korean water deer. Once the deer had consumed all the provided seeds, their faeces were collected after 24, 48, 72 and 96 h. The collected faeces were air-dried, and the number of seeds retrieved from the faeces was counted every 24 h (0–24, 24–48, 48–72 and 72–96 h). Among the eight plant species, six species were retrieved with intact seeds. Panicum bisulcatum had the highest recovery rate of 33.7%, followed by Amaranthus mangostanus (24.5%) and Chenopodium album (14.4%). Most of the seeds were recovered within the 24–48 h time interval. Germination tests were conducted on the ingested and uningested seeds for the four species which had a sufficient recovery rate. The effects of gut passage on seed germination differed according to plant species. The germination rate substantially decreased after gut passage. The results suggest that the Korean water deer can disperse seeds, potentially over long distances albeit at a high cost of low seed recovery and germination rate.
There are growing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of older adults. We examined the effect of the pandemic on the risk of depression in older adults.
We analyzed data from the prospective cohort study of Korean older adults, which has been followed every 2 years. Among the 2308 participants who completed both the third and the fourth follow-up assessments, 58.4% completed their fourth follow-up before the outbreak of COVID-19 and the rest completed it during the pandemic. We conducted face-to-face diagnostic interviews using Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview and used Geriatric Depression Scale. We performed generalized estimating equations and logistic regression analyses.
The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased depressive symptoms in older adults [b (standard error) = 0.42 (0.20), p = 0.040] and a doubling of the risk for incident depressive disorder even in euthymic older adults without a history of depression (odds ratio = 2.44, 95% confidence interval 1.18–5.02, p = 0.016). Less social activities, which was associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic. However, less family gatherings, which was not associated with the risk of depressive disorder before the pandemic, was associated with the doubled risk of depressive disorder during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly influences the risk of late-life depression in the community. Older adults with a lack of family gatherings may be particularly vulnerable.
Litter-dwelling arthropods play an important role in maintaining forest ecosystem function. This study was designed to understand seasonal variations and diversity of litter-dwelling adult beetles, one of the most diverse groups of arthropods. Sampling was conducted in mixed-wood forests of South Korea between March and December 2019, covering all seasons, including winter. We used a sifting method and a Berlese funnel to collect arthropods living in leaf litter and soil. We collected a total of 5820 invertebrates representing six orders, of which 1422 were beetles representing 24 families and minimum 141 species. Beetle species richness was highest in spring and lowest in summer based on rarefaction and extrapolation. However, beetle abundance was lowest in spring, but abundance was similar among the other seasons. Beetle assemblage composition was correlated significantly with soil surface and atmospheric temperature. The assemblage composition differed among seasons, except between spring and winter, which overlapped slightly. The combined sifting–Berlese funnel method showed great advantages for investigating the diversity of overwintering arthropods. Continued study of the relationship between arthropods and the leaf-litter environment is essential to understand this microecosystem and will increase the chance of discovering new beetle species.
The Suyanggae archeological complex is located in Aegok-li, Danyang County, Chungbuk Province, Korea (128°20'00"E, 365˚7'15"N, elevation 132 m). We investigated two Suyanggae Paleolithic localities (1 and 6). A total of 31 samples (18 localities) were analyzed for radiocarbon (14C) ages in three paleolithic cultural horizons of Suyanggae Locality 6 (SYG-6). The purpose of this paper is to report all dating results of SYG-6. It was found that ranges of 14C ages (BP) of cultural layers of SYG-6 are known to be 17,550 ± 80 ∼ 20,470 ± 70, 30,360 ± 350 ∼ 44,100 ± 1900, and 34,870 ± 540 ∼ 46,360 ± 510 BP for cultural layers 2, 3, and 4, respectively. We compared these age data with those of the previous study associated with Gunang Cave near Suyanggae Locality 1 (SYG-1). Based on the chronological information of the three archaeological sites, early humans lived in a rather cold environment from approximately 30,000 to 46,000 BP and disappeared between 30,000 ∼ 20,000 BP and then settled again in SYG-6 site during LGM period. This study demonstrates that archaeological study is important not only for understanding human occupations with their cultural development but also establishing climatic signals to which they have been adapted as a part of the human evolutional process.
