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Renal fibrosis is common especially in the elderly population. Recently, we found that vitamin D deficiency caused prostatic hyperplasia. This study aimed to investigate whether vitamin D deficiency promotes renal fibrosis and functional impairment. All mice except controls were fed with vitamin D-deficient (VDD) diets, beginning from their early life. The absolute and relative kidney weights on postnatal week 20 were decreased in VDD diet-fed male pups but not in female pups. A mild pathological damage was observed in VDD diet-fed male pups but not in females. Further analysis showed that VDD-induced pathological damage was aggravated, accompanied by renal dysfunction in 40-week-old male pups. An obvious collagen deposition was observed in VDD diet-fed 40-week-old male pups. Moreover, renal α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), a marker of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT), and Tgf-β mRNA were up-regulated. The in vitro experiment showed that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 alleviated transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)-mediated down-regulation of E-cadherin and inhibited TGF-β1-evoked up-regulation of N-cadherin, vimentin and α-SMA in renal epithelial HK-2 cells. Moreover, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 suppressed TGF-β1-evoked Smad2/3 phosphorylation in HK-2 cells. These results provide experimental evidence that long-term vitamin D deficiency promotes renal fibrosis and functional impairment, at least partially, through aggravating TGF-β/Smad2/3-mediated EMT in middle-aged male mice.
This study aimed to identify clinical features for prognosing mortality risk using machine-learning methods in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A retrospective study of the inpatients with COVID-19 admitted from 15 January to 15 March 2020 in Wuhan is reported. The data of symptoms, comorbidity, demographic, vital sign, CT scans results and laboratory test results on admission were collected. Machine-learning methods (Random Forest and XGboost) were used to rank clinical features for mortality risk. Multivariate logistic regression models were applied to identify clinical features with statistical significance. The predictors of mortality were lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), C-reactive protein (CRP) and age based on 500 bootstrapped samples. A multivariate logistic regression model was formed to predict mortality 292 in-sample patients with area under the receiver operating characteristics (AUROC) of 0.9521, which was better than CURB-65 (AUROC of 0.8501) and the machine-learning-based model (AUROC of 0.4530). An out-sample data set of 13 patients was further tested to show our model (AUROC of 0.6061) was also better than CURB-65 (AUROC of 0.4608) and the machine-learning-based model (AUROC of 0.2292). LDH, CRP and age can be used to identify severe patients with COVID-19 on hospital admission.
A suite of Jurassic–Cretaceous migmatites was newly identified in the Liaodong Peninsula of the eastern North China Craton (NCC). Anatexis is commonly associated with crustal thickening. However, the newly identified migmatites were formed during strong lithospheric thinning accompanied by voluminous magmatism and intense deformation. Field investigations show that the migmatites are spatially associated with low-angle detachment faults. Numerous leucosomes occur either as isolated lenses or thin layers (dykes), parallel to or cross-cutting the foliation. Peritectic minerals such as titanite and sillimanite are distributed mainly along the boundaries of reactant minerals or are accumulated along the foliation. Most zircons show distinct core–rim structures, and the rims have low Th/U ratios (0.01–0.24). Zircon U–Pb dating results indicate that the protoliths of the migmatites were either the Late Triassic (224–221 Ma) diorites or metasedimentary rocks deposited sometime after c. 1857 Ma. The zircon overgrowth rims record crystallization ages of 173–161 Ma and 125 Ma, which represent the formation time of leucosomes. These ages are consistent with those reported magmatic events in the Liaodong Peninsula and surrounding areas. The leucosomes indicate a strong anatectic event during the Jurassic–Cretaceous period. Partial melting occurred through the breakdown of muscovite and biotite with the presence of water-rich fluid under a thermal anomaly regime. The possible mechanism that caused the 173–161 Ma and 125 Ma anatectic events was intimately related to the regional crustal extension during the lithospheric thinning of the NCC. Meanwhile, the newly generated melts further weakened the rigidity of the crust and enhanced the extension.
