by The PLOS ONE Staff
by The PLOS ONE Staff
by Jennifer J. H. Reynolds, Montserrat Torremorell, Meggan E. Craft
Influenza A virus infections are widespread in swine herds across the world. Influenza negatively affects swine health and production, and represents a significant threat to public health due to the risk of zoonotic infections. Swine herds can act as reservoirs for potentially pandemic influenza strains. In this study, we develop mathematical models based on experimental data, representing typical breeding and wean-to-finish swine farms. These models are used to explore and describe the dynamics of influenza infection at the farm level, which are at present not well understood. In addition, we use the models to assess the effectiveness of vaccination strategies currently employed by swine producers, testing both homologous and heterologous vaccines. An important finding is that following an influenza outbreak in a breeding herd, our model predicts a persistently high level of infectious piglets. Sensitivity analysis indicates that this finding is robust to changes in both transmission rates and farm size. Vaccination does not eliminate influenza throughout the breeding farm population. In the wean-to-finish herd, influenza infection may persist in the population only if recovered individuals become susceptible to infection again. A homologous vaccine administered to the entire wean-to-finish population after the loss of maternal antibodies eliminates influenza, but a vaccine that only induces partial protection (heterologous vaccine) has little effect on influenza infection levels. Our results have important implications for the control of influenza in swine herds, which is crucial in order to reduce both losses for swine producers and the risk to public health.
by Andrew J. Koh, Assaf Yasur-Landau, Eric H. Cline
Scholars have for generations recognized the importance of wine production, distribution, and consumption in relation to second millennium BC palatial complexes in the Mediterranean and Near East. However, direct archaeological evidence has rarely been offered, despite the prominence of ancient viticulture in administrative clay tablets, visual media, and various forms of documentation. Tartaric and syringic acids, along with evidence for resination, have been identified in ancient ceramics, but until now the archaeological contexts behind these sporadic discoveries had been uneven and vague, precluding definitive conclusions about the nature of ancient viticulture. The situation has now changed. During the 2013 excavation season of the Kabri Archaeological Project, a rare opportunity materialized when forty large storage vessels were found in situ in an enclosed room located to the west of the central courtyard within the Middle Bronze Age Canaanite palace. A comprehensive program of organic residue analysis has now revealed that all of the relatively uniform jars contain evidence for wine. Furthermore, the enclosed context inherent to a singular intact wine cellar presented an unprecedented opportunity for a scientifically intensive study, allowing for the detection of subtle differences in the ingredients or additives within similar wine jars of apparently the same vintage. Additives seem to have included honey, storax resin, terebinth resin, cedar oil, cyperus, juniper, and perhaps even mint, myrtle, or cinnamon, all or most of which are attested in the 18th century BC Mari texts from Mesopotamia and the 15th century BC Ebers Papyrus from Egypt. These additives suggest a sophisticated understanding of the botanical landscape and the pharmacopeic skills necessary to produce a complex beverage that balanced preservation, palatability, and psychoactivity. This new study has resulted in insights unachievable in the past, which contribute to a greater understanding not only of ancient viticulture but also of Canaanite palatial economy.
by Wenteh Chang, Ke Wei, Lawrence Ho, Gerald J. Berry, Susan S. Jacobs, Cheryl H. Chang, Glenn D. Rosen
A characteristic of dysregulated wound healing in IPF is fibroblastic-mediated damage to lung epithelial cells within fibroblastic foci. In these foci, TGF-β and other growth factors activate fibroblasts that secrete growth factors and matrix regulatory proteins, which activate a fibrotic cascade. Our studies and those of others have revealed that Akt is activated in IPF fibroblasts and it mediates the activation by TGF-β of pro-fibrotic pathways. Recent studies show that mTORC2, a component of the mTOR pathway, mediates the activation of Akt. In this study we set out to determine if blocking mTORC2 with MLN0128, an active site dual mTOR inhibitor, which blocks both mTORC1 and mTORC2, inhibits lung fibrosis. We examined the effect of MLN0128 on TGF-β-mediated induction of stromal proteins in IPF lung fibroblasts; also, we looked at its effect on TGF-β-mediated epithelial injury using a Transwell co-culture system. Additionally, we assessed MLN0128 in the murine bleomycin lung model. We found that TGF-β induces the Rictor component of mTORC2 in IPF lung fibroblasts, which led to Akt activation, and that MLN0128 exhibited potent anti-fibrotic activity in vitro and in vivo. Also, we observed that Rictor induction is Akt-mediated. MLN0128 displays multiple anti-fibrotic and lung epithelial-protective activities; it (1) inhibited the expression of pro-fibrotic matrix-regulatory proteins in TGF-β-stimulated IPF fibroblasts; (2) inhibited fibrosis in a murine bleomycin lung model; and (3) protected lung epithelial cells from injury caused by TGF-β-stimulated IPF fibroblasts. Our findings support a role for mTORC2 in the pathogenesis of lung fibrosis and for the potential of active site mTOR inhibitors in the treatment of IPF and other fibrotic lung diseases.
