Progenitor Leydig cells are derived from stem cells. The proliferation and differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells significantly contributes to Leydig cell number during puberty. However, the regulation of these processes remains unclear. The objective of the present study was to determine whether luteinizing hormone (LH) or androgen contributes to the proliferation and differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells. Fourteen-day-old male Sprague–Dawley rats were treated for 7 days with NalGlu, which is a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist, to reduce the secretion of LH in the pituitary and thus, androgen in the testis. Rats were co-administered with LH or 7α-methyl-nortestosterone (MENT), which is an androgen resistant to metabolism by 5α-reductase 1 in progenitor Leydig cells, and the subsequent effects of LH or androgen were measured. 3H-Thymidine was also intravenously injected into rats to study thymidine incorporation in progenitor Leydig cells. Progenitor Leydig cells were examined. NalGlu administration reduced progenitor Leydig cell proliferation by 83%. In addition, LH or MENT treatment restored Leydig cell proliferative capacity to 73% or 50% of control, respectively. The messenger RNA levels of proliferation-related genes were measured using real-time PCR. The expression levels of Igf1, Lifr, Pdgfra, Bcl2, Ccnd3 and Pcna were upregulated by MENT, and those of Pdgfra, Ccnd3 and Pcna were upregulated by LH. Both LH and MENT stimulated the differentiation of progenitor Leydig cells in vitro. We concluded that both LH and MENT were involved in regulating the development of progenitor Leydig cells.
luteinizing hormone; progenitor Leydig cell; proliferation; testosterone
To evaluate the cellular changes in the corneal epithelium and surrounding structures in limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) by using in vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy.
This was a prospective comparative study that included 27 eyes of 20 patients with LSCD and 12 eyes of 10 healthy subjects. All subjects underwent slitlamp examination, and LSCD was classified into 3 groups on the basis of clinical presentation. Confocal imaging of the central cornea and 4 locations of limbus was performed. Morphologic characteristics of the corneal epithelium were studied. The basal epithelial cell density and subbasal nerve density in the central cornea were calculated, and a potential correlation between the decrease in basal epithelial cell density and subbasal nerve density in LSCD was investigated.
The wing and basal epithelial cells became progressively metaplastic, and the basal epithelial cell density and subbasal nerve density in the early and intermittent stages decreased significantly compared with controls (all P<.01). Normal basal epithelial cell morphology was completely lost and subbasal nerves were absent in the late stage of LSCD. The decrease in basal cell density correlated with the decrease in subbasal nerve density in patients with LSCD (P=.03).
There are significant microstructural changes associated with early LSCD. These cellular changes could help to understand the disease process and classify and monitor limbal stem cell dysfunction.
Reducing patient radiation dose, while maintaining a high-quality image, is a major challenge in Computed Tomography. The purpose of this work is to improve abdomen tumor low-dose CT (LDCT) image quality by using a two-step strategy: a first patch-wise non linear processing is first applied to remove the noise, that is based on a sparsity prior in term of a learned dictionary, then an unsharp filtering aims to enhance the contrast of tissues and compensate the contrast loss caused by the DL processing. Preliminary results show that the proposed method is effective in suppressing mottled noise as well as improving tumor detectability.
X-ray CT, Image denoising, Image enhancement
Knowledge of the genetic structure and evolutionary history of tree species across their ranges is essential for the development of effective conservation and forest management strategies. Acer mono var. mono, an economically and ecologically important maple species, is extensively distributed in Northeast China (NE), whereas it has a scattered and patchy distribution in South China (SC). In this study, the genetic structure and demographic history of 56 natural populations of A. mono var. mono were evaluated using seven nuclear microsatellite markers. Neighbor-joining tree and STRUCTURE analysis clearly separated populations into NE and SC groups with two admixed-like populations. Allelic richness significantly decreased with increasing latitude within the NE group while both allelic richness and expected heterozygosity showed significant positive correlation with latitude within the SC group. Especially in the NE region, previous studies in Quercus mongolica and Fraxinus mandshurica have also detected reductions in genetic diversity with increases in latitude, suggesting this pattern may be common for tree species in this region, probably due to expansion from single refugium following the last glacial maximum (LGM). Approximate Bayesian Computation-based analysis revealed two major features of hierarchical population divergence in the species’ evolutionary history. Recent divergence between the NE group and the admixed-like group corresponded to the LGM period and ancient divergence of SC groups took place during mid-late Pleistocene period. The level of genetic differentiation was moderate (FST = 0.073; G′ST = 0.278) among all populations, but significantly higher in the SC group than the NE group, mirroring the species’ more scattered distribution in SC. Conservation measures for this species are proposed, taking into account the genetic structure and past demographic history identified in this study.