Probiotics and plant extracts are considered to prevent the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This study explores the effects of using both probiotics and plant extracts on NAFLD. This study evaluated the effects of plant extracts on lipid droplet accumulation and the growth of probiotics in vitro. A C57BL/6 mouse model was used to examine the effects of probiotics and plant extracts on NAFLD. The body weight and food intake were measured. The levels of serum lipids, oxidative stress, and the liver injury index were determined using commercial kits. HE staining, gas chromatography and Real-Time PCR were also used for analysis. The results revealed that administration of Lactobacillus casei YRL577 and Lactobacilli paracasei X11 with resveratrol (RES) or tea polyphenols (TP) significantly reduced the levels of total cholesterol (TC), triacylglycerols (TG) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and increased the level of the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). The groups of L. casei YRL577 with RES and TP also regulated the liver structure, oxidative stress, and injury. Furthermore, L. casei YRL577 with TP exhibited a more positive effect toward improving the NAFLD and increased the concentrations of the butyric acid than other three combined groups. L. casei YRL577 with TP up-regulated the mRNA levels of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR) and fibroblast growth factor 15 (FGF15) and decreased the mRNA levels of the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter (ASBT). These findings showed that L. casei YRL577 + TP modified genes in the intestinal bile acid pathway improved markers of NAFLD.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the main cause of end-stage liver disease. Probiotics have the potential effect of alleviating NAFLD. The aim of this study was to explore functional probiotics and their underlying mechanisms. The bile salt hydrolase (BSH) activity in thirty-four strains was determined in vitro. Then, C57BL/6 mice were used to explore the effects of probiotics on NAFLD. Body weight and food intake were measured, and serum lipid concentrations, oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines levels were determined using commercial kits. The expressions of intestinal bile acid pathway genes were evaluated via real-time PCR. The results showed that Lactobacillus casei YRL577 and L. paracasei X11 had higher BSH activity. L. casei YRL577 significantly reduced liver weight and liver index and could regulate the levels of lipid metabolism, oxidative stress and proinflammatory cytokines as compared with L. paracasei X11. Furthermore, the results indicated that L. casei YRL577 up-regulated the mRNA levels of farnesoid X receptor and fibroblast growth factor 15, whereas down-regulated the mRNA level of apical Na-dependent bile acid transporter. These findings suggested that L. casei YRL577 modified genes in the intestinal bile acid pathway which might contribute to the alleviation of NAFLD.
Individual with internet gaming disorder (IGD) often experience a high level of loneliness, and neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that amygdala function is associated with both IGD and loneliness. However, the neurobiological basis underlying these relationships remains unclear.
In the current study, Granger causal analysis was performed to investigate amygdalar subdivision-based resting-state effective connectivity differences between 111 IGD subjects and 120 matched participants with recreational game use (RGUs). We further correlated neuroimaging findings with clinical measures. Mediation analysis was conducted to explore whether amygdalar subdivision-based effective connectivity mediated the relationship between IGD severity and loneliness.
Compared with RGUs, IGD subjects showed inhibitory effective connections from the left pregenual anterior cingulate cortex (pACC) to the left laterobasal amygdala (LBA) and from the right medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) to the left LBA, as well as an excitatory effective connection from the left middle prefrontal gyrus (MFG) to the right superficial amygdala. Further analyses demonstrated that the left pACC-left LBA effective connection was negatively correlated with both Internet Addiction Test and UCLA Loneliness scores, and it mediated the relationship between the two.
IGD subjects and RGUs showed different connectivity patterns involving amygdalar subdivisions. These findings support a neurobiological mechanism for the relationship between IGD and loneliness, and suggest targets for therapeutic approaches that could be used to treat IGD.
