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Regulation of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) superfamily by gonadotrophins in swine follicular cells is not fully understood. This study evaluated the expression of steroidogenic enzymes and members of the TGFβ superfamily in prepubertal gilts allocated to three treatments: 1200 IU eCG at D −3 (eCG); 1200 IU eCG at D −6 plus 500 IU hCG at D −3 (eCG + hCG); and the control, composed of untreated gilts. Blood samples and ovaries were collected at slaughter (D0) and follicular cells were recovered thereafter. Relative gene expression was determined by real-time PCR. Serum progesterone levels were greater in the eCG + hCG group compared with the other groups (P < 0.01). No differences were observed in the expression of BMP15, BMPR1A, BMPR2, FSHR, GDF9, LHCGR and TGFBR1 (P > 0.05). Gilts from the eCG group presented numerically greater mean expression of CYP11A1 mRNA than in the control group that approached statistical significance (P = 0.08) and greater expression of CYP19A1 than in both the eCG and the control groups (P < 0.05). Expression of BMPR1B was lower in the eCG + hCG treatment group compared with the control (P < 0.05). In conclusion, eCG treatment increased the relative expression of steroidogenic enzymes, whereas treatment with eCG + hCG increased serum progesterone levels. Although most of the evaluated TGFβ members were not regulated after gonadotrophin treatment, the downregulation of BMPR1B observed after treatment with eCG + hCG and suggests a role in luteinization regulation.
Recently developed quantitative models of psychopathology (i.e., Hierarchical Taxonomy of Psychopathology) identify an Antagonistic Externalizing spectrum that captures the psychological disposition toward criminal and antisocial behavior. The purpose of the present study was to examine relations between Antagonistic psychopathology (and associated Five-Factor model Antagonism/Agreeableness) and neural functioning related to social-cognitive Theory of Mind using a large sample (N = 973) collected as part of the Human Connectome Project (Van Essen et al., 2013a). No meaningful relations between Antagonism/Antagonistic Externalizing and Theory of Mind-related neural activity or synchrony were observed (p < .005). We conclude by outlining methodological considerations (e.g., validity of social cognition task and low test–retest reliability of functional biomarkers) that may account for these null results, and present recommendations for future research.
To sustainably contribute to food security of a growing and richer world population, livestock production systems are challenged to increase production levels while reducing environmental impact, being economically viable, and socially responsible. Knowledge about the sustainability performance of current livestock production systems may help to formulate strategies for future systems. Our study provides a systematic overview of differences between conventional and organic livestock production systems on a broad range of sustainability aspects and animal species available in peer-reviewed literature. Systems were compared on economy, productivity, environmental impact, animal welfare and public health. The review was limited to dairy cattle, beef cattle, pigs, broilers and laying hens, and to Europe, North America and New Zealand. Results per indicators are presented as in the articles without performing additional calculations. Out of 4171 initial search hits, 179 articles were analysed. Studies varied widely in indicators, research design, sample size and location and context. Quite some studies used small samples. No study analysed all aspects of sustainability simultaneously. Conventional systems had lower labour requirements per unit product, lower income risk per animal, higher production per animal per time unit, higher reproduction numbers, lower feed conversion ratio, lower land use, generally lower acidification and eutrophication potential per unit product, equal or better udder health for cows and equal or lower microbiological contamination. Organic systems had higher income per animal or full time employee, lower impact on biodiversity, lower eutrophication and acidification potential per unit land, equal or lower likelihood of antibiotic resistance in bacteria and higher beneficial fatty acid levels in cow milk. For most sustainability aspects, sometimes conventional and sometimes organic systems performed better, except for productivity, which was consistently higher in conventional systems. For many aspects and animal species, more data are needed to conclude on a difference between organic and conventional livestock production systems.
There is good evidence of the positive effects of person-centered care (PCC) on agitation in dementia. We hypothesized that a person-centered environment (PCE) would achieve similar outcomes by focusing on positive environmental stimuli, and that there would be enhanced outcomes by combining PCC and PCE.