Based on the isometric hypothesis, belowground plant biomass (MB) should scale isometrically with aboveground biomass (MA) and the scaling exponent should not vary with environmental factors. We tested this hypothesis using a large forest biomass database collected in China. Allometric scaling functions relating MB and MA were developed for the entire database and for different groups based on tree age, diameter at breast height, height, latitude, longitude or elevation. To investigate whether the scaling exponent is independent of these biotic and abiotic factors, we analyzed the relationship between the scaling exponent and these factors. Overall MB was significantly related to MA with a scaling exponent of 0.964. The scaling exponent of the allometric function did not vary with tree age, density, latitude, or longitude, but varied with diameter at breast height, height, and elevation. The mean of the scaling exponent over all groups was 0.986. Among 57 scaling relationships developed, 26 of the scaling exponents were not significantly different from 1. Our results generally support the isometric hypothesis. MB scaled near isometrically with MA and the scaling exponent did not vary with tree age, density, latitude, or longitude, but increased with tree size and elevation. While fitting a single allometric scaling relationship may be adequate, the estimation of MB from MA could be improved with size-specific scaling relationships.
Lichen is a classic mutualistic organism and the lichenization is one of the fungal symbioses. The lichen-forming fungus Endocarpon pusillum is living in symbiosis with the green alga Diplosphaera chodatii Bialsuknia as a lichen in the arid regions.
454 and Illumina technologies were used to sequence the genome of E. pusillum. A total of 9,285 genes were annotated in the 37.5 Mb genome of E. pusillum. Analyses of the genes provided direct molecular evidence for certain natural characteristics, such as homothallic reproduction and drought-tolerance. Comparative genomics analysis indicated that the expansion and contraction of some protein families in the E. pusillum genome reflect the specific relationship with its photosynthetic partner (D. chodatii). Co-culture experiments using the lichen-forming fungus E. pusillum and its algal partner allowed the functional identification of genes involved in the nitrogen and carbon transfer between both symbionts, and three lectins without signal peptide domains were found to be essential for the symbiotic recognition in the lichen; interestingly, the ratio of the biomass of both lichen-forming fungus and its photosynthetic partner and their contact time were found to be important for the interaction between these two symbionts.
The present study lays a genomic analysis of the lichen-forming fungus E. pusillum for demonstrating its general biological features and the traits of the interaction between this fungus and its photosynthetic partner D. chodatii, and will provide research basis for investigating the nature of its drought resistance and symbiosis.
Mycobiont; Phycobiont; Lichenization; Symbiosis; Symbiosis-related gene; Photosynthetic products
Interleukin 37 (IL-37) is an anti-inflammatory cytokine which was proven to be associated with several diseases characterized with excessive-inflammation. The pathologic process of Intervertebral disc degeneration (IVDD) is also companied by uncurbed inflammation, many cytokines were reported presenting in the process. However, there is little IL-37 related knowledge in IVDD up to now. The aim of this study was to investigate whether IL-37 expression in degenerative intervertebral disc (IVD) is different from that in non-degenerative disc and to evaluate the relationship between IL-37 expression, overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and development of degeneration. Human nucleus pulposus samples were obtained from patients with disc degenerative disease and vertebra fractures undergoing discectomy and fusion. Subsequently, expression of IL-37 was assessed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and western blotting. Gene expression level was measured for IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-16, TNF-α, TGF-β1 and Smad3. Degree of degeneration was evaluated for MRI with modified Pfirrmann grading system. The results showed that IL-37 had a decreased expression in degenerative samples compared to that in normal samples both at mRNA and protein level. Instead, significant elevated gene expression of IL-1β, IL-16, TNF-α, TGF-β1 and Smad3 were detected in degenerative samples. High correlations were observed between IL-37, IL-1β, IL-16, TGF-β1, Smad3 and degeneration degree of IVD. Downregulation of IL-37 expression appeared to result in overexpression of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1β and IL-16, in degenerative IVD and may be a contributor involved in the progression of IVDD.