A higher dietary intake or serum concentration of betaine has been associated with greater lean body mass in middle-aged and older adults. However, it remains unknown whether betaine intake is associated with age-related loss of skeletal muscle mass (SMM). We assessed the association between dietary betaine intake and relative changes in SMM after 3 years in middle-aged adults. A total of 1242 participants aged 41–60 years from the Guangzhou Nutrition and Health Study 2011–2013 and 2014–2017 with body composition measurements by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry were included. A face-to-face questionnaire was used to collect general baseline information. After adjustment for potential confounders, multiple linear regression found that energy-adjusted dietary betaine intake was significantly and positively associated with relative changes (i.e. percentage loss or increase) in SMM of legs, limbs and appendicular skeletal mass index (ASMI) over 3 years of follow-up (β 0·322 (se 0·157), 0·309 (se 0·142) and 0·303 (se 0·145), respectively; P < 0·05). The ANCOVA models revealed that participants in the highest betaine tertile had significantly less loss in SMM of limbs and ASMI and more increase in SMM of legs over 3 years of follow-up, compared with those in the bottom betaine tertile (all Ptrend < 0·05). In conclusion, our findings suggest that elevated higher dietary betaine intake may be associated with less loss of SMM of legs, limbs and ASMI in middle-aged adults.
More than 80% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases are mild or moderate. In this study, a risk model was developed for predicting rehabilitation duration (the time from hospital admission to discharge) of the mild-moderate COVID-19 cases and was used to conduct refined risk management for different risk populations.
A total of 90 consecutive patients with mild-moderate COVID-19 were enrolled. Large-scale datasets were extracted from clinical practices. Through the multivariable linear regression analysis, the model was based on significant risk factors and was developed for predicting the rehabilitation duration of mild-moderate cases of COVID-19. To assess the local epidemic situation, risk management was conducted by weighing the risk of populations at different risk.
Ten risk factors from 44 high-dimensional clinical datasets were significantly correlated to rehabilitation duration (P < 0.05). Among these factors, 5 risk predictors were incorporated into a risk model. Individual rehabilitation durations were effectively calculated. Weighing the local epidemic situation, threshold probability was classified for low risk, intermediate risk, and high risk. Using this classification, risk management was based on a treatment flowchart tailored for clinical decision-making.
The proposed novel model is a useful tool for individualized risk management of mild-moderate COVID-19 cases, and it may readily facilitate dynamic clinical decision-making for different risk populations.
The Wulian complex is located on the northern margin of the Sulu orogenic belt, and was formed by collision between the North China Craton (NCC) to the north and South China Craton (SCC) to the south. It consists of the metasedimentary Wulian Group, gneissic granite and meta-diorite. The U–Pb analyses for the detrital zircons from the Wulian Group exhibit one predominant age population of 2600–2400 Ma with a peak at c. 2.5 Ga and several secondary age populations of > 3000, 3000–2800, 2800–2600, 2200–2000, 1900–1800, 1500–1300 and 1250–950 Ma; some metamorphic zircons have metamorphic ages of c. 2.7, 2.55–2.45, 2.1–2.0 and 1.95–1.80 Ga, which are consistent with magmatic-metamorphic events in the SCC. Additionally, the Wulian Group was intruded by the gneissic granite and meta-diorite at c. 0.76 Ga, attributed to Neoproterozoic syn-rifting bimodal magmatic activity in the SCC and derived from partial melting of Archaean continental crust and depleted mantle, respectively. The Wulian Group therefore has tectonic affinity to the SCC and was mainly sourced from the SCC. The detrital zircons have positive and negative ϵHf(t) values, indicating that their source rocks were derived from reworking of both ancient and juvenile crustal rocks. The major early Precambrian crustal growth took place during c. 3.4–2.5 Ga with a dominant peak at 2.96 Ga and several secondary peaks at 3.27, 2.74 and 2.52 Ga. The two oldest zircons with ages of 3307 and 3347 Ma record the recycling of ancient continental crust (> 3.35 Ga) and crustal growth prior to c. 3.95 Ga in the SCC.
