164 research outputs found

    Computer code FIT

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    A dietary carbohydrate–gut Parasutterella–human fatty acid biosynthesis metabolic axis in obesity and type 2 diabetes

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    Recent rodent microbiome experiments suggest that besides Akkermansia, Parasutterella sp. are important in type 2 diabetes and obesity development. In the present translational human study, we aimed to characterize Parasutterella in our European cross-sectional FoCus cohort (n = 1,544) followed by validation of the major results in an independent Canadian cohort (n = 438). In addition, we examined Parasutterella abundance in response to a weight loss intervention (n = 55). Parasutterella was positively associated with BMI and type 2 diabetes independently of the reduced microbiome α/β diversity and low-grade inflammation commonly found in obesity. Nutritional analysis revealed a positive association with the dietary intake of carbohydrates but not with fat or protein consumption. Out of 126 serum metabolites differentially detectable by untargeted HPLC-based MS-metabolomics, L-cysteine showed the strongest reduction in subjects with high Parasutterella abundance. This is of interest, since Parasutterella is a known high L-cysteine consumer and L-cysteine is known to improve blood glucose levels in rodents. Furthermore, metabolic network enrichment analysis identified an association of high Parasutterella abundance with the activation of the human fatty acid biosynthesis pathway suggesting a mechanism for body weight gain. This is supported by a significant reduction of the Parasutterella abundance during our weight loss intervention. Together, these data indicate a role for Parasutterella in human type 2 diabetes and obesity, whereby the link to L-cysteine might be relevant in type 2 diabetes development and the link to the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway for body weight gain in response to a carbohydrate-rich diet in obesity development

    Presence of factors that activate platelet aggregation in mitral stenotic patients' plasma

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    BACKGROUND: Although the association between mitral stenosis (MS) and increased coagulation activity is well recognized, it is unclear whether enhanced coagulation remains localized in the left atrium or whether this represents a systemic problem. To assess systemic coagulation parameters and changes in platelet aggregation, we measured fibrinogen levels and performed in vitro platelet function tests in plasma obtained from mitral stenotic patients' and from healthy control subjects' peripheral venous blood. METHODS: Sixteen newly diagnosed patients with rheumatic MS (Group P) and 16 healthy subjects (Group N) were enrolled in the study. Platelet-equalized plasma samples were evaluated to determine in vitro platelet function, using adenosine diphosphate (ADP), collagen and epinephrine in an automated aggregometer. In vitro platelet function tests in group N were performed twice, with and without plasma obtained from group P. RESULTS: There were no significant differences between the groups with respect to demographic variables. Peripheral venous fibrinogen levels in Group P were not significantly different from those in Group N. Adenosine diphosphate, epinephrine and collagen-induced platelet aggregation ratios were significantly higher in Group P than in Group N. When plasma obtained from Group P was added to Group N subjects' platelets, ADP and collagen-induced, but not epinephrine-induced, aggregation ratios were significantly increased compared to baseline levels in Group N. CONCLUSION: Platelet aggregation is increased in patients with MS, while fibrinogen levels remain similar to controls. We conclude that mitral stenotic patients exhibit increased systemic coagulation activity and that plasma extracted from these patients may contain some transferable factors that activate platelet aggregation

    Steroid receptor expression in the fish inner ear varies with sex, social status, and reproductive state

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Gonadal and stress-related steroid hormones are known to influence auditory function across vertebrates but the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for steroid-mediated auditory plasticity at the level of the inner ear remain unknown. The presence of steroid receptors in the ear suggests a direct pathway for hormones to act on the peripheral auditory system, but little is known about which receptors are expressed in the ear or whether their expression levels change with internal physiological state or external social cues. We used qRT-PCR to measure mRNA expression levels of multiple steroid receptor subtypes (estrogen receptors: ERα, ERβa, ERβb; androgen receptors: ARα, ARβ; corticosteroid receptors: GR2, GR1a/b, MR) and aromatase in the main hearing organ of the inner ear (saccule) in the highly social African cichlid fish <it>Astatotilapia burtoni</it>, and tested whether these receptor levels were correlated with circulating steroid concentrations.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We show that multiple steroid receptor subtypes are expressed within the main hearing organ of a single vertebrate species, and that expression levels differ between the sexes. We also show that steroid receptor subtype-specific changes in mRNA expression are associated with reproductive phase in females and social status in males. Sex-steroid receptor mRNA levels were negatively correlated with circulating estradiol and androgens in both males and females, suggesting possible ligand down-regulation of receptors in the inner ear. In contrast, saccular changes in corticosteroid receptor mRNA levels were not related to serum cortisol levels. Circulating steroid levels and receptor subtype mRNA levels were not as tightly correlated in males as compared to females, suggesting different regulatory mechanisms between sexes.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>This is the most comprehensive study of sex-, social-, and reproductive-related steroid receptor mRNA expression in the peripheral auditory system of any single vertebrate. Our data suggest that changes in steroid receptor mRNA expression in the inner ear could be a regulatory mechanism for physiological state-dependent auditory plasticity across vertebrates.</p