Intervertebral disc degeneration; interleukin 37; anti-inflammatory cytokine; interleukin-1 beta; interleukin 16
Through physiological integration, clonal plants can support ramets in unfavourable patches, exploit heterogeneously distributed resources and distribute resources that are taken up over large areas. Physiological integration generally increases in adverse conditions, but it is not well known which factors determine the evolution of physiological integration. The aim of this study was to investigate if clonal plants from Southern and Northern populations of the clonal herb Aegopodium podagraria differed in physiological integration in terms of translocation of carbon to the rhizomes, and in biomass production using a reciprocal transplant experiment. Aegopodium podagraria from shaded conditions have been suggested to share more resources than clones from open conditions and therefore, plants from forest and open populations within the Southern and Northern regions were included. The regional growing conditions greatly affected biomass production. Plants grown in North Sweden produced more biomass and allocated more biomass to shoots, while plants grown in South Sweden allocated more biomass to rhizomes. There was a regional origin effect as plants originating from North Sweden produced more biomass in both regions. Within the Northern region, plants from shaded habitats translocated more 14C to the rhizomes, suggesting more storage there than in plants from open habitats. In addition to genetic differentiation in biomass production between Northern and Southern populations, probably as a response to a shorter growing season in the North, there appeared to be genetic differentiation in physiological integration within the Northern region. This shows that both regional and local conditions need to be taken into account in future studies of genetic differentiation of physiological integration in clonal plants.
Chondrostereum sp., a marine fungus isolated from a soft coral Sarcophyton tortuosum, can yield hirsutane framework sesquiterpenoids. However, the metabolites profiles vary dramatically with the composition change of the culture media. This fungus was cultured in a liquid medium containing glycerol as the carbon source, and two new metabolites, chondrosterins I and J (1 and 2), were obtained. Their structures were elucidated primarily based on MS, NMR and X-ray single-crystal diffraction data. By comparison with the known hirsutane sesquiterpenoids, chondrosterins I and J have unique structural features, including a methyl was migrated from C-2 to C-6, and the methyl at C-3 was carboxylated. Compound 2 exhibited potent cytotoxic activities against the cancer cell lines CNE-1 and CNE-2 with the IC50 values of 1.32 and 0.56 μM.
marine fungus; Chondrostereum sp.; sesquiterpenoids; chondrosterins; cytotoxic activity
Several studies have shown that soil microorganisms play a key role in the success of plant invasion. Thus, ecologists have become increasingly interested in understanding the ecological effects of biological invasion on soil microbial communities given continuing increase in the effects of invasive plants on native ecosystems. This paper aims to provide a relatively complete depiction of the characteristics of soil microbial communities under different degrees of plant invasion. Rhizospheric soils of the notorious invasive plant Wedelia trilobata with different degrees of invasion (uninvaded, low-degree, and high-degree using its coverage in the invaded ecosystems) were collected from five discrete areas in Hainan Province, P. R. China. Soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microorganisms were assessed. Low degrees of W. trilobata invasion significantly increased soil pH values whereas high degrees of invasion did not significantly affected soil pH values. Moreover, the degree of W. trilobata invasion exerted significant effects on soil Ca concentration but did not significantly change other indices of soil physicochemical properties. Low and high degrees of W. trilobata invasion increased the richness of the soil fungal community but did not pose obvious effects on the soil bacterial community. W. trilobata invasion also exerted obvious effects on the community structure of soil microorganisms that take part in soil nitrogen cycling. These changes in soil physicochemical properties and community structure of soil microbial communities mediated by different degrees of W. trilobata invasion may present significant functions in further facilitating the invasion process.