38 Australian residential aged care homes with scope for improvement in both PCC and PCE were stratified, then randomized to one of four intervention groups: (1) PCC; (2) PCE; (3) PCC +PCE; (4) no intervention. People with dementia, over 60 years of age and consented were eligible. Co-outcomes assessed pre and four months post-intervention and at 8 months follow-up were resident agitation, emotional responses in care, quality of life and depression, and care interaction quality.
From 38 homes randomized, 601 people with dementia were recruited. At follow-up the mean change for quality of life and agitation was significantly different for PCE (p = 0.02, p = 0.05, respectively) and PCC (p = 0.0003, p = 0.002 respectively), compared with the non-intervention group (p = 0.48, p = 0.93 respectively). Quality of life improved non-significantly for PCC+PCE (p = 0.08), but not for agitation (p = 0.37). Improvements in care interaction quality (p = 0.006) and in emotional responses to care (p = 0.01) in PCC+PCE were not observed in the other groups. Depression scores did not change in any of the groups. Intervention compliance for PCC was 59%, for PCE 54% and for PCC+PCE 66%.
The hypothesis that PCC+PCE would improve quality of life and agitation even further was not supported, even though there were improvements in the quality of care interactions and resident emotional responses to care for some of this group. The Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number is ACTRN 12608000095369.
The future evolution of energy supply technologies strongly depends on (and affects) the
economic and environmental systems, due to the high dependency of this sector on the
availability and cost of fossil fuels, especially on the small regional scale. This paper
aims at presenting the modeling system and preliminary results of a research project
conducted on the scale of Luxembourg to assess the environmental impact of future energy
scenarios for the country, integrating outputs from partial and computable general
equilibrium models within hybrid Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) frameworks. The general
equilibrium model for Luxembourg, LUXGEM, is used to evaluate the economic impacts of
policy decisions and other economic shocks over the time horizon 2006−2030. A techno-economic (partial
equilibrium) model for Luxembourg, ETEM, is used instead to compute operation levels of
various technologies to meet the demand for energy services at the least cost along the
same timeline. The future energy demand and supply are made consistent by coupling ETEM
with LUXGEM so as to have the same macro-economic variables and energy shares driving both
models. The coupling results are then implemented within a set of Environmentally-Extended
Input-Output (EE-IO) models in historical time series to test the feasibility of the
integrated framework and then to assess the environmental impacts of the country.
Accordingly, a disaggregated energy sector was built with the different ETEM technologies
in the EE-IO to allow hybridization with Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) and enrich the process
detail. The results show that the environmental impact slightly decreased overall from
2006 to 2009. Most of the impacts come from some imported commodities (natural gas, used
to produce electricity, and metalliferous ores and metal scrap). The main energy
production technology is the combined-cycle gas turbine plant “Twinerg”, representing
almost 80% of the domestic electricity production in Luxembourg. In the hybrid EE-IO
model, this technology contributes to around 7% of the total impact of the country’s net
consumption. The causes of divergence between ETEM and LUXGEM are also thoroughly
investigated to outline possible strategies of modeling improvements for future assessment
of environmental impacts using EE-IO. Further analyses focus first on the completion of
the models’ coupling and its application to the defined scenarios. Once the coupling is
consistently accomplished, LUXGEM can compute the IO flows from 2010 to 2030, while the
LCI processes in the hybrid system are harmonized with ETEM to represent the future
domestic and imported energy technologies.
It is shown that the two-flavor neutrino oscillation equations admit an exact analytic solution for arbitrarily chosen normalized electron neutrino population, provided the electron plasma density is adjusted in a certain way. The associated formula for the electron plasma density is applied to the cases of exponentially decaying or oscillating electron neutrino populations.