The sedimentologic fingerprinting in detrital deposit is vital to reconstruct sedimentary environments and discriminate sources. In this study, grain size and microtextural characteristics of quartz from the late Pleistocene hard clay in the Yangtze River delta (YRD) were analyzed by using a laser particle size analyzer and a scanning electron microscope. Subaqueous quartz from the Yangtze River and Yellow River sediments and eolian quartz from the Chinese Loess Plateau loess were also analyzed by scanning electron microscopy to obtain the microtextural characteristics. Quartz grains of the hard clay were characterized by poor sorting, fine skew, bimodal grain-size distributions, and numerous eolian microtextures. The comparison of the quartz grain characteristics of the hard clay with these in eolian loess indicated that the hard clay belonged to an eolian deposition. Moreover, the fine quartz grains of the hard clay were dominated by eolian microtextural characteristics, representing long-distance transportation. The coarse quartz grains of the hard clay exhibited more subaqueous microtextural characteristics, which indicated that the coarse fraction of the hard clay was derived from the proximal source regions in the YRD. The determination of buried eolian deposition with multiple sources in the YRD implies a southward westerly jet stream, strengthened eolian dust transportation, and extensive aridification in the YRD due to the increased Northern Hemisphere ice sheets in Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 2.
Reducing stigma is a perennial target of mental health advocates, but effectively addressing stigma relies on the ability to correctly understand and accurately measure culture-specific and location-specific components of stigma and discrimination.
We developed two culture-sensitive measures that assess the core components of stigma. The 40-item Interpersonal Distance Scale (IDS) asks respondents about their willingness to establish four different types of relationships with individuals with 10 target conditions, including five mental health-related conditions and five comparison conditions. The 40-item Occupational Restrictiveness Scale (ORS) asks respondents how suitable it is for individuals with the 10 conditions to assume four different types of occupations. The scales – which take 15 min to complete – were administered as part of a 2013 survey in Ningxia Province, China to a representative sample of 2425 adult community members.
IDS and ORS differentiated the level of stigma between the 10 conditions. Of the total, 81% of respondents were unwilling to have interpersonal relationships with individuals with mental health-related conditions and 91% considered them unsuitable for various occupations. Substantial differences in attitudes about the five mental health-related conditions suggest that there is no community consensus about what constitutes a ‘mental illness’.
Selection of comparison conditions, types of social relationships, and types of occupations considered by the IDS and ORS make it possible to develop culture-sensitive and cohort-specific measures of interpersonal distance and occupational restrictiveness that can be used to compare the level and type of stigma associated with different conditions and to monitor changes in stigma over time.
To identify the association of the glucokinase gene (GCK) rs4607517 polymorphism with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and determine whether sweets consumption could interact with the polymorphism on GDM in Chinese women.
We conducted a case–control study at a hospital including 1015 participants (562 GDM cases and 453 controls). We collected the data of pre-pregnancy BMI, sweets consumption and performed genotyping of the GCK rs4607517 polymorphism. Logistic regression was performed to test the association between the rs4607517 polymorphism and GDM, and the stratified analyses by sweets consumption were conducted, using an additive genetic model.
A case–control study of women at a hospital in Beijing, China.
One thousand and fifteen Chinese women.
The GCK rs4607517 A allele was significantly associated with GDM (OR 1·35, 95 % CI 1·03, 1·77; P = 0·028). Furthermore, stratified analyses showed that the A allele increased the risk of GDM only in women who had a habitual consumption of sweet foods (sweets consumption ≥ once per week) (OR 1·61, 95 % CI 1·17, 2·21; P = 0·003). Significant interaction on GDM was found between the rs4607517 A allele and sweets consumption (P = 0·004).
This study for the first time reported the interaction between the GCK rs4607517 polymorphism and sweets consumption on GDM. The results provided novel evidence for risk assessment and personalised prevention of GDM.
Silicon nanowires (SiNWs) were fabricated in a metal-assisted chemical etching method with two steps including dipping silicon wafers in AgNO3/HF solutions and then in H2O2/HF solutions. Grazing incidence X-ray diffraction measurements with a set of incidence angles were carried out on the resulting samples to detect characteristics of silver nanoparticles in the etched silicon. Compared with the uniform size of silver nanoparticles on the surface, the silver nanoparticles in etched silicon were found with size increasing and content decreasing corresponding to the depths. Based on the silver size increasing phenomenon, a detailed supplementary hypothesis about SiNWs formation was proposed about silver disintegration and redeposition in the later stage of silicon etching. For 2, 3, 4, and 8 mM AgNO3 solutions used to study their effect on the SiNWs, it was found that a higher quantity of Ag+ concentration such as 8 mM were not beneficial for producing good quality SiNWs.