Oxidative stress causes several diseases and dysfunctions in cells, including oocytes. Clearly, oxidative stress influences oocyte quality during in vitro maturation and fertilization. Here we tested the ability of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) and improve mouse oocyte quality during in vitro culture. Treatment with 50 μM CoQ10 efficiently reduced ROS levels in oocytes cultured in vitro. The fertilizable form of an oocyte usually contains a cortical granule-free domain (CGFD). CoQ10 enhanced the ratio of CGFD–oocytes from 35% to 45%. However, the hardening of the zona pellucida in oocytes was not affected by CoQ10 treatment. The in vitro maturation capacity of oocytes, which was determined by the first polar body extrusion, was enhanced from 48.9% to 75.7% by the addition of CoQ10 to the culture medium. During the parthenogenesis process, the number of two-cell embryos was increased by CoQ10 from 43.5% to 67.3%. Additionally, treatment with CoQ10 increased the expression of Bcl2 and Sirt1 in cumulus cells. These results suggested that CoQ10 had a positive effect on ROS reduction, maturation rate and two-cell embryo formation in mouse oocyte culture.
Some microscopic flying insects have evolved bristled wings. In the low-Reynolds-number regime they reside in, these porous wings perform like membranous wings because the virtual fluid barriers formed by strong viscous diffusion effectively block the gaps between bristles. In this study, the unsteady aerodynamic responses of a two-dimensional bristled wing to a single intermittent head-on gust are investigated numerically for a wide range of the Reynolds number, gust profile and gap width between the bristles. A comparison of a bristled wing with a corresponding flat wing shows that the gap flow alleviates the undesired aerodynamic loading induced by gusts. The Womersley number, which represents the ratio of the gap width to the length scale of unsteady viscous diffusion, is introduced to better characterize the unsteady drag and lift acting on the bristled wing. Under various model conditions, unsteady drag asymptotically converges beyond a specific value of the Womersley number, and unsteady lift exhibits peak values in a limited range of the Womersley number. Because of the linear property of the low-Reynolds-number flow, the unsteady force induced by the intermittent gusty flow is independent of the steady force produced by the basic steady and uniform free stream. For a large Womersley number, the aerodynamic interaction between the bristles is weak under a gusty flow, and thus the unsteady drag and lift forces can be analytically predicted, using the linear superposition approach of the velocity vector perturbed by a single isolated bristle.
Network approach has been applied to a wide variety of psychiatric disorders. The aim of the present study was to identify network structures of remitters and non-remitters in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) at baseline and the 6-month follow-up.
Participants (n = 252) from the Korean Early Psychosis Study (KEPS) were enrolled. They were classified as remitters or non-remitters using Andreasen's criteria. We estimated network structure with 10 symptoms (three symptoms from the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale, one depressive symptom, and six symptoms related to schema and rumination) as nodes using a Gaussian graphical model. Global and local network metrics were compared within and between the networks over time.
Global network metrics did not differ between the remitters and non-remitters at baseline or 6 months. However, the network structure and nodal strengths associated with positive-self and positive-others scores changed significantly in the remitters over time. Unique central symptoms for remitters and non-remitters were cognitive brooding and negative-self, respectively. The correlation stability coefficients for nodal strength were within the acceptable range.
Our findings indicate that network structure and some nodal strengths were more flexible in remitters. Negative-self could be an important target for therapeutic intervention.
Cognitive theories of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) stress the importance of dysfunctional beliefs in the development and maintenance of the disorder. However, a neurobiological understanding of these cognitive models, including thought-action fusion (TAF), is surprisingly lacking. Thus, this functional magnetic resonance imaging study aimed to investigate whether altered functional connectivity (FC) is associated with the TAF paradigm in OCD patients.
Forty-one OCD patients and 47 healthy controls (HCs) participated in a functional magnetic resonance imaging study using a TAF task, in which they were asked to read the name of a close or a neutral person in association with positive and negative statements.