The genomic breeding value accuracy of scarcely recorded traits is low because of the limited number of phenotypic observations. One solution to increase the breeding value accuracy is to use predictor traits. This study investigated the impact of recording additional phenotypic observations for predictor traits on reference and evaluated animals on the genomic breeding value accuracy for a scarcely recorded trait. The scarcely recorded trait was dry matter intake (DMI, n = 869) and the predictor traits were fat–protein-corrected milk (FPCM, n = 1520) and live weight (LW, n = 1309). All phenotyped animals were genotyped and originated from research farms in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Multi-trait REML was used to simultaneously estimate variance components and breeding values for DMI using available predictors. In addition, analyses using only pedigree relationships were performed. Breeding value accuracy was assessed through cross-validation (CV) and prediction error variance (PEV). CV groups (n = 7) were defined by splitting animals across genetic lines and management groups within country. With no additional traits recorded for the evaluated animals, both CV- and PEV-based accuracies for DMI were substantially higher for genomic than for pedigree analyses (CV: max. 0.26 for pedigree and 0.33 for genomic analyses; PEV: max. 0.45 and 0.52, respectively). With additional traits available, the differences between pedigree and genomic accuracies diminished. With additional recording for FPCM, pedigree accuracies increased from 0.26 to 0.47 for CV and from 0.45 to 0.48 for PEV. Genomic accuracies increased from 0.33 to 0.50 for CV and from 0.52 to 0.53 for PEV. With additional recording for LW instead of FPCM, pedigree accuracies increased to 0.54 for CV and to 0.61 for PEV. Genomic accuracies increased to 0.57 for CV and to 0.60 for PEV. With both FPCM and LW available for evaluated animals, accuracy was highest (0.62 for CV and 0.61 for PEV in pedigree, and 0.63 for CV and 0.61 for PEV in genomic analyses). Recording predictor traits for only the reference population did not increase DMI breeding value accuracy. Recording predictor traits for both reference and evaluated animals significantly increased DMI breeding value accuracy and removed the bias observed when only reference animals had records. The benefit of using genomic instead of pedigree relationships was reduced when more predictor traits were used. Using predictor traits may be an inexpensive way to significantly increase the accuracy and remove the bias of (genomic) breeding values of scarcely recorded traits such as feed intake.
Left ventricular rotation is physiologically affected by acute changes in preload. We investigated the acute effect of preload changes in chronically underloaded and overloaded left ventricles in children with shunt lesions.
A total of 15 patients with atrial septal defects (Group A: 7.4 ± 4.7 years, 11 females) and 14 patients with patent arterial ducts (Group B: 2.7 ± 3.1 years, 10 females) were investigated using 2D speckle-tracking echocardiography before and after interventional catheterisation. The rotational parameters of the patient group were compared with those of 29 matched healthy children (Group C).
Maximal torsion (A: 2.45 ± 0.9°/cm versus C: 1.8 ± 0.8°/cm, p < 0.05), apical peak systolic rotation (A: 12.6 ± 5.7° versus C: 8.7 ± 3.5°, p < 0.05), and the peak diastolic torsion rate (A: −147 ± 48°/second versus C: −110 ± 31°/second, p < 0.05) were elevated in Group A and dropped immediately to normal values after intervention (maximal torsion 1.5 ± 1.1°/cm, p < 0.05, apical peak systolic rotation 7.2 ± 4.1°, p < 0.05, and peak diastolic torsion rate −106 ± 35°/second, p < 0.05). Patients in Group B had decreased maximal torsion (B: 1.8 ± 1.1°/cm versus C: 3.8 ± 1.4°/cm, p < 0.05) and apical peak systolic rotation (B: 8.3 ± 6.1° versus C: 13.9 ± 4.3°, p < 0.05). Defect closure was followed by an increase in maximal torsion (B: 2.7 ± 1.4°/cm, p < 0.05) and the peak diastolic torsion rate (B: −133 ± 66°/second versus −176 ± 84°/second, p < 0.05).
Patients with chronically underloaded left ventricles compensate with an enhanced apical peak systolic rotation, maximal torsion, and quicker diastolic untwisting to facilitate diastolic filling. In patients with left ventricular dilatation by volume overload, the peak systolic apical rotation and the maximal torsion are decreased. After normalisation of the preload, they immediately return to normal and diastolic untwisting rebounds. These mechanisms are important for understanding the remodelling processes.