    Organizing Effects of Sex Steroids on Brain Aromatase Activity in Quail

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    Preoptic/hypothalamic aromatase activity (AA) is sexually differentiated in birds and mammals but the mechanisms controlling this sex difference remain unclear. We determined here (1) brain sites where AA is sexually differentiated and (2) whether this sex difference results from organizing effects of estrogens during ontogeny or activating effects of testosterone in adulthood. In the first experiment we measured AA in brain regions micropunched in adult male and female Japanese quail utilizing the novel strategy of basing the microdissections on the distribution of aromatase-immunoreactive cells. The largest sex difference was found in the medial bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (mBST) followed by the medial preoptic nucleus (POM) and the tuberal hypothalamic region. A second experiment tested the effect of embryonic treatments known to sex-reverse male copulatory behavior (i.e., estradiol benzoate [EB] or the aromatase inhibitor, Vorozole) on brain AA in gonadectomized adult males and females chronically treated as adults with testosterone. Embryonic EB demasculinized male copulatory behavior, while vorozole blocked demasculinization of behavior in females as previously demonstrated in birds. Interestingly, these treatments did not affect a measure of appetitive sexual behavior. In parallel, embryonic vorozole increased, while EB decreased AA in pooled POM and mBST, but the same effect was observed in both sexes. Together, these data indicate that the early action of estrogens demasculinizes AA. However, this organizational action of estrogens on AA does not explain the behavioral sex difference in copulatory behavior since AA is similar in testosterone-treated males and females that were or were not exposed to embryonic treatments with estrogens

    The African Cichlid Fish Astatotilapia burtoni Uses Acoustic Communication for Reproduction: Sound Production, Hearing, and Behavioral Significance

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    Sexual reproduction in all animals depends on effective communication between signalers and receivers. Many fish species, especially the African cichlids, are well known for their bright coloration and the importance of visual signaling during courtship and mate choice, but little is known about what role acoustic communication plays during mating and how it contributes to sexual selection in this phenotypically diverse group of vertebrates. Here we examined acoustic communication during reproduction in the social cichlid fish, Astatotilapia burtoni. We characterized the sounds and associated behaviors produced by dominant males during courtship, tested for differences in hearing ability associated with female reproductive state and male social status, and then tested the hypothesis that female mate preference is influenced by male sound production. We show that dominant males produce intentional courtship sounds in close proximity to females, and that sounds are spectrally similar to their hearing abilities. Females were 2–5-fold more sensitive to low frequency sounds in the spectral range of male courtship sounds when they were sexually-receptive compared to during the mouthbrooding parental phase. Hearing thresholds were also negatively correlated with circulating sex-steroid levels in females but positively correlated in males, suggesting a potential role for steroids in reproductive-state auditory plasticity. Behavioral experiments showed that receptive females preferred to affiliate with males that were associated with playback of courtship sounds compared to noise controls, indicating that acoustic information is likely important for female mate choice. These data show for the first time in a Tanganyikan cichlid that acoustic communication is important during reproduction as part of a multimodal signaling repertoire, and that perception of auditory information changes depending on the animal's internal physiological state. Our results highlight the importance of examining non-visual sensory modalities as potential substrates for sexual selection contributing to the incredible phenotypic diversity of African cichlid fishes

    Environmental Factors Affecting Large-Bodied Coral Reef Fish Assemblages in the Mariana Archipelago

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    Large-bodied reef fishes represent an economically and ecologically important segment of the coral reef fish assemblage. Many of these individuals supply the bulk of the reproductive output for their population and have a disproportionate effect on their environment (e.g. as apex predators or bioeroding herbivores). Large-bodied reef fishes also tend to be at greatest risk of overfishing, and their loss can result in a myriad of either cascading (direct) or indirect trophic and other effects. While many studies have investigated habitat characteristics affecting populations of small-bodied reef fishes, few have explored the relationship between large-bodied species and their environment. Here, we describe the distribution of the large-bodied reef fishes in the Mariana Archipelago with an emphasis on the environmental factors associated with their distribution. Of the factors considered in this study, a negative association with human population density showed the highest relative influence on the distribution of large-bodied reef fishes; however, depth, water temperature, and distance to deep water also were important. These findings provide new information on the ecology of large-bodied reef fishes can inform discussions concerning essential fish habitat and ecosystem-based management for these species and highlight important knowledge gaps worthy of additional research

    Eleven strategies for making reproducible research and open science training the norm at research institutions

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    Reproducible research and open science practices have the potential to accelerate scientific progress by allowing others to reuse research outputs, and by promoting rigorous research that is more likely to yield trustworthy results. However, these practices are uncommon in many fields, so there is a clear need for training that helps and encourages researchers to integrate reproducible research and open science practices into their daily work. Here, we outline eleven strategies for making training in these practices the norm at research institutions. The strategies, which emerged from a virtual brainstorming event organized in collaboration with the German Reproducibility Network, are concentrated in three areas: (i) adapting research assessment criteria and program requirements; (ii) training; (iii) building communities. We provide a brief overview of each strategy, offer tips for implementation, and provide links to resources. We also highlight the importance of allocating resources and monitoring impact. Our goal is to encourage researchers - in their roles as scientists, supervisors, mentors, instructors, and members of curriculum, hiring or evaluation committees - to think creatively about the many ways they can promote reproducible research and open science practices in their institutions
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