The conventional TAF condition (negative statements/close person) induced significant FC between the regions of interest (ROIs) identified using multivoxel pattern analysis and the visual association areas, default mode network subregions, affective processing, and several subcortical regions in both groups. Notably, sparser FC was observed in OCD patients. Further analysis confined to the cortico-striato-thalamo-cortical (CSTC) and affective networks demonstrated that OCD patients exhibited reduced ROI FC with affective regions and greater ROI FC with CSTC components in the TAF condition compared to HCs. Within the OCD patients, middle cingulate cortex–insula FC was correlated with TAF and responsibility scores.
Our TAF paradigm revealed altered context-dependent engagement of the CSTC and affective networks in OCD patients. These findings suggest that the neurobiology of cognitive models corresponds to current neuroanatomical models of OCD. Further, they elucidate the underlying neurobiological mechanisms of OCD at the circuit-based level.
Patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) show a different stress-related cognitive style compared with healthy controls (HC). The FK506 binding protein 5 gene (FKBP5), one of the PTSD known risk factors, is involved in the stress response through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and brain volumetric alterations. The present study aimed to uncover the neural correlates of stress-related cognitive styles through the analysis of the regional brain volumes and FKBP5 genotype in patients with PTSD compared with HC.
In this study, 51 patients with PTSD and 94 HC were assessed for stress-related cognitive styles, PTSD symptoms severity, and genotype of FKBP5 single nucleotide polymorphisms, and underwent T1-weighted structural magnetic resonance imaging. Diagnosis-by-genotype interaction for regional brain volumes was examined in 16 brain regions of interest.
Patients with PTSD showed significantly higher levels of catastrophizing, ruminative response, and repression, and reduced distress aversion and positive reappraisal compared with HC (p < 0.001). Significant diagnosis-by-genotype interactions for regional brain volumes were observed for bilateral hippocampi and left frontal operculum. A significant positive correlation between the severity of the repression and left hippocampal volume was found in a subgroup of patients with PTSD with FKBP5 rs3800373 (AA genotype) or rs1360780 (CC genotype).
The present study showed the influences of FKBP5 genotype on the distorted cognitive styles in PTSD by measuring the volumetric alteration of hippocampal regions, providing a possible role of the hippocampus and left frontal operculum as significant neurobiological correlates of PTSD.
To determine the level of vitamin D and to identify the association between vitamin D and depressive symptoms in apparently healthy Korean male adults.
A retrospective study design. Among 43 513 participants between 1 March and 30 November 2018, after eliminating participants with a history of depression or vitamin D deficiency, 9058 were included. To determine the level of vitamin D, serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was measured. To assess the level of depression, the Korean version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) was used.
Male adults who underwent routine health check-ups.
The average vitamin D level was 22·31 ± 7·09 ng/ml as 25(OH)D, while the number of subjects in the vitamin D insufficiency group with a finding of <20 ng/ml was 3783 (41·8 %). The mean CES-D score in all subjects was 8·31 ± 5·97 points, and the proportion of the depressive symptoms group with a score of ≥16 was 8·71 %. The OR of patients in the depressive symptoms group also being in the insufficiency group was found to be 1·49 (95 % CI 1·12, 2·00).
A total of 41·8 % of apparently healthy male adults had vitamin D levels <20 ng/ml. We identified an association between vitamin D insufficiency and depressive symptoms in apparently healthy Korean male adults.
To propose a new anthropometric index that can be employed to better predict percent body fat (PBF) among young adults and to compare with current anthropometric indices.
All measurements were taken in a controlled laboratory setting in Seoul (South Korea), between 1 December 2015 and 30 June 2016.
Eighty-seven young adults (18–35 years) who underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) were used for analysis. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to develop a body fat index (BFI) using simple demographic and anthropometric information. Correlations of DXA measured PBF (DXA_PBF) with previously developed anthropometric indices and the BFI were analysed. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were conducted to compare the ability of anthropometric indices to identify obese individuals.
BFI showed a strong correlation with DXA_PBF (r = 0·84), which was higher than the correlations of DXA_PBF with the traditional (waist circumference, r = 0·49; waist to height ratio, r = 0·68; BMI, r = 0·36) and alternate anthropometric indices (a body shape index, r = 0·47; body roundness index, r = 0·68; body adiposity index, r = 0·70). Moreover, the BFI showed higher accuracy at identifying obese individuals (area under the curve (AUC) = 0·91), compared with the other anthropometric indices (AUC = 0·71–0·86).