by Kathrin A. Witzenberger, Axel Hochkirch
Studies on the genetic diversity and relatedness of zoo populations are crucial for implementing successful breeding programmes. The European wildcat, Felis s. silvestris, is subject to intensive conservation measures, including captive breeding and reintroduction. We here present the first systematic genetic analysis of the captive population of Felis s. silvestris in comparison with a natural wild population. We used microsatellites and mtDNA sequencing to assess genetic diversity, structure and integrity of the ex situ population. Our results show that the ex situ population of the European wildcat is highly structured and that it has a higher genetic diversity than the studied wild population. Some genetic clusters matched the breeding lines of certain zoos or groups of zoos that often exchanged individuals. Two mitochondrial haplotype groups were detected in the in situ populations, one of which was closely related to the most common haplotype found in domestic cats, suggesting past introgression in the wild. Although native haplotypes were also found in the captive population, the majority (68%) of captive individuals shared a common mtDNA haplotype with the domestic cat (Felis s. catus). Only six captive individuals (7.7%) were assigned as wildcats in the STRUCTURE analysis (at K = 2), two of which had domestic cat mtDNA haplotypes and only two captive individuals were assigned as purebred wildcats by NewHybrids. These results suggest that the high genetic diversity of the captive population has been caused by admixture with domestic cats. Therefore, the captive population cannot be recommended for further breeding and reintroduction.
by Chun Gao, Jing-Tao Li, Long Fang, Ying-Ying Xu, Hong-Chuan Zhao
Previous epidemiologic studies have reported that a history of allergy is associated with reduced risk of colorectal cancer and other malignancies. However, no information is available for the association between allergy and the risk of lymph node metastasis. Our study was designed to determine this association in rectal cancer.
Patients who were treated at our hospital in the period from January 2003 to June 2011, and with a pathologically hospital discharge diagnosis of rectal adencarcinoma, were included. The clinical, laboratory, and pathologic parameters were analyzed. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to determine the association. Moreover, for type of allergic drug, sub-group analysis was performed.
469 patients were included, including 231 with pathological lymph node metastasis (pLNM) (49.3%) and 238 without pLNM. Univariate analysis showed, compared with patients without pLNM, patients with pLNM had a younger age (60.6±12.8 yr vs. 63.6±12.2 yr, P = 0.012), a lower percentage of drug allergy (8.7% vs. 16.0%, P = 0.016), an increased CEA (median/interquartile-range 5.40/2.40–13.95 vs. 3.50/2.08–8.67, P = 0.009), and a lower serum sodium (141±3.1 mmol/L vs. 142±2.9 mmol/L, P = 0.028). Multivariate analysis showed that drug allergy was associated with a reduced risk of pLNM (OR = 0.553; 95% CI, 0.308–0.994; P = 0.048). In addition, our results showed that: (1) for tumor classification, patients with drug allergy had a higher percentage of group patients with pT1/pT2; and (2) for type of allergic drug, this inverse association was found for penicillins, not for other allergic drugs.
Drug allergy is associated with a reduced risk of pLNM in rectal cancer.
by Cihun-Siyong Alex Gong, Shih-Pin Lin, M. Susan Mandell, Mei-Yung Tsou, Yin Chang, Chien-Kun Ting
Epidural anesthesia is a common anesthesia method yet up to 10% of procedures fail to provide adequate analgesia. This is usually due to misinterpreting the tactile information derived from the advancing needle through the complex tissue planes. Incorrect placement also can cause dural puncture and neural injury. We developed an optic system capable of reliably identifying tissue planes surrounding the epidural space. However the new technology was too large and cumbersome for practical clinical use. We present a miniaturized version of our optic system using chip technology (first generation CMOS-based system) for logic functions. The new system was connected to an alarm that was triggered once the optic properties of the epidural were identified. The aims of this study were to test our miniaturized system in a porcine model and describe the technology to build this new clinical tool. Our system was tested in a porcine model and identified the epidural space in the lumbar, low and high thoracic regions of the spine. The new technology identified the epidural space in all but 1 of 46 attempts. Experimental results from our fabricated integrated circuit and animal study show the new tool has future clinical potential.