Mobile payment generally refers to transactions made through the applications of a portable electronic gadget without the transfer of cash. As one of the most disruptive technologies for finance, mobile payment has been rapidly transforming the traditional financial industry. While it brings important benefits, there are also various risks, in terms of liquidity, security, and data privacy, that call for adequate regulatory responses. As a global financial centre, Hong Kong has gradually established a regulatory framework for mobile payment, addressing the relevant risks with rules on payment and privacy. However, there is still room for further improvement, in terms of measures to deal with cybersecurity issues and strengthen the protection of personal data. The Hong Kong experiences suggest that, to regulate a new and fast-growing industry such as mobile payment, the regulatory regime needs to be improved continuously to alleviate the risk concerns, so as to enhance the protection of financial consumers and society at large.
The past 20 years have seen major public health emergencies and natural disasters, including the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) in 2003; the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008; and the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) of 2019, which caused mass casualties, infections, and panic. These also resulted in complex demands for medical resources and information, and a shortage of human resources for emergency responses. To address the shortage of human resources required for these emergency responses, Chinese dental professionals made useful contributions. From this work, deficiencies in emergency response training and opportunities for the expansion of rescue capabilities were identified, and relevant recommendations made.
The effects of macronutrient intake on obesity are controversial. This research aims to investigate the associations between macronutrient intake and new-onset overweight/obesity. The relationship between the consumption of carbohydrate and total fat and obesity was assessed by the multivariable Cox model in this 11-year cohort, which included 6612 adults (3291 men and 3321 women) who were free of overweight and obesity at baseline. The dietary intake was recorded using a 24-h recall method for three consecutive days. Moreover, substitution models were developed to distinguish the effects of macronutrient composition alteration from energy intake modification. During 7·5 person years (interquartile range 4·3, 10·8) of follow-up, 1807 participants became overweight or obese. After adjusting for risk factors, the hazard ratio (HR) of overweight/obesity in extreme quintiles of fat was 1·48 (quintile 5 v. quintile 1, 95 % CI 1·16, 1·89; Ptrend = 0·02) in women. Additionally, replacing 5 % of energy from carbohydrate with equivalent energy from fat was associated with an estimated 4·3 % (HR 1·043, 95 % CI 1·007, 1·081) increase in overweight/obesity in women. Moreover, dietary carbohydrate was inversely associated with overweight/obesity (quintile 5 v. quintile 1, HR 0·70, 95 % CI 0·55, 0·89; Ptrend = 0·02) in women. Total fat was related to a higher risk of overweight/obesity, whereas high carbohydrate intake was related to a lower risk of overweight/obesity in women, which was not observed in men.
β-Glucan has been reported for its health benefits on blood lipids in hypercholesterolaemic individuals for years. However, people have paid little attention to the effects of β-glucan in populations with mild hypercholesterolaemia as well as the various delivering matrices. Our objective was to perform a meta-analysis to analyse the effects of β-glucan with different delivering matrices in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals. After conducting a comprehensive search in Web of Science, PubMed, Scopus and Cochrane Library, a total of twenty-one randomised controlled trials involving 1120 participants were identified to measure the pooled effect. The overall results indicated that consuming a dose of ≥3 g/d of β-glucan for at least 3 weeks could significantly reduce total cholesterol (TC) (−0·27 mmol/l, 95 % CI −0·33, −0·21, P < 0·001) and LDL-cholesterol (−0·26 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·32, −0·20, P < 0·001) compared with the control group in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals, while no significant difference was observed in TAG (−0·03 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·11, 0·06, P = 0·521) and HDL-cholesterol (0·01 mmol/l, 95% CI −0·03, 0·04, P = 0·777). There was evidence for modest unexplained heterogeneity in the meta-analysis. In conclusion, β-glucan can significantly reduce risk factors like TC and LDL-cholesterol for CVD in mildly hypercholesterolaemic individuals; furthermore, it appears that the effects of food matrices with both ‘solid products’ and ‘liquid products’ where β-glucan was incorporated into were ranked as the best way to exert its beneficial properties, while ‘liquid’ and ‘solid’ products were ranked as the second and third positions, respectively.