Woody plant encroachment into grasslands has been globally widespread. The woody species invading grasslands represent a variety of contrasting plant functional groups and growth forms. Are some woody plant functional types (PFTs) better suited to invade grasslands than others? To what extent do local patterns of distribution and abundance of woody PFTs invading grasslands reflect intrinsic topoedaphic properties versus plant-induced changes in soil properties? We addressed these questions in the Southern Great Plains, United States at a subtropical grassland known to have been encroached upon by woody species over the past 50-100 years. A total of 20 woody species (9 tree-statured; 11 shrub-statured) were encountered along a transect extending from an upland into a playa basin. About half of the encroaching woody plants were potential N2-fixers (55% of species), but they contributed only 7% to 16 % of the total basal area. Most species and the PFTs they represent were ubiquitously distributed along the topoedaphic gradient, but with varying abundances. Overstory-understory comparisons suggest that while future species composition of these woody communities is likely to change, PFT composition is not. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) ordination and variance partitioning (Partial CCA) indicated that woody species and PFT composition in developing woody communities was primarily influenced by intrinsic landscape location variables (e.g., soil texture) and secondarily by plant-induced changes in soil organic carbon and total nitrogen content. The ubiquitous distribution of species and PFTs suggests that woody plants are generally well-suited to a broad range of grassland topoedaphic settings. However, here we only examined categorical and non-quantitative functional traits. Although intrinsic soil properties exerted more control over the floristics of grassland-to-woodland succession did plant modifications of soil carbon and nitrogen concentrations, the latter are likely to influence productivity and nutrient cycling and may, over longer time-frames, feed back to influence PFT distributions.
The perennial stoloniferous herbaceous vine Mikania micrantha H.B.K. is among the most noxious exotic invaders in China and the world. Disturbance can fragment stolons of M. micrantha and disperse these fragments over long distances or bury them in soils at different depths. To test their regeneration capacity, single-node stolon fragments with stolon internode lengths of 0, 3, 6 and 12 cm were buried in soil at 0, 2, 5 and 8 cm depths, respectively. The fragments were growing for nine weeks, and their emergence status, growth and morphological traits were measured. The results indicated that increasing burial depth significantly decreased survival rate and increased the emergence time of the M. micrantha plants. At an 8-cm burial depth, very few fragments (2.19%) emerged and survived. Burial did not affect the total biomass and root to shoot ratio of the surviving M. micrantha plants that emerged from the 0- and 2-cm burial depths. Increasing internode length significantly increased survival rate and growth measures, but there was no interaction effect with burial depth for any traits measured. These results suggest that M. micrantha can regenerate from buried stolon fragments, and thus, disturbance may contribute to the spread of this exotic invader. Any human activities producing stolon fragments or facilitating dispersal should be avoided.
Each year in China, 30,000 babies are born with congenital hearing impairment. However, the molecular etiology of hearing impairment in the Yunnan Province population where more than 52 minorities live has not been thoroughly investigated. To provide appropriate genetic testing and counseling to these families, we investigated the molecular etiology of nonsyndromic deafness in this population.
Unrelated students with hearing loss (n = 235) who attended Kunming Huaxia secondary specialized school in Yunnan enrolled in this study. Three prominent deafness-related genes, GJB2, SLC26A4 and mtDNA 12S rRNA, were analyzed. High-resolution temporal bone computed tomography (CT) scan examinations were performed in 100 cases, including 16 cases with SLC26A4 gene variants, and 37 minorities and 47 Han cases without any SLC26A4 gene mutation.