by Tong Zhou, Cunyi Gao, Linlin Du, Hui Feng, Lijiao Wang, Ying Lan, Feng Sun, Lihui Wei, Yongjian Fan, Wenbiao Shen, Yijun Zhou
The inheritance of resistance to white tip disease (WTDR) in rice (Oryza sativa L.) was analyzed with an artificial inoculation test in a segregating population derived from the cross between Tetep, a highly resistant variety that was identified in a previous study, and a susceptible cultivar. Three resistance-associated traits, including the number of Aphelenchoides besseyi (A. besseyi) individuals in 100 grains (NA), the loss rate of panicle weight (LRPW) and the loss rate of the total grains per panicle (LRGPP) were analyzed for the detection of the quantitative trait locus (QTL) in the population after construction of a genetic map. Six QTLs distributed on chromosomes 3, 5 and 9 were mapped. qNA3 and qNA9, conferring reproduction number of A. besseyi in the panicle, accounted for 16.91% and 12.54% of the total phenotypic variance, respectively. qDRPW5a and qDRPW5b, associated with yield loss, were located at two adjacent marker intervals on chromosome 5 and explained 14.15% and 14.59% of the total phenotypic variation and possessed LOD values of 3.40 and 3.39, respectively. qDRPW9 was considered as a minor QTL and only explained 1.02% of the phenotypic variation. qLRGPP5 contributed to the loss in the number of grains and explained 10.91% of the phenotypic variation. This study provides useful information for the breeding of resistant cultivars against white tip disease in rice.
by Bingjun Jiang, Haiyang Nan, Youfei Gao, Lili Tang, Yanlei Yue, Sijia Lu, Liming Ma, Dong Cao, Shi Sun, Jialin Wang, Cunxiang Wu, Xiaohui Yuan, Wensheng Hou, Fanjiang Kong, Tianfu Han, Baohui Liu
Soybean cultivars are extremely diverse in time to flowering and maturation as a result of various photoperiod sensitivities. The underlying molecular genetic mechanism is not fully clear, however, four maturity loci E1, E2, E3 and E4 have been molecularly identified. In this report, cultivars were selected with various photoperiod sensitivities from different ecological zones, which covered almost all maturity groups (MG) from MG 000 to MG VIII and MG X adapted from latitude N 18° to N 53°. They were planted in the field under natural daylength condition (ND) in Beijing, China or in pots under different photoperiod treatments. Maturity-related traits were then investigated. The four E maturity loci were genotyped at the molecular level. Our results suggested that these four E genes have different impacts on maturity and their allelic variations and combinations determine the diversification of soybean maturity and adaptation to different latitudes. The genetic mechanisms underlying photoperiod sensitivity and adaptation in wild soybean seemed unique from those in cultivated soybean. The allelic combinations and functional molecular markers for the four E loci will significantly assist molecular breeding towards high productivity.
by Heiko A. Kaiser, Arbi Ben Abdallah, Nan Lin, Bethany R. Tellor, Mohammad Helwani, Jennifer R. Smith, Marc R. Moon, Michael S. Avidan
During 2007 and 2008 it is likely that millions of patients in the US received heparin contaminated (CH) with oversulfated chondroitin sulfate, which was associated with anaphylactoid reactions. We tested the hypothesis that CH was associated with serious morbidity, mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) stay and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia following adult cardiac surgery.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a single center, retrospective, propensity-matched cohort study during the period of CH and the equivalent time frame in the three preceding or the two following years. Perioperative data were obtained from the institutional record of the Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database, for which the data collection is prospective, standardized and performed by independent investigators. After matching, logistic regression was performed to evaluate the independent effect of CH on the composite adverse outcome (myocardial infarction, stroke, pneumonia, dialysis, cardiac arrest) and on mortality. Cox regression was used to determine the association between CH and ICU length of stay. The 1∶5 matched groups included 220 patients potentially exposed to CH and 918 controls. There were more adverse outcomes in the exposed cohort (20.9% versus 12.0%; difference = 8.9%; 95% CI 3.6% to 15.1%, P<0.001) with an odds ratio for CH of 2.0 (95% CI, 1.4 to 3.0, P<0.001). In the exposed group there was a non-significant increase in mortality (5.9% versus 3.5%, difference = 2.4%; 95% CI, −0.4 to 3.5%, P = 0.1), the median ICU stay was longer by 14.1 hours (interquartile range −26.6 to 79.8, S = 3299, P = 0.0004) with an estimated hazard ratio for CH of 1.2 (95% CI, 1.0 to 1.4, P = 0.04). There was no difference in nadir platelet counts between cohorts.
The results from this single center study suggest the possibility that contaminated heparin might have contributed to serious morbidity following cardiac surgery.