Eosinophilic myocarditis is a rare disease occurring mainly in adulthood. It is generally known to be caused by autoimmune diseases, parasitic infections, hypersensitivity to drugs or substances, and after vaccinations. We describe the case of a 15-year-old adolescent, who presented initially with flu-like symptoms, as well as syncope. Subsequently, catecholaminergic treatment had to be initialised because of cardiac failure. Peripheral eosinophil count was normal at admission and at the time of endomyocardial biopsy. The biopsy, however, proved the diagnosis of eosinophilic myocarditis, but the causative agent remained unclear despite intensive diagnostic work-up. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging showed signs of acute myocardial oedema and a delayed enhancement in the basal inferolateral segments consistent with acute myocarditis. Under treatment with corticosteroids, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, and warfarin, we accomplished a rapid and complete recovery of cardiac function and histology. This unique case of eosinophilic myocarditis is rare in childhood. The differential diagnosis and diagnostic pathway is discussed, and a review of the literature and therapeutic options based on the literature is performed.
The life history of Oplostomus haroldi (Witte), a recently reported pest of honeybee colonies in East Africa, was studied for the first time under laboratory conditions. Adult O. haroldi collected from beehives in the coastal part of Kenya were reared on a mixture of moist sterilized soil and cow dung. At 25 ± 2 °C, 50 ± 5% relative humidity and a 10 h light-14 h dark photoperiod, the laid eggs took 11.9 ± 1.3 days to hatch into a curved pear-shaped scarabaeiform larva with a well-developed head and thoracic legs. The first, second and third larval instars lasted 14.6 ± 2.6, 17.5 ± 2.4 and 34.6 ± 2.4 days, respectively. The pupal stage, which was marked by formation of a mud cocoon, lasted 31.1 ± 6.7 days with the adults surviving for 2–6 months under laboratory conditions, suggesting that the beetle is multivoltine. A detailed taxonomic description of the external morphology of the third instar larva is provided.
Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) such as facemasks and intensified hand hygiene may be effective in preventing influenza infections in households. It may be equally important that household members, especially children, can learn to use, maintain and tolerate these measures. We monitored adherence and tolerability of these NPI within a cluster-randomized trial in households with influenza index patients. We recruited 147 participants in 41 households, 39 (95%) out of 41 index patients were children (aged <14 years). In households assigned to wear facemasks, their use peaked on day 4 after symptom onset of the index patient at 73% and at 65% for children and adults, respectively. Mean daily frequency of hand disinfection in households assigned to intensified hand hygiene measures peaked at 7·7 (day 6) for children and at 10·1 (day 5) for adults. The majority of participants reported no problems with mask wearing. Data suggest that usage of NPI can be taught and that measures are well tolerated by adults and even sick children alike.
Cardiac output is frequently monitored to maintain and improve cardiac function with the primary goal of adequate tissue perfusion. The pulmonary artery catheter is considered to be the gold standard although several non-invasive devices are being introduced and gaining attention. To evaluate the accuracy of the ultrasonic cardiac output monitor (USCOM)-1A (Pty Ltd, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia), a non-invasive cardiac output device including its capability to differentiate between different shock states in haemodynamically unstable ICU patients was used in this single-centre, prospective, observational study.
Cardiac output was measured with a pulmonary artery catheter and transcutaneously via a suprasternal approach with the USCOM-1A by continuous-wave Doppler ultrasound in 25 adult patients in a mixed medical and surgical ICU in a major teaching hospital in the Netherlands.