The GJB2 mutation was detected in 16.67% (7/42) of minority patients and 17.62% (34/193) of Chinese Han patients (P > 0.05). 235delC was the hotspot mutation in nonsyndromic hearing loss (NSHL) patients, whereas 35delG was not found. The 431_450del19 mutation was detected for the first time in Han NSHL patients, which resulted in a premature stop codon and changed the protein. The SLC26A4 mutation was found in 9.52% (4/42) of minority patients and 9.84% (19/193) of Han Chinese patients (P > 0.05). The frequencies of mtDNA 12S rRNA mutation in minority and Han Chinese patients were 11.90% (5/42) and 7.77% (15/193; P > 0.05), respectively. Sixteen (16/23, 69.57%) patients with SLC26A4 mutations received temporal bone CT scan, and 14 patients were diagnosed with enlarged vestibular aqueducts (EVAs); the other 2 patients had normal inner ear development. The ratio of EVA in the minorities was 14.63% (6/41).
In this study, a total of 35.74% deaf patients showed evidence of genetic involvement, based on either genetic screening or family history; 17.45%, 9.79%, and 8.51% of the patients were determined to have inherited hearing impairment caused by GJB2, SLC26A4, and mtDNA 1555A > G mutations. There was no significant difference in deafness associated gene mutational spectrum and frequency between the Yunnan minority and Han patients.
Genetic mutations; Nonsyndromic deafness; Minority; Han; Yunnan
Alpine steppe is considered to be the largest grassland type on the Tibetan Plateau. This grassland contributes to the global carbon cycle and is sensitive to climate changes. The allocation of biomass in an ecosystem affects plant growth and the overall functioning of the ecosystem. However, the mechanism by which plant biomass is allocated on the alpine steppe remains unclear. In this study, biomass allocation and its relationship to environmental factors on the alpine grassland were studied by a meta-analysis of 32 field sites across the alpine steppe of the northern Tibetan Plateau. We found that there is less above-ground biomass (MA) and below-ground biomass (MB) in the alpine steppe than there is in alpine meadows and temperate grasslands. By contrast, the root-to-shoot ratio (R:S) in the alpine steppe is higher than it is in alpine meadows and temperate grasslands. Although temperature maintained the biomass in the alpine steppe, precipitation was found to considerably influence MA, MB, and R:S, as shown by ordination space partitioning. After standardized major axis (SMA) analysis, we found that allocation of biomass on the alpine steppe is supported by the allometric biomass partitioning hypothesis rather than the isometric allocation hypothesis. Based on these results, we believe that MA and MB will decrease as a result of the increased aridity expected to occur in the future, which will reduce the landscape’s capacity for carbon storage.
Grazing is one of the main grassland disturbances in China, and it is essential to quantitatively evaluate the effects of different grazing intensities on grassland production for grassland carbon budget and sustainable use.
A meta-analysis was conducted to reveal general response patterns of grassland production to grazing in China. We used weighted log response ratio to assess the effect size, and 95% confidence intervals to give a sense of the precision of the estimate. Grazing effects were estimated as a percentage change relative to control (%).
A total of 48 studies, including 251 data sets, were included in the meta-analysis. Grazing significantly decreased total biomass by 58.34% (95% CI: −72.04%∼−37.94%, CI: Confidence Interval), increased root/shoot ratio by 30.58% and decreased litter by 51.41% (95% CI: −63.31%∼−35.64%). Aboveground biomass and belowground biomass decreased significantly by 42.77% (95% CI: −48.88%∼−35.93%) and 23.13% (95% CI: −39.61%∼−2.17%), respectively. However, biomass responses were dependent on grazing intensity and environmental conditions. Percentage changes in aboveground biomass to grazing showed a quadratic relationship with precipitation in light grazing intensity treatment and a linear relationship in moderate and heavy grazing intensity treatment, but did not change with temperature. Grazing effects on belowground biomass did not change with precipitation or temperature. Compared to the global average value, grazing had greater negative effects on grassland production in China.
Grazing has negative effects on grassland biomass and the grazing effects change with environmental conditions and grazing intensity, therefore flexible rangeland management tactics that suit local circumstances are necessary to take into consideration for balancing the demand of grassland utilization and conservation.
