392 research outputs found

    Evaluation of a commercial intravaginal thermometer to predict calving in a Hungarian Holstein‐Friesian dairy farm

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    In this study, the utility of a commercial intravaginal thermometer was evaluated as an automated method for the prediction of calving in a total of 257 healthy pregnant Holstein–Friesian female cattle. The accuracy and the sensitivity of predicting calving within 48 hr before calving were also evaluated. The intravaginal temperature changes from 72 hr before and up to calving were significantly (p ≤ .001) affected by parity, season (summer vs. autumn), the time of day (8 a.m. or 8 p.m.) and the 6-hr time intervals (38.19°C: first interval 0 to 6 hr before calving vs. 38.78°C: twelfth interval 66 to 72 hr before calving), while the gender (p = .943), and the weight of the calf (p = .610), twinning (p = .300), gestation length (p = .186), foetal presentation (p = .123), dystocia (p = .197) and retention of foetal membranes (p = .253) did not affect it significantly. The sensitivity of the SMS of expecting calving within 48 hr and the positive predictive value were 62.4% and 75%, respectively, while the sensitivity and the positive predictive value for the SMS of expulsion reached 100%. It can be concluded that the investigated thermometer is not able to predict calving within 48 hr accurately; however, imminent calving can be accurately alerted

    Constructing Visual Perception of Body Movement with the Motor Cortex

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    The human brain readily perceives fluent movement from static input. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we investigated brain mechanisms that mediate fluent apparent biological motion (ABM) perception from sequences of body postures. We presented body and nonbody stimuli varying in objective sequence duration and fluency of apparent movement. Three body postures were ordered to produce a fluent (ABC) or a nonfluent (ACB) apparent movement. This enabled us to identify brain areas involved in the perceptual reconstruction of body movement from identical lower-level static input. Participants judged the duration of a rectangle containing body/nonbody sequences, as an implicit measure of movement fluency. For body stimuli, fluent apparent motion sequences produced subjectively longer durations than nonfluent sequences of the same objective duration. This difference was reduced for nonbody stimuli. This body-specific bias in duration perception was associated with increased blood oxygen level-dependent responses in the primary (M1) and supplementary motor areas. Moreover, fluent ABM was associated with increased functional connectivity between M1/SMA and right fusiform body area. We show that perceptual reconstruction of fluent movement from static body postures does not merely enlist areas traditionally associated with visual body processing, but involves cooperative recruitment of motor areas, consistent with a "motor way of seeing"

    Clusterin is an extracellular chaperone that specifically interacts with slowly aggregating proteins on their off-folding pathway

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    Clusterin is an extracellular mammalian chaperone protein which inhibits stress-induced precipitation of many different proteins. The conformational state(s) of proteins that interact with clusterin and the stage(s) along the folding and off-folding (precipitation-bound) pathways where this interaction occurs were previously unknown. We investigated this by examining the interactions of clusterin with different structural forms of α-lactalbumin, γ-crystallin and lysozyme. When assessed by ELISA and native gel electrophoresis, clusterin did not bind to various stable, intermediately folded states of α-lactalbumin nor to the native form of this protein, but did bind to and inhibit the slow precipitation of reduced α-lactalbumin. Reduction-induced changes in the conformation of α-lactalbumin, in the absence and presence of clusterin, were monitored by real-time 1H NMR spectroscopy. In the absence of clusterin, an intermediately folded form of α-lactalbumin, with some secondary structure but lacking tertiary structure, aggregated and precipitated. In the presence of clusterin, this form of α-lactalbumin was stabilised in a non-aggregated state, possibly via transient interactions with clusterin prior to complexation. Additional experiments demonstrated that clusterin potently inhibited the slow precipitation, but did not inhibit the rapid precipitation, of lysozyme and γ-crystallin induced by different stresses. These results suggest that clusterin interacts with and stabilises slowly aggregating proteins but is unable to stabilise rapidly aggregating proteins. Collectively, our results suggest that during its chaperone action, clusterin preferentially recognises partly folded protein intermediates that are slowly aggregating whilst venturing along their irreversible off-folding pathway towards a precipitated protein

    Heterogeneity of variance components for preweaning growth in Romane sheep due to the number of lambs reared

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>The pre-weaning growth rate of lambs, an important component of meat market production, is affected by maternal and direct genetic effects. The French genetic evaluation model takes into account the number of lambs suckled by applying a multiplicative factor (1 for a lamb reared as a single, 0.7 for twin-reared lambs) to the maternal genetic effect, in addition to including the birth*rearing type combination as a fixed effect, which acts on the mean. However, little evidence has been provided to justify the use of this multiplicative model. The two main objectives of the present study were to determine, by comparing models of analysis, 1) whether pre-weaning growth is the same trait in single- and twin-reared lambs and 2) whether the multiplicative coefficient represents a good approach for taking this possible difference into account.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Data on the pre-weaning growth rate, defined as the average daily gain from birth to 45 days of age on 29,612 Romane lambs born between 1987 and 2009 at the experimental farm of La Sapinière (INRA-France) were used to compare eight models that account for the number of lambs per dam reared in various ways. Models were compared using the Akaike information criteria.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>The model that best fitted the data assumed that 1) direct (maternal) effects correspond to the same trait regardless of the number of lambs reared, 2) the permanent environmental effects and variances associated with the dam depend on the number of lambs reared and 3) the residual variance depends on the number of lambs reared. Even though this model fitted the data better than a model that included a multiplicative coefficient, little difference was found between EBV from the different models (the correlation between EBV varied from 0.979 to 0.999).</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Based on experimental data, the current genetic evaluation model can be improved to better take into account the number of lambs reared. Thus, it would be of interest to evaluate this model on field data and update the genetic evaluation model based on the results obtained.</p