The BFI can accurately predict DXA_PBF in young adults, using simple demographic and anthropometric information that are commonly available in research and clinical settings. However, larger representative studies are required to build on our findings.
In contrast to common continuous wings, microscopic flying insects such as fairyfly and thrips possess extraordinary wings that comprise several bristles. In the low-Reynolds-number environment inhabited by these insects, a bristled wing benefits from the formation of virtual fluid barriers that prevent flow leakage in the gaps of bristles. In this study, the optimal configuration regarding the aerodynamic performance of simple bristled-wing models is investigated numerically in terms of the Reynolds number and the distance between bristles, which are known to be important parameters for determining the effectiveness of a virtual fluid barrier. Inspired by the inherent characteristics of low-Reynolds-number flow, we provide new insights into the aerodynamics of a bristled wing by using a scaling parameter that combines these two independent parameters: effective gap width. In addition, the force ratio is scaled with the Reynolds number to better characterize the generation of drag and lift by a bristled wing. Despite the Reynolds number and the gap width varying by several orders of magnitude, the scaled drag force converges asymptotically beyond a specific effective gap width, and the lift force ratio has a peak within a very narrow range of the effective gap width. The trend of the lift with the effective gap width is correlated with changes in the asymmetric distributions of pressure and vorticity on the surface of the bristles. In addition, the drag and lift predicted theoretically, by invoking the linear superposition of creeping flows, agree well with numerical results, in particular for large effective gap width.
The experiments reported in this research paper aimed to determine the effect of supplementing different forms of L-methionine (L-Met) and acetate on protein synthesis in immortalized bovine mammary epithelial cell line (MAC-T cells). Treatments were Control, L-Met, conjugated L-Met and acetate (CMA), and non-conjugated L-Met and Acetate (NMA). Protein synthesis mechanism was determined by omics method. NMA group had the highest protein content in the media and CSN2 mRNA expression levels (P < 0.05). The number of upregulated and downregulated proteins observed were 39 and 77 in L-Met group, 62 and 80 in CMA group and 50 and 81 in NMA group from 448 proteins, respectively (P < 0.05). L-Met, NMA and CMA treatments stimulated pathways related to protein and energy metabolism (P < 0.05). Metabolomic analysis also revealed that L-Met, CMA and NMA treatments resulted in increases of several metabolites (P < 0.05). In conclusion, NMA treatment increased protein concentration and expression level of CSN2 mRNA in MAC-T cells compared to control as well as L-Met and CMA treatments through increased expression of milk protein synthesis-related genes and production of the proteins and metabolites involved in energy and protein synthesis pathways.
The morphological and structural changes in smectite caused by hexadecyltrimethylammonium (HDTMA) treatment were studied using X-ray diffraction (XRD) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The HDTMA-exchanged smectite shows not only morphological features such as irregular, wavy surface with curled edges, but also structural features such as large d-spacings (20 – 26 Å ) and lattice distortions. The surface morphological heterogeneity is assumed to be related to the inhomogeneous intercalation of HDTMA cations into the interlayer of smectite.
Allicin (AL) regulates the cellular redox, proliferation, viability, and cell cycle of different cells against extracellular-derived stress. This study investigated the effects of allicin treatment on porcine oocyte maturation and developmental competence. Porcine oocytes were cultured in medium supplemented with 0 (control), 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 or 100 μM AL, respectively, during in vitro maturation (IVM). The rate of polar body emission was higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group (74.5% ± 2.3%) than in the control (68.0% ± 2.6%) (P < 0.1). After parthenogenetic activation, the rates of cleavage and blastocyst formation were significantly higher in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control (P < 0.05). The reactive oxygen species level at metaphase II did not significantly differ among all groups. In matured oocytes, the expression of both BAK and CASP3, and BIRC5 was significantly lower and higher, respectively, in the 0.1 AL-treated group than in the control. Similarly, the expression of BMP15 and CCNB1, and the activity of phospho-p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), significantly increased. These results indicate that supplementation of oocyte maturation medium with allicin during IVM improves the maturation of oocytes and the subsequent developmental competence of porcine oocytes.