For trees in tropical forests, competition for light is thought to be a central process that offers opportunities for niche differentiation through light gradient partitioning. In previous studies, a canopy index based on three-dimensional canopy census data has been shown to be a good predictor of species-specific demographic rates across the entire tree community on Barro Colorado Island, Panama, and has allowed quantifying between-species variation in light response. However, almost all other forest census plots lack data on the canopy structure. Hence, this study aims at assessing whether position-based neighborhood competition indices can replace information from canopy census data and produce similar estimates of the interspecific variation of light responses. We used inventory data from the census plot at Barro Colorado Island and calculated neighborhood competition indices with varying relative effects of the size and distance of neighboring trees. Among these indices, we selected the one that was most strongly correlated with the canopy index. We then compared outcomes of hierarchical Bayesian models for species-specific recruitment and growth rates including either the canopy index or the selected neighborhood competition index as predictor. Mean posterior estimates of light response parameters were highly correlated between models (r>0.85) and indicated that most species regenerate and grow better in higher light. Both light estimation approaches consistently found that the interspecific variation of light response was larger for recruitment than for growth rates. However, the classification of species into different groups of light response, e.g. weaker than linear (decelerating) vs. stronger than linear (accelerating) differed between approaches. These results imply that while the classification into light response groups might be biased when using neighborhood competition indices, they may be useful for determining species rankings and between-species variation of light response and therefore enable large comparative studies between different forest census plots.
An emerging respiratory infectious disease with high mortality, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), is caused by a novel coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia and has now spread to eight countries. Development of effective therapeutics and vaccines is crucial to save lives and halt the spread of MERS-CoV. Here, we show that a recombinant protein containing a 212-amino acid fragment (residues 377-588) in the truncated receptor-binding domain (RBD: residues 367–606) of MERS-CoV spike (S) protein fused with human IgG Fc fragment (S377-588-Fc) is highly expressed in the culture supernatant of transfected 293T cells. The purified S377-588-Fc protein efficiently binds to dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4), the receptor of MERS-CoV, and potently inhibited MERS-CoV infection, suggesting its potential to be further developed as a therapeutic modality for treating MERS-CoV infection and saving the patients’ lives. The recombinant S377-588-Fc is able to induce in the vaccinated mice strong MERS-CoV S-specific antibodies, which blocks the binding of RBD to DPP4 receptor and effectively neutralizes MERS-CoV infection. These findings indicate that this truncated RBD protein shows promise for further development as an effective and safe vaccine for the prevention of MERS-CoV infection.
Most drugs have beneficial as well as adverse effects and exert their biological functions by adjusting and altering the functions of their target proteins. Thus, knowledge of drugs target proteins is essential for the improvement of therapeutic effects and mitigation of undesirable side effects. In the study, we proposed a novel prediction method based on drug/compound ontology information extracted from ChEBI to identify drugs target groups from which the kind of functions of a drug may be deduced. By collecting data in KEGG, a benchmark dataset consisting of 876 drugs, categorized into four target groups, was constructed. To evaluate the method more thoroughly, the benchmark dataset was divided into a training dataset and an independent test dataset. It is observed by jackknife test that the overall prediction accuracy on the training dataset was 83.12%, while it was 87.50% on the test dataset—the predictor exhibited an excellent generalization. The good performance of the method indicates that the ontology information of the drugs contains rich information about their target groups, and the study may become an inspiration to solve the problems of this sort and bridge the gap between ChEBI ontology and drugs target groups.