    Adapting effects of emotional expression in anxiety: evidence for an enhanced late positive potential

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    An adaptation paradigm was used to investigate the influence of a previously experienced visual context on the interpretation of ambiguous emotional expressions. Affective classification of fear-neutral ambiguous expressions was performed following repeated exposure to either fearful or neutral faces. There was a shift in the behavioural classification of morphs towards ‘fear’ following adaptation to neutral compared to adaptation to fear with a non-significant trend towards the high anxiety group compared to the low being more influenced by the context. The event-related potential (ERP) data revealed a more pronounced late positive potential (LPP), beginning at ~400 ms post-stimulus onset, in the high but not the low anxiety group following adaptation to neutral compared to fear. In addition, as the size of the behavioural adaptation increased there was a linear increase in the magnitude of the late-LPP. However, context-sensitivity effects are not restricted to trait anxiety, with similar effects observed with state anxiety and depression. These data support the proposal that negative moods are associated with increased sensitivity to visual contextual influences from top-down elaborative modulations, as reflected in an enhanced late positive potential deflection

    A Regulated Response to Impaired Respiration Slows Behavioral Rates and Increases Lifespan in Caenorhabditis elegans

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    When mitochondrial respiration or ubiquinone production is inhibited in Caenorhabditis elegans, behavioral rates are slowed and lifespan is extended. Here, we show that these perturbations increase the expression of cell-protective and metabolic genes and the abundance of mitochondrial DNA. This response is similar to the response triggered by inhibiting respiration in yeast and mammalian cells, termed the “retrograde response”. As in yeast, genes switched on in C. elegans mitochondrial mutants extend lifespan, suggesting an underlying evolutionary conservation of mechanism. Inhibition of fstr-1, a potential signaling gene that is up-regulated in clk-1 (ubiquinone-defective) mutants, and its close homolog fstr-2 prevents the expression of many retrograde-response genes and accelerates clk-1 behavioral and aging rates. Thus, clk-1 mutants live in “slow motion” because of a fstr-1/2–dependent pathway that responds to ubiquinone. Loss of fstr-1/2 does not suppress the phenotypes of all long-lived mitochondrial mutants. Thus, although different mitochondrial perturbations activate similar transcriptional and physiological responses, they do so in different ways

    Age, gender, and cancer but not neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases strongly modulate systemic effect of the Apolipoprotein E4 allele on lifespan

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    Enduring interest in the Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) polymorphism is ensured by its evolutionary-driven uniqueness in humans and its prominent role in geriatrics and gerontology. We use large samples of longitudinally followed populations from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) original and offspring cohorts and the Long Life Family Study (LLFS) to investigate gender-specific effects of the ApoE4 allele on human survival in a wide range of ages from midlife to extreme old ages, and the sensitivity of these effects to cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders (ND). The analyses show that women's lifespan is more sensitive to the e4 allele than men's in all these populations. A highly significant adverse effect of the e4 allele is limited to women with moderate lifespan of about 70 to 95 years in two FHS cohorts and the LLFS with relative risk of death RR = 1.48 (p = 3.6×10(−6)) in the FHS cohorts. Major human diseases including CVD, ND, and cancer, whose risks can be sensitive to the e4 allele, do not mediate the association of this allele with lifespan in large FHS samples. Non-skin cancer non-additively increases mortality of the FHS women with moderate lifespans increasing the risks of death of the e4 carriers with cancer two-fold compared to the non-e4 carriers, i.e., RR = 2.07 (p = 5.0×10(−7)). The results suggest a pivotal role of non-sex-specific cancer as a nonlinear modulator of survival in this sample that increases the risk of death of the ApoE4 carriers by 150% (p = 5.3×10(−8)) compared to the non-carriers. This risk explains the 4.2 year shorter life expectancy of the e4 carriers compared to the non-carriers in this sample. The analyses suggest the existence of age- and gender-sensitive systemic mechanisms linking the e4 allele to lifespan which can non-additively interfere with cancer-related mechanisms

    Caenorhabditis elegans Semi-Automated Liquid Screen Reveals a Specialized Role for the Chemotaxis Gene cheB2 in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence

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    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic human pathogen that causes infections in a variety of animal and plant hosts. Caenorhabditis elegans is a simple model with which one can identify bacterial virulence genes. Previous studies with C. elegans have shown that depending on the growth medium, P. aeruginosa provokes different pathologies: slow or fast killing, lethal paralysis and red death. In this study, we developed a high-throughput semi-automated liquid-based assay such that an entire genome can readily be scanned for virulence genes in a short time period. We screened a 2,200-member STM mutant library generated in a cystic fibrosis airway P. aeruginosa isolate, TBCF10839. Twelve mutants were isolated each showing at least 70% attenuation in C. elegans killing. The selected mutants had insertions in regulatory genes, such as a histidine kinase sensor of two-component systems and a member of the AraC family, or in genes involved in adherence or chemotaxis. One mutant had an insertion in a cheB gene homologue, encoding a methylesterase involved in chemotaxis (CheB2). The cheB2 mutant was tested in a murine lung infection model and found to have a highly attenuated virulence. The cheB2 gene is part of the chemotactic gene cluster II, which was shown to be required for an optimal mobility in vitro. In P. aeruginosa, the main player in chemotaxis and mobility is the chemotactic gene cluster I, including cheB1. We show that, in contrast to the cheB2 mutant, a cheB1 mutant is not attenuated for virulence in C. elegans whereas in vitro motility and chemotaxis are severely impaired. We conclude that the virulence defect of the cheB2 mutant is not linked with a global motility defect but that instead the cheB2 gene is involved in a specific chemotactic response, which takes place during infection and is required for P. aeruginosa pathogenicity
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