A total of 1315 USCOM-1A cardiac output measurements were performed. In order to reduce time-variability, the mean of five consecutive USCOM-1A measurements was calculated. Total 263 values were compared with 263 thermodilution cardiac output measurements performed with a pulmonary artery catheter. Data were analysed for systematic error, precision and correlation. Systematic and random errors were found. On average USCOM-1A values were 12% lower than thermodilution measurements (systematic error), while the random error was 17% (coefficient of variation). The error comprised an inter-operator variability of 3%, an inter-patient variability of 11% and residual variability of 15%. The correlation coefficient of the calculated cardiac index with the USCOM-1A and the pulmonary artery catheter was r = 0.8024 and 0.6438, respectively. Temperature and gender did not influence correlations. The learning curve for USCOM-1A skill acquisition was steep.
The correlation between the two techniques was acceptable, although relevant systematic and variable errors were detected. USCOM-1A provided adequate data to distinguish non-invasively different shock types in ICU patients.
Patients exhibiting considerable blood loss are prone to develop dilutional coagulopathy following volume supply. In such patients, in addition to transfusing stored blood components, cell saver systems are used to minimize allogeneic transfusion. Since red cell transfusion might influence the haemostatic system by further dilution, we investigated the effects of re-transfusion of salvaged washed red blood cells on the haemostatic process in an animal model of controlled haemorrhage using rotational thrombelastometry (ROTEM®; Pentapharm Co., Munich, Germany).
Anaesthetized pigs (n = 20) developed coagulopathy following haemorrhagic shock (withdrawal of 66% of estimated blood volume) and volume resuscitation with 6% hydroxyethyl starch 130/0.4. The shed blood was processed in a Cellsaver device (CATS ®; Fresenius AG, Bad Homburg, Germany), and the resulting salvaged red blood cells were re-transfused. ROTEM assays were performed at baseline, after blood loss, after volume resuscitation and following re-transfusion of salvaged red blood cells.
As compared with baseline, blood loss and subsequent volume resuscitation resulted in significantly increased median values of clotting time (CT: 47.0, 5 .3 and 103.5 s), and clot formation time (CFT: 36.0, 40.0 and 186.0 s), whigggle maximum clot firmness decreased (MCF: 72.0, 68.5 and 39.5 mm). After re-transfusion of salvaged red blood cells (805 ± 175 mL) all these parameters improved (CT: 80.5 s; P = 0.05, CFT: 144.0 s; P = 0.0008, MCF: 42.0 mm; P = 0.0019) although baseline values were not reached.
In the case of extreme isovolaemic haemodilution, increasing the circulating red cell mass by re-transfusing salvaged red blood cells did not worsen the findings of dilutional coagulopathy but interestingly, at least partially, improves the clot formation process.
Functional plasticity in CNS system
Kurt Haas, Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada,
Hollis T. Cline, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA
This chapter discusses current knowledge of how precisely ordered afferent synaptogenesis occurs during development. It also explains the potential for reforming functional circuits by correct rewiring during regeneration. Most of the knowledge of the mechanisms involved in establishing circuits between distant central nervous system (CNS) neuronal populations comes from studies of the axonal projection from the eye to central brain targets. The output neurons of the eye are the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs), whose axons exit the eye as the optic nerve, cross the midline at the optic chiasm, and innervate central brain structures. RGCs in fish and frogs survive optic nerve lesion and sprout new axonal extensions that correctly navigate to the tectum, reform the retinotectal map, and demonstrate visual responsivity. Regeneration recapitulates a critical period of heightened plasticity during which activity-dependent mechanisms mediate map refinement through pruning of ectopic axonal branches.
Adulthood of a dairy cow is reached when she is about 60 months old, but cows first calve at a much younger age. Therefore, most heifers are still growing during their first lactation and part of the energy and protein intake will be assigned to this purpose. As the cow grows closer to mature body weight and is able to use more energy and protein for the milk production, milk production will increase from 1st to 2nd to 3rd lactation, but the amount of increase differs among cows. A gradual production increase is believed to be found in trouble-free cows (i.e. cows with good fertility and high disease resistance), and is a measure of the maturity rate (MR), where maturity is defined as reaching mature body weight. Genetic variance for this production increase exists (Krogmeier et al., 2003). The aim of this study was to define MR in a way that enables selection, and to estimate genetic correlations with functional traits.