Clonal growth allows plants to spread horizontally and to experience different levels of resources. If ramets remain physiologically integrated, clonal plants can reciprocally translocate resources between ramets in heterogeneous environments. But little is known about the interaction between benefits of clonal integration and patterns of resource heterogeneity in different patches, i.e., coincident patchiness or reciprocal patchiness. We hypothesized that clonal integration will show different effects on ramets in different patches and more benefit to ramets under reciprocal patchiness than to those under coincident patchiness, as well as that the benefit from clonal integration is affected by the position of proximal and distal ramets under reciprocal or coincident patchiness. A pot experiment was conducted with clonal fragments consisting of two interconnected ramets (proximal and distal ramet) of Fragaria orientalis. In the experiment, proximal and distal ramets were grown in high or low availability of resources, i.e., light and water. Resource limitation was applied either simultaneously to both ramets of a clonal fragment (coincident resource limitation) or separately to different ramets of the same clonal fragment (reciprocal resource limitation). Half of the clonal fragments were connected while the other half were severed. From the experiment, clonal fragments growing under coincident resource limitation accumulated more biomass than those under reciprocal resource limitation. Based on a cost-benefit analysis, the support from proximal ramets to distal ramets was stronger than that from distal ramets to proximal ramets. Through division of labour, clonal fragments of F. orientalis benefited more in reciprocal patchiness than in coincident patchiness. While considering biomass accumulation and ramets production, coincident patchiness were more favourable to clonal plant F. orientalis.
Plesiomonas shigelloides can cause gastroenteritis and extra-intestinal diseases in humans. However, the prevalence of P. shigelloides infections has not been investigated in China.
Consecutive fecal specimens from outpatients with acute diarrhea and non-diarrheal patients at nine sentinel hospitals in southeast China were collected from March 2010 to May 2012. Bacterial pathogens were detected by culture, and P. shigelloides isolates were subjected to antimicrobial susceptibility testing. We also retrospectively reviewed the hospital microbiology laboratory and infection-control databases for all P. shigelloides isolates identified from 2001–2012 at our institution in addition to data on the patients' clinical and demographic characteristics.
A total of 3,536 outpatients with acute diarrhea were enrolled in the study. P. shigelloides was isolated from 104 (2.9%) patients and accounted for 7.3% of bacterial isolates. Single-pathogen infections with P. shigelloides were present in 76 (73.1%) patients. No strain of P. shigelloides was isolated from the 478 non-diarrheal patients. Based on 444,684 nonfecal specimens, eight patients developed P. shigelloides-related extra-intestinal infections over the 12-year period. All eight patients had underlying diseases, including four with biliary tract diseases and three with liver diseases. Six cases were classified as nosocomial, and five cases were polymicrobial. P. shigelloides was sensitive to most antimicrobial drugs, except ampicillin.
In southeast China, P. shigelloides has significant clinical relevance, although the isolation rate is low.
Environments are patchy in not only abiotic factors but also biotic ones. Many studies have examined effects of spatial heterogeneity in abiotic factors such as light, water and nutrients on the growth of clonal plants, but few have tested those in biotic factors. We conducted a greenhouse experiment to examine how patchy distributions of competitors affect the growth of a rhizomatous wetland plant Bolboschoenus planiculmis and whether such effects depend on the density of the competitors. We grew one ramet of B. planiculmis in the center of each of the experimental boxes without competitors (Schoenoplectus triqueter), with a homogeneous distribution of the competitors of low or high density, and with a patchy distribution of the competitors of low or high density. The presence of competitors markedly decreased the growth (biomass, number of ramets, number of tubers and rhizome length) of the B. planiculmis clones. When the density of the competitors was low, the growth of B. planiculmis did not differ significantly between the competitor patches and competitor-free patches. However, when the density of the competitors was high, the growth of B. planiculmis was significantly higher in the competitor-free patches than in the competitor patches. Therefore, B. planiculmis can respond to patchy distributions of competitors by placing more ramets in competition-free patches when the density of competitors is high, but cannot do so when the density of competitors is low.
Many studies compare the population dynamics of single species within multiple habitat types, while much less is known about the differences in population dynamics in closely related species in the same habitat. Additionally, comparisons of the effect of habitat types and species are largely missing.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We estimated the importance of the habitat type and species for population dynamics of plants. Specifically, we compared the dynamics of two closely related species, the allotetraploid species Anthericum liliago and the diploid species Anthericum ramosum, occurring in the same habitat type. We also compared the dynamics of A. ramosum in two contrasting habitats. We examined three populations per species and habitat type. The results showed that single life history traits as well as the mean population dynamics of A. liliago and A. ramosum from the same habitat type were more similar than the population dynamics of A. ramosum from the two contrasting habitats.
Our findings suggest that when transferring knowledge regarding population dynamics between populations, we need to take habitat conditions into account, as these conditions appear to be more important than the species involved (ploidy level). However, the two species differ significantly in their overall population growth rates, indicating that the ploidy level has an effect on species performance. In contrast to what has been suggested by previous studies, we observed a higher population growth rate in the diploid species. This is in agreement with the wider range of habitats occupied by the diploid species.
Endocannabinoid-mediated long-term depression of inhibitory synaptic transmission (I-LTD) in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is implicated in cocaine-induced inhibitory synaptic plasticity and behavioral effects. It remains poorly understood, however, how this I-LTD is regulated and whether this regulation affects cocaine-seeking behavior. I-LTD requires cyclic adenosine 3′, 5′-monophosphate (cAMP)-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, raising the possibility that modulators of cAMP/PKA signaling may regulate I-LTD and the reinforcement behavior. Phosphodiesterase (PDE) 4 hydrolyses cAMP and terminates cAMP/PKA signaling. Here, we report that selective PDE4 inhibitors rolipram and Ro 20-1724 blocked I-LTD and acute depression of inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) induced by D2 dopamine receptor and cannabinoid CB1 receptor agonists in VTA dopamine neurons. We also show that intra-VTA microinjections of PDE4 inhibitor rolipram impaired the acquisition, but not the expression, of conditioned place preference (CPP) to cocaine. Systemic administration of rolipram also increased cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation and activation in the VTA. Together, our results suggest that blockade of cocaine-induced inhibitory synaptic plasticity (I-LTD) and enhancement of CREB activation are two putative cellular mechanisms by which PDE4 inhibition impairs the acquisition of cocaine CPP.
phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4); endocannabinoid; long-term depression of inhibitory synaptic transmission (I-LTD); conditioned place preference (CPP); cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB); addiction and substance abuse; cAMP; cannabinoids; endocannabinoid; I-LTD; neurophysiology; phosphodiesterase 4; second messengers; synaptic plasticity
To explore the association between consumption of fruits and vegetables and the presence of glaucoma in older African American women.
Disc photographs and suprathreshold visual fields were obtained from the 662 African American participants in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Masked, trained readers graded all discs, and two glaucoma specialists reviewed photos and visual fields. The Block Food Frequency Questionnaire assessed food consumption. Relationships between selected fruit/vegetable/nutrient consumption and glaucoma were evaluated using logistic regression models after adjusting for potential confounders.
After excluding women missing Food Frequency Questionnaire and disc data, 584 African American women (88.2% of total African American cohort) were included. Glaucoma was diagnosed in at least one eye in 77 subjects (13%). Women who ate 3 or more servings/day of fruits/fruit juices were 79% (odds ratio [OR]=0.21; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08–0.60) less likely to have glaucoma than women who ate less than one serving/day. Women who consumed more than 2 servings/week of fresh oranges (OR=0.18; 95%CI: 0.06–0.51) and peaches (OR=0.30; 95%CI: 0.13–0.67) had a decreased odds of glaucoma compared to those consuming less than one serving/week. For vegetables, >1 serving/week compared to ≤1 serving/month of collard-greens/kale decreased the odds of glaucoma by 57% (OR=0.43; 95%CI: 0.21–0.85). There was a protective trend against glaucoma in those consuming more fruit/fruit juices (p=0.023), fresh oranges (p=0.002), fresh peaches (p=0.002), and collard greens/kale (p=0.014). Higher consumption of carrots (p=0.061) and spinach (p=0.094) also showed some associations. Individual nutrient intake from food sources found protective trends with higher intakes of vitamin A (p=0.011), vitamin C (p=0.018), and α-carotene (p=0.021), and close to statistically significant trends with β-carotene (p=0.052), folate (p=0.056), and lutein/zeaxanthin (p=0.077).
Higher intake of certain fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A and C and carotenoids may be associated with a decreased likelihood of glaucoma in older African American women. Randomized controlled trials are needed to determine whether the intake of specific nutrients changes the risk of glaucoma.